To The Better Things in Life

TealCactus

Member
I'm 21, but I started watching porn when I was 11 or 12. Ever since it's had a grip on my mind like nothing else ever has. I've gone long periods without it, even making it two years porn-free until around this time last year. Since that last relapse, I've struggled the most that I have since I was in high school. I continue to struggle today. I have so many resources at my disposal, but I haven't been prioritizing this as much as I should. Of course, that's crazy. My porn addiction could literally kill me (the shame from it leads to occasional suicidal ideation), it ruins my self-image, it ruins my relationship with my wife, and it makes me lose all interest in my hobbies and career.

It's been a crazy year. I got engaged, I graduated college, I moved to a new state, I started my first full-time job, I lived alone in a new city for months, my brother-in-law got shot at my bachelor party and had a stroke, I got married, and my porn addiction has been dragging me down throughout all of it. It's always been my biggest weakness. I have so much faith in myself, and I really believe that I have so much potential. But porn takes that away from me. It makes me feel worthless like my life isn't worth anything to anyone, so it shouldn't be worth anything to me. But that's a lie. My life does have value, and I know that I won't fully realize that until I finally kick porn for good.

I've put tons of safety measures on my devices, but as someone who works in tech, I always easily find ways around them. I also use porn substitutes if I can't access porn (which I believe is a LARGE part of the reason I relapsed last year. I started reading erotica and telling myself it wasn't porn, and of course eventually that led to porn). I don't want porn, porn substitutes, solo masturbation, or any other forms of intimacy-less sex in my life.

I know so much about porn addiction after fighting it for years. I understand the science. I can feel it, I can feel the dopamine craving in my brain that leads me to binge porn and put off orgasm as long as I can. Understanding is nothing without action though.

I'll be updating this journal daily. If anyone wants to be accountability partners, or have a small community of sorts, I would love to be involved! Community is the thing that I need most in my journey. I need people who get the struggle. We're all in this together!

For me, the most fulfilling part of life is finding the many ways I can enjoy it. Whether it's hobbies, relationships, or experiences, I love living. I don't want porn to take that away from me any longer. So I want to stop watching porn so I can keep living my life joyfully. To the better things in life!
 

Schmuck

Active Member
I'm very impressed with your journal, Teal. I've witnessed so many users barely get off the ground, but I have high hopes for you. Also, I'm fond of your writing style.

I don't have much specific advice to give you, but it seems like you're already fairly knowledgeable regarding porn addiction recovery. I will tell you this though: Don't ever take her for granted
 

seano

Member
I can totally relate to this, Teal.
I too have struggled with porn use for years and it has pushed my relationship with my gf to the brink. There are more noble things in life to pursue than the cheap thrills of a dopamine rush from porn use.

I'll be following this journal, as I too and am committing to a reboot and am looking for accountability in a community.

You got this!
 

TealCactus

Member
0/14

I haven't updated this journal since I started, but I know this journal is vital to overcoming my addiction.

I'm going to title this similar to @seano, using a counter with a goal. My goal starts at 14 because that's been an incredibly difficult barrier for me over the last year. I can occasionally make it a week, but I don't think I've made it two weeks in months. My guess is that my addiction follows some sort of cycle, where I feel incredibly tempted around the 7-10 day mark. I titled this 0/14, unfortunately, because I just watched porn.

I'm alone on a work trip, which historically has always been a time I watch porn. My wife knows this and I even told her beforehand that this would be a very tempting time for me. She said I can call her if I need her, and I said I'd be fine. Spoiler alert: I wasn't fine. I don't want to tell her. I hate telling her, but writing this journal is giving me the courage to tell her (just one more reason I know I need this journal: sometimes the best step towards telling your SO about your addiction is telling a bunch of anons on the internet, or even a close friend, and then working your way up to the hardest confession of your life. In my case, she already knows I'm struggling, but that doesn't make it any easier to tell her. In fact, it almost gets harder every time, because each time I have to analyze why I failed.

Sometimes I don't tell her. I often use timing as an excuse ("oh I can't tell her right now, she's having a good day... oh I can't tell her now, she's having a bad day... etc."). Accountability is so important. I'm confident I can update this thread tomorrow because I have nothing to do all evening. I'm going to commit to working out tomorrow as well since I know it's good for me and this thread can keep me accountable for that as well.

Edit: I did tell my wife just after posting this. One thing important to note for anyone else in a relationship. Deceit is far worse than disappointment. My wife is heartbroken when I disappoint her and watch porn, but she's ten times more devastated when I lie about it and I inevitably tell her because shame is the most crushing force on the planet. Just don't do it y'all. Telling the truth is painful, but having secrets is truly a living hell.
 

