What are YOUR withdrawal symptoms? (THREAD CLOSED)

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If you want to share your withdrawal symptoms, visit this page: http://www.reuniting.info/withdrawal_symptoms_porn_recovery

The mainstream and sexologists seem to have a blind spot about the physical addictiveness of pornography for many people.

It is an easy error to make. People assume that only substances can be physically addictive. In fact, however, the brain is set up so that activities can produce an intense addictive dopamine cycle in the reward circuitry of the brain not unlike a drug does. Think of gambling.

One way to try to correct this mass misperception is to bring to light more examples of the physical withdrawal symptoms that accompany porn withdrawal. That makes it very clear that porn can, indeed, produce physical addiction, even though it isn't a substance.

If you have ever been addicted to porn, or are addicted, could you help by describing any symptoms you have during withdrawal? You can send a private message if you don't want to post them here.

Symptoms like anxiety, hyperactivity, depression, anger, etc. are just as valid as shakes, headaches, chattering teeth, etc.

Thanks for any help you can offer. It's time folks on this planet realized what they're up against. Our brains are clearly not set up for constant over-stimulation without repercussions. http://www.reuniting.info/science/genetic_lag_burnham_phelan_richard_daw...

Please post your withdrawal symptoms on this page.

Here are the withdrawal

Here are the withdrawal symptoms I have experienced:

Intense bouts of anger leading to interpersonal difficulties.
Aggressive demeanor.
Easily stressed out. (Inexperienced confronting the real world without that soup of post-orgasmic chemicals sedating me)
Suicidal ideation.
Severe depression.
Violent dreams while sleeping. (I actually enjoyed these, however others might consider them nightmares)
Insomnia.
Hallucinations, jumped out of bed screaming because I felt a "presence."
Felt like insects were crawling all over me when going to bed.
Shakes.
Mania. (Energy far in excess of my ability to use it constructively)
Inability to concentrate.

On the upside, I was also more extroverted, confident, and physically active. It was just that these good things weren't focused and I was fearful of this "new self" because it was taking me out of my comfort zone. Perhaps with a longer period of abstention I will have these positive traits in a more balanced, consistent, and tranquil form.

I've abstained for a full month once, but I was still ready to crawl up the walls. This is going to take much more than 2 weeks for me.

It is not a nice scene overall, but then I was easily beating the meat about 10-20 times per week for 5 years of university (guess why it wasn't only 4 years...). In high school it was a once per night habit. The difference was that in university I had my own room with my own computer and high-speed interporn connection.

I get to go through this whole thing again because I just found your website and decided that this is it for good this time. Porn/masturbation has kept me from reaching my potential. I'm sick of the empty feeling, the hand full of spooge, and that "wow, I'm pretty f*cked up" realization I have as whatever fetish scene I happen to be perusing goes from extremely interesting to absurd in a blink of my pee hole.

I enjoy your humor and courage

Brilliant description of withdrawal, too. I'm sorry you've had such a rough time of it, and I hope it goes more smoothly this time.

Here are things that science and/or experience show help to ease withdrawal somewhat:

--Non-foreplay/orgasm exchanges of affection with a woman (friendly smiles, foot massages, head massages, hugs, flirting, real conversations, helping each other with projects...for example)

--Meditation

--Doing something creative (such as music, writing, creating a website)

--Helping someone else with something (selfless nurturing increases oxytocin, which eases addiction and withdrawal symptoms)

--Group support, daily check-ins with caring sponsor

--Exercise, martial arts, chi gong

--Getting arrested for acting out the nonsense you're viewing

--A sense of humor (which you have), and

--high self-esteem...after all, this isn't about YOU in a sense. It's about the reward circuitry of the brain which is just doing its thing and is confused about the target (mistaking exciting images for real potential mothers of your future kids).

What else am I forgetting, Everyone?

Let us know how you get on. If you want your own blog, just ask the Janitor, or me (and I'll ask him).

Welcome!

Anxiety?

The number one withdrawal symptom I experienced was anxiety. This extended to lack of concentration, irritation, shaky legs, "let me just act out so this will go away", anger, and a very confused state of mind. Even when I knew clearly what I was supposed to do, the anxiety made me feel that my life is all so disorganized, that I can't balance the personal with the professional.

I did have increase of physical energy, just waiting inside to burst out. I have been able to channel that through some moderate exercise. I am fully vegetarian, and recently I've also reduced my consumption of junk food (burgers, pizzas, etc.) and have started eating traditional Indian food, and I'm amazed at how healthy and how tasty it is at the same time.

I think what's needed during the withdrawal period is channeling of energy. Exercise, reflecting, creative hobby, healthy human interactions, etc. help a lot.

Star Child, it's awesome that you've stayed abstinent for a whole month -- your situation looks a lot more difficult than mine. Today is Day 19 of abstinence for me. Actually, the two-week mark seemed to be accurate for me. You are able to get the minimum amount of self-control that's needed. Within the two weeks' time, it's incredibly easy to go back into the addiction. You have to wake up everyday and be optimistic and strong. Now when I see an attractive woman, my attention may sway over to her, say, breasts, but now the way I look at it has changed drastically -- I merely see her as a female, just as you might see a grandma or pre-schooler. Breaking the link between the visual appeal and the organ stimulation really helped me a lot.

Do write more about your process, I'm curious.

withdrawl

I would say irritability, short-temper, and also depression /apathy are what come up for me the most. I think under this addiction, I am really deeply depressed.
If I go longer, I am sure more will come up. I will report those if so..

thanks!

