Age 26 – Although I’m nonreligious, 12 Steps is working for me

I am a 26-year-old guy and I am a porn addict. What I am trying to say here might come across as a stream of consciousness rather than a well-thought-out post. Be that as it may, I ask you to be patient and see it through. Thank you!

I’ve been here since 2017 and I’ve been trying to leave this addiction ever since. In my second attempt, I abstained from PMO for 72 days but relapsed on the 73rd day. After that relapse, I couldn’t go over 20 days without PMO. It got worse with each year and in 2020 my addiction got out of control. Staying up late, I would binge on porn for hours most nights. However, around 50 days ago something changed and I’ve managed to stay away from PMO for 52 days so far. You want to know what changed? Well, here I am sharing it with you.

In all my previous attempts to quit, I relied on so many things, none of which actually worked. I keep a daily journal and I write down my daily experiences every night before bed. My approach to an addiction-free life was simple; I would read self-help books and try to be as spiritual as I could. I mostly read Pema Chodron’s books. A Buddhist nun whose books really resonates with me. Meditation is the base of spiritual practices as you well know. First of all, I couldn’t discipline myself to meditate daily. When I look back on my diary, the pages are filled with words like: “I should commit to meditation”, “Meditation is necessary for mindfulness” or “Why do I keep putting off doing meditation”. Besides meditation (which I didn’t do regularly), I used to exercise and tried to masturbate without viewing pornography. I am not going to bother you with all the different ways I tried to stay away from porn. That list can be interminable. In a nutshell, everything I tried never seemed to work. I wasn’t hopeless, though. I knew that this addiction is ruining my life and if I could leave it by any chance, I would be able to actually focus on myself and improve my life.

I’ve been an agnostic for a major proportion of my life. There are guys here who talk about God and Jesus. They claim that God has granted them salvation. To be honest I couldn’t relate to what they were saying. I was born in a Muslim family and by the age of 16 I was totally against all religions. However, I knew if you were a spiritual person, you would have better chances of leading a happier life. I would see those Muslims, who would never watch porn simply because it was against all their principles. They actually had faith that Allah (God in Islam) will have their back, no matter what. They were happy. They weren’t struggling with things I had to struggle with. I kind of envied them their peace of mind, but I knew I can’t believe in any religion. I knew that it was all bullshit (no offense, this was how I used to think about religions and not the way I see them now. At this point of my life although I don’t believe in any religions, I respect them all.) Seeing those religious people who had a normal life made me realize that I need to be a spiritual person to find peace and break away from addiction. This is why I started reading Buddhist books. They didn’t talk about God, the miracles of Jesus or how Mohammad prophet split the moon. It made perfect sense. I loved Buddha’s reasoning. It seemed simple and effective. There was only a problem, regardless of how hard I tried to put these principles into practice, I would always find myself back to square one. I would read these Buddhist books and contemplate them, but then again that wouldn’t stop me from going on a binge and masturbating frequently. I was lost! I didn’t know what was wrong.

Now finally I want to talk about what worked for me, but before I start, there is something you need to know first. In order to leave this addiction, all we need is a desire to stop, and an open mind. The latter is kind of more important than the former. After all, you wouldn’t be here reading this if you didn’t want to leave your addiction. However, only with an open mind, will you be able to accept what I am going to say. As I mentioned earlier, my approach to spirituality didn’t seem to work, and I had no idea why. Fifty some days ago, a guy introduced me to SEX AND PORN ADDICTS ANONYMOUS. He said that he attended daily meetings and the program was helping him tremendously. He said all I had to do was installing Zoom on my phone. I could then attend the meetings. I didn’t pay attention at first. I was skeptical. But then I mustered the courage to attend the first meeting. I haven’t looked back ever since. You have definitely heard about the 12 step programs before. I am not going to ruin it for you, but I’m going to talk about it a bit. This program filled a huge gap in my spirituality. It allowed me to choose the God I want to believe in. To trust a power greater than myself to help me through this process. This is a very personal type of God. You have to see it for yourself. This was the missing piece and there’s not a day I don’t thank my higher power for having found this program. I believe the Nofap community can help, but the help you get from SPAA is way different, thousand times more powerful and profound. Sure, it’s only a matter of time before I relapse, but something has changed. I’ve gained hope and I found the strength to fight this addiction. God knows how desperate I was. I hope this post helps you to benefit from this program as I did. This is free and all you need is access to the internet. I hope I’ll see some of you at one of those meetings.

LINK – First time 52 days of sobriety after 2 years of trying

By 5adn8m8