Yes, I’ve been through a lot in my recovery. But I finally feel normal, like a regular person. I feel like it’s spring—it’s spring and I’ve gone outside and the air feels clean and good.

—Bill

A

s tough as it may be to finally get there, life is good outside the porn trap. Almost everyone we’ve spoken with who has severed a relationship with pornography has been eager to share how much better they now feel about themselves, their relationships, their sexuality, and their future. Passion and optimism shine through their stories of accomplishment as they told us of their newfound sense of happiness and self-satisfaction.

Wherever you are on the spectrum of quitting porn—thinking about quitting, taking the first steps, wrestling with relapse, or well on your way to being porn free—we hope you find the stories of former porn users in this chapter inspiring and helpful. You’ll recognize many of the names from other chapters—now you get to read about how these people have moved beyond their struggle with porn and emerged into personal free­dom and fulfillment.

You’ll find that although everyone’s path has been different, most former porn users end up feeling more positive about life, relaxed, and generally more emotionally balanced once they quit porn for good. They are more comfortable being around other people now that they’re able to relate with mutual respect, concern, and consideration. This is especially true in their intimate relationships, where reestablished communication and trust lead to strengthening of the bonds that hold people together.

Clearly, whether physically, sexually, emotionally, or interpersonally, every part of life can improve once you’ve successfully climbed out of the porn trap.

Of course, in spite of the tangible, positive results gained from quit­ting porn, there are times former users may feel a little sad about what they’ve given up. That’s understandable. Quitting porn involves saying good-bye to something that they relied on to feel good. But, while some of the former porn users we spoke to talked about feelings of loss, they were quick to emphasize that their lives are much better now without porn. Laura, for example, said that she missed porn’s “friendship.” She told us, “Before I quit, I had been involved with porn for more than thirty years. The fantasies were like a friend, offering me comfort in times of stress. But, those same porn fantasies also led me into dangerous sexual experiences that could have killed me. I don’t have to worry about that now. That’s a big relief!” Ethan said, “I miss porn like I miss the high of getting stoned on marijuana. But now I’m with a wonderful woman who is nurturing and honest. That’s what I value. I never would have had that if I hadn’t made the choice to stop using porn.”

In this chapter we present stories that illustrate what you are likely to experience as a result of committing to the porn recovery process we have outlined in this book. You’ll find out how, once you are out of the porn trap, you can take your life in new directions to build upon your successes and reach new heights in your recovery. This is the story of freedom and celebration. These former porn users made it. You can too.