Starting a New Life

Discussion in 'Ages 25-29' started by HelpWanted, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. HelpWanted

    HelpWanted New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I've been a lurker here for a little while now, mostly just reading people's journals as inspiration and motivation for my own reboot process. At first that was enough until I got far enough into the reboot process that my brain started to play tricks on me. We all know them: “Oh, you’ve been doing so well, you should reward yourself” “Go on, just have a little peek” etc. So I’m here in the hopes that interacting with a community and being accountable to something other than myself will help me finally gain the upper-hand in this battle I’ve been having.

    I guess I’ll tell you my story. I’m 25 years old, virgin, never had a girlfriend, and I’ve been attempting to reboot for nearly a year now. Over that entire period I have basically gone through periods of abstaining and then relapse, binge, abstain, relapse, binge, and on and on and on. My porn journey began at around 11 or 12 where I would look at the lingerie sections of women’s catalogs; I still remember tame images like that totally blowing my mind at that age. When I got a little older I managed to get my hands on some playboys and VHS tapes from friends. Our house eventually got the internet and it didn’t take me too long to discover internet porn. Initially I was too scared to look at it because I thought that my parents would catch me or look at the history, but I soon learned how to hide my tracks pretty well. When I got home from school I would rush to the family computer and look at images and small 5-10 second video clips off of our dialup connection before anyone else got home. I remember loving days when everybody came home late and I would have extra time to browse.

    That was how it remained for a while until I turned 18, got my own computer for school and was given use of a broadband connection. Now I could watch porn whenever I had a free moment, keep files saved on my hard drive and download larger files and more content. It was at this point where I believe my porn use spiralled out of control. I found myself skipping classes at school so I could go back to my place and watch porn, not studying so that I could watch porn, brushing off opportunities to go out and socialize so that I could watch porn. Porn became so natural, and such a part of me, I felt that there was nothing abnormal about it. The material I watched evolved as well, I never really stopped looking at the ‘old favorites’ and going back to genres that I liked, but the genres I watched expanded. Every time I would step into a new genre of porn it would blow my mind for a while and then eventually become dull and I would need to move on to the next one.

    Throughout this entire time I was a reclusive, irritable, and unpleasant person to people who knew me well. I often found myself feeling awkward in social situations, but I’ve always had the ability to ‘turn it on’ and would be able to get through a conversation with someone but I hated it, it took a lot of effort and focus to stay that ‘friendly, social person’. I’ve had numerous chances to be with girls and have relationships, but I was either an asshole to them, or I would start distancing myself from them because I didn’t think they were hot enough thanks to my ludicrous standards derived from watching porn. There was also a certain part of me that was too shy to try to even ask these girls out for fear of rejection, I could put on the ‘tough guy’ persona but inside I was just a shell of a man. When I think back on those times I could cry, I just can’t believe I could be so horrible and I regret every moment.

    It was business as usual up until about 10 months ago. I was at a point where I was tired of being a virgin and decided to go see and escort. Here were girls who I could select at will from a website and were stunningly beautiful, surely they could live up to my standards. When I got there, things were initially great; the girl was an absolute knockout and quickly put any tension I had at ease. Once we got down to business though I could see that something was horribly wrong; I couldn’t get an erection! I tried everything, but to no avail and I left incredibly ashamed, angry with myself, and still a virgin. The next day I convinced myself that I was just nervous and it was her fault somehow that I couldn’t get hard, so like the self-absorbed jackass that I was, I booked another appointment with a different girl. Guess what happened? Yep, I left again ashamed, angry with myself, and still a virgin.

    It was at this point where I started scouring the web for things that could be wrong with me. I remember seeing on a forum something about not masturbating for a while and eventually that led me to finding YBOP. I read through that whole site, watched the videos, and sat back at my computer in shock. Here was a site which basically described my whole life, and it’s telling me that I’m an addict. I was devastated, but also had a strong resolve from that point that I would stop looking at porn and I would get myself better. I refused to believe how powerful this addiction is and took a cavalier attitude towards it saying that I was stronger and I could get myself through it no problem. I made it about 30 days and then I started with the relapse cycle.

    Since that time I’ve learned a lot and despite all of the relapses I’ve grown as a person. I have a circle of friends who care about me a lot and I have a family who cares about me a lot. I can socialize comfortably and it doesn’t feel like I have to make an effort to do so. I feel like I’m ready to get on with my life but I keep getting held back by this inner battle that won’t let me be the kind, outgoing, fun person that I am. Over the last 10 months that person has come more and more to the forefront, but I’m still not there yet because I have still never gone longer than 30 days without porn. I’m still too scared to get close with a girl because I’m afraid I won’t be able to perform, when I relapse I turn into that reclusive person who shuts himself away from everyone else.

