starting from rock bottom

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by rabotaz, Dec 2, 2022.

  1. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Dear Brothers in arms,

    I've been a member on this forum years ago... it felt good to be here and I made a number of friends. With time, though, failure after failure made me get sucked into the vortex of my own inner imbalances and so ended up posting less and less until I gave up.

    If you are reading this, I thank you from my heart, because to be heard in this struggle is a very important element. For me it is shame and secrecy that has led me to despair so often... Not being able to properly discuss this issue... But I don't just want to tell you about me, I hope I can offer some insights too, if I may, from my long battle with this inner beast that yearns continuously for pleasure. I have no doubt that this is a place where we can learn from each other, especially in this 40+ category, the veterans of war... (I'm 42)

    As the tile says, I do believe I have hit rock bottom - it would take me too long to tell you what I mean. What I think is easier to explain is that on the surface I am leading a normal, apparently successful life. Have a good job as a counsellor, am married and have two small children. But the truth of the whole picture is that I have led a double life for as long as I can remember.

    I do now want with all my heart, as ever (and every day), finally free myself, heal and have a healthy sexuality that doesn't disrupt and especially negatively affect my life.

    To be practical (and hopefully to make it a bit more interesting), I will share insights on my problem, what I have tried over the years, what came off it, my conclusions and my plans ahead (yes, sounds very organized but we know what normally happens.... nice resolutions but the enemy is lurking there waiting for the right time to strike!)

    A) Firstly I think it is important for me to discern two elements: who I am as a person (character) and what else is happening to me that appears to be in contrast to my character. Character: I am a man of many ideals, I have high morals, deeply yearn for purity, integrity, honesty, courage, maturity. I believe that without the lust problem I would have spent most moments in my life pursuing high and respectable goals (including perhaps a career in sports). I value myself, I believe to be a good person: I’ve always worked very hard in school and at work and always succeeded in all areas, often where many failed (this is not to show off but to say that my temperament tends to opt for hard work that ultimately leads to results). Without the impediment of lust (which took away so much of my life), God knows what I could have reached!

    If we place my character on the side for a moment, what else happened to me? From a very young age I started fantasizing a lot (sexually) about a number of children of my age. Yes, probably many do, but I think the obsession with it was not of a normal degree. When the first orgasm came (13/14?) I couldn’t believe the intensity of the pleasure. I had opened up the most exciting, tremendous, magnificent treasure. It put immediately all my ideals, values and all the things discussed above on the side. The pursuit of sexual joy became the main goal most of the time, day in/day out. But my character of course did not disappear. It remained there, asking itself why I was wasting all that time and doing such a debased, animalistic thing almost constantly, when I had so many plans and idealistic dreams to pursue…. And this I believe is one important element of my problem. I’ve met people who similarly have the pursuit of sexual joy as their main goal, but they seem to be absolutely at peace with it. Some are even proud of it. For ex. I had a friend who, when seeing women he liked, would flirt insistently with them until they would give in, than take them home, have sex with them, persuade them to let him take naked pictures of them and sometimes show me those pictures. As much as I am obsessed with naked women, those pictures disgusted me, not because the women were ugly but because I found that what he was doing was debased, horrible and lacking any sort of morals or respect.

    What I am saying is: some people don’t have a problem with it and can live happily with a high degree of lust: I can’t. It is not in my character. Needless to say, my life has therefore been a constant battle with myself and I can promise you I will carry on battling until I am death, because it is in my nature to do so. And I really hope I can not just succeed but help you and encourage you too. The only problem is I have very little time for posting and reading posts on a forum these days (todays is a very rare exception) but will do my best because battles require time, effort and methods.

    B) What have I tried over the years in order to conquer my lust + success rates:

    1. Promises to myself

    2. Punishments (including hitting myself on the thighs with a hockey bat when urges would strike or making myself sleep on the floor at night

    3. Hundreds (literally!) of plans over the decades that included triggers to avoid, actions to take, etc. (all written on paper each time)

    4. Prayer (I am an orthodox Christian, even though I am currently questioning my faith)

    5. Confession in church (confessing all my sexual sins and asking for advice) and sacraments like partaking of holy communion (Christians believe it will purify you and give you the strength of the Holy Spirit)

    6. Simply trying to resist

    7. Do it for others: when my dad passed away I said I would give up porn/masturbation in honour of him, when I got married that I would do it for her and the marriage, when the children were born for them, each year when it is my birthday I promise to do it for myself, etc.…..

