Learning to be myself

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

  1. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    Sounds like you're doing pretty well overall. Keep up the good work and stay clean .
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Life is very busy at the moment. Things have been challenging in the past few days (stress, pressure, work) and I notice that urges and fantasies have increased. I'm still clean however. Day 37 today. Still no MO either, nor a WD (but I had another sexual dream 2 nights ago). I am busy but I have to practice self care. It's the only way to stay balanced and also keep the urges lower. I can't post too much right now, but I'm hoping that posting a quick update is a way for me to remind myself recovery is important and that it would be great if I don't reset.

    @CidGuerreiro and @Ereignis - Thank you !
  3. Shady

    Shady Active Member

    Yeah stay busy. It helps.
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  4. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    And then it is essential that you make time for yourself. Stress is a too good friend of addiction and relapse.
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  5. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm going to complete 42 days in a few hours. I am very happy and thankful to have this clean stretch going. As a general rule I feel much better right now then I did 6 weeks ago. I still haven't MOed so far, but I had my first WD of this run, this past night. It was a pretty vivid sexual dream. The good part is that it was a dream of normal regular realistic sex (I have no idea who the girl was in the dream but she was supposed to be some kind of girl friend). I guess it's a bit funny to end up having dreams of having sex.

    The last few days have been a little tricky. I was able to get past quite an important hurdle and now I'm going to be less busy for some time. I am proud of myself in the way I stepped up to the challenge I had and I really tried my best. I didn't relapse when the pressure peaked and I didn't relapse right after (at least not yet).

    The transition from busy and under pressure to "done and free" is a challenge in itself and has created some mixed emotions in me. I felt strong euphoria and a need for excitement, but in the same time I think I should try to regulate myself and my emotions. I feel like I did balance a bit in the last days. One thing that is nice is that I have switched up my routine and started running in the morning, after meditating for a bit. It's harder to run first thing in the morning but I'll get used to it. And it's nice to be outside in the early hours when it's fresh. I'll probably keep this up instead of afternoon workouts or runs. Another thing I did was to go out for long strolls on my own (on foot or with my bike). I did feel a bit lonely, but it felt very nice as well and I think it balanced me.

    There is also a hint of unsatisfaction and frustration behind my general mood. Although in the morning I usually feel a good vibe. It's probably things that bother me with my life and that I know I have to address but that I also have to understand take time. I think I have to remember change happens slowly. Mostly I'll try to resume inner work, try to see the psychological things I need to address, and keep abstaining best I can.

    @Shady - Thanks for dropping by. Yeah having something to occupy oneself definitely can help in staying clean. On the other hand it's important also not to burn oneself out. I think it's really finding the right level of being productive and engaged in goals. But if we are overwhelmed and disconnected from ourselves we can also relapse !

    @Gil79 - Yeah definitely ! I do well when I don't have a lot of stress and pressure but when I'm also committed to healing. Too much stress and not having time for ourselves is dangerous. Especially if it's day after day. As you used to say in your signature, relaxation is not optional !!
  6. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Nice work. There's also the risk that leaving such an ordeal behind may create a void, so it may be good to keep that in mind.

    And I love morning runs, there's something about doing the training first thing that's satisfying.
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  7. Shady

    Shady Active Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 Thank you.
    We're all in this together.
    And yeah I totally agree.
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  8. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Congratulations! Progress on all fronts :). Keep going, mate! And do not forget to give yourself a little treat for completing such a big task. It's just words, but in my perception, in your last post you came across quite stable, balanced and level-headed. Maybe, make yourself a small mental memo that you will not forget this.
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  9. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Cool! I can relate to the loneliness, for some reason making walks on my own was a big hurdle at first. But when you think about how important it is to be happy by yourself first I think taking hurdles like these can be very beneficial.
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  10. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    46 days. I haven't relapsed and urges haven't been out of control. But I feel slightly depressed, melancholic and adrift somewhat, as if I have lost my bearings a little. Being done with the big project I was working on has indeed left a void. There will be more work to do, but it's less pressing. But I should probably get back to it, it will give me structure and something to focus on. But yeah, right now I'm feeling prone to emptiness and I cannot really articulate myself much, or express what's going on. Yesterday I actually cried. I was listening to some songs that brought some nostalgia to my mind and all these strange strong emotions that I can't explain came up and I allowed myself to cry. I didn't force it nor did I stop it either. Though after some time I laughed off my tears and said "what am I doing". A little bit of masculine pride coming back ;). But I am sad these days that's the truth. And I have come to doubt myself again and have lost a bit of outlook on the good work I have done. I've ended up on some PUA material again, and I think that's always dangerous for me. Especially since I am only 46 days sober. This is just early recovery. Maybe I should be careful with doubting everything, including recovery, until I am at least 6 months sober. Maybe that's one of my patterns. Doubting things too fast and falling back down. Criticizing myself.

