2.9 years of sobriety- My journey in finding self-acceptance and inner peace

Discussion in 'Ages 25-29' started by Freedom from Servitude, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    Significance of a Vision

    People who have a clear and tasty enough vision will feel motivated, enthused and fun/creative to their maximum. If you construct a good vision in respect to your relationships with women and sex, you will succeed.

    If you want to quit porn, then you need a strong vision. And you can write one up right now, it is simple. There is no necessity to overthink or get too analytical with your vision, all that matters is that it affects you emotionally when you picture it. I had a very determined and strong vision with my journey a while back and it was daily contemplation on this vision that lulled me effortlessly towards quitting porn.

    "Quitting porn" must be defined. Do not borrow what the professionals and expert say on what porn is and is not. You know well enough yourself. For me, my definition was "Saving all my sexual energy for real life women I felt drawn towards and never having an inkling or desire to look up pictures or videos ever again because I want all my sexual appetite for real life women of beauty."

    The way I got into my vision was that I first went into a nightmare vision. What would happen to me if I continued wanking for another 5 years? How has my life already been? What opportunities with women have I turned down due to a less-than-ideal sexual appetite or craving for real life women?....I thought of all the opportunities I had with women and turned down due to a lack of sexual excitement with them. Eventually one day as I was coming home from a date where I couldn't make any moves on a woman, I sat and just thought. I did not watch porn. I just went into an abyss for a few hours. I thought of every women who had ever invited me over to her house, had kissed me, had approached me, had made radical advances on me, had texted me sex messages......And how I seemingly didn't go for any of them bar the times I had not wanked for one week or so. (please note I was able to think about this from a place of self-love and acceptance, not shaming or guilting myself). I contemplated all the messages I was given in childhood from church and parents "Sex is bad, don't ever make women feel like you are an animal, don't be a sleaze, women don't want sex." I had a lot of brainwashing to undo.

    So I took a risk one day. I just decided that evening that I was going to be in control of myself and make my own choices and have my own autonomy. I was going to save up my sexual appetites so much with real life women, that I couldn't help but get them into bed and stop at nothing until I had intimacy with one. I was going to break every rule in my rulebook in respect to my early childhood messages etc...I listened to some hypnosis to reinforce I was in charge, I was in control, I could do whatever I wanted.

    And it really was effortless. It really was! I read so many testimonials of "withdrawal effects" and "oh it was so hard" and "another urge to fight" and on the list goes. Sadly for me, I did not. I was so fiercely, ferociously and viciously intent on meeting a real life women and having new sexual experiences that the urge to look at any porn (because that would put me into a downward spiral) or wank were forever out of my lexicon.

    I believe this was reinforced through my hypnosis; the 'high' I felt from being in control was way better than the high I got from looking at porn or wanking. And every time I considered wanking I considered all the opportunities I had blown and just went "enough is enough. No more." And I was reinforced with real life women because I actually felt pulled towards talking with them and seeing them and dating them. This time, when I went on dates, I was kissing them within 15 minutes. I was a Tarzan. Indeed I have picked JohnnBravo as a tongue-in-cheek character, but actually he is quite relevant. I was asking so many girls out, perhaps 3 a day in one week. I was so high texting and calling girls, going on dates, and these girls being SO IMPRESSED with how sexual and desiring I was about them. No need for any Viagra, I was Viagra, all you had to do was cut 3kg of me and sell it for $19.95 per kilo and you would be nuts to not be talking to women.

    That girl I had my eye on at the Café for more than one year at my university? Got her number, done. That girl in my university class who was half in and half out with me? Well I kissed her the following week. The university lecturer who I didn't get stiff for? Boned her mad (and then had to dump her cause she was needy). I could not imagine how even getting a girlfriend was considered hard/a challenge at this point. It was super easy. There was no need to learn pickup anymore (I was very good at opening girls) all I had to do was quit porn and abstain and save my sexual charges up for these real life babes.

    Sex was......amazing.

