Author Topic: I thought I could do it myself  (Read 2211 times)

switched_off

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I thought I could do it myself
« on: December 18, 2018, 07:49:21 PM »
Hello all

Long post alert...

I find myself here, like most have, because I need help to move on from something that has been a steadily increasing part of my life (or at least covert life) over the last 30 or so years. I reached my point when enough was enough almost exactly 3 months ago and I think I have done very well rebooting by myself so far, but a few things started to chip away and undermine the foundations I had built, which led me back to the dark side this weekend. It was painful and I now know I need to change the way I think about some things, change my relationship with that dark side, put it in to context and shine a light on what it really is.

I will write a journal mostly for myself, so I have something to look back on and reflect on 1 month, 2 months, 3 months down the line, when my commitment is waining and I am at risk of slipping in to old habits. I also hope to reflect in a way that might resonate with others, because even though I didn't actively participate in this and other forums during the early days, I certainly learned from reading them, and drew comfort from knowing that others had and are treading the same path.

First the back story. Not sure I'll get it all down tonight, but I'll start and try and pick through some of it... I'll continue on other nights and attempt to put down on paper some of the thoughts I have tussled with and which drag me down... But hopefully with a view to turning them around in to something positive.

I'm a 51 year old married male from Scotland with two grown kids and started using porn (4th paragraph in before I could force myself to use the word and acknowledge that I have an issue) in my teens. The usual way for someone of my age, magazines, some borrowed (from brother's stash), some bought, and yes some stolen...

Then some time around the turn of the century, so I was in my early 30's, the internet came along, and so started the habit of going online after my wife was in bed to see what I could find... First pictures, then videos, tube sites - a steadily growing array of options as the speed of the internet improved. Then at some point, say around 2010, I saw a silly thing on a popular tv programme about web chat sites - needless to say I was in there.... and the rest, as they say, is history...

I'm conscious of the need to avoid triggers, so I don't really want to name it, but one particular site came to dominate my night-time habits. And similar to the progression I described above about porn in general, I started as a guest, then became a member who didn't pay for private, to a member who occasionally paid, to a member with a regular paying habit, then an infatuation with one girl who I lost myself over and did a lot of silly things... (more later in another post when I attempt to analyse this stupid behaviour).

I always knew it wasn't sustainable, I was taking risks and spending money I didn't have - this led me to a nadir point on Sept 20th when I took the decision to change....

My reboot experience was similar to many others described elsewhere - a mix of emotions - high, lows - excitement at morning wood and realising I did indeed have an issue with PIED or at least PI delayed ejaculation. But as I said previously, some things chipped away at the foundations I had built, and I hope to explore and understand these in future posts, as well as consider the utter futility of establishing what you think is a meaningful relationship with someone who is in effect a digital prostitute...

More another night... I have a lot to get off my chest...

Detente

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2018, 08:31:00 PM »
Thanks for sharing you story, and I look forward to reading about your progress, as well as your struggles. Like you said, we learn a lot and get comfort from each other's journeys.
I abstained from PMO for 458 days, until June 29, 2018. After several relapses, I have had to start again, last PMO session being on March 31, 2019.

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2018, 06:54:56 PM »
Day 91 (or day 4 since relapse)

Thank you for the welcome - I will read through your story soon and I wish you well with your own efforts.

I am still feeling a bit depressed since I fell of the wagon at the weekend, however it is definitely not as bad it was in the early days of my reboot - I get some comfort from that.

One of the things I have been pondering recently is the utter futility of my experience with web chat sites and I think I need to write on this, and hopefully doing this will assist with my recovery.

As I said in my last post, web chat sites, one in particular, have been my biggest weakness for a long time. Yes I have used regular porn sites, but this chat site is where I have spent many, many nights and a lot of money that I don't really have to spend. For me, this site is even more addictive than regular porn, for the obvious reasons - not only do you see beautiful women performing sex acts, but you also get to chat with them, you get to know them as individuals, and they at least give the impression that they get to know you.

In the last few months, I became infatuated with one girl... It's the same old story many others have told - she seemed different, we seemed to establish a friendship, she told me things that she didn't tell others in the room (maybe)... I started taking her private, a lot more frequently than I had ever done before, I made 'dates' with her.... Jeez, I even wrote a song for her (I'm a musician) and shared it with her on Soundcloud - she was thrilled - utter madness - how to get infatuated in 5 easy and very silly steps... What on earth was I thinking??