Thanks, guys

I was going to say, "Keep 'em coming," but thought better of it....

Of course, this request was for an article that has now been written. Smile However, I think I will link to this thread from the porn addiction recovery pages. It is helpful to see what others are experiencing...since the mainstream denies the true nature of this problem. Maybe I'll ask all readers of those pages (http://www.reuniting.info/resources/porn_masturbation_addiction) to drop by this thread and share their symptoms. Should make for cheery reading, eh?

I'll add that I also once

I'll add that I also once attempted to quit marijuana and the other infernal habit at the same time. That, gentlemen, is the definition of misery. The symptom unique to that was that my sleep was as if I was in Elysium, but waking up in the morning brought on anxiety and dread as I faced the crush of consciousness. It was as if my whole night's sleep had been wiped out in a few seconds and I had not slept at all. I have never come so close to shuffling off this mortal coil.

I have been clean of weed for a long time. It was hard to beat, but I could see the sorrow my red eyes were bringing to my mother. At the time, I quit more for her than for me.

I'm in day 3 of abstinence from the porn/wanking right now. I feel pretty good, but I'm sure it's just the calm before the storm.

Bless your heart

Remember...it's right to want to have a sense of wellbeing. It's just unfortunate that our reward circuitry is so easily hijacked by things that ultimately erode our wellbeing. Bad design. You might like this article: http://www.reuniting.info/science/reward_center_sex_obesity_addiction

An addiction-free sense of wellbeing will seem really familiar to you as you slip back into it. As my husband said, "I feel more and more like who I really am." Try to stay detached and watch the drama from the perspective of an observer. Keep asking for insights to help you through any moments of despair.

Another symptom

Another symptom I'm having now is in my dreams. There's the usual gang fights with baseball bats, or fighting enormous robotic killing machines with chain gun arms, but after that I also tend to dream about sitting in front of my computer and viewing porn.

This is already my 8th day of abstention, and it has been going extremely well. Perhaps it's because I've made it this far and a bit further many times before. Nevertheless, the porn dream is a clear indication that my mind is starting to wrestle with this new state.

I'm really looking forward to hitting and surpassing the worst of this. It'll be like King Lear in the storm. "Rumble thy bellyfull!" Tranquility, perspicacity, eloquence, confidence, vitality, here I come!

Yet another

I forgot to mention, the last few times I tried to abstain, and this time too, I got a strange twitch/tremor in my lower left eyelid. I'm not sure what that's all about. I think orgasm/ejaculation burns testosterone into DHT, but now it's just swimming around my body (and left eye, hahaha) at it's normal non-tosser levels.

The eye spasms are just

The eye spasms are just that, eye spasms. They should go away within a few days. If they persist for a long time you could have an eye condition and should see an opthomologist.

It's amazing

that the mainstream...even people who write antiporn articles...claim that the "jury is still out" on whether porn is addictive. *shakes head in astonishment*

While we (as a society) don't acknowledge such symptoms as being related to this dopamine cycle, we also don't offer people the support they obviously need to regain their equilibrium during the most severe periods of their withdrawal.

It's easy to conclude that if you feel itchy and restless - yet porn is *not* (considered) addictive - then you have other problems, and need antidepressants and so forth. This seems a dangerous route to me.

Much smarter to learn how sex can be what scientists call a "natural reinforcer," that acts on the brain very much like a drug. Then withdrawal symptoms make perfect sense...and there's some light at the end of the tunnel.

Good for you, choosing to go through the discomfort. I still say this would all be easier with lots of cuddles from an understanding mate...but you guys all seem determined to go it alone.

It's interesting. My husband credits this practice with making it possible for him to give up an addiction to alcohol...yet he told me that he'd still be masturbating a lot if he hadn't had a mate. Not sure what that all means. Maybe everyone is different, but I like to think that we women have something to offer here, too. Anyway, "Bravo!"

withdrawal....brutal

Today marks the 13th day of withdrawal this time around (I've been in recovery for about 7 years, "on and off"). My addiction involves compulsive masterbation to porn and other sexual (or sexualized) imagry, including my ex-wife, voyarism, and obsessive sexual fantasy about my ex-wife. As much as I have an addiction to pornography, I have developed a powerful trauma-bond/sexual addiction to my....you guessed it.....ex-wife, which is incessant and deeply self-destructive on all levels.

My symptoms are (in order of appearance):

vivid sexual and "longing" dreams about my ex-wife
acting out dreams
terrible insomnia
anger and irritability
deep sadness and grief
pressure and swelling in my genital area
headaches
aches and pains around my body -- neck and arms
increased appititite, esp. hungry at night
deep cravings to want to masterbate, ejaculate
easy slipage into obsessive thinking if not consistently mindful
shifting addiction to, of all things, compulisive online shopping
exhaustion

POSITIVE
more clarity, space within myself, more energy and vigor to take care of myself and do nurturing and productive tasks

interruption of shame cycle; I feel better about myself; higher self-esteem
more able to reach out to others; get out of isolation
more periods of peace and calm
more access to Spirit and spiritual energy (perhaps because, in part, I feel I deserve it)
passion about learning more about my addiction, withdrawal, the neuroscience behind it, and healing modalities to help me through the process

So, as painful as this withdrawal is (and it's still early!!!), I can already feel the benefits from going through this. The key for me is continuing to be present with what I feel, circulating all that energy in my genitals through the rest of my body, continuing to ask Spirit for help and support (turning it over), and reconnecting with my support systems of friends and fellow men and women who struggle with sexual addiction.

