februari-2023-Letting Go of Porn

Letting Go of Porn

If I had to choose one word to describe how I felt for most of my life, I would choose “disconnected.” I had a hard time making friends in both kindergarten and school. There were many engaging ways to escape reality—creating stories in my head, adventure books, and video games.

When I was nine years old, I was assaulted by an unknown man at the stadium. This experience marked my life with fear. I felt very ashamed about what happened but decided to tell my then best friend about it. He told me something like: “That man had to be desperate when he had chosen you.” His reaction taught me that I am so disgusting as a person that I should be grateful if someone even harasses me. However, I never was.

So my fear of men started. I also hated my teachers because they said: “You are still young and naive.” I hated what my childish naivety caused me and decided never to be like this again. My classmates bullied me a lot, making sure I know that I am repulsive and would never be able to find a partner. But when I was eleven, I realized I don’t need to interact with people or be attractive to men. The Internet is full of men, and they are free.

It all began when my then sixteen year old brother didn’t clean his browser history. Just one click on this weird page with a red logo, and I was in awe. Why would somebody make videos like this? It was weird and disturbing. A few days later, my curiosity took over. I thought about something sexual and wanted to check how it really is. I opened those “documentaries” again. I was hooked since the very first video I watched. It had only one problem. It wasn’t perfect. I wanted some details to look different. I was browsing for hours, looking for a video that would fulfill all my expectations. I’ve seen dozens of clips, and it was the most exciting thing in my life. There was always something new to see and explore. I don’t remember how I learned to masturbate. I just found out it was a great combination with all these videos. It was an amazing way to deal with my life and all my negative emotions. I was using high doses daily.

Now I’m porn free for over six years. I wish I could say how God healed me. I would run around meetings announcing it as a miracle of my Higher Power. However, I know that my recovery requires rigorous honesty. The truth is that one day I got really high, turned on some video and got horrible anxiety, staring into the abyss for a while, then turned it off and decided I would never return to it.

I also wish I could say that was the breaking point, and everything was better after. Throughout the years, everything just got much, much worse. Our disease is progressive. It deteriorated in every other aspect, be it masturbation, sex or cybersex. My disease took many things from me—loads of time I could have used better, my human dignity. One evening after acting out, I felt so bad that I just prayed to God to finally kill me. Well, he didn’t.

And I realized that unless I throw myself under a bus (literally) I will have to find a way to cope with my miserable life. I didn’t know what to do. But then I recalled a fellowship I heard of. So I hid behind a pile of bricks, so nobody could see me, and decided to give them a call. I was desperate. What could I lose?

When I came to my first SA meeting, I thought that this was the saddest, lowest, and most shameful moment of my life. I was judgmental when I saw some of the members laughing. How could they laugh, I thought? We are in SA. This is tragic. Now I laugh at almost every SA meeting and I laugh a lot.

I was the only woman at my first SA meeting but I thought of it as a statistical difference. But I was the only woman member in the western part of the country and for a few months, I was the only woman member in the country. Logically, I should have been very uncomfortable being surrounded by mostly men. It was the exact opposite. I could finally see that they are neither a threat nor objects to my lust. They were my suffering brothers. I was harassed at school, sometimes I was harassed at a street, bus stop or station. SA was filled with the spirit of recovery. Despite outsiders calling these men negative things, they created the safest environment possible.

At first, I had a lot of excuses for why I couldn’t come to meetings. But when I realized that fellowship is the key to my survival, I was willing to travel for an hour to get to a meeting starting at 7 a.m. Sometimes I got on a train and rode to a meeting in another town.

Often I felt ashamed and disconnected from other people in my life. My friends didn’t know what I was going through. Friends in SA knew as they had the same problem. The connection I have with other members is very unique for me. SA is like my second family and I love all these quirky, weird cousins I have now! I even met my best friend at SA. When I’m coming to my homegroup, I know it will be an hour filled with pure joy. Now I see that recovery is not tragic—it’s cheerful.

When I was one month sober, my homegroup needed to fill some service positions. We all agreed that we need a man with broad shoulders to be responsible for setting up the meeting room, as it included moving the table. Somehow I, the only woman in the meeting, ended with this position and stuck with it for three months. In SA, I felt that I can be useful and do service for others, whether by my translations, drawings, shamelessness at open meetings or my mysterious ability to move a heavy table.

So my recovery journey goes on. My life has been filled with beautiful experiences ever since. When I was one month sober, I was at my first SA event in Huty. When I was three months sober, I was at the Convention at Esker, Athenry. Although I’m not exactly sure what God’s plans for my life are, looking back at all these things, I’m sure it will be quite a party!

(I made this article illustration to depict that while porn was harming me in many ways, I was unable to let it go.)

Beáta M., Bratislava, Slovakia

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