Because the thing about infatuation is that it really hurts most of the time. I realised I was getting increasingly jealous when she was in privates with other members - how senseless is that - I mean it's her job!! That's how she pays her bills!! So I would compensate for this by spending more money to go private with her. It's a compulsion, it's the desire leading up to the private that thrills, if I'm honest, the actual private, the actual sex act was not as interesting - the main pleasure came from having a pretty young woman give me her attention and taking an interest in my life and my songs.

Infatuation also hurts because of the uncertainty - how can you ever know if her behaviour is genuine when every engagement with her involves money - every message you exchange pays her money, every private session pays her even more. So really, the likelihood is that a lot of it is an act. The fact is she wouldn't be doing it, she wouldn't give you a minute of her time, if it wasn't for the money.

So really in a lot web chat sites are the digital equivalent of brothels and I have been engaged in digital prostitution. I think it helps in my recovery if I think of them in that way - it really hits home how low I have gone...

So web chat sites, this infatuation, have been very bad for me, both mentally (the hurt, the jealousy, the compulsion, the late nights) and financially.

But then there's also the deceit - this dark secret, the guilt,  that weighs down on me both consciously and sub-consciously. What would my friends and family think of me, if they knew this is how I spent hours and hours of my life - where I wasted my money? Well I know that my wife, someone who I have been with for 28 years, would be hugely upset and angry. She would leave me, she would likely have a breakdown, as she's already under a lot of pressure looking after elderly relatives and doing a tough job. And my 23 year old daughter would be disgusted and hugely upset. I've got a great relationship with her through our shared passion for music, and that would be gone overnight. None of us would ever recover from the hurt. My 18 year old son would hate me as would my mum, for hurting my wife....

Why risk this? I have been kidding myself for too long. Despite the desire and compulsion, despite the beautiful and friendly girls, this is a truly disgusting habit which causes me huge pain and risks ruining the people I love dearly. IT HAS TO STOP.

I feel stronger now for having typed that. It is clearer to me than ever before. There is no going back. I am over digital prostitution...

Thanks for reading. I won't be back for a few nights as my daughter is home for Christmas so hopefully I'll be too busy enjoying family life and not thinking about this crap.

Next time though, I want to write about the things that I think led me to relapse, and therefore hopefully be better prepared to avoid them next time.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 06:58:18 PM by switched_off »

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2018, 08:41:11 AM »
Day 92 (or day 5 since relapse)

So I'm home early from work to an empty house. This would've meant only one thing three months - a PMO session followed by guilt and remorse. But today, I only thought of it because it was the last thing I wanted to do - goodbye digital prostitution, goodbye dark side - I am not missing you. I am free.

Now to get on with my ironing:)

Detente

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2018, 01:56:37 PM »
But today, I only thought of it because it was the last thing I wanted to do - goodbye digital prostitution, goodbye dark side - I am not missing you. I am free.

Nice work! I'm looking forward to following your progress. I can identify a bit with your getting infatuated with a specific girl, at least in the sense that you felt a real connection (even if she may or may not have felt one with you), and the sex act wasn't the most important thing.
I abstained from PMO for 458 days, until June 29, 2018. After several relapses, I have had to start again, last PMO session being on March 31, 2019.

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2018, 07:33:36 PM »
Day 99 (or day 12 since relapse)

Still feeling strong :)

One of the rituals I've got in to - every evening when I go through to switch the computer off, instead of logging in to a digital web chat brothel like I did virtually every night in the past, I say to myself "I'm winning, you will not beat me." It gives me strength, and reminds me it's about me being in control, not the dark side, not the powerful digital brothel businesses who are after my money.

And it also helps me to use the term - digital brothel - not euphimisms like chat room or cam site or whatever. You go there to pay people to perform sex acts for you, therefore they are brothels.... Nothing against some of the nice people who work there and are earning an honest living, but I wouldn't ever go to brothel in real life, so I won't go to the virtual equivalent.

BigMog

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2018, 06:29:47 AM »
Hi switched-off,
Good one! I really like this ritual that helps to re-inforce your mind-set. I'm trying to use small, good, rituals myself in the hope they become good habits that replace the bad habits.
Keep Strong!

changemylife

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2018, 09:08:20 AM »
Day 99 (or day 12 since relapse)

Still feeling strong :)

One of the rituals I've got in to - every evening when I go through to switch the computer off, instead of logging in to a digital web chat brothel like I did virtually every night in the past, I say to myself "I'm winning, you will not beat me." It gives me strength, and reminds me it's about me being in control, not the dark side, not the powerful digital brothel businesses who are after my money.

