Learning to be myself

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

  1. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I feel very disappointed and disgusted about the relapse (especially since it was a bad relapse) but it would be best if I manage to get back to clean days as fast as possible. What happened happened and I cannot change it anymore. Surely there are explanations for why I relapsed but I'm not sure there is a point to go too far into analysis (it seems to depress me more and even trigger me to act out more). I need to accept it and forgive myself (once again).

    I have made one change by deleting a messenger app which surely contributed to the fantasies/cravings that had built up.

    I'm glad that I stayed clean for the most part today, despite another acting out in the morning (prior to my previous post).

    If I manage to stay clean tomorrow, that would be a little win to build on.
     
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  2. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    The way you describe it (once again) is very illustrative and as you know I am way too familiar with that as well ;). It takes a kind of mental strength to pick ourselves up (again) after a relapse. But as long as we keep doing that it is also a good exercise in developing forgiveness and self-love. In the end I really think that relapses to porn are not that bad. What matters is that we keep moving towards our long-term goals. We're so much more that our addiction, although that is sometimes just very hard to see. Keep going!
     
  3. Bilbo Baggins

    Bilbo Baggins Well-Known Member

    Rooting for you, friend. I can understand how you feel. Rooting for you.
     
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  4. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    I know exactly what you're talking about. When the beast roars, it's deafening and your clear mind seems to fade. There is only one thing to do and that is to feed it.

    The solution with 'tactical MO' is also predicament. The damage done in this situation will be minimized, but the door to the endless pit will be opened a bit. Moreover, if you implemented the rule to be allowed to MO if you feel the strong desire, most likely, sooner or later you would be MOing in a higher frequency "because it's just MO". You have tried this approach several times, too, didn't you?
     
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  5. Iss100

    Iss100 New Member

    Excuse my ignorance but what is PMO/MO?
     
  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    PMO is Masturbating to porn until orgasm is reached.

    MO is Masturbating until orgasm is reached but without the help of porn.
     
  7. Iss100

    Iss100 New Member

    Ok thanks for clarification. Is MO just as harmful as PMO? I am seeing conflicting info on this.
     
  8. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    It's a highly debated question.

    I think it goes without saying that if you MO for 10 mins it's much better then PMO'ing for 2 hours.

    In my experience, MO is less addictive then PMO, though some people are addicted to MO itself.

    It depends on your own situation.

    Maybe this thread can help you : https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/forum/index.php?threads/queastion-about-masturbation.117502/
     
  9. I guess only you can decide. I tried to quit PMO starting in 2005 after years and years of doing it (since 11 yo in the 80s). Finally, 2020 was my year where I made it to 90 days starting in August, then relapsed in Nov/Dec because I thought a little MO would not hurt me. I now know that I can never MO. Ever. But that's just me.
     
  10. Shady

    Shady Well-Known Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 Don't blame yourself for the relapse. Instead, congratulate yourself on four weeks of absolutely no PMO at all.

    You could never tell whether it is your addiction or not. In the end, it's not worth the trouble of figuring it out at least right now.

    Urges are getting stronger? Your brain is just trying to survive in hard situations. It's the fight for survival. Tale as old as time. You just have to be stronger than your brain and to not give in.
    You're going to be fighting urges for a very long time and that's why you can never let your guard down, not even for a second because that second is all it takes for the P cravings to build up and be impossible to fight.

    You have tried hardmode for like what? 4 weeks and now you want to quit? You have been trying the MO approach for years and it hasn't worked for you, so why not stick with the complete abstinence method a little longer and give it a try?

    As I always say, Stay STRONG!
     
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  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Gil79 Hey, thanks for the support and the reminders. Yes true, we are more then our addiction.

    @Bilbo Baggins Thank you for your support.

    @Pete McVries As always, thanks man. I have tried telling myself that I can MO and the important thing is to not PMO. Despite this I still returned to the PMO sooner or later.

