Author Topic: 43 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn  (Read 66861 times)

Chile

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #225 on: July 10, 2015, 04:14:33 PM »
Cold showers, distance from porn, and better sleep! Keep it up Unchained. You know there is even better stuff up ahead.

unchained

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #226 on: August 07, 2015, 05:28:46 PM »
I haven't posted in several weeks and thought I'd catch up a bit in my journal.

I'm still going strong (some days stronger than others) and felt that it may be helpful to myself and possibly others to write out what seems to be working for me.

I have read, listened to, and watched pretty much everything available at ybop...multiple times.  I have downloaded and read multiple books on porn addiction and addiction in general.  I also downloaded Gordon Bruin's InnerGold online treatment program.  From those sources as well as drawing from the wealth of knowledge garnered here from fellow rebooters, I have developed my own daily system to deal with cravings & triggers as well as hopefully keep them from popping up in the first place.

I want to apologize in advance for being long winded.  Following is a list of what seems to be working so far:

1. Journal, post in other's journals & look for updates at ybop.  I do this first thing every morning.  I try not to linger in bed in the morning when I wake up.  The first thing I look for is my cell phone and I take it with me to the bathroom as part of my morning ritual...heck, I'm just sitting there anyway (lol).  Anyway, I read journals here & look for updates at ybop.  Gary posts success stories from multiple sites & there seems to be good motivational success stories every day or two.  Reading journals is great, but I feel it helps to mix in some positive success stories instead of just reading through the trials & tribulations of trying to quit.

2. Cold showers.  I have found this to be one of the most effective & easiest things to do to improve overall mood and feeling of accomplishment.  The only thing it requires is to turn a knob completely to one direction and stand there for 5-10 minutes.  It could not be easier and the benefits are nothing short of amazing.  In the past 3 1/2 months, I've probably taken less than 10 hot showers.  Cold showers are now firmly entrenched in my porn-free routine.  I actually feel like something is missing from my day if I don't have one.  Some days, I'll take another cold shower when I get home just to make me feel better if I feel I need a pick-me-up.  I feel the benefits are multi-fold.  One is that they up regulate your dopamine receptors, making them more responsive to the lowered dopamine that us addicts produce.  The end response is that it makes you feel better, happier, more alert, more positive, etc.  And since negative feelings drive us towards porn, it stands to reason that feeling GOOD can help minimize cravings because our brain isn't constantly looking for an escape.  I have found the better I feel, the fewer unwanted thoughts find their way into my consciousness.  Secondly, I feel accomplished when I finish a long cold shower.  I have faced an uncomfortable situation head-on and accomplished a goal.  That is a good way to start the day...feeling accomplished.  In the same way I can consciously force myself to stand in the uncomfortable cold, I know I can use that same mental toughness when the time comes to resist urges to seek out porn.  I have confidence that I can stand the pain...because I do stand the pain.  Third, cold showers have physical benefits if you are trying to improve your overall health.  Ten minutes of shivering has been shown to reduce fat as well as ten minutes of running...and all you have to do is stand there (well, and shiver).

3. Meditation.  Addicts have a smaller and weaker pre-frontal cortex which is what governs decision making.  It has been proven that people who meditate have larger and more powerful pre-frontal cortexes.  So, it stands to reason that participating in an activity that would help to strengthen our weakened decision making part of our brains would be beneficial.  For me, it has been tremendously effective.  The InnerGold system encourages a type of medication in which one sits uninterrupted and recites a memorized powerful quote, poem or bible verse over and over.  While doing this, you attempt to keep focus completely on the words as you say them.  As other thoughts pop into your head (and they will), gently redirect your thoughts back to your memorized words and continue doing so over and over for a predetermined time.  I started at 5 minutes, but now try to meditate for 15 minutes every morning before work.  The process trains the meditator how to direct thought where he WANTS it.  Through consistent practice, I am much better equipped to deflect porn thoughts much in the same way as the stray thoughts that pop up while I meditate.  They pop up in my head, but I choose to focus elsewhere.  While they may come in and linger in the back of my mind, they hold no power over me if I choose NOT to focus on them.   I also see this as physical exercise for the brain.  It may very well be that as the pre-frontal cortex gets stronger and bigger, your decision making and thought choices get stronger as well.  The cravings may not really be weaker, it is that the brain has become stronger.  Think of a muscle you work at the gym.  You may have a hard time lifting 100 pounds the first time you hit the gym.  As you gain strength, it is less difficult to lift.  Over time, the same 100 lbs isn't any big deal at all, in fact it isn't even really work.  The 100 lbs hasn't changed in any way what-so-ever...you are just stronger.  Strong enough to shoulder the load, I feel that is what is happening in my brain.

