onesea's journey

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by onesea, May 14, 2015.

  1. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    Hi all,

    I've been reading this board for a few weeks and the amount of support you all give each other is amazing. And it has helped me so thank you. I thought of not posting at all but I can't be on the journey with just myself and my therapist. So here goes.

    Recently I have not pmo since April 1st and to me this has been a painful start to the changes I have had to make. Emotionally I am spent, not just because of the addiction but also because of everything else that contributes. I'm unemployed and because of that I have incredible anxiety and some depression. It seems worse now that I am making this change. I am assuming that normal.

    My history? Ever since I found a stack of Playboys on the curb during my paper route one day when I was 14, I have looked at and used porn. I grew up in a very conservative family and private schools were my haunt. Back then I hid the magazines I found and hid my pmo, not always successfully. My mother shamed me once after she found them and I think that made me feel shame for years to come. College came and some of this continued. I have gone in and out of pmo my whole adult life so I can't say I spent my entire time with pmo even if I did still have the addiction within me. Girlfriends, school and activities managed to keep me busy between intermittent occurrences of pmo. But I will always remember that when I did pmo, I felt less of myself and could barely make decisions in my life. I felt alone and small and most areas of my life suffered for weeks and months.

    Forward 10 years and I moved to a new city alone after a failed long term relationship. This was the time when the internet sprang to life and wow the porn. Living alone for awhile, I relished spending time browsing what porn was out there. This was not an everyday thing and has never been for me. Something keeps me from doing much more. I would say I have pmo'd 1-3 times a week, spending an hour each time. Some of that was just mo if I was feeling lonely and shameful. Fast forward to these past 13 years. I met a wonderful woman. My life was good too with a nice job, good friends and my new girlfriend. We married in time and have been together since. All this time I have been on my pmo schedule of 1-3 times a week with many long spurts of not doing it at all, just being with her and not the physical side of my addiction. I definitely had the thoughts but I seemed to abstain enough to get through. But these past few years have been rough in every aspect of my life I feel that I need to rid myself of this addiction, both physically and emotionally no matter what. I lost my job and with my age at 50+ it has been very hard to find work. I got anxiety and depression over this whole process and at times my pmo has come back and made me feel worse and worse. I have no self confidence and this if for a lot of reasons. I feel discarded, out to pasture and so on. And so no wonder my pmo came back. I've been bored and frustrated. Throughout this I have been seeing a therapist the past year. I am just now revealing this to her and we are addressing it. I can't envision telling my wife because otherwise things are going well. She is my savior right now. My addiction has not kept me from being with her sexually and I do not seem to have ED. The emotional wreckage is a different story and I have definitely been moody and less confident around her. My current unemployment has added to that so I'm not sure where the career issues begin and the pmo ends and how they feed off each other. But I want to stop this addiction because I know inside that it isn't a useful thing. Despite how much I wanted to pretend it wasn't a big deal, it is and always will be. For me it is wrong to waste any of my energy partaking of an addiction that makes me feel less, especially at a time when I need to feel better about myself.

    So as of now I have been free of the physical aspects of pmo since the beginning of April. I have gone that far and further before but the emotional side has always been with me. The wanting, the glancing and scanning in public. The mo'ing to fantasies. What I want more than anything is to feel at peace inside. To get my self confidence back so I can heal the other parts of my life which are difficult. I'm sick of the anxiety and depression and all the sources that contribute to it. I know that pmo only makes it worse when I have other issues to work on. And it no longer needs to be a part of my life.

    I'm just starting out on this path so thank you for all you guys do in just being here and discussing this. I'm not sure how much I will post. This is a really private issue right now. And embarrassing. And shameful, guilt ridden. But I hope I can contribute.

    onesea
     
  2. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    By the way. I can't tell if how much of my anxiety or depression is the result of my other circumstances or my latest streak of going no pmo. Do the withdrawal symptoms get worse as you age? And oh the insomnia!

    So how does one reconcile the idea of no O with a wife that is still ready? I know it should be part of my healing to not do this, but how necessary is it? Can we find regular sex to be healing or is it just completely a no go? This will be an issue for me as I get closer to 60 days. I have no issues wit the no pmo or mo.
     
