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Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Child Pornography on the Internet

In a nutshell, about 4 years ago (I will sound vague since I've mostly forgotten the exact dates) I progressed from legal-aged pornography to under-aged pornography on the internet. I wish I could recall how I made the jump because I don't believe that I went on the internet looking for it. Regardless, I was there and I must say that the mental "high" was very intoxicating. I've never in my life ever dreamed of having sex with a child but there was something about the allure of the internet that made it all the more exotic.

My early life was less than stellar as the Navy (early to late '70s) kept moving our family around every 2 years. After a while, I started to withdraw as fewer available friends my own age were available and I started losing the capacity to fit in. Self-esteem didn't seem to develop for me either. It wasn't until about 5 years ago working as a sales manager in a luggage company that I finally broke that barrier. However, even with that accomplishment, I was still a very lonely person as I didn't get out and associate much. Fortunately, fate stepped in one day and a close friend, now my girlfriend, saved me from drowning in a hot tub. As it happened, she also saved me from the despair of living alone. It was increasingly depressing to not have someone to share my life with. My eyes opened to a whole new world at that point. The internet became unimportant and my otherwise frivolous activities ceased and I started focusing my attentions on love and family and have never regretted the change.

Unfortunately, in forgetting the internet, I also forgot there were still pictures stashed on one computer. This fact came to me as a revelation on February 8th, 2005. Regrettably, I fell asleep on the sofa that night. At 6:00am the following morning, I was rudely awakened by 2 individuals from Homeland Security. After panicking me to near suicide, I learned to live with myself again and move forward with my life as nearly 2.5 years had passed with no word from them. On August 6th of this year, they showed up again and took me into custody. My family now considers me a monster even though they are supporting me. My girlfriend and other close friends believe in me 100% so I haven't lapsed into total depression. I'm also now taking Duloxetene under prescription from my doctor.

My question after this lengthy dissertation is this: Is internet porn addiction real? My family thinks so but I've clearly not been dominated by it since I stopped the cycle of addiction and replaced loneliness with love and hope in place of despair. I won't say that I haven't looked at porn in the interim but not child porn. Regardless of that fact, all I keep hearing from my mother is how I'm addicted to child porn and need help. Even the psychologist that my lawyer hired seems to think so but she only seems to know how to quote statistics. She's never taken the time to get a real handle on who I am and what my motivations are. I think I could cope better if I could either, A) come to terms with a possible addiction as it may arise again in the future or B) show some credible evidence that I've broken the cycle of addiction by replacing the negative aspects. To date, I've not spent a significant amount of time on the internet as I prefer to speak with my girlfriend or work on things not computer-related. I simply can't stand the thought of spending several hours of my evening sitting in front of the damn computer any longer. I think I'm losing direction here so please consider my question and let me know what you think... Your help is greatly appreciated...



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