A Better Tomorrow

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

  1. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New 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.
     
    nuclpow likes this.
  2. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    July 31, 2019 - Day 1

    Urges: Nothing too strong. I nipped any that appeared in the bud.

    Emotions: I was snubbed multiple times by a colleague today, so that obviously had a negative impact on my mood. Thankfully, I was able to remain civil and friendly, both toward her and others, which was a relief. I felt some anxiety throughout the day, but that was due to some physical pain that surprise-attacked me at work and concerns over job-hunting. Some of these feelings carried over after work, but I think I was able to tolerate them and successfully complete what I wanted to do for the day.

    Cognition: Thinking was a little slow, with some haziness at work. Verbal fluency was a bit dampened, but overall I was ok.

    Pain: Moderately deep, aching pain today. Noticeable but not dominating.
     
    nuclpow likes this.
  3. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    August 1, 2019 - Day 2

    Urges: Thankfully nothing too bad today. The few urges I did have were quickly nipped in the bud. I did have one incident of urges flaring up, but I didn’t indulge, not even for a moment, and that really helped. Two days down…I know the journey is long and it can and will get a lot worse, but I refuse to die an addict.

    Emotions: I felt moderate anxiety and fear (health-related) throughout the day, but it got a little better after work. Some feelings of incompetence, worthlessness and depression were peppered throughout the day as well.

    Cognition: Verbal fluency was quite poor in both languages. Thinking was moderately slow, a little confusion was present, focus was ok, thoughts were pretty hazy, forgetfulness was bad but not terrible.

    Pain: Some aching in my penis. Noticeable throughout the day, but no severe pangs.

    August 2, 2019 - Day 3

    Urges: Lucked out again today because I didn’t have too many noticeable urges. Anything that popped up was immediately nipped in the bud. This has got to mean that I have some big ones in store for me sometime soon, but for now I am just going to count my lucky stars.

    Emotions: Elevated anxiety, some worthlessness and a bit of depression. Felt a bit of irritation from an incident that occurred after work as well.

    Cognition: Verbal fluency was downright terrible in both languages. All members of the brain fog ensemble where in town today: slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, forgetfulness, and hazy thoughts.

    Pain: Felt some aches here and there throughout the daytime, and then felt some more pronounced ones accompanied by a little burning during the evening.

    August 3, 2019 - Day 4

    Urges: The first round of heavier urges hit today. Thankfully, they were only moderate ones, but I think part of this was due to the fact that I did an amazing job of not giving them even a second of indulgence once I was aware that they were occurring in consciousness. I think most of them emerged during periods of staggering emotional distress, which may hint at how much I have been using this addiction as a way to cope with intense emotions, like anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. Sitting alone with these emotions without any escape was pretty painful, but it is undeniable how helpful it was to go that route instead of giving the urges power.

    Emotions: Waves of various emotions throughout the day: anxiety, fear, worthlessness, helplessness. As mentioned above, I did my best to endure them without avoidance and go about my daily tasks. I think I did a bit of mental reassurance after I got back home for work, but I took them head-on for the most part.

    Cognition: Same as yesterday. Terrible verbal fluency in both languages, and full blown brain fog (slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, forgetfulness, and hazy thoughts).

    Pain: Penis pain not too noticeable today, which is quite welcome. I hope this continues.

    August 4, 2019 - Day 5

    Urges: The urges definitely ballooned up today. I was feeling high levels of fear, anxiety, and helplessness (due to thoughts of my upcoming job transition and uncertainty about the future), and my body wanted a release from this torturous agony so badly. They were pounding on me internally, beseeching me for some way out, and they tried their best to turn the PMO faucet on. Thankfully, I once again nipped them in the bud, though I did have a few instances of me indulging in a fantasy for a second or two, but there were no instances longer than that. Today has been so draining and exhausting. I really hope tomorrow feels a little better.

    Emotions: As I mentioned above, I felt high levels of fear, anxiety, and helplessness today. While this was caused by my current circumstances, I do wonder how much (if any of this) was caused by my body throwing a tantrum because it couldn’t get any dopamine.

    Cognition: Verbal fluency and brain fog were in the gutter (but this may be due in part to the fact that I couldn’t fall asleep last night and was pretty sleep-deprived).

