Learning to be myself

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

  1. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Same, due to a P dream I think. And frustration is a known trigger for me. I should know by now that giving in only makes things worse, and yet I consider it.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Today was harder then the previous days. I felt strong temptation to relapse. I think it's a mix of feeling down and maybe especially the opportunity to indulge.

    I haven't been as consistent with daily positive habits as of late so maybe this is playing a role. I'm also stagnating to a certain degree into important things I should be doing for myself. On the other hand, I've also done other useful things so can't be overly hard on myself. But it's important that I recognize the state of mind which leads me closer to relapse and the actions that can foster that state of mind.

    I've been sensing how overall I feel some confidence and self esteem which is likely a result from being 3 weeks in control. I still experience social anxiety often enough though. But I think the baseline of confidence or comfort with myself is at a better level.

    I've had a lot of sexual dreams lately (I can recall 3 since my last journal entry). Clearly my brain is asking and hoping for the dopamine hits.

    I have to remember the mechanics of addiction, in order to see through the cravings and I have to think only about one day at a time. For instance today when I was hit with strong cravings and opportunity to act out I remembered that the goal was to stay clean today. I tried to not think about day numbers.

    Finally I was also able to clearly picture how acting out would bring from A --> B --> C --> D and that this sequence was clearly clearly clearly bringing me to a shitty place. That realization helped me to finally tell myself ''no''.
    -Luke- and Pete McVries like this.
  3. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Well I have to report that I relapsed today. I'm disappointed as always afterwards but the only way is forward. The relapse was short enough (for my standards) but I could not resist a chaser relapse right after (so basically I PMOed twice, with a short break in between, in the span of about 90 minutes).

    It really wasn't fun. I was feeling depressed even as I was doing it. Maybe that's a positive I don't know. Was it worth throwing away a 22 day streak for this ? Not at all. And I knew that even before I started.

    Why did I do it ? I wasn't strong enough to resist the temptation. I chose to do it. So the commitment is not sincere enough yet.

    There was also the usual buildup of fantasizing during this streak that led to the increase in temptation gradually. Obviously I should be more strict in my tendency to engage in fantasies after I'm clean for some time, but it's very difficult for me to control that aspect of my mind. But despite the temptation today, I could have chosen to act in a different manner and the buildup of fantasises would gradually have decreased back down. But I chose to go down the very well known desolate, lonely and destructive path once more rather then strive on forwards in the face of urges.

    It's done now, so I am going to try to recover for the rest of the day. A 22 day streak is still something positive to build on, as long as I get back on the proper path asap.
  4. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    Good job on 22 days. If you can keep it up, that's only 16.59 beat-offs per year. Not bad...

    Not too many folks out in the real world (not even ultra-conservative old choir ladies) are going to say that 16.59 yearly beat-offs will make or break you.

    So wrap your arms around yourself and say "I'm alright and everything is good". I'm told this is a healthy exercise ... I don't personally find it does much, but .... y'know.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
  5. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Thanks @Doper. Appreciate it. Perspective is indeed important, especially when it comes to getting back on the right path quickly instead of beating oneself up. It's too bad I relapsed but it's true, 22 days is still a decent effort.

    As a mini-update, I was able to keep it clean for the remainder of the day (and do some healthy things such as working out and eating a good meal and taking a long walk where I felt I was able to find some inner peace again) and I hope to find the right groove again and isolate, as much as I can, this relapse.

    I've also wrote down a list of things to tackle tomorrow.
  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I think I often feel the worst one day after I relapse then the day of the relapse. Despite the disappointment and sense of guilt that comes with a relapse I often also have a kind of relaxation effect that comes from getting the fix, which lasts even after for a time. I think it's the contrast between the severe urges before the lapse and the sense of relief that comes from giving in. So I usually don't feel too bad for about 12 hours after. It's another story the following day. The following day, I usually feel terrible. It's like unbearable, compared to the day before. This time there is the disappointment and the sense of guilt still there, but there is also a mix of emptiness, and worst of all a sense of frustration, deprivation and need. You just need more of it. That's when it takes a heck lot of resolve to be able to handle, psychologically speaking, the fact that a relapse occurred and that it's more important not to act out again rather then to find immediate relief from those feelings of emptiness and deprivation through some more indulging. This pattern is what makes me stay down in the pit (and many other rebooters) once an initial relapse occurs. It's what we call the pit. The pit always feels like hell after one or two days. Things often start feeling a bit better after 72 hours. Then one can make the mistake of indulging again however giving up here is not as difficult to avoid then on that Day 1 when it's harder. All this to say that yesterday I felt a lot of feelings of deprivation and frustration and it was difficult for me to convince myself the right thing to do is to not indulge again. Luckily I managed to go this way but it made me even more depressed and angry for the latter part of the day. I also kept thinking about all the problems I have and it felt overwhelming. Luckily or not these are feelings I am well accustomed too and I can surf them for a while until they chill out again. Today is better then yesterday so got to keep it clean.
    mikehunt, Pete McVries and Shady like this.
  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    It’s been five days since the last out of control episode. Five days sober, I guess. The last out of control episode consisted of an almost weeklong preoccupation with sexual fantasies, of multiple and repetitive acting out spells. It was really a trip down into a secret, hidden, and dysfunctional version of myself.

