A Better Tomorrow

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

  1. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    A pity indeed. How are you going to reboot if you keep telling yourself that you can't?

    @NewStart19: Hey man, I noticed you made some really awesome and positive posts the last couple of weeks. Just wanted to say that I really appreciate that:)
     
  2. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    Well, I think it's also a level of not admitting that you truly don't want to stop. When I finally admitted to myself that I was clearly getting something out of it that went way beyond naked girls or anything like that, it was a relief. Our addictions aren't about what we're looking at. They run much deeper and have a much longer history than most of us can consciously understand. Our addictions are not the core problem. They are a problem to be sure, but they are the symptoms of a much bigger problem. You can put a bandaid on an infected wound, and it will help a little, but underneath, that wound is still infected. Until you deal with the wound, the bandaid is just...a bandaid.

    I don't like the term "reboot" since it's so attached to the NoFap culture, which is more voodoo and pseudoscience for guys who don't want to admit this is a deeper problem, an addiction, and needs professional help. You're not a fucking hard drive. You're a human who evolves. You just need to evolve to the next stage of your life. There is no such thing as dopamine fasting, and dopamine is one of only 6 chemicals at work when we cater to our addictions. I know its ironic to say it here, but for real success, you've got to drop the mantras and cults you find on the Internet and do it the old fashioned way...with help from professionals who know what they're doing. Fellowship with other addicts is important, but it's not where longterm sobriety exists unless you're a very specific 12-step kind of person.
     
  3. Doper

    Doper Active Member

    While I think it is a silly name, I believe there is far more than enough science to back up the general idea. I don't want to jack NewStarts thread, but since you write books on this topic and I've seen you make this point several times in multiple threads using words like "cult" and voodoo", I think it is important that you specifically address your qualms about this topic in a new thread.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  4. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @-Luke-

    Thanks for the kind words. I was worried about setting it up, plus it's a desktop, which makes putting away IADs a little more difficult now haha. But I'm really pleased with it. My old laptop had been giving me problems on and off for years, so it's great to not have to deal with that anymore.

    You draw an interesting distinction there. Maybe it's something I should devote a little more thought to.

    @Pete McVries

    You're most welcome. Although I don't want to see you go, I do think at some point leaving the sites behind is in your best interest. You recover, you give back to the community, and then ultimately move on with your life (or at least that's how I see it).

    It's interesting to hear that you still view yourself as someone who is recovering. Not sure if you're like me, but I am definitely a 'once an addict, always an addict' kind of guy, and my intuitions about this stem from what I've learned about addiction at the level of the brain. Because of this, I don't think an addict can ever be cured. But I do think they can recover; however, it's a curious thing when you start considering what is the dividing line between recovered and unrecovered. I view myself as a recovered alcoholic, nicotine-smoker etc., but looking back, I'm not sure I'd be able to say when these transitions occurred. Of course, looking for a specific point is an arbitrary endeavor, but even if I were to think about it in terms of longer periods of time, it'd be difficult for me to say when these changes happened.

    Sorry if I gave you the impression that I put you on a pedestal in some kind of way. If that is indeed the impression I have given you, I think it's because a.) you are the only recovered porn addict that I have been able to speak with directly on multiple occasions (insofar as talking with someone via the internet can be considered direct), and b.) you genuinely seem to care about doing what you can to help others struggling with this problem. But I am not trying to pedestalize you. As mentioned in the above paragraph, there were other addictions I struggled with that are no longer a part of my life and never will be again, and in the eyes of someone still struggling with those addictions I could potentially come across as someone extraordinary.

    True, porn has been the most powerful and difficult addiction for me to quit, but I know that with enough time, effort, consistency, evaluation, adjustments and more, I will ultimately get through this. From a first-person experiential point of view, it doesn't feel like this at times (thankfully far less so these days), but overcoming seemingly immutable behaviors in the past as well as learning about and dealing with other psychological problems I have (like my OCD for example) have helped me get better at seeing beyond the current confines of my circumscribed, perceived reality (meditation helps too).

