Merton's reboot log

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

  1. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    3- I am still here. I did not post this weekend because I was so tired. That is not really an excuse, but anyway I am feeling much better. I will talk soon about the relapse. I really wanted to make it through the travels. If I look at my major relapses over the last year (those that were not just trying to get out of the pit, but really after being away from porn for a few weeks), they are almost all from traveling. It was extremely helpful to leave my laptop at home, and I will continue to do this. It is my stupid phone. Of course it is really my choice to use the phone as a PMO tool, but it would help if I just went back to an old school phone.

    Anyway I'll try to update more tomorrow. Today I spent most of the day trying to play catch-up from last week.

    @Joshua Shea this is an interesting idea. I did in fact go through a period around September when I told myself it would be ok if I relapsed to MO with no porn. This proved to be difficult still. Although the MO relapse pit (for me) seems to be much more shallow, it is still very difficult to keep MO under control. Somehow I feel like if I could look at all the porn I wanted to but just not MO, I would still be in trouble. I have never tried to only MO. Maybe sometime I will try this.
     
  2. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    Travelling is definitely a big issue for me too. Only this year I succeeded in not acting out while doing so.

    In my case I think it's a combination of feeling uncomfortable for the meetings I go to, loneliness, and the opportunity to act out.

    The thing I kept focusingon this year while travelling, was the reward I would get from not doing it in the form of feeling better, and improved interaction with others.
     
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  3. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    5- Things are going much more smoothly. I have not had significant urges in the last couple of days. When I had some ideas to search for something online (it is usually thoughts of the form "I wonder if such and such is accessible through my blocker") I have read this online book related to Allen Carr's stop smoking book. This has done a great job getting me to have motivation to continue. I have found that I am not so motivated (unfortunately) by being told that I am ruining my life, or that my health will go downhill, etc. I get more motivated by thinking that life without PMO is much better than life with PMO. For example, if I read about how when you do not PMO, you have so much more energy, or that you are not enslaved, this seems to help. The Allen Carr book does a good job of presenting these sorts of ideas.

    I have also done a good job at putting my phone and computer in the drawer next to my wife's sleeping head at night. In order for me to access them, I would need to move my daughter's floor mattress, and probably wake both of them up. So it seems to be pretty much impossible. Anyway this is just a tactic to get my porn thoughts to stop at an earlier stage. If I get the idea to use porn, and I entertain them for sufficient time, I will actually use no matter what. If I think that the computer and phone are inaccessible, then I do not get as worked up, and I do not typically get to the point where I go after porn.

    @Gilgamesh thanks so much for the comments! I have had a great time learning from reading your journal. I am glad to hear that you are a fellow person with travel difficulties. Of course I don't want you to have difficulties, but it makes me feel less alone. I have a firend who had to travel and had PMO problems, and eventually transferred to a different division where travel was not compulsory. Unfortunately for me, I will need to travel for the rest of my career due to my chosen occupation. In this last travel, I was really happy the first night and second day that I had not acted out, and felt great. I was confident I would make it through the second night. It is strange how at night time I seem to become a different person. I will try to focus more on how much better I will feel if I do not scrape the bottom of the PMO barrel.
     
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  4. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    6- Today I watched this great video of Mark Queppet:



    It is about how to journal. I have never really thought about what I should be writing about. He states that you should try to identify a time throughout the past day in which you acted in a non-ideal way. Then you should explain what the lie was that you told yourself that got you to act in that non-ideal way. Last, you should describe how you should have acted. He also said you should write about something you did do well.

    I did not have any serious violations in the last day, so it could be hard. What I could do is to go back to the last relapse in the hotel room.

    What happened: I finished my travels, packed up my bags, and sat on the bed in the dark to read a book on my phone. Then I got an idea to look on my audiobook program to see if there was anything racy. I did this, got worked up, and eventually went down the porn hole. This ended up with me looking at porn for hours and getting no sleep.

