Checking In – Unpacking A Bad Period

Things aren’t going to well and without anyone to actually talk to about it, I thought maybe writing about it here might help, so here goes.

My porn addiction tends to go in cycles. When I’m doing well, I’m focusing on being present in my life, being attentive to my wife and kids, being productive, going to bed on time, and generally watching porn less frequently (partly as a side effect of the above, and partly as I will be making more of an effort to watch less).

But then comes the complacency. Because I feel good, I slowly stop putting the effort into the things that are making me feel good. And the porn creeps back in. For quite a while, the effects aren’t obvious – for a period of time, I’m both leading a fairly positive life but also watching more porn.

But there comes a point when the scale tips, and I suddenly realise that things aren’t going well at all. By this point I am staying up late most nights, I’m being sexually demanding with my wife without offering any form of genuine intimacy, I’m spending higher than healthy amounts of time on social media (and my phone in general), I’m snappy and grumpy, and I’m not being helpful or productive with my spare time.

And that’s kind of where I am now. I don’t feel I’ve had a meaningful conversation with my wife in at least a week and I’ve actively avoided even speaking to her for the last 24 hours because she had a go at me for not pulling my weight around the house (and she is completely right).

So I’m right now in a period of deep withdrawal. I struggle to even look at my wife let alone speak to her, yet this really isn’t her fault – she becomes the target of everything I am unhappy with in myself. I really worry that one day this will have caused irreparable damage to our relationship.

Unfortunately, communication has never been one of our strong points. When we have issues, we default to not talking about them. If I am in a mood and withdrawing, she will go quiet too and we move in opposite directions, each of us silently hoping the other one will open up. I’m also very stubborn, so once I get in a ‘mood’, it takes a long time for me to come out of it.

While I’m in these moods, I become more aware of other fundamental challenges we have between us that we have never managed to address, and I over-state to myself the importance of them. For example, we’ve never really been able to have true, open, unrestrained sexual intimacy. Maybe it’s just the porn cloud hanging over us, but maybe it’s more than that. We rarely make eye contact during sex, and it is more transactional than romantic. But I feel that’s mainly for lack of trying rather than anything else, but again we struggle to communicate on this sort of thing so it remains easier to just leave things as they are. We’ve rarely communicated what we’d each enjoy in the bedroom, there’s no humour involved, and generally I’m left feeling something is missing. But at the same time I’m almost 100% convinced most of this is affected by porn. At least, there is nothing more likely to make a larger contribution to helping improve things here than quitting porn.

Evidently, a number of concerns start to merge into one big sea of anxiety, which starts to get laced with misplaced resentment the longer the mood goes unchecked. Writing this post is therefore a small step towards trying to pull myself out of this. I also removed my personal twitter account from my phone as it wasn’t doing anything positive for me. And of course I need to get some sobriety – it simply isn’t possible to clearly assess or improve broader issues or concerns while I’m actively watching porn. Watching it introduces an ongoing daily distraction to my state of being, and prevents me from being emotionally available to my wife. It steals me away from her and my family, and so I have to relinquish that in order to make progress. Obviously that’s harder said than done, since I’ve been trying quit porn on/off for probably 10 years now.

If you got this far, thanks for reading. I’m going to mull this over now and think about what I need to do now to clear my head, reconnect with my wife and enjoy our Christmas together.

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3 thoughts on “Checking In – Unpacking A Bad Period

  1. Stop looking at it! Go to a SAA meeting and get a sponsor!! Be willing to be uncomfortable during withdrawal! You won’t make it unless you go through it and allow others in the program help you. Can’t fight addictions alone. It will never work for the long haul

    1. Thanks Josie, you are absolutely right that I can’t beat it alone. I’ve tried SAA a number of times but I struggle with the dogmatic language and religions undertones. Perhaps I need to put those concerns aside for the purposes of recovery, but I’m also hopeful to find another way of getting support, just not sure what that is yet.

  2. Saa is definitely worth it and I don,t believe in god and the religious bits at all but just being there each week and making a few calls to others each week helps to get through our addiction. It’s just one day at a time and it’s human to have bad days as well as good it’s just making sure you don’t wallow in the self pity and the grass is greener or it’s ONLY a bit of porn what harm can that do? as we addicts are masters of lieing to ourselves and others.

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