Learning to be myself

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

  1. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Bilbo Baggins - Hey, thanks for sharing that. Yep, the way you describe the struggle with cigarettes is quite similar to my PMO pattern. It can be quite demotivating (and tiresome) to reinforce a pattern of sober/relapse/sober/relapse/etc. It's harder then to find belief that breaking the addiction (for real) can be achieved. But since some people do manage to break it even after being in such patterns, it means it's possible. My own take on this is that there is still something lacking in the commitment to break the addiction in question. Some kind of ambivalence about it. At least I think this is what's going on with my own ''battle''. I think quitting happens when one finds a really crystal clear reason to do it. And of course then there are also the skills that need to be developed and knowing how to find support (since it's rare - maybe sometimes even downright impossible - to truly break addictions alone). In my case, I think in the past I sometimes do have the right commitment, but then something alone the way breaks again, the commitment wanes and I don't stay sober long enough to further develop my skills, to further weaken the addiction. I also fall in bad depressions when I relapse after decent runs. Most probably, one element that would really make a difference for me would be some form of real life support. Most probably I may keep failing despite some sincere desire to beat this, while I don't look for real life support. I'm glad that you're managing to stay clean from PMO/MO and I hope you keep going ! I'm starting to see some signs of ED myself because of the long binges I go through (the self abuse), and it's giving me one more reason to stop this. I could have PIED as well for all I know, it's been quite some time I haven't had the chance to test this out in a ''real penetrative situation'' :D lol. I'm going to try to keep my head up, stay grounded, fight, and see what happens.

    @-Luke- Yeah being addicted to ''recovery'' isn't good, it's probably an unhealthy way to go at it. On Recovery Nation Workshop (which I remember you had done a bit of, have you finished it ?) they talk about ''healthy recovery'' and ''unhealthy recovery''. The good thing is that sometimes unhealthy recovery can transition, along the way, to a healthy one. Right now, in any case, the way I see it is that I do indeed have an addiction. My relapses show me this clearly and I would be in denial if I simply don't acknowledge it. This being said I should look for recovery and not ''recovery''. So I believe it's really about the level of self honesty with myself (not playing games). The more self honest I manage to be, the more I will not delude myself. One problem with ''trying to forget about the addiction'' is that soon enough I see that that doesn't work either. I don't know, maybe sometimes we really do have to put recovery (and staying clean) as the no.1 priority... Could be wrong, but that's kind of how I see things right now.
    Pete McVries and Bilbo Swaggins like this.
  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I'm still clean but my mindset is pretty negative. I am getting sucked up looking at the past and it is demoralizing me for the present and the future. I can't help to look back and see how every time I dug myself out, worked to get myself to a better place in life I also ended up destroying it. It's like every time I manage to build things up, I then break them back down. Because of this, it's hard to motivate myself to try to build things again. I guess this could be explained as depression. This kind of thinking. These thoughts, these related emotions, they are one way of seeing things, but they are not the absolute truth either. They do seem to make a whole lot of sense though - but they also serve the purpose of further allowing myself to wallow. But even here, this last phrase, it seems to be so self critical. See, it's always so confusing. These damn mind games. I feel like anyone reading this would feel put off. Like "why is this guy thinking this way". I guess I feel like something in me is broken and I'm not sure if it can still be fixed enough so that a decent life can be achieved. At least I am kind of calm right now. Honestly, I prefer who I am when I am depressed. At least I feel like I'm more real. I prefer this to the excited version of me. Honestly, I really dislike that version of me. I feel like a big part of what is broken, or of what went wrong in my life so far, is encapsulated in that version of me. I feel like it's a façade and a fake version. But the problem is I am unable to go out in life and remain calm and real. This is where I start blaming the exterior, the world. It forces me to be a certain way, so that I survive. And that way is not good for me. That way is self destructive. But maybe there are other ways of dealing with the world as it is, but I have not learned them. So in a way I can see being down as an opportunity to rebuild myself better, from a new foundation.
  3. Bilbo Swaggins

    Bilbo Swaggins Well-Known Member

    I think there’s another way to approach this. You’re not changing who you ARE, you are changing what you DO. In other words, you’re not creating a new self, you’re just changing your behaviors.

