Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by mikehunt, Oct 20, 2018.
Past few days have been no good, I need to figure out how to do this long-term.
I think I've figured it out, but am not ready to sign up for 90 days. Will go for 30.
I felt so much relief the first time, there was too much tension that needed to be released. Although it should never get to that point. If I practice exercise and meditation, maybe that will be a sufficient outlet.
That was a false start. Was a terrible day 1 (full of fantasy) yet managed to get to day 2. But I was so depressed and frustrated with myself, and allowed things to escalate...
A few realizations:
1. This only gets easier in the sense of accumulating wisdom from past mistakes. In terms of urges, they may be even stronger than before?
For people like me who are attempting to rid themselves of porn-induced fetishes, a failed reboot is potentially more damaging than having never tried. When I used to research study habits, I learned "the best way to learn something is to forget it and then relearn it". So instead of cramming for a test, you would intermittently look at the material over a long duration, and this keeps the material deeply ingrained in your mind. And we're basically doing just that with our failed reboot attempts - ignoring the "material" for days or weeks at a time, and then picking it up again, reigniting the same neural pathways and making them stronger than ever...
That explains why, when I was glancing over triggering thumbnails, the erotic sensation was stronger than what I used to experience... Very scary realization...
2. Fantasy is basically poison. The first week of my November reboot was free of fantasy and I felt divine. It only went downhill once the fantasy started. And my last attempt didn't even get off the ground, because of porn fantasies. I need to be extra-vigilant about this.
3. Triggers/fantasy doesn't really matter if the conviction is there, because a man of conviction will automatically brush away temptation before it becomes a problem.
What happened to me between Day 8 and Day 10 that caused me to lose conviction? I complained about the tension, but I was probably causing it to myself by fantasizing so much, meaning I had already lost conviction by that point. I'll have to think about this. Once I figure it out, I'll be ready for a serious attempt.
Even though it was a relapse, I did a good job avoiding the more shameful types of pornography. The more innocuous types, softcore, doesn't have much addictive power over me, but I get that I need to cease all forms, otherwise it's too much of a slippery slope. Already been down the road of attempted moderation, no point in repeating the same mistakes multiple times...
And besides, I like the way it feels, having full control over myself. Feeling the buzz of sexual energy coursing through my veins, yet not giving myself to urges. Having the conviction to be my own person.
The chain of destruction has always been the same: Desire leads to fantasy, fantasy leads to relapse. If I can break the chain, I will be free.
Woke up ruminating today. Usually I can defeat it by venting (in a private journal) and then meditating. Not sure why it happens in the first place, because things seem to be going well. But I don't want to begin the day with philosophical quandaries, and that's the problem with writing entries in the morning. Mornings are good for reassuring yourself and getting hyped up for the day ahead, whereas nights are good for reflecting on what happened.
Overall, things are going well. Feels like the reverse of my November reboot: ascending to something greater (as opposed to beginning great and then descending to rock bottom)
I felt so alive yesterday. Perfect clarity. I was able to laugh at, and even find wisdom in things that used to bother me, as if it was impossible to feel angry. And there were so many great insights scattered throughout the day, and even into the night, which seemed like a problem at the time because I was trying to fall asleep.
How to fall asleep when your mind is brimming with enthusiasm... It's like a train of enlightenment that refuses to stop. And why should it? Why sleep away such a good thing? Instead of trying to fall asleep I should have got out of bed and journaled throughout the night, for however long it would have taken for that train to exhaust itself.
This morning I tried to remember everything, but couldn't come up with much. Where did it go? Did I miss my epiphany moment? How to bring back the train?
Lesson learned: Keep a nightly journal. Next time I will have my epiphany. For now, I'm on the right track.
Back to day 10. Still on the right track? Today didn't go according to plan, but was overall a good day and I feel like I can do better tomorrow. Every so often a thought would come up (something erotic), and my gut reaction is "NO!", which I would normally feel very positive about because I am being resolute in my conviction, yet there is also the sense of dual personality: the me who I want to be, and the bad dog who insists on misbehaving no matter how many times I tell him "NO!". Will I ever defeat the dog, or will I have to live with him? Is life a journey of becoming the ultimate dog trainer?
It is actually very easy when there is clear divide between the positive and the negative. Some things are more ambiguous, takes vigilance to overcome. Battling clever rationalizations... the dumb dog shouldn't be capable of such treachery. Perhaps he is only pretending to be dumb so that I let my guard down. Can't underestimate him.