    I completely went against all the 'rules' I was given in childhood. Sex was bad? Well watch me. Dating is bad? Well watch me. Having a sexuality is bad? Well watch me save it up and score with 100s of girls.

    And that was when I met my lover turned girlfriend. The rest is history guys. The sex was unreal, it was so dream like and magically perfect that the option for wanking or watching porn just seemed secondary. But because the high was so good I recall I soon just stopped caring about watching porn/not watching porn. It was excting from my brain.

    As I have said, the only reason I managed to get back onto this forum was because a (real life) friend expressed he was going to quit porn because he couldn't get it up with his wife enough, which led me to consider how good it is to be off it.

    I am going to continue to write on this website probably for the rest of the year to help and offer any value to anyone. All I can state right now is that the need for a vision is huge. If you spend just one hour constructing a vision, and see yourself successful by your own definitions, I have ZERO DOUBT you will even want to watch porn again.

    And whilst I understand and appreciate everyone say "I want to feel better and improve my self confidence" please remind yourself that Nofap/ Quitting Porn is in respect to your own male sexuality. Your balls, your sexual seed, your ability to have a child son/daughter with a woman and meet a women who will be your spouse and mother of your children. If you want children, this is the means to go. Please think of your vision in terms of SEXUALITY first, then self esteem and life purpose. If you leave your sexuality out of your life vision, then you will probably just want to wank and watch porn. CONSTRUCT YOUR VISION AROUND YOUR SEX LIFE AND YOUR WOMEN DREAMS. Yes I give you permission to. Do it now and you can thank me later but posting a picture of you and your beautiful partner up on here in future.
  2. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks for sharing, Johnny. It is always uplifting to hear stories like yours, and it is nothing short of incredible. It is very good of you to stay around and help out others in this community. Although, I have been shaping my life vision for a while, I haven't put much thought into it from the point of view of sex. I shall think this over.
    Johhny Bravo likes this.
  3. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thank you, my friend. It was a good weekend, and I left it feeling more confident and feeling a stronger bond with my colleagues.
    Raskolnikov likes this.
  4. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    The last few days have been pretty good on the whole. My mood has been relatively stable and I have even been feeling positive in places. Conversation with others seems to be easier and more enjoyable than usual. I was hit quite hard by cravings to act out yesterday which started the night before. I had another tough time sleeping last night due to cravings that interrupted my normal cycle. Overall though my sleeping routine is making a return to normality this week following the chronic stress of last week. I have bought some magnesium oil which I have heard is supposed to be quite good for sleeping difficulties. Actually my experience this week compared to last has been like night and day. I have been doing a six day work week and I haven't felt very daunted by it, as I normally would. Indeed, I have even been looking forward to going into work at times! This is really encouraging given that I only had one day off to recover from the demands of last week. I am looking forward to some time off though. I am going to spend one of my days off next week seeing a friend which I am looking forward to. Having some time off will also give me the opportunity to get on top of projects again.
  5. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    Alternative nostril breathing might help sleep:) takes practise but you can knock yourself out very rapidly if done correctly.
  6. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    The last few days have been alright. Not much to report. I had my first day off in a while yesterday and spent it chilling out for the most part. I also had an eye check up. I was at work again today. I was relatively calm and I was able to exchange some nice conversations with my colleagues and visitors which was great. For this particular job, I have traditionally found it difficult to make conversation with my colleagues. I am not entirely sure why. On the one hand, there is part of me that finds it difficult to open up around them. Yet, they can be what I call selfish conversationalists- and I mean that in the nicest possible way. They don't really ask questions about me or my interests and I feel slightly awkward talking about myself when it is inappropriate to do so. That doesn't stop me though from expressing an interest with what they do with their lives.We are also quite different personalities. The main avenue by which we communicate therefore is small talk, and this is something that I can struggle with, nor I am really that interested in it. I am a 'proper' conversation sort of guy. I think if I want to develop my relationship with my colleagues, I will have to continue to seek opportunities to make conversation out of the ordinariness of life. It is a skill like all things that I can only get better at.
  7. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    .."For this particular job, I have traditionally found it difficult to make conversation with my colleagues. I am not entirely sure why. On the one hand, there is part of me that finds it difficult to open up around them."

