A Better Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by NewStart19, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    October 31, 2019
    - Day 14 (No porn)
    - Day 8 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


    Remarks/Summary of the Day:
    Another after the fact entry, but I’ll try to keep this post in my normal format. The day felt kind of grey and mediocre, but that’s fine. I took some Ritalin for the first time in years, as I have adult ADHD and wanted to see if I noticed any benefits from taking it. Suffice it to say, it didn’t help and instead amplified aspects of myself I’d rather not have amplified. I had some strong urges that hit me during the evening that lasted for a couple of hours while I was in bed. Not sure if the Ritalin had any role to play here, but I made it through regardless.

    Oh yea, I watched a movie at a theater in the evening, and partway through the film, two people from the audience got in an extremely heated argument (i.e. a shoutfest), which ballooned after members of their families joined in. At one point, the person nearest me (two seats away) fell on top of me, apparently too engrossed in their screaming fit of rage. I kept my cool throughout though, which was nice. At one point, I was getting ready to calmly leave the theater to inform a staff member in case things devolved into all an out fistfight, but thankfully things cooled down.

    Trigger / Response Log:
    Nothing specific here. I think the hours of urges I had last night resulted from being in a fatigued state but not being unable to fall asleep. I’ve relapsed many times because of this precise state. But not this time. Nor the next.

    Urges:
    See trigger/response log.

    Emotions:
    Things just felt kind of grey and crappy for most of the day. The onslaught of urges made me feel some pronounced irritability in the evening.

    Cognition:
    Seems like I am not gaining any ground here. Continued brain fog and poor verbal fluency.

    Pain:
    Ok I think.

    * Something positive / something I did well:
    - Didn’t let a substance’s effect on me serve as an excuse to question recovery
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  2. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    November 1, 2019
    - Day 15 (No porn)
    - Day 9 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


    Remarks/Summary of the Day:
    A bit like yesterday, though I felt a little more productive and the evening wasn’t as tough to get through. I felt a “hangover” of sorts from the Ritalin in the morning and early afternoon. Maybe a better comparison would be that permabaked feeling you get the next morning after smoking too much weed. Except worse.

    I did go for a long drive today and took a walk down a nice little trail. It was during the sunset, which was pretty beautiful. I also encountered a group of deer. They weren’t all that spooked by my presence, so I just stood there observing them for a little.

    Trigger / Response Log:
    Didn’t note any specific examples today.

    Urges:
    Had one of those “urge clouds” I mentioned in an earlier entry. During the evening. Lasted 2-3 hours.

    Emotions:
    Like yesterday, but more anxiety instead of irritability in the evening.

    Cognition:
    Same old, same old.

    Pain:
    Nothing noticeable.

    * Something positive / something I did well:
    - Remembering that this is a process that I can’t control when I was ruminating over the fact that the last couple of days have been back to back unpleasant overall. It just needs to run its course. I haven’t even been off for a month yet. Slow and steady.
     
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  3. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    November 2, 2019
    - Day 16 (No porn)
    - Day 10 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


    Remarks/Summary of the Day:
    Today was alright. Not as grey as the past two days. Productivity was…ok, not awful. Had a nice sitting meditation session today. The sun was intense, but it was one of the better ones I’ve had in a while. I still like the walking ones though. There are so many distractions that you encounter when walking through the city, so I think it is a good way to train mindfulness, but damn these sitting ones have their perks too.

    Read some more of Harding’s On Having No Head. He really is gifted at describing the meditative experience. I’d include some quotes from the text, but it might be a bit esoteric (or even ostensibly nonsensical, although that definitely isn’t the case), so I’ll refrain from doing so.

    I haven’t mentioned this before, but I started doing monthly video messages to my “future self” about three months ago, and today is the day of my fourth video, which I will record after this journal entry. I watched the one from last month—for the first time since I recorded it, that’s how I always do it—and comparing how I feel now to then, I would say that I am in a similar place, maybe a little better overall, which is completely fine with me. I’m just glad that things aren’t worse.

    Going to a friend’s wedding tomorrow. Should be great!