    8. Online filters

    9. Online accountability partners and websites supposed to help you with it

    10. Reading about porn addiction/informing myself/trying to understand the problem

    11. Counselling

    12. Distractions, trying to fill the days with sports and other activities

    13. Being part of this forum

    The list could go on and on…

    Success rate: most strategies didn’t work (at best I would be able to keep the problem out of my way for a few days, before it would come back with even greater intensity).

    I can say with confidence that the longest I have managed without masturbation/porn/orgasm is approx. 18 days - and even then this wasn’t completely without sexual thoughts being somewhat entertained.. Such a long ‘fast’ from lust (long for my standards!) was only possible once and relatively recently (months ago). But as always in my life soon the lust destroyed me once again, ruining every effort achieved.

    To say it in brief: nothing has really helped - that’s where my religious faith is shaking lately. I have become increasingly angry with God… because it is not that I haven’t tried (like those friends who don’t mind being lustful). Only God knows how much I despise my actions, that I have ideals + I prayed him so much in my life. Nothing. I had to suffer with it and keep suffering with it. I said pretty nasty things to God recently, things I would never have imagined myself saying. I still do believe somewhere deep down that He has a plan for me, but at this stage my circumstances really don’t make sense to me from a spiritual perspective.

    C) So what are my conclusions at the age of 42, having hit rock bottom?

    You can imagine that I have reflected extensively on my problem all my life; this time I ended up reflecting very simply, based on how low I currently feel and how complex this issue has always been.

    My personal conclusion is the following: I, compared to the great majority of people, suffer from an illness. I heard a term yesterday on the radio and it fully describes where I am with this: hyper sexuality. I think the term Nymphomaniac is also relevant (traditionally assigned to women with a strong sexual desire, it nevertheless encapsulates the illness element that I think both man and woman may share; even though of course the term refers to nymphs).

    I used to call it ‘sexual addiction’ or ‘porn addiction’ and I often tried to solve the problem from that perspective but never got anywhere. In my opinion this is because mine is not simply an addiction, even though it has certainly addictive elements, it is much more problematic than that. It is a hyper sexuality, ingrained in my body (specifically in my sexual organ: it is he, the totem of pleasure down in my pants, that experiences the ultra strong desires and urges - even though of course I understand there is also the element of chemicals in the brain and images being seen through the eyes/mind; however the chemical discourse to me is more relevant to sexual ‘addiction’ while in my case it is more relevant to talk about testosterone. I believe it is more a question of sperm and sexual apparatus down below than the chemicals in my brain, without however disregarding the fact that my brain chemicals have certainly been thrown out of balance by decades of masturbation and porn viewing. But this last one right now to me is only a secondary element).

    Of course I also believe that other people share this hyper sexuality but that it is not the norm. It is an illness that sets these individuals apart (their lives will be deeply affected by their lust compared to those who love a bit of porn here and there but manage easily to not make it a priority).

    I think what can be confusing is the fact that so many people make use of porn. This thought often justified it for me: 'if so many watch it, perhaps it is quite normal to do it'. I think the truth is that many watch it but most do it with discernment (meaning that they don’t let it take over their lives). Than there are the porn addicts, who have trained (or exposed too much) their minds and sexual apparatus to the stimuli and have to go back to it due to compulsive and addictive elements. Finally, I believe there is another category, as I said already, in which I include myself: those who have a hyper sexual illness. Their sexual organs are much more intensely yearning for pleasure than the average person. While the average person can enjoy porn and get excited by it to a certain extent, the hyper sexual individual experiences such intense sexual arousal that the concern for sexual pleasure overshadows everything else (and the concern can lead him to try and extent the pleasure as much as possible, even through the night). Once masturbated, the ill individual may be ‘free’ for a short while but it doesn’t take long and very small triggers (even just a passing thought) can again open up a series of intense reactions (sexual thoughts, yearnings, plans to achieve sexual satisfaction, etc.).

