Learning to be myself

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

  1. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    2 days clean from P

    Did pretty well on the self care front in the last 2 days. I'm still trying to get back to finding some bearing and a new positive momentum as things have been, overall, pretty rocky in the last 2 weeks. I had another slip on Sunday but it followed some stressful days and also some mistakes on my part. Not that I'm excusing it but I can understand it. My "demons" are pretty hungry these days so I'm trying not to give in to they're calling while slowly trying to get out of this funk. I think that these kind of cravings come from feeling down and having our self esteem shot so if I manage to slowly get to a better place I think these kind of cravings will go down. I agree with the idea that fighting the PMO cravings or other kind of unhealthy impulsions is much easier when one gets to a better place emotionally, mainly by reconnecting, somehow, with himself. Perhaps quieting the noise a little bit out there, and finding oneself again. From that place of a better inner calm, one actually has lower levels of unhealthy cravings.

    Today I had a small occasion to talk to a girl I'm interested in and I didn't have the courage to do it. It was a bit frustrating afterwards. It's a bit odd though as I think she may be around 21 and I'm 31 so I don't know. But still, I don't see why I can't make friendly talk to her. Sucks I was too shy. I guess I'm too attached to looking good to her and didn't wanna take the risk to make bad small talk and ruin my image. But if one doesn't take any risks then he doesn't get what he wants.
     
  2. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Active Member

    Honesty is always the best policy if you can’t think of anything to say.
    “I really want to talk to you, but I’m kinda shy” is always a good start. Start with the truth, nothing is sexier. ;)

    Glad to have you back. I was a bit worried about you.

    PC.
     
  3. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hehe thanks PC. Well, I'm not sure that would have worked in this specific context but I can see how in other settings it could be better then saying nothing. Also not sure my ego could accept that :cool::D (I have that glorious combo of being shy yet a lil cocky inside). I had some ideas of what I could have said but I didn't "pull the trigger", lacked the guts in that moment. Hopefully next time I'll take the leap. I should see her again.

    Thanks. It's a bit of a rocky patch but I'm all right overall. I'm doing okay on other fronts then the P slips. I'm feeling better then I did 2 weeks ago when I had my initial relapse.
     
  4. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Well said!

    There will be another chance for you.
     
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  5. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    3 days off the P

    Made it off the P today as well. Keeping the positive habits / self care going. I have a bit more free time these days which is tricky for relapse potential but also good for being less stressed (thus, decreasing the unhealthy addictive type of urges). In truth, my relapse from the long streak I was on (to my standards at least) happened after a prolonged period of responsibilities, pressure, stress. Often times, at least in the past, during such periods I would have PMOed a lot to steady my nerves, calm down, blow steam. During that last streak effort I haven't done that so it's something I'm happy about, I managed to stay present with my responsibilities during a stressful period, to deal with it without using this escape. However, as it can happen in such occurrences, I relapsed once I was done with the said period. In a way it was clear I would have either relapsed during the stressful period (and I had come close to it) or right after. To be able to handle the streak through both occasions I think, in all fairness, was too much for where I am, realistically speaking, in my overall recovery process. The important thing is to keep working on improving my life.

    I think I may have mentioned this but I realize once again how vital it is to develop healthy habits, routines, on top of the simple act of abstaining from P. Developing these healthy habits will not only make a streak a more authentic effort of self improvement but they will also be here when/if one stumbles off the abstinence path helping one pick himself back up quicker. Stuff like working out or some other positive activities I have added to my schedule have helped me, I think, maintain a better attitude in falling off the 50+ days no PMO/MO streak. In my opinion, staying off the P is not the end goal but it's part of a larger process which is improving myself, my life. It sucks if I fall off a no P run, because it does seem to be a great booster for improving things, however it doesn't mean I need to abandon all hope and throw the baby with the bathwater as they say.

    Thinking about that girl I didn't talk to yesterday when a pretty good occasion presented itself. I suspect an important factor in my last big relapse (and prior ones as well) is the fact that I am not making enough progress on the girl front, on the "girl problem" (i.e. not being able to develop intimate relationships with them easily). I would go even as far as to hypothesize that as long as I don't improve this factor I may always relapse after a while. Or maybe I'm a "sex addict" who needs to stop everything. But I don't think so. I think I need to cool off the P and other compulsive sexual impulses and replace it with a healthier way of expressing my sexuality. Namely of being more sexually active with real women. So part of my recovery needs to be to improve, for real, on this front. Without making too many excuses, without procrastinating too much on this. Time is passing. That's the truth.

