The awesome power of NoFap

Wow. This last month has been intense for me.

Thirty-two days ago I installed an application on my phone, tablet and pc, called Accountable2you.

As per its name, it’s an accountability program, which just means that it keeps me from viewing material online that I’ve decided I don’t want to use.

In my case, I’m using it to overcome the compulsion to watch porn. It’s working really well, in fact.

I’ve installed filters on my pc before, and though some of them work reasonably well, circumventing them is just a matter of time.

With this program, if I search for porn, it sends the exact links I searched for straight to my girlfriend. Yikes!

So no more midget goat porn for me.

The reason I’m writing about this now is because I’ve been experiencing something I wasn’t really expecting.

As my compulsion to search for pornographic material has decreased, I’ve found myself having way less compulsively sexual thoughts, too.

I’ve been using porn since puberty, and I just thought the constant sexual fantasies were just a by-product of being male. After only thirty days of no porn, I feel like there’s 80% less sexual thoughts in my head throughout the day.

That’s really weird for me! I thought I just had an overactive libido.

It seems to me that the input determines the output. Years of filling my brain with pornographic images made it so that my brain started churning out pornographic thoughts non-stop.

After I’ve finally managed to remove porn from my life, it’s obvious to me that this is the case.

It wasn’t so obvious a month ago, I can tell you that.

So the major side effect of this reduced sexual fantasy is a reduction in the urge to masturbate. Today is day 9 since I last had an orgasm, and I’m feeling it. Definitely feeling it.

It may not seem like such a long time, but to a (hopefully ex-) compulsive porn addict like myself, it feels like a year. Since puberty, I’ve only once managed a month without porn, and never more than nine or ten days without ejaculating.

I’ve known about the community called NoFap for years. I’ve often read posts on the SubReddit and watched Youtube videos from those who swear by it, but I always thought it was mostly bro-science.

Fapstronauts (practitioners of NoFap, in case you haven’t guessed) talk about “rebooting” their minds by abstaining from PMO (porn, masturbation, orgasm) for 90 days.

What I found most interesting about the community, though, was the insistence that once on NoFap you would start to receive so-called superpowers.

Powers like laser focus, supercharged energy, incredible confidence, especially around women, no more brain fog, better skin, more muscle, nicer hair and more beard growth, as well as spiritual benefits.

I’ve always been a pretty skeptical dude, so I pretty much thought this was all wishful thinking. How could any of this stuff be true?

Well, in my very limited experience, I’ve definitely noticed increased energy and drive, physical strength and endurance, a clearer mind, and minor increases in self-confidence.

I’m just getting started though. I feel like now that I’ve finally found a way to put a stop to my addictive porn use, my ability to restrain myself from other destructive habits has increased as well.

It’s as if my will power is getting stronger.

I’m willing and able, finally, to start this experiment on myself instead of listening to other people.

In ancient traditions, semen is considered the life essence, the ultimate creative force.

Considering this is the longest I’ve gone without busting a nut, I’m not qualified to talk about the full benefits of being abstinent for long periods of time, especially using methods of sexual transmutation.

My own direct experience is all I’m willing to divulge. That’s what this blog is all about. Me sharing what I’ve learned on my life’s journey with the world.

Funnily enough, as the days have gone by, my motivation for working on the Joy of Awareness has increased tremendously. I’ve been writing a lot, as well as researching ways for improving the site itself.

The urge to create more seems to be increasing with every day of semen retention. Which is pretty congruent with the label of a creative force, to be fair.

Stories abound of great men who’ve attributed much of their success to their ability to restrain themselves from wasting their vital energies in the bedroom, alone or with a partner.

Which brings me to my next point, SEX!

We all love sex, right? Sex is awesome. One of the most incredible activities known to man, woman, and any combination thereof.

I’ve tried having sex without ejaculating a few times, and while difficult, it can be done. The sensations of staying on the edge of orgasm for longer than I’m used to are very intense.

There are all kinds of sexual practices, some of them very ancient and well developed, like tantra, karezza, and the taoist sexual practices, that talk about exactly this. Learning to have sex without the compulsive need to ejaculate.

