Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Doofus, Jan 8, 2014.
Hey, Doofus, what's going on?
Hey, bro'. Let us know how it's all shaking out. I promise not to throw out any pop-psychology.
Ya ok? What's shakin' dude? No I dont promise " no pop psych crap!"
Hey. Sorry I disappeared for a while. I could say it was because I got too busy, or, because writing here wasn't helping me, but I'm not sure that's true. In fact, I'm not sure why I stopped. In any case, I'm going to try to resume my daily habit of writing here.
First things first: I fell off the PMO wagon. Not badly - I didn't go on a bender, but I've been PMO-ing once or twice/week the last month. I want to use this forum to help me get back on the wagon. And in particular, regardless of O and M, which I had under control before, I want to improve my discipline about P, which, was lacking even during my streak - especially toward the end of it.
Second: My drinking, which is the main reason I want to start writing here again, has not gotten better. Though it hasn't gotten worse, either, it's distressing that I'm not improving despite the fact that I've really put some effort into this the last couple of weeks.
More soon: I've got to get dressed to drive T to school. I wanted to post something, though, now, just to get the ball (hopefully) rolling again.
I really should be getting out to run, but I'll jot down just a few thoughts here before I do.
This morning I've been thinking about the root cause(s) of my addictions. In the past I've thought that the main cause was my anxiety. I know that a couple of months ago, when my peeking was, well, peaking, it was in response to anxiety, and, in particular, anxiety about a number of situations which involved personal conflict. Here's what I'm thinking this morning about that.
I think I mentioned that I read the book Sex at Dawn. I haven't talked much about it here because I know its thesis runs strongly counter to the way most on here frame the world of sex. I didn't want this forum to turn into a debate about cultural archaeology so I didn't get into it. But I am now, at least a little.
If you're not familiar with it, Sex at Dawn is basically the paleo for sex, though it's not prescriptive. This means many things, but, what's relevant here is that, for most of our species' existence we lived in relatively small hunter-gatherer tribes, that everything was shared, especially sex, because the tribe's survival depended on it. It follows that the worst thing that could happen to a member of the tribe was ostracism. If you were on your own, in that world, you were fucked. Like many apes, the authors argue, humans have sex for reasons having to do with maintaining social order and cohesion. It resolves conflict and reaffirms bonds.
These days I am feeling quite isolated socially. As I've aged. for better or worse, my interactions with my students have become more formal - I'm less the older sibling and more the older father - or grandfather. For whatever reason, I'm also isolated from my colleagues more than I used to be. My wife is very busy, and we see and interact with each other only sporadically. Often those interactions are not positive - though that's improved (thanks, I think, to insisting we become somewhat sexual again). T, my only child at home, is on the spectrum and has misophonia, which seems to be especially pronounced with me.
This leaves me in a state such that even minor conflicts seem to be profoundly threatening. I wonder if my dna is reacting as if these are signs I'm about to be abandoned by the tribe. As I write above, the natural response may be to reaffirm those bonds with sex, which, since I never see my wife, who isn't all that interested in me anyway, is not easily available to me. Thus, PMO. Booze, I think, is just a way of numbing that anxiety, and, giving me an excuse not to notice what was the anxiety compounding effect of my wife not having sex with me to relieve that angst.
(By the way, I think that one reason women don't seem to need sex as much as guys is not physical , but rather they don't need sex as much because they are much better at obtaining social reinforcement from their tribe than we men are. )
So, I don't know how I do it, but I need to do better with my social life. This is going to be hard because the semester is ending, I'm transitioning to my sabbatical, which will entail much very hard, largely solitary work. In part, perhaps, the interaction I get on this forum might help.
Anyway... more soon: I need to get on the bike and then out the door. One positive thing I've done is schedule a meeting with the Provost to talk about the money the college owes me. That meetin is in a couple hours.
Howdy doody Doofus! Glad to have you back!
Good to see you back. I would stop drinking before anything else. If you drink your organs, esp. Your liver, don't work optimally. You feel tired and you sleep worse. When you drink regularly you dont notice the effects of even a bit of alcohol, but when you quit (or start) you do.
Alcohol reduces stress? No, it increases stress. Alcohol helps you to connect to people? No, it isolates.
But most importantly, it lowers your boundaries, also to act out with P and M.
I wouldn't get obsessed with the idea of sex improving social bonds and all that.
I read somewhere that while some tribes have a lot of sex, others have very little. So it's probably more of a cultural thing.
Then there are those who say that orgasms have a negative effect on bonding! See "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow" for that argument.
I don't know what the truth really is, but I think we addicts should try to avoid seeing sex as some great solution for life's problems.
Best of luck with everything.
Hey there Doofus. How did your meeting go?
First thank you all for welcoming me back, reading my stream of consciousness rantings and replying!