    Pain: A little bit of a dry sticking with a burning sensation, but nothing too noticeable.

    August 5, 2019 - Day 6

    Urges: I woke up in the middle of last night (after I had already posted my entry for the fourth), half awake but totally engulfed in fear and anxiety with intense urges on top of them. Unfortunately, since I was half awake, my guard was down and I did indulge in fantasy for about 15-20 minutes (the overwhelming fear and anxiety didn’t help), but thankfully I was able to put my urges in the background, and, eventually, I was able to fall asleep again. This led to yet another night of inadequate sleep (I hope this isn’t going to start forming a pattern). The first 2-3 hours I was awake, I did fantasize a little and was occasionally sticking my hands into my shorts to kind of flick my penis from its base, but I took another nap, and after that I had my fantasies pretty much under control for the rest of the day. I feel like today was the first day that I didn’t have a great response to my urges, but at the same time, the fact that I made it through the monstrous urges that hit me in the middle of the night feels like a miracle. It is a great relief knowing I made it through that hellacious ride.

    Emotions: As mentioned above, I felt strong fear and anxiety in the middle of the night. These were still present after waking up, but they weren’t as strong. They lingered in the background throughout the day, but I got some important time-consuming errands done (I went to immigrations to get the ball rolling on extending my visa, which should buy me a bit of time) without procrastinating them, so that felt somewhat rewarding.

    Cognition: Verbal fluency was mediocre, but not terrible. Some difficulty focusing, some difficulties with memory, some haziness, etc. Overall I felt impaired but not terribly so. The same could be said about my social interactions. I think I was overall pleasant and communicative but a bit awkward as well.

    Pain: A bit of that dry, burning pain again, but I probably irritated it a little when I was doing the abovementioned flicking here and there after waking up. The strong urges may have also stimulated my shaft a bit, so this may have added to the discomfort. It wasn’t too noticeable for the most part though.

    August 6, 2019 - Day 7

    Urges: Because I unwittingly fantasized the night before, and thus broke my streak of essentially no fantasizing, I found it was a little more difficult to completely avoid fantasies today. They weren’t terrible, and I don’t think I overindulged, but I noticed myself having slightly extended fantasies here and there. Thankfully they weren’t excessively sexual. Overall, urges were medium strength and not frequent. I think today was fine, but I hope that I am back to nipping them in the bud when they appear tomorrow.

    Emotions: Anxiety was there as an undercurrent throughout the day, but thankfully the fear I have been experiencing recently wasn’t very present. I did have a pocket during the day where I felt like everything was bleak and pointless, but I was able to bounce back and get a lot of tasks done (I spoke with an employment agency representative who introduced me to a couple of available positions, shopped for some clothes, submitted the remaining documents for my visa extension, and got my first physical in over three years).

    Cognition: Verbal fluency felt better but still impaired, the same with memory. Thinking felt slow at times, with a bit of haziness in the background.

    Pain: Slight aching here and there, but overall not very noticeable. It is nice that this is grabbing my attention and distracting me less.

    August 7, 2019 - Day 8

    Urges: I had some moderate urges throughout the day. Indulged a little here and there, but I kept them at arm’s length for the most part, which is great, but I really want to push fantasizing as close to zero as possible. I think limiting dopamine spikes as much as possible will help me recover faster. Today is a minor milestone for me because I looked at porn for a little on the same day of my last streak (about 4 weeks 6 days, ended about two months ago), so compared to that I am already doing better, with no intentional searching for erotic content and very limited fantasy.

    Emotions: Felt a bit amped up after work started, later began feeling moderate anxiety, and after that a bit of depression and worthlessness. After getting back home from work, I felt some moderate anxiety and helplessness.

    Cognition: At the start of the workday, verbal fluency was alright, but after an hour or so in, it started dropping, and it plummeted during the second half of the day. This was really disheartening for me. I feel that the same thing was happening simultaneously with memory, thinking speed, and thought haziness. The effect this addiction has on brain fog and verbal fluency is really crippling. It makes me feel like I am defective, and it’s extremely hard to cope with at times.

    Pain: Very minor today. I feel like I am seeing the quickest improvement in this area.

    August 8, 2019 - Day 9

    Urges: Moderate urges again today. I think I did a good job not giving them much of my time or energy. Probably a little better than yesterday.

