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Sex and Porn Addiction - The Start of My Road to Recovery

Hardly a clever title - but there you go!

By Paul StewartPublished about a month ago Updated 12 days ago 5 min read
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Sex and Porn Addiction - The Start of My Road to Recovery
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Hello, my name is Paul Stewart and I suffer from sex and porn addiction. I am a sex and porn addict.

There, I got that out of the way.

Ripped the plaster off the seeping and festering wound.

I mean, many people will be aware of my issues because in all fairness it has permeated into so much of the writing work I have published on this platform. I have written countless poems on the subject, some journal-essay-type pieces and even when it's not centre stage it shadows or directs my writing on unrelated subjects too.

It felt good, though, to be honest and open about it. To not be clever and poetic and dance around the subject (that is fun too).

So, why have I taken the step of admitting to all 8 of you that are going to read this about this anti-climactic revelation?

Sobriety is not Recovery

I have been more-or-less clean for over a year now. I've not really been counting, but it's been as much as a year and probably more. That is, that I have not delved into the shame-induced pit of despair of an active porn-viewing addiction. That I have not journeyed onto some dodgy chatroom looking for my latest hit.

That's all well and good. Sobriety is important in recovery, as far as I can see, have read and can tell from a personal point of view.

But as my wife has pointed out to me...it is not proper recovery. It's not fixing the problem. It's ignoring it. Even if it is a deliberate type of ignoring, it’s still not a fixing it.

Using content blockers on my computer (overseen and enforced by my wife, which I am glad about) helps to prevent me from having even the chance to partake of my vice. Which is something that has been in place for quite sometime - but it doesn't fix the compulsive desire I have for it.

The Start of My Road to Recovery

So, on Sunday, I made my first steps in properly tackling the problem through an online therapy program, called Pivotal Recovery, devised by Dr Paula Hall, and restarted reading her book Understanding and Treating Sex and Pornography Addiction.

That is why I am sharing all this now.

This is when the real work begins.

I had looked into therapy and a specific counsellor that specialised in sex and porn addiction, among many other things, who I was interested in working with. Unfortunately not able to take me on as a client. He was working at full capacity and his waiting list was closed for the moment. Anyway, one of the recommendations he gave me was this course. As I had started her book a year or so ago, when I learned she was behind the course, I thought it would be worth a try.

The cost of the course is about the same as one session on some of the quotes I got when looking at actual therapists.

Really that is irrelevant as recovery is more important than money (but it is still a bugbear because sex and porn addiction treatment is generally not available in the UK through the NHS for free, while other addiction recovery problems are...anyway, I'm not going to grind that axe here, but it just makes it tougher for people to get the help they need, if they want it.)

I am still going to pursue more general therapy to tackle some of the other problems and issues I have and once I have completed this course may still get sessions with a therapist to treat sex and porn addiction, but for now, I am working on the problem head-on with this online course and doing what I can.

I am actually excited.

Being Fallible is Exciting and Freeing

It's taken me the best part of 20+ years to come to terms with the fact that I have a problem and that it has been bubbling away for all that time. It's then taken me some time to come to terms with the fact that I need to do more than just not doing it.

But I am excited and suddenly feel like I have direction and purpose.

I wish I had listened to my wife sooner and started this journey sooner. I am sorry I didn't but moving forward I am concentrating on just defeating it.

D.J. Reddall, who is a dab hand at all styles he writes, and I guarantee your day will always be better after reading one of his pieces, and I briefly discussed the joy of humility and learning you don't know something as a good thing. That's how I feel about this whole situation. I've struggled with humility in the past, but it can be incredibly freeing. Realising that you are fallible is actually a beautiful thing.

I can take off the arrogance that came with believing I wasn’t really an addict and that I didn’t have a problem. I can take of my haughty approach to my lifestyle choices and my personality and grow.

Anyone that bothers to read half of the poems and stories I publish will know I try to own my issues and failings and I am on a constant battle to be the best version of Paul I can be. I don’t shy away from them, and this is going one step further and facing off against them.

You Are Not Alone – Dissolving the Stigma of Addiction

So, another reason I wanted to write and publish this was because, as we all know, addiction is a very prevalent problem and given the stigma attached to addiction in general but things like sex and porn addiction, this is my attempt to dissolve that stigma in a vat of open-hearted honesty. Addiction is at its core a disease and should be given the same sympathy as any other disease.

I know it's not that simple, especially if you have been hurt directly or indirectly by an addict, but, as selfish and untrustworthy as addicts are, they are people who are in pain and suffering. Many are not at the stage to deal with the problem, and that's their choice, but there are many others who are constantly trying, constantly fighting. So, this is for all of those on a similar journey to my own, or maybe those who haven't even begun the journey.

You are not alone, never. Addiction is a very individual and personal experience, but even in the differences how it affects you and causes you sleepless nights and ruins your life, you are not alone.

Just remember that. And I applaud anyone that faces up to their problems and tries to recover from addiction. I am here rooting for you and hope you get there.

*

Thanks for reading - Although I will not be doing regular updates on this journey, I have no doubt I will write about it more and what I learn about addiction, recovery and myself.

Here are a couple of links to things I've written on and around the subject before, if you care to read them!

There are more, but I'll leave that at your discretion if you want to explore. I've included links in the piece above the recovery programme I am on and the book I am reading.

Thanks again for reading!

treatmentstherapysupportstigmaselfcarerecoverycopingCONTENT WARNINGanxietyaddiction
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About the Creator

Paul Stewart

Scottish-Italian poet/writer from Glasgow.

Overflowing in English language torture and word abuse.

