A Better Tomorrow

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

  1. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Well done man !

    When my resolve is weaker it's crazy how fast I can think it's a ''good idea'' to do something like this. It's almost automatic as you describe. I can't remember exactly what happened but I know just today I had some kind of a thought which instantaneously then said : "go do a search, it's nothing". Luckily, in the one or two seconds I woke up from auto pilot and chose not to go do that search. But I realize how many times, when I'm not honest with myself anymore, I'll go do these even if it's not automatic. I'll know it's not a good idea to do it, but I'll go do them. Permitting myself some very very innocent things can lead to the snowball.

    Oh right - I did do something ''wrong'' today - I was on a site that had profiles of celebrities regarding a specific element (not sexual) - and though I got there looking for some male celebrity initially, I then started seeing profile options of females and next thing I know I was clicking a few of those. Very soon I could sense how ''the pathways'' were being activated. I just wanted to see the picture of the female celebrity.

    I think getting far in early recovery means being very strict with oneself with such ''games''... Otherwise there's a crescendo of justfying ''grey zone'' stuff and next thing we know we're faced with pretty big thoughts of actual PMO, cause the initial discipline was eroded...

    This being said if we do end up in a grey zone, especially if it's super automatic, it's wise not to beat oneself up. Rather take stock of it (like you did) and deal with it.
     
  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot NewStart. You can always feel comfortable dropping by my journal and giving me advice or your take. You do it respectfully, with tact and bring valuable stuff to the table. But I hear you though, sometimes giving advice to others can make me lose some of the essential humble mindset needed in recovery (unless this is inner criticism I feel after trying to give advice), especially in early recovery (before breaking the atmosphere indeed...). Or it can make me feel drained afterwards (it's a strange feeling). Imagine giving advice to a few people and next thing you know I'm relapsing after getting off YBR.

    I don't know who of us is further along on the recovery process. It seems like we both really want to let go of this ''thing'' and yet we are not completely able to do it (yet), for some reason. But we're both trying and working on it.

    I think it's very commendable that you have achieved control of other addictions (alcohol and nicotine). I think you need to take pride in that ! Have you been completely abstinent of alcohol ? Or do you just drink very little of it ?

    Thanks. I found the pic online, it isn't mine. It is serene indeed :) I think a healthy life can be/feel like that and it's a contrast to the life of addiction.
     
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  3. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    Like you mentioned, turning simple, easy to complete tasks into habits is a great way for people to understand how habits are formed in the first place. Like those books mention, we are mostly on an autopilot habit mode, all day, despite thinking we are exercising free will.

    I didn't used to make my bed. Then I started making it, and now it's the first thing I do after getting out of it. Now, if on the odd day I don't make it for one reason or another, and I walk into the room and look at it looking all disheveled, it makes me FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE and I MUST make it.
     
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  4. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hey NewStart, I have also had some problems with drinking so I really enjoyed reading your insights and your journey regarding being alcohol free. Thanks for that. I often had problems controlling my drinking and I think it was getting worst as I was getting older. In other words, I could see a negative progression in the way I was relying on alcohol for whatever reasons. Trying to become a healthier person, I could see how alcohol would have to be greatly reduced or even completely eliminated (if the first option was not possible). Many times I told myself I'll reduce it, control it, but I still drank more then I wanted too. The experiences were also less fun, and I felt increasingly bad afterwards. After a particularly negative consequence once, I vowed to stop and I indeed did not drink one drop of alcohol for about 6 months. That time I did not even have non alcoholic beers. I then went back to drinking. Fast forward a year and a bit and I could see how drinking was still a big problem and how I would clearly benefit from eliminating it. So I got motivated to experiment with not drinking at all again. I ended up not drinking for a full year, however that time I did allow myself to have non alcoholic beers. This helped a lot in still going out at times. For whatever reason I felt more comfortable drinking a non alcoholic beer if all the people I was with were having an alcoholic drink then if I was having say a coke or a sprite. I guess the problem is also that my friendships had often relied upon the drinking element. Anyways, during last summer things became really bad for me and I increasingly started thinking that I should allow myself to have that good old fun of having a drink when I go out. It started calling back to me, the fun of being drunk. Of course, it was simply an escape from the problems I was facing. And so I allowed myself to drink one time, justifying that I had completed my full year being alcohol free. Looking back, now, I think it's safe to say it was a bad decision. Things were problematic already before doing that, but they got more so. On the day I allowed myself to drink again, a part of me knew clearly it was a mistake. A part of me was afraid of what I was choosing to do at that moment. Of course, that made the experience less pleasant. So as the guilty feeling of doing something wrong was accompanying me, I fell further down into wrong choices. I also decided to start smoking weed again. That exact night actually. And I had been clean of weed (or any substances - save for caffeine) for about 13 months. Not to mention I had a really bad relapse on the PMO front that precise evening. From that point it was easy for my brain to justify to myself that I should keep buying weed. So I ended up really escaping from my life for a time. Weed had been a much bigger problem I think then alcohol, in the way I created a habit for getting stoned and escaping my life - and I was very quickly sucked into a pattern, once again, of smoking constantly (which is what I do if I have that in my house). It was all a big mistake. I knew it. I got out of it more or less since then. Weed I managed to not smoke any since October I think. And I should do my absolute best to never return there again. And alcohol, well I have not totally cut it out (thought I'm considering it again) - but I have not had any problems with it, I suppose Covid is helping here. Weed, Alcohol, PMO, these are three things that I am allowing to destroy my life. If I want to stand a chance to be a healthy person, to fortify my redeeming qualities rather then my weaknesses, then I have to make the choice to cut them out of my life. Maybe, just maybe, alcohol could have a place since (honestly) I feel that one I could control, given sufficient distance from the other ones (and sufficient mental health and capacity to handle life). But weed and PMO then need to be thrown away. I think weed has to be the first one to be thrown away forever.

