Merton's reboot log

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

  1. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    More update since I have more time now. @Intothewild89 i did not watch porn (I was unable to). If I described to you what I was looking at you would probably laugh. Anyway it was a typical scenario of edging, which I actually never used to do but do now when I relapse.

    So in that sense it was a relapse. However I do not really want to call it that (not because it is in some way inaccurate) but more because I have decided to try to get away from the whole mentality that rational recovery classifies as “recovery group thinking.” I will try to explain what I mean below, as it is also related to the realization that I had.

    The idea is about commitment. Are we really trying to get away from porn for good, or are we doing something in between? As RR says, when we tell ourselves “I will never use porn again in my life,” we have mixed feelings on the one hand we want to quit because it makes us feel bad. On the other we want to continue because it makes us feel good. Because of this ambivalence, what I end up doing is sometimes abstaining, and sometimes not.

    The problem here is that I do not actually tell myself that I will not look at porn again. Even if I do tell myself this sometimes, I can tell that I don’t totally mean it.

    The reason I started thinking about this stuff is that the RR book says “do not count days. If you are never going to use again, there is no point. It only serves to indicate that you plan to use in the future.” I think this is true. What is the reason to count if you will never use again? This same reasoning applies to many other things, using the terms relapse or whatever, although we are all using them. I stopped eating meat 3 years ago. Am I constantly worried about accidentally eating meat or tempting myself with sausages? Of course not, since I made a commitment.

    Although it is hard for me to admit, the real reason why I am still doing all the “recovery group” mentality stuff is that my real plan is to quit for a while, hope the desire goes away, and if it doesn’t, then use again sometime in the distant future. This is not really quitting. Instead I am doing some half-asses procedure where ... (have to continue soon since I have to go).
  2. Intothewild89

    Intothewild89 Active Member

    I hear you on the counting days thing. I thi k for me, the reason im doing it now is because i realistically want to know when ive hit 90 days, because thats when they said dopamine has returned to baseline. I also want to know how far i am when 6 weeks hits, because thats when most of the delta fos b has cleared your brain. Ill use this milestones to see how i feel and if porn addiction truly made me the way i am today. Once i hit those dates, i think ill probably stop counting. Like you said, there really isnt a point after that. For me though, like i said, its to know when biologically i should be back to normal levels regarding dopamine and other transmitters.

    That last bit you mention is interesting though. Ive always been told that "the addict doesnt have to quit. The addict has to WANT to quit." I think if youre saying that youll use porn again if the desire doesnt go away, youre setting yourself up for failure. The desire will always be there. Ive had the desire to watch it every day since i discovered playboy magazine at age 12. Thats 22 straight years. I would love to watch it NOW, but i know how screwed up itll make me feel. This is where we have to WANT to quit. We have to override our desire to enjoy it for reasons other than just counting days. We have to give it up in exchange for something else thats healthier. For our families, for our kids, our hobbies, our health, our self esteem. If porn isnt causing problems in your life, why quit? It didnt start causing problems for me until it started giving me anxiety and messing with my emotions and mental health. Trust me, if it didnt start messing with me that way, id still be doing it just as much.

    What is your reason for quitting porn? Does it give you ED? If thats the case, is it affecting your relationship with your wife? My anxiety from porn binging is totally affecting my relationships with everyone in my life. Thats why i want to quit. I want a better life for myself and those around me. Before porn started making me feel anxious, my relationships with everyone around me were perfect. I want that life back, so thats why i want to quit. Ill always have the desire, but after 3 years of trying to beat this thing, i know i have to look at it as a day by day thing.

    Today is day 12 for me, and im starting to feel amazing again. I talked with the lady at the tax prep office this morning and i had total confidence again. No social anxiety whatsoever. It was like i was back in my 20s. I have to quit porn if i want to stay like this. Thats my reason.

