I try not to have regrets or to make excuses. People that don’t make mistakes don’t learn anything, and I’m wiser for having been so dumb. (Just wish I’d figured it all out sooner. . .) What follows is an account of my self-sabotaging behaviour over the past few decades. . . As a teenager in the early eighties, it was far easier to get my hands on alcohol than drugs or porn. I was a good drunk. No fighting, crying or weirdness. Although I told myself it was glamorous, I realized I had an alcohol problem when I was around 25, but it took me two years to actually stop. I wasn’t drinking to be social, to have fun or to hang out with the boys – I was drinking to hurt myself. I quit cold turkey in January 1998. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the most important. I’ve now been sober 16 years. What’s this got to do with porn? Everything. Addiction is basically the process of re-wiring your brain. When you repeat a particular action, you reinforce connections between neurons, or brain cells. And as they say, neurons that fire together wire together. Anything that creates a chemical change in your brain can be addictive; the more you release those feel-good chemicals, the stronger a neural pathway you are creating. The object of your addiction becomes your only source of pleasure. Porn is as addictive as alcohol or drugs. It’s all one big dopamine rush. My first month sober was a living hell. The days were bone-grating miserable, and at night I’d dream of alcohol. I’d wake up with the taste of the dream drink in my throat. The next two months were a grind, but once I was three months in, things got easier. After a year I never felt the need to get drunk; after a two years I was able to walk into a bar to drink soda and not give a damn what anyone thought. (This tallies with the claimed three-month process of breaking free from PMO.) But I got complacent. Putting so much attention to being dry, I started taking drugs. Cocaine “just once a month” became every weekend, and I very soon found myself smoking foilies right after work. Oh, and while I was at it, I set up my first home internet connection sometime around 1998. I quit cocaine the following year, ecstasy and pot by 2000 – without too much difficulty once I realized that I was using them in exactly the same way as alcohol. I never figured that late night internet sessions were just as dangerous. . . Surfing for porn seemed, when I was starting out, as innocuous as a few beers with the boys had been a decade previously, or my first line of cocaine. In the in-between time I got married, bought a house and started a family. But I allowed myself my online “treat” at increasingly regular times. I’d go a couple of weeks, sometimes three, and then have a long, late session, usually until 2am. And then another, a couple of days later. My worst probably ran between 9am and 3am the next day. But I’d never truly sleep immediately after a session. Too hyped up, I guess. Then I’d drag myself into work through self-hatred. Porn became another way of hurting myself. I would download pictures, and spent hours arranging them into files in between porn surfing binges. Categories and sub-categories. How is it that porn brings out the librarian in you? Although I am married, I’ve never been that much of a success with women, and finding and sorting their pictures into files and folders somehow made me feel like less of a failure. Outwardly I am a success – a family guy, with a nice house in an upscale neighbourhood. Behind closed doors, my PIED has developed into sexual anorexia to the point that I moved myself into the basement. I have no libido whatsoever. A few years ago I realized I had a problem – and it’s not just that my wife thinks I’m gay. I even told her that she could go get herself a boyfriend, if that’s what she wanted. I tried to stop surfing porn over at least three years, but always drifted back. Late in 2013 I read about the no fap movement, spent some time on yourbrainonporn.com, and I realized it was an addiction. I quit PMO sometime around mid-October. As far as I am concerned, I could not quit the P and keep on with the MO. It has to be all-round abstinence. I’m probably two-and-a-half months in. It’s working – well enough for me to get complacent and very, very nearly relapse last week. I come here every time I feel a relapse coming on. I'm starting to learn to recognize the triggers. I’ve also noticed enough positive changes in my life, which I’ll detail in later posts, that I am committed to make 2014 PMO-free. I’m not running a counter and I don’t intend my posts to be all that chronological, but let’s just say I’m 43 but feel like life is starting over again. I hope I don’t make this sound too easy – I have to be honest and say that I’m an alcoholic first and foremost, and always will be (but a sober one) and quitting drinking was the toughest thing I’ve ever, ever done. I hope I haven’t given alcohol and drugs too much attention here, but I feel there isn’t much on this site comparing PMO with other addictions. I also hope my experiences of one addictive behaviour morphing into another can be useful to someone, somewhere. In short, never, never get complacent.