Thanks for this forum and blessings to all those who have the courage to face this addiction and commit themselves to healing. I am forever grateful and humbled.

Welcome

Were you by any chance a great lover? I knew another man who was addicted to an ex. He just couldn't let his obsession with her go, and clearly sexual addiction was a big part of the phenomenon. When he would speak openly about her, his comments always seemed to end with "I just don't know why she wouldn't stay with me. The last time we made love, she had four orgasms."

No wonder he was confused. As far as the mainstream press is concerned... what more could a woman want, right??? But, unfortunately, there is that hidden cost...the mood swings and other unfortunate fallout from that wild passion neurochemical ride. After to rich a diet of it, many lovers, male and female, just feel like they want to get away...even if they get seduced into starting the whole cycle anew with the next person.

I don't know why his story popped into my mind when you shared your experience. But if she left in part because you WERE such a "great lover" then it might help you to get over the ache if you realize that you unwittingly drove her away with your determination to engage in constant, addictive passion and climax.

This was the lesson I had to learn, too, and it was a tough one. I just couldn't seem to separate passion and love, even though passion always...eventually...pushed love away. Finally, I got my priorities sorted out. Smile Love was then more important than proving what a great lover I was.

And miracle of miracles...my partners became a lot more generous and loving...and willing to stick around.

Withdrawal......continued

Thanks for your comments, Marnia.

I find them quite interesting. I had an immediate reaction, but decided to reflect a bit more over the past week before responding here.

Today is day 20 of abstinence. I can't believe it! Tomorrow will be three weeks! The worst of the physical symptoms have subsided, I think: that horrible, gnawing swollen pressure feeling in my genitals, headaches and body pains, etc. But the insomnia continues. I find it really difficult to fall asleep when I know I have to wake early in the morning. And then on weekends I sleep in really late to catch up, which really screws up my circadian rhythm -- which I read is, interestingly enough, regulated by....oxytocin. I haven't had a sexual dream about my ex-wife or acting out dream in a few nights though, so that has also subsided a bit.

I still am incredibly "sensitive" and vulnerable visually and it's very easy for me to get triggered by images or when I see my ex. So, I have to be very careful and diligent and ask for help from Spirit or else I can easily can swept away by the chemical flood rushing through my body when faced with a powerful trigger....and it doesn't take much.

The most disconcerting addiction shift is going from masterbation/porn to internet shopping. I can feel my embarrassment and shame in just writing it here. It may sound silly, but I notice many similarities between this compusive acitivity and my sexual addiction: the mind numbing trace, the "rush", the danger taboo of "I shouldn't and can't really afford it, but I want it and I'm going to do it anyway!", the guilt and shame of buying stuff I don't really need and can ill afford, etc. etc.

So, I have a lot of work to do to manage both the withdrawal and recovery process of my sexual addiction, and the "spin-off" addictions which seem to conjure themselves up from the muck of the surfacing burried pain and the seemingly near-constant need for an addictive "fix" my brain and body crave. I guess this is the power of dopamine withdrawal. I'll manufacture it however I can, and not even be conscious that I am doing it. Addiction has made me too smart for my own good!

Regarding your comments, yes, in some respects I was a "great lover" in the sense that I was really attentive, loving and sharing, could always "bring" my ex to orgasm (in fact she would get there faster than me), and never had any problems whatsoever with arousal or performance -- just the opposite, in fact. But as a sex addict, I was obviously NOT a great lover. Real intimacy was often overshadowed by the addictive rush and pay-off. I was never satisfied, at least not for very long (a day or two, maybe). I objectified my ex sexually, and I used sex to try to connect when the connection was not genuinely there. Of course, my addiction to porn was a huge turn-off for my ex, as I'm sure were my attempts to stop and the dishonesty that insued. So, it's hard to say what place the "normal" chemical swings of sex had in our relationship because of the complex interactions of the addiction and co-addiction. And especially towards the end or our marriage, we would go many months without having sex as my ex withdrew from me more and more, so those cycle you talk about weren't really at play.

My withrdawal from being "sexually addicted" to my "ex" is really rooted in a trauma bond and addiction-shame cycle I develped with her. This is a compex psycho-neuro reaction in which people bond with those that abuse them. It obviously didn't start with my ex and goes way back to my childhood -- which is helpful in a way because on some level I know she doesn't hold this magical power over me, just that which I continue to give her.

Anyway, trauma bonds often occur when the victims of abuse, for example survivors of incest or torture, bond with the perpetrators of the abuse as they are in some way dependent upon them for care and support, like a parent or "loved one." In my case, my sexual addiction simply plays out the abuse which the brain (neuropathways) has learned as a survival mechinisam. The brain basically becomes wired for addiction to numb out the pain of abuse, the means of which simply retraumatizes the person and continues the cycle of addiction, shame, and self-abuse. Patrick Carnes has a great video called "Trauma Bonds" if you or anyone else is interested. He makes a lot more sense of it then I can.

So, regardless of "how great a lover" I might have been, really my ex was in reaction to my addiction, disgusted with my behavior, and used shame and abuse to express it because she herself was playing out her own story from unresolved childhood issues. Within this, obviously there is little room for true intimacy.