  3. Arizona

    Arizona All answers can be found within

    Welcome onesa. Tanks for sharing your vulnerability here. It's a sign of strength in my opinion.

    Recognize a lot of what you're going through. Great job that you took the initiative to get therapy. One on one? Is it directly related to porn or more general?

    To answer your last answer about O… You write you fantasize a lot. I think that's a no go. Your wife might feel the same. No fun (and not sexy) having a husband who's lurking away in his thoughts f#cking other women. Say it like she probably would. No offense meant.

    My gf only wishes me to O when I think of her. And I kind of like her for this wish. I O less because of that (coming from a past with almost unlimited fantasies), and it feels clean to O this way. Even though it's tempting to fantasize away with other women watching and all that stuff. Stuff that sounds 'legitimate because you think of your wife, but is possible a first symptom of escaping from reality to fantasy. Sometimes O with her with no distractions comes easy. Those are nice and (again in my opinion) totally ok.

    About the rest, There's a nice quick fix for your self confidence I happened to read a while back here on this forum:
    http://zenhabits.net/25-killer-actions-to-boost-your-self-confidence/

    I call it 'quick fix' because it of course helps at some levels, but to really build self-confidence, well, I believe one must go to the core of who one is. The rest is just fixing the appearance where other people believe you are more confident, which is why you also believe it. While it may really just not be the case but just an identity, a coat covering insecurity underneath.

    Where I went through similar challenges to face my true responsibilities, I posted about them a little here
    http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com/index.php?topic=25755.msg461536#msg461536.
    Basically, you must somehow start to recognize, know deeply that your addictions are no more then an attempt to escape the unpleasant feelings that coping with life sometimes offers you. The unpleasant feelings cause a voice inside of you, saying you deserve a break from it all and allow you to watch porn, O or whatever else you have in your life (as most people on this planet) to escape truth and one's responsibilities. You must see that they're really NOT ok and will only sedate you after which you'll get your usual hangover (insecurity) and need for deeper sedation the next time to get a similar buzz.

    Keep us posted and great going with your first 40 no P days or so…
     
  4. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    Arizona,

    Thanks so much for your reply. Yes the therapy is one on one. I was initially seeing her do to my inability to get through some deep seeded issues with my unemployment and the age issues that go along with that. That therapy is now also including my pmo issues. So it is a more general therapy that is now addressing multiple issues.

    Currently I don't feel like I am fantasizing a lot and if I do it seems to be about my wife. She is dear to me and we are still attracted to each other. So I'm not fantasizing about other women during this current streak of going pmo free. I agree that O with her would be ill advised if I am fantasizing about others and will be very watchful of that. I had sex with her once during this streak and I was in the moment with her. Now that I am on here and reading more, I may try and go without any O since I know so much more now. I started this process at the beginning of April because I knew I had to and only then did I start seeing what a problem this is for so many people. I felt all alone but when I found sites like this I was amazed at the stories, the journeys, the healing and such. I don't feel so alone. I'm going to learn from everyone. Also, it was when I started reading on sites like this that I mentioned my issue to my therapist.

    My wife does not even know I have this issue. I have not had physical issues that would give me away and I also was not doing pmo often enough to make it seem so obvious I had issues. I've always done less pmo than I could have because something has always held me back. I don't know what but something has stopped me from getting hardcore, or doing it everyday and at times I have gone on streaks of not doing any pmo for weeks. Yes I have an addiction. Yes I have been changed for the worse by all this. Yes it has affected my life. And yes it has affected the emotional side of my marriage. So yes I know I should tell her. Right now I feel it would really destroy her and I want to work on me. I'm not in denial, just scared.

    I will check that link you gave me. I really get into more of the eastern philosophy and Im reading more like that right now. The Untethered Soul is one I am reading now.

