Learning to be myself

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

  1. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    That's good, it is only a dream after all. It has to be based on something, but that's in the past. Hopefully they disappear completely given enough time.
     
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  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    Thanks guys ! I think anticipating that I would have more urges actually did help. It's true that we have often acted on autopilot in the past and I guess the more we try to learn how to handle things without this unhelpful addiction the more we bring what was a rather unconscious pattern to the surface. Just like in battle, anticipation and experience is important. Accurate anticipation is great to have. Even if I have relapsed in the past I try to tell myself that each time I go on a streak I practice my capacity to live without the addiction more, and as such learn more about it (gain experience). This must not be a justification to relapse though but it seems to be a decent answer to the question : what's the point if I always relapse again at some point... ?

    What you have written in your own journal lately, Luke, about sexual dreams and the urges and flashbacks the next day has made me anticipate this fact so thanks !

    As a quick update I survived the day. I did indeed catch myself fantasizing more today. It was a good thing I had a busy day and things to do. I managed to stay clear of taking an unhelpful decision and had a pretty good attitude today with things (despite the fantasizing).

    I would say that a common element so far in this streak is a sense of feeling more "awake" about my life and even about life in general. It's not necessarily a peaceful feeling (sometimes it's intense) but there is some satisfaction with it. A sense of gaining insight and control. Such signs are motivators to not go back down.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  3. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    30 days clean of PMO/MO

    Fantasizing has gained a bit of momentum in the last 2-3 days. I will confess I even had a slip today by googling some ancient statues (that happened to be undressed) after stumbling on them on a Wikipedia article. So I have to be aware of this danger zone growing right now. Despite the subtle pleasure (and seemingly innocent, but deceitfully so I think) I get when fantasizing, I must remember that this is a dangerous slope and will increase the chances of relapse and sabotage the plan to recover further. From past experience, this is indeed a slippery slope. I am happy I got to 30 days, it's something to be proud of. But I must remember patience is key. This process is slow and I cannot expect things to improve too fast. I wonder if the flirtation with relapse like thoughts in my mind is due to achieving the 30 days milestone ? It's possible. It's also possible that the sexual dream I had about 3 nights ago has also played a role in the fantasizing increase (reminding myself of this and as such explaining the urges is already a good way to gain some power over them and not act on them on autopilot). I think that if I accept the current "mini slump", don't act on it (knowing I will regret it, as I have in the past), try to do the good work and keep advancing, my mindset and motivation will get back to a better frame. So I guess if I feel a bit confused right now, I can be aware about it, and act on the reasonable elements I've gained from experience rather then the more emotional immediate ones. This process will have better chances of working well if I give it more time (while doing the good work). Courage, calm, and honest work forward.
     
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  4. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    Congrats on the 30 days! Well done of being aware of the fantasy trap in that specific naked statue situation. Keep in mind that fantasies always keep increasing if you are not really strict with yourself.
     
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  5. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Awareness is everything. It's good to see that you analyze the situation instead of rushing into something regrettable.
     
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  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    @Gilgamesh ; Thanks ! Yeah I hope I will find a way to reduce them. They are often a prelude to acting out. Hopefully I can manage to slow the momentum before it gets stronger. Many of my relapses happened after a couple of days of constant fantasizing. Like a snowball gathering in size. I have some ideas on what current sources of stress may be so I'll try to address those while also fortifying my mental discipline .

    @Eternity ; Thanks for the support! There does seem to be more experience and knowledge building so I hope this is a positive sign.

    It was a tricky day and I think I was pretty close to acting out at times, definitely danger zone. I was in a "meh" type of mood and was also feeling foggy mentally. Later on, I took a step back and tried to center myself, which did work a bit. I went for a run and worked out which helped. Luckily I had something positive planned in the evening and that helped as well. Fantasizing is a step in the cycle before acting out so I need to try to be careful with this in the next few days. I hope to be able to find some calm mental discipline again. When I was under both cravings and low motivation to fight them I took that as a signal that I need to take care of myself rather then push myself harder. I thought of the will power muscle theory and decided I have to be careful with it, using it first and foremost to care for myself (in a healthy way).

