Age 43 - ED gone, mood calm, focused on work, sex good! almost 90 days

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loversWhat a journey! So much shame and self-blame. So much confusion and denial. After 10 years to finally get to the point of recognizing that ALL of it, all of the ED, all of the reduced dating confidence, all of the emotional defensiveness, all of the sense of meaninglessness and despair, all of the lost masculine pride - ALL OF IT was directly being caused by PMO, and (for me especially) by the crack cocaine of live webcam cybersex.

i am going to give you a history and then tell you what i have done to stay the course:

HISTORY

i started my downward spiral in earnest at around 32/33 after a painful break up with the woman who was my dream for the first 4 months and then a crazy nightmare for the next 2. my girlfriend for the next 3 years straight was porn, and then on and off i would always return to her until now.

last week i just turned 43 and have only in the last four months come to understand the damage that high speed internet porn did to my brain, my dick and my life.

i have a girlfriend. a hot girlfriend, who is super sexual. that didn't stop me from sneaking away to waste money and energy on the empty addiction of porn and webcams.

hyper stimulated. compulsively addicted.

oddly, triggered by great real sex into wanting the adrenaline thrill of fake sex, and then fake sex sucking the life out of my real sex.

fake sex being used to try and boost my confidence and reassure my psyche that i still had "it" when i couldn't perform during real sex.

the act of self-reassurance via addictive acting out leading to the vicious cycle of having no juice for real sex..... a self-induced nightmare that could only be seen clearly once enough of the thick eye boogers of fantasy dream intoxication have been systematically wiped out of the synapses by a good reboot.

we cannot change the past, but we can learn from it and empower ourselves in the present by making choices that support dignity, honesty and self-development.

here is a poem by a spiritual poet i enjoy:

"The guest is inside you, and also inside me;
you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.
We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.

The blue sky opens out farther and farther,
the daily sense of failure goes away,
the damage I have done to myself fades,
a million suns come forward with light,
when I sit firmly in that world.

I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken,
inside "love" there is more joy than we know of,
rain pours down, although the sky is clear of clouds,
there are whole rivers of light.
The universe is shot through in all parts by a single sort of love."

{the poet's name is kabir, 14th century in india.}

after years of half heartedly quitting and then resuming, i tried to get fully free of this only after my girlfriend discovered everything and was devastated, felt cheated upon, threatened to leave. this was right before she was flying with me to meet my parents for the first time... intense! i can honestly say i don't deserve her, but am so grateful she has stayed.

then i relapsed in a very small way once after my first attempt of 23 days.  she found out this time right as we were about to move into a new house together and it almost didn't happen. she was so angry and hurt, i was so ashamed and terrified.

so i committed.

WHAT WORKED

1) got a therapist, and started to dig into all the underlying issues. trauma, stress, addictive patterns, family dynamics. very useful, though i am not so sure about her wanting to shoehorn porn addiction into sex addiction - it seems related but specific to itself... (wilson actually just published a great article about the differences between sex addiction and porn addiction. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201111/porn-ad...)

2) went to some 12 step meetings for SA which were useful but not really describing my process in a way i could identify. (i am also not big on the whole god/higher power thing personally, and no offense to anyone for whom this works, but for me it is like being told i need to believe in santa claus in order to heal from this... can't do it!) this might be a great resource for others though!

3) so glad i found this forum, the free conference call (that we are doing on wednesdays if you wanna join http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com/index.php?topic=10398.0) for real time connection with compatriots (so moving and real to me), and gary wilson's videos, the 30 day no PMO challenge, and the whole beautiful nofap, reboot movement - which i only think is going to keep exploding into public view as the discovery of what an epidemic this issue is today dawns on more people.

4) this website is a cool resource for meditation: http://www.calm.com/

i was meditating every day in the beginning (managed the cravings especially for the first 15 days with meditation) and now sometimes go 4 or 5 days in a row meditating, maybe a couple days without, 2 or 3 on, 4 or 5 off etc as needed.

5) i like the chains website that allows me to see a visual representation of my progress and day count. i have one for being PMO free and one for meditation. i get a gold star every time i have both active on the same day. https://chains.cc/

6) i used about 5 different cognitive behavioral addiction books, mostly with a mindfulness/awareness practice emphasis; meditation has been a key part of dealing with cravings for me, but what has been most useful is doing writing exercises focused on identifying addictive thinking and triggers and figuring out strategies for staying the course when they try to take over. this one has been great: http://www.amazon.com/The-Mindfulness-Workbook-Addiction-Addictive/dp/16...