4. Exercise.  When I exercise, I feel good about myself.  I feel as though I am actively working to improve myself.  It truly pays dividends to invest in one's self.  I enjoy running.  It gets me outside and is an outlet for stress.  I sleep better when I run consistently which also improves mood, energy levels and overall outlook.  I am also more fit and lean and that makes me feel good about myself.  I feel that so very much of trying to beat an addiction comes back to finding positive ways to feel good about ourselves and exercise is a really good way to do so.  I also added in another small measure of exercise during the day.  Every time I go pee, I do a set of push ups.  I started with 20, then after a week 25 and so on and now I do 40 every time I go to the bathroom with is at least 4-5 times a day.  I know it's not like hitting the gym, but it is still a little bit of exercise, doesn't cost anything & makes me feel better.

5. Mid-day break.  My work day is stressful.  I own my own business and dealing with problems with suppliers, customers & employees is just part of my daily routine.  As I have become more aware of the thoughts, feelings and urges that slowly build inside my brain during the day, I have noticed that I have to be extremely cautious when stressful situations become very intense.  If I allow them to take root I'm more likely to act on them later when I get a chance.  Since the stress is somewhat unavoidable, I make it a point to get out of the office every day for a short walk.  A 15-20 minute walk outside helps me decompress and even just walking a mile or so burns a few calories...at least more than sitting at my desk.

6. Mindless entertainment.  I pretty much watch little to no TV and I quit surfing the internet for the purpose of passing time.  At night, I'll watch 30 minutes of news & sometimes enjoy a program about how the universe works or a historical documentary.  On the weekend, if I'm home I may watch a race but that's about all the TV I see.  I stay away from all reality TV and won't consider an R rated movie.  Also, endless surfing the net out of boredom is history.  I see the internet as a tool.  If I need to look something up...I look it up.  I find out what I want to know and move on.  I use it as a tool for my work.  I use it as a tool in my healing...in coming hear and other sites that are productive in my recovery.  I am on ZERO social media sites.  The internet is not part of my social life and is no longer part of my sex life.

7. Radio.  After over three months, I just started allowing myself to listen to a little bit of radio or Pandora while alone in my car or while mowing my yard (which is a 3 hours ordeal).  There is a lot of material in most all music genres that paint sexual images in my mind.  I decided that it was better for me (for a time) to steer clear of even that much temptation.  Instead, I downloaded all 33 of Gary Wilson's radio shows (well, except for episode 29 which won't download for some reason) and listen to them over and over and over again in my car.  The 32 episodes are 12 hours 28 minutes of porn addiction education, advise & encouragement.  Much like when I meditate, I focused intently on his words...what he was saying as I drove to keep bad thoughts out.  I see that time as time I was investing into my recovery through gaining knowledge & drawing strength from the recovery stories of former addicts and information provided some of the experts he interviewed.  As I said earlier, I now am beginning to ease back into radio but only do so with a very deep awareness of my own thoughts.  Just this morning while driving to work I didn't like the direction my mind was headed, so off went the radio and on went Gary's radio podcasts.  Also, while I shave & get ready in the morning, I'll play the youtube videos from YBOP, Noah Church, Gabe, nofapacademy, etc.

8.  Accountability software.  I use CovenantEyes and it has saved my bacon more than once.  I do not use the blocker tool or any other type of blocker on any of my devices.  I simply have it set up to send 100% of my internet usage to my wife in a weekly report.  It is installed on my laptop, my smart phone, even my work computer.  I know myself well enough to know a blocker wasn't going to work.  I would simply find a way around it.  I also like the fact that I am not blocked...I can go to porn in an instant if I choose to, however, I know that she will know so it forces me to make the choice over and over that I choose not to look at porn.  Have you ever thought about why drug users who go to prison for an extended period of time go right back to the same drugs when they get out?  I've often thought "why would they do that...they've been sober for a year, maybe two?".  The problem is that sobriety is not necessarily healing from addiction.  They more or less abstained (although forcefully) not by their choice.  They didn't develop the tool set necessary to refuse their drug of choice when confronted by it once they are free to choose for themselves.  I feel much the same way about using a blocker to try to beat an addiction (don't get me wrong, they do have a place...especially when children are using the computer, etc).  However, us addicts need to find a healthy, safe way to reinforce our ability to choose not to choose porn...over and over again.

9.  Fish oil.  May sound stupid, but look it up.  Some studies have indicated that cultures that eat more fish have lower rates of depression.  Fish oils (specifically EPA & DHA) have been recommended by many experts to individuals healing from all sorts of addictions.  It seems to promote faster brain recovery.  I cannot swear by it, but fish oil supplements are not expensive and certainly won't hurt...plus it is good for your heart.  Just make sure to get a quality supplement that has been purified to remove mercury.

10.  Stay busy.  This can be tough in the evenings when I used to sit and watch TV out of boredom which would inevitably lead to thoughts of porn which would set me up for a PMO session.  Now I occupy myself by organizing my garage, doing small things around the house that have been nagging at me or anything I can come up with to be productive and busy.  "Idle hands are the devil's playthings."

