Back from death, I need another round of work

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Gandalf the Grey, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. I've been here before. In fact, I have an active account. I've spent a lot of this year spinning my wheels on the same issues, the same topics. I am much less in the throes of porn addiction than I was in my past. But it still has hooks in my brain, in my behaviors, in my relationships and in my sexual performance. Continuing to work on the same issues in the same ways doesn't seem to be giving much progress.

    Hence, Gandalf the Grey. I AM a different man after last year. And my story in this journal needs to start with the new me who still needs work but who has given much of the old me up. I found myself in my other journal making the same old me comments. My work was dry and stale and uninspiring to me.

    I started here to fix myself, to consider fixing a marriage and, in all reality to save my life though I didn't know that at the time. I accomplished those things. That work is done.

    I have come back, not from death like Gandalf but with new life from the death of the old me.

    I can't move forward talking about my past.

    Last words on my past. I am a porn addict. It rotted out the weak foundations of my marriage, a marriage that really should never have been. I self medicated with porn and other things because I was so miserable. And then from porn found online dating and did that discreetly. Until I wasn't discreet. I got caught repeatedly by my wife. She was a total bitch in how she dealt with me on normal conflicts. Being a porn addict and a cheater turned the heat I got from her into a flamethrower. I would react with horror and shame and then relax and fall into the abyss all over again.

    My business failed. Relationships suffered. At one point I took a personal retreat to try to reconnect with who I was. I got in my car and drove. For a long time I didn't listen to the radio. I was an hour from my house, near where my childhood home was when I flipped the radio on and heard a documentary that talked about porn addiction. I drove to my old neighborhood and parked in front of the old house. And bawled like a baby.

    That weekend I found the strength to begin to address things. I focused on getting off of porn which is hard as fuck. Working on my family relationships meant putting myself and my boys first which led to separation and then divorce. Freedom! The separation was long and in the ensuing time I met a girl and really fell in love. But I took too long in working things out and wasn't truly healthy. Depression, which has been with me for a long time now that I know what it is, and the long slow legal mess I was in, got in the way of my being the man she deserved. So she kicked me to the curb.

    From the car ride where I heard the radio show, my first post on YBR, until I got to stable ground last year my journey has been about crisis. The crisis is gone. Work in crisis is different than the work I have ahead of me. Not harder or easier but different.

    Fast forward to today, no ironically the day after Thanksgiving, and I am extremely thankful for life. I have my freedom. I sold the business right before it failed. I have 3 tremendous young men. I have a ton of friends. I have a solid view of who I want to be.

    And I have depression. And obstacles that are mostly self perpetuating that get in the way of being the me I want to be. I don't porn so much any more but I do. I read erotica. And spend a lot of time getting on -- and then deleting -- dating sites.

    I've brought women home and brought them to bed. Even with weapons grade Cialis performance hasn't been satisfying. I feel guilty. If I meet a woman all I can think about is the times things don't work.

    Again, I don't porn much. It isn't hours and hours in my life. But it and dating sites and erotica and, I feel, my anxiety and strange perceptions about sex, are still wired together in my brain.

    I knew how to deal with a crisis. At least I learned. I do not know how to make the subtle changes to live like I want, to be the man I want to be and to perform in all the ways I want him to.

    So I'm here. Again. With a new focus. I want to learn how to live like the man I want to be.

    I don't even know where to begin but to cover the same ground I started to cover 3 years ago but with this different mission in mind.

    Time to work.

    Billy B. likes this.
  2. Been reading and kept a journal of it. Can't post b/c of anti-spam controls. What's with that?

    This is really a test post.

    Did it work. Lots more important things to say but I can't! At least I thought them.
  3. Spent a little bit of time reading on porn addiction. It is a new problem so I started this new journal to attack the new problem. I read old information and found new insights. Things I've read in the past hit me differently this time they they did when I read them before. I started from the beginning at YBOP and some things that stand out:

    I'm struggling with the "this is what turns me on" issue. I do get more aroused at reading erotica than I do looking at pictures or videos of normal sex. I've had the strength to avoid going to really dark genres of porn but I've read some. I'm skirting the rules of no PMO by reading erotica. It isn't ok. I know it. But it isn't ok because it continues to damage my brain. And I need to stop it ... and my consumption of dating apps ... before healing can begin.

