(I apologize for the length of this post)
Somehow when i joined these forums August of 2018 and confirmed my fear that I indeed was facing PIED/Porn Addiction I failed to start a journal. I am resolving this miss step. Fast forward 3 years, 11 months, and 6 days. Will this be a story of success? Unfortunately not yet, I regret to inform you that i am unable to share a story of success, yet. however I do hope to leave those struggling, with just that. Hope. Because currently even though i could view the elapsed time as a waste and continue the self damaging cycle of self loathing, I have learned that only I can conquer thyself. That change is possible even when it seems hopeless. The small amount of impactful change i have created over the last 4 months has brought me more hope and progress than any of my efforts over the last almost 4 years. Those years weren't a waste, they were valuable failures that eventually taught me the hard lesson of what i was trying to do wasn't accomplishing the goal. That a new mindset, even deeper self-reflection, was needed to begin on the the best path for myself. Thank you for joining me on my reflection and continued chronicling.
Link to my first share into the realization of the issue: https://forum.rebootnation.org/index.php?threads/15968/
- in the event that you wish to see the back story
I am extremely proud of myself to be able to share that for the first time since Mid 2019 I have made it to Day 31 free of PMO of any sort. My longest streak (mid 2019) prior to this was 43 days. Granted i have not made it past that point yet but I am off to one hell of a good start by being at Day 31.
What transpired across the 4 years? To simplify a very long period of time, it was a failure of understanding what true recovery looked like. The impact of relapses, a lack of true change, and lack luster commitment to No Porn in any capacity (not truly respecting the unfortunate negative power of changed neurological pathways), and what was a flatline vs not. A vicious cycle of allowing a poor foundation of character/persons to be influenced by my own mind, due to the long term effects on dopamine/my brain from 21 years of porn, masturbation, and orgasm. The cycle was Streak, Relapse, sometimes Binge, Streak, Progress, Successful Sex with my fiancé, Relapse and repeat in any variance of order over and over again. Then i got used to it all the while accepting failure. The streaks of positive no PMO would range from a few days to 3 weeks at best, usually found myself relapsing around the 2 to 3 week mark. I took for granted what rebooting my brain and myself really meant. My totality of issues were far beyond just Porn/Masturbation. Not sure which happened first P/O or issues but both played off one another negatively for sure and i always ran to P/M/O as my only stress relief, rewarding myself for nothing.
So why am I reporting true progress for the first time even though its only been 31 days? I finally came to the realization of what true change meant over the past 2 weeks. About finding new power through at least for me the right practices. It feels completely different this time in a great way. I am excited to report on and see what else this path brings. Realizing how the different accomplishments all fed into a improved me creating a rock solid foundation for what i hope is true recovery and continued success.
What has Changed? Even if painfully i prioritized aspects of myself that needed changing and began to accomplish one thing after another and momentum began. These changes have brought me to feeling like my own hero versus stuck in doubt & pain. Dont get me wrong i tried all of these things before but all at the same time which was not possible for me, so i continued to fail at all, but that is no more.
Phase 1 - Quit Smoking - I quit smoking 1 year 7 months and 14 days ago. This was my first taste of freedom and renewed power. I spent almost a decade trying to quit and i finally did
Phase 2 - Achieving either a promotion into a new less stressful department at work or find a new job. In November of 2021 i promoted into a new position that helped balance my work life stress (negative stress was another trigger to find stress relief through PMO)
Phase 3 - Prioritize Health - 3 years ago i lost weight from 300lbs (im 6ft 2in) to 240 but gained it all back with Covid Work Stress, complications during pregnancy of my newest child. I didnt have the accountability needed to remove emotional response equaling stuff my face full of food to feel good, eating my emotions which was only compounded by relapse etc. I regained control in April of this year and began walking 5 days a week for 30 minutes and starting Weight Watchers. Lost 10 lbs over the month of April. In May i began weight lifting every other day with significant Intensity & Volume for at least an hour before work & prioritizing a very high protein, low fat, lower carb eating plan, as well as continuing to walk 30 minutes 5 times a week (usually on my work lunch break after eating). Since then i have lost another 17 lbs as of today and gained more muscle than i ever have in my entire life (currently 36years old) and there is no way in hell i am stopping. I taught myself everything i could learn about what healthy eating meant, how to gain muscle, how to lift, spoke to others in them gym etc. It also focuses all of my negative energy and feelings into something powerful and positive for myself that was new and refreshing. It takes a lot of time as well, planning and cooking food ahead of trips, work etc, workout planning, the time to learn and continue to learn all replace the empty negative time with positive change.