    @Eternity @Pete McVries @Living @Shady - Thanks for the supportive comments guys. I really appreciate that.
  11. Shady

    Shady Active Member

    Never lose hope.
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  12. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Yeah, give it time. And not all tears are bad.
  13. Doper

    Doper Active Member

    That empty void feeling you get after being sober (alcohol or porn for me) after 3-4 weeks and longer is what gets me. I can white knuckle it through the first to come withdrawals in the beginning no problem, got lots of experience with that. It's when the withdrawal turns into that less painful but far more likely to take me out empty void feeling. It's far more insidious. It's like your brain is like, well we can't get this fucker to get back on the shit with the regular withdrawals, we gotta switch it up. I also think it may be some other things too. First thing is we all want quick solutions and the white knuckling the first few weeks is the part where we're all pumped we're making a change, but then a month in our situations are basically the same, just without the high (and lows) we used to get to partake in, because we can only make life changes so fast (not fast enough), and it just feels so boring, and your brains like:
    ....hey man...I know something that ain't boring....I know something that'll add that spark....Just what you need.
    (this last part for me is 100% alcohol. And the alcohol makes me relapse. If it weren't for alcohol I'd just cruise in the flatline slowlane avoiding relapse for FAR longer.....man it'd be nice.....Anyhow

    I think another part of it (which is somewhat the same as my last point) is being used to living in an emotional roller coaster and when you get away from the substance of choice your emotions are much more balanced. This may be part of what feels strange, that we are used to feeling highs and lows, and being more even keeled feels dull and boring. The major thing missing from your life is the suffering the substance caused, but somehow this feels strange and alien.
    Or maybe it's just addicted to pain, weird without it.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
  14. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Very familiar and it makes so much sense that all those feelings are surfacing. Pron numbs. And probably that is why most of us use it. You take away porn and you start feeling again. I understamd it doesn't feel good at the moment, but you should be happy and thankful for these feelings. This is recovery!
  15. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I still feel quite confused these days and like I don’t see the road as well. I feel somewhat tired psychologically and lower energy. For the past two days I have not gone for that morning run and workout (I still do them later on in the day). A few days ago, I was running and I just stopped. I stopped at around 17 mins, and I can run for up to 30 mins when I feel energized. I stopped because I felt tired. This was a good example of how it’s becoming harder to maintain the daily discipline and structure that seems to me to be a big part of staying sober. But it’s hard to see clearly because I may need to rest as well. So I don’t know if I need to give myself a break or push harder. I can see how both of these could be the wrong or right choice. It shows me how recovery is so much a skill and experience based endeavor. It’s like I’m navigating a jungle and I don’t exactly have a clear map. Sure, I’ve been able to abstain for a few weeks. But after a while things get strange. Even good intentions can lead me down a wrong path.

    Because of my confusion, or because I need to find answers I have thrown myself at different things in these last 3 days : PUA material (a few night ago) ; started No More Mr Nice Guy ; listening to a one hour Pema Cödrön talk yesterday. All of these, may have they’re value, but I feel right now (for me) they are all making me even more confused actually. Maybe it’s because I’m looking for a “fix” in them. A way to alter my mood. So it’s not the right way to go at them. For instance Pema Chödrön’s talk made me question the rigidity of my beliefs and of my structure to the point that I got to see sex as a perfectly spiritual experience (which I'm sure it can be) and next thing I knew even the thought of allowing myself to PMO felt like a spiritual and free thing to do … That’s the problem with spiritual teachings, take them the wrong way and you’ll go back down.

    I think a lot of spiritual teachings come to us when we're walking our own path humbly. Not so much when we are searching avidly for an answer somewhere. It's really about being at your own specific place in your own journey and that's when you'll get the insight that is necessary for you in that moment.

    So I’m telling myself I should stick to my guns and look at the basics :
    - Stay sexually sober - this is my priority before anything else
    - I have a strong addiction to altering my mood with sexuality (includes PMO)
    - 47 days is great but it's only early recovery, don’t rush judgment, have patience, don't switch things up so quick.

    All this being said I have done some practical things these days as well. I’m not in a complete slumber. I took care of some administrative things that had to be taken care of. I cleaned around yesterday. And even if I feel a bit more lazy I still have maintained a decent structure and discipline to my days.

    One thing that I suspect can explain a part of my recent mood challenges is that there was/is a girl opportunity in the picture. I am not really able to take it. My fear is very strong. This is one of the elements that had also caused a lot of turmoil in me in the past week. I’m sure it’s a catalyst in the confusion. On one side there is fear. On the other regret and disappointment. On a third side, there is the distinct thought of her, me, and sex popping in my mind very often. I try to let go of that fantasy, but it comes back often. Navigating this is tricky. But I plan to do my best onward. I don’t want to relapse.

    @Doper - Very good points. I think it makes a lot of sense and explains a lot of it. Same here, I can use the initial motivation to get out of the pit. At that point things are simple. Get out of the pit. And ever day clean is a win. But once I’m out of the (immediate) pit, the emotional reward is more subtle, sometimes nonexistant. And to make everything trickier I know that now I could go back down in the pit and I’ll get some pleasure just for a bit. Since I abstained I could have that rush just for a bit. But I know also that that will just burn down the house I’m building to the ashes once again. It's just gonna fry all my pleasure circuit way back down in a second. By the way, I really liked the slow lane metaphor. I’m gonna keep that one in mind.

