Accepting Responsibility

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by path-forward, Jul 17, 2022.

  1. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    @Mozenjo - As always - thanks for your support and encouragement! As I think you have used as an analogy - we have to do whatever we can to stop creating the pattern of circling the drain!
    And it starts with building muscle memory to cut off the different temptations at their roots each time!

    @ruggerdoug - Good to get better acquainted! I know you and Moz are longer term brothers on this forum - and I truly respect your staying power and continued fight to conquer this beast of an addiction. I knew I had an addiction many years ago - but I never had the will power to start trying until my PIED was very clearly ruining my love life and marriage. I wish I had the fortitude to start earlier at this like you and Moz. Even small steps would have improved my life a lot.

    I now have a lot of motivation - as its very clear - my wife and I have a much more loving and overall satisfying relationship, when our sex life is a vibrant part of our dynamics together. As you may have read - my wife is away for business for weeks at a time (something I knew and accepted well before we got married). But now the periods away definitely add a more difficult level to abstaining from P and M. Ironically - in the past - it gave me much added alone time to feed my addiction.

    But I went 100 days - so I know I can do it. I just have to put my two relapses from Sept in the rear view mirror and stay the course.

    Thanks to all the brothers who "like" and/or respond to my posts. None of us will will reach our goals with out the support of each other.

    And I know frequent journaling is a key to success!

    Let's all stay strong and focused.
  2. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Thank you path-forward for your kind words in my journal. I was thinking about how to say the following after reading your last posts here.
    This is just my opinion and I am totally ok if you have a contrary view on what I am about to say. Whatever helps you, without harming others, is the way to go, and I am aware that AA make it a point to repeat and believe and claim that they are addicts. That was the disclamer.

    I don´t believe that we are addicts. We are simply men, that, out of whatever reasons, chose to use PMO to cope with whatever we felt discomfort with. Others use food, work, cocaine, video games, self cutting, women etc.

    We are all only a millisecond away from a bad choice. Even a man who never did PMO could do it in a second. It would be more unlikely for him than for us, because his neuronal pathways to PMO are not as strong as ours are after decades of reinforcing them with use, like we did, for him it might be something else he is accostumed to use to cope with problems and emotions.

    We are basically using PMO as one of many things for our emotional disregualtion because somewere in our youth we took the wrong turn because we were ill equipt and lacked healthier tools to deal with whatever life threw at us.

    I only wanted to emphasize this, because I believe that words have power and can reinforce our beliefes and from there our actions.
    Our society often ties our Identity to things or skills. Like someone saying I am a lawyer. Is he a lawyer or more so someone who went to Uni took the bar, aquired the prerequisits to be allowed to work as a lawyer?

    All that, because I just wanted to say that maybe an addict is not who you are, you just chose PMO as your go to comforting drug of choice. It is not an Identity or at least it doesn´t have to be.

    All the best.
  3. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Libertad - I very much appreciate the good intentions of your very articulate response! Thanks for sharing that. And while I totally agree with the premise that we have chosen to use PMO as a coping mechanism for various emotional challenges we have - I have used it in times of boredom as well.

    But I understand the issues with self-identity and perceiving ourselves in a healthy manner. And we all have to manage our views of ourselves in a way that is the most emotionally secure.

    And I admit I am a fairly self-critical person by nature - and coaches, bosses, etc have always commented how tough I am on myself.

    But in the end - I feel like an addict, because I find it very challenging to stop a certain behavior - that I 100% know is not emotionally or physically healthy for me or my marriage.

    And I personally NEED that self-identity to garner the strength and self-discipline required to maintain abstinence from PMO.
    But of course that does not mean that I can not have multiple identities. ;)

    Thanks again for taking the time to write such a thoughtful reply.

    Best of luck on your journey!
    Libertad and Mozenjo like this.
  4. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    I don't think an addict is who I am, but to me, it is what I am. Maybe that's just semantics, but to Libertad's point, it's an important distinction. Most of the time I go there because I am simply acting on compulsion. Not an actual "reason", like depression, loneliness, boredom, etc. Yes, those things can certainly contribute to going there, but if there are any number of ways to deal with those emotions that are better and more satisfying to us, then if we were not addicts, we would do those things instead.
    The compulsion feels like a need because we've trained our brains to think it is. That we really want it, when we really don't.
    Yes, labels carry a lot of weight to them. And I don't say I'm an addict lightly. I think most recovering alcoholics would say that they are also recovering addicts. Same for gambling, drugs, etc.
    My goal is to recover from whatever this destructive behavior is called.
    Libertad and path-forward like this.
  5. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Got a particular girl in my head and couldn't stop it. Peeked for about 5 min - but thankfully stopped. Also fought hard not to actually touch myself.