    I really can’t think of my situation as an addicition anymore. It has been very evident to me, especially in recent months, that I seem to have no chance against this lust. It commands me, I am the slave. Which is strange to me since I succeeded in so many things in life - why has nothing ever worked against addiction in decades? I've heard of a number of examples of people who conquered porn addiction, so why can I not likewise succeed, it is not that I am not trying!!

    Now, I think I know what you must be thinking: is this guy excusing away the problem (victimizing himself) so he doesn’t have to take responsibility for it? Precisely not! As I said above, I am a man of many ideals and even if I now strongly believe that this is an illness even before an addiction, it doesn’t take away my battling spirit and my desire to find a way, even if the hyper lust is ingrained within my being. I do however feel that it helps me to now know that I am dealing with an illness, an element that is not within normality. In fact, I realize that the difference between me and the non hyper sexual person is that if we both watch porn, I will have a 100 times harder time to ultimately keep my instincts under control - because I very likely feel sexual urges much more powerfully and much more intensely.

    D) Plans ahead: This will be hard guys. I am not fighting my sexuality or porn addiction, I am fighting hyper sexuality, nymphomania. It’s a fight with very strong urges. It is like being inside a burning house with fire everywhere and all you have in your hands is a bucket of water (that’s why I recently said to God ‘what the f**k? this is unfair!’)

    As of now I can only see one cure: go through hell. What I mean is what we all try to do: resist. But not just resisting: being scientific about it. Observing myself from the outside as I place myself in this experiment of simply resisting and observe what sort of inhuman pain and suffering will come up for myself. Not just suffering but ‘hyper suffering’ because I am ‘hyper sexual’. I am genuinely curious to see how horribly my body and whole being has to contort itself in painful spasms in order to control the lust. What will happen? I hope that the curiosity will help me stay somewhat detached and concentrated and that entering updates on this thread will make it more of a mission for me. I wonder if it will be as painful as it is in this scene of two heroin addicts who try to detox ( ). Is it even worse (but possibly with different symptoms) for a hyper type of illness? I hope I can offer you an account of it by using myself as an experiment!

    That’s what led me back to this forum. I can only be humble about it and carry on trying. Mine is not an illness that can be treated with medication (I don’t know of any medication for hyper sexuality, even though anti-depressants are often prescribed for these individuals, for obvious reasons). I think the only way to cure my illness is by spending enough time (at least a number of months completely resisting this lust - apart from occasional and normal sex within marriage which I find healthy). My hope is that long enough denial of sexual satisfaction will heal the illness and steer my whole sexual system towards a healthy and stable type of sexuality - the one where I can get aroused when I see a nice ass in front of me but can also, like many others, let go of the thought and carry on with my day (the image of it makes me almost cry with hope because there is nothing better for a hyper sexual than freedom from it’s hyper lust).

    I feel deep compassion for myself. I’ve never fully taken into account how strong my lust is, until today. My response has always just been to blame it on myself - ‘I am the sinner’, ‘I am bad’, ‘I am a failure’, ‘I am weak’. That’s why my self-esteem has been less than shit throughout my life, despite my good character. People respect me and say good things about me, they often feel encouraged by me - some look up to me. I am not evil in my intentions, I am not after lust all the time simply because I am selfish and nothing else. No, I have tried hard all my life to overcome this, I have suffered horribly (I wonder how I am still alive today and haven’t ended it at times). I owe it to me to carry on trying, because I am this wonderful person… who struggles with much more intense sexual urges than would normally be the case. Life has been hell because of my hyper lust. 90% of my life has been revolving around sex, naked women, sexual pleasure. Of course I don’t want that.

    Do I need to fight against my own nature to be free from it? So be it! Like the tribal populations in the brazilian amazon who initiate the young men to adulthood by placing lots of incredibly painful bullet ants on their hands to sting them (have a look! ), the only way out is through the pains of hell. Wish me good luck.

    Tomorrow will be my day one (it can’t be today since I’ve reached rock bottom today, sexually too).

    As I said, I don't know how often I can actually post, but I want to aim to at least make an entry every day responding to these elements:

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%):
    Symptoms observed:

    Of course, in my experiment my intention is to avoid porn, triggering material, looking at women in sexual ways, entertaining thoughts, masturbate. Only sex within marriage is to be allowed.

