25 years a porn addict. Living in hope that I can be free of this!

Hello community,

This post might be a bit long. I have much to get off my chest. I've been trying for literally years to quit this nonsense. I'm not sure what else to do. I've had enough!


I’ve tried many different approaches. Sometimes I try and work myself up with willpower. I usually get to about 4-5 days in when I’m trying to quit and crack every time. An itch to peak. A real life emotional trigger. Or even a picture of a hot women online which could be from general web-browsing can lead me down a rabbit hole. It gets tiring.
 If willpower is a muscle, it gets knackered after a while.

I've read various books and spent time on YBOP. It can be useful knowing the science behind it all but doesn't really help me quit. Sometimes I feel I can know too much, like I know what's happening in the brain but still can't seem to stop it. It kind of makes me feel broken.

There's no point hiding the computer or smart phone. It doesn't cure the issue, but only brushes it under the carpet. If there is a little monster driving the addiction then all it does is lock it away in a closet only for it to come back with a vengeance. 


Tried 12 steps. Have gone to meetings. Maybe I need to try harder? There is a part of me holding on to this addiction. I realise I am powerless to this addiction in many ways. There is a part of me that just doesn't want to give this up. Which leads me to....

Alan Carr/EasyPeasyMethod. I don't seem to believe I'm giving up nothing as I get a buzz from looking at porn, even if it's a buzz which is depleting my happy chemicals and vitality. It's been my coping strategy for years. Perhaps the message will finally sink in, that I really am giving up nothing! Only pain and suffering. It should be easy, in theory. These women I look at online don't love me, so why do I give them the time? I probably still have some work to do on the brainwashing side of this addiction.
 This doesn't have to be my coping mechanism any longer. I'm not missing out by not engaging. Not really. I can learn to feel the roughness of life and have other, more healthy coping strategies. It's ok, I'm old enough to handle it. I can make peace with the fact that I don't need to look at any of these women online, ever again. I can finally realise that boredom doesn't have to be such a big issue in my life. I'm sometimes irritable and bored because I'm in withdrawel from this addiction and need P to fix it. It really is the solution to the problems it causes. It really does get the credit when it really shouldn't. It's absolutely possible for me to be fully content and at peace within myself and not feel bored. It's possible to let this go.

Therapy. Talking therapies. Body therapies. I've had years of it. Hey, I'm always engaging in therapy in one way or another. But still I'm an addict. I understand the addiction better but still can’t seem to stop. I do believe trauma is behind a lot of this. I clearly still have stuff to shift. My childhood and teenage years weren't easy. I need to believe I'm lovable and worthy as that wasn't always the message I received growing up.

Spirituality, I’ve tried so many different approaches in this area. Buddhism. Mindfulness. Bodywork. Yoga. Dancing. Shamanism. I’m still an addict. I still have hope though as there is still more things to try.

NoFap. I don't like counting the days I'm clean. If I'm on a good run, I end up feeling shame when I relapse as it's like I've gone back to zero and so I feel hopeless. Deep down I know I'm making progress, but still. I feel I've been knocked down more times than I can count trying to quit. I know I need to focus on recovery, not abstinence. I need to focus on who I want to become.
 Writing this, maybe I need to believe getting knocked down is is all part of the recovery process and to not give up!

I have so much to live for and so much I want to achieve. I have great friends, wonderful community around me, success in my professional life, decent social skills. I have still retained much of my physical youth and form really good relationships with women.


But this toxic habit really holds me back from fully embracing, sustaining and enjoying everything, including my happiness, romantic life, well-being and health. My nerves are shot. I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and this habit really doesn't help. Relapse brings me out in flare ups. It doesn't relax me like I think it will, it only makes me more anxious. It's like swallowing something sour and rotten when I relapse. Nobody is missing out by not watching P, so why do I do it to myself?


Logically this makes ZERO sense. MO is actually better without P. It's a far more connected and embodied experience. It's powerful, like sexuality is. PMO makes a complete mockery of this. Ultimately, looking at P just adds a toxic emotional layer which dampens the whole experience and can lead to an aftermath of depression
.

I understand that the brain thinks I've hit the jackpot looking at these women. But the destruction it causes is pretty savage and so not worth the price. I don't want to get into listing all the negative effects of P, but the list is as extensive as the hair loss it triggers.

