Merton's reboot log

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

  1. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Merton
    Do you think you used PMO as a sexual outlet or do you think you used it as a way to have control of your sex life. When you agree to have sex with you wife but really don't want to, that puts all the control in her hands.
     
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  2. Merton

    Merton Member

    14- All goes well today. At some point I was on YouTube and quickly scrolled down to see which videos were suggested. In the past this was a behavior that alerted me that I was starting to look for porn substitutes. I immediately recognized what was going on and told myself that I need to be aware that a critical moment can arise at any time. Instead of being afraid that I could be on the way down to relapse, as I would normally feel, I took the opportunity to firm up my commitment to practicing getting through the urges and being solid in recovery.

    I will go to sleep soon and use my typical strategies to get through any urges at night. Fortunately, since I have been consistent in practicing these methods at night, I have had few serious urges to masturbate in the middle of the night. This leads to more rest, which is great.

    @Joshua Shea this is a great question. I will think about it and try to post tomorrow about what I have thought. Thanks very much for the post!
     
  3. Merton

    Merton Member

    15- today is going well and I had a great workout. It must really help out the brain chemicals to work out, because I am feeling pretty content.

    I did not have any serious urges over the last day. I had sex with my wife last night but I was extremely tired and could not finish. I actually started to feel sick and it was a little weird. She was disturbed by this. Again I did not really want to have sex but we are trying for a baby.

    @Joshua Shea I am not exactly sure why I have used PMO. I thought for a while that it was a way to alter my mood. Perhaps as you said I was using it to control my sex life. One major problem in my life is that “that spark” has died to a certain extent and I feel I can only get exciting feelings (sexually) through porn. However when I think back to the year of abstinence I think I got to the point where sex was at least mildly exciting. I am looking forward to these days again.
     
  4. Merton

    Merton Member

    16- Things are good today. Last night I had some urges when trying to fall asleep, and when waking up in the middle of the night. I made sure to occupy my mind during these times and to "buy myself some time.'' That is, I know that if I distract myself for a little bit of time, the urges will lighten up, and I will not feel the pressing need to go to porn. So these methods were pretty successful last night.

    I also had a meeting with the therapist today. It was nice to talk about various things. No real breakthroughs, but I am trying to wait for a while into recovery until I work hard on any personal issues.
     
  5. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Merton It sounds like what you did was fry your dopamine receptors and the same old, same old couldn't get you going like the fantasy world you can find with porn. Happened to me, too. Truth is, I don't think I ever fully came back. I think I did some real damage to my pleasure centers. That's OK, it's the price we pay and I could have done a lot more damage with other addictions. When you think about it in terms of scratching a pleasurable itch, it's much easier to understand how people get addicted to things like drugs, food and gambling.

    Don't worry about not having breakthroughs in the office. I find they are often the thing that hit on a random Tuesday afternoon when I'm driving in the car. I have to actually pull over and put a note in my phone to bring it up at my next appointment. I think it's OK if some appointments are just check-ins and chit-chat.

    Question...have you ever figured out if you're addicted to porn, masturbation or both?
     
  6. Merton

    Merton Member

    17- quick checkin tonight as I have no time. I wanted to get work done today but it did not really happen. I am slightly stressed about my schedule coming up due to holidays. PMO is going well and there have not been strong urges. I have had some moments of missing porn and feeling ad though I am somehow attached emotionally to some of the women on the screen. This is a fantasy world. I am also reading a lot of the journal of William. I may post some nuggets from there.
     
  7. Merton

    Merton Member

    19- still no time but I’ll make a more substantial update tomorrow. No violations.
     
  8. Merton

    Merton Member

    20- Today has been pretty good. I have not been so motivated to get work done, but I managed to do something. I also thought some about recovery. I think last night I had more critical moments to deal with, but things seemed to go pretty well. Again, I have continued to count when I have issues. Today at work I vowed to leave my office for a walk if I started to get any funny ideas. It turned out not to be necessary.

