Viewing porn is destructive both to the individual viewing it, but also to those nearest and dearest to them too. The habit that is formed through years of porn and masturbation is not only selfish, but is detrimental in many, many ways.
This post is written from first hand experience, from someone who has struggled with porn in one format or another for almost 30 years.
Change and transformation is possible, but first…
My Brief Story
I first discovered porn when I was a teenager, you could say that I ‘accidentally’ discovered my dads stash of porn magazines, and at a later date I discovered after a little bit of searching, his porn films. Remember this was back in the old days before people used the internet as they do today. Yeah I know, I sound really old!
A while later we got connected to the internet (told you I was old..lol) and then I discovered online porn, back in those days it was mostly images of varying degrees of depravity, but later it gravitated onto short downloadable video clips. Even in those days I could download 50 short videos per evening, doesn’t sound like a lot, but in those days of dial-up everything was S-L-O-W!
Eventually we got broadband and that was when the problems began, that’s when I entered the world of streaming videos, live chat, cyber sex you name it I have at one time or another probably done it.
I had no idea that what I was doing back then was slowly altering the way I thought, and how I perceived things. I assumed all guys my age did what I did. Naturally I never asked my male friends, because generally it wasn’t discussed at length because we all assumed we were all doing the same thing. Where’s the problem right?
It Took Me A Long Time To Quit Porn
When I was 24 years old I settled into a serious relationship, not sure how it happened to be honest because porn seems to distract you from wanting anything to do with a real woman, anyhow, I digress.
In the early days of my relationship my porn use took more of a back seat, because I was having real sex with a real woman, but then it slowly began to take over more and more control. I would find myself staying up late using the computer instead of going to bed with my partner.
The further the relationship progressed the more I used porn to help me cope with issues within the relationship and life in general, but the problem was that it didn’t help, it didn’t help at all!
All the time I was hiding my problem with porn, I was blatantly lying about what I was doing on the computer. It took me about 15 years to admit to my partner that I had a problem with porn. I thought by admitting I had an issue it would become easier, and maybe I would be shamed into stopping because I would have to be honest with my partner when I failed or I was struggling etc.
Oh how naive I was! Sure, in the early days after telling my partner about my porn issues I felt better that my secret was out, and for a while I had a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
It didn’t last!
When you are addicted to something, you lie, and you lie a lot. I was no different. The problem was my secret was no longer a secret. She knew, but did that stop me from lying to her about what I was doing? What do you think?
Crisis As Change
What caused my change? For me it was the collapse of my 19 year long relationship, seeing the resentment in the eyes of my youngest child, and generally having my whole life turned upside down and inside out. For the longest time I was like a zombie, I didn’t know what to do or how it even happened.
Everyone’s crisis is different, some people can lose their jobs, their health, or even their freedom. Crisis is crisis, and it is personal for each one of us.
But the good thing about crisis, if you can call it that, is that it breeds desire, desire to change. That being said, some people can exist in crisis for a long time, and sadly some may even die in crisis.
I choose to change.
How I Choose To Stop Viewing Porn
Below is what I did to stop viewing porn and what I still continue doing daily as part of my recovery:
Step One: Desire To Change
The first thing I decided is that I wanted to change, to rid myself of behavioral addiction once and for all. I thought about all the things I had lost because of it, the damage it had caused to myself mentally and the impacts it had upon my family mentally, emotionally and financially.
Your desire to change has to be as powerful as your desire to breathe if someone was holding your head underwater.
Make no mistake, you MUST want this.
Step Two: Porn blockers
Temptation can hit you at any moment, so it is vitally important to install porn blockers on all your devices, from laptops to phones. Porn blockers are not an ideal solution, as for they can be circumnavigated by even the average IT user, but nonetheless they can still help.
Step Three: Stop watching porn!
The next thing I did was to stop watching porn. Simple huh? Not bloody easy that’s for sure, but essential. You can’t stop being an alcoholic till you stop drinking, or a drug addict till you stop injecting etc.
Take it one hour, one day at a time. Keep working at it, resolve that you are stronger than your addiction. You will have good days and bad, take the rough with the smooth and keep going.
Step Four: Use a calendar
I put a calendar on my bedroom wall where I circled off everyday that I had been porn and masturbation free. It’s a great reminder and motivator. I understand you can also get an app for your phone that monitors your progress too.
Use what works for you!
Step Five: Be kind to yourself
I vowed not to beat myself up if and when I failed. I went about 4 weeks straight without any issues, and then I thought one video wont harm. That one little porn ‘treat’ led to a 6 day straight porn binge!
It’s so very easy to self destruct, so it is essential to be easy on yourself. Practice self care, make sure your looking after your basic needs. It’s easy to neglect yourself and others.
Step Six: Get help!
When I first told my partner about my porn addiction I thought I could watch a few videos about it and everything would be fine and dandy. Nope! My partner suggested I saw a therapist, why would I want to see one of them I would retort!
A good therapist is worth their weight in gold, make no mistake. When I first went to my therapist it took a few moments to compose myself before I told her the real reason I was there. The shame I felt telling her was unreal, but trust me there probably isn’t much you can tell them they haven’t heard before!
Step Seven: Have An Accountability Buddy
Ask someone you trust if they will be your ‘accountability buddy’. This is a person who you tell when you failed, feel like giving in and the reasons why. You want someone who you trust highly and who is non-judgemental.
I use my therapist as this person, you could use a Dr, there are even groups online that offer this kind of support to recovering porn addicts.
Personally, I would not suggest using your spouse or significant other as in my experience it seldom brings a couple closer. Your spouse will most likely be dealing with issues relating to your porn use, so she will need to heal separately to you.
Step Eight: The Devil makes work for idle hands
When you are giving up porn, you will discover like I did, just how much spare time you have. At my worst I could spend 40 hours a week viewing porn and masturbating, that was on top of a full-time job! If you are like me, then you will have a lot of spare time.
Do something constructive, in case you can’t tell I started a blog with all my spare time. I also read more than I used to and I meditate too. There are many things you can do, some men enjoy hitting the gym, or some other physical activity to use up that new found physical and mental energy you WILL have.
It’s A Long Road
Recovery isn’t a short road and it takes a long term view. I am no expert in this matter, I have been free of porn and masturbation for over 60 days now and I am learning more and more each day, but there will be tests in the future that I have no doubt over, but that’s life.
I have read about others in recovery that have been ‘clean’ much longer than I have, some over 300 days and they have ‘failed’. This isn’t an easy road that’s for sure, but it is worth it, that I can tell you from my limited experience of recovery.
Every week I write a post called ‘Jae’s Journey’ this is where I post about my progress during recovery and other things. You can read the last one here.
I firmly believe with all my heart and mind that this curse of pornography can be removed from a persons life once and for all, and if I didn’t believe that, then why would I be here telling you my journey.
The journey begins with the courage to change.