33yo First post: Admission that I'm Existing rather than living

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by be_water, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. be_water

    be_water New Member

    Good day,

    I have just signed up to this website following a very prolonged cycle of trying to intellectualise, deny, normalise, and wrestle this problem through logic and a misplaced faith in my own intelligence to overcome it.

    Everyone's circumstances are different, and should anyone be reading this I will briefly disclose that I first became active with pornography at around 16-17, but in these days of pre-streaming, pre-highspeed internet (plus having a shared computer in the family home), it did not become a routine thing until around the age of 21-22 when I moved in with friends and had my own room, my own laptop, and infinite time to myself. My use grew to be daily, and because porn was becoming mainstream at this time, it was openly discussed and joked about among my housemates which made it seem like acceptable behaviour, and a few years passed where porn use was a twice, three times a day routine with only fleeting awareness of how it was replacing my hobbies, ambitions and willingness to do much else. If I wasn't bashing to it, I was probably searching for it.

    I became aware of the concept of porn addiction quite suddenly and for quite a narcissistic reason. I noticed around the age of 27 my hair was starting to recede, and while I was frantically googling the causes and effects for losing my precious golden locks, I read the theory that ejaculation releases the testosterone/DHT into the bloodstream affecting the hair follicles (its actual contribution to hairloss is debated and not the topic at hand here). But for my 27 year old self, that was it: For the sake of my hair - no more PMO. No more porn.

    This was the moment I realised to what extent porn had entered my life and what a compulsive problem it had become. I have spoken to friends about this who dismiss addiction as BS, but the moment I tried to stop was the moment I realised I could not; it was a routine, and it was all I could do in my moments alone when I could be doing something productive like I used to - whatever that even used to be. And then I entered the cycle of PMO/shame/quit/relapse/repeat that has dictated my life since. I was living every day with the desire to do something I did not like doing.

    I have been existing rather than living, because until now I have attempted to treat pornography by half measures. I have lived in a series of relapses and self denials such as 'If I don't PMO, then it doesn't count. If I don't ejaculate it doesn't count.', and so my porn activity has grown perhaps more excessive, and more voyeuristic, because I do not bring the activity to its natural conclusion; usually 'edging' which makes porn use more time consuming than just concluding the act itself! I have managed to stop for several months at a time, and feel great, but always fall back to the same pattern stated here.

    I am a reasonably intelligent person. I have listened to podcasts, Ted talks, read the experiences of others. I have used daily-counter apps and website-blockers. But I am also aware that there are no external solutions to a deeply internal problem. I know that my triggers are boredom, lonlieness, and anxiety. I know that I'm just looking at pixels on a screen that is no surrogate for true intimacy, and yet I'm still here writing on this forum for the first time because I know that the compulsion can so often override my ability to think logically about, or objectify the situation.

    Today is the first day I have not observed porn in several weeks. I have just been for a 5k run, and I would really like to start my journey towards living, rather than existing. Despite the relapses, I think they have contributed to my resolve to recover, and I think there's plenty in life to look forward to if I can just nudge myself past this cycle of half-measures, trust myself to be alone with myself, and progress.

    If you happen to be reading this, thanks for your time.
  2. catchingup

    catchingup Active Member

    Welcome! I too feel like I've been existing up until now and despite that, I still kept going back. But then I started posting here, which is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Wish you the best!
    be_water likes this.
  3. be_water

    be_water New Member

    This is my third day without observing pornography, and my fourth without masturbation. I don't know whether people start new threads here or just add new replies to their posts in the form of a journal, but this will do for now!

    I have noticed that when my mind wanders, or I reach natural 'breaks' or moments of boredom in my daily routine is when I usually start typing something bad into the URL bar. It's become second nature to do this, and so much part of my natural routine that I barely notice I'm doing it - over the past three days I've noticed this, because I've actually had to stop and think - hey! what do I do now? That's not the routine anymore! - So far it is going fine, but there's an underlying edginess because now I'm having to fill the void with something else, and there's always that curiousity as to what's being posted online today.

    I'm sure many going through this feel that there's 'more to see' on our favourite websites and perhaps they're 'missing out' on new content... well, the fact is, there is always, always, always going to be NEW content; that's part of the entire problem. But the fact is it simply is not worth it; there is no meaning or value to be obtained from it, and the endless cycle dictates that once you've seen it, downloaded it or whatever... that's it. It's useless and time consuming and not even worth the time and effort we've already put into it.

    As always, despite intellectualising this, there's always the desire to 'just take a peek and see what's going on'. That has always been my downfall, and is ALWAYS the seemingly innocent catalyst that starts the entire cycle again.

    I'm writing this because of my current edginess. I live alone, I work from home - so you can imagine the strength of will it takes not to throw this discipline to the wind and 'take a peek.' because I don't have to answer to anybody but myself. However, it does matter immensely and I don't want to let myself down. The philosopher Seneca once said:

    'It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. ... The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.'

    - essentially he is saying, Time is our greatest commodity, but it's the thing we throw away most freely, and that has never been truer than the instantly-gratifying never-ending pursuit of vacuous, empty pornographic content.

    Perhaps I am in no position to talk, as I am only on Day 3 following my recent relapse, but I find writing here cathartic, and I have managed it before for several months. I believe it can be done again.

  4. catchingup

    catchingup Active Member

    "there is always, always, always going to be NEW content; that's part of the entire problem."