11.  Spreadsheet.  I like this in place of a day counter.  On a side note...I love setting up spreadsheets in general.  Regardless,  I have a spreadsheet that tracks how many days since I started, how many days since my last reset from PMO, how many days since I reset from MO, what % of days since the start I have PMO'd & MO'd, 1 in how many days I have PMO's or MO'd (as in 1 in 7 or 1 in 10), my 30 day average for both PMO & MO, how far I ran on a given day, how many push-ups, average distance, average push-ups, current weight, weight loss, etc.  Early in the process it was tremendously helpful.  Once I reset after 26 days...well the next day I was at day 1 on a counter, but after 4 days I was showing 1 PMO in 30 days.  Two days after the PMO, I was averaging 1 PMO in 4 weeks.  Seeing it that way was a much more positive experience than looking at a big ole "2" on my PMO counter.  Now that I am further down the road I am proud of the numbers as they progress.  It is a visual aid to me in that I know if I slip that it will take a while to get them back to where they are now.  I know it's just a spreadsheet, but it is evidence of the hard work I have put into improving myself and it is something I take pride in.  It holds me accountable and I have backed away from looking at porn when the thought was building inside of me because the spreadsheet was open on my desktop (that was when I decided my work computer needed CovenantEyes, too).

You'll notice I haven't mentioned my dick once.  A year ago when I first became aware of PIED, that was the only thing that really mattered to me.  I was a chronic daily PMO'er and I had only sporadic ED, but it was enough to get my attention & started to cause tremendous anxiety as I worried about if I was going to be able to perform.  I managed to abstain from porn for 25 days with one reset and then 40 days and in both cases I was functioning again properly.  After a longer reset I decided that it was time to develop a system.  Simply abstaining wasn't going to cut it.  I needed to find a way to build a life free from porn...not just count days.  In the end, abstinence will not work.  We need to develop a set of tools.  We need a lifelong system.  Gary repeatedly mentions that PIED appears to be the last symptom that develops from long term porn use and that all of the others pretty much go un-noticed as they develop along the way.  Well, I feel that during the march away from porn, the symptoms fall off in reverse order of how they were acquired.  ED comes on last...ED goes away first...at least for me.  The fact that ED went away doesn't mean I am cured and healthy, it just means that one symptom has healed.  It would be a mistake to believe (and a mistake that tripped me up in the past) that we have beaten our addiction simply because we can get an erection when needed.  To me, that type of thinking is like a recovering alcoholic thinking that he was recovered the first morning he woke up without a hangover..."heck, I feel good this morning so I must be cured!".

Once again, feeling happy, staying busy, being aware of and directing one's thoughts, and being physically active will keep the primitive brain from seeking an escape.  Why would it want to escape feeling well?  Regardless, even the happiest person deals with stress, negative feelings and unfortunate situations in his life.  I have found the vast majority of triggering thoughts come up when feeling one of the following:
  (B)ored
  (L)onely
  (A)ngry
  (S)ad
  (T)ired
The BLAST acronym was mentioned in the InnerGold treatment and has helped me in times that I have been triggered by my own thoughts.  I still have thoughts pop-up and try not to give them any attention, but at the same time I try to get to the root of why is my primitive brain telling me it wants to seek medication in porn.  While some thoughts may be genuinely random (heck, all people have sexual thoughts, urges & desires), many times I can very easily identify that I am in one of the BLAST frames of mind.  That makes the situation SOO much more manageable.  You see, I don't have to fight the urge...I address the cause of the urge.  Maybe I can do something about it, maybe I can't.  If not, I thank my primitive brain for suggesting what it thinks would make me feel better but respectfully decline to participate in that behavior.

Bad thoughts are going to happen.  Negative emotions are going to happen.  Triggers outside of my control are going to happen.  That is just life.  My approach has been to do all I can on the front end to keep bad thoughts as far away from me as possible...to minimize them by filling my life with positive constructive behaviors.  But some still slip through and some will always slip through.  Hopefully, with the other tools I am developing I will be able to recognize them early and stop them before they escalate.

Well, like I said...I am long winded.  This is what is working for me at the moment and I will continue to learn from everyone here and may add more to my arsenal.  I do know 100% that the showers, meditation, continuing education, exercise & mid-day walks do work because there have been days that I have had to skip one or more for various reasons & I have felt a lowered state of mind, have experienced more unwanted thoughts and have also felt an increase in anxiety when I don't stick to my system.  So...for now, I will work my system and keep walking away from porn.  Porn is a little farther away each day.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 08:56:30 PM by unchained »

jjyb

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #227 on: August 07, 2015, 08:12:30 PM »
Great stuff, thanks!

sodonewithit

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #228 on: August 07, 2015, 10:05:13 PM »
Killing it unchained.
My wife told me to be a participant not a voyeur, I think we should all do this.

Watched "Hot Girls Wanted", all us guys should.

Chile

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #229 on: August 10, 2015, 02:50:46 PM »
Thanks for this post Unchained!

unchained

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #230 on: August 11, 2015, 10:31:01 PM »
Thanks guys.  I appreciate your comments.

I'm still feeling good...still dealing with thoughts and temptations.  They come less often, but they still come.  I am sometimes CRAZY good at aiming my focus away from porn thoughts, but sometime I honestly let them linger longer than I should.