    So is porn causing a disturbance in your life beyond knowing its bad for you? If it isnt, id say keep doing it. If it is causing a disturbance, youll need to keep on it ebery single day just like an alcoholic does with his drinking. The cravings for porn will eventually subside, but i dont think theyll ever go away completely for the rest of our lives. Thats why i dont think you can hope for the desire to just go away.

    Sorry for this lengthy post, i just care about you and hope you find what youre looking for. Stay the course my friend!!
    Merton likes this.
  3. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    The not counting day thing makes a lot of sense to me. In my personal experience my best recovery efforts ended up being the ones where I didn't really make a ''dramatic vow'' to myself and didn't count the days too much. Problem is that as the days went up I would get more and more proud of it and that led to relapse. But yeah other addictions I've beaten in the past, I didn't count days. At most I would sometimes tell myself hey it's been X months since ... But there would be more confidence that I will keep going like this then with the no PMO.
    Merton and occams_razor like this.
  4. TrueSelf

    TrueSelf Active Member

    @Merton I agree with everything you said regarding making halfhearted attempts to quit. I think because I have used porn for so long it is just really difficult to make a statement like, "I will never use/watch porn again" and not have the addict side of me say, "you don't really me that" or "yeah you'll change your mind at some point". The other issue I have is that this never again approach seems easier to apply to other substances than it does to porn. The definition of P use to me seems more slippery. For example I can say, "I will never watch or masturbate to x-rated material again". Seems clear cut. However if I continue to masturbate to R rated sex scenes than obviously that's not good....

    Maybe I'm missing something. I would appreciate your thoughts on this when you have the chance.
    Merton likes this.
  5. occams_razor

    occams_razor Active Member

    I find the desire goes away to a certain extent. You get some thought about it and then go, "What, stare lustfully at pixels on a screen? Sounds a bit stupid".

    But if you're in a less rational mood it can be a problem.

    Also, it's natural to have some interest in other women, even if you're married etc. We don't have to act on that interest, though.
    Merton likes this.
  6. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys for all your comments! I have read them and thought a lot about them.

    I did not want to come across as feeling hopeless or something. On the contrary, I feel more hopeful. What I was trying to write yesterday about counters I think is this: the RR book says “do not count days. What is the point if you are never going to use again?” This statement really stuck with me. I realized that in other cases when I quit an addiction, I did not count. The reason is that I said in the beginning immediately “I never want to smoke again,” for example. I just knew I would not and there was no reason to worry about relapses, count days, be in support groups, and so on. Now I do recognize that porn addiction is different in many ways.

    However it still does make sense to me that if I really believed I would not use porn again, then I would not do many of the things I currently do. Yes, maybe I would count days for a while, or maybe I would post entries for a while, but things would be very different. The fact that I am now doing those things means to me then that I do not actually believe I will never use again. Instead, I apparently feel that I need to rely on other things (other people, security measures, constant journaling, etc) to force myself to remain a good boy.

    This was somewhat eye opening to me, and it makes me think that the correct path forward is to build this confidence. What leads me back to using over and over is the indecision, or the push and pull, arguing with the addict. When I am confident I will not use, I am fine. Otherwise if I am worried or do not know, this lack of certainty erodes me until I start to fantasize more, or take one peek, and then it is binge city.

    Because it is obviously impossible just to force myself to instantly believe that I will never use again (considering my successes and failures) I have started to get myself more used to the idea. When I have had an urge, I tell myself “the beast wants to look at porn. However, I do not do that anymore.” Each time I tell myself this, I feel better and more confident.

    More soon!
  7. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    I agree with what you wrote here. I do think we can make a clear line, like “I will not masturbate to any material at all, and I will not intentionally view things that arouse me.” I guess my point here is that if I have a fear that I will relapse in the future, or if I am overloading myself with external accountability measures, what this really means is that I do not believe that I can quit (disease concept). If I am not affirming to myself mentally that I am a non porn user then it just leaves room for the addict to come in and erode everything. In other words, when I start to be fearful or worried about “relapse” or other things from the recovery group mentality, this should actually be a signal to myself that I am not going down the right path.
    TrueSelf likes this.
  8. TrueSelf

    TrueSelf Active Member

    Thanks. I like this and will probably steal it. :)
    Merton likes this.
  9. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the post man! And thanks for your continued caring support. I am very happy to hear that you are feeling so good and are coming up on 2 weeks. I wish I could say the same at this moment.

