My journey in finding self-acceptance and inner peace

Discussion in 'Ages 25-29' started by Freedom from Servitude, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    Higher power was the future version of me who already achieved what I am (was) seeking to achieve now. The future version of me already perfect in whatever you can define that and is connected to everyone else.

    So I had to surrender to this higher power- future me- and the group
     
  2. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion. In the fellowship, we say to choose a higher power that works for you. There's no point in picking up someone else's choice if its not working for you.

    A key principle of the 12 steps are inclusivity and openness. Occasionally, individuals forget that and try to impose their own beliefs on others and I think that you were an unfortunate victim of that. Since my local group transitioned to SAA, it really has hit home how conservative SA is as a fellowship. Aside from the marriage issue, in my dealings with the fellowship in the UK, the vast majority of the members of this fellowship are Christian. The fellowship is also blind on homosexuality- you are not sober if you are having homosexual sex. SA claims to be open to people of a variety of backgrounds but I think that there is an organisational bias towards a particular right-wing interpretation of Christianity. I wasn't fully aware of all of these points until the intergroup raised them with us. I suppose with hindsight there were warnings before hand that I may have turned a blind eye to for the sake of my sobriety. I currently feel satisfied that we have made the decision to change fellowships and I felt at the meeting last night that we are are more at home being in the SAA fellowship.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  3. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    11/02/2019

    I have embarked on an experiment with my sexuality. I used to think that it was possible to go without any sexual release without consequence, but I have come round to the idea that it might be harmful. In my case, I have been single for the past two and half years or so that I have been sober. During that time I cut out MO as well as PMO because it was the most reliable way to stop me looking for porn. While I think this is a temporary measure that is necessary for a lot of recovering sex addicts, its not a long term solution. Of course, the ideal is that we end up having sex with a partner, but that option hasn't been available to me. I think repression of my pent up sexual energy over my sobriety has contributed to the anxiety I feel.

    I have noticed from doing yoga on and off for two months that I feel generally more confident and less anxious, after mindfully connecting with my inner sexual energy. It may just be a coincidence but I was i a relatively calm place in the build up to me chairing the TM meeting for the first time ever this week. Usually, that kind of event is enough to keep me anxious for days. Like I said, its a superficial link, but I have also noticed greater level of confidence after doing these exercises when I went to work away shortly after Christmas.

    Recently, I have wondered whether this is only going half-way to the full acceptance of my sexuality. I have successfully channelled my sexual energy into many activities but this isn't the same as fully embracing my sexuality and giving it expression. I think that sex is a fundamental human need that needs to be addressed as part of a healthy human psyche. With sex out of the picture, the only way for me to do this is through masturbation.

    Before I go into that, I think its relevant to mention the general fear I have around sexuality. A friend of mine introduced me to the term sexual anorexia, and I have been looking into this since. I think it describes me pretty well. I have always had some shame around my sexuality, and another layer of anxiety was added to it by the addiction. My sexuality became associated with danger and self-destruction. Also, since entering sobriety, fear of intimacy has been closely connected with the fear of doing anything sexual that it will undermine my recovery on a physiological level. I haven't done anything to address this, I have repeatedly dismissed any sexual pangs as cravings to act out.

    I think that masturbation when done in a healthy and mindful way, without fantasy and porn flashbacks, can be a way of developing self-intimacy, self esteem and overcoming my sexual anorexia. I also wonder whether it could help re-wire the brain to normal sexuality, though, of course, it doesn't compare to sex. I have also been reading about Tantric masturbation and how it can help with emotional healing as well as give a positive and loving expression to sexuality. I have been allowing myself to masturbate in the healthy way I have described for the last few days. I ejaculated pretty quickly the first time round, and manage to stave it off the second time for around 20 minutes before losing control. I definitely have some PE which is not a surprise given a history of chronic porn use and the absence of any sexual release. This will be overcome with time.

    I find a conventional orgasm though absolutely draining and I miss having the built up sexual energy around where I can channel into multiple projects. There is a noticeable difference, its not pseudo-scientific nonsense. Eventually, I would like to be able to learn how to have a dry orgasm, which according to traditional Tantra is a way of conserving sexual energy that is wasted in ejaculation.

