Learning to be myself

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

  1. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    I didn't realize you were so far into a streak ATM. What I did when I was dealing with the most intense sexual fantasies that I couldn't get out of my head last weekend was just to remember that the point at which you choose to indulge in/look at your triggers is the point where you fail. If you have all these fantasies you can't get out of your head, but you choose not to take that tiny step and look at what you know you're not supposed to, you won't relapse. It's that simple. That's the moment of truth, the moment of decision.

    The worst piece of advice I ever tried to overcome PMO is some guy on r/NoFap who said to never look at any woman or image of a woman under any circumstance. Whenever I was in public, I was obsessed with averting my eyes, being anal about where I looked, avoid billboards and crowds of people and shopfronts...It was a disaster and I ended up relapsing every single day when I tried it.

    You don't have to be a monk. The moment of decision is all that matters. Godspeed
     
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  2. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    Seeing a lot of talk about goals here. This is a problem for me at times. My inner critic grabs the goal and says, "Oh, we're trying to be more social? Got it. Oh, hey, you suck at this." I often call it the loop. The inner critic has become part of my recovery. That's not fair. I'm not saying you're self-sabotaging @Thelongwayhome27 just warning you about a trap I often fall into. I read 6 Pillars. The exercises are helpful. I wish the author had more stories of actual patients, but maybe I wasn't in a good space to be reading it.

    I never remember dreams, but lately I have been having some sex dreams. Sure, I'm not using PMO, so that makes sense. You're onto something here because I am now remembering other dreams as well. Maybe because I spent so much of my time awake in a fantasy P world, I didn't need dreams. A few months ago, before relapse, I told my psychiatrist about a dream. She eluded that maybe my dream was my mind trying to make sense of the actual rewiring happening with my neurons. That's a cool way to look at it.

    Not to motivate you with outside pressure, but I agree with @Gilgamesh 53 days is awesome! We're eager for you to light the way! Congrats!
     
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  3. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    Funny you mention this. I just had the first dream I remembered in detail in a long time the other day. I've read a few others make similar claims.
     
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  4. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I've relapsed yesterday. I've made a couple of strategic mistakes lately and in the end I gave in to the urges. I think that allowing myself, lately, to indulge in fantasy in my imagination was an important aspect in the urges and fantasies growing stronger. Instead of disconnecting from sexual fantasies when they presented themselves I often got carried away by them. The will to disconnect from them, to let them go, grew weaker. It was tough the last days to resist and I made another mistake by drinking a lot on a night out with friends. The next day I was hungover and in that unpleasant state it's harder to resist. That's what happened and I relapsed. I PMO'ed twice, chatted in a sexually compulsive way and browsed escort type of ads. I was close to acting out on the latter. Thankfully it didn't happen. I imagine there will be a strong chaser in the days to come. Fantasies are tricky because they come in subtle ways, I always feel they are innocent and even healthy in a way, part of healthy sexuality, part of me. But the problem is that they seem to be "middle circle" activities. They make me slip back towards the behaviors I am trying to eradicate by increasing the urges to act out those behaviors. Letting go of fantasy, though, is easier said then done. I am not exactly sure I want to do that, I cherish those sensations.
     
  5. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    Hey. I'm sorry to hear you slipped up. I was looking forward to congratulating you on beating my best streak of 68 days in a few weeks (before I will)! It's a little scary reading your account of what led up to relapse, because so many of those steps sound exactly like what happens to me before I relapse.

    As for fantasies, this is not something I've resolved for myself. I wrote just in the past few days about how wrong it could feel to be without those ideas, how it could make me feel bored and lonely to not have those thoughts in my head. I guess your post could serve a purpose and make me wearier of what these ideas can do.

    I just hope I'm entering a flatline. Hopefully that will (could) make things easier.

    Good luck man, despite your slip you've still been an inspiration for me on here.
     
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  6. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    For me also scarily familiar. Fantasies are the wolf in sheeps clothes. Not innocent at all. In know I will have to face exactly this situation soon as well. Note to self: no fantasies, no ogling. It is a fight I can't win. And actually no alcohol either....

    Definitely!

    Keep on recovering. You're still doing a great job!
     