    I feel that trying to change who I am is a huge task, and when a task seems too big for me, I get discouraged. Also, it might not even be a good idea to actually change who we are, I mean, you are who you are. But we can work on changing our perceptions and behaviors. We are not our perceptions, and we’re not our behaviors, even if we identify with them most of the time. To me, anyway, approaching self-growth this way seems more appropriate, because this way I don’t feel trapped in an identity which I don’t like, an identity that I need to change. Instead, I see it as learning to think and behave differently, which seems like a more reasonable and feasible project than actually changing who I am.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  4. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Well-Known Member

    I can't help to look back and see how every time I dug myself out, worked to get myself to a better place in life I also ended up destroying it. It's like every time I manage to build things up, I then break them back down.

    Yup. Hello. Same. Also, that exact phrase directed at you, like a gun in an old crime movie.

    Why do you knock over with your ass what you build up with your hands? Autschie. It does sting, it does.

    Shit, I was just trying to decide which section of yer text I was gonna quote, then I feel its kind of all of it and all there is to say, I do understand how you feel.

    Apart from the idea of a fake version of you. Hurt, confused, tripping, yes, yes, I'll buy that. Fake? Wouldn't that necessitate intent?

    If you feel super off, hey, I get it. Life is an absurdley byzanthine labyrinth of weird shit.
    I mean yes and no. Yes, you survive, yes it's not in a good way, but as fucked up as we might feel, isn't it also the best way our brains and hearts could protect themselves for the time being?

    Gods this is a ramble, sorry, kind sir. Do not feel your issue is depression only, cause that, while a state of being destroyed, isn't a state of destroying in it itself (yes I can express myself less wanky, just not today, sorry).

    Blurb! Blahargh! Have a good one! And if all you can do today is feel shitty and be empty, that is something you can be. For today. Different times will come. Inevitably, not even depression with its wonderful negative ten zero fucks given cushy discomfort lasts for ever.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  5. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    I think we're all pretty adept at getting through the first order withdrawal symptoms, like cravings. That's easy. It's getting through what you're describing that we now have to conquer. It's way harder. Way more uncomfortable than cravings.

    Realizing all those feelings are just withdrawal symptoms is the most vital thing there is. If you whack it to porn, you will feel gross again, but just a different kind of gross. A familiar, comfortable gross.....right? You said yourself you like your depressed self better. I feel that way too sometimes.

    Look at that third quote in my signature. That's what this is all about.

    I've been keeping it real simple lately. Every time I feel craving (easy to get through), or that deep sadness looking at the past (...this happens after about 5 days for me and goes for a long time), or just that weird bored, empty feeling. I just tell myself, "we only have to do this once". "We only have to get through this shit once, but if we relapse, we'll have to go through this forever, and the longer it goes, the more painful it'll be".
    Once we rewire our brains enough, we won't feel these uncomfortable feelings anymore, or they'll be massively subdued. IT'S JUST A WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOM.
    Turn those symptoms into the more familiar discomfort, and we win.
  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 20 (hardmode) today but since yesterday I'm feeling some pretty good level of urges. Some specific fantasies. One problem is that I have stopped being as serious about recovery as I had been in the first 10 days of this current streak. I've stopped reading The Porn Myth, have not been on the Recovery Nation Workshop anymore. Stopped reading about addiction. So I'm just maintaining abstinence (which isn't bad but usually not sustainable). So I should see if I can reignite the spark of recovery and that may decrease the urges. One good thing is that I'm still pretty good with the whole healthy lifestyle. I've been sleeping well, eating pretty good and regularly, working out, running, doing meditation, reading, started looking a bit into Yoga.

