Document the Victory

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

  1. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I think this is crucial TBH - to have those distractions in place for the next time you feel triggered, because it's bound to happen sooner or later. Good idea to have multiple things to turn to like those you suggested (going for a walk, working on an outdoor project etc). Could also be worth thinking about what you could do indoors too. After all, there may be a time when the urges hit you and it's not practical to do something healthy outdoors.

    Sorry to hear you're having a stressful time juggling responsibilities and trying to manage your wife's expectations. But it seems to me that you're doing a good job of dealing with it in a mature way. And there's some really good advice from other posters here e.g. "to keep reaching out, even when the affection is not returned".

    Keep calm and carry on :)
    Rudolf Geyse, realness and Mozenjo like this.
  2. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    thanks @badger . You listed some real truths here about why we go passive and complacent, under the fog of PMO, when relationships require some conflict and negotiation. We're numbed ,and it hurts us so much in the long run. I'm so grateful that we can wake up like this and take action. And as @Saville points out, as we change and manage what is within our control, the world around us changes too even though that is out of our control. It's freeing and melts away the pressure to change everything. It makes it manageable. Lately I've found small and subtle ways to stand up for myself and it's worked out well. Just having the presence of mind on what's going on is a great change. As you described, if we have a 100lbs of guilt and shame on our shoulders, we can't see anything clearly and we just adopt a stance of worthlessness.
    Libertad and Saville like this.
  3. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Thanks @forlorn ! I definitely need to be thinking of healthy actions when colder weather comes. Working in isolation in my basement is something I'll need to address proactively.
    Saville likes this.
  4. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Today is one month free of PMO! Lots to celebrate. Things really changed with the wife as we had a date last weekend. Before then we were really struggling. Even scheduling the date was a battle as she claimed she shouldn't be the only one responsible to schedule a baby sitter so we could get some time. Fine. So I awkward texted her friends to set up some child care. Well, it sure did pay off as our time together melted the tensions away and we simply remembered that we like each other and enjoy time together when we're not drowning in young children. So, there's a lot to build on there. A few days afterward I received some genuine, spontaneous affection from her and it was wonderful.

    There have been moments of lust I need to confess. Reddit is a trap for me as I search out the raciest images I can find short of p. This happens every few days and then I MO. Each experience is about 20-30 minutes. I definitely feel it drain me of power, purpose and energy. It's an easy but unacceptable compromise to not PMOing. So I've uninstalled that app but when tempted I've installed it again, and then repeatedly installed and uninstalled it. My monitoring software is a good guide rail that keeps me from P and the abyss, but this compromise needs to be addressed next.

    With that in mind, I'm feeling a little shaky but haven't yet had a strong urge to PMO. The pain and regret are just too present in my mind and I'm glad that's the case right now.
  5. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    realness, a great report. So glad to hear that you and your wife are re-connecting. Keep doing what you know you must do, and the good things will continue.
    And yes, your peeking has to stop. You know where it will lead. I'm an expert at removing the obvious traps and then reinstalling them. It's just part of the cycle. So kudos to you for seeing it for what it is.
    Carry on, man.
    realness and Saville like this.
  6. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Hi realness. Well done on one month without PMO and on being acertive with your wife in wanting the date and not giving up on it even when to set it up got difficult. That was maybe even a good thing, because it showed her that you really wanted it and fought for it.
    About the MO, for me it was always a slippery slope leading into P and PMOing again over the long run.
    All the best.
    realness likes this.
  7. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

    congrats my brother. pain and regret-you said it, along with remorse, shame, feeling less than, dirty,degenerate,filthy. these are all the emotions i feel when i get in the ring with the gorilla. so i always play that tape before i partake in the smut. keep going. don't quit before the miracle.
    realness likes this.
  8. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    thanks @Mozenjo , @Libertad and @badger ! So wonderful to be cheered on and to walk a path together with brothers together while on our respective journeys.

    This points out some credit that I didn't give myself because I couldn't see it clearly. I was in the battle and frustrated, but to be shown that I was persevering and fighting hard is really sweet and I'll own that. Thanks again @Libertad .

    I'm doing well and feeling gratitude today. Both here and at my weekly recovery group, I'm especially thankful for the older "grey beards" who participate in recovery, share their wisdom and experience, demonstrate confession and doing the hard work, and being present as an example of success and proof that we can get there.

    I have been enjoying this stretch of recovery, with a surprising lack of white-knuckling. The few thoughts of PMOing have been quickly dismissed with strong memories and knowledge of the regret it will bring and the joy it will steal from me. My time with my wife and kids lately has been pretty joyous with great fall weather we've been having and just the fun times that come with their young ages.