    Long story short: you seem like a good dude and I appreciate what you do, and I know that someday I will beat this ; )

    @Joshua Shea

    I'm glad to have another "shiny example" stop by and contribute to my topic, so thank you. I'm not saying that you were referring to me in your post, but I definitely don't think recovery is impossible. In my case, at times recovering from porn can feel like an ever-elusive goal only to be coveted but never obtained, but I don't myself think this to be the case, and in fact have been successful in overcoming other debilitating addictions. For example, I used to be a binge alcoholic, but I can now have alcohol in the house (not mine, belongs to the people I live with), or be in a bar, or spend time with friends/acquaintances who are drinking without fear of returning to the bottle once again. Even under heavy stress or crisis, my mind doesn't gravitate toward the thought of imbibing spirits anymore. There is definitely a stark contrast between where I am with alcohol and where I am with porn, but I do think that I can at some point in the future get to a state where I could confidently control myself even if I was exposed to pornographic content.

    @Doper

    I've gotten to a point in life where I have a pretty consistent and healthy diet, and I think this has been corroborated pretty well by my last few physicals. Maybe because of this, I haven't really thought much about adjusting aspects of my diet to aid my recovery efforts (aside from some changes/works in progress aimed at ameliorating my GI pain). Since I have never considered recovery from this angle, it might just behoove me to look into this. Thanks for bringing something I hadn't really considered to my attention. This may seem out of left field, but have you noticed any effects of caffeine cessation/reduction on any aspects of recovery? That is if you've experimented with this of course. I'd be interested to hear.

    As an aside, I don't lift anymore, but I was really into it about ten years ago. I remember some posts on that forum being chock full of a lot of broggadocio. Remembering it made me chuckle a little. Thanks for that ; ).

    @BoughtWithBlood

    Easier said then done I know, but despair is such a terrible lens to view life through. I want to try my best to maintain a clarity of vision, even when the emotional optometrist gives me the wrong eyeglass prescription so to speak.

    @Living

    Real talk, I loved reading that. Thank you for the kind sentiment. It feels good to try and put some positivity out there in the hope that it'll benefit others, and it feels even better to learn that there are times when it successfully hits its mark.

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

    Another day clean. Haha I'm so gassed out from responding to everyone that that's all I gotta say. Take care all.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  5. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Please don't apologize and thanks again for your kind words. I didn't have the feeling that you put me on a pedestal, it was just important to me to point out that my recovery is not some kind of outer-worldly miracle and that everyone can recover. You can recover and I'm sure you will eventually! But as you correctly stated, leaving porn behind is probably a lot more difficult than stopping to smoke or to drink depending on your situation. At least that's what it was for you and it was the same for me, as I smoked for a while, too and I definitely was an unregular heavy binge drinker. The older I got, I also started drinking myself senseless especially after having yet another argument with my parents because it made me so depressed and stressed. Often times it went hand in hand with using porn particularly the day after drinking. I was always craving porn so hard. I remember visiting a friend in another city, going out partying and on the next day I had to take a six hour long train ride back home. And on the ride back, being hung over, all I could think of was using porn. It got so bad, that I even pondered of watching porn on my smartphone on toilet. I mean, this is really mad if you think about it for a second...

    To draw the arc, stopping to drink and smoke was a lot easier than stopping to watch porn. And I guess, that is mainly because it's so effortless to get ahold of it. All you need is internet and a device for it. For cigarettes and alcohol, you have to get your ass up and go to the store, have some money in your pocket, and the store must be still open. For many people, there are many situations or times of the day, where it's literally impossible to easily get it in your hands. But an infinite amount of internet porn is available for free 24/7/365 right in your home.

