A New Beginning

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

  1. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    All the time. I even think that the shop clerks look down on me for what I'm buying. It's all in our heads. I hope.
    Shady and -Luke- like this.
  2. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member


    I haven’t really used this for social anxiety, but one thing I do to combat the cognitive distortion of mind reading is to try and come up with multiple “thought bubbles” that could pop up in other people’s heads when they hear me speak, see me work on a task, make a mistake, etc. Maybe you could use that exercise to help reduce the anxiety you feel when around others. It might be useful.
    -Luke- likes this.
  3. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey guys, thank for all the responses. It's good to know I'm not the only one struggling with this, even though it's not surprising. Social Anxiety ist one of the most common things for porn addicts. We can talk a lot about cause and effect but I think in this case it's a vicious cycle. People with social anxiety are more prone to porn and porn amplifies their social anxiety.
  4. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I haven't been very successful in getting back on the horse after the relapse last weekend. Two more followed this week. What's troubling about it is that I used my work laptop. This could lead to bigger problems if I'm not careful. Part of me wonders if that's subconsciously intentional and if a part of me "wants" to get fired. Since I don't want to do this job that much longer anyway and I would "finally" reach rock bottom regarding my porn use. It wouldn't make any sense but human behavior just doesn't make any sense quite often.

    On a positive note: Despite my Social Anxiety and low motivation I was outside a lot (very nice weather), I meditate every morning without exception, I work on mobility/posture every day without exception and I don't use the internet much, despite the relapses. So a basic structure is definitely there and that's necessary for me to get back on track soon.
  5. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I find it interesting how the last couple of weeks/ months my social anxiety is disappearing and coming back in cycles. It can go from non-existing to really wanting to escape. It is comforting in a way, because it enforces the idea that a huge amount of it is a symptom of the addiction and not 'something else that should be doing differently'.
  6. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member


    Nice job with implementing and maintaining some type of supportive structure. I too think something like that is essential.

    Take care
  7. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Yesterday I tweaked my back while exercising and when I woke up today my back felt very stiff and uncomfortable. I spent the first few hours of the day lying on the couch with my laptop. I was going through some old topics here, especially Wabi-Sabi's old journal. You can learn a lot from the experience of the veterans here. Sometimes, when I read old posts, I get a little sad because I realize how much time has passed and how I have gone around in circles over the years. But than yesterday I read in the RecoveryNation workshop about unhealthy and healthy recovery patterns and how people " [...]see life in episodes — with beginnings and endings — rather than as a process". And that's actually true with me (says the guy who named his journal "A New Beginning" ;)).

    Yesterday when I was taking a walk along the river I felt strangely aggressive and angry. A lot of people were outside and I was constantly annoyed by small, unimportant things and not so small things (people throwing their garbage everywhere in nature). Then I was annoyed that I was annoyed. A young jogger with tight yogapants and a lot of naked skin passed me and I wanted to fantasize about it, but instead I observed the feeling and it disappeared very quickly. This made me a bit calmer, as it showed me that my emotions do not necessarily have to control me.

    @Gil79: It comes in cycles for me as well. I could get upset about it, but on the other hand it also means that the feeling passes, just like all feelings.

    @NewStart19: Thanks man!
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  8. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Back pain is gone and was able to have a good training session today. I was kind of surprised how much energy I had today, because for the last few months my energy levels were low. I won't complain about it, though. ;) Yesterday my phone's charging cable broke and this morning the battery was dead. Since the charging cable for my phone is pretty unique I had to order a new one and I cannot use my phone for the next 2 or 3 days. This can't hurt.
    NewStart19 likes this.
  9. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Today I practiced some juggling. Actually, I've been doing it every day for a couple of weeks now. I started sometime last year and with three balls I learned it pretty fast. With four balls it was much more difficult and it took me a long time to even do it for a few seconds. But at the beginning of this year I managed to do it for about half a minute, but then I continued very irregularly. Today I managed almost four minutes non-stop. That motivated me to do some other things that I had wanted to learn for years but always stopped after a few weeks. First goal: handstands. I've wanted to do it since 2012 or so and started 4-5 times and stopped again and again. From now on I practice every day for at least 5 minutes without exception until I can hold a free handstand for 30 seconds. Let's see how long that takes.

