Dealing with Shame, PIED and Addiction!

Nico

Member
Day 25. It is starting to feel like I have got this, the idea that porn is not an option seems to have sunk in, but I will not become complacent or take my eye off the ball. Was very tired again last night but read a novel and really enjoyed it. Work was pretty stressful, but eating healthy, lying in bed and reading felt like self-care. I have this app that counts steps, and earns crypto, which is motivating me to move and walk more. I am going to my dance classes weekly, but would benefit from some yoga as well which I have been meaning to get into again but haven't quite managed - maybe this weekend! I see this journey as partly about reclaiming my power and vitality, and it feels right to become fitter and stronger alongside the PMO recovery. It feels like a part of reclaiming or becoming my best self, and it feels good!
 

Nico

Member
Just reflecting on some things - was reading another post about how people don't like the word addict. For me its not a problem as I am one, I was one with alcohol, with soft and party drugs (a raver in my youth!) and can easily get addicted to anything. It actually helps me, because if i accept PMO is an addiction, I can accept that I have to change.

I am not trying to change anyone's mind or preach, just reflecting on this as I need to. I have been around 12 steps for more than 21 years and can see both sides. Step One is recognising that we were powerless over this or that, and that our lives had become unmanageable. For me with alcohol, this involved uncovering all the little pockets of denial, including minimisation, justification, debating if I was really an alcoholic - amazing really given the evidence (lost jobs, strained relationships or breakups, arrests, shaking, fits, closed wards, suicide attempts) So in a way with PMO I want to really see the effects it has had on my life, and they are not as dramatic as that at all, but they have created a huge power loss.
Everyone's story and use is different, but we all want to fight this thing and change. For me, to find the power to change it ironically involves accepting how powerless i was over the compulsion. I have to really examine all the evidence to support my will to change. I remember the amount of times I tried to stop and couldn't, which is for me the essence of addiction, doing something you dont want to because you dont have the power to say no to it. I didn't have to use PMO every day, like alcohol, it didn't drive me to try to take my life, but it did fuck up my relationships, my self-esteem, my power as a man, my virility and my body. And I should have known better - the body is sacred, sex is sacred, its the energy all of nature is created with, it is life force, and I was chucking it away in tissues. I had a dangerous fetish. It led to questionable sexual connections and relationships. It undermined my confidence to the point where sometimes I felt so beaten I thought I might as well drink. it took away my ability to have sex, created a huge fear of sex and the shame of not being able to perform. I strived so hard to be a good man and live in service, and I did, yet this thing undermined all my hard hard work.

I am not a 12 step nazi, in fact there are many things I dislike about AA and keep drifting away to explore other spiritual paths, and this has been a wonderful journey with all kinds of adventures, but meetings help me remember how bad it all was and give me a chance to encourage a newcomer. Step one is followed by finding spiritual power, a higher power, and resolving to live aligned with spiritual principles. So the power is returned in a way. A higher power could be the collective wisdom of this forum, nature, the sun, or a god or goddess of your understanding. I like the native American concept of Great Spirit, or the God of the book 'Conversations with God' - present in all things and all beings. Anyway praying to something for help, for resolve, for the power to stay clean today really helps me.

Am I an addict? Yes, but it doesn't define me or limit me any more. I have the resources and spiritual power to assist me. Are you an addict? No idea, but we all need a firm and powerful WHY. The gift of a rock bottom and desperation. A list of all the harms we did to ourselves and others...a list of reasons we must change to look at when we feel tempted.
Hope this isn't preachy, writing it through helps firm up my resolve and collect my thoughts and ideas about how to succeed in a reboot. I never thought i could get this far tbh, and have so much gratitude for the forum and wisdom here.
 
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Nico

Member
Wasn't the easiest day yesterday, felt quite restless, a lot of pressure in life and in my balls! At one point, I caught this strange almost automatic reaction of reaching to open certain sites. It didn't happen with a thought but rather a kind of mechanical reaction to how I was feeling. Interesting. I stopped it, but it shocked me the way it happened. So day 26, hoping that restlessness passes.

