Nick 2.0

Nick Simons

Active Member
Hey guys,

So I'm brand new to any type of forum or group enviro ... but very much looking forward to this format.  Even if it is simply a place for me to dump my thoughts on a regular basis - unfiltered and totally truthful (which it will always be) - that is probably a good thing (and any additional input from other guys who are fighting the same fight is a massive bonus!).

OK - so here's my story.  Early 50's, married with 2 kids, started into porn when I was maybe 12ish - got my hands on some magazines and have been hooked since.  I am ashamed to say I thought this was pretty normal until about 10 years ago when I started to really think about what the hell I was doing - but it really hit me when I got real honest with myself and I came to the cold hard facts that I was living a chunk of my life in something of a zombie mode.  My deal was typically 2-3 times per week with PMO ... sometimes going for marathon sessions which inevitably left me exhausted and needing days to fully recover (living in "zombie mode" - half alive / half numb) until I recharged and then did it all over again (and again and again ...). 

At my lowest point, I not only felt incredible shame and powerless but more deeply just felt like shit because I new I was just throwing away my life - I knew I could be so much more / better ... but just kept choosing to get back on the treadmill and relapsing (kind of like not being able to turn away from a slow mo car crash).  I thought I had tried everything to break free - all to no avail ... but I had always avoided joining some kind of group / accountability partner as it just didn't feel right (maybe I was in denial and I was just trying to avoid additional shame). 

Anyway, having stumbled across Reboot Nation a few things really hit me. 

First, I think the personal videos and background on YBOP were awesome.  I learned a lot about what the deal was in my head but also the path forward - that gave me hope.  Also a bunch of Gabe's videos were super helpful (and some downright hilarious :)) - just a cool dude talking honestly about dealing with tough stuff - and this made me feel really welcomed. 

Second, as I read through a bunch of the forums, I saw tons of myself in others - and mostly it made me feel like it was OK and there were lots of others in the same boat - a band of brothers fighting a good fight.  I feel I am not alone and finally have a support group I can tap into as I battle forward. 

Lastly, I felt a super positive vibe from all the comments that were being posted to the various journals.  Just really genuine supportive stuff that I can see making a big difference - especially during the tough times (which I know are inevitable). 

So, that's my deal-eo.  I'm jumping in full throttle. It's day 5 for me and time to deal with this.  Thanks for this place and I hope I am able to help others as I join the group. 

 

joepanic

Well-Known Member
Hey Nick  welcome aboard.

    I am about to hit age 50 in about 2 weeks. I have been hooked on porn since about age 12 when I found a few of my old man's magazines.  Than I found his old vhs tapes and it really took off from there.  I always new I wanted to stop  but it became worse and worse over the years and of course internet porn took it to a whole new level. Its incredible that we didn't recognize this as an addiction till just recently.  I have finally kicked the habit and have really grown as a person  as a result.  I have broken the patterns  of porn use  pmo etc.  I have the tools needed to stay clean from it.  I cant say as I avoided groups like this  I just didn't know they existed  until I stumbled across one looking for ways to quit porn a few years ago.  Does your wife know about your addict as as my personal choice to fight it alone.  Do lots of reading and comment on others journals as they will comment on yours  its what makes this place work

      Post often it helps me it helps you
 

Nick Simons

Active Member
Hey joe,

Its awesome to hear you have kicked the habit after what sounds like a similar path to mine - this is encouraging.  Was there 1 thing in particular for you that pushed you over the tipping point to you finally kicking the habit - or was it just an ongoing combination of things.  Re my wife, she doesn't know about it.  Haven't crossed that bridge yet (and not sure I will if I'm being totally honest - or maybe its just too early). 

Thanks for your thoughts - its really helpful.  I will for sure read and comment. 

Interestingly, last night (after committing to this site), I had one the soundest sleeps I have had in a very long time ... not sure if this is just a coincidence but hopefully maybe a sign of my mind letting go of carrying this mental burden.  I know there are likely some tough withdrawal days ahead ... but I'll take the good days when I can get them.

Appreciate your feedback.  Talk soon.
 

Nick Simons

Active Member
Day 6 and yesterday went pretty good - no real temptation or triggers - I did some little things that I think helped out - got in an early morning workout, didn't reach for junk food snacks, and just spent some time chillin' with my wife.  Felt balanced and good.  Hopefully I can build on these consistent little positive habits (to replace the old bad patterns). 

