Being satisfied with what I already have

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Gil79, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Alcohol was increasingly a part of my PMO relapses. Totally understand Gil.

    That's awesome that you cycle to work! I used to do it once or twice a week, until work issued me a huge 18lb laptop.
     
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  2. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    There's a thin line between things going well and things not going well. On the porn addiction front things are not going well for me lately.

    Last week I have spend many hours with sexual fantasies, roamed a red-light district to look at prostitutes (without actually doing anything), checked (cheating)dating sites and PMOed twice. In the last couple of months I don't seem to get more than 2 weeks without acting out and things seem to get worse every month. Things are not going in the right direction.

    Last time sex with my wife has been a month ago and there's not much intimacy.

    I think that the main reason for my behaviour is my new job. I love the job, but it also brings a lot of working hours and stress. My wife also works full time and besides work there's bascically just chores and taking care of the kids. For the kids it is similar as for work: I love spending time with them, but it is also stressful and a lot of work.

    Some weeks things are going really well: I meditate, sport, I go for walks in the evening. but somehow I keep falling back into this behaviour. I feel I don't have control and lost my confidence of beating this thing
     
  3. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Hey, Gil! It's been awhile.

    When I first read your entry I started thinking of my own experience, how I slipped into cheating, how I justified everything, etc. I also thought "it's easy to self-radicalize ourselves." In other words, we start staring in a certain direction and everything contained within that view seems like stress and work and so now we need interventions for our stress and work. Yes, yes, we're enjoying the job and the kids, but...? We can really get stuck within our own noggins.

    But, it's all very basic, my friend. No matter what we're dealing with we have choices. But let's first talk about what you have. You have a loving wife. You have wonderful children. You have enough food, and health care, and you have shelter. That's a pretty great start, I think. I know what you're feeling. It's the blah of being middle-aged and all you see before you is more of the same. Same old loving wife, same old wonderful kids, same old job that I basically enjoy. But where is the jazz in that? Surely we deserve to get more out of our lives than just that. You know, we do deserve more, and here's how we get it. First, decide (choices) that we are in charge of our own lives. Second, knowing that you life is not going to change, you do everything better. When you're at work, do it better. When you're with the kids, do it better. Third, allow space for real subversion, such as doing something that challenges who Gil is. Take part in a poetry slam, take up dancing, painting, writing, or ride to Paris and back on your bike.

    The same old thought patterns plague us until we decide to do something about it. We are captain of the ship. Will you stay in the doldrums, be shipwrecked, or chart a course to a new world?
     
  4. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Thanks Saville,

    I really appreciate your point of view and suggestions. Sometimes I just can't see how I am in charge of my own life, but maybe it's more that I don't want to see that. The feeling of being lived, of just going from one stressful moment to the other. And then the need comes up to have something for myself. By that time it is already too late, because then that 'need' often is merely just I want to get off sexually and not with my wife (PMO). Integrating something for myself on a more regular basis is typically of the health kind, but takes more effort and the 'reward' is less instant. But yeah, I am in control of my own life, also when I am anxious or angry. Your second point I interpret as living in the moment and doing things fully. I am getting better at that. An important aspect is to be in the moment also when things are not going well, to lean in to difficult feelings. Just accept them. That is where things can get really difficult though. It's a matter of practice. The third point, challenging who I am and taking part in things outside of my comfort zone, is something that came up naturally this week when I was asked to become active in a club in our village.

    All of the above makes so much sense and I can so clearly who I can be when I make the right choices. Still sometimes something (a part of myself) is pulling from the other side. Sometimes I feel that part is very week and I can easily say no, but so far I have always let myself be pulled to that side. Got convinced that it is better for me to step into the world of fantasy, porn and pleasure. By now I am more than a week clean again. It feels like a lot and it feels like nothing, especially in the perspective of me struggling with this for so long already (my first post here was in December 2012). I am hopeful, committed and sceptic,

    Got to come here more often
     
  5. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    My view for what it is worth to you on the above topic.

    I try not to identify with either of the two parts or choices or forces. I am. And two forces, which neither of the two is a part of the real me, are fighting. If you are religious, maybe you call them the good and the bad, god and the devil, higher force and the force from beneath, the constructive and the destructive who are fighting for attention and to gain control.

