Hey there. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on these forums, but I’m approaching a year without porn soon, and I thought I’d post about my progress. Maybe some of you remember me.
Sometime in the middle of March last year, I took a small, blue hard drive out of my closet and looked at it for a few minutes. It contained all the porn I had been downloading and backing up since about 2010. This hard drive contained some of my absolute favorite porn videos. As I looked at it, I thought about how it used to be a place I could escape to. At one point, it really served a valid purpose in my life. It was somewhat of a shelter from the difficulties I faced at home. It was a fantasy realm, a place where I could respond to the sexual urges in my brain. However, as I held it in my hand and thought about it that night, I realized it wasn’t doing that for me anymore. This hard drive was no longer an escape for me. It was really more like a prison. I watched porn off of it almost every night (often adding more onto it as the novelty wore off), and I felt like I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.
Something changed inside of me that night. I don’t know what it was. Maybe I was just sick of feeling like my life was out of control. Maybe I started to think a lot about the future and what kind of person I really wanted to be a year from then. Maybe I was just sick and tired of feeling so ashamed with myself for watching porn. So, I plugged the hard drive into my computer and I completely wiped it clean. The contents cannot be recovered. I said “bye-bye” to about eight years of collecting and watching porn.
Then, I joined this forum and made a commitment to myself to quit watching porn forever. I didn’t ever want to go back to it, and I still don’t.
A lot of people will write about their experiences with quitting, claiming that they found new “superpowers” after 90 days. I’ve been clean for almost 365 days, and I haven’t found any superpowers. However, I found something much more valuable than that: some newfound piece of mind. I was an addict for a large percentage of my life. I started watching porn when I was 14 or 15, and my fascination with it blew up into an addiction when I was 16. I’m 26 years old now. That’s almost half of my life I spent addicted to porn. Every day I spent addicted was a day I felt ashamed of myself, a day I felt disgusted with myself, and a day I felt guilty for doing what I was doing every night. I watched porn during the romantic relationships in my life, which compounded the feelings of guilt and shame. Now, a lot of that guilt, shame, and self-disgust is gone. I am more proud of who I am today than I am of who I was a year ago, and I think having that confidence in myself is much more valuable than any superpower.
However, I also want to point out that, in a way, I’m really just getting started. I was in the depths of my addiction for about 9 years, and I’ve been clean for only one. In some ways, I’m still a newbie to being porn-free. I don’t want to discourage anyone, but I need to tell you the truth: I still get urges to watch porn. I’m still an addict. Porn still presents itself as an alluring escape in my mind when I go through hard times. It offers itself as a guaranteed method to make me feel better instantly, and I have to fight against it. In those times, I just have to tell myself that I’m done with “feeling better”. I don’t want to “feel good”, I want to live. I want to take whatever life dishes out for me, whether it’s pleasurable or painful, and I want to experience it. I don’t want to medicate my feelings with porn, and I still have to think about that regularly.
I’m not saying this to scare anybody away from recovery. Recovery is hard work, and it takes a long time. I don’t know exactly how long it takes. I guess it’s different for everybody. However, for me, I know it’s going to take longer than a year before I feel like my addiction has really gone into remission. I was acting out on my addiction for 9 years. Maybe it’ll be 9 years of sobriety before I really know what it’s like to be completely free from porn.
So yes, it’s hard work, my friends. However, you can do it. You can recover from porn addiction. You can recover and it’s worth the battle. You can take matters into your own hands and you can become a better version of yourself.
Finally, I want to say that I’m grateful for this community. Many of you have offered me insight and perspective along my recovery journey thus far, and I don’t want that to go unacknowledged. As a way to give back to the community, feel free to ask me anything about recovery. I’m happy to help, and I want you to succeed!
LINK – 352 Days Without Porn – AMA