    Last night I had quite interrupted sleep and had less energy today than yesterday, but I still feel quite good. Didn't get much done at work though. Too lazy.
    Living and NewStart19 like this.
  10. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Cool man. I would love to do handstands too. They seem manageble:)

    Juggling is a great way to work on your mindfulness by the way!
    -Luke- likes this.
  11. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    When I started to try it 2012 or so I once fell on my back pretty hard, so hard that I was half-unconscious for a few seconds. Since then I've always been a little scared. I guess the thing is to learn how to fall correctly. For now I practice on the wall and I kick myself slightly of the wall, so I can stand free for a few seconds.

    I definitely noticed that. And sometimes I do achieve a kind of flow state where everything seems to be going by itself.

    It may sound funny, but I started juggling because I thought it would help me stop watching porn. I read a study somewhere that juggling can increase grey matter in the prefrontal cortex and I thought that would help with self-discipline and self-control (grey matter in the prefrontal cortex is reduced in addicts). Nowadays I don't think it's a good idea to look at it this way, looking for shortcuts regarding porn use. But juggling is cool and I like it (and I found it was pretty easy to learn with three balls).
  12. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    The last two or three days I felt a bit fatigued and depressed and porn cravings intensified. When this happens I ask myself "Why do I want to watch porn right now?" Most of the time the answer is because I feel stressed / because I am lonely or because I am bored." Next I ask myself what else I can do. Something that's in accordance with the life I want to live and the person I want to be. This works good so far. I try to see cravings as an opportunity and with that they seem to lose some of the power.

    The new charging cable for my phone arrived today but my phone is still not charging. Maybe the battery is broken? Who knows. It's a nice little hiatus and I'm not annoyed about it.
    NewStart19 likes this.
  13. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I'm still doing the exercises over at RecoveryNation and so far I wrote some stuff in my private journal. But I thought it might help to post it here, since this is a helpful place with understanding people. I might also share some stuff from the last few weeks.

    The current exercise (lesson 20) is a big one:
    I'm not gonna do this in one go, but here we go.

    Part 1

    My childhood was relatively normal. I was a rather quiet and shy kid and could play on my own well. I was not a loner however and I always had some friends with whom I played. I was also not a couch potato, I played football and table tennis in clubs for many years and played outside with my friends a lot. In elementary school I was a pretty good pupil. Quiet and shy, but always with good results and I liked to learn new things. Elementary school lasts four years in Germany and you usually start school at the age of 6. We have a joke that goes like „For six years I didn't smoke, drink or have sex. Then I got into school.“, but anyway.

    It was 1997 when I got into secondary school. This was also around the time when technology was becoming more and more common in normal homes. I got a SNES (later a Play Station) and my parents bought a computer. The computers at that time had much less power than today's smartphones and the internet was extremely slow. But it was extremely exciting for a ten-year-old and I spent more and more time at the computer and playing video games. It was also around this time that I first came into contact with pornography. My best friend at that time had two older brothers, who were 4 years apart each. So when we were 10, the oldest brother was 18, and he had some porn on VHS. We used to watch it secretly among friends when my buddy was home alone. Since the internet was also becoming more popular at that time, it didn't take long before we came up with the idea of searching for porn online. So the transition from VHS/magazines to internet pornography was pretty fast, probably within a few weeks. Back then we were just curious guys. I had already started masturbating before, no idea when exactly. But it was quite early, 2-3 years before my body would produce semen.