    In all honesty, I think it wasn't too cool for your wedding friend to pressure you to have that one drink. But I'm happy to read it ended up not becoming a big problem in your journey.

    Rest assured, you have not created some kind of strong confusion when you talked about OCD and compulsions on my journal. What happened is I noted the book down and I may check it out at some point. As I was mentioning, I often wondered if OCD is a big issue with me. I do admit I can't exactly see what the nuance is between compulsion in addiction and compulsion in OCD. I remember I have read how some experts consider addiction to be OCD - for instance alcoholism being an obsession with drinking.

    I do try to battel OCD to a certain extent. Sometimes when I'm super sober and clean from all addictions (though this does not last long so far) I sometimes get utter tense and become super OCD in my mindset. It's quite uncomfortable and tiresome.

    Speaking of OCD tendencies, I do have a way of noting my PMO habits quite in a detailed manner using an excel sheet. This does reinforce the OCD habit, but on the other hand it helps with seeing the progression and giving me a larger perspective then only the streak monitoring.

    In fact I think I am naturally OCD. I still have paper logs of my PMO/MO habits when I was a teenager (!). Long before I knew what PMO addiction is.
     
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  5. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    Booze is my number 1 enemy. Porn has nothing on the liquor. The latter I want nothing to do with. But I still see the former as possibly my best friend, and I can't see life without it (...at least long term). I'm an abused housewife cowering in the kitchen corner as my husband Johnny Walker heaves dinner plates at me. But I still love him. Porn is just his friend that enters the house through the back door and rifles through the couch cushions to find some change. That prick is an afterthought.
    I have every argument conceivable why the liquor is shit: You get fat, poor, hungover, nutrient deficient, unable to communicate effectively, lazy, anxious, depressed...on and on. And those are just the aftereffects.
    I think booze is the mediocre human personified. No really successful people drink a lot of booze, or even like it for that matter, no matter what some old movie will have you believe. For them it's a prop.
    Even just 1 drink will wreck your sleep. So everything else aside, you can't be a top performer even if you drink just 1 drink a couple hours before sleep.

    The thing is though, if I go for a bit without drinking, and I drink that first drink, it doesn't feel all that great. Kinda like I just drank some poison (...which I did). You know how people say the first drink is the best with that little bit of euphoria, then that goes away and everything else is just chaser. A lot of times I find I don't even enjoy it till I'm about 4 in, but then if I were to stop, I would immediately stop enjoying myself. And I just feel like crap. If I am not actively drinking more, I am no longer having fun. So it's really just an illusion. I wish I were one of those people that didn't like the taste. I LOVE the taste. The more fire the better.
    I'm glad you guys were able to get a handle on it cuz I've been actively trying for about 3 years now. DO NOT GO BACK.
     
  6. Bilbo Swaggins

    Bilbo Swaggins Well-Known Member

    This discussion is very interesting, and I can relate to some of the points you both mentioned. I am also a kind of guy who easily gets addicted. Sometimes, it’s just for a short period of time, so it’s not exactly addiction, it’s just a frenzy around a certain activity. I had those frenzies with gambling and with amphetamine, they lasted a few weeks, but it would happen everyday during those weeks. Alcohol, cigarettes, and now... fucking sleeping pills... And of course, porn. Those are long term addictions, bad habits I have been carrying for years.

    I’m lucky enough to dislike more being hangover than to stop drinking after 4 or 5 drinks. I really hate feeling wasted. I’m more the kind of guy who drinks everyday, but only 2-3 drinks. You could call me a moderate addict. My consumption patterns seem a little different than yours. Nonetheless, I’d still like to point out that it seems to me you both set the bar very high in terms of abstinence. While I also believe that the ideal man would never, or almost never be excessive in his consumption of drugs and alcohol, I think it’s pretty unreasonable to try to achieve that. I mean, look at us... We’ve spent decades trying to find in substances some relief, and we have developed many addictions. We’ve also had many periods of abstinence followed by comebacks to our drugs of choice, and usually, we pick things up exactly where we left them. I might be wrong, but I think we’ll always have problems with addiction, and it might be a better path for us to have reasonable expectations in terms of sobriety. By that, I mean that we should only stay permanently away from the drugs that literally destroy us. You both wrote about that. For you, @Thelongwayhome27 it seems to be weed, like you said, and for @Doper it seems to be alcohol. For me, it’s definitely porn. With other substances, that are only ‘bad’ for us, I think it’s best if we don’t become too hard on ourselves. Because if we do, we’re more likely to see ourselves as wrecks, and to withdraw ourselves from life ‘until we get sober’. As I said, it’s not an ideal scenario, but I believe that by lowering our expectations a little bit, we’re more likely to remain somewhat healthy, which is way better than the feelings of hopelessness we get when we analyze ourselves too harshly and set ourselves unattainable goals. Our biggest challenge is not to become models in terms of abstinence, or to stop ‘poisoning’ ourselves with drugs: it’s to stop withdrawing ourselves from life because we don’t behave according to our ideals. That’s how it is for me, anyway.

    Just my two cents, of course. I’m sure there’s nothing new for you guys in what I wrote, but I still wanted to share it with you, because as I said, from my perspective, you both seem to set the bar pretty high.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
  7. Bilbo Swaggins

    Bilbo Swaggins Well-Known Member

    Good post. I guess we have to figure out for ourselves what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes, I have the feeling that my worries about my consumption are actually worst than the actual effects of my consumption, at least with certain substances. Of course, abstinence is the best scenario, at least for addicts. Moderation is also a good thing when it’s possible to achieve it. And abuse is obviously bad for us. Gotta stay away from it as much as possible.