    Emotions: Moderate anxiety. The rest is hazy.

    Cognition: Verbal fluency felt a little better and brain fog felt a bit lighter. Felt less socially awkward.

    Pain: Pretty mild today.

    August 9, 2019 - Day 10

    Urges: This morning, I had to submit some paperwork to my liaison at the employment agency, but I was experiencing more difficulty than I would have liked trying to finish it. This was extremely stressful for me, and, toward the end, I felt some strong urges building up within me. I once again did more of the penis flicking that I mentioned earlier in my journal and may have even brushed my fingers across the glans a few times as well. None of this was premeditated, but it was frustrating every time I noticed it happening. The urges continued to intensify, and once I noticed that I started having an increasing desire to type in an erotic string of words into a search engine, I knew things had become too dangerous. I rushed the last bit of my paperwork, sent it out, and then separated myself from the computer. During the rest of the afternoon, I felt moderate urges here and there, but after getting back home I fell into a darker mood, which made me gravitate toward stronger urges. Sensing the danger, I decided to eat out tonight and go for a walk after. I am now back at home, but I still feel them in the background. I just want to go to bed and get this day over with. Hopefully tomorrow is a bit better.

    Emotions: Stress, frustration and helplessness in the morning. Depression and anxiety in the afternoon. These two emotions have continued into the evening, but now they’re amplified by fear and the return of helplessness.

    Cognition: Brain fog is definitely worse than yesterday. Verbal fluency was down as well, but not as bad as the brain fog.

    Pain: A bit more burning today. Probably from the flicking I did this morning.

    August 10, 2019 - Day 11

    Urges: Moderate to strong urges throughout the day. Thankfully, I wasn’t hit by any extended periods of them, but I believe I was able to avoid this because I often went outside for walks when I was feeling overwhelmed, and I did my best to avoid fantasy, which I was very successful in doing (only a few flashes here and there).

    Emotions: This anxiety and fear about the future are just terrible. They do vary in their degree, but at times they feel downright relentless. I understand that the uncertain nature of my current circumstances is a big part of this, and that if I am able to secure something, these emotions will be somewhat alleviated. I suppose one frustrating part of it all is that I am unable to determine how much of these feelings is because of external stressors and how much of them are because of PMO withdrawals. I feel so much resolve to recover, but it’s when these emotions peak that I feel some of my resolve start to wither. I still think I am ok, but I am worried about how trying these next three weeks are going to be. Damn, I really wish I had made more PMO progress before reaching this crossroads in my life. Inconvenient doesn’t even begin to capture it.

    Cognition: As if these intense emotions aren’t bad enough, my continually poor cognition and verbal fluency beat down any confidence I build up and make me feel incompetent and worthless. Were they the worst they’ve been during this journey? No, but I really do hope that I see some relatively consistent improvement with them over these next few weeks. It is difficult to hope for a better future when I feel like they are weights strapped to my feet, dragging me down to a hopeless future.

    Pain: Probably the same as yesterday, a bit of burning. I didn’t stimulate it all today, so I wonder what the cause is. Maybe I had some erections while I was sleeping?

    August 11, 2019 - Relapsed

    I can't believe it. After how much I fought during such a stressful period of my life, I ended up flushing this short but significant progress down the drain.

    What happened was essentially I went for a walk to dispel some of the urges I was feeling, and I stopped by a store to get something to drink and eat. I passed by the magazine section, and saw one with a cover showing many young women in bikinis. It caught my attention and amplified my urges, but I moved on to look for something to buy. I couldn't find anything I wanted, so I decided to leave the store, but decided to exit the store passing by the magazine section on my way out. I glanced at the magazine again, remembered it's name, and then continued on my walk. I wanted to look up other covers, but fought against it until I was just about to go back into my apartment. This is when I whipped out my phone, and looked at some of their past covers for about 20-30 seconds. Even after doing so, I was still ok for a time, until stress and urges hit again and I decided to go for another walk. Now nearby where I live is a red light district of sorts, and this reminded me that I could schedule a prostitute to come to my place almost any time of the day. They even have websites for doing so. I have never done anything with a prostitute before, I don't think I ever will, but the novelty of this thought made my urges shoot up and I started browsing some of the local prostitution websites, entertaining the thought that I could get someone to come to my place if I wanted. While doing so, I came across and started searching for nude pictures and occasional demo videos (essentially pornographic, including handjobs, blowjobs etc.). This in turn escalated into me looking at more sexual videos and eventually porn. This browsing ultimately lead to me masturbating and orgasming.

