Today marks two years of me not looking at porn or masturbating. This two years is utterly due to the grace of God. This grace I got from God did not come to me when I was wallowing in self-pity, but when I came to myself and started to boldly seek out the grace of God (remember the prodigal son had to go home to get his dad's grace) , and every time I found the grace of God I held on to it as a precious treasure. Without a doubt at times this grace was uncomfortable, and at other times it was painful, but this grace is so worth it.
Year two has been markedly different from year one. When you start no pmo, or no fap or whatever you want to call it, there is a period of several months where everyday, then several times a week, then several times a month that there is a new thing associated with giving up porn. In year two there is rarely anything new. In some ways this makes your battles much easier because you have dealt with the battles before, in other ways it makes it easy to be complacent, and let your guard down. During year two its normal to not look at porn or masturbate.
On the positive side in year two I can clearly see the difference between wrong sexual thoughts and not wrong sexual thoughts. Wrong sexual thoughts are thoughts that limit sex to a biological release, or limiting sex to being only about pleasure, or thoughts on sex not being exclusive, or on how sex will make stroke my pride in some way. Pretty much wrong sexual thoughts line up very well with what prime time tv shows sex to be like.
I have found that anytime I have wrong sexual thoughts that it always releases dopamine in my brain. Its interesting how much more sensitive I am to a dopamine release now than I used to be. In fact I am to the point that if I feel a dopamine release I will instantly change my thinking. My understanding is that dopamine is a chemical in the brain to make two people bond, with no one to bond with, dopamine will just make you feel crumy. Even if its just being released due to uncontrolled thoughts.
On the other hand I have found that for me right sexual thoughts begin with intimacy, and commitment, and exclusivity. Right sexual thoughts lead me (a single guy) away from thinking about the physical act of sex, and instead helps me focus on developing emotional, spiritual, and intellectual intimacy, so that we can spend a life time together exclusive to us. If we are to have kids how the exclusivity of sex means I will be there for my kids, where as a wrong view on sex (multi partners) would mean that if I had kids I would not be there for them.
Maybe it would be best to put it this way, I have two sets of thoughts when it comes to sex, and I am getting the right way to think about sex to overcome the wrong way to think about sex more and more. When I started this thing two years ago the right way to think about sex was barley a sliver of a thought, but at this point its probably closer to 40-50% of how I think on sex.
Changing my view on sex has probably been the most beneficial thing for me this year, because as wrong sexual thoughts come my way I am able to compare it to God’s standard. And the wrong way falls short every time. I know what I want and I won’t accept anything less.
One of the things I have found interesting in these two years is the role anger has played in my addiction.
When I first broke away from my addiction, being angry at the sin, and the line of thinking that kept me in sin really helped me to overcome my addiction.
But this year I have had to come to terms with anger directed at people who have betrayed, neglected, and emotionally abused me. As long as I was holding anger to those people my flesh was using my anger toward them to try to get me to comfort myself with porn. As I released that anger and forgave them my desire to be comforted with porn disappeared.
I would also like to add that although I have forgiven these people there is no chance of reconciliation. Some of the people I was angry at I have no idea where they are today. One of the people I was angry at holds enmity towards me for everything I have ever done and a few things I haven’t done, as long as they are trying to hurt me I can not restore a relationship with them. And the last person I forgave neglected me to a ridiculous extent, and just this week when I was being counseled on this area of my life I was told point blank that the man who neglected me does not care about me, never cared about me, and never will care about me because of his decisions there is no chance of reconciliation, but I should forgive him and move on.
In short anger at sin and ideas, helpful. Anger at people, not helpful.
There is a giant temptation for anyone addicted to porn to use porn to medicate every hurt in their life, and I think that is why God directly commanded us in Galatians 6:2 to bear ye one anothers burdens. When you begin to share your hurts with those around you, and they begin to help you with your burden, you lose the need to medicate with porn because the problem starts going away. No problem, no need to medicate with porn.
Year three starts now.