    Trigger / Response Log:
    Wasting time on the computer -> Talking to someone
    Wasting time on YouTube -> Relocating
    Boredom -> Moving around
    Feeling anxiety caused by poor reading comprehension and focus -> Switching to another task

    Urges:
    The daytime was fine for the most part, but the evening was subsumed by a few hours of horniness and urges. I’ve really been buffeted by them these past couple of evenings, but that’s fine. Bring it. Give me everything you got. You’ll tire eventually, not me. Every time I'm challenged, I persevere. No porn. No masturbation. No fantasies. Don't need any of it. It's so difficult but at the same time so simple. Mindfulness to the rescue.

    Emotions:
    Felt anxiety throughout the day, particularly during the evening.

    Cognition:
    Verbal fluency was up a little perhaps. Same goes for brain fog.

    Pain:

    A little bit of dull aching in the evening, but otherwise fine.

    * Something positive / something I did well:
    - Reading a little today. I’ve been doing poorly in this category recently, as my cognition has been pretty awful. At least I tried to engage for a bit. Looking forward to some change in cognition next week, but I'll see what happens.
     
  4. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    November 3, 2019
    - Day 17 (No porn)
    - Day 11 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


    This will be a short entry not in the usual format. Went to a friend’s wedding yesterday. It was nice. My urges, mood, and withdrawals were all over the place, but I think I handled myself well all things considered. These day-long special events can be difficult for me as they disrupt the daily regimen I am working diligently on building, but I also know that these events are a normal part of life, and I just have to experiment and adjust more with how to incorporate them into a structured life. As a quick aside, my poor verbal fluency really hit me today. It was frustrating, but I know there is no reason to ruminate over it.

    Anyway, after I got back home—pretty late, around 12:30 AM—I felt the restless, disorienting effects of the event. I was exhausted and had difficulty falling asleep again, plus an hour or two of depression and an hour of urges. Eventually managed to go to sleep though. No danger of turning to porn or masturbation. I just dealt with the feelings, giving them the time they needed to die down.
     
  5. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Good job on not giving in to the urges after the marriage ! These events can be challenging and quite taxing on our emotions !

    I remember the night after the last marriage I went to I MOed cause I was just not able to fall asleep and I was overexcited and stressed. I think I saw it as a win because a previous version of me would have definitely used P in that state.

    Well done on having stayed with your emotions and kept it a clean day !
     
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  6. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Good job!

    I had to really wonder what you wrote about your verbal fluency. Your journal entries are always so structured, thoughtful, and eloquent. From my outside perspective, I'd think that your words would derive from a composed and smart mind. Perhaps, you are selling yourself short a bit? Maybe, it's the stressful situation that negatively influenced your verbal fluency. But I'm quite sure, you very much carry all the capabilities to be verbally fluent. You probably just can't access it at the moment as you'd wish to do. Even creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?
     
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  7. Lakaf

    Lakaf Active Member

    Great work..!
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  8. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    November 4, 2019
    - Day 18 (No porn)
    - Day 12 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


    Remarks/Summary of the Day:
    Whew, today—well at the time of writing this yesterday—was tough! Depression and lethargy all day. Productivity close to 0. I don’t want to remember it to be honest, but it’s done and I made it through. I went for a long drive during the evening, kind of like an amusement park with lots of curves. I also drove through some thick fog, like something out of a movie or video game. It was quite picturesque.

    Trigger / Response Log:
    Didn’t log any.

    Urges:
    They kept popping up, probably because I wanted an outlet to escape the sea of depression. Nothing too intense thankfully.

    Emotions:
    Depression all day. Mindfulness really helps with days like this.

    Cognition:
    Pretty much untested, though it still felt the same as usual, i.e. like a dull knife that can’t cut much of anything.

    Pain:
    Nothing noticeable. The other categories should catch up to this in time. Just need to be patient.

    * Something positive / something I did well:
    - Didn’t let the depression guide my behavior and decisions
     
  9. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    November 5, 2019
    - Day 19 (No porn)
    - Day 13 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


    Remarks/Summary of the Day:
    Nothing of note during the daytime. Was moderately productive, I suppose. Some depression again in the evening, and then some intense feelings of horniness, where your gut is clenching really intensely and you primitively just want to stick your **** into something. That was tough to deal with, but another day down. I know I am still early on in the recovery process, but it feels like it is going to be a few more weeks of this roller coaster until the suffering consistently begins to dampen.

