A Better Tomorrow

NewStart04

Member
Hey there fellow rebooters,

I am a 31-year-old male who has been suffering from porn addiction since a very young age. I first started looking at internet porn when I was ten (circa 1998) and got hooked on it soon after. As I entered my mid-teens, I underwent a big change in my life, and, because of this, I was able to completely stop looking at porn and masturbating. Unfortunately, I fell back into the habit a year later. I can still remember that day. I was walking back home from the bus stop after school when the thought, "hey, you want to masturbate?", popped into my head. After getting back home, I wound up masturbating in the shower, and while this didn't immediately lead to me looking at porn, things quickly snowballed, and I found myself heavily looking at porn again soon after.

At that time, resources like this website, YBOP, Your Brain Rebalanced, and Addicted to Internet Porn were not available. I really wish they had been, but I also know it doesn't do much good sitting around regretting the past.

Now while I had wanted to quit ever since I fell back into the habit at 16, I was never able to go the distance when I tried, and this made me both jaded and exhausted. There was even a period for a few years when I gave up on the thought of quitting entirely. After that, I had various attempts here and there, but they all proved unsuccessful as well.

Fast-forward to 2015, and I am now 27 years old. Some difficulties I was experiencing in life then made me look at myself to see what about it was problematic, and one of the problems I flagged was my frequent and unhealthy porn use. This got me to start poking around online, and I came across some videos of Gabe Deem on The Reboot Nation's YouTube channel. It opened my eyes to the addictive nature of porn, and this was a fantastic realization because, before that point, every time I tried to fight my porn habits, I would always have a voice in the back of my head saying, "no matter how long you try to abstain, the distress you feel from doing so will never go away" and "all men are just naturally horny, so there's nothing you can do about it." The magnitude of this realization notwithstanding, I have still been struggling with recovery over these past four years, and recovery itself has become more difficult due to the countless relapses I?ve had. This is in spite of the fact that I became more informed, first with Noah Church's book Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn (and his YouTube channel Noah B.E. Church), and later with Gary Wilson's website and book Your Brain on Porn.

Now take into account that I had various difficulties in my past and developed other destructive habits along the way, so I can't chalk up all my problems to porn use. I have come to terms with some of the trauma from my past and have done away with some of my other destructive habits, but these changes have not been enough to release me from the clutches of this addiction, at least so far.

Now I know this doesn?t provide you with a complete picture of who I am, my struggles, my failures, my efforts and my achievements, so if any of you are interested in learning more about me and my history, please feel free to ask in this topic or via message. But I have a tendency to ramble, so I'd like to get on to the meat of this topic.

As mentioned at the beginning, I am a 31-year-old male. I live alone in a foreign country, have no familial ties, the few friends I have live in different countries, I lack any prominent work skills and specialized knowledge, don't have much of a career, my savings are limited, I suffer from poor physical health (damaged joints, multiple GI problems, tissue loss on penile shaft due to years of unchecked aggressive masturbation), I suffer from mental health problems (OCD, ADHD, and talk to myself when I am alone), poor cognition (brain fog, verbal fluency), anxiety, depression, and low emotional intelligence, among other things.

I know we all have our own problems, and I am not trying to wallow in despair. I am just trying to give you all some idea of what I am going through.

I am currently on the cusp of a big change in my life. My current contract is about to end, so I am now looking for another job, but I don?t have much time to find one. To make matters worse, I am only allowed to stay in my current country of residence if a company sponsors my work visa. This is extremely stressful for me.