    It all started with that magazine. It's one thing for us to come into contact with a sexual trigger by accident (difficult though that may be), but it was that second pass by the magazines that really did me in. I knew that intentionally looking at triggers/fantasizing are always a risk and that I was still too early on in recovery, but for that short moment, I ignored all the self control that I had built up over this past week and a half and did something I knew could potentially throw it all away.

    I know almost all of us have fallen back to the bottom of the hole, but this relapse feels completely devastating, and the stress of everything surrounding me feels like it's going to swallow me whole. But I don't want to give up. No, I can't give up. I'd be consigning myself to a life not worth living. But the one major thing I had going for me right now was the resilience that I was cultivating to resist porn regardless of the circumstances I find myself in. Things are only going to get harder, and this time around I won't be able to look back and say "at least I have made it through 12 days of this hell." I'm scared guys, I really am.
     
  4. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    August 12, 2019 - Day 1

    Urges: Some medium strength urges scattered throughout the day. I may have had a flash of strong ones once or twice. Keeping myself occupied, almost never idle and alone with my thoughts, was very helpful and led to zero urge indulgence.

    Emotions: Felt really low but keeping myself constantly occupied helped me to not get caught in the undertoe.

    Cognition: Ok I think. I tried not to think too much about it today to be honest. Didn’t want to give in to the quitter’s reflex.

    Pain: Some pronounced burning, sticking etc. Not surprising seeing as I just relapsed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  5. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    August 13, 2019

    Relapsed

    I know this doesn’t look good, having relapsed twice in three days, but I think I have learned something important here. For me to be able to successfully recover, I need to focus on taking things day by day, focusing on the importance of each day, not procrastinating and not focusing too much on my thoughts.

    By focusing on each day, I will allow myself to avoid getting overwhelmed by the big picture and make every day, regardless of the difficulty, more digestible and easier to cope with.

    By not procrastinating, I will fill my day up with other activities and prevent myself from being idle, as idle hands are an addict’s worst enemy.

    Lastly, by not focusing too much on my thoughts and preventing my rituals of reassurance, I will expose myself to my OCD fears, habituate to them, and change my response to these fears over time. I realized my OCD can often suck me back down the drain of addiction, and I need to focus on this problem as well to successfully recover.

    I am sorry to have disappointed you all with my poor performance recently, but I am ready to get back in the saddle and show you all that I am more than what this addiction makes me.

    I want to live a life worth living.

    Take care
     
  6. JD1981

    JD1981 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!
     
    NewStart19, -Luke- and TrueSelf like this.
  7. -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.
  8. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    JD1981

    Thanks for your post. It's really nice sometimes when you are feeling alone and low to hear encouragement from another person. I really appreciate it.

    Luke


    I want to focus more and more on taking things day by day. I want to make sure that most of these little steps I am taking are leading me toward a better tomorrow. Thanks for the support Luke.
     
  9. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    August 14, 2019 - Day 1

    Urges: I didn’t mention this yesterday, but last night was quite the binge. I looked at porn non-stop for a couple of hours. Lots of videos, lots of images, edging, constant searching for novelty. Because of this, I was exposed to a lot of visual imagery, and this manifested today in a variety of flashbacks. That being said, I did really well with not focusing on my thoughts, as once they appeared in consciousness there wasn’t anything I could do about them. All I could do is change how I responded to them. No indulging, no lingering. Breaking the day into smaller pockets helped a lot, and I went for a lot of mini-walks (usually 15 minutes long), which also were a great help. One problem I noticed was that at nighttime, if I heard noises or thought I saw some movement inside an apartment or house, my focus would center itself on the visual/audio stimuli in hopes that it would catch something sexual. It’s really voyeuristic and invasive, and I found I had to snap myself out of these moments more often than I would have liked. I need to be more careful about this. Maybe I could bring some unplugged headphones and just put them in my ears to filter out the noise. The visual stimuli though…I think I just have to boost my mindfulness about it, because the walks are great and I don’t want to give them up (way better than dealing with urges inside).

