I’m 46, divorced. In a career I despise and in the process of ending a decades long porn addiction. I’m also extremely intelligent, capable, hardworking and dare I say, not physically unattractive. The struggle to quit has been extremely difficult. I’ve sworn a thousand times, “I’ll quit tomorrow.” Never works. Make it a week on willpower, fall back into it. The idea is repulsive, and yet every day I’m back at it. So the question occurred: why? I’m highly paid if not highly satisfied. Competent, if not happy. I read something on here earlier today that kind of made sense of it. Masturbation isn’t about orgasm. The orgasm is about avoiding something else. I grew up in a house where domestic violence was common. All I saw growing up was Dad beating up Mom. The day of his funeral, Mom told me that she had introduced physical violence into their relationship. He called her a name, she slapped him across the face. But three year old me didn’t know that. I just knew that Dad was beating mom and it was my job to stop it. So I took a hairbrush and tried to stab him in the back with it. He never hit me. Spanked me once, which I deserved. One time. He never hit any of the other women in his life. And there were many. Mom stopped slapping me around when I was 17 and when I stood up to her she said, “if I have to fear you, I’ll kill you.” And I said, “do your worst.” She did nothing. But three year old me just saw the parent I identified with, the one who was charismatic and funny and respected and good and all that beating up the one who left bruises on my ass every time I acted up. And I knew it was wrong. So I tried to stop it. I watched a lot more. Physical, yes. Verbal, endlessly. I was so identified with him that I decided at four to follow in his footsteps. But the fighting continued. one time, at 7, I was on the couch. They started fighting. I had just discovered my penis recently. That when I played with it, things didn’t hurt so bad. My parents divorced a few months later. My Dad was an occasional visitor. Not knowing their history and how crazy she is 100% capable of being, I blamed him being adulterous, which was correct. He did do it. But living with my mother was not “not easy.” It was crazy world all the time. So when I got sad because I missed my Dad, I could always jerk off. Around 10 porn came into my life. The masturbation was the point, porn was just the stimulus. At 14 I found out that my hero, my idol, my North Star, the man I wanted to be, had molested two little girls. Just like when I was three, I took the blame for his actions on myself. Porn became a daily thing. Like any good addict, I adjusted technique to the available technology. I’m not an alcoholic, but I have known plenty and lots of drug addicts, too. They don’t even like the drug, the same way I don’t even like porn, haven’t for years. They want to escape. Just like I do. I learned when I ran homeless shelters that addiction is nothing but a maladaptive behavior pattern made to survive what seems like an unlivable situation. Addicts are still people, in many cases, better people than most corporate America shills I work with on a daily basis. More honest. More authentic. More caring. More decent. Just better people all the way around. I’m no expert on recovery and this may be nothing but the word vomit of a stranger. But for now (to eternal chagrin of my very Southern Baptist mother), I’m thinking like a lifelong Catholic who believes that confession is good for the soul.