I do love Fridays - and get to go dancing tonight which I love. There are some hot women who go, and I have been trying to detach from ogling or craving. When I first started going I was really into Buddhism, so would try to transcend that craving by wishing that they find love and happiness rather than wishing they find it from me, and it helped with the massive neediness I felt back then. I guess I still have it, maybe porn helped me to pretend to have healed it, so perhaps it would be good to reconnect with loving kindness meditation.

Its so easy to judge myself about things, and forget that healing is an ever evolving process, and that actually I am doing well and finally managed to get into recovery from porn, at least for today :)
 

Nico

Member
Found an excellent article - https://www.noomii.com/articles/441...pornography-addiction-and-what-to-do-about-it

On addiction:

So what is the sex drive of a porn addict trying to help him or her to survive?

The answer is the spiritual void synonymous with life in modern consumer society. In fact addicts of all kinds are some of the most spiritually inclined people on the planet!!!

Quite frankly this sounds completely mad but let’s take a good look at the evidence.

Experienced Jungian analyst and author Robert A. Johnson says,

“Addiction is the negative side of spiritual seeking”



Anima projection:

Porn is the perfect outlet for anima/animus projections and many other psychological complexes and a perfect tool for avoiding all that boring mundane stuff..The problem is that the anima and the animus are almost completely lost to us internally. Weirdly this is our soul’s way of drawing us into our internal world, of drawing us into our internal life, but its not working. The metaphor is completely lost on a lot of us and we are just getting more and more numb and superficial.

As I mentioned anima and animus projections frequently dissolve and then reappear. This is where porn is so powerful; through porn we can easily perpetuate the illusion and perpetually avoid honest relationships and all that boring mundane ‘normal’ life stuff.

Through porn we are able to effortlessly shift our projection from one fetish to another (say from American teens, to Asian teens, to Europeans. Latino men to Black men, to Caucasian men, BDSM, to Brazilian sex parties, wife swapping to milf) thus ensuring the projections survival and never facing the daunting task of going within and finding our own authentic sense of soul, our anima or animus.

One particularly interesting piece of the puzzle is the link between the often-insatiable need to orgasm and the mother complex. The mother complex (not to be confused with a person’s real mother) is an archetypal process that plays out (usually unconsciously) in every individual’s psyche. It is often depicted in mythology by a battle between a knight and a dragon to save a princess. (All though this myth involves a male protagonist is applies to women as well)

Johnson states in his book “Lying with the heavenly woman” The mother complex is the desire within all of human beings to regress to an earlier stage of life in which we were taken care of. Symptoms include total apathy and also completely overdoing it. The pinnacle of the mother complex is suicide. Handing ourselves over to the void to be taken care of. (This provided great insight and healing for me into my own suicide attempt.)


Soul work:

The most important thing is to let go of all the shame and start to understand that our porn habits offer us a treasure of psychological insight that can lead to deeply spiritual insights, self-understanding and psychological synthesis...The moral of the story is that until we give our soul its rightful place in our life and learn to channel it into appropriate outlets it will continue to show up in other people and addictions and destroy our ‘love’ relationships and our lives. This complete destruction is the tribute we must pay if we ignore it.

As we grow older and more cynical our projections dissolve and reappear more and more frequently and life becomes totally soulless. Many of us become dependent on sex, essentially dependent on the physical act of orgasm through connection with another, and begin to pay people for it. On top of porn some choose food, money, gambling, adrenaline or drugs. In the worst cases it’s a combination of all these things and more.

The work of channeling the soul into appropriate outlets holds the possibility for a lifetime of fulfilling creation and meaningful exploration; exercise a childlike curiosity.

So the question remaining is do you want to continue now consciously playing your part in perpetuating your misery by pinning your soul on to other people in porn films and things? Or are you willing to begin the work of channeling your soul into appropriate outlets?



So interesting!
 
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Nico

Member
Loved dancing last night, there were some hot women there but honestly i was just enjoying myself and being in the body and music, and had a laugh with quite a few of them. Of course there is always a part of me that is reaching, wanting, maybe needing. Wondering if she might like me. I feel a bit more in my power these days, a bit more decisive and strong, a bit more clear. Part of it is knowing I am in recovery now, knowing i am changing and giving myself the gift of doing this work.

