Learning to be myself

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

  1. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @BoughtWithBlood - Hey, thanks for asking.

    20 days without PMO / 20 days without MO

    Right this precise moment I'm feeling a bit un-centered and a little anxious. I think I'm probably tired because of having had to work a lot in the last few days - or better said I have managed to stay focused on my work. It feels nice to know I'm walking the right path and focusing on work, but in the same time I can feel stress building up. But this stress, I think, is part of the deal, part of normal right now. Things will also relax after a certain bump I need to go through. Until that bump, the stress is likely to increase, and I'll try my best to manage my emotions as I can. I hope that anticipating this will help. In particular today, I haven't had time to go for a run nor work out at all and I was a bit unhappy about that as I think it helps me a lot.

    I'm happy to be 20 days sober since my last PMO and I feel committed. I do notice an increase in background fantasies though and I am easily being triggered by just seeing a woman on television. Besides this though, I feel like at times I have been getting some nice insights. But I don't have much time to think about them now. So my recovery, right now, is being focused on the "real life" stuff. It's hard to process my emotions and also work every day. I feel that processing emotions is a good way to keep the cravings low. But the good thing is that as I'm trying to walk the right path I'm giving myself a chance to adjust to handling stress. It's just about finding the right level of flight. When I start to feel burned, I have to learn to accept I don't control everything. Then I can breathe, take a break, get some perspective, and come back. On the other hand if I explose in binge relapses I don't have a chance to practice this.

    Another good thing is that, although I had more relapses since January, I feel that good work from past tries is still here and I can reconnect with it. We fall, but we can get up again.
     
  2. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    This has been a big problem for me, probably the biggest problem, for years. I haven't found a great explanation or solution yet. If you do, I'd love to hear it.

    I think you should start with this. If you're home and starting a dating profile, that will probably take less motivation than doing something out of the home. It might even lead you to a more positive/easily motivated mental state.
     
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  3. 20 days! That’s amazing! Keep it up :D

    Great to see you’re handling stress better. It’s important to know when to take a step back from work and relax though, too much is not a good thing. So keep taking those breaks when you feel you need them.

    A dating profile can help for some. For me it’s always been a weak spot. It’s easy to just browse girls based on beauty and click the pics. This can cause a dopamine spike spiraling into peaking, edging and relapsing in the days/weeks after. So keep checking your motives when you’re doing it. Always be mindful of why you’re scrolling/clicking etc.

    Good luck!
     
  4. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    I'm happy you're 20 days sober, too. I remember vaguely what it was like abstaining from sex and PMO without medication, and I feel your pain. Do you have some kind of idea or activity for you to do when you notice fantasies coming up or being triggered by a woman (on TV or IRL)? Do you have a plan to have a marriage-like relationship in the future? How's your social life coming along?
     
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  5. Doper

    Doper Active Member

    If you go on dating sites you have to have absolute resolve the only reason you are on there is to take action. I guess different people have different triggers, but for me it's crystal clear now that dating sites and escort sites are my P-subs of choice. I think because they are real people close by that you can hit up, not some pornstar from who the hell knows where. I remember a while back before I'd come to this conclusion utterly, I was on here and someone was warning of the streak busting nature of dating sites, I didn't post in disagreement but mentally I did, and thought myself to be quite infallible that day. Then, only a couple hours after that, after I'd had a satisfying hour long edge-fest to dating site hoochies I came back on here and saw buddies post again and thought to myself, "you are such a dumbass, man"....haha....
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    22 days without PMO / 22 days without MO