    What I was trying to say (not very well) is that if we go into the try already not believing that we are going to succeed, then the addict will use this fear and indecision to erode us until we give in. The reason we use is because it gives us great pleasure. There is no way to get rid of this, as you said, although the memory will slowly fade and we will be less interested after a long abstinence. So I do not advocate for feeling doomed if you still want to use. (So do i!) Because it is impossible to stop wanting to use, we have to use a sort of self affirmation to repeat to ourselves that we are committed to never use again. Of course we will not believe it at first because of our track history. But as we get further away we will believe it more.

    The point I want to say is that it seems counterproductive not to do this. Each time we try to quit without telling ourselves “I no longer use” often, we are setting ourselves up to fail, or at least to be miserable once we realize tha we did not make a firm commitment and the addict starts to erode our confidence.

    In my case I have often considered stopping to try to quit. I do feel that it is wrong to use, but at the same time I am not one of these people who think the very act of pmo is immoral. I think overall the industry is much more evil. The problem with me is that I had severe DE (delayed) to the point that I could go one hour easily and it would never be over. Those seem to be my options: constantly search for the way to be free, or put my head in the sand, take mild risks, but never be able to finish.

    At this point I have more reasons because, since trying to stop, using has become a hundred times more exciting. Therefore I get these awful hangover symptoms (feeling them right now in fact).
  10. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Still struggling with motivation. I think it is about time to read the Carr book again. It seems to help me realize that what is going on is addiction, and it needs to stop. If anyone reads this, maybe they can write what it is that motivates them to want to stop. For me, maybe here are some reasons:

    1. My body hurts and my back aches. Also I am getting no sleep.
    2. The porn thoughts basically plague me.
    3. It is hard to focus.
    4. I feel sort of like I am infected with something.

    I have been reading rational recovery, and it is great for giving me concrete things to do when I get urges. The problem is that I need to actually want to stop, and that program seems to already assume that you want to stop. The Carr book seems to help there, so I will start there.

    @occams_razor thanks for the comments! I know what you mean about thinking that porn isn't that exciting. Of course that is not where I am at the moment, but I have felt that after extended absences from porn.
  11. Intothewild89

    Intothewild89 Active Member

    I feel you on that 1-4 list. My hugest reason for quitting are the after hangover effects from binges. They give me anxiety attacks, periodic depression and weird fibromyalgia pains as if my nervous system is in a constant heightened state. When I go two weeks without porn, I'm back to baseline and feel amazing.

    I think with wanting to quit thing, we're going to be there 50% of the time. That's what it's like for me at least. Half the time I want to quit because porn makes me feel horrendous after a few days away from it, but the other half of the time when I'm not in active withdrawal I still love to use it. It all depends on what mental state I'm in or if I'm withdrawing or not. We have to tell ourselves that life will feel better without it for good. That's hard to do when you've been addicted to what you thought was "normal" for the better part of two and a half decades. This addiction is weird because the disdain I have for it can change at the drop of a hat. Even within a matter of hours I can swear the stuff off for good, only to binge away the night when I get the slightest tinge of wanting to watch my favorite scenes (which still are my favorite scenes, because like I said, if I didn't get these hangovers and withdrawal from porn, I'd obviously continue to use it indefinitely).

    Keep your head up, Merton!
    Merton likes this.
  12. chrism

    chrism It's time to make a change.

    Hey man, yeah I can also relate to all 4 points on your list.

    For me I think I just want to get ride of the anxiety and worthlessness I feel when I relapse.