    Will take this as a warning that I need to be a lot stronger. Wife not back for a week - which makes it much tougher. But I am on full vigilance now.

    edit 11 hours later. Ugh - Peeked again for 5 min a few hours ago but stopped. has been the toughest day of abstaining since starting June 1. Literally yelled out loud at the pain of suppressing urges. Wanted it so badly - the addiction giving me tons of excuses.

    Finally - a huge focus on telling myself that I NEED to fully conquer PIED and DE for the sake of my marriage and overall happiness - got me through today.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
    Mozenjo likes this.
  6. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Good work, man. This is exactly what we need to do; keep telling ourselves why we're doing this. Single or in a relationship, we are infinitely better without porn and its many subs in our lives.
    path-forward likes this.
  7. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Has been interesting dynamics with my wife since we recently had passionate sex for the first time in 3+ years.

    She is traveling now. But our texting has evolved to some sexting for the first time in 3+ years as well. She is clearly sending me the message, that she appreciates my efforts and wants to make herself much more sexually available now.

    She said a lot of her aversion to sex had evolved from my PIED gradually making her feel very insecure about her own looks - which is very sad - as she is still is very attractive and sexy to me.
    As I have alluded to - we had had had a significant Dominant/submissive dynamic to our sexual relations - and it had very much permeated our overall relationship - giving a very special added feeling of connection between us. And I can definitely feel it coming back to help make our overall marriage much stronger. We have had a bumpy road the past couple years - in retrospect very much affected by my PIED.

    And while the sexting has made me very horny at times - oddly I am 100% fine waiting for her to come back home to act on it. I find it much easier to have self-control with "real world" sexual arousal. I think it's because it is a very different form of "mental muscle memory" with P - with a strong sense of entitlement and compulsion - based on so many years of feeding the addiction.

    Still having some rough days holding back on PMO - but I am committed to remaining vigilant and keeping up the fight!

    I know I will feel much better about myself and my marriage as a result.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2022
    Saville likes this.
  8. breath

    breath Active Member

    You have re-inpired me man. Thanks. I have a happy marriage great kids, great career, health problems. porn addiction.. I'm about your age and I use generic tadalafil. My lovely wife doesn't crave frequent sex.. I need to masturbate less as It is compulsive and save energy for the marital bed! I'm very much attracted to my wife but still have the porn/wanking problem. I going to stop right now. I have successfully for periods of time. But get off track.. Times when no one is home are when I slip up and start the habit up again. A few days of abstinence and a little tadalafil should do the trick. I'm excited about this. Your story and pursuit is inspiring. Thanks for posting man...
    path-forward likes this.
  9. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Wow! Breath - thank you so much for your supportive post! Deeply appreciated to hear I am inspiring others with my journey.

    It has been a lot of work and I am still looking to improve on getting better control of my compulsive behaviours - but I feel very encouraged by my progress.

    You sound like you have a lot to be thankful for. (Gratitude is the most fulfilling emotion!)

    Keep up your focus and efforts on stopping or at least minimising MO/PMO and focusing on appreciating your lovely wife, marriage and family. That is all key for me with my motivation.

    Tadalafil is also what I use. I take a small dose daily. Has been easier on my stomach that way. Either 2.5 or 5 mg depending on my confidence etc.

    Much much more satisfying to make love to your wife than yourself! Makes you feel alive!!

    thanks again for the kind words!

    keep up the fight brother!
  10. breath

    breath Active Member

    There is one thing which is tricky to articulate - but I'll try:

    While is generally agreed upon that compulsive habits such as Porn are worth noting ,understanding and strategizing against, however, there is a self flagellating attitude which is a big negative which effects those who yearn for something better - and this certainly includes most of us on this site

    We have to not let our growing awareness perpetually bring us down into a place of low self esteem.