    Just a quick check in for today. Still managing to handle things so far. I'm getting more fantasies and also I feel generally more uptight/wound up. Like I am less relaxed and I have more difficulty to circulate negative emotions. One thing I notice is that in the first week or two of this run I was more open but now I feel less able to communicate things. Probably even to myself. I'm probably censoring myself more and bullying myself more at a subconscious level. So I think this is not too good and a sign of getting disconnected with myself (the addiction spiral starting up). Which makes temptation stronger. So for the past two days, I tried to practice more self care even if that meant working less. I think it helped to some degree. But I feel stress for the work days not having been too productive and the day before this one I also had an unpredictable event to my day which stressed me slightly (so I think should see I'm still doing good actually). I guess, once again, the short term challenge is finding the middle ground here (work load / self care). I'm still feeling quite committed though and serious about recovery. I want to keep resuming much more inner work and emotional healing once I get more free time and I pass this little intense phase I'm in right now. It's important that I don't forget this and this forum has been helping me with this lately. I'm busy with something important but I try to not forget about recovery !

    I appreciate all the replies and the support and I hope to be able to reply a bit more in the next day or two.
     
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  7. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Do you have any other way of relieving stress? I'm not sure what your self care includes, but maybe there's something else? High intensity work out?

    Also agreeing with Doper. It's something I'm thinking of a lot recently, and I won't do it unless I can honestly do it for a good purpose.
     
  8. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Aren't there dating apps like Bumble where you, as a man, can only setup a profile and women have to contact you? A friend of mine had used it in the past and he was quite happy with it because he could save himself the time and hassel to swipe and send "original" messages and just wait for women to contact him. I would only use something like that if I were you. Something without visual or textual triggers.

    Good luck with your project, mate! You are stronger than you think you are!
     
  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    24 days without PMO / 24 days without MO

    I'm still on track. Managing though I can feel the addiction always around. I feel more OCD and I can sense some kind of inner perfectionist in me. I'm staying disciplined on a daily basis and that's helping me though. Also occupied now so can't really afford to relapse. But I'm trying not to forget about recovery (I'm repeating myself a bit I think). Yeah, I'm still thinking about girls a lot, sure. Some may be healthy libido. Some the addiction calling, I don't know. I try not to dwell ! I was getting a bit burned at the end of last week, and I feel like I kind of recuperated a bit in the past two days - I worked out more (ran too) and lived healthy enough. Sleep generally okay, quite good these days, but yesterday was an exception. Saw a movie last night, managed to disconnect. Saw another Thursday night, was feeling burned then ; hesitated to watch it instead of the regular night routine, but went for it. Strong stress bump coming up for me. It's a good occasion to practice my skills to handle life ! What's good is that even if I feel tense at times (it's good to remark that not always either) I feel much more content and satisfied now then where I was a few weeks ago when I was depressed and was having binges frequently enough. My only fear is that I'm just in the same usual relapse, recovery cycle and now I'm trying to recover before I relapse again. Maybe that fear is valid, but it may be a bit of negative thinking too (fatalistic). The important thing is trying sincerely. And learning. I'm sure even now I can use skills I practiced on previous good spells.

    Yeah I don't know what to think about dating sites right this moment. It was something that was on my mind a lot more a few weeks ago. It's taken a step back right now, because I'm really occupied. But if I do want to try to meet a girl, I guess it's an option to consider. But I can see how it could be dangerous as well for someone who is sexually compulsive. I would have to be aware of the possibility for it to be a P-sub.

    @nuclpow - Thank you for your support ! My social life has slowed down with the virus crisis. I'm a bit relieved. I don't know what to say about women. I think I'd like to have a girlfriend. Though I don't want to jump in the wrong relationship. I definitely miss physical intimacy. But I would like some emotional intimacy as well, at least at times. For the urges, my best tool right now is working out. And staying disciplined. I'm trying to keep the urges low, by being committed and living well every day. So far they haven't gone too high. If I get hit with intense ones, maybe I can close all my electronics and get out of my place for a while. Probably therapy, some kind of real life support group should help me. This place has been very helpful as well. Reading some journals on here has reminded me of why I'm doing this.

    @Eternity - Working out and especially running (daily) is probably one of my best tools to burn excessive energy that can turn in urges. Meditation as well. And sleep. But beyond this I still get some kind of background "hornyness" or fantasies, or flashbacks and so on.

