Overcoming the addiction

Submitted by LawKid on
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So I've decided (once again) to attempt to overcome my addiction to pornography/masturbation. I've made it seven days and today has been the hardest day so far. I am definitely in withdrawal. My body is craving an orgasm and I've had to exert great will power not to allow pornographic images to come into my mind. I saw a few images online by means of surfing and "walking the line." But I stopped myself and feel proud. I just hope it gets easier soon. I figure after another week I will be mostly past withdrawal, but who knows?

Good for you

making the effort. I hope you get good results, and learn some interesting stuff about how the reward circuitry of your brain actually works.

Just know that the cravings DO pass...and that the less you sniff around your former triggers, the less stressful the withdrawal.

Meanwhile, remember to do lots of soothing things for yourself: time in nature, healthy food, extra social interaction (probably the most importnat), time with pets, exercise, etc.

Welcome to the site. Blog if you like!

Sniffing around triggers

The sniffing around triggers got me every time.

After a couple of weeks of abstinence from porn and masturbation................

I would actually go to youtube and search for soft stuff just to catch a glimpse. THEN...............and you know what happens next, the throttle went up and I went to soft nude "artistic" sites....THEN.....and you know what happens next, the throttle went up and I found myself back in the same stupid place I was before.

Not a good idea to tease your beast brain when it has had a hold of you for so long. It knows you quite well and still wields significant power. Time to take back some of that power by not underestimating it.

Good work though,
crow

Attempting a 30 day trial

Hi,

Like a lot of us in the forum I have been struggling with this dual problem (masturbation & porn) for like ages. I have made lukewarm attempts to get rid of this habit many times in the past was always derailed by conflicting "scientific" reports on how "healthy and normal" it is to indulge in either of these habits....needless to say this site was an eye opener...it explained so many of the problems in evolutionary biological terms that even the "guilt induced attempts of reform" are now out of my consideration. I realize that the more outraged and guilty I make my conscience feel, the more difficult it gets to overcome this insidious habit! This year it has been a serious attempt at shaking this habit off and I realized to my despair how difficult it is to undo the decades of neural pathways that have reinforced the reward circuitry....I am into my 12th attempt this time....have kept a goal of 30 days for the time being....so far the closest I have reached is 23 days and that was a long time ago...so I decided to join the forum and keep myself accountable and bank on your support....really hope to quit this destructive habit once and for all and look forward to helping each other ....

Cheers,
Reggie

Welcome!

Glad to have you here Reggie. Sounds like you've grasped the basics pretty quick. Reuniting was a big eye-opener for me too :)

I've had many attempts to quit and have found each relapse has something to teach me. Since arriving here I feel I'm moving towards my goal, even if I keep falling and picking myself up again. Keep posting your experiences and feelings as you progress, it will help you clarify your thoughts and give the rest of us more insights..

Good luck! :)
time_for_change

Thanks a lot...

Thanks a lot for the immediate support.... :)
One of the problems I have faced in picking myself up after a failure is the extreme "binge" that I tend to get into after controlling myself for a couple of weeks. Its almost like I tell myself that I am going to restart the trial again so better make the most of the time before "formally" starting again. I guess that does more damage than regular moderated indulgence, but then I really want to quit so I just need to trust myself and take the risk of the failure-binge-self-destructive behaviour and go ahead with the abstinence (if I can call it that).

The tricks the brain plays on me makes me wonder who the hell I am really :)

Cheers,
Reggie

The 'make the most of it'

The 'make the most of it' binge is quite a common thing I think - I've been there many times, not just with p/m, but with food. Learning how to pick yourself up quickly after a fall is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of recovery, but it's also a very good thing to work at. I'm still working at it :)

time_for_change

Welcome. I also think that

Welcome. I also think that the more of us there are to share the better we will all be.

Reggie that is my big goal at the moment also 30 days. Congratulations on making that 23 day mark. My best so far has been 21 (almost).
yes I agree learning how to think about this addiction in a better way is starting to help me. that addicted brain just loves all those negative type thoughts and emotions it feed off of them.

