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Highlights

  • Tim experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as a child
  • He started acting out with the Sears catalog at a young age.
  • His porn viewing grew out of control when the internet became widely available.
  • He found freedom and healing through rigorous exercise and self-care

Mastery of Self – Interview with an Ex-Porn Addict

I always say that the cure for this affliction is the aggressive pursuit of a great life. Today, I am thrilled to share with you my discussion with someone who has used this opportunity to make his life great, my friend Tim.

 

Tim: It’s good to be here. Thank you, Craig. I appreciate it.

 

Craig: I know you’re inspired to share your journey. Let’s start by going back. What did bottom look like for you?

 

Tim: My story is pretty much like most folks with this affliction. I come from a background of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. That’s my past and that’s pretty common with most folks that deal with this. I was raised in a small town, had a father that was just extremely verbally abusive, called me every derogatory name in the book. Told me that I was a piece of crap and I believed him for a long time. Physical, and sexual abuse too. Painful upbringing like most folks that deal with this.

 

Craig: It’s definitely a common thing. That negative upbringing, that programming as we like to call it, stayed with you. How did that impact the development of your sexuality?

 

Tim: I’ve been dealing with this for a long time. I’m in my fifties. I can remember acting out to the Sears catalog, which was pornography to me at the time, when I was eight, nine, ten years old. When it became addiction – I’m not really certain, but I’ve been dealing with it for a long time.

In my teens I was extremely socially awkward. I don’t think I dated until I was in my early twenties. It really stunted my social growth. It stunted everything. I was extremely socially awkward pretty much for half my life.

 

Craig: Eventually this came to a head, Tim, where you knew you had to do something about it. What was that time like for you?

 

Tim: When I sought help for the problem originally the first route that I took was a psychiatrist. I not only acted out pornography, but I started going to strip clubs. I admitted that to my wife. She stuck with me and strongly advised that I see help.

At that time, this was early internet, at that time it was a psychiatrist. It was terrible because I don’t think he had any idea what to do with me.

He actually suggested that I write pornography as a way to vent it.

He put me on antidepressants. At one point, I was on two antidepressants at the same time and they never really helped.

I continued acting out to pornography and my wife didn’t know anything about it. She thought the psychiatrist had “cured” me. I just learned to keep it more of a secret and then as the internet came into being and access to porn on the internet it was also access to people who could help you and I sought out a number of programs, none of which helped. I went to a church-lead 12-step program and that was no help, no use and some other online programs and then I found you. It helped me tremendously.

 

Craig: I want people to understand and appreciate the opportunity that this discovery presents. This realization that this is not going well; I am not doing what I should be doing; I am not firing on all cylinders; my sex is completely screwed up.

That realization is the birthplace – the place where it starts, so that’s a good thing and the future is so  bright.

What did you do? What are some of the things you did early on that really helped you right the ship?

 

Tim: Well, early on meditation, hobbies, focusing on other things; socialization, spending more time with my family, activities like flying.

At one point, I had my own airplane and was into flying. Flying versus porn. There wasn’t much of a fight there. Even so, I would still struggle. I would still have moments where even though I had a decent length of sobriety I was still fighting it. I was getting kind of lost.

I think it was just a natural progression. I had taken up exercise when I started working with you and that helped me somewhat. It was the typical exercise. It was go to the gym, lift some weights, run on the treadmill 30 minutes, bam, I’m done, watch some TV and then go home.

I found that the harder that I would work at that or the more intense the workout session became I started seeing a benefit. I found that the harder the workout the more I enjoyed it. I started searching online and found SEALFIT which is a company out in California and they promote this really kind of intense type of exercise, kind of a CrossFit squared. I started doing their exercise routines at my gym. I really enjoyed it and I started seeing some benefits – I was sleeping better. My mood was better.

So, I took that a step further and looked for similar gyms in my area and found CrossFit. I went to a CrossFit gym and found, through my CrossFit gym, a former military trainer who trains folks for endurance events. The more I worked out at the CrossFit gym and the more I worked out with this trainer the more amazing I began to feel.

 

Craig: So, your body’s changing; your mind is changing. What do those changes look like?

