Is a full recovery even possible? Overcoming despair

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by Kareem1708, Aug 30, 2021.

  1. Kareem1708

    Kareem1708 Fapstronaut

    Hello, before I start, I'd like to say that I'm a new user and only have a rudimentary grasp of the rules. I hope I don't break any rules by posting this thread. (I'll leave a TL;DR for those who are short on time...or are just lazy like myself haha.)

    Right now it's 2:34 AM and I'm once again, like every night/day, consumed by this uncomfortable pressure in my stomach, and this appalling desire to masturbate. More awareness goes to my groin area, and I can feel my lust slowly rising. I know that I'm headed towards that inevitable loss of will, followed by the release, and finally ending up swallowed in my own defeat and bitterness.

    I turned 21 around two weeks ago, and I've taken the opportunity for some introspection and to think about my life, like where I've gone wrong or right. I realized then that I've been addicted to masturbation and by extension, pornography for about 9 years now.

    I remember when the mere sight of a naked female would excite me. One picture would be enough to think about for days! I remember how my tastes slowly went from 'vanilla' to more specific genres. Eventually, I grew bored of that too, and I resorted to extremes. I always used to be strictly heterosexual...I think. It's been a few years since I started enjoying pornography not matching my sexual orientation, and now I even doubt whether I was completely heterosexual, to begin with. Eventually, when my addiction grew bored of warping my sexual orientation, it began targetting my pride, my values, and what I consider what it means to be a man (partially based on my Arab/Muslim culture and upbringing). I began to go from enjoying occupying a dominant position and being in control, to liking to lose control being dominated instead. If that was it, I would only be slightly disturbed but unfortunately, the addict constantly craves novelty. That change in preference rapidly went to an extreme. I started enjoying being roughly dominated, to eventually... and it really brings me a lot of shame, anger, and bitterness to say cuckoldry. Now it's almost the only thing that gets me off. My younger self would never recognize me today. I was forced to end a relationship and go through tremendous suffering both to myself and to other individuals. This change happened in the past year.

    That brings me to today. After countless PMO sessions, followed by incredible shame and self-loathing, I feel myself succumbing to despair. No matter what I do, no matter what distractions I employ, techniques I try, it all seems so.. futile. I created this account as an act of desperation. Is there anyone out there who is in a similar predicament? Who has perhaps fought the same kind of despair born from countless instances of shame and, in my opinion, emasculation and has come out victorious? And if so, is there any advice or wisdom you can share with me? Specifically in dealing with fantasies or fetishes that really go against what you stand for. Is it possible to truly reverse this warping of sexual orientation, for these fantasies to never have an influence on me, even after becoming sexually active with a partner?
    But most importantly, I just want to know if there's hope. Hope for someone who dug a hole so deep, he can barely see the light. I seriously need a pat on the back and maybe some reassurance...

    Thank you for reading my late-night, depressed rambling session haha

    TL;DR - I have fetishes and fantasies that aren't only against my 'original' sexual orientation, it also goes against my values, and my own sense of personal dignity. I've found myself more and more consumed by despair and want to know whether it's even possible to save myself. I'm looking for kindred souls who have come out victorious. I want to know whether a full revert is even possible or if becoming sexually active will trigger all these fantasies to come back.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
    Buddhabro2.0 and Koli Pratham like this.
  2. Buddhism Is True

    Buddhism Is True Fapstronaut

    The details of your fetishes don’t matter. Sooner or later, it all just becomes porn. I know that’s not how it feels. Get some purpose in your life. That’ll make it easier to let the porn go.
    Nagos, Usernameallowed and Kizual like this.
  3. Kareem1708

    Kareem1708 Fapstronaut

    Forgive me if I misunderstood what you said, but I partially disagree. I think nuance is important and in this case, the devil is in the details. I do agree that porn itself is bad, and I wholeheartedly share the desire to fully abstain from porn like many of us, but if I had to pick my poison, I’d go with the ‘vanilla’ in a heartbeat. I find your sentiment akin to saying that “whether it’s beer or vodka.. it doesn’t matter, it’s all just alcohol in the end.” Just like porn, I feel like some fetishes are less harmful than others.