    Emotions: Sadness, anger, regret…you name it, I felt a lot of emotions today. I did my best not to obsess about them, avoided reassuring myself, and tried to have a clearer mind when they were amplified and felt like they were sucking me into a bottomless vortex. Sometimes I just had to sit with the intense emotional pain (there were a few moments), but I guess that’s how it goes sometimes. Habituation is a slow process.

    Cognition: I wasn’t paying much attention to this today unfortunately, but I felt my concentration was decent.

    Pain: As I said earlier, my binge session was a heavy one yesterday, so the burning was pretty pronounced. There was some sticking, but not much aching. I didn’t let it distract me too much, although it was painful at times. I am hoping that the pain will lessen a bit tomorrow. I think it should.

    * Something positive / something I did well
    I followed through very well with the three main points I recognized yesterday as essential for my recovery. I also got some nice feedback from my accountability partner, heard some great news about his continued success and breakthroughs, and it made me feel some sympathetic joy. It’s nice feeling connected, especially during this recovery process. I’ve been pretty isolated for years now, especially this last year…anyway, I want to get better and I want him to get better, and it was a nice touch to the day realizing that I was feeling some joy from the prospect of both, not just my own.
     
  10. JD1981

    JD1981 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.
  11. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    JD1981

    I wish I could some how make it easy for you and for everybody but there is no shortcut.

    Reading this line right here really boosted my spirits, so thank you. It's nice knowing that there are people out there who can empathize.

    You are right about the walks. They are a great fallback, but there will be times when I can't do them for whatever reason. I need to have more options.
     
  12. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    August 15, 2019 - Day 2

    Urges: Strong urges, but was on top of almost all of them. There were a few slip-ups, where I could tell doing an action wasn’t the best idea but I reacted in spite of my better judgement. One time was on the train, where a woman was sitting with her legs wide open and she was wearing a short skirt. I noticed it out of the corner of my eye, and my brain was telling me not to look no matter what, but after a few seconds hesitation, I glanced at that area for a second (didn’t see anything FYI). Thankfully, I was able to avoid looking at her after that. There was another time on the train where I noticed a woman wearing short shorts across from me, and I was able to avoid peeking until she stood up to get off the train, which was when I glanced at her exposed thighs for a second or two. I need to get better at managing my responses in a short period of time. Aside from these incidents, I was PMO free with no fantasy. I still had a few flashbacks from my last relapse, but I didn’t indulge in them.

    Emotions: Today was a roller coaster. I had am some really intense pockets today. I took them head on for the most part. It’s insane how devastating emotions can be. I need to habituate to these feelings, otherwise I feel like I won’t be able to make the progress I need. I feel so weak at times without my emotional crutch.

    Cognition: Concentration was difficult. Felt like my thoughts were all over the place. Confusion present, but was able to make it through the day.

    Pain: Definitely less than yesterday. Less burning, some aching, but not too attention grabbing.

    * Something positive / something I did well
    Bearing the pain of today’s intense emotions without running away into fantasy.
     
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  13. JD1981

    JD1981 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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  14. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    JD1981

    Thanks for your post. I definitely think I want to experiment with your suggestions in the future. For now though, I think I am still too fragile and unstable so I want to limit my visual indulgence of the women I encounter. Maybe I'll open up a bit more in a month, or two, or three...not sure when I will be ready, but I do want to experiment with healthy eye contact and communication more in the future. Something to look forward to.
     
  15. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    August 16, 2019 - Day 3

    *Disclaimer:
    Today was a tough day for me, so this entry is unnecessarily long because the act of writing felt like it was helping to ease some of the pain and discomfort I was feeling. There may be some triggering content in the urges paragraph, so please avoid that section if you feel this is a concern.


