Author Topic: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery  (Read 699 times)

metal22

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Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« on: June 01, 2020, 09:50:49 PM »
So I have been on this site for quite awhile.  It was about 1 month from 4 years ago when my wife discovered the depth and perversion of my porn addiction.  It's been a long road for both of us but I believe we have grown from it. 
I think it was her that found this site.  What a life saver for me.  I did the hard 90 day reboot.  I had been addicted for probably about 15 years,  and had been a fairly heavy user.  It was rough,  but the threat of divorce and losing my family kept me from relapsing.  After probably day 30 things got a bit easier,  though urges and such would come in waves of a day or so.  I had no idea what triggered them,  they just came and went.  By day 90 much of the old habits had been eased,  and I was able to sort of reach a semblance of normality.
There was nothing wrong for me in striving for sobriety in those first 90 days.  My brain had been all messed up,  I didn't even feel too much like a human.  I don't feel like I was in any shape to do any soul searching.  The problem for me was at the 90 days I became complacent.  I felt like I had accomplished what I set out to do ( which technically I did).  But what I didn't do was reach for recovery.  I was sober,  but that was about all.
Our sex life didn't change much.  Her complaints about my involvement with the kids didn't change.  I still wasn't putting her first at all,  and she felt unloved.  Things continued like this for quite some time.  She would get upset and confront me,  I'd say I would change but it would last about 2 weeks and things would go back to the way they had been.  I felt happy with the way things were,  even if my family suffered.  It seems heartless to say this,  but honestly I believe that is the way of the addict.  I only wanted to change enough to keep people from getting upset with me.
So recently I relapsed.  It felt like the old things all came back.  I lied when confronted,  and only when she wouldn't give up I finally trickled the information out.  This time she said something to me that somehow stuck.  She said " If you can spend time on all these other 'interests' of yours why not your family?"  She had said this before,  but this time I thought about it.  "Yeah,  why haven't I"? I thought to myself.
I think recovery is a lifelong process.  I will always be a porn addict,  and both my wife and I have come to accept that.  I will be a recovering one,  but one nonetheless.  I started listening to podcasts about intimacy,  marriage and a healthy sex life.  I realized that I had no sex real education,  just one semester class as a snarky high school freshman,  and porn.  I honestly had no idea how to be really intimate,  to enjoy my wife and for her to enjoy me as a whole person,  not some objectified object.  Part of the reason I never initiated sex was I was afraid.  Although I had recovered from PIED,  I still carried that anxiety of not being able to perform.  I also was afraid that what I might do was too porn related,  or that my PE would happen and I would be embarrassed.  Pretty stupid for a guy married for over 15 years right?
Well, anyway I've got to start somewhere,  so at the beginning might be the best spot.  I've been changing my mindset on this,  relaxing and most importantly communicating about how I feel,  and asking her how she feels.  I think I'm more excited about our sex life than I have ever been.  Many of the things that used to hang over me are fading;  my insecurities,  my anxieties and hangups.  I'm not here all the way,  but I'm working to get there.  I hope that I can give my wife my whole me,  the thing she deserved 16 years ago.  I still screw up,  but with honest communication I think she is also able to know how I feel and give me grace and forgiveness.
Anyway,  there aren't a whole lot of "veterans" on the site.  I hope my contributions help.

DoneAtLast

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2020, 09:30:47 AM »
Hi metal22, there need to be more "vets" on here, but there are more of us lurking than one would realize, I think. 

I like the thoughts regarding sobriety/recovery.  There aren't enough of these discussions, and hopefully there will be more.  When porn recovery first got big, it had a way of presenting itself in the same way a lot of flash-in-the-pan health trends present themselves.  Lots of promises about sexual performance and all of these ailments, both perceived and imagined, disappearing.  I can even remember one person swearing quitting porn helped with their eye floaters.  It was a tad silly, and it drew a lot of people to the idea of "rebooting" that really weren't all in.  The one guy who stands out most in my memory was someone who was taking a vacation to Thailand and wanted to know how long to quit porn before his vacation so he could adequately perform for the women he'd encounter (he also took issue with my implication that he was intending to visit prostitutes!  Exactly how he defined strangers having sex with him for money, I have no idea...). 

People don't click on banner ads for how to lose weight gradually and develop a new, lifelong healthy relationship with food.  They click on banner ads that promise to lose 20 lbs in two weeks.

These sites since have lost a lot of traffic (there was recently a thread lamenting this over on YBR), and I think it is in part because the bizarre health promise aspect wore off of the general public.  Maybe they also got tired of hearing us "vets" tell them that it was a long game, and that their attitudes about sex were going to have to change.  Many wanted to quit porn imagining that their sex lives would turn more into their porn fantasies.  It reminds me of that great line from The Simpsons "no no no... dig UP stupid!" 