I have found from my past attempts at trying to live consecutive days of purity that there are typically 2 key thresholds for me - 1 is usually after 7 days (which I have gotten to fairly often - albeit with some effort) and the second is at 40 days (which I have rarely gotten to).  So I am feeling pretty good about the 7-day mark (1 day to go) ... but also not kidding myself that the 40 day bogey will be tough and a really important / rare milestone if (when!) I get there.

A side observation, I am quite liking this journaling thing - had no idea what to write as I sat down for this entry ... it just is a spontaneous dump which seems to flow, clear my head and calm my focus for the day. 

Grateful for the forum and the band of brothers.  Thanks! 
 

joepanic

Well-Known Member
Hey Nick  Nice going on 6 days

    I don't think there was any 1 thing in particular that pushed me over the top  of the hill so to say.  It was some trial and error, looking for milestones  1 week or 1 month  even if I relapsed I would really try to think about how to do better  made lists of reasons etc. and tried to follow them  and use them as a guide.  One thing I think really helped was  watching  on documentaries on the damage porn can cause.  I am in no way in favor of censorship  but the system in place is clearly not working.  I might see about posting a few on my journal. Ones that I am sure will not led to triggers.  Another thing I worked on at the same time was my health  I read a lot and watched a lot of videos on how the human body works and what you need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  At one point I lost 40 lbs.  I gained some back do to unforeseen circumstances but I am back on my regiment.  This is bigger than just abstaining from porn. It's creating a whole new way of living.  That's sort of the way I look at it

    My journal is really quite long  and really the last couple of months is perhaps where some of my more deeper and wider thoughts sit

  As for telling your wife I believe this is a personal choice at this time.  Others here have different and very strong opinions on it. I am a bit of a unique case as my wife knew I "surfed a little porn" and couldn't have cared less.  I never neglected her in any way.  She doesn't know that I was outright addicted  and the genres I was started to get into.  She just knows that I don't bother with it anymore for my own reasons.  You may decide not to tell her now and maybe that will change later as you learn more and grow more.  I believe this site is meant for detoxing from porn the "reboot" it you will and not for fixing relationships. That can be discussed after 90 days.

    Cheers

  Post often it helps me it helps you
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Nice to meet you, Nick! Welcome to the forum!

I appreciate and can relate to your story. My own struggles stretch over decades, being a man in his early 50's, like yourself.

In agreement with Joe Panic, on a couple of issues: it's been trial and error for me, trying first the 'diseased-model' of addiction (12 Steps, et. al.), which only left me more disempowered. But finding most helpful the science of habit change, and taking (though it's always there) the moral questions out of the equation, and definitely never, NEVER, shaming yourself.

But I'm finding my freedom as well, and after this recovery effort, I have a real opportunity to say, "Good riddance!" to these habits once and for all.

You may find my page 1 very helpful, as it contains my story- my struggles (over the years), and several links to helpful topics, some written by myself, as well as links to external sites, that may also be tools to help you combat this.

On the second issue Joe mentions, it's all your choice whether or not to tell your wife (or anyone else, for that matter!). For me, my wife knows of some past struggles, but I have long ago decided that she's just not equipped to handle my truth. As such, I generally and mostly leave her out of my struggles, and she has no idea that I've been struggling (again) since March of 2020. My take on it is, I'd rather live the truth then tell the truth. In general, all people 'deserve the truth', but sad to say as in my case, not all are worthy of our particular truth. As Joe said again, there are strong opinions to the opposite, but I know the kind of pain that 'this truth' would cause my wife, and I honestly think it's more manly, more chivalrous for me to 'slay this dragon' in secret, and protect her first, from me living a lie, and second (ironically) from me 'telling her the truth'.

Your journal is your own, as is your journey. Welcome, and look forward to interacting.
 

Nick Simons

Active Member
Hey Joe,

Thanks for your ideas on helpful contributing factors in the fight.  I took your advice and explored / immersed myself in a bunch of the Reboot videos and they were super helpful.  Two things in particular really hit home with me. 

