My most unique story

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by Charles, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. Charles

    Charles New Member

    Hi guys. I'm a 30 y/o male that's been an addict/PIED sufferer for 15 yrs. My story is different because I'm a successful, outgoing, attractive guy that's always done well in life in terms of friends, school, sports and career. Therefore, I'm the last person you'd imagine to have this issue, but it can happen to anybody.

    Early years
    My story starts when I was 15. I was a normal kid that stumbled upon porn and became hooked. While I remained focused in school and personal activities, every spare moment I had was devoted to binge sessions. When I entered college I began dating a gorgeous girl. The first time we had sex I basically felt nothing. It was a major let down.
    The more sex we had the less interested in it I was and it let to ED. Once my gf noticed it, it was humiliating and led to anxiety that spiraled this issue. I honestly just assumed sex was overrated, and given that she amazingly stayed w me for 4 years (!!) I never felt motivated to change. Once we moved in together though, I gradually lost interest in porn. As this happened, I miraculously got over my ED and our sex life really took off. However, we had other issues and eventually broke up at 22. Shortly after I went back to heavy binging just to cope with it and reversed any progress I made.

    Mid 20s
    For the the next few years I had a lot of success in constantly meeting hot girls and having one night stands. I'd say I had ED during 75-80% of these encounters. The only times I succeeded was if I hadn't PMOd for a few days and she performed oral. For some reason oral seems to usually work for me, but once sex starts I fade. I think its because less nerves go into oral vs sex. Eventually I started to realize that something was wrong. I'm sleeping w women that men would die for, yet don't get turned on! Because of the risk, I never slept w girls in my circle and actively avoided being set up. Around age 25 I finally figured out I had PIED. It seemed like it would be so easy to quit but it's the worst. During this period I habitually binged 3-4x, daily. Every time I tried to stop most I got was 3 days. My tastes progressed into chat rooms - making things much, much worse. I can imagine any fantasy I want. Ultimately, I was able to get off to fantasies I created in my head. So porn didn't even matter, I could think up anything- which is where I threw in the towel and chose to stop fighting the addiction at all. I was able to ignore this problem throughout my 20s though because the rest of my life was so great - amazing friends, great reviews at work, daily gym routine, etc...on the surface I had it all.

    Late 20s
    Something changed in Jan 2017. I met a girl I really liked. I live in CA and she lived in TX. We met once and stayed in touch daily. Because of my issue this motivated me to stop for 30 days - my longest EVER. I purposely avoided seeing her because of my issue. But, we finally planned a visit 1 month in and the night before I cracked badly. This destroyed my confidence and led to binging. I cancelled the trip and cut her off. This was a low point but gave me hope that I could change. Next, I met 2 other girls that I liked a lot and also wanted to date. When we first started dating I made the most bizarre excuses to not have sex (I made up a freak injury while playing baseball). This bought me around a month or so...but eventually they got impatient and once they did I cracked. We stopped speaking and I went back to binging.

    Today
    This has finally started to affect my confidence and self esteem. I've lost a few amazing girls because of this addiction. I can't look at my material success anymore to feel better. The truth is I turned 30 this Jan and am unable to have a normal sex life. Thinking about how many hrs I wasted in my 20s is depressing. I also can't share this with anybody because you can imagine the shame I feel. Nevertheless, I'm more motivated to change than ever. I had 3 30 day streaks last year. Even though it led to binging and I lost progress I know I can do it. Currently, I've met another great girl and have a shot at it again. This time I'm choosing to not make it about her and add pressure to the situation. I'm on a 25 day streak and more serious about it than ever. The past 3 girls, I always felt pressure that if I broke my streak I'd lose them, and that stress made me break.

    It's getting painful and I'm approaching the point where I crack. Here are the pressure points that lead to failure:

    1. Work. I work in a science lab so am stuck doing monotonous activities, causing my mind to wander. Sitting in a chair for hours is hard.
    2. Boredom. I recently moved to a new area and don't have as many friends. Wknds always kill me because of nothing to do.
    3. Withdrawls. Few weeks in my cravings for the dopamine spikes really build up. Even imagining something raunchy just to get aroused is a major relief to me. In these moments my mind plays these tricks on me - "it's ok to check out one website"....this quickly snowballs....
    4. Stress. At my new job I have a boss that tends to set tight deadlines and stress me out. PMO has helped me deal w the stress (but clearly unhealthy).

