A Better Tomorrow

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

  1. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    20. Men wouldn’t turn to porn if their wives were more sexually attentive or prettier. (pg. 147)
    • There are many men who blame their porn use on a lack of sex with their wives, but a desire for sex does not equal a desire for porn: “The belief that a wife’s sexual rigidity and undesirability cause a man’s obsession with porn is not a neurotic fear generated by insecure women. It is something often spoken aloud by husbands themselves. Dr. Linda hatch, a certified sex-addiction therapist, says that men often believe that their porn use is a direct reaction to something missing in their marriage. ‘They may say that the problem is that they ‘want more sex than my wife’ and their reasoning is that if that is the case then they are justified in going outside the marriage or relationship to get sex.’…The fact is that nothing could be further from the truth. A desire for sex and a desire for porn, though related, are not the same thing.” (pg. 147)
    • Dr. Doidge and the two pleasure systems – exciting pleasure and satisfying pleasure (dopamine focuses our attention and responds to the novelty and variety of porn, and actual sex releases endorphins that make us feel satisfied): “In his book The Brain That Changes Itself, Dr. Norman Doidge says that we have two pleasure systems in our brains: one for exciting pleasure and another for satisfying pleasure…Dopamine is the neurochemical that focuses our attention, helping us to become aroused. The exciting-pleasure system, fueled by these bursts of dopamine, stirs our anticipation—such as when we imagine a favorite meal or a sexual encounter. The satisfying-pleasure system involves actually having the meal or having sex, which generates a calming, fulfilling pleasure, releasing opiate-like endorphins in the brain, giving feelings of peace and euphoria…Porn is all excitement and no satisfaction. Doidge explains that because dopamine responds to things that are new, novel, and varied, Internet porn, with its promise of new sexual encounters around every turn, ramps the brain into high excitement. Viewing porn, therefore, is experienced as more ‘exciting’ because of the novelty of one digital woman after another. However, the satisfying-pleasure system is left starving for the real thing—there’s no actual touching, kissing, caressing, or connection.” (pg. 149)
    • Relationships are low on novelty and don’t offer a convenient route to sex (reality) but porn does (fantasy): “Novelty. Convenience. These are the ingredients that make porn alluring…This is why many guys don’t just open the laptop, find one image of a woman they find appealing, and be done with it. They keep searching. They spend hours online because it’s not just about finding something that sexually stimulates: it’s about the search; it’s about the options…Pornography is prefab fantasy and sexual convenience. Relationships can be complicated: they involve truly knowing, caring for, and serving another person at the expense of one’s own desires. Pornography, however, is one-sided: the women on the screen have no needs of their own…The sad fact is that many men end up preferring the fantasy to the reality.” (pg. 150)
     
  2. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    21. Porn should be used as a sexual aid to enhance intimacy. (pg. 152)
    • Porn use does not complement sexual intimacy; studies show that it decreases sexual satisfaction with intimate partners and correlates with increased negative communication, flirting, and cheating: “The fact is, many studies show that porn doesn’t complement sexual intimacy with one’s partner; it competes with it…People who watch porn have lower levels of sexual satisfaction with their partners. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, after only a few prolonged exposures to pornographic videos, men and women alike reported less sexual satisfaction with their intimate partners, including with their partners’ affection, physical appearance, and sexual performance…According to another study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, compared with those who watch porn alone or even with their partners, those who don’t view any porn at all have lower levels of negative communication in their relationship…Also, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people who watch porn are more likely to cheat on their partners. One study, for instance, found that regardless of how satisfied people are with their relationships, watching porn heightens their perception that the grass is greener somewhere else, and they are thus more likely to flirt with others and to cheat on a partner. Another study found that the rate of infidelity among those who don’t watch porn is half the rate among those who had watched porn either alone or with their partners.” (pg. 153-155)
     
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  3. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    The Struggle With Porn (pg. 157)