But you know what? As extremely painful as this all is, I am putting in, for me at the very least, some solid effort in facing the situation before me without running away from it. Instead of getting overwhelmed by anxiety and running away from my problems, I am doing the following: a.) I am currently on my fifth day of no PMO on hard mode, which is indeed quite short, but it?s amazing to me that I haven?t relapsed with all the stress engulfing me each day, b.) I have decreased the amount of time that I talk to myself (a habit that I?ve had since I was 14) over the past two weeks, with the last few days being close to virtually free of self-talk, c.) I used to have problems with substance abuse, all of which I was able to quit (1 year or more, depending on the substance), except for caffeine, which I have been off of completely for about 2.5 weeks now, d.) I have been able to maintain my daily schedule of work, cooking, chores, etc., without letting it all morph into a chaotic, unregulated mess, e.) I am staying strong with my 20 minutes a day of insight meditation (the Waking Up app has been great for this), a habit which I started developing at the beginning of this year, f.) I am slowly dealing with my OCD by thoroughly going through a treatment book (though I am putting this on hold until things settle down and I find a job, I don?t want to rush through it), g.) I am more proactively and considerately interacting with others (currently just my coworkers since I don?t know anyone else out here and job-hunting is not giving me any time to go out there and meet new people at the moment) g.) I am trying to respect sleep more, even if I don?t sleep well, by not staying up too late, and h.) I plan on reaching out to my family soon (after almost five years of no contact).

I am still really scared (embarrassing though it is to admit it), wracked by anxiety, and I feel like I am being tossed about by the waves, but I also feel like I may have realized something that I had been blind to all these years. By exposing myself to this incredibly overwhelming fear and anxiety, I will, in time, be able to habituate myself to this feeling and live more comfortably with it. And, by changing how I respond to this fear, i.e. by not resorting to porn, fantasy, substance use, talking to myself or obsessing over negative emotions, past mistakes and missed opportunities, I can become increasingly able to live a life where I don?t feel some form of misery, emptiness or anxiety most of my waking hours, but instead feel happy and positive overall.

For your reference, I am including a list of my top 5 streaks below (not including the year I quit when I was 15-16):

1.) 8 weeks (early 2018) *Was still fantasizing
2.) 6 weeks (mid 2017) *Was still fantasizing, started looking at porn again during week 4 and masturbating without climaxing during week 5
3.) 5 weeks (late 2012)
4.) 5 weeks (late 2011) *Was having sex and orgasming multiple times a week, so I wasn?t giving my brain any recovery time
5.) 4 weeks, 6 days (relapsed June 13, 2019) *Looked at porn on four separate occasions, fantasizing present

Sorry for the essay length introductory post. I understand we are all busy and have our own problems, but, to anyone who does read this topic and follow my journal posts, I hope that you will wish me success and send some goodwill my way. It would really mean a lot to me, and I am going to work on doing my best to become a better, stronger human being, regardless of how my future turns out. I hope that I can one day serve as someone others can look to, along with Gabe Deem, Noah Church, and the many others who have overcome this disease, as an example of successful recovery.
 

Pdub

Member
I like the format of your journal.  It's easy to see what you care about and how you're doing.  That said, keep it up man!

Speaking two languages fluently is difficult.  Sometimes you just have to accept that you won't be perfect.  Don't let -good- be the enemy of perfect in that regard.  Your native language is always a bit easier to hear and speak.
 

mranoym31

Member
Your last post is very well worded. Especially the emotion and cognition part. Inspiring reading your journal. Keep it up!
 

mranoym31

Member
I am 31 like you and feel your pain. It's helpful reading other people comments and following journals. Keep strong!
 

malando

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
I'm sorry to hear that, NS. And yes, we all know the feeling of relapse. I understand the devastation. You'll have to give it a day or two for that feeling of anger and remorse to dissipate. But it will. So just make sure you don't relapse again - it's really easy to do when you've been doing really well and you feel like you've let yourself down in a big way. In can activate a quitter's reflex (you want to quit quitting porn), and cause you to act out in protest and frustration. I don't think you're thinking that way now, but be on guard for that type of cascade of thoughts. It can lead you down the same rabbit hole as the one the magazine lead you down.

You have learned a valuable lesson from this. It will strengthen your resolve once you are through this feeling crisis. You'll know to avoid that trigger next time, and anything that resembles it. For now, you just have to ride out the feelings of frustration, let it go somehow, and recommit to your goal. I think you can do it. Best wishes, M.
 

