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Rob

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Everything posted by Rob

  1. Hello, Welcome here. I didn't watch the video but the topic of masturbation is an interesting one. Often guys on reboot forums will encourage a period of abstinence after you've decided to be free of porn. In my experience, this can help decouple the body's natural physical urges from the purely mental/emotional and dopamine based urges. For me, these two became totally cross wired when I was a porn user and it is near impossible to tell them apart without a lot of improvement of your self-awareness. That is why guys like Bean will say they have a massive high sex drive - actually what is going on is they have a massive high urge to use porn which is something very different. I used porn long enough that I honestly had no idea what my real sex drive was and it took me a lot of clean time to work that out. It gets very very confused. So I definitely don't want to discourage you because I think there are many valuable lessons to be learned about yourself from this. However one thing I disagree with is the notion of needing massive willpower. This is a a big fallacy in my experience and does not work for several important reasons. This approach of The Willpower Method is what nearly everyone tries when they first encounter this problem. I did, most do. The basic approach goes something like this: if I can hold out long enough then the desire to use porn will go away. But you are fighting with an addiction here. It is rather like saying, if I can hold my breath long enough then the desire to breathe will go away. No it doesn't, you would just pass out even if you could. And the same thing happens if you use this method with porn. It creates a sense of deprivation and because of that is doomed to failure. If you believe you are still getting something - anything at all - out of the porn, then why deny yourself? So The Willpower Method itself is like saying, "I will deny myself this (precious) thing porn I crave and if I am strong enough, then I will be cured." But how do you know your willpower holds? Only when it doesn't. So you're going to be strong willed for what? A week? A month? A year? Keeping on denying yourself the porn you still remember as being so much fun or giving you some benefit... ? What do you think non-porn users do (people who have never had our problem)? They sit there all day thinking "I must not look at porn today... I must have more willpower"??? No. They get on with their lives, and you will too. This is why I think The Willpower Method does not work - it reinforces the sense of denial and deprivation strongly, because part of you still feels entitled. The mental brainwashing is still firmly in place. Or worse, I would go around moping and being irritable or miserable because I "can't" use porn (says who?), which usually leads to more stress, confrontation and back to porn again. It is the pathway to failure. I speak from experience. InsteadI would encourage you to explore your addiction more. By any and all means necessary. Really look hard and detailed at what you do when you use porn and why. This may take you weeks or months but this is really where you are best off investigating your willpower. I would not even necessarily tell you to stop using before then but it is good if you can. The main thing here is look at every single possible "positive" thing you think you get from porn and then destroy that reason, research it, learn, find alternatives - whatever you need to reverse all that brainwashing. Read more books, websites, do therapy etc. Only when you have destroyed and annihilated every reason to use porn will the desire be gone. Then you can accept it is doing absolutely nothing whatsoever for you, and instead celebrate and rejoice every single beautiful day of your life where you are no longer punishing yourself with this self-inflicted slavery to porn and masturbation. Peace
  2. Rob

    Recovery story

    Hello Cat, I can't quite believe it's taken me two weeks to write back and that I missed your post earlier. Thank you for sharing such an honest account. It's difficult reading in places because I can connect with the painful and troubling parts of that process - the backwards and forwards steps of progress and reality coming back to bite at times, as well as the huge damage it inflicts on relationships. It also amazes me that you've been committed to having a much more healthy lifestyle for such an extended period of time. That gives me hope that true long term recovery is possible because I still see many guys (and feel myself) that there is often a slip up around the corner or having difficulty even after a period of years with relapsing. Your experiences around this are particularly interesting in this regard to me. Anecdotally, it seems rarer to find women with this problem appearing on recovery forums and around these groups. Some other sites like Reboot Nation do have a women's section in the forums where you might have more luck finding people. Thank you again for posting this, it's quite encouraging. How long have you been clean for and would you also be willing to share some of your insights and experiences around longer-term recovery? I'm curious - did you do Paula's course? Peace
  3. Rob