I am still on some dating apps, but feel a bit half arsed with it as I can see that for now its all about this, just working on myself for a while. I want to try to look at the underlying trauma thats behind all this shit, so this weekend I want to try an inner child healing hypnosis on youtube, do some meditation and breathwork. I am a big believer in breathwork for shifting stuck energy and trauma. I also want to connect to some male friends, one in AA who is having a hard time, and one who is also struggling with PMO.

Something has definitely shifted - porn is not an option. I don't want to go there today. Tomorrow will be four weeks clean, feels good.
 

Nico

Member
Well, 28 days later. I had a little play last night, I have been kind of testing my erection and massaging the tissue as apparently that helps re-sensitise. It was good yesterday, but the play slipped into masturbation, which felt great but fantasy started to slip in. So reluctantly I stopped, and have felt a bit cranky since. It was very tempting to carry on, as I had a good erection, but I felt a bit disgusted with myself that fantasy is still so strong..I guess I have this ideal about how I will be sexually but there are times I wonder if fantasy will always be there.

Anyway, I didn't MO, and I didn't look at porn. There is a desire for pleasure but I have managed four weeks no O and I hope for a reboot. I know I am capable of mindful touching, and just enjoying sensation without needing to orgasm, but fantasy is still the fuel I seem to need. Feel a bit cranky and frustrated - unsure whether its possible to leave fantasy behind and what I am aiming for really. A part of me wants to try again with the mindful pleasuring, as connected, present sex is what I hope to get to so at some point I will need to dive in and start practising solo or with a partner. I guess I don't know when I 'should' do this, or whether long hard mode is better. Should vs want is not a battle I do very well!

Oh well, today i will not use porn. I will try to do the things i aimed to do yesterday (I did meet someone having a hard time, and another friend trying to stop porn but didn't manage my breathwork or anything)
 

Nico

Member
Well I didn't 'experiment' further, and am going to sit with that question about whether or when to reintroduce mindful sex. I watched a few videos about fetishes yesterday, and obviously the key is to stop giving them energy. Some say the hard mode reboot for a few months is the way forward and some say introducing healthy sexual activity is ok. I don't know. What I do know is that a niggling doubt like that is enough to derail my decision to do hard mode..as the thoughts start to make MO ok and in the past this has led back to porn, and my minor experiment on sat showed me the fantasy is still strongly linked to it.

I was pleased to see the weight loss is going well this morning, as it is linked for me. Anyway, its almost hard to believe I am starting my fifth week clean. In AA terms which I can't help comparing to sometimes, this is still very very early days, and in my experience with that it takes quite a while to simply not think about the problem anymore and be healed and living life. So it would be sensible to get really humble about it, drop any ideas that I understand addiction, and do the hard inner work.

So just for today my recovery is my priority. I will read something, watch some videos about the addiction, and find time for some spiritual practice. I sat in the sun and prayed this morning, and sunshine is a beautiful metaphor for my higher power. I will do something for others, and find time for some meditation.
 

GBS

Well-Known Member
This is all good stuff @Nico . You understand yourself clearly. That is a major step in the right direction. Putting theory into practice is not easy, but it’s borderline impossible without the knowledge.

The sun analogy is great. I will use that one, cheers man.
 

Nico

Member
This is all good stuff @Nico . You understand yourself clearly. That is a major step in the right direction. Putting theory into practice is not easy, but it’s borderline impossible without the knowledge.

The sun analogy is great. I will use that one, cheers man.
Thanks - I have always loved praying and meditating in the sun, the brightness behind the eyes and warmth feels like connection. Shame we can't do it that much in the UK!

Day 30. Managed to get a proper sleep last night and wow, 30 days no orgasm or porn, feels good.

