Author Topic: 5 YEARS PORN-FREE!  (Read 167236 times)

Patrick

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Re: AN UPDATE AT 435 DAYS
« Reply #575 on: January 07, 2016, 03:22:24 AM »
Hey lyon03, amazing post. I recently saw the new Rocky movie "Creed," and there's this corny line "One step at a time, one punch at a time." But isn't it so true? What you've found out may be a bummer, and didn't you react wisely? Your innate wisdom has shown you a way to tackle this problem, and wisdom sometimes gives you very hands-on advice that seems far-fetched, uncomfortable, and non-miraculous. On the other hand it's a miracle that there are people who can help you with this, and even medication to go along with it. Maybe you know this guy from Tedx who was born without arms and legs, Nick Vujicic. He wanted to commit suicide when he was 10 by throwing himself into a shallow ditch to drown himself. Today, he's a much sought-after inspirational speaker, has fathered a child and is married. I'm sure he couldn't have gone very far by wishing that things would be so much better if only...he had arms and legs! Just as now-man wrote we must live in the present, and if we can't because we think too much, acknowledge it and come back to what our present-moment wisdom tells us. In your case, it was admitting that taking medication could be a smart move. Well done, my friend! We're all in this game called life together, and everybody who lives and breathes goes through ups and downs, discovering along the way that we're all the same. Our battles are won in our heads and our hearts. Nothing in the outside world can throw me off-balance, only how I think about it. (I'm not saying that it's easy to live with your condition. This post is written with respect and love in mind.) Thanks for sharing, brother. I appreciate your honesty.


avesraggiana

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Re: AN UPDATE AT 435 DAYS
« Reply #576 on: January 11, 2016, 01:42:55 AM »
Thank you for sharing Lyon03.  I hope many more guys read your most recent post and offer you the same support and encouragement that you have so freely given to so many other over the last few years.

It’ll be a tremendous loss to all of us when your ADD condition is reduced to a manageable level.  It’ll probably mean that you’ll not be on websites like this as often as you used to.  Which is of course a wonderful sign of recovery for you.  Already I’ve noticed that in the last few weeks since my return to Reboot Nation, your posts are not turning up with anywhere near as much frequency as they did when I first joined well over a year ago.  And that’s a GREAT thing!  Even before being diagnosed with Adult-ADD it seems as though you were already managing your impulses and your time. 

I often wonder, why is it that guys like us are stuck with all this work?  All this heavy lifting?  Why do we have to be the ones always “Working on ourselves”, and “Processing our baggage” and, “Dealing with our shit”,  and engaging in countless hours of self-reflection, otherwise known as navel gazing?  Why can’t we just be like all the millions of guys around the world, who wake up every morning, completely oblivious to all these conditions, or that they have a condition of any kind, and just go to work, hit the pub after work, go home, have dinner, screw the wife or girlfriend or boyfriend, and then go to sleep?

The answer of course is, if we don’t do it, who will?

Thank you for letting me rant on your page, and I hope that you’ll very soon no longer feel the need for medication to help you manage your Adult-ADD.




notgivinup

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Re: AN UPDATE AT 435 DAYS
« Reply #577 on: January 11, 2016, 01:21:40 PM »
Hey Lyon...thanks for all you have shared about your discoveries with ADD. I really appreciate your honesty. It is a process on many levels.

Thank you.

lyon03

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IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
« Reply #578 on: January 28, 2016, 08:02:20 AM »
Today I turn 44. Unlike most of my family and friends, I'm thrilled to be getting older. My teens, 20s, and 30s, were a miserable cocktail of porn/masturbation addiction and hiding my homosexuality. Now out of the closet and 450+ days porn-free, I feel alive for the first time in I don't know how long. This is a short post my friends as I have to get back to work. I'd like to thank the many members who have supported me over the past 14 months. This forum and its many kind, caring, and accepting rebooters helped me re-learn the value of community, honesty and accountability. Time and time again you've given me the best birthday presents ever - your love and support. My reboot started with the goal of having stronger boners and porn-like orgasms. How superficial those goals seem today. Over the past year I've learned that beating porn addiction is so much more. As many of you have shared, it's really a life reboot. For the first time in almost 40 years, I feel alive again. I am both thrilled and humbled by this experience. So thank you, thank you, thank you! PORN IS NOT AN OPTION. AND IT'S NO LONGER PART OF MY LIFE.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 08:09:19 AM by lyon03 »

Leon

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Re: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
« Reply #579 on: January 28, 2016, 09:32:35 AM »
Happy birthday, Lyon! It's great to see you looking forward to life on the other side of addiction.

