25 months and still in flatline

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Zander, Nov 20, 2021.

  1. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    @MasterKrug I wish that were the case. If you check any ~2 years journeys then you'll always read the same pattern: time was the only true healer. Meditation, hobbies, sex, masturbation without porn---none of it improved that which only time could. I've done it all my friend. But I will say this: meditation and Buddhism are major, major tools. That shit won't cure me faster, but it helped me understand so much about myself and the nature of thoughts and impulses.

    Of this, in my case, I have no question.

    Only recently have I started having any interest in activities that used to fulfill me. Only way I got to this point was abstinence. I fucked my brain up hard. Look up the word "kindling" in regards to addiction. That's what I did: long streaks followed by binge relapses. For some reason, that shit can fuck your brain up more than constant relapse.

    I had a girlfriend throughout months 5-11, maybe a tad longer. I had a lot of sex. All it did was make me feel worse, though I still enjoyed it because sex is sex.

    The sad part about the intercourse, above many other things, was that it wasn't pure. It was more of a lust thing than a true connection. Granted it wasn't all bad or all positive, but it definitely trended towards "unhealthy". And yeah, when I was done I'd feel awful. Insecure, anxious, depressed. It made all of the symptoms I was already experiencing worse. There were some occasions when I didn't feel so bad, but that was because my withdrawals weren't as severe during those intervals.

    Not all cases are like mine. And I don't expect my blueprint to work or fit with other people's. This shit is all very personalized. Very, very personalized. I've never read a story that matched mine to the T. Most of them are not even close. There are just so many fucking variables involved with this stuff. Fetishes, edging, amount of relapses, personal DNA, brain structures, etc. etc.

    I wouldn't base anything about your recovery on mine. The one place I can help with is motivation, but I'm not actively trying to motivate anyone. The way I see it--the best way to help others is to set an example. Success stories are far more important than me doling out advice. This doesn't really apply to you--it's more me talking to myself.

    On the other hand, if anyone does want advice then I'd be more than happy to help. But yeah, I guess my main goal is to beat this thing. And I use these journals to kind of get rid of the toxic sludge that accumulates in my brain. Rarely do I post positive things, because I like to celebrate them on my own. But that doesn't mean I won't start chronicling my, hopefully eventual, rise to normality. If I get strong, concrete evidence that I'm getting close then I'll begin to report it. But yeah, I use these forums selfishly. It's a nice way to feel heard. I'd rather post my thoughts so others can see them than keep the pain and discomfort to myself.

    Thanks for posting though, because for some reason it has motivated me to remind myself that I can fail at any moment. The number one remedy, for my particular situation, is time and abstinence. The rest is and will take care of itself. I can't fuck up this close to the finish line. I gotta stay hypervigilant at all times. No R rated T.V., movies, Youtube, anything. That has been key for me. Avoid triggers at all costs, especially during the first couple months (especially first 15 days).

    I'll leave you with this: have you ever been abstinent long enough to know if rewiring is necessary? That should be your goal. Get there. Get to the point where you can really start evaluating what you need to do to move forward. Because when you think about it, not relapsing is the most important thing. Doesn't matter how many good things you pack into your schedule: if you relapse then you gotta start over, or, if you're like me, you gotta start from a place that's even further behind. Not trying to come down: that's just how it makes sense in my brain.

    Not advocating to not enrich your life for the better. All I've wanted, from the beginning of this current streak, is to get to the place where I WANT to pursue life again. But, at the same token, I'm not letting the absence of said passions to cause unneeded friction. I didn't rush anything. I allowed myself to be a blob. I knew what was inside of my heart, and I knew that I had good intentions all the way through.

    I'll say one last thing: the only way I was able to get this far was by learning who in the fuck I was. Porn, for me, was a tool that I used to assimilate to the world around me. It numbed and dulled me into a person that could navigate my surroundings. I was a highly insecure person up until the age of 27-28. Therapy, and surrounding myself with better role models that encouraged my true self were the only ways I was able to love myself enough to want to truly quit. Sounds self-helpy and new-age, but it's the truth. I don't know how to put it without injecting a strong does of sentimentality.

    I'd say most addicts out there are addicts for a reason.
  2. MasterKrug

    MasterKrug New Member

    I have definitely noticed benefits and super powers on streaks. However, I don't think I've reached "long enough". The longest I've gone was about 60 days on two different occasions.

    I can tell it's the porn fucking me up. I feel much worse after a day of PMO, even just PM. I most edge and try not to O (actually it should be E for ejaculation). It's been very difficult for me to go past one week lately. And because I watch porn for hours on end edging, I'm confident porn is a major factor in my fatigue and brain fog.