And it also helps me to use the term - digital brothel - not euphimisms like chat room or cam site or whatever. You go there to pay people to perform sex acts for you, therefore they are brothels.... Nothing against some of the nice people who work there and are earning an honest living, but I wouldn't ever go to brothel in real life, so I won't go to the virtual equivalent.

I feel you're on the right road, man. The first step is admitting you have a problem. This opens the door. Then another step that I think could be very important is joining a community. Since I've been around here, it's been better than what I kept attempting by myself, going nowhere. But it's different for anyone. The one who could do this alone is worth of all my respect, but I'm not capable of quitting this strong addiction by myself.

Peace \ /

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2018, 10:57:58 AM »
Day 102 (or day 15 since relapse)

Thanks for the encouragement guys!

I went for a 5km run today, sorta because I needed to anyway, but interested to see if it calms down my libido. Yes, yes it does:) Another reason to get out there more often!

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2018, 07:10:54 PM »
Day 102 (or day 15 since relapse)

Still feeling strong. I will not go back to the dark lands of digital brothels.

I'm currently tussling a bit with my high libido which has become a feature of my reboot. I have not been tempted by porn (good thing), but I have been focussing a lot on re-igniting my wife and I's sexual relationship, something that had seriously wained over the years, in part because of my addiction.

We don't have sex that often because of other pressures in our life, but I've started messaging her etc and I think she is slightly surprised by the heightened interest I am showing her. Tonight she replied to a message "You're obsessed at the moment!" - not annoyed or anything, but definitely noticing my heightened libido. So I think I need to back off a bit... Show a bit of patience... Be realistic... However with no MO and the way my libido is at the moment, premature ejaculation could be a problem when we do get to it.... And that's never been a problem for me before...

I guess it's just a matter of focussing more on things other than sex and taking things more naturally with my wife... I know that MO is not the answer.

joepanic

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2018, 09:06:22 PM »
Hey Switched off

     Our stories are very similar   IO am just a few years younger at almost 48 years of age  and a long time addiction    My wife does not know and I do plan to keep it that way as I really feel I am winning the battle here to leave it buried in the past forever   I must say I feel lucky as I don't think  it has ever affected my marriage (although others here are certain it has)  I don't get pied  I don't push my wife into things I saw on porn   exc   My big loss is that my hobbies and interests suffered greatly    I am trying to salvage them and having some good success  with it  I am presently at about day 28 on my 3rd attempt  1st one lasted way over 120 days  second one was a few months and this one feels slightly different as I don't have any urges or triggers at all  I am actually  not even thinking about the fight and easily concentrating on other  stuff   So I do plan to follow your progress and give you encouragement   cause it sounds like were in the same place at the moment with the same  ideas

         Cheers and post often it helped me it will help you

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2019, 07:36:18 PM »
Day 104 (or day 17 since relapse)

I'm still doing good although I felt a slight wobble come on an hour or so a go - I listened to the song I wrote for that girl and predictably it triggered some of the emotions I was feeling at the time I wrote it. Nothing too strong though, and definitely not tempted.

I have wanted to write about why I ended up relapsing just under 3 weeks ago, so I have something to refer to and work on in the future. I think there were 4 reasons:

1) I read a scientific article debunking the notion of porn addiction based on some experiments undertaken. I can't now remember what the article said in any detail, but it got me thinking that maybe my behaviour was more or less normal for someone with a high libido. Thinking about it now - the science doesn't really matter to me - my behaviour was absolutely that of an addict's, no matter the science. It is absolutely not normal to be compelled to PMO so frequently. Just for the purposes of reminding myself - I sometimes masturbated when my dick was sore and I had a split foreskin... :( Horrible detail, but I need to remember just how twisted my behaviour had become.
2) Why else? I maintained an emotional relationship with the digital hooker I had become infatuated with through the song I wrote for her. It was posted on Soundcloud and I kept logging on to check if she'd played it again. I started to think she had lost the link when I deleted my account from the digital brothel. So I ended up wanting to go back to give her the link again.... Pathetic... Needless to say I have sorted out this one - I have now deleted the song from Soundcloud.
3) My expectations were too high about my sexual relationship with my wife. During my reboot, my libido was very strong and I wanted our sex life to immediately hit the heights, way more than it has been for years. But I have to be patient and realistic - we are both over 50, we are both busy and there are a lot of stresses on my wife, so I need to adjust my expectations... Since the relapse, I have at least started talking a bit with my wife about our sex life, so hopefully we will both develop a better understanding of what each of us wants from sex - communication is key.
4) I still have an issue with sexual objectification - my attention is still drawn when I see an attractive girl (way too much), and I too often waste time on Instragram which is of course brimming with beauty. This is something I still need to work on - maybe my January challenge should be to completely avoid Instagram and to turn my eyes away from all pretty girls. Seems a bit extreme, but maybe it's the only way to bring this obsession with sexualisation of the female form under control?