    Online there are few guys about who have been able to make a success of it, so its not something that is a myth. To be able to achieve a dry orgasm, the individual has to have a strong pelvic floor and be willing to practice. After reading a book and several articles, I have decided to masturbate on a daily basis, lovingly caressing myself and ideally avoiding orgasm when possible. At the same time, I will remain aware of whether there is a danger of it becoming addictive and whether it pushes me towards looking at porn. So far, there is no sign of any of this. I have also been practising kegals three times a day to develop my PC muscles to help me control the ejaculation reflex. Ultimately, a dry orgasm is something that can be quite difficult to learn to do. It is an ideal to aim for but its not the main reason why I have started to masturbate. What I want to really do is to demonstrate to myself that I can give expression to my sexuality in a healthy and balanced way without danger. In the process, I hope that this will make me happier. And if it doesn't, I can always just go back to being abstinent. I am confident that I have acquired the level of self control and recovery to choose.
     
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  4. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Good luck exploring this Freedom From Servitude. I was in awe that you managed 2+ years without even MO. Personally if I could only MO once a week and nothing more in the context of being single, I would be satisfied with such a result. It never worked though and I suspect, in my case, MO leads back to PMO which leads back to the sex addiction, hence my current counter lol.
     
  5. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thank you. In the beginning, I found exactly the same- that masturbation always led me to watching porn. This was the key reason why I decided not to MO for so long. I would always recommend a newcomer trying to give up porn and masturbation at the same time. It takes a while to develop the restraint to separate them as two distinct activities. That said, I was in a borderline relapse situation Thursday evening, I don't think that masturbation contributed to this in a big way, it was more to do with the fact that I have been careless in responding to trigger situations over the past few months, and surprise, its caught up with me. For the time being I am cutting out masturbation until I get a period of stability behind me again. Solo Karezza, or Tantric masturbation is something that I am interested in exploring in the future. If I am right in thinking that I have PE, it could be a good way of overcoming that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
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  6. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    16/02/2019

    I was ill again this week for the third time this winter. The last time I was ill was just a month ago. This one has been a short bug. It soon took place after I unintentionally ejaculated last Saturday. As symptoms came on pretty quickly after I climaxed, I have seriously wondered whether I experienced the Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome. Supposedly, people experience flu-like symptoms that disappear within a few days to a week since the last orgasm. This has reflected my experience. I had a headache, joint pain and a sore throat which disappeared within a few days. The insomnia lasted a bit longer, and the last to go has been the post nasal drip and congestion. I am nearly a week from the last orgasm now and I am feeling 98% towards my usual health.

    It is difficult to be sure whether I have experienced POIS. The trouble is that there is not a lot of information online from people who have experienced these symptoms as a result of this addiction to communicate with. I am certainly not going to be in a hurry to ejaculate again. If not for risk of illness, I find it very draining of my vitality. There is definitely something to semen retention, I feel as though I have more energy and focus when I abstain from the orgasm. I am planning on doing this for the future.

    I have had to cut out masturbation altogether because I found myself in another dangerous situation that put me on the verge of relapse. I don't think the masturbation had much to do with it, but the orgasm may have intensified the cravings I have been resisting. The main reason for ending up in this situation is that in my complacency, I have repeatedly ignored triggers to act out and situations that stimulate cravings. In particular, I had been reading about Tantra with mixed motivations. One the one hand was the genuine desire to learn how to circulate sexual energy, the other motivation was the addiction that got a kick from seeing occasional sexualised images that almost always appear on these sites. I had noticed once or twice, it was even a way of procrastinating from doing something more worthwhile. I think this may have reanimated the addictive pathways in my brain because I haven't had cravings so intense when I found myself in deep water on Thursday, for over two years. I felt the same sense of powerlessness as the old days; that I would never be whole again if I did not get my fix.