    I agree with everything you said, and thank you for answering my question. Time indeed is a healer. I wish we had more answers on these things though, perhaps eventually we will discover what a long recovery means and the ways the recover faster. I'm worried I will take a long time to recovery as well, because my addiction is severe.

    I'm getting help. I'm doing what you advocated as well, searching for the root causes of why I'm addicted and finding purpose in life.

    I can relate to this.

    I'm glad to motivate you on this most worthy of endeavors. You're a MAN, on an important journey.
    GokuSSB_XMAXX likes this.
  3. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Dude good luck. Let me know if you ever have any more questions pop into your head. This is some rough shit, and it can be super lonely.

    All the best.
  4. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    I've actually been able to predict things this go round. I know exactly where I am in this current "cycle" of symptoms.

    This is good for many reasons. First, there is no surprise element. I know where I'm at and I have a rough estimation of how long it will last.

    Two, the cycle is already basically over. It only lasted ~35 days. That's half as long as the last one.

    Three. If I'm truly correct about it ending soon, then that would mean I can predict the next one as well. And there is a chance that the next one will be even shorter. Or, even if it's the same length--1 month is doable. It's not fun, but at least there is a structure to it that I'm familiar with.

    Four. If it does end, then I'll have another 2 weeks of even more "improvements", and who in the fuck knows what they'll end up being.

    Five. To be honest, this has been the easiest cycle I've had since the first year of the reboot. I was able to watch T.V. for about .25-.5 of the days, and was able to workout for about 3/4 of the time. I was into more positive activities, spent more time being productive, and was more optimistic than ever before. I thought about my future for a a solid fourth of the time.

    Six. It's safe to say that I've only improved over the past 1-2 months. Doesn't feel like I'm descending anymore. Things are no longer getting worse as time progresses--they are now, seemingly, getting better. So, when the next cycle eventually comes, it'll probably be even easier than this one. And so on, until it all eventually fades.

    No more numbers. Anyways, these are all just predictions and wishful thinking. I have no evidence of any of this being explicitly true. Only time will tell, as always.

    There are still a lot of negative things going on in my life, and there are still a fuckton of question marks. My great wish is that a lot of those question marks get fucking dealt with in the next 3-4 months.

    I don't ever want to get too optimistic because things can turn sour oh so quickly.

    Rough times are ahead. I'm about to enter a stretch of super difficult days. And if there is a next cycle, which I'm thinking there will be one, then I'll have to endure a lot more pain before I progress even further.

    Who knows how long all of this will hold up. But if it continues to get easier, then it won't be so bad. After going through 2+ years of misery, the last part of this journey won't seem so bad at all. My expectations of life, though rising, are still so unbelievably low. A good day for me is one where I'm able to watch 2 hours of The Big Bang Theory and have a solid trip to the bathroom.

    Speaking of bathroom, my digestion is starting to improve greatly as well. That's probably been the biggest improvement I've seen this go round. Hopefully more things will follow. I'd love to get my sleep to be within the realm of normality. Once that happens then I'll really be cookin' with gas.

    As I said, I still have a lot of issues. Sleep, digestion still ain't great, anhedonia, social anxiety, lack of libido, lack of overall positivity, still a lot of anger, still a lot of depression, shriveled junk, fucked up appetite, inability to access creativity, lack of desire to connect with others, anxiety, some hallucinatory experiences, death anxiety, paranoia, inconsistency throughout my days, fear of the future, regret, dark dreams, poor sleep, and more.

    Time to tune in though folks. I have a feeling that things are going to start changing in the next few-several months. I keep saying how I'm waiting for that big change. Well, I think it'll arrive within 6 months. Hopefully shorter.

    Gotta stay vigilant. Relapse will always be only a mouse click away.
  5. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Got through the first day of work. My brain is fried after gathering all of that new information. Each day will be easier than the last until I convert most of the job to muscle memory. It's not particularly white collar so I don't plan on this process taking longer than 2 weeks, tops.

    Got to listen to music and podcasts for the duration, which was ~2 hours longer than what I was scheduled to work because I had to learn how to do everything as I was doing it.

    Mood wise I was pretty low for most of it, but the amount of focus I needed to get shit done helped alleviate the pain in a way. My memory of my first day, overall, is tinged with a dark hue because of these godforsaken symptoms, but I think a normal version of me would be satisfied with the overall layout. I have complete solitude, work on my own time, and get to lose myself (as much as my fucked up brain will allow) in my podcasts and music.

    Not going to try and accurately gauge how I would be feeling about it if I were in a better mind space because that's an exercise in futility. I'm just going to keep going to work each day and doing my job. I'm going to be pretty fucking proud of myself once I successfully juggle (for a decent length of time) these awful withdrawals alongside working a job that requires a lot of mundane but strenuous work. It's going to do great things for my confidence moving forward.

