Journal of learningOrder

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by learningOrder, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. ananoman

    ananoman Active Member

    make a list of things to do and hit the list to get your mind off of things. You can do this
  2. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    I was taking a real nosedive in terms of acting out but seem to have pulled out of the tailspin for now.

    I've noticed that ticker that we commonly use here only tracks some of the data - and doesn't reflect the difference in severity of the relapse. So this month I've tracked in my spreadsheet how many minutes were wasted staring at P... And it shows a much more nuanced story. At a glance, I'd been acting out every 3 days or so. Once the amount of time each one lasted was factoring in it became clear that it was spiraling out of control - substantially increasing the time spent on each session.

    It's sad to look at how much time has gone into this cancer (that's how I think of P - a cancer that eats my resources)... Although it's still exponentially less than when I joined this forum and that is encouraging.

    I'm a few days clean but will feel better after putting a bit more time in. My last therapist used the analogy of standing by a large canyon. Each day of sobriety is like taking a step back away from the edge. At the beginning, the slightest misstep could cause a fall, but as the time is put there is more distance between you and the edge.
  3. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Haven't really been doing awesome but I wanted to check in. I'd gotten out of the habit of writing in this journal and that has been loss.

    I'm a bundle of nerves this morning. That is all for now.
  4. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    I have not been very successful with abstinence for a while and I'm trying to put together a plan.

    One general thought I'm having is that I need to lean into the discomfort of abstinence. Usually the compulsion to act out feels so strong that it is impossible to resist it --> but of course it only feels that way. To the best of my knowledge no one has ever died from failing to PMO when they felt the urge.

    So what would help?

    -Substantially reducing television.
    -Avoiding surfing the internet for things I'd like to buy. This is just another manifestation of the compulsion to use P.
    -Getting enough sleep
    -Doing the things that I tend avoid because of discomfort. I think avoidance can raise anxiety and increase the likelihood of acting out.
    -Doing creative things instead of TV or websurfing

    I'm going to try my best to lean into the discomfort of abstinence.
    Boxer17 likes this.
  5. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Leaning into discomfort has been a useful frame for me. It's now been 4 days staying clean and I'm having a lot of emotions swirling about.

    Today I'm home from work sick. I feel lousy and didn't sleep last night - which is not ideal for staying clean but it's been fine. I've been welcoming any compulsion to act out - leaning into that discomfort of indulging. This gives me a feeling of pride and hope.

    But today I've also felt very sad. I believe it is simply withdrawal. I'm trying my best to welcome the sadness and interpret these feelings as ultimately positive - a mildly unpleasant aspect of the healing process.
  6. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Well... I'm back.
  7. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    "leaning into discomfort"... well said and I have been there many times, am there right now brother. Stay strong.
  8. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Welcome sir. You were here before me but I also identify with your statement of leaning into discomfort.
    In this dangerous time in which we live drifting is comfortable but swimming against the current is uncomfortable but healthy.
    We can do this
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  9. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Thank you for the encouragement - it is appreciated and I say thank you.

    It has been a weird path, longer and more nuanced than I would have expected. I still have periods of sobriety as well as stretches where success eludes me.
  10. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Lately I've noticed a specific trend - that the time in which I'm most vulnerable to relapse is roughly 2 or 3 days after any orgasm. These are times where I need a plan in place. That time period seems to be the key. That is the span where the addiction has the most influence. That is the time where I need external checks in place to keep me on the path.

    After about 48 hours I feel internal thrashing - like having my head held under water. The addict part of me starts to panic and look for a way out. This is the time where where I need to constantly remind myself that this is natural and exactly what I want to happen - that it is part of the healing.

    Sometimes I stay clean and go on to have a nice run of relaxing days free of P. Other times I get sucked in to a two day cycle of acting out. Yesterday I acted out. It was exactly two days after sex with my wife. As a self inflicted penalty/disincentive, I began cleaning out the basement.

    I think I will download some of Gary Wilson's material for a refresher today.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  11. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Too true.
  12. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    I've relapsed a few times during that time span because of the chaser effect, and I still get that effect...but I'm ready for it now.
  13. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    The acting out was two days ago and I feel like someone is holding me underwater - but I feel ready. I know what's going on and I'm staying clean.
    Billy B., HeyRevolver and Boxer17 like this.
  14. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    That's it. Keep going learningorder. Knowing what is going on gives the awareness to succeed.
    I'm battling with you my friend.
  15. madman

    madman Member

    It can be tough staying sober, staying motivated during the ups and downs of PMO reboot. What helps me is continually reminding myself of the benefits:

    Better sleep, deeper voice, more confidence, better memory, finding happiness in little day-to-day things, more energy, more relaxed attitude, more focused, increased willpower, more turned on by touch than by visual cues, motivation to talk to women, motivation to improve my life, more positive thoughts, more emotional clarity, a feeling of freedom, more money (not spending it on porn), no guilt and having to hide things from loved ones, self esteem, making more eye contact, feeling more creative, more outgoing and social, less fear, decreased apathy, less acne, harder, stronger and bigger erections, increased sensitivity in the penis, feeling 'alpha', increased awareness of sexual energy. There are more...this is an incomplete list. I am always adding to it and referring to it often.

