Different levels of addiction?

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by Stefanie, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Are there different levels of addiction? I am the wife of a husband who has been using pornography and masturbation since he was a teen. He used it as a substitute to sex (long story short he grew up in a conservative Christian house and thought premarital sex was really bad. Needless to say he lost his virginity at 25) and when he had Internal negative triggers (depression, loneliness, boredom etc). He said he never had any significant external triggers. Obviously when he would go to a porn site, he would MO, but he wasn’t triggered by something externally that made him PMO, just Internal triggers. He did it for about half of our marriage, and then quit for four years, to return to a P-sub of pictures of near naked women online this year.

    We have had a lot of discussions over the last month, and I have been on this forum and read a whole bunch of other people’s posts about their addiction. It seems my husband is not like anyone else that I have come across on here.

    He used porn for negative internal triggers. He went to one or two sites and clicked on the first video and was done in less than five minutes. He didn’t search for harder porn. He would stick to the regular girl/guy or two girls/one guy stuff. Nothing terribly unusual. He doesn’t search for hours or stay on the sites for hours. He may go back multiple times in a day (when this was at its worst and he was unemployed), but it would have the same pattern.

    We still had fairly regular sex the first time around. I was unaware of it for several years. He had about five incidents where he had problems getting or staying hard. He never seemed to lose interest in me. He would continue to say I was beautiful/sexy/hot, and the best sexual partner he’s ever had. He would tell me he loved me dozens of times a day.

    He said he felt shame and hated himself for doing PMO, but when an emotion would overcome him, this is all he knew how to make himself feel better.

    He quit through sheer willpower for four years. He said initially he struggled with how to deal with his emotions, and had images pop into his head and made him want to seek out porn (which was different for him, because he never had images pop in his head when he was actively watching porn). Those images went away. He managed to not PMO by basically focusing on NOT focusing on anything sexual and telling himself “don’t go there/don’t look there/don’t let it go down that road”. This impacted our sex life and during the four years he was sober, we went from 3-4 a week (and he was watching porn) to 3-4 a month. He didn’t have an increased libido or anything else I have read should happen.

    He came across a Facebook page of girls in sexual poses and strategically covered up body parts (near naked). A friend of his had posted the link. He clicked on it. He kept going back to it over the last six+ months anytime that he would have a negative emotion again. He would feel shame and say to himself he wouldn’t do it again. I work nights and his job doesn’t make a lot of money so I have to be gone four to five nights a week (and to be perfectly honest we’ve been in a quarrelsome place for about a year or so because of his job situation, me having to work so much and I was just diagnosed with cancer and we can’t afford to take the time off for me to have surgery) so stress levels have been extremely high.

    I have internet filter on our router (so no device connecting to our WiFi can access anything). The Facebook page did not pop up since it was inbedded in Facebook. I know he didn’t do anything else.

    He tells me that he doesn’t have any urges or images popping in his head to tell him to go to this site. He just goes to bed starts scrolling through Facebook, is bored, frustrated with our money situation, mad at me for being mad at him etc. etc. and he types in the group name through Facebook. He knew the consequences were me leaving him. He said in the moment, he didn’t care. He just wanted to feel better. He just wanted to look at the girls.

    So is this addiction?
     
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  2. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    Yes, definitely, albeit a different kind of addiction. I'm no therapist (maybe seeing one could help?) but it seems like he has a problem with dealing with negative feelings in a healthy way, and uses PMO as a coping mechanism. A short term solution would be installing K9 Web Blocker on his devices and keep the password hidden from him, setting Facebook as one of the blocked sites so he cant access the group. In the long term I think professional help is advisable, there must be underlying issues causing this problem and I think only a professional can truly help him, and by extension you.
     
  3. I agree with with AtomicTango. Until he doesn't know how to handle stress and the negative emotions he can't really do anything on long term against this. Also it kinda sounds like when he was younger and you mentioned he grew up in a Christian family he used pictures and P maybe because he felt free and in control watching it because it was against the rules. And yes, this " I don't care in the moment I just want release but after I feel shame" is a typical P addict situation. Hope you can solve all of your problems, wish you the best!
     