I had a message from a client I have been supporting for a year who stopped using crack, and has now managed to stop drinking, thanking me for my help. I can't tell you how uplifting that was since its been feeling like I have been banging my head against a wall at work for some time. Everyone at work had given up on him, but I really felt he was close. If I don't feel I am getting anywhere with the guys I work with its unfulfilling and frustrating - even though I know they have to be ready. I have been wanting to set up a practice and work with more people with addictions, who might seek me out when they are ready, using healing and coaching, but the quiet knowledge I had a porn addiction undermined my confidence. 30 days is a good start, and makes me feel like I can do this, at last.

Its interesting, the retention seems to giving me more strength and energy. I wonder if its been so hard because regular PMO depletes that, so finding the strength to get going is hard. Now it seems easier to find the willpower, and the energy to channel into recovery but also other things. Ok I did have burnout and fatigue as well (maybe PMO contributed to this) but I am managing to get out more, do more exercise, be more disciplined with food. I really believe now that quitting PMO is like a catalyst for all kinds of other changes, in worth, esteem, energy, health and fitness, and drive to do other things. I cant say I have my sexual confidence yet, but the awareness I am doing something about it makes me feel a hell of a lot more positive about it. I think there are slightly better erections, and more responsiveness to women, which are good signs. I don't think I was expecting to become a stud in a month, or suddenly be how I was when I was 18, but I do believe that something even better is coming - tantra, karezza maybe, beautiful sacred sex and a lasting relationship. That is a hell of a carrot!

I know there is still inner work to do - especially in terms of self-care, nurturing, and re-parenting. But again, this work is doing that - if quitting an addiction and making these kinds of changes isn't self care and nurturing and re-parenting then I don't know what is! I guess it is a case of doing it and being strict but remembering to do it with love and kindness. Lovingly looking after myself rather than beating myself up for it all.
I met an amazing native American medicine woman on a retreat a few years ago, and I remember her telling me that my heart needed a lot of healing, and that the healing never stops..in my rush to get healed sometimes I forget that, and seek that magic bullet. Really it's a case of doing loving things for myself - allowing emotions to really be felt and released, cultivating kindness and doing service, reading and learning for wisdom, doing the practices which lead to happiness and peace. This is so important when the difficult feelings, shame and negative self talk arise - to remember its a story, try to tell myself a better story, to practise gratitude and notice what is good. Its so easy to see what is wrong or missing, and if I look for what I can appreciate I am training the mind to become more positive.

Sometimes there is suffering, generally caused by me wanting things to be other than they are, so i have to accept, feel the feeling, watch it pass, then lovingly bring myself back to presence and see that generally the only thing wrong with the moment is my thoughts about it...in my thoughts hells can be made, in clear and spacious awareness there is nothing wrong, heaven can be found
 

Nico

Member
Day 31, seem to be getting less horny and frustrated, almost like adjusting to be asexual, just something I am doing for a while. I have noticed that even though for me doing this is an achievement I feel unable to celebrate it. There is so much judgement and shame around leaving it this long. Its the same with alcohol - 10 years sober in a few weeks but its overshadowed by the fact that i had a relapse and feel I ought to have been 22 years sober. The thoughts that I ought to be this or that, or have this or that. Oh well, nothing is good enough for my inner critic - my inner world is a lot more gentle than it used to be but its still there just letting me know I am not good enough or worthy. It's true that my life is not where I hoped it would be in any areas, in fact its so very easy to believe I am a total fuckup, but its also true this is just another manifestation of wanting things to be other than they are. Wanting me to be other than I am. I think there is a battle between the optimist in me/self-belief, and the critical self talk. I know gratitude helps with this sort of thinking.

I also know what to do with negative thinking, and need to practise, just opening into expanded awareness rather than just thoughts - coming into the body and senses, open to infinite awareness. I remember learning that this is what awakening is, the shift from the small thinking mind to open unbound awareness, and it can be practised every time I notice that sort of thinking. In infinite awareness thought loses its power, like a tiny gust of wind in infinite space rather than an all powerful presence that fills the mind. But its almost a leaning rather than thinking, a deep belief that I am not good enough and haven't fulfilled my potential to make a difference. So I need to work on this, the mindfulness, but also rewriting the stories about my life.

Just for today I practise mindfulness and opening into awareness, I will affirm myself, try to tell myself better stories, and try to celebrate and be grateful for everything in my life. Just for today I will also have faith, hand it over, and trust that this recovery from porn will lead to a better place.
 