    Addiction may be thought of as wanting run amok. I want. If I am talking with a woman I've met online I want another. And another. That pattern rings true. The click, click, click, next pattern is there on the dating sites. I completely blew up my dating apps about a month ago. After about a week I was talking to more women in public and having some of the younger women at work actually approach me to talk. I think it was all because I was carrying myself differently and was more attractive outwardly. I wasn't in a constant state of want which is how I feel sometimes. I'll come home wanting to cuddle, to touch, to kiss, to .... and with no one here I get depressed and shut down. A quick read or a run through some man wanted postings cures that for a moment ... it is the same as porn, exactly the same as porn.

    I realized that before tonight. I just didn't want to admit it. But it is true.

    Frankly, I am terrified of 3 things:

    1. Have I screwed myself up so badly, so permanently that I'll never experience normal sex again? There was a time in my life that sex was a good thing. And everything worked usually. Within minutes of meeting a woman now I start to think about sex and because I don't immediately get hard my confidence plunges. Am I broke for good?
    2. If I can't experience normal sex again will I not have a healthy relationship again? I shared that with my counselor last session and he said "well you know not all women are sex focused". Valid point. But I want a woman in my life who enjoys sex and I want to be the man that can please her. Does my damage then limit those women I might end up with? Am I ok with that compromise? I don't feel ok with it.
    3. Maybe I haven't screwed myself up so badly that I can't fix things. But it wont' be soon. And I'm almost 53 and time is flying. Is it too late?

    I confess. I want to be a hedonist. I want to be able to bring any woman I meet home and safely sleep around. I want to be good in bed. I want to eat, drink and be merry particularly if being merry means be sexually active. I do not particularly want a deep relationship now but I want a woman in my life. And I want sex. But sex just doesn't work for me at the moment.

    So here's the cycle I am in. I want to be Don Juan. So instead of picking chicks up at the bars I flirt online and occasionally get lucky. But I rarely let it go anywhere. And if I do meet a woman in real life in a social setting I might click with her but I do it with reservations because of performance anxiety.

    When I was doing the hard work in my other profile with my first project you could usually tell the guys who were going to make progress and the guys who weren't. Guys that were doing deep work, working on themselves and not on the functioning of their plumbing stuck around, made progress, seemed to be healthier. Those guys that came in with more of a "oh, shit, it is broken approach!" and I want help to make it work didn't fare as well.

    Well. Shit. It is broken and I want help to make it work!
    Billy B. likes this.
  4. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    I s'pect you're not broken for good, GG. But yeah, it's prolly more than just your pecker needs fixing (if you're anything like the rest of us, the issues are deeper than that). Good on you for trying again. You are always welcome here.
  5. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Important realization, my friend. Your quest is very much on the right track!
  6. seebs75

    seebs75 Member

    I appreciate your story. I get that the looking online for stuff that’s not P can be just as engaging as P. I would spend hours on ads just wanting to feel the rush. Except it wasn’t explicitly about sex as much as it was about feeling wanted. I wanted the feeling of connection without doing any of the work it takes for real connection. I would settle for a false intimacy rather than face the vulnerability that real intimacy would take. I’m realizing that my deepest longing is for connection and acceptance and that all this other stuff (PMO, P Sub, etc) is like binging on McDonalds hamburgers when I have a Ruth’s Chris ribeye waiting for me if I will wait for it.

    Keep hanging in there and keep writing your thoughts out. There’s good stuff there.
    Billy B. likes this.
  7. I had a date yesterday. A woman I met online. It is a positive thing. We've flirted and kissed but in talking for almost 3 weeks we've not had one word of overt sex. No talk about fantasies or war stories or anything else that I have done in the past when I met a woman on line. I've taken down all the dating apps. I'm going to give this woman my focus while I work on me. I do not fear that we will quickly blunder into unsafe territory which for me at the moment would either be the overt sex talk or actually going beyond the kissing we've done. She's two hours away so that means a more word based friendship than a lust based anything. She's beautiful, intelligent, successful, active. There's no reason I can't have some fun while I'm sorting myself out. She knows some of my story and didn't run; I am not ready to share this part with her but have some confidence that she'll be supportive. It is way too early to share that. I'm not sure she's "the one" but I was clear when we first starting talking that I'm not ready for deep obligation. I like her but I'm not sure beyond that. Kissing and cuddling on the couch yesterday felt like high school because I wasn't going to take it any further. It felt very good and very safe. Checking in physically I was getting a rush but no erection. Didn't need the erection for the planned activities but that's about the most honest test I've had.

