Telling my story and trying to move forward

TypeN

Member
Hey all. It's good to be here. I've dabbled lightly in porn recovery communities over the years, but never seriously. I'm actually signing up with the intention of being active because I recently started working with a sex addiction therapist on this problem, and something he's stressed repeatedly is the importance of connecting with other addicts in achieving recovery. So, I'm glad to see that there's such a big, supportive community of people who are also trying to beat this problem. I would also say, if any of you have the opportunity to work with a therapist who specializes in addiction - and if you're fortunate like me, can find one who specializes in sex addiction - then by all means I'd recommend pursuing that; at least, I'm confident that it's going to be important and helpful tool for my own recovery journey. Just a tip, though. Uh ... YMMV (am I doing that right?).

Anyway, I've been a porn addict practically since I ever touched it, probably around 11-12 years old (I'm 25 now, so ... more than a decade). I was homeschooled from middle through high school, so I had a lot of time on my hands just sitting around, and while my parents made sure I was educated, they neglected many of my other basic human needs... didn't have any friends, any social life, any athletic outlet, and so on. To top it off, they were pretty authoritarian, especially when I was little, so I never felt able to confide in them about this problem without fear of some kind of punishing reprisal. My porn use wasn't so bad at first, because the whole internet was "new and shiny" to me, so to speak, and so I kept myself busy with a myriad of interesting distractions much of the time ... video games, youtube, forums, music and tv shows, and so on. But as I got more and more mentally unhealthy and isolated during high school, it got worse and worse: both in terms of time, and the kind of porn I was consuming. It continued to be a problem through college, but things became particularly crippling when the pandemic hit. I was a recent graduate, jobless and stuck at home with my parents for the better part of a year, with all the time in the world and all the most depressing thoughts I needed to fuel the worst kind of binges. I'm talking many days spent almost entirely on PMO. Its always been bad, but the pandemic for me I think really marked a turning point from "this is bad for my well-being, both mental and physical" to "I will literally destroy my life if I keep behaving this way." I've wasted countless hours watching all kinds of shit, and it's left a real blight on my soul. I badly want to be free of this stuff; it's holding me back, and I don't want to lose any more of my life to it.

As of right now, I'm not clean; the last time I PMO'd was today. That being said, I've managed to reduce my consumption a lot in the last month; but I want to start getting really clean. Most of my recent reductions in use have relied upon software interventions I've made on both my computer and phone (shoutout to Cold Turkey). But what I've learned from using these tools over the past year is that are always loopholes if you're creative enough, and my addict brain is infinitely stubborn in seeking out workarounds, so... a permanent solution needs to come from within. So that's what has brought me to therapy, and what brings me here.

Anyway, if you read this far, thank you for your time. If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to connect feel free to reply or reach out. Like everyone else, I'll be using my thread to track progress and journal about my path to getting clean.

Cheers folks. Wishing you all the best in your own recovery journeys.
 
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SimonM

Active Member
Welcome! You've come to the right place! Read some other journals if you get a chance, I have found that very helpful to see how our journeys are often so similar. We *can* overcome this.

I have a similar view on blockers/ filters. My strength has been to 100% not letting porn be an option.
 

TypeN

Member
Welcome! You've come to the right place! Read some other journals if you get a chance, I have found that very helpful to see how our journeys are often so similar. We *can* overcome this.

I have a similar view on blockers/ filters. My strength has been to 100% not letting porn be an option.
Thanks Simon, I appreciate that. I'll definitely look through some journals.
 

TypeN

Member
Well, I'm finally ready to make a public commitment to no porn. I'm admittedly relying a lot on my software restrictions here, because at present I don't know of any loopholes with them that I could exploit; I've recently patched every workaround I knew of. The feeling of knowing that I simply have no way of accessing porn, despite how desperately the porn junkie in me tried to seek it, is a huge relief, and one that I haven't felt in a long time. And the junkie in me accepts it remarkably easily; once I realized (from trying at length to self-sabotage) that it just wasn't going to be possible, it was a feeling of "Oh, okay, that's off the table. Now, anyways...".

The frustrating thing is that I've felt that feeling before, in the past, from just making a mental commitment to stop and following through on it... but, well, I have these tools here and at this point they're very robust. Someone on a thread I saw here the other day said "a porn addict quitting porn is like an alcoholic quitting alcohol with a bottle in his pocket", and damn if that doesn't feel true. But in any case ... I don't want to use them as a long-term crutch; I'm planning on removing them at some point when my therapist and I think I've reached a good headspace. Which means that I have some real hard work to do improving my general happiness and well-being for the next while.

My commitment: no porn and no porn substitutes from today through Tuesday, when I next see my therapist. MO isn't off the table just yet, but I've got that in mind too. Planning to fill the next few days with positive things to keep my mind in a good place.
 