    I've been feeling somewhat bluesy and melancholic the past two days. Some thoughts came up about a past relationship, mostly triggered by a series I have finished watching. The thing is, when such a state comes up, there is a temptation to start wallowing in it. Because there is always a kind of bittersweet element to such states (melancholia). But the problem is that wallowing in those emotions, slowly brings one more and more down and helpless, until that person needs to use some unhealthy things in order to handle the emotions.

    Perhaps disconnecting from the melancholia, despite it's strange appeal, and reconnecting with more useful productive and constructive activities and thoughts may in itself prove enough to decrease the urges in the next day or two - simply because I would change my mindset.

    Most importantly I need to remember this is a perfectly normal part of the process of not PMO'ing anymore. Challenging mood/emotions comes up and then one starts thinking about the ''old'' methods of coping with those moods/emotions. It's about recognizing the pattern, the tunnel vision that sets in and changing course before it's too late.

    @Bilbo Baggins - I think the way you phrase the whole thing is more realistic, healthy, approachable and positive. Thanks for giving me this perspective.

    @dark red drifter vessel - Yeah those are difficult feelings. It's good to remember they pass as you say. I think by ''fake'' I meant a less conscious version of me. More volatile. Less grounded.

    @Doper - Yep, thanks for all the reminders in there. Very good post. I was lucky to remember, to a certain extent, that I was just feeling negative emotions and that they are very possibly caused, in part, by dopamine reduction. I could go nurse those feelings with a PMO session, but what will that accomplish ?
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  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I ended up relapsing last Thursday (3 PMOs). I'm pretty happy, though, that I managed to not do more of that since then, though I felt the pull at times. I'm really trying to see beyond the individual streak and see how it's about getting back on the horse as soon as one falls down and doing the best to stop the fall. Without shaming oneself or insulting oneself but kind of trying to simply admit it happened again and taking responsibility that it happened. And getting back to reinforcing the good habits.

    I've been feeling a lot of things about a past relationship. Kind of out of the blue, since the relationship ended quite a long time ago. There is some sadness there, some melancholia. It's interesting to feel these emotions and feelings. I'm not trying to indulge them but I'm not pushing them away. Maybe it's just going through that whole letting go of it once more. Maybe it's part of the healing process, I don't know.

    Anyways. I'm still very depressed some times. Friday I felt very down. It may have been in part also because of the relapse on Thursday, perhaps chemically (the three orgasms) or perhaps also psychological (disappointment, sense of failure, etc.). But I'm trying to stay calm overall. Things can't be that bad. There are okay moments too. The important thing is to keep going.
    Pete McVries and Bilbo Swaggins like this.
  8. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I messed up again today. Two consecutive relapses that lasted around 3h. I was on day 5 after relapsing Thursday after being clean 20 days.

    Trying to stay constructive and positive but it's hard, right now, not to loose hope.

    I was hoping to isolate the relapse from Thursday and keep it a one day thing and get right back to clean days. But today my cravings got the best of me. Or I chose, once again, to feed the addiction. I chose not to resist. And now I'm paying the consequences of finding myself, once again, right after a relapse. And having less belief in the idea that I can beat this thing. The despair part of the cycle of course. Well I haven't done much with my life but I sure have been talented at addiction.
    Bilbo Swaggins likes this.
  9. Bilbo Swaggins

    Bilbo Swaggins Well-Known Member

    Sorry man. I think you’ve been very strong to keep your head up despite your relapses. In a long term perspective, you’ve probably made very good progress in dealing with this. Keep it up, man.
  10. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Bilbo. Yeah, it sucks to have relapsed again but it's wise to try look at the larger perspective.

    I'm trying to detach a little from obsessing on counting and focus on getting clean days. I got 28 clean days (well the last 8 days of that streak were not too good though, there was some peeking and fantasy was out of control), I then relapsed for about 5 days (with one clean day in that bunch). I then got 20 clean days followed by these last two relapse days (Thursday and, now, today).