It was difficult coming to terms with things. Relapsed on Day 15, during the holiday drama of visiting family. Felt like I needed a release from the stress. A part of me wanted to keep going and try to power through, but it felt like my last chance for a release and I wanted to take it. Maybe I should have read a book or something instead of turning to porn... Anyway, its been over two weeks since then. There was a false start at the end of December, and that was my desire to start off the new year with a clean slate; emotionally, I wasn't ready for it.
Had some time to reflect. Looking at my childhood, the way I was raised, I don't want to believe that I was abused, but I can't say that I had a healthy childhood. Some of the problems I've faced seem related to the environment I was raised in. Most notably, this femdom fetish I've been trying to defeat is like a reflection of the relationship my parents have: submissive father, domineering mother. Can that really be a coincidence? While it's clear that PMO has made things worse, I wonder if it only had addictive power over me because of what has been embedded in my psyche since early childhood.
The silver lining is that things have become so egregious that I've been forced to wake up to it, forming connections that I otherwise might have ignored. Whether you're addicted to normal genres or perverse genres, none of it is worthwhile addiction, so the solution is the same.
Woke up from a highly prophetic dream. Could make a number of interpretations... I think the main one being that the pain of failure is a greater motivation than the glory of success. Seeing myself at such a low point... it's a tragedy that I want to avoid. I haven't been pragmatic about this. I need to put an end to this "experimentation" phase of exploring my sexual identity because of course things are going to look bad when I'm at such a low point. Reach a high point and I will see the world differently. Changing perception. Asking all of these triggering philosophical questions of who am I and how did I end up this way can wait until after I've locked down two years of healing. Which means I need to stop picking the wound. Stay focused.
I'm adding 'without sexual fantasy' to reboot requirements, as that's a root problem. Edged to fantasy most of (last) weekend, with the official PMO relapse on day 8.
Need to force myself back on the horse. Consider journaling every day to keep a routine of success. Exercise is also helpful.
How to pull myself out of this hole... I get that I need to embrace a healthy lifestyle overall. Not just avoiding porn, but also exercising, meditating, feeling a sense of gratitude instead of depression.
Getting out of this depressing hole...
There was a book that was recommended - The Slight Edge. Simple premise - make each new day better than the last. Focusing on betterness rather than perfection to instill a sense of gratitude in ones progress. Turning each day into a small victory celebration.
But first I want a sense of closure? So I can say goodbye to unhealthy habits and feel good about it? How to cut off lingering affection for such things... I'll look to books for inspiration and hopefully that's not just an excuse to postpone this.
This might be my worst month ever in terms of relapsing, but I've figured a lot of things out and it's still the first month of the new year so I can still have an amazing 2019.
I can attest to the slight edge being good. What kinds of things have you figured out? I love your positive attitude in the last post. No matter what we have done in the past (before this moment) we can always commit and say goodbye to porn forever.
At or after a certain point people no longer care how hard you are "trying".
Hell is meeting the man you could have been.
Man the fuck up.
First day of resuming my exercise routine, probably should have eased into it slowly as I've strained a muscle or something. Well, it was energizing, and the pain is a good reminder, kind of like that rubberband trick where you snap yourself with a rubberband to keep yourself in check.
I'll talk about my experience, so... [Trigger Warning]
Having rediscovered fantasy, I think it diminishes the value of porn. I used to fantasize as a sort of foreplay, for building up arousal, finishing to porn as a way to make it "real". And I skipped the fantasy altogether during periods of heavy porn use. However, during the week I edged to fantasy, I didn't even want porn. The past 6 times I MO'd, I didn't use any porn. Tried at one point, and it was a pain in the ass. Took forever to find something good and it's difficult to avoid things that have femdom or fakeness... watch that shit too much and a switch seems to get flipped and I begin to question myself. Tired of feeling that way, too much frustration to deal with. Why bother when I can use my imagination to put myself in a more realistic, satisfying narrative? Because that's also an addiction.
The internet in general is a dangerous place because it's full of triggering media. You mentioned Sunny in Philadelphia in one of your journal posts, and I was triggered by the same thing. Too much sensuality in that last episode. It builds up desire, and you're not sure what to do with it. Unquenched thirst. Best to avoid everything unless you know it's safe.
Agreed that we need to say goodbye to porn forever in order to achieve lasting freedom.
"Trying" seemed better than nothing, and there is at least the sense that I've failed forward. But I agree, too many half-hearted attempts...
I used to have a desktop wallpaper with that quote. At the time I found it motivating, whereas now it isn't clear what the ultimate version of myself is supposed to look like or whether we even live in a world that allows for that level of self-actualization.