    Urges:

    Today was tough. Strong urges popped up throughout the day, and this wasn’t helped by the fact that it is summer out here (read really hot and humid), so our female clients were wearing clothing that revealed more of their chests than normal. The first session I had with a female client had her bend forward a few times, drawing my gaze to her exposed cleavage. I wasn’t trying to stare out of horniness, but I kept finding my eyes on that part of her body before I was truly aware of what was going on. After a few times of this happening, I doubled my mindfulness efforts and was able to consciously direct my gaze to her face so that I didn’t have to worry about this. The next session was difficult because the client this time around was a bit bustier and thus more distracting. Unfortunately, I noticed that I was consciously looking at her chest, and at one point she pressed her arm into one of her breasts, which made it balloon out a little. This threw my urges into an absolute frenzy, generating a scene in my mind of taking her on the table buck naked and aggressively having sex with her. This lasted for 2-3 seconds, and it was all me. I didn't realize it after the fact. I was aware of what was going on when it was happening. I then snapped out of this and redoubled my efforts. I was able to make it through the rest of the session ok, but this definitely shook me up. Later on in the day, I had another female client who, you guessed it, was wearing clothing a bit more revealing than usual. I noticed myself glancing for a moment once, but after that I kept myself in check.

    Now throughout the day, my coworker (there are only 3 people where I work; more like 2.5 since one staff member isn’t full time) rebuffed all my attempts to interact with her, even though I was only trying to be moderately sociable and kind to her, taking into account that I will be leaving this job very soon and I wanted to mend fences with her somewhat since we have had a rocky relationship since I started working here. I thought things were going better between us, and we had just come back to work from vacation so I thought she would be in good spirits. She put on an affected air of kindness, but she always tried to cut the conversation short, passive-aggressively jabbed at me a few times, and was pretty cold toward me. I get that this is her prerogative (and I want to respect this), but it just made me feel really low and upset. She really put me in a bad mood, and this wasn’t helped by the fact that I kept obsessing about her attitude toward me throughout the day, going over our interactions repeatedly in my head to see if I did something wrong or if I could figure out some clue as to why she was acting this way. I am ashamed to admit it, but these bad feelings, combined with the obsessing over them and my urges throughout the day, made me have a flash of violent sexual thoughts about her in my head after I left work…...about taking her against her will on the office floor. This is not the type of person that I am, I think such actions are completely immoral and wrong, and this fantasy just amplified my negative feelings and made my obsessing even worse. On top of it all, it was feeding my urges. So I told myself I was obsessing, and remembered something Noah Church mentioned in one of his videos: the acronym HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). In this video, he said that a lot of the time, if we stop to see what is behind our urges, we can often find one of these four culprits. I was tired (mediocre sleep the night before), and she did make me feel pretty lonely and angry (again, I understand this is her prerogative, doesn’t change the fact that it hurts though). I think this helped me break out of the obsessive cycle, and urges were not too bad for the rest of the night (though remembering the dopamine burst this reprehensible fantasy gave me poked at me a few times tonight). I hate how negative emotions like anger, anxiety and disgust can be paired with urges (or PMO) to boost the intensity of dopamine.

    Damn, I want to write more about this, but I have now realized that I already wrote too much. I hope you guys don’t look down on me for this. Over the last few years in particular, I have had a few instances of sexual urges paired up with these downright awful and violent sexual images/fantasies. I promise this is not who I am, as I have never done anything like this to a woman, nor have I ever actually considered doing so. But when I do have these experiences, they really mess me up inside. They make me feel like a monster, which then makes me want to run away from feeling this way by fantasizing and looking at porn. I guess the one upside to all this is that I didn't take that route.

    Emotions:

    As mentioned above, I felt repeatedly snubbed by one of my coworkers, and I don’t think it was all in my head. This made me feel somewhat hurt, and it flared up internally a few times into anger. What really gets me is that I was authentically trying to be nice: no negativity, no meanness, just normal and kind human interaction, and she would either jab at me or cut me off from connecting with her at all, even though I will never see her again in a few weeks. I want to respect how she decides to behave toward me, but when I can tell she is intentionally trying to make me feel bad, it is so hard not to obsess over her behavior.

    Anyone have experiences about OCD and PMO that they would like to tell me about? Like how much (% value maybe, or is that asking too much?) they’ve noticed a drop in OCD after a considerable amount of recovery time. I feel like these two have a symbiotic relationship for me, and I remember Gary Wilson mentioning in YBOP (twice I think) that OCD can make recovery considerably more difficult.

