A New Beginning

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

  1. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Every time I post something positive here I get into trouble a couple of days later. Again today. Is it progress that I don't PMO every other day anymore but every 6 or 7 days? I have difficulty using the word progress in this context.

    But yeah, can't change it anymore. Next round. One day at a time.
  2. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    I wonder how the science works. Whether it helps or actually makes things worse. It surely has to be better than every day?
  3. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    I think there are studies that show, for instance, that if you tell people that you're going to do something like start working out, lose weight, finish this job etc. then you are less likely to actually do it because in saying you will do it your brain sees it like you actually did it. So it is better to not tell people you are going to do something and just do it.

    The one week mark is generally my biggest hurdle. Because that's when the cravings that require white-knuckling transform into a different feeling because your brain realizes that cravings are not causing you to relapse to the drug it wants. There are a number of emotions and mental states that my brain will cycle through until it gets what it wants ... unless I can make it a month+, then that slowly starts going away. Once my happy feeling comes back after a number of months and replaces the general anhedonia that is a necessary ingredient in relapse, things get way easier.
    One thing I am almost certain that my brain does to me, and I'm sure other people's brains might be using some other similar method, is getting me to relapse to alcohol, to get porn. I don't even like alcohol much anymore, but my brain knows if it can get some alcohol in me, the chance of relapse increases about 10 000%. And so drinking for me is like peeking at P subs, "ooooh it'll be alright, we can just have a few drinks or peek a little and avoid catastrophe". Always trying to get a freebie. This is THE MOST pathological thing about me (and clearly many others) ... Peeking or drinking ends in relapse, then a week later you think "I can do this and avoid catastrophe even though it's ended in catastrophe 100's of goddamn times" .... but I figure I'll try again, and again, and again, and again .... It's so FREAKING NUTS!
  4. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    @Doper: been there many times, your description sounds all too familiar

    @Eternity: I remember someone posting a study months or years ago that stated something like intermittent relapsing to once's drug of choice actually strengthens the addiction neurologically speaking. But this should not crush anyones motivation as using everyday or every second day wouldn't be an inch better for the individual.
  5. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    @Eternity: It's hard to say with something like porn addiction. For an alcoholic for example, who destroys his liver with his drinking, a bottle of vodka every saturday should be better (or less bad) than a bottle every day. At least he has some regeneration time in between. I'm not sure if something like this applies to porn. We don't die from an overdosis of porn. Yes, we damage our brains, but how bad can it really get. At this point I don't think my addiction can get worse. That doesn't mean that I'm at a very low point right now. What I mean by "can't get worse" is that I always had a lower limit that I never fell below. I started watching porn when I was 10 or 11. I'm almost 35 now and I never escalated into really extreme porn. I may have stumbled across something extreme a few times but I never went down that road. And I'm pretty optimistic that I won't start after more than 2 decades.

    So I have no idea if once a week is "better" than every day, but I guess it's a little sign of recovery if you don't binge anymore.

    @Doper: I read about studies like that, too and I can totally see why this is the case. If you make a plan, it already gives you some sense of accomplishment (even though you haven't done anything). What confuses me is that it isn't even about some plans I make and write about, but about something I've already done. I mention that the last few days were really good and I didn't PMO in a week, and the next day I PMO. I wonder what the psychological trap is here? Is it that I become overoptimistic and let my guard down? It doesn't feel that way but maybe it's subconscious.

    @Pete McVries: I think I read somewhere that the intermittent relapsing can lead to more severe withdrawal symptoms over time.
  6. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Same here, pretty much. It's still the same stuff that it was 20 years ago. So yeah, even if it's bad right now, it shouldn't get worse.

    @Doper Agreed, for me it's probably caffeine. It's not so much the caffeine, but more like... I associate it with staying up late and checking out what's new. I think that if I manage to get rid of caffeine in my life, it'd make quitting PMO much easier.
    -Luke- likes this.
  7. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    It's a small sample size but it makes me wonder. Guys like Gabe or Noah Curch (and a lot of others that I read about) escalated into pretty extreme stuff and quit porn for good, while guys like us don't escalate much into extreme stuff and are still struggling even though we are on this site for a long time now. Common sense tells me that it should be the other way around, the more extreme the addiction, the harder it is to give up porn. But I probably have some kind of thinking error. Maybe it's because it's relatively easy to block hardcore pornography (although it wasn't that easy years ago) on your devices but for a guy like me, who is aroused by a picture of a woman in a tight dress, there are way more websites to act out. So perhaps ironically the extreme desensitization is helpful because it's harder to get triggered? No idea.
  8. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    I too have considered this. Often what's triggering to me is seemingly normal stuff on Youtube or such. So that's where it always starts for me. I wonder if I need to avoid anything visual that may contain females. Singing seems non-triggering to me, thankfully. But besides quitting the Internet altogether (at times a tempting idea) it would be very difficult to do so. It might be better if I prepare myself for such encounters, and that I have a working strategy to deal with them. It's not exactly limited to the Internet, there are many women I can't avoid to see, for example when going shopping.
  9. birdsky