And funnily enough, the benefits listed in these practices, superpowers, if you will, are the same superpowers listed by fapstronauts.

I find all this stuff immensely interesting, and I feel like I’ve finally started to understand the value of sexual energy, not as something that needs to be tapped off regularly, but rather as something that can be harnessed, transmuted and directed at will.

Energy that can be used to develop yourself mentally, physically and spiritually.

Energy that can allow you to create wealth, abundance, and power for yourself and others.

Energy that is at the heart of being human, the stuff that you’re essentially made of.

I’ve written about my addiction to pornography at length before, check out my series on the root of pornography addiction, for example.

In that series, I felt like I had been able to pinpoint anxiety as the root for my addiction.

I still believe that’s so, but with an extra twist: Anxiety was the root of my porn addiction, but after the addiction became full fledged, the addiction itself had become the root of my anxiety.

I definitely feel reduction of anxiety after these thirty days of no porn. I can only anticipate an even further reduction, and let me tell you, I am not going to miss it.

When you think about it, internet porn is an incredibly unnatural thing. Video after video of sweaty genitals and often violent depictions of the inherently beautiful sex act. Endless variety, endless levels of intensity.

When you grow up with something, it’s hard to imagine life without it.

Sugar, video games, television, even hot water. There are so many things that are artificial, that we have created as humans, often to make life easier or better in some ways, that end up being taken completely for granted.

Many of these things, like a reliable source of hot water, are an incredible boon and a very useful tool in life.

Others may have seeming benefits at first, if only for pleasure or entertainment purposes, but may carry all kinds of risk and negative side effects. Think sugar, MMORPG video games, and television. Alcohol and cigarettes are another example.

For me, internet porn has always been there.

My dad may have grown up with Playboy and Hustler, but I’m sure my grandfather hardly ever saw any pornographic material, and it would have been hard for him to get his hands on it without social shaming if he had been looking for it in the first place.

Having been inundated, saturated with porn as an adolescent, I’ve been holding the belief as an adult that this was a totally natural state of affairs. Society even tells us it’s healthy. Constantly!

The whole bit about porn being a part of female sexual liberation, about daily masturbation being good for the male prostate, about portraying sexuality in ever baser details in television, movies and advertising, and this being somehow all good stuff.

It sickens me. Really.

Sex is as natural a part of being human as anything. It’s a wonderful thing. But it’s also sacred, in some sense. It’s not something that should be so easily bandied about, so easily available without even the tiniest trace of love and dedication.

As my relationship to my own sexuality becomes healthier and clearer, it becomes ever more obvious to me that something is absolutely amiss in this sexually manic society. We’re obsessed with sex, but only as empty pleasure.

I don’t want to sound like I’m proselytizing (at least not to much).

It’s one of those things that, when you see it, you really see it. Everywhere. And it makes you sick to your stomach that somehow the majority of other people seem to not see it. Or at least they ignore it.

It’s not that society is evil, or that there’s some kind of conspiracy (though you never know), to my mind it seems that something is wrong, sick, diseased, in our culture.

That’s a cliché, I know, but I happen to think it’s also true.

When I think of my eighteen-year-old self, when I remember my thought patterns at the time, my beliefs about the world, my faith in society to tell me what’s best for me and everyone else, it drives me crazy. Or not really, but I feel like it should.

I’ve come a long way since then, thankfully.

I seem to be finally heading the schooner that is my life in the right direction.

When it comes down to it, society isn’t really anything but a concept. It’s a collection of people, just like you and me. It can’t fairly be blamed for anything. In fact, I suggest that you put the concept of blame aside for now. Decide to take full responsibility for yourself, your life.

It doesn’t mean that you’re at fault for what’s wrong with you or your circumstances. It means that you’ve decided to take the power of change into your own hands.

Responsibility is power. The power to change. You can change everything about anything. Your mind is more powerful than a hundred million hydrogen bombs. You just don’t know how to use it.

NoFap is a way to learn how. Don’t let the funny name turn you off. Call it Brahmacharya. Call it conscious celibacy or abstinence. Call it sex transmutation.

Just become aware of the fact that your sexual energy is the most powerful force in the universe.