    22. We can’t protect our kids from porn in today’s world (pg. 159)

    • Many American teens are exposed to internet porn before the age of 18: Cyberpsychology and Behavior released the results of a study showing that 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls in the United States see porn before the age of eighteen, and many of these exposures are not shut-the-laptop-and-walk-away glimpses but porn binges. According to the 2010 Youth Internet Safety Survey, a quarter of U.S. teens are exposed to porn online when they aren’t even looking for it.” (pg. 160)
    • The problem is not just exposure and use, but the impact porn has on youths’ sexual behavior and attitudes: “Among youth, it is not a matter of merely consuming porn but of becoming porn…I heard Joanna Angel, owner of the porn company Burning Angel, say that she doesn’t have to coach the young actors doing porn films for the first time. Having indulged in porn since youth, she said, boys and girls come to the porn set ready to perform. They enter their relationships ready to perform too. Pornography is powerful sex education. One study that surveyed teens suggests that the more often young people seek online porn, the more likely they are to have a ‘recreational’ attitude about sex. Among young men who watch porn, 53 percent say that porn has ‘inspired’ them.” (pgs. 160-161)
    Preparing Their Character [Sex Education] (pg. 164)
    • Children will inevitably be exposed to pornography, so it’s up to parents to preempt this by teaching their kids about sex and the body; start by teaching them about the dignity of people’s bodies and body parts; then, at around age 6, have conversations about specific sexual topics and warn them about sexual predators: “…if we neglect to be involved in our children’s sexual maturation, we will be leaving a massive void that promoters of pornography will be only too eager to fill…Sex education, whether we like it or not, begins early…Even when your children are young, you can communicate with them about the dignity and the value of their bodies. Teach your children the names of body parts and the importance of honoring their bodies and the bodies of others…Age six in many countries marks a significant shift in a child’s life as he begins to spend more time in school around peers…Additionally…children enter a new stage of cognitive development, when they begin to reason with logic and imagination. They become more aware of the world around them, and their intellectual curiosity begins to grow. Also…a child’s adrenal glands begin to mature, which leads to the production of natural sexual steroids in the body…this is a perfect age for parents to begin having more formal conversations with their children about specific sexual topics, such as how life begins. It is also a time to give warnings about sexual predators.” (pg. 164-165)
    • As children get a little older, parents should teach children about sex and its purpose, as well as its power and beauty (focusing on love and affection rather that titillation), and in addition draw a contrast between love and exploiting people’s bodies; as children get older, parents must be ready to talk candidly about various sexual topics: “During the middle childhood years, parents should teach children about the nature and the purpose of sex—most of all, its power and beauty…The point of this education is not to overwhelm children with titillating information but to impress upon them the goodness of sex when it is expressed with mutual love and affection…During this time, make sure to draw a contrast between the goodness of…love and the wrongness of exploiting another’s body…As kids get older, it is vital for parents to have conversations about body image and specific sexual behaviors. Parents must…prepare themselves for candid conversations.” (pg. 165)
    Modeling Love (pg. 166)
    • Children are sexualized because of adults, so we need to model the person we want them to become by being mindful of our media use, upholding the dignity of others, talking about sexual self-control, setting rules, and showing what marital love and tenderness look like: “The sad reality is, children are sexualized because of adults…It we are going to form the character of our children, we need to model the kind of person we wish them to become. This starts with the media we consume ourselves, but it extends beyond this to the way we relate to one another…Choose to be a family that upholds the dignity of every person…take an active role in protecting them by setting curfews, meeting their friends, and restricting their social life and social media when necessary. Talk frankly…about sexual self-control…If you are married…show your children what marital love and tenderness look like so that the allure of abusive porn sex can’t hold a candle to what they’ve seen at home.” (pg. 167)
    Setting Boundaries (pg. 167)
    • Kids living in houses without rules and expectations are ripe targets for porn use, but if they are too rigid, the children will be quick to rebel: “A child who never suffers the consequences of his bad choices will soon learn that he can get away with anything. A child who never learns to respect authority will soon come to believe that all rules and guidelines are nothing but arbitrary standards that can be discarded for any momentary pleasure. Such a child is ripe for porn when he stumbles upon it. This is why children should grow up in homes where there are clear rules and expectations…On this point we must be very careful…kids living in authoritarian homes are quick to rebel because of power struggles” (pg. 167)
    • Psychologist Diana Baurminds’s traditional classification of parenting styles – authoritative vs authoritarian parenting: “Clinical psychologist Diana Baurmind’s traditional classifications of parenting styles…There is a major difference between authoritative and authoritarian parenting:
    1. Authoritative parents use discipline to instill character in their children. Authoritarian parents use harsh chastisement to coerce and to control their children and, when that fails, to inflict pain on their children to get revenge.
    2. Authoritative parents accompany their discipline and instruction with high levels of warmth and grace. Authoritarian parents are often cold and distant.
    3. Authoritative parents allow children to question the rules because they know that dialogue is part of the learning process. Authoritarian parents are unresponsive to a child’s needs and questions.” (pg. 168)
    • Expectations and standards in the home should cover everything about living wisely, with rules set with children, not just for them: “Parents should make expectations and standards clear in the home—not just about matters of sexuality and media choices, but about all matters that pertain to living wisely…Authoritative parents invest time and attention in setting rules with their children, not just for their children, allowing them to see the wisdom of the rules that are set.” (pg. 168)
    Nurture and Love (pg. 169)