    Being fair to myself

    Hello, Your situation is difficult and I'm saddened to hear about it. Rationally, whatever your boyfriend is doing (or not doing) is not something you can control. It's up to him to stop and get help for his behaviours. I appreciate emotionally it may not feel like that to you or you might blame or question yourself somehow. But it's not your fault in any way and you're not doing anything wrong. Another way to look at it would be actually that you cannot do anything right because he is going to carry on his regardless until he can find enough help to stop. That's huge strain on any relationship and especially if you've already had one prior serious relationship with a porn addict already I can only imagine what you're going through to find out about your current boyfriend's problems. I hope you can find people who can support you, particularly as this is triggering problems for you of depression and anxiety, which are also tough things to handle on their own regardless, let alone with your boyfriend's problems to worry about too. You have a lot on your plate and anything you can do to help yourself and take better care of yourself I think is a good thing for you, for example, finding a therapist or a group to help you handle and cope with these things. I think this is the most important thing for you - to look after yourself as best you can and be well. Often I believe partners can feel isolated by being unable to talk to friends or family about these problems, which complicates finding a suitable outlet and you're left trying to contend with all this alone. It's positive your boyfriend can talk about it and be open during some discussions but keeping up the lying sounds damaging and I think he would benefit from accepting that he cannot handle this on his own - he is addicted and needs help for that. That's something he needs to choose to do for himself ultimately and takes a time and effort to achieve. The stories of other partners here and their input on here is also particularly illuminating. I'd like to encourage you to read some if you haven't already. Again, I'm sorry to hear about all your troubles and hope you find some more help here and outside too. Peace
  4. Hello Hannah, I think disclosure is a very tricky topic and the questions and issues you've raised are all valid. Personally I don't think there's an absolute right or wrong answer and it comes down to exactly what the couple are like both as individuals and their personal histories. There are many complicated and often conflicting factors which you touch on. I think if the partner asks then what exactly are they looking for by doing so? What is it that really matters? These sorts of questions can help guide what to include in disclosure and what not too. I think it's all too easy otherwise for the addict to otherwise just dump everything out leaving a whole load more mess for the partner to cope with. I was very wary of this with my wife. These are probably questions that a therapist is better placed to work out with you based on your own personal experiences and situation. When I disclosed to my wife, I spent quite some time working out what to say. I wanted to stress that my problem with porn had predated our relationship and was nothing to do with her or us. I also wanted to let her know how often and when I had acted out. She was more interested in the details of what I would look at. This is a source of shame for me and how useful is that to know? That e.g. back in 2011 for several months I went through a phase of being really into this type of porn or that type. Those are things I work on personally in individual therapy. That's on me yet I found telling her even some parts caused much stress. It depends very much in what you define a "secret" as - is it something substantial (behavioural, like not really stopping or having difficulty, or minimising) or something that is a facet or detail? So personally I concluded that there is a point of having too much information. What is important to me more is that I do not minimize what I did e.g. by pretending less went on or for less time than it really did. I suppose that's stopping lying to myself first and foremost. Now you might rightly critique my position as being unfair on my wife to not tell her every detail she asks for - after all, I do know everything (memory permitting) - and perhaps you're right. Maybe you might even say that comes from an position of insecurity in me - and perhaps you're also right there too. But I've felt we've learned much more about each other by exploring where the questions come from and finding other ways (or maybe even direct ways) of providing that information. For me this about being honest with myself and emotionally honest and engaged with my wife to have conversations that we never had before. That is I suppose to rebuilt some trust in a different way. My personal circumstances are also probably quite different from yours as I was motivated to get help after I discovered my wife was having an affair and we separated. So again for me this boils down to being less about what you should or should not do and more about pragmatism and finding a path that works for you. But maybe you cannot live like we do and you're the kind of person who needs concrete hard facts and nothing else. That's for you to say, I don't know you. There's certainly nothing wrong with that in any way whatsoever of that's what you need. Again I would recommend taking that through with a therapist to help guide you. Peace
  5. Rob

    Need Help

    Hello, It sounds as though your girlfriend needs her own support and is finding this very difficult to deal with, which is very understandable and particularly as she's been in a relationship with an addict before. I think while you're trying to get help yourself and sort out your own issues, it's very difficult for you to be able to give that support to her, as much as you both might want that. If your girlfriend is self harming then that's something very serious and I think she needs to find some help for that for her own sake. It must be horrible to experience and you mention the guilt this creates for you too. It's a complicated thing. Ultimately though you are not responsible for her behaviour any moreso than she is responsible for yours and your problems. The only thing you can control is yourself and how you handle yourself. I think it's positive that you've been able to be honest and open about the issues and questions in your mind. That's so important because often the lying and hiding will cause serious damage to relationships over time. Equally disclosing everything can be very shocking and difficult for a partner to hear even when prepared for it. Finding the line between being honest about what's going on for you without causing more harm and finding people you can safely explore these issues can be a minefield in personal relationships but there are professionals out there who can help. Recognising also that you're not in control I think is a powerful insight on your behalf. That's an uncomfortable feeling and not pleasant, I know from first hand experience. It's good you're able to be honest with yourself about that and not get drawn into denial. You're still a young man and have a lot of time ahead of you to change your life and understand this problem and tackle it. Getting to the bottom of why you feel compelled to do it and what you get out of it can give important insight into tackling it. There are resources online to help you do this (e.g. the sticky help links thread) which can be very useful. Often by the time you're feeling out of control it's too late, so this is about better understanding the path you go down before you start going into the porn bubble, recognising the early warning signs and heading the problems of early before they become bigger and you lose control. I hope this should help better educate you about what's going on and help learn to take better care of yourself. Alongside that, I firmly believe there's no substitute for connecting with people who understand in the real world too. I'm really excited for you in a lot of ways because you're tackling this early on in your adult life, unlike myself and many others. So you have even more time to enjoy all the great benefits of living clean and growing as a person. Keep at it, you're doing a great thing for yourself even though it may not feel like that sometimes in the short term, you will never regret any time you spend learning more about this and tackling it. Peace.
  6. Rob

