Came for the erections. Stayed for the happiness.

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by A New Man, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Short Version:

    Came for the erections. Stayed for the happiness.

    Long Version:

    I’ve been at this a long time now- coming up for 7 years. In that time I’ve put together some very long streaks (200+ 300+, 400+) but for one reason or another (mainly that I keep relapsing at big numbers) I have held off writing a Success Story. My current streak is officially around 700 days… I did have a slip up to porn subs last Christmas, so it’s not been perfect. Not sure exactly WHY I feel now is a good time to write my Success Story, but a lot of things seem to be locking in for me lately. Overall I have a better perspective on the addiction and more importantly, the tools to go long. Before I was just kind of hoping, but now I know I can do it.

    In the early days I misdiagnosed the reasons for my relapses. I thought things like “Libido is returning”, “I was triggered by X”, “I just let my guard down”. What I learned in time was that my relapses are ALWAYS a stress response and a reaction to negative emotion. When I can’t handle what’s going on around me I enter a kind of altered state where I just start fantasizing, basically checking out of my own mind for a while. Porn is a super quick way of checking out, but fantasy can be just as fast. They both serve the same function anyway- escape from self and whatever situation was bothering me at the time. To give you an idea, one time I relapsed after telling a friend of mine about my reboot via email and he didn’t reply for 4 days, another time I relapsed after a work presentation went badly, more recently I relapsed when my flight was cancelled and I had to drive across country for 2 days to make an important meeting.

    The game-changer for me was discovering the work of Pema Chodron, the Buddhist thinker (thanks to rebooter Wabi-Sabi for the reference). Chodron made me aware of my own thoughts for the first time in my life, meaning she enabled me to step back from my thoughts and consider them, rather than just being swept along by them. Once I had that distance I was able to really start observing myself and my mental process more clearly. I discovered that social interactions that go badly (faux pas) are a major trigger for negative spirals in my mind. For example, I put my foot in it somehow, the person withdraws by ignoring me or avoiding me, my old negative internal voice goes to into overdrive, dragging up all the dumb stuff I’ve ever done… I’m guessing you guys might know what I’m talking about. Now that I know that happens, I can feel the “hook” as Chodron calls it (the moment your ego takes a hit) without elaborating on it in my head. It’s amazing how quickly this negative energy dissipates if you don’t feed it with a storyline. I encourage everyone to listen to Pema Chodron’s talks on youtube. I swear to god she has helped me so much.

    Not allowing my internal negative voice to rip me a new one every time something doesn’t go my way has changed my life in many positive ways. I’ll go ahead and list some here,

    - I’m more persistent in my relationships and trying to make friends. I no longer cut people loose after one bad interaction, but come back the day after and the day after that because I don’t take stuff so personally anymore. People appreciate persistence.
    - I judge others a lot less, because I don’t need a mental comeback to perceived insults. Probably also it was the same negative voice that I have been working hard on shutting up.
    - I have a lot less anger. I used to lose my shit with my kids on a regular basis- not physically, but emotionally, and I would really shout at them. Now I still raise my voice sometimes but I haven’t “lost my shit” in well over a year, probably two (since I discovered Chodron).
    - I don’t objectify women as sex objects and men as rivals (as much). I still have these impulses and I think that stuff is pretty hardwired in some ways, but this has been key for me to relate to people in a more human way.

    I was about to end my Success Story there, but then I realized I haven’t mentioned erections or sex! “Where’s the gold?” you’re probably wondering. Actually, the fact it didn’t even occur to me to mention sex in my Success Story pretty much tells you where I’m at in terms of my priorities and preoccupations.

    For the record I still don’t get arousal wood but I do get regular morning wood (every 2 days or so) erection quality is excellent (best of my life) and we screw using that. Sensitivity is much improved, but improvement is not linear. I have learned I need sex about once every ten days, but unfortunately my wife is not usually up for it that often, which means we have it once a month. I’m okay with that (…) and hopefully it will become more frequent. I get wet dreams when my body needs it.

    Maybe the reason I put off posting my Success Story here till now is I was afraid it didn’t meet the criteria, of raging sexual function. But “Success” for me has meant caring less about orgasms and more about the other things in my life.

    Finally this place. This place is where I found Pema Chodron and the fellowship of other men for the first time in my life. Read and post, and if you haven’t yet, go read Wabi-Sabi’s journal:

    https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/for...urons-that-fire-together-wire-together.16712/
     
  2. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  3. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thank you for coming back to post your success story, A New Man. I love how nuanced it is , reflecting the true nature of recovery for many of us. Like you I found my expectations for sobriety turned out to be quite different to reality. I was in such a bad place with my mental health that I dreamed that I would enter a form of nirvana in recovery where I would be constantly happy. Instead I discovered that perfectionist thinking was a symptom of my addiction and that true satisfaction lies in accepting what is good enough. It is a journey I am still on, I am not always good at handling discomfort, but I have learnt that so long as I stay off porn, I can allow myself to feel my emotions with maturity and discover more and more about who I am.

    Yes, there are a lot of people who just want to have lots of sex on the reboot forums. For me, I think that this obsession with sex is also a symptom of the addiction. Objectification of women is a tendency that I have found has been very persistent too, being nearly three years into no PMO. I expected this to go, along with cravings to act out, but I find the desire to objectify happens almost naturally when I am walking out and about in the city. I have yet to decide whether this is a natural tendency that has been fuelled by the addiction or whether it is possible to be fully free from this altogether. Currently, I have to work hard to apply a set technique to keep my attention away from women, particularly at this time of year.

    I remember Wabi-Sabi used to mention Pema Chodron in his journal a lot. I am not that familiar with her, but I have delved into Buddhist philosophy a lot in the past. Sometimes my thinking process isn't always conscious so when I am feeling anxious I can't always be mindful of those thoughts. I say that as a seasoned mediator. Before I know it, it I am just feeling anxious and there isn't a triggering thought in sight. However, there are also times too that I can recognise set thought patterns that can lead to unhappiness, particularly first thing in the morning when I get up. I frequently challenge these thoughts, but sometimes it is more effective to mindfully starve them of attention and focus on doing something else. Do you have any videos in particular that you can recommend?

    It is great to have an old timer on this forum back too. It is always encouraging to hear of their progress when they return. I think your post more than qualifies as a success story :)
     

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