    Congratulations to you for all the substances you’ve managed to stop using, it really is an accomplishment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
  8. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hey thanks for your remarks about my issues with weed and alcohol. Yeah, weed is probably the most dangerous and problematic for me. But alcohol as well I need to monitor very closely. Right now I'm allowing myself a casual drink, say if I visit my parents (and I'll share a beer with my dad for example). Or if I'll toast to something. Right now, because of Covid, there are no occasions to really test my resolve in terms of ''social drinking''. That's where things could get problematic for me, once again. I could implement a rule such as one beer then non alcoholic beer(s). And if I don't respect that then I should perhaps go back to what I did for a full year (complete sobriety from alcohol except for non alcoholic beers). But weed indeed, after the way I relapsed in the habit in August-September 2020, and how incredibly unhealthy my relationship to it is - I should to my best not touch it anymore. To simply and totally let it go (love this expression). Good luck, to you as well, with your ongoing efforts to stay off alcohol. I think you are doing yourself a great service.

    Thanks as well for the stuff on OCD (very well written and with a lot of info). Quite the lecture ;). I think you are correct when you say that I probably talk of OCD (and compulsions) in a more vernacular way and that I also used the OCD example of me taking logs of my PMO in a ''day to day'' kind of way of saying it (toned down) - as opposed to the clinical version of it.

    I think I do have a tendency for OCD. It would probably be more the pure-o (mental obsession) type. As I was saying, when I read books, I have a strong tendency to go over and over some passages (as if I'll better understand that phrase).

    This part does seem slightly similar, in a way, to addiction. As long as we see addiction as a way to manage some internal states.

    But you do make a good/interesting way of differentiating the two (OCD compulsion and addiction) here below :
    I think this whole paragraph brings some interesting points in thinking about OCD and addiction and a possible overlapping of both.

    Perhaps addiction can happen also when the compulsion of choice, in order to alleviate the Obsession, happens to be an action that produces a lot of dopamine (eating for some, sexual activity for others including PMO).

    In any case - I think that the anxiety when it comes to life's uncertainty can happen in addiction as well - as many addicts are people who are to a certain degree neurotic, stressed out (have trouble relaxing) and often have underlying issues that have a link to anxiety. So addicts will manage that anxiety with a substance or a behavior. But when it comes to a behavior ... then you come even closer to OCD I find ...

    Another element can be that when once wants to quit, he may develop an OCD tendency around his quitting attempts - the counting, the stats, the colors, the tables, the graphs - while surely helpful - can also have a certain effect of trying to alleviate the big uncertainty when it comes to trying to stop an addiction. We all know the BIG psychological suffering this process can bring - with relapses - and then all the counting and stuff, the tables - though helpful - will for some help alleviate that anxiety. Hence it can cause OCD to increase in some or start developing (as anxiety was already a predisposition). This may be why many report things getting more messed up once they try to quit. Sometimes the addiction gains power through these mental challenges, that at least resemble OCD.

    I've noted down the book recommendation for OCD and that's definitely the first one I'll go to when/if I want to truly explore what OCD is.
     
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  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear of the recent relapse but props for coming here to be accountable about it. Although I sometimes ask myself what's the point of that, I think that more often then not, coming to touch base on here and admitting a relapse occurs is congruent with the path of ongoing recovery (this being said, sometimes it can really be a solution to take some time off).

    The fact that you did not slip to P and that perhaps it was not a huge timeframe binge is encouraging as well.

    That's quite a reading list you've got for yourself ! I actually read The Four Agreements last summer.

    Yeah you've definitely given me some deeper insights about OCD so thanks again. As you say, I'm sure that learning about it can be of use to even non-clinical OCD sufferers. More so to people who have OCD tendencies. So most probably can be of some use to many addicts lol !

    Keep strong !
     
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  10. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Too bad about the relapse, but you seem to have a good base to continue to move upwards!
     
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  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Yeah the isolation that comes with all the measures of the pandemic is an additional challenge. I think it's true that the opposite of addiction is connection. Beyond abstinence one essential element for many addicts is learning how to have healthy relationships with others. All this is now more challenging, though still possible for the willing and creative person I'm sure :).

    I was also at times skeptical of the rather metaphysical/spiritual tone of The Four Agreements. Though I can get into those things, and I'm quite the Eckhart Tolle reader. But I also realize such advice is hard to put in practice at times. I mean, I don't know. On the other hand, it touches upon something much deeper in our way of life, and maybe it's results are more subtle and take longer to come up. Being very vague it can also be applied in many situations and come in handy. All in all, I did like the book when I read it and it gave me quite a change of perspective for a few weeks. Sadly, some of that went away after some time. All four agreements were interesting to me but the one I thought was the hardest to really respect was the first one. I asked myself a lot of questions about grey zone situations where it would be crazy to tell the absolute truth. Agreements 2, 3 and 4 all seem very wise to me. I surely have a lot of problems in my life resulting from not being able to follow agreements 2 and 3. Making assumptions all the time and taking things personally. Anyways, I liked his writing style, he had a good clear prose and he hit upon many things pretty well. Especially the childhood criticism that can hinder us later on. I certainly don't regret having fell upon the book. And I agree with you that it ties in well with the practice and spirit of meditation.

    Thanks for asking about how I'm doing. I've updated my journal but to say it briefly I've been staying sober since my relapse Wednesday. I think I'm doing a bit better since then. I also meditate yes, daily. Usually twice a day.

    Glad to hear you have been staying on track as well. Keep going !
     
  12. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    You live in a flat share, right? Can You leave your IADs outside your bedroom when you go to bed?
     
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  13. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Decided to share the notes I have written so far from my (re)read of Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn.