Looking at P also pollutes my goals. I want to live fully from my heart. Generally I do, but I allow this addiction to take me down a hole I need to continually pull myself out of. I'd love to be whole in my heart, always. Life need not be such a struggle. I could have a lovely, nourishing relationship with a women which involves a really good sex life. PIED gets tedious, doesn't it? Not to mention, I don't want to inflict this upon her. I've hurt wonderful women I've loved with this truly selfish addiction.


I want to feel happiness and success and not sabotage it through P. I need to truly believe I am lovable and worthy. When I look at P it feels like I am going back to a toxic connection which just makes me miserable. I'd love to have all my energy available so I can focus on my health and fitness.
 I'd love to have the focus to read all those books on my shelf I've been meaning to devour, and not feel so mentally scattered by the anxiety and emotional distress this addiction places upon my being.

I'm reaching out here as I need to feel some hope. If I lose the next decade of my life to P, the best years of my life, I'll never forgive myself.

I hope journalling will help me get some stuff off my chest, and recognise triggers so I can come up with strategies.

Ultimately, I need to see that I am giving up something which really doesn't serve me anymore. This is old old stuff that I don't need in my life anymore. I've evolved. I've had enough of it. I can clearly see that it's a bad smell which is outstaying its welcome. It's time to open the window and let the filthy stench out.

Perhaps this is the biggest breakup of my life. It's truly time to let go of the online harem of women who do not love me.

I want to start by making peace with the fact that it's ok to be me. I'm loveable as I am. I can give myself all the love I need to feel ok. Connection is the way out of this and I need that connection to be with myself and not a real life women. I don't need to give my power away to P. It's ok to be alone and not need P or women in general to be happy. Over the years I think I've put too much of my time and energy into chasing women, dating women, romantic relationships with women, and looking at women online. I love women, but women in general have been quite an addiction for me. I say this now I'm recently single and just need a break from the real life romantic/sexual side of it as well. I met a women I really liked in a workshop today, I was close to asking her out but my heart and emotional body can't take any more right now.

I wonder what it would be like if I could quit P and take 6 months or a year off from all women in real life (other than platonic connections). To not feel the pull to ask a women I fancy out and end up in a situation where I'm dating but really need to focus on my own shit. To not feel the need to peak at an image of a women online and end up in relapse. To just focus on my own health and well-being. I wonder what my life could look like if I could put all that energy into myself. I could work on my diet, get the body I always wanted down the gym and the help I need to achieve this, focus on my spiritual practice, perhaps heal myself from fibromyalgia, read all those books I've been meaning to read, listen to more audiobooks and podcasts, be more successful in my career, make new friends, deepen current friendships, see my family more, get to bed earlier, wake up earlier, spend some time grieving, try new hobbies, sell all that clutter I've been meaning to shift on eBay, volunteer for good causes, do a course, goto some sporting events like I used to, spend more time in nature, go camping by myself and enjoy the freedom of it.

I feel more positive now I've wrote this. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.
 
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TakeActionNow

Respected Member
@SilverPontus thank you for sharing. It's clear you are already on your journey. Surely one day you will reach your goal.

If I may share, my own experience have been:
1. This addiction is not mainly about sex or porn. They are actually the outcome of choices we made to deal with whatever issues we were facing. So to overcome this addiction we must also work on overcoming whatever it is we were unable to deal with. For me it has been persistent negativity and general life avoidance.

2. The body has cycles. Just as women have their menstrual cycles, the body has a post orgasm refractory process that calms first but returns later with urgency. Knowing this cycle helps to deal with post orgasm cravings.

3. Finally porn. Porn begins the body cycle towards orgasm. With porn comes stimulant of dopamine. Dopamine is not simply about feel good. It is more about motivation. And in this case, motivation to orgasm. This mental, hormonal and chemical cycle is almost impossible to stop due to its residual effect in the body. Once viewed the cycle will lead to an eventual outcome. So it is imperative that one MUST NOT VIEW ANY PORN.

I hope these simple tips will help you hold off longer, and with distance comes liberation.

In the mean while, journal often, manage your stress well, rest and recover often and lean towards a positive outlook.

You can do this!
 

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@SilverPontus thank you for sharing. It's clear you are already on your journey. Surely one day you will reach your goal.

If I may share, my own experience have been:
1. This addiction is not mainly about sex or porn. They are actually the outcome of choices we made to deal with whatever issues we were facing. So to overcome this addiction we must also work on overcoming whatever it is we were unable to deal with. For me it has been persistent negativity and general life avoidance.