I kid you not.

Let yourself be open to the idea that you are more than the sum of your parts. You have powers beyond your wildest dreams. By virtue of your humanity, you are endlessly valuable. You are a treasure-trove of potential, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

I’m just getting started with sex transmutation. I’ve dabbled with it in the past, didn’t go so well. My heart just wasn’t in it. My mind was foggy, as if going through life drugged or tied down. I’m in a much better place now. More enlightened, clearer and more focused. There is so much to life that I can’t even imagine.

I feel my potential. I feel my potential to create vast wealth and abundance for myself and everyone I love. What’s required is a little sacrifice. Well, it’s actually a great sacrifice.

To harness the sexual energy, the life force, we need to be ready to sacrifice empty pleasure. Orgasm feels awesome, but as men, it also drains us. Ever tried working out after ejaculating more than once? It makes you weak.

If you are able and willing to sacrifice your urge to ejaculate, you may be able to tap into something higher, something greater. That’s the path I’ve chosen.

Stay tuned to the Joy of Awareness, cause things are about to get real.

Your life force is your birth right. Treat it with respect and the rewards will be astronomical.

Take it easy.

6 ways porn is stopping you from living the good life

Watching porn seems to be a perfectly acceptable activity in modern days. It’s not spoken of in polite conversation, but come on, we all know what’s going on.

I’m guessing almost everybody over the age of 18 in the western world has watched porn at some point or another. It would be hard not to. It’s everywhere.

Here’s something that’s not too obvious about porn. It’s a drug.

It’s not a leaf that you smoke, or a powder that you snort, or a liquid that you drink or inject, so it doesn’t really fit our traditional concept of a drug.

But what it lacks in material characteristics, it makes up for with effects on brain and body.

Just check out the research cited on Your brain on porn to find out that the effects of cocaine or heroin addiction on the brain and the effects of porn addiction are more or less the same.

Without further ado, here are six ways porn is holding you back:

1. It builds up toxic shame

When you do something secretive, like furtively slithering into the nearest bathroom stall to jerk off to porn, you will certainly feel shame.

If you make it a habit, that shame builds up.

Toxic shame will affect all aspects of your life, but most noticeably your relationships, your motivation, and your self-confidence.

You will feel guilty and shameful around others, if subconsciously, and you’ll feel like you are worthless as a human being.

This results in social anxiety which can become very severe, depending on how long you’ve been using porn and how intensively.

If you’re reading this, chances are you yourself are addicted to porn, or someone close to you is. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

This crippling social anxiety leads to the next point, which is:

2. It pushes you into depression

We humans are a gregarious bunch. Healthy social relationships are imperative to our well-being and sense of fulfillment.

When we feel anxious around other people, that’s bad enough. Many of us have felt pangs of social anxiety in our lives, because it’s a natural response to difficult or novel social experiences.

But when that feeling intensifies, and becomes perpetual, and it becomes so bad that you start avoiding other people and social gatherings, that’s when some real problems can arise.

We need other people. No man is an island. How true.

When we don’t connect with others, we sink into despair. We may not even understand exactly what’s wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that we feel pretty sh**ty.

Now allow a person to wallow in this sorry state for long enough, and you’ll have a case of severe depression.

It may be difficult to connect the dots. I know it certainly eluded me for a long, long time.

As years have gone by, and the more I’ve read about psychology and the nature of addiction, it all started to become more and more obvious to me.

Do yourself a favor, if you’re suffering from pornography addiction: Study your affliction.

Learn all there is to learn about it, and from there make a game plan on how to overcome it. Don’t let yourself become complacent.

In today’s society of Prozac and Netflix, it’s easier than ever to avoid facing the truth.

Become aware of the fact that avoidance is not helping you.

3. It skews your perception of reality

My generation was the first generation that grew up with high-speed internet porn.

Right before I hit puberty, I started getting my sex education from hardcore, degrading scenes, demeaning to both men and women.

From there it slowly increased until it reached a tipping point when I was twenty-one.

At that point, I was constantly undressing everyone mentally, men and women. I would ask myself how many guys a girl had had sex with, or I would imagine orgies upon orgies next door or down the street.