    Introduction (pg. 7)
    • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for immediate craving, desire, and motivation to pursue something evolutionarily advantageous to our survival (pg. 7)
    • PMO stands for Porn, Masturbation, Orgasm (pg. 8)
    • Fap is a slang word for masturbation (pg. 8)
    • The journey of recovery is not about hopelessness. It’s about improvement: “I do not share these facts to show that the porn addict’s situation is hopeless—quite the opposite. I share these facts to demonstrate just how much we can improve our lives by leaving addiction behind.” (pg. 8)
    • The author defines pornography (or porn) as any material—written, pictorial, cinematic, digital, phone/chat sex, etc.—that is produced for the purpose of eliciting sexual excitement
    Part One: The Problem (pg. 11)
    Wired to be an addict (neuropathology of porn addiction) (pg. 13)

    • Neuroplasticity is the fact that our brains can grow and change throughout our lives
    • Neuroplasticity implies what we do (or don’t) changes the structure of the brain: “So the brain seems to be much more like a muscle…Both organs react and grow to accommodate the activities we pursue, and if we stop those activities then our muscles/brains atrophy in order not to waste energy maintaining physical or mental potential that we are not going to use.” (pg. 13)
    • Addictions are similar in that they cause changes in the brain (mostly the limbic system); both substances and certain behaviors can be addictive: “All addictions, whether to substances or behaviors, cause similar changes in the brain. Perhaps the most notable changes occur in the limbic system…Habit-forming drugs…are addictive because they interact with our brains’ natural reward systems…Super-stimulating activities…can hijack these systems in similar ways because they cause unusually powerful changes in our brain’s endogenous…neurochemicals.” (pg. 14)
    • Transcription factors are proteins that activate genes and sculpt the long-term functionality of the brain and nervous system (pgs. 14-15)
    • CREB is a transcription factor responsible for building tolerance to a drug or stimulus (pg. 15)
    • Delta-FosB is a transcription factor that sensitizes addiction pathways in the brain’s reward system, causing the individual to have a heightened desire for his vice (pg. 15)
    • CREB wears off relatively quickly, but Delta-FosB takes longer to deplete and has long-term effects (pg. 15)
    • Hypofrontality is the atrophy (weakening and shrinkage) in the frontal lobe of the brain (pg. 15)
    • The frontal lobe contains the prefrontal cortex and is responsible for (among other things) reasoned planning, decision making, and self-restraint—in other words, willpower (pg. 15)
    • Transcription factors exist for evolutionary reasons, but become problematic when responding to supernormal stimuli: “…transcription factors like CREB and Delta-FosB help to make us adaptive to our environment…Problems only arise when our brains’ natural tools are responding to unnaturally powerful stimuli, such as mind-altering drugs, heavily processed foods, or hyper-stimulating Internet porn” (pg. 16)
    • The reasons why there is a lack of peer-reviewed info on long-term masturbation to internet porn: “…there is not yet a wealth of peer-reviewed information specifically on the effects of consistent masturbation to high-speed Internet porn…because Internet porn addiction is a relatively new phenomenon…the negative effects of porn addition are gradual and often not noticed…the effects of porn addiction are by nature embarrassing, and most men do not freely discuss it…researchers…are often stymied by the inability to form a control group” (pg. 16)
    • A behavioral addiction is any activity that releases the right neurochemicals in our brains such that one becomes addicted, including: gambling, shopping, working, unhealthy codependence, and other behaviors that are most naturally rewarding, such as (over) eating and (compulsive) sexual activity (pgs. 16-17)
    • We can use our frontal lobes to deal with a dysfunctional limbic system: “…we are wired to overindulge…We do not have to be slaves to this wiring. We do share the same basic limbic system with other animals, but we also boast a frontal lobe that is far more developed than in most creatures, allowing us greater control over our impulses” (pg. 17)
    • The Coolidge Effect is the phenomenon where a creature, when exposed to several, willing, attractive mates, finds a new thrill in the variety that cannot be found by having sex with the same mate repeatedly, due to it being wired to copulate with all of them (pg. 17)
    • The Coolidge Effect and its (purported) origin are as follows: “The story goes that the President and Mrs. Coolidge were touring an experimental government farm. Mrs. Coolidge noticed that the rooster in the chicken yard was mating very frequently, so she asked how often the rooster mated and was told, “Dozens of times each day.” The first lady nodded wryly and said, “Tell that to the President when he comes by.” When the message was relayed, President Coolidge asked, “Same hen every time? The attendant replied, “Oh no, Mr. President, a different hen every time. To which the President said, “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.” (pg. 17)
    • The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuity…characterized by an inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission (pg. 18)
    • The book includes an adaptation of the APA’s substance addiction diagnostic tool (found in the DSM-5), with a total of 11 criteria. It is as follows:
    1. You use more extreme pornographic material than you planned, use porn more frequently than you planned, or have used porn over a greater time span than you planned
