Learning to be myself

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

  1. Shady

    Shady Well-Known Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 it's good that you didn't have any strong withdrawal symptoms. For me it was shivers and chills.

    I guess there's another element to take into consideration. It's not just the caffeine. You're used to sitting there with a cup in your hands and calmly drinking. So replacing it with a healthier drink is a good idea.

    But why do you think coffee and sexual urges are related?
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I had a general thought that one problem I have is I overanalyze things which paralyzes my capacity to take action. I over worry about things and thus postpone decision taking (and action) until I am forced to decide one way or another. Hey, I'm a pretty neurotic individual. One solution is to get in a mindset where I become less attached to whatever will happen and just practice taking action, even if it’s smaller actions, in feared directions. To not think as much and just kind of do things, without overanalyzing. When I manage to do this, from a positive mindset, things often come out well and I get a different kind of energy, or more of a flow state. Problem is that as soon as I get good or bad results I usually automatically start sliding down to my default overanalyzing and over worrying mindset. In other words if I practice detachment, even in smaller things, I soon enough fall back to the attached mindset. Another problem is also going too far with the ‘’not thinking and just doing strategy’’. Arguably, one could so something really dumb or stupid in such a state and then put himself in a difficult situation (consequences). It’s challenging to find the right level with this. But clearly being somewhat more detached with things where the consequences are not as bad as I fear (anxiety) is something to experiment with. I think in some spiritual philosophies they mention the concept of detachment. I think there could be a ''healthy detachment'' that can help in life, psychologically speaking.

    @NewStart19 - Indeed, thanks for pointing that out stopping coffee and stopping caffeine is not the same thing. I looked it up and generally speaking one standard cup of black coffee has about two times the caffeine amount that one standard cup of black tea has. I actually thought the difference was greater, I was imagining something like 1 cup of coffee being equivalent to 4 cups of black tea. This being said I still feel a clear difference to having a cup of black tea in the morning in comparison to a cup of coffee. I feel much more jolted or hyper after the latter. Since I have switched to tea, I'm also not having more caffeineited tea except the morning cup. If I have some tea in the afternoon it's tea without caffeine. If I want to go further down the path of less caffeine I can also start having green tea in the morning instead of black tea, since green tea has less caffeine. All this being said, I think I can handle coffee, as I have for years. But I think I'm going to keep going with this little experiement for some time. I do think it's helping my overall mood be more stable and, as a result, my general anxiety (including social anxiety) being more manageable. It would be cool if it would be just as easy to stop watching P lol. By the way, I have in the past gone full no caffeine for a time as well (i.e. going with only no caffeine tea for some time). I think it was more or less similar to how I feel now.

    Hopefully so. Thanks ! Just as you are as well.

    Yeah, the habit itself is definitely very pleasant ... I do miss the coffee though right now, the taste of it. But tea is all right as well.

    I think that, for me, it contributes to me having a more stable mood and less anxiety. As a result I can better handle the cravings. Or the urges are not as intense. This being said I have had strong sexual urges anyways since I stopped the coffee. But I think that coffee and that hyper mood I can get from it brings me to a place where I am more impulsive. So that was the theory... My conclusion is that it does help to a certain degree with the urges, but it's not a full proof method either. Also, it probably has a bit of an effect on general sleep quality and that probably helps as well.
    Shady and NewStart19 like this.
  3. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Oh my God I RELAPSED !!!!! :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad: NOOOOO...... I'm back on Cofee MoFo's :cool::cool:

    I will have to join COFEEHOLICS ANONYMOUS ! ;)
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  4. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Lol haha, at least you admit you have a problem. I am still in denial :D
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  5. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    Hope you’re well, man. Haven’t heard from you in a while.
  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hey, it's been a while I haven't posted but I think I should try to get back to this.

    I messed up today and yesterday again with the PMO and I'm not feeling too happy and proud about that. After messing up yesterday I managed to find some composure in the evening and some ambition to get back on the right path. However today I just could not resist the craving and the temptation once again.

    These days, I'm having a lot of trouble resisting these desires, the lustful thoughts. I don't know exactly why, but I think I'm just out of balance to a certain extent. There are a few things that can probably explain that.

    My idea is to try to get some regulation in me, some balance. To find some zen again. Some inner peace and that kind of stuff. But yeah, it's been difficult to find it, let alone to keep it lately.

    I think what can help me is to cut down internet time, complete the daily healthy habits with more consistency and try to connect with other people in a positive way (although this one can be quite tricky and challenging and nerve wrecking).

