Tortoise added a topic in Sex & Porn AddictionHello, I'm a porn addict.Hello,
(this is probably going to be a long post as it's the first time I've ever posted anything like this in such detail, so please bear with me)
I'm a 44 year old man from the UK whose life has been dominated and defined so far by looking at, collecting and masturbating to pornographic images of naked women.
It has taken me a long time to realise that I can't recover from this alone; I've always kidded myself that my own will power, rationality and lately being more proactive and reading and following the exercises in The Kick start pdf were enough. But they're not. I have been scared to reach out to this forum, but the alternative is much worse: the effect this has already had on my own well-being and happiness, my relationship with my wife whom I adore, and my career/ achievements in life generally.
One of my clearest early memories is that when I was maybe about 6 or 7 (unclear on that) I accidentally found a rolled up magazine that was sticking out of a pocket of my dads coat hanging in a wardrobe. The image visible was of an old Nasa spacecraft; that's what caught my eye, as I was space /sci-fi mad (still am).
As I opened the magazine a saw that there was a naked pin up-picture (evidently this was a magazine that contained "real" articles as well as pictures of naked women, hence the spacecraft). Anyway, I distinctly remember my much elder sister's and mum's reactions to me pulling out this magazine: alarm and panic and unwittingly making a big fuss of stopping me from looking further. This in hindsight was the wrong way to react - I was intrigued - perhaps as much by the dramatic reaction of my family as by the naked picture I glimpsed. Am I not blaming my family for what followed however. It was my choice to seek out that magazine again. Later on I did just that, and found my dad's other magazines badly hidden in a bottom drawer in his bedroom.
Ever since then I looked at my dads magazines, then collected images of naked women in the form of "page 3 girls" cut of the old newspapers my Dad had bought, then as soon as I was old enough to buy them, magazines and later digitally. I have always sought porn as an escape from, well anything really! The normal challenges of daily life I suppose.
Since my early teens and into my twenties I knew it was wrong, but my willpower has always been very poor; guilt over porn only makes my self-esteem worse, which hinders me from achieving in life and makes my self esteem lower, which hinders my progress in life, so I turn to porn...etc. It's a vicious circle.
Since my early twenties I have gone through phases of collecting magazine/images, then feeling awful about it and throwing them away...only to get back on the merry-go-round and collect again.
Several years ago I met my wife, who is from a Northern European country. She is an amazing woman and my soulmate, we love each other very much but she has no idea about my problem. She is a gentle sensitive, demure soul, who is not comfortable with the depiction of sexuality in most film and TV media, who certainly doesn't like pornography, who would not understand my situation and who would be devastated if she knew of my problem. She'd never trust me ever again. Therefore i have to protect her from my this. I am of course, at the risk of sounding selfish, so afraid of losing her.
When it comes down to it; I don't actually LIKE the idea of porn either, the misogyny and objectification of women is at complete odds with the other aspects of my nature. I am a kind sensitive person who in many ways cannot equate or reconcile this addiction with my own values and beliefs. That is good I suppose, for it helps me fight, for I know how wrong and not healthy for me this is, but it has it's barbs in me.
When I moved here to my wife's country three years ago I made a huge effort; I got rid of all my pornography and managed to stay away from it for seven weeks. For me, that is a long time. I didn't know about these (Paula Hall.co.uk) resources then, and my resolve gradually ebbed away. Since then I saw a counsellor. Their advice helped for a while but I have gone through the merry-go-round-like cycle of addiction so manytimes. I'd found that in trying to quit this on my own, I last a couple of weeks and then soon succumb to those familiar triggers, exacerbated by my own insecurities and low self esteem.
Last year we got married. If it wasn't for my addiction, I feel I would be able to face the challenges of finding regular work and getting on and forward in my new life here. I am a creative and talented individual; and I'm lucky enough to have had interesting jobs in a semi-creative/creative field. But I know that if it wasn't for this stone around my neck I could really focus better and achieve so much more. My priorities have changed; I now owe it not only to myself but to my wonderful wife to pull my weight so to speak in my duties as a husband and a productive human being. That cannot happen fully and effectively all the while that this poisonous predilection is controlling me. I know I have a problem, and I want to really fight it.
To that end at the end of last year I started facing up to the problem more seriously and proactively. I downloaded The Kickstart PDF and have followed the exercises in it. Unfortunately my financial situation precludes me from getting any services I would have to pay for, for the time being. Joining this forum in January was another step, but it's taken me until now to have the courage to admit to myself, come here and tell you all: I can't do it alone, I need support.
23 days ago I started the latest of many re-boot attempts. I fully accept that my neural reward pathway is VERY strongly established from approximately 28 years' worth of porn use, but I did find that I was understanding these addictive mechanisms more easily and I felt I was making progress. By day 16 I felt very strong and positive. Then the next day my sub-concious guard must've been down for I made a slip, I looked at an image of a topless model. Every day since then the slips have got incrementally worse, despite that fact that I can feel the progress I'd made up to that point. On the plus side, at no point ever before in my life had I felt the neural pathway ebbing away as distinctly as during that 16 days. That means the techniques WORK, and that the more you try the easier it gets, even if very gradually. But at the same time, the triggers are real, the old habits die hard, so that by today, day 23 I had had what I would describe as a relpase. I collected some images and acted out again.
Whereas before whenever this happened I would feel so despondent that I would start counting the recovery days again from 1, Now I am continuing to count the days because I've realised that the road to success is paved with failure, it's not about either winning or failing at the first attempt. Yes, I feel disappointed with myself but I refuse to wallow in self-pity as I would've done before, as I've learned so much already, even though I know I still need help.
Consider me reaching out in this way as a way of affirming that. I've stumbled, but i'm getting up, dusting myself down and continuing forward.
I would urge anyone in a similar situation to do the same, reach out. It's worth it, you'll feel better.
Thanks for reading this, and apologies again for the length of this post. But as I indicated earlier, it's taken me about 28 years to get to this day!
The journey continues......
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