Author Topic: Topic 1268 (Journal)  (Read 1361 times)

idunno

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Topic 1268 (Journal)
« on: April 30, 2019, 08:39:42 AM »
Hi. I've known for years I'd have to seek help to quit porn, after many, many failed attempts to stop. It's been on my mind for months to try an online forum. I don't have the guts to talk to anyone about it in person, at least not now.

I'm 47, married 18 years, a stay-at-home father to 2 young girls. Been using porn since age 12 or so. Still remember the first time I saw a porn video at a neighbors house, and how my heart stopped. At worst, I could say the following about my addiction:

* It's stopped me from having a successful career, since I wasted so much time during my years of higher education (a long PhD road) and thus came out less engaged, less qualified than others. I never actually got hired in the field in which I was trained.

* It's made my married sex life almost non-existent (once every 2 months maybe?), since it's so hard to get excited. I know that somehow I judge my wife and compare her to women in porn, or to women I see around who more closely resemble them. And during sex I need to imagine porn scenes to stay excited.

* It's stunted my social and emotional growth, since my personality seems to have been partially shaped by the need to guard this shameful secret and prevent it from coming out (God forbid some slip of the tongue!).

* It's generally weakened my focus for things in life, whether family, friends, interests, or hobbies.

I've masturbated all night or all day many times (though not in a long time). I've masturbated in the other room while my younger daughter watches TV (a few weeks ago was the last time). I've looked at porn at work (many years ago), and *may* even have been fired for using a company laptop to do so. I've used weed to heighten the effects of porn. Once in my 20's I accessed porn at my mother's workplace, on one of her colleagues' computers, when she went into her office at a girls' school on a Sunday, and took me with her. My act was discovered the next day when the computer went haywire with pop-ups. There are probably many other instances I just can't recall now. Porn has had a very bad effect on my life. I can hardly be in the house alone without using it.

Strangely, I don't necessarily see anything morally wrong with a lot of what goes on in porn, or even with porn itself. I just know it has not been good for me personally. I need to stop for a long period and see what happens.

As far as this forum, I'm interested in the accountability it offers, and the chance to touch base when needed. OK thanks.

workinprogressUK

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2019, 10:15:05 AM »
Hi idunno. Thanks for sharing your story. You probably won't be surprised when I say that the themes and challenges outlined are common to many of the guys on this forum; the unfulfilled career, stunted emotional development, lack of confidence and diminished sex life are consequences that many of us share with you. Congratulations on taking the step you've taken. I hope that you find the accountability help that you're looking for and evolve a way to live happily without P spoiling your life. You deserve better. Myself and the other guys here will try to help you, as other people have tried to help us. I wish you strength and every success. It's a battle worth fighting.

idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2019, 10:47:54 AM »
Thank you. I've felt sick to my stomach all morning, since writing that first post.

jixu

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 05:27:37 AM »
Best wishes to you as you begin this new commitment.  Hopefully getting things off of your chest and opening up has helped to lighten the load a bit. I think the accountability of the forum, as modest and as anonymous as it may be, is a big help. It is a difficult road but things will get better and it will prove to be worthwhile.  Congratulations on taking this step.

bob

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 05:48:06 AM »
idunno,

Please do not beat yourself up. Your openness and honesty is what removes the power that p holds on us.  We have all been/are there and we all need to work together to make sure it doesn't continue.

Peace
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 06:24:55 AM by bob »

idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 01:12:31 PM »
Thank you bob and jixu. I'm thinking I should post at least weekly, just to keep this effort prominent in my mind. I appreciate having someone comment here, though I don't feel ready to post in others' journals yet. Thanks again.