    When I was 11/12 I had less and less motivation to study for school and my performances got worse and worse. Never really bad, but never more than average. I only did as much as necessary in order to avoid major problems. At about the same time I also developed some nasty acne, which remained my constant companion for a long time. Teenagers at that age are often very honest and honesty can be cruel. So it happened that some classmates teased me and made fun of my appearance. This didn’t help my self-confidence and I tried to hide myself more and more. When I started to be interested in girls, no girl was interested in me. I masturbated to fantasies of them, but in real life they were out of reach. It might have been around this time when my porn use escalated from innocent curiosity to compulsion/addiction. I used it to feel good, to forget about real life problems and in order to see naked women. The women on the screen were always available and there wasn’t any rejection. I also used it as a procrastination tool and spent more and more time on the internet. My porn use didn’t really escalate to extreme content but it escalated in the amount of time I spent on it.

    to be continued...
    Shady, NewStart19, Gil79 and 2 others like this.
  14. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear that, man. While it might be the harsh reality I think nobody should go through that. I don't think I have ever been a true bully, but I have had my own share of being uncool to people that I looked down on at that age. That's not something that I'm proud of and wish I could undo.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
    -Luke- likes this.
  15. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member


    Thanks for sharing. I think it's great that you are taking this exercise seriously.
    -Luke- likes this.
  16. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Well, I wasn't exactly Mother Teresa myself at this age. I experienced both sides of the spectrum. Teenagers...

    Part 2
    As I said, I wasn't very good at school, but I always got through somehow. When I finished school I had no idea what to do, since I had basically no interests other than soccer, computer games, internet porn and drinking with friends every now and then. I started to study something, without any plan and without motivation. I wasn't really interested in the subject, but the main thing was that I was doing something. I continued in the same way as I did in school. I hardly learned anything and in contrast to school this wasn’t enough anymore. If someone asked me how it was going I would lie and say that it was going pretty well, although I could hardly get anything done.

    When I was 18 years old I also got my first girlfriend. We were in a relationship for 4 years and in retrospect this was almost a miracle, because our relationship was quite immature. At the beginning I gave up pornography for a while because I thought that I didn't need it anymore now that I had a girlfriend, but it didn't take long before I started again. Since it was the first time in my life that I had sexual experiences I aso experienced PIED fort he first time in my life. It wasn’t full-blown PIED. Roughly 15% of he time I could get an 100% erection, roughly 15% of he time I couldn’t get it up at all and other than that it was something in between. My girlfriend also had a pretty tight vagina and I have a fairly big noodle. As a result she often experienced pain when we tried to have sex and often it didn’t happen at all. It wasn't long before I began to prefer porn over her. It was just less work, I didn’t have to worry about an erection or about pain. In retrospect I'm ashamed of it, but I sometimes watched porn on my laptop while she slept next to me in bed. Sometimes I'd say "Ah baby, I'm not in the mood today" and would wait until she fell asleep so I could finally watch porn. She broke up with me after four years. I hadn't been happy in the relationship for a long time myself, but I didn't have the balls to end it. When she ended it, it was almost liberating for me.

    At about the same time I dropped out of university and started to study something else. Again I had no idea what to do with my life, but I slowly felt pressure from my parents. I moved to another city and for the first time I did not live with my parents anymore. And for the first time in more than a decade (since elementary school) I started to study and started some self-improvement. Internet porn remained my regular companion, though. In 2013 I found YBOP and everything made sense. I started to understand what had happened with my girlfriend in the past. I tried to quit and was highly motivated in the beginning, but quitting wasn’t as easy as I had imagined. At first I started to quit because I thought it would make me better with girls and in bed (and I could just move on after 90 or 100 days), but I quickly realized this is about way more than what happens in the bedroom and it affects way more areas of my life. It’s been a journey of finding self-acceptance and understanding myself. Since I’m aware of this problem the knowledge oft he problem itself has become a source of shame and self-hate. I made some progress but at the same time are running in circles.

