My path towards recovery has turned my world upside down.
More accurately, abstaining has turned my life Right-side Up and THAT is a something that I was not ready for. Naive, ill-equipped and unprepared, I’ve been doomed to fail from the beginning and the choice/challenge I’m confronted with is to learn the lesson that comes from relapse/failure. The other option is accept the disappointing life and reality I’ve created for myself through PMO.
When I’ve been most successful and committed to abstaining and recovering from PMO addiction, I’ve ensured that my environment was conducive to healing. That means creating a safe space for myself where I could be authentic, where my vulnerabilities would be honored and respected. That’s something that I had to ensure for myself. I’m don’t remember exactly who I’m quoting, but there’s that statement/idea about curing depression and anxiety by eliminating the assholes, bitches and toxic people in your life (not to minimize actual treatment for those conditions), which I have found to be very true. I don’t mean to place blame on others; the opposite is true. I had to empower myself by setting proper boundaries for myself and confronting difficult emotions.
The challenge in abstaining has been to confront the world I live in and getting comfortable with being confident, embracing a fresh perspective and increased awareness - despite my fears, frustrations and disappointments. Piled on top of confronting my personal demons I’ve dealt with the people and circumstances in my life that have become accustomed and comfortable with the dis-empowered person they’ve come to know and love.
The harshest and trickiest lesson in maintaining abstinence has been balancing the foreign, abstract and ambiguous experiences (emotions, brain fog, boredom, etc.) with the concrete, practical, physical reality (nurturing my body through withdrawals, cold showers despite body aches, etc) I have to get comfortable with. The challenge we face isn’t simply about breaking an unhealthy habit, it comes down to how willing and able we are to take full responsibility for the quality of our lives.
I’ve ended 2018 with a relapse after 55 day of abstaining. That’s been one of my highest achievements since discovering that my porn habit was causing ED and (more importantly) by ability to generate intimacy and authenticity in my life. It’s been 5 years and I’ve spent about 3 of those years actively trying to rid myself of the addiction, restore my reward circuitry, restore a healthy penis and restore my self-confidence.
Being free of PMO is a balancing act - it means focused energy on creating and establishing a life and a self that I’m not familiar and/or even comfortable with while covering my blind-spots so that the dying self doesn’t knock me off my path.
To be continued…