    If my prediction holds up then tomorrow will be even worse than today was, withdrawal-wise. If that's the case, then I need to be strong and to not let the symptoms color my view. It's an almost impossible task, but any amount of perspective will be vital. I gotta try and keep my head above water. Workwise, I'm already through the worst of it.
  6. MasterKrug

    MasterKrug New Member

    Thanks man, and same to you.

    I wanted to share a post I wrote on another thread, because maybe you'll find it useful or relevant to your long recovery time. Another theory of mine, and a practice I'm personally starting to experiment with.


    It's the lastest post, posted Dec. 8th.
  7. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Gotta admit, not really looking for a certain way to combat this flatline. I'm a strong believer in abstinence and time. I have a job, lift, journal, eat fairly well. And even if I didn't do those things, I still think that time and abstinence will eventually be enough. I was never a fan of the alternative theories. They all seem, to me, to be attempts at circumnavigating the inevitable pain and suffering that result from quitting an addiction. If overcoming long flatlines and harsh symptoms was easy then you'd read a lot more success stories. Truth of the matter is, most guys haven't been abstinent long enough to even know what kind of pain lies on the other side. I think it's a safe assumption that a lot of relapses occur because guys go on Nofap and expect a quick 90 day recovery. The first 30 days are usually blissful, but then the withdrawals hit and they return to their addiction. The pain of withdrawal is a great demotivator, in my book.
  8. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Had a rough one today. Scared of what lies ahead.

    Hoping to start a freelance writing career. Already submitted 2 proposals on Upwork. I figure I might as well build something while I experience these withdrawals.

    Once I start feeling better I'll start sending out a shit ton of proposals. Freelance writing seems like a much better, easier way to make money than what I'm currently doing.

    The good thing about shit jobs is that they are a great motivator. I already find myself wanting to climb the ladder. I figure I might as well utilize my talents.

    Who knows what lays ahead. I'm scared as fuck about the length of this flatline. How long can it possibly go? Today was so fucking devastating because you;d think the really harsh stuff would start to simmer down at some point.

    I'm now halfway to the 26 month mark. Jesus Christ.

    This'll be, by far, the hardest thing I'll ever do. No fucking question. It's really hard to make sense of it. It's thoroughly mind-boggling. Like, who would've thought watching porn would do this to a person?
  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hey Zander, I just wanna say that I find it very inspiring that you have been able to stay clean for so long even if life is still challenging. It seems like the process of recovery can be really long for some of us. I hope things work out for you man. I'm sure you've come a long way already however, even if there is more to go and things are not always easy. I've been checking out your posts, so thanks for sharing.
    Zander likes this.
  10. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 Thanks for saying that man. I really do appreciate it. Sometimes it feels like I'm completely alone, writing to a crowd of zero.

    Good luck to you my friend. If you ever have any questions let me know (you can just message me if you want).

    Seems like you got a nice streak going. Good shit.
  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot. I think there is a lot of value in what you shared. It's been a bit more challenging for me these last couple of days but I want to keep going.
  12. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Less than 2 weeks from month 26. Very much wish I had more to show for it.

    Still waiting on that big, monumental change. The cycle is still all too familiar, with only minor improvements happening in a very gradual manner.

    Maybe one day I'll just leave the flatline. Seems like that has happened to a couple of people. If not, then this shit could take forever. The pain during my rough days is still super fucking intense.
  13. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Had a brief window where things weren't so bad, and then things took a turn and seem to be worse than before. Anhedonia is so strong that I'm not interested in anything at all. Can't even play video games. I just kind of sit in front of my computer and jump from website to website, enjoying nothing. My brain is still craving all of those porn tabs I'd have open at one time...it's like my brain is endlessly trying to get me to re-create that state of mind. Nothing, in my eyes, is worse than edging to video after video. I don't even want to talk about it anymore because it's still triggering to me, even after ~25.7 months. Hope it doesn't trigger anyone else. This shit is powerful beyond words. My brain was completely morphed by it. My whole life, without me realizing it, was being affected by my porn use. It got its hands into everything. Just astounding.
  14. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Today was/is very difficult.
  15. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Today was easier, thank goodness.

    Was able to ponder my future in a meaningful way. Actually got excited by it. Made some rudimentary plans in my head.

    Hope is to make it through the winter in my hometown and then move to New York City in the Spring. At some point I'm going to spend all of my energy on my freelance writing career, because my current job isn't exactly constructive when it comes to my future. I like the idea that I'm paying my dues, but I think 2-3 (maybe 4, hopefully not) months is enough. I've already worked some pretty low end jobs as a kid. I feel this weird sort of guilt about how some people are destined to only work crappy, strenuous, mind-numbing jobs, but I think that there is no use in avoiding my potential as a thinker just so that I can feel as if I'm not above anyone else. Unused potential would be one of those things that could ruin a deathbed scene.

