Break on through to the other side

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

  1. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Yes, those weird sex movies on German TV...

    A bit late to the discussion, but ofcourse the sensitized pathway is a big thing here. If you were anything like me, in your teens and twenties being home alone pretty much equaled porn. It was something you probably looked forward to and anticipated on. So it's really no wonder that after years of having done so you have a pretty stubborn association between being home alone and porn. And it takes time to lose or rather diminish that association. This is actually one of the reasons why I don't really believe in counting days. You can go 200 days without porn and one day you are feeling down for some reason and you realize you're home alone and...there we go. It's important to learn to deal with these situation and built new pathways. So what you did today for example: that matters soooo much in terms of progress. You might not have liked the urge or fantasy, but this is where the progress happens.

    I also like the LTE quote a lot. We have become so used to instant gratification without even realizing it and to live a fullfilling life this is something we will have to learn to deal with.

    As for the potatoe chips: have you heard of ve-tsin? If not, google it, because potatoe chips are pretty much created to be eaten by the handful;)
     
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  2. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Wait... Did you have access to stations I couldn't get? I only watched "Sexy Sports Clips" on DSF in the middle of the night.
     
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  3. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Lol, no, I think @Gil79 refered to the extremely erotic movies from the 70's or 80's that often included guys with lederhosen chasing young women. On friday and/or saturday it was on RTL or Sat1:)
     
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  4. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the spam, Gil.
     
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  5. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Yesterday I had a really good day. I got some work done, picked my son up from school and did some nice activities with him, picked up the littluns and we were whole afternoon in the garden. They are a handful, especially being alone with them, but they bring me so much love and fun in my life. My wife cam home quite late and I thought I would be exhausted, but I was good. I think also because the last couple of nights I have been sleeping better.

    Nonetheless I had a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth whole day because of the 'being home alone urges'. I think it kind of shook my confidence. Thanks @Living for the reality check. I really have to find a way to actively work on this and be proactive (recognize and act). I really want to keep moving forward, and I really don't want to look behind me. I am fed up with it.

    Last night I slept good again and felt energized today. Did a bit of dancing with the twins just now, so much fun . . .

    Thanks @BoughtWithBlood: thanks for your support!

    @Living: you wrote about this earlier. How are you dealing with it/ disconnecting the trigger? When I am home alone I typically relapse/ binge on the first day, but then get to my senses and can really enjoy my time alone. I would really be proud if I could get past such a thing. I did this with another trigger 'being alone in a hotel room'. That was quite succesful. But now the thought of being home alone with an internet connection really scares me a lot, maybe because I feel I have so much to loose now. Happy to hear I was not alone watching these movies btw :D.

    @-Luke- : imagine the patience we must have had, going through a whole movie to just see some boobs and pubes every 10 minutes or so . . . 'Fortunately' I could tape it on VHS and fastforward to the 'good stuff'.

    No, this conversation made my day :D
     
  6. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Gil79

    To be honest, I haven't encountered it all that much outside of some reading I've done on meditation, so I don't think it's all that common in English either.

    I've actually been slowly working my way through an atlas I got last Christmas, and there were a few things I was curious about regarding the Netherlands. Feel free not to answer ; ), but...

    - Is there any reason why the Dutch flag is so similar to Luxembourg's?
    - For a native Dutch speaker, is Frisian unintelligible enough to truly be considered another language? Or does it lie closer to the boundary between language and dialect?
    - How much of the Netherlands actually lies below sea level?
    - In my atlas, the official capital is listed as Amsterdam, but it also says that The Hague is the administrative capital. Does this basically mean that while Amsterdam is designated as the capital, most matters related to governance are actually carried out in The Hague? If so, have there ever been talks to move the capital?

    I realize I could try to look these answers up online, but I thought it might be more interesting to ask an actual Dutchman.

    Regarding your more recent post, thanks for sharing some personal details about your relationship with your father. I too have suffered a lot of psychological damage inflicted upon me by my family, but I feel like I have made some significant strides in dealing with it and moving on. Not entirely of course, but what healing I have done has been helpful. I hope that you have had some success in dealing with whatever trauma he has caused.

    If you are comfortable answering, I am wondering what your relationship with alcohol is. I used to be a pretty bad binge alcoholic but am happy to say that I have been dry for about two years (minus one non-alcoholic beer around three months after quitting, and one shot of whiskey about fifteen months after that--which I only drank because my friend really wanted me to do so as a gesture of celebration at his wedding).