Jbow

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2019, 12:34:45 AM »
Welcome idunno.  Your story is not much different than most guys in here. You have taken the first step and it was a big one. Now it's time to get rid of all your stashes of porn. It will be difficult,  and you will feel naked and scared. Your brain will start to play the most cruel game with your emotions . So many wonderful things you will start to experience.  Just stay strong.  When things get rough come to reboot nation and write in your journal. Ican promise you we have all felt what you will beginning to feel. Be strong brother there is a better life for you than por , I absolutely promise you that.
mg][/url]

idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2019, 12:34:43 AM »
One pattern I have noticed is where my eyes go when I'm around women, and obviously I'm around women pretty much everywhere. I always feel my eyes go to their bodies, no matter how hard I try to avoid it. I feel that women must notice, and I generally assume they discount me, or have an admittedly accurate impression of my out-of-control libido. That goes for women I know, and women I don't know. It's an ongoing thing that causes me much embarrassment. I don't know if that will ever change. It's a really unpleasant feeling to be out on some errand (shopping, dropping kids at school, at a restaurant, or whatever...) and always feel that my eyes and my manner are betraying me. I'm already a socially uneasy person, and this makes it worse. But when I'm somewhere and I see a woman that appeals to me, it's like a light shining in the darkness. I can see nothing else. I make deliberate attempts to look somewhere else, or distract myself, but I know deep down that all my attention is on that woman, no matter who else I'm with (family or friends) or what I'm doing. Porn has been something that feeds that desire to see, to watch, and gives it free reign. It probably ingrains those attention patterns more deeply into me, too. If that's the case, then I've allowed porn to do it's work on my mind and my attention patterns for thousands and thousands of hours. It's probably restructured my brain, like they say. But so far so good since my original post. I hope I keep it up.

workinprogressUK

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2019, 07:13:19 AM »
Hope you're still hanging-in there, idunno. Great work so far. Hope it still feels like the most important priority in your life!
I remember talking to a seasoned 12-stepper about that thing you mentioned..."where my eyes go when I'm around women.... I always feel my eyes go to their bodies ".... because I did the same thing. I'm not a spiritual person, but he gave me a line that helped me to stop doing it, and I had to stop doing it, right? Because it's objectifying women and feeding my P & S addictions. He said "the first look's on God", which was kind of saying that our eyes are going to see things. Stuff is visible and we notice it. Sometimes it can't be helped. But the second look? That's not healthy. It wasn't helping me to recover and it wasn't not fair on her. So I had to force yourself not to look again. You saw it... can't be helped... but you're not going back and dwelling on it. And it hurt my eyes, ffs! My eye muscles ached  :-[. It took physical strength to resist. But it helped. The other thing that really helped me (ore practically) was to stop "scanning". You're on that errand and you're walking down the street and you need your eyes open, right? But look where you're going, without scanning the other side of the street for "targets". Focus your eyes just above the crowd, or the people on the pavement, rather than looking down at them. Because if your eyes are anything like mine, you can pick out something exciting to your P brain from 1,000 yards on a foggy day. I found those two things helped me stop seeing the world through P addict eyes. Worth trying?

More power to you, idunno. Keep fighting!

Cstan98

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2019, 04:46:39 PM »
When I look at females. I thought I am admiring flowers. Recently I reasons that I am playing AV movie on each female. Which is supposed to be Adultery. Not just flowers admiring.

idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2019, 07:44:50 PM »
I'm familiar with the "first look on God" idea, or saying. It can be helpful. Part of my social anxiety is from the fact that women can so easily send me into some mental reverberation of porn fantasy. To the point where I can hardly look at or talk with women sometimes. The phrase "target" is exactly right. And yes, the "admiring flowers" thing is no good either. But so far so good for me. This definitely not the first time I've told myself I'd stop using porn (I can count back at least 20-some years to that), but it's the first time I've done so with any amount of accountability. I don't know what else awaits me in life (all that time and mental and libidinal energy could get re-invested more productively somewhere else, I suppose), but right now I don't even care. Just being able to get by without using porn is enough.

jixu

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2019, 08:26:01 AM »
You are in for some exciting days ahead of you as the porn numbness-fog begins to slowly fade and you start to see things (especially those "hidden in plain sight") in a new way.  Accountability, as you mentioned, is huge.  As time goes by if you get a bit more comfortable and know a reliable person I found that having a "real" boots on the ground person also helps up the game a bit.  But, all in good time.

Awesome report-keep going!     