    I created this second journal on a whim. I can't move forward talking about my past is really I can't move forward because when I compare myself to my past I'm so much improved the improvements I want to make seem marginal. I lived in crisis. I fixed the crisis. So a little bit bad doesn't seem so bad. I can point to all these great things that have happened. But they are past things. I'm going to invest some time in who I want to be rather than noodling over how far I've come.

    @seebs75, that's exactly where I am. I read yesterday that the addiction is a "Wanting" problem. Dopamine is about desire. So desire for the next video is not that different from the desire of the next personal ad. The trouble with the personal ad in comparison to the video is that if I engaged in conversation I would change me a bit to "win". A win was getting some show of interest. And then it isn't ... she wasn't ... attractive to me anymore. Sick game. And sometimes the binge wasn't on McDonalds hamburgers but something much less appetizing. After a meal like that you want more immediately because it doesn't fill anything up. At its worse I am consumed by the whole online dating thing because there's not a ribeye in sight.

    I accept there is abundance. Billions of women in the world means that there is a "ribeye" for me! But I am not ready for one.

    And that fickleness is true in many other aspects of my life. I roller coaster on many things. Committed. Then not committed. Interested. No, bored. I do not have the discipline to set a routine and stick with it. And then when I feel the urge to break and fap or read erotica or play in a dating app I easily cross the line.

    Twenty-four hours now without fapping. Dreams last night. Woke up with a 22% woody. Keeping away from all of it for just a short time showed some progress. I need to stay committed to keeping away for a while and it'll work itsslef out (I know because I've done it before when I was much worse off and acting out much more).

    Focus today is getting ready for the next week and in spending some quiet time with myself thinking about who I want to be.

  8. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Great post, GtG. Your journey sounds very familiar to me. You have a healthy outlook on this addiction and on the conundrum of finding the right mate. There is a "ribeye" out there for all of us if we're willing to put in the effort to find it (her). And part of that effort, as you say, is to get over the habit of moving on once you've achieved the "win" of garnering interest. It's just as destructive as moving on to the next video after the initial rush wears off.

    Carry on, man.
  9. @moz, our journeys are very similar. You know who this is if you really think about it. I just had to stop my focus on not being who I was and focus on who I want to be.

    Because I realize at some point I don’t know. I knew I wanted to stop the crisis and I did. This last year has been repairing the damage from the crisis. Now it’s about moving forward. So it’s a different conversation. Was time to change.

    I’m not gonna find my ribeye until I’m a ribeye!

    It’s not enough to invest energy and life to prevent crisis. My imperative now is defined me and be disciplined enough to be to me that I want to be.

    Some of that keep in my damn hand out of my pants. And my eyeballs on things that are appropriate. And some of it’s a living to disciplined life. And some of it’s on understanding that life isn’t all about strict discipline. I’m never gotten that balance right.

    Since the shift in thinking the biggest revelation I’ve had was in rereading some of the YBOP information.

    As the addiction gets deeper and deeper into her brain stress and emotional discomfort begin to feel like sexual arousal. I had forgotten that. And his normal life begin to creep in little stressful things begin to get my eyes in the craigslist post or an erotica story. I will never remove stress from my life. But I certainly can figure out how to manage it better.
  10. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    I can totally relate to this. Did you know that, while ADD is over-diagnosed in children, it's underdiagnosed in adults? Also, it may be exacerbated by pmo and other addictive behaviors (I'm pretty sure I've read of people getting clean and noticing an improvement, at least). I'm not saying you've ADD, at all at all. Just throwin' it out there. Friend of mine got tested and found out she did. I got tested, I ain't. Just... when you mentioned the fickleness and that... it reminded me.

    In my opinion this is crucial to successful recovery, since most of us addicts will use the substance or behaviour in an effort to reduce or avoid stress.
  11. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    I thought your voice sounded familiar, my friend. Kudos for sharing your thoughts in another way!
    I especially like the following from the link you provided above: "The key is to engage your sense of self as malleable, more like a willow tree than a sturdy oak". Malleable, indeed. For too long I've adhered to the theory that our personalities are stuck from birth, and that we just live our lives fulfilling our destiny. Sure, that's not entirely bullshit, but people CAN change if they put in the effort. This is the place where we do that work...
    Billy B. likes this.
  12. @Billy-b, I am a diagnosed depressive and have ADD. I've learned to deal with both through counseling. Last year I was on meds for both the depression and anxiety but given that staying on them meant they were a permanent part of my life my doc, my therapist and I worked to get me off of them. The trick is remembering that I have them and to manage for both all the time. I manage well enough to not be in crisis but do not manage well enough to completely move forward.