 

Tim: Well, it’s really multiple. There’s the transformation in my body which was pretty rapid. It felt like I hadn’t worked out at all. I had worked out at the gym, but I had done the normal stuff that most guys do. I mean, you hang out at the gym for half an hour, 45 minutes, lift some weights, do this, do that, work the machines and go home.

So, when I initially did this I was working out through the CrossFit gym and taking classes there and working out with this trainer. Initially, I was working out a couple of hours a week and in three months, physically, I went through a major transformation. I lost a good deal of weight and people started commenting on my appearance and my wife started commenting on my appearance which was kind of cool.

But, more than that, my whole heart and mind, I felt, were becoming a lot stronger. In your training, you always talk about making the right decision in that moment and when I was faced with an opportunity or chance to look at pornography I would always struggle. I’d win, but it would be a major pain in the fight and I found that the more I worked out this way, the more I exercised this way, it wasn’t a fight anymore. It wasn’t a fight. I was becoming stronger. My heart was becoming stronger. My mind was becoming stronger.

 

Craig: The pull was weaker, too, right?

 

Tim: Yeah. You said at one point when I was working with you that the pornography is as strong as you make it.

That the pull was becoming so much weaker.

One thing that would really bother me was that I would go through these cycles – It wouldn’t happen all the time – but I would go through these cycles where I’d wake up in the middle of the night. Like 3 in the morning, with these visuals from movies or scenes from movies that I used to watch, and that stopped completely. I would struggle with those urges. I’d struggle and win, but it was always a fight. I found that it wasn’t even a struggle anymore because it wasn’t even happening.

The calls that I was on through your Online Program, I’d hear that from other guys, that they would wake up in the middle of the night and always had a hard time dealing with that, and it stopped completely. So, I think one of the things that it helped me is it improved my power of decision. It forced you to up your game.

 

Craig: You’re a living example of that aggressive pursuit of a great life. How are things for you now? Let’s talk about that.

 

Tim: They’re incredible. I feel so much better. I mean, I feel like I’m in control of my life. I just feel happier. I’m in a much better mood. I feel stronger.

I feel like I’m having a greater effect over my family, my daughter, my wife. Both of them are getting into fitness. My daughter was worried about – she’s a teenager – she was worried that she was gaining weight. I helped her alter her diet. She’s been working out with me. She’s lost 12 pounds. Just having that kind of an effect over your daughter where before, years ago, I’d be acting out to pornography.

Being able to effect my family or I guess you’d say lead my family in that way makes you feel so much better. I don’t feel like I’m a prisoner anymore. I don’t feel like I have as many barriers as I had before. It’s just a better way to live. I mean, a much better way to live.

 

Craig: What do you want to say to that guy who maybe he’s on the fence. Maybe the problem isn’t that bad.

 

Tim: It’ll get bad. This stuff just progresses. I’ve been living with this stuff for decades. I can look back in my past and I can see how maybe it wasn’t that bad in the beginning, but the problem is it accelerates and when I started this there was no internet. There was no internet pornography. It was Playboy and it was the Sears catalog. Initially that may be why my problem progressed as slowly as it did, but as soon as I was exposed to the internet and pornography, as soon as all of that developed, it just took off.

So, if you don’t think it’s an issue now, it will be. If you’re going to end it or intervene in that progression, the time to do it is now and now when you’re in your fifties like what happened with me.

With the porn addiction, I used pornography to bury pain, bury discomfort and I learned by going through these vigorous workouts not to fear that pain and discomfort. In a lot of ways, they are good things. It’s how we grow. I mean, it’s how you gain muscle in the gym. You’re not going to go in the gym and lift feathers and gain muscle. You know, you’re going to lift weights and you’re going to run and you’re going to do aerobic exercise and do burpees and sled drags and you’re going to walk with 45 pounds on your back. I mean, initially that’s not comfortable. You learn. You go through these painful experiences and you come out better in the end.

It taught me to deal with that and now if something uncomfortable happens or if something painful happens in my life I look at that like I would going through a heavy workout at the gym.

Just go through it.

Experience it.

These painful periods in our lives, these periods where we face discomfort just like a workout, is some point going to come to an end. Just going to the gym has taught me so much and that’s just one example.

 

Craig: Follow Tim’s path. Take care of yourself. Practice rigorous self-care. Love yourself. Life is way too short to suck. Remember to embrace your power of choice, brothers.

 

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