Even though I had decided to work on my issues(and there were plenty) progress was always slow. After my college I got an average corporate job which kept me busy but it was just like college time where I would dread being alone and would try to fill even my weekends with spending time with friends or just keeping busy with entertaining activities like Netflix which didn’t really add any value. In short I was afraid of my own company. Moreover around the same time I had to go through a heartbreak within a short span of meeting someone. When I met him for a few months I didn’t indulge too much into pornography, probably due to the Oxytocin effect of love on brain but within few months things crashed and burned. This made my condition even worse. Along with the old negative thoughts mind invented new twisted scripts to torture me “who do you think you are, do you really think you are worth loving?, you are deeply insecure needy girl. A totally clingy unwanted partner”.
Logically it had no basis in reality because the separation was due to the guy having someone else in his life but my self esteem was so low that all negative experiences were projected on me only.
By now it was like “off course he was going to leave. No-one can tolerate me I’m just too needy and helpless . I’m too sad on the inside that the day I share my true feelings and tendencies they would all run away.”
To some extent this fear still follows me around but it was enough to decide its time to take therapy. Even before beginning therapy I had started reading extensively and books which were especially helpful were:- I though it was just me by Brene Brown where talks about how the emotion of shame cripples women in every sphere of life where they perceive themselves to be too fat, too thin, too short ,too tall , not being smart enough, not giving time to their children/family, being overambitious, being addictive,emotionally needy/dependent ,having overcritical parents etc. This book did help me to understand the root of the thoughts which would come like unannounced visitors and create havoc in the house called my mind. They’ll leave only after they’ve done plenty of damage.
Another major change was to begin active exercise. I used to think that If i do yoga and meditation its enough but I couldn’t be more wrong. Initially when I couldn’t run for half a kilometer and today I’m comfortable with at-least 10. In psychology there is a concept of managers and firefighters. Even pornography was a momentary relief and produced endorphins but that was the firefighter mode coping mechanism. Psychologist suggest we can shift to manager mode where we actively do healthy things to release endorphins and get benefited as well for me this was active exercise. Since there was so much intensity in my mind , to tackle that I didn’t go for mushy easy going exercises I went for sprints, experimented with HIIT(High intensity interval training) and other workouts which make heart rate go up.
If there’s only one thing that I need to suggest to someone dealing with addictions it would be to seriously consider exercising. Its not about going easy, we really have to make the body sweat. For me it started with a 60 day running streak and I began just to get in better shape but to my surprise, those 3 months were also a porn free streak through almost no effort. It can’t all be attributed to this one thing though as I was taking therapy now but It had a big role to play. As for therapy I mostly talked about my heartbreak and highly strained relation with family. I didn’t even touch upon the subject that bothered me the most in a therapy session where the person is legally bound to not reveal things elsewhere such is the power of shame. I had also assumed that I’ve treated it on my own with exercise and positive reading habits but the impending lock-down and inability to continue workouts showed that until the root cause is treated the symptoms may be controlled by disease doesn’t just go away.
When lock-down happened I was starting to fall back into same patterns but I couldn’t allow that to happen anymore so with a lot of courage I finally told my therapist that there is another issue but I can’t talk about it. She suggested I can email it to her so I did. From that point onward true recovery began. She was asking detailed questions which made me uncomfortable but I knew she was just doing her job and decided to cooperate. I learnt so much about myself and most of it boiled down to rough childhood I had and the emotionally unavailable parents and violent brother. What all I had encountered at home I haven’t spilled in these posts because I never connected these two things. Yes I had encountered plenty of emotional abuse, blackmail at the hand of a stalker, constant bias at home and violence but I didn’t and couldn’t reconcile that addiction could be a coping mechanism for the other unwanted things in life. It can’t all be attributed to that off course but since the seeds were there the plant sprouted when it found the right environment.
Today I’m not an addict by any means but I still struggle once in a while, there have been times when I decided to do a mini purushcharna and broke it due to this but now these incidents are few and far in between and best of them is now I no longer torment myself when they do happen. I’m able to just look at the incident and not attach too much meaning to it. There are several other things which I had done for coming out of it because I was not just an addict I was very insecure and anxious person who had a cracked foundation emotionally. More on that in next and probably final post. Till then take it easy , I love all of you. Jai Shri Hari.