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So here we are again. Yet again trying to kick my habit, before my life crumbles around me and I'm left with nothing. I'm teetering on the edge of dispair and even know my brain is telling me that ill be better off on my own, I know it's because it doesn't want to face the pain. I need this, my life needs to get back on track and I must stop hurting the people I love the most.

I have been a porn addict for over a decade now. At first when I was in my teens, I just thought it was normal. I never linked it the childhood trauma, I thought i just had a very high sex drive. 

When I couldn't get what I wanted  (sex) I would turn to porn, that eventually led to darken and swapping intimate pictures of my wife. Then when I thought i couldn't get any lower it was then adultery, then it deepened further to paying for sex.

I have been in therapy, and whilst it initially helped I think what I needed was a support network, and this is why I failed to stop acting out. Even though I confronted my worst memories, but I don't think I ever overcame them. 

What can I do to overcome a memory of my father trying to take his own life, I remember everything about that day like it happened 30 minutes ago. The walk from my friends house, the items I was carrying after a sleep over, the day was sunny, barely a breeze. Then when I was by the lamp post half way up the alleyway that's when I saw the ambulance. At first my thought was oh it must be Muriel My elderly neighbour. Then I realised they were in our house. The pure panic and devastation that ensured has never been discussed between me and my dad. Now we're not even talking. I've been thinking of sending a letter, spilling my heart out like I never have before, but if i get nothing back will I just spiral out of control? What if he's not in a good place and he tried it again?

But here we are, after being caught watching porn again and betraying my wife's trust. I need to kick this habit. I'm going to use this forum/thread just to spill my emotions. It maybe what I need.

Tomorrow I'm seeing a GP about getting referred for help. So tomorrow is day 1. 

My first challenge is 30 days, small steps, completely porn and masturbation free. But small steps can help you climb mountains. If there is one thing I've learnt is that physical challenges are easy, but fighting your own mind is something I've always failed at. 

I've downloaded a motivational app, NoFap. Maybe what I need in the heat of the moment is something to remind me what's at stake. 

So here is my journey to redemption.

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Hey Desperate...I'm sure you felt a little bit better after sharing that. Please continue to share. You might even consider starting a blog. It's been a key part of my recovery.

You've clearly got some issues with your father and while you're right that they MAY never be resolved, I can guarantee they WILL NOT be resolved if you don't try. Simply by the act of reaching out, even if you're rebuffed, you can clear you conscience that you tried to begin the process of making peace. There are probably a lot of things he doesn't want, or constitutionally can't share, but it's still worth the effort for you to try. I wouldn't spill your heart out in a letter, but rather say you'd like to get together or have a phone call and do it in a more personal forum so you can read the situation and keep it safe for yourself. If you're worried about him trying it again, well, you're not the problem. It seems like an extreme excuse to avoid reaching out, IMO.

If you feel you need a support network, they exist. Sex Addict Anonymous and Sexoholics Anonymous are two places to start. Your GP may have more knowledge of what's in your area. Obviously, he should refer you to another therapist. If you have the means and can go more than once a week at first, that's great. Have you actually thought about some kind of inpatient or outpatient rehab?

Are you really desperate to kick the habit or do you just feel really bad that you were caught again? It's an important question to answer. You don't have a habit. You can have an addiction and an addict's minds work in strange ways. Like you said, fighting your mind is difficult.

NoFap is cool if it works for you. I don't completely agree with their messaging and sometimes feel like they and a few other companies out there are more about selling T-shirts and other trinkets than they are about helping. Good luck, man. I'll be following.

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Hello Desperateforrecovery,

Yes, you're at rock bottom.  Welcome.  I'm here too.  So are others.  You're not alone.  I'm discovering that the compulsions we share LOVE the shame and secrecy and isolation, so good on you for sharing.  Keep doing it.  

I've started with a therapist; absolute key is to be 100% honest with them.  If you're not comfortable saying things to your therapist then get another one.  I told mine some things that I've never told anyone, thoughts that I've hidden for 30 years.  She notes it down and we talk around it.  It is liberating.  It might not affect whether my wife stays or leaves me but it will affect the future me that I want to be and she will see one day.

Keep going to therapy.

Have you tried Sex Addicts Anonymous?  There is also Sexaholics Anon and Sex & Love Addicts Anon.  Hopefully something will be close to you to attend.  Try different ones as they are all different, even the different location groups under the same organisation.  I've started.  the first visit was very scary.  But I actually look forward to going, because I know it will make me feel better and I know I can get some support, which is ultimately what it is about.

Try the letter.  Even if you write it and screw it up afterwards, that means you have got out what was in your head.

Keep going and check in often.

P.

 

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Thanks for the replies, knowing that I'm not alone definitely helps. Until recently I thought it was only me that had this kind of addiction. 

