A New Beginning

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

  1. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot, Pete.

    At the end of last year, I was at a point where I had basically given up. Not completely, but temporarily. I felt like I had no self-control anymore and that it was pointless to even try. I had been in home office since the beginning of April, using a laptop from work. While my personal devices (laptop and smartphone) are relatively safe, I couldn‘t install any filters on the work laptop. Now, of course, I know that I shouldn't rely 100% on filters, but I was in the middle of a month-long relapse cycle and didn't seem to be able to get out of it on my own. So at some point I got to the point where I had sort of temporarily given up. I figured if I couldn't control it for the rest of the year, at least I'd try to limit the time I spent with PMO. That worked out pretty well,… for about two weeks. But for me it's mostly the novelty part that drives my addiction, and then that part just isn't satisfied when I spend 10 minutes looking for some image on the internet and then masturbate.

    This lasted for a while, but eventually the urges were too strong again. I just cannot PMO occasionally. If I’m in it, I’m in it. If I’m out, I’m out. There is nothing in between. Life usually is not black or white, but in this case it really is.

    But as I wrote last year, I quit my job at the end of the year. I now have only my own devices. I still have a way to look for porn, but it takes a lot more effort. In fact, I just PMOd yesterday, after I had a good week before. But it’s a different mindset than last yearand I feel more confident. I realize that I have a choice. Even if I feel like I’m completely out of control, that’s not true. There’s always more than one option. A few weeks ago I read the book "Sex, Drugs, Gambling, & Chocolate" by a psychologist named Thomas Horvath. He made me realize that the idea of „no control“ is bullshit. He explained this with two examples, one real example that you experience all the time, and one extreme example that is nonetheless eye-opening. We all have situations every day (or every week) where we would love to watch porn, but still don’t do it. We don’t PMO when we are at the office. We don’t PMO when we are in the car/bus/train. We don’t PMO when we are having dinner with our families. Even if we PMO three times a day there are situations where we have enough control not to do it a fourth time. The other example is a thought experiment: Imagine if someone put a gun to your head and said "If you watch porn, I'll pull the trigger". Would you PMO? No, unless you are suicidal and want to die. If someone held a gun to our head for the rest of our lives, we would never watch porn again. Never. So how can we think we are „out of control“?

    And now I’m back here. Yes, it was out of shame that I stopped coming here. Not necessarily because of PMO, since this forum is about exactly that. But because I had no hope anymore for the rest of the year and I couldn’t pretend anymore that I had. I can’t do anything about that anymore. All I can do is focus on what I want and keep going forward.

    Currently I'm a bit limited physically and can't exercise as much as I'd like (Ulnar Nerve Entrapment for the nerds among you). It probably comes from sitting in the home office a lot and in the wrong way. I hope I can avoid surgery. Overall though, this was a warning signal at the right time. Better to cut back a few weeks now, work on my posture and flexibility, than suffer a herniated disc in two or three years.

    I am also thinking about moving back to the village where I grew up. Due to my work I am no longer tied to one place. And if I'm honest: My biggest problem in the last 6-7 years has been isolation. And it's much easier to isolate yourself when you live semi-anonymously in a city where almost nobody knows you. Where I come from I have a social circle and still know a lot of people. Two of my best friends still live there or are living there again, and my family also lives there. The more I think about it, the more I believe that it would be a step in the right direction. Away from anonymity and back to where I know people and where people know me. It's hard to isolate yourself there.
     
    Doper, Deleted User, nuclpow and 5 others like this.
  2. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    This was a well-written post. And yeah, it does seem that isolation is a large part of why your self-control is low. Do you have social anxiety? It does sound like you could use getting out more, and meeting friends and family outside of the house.
     
    -Luke- likes this.
  3. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Thank nuclpow. Yes, I have some social anxiety. It is quite fluctuating. I don't have much of a problem when I'm around people I know and like (fascinating observation, I know...) Now that I work from home (and due to the general situation) I have even less contact with other people than before. And that's not good for me. That's why I keep having the thought of moving back to where I know a lot of people. Where I felt most at home.
     
  4. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    It's great to hear from you man !

    Moderating porn does not seem to work for me either.

    Moving back to a smaller town could be an interesting move. Maybe you can keep thinking about it as a plan, while not necessarily rushing a decision.

    See you around !
     
    -Luke- likes this.
  5. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    That is such a great and empowering description. Thanks a lot for sharing it!
     
