Author Topic: Journal of Jay  (Read 1408 times)

Jay2019

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Journal of Jay
« on: July 20, 2019, 05:12:55 AM »
My name is Jay.  I'm 43 years old.  I've been compulsively using porn for around 25 years. 

In those two and a half decades, I have had very intense periods of acting out, characterized by long binges of several hours, with strong ritualistic elements, including smoking heavily (when I don't smoke any other time), wearing headphones, locking doors, and a darkened room.  During those hours, I am absolutely and completely detached from everyone and everything that matters to me.

I don't need to spell out the details of my acting out - I'm pretty sure most of you will get it.   But I will say that I can 'tick off' all the elements of porn addiction (or whatever your preferred term) that are described in this forum and elsewhere.  Compulsive use, check; continued use despite mental, physical and relational consequences - check; viewing of increasingly bizarre and sometimes grotesque genres - check; interest in images that have no correlation to my sexuality and sexual preferences - check; shame around behaviour - check; sleep interference - check; porn induced erectile dysfunction - check; Salience of porn above my natural interests - check; several failed attempts to stop - check...

And on it goes.

Porn always held an intrigue to me.  As I child, I found magazines in the local woods and quarries.  That was my introduction to porn.  In my very early years, I looked for images of women in underwear in catalogues and magazines.  Pretty innocent stuff compared to much of the porn I've accessed since the internet opened everything up.  But that's where it started, in those found magazines, in the underwear section of my mother's catalogues.

In reality,  it all probably started with a childhood trauma, one I had many hours of therapy to overcome.  I do believe I overcame the trauma, but the habit of porn I have never lost for longer than a couple of weeks.  But I'm not here to battle with trauma, because I am at peace with that part of my life, and I will no longer hang any of my behaviour upon past events.  I stopped being a victim to that some time ago.  I mention it only because it is part of my story.

Excessive porn use piggy-backed into my life on the shoulders of heavy drug use in my teens and early twenties.  Stimulants mostly.  I used these because they temporarily eradicated all my self-doubt and self-loathing.  That stopped a long long time ago.  Today, I don't hate myself - far from it.   But I do hate my compulsion to use porn.  Porn has overstayed its welcome.

My compulsion to use porn is the monkey on my back.  Porn is the thing that stops me from connecting to my friends and family.  Porn is the toxic secret in my life.   Porn is the thing that prevents me from fulfilling my potential.  Porn is the place in which I dissociate from pain, anxiety, doubt, tiredness.  Porn is the thing that hijacks my thoughts and steals my days.   
Porn is the major threat to my personal world.

I'm here to take my life back. 

I know I need others to help me.

I wish and hope for success for me and everyone in this forum. 

Dutchguy

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2019, 12:37:35 PM »
You sound strong Jay. It is very hard to overcome pur addiction on our own but together we can!

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2019, 05:19:00 PM »
Hey.  Thanks for replying.  This compulsion has been much stronger than me.  I'm shocked by its power.  The amount of time I've lost to it is hard to come to terms with, but I don't want any more regrets related to this problem.  I'm just going to try to use a bit of the wisdom and experience of others in here, and take one day at a time.

Thanks again for replying - I appreciate it.

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2019, 02:38:02 AM »
So this is day one.

I've stopped using porn before, for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, never longer, but I've never tried to do it this way.  By 'this' way, I mean using this forum, reaching out, journalling, and trying to educate myself as to the neuroscience of this compulsion.

I'm not sure how I feel yet, it's early.  I guess I'm hopeful, but a little fearful.  I have no cravings this morning.  I know they will come, and I know that 25 years of porn use means I have a whole bunch of cues that fire up my brain with dopamine.  I need to start identifying and learning about these triggers - internal, such as thoughts, mood states, etc., and external.

I'm grateful for one aspect which I read about in Gary Wilson's book YBOP this morning.  I know that I had a relatively healthy sexual relational map with women in my early days - so I think I would have laid down some neural pathways for 'real partners'.  I'd seen porn before I started having sex, but the whirl of internet porn came a little later for me, after I'd already had a number of sexual relationships.  So, I hope I can recover faster from the subsequent conditioning.

I've come to rely upon medications for erectile dysfunction with real sex.  I don't even know the extent of the problem, because I haven't risked having sex without medication in my current (three year) relationship.  I hope I might one day not need to use meds anymore.  I'm in a relationship, and, like most addicts, I've got good at hiding certain aspects of my life.  I've been with my partner for three years, and she has no idea that I use medication to get it up...lying has become second nature.

