Get educated, get tools, and learn to love withdrawals

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by William, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. 1ANDDONE

    1ANDDONE Fapstronaut

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    @Summer Son

    Hi Summer, I will attempt to explain. In this place, it is easy to lose sight of the tree for the forest, so to speak. Many people think of porn as an extension of their sexuality, and, therefore, conceive of what type of porn they are watching as a reflection of their sexuality.

    Porn, actually, has little or nothing to do with one's actual sexuality. We may need to develop a better, more accurate, vocabulary when discussing these things. It is both helpful, and entirely accurate, to conceived as porn as a "tool". We did not invent High Speed Internet Porn as a vehicle to efficiently achieve a dopamine high, but when we figured out we could use it that way, we did. At the beginning of the widespread use of HSIP the neuroscience had not sufficiently developed to call the addiction what it really is, and, frankly, literally calling the addiction what it really is would required a neurologist, which I am not, but the addiction is, literally, and addiction to a neurological reward that comes from thinking about sex, having sex, watching porn (because porn makes us think about sex), and orgasm, either through sex or PMO.

    My point it that regardless of the category you prefer (i.e., the category you choose to obtain your dopamine high from), the category itself is irrelevant to understanding the addiction. The addiction actually highjacks a preexisting neurological brain reward event that encourages sexuality and reproduction, but the reward starts with THINKING of sex. Sexual thoughts alone are sufficient to generate a dopamine rush, and, draw that out with a PMO session, and that high can become addictive.

    Porn categories exist as a result of a few things, but sensitization, desensitization, and escalation are key concepts. If just one porn picture, one porn vid, one porn category consistently produced the dopamine high we get the first few times, we would develop no other categories than those, but, they do not. Over time we desensitize to whatever category we initially started with, which feels a bit like becoming bored with it, and we have to on to other categories to achieve the same thrill. That happens in nature, even without porn, which is why sex the first time, if it is very good, becomes, with the same partner, over time, less thrilling.

    I don't believe that once an addict, always an addict, for this, particular addiction, which is not recognized as an addiction by the mainline psyc community. This addiction begins first with conditioning the brain to produce a dopamine high to a specific stimulation. The stimulation is not actually porn, but, rather, sexual thoughts. That is not the brain malfunctioning, but, rather, sort of like putting jet fuel in your walking mower. It still will work, not as designed, but, but it will work. The cure is simply conditioning your brain not to miss the dopamine high you can use porn to achieve. That takes time, but, owing to brain plasticity, it can be done. It is Pavlovian, as simple as teaching a dog a new trick, but, just because it is simple does not mean it is easy, especially when it is you conditioning yourself.

    There is a turning point in quitting, and that is when you quit wanting. For me, by 5 months, I had quit wanting. That made it easy. That was when it became doable, then easy.

    Hopes this helps.

    W.
     
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  2. 1ANDDONE

    1ANDDONE Fapstronaut

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    Question: on a scale of 1-10, how pleasurable is a dopamine high?

    Answer: give or take, about 40.


    There is a group of people on the planet that think sex is the most pleasurable experience that can be had.

    Neurologically we could say that sex is a great way to achieve the neurological reward that is dopamine, oxytocin, endogenous opioids, etc. For some people, maybe the best, most efficient, way. For others, porn and PMO does the trick.

    Whether you like it or not, sex, thinking about sex, fantasizing about sex, PMO, result in a neurological dopamine reward. More complicated than that, actually, but for one with the problem, the problem is a dopamine reward problem. It is possible that, for a small percentage of the population, the dopamine reward problem can become what we call addictive. I don't like the word. We need a better word, a more accurate, more descriptive term, reflecting advances in the ability to "see" the brain, and the way it works, but, until someone a lot smarter than me comes up with it, we will go with addiction.

    I see a lot of guys reporting long streaks, but complaining they are not getting over it. That, probably, has something to do with the member thinking they are quitting watching porn, as opposed to the dopamine high that is the real problem. This problem can look and sound a lot like porn and PMO, and those are components, but the real problem is the neurological brain reward they lead to. THAT is the thing you are addicted to, if you are addicted. When I see guys on long runs not using porn, but still reporting they struggle, I wonder if they are using porn substitutes, or things other than porn to spike their dopamine levels. In order to quit and eventually quit wanting it, you have to quit spiking a dopamine reward, and that reward has existed to reward things other than porn, a long time before the invention of High Speed Internet Porn. One of the keys to quitting successfully is recognizing you are using to get that dopamine spike, and understanding that to wean off, you have to quit feeding that dopamine high, which can be spiked by a lot other than just porn and PMO. If you are quitting, be self aware, that the problem you have had, while involving P and PMO, certainly, is more specific than that, and involves using that artificial sexual stimulation to produce a dopamine high. It is the DOPAMINE HIGH that is the problem you have to solve, and to solve it, you have to seriously cut back on getting it, retrain your brain not to get it, that way. A huge part of solving the problem is accepting you will live without getting high. This is not so bad, we love dopamine highs, but to quit the problem, you have to quit the highs, as much as possible, especially in the quitting phase, and then, get them after only via natural events, like sex, great food, and skydiving, Russian roulette...Ok, not that, but you get the idea. Thrills that are not addictive.