    Who knows though. There's a saying out there about God and how he doesn't give a shit about our plans, and I think it's wise of me not to forget it.
  16. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    I keep a detailed excel spreadsheet that keeps track of each day's symptoms. I sometimes try to use that as a way to predict what's on the horizon. It sometimes helps, sometimes doesn't but lately it's been a decent guidepost when it comes to what to expect. My increase in awareness of symptoms has also helped out a lot in this regard.

    Anyways, if I'm at where I think I'm at, then I'm going to have to endure a pretty lengthy streak of darker days for the foreseeable future. Yesterday kicked off the event. It was batshit horrible. Today, though not as severe, was still subpar in many respects. I still feel "dark".

    The good news is that this current cycle that I'm in is coming to a close. Within the next month or so, maybe a tad longer, I'll be out of it. Afterwards, who knows. I'll probably have to enter into another one, but the current trends show that they are now becoming easier to handle.

    I always need to keep in mind that these are all predictions, and that I shouldn't put much stock or hope into them. One thing I've learned throughout this journey is that it's much safer to expect the worst and hope for the best. Sometimes that's a hard thing to do, but the sheer length of my flatline has kind of beat the optimism out of me. Yes, I'm predicting some nice-sounding things, but there is a large part of me that thinks I'm still kind of fucked, and that things might get worse again, and that this flatline will last 3+ years.

    Time is the great revealer. The hope is that I'll begin to not obsess over these symptoms, but at the moment I need to keep a vigilant eye on them. I need to constantly remind myself that my moods are a manifestation of PAWs, and that oftentimes the lens in which I view the world is not accurate. This helps me to keep perspective and to not attribute outside circumstances to the pain. Truth is a nice thing to strive for.

    I'm not 5 days away from 26 months. After 27, I'll be in no man's land as far as historic recoveries are concerned.
  17. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Very confident that I'm nearing the end of this current "cycle". That's the only prediction I'm going to stick to, because I have no idea what will come afterwards. Zero.

    Got another gig on Upwork--it's a fiction writing project. Takes way more energy than nonfiction. My goal is to do a good job and receive a nice review, but I think my overall goal should be to build myself a more non-fiction, business/journalism-esque portfolio. I want to save my energy for writing my own fiction. Still, a client is a client. I get 50 bucks once I finish. That's a lot for me, considering how poor I've gotten.
    Thelongwayhome27 and Shady like this.
  18. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Tough, tough day today. Yesterday wasn't easy either. In for another string of garbage days. Still scared shitless by the length of this thing.
  19. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    Today is devastating. Usually after a day this difficult I'll have a bit of a reprieve. Not always though. I'm pretty fed up with the pain at this point but the show must go on.

    What's more disturbing is that my new job (not the freelance one) is causing me tremendous amounts of hip pain. Sucks because I wanted to do it for a long time in order to prove to myself that I can work something that strenuous for a good while. Feels pretty fucking shitty. Don't know how to handle it just yet, and today isn't a good day to make decisions.

    Oh, and in a half hour I'll be one day away from month 26. This will always be the most important thing in my life.
  20. Zander

    Zander Active Member

    26 months as of an hour ago.

    Still in a dark-ish place, but I did have some libido today. At work I spoke to a girl and found myself getting slightly aroused. I was also excited by her presence--I could feel it, and my body was reacting to it. Since I've never really felt that before, it was quite lovely. And it wasn't a dirty sort of arousal like I've had before. It felt fairly pure. True libido is more of a feeling--it's a natural kind of magnetism. And I felt a bit of that today.

    One guy on the long-term site I visit said that his libido came back before his psychological symptoms faded (at month 25 for him). I'm seeing a little of that. I don't plan on it being constant though. Most of these improvements tend to come and go. Don't think I'll ever have any sort of consistency until I'm out of the flatline for good. I also stop myself from celebrating this kind of shit because I know that there is more letdowns on the horizon. It's just the nature of the beast. I don't trust good shit--I have always ended up being let down.

    Good news is that I managed to land 3 clients on upwork, with a big kahuna of an opportunity possibly on the horizon, depending on how well I interview. If I land that job, which is an hourly position, then I'll have to quit my current one. Which is fine. As I've said, I'm fine with the grunt work I'm doing, but if I get a chance to write for a salary I'm going to do it.

    My grand dreams are still my grand dreams. But this freelance writing thing seems like a great way to get things started off. I'm still at about 50-65% mental capacity most days, and this kind of work doesn't require much more. Plus it's flexible, allowing me to not have to force it when I'm getting hit by surges of pain and depression.

    We'll see what happens. My hip is kinda fucked up so I hope I get the gig. No use destroying my body if I don't have to.

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