My addiction story

Hey there heartsupport.

I’m a brand new user here, and want to share my story as well as my struggle with addiction and self worth. Before I start I want anyone that reads this to know: reading all of your stories, struggles, victories and encouragement is one of the coolest things. I’m so inspired knowing such a community exists.

Alright, the reason I’m here is because I’m addicted to pornography. I have been for a long time. Rewind a little bit. When I was in highschool I attended a church camp. This was the first place I encountered God on a personal level and started to develop relationship with him. Along with that came some convictions about the porn I was already consuming. So I was contrite about quitting while I was there. About three weeks after I got home, I was using it again. I felt incredible shame and disgust whenever I would fail in this manner. I journaled most days, writing my prayers and thoughts to God, including days that I would use. Eventually I moved out, picked up a few other habits. My relationship with God remained in tact but barely. In the four years I was moved out, using porn became any every day thing. I was depressed, thought of myself as a failure to my family and peers and perpetuated that cycle be constantly skipping out on opportunities to be with friends and family. At the time, I felt so undeserving of my family and not thinking a friend could understand me, that continuing to harm and abuse my body, finding solace in other things, seemed like my best option. Four years of that, and I’d hit rock bottom financially, emotionally, relationally and in a lot of other ways. I had to move back home, and along with that came everything I’d been avoiding sharing with them. Anyway, it took a little while but after a lot of work, becoming more open to therapy, becoming vulnerable and trusting instead of impulsively lying and hiding, I’m a much happier self accepting person. This is something I’m very proud of and I was difficult. Within a the past year or so, I have been digging back into my relationship with God. However watching porn and was still a part of my daily life. It had actually escalated despite the positive direction the rest of my life was going. I started spending money on porn years ago. The amount I don’t want to imagine but it affects me financially. Consuming porn has become a way of feeling relationship and being avoidant. I crave connection but my sex addiction has hard wired my brain into thinking I can achieve that only one way. It’s ruined a few relationships and friendships. Turned me into something other than what I want to be. On top of that, I’ve always had terrible self image of my body, hating the way I look. I’m sure the two are interconnected. When I see women in public I immediately size them up , instinctively. This I hate more than anything. That years of conditioning myself have made me at times unable to stop my brain from going a certain direction, When what I truly want is to just converse with a friend or get to know someone. My addiction is pervasive and intrusive. Had a recent encounter where it effected a friendship of mine. On top of that, I finally am feeling pushed in my relationship with God to tackle this. I’ve beat a nicotine addiction of about 6 years so I know I’m capable. It’s been 3 days clean while I’m writing this. Part of me is excited and part of me is sure ill never be free of what I’ve become.

I hope this is as appropriate. Thank you anyone who reads this.

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Hi @Shredn

First off I want to tell you that I think you are very brave and trusting to give us a glimpse into your struggle. I’m glad you found us.

Addiction sucks and it’s something I struggle on a daily basis with and have most of my life. No matter what the addiction, it’s real and no one can really understand your journey fully because it’s personal. Every addict can relate on some level tho, so I know what you’re going thru in that sense. I also have the religious aspect in there too, so I fully get that. I haven’t figured that out either. I guess we just have to trust that God understands our struggles and loves us.

I’m sure by now you know about sex addicts anonymous 12 step programs. There are also things like psychological treatments that help with social interactions with family, work etc. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is used as well for addiction. So there are things out there you can get help from, you don’t have to do it alone.

I’m glad that you recognize that it’s not healthy and you need to stop, I think that’s a very healthy place to be in.

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Hello there new friend

So glad you found us! I shall fire my celebratory Confetti canon to celebrate your current 3 days streak!

And congrats on already successfully overcoming one addiction!

You seem to be aware of yourself, and how the addiction is affecting you. Your honesty is actually quite refreshing because there is accountability and awareness in it. It sounds like you’re mentally and emotionally ready to tackle this addiction head on. There are places that can help, maybe also a therapist.

I’m exciting for your future, things can get better with time and some hard work. You can do this. We’re here for you. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey!

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Thank you @Mystrose and @Sita

You guys are awesome and thanks for the support. Actually some of these resources are brand new to me because of how I have minimalized my issues and wrote it off. I’m learning a lot more about how my brain has been treating this. That I’m essentially rewarding myself, being avoidant and how much of it is chemical. It’s given me hope just knowing that eventually it will be easier on a daily basis because I’ll be rewiring myself. Looking into some CBT therapy as well as a couple of retreats to help myself disconnect and focus. It’s also becoming more clear to me that if I want to train my brain to stop attaining dopamine highs from pornography, then I will need to replace those times with other types of fulfillment. Preferably something that would actually make me a healthier person, and that services as achievement and accomplishment, rather than just satisfying.

All that to say… this is still pretty difficult. Writing this now because tonight has been challenging. My brain is trying to rationalize taking it easy on myself. That if I were to break down once, It’s ok because I’m working hard at this. When breaking other habits, doing the thing less and less, reacting when I do the thing, made me want it less and less just by acknowledging. When I quit nicotine I took months to ween myself off. But this feels a lot different. Any advice, thoughts or encouragement would be much appreciated.

Thank you again.

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change the setting! Leave the place where you usually give in to the temptation to watch, go to another room, or even outside, do something else that takes up a lot of focus and mental or physical energy. Any hobbies?

Again, great awareness, and I’m glad to see you knowing it’s a process and doing the work.
Remember how great it feels to overcome the urge, and that every moment you resist, you’re literally rewiring your brain. Remember the feelings you have afterwards, and how you wish better for yourself, and focus on that - you deserve better, and you’re doing better for yourself.

You got this friend, be gentle with yourself, but also be a little vigilant for the urge and how your brain will try to tell you that it’s okay to “just do it this once”. You’re doing so great, keep up the streak!

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Hey guys, having some trouble right now with this. Just looking for some support.

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Hey @Shredn how are you doing?

It’s been quite some hours since you’ve posted. Let us know how we can support you. :hrtlegolove:

Hey @Micro

Had a relapse two days ago. Things had been going a lot better. I had been making progress with my goals. I even had a bunch of friends over that night. But for some reason I still went back to it. Right after that, after fighting obsession for hours and losing, my mind was clear. I knew what I wanted and was ready to do what needed to be done. I prayed and felt at peace. But still I did it. Being strong for a week and then still rewarding myself with porn Is not what I want. But I sometimes feel like an animal when It starts talking hold of me, Ann’s when I’m done I am myself again. How do I break myself out of this.

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