    Alas, my friend, you make it sound like finding purpose and meaning in life is a trivial task. I’ve given it a lot of thought and yet I still wander aimlessly through life. Do you maybe have advice or wisdom to share on that front? I’d love to hear a Buddhist’s perspective on it.
    MHero likes this.
  4. Buddhism Is True

    Buddhism Is True Fapstronaut

    Disagree all you want. I felt like the type of porn I was looking at was uniquely bad too. From where I sit today it’s all the same. No one else can tell you what your purpose ought to be. You’ve got to decide that for yourself. It isn’t easy, it is necessary. If I were 21 again I’d be working out a lot, dead set on a six figure salary, and figuring out what my life’s mission ought to be.
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  5. Kareem1708

    Kareem1708 Fapstronaut

    Lol. Well, thanks for sharing your insight. I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to do that.
    Buddhism Is True likes this.
  6. Buddhism Is True

    Buddhism Is True Fapstronaut

    For sure. I didn’t string together 100 plus days till this year (I’m 38). Had I gotten my act together 15 years ago I’d be so much better off. Is what it is.
    Usernameallowed likes this.
  7. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    I'm not a PA, but I am the SO of one who is very involved with his recovery.

    I can tell you based on the research I have read and the evidence I have seen in my husband as well as other users on this thread that you escalate based on reward, not on preference. By that I mean, you've wired yourself to the screen and what you see on the screen. By doing this, it has created confusion between who you really are versus who porn has made you out to be.

    There are a lot of stories I've read on here where men have said the longer they abstain, the further they get from fetishes and orientations they actually are not. There is a lot of information on here that I would encourage you to seek and read in regard to other people's stories because this will help answer some of your questions.

    Since you're 21, your brain is still pruning, which means you still have some pathways you can make stronger than others providing you nuture the heck out of them over the next few years. Doing this can help navigate away from pornography and toward something else you prefer to do.

    I've read a whole lot of research that talks about mindfulness meditation being a huge factor in the recovery process. There's a ton of different ones out there so it is a matter of finding one that works best for you, should you choose to use meditation as a form of recovery. My husband started using yoga and meditation in his, and he just completed 1 year clean a few days ago. We have been on this journey for 3 years and he relapsed once in that time. I did a whole lot of CBT therapy techniques with him, as well as metacognitive training. It is going to take a lot of work to recover.

    As far as a full recovery is concerned, I think this is a question a lot of people ask and I don't know if it has been answered as of yet. I've not seen any research that shows full recovery from any addiction is possible because addictions cause structural changes to the brain. This one has a lovely protein called DeltaFosB, which is a truncated splice of the fosB protein. Normally the fos family proteins are unstable, but DeltaFosB becomes stable over time and is partially responsible for the structural brain changes that occur with sex/porn addiction. They can eventually return to basal levels over time, but this addiction is also cue-reactive, therefore exposure to a simple stimuli on an everyday advertisement could quickly reactivate it.

    My husbands purpose became life. It sounds simple, but it really isn't when you look at the bigger picture. When you're in the midst of an addiction, you're not really living to the fullest extent. That was what he wanted to do. To learn to be in the moment as much as he possibly could. He still struggles, but he is actively working daily on it.

    Best of luck to you on your journey
  8. modernstore99

    modernstore99 Fapstronaut

    Check out my story at Am I a Sissy?? (Actually a good story with happy ending, trust me, read the whole thing)

    Also check out these links from YBOP

    Evolution has not prepared your brain for today’s porn

    Porn FAQs

    Does porn addiction cause irreversible damage to the brain?

    I’m straight, but attracted to transsexual or gay porn (or gay attracted to straight porn). What’s up?

    How do I know when I’m back to normal?