I do think we, as a culture, need to talk about "sobriety" more.  What does it look like?  A major obstacle is that as soon as people start talking about it, all sorts of prejudices bubble up to the surface.  It sounds too religious, it sounds too conservative, it sounds too touchy-feely, like you're being talked through it by a guy with a PhD, khakis and a sweater vest.  I don't know if our culture is capable of having those discussions without pigeonholing porn/sex addiction sobriety. 

After reading an essay about a porn awards show in 1998, I have been wondering if part of it is because we've been so ingrained to think of porn as a big joke, and if it affects anyone deeply, they're just incapable of being "in" on the joke.  This was a time when internet porn was young, and the VHS porn industry was huge and very self-aware.  It was a time of movies like Boogie Nights and Orgazmo.  They're smart than we think, as this had left the arguments against porn rather impotent (no pun intended), and easily mocked.  I'm not sure of your age, but that was the attitude of porn/the sex industry that I came of age with.  If you took it too seriously, you just didn't get the joke.

In any case, I'm rambling a bit now, but it really interests me.  I'm in a different situation in that I'm not married and luckily have not had serious challenges to my sobriety two and a half years in, but similar in that I'm in a no-man's-land of recovery.  Maybe as time marches on we'll have some better insights.  This post is definitely a big step in the right direction!

imsorrynotsorry

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2020, 03:09:45 PM »
Hello metal22 and DoneAtLast,

thank you both for your insight that i find very helpful for my own way of recovery.

metal22, i like to think that talking about the problems of PMO with your wife is good. As long as she's feeling you are working on yourself and trying, she will count that like steps in her direction.

The comprehension with the time you need for your interest of yours and your family, i find a bit odd. Addiction is no interest, but anyway, i get the sense of what she's saying and i find it not helpful for you, because is causes you thinking about yourself "yeah, why can't i?". You've proven that you can stay of PMO most of the time, even for years, but nonetheless your interests and her interests can also meet in the middle. You are a father and husband at one point, but it's not like you have to do exactly what she's expecting you to do. You have the right to chose by yourself. You are happy even if you don't spend that much time with them? If it's causing damn trouble there could be a compromise, but generally this must not be wrong. It's just how things are, not for good, but for now.

Gracie

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2020, 07:56:31 AM »
I too miss the vets from theses sites.  I was searching 10 years ago for answers as I discovered my husbands use.  I slogged in to the sites and asked questions, told them how it felt as a wife, how important a disclosure is, even with the pain it caused.  And it helped.  And I helped.  YBR got a little Wild West and mean. Then Gabe started this site.  It was great! Then we had attacks by men, responses by women that were pretty pointed and then most of the women left.  And on both sides I wonder how did it work out?  Are the people together? Divorced?  I think there is value in having people in for the long haul here.  Be they men or women.  And thanks to you all!

Loleekins

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2020, 06:48:09 PM »
YBR got a little Wild West and mean.

It was a bit wild, but I actually got more support and advice from the guys here than anywhere else. They were blunt, forthright, and tried their best to help. I'll venture into the wilds of jerks for the gems I found there. <3 I hope those gem guys are doing well and carrying on happy lives.

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Then we had attacks by men

This was ridiculous and can be avoided.

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And on both sides I wonder how did it work out?  Are the people together? Divorced?  I think there is value in having people in for the long haul here.  Be they men or women.  And thanks to you all!

I take long breaks from the boards. I don't think it's great for my mental state to live in this stuff daily. But I always check back in to see how folks are doing. :)
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities --- Voltaire

GoonerGone

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2020, 03:40:39 AM »
I feel a lot of people went to reddit to wallow in the 'bro science' aspects of 'No-fap'. I'd prefer quality over quantity here.

Icandoit

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2020, 04:11:07 AM »
I feel a lot of people went to reddit to wallow in the 'bro science' aspects of 'No-fap'. I'd prefer quality over quantity here.

Not to diminish the help that some guys offered on Reddit Nofap but sometimes it got toxic, at least when I was there. Some guys attacked me saying there was no problem with porn when I tried to tell guys to stay away from watching it if they wanted to succeed.

GoonerGone

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2020, 04:14:39 AM »
I feel a lot of people went to reddit to wallow in the 'bro science' aspects of 'No-fap'. I'd prefer quality over quantity here.

Not to diminish the help that some guys offered on Reddit Nofap but sometimes it got toxic, at least when I was there. Some guys attacked me saying there was no problem with porn when I tried to tell guys to stay away from watching it if they wanted to succeed.

It may be a personal thing, but I also got put off on reddit by very young guys saying they had an issue. I think it's important for teenagers to understand the risk, but guys aged 13/14 and stuff suddenly saying they are addicted put me off a bit. Chatting about issues of sexuality when I new minors were actively participating in the forums a lot made me a bit uncomfortable.

DoneAtLast

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2020, 09:21:09 AM »
I feel a lot of people went to reddit to wallow in the 'bro science' aspects of 'No-fap'. I'd prefer quality over quantity here.

