"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal." I heard that saying long ago. I don't remember who said it, but it always stuck with me. The word realization in that quote is the most important one. If we don't realize something different about our lives then there can be no progression toward a worthy goal. I've been on this forum for a long time and never thought about writing a success story, because I'd already written about it in my journal. @Bilbo Swaggins prompted me to write this post, saying that it was the success stories that first inspired him to address his P addiction. So, thank you Bilbo! When I first came to this site I had no idea I was a P addict. I knew I was a frustrated and unhappy man, but the idea that P had hooked its talons in my spirit was a foreign concept. I knew fapping made me feel down, but it also made me feel good. I tried stopping a few times, but I thought "hey, what's the harm? My wife's a bitch, my career sucks, and having a PMO session is just like drinking a scotch." One day I even sat down with the computer on my lap and while I rubbed my dick with one hand, I drank a scotch with other. PMO had become normalized. It was a part of my daily routine. Naturally, the physical afflictions of PMO began to manifest themselves. Regular P stopped exciting me. I had trouble maintaining an erection and it was more and more difficult to ejaculate. What had once taken me 10 minutes, now took an hour or more. I started fapping at work in my office and even once fapped while my wife had friends over in the next room. I told myself not to do that again, but it was exciting, too. Normal human barriers and morals seemed to be falling at the way side, little by little. Eventually this lead to me cheating on my wife. The cheating at first was confined to emotional affairs. I had online sex, and a few times worked up the courage to call women on the phone and we'd talk about what we were doing to each other, all the while masturbating. (Women can be just as fucked up as men) My life felt exciting! I loved the feeling of doing something naughty, something frowned on by society. My erections were suddenly fantastic. I was a kid again and began to justify my behavior. "The wife doesn't want sex so what's the harm?" "Lots of famous people throughout history have cheated...this is something special people do." Yes, I began to see myself as special, removed from the expectations of respectability. Rules were for "normal" Plebeians and didn't apply to me. It wasn't long before I met woman at my office and we agreed to meet at a motel. I was absolutely all in, but when the day came to meet I felt something holding me back. That voice we all have, the voice of reason, the voice of caution, the voice that is looking out for us, was telling me not to go. But, I had to go. I had been programed from a young age that I mustn't ever let a woman down. Of course, I'd be letting my wife down (if she found out) but I had an enormous fear of letting down women, especially women who had at first placed me on a bit of a pedestal. So, off I went, checked into the room and awaited her knock. When she walked in the room I felt frozen. She immediately disrobed (she'd done this before) and I felt my spirit leave my body. She had an incredible body, amazing tits, but I couldn't connect with that. I astral projected. I watched myself undress and get into bed with this woman. She was all over me and I numbly responded. The early training I had received by my mother to "never let a woman down" knew its job. I knew how to act the part even if I couldn't feel it. Unfortunately my penis hadn't received the memo. Far from being the obedient boy he got just hard enough to enter the woman and then deflated like an air mattress on a bed of nails. There was to be no resurrection, just a devastated woman telling me what a "fucking asshole" I was and a devastated me wondering how this cheating thing went so wildly wrong. I avoided her at the office for over a week and couldn't shake that numb feeling. I'm sure many men relate to the desolation, the utter despair one feels when the pork sword fizzles rather than sizzles. I honestly felt as though someone had died. I also, somewhat to my credit, felt incredibly guilty. After a week she came into my office and said said point blank "what the fuck happened?" I mumbled something about guilt, about not being ready, and told her many times how sorry I was. Looking back I can see how pathetic this was. A real man would've kicked her out of his office. I couldn't see that this woman needed me to adore her, because her validation was wrapped up in my seeing her as sexually amazing. What she really was, was a narcissistic cunt, who was also cheating on her partner. Really, how dare she demand anything of me! But, nice guys (if you haven't already, read "No More Mr. Nice Guy.") quake at the thought of letting down the great matriarch and so I turned into the little boy and allowed myself, in my own office, to be scolded. She decided we would meet again and I meekly agreed. This next time we met at her house, her husband being out of town. I felt a bit more relaxed, in spite of the trepidation that hubby might come walking in at any moment. I scoped the house for exits should the need arise. This time we had wine first, chatted a bit, and then began making out. The penis responded, but I had to keep the fantasies going in order to have successful intercourse. What I failed to notice was that I hadn't look at P or fapped for two weeks, because I'd been in such a fucking funk, which of course allowed a tiny bit of rewiring to take place. The