    I would say to trust yourself. It could be that these particular people are just not your type.

    For years when I used to work jobs or be in social groups of certain kinds, I found I was one of the least social people. And it didn't make sense to me, because naturally I am quite an open and talkative guy. If you met me, you'd probably think I was the most proactive person around in terms of making connections.

    Looking back in hindsight, it was because those people in these groups were just not for me. I never desired to hang out with them even beyond the social group interactions. I was there just by force due to work or a commitment of some type. However I used to feel bad/unworthy because many other colleages would be joking and having friendships, and it would seem like I was the only awkward one who didn't want to take part. It felt isolating at time.

    But the only reason it felt isolating was because there was a big part of me that wanted approval from others. If I didn't get approval from others, my intial question would be "what is wrong with me?" It was massive self-shaming and self attack. Instead of assuming that these people were just not sheep from my flock like I could have I took it personally.

    I have a challenge for you: Next time you feel weird around these particular people at work, check in to see if you secretly are looking for their approval. I have no doubt you seem to be a very decent human being and can communicate (and write) in a very articulate way over the internet with words. Possibly these colleages just aren't for you? Maybe that is the only lesson that needs be appreciated, that you are good enough as you are beyond the welcome or unaccepting vibe of others.

    A mentor I had once gave me an exercise which made me feel empowering. I once joined a gym, I don't think details matter which particular gym. I knew many people there from previous years of other gyms. This specific gym, whenever I went into it, I felt less-than-good. I was comparing myself with other people. Other people were talking, joking, socialising, seem to have all the friends in the world. It was very "cliquey" if you know what I mean. Because I wasn't with the in crowd, I always felt like a loser in there. My mentor was very kind with me and saw into the situation, "What are you going to the gym for? Are you there to exercise and enjoy, or are you there to compare yourself with others? Do you want to play this game with them all, or do you want to feel freedom, happiness and power?" And he said I should go to the gym, dressed very plainly, workout and go home, and acknowledge no-one if it felt forced or it felt like I needed to interact with them out of neediness or less-than-good feeling.

    After doing this over the course of 2 weeks, one of the very attractive girls there ended up going RIGHT UP TO ME and talking with me directly. After 3 weeks, I met friends who I GENUINLY gelled with easily. The socialising was easy and effortless.

    Not giving your power away is one of the most sexiest things (and most relieving things) you can learn and practise. Not sure if this helps your situation or not but it was the first thing that came to mind. Perhaps you can USE your work situation as a gifting opportunity to practise keeping your power to yourself?- have an attitude of, if I talk to these people or not, who cares. As long as you are respectful of yourself, you win.

    Well done on your progress also.
  8. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Your example closely parallels my situation. I am almost certain that part of me looks for approval in my colleagues and cannot bear it when I don't get the outcome I am looking for. This might be a laugh at my joke, or simply an easy and free conversation which might be interpreted to mean that I am normal.

    It makes sense that this kind of behaviour props up low self-esteem. By seeking validation in others, I think that you are still sending a message to yourself that you are not enough in some way. My dilemma is that I am not sure what 'natural' conversation, as in the natural expression of my self, feels like amidst the social anxiety that I have. Socialising seems to require a lot of effort for me. I do wonder if I withhold from making conversation to look for the 'right' feeling, that nothing will be said at all. As always, this is excellent food for thought. Thanks so much for your support! :)
  9. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    I used to coach men in pickup. Because I dont work for a (very well reputed) companu any more I will give you the one takeaway *for free* that men would pay up to $6,000 to learn over a weekend. Beyond all the social skills and the talking to strangers study, yes, there is one single main point. If you learn this and ponder this enough you wont feel inferior ever again.

    Self worth must be valued and taken. Self importance must be significant. You must realise yes YOU are important! You are worthy! What you say and do and who you are as yourself is impactful and important. Learn to value who you are!

    Hint. You dont have to have your self value measured on doing nofap or not. Have self value and esteem by a choice.

