10 Months of abstinence, then relapse

Discussion in 'Ages 25-29' started by Moses1991, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. Battlesword1

    Battlesword1 Active Member

    Fully concur with this. She's still there. That counts for a lot.
    Moses1991 likes this.
  2. positivef

    positivef Active Member

    Just to add a contrary point. I wouldn't rule out that your girlfriend is, if not resentful, a little hurt by the addiction. Many partners are devastated by porn use - as this subreddit shows https://www.reddit.com/r/loveafterporn/

    The key is probably to keep being honest and keep the lines of communication open.
  3. While I don't necessarily disagree with positivef's point that she might be a little hurt, I do take issue with the subreddit that was linked to. I took a look at it, and it seems like a very angry and hurt-filled community of people who very much resent their partners for their addiction. I don't think it's a subreddit that any of us should be browsing, as it's not constructive or supportive of change but rather an echo chamber of vitriol that will only make porn addicts feel worse about themselves (and we all know where that leads).

    Look lemme break it down for you.

    Should you be lying to your SO about your porn addiction? Obviously not.

    Is it understandable that you don't want them to know about it? Absolutely.

    Should you be manipulating them or forcing them to "accept" your addiction or to participate in re-enacting fetish/extreme acts that you saw in porn even though it makes them uncomfortable? Holy shit, no.

    Are you a bad person for being addicted to porn? No.

    Should you consider your SO's feelings on the subject, or, if they don't already know, what their feelings might be if they ever found out? Yes.

    I think positivef nailed it with their second line. Honesty and communication will see you through. Honesty and communication will prevent your SO from being another bitter subscriber of r/loveafterporn.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
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  4. Ineedhope

    Ineedhope Member

    I am no doctor or addiction phycologist but in my opinion it is probably because if you have a drinking problem you can simply stay away from beer. With our sexual urges though they seem to follow us wherever we go.
  5. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    Day 24 - Success.

    Was not expecting 3 replies this morning, but it adds strength when I know people read my ramblings.

    And after further thought, i'm not going to be telling my GF about my journey anymore. I think it will just hurt her, and it won't help me get better. I'm going to end up talking about it here, with a friend and with a therapist. She already knows i'm struggling with it, so it's not like keeping a secret. I just think she doesn't need to know every detail.

    Besides, my anxiety is in full swing. I just saw her wednesday, and she was all over me, and then thursday she said she loved me so many times, so I know that my doubts about the relationship are just my brain going nuts. And, I have to talk about that for a second.

    To be real with myself, and with all of you, I have to admit, the worst side-effect for me isn't PIED, and it's not keeping a secret.. the worst thing is the way it ruins your ability to think straight.

    And that's why I made that list, because this time I know i'm in for the long haul, and I know the long haul has some nasty realities. My mind is basically acting like it's drowning. It feels like my fight or flight response is constantly right behind the corner. There is a very short list of things that keep me calm, and it's the following:

    Working out
    Spending time with my GF

    and even then, the calming effects don't last forever.

    This was a grim reminder of what is at the other side of porn addiction. I haven't fallen all the way back to where I was years ago, and that is such a blessing. Each year I seem to still struggle with porn and each year I get just a little better. I used to struggle greatly with just getting to 7 days. Now i'm sitting here with just a couple relapses for the entire year.

    This journey isn't just about the porn, it's changing the very fabric of who I am, and how I interact with the people and world around me.
  6. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    Day 27 - Success.

    Got a smartphone again this last Thursday. Not much to comment today, just a continuation of what I was saying before. My mind is going nuts, and now i'm just going to stay busy to keep it from going to a bad place. It's mostly anxiety and overthinking.

    sidenote: my great grandparents, granparents, and parents were always very busy people, and stressed the importance of keeping busy. They obviously weren't watching porn, but I think I see their point.

    Now that I realized what I was missing, I'm going to get back to sobriety.

    I might be posting on here for years, but regardless, the list of things I have to do are clearly necessary.

    -Human connection (talking about the porn problem at times)
    -Working out
    -Meditation and/or Prayer
    -Reading/ Self improvement​

    and I got to 9 Months using that method, relying on those things. Then, I got into a new relationship, and stopped doing all of those things except working out. A month and a half later, I relapsed.