    Another thing I try to do is replace bad habits with good ones. Keeping busy, focusing my thoughts on other things instead of porn. Here's my list:

    Sports, working out at home or the gym, reading good books, drawing, playing music on guitar or piano, learning a new instrument, studying, writing code, learning to program, talking with friends, being social, deep breathing, learning yoga, going to meetups I am interested in, yard work, landscaping, walking, playing with my dog, meditation, writing a book, journaling, taking a class online or at one of the local colleges, going outside in the sunshine, going to the library, shutting off the computer, shutting off the tv, visiting this site, reading other's journals, adding support when I can, taking cold showers, prayer... An incomplete, ever growing list.

    Remember you are a work in progress. None of us are perfect or ever will be. There is room for growth and imperfection. Blessings to you. You will only get better at this.
    Billy B., Boxer17 and HeyRevolver like this.
  16. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Wow. I'm feeling very moved and appreciative that you all have taken the time and effort not just to read - but to reach out and comment here.

    I've stayed clean. So I've acted out once in the past 10 days or so - and though that's still one more than I'd prefer, I'm moving in the right direction. I had been in a pretty bad cycle of use. Actually really quite bad. Not the worst ever for me - but I was acting out every other day, a couple hours each session.

    Now that I'm starting to have stretches of success, I've been feeling... Well, kind of awesome. I've found a well of motivation to do little things that I've been putting off. I'm appreciating small things throughout the day.
    madman and Billy B. like this.
  17. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Excellent. Yr on your way. The process is not linear (you will have ups and downs) but you are in the right place with us mob. I encourage you to read widely and get involved in the forum. Personally, I have never managed to stay clean for more than a few weeks except when I've been sharing the load with these fellas.

    You're doing great, man. And doin' a great thing for yourself, for your loved one's and for humanity.

    Big ups. :cool:
    HeyRevolver and madman like this.
  18. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    So great brother! So true and so strong. It takes immense courage to tackle this. What I mean is that as we move away from our self medication we feel many conflicting emotions and do not use our self medication of choice any longer as a mask. Wonderful that on your journey you feel "awesome" and have energy and purpose. So good sir!

    Peace and love to you.
    madman and Billy B. like this.
  19. madman

    madman Member

    I love all the support found here. Many people are in your corner LO, cheering you on. They are fighting their own battles. They find strength in reaching out. We are here in it with you.
  20. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Thanks all - Once again my heart is touched to read the comments and encouragement.

    I experienced an interesting moment today. I likely had an opportunity to have sex with my wife - although instead chose to listen to her and to connect emotionally rather than physically. This isn't uncommon, but my emotion that accompanied it was: I felt relieved.

    Somewhere in my mind I was thinking about how difficult it would be with the chaser effect. I'm doing quite well and part of me didn't want to do anything to jeopardize my success.
    onesea likes this.
  21. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    So... It's been just past a week since the last time I've acted out, and I'm feeling kind of... Well... Proud of myself. I feel that not having an O of any type has made the process a lot easier - I'm not as confident that I would have made it through the week if my wife and I had sex.

    And before that I had a week of sobriety... So I've only acted out once in the past two weeks.

    This is definitely progress in the right direction and my brain has been feeling fairly clear. I get dreadful brain fog in general, but lately I've been able to keep times and dates in my head. Information is seeming connected rather than little islands that have nothing to do with each other.

    I may celebrate by buying a new book or video game today :D
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
    Boxer17 likes this.
  22. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    I kept reading throughout people's journals the term P-sub... And I finally figured it out (Okay, I finally looked it up), sub stands for substitute!

    This is such an interesting term to me - because I'm more addicted to what's being called P-subs than anything else. I've spent HOURS and HOURS clicking looking for just the right pic or youtube video - so to me it's the same as P. My brain consumes it the same way (worse for me actually) and it is just as destructive to my body and spirit.
  23. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Relapsed. I've PMO'd four times in the past 24 hours.

    Disappointing - but I'm trying to use this as a learning opportunity. This relapse felt much different than a slip up after a couple days. It didn't attack and make me feel like I was being held underwater. It was sneaky. It waited until I was feeling emotional and vulnerable. The day 8 relapse is much craftier than the day 2 relapse. Day 2 is like being hit with a sledgehammer. Day 8 is like having someone creep behind you and use a rear-naked-choke before you realize what's happening.

    Logistically I can see another potential pattern here. I have been attempting to build space for myself this summer. Family and work things can easily expand to take over my life but I've been intentionally allowing for some freedom. When I acted out this time, I had worked an event over the weekend with three 12 hour days - then came back to work the day after with things scheduled each night after work. I was feeling claustrophobic. I believe that over-scheduling is a powerful trigger for me, albeit an indirect one.

    I had been off the forum since last summer. Summer is less busy than the rest of the year for me - and it has become a time to reflect and get in touch with myself.

    I'm confident that I'll be able to get back up and get back into the groove of abstinence for the time being, but NEED to find ways to bring space into the rest of the year.

    Thank you for being here for me. Being able to post in YBR is a huge relief. I do have people that I can talk to in person... But few that can understand and respect just how much this addiction is a prison of the mind.

    Much love and strength to you.
    Boxer17 likes this.

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