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  4. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Thank you. He had no coping mechanisms in place. I hope that if he learns healthy coping skills, and ways to combat boredom and loneliness with active healthy management skills, he won’t ever go back. I am not sure I will be around for it. But I do want him to get well.
     
  5. Ongoingsupport

    Ongoingsupport Fapstronaut

    It is addiction. I don't can't go into it in detail here but I guess by different levels you mean levels of addiction in people, I think what is really not understood is there are different levels of the *process* of addiction. The medium of social media for example is known to be addictive *by design* now, many industry insiders have come out stating this to the world. Unfortunately many will hold the naive view that social media is about socializing taking it at face value, since the objective information takes some time and effort to learn about and most people are not sensitive enough to notice the almost immediate change in their mental state I have serious concerns that in the future digitally mediated addiction will not be recognized as addiction. Even if people recognize internet porn is addiction they will focus on the porn and not the delivery system, this to me is a HUGE mistake and extremely shortsighted.
     
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  6. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Thank you. He refuses to see anyone. He did it for a month and thought it was useles.
     
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  7. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    I hear you. We both got off Facebook and at first I felt sad that I was not seeing posts and pictures and other stuff to help with boredom, but it has been a month and I don’t think I will go back. I noticed how I would be in bed for 30 minutes before getting up so I can scroll through the news feed.

    I have Instagram, but am not pulled to it. I don’t search for accounts or pictures, I just follow travel sites and look at those pictures when I am bored and recently, lonely and sad. I plan to travel to those places, so it makes me feel better and I like to plan, so it keeps my mind active on how I would do it and where I want to go first. Not sure if that good or not either.
     
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  8. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Also, I think that the medium he is using to feel better is harmful to relationships and the brain actually re-wires for it. I am a nurse, so I am trying to tackle it from a medical standpoint... why does looking at people having sex and naked girls so addictive? We are talking about dopamine release here. Why are other thighs that cause dopamine release not as addictive? Or are they?

    Porn is so socially acceptable UNTIL it turns into an obsession (addiction). People I have spoken with, close friends/people I trust, are disgusted by his behavior. I asked them if they watch porn, and most said yes (especially men) “but every guy does” was the answer. I also asked if they did it in a relationship and most replied no. So why are they not addicted?
     
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  9. Ongoingsupport

    Ongoingsupport Fapstronaut

    I'm at work so will respond in more detail later, but one thing is it's probably easier to understand what to do about it than how and why it happens which goes way back and is developmental.

    One thing I thought of is how an alcoholic might find themselves parked in front of the liquor store and have no memory or intent of driving there, almost like the addiction has a life of its own. If that happens with driving how much easier is it to use a computer or a phone o access porn?
     
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  10. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Fapstronaut

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    Wow, @Stefanie that’s quite a story. I can see you love him and want to help him, that’s wonderful.

    I’m 66, been in AA 35 years, am also a sex addict in recovery in SAA (sex addicts anonymous). It’s really important that you learn all you can about the neuroscience of porn addiction, ESPECIALLY your husband. An enemy can never be defeated until you study and learn all you can about them and how they operate, and find their weak points. Please watch the Gary Wilson YouTube video, “Your Brain on Porn: How Internet porn affects the brain”



    Gary is a researcher who has studied porn addiction for some time and describes the neuroscience of the addiction mechanism in the brain. The way porn addiction works is exactly the same way that alcohol and drug addiction work, but the “hit” or “high” from porn is many times stronger than heroin. His website is: https://www.yourbrainonporn.com

    You’ll also learn a lot from Noah Church, another expert who has YouTube videos about this too. His website is:

    https://addictedtointernetporn.com/?author=1

    Or do a search on his name on YouTube.

    Your partner seems extremely head-strong, and thinks he can solve this problem on his own. This is the most dangerous problem. You can’t possibly solve a problem with the same brain that CAUSED the problem. That’s why recovery in any 12-step program highly suggests you get a sponsor and follow their direction. Listening to advice and opinion is always a bad idea; you must find and listen to people who are addicts like you, and have had success in recovery, and can tell you what they did to overcome. This is called, listening to their “experience, strength and hope” on the issue. What worked for others, if duplicated, will work for you.