Joshua, never really thought about rehab, I mainly assumed it was a residential course, and as we're on a single income with me work different days every week and long hours I just don't think if would be practical. I am desperate to beat this addiction, yes I got caught but really I had taken my eye off the ball and this addiction was slowly taking more and more of a hold of my life, my wife said she doesn't think she wants to be with me anymore, I can't really blame her I mean this isn't exactly normal and I've hurt her so much over the years. But I told her either together or alone I need to do this for me. At least I haven't lost my connection with my children, which is where this addiction will inevitably end, but someone I might re-build the relationship with her. Maybe, hopefully.

As for NoFap I found it too basic, I'm using another one called Reboot. It tracks your days, sets challenges and has an important panic button that comes up with helpful messages and some practical exercises like pushups to take your mind away from porn. I've also blocked all 18+ content on my phone by getting in touch with my provider, and I'm going to uninstall the football game that I start playing when I'm feeling stressed or need to act out. My therapist previously said I needed to get rid of all the games but I wouldn't listen.

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Pdw123, thanks for the reply. Most of the SAA meetings and other groups are about an hours drive away and with my shift work ill only be able to attend once every 2 weeks or so. But I'm looking, my next post will be to document today, I just wanted to reply to you and Joshua individually. I'll follow your thread, hopefully we can learn from each other or at the very least I can learn from you.

I'll try the letter, we haven't spoken in almost a year and a phone call out of the blue will probably be met with rejection as I'm like him. I understand how he thinks because that's where I learnt my complete avoidance of emotion from. I even tried to follow in his footsteps by joining the army. All I can say is that if you already have issues, the Army will make them 10 times worse because of the operational stress and what's socialably acceptable. There are still things that I saw on tour that I haven't told anyone, but it's the smell that I can never forget. That's a story for another time though, that door is locked, the house is my mind.

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So officially day 1, thought I'd be full of optimism but it started bad.

Woke up all hazy, disorientated and recovering from some harrowing dreams, I wasn't surprised as I knew I was going to have to talk about my mental health with someone. I know I was panicking, looking for a route out. I went straight to an app that I thought would help, but no memes would help me here. 

The whole time I was getting ready my mind was telling me to run, just pretend to go to the Dr, go get a coffee, no one will know. No one but me, who is desperate to finally beat this. If I give in now ill never start my road to recovery. 

It took a lot to walk in to the surgery take a seat and wait. I could feel my heart pounding, my temperature started to rise as I could just feel my cheeks blushing. My name was called and I followed a young female Dr into the room, my instant thought was how the f*ck is she going to understand? She will probably just think I'm some kind of pervert. As I sat there I thought just make something up and walk out.

I opened my mouth and said I'm still having huge issues with my mental health. Tears welled up and I tried to not cry but it was like trying to cover a burst watermain. Without about 30 seconds and a few words I was a mess, but I had said it. The Dr just sat there and said she will help me, it's just what I needed to hear.

After I calmed down I told her about my whole addiction to porn, prostitution and that I need my life back. It's not been mine since I was about 13.

I could see the pain in her eyes looking at me but she called a more experienced doctor in, we sat down and talked about my options, what the NHS can offer and medication. I took the leaflet to get help but I won't take medication, not unless I'm at the point of self harm and because of past experiences i don't think I ever will, just like letting my children see me drunk, I won't let that happen. They can't see the things I've seen.

I walked away from that building on a high, I felt like this was the beginning and I made a step even though my mind was screaming at me not to. I started to think the 'me' that uses porn is an alter ego, someone I'm not and i need to lock him out of the house, he no longer has the keys, they're mine. If he comes back in it's because I've let him. I know this won't be easy but I need to fight him and all he represents. This may not be a good clinical assessment of my mind but it helps me if I think I'm physically fighting the 'me' of old and every characteristic he represents.

After that I told the wife about the help I could get, and then had the most amazing day with her and the kids. It was full of laughter and smiles (a few tantrums from the kids but that's normal When they've had too many treats). I also found last night that having a bath relaxes me, it opens up my mind and helps me get perspective. I'll definitely be having more, I just need to find out what works for me. Same as physical challenges, I've never been a gym goer but in my last job I exceeded everyone's expectations on arduous tasks, I never let my size beat me, I'm built like a runner but I can out perform stronger and faster guys because I just have the mental spirit to never give up on something physical. I just need that attitude with locking him out. This house is mine.

So to end it was a positive day, one step at a time. The next task must be the letter, not sure if I can get it done in one day or one week, but I need to maybe count my dreams as they dance around me, one by one put them down in writing and send it away. It's not all my fathers fault, he was the beginning, I was the one that took that issue and ran with it until I'm at the point where I won't run. 

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I hope that intense one-on-one therapy is part your agenda, because you clearly have hundreds of hours of working things out ahead of you, many of which you probably can't even identify now. If I were you, I'd put the letter on hold until you talked to a a professional and they could go over it with you.

There seem to be a conflict in you between this "man's man" who is military and tough and addicted to porn and this little kid who is suffering inside of you and begging for relief. It's not that it's an alter ego because I think that's the you that most people see. That kid inside of you, the one that you are starting to identify more with, is who you view as your real self and that little kid needs a lot of of love and support right now.