  2. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Welcome back to the board @rabotaz. I think it is really difficult to distinguish between fantasy/porn sensitisation and hypersexuality, especially since you haven't really been without acting out for more than a couple of weeks. I hope you find a way for yourself to cut out fantasy and porn completely and spend that brainpower on the things that really matter: your self-development and your family. Good luck!
  3. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Gil79, thank you so much for bothering to read what I had to say and thank you from my heart for your encouragement! Hope you are having success in your struggles - will try and pop by soon on your thread to find out more.

    You are right, it is easy to diagnose the problem when starting the battle, without realizing that perhaps it's too early to be able to make a proper distinction. Hopefully if I manage to sustain the battle, I will end up understanding more fully where I really am with all of this.


    Day 1

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 0%
    Symptoms observed: today was easy and I expected it. Saw some good looking women but managed to keep away any initial fantasy. I know that the 0% will likely increase soon but at the moment feel prepared for the battle and very focused.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
    Gil79 likes this.
  4. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 2

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 1% (I had to be slightly more insistent on me not looking at women in lustful ways) but easily managed to do so throughout the day.
    Symptoms observed: it is difficult to say because I am incredibly stressed with life at present (any anger, frustration, etc. may therefore have more to do with stress rather than my mission against lust)

    Additional notes: my religious faith is slowly coming back and comforts me. I've also agreed with my wife not to use internet for a month - traditionally we orthodox Christians fast from certain foods for about 40 days until Christmas; which falls on the 7th January according to our calendar). I will aim to use internet only for practical necessities and for this forum at least until the fast comes to an end.
  5. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 3

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 0%
    Symptoms observed: no symptoms observed

    Had a few conversations with young women today and normally I would fantasise sexually about them in similar circumstances… Not today. I made the very conscious decision to look behind the body, to connect at a soul level (being very aware that the body is just one part of the whole being). Conversations resulted positive, the women enjoyed talking to me and I didn’t feel I ended up using any flirtatious type of language. Really saw people and life differently today and felt more mature than usual.

    But I know myself, days 6 to 12 approx. are usually the hardest for me. That’s were I expect my difficulty levels to go up in the 80-90-100%.
    Boxer17 and Gil79 like this.
  6. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Yeah, same here. It is really that point where withdrawal symptoms peak and we're still very impulsive. Good to be aware of that. There is no reason at all why you shouldn't be able to get past that mark. Go for it!
  7. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Thank you for passing by Gil79 and for normalising my prediction. Even more so for encouraging me on!

    Day 4

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 7%
    Symptoms observed: I felt very tense and anxious most of the day. Generally wasn’t happy at all - it was in fact a very negative day, psychologically speaking. Rather than withdrawal symptoms I believe these to be emotional difficulties that I am experiencing due to the challenges in my life (work, family, self esteem, etc.). I have no doubt that these feelings are the typical triggers for my lustful cravings - indeed, while struggling with my sadness and stress, I had some passing sexual cravings hitting me briefly, almost as if my tense inner self was thinking ‘where are my cigarettes (sexual pleasure)? I need their comfort!’

    Not this time old man: there won’t be any cigarettes! I can already hear the old bear down at the bottom of my inner cave screaming out in dissatisfaction. I know he is close to coming out and will be very hungry; I will have to wrestle with that inner beast!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022
    Gil79 likes this.
  8. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 5

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 4%
    Symptoms observed: some boredom. Time passing by extra slow, as if it was trying to make it even harder for me to achieve an extra day of purity.

    Today I experienced a typical trick of the mind. Since the brain knows that I am currently not wishing to fantasise on anything sexual… it finds its own ways to make me do so: through dreams! The bastard.

    Shortly before waking up in the morning, I had one of the most erotically/pornographically charged dreams ever. It was really well fabricated and contained all the elements that can arouse my wildest lust. It’s one of those perfect killer-dreams that aims to destroy all my efforts.