    Tomorrow I travel for Thanksgiving for a few days, but I should still be updating. Travel is always difficult for me, but I am going with family, so it should be ok.

    @Joshua Shea thanks so much for the very kind and helpful comments. I think you are right about frying the dopamine receptors. If I think back to high school or even parts of college, I was able to maintain interest for a much larger time. I always, though, fell into the land of not wanting real sex. I think this leads to your question about whether I am addicted to porn or masturbation, or both. I think it might be both. I remember being a very small boy (5th grade?) when I discovered masturbation, and would do it constantly. I probably did it 5 or more times a day, and my parents even remarked about me going to the bathroom so much. Maybe it was a way to deal with my isolation and family problems. I always had many friends, but I always felt that I could not get girlfriends. (This was not actually true, apparently, but this is how it felt, maybe because I obsessed so much about girls.) I don't think I ever consciously said to myself "I am frustrated that I cannot talk to such-and-such girl, so I will masturbate.'' This is probably not how such behaviors emerge. If they are linked, then I guess it is more below the surface. I do not know how this really works. As you wrote, since having PMO issues, I can totally understand how people are addicted to nearly anything. As long as it gets the chemicals going, I could be addicted to chalk.
     
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  9. Merton

    Merton Member

    23- I have not updated in a couple of days. Two days ago, my family and I drove all day to get to a relative’s house. I went to sleep pretty much immediately. Yesterday I stayed in bed most of the day, watching video game speed runs. It was a good break.

    As this was going on, however, I started to suspect that I was getting the amnesia. When going to bed, and particularly during the night, I started to have more sexual and PMO dreams. I have calmed myself by counting when I wake up.

    This morning I made two stupid decisions that put me in the direction of porn again. First, I looked on this site in the women’s section for anything juicy. I had done this in the past with another forum and it is always pointless. It is a desperation move for dopamine. Somehow in the moment, it seems like the only way out of a critical moment is to plummet down into the pit. Of course the correct thing to do is to face my triggers and get through the critical moment. Fortunately I did not find anything in that section (good work moderators!) and came back to reality.

    The second thing I did was look through one of my wife’s stupid magazines. Of course there was also nothing there. I don’t know where I got this idea to look through her magazines, since they are non sexual. It is again a desperation move for dopamine.

    My plan today to counteract these moves:

    1. Play with my daughter.

    2. Get some work done. This should help me to feel like I am not thrust completely out of my routine.

    3. Tell myself to be ready for critical moments. If it is daytime, go take a walk. If it is nighttime, count. Hide my phone and computer at night as usual.

    4. Spend 30 min. on recovery today. I have skimped on this due to travel and this must be where any slippage is coming in. I will read Williams thread, breaking the cycle (thanks to a friend for reminding me about this), and the stop smoking book.

    I intend to emerge tomorrow on day 24, and not 0!
     
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  10. Merton

    Merton Member

    0- unfortunately I reset. I will write more about it tomorrow hopefully after we get home. Traveling really is the most difficult part of this addiction for me. Right now I have to focus on climbing out of the pit and updating my program to be stronger.
     
  11. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Merton Keep your head up. No, not that head.
    It's a slip. They can happen. As long as you treat it as a data-gathering incident, you'll be stronger on the other end.
     
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  12. Merton

    Merton Member

    1- another quick update because I am about to go to bed. We drove home and I listened to breaking the cycle (audiobook by Collins) on the way home. It was very helpful. Fortunately I had a good day and I will try once again to write about it tomorrow.

    @Joshua Shea thanks so much for your continued support. This is what I have heard: to try to learn from any slip up that comes. I took some concrete measures to solidify my program and hopefully I will detail these soon. I also saw that you have written a book about your experience getting clean. I will be sure to get it.
     
  13. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Merton That Collins book was one of the few out there that I thought was any good when I first entered recovery. I know a lot of people love Carnes, but there's just something a little off for me in most of his writing. I appreciate you showing interest in my book. There just aren't enough resources out there for people like us.
     