    birdsky Member

    I have pondered about this question, too. I for myself came to the conclusion, that it's probably rather a bad habit instead of an addiction. Of course it's an addiction either, but the habit is what keeps (at least) me, relapsing.

    Maybe that is the issue, that we are in this forum for too long (actively or passively) and try to actively beat this habit/addiction. If you think too much about something, you can get stuck and if you try to not think about something, you will get stuck either, because you will think about it. I had listen to a lecture by Trish Leigh, who said that if you hear the voice in your head that tells you to watch p, just shout at him and tell him to sit on the chair at the corner and be quite. Like how you would tell a little child who annoys you.

    What I actually wanna say: Maybe people like Noah and other successfully rebooted people, have watched extreme stuff, but they had other functioning areas in their lives or they weren't too much stuck into ending this addiction. That has been discussed a lot, that we can beat this addiction only by focusing on other areas in life, why don't we do it? Look at other people between 13-17, they maybe came across some dirty stuff, but they move on. They are not addicted to it. Many of them even haven't watched it and never will, but they won't die because of it or a loose something. How have you been when you was 13 years old?

    IMHO, we, who try to quite for many years, have (probably) a much severe mindset problem and as long as we don't change that, we'll have a hard time to quite. It's starts with a thought, and we can decide what we do with it, but in the first place it would be an interesting question to ask, why do we think about watching p in certain situations and other people don't (at the same situation). There are people who say they never watched it, but they get along.

    There is a world beyond pornography many people live in, you (and we altogether) can do the same and leave it behind. I write it that way, because I am certainly sure that we need to convince ourselves, that there really is a world without pornography. We just cannot imagine anymore. I for myself try to visualize that world, and it might change my mindset.

    (Sorry that has been a bit long. I am not really good at writing, but I hope I could share some thoughts that might inspire you or at least remind you of what you already know. I am just in a good mood and when that happens I am motivated and writing here is kind of understanding the problem of all of ours better)

    This is a good question to ask! What would be your answer? What is happening in your head, if you read that question? I am sure you would say, don't pull the trigger, I won't watch it. If we had the right mindset, shouldn't we immediately realize what is happening and stopping? Why don't we? Haven't we still realized about the consequences?
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2021
    -Luke- likes this.
  10. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    That's a great post @birdsky and some really good questions!

    Thomas Horvath (that guy with the gun to the head example) defines addiction as an extreme version of a habit and I think that's a good definition. Nobody watches porn (or drinks alcohol, shoots heroin,...) and becomes addicted right away. It starts as pure curiosity, then it becomes a bad habit for some, then it becomes an addiction again for some. This happens over the course of months or years. I think some people get to caught up in with words like addiction and habit and forget focussing on solutions. Some talk only about neuroscience and brain structures and forget that people watch porn to cope with all the shit in their lives. Some people talk only about psychology and forget about what happens in the brain. Yet the two are closely related.

    I have tried both ends of the spectrum: 100% focus on abstinence and 100% focus on my life away from porn and "forgetting" about porn. I was unsuccessful with both approaches. What works best for me is some kind of balance, like 40% active recovery work and 60% focussing on life way from porn (I made these numbers up - could also be 30/70, 20/80 or 50/50). Maybe with more focus on abstinence/recovery at the beginning and more and more focus on the other stuff while time goes by.