    A lot of people here struggle and complain about the pain of quitting. True dat. But, also keep in mind why you use in the first place: It feels fucking great. Once you have rebooted, you won't feel "bad". You just won't be getting high all the time. This is the truth. Take time to understand it.

    Much love.

    1ANDDONE



     
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  3. 1ANDDONE

    1ANDDONE Fapstronaut

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    One of the biggest tools in rebalancing your brain is...wait for it...YOUR BRAIN. Read, study, learn. Here is a good explanation of how addictions work. Porn is not mentioned because porn is not, generally, considered or categorized as an addiction, and neither is sex addiction. Our reality is that the human brain is hardwired to reward certain things, naturally, such as sex and eating. Being clever monkeys humans have figured out ways to create, and use, superstimulations to achieve those rewards. That becomes problematic when the superstimulations make achieving the rewards far more efficient, and the rewards from superstimulations are far bigger than naturally occurring.

    Read on.

    https://www.monografias.com/trabajo...in-to-food-to-booze-or-to-anything-else.shtml
     
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  4. D R

    D R Fapstronaut

    Glad to see you are still posting. I made it fully thru page 16 and just couldnt help but skip to end at that point to see if you are indeed, still here and still posting. Makes me happy you are. Good stuff here. Glad I found the link. Feel free to check out my journal sometime. I too find helping others helps me immensely in my recovery.
    Cheers!
     
  5. 1ANDDONE

    1ANDDONE Fapstronaut

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    @D R

    Hi D R, thanks for the kind words. I used to say "Thanks for the kind words, reading posts, and posting, helps me in my recovery," but I don't say that anymore, because, while I still like reading and posting, I don't feel I am in recovery anymore. I feel totally recovered. In the beginning I felt like many here do, a slave to porn; no longer and not for some years.

    There is some debate about whether porn is addictive, and there are a lot of confused people grappling with their use of porn, or porn consumption. I have said, sarcastically, people ought to have to test in to this site. By that I mean, before trying to fix the problem, it would be very helpful if people understood what the problem is, and what it is not. A basic understanding of the neurological concepts underlying the problem are not understood by too many here. I see, and for years have seen, people desperate over their seeming inability to quit watching porn, show up here, fling wildly, and begging for help, while they try to "quit porn", when it is not porn they have to quit. No one ever has been addicted to X, Y, or Z, whatever those are. What is addictive is a neurological brain event, some say a reward event, some say a motivational response event, but for all "addictions" a brain event that results in what we perceive as pleasure or "liking". The event, which, for porn users, I call a dopamine high, is an event that naturally occurs in all humans, and mammals. It is nature's carrot, to encourage reproduction. Over the last few hundred million years, nature could have found a lot of events to "reward", but, especially for humans, nature figured out if it developed and built a brain that rewarded "thinking about sex", people would have sex, and sex leads to one of the most successful survival traits for all species; reproduction. The part of the brain that produces the reward event, by the way, works perfectly. A lot of people, as I did early on, think their brain is defective, that they are defective, because they like watching porn. They are not; they are normal; but porn is not a normal stimulation that existed when that part of the brain that rewards sexual thoughts evolved to its current state. Let me qualify that; porn existed, but High Speed Internet Porn did not, and HSIP is very efficient at producing a dopamine high. Even before homo sapiens evolved to our current model, the brain rewarded sexual thoughts because it worked: It led to reproduction. And, we liked porn, from the time we could write on a cave wall, because it produced a sexual thought, which in turn produced a brain reward event.

    One of the problems with the word "addiction" is that is dated, antiquated. Almost all psychology is antiquated if it developed a theory of human behavior prior to the development of neuroscience, and neuroscience itself is just in its infancy. Well, maybe a bit beyond that, but still young. What we know about the human brain now may look like witchcraft in one thousand years. Don't get me wrong, the thought "I am addicted" was very helpful to me when quitting, but I also came quickly to understand that what I was addicted to was not "porn", but using porn to achieve a neurological event. Yep, all in the brain.