You are an example that this can, and ought to be done- we're all worth it.

Blessings.

Patrick

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Re: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
« Reply #580 on: January 28, 2016, 11:31:32 AM »
Happy Birthday, Lyon!! It's always wonderful to read your posts and I feel blessed that you are a part of the Nation. Many happy days to you and those close to you.


now-man

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Re: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
« Reply #581 on: January 28, 2016, 01:24:44 PM »
So grateful for you Lyon! Thank you for your enthusiasm, honesty, vulnerability, courage, generosity, humor and intelligence! You are an amazing man and I love having you be a part of my life. Thank you for all the love and support you give others. Happy Birthday Brother!!

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Re: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
« Reply #582 on: January 28, 2016, 04:17:26 PM »
Happy birthday Lyon! You are greatly loved. Thank you for everything you have shared here, for putting such clear words to the struggle and the prize.

avesraggiana

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Re: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
« Reply #583 on: January 28, 2016, 05:30:19 PM »
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LYON03!!!!

May you always be healthy, happy and loved.



lyon03

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Re: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
« Reply #584 on: January 30, 2016, 04:06:12 AM »
Thank you so much my friends. What do I want for my birthday? I want all of you to keep sharing and encouraging others. Community, honesty and accountability are formidable tools helping us beat our porn addictions. It wasn't until I started sharing about my addiction and encouraging others that I truly understood how porn had no place in my life. So let's get another day porn-free friends. Be well. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION. 

lyon03

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UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #585 on: February 08, 2016, 09:07:34 AM »
Good morning nation. I'm happy to see the boards come alive again. While it's always painful to read about so many people suffering from dopamine addiction, I'm thrilled to follow so many journeys of learning and healing. I woke up this morning having realized something about my own journey that I wanted to share. So here is a brief update. The first thing I want to share is that I'm not addicted to porn, masturbation, nor orgasm (PMO). My real addiction is to the neurochemical dopamine. And I got my dopamine through screen stimulation or in my case porn. [If you don't know what I'm writing about, please get a copy of "Your Brain on Porn" by Gary Wilson.] PMO was nothing but the syringe (or conduit), dopamine was my heroin. I'll explain why this is important later. My second realization is that I'm an addict. Period. After a deep conversation with my mother last week, I learned that I'm from a long line of alcoholics and manic depressives on my mother's side. So a combination of genes, brain chemistry, and my past history resulted in my addiction to dopamine. But I could have just as easily become addicted to drugs or alcohol. In brief, I used addiction and addictive habits to try to fix something in myself. An alcoholic needs a daily drink to feel 'normal' and I needed ever increasing amounts of dopamine to feel normal. The third thing I've learned about myself is that I have a lifelong and chronic condition. My propensity for addiction and addictive habits are like diabetes or obesity. And like diabetes or obesity, every day I have to be vigilant to avoid falling off the wagon.

I know what you're probably thinking: "Ok Oprah, so what the f*ck does this mean for me?" Let me explain by recapping my points again:

1. I am addicted to the neurochemical dopamine. PMO was simply how I got my daily dopamine fix.
2. I am an addict. Addiction is in my genes, my family, and my brain.
3. My addictive tendencies are like lifelong and chronic problems (like diabetes or obesity) and it takes daily effort for me to control them. 

What this means for the new rebooter or someone who continues to relapse is as follows.

First, you need to start by defining how you get your dopamine hit. We have to accept that dopamine is the culprit and now it has to be eliminated. The welcome section on this website explains it beautifully: "Reboot is a complete rest from artificial sexual stimulation." I'd expand that to read "artificial dopamine stimulation." I wish I had started my reboot with the following exercise: "Reboot/recovery for me means __________________. I get my dopamine high from the following: _______________________ and will now stop these habits forever starting today." I've read too many threads where the rebooter gives up porn, but still masturbates compulsively (dopamine hit). Another long-term member gave up pornography but still edges "but not to orgasm" (dopamine hit). Yes you can give up porn but you're still getting a dopamine hit if you're gaming for hours every day (dopamine hit). You're getting your dopamine when scrolling through hook up applications on your phone. I myself gave up porn but could still look at dirty Tumblr photos or fleshy Facebook pics (dopamine hit). See a pattern? Once I understood that all of these gave me a dopamine hit, I could then stop. And unless you stop the artificial dopamine stimulation, your d*ck isn't going to get hard naturally (i.e. with another human being) again. As I've often written, the alcoholic doesn't beat the addiction by switching to lite beer. That's still addiction.