    It's because these things are necessary to maintain mental health. Without them, I start going back into the stress spiral. And just like any object under stress, it's only a matter of time until it starts to crack.

    I'm going to set up a calendar with a checklist. Each of those things i'll do twice a week minimum, and i'll talk to someone about something deep at least once a week. (i'm hoping I don't always have to talk about the porn problem, as that would only burden my friends and family with information they probably do not want to hear.)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  7. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    Day 28 - Success.

    Today's post, I regret, will be a long one. If it is too long, just know that the way out is sometimes not what you expect.

    I am feeling very anxious.

    Earlier I wrote about how the real relationship ruiner in pornography is that it ruins your ability to think straight.. below, I have detailed what I mean.

    The Situation: This weekend, I came to my girlfriend's house (she lives with her parents still) and I was told I couldn't stay the night. Which, normally I do stay the night because it's an hour drive to get out there. And, then the weekend was spent entirely with her family, we didn't get any alone time. Maybe the occasional kiss. She normally comes over on wednesday but this week she won't be doing that, she will be hanging out with her sister on wednesday. And next weekend will be like this one, where I won't really be able to stay over, and she'll be spending most of her time with family and friends.

    Then she said she would call last night and she just didn't.. and she didn't respond to my text for 3 hours. She only really responded to say she's going to bed.

    The Challenge: So, i'm feeling anxious. I woke up feeling anxious, and I have been anxious for a while. This is the part where I have to use a skill I have learned relatively recently. It's going to sound dull, but it's the ability to be self-aware. It's the ability to know that i'm nervous before I have a full-blown panic attack and accuse someone of something ridiculous. And this extends further, because in other situations, I have to be able to know that i'm feeling sad, before it becomes depression. As well as knowing i'm mad, before it turns into fury. (as well as feeling lonely) I must know sooner, because I have to engage in self-soothing. I have to gauge how i'm feeling and adjust before poor decisions are made in the moment. This skill is learned in prayer and meditation and it takes time.

    The Process: So, in this situation i'm feeling anxious. I can look back at my notes here and see that I have been anxious for a while. So, my immediate thought is: "Did my girlfriend do something bad, or am I just interpreting things differently because of my current mental state?" Firstly, the human mind is like the air around us. You're unaware of it, and in certain situations it distorts what you see. (think of hot days when the road looks wet, even though it is the light bending. Or think of how we send satellites into space, because our atmosphere bends light and makes it hard to see stars at night.) You are not as logical and objective as you think you are.

    So, I know my mind is going into anxiety overdrive, is there a different narrative I can place here that doesn't necessarily state that my relationship is in trouble? Well, we can begin with the part about not staying at her house. Her parents are very conservative, and don't want me and her having sex. So, they don't want us using the same bed. Her sisters from out of town are visiting, along with her sister's soon-to-be husband. So, each person is getting their own bed, sharing beds would be uncomfortable because of the heat (they don't have A/C) so.. they simply do not have room. Also, she hasn't seen her sisters in a while, and with a quick mental tally... She won't be seeing them again for at least another 4 months, or longer. She gets to see me every weekend, but she will not see some of these people for a long time.

    Secondly, I have to admit, I have been acting odd and negative around her. Maybe she is just getting some space from me? After all, I haven't been easy to deal with lately, and we have spent a lot of time together. In my defense, my brain is literally rewiring and the withdrawal symptom of anxiety is well-known. I'm not exactly a calm person to begin with, but right now i'm a mess. My hands are shaking as I type this. I am logically aware that there is nothing to be anxious about. Worst case scenario: she is cheating on you and dumps you. So what? I mean, that would hurt my feelings a lot, but it's not like my life would be over. I have to have the self-value and believe I am worth something in order to defeat this addiction in the first place.

