Navigating the Path

Submitted by alchemy_ensouled on
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I've been exploring this wonderful site for approximately five months now. By sharing my story, I hope to join a community of very strong people who are confronting a powerful issue in their lives; pornography.

I had been using pornography since I was about fifteen. I still recall being "caught" by my parents about a year later. Lots of shaming around that. For the next ten years I came to rely more and more progressively on pornography. It took many years for me to link my usage of porn to my failure in romantic and even social relationships. I used porn to regulate my emotional state, preferring the afterglow orgasmic state to actually dealing with real life issues.

About six months ago my current romantic partner, and mother of our child, took a class together about intimate relationships. It was here I first heard about the role of dopamine, oxytocin, and other neurotransmitters in shaping the health of our relationships. I was stunned.

I quickly discovered this site and began exploring. By the end of that four month class I had slowly whittled my porn use from 1x a day to 1x a week to 1x a month to over 2 months with no porn whatsoever. My partner and I also explored Karezza together with some great success. We grew closer.

Over this past week, I found memories of watching porn beginning to resurface. They had a very different feel than ever before. I was curious about my past (almost daily) habit the way an alcoholic may quietly reminisce over the pleasure they once derived from drinking (ie, those were the good old days). I quickly returned to this website to begin doing research on watching porn after brain equilibrium had been reestablished. After nearly 3 months of no porn, I wanted to see what others were saying.

Most of the forum posts seemed to be discouraging it. Others said be very careful and really be aware of one's intention of looking at porn again. I found a link on a post that went to a youtube video of porn actors and actresses who had committed suicide. I was shocked. So many suicides!

I noticed some recent deaths and decided to attempt some "neuro re-wiring". This may be morbid but I looked up some videos of these actors/actresses who had committed suicide. I was wondering if they had been pulled off of the internet. They hadn't. So I watched a few minutes all the while keeping in mind that these people must have been suffering intensely to have been committing suicide in the near future. I saw clearly how uncomfortable they seemed, how shallow and manipulated by themselves and others their words and feelings seemed. I noticed a dopamine arousal that quickly died off and began to feel very disgusted by the entire pornography industry. All arousal dropped off within a few seconds replaced by a feeling of helplessness and rage. I had seen enough and was more angry than anything. Why was this "entertainment" industry allowed to flourish? People were being driven to suicide! This was absolutely criminal.

What I want to report is this. That after over three months of not watching porn, then watching it in an entirely different context as I wrote above seems to have had a strong effect on me. I find myself very disgusted with "hardcore" porn. But within a day or two I found my old cravings for porn starting to return. I found myself wanting to find porn that treats women "right", or maybe watch "softcore" porn or any other number of alternatives to the "evil" porn I know polluted me for so long.

I haven't followed these urges but wanted to share it with the community. My initial quitting of porn actually seemed to be easier than this. My romantic relationship is currently undergoing some challenges and calling for new growth a maturity from me, which I know is adding to the stress and pull of porn. I'm left realizing that this addiction may actually take years, not months, to recover from.

Lastly, I recently watched an episode of South Park that dealt with internet pornography. A line that really struck me was that "We can't go back to playboy after watching they stuff we've seen". Maybe even if we want to?

Thanks for your

heartfelt sharing. What I hear is that stress (in this case relationship stress...ugh!) is a trigger for porn use rationalization. Nothing unusual about that!

You might try to tackle the problem a different way. Since your partner is open to an alternative approach, try going through the Exchanges again, or this "lite" version: http://www.reuniting.info/download/pdf/Bonding.Behaviors.pdf I think you'll find that it works like spring cleaning, and resets your brain.

Alas, I can't remember the user who wrote a brilliant post about just the challenge you're facing. He, too, took a break from porn (due to traveling or something) and then went back to it. He was disgusted by the hard stuff, so switched to soft stuff...and quickly found himself looking at stronger and stronger stuff. And realized how porn interacts with the brain, and declared it "poison." Smile

For many of us, there's just no "reasoning" with a limbic brain that numbs itself with orgasm, and then seeks more stimulation (stronger material to achieve neurochemical high). It's just how the binge trigger works. See: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201004/has-evo...

Over and over, recovering people here "test" themselves with porn. Over and over, they get caught in the spokes of the wheel again. Of course, you may be different, but probably not. Wink That said, I've had to learn most lessons around my sexuality the hard way. I'm probably not the only one who learns that way.

Good luck. Keep us posted. I'll enable you to blog.

Also, what course did you take with your wife? I'm glad to hear people are learning such things these days.

PS

I'll also share one of my favorite quotations from the Hua Hu Ching:

Twenty-Nine

Don't think you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energy toward the light. Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness. Here is the great secret: Just as high awareness of the subtle truth is gained through virtuous conduct and sustaining disciplines, so also is it maintained through these things. Highly evolved beings know and respect the truth of this.

I don't want to upset you...but you may be "a highly evolved being." Smile

Only One Thing to Do

Thank you both for your responses. I resonate strongly with our lack of ability to reason with our limbic brain. By design it is meant to be unreasonable. That clarified things immensely. I'd think kids would be taught about this in Sex Ed? The class I took was an college level course at Naropa U. in Boulder, CO. I hope this education will be starting earlier as we move into the future.

Physical exercise seems is very beneficial to me when these urges arise. There are so many ways to enjoy pleasure in the body that actually makes us healthier! I enjoy yoga, meditating, walking in the park, hiking. Any of these seem like good options but so far yoga seems to help most, it's slow and still enough to see my cravings but not so slow that I fall asleep, overwhelmed. Thank you Poet Smile

As an intention: seeing the virtue/merit, or shadow side, of all of my actions as clearly and gently as possible and choosing the good.

Good for you

and for Naropa! Glad you're finding which things help. Be gentle with yourself...and remember, another dose of bonding behaviors could be good. Wink