    I remember back in the 2000s, there was an ad against movie piracy going something like "you wouldn't steal a car, you wouldn't steal a handbag, you wouldn't steal a television, you wouldn't steal a movie!". And there was a popular parody of it where an actor was watching a fake ad that went like "you wouldn't download a beer" and the actor was like "hell yeah, I would download a beer right away without a second thought. Where do I need to sign up?". What I'm trying to say is, the accessibility of porn is what makes it so incredibly difficult. And we need to find ways to not fall back into the trap at (all) times just because it's only one click away. Knowing myself, it's super hard but it's possible. When I quit drinking and when I quit smoking, my amateurish method simply was to not have any cigarettes and alcohol at home and stop going out with people who drink and smoke for a while. And it worked pretty effectively. With porn, on the other hand, this method is simply not possible. So we need to find other ways to deal with it.

    @Living shared an excellent link in @Gil79 journal the other day. If you haven't read it already, it might be worth it. To stay with the anology of a closed liquor store, what I found really helpful is to create an environment where the porn store at home has closed at all times so to say. I know, it's almost impossible to block all porn or suggestive material but we can still make it a lot more difficult to access it or to make it hard to relapse. It can be blockers, of course, but what I did additionally for example was to never close my curtains. The place where I have my computer is at a big window and in order to relapse, I would have to close the curtains. I made it a rule to never do it so it's not possible for me to sit there and masturbate without my neighbours seeing me as long as I have them open. There a lot of little tricks and additional layers you could put in place that can help you staying clean.

    The good news is, that I don't need my blocker anymore and I can close the curtain without relapsing. But they were like a scaffold that helped me becoming abstinent and being abstinent is so normal by now that something extra-ordinary must be happening for me to relapse. Yet I know that stranger things have happened. Ich habe schon Pferde vor der Apotheke kotzen sehen ;). And that's probably solely the reason for me to imagine myself as still recovering. It keeps my attention sharp. It keeps me aware of how bad my life was when I was unable to leave the porn trap. There are many accounts of rebooters who initially recovered and then fell back and had a really hard time of becoming abstinent again. I never want that to happen and I'm very thankful for them putting this big warning sign on my lawn. I do not need to experience this first-hand in order for me to believe it.
     
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  6. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Same here. For me it's not so much about being an addict or not being addict, but more about reducing the chances of falling flat on my face. I don't think I'm in team 'Once an addict, always an addict', but I do believe that once you made porn an option in the way we did, porn will always remain an option we might consider under certain circumstances. And that's why I think something like cue exposure therapy is a good idea. You can't undo an association especially when it's ingrained this way, but you can add a new association and stomp on that pathway with heavy boots over and over again. It can still happen that you have a slip after five years, but 1) you reduce the chance of it happening in the first place by creating other options and making those options the new standard and 2) you reduce the effect it has because you are aware of these other options. And I think that last part is something to pay more attention to.

    English is not my first language...neither is NoFap. I understand your point, but to me the word doesn't have that association.
     
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  7. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    I'm not going to rehash everything I've said on my site multiple times, and they explain it far better than I do in these articles:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/...-psychiatry/202002/debunking-dopamine-fasting
    https://elemental.medium.com/could-...tion-to-our-overstimulated-lives-e77a7bce3833
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/...-the-newest-sounds-fake-but-ok-wellness-trend
    This should be enough to get you going. It's like so many other pseduo-science methods out there. I just don't understand why people have to try to reinvent the wheel...end up with nothing that looks like a wheel....and then claim it's a better wheel. Those of us who have long-term sobriety can speak to this with authority.
    More importantly, go buy my new book that came out yesterday.
     
  8. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day


    @Joshua Shea

    We do NOT allow:

    3. Advertising or self-promotion of any kind. Even if your initiative is useful and great, we're a small, tight-knit community, and we don't want this place to turn into a Twitter feed of people self-promoting their own initiatives. We believe that it isn't good for community health. We want our community members to stay here and not feel uncomfortable with people constantly bombarding them with ads or subtle marketing. Long-term users will likely be warned, but new users immediately banned if the moderators believe that the only reason they are here is to advertise. Any attempts to evade this rule will also be met with a ban, such as posting on behalf of an associate or asking users to post on your behalf. If your primary reason for being here is to post links to your initiative or links about your initiative, you should reconsider your participation. This may include other websites, books, e-books, courses, videos, apps, YouTube channels, etc.
     
