Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by realness, Jul 7, 2020.
How are things @realness?
Thanks for checking in @Gil79 . I'm doing better. Appetite is back, I'm able to sleep pretty well and am starting to enjoy moments in my day again. The guilt, regret and fear are not pressing me down at all times. I'm not wallowing in shame or stopping my recovery and running to PMO. I feel slight urges from time to time but they quickly make my stomach turn when I remember what indulging led to last week. So in that sense, what happened is some fuel for me to hate P and PMO. Last week is fresh enough in my mind that my eyes are wide open to how ruinous, destructive is. P lies, P robs and steals, P humiliates and mocks. And then P tries to seduce me again.
My daughter has showed no changes and has had no questions or curiosity about whatever she was able to see. I haven't asked or pressed anything further other than a brief talk 3 days ago about good and bad things that can be on the computer, and anything naked that she could see isn't a good thing and she can tell me so I can fix it. I'm slowly allowing myself to feel some relief from the fear and worry. It's hard to let that happen. When I have a comforting thought that nothing will come of this, maybe convince myself that she didn't see much and has not given it any thought and likely never will, it's usually quickly followed by the opposite. Fears that someday, somehow this will come up in a bad way. So I go back and forth at times during the day on this. I have been exercising my faith, and praying to my God who can do all things. I have asked him to rescue my daughter from any harm from this, to rescue her innocence from what she may have seen by having her forget what she saw, or to purge any memory or images that she may have seen. Praying that she is simply too young to comprehend what she saw and thus it's probable that this really was nothing to her. And after I pray for her, I pray for my God to redeem me and rescue me from myself, from my mistakes like last week, and to lead me.
I'm hungry for integrity. I'm hungry for good character and using my time well. I'm hungry for peace, which also means freedom from the paranoia of being caught. Either literally in the act, or having to hide things on my computer, devices and TV. I want to experience the joy and peace of looking back at days, months and years and knowing that there is no P, PMO or MO that may have been seen or influenced me as a Husband, Father or Friend.
So it makes me happy to continue this journey of recovery. Here in my actions and reflections, and in your journals as well. I'll continue working on investing in others and getting out of my own head and dwelling on the low failure of last week.
If anyone sees anything off in how I am processing this and moving forward, please let me know.
Feeling pretty down today. Despite that, I was doing much better last week and over the weekend recovering from my last relapse. I'm proud of the 8 days of sobriety I have now. It isn't that surprising that this week is bringing more difficult emotions and even brief urges to think of P in general, as well as the rush and excitement of the thought of indulging. Some of the reasons things are harder now: most obvious is the time that has passed since my last relapse. It's so easy to forget the destruction of P and for the seduction of it to build up again. I need to say it again for my own sake, the seduction and urges are waves that build and crest and then go away. They won't kill me, nor build up stronger and stronger. I must maintain this commitment to reality, hard work, and running to the tools I have to move on in a better direction or activity when urges come. There as a big social event yesterday that I really would have liked to go to, but it wasn't a great fit for our young kids. The logistics of taking care of them outweighed the fun we'd have at the event. This is a recurring feeling for me as I just can't wait to do more fun things when the kids are old enough to take part in it. Rather than get caught up in envy or discontentment, I need to practice gratitude and being in the moment with my family. Things turned out alright yesterday as I got some work done in the backyard while the kids built and played in a fort with neighborhood friends.
Social media use also increases the envy and FOMO I felt yesterday and today. I wasn't able to connect with a mentor/dear friend yesterday on the phone as I usually do on Sunday afternoons. I have few other friends that I talk about real things with, so that adds to the feelings of isolation I'm feeling today.
Anyways, just got to write it out and process it. I don't feel like I'm going to run to P or MO or anything. There are some fun social activities that we've planned for this week, as well as the start of school for my 2 oldest kids. Also, there are 2 new guy neighbors that have moved in my block and they're fixing up old houses. They're great to talk to and their work is something really cool that we can talk about and I can help with a bit. Over the last week I've spent a few nights socializing with them which has been a very cool development in my life.
I'm grateful for these positive things that are going on. I just want to be aware of the negative emotions that I feel today, so that I can process them in a healthy way.
You touched upon some stuff from your past in a previous post. Perhaps you downplayed it, but it sounds pretty traumatic to me. It could be worth exploring further. Have you ever discussed your mother's behaviour with your siblings?
Not really as adults. There's not a lot of opportunity to discuss with my siblings as we are not close and I live far away from where we grew up while my whole family has stayed in the same area. Perhaps there will come a time where we address the dysfunction that we all grew up in. I guess we handled it in our own ways and it does seem to have negative effects on us. For me it's something that I can hide a little better as it helped drive PMO use/abuse. My brother shows the impact as he has chosen mentally unstable women to date and marry. One divorce from a woman who had an extreme mental episode, and his current wife struggles with mental health and bad behavior (running up credit cards, can't hold a job). My sister seems to be a bit better off with things. Perhaps as the youngest she dodged the worst of the tirades, screaming and hitting.