    Started young on Internet porn and my recovery from erectile dysfunction is taking too long.
    Kareem1708 likes this.
  9. Kareem1708

    Kareem1708 Fapstronaut

    Thank you so much for sharing all this knowledge. I'm humbled by the effort you put to inform and steer me in the right direction.

    I looked over your journal a little bit and I completely sympathize with you. The situation you find yourself in with your husband is one of the situations that plagued my mind the most when I decided to end my relationship prematurely. I can see that you genuinely love your husband, and I sincerely hope for his full recovery, but more importantly, I hope both of you are able to find more prosperity, growth, and fulfillment in the midst of this predicament. The love (and patience) you hold for your husband is very enviable, may such a treasure never be lost.

    Regarding the information you shared with me, you've illuminated many of the problems and doubts clouding my mind. The road to a full recovery seems to be a possibility, albeit from what I get from your story, it's a long and arduous one. I have considered therapy as a solution but my past experiences with one, along with some of my (somewhat informed) preconceptions about them make me very hesitant to use them except as a last resort. They say that addiction is, generally speaking, a way to cope with pain. I agree with that notion and I partially blame the addiction on the unpleasant circumstances surrounding my life. Diagnosed with depression, I've always found it hard to enjoy life or find the necessary motivation to undertake even the most basic of habits. PMO has always been an easy way to get that little bit of happiness that I needed in a veritable sea of apathy and emptiness that awaited me that day. Thank you for sharing your research with me though, I found the one about DeltaFosB to be very insightful. It's interesting to see how these little proteins have such an effect on my brain. Is it still easy to fall on old habits, or perhaps, after a cue or stimuli, feel arousal towards a 'fake' fetish even after the DeltaFosB has returned to basal levels? Could you also perhaps tell me the things your husband uses as a way to distract himself when the urges come?

    I've read some of the stories of some recovering or 'fully recovered' addicts. A common point they all share is, as you and the 'Buddhist' above you said, having a purpose. Living life like your husband aims to. Much thanks to my partial inability to find much enjoyment in life, I found it very hard to really center my life around a particular career, abstract notion, or simple enjoyment of life itself. I find it very hard to empathize with friends and acquaintances when I ask them the age-old question.. "why do you do this?". Some of the most conscientious or fulfilled individuals that I know have a vague purpose at best. Most just shrug their shoulders. Some have a general purpose or aim, but mostly vague and aren't articulated very well. But I wholeheartedly agree that having a purpose or aim in life will absolutely help. I also believe that 'Habits maketh the man'. I know very well that the source of my depression, and my extension also my addiction, is because I live a very very shitty life with shitty habits, mostly my fault and within my control. Yet I look at this road ahead of me.. this monster and I become highly intimidated, fear the worst, be overcome by despair... and instead, I just go and do another PMO session to forget about my problems. I have this tendency to wallow in my own self-pity, and perhaps also hypocritically, hate myself for being so weak as to constantly drown in my own misery instead of not getting things done. Haha, it's a predicament indeed. It's a downwards spiral because my shitty habits feed my depression and the depression robs me of my motivation which ends up feeding the bad habits. This is also why I highly believe that a fully articulated and noble purpose in life can drive a wedge in that spiral and hopefully provide me with enough of a pushing force to fix my bad habits and slow that spiral down, perhaps even reverse it. But I digress.

    Again, thank you so much for taking the effort in giving me all this information. I hope you know that this is genuinely appreciated. I hope I can end this little rant with one final question: why do you do this? what is your purpose? If you don't mind me asking, of course! I know you're not a PA, but I am still very curious.

    I wish you good luck on your journey as well, DefendMyHeart!
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
  10. GuitarDude

    GuitarDude Fapstronaut

    Hi I believe you are passing through similar stuff as me. My sexual orientation also has been clouded with my porn abuse. I transitioned to trans porn and sissy porn, many times imagining I was the one being dominated. I feel like this is not an uncommon occurrence in men as I have also read about many cases here on NoFap. Im sure once you reboot you will find yourself aligning once again with your morals and natural atractions.
    Kareem1708 likes this.
  11. Kareem1708

    Kareem1708 Fapstronaut

    I sincerely appreciate you sharing all these posts with me.