    @Ereignis - I think it's mechanical. If we get going, we feel better. It's extremely hard to get going when in a rut or bad mindset, but once we do it's almost chemical how the motivation changes and it's less grueling (though maybe this is highly subjective dependent on the task at hand and where one is in his life, etc.). Beyond this I don't know. Maybe finding some meaning in life. Having a "why" ("He who has a why to live can bear almost any how." - Nietzsche). So I think it's a combination of both a chemical component, but also a philosophical/psychological one.

    @Pete McVries @BoughtWithBlood @Doper - Thanks a lot for the support guys, I appreciate it ! And for dropping by.
     
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  10. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    I sadly think that we have to live with this. I don't think we can fully erase these memories, but we can suppress them well enough. Fight on, and it should hopefully get easier soon.
     
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  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    25 days without PMO / 25 days without MO

    Today was a little challenging. Some stressful things came up and, overwhelmed, I started feeling quite helpless, negative and angry (negative spiral). I felt as if my efforts will not add up in order to improve my life and that I am doomed, which is a hard emotion to cope with. Right on cue, fantasies were here as an offer to forget my problems and feel better. The actual clear thought of relapsing came by a few times (the "fuck it" relapse). But, I can still remember that this will not help in any kind of way (once again).

    It sometimes feels like life is such a struggle. And I feel tired at times. Like I don't have that much strength left to struggle and fight. When I feel like this, it's better that I try to "surrender" (E. Tolle style - "accept the Now") rather then relapse. If I surrender, I have a chance to calm down and get a new perspective. But it's not always easy to surrender or calm down or disconnect. Sometimes external circumstances seem much stronger then my capacity to face them. And then, when this happens, the sudden anger at myself and at life for past choices that led here. Therapy 911, hello ? :)

    @Eternity - Indeed. Maybe they will also calm down with time, the less we visit or revisit them (act out). On the other hand a "danger" may always remain. I guess it's about learning to live with them. At some point, perhaps, also to find a healthy way to replace them - such as exploring some of those fantasies with a partner we trust ?
     
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  12. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    What was challenging yesterday was that I had simultaneous incoming stressors from different angles : work, family, social - all areas that are potentially stressful for me. So it sent me into a panic thinking mode. I'm thankful that I was not completely overtaken (luckily it wasn't a complete perfect storm either, just a 6 on 10 stress level uprising perhaps) and saw that it was best I relax no matter what. So, I disconnected from work at some point when it was evening (instead of pushing more) and I also didn't worry about social stressors such as having to reply to different things. I focused on myself before anything else. Went for another run, wrote in my paper journal for about 45 mins (I've been doing this much more lately) and, after reading and meditation (this is all part of my usual night routine), I went to bed one hour earlier then usual. This morning I was feeling much much better and ready to take on a new day. The sun was shining nicely in the morning too, can't complain about that one !
     
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  13. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    That's a big win in my book! :)
     
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  14. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    29 days without PMO / 29 days without MO (well I'm cheating a bit, 29 completed days in about 2 hours to be exact)

    I’m under a certain amount of constant pressure for some time. On one hand, I certainly have something else to do then to PMO which helps, to a certain extent, in order to not PMO. But on the other hand, it’s a challenge to deal with the stress and constant pressure. The pressure level I feel could be put at maybe 6 on 10, but as it varies during the day, I sometimes feel maybe 7 on 10.

    One thing is that I have a fear I am going to lose control. Because the emotions are going to be strong.