    My porn addiction

    Hello, There's a lot you've written down here. Thank you for taking the time to share it and to put down some details of what sounds like difficult childhood experiences that you went through. Firstly I'd like to stress and challenge one of the earliest points you make about being alone and trying to sort this out by yourself. Having tried to do the same thing myself (I think for nearly everyone who has this problem it's the first and natural reaction) and failed for several years, I really underestimated how much I needed the help and support of others. Asking for help is definitely not an admission of weakness - in fact quite the opposite I believe. I can identify a lot with many of the difficulties you talk about, struggling to try and make sense of it and break it down. And also trying most of all to be free from the compulsion. Doing that on your own is like trying to fight a secret battle with yourself that nobody knows about. I've tried and failed to do that. I dearly do not want you to keep suffering like I did while you try to crack it alone. In many ways, addictions are about isolation and fighting alone is in some ways staying inside that isolation. So what's the alternative? I think finding people you feel able to safely share your struggles with and working through it with help and understanding. Be that through one on one therapy, group therapy or meetings like SLAA etc. That's a hugely difficult thing to do and may feel very frightening initially but for me it was invaluable in working out why I was behaving like I did. Most of us want to just focus on stopping and how to stop, say no, have more willpower etc. But this focuses on many ways the wrong way round at the problem. You know how to stop really - that's so easy, you just don't look. So the real question to ask is why you do it, why you feel compelled and what it is doing for you. From there, how to get those needs better addressed so you don't need porn and sex when life is difficult. There's a whole range of detail and levels to understand but I really think that having someone to guide you and explore is so important. The feelings of anger also you express I can strongly connect with. I used to get very angry when acting out. Even raging. At everything and everyone. It took me a long time to understand that. It was part of feeling distressed and out of control for me. I really hope you can continue to come here and share your thoughts and feelings, and that it's useful for you. Peace
  7. Rob

    New Here, My Story

    Hello Phil, I hope this can be a safe place for you to share those thoughts. They are not easy to get out but personally I've found it important and helpful to do so. Otherwise that stuff just all stays bottled up until it blows up. I'm not sure that everyone attaches shame to watching pornography or masturbation. I suppose it depends very much on the relationship someone has with it. For me, it was more about feeling very much out of control and being secretive about it. I think it's that which then created the sense of shame inside me. I was stuck inside a vicious cycle. The point where I believe societal attitudes complement that is around the privacy people tend to have over their sex lives and sexual behaviour because these are very deeply intimate and personal things. For me it was very much about that hidden and secretive behaviour, and sex is a great way of doing that because unlike say alcohol or drugs, it naturally all occurs behind closed doors. People don't question something which is expected to stay very hidden. Yet in my case, this lead to a breakdown of personal integrity also as my online behaviour would be very much at odds with my character and ideals. Peace
  8. Rob