    In this spirit I have gone back to reading a bit of very basic seduction material tonight (something I've done in the past). I'm not intending on getting into sophisticated "game" PUA type of stuff (which I'm not too interested by) but simply on reading some very basic stuff. Hopefully this will give me some tips, or at least refresh them, and also further motivate me to "get out there" and start working on this. On getting better with girl interaction.

    I say I don't care for too sophisticated kind of "PUA advice" because I think my main problem is approach anxiety. If I find a way to tackle this, to gradually surpass this fear, to act despite it, I will put myself in the position to learn on my own what works and learn "game" that works for me. By getting in the habit of flirting with girls, over time, I will get better at it. I just need to accept not being good at it at first and to keep going.

    Besides girls, it's important to keep working on improving myself and my life as well (physically, financially, spiritually, psychologically, creatively, etc). This actually makes getting girls easier too (but it's not everything). I would say that even if I've relapsed many'a'times and have not achieved long term abstinence from P, and even if I have not made improvements on the girl front much, I have, though, made actual improvements in my life, in myself. So I have worked on the basics and as mentioned before, best thing I can do is to keep doing this.

    On a last note I've been thinking of exploring (once again) these 2 guidelines :
    - Getting back into colder showers (I buy into the idea they are a great source of motivation)
    - Getting better on my "active listening skills" - I noticed when I was watching the news I was barely listening. I focused for a moment to listen better and I was getting so much more information. It's all about not being lost in my thoughts but being awake and present and taking in information. This principle is valid in all interactions. The information is out there for us to take in, if we are present.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
    Merton, Living, Gil79 and 1 other person like this.
  6. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    You should start making a post here every night. It will remind you that this is important.
     
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  7. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Really back, alive and kicking with an awesome long post. Yeah!

    I can intuitively understand what you mean here. In the 8 years I am around on this board, my streaks are getting longer and longer. I am getting more comfortable with life in general and managing emotions in particular. Still we must not forget that we are always in control. We can always choose differently.

    I think that with the girls the best way is the 'psychocybernetics' way. Instead of being in your head, worrying what to say, keep picturing yourself talking with the/a girl. Picture yourself relaxed, with a big sincere smile on your face. Picture the girl smiling at you, happy and pleased to interact with you. Those imaginations are really powerful. It is the best way you can give your mind/brain an assignment. I have experienced this first hand on several occassions.

    When you only focus on the words you wsnt to say, or what you should or shouldnt have said, you automatically focus on the negative imo. When the situation is then there, your body gets tense and you blick. With the imaginatiins it is like you have been in that situation already. Your brain cant differentiate between imaginatiins and reality. You will feel rekaxed and things will flow as your brain is already used to. I guess it had a lot to do with what you write about listening. That is also kind of the opposite if the constant background reasoning going on in your head.

    Keeo on going!
     
  8. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Sorry for all the typo's. Big fingers, small phone :D
     
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  9. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 Really enjoyed your last two posts. In my past streaks, it feels like I was in a better place. Well, if I'm not looking back with rose colored glasses, that is. My point is that I often look back and see the workouts and hobbies and think "I need to get back to that. It works." And, if I cannot workout tomorrow morning my inner critic lights me up and burns me to the ground. So, I like what you and others have said, it's not about quitting P, but getting healthier. I think your attitude of acceptance, is great. Calling one slip a relapse may be damaging to our minds. Just keep going is a better attitude.
     
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  10. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    I think it's honestly unrealistic to expect that we'll stay 100% clean for the rest of our lives. I'm not encouraging a relapse, but it is as you write that as long as we can pick ourselves up and not fall into that deep, dark pit again, we will improve. As much as I don't enjoy being around others, I think that having routines which involve other people should help. It may create a sense of commitment from which it's hard to back away. If alone, I can just procrastinate for all eternity. The question is what kind of social activity would work as a routine for me, though.
     
  11. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Active Member

    Speaking as a remorseful veteran of the PUA scene...

    If you can have a cold shower, then you can cold approach. The mindset is exactly the same. It’ll suck at first, then you get used to it, then you realize it’s not that bad, then you feel awesome afterwards.

    If you think about it too much, you won’t do it.

    Don’t think, jump in.

    Trying to map out what you are going to do beforehand is like trying to plan out a tennis game before you’ve hit the ball.

    Hit the ball.

