Author Topic: Is there really a way out? (Save me)  (Read 1815 times)

Unknown419

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Is there really a way out? (Save me)
« on: October 05, 2016, 04:39:04 PM »
Hello.

Sorry for such a pessimistic sounding title, but I've truly begun to fear the worst.

I'm 18 and a half. College freshmen. I know thats not necessarily old for this forum, but PEID is and pornography addiction is not exactly new for me.  I don't really remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure I discovered pornography when I was 10.  Some asshole showed it to me on the school playground on his phone.  I remember going home and discovering the horrid world for myself.  It started with me just looking up "naked girls" or something of the like, but that only escalated to specific body parts, sex, sex acts, etc.  It was probably about a year until I came upon hardcore pornography. 

I didn't actually masturbate until I was 12, about two years after my initial contact.  I masturbated to my imagination for about a year, which I suppose was not really a problem.  I actually stopped watching porn between the ages of 11 and 13.  But eventually I got a laptop of my own in my room and found myself able to combine the two.  I was quite good about it too, sneaking on to my elderly neighbor's wifi to avoid the parental controls my parents had put up.  I don't think they knew what I was doing, I just thing they knew what teenage boys in general were curious about. 

I think I must've done damage to my libido at a young age.  By the time I was 14 I only really found myself horny or excited once every two or three days (which I would spend on pornography).  I knew kids who masturbated multiple times a day and watched porn every time, so I never really thought what I was doing could be that bad or abnormal.

Eventually the generic porn I would watch just became too little.  At the age of 16, When my neighbors moved away and my only option for wifi was my own family's, I was forced off porn websites.  I almost wished this didn't happen, because the resulting options seem worse in retrospect.  I spent hours googling porn and trying to find websites that weren't blocked, until I came across reddit.  That godawful website and its unmoderated image-hosting counterparts like imgur, minus, and gfycat allowed me (and obviously many others) to search through and pluck out every single fantasy in porn I had ever had, everything I could possibly have wanted to see, everything I was curious about.  I think at this point going back to the porn websites wouldn't have done it for me.  I was conditioned to some pretty fucked up stuff. I saw some crazy shit.

That year I also had a girlfriend.  She was real attractive too, out of my league you might say.  The day I realized I had a problem was when she spent the night at my house while my parents are away.  You probably know where this is going: she tried to give me a blowjob, but my dick was just not having it.  Obviously I was horny, but it just wasn't going to happen.  I actually managed to play it off as being tired and too drunk (one of the only times I've drank), and I sort of got away with it without embarrassing myself.  But in my mind I was scared as fuck.

I began researching, exploring my options, trying to decide the best methods of recovery.  Basically the same thing everyone is doing when they first register for this website. 

But that was 2.5 YEARS ago.  30 months.  A lot of shit has changed in that time, but I fear one thing has not.  The amount of times I've built up streaks, counted days, relapsed, binged on pornography is ridiculous.  I've tried seemingly every mindset.  I stayed away from P but M'd to O, stayed away from P and M'd but not to O (edging, not really better), just not O'd but watched P and M'd (probably worse than PMO), just viewed occasional P (usually softcore) but didn't MO, or stayed away from PMO altogether.

Even the best of these (avoiding all of PMO) was only a temporary, partial reward for me.  During my longest and best streak at age 17-18 I had another girlfriend, and I believe I might have been feeling the effects of permanent recovery.  Spending time with another human I was sexually attracted to was a big help, and a big incentive to avoid the temptations.  But I only had that for about 4 of the 30 months I've been attempting to fight this. 

The bullshit I've done in attempt to stop myself is ridiculous.   During one streak I forced myself to do 20 pushups every time I felt tempted.  I taped a pencil across my laptop screen as a constant reminder that I was always fighting (it was there for over a year).  I once forced myself to do a 5 minute plank in the shower after breaking a streak, all the while promising myself that I would never P or M or O again.  I tried pledging to donate 50 bucks every time I did anything in the realm of P, M, or O (self-accountability is impossible).  I told my mom to ask me every day if I owed her money (promising myself to give her 100 if I failed in hopes of stopping myself in fear of losing 100), telling her I was just trying to break a habit.  I was too scared to actually tell her what was happening.  I've used the program Fortify (FTND), which is great, but after 75 days of that I lost control and things went downhill once again.