    This morning I felt some stirrings to PMO. My family will be out of the house tomorrow and it's an opportunity to act out and abuse the privileges that come with my job such as teleworking and little direct oversite or accountability. Overall, one huge aspect of my PMO and lust compulsions is straight up greed. And ungratefulness. To be stimulated by seeing an attractive woman or encountering an old lustful p memory are normal things, but to act out on those through PMO is an exercise of greed. I want to recognize those stimulations for what they are, feel the small thrill of being alive and sexual, and then move on knowing that it's something I can dismiss and then act on in a much more healthy way with my wife, or at least a less destructive way through MO at this stage in my recovery. I know that's a slippery slope but that's where I am now. There's a boredom aspect at play too, where I have that feeling and also can act out through PMO. That is ungratefulness. Rejecting the comfort of my job, the extra leisure time it provides, the comfort of an unstructured day, etc. To reject all of that and PMO is ungratefulness on my part. I gotta own that past pattern that's been established and continue working on change.

    It was a little thrill today to see 32 days without porn today.
    Tomato76 and Gil79 like this.
  9. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Full blown PMO binge relapse today. Sucks. Back to recovery
  10. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Well-Known Member

    Get up and acknowledge that you've to get back on the horse. Keep going ! You will overcome !
    realness and Saville like this.
  11. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

    fall down 4 times, get up 5
    realness likes this.
  12. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    thanks @Mad Dog and @badger . I lost a lot of sleep over the guilt and shame of the relapse last night. I really appreciate your encouragement.

    This relapse had a trigger. There was one strongly negative event in my PMO recovery that I mentioned earlier in my journal. Last summer, over a year ago now, my daughter probably saw some P on my laptop when she snuck away from a nap and came into the kitchen which is connected to where I was in the dining room. I am not sure how long she was there until I heard her. I got some great encouragement from others here in processing that. It's probably one of the most negative experiences of my life. Since then she has showed no negative signs regarding that exposure. Never mentioned it or asked about it, so it's likely unremarkable to her and possibly even forgotten. She had just turned 5.

    Since then the awful feeling of regret of that experience comes and goes, usually fairly minor. But over the last two weeks it came back more strongly and frequently. I was really struggling with letting it go, forgiving myself, etc. I know that I'm making it worse in some ways but it just comes back and is a really difficult thing to avoid and stop thinking about. Friends here pointed out that I was making too much of it and even catastrophizing it, and that guilt and shame helped to make it bigger than it was. This helped me get some perspective. Still, I so desperately wish it could be removed from happening and removed from my conscience. In a lot of ways dealing with it is similar to dealing with PMO. It takes work, healthy coping mechanisms, stress releasers like a walk or activity, and facing it head on. Escaping it through PMO is extremely destructive. It damages me mentally to greater degrees each time I relapse. I used to be able to cope with relapse and sleep well, not feel too guilty, etc. Now it's almost a mental crisis for a few days after a PMO relapse.

    I'm am glad to be one day now into sobriety. It's the only way.
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  13. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Little, insignificant, things can play on our minds. It's the old mountain out of a mole hill thing. It is also the psychic ties that try to pull us back to our formative years. @realness you are making solid progress. When we start to make progress this is when those old ties begin yanking. When we have a week of good days it's then the demon fights harder to suck us back down into the vortex. This is a good sign! Starting something is easy, it's the finishing work that takes dedication.

    Whenever you think about your daughter seeing a bit of P realize it is noise. Our addict minds fixate on noise, because it wants us to stay stuck. Whether it's a confrontation with a neighbor, a wife's unkind word, or thoughts of us not being the perfect parent, these things are all noise, they aren't real. What is real is how we will live today.
    Old Tom Bombadil, realness and -Luke- like this.
  14. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

    hang in there my friend. this is tough. takes work. your story reminds me of my past when i used drinking as an escape. the big events cause by my drinking did not bother me. like car accidents, fights, or arrests. as a matter of fact i took it as being macho and bragged about them. it was the events i thought were small and insignificant that still keep me from drinking today. the times i would not pick up my child from daycare and my wife had to be called because Dad was not there at the appointed time. or the times i missed my son's birthday parties and i have 3 of them. or the time my wife was waiting an exclusive restaurant she always wanted to go to and i never showed up. it was one of our anniversaries. every time i remember these so called small events, i feel, like you, regret, remorse, but mainly sadness. now i have been sober 18years and once in a while i remember. the important thing is not to beat myself up about it anymore. today i try to be the father and husband i never was back then. that helps with the guilt and keeps me from relapsing to avoid the pain. we are harder on ourselves than on anyone else. if anybody else treated me the way i treat myself, i would kick his ass. i am not saying forget the incident with you daughter, just use it as an incentive to do and be better. enough of my old man ramblings. i'm still struggling with this filth monster but everyday i stay away from PMO makes me stronger. don't quit before the miracle.
  15. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Thank you friends. You're good medicine for me.
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  16. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Somehow it feels natural to me that your memories of this event came up during your last streak. When our mind is getting more and more sober, we start to see more clearly and see the addictive behavior for what it really is. It is a self-destructive habit that does not give us any pleasure at all, just a temporary relief from pain that is largely produced by the addiction itself. Those memories and others will keep surfacing and are part of the process of recovery. I recently had several days in a row in which I felt a very intense feeling of regret of using porn and fantasy and of the pain that it causes to almost everyone involved. But you know, that regret, those painful memories, they show that we care. You're a real good father and it was never your intention to expose your daughter to this. The regret shows you really care, that you're a good person. You deserve better. Keep moving forward without porn and be curious to what happens when you do so.
    realness and Saville like this.
  17. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    I've been away for too long. I didn't intend to. I'm in a good place and I'm glad to have some time to get back here. Thank you for the encouragement and perspective @Gil79 .