    @Shady I really appreciate the advice. I think you give me some really wise words in there.
     
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  12. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Thelongwayhome27

    Haven't posted here in a bit, but just wanted to say I'm still rooting for you as always.

    Take care
     
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  13. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Thanks bro. Me for you as well. Hope you're doing all right !
     
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  14. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    The week has been bad and I acted out a lot.

    Today has been a better day. I am trying to see if I can slowly find a healthier base or perspective for recovery again. A deeper and more mature understanding of why I need to put an end to these compulsions.

    It's not the first time unfortunately but this week has once again shown me clearly how my habit is out of control.

    It scares me that despite me seeing this often enough, I still don't take it seriously enough (sooner or later) and I always justify going back to it at some point.

    I am however comforted by the fact that there is also a part in me who always wants to truly eliminate this from my life. And at times I have gone on to some pretty good sincere efforts.

    I'm hoping that despite my ongoing repetitive relapses and acting outs, I am slowly, slowly, slowly, going in the right direction. I still get this general feeling that I am, mentally, in a more stable ''place'' then where I was at the end of summer and in the fall. I am more depressed now in some ways, but I am calmer and more ''mature''. More grounded. So this gives me some hope.

    Hopefully the Stars (if they hear me) can intervene a little too and give a hand.

    But yeah, I have to do my part. So I'm going to try to keep it clean tomorrow (like today).

    Today I listened to 2 episodes of Porn Free Radio and I read the first workshop in the Recovery Nation Workshop. I also have begun The Porn Myth.

    I think one problem I have is that - deep down within - I still am unwilling to permanently let go of my compulsions. This is why I am stuck in the relapse and recovery pattern.

    But even if I have not completely beat this yet it doesn't mean I cannot beat it.

    On a final note, I'm also dealing with some pretty intense depression and lack of motivation right now. This is definitely amplified by the acting outs. But this also needs to be taken into account and addressed.

    While I have to take full responsibility for who I am and for my choices, I have to also be kind to myself and practice self care. I have to go easy on myself - yet be real with myself.

    Oh yes as a final note the Recovery Workshop states just how important it is to make recovery the absolute TOP priority in one's life - in the initial stages of recovery. I think that this is something I have failed to do so far in my attempts. Recovery always slides down in importance once I get a few weeks clean. This explains, at least in part, why I end up relapsing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
  15. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    I still haven't picked up enough steam to really feel comfortable offering advice, but I encountered something in my reader today that I thought might be particularly useful to share with you:

    "There are no days so bad that acting out can't make them worse!" -- Recovery saying

    When we are having a bad day, sometimes acting out seems like a good idea. However, this is when we need to remind ourselves that acting out will not fix anything--it will only make the situation and our life worse. It does not really matter what we use to act out--alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, relationships, manipulation of others, playing the victim, shopping--they all give us the same result!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When have I used acting out to cure a bad day? Did acting out fix my situation or make it worse? What gifts await me as I use my sobriety tools to get through my bad days in a way that is healthy, allows me to stay present, and strengthens the positive connections in my life?


    On a different note, one thing I have noticed is that, to some recurring frequency, you use the word compulsion to refer to your behavior. If you indeed think that is the case, have you ever considered the fact that you suffer from OCD in some shape or form? If so, I definitely recommend Dr. Jonathan Grayson's book Freedom From Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty. He starts the book by explaining what lies at the core of OCD, differentiates the biological and learned aspects of the disorder, discusses medications, explores what is meant by obsessions and compulsions with respect to the disorder, provides a self-diagnosing guide (this is somewhat time-consuming--or at least it was for me--but done seriously it can be very helpful), discusses some of the recovery tools involved (and which to avoid; some CBT tools used on the wrong people can be detrimental or unhelpful), and then moves on to treatment. This may be totally off the mark for you--and if it is I apologize--but I have noticed that for your own reasons, you have decided to defer seeing a psychiatrist (something which I am still doing as well); however, if you do have some issues with OCD, this book is a fantastic resource for working on/starting to work on the issue on your own. I know you are busy though (and you just started reading the Porn Myth), but I just wanted to share this in the off-chance it could benefit you. It's really comprehensive, but it's what you would expect from a nationally recognized expert with decades of experience working with patients with OCD. Highly recommended.

