A New Beginning

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by -Luke-, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    As you might know I don't believe in theories that just keeping away from porn long enough will make your chances of relapsing slimmer per se. At least for me relapses come from a complex combination of situations and that makes slips a bit unpredictable. If you have it easy and you feel good, keeping away from porn can be a walk in the park, but if your situation changes it can suddenly become a struggle. I think what you did this saturday is important, indeed not because it makes you 'immune', but because you learn from it, you train your 'brain-muscles' and you get more confident. It doesn't mean you won't slip the next time you are in a tough situation, but it makes your chances of succes bigger. When I was on my last big streak I started welcoming these situations just because of that. None of us want a lot of those days, but like you said: it is an opportunity to grow. We all hate these days, but perhaps we could make it a bit easier on ourselves when we see the opportunity in them too:)
     
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  2. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Yes, The Obstacle is the Way. That's one of the most important realization I had over the last years. In my early twenties and later when I first found YBOP and YBR and wanted to stop I often thought "Why can't I just be happy and have a problem-free life?" But a problem-free life is nothing I desire anymore. I don't seek problems (they'll come, it's called life) but if I encounter a problem I try to see it as an opportunity to grow. Of course I'm not always successful doing that (far from it) but that's another problem I can see as an opportunity.

    Thanks for your insights!
     
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  3. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    That really seems like a healthy approach! As for not always being successful doing that: I doubt there is anyone that is always successful at that:)
     
  4. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Some days are strange. Today I woke up feeling refreshed and energetic. I went to work and within a few minutes I got nasty pressure headaches and energy levels dropped constantly. It’s like in Space Jam, except they didn’t steal my basketball talent (from which there isn’t much) but my energy. And I don’t see any aliens nearby.

    I want to take a little peek (which would turn into something bigger) in order to numb the pain. Although “numbing the pain” might not be the correct expression because it’s more like delaying the pain and amplifying it in the long run. I did that since I was very young. The pain, the circumstances and problems changed, but the response stayed the same. I was interested in a girl and she ignored me? Watch some porn in order to feel better. I don’t need girls in real life, there are plenty of them behind the screen and there never is any rejection. I didn’t study for a test in school? Watch some porn and forget about it. Sex with my girlfriend was difficult because I had erection problems and she had some pain? Don’t rely on her for sex, you can get everything you want on a porn site. I was lonely and sat at home alone on a Saturday evening? Well, why not watch some porn and have some “virtual company”? The thought pattern and the process didn’t change and the result didn’t change. It “helped” for a few minutes and amplified the bad feelings in the future. Not on problem was solved.

    I’m just writing this to remind myself and to be aware of that thought pattern (and to break the endless cycle). The headache will go away and the energy will return. Perhaps later in the day, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps three days from now, but every condition is temporary. Pain is part of life and there are better ways to deal with it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
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  5. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Luke I relate completely to what you wrote. First, the little peek is the absolute worst rationalization that has gotten me countless times. Shouldn't I know better at this point? I don't think I've had only one peek in my life. In the recent binges I saw that I rarely look at porn for less than a full hour. Afterward, I have this complete brain fry feeling. It is almost like my head is vibrating, like what you might feel if someone hit you on the head with a mallet, minus the pain. Also, as you said, porn doesn't solve any of our problems! After this brain fry, I am right back to where I started, but this time feeling like I am strung out.
     
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  6. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Thanks for dropping by Merton. I hate to break the bad news, but today I relapsed after 47 days.

    Here's what happens now:

    1) I wrote in my 7-day plan I won't use the internet in the public library for a month in case of a relapse. So that's what I do now. Even though I watched on my phone and not in the library. A consequence is a consequence.

    2) That I relapsed isn't proof that those 7-day plans don't help. They do. I was aware they won't just magically take this addiction away from me. In the past I often made the mistake to question everything after a relapse and I left out even things that were helpful. So I'll continue with the 7-day plans.

    3) I think last saturday I lied to myself. I was actively looking for sexual content that triggered me. It wasn't an a accident. I didn't stumple upon something. I should have viewed that as a relapse. If I don't draw a line here that'll open the door to a lot of bargaining. A relapse is a relapse, whether it's a three hour binge or the occasional "peek" at some Instagram model.

