My Story of Recovery

Hello, all in Reboot Nation. Here, you will find my story. This will include everything from the groundwork as to why I became addicted to pornography, and by extension, this led me to other risky and dangerous behaviors not only limited to porn use, to hitting rock bottom and getting into recovery. I hope that you will find experience, strength, and hope from my story, and if that is the case, everything I have been through will be worth it.

I grew up in a family that had a history of addiction on both sides. Both of my grandfathers no longer drink. The grandfather on my mother's side went to A.A. to get sober, the one on my father's side never did. My dad is also a recovering alcoholic. He got sober when I was very young. When I was a baby, I apparently crawled around on the floor and found a beer bottle with tobacco inside and nearly started to drink it. That was the breaking point for my mother and she threatened to leave my father unless he got sober. That was his bottom, and he got sober.

However, my father acted as a dry drunk until I was about 17. We had a tumultuous relationship at best. The real f-word in my house was the word "feelings." I felt like I never had his approval, and given my family's history, that would need to be gained through athletics, which I never had a proclivity towards. In addition to that, I was bullied as a child. Therefore, there were days when I felt like I was bullied on the field of whatever sport I was playing and then got into my father's car to go home and was bullied for my performance by my dad as well. I quickly gained a close relationship with resentment, and in time that resentment would give way to great anger.

As you could expect, I also became very insecure from my experiences, especially around females. I felt irredeemably inadequate. This started to become particularly prevalent in middle school. That was also the age in which I discovered a gaming magazine that had ads for screensavers of women in bikinis. I immediately knew I wanted more. Not long after that, I found internet pornography for the first time. This was not only because of porn being a super stimulus, but perhaps even more so because it allowed me to turn off the outside world and numb out from how I felt about myself. It was adolescent self-medication, and I began to use that metaphorical IV as much as possible.

As I got older, I became athletically adept to a great degree because of my work ethic. However, my insecurities still remained. Over time, my insecurities actually worsened because I was rejected by multiple females in school that I was attracted to. I felt like my insecurity of being valueless, unlovable, of being "less than zero," was true because of these rejections. As a consequence, I did not like myself very much either. Therefore, my porn use continuously increased.

However, once when I was 17, I had the chance of being physically intimate with someone for the first time. It should be noted that this was not someone I cared about. I simply wanted to live out what I wanted to see in the movies. Mistake #1. Perhaps even worse, when we tried to be intimate, I was unable to perform. I did not know it then, but I had already developed PIED, which is porn-induced erectile dysfunction, a condition in which some of you may know about or even have experienced. However, at the time I rationalized and thought, "This is only because I am not attracted to this person. This won't be a problem when I am with someone I am actually attracted to." The dishonesty to myself was starting to grow.

Fast forward three years. I was 20 years old, and I met my first girlfriend. She was, and is, such a wonderful person. After we dated for a short time, we already cared about each other madly. Therefore, we wanted to be intimate. It truly was from a place of genuine love.

However, there were two issues at hand. The first was that when we got closer to actual sex, she would become very uncomfortable, sometimes to the point of tears. I was not sure why, but I had sneaking suspicions that something bad had happened to her in a previous relationship that she was not telling me about. I knew her previous boyfriend was not a good person. The second problem was that I was worried if I could actually "get it up or not" because of my experience when I was 17. However, the other part of me thought I would have no problems performing because I was attracted to my girlfriend and I loved her. I was incorrect. I was not able to perform. She was understanding and kind, but I was terrified and cried afterward. At that point, a wheel or two was starting to turn in my brain as to why this was happening, but I denied the thoughts of porn use being the culprit.

A week or so later, we tried again. I was able to perform, but it was very difficult, and I had to think of the pornography I watched to do it. Therefore, to be able to have my porn addiction cake and eat it too, I started to purchase generic Cialis online. That way, I could keep masturbating to porn and keep having sex with my girlfriend.