    One positive note I think is that I know there was temptation in me to go down even harder in a downward spiral these last 2 days and yet I managed to stall the fall as best I could. I think I'm realizing it's important to fight right now to get a solid footing again in terms of balance (and including, of course, this PMO thing which is out of control, again, right now).
  7. mikehunt

    mikehunt Member

    Good to see you back. Tenacity is the most important thing.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  8. Shady

    Shady Well-Known Member

  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hey guys, thanks at all the people who liked my last post (after an absence of me posting on my journal). And thank you @mikehunt and @Shady for welcoming me back. I'm glad to see all of you still on here.

    Since the last post, I have fallen down again on Sunday. Saturday, I had some social events and I ended up drinking much more then I should've had to one of them (the second). The first social event was a little stressful but the second was pleasant. Having two social events in a row was in itself a stressor. I think maybe that's why I kind of drank a lot at the second. To unwind kind of, especially since I was feeling pretty well there. But Sunday, as a result, I felt really bad. Physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually. In that state, as it (almost) always happens, I ended up falling down the usual unhealthy coping mechanism and, of course, I felt even worst after (really terrible). I slowly recovered later on in the day. But yet another very vivid reminder of what it feels like to be on the wrong path and to feel dreadful.

    Luckily, I've been doing better since then and have gotten back to a better path. I've been focusing on the daily healthy habits ; exercising, meditation, eating correctly, sleeping, journaling. In particular, I want to get back to a more consistent meditation practice. This is something which over the last months I haven't been as consistent as I once was with. I'm pretty sure daily meditation can help me.

    I'm happy that I have the feeling in me to look for stability and the right path. So the fall during the weekend is not a good thing but at least there is a silver lining in that I am still looking for getting to a better place. Rather then going down more. At this point I have to accept this latest fall down.

    I still think I have to monitor my internet time, and that this could prove to be very helpful in my well being. Especially to minimize mindless surfing without a clear scope. These days I have more free time when I am at home, so this is especially important to apply as it's easy to get sucked into this habit when home without clear things to do. Besides this element of monitoring and decreasing the internet usage I am also trying to think of certain proactive and positive activities I could look into. These could even be pass times such as learning to sketch or to paint with YT free classes. Or perhaps something else. Finally, I think, as I was mentioning in my last post, just how important it is to try to connect with people in a healthy manner. I am much too isolated and it's not a good thing.
  10. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I have been hardmode clean since my last post and I feel more balanced and stable right now. I have been doing daily positive habits which are helping me reach a threshold of stability. I have been meditating with more consistency then I have in quite some time. I'm back at meditating twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. I'm also exercising daily. I have been sleeping well enough, usually more then 7 hours. I'm also trying to eat healthy. All of this is not making anxiety, depression, worry and fear disappear, but it brings me to a much better ''level'' then if I wouldn't be practicing these things.

    I remember I felt emotionally disconnected and also spiritually disconnected from myself after the last resets. I had reset three times in four days. I had also, in that four day period, drank a lot one night (and was hungover the next day). Now, I feel more connected with myself again. More calm. Calm despite the underlying anxiety and depression that I need to accept and deal with in proper ways.

    During the months I have stopped posting on my journal on here, I managed to be pretty moderate in my PMO usage. I stopped counting streaks and let go of the idea of being ''clean''. I focused on other things and I was seriously busy. Stressed out but also busy. I used PMO to eliminate some tension. But, because I was busy with new things and my schedule changed a lot, I was able to keep PMO under a certain level of control (not a huge level of control, just a bit of control let's say). But of course, I was always near the line of more compulsive usage. And little by little I neared that line more. Until certain lines (in terms of intensity of usage) where crossed again. Lines which had not been crossed for months. And once those lines where crossed, it was hard not to cross them again. The usual pattern. I knew I was not ''free'' of this problematic habit/addiction/thing. Even before those lines where crossed again.

    Has taking a break from journaling here helped stay moderate ? I don't think it had a considerate effect. Maybe it lessened the obsession to a degree. But it didn't eliminate the problematic behavior. Moderation, for a while, came from other factors.

    I feel like there are many challenges awaiting in the near future. This motivates me to stay balanced and present in my life. I don't really want to repeat past mistakes in terms of magnitude. I will slip down some similar slopes but I will do my best not to slip as far down again. To recognize the signs earlier on. To start implementing the right actions earlier on, as to change the momentum.
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  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I have to report that I relapsed yesterday. Not to happy or proud about it but I'm now trying to focus on keeping it as minimal as I can and simply to get back to the proper path as soon as I can. The upside is that I kept it at one single relapse so far.