This second step is highly personal and may not apply to everyone. My second (and hardest step) was to accept I was born an addict, forgive myself, and get on with my life. There is a term in Alcoholics Anonymous that describes me perfectly: 'dry drunk.' While I had stopped my active addiction, I was still thinking and acting like a dopamine addict. And addicts like me think they're worthless. Overcoming the guilt, shame, and burning self-hatred that resulted in my addiction was the hardest part of my reboot. And while it's getting easier, the struggle continues today. So what does this mean for you? Your reboot will likely have two parts: overcoming the addiction (for me 90-120 days) and then a much more challenging phase where you have to reboot your brain to stop thinking like an addict. A book called "Breaking the Cycle" by George Collins really helped me stop thinking like an addict. There are many other helpful books but "Breaking the Cycle" in particular helped me think of my addiction as a separate part of myself rather than hard-wired.

The third step is where I am today. I've accepted that my dopamine addiction is lifelong: akin to chronic obesity. Some people are just genetically predisposed to be heavy and I'm predisposed to addiction. I wrongly thought that my own addiction could be 'cured' but given my family history, this isn't possible. F*CK! So like someone battling obesity who changes his/her lifestyle, I too need to do things every day to keep from relapsing. I have to accept that my brain, my way of thinking, my self-image, and my habits all resulted in my (dopamine) addiction. So I'm working hard every day to be a different person and act differently. "First thought wrong" is a great tool that I learned from "Breaking the Cycle" by George Collins. I'm not going to lie, it's a lot of f*cking work. Long-term recovery is hardest because a relapse starts so innocently. It starts with the wrong choice. Like the heavy person who sneaks a Twinkie, I need only watch the wrong video on YouTube or just 'have a quick fap' to get the dopamine firing in my brain again. And unless I accept the mistake and correct myself, difficult for someone who hid a shameful habit and felt like sh*t for over 20 years, I know I'll relapse. In my own experience, long-term recovery was only possible following divorce, changing my lifestyle, cutting out toxic people from my life, and healthy living.

So this is where I am today my friends. While my journey may differ from yours, we're all just trying to overcome addiction to better our lives.  I hope my post helps someone out there in cyberspace. Hit me up via a reply post or private message if you have any questions. I'm no expert and many have more days PMO-free than me, but I'm always happy to share my reboot experience. Be well my friends. PORN/DOPAMINE ARE NOT OPTIONS.     
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 01:33:51 AM by lyon03 »

Phase2

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Re: UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #586 on: February 08, 2016, 09:58:50 AM »
That's a great post Lyon. Thanks for staying involved. I've been at this for 14 months and that was the first time I've thought of this process in a new way, from a different angle. It may prove very helpful as I've been good at ending porn use and masturbation, but maybe not so aware or successful of taking the next steps to ending PIED.

Ultimately it's all about ending PIED for good. Does this mean going to the gym is a bad dopamine fix? Not sure what steps to take next, but will look for Breaking the Cycle on amazon. I need to think about this post. Cheers.



now-man

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Re: UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #587 on: February 08, 2016, 03:32:11 PM »
Fantastic post Lyon, as always. Thank you for the depth of your work. It's clear what a difference you've made in your own life, we can never know how much of a difference you've made for so many of the rest of us.

You said: I wish I had started my reboot with the following exercise: "Reboot/recovery for me means __________________." I'm curious how you would have filled in that blank. I imagine it might have been a different statement at the start of your reboot than it would be later. You've asked me to consider that question, and I think it's evolving. Still I find it hard to pin down.

Congratulations on all the hard work, and living your real life. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging me.

lyon03

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Re: UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #588 on: February 08, 2016, 04:06:35 PM »
Thanks boys for your posts. Now-Man you've asked an excellent question...and a tough question to answer. Here is how I would have answered these questions in early reboot and now today:

==============================================================================

Day 1 of my reboot (Oct29-14): Reboot/recovery for me means regaining full d*ck function, having great sex, and powerful orgasms. I get my dopamine high from the following: online porn. And I will now stop this habit forever starting today.