Schmuck

Active Member
I'm proud of you for recommitting yourself Teal, not letting your relapse blind you from your potential. I had a similar problem to yours with my accountability friend during my series of relapses earlier this year. Maybe reading this paragraph that I wrote about it will help you
Jinx has been an incredible blessing to have in my life, as both a friend and an accountability partner. She's more than willing to help me out, but I have a fairly consistent history of not allowing her the opportunity to do so in my moments of temptation. I think to myself, "I can handle this on my own, I need to develop more independence, it's embarrassing that I'm in this situation in the first place, I'm not going to contact her". To what extent are these thoughts sneakily fueled by my addict brain?
When I report the shortcomings in my sobriety, her reactions are always sympathetic. My addict brain has exploited this, making me feel like the consequences of relapsing are weaker than they really are. She has seemingly unconditional platonic love for me; in order for me to prove my platonic love for her in return, I need to succeed in this journey.
 

TealCactus

Member
I'm proud of you for recommitting yourself Teal, not letting your relapse blind you from your potential. I had a similar problem to yours with my accountability friend during my series of relapses earlier this year. Maybe reading this paragraph that I wrote about it will help you
Thanks, Schmuck, that's exactly what I needed to hear. I completely relate to that feeling of my brain "making me feel like the consequences of relapsing are weaker than they really are." Case in point: my wife was just incredibly sympathetic after I told her, even though my addict brain was convinced she was going to flip out at me (even though she never/rarely has).
 

TealCactus

Member
0/14

Today I watched P immediately after getting back to my hotel after a 10-hour shift. I told my wife right after and she reminded me that it's been a really traumatic year for me, and I'm going to reflect on that:

I work in health tech, and I was in the ER at a hospital all day today. Being in the ER always makes me think of the most traumatic night of my life: sitting in the ER after my brother-in-law was shot in the head at my bachelor party. He had a stroke the same night and is still recovering to this day. It also reminds me of sitting in the ER the night my grandma had a stroke, and seeing my emotionless grandpa cry for the first time in my life, which surprisingly was probably the most disturbing part of the whole night for me. Long, complicated, dark story short: the ER and strokes are a really sore topic for me. So today when a stroke patient was rolled right by me in the ER, I almost had a breakdown.

I'm pretty stoic, not that I pride myself on it, but I don't cry often. I wish I did, I think men should cry more. I love crying, I think it's a great emotional release. But I rarely do, so when my eyes started watering in the ER during a work trip, I finally realized that I have a lot of trauma to deal with. Thankfully, my therapist knows all of this, but I haven't really talked to her about much since it happened since I really have mostly been fine. The longer it's been since that night my brother-in-law got shot though, the more I have flashbacks. I didn't actually see the shooting thankfully, but the emotions, the hospital, talking to the police—it all is engrained in my memory. I'm going to schedule an appointment with my therapist for next week (we usually meet weekly but we haven't met for a couple of weeks).

PMO has always been a coping mechanism for me, even before it was an addiction. I used it to escape depression when I was in middle school, and I use it today, for the same reason, as an adult. I really need to sort out the things I cope with, in order to help me deal with my unhealthy coping mechanism.

Anyways, I'm exhausted, kind of about to cry, and way too tired to keep writing. I'm gonna go eat my crab rangoons and binge TV.

*side note: this is definitely the last time I'm ever agreeing to go on a work trip to the ER.

Oh, and a shoutout to anyone who works in the ER. Idk how y'all do it but take care of yourselves, please!
 
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Archaem

New Member
Is there a direct correlation between trauma or traumatic situations and PMO? I ask because its been a crippling 18 months for me as well. Lost a child, had a partial foot amputation, an ex I was still close with passed away, and my girlfriend (who I am still in love with and was going to propose to at Christmas) left me in September. I have found the last year and a half has been the most difficult time for me with PMO. I, like you, seem to make it to the 7-10 day mark and then I look for reasons to justify doing it. I've made it two weeks a few times and even went nearly a month once. But I always find myself looking for reasons to make it ok. And its not ok. It has to stop. I think its great that your wife is understanding. That could be a key piece of this for you. And I love the phrase "disappointment over deceit". I should have been honest about the problem from the get go as I am sure my inability to perform most of the time made her feel unattractive.
 

TealCactus

Member
Is there a direct correlation between trauma or traumatic situations and PMO? I ask because its been a crippling 18 months for me as well. Lost a child, had a partial foot amputation, an ex I was still close with passed away, and my girlfriend (who I am still in love with and was going to propose to at Christmas) left me in September. I have found the last year and a half has been the most difficult time for me with PMO. I, like you, seem to make it to the 7-10 day mark and then I look for reasons to justify doing it. I've made it two weeks a few times and even went nearly a month once. But I always find myself looking for reasons to make it ok. And its not ok. It has to stop. I think its great that your wife is understanding. That could be a key piece of this for you. And I love the phrase "disappointment over deceit". I should have been honest about the problem from the get go as I am sure my inability to perform most of the time made her feel unattractive.
Hey Archaem, thanks for sharing. I'm no therapist, but I do think it's safe to assume a strong correlation between trauma and PMO as a coping mechanism (my therapist has actually said the same thing to me, so I'm not just talking out of my ass). That's not to say trauma is necessarily the cause of the addiction, at least in my case, (I think I'd have an addiction regardless of my trauma), but I do think my trauma makes it harder to overcome my addiction.