    2. You have several times expressed that you would like to quit or reduce use and/or have unsuccessfully tried to reduce or stop use
    3. You spend an inordinate or inconvenient amount of time acquiring, using, and/or recovering from the effects of porn
    4. You experience strong cravings for porn
    5. You have compromised major obligations at home, at work, or at school due to porn use
    6. You continue using porn despite knowing that it is consistently causing or worsening social or interpersonal problems
    7. You have skipped or given up significant social or occupational activities in order to use porn
    8. You use porn in ways or locations that are physically hazardous
    9. You continue using porn despite knowing that it is consistently causing or worsening physical or psychological problems
    10. You have acquired a tolerance and need more lengthy, varied, or extreme porn to feel the same or similar pleasure as when you first started using
    11. You experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you abstain and may use porn to alleviate these symptoms (pg. 19)
    • (Referring to the above) Mild substance use disorder is suggested by the presence of two or three symptoms, moderate by four to five, and severe by six or more (pg. 19)
    Wired to be an addict (neuropathology of porn addiction) (pg. 20) [Part 1]
    • The most common symptoms of compulsive PMO are: PIED, PIDE, PIPE, reduced libido and sensitivity, tolerance, SOOCD, emotional numbness, strong negative emotions (depression, anxiety, apathy), brain fog, impaired sleep, reduced athletic performance, poor skin quality (pg. 20)
    • If you are a healthy male with reduced libido or some ED and you PMO, porn is a likely culprit (ED can be experienced in any situation or just with an actual partner): “If you are a porn-watching man (especially a young man) in generally good health who has lost interest in real sex or has difficulty ‘getting it up’ or keeping it up with a partner, porn use is probably the cause…PIED may manifest in copulatory impotence, in which the user can still perform just fine for the computer screen but wilts when the real deal comes along. Other heavy users may find it difficult to get hard even to porn and need to take a break in order to allow their tolerance to subside” (pg. 20)
    • When the number of novel ‘mates’ (as perceived by the limbic system) is high and consistent (i.e. supranormal stimulation), dopamine receptors drop, and escalation (more quantity or quality, i.e. dopamine) is required for the same kick: “During a session of Internet PMO, we likely encounter more willing, attractive mates (as interpreted by our limbic systems) in an hour than we would in a year without porn or other suggestive media…This results in something called ‘supranormal’ stimulation. In short, this means that we are experiencing far more dopamine release than natural events would normally trigger, and we are experiencing it consistently…The dopamine-sensitive neurons in the brain…protect themselves from overuse…reduce the number of dopamine receptors available to receive dopamine…In order to reach a similar high, we need to find a way to release even more dopamine and fill every one of those reduced receptors than we can, so we escalate, finding more variety in the quantity and quality of the porn that we watch” (pg. 21)
    • Neurochemical desensitization can lead to reduced penile sensitivity and an increase in the time it takes to orgasm naturally: “Men with PIDE complain of taking too long to orgasm with a partner or of the inability to orgasm without using their own hands. Aside from being desensitized neurochemically, these men are often desensitized to physical touch due to frequent masturbation and increasingly rough masturbation, i.e. ‘death grip’” (pg. 22)
    • People become sensitized to a stimulus (i.e. they feel increased desire/urges) due to transcription factors. This sensitization can persist for a long time after quitting: “[Addicts might be] sensitized to porn…this is in part due to the transcription factors that hardwire heavily used reward pathways into the brain, increasing desire for porn even as the sensations of masturbating become less pleasurable. This reward sensitization is likely to persist long after the physical symptoms have been relieved, which is why former addicts are more susceptible to retuning to compulsive use after re-exposure than is someone who has never been addicted” (pg. 22)
    • Porn-induced premature ejaculation (PIPE) is when porn use actually increases penile sensitivity and causes them to orgasm very quickly with a partner (pg. 23)
    • Tolerance is a medical term that describes the decrease over time in the body’s response to a stimulus, necessitating a greater quality or quantity to achieve the same result (pg. 24)
    • Escalation is an increase in the quantity or quality (i.e. variety or newness of types) that an addict uses to achieve the same high, so he/she increases the intensity of the stimuli consumed (pg. 24)
    • Higher dopamine release can occur by pairing lust with emotions like anger, fear, shock, disgust or shame (affecting how use escalates): “…this can become a problem when men are getting off to subjects that actually disgust them and make them doubt their own sexuality…it is easier in a desensitized brain to reach the heights of sexual excitement when lust is paired with another primal emotion in the right conditions, such as anger, fear, shock, disgust, or shame” (pg. 25)
    • Sexual orientation obsessive compulsive disorder (SOOCD) is a condition characterized by a fear of actually being homosexual or heterosexual when the opposite feels natural and right, and this can develop through escalation (pg. 25)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  14. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    These notes are from The Four Agreements.