Porn had given me a sense of reality that was so twisted, so far removed from what was actually normal, that it seems unbelievable to me now.

I didn’t view other people as, well, people. I viewed them as objects. Sexual objects. I saw them through the lens of hardcore pornography.

The mass media in western societies tries to paint us a certain picture of reality, which seems to be closely linked to the porn industry. All advertisements seem to portray sexual fantasies of some sort, and so do movies and TV.

Just to make this clear, I am in no way saying that people shouldn’t be having sex. I love sex. Loads of sex. All kinds of sex, between willing people.

That’s not really the issue.

What happens when you grow up thinking that everybody is constantly sleeping with everybody else, except you?

You’ll develop a sense of something being wrong. Obviously, your model of reality is at fault, but more often, we end up thinking that there must be something wrong with us.

And that’s the issue.

4. It feeds on your energy (and leaves you drained)

Anyone who’s binged on porn knows the feeling of utter depletion and lethargy after a marathon fapping session.

There’s so much stimulation, so much dopamine, that you become absolutely exhausted.

You know, there’s a famous study where rats were given two levers to pull, the first would deliver a piece of food, and the second would directly stimulate their brain’s pleasure circuits.

The male rats would end up pulling the second lever thousands of times per day, ignoring females in heat, food (even if they were starving) and even water (even when dying of thirst).

They were trapped in a cycle of super-stimulation.

Which is exactly what high-speed internet porn is. A single partner, however sexy, cannot compare to porn star after porn star after porn star.

There’s a concept in behavioral science called the Coolidge effect, named after U.S. president Calvin Coolidge. I won’t go into the story of the name, but the concept itself has to do with sexual selection.

When a male rat (in the case of this study) is presented with a willing female, he’ll copulate with her, take a rest, and then, god willing, he’ll go at it again.

But after a few times he’ll have had enough of her and start to look for something else to engage in.

However, when the same rat is presented with a succession of new female rats, he will keep going until the little guy collapses from exhaustion. What a life!

Again, this is exactly what porn does to the male mind. Partner after partner after partner (however pixelated and distant).

We can constantly look for novel sexual experiences through porn. You can watch hundreds of videos within an hour, with different actors and actresses each time.

This is devastating to our mammalian brains.

Which is why so many people who give up porn report a surge in energy.

It’s not so much that quitting porn gives you energy, it’s that porn has been draining it from you your entire adult life.

5. Other aspects of life become bleak and meaningless

When we’re stuck in a cycle of overstimulation or superstimulation, we start to feel that the stimulation is the only thing that matters.

Sex is one thing, but the intense superstimulation of high-speed internet porn is another.

We feel this to a lesser degree when we binge on a good television show or even when we become engrossed in a great book.

It’s the same principle, except with internet porn the effects are multiplied.

When I was at my worst with regards to using porn, nothing compared.

Wherever I was in life, whoever I met, whatever I was doing, no matter how interesting or enjoyable it should have been, the main priority in my mind was figuring out when I would get a chance to fap again.

It’s very sad, and fortunately today I’m in a much better place. Not perfect, but certainly a hundred times better than I’ve ever been.

Neurologically, what happens (and bear with me, I’m no neurologist) is that our brains become overly sensitive to the neurochemical dopamine.

Dopamine is the chemical responsible for motivation, excitement and anticipation. It’s not so much a feel good chemical as much as it is a motivator for seeking feel-good behavior.

What happens when we constantly overstimulate our dopamine receptors? They start to become less sensitive to dopamine, via a process called sensitization.

What this means is that you need more dopamine to feel the same amount of motivation or excitement as before.

So it becomes more difficult to find pornography to satisfy you, leading you to search for more intense, shocking scenes, but more importantly, other activities can no longer hold a candle to the dopamine explosions of porn.

Things like eating a tasty sandwich, going for a run, meeting up with friends, or going out of the house at all start to seem pointless.

The drive is gone, because the dopamine these activities normally produce just don’t cut it anymore for the sensitized brain.

Practically speaking, life loses its color.

6. It warps your sense of self (and your sexual identity)

When the brain has become sensitized to dopamine, vanilla porn is no longer enough to arouse you.