"Every man has a sane spot somewhere" R.L Stevenson

The Accidental Poet - Poetry Collection is now available!

https://paulspoeticprints.etsy.com

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Comments (19)

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  • Kayleigh Fraser ✨about 8 hours ago

    I couldn’t agree more with the line you write saying how freeing it is to admit you don’t know. I think it’s THE fundamental growth point for all of us, it certainly was for me. There is a tiny percentage of people unaffected by addiction in society. Arguably all of society is set up to facilitate addiction. From sugar to cheap entertainment to bars etc…. It’s all an addict haven. What is admirable - is when we start to not only see our addictions - but to push beyond the shame of them and own them. To say exactly as you have here. - yes, this was me. This still is parts of me. But I’m doing the work - because deep, deep down, I know I’m so much more than this compulsion…. This compulsion was born out of fear and avoidance of pain…. And I’m ready to start facing those head on. I am worthy of a better life than the one my pain and trauma chose for me. And yes 👏 Yes you are. Well done Paul

  • I admire your bravery and honesty in addressing & tackling this addiction. Hopefully many others will be inspired by you and this article. Praying that the therapy & book greatly help your recovery. Take care 💙

  • Joe O’Connor20 days ago

    I applaud the bravery and honesty here Paul, and want you to know that you’re not the only one, and that a lot of people are rooting for you, even ones you’ve never met. Echoing a lot of comments below about addiction- it’s a means to control for some, and a way out for others, but you’re doing the best thing possible for yourself and your wife. It’s a brutally hard thing to get out of, and there’s a lot of people out there struggling with it. Wishing you the absolute best as you go along mate. Just checking- did you mean centre stage instead of “certain stage”? My English teacher self couldn’t help spotting it in that first paragraph😂

  • Babs Iverson27 days ago

    Amazingly honest and you are not alone on your journey. You said it best in your line, "I try to own my issues and failings and I am on a constant battle to be the best version of Paul I can be." Wishing you the best, Sir Paul!

  • Thavien Yliaster29 days ago

    So You got my reply in Your email notifications, but it didn't show up here? Okay, Vocal's filter system is messed up.

  • Scott Christensonabout a month ago

    Thanks for your honesty in this piece. I def understand the desire to escape from all the hassles of life, I can do that so easily with alcohol or computer games. One day I just stopped looking at porn and afterwards I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. Its like candy for our dopamine receptors, and just drains the energy out of real life. I read in a book that addictions are ways we try to take control of our own life. Go to the bar after having to listen to our boss berate us. Going gambling when we have problems at home. etc But we can take control in other ways. Like writing. The only "addiction" where we make friends, connect with other people, and actually learn something!

  • Gerard DiLeoabout a month ago

    Addiction is addiction. I've seen many types--alcohol, drugs, religious fanaticism, dieting, over-consuming, masochism, etc. The important thing you've done here is realize this type of addiction isn't shameful--it's merely equitable to ANY addiction. Addiction cranks out dopamine. That's the hook. But here's something else--Love cranks out dopamine, too. So embrace those who love you. There are only so many dopamine receptors--so fill them up with the right endocrine stimulation! Bravo, my friend.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    I'm so happy for you Sir Paul! I wish you all the best on this journey. Always remember to be kind and gentle to yourself. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️

  • Grz Colmabout a month ago

    Paul, I’m happy to hear your are getting some support and that you are excited by this prospect. Thanks for sharing this. Wishing you can knock those pesky gremlins off your back for good. 😊👏

  • Lacy Loar-Gruenlerabout a month ago

    Wow, Paul, you are amazing! Sharing with us, I hope, is cathartic, but I think you will make a lot of your readers think about their own behavior. The civilized West is pretty sex-oriented since the porn industry in the 70s became fashionable. So proud of you for standing up to your demons. And you wife sounds like the best advocate you could have!

  • Kendall Defoe about a month ago

    Very brave of you to write this, Paul. I would not call myself an addict - I often go for weeks without looking - but I understand the urge. Keep us in the loop!

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    Over here giving a standing ovation Paul. Would it be patronising to say I am proud of you?

  • JBazabout a month ago

    Appears you have more than eight readers. Huge step for you Paul and such a professional yet personal written article about an insight in your life. Carry on, any addiction is an addiction and never easy to stop. I hope your realize you have many friends on Vocal who are behind you. Cheers my friend

  • Dana Crandellabout a month ago

    I'm happy for you, my friend. Happy that you have a loving wife who is willing to show her love in most important way, that you are on this journey, and that you have your writing and this community to help with the battle. Have faith in yourself, and know that you have my support (and that of so many others).

  • Christy Munsonabout a month ago

    I cannot know what it is to be in your shoes but they way you've written about your addiction appears candid, honest, and non-sensationalized. Sending you support and well wishes as you begin the work in earnest. Keep finding reasons, and keep writing on whatever gives you "you."

  • Natasha Collazoabout a month ago

    Porn is a vicious demon. It’s like taking a bite out of the tree of good and evil and seeing things you wish you never saw because of its chains on you. It distorts reality with innocent lovers who aren’t experienced. It’s damages expectations and in the end leaves one feeling helpless. I think most humans have dabbled in this tree my friend, and I’m so proud you decided to recognize the issue, and put blockers in place. Also the therapy will help understand your need not the sex. Every addict blames the “ substance “ but the issue goes way back to understanding our personality roots. Proud of you guy! Im abstinent til marriage and it’s very hard! lol

  • ROCK about a month ago

    I am proud of your honesty. I like you more because of your putting this out on the table Paul!

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    I am one of the 8! Wisdom here and acknowledgement, which is, I yhink, key to moving forward. Good luck!

  • Judey Kalchik about a month ago

    Good on you, Paul. Well written, aptly-titles, non-sensationalized. You have many friends, including me, sending you strength, light, and energy.

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