Back again.

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

  1. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    It is with great humility and renewed determination that I return to this forum and to my sobriety from PMO. I'm learning not to feel as much shame because it's almost as insidious as PMO itself. And it has sabotaged me in past reboots. I have not been clean for longer than a few days in over a year. It is affecting my life even more destructively than before. Spending money I don't have on cam sites, wrist and hand pain from death grip, and perhaps most importantly - avoidance of real emotional and psychological issues by burying myself in addiction. I can't get that time back and it hasn't done a damn thing to fix the root of the problems that I use PMO for.

    I turn 42 later this year and I'm just tired. I have struggled with this addiction my whole life - a long time before I knew it was an addiction. I have seen the light if you will for about six years now. And in those years I have had some really good stretches though I've never gotten to the 90-day mark. I think my longest stretch was 60-70 days. Otherwise it's a day or two here and there, if I'm lucky I get a week. I've done it before so I know I can do it again. It's those first couple of weeks that are the toughest. I don't know why my willpower is so weak at times. As others have noted in this forum, I think my problem is compulsive behavior in general. Anything that makes me feel good. Alcohol, junk food, PMO, etc. This reboot I am limiting my alcohol use quite a bit, perhaps may stop altogether for a time. This will help in my recovery but also make me a healthier person. Also have been going back to the gym as well to fight the middle-age spread starting to happen.

    Some time ago a dear friend of mine passed away due to a drug addiction. I have been processing a lot of emotions regarding his death and am feeling a strong urge to moderate all things in my life, refocus my time and energy on productive things, and stop using food, alcohol or PMO to keep me checked out from my emotional reality. Time is precious and we should use what little time of it we have to be whole, not zombies stuck in front of a computer for hours. That's not living. I have more potential than that; we all do. Wishing everyone strength on their journeys.
     
  2. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about your friend. I lost a friend not too long ago, as well. It can be quite a blow. We're mortal, we're going to die, and tomorrow isn't promised to us.

    You've got this!
     
    bu1999 likes this.
  3. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Well said sir.
     
    bu1999 likes this.
  4. Lowdo

    Lowdo Well-Known Member

    That's so right. Keep going!
     
    bu1999 likes this.
  5. GreyHeron

    GreyHeron Active Member

    This is true. That is one thing that I carry from the time my son was ill, I use it to shame myself when I should just use it as a quiet mantra to get me out of my emasculated hole.

    Welcome back and do not be a stranger here. I am looking forward to reading about what you will be doing to refocus your time and energy on productive things.

    Soar Well
     
    bu1999 likes this.
  6. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Thank you guys for your encouragement. It means a lot to me. This forum is invaluable and I am truly grateful for the positive environment it fosters. Life is a precious thing, isn't it? It shouldn't be spent defeating ourselves. GreyHeron - I believe "Soar well" is going to be my new mantra.

    I've done enough of these reboots to know that the temptations will come again one day. The feelings of inadequacy, shame, and guilt will most certainly try me in the weeks to come, and to some extent, always. I am trying to lay down a positive framework to deal with them when they hit me hard. I'm visiting family this week so I can't work out for another five days or so but I do feel as if my recent trips back to the gym have been helpful and productive. In past reboots I have found exercise to be invigorating and stress-relieving. I am committing also to less sugar, less/no alcohol (those hangovers can be a major PMO trigger) and better diet in general. This will give me the fuel and energy to tackle everyday stress and PMO triggers.

    I am a musician and know that by quitting PMO I will find more opportunities for creativity. I have so many outlets for it in my home that I have no excuse to sit at a piano or pick up a guitar when I feel the urges coming on strong. I suppose the tools have always been there. I just have to use those tools rather than spend a couple hours on a PMO binge.

    I know I could probably benefit from therapy but it's just not affordable for me. I have terrible but expensive insurance and I would have to pay out of pocket. Therefore I will have to resort to self-help for the time being. I've been trying to look up some good books about addiction, CBT, mindfulness, etc. Suggestions are welcome.

    I feel strong today, ready for tomorrow, and beyond. I wish everyone strength on their journey.
     
  7. forlorn

    forlorn Member

    So much of what you've written resonates with me. Goes to show how similar the struggles are for many of us on this forum.

    You somehow found that money in the past for cam sites so surely you can spend it to turn your life around for the better. I have similar financial worries so I use an online therapist who I chat to via Skype. In order to keep the costs down I only speak to him around once per month but I'm definitely finding it helps. Maybe you could consider something similar in the future.
     
