Rob

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  1. Rob added a post in a topic When its a problem?   

    I can connect a lot with what you say about feeling "dirty" or "seedy" - it certainly wasn't something I was proud of at all. Which I supposed is evidenced by the fact I never told anybody in all my adult life and desperately tried to keep it concealed (and then became very good at lying and covering up which was not really a skillset I wanted). I also thought I had a very high opinion of women, equality, treating them fairly etc. I prided myself on that yet my dirty "habit" ran counter to my public appearance. I am out of integrity and that doesn't make me feel too good about myself. Even when I do good things in my life.
    One thing I learned was that porn usage over a long time (decades) for me introduced a subtle brainwashing almost in myself. My attitudes to people and relationships (particularly with women) would become quite warped or even manipulative. Intimacy would be a big problem for me - I don't mean just sexual but emotionally and authentically because there would be this part of me I was trying to hide or even deny.
    I would also pass up the opportunity to get involved with more hobbies or people for instead staying in alone hunched over my PC for an evening. For many years. That's pretty sad when I look back now at myself. Just the self-enforced isolation and loneliness really.
    After recovery I started realising that what I thought was "hurting nobody" actually affected the time I put into relationships with friends and family. Then I was able to proactively go out and really make a positive difference in those, helping others and myself at the same time. I would blame others for not doing enough but it was actually just as much my fault too but I didn't want to see that or do anything about it. Why bother when porn is there to comfort me?
    Regarding your partner judging you, that's a difficult one. We all want to be accepted for who we are - good and bad. And the fear of rejection and abandonment is very real and painful. So we shy away. And when I would hit a hard problem in life I couldn't solve, guess what I'd do? Yes! Use some porn. Oh dear. Do you see where this is going?
    Think what the other side would look like: imagine you found a way to get porn out of your life, didn't miss it and was building a better life for yourself being totally honest and clean about who you are (good and bad). Imagine then that you could share your struggle and that challenge with your partner. Would she actually think more of you as someone who is courageous and standing up to take the risk to himself personally to do the right thing, even at high personal cost? Would you think of yourself like that, even if she didn't understand and left you? You would be your own hero. You would be a man of strong integrity. That is a powerful and attractive quality in any person. And you could also tell her honestly that she had been a big part of changing your view on it. It can in time become something bonding perhaps.
    That's a nice vision. But I would caution you because disclosing to a partner is a very tricky business as you are dropping a bomb on the relationship. Your fear is real. A lot of tough discussions will arise. It will rock the boat. There are books, advice and people like Paula who can help with that though if and when you feel the time comes. That is a very tough decision that is definitely worth thinking through a lot and only you can know the right answer, nobody can tell you that.
    Most important though I see for you is deciding for yourself if this present situation is OK for you or not. I guess part of you is uncomfortable or unsure because you are on here asking questions. I think Paula also has a questionnaire on here too to help answer.
     
     
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  2. Rob added a post in a topic Hello, I'm a porn addict.   

    Hello,
    I'm glad it was useful for you.
    One of the hardest things I found personally was that I thought I was alone and the only person in the world who had this "dirty little secret"
    I cannot post links here (humiliatingly I am incapable of driving a smartphone) but please search on Google for "Terry Crews Dirty Little Secret" and you will see what I mean.
    But actually, there are quite a few guys out there who recognise this and the drag it has on their lives. So you are very much not alone.
    It's good that you are learning stuff like RUN. Putting that into practice is key. Yes, you need to act. Again the course goes into more detail about that as does Paula's book (plug). The book in fact gives a lot of structure and areas to think about with recovery. I think particularly in helping you understand why exactly you feel draw to porn and the root issues you face personally.
    When I first started out, I used to think there was some magic answer to it that was being held back from me. If only I knew or somebody told me what. But actually it has been about better understanding myself, self-honesty and going through all that learning process. It takes time and perseverance. It is also easy to suffer setbacks, feel despairing and then go back to old behaviour. (Which then makes you feel even worse about yourself etc.).
    Don't be hard on yourself when you slip. That doesn't help you. It doesn't mean it's OK though either. So it's about finding the balance and for me that is about learning and doing things differently. Often I see a lot of guys who are far harsher on themselves than they would be on anyone else. Why? Because deep down, I wouldn't like part of myself etc. 
    It's really positive that you can be honest if/when you do slip up. Because if you're not then it's very easy to slip back into the bigger mental problem of rationalising it to yourself that it's OK or "not a big deal" - it's your health and life so it is a big deal. Us porn addicts are master liars and concealers - not only to others but to ourselves. So the first part of coming clean is about being honest with yourself, which you are doing. So keep it up.
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  3. Rob added a post in a topic Hello, I'm a porn addict.   