Anyway, my thoughts are wandering.

The best to all of you out there trying to address this problem - be it one day, one year, or one decade 'sober'. 

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2019, 05:03:26 PM »
I made one day.  A few minor cravings, as in very fleeting thoughts of porn.  If I can do one day, I can do another. I know from experience much stronger cravings will come, but today is a blueprint for sobriety.

Supporting factors today:   

1. being with my children for long periods.
2. being busy.
3. watching Noah Church videos.
4. seeing a friend.
5. posting on here.
6. limited time alone.

3 potential triggers I'm aware of today (I need to start knowing these, being more aware):

1. Staring at women when I'm driving or at the gym.  Summer is much more challenging in this respect.  I think I need to work on not focusing on women in this way.
2. Tiredness - undoubtedly a trigger, more so against particular contexts, such as being alone.
3. Tailing off from journalling here...maybe more of a relapse warning sign, as opposed to a trigger...a path that will lead me to be more exposed to, and less aware of, triggers.

idunno

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2019, 07:24:26 PM »
It sounds like you're in a good place mentally, Jay2019. I feel I started my current journey (the no-porn one) from a similar place, in some ways. It's good for me to read, so thanks for posting your thoughts. I wish you good luck. It's a really worthwhile effort.

jjacks

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2019, 06:38:47 AM »
Hey, Jay,

Sounds like you are on the right track. The triggers that you cannot just turn off are hard to fight, but if you keep recognizing them and writing about them here, you may find them progressively easier to overcome (or ignore). Stay vigilant and keep journaling. It works.

-JJ (1000 days no PMO)

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2019, 12:57:29 AM »
Hey, Jay,

Sounds like you are on the right track. The triggers that you cannot just turn off are hard to fight, but if you keep recognizing them and writing about them here, you may find them progressively easier to overcome (or ignore). Stay vigilant and keep journaling. It works.

-JJ (1000 days no PMO)

Thanks for the advice and encouragement, JJ.

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2019, 01:13:07 AM »
Two days, yesterday...I had to work long hours yesterday, so didn't get home until late, and then I spent time talking with my partner (so unable to journal yesterday) - I have to be careful not to slip out of the habit of coming here, collecting my thoughts, and trying to connect a little with others who understand this challenge.  The structure of the day helped to keep me away from porn, and cravings weren't an issue, but I know they will come because they always do.

The main learning point for me yesterday was the importance of not staring at women when I'm out and around.  I've realised that I'm getting a bit of a dopamine release by staring at and fixating on women, and I'm sure it's part of my addiction.   It's like the alcoholic who has stopped drinking but goes into a shop and stares at the alcohol on the shelves - well, that kind of thing probably isn't going to end well.  So, I was conscious of dealing with that aspect of my addiction, and I'm grateful for that insight, as I think it can help me to recover.   

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2019, 01:34:22 PM »
Day 3 of no PMO.

On my own this evening, catching up on some work, emails, etc., on laptop...and I've definitely had a few cravings to watch porn.  I'm quite tired and I realise this is a trigger.  Tiredness, being alone, being on a device - three triggers in one, so no surprise my brain is spraying a little dopamine here.   So I'm here, journalling, reminding myself of why I want to do this.   

My porn use has strangled the life out of me for too long.  I'm on the verge of some big changes in my life, and this process is central to all of these.  I won't use porn tonight, because I want my agency back - somehow I'm comforted by understanding that this battle has something to do with the pre-frontal cortex and hypofrontality, even if I don't fully grasp it.  So, tonight I'm applying the brakes, playing the tape through and recognising the pride I will feel at taking control of my life once more.  One day at a time.

I noticed I craved a lot of sugary things this evening, too, which isn't so unusual for me at this time, but a bit more extreme this evening.  Maybe my brain searching for replacements?

Anyway, hope you all have the strength to keep working on this today. 

TomWood

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2019, 08:13:13 PM »
Hi Jay, I can certainly relate to the childhood trauma and any childhood like that makes us more susceptible to addiction but we also can overcome it as we know we don't want not be in a position of helplessness again. Well done for being on here. I am glad I found the forum.

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2019, 07:25:27 AM »
Thanks for the identification, Tom.

I've been a victim to my childhood, but not for some time, and I never will be again. 

Hope to catch up soon.