Pauljoh

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2019, 03:43:15 PM »
Hi Idunno,

As I read this thread, it see many parallels with my own story. I am relative new to this forum and the past weeks I've tried to read as much as I can. I have this addiction for many years and tried to stop on many occasions. Most of them in relative secrecy and on my own.
Getting caught had started each attempt to quit. I now know I lacked the conviction on how big the problem was. With the help of this forum and other information available it is now clear to what extend the addiction goes and how much it affects daily life.
Off all my senses,  vision is pretty dominant. I always scan my surroundings and it often distracts me from in deep conversation with my, wife kids or friends. To recognise the patterns is the first step to change and all information combined with the community here could be really helpfull.
 I will keep reading your posts since they are also reallt helpfull for me.
I wish you all the wisdom and perseverance to reach your goals.



idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2019, 08:37:40 AM »
Thank you everyone. I too have noticed the distraction while talking to friends and family in public settings. I'm uneasy around groups of people, and always have been. It's hard to know whether it's been caused by porn, since porn has been part of my entire adolescent and adult life. If I'd never gotten into porn, maybe I'd be socially at ease. At the same time, there are people who never use porn who have social anxieties. I guess I'll never know. In any case, porn hasn't helped, and in fact has been very harmful to my social well-being and my sense of self.

I don't scan my surroundings so much as find eyes suddenly fixed on a woman's body, before I'm even conscious of it. I come around a corner, or through a door, and bam, my eyes are on someone's breasts, legs, or rear end, without me even knowing it. I move my eyes away, but I know the woman, or someone else, has seen it. It might be a pretty natural thing, who knows. Or I'm talking to someone or doing something, and I can sense out of my peripheral vision that there's someone I want to goggle. I want to look at her body, her hair, her clothes, her face. That tension is very distracting and worrying. Even if such things are natural to some degree, say a product of living in a society and having to curb our instincts, I know that the suffering it causes me relates directly to the countless hours I've trained my brain, and all its reward centers, to focus on women's bodies. In public, I often assume that women can just sense that I'm a lascivious wretch. Maybe I'm wrong about that, who knows. But if it's true, then I'm only reaping what I've sown.

Another thing is, I've lived in cities my whole adult life, but grew up in rural contexts. I don't have enough nature around me now. It's just people, people everywhere. Buildings and people. I'm hardly ever alone. I'd rather have trees, mountains, and rivers. Some peace, some nature to intervene between all the social contact. As I get older I feel more and more alienated from city life.

It's been around 20 days or so that I've not used porn. I've gone longer (2 months, maybe?), but always gone back. I haven't felt much desire to use it, and over the past few days I've wondered how I ever found the time and privacy to do so. I do believe that life will get better without using it.

jixu

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2019, 10:56:52 PM »
Your discussion of nature reminded me of a brochure I picked up recently at a local park.  The idea is to turn off the iphone and "nature bathe" or soak it in while you walk in the park amongst the trees and greenery for an hour or two.  It would just have been common sense a generation ago but now it appears to be part of a therapeutic regimen practiced by mental health care professionals.  Here is what the brochure said:   

  "Forest Therapy is a research-based framework for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments. Forest Therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to "forest bathing." Studies have demonstrated a wide array of health benefits, especially in the cardiovascular and immune systems, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition. We build on those benefits and look beyond, to what happens when people remember that we are a part of nature, not separate from it, and are related to all other beings in fundamental ways."

If you live in a city it might be harder to enjoy nature but surely there are parks and botanical centers around.  Hope you can find some nearby!  Those of us who work with computers all day need to get out and nature bathe, that is for sure.  Great job on the 20 days !

Take care!






idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2019, 01:19:47 PM »
Thank you, jixu.

I'm glad to be about a month without using porn. It's always been a compulsive thing, but now I can hardly see how I had the time, or created the right circumstances, for using it. The circumstances involved multiple elements which had to come together: time, privacy, my computer, and mental rationalization (or capitulation). Over the past month I've had many moments where the first 3 elements were there, but I feel I've done a good job of finding other things to do. I've been lucky in that I haven't had any major battles. Maybe "lack of accountability" could be added to the list of elements that have facilitated porn use. After all, I've found it much, much easier to be porn-free using this journal format. Still, 1 month "sober" after 300-350 months (my whole adult life) filled with porn -- it still leaves me scratching my head sometimes.