    In a sense, it was good that I managed to get 4 clean days after Thursday's relapse. I could have easily acted out during the weekend. At least I held it until today. Today, it would have been great to keep it clean for a 5th day and keep going, but I went off the rails again. It's done now.

    It's good that I have at least not acted out again for the rest of the day. I could have gone for another session in the evening but I didn't. Now I should get some sleep and then work on having a better day tomorrow.

    To be honest, things are pretty hard for me right now and I'm in quite a big rut. In a way it's good that at least I'm managing to stay clean most days. It would be great to get on a sober run, but I would also need to unblock myself from my rut, which is proving to be really difficult. As they say, one day at a time.
  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Another bad day today. I relapsed in the early afternoon. If it's a positive, at least I only O'ed once today as opposed to the 2 O's yesterday. Also, it was a shorter session then yesterdays. But it was not exactly a ''short session'' either ; I think it must have been around 45m to 1 hour. Maybe even 1h15, but these are all details at this point.

    After the relapse I was feeling bad, as usual, and had the thought of taking a complete pause from porn recovery (including counting, counters, etc.). It felt like, at this point, keeping track, counting, having a counter on here with O, even writing updates, feels almost counter productive and it adds negativity and keeps my mind on the problem which seems to feed it as well. I know that today I had been reading SAA literature and then a journal on here for quite a long time, before I ended up relapsing again.

    That's why I ended up removing my counter. I don't know if it's really helping me. I was reading some journal on here, a long one, where I could relate to the constant trying really hard of that person and then relapsing. And then the pit of relapsing once you've relapsed once on a big streak. And then how long it takes to ever get back on an actual REAL attempt. And then how that attempt leads at some point to very strong emotional pain and then there's a relapse again, and then that pit of relapses ensuing. What I mean is I related big time to it and it almost made me nauseous to see the diligent day counting on that journal. You can just feel how much of a mental trap this whole thing can become when you try to quit it.

    All this being said, I know I still want to get clean.

    But I think I need to find a positive energy again somehow. A lighter energy to start a new better attempt. Perhaps painstakingly writting a journal entry everyday is not the best way, at this point in my journey. There are rebooters on here who seemed to be successful with fewer entries (one person I can think of is A New Man).

    Anyways, I did end up getting to a better place mentally for the later part of the day. Which is a good start. I often do feel better in the evenings. The thing is though, tomorrow afternoon I'm going to feel the pull again.

    I would do good with focusing on smaller scale at this point. Maybe I should try to focus on getting one week clean ? Or maybe I should completely stop worrying about counting right now, and just take it easy, day by day. Kind of try to relax.

    Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself.

    Today, I didn't get out of my apartment. That's bad. Today was the second day in a row without any exercise.

    Got to get back up at some point, hopefully - but I feel like I am in one of the most challenging phases of my life, in some ways.

    Veni, vidi, vici.
  12. Bilbo Swaggins

    Bilbo Swaggins Well-Known Member

    Sorry, man. I understand the struggle you’re going through, it looks tough. It’s not easy to find the approach that will work. As you said, counting days and journaling could be counterproductive at some point, I don’t know. Might be different for everyone. But don’t forget that many guys here went through many months, and sometimes years, of failed attempts before to finally get rid of this addiction. Pete wrote about that in his success story: it took him 3 years before being successful in staying away from porn. I’ve read many other success stories of guys who relapsed many times, until they finally succeeded. You’re not alone, man, and there’s hope. Of course, it might not be a bad idea to try something else. Reading success stories can be helpful too, because some of these guys manage to communicate very special things about how they dealt with that.

    In all cases, it’s good that you keep your head up despite your relapses. You’ll find your way, man.
  13. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Sorry to hear things are difficult at the moment. Maybe you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself, but that also means that you really want things to better. I hope though that you are able to shift the focus more from 'what you don't want' to 'what you want, need and deserve'. I'm with you man!
  14. chrism

    chrism It's time to make a change.