woman was elated, as was I. It wasn't long after that she'd had enough of me and stopped returning my texts. Aaaaaand it was back to PMO. I would like to say I learned my lesson, but I ended up cheating again with some other biotch. I had some trouble with PIV with her too, but I knew if kept the fantasies going I could probably get the job done. Then, the first woman found out I'd boffed this other woman (the two women knew each other ) and decided to call my wife. My previous devastation of experiencing ED was child's play compared to what ensued. Instead of being a fucking man about it all and fessing up, I danced around, telling lie upon lie, hoping the situation would just go away. My wife finally got to the truth and then decided to tell my children about what a lying, cheating, fuck I was. In fact, she told quite a few friends, as well, and so I became a pariah to practically everyone that knew me, in this small town of mine. I still didn't have any man-skills, so I resorted to what had always helped me: PMO! My wife and I didn't split up, mostly because my wife loved being the wounded woman, the martyr, the saint. The fact that my wife had denied me sex for over two years, previous to any cheating, had completely eluded her. On my side of the equation I couldn't leave my wife because I'd been a very bad boy. I'd let down my mom, er, my wife, and I had to spend the rest of my miserable, pathetic, stupid life making it up to her. After a time we settled into an unhappy truce. We bickered quite a lot and she also loved reminding me how I had broken the most sacred vow of all. Sounds pretty fun, doesn't it? Years went by, I PMO'd relentlessly, and settled into being my wife's little bitch. In fact, I was basically everyone's bitch, because it was what I was good at. Eventually I couldn't even get a proper boner while watching P. I tried fatties, skinnies, trannies, lezzies, big tits, big nipples, big clits, bondage and even gay P, but the dick was dead. Somehow, I like to think it was serendipity, I found YBOP. I read about things like death-grip, dopamine overload, rewiring through abstinence and was blown away. I recognized myself in everything I read. I began to scour the internet for more and more knowledge regarding this P-addiction thing. Wow, I was an addict! The day before I started my journal here I fapped two times and then said "I'm never doing that again." For over three years I kept that promise to myself and along the way I learned some excellent life-skills. Through my own journal, and the journals of others, I learned so many things, things that before I couldn't have even imagined. Previous ways of behavior fell away as I put on my big boy pants and assumed my manhood. I did have a brief fall and went back to P for a week or so, but I got back on track and have been free of P ever since. I now have regular sex with the wife, I have excellent boners, and I'm over 60. Life isn't perfect, but it is a fun journey now, at least for the most part. Here are some of the things I've learned along the way: - I have value! - my needs as a man are important. - I don't need permission to be who I am. - being a man means I'm in charge of my behavior and any relationship I'm part of. - a man sets the tone of any relationship. (if he doesn't, the woman will fill the vacuum, and become the proxy man) - a woman can think what ever she wants, but can fuck off if she thinks she's more important than me. - I matter! - If I'm doing something that fulfills a part of me it is worthwhile. - Money does not make the man. - I don't drop what I'm doing just because someone else thinks I should be doing something else. - A man must keep his own flame burning. - Lies are for people who lack life-skills. Every lie, just like every PMO, weakens a man's character.... however, don't judge yourself for having lacked life-skills. You don't know, what you don't know. But, now you know you must be scrupulously honest, to the best of your ability. - I am worthy! - I don't have to be sorry forever. I don't have to feel guilt forever. I don't have to feel ashamed forever. - Recovery is a verb. We must work at it. - Action in the present is what counts. - the past can fuck off! Your mom was a coldhearted bitch? Too bad, move on! - courage means doing what normal people do. Go ahead and touch your wife, reach out to your girlfriend, ask someone out. This is normal behavior, not something heroic. We don't need self-help books or therapists instill in us the courage that's already there. Normal people connect with normal people and they do it all the time. - There is nothing you can not overcome if you have just a smidgen of belief in yourself. - I count! - Journal religiously. Be religious in your zeal to get sober. Read the journals of others, even the men who no longer posts here. Write in the journals of others, because that is often when the greatest realizations happen. - I believe in moving slowly, with deliberation. - I think cold showers, even just the odd one, are the bomb. - I don't believe in divulging all the bad things I've ever done. Learning to hold one's counsel is a manly trait. - Oversharing, especially with your partner, is a waste of time. - My journey is a sacred one. - How my partner views me is irrelevant. - I truly believe that taking care of the small things (cleaning the car, washing the windows, fixing that thing you never fixed, doing one's taxes on time) leads to bigger things and a good life. It is the seemingly small things that define a good and decent life, not the big event. In keeping with above, always be gentle with yourself...you're all you've got.