    A good day to all !
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
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  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    33 days clean of PMO/MO

    After a Thursday and especially a Friday with some danger zone urges types of moods things seem to have taken a turn for the better since yesterday (Saturday). I think part of what caused the urge spike was some procrastinating I had been doing, also being tired from working a lot earlier during the week and some upcoming events that are causing me stress. I can see a tendency to really wanna relapse (act out) when I get close to a stressful event, especially if it's socially stressful. It's clear that I have been using this behavior to cope with stresses.

    Taking a page from Luke's notebook, I decided to have more of a structure to my day both Saturday and today. Saturday I was able to get some important things done instead of procrastinating and that gave a good jolt to my day. Although I had nothing planned on Saturday evening (just like Friday) and stayed home I was in a completely different mood then the prior day. I was in that zen like calm mood when I don't mind being alone and can relax without using unhealthy behavior to do so. The fact that I got things done early on, then I worked out and went for a nice run (which calmed my body and mind), and then cooked a nice dinner for myself all helped to set up a mood in the evening when the urges were simply not there, not like Friday. To say "no" to the voice asking for acting out was a lot easier. And I had done enough that day to be able to enjoy well earned resting time.

    On a different note, I've been doing some thinking about possible sources of meaning to life. In Recovery Nation's second workshop they ask us to make a "life vision". I haven't done it yet, but in that spirit, I think these could be three elements which could give my life some meaning and purpose as an alternative to the more traditional path of having a partner & kids :
    - Travel ; seeing the world but in a mature and deep way.
    - Knowledge and understanding
    - Nature and the outdoors (this one can combine with no.1).

    Not that I am not planning on meeting a special someone but this stuff can be a source of meaning in my life even if I'm single.

    On another note, I really really wanna spend more time in Nature and in the outdoors this summer. I've been saying this a lot and never done it. Hope I can find a way to pull it through this summer more.

    Nature therapy.
     
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  8. That’s fantastic work matey. No reason you couldn’t end up with a sexy woman in your life. Although in my experience they tend to pop up when you are not looking for them. I have noticed an increase in urges around any work or difficult task. I read something interesting in regarding procrastination and that it is in fact a stress reaction. We procrastinate to alleviate the stress, which results in more stress. I do think I use P to medicate stress so it makes sense when I have a difficult task to do the first thing I want to reach for is something to lower my stress levels. Congrats on getting to 33 days.
     
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  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    Haha thanks a lot Professor :) I'm hoping that by developing my interests and exploring activities that I genuinely like I can increase my positive vibes and then things could naturally get better with the ladies. This is a good motivator to stay away from P because when I PMO I have less energy and drive (and even ideas) to explore new stuff. I guess it's all about where I wanna inject my energy, in P or in authentically developing myself gradually ?
     
  10. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Pre-event stress has got me many times. The worst is that it ruins the event. I don't know how much is means for sports events, but it's going to be interesting to see how I'll do when clean.

    Absolutely. When single, you can do anything that you want. Taking the opportunity to travel and explore is something that will stay with you forever.

    And I'm sure you'll get out to nature. But, why wait until summer? Go for it this weekend! It doesn't have to be anything well planned; usually the more random strolls are the best, anyway.
     
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  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    True. But it's a good thing to be aware of this factor and as such know that the increase in urges is caused by something specific. I guess this can give better ammunition to not give in and know the urges may level back down after. Although it can still be tricky.

    I guess, in a way, some of those elements can be pursued better in solitary.

    Appreciate the faith ! It's true that I can already start with some small stuff right away. I'll be pretty busy with some deadlines in the coming weeks (which is also why I think I'm having urges now again) but maybe I can fit in some good simple nature moments as positive rewards.
     