    Great to have you back,
    PC
     
  12. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the responses guys I appreciate the feedback.

    @Ereignis - This would probably help. I will try to post more regularly a journal entry as you do.

    @Gilgamesh - Thanks for the advice regarding imagining things positively. I think that would help indeed. Especially beforehand. I agree with the idea that our imagination is very strong and can influence our subconscious, perhaps as much as real experiences as you say. I'm pretty sure athletes do this a lot. I often imagine girls reacting in a more or less negative way if I would interact with them, especially if it's in more flirtatious context. I will try to practice this technique you mention and also mix it with what @Ereignis wrote a few weeks ago about calming down the body when in a nervous social setting and gradually getting comfortable that way rather then talking more then necessary right off the bat.

    @MissingSelfCompassion - When I first started fighting the P problem I had the pure streak mentality and when I relapsed I was extremely down and discouraged. Slowly I understood it's about building positive stuff in my life rather then just stopping P. I also realized I'm one of those guys that will relapse and relapse because I had/have a lot of issues for which P was the symptom (in my opinion). For me it was not possible to just abstain from P and everything would fix itself. Building the positive habits, making routine changes takes time but I really think it's slowly starting to show (although I can still get very down when I relapse off a big run). I'm glad though to see a gradual improvement overall as Gilgamesh mentions as well. I feel slowly I'm getting better which is giving me hope and I can see how building positive habits helps me pick myself off when/if I fall off a streak. I have to remember the streak is one element in the equation of change but not the end goal for which everything else is done.

    @Eternity - Well if we truly transition and achieve lasting change and improvement we may let go of the P but for sure we could always fall back. But then we can pick ourselves off again. For me I think the social element is clearly and important factor in my own recovery. Not that I'm a super social or extroverted person, I do enjoy time alone but right now I'm more alone in my life then how I would like it to be. Especially in regards to the opposite sex I would lie to myself if I wouldn't admit that I want to improve things. I have the same issue though I'm not exactly sure where to start except the basic responses of clubs of stuff you like (for example maybe cycling in your case), outdoor stuff, book clubs, chess clubs, fitness classes, cooking classes, whatever one enjoys.

    @Professor Chaos - I'll do those cold showers and I'll see how I can get myself in situations where I can work on my approach anxiety. I really think it's my first thing to address in regards to getting better at interacting with girls. I don't intend to get into "hardcore" PUA stuff but simply work on improving my basics.
     
  13. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    4 days off the P

    Today was so so. I had a good mood in the earlier part of the day, partly inspired by the insights I had yesterday. I even became quite euphoric and upbeat, perhaps a little bit too much. Not that it's bad to have enthusiasm but I guess I need to be careful not to get too high just on "dreams" because if I don't transform the ideas and goals into some kind of concrete action then the high often fizzles out into frustration, deflation. I realize I have to keep a good balance of desire and action. Perhaps bringing down the desire a notch and doing a little action too. I also realize how impatience is a bit of a foe of mine. I want everything to improve very soon. Socially (with girls and simply with friendships) in particular I have this hidden expectation that things should improve very quick without too much discomfort. That all my interactions have to be suave and perfect right now. With this mentality it's easy to get discouraged at setbacks, which are inevitable.

    Also I notice when I get a little too enthusiast, perhaps a little too "high" life's adversity comes knocking me down, comes throwing me some punches to set me back to a more calm mood. In the afternoon I had some of these episodes that brought down my elated mood from earlier. One of these was an individual that had a very minor irritation like reaction to me in a fitness class. We had to do some exercises where I became a little confused and I noticed he had a subtle impatient gesture directed at my disorientation. These are minor "rejections" that I have always been sensitive too and that affect my self confidence easily. From feeling confident and upbeat they make me socially paranoid that no one likes me and that I appear very cocky or aloof to others. These are the kind of experiences that hit my ego and create in me compulsive urges. I don't know how much of it is in my head or how much I tick people the wrong way sometimes. Anyhow it was a very minor gesture as mentioned and I don't think I should get worked up by it too much. Perhaps it's the kind of gesture he could have had at anyone and it's not even all that "negative". It's just me that feels it that way because I'm a bit too sensitive with such things. He seems like a nice and decent person and I'm not gonna hold it against him too much, I'm gonna let it go. Finally, on another more positive note I made some decent small talk with people today, even a person I'm a little intimidated by.