You start looking for more shocking, intense, or even brutal scenes. You may start to look for things that disgusted you before, or scenes that don’t match your sexual preferences.

And this can go on for years.

As you sink further into the dregs of the porniverse, you start to lose yourself. You start to think that your new, often disgusting preferences are just a part of who you are.

You may start to doubt your heterosexuality (or maybe your homosexuality), or your gender.

I’ve become so lost, and so confused as to who I was, that it drove me into deep depression and filled my day to day life with anxiety.

Fantasies of domination and of being dominated started to become very strong and overtook my thought processes many times a day.

It’s like compulsive porn use exaggerates the extremes of sexual fantasy.

Wherever I went, I couldn’t stop obsessing over my sexuality. In a healthy human being, sex is only a big deal when it’s available, or after long periods of abstinence. In the porn-riddled mind, sex is always on your mind.

I’m going to write a lot more about what I’ve learned about porn addiction, and other aspects of sexuality in the future. I also want to go over the necessary steps to overcoming this monster of an addiction.

Stay tuned.

 

 

The root of pornography addiction – Part 3

This post is part of a series. Check out part 1 and part 2.

I’ve been writing about anxiety a lot recently.

The reason is that I’ve realized how titanic the role of anxiety has been in my developing addiction to pornography.

In the last few posts on pornography addiction I’ve been going into the causes and consequences of dealing with anxiety with porn, but today I want to talk about what makes pornography such a perfect (temporary) anxiety medication.

The easiest way to get rid of anxiety (temporarily) is to forget it. That’s why so many of us develop addictions to all kinds of stimulating substances and activities.

I believe that some form of anxiety lies at the root of most addiction.

Certainly there is a physiological reason as well, such as dopamine desensitization and chemical dependency, but those seem to arise after the fact.

Anxiety also has different facets and levels of intensity, as may seem obvious when we think about all the different circumstances that allow anxiety to arise, from going to a party to finding yourself in a war-zone.

In order to forget our feelings of anxiety we look for substances or activities that are so stimulating or engrossing that nothing else can catch our attention.

People have used all kinds of things that fit this bill, for thousands of years. Alcohol is arguably the most obvious of addictions in the collective consciousness, but there are all kinds of other ways to forget, as you probably already know.

Cannabis, gambling, tobacco, opiates and cocaine are all prime candidates, but all of these along with alcohol tend to form very obvious consequences that are easily recognized and usually heavily stigmatized by the people around us.

Alcoholics, for example, develop a notorious body odor and the changes in behavior make others feel very uncomfortable. Smokers tend to smell like the ashtrays they seek wherever they go, and crack addicts become highly neurotic and paranoid. All of these side-effects are highly repelling to most people, and there will be dire social repercussions.

That’s why most of us, especially when our anxiety is more mild than extreme, seek more socially acceptable ways of forgetting. Sugary food and drinks, television and video games, coffee, sex and pornography are all more or less socially acceptable and they all more or less allow us to forget uncomfortable feelings of anxiety.

So why do I say pornography is especially sinister? The reason is simple, really, when you give yourself a bit of time to think about it.

In the last few years, with the advent of ubiquitous high-speed internet and smart phones in every persons front pocket, seeking out pornography has become easier than ever before. This ease of access, along with the fact that porn plays on our most primal, powerful urge to reproduce, is what makes pornography addiction inevitable in people with anxiety.

It’s even easier to binge on porn than to binge on sugar or television or video games, because it’s a solitary act, and leaves no traces (when you use incognito mode, at least).

This is a major problem for society, due to reprogramming of youth, especially of young men, to become unable to get aroused except by pixels on a screen. Real boobs and butts won’t do it anymore.

I say this is a societal problem because, as I’ve experienced in my own life, inability to become aroused by real people leads directly to depression, and stokes the fires of anxiety that you sought to extinguish with porn in the first place. Depression leads to unemployment, social isolation, all kinds of other physiological ailments, and at the extreme, suicide.

However, the main problem lies with the individual. Society is made up of individuals. In fact, society only exists as a collective of individuals. You and I are society.

