What I Learned Going 230 Days Without Porn

lessons-learned

**This is a guest post from a reader named Dylan, who went 230 days without porn. — Brian

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Let me be real with you: doing things we don’t want to do sucks. And doing things that are painful…that’s even worse. So, why bother?

It would be very easy to shower you with platitudes and clichés, which I have grown accustomed to receiving myself, but that demeans the severity of our situation: we want change or, at the very least, we think we want change (and that’s still a step in the right direction). Addiction is all about comfort. It’s temporary pain-relief that places us in long-term debt. Before we know it, we’re in deep.

Pornography is like any other addiction in that it offers comfort, but unlike drugs or alcohol, it is far more easily accessible and (according to a lot of research) much more habit-forming. How can our “willpower” possibly compete with such a primal urge to seek relief?

First, we have to lose something. Our relationships have to suffer, our disinterest has to kick in, our erections have to diminish. If addiction had no consequences, why would anyone enter rehab or seek help? The “wake-up call” is powerful.

I was 12 years old when I first started looking at internet pornography (this was in 2001, when dial-up was giving way to high-speed broadband…a great, and dangerous time). One minute I was looking at bikini models, the next my screen was covered in flesh. I was fascinated, and even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was hooked. I vividly remember thinking to myself that this was going to change my life. And it did. But at the time, it was all fun and no consequences. I appreciated the comfort, and I hadn’t lost anything yet.

I’m 26 now. It’s sobering to realize that this digital escapism has been an issue I’ve wrestled with for more than half my life. I can see the effects more clearly now, but it doesn’t make my choices easier. There’s a Latin proverb: “I see and approve the better course, but I follow the worse.” That’s human nature, and it’s been true for me. For all my realizations, and despite increasing loss, pornography is still a dangerous substance in my life. I imagine you can relate?

I’m currently on Day 32 of no-PMO (that’s a record for me). Up until April of this year, I’d managed to go 230 days without porn, but I hadn’t ceased masturbating. Based on years of internet-associated rewiring, I now understand now why it’s necessary to abstain from both: whenever I’ve indulged one, it’s always prompted cravings for the other. Regardless, how did I manage to go 230 days without porn (and then, after so much hard work, why would I relapse?) I’ve thought about this for a long time, but I’ve realized it came down to desperation and imbalance. These are powerful motivational forces, but they’re not grounded in a healthy mindset.

I was a few months into a new relationship when, after years of false-starts and short-lived promises, I finally decided “enough was enough” with the porn. The woman I was seeing had no idea what I was going through, because I never told her – I was far too ashamed. She also had no way of knowing that she was my “prize” – the motivating factor behind altering my damaging behavior. My conscious mind told me “you’re doing it for her, so you can be a better boyfriend” but my unconscious mind knew the simpler truth “you want to have better sex”. In truth, there’s nothing wrong with either desire, but a problem emerged: my motivation was built on unstable ground. I was pinning years of sexual frustrations and self-hate (born out of desperation) on another person, someone who I claimed to care about, and she had no idea. The relationship fell apart, and I went through several more short-term affairs, each time pinning my hopes on a new person (“this time, it will be different!”) – I was like Charlie Brown trying to kick that damn football! I just didn’t get it. And my increasingly imbalanced foundation hit its limit – my heart was broken, and my desire for comfort (in the form of porn), outpaced my tolerance for pain. And I relapsed, and continued to struggle for about a month.

And now I’m on Day 32 of no-PMO. I’m not dating anyone, and I’ve told myself I can’t even think about it until I meet some very important personal deadlines (writing a first draft of a screenplay is one of them). I’ve shifted my motivation from external factors outside of my control (romantic partners, winning the lottery, and other delusions of addicted thinking) to daily practices which are fully within my abilities. The hard part continues to be saying “yes” or “no”, and then committing to the decision. I don’t always want to make the right choice, and it often hurts, but my motivational shift has made it more bearable. This time, my foundation is being built slowly and purposefully. I’m not overextending, and I’m not pinning responsibility on anyone else.

You don’t have to be religious to see wisdom in the saying “love your neighbor as yourself.” But your love for others is only as pure as your love for yourself. Right now, I’m still working on myself.

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Do you have your own story of struggle and success you’d like to share on the blog?  Drop me a line at: brian (at) rebootblueprint (dot) com.

About Brian

Brian overcame a long-standing addiction to Internet porn and fully recovered from serious porn-induced erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety. For more about Brian, see my story.

Comments

  1. hmmm!!! my case is just as brian’s. i got my addiction to porn just 12yrs old. and i also masturbate frequently like say 3days a week gush! can’t believe that was me. now am 21!! and i made up my mind never to masturbate!! now i could concentrate properly in my academics! it was good i knew the truth,so i could be free. i think i need to increase my own from 230days to 1000days! no porn and masturbation i believe itz gon help me …lol!!

    • Hi Bassey,
      Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing your story.
      On the bright side, your case (3 times per week) seems quite mild compared to many other guys. But if it helps to focus on your academic goals, then by all means stick with the program.
      Cheers
      Brian

  2. You might find this funny. But i am on a 14 day streak and i feel like a superman.
    I have been a slave to porno since for 8 years. I feel i can make a Day 90.
    God Bless everyone !

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