A New Beginning

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

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. -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.
  4. 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.
  5. -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.
  6. 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.
  7. -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.
  8. -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.
  9. 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.
  10. -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.
  11. 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.
  12. -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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Well-Known Member

    Sorry, too dumb for the reply function atm, but regarding what @Thelongwayhome27 said about inner peace:

    If you catch yourself thinking true inner peace is a prerequisite to getting out from an addiction, reconsider. I sorta got out and I'm nowhere near true inner peace. Granted I have a crapton of work still to do, too.

    I don't wanna say having some of that is bad, it ain't, it's really really good. But expecting to reach a crazy ass amount or true form of it? That's yer brain laying out traps for you. *I will never be ready until I bla bla blaaaaa...*
    Pete McVries and Doper like this.
  16. CleanBootsBaby!

    CleanBootsBaby! Well-Known Member

    My humble opinion: the only prerequisite is for you to want to quit. That's what I've seen in my case...and I've beaten this addiction for years. (Don't look at my counter and think I'm a poser.)

    When any immediate pleasure weighs more than your willingness to quit, you ain't ready yet.
  17. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    Self-acceptance and inner peace are different things. There are people that possess the former, but the only people with the latter are dead or are trying to sell you some. I don't think our brains are built for either, or at least we can't be "at peace" ALL the time, because we are on that see-saw of pain and pleasure, and our brains will self-regulate back to baseline. Skyscrapers, financial systems, spaceships etc. were not built by people with self-acceptance and inner peace. And specifically going out to try to find either isn't going to work. My guess is the only way to get either (ever) is to run headlong into whatever it is you fear most at any given time, and once you conquer that specific fear and bring it into your comfort zone or circle of competence, you will get a little (temporary) boost of both. Make discomfort the comfort zone. Easier said than done, obviously.
  18. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Well-Known Member


    Also this. I believe, I fear it, I shall do it. -.-
    Only goes against my standard strategy, but hey. Obliterate yourself, dear.

    Luke, how are you doing?
  19. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Howdy partners,

    wow, that was a pretty long abstinence from the forum. I didn't even realize that it had been several months. Usually when I was away for a long time, it meant that I binged on porn and was too ashamed to come back. That wasn't necessarily the case this time. I didn't watch more porn than ususal, rather less than usual. I wasn't clean and forgot about porn either. It was just that I had other problems in my life and felt that I needed some time away from the daily input. It wasn't a very productive and happy time. You won't believe it, but the problems don't just disappear overnight.

    Yesterday I came to YBR and one of the first posts I read was this quote from @badger: "here is where one beggar shows another beggar where to find bread." That was both funny and beautiful and I wondered why I was away for so long. So I guess I will grace the forum with my babbling again more often.

    I hope you are all doing well.
  20. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Before my little abstinence from the forum I wrote that the year+ without PMO left me pretty disillusioned and that I have trouble imagining a better future ever since. I think that's my biggest problem, that I lack a positive vision for the future. It's either not motivating enough or too unrealistic (or in too distant a future) and then I don't believe in it. In both cases, I give up quickly. But isn't some sort of vision for the future one of the basics to kick this sh*t? Every time we crave porn we are faced with the choice between immediate sexual gratification (in the short run - but it's guaranteed) and a better future (which is not guaranteed). And if we don't believe in the better future, the first option wins most of the time.

    For now I have chosen a bit of a different approach. I don't imagine myself in one, five or even ten years. Instead I don't look further than the next two or three months. With goals that are both realisitic but also not a sure thing at all. Maybe that's the balance I was lacking.

    We had some sunny days in the last ~two weeks (after weeks of "grayness") and I have noticed that my mood changes pretty quickly with the weather.

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