    The Toltec (pg. xiii)
    • There are different definitions for the word Toltec: The Toltec have been referred to as a nation or race by anthropologists, but in fact they were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones; Toltec masters are called naguals (pg.xiii).
    • What does the author mean by Toltec wisdom? “…it is not a religion…while it does embrace spirit, it is most accurately described as a way of life, distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love” (pg.xiv).
    Introduction: The Smokey Mirror (pg. xv)
    • This section covers a story about a person who was training to be a medicine man; key words that appear in this story are: light (nagual), star (tonal), mirror, smoke (dream), life (or intent)
    Chapter 1: Domestication and the Dream of the Planet (pg. 1)
    • Everyone has the capacity for ‘dreaming’ (i.e. conceptualizing how one should live or be (?)), and the pre-existing ‘dreams’ of others become internalized to comprise our idiosyncratic dream: “Humans are dreaming all the time…the dream of the planet…is the collective dream of billions of smaller, personal dreams, which together create a dream of a family, a dream of a community, a dream of a city, a dream of a country, and finally a dream of the whole humanity. The dream of the planet includes all of society’s rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its governments, schools, social events, and holidays…We are born with the capacity to learn how to dream, and the humans who live before us teach us how to dream the way society dreams…The outside dream uses Mom and Dad, the schools, and religion to teach us how to dream” (pgs. 2-3)
    • Attention (focusing on specific phenomena in awareness) is used to craft our idiosyncratic dream: Attention is the ability we have to discriminate and to focus only on that which we want to perceive…using our attention, we can hold whatever we want to perceive in the foreground of our mind…By using our attention we learned a whole reality, a whole dream” (pg. 3)
    • Attention is something people desire from others. Unbeknownst to us, our environment uses our attention to get us to believe something: “It is the same dynamic with Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters: They were all trying to hook your attention. We also learn to hook the attention of other humans, and we develop a need for attention which can become very competitive…The need for attention becomes very strong and continues to adulthood.” (pg. 4)
    • Language allows us to communicate our understanding to others, but this is because we have a rough ‘agreement’ about what the rules and units of meaning are: “The outside dream hooks our attention and teaches us what to believe, beginning with the language that we speak. Language is the code for understanding and communication between humans. Every letter, every word in each language is an agreement” (pg. 4)
    • Information and beliefs are also agreements because, generally speaking, they are only stored if we agree with their contents; however, many of these agreements are faith, i.e. they are believed unconditionally: “As children, we didn’t have the opportunity to choose our beliefs, but we agreed with the information that was passed to us from the dream of the planet via other humans. The only way to store information is by agreement…As soon as we agree, we believe it, and this is called faith. To have faith is to believe unconditionally” (pg. 5)
    • The ‘domestication of humans’ occurs because we ‘agree’ with information from external dreams and store it in our own; this forms the basis for how we live, be, and judge: “…[in] the domestication of humans…the information from the outside dream is conveyed to the inside dream, creating our whole belief system…we are told how to live…how to be human…and we also learn to judge” (pg. 6)
    • The copying of the external dream to the internal is done through operant conditioning (using the attention from others as the punishment/reward): “…We train our children…with a system of punishment and reward…the reward is the attention that we got from…other people…With that fear of being punished and that fear of not getting the reward, we start pretending to be what we are not, just to please others, just to be good enough for someone else…We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected. The fear of being rejected becomes the fear of not being good enough. Eventually we become someone that we are not. We become a copy” (pgs. 6-8)
    • ‘Domestication’ swaps our normal tendencies for the externally expected ones; once realized, we try to say no to assert our actual independence: “All our normal tendencies are lost in the process of domestication. And when we are old enough for our mind to understand, we learn the word no…We want to be ourselves” (pg. 8)
    • A point comes when the process of domestication is reinforced automatically within: “The domestication is so strong that at a certain point in our lives we no longer need anyone to domesticate us….We can now domesticate ourselves according to the same belief system we were given, and using the same system of punishment and reward” (pgs. 8-9)
    • We punish and reward ourselves with our dream’s belief system, using our agreements as a ‘book of law’: “The belief system is like a Book of Law that rules our mind…One by one, all these agreements go into the Book of Law, and these agreements rule our dream” (pg. 9)
    • This internalized book of law is used to make judgments about our experiences, and the recipient of these negative judgments is us, the victim (but these laws are not something we chose): “The inner Judge uses what is in our Book of Law to judge everything we do and don’t do, everything we think and don’t think, and everything we feel and don’t feel…There is another part of us that receives the judgments, and this part is called the Victim. The Victim carries the blame, the guilt, and the shame…this is all based on a belief system that we never chose to believe…even years later…we find that these beliefs still control our lives” (pgs. 9-10)
    • Breaking these laws, or rules, is painful because even if we know one is not true, our strong internal agreement with these rules makes us feel something: “Breaking the rules in the Book of Law opens your emotional wounds, and your reaction is to create emotional poison. Because everything that is in the Book of Law has to be true, anything that challenges what you believe is going to make you feel unsafe. Even if the Book of Law is wrong, it makes you feel safe…The agreement is so strong that even if we understand the concept of it not being true, we feel the blame, the guilt, and the shame that occur if we go against these rules” (pg. 10)
    • Humans (ourselves and others) tend to make ourselves (and others) pay for a single mistake (i.e. are judged) more than once: “How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times…We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don’t need to do it again. But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again...If we have a wife or husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake” (pg. 12)
    • Most of our ‘book of law’ is wrong: “The Judge in the mind is wrong because the belief system, the Book of Law, is wrong. The whole dream is based on false law. Ninety-five percent of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies” (pg. 13)
    • Both internal and external dreams are (often) ruled by fear (making us experience emotions like hate, anger, jealousy, envy), transforming the dream into a nightmare: “…fear is controlling the outside dream…Whenever we feel the emotions of anger, jealousy, envy, or hate, we experience a fire burning within us. We are living in a dream of hell…Others can put us into a deeper hell, true. But only if we allow this to happen…Every human has his or her own personal dream, and just like the society dream, it is often ruled by fear…Our personal dream can also become an ongoing nightmare where we suffer and live in a state of fear. But we don’t need to dream a nightmare. It is possible to enjoy a pleasant dream” (pgs. 13-15)
    • We search for truth, justice, and beauty because our ‘dream’ obfuscates them, even though they all can be found within: “All of humanity is searching for truth, justice, and beauty. We are on an eternal search for the truth because we only believe in the lies we have stored in our mind. We are searching for justice because in the belief system we have, there is no justice. We search for beauty because it doesn’t matter how beautiful a person is, we don’t believe that person has beauty. We keep searching and searching, when everything is already within us. There is no truth to find. Wherever we turn our heads, all we see is the truth, but with the agreements and beliefs we have stored in our mind, we have no eyes for this truth” (pg. 15)
    • The feeling of ‘I am’ (i.e. the illusion of the self) is a ‘mitote’ (a fog in the mind: the dream): “Your whole mind is a fog which the Toltecs called a mitote (pronounced MIH-TOE’-TAY). Your mind is a dream where a thousand people talk at the same time, and nobody understands each other. This is the condition of the human mind—a big mitote, and with that big mitote you cannot see what you really are. In India they call the mitote maya, which means illusion. It is the personality’s notion of ‘I am.’ Everything you believe about yourself and the world, all the concepts and programming you have in your mind, are all the mitote. We cannot see who we truly are; we cannot see that we are not free” (pg. 16)
    • Expressing ourselves and living our lives is a bigger fear than death: “Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive—the risk to be alive and express what we really are…We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else” (pg. 17)
    • Domestication forms an image of perception we compare ourselves to based on others’ POVs, but due to that we will never live up to it: “During the process of domestication, we form an image of what perfection is in order to try to be good enough…We create this image, but this image is not real. We are never going to be perfect from this point of view” (pg. 17)
    • Naturally, this image of perfection does not map on to who we are, creating dissonance within that makes us feel false, frustrated, and dishonest (and reflects how we judge others): “Not being perfect, we reject ourselves…We are not good enough for ourselves because we don’t fit with our own image of perfection…We know we are not what we believe we are supposed to be and so we feel false, frustrated and dishonest…We are so afraid that somebody else will notice that we are not what we pretend to be. We judge others according to our image of perfection as well, and naturally they fall short of our expectations” (pg. 18)
    • This dissonance leads one to punish themselves for their ‘shortcomings’, either through themselves or others, with the worst punishment being self-inflicted: “Humans punish themselves endlessly for not being what they believe they should be. They become very self-abusive, and they use other people to abuse themselves as well. But…the way we judge ourselves is the worst judge that ever existed” (pg. 19)
    • Our limit for self-abuse = our limit for abuse from others: “…the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else” (pg. 20)