    New Here, My Story

    Hello Phil, I think you're very brave and honest coming here and laying out your fears. Not a lot of guys do that and wait until things really explode or they get caught before they try to make a change. Thinking through the consequences and what you can lose can be a very powerful motivator and I think it's a kindness to yourself to be thinking like that. It's a courageous thing to ask for help because it's not easy to do yet really vital to living a happier life. You're definitely not alone with these struggles. I can connect a lot with your background, growing up and not seeing porn as a problem. I have a similar story about how I got started and the guys I know do also. I would use pornography and masturbation to self-sooth when times were difficult or I was stressed, anxious or all sorts of stuff. Often though, in the moment I'd find it hard to recognise and identify those feelings. And directly, like you, I didn't suffer from ED or other problems you hear about. So there wasn't outwardly anything that really was "wrong" - at least on the surface... For me, the issue was more around feeling compelled to look at porn and not being comfortable with that or really even feeling in control of myself. That was the root of it. I didn't want to feel pulled in the way I did/do to porn, not being in charge of my thoughts and body. After being clean for some time, I started to realise the more subtle effects it had on how I viewed women (and how women viewed me). I am/was also a "nice guy" (a whole topic there!) and would have great trouble crossing the boundary from my head fantasies into reality that would stop me. But other guys are different though, that's just me. Another thing you touch on is not feeling like porn is a bad or outright negative thing in your life. There is no moral judgement here - whether porn is good or bad, helps peoples sex lives or ruins them, or whatever, is neither here nor there to me. All I know is that I personally cannot handle it sensibly and it is very detrimental to my mental state if I start looking at it and masturbating to it even more so. I think of it rather like gambling or alcohol - some people can pick it up and put it down at will but for others it creates a huge problems. It's my relationship with porn that I know is a bad thing for me, not porn itself. I just need to stay away from it to keep my life and mental state in good order. I think the hiding of the behaviour is tough too and can easily lead to shame. I thought for a long time, I was the only person who had this problem and in many ways I didn't want to think of it any other way. It's that feeling that I was constantly having to hide part of myself from everyone, even my wife and closest friends. And that plays heavily into the feelings of loneliness that you astutely talk about. You sound like a very sensitive guy who is aware of the effects and has thought about it - I wasn't so savvy and I had to get my head buried in a lot deeper for a lot longer. I've heard addictions even being referred to as "diseases of loneliness" and for me this is something that resonates strongly. I know when I used to use porn, I would isolate myself from friends and family to a huge degree, physically and emotionally. Trying to rebuild intimate and honest relationships with people has been part of recovery for me and that's much easier when you don't feel like you have hide part of yourself, particularly bits which you may feel vulnerable sharing. But equally finding safe people to open to is a tricky thing too - that's where I think help groups were very beneficial to me personally. To me, you're treating your experience with nearly being caught in the right way - as a wake up call. The consequences are terrifying but it doesn't have to be like that and you can change and be different. I'd like to encourage you to spend some time understanding things better and more background. Then you can hopefully identify where you are and how to take it further to get help: Paula runs group sessions which I found a good way of working through this. There are also other groups like SLAA too which are worth checking out. Similarly you might want to consider one-on-one therapy with a counsellor to help answer some questions and work through it. Whatever works - there's no hard and fast right or wrong here, it's just about you getting to a better place and knowing there is help out there. It's really important to remember you're not alone and do not have to work through this on your own. In fact, I would go so far to say as one of the biggest causes of failure for me was to try and do it all alone (and nearly everyone tries it this way too so don't feel bad about that). I can tell you from personal experience that is both a depressing and fruitless path that I dearly hope you don't have to experience. Thank you again for sharing your experiences here and being brave enough to write it all out - I know it's not easy and I really hope things can improve for you. Peace.
  9. Again I am so sorry to hear what a difficult time you're going through. It's a huge amount to handle and I hope you can be kind to yourself and find the support you need. I worry that you blame yourself in some ways or maybe think you are making it harder for your husband. You're not to blame in any way for his behaviour and you certainly have every right to be angry or upset towards him over his behaviour. Ultimately he has to learn to get help and manage his behaviour and feelings no matter how bad his life gets, porn is not an option for coping. Personally, I try hard not to see myself as a bad person but instead as a good person who's done bad things. Otherwise I know I can easily start down a path that drives me back self-loathing and to wanting to act out. For me, the test is always not so much what (bad) I have done but how I have handled it and learned from it. That is truly listening to my wife, being emotionally honest, making amends and doing things differently. I cannot change the past and what I've done. When I started admitting I had a problem, I did so in part because I was terrified my wife was leaving me. That is a powerful motivator. I also thought that I could do Paula's course and then be fixed in a few months. The truth is more that I need to do this for myself (it improves the relationship as a side effect) and it is never done but instead a journey down a different life really. Your husband sounds in a bad place and I can connect with that. I really hope he can find some help that works for him in whatever form that is. Equally I really hope you can get the support and care you need at such a difficult time. I think one of the hardest things to cope with is that the person you normally turn to for support in life cannot often help and is indeed part of the problem. The shattered trust and isolation is very difficult. Again I am so sorry to hear all this, it's very sad. I hope as well that some of the other partners here can offer you some advice and support. Peace
  10. Hello Nanook, I'm ever so saddened to read your story. You sound devastated and understandably so. It sounds like your husband has a lot of work to do, and blaming you somehow for his problems is not taking responsibility. The patterns of denial and minimisation like you've experienced are sadly common. But this doesn't mean that's ok or you have to accept it at all. His problem is his problem and not your fault in any way. He has to deal with it and it's nothing about what you do or how you treat him. Really that is tantamount to him saying "you made me do it." Really!?!! I think he has to find a different way. It's easy also for his guilt and self loathing to drive him paradoxically back into the porn too. That may sound crazy to you but it is in some ways the most reliable (if dysfunctional) coping mechanism he has come to rely upon in times of difficulty. That is a big risk that many addicts have to face but again he needs to learn ways of managing that. But again I will stress that this is on him and you cannot fix it or control it, only he can. I also find it a bit worrying that he wants to get rid of his internet access for you alone because although I can appreciate he may be very frightened of losing you (no matter what it might appear externally) he really needs I think to be getting far away from porn first and foremost for himself and his own self respect and integrity. Motivation is really critical because it's what keeps him going. Otherwise this becomes an extension of "you made me do it" that is, "and so you will fix it for me." Which is equally broken and places an impossible emotional burden on you. He must learn to take care of himself. Addictions create warped mindsets in those who engage in them and a lot of things he may say or do, I suspect may not seem rational or even make much sense to you. Denial, minimisation, projecting anger and deflection etc. He needs to get clean and with that I hope regain his empathy. That can happen with time and work. And equally it's very important I think for you to get the help and support you need too. I'm really glad you can reach out here and see you are not alone and hope you can find whatever help you need out in the real world too. Trying to bear all of this on your own is a huge thing to carry and please do not underestimate that. It is a life changing thing to discover that alters fundamentally views of relationships and trust. Living with and trying to accept the damage and rebuild is a terribly difficult thing to do, through many good days and bad. There are other partners and help out there who either know first hand or have strong experience and skill in helping you through troubled times. I truly hope you can both find the help and support you both need to work through this and again I am terribly saddened to hear all your upset and the hurt caused. Peace.
  11. Rob

    Tell parents?

