My commitments

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by MichaelPat, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. MichaelPat

    MichaelPat New Member

    I'm 62, have been married (and divorced) twice and have been by myself for about a decade.

    I am a complete failure, sexually speaking. I've never penetrated a woman; have had maybe five pleasurable sexual experiences in my whole life.

    The women I've been with were never number one, or even close to it. My sexuality has always been tied up in porn. It started before puberty when I discovered my father's playboy magazines. It was such a powerful escape mechanism, right from the start. Our home was tense, to say the least, and this was a way out... all my fear, and rage, and shame was gone when I had those pictures to look at and think about.

    I was pretty fucked up as a teen.

    One lovely two month relationship with the girl next door. I was 16. But i had no way to sustain it... couldn't be available (I see now - I didn't really know what was wrong then). I did not really want to have sex with her. I knew i was supposed to want to. She did turn me on. But when I was with her, I just froze up sexually and emotionally. The thing that happened with the pictures didn't happen with her. And I don't think I wanted it to.

    When she left i went completely around the bend for about four years... ended up suicidal and unable to get out of bed. My father finally sent me to a psychiatrist... his mistress.

    Fucked up, I know. But she probably saved my life.

    I was able to get in touch with enough of my anger to get out of bed and start building a life. When it came time to start dealing with her role in my family, I fled. Went on a ten year bender.

    Yadda yadda yadda

    Finally sobered up in AA. (I was 30 then.) Started building a more balanced life, but have been unable to form a true partnership with a woman. Porn is in the way.

    Was involved with SLAA for the final three years of my second marriage. But I never stayed away from porn for more than two weeks.

    I quit smoking twelve years ago (quit nicorettes last spring - nicotine has been part of my life since i was a fetus). I am active physically (swimming, tennis, coaching ringette (an ice sport like hockey), yoga.

    All my chaos has had an upside. Gradually, I have learned how to recognize and deal with my negative feelings. I have the tools and use them consciously. I don't isolate - I reach out, often in service, to be with others. And I work at being available emotionally.

    Something has changed. There isn't room in my life - in me - for porn anymore. It got me this far, but it's in the way now. The prospect of facing the world without my emotional ace in the hole, the pictures and the fantasies, is actually exciting.

    I've been poking around this board for a while, mostly on the 40+, and am heartened and encouraged by what I am seeing. There is help for me here, and I hope to have something to offer.

    I went ten days and then acted out with porn. It didn't blow me up, but it didn't do anything for me, either. I am so tired of this "poor helpless me" bullshit I run around my sexuality. I take care of my health. I take care of my finances. I take care of my relationships with others. I can so take care of my own sexuality.

    I own this. I can surrender my sexuality to porn, or I can own it and take care of it. My choice.

    What I need to do is pretty clear. I need to reboot, to refrain from PMO and fantasy for a good long while
    AND DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES, accept them even. In quitting pot and booze and cigarettes and nicotine and binge eating I have learned all the tools i need to deal with this porn addiction, with your help.

    I am committing to a 90-day PMO cleanse. I am committing to writing here three times a week during that span. I am committing to signing up for the NOFAP program if I fail to meet the first two commitments.

    (I am cheapskate, and having to listen to those young guys lecture me about sex pisses me off, so that last one is a big hairy deal to me. ;-)

    PS - That psychiatrist? She told me 30 years ago I needed to not act out sexually (porn and fantasy) for a couple of months to get in touch with myself.
    Boxer17 and NewVerse like this.
  2. NewVerse

    NewVerse Member

    Thanks for sharing your story. Much of it is fascinating, and much of it I can relate to. Many of our brains seem to have wires crossed in how we react to fantasy more than an actual human experience. I remember in early experiences in times of desperation trying to think of my favorite porn scene in my head hoping it would kick things into gear, or think of my partner being with another girl. None of it ever worked. The times when things worked were when i was in the moment. Focused on her, and sensations and what was happening. Most importantly not going in worried about failure. My first shot at sex as a teenager was 100% unexpected failure. After that I had to fight against that expectation.
    Best in your sobriety journey.
  3. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    What you write about your sexuality being tied up with porn rings very true for me. Some of us take to it harder and faster than others.