    4) As always I found a way to get around my blocker. And I always will be. I cannot rely on blockers and I shouldn't. When I was porn free for more than a year in 2016/2017 I didn't have a blocker at all. I won't install another blocker this time.

    Peace out, Bros!
     
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  7. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about your relapse, Luke.

    The twofold competence of detecting when a relapse is starting and being able to stop it as early as possible is probably one of the biggest factors of success. The closer you have let that immiment relapse get close to you the harder it is to distance oneself again. Both from a mental and a horniness standpoint. As you stated, bargaining with the addiction is already setting a foot in enemy territory and we all know the addiction is a master deceiver. Before you know, you are dancing to its tune no different to Mowgli when he met Kaa the snake.

    Maybe, and this is just an idea that came across my mind when I read your last entry, it would be helpful for you to come up with a rough time plan and perhaps formulate where you want to go with it. Because, I can speak from experience in this, rebooting just for the sake of being clean is neither motivating long-term nor is it inspiring. There is a lack of vision. Perhaps a bit comparable to how you feel about your work situation at the moment. Yes, it puts bread and butter on your table but what else are you doing this for? A marathon seems awful long but knowing a few landmarks, knowing when you managed to beat a quarter, a half, two third of the track is a lot more motivating than running a track and not knowing how long you have to keep running. Will your breath be enough? Will your legs withstand the strain? I mean, they hurt a bit. You know, most likely they won't take you to the finish line, it's probably best stopping now, starting afresh, and coming back better prepared... And then you stop. And maybe the finishing straight was right around the next corner. But you didn't, you couldn't notice because you had no knowledge where you were in this race.

    Not only is it a tad bit more motivating if you know what you're doing this for, it's also a lot easier as you can divide tasks in the different phases of the reboot but also gradually expose yourself to new challenges. There will be hurdles and obstacles but you don't have to take them all at once. And that takes a lot pressure off of your shoulders especially in weak moments when the addiction comes knocking, wants to invite you for dinner, and tell you how great porn actually is.

    I'm guessing now, but you said shyness is a bit of a problem for you and hence, I think the thought of dating is a source of stress for you? And sometimes you don't see a viable solution for this, feel somewhat helpless(?) in the process which in turn hinders your progress? What if you focus solely on staying clean for the first period. And after a time frame you set for yourself, you only then start taking dating into account. If you meet someone before, perfect, but it's not a must so to speak. But when you start integrating the thought and task of finding someone to date, then I think it is mandatory that you take actual steps toward that goal if that is a goal of yours at all. Because if you don't, then, the addiction will have a lot of leverage once it manages to haggle with you again.

    While writing this, I was remembering that you liked Underdog's post about vision a lot. If I recall correctly, he wrote about a general life vision. That is the big picture. You can also zoom in and do this for more specific things. And I believe this has the power to keep you on track for times when you feel there is no light present and keep you warm when sharp frost seems all around.

    Take care!
     
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  8. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey Pete, thanks for your feedback!

    Regarding the shyness/social anxiety/dating: I tried to focus on getting clean for a period of time this time, but I'm not sure if that's too much of the waiting mindset I talked about in the past. I wait for a day and that day doesn't come. But at the same time you're right: I feel somewhat helpless in that process and it's a source of stressful thinking.

    Before I read your post today I thought about the same thing. I wanna try something new for the next weeks and months. I do not focus on the (desired) end result (i.e. getting a girlfriend/having sex), instead I focus on small actions and the process itself. I want to start small in order to increase confidence (around women but also people in general) without a fixed goal in mind. I'll incorporate these small actions into my weekly plans in the next weeks and months. Basically what I want to do is adopting the approach of a good scientist: I construct a hypothesis (doing x every day will lead to y), I test it for a period of time, I see what happens and evaluate the results (without any kind of bias). If action x will improve my confidence it's good, if it won't it's good. And like I said, I'll start small. And then we'll see what happens
     
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  9. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is exactly what I meant. I suggested the first abstaining period because I think rebooting & rewiring is a massive task especially if you feel a bit rusty when it comes to dating & sex. It can be so overwhelming that I reckon, it sometimes plays a part when we convince ourselves why a relapse now is the right thing to do. You are an experienced rebooter, so turn 90 clean days into 30 for instance if that suits you better. This will also get you out of the waiting mindset because after 30 days, you now have to face the challenge of dating and have to find solutions for it.

