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Topics - pornoholic52

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Porn Addiction / Focusing on what I did right for 9 months
« on: November 02, 2016, 11:01:58 AM »
I have recently posted on this forum that I relapsed after nine months of abstinence from PMO. Since relapsing, I have tended to focus on what I had done that led me back to porn. It's really very simple. I  stopped doing some of the essential things that were keeping me well. Rather than focusing on where I went wrong, let me acknowledge one of the things that helped me reach nine months:

- Admitted to myself daily that I was a real porn addict - that I suffer from an illness of body and mind.

Accepting that I have a brain that is especially vulnerable to virtually mediated sexual stimuli, and that any such stimuli could potentially trigger a "flare up" of the reward circuitry associated with that behavior, helped me to mindfully avoid potential triggers, just as I avoid foods that trigger flares of the stomach condition that I have. It's so much easier to avoid triggers and treat my condition on a daily basis than it is to get a flare back under control.

The thing about a "flare" of the reward circuitry in my brain is that it is characterized by craving for more of the rewarding substance or activity, which results in more out-of-control behavior and further craving. The only way I have successfully gotten any such "flare" under control is by abstaining from porn in all of its manifestations (e.g., Internet, videos, pics, sexting, personals, Skype). This may seem paradoxical, at first, because it sounds like I'm saying that 'you've got to abstain from porn in order to abstain from porn.' This is true. But the obvious question is, "how do you abstain in the first place?"

I can only describe the things that seem to help me. Things to pursue: 1) Cold showers (5 min/day); 2) meditation (20 min/day); 3) SLAA/AA meetings (3x/week); 4) helping others with this condition (daily); 5) exercise (3x/week); 6) asking for help from others with more experience. Things to avoid: 1) isolation (working from home alone); 2) excessive T.V. watching (more than 1hr/day); 3) any sexualized media, conversations, etc; 4) trying to overcome this alone. In my experience, sometimes you have to let a "flare" run its course. By that, I mean that you have to set the intention to become abstinent and then patiently wait for the craving to pass.

When I fail to take these actions, I am passively denying the reality of my condition. I am saying, "I'm not really that sick." However, when I take these actions, I am passively and actively affirming the truth of my condition. I am admitting my very real physical limitations, and it is in doing so that I am able to stay well. When I deny my limitations, I get sick again. This is what happened to me most recently. Denial crept in again and now the sickness is upon me, and this is precisely how the mental obsession of this illness works, but I'll save that subject for another post.

I'm really looking for some encouragement. I recently relapsed after 9 months without porn. I was feeling better, feeling free, and life was looking up. I got into a relationship with a nice girl, and that's where the trouble began. I don't blame her. I've just watched so much porn in my life that it's difficult for me to not feel like women want more than what I have to offer when I'm in a relationship. She has never been anything but encouraging, but I let my insecurities serve as justifications to go back to porn--the one place I never feel any performance anxiety or self-consciousness, because I can always hide in isolation. This precipitated the return of craving for the drug, and now I can't stop for more than a couple of days. My temper is shorter. I feel blocked from my spiritual values. I need some help.

Porn Addiction / I find that I WANT to be tempted...
« on: October 26, 2016, 11:59:03 AM »
After 9 months of abstinence from porn, I relapsed. I've been down this road many times before, but I've never put together that much time before. That craving kicks in. Once you start you can't stop. And then there's that mental obsession. I can't seem to stop from starting. How I got in to this mess was by sexting. I justified that behavior on the basis that it wasn't "porn," and that I wasn't fapping. But, in hindsight, I can see that I was getting closer and closer to the line each time I engaged in that behavior. The truth is that there's a part of me that WANTED to be tempted again. To feel that rush again. Now, I'm just trying to put together a few days (one day at a time), but I simply lack the power to do it by any effort of will. I want to want it, but I do not want it, despite the inevitable consequences that I know await me. I'm sure I'm not saying anything that most of you can't relate to, but I still feel like I need to say it because I need some encouragement.


My name's Ben, and I'm a pornoholic.

I was first exposed to porn when I was 11, and I was hooked instantly. By the time I entered 6th grade, PMO became my solution to all of life's problems and the torturous angst of prepubescence. I loved the way it made me feel and the way it took me out of myself. I'm 31 years old now, so Internet pornography wasn't available at the time, but I could easily find it in other forms elsewhere. My friend, for example, shared his dad's stash of Playboys and 80's era VHS porn, and I became obsessed with finding more. Once I discovered my parents' stash, I became progressively more daring in the risks I would take to "pornobate."