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2019, 02:04:24 AM »
Day 4.  (written in retrospect)

The main threat again seemed to come from my instinctual tendency to stare at women.  The hot weather amplifies this, obviously, as everybody is wearing less...I have to keep working on this, turn my attention away.  Mindfulness practice might be the way to go.  The structure of my days is about to drastically change (in a few weeks time), and I will have more time on my own.  This feels like, both, an opportunity and a risk factor.  I want to build some new habits into my routine, including mindfulness practice and more regular exercise.  It's difficult to do so with my current busy schedule, although I made it to the gym yesterday morning for a short work-out at least.



Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2019, 02:07:58 AM »
Day 5

This period in my life feels like the most obvious and significant attempt to mould the life I desire.  I'm trying to influence the things in my control, and work with the things I can't.  It's an exciting time, possibilities are opening up.  Abstinence from porn and related behaviour is at the core of my endeavours.   I know there are challenges to come in relation to this addiction...the challenge to deal with today, though, is today...today I am a little tired, with a long day ahead, and tonight I will be alone at home...I know these to be conditions that can trigger cravings, so I have to be mindful.  It is a priority to come back into the forum this evening, once I have finished my day's work, and to post, to break that 'alone-ness' and to go through and read some of the success stories shared here. 

Thanks to all you out there who are sharing your journeys as I make mine. 

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2019, 07:12:27 AM »
Lunch.  Just wanted to reaffirm that I'll keep sober today.  I can do that, we all can.  One day of not using is achievable.  Cravings are there in the background, maybe 3 or 4 out of ten in intensity.  I can ride those out.  Going to phone my daughter, because that seems like a pretty healthy thing to do, right? 

Positive thoughts to all of you out there - stay strong.

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2019, 04:05:41 PM »
I ended day 5 very tired, which is usually a trigger.  I didn't particularly crave, maybe just low-level, passing thoughts, but I did get a little impatient with my girlfriend on the phone.  Not sure if it was tiredness or some withdrawals - I don't want to assume this was about withdrawals, nor discount the possibility that it is.  Either way I apologised, and I will watch this space.

Pleased to get to five days sober, but I also want to stop paying so much attention to the amount of days, because I want my recovery to be much more than the accumulation of days free from porn.  I want this process to bring richness to my life, to allow me to grow, to allow me to reach my potential, and to restore my natural enthusiasm for world around me - and that's definitely my direction at the moment.

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2019, 05:52:33 PM »
Day 6.  Sober.  Very busy.  Cravings have been minimal.  I keep feeding my brain with knowledge around this problem, and I can't get enough of that.  I have a couple of books lined up, including Noah Church's, and I can't wait to get into them.  I feel very far away from porn today.  I feel driven, motivated, excited to be alive...juxtaposed with an anxiety about having something precious taken away from me.   Joy in life is a double-edged sword.   Maybe that is one of the internal dynamics I have hidden from, in drug use early in my life, and then porn...the awareness of the fragility of life.  When I enjoy life, I fear losing it.   

Still, I'm happy to be on this path. 

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2019, 01:43:02 AM »
Today is day 7.   A milestone I'm happy to reach, but I will keep taking this a day at a time.

I will be travelling on a train for a few hours with my son this morning and afternoon, then driving back in a new car for 4-5 hours, so the whole day is far away from risks around porn.  I will be tired, but when we return home, my girlfriend will be here,  so the day is full, connected, and it will be a sober one.   I will enjoy the people in my life today, free from the distraction and dissociation in some porn fugue.

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

jixu

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2019, 06:57:00 AM »
Congratulations on your new commitment and solid beginning.  What a great way to spend the day!  Keep up the good fight!

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2019, 01:19:33 AM »
Congratulations on your new commitment and solid beginning.  What a great way to spend the day!  Keep up the good fight!


Thanks for the encouragement - it means a lot.

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2019, 01:36:45 AM »
Days 8 and 9 were spent away with my girlfriend, and I remained sober from porn.  We had sex a couple of times, and I'm having some mild-to-moderate cravings to watch porn or masturbate this morning, but, really, there is no need.  I realise now this 'feeling' is just a neurochemical reaction.  It's so empowering to reduce it to what it is, and to not be overwhelmed by an urge.  Probably everyone out there knows this, but Gary Wilson's book YBOP is essential reading for anyone who has battled with this problem.   

The intimacy and closeness with my girlfriend during sex is the polar opposite to the cold isolation of watching porn.  So, today I'm not going to act on the neurochemical reaction that is happening in my brain.  The craving is mild, tolerable, but previously I would have automatically acted on it.  Instead, today I'm going to be grateful for being close to my girlfriend.

