This is a true story about how pornography brought Jim deep into the pits of misery and darkness and how he learned to overcome it and reclaim his life.
Overcoming Pornography – How Jim Almost Destroyed His Life
(The name of the client was changed for confidentiality purposes)
Euphoric pleasures become unbreakable chains
Jim remembers the overpowering euphoric feeling that seemed to rush through his body the first time he viewed pornography. Being young, he had no idea what this feeling was, but the intensity of this experience left him wanting more.
The pleasure was so intense that from that moment on he never wanted to be without it, and yet at the same time, he felt horrible about viewing it or having anything to do with it.
He kept his feelings to himself.
He was afraid to tell anyone, especially his parents.
Building an insidious dependency as he went through adolescent development, he quickly became consumed by porn. At a very early age, it became a central focus his hidden life.
Throughout high school, he vowed to quit many times but was never able to go for more than a couple of weeks without viewing porn or masturbating. After a period of a couple of weeks sober, he would hear a voice in his head say, “You really don’t have that bad of a problem or else you couldn’t stay sober for so long” or “there is nothing wrong with this, everyone else is doing it.”
Jim didn’t know it, but this was the addict part of his brain playing the tricks it is too infamous to get him to go back. Inside, his brain believed he needed it, as this is what happens when you develop an addiction. Listening to this voice would always lead him to act out again.
Feeling frustrated and confused, he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t stop. In high school, he began dating girls and before long became sexually active with them.
Guilt and Shame
Guilt and shame flooded his body but he would minimize his acting out activities as being normal.
Relationships never lasted long and he described feelings of isolation and an inability to really feel connected with the girls he dated and with other people.
Thoughts and fantasies always centered on sex and his relationships with women were based solely on sex.
Women were objects to him.
Sex was the only way he knew how to experience what he described as “a real pleasure.”
He describes himself as being popular in high school, because of his ability to play sports and put on a good face. Struggling with his private life, he felt like he was faking his way through life and didn’t know where to turn.
Isolated, ashamed and fearing ridicule, he kept his secret life to himself.
Confused by the messages that pornography was sending Jim, he began to believe that women truly wanted sex all the time and they were always on the hunt for the perfect guy.
His behaviors continued throughout the years, skipping from one relationship to another.
By his mid-twenties, his addiction reached new levels as he ventured into the world of escorts.
He describes his experiences with escorts as disgusting and shameful.
In his fantasy world, such women really wanted and desired him but he quickly got the message that the escorts could care less for him.
Confused and more depressed, his addiction had become so powerful, he believed the lie that the next sexual experience would be the one where true intimacy would be achieved.
He craved being with women but was confused by the fact that when the sex was over, he felt even more empty inside.
Staring Death in the Face
Because of the impact pornography had on his brain, his thinking had become delusional. He finally hit rock bottom when he called an escort and after their business was concluded he had no money to pay for her services. He knew this going into the evening, but he was so far into the addiction his reasoning capacity was gone.
He describes his mortal fear as the escorts’ pimp called him and began to threaten him with all sorts of things. This is the moment when he finally got it. What he was doing was either going to kill him or completely destroy any hope of living the life he wanted so desperately. He needed help to overcome pornography.
Facing Addiction: Ending Sex Medication
Jim has been in treatment and overcoming pornography for the past 3 years and has made significant progress.
He no longer seeks out escorts and understands that there is no lasting satisfaction in illicit sexual activities of any kind, and is learning how to identify his feelings and emotions.
He is also learning to address difficult feelings and emotions and really feel them in a healthy manner, learning the significance of leaning into the pain, rather than running from it.
He has removed his need to medicate using sex, a coping mechanism which used to leave him feeling far more drained, shameful, and debilitated.
He states, “I have found hope where I was sure none existed. Real relationships are not easy, but I now fully accept that there is no lasting satisfaction or peace while actively living in the addiction.”
Though Jim has had a few minor slips with pornography in the last three years of his recovery, he has learned powerful things from those slips and has come to comprehend the awareness and vigilance that a life of sobriety requires. But in that vigilance, he finds a life of freedom.
Jim no longer lives in denial, but actively seeks out help from others. In his most difficult times, he reaches out. He is no longer trying to hide or do it alone. He has learned to recognize his addictive voice, and he now understands that IT will always find a good excuse for addictive or destructive behaviors, such as the stress of work, relationship issues, financial difficulties, etc. He also understands that IT will tell him that it is not that bad or that big of a deal.
These are all lies and tricks, formed due to habits that were engrained in Jim’s brain over years of time. Fortunately, though, these habits can be changed, and many things have become much more smooth in Jim’s life and he finds far more fulfillment, love, and satisfaction now.
The hell he once endured is now in the past, enabling Jim to live free from the shame that once held him down in shackles. His awareness of and dedication to his new life keeps him on the path of sobriety and clean living. Jim stays vigilant and knows that his recovery must take first priority over all things. A person doesn’t achieve sobriety simply by quitting, they achieve sobriety by creating a new life.
Change is possible and transformation does occur
The purpose of telling Jim’s story is to help you understand the progressive nature of this disease if left unchecked. It is also evident from this story that change and recovery are lifelong processes. It wasn’t until Jim was willing to reach out for professional help that he began to change.
You may not be in the position that Jim found himself in before he began recovery, but don’t let something that drastic get you there. Addiction to any degree is a burden.
It places limits and heavy darkness over your life like nothing else can.
Pornography is destructive: it ruins potential, drains satisfaction with life, destroys the chance of a real, meaningful relationship ever being in your life, and is detrimental in so many other ways. Take the steps for yourself. Make a new choice to get honest and reach out for help. We all need help in our trials, every single one of us, and support during recovery can be a life-changer.
At Utah Family Therapy, we have professionals and mentors who are experienced with recovery from both an educational standpoint and real-world experience. We know what it takes to work through this, and we find our passion for doing everything we can to help you out of the pit of addiction and onto a life of freedom and lasting joy. Take the first step, give us a call, and we will guide you through the rest.
Give us a call at 801.901.0279