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Topics - SebNZ

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Ages 30-39 / Starting a new diary
« on: January 16, 2021, 02:48:52 AM »
Hi guys

I'm back after a bit of hiatus. My old diary has disappeared which is super annoying because it had a lot of good information on it and I'm currently relapsing hard. But I've decided to start writing a diary here again because I think it was quite helpful to my previous stint of 3 months clean. So I will aim to post here once a day like I did before.

Hopefully it does not disappear again...

Anyway in terms of relapsing I'm struggling. I relapsed last night for 5 hours and just edged and edged until I PMO. Not great. Feeling okay today surprisingly but that is the antidepressants doing their job! Very frustrated at this situation overall. Feel locked into a cycle that I can't get out. That last three months it felt like I had finally come up for air, and now I'm deep in the water drowning again.

I'm trying to hold onto hope. I never really understood why in Hollywood movies they say the word 'hope' so much. And "you can always rely on hope", "never give up hope". I didn't really get it. I think I do now. It basically means, in my interpretation anyway, that you don't know what the future holds. Things could happen in the future that allow you to overcome this problem. You have to hang in there to see if that's the case.

Ages 30-39 / Where did my diary go?
« on: December 19, 2020, 10:39:31 AM »
I wrote a message to Gabe but haven't got a response yet. I'm really annoyed... did it just disappear or did someone delete it, and why?

TL:DR: I've struggled with a "bad porn" addiction for 12 years. I had tried many different tactics with no long-term success (no longer than 3 months). I started a 100mg dose of Sertraline in late November and have had no relapses since: 42 days so far. More importantly, my thoughts have 'cleaned up' so I no longer fear a relapse. The change has been so dramatic that I wanted to share it with others who are struggling without success.

(In the post below I use "bad porn" as a euphemism for distressing/violent imagery).

My addiction started when I was 22. I had been using porn since I was about 13, but I was 22 when I first looked at bad porn. I had escalated from very mild stuff to this stuff over 11 years. At this point I knew I had a problem. From 22 until my mid 30s, I tried everything I could think of to stop looking at bad porn and also tried to give up porn all together. Here's a list of the things I tried:
   - Installing Covenant Eyes
   - Installing K9
   - Getting rid of my smartphone
   - Uninstalling all the apps on my smartphone that had a browser
   - Giving admin password for my computer to my mum so I couldn't get around CE
   - Leaving admin password at work so I couldn't get around CE
   - Going to see counsellors (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I saw three different counsellors over the 12 years.
   - Trying mindfulness
   - Using a rubberband on my wrist to cause myself pain when I had 'bad thoughts'
   - Trying to go cold turkey from bad porn
   - Trying to go cold turkey from all porn
   - Trying to go cold turkey from mb
   - Reading books about the damage porn does to women
   - Mbing every time I got an urge to try and keep the need for bad porn down
   - Attending a porn addict support group
   - Researching porn addiction, and trying to understand its causes and solutions

The most effective tactics were CE, counselling, and research. And when I say effective, I mean, I sometimes got to two or three months "bad porn" free. I managed to do this about five times over the 12 years. So yeah, not that effective all things considered.

This year I got so depressed about other life issues (as well as this problem) that I hit rock bottom. I became suicidal and knew I was in trouble, so I went to see the doctor. I told him everything basically. He referred me to a specialist counselling service, but also said I was clearly depressed and I should try Sertraline. I had been on Fluoxetine in 2009 for about nine months, and didn't really like it; although it fixed my depression, it dulled my emotions and I found that disconcerting. But the doctor seemed confident about these so I thought what the hell. One sentence he said has stuck with me: "Some people try it and are annoyed they waited so long".

I started Sertraline in 29th July. It improved my mood and the suicidal thoughts went away, which was good. I also recovered quicker from relapses. I.e. I didn't feel as awful for the few days after a relapse. On the downside, I was still relapsing every time I was left home alone. That was my trigger, being home alone. (It had gotten worse over the years too. In my 20s I could fight the urges for a while before succumbing. But now as soon as I was alone -- relapse.)

