My Path to Grace

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by PathToGrace, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. PathToGrace

    PathToGrace New Member

    Hey everyone, I'm a 30-year old man who spent the good part of the last year breaking free from porn use after spending the latter half of my life making it a routine. Porn use has caused me to be late for work, fail exams in school, scramble my priorities, miss opportunities to have fulfilling relationships with great women, and waste so much precious time.

    I told myself for years that "I'll get over this, I'll get over this..." but I could never stop chasing the instant gratification that porn provided, despite all of the negative effects it had on me, and despite my full awareness of these effects. I finally came to a breaking point months ago when I realized it was ruining my relationship with my current girlfriend, who truly is the love of my life. I've been in a relationship with her for years now, and I've been trying to leap over this mountain of a struggle so that I may propose to her in a healthy state of mind. She deserves no less for the uncompromised love she has always shown me.

    I am, despite all of this, a Christian man; of all my sins, porn use has affected me the most, and it has been the hardest to break away from. I know I am forgiven, but I often cannot forgive myself for letting porn use detract the amount of love I can attribute to others, and for letting it control different aspects of my life.

    When I hit the breaking point a few months ago, I visited a pastor in desperate need of help and verbally admitted my dependency on porn to another person for the first time in my life. The visit to the pastor lead me to start seeing a licensed therapist and I have been receiving care ever since.

    I have only started trying to "reboot" about a month ago after having read the famous "Your Brain on Porn," and I successfully went on a 17-day streak without intentionally visiting a pornographic website. Of course, I started over and now I am on day 7. However, over the last month, I have already felt the positive effects of rebooting: greater energy levels on a daily basis, meaningful social interactions, and stronger attraction to my girlfriend (this is my favorite one!).

    I hope to find like-minded individuals here with who I can share support and encouragement, because I have come to the conclusion that I cannot win this battle alone.

    See you out there!
    nuclpow, Antonius and Merton like this.
  2. Caoimhín

    Caoimhín Winter's coming...

    Lots of like-minded folks here! I encourage you to start your own journal and learn as much as you can about your particular version of this addiction! The more you know about it, the more you can fight it. Good luck!
    Merton likes this.
  3. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean about not doing this alone. Welcome!
  4. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Welcome Path to Grace ! I hope you can find some support on here. We're all in this together.
    Merton likes this.
  5. Antonius

    Antonius Member

    Welcome, PathtoGrace. I’m also a Christian who struggles with porn addiction. We have great weapons available to us to fight in this battle - most notably, we know our struggle is grounded in something bigger than ourselves.
  6. PathToGrace

    PathToGrace New Member

    Yesterday, I couldn't help it and PMO'd. That made a 14-day streak, and now I'm back on day 1. I was too overwhelmed with temptation and I just couldn't help it.

    This is very embarrassing and discouraging but that's what I'm here for. The bright side is (if you can consider it a bright side), when I PMO'd, I went straight for exactly what I wanted and didn't edge. I used to edge for at least 30 minutes, and I know that's what sticks the dopamine soak.

    Thanks so far for those who have shown up in my journal. Do you guys have any tips to distract yourself when you start feeling the beginnings of temptation? I feel as if in those first few moments, there is a critical 10-second window where I have an opportunity to decide "no," and I was able to pull the ejection lever for 14 days in that window. I guess all good things come to end. Starting over!
    nuclpow likes this.
  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hey 2 weeks is pretty good stuff ! It's not an easy thing to do. Dealing with cravings isn't easy. It's all about how sincere you are in your effort to stop PMO. It takes some soul searching and knowing why you wanna do this. The more firm you are in your commitment the easier you deal with the cravings, reach that zone where you easily and firmly say "nope" and go on with your day. It's not always easy, though, to reach such a mindset. The cravings are often here, but you deal with them in a different manner, if you are motivated with the recovery. I think. If your commitment is good, then what works is to work out (burns the energy), to go outside of your house and disconnect from the computer, to try to go out and connect with friends, do positive things you enjoy (art, movies, music, concerts, museums, walk around in the city, reading), to journal about your feelings and emotions, meditation. It's a mix of tools and I guess we each have to find the method that works for us. But behind everything is the sincere commitment. It's the usual cliché but abstinence is one part of the deal and the other is finding healthy ways to replace the void the addiction is filling. Why are we using PMO, what are we numbing, or what emotional needs are we trying to fulfill like that ? How can we go out and get those needs fulfilled in a healthier way ?
  8. PathToGrace

