Can’t live with it, can’t live without it
The problem is this: When I don’t use porn, it’s hard for me to deal with so many things. It doesn’t happen right away, of course. It takes time. It usually looks like this: the moment after a relapse, I swear it’s the last time, I feel miserable, ashamed, I don’t care about anything and I just want to disappear and forget about myself. I’m absolutely convinced there’s no chance in the world I’ll turn to that trash again. If I could just manage to get through a few clean days, I am sure it would all be behind me. At this point, I’m totally aware that porn is gross, disgusting and in general, my life would be so much better without it
If I managed to get through even a few days or weeks, I’m in the clouds. I look at lust from the top down, not knowing what the hell I was looking for there, and continue to laugh all the way home. But then it starts to gnaw at me again, and all kinds of gray cells in my brain wake up and the hormones start to flow. Slowly, I feel it coming back, and in the end it turns into a huge tsunami that floods everything that stands in its way. I find myself again with my pants down after another painful fall. I guess I can just go back to the top of this post and start the same process again.
Then I slap myself on the forehead and ask myself a question: Why? What’s wrong with me? I had it so good, so why did I have to go and ruin everything. I finally had a streak of clean days, so why did I relapse again?
What I didn’t understand is that I’m like that guy in the joke who tried to train his horse not to eat. By the time he finally succeeded – the horse was dead. I fell because I cannot live without porn. It is true that it’s more economical to raise a horse that doesn’t eat, but unfortunately it’s simply not possible. It’s more enjoyable for me to live without lust, but unfortunately, for me, it also seems impossible.
That’s because porn is not my real problem. On the contrary, porn is my best solution! If lust was just the problem, the pain and the sadness, I’d have no problem stopping it. But lust is essentially my solution, so I have to keep using it again and again to avoid dealing with my issues, despite the high price I pay each time.
Perhaps it would be easier to understand if we look at alcoholics. The famous saying is that he “drowns his grief in a glass of booze.” In fact, what happens to him is that when he has a hard time in life, he drinks. There could be a thousand different methods of coping, but the bottom line is that the drink is the best, quickest solution to all his problems! If he feels uncomfortable with himself, whether it is difficult for him at home, or whether it’s complications at work, or just that he feels empty, the drink will solve everything. That’s how it is with alcohol, and that’s how it is with porn.
So when I say I’m happy when I do not use porn, it’s a lie that I tell myself. Maybe it would be better to call it an illusion. The sad truth is that I just can’t live without it
This business gets complicated, because porn is the “solution ” that solves my problem, and its price keeps going up. If we go back to the example of an alcoholic, at first, drinking seems to be the solution, because the consequences of drinking are negligible. However, the longer it goes on like that, the worse the consequences become. At that point, the alcoholic really wants to stop, but discovers that he can’t. He can’t manage without the alcohol, but he can’t have a normal life with it, either. He’s trapped.
My use of lust is the same thing. If I don’t use it, I’m in trouble, because then I won’t have my solution. If I do use it, I’m in trouble because it destroys me.
So, when I want to quit my addiction, I don’t need to find a solution to my problem of porn, but a solution for a completely different problem: my life. When they tell me to stop using porn, they don’t say stop dealing with my problems, but rather the opposite: stop using my regular “solution” to escape from all my difficulties. That’s why it’s so hard to stop. I need a solution that will be better than the previous solution!
The only answer I have found that is even better than the previous solution was to find God. This is the essence of the Second Step, We finally understand that we need a spiritual solution for our problem. Only God can provide us with a genuine solution.