Passage way to Freedom

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Mirier, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    First of all, I really appreciate this forum and the website connected to it. I have been searching a bit for sources which treated internet porn addiction compassionately and directly without moralizing one way or another. So thank you.

    So about myself. I am a male, 43 years of age. I have probably been using the internet for porn a little over 20 years. I would certainly say that it has affected my relationships I've had with women I've been sexually and lovingly involved with. That has included a few short term relationships of about 1-3 years but also a ten year marriage. I couldn't really say whether porn was a cause or a symptom of some of the problems I've had but I've definitely had issues regarding emotionally connecting to partners and certainly using porn served to reinforce this issues.

    What's interesting is that I do really have some very positive female relationships. In fact, I tend to have an easier time forming friendships with women than men.

    Given all that, I feel much of my use of internet porn is not terribly sexual in nature. It's more easy pleasure stimulus in nature. It's very accessible, its conforms to expectations so I know what I'm getting out of it, and it gives me some, however fleeting, bit of pleasure.

    Although it is also all too clear to me that I am getting less and less satisfaction and enjoyment whenever I engage in internet porn and often there is just a sense of relief that I'm done with the whole thing. So that fact that a few days later, maybe up to 5-6 days later I do it again even though I know I'll just feel disgusted, is mentally draining. It leaves me with the sense that I have no control and that this is perhaps how it is going to be for me and that feeling causes me to oscillate between despair and frustration. It all seems very crazy and meaningless to me.

    So my goals for a rebooting period of 60 days is at least three-fold:
    1 - to be able to stop feeling like I lack control, that I lack freedom, and to stop feeling this sense of meaninglessness and to start feeling confident, joyful, and healthy.
    2 - to be able to simply look upon women around me, whether they are close to me or strangers, without this lens of exaggerated sexuality which isn't loving and is often unkind.
    3 - to be able to not support an industry which is based upon engaging such intense addictions to the extent that the health, safety, and well-being of the men and women involved in porn (including ourselves) is, I imagine, is not a very high priority, if its a priority at all.

    Well, I hope that is enough for now. I look forward to engaging life with a more balanced, healthy mind and I very much appreciate the support in helping that be realized. I hope that in return I may be able to provide some support back to you all as well.
     
  2. Laurynas

    Laurynas 300 Days+ Experienced.

    Hey Mirier,

    so what are the 5 most important reasons you want to quit PMO?

    Good luck on your trip to a better life.
     
  3. th3f00l

    th3f00l New Member

    Thanks for being here. I am also in early recovery, and I've been told we need eachother to do this. Those of us who can come here to help eachother will never be alone in our struggle. Welcome.
     
  4. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    So five most important reasons to give up PMO...

    1- The feeling that I have nothing to hide. This is especially painful when I know someone has a high opinion of me and in my mind I'm thinking, if you only knew.

    2- Not wanting to hurt others. I don't pretend to know what the details are in the world of porn. How the people involved feel about what they do, or how they treat each other but then again, I know when I succumb to my craving and engage in PMO I don't care. I am only seeking my own pleasure. What is happening to them is not my concern. But of course it is my concern immediately afterwords and it causes me a lot of pain and remorse.

    3- I wish to live confidently and respond to women around me in caring ways. This is not so much because I wish be in a long-term relationship exactly its just that I wish to interact with people with fully.

    4- I wish to be proud of myself. To know that I did everything I could to live a positive life. One that I can look upon without regrets. My feelings about my actions regarding Internet porn I find deeply unsatisfying. It is very frustrating and painful to spend say 3-4 hours at night till maybe 2-2:30pm engaged in internet porn. I always tell myself things like, "tonight you'll just do this for 30 minutes." But of course its a lie. A lie I willingly ignore. I can even feel my mind refusing to listen. Of pushing away any sort of truth that gets in the way of my satisfying this craving.

    5- It is also so disconnecting. I feel bad about myself. I feel I'm such a fraud. And that these feelings about myself spill out onto my interactions with other people. Which just reinforces my negative feelings and then again my tendencies towards PMO.

    So thanks for asking about this. I don't know that I totally spelled out the 5 most important reasons but you've helped me articulate my motives a bit.

    I would also say this other thing. I find it heartening in a way that it is a normal tendency to seek out other fetishes even ones I wouldn't say I would like and that people I know would find shocking (that I find shocking). I mean its terribly sad that this has to be the normal tendency but at least there is that quality of being normal. So if I'm normal then I feel its also possible to beat this.
     