I've given a lot of thought over the last year or so regarding the difficulties in overcoming this addiction for us old guys versus the young guys versus those in-between.  I know it is commonly stated that us old guys heal quicker...well, we may from ED but that doesn't mean we don't have a more entrenched addiction than the young guys.  At the same time, younger guys may be less addicted but have little to no experience with real women, making their road back to sexual health more difficult.  I am sure that is tough for an inexperienced young man...especially one with PIED and no previous experience or a partner to help them find their way put of this jungle.  I've also read TONS of journals from the 30+, 40+ crowd and even though the ED may heal quicker, I am convinced that the true path to healing (the path to out of this addiction) may be considerably tougher than the younger men out there with porn issues.  First, we've done it longer.  Me...I've used porn daily since I was 11...that's a 30 year addiction.  Second, many of us have caused as a result of our own actions regrets, hurts, destroyed relationships, unexplored relationships, failed marriages, failed father relationships, etc along the way that we are now facing.  Dealing with and facing those truths often are enough to push our brains to seek the comfort that it so often found in porn.  Again...not to minimize a young guy trying to score the 1st time and discovering ED, but compare that to the guy who looks back and realizes he's lost his wife and kids because of this SHITTY addiction.  The young guy is motivated to fix his penis, the old guy sees the truth of the outcome of a lifelong addiction and is crushed.  That pain can keep pushing him back to sooth the pain with porn over and over and over again.

I am a guy who has failed repeatedly and a guy who feels like I have come to a sense of clarity.  My previous bests were 27 days, 39 days, 28 days & 40 days (which seems a little odd looking back because I didn't pay attention to the day count while relapsing).  I post this because I have been here for a long time, watched guys come & go, watched some who have seemed to succeed & I hope they have, watched some disappear after failures, seen some flat-out give up, watched some I have looked up to fall back into the abyss, I see current posters rise and fall in the same cycles that gripped me in the past wondering why they just can't beat this thing with willpower and desire to be better alone.  I read and hope...I read and feel discouraged.  It is nice to feel support from others and at the same time hurts to see those same people struggle with this life destroying addiction.  I am at a point to where I am comfortable to leave for a week or two.  And when I come back there are so many new journals that I can't keep up...can't remember the new stories.  It all makes me feel numb.  I pray for strangers, some I've never even posted on their journals, but I read them and hope for their success.

It's tough when I see over and over and over again guys who truly want to heal, truly love their wives and family want to quit...who fail and say "this time I will beat it!"  Well, take it from me...you will never, never, never, never BEAT it.  It cannot be defeated.  You cannot conquer any addiction.  It will never happen.  You will never kick its ass.  You will never slay it.  You will never shoot, stab, or nuke it.  You will NEVER rip porn out of your brain.  It is because WE, at some point (or over the course of 3 decades for me), have engaged in this activity make ourselves feel good...for whatever reason each of us have.  So now, regardless of what sucks...boredom, stress, anger, hurt, physical or emotional pain, loneliness..whatever, our brains says "hey, I know what will make us feel better"...and it suggests, pushes and even forces upon us porn thoughts.  We've done that, we've trained our brains to do that.  It cannot be erased.  You will never never remove the part of your brain that suggests porn every time you feel bored or lonely or tired or sad.  That part of the brain is simply doing its job, and it will continue to suggest what it has learned that takes us to a happy place.

Please don't think of this as a sad, negative or defeatist post.  I feel quite the contrary.  We can all walk away from porn...leave it behind.  There is success out there in healing and I am feeling it, but for anyone new here, I hope you find the peaceful warrior route sooner rather than after a year of struggles like me (I spent a year trying to wrestle a beast I could not beat).  So much of what we are going through, and how long we linger in the shadows all come down to a way of thinking.  I can say without a doubt that trying to "beat" the addiction will keep it around.  Take the same energy you want to use to crush you addiction...and deflect it...just like the martial artist who doesn't attack, but constantly deflects incoming blows.  Focus all energy on not attacking your enemy, but redirecting your thoughts.  Please believe me, it works.   I still fight every day, but I fight less.  My skills get stronger, and the attacks have become fewer.  Eventually, I hope to be free of the bastard who has been engaging me completely, but its not because I beat him, its because I didn't let him beat me.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 01:58:41 PM by unchained »

unchained

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #231 on: August 17, 2015, 04:19:31 PM »
Still hanging in there.

In previous attempts to stay free from porn I refused to make MO abstinence part of my system.  I mistakenly felt that if I continued to allow myself some "relief" that it would help me stay away from porn.  I had read many other success stories and most guys seemed to indicate that giving up MO was something that they had to do...I just simply thought that it would be impossible.  I wish I could go back and talk to myself a year ago because if I simply embraced giving up MO sooner I would be further down the path today.  I am currently on day 43 since my last MO and the healing feels like it really started picking up steam once I gave up any and all sexual activity that doesn't involve my wife.