    But logic isn't the way out of this problem. I can sit here and have a logical debate with myself all day. The issue is emotional in nature and must be handled on that level. So, today we're going to listen to relaxing music at work. I have my own youtube video I like to go to that calms me down... and then we're going to go for a nice long walk today, and spend some time reading and just being chill.

    to summarize this, in case anyone wants it in an easy format:

    1- be aware of how you're feeling in this moment.
    2- adjust, take care of yourself. (do not spoil yourself, or do something to your detriment just to feel better. do something good.)
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
    positivef likes this.
  8. Battlesword1

    Battlesword1 Active Member

    My two cents mate is to address it straight on: "Hey, are we okay? I know you're really busy, and I want to be there for you. How can I help?"
    Moses1991 likes this.
  9. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    When I actually address it, the process is just two short steps

    "hey, what am I feeling?" immediately followed by "what do i do about it?"

    I just figured it was useful to post how the mind will just vomit with random thoughts, that are sometimes outrageous. At least mine does.

    It's like a stupid monkey, and I just need to throw a banana in the direction I need it to go.
  10. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    Day 29 - Success.

    Never did get a therapist. I'm spending a lot this month, maybe I should wait?

    Was also thinking of pausing sex with the GF. To let my urges die down, just in the beginning. But will that be a bad idea?

    Feeling calmer today, got a decent night's sleep.
    positivef likes this.
  11. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    Day 30 - Success.

    Let's break it down.

    A painter took money from my dad, never did the work, and now my dad is out of $1,000 and they're suing the guy. My dad doesn't speak english well so I have to help with the case. (I am not a lawyer.)

    I was supposed to get a crown today, it turned into a root canal.

    I got a speeding ticket this last sunday.

    Relationship stress in general, buying a ring, etc.

    and dealing with this porn addiction thing.

    Parents still call me like 4 times a day to ask me superficial things.

    And I got more problems than that, but my circumstance does not dictate my life. I have chosen to have a good day. Tonight, i'm snorting pre-workout like it's cocaine, and lifting weights until my arms feel like spaghetti noodles. Then, I will proceed to either walk on the pier, or watch a delightful movie before bed.

    We're all gonna make it. If I can do it, you can do it.
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  12. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    Day 31 - Success.

    I didn't mention it in earlier posts, but I'm coming down from the anxiety. Feeling calmer these days. (not calm, just calm-er)

    Had a nice workout yesterday, going to do another one today. The GF is doing nice, and I guess life is going well. I have good things to look forward to.

    i'm going to be needing God's help for these next steps.
    positivef likes this.
  13. igrow

    igrow Active Member

    You got this my friend. Keep moving forward.
  14. Battlesword1

    Battlesword1 Active Member

    Keep it up Moses. You got a lot of life stressors facing you right now it seems, but break each problem down, isolate them from each other. Then come up with the solution and steps to get to the solution. Then follow the plan for each problem. You will succeed!
  15. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    I have to admit guys, I feel terrible. I can't think straight.

    In a nutshell, last night I could not sleep, and essentially got caught looking through my gf's phone.

    We didn't break up or even have a fight, but she expressed disappointment.
    And this is one of those times where I don't know what to think. On the one hand, it is true that I have been cheated on or treated poorly in past relationships. I'm also in the middle of porn withdrawal and feeling anxious and insecure in general. So, I can totally see how I let my anxiety get the better of me.

    However, she does have a co-worker that ''jokes' with her about T-bagging her. (She asked me what that means one day, and told me her male coworker joked with her about it.) He's married too.

    And, I've been here before. And I've already learned that having a six-pack, a good job, and whatever will never stop some girls from having a wandering eye. And I've totally seen the other guy that is 'harmless' but he's obviously doing that thing where he jokes with your girl in increasingly sexual ways to try and get her. And what she's doing isn't what I'd call cheating, but I made a new phrase for it. I call it "entertaining."

    It's when a someone keeps accepting or reacting with acceptance towards another person with behavior that is accumulating towards a sexual/emotional connection. Everyone does it outside of a relationship, as we get to know each other and test the waters to see if it's safe to pursue further. But some people struggle to set boundaries, and they have a hard time learning where to draw the line. Still other people are unhappy with their relationship and engage in "entertaining" where it is not appropriate.