    • Porn is a refuge of pleasure and no expectations, so it’s important for parents to keep their home as a refuge in the eyes of their kids, and balancing institutional and personal authority will help parents to do so: “For many reasons, porn can become a refuge for people. In the world of fantasy, we get a quick fix of erotic pleasure, and…nothing is expected of us…This is why…our homes should be places of refuge, but this cannot happen if our kids are growing up in an environment of constant criticism, impatience, self-centeredness, and frustration…We must remember: there are two kinds of parental authority: institutional and personal. Institutional authority is the authority that parents have simply by virtue of being parents…Personal authority is the kind of authority that parents have by taking visible responsibility for their children, showing love, devotion, and affection, and giving children a sense of power in the choices they make. As parents do this, children yield to the wisdom their parents impart. Both kinds of authority are important for parents to use…Some parents…have a ‘just love ‘em’ attitude, which means they end up being pushovers. Other parents…demand obedience from their children ‘because I said so,’ but their children are exasperated because their homes are devoid of the kind of encouragement that would help them to flourish.” (pgs. 169-170)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
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  4. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    23. I will never be able to regain my spouse’s trust after sneaking around with porn. (pg. 171)
    • Many wives who encounter their husband’s sexual betrayal feel PTSD-like symptoms: “When dealing with a husband’s sexual betrayal, approximately 70 percent of wives fit the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, often manifesting symptoms of fear, depression, anxiety, obsessive thinking, insomnia, hypervigilance, and nightmares.” (pg. 171)
    • Behavior, not words, is the best way to regain your spouse’s trust: “Is it possible to regain the trust of a spouse who feels so hurt?...If you want your spouse to begin trusting you again, you must demonstrate trustworthy behaviors. Talk is cheap, and…cannot rebuild trust. New behavior can.” (pg. 172)
    1. Fully acknowledge the wrong. (pg. 172)
    • Honestly admit what you did and the nature of it, recognize you don’t really know how badly it hurt your spouse and that their mistrust is warranted, and listen to them without being defensive: “It is vital for your wife to hear from you a clear, humble, honest admission of wrong…Acknowledge the nature of the action…Also acknowledge that you don’t fully understand just how badly you’ve hurt your wife and that you agree that her mistrust of you is warranted…Promise to listen to her—uninterrupted and without being defensive—then follow through with that promise, no matter how painful it is to hear her words.” (pg. 172)
    2. Never shift the blame (pg. 173)
    • You can acknowledge some of the reasons that led you to porn use, but take full responsibility for your actions and let her know its not about her and that porn is an unrealistic standard she shouldn’t compare herself to: “Acknowledge that, although there may be underlying reasons why you have been obsessed with porn, you take full responsibility for your actions…It is also common for a woman to feel as if the problem is at least partially hers…Tell her that porn is cleverly edited, high-octane sex, and no woman can (or should) compete with this.” (pg. 173)
    3. Purge all access points to porn (pg. 173)
    • Block all your access points and let your wife know so that’s she aware you love her more than all that: “Do everything in your power to close off access to porn. Just as important, let your wife know what you are doing to close access…By closing off all the access points…you will show your wife exactly what she needs to see: that you love her more…more than your secluded life, where no one knows the real you or the real temptations you face.” (pg. 174)
    4. Encourage your wife to seek advice and help. (pg. 174)
    • Avoid trying to protect your reputation and encourage your spouse to talk to someone about it: “Resist the urge you might feel to save your precious reputation by telling her to keep your porn problem a total secret…let her know that no one should have to face that kind of trauma alone. Encourage her to speak to a good friend or a counselor.” (pg. 174)
    5. Be incredibly patient with her. (pg. 174)
    • While revealing your secret may be liberating for you, it probably won’t be for your spouse, so be patient, don’t push sexual intimacy, and pursue romance in non-sexual ways: “If you’ve been secretly hooked on porn for a long time, when the secret finally comes out, it can feel paradoxically frightening and relieving all at the same time…This is often not how the offended spouses feel…Trust has been shattered…Be patient. Don’t expect her to ‘be over this’…And don’t push sexual intimacy…soon after divulging your secret…Your wife may find the idea of sex with you repulsive…Or she might be the opposite: sex might help to reassure her that things are still okay…you should pursue romance with your wife in nonsexual ways…pursue emotional engagement with your wife and let sex be the overflow. Show nonsexual physical affection…Be vulnerable…Spend quality time together.” (pgs. 174-175)
    6. Become accountable for your technology use. (pg. 175)
    • Most people who have problems with porn have problems with technology use, so use accountability software to nip temptations in the bud, prevent you from hiding anything, and show people you are serious about changing: “Most people who have a dysfunctional relationship with porn also have a dysfunctional relationship with technology…This mentality needs to change. One of the best ways to do this…is to use accountability software…This reporting has great benefits. For one, just the knowledge that someone will likely see a record of all the questionable places you’ve been online is enough to nip temptation in the bud for a lot of guys. Second, if you do slip up and watch porn, you’ve already made your confession to others: they already know the dirty details, so there’s no option to hide or to minimize things. This keeps you honest. Third, it really shows the people who love you how serious you are about changing. It tells them, ‘My life is open to you. I don’t want any more secrets.’” (pg. 176)
    7. Seek man-to-man accountability (pg. 176)
    • Accountability is about admitting your struggles while reminding yourself what you are fighting for and what you want to become: “accountability…giving permission to someone you trust to remind you of the person you really want to be…admitting those struggles aloud should always be followed by a reminder of what you are fighting for and the kind of man you hope to become.” (pgs. 176-177)
    • Finding an accountability partner of the same sex is a good idea, but don’t use your spouse as your sole confessor – let them know the important details, but don’t feel pressure to tell them every one: “Ideally, good accountability friendships should be man-to-man (or woman-to-woman, as the case may be). Someone of the same sex is more likely to be able to see through your pretenses and help you to get to the bottom of things…Should your wife be your accountability partner? In one sense, yes. In another sense, no…don’t feel pressured to give a play-by-play of every detail you’ve confessed…Still, as you make your plan for becoming a new man, make sure your wife knows the important details…don’t make her your confessor—your sole confidant as you are taking steps to quit.” (pgs. 177-178)
     