7) i actually connected with an ex girlfriend's current boyfriend who has the same issues and it has been amazing to have real and honest conversations about every week it and support one other. invaluable. i have one other male friend i talk honestly with about this, and also share a lot with my girlfriend.

8.) amped up my three times a week exercise regime by 50% increase in cardio, strength training, sprints, etc..

oh and what should have been TOP of the list: 9) K9 filtering software on computer and ipad - no access to any porn sites with any kind of absent minded addictive autopilot convenience!! i do not have the password or even know how it works... (my gf is a 10 year sober recovering drug addict and agreed to take charge of the software for me.)

THE JOURNEY

the first month was the hardest. meditating every day to not seek porn, to not seek contact with webcam models. staying in touch with my girlfriend's anguish and betrayal, the guilt i felt and the desire not to lose her and to show her i was committed to recovery was HUGE.

** for those who are not in relationships, i really suggest imagining, visualizing and constructing the inner and outer image of a woman you might want to build a relationship with in the future and let that motivate you to stay with the self-healing process.

we cannot have the type of satisfying, hot, loving, real relationship i believe we all long for unless we reboot and get clean from this addictive nightmare. period.

also: spend more time with female friends in non sexual ways and actually connect and be yourself. **

after the first 6 weeks i was flatlining for about 3 weeks.... no real sexual desire.

at this time the desire to PMO was STRONGEST, especially if i was stressed or very caffeinated with too little to do. importantly: not horny, just craving the old pattern of stimulation and release. very disconcerting, but i made it to the other side and am at day 88.

i would estimate that since age thirteen i have averaged masturbating twice daily, sometimes 3 or 4, sometimes just once. for the first 20 years, this was mostly prone, thrusting into my hand, which i have just recently learned is not so good for real sex performance. for the next 10 years it was all death grip edging sitting at the computer - again problematic, but who knew!?

i have actually masturbated 4 times in the last 15 days or so (after not touching it at all for about 73 days)  - importantly though: not to porn! i have zero access.

still, i was wondering if it was dangerously on the verge of being a relapse, but it actually felt like my desire coming back online - which has been confirmed by some great sex with my girlfriend almost every day of the last week.

i think there are myriad ways porn fucked me up. it made me less responsive to real women. i could have a pretty woman's willing mouth on me and be kinda bored and non-aroused. so weird!  i could be inside a vagina and just kinda lose it, or lose it at the first attempt to slip on a condom with a new lover. this after 20 years of having easy, natural, perfectly functioning sex... what was wrong with me!? couldn't be the porn, right? ha!

it made me less interested in what was on the inside and more fixated on women looking a certain way to fit with my porn fantasies. it made me feel ashamed of myself and like i had to hide something and be defensive in my public persona and personal relationships.

it made me feel diminished in my manhood and sense of power and pride. i would see an attractive girl and think "well i won't be able to do anything about that anyway, because i sometimes can't even get it up..." this made me chase the reassurance of getting it up from porn and webcams, which then led to a vicious cycle.

as i approach day 90 without porn, i am feeling freer of all of this. stronger, much more relaxed and focused and able to deal with anxiety and frustration better.

i gave a lecture at the local college  for the first time and was super relaxed and had fun in the new situation - very cool! i have had more time and energy to focus on my business for the last three months and am increasing sales and marketing outreach in ways i have struggled to achieve for the last 5 years in between acting out.

i am more accepting of others and of myself, and less preoccupied with sex, but especially porn as a way of getting through the day. have been having morning wood for the first time in years every other day or every 3 days or so. i usually only make moves on my girlfriend in the afternoon or early evening, but lately have been confident about just going for it in the morning and even late at night if i start to have that feeling - i can trust it more and just go for it.

halle-fucking-lujah! :)

it feels so good to write this all out and share it with you guys. no-one else understands. i know your situations may be different, and i hope i haven't sounded too presumptuous or arrogant, hope i haven't triggered anyone - i am just feeling really good about the process working, and wanting to encourage anyone who resonates with any iota of my experience.

i know i still have a long journey in front of me dealing with this issue and staying porn free.

be strong brothers. be men. please come and connect on the wednesday conference call! http://www.yourbrainrebalanced.com/index.php?topic=10398.0

LINK - FINALLY - ED gone, mood calm, focused on work, sex good! almost at 90 days...

by freedomfromcybersex