Pete McVries

Active Member
Sending you some strength! I like the way of your journaling even though, I, as a reader, don't get to know you more despite your lenghty opening post. Your situation seems to be difficult which makes it extra stressful and difficult to reboot succesfully. Regarding the recent relapse, I'd like to add the following: Firstly, once you've stacked a few clean weeks, it will get alot easier to not act out when come across triggers. You will learn how to deal with them. The earlier you manage to snap out of a possible relapse, the easier it is to stay clean. When somebody relapses there are always a lot of red flags and warning signs along the way. One does not magically end up in front of the computer with their pants around their ankles with a few videos loaded. The start of relapse is much earlier. Your relapse began when you came across that magazine. And even though you sort of realized what was happening, and even though you were battling against it, your addiction still won in the end. The trick is, to realize what is happening as soon as possible and then act accordingly and find solutions to the urges so that you won't end up relapsing. I hope you find ways that work for you. It's also helpful to look at the ways you relapse and prevent them as good as you can. And to answer your question in my journal, almost all of my mental problems either dissolved or got way better that I don't feel like a picture of misery anymore.

I have two suggestions: Since you are dealing with a lot of adversity, maybe it would be helpful for you to add to your form of journaling a short passage where you either note something positive that happened to you that day or something that you did good that day. Or both ;). You are focussing on a lot of negative things like urges, negative emotions, negative cognitive effects and pain. While I think, these things are noteworthy, perhaps it would be helpful to shift your focus to more positive things. And even though there seema to be a lot of darkness in your life, I'm sure there are some rays of light.

Take care, and don't lose hope! You are not on your own!
 

CB

Active Member
Keep going, a relapse is just a bump in the road. Not a wall you can?t get through.
I think every addict will relapse while trying to quit. It?s scary to quit and let go of something we have used to comfort us when feeling stressed or down.
I have been looking on escort sites in my area too, I did that as some new sort of way of getting a high. I have never been going to prostitutes either. But the ?forbidden? thoughts of doing so got my brain in to a dopamine rush.. as many other things when coming to sex.
In the beginning there will be 1-2 or 3 weeks of strong urges, and then if you get a flatline don?t get scared and try if your dick still works. I did as many others and relapsed. It will get better week by week. My lust has come back more and more, and it feels comforting to know. One step at a time you will make it!

Thanks for sharing your story!
 
L

Lero

Guest
Sorry for the relapse, man.

When you relapse, you don't fail, you find another thing that didn't work. A relapse is an invitation to analyze the situation, see what went wrong, what mistake you made, what you were thinking before the relapse, what environment, circumstances etc. led to your relapse and so on. If you feel down after a relapse, it's normal. It sucks but, at the end of the day, people feel down from time to time. But don't allow yourself to go lower than that because you reach misery and a mind in that state is a great environment for the addiction to keep complete control over you. One day things will eventually click.
 
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Lero

Guest
Fuck, man, you're killing me with the triggers. But yeah, I have the same problems.
 
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Lero

Guest
NewStart04 said:
Lero

Sorry about that. I made the trigger disclaimer red. Hopefully that will catch at-risk readers attention.

Thanks for reading through my essay length post.

I am kidding, man. I knew triggers would follow, don't worry. I didn't read everything, just a little bit and then skipped. Sorry for that, as I couldn't read your whole post but...
 

malando

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Hi NS, no need to apologise for anything you said, or the length of it. It was an honest, well-expressed expos? of where you're at - and I can only commend you on your honesty and courage in examining yourself like that and writing it down. You are on the right track: becoming more and more aware of yourself and your inner workings. That's a good thing and that's what will get you to your desired destination. So thanks for sharing, man. Best wishes, M.
 

CB

Active Member
Yeah OCD can be a big black pit some times.. I have also been having sexual, violent and many other obsessions and intrusive thoughts. One that?s been really bad the past year is after have watching sissy/shemale porn, I started to have HOCD, doubting my sexual orientation. That led me to have another bout of Relationship OCD about my gf of course. I?ve always had ROCD in my relationships. And I think pmo has been a big part in my OCD getting a bigger or greater grip on me. Because of the ADHD I tend to over react thinking Black/white about things, when for example having a hard time to get a erection I would be like, ?Oh no, maybe it?s true, I?m not into girls anymore?!?. Maybe you can relate to this, OCD has many faces. But it can really be keeping one from a sober life from pmo. Felt like I had to share a little since I know how difficult it is when these thoughts strike. Good thing though is that we scare ourselves because these thoughts show the total opposite of who we truly are, and they are just thoughts.

