A Better Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by NewStart19, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    *Note: This topic is taken from the original one I posted on Reboot Nation. I am posting here as well to have more people see it and hopefully get more support and feedback on how and why I should recover.

    I am a 31-year-old male who has been suffering from porn addiction since a very young age. I first started looking at internet porn when I was ten (circa 1998) and got hooked on it soon after. As I entered my mid-teens, I underwent a big change in my life, and, because of this, I was able to completely stop looking at porn and masturbating. Unfortunately, I fell back into the habit a year later. I can still remember that day. I was walking back home from the bus stop after school when the thought, "hey, you want to masturbate?", popped into my head. After getting back home, I wound up masturbating in the shower, and while this didn't immediately lead to me looking at porn, things quickly snowballed, and I found myself heavily looking at porn again soon after.

    At that time, resources like this website, YBOP, Your Brain Rebalanced, and Addicted to Internet Porn were not available. I really wish they had been, but I also know it doesn't do much good sitting around regretting the past.

    Now while I had wanted to quit ever since I fell back into the habit at 16, I was never able to go the distance when I tried, and this made me both jaded and exhausted. There was even a period for a few years when I gave up on the thought of quitting entirely. After that, I had various attempts here and there, but they all proved unsuccessful as well.

    Fast-forward to 2015, and I am now 27 years old. Some difficulties I was experiencing in life then made me look at myself to see what about it was problematic, and one of the problems I flagged was my frequent and unhealthy porn use. This got me to start poking around online, and I came across some videos of Gabe Deem on The Reboot Nation's YouTube channel. It opened my eyes to the addictive nature of porn, and this was a fantastic realization because, before that point, every time I tried to fight my porn habits, I would always have a voice in the back of my head saying, "no matter how long you try to abstain, the distress you feel from doing so will never go away" and "all men are just naturally horny, so there's nothing you can do about it." The magnitude of this realization notwithstanding, I have still been struggling with recovery over these past four years, and recovery itself has become more difficult due to the countless relapses I’ve had. This is in spite of the fact that I became more informed, first with Noah Church's book Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn (and his YouTube channel Noah B.E. Church), and later with Gary Wilson's website and book Your Brain on Porn.

    Now take into account that I had various difficulties in my past and developed other destructive habits along the way, so I can't chalk up all my problems to porn use. I have come to terms with some of the trauma from my past and have done away with some of my other destructive habits, but these changes have not been enough to release me from the clutches of this addiction, at least so far.

    Now I know this doesn’t provide you with a complete picture of who I am, my struggles, my failures, my efforts and my achievements, so if any of you are interested in learning more about me and my history, please feel free to ask in this topic or via message. But I have a tendency to ramble, so I'd like to get on to the meat of this topic.

    As mentioned at the beginning, I am a 31-year-old male. I live alone in a foreign country, have no familial ties, the few friends I have live in different countries, I lack any prominent work skills and specialized knowledge, don't have much of a career, my savings are limited, I suffer from poor physical health (damaged joints, multiple GI problems, tissue loss on penile shaft due to years of unchecked aggressive masturbation), I suffer from mental health problems (OCD, ADHD, and talk to myself when I am alone), poor cognition (brain fog, verbal fluency), anxiety, depression, and low emotional intelligence, among other things.

    I know we all have our own problems, and I am not trying to wallow in despair. I am just trying to give you all some idea of what I am going through.

    I am currently on the cusp of a big change in my life. My current contract is about to end, so I am now looking for another job, but I don’t have much time to find one. To make matters worse, I am only allowed to stay in my current country of residence if a company sponsors my work visa. This is extremely stressful for me.

    But you know what? As extremely painful as this all is, I am putting in, for me at the very least, some solid effort in facing the situation before me without running away from it. Instead of getting overwhelmed by anxiety and running away from my problems, I am doing the following: a.) I am challenging recovery on hard mode (going to try to push for monk mode where I can), posting on forums, looking for support groups, and reaching out to accountability partners, b.) I have decreased the amount of time that I talk to myself (a habit that I’ve had since I was 14) over the past few weeks, with the last few days being close to virtually free of self-talk, c.) I used to have problems with substance abuse, all of which I was able to quit (1 year or more, depending on the substance), except for caffeine, which I have been off of completely for about 3 weeks now, d.) I have been able to maintain my daily schedule of work, cooking, chores, etc., without letting it all morph into a chaotic, unregulated mess, e.) I am staying strong with my 20 minutes a day of insight meditation (the Waking Up app has been great for this), a habit which I started developing at the beginning of this year, f.) I am slowly dealing with my OCD by thoroughly going through a treatment book (though I am putting this on hold until things settle down and I find a job, I don’t want to rush through it), g.) I am more proactively and considerately interacting with others (currently just my coworkers since I don’t know anyone else out here and job-hunting is not giving me any time to go out there and meet new people at the moment) g.) I am trying to respect sleep more, even if I don’t sleep well, by not staying up too late, and h.) I just reached out to my family, after almost five years of no contact.