    I also thought about your other questions a lot. I think we all start out of pure curiosity and because we simply had the opportunity. But why do some become depended on porn and some don't? When I started at 10 or 11 years old I was just a curious kid and wanted to see naked breasts. But as time went by I used porn more and more like a crutch, because I felt rejected or lonely. And later on also because I felt stressed. Maybe that's the reason why. Some people have other/better crutches to deal with problems and for me it was just porn.
  11. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I think one of my biggest problems is that by now, I've gotten used to the pain, the relapse-recovery cycle and the low energy. It serves well as an excuse when I do not achieve my goals. Not as an excuse to others, but to myself. It sometimes feels like the addict/recovery mentality has subconsciously become part of my identity. When I started with recovery I always had a picture in mind of how my life could be without porn. And I felt the benefits when I didn't PMO for three or four weeks. It just felt differently and made me look optimistically into the future. But I never got over the hump and I started to feel worse after PMO binges and felt the benefits less and less. When I was PMO free for over a year in 2016/2017 I didn't feel any better than before. That left a pretty disillusioned impression for me. I always had that picture of a better porn-free life in my mind, but when I was porn-free, I didn't feel any better (and I did not lie on the couch waiting the whole time).

    Since then it's hard for me to imagine a better life without PMO. That hopeful and probably a little naive optimism is gone. Perhaps the solution here is to concentrate only on parts of my life that I can influence 100% (or nearly 100%). If my goal is to write a book for example, I just have to do that. There is nothing that could prevent me from doing that. But if my goal is to "feel good", what does that even mean? If my goal is to "look good", that is only partially in my control. I can't control how people behave around me, I can only control how I behave around other people. So maybe it'd be better to forget about symptoms at all and concentrate on what is concrete and what I can control. TheUnderdog wrote about that a long time ago, but it's easier said than done.
  12. birdsky

    birdsky Member

    I am not sure how to differentiate between addiction and habit, however, I think the habit comes always with the addiction. Without breaking the habit of e.g touching your genital because you feel anxiety, is rather a habit than an addiction. Therefore I think if we could change our habits, the addiction will vanish my itself.

    I could think of the reason for this is, that they don't have any real life options to fulfill their desires. If you cannot get in real life, people might tend to get it offline.

    Don't you think that you over analyze these numbers? That you try to define precisely how many percentage you have distributed your efforts indicates that, somehow. That's what I meant with "that we are in this forum for too long (actively or passively) and try to actively beat this habit/addiction." Does it really matter what the distribution of how much you spend for recovery or focusing on life is? We're stuck because we focus too much on this addition. This focus leads to nothing. I remember 5 years back or close to that, that I would fill out excel sheets about my relapses and if I wasn't sure if I get the timing right, I PMOed just to be sure to have the counter right at the exact time of my last relapse. This is nonsense. Filling out excel sheets become a habit at that time. Sometimes I opened this sheet 15 minutes after my so thought "last relapse" Who cares about how we beat this addiction? We're no scientist who try to convince people or publish our results on how we have beaten this addiction. We just want to get rid of it, forget about it and live or life's. This is not an addiction we want to carry our whole life. I for myself want to recover and forget about all this crazy stuff. In 10 years I want to look back at my past and laugh about how crazy I was that I dealt with such a useless "hobby". This is my leisure time, and my life time that I throw away by thinking about stuff I don't wanna think about.

    I want to emphasize again, to remind both of us: We don't need pornography to achieve anything, many people in the real world don't watch this stuff and they get along. We are humans like them and we can do the same.

    Look at this word: Pornography. This is just a word, it's nothing. It can become a word like "bibliography". Just a neutral word - what it actually is, just a word - or do you associate anything special with the word "bibliography"? We are not addicted to books, but we read them. So what? There are people who don't read books and they don't care about "bibliographies". Pornography can become such a word or thing for us again, we know what is means, but we just don't care as many people who don't care about books. We don't care about watching sick people having weird things going on in front of a camera and publish it online so foreigners can watch it. We don't need it. It's nothing essential for survival, just a bad habit that can be unlearned. Even if it's an addiction, good news is, if we leave the habit of visiting pixel sites when we feel weird, our brains will even get in balance. I write this because even this can be a trigger for me, that I think I cannot get my brain rebalanced which leads to stress and this leads to, you know the end of the story.

    Do you fear the life after you have rebooted successfully?

    btw: I am flatlining extremely, but I feel good. I think you know what I mean, it's like this inner peace. Even though writing here, kind of makes me again deal with this habit, so am out of here!
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2021
  13. birdsky

    birdsky Member

    lol, my last post and yours were posted almost at the same time.

    I did not know that you already went 1 year without PMO and then fell back into the same habits. I can relate to what you write. That it became part of ones identity. I feel the same in a way, that I have said so many times that I wouldn't relapse again, but I did it. Even now, I feel like that I am on a good track and won't PMO never again, but it's just 5 days. Mood might change in a couple of days, I am afraid of this. Always I relapse I loose a bit of my self.