    My brain is still learning to be sexual without porn in the picture. So far i haven't figured it all out, but being porn free is a good start.

    Welcome to the board, MP.
  4. MichaelPat

    MichaelPat New Member

    Thank you, A New Man and NewVerse.

    I set up a porn blocker yesterday (K9). I stashed the password at work.

    I've cleaned up my computer, and a couple of jump drives i had with porn on them. I've got an old computer in storage that i will have to dig out and bring to the recyclers; it's got porn on it. (Job for this afternoon.)

    When I ended up on my own I bought a projector to "enhance my experience" (dig a little deeper into the pit). What will I do with it now?

    About two years ago i started reading at the seniors' home in town. I like to read out loud, i know a few of the people living there (I've lived here for 34 years), my Dad's in a home-like environment 1,000 miles away, I wanted to do some service... Anyway, it's been very neat, and a real learning experience for me. They have become important people in my life.

    Anyway, I read stuff from the local paper, and I always have a book on the go, too (Half Broke Horses right now). Yesterday was our town's christmas parade; santa does stop at the home, but they don't get to see the floats. Before I went to read on Saturday, I was taking pictures of the floats.... (i own/operate the local paper). So as I was talking to them about the parade - one of the stories in the paper - it dawned on me that it would be easy to use the projector to show them the parade pictures. They liked the idea too. I'll bring it down next week.

    In AA we talk lots about turning it over. It has meanings on many levels - turning cares over to a higher power, but also turning a negative over to find a positive.

    It may be kind of a stupid thing, but the idea that something out of my addiction could actually turn out to brighten a few lives....

    Thanks for being here.
  5. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Not stupid at all, MichaelPat. I've found out that just about everything that affected me negatively while caught up in my PMO shit has become something useful, helpful, and loving for myself/others while on the path to sobriety.

    Remember the movie "Born Free"? Since we're both 62, you might. I always disliked the song (my older sister always plunked out the tune on the piano after school:(). If it had been "Porn Free", I might have related to it a little more, lol.

    Glad to have you on the forum:)
  6. Jasonreborn

    Jasonreborn New Member

    You can do it man its never too late.
  7. MichaelPat

    MichaelPat New Member

    I've started the recovery nation program. I am afraid. Do I have the personal wherewithall to make the changes I need to make?
    My addiction has been the one constant in my inner life since I was ten years old. What in the name of god will I be without it?? I can't even begin to imagine.

    When I went into treatment another AA member - my father - told me that with recovery i would be able to love as never before. That never came to pass. I am certainly a better person sober than i was drunk and stoned, but love? No, not from my core. I am more responsible... i am able to care for and give to those around me, the needy, children...

    Had porn in a dream the night before last. Last night, in a semi-awake state I started sliding down that mental/emotional path to acting out and just said no. I did recognize that path for what it was, even in that half conscious state. And once I did, it wasn't that hard to say no.
  8. MichaelPat

    MichaelPat New Member

    So I was freaking a bit at how ambitious this recovery nation program comes across, and got another AA call today, second in a week. I'm in a small town and AA has been pretty quiet for a couple of years. And I haven't been going much. So I get this call, a newcomer. I start looking around and have no luck contacting anyone, so I decided to stop in and see if the scheduled meeting tonight was actually happening. The last few times I have stopped in, it was a no go.
    Two people were there, and we had a meeting.
    Best thing in the world for me, fear wise.
    Isn't that interesting, how I ended up back at an AA meeting I didn't know I needed 'til I got there.
    I'll lead the friday meeting. I told the newcomer we'd have a meeting for sure that night...
  9. MichaelPat

    MichaelPat New Member

    Now I am angry.
    Woke at 3 am, could not get back to sleep. Finally got up, going to be at work before 6 am. Maybe I can get something productive out of this.

    I have been thinking about why I want to do this, why I want to break my porn addiction.
    There is this 'should' around wanting to have a relationship. I should want to have a woman in my life. I should want to experience the true partnership that comes with love.

    But I don't want those things. I don't want to twist myself into some shape that is acceptable to some woman, and then find out she or I have lost interest or found someone else or just don't want to do this couple thing.