    What you described reminded me of something I read on the Recovery Nation Workshop. It describes a “crisis” most people face in early recovery, once the initial motivation boost wanes down and they need to find a different type of motivation. Here is the passage :

    "#4 Effort Required to Sustain Motivation

    Once the initial positive emotions begin to wane, the efforts that have been associated with that initial commitment become more of a chore. Events like going to meetings, completing lessons, preparing for counseling sessions — where they once provided additional energy and a sense of renewal, now drain the very energy needed to fight the redeveloping addiction. This struggle begins a dangerous test of your emotional management skills at a time when they are still significantly immature. In a healthy recovery process, this lull will be anticipated and a value-based strategy will be in place to handle it. In an unhealthy recovery, the individual will rely on his/her emotions to kick start their recovery process once more.

    @Gil79 - Yes man. I think some of all this is therapeutic, including the cry I had the other day (which wasn't too forced). As you said another user (I think Raskolnikov) was saying : the wounds are open. Let the healing take place !

    @Eternity - Thanks man. Patience indeed. Those tears weren't bad I'm sure. I allowed myself to feel some raw deep emotions.

    @Shady - Thanks, very true. Short and right to the point. I'm gonna try not to lose hope !
    Gil79, NewStart19, -Luke- and 2 others like this.
  16. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Crying releases endorphins and oxytocin. You've had a lot of pressure lateley and had to make it through a stressful period. The way you describe it, it sounds like one big relief mixed with some nostalgia. But it sounds like it was cathartic, conclusive and not hysteric, so I'd take it as a good sign. More so, if you take into account that after some abstinence, you should be able to connect with your emotions better. Using porn as the type of user we have become, even oncee a week or so, can be enough to numb emotions immensely. Happened to me, happened to others.

    When training, the muscles grow during recovery. So, if you feel tired at the moment, maybe you are in need of recovering. I'd only watch out to not get stuck in a rut. And if you think, you are too tired for running, maybe just take a 10 min. stroll around the block, just to stay moving so to say.

    You talked about looking for a "fix" and I suspect one of the reasons you came back reading PUA material is exactly the opportunity with the girl. This is possibly very dangerous territory because it involves a lot of fantasy (not necessarily sexual). Instead of acting or deciding to do something, you dance around the object without getting any further. Why dangerous? Because there might be a lot of disappointment ahead. A feeling of impotence which could lead to a lot of frustration. During my twenties I was fantasizing a lot and I escaped into dream scenarios more often than not imagining what I would do with a lotttery win or if I had models lusting for me and all that type of stuff. The problem is that one never acts on these thoughts and how so? There are no tasks to be handled, there is no plan that can be followed, it's just an escape behaviour one does when he feels uncomfortable, unsatisfied, and/or depressed.

    A lot of times, this escape behaviour is also accompanied by avoidance behavior like working on alternative tasks instead of facing the initial problem. For example, I need to lose 20 pounds before dating someone, I need to get big in the gym before I dare to speak to this girl, I need to read in on PUA techniques before I contact her... If all these things are part of a general plan, fine, but if you avoid the initial or actual urge, which is to contact this girl, then you might dance around the real problem which will also possibly end in frustration and anger.

    So, I think, you will benefit a lot from making a decision. Maybe, now is not the right time to get into further contact with her. Possibly, you need to get more comfortable in your own skin and around girls before making a move. Or perhaps now is exactly the time and you should act ASAP. You are the only one, who can know what's right for you. But I think, it's crucial - not only for your recovery - that you come to a decision not too far in the future, so that you can you have some peace of mind regarding this topic which seems to bother you a lot.
  17. Shady

    Shady Active Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 Fatigue is normal in the first ninety days as I've heard.
    I'm always tired too, but I try not to think about it.

    Congrats on 47 days.
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  18. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Here's a suggestion: If you feel tired and you don't have much energy replace the running with some easier workout. You could do some mobility exercises/stretching/yoga for half an hour. That'll give your body some rest and at the same time you'll still have a sense of accomplishment and structure. That way you don't have to ask yourself the question "So I don’t know if I need to give myself a break or push harder". You get up, you do something for half an hour or so, you feel good because you had the discipline, you gave your day some structure. But you also gave your body some rest.

    A few years ago I had to learn to hard way that "pushing harder" isn't always the right choice. We're not 20 anymore. ;)
  19. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Active Member


    While I only read your last few posts, I just wanted to say that I have noticed a change in the overall 'feeling' I get from reading your entries. And it's a good one. I hope that you have noticed this change as well.

    I don't have much else to say at the moment, but I am earnestly wishing you all the best. I hope you keep growing and evolving, and I'll make sure to keep working on my efforts to do the same.

    Take care
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  20. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    A lot of stuff happening man and I really think this is good. Sending you a lot of strength and good vibes!!!
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.

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