    Moreover, I get the feeling that you are somewhat (very?) lonely. This isn't a judgment, and in fact my life has been suffering from a dearth of social interaction and lack of authentic interpersonal connection. But I wonder, what's keeping you away from connecting to other groups of people in an attempt to break new ground with this addiction (or for you, a compulsion?)? I think most of these groups are 12-step related to some degree...is that a problem for you? Do you have a stigma around such groups? In addition to the members who are distrustful of these groups or found that they didn't work for them, I've also read from others on the forum who have used these groups and found them valuable. I think @nuclpow and @Rengaw are some examples, though my mind's a bit fuzzy at the moment with specific examples. But in the spirit of maintaining an open and explorative problem-solving approach, I thought I might at least mention some of the free/low-cost alternatives out there (as I recall you mentioning that therapy is not an option for you money-wise at the moment).

    Off the top of my head, there is PAA (which I believe is free, but if I remember correctly takes a day or two for your account to be processed, and you might have to post with some periodicity or your account will get canceled...or so my memory tells me haha), there's SAA online meetings (@nuclpow uses them, and seems to have benefited from them so far; online options are available), and Noah Church has a monthly Rebooter Support and Discussion Group that costs $40/month (this seems to be less 12-step oriented and more about creating a supportive atmosphere for people struggling with this issue). I am sure there are others, but if you were feeling some resistance, I thought I might try to offer you an initial springboard to exploring your problem in a different way.

    Let me end by saying I know the last two paragraphs might seem a bit hypocritical, as I am still working on the addiction from a heavily individual angle (minus my forum posts)--such as further mindfulness practice, reframing techniques, lifestyle change, etc.--but I have to admit that one of the common recovery tools I have been at close to 0% with is connecting with, looking for support from, and opening up to others (and by this I mean not anonymously online). I remember hearing a line somewhere about how doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is the definition of insanity. While that might be a bit hyperbolic, the message was delivered. What neurotic prison do we create for ourselves when we expect change without enacting it ourselves?

    There's more I want to say, but I can't gather all my thoughts. I'd say don't lose sight of the bigger picture, but it seems you've already got some grasp on it, as the following shows:

    Take care
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
  16. BoughtWithBlood

    BoughtWithBlood Well-Known Member

    You had a tremendous go at it! Congratulations on the 4? Weeks PMO free!

    Now it’s time to stop worrying and start making the right decisions again. I believe in you and I’m rooting for you! Wishing you a wonderful PMO free day.
     
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  17. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    You and me both. Still can't find a reason that will make me to fight it with 100%.
    Like you say, I'd lie if I'd say that I don't want to give in. I want to. Well, there has to be a way out, we'll find it.
     
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  18. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hello, luckily no relapse since last entry. The days can be challenging mentally and emotionally but I am trying to build a better and healthier approach. I think it has to be a holistic approach that encompasses abstinence but does not forget the importance of addressing what's underneath the compulsive habits.

    My depression and demotivation is still pretty high. I've been thinking of contacting a therapist but it's quite hard to do it. It feels like I'm trying to dig myself out of a deep hole. These days, I am experiencing a pretty strong level of shame about myself. I've been to dark places like this in the past though so I know it's possible to get the ball rolling again. What worries me is the fact that I fall back to these places despite getting the ball rolling, to a certain degree, in the past.