    I have a massive feeling of how much time, energy and self worth I have thrown away by using P instead of growing as a person.

    I think when I was younger I saw P as a benefit to my life, how wrong I was. As I get older I realise that I want to get back closer to the point in my life where I was happier with everyday life. As far as I am aware this was before I started using P to escapes from my life.

    Yes totally agree with the need to want to quite. Have you had a look into freedom?
    Merton likes this.
  13. occams_razor

    occams_razor Active Member

    One thing to think about is, do I want to "clean up" after PMO? lol.

    Even if I do it in such a way that cleaning up is very quick and easy, it's not a very desirable mental image.

    Or if I just "peek" at something without any MO, I'm still left with such things as a mild smell of nervous sweat from my armpits.

    Okay I'm disgusting myself now lol, I'll leave it there.
    Merton likes this.
  14. Intothewild89

    Intothewild89 Active Member

    Cleaning up the LAST thing on my mind. :D

    Anyway, I think the fact that pmo and porn in general is such a hard habit to break is because we know it isn't doing us any damage in the immediate. We can't overdose on this stuff, and even some of the worst addicts have gone to doctors, taken blood tests, the whole 9 yards and are dubbed healthier than ever. It's all mental, that's why it's so hard. If I never started getting post orgasm symptoms, I'd still be doing it no questions asked. I don't feel bad about it at ALL. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but there's no "moral" issue here for me. It's strictly how the binges make me feel that make me want to quit. I want my mental health back. I want to be anxiety and depression free. I don't want agoraphobia anymore. I want my old life back before I got addicted.
    Merton likes this.
  15. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys! I will respond to your posts tomorrow (hopefully). @occams_razor I love this idea of thinking about the clean up. There was a great reddit post (from this nofap emergency app) that emphasized the stinky crotch. Similar ideas and really makes me think of how disgusting it is.

    I will write more soon. But for the moment, I realized tonight that my program is all wrong, and I've been going in the wrong direction for a long time. After thinking, and watching some incredible Mark Queppet videos, I finally feel different than I have in months (possibly years). For once I actually do not want to be a porn addict. I want to live a real life! Things are going to be moving upward. The video that sort of started this was his video called something like "why I started nofap, and why I'll never quit.''
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  16. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    I have gone back to the counter. I guess the reason is that I am trying to replicate the conditions under which I did well (in the past). So I am almost at one day.

    I spent last night and some of today watching Mark Queppet videos. Somehow they seemed to snap me out of my downward spiral, and make me realize that I do not like what my life has become, which consists of:

    1. obsessing about porn
    2. obsessing about blocking porn from myself
    3. being terrified of being left alone or getting into a situation where I might use porn
    4. hiding from people and feeling anxious

    I will need to make a list of what sorts of realizations I had that made me recover some motivation. I think that since I have been so worried about 1-4 above, I have not been trying to actually live. There are tons of things to do and learn in life, and I have instead been cowering, staring at fantasy women, and rubbing my genitals. What a way for a real man to act!

    @Intothewild89 thanks for the comments! I know what you mean here. I think this is the single most difficult part of recovery for me: getting and keeping motivation. When I do not have it, I just want to look at porn all the time. This is where I am going to part from my usual stance of "porn recovery is all about practical issues," and move to "I need to change my life." Of course we only use porn because it feels good. However if I have nothing else in my life to do, since I am obsessed with hiding, blocking, and so on, I will not leave porn. The answer seems to be to be excited about other things.

