Merton's reboot log

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Merton, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Very well said. Getting over excited about recovery is a good way to send one towards some more acting out.

    All of this is a fun labyrinth !! :)
     
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  2. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Day 20: Today went well. I guess it is a testament to the fact that if urges come, and you don't act out on them, then they will go away. It is pretty unbelievable but seems true.

    I went to the group today and it was actually quite good. I realized that ``higher power'' can simply mean that it does not appear to be enough to simply do what my brain tells me to do. In other words, although I have tried my hardest with what my brain says is good about recovery, it still does not seem to work. Therefore I need something more than just me.

    This seems to tie in well to what I listened to in porn free radio (episode 95) about motivation. Matt talks about external motivations, like the wife, the possibility of work finding out about porn use, and faith for religious people. He says that these are not enough to make us quit. The reason is that we currently have these external motivations and have not quit! This seems to make a lot of sense. Therefore we need internal motivation, which is related to the deeper reasons why we use porn. That is, I seem to have a deep desire to use porn that surfaces regardless of these external motivations. The only way to improve is to change this deep desire. I guess I am just arguing that, although in the past I thought I would quit porn by only using external motivation, it seems like the wrong way forward now.

    @JD1981 thanks for the support man! It is indeed great to make it through.

    @-Luke- thanks! My daughter did have a good time at school. Also I had never heard of this bookending idea, but it turned out to be quite useful.

    @Thelongwayhome27 this is a good point. It seems difficult to strike a balance between being obsessed with porn and obsessed with recovery from porn. Both of these put porn on the brain way too much.
     
  3. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Day 21: I am astounded that I did not relapse last night. I was on the verge. I will write what happened here in an effort to let it out and "check it in," as they say. I was sleeping and, as these things usually happen, I woke up at 2 am. Then I got this idea not to touch, but to do some kind of muscle contraction maneuver. I will not go into great detail here, but it was completely stupid. I found that this aroused me, as I suspected. I got more and more aroused, and then at some point my dog started flipping his water dish. I got up to get him more water and, lo and behold!, my phone was right by the ewater dish. So I picked it up and started checking to see if there is a way to access the internet. This is one of those activities that my brain convinces me is not so bad to do. "I will just see if I can get online. I will not look at anything." This also is so completely stupid, and the reason why I have placed this behavior in the "middle circle." Anyway after a minute or so I came to my senses (or rather decided what I was doing was not good), and I went back to bed. For the next 30 minutes or so I struggled to get to sleep and not be aroused. I kept telling myself "you have engaged in the middle circle, but you did not get to the inner circle, so you can reverse the train!" It is so difficult to get rid of that voice that says that if you have done anything bad, you might as well binge. Well I kept thinking about this, and also a few other things. I said the "serenity prayer" several times (although I do not actually believe in god, this was helpful), and I was trying to remember the fact that if I do actually act out, I will need to enact my consequence.

    Anyway I did not view anything bad, but I am feeling extremely shaky today. I need to understand what feelings brought me to behave this way in the middle of the night. I will also binge listen to porn free radio today.

    I feel a little better getting this out and being honest about it.
     
  4. JD1981

    JD1981 Active Member

    Dude this is awesome!!! Pound your chest brother you won. I feel like this is a total victory. Sounds like you were on a slippery slope and 21 days ago you may have fallen victim to your urges but not the new you. There is nothing worse than just laying in bed with those thoughts. So if any cravings come today you know that if you won that battle last night you can win another today. Keep it rolling!
     
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  5. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Day 22: I was quite triggered last night but did not do anything bad. I am feeling somewhat better and dedicated to recovery! One useful thing a friend on here told me is that I know what using porn is like, but I have much less idea of what my life will be like if I get rid of porn. So recovery should be exciting! Porn is the same boring junk.

    I will try to check in later if I have some urges.

    @JD1981 thanks for the support! This was very helpful when I read it. I should think of any near slips as victories. It is so easy to think “I am heading down the drain and have already basically messed up, so let’s go for it.” But actually it is a huge victory to pull back and return to normal life. If I had a small injury, would I just say “well I am already hurt, might as well cut my head off”?
     
  6. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    2:45 pm urges to go in the bathroom. Also feelings of hopelessness and being at the bottom of a large mountain

    4:05 pm urge after seeing a magazine cover

    8:15 pm got the idea to binge on porn tonight on my phone. Better to record it here!

    11 am got an urge after seeing a link online (text only)

    12:53 pm urge to go on a porn festival

    4:45 pm more porn festival urges
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  7. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Day 0: as is clear from my urge journaling, I acted out last night. Currently feel tired and terrible.

    The way I feel right now would have me write long paragraphs of the form “why me? Will I ever learn?” And so on. I am a little tired of it all at the moment.

    I did make some changes to the program. I think my phone is essentially unusable at night now. I realize that if I truly want to act out, I will anyway and the blocker cannot save me. On the other hand, I keep getting caught by the thinking “I wonder if I can access the internet through such and such app...” because of this, I have turned off all apps and internet from 10 pm to 630 am. This is sort of an extreme measure and I have avoided it for a long time but at least now there should be no questions about whether I can access internet.