  12. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Active Member

    Mhhh, regarding pre-event stress. Maybe its not entirely negative. Something important is coming up, so you get a bit of nervous energy. Maybe at the moment that translates from nervous to the default coping mode for nervous, which is le urges.

    But at some point you might be able to have that nervous energy be something positive.

    Cause all these emotions that we sometimes experience as an attack, as a hindrance are all part of us, and not for bad reasons, methinks.

    Take care!
     
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  13. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    Thanks @dark red drifter vessel for dropping by :) I think I totally agree with this take as well. Recovery in many ways seems to be learning how to use these strong forces that build up inside us in a way that is more positive and congruent to our values. I'll admit it sure is hard at times though ! But in theory definitely ! I agree that it's not something "bad", it's something wild and strong inside us that we can get better at taming (hopefully lol).
     
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  14. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    6 weeks clean of PMO/MO

    Well I don't have too much inspiration right now but I think I'll log in a log anyhow. I'm past my all time best record in terms of staying away from PMO and I hope I'm not jinxing myself by stating this. My all time record was in 2015 and it was 37 days and at that point I had a sexual partner. My all time hard mode record was around 31 days last summer. It's hard to not think of the streak too much when the streak gets big but I try to remind myself to look at the day only, to work on the day only. Try also to have patience on the harder days. If I count the streak too much, focus only on it, that is often a sign of a relapse coming up. Because psychologically it seems to be this idea of "hey well I made it this far, good job, I deserve some time off now, some reward". On the other hand I think there is some healthy pride to take in a streak as well.

    I try to look forward for the promised land instead. The idea is to see what my life can be like if I remove PMO from it. Who can I become, what can happen if I invest that energy, long term, into something else. I have to admit, in all honesty, the idea of never touching P again is too much. What I try to say to myself instead is keep going forward, work on the "good path", and see what happens. Hopefully, indeed I can see that healing can take place, and guided by such signs of change I will slowly foster the conviction that indeed life without PMO is the way to go. That a new life can be discovered with possibilities unknown right now. Indeed I need signs of positive change, precious signs of hope, to be able to cross the desert, but I also need patience. Not having patience is what sends me back usually, I think. Instead of humbly walking forward towards a potential promised land.

    On a more concrete level, I've had less urges for the last 2 days or so but I've had, before that, almost constant urges and fantasizing. I've been often fantasizing about some specific fetishistic scenarios which turn me on (I believe they call that internal relapsing, or internal acting out, often a step preceding external acting out in the cycle of addiction). I think the hardest moments are the ones when we are so tired and have done so much good work that everything seems to say we deserve to have fun, to reach for it. It seems so natural at that point and like the thing to do. That's when I think the best remedy is having defined for oneself what our values are, what we are looking for in terms of self growth and where we are trying to get and how going back to the pleasure, although fun and relaxing, is going back to where we're coming from. The clarity of the vision of what we want out of life, for example true romance, or deep wisdom, perhaps some kind of spiritual growth, remembering these things can remind us it's best not to give in when the urges hit hard and keep going to explore, further down the path, what there is to see. Remembering how going back to the addiction, most probably, makes those dreams impossible. Going back to the short term pleasure means giving up on those ideals.

    I'm busy with some deadlines right now. It's good because it gives me something to work on but on the other hand it also puts pressure which I usually relieve with P. So it's interesting to see if I can handle this without P. On the other hand I'm scared of the psychological and emotional consequences of a potential relapse.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 11:45 AM
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  15. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Maintaining the streak can indeed be double-edged. I've found that for myself, it's better to focus on the bigger picture. Yes, I relapsed, but in total for this year I've had maybe five unclean days. If I can maintain the consistency, everything will improve and maybe one day I'll be completely free. It seems that you're having similar thoughts and yeah, let's see what happens?
     