    Lastly, just want to say thanks for posting in my topic from time to time and sharing some of your insights. I really appreciate it.

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
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  7. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Awesome, I really like atlases as well. It is so nice to go through them and dream away about traveling to places far away

    Nice questions :).
    - The first one I had to look up. I never questioned this myself (at least as far as I can remember). It seems it is completely unrelated.
    - Frisian is really another language. Most of my family is from there, and therefore I can understand it, but find it really difficult to speak or read. It has similarities to Dutch ofcourse, but also to English: 'Butter, bread and green cheese is good English and good Fries' :D.
    - Roughly a third of the Netherlands is below sea level. The airport Schiphol is 6 meters below sea level (they have a mark there ;-)).
    - Yeah, the government has been in The Hague since the Netherlands started to have a central government, but in the 18th century the French occupied the Netherlands and chose Amsterdam as capital. After they left, the government took seat again in The Hague, but Amsterdam remained the national capital. They will not change it. Amsterdam has become a very important city, both economically and ceremonially.

    Regarding the situation with my father, I have definitely done some significant healing myself as well. It is a very weird situation though. What it comes down to is that my mother divorced my father when I was 8 y/o because he was a heavy drinker. Since then the contact with him worsened rapidly and he stood us up so many times. In hindsight I remember the moment when he really broke my heart, leading to a long period of mourning. All in silence, because life had to go on. When I was in my early 20s, all of a sudden I got a phonecall that he had recovered. It seemed he was living on the streets (actually in the capital of Friesland) and in a cold winter he was given the choice to stay sober and stay in a shelter, or drink and be kicked out on the streets. My sister and I visited him and since then the contact slowly intensified. That was 20 years ago. In that period we all basically acted as if nothing had ever happened. We hardly spoke about it and when we did, he layed out a completely different story about the past than we had experienced ourselves. I never said anything about it. In some weird, super unrealistic way I though that one day he would come with an explanation that would make sense to me and that he would apologize and that I would have a real father-son bond with him. It is only since last year (myself being 40 y/o!!!) that I see what a juvenile, self-deceiving fantasy this is. I don't know why it took so long, but the thing that set it in motion recently is that now I have the age that he had when he let us down and because I am a father now myself. Seeing through this and taking distance from him has been very important for my general well-being and a major step in my recovery. But now I am not sure about my next step. I guess I will write more about it soon.

    Well done on being dry for so long! I have been a binge drinker most of my life. In my early 20s this got out of hand a couple of times, but somehow I managed to keep it under control. In my late 20s and my 30s I didn't drink so often anymore, but when I did it was always fast and a lot. Not someone who just enjoys 1 beer or a glass of wine. The last couple of years I kind of lost this binge attitude. Had some dry periods as well and now I am drinking really seldomly. I can have just 1 beer or wine and enjoy it now. I think this is really because of my children now. I just want to be sober when they're around.

    Thanks for asking @NewStart19. I am also curious after your story, but maybe I should just have a look at the first pages of your journal for that.
     
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  8. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Going through some really bad PAWS today. Very angry and irritable (9/10). Have to be careful for self-pity and blaming. Just sit it out, Gil . . .
     
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  9. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    The storm has calmed...
     
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  10. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    I think it's all about breaking patterns and proving to yourself that being home alone does not equal relapse. Because that last thing is what we keep repeating to ourselves, isn't it?

    Sometime after I first joined this board someone posted a really interesting article on cue exposure therapy (https://gettingstronger.org/2010/04/overcoming-addictions/). This was something that made a lot more sense to me then most stuff I read here which was at the time pretty limited to neurotransmitters, dopamine etc. Not saying there is no sense in that side of addiction, but to me it felt like an incomplete story. Furthermore, it turned addiction into something rather abstract and by doing so seemed to detach me from my problems (it was not me that typed in Pornhub.com, it was the dopamine). Anyway, this article was focussed on cues that we automatically associate with addiction and how we should dissassocite these cues or rather add new, healthy associations.