    I think that is a good plan. Just to focus on things what you can change, and even if you can't change anything in the near future, that's fine either, sometimes it needs time. If you want to write a book, just write a book but don't pressure yourself to much. No ones expects that you finish it at a certain time or at all.

    That's nice what you have written. Yes, we can't control how people behave, but we kind of can influence them by our behavior. Sometimes I see outside people who have a sad or angry face. Then I think why is this or take it even personally. However, it has nothing to do with me. They have just a bad day. I still have the option to smile, maybe I smile at them and there mood will change. I think maybe we need to focus on that kind of stuff instead setting goals that might overwhelm us. Like the basics, being friendly to people (I kind of unlearnd being friendly al the time:( ) Smiling, just feeling good about ourselves. We're are humans, too we're no aliens because we are addicts.

    Have you been into a relationship in your 1 year PMO free time?

    Please ignore some part of my post before. Since you already spend 1 years without this habit, you already must have realized that you won't die without it. It's still interesting, that you write, you didn't feel better in that year. What was missing that you would have felt better?
    -Luke- likes this.
  14. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    While I liked the pioneering feeling when this forum was new, I also think that it was quite a naive time. All we had to do was to stop for 90 days, and we'd be recovered and happy. I think TheUnderdog opened many eyes. I now know that stopping PMO is just part of a greater picture. That said, what works for each of us is probably very individual. I'm starting to see that I need something to work towards, or quitting is not going to happen. Hopefully you'll find something that makes it worth it.
    200DaysMission likes this.
  15. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I think you overinterpret the number (50/50, 60/40,...) in my post. The reason I wrote "I made these numbers up" is because it doesn't matter at all. I just wanted to say that I do best when I have both active recovery and work on other areas unrelated to porn. What the ratio is doesn't matter to me. I don't think there is a "perfect" ratio.

    You're right. It's not just black or white when it comes to what we can control. What I meant by that example was that I often wonder about what other people could think about me, even though I have no idea what they think about me. But even if a total stranger thinks that I'm an idiot, why should I care? That doesn't mean I can't be open when I'm around other people, but what other people could potentially think about me shouldn't affect my mood and image of myself. That's why I think it's better to concentrate on what I can control and don't worry so much about the other stuff.

    No, I wasn't.

    It was a year with ups and downs. Sometimes I felt better, sometimes I felt like shit. The reason I relasped after ~ 400 days is that I probably felt worse than ever before in my life at that point and I couldn't think of a good enough reason to go on. This has left me quite disillusioned. When I first started I really felt the energy increases, the motivation and the positivity after 3 or 4 weeks without porn. And I thought "Wow, if I feel like this now, I'll feel like superman after a year or so". And I tried to reach that stage for 4 or 5 years and always failed. And then, when I was there, I felt worse (or at least not better) than before. Since than it's hard for me to imagine a different Luke.

    That's why I think I should step away from thinking about "symptoms" and start concentrating on actions only. I got everything done that I wanted to get done in one day? That's a success. Whether I felt great doing it or like shit doesn't matter.
  16. 200DaysMission

    200DaysMission Active Member

    Keep at it dude.
    You're right - you've got to build the new Luke, not just tear down the old one.
    I'm really proud of how you're doing, and your journal inspires me.
    I can imagine it was crap doing a year and feeling no benefit, so I think it's great that you're still here and trying.

    I forget, what's your relationship history?
    There's always been the group of thinkers (pre-pornography) who thought that abstinence (from sex or masturbation) gave them superpowers.
    And others who disagree.
    Whereas YBR to me means abstinence as a way of addressing PIED and working towards healthier/functional sexual relationships. As well as some brain rebalancing, and changing my general view of women.

    So, my question (which feels muddled even as I'm typing it), is what are you hoping for from the abstinence from pornography (apart from maybe a hole to fill with new things). Even if you accept that the superpowers may not materialise.
    -Luke- likes this.
  17. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I was a bit naive when I started this thing, but I was always sceptical when people talked about superpowers. I think what people mean when they talk about "superpowers" is just a feeling of normalcy. It's all about context. When you've had low energy, been depressed and lacked confidence for years, normalcy feels like being a superhero. The user Apeman once had a good analogy for it: When you walk around for years with a stone in your shoe, you get used to it to some extent, but then when you take the stone out, you feel absolutely fantastic. But a person who never had a stone in their shoe just feels normal and doesn't even think about it.