    I am also making and updated porn free plan to send to my friend. Last, I have to enact my consequence. I will do that in a few minutes.

    Since it was so helpful last time I will start up urge journaling.

    I will write more later about what I think the reasons for acting out were this time. I think they are related to family.
     
  8. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Hi Merton. I hope you'll be able to rest a little. I think you're brave and strong for accepting your relapse so quickly and finding your way to the forum. It's the bingeing that holds the most venom, so good job doing what you can to avoid it.

    I've read quite a bit of your journal and will be reading your upcoming entries too. Following your journey has taught me a lot and your determination I hope to emulate. Good luck getting back on track, you've done it before!
     
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  9. occams_razor

    occams_razor Well-Known Member

    I recently had a streak in the mid-twenties as well. Perhaps a combination of high libido and over-confidence were factors. They were for me.

    Good job on the streak anyway. Let's do even better this time.
     
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  10. JD1981

    JD1981 Active Member

    Hey Merton, time to dust yourself off and get back on it. Sounds like you identified a few things that maybe didn’t help you, anyway it’s in the past, keep looking forward.
     
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  11. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Day 1: rough day. On the plus side, I think I have realized that many of my problems are due to not having strong and positive self talk. (I may have mentioned this before.) I think this is related to my lack of desire to have sex. Each time my wife makes me upset I really ruminate on it and obsess to the point that I think she becomes undesirable in my mind. I found on the last streak that this was getting better, and I think it was due to self talk. I was telling myself things like "she does not mean to insult you. she just finds such and such funny.'' Surprisingly this was helpful.

    As for the relapse yesterday, I had a somewhat painful dinner with my family, and afterward I guess I was in a vulnerable state. What I should have done is to come here and write about it. Instead the idea ``just occurred'' to me to do some (somewhat embarrassing to describe) MO-type behavior. I stopped this, but then started looking around the house for a magazine to look at. This is ridiculous since any magazine here is some stupid fashion magazine iwth nothing in it. Then I actually went outside to the mail to see if anything like a victoria's secret catalogue came! This is unbelievable. Then I looked on my phone to see if I could access the internet. It turned out I could through my driving app. Then it was pretty much downhill and I PMOed through the driving app. Ridiculous.

    Anyway hopefully it helps to spell out my decline. It seems always to be this way. I slowly descend into bad behavior. Of course I know even when I was looking around the house for a magazine that this was not good. I should have stopped there. (Actually I should have addressed my feelings after the dinner.)

    After I finish here, I'm making a new plan and sending to my friend.

    @Bezoechow thanks for the support man! I am happy to hear that you could get something out of my journal. If nothing else, it is, as you said, a source of inspiration for my dedication. I hope your recovery brings you to new places and new heights. I look forward to reading about it!

    @occams_razor thanks for coming by! Mid-twenties streaks really make me start to feel better. I am hoping they will increase in length. I definitely know what you mean about over confidence. I think I was rationalizing ``well I can pull back from looking for a magazine, since it is not bad, and I have a few weeks under my belt.'' Bad idea!

    @JD1981 thanks for the advice! I think you are right that it is over and I need to just move on. Hopefully writing here about it will help me to do that. Great work on your recovery!
     
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  12. JD1981

    JD1981 Active Member

    What’s up Merton, hope your day is going good.
     
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  13. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Day 2: I am feeling a bit better today. Making a plan and sending it to a friend seems to be making the chaser effect stay more at bay. If I get urges I can tell myself "if I act out, I will have to disclose it, and I will need to enact another consequence.'' Also I spoke to some people in the group today and yesterday, and this seems to be helping.

    @JD1981 thanks for the support man! Things are feeling better. I am not happy that I acted out, but I should not be filled with so much shame. Time to move on. I hope all goes well with you.
     
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  14. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Active Member

    Hi Merton

    Hang in there matey. I had number of false starts before I got to my current streak. Accountability is import and so is outside support. You got this. Just make sure you learn from this one.

    Maybe get an old fashioned alarm clock to help you wake up in the morning and lock your phone in the car at night. Filters are good, but distance is better. Removing physical access has the best results for me.

    I know how you feel. But it gets better an easier with time.

    PC.
     
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  15. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Member

    Merton

    I only read through the last few pages of your journal, but I just want to let you know I am happy that you are able and willing to share your recovery experiences with us all.

    In one of your earlier posts, you mentioned incorporating some CBT that your therapist mentioned. I have been reading through an OCD book recently that brings up CBT techniques as well, primarily exposure and response prevention. This is really helpful for OCD, but I am hesitant about using it willy-nilly to deal with my porn addiction (i.e. intentionally exposing myself to pornographic or sexualized content to start conditioning a new response is not worth the risk to me). If you're comfortable, would you be willing to let me know what techniques he/she recommended? I'd be interested to hear what it is/they are.

    I've had longer streaks and short streaks, and during both I've been hit by this exact feeling. It's awful. And porn tantalizes with promises of hope that are nothing more than an ephemeral escape into a land of artificial comfort and fantasy. Anyway, I liked your concise description of this experience, although I am sorry you had to go through it on that day. I hope your future recovery efforts are less punctuated by feelings like these.