    I've drawn a cocktail of things, but if you research them they all fit together. I'm a depressive with ADD and occasional anxiety. I'm low T (untreated I have the test of an 85 year old man). I have sleep apnea. I'm 30 pounds overweight (well likely 50 or 60 pounds overweight I can't imagine getting under 200). Pick any one as a starting point and you'll end up with all of the others as symptoms.

    Knowing all of this I still let my guard down when my life turned for the better. About 2 months ago I realized I was stuck. And I needed a new start. I was drinking too much. MOing if not looking at porn. It was MO to reading material and personal ads. With the occasional porn booster. I wasn't spending hours and hours doing it so I told myself it wasn't a problem. I had a few dates which were fun but at some level disasters because I realized that if called upon things would not work. So I drank some more and ate to feel better. And honestly read more erotica and fapped more. It wasn't a plunge into the abyss like in my crisis days but I was spending lots of energy dancing on the lip of it.

    I am not who I want to be. I am not about to eat, drink and fap myself to him. In all reality it has taken me the better part of the year to admit to it.

    Starting a new journal was one of many things I've done:

    • I'm getting treated for the low T. I've been on treatments for a month and mood, sleep and depression are all improved. Confidence is up. Morning wood hit when it first started but was libido climbed so did my acting out.
    • I'm back to my therapist though on a once every 3 week cycle. I don't need the constant work of a crisis but the consistent work of progress. I've gone once.
    • I have an appointment with a sleep clinic. Going to insist on a cpap but the insurance game requires me to get retested.
    • I'm back to working out but only 3 days a week. Trying to get back to 6 but that is harder than I thought.

    I'm deleting all the various bread crumbs from my acting out tonight.

    • I deleted all the pics that have been saved from online connections. Most were g-rated. Some went back to February which was hard to deal with b/c I thought I was doing fine then. Even deleting the g-rated pics evoked a negative response. But they are gone.
    • I deleted all of the dating apps from my phone whether I had used them or not; the accounts were killed last week.
    • I deleted my account from another online dating app that wasn't on my phone.
    • I think I've got all the crap.

    Next up is I'm going to schedule my week out.

    How I spend my time is who I am, not how I think of myself. I think of myself as an athlete but I only work out 3 days a week. So I'm not really. This week's schedule reflects who I am. Workouts, time to myself allowing me to relax with purpose, some learning time. But no idle time with nothing to do ... each evening is scheduled out. If it is not scheduled out then I am more than likely to not do it.

    I am going to bed. Week is not completely scheduled out but I blocked time tomorrow morning to complete it.

    This has been exhausting. Took me about 4 hours to write this post and think through the actions I took tonight.

    Like a weed the addiction has deeper roots than I gave it credit for ... I'm on the right path.

    I've got a plan. Get cleaned up which I've done with the computer and my behavior. I'm just a few hours passed a legit 24 hours. With every stressor today ... thinking about some work stress, taking these apps down, scheduling I had to fight the urge to fap ... conversations with my new lady friend and I had to fight the urge to fap ... happy I'm not fapping and I have an urge to fap! ...

    Pictures from back longer than I thought I was looking. Emails from apps that show the same. This just trickled into my life in little drips. And it wasn't tab after tab of porn. It was subtle ... words not videos, real women (and some fakes) on dating apps not porn stars, but he effect was the same at least from a PIED perspective ... and in all reality from a living healthy perspective ...

    I didn't get everything done today I wanted to do .. but I got this started and confronted some things that needed to be confronted ... the goal is to live this week as I want to live ... and adjust as I go.

    Billy B. likes this.
  13. I’m laying in bed trying to go to sleep. It’s all I can do to keep from starting. The hardest part about today wasadmitting the problem was bigger than I thought.

    I am a porn addict.

    That I don’t use much porn anymore isn’t the point. The point is I found porn substitutes and use them to self medicate and ways I used to use porn.

    I forgot two facts.

    One, any porn use is too much.
    Two, substitute is just like porn if I’m using it the same way to self medicate particularly if I am physically reinforcing it’s use on my brain.

