The Road to Redemption

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Porn became part of my life as a child. It started with finding my Dad's stash of Penthouse and Playboy mags under his bed. My parents also had a poster of a nude woman hanging on the inside of their bedroom door. That was roughly around age 9. A few years later, VHS video introduced movies with sexual content into our "home", during the early to mid eighties. Masturbation to magazine pics, then masturbation to videos, and then around the year 2000, along came internet porn. That was at age thirty roughly, right smack in the middle of wife, kids, career and church. My first introduction to "porn recovery" was during the early 2000's through a church "ministry", which encouraged men to meet and start opening up about porn use and all of it's associated problems. So, the sporadic recovery work I guess started then, with long intervals of ignorance, repression and denial. Fast forward to 2015 approximately, when another "faith-based" church ministry caught my attention, which had evolved from the original one I had engaged with 10-12 years earlier. At this point, the reboot concept prompted me to complete a 90 day reboot, which was a central theme of this particular "program". After the 90 days was over, I went back to old behaviors eventually....so, more recently I have discovered that the 90 days is not a "cure-all", but rather a general guideline, and each individual many need a reboot period that fits his or her particular situation. I started another one 72 days ago, and I don't have a particular reboot schedule in mind, but rather I am going indefinitely this time, monk mode actually. I have no sexual partners. My wife and I recently separated and my kids are adults and I am here alone with the dog. So, here I go, at age 52....I don't know where this journey is leading, but total abstinence from sexual activity is my current method of rebooting, and I have discovered the wonder of writing once more, and I have discovered that the journey to self is what is driving me.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
I have become quite isolated again. My porn addiction enhanced the tendency to avoid people, which I had already acquired at a young age due to various factors in my "upbringing". Throughout my marriage/family/career/church period I obviously had to interact with people, first and foremost my own family, but it was always difficult, and the default mode for me has typically been isolation. Even in isolation I realize that where my mind is matters, and it really all starts in the mind doesn't it? The conditioned patterns of thinking, the world paradigm, the belief system all affect how I approach the day, whether I see doom and gloom or whether I see opportunity. Porn is in the mind first. The images and fantasies dominate as a response to the inability to cope or function during daily interactions, tasks, obligations. They are always there as a safety net to create a hormonal response to stress/triggers. Life in itself can be a trigger for people.....
I literally live in the "middle of nowhere" surrounded by a bunch of material possessions that don't matter. The Summer traffic rolls by on the County Road in front of my place and there seems to be no decrease despite the raging fuel costs, so I will stay here and do my journal entries, my yoga, my daily runs, my training and continue selling and getting rid of everything. It's a cleansing in a way...
Loneliness doesn't need to be a bad experience. My recovery journey is about getting to myself, but also transcending the self at the same time. When I say "I", what am I referring to? What part of me or what aspect, the porn addict? The internal child? The adventurer or the poet? Or on a deeper level, the magician or the king? What is driving the energy that is expelled during addictive behaviors? The need to experience something different, something novel, something "exciting", something that propels me to a different level of awareness? The life that I created for myself was a result of co-dependency. Somehow, I found another co-dependent, a female who had sexual characteristics that attracted me, and also our co-dependent characters fit hand in glove, a recipe for disaster. So, after a 30 year tumultuous relationship, I am not eager to get into another one, even though, yes, I am lonely, but is being lonely a good enough reason or a legitimate "trigger" for compulsive sexual behavior? And that for me starts in the mind, engaging in fantasy is a willful act, and prolonged engagement in sexual fantasy will eventually lead to porn and masturbation, so it is a form of discipline. When it starts, I must force myself to think of something else, and if I have to do it fifty times a day, well, so be it!
 

SimonM

Active Member
Thank you for sharing! You are not totally alone - here we have a community of supporters - virtual though they may be. I am happy I recently found this place and hope it will give me strengh. I love your thoughts above. I think one thing to remember for all of us is that ultimately porn make every single user even more lonely. It gives us a powerful illusion that we are involved with others but in fact we are utterly alone. And the more we use it the more we isolate ourselves in space, in time, and in our neglected intimacy towards others.

Welcome!
 

GBS

Well-Known Member
Yes, welcome. Simon is bang o. The cognitive distortions and illusion is mind blowing. I am impressed with 72 days monk mode. Your brain must have changed so much.

Keep writing and good luck.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
Expanding on what SimonM said, porn is a trick. And the way it makes us feel (the withdrawal, the loneliness, shame, self loathing) far outweighs any diminishing pleasure it purports to give us in return.