You guys may be different, but I found it impossible to MO without some sort of fantasy running through my mind.  It could be real memories or memories of porn.  I tried the whole "focus on sensations" bit, but I could not keep the porn imagery completely out.  So, inevitably I would end up on focusing on thoughts of porn after a while and it always eventually led me back to relapse.  In the end, I came to the conclusion that the MO had to go, just like the P had to go.  For me, trying to keep MO and resist P was like a recovering alcoholic who still hangs out in the bar and thinks that he won't eventually give in.  The MO & PMO are just too closely intertwined for my brain to recover if I don't quit them both.  MO was keeping P memories not only alive and well, but at the forefront of my mind.

In the end, the daily need for "release" is just a farce created by the brain to maintain the addictive cycle.  The horniness becomes manageable and I feel is healthy.  Instead of going around constantly drained of sexual energy, it builds and with MO off the table, the energy has nowhere to go other than to be focused on my wife...which is how it should have been all along.

I think quitting MO has sped my progress for a few reasons.  First, no sexual activity at all that doesn't involve my wife trains my brain to understand that there is simply one and only place that it will get sexual reward.  That doesn't mean that seeing certain things can't get my mind racing, but anything and everything that is a sexual cue in this world that isn't my wife is a dead-end for sexual activity.  The brain eventually understands that if it wants sex, then this is the only place to get it...all of the others are no longer an option.  Secondly, it speeds the rewire process.  If our goal is to rewire to our real partners, then it makes sense that I was slowing progress by acting alone.  How am I supposed to train my brain to react to her sexually if I am still have more sexual activity alone than with her...and usually thinking of images of porn.  Since she is the only sexual cue that is allowed to linger in my consciousness, my primal brain new sees her as a walking target of desire (in a loving manner, of course).  And third, since there is no other form of release, the sexual tension builds and I pursue her much more frequently.  Success builds upon success, I gain in confidence and am relaxed, which creates more success which builds more success...on and on and on.

If anyone out there seems stuck in the same pattern as I was...repeated 4-6 weeks of abstinence followed by relapse, or if you are doing good staying away from porn but feel the mental progress is moving slower than you would like, you may want to consider quitting MO as part of your system.

L.T.D.

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #232 on: August 17, 2015, 06:51:16 PM »
Great post Unchained. I agree. The way I found out I had a problem was that I googled "how much M is too much?" YBOP popped up. Still didn't think P was an issue. I know it is now but I still think M is the root problem, for me at least.

Since I found this site I have M'd twice (only thinking of my amazing girlfriend) but the ED was right there to greet me at the next actual sexual opportunity. I always had the attitude that "it's my toy, I'll play with it if i want to!" And being told my whole life that there is nothing wrong with it didn't help. This lead to desensitization and porn. Then the mental issues kicked in. Like not noticing sexual advances, the shameful feelings, the not expressing my feelings, and the general uncaring of just about everything. Always had PMO to rely on. Then the ED started. It's the snowball effect combined with the slow boiling frog.

My advice to anyone reading this is to abstain from M.

Chile

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #233 on: August 17, 2015, 08:31:08 PM »
Yeah I agree too. PMO is all the same animal, in my book anyways. For me it would be a noticeable improvement to go 4-6 weeks at a time without it, but I'm not going to despair or give up. Peace.

unchained

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #234 on: August 25, 2015, 09:14:15 PM »
Checking in. Feeling strong.

Thought I'd share a short post for once...lol.

unchained

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Re: 41 (now) year old, addict since 13 committed to freedom from porn
« Reply #235 on: August 28, 2015, 11:53:48 AM »
Sometimes I get a bit discouraged.

In all, I'm happy with my progress and am so grateful to be on this path.  I have gone longer without porn than any single time since I was 11.  That's pretty good, I think.  However I still have these images burned in my brain.  As a kid, I amassed a sizable porn collection of magazines that ranged from Playboy to Hustler to everything in between.  I invested a tremendous amount of time looking at them over and over and over.  Even the porn that I looked at online as I got older...I tended to prefer sites that had photo galleries of models.  I would study the pictures.  I've read that many guys click to completely different videos every few seconds and I did a fair share of that, but my preference was to study countless pictorials of whatever model tripped my trigger on any given day.  Some where my favorites that I returned to gain and again.  I can so vividly recall even the small details of their faces, hair, smiles and obviously their bodies.  Images pop into my mind out of nowhere...sometimes images that I haven't seen in 25 years...some go back to the beginning over 30 years ago.  That is why I feel discouraged at moments.  I wonder just how long the flashbacks will come, maybe as long as forever.  I've gotten pretty good at redirecting my thinking quickly, to focus thinking elsewhere.  It is becoming quite effortless and that is a blessing.  I suppose I sometimes wish that they wouldn't intrude in the first place, however I must accept the reality of my situation.

The reality is that porn imagery flashes in my mind in the same way as if a porn scene was shown during a commercial break during a family friendly TV show.  In one instant you are in no way whatsoever involved with or thinking of porn and then BAM...blindsided.  The reality is that I am a porn addict.  I carefully planted, nurtured and cultivated that imagery over the course of a 3 decade addiction.