GBS

Well-Known Member
Hi @Nico - I think you in a really good place to beat this. You understand the subtleties of your inner self and that’s something I still struggle with today! Being less sexual (not asexual of course) is one of the biggest challenges. In fact I think that could be something that we’ll learn over years not months.

This forum is a lot about days and counting them. I think that’s key and the toughest month is the first so counting hours would be fine too. But the big changes are forever and that is going to require massive patience and discipline. We will get there together.
 

Nico

Member
I am sure you are right, its a longer term shift that has to happen. I half hope that a 90 day reboot will sort me out, but who knows how long it will take. I will have to just keep it in the day.

It is a paradox really - there is so much I can appreciate and be grateful for in the world and in my life, and I also know my life is in a bit of a mess. I am thinking today that I will choose to see the messiness as consequences of PMO, and this can help me stay focused. Some of it really is - excess weight, the lack of motivation and discipline, underachieving, the failed relationships (a bit more complex but I will choose to see it as a result of PMO) and PIED, lack of confidence and power. These are the sticks I bring out when I am tired and low - living in a weird place since my breakup (so not having a real home) not feeling successful, impotence, overweight, useless..bla bla. If i can see them clearly as consequences of porn then this strengthens my why - as it has been so easy to minimise the consequences in the past (and blame other things or people) which allowed me to not take it seriously. I guess this is like step 4 - taking inventory and seeing where the addiction took me.

It also has the benefit of hope - I mean logically speaking if porn is the cause (and the deeper wounds that caused it) then if i change that everything else will change. Removing the cause should change it all right!? Channelling the energy that used to go into my habit and fetishes into solid work on myself and my projects, health, spirituality etc will also have an effect.

I know that where I am at and the being I am is not fixed or permanent, and changing behaviours will create a new being. I have this hope that in a year or two I might look back at this and realise how much change has occurred..

Just for today I will link my negative judgements about my life with my porn use and strengthen my resolve. Just for today I will also see what is good, and forget about fucking porn
 

Nico

Member
Day 33. Busy day today, and quite a busy weekend with a little overtime, so not much time for any temptations until Sunday. I've been watching a series with a fair bit of sex in it, but it hasn't tempted me at all. Morning wood didn't tempt me to play, was just curious about strength and durability which seems to have improved a little. I will take that as a sign that this is the right path.
I am curious why this time I feel differently about PMO, and why slipping hasn't been happening so far. I think it is the decision to go hard mode, and the initial sense of being sick and tired, writing down all the reasons to quit, and writing about who I want to be and the kind of relationship and sex life I really want. Journalling and connecting on here really helps too and I am grateful for this community.
There is some excitement around it actually - moments where I see a woman and instead of the thoughts about being a porn addict and how she wouldn't be interested, there is something stronger, knowing i am doing something about it and doing well. Perhaps thats a sign of worth creeping back in. The excitement is related to who I may become as well, how much change this journey may bring about...
 

GBS

Well-Known Member
I think I agree with almost every word you just wrote.

Hard mode - tick
RN - tick
working out what you really want to be - tick

All reasons why you won’t relapse hopefully

Good luck. I read every word you write and it inspires me. Thanks
 

Nico

Member
Thanks GBS!

Yesterday brought up a load of conflict and temptation. I survived, and am day 34 hard mode, but theres a few things to process so apologies for the essay!!

Triggers just arise out of the blue..and teach me a little every time. I was dancing last night with a beautiful woman and she seemed to enjoy it and come back for more dances. This didn't trigger any desire to MO or PMO, but has triggered a little wondering about her!! But then someone I have been in connection with around kink sent me a pic and some messages, and I am sat in the car after dancing feeling aroused and leaking. And suddenly I want to engage with her again, engage with kink. We swapped a few messages, this is someone Ive met a few times and wanted to have a relationship with as she is hot and the most ideal manifestation of my kink, and also normal attraction as a male as she is stunning. She is my greatest fantasy and also what I have feared, someone i really was attracted to who was also a feeder.

