I have found that reading posts on other’s recovery experience has been very helpful to me in my recovery, so I thought I should contribute. Besides, journaling or “blogging” may help me to some extent. Anything is worth a shot at this point.
Here is a little background to start things off. When I was about 13 or 14 I had my first experience with porn. My cousin and I went to a sleepover at a friend’s house in celebration of the friend’s birthday. There were a about 10 other guys there. My cousin and were best friends at that point, and we ran around with a crowd that was always up to no good. That night we were sneaking in all kinds of contraband, including alcohol and weed, and apparently somebody got a hold of a VHS tape with about 6 hours worth of porn on it. Anyway, long story short, I believe that was the start of my addiction.
Through the years, I remember always trying to gain access to porn. It was difficult to access though, as it wasn’t easy to come by, and viewing it was always difficult with the family around. When I turned 18 years old I moved out of state. Between then and now, Porn became increasingly available over the years. I started sheepishly visiting adult book stores to get new movies. Then I would get tired of the movies, or disgusted with myself, throw them out, and swear off porn forever. I doubt it ever even lasted longer than a month though before I found myself back in the adult bookstore, shamefully buying more porn.
I should also mention that during my teen years, and my twenties, (what was supposed to be the best time of my life) I never dated, and I was very self conscious. I was a very skinny kid, and I was made fun of for it. I was also bullied in high school and I just never felt any self worth. Basically, I just never thought any girl out there would want anything to do with me.
As the years went by, porn was increasingly available on the internet. This meant that I could indulge in the privacy of my own home without the shame of having to actually go out and buy the stuff. I’ve basically been watching internet porn since internet porn has been available.
Eventually I started to bulk up and fill out physically. My confidence got a big bump after that because I started to realize that people weren’t making fun of me for being so skinny. But I still had a lot of emotional scars.
Eventually, I was able to go to college. I started undergrad at 25, which meant that I was older than many of the seniors and many of the grad students. I was able to keep my grades up, and I eventually got into law school in my home state, where I am now. I came back home to go to law school, and by then I was feeling a lot more confident. I was 30 years old by the time I started, and I managed to meet a girl who was 23 at the time. Up until this girlfriend, I was a virgin. I remember when we first started having sex, I was fine. But after a few months went by, I totally lost interest. In retrospect, I think it was a sort of flatline. I stopped watching porn for several weeks when we started dating. I was getting my high off the novelty of actually having sex with a real person. But once the novelty wore off... splat.
I was with that girl for about 1.75 years, and the whole time I had ED. I blamed it on alcohol, low testosterone, not getting enough exercise, stress, everything you can think of. I was secretly thinking that I didn’t want to be with my girl any more, and that was my problem. She had problems of her own, and it was an unhealthy relationship in the first place. About 1.5 years into the relationship, I wondered if there was any connection between porn and ED. I started poking around on the internet, and found YBOP. I was totally floored. It seemed like that site was aimed specifically at me. I was experiencing about 90% of what was described there. I never thought my addiction could cause ED. I thought it was just a dirty habit that I had a hard time kicking, so I never had the motivation to stay away.
I think I started my reboot about a week after finding YBOP. There was no way I was going to tell my girl, because our relationship was already on the rocks, and she had self image problems as it was. It was about six weeks later that we broke up. I was doing really well with the reboot until then. I just crashed, relapsed, and binged. It took a few months to get over her, and the whole relationship. But now, I’m emotionally stable enough to try the reboot again.
I’m on day 26 of no PMO right now. My circumstances are favorable for success in many ways, and in many ways not. Having no girlfriend is good because I can reboot without having to worry about another person’s feelings on the subject. However, I am in my last term in law school, and I am going to take the bar exam in July. This is a very stressful time in life so I’m hoping that doesn’t derail me. Another good thing about being at the end of my law school career is that I am purposefully avoiding women. I don’t need the stress of dating on top of trying to study and get through the next 6 months of my life.
As I already said, I am on day 26. I didn’t intend to start the reboot as a New Year resolution or anything. It just kind of worked out that way. It sure makes counting days easy though!
My experience so far:
1. The first few days really sucked. My brain was throwing a tantrum about not getting its daily fix.
a. I would suggest having some plans for the first few days. Hang out with friends, have some PG rated movies on hand to watch, hang out at coffee shops, start reading a book, whatever. Just give yourself some new experience so that you don’t have to just sit and think about how much it sucks that you can’t PMO.
2. Then, flatline. Basically I just felt totally indifferent about girls, sex, everything. There’s a little nagging voice from the PMO beast that nagged at me in the back of my mind, but mostly, I just didn’t care. And my penis was just very lifeless and small. It was like somebody just pulled the plug on whatever machines provides my sex drive. No libido at all.
3. During the past 5 days or so, I think my brain has started to wake back up. I have been getting morning wood, and thoughts are enough to get an erection. The problem is that I keep trying to fight off these thoughts because they usually come in the form of fantasy. I know this process is working because my brain keeps trying to fantasize. When I was still under the spell of PMO, I never fantasized, and there certainly wasn’t any fantasizing during flatline. I’ve also started to notice women a little differently. The problem is that it is difficult to tell whether I am really experiencing something, or if I just think that I am. But, I do feel like I’ve been a little more… full? Complete? I don’t know what the right word is. But I don’t feel like I’m out of the woods at all. I still feel cravings, and I am not getting erections spontaneously other than morning wood. My penis is starting to feel a little more resilient. Basically, I feel like I’m in the very very early stages of reboot. I fully expect another flatline at some point. And I’m definitely having somewhat good days, and not-so-good days. I quit smoking when I was about 25, and I remember thinking that I’ll know when I am over it when it isn’t a big issue in my everyday life any longer. I think I’m taking the same attitude about this. I realize that this is an addiction that I will likely carry with me to the grave, but I think it is possible to get to a point where I’ve beaten back the beast to the point that I can keep it in check with minimal effort, much like smoking.
This turned into a much longer post than I had anticipated. Believe it or not, it was still the short version. Lol. Anyway, that is where I am at right now. I believe that it is worth the fight. I have no illusions that PMO is out of the question. P is out of my life forever. My attitude about MO is that it is off the menu completely for now. When I feel like I have a handle on things, we’ll see. If I’m going to MO, it is going to be on my terms, not the beast. The beast no longer has say so in my life. I have put the beast in its cage, and it does not like being in a cage one bit. The beast likes to torment me, make me rationalize MO, and tries to sneak in little fantasies to entice me. But I am stronger than the beast. The beast just needs to be tamed, and broken. I know I can do this. I am motivated and optimistic, and you should be too.
Gentlemen, this is our fight. Let’s be men about it. Let’s do what it takes. Let’s walk through the fire, even though we know it will burn. The cravings will come. There is no way around it. But the more the cravings come, the weaker they get. The more we endure, the more we control. We all have it within us to control our destiny. Don’t let the beast control yours.