After 467 days of reboot (Feb08-16): Reboot/recovery for me means loving myself unconditionally, being my true self, and surrounding myself with kind, caring, and loving people. I can only accomplish these things and attain my life goals while addiction-free. I get my dopamine high from the following:

1. Any artificial screen stimulation, mainly porn, but also from darting around YouTube, and Facebook.
2. Meaningless 'hook up' sex with strangers.
3. Edging/masturbation.
4. Fleshy television
5. Creating chaotic 'life or death' situations in my life.
6. Conflict & confrontation.

And I will now stop these habits forever.

===============================================================================

Wow thanks for asking that Now-Man because I hadn't really thought to properly define my own reboot/recovery. I've learned something today my friend. Thanks to both of you for your love and support.

harry

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Re: UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #589 on: February 08, 2016, 10:02:54 PM »
Thanks for the excellent post, lyon. You've convinced me that some of the things I perceive as being basically harmless, are still giving me little hits of dopamine. If I add them up over the course of the day, it amounts to something that is ultimately slowing my recovery.

I really appreciate the before and after picture that now-man prompted you to write. A great perspective on your journey, and it is helpful to me as I struggle to find my way.


lyon03

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Re: UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #590 on: February 09, 2016, 01:11:22 AM »
Thanks for your kind post Harry. A rebooter recently asked me this question via private message:

Q: I'm just curious what you recommend about masturbation? Like I'm going hard mode for 60 days, do you think I should keep my hands off after that too or what?

A: That depends on how you define your reboot/recovery my friend. Do you want to spend the rest of your life having sex with your hand or with a meaningful partner? I was addicted to both porn and masturbation, and both were giving me my daily dopamine hits. Over the last year I've stopped both porn and, more recently, masturbation. Let's be clear that our addiction is to dopamine and we get our dopamine fix through repeating pleasurable experiences. But what exactly is dopamine? Gary Wilson writes in "Your Brain on Porn":

"Primitive circuits in the brain govern emotions, drives, impulses, and subconscious decision making. They do their jobs so efficiently that evolution hasn't seen the need to change them much since before humans were human. The desire and motivation to pursue sex arises from a neurochemical called dopamine. Dopamine amps up the centrepiece of a primitive part of the brain known as the reward circuitry. It's where you experience cravings and pleasure. This ancient reward circuitry compels you to do the things that further your survival and pass on your genes. At the top of our human reward list are food, sex, love, friendship, and novelty. The bigger the [dopamine] squirt the more you want something."

So let's be clear that we're still getting a dopamine fix from masturbation, even without porn. Now I have to come clean and admit that I probably masturbate about once every 5-6 weeks and it usually happens after I've had sex with my boyfriend. This is often defined as the 'chaser effect.' To me 'chaser' means that I feel highly sexual after orgasm with a partner and feel the need to masturbate. But even that need is diminishing and I'll likely stop in the next few months which probably signals my reboot nearly complete.

But getting back to your question:  "What do you recommend about masturbation?"

I believe your reboot has to begin with a goal (or goals) in mind. If you want to meet the love of your life and have great sex or perhaps reconnect with a long-term partner, masturbation does nothing to help you achieve these goals. So I believe every reboot must start with the hard 90 (or in my case it was a hard 120). That means no porn and no masturbation for at least three months. Your brain will then start to rebalance without the masturbation-induced dopamine squirt. I also believe that compulsive masturbation lowered my impulse control, it isolated me, and it diminished my natural drive for sex with a real partner. I've often shared that no one ever died because he/she didn't masturbate. But let's look at the benefits of no-fap. In my case, when I stopped daily masturbation I had much stronger erections and my sex drive went through the roof. I exercise a lot and also found that my muscle mass increased, perhaps because I had more testosterone although I'm not 100% sure of that. Another benefit of no-fap was that I found myself naturally more attractive to other people. I'm gay but I found that I was engaging more with both men and women as I just came across as more masculine/attractive. Now 450+ days into reboot, compared to real intimacy with all of the eye contact, smiles, kissing etc., I find masturbation mechanical, boring, and ultimately unsatisfying. I hope that answered your question brother. If not, please feel free to message me again.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 01:31:42 AM by lyon03 »

Leon

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Re: UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #591 on: February 09, 2016, 09:16:56 AM »
You've convinced me that some of the things I perceive as being basically harmless, are still giving me little hits of dopamine. 