TryingHarder

Active Member
Welcome, TypeN. I'll give the same advice I give all new (and young) members: it's very important that you crush the porn addiction now while you're still young. Otherwise, it will continue to be a negative presence in your life for many, many years. Reading your posts, it sounds like you're on the right path.
 

TypeN

Member
Welcome, TypeN. I'll give the same advice I give all new (and young) members: it's very important that you crush the porn addiction now while you're still young. Otherwise, it will continue to be a negative presence in your life for many, many years. Reading your posts, it sounds like you're on the right path.
Thank you TryingHarder, that's much appreciated. I certainly want to protect the youth I have left from this. I feel like I've lost too much time already.

Edit: And there's a lot I can do with what I've still got. I need to develop a positive mindset!
 
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TypeN

Member
Well; I wasn't totally successful, but I was partially.

On several occasions in the past few days, I did think of some place I had stored some adult material I didn't get around to deleting (on my harddrive and some shit I'd emailed myself). On one of those occasions, I just found it and deleted it without any MO. On the other two, I found it, started to PMO, and then stopped myself about half way and deleted it. I did finish to my imagination, but at least not to the porn.

Not what I set out to do, but still progress. A few weeks ago I wouldn't have stopped and deleted the porn, I would have kept going.

Setting that aside, it's been a good few days. I've gotten a lot done ... hit the gym to lift heavy twice, took good care of my pets, fooled around on my new bass guitar for a number of hours, meditated a couple times (shoutout to Headspace), applied for a job (I'm looking to get a different one) ... all good stuff. Generally, I feel better and more at ease ... even just walking out the door, the world around me feels more peaceful and low tension, and my mind is really much more present in a very distinctive way. Lifting heavy has added some stress to my life ... I'm reminded of how demanding the program I was running before was, before I fell off the horse several months. I need to take things slowly so I don't burn myself out like before, and I need to learn to manage the stress and fatigue it causes me; WITHOUT porn. This will take some time, but I can and need to do it for myself.

I want to have a strong body again. I want to keep having a clear mind.

I haven't stopping MO'ing. But it's very different than PMO'ing ... I get the urge barely more than once per day, perhaps 1.5 on average. And when I do, I mostly just want to get it over with. It feels pretty good, but also just like any other routine need ... kind of like drinking water; I just want to get it done as soon as I can. Afterwards, I usually feel satisfied in a simple way; the same way you'd feel after drinking a glass of water: lightly refreshed and at ease. And uninterested in additional MO.

The frequency and duration I have this urge is a real myth buster for my delusions about this addiction: while I do have an active libido, my porn use is in no way a realistic reflection of the scale of that libido. The evidence speaks for itself; I don't want to get off anywhere near as much as I did when porn was in the picture … it is absolutely the addiction, and not an outsized need for sexual release, that is responsible for my tendency for compulsive binging. I kind of knew this from previous periods of sobriety, but it’s been too long since then, so I really needed this reminder/reality check.

So, I'll try this again; I am attempting to not PMO at all until next meeting with my therapist. MO is still on the table -- for now; I'll take my therapist's cue about when might be a good time to try some total abstinence.
 

TypeN

Member
Well, smooth going so far. Today's been a rough day though. I went to the gym yesterday and worked really hard, and then for the life of me couldn't sleep last night, which is always a rough combo. So I was tired and frustrated all day at work.

I've been ruminating a lot throughout the day about stuff that I'm frustrated about. I feel really directionless right now ... I see a lot of the people I went to school with working well-paying/skilled jobs, in relationships, generally moving forward in life and building their future ... and while I feel like I have potential to be going somewhere too, I'm just ... not. There are things I could be doing to make my life better and healthier, but living a healthier life won't on its own fulfill that higher-level need of "direction" ... and I have no fucking clue what I want to do with my life. The pandemic really de-railed my sense of purpose and productivity, and now I just feel lost with no roadmap, with only half of my 20s left. I know I'm not alone in that, but it's hard to not compare myself to my age-peers. And in my day-to-day life, it just doesn't feel like there's anybody "in my corner" about this stuff. It's all up to me ... if I don't do something, no one else will help me get there. I guess that's just what responsibility means as an adult, but it's a really lonely feeling.

What makes it harder is that there's a lot of trauma in my past and my upbringing, but I don't really feel like I have an outlet for it, other than therapy. As a man it's pretty hard for me to find relationships where I'm comfortable being vulnerable, without worrying if it will change how people treat me. I feel jealous of female acquaintances and colleagues, who I often see casually venting about that sort of stuff with no fear of judgement. Some of my challenges are uncommon at best or stigmatized at worst (homeschooling, for example), so I'm hesitant to be vulnerable about them even with people I see as generally sympathetic.