    Hello,
    There's a lot in your post to explore, many topics and a lot of common themes I think you'll find we all share. I could connect with a lot of experiences you describe. I can also appreciate you wanting to get it all out and how that flows. Thank you for having the courage to do that.
    Firstly I'd like to challenge one of the ideas you have about this being due to some personal failing or particular a lack of willpower. It isn't, it's an addiction. I went through a very similar process to you and it is common with many addicts, whereby I thought that I wasn't strong enough or couldn't stop. That I lacked the "willpower" to stop. But the truth was that I was going about it the wrong way. Sadly by trying to do it all my own, little did I realise I was repeating the same mistakes that nearly all addicts make. So it's great you are trying something different with the Kick Start. For me, a key insight was realising that the things I'd tried in the past hadn't worked and I needed to try something different, otherwise I'd stay trapped in this cycle forever. The problems you mention like poor self-esteem and fighting yourself and your own beliefs for me were and are definitely related. I underestimated exactly the scale of how my porn use was actively creating those kinds of problems. But the good news is that you can handle it.
    Disclosing to your wife or a partner is always a big decision and event that will have a severe impact on the relationship. Because as you say, there is a violation of trust going on. Different partners react in different ways and there is a strong fear of abandonment. Those are serious and real fears. If and when you want to do this, then know that there are ways you can prepare for it and particularly with professional help or disclosure in a therapeutic environment. Personally the rear stopped me for many years along with my own rationalisations that it wasn't hurting anyone etc etc. So I think it's positive that you can recognise the damage this causes in a relationship - I found that difficult to do for many years. The only real way you can protect your wife from this is to stop completely and take the time and effort to really crack this and recover to become a whole man without porn or sex being used as a crutch in your life. It is entirely about you my friend. That is obviously much easier said than done but it can be done and you will do it. The benefits on the other side are life-changing and incredible. It can open up new ways of how you approach life and regard people.
    I would strongly encourage you to invest more time in yourself. That is the best investment you can ever make. This forum does not have high use but there are good resources here. Paula's real life courses are not cheap but gave me access to something invaluable as well as all the course material, discussion, exercises etc. - real world time and connection with other guys with the same struggles and at different stages of recovery. There are other groups like SLAA who do this too but not in the same way. But don't let that put you off - experiment and find what works for you.
    There are other websites too: yourbrainonporn and rebootnation.org (Gabe Deem). Several other sites too. Reboot Nation has a much more widely populated forum but at all levels.
    Mostly I want you to know you are not alone at all. There are many guys out there in a similar position and many many more worse who don't even realise porn is a problem and ruining their lives in subtle ways. You have made that big leap already. Your next steps are to tool up and get fully equipped to tackle it. I'm actually very excited for you and what lies ahead!!
    A key step is every time you slip or fall back, firstly to stop asap - 5 minutes is better than 5 hours. Then spend the time over the next couple of days to really work out why and what happened but then most important - what you will do differently next time to not get in that situation again. It's easy to think short term here but often the "decision" to act out for me maybe happened hours or even days before. So nipping it in the bud needs careful though early on. You'll continue to have slips and make mistakes - don't ever be disheartened by that, it's natural and normal. The key is you always learn from your mistakes and do something different next time. The hardest failure of all is one you already did before. The main thing is you always keep forward momentum and never punish yourself for working at stopping. Instead of just counting the days, perhaps you can also count the lessons learned about yourself? Each lesson is like a "level up" of your self power which is amplified most of all when you can then later use that lesson in real life to do something different and better.
    Please keep posting.
    Peace.
     