    Here is what I'm doing differently.

    1. Meditation. I'm on a 20 min daily 25 day streak. I like unwinding but haven't felt much from it. I hope it helps soon.
    2. Activities. If I'm busy and doing things I tend not to think about PMO.
    3. Focus on myself. I'm worried about keeping this current girl I like and that adds stress. What I've come to realize is girls come and go. If I lose her but can beat PMO that's all that matters.
    4. Sharing. Joining this community w others that I can relate to. Reading stories helps. There is nobody I know that's had this issue ever.
    5. Oral sex. This is a weird one, but I can get girls to just give me oral after dates and don't seem to have PIED. I think it's because there's no pressure and it let's me objectify them. If oral leads to real sex I break, so I think I should avoid it for a while.

    Any suggestions or support from this point would help, and I'm glad to have joined this movement.
     
  2. matthewmammothrept

    matthewmammothrept Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Charles, and welcome to YBR! Sounds like you already have a good plan set up. I would recommend exercising if you are already not doing so. And cleaning up your room/ house/ apartment. I find that a messy living space usually reflects a messy life... while the opposite is also true, and ordered living space can help make your life ordered as well. It helps you in feeling fresh and clean, a new beginning.

    I'd also encourage you to stick with the meditation. It will really help with your stress. Push yourself here if you are not already doing so. When you sit down, say to yourself, "I am not going to move for 25 minutes." Then do it, no matter what. That way you will discipline yourself and your meditation practice will bear more fruit.

    Wish you the best with all this, please keep us updated!
     
  3. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Member

    I would think seeing a therapist and doing some work about how you go to where you are might go a long way. While our stories are different, they are very similar in being popular, outgoing overachievers who had a lot of secrets people never would have guessed. I waited too long with self-help plans until it reached a critical point and I hugely paid for my poor decisions. It wasn't until I did heavy, deep therapy the last four years that I've been able to understand why I went to porn so hard as a teen and how that shaped things moving forward. Those kinds of eye-opening revelations about my past went a long way to fixing my present and future.
     
  4. Sticky

    Sticky Member

    Hey man your doing all the right things. Recovery is a hard process of trial and error. And mindfulness and meditation are very important for addicts.

    I would recommend reading a few books like kelly mgonigals book - the willpower instict, Paula Halls understanding and treating sex addiction and Eckhart Tolles the power of Now and The Big Book by Alcoholics Anonymous.
    Im also a big advocate of group recovery programs like the 12 steps.

    And lastly and what was the biggest game changer for me was building a relationship with God, I would never had taken this advice on board had I been told it 10 years ago but after exhausting all my other options it was the last thing iv tried but ultimately the most powerful. And as controversial as it may sound I dont think many addicts can beat this without the help of a higher power, it is far, far too powerful of an illness.
     
  5. Charles

    Charles New Member

    Thanks to all of you for the great suggestions.

    Matt - I've been sticking to the meditation so far and hoping to start feeling something soon. I'm committed to not stop.

    Josh - I would be curious to hear your story. Since we are similar, what do you think drove you down the path of addiction? For me it was so innocent, I was a young kid that discovered adult material. That led to 3 years of binging bc I obviously had no idea what it led to. Had I known I would have stopped right away. However, the damage was already done and I never accepted it as a problem (It sounded too ridiculous). Also, I have considered therapy since I have nobody to talk to about this. This community serves a similar function for now though and it's really helped me to hear your stories.

    Sticky - those are great books and I just started Power of Now.

    As an update to my streak, I've made it thru another weekend and close to my all the time record. I've gotten a few urges in head and it's amazing how fast it leads to arousal. Had I not immediately distracted myself I would have spiraled down. Part of the problem is I can conjure fantasies in my mind that I enjoy way more than real sex. This has created some distorted view of sex in my head where I'll see a hot girl in real life and rarely imagine sex with her, instead I'll think of my stupid fantasies. I hope this stops soon.

    In any case, I'm more motivated than ever and am really pleased that I'm coming up on a record. Thanks to all again for the suggestions.
     