    Today I thought about how the addiction served as a way to relieve all the social anxiety I was feeling during my adolescence and that I did not know how to deal with (nor what it was at first). I think it's safe to say I had a pretty strong level of social anxiety as a teenager. Perhaps if I had not had the social anxiety I would not have developed these sexual compulsive habits. Perhaps then I would have been able to connect with humans on a better level and as a result addiction would not have fostered. This does not mean, however, that I cannot try my best to do something about it now... I am 33 which means I can still salvage something.

    @NewStart19 thanks for taking the time to write such a lengthy and thoughtful post. I appreciate getting your take and advice on things and I think it's very valuable. I think that there could be an element of OCD to my acting out. When I truly try to get clean and get some clean weeks in there the relapse always starts with a buildup of fantasies/flashbacks calling me back to those actions. It slowly gains in momentum and it becomes almost like an obsession until I usually succumb to that pressure/desire and act out. I think I also show OCD signs in some other things such as perfectionism, re-reading sentences and passages when I read (sometimes quite compulsively) and a few other examples. So yeah I think I have some OCD as a way to deal with anxiety. Thanks for the book recommendation I will save it to my list. Right now I have started The Porn Myth and I'm also thinking of trying the Recovery Nation Workshop so I have my hands full so to speak. I have herd before some people (perhaps even experts) say that all addiction is a form of OCD. So maybe there are a few ways to tackle this whole problem of compulsively acting out. I guess the most important part is to find one way to tackle it that works for us and even more importantly to work on it honestly and sincerely with a strong commitment.

    I think I may look into SAA as well so thanks for mentioning it. It takes some courage but I may do it because I'm tired of living with the addiction. I may force myself to attend if I relapse again actually.

    Loneliness is a big problem for me for sure. My recovery is for a big part an individual do it myself effort. It has worked to a certain degree at times, when the commitment was strong and sincere but when I do this on my own it's much easier to slip back down in addiction and also perhaps much harder to handle relapses. Indeed, finding a community would/could help me a lot.

    Thank you.

    @BoughtWithBlood Thank you ! Yeah I suppose getting 4 weeks clean is still a good thing. Hopefully I'm slowly going in the right direction despite still falling down. I hope the overall trend is upward. The last 8 days or so in that 28 day streak were messy though. I had a lot of problems with fantasies and I even peeked a few times. It was clear I was heading for a relapse. I'm hoping to build a stronger effort now.

    @Eternity Yeah. I think something is still lacking in the sincerity of the commitment. A part of me is still deliberately choosing the addiction.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
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  19. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Reading about addiction is helping keep my motivation up and is also giving me insights or reminding me of important things I should know. For example I was reminded that it's normal and expected to feel a great void/emptiness after an initial period of euphoria once we decide to let go of our addiction for ever. In other words, one can get about 1 month, maybe even 2, but then it's possible one will start feeling some intense feelings of emptiness which may last days, weeks or at worst months. I think it's possible/likely that this is where I have failed in previous attempts to really put an end to my addiction, I usually don't handle this ''void''. I convince myself that it means the addiction had it's purpose, I loose myself in it (all clarity) and end up relapsing. Perhaps this void is what we call ''PAWS'' or some people call it the flatline. Apparently it's important to be able to know/recognize one is actually healing during that phase even if it feels super bad. Recognizing that that feeling of emptiness is a very normal part of the process should help to endure it rather then to use it as a justification that it's better to fill the void back with the addiction.

    It would probably help me a lot to have some kind of real life addiction community group that would help me remember this is normal and that it will pass (in case I manage to get to that ''void'' phase again). Maybe, just maybe, I could do it on my own with the help of self-help and this forum, but it's likely I will fail yet again in a similar manner. I should at the very least consider seeing a therapist with whom I discuss all this in complete honesty (even if I find it shameful).

    I must not forget that this takes time to beat. I cannot expect to be a new man after 2 months without acting out. Sure some improvements may show at that point but it's also highly possible that recovery may take longer.