    Regarding your second paragraph, have you ever heard of gamification? It's a trend you see in didactics for a few years now. Basically, it's applying game design elements to learning or other tasks in order to achieve something. You could set yourself a set of goals for the week and then work on achieving them. The best of all, you can measure your effort. It's like going to the gym. You won't see your muscle growth easily because you most likely see yourself daily in the mirror but the numbers on your notepad that show that you've increased weights again and again over the course of several weeks undoubtedly show your progress. And this keeps you coming back because you see that it works what you do. And just like weight lifting, you can also increase the difficulty of challenges you want to face. Start small, get the momentum going, expose yourself to tougher tasks. Gains are waiting to be made ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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  10. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry to hear you slipped but I think this part above you really nailed it. For sure we're doing a whole lot of good, even if we still fall down. And the good is not to be forgotten or all thrown away.

    Every relapse is a chance to understand better what went wrong but we don't need to reinvent the wheel every time.

    It's great you went almost 50 days without porn and I'm sure you'll have many more clean days ahead !

    I think you and me both, once we tackle a bit that shyness with girls, we'll make even more strides ;) We'll get there !
     
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  11. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to accomplish over the course of the next months. Training is a good metaphor. When I first started I wasn't able to do one pullup. Not even one. I had to jump to the bar in order to get some momentum. I did that for a while until I did one full pullup. Then I continued doing one pullup until I was able to do two and so on. Everything is difficult until it gets easy.

    That's were I am right now regarding confidence. I cannot do even one pullup. So I start small and see what happens along the way.

    Yes, the guy from porn free radio quotes Steven Pressfield often: "Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance."

    I always feel that resistance. I think a part of me doesn't want to change. It's easier this way. No rejection, no arguments, no risks. And while I'm unsatisfied with this life it's convenient at the same time. But I'm curious what "the unlived life within" me has to offer. I'll try to find out.


    I decided to try a 30-day yoga challenge. For the next 30 days I'll do yoga no matter what. The thought behind it was that I often feel better and more relaxed after a yoga session (usually once a week). So why not try it for 30 days every day and see what happens? The attide of a scientist. ;)
     
  12. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Interesting. It's similar to a quote from Nietzsche (if I remember correctly) where he states that the further a person is from the person he knows deep down he could be, the greater the pain within him.

    I think, though, we also have to always (try) to be grateful for what we have and where we are in our lives (even if we are single, if we don't have our ideal careers, etc.). When we are peaceful with what we have, we get that positive energy that makes us humbly take on life on a daily basis.

    I guess it's a bit of a paradox (like many in life no ?), but it's a mix of these two elements that is needed. A desire to improve but also being conscious and grateful for what we do have. Even a job that seems unfulfilling at times. This is where the modern world with so much blogs and non stop stuff being thrown at us about how we should live our dream life and do our dream job and everything has to be so easy is sometimes counter productive. Not that it's not good to find a job we like, but that it's not always that simple. We are always bombarded with subliminal messages that make us be unsatisfied.

    I think the Yoga 30 day challenge sounds awesome !
     
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  13. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Week 8 (February 17, 2020 – February 23, 2020)

    1.) If I could live this week over again, I’d…

    - see my two best friends on the weekend
    - look every other person in the eyes (men/women, old/young, attractive/not so attractive. It doesn't matter) (*)
    - continue with my yoga challenge (7 times in 7 days)
    - work on Java programming every day at work

    2.) Things I get to enjoy this week…

    - seeing my two best friends on the weekend (I already wrote that last week but I mixed up the weeks)
    - 7 days of yoga

    3.) This week, I am letting go of…

    using porn as a coping mechanism if negative feelings arise

    4.) and moving towards…

    not running away from difficult situations

    5.) I am aware of these threats to my sobriety this week…

    - I had a relapse on Friday evening and even though I didn't binge there are some cravings to go back to porn.
    - I might get annoyed depressed if I'm not making progress at work and use porn as a coping method (that's what happened last week in a nutshell)

    6.) Tools I will use this week to eliminate threats…

    - Yoga to relieve stress
    - Reminding myself why I'm doing this

    7.) I will take care of myself with…

    - Yoga every day
    - Meeting two friends
    - writing down three things I'm grateful for

    8.) If I have a slip, I will…

    not eat any chocolate for a month

    9.) If I stay porn free this week, I will celebrate with…

    buying a new book

    10.) I commit this week to…

    Everybody reading this journal


    (*) That's what I meant with starting small. I started today when I took a walk. And while I feel a tendency to look away it's something I can do.
     