    What normally happens after such a dream is that it will leave the mark for the day: I will carry on fantasising about it throughout the day and find sexual imagery on the internet that aids the memories of the dream - and the usual continuation of that leads normally to PMO. My first instinct when waking up was therefore to entertain all the deep fantasising arousing from the dream and probably did so for max. 3 seconds, until (thankfully) I realised that I am on a mission to fight all this (I was still in the waking up stage so wasn’t entirely conscious of all my plans during those first seconds). I therefore immediately gave up any attempt to fantasise and got on with my normal day. I believe it was my quick reaction that helped me get out of the memory of the dream immediately and completely.

    The fact is that 10 or 20 years ago I would easily have fallen into the dream-trap (as I often did). But now, past our 40s, we are veterans after all and know what the lustful self within us is trying to do, don’t we?

    I strongly feel the dream is the start of the real battle to come. Clearly there is a lustful movement happening within me, even though it doesn’t seem so judging from my current thought patterns in my wake state. I know the enemy will strike any moment. I am very concentrated and prepared and have a strong desire to fight! Come you bastard - I am not scared, you lustful ‘me’.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2022
    Boxer17 and Gil79 like this.
  9. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    You did well. And don't get overwhelmed of what might come. Take it one day at the time
  10. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 6

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 15%
    Symptoms observed: nothing major, apart from this repetitive sensation that something seemed to be missing from my normal routine. Sort of as if my brain was gently (for now) reminding me that this new routine is 'out of place'. There's definitely a big lustful storm coming my way in the next few days, if not tomorrow already! I am concentrated now but know how my mind can go completely foggy on days like those. I definitely need to take it one day at a time as you say Gil79!
  11. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 7

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 0%
    Symptoms observed: none

    Ok, lustful attacks don’t seem to appear as soon as I thought they would. At the moment there is no desire to fantasise. It’s good on the one hand however I have to be careful not to sit back as a result of it. It’s easy to fall in the pride trap.

    I am planning on giving up a few addictions while trying to resist PMO. Thankfully I’ve managed to give up coffee/tea a long time ago (they had a detrimental effect on my health). I also managed for a long time to keep off from sweets/sugary foods and felt good physically as a result. Sadly though, I’ve started again with sugary foods. In fact I ate too many of them yesterday and today felt as if my body had been intoxicated with some sort of poison.

    Finally, the internet addiction is another one to tackle. All the above are my usual addictions that have consistently affected me throughout my life. It’s strange how people can have very different addictions. For example I was never attracted to smoking nor could I think of it ever becoming an addiction for me.

    So, given I have been pmo free for a week, I will now add a second level to include giving up the following: coffee/tea, alcoholic drinks, sugary foods (cakes, chocolate, biscuits, candy, ice cream, etc.), unnecessary internet usage (internet is only allowed for the use on this forum, for family use - like watching movies with family - any practical matters (work, emails and similar) and to read the major news.

    The new counter will therefore be as follows:


    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%):
    Symptoms observed:

    Free from:
    Coffee/tea (Y/N)
    Alcoholic drinks (Y/N)
    Sweet foods (Y/N)
    Unnecessary internet usage (Y/N)
  12. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Happy to hear that you don't experience real difficulties so far. Enjoy the peace of mind and use it to prepare yourself for when the urges really start popping up. What are your main triggers - which situations are hard-wired to porn consumption?

    Take it easy on yourself with the other addictions, they are not as damaging as porn and tackling those should not interfere with the success of your efforts to reboot your brain from P-addiction
  13. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 8

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 0%
    Symptoms observed: struggled to fall asleep last night - felt anxious for no apparent reason while in bed plus felt like different parts of my body were itching (I’ve observed similar symptoms many times before around days 7-10).
    Free from:
    Coffee/tea Y
    Alcoholic drinks Y
    Sweet foods Y
    Unnecessary internet usage Y

    Today I’ve noticed more fully what my main trigger is Gil79: anxiety. Or, more than a trigger, it is the very reason why I find PMO so good: sexual pleasure relaxes me, it makes me forget my troubles, it takes my mind off my anxious thoughts completely. The first thing I normally encounter when I try and give up the lust problem is a sense of deep anxiety.

    I just came back from a ‘nice’ walk with family. They clearly enjoyed it. I, on the other hand, was snappy, tense and angry most of the time. I couldn’t stay calm because my underlying anxiety was making me very nervous whenever something was stressing me out.