    That feeling of guilt I can relate strongly to. For me, I think it's attached to the shame and it takes a long time to diminish. But working to let go of that and forgive yourself is well worth working at. Because otherwise it's easy for those feelings to drive you back to wanting to act out. In some ways is it part of the cycle but you are free of that now and can look forward to better things. Everyone does things in life they regret or feel bad about, some bigger than others. You know better now than you did then, in so many ways. From the guys I know and see regularly (and my own personal experience), I think it is quite common to want to disclose to unburden yourself - a kind of confession to get all those things out that you have been keeping in and particularly might be ashamed of. I believe personally that's a good thing for an addict to have a safe place to be really honest without judgement. But absolutely critical is who you are honest with and who you tell. If you can share with a therapist or support group then these people in my experience can really help that unburdening process during recovery - you need a safe place to get this stuff out and explore it, to understand it and make sense of it. Those people in a suitable environment are the right set of people to do that with. However, doing that with people unprepared for it or with close personal relationships is a very different thing that requires much more careful thought and consideration because it's so easy to hurt and harm, create more problems or unburden yourself at the other person's expense. This is why I think it's important to ask why always and examine your own motives. I think the key thing is you keep up the good work on yourself with your recovery. If your parents or others can help with tangible things then asking for that kind of help is the responsible thing to do. If instead you feel like you more need a place to share then perhaps finding somewhere else is more appropriate for that. Peace
  12. Rob

    Tell parents?

    Disclosing to people close to you is a very difficult thing to do. There are therapeutic approaches too which can help a lot. I think a good question to ask yourself is why you want to tell her? I think being honest with yourself about that can help guide you. I am 40 so don't feel accountable to my parents in that way. But I did disclose to my wife for a lot of reasons: I thought she was leaving me and wanted to be honest hoping it would bring us closer (my own insecurity), I also felt very guilty and wanted to come clean (unburdening myself onto her) and I suppose I wanted her to change and fix the problem for me (not taking responsibility). So my motivations were mostly selfish at the time and I wasn't really thinking about the true long term effects on her. It hasn't all been negative (we're still together 2 years later and working at it) but probably the only legitimate reason I think now is the honesty. Unfortunately it's not possible to disentangle that from all the other baggage. Hence why I think talking it through with a professional can be very useful. You can never "untell" people afterwards either so I think it makes sense to think it through a lot and really scrutinise your motives before you do so. Sometimes the other person can also be holding in their own issues that you don't know about either which can make it harder still. I think it's very positive that you want to be honest and open having carried this around for so long, that is a good thing I believe. But I would advise being cautious is how exactly you go about doing it and getting enough support for yourself before doing so. It is great to want to be honest though. I also disclosed to my sister and a couple of close friends. I think the motivation I had there was generally more positive and I feel these are people more able to closely support me without me hurting them through my behaviours (unlike my wife). It was still scary but everyone I have disclosed to has been supportive. The first time I disclosed was to Paula (before my wife) and then afterwards I went on to get help in group sessions. I got a lot of the sense of unburdening and support from those sessions - basically what I was trying to seek from my wife but it was very unrealistic and unreasonable if me to expect from her (it's not her job).
  13. Rob

    Back to London

    Hello, It's great to start over with a new chance and do things differently. I wish you every success. I think understanding when and how you get into such a "bad frame of mind" is really important to stopping yourself going back down the old paths of coping by acting out. That's tricky to do sometimes but if you can spot that ahead of time and realise you are getting in a vulnerable place then you can do something about it before it gets too bad. You also list a lot of healthy habits there but sometimes I think it's necessary to give yourself permission to be less restrictive at times and have fun when it is nothing to do with sex. Finding hobbies and activities can be a lot of fun in itself. For me, I found I need something and I'd I try to be "good" all the time or be needless then it just gets bottled up more and is a trigger to acting out. So I definitely need things that are mine. As long as those hobbies are safe, without shame and in the open then all is well. I would really like to encourage you strongly to stay away from places and areas where you used to go and act out. Because I know from experience that going back there becomes a big trigger in itself, even if you're otherwise feeling fine. It can easily destroy hard work especially at the beginning where things are so fragile in recovery. Further, for me, a critical part of recovery has been keeping away from any and all sexual fantasy and thoughts as much as possible and avoiding masturbation. Different people are different here but I found me always gently guiding my thoughts away from any sexual fantasy helps tremendously. Just being aware of that made me realise actually that I used to think about such things a lot but not really acknowledge how much time and distraction it was. It continues the porn fantasy in the mind, even when you are not acting out. So, if I let the fantasy thrive, it will keep the battle in my mind going on and on. I am fighting myself. Peace
  14. Rob

    My first step

    Keep it up, you're doing good wanting to change and educate yourself. It's an important step and I hope pushes you forward to even better things. You can do it and it's great!!
  15. Rob