  5. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    Thanks th3f00l,

    I appreciate the sentiments. Day one for me went by easily. Over the last several months the first four days are generally not so difficult. But days 4-8 are treacherous waters. Somewhere in there I start having erotic dreams and I see temptations everywhere. That is where I need to maintain courage and keep my motivations alive. I am very hopeful that this forum will help keep that edge so I can have the strength and energy to see through this rebooting process.

    take care
     
  6. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    It's been very instructive and helpful to read all of these stories concerning PMO. I obviously am not alone.

    This is early on for me. I've now crossed two nights, which for my pattern is not terribly significant because as I stated in the last post, things tend to get interesting around day 4. But I feel encouraged by trying to work this work via this website and forum. In the past I've tried this alone and whereas I would put in place many of the things suggested here (porn blockers for example) doubts always arise if the ideas come from me and me alone. It's like a demon coming up to me and saying, "on whose authority do you think that idea will work, yours?" So I'd inevitably back down. I have been such easy prey.

    Nevertheless I did put a few things in place during this reboot period. Such as internet filters on my phone and computer. The computer one (k9) seems more robust than the phone one. But even the phone one will slow me down. The reality is - I can find a way through if I want to desperately enough so such filter are helpful as a reminder of my intentions and to slow me down but I'll need more than that.

    Another thing is to avoid using my computer for whiling away the time. One source of this is sports sites such as foxsports and espn. I especially have to avoid foxsports as they tend to have photo galleries of players wives or girlfriends, or college or pro sport cheerleaders. All words that, especially in this context, are pretty typical internet porn keywords so they act as a trigger even without the images.

    Then espn had an image that was somewhat erotically engaging. Actually I think it was an ad. So I think - this is not helpful. So espn got placed in the reboot period avoid category.

    There is another part to the above comments beyond the sexual keywords or imagery. It's about meaningful actions. When I find myself doing these actions just to do something with no real purpose other than to while away time I think it triggers a sort of depressive state which leads me inevitably to internet porn. Which also leads me towards a depressive state. So it's helpful to focus on what I consider meaningful activities especially regarding the computer and especially! regarding the web (this being an example, of course).

    Well, off to work.
     
  7. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    Well this begins day 5. The first four days have gone well and I attribute that of course with constantly being aware of why I'm doing this. I have been reading many of your stories and experiences and they have been extraordinarily helpful. There is a lot of courage going on within these pages and that gives me strength.

    Given I say that, the next 4 days will be an interesting test. This is the block that will provide some challenge. Right now, I see no problems as my cravings are not strong. Last night was a good test in a way because I was out with friends and had a few beers. That combination as innocuous as it seems and can prove difficult. It's not like anything happens while I'm out its just that the good feelings and alcohol can loosen my resolve. But I kept checking in with myself, what my mental state was. Reminding myself what my goal is. I even set an alarm for 9pm that read 'Do the right thing!!'. It all worked. Will it work on day 7, say when I have a strong urge? That's where I'll need a lot of your stories in my head.

    So here we are embarking on another day. I look forward to seeing how this one shapes up.
     
  8. Onanymous

    Onanymous Living in the real world now

    Congrats on Day 5, Mirier. I like the way you're thinking, too.
     
  9. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    Day 6 - So I had something of an insight in the middle of the night as I lay tossing and turning. I was tossing and turning because I was struggling with an excessive amount of bodily energy. I didn't realize this at first but after awhile it became apparent that this was related to my rebooting process as much of the energy was centered in my groin area. Given that, I never felt the urge to reach for my computer (I have internet blocking anyhow) nor did I feel like masturbating (probably because in practice, I connect masturbating to porn). Just a lot of energy moving through me making it difficult to sleep.

    But then the insight which seemed really important at the time and well, still at least is pretty good. We'll see. It occurred to me that all this energy moving about, especially in the groin area is how the reordering of neural pathways feels. Not that that is always how it feels or how it feels necessarily for others but it gave me a different perspective on the matter. That being, those feelings don't have to be looked upon as a compulsion to indulge in cravings but the actual sensation of the reworking of the brain. It was quite an extraordinary feeling really. And it gave me a lot of confidence to feel how in control of my mind I was. Now I just need to stay humble and not think I've beaten this addiction after 5 days.