    You are right that my addiction is an attempt to escape my unpleasant feelings, namely those having to do with my very conservative and staid upbringing. However, I also believe that this addiction also creates more unpleasant emotions that then feed the addiction more. I'm not only trying to escape emotions, but I'm also creating worse ones. Addiction does that so that so really get hooked. This addiction like others is also pavlovian. Sometimes, we just blindly do pmo because, well, there it is. It's a habit, albeit a destructive one. There are times it was as utilitarian as taking a crap. Most times it is hiding from issues.

    Still no pmo or mo since April 1, 2015.

    onesea
     
  5. WRAT

    WRAT Active Member

    onesea, welcome. Based on everything I've read, nothing wrong with continuing to O with your wife. Avoiding P & M is the goal here. I was clean for 246 days and felt great. I've been struggling since I relapsed.

    I went 9 months unemployed in 2009 and it just about did me in. It sucks that it is so difficult to find work at our age.

    Read & post often; it really helps.
     
  6. Arizona

    Arizona All answers can be found within

    hey one sea, yes, I agree on your findings about addiction. Of course, it's a trip deeper and deeper into unconsciousness, idenitification and sedation. Writing this, I guess they're all the same.

    And to comment on WRAT and my earlier thoughts on O… I guess the only thing that really matters, is what YOU feel about it. Investigate what makes you O in the first place, what happens when you O on your wife, is it clean etc. And how you feel afterwards about it. I think that's the best advisor on questions like these. All answers can be found within…

    And about that you feel you must tell her. If it is love that keeps you from telling, maybe it's not necessary. If you do all you can to stop (like eventually maybe temporary therapy directed really just on this topic) and you feel/see real progress over (short) periods of time, well, maybe telling your wife can wait. I'm usually all about honesty and sharing, more then most of the people I meet, but there's always the subtlety of examining in yourself the true nature of your wish to share. And if it's that you wish to be 'one' in all with your wife, well, maybe you can become clean and be one and eventuall if the time feels right, share that you HAD an issue with it and you conquered it. Or better, it dissolved. The 'you' clinging to porn part dissolved because (with therapy, self searching) you saw through the illusion.
    Of course, this requires quite a keen look into yourself to make sure you're not fooling yourself. A living master is of course the best, better then any books to help/guide you seeing truth in yourself.

    Namaste

    Edit: Oeps, I see now that I meant M where I used the word/letter O. Masturbating. I see you're talking about Orgasm. Yes, I think too that orgasm when it comes natural duringmaking love, is always ok. Sorry for the confusion.
     
  7. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Onesea, the most important thing you can do to start finding peace is to forgive yourself. You looked at porn because you were unhappy - and it made you feel worse. That's all there is to it.

    During my failed previous attempts to reboot, I carried a lot of anger, and it always ended up directed at me. You need to forgive yourself to move on. The next step is to kill the voice within yourself that you put yourself down - if you are anything like me, that is; I've spent years calling myself a loser, worthless. . . all that negativity.

    I am actually finding that this whole rebooting process is a wonderful opportunity for some self-development. I'm starting to see my pornography viewing as a message from my subconscious that I was a self-hating hollow shell of a person that was making my family unhappy. I sincerely believe I can change all that. I'm feeling better about myself than I have in decades.

    I'm not sure about telling your wife. I'll tell mine when this is all behind me, but I'm still trying to understand things myself. I would not be able to deal with her anger over something I couldn't explain.

    Good luck with the battle. It's worth it.
     
  8. Newman8888

    Newman8888 The wound is the place where the Light enters you

    Onesea, I have now read your journal for the first time and I am moved by your sincerity and your thirst for truth. I relate to much of what you were writing in your initial post. My issued is not PIED (in fact this was a term that I learned on this or a similar forum) or weird, extreme hardcore stuff. For me, I just knew that I wanted to get lost in the sexual, erotic haze, fog when life was difficult, stressful, or when I experienced anxiety or anger. I set up some perimeters of what was okay and what wasn't, so as to convince myself that it's okay or not so bad anyway to indulge my urges, to find some relief. Of course, all of this is self-deceit and the one that I'm betraying is ultimately myself, this that I am. I have told my wife and she was shaken by it initially. I don't know if she will ever fully understand. She used to have issues of secretly bing-eating a few years ago so she learned a great deal about compulsion through her own experience. People that I have talked to who have worked with clients that have addictions have told me that women are generally more prone to have issues with food and men more with porn or sex.