I MO'd twice today. Our family is frazzled and exhausted. Baby is teething and is waking up a lot at night again. And during the day he's just pretty miserable and needs to be held most of the time. It makes things pretty difficult with three other young kids to feed, bathe, wipe, etc. I asked for sex a few times the last two weeks and my wife was either exhausted or feeling sick. It's been over a month since we had sex. So I have to consider that although I'm married, consistent sex isn't really a part of my life right now with our kids so young and us so exhausted. With my last relapse with P on my mind, I conceded the struggle and settled for an MO instead of scheming to see P somehow. I've adjusted my counter accordingly. Ridding my life of P is my main paramount goal.
It's a relief to not be constantly drifting to fantasy or have my eyes constantly drawn to attractive women around me for a bit of time. I'll continue the fight. I can't be daily or even weekly MO either, and would like to extend streaks of no MO as well as continue to add to wonderful days of no P or PMO. Tomorrow is two weeks and I'm thrilled about that.
I'll be getting moving again on my backyard project which will definitely help me mentally and physical to be occupied and make progress on improving my home.
That’s sounds like a great project to have at the moment. Throw yourself into it.
Hey @realness, I can relate so much to what you wrote above about missing out on many things cause of family life. I feel such a strong desire to be able to do things for myself, such as doing stuff with friends, go hiking alone, DIY in the house, man even just having the time to do my work well. But it is just impossible. And then the sleepless nights, after which the whole long exhausting daily program just goes on, even when the kids are sick or other shit happens. It is really tough and we can only accept it and adapt to it. I am happy to read that you can also make the mental switch and turn your thinking from negative to positive and focus on the beauty of spending time with the family and taking fulfillment of chatting with neighbours and positively imagine how thing will be in the (near) future. Man, you're doing great! We have to be patient, really patient. All this hard work is paying off, keep that in mind. And before you know it, things will turn around and everybody will sleep better and you'll have more time for yourself and for you and your wife together. I second @forlorn that it is really worth it to explore your past experiences further. There's maybe not a lot of time for it right now, but it is important to work on it. Maybe make it a goal with high priority, but for the mid-long term.
Thanks @Gil79 for your support and encouragement. I will be taking some more inventory of my past, past trauma and character defects and writing here about them. I go to a local Celebrate Recovery meeting, which is a Christian 12 steps program. I don't have the time now to commit to a specific 12 step study that meets weekly, but I am going to the weekly open meetings where they talk about past trauma, taking a fearless inventory of your past and character defects, making amends, etc. Making a bigger commitment to the 12 steps may be key in my future when I can attend more than one night a week.
I relapsed and binged PMO for 3 hours this week on 02 SEP. Again I had a long period of time home alone, and I chose to use it to indulge. I didn't do the hard work before hand of committing to be somewhere else or to be active in a healthier activity. Like everyone says, the rush of indulging was great and then the reality of getting off and facing my failure was horrible. The guilt and shame were even worse this time, as it brought up the terrible feelings of last month when my daughter interrupted my relapse and may have been exposed to some P on my screen. She still shows no curiosity, questions, or even awareness of seeing something bad or unusual. So I do have reason to believe that I am so very fortunate that she hasn't been harmed from that failure. The only thing to do is to embrace this recovery and make sure that there is no chance for it to happen again. This relapse came after 18 days of sobriety, so there is some encouragement that my streaks are getting longer. But with the tough feelings that resurfaced from last month and the increasing length of my streaks, it seems that when I do relapse the guilt and shame are even more intense and difficult to bear.
Thankfully after a day or two of sobriety the worst of the negative feelings retreat. Today I'm beginning to enjoy the days of sobriety again and gaining more confidence and hope for the future. I can be so very grateful and thankful that my daughter wasn't harmed and that I again have the opportunity to purge PMO from my life and protect my family from being harmed by my failures and weakness. I am grateful for the joy my family brings. I am grateful that my God is patient, slow to anger, loyal, sacrificial, holy and righteous. So much of what I am not. I am rescued from the darkest parts of who I am, and the best parts of me are brought forward and strengthened by my God.
@realness Well done for going 18 days! That was amazing and I'm very proud of you!! This is NOT easy. This is very, very difficult. And I'm so proud of you for accepting that relapses happen. This is going to take time. And there will be relapses. And it will take however long it takes. And every failure brings with it lessons.
We love you! You are not your relapses, you are your sincere heart and mind that seek freedom!! We are always here for you and you cannot disappoint us no matter how many times you relapse, you are our brother and we know how important you are!!
Every single person who finally succeeds relapses thousands of times first. Remember that.
"God is patient, slow to anger, loyal, sacrificial, holy and righteous."
We will never tire of supporting you brother, we cheer you every step of the way, even if it takes a million tries and counting.
Peace and love!
You need to forgive yourself for the situation when your daughter walked in on you viewing P. I think your perhaps catastrophizing it. Gil79 summed it up perfectly in this post.