    Giving it up is hard.
    Billy B. likes this.
  14. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    This is key isn't it? Even alcohol or fat n' sugar or gambling or work could fall into this category but actual p-subs... you're right, they're the same as p itself.
  15. @Mozenjo I was having the same conversation over and over again. I was bullshitting myself.

    It has literally been a year. And while life is more stable and I appear to be put together I’m not.

    I bought into the appearance. It’s accurate if I compare it to where I’ve been. But it’s not the destination. And I Bought into it as if it was.

    I have a goal for this week. I want to live this week is the man I imagine I am rat her than the man I really live as. Lots to share there. But I’m not much of an athlete if I don’t work out so I’m moving every day. May not be the toughest workout I’m going to do something. It’s on my calendar. Will see if I can have the discipline to be that person.

    I work out enough I can tell people I do it. But it feels fraudulent. Everything feels fraudulent. Because I feel so shameful about the fraudulent person feel I am I fap.

    My personal ads are fraudulent as well. I puff. I don’t out right away. I don’t claim washboard abs! But I talk about how active I am when I’m not.

    The woman I really want once a man like the man I claim to be rather the man I am.
    My birthday is in 40 days. I’ll be 53. I’m going to clear my goal for the week. And then my next milestone will be my birthday.
  16. Didn't sleep well last night. Agitated. Woke up with some wood. But all that did was get me thinking about sex. I did not touch and it quickly passed. I'm now 36 hours in (TY counter for rounding up!).

    I constantly think about sex and it is in terms of the porn I've seen. Revelation the last few days that the erotica I have been reading helped pull porn up and out from my memories. The reading was bad enough but the effect was a stream of stored pictures.

    I've got a "me" schedule to follow today and I'm on it. Just checking in for now.
  17. I’m living a life of small victories at the moment. My goal this week is to live my life as I want to be. That means lots of things. It means following a consistent routine of healthy choices. That includes no porn or related crap but it also includes meditation time, physical activity, and plenty of other things that define who I am.

    Little past 36 hours of no PMO I checked off everything on my morning routine that I want to do. It’s likely the first time in this calendar year I’ve done.

    I had my personality before I had my porn. Sensitization and desensitization in some of the other negative impacts of porn have found an easy home in my personality. I get bored easy. I get distracted by bright new shiny objects easily.

    I know from living routine I can Protect myself from Porn and some of my other self-medicating habits. I accept that following the routine makes me vulnerable and prevents me from being the man I want to be. Routine is both protection and foundation.

    I wish I had a routine counter! Anyway the day has started off well.
    Saville likes this.
  18. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    I could have written this journal myself, it feels exactly like my story.

    It was damn hard for me to admit that I am am addict and to fully understand what that really means.
    It means you can NEVER = without absolute self destruction.

    It was also hard to admit that I couldn't beat the addiction all by myself. It was too damn strong.
    And it took my life away, I simply could not DO.

    I'm also diagnosed depressive and ADD, I also I used porn as self medication, I also was addicted to dating apps.
    So many similarities.

    I can feel your determination, you're going to make it.
    Glad you're here, GG.
  19. @40New30, I could admit to addiction when life was bad. I find it harder to admit to it now that life is between ok and good. I want life to be great. I have to own all my shit if I'm going to move from ok/good to great. But admitting I have shit to own has been difficult.

    I guess I'm at 3 days without PMO which also means 3 days of tapered use of dating apps and all the related BS. Totally clean all day today. Hit routine for the better part of the day. Finished work earlier enough to get a workout in. I took my "too old to workout like that nap" and now I'm up doing what I hope is my new evening routine. Tonight that will be a little work heavy but I want it to be away from the computer over time. It is close enough to what I'm moving toward I'm going to count it.

    I worked out, came home, took a 30 minute cat nap. As soon as I laid down I began to get aroused. Before I committed to being focused on routine that would have been the sign that I could read some erotica or look at a dating app. I did not. When I got up the temptation was still there. Before routine that would have meant a beer run. I realized tonight that the drinking has been to mute the desire for porn.

    I am not sitting here craving alcohol. I'm not craving a fap for that matter. The temptation is there, but there is not one-click path to misbehave and I'm resolute enough that I won't make the multiple steps that will get me into trouble. On to day 4.
    40New30 and Billy B. like this.

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