    I relapsed because there was opportunity for it mixed in with restlessness, boredom, underlying worries, problems and pressing life decisions. My mind started drifting towards certain fantasies early on in the day. I tried fighting the cravings for a while but in the end I gave in and couldn't stop myself (although I knew I would regret the decision after).

    It's a new day now and I should try my best to keep it clean from here.
    -Luke- likes this.
  12. CleanBootsBaby!

    CleanBootsBaby! Active Member

    Now that's a good man right there, doing the right thing. ;)
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  13. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Well folks, after the relapse last Friday (which came after 12 good days), I managed to get back in the saddle for 3 other good days but I completely crumbled yesterday (big time binge) followed by another chaser somewhat shorter binge today as well.

    Truth is I wasn't feeling that good mentally, during the weekend, despite managing to get three clean days in after the Friday relapse. I felt a lot of anger within me and I felt restless and worried. It did not help that I fell down in a very pointless and dumb argument with my father during the weekend. Such arguments are very much relapses in themselves actually. I am always very disappointed in myself when I allow myself to go down those paths. The fact that I was already angry and unbalanced before the argument was a factor in not controlling my emotions and allowing myself to get involved in a self-destructive family argument. After that argument I had cravings on Monday but I had a social event planned. I resisted to not relapse Monday - and the social event was a healthy and positive thing (and I felt pretty confident socially, because overall I had not relapsed that much lately). However, Tuesday (yesterday) was a different story. I gave in to the cravings (which where still there waiting) and jumped right back in the hole. And today another chaser like relapse. I was back in full on addict mode most of yesterday and part of today.

    Anyways, here I am. The good thing is that I am still motivated to find the proper path. I realise that I am still way too undisciplined. I have to bring monk mode, I think, to the next level. I realize that, even if I practice good daily habits, I still watch too much pointless dumb stuff on television (series, etc.). I still spend way too much time on pointless crap online. All this I feed in me and no wonder I don't manage to stay healthy and balanced. It takes it's toll. If I am to beat this thing and become a better and stronger version of myself I need address things at a more elementary level. I have to be careful all the crap that I consume (including the news).

    So yes, time to get back up again. Got to keep trying, but got to try smarter and better.

    One decent thing is that I have a 17 days meditation streak going. And also that I am doing well in terms of general fitness (working out, running, some biking most days). Just got to keep building on this, but better. Got to understand how to keep the ''why'' going (the reason). Got to learn to not let it get fogged out (which means falling back down).

    Guidelines for the present moment :
    - Monk Mode - even in the smaller details
    - Get things done
    - Do not be unsocial - but don't be over social (find the right positive balance)
    - Careful with family fights - be cool and calm and collected - be smart

    @CleanBootsBaby! - Hey there, thank you !
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  14. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    These are some good guidelines. I hope it'll help you to be back on the horse soon.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  15. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    You've done well in the past, so I'm sure you can do it. Giving up is the last thing we do, I think. We can be gone from here for months, but we always return. That's got to count for something.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  16. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 4 - I've been having some urges today and yesterday. I'm not following my guidelines very well. I'm not as ''monk mode'' as I'd like to be. Also, I'm not touching the things that I need to do. I'm in a general trend of procrastination, inertia and laziness. The only positive things I have done for the last three days is to not indulge again and to practice some daily healthy habits (sleeping enough, working out, meditation, decent diet, some journaling). But the fact that I can't bring myself to work on the things I need to do is an element that is probably making relapse more likely. I'm also surprised how strong the urges have been today and yesterday. I was seriously entertaining the thought of acting out again. I'm surprised because after the last relapse three days ago I really felt like I was done with ''the pit''. And yet here is the pull again. I'm also not too sure about focusing on counting. I'm not sure it's a healthy approach and it feels like a place I've been in so many times. I know so well this kind of motivation that vanishes so easily after 2 or 3 weeks clean. In my better phases I didn't really pay as much attention to the day I was on or the counter. The motivation came from somewhere else but right now that kind of motivation seems to be elusive.

    But who knows, as a more positive note, maybe if I wouldn't have set up this counter I would have relapsed again this week after the Tuesday and Wednesday relapses.

    @-Luke- Thanks Luke.

    @Eternity - Thank you man. It's nice to see you on here again. I'll be following your journal.
  17. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Hey man,

    first of all, I want to acknowledge your wish to living a porn-free life. I imagine, it wasn't easy to start journaling again, after having been absent from the forums for a few months. There is no shame in doing that, quite the contrary!

