Learning to be myself

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Thelongwayhome27, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I like what you write about writing (lol?). Isn't that the time when we can be totally honest? With just a piece of paper and a pen? Why should we lie or feel any shame when we are alone with our thoughts? And the process of writing definitely helps understanding what we feel (better than "just" thinking about it). At least that's true for me.

    I'm glad you picked yourself up like a pro after your last relapse. Keep up the good work!
     
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  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Pete McVries - Sure! I got it from this video. She talks more specifically about the writing technique at the end. Although I didn’t sign up for her free videos about the technique on her site, I think I can understand what she means by this kind of writing from this video alone.



    That evening, when I tried it – I was already in a calm mood from some healthy activities. Then when I started writing I filtered myself less and allowed me to write what I felt. But I wrote slowly though. Part of me (critical voice) was telling me I’m incoherent or unstructured but after a while I felt I got to a deeper and more sincere part of me and I wrote for example how I was interested by that girl I had to work with and that I was hoping to know her better, which is the reason I felt sad and disappointed after. When I wrote that phrase, I felt how I would normally kind of disown such emotions or disregard them. Just allowing myself to write that candidly like that, only to myself, felt healing, authentic and self acceptant. What I also did is the next morning I re read what I wrote and I highlighted the places I felt I really touched on my emotions. I then repeated this writing process the next evening. Next morning highlighted again. I'll keep exploring this method.

    @-Luke- Thanks for the support ! Yeah I agree about the witting. I have written like this at times before, and this was my original idea, but sometimes I also unintentionally end up in a more more superficial journaling where I just chronicle what happened without going into my emotions or where I pressure myself about what I need to do ("should do this and that and that"). Or even start thinking about what a reader would think, which hinders the healing effect it can have. So I guess that video reminded me of a way to write that is more helpful for the brain, more therapeutic.

    Enjoy your weekend guys !
     
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  3. Rengaw

    Rengaw Will log on every other week from 13/10/2016

    Great video, it's similar to what were are thought by UnderDog - setting up a life vision. And I feel like the woman described in the clip ; deregulated, scattered and hopeless. I know this is only temporary and I will get back on track, but at the moment it's solely about surviving and not giving in to OC thinking and do what she explains is good for you; think and write. I think it is - when done correctly - just as valuable as meditating.
     
  4. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm working on my 25th day clean. I'm happy about that.

    Overall I've been walking the right path the last days and generally payed attention to my routine (one thing here I could improve is decreasing the hot showers). The writing I've done in my paper journal in the last week feels like it's still being a balancing element and maybe it's helping me get in touch with my feelings more. I've also treated myself to another cinema outing on my own and it was pleasant.

    I've had some downs as well at times (even right this moment). I think these are often a result of my strong need to be liked and my strong concern with what people think of me. I know I often mention this but I noticed how I still automatically fall in the pattern of hoping to be liked to a very strong and paralyzing degree. Despite understanding this pattern of mine, dealing with the negative emotions that result from it (sadness at home, loss of hope) is more challenging.

    I've also had the opportunity to work with a woman I was interested in for a work project and I had some secret hopes of "something happening". I was not able to really do anything beyond the work relationship and this has caused me sadness and loneliness, once it was done with. I'm trying to counter this with the notion that I have to have patience and trying to remind me that I'm probably doing a lot better then where I would be if I wouldn't work for my life and for myself. I guess there is also kind of sense of pride in walking the right path despite the loneliness. But yes perhaps I'm expecting too much too soon in terms of serious self improvement and this impatience keeps me in the cycle of relapse recovery (since it sabotages my motivation after some time on the good path).

    I'm thinking, both with women and with "connecting" or "being liked", it would be of great help if I managed my expectations and perhaps even stop hoping for much. On the other hand I'm not sure this is humanely possible and aren't these hopes what motivate me to do the right stuff for myself ? I would suppose the solution is to try to lessen my expectations a bit. Or try to catch myself when I become to attached to the outcomes.

    Some pretty dangerous thoughts have returned at times in the last week, in relation to the addiction, but my guess is that they are a product of the overload of trying to be liked instead of managing to be more myself out there. I mean from the frustration that comes from that.