    Waking up with porn flashbacks going on inside my head, Thursday morning, I eventually found myself tempted to peek at some triggering images of a model on Instagram. Very quickly, I closed the laptop before I really got to see much. I found the cravings so intense that the usual reaching out by text didn't help very much. When I spoke to my SAA fellows on the phone, I had short-term reprieve, but it wasn't quite enough to stop me from getting into trouble. This is significant as I have found over the past two years that calling has always been sufficient to tackle a craving, but that night it wasn't. After reaching out to a friend of mine at the local meeting, I thought that it would be a good idea to install K-9 and StayFocused on my new laptop. I had convinced myself that I was strong enough not to need them when I got my new computer in January, so I didn't install these filters. It was a big mistake in hindsight and I now remember of the numerous times while entering the procrastination zone, how this software has given me a valuable breathing space to choose recovery every time I have been tempted to indulge in addiction. As I visited the news and social media websites that I wanted to block, I was triggered again into looking for sexualised images and that's when I found myself in the situation I described at the beginning of the paragraph. It was a short episode, but the effect was dramatic and I am sure I would have relapsed there and then if it hadn't been for the blind luck of being able to listen to that lone voice of reason in my mind at the time.

    Yesterday was really tough, but I got through it, and I chatted with a few of my SAA fellows again. I am so grateful for their support, they saved me from doing something that I would completely regret. I chatted to a guy in Germany and he suggested finding a higher power other than myself. As a non-religious person with a carefully considered stance on spiritual matters, a while ago I chose my inner wisdom and the group as my higher power. He told me that even though he wasn't a member of any religion, he found it helpful to pray to a God that was simply greater than him. Don't worry about the details and the philosophy he said, if it works, it works. I was in a desperate situation, so I felt that there was in no harm in giving it a shot. I have to say, as hard as I find it difficult to understand, the power those cravings have over me has been considerably weaker just through the act of prayer. In the time that has lapsed since yesterday afternoon , I have moved well away from feeling in crisis into a much safer space.

    However, I don't want to become one of those users on these forums that work so hard to get lasting sobriety only to fall. That's why I have got to go back to basics and review my written strategies, effectively respond to my trigger situations and look after myself better. I have been feeling run down on illness lately and i can't avoid that, but I have also been neglecting my social needs. I have been going to my SAA and TM group, though still find myself wanting to be more social. That's a good thing, so I have arranged to do stuff with friends over the next few weeks. Finally, I want to carry on making progress towards my goals. I have been doing quite well on that front, but there have been one or two that I have made stagnant progress towards. Online dating is one. I haven't received much in the way of a response from the ladies online, but I haven't quite mustered the confidence to take a more proactive approach with it either.
     
  7. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Hi Jack, thanks for posting. It is good to see you back. I don't quite understand what you mean when you write that I am about to give some serious progress away?

    As I said in my last post, I have been playing it safe by avoiding masturbation for the time being. I have had a good week so far and I have been in no more dangerous triggering situations. I am not sure what to make of masturbation at the moment. I am going to give masturbation of a tantric loving kind a go again to see where it leads and whether there is any benefit to be had from it. I want to avoid MO whenever possible because i like having the built up sexual energy that I can do to channel into other things. There is definitely a difference in a week of no orgasm. I will be approaching masturbation with super caution in case it puts me in a position where I want to use porn. I've managed to avoid porn for two years and eight months now and I plan for that to continue.

    I really wouldn't look too much into those success stories, there is a lot that they do not tell you about an individual.It is easy to make superficial assumptions connecting ongoing personal difficulties with porn addiction. What I have often noticed about the 90 days success stories that seem so upbeat about social life, is that their authors often had a social life before their addiction. I think social confidence is mostly something that is built for us. The key is stop wasting time watching porn and being more social. It takes a while to build confidence and I think our brains can sometimes be slow to change. However, I can only say from my own experience that through repeatedly pushing myself out of my comfort zone, my social confidence has come on leaps and bounds since I started this journal. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone has only been part of the story, there has been a lot of stuff I have been trying too. That's one of the reasons why I keep this journal so that others may benefit from my journey.
     
  8. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    That's why I was confused by what you wrote, because I haven't given a long streak away. I haven't touched porn. The triggering situation I spoke about involved losing control briefly and peeking at non-nude images on Instagram. I stopped it within a minute when I regained sanity and closed down the laptop. That's not a relapse in my book. There are images like that everywhere that can't always be avoided. It is how you respond to those situations that really matters. Do you allow yourself to gorge on artificial erotica and look at porn, or choose another path? My mistake was just allowing myself to get complacent and going that far into trigger territory. It's one that I will not be making again, and I haven't within the past week.