    My first step

    Hey, It's good you recognise this problem and want to change. Things can be different and you can sort this out. Here are some online resources: But mostly I would like to encourage you to reach out and find some people in the real world you can connect with and help. You are not alone in this and there are many guys like us who struggle and we can help each other. I did Paula's course and met other guys through that but there are other ways too, e.g. SAA or SLAA. I think it's great you can come on here and ask for help and be honest. That is a big step and it took unfortunately a lot of things going wrong in my life before I could admit that. I also wasted a lot more of my time on it than you did. You still have so much life ahead. I'm really excited for you! Please keep learning and growing. Finding out what things truly make you happy and trying that out is a great way to learn about yourself, it's something I think everyone struggles with to some extent but sadly we don't talk much about it. And then for some guys like you and me, when we feel down or directionless in life, we want the "comfort blanket" of porn or sex. But it's only temporary and doesn't solve the real problems and even creates more because we then feel ashamed and isolated. There's a whole world out there for you. Although it's something you have to gift to yourself, you're not alone and others are here to help. Peace
  16. Rob

    Justifications

    You're definitely not crazy nor are you being unreasonable. But you're trying to argue with someone who is not thinking straight. He's addicted and is going to try any rationalisation or excuse to keep it going. He needs to learn to set appropriate boundaries for himself. He is responsible for his actions and the consequences. I sense you care a lot and really want to help him but ultimately it's down to him and not you to police it. He sounds like he really needs a lot of external help. It's not really possible I think for you to do that or even have a full and fulfilling relationship even while he keeps up clinging onto his destructive behaviours. Because there is always something else "better" drawing his attention away. Who is he being accountable too exactly? I think he needs to talk about this a lot more with his accountability partner who should be able to help him with those boundaries. I'm not sure but if he's trying to use you as that person, but if he is then I think that places even more burden on you and isn't very fair. I'm very sorry and saddened to hear you're going through all this - it really is horrible and I can only imagine what it can be like. I hope you can most of all find support for yourself because it sounds difficult and draining on you to be trying to help so much but him fighting you instead. Peace
  17. I'd second Christine's suggestions. Here too are some online resources to help get you started: Personally I found my porn use was correlated with how happy I was with myself and my life. The more angry, withdrawn and unhappy I was, the more porn I'd want which made me more.... you guessed it - angry, withdrawn and unhappy. Like you, I used to think that I "needed" porn in order to perform well at work or, to a lesser extent, with studies. I found in reality, I was using porn to cope with the stress and mask anxiety and insecurity. What you describe about your porn viewing and past sexual experience is a brave and honest thing to admit. I think your experience of going off into realms that don't hold any real life attraction is a common experience for guys who've used porn a lot - it's part of the escalation behaviour that the addiction wants to drive. I appreciate that can be difficult to reconcile too. A common one I see a lot is straight guys who find themselves compelled to look at gay porn, for example. It doesn't make immediate sense with respect to their sexuality and getting to the bottom of why is going to be a personal journey, perhaps with a therapist, to really get the bottom of why you feel drawn to certain types of porn. Again personally I found that being free of porn (I make a clear distinction here with "giving up") didn't make all my anxieties and problems go away. In fact, it did the opposite in many ways - it brought to the surface things I had been using porn to avoid and bury. But I don't want to put you off at all - it forced me to learn better ways of addressing or letting go of those issues which are part of everyone's life experience really but critically without continuing a destructive sexual relationship with myself. The hard part for me personally is that it took my wife having an affair for me to wake up and realise the destruction I'd been creating. I've never been to a 12 step group but I have had a lot of support from group work in general. I'm convinced that was pivotal for me to change. I think finding similar guys in the real world is so very important. I'm also an atheist but would hope that I could put that aside and gloss over the "God parts" of 12 step to get what I need from it. I believe there are more "religion optional" 12 step groups around. Maybe I am being naïve about myself, I don't know but I'd hope that it would help me get clean without ending up in church every week... I guess what I mean most of all is that I wouldn't want it to hold me back from change. Peace.
  18. Rob

    Desperate and Scared

    I felt the same also and very isolated. But it doesn't have to be that way. Further on, I started to realise that actually my isolated and feeling like I was disgusting and a weirdo helped keep me trapped in the cycle of acting out. The two feed into each other. You're definitely not alone and there are others like you and me out there who share this problem. I think also knowing that fighting on your own doesn't work means you then have to take steps to do something different. Otherwise again you are just repeating the same actions and lifestyle and then getting the same result each time (acting out). This is not what any of us want.
  19. Rob

    Desperate and Scared

    Yiksob, I think you are courageous to come back here and openly talk about your fears and problems. It may feel like weakness to you but actually you are facing up to those fears. Real weakness is running away and pretending it's not really a problem. You're also young and have so much of your life ahead. I wish that I'd have had the sense to quit at your age instead of waiting another 20 years and all the harm that goes with it. I would like to encourage you to please also read the links thread here too. It's great that meditation works well for you, keep it up. A lot of trouble is simply finding things that are positive and help you cope. I strongly agree with PJ that you cannot fight this alone. In fact for me, being alone is part of the addictive cycle. I used to seriously think I was the only guy in the world who had a problem with porn and was a real weirdo for it. That doesn't help. When you find other people who share these problems, you find people who understand the feelings and difficulties and can support you in helping to find your way out of this lifestyle. You are much stronger than you think but to be successful, it is important I think to use your strength wisely and in the right direction. All of us try to use out strength at one point or another as willpower to ride out our urges. It is a very natural thing to do. But yet incredibly tough and never really works. Even if it does work once, it never feels safe or comfortable. What we all really want is not to have those urges and compulsions. Instead I believe that our strength is more productively redirected into pushing your life forward in whatever way - connecting with people, getting out, hobbies, work and of course pursuing your life dreams (or at least starting to find out what they are if you don't know). If you don't know where to start then going towards something that's achievable but you're afraid of I think is a good start. Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone, my friend. Keep it up. Peace.
  20. Rob