    During that week, I was unable to get one single sober day in despite meaning to. My willpower was inexistant. It was very hard to stop myself from accomplishing the instant gratifying behaviors repeatedly.

    If there is a silver lining to acting out, it’s that it always offers me the chance to take a hard look at how dysfunctional some of my behaviors and my life are. From there, I can generate a certain amount of motivation to change.

    I feel that I am still not truly understanding that I need to change. Or maybe another way to say this is that I don’t really want to change yet. Not at a profound level. But the main issue, before anything else, is that there is still a required level of understanding (of realization) that has not yet been reached.

    It’s possible that I have improved over the last 10 years, to a certain degree, my desire to change. I do think I am taking this more seriously than I was 10 years ago. But it still seems to be insufficient. I mean I don’t know to tell the truth. It’s hard for me to see if there is any actual progress or if I am deluding myself. Maybe both things are happening. Life is complex enough to allow something like this. While there is some progress being made, I am also strongly deluding myself about my life, my problems, my self. The question is, can I reach that understanding, that is necessary for greater change to occur, of my own will, or is this just a process that I cannot really speed up and I need to accept the ups and downs I keep going through?

    My understanding right now is that, in my case, my behaviors are a symptom of a deeper problem. I am ready to accept without much doubt that there is a physical and neurological component to these behaviors which make them an addiction (and me an addict). I am ready to accept that I need to abstain from them to the best of my ability, for pathways in my brain to heal. I am ready to accept that abstaining alone will solve a lot of problems, by resetting my brain pathways. But I am certain that in my case I cannot only rely on abstinence. I cannot do that because I will never actually be able to abstain for enough time (if my approach is only one of abstinence). What I need to do is to find a way to understand my problems and address them simultaneously while doing my best to practice abstinence from the maladaptive and dysfunctional behaviors. This is not something I have never realized before (I must have mentioned this in my journal many times), but it’s something that I am able to see more clearly again. I would say that, looking at the last 2 months alone, I think that I have attacked my addiction from an abstinent dominant perspective, and this hasn’t worked. It has led me to relapsing and then getting stuck in compulsive acting out once I relapsed.

    So, while abstinence is important and key, I need to look at how I can address the underlying issues behind my behaviors. And this is where I’m a little stuck, this is where that understanding is lacking. What I can see is that I still have a lot of difficulty facing discomfort, of facing reality. Related to this, I think I am also very inclined to hide, in a certain way to be dishonest about who I really am. This lack of truth combined with the lack of facing discomfort (and my fears) are part of my addictive personality or are the ledge which make me walk down the path of acting out. My dysfunctional behaviors are, finally, an extension of this way of being. So, what I can infer from this is that, beyond abstinence, what needs to guide me is the principles that I need to face discomfort, to accept it, and that I need to practice being honest about who I am. Of not hiding who I am. These two usually go hand in hand. The problem, though, is that these principles are still too idealistic, they are not very concrete. As a result they can help out motivation to change for a short time but usually get dissolved after some time of living ‘’in the real world” (that is, without the help of the addiction).
    Shady likes this.
  8. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I wrote this yesterday :
    [Day 0
    - I went for 11 days but stupidly relapsed today. Another budding streak down the drain. Very disappointed and angry at myself. My self respect is completely shot after the relapse. My self esteem completely down the drain. I feel literally terrible. My life is such an incredible mess and I don't think it's even possible to fix it anymore. It's a complete shame how terribly I messed up the one life I have. I am so tired of myself, my problems and this addiction yet I keep choosing over and over and over again to do the wrong thing and cut any possibility for me to improve my situation. I am just an incredible failure. Today I could have easily been on Day 12, bringing it home. But I automatically decided to go for easy pleasure as an opportunity presented itself. There is no way around it, I have to be able to experience the pain of life without this emotional crutch and to face life and to face the decisions life asks of us and to try to live. But I just refuse to do this. I deserve this other kind of pain which the addiction brings. Honestly, I deserve to die.]