    I am still really scared (embarrassing though it is to admit it), wracked by anxiety, and I feel like I am being tossed about by the waves, but I also feel like I may have realized something that I had been blind to all these years. By exposing myself to this incredibly overwhelming fear and anxiety, I will, in time, be able to habituate myself to this feeling and live more comfortably with it. And, by changing how I respond to this fear, i.e. by not resorting to porn, fantasy, substance use, talking to myself or obsessing over negative emotions, past mistakes and missed opportunities, I can become increasingly able to live a life where I don’t feel some form of misery, emptiness or anxiety most of my waking hours, but instead feel happy and positive overall.

    For your reference, I am including a list of my top 5 streaks below (not including the year I quit when I was 15-16):

    1.) 8 weeks (early 2018) *Was still fantasizing
    2.) 6 weeks (mid 2017) *Was still fantasizing, started looking at porn again during week 4 and masturbating without climaxing during week 5
    3.) 5 weeks (late 2012)
    4.) 5 weeks (late 2011) *Was having sex and orgasming multiple times a week, so I wasn’t giving my brain any recovery time
    5.) 4 weeks, 6 days (relapsed June 13, 2019) *Looked at porn on four separate occasions, fantasizing present

    Sorry for the essay length introductory post. I understand we are all busy and have our own problems, but, to anyone who does read this topic and follow my journal posts, I hope that you will wish me success and send some goodwill my way. It would really mean a lot to me, and I am going to work on doing my best to become a better, stronger human being, regardless of how my future turns out. I hope that I can one day serve as someone others can look to, along with Gabe Deem, Noah Church, and the many others who have overcome this disease, as an example of successful recovery.
     
  2. JD1981

    JD1981 Active Member

    No need to be sorry and I don’t think anyone is disappointed. I’m sure you feel like shit but it’s time to dust yourself off and get back up dude. Leave that shit in the past and start again! Remember only how you feel now and when you get that craving again remember how shitty you feel. It’s not easy to get through those moments but they will pass. Get after it!
     
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  3. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey NewStart,
    thanks for sharing your story. Seems that you've gone through a lot in your life so far. But it also seems that you've made some good steps in the right direction.

    And like @JD1981 said: No one here will be disappointed. We are all in the same boat and we are here to support and help each other.

    I wish you only the best.
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  4. JD1981

    JD1981 Active Member

    You made it through day one brother that’s awesome! If you thought day 1 was hard get ready because day is going to be just as hard. Prepare yourself, have a plan for what your going to do when those urges hit. Sounds like those walks are helpful but there will be a time when you can’t walk so be ready for it. I wish I could some how make it easy for you and for everybody but there is no shortcut. Try to focus on the positive side of being porn free and find those subtle changes in yourself and really celebrate them. I’m happy your accountability partner but I want to hear more about your successes and breakthroughs. I’m sure he’s a great guy but this is your fight I want you to feel success and have breakthroughs. I know you can!!!! Stay strong!!!!
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  5. JD1981

    JD1981 Active Member

    Wow this train sounds awesome! I’m glad to hear that you fought urges to view porn. I listened to Sam Harris talk about meditation and that when meditating thoughts will enter your mind and when they do acknowledge them and return to the breath. So when it comes to seeing women that are beautiful it’s okay to acknowledge them and then try to return to the present. Obviously if for now it’s easier to look away and try to think they are not there because it will trigger a porn binge. Then that’s what you have to do but, as your confidence builds maybe smile at them. Then maybe say hello or have a conversation with them. I think it’s okay to look or to notice them it’s what you do next that is what matters. Porn binge is no good but if you notice them and it leads to you and her dating then you have a cool story. How did you meet??? On a train those shorts drove me crazy. Keep fighting the good fight.
     