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  5. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    24. I will always be addicted to porn. (pg. 179)
    • Porn is so pervasive in our culture that we’re tempted to feel bound to it, but really those entrenched in it live limited lives, while those beyond it live fuller ones: “The more we learn about both the pervasiveness of pornography in our culture and the impact it can have on the mind, the more we’re tempted to think that perhaps we’re bound to it…The fact is…Those entrenched in porn tend to live suffocatingly small lives, constantly looking for their next fix. Those who begin to find freedom begin inhabiting a larger, more colorful existence.” (pgs. 179-180)
    • The brain can heal from years of porn use – the road may be long, but it is possible: “Studies are showing that the brain can actually heal itself, even after years of consuming pornography…For some this can be a long road. Therapists Wendy and Larry Maltz in their book, The Porn Trap, state: ‘Porn’s power to produce experiences of excitement, relaxation, and escape from pain make it highly addictive. Over time you can come to depend on it to feel good and require it so you don’t feel bad. Cravings, preoccupations, and out-of-control behaviors with using it can become commonplace. Porn sex can become your greatest need. If you have been using porn regularly to ‘get high,’ withdrawal from porn can be as filled with agitation, depression, and sleeplessness as detoxing from alcohol, cocaine, and other hard drugs. In fact, people in porn recovery take an average of eighteen months to heal from the damage to their dopamine receptors alone’…Practically speaking, although you may feel pornography is simply an undefeatable foe impossible to overcome, the fact is otherwise.” (pg. 180)
    Understand What You’re Fighting (and Not Fighting) (pg. 180)
    • Don’t confuse sexual desire with cravings for pornography; you want to heal sexual cravings so that they guide you toward meaningful relationships and not squelching your long-term desire for sex: “One of the reasons many people find it difficult to break free from porn and remain free is that they confuse sexual desire with a craving for pornography…the goal is not the long-term squelching of sexual desire. The goal is the healing of your sexual cravings so that you pursue them in a manner that pushes you toward a healthy and satisfying marital relationship.” (pgs. 181-182)
    Making a U-Turn on the Porn Superhighway (pg. 182)
    • Triggers initiate an activation sequence and can be obvious or not-so-obvious; if you want to escape the habit, you need to identify your triggers and turn on your thinking brain to make a “U-turn” (e.g. identifying your triggers aloud): “In…Treating Pornography Addiction, Dr. Kevin Skinner outlines what he calls the ‘activation sequence’…the sequence of events that lead up to looking at pornography. He outlines six steps in the sequence—the seventh being actually looking at pornography…1. Trigger or Stimulus…A trigger or stimulus is something that causes something else…those things that initiate the activation sequence…There are obvious triggers, and there are not-so-obvious triggers…Anyone who wants to make a U-turn at his triggers first needs to know what his triggers are…When one becomes aware of his triggers, this will allow him to be more vigilant…if one wants to make a U-turn, he needs to turn on his ‘thinking brain’…the part of the brain that deliberates, that chooses between wise and unwise actions…one of the easiest is to speak aloud and label what is happening: ‘This is a trigger.’ By doing this, a person stops being a passive participant” (pg. 183)
    • After the trigger is an emotional response that can be either acute or gradual: “2. Emotional response…After the initial trigger comes an emotional response to that trigger. It could be a sense of excitement or curiosity or anticipation. The emotion might be something very acute—a sudden feeling or sensation—or it might be something that builds slowly over time.” (pg. 183)
    • The first thought comes at the same time as the emotion; to go in reverse, you have to speak aloud about the scenario: “3. The First Thought…This comes almost simultaneously with the emotion…to make a U-turn…One must speak aloud the truth about the matter.” (pg. 184)
    • The body releases chemicals associated with memories of where you got your last fix: “4. The Chemical Release…The body will get ready for climax, and the brain will release chemicals associated with memory…Even before pornography is consumed, the body is already anticipating the event.” (pg. 184)