  8. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I did this at the beginning of January. Quitting booze was almost as important as stopping PMO.

    I go to the library quite often and pick books randomly from the self-help/psychology, philosophy sections. Thich Nhat Hahn really resonated with me, as did Richard Rohr. I recently started reading a book by Anat Baniel "Move Into Life," which is about changing how your brain works through movement. Certain movements create the right environment for the brain's neuroplasticity to kick into gear. CBT is useful, too. I read a book by David Burns and found it to be helpful. Of course, we have to do the work or reading becomes just another passive activity.

    I love this! :)
     
  9. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Thanks Forlorn for the suggestion! I have been considering online therapy but was concerned about privacy. Are there sufficient safeguards?
     
  10. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Thanks for the great suggestions Seville! Those sound like great books to start with and duly noted about doing the work as well. I couldn't agree more.
     
  11. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    I'm just over three days into sobriety from PMO and have no problems so far. I'm visiting my family out of town which affords me little opportunity to PMO and no opportunity to drink, but honestly haven't had temptations (yet) to PMO. I'm trying to be realistic about the future and knowing that there will be intense cravings at times and it's up to me to best figure out how to avoid them or not succumb to them. I grew up in an extremely conservative church, and EVERYTHING was a sin - pop music, PG-13 movies, certain clothing, not going to church enough, hanging around the wrong people, drinking, smoking, parties, you name it - and I rebelled hard against all of it when I left home. I'm starting to realize that while my rebellion and freedom from such a dogmatic religion was necessary for my own sanity, the methods I used no longer apply. Escaping in drugs, alcohol, and PMO was just that - escape. I had fun in my 20s and 30s and really don't regret any of it. It opened my mind up and made me who I am. BUT I'm in my 40s now and there has to be a new path forward. I need to delve deeper and find my true self - the one that has hidden behind dopamine hits for the last 20 years. I was psychologically damaged by the church I was raised in and still harbor a lot of resentment but I have to continue to move on from it.

    I get back home in a few days and will be six days sober from alcohol which I'm hoping to turn into 30 days. I need to moderate everything. I can't wait to get back to the gym and hopefully shed a few pounds. I am going to post something every day here to keep myself accountable. I appreciate everyone who has commented on my posts and I'm going to keep reading the wisdom of all the other strong, determined guys on this site.
     
  12. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    My ex-girlfriend in my late teens was also raised very religious. Everything was from the devil. One day her father even burned all the childrens books with fairy tails, because they were from the devil. I saw what it did to her and her brothers and sisters. They all had problems: drinking, drugs, shoplifting, fighting. It is crazy how you can screw your kids when you force something like that upon them. I hope you will be able to let go off the past and 'design' your own life according to your values and with no baggage. Strength!
     
    bu1999 likes this.
  13. forlorn

    forlorn Member

    Yes, it's worth doing your research first to make sure you find someone who is accredited. You can always exchange a few emails first and see if you think they're a good fit for you. I could have seen a therapist face to face in my city but eventually opted for online sessions with someone who specialises in compulsive sexual behaviour. I'm happy with the decision.
     
    bu1999 likes this.
  14. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Can’t make a long post as I’m visiting family and am strapped for time. Still going strong! Wishing everyone strength on their journey today.
     
  15. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    It's been an interesting last couple of days. I'm just over six days into this reboot, most of it spent visiting my family out of town. While my opportunities to PMO have been limited at best, the old me would have found time. Thankfully, I have made it through with relative ease. Last night I attempted to remove all visits to P websites on my phone browser because one of them showed up as a frequently visited icon every time I tried to open a new page and I didn't want it to trigger me. In the process, I inadvertently pulled up the site by accident. I immediately closed it and surprisingly it didn't trigger me in the least. In fact it annoyed me more than anything. After a bit of trying I finally got the icon to disappear so I won't have to see it anymore. That felt like a win.

    I had an insanely sexual dream last night which I think has little to do with the one-second glimpse of that site and more to do with my dopamine-starved brain trying to conjure sex images. But whatever the reason, I woke up with some wood. It wasn't epic or anything, but it was something. If past reboots are any indication, this means I should be flatlining very soon and that's where things get complicated for me. On the one hand, a flatline is kind of a relief. I don't have a lot of sexual urges or energy, but for that reason the brain tries to get me to play with myself just to make sure everything works. I must guard against this at all costs. MO for me is the slippery slope that always leads me back to PMO so it's hands off no matter what.