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  6. TrueSelf

    TrueSelf Active Member

    Hey. I really appreciate the honesty that you show in your journal entries. I think it does help when we are blunt and share what we are really thinking/feeling. Most often others can relate and are going through something similar.

    For me it's hotels. If I'm honest "hearing others" (sex) is very triggering for me.

    I wouldn't worry about this. I think everyone here has thought about something that they are not proud of.

    I can relate a bit to what you wrote about as well. I remember watching a mainstream movie and in one of the scenes a guy goes with his girlfriend (who is super attractive - of course) to buy drugs from a group of male drug dealers. I can't recall why but the drug dealers are going to beat up the boyfriend. The girlfriend is coerced into doing some sexual stuff to save him (her BF). Obviously this is a very messed up scenario but I recall being very turned on by the intensity of the situation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
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  7. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    Thanks for saying this. I was wondering if I was being too open and just wasting the time of the person reading my journal.

    Tell me about it. I had that happen to me for 1-2 months, and I think I mostly survived it and didn't PMO, but holy crap it was triggering.

    *raises hand*

    I'm sure the makers of the movie knew that sort of thing would happen and did it intentionally. This isn't your fault, but I wouldn't watch the movie for a while, or while trying to quit porn.

    @NewStart19 I have read the first few entries in your journal. You seem very intelligent, but also committed and determined to quit porn, which is more important. I think you're on the right track, just keep posting. Do you have filtering on all your devices? Have you worked on your life plan? Do you have activities to do, inside our outside, that are not porn? Are you facing any underlying pain or emotional problems? Are you practicing NoA (no intentional sexual arousal, formerly called "monk mode")? Physical activity and brain training games might be helpful, too.

    I think you and everyone else might have to do all of these things in order to quit internet porn for good.
     
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  8. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey man, I don't think anybody here will look down on you. We didn't make an account for this forum because we are Mother Teresa. The majority of people here watched or fantasized about stuff in the past that's not in line with who we are.

    Writing down your thoughts and experiences here will help (you and others).
     
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  9. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    You say you have something incredibly stressful going on, life changes for you. It could be that you should deal with the stressful things now, before you try to quit porn. Is the stress of your life what is driving you to look up porn in the first place?

    My sympathies for any damage down there. I don't understand why you want to put distance between you and internet porn before you consult an expert. I am not even sure what you mean by "mileage". This is internet porn, it's in a lot of places. There might not be such a thing as getting away from it, only changes in habits. I am unsure whom to seek for help, could you ask a family doctor? "I've got some injuries to my genitals." "Have you been particularly rough with them lately?" "Yes, and I'm trying to quit internet porn."

    You say you are refraining from TV, video games, internet use and other entertainment. Howcome? Some entertainment and video games are good for you. Are you just being hard on yourself for no reason, or is it really wasting serious time or causing you to slip up in porn? Can you just not use Google Image search? I use https://duckduckgo.com/, and it has three levels of family-friendliness. Maybe the max setting might work for you, but I haven't tested it.

    I hope that helps. I get the feeling that you're being too mean to yourself, although I don't know your scenario.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  10. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    I respect your efforts to quit, mostly I just think you're being way too hard on yourself.
     
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  11. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    I think you're being too hard on yourself for being too hard on yourself. :) Lighten up, dude. :)
     
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  12. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    Reading your journal you seem to have good character and are trying very hard to be good. I am thinking you need to change your daily and hourly self-talk to be kinder to yourself. However it may not be a priority for you.

    It reminds me to stay committed when people post to my journal, too. Since you're serious, I intend to dump everything I can think of for helping you quit. You seem to be in a tough spot.

    Have you read TheUnderdog's My Thoughts On Rebooting [EXTREMELY LONG POST]? There are the instructions for quitting porn there. I'd read it twice, or even every few days, for as long as you're trying to quit porn.

    You said you have K9. I hear that's an okay filter for Windows. Good. The psychological barrier of having filtering helps me a lot, although I don't know if it works that way for others. It also helps remind you that you do, in fact, have an inclination to look at porn, but also that you're meaning not to at this time. It's a confidence-booster anyway.

