Document the Victory

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

  1. realness

    realness Active Member

    Thanks for checking in @badger . I'll check out your journal and cheer you on.
    Moderate and consistent urges are back today. Scrolling social media looking for a hit of something revealing. Pretty fruitless and I haven't touched myself so I'm stopping in here and then going outside. That usually changes everything for the better. Good weather will be gone this weekend. I'll cross that bridge next week and get through today. I'm proud of two weeks of no P today, but a little disappointed that the urges are back. Thankfully there isn't an opportunity to act out or binge as everyone is home.

    I'll focus on being active and being in motion. That usually adds to my strength and confidence as I accomplish things, even it's as simple as organizing a junk drawer or area of the house. Lots of fall cleanup will help too. Building on the knowledge and lessons learned. It's hard to give up completely indulging, and letting off the brakes and giving in to all my sexual desires that can be found in PMO. But I know where it will all lead. And I know what it's like to give up on my character and integrity, to tear down what little I build up each time. So... onward and upwards!
     
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  2. Lowdo

    Lowdo Well-Known Member

    Hey @realness - not to discourage you or anything but even after a year clean (previously - I think I'm currently on about 4 months right now) the urges can still bite. They're not the problem though - think of them as a warning light on the car dashboard. You don't solve them by giving in to them - you solve them by realising that something is off balance and you need to take care of yourself.

    This might be a bit controversial (and I'm definitely not qualified) but the most harmful myth for me was the idea that guys need sex. And that somehow if we're not getting it we need to do other stuff (MO or PMO) to find release... The problem with this is it keeps you in the mindset that you're denying yourself something good - that you're sacrificing something because it's wrong/sinful. This is simply not sustainable cos no-one has the willpower to keep abstaining for that long.

    For me, the only mindset that works for more than a few days is this: I'm avoiding a deeply unhealthy set of behaviours that make me unhappy and will ultimately take away everything I truly love most. I'm not denying myself - I'm affirming my best self.
     
    realness likes this.
  3. realness

    realness Active Member

    thanks @Lowdo . You're perspective is golden.
    I really appreciate you sharing what works based on all the time and work you've invested in your recovery. I completely agree about the unhappiness and loss that PMO brings being one of the biggest motivators. The harm PMO does to my mental health over the last few months has been devastating to me. The expression "sick and tired of being sick and tired" comes to mind. Where you've moved on from the binge and purge cycle of PMO to having reached a point where the hurt and the pain are just too much to bear anymore. And it's a great fuel for recovery when you feel it in your heart and not just intellectualize the PMO is bad.

    Of course, the urges will come, and most times recently it hasn't been discouraging. In fact when I'm in a healthy place I actually like the feeling briefly. I feel alive when I quickly recognize an internal urge or briefly notice an attractive girl that I just saw. Like other's have stated, "surf the urge" and let it pass you buy. But like you said, at that point, some warning lights come on. My character flaws and insecurities come up, especially if I'm particularly weak or troubled at the time. Why can't my wife be that fit? Why shouldn't I stare longer at the attractive girl? Why shouldn't I check out of life for a while and find more attractive pics on social media? Why shouldn't I use my time home alone to binge out? All of that unhealthy thinking can spring from just a brief urge or encounter. And that's where all the work, knowledge, time spent here journaling and reading other's journals comes in. How will I react to the urge or encounter when it happens?
     
    Lowdo likes this.
  4. realness

    realness Active Member

    Meh, not a great day today with fantasy MO 2 times. Not a great way to celebrate 19 days of no P. My lame excuse is working from home with cold weather outside limiting my energies. I could have engaged other activities or put more work in structuring my day but I didn't. With increasing freedom from the fog and pit of P, I'd like to be killing my FMO as well. So I'll be at work in getting more and more days free of that.

    On the plus side, I've developed a relaxing and enjoyable habit of reading before bed almost every day. It's nice to be a reader again. A few months ago I got a kindle e-reader, just black and white for reading only. At first I was reading a lot of PMO recovery resources and it's nicely turned into a lot of fiction. Things have really taken off as I've linked my account with my wife, and have access to a ton of books she's ready over the last few years. Thankfully she has good tastes in fiction! Most afternoons I get a little surge of happy energy thinking about reading in the evening when the kids are in bed and the day's work is done. Some evenings I even go to bed earlier just to have more time to read! I think this is a good example of healthier activities taking root in the place of PMO. Not that I am literally replacing PMO at a certain time of day in this case, but rather I have more energy and desire for healthy things when I'm not beat down or exhausted by my PMO habit.
     