     
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  4. Rob added a post in a topic When its a problem?   

    It's a good question.
    I suppose things to ask yourself about how it affects your life is a good place to start.
    - Are you spending a lot of time on it every day or week that actually you'd rather be spending on other things in your life?
    - Do you feel like you want to stop but deep down find it difficult to do so?
    - Does it impact your life and relationships? For example, would you rather watch porn than have sex with your partner? Or would you rather stay in with porn than go out with friends? Or use porn to comfort yourself when things go wrong in life?
    - Do you feel like it's a secret you need to keep from people and/or nobody knows how much time you spend looking at it?
    - How would your partner feel if they knew? Or a prospective partner?
    - Does part of you ever think (perhaps a bit like smoking or something) that you wished you didn't have to do this? Maybe that you don't always feel fully in control of it?
    - Are you uncomfortable with some of the material you find yourself drawn to? For example, having to look at increasingly more "extreme" material etc.
    - Have you experienced ED?
    Etc.
    Maybe these things are all OK for you. Only you can decide that. I can tell you they weren't for me. But as you say, I was very good at hiding and minimising the impact.
    You're right that our minds condition themselves to deny or rationalise our own behavioural choices. Our minds are good also at not throwing such questions at ourselves.
    I would encourage you to certainly read more about the effects of porn on the mind. Sites like yourbrainonporn are a good place to start. Apart from an hour or two of your time, there isn't much to lose if you are curious. Hopefully it would help answer for you and put your mind at rest regarding whether it is a problem for you or not.
    If you do think it's become a problem for you then you are not alone at all in this and there is a lot of help and support out there to get off it and recover your life back from the negative effects that consume some people. Personally for me, life is very different and more fulfilling without it in many ways and I have become much happier in myself.
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  5. Rob added a post in a topic Hi help needed   

    Hello,
    It's brave of you to be open about your struggles. The theme of escalation is definitely something I can connect with personally and is very common. It can come in many forms for different people. It might start out getting into more "extreme" forms of porn or crossing personal "red lines" or even going further. It's a great wake-up sign for you that your recent scares have highlighted this. For me, that feeling of being out of control with porn and escalation was very scary as it felt like I cannot trust myself or am at least very wary. Obviously it can potentially keep going and getting worse if you don't act to stop. For me, that was one of the most insidious things about this addiction - it made me think I can be in control of it but I was not. Only the shock of being caught and exposed etc. is when reality would creep in and it doesn't look nice.  Things can be a lot different once you can let go of the porn and all the associated anxiety it brings. With some work you can be free of it.
    You've also made an astute observation at the sheer time wasting potential of porn. Many entire months of my life have disappeared to it if I added it all up on that alone, even if there were no other negative side effects.
    For further help, good news - there's a lot of things you can do and resources:
    - Educate yourself about porn addiction, learn how it works both physically and psychologically. There are great resources available on the Internet. E.g. YourBrainOnPorn (YBOP) and Reboot Nation (Gabe Deem). Paula has a book also which is good as well as several other texts on the subject too. 
    - Find other guys to talk to and who can support. When I was using porn for years I never told a soul and thought I was the only person in the world carrying this problem. That isolation in fact is self-defeating yet I found it very hard to admit the porn to others. What a paradox. There are many guys out there both online and in the real world who can help support and guide you, and are at all different stages of recovery and getting their lives back from porn. Many many people!!! Paula runs a real life group as a pay course which I would strongly recommend but it costs money. There are other alternatives like SLAA.
    - And obviously stop using immediately. Put blockers on your phone, tablet and computer etc. For me, that was extremely difficult in the early days but it does get better with time as your understanding and ability to cope improves.
    Please keep posting!
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  6. Rob added a post in a topic Sex addiction and lack of empathy   

