Please Help! I Switched Addictions from Drugs to Porn & Masturbation

Hi, my name’s Ashley, and I’m an addict.

Shit…So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this lately, but mostly trying to avoid the truth. I’ve been in recovery from drugs (my DOCs were opiates and benzos mostly) for almost 16 months. But I think I may have switched one addiction for another. I now find myself masturbating constantly while watching porn.

When I first started in recovery nearly a year and a half ago, after I had detoxed from opiates, I found myself to be extremely horny, all the time. I’ve always had a strong libido, but nothing like this. Even while in rehab I found that I absolutely HAD to masturbate 3-7 times a day! I knew this was extreme, but from talking to others in recovery, as well as doing some research, I found that since my brain was no longer getting dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and other “happy” chemicals synthetically from drugs, and that due to taking said drugs my brain had stopped producing them naturally, that my body was doing anything it could to get those “happy chemicals”. I figured I didn’t need to worry, that eventually, it would get better.

Now, 16 months out, it HAS gotten better, in ways. I only feel the need to masturbate once, sometimes twice a day, but I still feel like I NEED it, and I don’t like that. It feels like chasing the dragon all over again.

The biggest problem has become pornography. I watch it when I masturbate, and I have always abhorred porn. I’ve seen it destroy lives, including those of my own family members. Addiction runs in my family, and I know pornography addiction also lives close to home, though I only know that a few family members for sure suffer from it. I suspect many others do as well, it’s just not spoken about.

The biggest problem is that it’s affecting my personal relationships. The only person I have sex with is my ex, which I shouldn’t, but I do anyway. I find myself wanting to have sex with him less and less, and I’m more interested in going solo than having sex with him. I hope this is because I’m slowly stepping away from him (he’s a narcissist, abusive, etc…long story for another time), and I don’t really want to be with him, but he’s been a “safety net” of sorts, and I’m scared to walk away completely. I fear that porn is making me not want to have sex with another person. I don’t know for sure, but that’s what I’m afraid of.

I’m so ready to move on with my life, have a meaningful relationship (including physical intimacy), but I don’t want to get into anything if I’m truly going through another addiction right now.

This is so damn hard. Does anyone have any advice? Please help! Thanks!

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Exercise will help your life in many ways. Vigorous exercise releases natural endorphins which will help body and mind. It relieves stress. If it’s something that requires mental focus, like tennis or racquetball, or martial arts, you will also develop mental discipline, which will help you refocus your mind when the urge to indulge you addiction arises.

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Welcome @QueenQuill, I’m Mitch. 91 days clean.

First off, thanks for sharing your struggles Ashley. There’s a handful of porn/sex addicts here. Myself among them. I know how tormented it can leave a person and I’m sorry you’re going through this.

You’ve left a lot to unpack and I’m not sure I can address it all as I am just starting work. I just wanted to reach out and tell you that you’re not alone.

As far as advice on addressing the problem I would recommend finding some literature that you identify with. One that spoke to me was Breaking the Cycle by George Collins. It may be more geared to a male perspective but I think the lessons could benefit anyone with porn addiction. Also, if you have a SLAA or SAA or 12-step program in your area I would highly recommend giving it a shot. Help yourself to build that sober network. If those aren’t available, a therapist can really help. I’m also on board with @Yoda-Stevie I exercise a lot and it is necessary for my program. If I don’t burn off that steam I get wound up tighter than a snare drum. Finally, I keep a journal. It’s an emotional roller coaster and those journal entries act like breadcrumbs to help get me back on track if I get caught in a cycle of negative thinking or if I slip.

Good luck, please reach out if you need us!

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Thanks for sharing , and a similar thing happened ,concerning addiction and porn, to me when I was much younger than now, in the absence of drugs and booze , or trying to mellow the down I resorted to watching porn and masturbating. It became a habit and an additional problem to all those I had at the time.

Ds an Booze got me into a very shitty situation back then and I couldn’t indulge either for a long while so that’s how I stopped. Continued after with drugs and booze but at least the porn thing was out.Man this sentence is depressing. Ooof I got to stay on track !!!

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@QueenQuill Ashley thanks for sharing. I’m 3 1/2 years clean from porn/masterbation/sex addiction. Early in my recovery I exercised a lot to take that “edge” off either in the gym, taking walks or whatever else it took. Your right about getting those “happy chemicals” from a different way and the orgasm produces them nearly the same way that opiates do. You were successful in getting clean from opiates so do the same things to get clean from this new addiction, without finding a new one :grinning:.
There are several threads here that deal with our issue, check them out and hopefully they’ll help you!

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Admitting it is quite a start, man. If we know the name of the demon we can begin the process of casting it out. Thanks for sharing! Glad you’ve come back!

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I did the same thing in early recovery. The DOC’s never really matter as much as the reasons we use them - we’re beating on the neurotransmitter receptors to move the brain from where it is, to something that feels better.

And, of course, these actions have consequences.

The impulsivity that drives me to seek relief from my pain can put me just as easily into booze, drugs, or sex.

Was a time I rationalized my behavior as an “alternative lifestyle” - but after a while it’s REALLY hard to justify. Reaching for sex when under stress is not a lifestyle - it’s a maladaptive coping mechanism.

And, in the end, sex as a reaction to fear is just as destructive (emotionally & physically) as any other drug I ever used.

That I am still alive, not carrying an STD, etc., is purely luck.

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