    Trigger / Response Log:
    Procrastinating -> Sitting with the feeling and letting it run its course, instead of pushing myself to get something done
    Wasting time on the computer -> Getting away from the computer
    Eating too much ice cream (haha, what am I, four years old? ; p) -> Stopping what I was doing and relaxing
    Struggling with reading comprehension -> Taking a break and doing something else

    Urges:
    An unintentional image of vigorously taking someone doggy-style flashed in my head, and this lead to an explosion of horniness within me that went up and down like a sinusoidal wave for an hour or two. Just when I thought it was dying down and I was in the green, it’d flare up again.

    Emotions:
    Some depression in the evening. Felt okay otherwise.

    Cognition:
    I was able to—for the first time in a while—return to some of the reading I had done and go over my notes and the concepts contained within. I wasn’t able to last too long however, but I hope to see this slowly improve with time. I want my brain back!

    Pain:
    A little bit of stinging, perhaps from some random erections I experienced while sleeping.

    * Something positive / something I did well:
    - Helped the cashier at the supermarket
    - Was a little more productive than usual
     
    Pete McVries likes this.
  10. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Thelongwayhome27

    Thank you for the encouragement. It's crazy that you have had a similar experience. I thought my situation was pretty unique, but it's nice to know that I am not the only person on this planet that is thrown off in a strange way by going to a wedding.

    As an aside, I have decided to slowly read through the entirety of the journals of people who frequently post on this forum. You are the first on my list. It'll take me some time to get through it, but I am about two pages down at the moment. It's kind of deceiving, because each topic page is 20 pages long, but the length of the posts can make one page seem a lot longer or shorter than another.

    Lastly, you've picked yourself off the ground after what seemed like a rough spell of relapse and remission, and you really did seem down in the dumps during that period. Glad to see you are back at it with the positive vibes. I don't know you personally, so I am not sure what weight this carries, but I really like this version of you, and I am sure the same could be said of that cashier or that jogger you mentioned if they got the opportunity to know you better. Let's remember when the addiction comes knocking at our doors--and we know it will at times--to not be intoxicated by its false promises. You have the antidote to heal what ails you within yourself. It's easy to forget that at times. I'm going to keep clearing a path forward in a meager attempt to help others remember this. I hope you will be doing the same alongside me.

    Take care

    @Pete McVries

    Thanks for stopping by Pete. I definitely don't think that how I express myself in these posts is representative of how I speak. When I write, I have time to first get my thoughts down on the screen and then edit them to make them more cohesive, but unfortunately speaking in the moment doesn't give me much time to structure my ideas, select appropriate vocabulary, or even finish a sentence. I think it is an issue of access, as there are flashes where I can be on point with the spoken word, but it sometimes just makes me feel all the more frustrated because while I know the capability exists within me, it's just so damn elusive.

    But I really do appreciate the glowing evaluation! You're an inspiration as always. They are just a few simple words, but I really do mean them. Hope reading that brightens your day, even if for just a little.

    @Lakaf

    Thanks for the kind words. Congratulations on 14 days! Never forget you made it beyond 180. You have the ability to do that again and much, much more. Keep at it!
     
  11. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    November 6, 2019
    - Day 20 (No porn)
    - Day 14 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


    Remarks/Summary of the Day:
    Slept in really late today. I’ve always had difficulties with sleep, something I’ve struggled with my whole life since I was a kid. But I have had rare periods where I was able to maintain a sleep schedule truly divine. Where you are able to fall asleep soon after getting into bed. The land of slumber is welcoming, beckoning, readily accessible, and you are able to just drift away into the realm of the unconscious. And you wake up in the morning, naturally, no need for an alarm. You don’t feel groggy. You don’t feel glued to the bed. You don’t feel the malaise of having to start a new day.

    I think I have enough pieces in place now to strive for more consistency in this category. Sleep is so fundamental. If various changes are necessary for it to become more consistent, then so be it. Those are changes worth making.