    When it comes to "porn addiction", the concept predates the neuroscience explaining the problem, which, linguistically, means we used poorly defined phrases to name newly understood psychological realities. It is also helpful, in studying this problem, to understand that this problem has a history. Odd to think of addictions having histories, but all do, and the problem people come here to solve, also has a history. There is not a day when High Speed Internet Porn came into existence. It was invented, developed, marketed, disseminated, and became widely available over a few years. I like to think of 2007 as the year when it became the thing. Porn had existed before the invention of HSIP, and the species could, and did, use it to boost a dopamine high prior to the invention of HSIP. But, HSIP made using porn to achieve a dopamine high far more efficient than previous types of porn. I know it is odd to think of porn in terms of efficiency, but, the reality is that HSIP is, for a small percentage of the population, one of the most efficient means of achieving that brain reward event, and maybe the most efficient. All of us, as we have evolved to this current model, can obtain a dopamine high without porn, but for some, HSIP makes obtaining it so easy and effortless, that obtaining it via that means can form a habit, as in addiction. For almost everyone with this problem, the problem is not identified by the use of HSIP, but, rather, when they decide to quit it, and find that changing the behavior is very, very, difficult. I know of no active user who considers porn addictive, but, rather, identification of porn consumption as "addictive" usually only occurs to the user when they try and cut off that dopamine spout, and find that their brains have come to expect it, and that obtaining it, a daily dopamine high, is their brain's normal. So, while porn existed prior to HSIP, the concept of "porn addiction" did not; it is only after the invention of HSIP that certain people began to have the uncomfortable thought: Gee, I think I am addicted to porn. They were not, of course, but the neuroscience that established they might be addicted to a brain reward event had not yet been applied to individuals with problematic, compulsive, porn use.

    This problem can, and often does, seem epic to people, but, in reality, it is quite a small problem. The solution, which is fucking difficult, is, still, fairly small. One has to train the brain not to constantly crave the dopamine high, and to live without it, at least via P. We live in a work where there will always be artificial sexual stimulation because ASS produces a dopamine high. OMG, that was a double entendre. Artificial sexual stimulation is not the enemy, it is our reality, it is just that, of all artificial sexual stimulation, HSIP is the most efficient in producing the brain reward event we interpret as pleasurable, aka, a dopamine high.

    Unfortunately, many people who arrive at this place are focused on the porn they are watching, rather than the brain reward event it produces. That is why a lot of guys here are fixated on HOCD, femdom, rough sex, or, the category I found most troubling,[trigger warning] fucking my mother's coffee maker--once addicted to that category, it's hard to go back to vanilla porn.

    Anyway D R, thanks for posting, and I like responding. 81 days. Excellent. If you go far enough back in time on this post you can find me at, around, 81 days. Back then rebooting, or the hard 90, was not a thing it has become since. I posted the months, and I went 12 of them. I was hardcore in quitting, and I recommend that for anyone with the problem, but I am not so hardcore now. Back then I closed my eyes when a G rated sex scene came on television; I did not want the dopamine high from anything artificial. Now that I have taken steps to desensitize my brain to artificial sexual stimulation, a bit here and there does not bother me. This is good, because I like movies, and I watch all the R rated movies I want to these days. That, for anyone rebooting, has to be avoided in the reboot. The fix really just has a lot to do with understanding how we can use artificial sexual stimulation, P, to obtain a brain reward event. One the user figures out that is what is going on, fixing the problem becomes much more doable. Simple problem, simple solution; don't mix in other problems. If you are applying mommy and daddy issues to your consumptive obsession with hay maker porn, you're missing the point. OK, no, hay maker porn is something I just made up. But I do love hay. Smiley face emodicon.

    Much love--always a shout out to Gabe Deem,

    William 1ANDDONE
     
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  6. D R

    D R Fapstronaut

    You're very welcome, thanks for responding! Yes, I'm not doing any "Hard 90" or anything like that.. I am quitting pmo for good. I have no use for masturbation in my life. I've come to realize it is simply a behavior we picked up in adolescence (rightly so) and one that far too many of us have carried with us into adulthood. I dont need it. I dont want it. I feel pathetic doing it, and so I am stopping. The porn part of it, or the "any sexual stimuli" that you refer to as porn, has been, at least for me, just an enhancement to my masturbation habit. I've always been into "normal" stuff. Never got into anything weird or super-fetishy. No, no, simple pics of hot chicks in bikini's will still do it for me. Masturbation was my real habit. Getting that dopamine fix via orgasm. Sure, sexual stimuli spikes that dopamine too, but not nearly as much for me as long as I'm not wacking one off to it.