    • Now you’ll feel physical sensations, a warning sign to turn back which is activated by the thinking brain through vocalizing what is happening: “5. Body Language…the body begins to change. Heart rate increases, palms become sweaty or cold, eyes dilate, there is a tingling in the groin or the feeling of butterflies in the stomach, or the muscles tense up…these physical sensations should serve as a big caution sign…it is time to make an immediate U-turn…activate the thinking brain: speak aloud the truth of what is happening.” (pgs. 184-185)
    • At this point a back and forth pro-vs-con thought battle will take place, which determines the behavior you’ll take: “6. The Battle…At this point, the decision to look at porn or not still needs to be made, and a battle will ensue. Dr. Skinner calls this the ‘second thought’. Pro-versus-con judgements will bounce through the mind like a lightning-speed game of Ping-Pong. This is the brain’s backup system trying to throw on the brakes and decide what it really wants to do.” (pg. 185)
    • If you lose the battle, you relapse: “7. The Behavior…Assuming nothing has interrupted this activation sequence, the behavior is consuming porn.” (pg. 185)
    Two Key Strategies – Strategy 1: The Thinking Brain (pgs. 185-186)
    • Prepare in advance for future moments in the activation sequence: “…do your homework and prepare for those moments, rather than assuming you will know how to think on your feet in the heat of the moment” (pg. 186)
    • Learn about all the negative effects porn has on your life and store them in your mind for future activation sequence moments: “1. Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about the impact porn has on your life…The more you fill your mind with this information, the more likely this information will come to mind to interrupt the activation sequence.” (pg. 186)
    • Keep a shorthand list of your top 10 motivations to quit always within arm’s reach (what do you stand to lose and gain with porn use?): “2. Write down your negative and positive motivations…What do you lose…[those are] negative motivations…What do you stand to gain…[these are] positive motivations. Keep a shorthand top-ten list of these motivations on you at all times.” (pgs. 186-187)
    • Write down your exit strategies in the moment (with short verb phrases); do the same in advance for predictable moments: “3. Write down your exit strategies…Before another activation sequence begins, write down what you plan to do. Think action verbs here…Write down your plan for predictable moments of temptation.” (pg. 187)
    • Don’t keep the fantasy stuck in anticipation; imagine the whole sequence of events and the shitty outcome: “4. Finish the fantasy…When something triggers an initial thought, our mind gets stuck in a rut of anticipation…Instead of staying in that rut, finish the fantasy: picture yourself following through with the action…When we do this, it pushes us past the feeling of anticipation and the rush of excitement to the reality.” (pg. 187)
    • Think about sex and what it is for (intimacy and procreation) and remember that this behavior is not the same as sex: “5. Think about sex…What is the nature of sex? What is its purpose?...discover that sex is about both openness to new life and bonding to another person in love…when the activation sequence is underway. We can think, ‘This is not what my sexuality is for, just objectifying self-pleasure.’” (pgs. 187-188)
    Two Key Strategies – Strategy 2: Change Your Habits (pg. 188)
    • While you can’t avoid every trigger, there are some that you can; while it may feel excessive, the more access points blocked, the easier it is to stay on the path; when you’re feeling well, that’s when you want to plan for the difficult times, just don’t forget to break your plan down into measurable daily goals: “Now, it is important to note that no one can actually avoid every potential trigger…Still, there are many triggers you can avoid…All of this might seem over the top, but if porn were easy to quit, you probably wouldn’t be reading this chapter right now. A lot of people try to quit without closing all the access points to porn…Remember this mantra: ‘When you’re at your best, plan for your worst.’ Right now, if you have a resolve to avoid porn, remember: a day will likely come when you won’t have that resolve, so make sure you have protections in place…Lastly, when you are making your plans to quit pornography, it is important to set small, measurable goals…Freedom is one day at a time…a lifetime of todays, a life-time of moment-by-moment choices. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” (pgs. 188-189)
    Freedom Is Possible (pg. 189)
    • Porn promises what recovery actually delivers: “Porn promises freedom, but it enslaves us. It promises excitement, but it ends up boring us. It promises us ‘adult’ entertainment, yet it makes us increasingly juvenile. It promises intimacy, but leads to isolation…The good news is that freedom is possible and something so much better awaits us on the other side.” (pg. 190)
     