    I started this journal and joined this community in the hopes that finally being able to tell somebody (even if they’re strangers) about this will help to keep me on track and away from any relapses. I just can’t tell anyone in the real world about this, I can’t deal with the stigma and feel like it could just become a time-bomb to everyone finding out about it once I put it out there. It’s a funny thing; I would feel way more comfortable telling people that I have a drug addiction compared to this. I’ve found private journaling to be therapeutic and very helpful, but it’s only worked up to a certain point. I need to bring more people in on this and I can’t think of a better group than this community where I can get a certain level of understanding of my situation.

    So, it’s been a couple hours since my last relapse, before that I had gone 7 days and before that I had gone 19. That’s kind of how it’s been for the last 10 months, on and off for little stretches and then binge and then the obligatory immense feelings of regret and self-loathing. Private journals got me only so far, but ultimately when the urges became strong enough, lying to myself was easy. I’ve now turned this into a more public affair and am now not accountable to only myself; I’m looking forward to day 1 tomorrow.
  2. HelpWanted

    HelpWanted New Member

    Day 1

    I managed to make it through the first day since my last relapse. For the first couple days after, I find the chaser effect is usually pretty strong and I’ve had points today where I really had to fight to not stray into old habits. I didn’t have any morning wood when I woke up, but it’s not really a very good barometer for me personally since I had morning wood all the time when I was watching porn for hours a day.

    I was working from home today as I periodically do, and days like these are quite often the most difficult because I find myself in front of a computer for most of the time. I implemented some new measures today that I found incredibly helpful in keeping myself on track. The first was a schedule of the day where I planned out every minute and stuck to it. What was important here was that I didn’t set unrealistic goals for myself like “work 8 hours straight with no distractions”, instead I put a lot of thought into strategically placing breaks at ideal times for when I know I start to get restless. I also structured the breaks, dictating what I was allowed to do and what I wasn’t (I definitely didn’t allow myself to aimlessly surf the web).

    I also took some time today to get outside and go for a walk. Walking just really helped me to collect my thoughts and to put everything into perspective; often when I’m in front of a computer all day the virtual world starts feeling like the real world. If I can get out and away from the computer, it helps to remind me that there is a real, physical world out there with real people that I can interact with.

    Overall I had an okay day; my mood was fairly neutral throughout and I’m still feeling the guilt and remorse for relapsing yesterday. There’s nothing I can do about that anymore though except to continue on with this reboot and resolve that I am finished with porn as a new person on the road to recovery.
  3. wayne_992

    wayne_992 New Member

    Being home is dangerous and can cause sum serious relapses, dont let your guard down man. Cause this can creep up on you when you least expect it. just try to fight it off and you gonna be good man. good motivation and keep your head clear good to see that your not beating your self up over the relapse and that ur ready to move on and get back on the train.

    WELCOME !!

  4. HelpWanted

    HelpWanted New Member

    Day 2

    Joey, thanks for the support man, it is most appreciated!

    Made it through another day definitely feeling a lot better than I did yesterday. Woke up with morning wood which is always good at affirming that everything still works down there physically and I've just got to clear up what's in my head. I had only a minor twinge of temptation to watch P which I was able to handle fairly easily just by stepping away from the computer and doing a small meditation exercise where I just pop in some soothing music, close my eyes, relax and try to empty my mind of thoughts. As hokey as it sounds I've had pretty good success with it and always return to my work re-invigorated with a clear head. Bring on day 3!
  5. HelpWanted

    HelpWanted New Member

    Day 7

    I’ve been pretty busy over the last few days which is why I haven’t posted any updates. I’m feeling pretty good lately, interacting with people, going out with friends, and staying away from prolonged computer time. I’ve also been waking up with morning wood consistently and there’s a lot of sensitivity down there right now. I think if I were to M with the ol’ deathgrip I wouldn’t last longer than 30 seconds. Obviously I won’t be testing that theory out, but I’m glad that I can actually feel something down there.

    I know that I have day 7 recorded for journal counting purposes but I have no idea what ‘stage’ my brain is actually in. I’ve gone for so long with doing a week then relapse, a month then relapse, two weeks then relapse, etc. that I have no idea how much ‘progress’ has been compounded over time. I definitely don’t feel like I’m even close to being fully rebooted but I’m just curious if there has been any benefit from at least attempting to abstain over these last 10 months or so, because my porn use has definitely decreased significantly from the past. Of course every time I relapse I’m getting my brain to fire those familiar pathways again and that’s not making anything better.