Just wished to comment on this particular statement. Nothing intended as a commentary on Lyon's detailed posts.

But, dopamine is a normal chemical in our brain that acts as a neurotransmitter, which is produced as part of our natural reward system. Seeing a sunset releases dopamine, seeing our loved one smile at us releases dopamine, enjoying an excellent meal does the same.

The issue being zero'd in on here at RN is the flooding of our reward system with too much dopamine and damaging our dopamine receptors, which occurs through addiction- particularly porn/masturbation addiction.

Just a little clarification, so dopamine itself isn't portrayed as the 'bad guy'.

Carry on...  :)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 09:43:39 AM by Leon »

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Re: UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #592 on: February 17, 2016, 01:39:59 AM »
Fantastic posts Lyon. Thank you for taking to lay it out with such clarity. You have been a tower of stength in my recovery and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you. Best. FF

lyon03

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Re: UPDATE AT 467 DAYS
« Reply #593 on: February 17, 2016, 06:07:13 PM »
Thanks so much FF. I'm humbled and perhaps a little scared (if I'm being honest) that I've helped/inspired others. For too long I thought I was a lost cause because of this addiction. Be well brother. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION. 

lyon03

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Re: UPDATE AT 483 DAYS
« Reply #594 on: February 24, 2016, 03:50:51 AM »
Good morning nation. I just read a post on Harry's thread that motivated me to share something myself. If you're struggling with reboot and relapse, this may help you. It probably took me about 6 months to fully understand that I was undertaking a lifestyle reboot rather than simply abstaining or not watching porn. Fellow rebooters Harry and now_man made some excellent points and have figured out an integral part of long term reboot much earlier than I did - so bravo! I wanted to share two video links that provide a similar message. Both are g-rated so no trigger alerts:

https://youtu.be/ao8L-0nSYzg (short version)
https://youtu.be/PY9DcIMGxMs (longer version TED talk)

Here is the theory: "The opposite of addiction isn't sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection." The ideas expressed in these two videos are similar to what they'd shared in their links (http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com/index.php?topic=15558.0). The link is to an excellent post by The Underdog on 'Your Brain Rebalanced.' The message is I believe the same as what's shared in the above Youtube links. Like rats in caged drug experiments, writer and TED-talk speaker Johann Hari believes that our problems aren't all because of drugs, or in my case porn/screen/sex addiction, my problems were because of my cage.   

Let me restate that in a more practical way: we are addicts because our lives aren't fulfilling us. So we find things to compensate for a lack of happiness and fulfillment. If as Harry shared we concentrate TODAY on setting goals, diligently working towards them, and building meaningful relationships, we will no longer need our drug(s) of choice. This seems to be my experience as well.

My cage was more of a closet. I hid my homosexuality from myself and others and initially used porn as my only gay sexual outlet. I now know that long-term recovery wouldn't be possible unless I fundamentally changed my life. I spent the better part of 20 years building myself a cage that trapped me in my addictions. And freedom from the cage of porn and sex addictions was only possible if I broke free. This meant changing my life. This meant doing the hard work of confronting my demons, coming out, divorcing, and building new (positive) connections with people who were like me or who at least represented who I wanted to be. While there are still challenges and I often feel the urge to go back to my old ways (or my old cage), that life of guilt, shame, lies, and addiction offers me very little these days. In brief, I'm no longer that unhappy rat so I no longer pine for my sad/unhappy cage. I'm now more of a rainbow-farting unicorn!

Thanks for sharing all of this gents. I learn something every day from Reboot Nation so please keep sharing and encouraging others everyone. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 12:28:33 PM by lyon03 »

lyon03

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UPDATE AT 495 DAYS
« Reply #595 on: March 07, 2016, 05:48:21 AM »
Good morning gents. I'm writing with an update at day 495. Quite honestly, I can't believe I'm closing in on 500 days. (When I first started posting here, I was in Elvis-like awe of anyone who had more than 100 days.) For those of you who are struggling, keep going my friends. I tried and failed for over 20 years before quitting porn (for good I hope) on October 29, 2014. Before my current reboot, I couldn't go three minutes without a screen fix. I know because I timed it.