As for manning up, I get that you're being encouraging, and I appreciate that, but I would argue that there isn't much understanding or esteem in what it means to be a man, and that's part of the problem leading to porn addiction. Our society has labeled traditional masculinity as toxic whereas socially acceptable forms are either undefined or perverse. You see people on reddit using "man up" to justify some form of male cuckoldry such as open relationships, as if being comfortable with her fucking around makes you a real man... "If you're insecure about being emasculated then you're not a real man" is basically what they're saying. I can't take it seriously; but I get that you must mean something like "get your shit together", in which case, sure, I agree.
If youre not cool with other dudes putting their dicks in your woman say so. She'll either respect you and stay loyal or not and youll know in your gut so dump the cunt.
Let me put it this way...when you think of a "man" who or what do you think of?
Ive kept women around i had no right keeping at all. Many of them. Im not a provider. Im not self sufficient. In fact i can be a bit pathetic by times. If it werent for my looks id be up shit creek. Sometimes it feels like i am anyway.
Women want to be with a man that makes them feel safe. Makes them feel beautiful. Give her the good feels. Lay the pipe youll be fine.
And stop fucking up.
Good start yesterday.
I don't think it's manly to tie your sense of self-worth to your lay count. Not that there isn't an ego boosting effect to casual sex, but you often have to put yourself through too much shit to achieve it. When I had an online dating profile, I messaged about 100 women, and only 5 seemed interested in me. Out of those 5, only one was enthusiastic about meeting me, the others were like "oh, I guess I'll go out with you, maybe..." Pain in the ass. The sex wasn't even worth it.
Even if you're attractive enough that you can get sex without even trying (like the male model types that get hundreds of matches on Tinder), isn't it too hedonistic? Better to live a spiritual life, or at least something in between. A real man as something closer to a monk than a sex addict; women shouldn't be the central purpose of his life.
Recovered enough that I can resume exercising again tomorrow. Not that I want to, but it will be good for me. So I'll do it.
Adding "without fantasy" was a good idea. Now my only vice seems to be mindless internet browsing. It isn't even a problem at this point, but I can see it becoming a problem, so I want to do something about it. What to do? I can't imagine going without it, but if I can compartmentalize... "Only on weekends can I watch youtube". Does it minimize the damage or does it encourage weekend binging?
Something to keep in mind, but I don't want to pile on too much at once. For now I want to master my morning routine of exercise and meditation as well as my nightly routine of meditation. I'll see what else can be done once I have mastered these simple habits.
Some disgusting images flashed into mind earlier today, but I'm not going to punish myself for such subconscious processes. It is only consciously fantasizing about such things that would be a violation, and in that sense I've done well. Although I can't say I feel that way. There's a sort of uneasiness... cognitive dissonance? Like the part of the mind that wants to dwell on these images, decipher some kind of meaning, and ultimately self-destruct in self-deprecating despair; versus the part that is resolute in keeping myself free of filth, walking the straight and narrow path out of Hell.
Is it so easy that I have to create obstacles for myself? Am I being a drama queen?
I got into "the zone" a couple days ago when I was meditating. Wanted to stay there forever. Equanimity is much more pleasant than inner turmoil. But is turmoil something that always exists (meaning the goal is to look past it, focus on truth) or do you have to untangle your turmoil in order to gain full clarity/enlightenment? Certainly I felt more enlightened when I was ignoring everything except my breathing.
Last night when I was browsing the web, it was like looking for dopamine. Scrolling through forum posts, watching videos. Unsatisfying, unsatisfying, how can I stop unless I am satisfied. The night before last, I got up to meditate, and that helped ground me; I was able to calm down, stop browsing the web, and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Whereas last night, I lost track of time and didn't get much sleep as a result. I feel like I have to punish myself for this, otherwise how can I ensure that it won't happen again the following night if I am both not committed to avoiding mindless web browsing and also not punished for the arbitrariness of going off the rails. Is the inner turmoil of today a direct response to that? Bad behavior encouraging worse behavior, as the mind's way of punishing oneself... But that's not ok. I'm not a child. Generally I'm responsible enough to get enough sleep; holding up an isolated incident as a sign of failure is being too self-critical.
I shouldn't expect perfection at this point, just be committed to improving myself.
Goals for the week:
Minimize mindless web browsing. Avoid browsing in bed. Even if I want to check something, there should be a sense of urgency
Improve results of morning routine
Improve results of nightly routine
Separate names with a comma.