    The user Freedom from Servitude named his journal "My journey in finding self-acceptance and inner peace". That's what I'm aiming for. Self-acceptance and inner peace. And freedom. I don't think I can call myself "free" when I go back to the thing that brought me here.
  18. birdsky

    birdsky Member

    What I intended to say with that was: If you wouldn't have really cared, about numbers you maybe wouldn't have had written several ratio combinations. Maybe there is something subconsciously not yet set. It might be different for you, but I just try to put my experience into perspective, since I think even we're all individual, we have often the same mindset that keep us relapsing.

    Yes, why should you? As you said, it's not black and white. I catch my self either how dramatically I misinterpret social situations. Being positive and thinking good about other people helps me and the nice side effect is: I think positive about myself too and see that I am able to be social. It's a think about action and reaction. Sometimes I might have a unfriendly/frustrated visage and then I don't have to wonder that people look at me the same way. It happens conscientiously. If I smile to people, I generally get a smile back. That simple.

    That's doesn't surprise me, that you have no motivation to keep going. I thought our goal is to have successful relationships with women. If you abstain from having "sexuality" (PMO) and after one year, your brain still has no real life contact with a women and get numb, I think it's no wonder that nothing has changed and you feel unmotivated. Even thought I am sure that your brain chemistry had changed during that time, you just had no option to rebalance it by introducing your brain to the real thing. Attachment to real people is so important for our brain chemistry, just abstaining won't do it, if we don't get in touch (literally) with people. Of course you already know this. People like us who try to quit for many years are not leaking knowledge , we just don't put what we know into practice.

    I don't know your whole story, and people who are active here who know you better and can give better tips. I just feel uncomfortable writing in your journal. Just wanted to share my thoughts, since I had the impression that we kind of struggle on the same level and in the last time I have understood some important things that help me keep going. Just wanted to share.

    Luke, I wish you all the best, give it another shoot, you have already proofed that you're "man-enough" to control your self to abstain from one of the strongest urges men can have for so long. Do it again, and focus on things - as you said you can change and try to find a wife at the same time. I think then you will feel the difference and close this chapter for good.

    All the Best.
  19. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Well-Known Member

    nit of an old post, but I haven't been here for a while, kindly excuse. I just feel I might have somewhat of an answer to that. if you look at depression, for people that are in the medium of despair,
    life might be shit, but you can suffer through it, even get used to it. been there.

    and sometimes it is so black hole bleak, so ultrabrutal dark that it just threatens to eradicate you, wash you from this life like you never existed. and which point some people do vanish, and the rest
    goes into full on assault on that monstrous feeling - because we know, that we cannot suffer this, not for long, and so we make our moves. and not small moves, for that. been there, too, and in all honesty
    I cannot really tell you how I got out. same goes for the porn thing. to much of a fracture/heal/repeat process, too many years.

    crisis can be good, I guess?

    ach, dude, don't be too hard on yerself. if you go here and speak up and accept what happened and just by not giving up give a middle finger to the calamity that our lives can be,
    maybe you're not able to call yourself free, but still, are you truly subjugated if you still fight back? you're not unfree, either, but fighting. there's a modicum of freedom, of self-determination in that surely.

    compare the person you are now to the person before how didn't even have the words to describe the thing affecting them, not even trying. and please do not judge him too harshly, but that surely isn't you.
    kopf hoch, mein herr! es ist ein leben, und im bloßen widerstand schon liegt würde. widerstehe. :3
    200DaysMission and Pete McVries like this.
  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I wonder if beating the addiction comes before self acceptance or if it's not rather that only when one finds true self acceptance (and self love) that he can then leave an addiction behind.

    But how can an addict self accept ? Look at all the shameful things he does ! Yet ... that's perhaps the task of the addict before anything else. To love thyself even as he is, to accept thyself no matter what. To forgive thyself. Then, from that spot only he will find it in him to stop hurting himself or numbing himself from the pain that exists in his life.

    My best efforts in trying to leave this addiction behind have always grown from a place of inner peace and self forgiveness. To be honest I don't even know where that came from when it came. But when I don't self accept and try to white knuckle my way out of this addiction it usually conducts me to worst results or a vicious circle of guilt, shame, binging, until I forgive myself.

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