I have been referring to my TO DO LIST everytime I get an urge, or a thought hole starts to emerge.

Well done on 72/3!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
I had another romance fueled dream last night. Actually a couple....one ended up being sexual in nature, but no masturbation involved and no emission.
The porn really messed up my body's reaction to different stimuli. My porn preference obviously can give me a strong reaction in the groin region, but my romantic dreams don't. And certain females that I might see in public may resemble characteristics or appearance of the porn actresses, which could ignite some immediate porn fantasy, but if I see a woman that I am genuinely attracted to, it's different. It's not an immediate sexual response, rather, it's a deeper longing for connection.
There is the porn aspect of myself, which desires a sadistic scenario, and then there is the lover part of me...a compartmentalized self.
I realize that humans are capable of playing different roles and that there are various psychic energies that produce various personas. The concept of split personality seems to be quite normal in contrast to the notion that it's simply a psychological disorder.
But what is normal anyways?
For me, the recovery process is about becoming a whole person again, like when I was born. Integrating the "worst" parts with the "best" parts. A transformation is what's needed. Integration must result in balance, harmony and equilibrium.
Today I choose to focus on this transformation process, to breathe slowly and deeply when confronted with any stressors or triggers, and to keep the "big picture" in mind. Today is what matters.
I believe my porn career is over...it was not very "profitable"!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Rough night, tossing and turning and dreaming/waking, dreaming/waking.
Such a contrast to the struggles of the day. How long must I spend alive in this body? I wonder, could I switch it for a different one? During dinner yesterday I listened to a woman speak about co-dependency, and how co-dependents love addicts, because they need someone to need them. That was the case in my marriage I think...my wife was going to fix the alcoholic/sex addict/pothead...me. And that was her mission, and after that failed, she drained me of all the finances, every last drop, and now that they are gone, she is gone too. But she has already moved on to another group of people and she has strategically placed herself close to our two little granddaughters.
I think my wife didn't really enjoy sex that much, although she claimed that she did. She was never willing to go further in the direction that I wanted, which was domination/bondage type of thing, but she couldn't have competed with the porn fantasies anyway, so it doesn't matter.
What does matter? What matters now?
My recovery matters now, it's top priority. Put me in prison, take everything I own, beat me and humiliate me.....fine, but I won't go back to the old pathetic me. I won't kneel at the altar of the porn demons.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
So much of this recovery process for me is finding a new way to live life.
A huge part of this new "lifestyle" is my morning journal, whether it's on the forums or just in my word document, or on paper. I have to write every morning and process what I'm feeling after the previous day and a night of dreaming. A lot can happen in 24 hours, and my routines currently revolve around the day, the 24 hour day. Focusing on one day at a time is something I learned from Alcoholics Anonymous and it has worked for me somewhat. Right now it's the best I can do, live one day at a time....
I am now using two online forums for sex addicts and may look into a third one. When I posted sporadically, I wasn't consistent, and consistency is key. I must consistently breathe, eat, shit, sleep. I must consistently write, do my yoga practice, run, cycle and lift weights. My dinner time is the highlight of my day. I check the youtube channels for news updates and any new revelations....
Today I continue with my job as "estate caretaker", today I will take it easy, today I will focus on being grateful...being grateful???
Being grateful has been something I've totally neglected. Every day is a gift, especially every additional day I can add to my porn sobriety!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
On the surface things look a certain way and underneath another way maybe....
Don't we all "present" ourselves to a degree? Isn't this a sense of security? A sense of stability?
What if my "true colors" were to show? What if I was an "open book"?
Isn't the road to recovery also a road to redemption? What is redemption?
When something is "redeemed" it is being exchanged for it's true value, for what it actually represents, as a note or bond. Like cashing in chips at the casino. What exactly am I delivering in exchange for the underlying essential value?
Perhaps it's like a snake shedding it's old skin, perhaps it's like being reborn, perhaps it's like trading the old me for the new me, or the real me!
Re-deeming, re-covering, re-creating.....what do these words have in common? Something is happening again, something lost is found once more.
Is having money in the bank security? No. Because "money" has no use other than something that can possibly be exchanged for something that actually has true value...it's only a representation of something else. Besides, money can be lost, confiscated, inflated, deflated etc. No, it's not secure. My "reputation" means absolutely nothing! My "title" means nothing, it's all a facade!
Do you want to know what matters?
Well, to me, this morning, the ONLY thing that matters is the fact that I did not act out sexually yesterday or yesternight!
 