  6. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Member

    Well, the non-Cliff Notes version is actually my book that was released in January. You can go to my website and learn more about it, including all of the libraries it's in if you want to borrow it from somewhere. Address is in my sig file. I'd also urge you to go to the media section and find any of the podcasts I've done. That will tell you a lot too.

    The addiction is complicated, and I'm still learning facets to why it happened to this day. There was some childhood trauma, the development of poor coping and survival skills, mental health issues and cross-addiction with alcohol. Despite it all, I managed to rise in the journalism world to a place I was the editor for one of the largest magazines in Maine, I co-created one of Maine's largest film festivals and I had a seat on my City Council. I also have a wife and two kids. I overachieved to hide from everybody...and myself, to a degree...who I really was and what was really going on inside of me. I made the stupid error of pulling myself off my bipolar meds when things started getting rough at work and home, thinking I could tap into my manic side to fix things. That was super stupid. My porn and alcohol addictions skyrocketed to make up for it, leading to a critical spot. I made the leap from just looking at porn online to going into chatrooms (not your typical pay cam sites) with women and convincing them to do sexual things. In early 2014, the state police showed up at my door and let me know that one of the women I did this with in late 2013 was actually a teenage girl. My world collapsed, the media showed up, I fled the state for rehab and let the legal system play itself out. In January 2016, I was finally sentenced to six months in jail. By that point I had been 22 months sober. The police showing up at my door was the beginning of the intervention that saved my life. Now, I'm sitting at 4 years and 1 month sober from both alcohol and porn.

    My book is really about the four years or so from the day I launched the magazine until the day I was arrested. It's not self-help (although I have been told it's an effective mirror by a few porn addicts) nor full of stats. It's just the story of my downfall, looking at it through the clear eyes and several years of recovery I have now. My hope is that it shows people there is not stereotypical porn addict, and also shows porn addicts exactly how far down the rabbit hole your addiction can take you.

    The thing that concerned me the most about your entry was when you said:

    I was at that point for about a year before I made my horrible mistakes and the police arrived. I knew something was going to give somehow. Considering how much I drove drunk I probably should have crashed the car long before the porn got me, but I was on a track toward something bad. Honestly, I only give even odds that I'd be here today had they not intervened and saved my life. Do not get to the point of cracking. Get help. A therapist. 12-step groups. medication...something. You do not want to end up where I did. It's great where I am now, but there are better, healthier ways to get here.

    Oh, and just my two cents, but you probably became addicted partially for reasons you can't even fathom at this point. It's why it's important to work with a professional and understand what really got you to this point.
     
  7. Charles

    Charles New Member

    That's a quite a story Josh. It sounds like performance wasn't the issue for you then, just addiction in general? Quite a remarkable story I'll check out your site.

    I think you misunderstood my comment about "cracking"... by that I meant I'm on a sober streak and constantly get urges, once I get past 2 weeks they become worse and I eventually give in.

    I just need to stay focused because once I get a dirty thought in my head it's all it takes to slide further down.
     
  8. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Member

    I'm glad I misunderstood. I tend to go to the worst case scenario because it's best when you're talking about addicts to assume the worst and work backward.

    Performance was absolutely an issue, but I didn't overly focus on that because it was a symptom of a bigger problem, the porn addiction, which was a symptom of a bigger problem, which was my complete lack of understanding who I really was and how I got there. Focusing on a symptom of a symptom is so far removed from the real problem it was never going to help. I didn't find this PMO community until well into my recovery and I have to tell you, sometimes I feel like most people are totally going about it the wrong way. All of these people with counters at 0-3 days who share platitudes and direct plans for stopping...they're not addressing the real problem. Once I started addressing the real problem, taking care of all of these symptoms was difficult, but much easier than I would have expected.

    I wrote about the idea of a "pre-lapse" in another thread. If you can find it, it may help a bit. That dirty thought in your head isn't what starts the slide. That's probably in the middle of the process. You need to step back before that thought enters, examine how it gets there, what are the conditions happening both environmental and in your mind, and figure out how to change things moving forward over time. If you do this enough, you begin to spot patterns in your behavior and thinking you never knew were even there.
     
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