When the Sirens Pass - the journal of a recovering porn addict

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by BenS, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. BenS

    BenS New Member

    Hey all. So glad you're all here trying to deal with this chronic interrupting force.

    I have told my story before, elsewhere, and I don't feel inclined to go through every last detail, but I know you all know the outline of the story, because you've lived it, too...compulsion...loss of control...an increasingly desperate chase for dopamine...extreme genres and images to kick-start that internal chemical, our drug...depleted energy...depleted appetite for natural and healthy sex with attractive partners...depleted humanity...disconnection...sleep disruption...deregulated moods...bewilderment as to how we got here...sadness...loneliness...the awareness of time slipping away...the shame...the paranoia...desperation...hope...

    My name is Ben and I have suffered with porn addiction for over twenty years.

    But I was born on Monday 21st of October 2019, when I spoke with someone who knows my life - the life behind the facade of normality, profession, the public face - before I even open my mouth; yet, I did open my mouth, and I started the process of healing. I have tried before to address the problem, different angles, different tools...none of which I now view as a failure, because every step I've taken to stop porn use has taught me something about how to set free the man imprisoned within the cage of addiction.

    I started a journal on Monday, and today decided I had to share it with others who are fighting to reclaim their lives from addiction, because secrecy feeds the shame, and shame feeds the addiction.

    Thanks for being here.

    October 21st 2019:

    It truly begins today.

    Freedom from compulsivity. A more mindful and structured way of being in the world.

    It is time to unleash the potential within me. Not, I hope, in a grandiose sense, but from a place of hope and determination and courage. I have know that I am giving up nothing. Giving up the chopping off of my right hand, as a guy once wrote.

    But it isn't true. I am giving up the chains that I have dragged around like poor old Scrooge. I'm giving up mediocrity. I'm giving up depression, shame and paranoia. I'm giving up on excuses for unfulfilled plans and hopes and desires.

    Some simple steps:

    1. Wake up to mindfulness, not to the unconscious and mindless dive in to technology, internet, wildly competing thoughts and tick-lists that swirl and dip and hide in the mental car crash, like a pile up that brings the roads to a standstill. Meditation is the way to start each day.
    2. I can not sit at home alone and use my laptop, or other devices. The laptop can not come out unless it is in a room with another person. So, that means going to the coffee shop, going to the library, and never exposing myself to the trigger of unsupervised hours at home.
    3. Talk with my partner. The opportunity arose to broach the true nature of my problem the night before I started coaching...the universe invited me to change, and I accepted. Now I have her support and understanding, so I have cleared a major hurdle. Now I only have to keep communicating, keep her involved and with me.
    4. Take the advice to write down two choices as they arise for me. Make conscious my decisions, allow the executive functioning of my brain to reclaim the territory from the limbic system.
    5. Channel my anger at the time stolen from me. Controlled anger, not rage, to steer me far away from the prison of this addiction.
    6. Journal...and post...know this reflection and sharing will form some of the substance of recovery.
    7. Embrace the excitement and hope that is stirring, very faintly but undeniably, within me.
     
    Yùtù, -Luke- and Gil79 like this.
  2. BenS

    BenS New Member

    October 23rd:

    I woke up with hope and a sense of being in the right direction. Today, I will be with my son, in between working a few hours. And today I commit to being PMO free.

    Here's what I have learned so far this week:

    1. I can make my choices more conscious. I can decide to eat a piece of fruit instead of a chocolate bar. Not that I am overly concerned about eating a chocolate bar - rather I am very concerned with training my executive function 'muscle'.
    2. Not exposing myself to unnecessary triggers is a logical and self-compassionate process. Why would I open my laptop at home when alone, when I can can work at the library or coffee shop? Would I expose my children to a risky situation if I foresaw it?
    3. Talking to my partner about my addiction a few days ago was the essential to my recovery. She might not understand every element of this addiction, but she wants to help me in whatever way she can, and she certainly sees how the problem affects her and us. It was a gamble, but one I had to take.
    4. Talking to a coach, another human being who knows experientially the essence of this problem, and has walked a path to recovery...again, vital to my recovery.
    5. “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
    ― Thomas A. Edison.
    Every twist and turn over the past twenty-plus years has taught me something about what I must do now. Feelings like regret and guilt have alchemistic potential. From the furnace of our ordeal comes latitude.
     
    Gil79 likes this.
  3. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Welcome @BenS! Great posts. Looking forward to see more of you.
     
  4. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum, Ben!
     
  5. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Welcome to this forum sir and sending thoughts for all the best in this fight!
     
  6. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @BenS I think you've learned more in a week than many people learn in a lifetime.
     
  7. BenS

    BenS New Member

    Saturday October 26th:

    Six days of abstinence from PMO. Experience tells me that it’s easy to stop in the honeymoon of this journey, which I enjoyed for few days this week...the difficulty comes as I face my triggers, external and internal...so, yesterday evening I felt tired and sad and lonely, momentarily, but a moment is all it takes to jump on the top of the rubbish chute and slide into the crap at the bottom...I was alone in my home, too, so the ingredients were there for relapse...these are my greatest triggers, the perfect storm...I chose something else, and I sat at my piano instead.