  6. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Awesome morning reading, thanks for sharing all your notes! I have read them all, they are both so enlightening and helpful.
     
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  7. Babylonier

    Babylonier Member

    So nice to read this stuff. Where do you get you’re information from? Inam now 10 days without PMO and FMO. I told everything to my spous. The cheating, the porn everything. She is mourning, sad and angry at the same time. But also she want to solve our problems. So after we talk every night. We cuddle, make out, and do more stuff but I do not O. I get an erection. And that’s about it. But today inam very anxious. DON’T know why. My brain wants to get out of this missery. It is a nightmare. We where living the dream. 3 healthy kids, good jobs, nice family and friends. And I fuqed it al up because of my addiction. I wish I could turn back time. But now realize it was a addiction I could not temp. If anybody has some advice it is welcome! God bless!
     
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  8. BoughtWithBlood

    BoughtWithBlood Well-Known Member

    Wauw! Incredible things to read through. So much truth.

    This one really hit home:

    Porn promises what recovery actually delivers: “Porn promises freedom, but it enslaves us. It promises excitement, but it ends up boring us. It promises us ‘adult’ entertainment, yet it makes us increasingly juvenile. It promises intimacy, but leads to isolation…The good news is that freedom is possible and something so much better awaits us on the other side.”
     
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  9. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Pete McVries

    I believe you are more deserving of the thanks than I am. It was mostly because of your recommendation of the book that I decided to purchase and read through it. Regardless, I am happy to hear that you read through all the notes and found value in going over the information again. It's in part because of people like you that I have slowly been winning this multi-decade long battle. I'm grateful for all the help and encouragement you have given me.

    No pressure of course, but if you ever feel like reaching out to me outside the forums, please send me a PM and I can send you an email address I made specifically for communicating with people from the forums in the long-term (including my accountability partner; but if you don't reach out, please don't feel bad because I won't take it personally). I say this because I am using the forums less and less and in fact have tried to clean up a lot of the personal information I made available for public viewing on both here and RN.

    I still am 100% committed to posting a success story though. For me that means one year clean. After that I may do an annual update 1-3 times (in the success story thread). But I won't really post updates, streaks, relapses, slips, etc., in this topic anymore. I will post the last of The Porn Myth notes here, and maybe even the section on sex/porn in The Brain That Changes Itself (whenever I get around to reading it) as well as notes from Cupid's Poisoned Arrow (again, whenever it is that I actually read it).

    @Babylonier

    Glad to hear it. This last batch of notes came from Matt Fradd's book The Porn Myth. Some of the earlier notes I posted in this topic came from Noah Church's Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn and Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements, although the latter is not about porn addiction/PISDs and recovery but more a self-improvement/self-help book. Another fantastic book I read a while back on porn is Gary Wilson's Your Brain on Porn (I was saddened to hear of his recent passing; he really helped get quality information out there at little personal gain but plenty of personal stress and harassment). Also, Gifts of Recovery is a great daily reader to incorporate into your morning, afternoon, or evening routine.

    I haven't read other books on the topic, and I think there are a lot out there for you to choose from, but other books I have consistently heard good things about are The Porn Trap (my accountability partner is working his way through it) and Love You, Hate the Porn (for relationships damaged by porn use). Norman Doidge's book The Brain That Changes Itself is supposed to be good reading about the brain and neuroplasticity. Unfortunately I don't have any Dutch recommendations, but I know that you aren't the only member from the Netherlands on here. Maybe try reaching out to one of them.

    Not sure if this is the right usage, but veel succes! Niet opgeven!

    @BoughtWithBlood

    Thanks for checking out the notes. It's so hard to quit but is possible. I hope you never give up and find your way through this, be it in the near or distant future.

    If you have anyone you are comfortable with and who is reliable enough in the long-term, I really recommend trying to form an accountability partnership with them. Through my efforts over the past 1.5 years (getting close to two now), I slowly have been (on average) getting better and better, and what really allowed me to enter the next phase is the caliber of my current accountability partner (after some considerable discussion and brainstorming, we came up with three activities in advance that we do daily, weekly (now biweekly), and monthly) and the software I am using. It has one level of filtering and two levels of blocking, but more importantly, you can remove your permission to change them and instead have your partner be solely in charge of them. If you want to go another step further, you can even forfeit your uninstall privilege and make your partner completely in charge of it (my partner is the sole "administrator" of all these privileges in my case). It also monitors your internet use and sends daily (they can be less frequent if you so choose) reports with screenshots to your AP, and vice versa if your partner is also a user of the software. The images are always blurred, so you don't have to be too worried about seeing triggering images from their reports or putting your partner in the same predicament. You can associate however many devices you want with your account...or at least I think there is no limit. I currently have two phones and two computers running the software. You can also combine it with built in software (like iOS' Screen Time, though Screen Time requires a password so it is best for someone else to come up with and keep it a secret) for even more powerful filtering/blocking that also prevents you from doing things like downloading apps from the App Store (which could be used to circumvent your accountability software). Finally, while I myself am neither religious nor agnostic, my accountability software does have somewhat of a religious (Christian) slant to it, and offers some newsletters/activities etc. that have some religious elements (like references to the Bible etc.) to them. While these elements were lost on both me and my partner, they may serve as additional benefits to you if you do ultimately use this product since I know from your posts that you identify as a Christian.

    The software I currently use is called CovenantEyes, but to avoid providing only one option, let me say that other products out there exist, like accountable2you, Ever Accountable, Router Limits, Breathe, etc. I can only comment on what I use though. You'll have to research the other options if you are interested, but CovenantEyes is about US$14/month.

    If you have an Android TV and might use that to act out, you can create a restricted profile and have someone else create its password without telling you (I had a relapse with that once and had to jump on it so that I wouldn't make the same mistake again). It should block Google Play (where you download apps on Android devices), and before setting up the account you can choose which apps are allowed and which aren't (so if you were to use say Netflix or YouTube as p-sub outlets, you could make them inaccessible). If you are uncomfortable revealing your reason why you want to have a restricted profile and not know the password, you can say something like, "I have found my internet and on-demand service use is problematic and interfering with productivity/quality-of-life etc., and I want to greatly reduce the time I spend on them," or something like that. I don't have an Apple TV and thus have little to say about it, but poke around online if you do to figure out how to make it safer for you to use.