Lawkid I know what you mean about so many images that can trigger a response. It is almost impossible to avoid. I agree it does make you feel good when you resist those images and do not let them trigger you. I know it is hard sometimes. I had for the 2nd day in a row someone at work show me a pic on their phone I really wish they had not shown me. Glad you are here.

Glad to see more people we can use all the help we can get.

goal...

thanks almazrim for the compliments, but it was really months ago that I achieved 23 day mark and my current record is barely 10 days...so I guess I have some way to go.
The good thing is that at least there is a part of me that is clear and certain that I need to get rid of this. Maybe its the fact that i have become a dad of two kids and that I always wanted to be a good role model for my kids...or the fact that I recognize that I dont seem to enjoy the small things in life anymore or the fact that I seem to be underachieving at my job (horribly embarrassed - I know I sound like a big loser here, but where else can I say all of this!)...so yeah...I am certain that I want to get a clean life and a fuller life....and I am really glad to see so many more in the same path of self-improvement..you folks are my inspiration ...

Cheers,
Reggie

Reggie,

You might already have seen this, but it seems that, at first, abstinence leads to BIG crashes when you fall, so your experience is normal. That's why getting through some mysterious "invisible barrier" that resets the brain is good. Then orgasms don't seem to cause binges . (It's still good to avoid porn itself, though.)

Some evidence points to two months to reboot, but the fact is, it's probably different for everyone, depending upon how hooked they were, how much comforting support they have, etc., etc. And some people seem to have made good, if slower, progress despite more frequent crashes.

Just know that your experience is normal. And don't be hard on yourself.

*big hug*

Thanks Marnia...really need

Thanks Marnia...really need the reassuring support...I am really hoping that two months is about the max I will need for the "reboot"...my problem of binge of course is tightly linked to porn...so if I am off porn I am off the binge......dont know if others mentioned, ever wondered how the moment one decides to quit watching porn, every other image in front of him(TV, magazines, newspapers) is a prospective "mate" to fantasize about! :)....guess I will plan for the full two months at least..

Reggie

*chuckle*

Whenever the reward circuitry is low in dopamine (as during withdrawal) it scans the environment even more urgently for triggers it associates with the "relief" of porn. So your experience is not unusual. The damned thing is trying to help by pointing you toward your "meds." Ugh!

I'm sorry it's rough. There's not an easy way. As the saying goes, "If all else fails, hug the cat!" Wink

those damn commercials on tv

those damn commercials on tv can trigger. Not to mention a couple of sites I go to to read news and stuff has that damn Envoy game ad if you have not seen it geez you would think it was a link to a porn site.

When I look over Gary's shoulder

it seems like some "wiggler" is going wild on every sports site, news site...you name it. Very hard on you guys, I would guess.

Just remember, a "wiggler" is not a goddess. It's nothing but an evil advertising ploy. Ch-Ching!

delta Fos B

Thanks Crow...went back and read again about the delta-fos-b....that explains a lot of the bouts of depression, anxiety, restlessness coupled with lack of energy or enthusiasm for anything, you mention it..that I am going through this time..everytime in fact that I "decide" to kick the habit....every time I tell myself this time its different...well its true..this time I do have support of you friends..which is a first ....so who knows...before the break of new year I might actually break the habit.....I wish the same for all others in the forum who is in my state too...

Cheers,
Reggie

Yeah,

all those things are normal. That's why addiction can be so compelling. It's the lows, the emotional swirl, the "crazy" feelings that getcha...if you don't do your best to remain detached...and ask for the support you need.

*another big hug* Smile

withdrawal...

even though I have gone through this phase many times, everytime its like "maybe I am just wrong about this....maybe its normal and I am just overreacting...every one does this..its not like I am actually cheating or something....ugh"...then there is the rationalization and justification of "life is not worth living if you cant have an orgasm"....hate the films on telly....hate the serials .....cant stand the adverts......
One new thing thats beginning to surface is the link that I seem to have with hunger...whenever I am hungry I seem to have a surge of lust too...almost like they are linked together...whenever I take regular frequent meals I seem to be better in control and have lesser pangs of withdrawal.....dont know if this is purely subjective but felt the need to publish it just the same, in case it missed someone and have been struggling with the same too.. dont go hungry if you are on abstinence....