    The lie: I do remember telling myself that "just one peek won't hurt,'' and that ''I had finished my travels, so I am free to do what I want in the hotel room far away from my family.'' Also ''I will not have this opportunity for a long time.'' These are lies because (a) one peek did hurt! I ended up looking at porn for hours, not for 5 minutes, (b) I did finish my travels, but wouldn't it be better to pack up, sleep, and feel refreshed to go home to my family?, (c) It is not actually true that I had an opportunity I would not normally have. I could easily go home from work in the middle of the day and spend the whole day looking at porn if I wanted to. It is not really an opportunity, but just a story I told myself to get myself to fall into the porn pit.

    What I should have done: I should have had this thought and countered it with "I will feel so much better if I go to bed.'' Also instead of thinking that I can only get sexual satisfaction from a two-dimensional screen, I should start thinking of getting it from another human being. (Probably this thought was down in there.) Then I should have gone to bed and woke up refreshed, instead of getting no sleep, and eating no breakfast, etc.

    Something I did well: Last night I had thoughts to use porn when going to bed. I put my phone and computer in the drawer next to my wife, got into bed, and counted until the chemicals subsided. I then felt much better this morning!
     
  5. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    Interesting. Will give that a try as well.
     
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  6. MarstonS

    MarstonS Walking the longest walk...

    This is something I probably should do. Have to try it out. Thanks!
     
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  7. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    7- Thanks guys for teh comments! Today things seemed to go well without serious urges. I did not have any slips, and the only bad thoughts I had (regarding porn) occurred last night. When I was going to bed, again, once my wife and I put away the computer (that we use to watch a show), I could feel myself starting to get mild chills. This seems to happen whenever I get triggered. It is because, during the last part of the show, I was thinking a little about an old porn video I used to often watch. Whenever I have these thoughts, I go back and forth about indulging in the mind. That is, I think "I probably should not think about that.'' Then I think "well, just a little.'' And so on. In my case, this went on for a couple of minutes, and then I realized I was getting triggered. Then I put away the phone and computer and talked with my wife a little. This made the feelings go away.

    With these thoughts, I was probably thinking "It is not so bad just to think about these images for a little bit.'' This is a lie, since I know that once I start thinking about porn, it makes recovery that much more difficult. I think it makes me mentally transition from a state of progress to one of avoidance. It gets me to start wanting to avoid being triggered, rather than using those times to get stronger. So, it is in fact bad to dwell on these sexual images in the mind. What should I have done instead? When I thought of these images, I should have started a Collins-style dialogue with my addict. I should imagine that I am in the amphitheater, talking to my addict about why it is not the best move.

    Tomorrow we will go to the symphony and it will be amazing. I have been looking forward to it for a long time.
     
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  8. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    10- I did not post this weekend, but it was a good one. The concert was not so good because so many people were making noise. But for the rest of the weekend I got some good relaxation. Being at day 10 is truly so much better than being at day 1. Also I noticed my emotions returning yesterday, so it is a plus.

    I did not have any violations in the past day. I also did not have any severe fantasies. In the past, if I had been in this stage for long enough, then I would get "amnesia" and become lazy with recovery. This would often lead to me relapsing, being blindsided by an urge. So I need to stay vigilant. As I wrote above, the main lies I seem to tell myself (recently) are:

    1. I'll just have one peek.
    2. I am only on day x. I can make it back to that day easily.
    3. I will never have fulfilling sex with my wife and I cannot therefore go the rest of my life without porn.

    I need to counteract these lies with the truth:

    1. It is never one peek. This is really the worst lie. I end up pretty much always looking at porn for HOURS. I quickly tell myself that I don't care how long I am looking at it, since it feel sgood. This leads me to the middle of the night, skipping workouts and work the next day, and so on. I tell myself "it's ok since I can sleep between 10-11 tomorrow'' or something. Much better is to get a good night of sleep!
    2. Yes I am only on day x. However it is nearly impossible to get out of the pit. Not only will relapsing put me at day 1 and make me feel terrible, but also I will waste a week of my life trying to climb out of the pit, constantly relapsing.
    3. I will never have fulfilling sex with my wife if I don't try to. Things are actually improving, and I am feeling more and more attracted. I know I can get to a fulfilling stage, but using porn is just going to push me in the opposite direction.
     
