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

    Just wanted to update the world that I am about three weeks away from being 6 years is completely possible!
    baywalker, Guts, Mickeymouse and 2 others like this.
  2. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Well-Known Member

    Joshua how is your sleep?
  3. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Great to hear, Joshua. That's a phenomenal achievement. Well done! :)
    Joshua Shea likes this.
  4. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Well-Known Member

    Congratulations. Just give me a glimpse as to how you were before and how you are now?
  5. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Mickeymouse I was an almost daily addict for just over 20 years, whether it was the magazines I started with, VHS tapes I moved onto, the brief stop with DVDs and finally, the Internet. I was never all-in for one particular genre. I'd bounce all over the place, but don't think I was really into anything that people would call gonzo or extreme, although at some point I probably saw it all.

    I could write thousands of words about my addiction and recovery...and I have. My second book is still doing quite well on Amazon and I've got a website where I write a ton and counsel addicts and their partners. You'll see the link at the bottom of this message. I've done over 100 podcasts, radio and tv show appearances as well as giving presentations in libraries and churches about pornography addiction. I've researched the hell out of it and can quote statistics and studies all day long. In some ways, I've switched my addiction from porn addiction to porn addiction education.

    Without going back and referencing what I wrote here almost two years ago, there are a few things that need to happen with everyone looking to overcome this addiction.

    1) I cannot think of a single person who has successfully stayed away from porn longterm without dealing with the trauma that brought them there. Depending on the exact study or exact author, numbers vary slightly, but I'd guess most agree that 90-95% of porn addicts have some kind of trauma, usually sexual and/or emotional that is unresolved. For those that read this and think "that's not me!" I have to tell you that I said that until I started doing the hard work of deep therapy and it became obvious pretty fast that I had a bunch of trauma from abuse I suffered at the hands of a babysitter when I was young. Addiction is a symptom of a bigger problem, not the problem itself. If you can deal with the bigger problem, taking care of the symptoms (of which porn is likely not the only one) becomes much easier.

    2) I have seen people who have tried to succeed in recovery without professional help. These people remind me of the "dry drunks" you encounter at AA. They may not use, but they are not doing much better than before and their entire lives are still run by their addiction. I know on boards like this and NoFap, you'll find plenty of guys who puff out their chest and talk about not needing a therapist. To that, I offer the thought, "There has never been someone on their deathbed whose final words were, 'I just wish I hadn't asked for help.'" Real men get help when they need it. Little boys run from it. Be a man.

    3) Dopamine fasting is still pseudoscience. "Rewiring" or "resetting" or whatever the junior masturbating scientists like to call it is scientifically unproven. There is plenty of science out there about what happens to your brain when you become an addict. The same thing happens to a porn addict that happens to any other addict when it comes to the six chemicals (it's not just dopamine) that scratch the itch the brain's pleasure centers demand. You can be a shopping addict or a heroin addict and the brain chemistry is the same. Yes, there are addictions involving substances that can have adverse physical effects in many ways, but the brain chemistry of addiction is the same. Once you've permanently altered it, you can't fast it back into being the way it once was. Or maybe you can with 20 years of fasting, much like 20 years of not smoking brings the lungs back to almost the way they were (providing there was no permanent damage like COPD), but we don't know that yet because nobody has been "rewiring" for 20 years.

    4) The only way you're going to quit any addiction, or change any behavior, is by wanting it and practicing it. I urge everyone to read the book "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. It's brilliant talking about how we form our repetitive behavioral patterns. It's not all that academic and is actually a fun read. It's not aimed at addicts, but I think any addict could get more out of this book than most that are geared toward addicts -- except my books of course :) Anyway, there is knowing you should quit, wanting to quit and doing whatever you need to quit. When you're in that third category, you don't go back. On March 20, I'll be 6 years free of porn and on April 1, I'll be 6 years free from alcohol and I've not relapsed on either even one time. It's not simple, but I believe you need to be willing to do what you have to do to be free of the addiction. It needs to be the priority in your life. I think that a lot of people believe that it is healthier to want to quit and still use, than being the kind of person who really enjoys using and making no excuses about it. In reality, it's the same result. You're still using either way. I know there are people reading this who are thinking, "But I do really want to quit!" You do, but you don't want to practice it. You just want to be there without the hard work. There is no magic bullet medication, therapy or sentence that anyone is going to give you to make overcoming addiction simple. It's not simple. It's seriously hard work. I think at their core most people think, "If it was only easier to quit, I would." That's an excuse. When you're done making excuses, you'll quit.

    You asked about my sleeping habits...they're fine. I need more sleep now than I did 6 years ago, but I think that may just be a facet of growing older. There were nights when I lost a lot of sleep to porn, but I lost a lot of things to porn. My life today is far more full, happier and healthier than it has ever been. I have a little bit of resentment that I lost so many years to pornography and alcoholism. I feel like I didn't start living my authentic life until I was around 38, but when I start feeling that way, I remind myself that I should be grateful I started living at 38 and not 48 or 58. Reminding myself to be grateful and positive is something that still keeps me sober.