    My depression is still pretty strong and lack of motivation too. Lack of courage to live my life so to speak. To fight. But I hope that it's slowly coming back ... One thing is for sure, not acting out can only help (a lot?) here. Acting out will only create a stronger vicious circle of depression/cravings/chaser/acting out/despair/etc. (As last week was a reminder!).

    Today at least I did some cleaning for about 1h which is great. This should be a great habit to implement on a daily basis. I feel a little more motivation to clean my house then for other things for the moment. I also went for a run today, worked out a bit - and a walk in the evening. I also must remember to stay off social media as much as possible - use it only in case someone messages me. In general, keep screen time to a minimum.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
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  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Currently on day 11. It has been more or less easy enough to stay abstinent these 11 days as I had a pretty strong ''emotional motivation'' to stay clean. Today and maybe yesterday as well some urges are starting to come back a little more. The good old pull is making itself felt again. I found myself entertaining some ideas of relapse but very briefly. I've also found myself thinking back on past acting outs. I've been able to let them go quickly enough but still it's a little disappointing that ''they'' are already back. However, I knew very well they would be back. ''Emotional motivation'' always wanes quite fast. I think ''emotional motivation'' can even be part of the addiction. It replaces acting out for a time, usually when acting out does not provide further pleasure. After some time a return to acting out occurs. Then some more ''emotional motivation'' to recover/stay clean comes and so on...

    It's a cycle I know pretty well as I honestly think I'm also addicted to ''recovery''. What I know less of is transcending this initial ''emotional motivation'' and finding a more stable ''real'' (I know, I use a lot of ''...'' :)) recovery terrain. Right now, I'm really hoping of creating a more honest effort. But again, hope is not enough. It's only one element...

    Counting days is also a bit part of my recovery/relapse pattern. If I get to a sufficiently high number, part of me starts thinking ''I earn a relapse now''. In other words, I'm thinking that maybe for me it wouldn't be a bad idea to not really think about what day I'm on, since the goal is to stop the addiction for ever, permanently. On the other hand I could justify counting since realistically speaking I know there are a lot of chances of future acting outs and hence it's a good way to motivate myself to stay abstinent as long as possible (get a high day number, a ''long streak''). There seem to be a lot of mind games when it comes to beating this predicament.

    In any case, what matters is staying clean today and building the momentum. Beyond the ''mind games'' (which are often too complex for the mind to comprehend, let alone the tired addicted mind - the mind that is perhaps plagues with hypo frontality and stuff like that). So yea, stay clean today. Try to do that tomorrow as well and trust the fact that the mind will get more powerful as that happens. More clarity will then come. Better chances to keep going. Of course more stressors as well. Stressors that need to be managed without acting out. Clearly, one understands recovery is not a walk in the park. Yes, that initial post relapse ''emotional motivation'' feels nice but it's a little pink cloud that dissipates and then one has to truly choose to quit the addiction. One then has to truly choose the healthy life. And that is not easy. At least not for a long time. Truly, life becomes harder when I quit the addiction and that's perfectly normal I think. It's understanding this, expecting this, having a plan for this that should help handle this...

    I'm still pretty stuck with life right now. Motivation is pretty low, a lot of psychological blockages. Self esteem isn't too high. Some shame. Being stuck inside a lot is not ideal. So I guess I should at least think that staying clean is already a good thing for me.

    I have been reading a bit more of The Porn Myth. I've been checking out Recovery Nation Workshop though I will admit it seems like a really intense program. Reading about addiction is helping with knowledge and motivation though so that's always good. It's still a pretty ''passive recovery'' though... But I have to take it for now.

    Walks are helpful right now. Sometimes a little boring, sometimes they feel pleasant enough. Working out and running is very helpful and one of my main ''copes''. I'm trying to build a habit of cleaning my place more. I cleaned for around 1h today again. I have this feeling that if I would clean and throw stuff out my mind will declutter as well. Perhaps there is also some letting go of the past that would occur with throwing stuff away. Got to work on this...
     

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