    Yesterday, I also had a moment when I was not able to communicate assertively in a work context and then it was difficult to handle the anger and the frustration. It showed me how I obviously would use the sexual compulsion to ease such emotions normally. I literally saw last night how I didn't know what to do with that anger.

    Right this moment I'm feeling quite sad, but I know it will pass. I don't have much to do for the rest of the day and I plan to get a good work out in and take it easy in the evening. This should help.

    @Rengaw - Thanks for your input Rengaw! I completely agree. I really like her concept of disregulation and the task of regulating oneself, which is something to do on a daily basis. Beyond just staying off the porn (which is huge) there are many things to do in order to regulate myself rather then disregulate myself. I suppose this stuff applies to everyone but even more so to individuals who have lived in a disregulated way of life for many years (addictions, etc.). I also agree that writing can be as helpful as meditation. I think it has really helped me to get in touch with my deeper feelings more these last days.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
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  5. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Just today, I coincidentally talked extensively with my therapist about the 'inner team'. I guess, there are several theories and constructs about this depending from which perspective you look at it. She told me some really interesting things. The most fascinating thing was that she believes the inner critic (she called him the scumbag) isn't part of the team initially. Because as kids, we all strive to be great, to learn as much as we can, to develop, and to find complete expression. Obviously, we all learned how to walk for example and everyone around was so supporting and caring. How many times do you think did you fall on your butt while trying to stand or trying to walk? Fifty times? A hundred times? Two hundred times? Five hundred? Perhaps even more?!

    Most likely, nobody had whooped your ass when you didn't manage to walk properly after ten, twenty, fifty times. But then, the older you get, the more unrelenting your surroundings become. Suddenly, you are not got enough anymore because, you have a hard time learning how to spell correctly. Yeah, you can distinguish twenty local birds but who cares, you are the slowest kid in class reciting the multiplication tabel. Or you are the slowest, or weakest kid in physical education. If you get too many deficient marks in high school, you even have to repeat a year (me :)). And if the inner critic hadn't joined the team so far, by now he will have. And if you haven't (at least partly) started to feel like a loser or a good-for-nothing, let me tell you boy, it is high time!

    Imagine a car, and the reasonable adult sits in the driver seat. This is you of course. Next to you on the passenger seat sits the child. He has a very strong connection to your feelings, to your needs and to your emotions. Such a good-hearted kid! But he is not as reasonable as the adult because he is a child and - you know how children are - they sometimes throw themselves on the floor crying when they don't get what they want. In the back, you have maybe your fearful self, a very valuable character who always wants to protect you and his best friend next to him, who loves adventure but tends to get reckless at times. And lastly, you maybe have the dreamer, a romantic, a visionary, someone who dreams big and would want to conquer the world in a single day. They all have their fair share to say. Being experts in different fields, they try to be your counselors as best as they can but in the end, YOU are the one behind the wheel, and YOU decide what you are going to do eventually.

    And then you have the scumbag, who happened to be part of the team too, but nobody invited him, and nobody really knows whose initial friend he was or whose idea it was to let him in. Maybe a bit like the guy on the sofa in half-baked. He ended up in this place, on the sofa, or in the case of the car in the back seat, even if there is no room for four people, so somebody must have invited him, he belongs there, right? RIGHT?!

    And he is the one who plants doubts in your mind, who laughs at you when you failed to make a move. AGAIN, stupid fool, can't you do anything right? EVER? Didn't he tell you this would happen in the first place? Oh, you want to stop watching porn, good luck fighting against these 'unbeatable urges'. Guess what, smart ass, they are not called urges that make you relapse no matter what you do for nothing. Don't even think on befriending that girl you work with, don't even try to make a good impression. She won't notice anyway, or did she??? Perhaps, he isn't so bad after all, I mean, the guy has a point, he wants to save you from trouble. Yeah, the more you think about it, his intentions may be even good, right?