    -Luke- likes this.
  6. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    @NewStart19 and @Thelongwayhome27
    Whenever I am convinced that it would be the right step, counter-arguments come to mind again. I think I'll keep that in mind. I'm seeing my parents this weekend, so maybe I'll talk to them about it then.

    But I can't make the mistake of thinking that moving alone will solve any problems. I made that mistake when I moved here and hoped that it would be a new beginning and everything would change. But a change of location doesn't change anything as long as nothing changes inside.

    @Pete McVries
    I also thought that was an eye-opening example, especially the one with the gun.

    Right now I'm a bit too lazy and procrastinate on some important stuff. I read a lot, but sometimes I use that as procrastination, too. It's easy to think that reading a nice book is something reasonable and therefore it can't be procratination. The nerve entrapment has improved over the last days. I do some trigger point therapy and sometimes it feels like it's almost gone. I also noticed that I don't have any problems when I exercise with straight arms (handstands, some stuff with rings, KB Swings, everything with legs).
     
  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    How are you Luke ?
     
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  8. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey @Thelongwayhome27, thanks for asking. I didn't realize that so much time has passed again since I last wrote anything. In my last post I wrote that I was procrastinating too much and since then I worked a lot and had a lot to do.

    I also found it easier to stay away from porn when I have something to work on that's important to me. That has not completely prevented me from using porn, but it's easier. I had a tough evening last Friday and PMOd. But since then it didn't even come to mind very often. It helps me to remember that an urge is always temporary and it cannot harm me in any way.

    I will be back here more often from now on. I hope everything is okay with you guys!
     
  9. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Well-Known Member

    Eyooooo, Luke, long time no read! Have a nice day, dude!
     
    -Luke- likes this.
  10. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Things are still quite busy. I'm trying to bring some structure to my day and have a morning routine. And most of the time it goes pretty well. But it's hard to get out of bed in the morning. Now it's getting warmer and sunnier outside and I like that. The cold and dark period hit me pretty hard this year. I have one of these daylight lamps and also a red light device at home, but it's not really a good subsitute for some natural sunlight.

    Yesterday in the evening I PMOd. It was one of those situations where I was aware of what I was doing the whole time and that I could still turn around, but I just didn't do it. Don't know why. I didn't remember that mindset I talked about in my last post, that every urge is hust temporary and it cannot harm me in any way. Today I feel bad. I have some structure throughout the day but in the evening it's tough. Maybe I should just go for a walk for an hour every evening, but at the same time I also want to get some reading in.

    Well, this weekend I'm visiting my parents and that's always quite a challenge because there's infiltered internet. Don't know when was the last time I stayed clean while I was there. But it's also a chance to prove to myself that I can do it. I will come here every day to hold myself accountable.
     
  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Yeah I always feel pretty crap the day after a PMO. I think also the longer I binged the more I may feel depressed the next day. I guess that could be chemical/neurological. But usually I start feeling better after 2 or 3 days (as long as I don't PMO more ...).

    Evening walks are definitely a good way to add some structure to my evenings, sometimes day walks as well. There's a clear correlation between me being sober and me taking a lot of walks lol ... And taking a walk and then doing some reading when you get back sounds like a great evening routine. Maybe you can find a way to squeeze them both in (walks and reading).

    Good thing winter is slowly coming to an end and good luck with the P control while staying at your parents man !
     
  12. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    @Thelongwayhome27: Thanks for your reply! You're absolutely right about the evening routine. I always seem to fluctuate between the two states. When I don't have much structure in my day I feel like I need to plan everything. And when I have a lot of structure it feels like I'm too strict. It's difficult for me to find a balance.

    Yesterday in the evening there was a tough moment. My dad bought a new printer and asked me to set it up. And while I was sitting on their laptop my parents both left the house. I felt a big urge to go to a porn site immediately. That's some deep pavlov's dog conditioning right there. When I was young and we had only one computer in the house, every time the moment I was alone at home I ran to the computer to watch porn. That was 20 years ago. And to this day, when I visit my parents, every time someone rings the bell (i.e. leaves the house) I start salivating (get the urge to PMO immediately). This time I remembered my last post and said to myself, that this is only temporary and that I have a choice. That was enough to stay away from acting out.

    The rest of the evening I didn't have more urges and stayed busy. Watched an episode of Sopranos (started to rewatch the series last week) and stretched a bit and read a bit before going to bed.
     