  5. realness

    realness Active Member

    Just had an awkward social interaction that sets off tons of triggers. I went to the first meeting of a small group of guys from church who are meeting with the goals of openness, transparency and accountability. We all shared our faith story and I was able to share generally how PMO has been a challenge to my spiritual and mental health and that I am on a good road of recovery from it. It's really an exciting opportunity but it brings out so many of my insecurities and character defects. Me trying too hard for it to be a success. Feeling nervous, awkward and anxious. Me being overeager to please. Insecure. I had to leave early and one of the guys who I really respect made an extra effort to say how much he appreciated me being there. I was so excited I went to eagerly shake his hand in these days of COVID and he reminded me to do an elbow bump instead. No big deal, but I felt so embarrassed that everyone could see how overeager I am to please. So insecure before these men. So desperate for friendship and to be liked. I know it wasn't a big deal, but driving home all I wanted to do was numb myself out and MO. I don't understand these negative feelings and fears. It was all so overwhelming. Anyways, I am calming down and coming here to write this down and explore it. I already feel better. I didn't cave and MO or PMO. It was just strange to have so many negative feelings rise up and my instant reaction was to MO. Wow.

    I do recognize that there is history here and I am at work in recovery and changing how I react to these feelings and times of anxiety. MO or PMO would definitely make it worse. And if those behaviors aren't the root of my insecurities they are at least closely related.

    Friendships with men who overlook my character defects are precious and rare. Perhaps I'll be blessed with a friendship or two like that in the future. I know that this is a safe place to explore and heal from this stuff.
     
    Gil79 likes this.
  6. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    The handshake/elbow bump thing is one of those situations that in and shortly after the moment you feel awkward and embarrassed but in time it will be forgotten. As you said, it's no big deal.

    Love what you wrote about getting back into reading and especially that little surge of energy you feel at the thought of it. Evidence that your brain is re-gaining an interest in everyday things. How do you find using a Kindle e-reader rather than a physical book? I imagine one of the advantages is that it's easy to read where as some books have small text and it can be hard to read in low light.
     
    realness likes this.
  7. badger

    badger Member

    totally relate to insecurity, eager to please. i believe i do it because of my secret, my guilt. PMO is my escape from pain i need to face the pain, the embarrassment that i think will happen. feelings are a bitch. i need to deal with them constructively. never give up. hang in there realness
     
    realness likes this.
  8. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I have so much respect for you for going there and sharing your story. And man, even if you had hugged the guy, so what!! This was an emotional event for you and for the others. Ofcourse such a thing makes you want to have physical contact. This is human and has nothing to do with neediness. That is only in your head. Again, RESPECT! And a digital hug :)!
     
    realness likes this.
  9. realness

    realness Active Member

    Thanks @forlorn ! I also missed physical books but only for a little bit. The e-reader is great, more comfortable to hold, no need for background light, easy on the eyes, adjustable light and font.

    Thanks @Gil79 I didn't see it as positively so I really appreciate your view of things. I'm not being as kind and generous as I should be during my weak moments.

    Lockdown has really prevented opportunities to act out. Which is great, and what's even greater is I haven't had strong urges or even longing for the opportunity to binge out. There have been a few times where I've had an hour or less home alone. And the thought to PMO came to mind. I'll admit, my first feelings were that it's not long enough to really enjoy it, but then my thinking then moved to how much it would hurt me in so many ways. Each time I was able to pick up an activity, even something as simple as unloading the dishwasher.

    So I'm really happy to be hitting 30 days of no PMO this week. But I also am evaluating FMO and MO. Every few days I've definitely done that. I don't feel as terrible when I do so but it's still an unhealthy behavior, time waster, and coping mechanism that I'm utilizing and it needs to go. Otherwise, it feels good to be healthier mentally and spiritually than I have been for a long time. Clarity is better, and my coping with tough emotions and situations is stronger. It's still had, but I'm finding that I can arrive at a healthy way to cope and see things and move on instead of staying in a funk of shame and brain fog making everything worse.

    Onward and upward!
     
  10. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Eliminating (or limiting) FMO would be a good move - I've heard that can be harmful as it keeps the neural pathways switched on and can easily lead us back to PMO.

    Love what you wrote about feeling mentally and spiritually healthier.

    Also, I think you've just convinced me into getting one of those e-readers :)
     
    realness likes this.
  11. realness

    realness Active Member

    Thanks @forlorn ! Maybe you can snag a holiday deal or something on a kindle. I think I paid like $60USD and I'm so glad I did.

    Feeling stronger urges regarding P today for the first time in weeks. My wife mentioned leaving the house on errands with the kids and instantly my mind thought of PMOing. I have a lunch appointment with a friend and I even thought of cancelling that if I PMO'd. Just brief thoughts, and my wife ended up staying home. I didn't dwell on all of this for long but it's startling how it's still my first instinct. Anyways, I'm here and I'll join my friend and I would really like the urges and thoughts to go away as I engage in healthy things today. There's nothing wrong with some white knuckling, will power, exercising the "no muscle", and hard work today. They are not the foundation of my recovery but at times these things are necessary and that's the case today. Some journals I'm following have noted a return after a relapse. And I'm so happy for you guys who do the hard work of coming back, confessing and moving on. It helps you, I'm sure of it, and it helps me and others to read the truth of the surety of disappointment and regret that come with relapsing. You all being brave and sharing the truth is a blessing to me. Porn lies and our world is saturated with those lies. This place is a shining spotlight on the truth.
     