  9. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    11- I was thinking about this line in the Allen Carr online book that says that PMOers use porn because they think they cannot stop. I wonder how true this is. Of course I get urges and think that it will feel great to PMO. But how much of it is due to the fact that deep down I don't think I can stop?

    Last night while sleeping I got strong urges. I think this was due to dreams that I had. I had to wake up several times to pee as well. Maybe I am drinking too much before bed. Anyway I did not act out and each time I just thought about something else instead of fantasizing. I also had sex with my wife last night and it was difficult not to fantasize while having sex.

    The thoughts and lies: When having sex I think my brain would tell me the following lies: "you will not be able to get it up if you don't think about other women or porn,'' or ''you will never have fulfilling sex if you don't think about something arousing.''

    How I felt: I probably felt annoyed, like I am destined to have unfulfilling sex forever.

    How I acted: In response to this, I did think about arousing images (not really porn, but real people) instead of trying to focus on sex.

    How I should have acted: I should have blocked out these thoughts and tried as hard as I could to have sex without any fantasy. This is difficult because I have done it for so long. The lies that I told myself were not true. I know that in the year of abstinence, I did not fantasize while having sex, and it was more fulfilling. Also I did manage to get it up. The problem now is that I will not kiss my wife, and this keeps me from getting aroused. I will not do it because I feel awkward and anxious. It somehow feels unbearable, like I am in a socially awkward situation. But it is true that I will probably never have more fulfilling sex unless I start to do this. So it is not true that I will not have fulfilling sex unless I fantasize. Rather, it is more true that not being close to my wife and kissing her is a barrier to having fulfilling sex.
     
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  10. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    I haven't read the Allen Carr book, but it sounds like he's isolated just part of the reason some people use. Assuming PMO is an addiction, put his hypothesis into other addictions. People gamble because they don't think they can stop? People smoke because they don't think they can stop. I think anybody trying to kick an addiction will have doubts and sometimes fall to their cravings, but I don't think they use because they don't think they can stop. I think they're using to cope with some bigger problem that they are avoiding.

    I wish I had the stat in front of me, but it was something like 90% of porn addicts have some kind of trauma (physically, sexual or emotional) happen to them early in life. The percentage is only slightly lower for addicts in general. I think a lot of people don't want to dig into their past and uncover something that they have neatly packed away and forced themselves to forget about. I see a lot of men on this board who don't want to admit it's an addiction and are only dealing with the PMO and not the deeper wounds. That's like putting a band-aid on a giant gash that needs stitches. Sure, the band-aid will help a little bit, but it's not addressing the real problem.

    @Merton You're probably never going to be the 100% sexually pure prince that you're striving to be. I think most people, even those who sing the glories of things like NoFap, see it as an uphill battle since they try to take on so much at one time. You're talking about different things and it's too much of a load for one man to carry at one time. It's why many never get over two weeks. Your issues are multi-faceted. I think people look at their issues as something to take a wrecking ball to or blowing everything up at once, like a hotel in Vegas past its prime. Instead, what if you look at it as a stage someone has just performed on. You can't blow it up. You need to take it apart, piece by piece, in a certain order, and pack it away carefully.

    I can only look to my recovery and say that despite never relapsing, it has been a journey of baby steps and taking things one at a time. Had I tried to address my porn habits, fix my marriage, fix my sex life, delve into abuse of my youth, stop drinking and figure out who I wanted to be all at the same time, I would have failed, too.

    Recovery is a process. It's a long path that you never come off. You don't arrive at recovery. When you think you have, like a Vegas hotel, something is going to take you down.
     