    The fearful you in the back is horrified by it all; the adventurous you is so pissed off, he wanted to say a thing but the scumbag has a hand on his mouth keeping it shut; the romantic is depressed by all this and preoccupied with his thoughts looking out of the rainy window with a vacant expression on his face; the child is completely frightened by the scene so he started cowering in the legroom of the passenger's seat. And you, you are baffled but also noticing from the corner of your eye, that the scumbag slowly attempts to take over the steering wheel.

    So, I'd say put that idiot in the trunk and leave him there until he gets mouldy. Let him be angry and bang on the walls, it'll pass sooner or later...

    You are a one of the good guys. Taking a look around, it sometimes seems, there are not that many left. Don't be corrupted by the system, by this sometimes foul world, by this decadent society. by all the leeches, Agent Smiths, Skeksis, Nurse Ratcheds, Calvin Candies, and particularly not by that parasite who tries to make you believe that you are worthless, that you are not able to do what you like, and that you are not strong enough to stand up for yourself. And if you feel that you cannot win, to cite the great Rolf Rüssmann, then at least ruinate their pitch completely.

    And that is all. ;)
     
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  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Pete McVries - Thanks for the long post man! And thank you for those kinds words in that last paragraph. I really appreciated reading the whole thing a few times. Clearly, we have a multitude of voices inside ourselves and I would suppose it’s about creating harmony within them. The inner critic … Yeh he sure can be a tricky bum! I’m glad that I became more aware of him in the last years. I’ve known for a long time that “I don’t like myself” and I have “Self esteem issues” but I think it’s only in the last two years or so that I have understood better how the inner critic actually works and how fused I was/still am with that part of me much of the time. I think/hope this has been a breakthrough.

    The inner critic, though, still works his ways, even if I am more aware of him. Especially “in field” he has his say and I am often fused with him. I guess that’s why, for example, I didn’t find the courage (or, better, the clarity of mind) to do something with that woman from the work project. On the other hand, there was no clear moment either. I really would have had to make it happen, and I think that took a level of self confidence or (self acceptance actually) I simply am not at yet. But I did show her some interest in very subtle ways during our time working on the project (I think i have to build on this). That’s already a win. Because there could have been a version of me who would have been more inhibited.

    I’m getting better at not being fused with the critic after the fact (like when at home, after the event). But what’s tricky is how to deal with the frustration and the sadness. But I was thinking just today that this sadness isn’t a bad thing. If I am calm but sad, it keeps me grounded and this sadness in time will motivate me to keep going. If I chose to numb it or escape from it, I won’t learn from the sadness. And in time, like that, more suffering and more sadness will add up perhaps.

    I think another problem, and perhaps even this has to do with inner criticism, is that soon I forget how far I’ve come to. Like I could be in such a worst place socially speaking (girls included) - I’ll look at how my expectation weren’t met but I won’t focus on how much good work I’ve put in. I would think this kind of thinking can lead me back to the addiction(s) if I am not careful and notice it (because it makes me feel like there is no point in trying).

    In a certain way maybe the sadness is good and normal ? When I am too overstimulated or euphoric I may loose the sadness but I become out of balance. Once I ground myself by living healthily and walking the right path, I become more sad after a while. And this sadness will be accentuated when I don’t get results where I had hoped (e.g. the woman work thing). But maybe this calm sadness is my natural balanced state right now. Maybe this is exactly the best place for me to be at. Maybe this is where I can work from and progress. In a way, the sadness makes me more real. And that’s what I want I want to get in touch with who I really am, to feel stable in that – and I believe if I get to this point I will see things much more clearly even “in field” – and then I will be less afraid to make a small move, which is only natural. You ask, she says yes, she says no. It’s okay either way. Or ..... am I here again building too many expectations and hopes and setting myself up for disappointment ?

    I guess the cool thing if we do the work but lessen the degree of expectations is that when good things do happen, it's always a bonus.

    I think the key is to stay with the sadness. And keep doing the right course of action despite it. Not to ignore the sadness, but not either to get overwhelmed from it.

    A whole different challenge is not to get too high, emotionally, if/when results do come in. I'm quite scared of this as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
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  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Going to be 4 weeks clean today if I don’t relapse, which I don’t plan on doing (though I've been having some dangerous thoughts every now and then).