    Hello Claire,
    I read your post with great sadness about your husband's lack of empathy and understanding.
    From my own personal experience, I found it very hard to acknowledge the damage I'd done to my marriage. It's taken me considerable amounts of clean time to be able to step back and discuss things calmly with my wife and really dwell in the situation from her viewpoint. It's hard because for me, my own self-loathing and guilt over my behaviour would get in the way. That then manifests as anger, defensiveness or indifference, which would be very hurtful towards her. It's taken a lot for me to challenge that in myself. Sometimes when I can empathise, it's a very difficult place for me to be in as I can feel how much hurt has been caused by the many years of lying and undermining of trust. More weirdly still, it would be easy for those difficult feelings then triggering me into wanting to act out more... ! 
    It may sound brutal but for me, us separating after she had an affair was the rock bottom point where I realised things cannot go on. As an addict, I just wanted a quiet life where I could continue acting out really without needing to change or be bothered much by demands from real people and the real world. While things "kind of" worked, I was "happy" to go on - or rather, not sufficiently motivated to change. It was a horrible place to be but had become so ingrained into my thoughts at every level. This is the "bubble" you might hear addicts talk about. Only by spending a lot of clean time outside the bubble and with my own thoughts without distraction have I been able to work on myself. From there, I start to be able to see things differently. Rather than my wife angrily pointing out (correctly) my behaviours and the defensiveness etc. Strangely and interestingly, the longer I've spent away, the less angry and defensive I am etc. Continuing to use porn really makes your head very very screwy. But it takes a long time and commitment as well as being able to look at yourself objectively but crucially not judgementally or critically. That is all work your husband needs to put in though. You are not going crazy.
    Us addicts fundamentally do not have a good healthy relationship with ourselves. So until we can develop that, we can't offer it to others. For me, part of recovery has been working that out. 
    It's completely understandable that you find this lack of empathy as upsetting and frustrating because it's a core part of a healthy intimate relationship for most people. All the distress and hurt that goes with it is very hard to bear. Above all, just as your husband has to sort out his problems and learn to take care of himself properly, you have to look out for yourself too and find support however you can. My wife particularly found it very hard to be able to talk about it to friends and has found it isolating because of that.
    Peace.
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  7. Rob added a post in a topic Porn Blocker - Linux computer - Help!   

    Hello,
    Apologies for taking so long to reply. I hope you're still there and reading this.
    Try: https://netresponsibility.com/
    I think it's in the main repository (sudo apt-get install netresponsibility) and runs an installer script which you need to configure with an account (add one first on the Website). If it's not in the main repo these days then certainly there'll be a PPA somewhere.
    Net Responsibility is technically quite sound and difficult to circumvent once installed but it's not that fine-grained in what it reports and it's only tied to that one machine/account. So, if you're sharing different logins with family members it might be tricky (I don't). Ideally, someone (me) needs to reverse engineer and port over Covenant Eyes which is the Gold Standard but sadly no Linux support.
    Generally, if you run Linux you're likely tech-savvy which means you know your way around things or other backdoors. I won't list details here. But suffice to say, a layered defence is the best approach. So I'd recommend also:
    1) Enable parental controls and adult content filtering on your ISP for your home broadband connection and all mobile devices you have access to.
    2) Configure OpenDNS Family Shield filtering on your home router. This is very good and easy to setup and stops a LOT (including indirect routes like proxies/anonymisers): https://support.opendns.com/entries/46060260-FamilyShield-Router-Configuration-Instructions
    3) Enable "Safe Search" by default in your Google profile and on your mobile devices. (Annoyingly they seem to occassionally revert this when it's updated on Android from time-to-time so check it's enabled periodically in the settings).
    4) Restrict Android Play Store to PEGI7 or PEGI3 (Child Safe) so you don't download any applications which can be used as a substitute or give other paths for acting out. Set a random PIN that you won't remember.
    This way, you have to disable several safeguards to get to porn and hopefully if you find yourself going down that path then you can check yourself before it becomes full blown. That is, the best course of action is simply to switch off your computer and walk away for 20+ minutes (RUN) and do something else until you don't feel triggered anymore.
    There are obviously other physical things you can do too like placing your computer in a family-public location. I know also indirectly of one guy who put his PC by the window with no blind/curtains deliberately.
    Ultimately, none of these is going to be 100% foolproof in stopping access to sexual content - that's down to you. But they can help you.
    Also consider changing your browser homepage or bookmarking: https://emergency.nofap.com/
     