I think that would be a great conversation to have with a therapist though, and I plan to talk to my own therapist about this as well. If you don't see one and you're able to, I strongly encourage it if you don't already! You've really been through it lately, to say the least, so any way you can surround yourself with support will be extremely beneficial.
 

seano

Member
PMO has always been a coping mechanism for me, even before it was an addiction. I used it to escape depression when I was in middle school, and I use it today, for the same reason, as an adult. I really need to sort out the things I cope with, in order to help me deal with my unhealthy coping mechanism.
Same here, looking back I've used porn as a coping mechanism for a long time and I'm also working to sort out why I feel the need to cope. Although I'm working directly to deal with my porn use issue, I am also starting to view my porn use as a symptom of a deeper issue rather than an issue by itself.
 

TealCactus

Member
0/14 again today. I haven’t been doing well this week. Part of it was because I took off some safety features on my phone but I just put them back on tonight.

Not a lot to report on today. It was pretty monotonous, but we carry on!
 

Beautiful1973

Active Member
Edit: I did tell my wife just after posting this. One thing important to note for anyone else in a relationship. Deceit is far worse than disappointment. My wife is heartbroken when I disappoint her and watch porn, but she's ten times more devastated when I lie about it and I inevitably tell her because shame is the most crushing force on the planet. Just don't do it y'all. Telling the truth is painful, but having secrets is truly a living hell.
This is so important, I hated the porn, but it’s the betrayal of the secrets & lies that will destroy your marriage and ruin your life.

I set my man a boundary that if he consumed porn he had 24 hours to disclose it to me!
 
I'm 21, but I started watching porn when I was 11 or 12. Ever since it's had a grip on my mind like nothing else ever has. I've gone long periods without it, even making it two years porn-free until around this time last year. Since that last relapse, I've struggled the most that I have since I was in high school. I continue to struggle today. I have so many resources at my disposal, but I haven't been prioritizing this as much as I should. Of course, that's crazy. My porn addiction could literally kill me (the shame from it leads to occasional suicidal ideation), it ruins my self-image, it ruins my relationship with my wife, and it makes me lose all interest in my hobbies and career.

It's been a crazy year. I got engaged, I graduated college, I moved to a new state, I started my first full-time job, I lived alone in a new city for months, my brother-in-law got shot at my bachelor party and had a stroke, I got married, and my porn addiction has been dragging me down throughout all of it. It's always been my biggest weakness. I have so much faith in myself, and I really believe that I have so much potential. But porn takes that away from me. It makes me feel worthless like my life isn't worth anything to anyone, so it shouldn't be worth anything to me. But that's a lie. My life does have value, and I know that I won't fully realize that until I finally kick porn for good.

I've put tons of safety measures on my devices, but as someone who works in tech, I always easily find ways around them. I also use porn substitutes if I can't access porn (which I believe is a LARGE part of the reason I relapsed last year. I started reading erotica and telling myself it wasn't porn, and of course eventually that led to porn). I don't want porn, porn substitutes, solo masturbation, or any other forms of intimacy-less sex in my life.

I know so much about porn addiction after fighting it for years. I understand the science. I can feel it, I can feel the dopamine craving in my brain that leads me to binge porn and put off orgasm as long as I can. Understanding is nothing without action though.

I'll be updating this journal daily. If anyone wants to be accountability partners, or have a small community of sorts, I would love to be involved! Community is the thing that I need most in my journey. I need people who get the struggle. We're all in this together!

For me, the most fulfilling part of life is finding the many ways I can enjoy it. Whether it's hobbies, relationships, or experiences, I love living. I don't want porn to take that away from me any longer. So I want to stop watching porn so I can keep living my life joyfully. To the better things in life!
I would love to join your community or be an be accountability partners. Also been watching porn since 11/12 years of age. The cravings are unreal, but I’ve gone 2 days now fighting them off which is something I’ve not been able to do for a long time. For most of my life I only watched porn 1 or 2 times a week, but it went to 1-3 times a day. Usually just 1 unless I was really depressed. What made me realize it was an issue was when I decided to take a break and found out how much my body craves it. I have had 3 girl friends in my 23 years of life and each time my porn went down, but each relationship found me emotionally abused and I would turn to porn more than before after they ended. Im just tired of watching my best self walk away. I used to drum 3 hours a day for fun, and now I barely care about it. I play and tour in a band, which helps as the long hours keep me away from porn. When we tour I can go a week or more without even thinking about porn because I’m so busy, but eventually the cravings will hit. I hate my body image, I care about nothing, and now any girl that asks me out I’ve never been interested in. At 23 I have social anxiety and am still a virgin, because I am so nervous about dating and sex in general. It’s about damn time this stops.
 