    I really need to work on it. My parents have always been very anxious people and I’ve struggled with worrisome feelings most of my life. My wife is the opposite: calm and acting like an anchor for our children (which also affects my male pride).

    Another trigger is often success. If I have accomplished something, a voice within me says ‘well done, you have really worked hard! You deserve something in return for your achievement! How about… those nice pictures?’ It’s a trick of my mind that I have observed all too often.

    I will therefore work on reducing my anxiety and being very careful with accomplishments.

    Sadly, and you could probably be shocked by this one, there is also another powerful trigger. As I told you, I am a counsellor (psychotherapist) by profession. Most of my clients are female and young. Counselling is about building a good relationship so therapy can be successful. Many of these clients end up trusting me very much, making me feel as if I am a very important part of their lives… some wear skirts and sit there, right in front of me. Some of the things I have heard clients say to me recently (all female): ‘I will confess to you that I have always a great desire for sex!’, ‘you are the person who knows me better than anyone else’, ‘I felt desperate last week when I couldn’t find you for extra support!’, ‘I and my bf did (sexual details)’. What to speak of some clients being clearly flirtatious, behaving in attractive ways (there is one who has a fantastic bottom, and sometimes she decides she prefers to talk while standing… she then turns on herself and pretends to look away from me as if reflecting deeply on something… yet I wonder if it is because she wants me to check her out). Of course I try and look at all this as transference: any possible sexual attraction in the room may well just be a reflection of their deeper emotional needs that often relate to disfunctional relationships. In therapy this is often called erotic transference. I’ve always managed to not get erotically involved with any client and most of the time I really feel deep empathy for them.
    But of course, sometimes it is very hard to not feel sexually attracted by them! I’ve often considered changing this job (for obvious reasons) but believe me, it is hard to do. We rely on my salary in the family and at 42 it is not simple to consider different careers - also consider that the therapy training ended up costing me much time, energy and money.

    Our priest at church spoke clearly to me about my profession (he knows about my lust problem), albeit through a metaphor: if you cut a plant half way, it will grow back. If you don’t want the plant to grow any longer, you have to remove it with all the roots and everything. So, trying to resist lust while doing my job is a bit like a person addicted to cigarettes who wants to quit smoking but works in a cigarette factory. Every Monday morning I feel like I am going to the slaughter house for my own miserable death (lust-wise of course). You must probably think ‘how can this guy ever recover while working in such an environment?’

    There is however another side to it. Having done this job for 10 years already, I have often come to learn more about the lust I experience for a person. I may for example feel very lustful feelings towards a client at first… but then, as the weeks pass, I learn more about the person and I start to realise that she is not just beautiful… but also a PERSON, with qualities and weaknesses. I have often been surprised how my initial lust got eventually transformed into respect for the person. As if I ‘became that person’ through my empathy. And how can you feel lustful feelings towards yourself? It’s a strange but beautiful experience that is not easy to explain. I’ve sometimes wondered if that is God’s plan for me: to learn through my profession that a woman is far more than just the body. For example, the client with the beautiful ass… I’ve been welling up recently when she told me in tears about very deep problems. There was absolutely nothing sexual at that point. I really felt very sad for her experience.

    It’s even strange to think but sometimes I even become protective of the vulnerable clients. If I hear that they take risks sexually or allow themselves to be too relaxed with men who clearly just want to take advantage of the situation - I genuinely desire to help them question their decisions; to make sure they stay safe. However, deep down I feel like a hypocrite! I am the first one to watch naked pictures of women who are daughters/sisters/gf/sometimes mums - adding my contribution to the exploitation of so many people.

    It’s a tricky situation that I have to confront on a weekly basis.
    path-forward likes this.
  14. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Firstly, congrats on passing the 1 week mark! Aren't those first days the most difficult?

    Very familiar. I also think that this is a brain physiology thingy. Succes is a natural reward that comes with (well-deserved) dopamine release. That is healthy, because there was an effort to reach that dopamine kick. Your brain then wires dopamine release to that effort that you have put into it and so you learn to be even more succesful. The problem for porn addicts like us is that we're so dependent on dopamine in our reward centre that when the dopamine decreases again, we want to keep it up. we want to keep it flowing like we're used to. So we turn to fantasy and porn and masturbation to keep those levels high. I think it is important to be very aware of this when we have succes or when we have really put effort into something that yields a natural and functional dopamine release. We should prepare for the decrease as well and sit it out.

