I’m doing this post because even though there are a lot of these reports, reading through all of them when I first started this journey gave me motivation, ideas, and knowledge of what I’d go through.
I (32M) have finally hit 90 days of being porn free, after 5 years of trying, 2 years of solid trying, and 8 months of solid trying with CBT therapy.
I was first exposed to porn at 9 or 10, began properly watching at about 12 or 13, and I would say, really used at as a coping mechanism by 16. For the next 16 years I would go from daily PMO, to up to 4 times a day, to short 3-7 days gaps, all the way to edging for hours (and I mean sometimes 8 hours).
I eventually saw the light and realised how deep I was in the addiction. I started to hate myself for it. In the last year I’ve had moments where I’ve felt suicidal over stuff I’d done and watched and how it’s impacted my wife. Some of my early posts on this account are during some of these moments. I knew I had to recover.
How I feel:
– No PMO brain fog
– No/weaker PIED (I say weaker because I don’t think I’m 100% recovered – but pretty damn close)
– Much less anxiety from when the beginning of the 90 days, much more anxiety from when I used PMO every day
– Happy about hitting 90 days, but oddly not proud
– I can see a future in life, but I still struggle finding happiness in the present
– Less lazy, less likely to procrastinate
– Less obsessed over pornographic scenarios
– Less materialistic, though this may be more down to lockdown than being porn free
– More connected to things like music, art, entertainment
– Frustrated at the amount of non-nude ‘porn’ out there, which makes it really difficult for us
– Concerned for those who are unaware of this addiction
What worked for me:
– No blockers: I’ve been trying properly (not just thinking about it) for two years. In this time I used all the blockers I could find, all the deterrents I could get I’d put on my screen or my phone, and I always found a way around them. This time I didn’t use anything.
– CBT Therapy: The root of my porn use for anxiety, I’ve realised, but over the last year, as I began to see how horrible I was becoming, I suffered even more anxiety after a PMO session. So I finally got therapy. Not everyone can do this, but if you can, get therapy from an expert in addictions and/or CBT.
– Recognise an urge early: Edging is not the sign of the start of an urge. The urge already existed. Peeking is not the sign of the start either. The urge already existed. For me, the urge started immediately after an anxious moment; frustration because I spilled my drink, sadness because my family member is ill, etc. and even happiness; happy that my team won the game. I recognised a compulsive behaviour to respond to any emotion with PMO*.* So the second I felt an emotion, the second I treated it as an urge and told my brain to be careful.
– Differentiate needs from desires: I use to tell myself I needed porn. I didn’t need it, I just wanted it. Tell yourself you don’t need it, it’s your brain wanting it. Then accept it. It’s ok that your brain wants it… It makes total sense, I am feeling anxious, sad, happy, excited, and my brain has always responded to that with PMO so, of course, it think it’s a need.
– Don’t celebrate relapsing: This is a tough one. I see a lot of ‘don’t worry about relapsing’ posts. And I myself relapsed badly a few times and needed support. But I sometimes worry it’s almost celebrated… “I relapsed but I’m really happy this time.” Ok, good, but relapsing isn’t a good thing but it’s true, it’s not the end of the world.
– Get support: I found this forum really helpful, to hear how others were feeling, to help others, and as I said above to get some motivation. I really suggest helping others as you recover.
– Recognise it’s a journey: It’s in my name, but recognising recovery is a journey is important. I could be at day 3000 and a relapse would be a relapse.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have questions!
LINK – 90 Days – Report and Tips
I stopped watching pornography in November, 2020. This is the longest period without PMO I’ve ever had.
Never before have I felt emotion like this. It’s not always good. During this recovery I’ve realised I suffer from a lot of mental health issues/childhood trauma, which I have now gone to therapy to help with. At times it hurts. I often find myself, a man in his thirties, crying my eyes out.
Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes I feel happiness, sometimes I feel love, empathy, concern, and so on, in ways I’ve never experienced. I realised I listen to sad song and I get tearful. I probably shouldn’t be crying at everything, that’s why I’m still getting therapy, but wow, how I numbed myself with porn.
Do I have superpowers? God no. Do I feel much better since being clean? No, not really. Do I feel like a human now? Yes, I think so. But I didn’t realise it when I was at my lowest. When I was heavily addicted, I still did good things, and I did bad things. But I felt less when doing them. I still do these things, but I feel what’s happening. Maybe that’s the superpower, being able to feel things again – but that’s not a superpower, that’s just being human.