Thanks @catchingup ! Man, you made my day. I really appreciate you building me up and encouraging me. Thanks also @Clovis6 and @forlorn . It's hard to hear that I am catastrophizing what happened. But I think you are right, at times I am making it too big of a deal. Those times are limited to when I feel most guilty and shameful just after a relapse. In stretches of sobriety I feel much more healthy about what happened- focused on recovery, using it as a very important reason to recover from PMO.
My wife unexpectedly took the kids out yesterday and I did awesome going outside and working on my patio project and finishing the last retaining wall. It felt so good getting some things accomplished and having nothing to hide or feel bad about when they got home. It wasn't a hard fought battle but I'll take it and build on it! I have to be focused, purposeful and disciplined. Things are a bit strained with my wife. There's barely any affection, I'm the one who initiates hugs and kisses. We haven't had sex since July, and I've been the only one to initiates sex and I'm working on being understanding that she's exhausted from nursing the baby and parenting the other 3 children while I'm at work. I get resentful that I'm getting very little affection, or credit for the hands on things that I do like get up and handle breakfast with the kids every morning. But I need to be working on how to process this, how to be reasonable in my expectations, and how to bring it up and talk about it with my wife instead of just letting things build.
You've got to talk about it. Your resentment is building. She's probably being distant because she has some resentment building as well. These resentments metastasize in silence. Get them out. You love her. She loves you. But right now, it sounds like you aren't fully understanding and appreciating each other's needs. And you won't know what those are until you talk.
You've got this, man.
Hi @realness - it sounds like you and I might be processing some similar stuff at the moment. I think @Apeman is right - you and i both need to talk to our other halves. I hope you get the opportunity - I know how hard it can be with job, kids, breakfasts and just feeling under -appreciated.
I think the guys are right - your wife does love you (just as I'm sure mine loves me) but no-one is perfect and everyone's needs differ at different times. I'll be praying for you. Keep going...
You must realize that you and your wife are in survival-mode right now. This is not the time to have expectations. They will only lead to disappointment. The only thing you can change is the way you react to the situation. Please be patient and before you'll know it the tension on your family life will loosen. Hang in there!
Hey @realness - I hope things are going Ok. Keep going!
So grateful for your encouragement and support guys. Thank you @Lowdo , @Gil79, @Apeman , @catchingup and @forlorn .
You are right that things need to be addressed, and also wise to not have high expectations with all that's going with 4 younger kids in the home. Over the last few weeks, under the surface resentment and hurt feelings got worse. Finally on Sunday night we did a devotional together. We both plainly discussed the reasons we feel resentment towards each other. She said her reasons are the false motives I have in the things I do for her and the family, as well as her struggle to deal with my sexual integrity issues which were revealed to her in Jan 2019. That was a big deal as she woke up and asked what I was doing in the middle of the night and I gave a limited disclosure of FMO. I was watching P though and was able to close the laptop in time. After that, it was really rocky and we had some limited steps of healing. She said she didn't want to know details but wanted to see that I was serious about recovery. We had sex again in May 2019, and completely unexpectedly conceived at that time. So that made for a chaotic summer where she was very sick, a busy fall preparing our home for another baby, a crazy winter when the baby was born... then COVID..... so it's understandable that we are still addressing her hurt from that time as we haven't had much of a chance since then.
I'm pretty shaken this week hearing of her struggle to deal with what happened a year and a half ago. It brings back shame and regret, especially knowing that my struggles have continued on without her knowledge. Also fear that I'll never have the same wife, same trust, same easiness in our relationship again since that time. Lust addiction and PMO regrets get pretty heavy. I'm not beating myself up though. Just processing these emotions and news. This isn't the end. My recovery goes on and this is a low spot. There will be victories and good times coming soon. Processing this with my wife will be hard. I don't know where it will lead and if I'll need to do a full disclosure (which is terrifying). But we both believe that we love each other and that we want a successful marriage. So along with my recovery, I've learned that there will be hard work to do in my relationship with my wife. For now, that means doing a devotional every Sunday night and then discussing it off and on through each week. We both know what limited time and energy we have to work on our marriage, which sucks, but it's our reality now so we have realistic expectations of going slow and working on things over time.
Tomorrow will be 14 days of no P. I love it! Last week, I FMO'd a few times on Tues and Thurs. So not great. But it's been a few days since MO and that feels good, even if it means some stronger urges that come and go.
Some of my resentments toward my wife are perhaps self inflicted. The people pleaser/nice guy in me would get up with the kids and go out of my way to help my wife sleep in every day. And then look for credit/rewards/affirmation and not get it. Same with doing so much around the house. So I'm working on those. No more going out of my way for my wife to sleep in. Unless she asks for it and it's something agreed upon, or if she obviously needs to do so after nursing a lot at night or something. Our baby is sleeping through the night now so that doesn't happen very often. Backing away from being unrealistically nice or proactive, and expecting unrealistic rewards and credit from doing so, are behaviors I can focus on, process and improve in myself right now.
Proud of you, @realness. Good for you for tackling this head-on. All the best to you and your family.
thanks @Apeman . I can't get over how much encouragement there is here from good men, to be a good man. Unfortunately I totally relapsed and binged today. Resetting. Continuing on my recovery.
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