    Ay, honestly when reading this some sexual fantasies were triggered. I shook them off though. That is indeed a very tough situation and I can imagine that this has always been a very strong trigger for you to turn to porn and masturbation. I think it is well-known that people is such positions like you (where there is a dependence) have difficulties to deal with that. I think the same holds for teachers and even your priest. Although for you as a therapist, interacting at such intimate level it is probably most difficult. Because of that I think it is also good if you can talk about these kinds of things with colleagues or peers. Is that possible in some sort of way, maybe even via an organisation? You know, you're not the only one amd there are therapists who have learned to dwal with that in a proper way right, so there's no reason why you couldn't do that.

    But hey, maybe just the dealing with this addiction is the key to that. We should not underestimate sensitisation and how it troubles our views on the world and especially how we objectify women. I have notice before how some months without porn really helped me to view women in a different way, without that charged, nervous, sexual objectification.

    And as you say, maybe this is your challenge right now. This is what gives you meaning or purpose. You can do this. You'll never get more than you can handle. Keep up the good work!
  15. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 9

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 80%
    Symptoms observed: depression, high levels of anxiety, pressure in my chest, heart palpitations, deep sense of failure, sense of desperation, sexual cravings, images of good looking girls known to me flashing through my brain and inviting me to fantasize, social anxiety, various bodily tensions, restless leg
    Free from:
    Coffee/tea Y
    Alcoholic drinks Y
    Sweet foods Y
    Unnecessary internet usage Y

    The battle has begun.

    I woke up feeling shit and struggling with heart pains. My wife felt it's due to stress (she thinks I have been clean from PMO for years) and encouraged me to take the day off from the family and go wherever I wanted, to find some peace and calm.

    It's something I am not used to as I hardly ever have time for myself.

    I drove more than one hour to a city I've never visited before. The city was ugly: basically an immense shopping centre full of people and the rest of the city built around it. It was very cold/humid and foggy. Parks and nature all frozen. Felt very uncomfortable being around people in the shopping centre. Too many people - it felt stressful. I was anxious and unsure about myself and my movements. Had a strong sense of feeling out of place.

    Some good looking girls walked past and my inner lustful self thought 'ooooh!'. But I did not allow myself to fantasize and told myself it is just good looking girls, good for them!

    Removed myself pretty quickly from that depressing city (or was the depression just inside myself?).

    Drove half an hour, stopped in the middle of nowhere. All around just frozen fields and an intense fog. Decided to go for a walk through that fog with no precise destination. Beautiful and fairy-like landscape, complete silence.

    But I was not at peace. I felt stressed and not in tune with my surroundings. In fact all that whiteness around me and the complete silence made me even more aware of how unstable I was in that moment. Intense urges to fantasize sexually passed through me. Felt tense and anxious. Was hoping not to see anyone. Internally I was like a little shy child with the worst self-esteem. On the outside one would have seen just a 40+ person walking through the fields. Every step was a hard battle with horribly depressing thoughts and with regular sexual images flashing briefly in my mind. At some point I saw far away in the fog the shapes of two people coming towards me. With great agitation I removed myself quickly from there and went back towards my car (as if I had seen a monster). I hate to feel so terribly shit but I know it is part of the process. Did I illude myself that it would be easy?

    What certainly helped me to stay focused today was the thought that I had a place here in the forum where I could come and talk about all this. It gave me hope. In my car I read the thread of someone on this forum and responded to their message as a way to encourage him and myself.

    The landscape today couldn't have been more fitting for the battle we all go through... a fog that keeps us in the unknown... will we make it? Will we be able to give up PMO for good? I had a number of moments today when a voice within said 'you know perfectly well that winning this battle is impossible! You may well just give up! Failure is just round the corner' All was accompanied by a few suicidal thoughts too. Nothing serious - I know myself, they are just passing thoughts of desperation.