Now, I have an opportunity for the real me to surface, one free of the shame destroying me and the dispair engulfing my life. It's a tough journey, but I've made it this far. With support of Spirt and others who are healing from this addiction, I know there is hope. As a friend once told me, the only way is through. I'm just not going "through" it alone this time.

OMG!

Spirithead you articulated clearly what I experience in my marriage. It is ending now, horrifyingly for me. But you articulated the addiction cycle and your part in that very well.
I hope you continue your positive assent from your addiction. None of us need this muck in our lives.
Also, the trauma aspect you relate - you say abuse. Mine I think was contributed to by my father's dying when I was 7. I think subconsiously, I tried to protect my mom and not let her get hurt again. I have learned to stuff everything emotionally so the porn was a "dirty little indulgence" for me. I never allow myself outward indulgences because somehow I don't deserve them - but I can get a sneaky "high" every now and then.
I am clawing my way out and so are you. Thank you for your clarity. You have helped me immeasurably.

help!!

Hiya, You seem 2 no quite a bit n wunda if u can help? I have tried many sites wiv my problem but 2 no avail. I'll start at the beggining but b warned please have patience cuz I can go on a bit ha.
I met my partner 4 yrs ago, he had a mag n cuple ov dvds.(xxxxx rated!)
He has always sed e has a low libedo n often turns me down sexually even at the start ov relationship. So wen e moved in wiv me I sed get rid ov them now u dnt need um u got me, I dont want them unda my roof.
4mnths l8r I went in his car boot and found them hid under a bag. He sed well there not unda ur roof!! But I felt betrayed & lied 2, but 4 gave him.
2mnths l8r I borrowed his fone n found a stripper on it. wen questioned e sed he'd 4 got bout it. but wen i had asked him previously e sed he'd neva watched a stripper?
Things like that went on 4 cuple ov yrs phone bill high cuz on tha internet looking at boobs? wen questioned e sed e was curious???? he was 35yrs old???
Then 2yrs ago got a comp n things went mental!!! I ended up with obsession compulsive disorder checking up on him n went councelling. whilst i was at councelling e was using the opportunity to luk at porn on comp!!!!!
i told him e was addicted but neva owned up. He risked the relationship 2 do it cuz I sed I'd end it if I caught him again but still did it! Addicted??? Wat u fink???
I have neva turned him down! cuz I have a very high sex drive so by the time he is wanting sex ive bin ready 4 days! People ive spoke 2 sed "do it urself" but wats the point being 2geva if theres no intamacy??( my opinion)
The grand finale was last May. He works nights I heard him come in and go into garage thort e was avin a fag cuz e sed e wasnt wanking/porn ani more so went down 2 join him. uni 2 walk in on him wiv cock in hand ova a fully dressed pic ov shilpa shetty????????? OMG I sed y her e sed its all we got!!!! I was mortified I had been cuming on 2 him 4 4days n e turned me dwn. What hurt me the most is hes putting me on a back burner 2 do that n wen we have sex he doesnt do 4play!!
So wats up wiv me??
Is wanking beta than the real thing even wen its a wam bam. He makes a joke n says our 4play is him saying brace yourself sheila!!
Its doing newt 4 my self asteem I am pretty & many people have sed I can do beta than him (not 2 his face)
We get on in ALL otha ways but e keeps lying & my trust is at the end. He sed he dunt do it no more our sex life is no different but not caught him since. e sed that 'shilpa' was a slip up n 1 off but e wud say that getting caught. Its making me paranoid and question his truthfullness.
I think wat worries me is e shows no remorse and says all men do it its natural but my argument is they put their wives 1st, it dunt affect them phisically, sexually, emotionaly & the lies!!!
Hope u kept up & can help
Many thanx

Hi Saz,

Sorry you're suffering...and that your partner is, too. I hope that maybe some of the men here can offer their suggestions of how to cope with a partner addicted to porn.

Meanwhile, I'll share something that the men here have taught me. Your partner isn't masturbating because you're not pretty or sexy. The men here have explained that one of the main attractions of porn is the fantasy of a willing, totally accepting partner - an easy, effortless "fix" that leads straight to the "relief" of orgasm. So it's not about you, and you would do well to keep your self-esteem.

An addiction is not logical. It leads people to devalue what is important - such as deep connections with a trusted companion and lover. And it leads them to overvalue short-term relief. The reason they do this is that once someone is caught up in orgasm addiction, the withdrawal symptoms are VERY uncomfortable - as you can see above. Another orgasm is the fastest way out of the misery...even though it makes the misery worse in the long run.

I don't know if there's a way you can suggest that your partner read some material on porn addiction. It's good because it explains the problem in a way that doesn't make the man wrong, and gives him a framework that can help him understand what's going on...and why it's hard to stop. The mainstream doesn't yet recognize that porn can affect the brain like a drug, but there's more and more research that explains why it can.

Maybe if he clearly sees the problem he can find a support group, or join us here...or both.

Here are some places to start:

"Help! Porn Addiction in Progress"
http://www.reuniting.info/resources/porn_masturbation_addiction

"Three Myths about Porn"
http://www.reuniting.info/science/three_myths_about_porn

Keep in mind that, although it FEELS to the porn addict like he has an unusually high libido, he doesn't. He has something like a drug habit. He's "Jones-ing" as we say in the States. He can't satisfy himself for any length of time because the withdrawal feelings in between orgasms are so excruciating (anxiety, irritability, shaking, etc.). He would actually be BETTER SATISFIED by intercourse with you, because that would help balance him, but his addict-mind just tells him that he needs orgasm (his fix) as quickly as possible. He doesn't want to have to fool with foreplay or generosity toward a lover, as that would slow down his relief.