    I, like you I think, just want to live normal. I dont want to have turn my head in R rated movies, or sexy music videos, or at the beach. I just simply want to notice things for what they are. Like, "oh hey, there's a sexy scene, or there's a sexy broad walking by, or, Wow, look at that model in that lingerie, bet my wife would look great in that! I'm glad I got to see that." But thats it. Thats where it ends. I dont want to obsess over it. I dont want it to cause me to want to masturbate, or fantasize, or search out anything, or any of that crap. I just want to live normal....and for me, that is not focusing on lust, and not masturbating.

    Appreciate your thoughts and your words. Thanks for being here. Stop by my journal some time if you feel so inclined!

    Cheers!
     
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  7. Summer Son

    Summer Son Fapstronaut

    Hi William! If you read this and still here I just would like to thank you again. Actually I was searching about some secular but educational posts for years, I have read some of them which I write about, and consumed them but your threads both Rebootnation and here are golden. Really. In the same time I am an agnostic-atheist and I really wanted to know science behind pornography addiction. There are some posts and article series of users on forums but there are some of them about more religion but science or about lack of explanation. I wish I discovered your posts earlier but I glad I found them. You have been a great teacher for me. So thanks for all.
     
  8. 1ANDDONE

    1ANDDONE Fapstronaut

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  9. MercaMerca

    MercaMerca Fapstronaut

    I have to say thank you, too. I have read main parts of this thread (skipped some parts, but going to read them later). But i guess, I got your main point(s): Our Addiction to the P-Induced Dopamine Rush. As I have seen that your first posts are from 2013, thanks for coming back always again through the years and sharing you knowledge.
    As you have recovered from the addiction, what would be the 3 best strategical tips you would give someone to be successful with recovering (Successful, not easy, because fighting an addiction is never easy) ?
     
  10. 1ANDDONE

    1ANDDONE Fapstronaut

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    @MercaMerca

    The first thing is understanding the neuroscience. Too many people, especially early on, get wrapped in a very flawed, and unhelpful, concept, which is they have a problem with porn, or even worse, some category of porn. We call it porn addiction, but that phrase is a leftover phrase from a time shortly after High Speed Internet Porn became widespread, and a number of people realized that when they thought "I am quitting" that quitting suddenly seemed very fucking difficult to do. The history of this particular problem is traceable, and relatively new, meaning there is a group of people who had this thought for the first time in history: "Fuck, I cannot quit, I cannot quit, I am addicted." If this problem is an "addiction," and again, it may be that the neuroscience has surpassed our semantics/syntax, and we need new words and concepts to describe it, the addiction is to the brain reward event. Without that brain reward event, which, naturally, is a reward for thinking about and engaging in sex or sexual behavior, we would find porn about as interesting as boiling an egg. Go boil an egg, you will get the idea. So, understanding how you use porn to create hypersexual thoughts to get to what you really crave (dopamine brain reward event) is very helpful. If you are here, for instance, convinced you are addicted to femdom, you have totally missed the point. This is not about what is on the screen in front of you; this is not about what is between your legs: This problem is 100% a brain event problem, 100% between the ears.

    Again, as for the word "addiction", I found it very helpful to use the word when I first made the decision to quit. Gary Wilson used it, and I don't know if I could have quit without seeing his video, The Great Porn Experiment, which, suddenly, made me understand that the difficulty in quitting I had experience was not a character flaw, but the result of having trained my brain to expect unnaturally repeated brain reward events. I think, no doubt, from a brain studies perspective, it shares a lot of characteristics as classic substance addictions do. But, at the same time, there are differences. No on ever overdosed on using porn to get a dopamine high; substance abusers can. No one ever died from withdrawing from porn consumption; substance abusers can. Also, the classical definition of addiction may not, and in fact does not, cleanly fit this. AA may be responsible for the concept that once addicted, addicted for life. They paint a picture--and by the way I know a lot of great people in AA who swear by the program--that once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, and one can never drink again for life. In a sense that commitment to lifetime abstinence is almost religious, and in some ways is. I have no religion, I simply have accepted the science that I can use this tool--and it is helpful to think of it as a tool, as a means to an end--to achieve a dopamine rush. That tool, by the way, has been available for millions of years prior to porn, prior to modern porn, prior to AV porn, prior to internet porn, prior to HSIP. It is a naturally occurring brain reward event, triggered by sexual thoughts, sexual behaviors, sex itself, the purpose of which is to encourage us to have babies. Since the sexual revolution of the 60s I sometimes think we have forgotten the purpose of sex is not to use it like an amusement park ride, though it can be fantastic, but to make babies. As for a lifetime sentence, I don't believe so. Quitting, being self aware, knowing that, naturally, with or without porn, I can use sexual thoughts to trigger a dopamine high, naturally, means I am not giving up that high. That is part of the quitter's conundrum, which they have to be aware: If addicted to a brain reward event, it is a naturally occurring brain reward event, that, even once they are no longer addicted to it, they will, naturally, via non-artifical means, but also some unavoidable artificial means, experience. I don't know when I had the thought "I am not addicted," or "I am no longer addicted", but I do know that many times, since that moment I have experienced dopamine highs, because that is hard wired in the human brain. I have curtailed yy use of artificial sexual stimulation, of all types, but in this society, unless you become a monk in a cave, you WILL be exposed to artificial sexual stimulation. Knowing it, understanding it, is a big part of fixing the problem. So, to answer your question, not sure I believe there is an addiction to recover from, but to the extent using P to generate sexual thoughts and a dopamine high, yes, fixed.

