Back again.

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by bu1999, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    One thing I'm trying to remember about addiction is that until I take it seriously then I'm never going to make any serious progress. But staying serious, diligent, aware and strong requires constant vigilance. Therefore I have to forgive myself when I fail. And I need to stop feeling so much shame. There are many guys out there who deal with the same issue. We're trying to get better, we're trying to be better versions of ourselves. I'm back again to pick up the mantle of recovery. I'm not perfect, I don't have all the answers. But my addiction is taken me to a lonely, painful place. It is hollowing my entire self. It is causing me physical pain. It is stopping me from living a productive and enjoyable life.

    I had a rather cathartic moment the other night. I was laying in bed after a wasted day of PMO'ing. It didn't feel good; it never feels good. And as I lay there I almost feel the addiction talking to me, convincing me that I had a good day, that it was all worth it. And I got angry. I thought - if my addiction was personified, and I was hanging out with a manipulative liar who hurts me over and over again, I would cut that person out of my life so fast. I'd have no tolerance for it. So why do I let my addiction stay around? That's the part I have to figure out but it gave me some interesting clarity.

    I've relied on PMO for so long to be my panacea for depression, anxiety, poor self-image, PTSD from being raised super-religious. And it never helped a single one of those things. So I'm getting better at realizing. That's a start anyway. I'm not keeping a counter. At some point it becomes about the counter or the number of days or whatever. We'll see how it goes.
    Saville, 40New30 and Billy B. like this.
  2. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Welcome back.
  3. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    Welcome back, you won't find a more supportive group -- you made the right decision. Keep posting.
  4. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    I have been down. Really down. Lost in what seemed like an unending PMO binge. But I am back again. I feel defeated and deflated. Thankfully this forum doesn't judge. It's why I keep coming back. I've now been a member of this site for five years. When I look at where I was five years ago I know that I've grown. Even if it's not enough to kick my addiction completely. But I'm in a better mental state than I was then and I have had some very decent bouts of success. I've tried many things to various degrees of success. In my opinion, you can try them all and still go right back to the addiction if your mind isn't in the right place. The past five years have taught me that much of my addiction issues stem from growing up in an ultra fundamentalist church and being gay. I used PMO to escape, to express my sexuality (albeit in an unhealthy way), and to cope. Once I came out and left that church, I still used PMO to make things better when I was depressed, angry, sad, etc. It's my coping mechanism and a powerful one at that. Once again I am trying to start again.

    Notes to self this time - NO social media of any kind if there are urges and limits on using it in general (I have to use it some for my job)
    MO'ing is out of the question for the foreseeable future. It always triggers a relapse for me
    NO mental fantasy of any kind. It leads to PMO inevitably
    NO touching myself (which I find myself unconsciously doing just sitting at the computer)

    These are just a few things. I will read the really helpful journals on here and learn better ways to heal and recover. Thank you to everyone who posts their struggles here. It's helping someone.
  5. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    I missed this post first time round. It's a powerful image, like the old devil on the shoulder. It truly feels like that.

    I've been hanging around here for 5 years too, screwed up several long clean stretches as well. This place is an incredible resource- not just the support, but sharing strategies etc. You'll find what you need here. Early in 2017 i sat down and read Wabi-sabi's journal from beginning to end. It took me 2 days but it was so cathartic and it opened my mind. Before that I thought I could succeed by willpower alone. Turns out i had to change the way I think about myself and other people in order to reduce the stress that kept causing me to relapse.

    Your list of NOs is gold. It will buy you time, give your mind time away from the addiction to sort things out.

    You can do this bro.
  6. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Thanks, A New Man. Your encouragement is comforting. I'm on Day 3 and feeling pretty good. Every time a reboot starts I enjoy the more relaxed I feel. I've had MW the past two days and am struggling with fantasy when I first wake up as a consequence. But I remind myself of the commitment I've made to myself and I am able to get over it. Work is busy for me right now so which is helping me channel my energy into other things. And I've been meaning to join a gym again. Hoping to go tomorrow and start that process. I will continue reading journals and gaining inspiration from the stories of others.
    A New Man likes this.
  7. Oh, shit. I'm back, too. But that's been a good thing for me. And likely the same for you.

    Welcome back. Keep fighting.
  8. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Hey Gandalf, I'm glad you're back. The fact that we keep coming back despite relapses means our brains are changing for the better. One of my biggest problems in the past has been recommitting to recovery, relapsing and then giving up for months. What I have to realize is that disappearing for months allows my brain to reconnect those old addictive pathways and sets my progress back significantly. I don't want to relapse, but if I do there is no hiding in PMO for a long time in shame.