    I came to this conclusion after documenting and calculating back my relapses from the start and had to admit to myself, after thousands of relapses over three decades, that I can´t change myself, because there was nothing wrong with my real self in the first place. I just had lost myself and if we are no longer ourselfs, we look outside and to feel secure and safe try to find something on the outside to fill the void and to feel alive and so I identified with things, habbits and actions.

    If I did the so called good thing, I felt good and if I did the so called bad thing, I felt bad and down.

    An example: I did meditate, so I listened to the good, tomorrow I PMOd, so I must have listened to the bad, but in reality I should not have listened to either one of the two, and just be, because if you did the good thing today and you think you listened to the good force, your ego gets inflated and tomorrow, if I PMOd, my ego gets crushed again and so the rollercoaster continues.

    In the being, we do whats in front of us, without identifying with it. Some people call it the flow state, were one is in the flow without even thinking if one is doing the good or the bad.

    Not sure if I am explaining it right and if it is even a thing for others, but for me this was some kind of revelation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2022
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  6. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

    hang in there my brother. for me it's not the amount of time clean. it's quality. i try to keep things simple each day. not overthink everything. i put one foot in front of the other. do the next right thing that is in front of me. now a days it's almost impossible, but i try to stay away from electronics,porn, if i can. everytime i relapse i review and figure out what i was doing before i got involved with fantasy filth. for me, most of the time i was bored, had some downtime. usually at night. so i plan ahead, have a book ready. practice piano, guitar. whatever works for you. maybe because i am older now but i have slowed down. on purpose. i try not to rush at whatever i am doing to get to the next activity on my list. because when i get to the next thing there will be the next after that. so i never am in the moment. then life is gone. it's not easy.
    i have also found that i have relapsed way before i open my computer and start gawking at fake sex. it may start a week, a day, or 2-3days before. an off-color joke, soft porn on youtube, staring at a hot mama at walmart, "innocently" flirting with women at work. etc. i need to be vigilant about my thoughts, words, actions and eventually intentions. anyway enough of my old man ramblings, don't quit before the miracle.
     
  7. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Love this! It's why I basically believe in action, doing things. When we are engaged in our life we are less likely to fall into old patterns, both good and bad.

    Also love this! We get stuck in our heads. Be simple and simply act.

    No, it's not easy, but this unease you feel will pass. Yes, do come here more often!
     
  8. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    Yes, this sounds like despairing, which someone should never do. I don't remember if you have filtering. Having filtering really helped me, it was definitely a required ingredient in getting me 3 years clean. I feel for you, internet porn is a bitch, and almost impossible to quit. It took me about 17 years to quit.

    I agree with Saville that you have a lot going for you, you have a foundation for recovery. Another pillar of my recovery was coming here after acting out and fessing up and trying to make a plan. Maybe you could try that too.

    Do you get an emotional crisis after every time you act out? I used to. It was good for me because the crisis would only end once I decided I was going to do everything I could not to do that again.
     
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  9. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Some great posts here, thank you brothers!
     
  10. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    That does make a lot of sense to me @Libertad. These things are just so difficult when you're 'in the middle of it'. Life can be an enormous turmoil and when we look up we just see a small dot of clear sky that seems impossible to reach. And then at other moments the sky is clear and we just don't get how we got so involved in things. We need to find out point of reference and get back to it as often as we can. And we need to get back there when we 'get involved' and when we start identifying and labeling things that make our ego inflate or get crushed. I like the term 'flow state. Thanks man
     
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  11. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I like the idiom 'fantasy filth' :) That's exactly what it is. Fantasy, I realize, is nothing more than taking drugs. As if swallowing a pill that makes you feel good for a little while, but that is also poisonous to your body, fogs your mind, and induces a strong craving for more and stronger drugs. It is pink, sweet and soft on the outside, but black, pungent and sharp on the inside.
    To me it seems that you have really found a stable balance in the way you deal with your addiction @badger . You recognize that it is there all the time, you recognize its power, and you know that you have to leave it alone. Sometimes that is more difficult than at other times, but you found you're way, right?
    It is true that a relapse really starts before actually PMOing, we have made the choice to do so already way before that. When we open 'the valve' just a little bit, it is already the beginning of the end. Almost always the valve opens only more, even we know we should turn it into the other direction.
    I like your 'old man ramblings', they are full of wise words and I should come here more often to read them. I won't quit before the miracle :) thanks
     
