I am writing this post from a hotel room. My wife asked me to spend time alone to reflect on the current situation that we are in. Things are, as you can imagine, getting pretty tough. To be asked to spend a few days away from home by your wife is a startling reminder that the addiction has a tangible and serious impact on her.
There are two things that she feels I need to focus on:
- My battle with porn addiction and what I am going to do about it
- My lack of support when it comes to her pregnancy
The first one we all know about. The second one is where I have avoided the day to day tasks and other pre-fatherhood responsibilities that I know I have to do, like researching, reading, planning etc. Instead I just play computer games, or generally do anything that doesn’t involve facing the upcoming change in my life.
Looking back at the last few months, it is clear I haven’t responded well to the idea of becoming a father. I think this boils down to a few key reasons:
- I doubt my ability to be a good father
- I don’t think I was ever really ready to be a father (having a child was 95% my wife’s idea that I supported because it made sense – I knew I wanted to have kids, and I didn’t think I’d ever grow up enough to pro-actively make that choice, so I was happy for my wife to lead the way)
- Due to my porn addiction, I do not feel I deserve to be a father
That last one is interesting to me. The continued battle with my addiction has generally made me feel like an inferior human being. I feel that I am a slave to an external force that I have given in to, and as such I have surrendered my dignity and rights to consider myself a self-sufficient, responsible human.
There are a few other truths that I want to focus on.
- My continued use of porn is no longer a solo activity – it is having a direct and significant negative impact on the mental, and potentially physical, wellbeing of my wife.
- My marriage is in jeopardy
- If I want my marriage and future family to survive, I have to quit for good, once and for all.
- I need to face the responsibilities that lie ahead of me as a father
- I must provide more support for my wife
On reading them, they sound so obvious, but it is so easy to get into a rut of denial. My constant inability to quit porn has demoralised both me and my wife, to the extent that I regularly do not feel I will ever quit – that I can’t quit. This isn’t true. I can, and I will, but it is so easy to think that just to ‘go back to how things were’, looking at porn, would be so much easier. But that’s not an option.
So I need to get back track with a pro-active plan to beat porn. I’m just so afraid of saying this because of how many times I’ve said it before. How do I know if this time is for real? What if it is for real but it isn’t enough? That’s what scares me – that I will never succeed.
Anyway, my initial plan is:
- Remember that watching porn is a CHOICE. Nothing is more important to remember than this fact. I CHOOSE to watch porn, which means I am choosing to risk my marriage, choosing to hurt my wife, choosing to live as a slave. I must remember this every waking minute of my day. I can choose not to watch porn. It won’t be an easy choice, but I am in control of my life and able to make that choice.
- Maintain constant awareness and mindfulness of my addiction. Spend a lot of time on WordPress blogs and Reddit’s NoFap section. Engage with others on twitter. Write blog posts. Write in my journal. Keep the fight at the forefront of my mind, as slipping into ‘normality’ is where the dangers lie.
- Listen to my wife and support her. She is going through a lot and needs my support. Do my chores, don’t be difficult, and just stop being a lazy, self-interested slob.
- Attend the group therapy sessions that I am booked in for, starting next week. This should be a significant milestone as for the first time ever I will meet other people in my position, and be able to talk to them. Dealing with this on my own has been really, really hard.
Two quotes come to mind that I’ve always remembered throughout my life, that ironically both are well suited to my life right now:
You’ve only failed once you’ve stopped trying
No-one else will regret what you don’t do