    I can relate to this 100% it’s a difficult place to get out of. Hope it’s doesn’t take you too long to get back into a clean streak. Maybe your right about setting yourself some smaller more achievable goals.

    for myself at the moment I’m just trying to get myself through the next day clean.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  15. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Well guys, I've managed to stay clean since the last relapse which occurred Wednesday early afternoon. So I'm working on day 3 right now. But I really need to let go of counting, it's self defeating. I need to simply stay clean, end of story. To do my best with that. I should not worry, right now, about day whatever. About day 60, or day 63 my record, or day 90 or beyond. I should worry about today, and maybe start worrying a little about tomorrow ;).

    I've taken some steps regarding my mental health the last two days. I've reached out to my old therapist on Tuesday and had a session yesterday. I'm also trying to get in contact with a social worker in the hopes of being able to meet a psychiatrist at some point. The session with my therapist was all right but I fear I was rambling a lot. It was hard to convey all the difficulties I have had over the past year. But you can't do much with only one session.

    I have also seen a friend recently. Which is the first time I have socialized in quite some time. It was okay. Good to see someone.

    I have to admit I'm feeling rather lonely of course. I have my parents but apart from them I am pretty isolated. It makes me quite sad that I have no contact with any women. But I have to understand and try to accept this reality of my life. This is the way things are right now. Things can get worst or they can get better and my mission is to do what I can to make them better. Things can improve.

    I'm also not working at the moment. I'm supposed to be looking for work. I'm having a lot of difficulties motivating myself. I don't know I'm just not serious about it. Maybe I'm immature, spoiled. On the other hand, I lack the mental energy and I have some pretty big social esteem problems. As soon as I think about applying, I feel like ''I'm a looser''. In other words, my self image, the way I project myself in the way others see me (for instance potential employers in my chosen field) is very negative.

    @Bilbo Baggins - Thanks man. Yeah it's tough that's true. My end goal is still to be sober of addictive behaviors or simply of addiction. I just wonder if sometimes some methods are not helping. It's hard to tell, but I think the confusion and helplessness is also part of the process. Or at least part of the cycle of addiction (usually coming after the acting out). Beating addiction takes time, that's true. I have been trying for over five years but I suppose the intensity of how much I was trying was not always the same. Maybe I have reduced my addiction to a certain degree at least though it still exists. Good point about reading success stories. I don't do much of that. Anyways, I'm gonna keep trying mate!

    @Gil79 - Thanks Gil. Yeah, getting the right perspective is important. Not so much what we lose as what we are seeking. Health, peace, stability, etc.

    @chrism - Thanks a lot man. Yeah same here, I'm all about staying clean today right now. One day at a time.
  16. Bilbo Swaggins

    Bilbo Swaggins Well-Known Member

    Sounds good. Just be careful if you meet a psychiatrist. I’m not saying they’re all bad, but they easily prescribe medication. In all cases, if he prescribes you anything, make research about it. Most likely, he won’t tell you much about the side effects, which can be terrible, especially with SSRI’s. I’m sure you already know about that, this is just a friendly reminder. Going on medication is a serious thing, and if we do it, we have to know why we do it, and what impact it will have on us.
  17. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    I would like to second what Bilbo wrote. If you entertain this idea, I'd recommend you to determine with your therapist (=someone you trust with some expertise in this field) if what troubles you can be fixed with meds. Or if fixing what's troubling you can be supported by meds.

    Moreover, I'd like to ask you about your own expectations and your idea behind it? What is it you are precisely aiming for when getting in contact with a psychiatrist?
  18. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Bilbo Baggins - Yeah, I'm hoping to fall upon a psychiatrist who would not prescribe some meds very fast without investigating much. Unfortunately I hear this does seem to happen at times. I don't see taking SSRI's lightly and I know there are many dangers with it. I'm at a point though where I'm starting to be open to the idea. But I will make sure to read up on it and also be ready for the adverse effects and to cut it off if needed. Very good point you make to really look into it, to really research the drug in question, before taking it, since a psychiatrist might not really tell us all that much about it. Thanks for the tip !