EVERY TIME I start over, I'm very intense and determined in the beginning, but this falls off.  I often feel I don't have time to set and reflect on my habits, or keep a journal, or calendar, or anything of the like, so while I try these things at first when they seem the most important, they fall apart after a while.  Eventually, when I've let my guard down, I find myself alone with my phone or laptop or something.  It just comes out of nowhere (porn is fuckin everywhere).  It's like I'm being sabotaged by my own brain. 

EVERY TIME I fail, it requires more to convince myself to go again.  It gets harder and harder to imagine something will work that hasn't worked 10 times in the past.  Thus it requires more self-convincing, more self-promising, more preparing.  And when it (seemingly) inevitably all falls apart, I feel worse than the last time.  I'd love to be able to sit down and honestly tell myself that I will NEVER watch pornography again, but I feel it isn't possible. 

I'm kind of at my wits end here.  The last thing I see myself trying before seeking professional help is joining a forum.  I'm a college freshmen at an academically intense school.  I have little free time, and not a lot of friends (and none that I know very well) due to my antisocial tendencies.  The truth is, I don't at all have time to write this, but at this point I figure it's more important than my grades.  I NEED the support that you guys all give to each other, and I am well aware of the great things you all have done for the recovering community. 

I'm at day 0 for the last time.  I hope to be convinced that there is a way out, that there is a method that works.  I really am determined to go through hell to get out, but I know I need a boost. 

I'm sure I'm going to think of more things I wished I had included in this story, but I've got to get going.  I'm praying people will reach out. 

Thank you

willtochange

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Re: Is there really a way out? (Save me)
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 05:51:03 PM »
Hey man welcome to the forum, you reaching out for help shows how serious this is to you. I have a few tips that have helped me, first make sure to delete any pictures, memes, videos etc that are porn right now if you haven't already. Unfollow people on Instagram and any other social media site where porn or porn like images will trigger you. Educate yourself on the industry and the harms of pornography, for me this help me get a good understand on how bad porn is morally and mentally. I wish you the best man and i'm here if you have any questions.


yesyes1234

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Re: Is there really a way out? (Save me)
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 06:46:54 PM »
Hey Unknown419. Welcome to the forum!

There is definitely still some hope left. First of all, you are 18 and a half, having all your shit together at that age would be impressive, especially considering how frustratingly difficult this addiction is to deal with. Second of all, lots of people have gone through endless relapses where they swore that it was the last time before eventually getting control of this thing. Due to your age, you will get to experience a lot of the years that many people on this forum lost when you do manage to keep away from it completely. The fact that you have managed to get enough of a hold on it to put multiple streaks together, is something you can be proud of.

Considering your methods, you said you've tried abstaining all together. Did you try the no arousal method? More notably completely sustaining from sexual imagery, thoughs and fantasies? The idea is to catch yourself as early as possible before you start spiraling down towards relapsing. As you might now, thoughts and fantasies reactivate the brainpaths that we wish to weaken through abstinence. Whenever we let us dwell on a fantasy deep into the rebooting proces, the cravings are acitvated with a hightened intensity we are not used to deal with at that point in the proces. When the cravings fade do to our abstinence so do our guards and defense mechanisms which is why the urges can seem to overwhelming or it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to relapse. With the no arousal technique you don't allow yourself to get in a situation where you have to battle the old cravings. Obviously you have to be very strict about it, and in a way it involves the same mindgames as normal abstinense, but it really is a lot easier to dael it as soon as it pops up. Once you get used to it, it becomes your automatic response. Your body and mind eventually know they should be alert.