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  9. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    It was a joke...chill out. I've been participating for years here.
     
  10. Doper

    Doper Active Member

    I don't like caffeine as it puts me into fight or flight mode. I can only handle a little bit. All else being equal I think if I drink it I'm more prone to relapse. For people that can tolerate it there is some evidence that it could have a positive effect on rebooting, speeding up the process (I'd imagine to a slight degree).

    "We show a significant increase in D2/D3R availability in striatum with caffeine administration, which indicates that caffeine at doses consumed by humans does not increase DA in striatum. Instead we interpret our findings to indicate that caffeine's DA-enhancing effects in the human brain are indirect and mediated by an increase in D2/D3R levels and/or changes in D2/D3R affinity."
    Caffeine increases striatal dopamine D2/D3 receptor availability in the human brain
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462609/

    The reason I mentioned in an earlier post employing a caloric deficit to knock out libido was because you wrote this (in reference to flatline): "I am one of those people who would actually welcome it for an extended period of time (using the definition flatline = little to no libido)."
    So I just wanted to offer up the possibility that, especially for anyone who needs to lose weight (most everyone these days), that that is an option.
     
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  11. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Doper

    Yea, I definitely made the connection. I've been lucky in that my BMI has been between the normal range (18.5-24.9) for many years now (lipid levels have been consistently good too). I used to count calories when I lifted frequently a decade ago, but haven't done so since. Might be beneficial to keep a log and see if I notice any correlation between perceived libido and my caloric intake for the day. Nutrition facts make it pretty easy to do so.

    Interesting. So basically physically tolerable quantities of caffeine don't produce more dopamine, but enhance the effects of the neurotransmitter by increasing receptor levels and/or how well dopamine binds to receptors? Or at least that's how I understood it, but I only glanced at the study. Thanks for sharing by the way.

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    Another day down. Have been feeling some pretty intense urges for the past twenty minutes though. Yikes!
     
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  12. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Yes, and for years you have been referring to your book and website. If you are here for the right reasons, than at least avoid the appearance that you're here for commercial reasons and stop referring to your website and book.
     
  13. Doper

    Doper Active Member

    Exactly right.
    Another good resource is the NIH Body Weight Planner. It's a government site, it's the most precise calculator out there. I understand you aren't in desperate need of it but it's fun to just fool around with. If in a few years you totally go off the rails like I do regularly, it's there....:D

    https://www.niddk.nih.gov/bwp

    I find to knock out libido (and even morning wood), you have to go pretty low on the calories. For me probably 1700 cal per day and under, and a bunch of exercise on top of that. So I am hungry for good chunks of the day. I think that probably has a lot to do with it, the body doesn't see sex as a priority it just has to find some food. A couple years ago in my journal I was pondering if the reason I was so flatlined was my low calorie intake and a bit over the top amount of cardio, and after looking into it I have no doubt it has a pretty substantial effect.
     
  14. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Doper

    Awesome. Thanks for letting me know about that resource. It's cool how it gives you a concrete target of how many calories to consume to reach your weight-loss goals. One thing I am definitely lacking is consistent exercise.

    @Pete McVries

    The 24/7 accessibility of porn, the fact that it's essentially free, and the virtually endless novelty it supplies thanks to the internet definitely make it stand apart from other addictions like alcohol (although a lot of the places where I lived always had a convenience store or bar right down the street--so it still felt pretty accessible to me--plus most of friends were heavy drinkers which made the pull even stronger). I do remember how the hangovers would make relapse so enticing...anything to ameliorate the physical agony and the feelings of regret for the stupid things I did night before.

    Thanks for the link. I'll definitely check it out.