2. The body has cycles. Just as women have their menstrual cycles, the body has a post orgasm refractory process that calms first but returns later with urgency. Knowing this cycle helps to deal with post orgasm cravings.

3. Finally porn. Porn begins the body cycle towards orgasm. With porn comes stimulant of dopamine. Dopamine is not simply about feel good. It is more about motivation. And in this case, motivation to orgasm. This mental, hormonal and chemical cycle is almost impossible to stop due to its residual effect in the body. Once viewed the cycle will lead to an eventual outcome. So it is imperative that one MUST NOT VIEW ANY PORN.

I hope these simple tips will help you hold off longer, and with distance comes liberation.

In the mean while, journal often, manage your stress well, rest and recover often and lean towards a positive outlook.

You can do this!

Thanks for this, yes it does explain why even a peak more often or not ends in orgasm. I will certainly keep the body cycle of orgasm in mind. Useful to know.

So I've not had many urges today. A day to myself processing and letting go of things. Accepting that this is a time in my life where I need to be by myself. The impulse to message the girl I was recently seeing has been strong. It would be so easy to drop by and see her and she can be really great company. But my heart says no as does the part of me which believes I deserve better. It's good that I'm finally checking in and prioritising my well-being.

Today I started listening to the audiobook Healing Your Lost Inner Child by Robert Jackman. I purchased it on Audible a long time a go but never got round to listening to it, probably because it's deep stuff. Anyway, it shines a light onto why we may act out impulsively with addictions such as porn. As the author mentions, we can push down wounded/traumatised parts of ourselves as they are so painful, but they'll act out in these distorted ways in order to get our attention so we can eventually deal with them. This book may at least encourage me to be a better parent to myself, to help me integrate the fragmented parts of myself which are prone to acting out through relapse with love and acceptance. Who knows, maybe I'll go through some really useful healing with this book, my mind is open.

I realise much of my PMO usage is how I deal with life. Such as, I can feel really good but don't believe I deserve it, so I act out and sabotage. Or perhaps I find something stressful or anxiety inducing, I feel unable to cope with the strong feelings so I use P to feel comforted. At periods I may feel lonely, or bored, so I turn to P to feel comforted or pass the time.

When I'm in a relationship, I generally don't have any urges to look at P. This is probably because I feel well connected to my partner and feel loved and accepted. I can turn to P after a conflict, or as a avoidance strategy to intimacy, or when I'm by myself and feeling lonely. When I'm alone, I may be feeling unworthy of love, so I sabotage.

The message I keep receiving here is I need to learn how to love and accept myself and to self-soothe healthily and believe I deserve it. The need for continuous self-compassion is real. I need to be totally cool with being alone and not use P as a safety net. It doesn't work. It seems I'm generally unable to deal with issues around my self-worth, not believing I am whole enough, loveable enough, good enough, or worthy enough. That's what I need to really work on. How wonderful it would be to bask in the beauty of life and all that comes with it - the natural world, community, music, arts, well-being, success, love, intimacy etc and not feel the need to continually poison the wonderful feelings they bring with PMO relapses.
 

TakeActionNow

Respected Member
@SilverPontus the good thing to know is that much of the issues you are unable to deal with is porn caused.

Porn is so singularly domineering that it has taken over all of our basic self worth activities.

With it's easy access, we no longer need to look inwards on our achievements to recieve self worth and self recognition. We become dependent on porn for every bit of feel good.

This important step is what turns us into addicts, just as junkies no longer see food as important to their wellbeing.

This means with distance from porn as a source of feel good, we will slowly but surely regain this most important of skills.

However, just as long as we have had this dependency, it will take some time to relearn about self recognition and self worth.

Much of it is about:
1. Recording what we have done each day
2. Recognizing our achievements and efforts to improve and care for ourselves
3. Increasing self affirmation and reducing the dependency on external parties as a source of self recognition.

This will take some time.
But surely as the sun will rise tomorrow after the darkest night, your sun that you are worthy and loveable will surely rise in time.
 
@TakeActionNow thanks for taking the time to share those words - I agree with what you've said. Taking the time to relearn about self-worth and self-recognition is not easy, but I'm beginning to bring more awareness of it into my daily life. Thanks for the suggestions on how to implement this.

Firstly, confession time. I slipped up at about 5am. I've been struggling with sleep all week and with extreme tiredness of being up all night I've turned to porn to feel good. Add in some relationship break-up grief then I was feeling pretty helpless and lonely with it all.

