I hit my sixth and final 15 Day Goal, which now equals 90 days since my last lapse.
Though I stated earlier that this was not a reboot as such, but rather a probationary period since my last lapse- I tricked you, brain, straight up tricked you!!!
Not really, of course- we’re smarter than that. However, this serves as an example that we need to use ‘mental trickery’ on ourselves until that we actually find ourselves overcoming. Fake it till you make it is a well known motto in the recovery community.
I Hit my 90 Day Goal!!!
This serves as my official reboot, as stated previously. While I’m very aware of the dangers and pitfalls that still lurk around, I am happy and whole without the need for pornography or masturbation in my life- especially as they’re faulty coping methods.
I have no desire to get on line, and look up stuff in order to get off, or have a quick dopamine hit. I’m well aware when I start, for whatever reason, to go down that path- edging up to porn through it’s substitutes, etc…
If I catch myself in a mood, I attempt to ascertain what is happening, or just non-judgmentally observe. I breathe through most of these things. Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques, and prayer are my coping methods. I am still training my mind to think of porn, masturbation and women differently than I have in the past, and that’s sometimes on going in terms of perception- but this is rapidly changing.
I so much prefer real-world sexuality to the made up fantasies as occur in porn and masturbation. This ‘real-world’ insists on emotional intimacy, and that best occurs within a committed relationship, as in the marriage covenant. That provides the best context for real love, intimacy and sexual experience. All else outside of that is only selfish and unreal, and hence, unsatisfactory.
Quitting these behaviors of porn and sex addiction has been, and sometimes continues to be the most toughest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. Keep in mind, this has been for me a 20-plus year addition, since the summer of 1993, though the makings of this were certainly forming long before that.
- I’ve found that to beat this addiction requires a dead-dog seriousness with ourselves, a diligence, a tenacity to never give up, and a receiving of the radical grace of God that, no matter what, you’re forgiven and reconciled to Him.
- I’ve found that to beat this addiction, one must learn how to face and deal with urges. One cannot avoid this, white-knuckling, and creating a monster that looms larger than life. Screw that, men! Life is too short. What? Do we want to continue this addiction another 20 years? When, if ever, are we going to change? It certainly doesn’t happen ‘magically’, we have to change ourselves, in His grace.
- I’ve found that to beat this addiction, we have to understand and appreciate the science of it. We’ve created sensitized neural pathways that require you to do the same old thing, require you to respond exactly as you’ve been responding in order to continue and grow stronger in it’s selfish quest to consume and destroy your life. The ONLY way that we’re going to beat this addiction and change ourselves is if we do something different in response to the triggers and urges that come upon us, whether these are exterior to us, or emotional and interior to us.
Trigger/Urge —-> Response —–> Habit. It’s that simple. If we change our response, we’ll change our habit.
Remember: a definition of insanity is in doing the same old things, while expecting a different result.
To the men (and women) here: if I can change in this area, anyone can. My story, with it’s very dark corners, serve as an example that no matter how bad, how ingrained is this addiction, it can and must be changed.
I am currently writing something I call the Sati Method, and will post a link in my journal when it’s complete, which will represent the various techniques used by me to overcome this 20-plus year addiction.
Thank you all for reading my journal if you did, for supporting me, and praying for me.
And thank you Reboot Nation/YBR, and for the men who’re behind it’s creation.
BY – Leon (J.J. Phoenix)
INITIAL POST – Shameless Grace
While this journey toward freedom started for me back on July 17th, 2003, when it was divulged (to my wife of now 20 years) that I had been periodically visiting porno bookstores, my fight goes further back when as a Christian I entered a sexual addiction of sorts back in the summer of 1993. Being a part of a cult-like and spiritually abusive church didn’t help matters any, as the hyper moralization of sexuality, mixed with my loveless upbringing, and finding pornography on the play ground as a 4th or 5th grader, all mixed together to bring me into a place of addiction. Also, as a teenager, there was a major traumatic event that played a formative role also.
I’ve been struggling with what has been [mostly] an addiction to softcore pornography (though with the occasional hardcore), including masturbation and edging, since 1993, with this struggle being revealed since 2003. I’ve tried accountability, and certain ‘Christian recovery’ type of groups since, but with minimal change of behavior.
Back Story: [Trigger Alerts!]
In seeking to understand my obsessive behaviors, it was important for me to unravel my story pretty far back- the neglect suffered as a child, not just from nutritional sustenance, but more importantly emotional nurturing.
This neglect was compounded by an absent father (who left when I was 4), and a verbally abusive mother who would shame me by calling me degrading and insulting names.
By the time I was in the 7th grade, I was ready to commit suicide. I don’t think I had the nerve, but was often contemplating it. Due to some Catholic literature I read at the time, I decided to let my story continue, and see what the next chapter had in store.
It seemed interesting to me that, during each traumatic event in my life, there was promiscuous sex, porn or masturbation that was ironically presented to me in some form or other, as if it were my savior.
The most pronounced example of this time was when I was raped by a man as a runaway teenager living on the streets.
There were other events where, for example while feeling low, would find [printed] pornography on the streets. Or, once when I was caught trying to ‘dine-and-dash’ from a local restaurant as a 14 year old, a prostitute lady offered to take me to her home. I remember being mystified at different women going in and out of a room. In went a blonde, out came a brunette later on- I didn’t know what was going on in that smokey and dimly lit environment.
Once I became a Christian back in 1985, my life did change. I had lust and masturbation issues, but received a limited time of victory from these in 1990-91. This was the best time of freedom in my younger life.
Then I met my wife-to-be. We dated, she was a virgin still when we married 3 years later, but during our dating there was much heavy petting- which caused a big deal of shame in me at the time, as I was a member of a very legalistic church.
During our dating, in the early days, there was a lot of rejection and acceptance from her that kind of caused a constant replaying of rejection and abandonment issues. I was emotionally very needy.
One night I decided to tell her of what happened to me when I was a teenager, and she rejected me at that time for having been the victim of a crime that I had no culpability in. This sparked what has been a 20 plus year addiction that carried over into our marriage.
We’ve long since worked these things out between us, and she knows the dynamics of it all.
But even after my understanding these things in their psychological context as far back as 2000-03, I still couldn’t break free until I began to learn about God’s radical grace toward me. Not until I learned how to accept God’s unconditional love for me, could I break free from the shame that kept me bound, despite efforts to quit.
What’s really helpful to me right now is understanding God’s grace, as these sexual issues have been highly moralized under ‘law’ (“…thou shalt not”)- yet instead, this grace says to me, “You are loved and forgiven of all your sins, no matter what!”- all of my sins when Christ died on the cross, were all yet future. This means that as far as God’s concerned, I’m utterly and completely forgiven, and not only that- but I’m righteous (in right-standing with God), holy and sanctified (set apart)- regardless of how my behavior is- good or bad. All that is needed is to renew my mind to the truth.
Without trying to sound purposefully ‘religious’, the above was so important for me to grasp, as toxic shame and a legalistic mentality were what was driving these addictions and obsessions.
My Purpose Here:
Though I’m new in this forum, I’ve received a lot of healing in my life so far, and hope to be of encouragement to others on the same journey, whether they’re believers or not, we’re all human and we all need healing from our brokenness in this area, as these sexual hangups are more symptomatic of deeper issues.
Peace and love to all.
J.J. Phoenix (Leon).