    At any rate, I got through the night. My own resolve and the support from this community helped immensely. There is one last item, however. I woke up early (by which I mean 5:30am) and just lay in bed. Then somewhere in there I drifted to sleep and begin having a dream. Much of this dream had nothing to do with sex or porn but at the end I dreamt I was having sex. There was then a moment where I felt the beginnings of organism and my mind quickly awakened to this fact and started saying - no, no no!! I woke up and panicking a bit looked to see if I had indeed orgasm-ed (is that really how that would be spelled?) and I had not. I was much relieved.

    So thank you all. Again, your continued support through your comments and personal stories makes all the difference.
     
  10. th3f00l

    th3f00l New Member

    I'm glad things are going well for you. I am not worried about having a sex dream in my recovery. It certainly isn't anything I would feel guilty about. That is just me though, because my conscious actions and thoughts are what I am working on. I would feel bad if the dream involved some of the more deviant natured things I was looking at though. I really just wanna say I am glad this is working for you, it helps me to read that.
     
  11. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    6 days through. Last night was unproblematic by which I mean I had no urges for PM or O for that matter. It was the third night of restless sleep. I don't know if this is connected to the reboot. I did have a beer last night as I did the other two nights. Perhaps tonight I'll make a point not to drink to see if that helps my sleep.

    Otherwise, as I have said. There is nothing much to report. Which is good. I like waking up in the morning not feeling embarrassment, guilt, shame, remorse, regret, a headache from staring intently at a computer screen for hours, exhaustion from a lack of sleep and the strong sensation that I am a worthless human being.
     
  12. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    All right a week without PMO! Progress!.

    I have to be quick about this but I feel compelled to check in and maintain connection to this forum. I have had very little interest in porn and masturbating. What's interesting is that that while this has in the past been something I do at night - Any urges I am having now are usually in the morning. Like this morning for instance. I think its probably because I've felt slightly out of balance a few times in the morning and my mind goes, "I can help with that - just masturbate to porn." In that sense it acts more like a drug. Just a promise to feel better. If past experience is any indication however, it won't work out that way. I'll feel worse.

    Anyhow, I appreciate reading journals here. They give me a lot of encouragement, tips and support. I keep imagining all of us free of our addiction and how much positive energy that will give to ourselves, the people around us, and even to those we watch.

    Let's keep going!
     
  13. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    Day 8.

    Things are going well. Sometimes I feel myself getting a little lax and remind myself that I have an addiction. Complacency is just a tool to be used against me. I tell myself that regardless of the signs I must pass through the full reboot.

    At this point I go into waters somewhat unchartered. I have gone a few times into the 2 week range without PMO but probably only 1-2 times when not on a vacation of sorts. So I don't know exactly know what to expect. In the past fantasies would spontaneously appear, sometimes very strong. Especially some dreams in the night. I find myself reading journals of those of you who have made it 2-3 weeks or further to get a sense of what might be coming. I know the details will be different for each person but nevertheless it seems to help.

    One thing that I am encouraged about is that I made it through the weekend which is slightly more dicey for me - I don't have to wake up as early, I have more unscheduled time and so getting antsy and restless is more likely. But my resolve held and the weekend past by.

    My head is clear. I have much more confidence without the baggage of shame and guild. And I hated the hiding and deception. Is that who I want to be? No, this is who I want to be. Someone who actually lives with some level of sanity, confidence and compassion.
     
  14. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    I was just now thinking about the value of those positive activities which we can use instead of our habitual addictive activities of PMO or which trigger PMO. One reason why I think they are so valuable is that they implicitly come from a place of caring for our well-being. Like exercise, meditation, socializing, walking the dog, cleaning dishes (I haven't heard anyone else mention this one but I'm always surprised how much better my mind feels after doing this), or here is another one that may seem odd to some - simply making the effort to make myself a lunch for later at work. There is a subtle process here. It's hard to do these things for someone you don't care about. And even when my own self-worth is low I find that they tend to counteract that self-loathing and bring some mental and emotional strength and balance. For me, I've noticed that walking my dog in the evening is of great help. I hadn't been doing this but since I have I become more balanced and relaxed. It gets me out of the house and away from habitual things like tv, or drinking, or surfing the internet, or just not knowing what to do.

    The other thing it does is that its acts in an aspirational way regarding your future. It says, I want to fill my time with meaningful activities. Activities which support my personal well-being. And I think it does this even if these sentiments aren't explicitly stated. Just doing them is both an act of compassion for yourself and the wish for well-being from this day forward.

    Anyhow, I'd love to hear others thoughts on the matter.
     