    @chrism these are great points. I mostly like the sentence about wasting so much time on porn. This I think is great motivation. What have I been doing these days? I have gotten nothing done. I have been in a porn pit. What a waste of life! There is so much to do and experience out there, and I'm huddled in a bathroom looking at asses. They are not even real asses! On another note, I did try freedom. During the past week I have tried to make it work for me. I will not go into any specifics, since I know you are using it and it seems to really help you, but I found eventually that it would not work for me. (I spent a little while talking to the developers etc. as well about some things.) I have found over the past year or so that my blocking situation has gotten to such an extreme point that I am constantly trying to think of new ways to keep porn from myself. Eventually I saw quite clearly (yesterday) that no amount of blocking is ever going to totally block porn. Furthermore, when I go to such extreme measures (I will not detail them here since they go to great lengths, involving for example making passwords, splitting them randomly and distributing them in different areas so that I cannot access them at the same time without a lot of planning), the effect seems to be that porn becomes even more precious, so when I do get through the block, it is that much more exciting, and I become consumed with trying to constrain myself. Because I have gone so far overboard with the blocking, I decided that I really need to moderate myself. In other words, the motivation needs to come from within for me. That having been said, I don't want to be constantly worried that I'll be accidentally triggered, so I have some measures in place. For example, I have a screentime password that locks the setting "limit adult sites," and a couple of other sites I used for porn on my phone, and I have an app that blocks images on safari (on the phone --- this setting is easily reversible). Of course I could probably quite easily remember the password (or guess it) if I tried and just go for porn. So this block is not really a real block (seems to be impossible to truly block: even if my phone was magically blocked up I could buy a new one) but only one that will keep me from accidental exposure. On my computer, I have K9, which sort of works, although I can easily get around it, and I disable images on safari (again, easily reversible). I can also immediately access porn if I want to, since I know where to go to get around K9, but no matter what I do, I can always access porn. I guess my point is that if I try to force a block on myself, I can always get through it, and I end up more excited but simultaneously feeling like I'm in a prison. The only way forward is internal motivation, it seems. But fortunately I got a big dose of that from the Queppet videos. I have also found that the nofap emergency app is quite good for sending me to motivational posts on reddit. (Reddit has been blocked forever on my phone/computer, but now it is unblocked because it doesn't really matter --- if I want porn I can get it anyway.)
  17. chrism

    chrism It's time to make a change.

    Hey man, sounds like you are coming into some realisations.

    Glad to hear that you are thinking about new ways to tackle the addiction.

    Yes very true blocks are to an extent just a reminder or an additional layer of difficulty and there will always be ways to get ground them. But glad to hear that you have a set of tools working for you :)

    Good luck in your new methods man!
    Merton likes this.
  18. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    When I was on my ~400 day no porn streak in 2017 I had no blocker at all. Neither on the laptop nor on the phone. That was kind of liberating: I knew that I could watch porn every time I wanted to. But I just didn't do it.

    I think blockers can work. And they worked for people in the past. But the more I think about this the more I feel that the motivation to stop watching porn has to come from within alone. At least after a certain period. A blocker can help with a good streak but if the blocker is the reason you don't watch porn you will relapse in the end. If the motivation to watch porn is higher than the motivation not to watch it we'll find a way around.
    Thelongwayhome27 and Merton like this.
  19. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Hey Merton from what I can tell you seem to be a man trying sincerely and hard to get past a habit that is very hard to put behind. To find solutions to a complex riddle. And that's already praiseworthy I think. Of course, we each need to find our own pathway out (including our inner dialogue) but I'm not sure if you are not a little too hard on yourself in comments such as these two quotes above. At least that's the feeling I got (take it for what it's worth). I've often herd that self compassion is very important. Of course, it should not be used as a secret excuse to justify indulging more. But I understand that taking an honest look at oneself and maybe being a little hard can work as well.

    But yeah man ... there is a lot to see out there in the world, in life.
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  20. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    This is the beginning of day 3. Thanks guys for the comments! I will respond soon.

    I am traveling now but I had no problems last night. I was home alone or in this hotel for the last three nights but watched a lot of mark queppet instead of having any issues. It is quite liberating to be alone but not constantly run to the porn. I attribute this to my current desire to (a) have a better life and (b) be a respectable man. I like a lot of what mark queppet says about not being a man-baby and facing up to your life.
    TrueSelf and Intothewild89 like this.

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