    Gabe Deem says read everything you can about this phenomena. He is absolutely right, and we can call the phenomena "porn addiction", which is inapt, until someone comes up with a better phrase for a person using P, to generate sexual thoughts, to trigger an artificially prolonged and profound dopamine high, to the point the brain considers that "normal", expects it, and punishes the user with withdrawals when quitting. Using P is easy, and for some, creates no problems, or few; they have relationships, they work, they go to school. It is easy to forget in a place like this that the vast majority of people consuming porn report few if any problems. But a consumer of porn understands it is a problem when they try to quit, and get slammed with all sorts of unpleasant withdrawals.

    People who have never experienced this, by the way, really cannot understand it. People who use porn with no side effects, don't get it. I am the same way with gambling addiction. I hate gambling. I hate losing money. I hate casinos, I hate the way they smell, the way they look. I hate cigarettes, and a lot of casinos allow smoking in or around them, and I hate looking at the leathery old people, sitting on a stool, drinking cheap beer, popping nickles in a slot. I don't get that that behavior could be "addictive", but some say it is. For a person who identifies as a gambling addict, it is probably VERY real, but my brain is not bent that way. My brain was bent in another direction, and this place has helped cope with that.

    So three tips:

    1) Study the problem, de-mystify it, de-romanticize it (it has NOTHING to do with the user's actual sex life or sexual preferences), and be self aware that when you watch porn you are not watching porn, you are using porn, as a tool, to achieve a dopamine high, a brain event that rewards sexual thoughts, and nothing rewards sexual thoughts like porn, (at least for the people who find themselves here).

    2) Embrace you will have to re-wire, and that means, and really only means, you are going to have to totally eradicate porn and all artificial sexual stimulation from your reality for quite a time. A lot of people report 90 days hard mode is effective, to get the brain to where the habit is not standing on your shoulder with a loud speaker yelling "use, use, use." The hard 90 is not something to be casually picked up and attempted; it must be anticipated and it must be planned, and the user has to not only expect very uncomfortable withdrawals, but, most efficiently, embrace them, want them. They suck, but they are actually a sign the user is not using, so, fucking hurts?, good sign. Good news: they do fade, and, eventually, disappear. Again, 90 days is the number of days some have reported going, and a lot who have reported clean go away and are never seen again.

    3) In addition to planning avoiding all P and artificial sexual stimulation, understand that sexual thoughts alone will produce a dopamine high, and since it is the dopamine high you are really trying to avoid, plan on avoiding sexual thoughts during the reboot, as much as possible. Develop a distraction technique that will help you stop a two second sexual thought from becoming a dopamine drenched sexual opera in your head. Also be very aware that once you quit using the P tool as a means to that high, your brain still wants the high, and will trigger on things other than P in order to get it, including a lot of things society does not deem P, but, nonetheless have a sexual or sexually suggestive element such as Victoria's Secret, R rated movies, cheerleaders, or, for me, the worst, electric mixers. No just joking, seeing if you are still reading, though when I was quitting, watching an electric mixer make hot buttered mashed potatos was intoxicating. No, just kidding. But, if anyone here triggers on electric mixers, avoid them during the reboot. I am picturing Homer Simpson say "Eleeectricc Miiixxxers", in a slow, adoring, transfixed, voice.

    Oh 4) Develop a sense of humor. It is absolutely, positively, ridiculous that anyone could get hooked on one of the most ubiquitous media form that exists. It is OK to make fun of the situation a bit. You used a naturally occurring brain event, used P to train it go hyper, and now you are going to have to train it back. Difficult? Yep. I cannot be broken under torture, so, there is that.

    Much love.

    W.
     
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