Have you seen anybody about PTSD-related illness? I would urge you to do so as that's the thing that comes screaming the loudest out of this. It wasn't until my PTSD was properly diagnosed (roughly 12 years after my bipolar diagnosis) that the cocktail of medications was tweaked to the point we finally found the right formula.

I would also urge you to reconsider your antiquated stance on medication. I had a similar "I'm not taking anything" attitude for a long time, but then it was finally explained to me that much of mental illness is physical. For instance, with bipolar, it's a failure of the neurons working properly. That's a physical issue. Symptoms of the physical issue are mental, so it can be confused as a strict mental disorder. There's actual some science that suggests it will soon be classified in the same family of physical ailments as Alzheimer's or dementia.

If you had diabetes, you'd take medication. If your blood was too thick or thin, you'd take medication. You may be suffering from physical conditions that appear to be mental. Your entry bounces back and forth between the tough guy and the kid. Don't be a tough guy. You can't beat this alone, or you would have. You need to develop the tools and take the advice of professionals. I know you've seen stuff, but so have they.

Good luck and I hope you continue to update us.

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I hope that intense one-on-one therapy is part your agenda, because you clearly have hundreds of hours of working things out ahead of you, many of which you probably can't even identify now. If I were you, I'd put the letter on hold until you talked to a a professional and they could go over it with you.

There seem to be a conflict in you between this "man's man" who is military and tough and addicted to porn and this little kid who is suffering inside of you and begging for relief. It's not that it's an alter ego because I think that's the you that most people see. That kid inside of you, the one that you are starting to identify more with, is who you view as your real self and that little kid needs a lot of of love and support right now.

Have you seen anybody about PTSD-related illness? I would urge you to do so as that's the thing that comes screaming the loudest out of this. It wasn't until my PTSD was properly diagnosed (roughly 12 years after my bipolar diagnosis) that the cocktail of medications was tweaked to the point we finally found the right formula.

I would also urge you to reconsider your antiquated stance on medication. I had a similar "I'm not taking anything" attitude for a long time, but then it was finally explained to me that much of mental illness is physical. For instance, with bipolar, it's a failure of the neurons working properly. That's a physical issue. Symptoms of the physical issue are mental, so it can be confused as a strict mental disorder. There's actual some science that suggests it will soon be classified in the same family of physical ailments as Alzheimer's or dementia.

If you had diabetes, you'd take medication. If your blood was too thick or thin, you'd take medication. You may be suffering from physical conditions that appear to be mental. Your entry bounces back and forth between the tough guy and the kid. Don't be a tough guy. You can't beat this alone, or you would have. You need to develop the tools and take the advice of professionals. I know you've seen stuff, but so have they.

Good luck and I hope you continue to update us.

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Day 5 

So here we are, still very early stages and so far whilst I've had urges, I have so far either been going straight to this forum and re-reading my posts or using the app and reading about facts relating to porn addiction. It really helps, why have I never tried this before? 

I've also bought Paula Hall's book and sent off my details to hopefully get referred. Maybe if I educate myself about addiction it will help. I'm just willing to try anything at the moment because like I've said before I'm literally teetering on the edge. If this goes wrong I know I will lose those that I value the most.

Me and the wife are in a difficult place right now, I do really want to open up to her but I have issues relating to my feelings. My previous therapist said that my issue is basically escapism rather than dealing with the issue at hand. It's something I learnt from my parents, they never sorted issues out and had the most horrendous divorce. The other night we just cuddled, she asked me if I was ok and for the first time in a long time I felt comfortable to say no. It's so nice being able to hold her, and I think she thinks deep down I am a good person, I just need to get over the issues that have plagued my life for so long.

Every time I write here I feel so relieved after, it feels like a weight is being lifted off me each time. Maybe I should get a book and write this all down? 

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I've just finished 'In the Shadows of the Net' which I found pretty good - lots of exercises in it that worked for me.

Keep plugging away; you still have what you value most and you're already working on keeping that.

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Really pleased to read your update.  Saying "No, I'm not ok" is very hard to do, and when you can say it to someone you love it a great thing.

Keep coming here and on any other support forums you find.  I am on about 5 and all of them have wonderful people that respond and support.

I think writing things down is a great idea.  Keep a little notebook with you and maybe a small book to read.  I was in a McD earlier today and it was busy.  My brain made sure I noticed a very attractive girl and was screaming at me to stare at her, take her image in my mind to an explicit fantasy, and I could really have done with a book to read or a notebook to write in.  Anything to take that craving away.

Was your GP any use?  Mine wasn't really.  Said there were alcohol and drug abuse help but nothing for sex addicts.

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What other support forums are you on? I'm only on this one and it seems fairly inactive.

My GP mainly pointed me in the direction of 'talking therapies' I think it's run depending on your local NHS. The silly thing about them saying there is nothing for sex addiction is that addiction is addiction no matter what it is you're addicted to. It's the underlying issue that's the cause, the addiction is the reaction.

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If you contact me privately through my website at RecoveringPornAddict.com I'll share with you. I don't think it's fair to link or promote other sites and forums here. This is actually one of the best out there, and the best I've seen out of the UK. It shows you just how little people really want to talk about this.

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