Starting over yet again

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I wrote a blog months ago, then deleted it. I've been a porn addict for about a year and a half, though it seems like an eternity.

From reading, from one session with a sex therapist (who helped me frame the issue, though when I asked she had no specific suggestions about how to deal with it), and from much agonizing introspection, I've finally come to a few realizations that might actually give me some chance to get past this ungodly episode in my life.

I have to regain control.

The only way is to do this is to embrace the suffering that goes with it.

It's not fair, but so what?

Regaining control probably won't lead to love with a real woman, but so what?

I was sexually abused as a child, and that no doubt has contributed to the problem I face, but so what?

Some elaboration--

I didn't know that porn could fuck up my brain and lead to addiction. I thought masturbation was OK, porn was free speech, and I was indulging in a guilty pleasure. I didn't know I was starting down the road to hell, but so what? No, life isn't fair, but that's not the issue.

I'm over 60 and divorced. The women--more than a few--I've dated who are about my age have all been depressed and/or bitter and/or afraid because they're alone. (Boy, those on-line profiles don't quite match up with reality, but that's another story.) Besides, I've known love and great sex and both with the same woman. I was married for many years, including some very good years. It ended in divorce, but love doesn't always last a lifetime. So what? My problem isn't that I'm single at this stage of my life. My problem is my porn addiction. Apart from that, my life is good. Actually, better than good. I do this without expecting it will lead to love. I do this because I want my life back.

I realize, as I read in a book on recovery, that I'm not my mind. In other words, I'm not synonymous with the personal history that experience has imprinted on my mind. I have a deeper self beyond my personal experience and the thought patterns that arise from it. This is the self that can stand back and see the problem and deal with it. This is the self that will remain after the addiction's gone. I can shed, or keep at a distance, the self of my personal history, and I can keep and nurture my deeper self. I can shed the effects of the sexual abuse I experienced as a boy, when my dad was at sea and my mom sometimes touched my genitals. I remember the electric sensation of exhilaration that ran through my body, and her smiling face, when she did this, may God bless her and forgive her. I think this experience is connected to how at times I've used masturbation as an escape and how I fell into a porn addiction. But that history doesn't have to define me. In a way, now that I can see it as something apart from my genuine self, it doesn't really matter. It, too, isn't the issue, even if it helped cause the issue. The only thing that matters now is getting my life back.

I'm not sure I'll succeed. I've already tried and failed many times. But I have some perspective now. When that fog descends that stops everything else and leads me to drift to porn, at least now I'll have a better chance to resist and let it pass.

Comments

glad you're trying again, Ace

What is your plan? The thing about masturbating to porn is that it serves a role in our life. It kills boredom, or loneliness. It substitutes for other things. The key to quitting and getting your life back is to find replacement behaviors.

The best replacement behavior is lots of cuddling and non-orgasmic contact with a woman. Do you have any chance of this in your life?

What can you do to socialize and get out and avoid those times when you are masturbating to porn? What replacement behaviors can you put into place in advance?

thanks for reply

The crux of my plan is not to look at porn. It's that simple and that difficult. For me, understanding the problem and the inner experiences that go with it are most important. But, yes, keeping busy is huge. Luckily I have lots to do, many interests, and good friends.

I'm not sure it's a replacement. To me it's like falling into a well you didn't know was there. The well, of course, replaces where you were and what you were doing, but all that's more the result an accidental misstep than anything else. You don't know your brain is rewiring, but it is. Next thing you know, you're addicted.

I socialize but you can't just go to the grocery store and find a nice woman to cuddle with. Being in your 60's and single isn't like being young and single, when it seems like everytime you turn around there's a lovely single woman to get to know. Far fewer opportunities now, and not many enjoyable dates when I do go out. Maybe my luck will change. I'm open to having a good relationship, but I can't worry about that or make it a condition for my success.

you were right

Without a qualified porn addiction therapist within 50 miles, I've enrolled in an on-line program. You're right--porn does take the place of other stuff and takes on a role of its own. I was wrong about that. Replacement behaviors are important.

The program makes the point that not everyone who looks at porn becomes addicted. It's not like falling into a well by accident. Issues like shame invite the porn addiction in, allow it to be a narcotic for them. I see that clearly now.

So, a belated thanks for some good advice.

ps. Say hello to thoreau for me. Love that dude.

hanging in

Feeling tempted but hanging in there.

If this were a movie, the lovely female character--maybe my age, maybe younger--would be soliciting the neighborhood for some good cause, or selling something funny, and the doorbell would ring, and I'd answer, and our eyes would meet, and one or both of us would do and/or say something clumsy, and we'd share a few words and some sheepish embarrassed laughter, and pretty soon we'd be sitting at my dining room table over a glass of wine, and the rest would be rocky history till we realize we need each other and we're willing--for each other--it's like a miracle--to give love another chance after we both had thought we'd given up.

But it's not a movie and the doorbell's not ringing and I better get off the computer.

starting over yet again

12 hours of resistance ended in failure late last night. Usually I don't get bummed over the good fortunes of others, but read the article on how couples stay in love and thought about my failed marriage and spiraled down.

I got up this morning and said to myself I'm wishing for ED and had to laugh. Sick and tired of all this but at least haven't completely lost my sense of humor.

Marnia, yes, by all means give me your sister's address. If it's OK to do so. Not sure if you're kidding or not.

on second thought

Marnia,

If you weren't kidding, no, don't send me your sister's address. At least for the time being. Chances are she doesn't live nearby anyway, but in any case I wouldn't put myself on anybody's get-to-know list at the moment. Like I said before, this ain't no movie.

I do appreciate your encouraging tone, though.

see progress

Despite my recent failure, I see progress over time. I stopped smoking cigarettes years ago--I quit about a thousand times before I quit for good. Each time I got a little more used to it, then finally did it. I keep thinking, I quit cigarettes, I can quit this. And each time I try, I get a little more accustomed to how it feels, what happens, what works and what doesn't. And I'm doing much better than I was at my worst about a year ago. I wish there was a drug I could take to stop any thought of indulging, because I used the nicotine gum to help myself quit smoking. But even without a drug to help, I see that I'm making some progress.

I was pretty down yesterday, but today dawned fresh and new. Beating myself up won't help, so I'm trying to keep things in perspective and stay positive and hope for the best. Maybe I'll succeed this time. I know I'm never going to give in and give up.

I've tried...

Red X but not helpful.

I just took a quick look at the website. Not sure how many blogs/journals I can comfortably handle--I have enough trouble keeping up w/ email, but I'll check it out.

Thanks for the info.

The best anti-urge buster in

The best anti-urge buster in my opinion is exercise. Especially resistance work. Just lift, doesnt have to be heavy but something somewhat challenging and see how it goes. Walks outside also help tremendously.