  12. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I have tried filtering for a while, but we have so many IADs in the house (on which I can't install filtering: wife, work) that it just doesn't work for me. Otherwise it would be a good first barrier, definitely.
    Yes, I really need to keep coming back here. The addiction thrives on isolation. My life has changed a lot and I don't isolate myself anymore in life in general, but the addiction . . . I keep it mostly to myself . . . .
    Only after bad relapses I can get something that you could call an emotional crisis, but typically it last 1 or 2 days, I start feeling better, look back at it as 'not that bad' and the cycle starts again. The last 2 weeks have been better and different though. I will write about that later. Thanks @nuclpow. I have to tell you that quite often I am remembered to your journal title 'I think I could feel my brain rewiring'. Somehow it sticks in my head. You're journey is very inspiring
     
  13. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

    thank you my brother G79,
    all i have is a daily reprieve based on my spiritual condition that day. this addiction is out there doing push-ups everyday. staying in shape, just waiting for me to give it another try. some days are better than others. i am not a saint, yet. ha!. i just keep putting one foot in front of the other. doing the next right thing that is in front of me. i know the cost of partaking. not worth it. there are times where i will find myself glancing at soft porn on youtube. or staring at hot mamas at walmart, this bad habit was a way of life for me. it is ingrained in me for many years. so these "slips" happen when my guard is down. it is natural for a carpenter to work with wood, a plumber with pipe, a painter with paints, a degenerate with porn. i have to change. but i don't have the power to do it myself. i have tried for years, therapy, self-help books, personal development, conferences, religion, etc. i had to find the power, not my will power. it was what they call in AA a higher power. but i have to connect to it on a daily basis. anyway thanks again, hang in there. don't quit before the miracle.
     
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  14. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Been at home with the whole family now for 5 days already, all with covid, and all quite sick. It is challenging and I felt a lot of irritability towards my wife and kids, but I am trying to make the best out of it I think I am handling really well. Definitely a lot better than I would have when I would have been using sexual fantasies or porn to deal with the stress. I feel more patience, more space (or time) between thought anx action, more creative in finding ways to deal with the situation and more enjoyment in the activities we do together. We have been playing a lot of (board) games, playing with lego, painting, etc. Really nice. My attempts to work or read a book have mostly ended up in frustration and anger, but I can accept that (for a large part). I have been spending a bit too much time on my phone though. But yeah, what else, I am not fit enough for doig anything to blow of steam. I like the version of me that is not acting out
     
  15. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Had some urges to fantasize last night. Interestingly these urges were already more to fantasize romantically than about body parts. Nonetheless: same addictive behaviour, same brain circuits involved. I must take rewiring serious.
     
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  16. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Unfortunately the step from romantically fantasising to doing so sexually is a very small one (at least for me). Indeed I agree with you Gil79 that they are connected to the same inner ‘cables’. But it is good you are so aware of it!

    Our brain just seems to try and find infinite ways to entertain our minds… until it manages to catch our attention completely and consequently (and very gently and unnoticeably) lead us down the same old path of sexual pleasure.

    I wonder if we also need to consider all the internet usage we do these days, besides porn websites. I mean the ‘normal’ (not so normal) surfing, YouTubing etc. that is not done with sexual intent. We are continually training our brains to novelty and information. We make ourselves bored all the time - no wonder we end up loving things like porn!