    I’m also just a tad over 90 days since my last drop of alcohol. I am still quite convinced this has been a very good decision for me. I’m a bit worried, though, at observing myself having some reminiscences about a “night of drinking” with friends. That’s not a good sign and I’m afraid that my motivation about this is decreasing slowly and this way I will end up drinking if I go out. I have to be careful. I think keeping with the no drinking is such an important factor in helping myself get to a better place within myself and in my life. I really believe it’s one of the best things I can do for myself.

    I’ve still been thinking about that girl I had to work with. Clearly, I am a bit disappointed in not having managed to make something happen. I could message her and invite her someplace, as I have her social media. But what I am afraid of is rejection and the fear of being awkward. Or that she will be like “wtf” when she gets that message and repulsed or something. I guess I have a strong fear of rejection, especially when it comes from a woman. For some reason, it seems I place a lot of my self worth on whether a woman would like me or not. One very painful feelings I can think of is imagining a girl I like and find special pick another guy instead of me. This seems to hit at a very deep chord inside. Maybe it's related to some old wounds. It also seems to have to do with envy I would suppose. You want to be the guy she picks.

    Basically I am afraid because not only do I have to pass a storm of emotions in order to get to a place where I can start dating and not loose my shit (bounce to low or too high from it) and then also of not getting over attached to the wrong person (loose control). To be honest, I don’t even know if it’s possible to actually become normal again here. This is what the brain is supposed to learn when he is from 12 to 17. Going through these emotions, now, at my age, from my place of actually needing someone, some intimacy, is hard. But I can’t know for sure it’s impossible. So, I guess all I can do is try my best and let the old ‘Verse decide the rest.

    Right now though, I have to focus on work. I have an important project that has a deadline and I need to get started on it. I’m in that limbo phase before you begin, when there is like absolutely no motivation to start it. This is where heavy procrastination can happen and it’s also a dangerous zone for the vices to return. Once I get started, it will be easier. It’s just about getting started though. I’m also anticipating a potential zone of turbulence once I complete the project. It would be good to try to stay grounded and not go too high, emotionally.

    I finished Cather in the Rye. It killed me ;)

    "This fall I think you're riding for - it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement's designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something they're own environment couldn't supply them with. Or they thought they're own environment couldn't supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even gotten started."
     
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  8. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Maybe you feel differently, but from where I'm standing you seem to have made some good progress. I think you should be proud of yourself. When I mentioned a few months ago that I stopped drinking two years ago you seemed surprised. And now you're over 90 days. You made a commitment to yourself and you followed through on it. Wouldn't that be a good starting point towards better self-acceptance? Because a lack of self-acceptance is the reason why we are so worried about rejection (especially from women) I think. I say "we" because I can very much relate to what you described above.

    I honestly believe you can be "normal" in that area. It needs time. Yes, some people learn that when they're 12-17, but see it as an opportunity: You have a chance to date and fall in live with a grown-up women instead of an immature teenager who looks on her smartphone 16 hours a day. Isn't that a better environment for learning?

    By the way, is that a quote from Catcher in the Rye? I don't recognize it. Sounds totally grown-up and without allbthe "goddamns". ;)
     
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  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Yeah I agree it's about self acceptance. It's not even about looking confident so much as about having a bit more inner freedom because of self acceptance. Maybe self acceptance gives that confidence to take a risk and even risk/accept looking foolish. It seems to be some kind of connection with the Self that remains, instead of confusion. I reach this point sometimes. Only sometimes. But gotta keep chipping at it and see the signs of improvement.

    It's funny self esteem, it's like sure you can do some stuff like not PMOing which will definitely raise it. But then you also need to take some actions you are afraid of in order to get more of it. It's like by doing stuff you're afraid of and accepting looking totally bad at it, will you as a result gain more confidence and self esteem.