    I had a good day overall though. Fourth day in a row where I am pretty disciplined on the self-care/positive daily habits and I'm feeling good physically right now, healthy, and well rested.

    Girls are looking very attractive to me these days, but not necessarily in a overly sexual way. Kind of just in a both attractive (beauty) and sexual way too. I think it's a decent enough balance and I don't feel like a horny perv when I look at them this way but just like a normal guy.

    I have some ideas for going out the next days where I can start working on my "girl skills". Not 100% sure I'm going yet. We'll see.

    Cold shower goal : Chickened out a little. Went for the warmer shower first then towards then end hit the colder water. Gonna try again tomorrow. Gradual improvement here too.

    Active listening goal : I wasn't too good with this today. Because of my elated mood I was often lost in my own thoughts and not listening to the world out there. Need to be more grounded to practice this. Also socially I forgot about it. Try again tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
    occams_razor likes this.
  14. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    o days off P

    I decided to go out on my own last night in order to practice my capacity to interact with girls. I would have preferred to go out with a friend but it seemed none of my single friends were available. I was about to stay home, feeling anxious about going on my own, but told myself I'll go out and see once I get to the venue if I go in or not, and at worst it's a stroll. My idea was to go work on my approach anxiety. When I got to the place I had in mind I wasn't feeling it and decided to go back home (was feeling the anxiety). On my way back though I stopped at another place and decided to have a beer there. I actually ended up approaching 2 girls and chilled with them for some time. I wasn't too appealing to them but I didn't crash and burn and it was good practice. Definitely a good "first step". Most of all I think it's cool I had the courage to do it. If I would do this consistently I do think I would improve. The question is how long would it take and is it actually worth it ? Unfortunately I lost control of the night after that point. I started drinking with those girls but then we separated (they ditched me because I wasn't interesting enough to them and we weren't clicking all that much anyhow). Feeling more enthusiastic then earlier when I was about to go back home (and now warmed up by the drinking) I decided to go back to the initial place I had in mind (which was a mistake, I should have settled for "the work" I had done for the night and gone back home, it actually was a "win" at this point, a decent and legitimate step in the direction I've given myself). So, it was now later and probably a better party at that initial place by this time (which is what I told myself in my enthusiastic state, and that I will try some more approaches). And it sure was a huge party. Wasn't really my groove though, and I made the mistake of relying on drinking more and more. I didn't really approach any more girls but got drunk and chilled with random people in a drunken haze. There were girls among them but I wasn't trying to flirt or anything. At this point I was in a drinking binge and nearing black out territory (some parts missing from my memory at this point, because I drank a lot). Then I ended up smoking up with some random person. And then this huge overwhelming craving for sex clicked in me and I was screwed, I knew there was no way I'd get back home "safely" at this point, I knew I had to go drink from the rivers of deep pleasure whatever the cost afterwards. I ended up blowing a whole lot of money on sex, a lot more then I should considering my overall finances. Went on a pretty bad binge and got back home at about 5h AM. Woke up this morning and PMOed. I was about to go pay for some more sex but my craving decreased with the PMO. So basically the night started well and I went out with good intentions and even got some results in the process I am looking to implement in regards to improving my confidence around girls and then I lost control and it became a mess and a bad ugly relapse. So part of me is wondering if my thirst to meet real women isn't part of the addiction, not sure it's healthy or not. Not sure if I should separate the good from the bad last night, try to keep going after the good (minus the drinking and the sex binging) or if I should go for the "I'm a sex addict" route, go to some SAA meetings and forget about real women and try to become some kind of a monk and try to find some peace that way. Not sure, in the end, if inner peace will be found in admitting to myself I wanna have strong intimate sexual experiences with women (that I don't need to get with money) and pursue this passion or rather if peace will be found if I see this as a problem and try to let it go (if that is even possible). I'm not sure which path has the better odds of leading to some inner peace and authentic joy.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  15. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    It is great that you posted it. So familiar, confronting and helpful at the same time.

    I think you did great by going out on your own. It was indeed a victory. I guess that the mistake you made was to drink a beer .... at all. Drinking and rebooting just doesn't work. Especially in the first days or so, your brain is so sensitive. Your first beer gave you a nice shot of dopamine and there you go....alcohol, weed, compulsive sex, porn, no difference at this point....

    I know from myself that one beer can screw up my whole current reboot. It is not only that it lowers my borders. My whole addictive life I have been combining sexual compulsive behaviour with alcohol and also with weed. My (P)MO behaviour is just so intertwined with alcohol that just a drop could instantly get me into the porn mindset. As @Saville sais: neurons that wire together, fire together....
     
