For anyone with several minutes to kill, I thought I'd post my story of how lust came to control my life and how I've been rescued from it for now, having been free from PMO for 29 months now. I don't tell my story often enough, and I'd like to write it out here. I grew up with the standard SRU--strict religious upbringing. I was petrified of hell from about the age of six and of the God who would send me there if I didn't perform a great deal of prayer and sacrifice. Somewhere between 6 and 9, I had my first sexual feelings towards a classmate and after that, I found the women's section of a department store catalog. The shot of euphoria that went through me both times was incredible. In the case of the pictures, I could not get close enough to them... I pressed my face against the page I wanted to be so close to them. Sex was never explained to me except that it seemed to be some necessary evil that Christians had to endure to produce children. I actually thought into my teens that Christians did not take off all their clothes when they had sex, as that would be immodest. I still didn't know how it worked, so I began conducting my own research with dictionaries and medical books and still couldn't figure out what it was. At around 14, I masturbated for the first time. I was scared to death when it happened and it actually hurt. I felt I'd crossed some line and introduced some damage into my life that could never be fixed. After a few days I was back at it again, though, and it felt so incredible. Using the family computer for looking up pictures was dangerous, as it was in the living room. I'd wait till everyone went to bed and print the pictures out on our incredibly slow printer. It was agony waiting the several minutes for one picture to print off and praying no one would come out during that time, but also kind of exhilarating. I was almost scared to death when I got a virus on the computer twice, but somehow that didn't stop me. I figured I would go to hell if I didn't give up porn forever, so I made very firm resolutions to stop. I burned a picture once and buried it in the ground and it symbolized my never looking at these pictures again. You could not have convinced me when I was performing that ceremony that that was not the last time but rather the first of thousands of pictures I would look at in my lifetime. It was a horrible merry-go-round of guilt, remorse, repentance, relapse, guilt... that would come to characterize the next fourteen years of my life. In college, I was crippled with fear and guilt and for the first year spent most of my free time waiting for my roommate to leave the room and then masturbating. I did have some friends but had some definite social anxiety in larger groups. But I was doing well academically and even headed up some campus newspapers. I thought maybe I could build a life of writing where the masturbation could be left far behind. After college, I went home, got a job for about 8 months but it was not what I wanted to do in life. I then had a complete breakdown where I was afraid to even leave my room. I did not know what I was going to do with my life... what job I was supposed to perform or even wanted to perform. I had no idea what I wanted. I was finally given the courage to move from home, travel across the country and take up on the east coast, renting a house with some guys and getting a job doing something I was competent in. I used heavy amounts of fantasy. I loved the complete control of the fantasy world but it was an uncontrollable world too. The fantasies would start out sweet, affectionate and romantic and then end with images of horrible, seductive but sick types of sex. But the sicker the fantasy, the more deliriously electric the high. At last, when I was about 25, I had my dream situation. I moved out of the house with the other guys and a lady rented me a downstairs basement room where I would have absolute privacy. Guilt had never left me; it was like 500 pounds I perpetually carried on my back. Added to that was a diseased feeling inside of self-hatred. But I figured here would be my man cave. I would just give up, do what I wanted, and masturbate without the fear of being caught by anyone. As if to "bless" this new life, there was a side guest room where the lady's son sometimes came to stay and snooping around in there one day, I found a huge stack of porn DVDs. The son was a big burly muscular guy and after I used the stack, I would nervously try to reorder and replace the stack exactly as I'd found it in his room. At the start of some of the DVDs there would sometimes be an advertisement for darker types of porn, things that turned my stomach. I would find later that those images were stuck in my brain and I had a kind of sickly draw towards them then. Also, I decided to mount a seduction campaign against an older female in my life--I'd always wanted to pursue that type--and after several weeks got her to be sexual with me, so I felt like a real mastermind now. I'd had a handful of sexual relationships before that. One weekend I decided I wanted to OD on pleasure. I got out the porn and masturbated till I couldn't anymore. I thought I had actually broken something in my body, and I was so scared. I didn't know any other way to console myself but masturbate, though, so I figured I'd try it yet again. I had to conjure up the absolute most taboo fantasy I could think of to arouse myself, and in the moments after masturbating that time, I wanted to die. I don't cry very often--something I've always wanted to be able to do--and said if there was a God would he please make me disappear... to just remove my existence entirely from creation... if he was at all merciful, I was asking him to put me out of my misery. A very small movement in my heart, like a bird's fluttering wing, started then, and I knew I wanted to live. I moved out of that place, got a roomate, and started seeing a counselor. After a while, he made me aware of a 12 step sexual recovery group and I decided I would give it a shot. After three months I still hadn't given it a shot, but then I finally went to my first meeting. I went to one meeting a week for 13 months and didn't get remotely sober... maybe 10 days of sobriety twice. Then I started going to several meetings (although it took a huge commitment of driving), got a sponsor and got a month of sobriety, then relapsed. One day I had bought four or five DVDs for myself and watched one with a scene that sickened me. The actress in it obviously did not want to be performing the actions she was...the face of this particular girl and her great sorrow really struck me. I masturbated to it anyway. Once again I was broken. I could see a miserable girl who hated what she was doing and still masturbate. I was crying again and deep down in my heart there surged this incredible anger. Lust to me became personified... it was some figure of a man who was controlling my life, controlling that girl, controlling all lustful people and making us use each other. I flipped Lust the bird and said I was not going to let him make me do one more action I didn't want to do. But I knew that resolve would not make it a day... maybe not more than a few hours. But I swore that even though I was sure to masturbate tomorrow, I would die before I'd let him boss me around again that day. I woke up the next day and made the same decision. It's now 29 months of making that same decision one day at a time, with God's help, a sponsor, and most especially working the steps the 12 steps. At step 5, I felt that 500 pound weight on my back lifted, and by step 9, the sickly darkness of self-hatred inside went away. I don't live with those things anymore, and hopefully never will again.