My meeting went great, actually! I'm getting my money! (or he said I was...). But it was a big deal for me to have scheduled that meeting in the first place. I have a tremendous amount of anxiety around money these past few years.
I was at our track meet (I'm coaching my son's hs track team) until midnight last night. Couldn't get to sleep, even with wine until 2. I made the exam I was giving this morning at 8, but I slept through my alarm so I wasn't able to post here - or do any of the rest of my morning routine.
I probably shouldn't have started posting here again at the start of finals week. Until I'm done, my posts might be more spare than I'd like, but I'll be on here nonetheless.
So, quick check in. I have a lot to say, maybe I'll write more as I take needed breaks from grading. I PMO this morning. I was pretty revved up for whatever reason and I did a quick search... it took all of 20 seconds. It's a bit of a relief as the last time I did it, 10 days ago or so (I'm not counting anymore) I wasn't able to get hard. Subsequently I have had really good morning wood and the two times I made out with the wife my erections were good, one time excellent, but, I haven't been able to get hard through PMO since last summer - not completely anyway. Today, I'd say I was at about 80%. I decided to come on here in part because I was concerned about my erectile health. Last time I said my goal was to get back to a place where I was having consistent morning wood and occasional day time boners. Dudes in your fifties: Is that possible? Different parts of the intertubes have different answers to that.
I guess that, before I make any declarations concerning my what I want to achieve this go-round by abstaining, I need to decide what abstaining means. Last night I was thinking about this and I thought maybe this: I can pretty easily tell when I'm peeking, or, indeed PMOing out of a desire to alleviate anxiety or depression and when it's out of horniness. It's the former I really need to drill down on. As I wrote a couple days ago, I need to stop using PMO as a coping mechanism. On the other hand, lapses because I'm really horny - even if it's due to a hormone spike or whatever happens in the chaser effect - are a less serious problem for me, I think. I don't know, though..... Regardless of my flagging hormones, if it were up to me I'd be having sex at least every other day, maybe more. The compromise my wife and I have reached is maybe 5 or 6 days per month. This is way better than 0 times/month which was the count in August 17 to August 18, which, apparently, she was fine with.
I don't want to cheat on her (again...) I don't want to make her have sex when she doesn't want to, but I don't want to go through my day, as I too often do, pre-occupied with thoughts of sex, when a quick wank would set me back on course, which it did this morning and usually does when I do it out of sexual frustration.
OK, so this wasn't as short as I intended. I don't want to use this forum as a grading-avoidance strategy either. But I will write more soon.
Started this yesterday, but I'm going to still post it:
I gave my last exam for the semester yesterday. It's time to institute some new protocols and to re-commit to some old ones.
First PMO: I'm not going to equivocate. I've been peeking, and PMOing and for reasons that, though I thought I could understand and differentiate, I now realize I can't. So, that's it: No P No M and O only with somebody else - hopefully only my wife. I don't like the idea of counting days, but, at least at first, I'm going to. It really seemed to help last go-round to have that more tangible form of accounting.
Second Booze: I'm going to start reducing my consumption. Given how much I've been drinking (1-2 bottles of wine/night) I'm concerned about quitting cold turkey. The goal is that by the end of the month of May I'll no longer be drinking every night at all. If I make it to that point, I'll reassess then to determine whether I quit altogether or whether I think I can be an occasional drinker. I know I'm probably rationalizing, but I think I might be able to continue to have a couple glasses of wine with dinner once a week. Until about 8 years ago or so, that was certainly true for me. Maybe it can be again.
Third General Health: I've been hiding again. Because I've been drinking too much, and, in the interest of getting back to sleep, eating too much junk food which helps me get back to sleep, I've stopped doing my morning numbers as consistently as I was, which for a long while there was daily. I still believe that the motivation to optimize those can help me beat my bad addictions. Conversely, not doing them is not making explicit the consequences of my poor choices. Time to get back to being conscious about my life.
PS: I slept through last night, thanks maybe to the zinc I took? Well, slept through except for waking once to pee and a couple of times just for a moment or two. All 3 times I had wood. Not 100% but pretty solid. That's a relief. Yesterday I made out with the wife and only got to maybe 80%. Then, as a chaser (before I wrote the above) I PMO'd but only got to 50% and that only at the end. I was/am worried about my erectile health. I don't know if I'm not achieving full erections because of PIED, because of my drinking because of my age, or what. I can change the first two, though, and, maybe by doing so, the third. Reproductive function is one of the first things to go when an individual's health is compromised. Energy is diverted elsewhere. If I get my general health back to optimum, my sexual function should improve. That's the theory anyway.