    Here is a comic look at the risk of over focussing:

    Mozenjo and path-forward like this.
  11. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Breath. Great point and well articulated with your video! Lol.
  12. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Interesting experience for me. Feeling very unsettled today. Lots of things swirling around. The wife is still away til Monday - which has added to my unease. Also FOMO on some “couples stuff” since the wife is away.

    BUT still no strong urges for PMO? Almost feels like a flatline. But I def have sexual feelings seeing an attractive girl etc.

    I think right now my frustration with my relapse about 10 days ago and my fear it has potential to cause any form of PIED has negated my desire for PMO.

    I also “binge peeked” a few days ago - more out of OCD than an urge - and that self-loathing experience also adds to my disgust with P right now.

    Need to harvest these feelings in a healthy way. And celebrate my ability to handle emotional stress without feeling the urge.

    Big step for me.

    And now, if I could only learn to quiet “the noise in my mind.” All of the laments about my past and my fears of my future. And simply embrace living in the present. Feeling grateful for all that I have in life.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2022
    StarWarsFan likes this.
  13. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    This is what the Buddhists try to do through meditation. I think that's why people watch tv, because it shuts the mental film reel down. I let my thoughts come and then watch them go. I remind myself constantly that they're just thoughts and don't deserve any more weight than a passing glance. I accept that I'm both perfect and flawed. In other words, I'm not better or worse than anyone else.

    This is part of the noise you are trying to quiet. If we accept that we are not bad then we don't feel self-loathing. Self-loathing is defeatist, it plays into so many other emotions and then affects us physically. I've broken vows, lied, cheated, but I don't feel terrible about that anymore. Yes, I have a moment here and there, but mostly I am free of the self-scorn.

    This is a bit of a digression, but I have a friend who is always on about how much we lose as we age. He talks about testosterone diminishing, muscle mass dwindling, lack of this and lack of that. He thinks he's just stating the facts, but he's actually stuck in a negativity loop. Unfortunately, all the material out there about aging men tends to support his case. We are bombarded by things like: "Having erection problems? Try this!" This is something you never see with regard to women. Women age beautifully, get more sexy, can achieve better orgasms, etc. Women have an expectation that sex can continue, whereas men need interventions. Now, back to my point. The societal negativity around men powers us down. Because many of us already feel bad about ourselves (self-loathing, guilt, etc) we shut down an incredible fire that burns within us. Men in their 60 and 70's should expect to have great sex. Erections have no opinions.

    We really don't have any idea of what were capable of until we allow all cylinders to fire. In order to do this we have to accept that we are good and worthy. :)
    Mozenjo likes this.
  14. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    @Saville Thanks so much for your great post!

    I totally agree with your comments about men’s social negativity keeping us down. And that we will be surprised how much we are capable of - when “firing on all cylinders.” My own physical conditioning is dramatically better than 18 months ago - allowing me to compete against guys 20 years younger than me in tennis. And to hike mountains I would have been fearful of before. And expecting to have great sex in our 60s and 70s is definitely part of my current vision!

    In the midst of covid - I had let myself get totally out of shape and over weight. ButI began to focus on getting in better shape. I think the discipline from a focus on physical well being helps in overcoming the mental challenges related to P addiction.

    And maybe self-loathing is a bit strong a description for how I feel from a relapse, etc - but I expect a lot of myself. Including being able to be very self-disciplined. I manifest these emotions across all aspects of my life. And have been told by both bosses and coaches - that I’m very hard on myself.

    So knowing I have set myself back with P - creates a sense of knowing I’m better than that. I try to channel those emotions to make myself better not worse.

    I also agree we all need to be in relationships where one’s wife is not controlling us. We need a sex parter and best friend - not a mother. I also believe feeling and acting protective of one’s wife is a very stabilising, loving and secure dynamic for both partners.

    Saville - I truly appreciate your insights and directness. I’m very thankful for your mentoring role in the forum.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2022
    Mozenjo and Saville like this.
  15. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Interesting observation. I only take cialis daily when there is potential for sex in my life, so I stop taking it when my wife is away. And I resume a few days before she returns from her business trips.

    My morning wood (and during night wood!) definitely is much better when taking cialis.

    As mentioned. I take the generic form. Usually 5 mg per day. But 2.5 mg is likely fine. I just want the added self-confidence for now.