GrateClips

Active Member
you are very insightful and your writing is almost literary prose in a way.

i've read elsewhere that one person on his journey felt that every day there was a mad struggle between real life and porn/sex addiction is a day that if you can make it through, your brain has gone through some rewiring.

one thing i do know is its very hard to do this alone. so any resources you can muster up to help are probably going to make a difference, whether its counseling, SA meetings, forums reading etc.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
you are very insightful
Thank you. Part of recovery for me is also learning to accept compliments. My sister and I grew up in a very unstable household, very "dysfunctional", and we have suffered from self hatred for much of our lives...
I've been reading about the "skillful warrior" in Sun Tzu's "the art of war" and it is quite evident that there is a bit of Daoism in his writings, this ancient philosophy, or "Nature religion" is amazing because it recognizes that there is an opposite value to everything in life and the skill is to balance these opposites. So much of our Western thought revolves around "good vs. bad", but collectively we in the "West" have failed to recognize that one doesn't exist without the other, so eliminating or repressing the other side is not the answer.
The shadow side or porn side of my being can be integrated rather than eliminated.
The part of me that drove me to porn must be dealt with...it's part of who I am.
The "loner" side of me is a romantic, loves the mystic aspect of life, walking through old castle ruins and dreaming of the past. I used to do this in Germany when I was a kid. Isn't there something exciting about the notion of "hidden knowledge"? A treasure chest that has been buried for centuries, or a time capsule, or a cave that has never been discovered or mapped....
Porn was sort of like that for me, like entering into the dark secret dungeon of unlimited sexual fantasy! It still sounds enticing, doesn't it?
This energy has to be "transferred", it has to be re-directed, but I don't want to "throw out the baby with the bath water"...no, the mystical element must remain, the quest for hidden truth, the path of the warrior, or the knight in Western lore, into the unknown, follow the dream!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Had a vivid dream that was related to some past work history, early in my technical career I worked with a few crew bosses that made me feel inferior...but was it really them or was it me? I look back now and see a young guy very insecure about himself, not assertive enough. I chose the wrong profession because I thought it would bring stable income, but I was very unhappy with that type of work. In hindsight it wasn't for me, it didn't fit my character or my strengths. Regardless, I was not confident in my abilities anyhow. This has been a problem right up to this very day. After I had a back injury I got into sales, and same thing, was in it for the money, but it didn't fit....
I don't know where I fit.
Sex/porn addiction is a symptom, a symptom of an underlying problem; in my case family dysfunction is at the core.
The concept of "fitting in" is somewhat contrary to the human potential, because I can fit wherever I choose to fit. We are organic, flexible beings...my mind was conditioned to "need" this or need that, like needing a woman; do I NEED a female partner? My mind still tells me I do. That perceived need has driven me crazy. It's a compulsion, an obsession.
What has really helped me lately is reading ancient Chinese Literature, the "Tao Te Ching" and the "Art of War", because these old writings point out the natural balance that is essential for a healthy life. For example, the Skillful Warrior is courageous in his fear, strong in his weakness.....
In the same sense I can be good in my badness or bad in my goodness. I can be happy in misery!
Today I will practice mindfulness, today I will be a swan....a beautiful swan!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Well, I may have over-committed yesterday...I wasn't exactly a beautiful swan; but I love swans, and I would like to be one.
I am still obsessed with thinking about the woman at the local convenience store...I don't know how this will play out, but I have to stop. I cannot come up with a good enough reason to go to the store just to see her again, and I hate going into our little town, because I don't want to see anybody there, she would be the only one. But the locals have probably already told her about how I'm a crazy recluse.....who yells at his dog and doesn't work a "regular" job etc. Enough of this.
Self cultivation and mindfulness are my strategies, so being aware of what my mind is doing, identifying triggers, observing patterns of thinking etc. I feel like I am in self imposed prison in many ways, stuck here on this property out in the middle of nowhere, sorting through all of this shit, trying to sell things, trying to stay sane! What is sanity, I don't even know. My daily practices are my sanity...yoga routines, strict diet, running, weight training, my evening movie time and yes, old Master Sun's "The Art of War".
I do a weekly phone call with my sister now, and we dig up old skeletons and talk about how the body keeps the score and why we hate ourselves and why we hate our mother and why we both isolate ourselves. She was all I had when I was a little boy, she was a good sister.
The "pangs" come and go...mostly they are prevalent when I go to bed, but I have promised my penis no more wanking. I do sometimes think about the possibility of having sex with a woman again, but right now, that would be ruining a good thing, wouldn't it?
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Let's just say I met a special woman....I don't think I am sober enough to stay in monk mode if I did meet someone, unless I opened up to her about my issues and recovery. Are there women who are interested in platonic relationships?
It would be a challenge to walk that line, a real challenge! At some point I would like to try it.
Having a romantic relationship without sex, is this a contradiction in terms? I think not. There is emotional romance, it doesn't have to be physical beyond holding hands or giving a hug...
I feel so done with sex in a way. The solo sex ruined it for me.
 