    I think that perhaps one of the biggest problems with setting up an accountability partnership is finding a good partner. Obviously, the easiest route is reaching out to someone you know and trust who is supportive and reliable, but if no such person exists in your life at the moment, reaching out to someone on this forum who has demonstrated these qualities to you is an alternative (that's what I did, but it took a lot of time on the forums to find some trustworthy candidates--I know it can be difficult establishing relationships of trust with people you have never met face-to-face, but let me tell you that it is possible...although it also possible to meet the opposite as well, so be cautious). If no one comes to mind, you may want to try signing up at Porn Addicts Anonymous and searching for a suitable AP there after getting to know the members of its community/participating in meetings. I have never used the platform so I can't say from personal experience, but I have heard through the grapevine that generally speaking its members take the issue of porn addiction and recovery more seriously when compared to the RN/YBR communities as a whole. You could also try Noah Church's Rebooter Support and Discussion Group for weekly support (or more than that--there are three meetings a week) and maybe even meet a future AP there. FYI the group costs US$40/month through Patreon, but if that is too steep for you, he has a US$10/month option that gives you access to his Discord server and the community there (you may also have access to "office hours" at this tier to speak to him directly, although you can do that for free on his monthly YouTube livestreams so that's an option too), so you could just sign up for that if you are trying to find a quality AP.

    Lastly, I don't want to plug Noah's services too hard, but I thought it might be worth mentioning that he recently completed two different recovery courses (one for recovering from porn addictions and the other for PISDs). I am myself do not plan on using them (I've made a lot of progress and have come up with a pretty reliable--albeit not yet perfect--recovery paradigm, so I don't think it's necessary) and thus cannot comment on their contents, but I bring them up because I think for the average consumer they are (perhaps) too pricey (US$500 for the PISD course and US$800 for porn addiction!) BUT he is offering up to a 75% discount until the end of this month (i.e. down to $125 and $200 respectively), so if you are interested in trying something different that's predicated on solid recovery knowledge and wisdom without a (very) large fee you still have a week left to capitalize on a 75% discount. Even with this discount however, you may want to poke around online to see if you can find anyone who has used the courses and what their views on them are. I am not sure how to use them, but the discount coupons can be found here.

    I know I wrote a lot, but I hope that basically the cumulative effect of the above text is to inspire you to not lose hold of the hope that long-term sobriety is possible. It is. And there are always ways to change/adjust/improve your current approach. Please don't give up.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
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  10. BoughtWithBlood

    BoughtWithBlood Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement! Happy to read you’ve already made so much progress and I wish you all the best in making the next steps towards lasting freedom
     
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  11. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    It's been a while since I have posted here.

    Not much to say. Things have been steadily progressing on the recovery front. I don't think I will be writing much this time around, but maybe I will count days.

    Things have been going well with my accountability partner. He has been making some really great progress recently, and I am happy for him. It's great being inspired by someone who has struggled with this addiction in a manner similar to myself. We switched from our old accountability software to a different one a few weeks back. It has a different approach, and that has been a bit refreshing. I participated in a few meetings for recovering porn addicts. They were nice to take part in, but they weren't really for me. I'm glad to have tried them out though. My biggest setback so far was finding a consistent workaround to my filtering and blocking. That threw me off for about a month, but I think I have now found equilibrium even within an insecure internet environment.

    My last relapse was a few days back though. I am finishing up Day 6 now. For reference, being sober for me = no porn/p-subs, masturbation, intentional fantasy (sexual or romantic), intentional ogling, and--for an indefinite amount of time--no sex. It's fine to be sexual, but what matters is holding the reins and not vice versa.

    Take care
     
  12. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Good to see (or rather read) you @NewStart19! And good to see that you've made some progress.
     
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  13. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @-Luke-

    In the digital Wild West known as the internet, you can count yourself fortunate when you run into Lucky Luke ; ).

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope you're progressing toward your goals in whatever way you can. You've always been a friendly netizen to me, and I appreciate that.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Day 7 is down. I think in addition to marking down the days in this "digital calendar", I will try to share something I have encountered related to recovery that has either proved useful to me or might prove useful to others

    R E M O J O (Accountability Software):

    The accountability software I switched to is called R e m o j o. It has its pros and cons compared to what I was using before (Covenant Eyes). It's cheaper (at around US$5/month) but doesn't have screenshot accountability and its filtering and blocking, at least on Windows and iOS, are inferior. With that being said, it is a new app, so these two may improve with time. One interesting feature is the panic button (available on the Windows version but not iOS) which locks you out of your computer for a set period of time. R e m o j o does have a mindset section within the app that has audio sessions which present concepts related to recovery and then some questions for the user to answer about the sessions at the end. This was absent in Covenant Eyes and has been useful for both me and my AP so far. There are some other features (an in-app counter, a community (=forum) section) but I don't use them much.