Over time, tensions grew over what I felt she was keeping from me about her previous relationship. To the point in which I felt like I was not good enough for her, that she preferred her previous relationship. This was obviously not true, but I was blinded by the pornography use that I used to self-medicate my insecurities. I wanted to hurt her previous boyfriend, to the point in which I could get no mental relief from the resentment I came to know as a child. I became chronically and psychotically depressed. I was too scared to live but too scared to die. There was only one way I knew how to numb out, and that was by using more porn. However, I quickly began to seek a more novel stimulus, such as more extreme pornography and eventually other women, to chase the fantasy world that I saw in the videos so that I could escape my never-ending pain.

I ended up visiting three different women, and when things started to happen, I ran out of the room each time, completely beside myself. Each time it occurred, I confessed to my girlfriend in half-truths, never telling the full story so I could try and alleviate some guilt while trying to keep her from leaving me. After the first time that I visited a different woman, my girlfriend revealed to me she had been raped. It all made sense then, but I still could not leave the resentment of the guy that did it behind and I could not stop using porn and visiting others, even though I so desperately wanted to. I vowed to never do it again, and yet I did it again and again.

Eventually, after the third time, I broke. I hit rock bottom. I confessed to a family member, and they said they loved and forgave me. That is groundbreaking when you think are unlovable and unworthy of forgiveness, that you are less than zero. My girlfriend was crushed, yet again. However, I decided to make a change and started to visit a 12-Step Recovery group known as SAA and my life became way better. My struggles did not end, but I was on the path to recovery. I fall down sometimes still, but I have had so much more success in staying away from pornography since then.

I stumbled across Reboot Nation recently on YouTube. Not only did I want to implement the resources of Reboot Nation into my 12-step recovery, but I immediately knew that I also wanted to share my story. Perhaps, more appropriately, I knew it was my moral obligation to do so; so that I can at least hope to give even just one person my experience, strength, and hope. If my life can get better from sex addiction, so can yours. I want you to know that, whether you are reading this as someone who just hit the bottom and is having a trying time, or if you are reading this to keep your recovery skills sharp, know that you are LOVED and WORTHY of being LOVED. You are not less than zero, you are greater than you can even begin to imagine. If this touches just one person who is struggling, then everything I have been through will be worth it.

I am with every single one of you. Much love and blessings of recovery,

A fellow sex addict
 
Arthur,
Thank you for sharing your story.  Thank you also for affirming our value.
You are courageous to share your story and we appreciate this.  I am still struggling with my own PIED and I struggle at times with feelings of being without value. 
Keep up the great work and love yourself.  I think most of the people on this site are very much wanting to help out the others, so hopefully this may be another source of love and affirmation for you.  Thanks again for the affirmation you shared.
Excited for your success,
Relentless
 
Relentless Observer said:
Arthur,
Thank you for sharing your story.  Thank you also for affirming our value.
You are courageous to share your story and we appreciate this.  I am still struggling with my own PIED and I struggle at times with feelings of being without value. 
Keep up the great work and love yourself.  I think most of the people on this site are very much wanting to help out the others, so hopefully this may be another source of love and affirmation for you.  Thanks again for the affirmation you shared.
Excited for your success,
Relentless

Thank you, Relentless Observer. The kind words mean a whole lot, it is always a comfort to know that we are not alone in this struggle. Just know that if you are ever feeling down, you always have someone out there in me that is thinking about you and hoping that you succeed. Stay strong, my friend!
 
Androg said:
How is your PIED now?

I still use something to help with erections. However, when limiting myself to oral intercourse, I don't seem to need it. I still relapse occasionally and am getting back on the wagon. However, the slips are fewer and definitely lesser in severity. I have just done a lot of research on edging, which is a problem I am combatting now, and am grateful to be aware that it is just as harmful (or arguably even more so) than masturbation. Looking to start hard mode now and only allow myself to orgasm with a partner.
 
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