  14. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I managed to keep it at a single relapse last Friday. That's important to me because in the second half of last year a had three periods where I binged for multiple days and felt completely hopeless. Proving to myself that I can move on after a single relapse without binging is helpful after some difficult times. Like I said, I don't have a blocker or filter anymore and that feels liberating at the moment.

    Today I made some progress with a project at work with some help of a co-worker. One minute I feel optimistic, the next minute I feel overwhelmed. I keep oscillating between those two. The last few days I took work more serious and I don't browse the internet. I try to do my best so long as I am in this job. At the same time I think about alternatives often. I want to learn something about app development (I already have some experience in programming/coding). I don't know if one can make money out of this in 2020 but that's something I would like to learn.
     
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  15. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Active Member

    @-Luke-

    Congratulations on restraining the urge to consume more. I know that can be really hard.

    Just out of curiosity, how would you define a binge? Recently, I have often been thinking about this word with respect to porn addiction, and thought it would be helpful, or at the very least interesting, to see what others have in mind when they use the word.
     
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  16. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey @NewStart19, nice to hear from you again!

    That's a good question. The problem with me is that english isn't my native language and therefore I sometimes use words without really thinking about the context, because I heard other people use them.

    I guess many people use the word "binge" if they use porn/alcohol/a drug for many hours in a row. I use that word when I relapse after a longer abstinence and aren't able to get back on the horse immediately. Instead I watch porn for several days in a row before I regain some feeling of self-control. That's what I'd call a binge.
     
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  17. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Active Member

    @-Luke-

    Thanks for the quick reply. So from what I gather, you use it to refer to a higher relapse frequency, but not (necessarily) longer sessions. Do you notice any change in the duration of your sessions? How long are your normal sessions and how long are the binge sessions (that is if there is a change in the duration)?

    Sorry for blitzing you with questions. I have been thinking more about relapses--and porn use in general--in terms of frequency and duration, which has made me more interested in hearing about this from others.

    Take care
     
  18. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    @NewStart19
    I thought a bit more about my definition of the word "binge" yesterday and I think it isn't very accurate. I guess the duration of a session is definitely important here.

    When I relapse my sessions last for two or three hours and rarely much less than that. I watch porn (or what I define as porn - I almost never go to a "real" porn site) without masturbating) for hours because there's no sense of satiety, I want novelty/novelty/novelty and switch from one picture to the next. After a few hours I feel so stressed and zombie-like, so I MO just to end it. I cannot stop without an orgasm. Back in the old days, when I first tried to stop, I was heavily influenced by the Nofap community. I thought it's not that bad as long as I don't orgasm. I needed some time to realize that this was just another excuse in order to justify my porn use.

    Back in 2013/2014 I would be clean for three or four weeks and would then binge for several hours. I had long edging sessions and watched porn for up to 6-8 hours on some days. That way I wreaked havoc on my body and my brain, it totally stressed me out. I haven't really recovered from that detrimental behavior. My problems with insomnia also started around that time.

    So yes, the duration is an important factor in a binge. I don't want to sound like it's ok if you watch porn for 8 hours as long as you don't return to porn the following days. It's not.
     
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  19. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    At the end of last year several guys on YBR suggested to me that seeing a therapist might be helpful. I thought about it and contacted a few therapists in my city. They had too many patients already, though. To be honest, I only contacted two therapists, so it was more of a pseudo-effort.

    @forlorn told me that some therapists offer help through video chat or phone. I remembered that last weekend and made contact with a therapist online. We plan to have a first "meeting" on Friday. She already worked with porn addicts in the past and she speaks my native language. I guess talking in my native language is easier in a setting like that. So that's a first step after months of internal battles. I'll report after the first conversation.
     
  20. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Well done on taking that step. In a way it's easier seeing a therapist online. You don't have the inconvenience of traveling and you get to have the 'meeting' from the comfort of your own room. Plus it means you can have sessions with therapists based anywhere. Your English seems pretty good to me, so if the current one doesn't work out for you give me a shout and I'll see if I can link you to some P addiction specialists in the UK.
     

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