    That's it for today. Looking forward to another day of sobriety.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
  14. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I am definitely making progress in learning new words. Never heard of a "netizen" before, but I'm glad that I'm a friendly one. :D
     
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  15. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @-Luke-

    Always glad to be of use. You're just as friendly as I remember : )

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Day 8 is coming to a close. Another domino on the table.

    R.U.N.

    I encountered this initialism in the mindset section of the R e m o j o app, and it has proved very helpful so far. While perhaps not 100% accurate, it stands for something like, Remove yourself from the situation (in my mind either external or internal...although I also added Relate differently to the situation), Understand the lies (i.e. the rationalizations and arguments that emerge in your thoughts trying to justify a relapse or a slip), and Never forget (all that you have lost to your addiction, the cycles it keeps you stuck in, and what you have to lose if you remain bound to it). It helps to outline examples of each at some point when you have spare time so that they'll be easier to access when you feel challenged.

    Right now for me, taking each challenge at a time is important, particularly because it is so soon after my last relapse. Wishing everyone the best with their individual efforts.

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
  16. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Well-Known Member

    I really like the RUN acronym. I’ll remember there one. Keep up the great work.

    PC.
     
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  17. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    I like it. It also seems to be a good tool in times of urges in order to get control over the situation again. Accessing the rational part of your brain by reflecting about the letters of the acronym and what they mean to you instead of giving in to what the emotional part wants in the moment.
     
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  18. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Professor Chaos

    Glad to hear you like it. The more tools in one's recovery toolkit the better. Let's use R.U.N. and everything else we have acquired during our recovery efforts to the leave this addiction behind once and for all. Both you and your family deserve much more than what it offers.

    @Pete McVries

    Good to see you approve! The proof is in the pudding of course, but I may very well be at the point where escape velocity is reached and I am finally free from the orbit of porn, masturbation and fantasy. Only time will tell though, so please check out this thread from time to time ; )

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Day 9 is winding down. Had one of those tractor-beam urges last night, so I immediately shut off my IADs, meditated, and went to bed.

    A bit tired today (I just got back from a 2.5-hour long walk), but let me take a quick stab at this:

    Companionship

    About two and half months ago, I got a puppy. While he drives me crazy at times and has placed constraints on my life, I can unequivocally say that he is a net positive to it. Sometimes he makes me laugh, helps dampen the feelings of loneliness I feel, and at others boosts my feeling of well-being by just being by my side, showing me that he is happy to see me, or giving me a chance to feel physically connected to something by letting me pet or hold him. Even the negatives can be reframed in a positive light: he helps me better deal with feelings of frustration/anger, cultivates a sense of responsibility within, and improves my ability to be patient.

    Be it a dog, cat, family, a lover, or friends, finding a way to boost companionship in your own life is bound to give you one more thing in your arsenal to manage this addiction and stabilize your recovery. Of course, it's not just limited to this addiction. The overall quality of your life improves as a result of feeling connected to someone or something else, even with the potential difficulties, frustration, and heartbreak that may be involved.

    I feel that if this component is completely lacking from your life, it'll make climbing out of the pit more difficult. That's why I recommend at least brainstorming how to increase the companionship you have in your life in a way that works with your current situation. We all have to start somewhere, but this is definitely something worth working on, especially if you feel like your life is lacking it.

    Thanks for reading. Take care
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2021
  19. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Day 10 is approaching its end. I was heavily challenged at one point today, but I made it through and remain clean.

    HALT


    This is another helpful acronym that enables you to quickly check on yourself to see if there is some underlying need that isn't being met. It's useful because it serves as a shortcut for identifying underlying problems quickly before they snowball and potentially cause you to relapse. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. While it clearly doesn't cover every underlying problem, it does cover some core ones that can be quickly addressed (e.g. have something to eat, take a break to decompress or do some explosive physical activity, reach out to a friend or loved one via message/phone call/conversation, or take a nap).

    That's it for today. I need to remember to continue taking each challenge at a time and remain steadfast in my efforts (not just no porn/p-subs, but also no masturbation, intentional fantasy or ogling); otherwise, I'll remain stuck in the cycle.

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
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  20. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Day 11 is almost done. After posting yesterday and getting in bed, I experienced the worst challenge of this streak so far. Thankfully, I made it through without acting out, including no fantasy. I am glad I made the right choice.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Gifts of Recovery: Daily Meditations for Men and Women in Recovery from Sex Addiction

    This is the name of a daily reader that I recommend to anyone struggling with porn, sex, or an any addiction to be honest. It consists of daily topics that start with a quote related to their contents, a paragraph covering the content of the day, and some questions for the reader to reflect on. There's a topic for each day of the year that takes up a single page, and making a daily habit out of reading and answering the questions has proved very helpful for me. The pages are short and don't take much time to read through, but if you have a few extra minutes or a given topic really resonates with you, the questions provide a basic framework for further reflection. There are physical and digital versions available.

    I hope tonight is different from yesterday, but what's most important is how I respond to the situation, not the situation itself.

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021

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