    “The mind is like a parachute: it won’t do you a damned bit of good unless it’s open.” NO ONE ever knows all there is to know about anything; we must have an open mind and if we’re not willing, we pray for the “willingness to be willing”. If you do this, sooner or later you’ll be willing.

    Your husband clearly has experienced childhood trauma that he’ll never get over until he’s willing to get professional help in the form of a licensed therapist, and if they think it’s advisable they’ll suggest a phychiatrist. No MD would ever try to cure himself without seeing a specialist, and for a lay person to think they can heal themselves of anything is, in my opinion, irresponsible, arrogant and just plain stupid. Sorry to be so direct. As a nurse you may know this.

    There’s an axiom in 12-step programs that until the problem becomes SO horrible, and the consequences of the problem (PMO and his childhood trauma) become SO severe, you get to the point that you’re “sick and tired of being sick and tired”.
    We must get to the point of “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization” (AA Big Book) before a person becomes entirely willing to do ANYTHING to get well. You must get to a point where you’re drowning in the ocean, someone in a lifeboat throws you a life preserver, and you GRAB HOLD of it with every single ounce of strength you’ve got left. We’re not bad people trying to get good, we’re sick people wanting to get well. The process of recovery in sex-related issues is moving “from shame to grace”. Sex is the most difficult of all addictions to kick, and has the most guilt and shame attached to it, because in our society people are really screwed-up over sex. Other societies (European) have way fewer hang-ups in this area. Also, I’ve found, religion - especially Christianity - can be the worst of all: some spew guilt, threats of you being a sinner and destined to go to hell, and screw up millions of people with their crap on this, in my opinion. I have tons of “recovering Catholics” as friends who have a hell-of- a time coping with life because of this.... no offense intended if you/he are Catholic - it’s just my observation.

    Addiction to anything, if left untreated, will cost you everything you hold dear in your life. It sounds like he may be about to lose his marriage; addiction affects every area of our lives, including finances, our job/career, friendships and family relations; physical health too. In the case of alcohol and drugs we all know we can die, but I can cite many cases where sex addiction can kill you too. In any event, porn and sex, just like drugs (alcohol is a drug), cause us to neglect the things dearest to us so we can feed our addiction. AA and the 122-step solutions have found that these things become our “higher power”, and it gets to the point that an addict worships the thing they’re addicted to more than anything, it becomes their God. And of course denial is the greatest threat. Continuing in our addiction often leads to legal problems, even arrest. A person may tell themselves “oh I don’t do this.... or I don’t do that.... but you’d be surprised how, over time, a person can begin to do things they’d never do - as the addiction and illness get progressively worse.... and the WILL, I guarantee you. We have another saying: “Oh, you haven’t dont that YET!” The Gary Wilson and Noah Church videos will explain that very well.

    I wrote way more than I expected, and if you hung in and made it through, I hope I’ve helped you in your journey. Feel free to write me anytime.
     
  11. I haven't read the otjer replies yet, but I wanted to say that my husband was somewhat similar. Fundamentalist religious home, chronic masturbator, lost his virginity at 24. Started accessing p subs 10 years ago due to stress after our first child's birth. Accessed when sad, lonely, angry, stressed. Turned to P 3 years ago, photos only of females and rarely of actual sex. The difference is that my husband stopped having any sex with me 2 years ago as he suffered a huge depression (which came first? Porn or depression? Both?). Anyhow he quit 6 months ago. Says he has no urges (our CSAT says that is common). Was he addicted? Well, he used P and M as a tool to regulate his emotions. His use escalated and it interfered with our narriage, so I would say yes. Sometimes it is difficult to understand what went on. Sorry you are here :(
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
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  12. Because they didn't use P to regulate their emotions.
     