    Too many times in my adult life, I chose to act out and give up my freedom. Not this time. Harder challenges will come, but, as a friend once told me, nothing great happens in our comfort zone. I have to be ready, armed with the tools for this job. Who climbs Everest without training, equipment, preparation?

    My libido is re-emerging, so this heralds a new phase, and challenge, of recovery. I have to stay mindful, know that all feelings pass. I don’t have to act on cravings, or to chase the dopamine amongst mental fantasy. It is easy to fall into that trap, to tell myself it is okay to fantasise about porn, or other acting out...after all, I’m not watching porn, right? I know better than that now, and the knowledge has been hard-earned in over two decades of addiction. IT IS ALL JUST MY BRAIN CHASING THE NEUROCHEMICAL HIGH. I’m not fooled anymore. I can’t deceive myself in that way. If heroin were my drug, and I really wanted to stop using it, I wouldn’t go around my dealer’s for lunch - nor would I sit and think about how lovely that might be.

    I will be moving into new territory, because I have never gone without O for more than a fortnight. Ultimately, though, I am trying to establish a healthy sexuality, to hone the natural attraction and desire I have for my partner. To get there I will need to pass through unfamiliar territory. It helps so much to read of others doing the same here.
     
  8. BenS

    BenS New Member

    Thanks for all the welcomes. Glad to be here
     
  9. BenS

    BenS New Member

    What I fear will happen if I don't change?

    If I do not become and remain porn-free, I will know I will suffer in terms of sexual function, including the inability to have a meaningful and functional sex life with a partner to whom I am very attracted and love very much. This is humiliating, sad, and deprives both of us of something precious.

    In terms of potential, I will go on stuttering, possibly doing okay at time, but always knowing that I could have had a richer, more successful life.

    I will become increasingly lonely. There is a high chance my relationship will end, because when I am using porn, I am emotionally distant, erratic, irritable. I would not want a partner like that; and my partner deserves better.

    I will be unhappy, full of self-loathing. I will seek increasingly bizarre and immoral genres in a desperate attempt be sexually aroused. Possibly I will at some point seek out sex workers to act out whatever fetish I am obsessing over at any given point.

    I will be full of regret and disappointment and resentment.

    I will have no idea who I am or who I could be.

    I will die knowing that this shit beat me.


    ONE YEAR FROM NOW - porn free

    I will be enjoying my relationship with my partner. I will be attentive and consistent.

    The good habits I have started to form will be embedded, and as automatic as porn use once was. I will practice mindfulness every day, and I will be continually working on acceptance of the conditions of life.

    I will be proud, mostly content, with a clear conscience. I will not have irrational fears of others knowing my 'secret', because there will no longer be a secret.

    I will function sexually, getting aroused by my partner, who happens to be extremely attractive to me. I will not suffer with PIED.

    I will be tuned-in to the lives of friends and family.

    I will be consistently available to my children.

    Work-wise, I will be focused, diligent, striving to be the best I can. I will be earning enough money to be able to enjoy trips with loved ones to places I've never been.

    I will be living with my partner in a house we call home.

    I will be directing my work towards helping people to overcome this addiction, and every shitty experience I suffered and inflicted upon myself will have value.

    I will like myself.
     
  10. BenS

    BenS New Member

    Monday 28th October

    Currently it is not difficult to be porn-free, but it is devilishly difficult not to have sex with my partner! Alongside this I am spending too much time fantasising about having sex with her...she absolutely should be the focus of my sexual thoughts, but I know myself well enough by now to recognise when I am slipping in to obsession, using fantasy to get the old dopamine flowing.

    It's a tricky one actually, because the line between healthy and unhealthy with my partner isn't so clear to me. If anyone has any thoughts around this, I'm all ears.

    Not having sex, alongside being porn free, is leading me to appreciate much more from my partner, including conversation, non-sexual touch, listening to her, seeing the many positives she possesses. I am emotionally available, and attentive...which I often haven't been in my active porn use.

    I know I have to maintain the good habits I have started to form, and complacency is my enemy. I have to keep journalling, practising mindfulness, being honest with myself, attending to recovery.

    I hope it's going well for all of you out there.
     
  11. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Are you avoiding this to reboot? Or are you afraid of chaser effect? Personally I think that sex with your partner without fantasies can only benefit the process.
     
  12. BenS

    BenS New Member


    Both of those. We agreed a period of four weeks. I previously went 40 days without porn, but not sex and MO; I definitely experienced the chaser effect, and this was difficult for me to manage. I'm trying it differently this time, but, yes, it's very very difficult to not have sex with my partner! I have also struggled for a day or two with fantasies, solely and exclusively about my partner, but still it has felt intrusive and lacking in balance ...I'm going to have a chat with my coach about these issues tonight, but I'm also interested in anything anybody has to say about these subjects...
     
  13. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Way to go @BenS!!
    As in martial Arts. Sometimes instead of blocking an opponent's energy, redirecting it can be more effective.
     

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