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  11. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    12- things have gone pretty well today. I had a stumble for a minute when I was searching for something online and porn came up on the search engine. A voice inside said “let’s see if the blocker blocks it.” I clicked and fortunately the blocker blocked it. However this was completely stupid to do in the first place. What I should have done: just closed the browser and taken a deep breath.

    @Joshua Shea thanks for the comments! The Allen Carr book is a stop smoking book but some person modified the text to make it appear as if it applies to PMO. It does not work in its entirety but some parts are very motivating. In the case of the quote I mentioned, I agree that it does not really make sense. What he is trying to focus on, it seems, is that a large component of the negative self talk associated with the addiction (it seems) is to tell yourself that you are doomed, there is no way to stop, and you will just relapse forever and ever. When I think of this, then it seems to help to realize that this kind of thinking puts me in a downward spiral, so I should be more positive. After all, as he says, nothing bad is happening. You are slowly getting cured from porn.

    I cannot agree with you more about the fact that trying to take on too much is a recipe for disaster. What is most important for me is to focus on not viewing or thinking about porn. Once I am able to do that for a sufficient amount of time, then I can think about some of the other issues that are underlying it. The main reason I was writing about the intimacy problems is that I was following the journal writing instructions of Mark Queppet, who advised to deconstruct an event in the past day in which you did not act ideally. In that previous day, I had not had any porn problems, and the only thing I could think of was the intimacy issues.
     
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  12. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Active Member

    @Merton I don't know if I've written it here before, but I had a counselor at one of the rehabs I went to say, "You're allowed to think anything for three seconds. That's a natural body's instinct and there's nothing you're ever going to do to change it. It's like the gut reaction when someone cuts you off in traffic and you think. 'I want to kill that motherfu---!' After three seconds, you have control of your thoughts and you don't kill the guy. You're going to think what you're going to think...but only for three seconds. That fourth second is on you."

    I think if you see a pretty girl and think, "Whoa, she's hot. She's sexy" it's perfectly OK if it falls in that three second window. Then you move on with your life. God made humans to be attracted to each other. It's part of evolution. It's what good looking people always end up with good looking people.
     
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  13. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    13- quick update tonight. No violations and I will continue to read inspirational materials.
     
  14. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    Also agree with both you and Joshua. Though I think that a focus on intimacy with your wife can also greatly help you to take away power from the addiction. I found that abstaining from porn got me more attracted to my wife and thw increased intimacy (hugging, kissing, massages, teasing, etc. Which need some effort from both sites) are in turn a medicine against acting out.

    You're doing great here. Keep it up!
     
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  15. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    17- I have not posted in a few days. This is because I post at work usually and I either did not work or was busy. This is in general not so good, since I need to stay on top of journaling to work through any issues that come up. But I seem to be ok.

    The last few days were pretty good. I have gotten over half a month, so I am excited about that. I need to focus on a few things that seem to continually improve as I get further away from porn:

    1. I can continue to get my emotions back be happy!

    2. I can keep getting good rest!

    3. I can keep going up in weights at the gym. When I relapse, I have the worst workouts ever.

    4. I will (hopefully) get more comfortable around my wife.

    In the last few days there were no violations, although during at least one night, I thought a little bit about porn. The idea to do this always comes up around 10 pm. In any case, I got myself to stop, and focused on sleeping. The more I have good sleep and keep the porn thoughts away, the less insistent they are. To continue the Mark Queppet exercise:

    What happened: I had the idea to think of an old porn video.

    What was going on and how I felt: It was near bedtime. I was probably very tired. Last night, at least, I had a harder time going to sleep, so I was probably somewhat frustrated with this. Probably I had a thought like "if you cannot go to sleep, just think about porn for a while and you'll feel better.''