    I don't want to be 'evaluated' as a potential partner. Or to 'evaluate' others as potential partners.

    I am angry at women, and I find this whole notion of love and partnership to be a con.

    I will allow that I am probably missing something here; but if I am, I am genuinely missing it - i don't see what it might be, I can't even imagine what it might be.

    For most things, I have been willing to act as if there were something there I could not see or understand.

    But doing this with women and relationships led to two marriages I could not even consummate... didn't want to consummate. I do not want to go back there.

    I still want to quit porn, though. But the idea of doing it in order to have a relationship just turns my stomach.
  10. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    I think it's because we can control all the variables in our fantasies
  11. MichaelPat

    MichaelPat New Member

    Little slippery tonight. Geez, though. Ten days! I don't think I've gone ten days without PMO or fantasy in a decade. It feels like a good start on a worthwhile change.

    I noted at the AA meeting last night that although I woke up and was quickly into resentment, I was able to handle it without blowing anything up. In fact, I was able to channel it into something positive (getting my work done), and then to nap a bit in the day so that I wasn't wiped out later on. (Hungry, angry, tired!) Even made a favourite meal (black olive pesto linguini).

    Off to read to my friends at the home. I've the Christmas parade pictures set up on my projector..
    A New Man likes this.
  12. NewVerse

    NewVerse Member

    That's a great start. 5-10 days our brains start to clear. The first time I went a week I felt amazing. I got into a pattern of going a week or two clean just to feel more on top of my game. Unfortunately at some point, I treated it more as some sort of confidence resource and I lost sight of actually rebooting, so I am now back on that train of my original goal.

    Keep it up!
  13. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Negative mental states are usually temporary (well, all mental states are...), they just don't feel like it at the time. Addicts like us reach for their "drug" at the slightest provocation and never learn what it's like to "hold their seat" (to use Pema Chodron's phrase). I've found even the worst mental states only last around 2 days before the cloud lifts. The longer we stay clean dopamine normalizes so that the downs become shorter and the recovery faster.

    You're a good man, MP.
  14. MichaelPat

    MichaelPat New Member

    Two weeks! WooHoo! New territory...

    This may sound weird, but one thing that really helps me not act out is yogic eye exercises. I guess so much of my porn fantasy world was around looking... eye-balling... it would make sense that eye exercises might be a disruptor of the old pattern. It helps...

    Have not gotten a registration confirmation yet from Recovery Nation, so I will start posting my exercise work here on the weekend.

    There's a woman (isn't there always a woman)... way outta my league (mid forties, very good looking)... who seems interested in me and is available. My sensible self tells me: Look, two weeks without PMO is not sexually sober. You should not even think about any kind of relationship until you have some sexual sobriety.

    Other parts of me are Strike while the iron is hot! and Are you out of your fucking mind? You will never be able to handle any kind of real relationship with a woman. (This latter one is a terrible trigger for me: My poor pitiful sexual self, I might as well take what pleasure I can.)

    My sensible self is prevailing, and I am trying to see those other thoughts as just part of the addiction asserting itself. I'll acknowledge it, and move on.

    Part of the Recovery Nation thing is building a vision for my life. At this point, I have no real way of including a partner in a life vision. It just wigs me out... all the negative stuff about my sexuality, about myself, rears up, followed quickly by the self-pity. Ugh.

    So the little demon whispers in my ear: WTF. If you're going to be by yourself, you might as well...

    No. I am not doing this to win some woman's affection. I am doing this for my own self-respect, my own wholeness, and, yes, to give my sexuality some route to healthy expression. At this point I can't feel what that healthy sexual expression might be, but I am getting a real sense of what having some self-respect and wholeness feels like.

    I like it. I want more. I am willing to work for it.
    A New Man likes this.
  15. MichaelPat

    MichaelPat New Member

    Thanks for the kind words - and the mental states reminder (can never hear that too many times!) - A New Man.
    Boxer17 likes this.
  16. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    A therapist I used to see told me to avoid using the word 'should' and instead replace it with 'could'. Presumably it puts less pressure on us and reminds us that everything is a choice.

    I love this. Sounds like you're on the right track.
  17. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Hey there MP. What a great positive outlook. Having control of oneself is a great victory

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