    There's dictionaries at https://www.m-w.com/ and https://en.wiktionary.org/. Why were even on the image search? It didn't occur to you that you should probably leave image search alone since you're addicted to porn? I'm a little skeptical. But don't be hard on yourself! You could have genuinely not thought of this. Do you have a plan for alternative methods of looking something up, since maybe you should probably avoid image search for a long time (or maybe the rest of your life)?

    I understand your conundrum that you might feel there is little point in going to see a urologist or doctor while you are PMOing regularly. I guess you're thinking it'll add to the stress and you'll PMO more.

    I'm glad you came to your senses and walked away from the house where you were starting to be a little voyeuristic. Can you keep in mind that you're not allowed to try to look in or listen from other people's homes, before you even go out? Can you walk in a (safe) business or industrial area where there's no privacy to intentionally or unintentionally behave? Do you want to bring a smartphone, portable video game, or listen to audio while you're out, this way giving yourself a distraction?

    I feel like you're in the very early stages of quitting internet porn. Keep working hard on changing your life and trying to quit. I've been there, and although I'm not healthy yet my life is about 6 times better. If you keep working at it, it gets better. If you've worked really hard all day and refrained from P and privacy edging, you may want to find things that reward you. I know it's tricky in the early stages, but maybe find something with no women in it. Watch sports? Play them? Cards? Fitting music? Put together a puzzle? Non-sexual TV show? Fresh fruits and vegetables?

    I respect it if you're saying that video games make things worse for you. Besides, there's no rule that says you have to play video or computer games.

    You also seem to have a lot of problems with stress. I don't blame you but I'll try to give what I hope are helpful suggestions:
    • Try to divide larger jobs into smaller ones, and tackle them one at a time
    • I hear mindfulness and transcendental meditation helps
    • Walking, like you do, and time in greenery (vegetation) are proven to help I think
    • Avoid relationships with insane people. Now, I don't mean mentally ill people, I mean people who are manipulative and it's always about them and they're bullying or abusive
    • Maybe keep in mind your end goals to help motivate you, and maybe prioritise
    I'd work on the Life Plan like TheUnderdog advises.
     
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  13. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Hey NewStart19, I see you're working really hard on your recovery. Good going. Hard work is always going to pay off!

    I really like self compassion and I'm sure those exercises will be helpful. It's often easier to be kind to others when we shouldn't forget ourselves. It's a lonely disease this is but this forum shows that we're not alone. Let's keep going forward, one step at a time!
     
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  14. JD1981

    JD1981 Active Member

    There are so many distractions everywhere you go, everywhere you look, and our brain knows exactly how to get what it needs/wants. It can be so difficult to not let them hi jack us. Good to hear you were able to stay focused. Keep up the good work dude.
     
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  15. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    I read your post and I feel like you're working hard enough on things. You seem to be doing a lot, I have no complaints. (Yes, my life is about 5 times better than it used to be.)

    Are the narcissistic/sociopathic personality traits you talk about having once the ones driving you to be voyeuristic for people in their houses? But, of course you should stay away form any red light districts. Maybe if you got a walkman with an FM radio it would be low enough tech for you to be comfortable in taking it outside. Maybe you can buy a little FM radio at a dollar store. It might not be a practical idea, but being creative in ideas for defeating porn might be a good idea.
     
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  16. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    I think you did a great job today. That coworker is just the worst, but it's one of those things we can't really influence much. I think your attitude towards her is admirable. That feeling of worthlessness is a little concerning to me because it apparently followed a good job at work. I noticed that you've come from much darker places so maybe it's connected with that. I've had feelings of worthlessness myself in the past so I can imagine how depressing that can be sometimes. Hope it will pass for you.
     
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  17. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    I was wondering if you weren't exhausting yourself replying so often and in depth on the forum. Totally understandable to dial it back! I'll continue to follow your journal anyway. :D
     
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  18. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Good to hear from you again! You know, take it one step at a time. Whenever you're ready is soon enough! Haha, we'll become so strong that we'll feature in the last episodes of dragonball inspired martial arts cartoons :D
     
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  19. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Hehe :D

    Good going! Putting limits to your negative self thought is very important, I find. Well done keeping it in check.
     
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  20. JD1981

    JD1981 Active Member

    @NewStart19

    Thanks for being in my corner, you are very motivating and also very positive. I’ve heard that diverticulitis is terrible, I hope your friend can make it through with the least amount of pain. Thx again
     
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