  16. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Gilgamesh Thanks for the feedback man. Appreciate it. Maybe I will need indeed to be tougher on myself with the alcohol consumption. But I don't know how many things I can tackle at the same time. I think if I only took one beer I could have stopped no problem (I can often have a beer without any issues) but the problem is I took shots. I think that for me it's especially the weed that is extremely intertwined (neurons that fire together) with sexual compulsion. But alcohol too, just a little less.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  17. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Yeah I hesitated if I should or not. These episodes have happened before. It's a pattern with me. Paying for any kind of sexual service, for me, is a relapse. I consider it worst, in my values, then PMO. My main reason for stopping PMO is that it increases the urges to pay for sex. I've tried moderation with PMO but it slowly brings me back to heavier sexual compulsivity. However when I stop PMO/MO I get incredible urges and I often binge relapse with a sex romp like the one I described here above. These binges destroy my morale for days and it's so hard to build back positive momentum after this. When I came back here in January and I was so down it was because I payed for a sexual service after almost 1 year and a half of not having done it. Worst part is it also happened after a drinking binge on a night out. Since then I've relapsed in this manner a few times, because I lost that good buffer of 1 year and plus.

    It's good to hear though that it's a little relatable. I wonder if I'm a sex addict. But on the other hand, I'm not sure about this concept. I'm skeptic. I see it as potentially being a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Maybe as you say I should, despite the complete loss of control last night, take away the initial positive work I did. Maybe going after girls is a healthy thing to do and part of my recovery as I have written lately. It means coming out of my isolation and frustration. But maybe I need to work on approaching girls totally sober. I could have gone to the initial place and approached sober. But man that is gonna be heavy anxiety at first. Maybe I need to accept I messed up last night and try again with the proper adjustments.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  18. Doper

    Doper Member

    This is the takeaway IMO.
    You did the one thing that everyone on this board should be doing more of, and not worrying about anything else.
    I wouldn't worry about what happened at all. Yes the booze causes us to relapse, yes it's better to not pay for sex or mess up.....but the only thing I'd be thinking about is that you went out to meet girls and be social and that's what we need to do. Don't worry about anything else. You think guys that are super social, and clean up and get all the pussy worry about and get all down on themselves about watching a bit of porn now or paying for sex? I don't believe so....I wouldn't even worry about the drinking IF you are going out. That is my rule. I can only drink if I'm in a social environment, never alone. As long as your not just SLAMMING booze like a maniac, no problem; If it makes it easier to get out there.
    I live in the absolute middle of nowhere, it takes me 2 hours to get to somewhere with good nightlife, have to get a hotel, or cant drink and drive back. Not great for pulling lol. I have to move. So just take advantage of your situation.
    Also, it sounds as if you don't have bad pied, so that's great. I think we all have to stop being so rough on ourselves. I think everyone here has that in common. I did a small insignificant socially awkward thing yesterday, and couldn't get it out of my head, it's completely insane.
    I think you're doing great keep doing what you're doing.
     
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  19. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Active Member

    Hey brother.

    Sending you deepest sympathies. I don’t think you need to go full monk mode but you acting out in some extreme and dangerous ways. I think the healthiest thing for you to do is find a health professional who can help, it’s cheaper than paying for sex.

    It’s really good to talk about this stuff out in the open with someone. It’s a huge relief. Reading our words online is still an abstract, dealing with a real person is much better.

    I have been in a similar place and I want you to know that you can come back from it.

    I would drown sorrows in booze and flirting. I’d also binge on porn if my night didn’t go as planned. It’s all part of the same dark triad. Medicating my unhappiness.

    Proud of you for coming back to us. My first step was to stop drinking. Just take a break for three months. See how it feels. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

    Peace.

    PC.
     
  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Professor Chaos Thanks for the words PC. I can stop drinking no problem for a long time. The only problem is that then I don't go out anymore. Also when I'm in a better place emotionally I can moderate my drinking if I go out but if I'm not in a good place there are higher chances for a drinking binge to happen. I should go talk about this stuff with a therapist I think you are correct.

    @Doper Thanks for the input man. I'll have to consider this viewpoint. I do think I did good going out and taking a step in the direction of improving my skills for interacting with girls in a non platonic way. However the loss of control is concerning. Not sure I can just brush that off.
     

Share This Page