I wish I had an easy solution to offer. Unfortunately the addict is the only person who can address his problem...once he sees that he has one.

That is quite a colorful writing style you have. I'm feeling very out of date. Wink

Welcome to the forum. If you would like your own blog, so you can write about your experiences with this challenge, just let me know.

Thanks for volunteering to be a Companion. Any of you men think you're the right person to support SAZ?

A big hug,
Marnia

thanks

wow thanks very much 4 replying that sounds exactly like whats happening what I cant understand like u said 'quick fix' he's not a generous love maker when it comes 2 4 play and 4play is actually none existence and thats always been my argument with him. I say put as much effort into me as u do urself and ud be an addonis ha
It is hard because we have 2 under 5yr old kids and he's a truckdriver working nights & long hours so it is very much like passing ships not much time 2 gether. So a quick fumble is all I get, thats y masterbating annoys me so much.
4 me its the lies and sneakyness and not nowing if he has even tried to stop the masterbating he has stopped the porn 4 nearly year, well thats last time I caught him but cant be 100% because he spends loadsa time in his truck???
Would he get the withdrawel symptoms if he was getting sex or is the withdrawel symptoms just if not ejaculating at all?
They sound intence I no he hasnt had any ov them symptoms!
Would it be as hard for a man to stop masterbating even if they can get sex on tap weneva they want it?
Now I no Y they say men are from mars Smile

so what do you want to do?

Your partner has to want to change otherwise you are just spinning your wheels.
Our societies like to shame men for their masturbatory behavior, that will never work to draw him closer to you. Why not ask him if you can help next time? Use it as a starting point until you work into a more sustainable heart centered rather than genital centered form of sexuality.
You seem to be in a long term relationship and have spent a lot of emotional energy on this. Getting a copy of the book and going through it is a low risk adventure compared to what you've already invested.
Ultimately, this website is about achieving a more enlightened form of sexuality. Check out the section on testimonials and see if those who are practicing the methods and writing about it have told of anything that you want in your life. It will take a real mindshift on your part.

Luke

Well, it started when I went

Well, it started when I went away for the weekend, and didn't masturbate at all. Before I would masturbate 2-3 times a day. Today would be my 7th day without masturbation, the symptoms came on the the 4th or 5th day.

My symptoms are:
Trouble sleeping
Fatigue
Headaches
Dizziness
Floaters in vision
Feeling of insects crawling under my skin

I tried to masturbate today but I couldn't even get hard. Will these withdrawal symptoms eventually reside on their own? This is killing me.

Not confined...

You are not confined by your experience. You choose your path, destiny. As everyone on here can tell you, I take 2 steps forward and 1 step back. These are some of the same reactions I got. Fatigue, sleep issues, headaches, dizziness, and especially the insect feeling. High anxiety. I had a twitchy eye more so than a floaters.
These feelings pass. Your body is throwing everything it knows to get you to give up. I hope you have not. It gets better.
Praise yourself for your success, you are fighting a lot here! Keep strong. Know you can beat it. And then stay vigilant - sometimes it will raise it's head when you least expect it.
You can do this. Don't give up now.
DO NOT masturbate. I recommend you stop it all cold turkey. You will get through it faster, have less "well it's just a peek" or other justification opportunties, and you will be farther from the addiction cycle.
Eventually you will be able to orgasm again I'm sure, but right now, it is the first step to your regression.
Commit yourself to no masturbation for a period (I recommend a month) and then once you reach that goal - do a little dance - and decide what your next step or goal is in your recovery from addiction.
Make no mistake, this is an addiction like any other. You need to commit to beating it. If you are not 100% ready to give it up, you will slip back. That's ok. Don't beat yourself up, if you slip then you just weren't ready yet. You need to be ready and committed. For some of us, that is hitting rock bottom, losing those that are closest to you, and then rebuilding on the slab of your life that is left.
I ramble now. Good luck. You can beat this if you believe you can.

Keep us posted,

and I hope things ease up soon. Try exercise and connections with others - even smiles, or writing more about your experience. (Do you want "blogger" status? If so, just click on my name and send me a message.)

And as Hotspring just reminded us, be grateful for anything that IS working in your life, and do what you can to help others (it'll give you somewhere to go with all that fiery energy, it will get your mind off your agony...and earn you some nice karma Smile ).

I know these measures all seem woefully inadequate when you're going crazy, but just ignore your resistance and try some of them, and let us know how you're doing.

Remember, things will not always feel this horrible. Meanwhile, check back through the blogs for the advice of others who have been struggling with this same challenge.

A big cyber hug!

My withdrawal symptoms

at first were an initial burst of confidence and mood, although about a week later most of that disappeared. Most of my withdrawal symptoms have included intense emotional swings, intense increase in energy, difficulty sleeping (although this may be due to the cold I currently have), difficulty focusing, increased back pain, and periods of high sexual urges. I am currently at day 15, and since I have been ill, I have not been able to discern whether or not my symptoms are related to my cold or to my withdrawal.