    In the past, when I was this taken with something, I may have stopped writing here completely for a time. But I’m hoping that, if I keep writing – even if that takes some time – I’m keeping touch with recovery and not forgetting that, in the larger scheme, recovery is important. This January and February I was also pretty busy but I was writing here less. Even if I did keep a clean streak for a while, quite a decent one, I think that writing less led to the gradual return to more relapses after a time (from mid February onward). - (Another thing to note though is that right now, because of the global situation, I don't have as much social stressors on top of the pressure I talked of. I guess this makes it more likely I can handle it and in a way it's an opportunity at this moment. Indeed, in January and February - which I was noting above - I had more social stress as well, on top of workload. The combo of the two, I admit, is something that can really overwhelm me. In the long run, that's something I should keep in mind - and if I can't cope, I should see if I can modify certain aspects of my life to make that more bearable, to bring it to my level. Because we improve by getting out of our comfort zone, but not when it's more then we can actually take. That's not how we learn to swim, by jumping in the deep pond.)

    This fear of losing control is not easy, but I guess I can only accept it as part of the journey. It’s not an irrational fear, as it is based on experience, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be a complete self-fulfilling prophecy either.

    I can also try to remember that dealing with pressure is part of life, and when I have pressure on me it's also a possibility to learn how to cope with it. I guess this is a constructive thought. Also, even if I'm under stress, I feel like I'm in such a better place then the pit of relapses I was in recently. It's not easy, here either, at least not now, but it's better.

    I feel that libido is definitely pretty high. But I’m not having constant cravings to actually relapse (since I am committed pretty well now). Actual relapse thoughts have been rare so far (with a few exceptions when I got a bit overwhelmed). But the fact that the libido is high, and that I am under pressure, is still a tricky combination. The though of sexual things or fantasies is always kind of a background noise which I should probably be careful with.

    @Pete McVries - Thank you ! I guess it's good to see the improvements as well. One important part in addiction seems to be the lack of capacity for a person to see the valid efforts he makes. And as a result, over time, that leads to frustration, depression and a loss of motivation rather then the other way. Learning to see my efforts and what I do well is a work in progress !
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  15. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    I hope you can get through this. It's hard when what we've used to relieve stress is... yeah. But as you say, if you see this as an opportunity to deal with it, it should seem less bad. I think it's a great skill to master, actually.
     
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  16. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I'm very grateful to be over 30 days. I am trying though not to see it as a huge accomplishment or to focus excessively on the day count because I think that will just give me a sensation of having accomplished a goal and as such deserving a reward or a break from recovery (i.e. a relapse). I also think that I have to see this as a process and that every day has to be taken with humbleness. 30 days is very early in recovery by many standards. It's good I've had streaks before, so maybe there is a compounding recovery effect as well, but there have been relapses too in between. I have always seen 6 months without any sexual compulsivity (porn included) as an initial indicator of really being constant with recovery. So in this sense, even if it's great I am 30 days sober since the last using(s), I have to see it as the beginning of much more work ahead. Otherwise, I can just minimize addiction, feel glad about having a decent streak going and relapse. As I was also writing recently, I have to do the inner work beyond the abstaining. Recovery seems to be the combination of these two elements, abstaining and doing the inner work.

    I am more horny lately and I have moments when I catch myself fantasizing and some fetishes and flashbacks seem to come back a bit stronger. I have not had a WD yet (so not one O in 30 days). Yesterday I unintentionally saw some nudity on TV, it wasn't anything too intense and I didn't really look. But I could have probably switched the channel earlier once I realized it was happening ; I lingered a bit. I also had a dream, this last night, with some sexual and erotic elements to it. It was strange it was like a mix of a non sexual dream but then it had some pretty intense sexual elements in it. Could it be because I saw that nude scene ? The dream wasn't about porn though. But it was about sex and erotic components.

    @Eternity - Thanks man ! I hope I get through this phase as well. Framing the stress as a way to practice handling stress does seem to help in having a better attitude towards it.
     
  17. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    From my own experience, I can tell you that sexual thoughts and fantasies are normal, especially when they appear on their own. They also occur more often the longer your clean stretch is. The key, as always, is not to indulge in them. But you shouldn't feel bad about yourself for having them because you are not responsible for them. It would be very weird not to have them as a healthy young male who hasn't had any sexual activities in thirty days, no? You are only responsible for indulging in theses thoughts and fantasies and this behaviour should be avoided. Same with accidental nudity on TV or so. You are not resposible for stumbling upon a sexual scene you weren't aware of. Indulging in them, or even worse, actively seeking them (which for me is at least 50% of watching P, is very dangerous territory.