    I never have considered masturbation a problem. I gave it up for such a long time because MO makes quitting porn harder. However, I think masturbation to fantasy can be unhelpful. As I have said in my previous posts, for a number of reasons tantric masturbation, is something I think could be quite beneficial for me at my stage in recovery. If it isn't and I find that it puts me closer to relapse situations, then I can just stop it. I am confident that I have the level of control now to make it work.But you are absolutely right, the inner addictive personality is a definitely a risk that I have be vigilant towards.

    I can't help but wonder whether there is a certain level of self-rejection in your post , Jack? I have been wondering about this with myself lately. I think what we really need is to understand ourselves and to accept ourselves for the unique individuals that we are. I can be pretty confident socially, but I think that there will always be that inner sense of social awkwardness and that's OK. You must have a certain level of confidence, otherwise you wouldn't have been able to get those women you have had sex with to bed! I do wonder whether we start to create trouble for ourselves when we reject our reality and cling to some fantasy of perfection. We often struggle to control the world to a perfect fantasy and when we inevitably can't, we act out and try to get it through the pleasure of porn/sex.

    I'm Freedom from Servitude, and I'm a unique and imperfect human being who will go through life in their own imperfect way, I'm not James Bond. I remember you saying that you have Aspergers Syndrome, and its pretty normal to have difficulty in interacting with people. You can get better at it, a friend of mine certainly has over the years, but you can't escape the reality of who you are. More importantly, you shouldn't try to, because you are brilliant as you are.

    I'm just transferring this part of a post I made in the PE thread because it is a good checkpoint for the journal. I had a very pleasant masturbation session last night. I masturbated in a gentle way, in a solo-karezza fashion, abstaining from orgasm. I kept on going for an hour and then decided to stop. Now I allowed myself to stop the stimulation every so often during which I would also flex the PC muscles, to avoid hitting orgasm. However, once I hit a very relaxed place within myself- almost like a meditative state, the urge to ejaculate were considerably weaker. I could keep on stroking myself for long periods of time without having to stop. Anxiety, I think, is definitely a factor with PE.

    I have also noticed that I am more likely to hit orgasm quickly if I have been exposed to a trigger beforehand. This could be an advertisement, a sexual fantasy or anything else. It is as though the body prepares for a quick ejaculation. Instead, I think it helps to wait for yourself to calm down, and then focus on the calm and loving sensations in the body. I feel more emotionally balanced this morning without the energetic depletion of orgasm. I also feel sexually satisfied, I haven't had cravings to look at porn. It will be interesting to see where this experiment goes in the future.
     
  9. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    I have made the decision to reduce my activity on this forum, checking in and posting on my journal here around once a month. I have been evaluating how I spend my time lately, and I have been spending a lot of it here writing lengthy posts here and commenting on threads. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with that, I have got a lot from doing it, but its becoming a big absorber of time that could be better invested in other activities that make more of a difference to my life. Another thing is, I have noticed that this forum has become an avenue for procrastination, and the latter is one of the biggest triggers I have for acting out. I have had a rough ride with the addiction lately. I haven't relapsed but I have become pretty close, so I am going back to basics and am taking extra care to avoid trigger situations. Masturbation is also off the cards too for the next three months at least.

    I will check in again at the end of the month to post an update of how I am doing. Thanks everyone
     
  10. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    All the best FfS. Even though, I was never actively contributing or posting in your journal, I've always followed your path and progress and surely, I've learned a lot. Wishing you all the best! Your posts planted a seed in my mind to got to a SAA meeting and I think, I'll do it next week. Maybe, it'll not be for me but I'll never know until I've tried it.
     
  11. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks, Pete. Did you ever go to that SAA meeting, by the way? I'm interested to know how you got on.
     
  12. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Oh, believe me I have issues with self control, just as much as the next man. For example, I masturbated yesterday morning when I hadn't planned to. As I have written in my journal before, I have also struggled with procrastination in the past. As I get longer in sobriety and persevere with my goals, I notice that my self control is getting stronger. That said, I think self-control is overrated as a faculty on this journey. It is something that we all need, but I think other components to recovery like strategy is far more important. A recovering addict cannot rely on self control alone to conquer this addiction. If for example, they continually ignore trigger situations, eventually they will inevitably fail. Having the right strategy in place can make a progression towards change much easier in my experience. I think a person with relatively weak self-control can make good progress in multiple aspects of life if they have a good strategy in place.
     