So far, there has been:

*Intolerable lust and desire
*Feeling bright and clear in the morning, (if I have been off the porn), followed by...
*Feeling dark and self-hating by evening, which can make it easier to 'end it all' by giving in to u-know-who (and I'm not talking about Voldemort, but about Mr Lizard-brain who lives down on the next floor)
*Just sadness, wanting to cry.
*Isolation because I hate it how I can't talk about this to any of my friends in the 'real world' because they would regard me with alot of suspicion if i did...it's how society views porn, it's still a taboo subject.

what i really want

Im 6 days clean of porn and my mind is really playing tricks on me today. I got a text from a hooker today which was really triggery for me I have gone to escorts a few times in the last year but have been using Porn daily. and Now that im not using porn my addict tells me thats its okay to use a prostitute! doesnt really make a lot of sense huh? I think that sex addiction has been with me for many years i am a recovering alcoholic/drug addict but think porn really was my first drug of choice and it has been part of my life some degree allways sometimes less and sometimes more. I am sure that it holds me back and keeps me from making real connections with women and developing the kind of relationship i really want. I guess thats what i need to remind my self off today WHAT I REALLY WANT which is a loving relationship based on mutual respect and trust and maybe kids and a family Im 43 so its about time really... All the other stuff the porn the hookers etc its all a big lie anyway a fantasy with no responsebillity and no risks and it comes at a high price of loneliness,shame and isolation its not worth it!
Jut for today i will remember what i really want
J

Hey freedomfighter,

just recently, between days 4 and 6 of my current sobriety from orgasm, I thought that I was 'cured' already, I had no desire for porn or orgasm. Then desire for orgasm crept back in. Now I am tempted again for both. The temptations will not be steady, only your resolve can be steady. Remember, as I have been reminded lately, that it isn't porn or hookers that any of us are addicted to, but the spike of dopamine released in the brain when we orgasm. The other things (porn, masturbation, non-loving sex) are just the vehicles for getting to that place. So try and care for yourself (I know that's hard, I am fighting a habit of actually hating myself), cos even 'practising' care or 'going through the motions' of what caring is about, can give you enough of a spark or vision of what life could be like, to encourage you to keep going.

Toughest Step

This begins my journey of getting back to "natural love". Porn has absolutely wrecked my intimate life and I have to get back on track. Since I have ADD the need for constant stimulation is intense and porn filled that need. Time to adjust. The first few days without the high provided by porn is precisely like withdrawl from a drug. I found myself actually in bed with a low growl resisting the pull to porn. This is by far the toughest thing I have ever had to do but I am going to succeed. I found the senses that respond to natural arousal have become dull through the substitution of a fantasy parallel reality. This reality has taken me over and I have to get rid of it and retrain my senses to respond to a woman without comaring the moment to some idealized world provided by porn. The withdrawl leaves you exhausted, ill, angry and confused. I am still going through it and I hope that this blog will provide an outlet when the addiction strikes. It is good to know that there are some pretty straight talking folks here and that helps alot.

I also am learning how to talk about this openly. This is also very tough for me to do. To open up a vulnerable part of you life to strangers is not fun but I have to get this load off. I can't carry it any more.

Withdrawal?

Hello people, this is my first post.

Withdrawal? Damn, I feel anxiety, guilt, sadness, tingling sensations, difficult sleep... I feel like I want to rip a phone book in half with my bare hands!! The worst thing is that nobody recognizes porn as a real addiction. I once read a poor girl in a forum asking for help and a psychiatrist just answered to her: "Masturbation is a normal thing". Yeah, then why the hell is she asking for help, you dumbass?!

As you can see, I'm also feeling quite moody -_-

my heroes

I was married to a man who was addicted to porn, masturbation and gambling. It broke my heart.
You guys are my heroes, both for your desire to recover, your willingness to be honest about something most people would rather die than talking about, and your fierce determination to overthrow our neurochemical government.
I appreciate you----all of you.
Cariad

Welcome ferjcas!

Sorry you're suffering. I've enabled you to blog in case you want to vent. Here are the instructions: http://www.reuniting.info/resources/bloggers

Yes, it's a shame people don't yet realize porn/masturbation can so easily lead to an addiction. I think it's because a lot of the brain science about addiction is fairly new. People still think of addictions as purely relating to "substance abuse." This is logical, but incorrect at a brain chemistry level. Dopamine and the reward circuitry are key to substance AND activity addictions. I mean, if gambling can be an addiction then surely porn can. After all, sex is Mother Nature's TOP priority, so it should be the easiest thing to get hooked on. Wink

PS We also have some spare phone books. Wink

triggers and relapse

I saw a great film when I worked at a treatment center about relapse. It was geared to the family members of the addict, and it talked about triggering behaviors and relapse--which is why things like eating lunch at a casino when you're a gambling addict or having a soda in a bar when you're an alcoholic is so dangerous. At the time, I understood that it was about dopamine, but never made the connection to sex. It's probably a good thing there's not any (well, not supposed to be any) sex going on in treatment facilities, and also why so many detoxing addicts turn immediately for a sexual fix when they're abstinent from their drug of choice.
I have a phone book or two as well. Let me know Wink
Cariad

I wish to add something

Mmmhhh... Are you flirting with me? Wink LOL

Nice to meet you Marnia and Cariad. At first I was embarrassed to write here, but it's nice to be able to do so because there's nobody to talk about this. I'm F----, I'm a male, 23, and I came to this site because I always knew that this had turned into an addiction.... I couldn't stop watching porn and masturbating. Often I would miss sleep, work, school and social events because of it. I would prefer it instead of dating a real girl. Sometimes I didn't even want to do it at all, but would do it just out of boredom... It's still hard to convince myself when I start to think "Oh, there is nothing wrong with doing it... It's just something natural...". Oh yeah, if it's not an addiction, then why is it so difficult to quit? EH?