    Why are you refusing to view yourself as important? What are you getting out of your decision to remain less-than to others?
  10. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    If I knew the answer to your first question, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion. I am conscious that I am not getting anything out of my 'decision to remain inferior to others'. Indeed, its not a conscious decision at all but something rooted in my sub-conscious mind. I have been trying a number of different approaches, covering both physical health and the psychological. While I have been able to take the edge off it, I haven't been able so far to resolve the problem. The anxiety I experience is irrational.I'm keeping with the daily hypnotherapy sessions to see what a difference this makes over the course of a month.
  11. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    The last 4 days have been a mixed experience. The first two generally were good and the trend of feeling relatively calm continued. The last two days have altogether been more challenging. Despite sleeping reasonably well the night before, I experienced a slump in my mood and my anxiety reached a higher baseline level all day. There could have been a number of explanations for this, but as far as my social environment goes, it was because a particular supervisor at work returned from her holiday. There seems to be a theme running for me in that women who are in a powerful position in relation to me are a major trigger for my anxiety. This was certainly the case with my old boss for my other job. I feel calmer if they act in a complimentary manner towards me, but if I am not getting praise, I generally feel self-conscious around them. It didn't help my anxiety yesterday that I made a mistake. It was a minor one, with no serious consequence, but my brain took it as the end of the world.

    I encountered a trigger in a German art documentary that I was watching Wednesday. Two black and white photos of naked women briefly appeared on the screen. Although I felt triggered to act out, I was able to stay in control. I was frustrated that no nudity warning was posted on the streaming service. It seems that, if its art, it doesn't count as mature content! Ultimately no harm was done, and if I knew I was going to run into trouble, I would have avoided the documentary outright.

    It has been an eventful week all in all and I have done well to keep trundling on despite the challenges I have faced. I participated in judging a club competition at TM, I also attended an SA meeting, and met with a friend. I am just looking forward to relaxing on my day off tomorrow so that I can recover a bit more from the demands of the last few weeks.
  12. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    My anxiety has been coming and going over the last few days as usual. I woke up feeling it intensely yesterday It still remains a mystery why I continue to experience it. Low self esteem is the main form it manifests in, but is it the cause? Sometimes it feels as though I am chasing shadows. I consciously address one issue with my anxiety and another takes its place like hypochondria. The PAWS narrative is gaining more plausibility for me.

    I am continuing to read Branden's 'The six pillars of self-esteem'. It is a great read with an abundance of wisdom, despite its age. A point that particularly hit home from the book is self acceptance is a hallmark of good self esteem. And that doesn't mean feeling good about yourself all the time, just that you are willing to expose bare awareness to the emotions of the present moment. Saying to yourself that I accept 'this' does help. Its OK too if you are not ready to accept those emotions, just say to yourself in a similar fashion that I accept that I have a difficulty in accepting these emotions.

    Two key other insights I have had this week. Reading SA literature and attending my meeting this week reminded me of the importance that we can only take on day at a time, one step at a time even. No matter how powerful my cravings and anxiety are, I just only have to focus on today. Indeed, I can only be sober for one day at a time. Making the assumption that I have my addiction conquered leads to complacency and makes me vulnerable to a fall. I find this reassuring. I've got to go away for a training course in two weeks time, which is major trigger territory for my anxiety. I find it comforting to know that I can only focus on today and leave the training course for the appropriate time.