  13. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    This is so familiar to me. I have this when my wife leaves the house and this is also ingrained since my teens. It is difficult to break that pattern, but you show that it is possible. Staying aware, recognition and anticipation really help to deal with this. Well, you know that already, but anyway . . . ;)
     
  14. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Great job resisting that urge ! Clearly some associations can grow to become very hard to break and sometimes the fear itself (of knowing that in such a situation we are likely to act out again) can compound the problem actually even making it more tempting to indulge sometimes. It becomes a kind of mental complex that is hard to break.

    I think every time you go to your parent's and you manage to resist watching P is a great win that needs to be acknowledged and slowly you can recondition yourself, show your mind it's possible to do so.

    For me it's often the afternoons when I'm at my own place, that's one pattern I seem to have enforced over the last years. The afternoons when I should be doing things but I'm not really able to get myself going, that's when I sometimes can get some intense mental urges to go for a ''crazy binge'', to escape to my "happy place" (to quote Living).
     
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  15. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Argh, again almost a month since my last post in this journal. Sometimes I just have no idea what to write and think that it's just incoherent nonsense anyway and nobody will be interested. I should follow @NewStart19's example, who always finds something interesting to write.

    PMO wise the last time has been pretty tough at times. I had one relapse where I "ended" at 4 AM in the morning in the middle of the week. Another one where I PMO'd twice in one day. Those were two of the toughest relapses I've ever had. On the other hand, I feel that I am getting a better understanding that I have a choice and I don't have to do it with every week that passes. It's not semi-automatic anymore, like in the second half of last year. But every now and then there are these moments where I say to myself "screw it, one more time won't hurt". I know it's an illusion and I'm aware of it at the same time, but something doesn't quite click in those moments.

    Other than that there's not that much happening in my life. Work related things are pretty slow, but that's what I had expected. I have also had a few small successes that have not yet had a monetary impact. The shitty, dark, cold and rainy wheather has returned for a while. I do not care about coldness, but for whatever reason the "grey weather" had a more negative impact on me this winter than ever before I think. Sometimes I have a fantasy of emigrating somewhere a bit sunnier and brighter, but not too hot. I don't know, something like Croatia for example.
     
  16. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    A long time since I wrote anything here. Again...

    The last weeks and months have been hard. Some problems in my personal life, some depressive thoughts and a back and forth between hope and hopelessness. I think a lot about the old times again and I mourn for it. Knowing that I cannot go back in time and re-live my teens and twenties hurts. Even after all those years. It's stupid, but it hurts. It's a bit depressing to realize that I found this forum 8 years ago, but at the same time I've met a lot of great people here and I'm very thankful for that.

    Three weeks ago, I took a step that I had been thinking about for years, but never dared to take in the end: I ditched my smartphone and went back to an old-school Nokia dumbphone. I had a smartphone for ten years and it had a lot of benefits. But at some point you had to honestly ask myself the question, even if it hurt, how many more times I wanted to hurt myself with it until I give it up. My laptop is also safe now. For the first time in many, many years I am not able to go to a porn site, even if I wanted to. I relapsed a couple of times with softcore stuff, but with the help of Pluckeye, I take care of that step by step.

    I will see where this takes me. I try not to focus too much on PMO and work on other parts of my life.
     
  17. BoughtWithBlood

    BoughtWithBlood Well-Known Member

    Hey Luke! Good to see you posting here again. Great job on the steps you’ve been making. Awesome that you went back to an oldschool nokia. I really hope it will help you.

    What are the things you’ve been working on that have been bringing you joy and fulfillment in life?

    All the best.
     
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  18. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your reply, BoughWith Blood!
    I have charged the battery twice in the three weeks. Good old times. :D

    That's a good question. I'm not really sure what brings fulfillment in my life. I feel like for the last 20 years I have only ever distracted myself with stuff. That's why I try to unplug a bit (smartphone), to make some contact with my own mind.
     
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  19. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    I've had the exact same thoughts. I was watching something that reminded me of the pre-smartphone days. It made me miss those times dearly, when you actually had to go out and see people. And this comes from an introvert. But maybe the introversion is a product of technology?
     
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  20. 100DaysMission

    100DaysMission Active Member

    Interested to hear how you find this!
    I've done the same, and I feel much less anxious for lots of different reasons.
    Even if you don't feel the same, will be interesting to experience how it feels to drop the habit of a decade.
     
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