This behavior continued intermittently throughout high school, but it was held in abeyance by the fact that I didn't have access to the Internet. As soon as I went away to college, though, and had unlimited access to high speed Internet, I crossed over into a completely different domain. During this time, I also began developing insomnia, as well as having difficulties being turned on by my girlfriend. I tried to stop because I knew it was costing me more than it was giving me, but I couldn't.

Around this time, I heard someone describe themselves as a "sex addict," and he described to me for the first time the disease of addiction. I was so relieved to learn that it wasn't a matter of willpower and that there was something wrong with my brain. A couple of years later, I entered into therapy for my own sex addiction, but the behavior continued. In fact, it kept getting worse. Because I didn't have access to Internet at home, I would pornobate in the library or computer lab at my university. I didn't care how many people were around me, once I got into that particular state of mind. Even though I knew that this was a problem that was certainly not getting any better, I still rationalized my way around persisting in this behavior for years.

Over the next few years, porn cost me several relationships, either because the girls I was dating didn't agree with my use of it, or they couldn't keep up with my incessant demands for more porn-like sex. By age 25, I was beginning to show signs of porn-induced erectile dysfunction, although I had no idea at the time what the cause was. I blamed it on all the alcohol and amphetamines I was consuming. I was taking Adderall to treat my ADD and depression - symptoms I never knew might have had something to do with how much porn I was viewing. I constantly felt miserable about myself, and I developed a pattern of jumping from one girl to another, or trying to juggle multiple relationships all at once. I was terrified of being without sex, and I desperately wanted to be validated by sex, but the truth is that I was finding it increasingly difficult to keep up physically with my own emotional demands. Also, during this time, I was facing career changes, relationship changes, changes in housing, etc., so there was a considerable amount of stress in my life. And, with more stress, came more pornobating. I could easily spend 5-8 hours a day watching porn, and there were months when I would go on amphetamine fueled benders of up to 4 days at a time. I couldn't even get hard to ejaculate, but I couldn't stop.

By age 28, I was prescribed Viagra by a doctor, and then all bets were off. I told myself I would only use it when I needed it, but I always seemed to need it. I loved the way I could keep pornobating during the day, and then have sex at night with different girls without any emotional connection. I thought that as long as my penis could get erect, and I could satisfy a woman, everything else in life was okay. I would always ration my Viagra and I felt afraid if I reached down in my pocket and discovered that I didn't have one, or at least part of one. Of course, over time I needed more of it to achieve the same results.

By this point, I had quit drinking entirely, but the rest of my life remained out of control. I couldn't get a job because I couldn't sit down at my computer and look for work without being overcome with the compulsion to pornobate. I was jobless for a year and a half because of this. My bills remained unpaid also because of this. Suicide was always on my mind. And I despaired to ever think of how much more misery I would have to endure if life went on this way.

I knew that porn was A problem, but I still didn't know that it was THE problem! Much less did I believe that I was POWERLESS over porn. Always, I maintained the belief that I could beat it (no pun intended), or that next time would be different. Somehow, I believed (against all evidence to the contrary) that I was the exception to the rule and somehow I would rise up from my lethargy and be able to fight as I had never fought before. It's worth noting that another word for powerless is impotent, and that is exactly how my soul and my will felt when it came to resisting this subtle foe. I always thought that I could one day use porn like a "normal person." But that day has never come. Some people can apparently use the stuff in moderation. I can't. Once I start, I simply cannot control the amount that I consume, or the type that I view. There is no telling where it will take me or when I'll be finished. And when I do enter into that state of hyper arousal, there's no telling what I'll say and to whom. All of that, of course, only describes the phenomenon of craving, of which we are all very familiar.

If you're a pornoholic like me, though, you know that the problem is really in the mental obsession that precedes the relapse. I've had periods of various lengths of abstinence, but always I am beset by the most insane reason to go back to the stuff. As the adage goes, I can't stop and stay stopped, and I can't seem to stop from starting again.

Today I believe (largely because of the YBOP website) that my body and brain are as sickened as my mind due to porn. I believe that I suffer from an illness that only a spiritual experience can conquer. To that end, I am seeking to apply the 12 steps specifically to porn. As I mentioned before, I had previously considered myself a "sex addict," and I'm not totally convinced that that's not still the case. However, in my own experience with other addictions, I find that it's best to start with something definite and concrete to struggle away from, that is, to apply the First of the Twelve Steps to.

I've tried some of the other 12-Step fellowships related to sex, and it's often very difficult for me to identify with the people there, because there's so much ambiguity when it comes to the "bottom line behaviors," as they're called. I'd like to be around other people like me and share experience, strength, and hope specifically around the issue of porn. I'm interested in building something in the Boston area that relates specifically to porn, or PMO, or pornobating: ("Pornoholics Anonymous"?)

If any guys in or around Boston would be interested in working together toward a common solution, please contact me.

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