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  14. Merton

    Merton Member

    2- My number is one less than it should be because I had more issues two nights ago. It seems to take me forever to climb out of the pit. This is like what Mark Queppet says: if you are driving down the fast streams, and you get all the way to porn, you can of course stop, but it is really hard. I am a porn addict, and I need to keep myself away from porn. If I intentionally expose myself to porn it is extremely difficult to stop.

    But I feel like I am back in the saddle and ready to climb. The last run of 23 days was certainly nowhere near as long as others from the past (over a year), but I feel like it really gave me the right perspective. For a long time before joining these forums, I felt like I was sliding further and further down into the pit. Finally I am looking at things the right way: I cannot think of porn as a "forbidden fruit" that I am keeping from myself. I need to focus on strategies to keep clean, and practice getting through critical moments. Somehow before a month or so ago, I thought I needed to work on porn recovery indirectly, by dealing with personal issues, and then I would magically just stop wanting porn. Now I know I am an addict, I will never stop wanting the drugs, I cannot control the addiction, and instead need to keep practicing putting space in between the triggering event and the decision to act. As Collins says, if I continue to do this, I will get more and more distance away from porn, and will eventually be clean of it.

    How did the last relapse occur? I was at my wife's parents' house, and I felt extremely awkward. I have a lot of social anxiety, and being there really brings these feelings up. I was dealing with them appropriately, I thought, and eventually started to talk some to others. The first two nights went pretty well, but I stopped doing my daily routine. There are several things I typically do: read, work on emails, listen to music, work out, and so on. I told myself I would just relax and did essentially none of these. Maybe this gave me a sense that there were no consequences? I am a little bit grasping at straws here.

    Anyway I went to sleep on the third night and had some triggering thoughts. I wanted to masturbate, but as usual, I practiced getting through the trigger by counting and thinking about other things. The chemicals died down and I fell asleep. I woke up about an hour later and had an idea to check whether my phone had blocked a certain site. This site is not actually bad in itself, but I wanted to see whether it had any bad material on it. Maybe it was because I woke up in the middle of the night and felt more vulnerable, but I got my phone and looked on the site. This lasted for about an hour, and I looked at "mild" things. Then I decided I would masturbate just a little. If grabbing the phone didn't put me over the edge, this touching certainly did. After the session, I felt terrible of course, and said, as Collins writes, "oh shit. I did it again.'' After this it was nearly impossible to sleep. (This always happens to me, because I am so worked up.)

    I decided after a little while that I would just go ahead and PMO. This must have been about 3am. After that I really felt terrible, and slept all morning. In the morning I also had another urge and PMOed again. It seems like during these times, in the pit, I do not even fight the urge.

    So the thing to do is to strengthen my program based on what happened. First, practical issues:

    1. I blocked the sites that I accessed on my phone.

    2. I have a new spot for keeping my phone while sleeping. I think this will make it inaccessible. Of course, it is pointless to just hide things and then dig them back up in the moment, but the idea is that making the drugs more inaccessible will give me more time to come back to my senses. I know in the past this has helped a lot.

    Issues that are less practical:

    When I am in the pit, and a little bit before a reset, I transition to a mental state of avoidance. Instead of wanting to face my triggers and to get stronger, I start wanting to avoid them, and just want to be in the free and clear. This is bad, because when a critical time comes by, I will surely give in. Therefore I need to re-educate myself to get the right mental attitude. To do this, I have a list of things to read: Breaking the Cycle, the cpf journal from nofap, and Joshua Shea's book.

    As I said, although I had gone much longer in the past, I really feel like during these 23 days, I was not lying to myself, and I was confronting recovery head-on. I had made it through many more critical moments than in the past, and had started to see that I do actually always have a choice. With an updated program, I will get back up and continue with recovery. As they say, you only fail when you stop trying.

    @Joshua Shea I completely agree with this. It is quite difficult to find good books. I have enjoyed several of them, and they give me tons of useful information, but usually they do not really connect with me or motivate me. Collins seems to do this, as well as this "hackbook" that I found which is based on the Allen Carr stop smoking book. There is just something about reading Collins: I feel like he has many of the same thoughts that I have. I think this is a key component, to feel like the author understands your way of thinking.
     