Yesterday I had a run in with my ex-wife and I've decided to write about it. I'm sharing this because I'm learning that addiction is more than just porn, alcohol, drugs, gambling etc. It's more than just the drug or bad habit. As an addict, I built an entire existence around my addiction and addictive personality. We also have relationships that either feed or enable our addictions. I think this is why Alcoholics Anonymous speaks about alcoholism being a 'family sickness' and not just about the alcoholic. As a closeted gay man, I have accepted that I carefully chose a partner who would keep my secret. Back before Christmas I shared the following:

"One major thing I've done is cut off all unnecessary contact with my ex-wife. While we remain polite and often have friendly discussions about co-parenting our three kids, I've released the ex back into the wild. Now that lovely little tigress can sink her deadly claws into another male victim. Bitter? No. But I am now fully aware that most relationships I had while a porn addict fed my porn addiction. Make no mistake: I was no prize my friends and I made some terrible mistakes like lying and cheating. But being around my ex-wife and her entire f*cked up family brought me nothing but misery. So I've run out of that burning house my friends. Q: Were they kind enough to invite me for Xmas dinner? A: Yes. Q2: Would I consider spending Xmas with the former in-laws? A2: Ummmmm....f*ck no! I'm spending Xmas Eve (tomorrow) with my boyfriend; Xmas morning with my ex-wife and the kids; and then I'm hauling ass to the Alps (I live in Europe) to have Xmas dinner with friends and a few days of skiing. New Years will be spent with a group of fun friends in a nearby castle. Heaven!"

There is a pattern to my reboot. I realized on my first day of reboot (Oct29-14) that porn was killing me and decided to stop. But it took several weeks to feel withdrawal, even longer to relearn a degree of control over my emotions, and it's taken me over a year to weed out toxic relationships that fed my addiction. This applies to my former wife. While I wrote the above just over two months ago, it's only starting to work now.

Ours was a very volatile and complicated marriage. I was the closeted narcissistic husband, pretending to be straight (and failing rather miserably at it). She was the co-dependent victim trying to save my soul with love and prayer. I lived for myself, and she lived for me. It was a match made in hell and not an uncommon union when one spouse is an addict. I now know that freedom from porn would have been impossible without addressing the true cause of my addiction: denying my homosexuality. I used porn as my only gay sexual outlet but when porn wasn't enough I started to have sex with men...lots of men really. My point is this: once I came out, lived openly, and found happiness, my need for porn simply died off. And my need for toxic relationships also died off.

I soon separated, divorced, and met my current boyfriend. I no longer needed a wife as 'cover' but on a more fundamental level I no longer needed relationships based on lies or a false self. My ex-wife claims to still love me. That puzzles me because she always knew I was gay and that's not love. I think she was more in love with the idea of healing someone. That was until I grew rainbow wings and flew the f*ck away. But my departure left my ex-wife with a dilemma. She needed a husband to save and I was no longer there. Not unlike the former porn addict who uses porn-subs or who edges, having friendly contact with her was just enough to maintain our former narcissist/co-dependent relationship. But the telltale signs of a toxic relationship where there. Every interaction I had with her left my head spinning. She constantly made me feel guilty and ashamed. She also displayed the worst kind of homosexual bigotry: manipulative caring. I remember robotically agreeing with her when she kindly cautioned me about introducing my kids to any gay friends: "You know because of the risk." I was mouthing the words "sure" when I stopped myself and said: "Wait! Did you just say that all gay men are pedophiles?" She backed off but I can see that over the past year, she rather effortlessly got to me to agree to not have visitation with my kids, "Just while you're working things out..." and every time I tried to assert myself there were little tweaks and changes to suit her. While I figured out our whole relationship was toxic last December, it's taken me the better part of two months to take action.

I've now gotten fixed visitation with the kids. I cut off all (unnecessary) contact with her. We now have short businesslike conversations which remain both friendly and polite. I'm not doing this to be cruel nor manipulative. I'm doing to this to live happily and porn-free. But even in the these short 15-minute child exchanges, she gets in a few zingers that f*ck with my head. She's actually quite the magician and I've stopped seeing her as a poor divorced victim and I've started seeing her as quite the skilled manipulator. Yesterday while dropping off the kids I was prepared. She threw everything at me: guilt, shame, money problems (false because she's well taken care of), even veiled homophobia. And when those didn't work, things quickly started escalating. I'd just left when minutes later she started calling, then texts, and last night two essay-length emails about how I'm failing as a father. My gay friends who have divorced ex-wives warned me this was coming but I denied it.