TealCactus

Member
I would love to join your community or be an be accountability partners. Also been watching porn since 11/12 years of age. The cravings are unreal, but I’ve gone 2 days now fighting them off which is something I’ve not been able to do for a long time. For most of my life I only watched porn 1 or 2 times a week, but it went to 1-3 times a day. Usually just 1 unless I was really depressed. What made me realize it was an issue was when I decided to take a break and found out how much my body craves it. I have had 3 girl friends in my 23 years of life and each time my porn went down, but each relationship found me emotionally abused and I would turn to porn more than before after they ended. Im just tired of watching my best self walk away. I used to drum 3 hours a day for fun, and now I barely care about it. I play and tour in a band, which helps as the long hours keep me away from porn. When we tour I can go a week or more without even thinking about porn because I’m so busy, but eventually the cravings will hit. I hate my body image, I care about nothing, and now any girl that asks me out I’ve never been interested in. At 23 I have social anxiety and am still a virgin, because I am so nervous about dating and sex in general. It’s about damn time this stops.
Hey Willem, I’m definitely down to be accountability partners! Lets just stay tuned on each others pages and make sure to post/reply daily!

I relate to ur comment on so many levels. I used to feel confident in my looks and personality but PMO has made me feel ugly and unsocialable.

lets kick this thing and get back into our hobbies. Porn might feel good in the moment, but im sure the feeling of playing drums with confidence is a much more fulfilling and long lasting emotion.
 

TealCactus

Member
0/14 again today.

Thankfully it’s the weekend, but I’m trying not to let my guard down (weekdays are typically when I relapse, weekends I’m busy with my wife all day and night usually).

my new routine is working on my coding projects and then posting an update here right before bed. It helps slow my brain down, and I want my fight against relapse to be something I think about daily so I don’t let my defenses down easy.

my relapse cycle is really dangerous, because mentally I have a whole gymnastics routine I play with myself. I basically tell myself if I already relapsed I might as well binge even more (which is awful, and entirely not true. P has terrible effects and those effects increase the longer/more frequently I watch it).
I did tell my wife today which was good, but I didn’t tell her I relapsed the last couple days as well. I’m disappointed in myself honestly. I used to love myself and be so proud, but now I feel insecure and self-loathing thanks to my addiction.
 

TealCactus

Member
Posting this mantra here:

I want to fill my life with things that make me feel proud of myself and confident. I want to spend my time on things that make me happy or give me a sense of achievement, even if they are painful in the moment. I want to feel like I have nothing to hide from the world.

my therapist had me write my own mantra for why I want to end my addiction, and I’m putting this here to share, to encourage others to create their own mantras, and return to it when I need it.
 

TealCactus

Member
1/14!!

First day in almost a week I haven't relapsed. Feels good! I had a great day with my wife and my dog, I hyperfocused on a new hobby (RC drift cars) and I just overall never thought about P once today, mostly cus I was busy. A therapist once told me to focus on filling my life with good things, rather than removing the bad things. By filling life with good things, lots of the bad things start to go away. It helps me to focus not on removing PMO, but adding mediation, exercise, hobbies, social time, good sleep, etc.
 

TealCactus

Member
5/14

I'm embarrassed to say I had to count on my fingers to figure out what day I was on. I've still been really into my new hobby, which has definitely helped me stay away from PMO. I had lots of alone time the last couple days, Monday I even stayed home from work, and I didn't watch anything. It crossed my mind but I was able to put it away quickly. If I dwell on it for too long, the temptation grows exponentially—it's always best to just stop it at the source and not even let yourself think about it.
 

TealCactus

Member
Shamed: Being raised conservative Christian

*disclaimer: none of this is trying to put down religion. Most of my friends are still religious. It just isn’t for me and hypocrisy in the church caused me a lot of trauma. I mean no disrespect to anyone’s beliefs/lifestyle/religion*

Adding another post tonight after therapy.
My therapist pointed out how a lot of my porn use is rooted in my childhood and the perpetual shame my father made me feel for watching porn, not being as “masculine” as his conservative Christian self wanted me to be, having friends that he didn’t like, etc. it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was raised to think that I’m worthless, a failure, and a piece of shit not worth of life, so when I watch porn that’s what I tell myself. It’s both the excuse I use to watch it and the negative self talk I say afterwards. This might not be universal, but I’m sure there are other rebooters out there who had similar childhoods. I want better for myself. I want to change the way I view myself. I’m not who my father/family told me I was, I’m somewhere entirely different and someone entirely better
 
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