So “I made it” and aim to “keep making it”, but would like to stress some things that have become clear to me:
- Mental and physical health — and I don’t mean self-help books, quotes or diets. I mean professional therapy and visits to practitioners and, as I myself (better late than never) will be seeing this week, a nutritionist.These are simple and not expensive (given they’re REAL necessities in every sense of the word) things that not only make a real impact on your life, but are some of the best ways to really immerse yourself in this process, as it’s ultimately something you should do for your own good.
- Keep trying. It’s axiomatic, but I’d rather leave it here in the middle than have you leave the text with this as the last thing to stick in your mind. I’ve failed a lot. I’ve tried to convince myself that I could do this by myself etc so that I didn’t need to face others and wouldn’t be accountable for my failures. But that’s just not how life works. I’ve been lucky enough to have found a good therapist and to have had my girlfriend help me with this addiction. As a former smoker (quit about three years ago) I really can’t stress enough how much it would have helped to be in therapy then.
- Focus on something that really matters to you. And, again, something I think should be said here more often: rid yourself of this “alpha male” idea. This not only excludes women from this community that is about recovering from an addiction to porn, and not from a life of bad experiences in the relationships department, but it also curses you with a superficial, inflexible identity to which you must try and fit into. It must be said, on the other hand, that — obviously — a more confident and healthy person will, without a doubt, be more attractive to others — which does not mean it should be the sole reason for you to abstain from something. As a personal example from my experience, I did not have a drinking problem, but chose over the last year, to abstain from drinking so that I could give new meaning to it, in my life. Last week I reached my one year goal and, although it was strange at first to say no to the occasional beer with friends or my partner, it also became progressively clear to me that I’ve been attributing to alcohol some merits that, actually, were just merits of social interactions. And, as I’ve begun to see now without porn or masturbation, all I was doing was procrastinating something that really mattered to me: to write and read and study. So, be honest with yourself and go after what you dream of — work hard on it, accepting the failures, challenges and sacrifices that lie within.
Yes, I probably didn’t say anything new, it’s just the regular experience of a 20something year old white guy from Brazil who had — like many — been watching porn daily since age eleven or ten. I’ve tried and I’ve failed, but I’ve tried again and have succeeded. As usual. As many. So this will all be up to you, ultimately: how much are you willing to do for your health and for your social experience? You must decide and must act on what you decide — especially when it’s something that will take you off of your comfort zone. First going to therapy is really hard, but not as hard as being aware that you have a problem and willing to solve it. Even if an addiction is never really “beaten”, being here makes a big, big difference, and I believe it’s a great oasis on the internet. Now, when I occasionally stumble upon a bikini picture or a somewhat sensual clip, I realize I’ve been my whole life acting as I had been taught: I was to consume people, to use them for my pleasure as playthings. A sexuality experienced through pornography excludes the other person from the equation and also all senses other than vision — what should have been a tactile, olfactory and sharing experience becomes a visual act of egotism.
So, finally, I’d like to thank everyone who’s given me advice on this subreddit, and also everyone of you who are supportive of others on their posts. I’m only talking about me and my experience here, but it’s heartwarming to see so many different people, every single day, come to aid one another when there’s just nothing material to be gained — to help out of pure goodness of heart. Once again, something I can’t stress enough: thank you for being such good people, and I hope you “make it” too.