     
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  8. Rob added a post in a topic Sex & Porn Addiction - Here to help   

    Hello,
    Thank you for sharing. It's always good to read from someone who is making a positive difference in their life and changing things for the better. I wish you continued success.
    I can connect a lot with the psychological battle you felt you faced. The opening up of feelings after stopping porn and the emotional repression for me was a huge event and has taken many months. It's still an ongoing journey and not an easy one at times. Shame, guilt and hiding behaviours and being secretive - all these things are so damaging not only to those you love but also to yourself. So, I am glad you are finding a better place.
    Perhaps you could share some of the tools and tricks or tips you've found helpful to coming off porn? I believe having some plan is critical to long term success and ensuring that we don't slip back into old patterns, which can be all too easy after the initial relief of coming clean.
    Peace.
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  9. Rob added a post in a topic Addicted to Porn and Webcams   

    Hello,
    You're not alone.
    Firstly, it is really good you are reaching out for help and wanting to change things. There is help out there and many other guys who suffer similarly. You sound quite out of control and things can be different in time. I can sympathise with the pain and sadness you must feel about this.
    I found personally trying to fight this alone is very very hard - impossible. I would like to strongly encourage you to seek out some real life support groups and trusted friends where you can talk to other guys like yourself and me who can help you cut this out of your life and work towards building a better life you want without these behaviours. You are not defined by watching porn or cams - you are much more than that as a person. Places like SLAA offer a supportive and safe environment where you can talk about these things openly and get the tools to cope and transform over time. Paula also runs real life support groups which I have benefited from tremendously but they do cost money. Making that committment just to start and to go weekly to talk can make a big difference in just a few months.
    Just by posting here you are showing a lot of courage in facing up to things and wanting to make a difference. That is really critical. You're doing a good thing for yourself. It's not easy but there is a better life waiting that you can build for yourself.
    I'd also encourage you to read and educate yourself more on the problems of porn addiction. Gabe Deem has some great online resources and http://www.rebootnation.org has some good online forums (much more frequented than here). These are useful but no substitute for talking to real people. Getting over the shame and opening up can be extremely hard when you've kept this all to yourself for so many years but you can release it.
    Peace.
     
     
     
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  10. Rob added a post in a topic A year into recovery   

    Hello PJ,
    Thank you for your honesty and courage in posting here. I really appreciate hearing from someone who is further down the path than me and would hugely benefit from you sharing your experiences through your past year of recovery - the highs, the lows and important lessons you learned.
    I can relate to many things you touch on here - being inside the porn bubble and definitely about not doing it alone. Without a doubt, that has been the single most important part of my recovery so far. Not just in doing Paula's recovery course and having a framework around addiction and understanding what I need to do but also - critically - becoming open and honest with other guys in the same boat and being able to empathise and support each other through the feelings we all struggle with. I tried for over ten years to deal with things on my own and I know I can't do that. It just doesn't work for me. I can't go it alone. I need other people and there are many other people like us out there as well as professionals who want to help.
    It's a brave thing to do to open up and disclose to your wife. I know first hand that puts huge strain on a relationship and I think all partners need help as well to cope with it. It's a life changing revelation for both sides.
    I wish you the very best in continuing your recovery and hope greatly you can share more of your experiences.
    Peace.
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