    For now, I've only taken a look at your story, and wow. You, sir, are an inspiration. Genuinely. I look up to you. Mainly because the fetishes you described in your story are almost identical to what I have right now. You've spoken about your recovery and it gives me a lot of hope. Thank you so much for sharing these links. I will check them all out as soon as I can.

    Looking at your forum signature, I am considering sending you a private message regarding some of the more personal concerns that I have, I hope you don't mind that.
  12. Kareem1708

    Kareem1708 Fapstronaut

    Thank you for reassuring me of this. Knowing someone else is struggling with similar fetishes and thoughts as me brings me hope, almost like a sense of unity. I hope you are right, my friend.
  13. GuitarDude

    GuitarDude Fapstronaut

    I reccomend you read Your Brain on Porn (

    Im telling you it really makes a difference when you understand whats happening to yourself when urges hit. I believe it has helped me tremondously, and I believe that you are in somewhat of a desperate situation. It will also help you to be more understanding with yourself.
  14. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    My husband doesn't have a therapist either. He had tried in the past and went through three of them. All three encouraged porn use despite the problems it caused between him and I. The first therapist told him that he is entitled to a "private life" and I didn't need to know about his use. This is what caused him to relapse last year. He just needed someone to tell him it was okay to use because he still did not want to give it up. The first 2 years, he only quit because I wanted him to. Now, his journey is his own. He was able to see the damage it caused to himself, to his own brain. This was what he needed to propel himself forward into recovery.
    I do have a background in psychology and was able to be a "therapist" to him. We uncovered a lot from his past and worked on the things that led up to his addiction, and the things that kept him in that cycle over the years.
    If you are able to find a good therapist that can help you work on aspects of your depression, this could be a beneficial part of recovery. A lot of guys on here have gone to therapists that specialize in sex addiction and attend group therapies that are dedicated to that. We don't have either of those options in our state. All the sex therapists around here believe that porn in a relationship is beneficial, and it is me that is the problem for not wanting it, not him.
    This is very true. Addiction isn't the source, it is a symptom. Depression is anger and pain turned inward so being able to work through what caused that will help you a lot in your recovery. You are on the right path.
    If you consider the brain model of addiction, what it describes is there is often and event, then a trigger that occur. It is what happens after that is what leads you back to the addiction or toward recovery. So say you are watching television and an ad comes on that contains a stimulus. You catch a quick glimpse of it before turning away or shutting it off. A few hours, days, weeks, later something happens at work that angers you. The stimuli was the event and the anger is the trigger. Now you will either choose maladaptive coping mechanisms or healthy ones. If you find yourself trying to justify how it would be okay to indulge in your addiction, you are on the path of maladaptive coping. If you decide instead to take a few hours and meditate or exercise, then you are choosing recovery. The latter one will be very difficult to do in the beginning but the more you choose that path the more it becomes second nature. Are you still susceptible to stimuli? Yes. It will be WHAT you do and HOW you react that will matter. Honestly, just like with any research, we only have access to what is available. Could there be people out there that suffered from porn addiction that quit and rewired their pathways so effectively that stimuli no longer impacts them? It is possible. These people, I would imagine, also would adhere to strict internet usage in general thus reducing the chances of them coming across a porn addiction survey to fill out for the purpose of data collection. And even if they did, their case would be considered an outlier and could be weeded out of the results anyway. We don't know what we don't know.

    For this one, I will let my husband tell you what he uses that works for him because I am not sure. We have gone through many techniques and he has been given so many tools over these years in recovery that it would be difficult to pinpoint exactly which ones he has stuck with that have helped him @eagle rising

    I think what happens in a lot of people who do find fulfillment in life often have a difficult time expressing this in words. I understand how it could be frustrating to you due to you needing answers to questions and their inability to provide them in a way that makes sense to you only adds to the frustration.