  7. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Active Member

    Awe man, Sorry to hear this brother. I always say no one ever comes at you with a sledge hammer, they come at you with a chisel and chip chip chip away at you. I came on here to post about how I was feeling and check in with everyone. Make sure you look after yourself first. Be kind and gentle and don't beat yourself up. Remember, you're on here to get better. Keep posting on here and keep the faith. Remember that it's all about increasing those strides. Really helpful that you posted what lead to your breakdown, I'm sure it wasn't easy to admit, but it's so good for your recovery and a good reminder for the rest of us. Let us know if there is anything you need from us in terms of support. We are here for you.

    PC.
     
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  8. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about the slip man. Like others have already said: don't make too much of it. Of course we would all prefer to leave porn behind and step into the lives we wish for ourselves, but reality is this journey is a process with ups and downs. For the majority of us slips are as much part of the process as our streaks. And if we view them in the right way we can even learn from them:)
     
  9. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    You're not alone. I lost my composure yesterday too. Fantasy is such a gateway drug. Yet, it's part of a natural process. You're right about it being healthy in that regard. Biologically, we're attracted to the opposite sex to reproduce. I've tried averting my eyes on the street, but that just engages my shame. I've tried telling myself what I wrote previously, "the attraction is natural, there's nothing wrong with me, but let's focus on something else." I'm currently doing a take on loving-kindness meditations as a mindfulness exercise when I notice myself looking women up and down. So, I take a couple of deep breaths and look again, sending good vibes to the woman and those around her. "May you be well. May you be healthy. May you live a life of ease." Then, I try to give myself some of this, "May I be well. May I be kind to myself." It's just something I started trying yesterday. As others have suggested here on the forum, things go deeper than just the addiction. I don't like myself. As such, I judge others/do some social comparison that just keeps me feeling this way. In a way, that's fantasizing too. So and so on the forum has an amazing streak. I'll never be that good. Instead, if I can send out good vibes and not believe this untruth I've created about someone I cannot really fully know, that's one less way I'm hurting myself.
     
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  10. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    I know exactly what you mean here. Whenever I relapse, it always starts slowly, several days before the event. I start indulging here and there in the fantasy thoughts, and the dreams start. Then at some point I give in completely to the fantasy. A little while after that I go to youtube, then to google images, etc. etc. etc. You know the drill. It really seems like the snowball starts with the idea to give in to fantasy. I definitely think that fantasy is normal, but I guess when it turns pornified, it is a serious problem. At the same time, it is very hard to keep it away from porn when I have already decided to give in to it.
     
  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for the support guys. This means a lot to me. I hope I can manage this relapse in a more mature and healthy way then past ones. I will try to stay calm and not be too dramatic. I'll try to focus on self care first of all and keeping up good habits. It's not exactly easy but I have to accept what happened. In a way, to take responsibility for my choice. There are a few things to correct but I would say, that clearly the fantasizing I allowed myself to partake in is perhaps the main element to address for future progress. More and more I was allowing my imagination to take me into fetishistic scenarios of mine, which always end up in a relapse. My only fear though is that I think some of these fetishes may never go away. What if they are part of who I am ? Or is this my addiction talking ? Who knows actually. What if true freedom, joy, love, everything I'm longing for resided in accepting them ?

    Yesterday I slipped up more. I woke up quite determined to stop the fall and about three hours later I was indulging again. I don’t think there is a point in going into details, but I degraded myself beyond what I had done the day prior. I woke up today with feelings I’ve known in the past: bitter regret about my actions, strong shame and an inability to understand why I do this to myself? I had some close calls today as well but so far managed to stay clean. At one point I was about to binge but just when I was gonna open the laptop for it, I told myself to wait just 20 minutes and that if in 20 minutes I still wanna do it then fine. Surprisingly this worked as my craving had gone down a bit and I managed to choose to do something else : going for a run and having a quick workout. A good meal later on helped some more (self care). The evening is tricky but maybe I'll make it.