    So I'd say there were 4 stages regarding the role porn played in my life:
    Stage 1: First contact with porn - just out of curiosity, like it is for many guys at this age
    Stage 2: Puberty - when I used it more and more as "problem solving", in order to feel better about myself, to forget about life. That's when it became compulsive.
    Stage 3: First Relationship - when I had my first sexual experiences and realized watching porn was just a lot easier.
    Stage 4: After I found YBOP/YBR - still using it to deal with low self-esteem, stress, loneliness, anxiety of the future

    This exercise has a second part, I'll do that tomorrow.
    NewStart19 and Pete McVries like this.
  17. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    @Pete McVries posted something over at @Thelongwayhome27's journal that I found interesting:
    I haven't thought about it for years, but compliments have been a problem for me for as long as I can remember. I think there's a couple of reasons for that:
    1) I just don't like to be the center of attention and like to leave the spotlight to others.
    2) I think differently about something I have done and I just can't imagine anyone else seeing it differently.For example: I lost a game at table tennis and thought I played like shit. Most of the time in a situation like that, a teammate will come up and say something like "Too bad, but you played well. He was just better." And I thought, "Well played? Did you even see the game (you idiot)?"
    3) Sometimes I feel foolish when someone praises me for something I consider easy/obvious/not particularly complex. In these moments I think that people underestimate me. This is usually the case with my parents, who sometimes make me feel that they think I'm kind of stupid (which is also because I don't really share my life with them, and although they are my parents, they don't know very much about my life).

    I have to think about that a bit.
    Gil79, Pete McVries and Living like this.
  18. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Ok, part 2 of the RN-Workshop exercise was:
    These are in some cases extreme examples and it is difficult for me to imagine, for example, the death of a child without even having kids. Realistic scenarios for the (near) future for me might be:
    1) If everything works out, there will be a job change for me in the future. I would like to give up my current employee job and start my own business. And although I would do something that would make more sense and would be more interesting for me, there are some risks involved: I would switch from a boring but secure job with a regular (and quite decent) salary to a situation with uncertain and fluctuating income. This could lead to financial worries. A second potentially difficult transition would be working on my own without the company of real-life colleagues in the office and therefore less social contacts (even though I'm working from home now for more then three months).
    2) Maybe the opportunity for a new relationship, which would almost certainly cause some fear of commitment for me.
    3) No idea how realistic this is currently, but there could be a second Covid-19 outbreak in autumn/winter with more social isolation.

    The same as in the past: for managing emotional stress (even though PMO itself ist probably the biggest stressor for me), to escape reality and for procrastination. Also in order to have an easy sexual release without having to worry about a real-life woman.

    It would probably be a subtle progression. A few days of procrastination and a harsh reality I don't won't to deal with, a few supposedly minor and innocent google searches that will escalate a bit further over the next few days. Frustration over a (perceived) lack of progress. Less and less structure in my days. More stress, percieved and real.

    First of all: being aware of what is happening. Then asking myself if there's a better way to deal with the situation that is more in line with my values. For example: Stress -> Breathing exercises, Yoga, taking a walk in the woods. Procrastination -> Having a structure in the day while continuing with a few positive habits every day. Breaking down goals into small, realistic intermediate goals. Isolation -> Playing some pool at the club.
    NewStart19, Pete McVries and Gil79 like this.
  19. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I think I'm in a flatline. I don't really care but can't hurt to mention it. No morning woods or erections for days now. But since there's almost no relationship between my libido and porn cravings, this isn't some kind of hiatus. I have to be as alert as always.

    Last night I slept quite good and this morning for the first time in a while I don't feel tired and fatigued. It's 8:50 AM on a Saturday and I already meditated, did some mobility exercises and some sprint intervals. But probably too early to hang out on the internet. Will go buying some groceries now and afterwards work on a small project. Also a good opportunity to move to a new exercise on the RN workshop. I'm also pretty excited that there'll be some basketball again pretty soon. I'm not sure how morally justifiable that is, since Florida doesn't seem to look too good in terms of Covid-19 and the NBA is going to demand a lot of testing. But I'm still looking forward to it.
  20. BoughtWithBlood

    BoughtWithBlood Active Member

    Good to read you don’t feel tired and fatigued. The flatline can be tricky but it seems you know very well how to deal with it.
    -Luke- likes this.

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