    Prelude to a New Dream (pg. 21)
    • To live a more joyful and fulfilled life, you need to break fear-based agreements and create love-based ones (stop expending energy, conserve it, and gain more): “If you want to live a life of joy and fulfillment, you have to find the courage to break those agreements that are fear-based and claim your personal power. The agreements that come from fear require us to expend a lot of energy, but the agreements that come from love help us to conserve energy and even gain extra energy” (pgs. 21-22)
    • Changing our agreements changes our dream; there are four of them that help break fear-based ones (and ultimately change your dream, i.e. system, overall): “If we can see it is our agreements that rule our own life, and we don’t like the dream of our life, we need to change the agreements. When we are finally ready to change our agreements, there are four very powerful agreements that will help us to break those agreements that come from fear and deplete our energy. Each time you break an agreement, all the power you used to create it returns to you. If you adopt these four new agreements, they will create enough personal power for you to change the entire system of your old agreements” (pgs. 22-23)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  15. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Yes and yes. Both are great! :)
     
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  16. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey @NewStart19, thanks for posting your notes! Very interesting.
     
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  17. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Finished the notes for the rest of the section on symptoms in Wack. Here they are:


    Wired to be an addict (neuropathology of porn addiction) (pg. 20) [Part 2]
    • Emotional numbness happens gradually and is difficult to recognize: “Emotional numbness is one of the more gradual and difficult-to-recognize symptoms of consistent PMO…This change only really becomes apparent once addicts cease PMO and their lost emotional landscapes begin to reassert themselves” (pg. 26)
    • Studies suggest a connection between social status/support and D2 receptor levels: “…a 2010 study showed that people who enjoy higher social status and increased levels of social support also display a higher density of dopamine D2 receptors, while a lower density is associated with lower social status and decreased social support” *NOTE: There’s another study referenced here that had similar findings for macaques (pg. 27)
    • A subject in a study who had their dopamine levels stunted experienced a slew of cognitive, emotional, and physical problems: “In 2005 a high-functioning, healthy medical student…volunteered to have his dopamine levels chemically stunted…he experienced loss of concentration, memory, motivation, and vocal fluency as well as increased tiredness, shame, fear, anxiety, and depression…when we force our limbic systems to desensitize with repeated porn-induced dopamine spikes, we may be making ourselves less confident, determined, and attentive and more fearful and addiction-prone…this may help to explain why, as a recovering porn addict’s brain re-sensitizes by activating more dopamine receptors, he often also experiences greater confidence, focus, motivation, energy, emotional depth, and social ability” (pg. 28)
    • Dopamine and other neurochemicals released during orgasm produce tiredness and affect sleep quality: “…orgasm releases a whole slew of neurochemicals into the nervous system that result in tiredness, but a 2012 study shows that dopamine activity…actually interferes with the body’s synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. So…the quality of….sleep and our ability to wake up refreshed and alert in the morning may be impaired” (pg. 29)
    • Reduced athletic performance, reduced muscle mass, and a wasted appearance are anecdotally reported, but there aren’t any studies that link them to chronic PMO: “Reduced athletic performance and muscle mass is a symptom reported anecdotally but is thus far untested by the scientific community…a wasted appearance and acne are also often self-reported by PMO addicts…but no studies yet attempt to link the two” (pgs. 29-30)
    • Why do all these symptoms occur? We expose ourselves to a virtually infinite supranormal stimulus, the equivalent of which our ancestors hardly ever encountered: “For hundreds of thousands of years Homo sapiens and their ancestors lived in tribal societies in which there was a very limited selection of mates, so meeting a new attractive man or woman was a rarity that our limbic systems evolved to respond powerfully to. A situation in which several or many new attractive mates were present and willing was so rare an opportunity that our limbic systems would kick into overdrive, pushing us to copulate with all of them in order to pass on our genetic material…Fast-forward to the 21st century…Internet pornography has been designed to hijack this binge drive by feeding our brains a constantly refreshing selection of extremely attractive mates doing anything we could ever want or imagine….But…there is no end to our binge. That ‘later’ in which we rest and recover from our sexual buffet need never come, because there is always more Internet porn to masturbate to. With porn, we activate a biological response that was designed to make us push past our normal limits—a response that in real life is activated only rarely but with porn can be exploited as often as we want” (pg. 31)
    I also typed up my notes for the 2nd chapter of The Four Agreements:

    Chapter 2: The First Agreement – Be Impeccable with Your Word (pg. 25)
    • The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word (pg. 25)
    • All that you experience from your first-person POV is expressed externally through the (spoken) word: “It is through the word that you manifest everything. Regardless of what language you speak, your intent manifests through the word. What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word” (pg. 26)
    • Your word (both spoken and thought) influences your lived experience: “The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life…But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you” (pg. 26)
    • Analogies between the mind and fertile soil, and seeds and the ‘word’: “The human mind is like a fertile ground where seeds are continually being planted…The word is like a seed, and the human mind is so fertile!” (pg. 28)
    • Our spoken word is powerful (like a spell…or curse) and can intentionally or unintentionally harm or help others: “Seeing the awesome power of the word, we must understand what power comes out of our mouths. One fear or doubt planted in our mind can create an endless drama of events. One word is like a spell, and humans use the word like black magicians, thoughtlessly putting spells on each other. Every human is a magician, and we can either put a spell on someone with our word or we can release someone from a spell” (pgs. 28-29)
    • One’s opinion can create a sense of fear in others, regardless of the intent: “We cast spells all the time with our opinions…During our domestication, our parents and siblings gave their opinions about us without even thinking. We believed these opinions and we lived in fear over these opinions” (pg. 29)
    • The author defines impeccability as without sin, and defines sin as anything that you do which goes against yourself; everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin (pg. 31)
    • Being impeccable means you take responsibility for what you do, but you don’t go against yourself (no judging no blaming): “Being impeccable is not going against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself” (pg. 31)
    • When does “sin” begin? With self-rejection: “Sin begins with rejection of yourself. Self-rejection is the biggest sin that you commit” (pg. 31)
    • There are two ways to use the ‘word’ (either internally or externally): we can use it to spread ‘truth’—which the author inextricably links to love (self-acceptance?)—or we can use it to spread lies, which he calls ‘black magic’ or emotional poison (i.e. negative emotions like anger, jealousy, envy or hate); the former is being impeccable with your word: “Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself…if I get angry and with my word send all that emotional poison to you, I’m using the word against myself. If I love myself I will express that love in my interactions with you, and then I am being impeccable with the word, because that action will produce a like reaction…If you make an agreement with yourself to be impeccable with your word, just with that intention, the truth will manifest through you and clean all the emotional poison that exists within you. But making this agreement is difficult because we have learned to do precisely the opposite. We have learned to lie as a habit of our communication with others and more importantly with ourselves…Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison—to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate. The word is pure magic—the most powerful gift we have as humans—and we use it against ourselves…The truth is the most important part of being impeccable with your word. On one side of the sword are the lies which create black magic, and on the other side of the sword is the truth which has the power to break the spell of black magic. Only the truth will set us free” (pgs. 32-37)
    • Ruiz defines gossip as the worst form of "black magic" (pg. 37)
    • Fear and suffering are the parts of the dream of the planet that keep us down, and gossip fulfills this function (and perversely connects us to others): “Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society. It has become the way we feel close to each other, because it makes us feel better to see someone else feel as badly as we do…Fear and suffering are an important part of the dream of the planet; they are how the dream of the planet keeps us down” (pg. 38)
    • Gossip is analogized to a computer virus that we both contract and spread (i.e. the mitote): “One little piece of misinformation can break down communication between people, causing every person it touches to become infected and contagious to others. Imagine that every single time others gossip to you, they insert a computer virus into your mind, causing you to think a little less clearly every time. Then imagine that in an effort to clean up your own confusion and get some relief from the poison, you gossip and spread these viruses to someone else. Now imagine this pattern going on in a never-ending chain between all the humans on earth. The result is a world full of humans who can only read information through circuits that are clogged with a poisonous, contagious virus. Once again, this poisonous virus is what the Toltecs called the mitote, the chaos of a thousand different voices all trying to talk at once in the mind” (pgs. 40-41)
    • The worst cases of this are the ‘black magicians’ who spread gossip intentionally: “Even worse are the black magicians or ‘computer hackers’ who intentionally spread the virus…As children we do this quite thoughtlessly, but as we grow older we become much more calculated in our efforts to bring other people down. Then we lie to ourselves and say that person received a just punishment for their wrongdoing. When we see the world through a computer virus, it is easy to justify the cruelest behavior” (pg. 41)
    • The word is also used internally (i.e. thoughts): “For years we have received the gossip and spells from the words of others, but also from the way we use our word with ourselves. We talk to ourselves constantly and most of the time we…use the word against ourselves” (pg. 42)
    • One’s opinion does not necessarily equal truth, but we spread it regardless because we want to feel validated: “Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true. Your opinion comes from your beliefs, your own ego, and your own dream. We create all this poison and spread it to others just so we can feel right about our own point of view” (pg. 43)
    • You can protect the fertile soil of your mind by being impeccable with your word, and this can be measured by your level of self-love (acceptance?): “You will only receive a negative idea if your mind is fertile ground for that idea. When you become impeccable with your word, your mind is no longer fertile ground for words that come from black magic. Instead, it is fertile for the words that come from love. You can measure the impeccability of your word by your level of self-love. How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word. When you are impeccable with your word, you feel good; you feel happy and at peace” (pg. 44)
    • Successfully making this first agreement will change the nature of your soil and thus what kind of seeds can be sown: “It is up to you to make this agreement with yourself: I am impeccable with my word. Nurture this seed, and as it grows in your mind, it will generate more seeds of love to replace the seeds of fear. This first agreement will change the kinds of seeds your mind is fertile for” (pg. 44)
    • Your impeccability will convey love to yourself and others and break the agreements that cause suffering: “Use the word in the correct way. Use the word to share your love…beginning with yourself…Use the word to break all those teeny, tiny agreements that make you suffer” (pg. 45)
    • This agreement makes you immune to an infernal existence and able to live a supernal one: “With the impeccability of the word you can transcend the dream of fear and live a different life. You can live in heaven in the middle of thousands of people living in hell because you are immune to that hell” (pgs. 45-46)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
  18. Bilbo Swaggins

    Bilbo Swaggins Well-Known Member

    I like Fargo too. Even though season 4 was not as good as the three first ones, in my opinion, it was still pretty good. Great series.
     
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  19. Bilbo Swaggins

    Bilbo Swaggins Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I like how each season is different! Each time you start a new one, you discover new characters, a new universe... Dark and funny, really nice.

    As for ranking... I really liked the 3 first seasons a lot, but I guess it would be 1-3-2. Bud as I said, they’re all excellent. I liked Lester in season 1, and both characters played by Ewan McGregor in the the third. I didn’t even recognize him in the main character at first, it’s crazy how they managed to change his look.
     
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  20. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I recently downloaded an app with nature sounds, where you can choose between some sounds (rain, ocean, forest, birds,....). I find this quite helpful so far and it's definitely a better user for my phone than watching some porn. o_O

    I think it's really great that you read so many different things!

    I also read "The Magic Mountain" (but in the original language - Der Zauberberg) a few months ago. It took me quite a long time to read it to be honest, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it, quite the contrary. Your post reminded me that I've never read any of the old German classics in English. That could be interesting how they handled the translation. Reading these old german authors is interesting. Like when you read Franz Kafka (who was Austrian, but same language), one sentence is like two pages long. And yes, I've read Goethe's Faust when I was in school. But that was more than 15 years ago. If I remember it correctly it wasn't thaaat long, but I think I needed my time to read it back then.
     
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