I am mindful that I have become dependent on ED medication for the past couple of years to have sex.  I lost confidence in my ability to keep an erection, because I started to suffer with some degree of PIED, and a possible next step will be to stop using that.   One step at a time, but it's in my mind as a definite future goal.

 

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2019, 03:01:16 PM »
Day 10 almost over.  Porn free.  I'm tired tonight, and alone, which have been triggers in the past.  I don't feel triggered at all tonight, but I won't get complacent...I have struggled for too many years to think this is all over...but I do feel strong, determined and heading in the right direction. 


Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2019, 02:38:45 PM »
Day 11. 

No porn, but I have felt more cravings tonight, and now, than I have at any point on this streak.  I was trying to think about why this might have happened today...I do know that Gary Wilson talks about an intensification of cravings, in connection to neurological changes that can happen around this period when trying to quit porn...

"Worse yet, during abstinence the sensitized “goosing” pathways grow even stronger. It’s as if your pleasure center is screaming for stimulation…but only the addiction can hear the call. The branches (dendrites) on nerve cells processing addiction-related reward signals become “super spiny.” This overgrowth of little nubs allows for more synaptic connections and greater excitation. It’s like growing four extra pairs of ears while being stuck at a “Spinal Tap” concert. When cues or thoughts (glutamate) hammer your reward circuit, the craving scale hits eleven."  This Gary Wilson stuff probably explains what I'm going through tonight, and probably the reason I have never really got passed a couple of weeks in the past.  It make sense to me.

So how am I going to make it different this time?  Well, I'm here, journalling, and reading through some other people's experience.  And I'm reminding myself that this is a neurochemical reaction, and that it will pass if I don't act out on it.

I've felt a bit lonely at points today, then slightly bothered by thoughts of my girlfriend's sexual past...and I'm a little tired (my work schedule will dramatically improve in a few weeks, but for now at least I have to work long hours).  I also found myself slipping into the habit of staring at women as I drove past them today - I have to get back to not doing that, as  I know it is part of my addiction, and a big trigger for acting out.   I'm just trying to piece all this together, to learn what happens in me to drive me towards porn.  Uncomfortable feelings - jealousy, loneliness, stress, insecurity, anger, sadness - are a trigger.  I have dissociated through multiple means over the years, and porn and sex became the predominant way.  Well, I'm not giving in to these cravings...I want my life back, and I want to reach my potential, so tonight I'm not using porn.  I will read now, I will sleep, and then I tackle tomorrow...but tonight I am not acting out.

All the best to everybody out there...keep working, keep battling.

Night all.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2019, 02:40:50 PM by Jay2019 »

Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2019, 04:38:32 PM »
Day 12

The intense cravings of yesterday passed, like a wave.  I'm still here, nothing terrible happened in not acting out...in fact, something really good happened - I learned that I can ride out strong cravings.   Journalling, acknowledging the truth of my emotions at that point, educating myself around the neurochemical cause of the feeling, and contacting my girlfriend to say goodnight...

...three simple steps for tackling strong cravings...write the experience down in an honest way, remind myself of the brain chemistry behind the cravings, contact someone I love...

I'm going to learn what it takes to be free of this addiction.  I'm finally going to learn about my full capacity in this life.  Porn is not an option.



I noticed myself thinking a lot (the beginnings of obsessing) about sex earlier in the day, and I caught myself looking at women.  I pulled back from that, consciously reminded myself of the need to self-impose boundaries in this respect.  I'll go on doing that tomorrow.


Jay2019

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Re: Journal of Jay
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2019, 02:03:42 AM »
Day 13 was a busy one, with no time alone, so no opportunity to act out with porn. 

Spent the evening out with my girlfriend.  We had sex when we got home, and had a late night, so I have to watch the chaser effect, plus my tiredness (I'm too old for late nights and my mind wakes up at the same time, regardless of the time I go to sleep - I can't afford too many late nights as I attempt this reboot).  I've never had a bad sex life with my girlfriend, far from it, but it feels so much better as porn fades in to the background for me.  I'm glad I had the benefit of setting up some 'actual women' pathways when I was younger, before porn truly got hold of me - I'm grateful for that.

So, day 14 is today, and I will be with my girlfriend, and later on my son will join us.  No time alone, which is a good protective factor for me, so I'm going to try to get past my tiredness and enjoy reaching two weeks of sobriety from porn and acting out...this is undoubtedly my most serious attempt to address my problem. 

Hope it's going well for anyone out there trying to recover.