This means, I believe, that individual responsibility is the key to a healthy society. How can people take responsibility for something they don’t understand?

That’s why we need to direct our energy, on an individual basis, toward understanding our anxiety, where it comes from, what we do on a quotidian basis to relieve it, and what the consequences are or will be. We can’t depend on a broken society to save a broken individual. The individual needs to learn to save him or herself.

Meditation is an immensely powerful tool for self-change. It’s not a quick fix, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Meditation should be looked at as a life-long activity. Throughout the years, meditation has been my anchor in a life that’s been rocking violently back and forth on the tidal waves of coincidence and chance.

Writing a journal has also been invaluable to me, as a tool for thought-organization and introspection.

The bottom line is this: Forgetting anxiety is a temporary solution, with dire long term consequences. Instead of seeking unconsciousness, seeking ways to move our attention away from our most difficult feelings, we need to seek ever more conscious living.

Becoming fully conscious of our anxiety as it is happening is the key to truly overcoming it.

I’ve written several articles on the power of meditation and journaling, which have been the keystones of my life for many years now, and the benefits are still compounding exponentially.

I wish you all the best in your journey of expanding consciousness.

Much love.

The root of pornography addiction – Part 2

This post is part of a series. Check out part 1 and part 3.

Last week I wrote about the insidious yet widely ignored dangers of porn addiction.

This will be part 2, this time focusing on the more subtle aspects of what makes this such a difficult problem for so many people.

In my last entry, I wrote about how I felt I had discovered the root of my own addiction, namely my anxiety.

I’ve been trying to hold on to that epiphany, although like everything else it seems to be fleeting.

I think breaking down the problem into its smallest parts is very important. Like a weed, an addiction can be summed up as a root, a stem, and the fruit or flower.

Roots are hidden underground

The root will be an underlying difficulty or emotional ignorance, often unnoticed or at least very vaguely recognized.

In my case, it’s anxiety.

Especially anxiety concerning social issues, but also other kinds of anxiety, like anxiousness over health, safety or life trajectory.

Everybody deals with anxiety at one point in there lives or another, but fewer experience the hell of chronic anxiety.

Chronic anxiety is sinister. It will be the death of me, unless I find an effective way to manage it.

The stem grows out from the root

Addiction to pornography is, I believe, a very gradual process. At least in my case. It started out as curiosity, first and foremost.

It’s not until I started to use it as medication, albeit unconsciously, that the addiction started to escalate.

In the same way people dealing with chronic pain develop addiction to opiates, I, with my chronic anxiety, developed an addiction to the only sedative (maybe not a traditional sedative, but a sedative nonetheless) I had easy access to as an adolescent.

The stem is the activity itself, the action we take to diminish or hide the root. I could have become addicted to cigarettes or Xanax, but my poison happened to be porn.

It’s not really rocket science, is it? I mean, it’s sex, for crying out loud. The highest priority of all higher lifeforms, after food and shelter.

That’s one of the most cogent aspects that makes this addiction so insidious, because pornography taps into the most primal instincts humans possess, the drive for reproduction.

The weed

The weed blooms after the roots are strong and stable, i.e. the anxiety has become more of a constant state than an acute annoyance, and after the stem has grown high and hard enough, as when porn use escalates more intense and novel images and videos as well as longer time spent perusing it overall.

The plant itself is the result of a lot of time and energy directed in the wrong direction. The flower is the consequence of not pulling the disgusting weed out of the soil when you had the chance.

Consequences of pornography abuse are numerous, but I’ll outline the most salient of them: Social isolation, dopamine desensitization and, as a direct result of the first two, deep depression. Not to mention that as time goes by, porn tends to exacerbate, instead of curb, the anxiety it was used to overcome in the first place.

This is a vicious cycle, a desperate joke. Except it’s in no way funny.

I know I’m not the only one dealing with this. In fact, I believe this is the new crack epidemic, the new opium. The results have been devastating in my own life, and in the lives of many others I’ve spoken to or corresponded with.

I think it’s time to stop living in shame. It’s time to overcome this shit.

It’s time to take responsibility for what is happening, for how we’re feeling. Only by taking full responsibility will we gain full power to change it.