    For a lot of us being home alone is one of those cues. Like I said in my previous post: even the thought of being home alone brings forward an association with porn. So from a CET-perspective what we should do is dissociate being home alone from PMO. Although I far from follow the advised CET-approach to the letter, I do believe that dissociation is a really good way to deal with an obvious cue like this. What I have done first is I looked at all the things I did when I was home alone and would PMO. A typical slip when home alone for me would include me staying in bed a bit longer, wearing my bathrobe, not having breakfast and keeping the curtains down. These are things that I can easily change when I'm in that situation. I could get out of bed when I wake up, open up the curtains in the room where my computer is, take a shower and have breakfast. As to building up the exposure you can use 'papadagen' as training so you already build a new association before your wife is out of town for a couple of days. Besides building a new association it builds confidence too and that's perhaps just as important. Some people say you should plan a long walk or something like that when you are home alone and while that can be very beneficial, but to me these simple things are often enough to make the difference. I'm not gonna say it's fail-safe, but to me it does decrease the risk and makes being home alone less of a deal.
     
  11. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Gil79

    Wow! Thanks for responding to all my questions. I had no idea that Frisian is so closely related to English. Interesting stuff. The only other language I can speak is Japanese, so I don't know much about Germanic languages. Other than English of course.

    That's an intense story. If there's any upside to the pain caused by his actions, I suppose it's that he gave you clear examples of how not to be a father. I don't have any children of my own, but if I ever do, I definitely want to do my best avoiding the damaging behaviors of my parents.

    I think it's great that you were able to get your drinking to a moderate, healthy level. Much like how you used to be, I could never really stop at one, two or three beers/glasses/shots etc. I'm that way with most dopamine heavy substances/behaviors to be honest. They've been something I've had difficulties managing for as long as I can remember (porn, alcohol, cigarettes, internet, greasy/sugary food etc.). Some of my usage definitely resulted from difficult experiences, trauma etc., but I also think I am genetically predisposed to developing addictions.

    Glad to hear you weathered the storm. Hoping you'll have some figurative clear skies in the days to come.

    Take care
     
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  12. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Thanks so much @Living for your extensive post and the useful link! That makes a lot of sense to me. I also like what I read there in more general sense, e.g. dissociation from anxiety and stress-responses. I am happy to share with you that I seem to have overcome another major trigger for me and that is traveling. My wife's family lives abroad and so we travel a couple of times per year by plane. I have always been a bit stressed when flying (I guess it is the whole thing of driving, being on time, check-in, customs, busy with people, noisy, etc that stresses me), and it became quite a tradition for me to sleep badly, fantasize, P-subs checking and edge on the night before flying, making the trip always way worse than it would otherwise be (stressed, angry, blaming, judging, anxious). But already the last year or so when we were traveling I didn't do that anymore. I still slept badly, but I didn't get into this 'safety-seeking-in-arousal-mode'. The trips are way more comfortable and enjoyable and people make me less anxious and angry. Yesterday we traveled and it was hell. Long lines at the airport and running with three kids to the gate to just be in time, sweating with our mouthcaps and very restless kids during the flight. But, I just kept my cool :cool:. I did not recognize myself. It was only in the evening that I was exhausted and overstimulated (as were the kids) that I was getting angry with the world. I could just make the decision that it was time to cool down and I did so. All of this falls so nicely in place with what you're saying and what I jsut read in your link about CET. I have been exposing myself to the same cue with regular intervals, not to frequent, and changing my behaviour. By repeating this I have been dissociating myself from this cue. I feel more confident about this now and in it gives me confidence that I will also be able to do this with the 'being home alone' cue. Thanks again for helping me to get my head around this!

    -edit- another thing will still be the 'traveling alone' cue. This is also a major threat for me, especially when it involves hotel rooms. Last time did not go so well, but the time before that I miraculously stayed away from acting out while being in a very dangerous (trigger-rich) environment.
     
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  13. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    You're definitely right that the upside is that I take fatherhood as the most important thing in my life. Actually I think that there are more upsides to my past. It made me more self-reliant and responsible in general I think. I have to say though that I am happy that I got my children at this age (quite a bit older than the average of where I am loving). I really feel that now I have the life skills and experience to do this.

    What you describe about the substance use is very familiar to me and I have also been thinking there might be a genetic component in it. I have never known why my father started drinking and I know this story in which my grandfather got a phone-call at home (I guess somewhere in the 70's) from a prostitute who said he owed her money. Probably it was his brother (with the same initials and last name) who owed her the money, but it shows there was already something going on in the older generations of my family :D.

    Thanks! And cool that you speak Japanese! I started reading in your journal at the first pages. I really value your contribution to the board.
     
