When my girlfriend first found out about my addiction 3 years ago (it had been going for about 10 years), she told me that we could only get married if I could give up porn and masturbation for a year. I’d try to stop, but I constantly failed. However, last January (beginning of my senior year in college), a few things changed:
- We began talking about marriage more openly, and I began to see it as a real possibility. Whereas before, I could say “oh well I won’t get married anytime soon,” I began to realize that it would actually be something I’d like in the next year.
- I confessed to a priest (we’re Catholic) and shared my struggle with him in great detail. He was patient and listened well. I don’t remember what he said, but being able to share my struggle with someone that openly helped a lot.
- I took a psychology class on self-control. It was one of the best classes I ever took because it taught me about the concept of depletion, which is that your willpower is like a muscle. When you use it too much, it gets tired, which is why it is easier to relapse at night after work, when you are tired. Learning about this helped me strategize and avoid relapsing.
It’s been 6 months since I went to confession and started my count, and it’s also the first time I’m discovering this community. I also feel like I’m slowly relapsing and going back to some of the sites that I used to go to. I haven’t gone to any hardcore porn sites yet (and I don’t want to!), but I worry that if I keep toeing at this line, I’ll slip sooner or later. But I am determined to get to the year! It won’t be easy, but after 10 years of being addicted to porn, and after 5 years of masturbating, I will conquer this.
I’ve generally felt great because I’m no longer chained to this addiction that has kept me feeling like shit for the past 10 years whenever I slipped. I feel like I have more control over myself and my decisions, and I feel like I have much more clarity of mind.
Sorry for the long post! Just needed to get that out of my head.
Also: AMA about the psychology of self-control!