I also started seeing a counsellor with weekly sessions in September.

But the most interesting part of my story started in November. I had been researching my problem, but with more intensity than usual. (I liked doing the researching because it felt like it gave me control over my problem). I had found several articles that claimed anti-depressants like Sertraline were effective treatments for people with "paraphilias" (aka bad porn) or sex addiction. This is because these patients often had depression or OCD as a co-morbidity. These studies found that treating the co-morbidities first often solved the addiction problem too. I found several studies where patients were completely cured after taking Sertraline, other anti-depressants, or OCD medication.

Obviously, I found this extremely interesting. I knew I was depressed, and I was already on Sertraline. However, my dose was the minimum (50mg) and in the studies I read many of the patients needed 100mg or 150mg to help their addiction. Armed with this knowledge I talked to my counsellor. He was dismissive, considering it a quick fix. I then talked to my doctor. He thought that given how many years I'd been struggling, it was worth trying a higher dose to see if it would help.

So, in late November I started on 100mg of Sertraline. Since the day I started, I have had zero relapses. 42 days, and counting. Now I know that's not a huge amount of time, but for me, it is. But more importantly is the qualitative changes I have noticed in my brain. I still have desire for porn and sex, but the desire for "bad porn" has almost completely gone. When the thoughts about this bad porn do come, they aren't associated with a strong impulse anymore. I just observe the thoughts, feel strange for ever thinking I wanted to look at that stuff, and then they are gone. This is an enormous change from before where I was a slave to these desires.

The previous times where I've gone this long without bad porn, by this time my mind would be screaming for it. And when I relapsed, it would be an enormous relief. I would shake like I'd been injected with heroin the relief was so good. As I sit here typing (in a house alone too), I feel no urge to look at bad porn. I could look at some normal porn, but I could also not. My impulse control is stronger now.

Some studies I read during my research hypothesised about the link between seratonin, testosterone, and sexual problems like porn addiction. My own hypothesis is that low seratonin, combined with high testosterone, results in excess aggression which needs to be channelled in some way, internally or externally. I think some patients use violent or distressing porn as their way of channelling this aggression. I think this is the case for me, at least. I believe that now that my seratonin levels are normal, my naturally high levels of testosterone no longer result in excess aggression. (Also, thanks to the counselling, I now express myself more assertively, preventing the aggression from building up).

Worth adding a few caveats to this:
   - In November, my stresses from other parts of my life also reduced fairly significantly. This could also be the reason, or a contributing reason, for my success so far.
   - Sertraline or other ADs don't work for everyone, and when they do work, they don't always work the same way.

But with those caveats aside, so far so good. 

If it does work, I will only have one regret: that I didn't find this drug sooner. 12 years of suffering that could have been avoided. There's still a little bit of stigma attached to drugs. They are seen as the easy way out. That is exactly why I didn't want to take them: I wanted to do it the honourable way. What a bunch of bullsh*t if it turns out these drugs would have helped me get back all that lost time :-(

Porn Addiction / Keep relapsing – need advice
« on: March 22, 2015, 02:23:05 PM »
Hi all

So I've been a porn addict for a long time now. I'm 32 and started watching when I was 15. When I was 22 I looked at some stuff that I really shouldn't have, and ever since then I've been trying to quit, without success. I've tried the normal strategies: blocking access, counselling, changing habits, and researching the addiction with mixed success. Last year I got married and this has put more pressure on me to fix the problem.

For the last two months I've been trying to block out porn completely and it is not really working. What I've noticed is that if I suppress my desire for porn, it will just will just emerge in a different area of my life. Or, I will just crack. To give an example, last weekend my wife went out of the city. On Friday I had a relapse and I told her on Saturday. Then on Saturday night I had another relapse, which I also told her about. As bad as my problem has been over the years – and it has been bad to the point of considering suicide – it still stuns me that I cannot control my urges for just two days while my wife is away.