    All in all, this week has been relatively easy. I say that knowing that next week or even tomorrow could be ten times as challenging so I'm not letting my guard down and I am trying to stay hyper-vigilant. I haven't had a drink in a week mostly because I couldn't which means not waking up with a hangover and thus being triggered to PMO. That being said, I may allow myself one drink at the airport tomorrow on the way back home. This is because being around my family dredges up a lot of emotional pain from my past. They are deeply religious (of the evangelical variety) and while we are close, I know they judge me being gay and not doing all the things they do. I've made my peace with it but it's different when you're a thousand miles away than when you're in the same room with them. So maybe I'm making up an excuse, but I think I deserve a drink after having to endure a sermon while here. I don't have any alcohol at home and won't be getting any as I'll be arriving late so that will ensure I can't overdo it.

    I'm looking forward to this next week of sobriety. There's lots on the schedule and I will be able to get back to the gym and get some endorophins pumping. Wishing everyone strength on their journey.
     
    Gilgamesh likes this.
  16. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I have found this to be true over and over again here.

    You deserve something, I'd agree. I like to get smoothies at the airport now. I often get a booster shot, as well. Hey, why not spend an extra five bucks! lol

    You're doing great!
     
  17. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    It feels good to be at eight days. Considering my insanely heavy usage over the past few months this is a welcome relief and my brain doesn't know what to do. My dream world is vivid and, well, weird. In addition to the two explicit sex dreams I've had this week, last night was a real humdinger. I had an incredibly sexual dream and as I was waking the dream was continuing so I was in that weird in-between place between dreams and waking. This allowed me to be aware I was dreaming but also dream at the same time. It's not that uncommon and I'm sure we've all been there. However in this instance, my dreaming self kept trying to stay in the dream in order to see the sexual imagery but the waking me was trying to not so much wake up but guide my thinking in another direction. The end result was me waking in shame that I had somehow almost relapsed. In reality, I didn't even come close. I wasn't even attempting to MO, it was just this weird battle between my subconscious and conscious self. As I pondered it today, I think it was my addicted, dopamine-starved brain trying to bait me into PMO'ing. If I felt defeated that I had almost relapsed, would PMO be that much worse? It is kind of fucked up. At the start of this reboot I made a commitment to myself to not let shame guide my actions. In that moment, my addicted brain was trying to use shame to make me relapse. So, it really reinforces my instinct to let go of shame and allow more positive energy into my thinking.

    I went back to the gym and had a really nice workout. It feels good to be starting that routine back again. My continuing challenge is to drink less and eat better. It's all part of this desire I've had since my friend passed away to better myself, not make similar mistakes, love myself more and honor his memory in so doing. Today I was triggered to MO by some eye candy at the gym and work, but I was able to guide my thinking away from it so I feel stronger for it. Another interesting observation - Last night I was reading a blog post at Reboot Nation. It was a gay dude around my age who had successfully conquered PMO for 4.5 years. In an unhealthy frame of mind, I was jealous of him. It felt unfair that someone could have such a streak and I began to feel like a victim. And then I realized I should be happy for this guy, not jealous. He was able to impose self-discipline and behavioral change and I should respect him more than anything. I realize the insidiousness of PMO is not always in the act itself, but also in the mental twists and turns that lead you there - Jealousy, shame, etc.

    Wishing everyone strength on their journey.
     
    Saville and Gilgamesh like this.
  18. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    I know the feeling. Does the jealousy maybe mean that we think we dont deserve this and that the moment we can be happy for others, we can be happy for ourselves?
     
  19. bu1999

    bu1999 Member

    Sadly I relapsed today. I was hungover (I should have seen this coming) and feeling emotionally defeated. I'm not proud of what I did but this is the first place I came after. I'm resetting my counter. Got to 11 days which felt good but next time I want to go even longer. I'm not giving up on rebooting. I hate that I relapsed but I know I can do better.
     
  20. forlorn

    forlorn Member

    Hangovers have so often been my downfall too. Recognised that I need to limit the amount of drinks I have so I don't put myself in that situation again.

    The good thing is you didn't let the relapse defeat you. You're back here and ready for the challenge. You can make today a more positive day - get back to the gym, maybe get your creative juices flowing with your piano or guitar.
     
    Saville likes this.

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