The very moment I read Rhea’s post, I reassured her on the spot. Still, I just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t post my feelings on the topic. She didn’t ask me to do this, and probably won’t want me to do it, but personally, I think all of the time and effort she’s put into helping me through the addiction deserves more recognition than she’s giving herself.
Besides, it’s about time I’ve updated our readers on my side of the addiction recovery, anyway.
Rhea’s always added an insane amount of pressure to herself to succeed at anything she does. Always. I don’t see it as a flaw with her, though, because this often leads to her excelling at many of her goals, especially when she manages to keep the self expectations at a balanced, safe area. However, I hate to see her blame herself when something she’s a part of goes just a bit wrong, (even though I can be the same way, so I have no room to talk), because it would have been a lot worse without her help.
I’ve noticed since my recovery has been an amazing one so far, she’s mentioned a few times how she wished she’d helped me move from it sooner. While I admire her dedication toward guiding us and this relationship to the best of her ability, I will never, ever, let the thought cross my mind that she could have done more. If anything, I’ve always felt she’s put in an extra mile that a lot people probably wouldn’t have.
I’ve been watching some form of sex for as long as I can remember. It all started with me, as a kid, slipping and watching softcore porn on Cinemax late at night while my parents were asleep. That eventually moved to me using sexual images, such as girls in magazines to get off, and onto the grand stage of it all, internet porn. Granted, this was all done over the course of years, it shows that I’ve used some form of pornography to get off basically my whole life. I’m not going to say I’ve been addicted my whole life, but I’m a firm believer that each part played a stepping stone to the next, and the internet era (which I started watching around 13-14), is where the addiction really started to happen. By the time I met Rhea, the seeds for it were definitely planted, and I have no doubt the process was fully in effect.
Over the course of our relationship, I definitely declined on a mental and emotional level, but we just assumed I was developing some disorders. We worked together to try different methods of coping and working through them, and while they all had a temporary fix, it would come back. This led us to realizing this was something recurring in my life. If my memory serves me right, we teased the idea of it being a sex addiction about a few years ago. I didn’t want to hear it then, and I wasn’t. She worked with me multiple times on getting off of it, only for me to still relapse, eventually. She tried multiple methods, some forceful, some not. She did everything in her power to help guide me in the right direction, but one thing about addiction I’ve learned is that you’re not going to quit feeding it unless you make the choice to yourself.
Every attempt before this time led to me choosing to let myself slip back into the habit, by reasoning with myself and coming up with excuses on why I didn’t need to drop it. Whenever she’d try to be more forceful about not watching it, it’d lead to bigger problems between us. I did all the research, read all the testimonials about dropping porn, but all I could think was “bullshit”, and surely, I could do all of those things without it.
It wasn’t until recently, I decided enough was enough. Things had been building up to this moment, as I was beginning to realize just how much I was wasting life away wanking my cock while I stared into a screen filled with digital sex. When I made that choice, I told her, and she supported me in every way that she could. She researched, even more than I, and gathered all the resources and information she could find for me. She never forced me, or added any pressure, always being sure to remind me that what I’m doing is my choice. Instead of focusing on the fact that I couldn’t do it, I thought about my reasons for not doing it. That always helps, tremendously. When I had my moments of slipping, she would only remind me of my reasons for not wanting to, but assuring me she wouldn’t judge me regardless of my choice. This approach really took away the pressure and guilt associated with it, which I’ve learned from my own experience is something that’ll make you relapse quickly.
About a month ago, as hard as it is for me to admit, I slipped. I had a three day period where I had to test myself. I think some part of me wanted to run the experiment on myself rather than actually fully go back to my old habits.
That’s fire I’ll never play with again.
That night I relapsed, I dropped. I dropped damn hard. I instantly lost all of the benefits I was starting to gain, and became extremely agitated and angry. Rhea and I had one of the worst arguments we had dealt with in a while. I woke up the next day, and any doubt or suspicion in my mind that porn isn’t so bad was gone. I realized that me, personally, just am not cut out for it. I will never say what someone else should or shouldn’t do, but I’ve accepted that it’s not for me. I committed to myself, her, our relationship and dynamic to truly kill this addiction and let it go. I didn’t need anymore proof. It couldn’t have been more obvious.
Since then, things have only been getting better. I’ve started to really find more ways to fill my day, and be a more productive person. I’ve been finding extreme joy in the simple things in life. Our relationship is becoming even better than it was before I hit rock bottom. We argue much less, and any disagreement usually gets handled well before it gets out of hand. To bring this back full circle, my point is that through this entire thing, I’ve had Rhea there, holding my hand and guiding me in the places I needed to make the choices for myself. Without her, I’m not sure where I’d be. She could’ve left me at any point during the addiction, and honestly, I still say at times she probably should have. She didn’t though, and I’ll be forever in her debt for that.
A lot of the points I covered in this were also covered in my first post about realizing and accepting the addiction, but I felt it was important to revisit them because I wrote that post at the beginning of this, when I was surely still addicted. I can revisit them now with a clearer mind, and better realization of what they were, even then. That, alone, is something that I’m glad I can do now. It shows that I’m separating my own thoughts and feelings away from the addiction now, and I’m becoming my own person without its influences finally.
As I always say, if anyone feels they are dealing with the same thing or something similar, feel free to contact me for any advice or info I can possibly give.