I apologize if this post seems gloom and doom.  That's not my intention.  I am still happier without porn.  At no time do I regret quitting and I feel strong and confident in my ability to resist urges.  Sometimes I feel myself gaining in strength in the middle of being tempted as I resist.  I've read many times that each time we resist an urge, we strengthen our ability to resist the next time.  It sure would be nice if I could take a vacation from my own thoughts for a few days.  But, once again I must face reality and my reality is that the hard work continues.  Like it or not, feel like it or not, I will push on.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Amen

I've heard that simple little prayer my entire life, but have never understood the full gravity of its meaning until I came to the realization of the depth of my own addiction.  It's not always easy to clearly see what we have control over and what we don't.  The serenity and courage are tiny compared to having gained the wisdom to know the difference. Maybe the root of my current state of mind is from my lack of wisdom in this situation.  I am trying to control (or change) something I cannot force to change.  What I can control is not the fact that I am tempted, but rather what I do (how and what I do think about) when I am tempted.  The frustration that I'm being tempted is a moot point, I set those wheels in motion long ago and at least at this present moment they are simply part of my subconscious.  So...I suppose I will "accept" it for what it is even thought I wish it were different and muster up the courage to keep doing what I have been doing...resisting urges by redirecting thoughts and trying to do as much as I can to keep bad thoughts from popping up in the first place.

Chile

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #236 on: August 29, 2015, 08:48:19 PM »
So happy for you brother. I've always enjoyed your posts.

Gracie

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #237 on: August 30, 2015, 07:55:19 AM »
I hope this helps with the porn imagery.  When my husband and I were going through his reboot, I made him keep his eyes open. Look at me when we made love.  I figured he kept his eyes open masturbating, he could with me too.  Watch your wife when she is naked.  Keep your eyes open during sex.  Replace those porn images with your wife.  (Yes we kept eyes open during kissing too!)  It works!

unchained

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #238 on: September 03, 2015, 05:14:18 PM »
Thanks Gracie.  I prefer to keep my eyes open.  I'd go more into detail but am careful not to throw around any triggers.

I know my last post was a tinge negative, especially for as far along as I am at this point.  I feel very confident in my ability to resist porn and am proud of how far I have come...I suppose I was just wallowing in a bit of self pity that intrusive thoughts still haunt me.  I know now that they will probably stay with me for a while but am grateful that I have developed the tools to keep my brain going where I want it to go.  In the past I had little to no control of my own thoughts once even the slightest suggestion of porn was introduced into my consciousness.

I've also began to see a bit of a pattern in my mood, thinking, intrusive thoughts and anxiety levels over time.  For me, starting around 4 days from the last time my wife and I have had sex I can feel the sexual tension starting to build inside of me.  Day 5 is more tense and by day 6 I have an anxiety that is manageable but is always in the back of my head.  It's funny, but the day after chaser seems to be long gone...don't get me wrong, sometimes on weekends we go at it Friday night, Saturday and again Sunday if I'm lucky...sometimes maybe just a couple of times on the weekend.  When I first started, if we had sex on Sunday, then Monday would be an all day fight against the chaser.  Now, however I'm fine for a couple of days but ever so slowly the sexual tension builds until I'm a walking horn-dog.  Heck, I suppose that's how it is supposed to be.  For a normal guy, you go a short bit and then chase the wife around the house.  For a porn addict it can be a bit more complicated.  As my natural horniness builds, my primitive brain seems to be whispering into my ear that I should seek porn...or at least causes old images to flash before my mind's eye, and it does so more and more until I'm able to start the clock over again by having sex with the wife.  On top of that, I realized that while I was making progress it was moving slower that I wanted and adopted abstinence from MO as part of my system (today is 60 days since my last MO).  So, it's not like I can say "heck, this anxiety is building up and the wife is crazy-busy with the kids tonight so I'll go take matters into my own hands".  I'm not against MO in any way but feel that I need MUCH more distance from porn before I can consider reintroducing it back into my life...even if just to give my wife some time off when she's on her period.  As it stands I need to have her give me some relief at least once during the week of her period.

I was thinking the other day about what a bitch it is to be addicted to porn...or anything that is a true natural reward such as overeating.  We are prewired to crave sex and food and really can't completely deny them.  Imagine if alcohol, nicotine, cocaine or meth was a 100% necessity for survival.  I wonder how many recovered alcoholics could stay clean if a moderate amount of alcohol was required for survival?  How hard would it be to overcome the addiction if you still had to drink a couple of drinks a day but never overindulge again?  For most addictions, the recovering addict cuts out the substance 100%.  It's cannot be that way for matters of sex or food.  Like it or not, your brain will never let you not think about sex again...it just won't.  In dealing with this addiction, I've become much more empathetic towards addicts of all types, but I truly feel for those who are addicted to natural rewards like up, specifically the obese.  I used to feel overweight people just didn't have enough will power to maintain a healthy weight.  As hard as this porn fight can be, how much harder is it to control a food addiction?  The addict has no choice but to maintain some sort of relationship with the behavior that was once an addiction...every freakin' day.  Now, I see they are just like me but with a different drug of choice...and my drug use isn't visible to the outside world.

unchained

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #239 on: September 06, 2015, 07:52:48 AM »
Today marks 63 days (9 weeks) since I last MO'd.  Man, what a difference it has made in my healing.  I would have never believed I had it in me to quit MO.  My goal has been to eliminate PMO, but realized that be next to impossible to do unless the MO stopped as well.