Reggie

Yesterday was day 42,

and while doing research and collecting data for call I have with a recruiter about a new job tomorrow, I found myself typing the beginnings of site names to see if the actual site(s) I used to frequent would pop up. They never came up before because I always turned that feature off on my browser for fear of my fiance using my computer and accidentally stumbling upon one of these sites. I clicked through a few of them and got some very softcore images. I then closed the browser. I found myself eating dinner and then running back to my room afterward trying another site. I came up as well, but luckily this one had no nude images. Just galleries of one women dressed in underwear, etc. I ended my little phase before getting any deeper, but it was so easy and thoughtless to just jump back in.

I just want to say that I know all too well the cycle of destructive behavior. I have known I have a problem for about five or six years now, and have been drawn to p/m since I was 11 years old. I'm 33 now. I try not to think about all the reverse behavioral reprogramming I need to do and take it a day at a time. My main issue is being obsessed with women's cleavage. I see it on some of my favorite TV shows I watch weekly and I want them (breasts) so bad. That would bring me to this morning. I searched for a famous actress to see if she had any images online. She did and lucky for me they were all PG if I could say that. Award shows and public photographs etc. The thing is, it's the behavior. Going online and searching for porn. Not good.

I will close by stating that since I came across this site 44 days ago (see a pattern here) I have not masturbated to porn or by myself and I am much happier. What I read somewhere before (on this site) is that 21 days is a good amount of time to create a new habit. I would like to keep my record as "clean" but I will let you guys decide that one. If so, I have created my new habit and reinforced it with another 21 days as of yesterday, with my minor speedbump. After this morning's search for the actress, I decided it was time to sign up on this site and really kick this into gear. I showed my fiance the video of Marnia on the home page and she was very impressed and happy about me finding this site. I read here also that the (masturbation) withdrawal period is the most important part to get past. It takes 14 days. I did that. I have only had sex twice in the last 43 days which is much less than I would like, but each time I feel like being selfish and masturbating all I do is think "no, you are in the 14 day cycle" or "no, that's not fair to your fiance. You need to save that for her and share that experience with her rather than rekindle the images in your brain which will only lead you back to the searching and the dull, numb life you used to live."

Everyone here understands and I am so glad to finally be a part of the community. And to Marnia, you are a blessing for us all. Thank you.

Sincerely,
reprogramME

P.S. My posts will probably not be this long again, but just wanted to give a little background on what brought me here. I am also 17 months sober from drugs and alcohol and I can definitely say that kicking the porn habit is the most difficult of the three and I now know why... thousands and thousands of years in the making, right?

Congratulations...

Wow...42 days! Congratulations...whatever you posted could well have been posted by me as far as p/m is concerned....nearly the same script in fact.....so I can imagine the sense of accomplishment that you are going through right now ..and deservedly so....sadly this is one habit where we cannot have a reward day (like a cheat day for dieters where they eat pizza and fries!) ...our accomplishment needs to be its own reward and I would urge you to keep going strong till you hit the next milestone.....really happy to hear your experience and wish you the best....

Reggie

Congratulations on the

Congratulations on the extended abstinence... I haven't made it as far as you yet, but what you describe about just having a quick peak at softcore images has hit me before after 2 or 3 weeks and in turn stimulated sexual fantasies which eventually just overwhelmed me and got me to the point of giving in altogether and jumping off the cliff "Way-hay! Here we go!". Hurts when I land on the rocks though.

It's hard to stay clear of provocative images (yes James, that damn Envoy ad!) but really when you think about it, there's only a little stimulation there and it's following the sexual fantasy that arises from that which is the problem.

Good luck!
time_for_change

Good to have you here, too, Reprgramme

On behalf of all goddesses, thank you for finding us so alluring. Smile And congratulations on your progress. Tough as it has been, it can't help but improve your relationship.