    My experience so far

    Hello John, I really appreciate your courage and honesty in laying everything out bare like this. It takes real strength face your past actions honestly. That's a tough thing to do. It's also really positive that you've been able to stop. I am curious though what has changed recently for you to want to stop? Motivation is so critical because it's incredibly easy to slip back otherwise, as you've found out in the past. And also speaking from experience, slipping back is very common. While you're turning over a new leaf, I'd like to encourage you to seek help outside and from other people to find something that works. Whether it's Paula's course, SLAA, books, groups, whatever helps. I do think finding and connecting with real people is key from my personal experience. Trying to fight this yourself can feel like trying to fight an 800 pound gorilla that's 20% smarter than you. Trying a different approach and getting help can make a lot of difference but it's not always easy or comfortable, which sex/porn addiction always is. Life begins on the edge of your comfort zone. I posted a separate thread on here with online links that you might find useful. The feelings of shame and guilt can and will pass and heal over time as you stay clean and build a better life. But it does take time and requires perseverance. I believe personally it is many months and years of effort. There are no quick fixes but that's actually a very good thing because spending the time rebuilding yourself into someone who doesn't need to lie or hide part of himself is a great reward for self respect in itself. And you are at the start of an amazing journey where you can realise that. Disclosing to your wife is an extremely difficult topic. There is no right answer. Therepuetic disclosure is one option and preparation is critical if you choose to do it. I think the most important thing is to heal yourself and get help for you. Once you are in a better place then perhaps you might change your mind about disclosure. But is will always be a difficult thing for your wife and she will need support too. Peace
  21. I don't know any offhand unfortunately but you could try SLAA perhaps? Also here are online resources that may help: Failing that, you could try your GP too as they can help point you in the right direction. Paula and her team are available too for individual sessions but this costs money for the time.
  22. Rob

    Is there hope?

    Hello Rosie, That sounds really horrible and I'm sorry you're having to deal with your husband not facing up to his problems fully. It sounds like a real rollercoaster where you feel hope at times with him getting help but then he slides back to destructive behaviours, anger, blame etc. It's very sad to hear about all that hurt. I did attend Relate with my wife after finishing Paula's recovery course (which isn't cheap, I grant you). I found it really useful to get us to talk about problems in our relationship and her affair but in my mind it was somewhat separate from my recovery, which is something I needed to do regardless really. I think even now, often the best thing I can do for my relationship has been to get better myself and be well. Because then I'm in a much better place to actually deal with things clearly and be engaged without being withdrawn and angry that comes with acting out. It sounds like you worry hugely about him and want him to be well. But ultimately he has to do the work to make that happen. Perhaps in a space by himself more? I don't know. Paula's course and all the help out there in the world only gives the understanding and tools needed. That's really important but it's up to the person recovering to put them into practice and change. That is the real hard work. For me, it was hitting rock bottom when I found out my wife was having an affair and that ultimately she was very unhappy in our marriage and wanted out because of the person I'd become. That was very difficult to accept and hugely upsetting but it gave me the motivation to realise that I needed to make real change or I'd lose the woman I love. This has to come from him to want that though and accept at an important level the hurt he has caused you. I can appreciate some of the feelings about being overwhelmed and very upset or emotional. I think you're dealing with a huge heart-wrenching problem and those kinds of feelings are unfortunately part of it. Most of all, I hope that you can find the support you need either through your friends and support groups to take very good care of yourself at such a difficult time. He needs to worry about his recovery and stopping his behaviour as his number one priority and similarly I hope you can take good care to feel better in yourself, healing and making you a stronger person while he does that. Peace
  23. Rob

