Sunday, March 10, 2002

I’ve been struggling a lot lately. I’ve been struggling with myself.

When I was about thirteen, I was introduced to pornography. Unfortunately, my parents never discoverd this, and though I knew that I was being vaguely naughty by reading trashy romance novels for the naughty bits or skimming through a nudie magazine, I never renounced this practice. I rationalized my behavior; I knew that I would look down on this sort of behavior in others, but when I was doing it myself, I told myself that it was OK, since it was just a rare lapse.

The problem was that it wasn’t really rare. My visits to the house of porn grew more frequent, and more frequent, until today, and now I’ve begun to really struggle with this problem. I visit porn sites several times a week.

I frown on this behavior, and believe that it is unbecoming to me. Based on my research, I do not need to continue this pattern; many men have — with some effort — become mentally as well as physically chaste.

However, I’m unable to stop. I am soon called back into that house of porn, and the call is so overwhelmingly strong that I find myself falling back into the same patterns of behavior, visiting the same sites and ogling the same pictures. I am overhwelmed by the power of my need to return. My mind squeals that I’ve rejected all this, that I don’t really want to do this again, that this is degrading to women, that this is reinforcing negative thought patterns within me, but my body moves over to the keyboard anwyay, and my fingers type in the URLs anyway.

This may suggest that I lose control of my body; that’s not quite true. If I’m interrupted during this time — footsteps in the hallways, for example — I immediately stop what I’m doing, and try to cover it up if need be. I’m still in control of my body to some degree.

I’ve become worried that I have a full-fledged addiction to pornography. This certainly sounds like compulsive behavior.

Tonight, I pretended that I was talking to a counsellor about this. I plan to go to a counsellor once I land a job, primarily to hear an objective viewpoint about my life, but I can’t afford it while I’m jobless. In any event, I came to a couple of realizations tonight.

One, I’ve been doing this for over a decade. This is a strong, deep habit that I’ve been reinforcing for years and years. If I want to change this, it’s going to take a long time, and it’s going to be very difficult. I should expect very strong resistance from my habit.

Ergo, perhaps this overwhelming, almost automatic response is less a function of some pathological addiction than the simple — but very strong — patterns that I’ve been following and strengthening for years. Perhaps I should take comfort in the possibility that I’m facing something more common — and more defeatable — than a deep-rooted psychological compulsion.

Or, maybe not. I don’t know. That’s why I want to talk to a counsellor.

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