The more I get back into the things that I like to do -- or even those that I don't, like house chores, errands, etc. -- the more distant that my porn engagement seems. Sometimes I recall things I've done, and the time I've wasted, and I feel pretty bad about it. I've wasted a good portion of my life, and my regular human potential, by way of porn. Like I wrote before, I'll never know what kind of person I would have been, or how my life could have been different, had I not gone down that path. Maybe I was just in too much pain, as I suspect. I'll just never know. I have a lot to be grateful for, though, in that my life is pretty good. I have a home, a marriage, and the luxury to raise my two young girls.

idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2019, 12:16:17 PM »
I blew up at my wife last night before bed for no apparent reason. I'd gotten really frustrated by something, a mass parent email I was doing for one of my daughter's classes, where I'd unknowingly sent out incorrect information to all the parents. I'd also just got back from an event at my other daughter's school, which involved lots of socializing. Socializing has always left me drained. And the email business was more stress on top of that. I was expressing my frustration with the email business, and my wife was telling me to calm down. It was like adding water to an oil fire. I got so upset, started yelling and throwing things (though in more of a dramatic way, not really violently). I wish she'd just let me vent feelings sometimes, instead of always trying to calm me down.

I stormed out of our room to the couch. Then she went to sleep in the girls' room.That got me angry again, so I got clothes on, hopped in the car, and drove down the block where I sat in the car for a half hour. It was like a battle, who's going to walk out on who. I came back and slept alone.

I don't know if my temper was related to going porn-free. The thought occurred to me, anyway. I definitely over-reacted. I do know that in the past, if I got angry at her, I would use the anger to justify porn use the next day. At the same time, I get frustrated that my wife so rarely gives me physical companionship. I don't mean sex, but just even sitting next to me, a hug, a kiss, things like that. She's become a bit cold, even stern sometimes. If she'd just given me a hug last night, I would have calmed down. But this schoolmarmish advice from across the room, it drives me nuts.

To add to the confusion, I don't know that my porn use hasn't contributed to making her this way with me, even if she doesn't know about the extent of that use (she definitely doesn't). I've been using porn the entire time we've been married (18 years), so it's been an invisible presence in our marriage, exerting a noxious influence the whole time, invisibly. Porn use has been like a formative part of my personality, even. So -- who am I now?  :-\

Maybe I should open up with her at some point about it. We'll see. I probably will, but not at the moment.

BigMog

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2019, 01:45:25 PM »
"I don't know if my temper was related to going porn-free. The thought occurred to me, anyway. I definitely over-reacted. I do know that in the past, if I got angry at her, I would use the anger to justify porn use the next day."

Hi Idunno-that is so familiar I could almost have written it myself. I guess being aware of the anger and the use of it as a justification for acting out is a good step towards being able to control it in the future.

 "So -- who am I now?  :-\"
You're a good guy doing the right thing.
Keep going!

jixu

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2019, 09:02:20 AM »
Just try messing up the kids' sports snack schedule and see what happens!

You just crossed the Rubicon.  Think about it: you got into an intense emotional and stressful situation and did not self-medicate with porn  or lick your wounds with it.  That is huge-a very impressive stride.

BigMog is right-you are a good guy doing the right thing.   

idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2019, 01:57:14 PM »
Thanks jixu and BigMog. Using porn definitely sabotages any possibility that relationship squabbles with somehow mend themselves, or that the goodwill between us will allow us to overcome the disagreement. But that's what happened (reconciliation) the next morning, and it felt good. Using porn behind someones back while you're in a disagreement -- it's like deliberately putting harmful bacteria into a wound. No good!

My wife and I have sex less often now that we're older, and there's probably a certain chill that I've contributed to with all my years of porn use. I don't want to even try these days, though. I'm afraid of either being drawn into that mental fantasy world (porn "memories"), or of just not being aroused. We'll see. It's too much to put on my plate at this point. Whatever I have to work out with her, I have to do it without porn, and I hope that in time I'll come to feel closer to her.