    Trigger / Response Log:
    Remembering the intensity of yesterday’s horniness -> not identifying with the feeling and recognizing it is in the past
    Experiencing a setback in something I was doing -> stopping my work on it for the day
    Dealing with a task I have been avoiding for a while -> taking my time with it and stopping when it felt too overwhelming
    Obsessing over checking the forums -> getting away from the computer

    Urges:
    Memories of yesterday replicated a weaker version of what I experienced, but it wasn’t all that frequent.

    Emotions:
    Anxiety in the background all day.

    Cognition:
    Ok. Still dull. But a little less so than usual.

    Pain:
    Aching present throughout the day. Guess this category wanted to join its brethren.

    * Something positive / something I did well:
    - Dealt with some paperwork and emails I have been avoiding for a while
     
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  12. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @NewStart19 - Hey man, thanks a lot for your words. That is nice to hear. Although we must find our main motivation inside, such words can always boost us and carry us forward (kind of like soldiers), thank you. Having/building support is also essential and necessary (I don't think we can recover alone). I think the sense of support on here really helped me in getting back up after my last relapse.

    I actually have an older journal on here, started when I was 27. In that one I was more focused on counting days and my streaks were usually shorter (despite honest efforts). But even then, I was trying hard. It's just that I was harder on myself and less mature (and a bit more dramatic, which I can still be at times though). But even in that journal, I think I was slowly learning the things we need to understand in order to get better at beating this thing. So I guess it shows if we keep at it, despite being a chronic relapser, we can still learn and find solutions. It can just be kind of a long and painful process. But maybe some learn faster ! It seems the quintessential element needed is to keep trying earnestly.

    Regarding the wedding, I would think many many people find such strong social events hard to go through. Even people who don't have a huge level of social anxiety can be tired by something like this, or nervous about it. It's a good win that you went through it and despite the excitement at night you didn't use P or even MO to medicate yourself.

    I also like the antidote metaphor you mentioned. We have the antidote in us and we can also keep making it better, by finding the right path, learning how to handle our emotions, learning to build a healthier life. As we do this the antidote becomes even more powerful against the old unhealthy ways. I am motivated to keep walking this path, alongside you and others fighting.

    I think that that cashier wanting to know me would be my current definition of paradise :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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  13. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Thelongwayhome27

    It is a great feeling when you are supported by others. Thank you so much for the support you have shown me so far on my recovery journey.

    It is a crazy process. It's so damn long! But we can, little by little, learn how to build a recovery paradigm that works for us. My experience definitely corroborates this. Trying earnestly--as you mentioned--and never giving up. That's the recipe for a better tomorrow.

    Keep up your efforts. They will pay off someday. It sounds a bit circular I know, but things are only hopeless if we give up hope. Your day will come someday. As will mine, and--sorry for the redundancy--hopefully everyone else on this board.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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  14. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Attention all board members and guests reading this topic!

    I've got some significant changes in store and want to devote more time to them, so I am going to be taking another indefinite break from the forum. I think it'll be a nice change of pace to think less about my streak, my journal, and just porn in general.

    I still want to share the effects of my PMO-free lifestyle with all of you, so I'll be back sometime in the future. Probably sometime around five weeks from now. I'm excited to discover what experiences I'll be able to share with you all!

    Take care and best of luck
     
  15. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I look forward to what you'll share when you come Back. I'm sure you'll use the time in a positive way.

    Take care!
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  16. baywalker

    baywalker Active Member

    Good luck @NewStart19 !

    Love the Honest PORtland Commercial btw!
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  17. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I'll miss ya @NewStart19 but I can totally understand this, sometimes taking a break from the noFap overthink and focusing on our tasks is the best way to recover and seriously move forward. Sometimes it may even be necessary so I'm sure your decision is wise. All the best and see ya around !
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  18. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    All the best @NewStart19, I'm looking forward to what you have to report in five weeks and wish you a great time!
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  19. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Wow! It's been quite a while since I've posted here. More than 6 months!

    Well, I don't have too much to write at the moment. For those of you that are interested, I am still walking the path of recovery (although I suppose it is arguable if that ever really ends), but in general I am doing better than I was in the past, which is something I feel quite proud of.