If anyone is stuck in th 2-4 week success and then relapse cycle, try giving up MO as well and see if it helps.  It had made a difference for me.

Gracie

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #240 on: September 06, 2015, 08:06:53 AM »
Good for you!  You have the right mindset.  I hope you have read my post about This, is what it is.  I post these so that men, who feel their wife is not understanding enough, or is emotional can stand in her shoes even just briefly.  This is such a hard walk as a partner.  We were not in your brain we did not know and do not know what the thought process is.  And as a testament to how we feel we cannot talk about it, look at how many women post.  It is brief and then they are gone.  I love reading the journals of men like you and others that get that your wife is along for this recovery.  Keep up that focus as well.

It is also good to read the progress of the men here.  I only wish more people knew of the harm.  Congratulations on your hard work!

Chile

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #241 on: September 06, 2015, 11:40:02 AM »
Very helpful posts Unchained and Gracie. Thank you.

unchained

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #242 on: September 06, 2015, 11:55:30 AM »
Thanks Gracie.  My wife and I have a really good relationship.  She is truly my best friend.  As a matter of fact we were friends since childhood and really didn't even date until we were in our mid-late 20's.  Our love really did grow out of friendship and that has been a real blessing.

My wife is very loving, virtuous and strong in her Christian faith.  Unlike me, she completely takes to heart what she feels God would want her to do in every situation...not in a preachy way, but just how she goes about making choices in her life.  When pied started to creep into our sexlife (before I had any clue that porn could even cause ed) I became extremely frustrated the times that my erection wouldn't work.  I would all but have an anxiety attack.  At that time we never discussed my porn use, but she wasn't fooled.  Although never caught, she knew better than to think I was needing to sit on the toilet an hour and a half at a time with my laptop in tow.  So, anyway I was laying in bed with her with my chest pounding almost freaking out because I wanted sex but couldn't get an erection.  She said "we can try later".  I started complaining about not getting another chance & that she was going to start her period in a day or two which took next weekend off the table, too, etc, etc, etc.  So, she said "well, maybe God is sending you a sign.  Maybe you shouldn't look at so much porn.  You know God says to think is the same as to do so how do you think it makes me feel that you are imagining having sex with all those other women.  It's that same as doing it in God's eyes".  She was 100% correct.  In those few sentences she communicated a lot.  Although she didn't know it at the time (whether you believe in God or not) it was the porn that was causing my erection problems.  She had pointed out that I was not living the way I know was right.  I justified to myself that looking at pics was not the same as cheating, but in a way it was.  On a spiritual level I was committing adultery by lusting after other women.  She also let me know how my actions made her feel.  She felt undesirable because I preferred images on a screen over her.  She did not continue to beat me up, but it was that conversation that caused me to search for porn as a cause for erectile disfunction.  It's funny how things work out.

unchained

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #243 on: September 08, 2015, 08:36:47 AM »
Sex on a computer screen = shit on a popsicle stick.  I refuse to consume either one

Keep going and stay strong guys. It truly does get easier...and better!

unchained

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #244 on: September 10, 2015, 09:46:04 AM »
Bad and good

Bad.  Last night I did something really stupid.  I was checking my email on my phone and clicked on an email that I knew was from a pornsite.  On my computer, I have tons of filters in place that send such things straight to the trash...I don't even see them.  However, when I use my cell phone to remotely log onto my email server, it sees all emails that haven't been accessed yet.  So, I knew what it was and I clicked anyway.  There were pictures of their 10 most popular models...kind of Playboy type photos...nothing too graphic but my heart about exploded in my chest.  So then to make matters worse, at the time I was sitting on my couch watching TV and decided to click onto Cinemax.  I saw one topless sex scene, shut it off & went to bed.  I know better than to allow myself to do such things.

It's amazing to me the reaction I could feel from such a small dose of images.  I could feel the blood rushing through my veins and an adrenaline like high that was driving me toward wanting to use again.  In the past I would have been a goner.  Or if I managed to to not PMO, I would still be an anxious mess today at the very least.  I'm actually quite calm & focused, but irritated that I would knowingly allow myself to be tempted.  That was just dumb.  I've done too much hard work, I have invested too much time and energy into this process, I feel too good without porn in my life, I've made too much progress to go and do something as stupid and playing with the all-too-dangerous death, fire & destruction that porn truly is.

On a side note, I had been drinking and it probably affected my judgment, but that is not an excuse.  It is merely a recognition of the situation that I put myself in.  Since I do enjoy a few beers, I need to be very aware of my thoughts even if I've had a few...maybe even more so.

