Sex addict in recovery after 25 years

With more than 25 years of sexual addiction behind me, I can claim to have relapsed thousands of times. What that means is that I meant to stop acting out and failed at that endeavor. After nearly every one of those relapses, I believed I could make this one my last. Well after thousands of these episodes, it slowly sunk in that no I couldn’t. This is kind of like imagining being hungry again after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s hard to do. But you’ve eaten enough times and been hungry enough times that you know you’ll get hungry again, even if your belly says otherwise.

Before I continue, I need to define sobriety, since I’m about to discuss it. I use the term to mean complete abstinence from sexual or erotic stimulation. I have to use this strict definition, as I have learned the hard way.

The longest period of sobriety that I have experienced for over 25 years is around 100 days. I achieved this nearly 6 years ago through what I would consider a lot of suffering. I really can’t describe how difficult it was. I have read on this forum about some of you struggling with withdrawal from various drugs. I experienced something that intense. I don’t know why, but I have one theory, which I’ll keep to myself for now.

Well then obviously I relapsed again. And again and again, etc. Since that time I have not had a decent plan to fight this addiction. But I held out hope. There is only darkness waiting if you give up.

Then I began to use smartphones. I was a late comer, but it wasn’t long before I was doing everything everybody else was doing with their phones. That included porn. The phone became my tool for acting out.

Then there was a moment when it occurred to me that I could use this phone as a recovery tool. That’s when I found this app. It wasn’t the only one I installed, but it’s the one that gets all the credit for 17 days of sobriety.

I can hardly grasp that I’m about to go to bed with 17 days of sobriety. It’s just unbelievable. It’s not difficult like those 100 days. The answer to why will have to wait for another day. I’m not saying it’s easy now, but, I don’t know, it just feels like my time has come. It’s time for me to be free.

Thanks for being here, and thanks for reading.

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Thanks for sharing @RBG.

I can relate a lot to everything thay you shared.

Congrats on the 17 days.

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I sincerely hope that it is your time for great success, I too felt that way with my drug addiction this time around for which I also largely credit this app. I had been in NA before but never fully grasped the programme and how to make it work for me, what I did do when I got here is read like I’d never read anything before and couldn’t get enough of it and I see that you have been doing the same as your up to 9 hours read time in a little over 9 days.
There is enough good information here to teach us about almost every aspect of recovery and understanding said information can cause I believe these times that just feel differently. There may still be some bumps in the road but we travel them together.
Welcome to the community. :+1::slightly_smiling_face:

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I know a lot of people who share your problem that won’t even admit that they have a problem even though it is destroying them… :100: What you see as a problem, I see as a cut above the rest because you’re doing something about it!!! Good for you… :point_up::blush:

I had a problem with using my inappropriatly too, I was even ignoring my children… One day I threw it in the river and never got another one… :joy: Seriously, I still don’t have one that I carry around with me… It’s actually a huge relief not having something dinging n ringing causing distractions from what I needed to be focusing on… It’s just a better life without it for me… :100::blush:

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It must have taken over an hour to fall asleep after writing this. I felt peace like never before. It was so intense, electrical. The only other times I have felt that way were times that I thought I was have a religious experience. I’m still feeling some of that this morning.

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I have identified my number one threat, and that is anxiety. Acting out was a way to deal with anxiety. In fact, it has become somewhat instinctive to act out anytime I experience anxiety. I have never been medicated for anxiety, and I don’t want to. The task is to identify every source of anxiety and either deal with the source or change my reaction to it. I believe I can do this.

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Good words. I’m motivated differently this time as well. And this bolsters my hope. I was motivated by fear before. Experience has taught me that doesn’t work long term.

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I’m throwing mine in the river too, figuratively. There can’t be any looking back longingly. Sex addiction is a huge problem that gets very little attention. I don’t think it ever will. But I think there are probably more sex addicts than alcoholics.

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I would say that is a very accurate statement… :slightly_smiling_face::100:

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Wow @RBG that is awesome! I can relate to your struggle. I’ve been through a lot of the same things. I’m at 21 days today and feeling like you - finally after hundreds of relapses I have a better understanding of my sobriety and I am working it day by day. I’m thrilled for you. Keep in touch here & we’ll keep supporting each other being free from addiction. :smile::+1:

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Me too! Sometimes I get so anxious my mind just shuts down. I am learning to communicate at those times. It is still unfamiliar but I am committed to trying something new to replace my problematic escape strategies from before.

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Let’s work through this together. I’m going to keep sharing here as long as it’s helping someone. Today over all was a great day with minimal struggle. I did have one anxious moment. It seems most of my anxiety is over things that could have happened or might happen. Something pops into my head and I dwell on it and think the worst. This is what I’m going to work on.

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That’s my struggle too. Yesterday was really rough because I’m behind at work. I have a meeting with my boss about it this morning. I’m anxious about this, but at the same time I’m thinking it can be an opportunity to grow, maybe hash out a plan. I’m feeling good about this morning.

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Don’t let your mind get mired in the negatives. It sounds like you can handle this!

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I’m waking up with 18 days. I had a dream that woke me up earlier. I think it was erotic, but I can’t remember it, so I’m safe. My mind is clear now. One of my first activities today was using educational apps for studying something that interests me. The fact that I can do this now instead of struggling with unwanted thoughts is encouraging.

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Good for you! My day is starting with breakfast. I don’t keep my phone beside my bed anymore - I leave it downstairs and use an analog alarm clock, and that is making it much easier to get out of bed in the morning (no digital distractions). My plan today is to really be present with my emotions. I have struggled with running away from them in the past, but now I am going to lean in to them, and try to learn from them. Today is a bit of an emotional day - it’s crunch time at work - so I am expecting to learn quite a bit. :innocent:

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As long as you’re busy with work, you will be fine. Just be careful when that downtime comes. This is advice for me as well.

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I have been in this territory only twice since puberty. Previously when I attempted to go this long, I would be quite miserable. And I just couldn’t do it. The two times when I did achieve a streak longer than this, I was motivated by the fear of where I might end up if I kept going. I have no fear now. Fear has not played any role in this current recovery. Hope is my motivation.

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Happy for you brother. Funny coincidence - I too am in my longest streak (22 days) since puberty, with the exception of two others, neither of which felt as hopeful as this one.

There’s something different this time. I think it’s a combination of more self-awareness (I joined an in-person sex addiction recovery group with a therapist mentoring the group, and it’s been 3 months now) and with that, more self-care: setting healthy boundaries, recognizing my strengths and asking for or providing what I need to succeed (for example, creating minimal-distraction environments for me to work). My participation in Talking Sober is helping too, I believe.

Wishing you more days to come brother. We’re here with you. Looking forward to sharing more of the journey. :innocent:

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Today at work, I interacted with a woman again. We had a job to do together, as usual. Prior to today, I had not found this woman to be particularly attractive. Today as we worked together, I felt her aura. It reminded me of the sort of attraction I felt when I was a boy. It was not entirely like that, but it felt healthier than the feelings I have felt for a long while. I did not ogle or attempt to catch glimpses when she turned away. She was wearing tight, close fitting clothes, but I avoided violating her with my eyes. She never knew what I was feeling. When I left her, I felt her aura leave as well. And that was it. I never fantasized. There was no desire for P, M, or O. I didn’t think of those. I’m just very encouraged by how the day went.

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