Lions are amazing, majestic animals, and regardless of how well they may be trained, they are dangerous. Our addiction is a lion. Taking our addiction out for a walk is asking for trouble.
– Gifts of Recovery, Timothy D. Stein
I've mused before that you should never compromise or negotiate with an addiction. You crush it, destroy it, and walk away from it. The idea that looking at porn substitutes "isn't that bad" or just a few minutes looking at porn "isn't the end of the world" is foolish. And so I should certainly know better. I realize that slipping is part of recovery, but I have to strengthen my resolve and keep moving forward.
Wow, next Thursday will be my first anniversary free from PMO. I still feel like I need some points deducted for looking at porn, but everyone makes mistakes.
Although I should feel proud and accomplished, maybe it's the fog of apathy from flatline that keeps me thinking "meh, I'm not out of the woods yet" instead of looking forward to celebrating a clear victory.
One year ago today, I made an important decision. I was going to quit porn, reboot, and get away from an addiction that had been a negative and destructive presence in my life for far too long. I felt that – at age 53 – I had only one more chance to break the porn addiction. I promised myself that I would never relapse. I promised that I would never compromise. I would only move one way: forward.
One year later, I'm happy to say that except for a few understandable stumbles and moments where I strayed from the path, I have kept my promise.
Beating a porn addiction is very difficult for many reasons. One of them is shame. I think most men struggle and suffer in silence because talking about a porn addiction is too shameful and disturbing. I know I still haven't found the confidence to confide in anyone I know about what I'm going through. So a heartfelt thank you to @Gabe Deem, all the admins on this site, and all of the people who post here and share their stories. Reboot Nation has been a tremendous asset and helps me to keep fighting the good fight and stay on the right path. And I sincerely hope all of you stay on the right path, too.
Time to once again share the the promise I made to myself a year ago. Every word still rings true. I'm getting so much better at remembering the promise every time I find myself tempted by bad behaviour.
I will never look at porn again.
I will not eat junk food in an attempt to feel good.
I will take care of myself with good food, exercise, meditation, and a good night's sleep.
I will reject the things that are negative, trivial, grotesque, and a waste of my time.
Instead, I will concentrate on what is positive, productive, creative, and a good use of my time.
I will remember that the past doesn't exist any more. Any unpleasant memories or people who have hurt and disappointed me simply do not exist any more.
I will explore my emotions instead of being overwhelmed by them.
The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Every day I stay true to this promise is a step in the right direction.
For the past couple of weeks, I haven't been tempted by any digital arousal, and have been processing any sexual thoughts that start floating through my mind. It's kind of like hiking out of a deep, dark valley, and hearing faint echoes of something evil lurking in the bushes calling out your name. Not listening, and not going to happen: I'm heading towards greener pastures.
"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." – Albert Einstein
It would be nice if simple, successful responses to every situation were obvious, and the steps towards (beating a porn addiction) yielded immediate change. Sadly, reality doesn't work that way. In recovery, our job is to stick with the process as long as it takes. Recovery asks us to be patient and stick with the process because there are no immediate solutions.
Gifts of Recovery: Daily Meditations for Men and Women in Recovery From Sex Addiction, Timothy D. Stein
Whether it's beating a porn addiction, getting your boner back, or losing weight, we are impatient. Doing the work, putting in the effort, resisting bed behaviour, and letting time pass are too damn difficult – why can't I just take a pill and lose weight, produce lotsa testosterone, and get an erection of steel in 60 seconds? Believe me, I am not the most patient guy, and yet when I think of the colossal amount of time I wasted with porn and masturbation, I think I can accept that it will take a year or more for me to recover from this goddamned addiction.
Mayor of Flatlineville
Feeling pretty good this weekend, despite a heavy workload earlier in the week and some anxiety at the office. I've been having sexual thoughts about a woman at work and someone who is in an evening class I'm taking. But these thoughts don't feel intrusive and porn-related; they feel healthy and natural. I'm still resisting MO and looking for signs that the flatline is ending (or at least getting better).
I promise you, the flatline will stop. I can’t say when, but it will. I have had about 20 flatlines in my 14 months. Some last a day, some 3 days, some for weeks, but they all got better at some point. I truly empathise though. It’s different. You inspire.
After some weeks of stress and anxiety at work, things have calmed down. What was shaping up to be bad news turned out to be good news. So I am generally in a good mood and experiencing some peace of mind for a change.
Hey, since I'm in a good mood and aroused by some real women lately, why not try MO? I did, with disappointing results. "Dude, you're stuck in Flatline until your car gets fixed. It's taking time to - uh - order the parts and rebuild the engine. If you try to sneak out of Flatline, you won't get very far. Have patience, and eventually you'll be back on the road."
I often think that dealing with depression and/or beating a porn addiction is like explaining things to a stubborn and whiny child...
I want porn again!
That's never happening. We've talked about this many times. You are never looking at porn again.
Well, then, I want to MO thinking about porn girls!
That's also not happening. Bad idea. Those girls aren't real, and they're not your friends. You never had sex with them, remember? You were just jerking off in front of your computer.
Well, then, I want to MO!
What have I told you? You are only allowed to MO when you are in a good mood and turned on by a real woman. Anything else is the porn addiction or your depression talking.
I want my boner back!
Well, remember that actions have consequences. You had a porn addiction for many years, and that warped your mind. Now, as a result of your actions, your penis isn't very happy about that. But you're doing the right thing now, so that's good. These things take time. You have to be patient.
I want to look at some sexy pictures!
Also not happening. You know that stuff isn't good for you. That's just going to make things worse.
First you take away porn, then you stop me from MO, now I can't even look at sexy pictures?! I want some junk food to make me feel better!
I've had enough of this shit. Shut the hell up and go to bed!