  15. gettingthere

    gettingthere New Member

    Hiya Mir,
    Good job staying away from PMO thus far.
    You've got a lot of valuable insights in your journal and I intend on reading it regularly.

    I rescued a dog and it has grounded me a lot. The daily chores and joys of dog ownership are rewarding in themselves.
    Next, I stepped it up a notch to a legit dating site and am now approaching 4 mos with the same girlfriend. That helps the reboot for me because I can associate orgasm with intimacy rather than porn.

    By the way, it does get easier to control the urges because they are less compelling and more infrequent.
    Be well,
    Gettingthere
     
  16. Onanymous

    Onanymous Living in the real world now

    Interesting perspective, Mirier.

    I think you're right that actions with the subtext "I matter" will inevitably affect the brain in a good way. Doing the dishes says that you deserve to have an orderly house. Exercising says you deserve to be healthy. Going out says you deserve to have the attention of other people.

    Even if your conscious mind already says these things, your unconscious mind still needs action to back them up.
     
  17. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    Gettingthere,

    I'm glad that you are beginning to reassociate orgasm's with a positive, loving situation. This addiction is such a cancer. It warps our connections and turns things that can be such positive and healthy actions into weapons we use against ourselves and others. So good job. Happy for you. I'm sure it feels nice that you are not only bringing such positive energy to yourself but to your girlfriend as well.

    And Onanymous,
    thanks for the feedback. It's helpful to have these dialogues with people. I have this fantasy that I'll be strong and secure enough with myself that one day I'll be able to talk about these sorts of things more freely with those I'm close to. It really bothers me living a double life. It makes it even worse if I know they regard me highly without knowing such a thing like this. I feel like a fraud during such times.

    thanks guys and take care
     
  18. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    Day 9 - I think one important aspect of both reading and writing these journals is it helps me have a joyful mindset. It gives me some strength to weather any urges and also I think minimizes those moments where I would seek out porn just to give me some pleasure.

    I bring this up this morning because I have this restless sort of energy which is sort of trying to find a home. In the past, this home would likely be porn. Then I'd get excited perhaps (because I am accomplishing something my mind tells me) and fall into a PMO experience which leaves me rushing out the door, slightly late for work, heading for my car when I was going to ride my bike and have a distracted work day rather than a relaxed, joyful workday. Then I might feel grumpy for awhile and possibly look for porn in the evening just to not feel grumpy. That is until I am done at around 2am and now feel irritated with myself (because quite frankly, whatever the original promise was the actual experience was shall we say unimpressive), have a strong headache, know I'm going to have a challenging day due to lack of sleep and remorse. ecetera, ecetera, ecetera.

    Probably best not to go there. I imagine we would be much less likely to get addicted if we felt what the actual consequences are rather than the promise that we imagine is dangled out in front our noses.

    The one valuable thing about having over twenty years experience and at least 15 years of disgust with PMO and wanting to quit is I have quite a lot of memories to draw from. I know exactly how this scenario goes having relived it hundreds and hundreds of times.

    Also to you young guys. I keep thinking that while having porn induced ED isn't fun , I didn't have that and here I am 20 years later. I don't say this because I feel my life is wasted but just to say there is definitely some benefits to having a serious wake up call.
     
  19. gettingthere

    gettingthere New Member

    Hiya Mir,
    Good work on reaching 9 days of no PMO. It's amazing how the good days can accumulate.
    See, I just wrote that without thinking at all. And when I read it, it shows a positive attitude.
    Before reaching out for the reboot olive branch I had a very negative attitude.

    On good days my attitude was one of frustration. On bad days it was one of despair.

    It makes sense not to get stuck in that vicious cycle you talked about. It is kinda creepy the way you put it. One little decision not to ride your bike to work, grows more toxic and frustrating until by the end you are in physical pain and emotional distress.

    It's a real struggle not to reach out for a little taste of the forbidden fruit. We're at the point where a glimpse or a sniff can start us down that slippery slope. I'm trying not to even glance at anything sexual but the habit is so strong I sometimes can't resist.

    I've not had a bit of PMO for a while (56 days) so it is getting easier. It will get easier for you too.
    Gettingthere
     
  20. Mirier

    Mirier New Member

    Thanks gettingthere,

    I find it very helpful to think that you have gone through these same sort of struggles and yet here you are at day 56. I will feel very accomplished at day 56. I haven't gone 56 days with no PMO in over 20 years which really seems astonishing. I mean really astonishing.

    So I appreciate the encouraging words.
     

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