    One thing I will say is that I have, over the last few days, been listening more to these really long ambient songs on YouTube, and they do seem to be helping. I sometimes have them on in the background when I read the forums, type posts, do physical therapy, or when doing other miscellaneous tasks. Before I would listen to YouTube, but I would constantly get distracted by having to look up new songs, by the transitions between songs in a playlist, or by getting too caught up in the emotions they make me feel. These ones however don’t ping my emotions too much, and they repeat without too many changes for 1-3+ hours, which has been helping me. I recommend trying some of them out for those of you that want to experiment with additional focus, relaxing more, or coping with overwhelming emotions.

    Cognition:

    Verbal fluency was ok, mild-moderate forgetfulness, thinking was somewhat slow, concentration a little fragmented.

    Pain:
    Not too bad, better than the other days since relapse. Moderate burning and aching here and there, but they didn't grab my attention for most of the day.

    * Something positive / something I did well:
    Breaking the chain of obsession around my coworker, even when all the negativity surrounding it felt like it was swallowing me whole.

    Also, since I am leaving soon, I am letting the clients who I am meeting for the last time know that this is goodbye. One of them is this high school girl who got a little choked up about me leaving. I tried to be positive at the end of the session to ease her sadness, but she was a bit teary-eyed afterward when I saw her in the lobby. I got a bit emotional too (although I didn’t show it), and asked her if she wanted a hug. She dropped what she was holding, and she briskly walked over to give me a hug. It was a great feeling guys. I can’t describe it exactly, but it was nice. No sexual/perverted thoughts, no urges, just an honest exchange of feeling through physical contact. An expression of gratitude on her part and an attempt at easing her sadness on mine. A genuine exchange of human emotion. It saddens me knowing that I got sucked into an obsessive whirlpool of negativity after work, but at least I had this moment. At least I had that. I wish I had more moments like these. Maybe that's why my interactions with my coworker today bugged me so much. They remind me about this void of human connection that has been growing larger and larger over these past few years. They remind me of how a lot of my life has become a maelstrom of negativity: sadness, anger, irritation, regret, spite, depression, anxiety...the list goes on.

    Sorry for the deluge of words today everyone. It felt especially cathartic to write down my thoughts and experiences today.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019 at 9:34 AM
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  16. 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 at 10:04 AM
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  17. nuclpow

    nuclpow Active 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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  18. -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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  19. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    TrueSelf

    Thanks for letting me know. I still have difficulties with being honest about my life, but, when I am, it usually provides some relief. I want to work more on this.

    I hear you about the noises. My neighbor sometimes has his girlfriend over, and while I have never been able to confirm whether or not they were actually having sex, the noises coming from his room have triggered me strongly and lead to some relapses in the past. I used to eavesdrop (ear to the wall, things were still muffled), but I am happy to say I haven't done that in about a month (still get pangs to do so sometimes). I hate the invasive, voyeuristic nature of this action.

    nuclpow

    Yea, I feel that way too sometimes. Is this too much information? How will people receive this? Should I just water it down to the gist and stop wasting everyone's time?

    Haha while I don't consider myself the sharpest tool in the shed, I appreciate the compliment. I definitely want to keep posting. Hopefully there will be something in all this text that helps both myself and others.

    I am going to try and answer some of your questions (sorry if they were meant to be rhetorical), but my answer might be a bit long:

    I use Adblock Plus on my computer (fantastic, works so well), and K9. K9 blocks a lot of pages, but it doesn't filter out triggering images from Google's image search (for example, I recently looked up the word prone using Google images, and it displayed a picture of a somewhat busty women nude from the waist up...it wasn't sexual as it was related to radiology, but it made me painfully horny; I haven't been doing any intentional sexual searches, but if I did, I am pretty sure it wouldn't block those either). If you have any recommendations for pornblockers, I'd be happy to hear them.

    As for my life plan, that is slowly in the works. I am undergoing a big transition (incredibly stressful), and this will have a huge impact on what I do with the next step. I do think that the unfixed nature of my life plan at the moment is a massive source of stress and really makes this recovery process that much more difficult. But this is something I think I am slowly chipping away at. I don't want to be eternally lost about the direction my future will take.

    I meditate, go for multiple walks a day, been posting on recovery forums a lot recently and started doing physical therapy more, but I don't think this is enough. I removed video games from my life entirely (a little over a month ago), cut down on internet use and other forms of entertainment (shows, movies etc., but I haven't removed them entirely). I love exercise but haven't been able to do it for years due to multiple damaged joints and GI problems...but hopefully doing PT again will broaden the range of activities I can do (walking is definitely easier now). I do need to find more activities that are social and can be done outside. I used to like getting myself out of the house by going to cafes, but I am trying to lower my caffeine intake and when I smell the wonderful aroma of coffee I get intense urges. I could go to the library, but then I would want to bring my computer, and I worry that the sound of me typing away will be disruptive to the other people using the library.