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  13. Negative emotions make pmo addicts relapse. Maybe your husband is going through the same thing in a sense? If he stopped for 4 years, I think he should’ve stopped because once an addict always an addict, that part of his brain still exist physically but just very very weak and dormant, which using P substitutes are just weaker P but P nonetheless. And if he is just scrolling through Facebook, ask him if he is expecting to find something, that’s the addicted brain playing tricks
     
  14. For me, learning new coping skills was really important. I was a bit more extreme than your husband but i can relate to viewing stuff in order to escape or just feel some level of excitement etc. I've changed my career and got involved in a hobby which i love and read a lot more these days so I have many things I can do to occupy myself or de-stress. I struggled for a couple of years at first giving up porn but in the end it was getting outside support (face to face therapy and group 12 step work) that helped me the most, I will add that I had a narcotics addiction too but my viewing went hand in hand with that so I managed to kill two birds with one stone when i went out and got proper help. Plus I don't use facebook anymore, that's a bad habbit in itself and despite being called a 'social network' I found it to be the opposite an 'anti social network'
     
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  15. Noah Church is another expert who has YouTube videos about this too. His website is: https://addictedtointernetporn.com/?author=1

    Noah has many gr8 videos, check them out.

    As a porn addict, and possibly a sex addict, OUR LIVES DEPEND ON GEETIN OVER THIS!
     
  16. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Fapstronaut

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    I was going to put up the Noah Church link, but @Beach beat me to it. Nice choice of a username, Beach! His site offers many videos, listed by a descriptive title. Take a look yourselves first, then see if he shows any interest. No one likes to be pushed, or “told” to do something, especially an addict; so be mindful if you can, and find a way to merely suggest it. These Gary Wilson and Noah Church videos have helped thousands of men and women recover. It’s a formula that works. All he has to do is have willingness the size of a mustard seed. The key of willingness will open the door to a new world for him, as long as he stays willing to entertain new ideas and look at what others have done to find a new life.

    In AA we have a very true and accurate saying that comes from the over 7 decades of AA experience the world over: “We can carry the message (of recovery) but we cannot carry the addict.” They have to WANT recovery, and have a drive to be willing to do whatever it takes to get well.

    It’s a generally accepted truth that none of us can change another person, place or thing. We can try, but our efforts are futile. The ONLY thing we can change is ourselves. If anyone isn’t willing to change, they’re sunk. Sad to say it but it’s true. In life, there is only one thing that’s constant, and that’s change.... and as life changes, we must change too, if we want to be happy. In this holiday season (and the rest of the year) I like to wish for others the same things I want for myself: health, happiness, abundance, joy and love. A practicing addict can never achieve these things, and any success at any of them is quite short-lived.

    You obviously love these men, but no amount of love can help if he isn’t willing to pick up the many tools available to him. If a person refuses the help that if offered, there’s nothing any of us can do. He’ll have to progress in his illness until things get so bad that he/his life experiences a huge collapse and the very things he holds dear are taken away from him. Suffering is a choice, it’s completely optional.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.
    - Beachcomber
     
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  17. Stefanie

    Stefanie Fapstronaut

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    Thank you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
     
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  18. @Stefanie Addo revovery has a great resource with a free assessment to determine addiction severity along with a free 75 day course to help addicts.
     
  19. Of course, although these levels aren't clear cut. Some people are midly addicted while some are severlely. It has to do with our brains which are shaped by our genetics as well as our surroundings.
    This is quite normal. Many of us are triggered by boredom, discomfort etc... I'm not usually triggered by external things.
    Everyone is different. Some people here are just mildly addicted.
    Okay, I know that ED is often caused by porn (PIED). Gary Wilson talks about it on his site. I can't really help there since I'm a virgin and I don't think I have any problems with it.
    I had the same problem and so do many here. This is a good indicator he needs to quit.
    Good for him although completely quitting is so much better.
    Good, but eventually, his willpower should increase so that he doesn't need it.
    Sadly, that's quite normal. Addicts don't care about the consequences in the moment.
    Addiction is not really clear cut. In my opinion, he should strive to quit porn when he feels ready to do so. When he tries to quit, he should view this as an addiction that needs to be broken.

    I hope this helps. I'm not an expert or anything though so take this with a grain of salt.
     

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