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  14. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Had an erotic dream last night . . . about my wife :rolleyes: It was her, but with a slightly tighter and younger body :D. I told her about it during breakfast. I guess in my PMO times I would never say such a thing. But since my fantasy-MO I have been completely dry in that sense and I feel very 'energized' ;). We flirted a bit and when her parents took the kids for a walk (we had the house to ourselves, yeah, yeah, yeah) she invited me into the shower. It all went a bit clumsy and unhandy (we're in our 40's and the floor was very slippery), but we had a really good time. We laughed and enjoyed. This feels really healthy. Interestingly I did not have any PE at all. I am really beginning to think that the PE was really M and P related. Something that has been proposed by others. Let's see . . .
     
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  15. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Nice update, made me genuinely smile! Keep on, have a nice time and you and your family stay healthy!
     
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  16. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Being with the whole family always brings a bit of tension between me and Mrs Gil79. The family's interests are to spend as much time as possible with the kids and have a lot of fun (understandable), but we have to make sure the kids eat and rest well. Yesterday I kind of ruined the party and decided it was time for the kids to rest and eat. My wife got super mad at me. This made me feel very uncomfortable, but I knew this was the right thing to do. She just started speaking to me again this morning :D. I feel sorry for her that she has to feel like that, but for me this is quite a victory on the 'no more mister nice guy front'.
     
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  17. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Had some 'urges' the last couple of days, mostly to ogle at women in the streets and have thoughts/ fantasies about having sex. I managed to let the urges pass. I think they're nothing out of the ordinary and they do not feel as if related to my porn and masturbation addiction. They feel just part of a normal healthy masculine sex drive. It is up to me now to decide to give into those urges and risk a sequence of intensifying acting out behaviour, or to just accept it for what it is, let the intentions pass and choose to be in the present moment, eventhough that can be stressful.
     
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  18. gavney

    gavney Active Member

    Completely agree with you. They're nothing out of the ordinary. Men have been having these urges for thousands of years!
    It's only P that's the problem, which is very UNnatural.
     
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  19. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Feeling a bit of anger and noticing that I have the tendency to look for approval. Especially from the mother and aunt of my wife. 'Oh look, he's such a great and fun father'. I am writing this down, because being aware of it helps me to stop that behavior and it is often this type of behavior that is at the far, far beginning of an acting out sequence. Today I am going to focus on being mindful. I notice that I am trying to escape in reading dumb news items, drinking loads of coffee and snacking throughout the day. When those tendencies come up, I will go back to being aware of my breathing, my emotions, my thoughts and my surroundings.

    Thanks for stopping by @gavney!
     
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  20. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    The night before yesterday I dreamed that I was in a basement that was being cleared out. It was full of little pathways and small rooms. Everything was empty and all the walls were bare concrete. I was deep down in the basement with my oldest son and all of a sudden I got very afraid. My son said: I have suffered here so much. I felt terrified and ran out of the basement. Later that night I had a similar dream in which my wife and I lived in a house deep under the ground. We had to crawl through tunnels to get there. At a certain moment my wife said: I am happy that we are moving out, cause this house has put so much pressure on our relationship.

    The feeling I get with both dreams is that they represent me leaving the addiction behind me. The first one represent for me how clearing porn from my system is giving me a better connection to my past: my past memories and the feelings associated with that (but maybe also that I should face whatever comes out of there, even if it scares me). The second dream represents to me how porn and the associated behavior has been in between me and my wife and the life we're building together. The effects have never been as critical as I've seen in some other guys journals, but I could have been heading in that direction if I hadn't put a stop on my behavior.

    That night I slept more hours than in any other night for over a years or so (the twins finally seem to start sleeping through the night), but the whole day I felt miserable. Sleepy, tired, no energy. In the evening I went to bed and just lay on my back and many memories and thoughts came by. Sometimes an urge for sexual fantasies. I could let all of it just float by, sometimes with some effort though. One memory really sticks to my mind still and is a memory of when I was 18 and with my gf at the time I was visiting a family member of mine. I was not myself in that period and I now realized how worried people around me must have been. Getting these kinds of (sometimes random) memories back is sometimes confronting and uncomfortable, but they feel like a beautiful gift. I feel that I can handle them now in a healthy way.

    Today I feel better. Woke up very early, but have my energy back and look forward to make a very nice day out of this. Being mindful worded out quite well yesterday (brought myself back to the here and now at least 20 times or so - should be 2000 times to be really mindful though, but is a good start), and will keep trying so today.

    Have a nice and pron-free day everybody!
     
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