    When reading your post, I thought about seeing a lot of perfectionism speaking from inside yourself. Like striving for "monk mode". And you phrased doing your daily healthy habits like they were a given for most people. Personally, I think the majority of the western population struggles with sleeping enough, working out regularly, most of them not meditating and journaling at all, and most certainly not eating healthily if you take a look at obesity rates. I bet, you could always do a little more, or do a little less of some vices like watching too many tv shows or youtube videos. But aiming for perfection will always set you up for failure because achieving perfection is not possible. At least not long term. And there is crux which is the belief that once you are perfect, you are bullet-proof which - of course - will never be the case. Moreover, the activities of striving for perfection become punishing themselves as you are not doing them perfectly, in a perfect frequency, in a perfect intensity, etcetera. I say, as long as your vices do not lead to relapse or to you missing out in things that need to be done, forbearing them might not be the worst choice available.

    As for urges, perhaps its helpful to remind yourself of the underlying mechanics. Your addicted part of the brain is in a deficit-state meaning you are not at a satisfaction-level (for a lack of better words) of 0/100 but at -30/100. Have you ever been approached by a junkie in a city who desperetaly and tenaciously begged you for money? That is your brain at the moment. It literally hurts not to give in and relapse which is why it's so hard to withstand and on a primitive and emotional level is so counter-intuitive. That's also why peeking will in 99% of the times will lead to relapsing as it's opening up wounds which feel like they are not being treated if you were not to relapse.

    For that reason, perhaps you feel like counting days might also not seem to be the best or most achievable of ideas as the implication is to aim for a porn-free life which equals to an infinite number of days. Even 90 or 120 days might seem as big as infinite in the state you are in temporarily. The promised land you think to perceive at the far horizon seems unreachable. Maybe, it would be more helpful for you to just aim for the next leg of the journey? Take a calendar with a goal in mind to cross the day with a big X at the end of the day. It is important to reflect that the urges you are experiencing are only of temporary nature even so recurrent albeit way smaller urges will accompany you infrequently for the rest of your life. Not to play the party-pooper here but that's what it's like for me. It sucks but there are far worse fates, I think.

    The same way just not today will result in a sober life eventually, just this one last time and I will start fresh tomorrow will keep you seated permanently in the merry-go-around of misery.

    As for the stress-inducing things and tasks in life that we are running away from, they will be a constant stressor for as long as they are not being worked on, equalling with being a constant reason for relapse. Have you reflected on them? Are your fears which revolve around them reasonable? Is it just annoying? Are they constantly showing up in an environment you are in at the moment, making it unbearable for you who you are, even if you were sober? We all have our special and individual needs. If the plant you are cannot strive in a desert, maybe you are tilting at windmills? The world is a weird place and we are living in a very weird time, that is for sure.

    Have a great week, I'm rooting for you!
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  18. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 5 - Today has been a much better day then yesterday in terms of navigating cravings and choosing good options. I had the crazy ideas of acting out once again but this time it was much clearer that I would say ''no'' to them (compared to yesterday when I had some problems clearly saying ''no''). I was out of the house for a good part of the day which helped (although I went on my own so no points for social but still). I also switched things up by working out and going for a run before breakfast, whereas lately I've been working out in the afternoons. Working out in the morning seems to have given me a good positive boost for the day. As another note I've been reading a lot lately. My diet has been really good the last few days and I feel well physically. Energetic and pretty balanced.

    @Pete McVries - Hey man, it's been a while ! Thanks so much for your detailed post. Thanks for taking the time to go in-depth like that, it feels very supportive and it's helpful to hear these things. In particular, thanks for reminding me about the mechanics of addiction. I will definitely give a more detailed response as well to the points you brought up in my next update. Take care and a good week to you as well !
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  19. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Pete McVries - As mentioned yesterday, here is a more detailed response to your input. First off, regarding the perfectionistic attitude, I think I do struggle with this and have for a long time. It's probably a general issue in my life and one that sabotages me even when I'm doing well (not only when I'm in more of a rut). Yes, for a long time I realized I should strive for ''good enough'' rather then for ''perfect''. Or to try to have realistic expectations. This being said, it's tough to know for sure when a more severe attitude towards myself is not necessary. Perhaps after my last resets (serious binges last Tuesday followed by a chaser Wednesday) such an attitude coud be warranted and even helpful. In any case, the reason I mentioned the need to go Monk Mode at a more detailed level (thus addressing even the smaller vices such as internet usage or television or other similar ones) is that I thought, after the last relapse, that this is a way to make it easier to resist the bigger vices (namely PMO). I thought that by striving for Monk Mode I can exercise my self discipline, my will power muscle and most importantly, from a biochemical perspective, to decrease the dopamine release (through the smaller daily pleasures), the strategy behind the notion of dopamine fasting. So the idea behind Monk Mode is also, in part at least, trying to find a way to make myself stronger in order to be able to be committed to staying clean from PMO. But all this is tricky because on another level people mention how will power is a muscle that can get tired and at times it's okay to get some rest. So in this sense one may be smart to reward oneself with little pleasures or distractions. I am not exactly sure what is the correct strategy here or if it's even worth it to dissect this question in such a detailed manner.