    It's funny, because sometimes I think to myself, if I just lived internet free for a few months, with no IADs in the house, then technically I would remove the 24/7 access difficulty, and it would make recovery a lot easier. But the honest truth is that living without internet in this day and age is just such a huge handicap. But I do wonder sometimes, am I just not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to truly stay clean?

    @Living

    Yea, rewiring that stimulus-response connection is so important. This is something I am trying to apply more and more to other areas of my life, not just my addiction.

    I stick with the 'once an addict, always an addict' idea because I think even after you overcome sensitization, desensitization, hypofrontality, a malfunctioning stress system, and make progress with weakening the addicted part of your brain and rewiring it in a different way, you will still have some established infrastructure in there that won't be completely undone. The addicted part of your brain won't ever fully deteriorate and rewire. That's my intuition at least. There's always going to be some real estate in your brain, even if it is dilapidated and rundown, that is wired for addiction. And that'll make it that much easier for you to develop an addiction again compared to someone who never built up that infrastructure in the first place. For some people this may seem like a bleak outlook (not saying you are one of these people), but I don't interpret it this way.

    @Joshua Shea

    Thanks for bringing up various points for consideration. Don't want to sound selfish, but I'd like to try and keep this topic more as a journal and less as a forum for debate. @Doper created a separate topic regarding one of the items you brought up here. If you're interested, I hope you check it out and weigh in on the discussion

    @Gil79

    I didn't know about that rule. While I haven't self-promoted videos, books etc., I have recommended those of others that I've found useful. Perhaps I should be more careful about that. I definitely don't want to come across as a shill for someone else.

    Sorry about my lackluster responses today guys. Got a killer headache right now and want to make sure I turn off my IADs in time. Hopefully no one felt they received an inadequate response.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The urges I was feeling before and after making yesterday's post were rough. Felt some strong physiological discomfort and it was difficult to turn the arrow of attention away to something else. Thankfully they weren't too long: around 20-30 minutes. Today's been better, but I've been feeling light to moderate urges here and there.

    Now to turn off my IADs and take some ibuprofen. This headache is killing me.

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
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  15. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Hi @NewStart19, at first my apologies for posting that in your journal. It was only directed to him and only because I have been doubting his motivation for interacting on this board for a long time. That post of his was kind of the 'last straw that breaks the camel's back' for me, but I have now said everything I needed to say about it. Just for your information, this was a copy and paste from the posting policies. You should not hesitate to share any links or references to whatever material here. It is really not about that.

    Yesterday I have read your journal from the beginning. I was quite affected by your first post. You had so many things going on and all of that without a family or any friends around. A lot to deal with on your own. I hope that your situation has been improved since then. The struggles you describe in your journal are very familiar to me: the difficulties with emotional discomfort, doubts, fantasies, etc. It is good that you write about them and I have the feeling that you have also become more comfortable doing so. In the first pages of your journal it seems you were quite afraid of being judged by others, but only to find out that everything you express here (and others) is just very human. I still find it difficult sometimes to show vulnerability here on the board, and sometimes doubt about posting something, but then I also think that being vulnerable and opening up about this stuff is really what is most helpful to myself and others. I also want to say that I have really enjoyed reading about your road trips and walks in nature. Your encounter with the calf and the group of deer. Such moments are so valuable and it is such a nice present to yourself to do so. In my twenties I really spend most of my time on my own and I remember so much time spending just in my apartment separated from the rest of the world, watching TV, watching porn, hiding away, but also many moments where I just took myself out to the forest or heathland and I still really cherish those moments and really see how they were an act of self-love. Things are never all bad, there are always good moments, and by investing in those, even in difficult times, we slowly move towards something better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  16. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    This is not something I disagree with. To me considering myself an addict is something that goes beyond having an infrastructure that makes it more likely to give into addictive behaviour. But I can live with other people thinking otherwise:)

    Good to see you are dealing with those urges well!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
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  17. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Gil79

    Thanks for the link. I should've checked this out when I first joined.