    If a random girl joked about sitting on my face, my GF would cut off my balls. So, I'm having a hard time feeling like i'm overreacting. Nobody likes knowing some douche is flirting with their GF.

    and honestly I could pull a total power move. I could just go and beat his ass, or save screenshots of the shit he says to my gf, and just send it to his kids in 10 years, letting them know their dad is a cheater.

    and like, honestly guys? i'm remembering being single. I was 9 months into my streak and going strong. I wasn't exactly happy when I was single, but I felt like a man. Nobody told me what to do, and I had no vulnerability like this. There was no loss I could experience that would cause me distress like this. Again, I wasn't exactly happy, I was very lonely actually.. but now i'm remembering why I stayed single for a whole year. It's because I keep running into women that make me feel like the second choice. And the stress from these situations always compounds and relapse becomes the oasis in the desert. Except, it's a trap.

    but anyways, my logic is in shambles right now, and I know this. I've been having streaks and relapsing for years, so I know the game. This is the part where my brain uses anxiety to drag me into depression, and then uses the depression to try and force a relapse. It's because my brain thinks I need that neural reward pathway to porn, but I do not.

    I apologize for the long post. I'm not sure that i'm necessarily looking for advice, maybe I just needed to vent. At least there was no relapse.

    The only person here I can control is me. So, i'm going to take the afternoon off, and just go wander in a forest or by the rocks somewhere. Without my phone. I need to reclaim my manhood. I need to think about what i'm grateful for in life.
  16. Man it's like you said, you're going through withdrawal and feeling anxious/insecure/paranoid. I don't think this is a sign of the end of your relationship, nor do I think it's necessarily a sign of your gf cheating on you or planning to cheat on you.

    That being said, I think you should talk to her (not him, her) and explain how uncomfortable you are with her male coworker joking about t-bagging her (like wtf who does that). Don't confront her about it, just tell her how you feel and ask her how it makes her feel when that guy makes such jokes. I can't imagine any woman enjoying being the butt of a joke like that, and honestly I find his behavior quite inappropriate, especially considering that they are coworkers.
    Battlesword1 and Moses1991 like this.
  17. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    This advice is actually very reasonable and I like it.. but I'm not sure if i'm in the mental state to approach the topic with the delicate touch it requires. I just know i'm going to come off sounding irritated, judging, or critical.
  18. Moses1991

    Moses1991 Member

    Day 35 - Success.

    Regarding yesterday's insanity: I could have kept quiet and just noted that i'm struggling, but I like posting that mess. It's important for myself, because only in withdrawal do I get that way. I have to be very honest with myself if this is going to work, if anything will get better. And that includes recognizing my faults and times of weakness, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.

    That being said, I still don't like my GF's coworker, I still think he is a piece of work, but i'm much calmer about it today.

    Also, I said nothing to her yesterday regarding my thoughts. If anything, this was a reminder of why I got away from porn. If i'm having back-to-back relapses, or if I have been abstinent for a long time, these near-panic attacks don't happen. It's specifically when I've gone 20-40 days without porn that these happen.
  19. Ineedhope

    Ineedhope Member

    Hey dude I just read your last post.

    I think if its bugging you then talking to your GF about it is the best thing to do.

    Personally I would go bananas if someone did that to my past girlfriends that joke definitely went way to far.

    I also get that you can't just go and and start fights with random people as well but I think talking to your gf about this would be appropriate.

    Think of it this way what would you girlfriend do if you where flirting with a colleague at work telling her you where going to t bag her what would your wife think if she found out.

    Anyways only you know what's best I hope this all works out for you in the end.
  20. Glad to hear you've calmed down about it, Moses1991. I do still think you should talk to your gf about it, but definitely wait until you can approach it with love and serenity instead of jealousy or anger.

    It's good that you're aware of how your brain reacts to being without porn. Helps to know that any negative emotional tendencies are just temporary side effects of PMO withdrawal.

    Stay strong, friend. Remember that even though you're not thrilled with your gf's coworker's actions, she's with you, not him. He's just some guy making inappropriate comments towards women he works with (what a catch lol)
    Moses1991 likes this.

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