    Another possibility is that it's about doing the right stuff (not PMOing, self care, etc.) and about only working on acceptance. And then observing yourself doing the right risk taking every now and then. It's not even intentional, it just happens because of the good work. And it's about not becoming depressed when you feel you're not doing the right risk taking enough and getting what you want. Staying with the process. Trusting it as you have said. Maybe this is the real way forward as the other one above (forcing yourself) will lead to negative emotions quicker. So ... do the work. Be patient. Relax. Maybe it's this ...
    That's a good way to look at this. Thanks man.
    Yes it is ;) It's not from Holden, but from someone trying to help him out. I didn't register that quote last time I read the book years ago. It made a lot of sense to me now.

    Thanks for your words of support Luke !
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
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  10. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Definitely. @Freedom from Servitude described it best when he named his journal „My journey in finding self-acceptance and inner peace“. In the end most of us are on that same journey. When I first found YBOP and YBR and tried to stop my motivation was a) getting better with women and b) getting better erections. As time went on my motivation changed. Nowadays it's about much more than that.

    And yes, abstinence is not enough. That's what I thought when I started. But porn isn't the cause of our shyness and low self-esteem. It amplifies those symptoms, yes, but it's not the cause (at least not for me). So abstinence won't be enough.
     
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  11. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Bang on the money, Luke. After the first year of my sobriety, I went through a process of disillusionment. My life hadn't become miraculously perfect as a result of giving up porn. I hadn't really noticed the so called 'superpowers' that appear so often on these forums, just a bit more energy and concentration from abstaining. I eventually realised that porn was just a symptom of a deeper issue. As we go further into recovery, we learn more about ourselves as the blindfold of addiction has been lifted and we develop emotional intelligence.

    I'm still learning what it means to live a healthy recovery. I'm now coming round to the point of view that I can't entirely cure myself of my anxiety and depression. That these low points are part of the inevitable ups and downs of life. I can only embrace that pattern and know that I cannot have the highs without also having the lows. My perfectionist expectation that I am entitled to be happy all the time has been there since childhood ever since I tried to re-create my apparently perfect memories, rather than move with reality. I now can get quite annoyed from reading the No-fap success stories and have to avoid them because they fuel the perfectionist thinking that I am trying to undermine. Its a bit like the equivalent of checking out what my friends are up to on Facebook only to find within a few seconds that I am immediately comparing myself negatively to them in a happy photo. I prefer now to read the SAA literature recovery stories which are much more nuanced and represent a more warts and all view of what recovery actually means. My life isn't perfect, I'm still single and would like my career to be a little more secure, but I am a hell of a lot better than where I was about 3.5 years ago when I was binging whole afternoons away watching porn. They'll always be a 'But'. My recovery is unique and imperfect because my life is.
     
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  12. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    This is day 31 (hard mode so far) - but who's counting :rolleyes:

    I was very close to relapse yesterday. I even opened my "porn laptop" and then when I was about to open the browser I closed it back and put that laptop away in the closet, out of view. I knew how when I was going to type in the address I was going down the same road once again, I knew how clearly it was the wrong decision. I was also afraid of the consequences. All this helped me to close it despite how another part of me really wanted me to go for it.

    After I closed the laptop, I felt like I had relapsed, just opening it like that with the intent to relapse. It's like the cycle was so advanced. I've done this before. Open, close. Open it back and relapse. Actually, even yesterday I had took it out once earlier, opened the lid but didn't turn it on. And some time later I had turned it on (mentioned above). But yea, even though it felt like I relapsed I knew I didn't really. I was just very close to a relapse. What also motivated me to not give in was just the idea of getting day 30 in. I know this isn't the best kind of motivation, but at least it helped a bit yesterday.

    The reason I am so close to a relapse is that I have to get this work project done which I don't enjoy doing and that I have to do on my own and can actually do from home. It's very important for me to complete it, has a hard deadline, and yet I am having difficulties in making it happen. Some perfectionism and trying to make it too good and so on. And I am blowing it out of proportions. I just need to get the job done. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece.

    @-Luke- and @Freedom from Servitude - Thanks for your contributions guys. I completely agree regarding self acceptance and also how recovery is always a work in progress. And Freedom, you know that you are a strong inspiration for me, thanks for dropping by.
    Yes indeed. The Long Walk ! :D I have .... started it ! 2 boys out already. And Peter McVries said he needs to get his head examined right before it started. :) Don't give me any spoilers hehe !