    So here I am, still alive and clean. But it's hard now. And tomorrow back to work, to the lustful slaughter house. Life seems to have no mercy, even when I try (or especially when I try!).

    Gil79: your words have been a great help today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your encouragement and your reflections. It made me feel much less lonely when I was surrounded by the fog of the fields and of my lust.

    Really sorry that my description of my job caused some triggers for you; I should be careful with language: after all I am an ill person due to my lust and certainly it must show in my language.

    Glad to see my trigger (success/reward) normalized. Yes, will make sure to try and prepare for the 'decrease' stage so that it doesn't catch me unprepared.

    You are right, many will similarly struggle in these kind of professions. I had another priest telling me very simply that (as you quite rightly said) I shouldn't forget how priests too encounter these type of temptations with women who rely on them for spiritual advise/encouragement.

    I could try and find colleagues to discuss this issue. Thank you for the suggestion. At the moment shame is discouraging me from doing so but perhaps there is an anonymous forum like this one but for counsellors where I can open up about the subject and hopefully receive advise/encouragement like I do here. Will see if I can find something.

    In the meantime hope you are keeping strong in your efforts! Remember to keep posting if you feel lonely in the hotel ;-)

    Tomorrow is day 10. It's that nice two figures number that makes me feel one level up... but I know it will be hard tomorrow. I have my own office and if some clients are ill or for some reason don't turn up, I will be there with plenty of time, sitting in front of a computer and my smartphone. I am not allowed to leave my work place.

    I started doing physical exercises in the office which helps to an extent... let's hope I can be creative.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2022
    Gil79 likes this.
  16. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    You did good in getting out there and have some time for yourself. Eventhough it may have felt as if everything was just shitty and useless, this day and these feelings play a significant part in the healing process. The healing has begun! You can do this. Remember that very soon the all these processes due to the addiction (sensitisation, desensitisation, hypofrontality and higher stress-responses) will really start to decrease. Then things will be a lot more stable. Keep moving forward, keep the momentum
    Boxer17 likes this.
  17. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 10

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 65-80% (alternating throughout the day)
    Symptoms observed: cravings, feeling that giving in wasn’t far away, a sense that days pass very slowly (I feel often like I must be on day 14-15 already - only to realise soon after that it is actually only day 10), feeling that life is terribly boring and dry without PMO.
    Free from:
    Coffee/tea Y
    Alcoholic drinks Y
    Sweet foods Y
    Unnecessary internet usage Y - though ended up researching in more detail a particular news report, which made me stay for longer than intended on the internet

    Thank you Gil79, that’s encouraging to hear that those processes will decrease. I needed to hear something like that since I really feel the instability of my mind right now.

    Had 3 good looking clients in therapy today. My mind was trying to encourage me to look at them sexually, but I simply did not allow it… really don’t know what is saving me at the moment.
    Gil79 likes this.
  18. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Just a quick note to say that it’s hard right now… had a horrendous night - didn’t sleep + felt very depressed and anxious. Started watching videos on YouTube of people who committed suicide as a way to have my horrible feelings normalised. That probably speaks for itself!

    Just hope that tonight I will be able to mark ‘Day 11’

    At the moment I feel as if my lustful self is already there, PMOing… but I am not. And that lustful creature looks at me saying ‘What the hell? What are you waiting for? Come over here you idiot!’

    It’s like I am a piece of iron trying to run away from a giant magnet. Why does life have to be so horrendous? All I wanted as an innocent child was a good and peaceful life.
  19. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Day 11

    Degree of difficulty today (0-100%): 98%
    Symptoms observed: strong cravings, mind tending to fantasise, stress, restless leg, tension, frustration, irritation
    Free from:
    Coffee/tea Y
    Alcoholic drinks Y
    Sweet foods N
    Unnecessary internet usage N

    I ended up surfing the internet more than necessary and needing chocolate to counter balance the very low mood. Some surfing went towards privilaging content with women in it.
    path-forward and Gil79 like this.
  20. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Good that you came here to write down what is going on. Try to be aware of what is happening inside you. I know it is uncomfortable but it is the only way to break through all of this. You have to lean in to it and accept it. It is your message to yourself at this exact moment. And there is nothing more important than that.

    You know that you can do this. You have that power. And remember: one day at the time.

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