    I have abstained from masturbation for about a year or so. On the issue of having an orgasm while having sex with your wife, I am personally in support of that. For me, sexual intimacy, closeness, including orgasm, is important in feeling a bond, a connection in ways that I don't even understand myself. Fantasizing is a no-go, however. If anything it is a wake-up call to inquire, to see what's underneath it all, what is causing the fantasy to arise in the first place without resorting to self-blame or self-judgment. I've become aware how this mechanism has been such a relief valve, escape route during all of my life (at least since early adolescence) when I experienced the slightest anxiety, stress, pressure, etc. It becomes a reward path for the most primitive aspects of our human brains.

    I'm here to support you as best as I can, Onesea. I gave a copy of the book the Untethered Soul to a friend for birthday. I have not read the book myself. It's good to have you here on this forum. Wishing you a good day.
     
  9. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    WRAT - I have been unemployed for years. I've tried to start my own business int that time and take classes, but nothing has worked and I now have the stigma and lack of self confidence that such a situation creates. It's my initial reason for therapy. And now I realize this addiction has probably contributed. It really demeaning to have to look for work as an over 50 because so many many people dismiss us straight off the bat. I see that. Maybe this time is a time I can be used for healing in all areas of my life.

    I'm still stable in my recovery since April 1st so one day at a time.
     
  10. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    Arizona,

    This journey in healing really is something. As of now I feel no desire for P or M, but I still see that part of me for what it was and is. I've noticed that it is hard to not notice other women out in the world and that is one thing I have to learn more about. I've really made an effort to see other women just as people, not as fantasies. It is working somewhat. Not always, but mostly. I catch myself. Since this is my main distraction now - hard to exist in the world without noticing other people - I am working on it. I find this is helping my attitude all around. For instance, if I see a woman and have a inclination to look at her body, I now make an effort to look at her eyes and face and see who she is. I'm trying to do that for everyone in fact.

    I do feel closer to my wife and feel that O with her is fine. We focus on each other. I do find that since is also getting older, menopause soon make her less interested and I will have to deal with that by being more observant as to what she is comfortable with and when. I am focusing on just being more romantic with her at the time and if sex happens, it happens.

    Sharing this addiction with her will be an ongoing question for me. Since I feel I was not in too deep in some ways, I feel that if I can come to peace with this addiction then I may be able to solve this on my own and with therapy. It is love that keeps me from telling her. Since being with her, I have been less involved in my addiction. It has still been there but not like it was before I met her. She is a gentle soul and I know that if I told her, it would hurt. I may actually do harm. I love and respect her. And so I feel like I want to improve on myself for me first and then for her, although privately.

    I'm going to state one thing I have noticed about my addiction. I don't know if others have noticed this, but I had really started to get bored with it. I still did it, not too often, but it seems more of a routine and and was getting stale. Does that make sense to anyone here who has lived with this for awhile? I don't know but if I am honest, along with the thrill of it, the fact that it helped me get over anxiety and frustration and so, I was getting a little tired of it in a boring sort of way. And I certainly noticed what a huge waste of time it has been.

    Namaste
     
  11. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    Wabi-Sabi,

    Thank you so much for your comments. I agree respect for self is the important thing. It is a huge hurdle for me right now since I'm also dealing chronic unemployment, but I am using this time to work on both of my issues. This addiction has definitely not helped the other issues in my life and I want to regain my balance there first.

    I identify with the act of putting oneself down. I think I usually just called myself worthless and shameful. I carry a lot of shame, and I lost a ton of self-confidence through the past years. All the anger and frustration I have had at myself has been outwardly directed and I think if I can be at peace with myself, I can be less harsh on those around me. I've done better the past two months. Some outbursts have occurred when I turn on myself. Much of that revolves around my inability to find the type of work I want, but the rest is about I see myself with this addiction.