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  13. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    31/03/2019

    As promised, I am returning to check in and post an update in my journal. I decided to reduce the number of times that I log in and comment on this forum to about once a month as I found that I was procrastinating here a lot. As such, this forum was a distraction away from other activities that I could be doing. I also was spending a lot of time by my computer, at a time that I was struggling with triggering behaviour. In SAA we would call this middle circle behaviour. I would find myself pushing the limits of what was acceptable, the last time I found myself looking at non-nude images of a glamour model on Instagram. It was all highly triggering stuff that nearly pushed me over the edge. I was very close to relapsing, and so reducing the number instances of procrastination was part of the emergency measures I put in place to bring the situation under control again. I have done really well in re-establishing stability again within the last month. I had a solid month of avoiding crisis situations. A big part of this success has been a return to a no-nonsense approach towards trigger situations.

    There was one case which was challenging that involved me coming close to watching a porn related documentary. There have been a few porn related documentaries on TV lately, looking into the ugly side the of the industry. I started to watch one of them, but I quickly realised it was my addiction trying to play tricks in the hope that it would get a fix in the form of a triggering scene, and closed the window before I found myself in deep water. Even if it was for a moment, the proximity to that documentary created a lot of cravings for a few days afterwards. Furthermore, I inadvertently created trouble for myself yesterday morning when I masturbated. Again, it was done in the usual mindful way, but it created similar cravings afterwards to go and look for porn. I am going to eliminate masturbation indefinitely, at least until I can find a partner to re-wire with. Because I have never been with a woman, my theory is that my sexuality by default is wired to crave porn, and masturbation is closely connected with the days of acting out. I am not entirely sure whether there is a way for me to masturbate currently while safeguarding my recovery from porn, but I have concluded that, as every time I have done it so far I have come close to relapsing, its simply not worth the risk. On balance, as far as the addiction is concerned, it has been a good month where a great degree of stability has been restored. I'm now two years nine months no porn.

    The SAA group is coming along very nicely. Every member, along with the other meetings in my city, is now part of a Whatsapp group. This has proven to be a wonderful avenue of support outside of the meetings. Everybody has been enthusiastic in posting in it on a regular basis and helping each other. We are now talking about merging the two meetings in the city to form a combined group, which would see us closely working together. Although, I am pleased that SAA is moving in a positive direction, I found the demands of the service position I fulfil a bit too much within the past few months. I had to sort out administratively the decision of our group to leave SA and join SAA, and there was a lot of work to do with that. As ever, whenever you deal with people, and am trying to make decisions relating to the whole group, seldom are things straight forward. There is always someone who will disagree, and as a democratic group, I feel obliged always to do my best to make sure everyone is on board. I have been doing this position for a bit too long now while the group has taken a while to establish itself. I would like to step down and let someone else take over so that I can dedicate more time to life goals. SAA business has, at times, been a distraction away from other things like my quest to move on with my career. It is equally important though that personalities are not allowed to dominate 12 step meetings.

    My mood has generally been good. I am a lot calmer these days, which I attribute to a mixture of personal development, exposure therapy, addiction recovery and health supplements. For example, I believe that magnesium supplements have been helping with my sleep quality and in reducing anxiety and depression. I've been in a good place in my mood despite being very busy with work for the last few weeks, which is a really encouraging sign. I haven't been feeling overwhelmed.

    I'm still enjoying Toastmasters. Not too long ago, I performed another speech and even chaired the meeting for the first time. Now, that was a major milestone. I'll be doing a new duty for the first time, this week, and I have got another speech planned for the meeting after, which will be my ninth. We all had lovely social around a meal a few weeks ago, which I really enjoyed. I am feeling quite friendly with a lot of the club members, and always look forward to the meetings.

    I have been stepping up the reading lately too. I recently finished 'How to Raise your Self-Esteem' by Nathaniel Branden, which I found to be a good read. I have nearly completed 'Psycho- cybernetics' by Maxwell Maltz. I have found it a fascinating read. The results of the methodology remain to be seen, but undoubtedly, its one of the best personal development books that I have read, despite its age.

    I have also been proactive with online dating. I have messaged quite a few profiles now, after overcoming strong reluctance to do so. Although the profiles I messaged had quite a lot of things in common with me, I have found that nobody seems to be interested in chatting so far. I'm on Match.com, and the way the website works is that the recipient of the message can decline the invitation to chat before they have even read the message. I've been told though not to take it personally, as men tend to outnumber women on dating sites, and women receive a lot messages from men. Despite being quite social, it seems to be really difficult for me to meet women my age.