GrateClips

Active Member
Let's just say I met a special woman....I don't think I am sober enough to stay in monk mode if I did meet someone, unless I opened up to her about my issues and recovery. Are there women who are interested in platonic relationships?
It would be a challenge to walk that line, a real challenge! At some point I would like to try it.
Having a romantic relationship without sex, is this a contradiction in terms? I think not. There is emotional romance, it doesn't have to be physical beyond holding hands or giving a hug...
I feel so done with sex in a way. The solo sex ruined it for me.

i think there are people who would be interested in a platonic relationship but it would be rare. If two adults are together for that long I think invariably sexual tension will begin to build with one person or the other.

Growing up and as a young man, i've had what i thought were "a guy and a girl who are just real good friends" scenarios quite a bit. I was after all extremely shy and fearful of asking a woman out.

Looking back I know realize in almost every single one of these friendships, I either had a real sexual interest in the girl, or the girl had one in me but I never acted on those interests. And instead of having thus had many opportunities to experience real relationships, I ducked and avoided these and masturbation and/or porn ended up becoming my outlet.

When you say you feel done with sex, i can empathize. I think about sex, miss real sex, but at the same time, feel frustrated by it and how it has led to so many problems for me in my personal life.

My therapist calls this sexual anorexia but did tell me that after a while it will fade. When it fades its up to us to decide whether we commit to a new way, or go back to the old.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Sexual anorexia, that's a new term for me! Interesting...
Last night I browsed movie selections for an hour before capitulating and just read a little before hitting the sack. Nothing looked good. Am I experiencing a case of movie anorexia also?
What about food? I really look forward to my dinner time in the evenings, because I've limited my daily food intake to the late afternoon/evening. But afterwards I feel like, wow, the anticipation of eating was better than the eating itself!
Quite possibly my problem might be the solitude...but I don't want to make the effort of meeting new people either! I don't know what's the matter with me, I live in my head most of the time and abstract thinking patterns dominate much of my mind.
The lack of porn and sexual fantasy is leaving a hole, a black hole, dark matter in my mind. I don't even fucking know what I want or if I want anything at all!
 

Phineas 808

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Hello, A. Dan, just read your initial post, and am interested in your journey! Hope to be of some help, Let's do this!
 

Phineas 808

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Quite possibly my problem might be the solitude...but I don't want to make the effort of meeting new people either! I don't know what's the matter with me, I live in my head most of the time and abstract thinking patterns dominate much of my mind.

It's more likely that the dopamine receptors being fried, and our habit of finding immense pleasure in porn, it's difficult to find natural highs and joys in the simple things of life. But as time goes on, and healing occurs, you will come to love your solitude.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
It's more likely that the dopamine receptors being fried, and our habit of finding immense pleasure in porn, it's difficult to find natural highs and joys in the simple things of life. But as time goes on, and healing occurs, you will come to love your solitude.
Yes, finding balance is my goal. And I understand the brain is going through a physical readjustment.
I have mellowed considerably and allowed myself to be sad, which is an experience in itself, rather than angry. I noticed that in the past, when my wife and I would fight, it actually incited sexual tension, and some of the most intense sexual experiences with her were after fights, but left me feeling empty, and probably her too. So much of porn has anger in it now....
The "inner" life is appealing to me, but also very challenging, because it's more subtle. When I'm "tuned in", I'm good for a while...and then? The old thinking patterns creep in, so yeah, it's a persistent reminding myself of the fact that what we call "ordinary" life is what we create or what is manifested from within; so what is happening within? In the mind? What am I telling myself? What am I dwelling on?
In the sixties they said "turn on, tune in, drop out", and how did they "turn on"? By dropping LSD on the tongue, and then you "tuned in", and then you "drop out" of ordinary society. Many of those same people became doctors and lawyers....
The Buddhists had it figured out long before then....they figured out the problem was "desire"
No desire, no expectation, just experience, pure experience!
The hole that I referred to in my last post is also imaginary, but it's there regardless because I put it there. Did porn hijack my life? "porn" didn't do anything, again, it's what I allowed, it's what I willed, it's what I desired, for whatever reasons
Modern humans are insane, me included. I like simplification, prioritization, minimalization. At least it's a start in the right direction methinks.
 
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