    Take care and best of luck.
     
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  16. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Day 0: unfortunately I was caught by the chaser and seem to have now been in the inevitable abstinence/relapse/binge cycle. It is quite annoying that when I am 20-30 days out from a relapse my brain not only makes me forget about the relapse but convinced me that if I relapse I can just limit it to one use. This is obviously wrong and has been demonstrated time and time again. I have resolved to return to a previous technique of “redirecting.” That is, if porn thoughts come into my head I immediately think about something else. I have ha success with this in the past and it should be helpful as long as I can remember to do it.

    I have been reading the journal of freedom from servitude, anxiously awaiting his recounting of his experience in a 12 step group. I have also started to check out SMART recovery. Does anyone have any experience with it? I wonder if it would be more in line with my spiritual (or lack or spiritual) views.

    The last couple of nights I masturbated with no porn, but there was some porn fantasy in there. I tried to keep it to a minimum. I am not planning on doing this regularly, but I had an interesting experience. First, the sessions lasted only 10 minutes or so. Next, I did not feel bad afterward. Last, it is extremely difficult to masturbate and not go get porn. It is also very difficult to masturbate once and then not look at porn later. These observations have led me to believe that I don’t actually have a masturbation addiction and that my real problem is porn. (Duh.) in other words, I would just masturbate whenever I want and would not feel bad if it did not inevitably lead to porn. I think one of the main reasons i had these experiences is that it is just not that exciting and there is no edging. Therefore there is no prolonged chemical elevation which seems to obliterate my life. Anyway it is sort of just academic since it seems I cannot masturbate without eventually binging on porn.

    I feel pretty optimistic although I am at the tail end of yet another in a long string of relapses. Ever since November 2017 (relapse from 225 days) I have had streaks of 20-60 punctuated by binging. But I am still going and will not stop.

    @Professor Chaos thanks for the support man! I am hanging in there. I like the idea of locking the phone in the car. My therapist suggested something like this. She said to lock the laptop in the car. I seem to have two main trouble spots: middle of the night and at work. I think my phone is inoperable at night now so that seems pretty locked up. Work is now the bigger issue. The reality seems to be that I will look at porn if I really try. So filters and these measures seem only to help if I am already adamant about not looking, as a protective mechanism to avoid accidental relapse. Anyway I am just rambling here. Thanks very much for the support and suggestions. I will try to incorporate them.
     
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  17. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    @NewStart19 thanks for coming by man! I am happy to see that my writings have been of some help. The therapist did not recommend any exposure therapy, but more methods of analyzing my thoughts and correcting cognitive distortions. Basically you are supposed to observe your thoughts, write them down, and classify them based on which cognitive distortion you are using (black and white thinking, overgeneralization, catastrophizing, etc.) Then you are supposed to write down something in support of your thought and something which challenges the thought. I think at first it is very difficult to even notice what your thoughts are. They believe that your thoughts create your feelings, so often when you have a bad feeling, you are not sure which thought helped to produce it. I found that after a few days I become more able to notice the thoughts. Have you had any experience with these methods? I thinkt hey are described in the book "feeling good" by Burns, and also some workbook that my therapist gave me. When I have had negative thoughts about my wife, for example, I have tried to immediately correct them.

    Yes, being at the bottom of the mountain does not feel very good. But I am thankfully feeling more hopeful now. I hope all goes well for you!
     
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  18. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Member

    @Merton

    Thanks for getting back to me. I appreciate it.

    The book I have been reading has brought up a few CDs that pertain specifically to OCD (6 in total IIRC), which include B&W/AoN thinking, but this is the first time I have heard of overgeneralization and catastrophizing. I should definitely check these CDs out. The technique you mentioned reminds me of one I read about that is used to combat Mind Reading (i.e. think of multiple possible reasons for why someone is behaving toward you in a certain way to dispel the idea that you know what someone else is thinking). This might be a bit different than what you have been practicing, but this technique has helped me make headway in obsessing less about what what others say/how they treat me.

    Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns. Another book to add to my list. There are so many insightful books out there but so little time to read them! I am only 1/3 through my OCD tome, and I have this ADHD book I want to read after...but I digress. I've added your suggestion to my list, and I will try applying the technique you mentioned and see how it works. I might even include it in my journal.

    You seem like a good guy Merton. Keep up the good fight!

    Take care
     
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  19. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Interesting that for you M&O leads to P. I had read it before but you've made it a clear experiment. I have the opposite, in fact cravings for P are for me a sign to M&O without P because then the cravings go away. It's still dificult though without P. I think you're right that it's all about the excitement and edging seems to be the strongest way of generating it. The O never was the focus for me.

    Anyway good luck getting out of the pit. We're all rooting for you. I believe every streak we learn something new and get further in our recovery, so I hope you won't be too hard on yourself.
     
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  20. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Day 1: Quick check in tonight. I finally feel like I am getting back on track. I am also learning more about SMART recovery. It seems at the outset like something in between RR and 12 step. More soon.

    Thanks guy sfor the comments! I will try to write more tomorrow.
     
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