The Day I Truly Entered Recovery Was...

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Joshua Shea, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    ...the day I stopped waiting for other people's advice or tricks to be the magic bullet solution. I'm now just over 4.5 years sober from porn. I would have told you then that M/O was also an issue, but once the porn went away the M/O reduced by 98%. I was a porn addict.

    I was in therapy for years long before I ever admitted to my porn addiction, trying to deal with my anxiety and feelings of always being out of place in the world. While it did come to light that I was bipolar, and that was important to contain, I just kept waiting for the piece of advice or the pill that would make my life fall into place and I'd become like all of the other people.

    Through my 20+ years of porn addiction and alcoholism, there were certainly times where I was very weak and I know that I certainly did some damage to my pleasure centers by nuking my brain with dopamine, oxytocin and all of those others happy chemicals.

    I am grateful for my therapist. She is an amazing guide through my psyche and has helped me connect so many threads that I finally understand the web of who I am, and I couldn't have done it without her, but she couldn't have done it without me...and for too long I was waiting for that.

    I didn't know about NoFap or boards like this where most guys try to white-knuckle it, or theories like the whole Red Pill thing back when I was in early therapy. I think there are holes to all of those modalities, but if they work for you -- actually work -- then I think they're fine because it's YOU who is making them work.

    I sat in a few months worth of Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings mostly listening to men complain about their sexless lives and realized that the only way you're going to change is if you truly become committed to change.

    My therapy moved in a bit of a cognitive behavioral direction and that started to make all the difference. How often do you ask yourself, "Why am I about to do this?" "What is motivating me here?" "Why am I having these feelings?" At one point in my recovery, I was probably doing this 25 times a day. Now, there is a level of muscle memory that has sunk in. Triggers are hardly a bother, for both porn and alcohol.

    I'm proof that anybody can beat this thing, but I'm also proof that this isn't like a broken leg where it just heals on its own, and it's not like an illness that antibiotics will take care of. It's not a mental condition that a few pills will contain and nobody is holding back the secret that will make you better.

    It's on you. You need to make the commitment to change. It's not a desire, it's not a hope. It's a commitment. You get your ass up everyday to go to work. You visit your family on holidays. You pay your taxes. You know how to handle commitment. You just have to decide this is worth it and once you take control -- well, the hard work has only just started -- but at least you've taken that legit first step.
    ronkumar likes this.
  2. Raskolnikov

    Raskolnikov Active Member

    I am grateful to have the honour of being the first to congratulate you. Job well done Joshua. I loved the frankness of your post.

    More than that, your acknowledgement that favourable circumstances do not exist. I also agree with the lack of belief in new theories such as the Red Pill. Self-image is the key to victory, and I believe you have performed phenomenally in rehabilitating that. We should all aspire to think better of ourselves, doing so, imo, is at least 50% of what success requires.

    Enjoy sobriety, I've no doubt you'll be on this for at least 44 years more :)
    Joshua Shea likes this.
  3. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks for posting your story, Joshua. I am long term sober too and like you, I am convinced that a recovered state from this addiction doesn't really exist. We have to make a daily effort to stay away from the lure of porn and masturbation. There will be times where the addiction seems to have been 'cured', but it is actually dormant, waiting in the shadows for when we feel disharmony in our lives. Just out of interest, why are you choosing to post a success story now when you have been 4.5 years sober? Is it because you feel that you have made breakthroughs in a particular way? I am also interested in your mental health. Has this improved for you over the course of your recovery journey? Many congratulations again on your achievement :)
    Joshua Shea likes this.
  4. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Member

    Can you share some before and after changes in terms of arousal sex stimulation etc?
  5. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Member

    Did you ever face symptoms like no erection, premature ejaculation sunken eyes, hair fall weak pennis, fatigue and most importantly insomnia?
  6. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    I have been participating on this board for probably about 6 months, mostly in the 40+ category, so I couldn't post before that. Several guys suggested I create a journal, but I kind of feel like I already did that with my book. I figured the best thing I could bring to the table to a larger, not-segmented-by-age group was the revelation that finally helped me kick this thing, or at least has given be so many years of sobriety. I've been doing a lot of presentations to small groups about porn addiction lately and in getting a lot of the same questions, over time I've developed my answer to "How do you beat porn addiction?" I finally realized it wasn't really in the details, because everybody's details will be different...yet all have to make a real commitment, not just wish it will happen.

    I went through a rough mental health patch about 3-4 months ago that lasted probably 6-7 weeks. The nice thing about it was that I realized I hadn't been through one of these patches in nearly four years, which is by far my longest stretch without a prolonged challenge. I can credit that to the lack of porn, or lack of alcohol, or the cognitive behavior therapy, or the fact I'm a nicer person with a less stressful and hectic schedule. I'm not sure what percentage each of those things play into it, but I feel like I mentally more clear for longer periods of time than I have been at any other point in my life. When I really went down and the addictions reached a critical point, my therapist said it was like a perfect storm. I think the way many negative things played into my implosion, many solutions play a part in my recovery. Thank you for the kind words.
  7. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    It took a while for me to get back to the point I was early in my marriage. It's not like a light switch where my libido and performance flipped on and off. It was more like a dimmer switch where it slowly came back over time. For quite a while, sex with my wife was good, but I had to finish myself off and kind of detach from the intimacy. These days, I wouldn't say our frequency of having sex increased with my recovery, but the quality did. Now, I'm on a handful of medications for my bipolar disorder and those can have side effects, so I don't want to say that my story will be like everyone else's. I was on one pill for a while that allowed me to get an erection, but I couldn't finish. After 45 minutes, I want to finish. So I changed meds.
    I think I'm at the point now where I recognize there has been some long-term damage to my dopamine receptors, or I'm just getting older (42 now) and the equipment isn't as brand new as it once was because I've never returned to that place I was in my early 20s. Something tells me that's natural, but either way, it is what it is.
  8. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    When my addiction hit its worst phase, in the 6-9 months before I finally started getting help, I was sleeping only about 2-3 hours a night because my porn use was always after my family went to bed. What was once an hour of viewing turned into multiple hours and probably took place 5 nights a week instead of 3. That lack of sleep left me hugely fatigued. My hygiene took a hit and I started making stupid mistakes at work and the quality of my output went down dramatically. On the rare occasion I would have sex with my wife, I'd say there was erection issues about half the time. The other half, I usually had to finish on my own.
  9. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Member

    I m 20.5 almost but I look very old due to this overmasturbation. Can this thing get better. I have huge confidence issues due to this. I have no real time erection. what ever happens is just when I relapse to PMO. I developed pigmentation too on the face. my face always looks full. I take clonazepam 0.5 mg to fall asleep
  10. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    You should probably explain this all to a doctor. It can get better, but you've got to get help on figuring out what is physical and what is mental.

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