  12. badger

    badger Member

    porn is the biggest lie. like you if I am alone, first place I go to is my computer. seems automatic. I have to be vigilant about these destructive habits. it's the thrill of the hunt. the dopamine rush is the anticipation. the 2-3 windows open at one time. once it's over I feel like shit. lately every morning when I wake up, I am so grateful for not indulging the night before. when I do relapse, I have the same feelings-remorse, regret, self-hatred, shame, guilt like the hangovers I used to experience. hang in there.
     
    realness likes this.
  13. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Ah, the familiar 'house for yourself' trigger ;). What I realize by reading your post is the importance of proactivity here. We constantly need to anticipate on our triggers. When can we be triggered, recognize the situation in advance and develop a natural (anti-)response. We don't need to act on our triggers, we're free men. Let's prove it!
     
    realness likes this.
  14. realness

    realness Active Member

    Yeah the home alone thing. One reason it's a big trigger is I can PMO with sound. The sounds add a lot for me. My mother was extremely verbally abusive. That trauma played out in my PMO addiction as I was drawn to dirty talk. How broken and messed up is that?! It's a bit of relief to have an explanation for my kinks though. Thankfully I have a great opportunity to get stronger while home alone time is little to none. Definitely not over the holiday and probably not most of this winter as lockdowns and restrictions continue. It is a daunting thought though to know that someday I'll have to face the temptations to PMO again when the rest of the family leaves the house. I'm hopeful that by then I'll be in a position of strength and wisdom to quickly pivot to an action plan, whether it's getting outside or finding an alternate place to work like a coffee shop.

    The good news, I passed 30 days no P! Super happy about that. It is truly becoming a natural thing to be a guy who does not watch porn. There are some brief thoughts about it but they pass so quickly.

    The bad news, my urges culminate every few days into FMO once or twice. I'm not happy about that, but I'm not super worked up about it either. Still processing.
     
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  15. badger

    badger Member

    action plan is the mantra. action follows feelings, not the way around, for me. i have found that there is so much to do around the house-yard work, honey dos. etc. i just choose porn instead. congratulations on 30 plus day.
     
    realness likes this.
  16. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I am so sorry to read that you had to have that experience in your childhood. As a child you have to feel safe and wanted and if those needs are not met you go through life off-balance. I hope you'll be able to heal those wounds, it is important. Not only for quitting porn, but also because you deserve to be happy and comfortable.
     
    realness likes this.
  17. badger

    badger Member

    working through it. daily journal/meditation/prayer. just started this but seems to help. took a long time to get to where I am, can't expect to heal overnight. thnks Gil79. never give up.
     
    realness likes this.
  18. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    It's good to have an action plan to tackle these home-alone triggers. I've heard that a 'doing' plan is better than a 'thinking' plan, so your idea of getting out of the house works, weather permitting of course. Try not to get too hung up on how you'll handle triggers in the future. Keep making the right choices day by day and learn to be kind to yourself.
     
    realness likes this.
  19. realness

    realness Active Member

    Tracking well on no P, but unhealthily dealing with urges by FMO every few days. Not great but also not the dismal abyss of PMO. Non-linear recovery. Also few/no opportunities to binge out which is helpful. There's a downside to that as eventually I need a good break from my wife and the stresses of home life. My wife's exhausted grumpy voice, the kids fighting, the unending work of parenting little ones. The extended Thanksgiving break had blessings and curses. The curses were the building resentments and stresses with my wife. She was very anxious and stressed with guests in the house, so we never really had a chance to take a deep breath and calm each other, fix miscommunications, etc. Our guests had kids as well, so it was mostly chaotic and stressful and fun, if that makes sense. Anyways things boiled over this morning getting the kids to school and I left the house angry. Thankfully I can work at a coffee shop for a few hours and just get some space.

    It's interesting that my mind alternates between "go to PMO to feel better" and "this would be so much worse if you had just/or were actively PMOing". It's more the latter, which is hugely encouraging to me that I'm moving from PMO as a default and seeing it as a big hinderance to me processing difficult emotions and situations. Family stress won't go away. I have to face it, deal with it, resolve issues, and work with my wife and family to correct our dysfunctions. I will work on calming myself in an effort to see things clearly and address things with my wife sometime today to get us back on the same team.

    I'm thankful for this place. It's all I have right now. My Tues night 12 step group has not been meeting in person for a month now and won't be meeting in the near future. They do a Zoom thing but virtual meetings of any kind just suck so bad. Computers are great for PMO though hahahahh... ok sorry for the morbid humor. Computer PMO is awesome until the guilt, shame and regret come crashing down on me almost instantaneously after climaxing.
     
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  20. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    So familiar @realness! Makes a lot of sense what you're writing. I hope that you're also able to accept all of this and to not make things worse in your head. I hope that working in the coffee shop helps to give you some peace of mind, to get some breath and 'go back in there' with some renewed energy. Things are tough now for you and it would be a challenge to deal with that for every man. I think you're doing great and the only thing I can tell you is to hang in there, be patient and keep trying to see the blessings in your life.

    :DLOL . . . humor is a basic need!
     
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