Much love.

 

The root of pornography addiction – Part 1

This post is part of a series. Check out part 2 and part 3.

In this post I want to delve deep into a terrifying topic: pornography addiction.

My history with pornography use does not paint a pretty picture. I would go so far as to say that it’s been an addiction. However, there are two reasons why I want to write about porn today.

The first reason is that I know how important honesty is, and there are countless times I’ve read blog posts that are written straight from the heart, as honest as can be, and those posts have changed the way I look at life.

So I want to help myself at the same time as I help others dealing with this same problem.

The second reason is that today I became conscious, for the first time, of the problem that’s been underlying my compulsive porn use for all these years: Anxiety.

I’ve often thought about anxiety in my own life and the lives of others, but I never really paid it much thought.

It was kind of a stiff-upper-lip kind of thing for me, where I would tell myself to ignore these feelings of anxiety, that they were unnatural, that others might judge me if I were to show them in public.

I finally realized how infested my life is with anxious thoughts and emotions. Many aspects of my life, especially the social aspects, have long been riddled with them. But where does pornography fit in?

Self medication. That’s it! Finally!

That’s why I’ve consistently gone back to porn, even after weeks of abstaining, when some kind of stressful or anxiety-provoking events happen in my life. It’s the way I’ve trained myself to respond to these disturbing emotions.

Just like Pavlov’s dogs salivate to the bell, feelings of anxiety will, without fail, induce almost simultaneous cravings for the oblivion of porn.

Or better yet, just like a crack addict in the first painful moments of withdrawal, with all the misery and suffering that ensues, who starts to crave her hit, knowing full well that it will only make things worse in the long run.

Because that’s what porn actually is, especially the high-speed-internet variety. It’s not a suppository, it’s not an intravenous drug, it’s an audio-visual drug.

And a powerful one at that: pornography addiction is very real and poses a similar threat to the individual as cocaine addiction.

Hypofrontality, leading to poor impulse control, and even a reduction in brain matter in certain areas. Not to mention the devastating social and economic consequences.

Sure, porn is a less expensive, legal, more socially acceptable kind of drug, but so are cigarettes and alcohol. It doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

That being said, I can’t speak for everyone. Maybe some people are more prone to abusing these things.

In fact, I find that pretty probable.

Just as the majority of people can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer every now and then without becoming raging alcoholics, maybe some people can jerk to porn every once in a while without developing addiction. Who’s to say.

However, there is a subtle but importance differences between internet porn and the substances I’ve been comparing them to: accessibility.

High-speed-internet is ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. Which means that technically, porn is everywhere. It’s saturating every cell in your body as we speak.

Anybody with a smart phone, most people nowadays, can furtively slither into the nearest bathroom stall for their hit, many times a day, without arousing the notice of friends or family.

Compare that to seeing a friend sneak into the kitchen to nick a vodka bottle, or drink his fourth beer in broad daylight, or a sibling smelling like cigarette butts every time you meet them.

These things arouse worry in loved ones, as they should. It’s a slippery slope. Pornography addiction is particularly sinister because it can be tucked away and hidden so effectively.

I’ve wanted to quit porn for years. I’ve tried to quit for years. Many things have helped, but I never managed to overcome this addiction. I’ve often felt hopeless about this.

On the other hand, there have been multiple times where I’ve been clean for weeks, before falling back off the wagon.

I’ve trained myself to see the positive. Every second of abstinence, every time I manage to resist is a victory.

But I think I’ve been focusing on the wrong thing. Just as western doctors tend to focus on the symptoms while ignoring the roots of illness, I’ve been directing all my attention to the symptom: porn addiction.

The root is obvious to me now: anxiety.

Feelings of anxiety are always a precursor for my cravings for porn. Without fail. When I’ve been at my happiest, calmest, most productive, the cravings are nowhere to be found.

Where attention goes, energy flows.

I need to stop focusing on what’s gone wrong, and instead focus on what needs to be right. I need to learn to respond to anxiety in a different manner. Mindfulness is crucial.

I’ll keep you updated on how my change in perspective works out.

Much love.

Check out the root of pornography addiction – part 2 and part 3.