    This really is a great time for some self-development. And I'm finding it may be a time to actually recreate myself since I have career issues. I think the career issues happen a lot to people our age so the timing is there to work on both things. And I get to see how one thing may have affected the other. My lack of self-confidence, for example, from my addiction probably contributed to my seeking out safer career options since I never felt good enough. And getting bored with those safer options may have left me frustrated enough to engage in my addiction more than I should have. It was an outlet from frustrating work, plus a lot of other issues.

    Thanks for your thought on your wife. I too am inclined not to tell her while I am figuring it all out. I feel fragile enough that I don't want to make my marriage fragile. I will however do what I can not make it worse for myself with pmo. If I recover and I feel at peace with telling her, it will happen. Right now, I just can not see it. Maybe I'm minimizing my addictions role, but for me I feel at peace that I never slept around her with other women. I just have an addiction where I have cheated on her in my mind with porn. Bad yes, but I am hoping I can overcome the emotional and behavioral parts of my addiction and be at peace. I don't have any physical problems from my addiction so I also feel at peace with that. I hope I am not fooling myself and will think more about this.

    I really am glad you are feeling better about yourself. I understand what you are saying about feeling better yourself more than you had in decades. I am happy for you. Stay strong.

    onesea
     
  12. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    Your addiction doesn't sound that "bad", I think you'll bounce back pretty quickly. I would go on binges that lasted days, it became very isolating and fried my receptors, thankfully I'm determined and get my discipline back pretty quickly and do all the right things for my brain.

    Did you ever escalate to more than 3 times per week for an hour?
     
  13. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    Newman,

    Funny because I too just learned what PIED is from this forum. I have not had to deal with that. I came here because of the emotional toll this addiction carried. And I feel that my pmo centered around what most would call soft-core porn. Again, I am not minimizing this addiction. It exists, but it exists in degrees for all of us. It is what it does to our brains that matters most, not actually what we were in engaged in (well, mostly). The fog, the frustration, the anger and the total lack of self-confidence are things that I was sick of because of what I did. Even if it was just one day a week, I felt like crap and so did everyone and everything around me.

    Like you I think I set up so perimeters as to what was okay, but in the end was not okay as you said.

    I am glad your wife has handled this like she has. Her addiction may have helped understand somewhat. I don't think my wife would be as understanding. Honestly I see an enormous amount of crying and a feeling of betrayal. She is strong in so many ways but her kind heart would be incredibly hurt if I told her about this.

    I too think O with my wife is fine. I have been in the habit of fantasizing about women when I am with her. Somehow I always compartmentalized this addiction. So I feel it is healing with her and hopefully a chance to get even close to her since I am doing the other things. My only issue will be her impending menopause and possible lack of interest. Now masturbation is a different story. I think this will be where I have to work most. I can forgo the pron and I am currently not masturbating either, but I know that is where my waterloo might be because that might be where the fantasizing comes in. Maybe the further I get from porn, the better this all gets and the closer I get to my wife. I'm not quite where many of you are, but I hope to get there.

    Yes, this addiction is a relief valve for so many reasons. For me it was my feelings of being shamed and feeling out of control, my boredom at time, my feelings of anxiety from career issues, and just a generally bad view of oneself. I am glad you recognized all this in yourself. It is great you have come so far.

    I just noticed that we started our counts on April 1st. Good luck to you.

    onesea
     
  14. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    40New30,

    Sure I escalated to 3 times a week for an hour. Maybe even 4 days at times. I felt terrible, so those types of weeks did not last long. Probably just that week and I would fall back into 1-2 times a week. That was still enough feel bad about myself.

    I don't want to judge our addictions by how good or bad they are. We all struggle in different degrees and I really appreciate all that people like you are recovering from. It is a great example for me. Also, we all process the addiction and its recovery differently. I'm just hoping we all come out the other side because that is where we belong.

    onesea
     
  15. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    One thought I had about this addiction that we have to try and laugh at someday - I realized one day that I had a problem when I noticed I knew the names of more porn models than I did real women. Sad but true and I hope I can laugh at that one day.
     