    Hint 13 - Conserve Energy
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  13. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    You won't believe what happens at the end of that Story. The guy...

    Just kidding. Enjoy the book! I'm glad to see you managed to stay clean. Working from home can be tricky, especially if a deadline is waiting and you put yourself under pressure. Your brain will tell you the old lie that a good old PMO session will relieve the stress. Don't believe that lie. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the work project will be a success.
     
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  14. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    I know that kind of thinking that emerges when you are on the edge of the precipice. You didn't relapse at all, its the addiction trying to persuade you that this was the case so that it can justify a binge. You handled the situation really well. Not many people can stop themselves like that early in their recovery. Its a real achievement and well done for spotting the trigger situation too. You are right in thinking that you have to tread carefully in the immediate future. The addiction is at work and it will try to find a way to make you fall while you are feeling vulnerable.
     
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  15. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Today was better, I didn't come as close to the precipice as yesterday. I did not touch my porn laptop from my closet. I am very thankful I did not take that plunge into the abyss yesterday. I managed to work today, which I doubt I could have, as much, if I had to deal with the disappointment of another relapse.

    I'm going to have to watch my steps the next few days as clearly this period - while I have to get this difficult (but so important for me) project done - is a good occasion for my addiction to justify a relapse. As Freedom says, I am vulnerable right now and the addiction is putting all it's soldiers in trying to get me to fall here. But my job is to put a fight and deny the addiction.

    The more I can manage to get the work done even if it's not a pleasant task, the more the anxiety will slowly go down and hence the temptation for relief will also subside (I actually felt this to some degree today as I managed to advance somewhat). Not to mention the motivation to keep doing that work will slowly go up. This is, in a way, a good occasion to show myself a different and much healthier way to cope and relieve anxiety, which is to do the task that is hard and boring - but that I have no choice in doing.

    If I go for that release (relapse) I will still have the task to do and everything will be even harder and more chaotic. Why go back down a path I've traveled so many times ? Why not take a different route for once ?

    @-Luke- and @Freedom from Servitude - Thanks again guys! You're support has really helped me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
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  16. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Darn, I ended up on porn again this weekend. Multiple times. I was 34 days without any porn or masturbation.

    I'm going to change my strategy, I still want to quit porn, I want to see what my life is like without porn, as I do think that life can be better.

    However, I will not go into stopping masturbation anymore.

    This "pro-masturbation" approach worked well for me at the end of summer and it even got me on my longest period ever without any porn which was 93 days. I don't know why but somewhere in that run I also got back on a "no masturbation" regimen (I did something like 55 days before the relapse). The more days I had accumulated on my streak the less I wanted to MO. Until the usual binge relapse explosion.

    I'm going back to the idea that masturbation is healthy and okay. I want to "deprogram" my mind from the idea that staying away from orgasm is "healthy" and "the way". I don't agree with that view. As a single guy without a sexual partner right now, staying off masturbation ain't the path for me and I'm done with it.

    In order to make sure I don't slip back into the mentality that it's good to not masturbate, I will make sure I don't reach more then 10 days without an orgasm. Masturbation is mandatory !

    I am completely sure that a more relaxed approach will help me move away from porn. The whole streak mentality of not Oing is a trap for me and as long as I keep falling in it I will be stuck in this "recovery and relapse" pattern.

    In the end my goal is simply to reach a place of healthier sexuality and better well being.

    My "concrete goal" would be to reach 120 days without any porn. Ideally 6 months would be even better. If I do 6 months without porn and keep putting my energy into building the life I want and becoming more comfortable with myself (self acceptance) things should keep going in the right direction for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  17. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Sorry to hear of your relapse, longwayhome. Ultimately, you have got to find an approach that works for you. Certainly, there are guys that have managed to stay sober from porn while continuing to MO. There was a success story posted on this forum not that long ago by a guy who tried this approach. Sharing from my own experience, I don't have a problem with masturbation at all, but I actually found it easier to completely give my brain a rest from sexual stimulation in the beginning. When I got a good period of sobriety behind me, I then started to experiment with healthy sexuality. I am convinced, however, that there is no one way to break free from porn. I recently found that mindful masturbation actually saved me from engaging in triggering activity that could have easily resulted in a relapse. Because of sexual anorexia, I am not entirely sure how often I want to do it in the future, but I am trying to build up an accepting attitude towards it and remove the fear I have developed around the practice. Be careful to stay away from flashbacks and sexual fantasy when you MO. Good luck with it.
     