The first was from Gabe Deem's "PORN MYTHS ? The Truth Behind Addiction And Sexual Dysfunctions - Debunking 10 popular myths propagated by naysayers or the ignorant.".  I really appreciated his view to clarify his myth #3 and how this struggle is absolutely NOT a symptom of something else - but rather a cause in itself (brought on by the wiring in the brain from mass exposure / stimulus) ... and this was really important because as you let that sink in you also start to see that the path to victory lies in dealing with this as the thing that has be addressed (vs. looking for / chasing other root causes to solve).  Put simply, the problem we are trying to solve becomes clear (although by no means "easy" to solve) - and this is more than half the battle (know what battle you are fighting).

Armed with this, I also found a 2nd video really helpful called "Your Brain On Porn: The Effects of Internet Porn on the Brain (2015)."  In particular I found it incredibly encouraging to know what awaits me as I start to emerge from my current negative lifestyle "zombieland".  These were identified in the video as "Symptoms and conditions that REMIT" (once you stop using porn) The "prize" that I have to look forward to is a life with these "unexpected" benefits (for me and all those I interact with):
-  brain fog clearing up and improved concentration
-  big increases in motivation and energy
-  significant social anxiety decrease and new found confidence 
-  more emotionally connected to others
-  creativity increases
-  increase in interest in real partners (more spark with the wife :))
-  and of course stating the obvious ... no ED

I think this is a very exciting goal to shoot for - and I will keep this as my "carrot" ... particularly when I hit the anticipated rough spots.

Thanks again Joe - you're a good dude. 
 

Nick Simons

Active Member
Hey Phineas,

Thanks for your thoughts - they helped a lot. 

I am now on day 7 - what I will call "base camp #1" as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have made it here before to the 7-day threshold - but not too often.  Now that I am here, I set my sights on the way tougher "base camp #2" which lies ahead at the 40 days altitude. 

Thanks in particular for your thoughts re telling / not telling my wife.  I 100% hear you and align with your thinking of 'slaying this dragon' in secret. For now that logic makes sense.  Maybe one day some or all of the details will come out - but I'm not putting any pressure on myself for that.  I'll just let go of any expectations and focus on getting myself better ...  then see where things are at. 

Also I started to check out some of your earlier posts.  I particularly liked your Abstinence Quotes - they are awesome and something I will refer to many times I am sure. 

Anyway, thanks a ton dude - you are an inspiration and a fellow Christian ... which also gives me strength. 
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Good job on hitting base camp#1, Nick! Here to help as you ascend to base camp #2.

Grateful that you found the resources on my page 1, and that they're inspiring to you.

Yes, as fellow believers, we can help each other, encourage each other, as we walk out that Christ-life.

Blessings!

 

Nick Simons

Active Member
Alright ... day 8!

... and I'm spending tons of time continuing to watch YBOP videos and learning more about the science experiment taking place in my brain, the negative consequences of this addiction and how it trashes lives, but also the awesome success stories.  I'm also trying to put in place a regular routine each morning / evening to stay connected (like on this forum), and reflect on my progress ... hoping this will build some momentum and prevent any relapses.  So far so good.

So far it really hasn't been too bad ... I'm feeling good about myself by increasing my daily workouts and eating pretty healthy ... but I will say that every now and then there is this little voice that tries to introduce seeds of doubt into my self talk.  Things like "sure its OK now, but its only your first week ... do you really think you can keep this up for 1 month, 2 months, forever?" ... that kind of crap.  I want to kick that little voices' ass to the curb!  I think patience, humor, and not putting added pressure will help to muffle the negatively.  I'll let you know my progress - any thoughts / advice on dealing with those negative thoughts that try to drag you back to the old ways would be appreciated. 

Stay strong ...

 
 

joepanic

Well-Known Member
Good morning Nick

    I think we all go through those thoughts of "is this really the end of something that has been such a huge part of my life?" .  I have read that all addicts of every sort go through that. Its almost like the concept of being institutionalized.  Like those who spend 30 years in jail  They cant live on the outside.  For me  I think that was one of the toughest things to get past. Over a 3 year period I slowly began to experiment with things that I knew were going to be 100% successful.  Learned to change a shower tap. I learned to create a basic  Excel spreadsheet. As time went on and my confidence grew I attempted  more things.  This gave me something more to think about.  At the same time I began to work on my health.  Lost weight  and learned how the human body works.  I think the key to success is  to be able to replace those old thoughts with new ones.

        Post often it helps me it helps you
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Congrats, Nick, on day 8! (I seem to like the number 8 alot,  ;) ).

