Setback at 34 days, but feeling encouraged. My story and progress.

I've been looking at pornography since I was a child. I stumbled across porn on my local cable box when I was experimenting with the television channels. It scared the crap out of me. When I was preteen I started to go back to the channel a handful of times out of curiosity. Every peek scared the crap out of me.When I was 12, however, I fell asleep on standard movie channel and woke up early on Saturday morning - around 5:30am, I caught the tail end of a porno movie. That open Pandora's Box. Compared to what you can find today, it is unremarkable, but my young mind didn't care.After that, my curiosity peaked as if I got my first hit of a drug. Between puberty and getting that first hit, my sensitivity to nudity and sexuality went up a lot. I looked for movies that had nude scenes and sought out shows with sexual content on TV. I never touched hardcore porn since at the time it was hard to get without purchasing it (this was in the 90s and early 2000s). Nevertheless, I managed to find out when the movie channel showed softcore porn and I watched it almost every week. I knew how to time it to wake up in the middle of the night on a Saturday morning and how to minimize the sound and change the channel. My young mind chalked it up as research about sex; no one talked about it with me. This went on for a few years. I only got caught once - someone barged in during a scene and I pretended as if I was asleep. There were no repercussions.Meanwhile, I'm consuming media of various kinds. Video games and anime were mine particular favorites, while I was passively consuming hip-hop and R&B music videos from home and neighborhood life. All contained a lot of sexual images. Many of the games I played were regulated by my interests in narrative over visual art, although some of my games had sexualized characters. They were relatively minor due to the technology at the time. Anime was a different story. I watched stuff on television - which was usually censored slightly or didn't have a lot of sexual imagery - but there was no recourse for video tapes that I borrowed from the video store. No pornography, but anime is much more lax in terms of sexuality. I saw quite a lot of anime with harems and sexual fan service in my exploration. Much of it went over my head, but I was exposed nevertheless. 90s hip-hop and R&B focused a lot on sex and sexiness, so I saw a lot of skin and gyrating. I looked back on some videos that had catchy tunes and was shocked at how vulgar they were; those videos were essentially softcore porn without the sex scenes or a video of a strip club.I didn't have a chance. Sexual imagery was filling my sensory pool, and I wanted to swim in it.At around 16, I hit a new peak of sexual tension. I got an Xbox and started playing a few M-rated games. Besides the general increase of mature plot and violence, there was an unabashed sexuality pervasive in the games. The sexuality I described with my experience with anime started to manifest themselves more in my games. I will not list titles, but needless to say, I couldn't take it anymore. I broke my vow to not look at internet pornography and went ahead. I focused on images of my favorite female video game characters, trying to hold on to some sort of innocence thinking that I wasn't looking at "real porn". I started dabbling in ecchi: softcore anime pornography. I just focused on images - never video. I just looked and looked and looked when no one was looking.Also around then I inherited my first laptop. It was a clunker, but it was cool because I could use it for school. I also used it for ecchi. I managed to keep my promise about not moving beyond ecchi, but I also allowed myself to swim in it. Every time I saw an attractively drawn character, I would look her up. I started to seek out anime that had high ecchi elements and put it on my rotation. I was also in high school and was connected to anime and video game fans. They didn't care either. In fact, they were already into hentai: anime pornography. The train was moving fast and there was no stopping it. No one cared and investigated.By the end of high school I "upgraded" to hentai images of characters and found sites that had hentai manga that I read. It was a slow burn and escalation. I watched gifs and stayed away from video. Fortunately, I stayed mostly vanilla.I did well in high school and went to college. I had my first taste of freedom, a new laptop, and unlimited internet. Things were difficult in college. The work was harder, I had some serious culture shock, and I was away from my home support. I was not well-trained socially, so I stumbled in building up supportive relationships. Hentai became more of an emotional crutch for me throughout college and following.One fateful evening in the first semester of sophomore year I look at a hentai movie scene. It was a next-level hit. I also masturbated for the first time. Male friends kept making it a big deal in high school, so I gave it a try. I masturbated to orgasm using that hentai scene. That was a wrap. I hit such a high that I didn't know what to do with that. So I kept chasing that dragon. Pandora's Box opened up wider and I sought out PMO. I expanded my pornography use to hentai and "regular porn".Throughout college - my late teens and early 20s - I PMO'd almost daily and often multiple times a day. No one said anything and I didn't have any recourse otherwise. College was difficult, but I learned to manage and did better. Life happened: my dad passed away, I became a Christian, and many of my high school friends proved to be unfaithful. PMO, anime, and video games became a consistent sense of comfort.I was sad though. I was depressed and anxious. I got a girlfriend and we were sexually active. I loved her, but she didn't love me. That emotional disconnection encouraged me to dig in more with PMO to cope. After about two years, we broke up. She encouraged my PMO, albeit reluctantly. She didn't know what to do with it.After college, I moved back in not knowing what to do with my life. Having little but my family and my new faith, I dug into both. From studying the Bible, I learned how destructive undisciplined sexuality was. That resonated with me a lot. PMO hijacked my sense of self and my emotions and was a big force in ruining my last relationship and stunting others. I wanted to stop and didn't know how. I was 22 years old.After that I just lived life. I got my first job, worked through grad school, and switched to a better job. I'm 29 now. There were a lot of stops and starts with me quitting PMO. I have a myriad of reasons to stop, but I'm physiologically addicted to PMO. I can belt out a spiritual reasons to stop, emotional reasons to stop, physical reasons to stop, but none of those helped me when I was hit with a withdrawal symptom. I sought accountability, but when I'm on a good streak, I get into a false sense of security and relapse and then drown in shame.I discovered NoFap about a year ago. From reading the resources here, as well as another app called Fortify, I learned a lot about the nature of my addiction and how it affects my body and mind. I read a ton of books as well. Withdrawal symptoms are less of a mystery; I can deal with them more directly now. It's been difficult though. My pornography and hentai use is down considerably. What used to be a multii-day habit has dropped to an every-other-week or monthly habit. My goal is abstinence, though.I tried No Nut November and failed at day 2. I kept stopping and starting. On Black Friday, I started anew and got on a 34-day streak. I noticed many changes for the better, and I felt emotionally better. But then in the past week I hit a butt-ton of stress because of the holidays and started drifting and edging. I finally PMO'd last night. It sucks and I feel terrible.I'm not sure what happened precisely for me to drift last week. Life overall is much better. I crave physical touch at times, though. I get hugs at church, but sometimes I get stressed out and want to cuddle and be told that everything is okay.It is what it is though. I want to be married and make my wife happy. But to do that I need to quit PMO. PMO causes so much damage - to myself and others. I hate it.Back to the fight. I failed hard mode, but I'm back at it now. Every failure is another step closer to victory. via /r/NoFap

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