True Story: A Recovering Drug Addict Who Can’t Seem To Quit Porn

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Originally published at https://fightthenewdrug.org/recovering-junkie-addicted-to-porn/

Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

Dear FTND,

I’m a recovering drug addict and have experienced firsthand the physical and mental damage it causes in one’s life. I feel lucky to be alive. Through my experiences, one thing has changed in me that probably not many people would associate with my past drug use.

My perception of pornography has taken a very different turn. If you would have asked me five years ago, I would have never considered porn to be an ‘addiction’ or a ‘drug.’ As a matter of fact, I probably would have laughed in your face. It wasn’t until I personally found out its effects and patterns to be almost identical to my issues with drugs.

Porn Isn’t A Big Deal, Right?

Because of my past drug addiction that I felt I had beat, indulging in porn didn’t seem like a problem. After all, it was a ‘natural’ part of life, plus I wasn’t using drugs (or so I thought) anymore. I thought that porn was harmless. It’s not like pornography could kill me or hurt anyone around me, right? What I came to find out the hard way is that porn became a very real addiction with very real effects in my life. And some of these effects were almost identical to hard drugs. I wasn’t sticking needles in my arm, but I got to the point I couldn’t even look at an attractive women as a human being, but only saw her as an object to pursue or a trigger to act out on. I was no longer in control of myself and the more I indulged the more my appetite for porn increased.

Related: Groundbreaking Neuroscience Study Finds Striking Similarities In Brains Of Porn And Drug Addicts

However, I didn’t truly see porn addiction as similar to drug addiction until I tried to stop. One afternoon, I saw an attractive woman in a sexy outfit that set me off. I couldn’t control myself. All of a sudden, I had to have it. I found myself feeling anxious and like I had to watch some porn to get rid of the feeling. I was literally physically shaking as I hurried to a computer to log on to my favorite porn site. I didn’t care about anything else, all I wanted was porn or sex no matter what I had to do to get it.

After I had finished acting out, I could hardly believe that what I had just experienced was something almost identical to my past drug withdrawals. That was when I knew I had lost complete control over myself and was being consumed by this addiction to porn.

Irreparable Damage

Unfortunately, that eye-opening experience was only the beginning. It took me many more years to pull out of my porn addiction than it did with my addiction to drugs. Remember before when I said that I thought to myself that me watching porn didn’t hurt anyone? Wow, was I wrong. The damage and hurt my porn addiction brought to my wife and kids was nearly irreparable. There were many times throughout the whole experience that I felt I’d be better off taking my own life because I probably would never have a normal life and healthy relationship.

Related: 5 Signs You Might Be Addicted To Watching Porn

So much for some “fun, sexy, harmless entertainment,” right?

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Almost everyone knows that sticking a needle in your arm isn’t good for you.  But do they know that porn can be just as addictive and ruin relationships with the people they love? Knowing personally that pornography addiction was so much harder to kick than my drug addiction, my advice to anyone that wants a real satisfying life and relationship is to avoid porn at all costs. If you find you’re already stuck in it, get out and get help immediately. It will never satisfy you and it only gets worse.

Related: How Porn Affects The Brain Like A Drug

As for me, being free from this, and everything else, has made my life, family, and marriage better than it has ever been. The struggle to free myself from this addiction has been much more worth it than I would have imagined.

–R.

Why This Matters

It sounds dramatic to say that a drug addiction and porn addiction feel similar, but that’s closer to reality than you might expect.

Researchers have found that Internet porn and addictive substances like tobacco have very similar effects on the brain, [1] and they are significantly different from how the brain reacts to healthy, natural pleasures like food or sex. [2] Think about it. When you’re munching a snack or enjoying a romantic encounter, eventually your cravings will drop and you’ll feel satisfied. Why? Because your brain has a built-in “off” switch for natural pleasures. “Dopamine cells stop firing after repeated consumption of a ‘natural reward’ (e.g. food or sex),” explains Nora Volkow, Director of The National Institute of Drug Abuse. [3] But addictive drugs go right on increasing dopamine levels without giving the brain a break. [4] The more a drug user hits up, the more dopamine floods his brain, and the stronger his urges are to keep using. That’s why drug addicts find it so hard to stop once they take the first hit. “[O]ne hit may turn into many hits, or even a lost weekend.” [5]

What else has the power to keep pumping dopamine endlessly into the brain? If you’ve ever sat in front of a computer screen for hours in a porn trance, you already know the answer. Click here to read more about how porn affects the brain like a drug.

We fight because we believe everyone should know and understand the harm porn can cause. In the end, watching really isn’t worth it.

 

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