    Every reboot is different for me. This one has been MW every morning and very sexual dreams. This morning I laid in bed trying to calm my mind after such a dream, and my brain just kept trying to bring those images back up. And then it tried throwing in other images from my waking life. None of it was working because my higher mind - the me that is in recovery - kept shutting those feelings down. But man how the addicted part of my brain was trying! This process requires such diligence and mindfulness. I guess that's why so many guys on here recommend meditation and yoga.

    It has been really nice reading the journals and feeling the strength of the community once again. I will start commenting at some point but need to feel secure in this reboot I suppose. Onward and upward!
  9. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Today I woke up with MW, and my dreams were vivid but not of a sexual nature. Because I've tried this so many times I'm not sure when to expect a flatline but I would honestly welcome one at this point. It's nice to not feel a huge urge to PMO. Yesterday I was on Facebook and started to go down the rabbit hole with some pics but I pulled myself back and walked away which I felt great about. It reinforced the fact that for me social media is often the "gateway drug" if you will for PMO'ing. And my addicted brain absolutely loves starting with innocuous stuff and gradually making me slide into fantasyland. I just have to stay one step ahead. The key is staying busy. I'm a musician so I'm trying to stay in touch with my instrument and trying to develop a writing regimen. I know there is much hard work to be done in the days, weeks and months ahead but I feel renewed and ready for the challenge. I hate PMO'ing. I hate everything about it - the ritual, the endless search for novelty, the hours lost, the numb brain. I am tired of giving up my valuable time on this earth to addiction. I want to change, as we all do. I started reading Libertad's journal last night and some this morning. It was very inspirational. Onward and upward!
  10. Guy_Stewart

    Guy_Stewart Well-Known Member

    bu1999...I'm a writer and I SO get this. "I am TIRED of giving up my valuable time on earth to this addiction. I want to change...Onward and upward!"

    I agree with you; I will support you, no matter what, through failure and victory. You CAN count on me, my online brother.

    Let's do this shoulder-to-shoulder; that way we will be more stable!
    bu1999 likes this.
  11. Joob

    Joob New Member

    Hey bu1999, I just started this journey too. I am new here, but from what i can see, this is a great community. There is no judgement, only support from others.
    That joining a gym is a good idea! I just started exercising myself in order to channel my energy elsewhere. Just simple exercises push ups those type. You can do it!
    bu1999 likes this.
  12. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Guy_Stewart - glad to meet a fellow artist! You have my support also. Thank you for your encouragement. As the days progress I know I'll need it even more. I'll keep checking on your journal too. Let's do this!

    Hi Joob - thanks for stopping in and good luck on your journey! Every time I've come here to read or post I've received nothing but encouragement. It is a good group of people and I sometimes forget the importance of community with an addiction like this. I suffer alone with it and this forum gives me the knowledge that I am not alone and that there is hope for recovery. Keep checking in and journaling!

    It's Day....5 I think? I said I wasn't going to count days a few reboots ago. I know there are opinions on both sides, but I feel like that counter gets in my head as the days progress. I start focusing on achieving a number and not on going through the steps to recover. Thoughts?

    I feel pretty good. I'm staying focused on recovery by visiting this site and keeping busy with work. My dreams have stopped being sexual in nature which is a relief. I know it's my addicted brain trying to trick me. Now that same addicted brain will try to start turning innocuous, everyday routines and habits against me by injecting the urge to PMO. This is where it gets tough for me every time. It hasn't happened yet but I know it's coming. And it almost always starts with social media. I have to come to some sort of reckoning with those sites. They are the gateway drug for PMO. It starts with looking at attractive people on Facebook or Instagram and the next thing I know I'm on a PMO binge. At the same time they are a way to keep in touch with the world around me, friends I don't see very often, job promotion, etc. Finding the balance of using social media in a healthy way before it crosses over into perv territory is my albatross. Anyone have thoughts?

    My triggers - boredom, stress, being hungover, social media. Boredom is an easy one - I can throw myself into making music. Stress - I often medicate with PMO, drinking, & 420. I could probably stand to drink less but it isn't a trigger in and of itself. Being hungover alone isn't a trigger, but combined with another trigger can be twice as powerful. 420 - not a trigger and honestly has gotten me through major depression and anxiety. So for now I'm focused on not using PMO for stress relief. I can worry about the other two further down the road.

    That's all for now. Looking forward to a productive work day. Hope everyone's game is strong today!
    Libertad likes this.
  13. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Yup. Recognizing this is half the battle. Keep going, bro'.
  14. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Thanks Saville. Yes it is very important to recognize the addicted brain's tricks. They change depending on the situation. Always looking for a fix!