    I'm not here nearly as much as I used to be, but I try to get here at least once or twice a week. If you need responses quicker, my contact information is on my website.
  6. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Well-Known Member

    Because you have extensive knowledge of porn. Can compulsive masturbation and pornography make me weak and give me insomnia?
  7. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Well-Known Member

    Were you taking any anti depressants anytime in your journey?
  8. baywalker

    baywalker Active Member

    I'm sure you hear/read this often and we don't know each other long but your support and guidance has been very helpful in my current journey regarding this addiction, I appreciate it.

    Congrats on your achievements, best is yet to come.
    Joshua Shea likes this.
  9. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Mickeymouse Anytime you're messing with your brain chemistry, there are going to be side effects, especially if part of your routine is skipping sleep to masturbate and look at porn. Your body wants the chemicals released by engaging in your addiction and it will also provide adrenaline to keep you awake until you satisfy its needs.
  10. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Mickeymouse Yes, the entire time. Every once in a while we have to change the cocktail a bit because my body becomes a bit more resistant to them, but taking care of your mental health is one of the biggest keys to maintaining sobriety. For me, that means medication. I got over any stigma of "but I don't want to take meds" a long time ago. Again, that's the male ego puffing out their chest. It's also laughable when I hear "I'm worried I'll become addicted to the meds." You won't, but even if you did, isn't being addicted to medication that is keeping you level-headed and helping keep your addiction in check better than being addicted to the porn?
  11. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @baywalker Thank you sir, I appreciate it. Since I've yet to figure out how to make any money on being a porn addiction educator, it's comments like those that keep me going.
    baywalker likes this.
  12. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Well-Known Member

    Do you take anti deps @Joshua Shea now as well?
    Were you able to perform sexually with your wife while you took anti deps. I cannot sleep without a benzo and anti dep. If I try I don't get sleep and end up pmoing again. There was a time when I just masturbated. But now I can't even masturbate without porn. I ejaculate in not more than 30- 40 secs.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
  13. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Mickeymouse Yes, I still anti-depressants and likely will for the rest of my life. I'm perfectly OK with it. If it helps maintain my sobriety and keeps my mental health in check, I say 30 seconds of my time to swallow some pills in the morning is a good thing.

    I was able to perform with my wife most of the time. I had to be taken off Lexapro because while I could get erections, I could never finish. It's been the old one I've had with real side effects in the bedroom.

    Try something for the next few days. If you need to masturbate, do it without porn. If you need to look at porn, do it without masturbating. Figure out if you're really addicted to both. I would have guessed I was addicted to both, but when the porn disappeared, my masturbating dropped by 95%. I was never truly addicted to the was just something to do to justify looking at porn.
  14. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Well-Known Member

    @Joshua Shea that you wrote back. my case seem to be the same addicted to both. i used masturbation as a tool to fall asleep. now i want to sleep normally but that is nit happening. i would welcome any help or tips from your end. but can i recover without anti deps as well?

    is it that pmoing have permanently damaged something for my sleep and feeling towards life. what shall happen if you quit anti deps?
  15. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Mickeymouse If I quit the meds, I'd probably be OK for a short while. Then, one of two things would happen. I would either sink into a deep, deep depression that would likely last months and leave me largely catatonic or I would become increasingly manic and erratic, making unhealthy decisions and taking unnecessary risks. In both scenarios, I think the alcohol and porn would return and in both scenarios I would alienate my family.

    I have no idea what your masturbation habits are like and I know the whole point of this board is to quit the PMO, but I'm of the belief that masturbation (without porn) is not the most unnatural thing on earth. I think most people confuse masturbation addiction with porn addiction, based on my experience and others I've talked with. That's why I urged you to masturbate without the porn and see what happens.

    The masturbation = good sleep is a routine that you believe. While if you masturbate vigorously for 3 hours, yeah it will help you sleep, so will exercising for 3 hours. There is no scientific connection between masturbation and good sleep. If you look at any list of ideas for going to bed at night, you're always going to see the same stuff....don't have caffeine several hours before, don't look at screens up to an hour before, try reading, etc. Those reasons are there because they work. Are they as fun as masturbation? Probably not in your eyes, but if you want to stop have to stop this.

    You can recover without meds. You just have to want to recover and be willing to change your patterns and behaviors and make this the most important thing in your life. You also need to figure out how you got this way. When did you start masturbating to porn and what was it soothing you from back then? I don't need the details, but these are things you need to work on.
    Mickeymouse likes this.
  16. Thanks for sharing this excellent story. I had lost commitment recently after gaining sobriety, but I'm ready to recommit.
    Joshua Shea likes this.
  17. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    I'm glad to hear that. If I can be of any help, I'm not hard to find.
  18. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Well-Known Member

    Do you sleep without any sleeping pill @Joshua Shea . Can you help me with some advice as to how should I sleep so that the next morning I feel rejuvenated.
  19. fedmom

    fedmom Member

    They should get rid of the addiction entirely actually.
  20. Mickeymouse

    Mickeymouse Well-Known Member

    Addiction to pmo or the meds?

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