I’m 47. I used porn since I was 14, and even then, it was highly compulsive. What drove me to quit was a constant sense of emotional overwhelm and years of untreated depression. Benefits so far: I’m happier. I’m useful. I can look people in the eye because I’m not ashamed of my behaviors. I keep getting promoted a work, like more than I want 🙂 .
All that immensely powerful energy I was previously channeling sexually is now being used to work towards my dream job (found it and was hired 4 years) ago, working towards financial independence (I’ll retire in 6 months), working on a formal spiritual practice, traveling the world, being there for my son (I used to sleep through our weekends together because I was up for hours the night before acting out with porn), and building up a network of other guys who are on the same pornfree path.
Oh, and lots of service work. That’s the biggest factor in all of this. One example: It is a THRILL to speak with jail inmates about this problem. It’s a two hour drive bumper to bumper getting to the county jail, but it’s the highlight of my week.
I was numb, a sexual zombie, even when I was dating “hotties”. In Japanese folklore, I was the hungry ghost, never satiated and with a tiny pinhole for a mouth.
After 17 years of struggling with the on/off obsession/compulsion, Nov 20 2010 was the last day I viewed pornography.
What didn’t work for me
- Internet filters
- Accountability partners
- Being deterred by threats of an SO leaving me
- Being deterred by threats of losing the job and my son
- Pyschotherapy (learned a lot, but still relapsed repeatedly)
- Self-help books (ditto)
- Finding the “right girl”
- Finding the right job/town/car
- Group therapy
- Writing about it
- Talking about it
What did work
- Giving up all forms of self-serving sex and non-committed romance. Yep, even masturbation, which wasn’t really my problem to begin with. But stopping that turned the lust volume knob from a “9” to “3”.
- Quitting coffee.
- Cleaning up my past harms directly in a prompt manner, no exceptions
- Cultivating a serious daily meditation practice. Nothing short of a juicy “love affair” with (my own concept) of God.
- Finding and working with other dudes who suffer from the same problem, passing along what’s working for me, for free. I visit jails, bail bonds, clergy, and network of guys all around the world over skype/phone.
- The last two above actions I have to do every day, else I’m at risk of drifting back into discontent, and eventually, the need to get relief from that discontent. But it’s no longer a chore. It’s an honor.
The problem is self, the solution is getting out of self. Those sexual urges aren’t sexual. That’s life energy that society conditioned me to sexualize. My only hope is converting that energy into service.
Everyone’s got there own approach; the only “right” way is the one that works for each of us. But this is what’s working for me so far.