    There is a very distinct difference I could make out in my own recovery: When I accidentally saw explicit material or even were actively peeking or seeking P during my active P career, it was impossible for me not to act on these cues immediately or later that day. The grip was too tight. Nowadays, it's the complete opposite. Should I happen to stumble upon suggestive images (they do not have to be nudes, sometimes the look or the perspective of an image which can resemble these images of porn can be enough), it is a lot easier not to act on the cue and most importantly, the grip does not remain. I do not have these strong and irresistible urges anymore as a consequence. In my mind, it is very helpful to be mindful about this and also thankful. And not trying to exhaust this in order to actively go near porn or arousing material again.

    Maybe think of a plant, that needs to be watered every day in order for it to grow and prosper. Because of this fact, you water and take care of it every day very carefully. Seldomly, you forget to water it because you had a very busy day perhaps, or there was an unscheduld incident that prevented you from watering it. But to your own surprise, the plant was strong enough not to die immediately and came out unscathed. Most likely, your conclusion would be to count your blessings and continue watering it daily to the best of your abilities. Drawing the conclusion, that it would be okay to loosen the reins would be very foolish. Because the plant is vulnerable, especially in the beginning, and should always be treated as such.
     
  18. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Another few clean days in so that’s good. I worked well enough today. I did about six hours in total. I called it quits at 7h PM in order to unwind the rest of the evening. I did a small work out but I didn’t go for my usual run. I decided to go for a walk instead since I did run yesterday. I was thinking that if I go for a walk I’ll be outside for longer and in a way it can maybe calm me down more. I’ll probably go for a run again tomorrow then. The walk did feel quite nice and soothing. At one point, I encountered an older woman who I found attractive (but in quite a primal, sexual way - so maybe it was the addiction at work, or at least partly). I could not resist “casually” looking back her way twice after I had passed her, in order to get another glimpse of her silhouette which I thought was beautiful. That was probably not the best thing to do in terms of keeping cravings under check.

    The last few nights I have slept about 7 hours at most (despite not having an alarm) and my sleep was a little agitated. It is probably because of the pressure I am feeling these days. Last night though I ended up sleeping for over 8 hours and this morning I felt great. It would be nice if my body would go for 8 hours regularly with ease.

    I still haven’t MOed nor have I had a WD in my current streak.

    There have also been a couple sources of social stress coming my way and they are interfering with my focus for my work. Because I'm already under pressure, I am having less capacity to deal with them in a smart way and they stress me out. I kind of got entangled with a buddy with something that has become a bit of a nuisance to my mind. It created some frustration in me.

    @Pete McVries - That's true, I guess there is no need to feel shame for fantasies and desire. But it's about being careful when they can lead to unwanted behaviors. If I would have fantasies that would make me have more intimacy with a partner I have a bond with then I suppose that's great ! But if they lead me to having porn binges or acting out in sexual ways that I regret after, then it's a different story. The plant metaphor is really nice and it reminds me to stay humble. That's true if we don't do the self care and the recovery work soon the plant may fall. It can handle a couple of days, but not many. It's good to be mindful and humble about all this. Thanks for the support, as always !
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  19. CidGuerreiro

    CidGuerreiro Well-Known Member

    30 days cold turkey, not bad! I know what you mean about the dangers of counting days and talking yourself into giving yourself a reward (i.e. porn), but don't be afraid to feel at least a little proud of your success.

    Social stress/pressure can definetely be a hassle too, sometimes people just get in the way of things without realizing it. Anything you can do about it? Maybe talk to someone... Hard to give advice without context :D

    Anyway, stay strong. We're getting better every day.
     
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  20. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I love this! Instead of a counter, we should all have a plant in our banner! Like a tamagochi :D
     

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