However, I've come to these realisations as to what porn represents to me on a deeper level:

1) Porn is I can't cope
2) Porn is I am dissatisfied

Being dissatisfied is a form of not coping in itself. If I'm dissatisfied (i.e., bored, restless, unhappy with my life in general etc and am looking to porn to feel good) then I am not coping with that situation. I feel using porn in this way is like an escape from the mundane.

Porn is I can't cope is more palpable. I feel a strong emotion I am unable to cope with or process in that moment, so I want to look at porn. This type of porn use can be more compulsive.

But I find keeping this in mind, and associating it with the images/videos, is useful. If I am tempted to look, or find myself looking, it's good to ask myself why? What does this represent?

Every urge I have felt this week has been linked to being unable to cope with what life is throwing at me or being dissatisfied with my life situation. Sometimes the dissatisfaction can be so subtle. I might just be lying down and in my weaker moments be feeling a bit melancholy, lonely, bored, numb or restless and begin to feel temptations to look at porn. I realise much of these feelings can be porn created anyway by being in withdrawal. That's the paradox of it all.


On some level I don’t like or I'm not satisfied feeling this way, so I keep myself in the porn trap by using it feel better or escape from the mundane. I'll start fantasising about looking at porn but I'm not even horny.

I can see that I am handing over my power to feel good about myself, and to cope with life by myself, to porn. That has to be one hell of a knock to my confidence and self-worth. The message I'm telling myself is I am a human being incapable of parenting myself, loving myself and dealing with life in general.
 I need a toxic external stimulus to do this for me. The hardest part of all this is the brain doesn't believe porn is toxic, it belivies it's good!

So I agree, if I can distance myself from porn, I can begin to feel better about coping with life. Then I can feel some self-worth and self-recognition.

Sometimes it's hard to look past the breasts and bums to see what this issue is really about.

I'd like to end with a quote from the film Lawrence of Arabia which I love. When Lawrence is putting out a match with his fingers he is asked what the trick is. He replies - "the trick is not minding that it hurts". I feel this would be useful to apply to the general discomfort that life can bring sometimes :) Including the withdrawals from porn.


Here is the scene if anyone is interested -
 
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Ok, time to journal again.

The short days have turned arrived here in the UK with the clock going back an hour. It's these dark months where PMO can really take a grip. Lower mood, less daylight, colder weather can lead to living life like a hermit with P an easy reach away.

I've noticed today I've peaked far too much at P. So time to get my act together.


Otherwise I've been doing well for my standards. Since Sunday, I've not PMO'd but occasionally looked at images. I woke up today with a glowing feeling in my brain, like it had began to rebalance. I know this feeling well as it comes on when I give P a break for the best part of a week. I start to feel more alive and interested in the world, like a dark shadow lifting. I liken it to Theoden being lifted from Saruman's dark spell in Lord of the Rings. Thankfully I'm not quite that bad with P these days, my usuage is significantly less than it used to be, but I know just how bad it can be and that's the image that comes to my mind. P really is like a dark spell which sucks the life dry from me.


I'm not really sure what my motivations are for looking at P subs today as I've ceased being 100% mindful around it. I seem to get sucked back into a rut where I use it as some kind of anaesthetic or antidote to boredom. Despite feeling the positive changes in myself, I know today I woke up a bit too late and got sucked into checking the laptop for emails, do a bit of work and before you know it I'm peaking at model's profiles on social media and so forth and fantasising away.



The funny thing is, when I start to feel good in myself, P can look even more glowing. Nightmare.

All of which leave me feeling quite depressed if I engage with it for too long. So the answer for feeling depressed is to look more.

I know better than to go fully down that path these days.

However my mood has been quite low these past few weeks. And looking at P does not help one bit.

Actually, writing this - I'm wondering if feeling lonely is the main culprit. I'm often alone in this big house in the suburbs. I do spend a lot of time on my own which does not suit an extrovert like myself. Much of my contact is with a woman I'm seeing, I'm very fond of her and we get on incredibly well, but our setup is intimate friends, so there is no commitment as long term we want different things. It's a nice connection to explore but my heart feels the tinge of sadness and loneliness as we know there is no long term future for us.



So I need to remember why I want to give up P and what I really want from my life.

I want to be in a loving and sexually satisfying relationship with a woman. I dream of building a life with someone, making a home, living with my best friend, having pets and going on wonderful adventures and all of that. Become the man I was always meant to be with the woman I was always meant to meet.

Enough energy and focus to study a PT masters. I'd love to have a day job that brings me fulfilment. I don't know what that feels like!