    Fear is very powerful and has the ability to debilitate even the strongest person. It is often due to childhood or adolescence that this becomes so ingrained in a person, especially if you were given strict boundaries and rules to follow. It also has to do with being afraid of the truth, either within yourself or in general. If you were raised around authoritarian parents, learning to lie and learning to believe your own lie was probably a normal thing to prevent any discipline or punishment. Over time, it starts to make the truth seem like a scary place. Where it can be a scary place, it is sorta like going into a new place for the first time. Eventually you will become familiar with it and the fear with dissipate. However, you have to keep going and keep exploring and uncovering things no matter how scary they may seem.
    Service to others is my purpose.

    I can give you an example: When I found out about my husbands addiction, I told him that no matter what I was going to see it through until he learned to take over and heal himself. That I was going to push him toward recovery, even if it destroyed me and our marriage in the process. Because at the end of the day, his recovery would be his path toward happiness and that was what mattered most. Even if I ended up helping him become better for someone else, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.
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  15. GuitarDude

    GuitarDude Fapstronaut

    Your husband is very lucky to have you. Your words warm my heart and I hope I find someone like you in my life.
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  16. JiuJitsuGod

    JiuJitsuGod Fapstronaut

    The despair that I have felt in the past was so unbelievably temporary that 1 week of abstaining brought back my true sense of self. I think of it like having two personalities. One is your deeper, authentic self, and the other is the addict that we have nurtured through being too weak willed to stop a bad habit. The simple truth is that PMO is not that big of a deal. I'm not saying that we should give in, because it builds up negative habits, and turns your mind into a turbulent storm. I am however saying that by making it seem so powerful you let it get a leg up on you. You can choose how you perceive it. You can look at it and decide you are stronger than it. Feeling like a victim is not going to solve your problems. I know this all too well. The best way to get yourself out of this hole we call PMO addiction is to first stop digging. The process takes time to recover from, but this is why you need to unite having a positive attitude towards recovery with habits that will lead you to your vision of success.

    I know how it feels to be stuck in the hole. These past few months have been the hardest that I have experienced. I have been struggling with depression for so long now, but I have learned that the only way to move on is to keep going. The saying is once you're in hell, the only way out is to learn to tread fire. You can learn to deal with the negativity in your life if you only change how you view it. Another important thing is to remember to enjoy the little things. Take the wins as they come. This seemingly insurmountable challenge becomes a lot less intimidating once you realize how grandiose and beautiful the rest of the world is. There will be times that you mess up, but it is in those moments that I have learned to move on and to be inspired by the things around me.

    Do not let your problems keep you from realizing who you could be. Remember my friend, if you only focus on the destination you will miss all the beautiful sights and moments along the way.
    Kareem1708 likes this.
  17. DiegoSR

    DiegoSR Fapstronaut

    You want to know if you can reboot and save yourself as you said? Of course you can!!
    But you must take your own responsabilities or things won't change while you sleep
    Stop talking about "depression", "despair", "reassurance". Start with a plan! Set a goal, 30 days without PMO for example.
    Commit yourself, do it and focus on this goal, nothing else, for the next month. You will see huge progressions and you will know what is good for you

    Oh please, also go to (main page) and subscribe to the newsletter. You will receive a PDF, "Getting started with NOFAP" Please READ IT til the last page. there is everything you need to now.

    You came here for hope? Read that PDF, you fill find out
    Kareem1708 likes this.
  18. eagle rising

    eagle rising Fapstronaut

    Hello @Kareem1708, let me answer your question as best I can, frankly.