The challenge then becomes how to enforce this strictness on yourself, or rather, how to keep upholding this mindset when things get easy. One thing that helped me was truely admitting to myself that I am an addict and that I will be for the rest of my life. It is a part of me that will always be there and I need to adjust my whole life to make sure that I keep it under control. This felt like a bigger shift than you might think and might be a reason why it is so dificult to quit. It meant to some extent rethinking a lot of the situations that I would and could potentially get into. The number one priority became not relapsing or doing anything that could trigger a relapse. Everything else comes second. It's a lot of hard work, especially in the beginning and when you start to doubt, but with time it gets easier and some days you will barely notice it.

I would additionally also recommend getting some routine and getting it out in the open. Once you say it to somebody, you make it official and it will be harder to go back. It also just feels good to get off your chest, it is a huge burden. Talking about it here on the forum is a great start and I wouldn't be surprised if you feel a slight boost, but once it fades, I would recommend seeing your doctor, a therapist, a supportgroup, or an accountability sponsor, at least just so you get it out. That being said, professional help is obviously also a great tool in itself. As a routine a daily journal is a good option. You don't have to write a lot, maybe just a couple of lines. And get some positive stuff in there too. I do the exercise where I write 3 things I'm grateful for every day. It helps staying postive. But I would recommend you find something that feels meaningful to you and reminds you about the progres and your eventual goals.

Something else that is worth reflecting on, is what leads you to relapsing. Is it because you let your guards down, to ease tension, because of boredom, frustration etc. Being conscious of the situations where you need to be alert will help you the next time.

Hopefully it can help.

DonLorenzo

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Re: Is there really a way out? (Save me)
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2016, 02:54:03 AM »
Havent you had a flatline? Did your PIED go away at that one point, and could you get aroused by your girl?
If you felt cured for 4 months, what happened after that? How did you fall back into the addiction

alamar365

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Re: Is there really a way out? (Save me)
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2016, 04:27:19 AM »
Welcome Unknown. There is a way out. Read the thread entitled "Hello Gentlemen...now we begin" written by William. Your addiction is not to porn but to dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. I commend you at your age for seeing, recognizing, and admitting that porn use has negatively affected your life and will continue to do so if you don't stop. William's post will also direct to yourbrainonporn.com which is another great resource. You have your whole life ahead of you. Live it without PMO! To vary an old saying, no one on his death bed ever wished he had spent more time alone jerking off to pornography. I wish you all the best in your journey.

KeepUpTheGoodWork

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Re: Is there really a way out? (Save me)
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2016, 11:48:11 AM »
Welcome to the forums Unknown. There is a wealth of information on here and on yourbrainonporn.com. I have a few starter recommendations for you.

You mentioned not having much time, which is actually a good thing. I tell my accountability partner all the time that "quitting porn" is not what you are doing with your life. It's not what you were put on this earth to do. Meaning, it shouldn't be on your brain as if you are just constantly fighting at every moment of your life. If you are, it's going to be tough. However, most people have urges that come and go. Really, you're fighting the addiction only in those moments. So, what do you do when you're not fighting the addiction? THAT is what is important to overcoming the disease. You need to get busy and get wrapped up in something that doesn't give you the chance to PMO.

I would recommend that when you feel the urge, find ways to break your trigger sequence. I found that I would PMO a lot when I got frustrated while studying. Maybe a concept was difficult - boom triggered. Have a plan for those instances. Mine was simple - take a break. Get a snack, get some air, drink some tea. Sometimes in those moments, you'll actually process the information you're struggling with and you'll find a way to constructively beat your urge.

The next recommendation I have for you is to change your counter goal to 7 days and then change your goal incrementally. If you told me at day 0 that I had to hit 247 days, I would feel so much despair. There is no way you can face that mountain on day one without feeling defeated already. Set it to something attainable - 5 days, 7 days. When you reach that goal, make it 15. You won't lose your streak, the goal just moves.