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  15. Merton

    Merton Member

    1- I had another problem last night. Somehow the idea to masturbate only comes into my mind and I have had a hard time batting it away. I felt terrible today. I hate that I get lured back into the pit after falling into it. However I am trying not to pile too much shame onto myself. My time away is increasing: from 1 day to 2 days.

    Continued updates to the program include more blocked sites and more reading. I think the book that gets me in the right mood is the Allen Carr stop smoking book, so I will go for that. I will also listen to Breaking the Cycle while working out today.

    I am traveling tomorrow and traveling is the most difficult for me. I am seriously considering leaving my computer at home. After all, I am not really sure I need it at all. Since these are early days and I am having a hard time crawling out of the pit, it might be the right thing to do. Other tactics:

    1. Stay out of the hotel room as much as possible. I can also take a walk outside.

    2. Unplug the TV as soon as I get into the room.

    3. Listen to Breaking the Cycle when I am in the room.

    4. When I go to sleep, meditate for 10 minutes before getting into bed and relax.

    Before I had my stupid problems last night, I think I made some connection (understanding) about my acting out. I will try to explain more later, but I feel like it has always been with me in a way. It is related to moving from a world where there are many rules, mostly self-imposed, (the real world) to a fantasy one where there are no rules. I have had many of the same feelings and experiences when it comes to drinking, staying up late, being with women, and even hanging out with my friends. I am probably not making much sense now, but it all feels tied together by the feeling that, during these activities, I am desperate not to let the night end. This realization was brought on by some remarks in Josh Shea's book along with some dialoguing with my addict (a la Collins).
     
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  16. mikehunt

    mikehunt New Member

    Can relate to your last paragraph. Sounds like escapism. When the real world feels inadequate, and some outside influence breathes life into your otherwise meaningless existence, you cling onto it, hoping it will last forever. Grasping. Suffering.

    Instead of relying on other people/entertainment/porn, it is better reinvent your life into something meaningful and fulfilling - something you will not want to walk away from.
     
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  17. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Merton I asked this before and I don't think you answered it. Do you truly know if you're addicted to porn, masturbation or both? I would have sworn my answer was both, but after trying an exercise suggested by someone, I came to recognize I had a porn addiction and the masturbation was really just there to let me know when I was finished.
     
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  18. Merton

    Merton Member

    2- alright I am on day 2! I feel I am going to crawl out of the pit this time.

    I am on my travels. I actually decided to leave my laptop at home! It has not caused any significant problem so far. Also I do not have the temptation to act out using it.

    One difficulty in hotel rooms is that I am always on guard to listen for sexual noises coming from nearby rooms. This is because I was once in a room with such noises and acted out. This is actually quite disgusting, not the least because the other people have no idea I exist. Also they could be incredibly gross.

    I have been listening to breaking the cycle and now will read other materials.

    @mikehunt what you wrote really makes sense to me. Not until the last couple of days have I really understood the role of escapism in my life.

    @Joshua Shea thanks for the comments! I wrote a little about this on the day marked 20 above. I am not completely sure. I know that when I was a child (11?) I would masturbate several times a day. Often I would do it 3-5 times, and I have some memories of doing it much more than that. My parents also made some comments about me going to the bathroom a lot and I said I had stomach problems. It is certainly possible I am addicted also to MO. What is the exercise that got you to realize that you are not addicted to MO?
     
  19. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Merton For a period of say, 10 days, you're allowed to both masturbate and look at porn...you're just not allowed to do them together. You can look at all the porn you want as long as you don't touch yourself. Conversely, touch yourself as much as you want, but without visual stimulation. You'll figure out fast which is the worse addiction or if they're both the real problem. Once I got rid of porn, my MO dropped about 95% to the point I wouldn't describe it as even being close to a problem. Anyway, just an idea. I've heard many people use this to figure things out.
     
  20. Merton

    Merton Member

    0- dammit.
     

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