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I was a porn addict but I found my out and now live a pretty spectacular life. I remember my first experience with pornography. I was probably 6-years-old and staying the night at a friend’s house. His father had a collection of porn magazines. That night we hid a couple of magazines under our pillows before going to sleep. I can’t even remember if we looked at them or even what I saw or didn’t see that night. I remember that just the idea of hiding the magazines delivered a charge. I wouldn’t see another porn magazine for 2 more years.
Growing up I did a fair amount of sexual exploration. I remember rationalizing it saying I was “practicing for a girl.” I don’t know if this exploration was a byproduct of some kind of sexual abuse, but I think it was. It helps me to think it was. When I was 5 or 6, I remember a neighbor kid and I were in his grandmother’s bathroom and we tried oral sex on one another. Maybe I just did it to him, not sure. I can still remember how his penis felt in my mouth, the taste, smell, but mostly I remember the shame I felt. It turns my stomach when I think back. It’s amazing how memories can become trapped in the mind.
This sexual exploration continued and eventually it involved my cousin. He was a year younger than me. I can’t help but feel I had become the instigator in this sexual behavior. We never actually had intercourse, but we would try and simulate the act as best we could. I can’t exactly remember how long this went on, but I do know when it stopped.
I was 8 and AIDS was exploding. Somehow I heard that boys could get AIDS by sexually playing with each other. Well that was it for me. I was sure I had AIDS and was going to die. Like I said before, the mind is incredibly powerful. (And when dealing with porn addiction, very unreliable). The memory of the terror of thinking that I had AIDS is still with me today. I can’t seem to shake it.
Once I thought I had AIDS (I do not), I became very destructive with my life. I was very open to using drugs and alcohol, but it was the porn that I found most soothing - my sex addiction was getting worse. I found my first stash of porn when I was twelve. A neighbor was having a garage sale and he had a box that had some trophies in it.
I can remember looking in that box and at the bottom seeing magazines. On top was Sports Illustrated, but some sick sense told me to dig deeper. Sure enough there was a stack of about 30 porn magazines under the Sports Illustrated. I grabbed the whole box and put it on my scooter and with one foot in the box for balance I high-tailed it out of there. I brought the box back to my fort and my buddies and I spent hours going through them. I was consumed.
This went on up into my teens. I would find magazines or steal them from friend’s houses and take them back to my house and then thrash at myself for hours - my porn addiction continued to escalate. Then when I got more deeply involved with drugs and alcohol I would incorporate the porn. I couldn’t wait to think of that next thing that would pack an even bigger high. My life was only about getting higher and higher. And I learned how porn could do that for me.
A magazine was also how I got my first glimpse into the dark side of porn. In the back of some of the magazines I would buy was a section of classified ads showing videos for sale, etc. In very small pictures I saw ads for videos – incest, bestiality, underage nudity, and transsexual videos. I remember at first telling myself that I could never masturbate to any of those pictures. But I ended up proving myself wrong. I would get a magnifying glass so I could see them better and… well, you know.
When I was 15 we got the Internet and even in those early days it provided a buffet of whatever you wanted. I would spend hours on the computer masturbating 3 or 4 times a day. I could not get enough-my porn addiction continued to grow.
I knew all this masturbating and porn watching was changing me, even though I knew nothing at the time about porn addiction. Even then I knew I didn’t want to be doing it. I would try to stop by doing things like cutting the Internet connection cord or trying to break the computer somehow, but I couldn’t stop. I would eventually always find a way to get back online. My parents never said anything to me about it. I can’t believe that they didn’t know, but even if they had said something, it was so shameful to me that I would of denied it anyway. As George says, “porn is the gift that keeps on giving.”
I knew porn was desensitizing me and turning me into a junkie - this is the telltale sign of porn addiction. I just wanted to get off and I didn’t care if I was pleasuring myself or if someone else was doing it to me. I dabbled in everything. I was filled with shame and had lost all hope. I figured if it was there, I might as well try it. I went to prostitutes. I had oral sex with guys. I went to the seedy theaters and jerk off booths. None of it was pretty. The whole time I knew that I really didn’t want to be doing it. But I was powerless over my porn addiction.
I started looking for help when I was 22. But no one seemed to know about porn addiction then. The groups I found were filled with sex offenders and people who were into some really dark shit. When I would share, they would all kind of laugh and dismiss that I was suffering. I told myself that the world wasn’t ready for my addiction yet, that I would have to wait. And wait I did.
During that time of waiting I started going to seminars and got involved in self-help style groups. I was at least receiving tools that helped me cope with the suffering of porn addiction. It was in one of these groups I met my wife. When I met her, I told myself, “Okay, now I can stop.” Things were okay for a while, but then I hooked the Internet back up and before I knew it I was spending hours and sometimes full days and nights masturbating and watching pornography.
I watched the porn stars go from having pubic hair to no pubic hair. I watched all the manipulations that the pornographers were doing to make their videos more taboo and more exciting. I started finding myself in some pretty dark places on the net. Still I knew that I had to change this behavior or I would have to give up my life as I knew it. I contemplated suicide to end my porn addiction once and for all. I searched for the magic pill that monks take. I was looking for anything that would take away this compulsion and give me some peace.
I went through several therapists before finding George. George was the only one saying that I could change my mind - he taught me the tools that he used to save his life from the grip of sex addiction - that I didn’t have to be a porn addict for my whole life. I wanted to spend more time on this earth being sober than I had spent being an addict. George showed compassion and understanding. For the first time in my life I was ready to receive that. I was willing to be taught a different way.
We did a lot of a lot of dialog work – talking to the parts of me that were running the show in my head. This helped me understand these internal personalities. I was able to put an age, face, and agenda on these sub-personalities. Slowly they emerged from being dark demons to being teachers.
I came to realize that my sex addiction was actually a gift of sorts and that we don’t get to choose the gifts that are bestowed upon us. I now had a different context for the porn addiction to live in – an empowering context – one that gave me strength and did not take strength away any longer.
Understanding my addiction not only gave my life a purpose. It expected something from me. It wanted me to now use my gift to be of service. I hope my story helps you. I’ve risen from the throes of sex addiction and porn addiction. You can too.
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Yes, Kevin DID his work.
Glad you made it to sobriety man. Great story though. I think a lot of men need to hear this. We all have our dark and sordid size but it is only through real honesty that we learn. Good luck!
exactly, "we are only as sick as our secrets" (George Colllins) This saying was a real reality call. I started to get this idea that openness would shed light on the dark and the more open I was the better I could see what was really going on. This was the idea around telling my story...anyways, thanks for the comments.