    That pretty much sums up this month. I will check in again at the end of April to let you know how I am doing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
  14. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Good to hear you are doing well. I imagine that after staying away from both PMO and MO ("hardmode") for over 2 years and a half, a return to MO is a tricky thing to navigate. It's almost like learning how to MO without this being an activity which sends one towards PMO. Perhaps to learn this is possible perhaps not (depending on the individual). Also, perhaps it takes a while to settle into it, that is at first it will be more dangerous and the more one does it with decent control, and gains trust in his ability to do it without fearing it will lead back to P, the more it becomes normal and less dangerous. But then one must decide if it's worth taking this risk at this point. Or maybe it doesn't take a while to settle into it and it will always be dangerous and as such better to stay away from... many possibilities lol. Not trying to give advice here to you lol just thought I would post my musings on this element of adding MO back. Because masturbation without P has been a frequent interrogation in my own recovery efforts. Especially since I am single and have a lot to work on regarding connecting with women.

    It's really cool that you are taking on a lot of responsibilities with your SAA (former SA) group, even if at this point it seems like it's getting in the way of other things you want to accomplish. I'm sure this role has helped you in gaining confidence in yourself and showcasing elements of your competency as an individual.

    The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden is one of the next books I wanna read. I really have hopes it will help me a lot in my difficulties.
     
  15. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, I haven't gone yet. But it's still something I want to do in the near future. The thing is, I confided three friends of mine and my brother, plus I go to a therapist so there are several people I can talk to about the whole PMO shenanigans ;).
     
  16. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks, Thelongwayhome, you have neatly summarised some of the dilemmas that have circulated in my head since I decided to give masturbation a try again. I'm not saying that it is impossible to find a way of masturbating without relapsing, but after having too many near misses, I feel that it is like playing with fire for me. I have been extremely lucky not to relapse. I also miss not having the extra energy around after I have masturbated. If I focus on rewiring with a woman, my mind will at least have a better idea of what natural sex is. In the event of a sexual relationship anyway, masturbation would be redundant, depending of course whether or not that would be on the cards. However, I am not looking for a relationship with the specific purpose to have sex, there is much more to human sexuality than intercourse. Above all else, I am looking for a friend. If sex happens, that's great, but my addicted mind needs to realise that it isn't the be all and end all of a relationship, and not the reason for my existence.

    Even if a relationship doesn't happen soon, I am happy to go long periods of time without masturbation as I have proved before. From what I have learned over the past few months, I feel that I can honour my sexuality in other ways, through caressing the body, mindfully being aware of sexual feelings, celebrating a sexual identity, and harnessing the power of sexual transmutation. Crucially, the lesson that I have learnt is that my sexuality is something that exists and has to be worked with. I am not going back to repressing my sexuality again.

    My service position hasn't been to obstructive. The only time that this was a problem was back in January where I didn't have much on with work. The extra time was ideal for job hunting, and while not wasted, much of it went in to navigating the split from SA. My services positions have helped a lot with my confidence, and they have also helped keep me sober too, which I am really grateful for.

    I recommend reading The Six Pillars of Self Esteem first, an excellent book which provides an introduction to Branden's understanding of self esteem. I believe that because it is quite an old book, you can find a free copy online somewhere. After that, take a look at How to Raise your Self Esteem, which has focus on how to go about boosting your opinion of yourself. Check out PsycoCybernetics too , it is a great book. (credit to Johnny Bravo for bringing it to my attention)
     
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  17. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Accountability from family and friends is great. In my experience, though, they are often unwilling (quite understandably) to provide the constant source of support that being part of a fellowship can. It helps too to connect with people who understand the same issues that you have and to be able to learn from them. For example, whenever I experience cravings to indulge in sexual fantasy or look at porn, I always send a text or make a phone call to someone in the SAA community. Reaching out like this can really kill the obsession. It is the backbone of the 12 step approach to recovery. When I have struggled in the past, it is because I have ignored warning signs, and have not reached out in response to them. Often family members are unwilling to be on the other end of the phone like that. Sometimes, it can be damaging to a relationship sharing with them honestly your experience with addiction. Before I got involved with 12 step groups, I shared with my mum the troubles I was having with this addiction, and while her response was positive at the time, I sometimes sense that she would rather that I hadn't bothered her with this knowledge. I somewhat feel that we have been less close since then. It was when I first got involved with SA, that I realised that the level of support that I was seeking could never have been provided by family and friends. I owe so much in my recovery to the fellowship. I undoubtedly would have relapsed so many times over if it wasn't for their support.