    Oh yes. I spent many thousands buying porn and years of my life pursuing it...and I still ended up here, unhappy, unfulfilled, and just as sexually frustrated as ever. You can't end the urges that way. And you pay for it with your fleeting lifetime.
  5. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    I never used to edge before I learned about porn addiction and PIED. Learning about this totally changes your usage of it (generally for the worse), like you mentioned. I also know all about working on a computer all day at home on your own. Any second can be a relapse. This is a problem I have been wrestling with for quite a while. It's either change your freakin career or have Fort Knox-level porn blocking. Both of which are a rather big pain in the ass. I wouldn't lean on will-power as I don't believe it has a whole lot to do with anything over smaller time-frames.
    be_water likes this.
  6. European Wanker

    European Wanker New Member

    Hello be_water: I have just read your opening post and I recognise a number of similarities between us. These include: the viewing of & bashing-the-bishop to porn before high-speed internet (I started out on mags I would pay older boys to go into shops and pick them up for me); outcomes of discussions with friends; ways of tricking oneself when it comes to watching porn; and chiefly, of late, in relation to your Seneca quote, aware of time. We are all practitioners of stoicism here!- that is, in our own little way. I wish you good luck on the rest of your journey and I look forward to reading the posts you are yet to write and release. God-speed! EW.
    be_water likes this.
  7. be_water

    be_water New Member

    Today marks over 7 days since I last M and O'd. Regrettably I did spend about 10-20 minutes yesterday cruising through streaming websites for the first time in 8 days, but I did not act upon it. I am still trying to recall the string of events that triggered and led me down this road, but I think it was something along the lines of > 'it has been a whole week, I'm sure there's no harm in peeking to see what's new'.... an absolute classic mental-hoodwink where I'm trying to rationalise that I'm cured and am just going on safari as a detached and objective entity.

    It's a minor setback, but the fact I did not act on it, and the fact I have no urge to go back and do the same today is a good sign. I still think it's hindered the rewire process, however, because I felt that rush to the brain I'm sure everyone's familiar with, and so on some mental level there's still an acute reaction to observing P that I would like to abstain from along with the acts of M and O.

    Regarding this set back I'm annoyed that I've wasted 20 minutes of my day doing it, and I'm trying to view Time as the Great Gift which I can use productively, and in which observing P is just dead time that I've wasted in life. Going back to earlier comments about URL-Blockers, the reason I've stopped using these is that while they often work as a last resort, I've spent countless hours overcoming them when I've set them up. In the past I've set up blocker software, used jargon passwords I'll never remember; and then in the midst of a craving spent ridiculous amounts of time overcoming them, installing VPNs and discovering work arounds. I believe if you're truly in that binge monkey-brain mind, you'll run through walls and scale mountains to get your fix... and again, it just adds up to time wasted for me. So at the moment there's nothing standing in the way between me and the bad websites, and I'm trying to change my internal mindset and unhealthy reactions to life rather than use external preventative measures that I'll just try and work around anyway.

    This was a discussion that came up on the YBR Radio podcast on youtube - which is incidentally how I discovered this website - and the guys on there had equally divided opinions on them. I do often wonder what happened to the people that hosted that show as there's been several comments on here that they're no longer active on the site. As with other AA and NA recovery groups I suppose it's one of two answers; relapsed or recovery, and I hope for them it's the latter because they put a lot of themselves out in public to help address this problem.

    I'm going to read a few journals on here and then continue with some work. I hope everyone is in a good place today. Best wishes.
    NewStart19 and Pete McVries like this.
  8. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    You will always find ways to find workarounds for blockers. I think, it's helpful to view a blocker as some kind of contract you made with yourself. If the blocker says no, it's basically your rational thinking past-self who reminds you of the path you've began to walk and that you shouldn't listen to the sweet sirens calling. And as you correctly pointed out, if finding workarounds for the blocker becomes habitual, it just becomes another layer of the process of relapsing. Therefore, I strongly advise you to stop peeking at all costs. Even if you manage to snap out, it always will be incredibly difficult to stay clean for that day. Find concrete ways not to peek, to make it extremely difficult or put methods in place that make it very easy to snap out of it.
    be_water and NewStart19 like this.
  9. Rengaw

    Rengaw Will log on every other week from 13/10/2016

    Hi be_water, thanks for sharing. Seems to be you're voyaging into the first phases of recovery and that means life will probably get better, as long as you keep forgiving yourself after a making a mistake. This is a crucial element as self-judgement (causing anger, shame,doubt, anxiety and so on) is key to being addicted.

    Looking at blockers: it's a tool that could make things easier. Whether it is bending the rules of relapsing or breaking the addiction: it is a double edged sword.
    There is a way to beating addiction that I have started implementing since about 5 or 6 months, it's S(L)AA - the sex equivalent of alcoholics anonymous. It teaches you to let go of judgement and learns you how to deal with sharing, with urges, with basically anything. Still, its extremely confronting to attend meetings and work on the steps....

    After years of psychologists, 2 rehabs, various forums and help from friends and family - that is all bleak to what the SLAA has offered me. The first months were daunting for me, because it was another institute to surrender to and I felt done surrendering.. but now I feel rejuvinised, reborn and able to take on my life. I am able to make healthy decisions instead of giving in to urges and eerie feelings. Still, not easy - but slightly easier, day after day.

    Keep coming back to the forums, keep writing your thoughts and feelings down and perhaps look for help outside these pages and yourself.
    NewStart19 likes this.

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