That I guess is where I am at just now. Can I get my libido under control? I have no compulsion to use porn, but sexual objectification is still a big issue for me.

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2019, 08:59:11 PM »
Day 107 (or day 20 since my relapse)

So signed up for the January challenge because I want to focus on avoiding all the social media trigger images and see if I can normalise my interest/reaction to pretty women. I hate how abnormally I am interested in them.

Obviously I've conditioned myself to be like this over many years, but I'd love to be able to see a good looking woman and not think twice about it.... Anyone have any techniques to tackle that highly sensitised reaction to women that I guess all recovering long term porn abusers suffer from?

This weekend has been a little harder because neither myself or my wife appear to be interested in sex so I don't have that to focus my libido on. It would have been very easy to sit in front of a screen instead and flip back to the dark side.

But I'm not going to do it... Going to bed instead.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 09:00:57 PM by switched_off »

BigMog

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2019, 12:59:10 PM »
Hi switched-off, looks to me like you're doing several things right. Like you, I'm staying off social media and avoiding random browsing. I try to only use laptop, iPad etc for specific, useful purposes. I think this is close to being what I've seen called "monk mode," that is staying off the internet etc completely. I'm not sure I could or need to go the whole way but certainly minimizing exposure to click-bait feels like a good thing.
I'm aware I notice attractive women but I just try to take a deep breath and carry on as if I haven't. After all it's embarrassing if I'm noticed and I don't want to be thought of as "that creepy old guy who stares at women." I think it's helped me now I understand that it's the more primitive part of my brain that is yelling at me to look at women or look at porn. Knowing that, I can (sometimes) say to myself, "OK, that's just a false message, I don't have to act on it."
Hope that helps a bit-I'm no expert-just a work in progress!
Good choice to go to bed yesterday and avoid the dark side! ;)

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2019, 07:36:17 PM »
Day 110 (or day 23 since my relapse)

Hey BigMog - thanks for the suggestions and support. I think you are right - it's a matter of actively turning away the minute you are conscious that an attractive woman has taken your eye. I've also stayed away from Instagram for 5 days now which I'm pretty sure is helping - I'd was becoming an expert on woman's fashion what with all the '5 party outfits' and such videos I was idly watching! Anything for that little hit of dopamine my brain has grown so used to...

One of the things I've been meaning to write about is my reflections on the role of anti-depressants in relation to my (former) porn habits. I've been taking AD's for something like three years now as a result of a number of fairly significant anxiety episodes. The ADs have definitely helped me re-balance and get things in perspective. However I think the ADs have been a contributing factor to my porn addiction, because I became less concerned about getting caught, and less concerned the morning after when I had spent money on the chat site I regularly visited. Generally the ADs had made me more impulsive and less concerned about the consequences... Not good.

The AD's also played an role in my decision to quit porn. I was out with my wife and we were talking about my mood and my long term use of ADs. She said that one of the consequences of me using ADs was that I appeared to be less interested in sex, and I was also thinking that the ADs were contributing to an issue I was having with delayed ejaculation. Turns out they weren't - it was just porn addiction that caused that.

I was shocked that my wife thought I'd lost interest in sex when the reality was I was the complete opposite. Sadly however my sex life had become almost 100% porn/ chat room based... So I think that discussion with my wife was the final thing that made me decide I needed to quit.

As an aside I have also been steadily reducing my AD dose at the same time as rebooting - I am now taking half the dose that I was prescribed. It would nice to think that I have been able to reduce my dependency on ADs because I have stopped using porn. But in reality I don't think it's related. I think I have been ready to quit the ADs for other reasons for longer than my reboot has been in progress.

Having said that, quitting porn has undoubtedly released me from one source of stress and anxiety in my life. No more guilt, no more lonely secret life in front of a computer screen engaged in something that had the potential to ruin my life. Good riddance to porn!!!

Time for bed. Keep strong everyone!!

Emerald Blue

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2019, 08:07:30 AM »
switched_off, first I want to say you’re doing really well and have a lot of insight into your previous behaviour. I can tell it’s been a huge deal for you, your porn habit seems to have been an enormous burden, emotionally and financially too. Well done for getting off the treadmill.