I know there's a lot I could do to improve my mindset about this kind of stuff, but it's easier said than done.

This is when I'd normally obliterate my thoughts with binging. I won't now, which means sitting with these and other negative thoughts. Trying to give myself credit for that.
 

TealCactus

Member
Hey all. It's good to be here. I've dabbled lightly in porn recovery communities over the years, but never seriously. I'm actually signing up with the intention of being active because I recently started working with a sex addiction therapist on this problem, and something he's stressed repeatedly is the importance of connecting with other addicts in achieving recovery. So, I'm glad to see that there's such a big, supportive community of people who are also trying to beat this problem. I would also say, if any of you have the opportunity to work with a therapist who specializes in addiction - and if you're fortunate like me, can find one who specializes in sex addiction - then by all means I'd recommend pursuing that; at least, I'm confident that it's going to be important and helpful tool for my own recovery journey. Just a tip, though. Uh ... YMMV (am I doing that right?).

Anyway, I've been a porn addict practically since I ever touched it, probably around 11-12 years old (I'm 25 now, so ... more than a decade). I was homeschooled from middle through high school, so I had a lot of time on my hands just sitting around, and while my parents made sure I was educated, they neglected many of my other basic human needs... didn't have any friends, any social life, any athletic outlet, and so on. To top it off, they were pretty authoritarian, especially when I was little, so I never felt able to confide in them about this problem without fear of some kind of punishing reprisal. My porn use wasn't so bad at first, because the whole internet was "new and shiny" to me, so to speak, and so I kept myself busy with a myriad of interesting distractions much of the time ... video games, youtube, forums, music and tv shows, and so on. But as I got more and more mentally unhealthy and isolated during high school, it got worse and worse: both in terms of time, and the kind of porn I was consuming. It continued to be a problem through college, but things became particularly crippling when the pandemic hit. I was a recent graduate, jobless and stuck at home with my parents for the better part of a year, with all the time in the world and all the most depressing thoughts I needed to fuel the worst kind of binges. I'm talking many days spent almost entirely on PMO. Its always been bad, but the pandemic for me I think really marked a turning point from "this is bad for my well-being, both mental and physical" to "I will literally destroy my life if I keep behaving this way." I've wasted countless hours watching all kinds of shit, much of it some kind or another of really fucked up, and it's left a real blight on my soul. I badly want to be free of this stuff; it's holding me back, and I don't want to lose any more of my life to it.

As of right now, I'm not clean; the last time I PMO'd was today. That being said, I've managed to reduce my consumption a lot in the last month; but I want to start getting really clean. Most of my recent reductions in use have relied upon software interventions I've made on both my computer and phone (shoutout to Cold Turkey). But what I've learned from using these tools over the past year is that are always loopholes if you're creative enough, and my addict brain is infinitely stubborn in seeking out workarounds, so... a permanent solution needs to come from within. So that's what has brought me to therapy, and what brings me here.

Anyway, if you read this far, thank you for your time. If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to connect feel free to reply or reach out. Like everyone else, I'll be using my thread to track progress and journal about my path to getting clean.

Cheers folks. Wishing you all the best in your own recovery journeys.
Hey TypeN, just wanted to say how encouraging it is for me to see people with similar stories. I’m around the same age, and I think a lot of people of our generation, and specifically people raised like us with more authoritarian parents, often have had similar experiences with PMO. I can totally relate to going from “hmm i should prolly stop this” to “oh god I really gotta fix this or my life is going downhill fast”. Keep up the good work man! You’re really blessed that you got a great therapist. I’m lucky enough to have a therapist that specializes in sex addiction as well, and I can definitely say that she’s had a huge impact on my recovery, as well as just my mental health in general. I’ll keep an eye on this thread. Looking forward to seeing you beat this thing :)
 

TypeN

Member
Well, I had a couple days recently where I discovered vulnerabilities with my restrictions/let them expire, and ended up binging.

I’m not happy to report that, of course, but it did teach me some things. Something I noticed is that just the few weeks I’ve been (mostly) sober recently was enough time to change my brain: only a little, but enough to see a big difference in how the act of PMO felt. One of the strongest feelings I had when I started binging again is “wow, this really doesn’t feel all that good”, including during the act. Contrasting that with completely not-sober periods, where I often had the feeling that my daily binges “felt good” ... it makes me realize just how badly this addiction warps our brains. Just a little bit of sobriety was enough for me to see through the illusion.

The flip side is that it gets its claws back in quickly. After the first time I PMO’d recently, I got the distinct feeling of “ugh, that’s enough”, but in spite of that, and in spite of actively realizing that it wasn’t making me feel good, I felt like I couldn’t help myself, and PMO’d a couple more times. Once that happens enough times, that distinct feeling of “this doesn’t feel good” starts to become muddied and unclear. It’s remarkable to me just how much power this addiction has to warp what it feels like I “want” to do. It really is a sickness.

