TL;DR cause I've got a feeling this is gonna be long....: Hit a point of near suicide because of my addiction (again) Sought real-world help (addiction therapy and books) and started addressing my PTSD and addiction at the same time Went 43 days, my longest ever streak in the 13 years I've been addicted Relapsed today and writing this letter to myself to remind me how I feel and what I've learned Try to stay upbeat and positive about my recovery so I don't spiral again I thought I made the decision to really make a change to my life many times, but it did not last long. I spun deeper into binging and relapsing more and more until I found myself fighting for my life. I was in a terrible place because of porn again, I didn't want to wake up in the shame of myself and I wanted to end what I felt. In desperation did 3 things I've never done before: 1. Reached out for help from a specialist addiction/PTSD therapist 2. Opened myself up to psychological science and bought my first book on addiction/PTSD 3. Absolutely, 100% decided to come out to my friends and family about my addiction when I'm ready It might not sound like much to many, but for me, these are huge changes. Before this, I never said that I've been addicted to porn out loud IRL in 13 years. No other human being knew of my addiction. And because of this, I never truly took in the reasons for my addiction and never looked deeper into the why or the deep pain I felt. In essence, after this, my addiction no longer just existed in my head but was now in my physical world. Even after my first therapy session, I felt the weight lifted off my shoulders. I soon understood that with the way my brain works (I really don't hold myself accountable for anything!) that I really needed to come out with my addiction one day to go the full circle. I have PTSD, porn was my soother for the last 13 years. Shitty things happened in my life and I used to think "it's okay, push your feelings away because I can just watch porn to make me feel good". There's one thing knowing this, but there's understanding this and that took time. In fact, it got me past my first few weeks. Discovering and learning about my addiction was key to that, luckily the self-help addiction/PTSD book I have talked me through and introduced me to more learning and understanding about these medical conditions as I went along. Each chapter was written in an informative manner, with less emotion and more science - which speaks to me. The book also contained real-world reflections from recovering and recovered addicts about each chapter of the book. It also asked me many questions about how I felt and what I was reading. After 3 weeks I was feeling great. I had the typical list of abstinence benefits and I was feeling on top of the world. I had identified key triggers for me - turns out that urges for me are triggered less by porn/triggering content, but more about my emotions and how I feel. My therapist provided me with help on those and was really supportive of my streak so far. But last week all of these trigger points fell into place for me. Visiting my family home (which always triggers my PTSD) and feeling very very low, not having anything planned with friends equalling more time alone, feeling extremely lonely, relationship issues... I started to get less motivated each day, read my book less, and in effect, forgot to remind myself so often about WHY I'm doing this (something that's SUPER important to my recovery). Sometimes when you're feeling good about addiction recovery, it's easy to forget how close you are to relapsing and that you should never, ever let your guard down. The last trigger to hit me was my therapist had to cancel my appointment last minute - at this point, the accountability I held myself to had gone. I can't remember what triggered me but I relapsed and it took over despite a voice in my head screaming at me to stop (a first for me, which I guess is positive). Right now, a few hours after relapsing, I feel so, so full of shame. Every day I tried to remind myself that relapsing would make me become the man I DREAD to be. I have a vision of the man I want to be, that people close to me think I am, and today that was not me. I am disgusted with myself and so so ashamed to the point where I am sat here in tears at what I've done. I am dreading telling my therapist what I've done and the thought of doing what I did again makes me sick. Despite all these feelings, I am trying to stay positive. Like an Athlete that loses a point, I do not want to get angry at myself and spiral down that road. In 43 days, my LONGEST streak so far, I've achieved a lot. I've started a journey to come to terms with my addiction and I am learning more and more about it. The actions I took have been a monumental change for me, and for that, I am damn proud. The biggest lesson I've learned this time is to not allow myself to be lonely. I tried so hard with this by trying to play video games with friends or meeting people IRL, but I never had anything lined up after a weekend I knew would be stressful for me. I also had no one to hold me accountable this week, so I've also signed up for the accountability group here on NoFap. Hopefully, that will give me more motivation in the weeks to come should I forget. In the future, I need to identify potential stressful and/or lonely periods in my time and plan far in advance with plans to counter these feelings. The next week is going to be really tough for me, but I'm hoping after 43 days sober and the lessons I've learned it might be a tiny bit easier. Don't be the man you DREAD to be. You can change. You are changing your brain every day you abstain, you are becoming healthy, give yourself empathy, be consistent, commit to change, do it for your loved ones and make the investment of a lifetime... invest in YOURSELF!!