I’m the partner of a recovering/recovered porn addict so I understand the trajectory of porn addiction and it’s effects on a marriage/long term relationship. I also witnessed my husband’s disinterest in having a sexual relationship with me but in my situation I had discovered his porn use in the early days of the internet but there was nothing I could do about it. I lived with the painful reality that he wanted porn and not me. It wasn’t until his porn addiction was making him miserable and I had reached the point where I was very unhappy in a relationship with a man who didn’t want me any more (or so I believed) that he finally quit.

From what you have written, it seems that your wife doesn’t know about the porn and chat rooms, and that she didn’t quite understand why you suddenly wanted to reestablish your sexual relationship with her. Most partners here will tell you that it would be far better for your relationship if you told your wife. The deception is far worse and does far more damage than the behaviour. However, many men in this section will justify at length why they don’t want to ‘hurt’ or ‘burden’ their partner with the truth. Speaking personally, I would rather know than not know because I want to know who I’m married to and what I’m dealing with.

Bear the following in mind. Sometimes partners discover their husband’s porn use or sex chats unexpectedly. They aren’t necessarily looking for it but one day they make a discovery. And then what? Do you lie your way out of a difficult confrontation? Do you minimise it by saying it was a pop up, or it was “just the once”, or blame your teenage son? If so, you’ve just made a bad situation worse by lying. What if your wife asks you outright? “Do you look at porn?” Do you lie, minimise, or otherwise pretend away your reality? And say that after this she goes on to discover that you have been using porn for years? Do you cover it up with more lies and hope that’s the end of it? What I’m saying is that you can’t rely on indefinite ignorance on the part of your wife.

Your wife has already been impacted by your porn and sex chat habit. Most porn addicts are oblivious to the effects of their behaviour on anyone else, such is the power of compartmentalisation. As my husband’s porn behaviour became more entrenched and our sexual relationship fizzled out —  he was the one who was NEVER available —  my self esteem was gradually eroded to nothing. I tried to initiate and eventually I was always turned down. Eventually he had erectile dysfunction and I internalised that as being unable to turn him on. Eventually my libido switched off because I couldn’t bear to go through the disappointment and rejection of being turned down or witnessing his absence of his arousal. This really hurt. I felt a lot of shame, of being a wife whose husband didn’t even touch her. I became depressed, in a sort of covert way, because I accepted the sexless marriage that he was imposing. I was also in a lot of denial too. I pretended that I didn’t know about the porn because it would really hurt to admit I was a hideous reject. I developed an eating disorder and body dysmorphia and became skeletally thin. I didn’t actually feel entitled to take up space in the world. I hated my body. I saw my body as the root cause of my relationship issues. It was a vicious circle of negativity. After my husband quit porn I began to eat more and slowly regain some weight. In fact, I’d go so far as to say his quitting porn might have saved my life, because another aspect of advanced porn addiction is that emotional intimacy also falls by the wayside. When I was in that dark place I felt very alone, and quitting porn brought back the emotional closeness that was absent for so long. Without that, I would have just sunk deeper into depression. I had effectively lost my husband to porn for 15-20 years.

Objectification. Take it from me, it’s a horrible experience for a young woman to be ogled by men old enough to be her father. I’ve been there. It’s a daily occurrence for most young women. You aren’t the first man to ogle that pretty girl today, and you won’t be the last, and it’s not particularly pleasant for her either. I’m sure you don’t want to be that creepy guy. Or just another creepy guy out of many, more accurately. My husband does this and I hate it. He swears blind he doesn’t and gets angry if I’ve noticed him doing it. What he hasn’t witnessed (that I have) is seeing a woman being annoyed by his unwanted attention. I’ve tried to educate him by explaining my own experiences of being followed, watched, groped on the street, catcalled, you name it. I don’t think he quite gets it. But anyway, I find it hugely disrespectful if he does it when I’m with him. It’s a big problem for partners. We see it. We’re not stupid. It’s actually our life experience we are recognising. It’s just that it’s distressing when it comes from the man we’re married to. I admire your discipline of looking away.

Good luck with rebuilding your relationship with your wife. There’s no right or wrong, but remember that every action you take can affect your relationship for better or worse.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

switched_off

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Re: I thought I could do it myself
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2019, 07:40:47 PM »
Emerald Blue - thank you for reading my posts and replying so thoughtfully. You have painted a picture that starkly reinforces some of main reasons I had to quit.

I am not going back there.