Gary says to tell you that it's actually *millions and millions* of years that you're up against. But remember that for most of that time, there was no Internet porn, and very few novel mates around to trigger that "go get 'em!" program with such intensity.

What tips do you have to share? What helps most?

And, Reggie, the food thing makes perfect sense. The reward circuitry drives all cravings. So when you're "jonesing," your brain will react to all kinds of cues for things it associates with the promise of pleasure (anticipation = dopamine).

The "but masturbation is normal" thought is *definitely* normal. Smile But, as you've read elsewhere, so is escalation - especially if you aren't back to equilibrium. Trouble with our current culture is that so many men are caught in a compulsive cycle that they don't even know what their "normal" is for the moment. "Abnormal" has become quite usual.

Anyway, just tell your brain there will be years to be "normal" (whatever that means for you) once you're back to center!

Helping me stay away

The key for me is to stop thinking about what not to do. If you think of other things to do in place of mind-numbing surfing and masturbating you are automatically not doing what you shouldn't be doing in the first place.

Some of the things I have been doing over the last 43 days are (reluctantly) taking the dog on a walk, but almost tearing up while I'm out with her because of all the beautiful energy I feel just being outside and just being alive instead of black and cold in a cave, stimulating my retina with garbage. You know what they say about garbage in. Well, I just think the garbage out comes in the form of me lusting after every woman I see. I have already found in just 40 odd days that I am much less prone to fantasizing about every woman I see. Other things I do are journal, and I can easily see myself excited about getting on this blog each day. This is so needed and really wish the best for everyone who has made it this far and is reading this post. That is huge. I feel very lucky to share my experiences and ideas with all of you. My porn days really started when I was about 8 or 9 years old, finding the old Playboy magazines in a big box in the garage. No one knew about it because my Dad was gone (my parents divorced when I was 2 1/2) and I just kept it a secret. I had no idea what seeing those images and having all the wrong male role models in my life at the time would do to me, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I apologize for rambling. I do that. As for the pleasure receptors and fulfilling their cravings(?), I do yoga, write music, hike, go for brisk walks, really anything to get you breathing deep. Meditation is really good too. Deep breathing is the key though. I have so much to share, but Yoga starts in 20 minutes.

Thank you all for reading and stay strong. Keep thinking about how good you'll feel and take it one moment at a time. If you catch yourself even thinking about it while online, just get up and walk away.

Hey guys, I just wanted to

Hey guys, I just wanted to say that trying to just abolish an addiction on its own, is hard enough, you need to have a back up plan. A replacement/substitution but one which is healthy and fullfills the vision and physical as well as the imaginary/images/mind. Taking on a hobby such as painting is great-what more beautiful then painting from nature, go out there and sit with your brushes and colors and take in all the images you want
which fulfill you emotionally! Not many have been able to give up (alcohol-smoking-food-etc., addictions) without a substitute in its place, such as exercise, dancing or other pleasurable things that you use your senses-mind-body, in a healthy way. So when the urge comes on, you already have had the time to develop another habit to go into it. Cold Turkey is ok, but not many can make it unless you find another habit in its place and have it practiced for a while. Once you have created repetition it becomes habit forming and the deeper the groove, and harder to give it up. Just a new one with similar amount of pleasure will replace the target of your release of your energy with a different focus. Just my little bit, of what you may already know....I guess!

falling down...

for all the inspiration and support that I got from this forum, I still let myself down yesterday....again it was the "just a peek" syndrome that did me in...also when I look back it was almost as if I was possessed...totally on autopilot on how to get my fix......the feeling was lousy....the regret was immediate....and the knock on the confidence is also non-trivial....just need to pick myself up and start again...this time it will be better...

when I think about what you say insightful - it just doesnt seem to fit me....I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said inspite of all my hobbies and interests there has been NOTHING as pleasurable as this addiction (or nothing that seems as pleasurable to my addicted mind!)...so substitutes somehow don't work well for me....but I guess I have to find my own way of dealing with the urges...I thought putting my thoughts on the forum and making myself accountable would work...I am surprised how easily defeat can creep up on me the moment I get smug that Iv'e got it all figured out....