    I am trying to deal with underlying pain and emotional problems. I think they are a big contributing factor to my addiction. Once my next step in life is decided, I would like to branch out and make new friends. About a week ago, I reached out to some of my remaining family for the first time in five years. It was very difficult for me and it has been kicking up a lot of intense emotions, but I really do want to further develop my compassion and lower my negativity, as I feel I can't live life as I am any longer, and this could be a good avenue to achieve this. I read 1/3 of a solid book on OCD (Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), but took a break as things have been pretty overwhelming; however, I might pick up where I left off today. I put reading my ADHD book on the backburner until I finish the OCD book (because it is really hard for my addict brain to make it through even a couple of pages), but I am not sure if this is the right choice...I don't know.

    Also, this might make readers uncomfortable, but, as mentioned in my original post, I have a long-standing habit of talking to myself when I am alone. I am really happy to say that I have almost been virtually free of self-talk for about five days (which is great, though sometimes I feel a bit suffocated without it), which I am really proud of. I think this could provide potential benefits with my verbal fluency, emotional intelligence, coping abilities, and OCD treatment...although sometimes, when the recovery pains are really intense and I just want a way out, I still really want to do it just to distract my brain from relapsing.

    As for fantasy, I am trying my best to avoid it. So far it is ok I think, but I need to keep working on establishing a solid habit so it's too early to say how on top of this I am. I started looking at porn when I was ten, which was about the same time I started getting interested in girls, so even gentle, soft, romantic fantasy triggers urges within me.

    Luke


    Thanks for being understanding. I am glad this forum is home to people like you.
     
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  20. NewStart19

    NewStart19 New Member

    August 20, 2019 - Day 6

    Urges:
    Nothing too terrible today; however, whenever I spent time outside, it felt like my eyes were being sucked toward any female walking down the street, and it was really hard to get my brain to resist the pull. If my eyes fell on a woman, or if I heard a voice, I would get triggered really easily, and all the physical discomfort associated with urges would hit my body. I tried to stay focused on my walks, and for the most part I did. My eyes lingered on a few houses here and there in the evening, my addict brain hoping that it would get some nourishment through visual-audio voyeurism, but I think I did a pretty good job keeping it in check here too (with the occasional lingering gaze here and there).

    I didn’t post for a few days, but they were full of some bad urges caused by some really stressful experiences that happened as well as an incident where I saw a busty woman nude from the waist above (no intentional searching; I looked up a search string with the word prone, and I got an image demoing what position a woman would take when getting radiology work done…this was brutal, but thankfully unintentional). As for the stressful experiences, I wish stress didn’t swing so me hard into urges all the time, but I know this is one of the brain changes that occurs in addicts, so I just have to push through and recover more if I want things to get better.

    Emotions:
    Yesterday had some great experiences but also some pretty rough ones, so my emotions were intense and varied. I wish I could deal with them better, but I got to remember that time is the healer.

    Today was alright. Had that pervasive feeling of anxiety that feels like it’ll always be there in some shape or form, but the rest of my emotions and mood were manageable for the most part.

    Cognition:
    Didn’t pay much attention to it since I don’t have work today and I didn’t do much reading, nor did I interact with anyone (these three usually give me an idea of how my cognition is faring).

    Pain:
    The burning was strong today. I guess the healing down there has fluctuations too. I haven’t really talked about this much with you guys, but the damage down there is bad, and I mean bad. That being said, I know the first step to take is getting some considerable mileage between me and this addiction. Once I’ve done that, I will earnestly seek out a urologist and see what steps I can take. But for now, I try not to think much about that as it doesn’t help me with my current addiction problem and often ends up making me feel worse and crave more porn. Noticing changes in the duration and intensity of the pain are more helpful to focus on for the time being.


    * Something positive / something I did well
    I kept myself occupied and got all my tasks for today done.

    My accountability partner said he felt good today, and I was really happy for him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019 at 1:15 PM

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