It’s been six weeks since I had a cup of coffee, or a cigarette… and almost twelve weeks since I’ve viewed pornography.
Time-wise, I think it’s safe to say that I’m well on my way to full recovery. (Although somethings – like smoking – take more than just time to fully recover from.)
I know I’m ready to put pornography completely behind me, and I think I’ve overcome the withdrawals from coffee and cigarettes, and the worst of the temptation to give in and to go back to the addictive behavior…
But I’ve only made it this far by avoiding the behavior. I still need to address the underlying issues that led me to the addictions in the first place.
(Which kind of blows because I really thought I would just stop and then in a few weeks or months I’d be cured but no, that’s not actually how it works.)
Still, it’s good that I’ve come this far… And it’s definitely worth recognizing! But if you just treat the symptoms, there’s no guarantee that will cure the disease.
I know that with coffee and cigarettes, there is a real physical addiction that needs to be dealt with, alongside the psychological.
I’m inclined to think, though, that an addiction to pornography (or gambling, or shopping, or Facebook, or Netflixing), is primarily psychological… but that either way, just stopping the behavior does not stop the “need” the behavior was intended to address.
I know that I’ve overcome any “desire” or inclination to use pornography, but I would be lying if I said I’ve overcome the problems that kept me trapped in the addiction for so long.
(I guess this is where therapy, and recovery support groups and such, really come into play.)
From the first time I made the conscious decision to NOT use pornography, the thing that’s made it possible for me to keep that commitment is the way that I now understand that particular addiction.
For example, I know that I am afraid of real emotional intimacy. I know that I don’t think I deserve real emotional intimacy, or that I’ll ever be able to have it… And those feelings hurt. So much so, that it used to feel more desirable to numb those feelings, than to just allow them to be.
And yet, all it took was one moment of understanding why I’m afraid of emotional intimacy, for me to finally see pornography as pure illusion, and to know in my heart that it would not ever give me anything I actually wanted.
Now, I still had to struggle. I still went through a good month, where I had to resist the temptation daily… and to be honest I still think about it sometimes even nowadays. But I know I don’t want it anymore, and so I intentionally make choices that keep me away from circumstances, or thoughts, or feelings, that would lead to a relapse.
But I’m not at that point with coffee and cigarettes. (Not even close.)
I still want to smoke. I still want to start every morning with a large mocha. Even though when I do smoke (and drink coffee), all I can think about is how much I don’t want to…
So even though I’m totally over porn (and basically satisfied
with the idea of abstinence until marriage even though I’m not yet even pursuing marriage so it could be awhile and I really don’t have a lot of experience with waiting, but still I am finding it preferable to being a slave to physical desire… for sure that’s no way to go through life…)
I’m still trapped in the cycle of “wanting/not wanting” coffee and cigarettes. I don’t want to be addicted to either substance… But if I’m completely honest I’m not 100% happy about going through the rest of my life without them.
Which basically means it’s still a decision I have to make, every day. Like a commitment that needs to be constantly renewed. A question that remains to be answered all over again with each passing day. (aka… a MAJOR suckfest… lol…)
Meanwhile, life without coffee and cigarettes still sucks. It gets easier each week, but overall my life still feels empty, and void, and without meaning. I know it’s not actually empty and meaningless, but right now, not smoking and not drinking coffee makes me think it will be empty and meaningless, no matter what else I do.
(And yet every time I avoid coffee and cigarettes I count it a victory… so does that mean my life is full of empty victories? Spoiler: I know I am actually achieving great and marvelous things, and brighter days are ahead… it just… doesn’t feel that way, yet… But I’m willing to believe that it will, if I just hold out a little bit longer.)