I also think it might be psychological, in part. I kind of expect my erections to be less than full now. I'm very conflicted about P and M (as I should be) and so I don't really get into it like I did before. On the other hand, years ago, I'd get hard-ons just thinking about something sexual, or, for no reason at all. That hasn't been true for me for at least a decade now. Maybe it's age, but I mean to find out.
Did my numbers this morning. Not bad, not great. In a way that is both encouraging and discouraging. Encouraging, because, at least based on that, I'm not dying yet there's room for improvement. Discouraging because my exercise quotient has been pretty decent, my diet has been pretty good and, though my numbers have been better than 6 months ago, they are not dramatically better.
Once I get these cursed grades in, I will begin my sabbatical. While it's going to be a lot of work, I'm going to enjoy some freedom (I think....) that I don't ordinarily. Hopefully that will help with my stress and sleep and resolve and I can make these changes that I want to make.
I find myself this morning with an overwhelming amount to say. I guess I'll just write and see what comes out.
Yesterday, merely day one, was not what I would call a success. I was home alone all day. What I was supposed to be doing was.... I don't even know. I guess I was supposed to be grading, but, also, I was supposed to be getting back on top of my task management system. I thought I'd do that first and incorporate grading into that. I was both anxious and sleepy. Because I was anxious I didn't run much - contradictory, I know - because I was sleepy, I drank some tea, which only made me more anxious. In any case, I had a hard time settling into the work. I manage my system on my computer and so, I was also constantly fighting the temptation to peek. I wanted to peek to alleviate the anxiety, primarily. I didn't peek at P but I watched a few scenes of racy movies. No nudity, and no M, but it was a violation of my intent in this whole thing. To be honest, I need to gain some clarity about what my rules are. I don't have that. Last week, I thought that I would only consider as violations those instances in which I sought out sexual images to alleviate anxiety. I thought that I could distinguish those instances from those in which I sought images because I was legitimately horny, or, those I came across inadvertently. Of course that's not true. That was me rationalizing. But this new standard, which I didn't impose on my previous periods of abstention, is really really difficult to meet. Because of ... whatever Zuckerburg approved algorithms... it means I can't be on social media because my feeds contain ads which include scantily clad women. Staying off of social media is probably a good thing, but it's also one more thing. I don't want to fail, but I also don't want to set myself up to fail.
There's an ethos out there that sends the message that success at anything is simply a matter of deciding to be successful. I was a serious distance runner and now coach distance running at my son's high school. There's a lot of parents - and others - here who think that doing better in the sport is simply a matter of choosing to run faster. Like, 'oh'! Why didn't I think of wanting to win in order to win?! Thanks for that sage advice! It's reductionist bull shit. And even beyond will vs ability, the fact is, we're not entirely in control of ourselves. I have a PhD in mathematics, I willed myself through hours of hard training to the brink of making the Olympic team, I've raised two children, worked long hours, kept a marriage together for 25 years, am about to start my sabbatical with collaborators at Harvard - I am capable of translating desires into outcomes. Sometimes. My list of failures, though, is very long. Very long.
The key to achieving the desirable state of flow is to engage in work, and with an objective, which is challenging but not impossible. What is that in this case? I guess I don't know. What do I want? I want full erectile health back. I want a satisfying life sexually. Can I achieve those things by avoiding all sexual images? Maybe. Can I avoid all sexual images? All signs point to no.
As far as a satisfying sex life, will abstaining from sexual images bring my libido in line with my wife's? Again, all signs point to no. I've come to believe that women are less well-suited to monogamy than men. And we men are not well-suited to it at all. I don't know of a single long-term relationship in which the woman is still enthusiastic about sex. Studies back this up. Men are constantly tempted by others, but, usually, still tempted by their partner. Women are tempted by others, but, after a few years, not tempted by their partner at all. Last night T was at a Honor Society thing. I made dinner, was attentive to the wife, and nothing. We made out Sunday so yesterday, the next day, is automatically a no-go, I guess. I tried to make out with her a little, all I got was 'you need to be working'. That's all we fucking do is work. There needs to be a balance. I had kind of a break-down a year ago. Because, I believe, of working all the time. I told her we didn't need to get naked or anything, just kiss a little. Nope.
The good news is that I did some hard things yesterday. I engaged with our finances, I paid my credit card. I did make some progress on my task management system. And, importantly, I held to my booze quota.
Anyway, sorry for the angry rant. I'm in a pretty bad mood. I did my numbers, but didn't get out to exercise. I've got a hair cut in a bit and therapy later. Then practice and cooking.... Maybe I'll write more later.
I still have a few minutes before the hair cut, so I've been thinking about what standard to set for myself with PMO. It's important that I'm clear with myself, and, with you all, so I can more definitely say what success and failure are. I've decided on this - at least for the next 90 days. No looking at P. What got me in trouble last month was looking at photos rather than videos and thinking that was OK. If there's nudity or sex in something I'm watching, or in something in my feed, then that's OK. No seeking that out specifically though. That's a bit of a gray area, of course - I'm good at fooling myself - but I'm going to do my best to avoid it all together. It's still going to be tough - for example, I was in violation yesterday - but it's do-able. I've done it before.