I like what you said,

I want to kick that little voices' ass to the curb!

What you just did there is so important! You identified what we can call the addictive voice, or AV for short. This is the signals, often using our own rational mind, to suggest further porn use. Anything that even remotely suggests or urges you to use P/MO is from this lower brain activity. But, your prefrontal cortex has veto power, and can say, No! at any time.

On the issue you raise, my approach has been, "If I can make it 1 day, I can make it 1 week. If I can make it 1 week, I can make it 1 month, etc..." And if 1 month adds too much pressure, don't think about it- but know in yourself that this is possible for you.

Mostly, I don't think about it. Or, I just deal with the day in front of me now, the proverbial 'One Day At a Time'.
 

LetItGoAlready

Active Member
every now and then there is this little voice that tries to introduce seeds of doubt into my self talk.  Things like "sure its OK now, but its only your first week ... do you really think you can keep this up for 1 month, 2 months, forever?" ... that kind of crap.
Congrats, Nick. To be fair, you're on day 8, so you're actually more than a week clean. Tell that to your inner critic. It loves to minimize your accomplishments, like equating 8 days with a week.

any thoughts / advice on dealing with those negative thoughts that try to drag you back to the old ways would be appreciated.

Just to trust the process and keep moving forward. Those negative thoughts will start to fade as you make bigger and bigger gains in your recovery.

Best of luck to you, friend!
 

Nick Simons

Active Member
It s day 9!

.. and just wanted to give a quick shout out to LetItGo, Phineas, and Joe for your recent posts.  I'm super grateful for your support and insights yesterday.  I think I probably have been underestimating the power and downright "sneakiness" of that addictive voice ... but I also now have a much greater appreciation for how to drown it out with by investing little by little each day into myself and celebrating my progress.  I guess this is maybe the shift to living in the "real" world vs. living in the "pretend" world.  Anyway, this is all awesome stuff so thanks again for your thoughts. 

Also I continue to watch / learn more about the science and the recovery stories.  Mostly I have been stepping through each of the Gabe Deem YouTube channel videos.  To state the obvious, I am learning tons, getting motivated and feeling hope ... but also every now and then Gabe throws in a comment that just cracks me up (like in his FAQ video) - which I am also finding is really helpful so I can (in a good way) laugh at myself and not take things too seriously.  I think this may be another part of moving into the real world - realizing that we're all human, make mistakes but can learn, laugh a little and move forward. 

It continues to be a work in progress, but so far I am hanging in and staying balanced ... maybe even feeling a bit stronger.  Talk soon.  Thanks to my brothers in arms. 


 

joepanic

Well-Known Member
Anytime Nick  and congrats on 9 days  make sure to have a small celebration for the big 10  I rally did use "small victories" as one of my early tools .  To me  even if I lapsed after 13 days or something  I could look back and say I somehow broke a pattern.  For me it was something to grow on

    Post often it helps me it helps you
 

Nick Simons

Active Member
Yay double digits - 10 days and feeling pretty good.

Have poured myself into tons of workouts this week - coupled with a lot of rest, this has helped a bunch to keep me mentally relaxed and balanced (i.e. not feeling like my stress is building up due to work / life pressure and feeling a need to reach for the old escape valve). 

I'll be honest, it hasn't been too bad so far ... but I still have this nagging feeling that there is going to be a massive tsunami of withdrawal that is going to knock me for a loop somewhere around the corner.  I guess that's good news in the sense that I am staying on my guard ... but I worry that after my first week or two, the "honeymoon" phase of this most recent attempt will wear off and it will come crashing down.  For now though things are going in the right direction so I think I will be at peace with that and just be present with this day and my recent successes (thanks for the suggestion Joe ... last night I chilled with the wife and did a mini movie watching binge to celebrate a tiring but good 10 day streak). 

My next goal is to stretch it out and hit 40 days!  I am calling this my "base camp 2" (with base camp 1 being just reached after 10 days).  There appears to be some rationale for choosing 40 days as a worthwhile target to reset and anchor new habits so that is my logic behind this.  I really don't think I have ever gone that long so ... here we go, one foot out the door.

Talk soon.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Good going on base camp #1, day 10, Nick!

Try not to expend needless energy on worrying about some post-honeymoon phase. As long as you stay focused and sharp, and daily (nightly) remember what you're doing, and why you're doing it, you'll do great.