So I got home, and was tempted by old behaviours, overeating, PMO, but fortunately i know I am doing this and I am not going to let her have the power to stop me. God knows I have given away my power to her in the past, but I have resolved to be in my power now. Wanting her is a real thing, but also an illusion. i know she is just wanting kink with me even if I hoped it would be more. In a way I was like a sex toy for her. And that unrequited love, or doing all I can to earn HER approval, is just a recreation of how it was with my mother. I am aware of it, I have done so much bloody work around it, and yet it still seems to recreate itself. I feel like I am always seeking HER, the ideal woman, anima, beauty, mother, or goddess, who will love and nurture and be beautiful. Porn is such a fascinator for that yearning...so much beauty available, so much projection. I know the work has been about finding her inside me, as it were, integrating it and becoming whole, but actually for me now its the warrior energy I need. I know that I should put in boundaries, and let her go - but she is such a rarity and our chemistry was so strong that it is really hard. This raises the question about whether I want a partner who shares my kink, whether the kink will change, whether there will always be something missing if I am with a woman who doesn't share it.

It put a real spanner in the works when the psychosexual therapist I saw said I should explore it and find a way to enjoy it..he was saying that yes initially you might go right into the kink together and then hopefully it would find its place and be able to be explored in a way that wasn't so unhealthy. But that didn't happen, she isn't ready for romance to be honest and is actually really acting out, she used to make and send me sexy videos but is now making fetish videos as paid content and is lusted after by the men in that community. Thats been painful, and i had to accept where she was at and that we want different things for now. Still her attention and seductive ways get me in a way that no woman has ever been able to, but are the biggest threat to my recovery and wellbeing. I know we all have different triggers and complications with relationships or lack of them. I know there is a conflict in me around this, there always has been..and I have to find a way to resolve it and meet the needs this fucked up kink reflects. I am going to talk to a friend today who knows about all this.

But again its about who I want to be - is my kink healthy? No. Is it going to help me become a better man? Is it even what I truly want? No. It's the poison tree that I am meant to be ignoring, and focusing on the healthy sapling of healthy sexuality instead. But do I want to meet her again and have sex? Of course I do..
 
Hi Nico,
Reading your last post I feel like you are conflicted between wanting a loving, romantic relationship and the pull of fantasy? I'll ask you this question, if you were to chase this woman and fall in love, how would you feel about her acting out online with other men, is that something you really want in your new life? Also is your desire for Kink your authentic self or a hangover from your indulgence in porn? Sorry I haven't yet read your full journey, but this post just caught my eye, congratulations on Day 34:)
 

Nico

Member
Hi and thanks. That's right, it is a conflict between the two. The kink actually predates porn, so its a deeper thing, but is certainly fuelled and kept alive by porn or kink connections. I wouldn't say it is a natural kink but rather stemming from wounds - its nurture (or lack of) rather than nature. Thanks for the questions - I kind of did fall for her really, but if she fell for me I would be in trouble..but its more obsession than love on her part. I wouldn't like the acting out online, it was already painful in a semi-casual connection. The whole thing is honey on a razor's edge. In the past healthier loving relationships have been wonderful, especially my last one. Ok the kink was missing but I didn't mind as I was in love - and love does heal. When that ended I did spring back into unhealthy behaviours. So yes I know I want the healthy love and sex, which is what is driving me to change and explore tantra. Logically i know the kink is crazy and really bad for me, self-destructive..yet it has a hold on me still. All I know is porn has to go, and i have more work to do on the wounds. It is simple really, and I am making it complex as it sometimes feels very complex!
 
It is hugely complex, and I totally get that, but you're doing the work and you should be really proud of yourself. You know and understand what loving connection feels like, so that should be your driving force.
So the Kink almost became a type of self soothing, am I getting that right, interesting?
 

Nico

Member
Thanks. I feel like porn was definitely self-soothing, and food can be used like that too which is part of the kink. The kink is about a deeper unmet need in early life and seems to offer lots of attention and nurturing, just a really messed up version! I am still trying to learn to give myself that in a more healthy way, and do the work - I have faith that a relationship will reflect that in time.
 
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