I want to have energy to focus on my health. I'm not doing quite enough. I feel it in my body. It needs a lot more TLC.

I need to believe it's all possible. To have the life I always dreamt of having. I hate to say it but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, I’ve been trying for 8 years but it seems f*cking impossible. Surely it’s possible, right? I seem to rise to life’s other challenges, but this one seems insurmountable. Perhaps that’s part of the problem, I need to change my attitude. I’ve been knocked down so many times trying to quit it’s like I don’t have the energy to keep going and believing, so I plod on and go through the motions, getting a bit better at dealing with the addiction but never really, truly, quitting.

I’m not blaming P for all of my life problems, but it’s darn harder to achieve what I want in life when I keep engaging in it and allow it to drain me of my life force.

That said. I know I am doing well in my life overall and have come a long way. It's just the rotten tooth that I feel holds me back.

Sometimes I wonder if it's also hard to live in this modern hi-tech world. I'm mindful of the distractions I engage in which stop me being productive. Over use of screen time for example. The other day I wrote a list of all the things I want to take action on, and a list of the distractions I engage in which stop me taking action. It was pretty telling, but perhaps that's for another journal entry.
 
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Day 0.


I want to journal more on here but I never know what to write. The same for journalling in general, I've got as far as buying a journal and gratitude journal yesterday which are now by my bed. I just need to start writing and unlock what's in the way as apparently journalling improves mental health.

This week has all been about decluttering and minimising. I've had this feeling of overwhelm for a while so this is part of me acting out on it by discarding. I'm just trying to get my life focused to what really matters. I did the same to my smart phone a couple of weeks a go, I've gone full digital minimalism on it to remove any distractions, just the basics and I feel better for it. Much more focused with my attention, especially when I'm out - no aimlessly checking the phone when I'm waiting in queues or sitting in a cafe. I've been interested in minimalism for years but the past 18 months or so I've been accumulating and not discarding. So now my car is full of boxes for charity and I'm feeling better being in an environment where I'm getting closer to only owning what I need. My room feels much more relaxing and my mood has improved. It makes a difference. I've been sleeping better.


I guess the feeling behind all of this is I want to have less distractions in my life so I take action and be productive on the things that really matter, like my health, work, education, creativity and relationships. I need to learn to manage stress and self soothe better, so overall this should help. I notice since I've decluttered I've already been reading a book. Something I've not done in quite a while! I know the times when I've been travelling or on retreats I've read without issues, probably because my mind is calmer and I'm living a much simpler life. This is something I'd love to replicate in my every day living. More presence in myself and what I do with my time.


In the meantime, I would like to have more control over the time I spend on my laptop. I still browse too much when I'm at home when I could be doing more productive things. I notice many of my relapses come as a result of too much browsing time. I get locked down into dopamine chasing and inevitably end up taking peaks at P. The peaking could go on for a few days before a full relapse.

There could be many reasons why I'm on the laptop too much or looking at P. A lack of a daily routine or purpose. Boredom. Stress. A need to soothe withdrawal symptoms. Loneliness. 
Feeling low.

A way to fill the time - or void. But I'm also aware this could be an addictive cycle I'm stuck in.

What I do know is by default, I'm somebody who is capable of being fully present and in love with life and all it has to offer - as I've been in that place many times before. That's the place where I want to be.

I know I need to take this laptop issue more seriously whilst I work to improve the other areas of my life. Try and find strategies and some dicipline with it. For years I didn't even have a laptop and felt much better for it. Now I need one for work so I need to find a way to live with it.


Right now, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what my first step should be as I write this. I've tried just keeping it to one area (a desk) and only using it for work stuff but I inevitably lose discipline and it end ups in the bedroom or sofa whilst I mindlessly browse.

That's where I would like to get to. Just using my laptop for work and other productive stuff (like journalling here) and nothing else. I want to use my laptop, not let it use me.

I somehow need to pick a time of day to use it and set a time limit on it with an alarm clock, like 1 hour to do what I need to do (like I would in the library). Then it's done for the day.

Then I need to get outside so I'm away from it.

Evenings it needs to be in a different room. Evenings are for relaxation/leisure (music, reading, seeing friends, dancing etc).

Some days I don't even use it perhaps. Like on a Monday.

I need to use my laptop for 2 hours tomorrow for work, so I will chose the hours of 10am-12pm.

Saturday 11am-12pm

Sunday 11am-12pm

I will try this.

Any tips greatly appreciated.
 
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