    I got a decently bad case of COVID on the day of my last post, 19 OCT. It knocked me out pretty good and I needed an antibodies infusion for COVID and then a steroid and an antibiotic for pneumonia. I haven't been that sick in a long time. It took away my appetite for everything, food, entertainment, and lust/PMO for over a week. I lost significant weight. I'm very thankful that I didn't need to go to the hospital. As hard as it was, I did find some good things in the experience. Particularly gratitude for my health recovery and the good things in my life. I had to process the loss of my appetite for lust/PMO (that was pretty nice), but also the return of my appetites (food is good again!) including lust/PMO (not so nice). But I have a great response to the return of lust and urges to PMO again. And that is to continue in my recovery because it is a challenging but rewarding journey.

    It's been over a month since a PMO binge. I'm thankful for that. My job has gotten very busy and somewhat stressful over that time, but I've been able to respond with work and dedication that I'm proud of. I haven't abused trust and a telework environment to PMO for hours, and so I haven't been set back from wasting that time. And I haven't been burdened with shame and regret which slow me down in every area including my job. It feels good to be a good employee!

    Urges are coming to PMO but I am playing the tape forward to see the inevitable conclusion. I'll be a detached, deluded and regretful guy if I choose to follow through on the urge and PMO binge. I won't be present for my children and all that is spinning around in their world. I won't enjoy and appreciate the life stages that they are in. I'll waste a lot of time and end up in a terrible place that I've visited far too often. I'll pause or even lose the gains I'm making in my marriage. Those gains include loving my wife better in general, and specifically engaging in conflict (in healthy ways) where previously I would be passive or retreat. I'm seeing big time results from not retreating where I used to before. We are a better team and the balance of our relationship has been swinging back to a healthier place from one where she was dominant.

    Challenges remain. I am still MO'ing every day or two to racy content that is short of P. Sometimes I'm in a better place and abstain from even that and focus on intimacy with my wife. That's the direction I need to continue on. Facts like delayed gratification and self control are still an issue for me. They are real life and freedom, but subconsciously I believe they are impossible. That's simply not true but often I am foolish.
    Mozenjo and Saville like this.
  18. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    You're not foolish, realness. Breaking free of bad habits seems impossible because we've been nurturing them for decades. We can wrest control away from them only through hard work.
    Glad you're over the Covid thing. Doesn't sound fun. And really proud of you for engaging more with your wife. Conflict is part of life, and is certainly part of marriage, and just like getting past the urge to PMO, practicing at doing what we have to do makes it easier and easier. It won't feel like work to be avoided the more we exercise our new "muscles".
    I think it would be wise to stop MO'ing to pixels. The saying "what fires together wires together" is very true. Trust me, I understand the difficulty in completing stopping. But I think an occasional MO without pixels would be better for you.
    realness and Saville like this.
  19. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I echo what Gill wrote about stopping (or at least cutting back) the regular MO that you're engaging in. Interesting point about self control/delayed gratification - you recognise your own subconscious patterns. Now comes the tricky part, challenging and trying to overcome your existing beliefs. Glad to hear you're on the mend after that bout of Covid-19. At least you were able to take some positives from it such as putting your health/recovery into perspective.
    Rudolf Geyse and realness like this.
  20. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    Thanks @Mozenjo and @forlorn ! The pixels were getting out of control and I lacked the self awareness to see that clearly. You helped me avoid circling the drain and going all the way down. I'm grateful!

    Continuing on the path here. Getting urges but I have some clarity to see where I'll end up if I indulge and PMO. And I'm also seeing how those urges coincide with things I want to avoid. Work. Necessary and healthy confrontation with my wife. It's easier to get back on track with work and much harder with my wife. Her inability and unwillingness to part with STUFF has resulted in two rooms of our house that are unusable. And our house is small to begin with. To some degree, she is legit unable to address the problem due to 4 young kids 8 and under. COVID in OCT. Thanksgiving and a kid's early DEC birthday, and then Christmas. Those extra's piled on top of normal parenting, laundry, etc, make it not possible at times to purge and correct our STUFF problem. But she also really struggles with getting rid of STUFF we obviously don't need. She's not able to make quick, easy decisions on items we don't need at all and can quickly go to donation or trash. She gets frozen, or unreasonably focused on an ideal way of disposal like selling on marketplace (which she doesn't have time to do) or holding on to it for a later time when a friend may need it. So I have a real challenge in being patient with stuff in my way and knowing when it is time to confront her on this. It takes work, patience, thinking, etc. I'm working to process all of that, because it sometimes becomes a source of resentment on my part, and another thing I want to avoid and escape from with FMO or PMO.

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