  18. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Do whatever is helpful. I've came to the same conclusion in the last months. The NoFap mentality works for some people, for me it never worked, even though I was heavily influenced by it for years. I totally agree now that feelings like shame shouldn't be involved in MO. I cringed when people on NoFap (didn't visit the site in more than a year though) confessed a relapse after a short MO session but where proud of themselves because they didn't have an orgasm after they binged for four hours.

    But keep in mind that MO doesn't necessarily diminish the urge to watch por. For me the former comes with an urge to have a release while the latter isn't about sexual energy but about novelty, excitement and "dealing" with problems. And while the former urge is satisfied the latter can remain. People are different though. See how it goes and do what's best for you.
     
  19. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry to hear about your relapse and I wish you all the best in your effort to become porn free.

    Everyone needs their own solution to the problem, so this might work for you. In the end, you are the one feeling your emotions, the urges and the needs, so there is nobody who can evaluate your situation better than you.

    With that being said, and by no means do I want to sound like a heretic to you, do I want to note that if I recall correctly in one of your recent reboots you were 'allowed' to masturbate and relapsed regardless. And if I remember correctly, you even wrote about it that masturbation did not help in that case. But my recollection might be vague and wrong. I just want to leave the notion that in my own experience the hunger for porn/acting out versus the hunger for masturbation/a release are quite different. Even though they can be mutually dependent. But that is just my personal observation. What I've also learned this year, after having a few clean months under my belt, is that I feel like I'm not dependent on any autoerotic activity anymore and that realization gave me a lot of confidence in going forward. I don't need porn > masturbation > orgasms in order to stay sane. And having felt and internalized that first hand feels great and fuels me with some sort of quietude when it comes to my addiction.

    If if I'm free to give an advice, I'd only tell you to be attentive and observe if masturbation really helps you in overcoming your compulsion in the long run. Just from an outside perspective and judging from my own experience, I'd be surprised if this will fix your problem permanently. But I might be totally wrong and if I have to eat my words in your case eventually, I will happily do that ;).

    I think what you really long for is someone to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with. But we are always thinking we have to fix X,Y,Z first and eleminate all our flaws before we can dare to throw ourselves into the fray, implying everyone is perfect but us or a lot better at least. Eventually, that will be a necessary step but maybe now is not the right time. Perhaps, developing a healthy mindset that won't overwhelm you or put too much pressure on your shoulders would be helpful for you in the long run. I'm just thinking out loud...

    Take care!
     
  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Freedom from Servitude @-Luke- @Pete McVries - Thanks for the thoughtful feedback guys. Much appreciated.

    Hopefully I'll find some time to offer a better reply soon enough.

    I think I went back to porn again because of the stress related to the project I need to complete and because I had some residual frustration and disappointment that lingered from not having had the courage to ask that girl out I had to work with, two weeks ago.

    Sexuality. So hard to understand. What a mystery ! I don't know with that masturbation idea. Surely I don't want to masturbate in an addictive way. I would like it to be a healthy way to release the excessive sexual energy that builds up when I'm on a long run. I realize that I will still have porn cravings for a while at least, as it's a different beast. But my hope is that perhaps it can make it more realistic in staying off porn long term. I would like to masturbate only when the healthy sexual need is back and my idea would be to find some kind of a balance in this way. But sexuality though. What a mystery !

    Right this moment I feel like I have regained a bit of balance and calm and I hope to be able to find some clarity in order to work the next three days. Hopefully I can put this aside for a bit and just focus on work. As I sure have to get cracking on that.

    A good rest of the week to you gentlemen :)
     

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