Anyway, I’m glad that I have a therapist I can be honest with about these things. He thought it would be a good for me to start counting days/streaks of “sobriety” in the way everyone does here, so I’m going to start that now. What we agreed on as sobriety for the time being is:

- No PMO.
- Not masturbating more than once per day.

I think the latter point is important, because even in the absence of PMO I have a tendency to try to use sexual release to self-soothe routine frustration/anxiety; and that needs to stop, because it’s a central part of my pattern of addiction.

Thanks to anyone watching this thread. I'm looking forward to reporting on my sobriety.
 

TypeN

Member
Hey TypeN, just wanted to say how encouraging it is for me to see people with similar stories. I’m around the same age, and I think a lot of people of our generation, and specifically people raised like us with more authoritarian parents, often have had similar experiences with PMO. I can totally relate to going from “hmm i should prolly stop this” to “oh god I really gotta fix this or my life is going downhill fast”. Keep up the good work man! You’re really blessed that you got a great therapist. I’m lucky enough to have a therapist that specializes in sex addiction as well, and I can definitely say that she’s had a huge impact on my recovery, as well as just my mental health in general. I’ll keep an eye on this thread. Looking forward to seeing you beat this thing :)

Thank you my friend — the feeling is mutual and I really appreciate the support. You’re right, a good therapist is such a blessing for us; I only wish I’d thought to see one sooner, because now it’s so clear to me how important it is for me to move forward.
 

TypeN

Member
Day 1. ✅

Tomorrow I need to let the restrictions on my phone expire (they're on a time-delay) in order to install some new apps that I need. I will take this opportunity to make this the first time I do that without taking advantage of it to PMO; and then I will renew my restrictions.

Cya then.
 

TypeN

Member
Well, keeping it honest, I didn’t keep that commitment. Was pretty pissed about that for a bit, but decided staying mad at myself isn’t constructive. Just have to keep getting after it.

Anyhow, restrictions are back in place and I got the apps I needed. And, today was a great day. I invited two friends, who I’ve been getting closer with in the past month, to work out with me today. We spent 5+ hours doing all kinds of workouts and I had a great time. I don’t think I would have tried to make plans with them if I hadn’t been getting cleaner these past 6 weeks … Sobriety has everything to offer me, and there's nothing real to lose; only things that make me hate myself. I’m going to keep this momentum going.

Day 1. ✅
 

TypeN

Member
Day 2.

Today was a dreary day at the office. None of my colleagues were in today, which happens a couple days every week, so I was bored and frustrated as usual, with little interesting to do. I've been trying to appreciate the good time I had yesterday, but it also totally wore me out physically, which does intensify these feelings. Since I had some spare time at work I also tried guided meditation, and a bit of reading to redirect the stir-crazy feelings I typically have on days like these. It didn't make me feel much "better", but at least it was a better use of my time than mindlessly browsing the internet.

I like winter, but it's probably the worst season for the HALT (hungry angry lonely tired) feelings that trigger this addiction ... the sun sets so damn early, so I end up wishing I could be home already at 1 pm -- 4 hours before I get to leave. A universal discomfort, I'm sure. I did feel some pangs today but not in a way that actually makes me want to relapse ... just spinning my wheels because I don't know what to do with my head now that I'm not using.
 

TypeN

Member
After talking with my therapist today, I decided I'm going to try to take this in the direction of a full reboot, without MO. I'm going on a trip with a friend and his family for the better part of this next week (tomorrow till Sunday, I think), so I'll be with other people doing activities for nearly the entire day each day. I thought this would be an opportune moment to try no MO on for size - when I'll have little chance to spend time alone and with plenty to distract me.
 

TypeN

Member
Well, today's Day 2 without MO. Twice in the past two days I've had REALLY strong urges -- and twice I've mentally walked myself back from doing anything. Both times it was triggered not by a neutral feeling of need, but by a sudden, strongly negative mood. Both times, I dissipated the urge by reigning in my mood. This is progress; I've almost never faced urges this strong and said no. What I've learned here is that for me, the urge is an emotional state, and like other emotional states, it can pass. It just needs time and self-empathy to gradually defuse.

Trip got postponed by a day, so I'm leaving for it tomorrow morning. This will get easier from there, I'm just going to keep sticking it out. Channeling calm and self-understanding.

Now time for a nap...
 

tydurden

Member
Well done, mate. What you have done the past two days is a true achievement and I hope it is something you can bring with you. Making plans to avoid trigger moments is key (and you should), but proving to yourself that you can do this even left completely to yourself shows true dedication. Enjoy the trip and keep it up!
 
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