  16. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    Yeah I guess we shouldn't be over attached to the streak. It can be a source of motivation but in the end the motivation has to come from somewhere deeper. I think the streak has to be a by product of the change taking place rather then the thing to be pursued at all costs. We probably also tend to binge more if we relapse and our main motivator was the streak.

    5 unclean days this whole year is great work !
    _____________________________

    Quick update : I procrastinated a lot today and could have used my time more wisely. I could feel how this affected my mood as the day progressed. The lack of discipline and the negative feelings that come with knowing you're not working when you should. I had something planned in the evening and I sensed how I wasn't in as good of a mood as I could have been, had I used my time better in the day. Clearly procrastination is a factor that makes relapse more likely. It builds up the stress and the pressure, whereas tackling what needs to be done can relieve it by placing myself in a better situation. Easier said then done but hopefully tomorrow I'll manage to be more disciplined.
     
  17. Congrats on your progress man! Proud of you. This shit ain’t easy and this is a tougher nut to crack than a lot of other addictions.

    I feel you on the link between procrastination and relapses. Again it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. You are in a healing process and you are doing really well.

    Keep us posted.

    PC
     
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  18. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

  19. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Active Member

    45 days clean of PMO/MO

    I have to admit I'm pretty baffled at how many days clean I've managed to string together this time. It's almost scaring me, to be totally honest. I'm just a bit afraid of the fall.

    I had regular urges and cravings from about day 35 to 40 and now, for the last 4-5 days I seem to have entered some kind of a flat line. There is not a lot of activity "down there" and there are not many cravings. It's a bit scary. What worries me a bit is that I haven't had one wet dream, so basically I have not Oed once this whole time. A part of me is worried if this is healthy or not ? I've herd many people say Oing is healthy. Maybe all this is anxiety. But then again, it's here so I'll note it. I'm not planning on MO'ing right now but these thoughts are worrying me a bit.

    My moods and emotions are wobbly, there is some kind of instability. I don't feel super grounded or in control. I'll have spikes of confidence, optimism, strong enthusiasm and then it can be followed by downs, sadness, emptiness. This has been the case socially as well.

    I do feel somehow more confident, overall, because noPMO is giving me self respect and building a positive momentum. I am more proud of myself and as such take more risks. But what I mean by it doesn't feel stable is that sometimes I take too many risks, or I don't recognize myself in how I'm acting completely. It's subtle, but still a little strange at times. But I guess changing isn't "comfortable". It does make sens that people like to stay as they are.

    I've been sleeping decent (usually), been exercising regularly, been meditating, journaling.

    One thing I've been noticing is my inner perfectionist showing up a lot in my social interactions. Even if I'm making efforts and trying to take steps out of my usual comfort zones, my inner critic and perfectionist will very subtly show up behind the curtains and making me feel how I wasn't perfect enough. I've always been very perfectionistic with myself socially. Even if rationally I tell myself hey man you can't become a perfect social creature over night, it takes practice, patience - when I'm in the action, in field, naturally the inner critic and perfectionist shows up. But it's cool that at least I can see it for what it is after. Hopefully slowly I get to see him more, discover that part more, recognize it. And be able to not let it push me all they way back down.

    These are the kinds of things that I seem to do better when I'm off the P and on a positive swing. I'll fight more. Take more chances. I'll observe myself a lot more. Be more awake. All this heightens the chances of gradual improvement. It's also uncomfortable.

    It's more comfortable to go back down, numb myself. But then, after a while there will be a lot more unhappiness and unfulfillment that way, I think.

    Staying away from the P, making other efforts, staying away from addictions is making me feel the difficult emotions. It makes me get to know my pain better. My own personal flavor of pain. I do believe the more I learn about it, understand it. Make friends with it so to speak, rather then run away from it, the more I heighten my chances of becoming a stronger and more real me.
     
  20. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Active Member

    Please don't worry, your body absorbs all the fluids or gets rid of it via a wet dream. There are really no health concerns at all so please don't ruin your streak by legitimizing a relapse because you haven't had release so far.
     
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