    These are the things that I do to get our of urges, though not in any specific order:
    • I turn off any screen that I am looking at (very important).
    • I say to myself, "I will not get in front of any screen until I KNOW that I'm in a better headspace."
    • Whenever arousal starts to come I suck in my stomach, hold my breath, and "move the energy up". Don't think too much on this, just tell yourself to do it, your body will respond eventually (with repetition).
    • I tell myself, "I don't need to do that. This is just something that I was used to before."
    • I either:
      • Keep myself in one spot (literally) and mentally change my focus, without going to self-scolding thoughts, or
      • I get up and do something while doing the energy movement as described above.
    • [Possibly the most important step] Stay away from triggering environments (think relative to your natural usage of triggering environments, i.e. watching videos/TV, going on social media, going on YT, etc.) for a significant period of time after you've found yourself in a better spot.
    Of course this is only with respect to the moment when urges overwhelm you. There is still other things P addicts must do in order to reduce the frequency with which our minds fall into urges.
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  19. Kareem1708

    Kareem1708 Fapstronaut

    Wow. What an insightful read. First of all, I apologize for the belated reply. Thank you so much for answering my questions, your words have (again) illuminated so many of the questions clouding my mind. Your husband is indeed lucky to have a wife with a background like yourself. Perhaps I should consider therapy again, to tackle the depression that has plagued me ever since my teenage years.

    I absolutely agree with this notion. Your reaction towards the stimuli is what either weakens or strengthens your bad habits. What I was mostly worried about is whether this change in my brain has been solidified as such that I will never be able to react to these stimuli as a healthy average person would. I feared that no matter how far along the path to recovery I would be, I would always hold a certain 'weakness' toward these stimuli. This fear did not abate when I realized how common these sorts of stimuli are in entertainment media, and in society in general. To use your example:

    In my mind, the most ideal situation would be where I wouldn't need to turn away or shut it off at all. I wish for it to not affect my state of mind whatsoever, and instead, to just watch the ad and take an interest in the product they're advertising. I understand this being hardly feasible in the first few years, but I just genuinely hope that this is possible eventually.

    Haha, I'd like to apologize for making you read that paragraph where I just went into this mess of a rant. What you're saying is very interesting, I agree with this psychoanalytic perspective. This fear has been very paralyzing to me, I'm hardly able to take action because of it. I hope you can share some advice with me on what the first step(s) could be in tackling this fear. Should I look back in my past and see where this fear first manifested itself and why? Or should I focus on the future instead, take the bull by the horns and just give it a try, with a focus on familiarizing myself with the process and the road ahead. Maybe once I'm in the swing of things, my path ahead will seem less intimidating, as it requires less effort to maintain compared to before I started. It would bring me a lot of joy to hear your thoughts about this if you don't mind.

    Wow. Very noble and selfless. Some might say it's borderline self-sacrificial. I hold nothing but tremendous respect for you and your purpose. Being the cynic that I am, I envy your will and devotion towards the path you've chosen. I can imagine this to be a double-edged sword. I hope that the good moments are filled with nothing but joy and fulfillment. And I hope that the bad moments are filled with nothing but growth and learning.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  20. Kareem1708

    Kareem1708 Fapstronaut

    Hey! Thank you for answering my question. I genuinely appreciate you taking your time to share this, you have no idea how much this means to me.

    Strangely enough, I know exactly what you mean why "move the energy up". These three 'steps' I've tried numerous times. My main problem is that the stimulus stays in my mind branded like a picture, no matter what I do. In fact, I suspect my brain 'focuses' and remembers more vividly the parts that are most arousing to me. I find it incredibly difficult to remove that 'image' from my mind, no matter what I tell myself. The rare occasion that I do succeed is only when something 'important' happens. Important enough for my short-term memory to forget that stimulus and to focus itself on the task at hand. Do you perhaps have any techniques or advice on how I can most quickly forget what I saw on my screen?

    Does the place where you habitually do PMO also fall under the umbrella of 'triggering environments'? Or do you specifically mean only the places that put you at risk of exposure to more stimuli? For example, I usually PMO in my bedroom but most stimuli are always on social media. Is it okay to just stay in my bedroom and just turn off my social media or my phone in general, or is it a better idea to also exit my bedroom entirely? To just go and relax in my living room instead.

    I'd love to hear more man, and again, thank you for sharing this information. I wish you nothing but the best on your road to recovery. You have my respect.

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