    @Pete McVries - That's a very good question. Thanks for asking. I am looking for an explanation from a psychiatrist for why my life is (and has been) so unstable... I just cannot understand why I always end up in crisis, it seems like all the time. I feel I have no control over my life. So I need to try to understand what is wrong with me ? I would like basically to tell the truth of my troubles to a (hopefully good) psychiatrist and have his professional medical opinion on it. I mean can everything that is wrong in my life be explained by my addiction(s) ? Is everything a result of me being sex addicted ? Perhaps. But what if I have some kind of mental condition ? Is it depression ? Is it perhaps even a form of bi polar ? Is it a personality disorder ? Now I know these are all ''boxes'', to a certain degree ''invisible boxes'' that can even be arbitrary. But still... I'm just hoping I could fall upon a good psychiatrist with good intentions (who is willing to care) and maybe that could help me ; maybe he would offer some advice, some more visits even ? Maybe he could refer me in a certain direction ? Or indeed prescribe me some meds which then I should, myself consider seriously if I want or not to try that path... You make a good point of talking about it with my therapist who knows me to a certain degree. Maybe I will bring this up next meeting. I think my therapist suspects I don't need meds. He sees them as a last recourse. Problem is I am not sure if I adequately express my situation to him.
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  19. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Managed to stay clean today as well. I had some urges and fantasies in the afternoon and at one point my mind was even starting to consider acting out but the whole thing was manageable. I notice I'm getting a lot of fantasies as a result of the acting outs that occurred this week (Tuesday and Wednesday). Very quickly my mind gets entangled in them and I have to snap myself out of them if I want to keep my plan of staying sober possible.

    I think I'm slowly coming up on a more positive mindset. I'm more open to trying to accept where I am right now in my life. Also accepting how things have been difficult and rocky for the past 7 months. This being said I still have to really see if I can slowly bring up more action this week. In facing the things that are really scaring me and that I am not doing (getting the courage to start applying for work).

    I have an appointment with a social worker this week, by phone, and another appointment with my therapist during the week.

    Looking over what I replied to Pete, above, in the reasons I want to see a psychiatrist I can see how - in the way I wrote the whole thing - I am very negative about myself and my life. I am unwilling to accept that I don't fully control my life and that I still have a lot to learn in order to reach better personal balance. I am angry because my life kind of went off the rails for the past 7 months - but what would be better is to get to a place of accepting this as a fact. Yes, it happened. But it's not over. I'm still here. I have to try to look at the half full part of the glass. I can acknowledge that I have difficulties, even recurring ones, that I have to fix something important within myself, but I have to also accept the falls, including the last 7 months. It's by accepting it, and working with it, that I can get to a better place. And perhaps even learn from the fall(s).

    I've worked out a lot and ran daily for the past 4 days and it's been very helpful for my mood. I've been eating pretty well also. Meditating. On Friday I slept 8.5 hours and man I felt so good, physically, that morning. Sleep is so important.

    Now, it's about staying clean tomorrow. One day at a time.

    I completely forgot to mention but since the initial relapse from Thursday of last week (which was the relapse after being clean for 20 days) I've completely cut out coffee. I'm going to stick with this, at least for the month of February. It's just another little thing that is helpful.
    Shady, BoughtWithBlood, Gil79 and 2 others like this.
  20. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Well-Known Member

    It's this right here where it all comes from, isn't it? That mind numbing, soul eating terror that somehow encroaches on you when you just sit in front of a job offer?

    The recurring question: Why do I fuck this up, this should be easy, I know how to do it, why can't I?

    I'm not crying, you are crying.

    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.

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