Finally, again going back to the lack of time - take any moment that you would have spent PMO'ing to learn more about the disease. If you have time to PMO, you can find 30 minutes to get educated about the disease, self-help techniques or meditation. Again, fill your time with positive activities. Good luck man!

Unknown419

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Re: Is there really a way out? (Save me)
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2016, 12:00:13 AM »


Considering your methods, you said you've tried abstaining all together. Did you try the no arousal method? More notably completely sustaining from sexual imagery, thoughs and fantasies? The idea is to catch yourself as early as possible before you start spiraling down towards relapsing. As you might now, thoughts and fantasies reactivate the brainpaths that we wish to weaken through abstinence. Whenever we let us dwell on a fantasy deep into the rebooting proces, the cravings are acitvated with a hightened intensity we are not used to deal with at that point in the proces. When the cravings fade do to our abstinence so do our guards and defense mechanisms which is why the urges can seem to overwhelming or it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to relapse. With the no arousal technique you don't allow yourself to get in a situation where you have to battle the old cravings. Obviously you have to be very strict about it, and in a way it involves the same mindgames as normal abstinense, but it really is a lot easier to dael it as soon as it pops up. Once you get used to it, it becomes your automatic response. Your body and mind eventually know they should be alert.


Hello yesyes1234 and everyone else, thank you for the responses

For yesyes1234, I'm curious about this method. Completely abstaining from sexual arousal seems unnatural. Aren't we as humans geared towards those feelings, and can't they be good. I don't want to be surpressing my hormones or hornyness. And don't I want to replace bad sexual thoughts with good, natural ones?

I obviously have no clue what's right, but I do know that I wake up with an erection most mornings because I am only human. So do you really mean I should surpress all my arousal (and is this a permanent thing?)

Its been a very clean week. Hoping to keep this going.


yesyes1234

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Re: Is there really a way out? (Save me)
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2016, 08:16:19 AM »
Hey Unknown.

It is not to say that everything connected to arousal is bad (sorry about the misunderstanding). Morning wood, wet dreams, feeling attracted to a girl are obviously positive signs. The method is about behaviour.

It's not so much making sure you don't experience arousal as it is about not pursuing it. When we pursue actions that mimic our addictive behaviour, we reactivate the sensitized pathways and make it harder for ourselves to progress.

There is definitely a distinction between artificial and real and in some sense to good and bad relating to it. Rebooters can actually benefit from having real sex at some point in the proces but doing it at the wrong time or overdoing it can however have a negative effect and send you back in the flatline.

In that regard how to manage the balance and what to pursue is dependent on the person and where you are in the proces. For most addicts, especially if you are in the beginning of a reboot, completely abstaining from sexual thoughts or consciously deflect attention from them might be a good idea because thinking about sex will most likely make you think about porn. Or the two have over the years of porn use been closely intertwined so triggering one will trigger the other. We are addicts after all.

From yourbrainonporn http://yourbrainonporn.com/what-stimuli-must-i-avoid-during-my-reboot-did-i-relapse

A simple bottom line on what to avoid:
- "Porn" - All types. If you need to ask, then the answer is, 'bad move.' It's simple: artificial vs real.
- Avoid behaviors that mimic YOUR porn addiction. Which usually means behaviors that substitute the synthetic and the two-dimensional for the real deal.
- Eliminating artificial or synthetic means don't engage in "cam to cam" or chat rooms.
- Surfing Facebook, YouTube, or dating sites for pictures and sexual stimuli is like an alcoholic switching to lite beer.
- Fantasizing about porn is nearly the same as watching it, as you are activating your brain's addiction-related pathways.
- Reading "erotic" stories counts as porn fantasy
- "What about fantasizing about real women?" It's hard to say. If you are simply replaying porn scenarios, then absolutely not. Read below about fantasy.

The site also has some tips on how to avoid the unwanted cravings:

http://yourbrainonporn.com/how-do-i-cope-with-porn-flashbacks
http://yourbrainonporn.com/other-techniques-for-rewiring

Good luck!