    PathToGrace New Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 You just made me realize I left out a key factor in my story. As I mentioned before, I am Christian, and spent a majority of my free time in college attending small group bible studies and participating in a few ministries on campus. Back then, I still had a porn problem (as most, if not all, my buddies in the ministry also did - though none of us ever spoke of it). However, the Christian community did cultivate in me a mindset of abstinence until marriage, although the idea of abstinence isn't explicitly spelled out in the bible (it is only implicit). I also failed in the abstinence challenge, until I met my current girlfriend. We slept together on our first date and for the first few months. However, after having a heartfelt discussion about our religious beliefs, we decided to be abstinent and it has been that way for years. As much of a win that was, I now lacked a sexual relationship with my girlfriend and it caused me to look elsewhere for that satisfaction. A few years go by struggling with porn, and now I'm here. I'm obviously struggling with more than a physical challenge - I've also been emotionally and spiritually conflicted the entire time. I know where I need to be and have my sights set on the end goal, but I keep wandering off the beaten path until I push myself back in the right direction, even if just for a short while. I'll tell you all one thing though, since I started with porn in my teens, I've never been able to go without porn for a week on my own willpower. So the good news is, I am on an upswing right now, and I MUST NOT lose the momentum. I've been waiting years for this kind of progress.

    Day 5 and counting.
    nuclpow likes this.
  9. PathToGrace

    PathToGrace New Member

    Made it to about Day 13, and this weekend, I broke my streak. So today, back to Day 1. This is frustrating - but I'm constantly reminded of how human I am. I guess that's a good thing? I think I gave in to the promise of novelty (for those of you familiar with Your Brain on Porn, you know what I'm talking about). The struggle for me is that once I imagine something, I become tempted. Once I become tempted, I have a few seconds to tell myself no. Most of the time nowadays, I win, but occasionally I lose. When I lose, I can easily find whatever fantasy I just had online. The ease of it is such a set up for failure. I'm not relinquishing the blame from me at all, but when I do give in to temptation, the ease of access we have makes it way too easy to fail. I thought about setting up a porn-blocker, but then I thought that's like walking around in a lucid dream, I can just turn it off when I want because I know how I did it in the first place. I figure I just have to nip it in the bud, in those first few moments of temptation. Has anyone found a way to convince themselves that it's not worth it?
  10. PathToGrace

    PathToGrace New Member

    Just made it to Day 12, but I do have a confession to make. I have been visiting porn like an old friend without actually masturbating to it. I feel like I cheated, but the point is to reconnect with real attractions, so maybe I didn't...either way, I've been craving it. I haven't seen my therapist in a while, so I've had no one to talk to about my progress and my slips. I also have been secretly watching movies with nudity in it just to get a taste without actually watching porn. Is that cheating too? I honestly feel like a victim of today's hyper sexualized society and the accessibility of the internet, but really no one is to blame but myself :/
    nuclpow likes this.
  11. Neilk

    Neilk Member

    Welcome I hope you can release this demon that has a hold on you. Im at 62 days and it hasnt been easy. We are over stimulated and hyper sexualized by the media wich in turn leads to women thinking its ok to show off more skin in public than what used to be acceptable by our parents and grandparents generation. Ive had to turn away from movies and even try not to check out girls in public which has been super hard since i considered myself a master while not getting caught bybthe wife. Ive taken alot of steps every day and if i ever get the itch to pmo i just come on here to re hold myself accountable in my journey and reading some posts takes the edge off. Knowing ive made this much progress to blow it over a few hours of pixels and days of not feeling well after. I wish you luck
  12. TrueSelf

    TrueSelf Active Member

    I think that it's helpful to clearly define what you consider a relapse. By my definition the viewing of porn even without O would definitely count as a relapse. As for the movies with nudity I wouldn't necessarily count it is a relapse but I know in my case this is something that I have to avoid. As you stated the world is already hyper sexualized so why make things even more difficult on yourself by readily viewing this type of material?
    PathToGrace likes this.
  13. PathToGrace

    PathToGrace New Member


    Honestly, I would consider P+M or P+M+O a relapse. In no way am I trying to give myself a reason to watch porn, but I think it's the dopamine surge that comes with the M or O while watching porn that takes you away from being attracted to the real thing. However, P without M or O still puts me at great risk of messing it all up, so I'll still count it as a relapse anyways.

    With that said, I had a 20-day streak. Back on Day 3 :/
  14. chrism

    chrism It's time to make a change.

    Yeah I agree with the other guys, you need to figure it out for yourself, what is and what is not a relapse.

    I’d say what ever you feel has a negative impact on your recovery, that could be a relapse.

    For me I sometimes feel that just peeking at P is worse than a relapse in some ways because i fuels my addiction and kills me into a false sense that I have not PMO’d, which just leads me to perk more and it’s just ends at a full blown relapse at some point down the line, but with this extended period of negative thoughts around the whole situation.