    where do you start

    Hello Hanna, Sorry to hear about all your difficulties with your husband's addiction and problems. It's very sad to hear all that you've been through and are still trying hard to cope with. I think your husband needs to hot rock bottom to want help and really make serious change. Finding the right people to work with and a place he feels both supported yet challenged to change I think is key. But this motivation must come from inside himself ultimately. It's not helpful when your GP tells him to just "grow up" either. I think from what you describe, the impact of your husband's addictions are similar to alcoholism in their impact on your relationship and his behaviour. Addicts don't want to take responsibility for themselves or their actions. I did Paula's recovery course about 18 months ago and it has helped me tremendously both in terms of giving a practical path to follow and better understanding myself and why I ended up where I did and how not to go back. Most importantly, it's given me a group of guys in a similar position I can contact regularly for support. I think recovery is a process really rather than something you "do" and it takes time. Finding other people and getting out of the isolation is critical. There are also groups like SLAA who provide face-to-face support with regular meetings. I think the key is that he makes it his number one priority to find help and not give up. Here are also some other online resources: I can appreciate that spending time apart is difficult but concentrating on yourself and your own healing is really important so you can take care of yourself as best as possible. Ultimately his recovery is down to him. You're right that you cannot control him getting better or not but i found it very helpful with my wife to talk about boundaries and the effect my porn problem had on her. That's a tough conversation but I realised I was becoming so distant that I was going to lose her forever. It sadly took me a long time and a lot of hurt to wake up to that. Addicts I think have a hard time with consequences. Peace
  24. Hi Darren, Well done for having the courage to stand up and be open and honest about your struggles. It is a very tough thing to face. I can connect a lot with the feelings you describe - the "Jekyll and Hyde" split, the shame and feeling out of control of your behaviours. These are sadly common things a lot of addicts share. Feelings of depression and worthlessness are also something I can identify with and I know from experience are very real. I'm sorry to hear you're going through all this. Here are some links to help you get more information on how to tackle this problem: http://paulahall.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/505-online-resources-for-addicts-wanting-help I hope these are useful to you to better understand that you are certainly not alone in this and to understand things so you can stop your behaviours and change things for the better. Personally, I've found real-life support groups invaluable to meet real men who also struggle with this problem and how we can help each other work through it. Peace.
  25. Hello Sargam, I'm glad that the links were useful for you - there is a lot of content out there and growing and many good sites with a lot of educational material. All of those links I have found personally useful. I can related to being introduced to porn at quite an early age through a friend and I think it's quite common that this thing goes on as teenagers grow up and become curious about sex. Unlike you, my experience with my parents wasn't one of hypocrisy - although my mother was (and is) an ardent feminist which meant that porn particularly was something quite taboo, being abusive and exploitative particularly towards women. So for me, it was also partly perhaps rebellion too. I think it's very interesting though that you could talk about it with your cousins at the time because I couldn't and I think for me particularly, the secrecy (and feeling the behaviour must stay hidden or made me a bad person to have such thoughts) meant I suppressed it and tried to bottle things up, which you didn't. It seems like you had a more positive experience in being able to talk about and it and share that regard overall. For me, keeping it all hidden contributed to a sense of shame - that I couldn't or shouldn't have sexual feelings (they were "bad" or it was "wrong" to lust after women) and therefore needed to be shut down at all costs within myself. One very interesting thing you touch on is one of your (male) cousins feeling that sex is "a right he deserves" in a relationship. Personally, I find that to be quite an entitled attitude and I found within myself that I would get much more entitled like that when I was a heavy porn user. It was part of the path of objectification of women. A woman is there to serve my sexual needs as and when I want, on tap. That's nasty and quite messed up really but would be the n'th degree ending of that thought process for me when it went too far. The flip side is of course that for people in a monogamous relationship, their partner is the only person who can meet their sexual needs. And most people have/want such a relationship. That is what makes that relationship special above all things. As soon as one partner starts getting their needs met outside (in whatever form, porn, masturbation, affairs etc.) then big problems are occurring. I find a sense of entitlement dangerous in this regard because it can easily become "I am going to get my sex whatever way I want" i.e. is selfish and selfishness kills kindness in a relationship and leads to such behaviours as porn/affairs etc. if unchecked. Now, I want sex at different times when I feel physically and emotionally present as a means primarily of connection and acceptance above all. It's difficult because while I don't feel entitled to it, I do feel that my wife is the only person who can meet that and I do feel rejected when I don't get what I want. But that is part of life and doesn't give me the right to then go and get my needs met elsewhere with something else (a computer screen) instead. Personally, I feel a lot more grown up and happier in myself with that attitude but it's taken me a long long long time to get there and isn't always nice. Regarding your parents - I appreciate there is likely a cultural aspect involved too - perhaps they don't expect you to do anything before getting married to someone (that they approve of). It sounds like you think your parents are in denial of the realities of what their children get up to. But above all, I would ask then why you would want to tell them or what you would expect to gain from telling them? It seems like your biggest fear is they will try and shame you into thinking you have done something wrong or a bad person but actually you seem OK with your past/present sex life/boyfriends in yourself. Again, personally I've found that the it's my own opinion and judgement of my actions that matters - that's not to say other people are not important to me, far from it, but that ultimately if I am satisfied with how I've conducted myself then at the end of the day that is what counts. You cannot control other people nor their feelings. I presume you're an adult and even if you still live with them, you are old enough to make your own mind up and live your own life in whatever way you see fit and take responsibility for yourself accordingly. If you change your mind and conclude you're not happy with having sex outside marriage anymore and want to now wait, you're perfectly entitled to do so and that's up to you and you alone. But you can't change the past either, whether other people like it or not. Ultimately, it would be your parents having a problem with it, not you. Yet at the same time, they are obviously trying to raise you up in the best way they know how. It is a difficult situation. If you're not happy being caught with porn (which I think is common for a lot of people who use it) then I also think that indicates some shame about it too - that maybe you are not entirely comfortable within yourself, particularly if you are using it regularly or find it hard to stop. If this is the case, then having a clean period and stopping using it entirely and being free of it in your life would be one way of solving that problem and is entirely independent of what physical sex life you have with your boyfriend or a partner. Peace.
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