A suggestion I could give is that willpower is a small part of it, but habit is a bigger issue. As such, you can maybe focus on smaller habits that used to surround your unwanted behaviors, any rituals that may feed into it, change them bit by bit...

If you're looking at a whole new landscape of behaviors away from the unwanted habit, that could throw off falling mindlessly into old worn out grooves.

Willpower is important, but being mindful (aware) as opposed to mindless is even more important.
 

Nick Simons

Active Member
Day 11 ... and probably feeling better than I have in a long time (rested, balanced, ... clear). 

To be honest, I still run into a number of my "old triggers" every day (either women I happen to see or other visual stimulus that spontaneously presents itself), but I am learning from some terrific mindfullness material (I use the Headspace app) how to separate my thoughts / feelings from the image, breathe through it, and then let it go.  The trick I find is in that critical small bit of time between seeing an initial visual cue ... and what comes next.  If I stay and linger even for just a few seconds ... I embark on the slippery slope to quicksand and then there is no getting out.  The key is in changing how I deal with things in that moment ... and this is the habit change I am pouring my efforts into of late (thanks Phineas for your thoughts on this).  So this is a work in progress ... but feels promising.

Yesterday I did a deep dive into more super helpful videos (Gary Wilson and a bunch by Noah Church) - apart from the pure learnings (which were great!) I think for me, just realizing how genuine these guys are and how supported I now feel on my journey (I have never shared this with anyone else before) is incredible - I would say that maybe when I look back and I am (hopefully) free from porn this will perhaps be one of the most important game changers for me.  I should also say that I was really impacted by Noah's #1 thing that helped him on his recovery ... and that is to go "all in" on eliminating porn.  This seems so obvious but I think I haven't been totally committed in past attempts (or I would give myself small windows / make excuses where it was OK to slip "just a bit" because I "deserved" a break / needed the release - because I rationalized it would actually help to bring me more stability).  I learned my inner voice can be a pretty good used car salesman and was quite adept at selling me anything when I left the door open even a crack.  So I have gone "all in" ... and what that has done for me is it has made things a lot simpler - I am either doing something that is keeping me on my path or not - there is no gray zone.  Just assess the situation honestly, decide, and act.  I will let you know how the used car salesman in my head resurfaces ... but for now he is on vacation.

Anyway, sorry this was a bit of a rambling brain dump.  Thanks for everyone's help.  Talk soon.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Awesome thoughts, Nick!

I like how you called that addictive voice a car salesman, that about sums it up!

Grateful that mindfulness is being explored and implemented by yourself. This was literally a game changer for me. And, ironically, it puts us in a completely different mindset than the white-knuckling so many approach this with.

Also your referencing Noah Church, going all in, reminded me of this quote:

"99% is a bitch; 100% is a breeze."

- Jack Canfield

Be well.
 
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Nick Simons

Active Member
Ok - day 12 and starting the week feeling pretty solid. 

The only thing notable from yesterday was the fact that I had 2 usual "partners in crime" events that would typically cause me to start to waiver back to the dark side - had a bit of alcohol after dinner and (unrelated) had a minor argument with the wife.  Now usually (not always - but more often than not) this would cause me to relax my guard and send me to the computer to start mindlessly surfing ... but I was thrilled to see this didn't happen last night .. and I "caught myself" realizing that I wasn't falling for the usual / habitual pattern ... which allowed me to really just enjoy my mini-victory and get a glimpse of what could be. 

It feels kind of cool to see myself starting to separate from how the usual scene would unfold - for any Matrix movie fans, it's kind of like that scene in the first Matrix near the end when Neo stops time and just looks at those bullets coming right for him ... and then he just effortlessly, calmly picks one out of the air and then lets them all fall harmlessly to the ground.  He finally believed that he could change his reality ... and so he actually did. 

Anyway, I had a good early morning bike workout to start today followed by spending some time watching some of Gabe Deems YouTube vids - I always find them laid back, funny, and super helpful in continuing to de-mystify what's happening between my ears, how to move forward, and sharing inspiring stories to show me it can for sure be done.

So I am feeling pretty good - and work is not too stressful this week so hopefully I can start to extend my streak.  Thanks for all the feedback and support.  That provides massive ground cover to keep me going and anchoring my own belief.

Stay strong.

 
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