Not to diminish the help that some guys offered on Reddit Nofap but sometimes it got toxic, at least when I was there. Some guys attacked me saying there was no problem with porn when I tried to tell guys to stay away from watching it if they wanted to succeed.

Yeah, I do like that some boards are considering some of the bigger problems with porn.  It used to be that you were only allowed to criticize porn if it interfered with erections or time at the gym, but the absolute honest truth is that it affects almost every aspect of life you can imagine.  Yeah, there have been lots of imagined symptoms over the years (the eye floaters was one of my favorites), but I've seen some very deep psychological stuff on these boards.  I've had it myself, too, and I have a thread going on YBR right now about it.  I'll never stop being amazed at how deep the roots of an addiction can really go into your psyche.

Another taboo that is coming back up is the ethics of porn.  The porn recovery world has been focused on the effects on the user, but effects on the creators does get mentioned.  There was a post for a petition against PornHub posted on YBR, and not everyone liked it.  The general idea is that PornHub has been turning a blind eye to a lot of illegal stuff on their site and should be considered complicit to illegal action.  I don't want to derail the thread, but my basic point is that for some people quitting it is irrelevant, but for others it is impossible to separate.  For me, quitting for good was helped a lot by destroying the lie that porn is made by sweet college girls after they finish their homework who live otherwise wholesome lives.  If a given forum wants to keep that discussion off their radar I respect that 100%, but I don't think we're truly helping everyone who wants to quit by ignoring it, either. 

I hope that the porn addiction recovery world can reach a point of maturity, almost ten years after the first Gary Wilson video, where this stuff can be discussed a bit more objectively, but that might be asking too much of any internet discussion.  When you look at how most online arguments go, the porn addiction world is already punching above its weight, so maybe I should just be thankful for what is there already!

Icandoit

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2020, 09:42:41 AM »
I hope that the porn addiction recovery world can reach a point of maturity, almost ten years after the first Gary Wilson video, where this stuff can be discussed a bit more objectively, but that might be asking too much of any internet discussion.  When you look at how most online arguments go, the porn addiction world is already punching above its weight, so maybe I should just be thankful for what is there already!

Honestly, I am thankful even for the point we are at. Imagine what it would've been like if we had never known porn was a source of problems. I'm grateful for being able at my age to attempt recovery. In high school, I thought porn was good for my sexuality and that it was something I used for masturbation. Imagine if I had the same opinion now. It's good that it's been happening. Garry Wilson's video "The great porn experiment" is one of the most important videos of the century. I recommend everyone to watch the 2 hours version too.

DoneAtLast

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2020, 09:54:56 AM »
I hope that the porn addiction recovery world can reach a point of maturity, almost ten years after the first Gary Wilson video, where this stuff can be discussed a bit more objectively, but that might be asking too much of any internet discussion.  When you look at how most online arguments go, the porn addiction world is already punching above its weight, so maybe I should just be thankful for what is there already!

Honestly, I am thankful even for the point we are at. Imagine what it would've been like if we had never known porn was a source of problems. I'm grateful for being able at my age to attempt recovery. In high school, I thought porn was good for my sexuality and that it was something I used for masturbation. Imagine if I had the same opinion now. It's good that it's been happening. Garry Wilson's video "The great porn experiment" is one of the most important videos of the century. I recommend everyone to watch the 2 hours version too.

Yeah, you're absolutely right.  Before seeing that video I suspected that porn addiction was a thing because I wanted to stop but couldn't, but I also couldn't validate the idea that it was an addiction. 

I probably cause myself more grief than I should by lamenting the lack of real intellectualism online.  Twitter arguments/rants often depress me.  For a little while the "intellectual dark web" was gaining steam where true academics were becoming low level online celebrities, but it dried up.  Considering how awful online discourse can be, we are very, very lucky for what we have.

The best thing is if we could get Gary Wilson on with Joe Rogan, but Rogan has gotten so popular, it would take a miracle.  It would especially be great for Gary to talk about the harassment/legal stuff he's had to go through with the fake sites and accusations.  Still, one can hope...

Icandoit

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Re: Thoughts on sobriety versus recovery
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2020, 03:53:11 AM »
Yeah, you're absolutely right.  Before seeing that video I suspected that porn addiction was a thing because I wanted to stop but couldn't, but I also couldn't validate the idea that it was an addiction. 

In my case, I thought I was addicted to masturbation because I wanted to quit and I couldn't. I wasn't (and I'm still not) an expert in addictions but I knew that something that I couldn't quit was addiction. Somehow, I couldn't make the correlation between porn and my masturbation. I had never bumped into any information that told me porn was a problem and I thought porn was only what I used for masturbation and to learn about sex. It's funny, cause porn is the last thing that teaches you sex. I didn't know that I was addicted to porn, not masturbation, and masturbation was what I used to make a better use of porn. Without porn, I wouldn't masturbate as much, if at all.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 03:54:42 AM by Icandoit »