    The truth: Porn will not make me feel better. When I think about it, I feel drugged and great for the duration of the thinking or the act, but then I feel completely horrible later. It is not just feeling guilty and that I am going in the wrong direction, but also I feel so physically and mentally exhausted. As I have heard, just one peek is never just one peek. Also, there is no such thing as controlled use.

    @Gilgamesh thanks for your continued support! I have also felt this way, that getting rid of the porn will help intimacy. I have gotten confused in the past about whether it should be the other way around: fix the intimacy to help getting rid of porn. However this is way too much and has never worked for me.

    @Joshua Shea this is a great idea. Anything for 3 seconds. I have often gotten worried about thoughts that seem to pop into my head and tried to get rid of them immediately, or felt ashamed about them surfacing in the first place. I should be more relaxed, notice the thoughts, and think about something else.
     
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  16. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    18- All continues to go well. There were no violations in the last day. I don't think I was particularly tempted either. I will spend some time now reading some recovery materials.
     
  17. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    Being busy and not having time to post is very recognizable to me. It also means taking a risk, because likely it also means that you don't have time to stand still and really observe what's happening inside you in terms of feelings, emotions and real (healthy) needs. Almost 3 weeks. Keep it up!
     
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  18. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    20- tomorrow will be three weeks. On the past streak I reset on day 23. On day 23 this time I will be traveling as last time. I will be in a hotel with my wife and daughter. I will need to make sure I put away the electronics in a place where they are inaccessible.

    Things have generally gone well. I did have some strong urges last night as some scenes from a movie of the past came into my head. It is weird how sometimes I can think of these scenes and bat them away. Other times they start a chemical release and I feel I am in trouble. I think these thoughts were accompanied by mild versions of all the previous thoughts like “you can just PMO once and deal with the aftermath tomorrow.” This, as I have mentioned, is a terrible lie as it minimizes the pain I feel the following day, which is quite large. Instead I need to think “I will feel awful tomorrow. I also want to continue to heal from the slavery. The further I go, the better I will feel.” As in the words of Collins, how good can I stand it?

    @Gilgamesh thanks very much for the comments and support! What you write seems very true. I have not had much time to devote to taking stock of how I really feel and which tactics the addict is using to try to ensnare me. I will need to be consistent with this and journaling as my travels come up soon.
     
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  19. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    21- today is three weeks. I am feeling pretty good. Physically though I am hurting because I think squats at the gym may have given me some pinched nerve. It is quite annoying.

    I have not had any problems with PMO in the last day. I met with my therapist yesterday and had a pretty good session. In it, I told her about how I recently remembered that when I was young I found a picture of my dad naked, a picture he had apparently given to my mom. Even thinking about this picture really disturbs me. I wonder how much of an effect this incident had on me.

    I am off to read some recovery materials before going to bed. I start travels tomorrow with the family.
     
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  20. Merton

    Merton Active Member

    23- I finished the first day of travels. I was very tempted last night. It is incredible how just a change in scenery can get me so triggered. My brain has learned that when I travel it is PMO time, so the porn scenes start flooding my brain.

    Last night I had terrible sleep and got stressed as I tried to sleep. I knew that I would have to drive a lot today and thought I would be too tired. In the middle of the night, while thinking about this, is when the images really came into my mind. A couple of times I thought about them and struggled. By struggling I mean that I got triggered and decided to think more about them, about further scenes in the past. I countered this by trying to dialogue with the addict, and also by imagining that I was actually in my bed at home, where I am less triggered. I also thought about how happy I would be if I made it through today without giving in. Fortunately I am still here this morning!

    There were many lies my brain told me. The biggest were the standard ones: you can just reset and get back o where you are now, you don’t have to see the therapist for a while so you can build back up by then, it will feel so good, and so on.

    These are all lies, as I can see now. Of course it would feel good in a way. So does heroin, probably! That doesn’t mean I should start shooting up under a bridge. Also I cannot so easily get back to where I am now now. It would take another 3 weeks and I feel absolutely horrible.

    I gotta get up so more later.
     
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