Hope you?re feeling better!
 

mattdes

Member
Keep going man!!! I wish I had started at 31 . I'm sure I would have been cured by now. A lot of your story I can really relate to. We are all in this boat together. It's a struggle but let's get fixed together. Let's never take this boat again.
We'll fly in the future haha.
 

mranoym31

Member
Continue on your path. I am still free of PMO even though I had a weak moment last night, I left the computer. Hope you can continue to do the same. Good luck! Stay strong!
 

Pete McVries

Active Member
I just skimmed through your journal because I don't have so much time at my hands at the moment, but you come across like a really good dude with a good heart. You know, like the high school girl felt when you had to say your good-byes. Things like that don't happen by coincedence. You are evidently appreciated.

Getting the addiction under control will most certainly not fix all of your problems but it will most definitely help you lay a foundation on which you can build a nice house. Rome wasn't built in a day, neither will you be able to beat you pmo addiction that quickly. Slow and steady, as you said.

About the trigger moment. Try to detect them as early as possible. That could have been a relapse. Been there, done that countless times. The sooner you stop, the easier it'll be to snap out of anything pmo-related.

Wishing you all the best!
 
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Lero

Guest
Man, withdrawal could get brutal, I can't say it less scary. But you will survive. This withdrawal doesn't kill. It's not like, let's say, detox from alcohol or drugs. We are actually fortunate to experience an withdrawal that is not dangerous for us (but very painful in itself). The truth is that the withdrawal will go away but not too fast. My streak is 1 month and I am still not done with it. I still experience hard urges  :( It's hard but it's possible. There is no other choice for us. In order to quit this addiction we need to go through the withdrawal. And you know what sucks? You see, I've become addicted to something that I didn't even know it was addictive. I told myself: "What the fuck, man? Why do I need to suffer now for something that I did by mistake. I was not even aware of this shit! I didn't choose deliberately, I didn't say yeah I want to be a porn addict." But nothing will change the past, nothing will change the fact that the withdrawal will still come. Only those who are willing to accept the withdrawal and go through it will escape. The others will repeat in a circle for who knows how long. I like to see it in this way: If you give in and think about putting an end to the suffering with a relapse, you don't put an end to it, you only postpone it. It will eventually return. The withdrawal doesn't go away with a relapse. It goes away only with time. Time is the perfect medicine for our problem. And if you relapse and go back to day 1, you will make it back to another day with terrible withdrawal. The withdrawal comes back, it might not be the same day but days with hard withdrawal will still come. We should go through it once and be done with it. I have 30 days of porn sobriety right now and it seems like it has been a month with withdrawal suffering but actually only about 17 days had hard urges. The first 6 days were a breeze. Then day 7 (the same day as you) I woke up with a crazy craving for porn, I barely escaped alive. Starting with day 7 urges tortured me until my streak got to double digits (I don't remember the days) when I had about 2 days (?) without urges then torture again. Only the MO session from day 21 gave me a break of 4 days (in which I had flatline symptoms). Then since day 26 until today I've had a few days in a row with hard urges and craving for porn. It's hard, but you see, I had better days too. It's not a continous brutal experience, day in day out. Or at least it wasn't for me, I hope it won't be for you either. However, many days with brutal urges could come. There is nothing you could do than prepare yourself, find the determination to endure it and then one day you will be fine, you will look back and congratulate yourself for not giving in because now everything will be over and the pain will only be a distant memory.

P.S: About talking to yourself, I don't think you should worry about it. It's your "balance". It would only be a problem if you were not aware of it. Then you would be mentally insane.
 
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Lero

Guest
Pete McVries said:
About the trigger moment. Try to detect them as early as possible. That could have been a relapse. Been there, done that countless times. The sooner you stop, the easier it'll be to snap out of anything pmo-related.

That's what helped me during my current streak. I wouldn't have made it to 1 month without this. Stopping as early as the impulse starts and not escalating into looking for material. This is so fucking crucial, I'm telling you.
 
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Lero

Guest
Great, man. Every day without a relapse is a success. And the streak will get bigger day by day. Sorry for not always reading your entire post but sometimes you're killing me with triggers.
 
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