I fear that I may have to go it alone...

Submitted by AllTheLights on
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I believe that I have had an addiction to porn and masturbation for quite some time but it is only within the past week that I have come to this conclusion. In the past I would go through many shame/guilt cycles and casually try to veer away from it but I always came back to it. My addiction has led me into many escalation spirals in the virtual world that I am none too proud of. I have seen things that I wish I never would have, things that I do not rationally condone or have any actual interest in whatsoever. I am a very pensive person and was always able to trick myself into thinking that it wasn't actually a problem. But now I choose to not let myself be coerced any more.

One week ago my addiction and what it could do to other people was thrust into the forefront for the first and last time. This was the first time that my real life has come into contact with what was a guilty problem. My life came crumbling down. The trust and honesty that my relationship was built out of was ripped to shreds and am deathly afraid that I will not be able to reconstruct it. I now fully recognize my problem and I will not fail at correcting it, I can't fail for myself. The one that I care about most has left and after being betrayed so thoughtlessly I don't know if she will come back. I am fully committed to getting better but deep down I wish I had her by my side for love and support.

I try not to think about whether or not we can mend ourselves together because it only serves to depress me. I can only hope that she has a change of heart...

I have been 7 days PMO free with no intention stopping any time soon.

Ouch

I'm sorry you're in such pain. Believe me, if women (and soon men) fully understood how seductive and brain-changing today's Internet porn is, they would definitely forgive each other. Could happen to anyone.

That said, you're making a good decision to clean it up. It's not easy and it's great that you got this far. What's helping you the most to cope?

Speaking of seeing things you didn't want to see, this picture might make you smile: http://yourbrainonporn.com/how-do-i-cope-with-porn-flashbacks

I've enabled you to blog. Feel free to come and emote whenever you need to. And don't give up on your relationship. Just be honest that you're sorry for what happened and honest about your determination to reboot your brain. As I tell women who are in her shoes, "No point in dumping someone who's willing to recover. The next guy is gonna have the same issue." Wink

I wish you the best of luck

I wish you the best of luck with your girl. Make your attempt true, and perhaps she will see the sincerity in you. I admire your responsibility and ability to recognize and address your problem! Good job, keep it up.

Thank you for the kind thoughts

With regards to my personal problem with the addiction, I am coping fairly well. It is a challenge but I made the promise to myself and I made a promise to her that it would stop, so far so good. Regardless of her being in the picture, I do not plan on going back on my word. It's too important and she is too important to me. I think the biggest thing for me was recognizing and understanding the problem. I have a very focused and driven personality so now that I see the truth, I choose for it to not be a problem and not to control me. Big talk but that is honestly how I feel.

The other problem is my ability to cope with the loss of her. In that regard I am struggling mightily. I have more withdrawal symptoms associated with not knowing I am with her than anything else. It has been a challenge that so far I have been up for but I will need to maintain it. I made another promise to her that I would not pursue or overwhelm her until I have better control over my own issues. I do plan on keeping that promise but to be honest, it's tough. As much as it pains me to say, perhaps some time apart will foster clarity and understanding on both of our parts...I just don't want to lose that connection...

I also started personal counseling on Friday that I will continue as long as it is beneficial to me.

I am now 10 days free...and counting.

10 days is very impressive

Yes, that driven personality can be a real asset sometimes...even if it was also part of the problem. Wink

Makes sense that you're missing your mate. That's a healthy sign, actually. Counseling is good, but you may need a lot more connection with others to fill the hole a bit. Are there any other activities you could do? Maybe something you would both enjoy if you get back together...like a dance class, joining a gym, meditation class, yoga class or....? There are ideas for connecting with others and for easing the misery of withdrawal on your own here: http://yourbrainonporn.com/tools-for-change#tools Have a look and see what jumps out at you.

Glad you're doing okay...even if it's grim.

*big hug*

Keep It Up!

Glad to hear you've gained insight into the problem. It's tough, but rest assured you're not the only one and your efforts of self-improvement are worthwhile. Good Luck!

Progress

Almost through day 13, I have felt a lot of progress and growth in myself and I have some differing perspectives on things that I have never really had before. Just thoughts on life in general or relationships mostly. I feel that I was living too independently and continuing to put myself into a cycle of isolation and anxiety. My confidence is still strong and I have to keep it that way. I know there will be a day when my focus begins to fade as I normalize more. It is at that point where I need to have the necessary safeties and structures firmly built into my thoughts and life so that I can continue to successfully navigate.

My advice for anybody (not necessarily just about this addiction but more general advice) is to open up and let people in. Things don't get solved in isolation and you can't get through life living alone (not in a relationship sense, more holistically).

My current challenge is to gain a better understanding of the triggers associated with my usage cycles. I'd be happy to hear stories of other people's triggers and how they manage them.

Great advice

Thanks for sharing.

I'm sure others have trigger stories, but the common acronyms are:

BLAST (bored, lonely, angry, stressed, tired)

and

HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired)

16 days now. This is

16 days now. This is officially the longest I have ever gone since the age of approximately 12-13. I have no intentions to stop now or reconsider my new direction. Gotta keep progressing.

A few things I've noticed

This isn't everything but its a few that jump right to the front of my head:

-Reduced irritability...I feel more emotionally connected to people
-Sleeping earlier, better, and longer
-Sex is not the top thing on my brain anymore...I'm not sure if its in my top 5--and I prefer it this way
-I don't feel alone and isolated as much anymore

The less irritable I am and the increased sleep has been great. Hopefully other people think I am pleasant to be around because I feel better.

What helps me is the amount of focus I place on my goal and on keeping true to my word. I cannot and will not go back on what I said, I won't let it happen because I feel it is too important. I think it's that fact that lets me keep my focus up.

I went through a written exercise to list urges/thoughts/distortions/triggers and that has helped me as well. It's interesting to trace the thought process your brain goes through when you are considering acting out. It's also hard to trace that process now since I am so focused on never acting out again.

I also love progress and the feeling/success and the feelings associated with them. Still a loooong road to go though...

Sounds good

Was it a formal exercise? If you want to share it, I can put it on YBOP so others can benefit too.

It's great that you're sleeping better already. For some that's one of the biggest challenges. Have you experienced any withdrawal symptoms?