    The main reason why I am posting here today however is to recommend a somewhat new edition to my library that I think is a worthwhile purchase for anyone struggling with porn or sex addiction (or any other addiction to be honest).

    The title is Gifts of Recovery: Daily Meditations for Men and Women in Recovery from Sex Addiction. It is a little reader that--aside from a short introduction at the beginning and an acknowledgements section, index, and about-the-author blurb at the back--consists entirely of daily meditations for the whole year (by this I mean reflections that are meant to guide others in contemplation) and questions that provide, in the words of the author, "...guidance, information, clinical insight, and recovery wisdom." And I really think they do.

    Now all of these insights may not be for you, but based on what I have read and applied so far, I can't help but feel the need to at least mention this book in my post. In the spirit of potentially triggering users' interest in adding this book to their recovery toolkit, I am including a few excerpts below to give you all an idea of what the format is like.


    June 1

    Just because it is OK for others does not mean it is OK for you.
    -Therapy Lesson

    Everyone is different. What we need for balance and sobriety may
    be different than what someone else needs. This is true for us when
    we compare our sobriety and recovery boundaries to other addicts.
    This is especially true when we, as addicts, compare ourselves to
    someone who is not an addict. What may be normal, acceptable,
    and even healthy for a non-addict, can be a death knell for someone
    with an addiction. More than one of us has found ourselves in relapse
    and saying "They let themselves do this behavior and I thought that
    sounded like a good idea for me." We must each take responsibility for
    realizing and respecting our own boundaries.

    Am I finding effective boundaries for myself or am I copying the
    boundaries of others? What can others do that simply does not work
    for me? What gifts await me as I choose my boundaries based on what
    I need and not what others do?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    May 17

    "A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
    -John A. Shedd

    The same old same old is the safest bet but it does not get you anywhere.
    An addict's life can be chaotic not only because of their addictive behaviors
    but also because of the choices they continue to make and the patterns they
    continue to follow. Change requires leaving the known and venturing into
    the unknown. Only then can we find a life of recovery.

    When have I fallen back into my same old patterns? What has been the
    outcome of these patterns? What gifts await me as I venture out of the
    known and into recovery?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    February 7

    The universe does not say "You've got it!" very often. It does say "You're
    getting warmer" and "You're getting colder" quite a bit.
    -Therapy Lesson

    The moments when we receive the message "You've got it!" are few and far
    between. If we base our recovery choices only on these definitive moments,
    we will be wandering lost most of the time. However, when we slow down
    and pay attention, we notice there are many subtle nudges and hints to guide
    us. Recognizing an addictive thought or feeling an addictive urge following a
    gray area behavior, especially one that we want to justify as OK, might be the
    universe telling us "You're getting colder." A friend commenting on how much
    they have enjoyed our company when we have been feeling awkward due to
    new recovery boundaries might be the universe telling us "You're getting
    warmer." These moments of "You're getting warmer" and "You're getting
    colder" provide us with a map to more effectively navigate our lives in recovery.

    When have I felt like I did not have the answers to my addiction? When have
    I been nudged with smaller and more subtle hints? What gifts await me as I
    look for the nudges and hints to guide me in my life of recovery?



    And with that out of the way, I'd like to wish everyone reading this post another great, PMO-free day. I hope that you all continue to persevere and keep whatever hope you currently hold, big or small, burning within. I know I'll be doing the same.

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
  20. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    That's a great passage and I feel this is sometimes overlooked a bit. Not only is abstinence uncomfortable but all the change that comes with it. When recovering, possibly a lot needs to be changed and that makes one feel uncomfortable or frightened (at first) while the quick PMO fix inside the center of the comfort zone is only a mouseclick away 24/7/365. I also sometimes think that rebooters relapse, because they don't feel they go anywhere or are not recovering at all even after months of sobriety as they do not manage to get the ship out in the open so to speak. Abstinence is one thing, but finding a partner, being more social (again), working towards a goal or whatever you aim for is the big other half of recovery. In my mind, it can be very helpful to roughly plan the reboot in order to keep growing, evolving, and going to the next step - without overwhelming oneself of course.

    All the best!
     
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