    And I write this today :

    Day 1
    - After 11 days without acting out, I acted out again yesterday. I feel terrible with myself and my life. I don’t think I am recovering at all right now I am just stuck in a loop where I count days, white knuckling it for the most part, and then I choose to indulge again. I am an absolute addict, but I seem to forget this after a couple of days. Tunnel vision sets in with each passing day and then I choose to relapse again.

    My recovery efforts lack real depth. There is no deeper understanding taking place. There is so much denial. The denial allows the tunnel vision to set. There is also no deeper taking stock of my life, of truly realizing that I am throwing it down the drain. I am refusing to take responsibility to change my life. Despite my occasional words on here saying I want to recover; my actions prove otherwise. If I keep doing more of this it’s very clear that things will only keep getting worst, gradually or at once.

    Things always change, either for the better or for the worst.

    I am also dishonest with myself. I am deceiving myself constantly. I fear to be truly honest with myself. I am incapable of taking a strong honest look at who I have become. At what my life has become. I am incapable of doing this. Because of this lack of honesty with myself, it is impossible for me to become responsible for myself and truly make an impact on my life (changing things). I am just playing the victim.

    I have to make a serious change if I am to every recover and have a chance at living my life.

    May God help me, but most of all, may I help myself. May I truly find it in me to do the real hard work it takes to change my life.
    Pete McVries likes this.
  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 9 – Recovery is going overall okay right now. I am glad to have been able to isolate the last relapse (so far). Prior to that relapse I had been clean for 11 days, so this means overall I’m doing relatively okay right now (at least in terms of abstinence). There was a pattern that developed in the last month or two where once I would relapse on a streak, I would re-relapse on the fourth day clean after the initial relapse. I’m glad that this time I finally beat this pattern.

    I’ve been having triggering thoughts for the past days, however. But I’ve been able to handle them for now and refocus.

    I don’t think I’m sufficiently ‘’active’’ in terms of my recovery, beyond abstinence, however. The last relapse really stinged and I felt dreadful and completely hopeless once it occurred (see last entry). I could very clearly see just how low my life is sinking into darkness, and how it’s going to sink down further if I don’t fully commit to fighting the addiction. Unfortunately, a few days after relapses, once I start feeling a bit better, I don’t feel this sense of urgency as much. It’s like I start to minimize my compulsive behaviors. It’s what I referred to last time as tunnel vision slowly setting in. This tunnel vision coupled with the emotions of sober life, which can be overwhelming to deal with, usually imply the return of the fantasies and then of the behaviors.

    I really think that, for me, recovery implies finding a way to see myself and my life more objectively. There is of course much more to it than only this, but this is the foundation from which the sincere commitment to truly change must come from. Everything else is then built on this sincere commitment for change. Another fundamental element for my own recovery, I think, is to find a way to be more honest with myself. I must be honest with myself about what I feel. Including uncomfortable feelings. I think I often reject or repress certain emotions I have or thoughts. It’s like an inner bully that I have. I think this behavior is part of the cycle for me which leads to acting out eventually. So, I have to be more raw and honest with myself.

    I also had a small observation about myself today. I’m easily bored with people, I think. I don’t have that much interest in what others have to say. I’m bored with ‘’normal life’’ and with the people. I don’t know if this can be explained by being deprived of ‘’pleasure’’ (of dopamine), or if this is something deeper (which is what I think). I think this has to do with the fact that I am not that authentic with people in my relationships. Again, it comes down to having the courage to being more honest. Maybe I'm also kind of selfish in the end and don't care that much about others. Maybe this is an aspect of my personality that, if I would recover as a person, would improve. It would be worth it in this case.

    One thing is for sure it's that in my case the often herd phrase that - the opposite of addiction is connection - applies well to me. I don't really connect with people much. And that's where the healing could happen. If I find a way, slowly, to connect a little more with people. But in a healthy way. Not in an uncontrolled way.
    Shady and Pete McVries like this.

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