  16. Arizona

    Arizona All answers can be found within

    I think truthful contact with yourself and with your wife (even besides the addiction) is the key for real 'progress' here. Unless she is a Buddha, she also has her escapeism behavior in some way from real life. Sometimes the mind can discover this, sometimes silence is needed for the answer to suddenly appear. And if you find it, maybe she can understand yours better.
    But best of course, is just to focus on your own process and behavior.
     
  17. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    Arizona,

    I relish trying to be truthfully "there" with my wife and also everyone else around me.

    As for the her, I know she is not perfect but I feel my type of escapism would really cast a pall over any type of escapism she has. Just my thoughts on that. So for now I need to be at peace with my own process and hope I can grow enough as a man to be a bigger part of her life. Doing that will go a long way towards healing and I may not have to try and have her understand this dark and possibly past part of my life.

    I have to say, we have been talking so much on these boards and I read weekly how 85% of men look at porn. I don't know the addiction level but I do see what a huge issue this might be for a lot of guys (and women) and it's probably kept in the dark for many of them. Some may never seek help or want to. I'm glad we are trying.

    os
     
  18. Arizona

    Arizona All answers can be found within

    Agreed one sea. I feel since long for the first time again motivation to privately make a film again; a documentary about the porn use by men in relationships. How it's often hidden, by men perceived as ok, by women on the surface too, often unconsciously agreeing out of fear to loose their spouse and being ignorant concerning the magnitude of the problem. And having some ex-users and professionals share about the devastating effect is has on true intimacy within the relationship.

    If people know of such documentaries already out there, feel free to post here or send me a pm.
     
  19. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    Onesea, you're right about the "level" of addictions, it doesn't matter. Porn is destructive enough to mess up someone's brain in small doses, all that matters is the brain changes. I didn't mean to diminish your issue, just trying to determine if you will heal quicker...I think you will! :)

    I had/have a bad addiction, I would go buy a pack of cigarettes and literally smoke and jerk off for hours...when I could. I can see now how it caused anxiety, procrastination, depression, insomnia, and social isolation. Took me a long time to wake up to the fact that I was addicted.

    Regarding telling your SO about our issue...for a long time I kept it a secret (over two years)...but when she caught me with a cam site opened on my laptop one day and a dating site opened another day I had to come clean. I had told her about porn addiction theories before because she teaches high school, I wanted to warn her to warn her kids (was I hinting to her my issue?).

    Little did she know that I was struggling, she does now, and it has been a blessing in our relationship. She now knows about the anxiety, depression, (why I get "my headaches"), insomnia, the whole thing. I daily tell her about what's going on in my mind and about my recovery.

    On one hand I think it worries her...more about the fact that I want other women sexually and that I'm addicted to it (she thinks I might leave her). You know what, it is a risk to tell somebody but I think it's a healthy one. Guess it depends on your partner and your situation, good luck with finding the right path.
     
  20. Newman8888

    Newman8888 The wound is the place where the Light enters you

    Onesea, I'm kind of smiling to myself when I'm reading your words. The smile is one of self-recognition. I am too what you would call a softcore porn addict. I consciously decided to not go to X rated websites because I knew that it was sufficient for me to get my high, rush, kick or whatever you want to call it from running searches on YouTube, Dailymotion and the like. Silly, really. An addiction is an addition is an addiction :) It's like an alcoholic saying that he is only addicted to light beer, not hard liquor, so it's not all that bad. That's one of the ways in which I rationalized my secret for years. I minimized it. In some respects it might just make one procrastinate or postpone the day when one has to face oneself, look at oneself in the mirror, as the saying goes. The mind is a trickster and a genius at self-deceit.

    40New30 is fortunate in that he has a girlfriend (wife?) that he can share openly with everyday of what's going on in his life, the challenges that he is facing. I've told my wife on a few occasions about my addiction and my impression is that she prefers to keep it at bay, not address it directly or talk about it. It's an uncomfortable subject no doubt. But, in truth I have not disclosed everything to my wife, mostly out of fear that she will not understand, or worse yet, will condemn me (if not in words but in her mind). I wonder, however, if anyone can really condemn myself more than myself. If you don't mind me asking, Onesea, how much do you and your wife talk, communicate about other things in your life? Do you feel free to share with her about your inner life, your feelings, etc.?
     

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