    I have also been learning an alternative way of working Step 11 in the 12 step programme. This step as it is conventionally taught is 'sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.' If you are not religious like myself, it is step that requires a bit of creative imagination to work. The SA and AA literature doesn't provide much in the way of guidance for non-believers and is clearly written for a Christian audience. This feeds into the annoyance I feel that the fellowship pays lip service to being open to people of all different backgrounds. I think the principles of SA are great and are logically sound, i just think that the literature could do with re-writing to be as inclusive as possible. A chat with my sponsee provided some inspiration which reminded me of an idea that I have been toying with for a little while. He mentioned about listening to a podcast about developing a sense of spirituality not with a deity but within the inner self. This has given me the confidence to try and pray to the wisdom of my inner self. Ultimately behind every action is our own inner compass of what is right for us. I face cravings to act out, but I know my inner wiser self knows the best course of action is to follow whatever course allows me to stay away from porn and masturbation. In developing faith in this hidden wisdom, I think that it could be a way of developing my intuition and trust in my faculties to perceive and cope with the world.
  13. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks, Raskolnikov. Collins' book sounds really interesting. It is always worth hearing the advice of recovering addicts who know what they are talking about and have a wealth of experience to share. I'll have to add it to the reading list. I think that there is such a thing as the higher self. Its that sense of guilt and wrongdoing we feel whenever we have acted out and the aspiration to be something better. Its ultimately why were are here posting on this forum. For me, its also my better judgement that tells me that there is nothing to worry about whenever I have a flare up with my anxiety.
  14. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    I have had another intense episode with my anxiety over the last few days that have been work related. As usual, I attend the shift and find that my anxious feelings are completely unjustified and demonstrate to myself how competent and safe that I really am. It can be a real nuisance that strongly affects the quality of my life. I woke up this morning feeling anxious about two further shifts this week where I will be on my own. Also, the big triggering event coming up which is the training course that I will be away for three days for. In addition to listening to a hypnosis self-esteem track, I did some EFT and that has helped tremendously. I have also found reaching out to my sponsor has supported my current situation. With my anxiety comes the call to act out, but I have found that this has been fairly faint. I have got the day off today and I am determined to enjoy it.
  15. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    The last few days have been good overall. I have been fairly calm. EFT is keeping my anxieties regarding events in the next few weeks at bay. and for the most part I have been able to enjoy some quiet days to myself.

    I saw a documentary on Dyslexia on the BBC yesterday which caused me to think about my own relationship with the condition. I wasn't diagnosed with Dyslexia until I got to the 2nd year of university, and by then, I was really struggling with my education and working unhealthy hours to compensate. I neglected my needs which in turn allowed my addiction to become more and more entrenched. My lack of awareness of Dyslexia, and subsequent difficulty in accepting it, once diagnosed, has played a big part in the development of my addiction. I struggled at primary school and developed low self-esteem as a result of negative labelling, not being able to do well with exams. I was put in low groups at high school to begin with, but something clicked and I found that I was able to get by, by working extremely hard. In order to prove my teachers wrong, I was determined to work my way up the ability groups. I was quite successful too, and by the last year of high school, I had made my way from the bottom to the top three for the core subjects. However there was always a sense of not being enough, and it didn't help that I struggled to finish exams on time.

    When I left school, I got a solid set of results, but I felt that they did not represent the true inner talents that I had to offer. In order to get them, I continued to work very hard in my spare time. This trend became more profound through sixth form and university, to the point that I could no longer healthily compensate my difficulties by working extra hard. So I neglected my needs and all the while my addiction grew. Dyslexia wasn't the only component in this. With my inferiority complex came perfectionism, and the inability to settle for what was just enough. Increasingly my perfectionism became a paralytic and I buckled under the stress. This helped to push me over the edge in my third year. I wasn't aware of all of this at the time because my addiction blinded me to my feelings. A combination of my addiction and pride stopped me from getting the necessary help I needed for my Dyslexia and mental health difficulties.

    That was quite some time ago, but I have noticed a continuing tendency in the four years or so since to brush my Dyslexia under the carpet. Instead of accepting that I have Dyslexia, I have tried to find strategies to 'cure' the condition which not only do not work but are a denial of who I am. I write this because I realise that accepting the combined set of strengths of weaknesses that Dyslexia gives me is all part of developing a healthy self esteem and finding lasting happiness.
  16. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    Just a quick update. I have had a mixed week. My anxiety spiked a few days ago at the prospect of working alone and dealing with the public. I pushed through and managed to get through the two days plus fulfil a duty at my TM club which I am really pleased with. The last two days have been quite enjoyable. I managed to get quite a lot done yesterday, particularly focusing on SA business. I met with a friend from my SA group, and we went for a meal in the local pub. I am feeling quietly uneasy about going away for this course, but I also know that it will do me good in the long run to go.
  17. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    It has been an intensive week. I felt a lot of anxiety about going away for the course that I mentioned in my last post. I had two nights of insomnia over it. I was away from home for three days and will avoid the details of the course and the events that took place for reasons of anonymity. I will say that it was really worthwhile doing. I learnt some interesting new skills and spent a fair amount of time mixing in with people who I had not met before. The delegates generally got on well with each other, and, by the end of the three days, a sense of community was felt.