Good.  This morning I felt pretty good and followed my routine of cold shower, etc.  I've almost memorized every one of Gary's radio shows (in fact, sometimes I can quote several minutes word-for-word as he speaks...kind of like singing along to a favorite song).  But, because I know the material so well, my mind sometimes wanders as I drive.  So this morning I decided to start listening to the Pronfree Radio podcasts I downloaded from iTunes (free by the way).  They are by Matt Dobschuetz and I listened to show #30.  If anyone out there is struggling to create a simple "system" to develop for themselves to help stay clean, I highly recommend listening to this specific episode.  I found it encouraging that some of what he speaks about is exactly what I am already doing.  He also had some simple and good suggestions for a few things that I can add to my routine.

I've been doing the same routine for a few months now and am not quite saying it is starting to feel stale, but I am excited to add a few things to may help me progress.  One of the suggestions that I intend to do is The Five Minute Journal.  Check it out at fiveminutejournal.com.  It looks like a pretty easy tool to add to recovery.

In a nutshell...I'm still hanging tough, still make some stupid decisions, am grateful that I had the strength to walk away and feel empowered that I am still taking proactive steps in my own recovery.  I know that time away from porn alone will never lead to complete recovery.  I have to actively work toward ridding myself of this awful addiction.

L.T.D.

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #245 on: September 10, 2015, 10:37:29 AM »
The force is strong with this one!!

Chile

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #246 on: September 10, 2015, 03:13:13 PM »
Praying for you Unchained.

unchained

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #247 on: September 10, 2015, 04:13:28 PM »
Praying for you Unchained.

Thanks Chile.  I appreciate all of the prayers I can get.

People talk about this as a non-linear process and I agree.  I still have good days, bad days, calm days, days with mild-to-moderate anxiety.  I have days when I question myself and my ability to stay quit, days that I am happy, feel like a normal person and none of this stuff even crosses my mind.  As a whole it gets easier, but working through this process is a long term commitment...without a doubt.

unchained

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #248 on: September 15, 2015, 11:19:27 AM »
I'm still tweaking my system.

I mentioned I was considering the Five Minute Journal in a previous post and ordered the book but it isn't here yet.  Since ordering the book, I have been included on their email list and have enjoyed reading the emails they have sent so far.

In the mean time I have updated my spreadsheet a bit.  I've found that charting my progress on a spreadsheet is just as helpful as journaling.  So, now my spreadsheet tracks all of the following:

Month, date, day of week
Days since committing to PMO recovery
Days since PMO reset
Days since MO reset
Record whether I PMO or MO on any given day
Total PMO's since beginning
PMO as a % since beginning (such as 10% if 1 PMO in 10 days or 4 in 40 days)
PMO 1 in ? Days (such as 7 if the average PMO is 1 in 7 days)
90 Day PMO Average as a %
30 Day PMO Average as a %
14 Day PMO Average as a %
Total MO's since beginning
MO as a % since beginning (such as 10% if 1 MO in 10 days or 4 in 40 days)
MO 1 in ? Days (such as 7 if the average MO is 1 in 7 days)
90 Day MO Average as a %
30 Day MO Average as a %
14 Day MO Average as a %
Cold Shower (Y or N)
Meditate (Y or N)
Daily Journal (Y or N)
Post in my own or comment on another RebootNation journal (Y or N)
20 minute walk after lunch (Y or N)
Run (Record Total Distance)
Push-Ups (Total number during day)
Body weight
Notes on mood, day, etc. (I try to note how I feel and what good things happen during the day, any stresses and also things I've noticed about myself I would like to work on)

If anyone has any other suggestions...let me know.  I really like the way this approach feels.  At this point in recovery, it feels more like the key is less about fighting & resisting urges and more about proactively attacking my day...doing the things that I know make a difference in how I feel mentally, physically, & spiritually (speaking of which I think I'll add a daily devotional to my spreadsheet).  The more I consistently I do these things, the less I have to contend with intrusive thoughts.

Free73

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Re: 41 year old, addict since 13. Finally unchained from slavery to porn
« Reply #249 on: September 15, 2015, 09:26:32 PM »
Unchained,

I am in the very early stages of my reboot, but even early on, I am starting to visualise what I want from my future relationship. I am currently single after sabotaging another relationship with inconsistent affection and the typical come here/go away behaviour that has characterised all of my relationships. I know that PMO has contributed greatly to my behaviours and sabotaging patterns.......I live in fantasy rather than the present which is a death knell for any relationship. Fantasy is a way of avoiding responsibility, of avoiding pain, avoiding uncomfortable thoughts. I am slowly replacing the fantasy of PMO with visualising what I want in my future relationship........I am visualising being truly intimate with a partner and allowing that partner to see the real me (Intimacy = IN TO MEE SEE), to experience real love and genuine non-sexual affection. When I visualise these things, I get quite emotional because I have never experienced this in a relationship and the PMO causes me to retreat back into myself and fantasy even further. You are doing great with all your strategies and managing your daily life to avoid the PMO, but make sure that you are visualising the type of relationship you want with your wife, free of PMO. Visualisation is a powerful tool. I think it takes a while for new behaviours to become habit, but visualisation will help you get there quicker and it requires less energy than consciously trying to avoid old habits.