Reggie

Learning is learning...

however it occurs.

Don't think of a substitute has having to offer "the same" intensity as masturbating to extreme porn. Otherwise, heroin or other drugs will be your only "Plan B." The point of understanding the neurochemistry of orgasm is to understand that fertilization attempts are your genes' top priority. This program is in your brain precisely to put you on autopilot when The Occasion arises, so you fertilize novel mates - even at great risk to yourself. (Think Romeo and Juliet. Wink )

It's hard to hear this, but I'll try. The pleasure from orgasm is not *satisfying*. It's a behavior driven by an enticing, drug-like high, but it is not what leads to true comfort. This is evident if you take into account the full recovery cycle (i.e., your feelings over the next two weeks).

Unfortunately, when on autopilot, you easily fall for the idea that the initial rush is the Whole Story. (This corresponds with a big rush of dopamine in your primitive brain...logic has nothing to do with it.) You automatically discount as unrelated the feelings you're having right now: the discouragement, the resentment, the lows.

The idea of a "substitute" is not to replace porn/masturbation with another hangover-producing substance or activity (i.e. with another thing that gives a big initial rush...and subsequent drop). The substitute should be one that doesn't shatter your equilibrium, but still produces good feelings. It will seem a bit "blah" by comparison at first. Be patient.

But here's the thing. As your desensitized brain has a chance to recover, those less intense pleasures will register as more and more pleasurable. It's impossible to see this from where you now stand. So keep an open-mind and give yourself time to recalibrate.

*big hug*

reg substitution...

Thanks a ton, Marnia! that absolutely makes sense...its a kind of a like the problem one faces with perfectionism if I think about it...I am so obsessed with a perfect substitute that I have refused to try anything else and in the process not substituted at all....I will try out with something outdoors as reading leaves me with a lot of scope for "peek-a-boos" :)

*big hug*

Reggie

Hi Reggie,

[quote=Reggie]for all the inspiration and support that I got from this forum, I still let myself down yesterday....again it was the "just a peek" syndrome that did me in...also when I look back it was almost as if I was possessed...totally on autopilot on how to get my fix......the feeling was lousy....the regret was immediate....and the knock on the confidence is also non-trivial....just need to pick myself up and start again...this time it will be better...[/quote]

If it's any consolation, that's a word perfect account of many of my relapses. I've had many periods of abstinence and many relapses since I found reuniting a year ago. Picking yourself up and starting again is perhaps the greatest skill to master, at least doing so quickly and not slipping into days of bingeing. The 'autopilot' thing is quite common I think; I've found that all the good (great) reasons I have for quitting, all the support and encouragement here, it all goes out the window when the autopilot kicks in - I know I don't want to give in, but I do it anyway.

And it is surprising how defeat can creep up on you... but if you take this experience not as a failure or defeat but as a learning experience, then next time you'll be a little more prepared. It may take many more 'learning experiences', or you may get it licked next time around, but try to look at the longer picture and see that as long as you're motivated to quit you're walking the path of recovery. Asher gave a good analogy a while back, that of walking a mountain path, it climbs, then it falls as it navigates the terrain, but you are always a step closer to the peak.

Take care,
time_for_change

thanks T4C

Thanks time_for_change...it surely helps to know that I am not "abnormal" and that this is the path that most have to tread before overcoming this filthy addiction.....when you mention, I do realize that the resistance to the urges have become relatively easier....even if I just happen to give in withuout reason, whenever I am in the "aware" mode and decide to resist the urge its a lot easier now than it was an year back...I will climb the hill and I start again today....

Cheers,
Reggie

Yea, and I agree that...

Libidinal orgasmic pleasure could not be placed in the same line as sublimated libido, as in painting etc...
they are by definition two different things. One is raw energy with enormous intensity and the harder to
hold back-the other is the end result of that delay of gtatification....sublimation of it, but this is where one is at one end of the spectrum and the other as the final pay off, if one can manage to reach that point of withholding long enough and passing that bordom stage in between.

Thanks for the welcoming Marnia.