    I know that I keep banging on about it on this forum, but that is because I honestly believe that it is lifeline to many recovering addicts that have suffered so much. I've seen many recovering addicts make serious progress upon attending meetings. I would encourage you to attend a meeting soon. Often, the first meeting seems a bit alien, but persevere for a few meetings and see how you get on.
     
  18. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    2 years 11 months no PMO

    This is my first post in two months. I have been meaning to update my journal earlier, but I have been extremely busy with life lately and haven't had the time. I have been busy in a good way. Some of it has been work, and I have been doing 6 day weeks in some cases, plus the odd evening shift here and there. The work though hasn't felt too demanding as I largely enjoy my jobs owing to the great people I have the good fortune to work with. I have also been doing lots of great social activities too, particularly meeting up with friends from my TM group outside the club for socials. It has been a very productive two months and I am convinced that cutting out masturbation again has given me extra energy to keep on going. Nevertheless, there is a general sense that I am trying to do too much at the moment and that something has to give eventually.

    Generally, I am feeling ok these days, though I have my moments where I feel empty and more anxious than usual. Life can be even good sometimes. It's a massive step up from where I was this time last year, when I felt that most of the time I was struggling to get through the day. Gradually, I feel as though I am getting into a place of surrender where I can accept the natural ups and downs that life entails without trying to escape from them. I hope that this provides encouragement to any recovering addict, that if they are willing to put in the work, they will see the results.

    On the whole, I have been in a place of relative stability when it comes to the addiction. I have done well to stay away from triggering material or middle circle behaviour as we call it in SAA. However, I unintentionally made a mistake by installing Tinder on my phone at the recommendation of a friend. He has had some success dating women using the app, and suggested that I should give it a go. What I hadn't expected was the level of triggering and raunchy images on there. It was simply too much for me and I couldn't handle it. Twice in the last week I found myself swiping too much. The other night, in particular I found myself seriously triggered and on the verge of acting out and tempted to look for porn. I had to delete the app. It was a shame, as Tinder actually has given me the most progress I have made with online dating so far. I actually found someone who seemed reasonably normal on there, and willing to chat. I was in such a tricky situation earlier on in the week, though, that there was no way I could carry on using it safely without risking my sobriety. On the plus side, I have saved myself a fair bit of time as the app is an inefficient way of finding someone compatible, you have to sift through a lot of profiles to find someone you are interested in, and most don't give you a lot of information to go by in their personal profiles. The lesson learned is the one that I have been reminded of time and time again, I cannot handle temptation. On the whole, though, things continue to go well on the sobriety front and I feel that I have established a greater sense of stability.

    I am still a member of Match.com, but I am going to allow my subscription to expire within the next month. There aren't many members in my area at all and I still haven't had success chatting with anybody on it yet. The best approach for me in the future will be to see if I can meet someone in a real life situation. I'm entertaining the idea of giving meet ups a go.

    The SAA group and TM are going swimmingly. They continue to provide great social opportunities outside of the meetings. I am widely considered to be one of the club veterans now at TM and am becoming a confident speaker. Most recently, the conference was held in my local city for the first in a very long time. The atmosphere was ecstatic and I left the venue feeling very inspired, excited by all the possibilities of who I could become if I stayed with TM. I have already made a great deal of progress since I started three years ago, and I wonder where I will be if I continue to practice my public speaking for as long as ten years, as some of the keynote speakers have.

    I am now taking a more passive role in my local SAA group. In a very promising development in our history, the service positions have been almost entirely filled by new blood, which means that in the first time since we started the group, I have no role to play. On the one hand, I am delighted at this because this means that the group has a future independent of specific personalities being present. On the other hand, it has actually proven to be a good growth experience, as I have felt quite uncomfortable not having any power in the baby that I helped to grow. It is good for me to let other people run with the group for my control freak tendencies! Another key change is that we have now merged with another meeting into a single group to make it easier to run. This has the added bonus of providing more candidates for service positions in the future, and allows us to pool resources to work together better. We're now like one big recovery community in the city, which is a great situation to be in given that there were no support groups for recovering sex addicts over two years ago in the area.