Why am I sharing this and how does this help the rebooter? First, I'm sharing this to get my emotions out there. My only emotional coping mechanism was porn but now I have an entire community of loving and honest people who help me process things. So if you're feeling it, accept that while in early reboot you probably can't properly process the emotions so share it here, or share it with non-judgmental friends or a professional. As a porn addict, I cannot process negative emotions and reboot gave me a new and more honest way to address them. Second, reboot isn't possible unless you deal with its root cause. In my case, freedom from addiction would be impossible unless I accepted my homosexuality and, more importantly, accepted the hard choices (like divorce) necessary to be my authentic self. To deny the true cause of our addiction means relapse. Third, I had to accept that certain relationships fed my addiction...either directly or indirectly. I also had to accept that my porn-goggle way of seeing people was often wrong. I now see people for who they are...warts and all.

I've often shared that my addiction is an iceberg. Just the porn & sex addictions were visible. The remaining 9/10ths of the problem: the emotions, relationships, and painful memories were below the surface. I do hope to one day have a friendly relationship with my ex-wife. But I have to accept that for now, we haven't healed enough to allow me to continue pretending. Thanks for reading my rambles friends. Be well, keep supporting each other, and keep fighting porn addiction. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 05:59:03 AM by lyon03 »

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Re: UPDATE AT 495 DAYS
« Reply #596 on: March 07, 2016, 05:20:04 PM »
Always great to hear from you Lyon! Ending toxic relationships is crucial. I unfriended a "friend" on Facebook recently and it has made my life noticeably lighter. I can't believe it took me years to start learning what toxic relationships were and why it was necessary to cut them out of my life completely.

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Re: 500 F*CKING DAYS!!
« Reply #597 on: March 11, 2016, 06:15:02 PM »
Thanks Chile. Always great hearing from you. It's now midnight in Europe and this marks 500 days since my last PMO. (The exact last day I watched porn was October 29, 2014.) I am humbled. Mine was a 20-year porn habit that almost killed me. In fact, it would have absolutely killed me had I not joined a 12-step program for porn addiction (www.pornaddictsanonymous.org) and then Rebootnation. Here is my first post on November 21, 2014:

"Here is my story: 42 years old, first discovered porn/masturbation around age 12, went from magazines, to video, paid streaming porn, then free and highly addictive porn sites. What was a flirtation became a full-on obsession in 1994 and heroin-like addiction in 2005. I'm starting this journal on day 23 of my recovery with a goal of hitting 90 days initially before stopping forever. My addiction has now cost me: my career, my business, my marriage, and was well along to destroying my relationship with my three kids. On October 30th, I finally said "f*ck this". I've not watched porn since and never will do it again. I've started a reboot with no-fap and no television. I've also read pretty much everything I could about my addiction, namely it's harder to give up than meth. (Scary!) But there are temptations, particularly in the form of rock-hard erections at night and geyser-like pressure because I haven't had an orgasm in roughly two weeks. I'll post daily to keep motivated. Glad to have found this site and very happy to share with others."

I'm not sure what exactly I can share that I haven't already shared in my many many posts but here goes. I'm going to write a few things that I wish I'd known back in October 2014.

1. This isn't about your d*ck, it's about your brain:

Like most porn addicts, I wanted to get my mojo back. Decades of porn abuse left me with severe erectile dysfunction. While I started my reboot because I wanted a stiff penis and explosive orgasms, I failed to realize that wanting these things was just an extension of my addiction. I've come to learn that I wasn't healing the flesh, but more mind and soul.

2. Porn isn't the addiction, dopamine is:

Through reading books like "Your Brain on Porn", I learned about my true addiction: dopamine. Learning about my true enemy better equipped me to overcome how I got my dopamine fix through screen stimulation. Understanding the science of my addiction was an integral step. Had I gotten bogged down in the morality of my addiction, I would have relapsed due to a toxic cocktail of guilt and shame.

3. I used addiction to avoid pain:

I believe that anyone who suffers from long-term addiction like I have has deeper problems than just jerking to a computer screen. That seems so obvious now but I didn't grasp that at the start of my reboot. Just like a cough can be symptomatic of lung cancer, my porn addiction was due to deeper problems. I've detailed these issues in this thread but there was no way I could prepare myself for the ordeals that I went through without my drug of choice: dopamine.