So, with that, I'll count this as the new day 1 and try to make it a good one.
Good to hear from you Doofus. Keep getting up till you find the right combination that works for you.
Held to my PMO pledge yesterday. Not sure about booze, but I think so. I was well under my quota before I went to bed. Unfortunately, I woke up and had a couple of glasses, which I didn't measure, to get back to sleep. I'm going to count it, because I had only had a little wine before bed.
Here's the issue, though. In the middle of the night, when I can't get back to sleep, I'm using the same rationalization that's supported my increasing intake for years now. I've suffered from insomnia for 20 years now. Before I started using booze to combat it, I would often - daily - nearly fall asleep at the wheel both on my way in and on my way home from work. I'd have to pull over and close my eyes for 5 minute or 10 just to make it without dying. Drinking fixed this. (And PMO, sometimes....). In the middle of the night, sleep-deprived, I'm still susceptible to this rationalization. I have to go in to work this morning. When I woke up at 1 o'clock last night and was still awake at 2, I justified that first glass with "I need this to go to sleep so I don't fall asleep at the wheel tomorrow". I didn't measure the amount, I just drank. I rationalized the second the same way when the first didn't work.
No MW. It makes me nervous. I don't know why. I had it 3 times just a couple nights ago. I guess, too, that in the last few weeks, when I was peeking, P wasn't working for me anymore. Maybe I should be happy about this, but I worry that it's a symptom of a larger problem, rather than re-wiring. If it's re-wiring. I remain afraid that my drinking is the issue behind this. Or age. I read Saville's post about age and ED. I find it comforting, but not convincing. ED has been a problem for older men since before HSIP. On the other hand it's not a problem for everyone. And I haven't really had ED, per se, during make-outs with my wife, but it takes longer to get it up and up isn't as high as it used to be.
I guess I'll just keep working the problem - no PMO, chip away at my drinking. Try to improve my general health.
I'm going to get on the bike and out the door here. I feel wretched. I got back to sleep, but that second glass has left me this morning feeling hung over or still a little buzzed or something. Maybe I'll write more later.
Wow, you've accomplished a great deal, Doofus. I mean that. I'm not being facetious. You've shown that you have a capable mind and tremendous grit. These are things that are going to really help you as you move forward in your journey to sobriety.
Have you thought about going for alcohol treatment?
Hey Doofus been reading your posts since I've been back the last couple of days and just wanted to say good luck and hang in there. I'm trying to limit/reduce my drinking as well and I know the struggle can be really hard. Maybe some over the counter sleep aid might help? Anyway, you got this.
Thank you @Saville . You're very kind!
The answer to your question is 'yes. but not seriously'. One reason is the cost. I don't think we can afford it. A second is the time. The third is the shame of it. Finally, I don't think that sort of more extreme step is necessary (yet..) -I'm functioning. Not optimally, certainly, but I don't day drink ever. I haven't had black outs since I cut out the vodka last summer. I'm rarely hung over. Though I'm definitely addicted, it's not screwing up my life right now. Anyway, it may come to checking in to Betty Ford, or whatever, but I'm not there yet. We'll see how my current plan goes. If I fail, then that might need to be the next step.
So far so good, though. I only drank a little last night - less than a bottle. I was well under my nightly quota for this week. So that's day three. I slept through last night, too. Unfortunately, I didn't get in from the track meet last night until almost mid-night, didn't get to sleep until after 1 and woke up at 5:30 with the alarm. So, less than 5 hours/sleep. But I wasn't up at 3 or whatever.
Also, day 2 of no PMO under my new rules. I watched some videos, which I haven't done before - Noah Church and Gabe of reboot nation. Doing that was pretty helpful.
I had morning wood but it was only about 50%. I don't know why I'm worried about that - I've never failed to gain an erection with my wife, including last Sunday. I guess I don't feel like I can PMO anymore... I suppose this is some slippery version 0f 'better check to make sure' that lots of folks go through. In any case, I intend to just keep trucking.
I did my morning numbers, and got out to run when I was supposed to, so that was good. I felt pretty good when I measured it, but my bp was really high - like 20 points higher than my recent running average. I thought that having drunk less last night, it would be lower. I felt pretty calm when I took it. I don't know.... Over the months of near daily measuring, it just occasionally spikes like that. I was a little discouraged. I was, I guess, looking for some reinforcement - you drank less, and this other thing you care about got better. See? A higher than average BP is one of the negative consequences I'm suffering from from my drinking, I think. I guess it's like no PMO. I need to look at longer term trends.
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