    I still feel committed to this, making a public journal has definitely helped and I have made the decision clear in my head that I am never watching porn again. This time I’m done with relapses, I’m sick of feeling like I am right now, uncertain of where I’m at in recovery and too scared to try and ‘test it out’. I’m biting the bullet and this time I’ll be more confident because I will have continuous and consecutive days of being PMO free (my PM days are over) and I will be able to feel more confident in my recovery progress.
  6. liberation

    liberation New Member

    I feel like I'm at a similar place, relapsing and starting over again and again for a long time. Stick with it! The brain needs to cool down for a while to restore sensitivity, but every attempt you make helps a little, and teaches you new skills to overcome it. You've definitely come a long way already.
  7. HelpWanted

    HelpWanted New Member

    Day 9

    Thanks for the support liberation, let's both keep at it!

    Another day, another small step in recovery; I’m not sure if anyone else is getting any help reading this, but I’m certainly deriving a lot of positive effects from writing this!

    I had what I think is a huge step towards further recovery for myself yesterday and today. I guess you would be able to classify me as an e-hoarder, in real life (ie. physical objects) I can’t stand clutter and maintain a scrupulously clean place, but electronically I keep so much crap! The single largest problem that I faced was my massive collection of movies and TV shows that I have stored on a couple external hard drives. What I really enjoyed doing was “speed-watching” the plethora of movies and TV shows on these drives when I didn’t really feel like being productive. I would just go and click, click, click through them, finding favorite scenes, sometimes playing through 30 or 40 movies in a sitting just passively clicking through. It occurred to me that this was the EXACT behaviour I had with porn. I would store a ton of movies and images on a hard drive and just click through them watching 30 seconds here and 30 seconds there going through a ton of them in a given session. I was just replacing the stimulus but exercising the same pathway in my brain.

    Needless to say, this was a massive waste of time for me and I believe something that was identical to the chemical pathways in my brain that are so exercised through my regular porn use of the past. So yesterday and today I had a massive e-purge of my movies and TV shows. It started small, with just a couple that I could live without until I got on a roll and got rid of everything except for a couple all-time favorite movies and three TV series’. Overall I probably got rid of 90% of my collection and right now simply feel fantastic. It’s been a lot easier to stay on task and get work done while I’m at the computer and I think that this will go a long way in helping my recovery. It’s an amazing feeling that I have right now, even though that stuff didn’t really take up any physical space, I see now that it was weighing me down and causing real deficits in my productivity.

    I’ve also got a great program called ‘Freedom’ installed on my computer. It blocks you from being able to use the internet, but you can override it by rebooting your computer if you find that you really do need the internet. I find it useful to squash those little urges to go and check something random online when you’re doing work and before you know it you’ve wasted 2 hours checking useless crap. What I’ve been doing is making a list of things I need to do online, doing them, and then blocking the internet. Over the course of that time period I create another list of things that come up that I need the internet for and when the internet becomes unblocked again I do those things and then once again the internet gets blocked.

    So overall I’m just feeling really, really great, ‘liberated’ is probably the word I would use. I’m just going to use the momentum I’ve got and keep going as I stay on track with this reboot.
  8. HelpWanted

    HelpWanted New Member

    Day 12

    I had the most difficult day of my life resisting temptation yesterday. Normally days like that happen, I relapse and then I feel like crap for the rest of the day and when I wake up the next morning I just get this inner voice that says "was it worth it?" and it never is. But yesterday was different, yesterday I didn't give in to temptation!

    I've had enough with this addiction and I'm ready and committed to kicking it once and for all. I think I was just sick of paying myself lip-service to stopping, with my actions suggesting otherwise. I feel like if I can get through the temptation I had yesterday, then I can make it through anything and finally beat this thing.

    Moments of temptation like that almost feel like crossroads where you can choose to go down the easy road that will give you instant gratification or you can be a man and take the hard road which will eventually give you true happiness. Today is a good day and I feel so good that I came through that moment of weakness unscathed.
  9. HelpWanted

    HelpWanted New Member

    Day 14

    After a couple days of temptation hell, I'm at the two week mark and feeling like a BOSS!!! I don't know what it was, but something clicked inside of me yesterday and all the temptation ceased and my resolve to beat this thing got stronger. I can't stress enough how important it is to really and truly commit to this. If I was treating this like all the other times I've tried to reboot, there would be some reserve inside of me saying that eventually I would let myself take a peek at some porn, well not this time. Those times where I came close to breaking I only got through because I really truly want to stop this and I know that I'm never going to look at porn again
    - relapsing would have caused me to break my promise to myself.

    Some other things that have helped me get to this stage:

    -meditation (whatever works for you, just take some time to chill out)
    -playing guitar
    -no aimless web-browsing
    -making an effort to be more social and do things with friends

    I know that the worst is not over and I've still got many hard days ahead, but I feel confident that I can face them and get through them because I've made a commitment to myself. Onward to week 3 we go!

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