    I was inspired how you wrote in a previous message about all the nice things you did with your family recently, like board games and Lego. Really hope you will find ways to do more of that and continue finding it productive and enjoyable so that you can reduce fantasies. As for me, I’ve tried to be internet free over the past 2-3 days and I couldn’t believe how bored I was without it.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and as you said in another previous post, it is important not to stay isolated with this addiction! Keep us updated
     
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  17. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Yesterday I was feeling great at first, also the interaction with my kids and wife. At a certain moment I kissed my wife and we started making out. We both got very horny, but had to stop because we had our kids around (all still sick at home). We decided to continue when the kids would be in bed. Then the rest of the afternoon I felt really bad: bored, impatient, irritable, angry. I snapped a couple of times at the kids in a way that I really don't want to. During dinner the kids were a pain in the ass, I snapped at them, ate my diner in the kitchen and left the house for a long walk. During the walk I felt really sorry for myself, blamed everybody I know for everything they did to me and got strong urges to plan my next 'acting out activities'. One of these things was that I planned to walk by the house of an attractive woman I know to see if I can see her sitting inside. Fortunately walking under the stars with strong cold wind in my face brought me back to my sense and I could take the right turn home. My head was a bit more clear and most of the anger was gone. I kissed my kids and my wife and we went back to business as usual. I kept feeling shitty, impatient, down and grumpy though. It took quite a while before I fell asleep. Had quite some urges to fantasize, but resisted. This morning I felt quite shitty still. Even though I didn't give in to urges to fantasize (or worse) I felt as if I had. I felt bad of my anger outburst and I think I felt bad of being close to acting out (for even approaching that thin line between acting out and not acting out). All in all I think my feelings are a mix of being still sick, frustrated of staying at home, not being able to work or do something for myself and withdrawal symptoms. For sure the making-out session with my wife and the dopamine flow that that caused (and not being able to act on that) really complicated all of this.

    Thanks for your post and nice words in my journal Rabotaz. What you say here about normal internet usage really applies to me. I am keeping track of my phone use lately and it is crazy. Especially these days sick at home I was really 2h on my phone per day on average. Crazy. And that really contributes to desensitisation. It is really better to just be bored or read a book. The smartphone is especially so tempting because it is so difficult here in the house with the kids to do something undisturbed for a longer time. But better being disturbed and bored than to hypnotize oneself with a phone. Also I don't want to be that kinds of father . . .
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2022
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  18. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    Gil79, two things: well done for keeping on track under that high level of inner stress/frustration! Second thing: you made me laugh, your account seemed like a description of my life! I have my two kids always around me, as if they were my shadows. The stress and frustration can often seem immense and then, like for you, I start feeling guilty for snapping. It’s difficult to strike a good balance. Let’s not forget that being a dad is not an easy job. It is often taken for granted that we don’t break, that we can keep everything and everyone together… we are just human beings at the end of the day. There was a good article recently in a counselling magazine saying that society tends to underestimate the mental and emotional difficulties fathers can experience due to the pressure of their roles, especially in 2022.

    When I have holidays coming up in my job, my wife says ‘come on, just a few more days and you are finally on holiday!’ Little does she understand that my real holiday is to be at work!! Make sure not to let home stressors lead you back to the addiction, reminding yourself that your role is a tough one and that you need to take it easy on yourself! Going for a walk was a great idea. I wonder though if you need to change the route next time and pass in front of the house where the ugly fat guy is sitting inside… ;-)
     
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  19. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Been a while but glad to see you here and still fighting the good fight !

    Family life must come with a lof of challenges although it must be very rewarding as well.

    I find life overwhelming as a single guy. An anxious millennial. I can only imagine how demanding it can be with a few kids around.

    Yea, I think this is a plausible element. I was thinking this as well when reading your post. You got an overflow of some positive chemicals only to have it shut down rather quickly which surely caused some frustration in the body/mind. This is where a strong prefrontal cortex (reason) can likely help ride out the shitty feelings for a while. And I guess when we don't give in to our baser instincts we fortify the prefrontal cortex.

    Seems like sexual frustration is an occasional part of being alive. Whether we are addicts or not. Whether we have a wife or not. Kids or not. And maybe this in particular is something that is more difficult for men then women. And it's not really recognised out there publicly all that much. Yet we hear so much about how hard life is for women. But best to avoid this rabbit hole right now.

    I can relate to this 10 000%.

    The thing is it does not really help. Best case scenario acting out again offers a bit of relief, sometimes a bit of pleasure (not always). And at a big cost usually. It's always a better bet to keep going on the straight and narrow. It sounds like that's what you did so I'm glad about that !
     
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  20. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Well-Known Member

    An accurate observation. It almost always starts between the ears. :cool:
     
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