    Another observation. I have been using food as a way to counterbalance my urges - since my libido came back. Gained about 8 pounds in 2 weeks!
    That has to stop. Need to find much healthier outlets.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
    StarWarsFan and Saville like this.
  16. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Peeked at P for about 10 min last night. Didn’t touch myself or otherwise act on it. But obviously feeding the BEAST of addiction.

    Such a compulsive thing lately. Almost like I get a thrill of peeking - but having the self control to not act on it. But I know it’s materially slowing my progress down and creating potential for PIED issues again.

    And ofc peeking always begins a slippery slope of my mind convincing itself I should PMO.

    It has to stop!

    I admit I thought about taking my “peeking date” off my signature, as I was very frustrated by the reminder how poorly disciplined I have been lately with peeking. But I know deep down it’s a huge motivation for me to see it every day.

    We all need to admit our weaknesses in order to focus on them and overcome them

    Just started refocusing on my diet - so that I can lose the 8 pounds I gained recently.

    I am def still a “work in progress” but gradually going forward in a more and more positive feeling way!

    I know my wife being away for long periods is an added challenge - but she also provides incredible support and an amazingly non-judgemental and receptive approach to my situation. So everything balances out.

    No excuses. That’s also part of the slippery slope back to PMO.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2022
    Saville, realness and StarWarsFan like this.
  17. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    It's great to follow along with your journey. I agree with you about sharing our weaknesses. Being honest is one way we can have integrity and that just gets momentum going in recovery
    Saville and path-forward like this.
  18. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Thanks @realness for your encouragement! means a lot to me. and back at ya!
  19. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Yes, it does. Eventually it leads to relapse, just as MO does.

    Our weakness are just unused muscles. Once we start flexing they get strong rather quickly.

    You're doing great!
    path-forward and Libertad like this.
  20. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    @Saville thanks as always for your great insights and encouragement! You’ve been very instrumental to my progress.

    Great story last night! My wife got home super late (long story) from her 2+ week business trip - arriving home at 4 am. I wake up and join her in the shower - my mind super focused on whether my dick would continue its recent success.

    I get very hard in shower as I wash her body. First time I’ve been this hard in the shower in years! She casually says I should join her in the shower more often - something I did a lot before PIED. Nothing more happened in the shower, as my wife is super tired.

    We get in bed and she asks me to genteelly rub her butt - as it helps her fall asleep. I ofc try to be as sensual as possible as I do that! Lol
    10 min later she rolls onto her back and says “please be gentle - I am very tired.” Within a minute of feeling her arousal - I am ready to go! We have great sex, as she rallies despite her fatigue - and I feel myself about to come inside her. She warns me of her gyno appt today and begs me to stop. I ofc respect that and stop. She then uses her fingers and I come like I haven’t had an orgasm in a decade! I felt like it hit the ceiling! Lol
    I asked her if she used much pressure (no lube) and she quietly says “I barely touched you - I am not going to ruin all your hard work. You have never come so easily during our 15 years together.”

    Slept great! btw - my wife is an interesting contrast: tough, smart and attractive business women outside our home; loving submissive wife inside our home. She has always worked very hard to make up for her long trips away - when she is back home. Overall, I got very lucky with her and truly appreciate how patient and understanding she has been with my PIED and DE over the years. (sorry to brag about my wife! just feeling especially appreciative of her right now)

    I think the moral of my journey so far is: Do not let relapses lead to more and more relapses.

    I have PMO-ed twice since June 1 (no MO) and fought hard both times not to have any chaser affects. One’s day count is a great motivator - and I always reset it - after any relapse.
    But it is really all about being vigilant and “overall” changing one’s behavior and attitudes. I have been far from perfect, but I refuse to feel defeated. I try to use my failures as motivation to try even harder going forward.

    Don’t let infrequent relapses be a rationale to give up. Just get back on the horse and keep fighting!

    thanks so much to all my forum brothers for their support and encouragement! Could not have gotten this far without you. I can not emphasize enough the importance of journaling. It has been a key part of my journey forward.

    I fully admit my strong urges for P continues. And my peeking at times is clearly encouraging it. It needs to stop. But I try to savor my victories - while knowing I still have many battles ahead in my future. This is a war that will likely continue for many years. But at least I finally recognize that I can enjoy a very satisfying sex life, if I maintain my focus and not let any potential relapses lead me into a full on spiral.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2022
    Mozenjo, Rudolf Geyse and Saville like this.

Share This Page