    Regarding movies, I some just look away during certain scenes, and yeah in public, it’s probab a good idea not to stare at women, if anything it’s probably just more polite...

    Different things work for different people, you just need to try and keep track of what works for you and what doesn’t...

    Good luck!
  15. PathToGrace

    PathToGrace New Member

    It's been a while since I've been on here. To be honest, my work schedule got a hold of me (in regards to time and stress), so I have been giving in to looking at porn over the last couple of months since my last visit. I haven't forgotten what I started here, but life is cyclical and I have been on the downslope since I last posted. I've been trying to encourage myself that I'll come back up again, but it's often hard to commit when you don't have much time to hear your own thoughts. I am definitely not making any excuses - if anything, I'm the only one to blame for not resisting my own temptations. I hide my shame here where no one knows me, and thank goodness because I usually have few to no other outlets.
    My question to anyone out there: can we expect to fully overcome our own temptations? Is there anyone out there that you know that has completely turned around, and if so, how did they do it?
  16. SeekingWisdom

    SeekingWisdom Member

    I believe that God is greater than any struggle we will face in this world.

    Is your pastor someone you have a relationship with and will pray for you. It is good for you to confess your struggle with other believers and friends. You will need their prayers. You can not do this on your own. You will need the Spirit's help and the prayers of your friends. You said your girlfriend is a believer as well. You could use her help and support. This addiction is going to effect her at some point as well, you won't be able to hide it from her forever.

    Keep fighting; you can do this! It's a long road, but we know that it's worth it.
  17. nuclpow

    nuclpow Active Member

    Your journal is very interesting to me. I also have a lot of Christian beliefs, and at this time I don't even know if I am one or not, but this makes me find your journal very helpful. I feel for you.

    I read your comment about filtering, and you say there's no point in installing it because you can just remove it. Well, I'm telling you, get filtering! Here are some advantages of filtering:
    • You will know, psychologically, that you did some real, actual thing to quit internet porn. This will remind you and help you keep motivated to reboot.
    • It takes time to removing filtering. Maybe only a few minutes, or even a few seconds, but it's not 0. Even that might discourage 95% of porn use with you. It does for me.
    • The psychological barrier of removing filtering will help remind you that you are doing something that's a bad idea or wrong. The few seconds or minutes might help you come to your senses.
    • It's highly recommended by the YBOP website and many others, and since it does no harm, you should just install it. It will also help remind you that you are serious about not looking at porn.
    I don't know if I've seen someone here quit without filtering, and since it doesn't stop normal web use, I think it's a no-brainer. You can reply back if you want help to know what filtering to set up and how. Filtering is one of the main, most important things as far as rebooting.

    Yes, I agree with temptation being only a few seconds. That's the right time to defeat it, but for me, most temptations go away if I remember that I have filtering, and almost all mindless, impulsive looking up of porn is stopped before I even try too. The rest has always been stopped by my filter so far.

    I also want you to work on a life plan to have something to do other than resist porn temptations. Have you prayed to God about what you should do romantically or for a career or as a hobby? I think he will eventually make his will known to you. You can pray to God about what to do about marriage, too.

    You should get some tools. Resisting porn temptations on willpower for the rest of your life isn't going to work, and you're not going to reboot that way. Making lists of reasons you don't want to look at porn, or the downsides of it will help. Negotiating with yourself that you'll have to not look at naked people intentionally who aren't your wife for prurient purposes ever again might help. You may experience a serious sense of loss.

    I wouldn't confess porn use to your girlfriend. Most men don't understand internet porn, either. (Who does? It's the reason why the Your Brain On Porn website is so good. Hardly anyone understand that porn nowadays is an internet-driven thing.) Okay, that's all I have right now. Please keep posting and let us know how it goes.
    Merton likes this.
  18. PathToGrace

    PathToGrace New Member

    Thanks for the advice, @SeekingWisdom and @nuclpow. I have been struggling in a similar fashion since I've joined this forum. However, now that I am actually aware of what I am struggling with, I've concluded that my situation mirrors what you'd read in YBOP. It has helped me dodge at least half of my temptations, knowing what the (physical) consequences could be if I continued onward in those moments. I only wish that I didn't just know what the physical consequences would be, but I also wish I had the time to dig deep into why I personally give in to those temptations. Unfortunately, I am not a psychiatrist, and simply attribute my problems to what I do know: I want what I do not have. Maybe I grew up wanting what I did not have and it is taking a very long time to flush out.
    I will say that frequent meditation allows me to reset my thoughts elsewhere if done properly, and that the constant realization that I am off the beaten path in my spiritual walk provides a two-pronged approach strong enough to keep me lucid about what I am struggling with.
    SeekingWisdom and nuclpow like this.

Share This Page