I'd like to add to my former list memory lapses, lack of concentration and lack of energy. And that is the worse part, that's what really made me search for help. I'm very talented but I don't get anything done because all the time I'm thinking about sex and feeling too drained to start anything... :( If I continued down that path I'd imagine my headstone reading "F___ - Wanker. Never did anything but himself". It's been just 3 days since I had an orgasm, I have much anxiety but I notice the difference already, and I have noticed this difference many times before. Without masturbation I always have more energy and a drive to accomplish things and meet people.

Till next, I'm now disconnecting and shutting down this piece of crap. Bye! :)

F___

*giggle*

I'm glad you still have your sense of humor. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm very glad you are determined to see what will change in your life when you store that energy a bit more. This planet needs all the talents and gifts we can offer it (and each other).

I took the liberty of editing your post to remove your name. Search engines are so thorough that they have lead to embarrassment for recovering folks.

As you probably know, recovery goes in waves: intense misery followed by refreshing moments of insight and stronger determination. Don't let the "waves" take you under - they're just your body's way of trying to get you some quick relief (and that tombstone you are envisioning Wink ). And if a wave does catch you, just start again. Some can make it in one try, some seem to need to gain a bit of traction first with a couple of tries. Either way, you'll make it if you keep trying.

A big hug,
Marnia

standing beside you

With all due respect, not flirting, but glad you're lol :)
Your willingness to write honestly about what is going on will serve you well as you recover, ferjcas. I look forward to hearing what you are doing with your renewed creative energy. It's a fine thing to have a supportive community, a place where people can listen and offer support and even phone books for your greater good.
Welcome and stay in touch.
Cariad

bottom

I feel like I have hit bottom. I have started seeing a counselor to find the underlying problem with my addiction and seeing a psychatrist again (needed too, but was too proud). I am seperated now from my wife and I dont know if we will ever be the same. I have tried so many times to give it up, but now i am going all out. I am at the week barrier of not viewing porn or masturbating. I am struggling because I still live with my wife and 2 little girls (4 and 6) and she really is hurt and isnt going to be helping me out much except for monitoring the computer. I have no family and too afriad to speak to anyone I work with or know. I am determined to beat this even if my marriage cannot be saved. I hope being able to write my feelings helps because my withdraw symptoms are strong. I feel agitated, restless and tired at the same time. I feel an incredible urge to masturbate through the images of the years of porn in my head. I couldnt sleep because of those urges. Thanks for the forum

Welcome

Welcome, Eddie. I think you'll find us to be a loving source of support. There are some awesome men on the site who have walked through what you are walking through.
I hear your resolve, in spite of the stresses you are experiencing.
One day, one hour, one minute at a time....hang in there.
Warmly,
Cariad

Hi

You're all set to blog if you'd like. Here are the instructions: http://www.reuniting.info/resources/bloggers

Remember...it's just an addiction - a brain chemical imbalance - which can pass. It's not *you.*

And look at the bright side...the symptoms are probably no worse than malaria. Wink Trust that things can settle down...even if it takes a while. Meditation, deep breathing, exercise and prayer can help (some) with the anxiety.

A big cyber hug,
Marnia

been a couple of weeks

I went 2 weeks strong of not looking at porn and then BAM! I felt terrible. My marriage is falling apart but I have started again. I have reached out to people and hoping that the support helps. I still dont know about going to meetings. I might need to since I dont have a willing spouse to see me through. The need to masturbate and ejaculate is so strong. Any ideas on what to do? It has been 3 days clean now.

Good for you

for starting again. And reaching out even when it's going well.

I think meetings would be a great choice. Did you see this post? http://www.reuniting.info/node/1410#comment-3607

Withdrawal is excruciating. And no matter what the addiction, we always crave intensely the thing that *seems* to offer the fastest relief. Remember that you can start your own blog, which will make it easier for us to follow your progress. http://www.reuniting.info/resources/bloggers

Have you been through the resources on this page when you feel the urge? http://www.reuniting.info/resources/inspiration_sexual_addiction_recovery Remember, if you can distract yourself with something helpful, the urge will die down for a bit. Just keep using that strategy...one day at a time.

A big hug,
Marnia

my withdrawal symptoms

I'm not a porn addict but I had some symptoms, too:
- Little animals crawling all over me (one night long, one of the first nights that I was sleeping with sweetheart in my bed)
- Depression
What else? Will add it when I remember.

how long and when...

-the crawling-animals-feeling was night 10 or 11

-Depression as sadness and very attentive to signs of being left alone, very desperate:
During the days of frequently orgasming I felt tired, exhausted, dependend and needy. Very aware of being-rejected-signs. Being rejected increased the neediness, hurt a lot and pushed me into a horrible sadness. Always feeling connected to sweatheart and open-minded/open-hearted in his direction. Decreasing till day 5.
Last mild sign of depression went away with sleeping together after 12 days (no sex) around day 21 (but came back because of being alone then).

-Anger
Started at day 6. I was thinking of breaking up. This went on till around day 21. Or day 13 of being together every night and exchanges.

Thanks.