    I'm quite depressed right now. And I've been missing out on positive social events I could have partaken. One I missed last night and one tonight. There was no away I could go face people with the shame I feel right now but this shows me quite clearly how choosing the addiction means renouncing on possibilities for improvement and happiness. In any case, I can't face them now so my plan is to be kind to myself and let me recuperate. Amongst my relapse I was also overworked, under pressure and stress, sleep deprived and that fatal hungover day ; this mixed with all the fantasies I had involved myself in the last week. So, I'll start slow from here. If I'm kind to myself instead of punishing myself (for example : you go to that social event and if you're gonna suck screw you, you deserve it) - if instead of such actions I'm kind, well perhaps I'll be able to not indulge more and stop the hemorrhage. The good thing is that the streak showed me, once again, that I think the right path is that way and I'm motivated to keep reaching for it. I think maybe I need to look at like 120 days off before I can expect real changes. I think I need to accept a good 4 months of hardship before things can get better. I can't expect everything to be amazing after 50 days off PMO. I need more patience and to be more realistic.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
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  12. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Active Member

    Hey Merton,

    I think you might be really onto something here. I just read this article https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/prog...ng-its-listening-to-your-voodoo-doll/11073686 and it really got me thinking.

    The algorithm that google and facebook use must understand us very well. Pretty sure it knows our habits, both good and bad (and very bad). I think the difficult part is that if you are in a vulnerable place, maybe feeling a little hornley (a combination of horny and lonely) it will try to guide you over to what you've used in the past. The difficult part is that we are trying to beat an addiction and trying to say no, where the algorithm will intuitively want to take over to the very thing we are trying to avoid. To a certain extent we are also operating in the same way.

    "I wonder what x-actress is doing" takes us to IMDB, Then there's a photo shoot of her on the red carpet, then you head over to Pinterest, where it's collected a bunch of pins about said actress, oh look she did a bikini shoot, and there's a scene from a movie that was kinda sexy, over to Youtube cause you know 'you haven't seen that film'... oh look there are a bunch of other clips of her doing x, y, z maybe I'll watch those... etc etc.

    It's like having a bunch of tv channels and each time you change channel what you are watching is getting sexier and sexier. So in the old days where you'd be watching the Disney Channel and you'd not be watching the Adult XXX Channel. These days, you can start at the Disney Channel and it will gradually lead you over to channel Relapse. Then we're like, hey... how did I end up here? Must be my weak willpower. Better start again and do 100 days this time, full Monk-mode.

    I think this has been happening with a lot of young kids content on Youtube. Starts with nursery rhythm but then it leads them to some weird 'Elsa Pregnant with Baby Hulk Poop Spiderman Game Fun'

    We really are in uncharted territory. The difference for us on this forum is that we are trying to course correct our viewing preferences and finding it incredibly hard!

    Sorry for the brain dump. Hope this doesn't hijack your thread, I've just had a coffee and my fingers took off.

    Peace out.
    PC
     
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  13. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    You're thinking about this the wrong way, I think. I think the fact that you are having these pervasive fantasies means that you are making progress-that your brain is starting to change, and the part of it that is resistant to that change is using fantasy as a way of trying to bring you back to that ingrained pattern that you're more familiar with. That's how I understand it, at least. I've often noticed the most optimism and positivity right around the time when cravings are the most intense.

    Underrated comment. But isn't there some part of us that knows what we're really up to when we start on that path?

    BTW I don't think the weird Spiderman/Elsa videos on Youtube Kids are strictly related to this topic but that is a very dark rabbithole to investigate.
     
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  14. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    @Thelongwayhome27 thanks again for posting so honestly abiut your slip and feelings. This is really helpful for all of us.

    I think that we are actually very aware that we are on the wrong path there already. The pull of it is so strong though that we choose not to listen a d think that (this time) we are able to just act out a 'little bit' with 'minor' stuf like fantasy, ogling and bikini commercials.
     
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  15. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    I'd take it a step further: Something that you sometimes hear in PMO addicts recollections of their habits is that even before they knew they had an addiction, they always knew that they weren't doing themselves any favors spending all that time on PMO/MO.

    I think a lot of my the success in my current streak is from being able to recognize the urge to "peek" and shut it down immediately. It was not something I was successful at in previous attempts.
     
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  16. occams_razor

    occams_razor Well-Known Member

    Good point. This is probably because we're more likely to say "yes" to things when we're in a really good mood. Unfortunately this can include saying "yes" to things like fantasies.
     
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  17. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    It's been the same for me recently. Before the relapse it seems like the best idea in the world; after it's just regret and "what have I done?" thoughts. Then it repeats the next day as if the previous never happened. I think what's needed to get going again is the ability to break this destructive pattern.
     