    Regarding the other area that showed perfectionism in my post, the fact that I said I have only been keeping up with my daily habits but haven't done more important stuff that need to be done, I think that it's because I know I have to address certain things and I am afraid that, even the positive daily habits, as healthy as they can be, aren't serving as a way to procrastinate from the other stuff that needs to be done. But I think that it's true I may be a bit severe with myself when I say I've only done the healthy habits and restrained from PMO - which perhaps from an addiction standpoint should be looked at in a more positive manner. Maybe it's not that easy to do just that after yet another acting out. I've been told many times that I am too severe on myself and perhaps there is truth to this as I was saying at the beginning of this response. So thanks for pointing this out.

    As I was saying yesterday, thank you for mentioning the mechanics of addiction. Since March I never actually tried going on an actual clean streak and though I've had small streaks, I never got past 14 days or so. And most of the time I was PMOing at least once per week. Maybe this has increased my need for ''the drug'' and it's now harder to cut it off intentionally. I know that I probably don't pay enough attention to the scientific explanations behind addiction, in comparison to other rebooters. I seem to always focus on the more spiritual aspects of addiction (shame, ''the emptiness in the soul'', stuff like this). Maybe this is one aspect that makes me relapse even on better streaks (I still remember with a lot of disillusionment my relapses on my best streaks, for instance last summer after my 63 days hardmode reboot).

    About the days counting, I think I would be well inclined to think of it as only today. That's the most humble type of effort and commitment and usually the one that proved the best in helping me stay on track for longer. There is a form of humbleness and simplicity in this approach as well. You point out very well how this approach cumulates to eventual sobriety whereas telling oneself that just one more time today and I start (yet again) tomorrow conducts to perpetual relapsing.

    Finally, regarding the things that I should be doing, they cause me a lot of discomfort and anxiety to the point that I am procrastinating heavily on them. This is where it's hard to mix self compassion (not being too severe on myself) yet not be deluded (which increases the odds of relapses among other things). I have tried reflecting on why they are bothering me and I have some speculative guesses. It's mainly having to do things that are out of my comfort zone but that I feel are too out of my comfort zone for them to actually be beneficial for me. It's also because they imply a lot of decision making, which is something that I always had trouble with, and to make things more complicated in some, indeed, very strange times. I'm hoping that Monk Mode and being disciplined can help me tackle these things somehow, but I fear that only focusing on Monk Mode can be a way to delude myself that I'm doing something whereas I'm still not touching ''these things''. I could be a bit too severe on myself here though and a more lenient and friendly and supportive attitude towards myself, while staying clean, could prove to be helpful. For some reason I feel that right now it's very important to establish some basic sobriety and to focus on recovery. But yes, not sure if this is not another subtle form of distracting myself from the things I need to address. I think I need to stay sober (today) and keep reflecting on this issue, while slowly trying to address the things that need to be addressed, albeit in a supportive manner with myself.

    All this being said, thanks again for your helpful and supportive input which helped me see the situation from an outer perspective and forced me to reflect in order to provide this answer ;).
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
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  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 9 - I had a return of cravings, urges, fantasies today after having spent a few days at my parent's (whereas urges decreased in severity during Day 5 to 8). I was seriously entertaining thoughts of acting out earlier today. Luckily, I haven't gone that way. Yesterday in particular I had a lot of anger and frustration within me. It was tricky to deal with it. There are moments when a lot of anger boils inside me. Anger is very hard to deal with. It's almost like a strong rage inside, beneath the surface. A fury. Today was better in terms of anger (I was more zen today) BUT, as I was saying, I had thoughts and urges of acting out. To go soothe that anger with oblivion, the very short lasting oblivion.

    This is a time for me when I'm facing multiple stressors and problems (on many levels). Personal, familial and even societal (as I find society is seriously rocked right now). At times, I can feel courage, hope and equanimity in front of problems, other times, things can make me worry a lot. I can feel very pessimistic and down at times about things.

    Well, it's cool I am showing a bit of self control by being clean at least right now. A binge can always make things even darker. Whereas staying clean helps the flickering flame of hope. Thus, onwards we must thread.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
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