4. This isn't a reboot from addiction, it's a life reboot:

I think of my life as a table with a very delicate table setting on top. And the life I'd created had addiction as one of its legs. Without that leg, everything came crashing down. Without porn propping things up, family and career were just two of the shattered things I had to glue back together. I now see that my life wasn't ruined because of addiction, but rather than addiction was the inevitable coping mechanism for my ruined life. Without porn, I had to put myself and my life back together. It was necessary but damn if it wasn't pretty.

5. Get ready. This is a life-long commitment:

When I started this process, I naively thought I'd stop PMO for about 100 days, then SHE-BANG my life would be perfect. WRONG! It took me decades to dig this hole. And at the bottom of that deep hole, I simply installed a computer, chair, and lube for a thrice-daily tug to porn. Once I stopped the porn, guess what? I was still at the bottom of a really f*cking deep hole. It took me a relatively short period of time to overcome the porn addiction, but it's going to take me many years to change the broken thought process, bad habits, toxic relationships, and secondary addictions that resulted in my dopamine addiction. I'm getting there but porn addiction is a bit like a dysfunctional family: yes I can get away but this will always be a part of me. And like a f*cked up family, there will always be some reason to go back and try again. Just this past week I was tested by some family issues and I could feel myself inexorably going down the path to a relapse. Thankfully I've resisted because I've learned a different way of thinking and acting. But a two-decade-long habit doesn't die easily.

The above are all fairly clinical and perhaps a wee bit introspective so let's focus on something more practical. Through some exchanges with another rebooter, I'd urge everyone starting their journey or re-starting after a relapse to begin with the end in mind. That means completing the following sentence threads:

1. "Reboot/recovery for me means..."
2. "The root cause of my addiction is...."
3. "I get a dopamine high from..."
4. "Before relapsing, I start to feel..."
5. "The conditions that lead to relapse are always..."
6. "My safety plan before a relapse will now be..."

And here were my answers:

1. Reboot/recovery for me means loving myself unconditionally, being my true self, and surrounding myself with kind, caring, and loving people. I can only accomplish these things and attain my life goals while addiction-free.

2. The root cause of my addiction is poor self-esteem and a burning self-hatred.

3. I get my dopamine high from the following:

a. Any artificial screen stimulation, mainly porn, but also from darting around YouTube, and Facebook.
b. Meaningless 'hook up' sex with strangers.
c. Edging/masturbation.
d. Fleshy and mindless television
e. Creating chaotic 'life or death' situations in my life.
f. Conflict & confrontation.

4. Before relapsing, I always started to feel: stressed, angry, frustrated, worthless, and ashamed. I rarely felt horny before abusing porn.

5. The conditions when I relapsed were almost always when I was alone and online, particularly in the evenings. My relapses would start with some mindless web searching, then risky still photos, then I'd automatically type in a porn-tube website and click away.

6. My safety plan before I feel triggered or about to relapse is to fully accept when I'm feeling negative emotions like stress, anger, frustration etc. I share these feelings openly and honestly with this forum. Then I call members of my recovery network to work through them.

I want to thank the kind members of RN for supporting me these past 500 days. I couldn't have made it this far without you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. And yes my friends...PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 02:12:11 AM by lyon03 »

now-man

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Re: 500 DAY UPDATE!!
« Reply #598 on: March 11, 2016, 07:08:07 PM »
Amazing Lyon!!

Thank you for your clear summary of an intense process. Thank you for your always kind, heartfelt, honest and respectful support to the men in this forum. Thank you for your joyous enthusiasm. Thank you for being a living example of self examination and self love.

You are a gift to us, and your reward, clearly, is the life you are living, true to yourself. 500 days is a beautiful symbol of that!!

Love to you brother!  :)

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Re: 500 DAY UPDATE!!
« Reply #599 on: March 11, 2016, 09:47:37 PM »
Lyon,
First, let me congratulate you on your wonderful accomplishment. I will be posting a similar message in 480 days. Thank you for sharing all your insightful thoughts with us. I am positive your words have helped many members along your journey.

This road we are on can be dangerous at times, and it is members like you who let others know, see it can be done. Hear is my hand, I will help and guide you, I will share what I am learning along the way. My thanks to you and all the members here who are willing to reach out to all with information, guidance, and encouragement.

We can do this!