Well, I’ve thought about this day for a while and I wondered if I would make it here. Here are some rules I set for myself and a description of my circumstances that I feel got me where I am now:
I’m married and my wife knew I looked at porn on a regular basis and told me she didn’t have a problem with it, but I knew it must bother her on some level. My decision to quit using porn arrived suddenly when I found r/nofap and thought it was a joke, but then I watched the TED talk about porn. Something clicked in me and made me realize that I had to stop looking at it at that moment, and I haven’t looked at anything since.
I was a daily porn user. I would look at stuff on my ipod in bed next to my wife as she slept. I would peek at pics at work to get a small rush to hold me though the day. I remember taking my laptop into the bathroom at my parent’s house at Christmas and looking at porn while on the toilet as my parents and wife were talking in the next room. I was definitely addicted.
I decided to be successful I had to be hardcore and vigilant about avoiding all stimuli that gave me a sexual rush, regardless of whether it could be defined as porn. The first few weeks it was extremely difficult to not go to the sites I was used to, and I wanted a fix from anywhere. I had to force myself to look away when I saw attractive women on the street while I was driving, because I knew I was not just glancing but fixating on them to get a rush. When sexy imagery came on the tv, I would look away. I developed this unconscious response where when an unwanted sexual stimulus that I had to avoid appeared, I would get a scowl on my face and I felt my mouth bent into a frown. It made me feel so sad that A) I couldn’t look at the things I wanted so badly to look at and B) that it was so difficult to resist.
I also have done full nofap this whole time. I’m not allowing myself to masturbate at all because I would probably be thinking about pornographic imagery while I was doing it and that would be a push toward relapse in my mind. My wife and I have had amazing sex and she has definitely noticed positive changes in our sex life.
I definitely had withdrawal symptoms. I felt at times that my life no longer had meaning. I felt like this major thing that made me so happy was ripped out of my life. I felt depressed and irritable. But I knew I wanted to push through and get past these feelings so I would never have to “detox” again.
Slowly, I didn’t have to think about it and police myself as harshly anymore. Living without porn started to become automatic, not something I had to try extremely hard to do all day. I could relax more.
I did end up going to a psychiatrist and he put me on wellbutrin, which is supposed to help with addictive behaviors and depression. It helped me so I didn’t feel such a huge energy crash in the afternoons where my productivity dropped to zero. Things leveled off more, my mood improved, and I’ve kept up my abstinence.
I’ve also gone to a couple of SA meetings and they were good, but I also felt a little like a “lightweight” being around people who have gone to prison for sex offenses. I had to tell myself that we each are going through our own recovery and not to compare myself to them.
Overall I feel empowered, in control of myself, optimistic for the future, and like I have a much more healthy view of sex. My world doesn’t revolve around it anymore, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy it any less. I don’t feel as nervous around women, because I don’t feel like they have such immense power over me anymore. I’m no longer putting them on a pedestal as goddesses/sex objects. I can look at them as real people more so than when I looked at porn. I hope my story inspires all of you in /pornfree to keep going, to start your reboot, or start it again. Removing porn from your life will shift the focus of your life back to things that are real and meaningful, and strip away the dehumanization, shame, and lies.
My wife says she feels a connection between us and a sexiness in me that has burgeoned during this time. I have had some real withdrawal moments where I feel incredibly tired and depressed, but I’m powering through because I never want to go through this again. Looking forward to a brain with new neural connections that are optimized for taking in real life and enjoying it to the max!
LINK – 90 Day Report