    There is a lot that I can write about. I have been fitting in some EFT again, tapping on limiting beliefs and emotionally difficult experiences that may be propping up low self-esteem. Again, my self esteem is a hell of a lot better than it used to be- this is largely the form that my anxiety takes, but occasionally it is to do with other areas too- but there are moments like yesterday when it continues to flare up. I went to an open day for a trainee programme that I am applying for, and the social awkwardness together with nagging doubts about my ability to do the work was somewhat of a nuisance that still can affect the quality of my life. Sometimes I wonder whether my life is as good as it is every going to get at the moment and I am being perfectionist in my thinking, but then I remind myself that I can do no harm in experimenting with different approaches to see whether they can make a further difference. I am certain that EFT helps, particularly when an emotional knot forms and I need to break an obsession in my head to move on.

    On the topic of traditional Chinese medicine, a guest speaker at another club I went as a guest to, gave a fascinating talk on how energy medicine changed his life. He was so inspired by his experience that he decided to change careers and go into it himself, where he helps clients. To the non-initiated and those not familiar with the concept, it would have seemed a bit wacky. There were parts of the talk that needed a bit more exposition, in my opinion. but it did bring out my interest in the area as well as confirm my belief that there may be something to energy medicine. In addition to EFT, I am also experimenting with some yin yoga to strengthen kidney chi. Many of my lingering symptoms like bladder problems (poor urine flow), anxiety and depression, are connected with kidney chi deficiency. This is a condition according to TCM that often arises as a result of too much sexual activity. Some have posted about it on here, and there is a sizeable thread on the Nofap forum about overcoming these symptoms from this perspective. I am approaching this viewpoint with a bit of scepticism, but again, can do harm by giving it a go.

    I'll leave it there for the time being, and will aim to post again in a months time
     
  19. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Well-Known Member

    Hey Mate,

    Really enjoyed reading about your journey. I sounds very similar to mine (we even titled our blogs similarly) Certainly looking to Buddhism and trying to find a path to peace. I know in my experience, online dating and Tinder were a total bust. Those things allow you to get your hopes up and feed into fantasies that can ultimately be your undoing. You've also made me realize I'm on here procrastinating from something I should be doing. Hope to get to a similar place where porn is no longer part of my life. It sounds like you are doing the right thing with going out and meeting people.

    My advice would be to do things that you like and meet people through that. A buddy of mine met his beautiful wife while he was dressed as an Orc at a LARPing evening. I meet my wife at an art classes. Follow those passions with all the new drive you are getting from this sort of work. Be honest and straight forward with any potential partner. Judging from the level of self reflection in your writing, you would be an absolute catch for the right person. You have no idea how many women are crying out for men who are honest, kind and gentle.

    Keep it up and steer clear of any thumbnails. They call it 'click-bait' for a reason. Don't take the bait and fall into the trap. That's pretty much how all my major relapses happen. Your addiction never comes at you with a hammer, it comes at you with chisel, trying to chip away at your defenses.

    All the best. Be happy. :)

    PC.
     
  20. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    Thanks for posting, Professor Chaos, there is some golden wisdom here. I think that you are right, that it is best to meet women the old fashioned way, and once that things start to calm down a little on the career front, that is something that I will look into doing more. Thank you also for the kind words. It is always nice to have positive feedback to help combat persistent thoughts that I am not enough and I am unlovable because i have not found a partner.

    You are also right about relapses happening through the back door. It only takes one trigger situation badly handled, be it walking down a street with scantily clad women not being able to control my eyes or watching a drama with a steamy sex scene in it to cause the situation to escalate. I am fortunately at the stage of my recovery now where a relapse is very unlikely to happen in the future by running towards a porn site. Relapses happen, as I have come very close on occasion to seeing, though negligence and the addiction being sly.

    I'll post an update in the journal shortly. I have a job interview coming up, the second one within a few weeks, which is my priority at the moment, but I just wanted to respond to your message in gratitude.
     
    Nuwanda and Professor Chaos like this.

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