    I appreciate you taking some time out of your day to read my thread. Since I first started posting here, I have come to realize that the members of this community on the whole are pretty supportive and non-judgmental, which is great.

    Although I haven't been spending much time in nature as of late, it's always nice to do so. Combining it with meditation can be fantastic. If you're lucky enough to experience the collapse between subject-object when completely outdoors, surrounded by the vast majesty of nature, it really is quite something. In the moment it feels like nothing at all, but afterwards it is quite incredible.

    I think from time to time about checking what I wrote in my initial post, but I have decided to hold off on doing so until the end of this year, so that I can compare where I was then and where I will be and see how significantly things have changed. I'm looking forward to it.

    @Living

    Yea, I think I see where you are coming from. It's a fixed phrase, so I use it as is, but it'd probably be more accurate to say something like 'once an addict, your brain will be irrevocably changed such that you will always be susceptible to returning to addictive behaviors when reexposed to an addictive stimulus', or something like that. Not as succinct, but definitely more accurate.

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

    Well, today has been yet another day of urges. Not as bad as the day before yesterday, but worse than yesterday. Although it does limit my overall productivity, I'm glad that I've been behaving how I want to behave.

    Not much else to write for today.

    Take care
     
  18. Gui

    Gui New Member

    Hey man, keep strong.

    Its really helpful to know that we’re not alone in this fight.

    I just relapsed after having dreams with porn all night, trying to fight thoughts during the day and ended up PMO a coupme minutes ago :(

    Since June 14th I relapsed 2 days, today and last week (3times that day)

    But even thought I’m feeling I lost all my progress and momentum, I want to keep going and believe that I will become a porn free man.

    I believe in you, lets do this together!

    Much love brother
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  19. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Gui

    I'm sorry to hear about the relapse. In my experience, the nights can often jeopardize our attempts to stay clean. The worst are when you wake up in the middle of the night and start looking at porn before you are even fully conscious. Turning off all internet-accessible devices (IADs) in the evening has helped a lot with this and much more. I recommend establishing a concrete time for doing so and getting better and better at upholding it. This hands down has been the best addition to my recovery efforts as of late.

    I'm glad to hear that you remain hopeful. Maintaining that feeling in whatever way you can in times of complete despair can help you make it through this problem even when your subjective experience is telling you there is no hope.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your recovery journey. Mine's been long and arduous, but I still haven't given up hope.

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

    Well, after posting last night, I was buffeted by urges for what seemed like multiple times a minute on and off for hours. There were a few times here and there where I indulged in fantasy for a second or two, but I think I controlled my mind pretty well.

    So far today has been pretty light with urges/withdrawals, so that is definitely welcome. No expectations for the rest of the day however, but that's fine with me. I look forward to posting tomorrow with more good news of a day spent without a relapse.

    Take care
     
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  20. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Last night I stayed up far later than I should (and far later than my new normal, the irregularity of which I noticed as a great sign that things have really changed on the sleep front), which wasn't a good idea as it just makes me more compromised to relapse. That being said, I was mindful the entire time just in case I felt an orange/red-level urge so that I could relocate and perform a different behavior if necessary. Toward the end, before I went to bed, I did get an orange-level urge and quickly went to sleep soon after.

    Today has gone pretty well so far. Urges and withdrawals have been pretty light. I helped someone who has severe mobility problems with some physical therapy. He often skips out on doing it, even though it's so necessary, but recently it seems he is becoming more consistent, and I am more than happy to help him rehabilitate. He seems in a good mood about doing some more tomorrow, which is even more promising. In some ways, I see his recovery efforts like my own. It's a long arduous process with ups and downs, we sometimes get dejected and don't truly commit to recovery, at other times we make excuses or bad choices and set ourselves backward, but we also keep holding on to hope and slowly improve to work toward a better tomorrow.

    That's it for today. Take care
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020

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