Very helpful. Most women tend to blame men when they pull away or become irritable, because we are more often desirous of more contact, not less, when the passion cycle kicks in. It's good to see our part of it, too, and how our neurochemistry is also at work.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Although I have come back and forth to this site over a period of 5 or so years and kept up with the newsletter, I have not contributed much, but perhaps I can add some insight from about 45 plus years of binging on erotica/sex and then going through remorse cycles with what I now recognize as withdrawal. i have worked personal programs with addiction counselors and attend SAA, SLA, etc. I also have worked with the criminally addicted professionally--generally drug and alcohol. I have no doubts that I have a porn oriented addiction and that it has grown and shrunk over the years, but it IS real and it is there. I generally crave the 'Jones' as a major sysmptom-my condition when I am using is actually more retched than the withdrawal because I feel withdrawn, unengaged, and generally pretty spacey-coming out of that condition is actually more comfortable for me, although I am pretty cranky (my daughter refers to me as MR PIG, for those of you familiar with the Lion King). I do crave sex and I do crave orgasm and feel as though part of me is suffocating-which of course it is. That primitive brain needs to be fed! I had hopes that my last significant other would be willing to do the "Peace" project with me, but frankly was not willing to make such a committment for her own reasons. Maybe all of this just makes me a day tripper in the sex addiction world, as my withdrawal has never seemed to be extreme, but I can also honesly say that I have had less than 6 periods of orgasmic abstanance since I was about 9-around 49 years ago- which may explain why withdrawal has never been extreme. T

Hi Terry

Glad you're still floating around. I'm sorry your partner wouldn't try the ideas with you.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Warm regards,
Marnia

Another one with unwilling flesh and willing mind :)

Sorry if the introduction is too long... Also, this might not be the best place to post this, but I really don't know where else to go
I've been abusing porn since my early teenage years, which is as good as to say: since I can remember. I'm 30 now, so it's like ... 15 years or so. Of course I didn't understand that I'm addicted until pretty recently, I just thought that this is normal, that this is what people do. I just thought they don't talk about it, but behind closed doors, out the boners come.
Long story short, a few months ago I took a step I've been waiting to take for two or three years now: I became a monk in Eastern Christian tradition, but living on my own, in kind of a modern equivalent of a hermitage, not in a monastery. I'm not sure what I expected... Anyway, in addition to the need to quit porn the problem of celibacy arose. To deal with it, I went on a pilgrimage to Santiago, and for 35 days everything was dandy, and then - wham. An erection that just wouldn't go away. I suppose the "staying clean" was due to stress factor in this case... but it's not going to help forever, is it?
And, yes, of course, I've been asking my spiritual superiors, what to do - and what I get is something like there's a different road to overcome this for everyone, and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for others...
Which is probably true. It just is not very helpful. Maybe now is a good time to say that in the beginning of this year I quit smoking - I was a 30 cigarettes a day person, the kind that couldn't get up in the morning without at least 3 smokes - and a few months later discovered I was becoming an alcoholic. I guess this was some kind of compensation mechanism to nicotine craving. You get one thing under control and then another quickly rises over your head. So I quit drinking any alcohol whatsoever. And now I find I can't go to sleep without exhausting myself in xxx-sites, and when I need to interact with real people, I find that disturbing and stressful. Safety of the Internet, haha. In short, I'm your classical hooked case. Giving up Internet is not an option, since most of my work is done online, and it's probably not going to help anyway... is it?
So I recognized a new problem and stumbled across this site here... and read most of it's contents in like 30 hours or so. And I feel pretty enlightened... and I tried it out immediately. And gave in to cravings yesterday. It was the third day. Don't laugh! Today, with this entry, I start again. And again, if I have to. And again. Symptoms? There aren't any, if you don't count unwillingness.

But the whole situation is already beautifully put into words thus:

I get to go through this whole thing again because I just found your website and decided that this is it for good this time. Porn/masturbation has kept me from reaching my potential. I'm sick of the empty feeling, the hand full of spooge, and that "wow, I'm pretty f*cked up" realization I have as whatever fetish scene I happen to be perusing goes from extremely interesting to absurd in a blink of my pee hole.

Thank you, Star Child

+s+

So far this is my 5th day

So far this is my 5th day and all I notice is just a tough time sleeping. I think in some way my brain related jerking off to sleep time. Isn't there a chemical released after a man orgasms that makes him tired though? Eh, that's it so far.

Yes,

orgasm can knock you out - and there is probably more than one neurochemical change implicated. But as men escape the cycle...so they aren't feeling as anxious and restless due to withdrawal...they find they can go to sleep without orgasm. This is very freeing...even if it's very difficult while you're easing your way through the withdrawal, and returning to your natural balance.

Here's what one man on the forum said:

I do believe that the body excretes cortisol in response to stress - and that fits nicely with my predilection for an "orgasm nightcap" in response to my insomnia (see negative effects above - cortisol too high at night). Two weeks into orgasmic celibacy, guess what, I am sleeping just fine!

More and more, I am less inclined to see my beloved orgasm as the wonderful stress relieving elixir as I once did, given the other consequences so carefully documented here on this site.

http://www.reuniting.info/node/1215#comment-2359

This problem should ease up over time - if you can continue to grit your teeth. Meanwhile, you might try inhaling "peace" and exhaling "horniness." I have used that technique (of shedding a feeling that's not serving me), as for example, by inhaling "peace" and exhaling "anxiety."

This article may help, too: http://www.reuniting.info/science/surplus_sexual_energy