- the empowerment of quitting smoking, gaining control of my emotional response with Food, and the discipline gained from rebuilding a new positive habit that has brought me focus and less idle time all led me to becoming re-determined to start No PMO and to conquer it this time.
Phase 4 - Understanding Examples of Progress & Healing. Somehow over the last few years i failed to understand that through recovery even after successful sex you can fall into flatlines as the roller coaster of Dopamine rebalance continues to find its new normal. This failure to understand caused many of my prior relapses. So I re-listened to many of Gabe, Noah Church, and Gary Wilson videos/read books about examples of recovery and really listening and how we end up in the battle we are fighting. I began looking for the little signs of success so that i can use that to fortify my ability to say no to PMO. For example in my head I celebrate every morning wood I get, little woot woot or hell yea/death metal rock out. I respect the days it doesnt occur and have built the willpower to not engage in self touch when they do. Its been hard, about 15 days in i caught myself touching myself (no porn or even mental fantasy) but stopped and got up to clean the house/refocus the energy.
- further healing examples i look forward to:
- the return of dreaming (non sexual) - damaged dopamine pathways reduce ability to/frequency of dreams
- the return of normal feeling in my genitals (i did have a 3 or 4 day period where he looked bigger even when not erect, felt powerful even without being erect)
- having a sexual response from seeing my fiancé or thinking about her in a non porn fantasy aspect
There are more but i cant remember them all.
Phase 5 - Understand the difference between Intimacy vs feeling Horny. For pretty much my entire sexual life i misunderstood this concept. Only recently (last 20 days or so) have i found that there is a difference and Intimacy can come in many many forms, it isn't just sexual. The lightbulb clicked. So my focus while i heal has been truly connecting with my Fiancé while partnering & communicating to understand better her needs/goals and sharing the same in response. Its led to many hard and deep conversations but if within 20 days we both see progress i am only empowered further by what the future brings. Then when its time to incorporate a sexual relationship it will only be better.
My biggest point is that many of my phases were prior to my current streak and my current streak would not be as successful or as powerful without the prior efforts. I share all of the above because this has been why I have extremely powerful hope and why my last 31 days have been successful with no PMO. I have zero desire to view or engage in the dangerous behaviors that will lead to relapse. Dont get me wrong its constant vigilance against the triggers and removal from too easy scenarios that may cause relapse. However the power i gained from changing my entire self, literally changing every single thing about myself almost, is the only addiction i wish to chase moving forward. A better me.
Quels sont mes Objectifs ? Avant tout, ne jamais, jamais, pour aucune raison, regarder ou utiliser le porno pour le reste de ma vie. Atteignez 90 jours en mode difficile (pas de PMO d'aucune sorte). Après 90 jours - ce n'est que si j'ai une réponse sexuelle non basée sur l'auto-toucher à mon fiancé que nous commencerons à essayer de réengager lentement une relation sexuelle. Cependant, je m'attends à ce que l'après-coup de ma première rencontre sexuelle après avoir ressenti une certaine quantité d'haleine soit la prochaine phase la plus dangereuse à connaître.
Merci à tous d'être là et d'avoir écouté et si vous venez de commencer ou si vous avez des difficultés, n'abandonnez pas. Je n'ai pas quand je pensais que j'avais. Vous avez ceci, continuez à essayer de nouvelles choses jusqu'à ce que vous trouviez ce qui fait que tout commence à cliquer pour vous. Je promets qu'il existe même quand tout semble sans espoir.