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  18. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Active Member

    @Ereignis
    Ah yes, I can totally see how that comment about kids Youtube seems pretty random. Here's a Ted Talk related to what I was talking about. Basically people are deliberately gaming the Algorithm to create some really twisted kids content based on search patterns of random words young kids might search for.
    https://www.ted.com/talks/james_bri...t_s_wrong_with_the_internet_today?language=en

    Just to get conversation back on track. I've been thinking of my past relapses like a Tsunami. What I mean is, when you are on a good streak it's not like you suddenly snap, log onto a porn site and start fapping the night away.

    Rather it seems to follow several key steps:

    1. The tide goes out - You actually feel good, REALLY GOOD. You have mastered this noFap thing and consider it no longer an issue. You have a will of iron. You don't need filters on your computer at home. You can switch off the parental controls. You can untick safe search on google image search. You are feeling great and nothing can touch you. You can probably have a candid conversation about Porn and not feel the least bit triggered. THIS IS THE DANGER ZONE. Before a Tsunami hits, the tide goes OUT it gets SHALLOWER. This is the time to head for higher ground, this is the time to be worried, but we don't because next we have....

    2. Heading to the beach to see what's happening - Yup, super confident right now. This is when the fantasies start creeping back in, you know it's safe, cause you know... you're a rock... can't be moved. Remember that girl from high school... wonder what she's doing now. Remember that old hook up from a year ago, do you still have those pics she sent you? That actress you saw in that movie where she does that hot thing... yeah... I remember that... I wonder if it's out on Blueray. Right now you are high and dry cause the water has started to come back in...

    3. Turning of the tide- I'll just take a look on Pinterest, I'll just click this video on Youtube, Oh look there's a Reddit thread dedicated to her, Oh look that girl from school has an Instagram account... That's alright... I don't need these filters... I've been clean for 90 days... I have a will of iron. I'm not even really that interested and besides, I could stop if I wanted to. This brings us to...

    4. Water up to our waste - Hmmm... I should probably start swimming. I should probably stop what I'm doing. I don't think this is OK. I'm not triggered. It was only one image and see... I'm fine. I'll just turn around. I'll just close these last remaining tabs on this browser... one... at... a... time... I should stop...

    5. And we're drowning - Now it's like an out-of-body experience and we are floating along, watching ourselves relapse. We're composing the post we are going to come on here and write about our relapse. It doesn't seem as bad as you thought it'd be. I can stop if I want. Has it really been three hours. I should eat something. I think I'm sticking to my chair...

    I've also noticed that I will have a massive manic serge after a relapse. This is followed by a string of ups and downs. Including complete denial that I have relapsed and still remaining CONVINCED I have it under control. Setting a date in my mind in the distant future and almost straight away relapsing about 1/2 hour later. This thing is a POWERFUL drug. One of the toughest.

    Does anyone else relate to the steps above or do you find it happens much quicker than that. The above steps can also happen over about a week, they don't all happen in a single day.

    Some great ideas being discussed here everyone. Really proud of you.

    PC.
     
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  19. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Professor Chaos Yea I can definitely relate to the steps you describe, especially on relapses from long streaks. It seems those always happen gradually, with an internal relapse having occurred inside a while before the external acting out relapse.

    To come back to the fantasy element I don't think it's about not having fantasies. That's out of our control in my opinion. It's about how we react to the fantasies that come upon us. It's the internal decision to let go of the fantasy that matters. Letting go of the fantasy or indulging in it, inviting it in longer then needed. If we do so, I believe we are giving it momentum and it will come back stronger asking for more, creating that snowball effect. Sooner then later we find ourselves under constant fantasizing and every day becomes a pain to slay (not PMO or act out in other ways). We wake up the next morning, the fantasy (under the from of sever craving) is still there asking for some more. Or if it's not there in the morning, it'll be there a few hours later. This is a different vibe then the healthier phase of the recovery when we let go of the fantasies when they arrive, confident in our will to not end up where the fantasies lead us. At the point when the fantasies and cravings have become very strong it seems hard to reverse the cycle, maybe it's still possible, but hard. If I get back to a decent run soon, I'll see how I can manage my fantasies in a better way. But the funny thing is this is not new knowledge, reading some earlier entries in this very journal I've mentioned this precise fact before.
     
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  20. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    I see this all the time when my daughter watches youtube for kids. It is incredible what she ends up finding. Who are these people who are producing these videos?
     
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