    I feel pretty good today. It's day 6 and my libido has ground to a halt. No sex dreams, no MW, nothing. And I am quite thankful for that. I believe I may have entered a fast flatline. I can stay in one indefinitely for all I care. It's nice to not have a supercharged, revved-up sex drive. I realize after years of trying to break this addiction that it's not a real sex drive. It's my brain searching for a buzz. Obviously my real sex drive is in there but it will take time to bring the healthy one out.

    Managing my down time will be important this week. I don't have a busy work week so I will have more opportunity for boredom and idle hands. I will channel some energy into music obviously. That will help some but it won't fill up all my time. It's cold where I live so outdoor activities will be limited as well.

    Wishing everyone a strong recovery today!
  15. Guy_Stewart

    Guy_Stewart Well-Known Member

    bu1999 -- MAKE MUSIC! Writing stories has helped me to redirect the energy and stress that builds up because of the others. I can EASILY get lost in story; perhaps it's that way when you make music. Once we are distracted not only are we drawn from PMO, we are also making something new and that makes us feel good about ourselves. So keep it up, Man. I'm walking alongside you!
  16. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Guy, always good advice. Creating something is the very best distraction for an artist or writer. Not only does it take your mind off PMO but it channels the energy into something of value. That is a very rewarding swap. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm walking with you too!

    I'm on Day 9 or so but I've intentionally left off a counter this time just so it doesn't become a numbers game. I totally appreciate why many guys have one - and maybe I should! - but for now I just want to focus on recovery without feeling pressure. I must say this reboot has not challenged me much YET. I've done enough of these to know there will be a time of great testing to come and I just have to be ready. It's weird - even when my mind tries to go into fantasyland - triggered by an attractive guy on the train or something on social media - it's very weak. I feel little urge to MO, and zero urge to PMO. I woke up with MW after an erotic dream this morning but again I switched out of that mode quickly and started my day. I'm sure there are biological and mental reasons why the impulse to PMO or MO is weak at this point. I'm not going to analyze it too much because it's keeping me clean.

    That being said I have to be ready when the addiction really tries to rear its ugly head again. It will happen. I know this. That is the nature of addiction. I will be a recovering PMO addict for the rest of my life. That can be daunting to think about it, but anyone who's been in recovery knows that it's all about managing things day by day - not getting bogged down in the big picture. I think my longest streak would have been around 60 or 70 days, can't quite remember. Even after such a stretch I fell back into addiction hard. And I read stories on here about it happening after someone's been clean for a year or so. Why? This is one of the most insidious, dark addictions there are. I'm about as liberal as it comes, but keeping kids off pornography seems like one of the best ideas out there right now. A generation of kids are growing up in a world where they can access sexually explicit material 24 hours a day in the convenience of their own home. It's shocking. When I was a kid sneaking a peak at a magazine in a drug store was about as thrilling as it got. But this community exists and for that I'm grateful.

    Hope everyone is recovering strong today!
  17. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Very well said, my friend. It is so easy to slip back, to start allowing ourselves to be "comfortable." It's why I love cold showers, because they do, for a time, shake me out of any doldrums I might be feeling. Our generation was emasculated by our mothers who were buying into the women's lib bullshit. Now the internet is cutting off the balls of our young males. We, this community, stand as the last bastion of protection for our young brethren. We get clean and the world changes!
  18. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    And just like that I relapsed. I let some low self-esteem issues build up and had a "fuck it, i'm never going to get laid" moment. I'm not happy about it, but I'm back today to start again. I went 9 days which I think is pretty good. A lot of my self-esteem issues are tied up in skin issues. I have had eczema since I was a kid. The older I get it seems to get worse. It ruins my confidence, especially since there is no cure for it. You can try to control it, but it requires using strong steroids. It just sucks. Anyway, that's no excuse for PMO. I'm back and committed to starting again.
    Libertad likes this.
  19. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Yeah, this is just an excuse, though a better one than most. There are no excuses, remember? :) Stephen Hawking was married twice and he was hardly a paragon of handsomeness. Myself, I'm fat and not attractive, yet there have been women who thought me worthy enough to jump their bones.

    You did great to go 9 days, bro'. The further we get away from P the better all things are, including skin ailments, or at least how we view them.

    I've had some brutal psoriasis over the years and I find it is much worse when I'm pounding the sugar and alcohol. Going low-carb does wonders for my skin when I can stick with it.
    Libertad likes this.
  20. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    That is the Spirit. It is not a start because you already made Progress in the Moment you made the decission when you first decided to stop PMO. The relapses are only bumps on the road to recovery.
    Squire likes this.

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