    The course went well not because my fears never materialised but because it was a very real ,imperfect experience.I found it difficult to pick up all of the skills taught and I made the mistakes in front of people I was dreading , but I survived. In doing so, I proved my fears wrong and made myself emotionally realise that there was nothing to fear all along. I could handle the situation. I felt quietly confident on my way home yesterday, knowing that I had done extremely well.

    I have been catching up today. Mainly just relaxing to recover from the strain of the last few days, while also keeping my mind busy in productive activities.
  18. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    I spent most of the day meeting with an old friend of mine from my college days. We walked along the coastline, enjoying some unusually warm weather for October. I enjoyed catching up with him. After a quiet spell with cravings, I have felt a strong presence of my addiction today. My mind seems to be hypersensitive to women walking in the street and to every one that pops up on the TV screen. It is tougher to look away and keep my mind off sexual thoughts. Not sure why, I have encountered the same triggers as usual. Some days are just naturally more difficult than others. I think it has just been one of those days. Reaching out, entering my breathing space and doing my step 11 personal prayer keeps me sober on a moment by moment basis.

    Tonight I have a meeting with my SA fellows where we are going to address some issues relating to the group. This service and connection to others will help keep me on the right track today.
  19. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    I was working Sunday and we were quite busy on the front desk because of the grim weather. I was feeling uneasy about working but I pushed through it as usual and proved to myself how competent I am even with the trickiest of customers. I have been feeling a bit flat lately, which I remember from this time last year. I am wondering whether it has got something to do with SAD. I noticed yesterday that my unhealthy online habits are creeping up on me again. It is all to easy to waste time procrastinating watching Youtube videos, and browsing online comments sections. I am reminded that I have an addictive relationship with the internet. However, unlike porn, it only seems to be a problem when I am near a computer. I have been able to happily go long periods of time without regular access in the past. I have been productive today, making the finishing touches to a speech, doing my step 11 work, and job searching. I have also managed to steer clear of procrastination by timing my activities using the computer, having a plan in place and reaching out to my sponsor. It has been a good day on balance.
    yearofchange likes this.
  20. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    I've been alright lately. I had to do a winter clothes shop yesterday and seized the opportunity to invite my mum and sister along. Although I was feeling a little flat when I came back and had strong urges to act out, it was a great day on balance.

    To hark back on earlier post, the past few days have been good enough. I have been thinking a bit about Buddhism again. I am currently not involved in the sangha as I used to be. That''s not because I disagree with the philosophy, but because it did not provide the 'cure' to my anxiety that I hoped it would. Combine that with the often esoteric nature of the texts and teachings, and I felt that I had reached an impasse where I wasn't getting anything from my involvement in the community. Reading some Buddhist content online last night reminded me of the value of its teachings. It also caused me to evaluate the unrealistic expectations I had. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism isn't about praying to a God to take it all away, it is grounded in realism and more practical. It is about learning to deal better with the sufferings of life and develop a greater appreciation for what we have.I think that is a big part of my journey as a recovering addict who has conditioned themselves to escape from reality. Life isn't perfect, but I do believe that, in my case, we can appreciate what is good enough and not cast aside a day because shades of anxiety have been felt.

    I am still spending a bit too much time on the computer, but that is probably because of a lack of a plan in place. I tell myself that i am going to relax and just end up on the computer as default. I can't always be bothered to put into action my toolkit, but its progress not perfection and I am wasting time a lot less than I used to.
    yearofchange likes this.

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