I'm home alone today, Sunday. With porn out of the picture I'm face to face with the anxiety of having nothing to do. It's always gotten me in the past. Porn gave me something to do. Something to focus on. But like making it through the argument with my partner, I feel like I'm building up something good merely by not using porn. Not much of a standard, in some ways, but for me it's important to consider that an achievement. I guess for all of us: day n without porn....

For me it's 34.

bob

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2019, 09:17:25 AM »
idunno,

It sounds like your wife is unaware of what is happening with your reboot.

author=idunno link=topic=17053.msg175791#msg175791 date=1559150177]
Maybe I should open up with her at some point about it. We'll see. I probably will, but not at the moment.
[/quote]

I would encourage you to let her in. I am sure she knows something is going on. While you will know best, I feel that the brutal honesty is the best course. It is not easy. It can be painful but I found it to be helpful for me.

Just a thought.

Stay the course either way you do things. It is worth it.

Peace

idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2019, 01:12:13 PM »
Now it's 40 days. This effort feels so much different than every other effort I've made over the last 25 years. I remember once I returned an adult video to a store, and the owner accused me of opening the video and switching out the tape with another, which I hadn't done. He demanded $30 or something for the cost of the video. It was weird -- I went right into this thing where I said I didn't have the money, and then I said, almost pleaded, "But I'm not watching these videos anymore! I'm not doing this anymore!" As if that had anything to do with the situation from his perspective! But I spoke out of a real desperation. And I remember his reply, a sort of smile (a smirking one, which I imagined as gloating), and he said, "Yeah, sure!"

During that same period, I snuck porn sessions on my housemates' VCR, and used my other housemate's computer to view pictures (there was no video at the time). I even remember the dial-up sound, which I'll forever associate with his room and my feeling of impending excitement. He knew, but didn't really care. Open-minded to a fault, maybe.

These sorts of memories are a feature of everywhere I lived as a younger adult. Using friends' devices for porn, or finding their stash and using their porn. The list would be a long one. Many different houses, apartments, and housemates. And the various adult video stores I always found in the neighborhood of various cities I lived in. It's true I was lost, or lacked direction, but the urban hipster life didn't provide many obstacles to frequent porn use.

If I characterize my life now, it consists simply in not using porn, and enduring whatever boredom, anxiety, or trouble comes my way. Emotionally and sexually, I feel like a piece of dried out, barren land. But every day that I go on, somehow it gets a little better. Maybe some day I'll have a sex life with my wife again (and honestly, I've never had a sex life -- only first and foremost a porn life, of which sex was a small portion). Maybe some day I'll be able to be around large groups of people without subconsciously oggling women. But I'm not setting my expectations too high. The important thing is to continue on without porn. I really do trust that however things develop, it will be for the best. I try to resist the urge to manage them. And due to the fact that my porn use went on for so many years, and was so intense, I feel I owe it to myself to face the consequences however long they last. And really, this journal and this community is what's making the difference this time.

Jbow

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2019, 07:08:07 PM »
Your doing great brother. I have to say about looking at women, and being in social events. All those problems your having are related to porn use. The porn has absolutely altered your mind. The longer you are free of porn, I promise that stuff gets better. When I see a pretty lady, I glance at her and smile at her. It's nothing creepy, I just smile. It's hard to explain,  but I promise,  things will be better the longer you pmo free. Stay strong and and please stay away from porn. Things are so awesome when it's out of your life.
mg][/url]

jixu

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2019, 06:38:50 AM »
How is it going?  Check-in if you get a chance.  Take care!

idunno

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Re: Topic 1268 (Journal)
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2019, 01:30:20 PM »
Thank you, jixu and Jbow. Still going. 55 Days now. Had a weekend with my ailing (slowly dying) father. It's always been hard to be with him. Excruciating. I've always felt there were so many issues, a complete disconnect between us. The weekend was fine, but it wore me out. There were all these other people in the picture who I don't know very well. I "showed up," and did my duty as best I could. So I'm still here, just not feeling great.