From all the research I've done, I know my brain has been rewired, and I know that I need to let it heal by letting the "porn wiring" atrophy.

But here's the problem: I work at home all day, and by 1-2 pm, after I've done some good hard work, my brain will trigger some thoughts that I need a break/reward/feel good time. It literally takes a few of these thoughts before I crack. I can suppress them in the morning, but not for long. It's like I've built a tiny little levy, and the water is easily able to wash over it, almost without trying. As you can imagine, this is very frustrating. Although I have CE installed on my computer, I know how to reset my iPhone and this is how my relapses occur. I also have Apple TV which leads to binge sessions on youtube.

I know this is a rambling post, so I'll summarise: I can't work out how to break my addiction cycle. Please give me some advice from an outside perspective as I've lost perspective.

- If you were me in this situation, what would you do?

Thanks in advance

Struggling Seb

Porn Addiction / My counsellor thinks no mb is a bad idea
« on: September 06, 2014, 06:23:44 PM »
Hi guys

Just wanted to get your thoughts on this. I talked to my counsellor about this site the other day and how it involved no p/mb for 90 days to reboot your brain. He liked the idea of the no p, but thought the no mb was just going to cause me more problems. He thinks mb is a good 'release valve' for my arousal. He is a sexual health counsellor with a lot of experience.

I'm not sure I agree with him. I mentioned to him that I had gone 45 days with no p/mb (which was  the longest I've gone without mb for my *whole life*) and that I had felt extremely anxious and aroused. Ie massive withdrawal symptoms. He suggested that if I had mb then I probably would have felt less aroused and stressed. At the time I thought he was right but going back through my diary, I realise I had had sex with my partner just two days before my relapse. In other words, my anxiety/arousal didn't appear to be because I needed an orgasm/mb. It was because I needed porn.

I've read similar things on this forum of guys who don't crave mb at all during their reboot - what they want is porn. That was exactly my experience. And the most surprising thing was that even after really good sex with my partner, I *still* wanted porn like a crack addict wants crack. In retrospect that is shocking.

the last point is that during my last reboot I decided to try what my counsellor suggested. I had gone about 7 days without p/mb. On Thursday I was feeling a bit horny so I decided I'd mb on Friday morning to 'release some steam'. I did. And then on Friday night I relapsed. Fail. To me it seems obvious that mb is just a ... secondary function of the porn addiction.

Can you guys please let me know what you think of my counsellor's advice based on your experience? thanks

I've decided to give my iPhone to my mum, and take her old Nokia with no web browser. I decided to finally do this because I keep relapsing on my phone. No matter how 'secure' it is - parental controls, restriction passcode etc etc - I always find a way around it.

Ideally I would be able to control these desires but in my experience this has been an abject failure. The only real successes I have had have been where I've given up the technology that allows me to access porn in the first place. But it's really hard and annoying seeing all this cool new technology and realising that if I were to use it, it would be like giving a bottle of vodka to an alcoholic.

Having said that, I wonder if anyone else is in the same boat. Have you guys had to reduce your access to technology to recover? How have you coped?

Sorry if this seems like a weird question. I ask because sometimes I wonder if my addiction is worse than others on this board. Basically just before I'm about to have a relapse (which means I've found a hole in all the things I've set up to stop me looking at porn),  my hands will literally begin shaking, my heart will start pumping really fast and I feel a sense of euphoria. I'm sure this is either adrenaline or dopamine or maybe both. It feels so intense I imagine it's like what being pumped full of some kind of drug is.

Once I start the relapse the shaking stops and my heart calms down. It periodically increases again when I find novel or shocking images. Eventually after a few hours I hit diminishing returns and feel f***** awful, as will no doubt be familiar to anyone here.

So - does this match your experience? From what I've read my relapse symptoms might be a bit extreme, so I wonder if I actually need more serious help.

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