Anatomy of a relapse

Day 1
I've been struggling with lust for a long time. Being shy and single, I've always found an escape in acting out (and more so now that the Internet beams so much filth). I have tried to overcome the problem and have tasted success at times but never a permanent solution. Journals, diaries, blogs, self-help tools and prayer, which led me to counselling, but always the struggle continues. Over the years, I've perhaps become better at managing slip-ups and urges. God-willing I will only get better from here on. I pray every day and hope that I will overcome.

Day 3
I can trace my lust problem back to early events in my life, to mental wounds that have left indelible scars. My sexual behaviours have been attempts to escape or bandage those wounds, whilst struggling to heal them permanently. There is not much I can do about the past, other than to accept it and move on. It can be very frustrating. I struggle with social anxiety and have gaps in my life still to be filled. I have never come close to dating and realize that I need to fix my problem before I can even approach someone. Otherwise I'm just a shadow secretly pursuing immoral habits. It's tough to break the pattern but it can be done and now is a good time to do it. If I can address some of the underlying issues and work with others, it can be kicked out for good. God-willing I'll get the strength to do it.

Day 5
It's three weeks today since my last slip with pornography and masturbation....and the lust thoughts are igniting again. How many times has this happened before? What were the consequences? What was the end-result? Do I want to let the pattern play out again and stay trapped in the vicious cycle or do I want to get out and move ahead? As much as I try with the various tools and resources at my disposal, what matters in the end is the choice I make. There is only one way - to simply say NO and move forward. Yes, it is a tough task but it comes with time, effort, patience & perseverance. I can see how the continual use of pornography and masturbation has twisted my thoughts to lusting and objectifying people constantly. Three weeks is a short time but already the urges are losing their power, as with understanding and experience I become better equipped and prepared to overcome.

Day 37
I've been sober and not having acted out for two months. The feeling is definitely good but I am a bit upset right now over a few things and can see the temptation playing out in the head. I can hear the voices calling me to escape into fantasy, but escape for how long and to where? Afterwards I'll return to the same place full of guilt, anger, frustration, failure etc? I've been in this situation before and I realize that temptation is always around the corner...I must have been here a million times, but somehow this time it feels different. I know now that it is up to me, completely up to me, to make that "choice" to give in or go away. I would always choose the latter because it doesn't lead anywhere. I'm aiming to complete three months clean and lay the foundation to kick it for good. There are so many better things to do than look at porn and escape.

Day 39
I can see the pattern now - thoughts begin to float in my head, sexual memories show up. This is exactly what happens when I've stayed sober for two or three months. The challenge is to maintain the same and continue. Temptation is always there, knocking at my mind, Body inviting, pushing...but it's up to me to say NO and move on, to find ways to let go instead. I can see how memories from the past are back again chasing...How inviting the temptation is...God willing I will overcome on this occasion.

Day 41
Temptation was here two days ago and is here again today...knocking on my brain and in my ears....I've almost pushed myself back into porn. I'm on the brink and, as is the case when one is off the filth for 2-3 months, anticipation is building up. I've been looking up videos on You tube and fast forwarding...It's just frustrating, I'm trying to practice mindfulness...I'm praying, but what is prayer without effort? The Almighty will only have mercy if I make a sincere effort and right now I'm struggling....This is the cycle I want to break-out of...I've been clean for over 2 months and I certainly don't want to fall back into that trap again - after all the good things that have happened and after all the effort I've made....God Help!!!

Day 42
Last night I was tempted again - the second night in a row. Once again there was the same pattern of looking up tempting material. The seeds of lust have been well and truly watered by my thoughts. The roots are now spreading and pushing me to the brink. There's so much more to do. My time and talents, which could be nurtured and used, are just being wasted. This is so over-powering that all else falls flat. I can see the anticipation being built up in my mind even though my heart says no. It's all fake, nothing is real, it's an empty promise, there's only guilt and wastefulness thereafter. If two or three months are hard to hold on to, what about the rest of my life? Will this be a life-long battle? Will I always need to run away from this? Tonight I certainly won't let is happen again, lest I fall to the urge.

Day 73
Slipped again last night after a week and this is regular, a slip-up every two or three weeks after two or three months of abstinence. I can't be lying. I have to become accountable to an SA group. What am I doing watching porn secretly and hiding away from people? It happened again last night. The truth is that, no matter what, when the habit has control over me, it's just difficult to let go. No feelings, no thoughts, no emotions, nothing can help. The urges are just too strong, too powerful and overwhelming.