Document the Victory

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by realness, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    I've been cruising other's journals, gaining encouragement, wisdom, support and some laughs. I've been wanting to journal for a long time now but have been putting it off, so this is the time to follow through on the commitment that has helped many others in their journey here.

    I'm 41 years old, and since early childhood like several others here I have always been drawn to erotic lust, even before puberty. I remember the fascination with soap operas, the euphoria of watching the characters make out. Of course the classic JC Penny catalog. I first MO'd to one of those evening "news" shows like Entertainment tonight where the last segment of the half hour show was something more risque like a playboy star interview or something. And then of course dial-up internet happened around 15 years old which really fueled my consumption of pornography.

    I was probably a daily user of internet picture pornography through college, and I then got brave enough to rent movies from adult video stores around 23 years old, which primed me pretty well to start using video on tube sites around 29 years old. This really took off and I experienced PIED in my marriage in my early-mid 30's, and backed off consumption just enough to lose the PIED but I was still using.

    Before getting married at 26 I shared a limited picture of my struggle with my wife. I admitted using P again early in my marriage. It was a traumatic experience, my wife was devastated. We started using monitoring software and from then on, it was a background issue where my wife didn't really want to know details but did want to know that I was always making efforts to not use, stay accountable, etc.

    In January 2019 she caught me up late but not in the act of viewing P. I was able to close the laptop hearing her coming. Again, she was devastated, didn't want to know specific details but wanted me to address the issue. I was devastated as well, and this was a turning point for me to get PMO out of my life for myself. I went through about 9 months of counseling, which did a good job of digging out the underlying issues of what was driving me to this behavior. I'll elaborate on this on future posts. Since those 18 months or so, I've been healthier but still going back to PMO, I've been improving in recovery and it's time now to add this journal to my tool belt. I'd love to be challenged here by brothers, and I need to push myself to share and encourage on other's journals. Another tool for me to pick up in my recovery.

    Today is Day 1.
  2. Lowdo

    Lowdo Well-Known Member

    Welcome realness - it's good to hear your story. I hope you find the site as helpful as i have over the last few years.
    realness and Gil79 like this.
  3. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Thanks for sharing your story here. Hope to read a lot more from your hand. Welcome!
    realness likes this.
  4. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard !
    realness likes this.
  5. Marksman

    Marksman New Member

    I feel you brother. Man, I could tell stories on how to circumvent detection. I did it for YEARS. Finally, I couldn't lie any longer.
    realness likes this.
  6. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the warm welcome! Not the start I envisioned. The wife took the kids out for a few hours and I totally caved. Before they get back, I had to pick up this tool on my tool belt and post. It's a great way to not wallow in it. Besides this bad start, I need to document two concerning things that have motivated me to quit PMO. The first is that I've been adding alcohol to my binges. I don't like the taste of alcohol and have never had a problem with it. But when given an opportunity for a long binge I will do about 5 shots as I go to enhance the feeling.

    The second is the escalation in genres of P I'm searching out. I'm a Christian and greatly value my faith, but when under the sway of P I start searching out religiously themed P and even blasphemy. Other P that I'm seeking out is much rougher and dark.

    While one or two friends are aware of my struggle, nobody knows those two things and the degree of dark P I search out.

    I greatly value this website and have been catching up on the active 40+ journals. Thank you guys for what you do.
    Wolf333, positivef and Lowdo like this.
  7. Lowdo

    Lowdo Well-Known Member

    Hey realness - well done for coming straight back here. I'm a Christian too and it doesn't stop the P from getting pretty dark when I've relapsed. Faith is key for me in separating my self (as in who I am) from the stuff I wish i hadn't done, but it doesn't change the fact that addiction is very real.

    The solutions are invariably pretty practical. Make sure you plan stuff to do when you're alone - watch a fav movie, come here, go for a walk/run. Do whatever you need to to fill your time. Giving up P is not denying yourself a pleasurable thing (like giving up chocolate) it's stopping a behaviour that's making you miserable and basically destroying your happiness... I know it seems obvious but I find that helpful.
    mailboxsam and realness like this.
  8. Marksman

    Marksman New Member

    I too am a Christian man. I too have been to dark places. I feel you brother.
    realness likes this.
  9. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    thanks @Lowdo , practical reminders are a great feature of this place, and I know I'll need them often.

    @Marksman , @Mad Dog ; @Living and @Gil79 , thanks for the encouragement!

    I wish I could bottle up the Day One facts, emotions, and feelings after a binge. So you can open it up again when the urges hit. To know for sure that it won't be worth it. That 20 mins of euphoria will turn into a frustrating and impossible multiple hours long search for just the right scene to finish on. To know that you're going to lose integrity, self confidence, clarity, and mental health. To know that you're going to have to endure a few days of brain fog. At least a few days of going through the motions with people I love, instead of cherishing the time with them and being present with them. These are all reasons why it helps to read other journals here. Even it's the bad news of a relapse you can read their perspective on experiencing it all again so that we can all benefit from being reminded. Still, I'm thankful for this Day 1. I was even aware of the very hour today that I had made it to 24 hours since I indulged. Not that it was hard today. There were few urges or desires to fantasize. I just wanted the distance from what I did. I can't wait for that distance to increase.

    I love what I have read on other's journals, and from what I've learned I know it's important to journal about my vision for my life right now, the reasons I want to quit P, and start documenting the tools I'm using. This will help keep me on course, help me bounce back if there's a relapse, and learn what tools work and when to search out new ones. So here's my vision for my life and reasons for quitting P and MO.

    To gain integrity. Using P and MO involve so much lying, either outright or by omission.

    To gain self awareness. Being numb to P has blinded me to who I am, how I'm perceived. It's blunted my critical thinking in what I say and how I interact with others

    To discover myself. I know there are gifts and abilities that have gone dormant or have yet to be discovered because I've isolated myself and occupied my time with useless P. P is actually good for one thing, and that's rapidly passing time. That time is utterly wasted and can be used for anything else that is good, either rest or productivity. (there's a great 30 Rock episode where they combine P and video games together. One of the characters tests the prototype and he comes out years later, aged and with a beard, and thinks it's only been a few minutes).

    To honor my wife and family. This ties into shame. I want to be someone who honors them. To not be that person brings guilt and shame.

    To overcome negative thought patterns. I know these are tied to P, probably because it kills my self esteem and feeds these thought patterns. I constantly compare myself to others and I'm always lacking. I've disclosed my struggle in general to several guys at church and I'm judgmental and critical of them for not checking in on me, for not staying in touch or even extending invitations for social things they're doing. But I vaguely know that this is deflection on my part, it's on me to address my shortcomings and not escape that responsibility by blaming others or criticizing them. If I do need to address why I have few friends or am not liked, it will be through the corrected vision without P in my life.

    I'm halfway through "No More Mr. Nice Guy" which has been recommended by many here. It's challenging and I love it. So with that in mind, this list seems very selfish at first glance. But I totally get the premise that choosing to reward myself and pursue what's best for me is ultimately for the best (in this specific case of rooting out destructive behaviours and mindsets). @Saville has some great insights on this on his journal, and it's helped me a lot. I'm still not all the way caught up on his and I'm getting a lot out of it.

    Tools I'm using:
    #1, YBR. It's always accessible.I can read other's progress, I'm just starting on this journal, and I'll likely be able to contribute to other's journals in the future.

    Celebrate Recovery. It's a little lacking as there are only enough guys for a mixed group of guys with various issues instead of splitting off to a dedicated group of SA's. So it limits the confessions in group share. Also, cross-talk is not allowed, so there is no opportunity for a back and forth and getting deeper into any disclosure or statement shared by anyone. I know it's for the overall good of the group though.

    Push ups. Doing random sets when urges hit, or just to get some energy out. Just a few sets of 20 now, but I will be doing more.

    Working outside. COVID has me home 3 days a week. Being alone in a basement room just sucks, so the weather allows for me to work on the patio, at least in the morning when it's cool.

    My accountability partner Michael. The first person I told everything to 17 years ago. There are some limitations as he's far away, and a bit older so isn't as knowledgeable of the extent of PMO addiction. And after so long, it is discouraging for me to share of another relapse to him.

    These tools all work together and are helping me use mental tools. Like dismissing unhealthy thoughts (comparison, judgmental or critical thinking of others).
    Devotion/meditation in the morning.

    Cold showers. Man, this has come up on a bunch of journals. I've started this, ending each shower by going to cool for a little bit and then getting 30 seconds of cold before I'm done. This is a new tool so I'll keep trying it. You guys get really excited about cold showers and I thought it was just and expression that women used to shame men for being horny.

    Although I'm quite far from sexual sanity at this point, I am fortunate that P was not as much of a dominate force in most of my adolescence. It's a distinction made in YBOP that I agree with. This is probably why I don't have a major issue with ED, DE or PE. I do experience PIED when sex is within a day or two of my last binge, which is pretty logically tied to the binge. Thankfully I'm able to recover within a few days afterwards. Sex with my spouse is quite limited and has been as we have 4 young kids under 6 years old. Another thing that would be great is to be successfully addressing my P addiction when there are more opportunities to be intimate and present with my wife in the future.
  10. Lowdo

    Lowdo Well-Known Member

    What a great post realness - all i can say is, keep going. Sometimes it's tough but you've got this. Love that you're doing the cold showers - i don't pretend to understand the science, but it really does improve your mood. And it's great for the immune system.
    path-forward and realness like this.
  11. Abc

    Abc The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Glad to have you on board, realness!
    realness likes this.
  12. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Hi @realness I like the vision you've created - gaining integrity, self awareness, honoring your family & overcoming negative though patterns. I'm trying something similar at the moment. I heard that a good way of holding ourselves accountable, is to identify 3 specific things in each area that we can do, in order to ensure we're taking actions towards our vision. By way of example, for your self awareness you could commit to something like:

    1) reading journals every day
    2) meditation
    3) affirmations

    Then each day, you can check to see if you actually did these things.
    realness likes this.
  13. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Thanks bros! I'll be investing more time to catch up on your journals, I"m grateful for the opportunity to walk with you as you're walking with me. Yesterday was harder than I thought so close to a recent binge. Working from home SUCKS! Mundane office work and the stresses of young kids and an exhausted wife were pulling on me, but I was reading posts here and it really helped me exercise my "no" muscle and I stayed the course. I've given some thought to the counters and streaks and the psychology of knowing what day you are on. And I've settled on the plan of just knowing the calendar date of when I last gave in and lost control. That way I can calculate the days if I want, and I'll likely loose track again, so it won't be this huge bullseye distraction that may pull me away from the practical tasks of recovery. So, it will be wonderful to have Wed, Jul 8th to measure from for a long time.

    Counseling was hard for me. I got a female counselor which was a little awkward at first but then I was able to work well with her. She bluntly told me that I can be too needy, and put people off by my neediness specifically related to the issues of PMO. I still wrestle with this, as it is counter to what I picture relationships between Christian guys should be: Transparent, honest, confession happening, etc. Instead, I'm supposed to settle with the lameness of "How are you?" "Great man, you doing good?" , "Yeah!". and that's it. With 4 young kids at home my opportunities for any more bonding are very limited for the time being, until I can start doing early coffee meets and the occasional Saturday activity. But counseling was also good as I finally examined my relationship with my father. He basically worked crazy retail hours throughout my childhood, and made minimal efforts to engage with me. I was more of a sports kid and specifically recall learning to throw a spiral football and other things from friends instead of my dad. One memory that came back to me was the disappointment of never going deep sea fishing with my dad. He took my older brother a lot and I was always told, "Someday when you're older it will be your turn". It finally hit me at 41 that someday never came for me, just like that sad CCR song.

    So, learning about and examining how trauma's fed into or started PMO abuse has been really helpful. I'm always up for a new revelation or insight but I'm also careful not to spend too much time and energy in examination and reflection and keep a good amount of energy focused on the work and actions of recovery.

    Keep going, love you bros-
    positivef, Gil79 and Lowdo like this.
  14. positivef

    positivef Active Member

    We are the same age and I too started with clothing catalogues and soap stars - then the internet came with more and m0re content. I hope in the future the danger of internet porn becomes widely known and taught in schools.

    Great to hear you are working on the underlying causes. Good luck
    realness likes this.
  15. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    thanks @positivef .

    I PMOd three times today. The content didn't get too dark, it was much more vanilla. I had multiple chances to fight off urges and thoughts but didn't put up much of a fight. Saying no is probably like muscle tone, you build up the abilities and strength. I very much didn't even try to exercise those muscles today. I went back and read some of the basic posts, especially that epic one by underdog that a few people have mentioned. So the questions are, do I want this change? Am I willing to fight and work hard for it?

    I'll just keep it simple and leave it at that for now.
    Gil79 likes this.
  16. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Do you know what triggered you? The previous days you were able to avoid it. Was something different now?
  17. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    It was the anticipation of having the house to myself. Wife and kids are out for a few hours every Monday. Before I even started on P I could feel the rush and my hands were shaking. I'm doing my homework and reading lessons learned on other's journals, and in this case I've learned that when I'm clear headed (days beforehand) I can set things up to avoid this kind of relapse. So on Mondays I'm going to set up a call with a friend, make plans to work somewhere else, etc. With that done, it will give me more help to make the right long-term decision.

    I agree! And pondering these two questions will lead to answers, like proactive steps and decisions made when I'm in my right mind, so that when there are opportunities to relapse I will have better changes of success. Of course I can still make a bad decision and just chose to relapse again. But I'm responsible for that choice. And I'm thankful that recovery is linear and I'm not startin back at zero each time.

    PMO used to be a daily event until JAN 2019. Since then there have been a few longer stretches of a few weeks. Lately it's once or twice a week. So I'm grateful for that improvement in my life but it's time to go further.

    Thank you @Gil79 and @Living for the support! What a great place this is to come out into the light and escape the darkness of myself.
    Living and Gil79 like this.
  18. Lowdo

    Lowdo Well-Known Member

    That's a major trigger for me too - and has led me into relapses in the past. Two key things have helped, one mental and one very practical.

    1. Remind yourself that porn is not relaxing. It is the cause of a huge amount of stress...
    2. Plan ahead when you know you'll be on your own. Plan to go out for a walk, pick a movie to watch or a fun project to work on. Make sure it's something you enjoy and find relaxing.

    I hope that helps...
    realness and positivef like this.
  19. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    thanks @Lowdo ! I'm on it and have made advanced plans for Monday.

    It's been a good few days of no pmo. I'm cramping for one night and it'll be nice to change things up with that.
    Lowdo likes this.
  20. positivef

    positivef Active Member

    Cramping or camping? : -)

    I like what you said about awaking gifts and abilities that have gone dormant, that is a major inspiration for me to keep trying and healing my brain - possibly ties into the 'what do I want to become?' question.
    realness likes this.

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