My journey in finding self-acceptance and inner peace

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

  1. stillinflatline97

    stillinflatline97 New Member

    Hey Servitude, i came across your story. Its great you have been clean for so long and are doing things to keep improving! I myself am somehow stuck in flatline/withdrawal. In the last 2.5 years i have relapsed a handfull of times and had a bit of sex but had many 5 month hardmode streaks. I have some questions for you if you don't mind!
    - Did you/do you experience lack of emotions? Numbness, depression social anxiety and so on?
    - Do you feel like life was somehow better before your addiction?
    - Did you notice benefits in the initial stage of Nofap?
    - Do you sometimes get "windows" of good days where you feel benefits? Maybe just a good day once in a while?

    Im trying to find out if we are in the same boat. Since this flatline i have felt so bad, insane social anxiety and no emotions or energy to connect with other beings. Since my life was somehow better before my addiction and i felt really good benefits in the initial stage before the flatline hit, i have hope on recovering as i have read several 2.5-3 year flatline stories where people start getting good days and snapping out of it.
     
  2. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Hi Stillinflatline, thanks for your post. I have been meaning to write an update in this journal for a while in which I have planned to shed some light on the questions you have asked me, but I will answer them now. Life has been full on for the past few months.

    Before I do, I want to point out that your addiction recovery journey in specific relation to abstinence is quite different to mine. My recovery is complex. For about three years, I was abstaining from porn hardmode (no MO as well as no sex). At the beginning of the last year, for reasons given earlier in my journal, I became open to the idea that complete sexual abstinence might have been creating me problems so I decided cautiously to engage in a mindful masturbation practice. I did this on and off roughly at the rate of once every few months for the duration of 2019. In the first half of the year, I felt that I opened up a can of worms and the ambivalence I felt about what was healthy sexual behaviour for me and what wasn't combined with complacency resulted in me in engaging in progressively triggering behaviour. By triggering, I mean being careless with sexually charged media like celebrity pics on newspaper outlets, sex scenes in films and reading sexual health related articles online. This would only happen on occasion but I had to hold myself back several times over that period to stop myself relapsing altogether. In July, last year, i went through a very stressful episode and had a slip when I peeked at some nude softcore images. I didn't see any full frontal nudity, but I had finally crossed the line I had set for myself. I counted it as a relapse to stop myself from falling further. It worked and in the six months since I have managed to contain that lone slip and currently my recovery is in a strong place again. The key point is that in over three and a half years I have not touched hardcore porn or given myself a free reign to fully engage myself with artificial sexual content.

    If we accept that the addiction might be behind your symptoms then relapsing every 5 months or so will have definitely held you back. However, I am not sure whether I really believe in this narrative based on my experience, so lets not make much of a point of it. I am not sure that the flatline even exists. Yes, I do suffer of both generalised anxiety disorder,social anxiety disorder and depression, but I have no evidence that this is directly the result of addiction. These are all separate issues in themselves and are common for addicts of all kinds to experience in recovery. For some, they go way back and we resorted to sex to escape from these emotions.

    To be honest, I can't really remember what life was like before my addiction because i was 14 when I think it started, and I am now 27. It was a long time ago, and my life was very different then. In many ways, I live a much more fulfilling life now, its just back then many of the mental health issues that I am coping with now hadn't developed.

    Whenever I am abstinent from masturbation for a few months, like when I am now, I notice a boost in energy and concentration, I also feel a little more confident and more interested in people. However, this in no way makes my mental health issues go away. The truth is that there are no easy fixes. All the progress I have made has been from trying various self help techniques, attending therapy and making the effort to know myself. I also push myself out of my comfort zone regularly. If anxiety is a spectrum, then I have been able to make its intensity weaker by trying the things I have described in my journal, but it hasn't cured me of the condition. I don't expect to be cured. However, a realistic expectation I have is that I can carry on making discoveries that will reduce its intensity and make me more happy, Abstaining from masturbation just makes it easier for me to do this.

    For me good days and bad days are all part of the natural ebb and flow of life. Sometimes this difference is made more intense my a mental health condition, but its not something that we can escape from altogether.

    I have had two experiences that stop me from dismissing the idea all together that my brain continues to heal from the 'damage' caused by years of acting out. One is whenever I orgasm from MO, it feels empty and there is no significant pleasure in it. I also feel seriously depleted after climaxing. For most men, some energetic loss is natural, but I can be really affected by it. Another thing is that my mental health has taken a turn for the worst over the past few months and I can't satisfactorily put my finger on why. The sexual anorexic in me wants to blame it on MO, but I have no clear evidence to show that this is the case. I am back on hard mode because I feel that it gives me more stability, but whether I have yet to establish whether this is a placebo or a genuine phenomena I am experiencing.

    I hope that this helps :)
     
    jack91, -Luke- and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  3. stillinflatline97

    stillinflatline97 New Member


    Thank you for your reply! I guess the questions i really would like you to answer is that if you got any benefits before the flatline hit? I saw your journal you felt better after 3 weeks and felt more confident, which is very typical before post acute withdrawal set in after about 30 days. Im not saying you are not right, im just saying that i have never seen a guy do hard mode for 3.5 years without benefits from semen retention and staying off porn. But again it would probably be too long for it to be flatline/PAWS. Anyways, the numbness of emotions, unable to laugh/cry, fall in love, whatever. Do you experience that?
    I guess its a fear of mine that im in the same category as you because i remember i had depression episodes as a child and was very shy. However i could feel emotions, i was good at making friends, i could fall in love, and life was more rewarding than what i currently go through. I have learned so much from this addiction and recovery that if i could just get the brain i had when i was young, i could control it now and make it a great life.
     
  4. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Good to hear from you, FFS. And thanks for your update.

    I like stories like yours the most (I’m not sure if regard your own story as a success story – for me it is). It’s down to earth, realistic and thoughtful. Not like the “I didn’t fap for 2 days and now I’m a super hero” stories you’ll see at reddit/nofap.
     
  5. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Well, one of the reasons why I doubt that the flatline exists is that I don't have a point of contrast to make. I can confirm that I have moments of low libido. As I have mentioned, I also have anxiety, depression and social anxiety. For me, this has been a constant experience of my current run of recovery going back about 3.5 years. If the definition of a flatline is a collection of symptoms brought on by addiction withdrawal , then I don't believe that I ever entered a flatline as such. The symptoms I have described seem to have been a constant feature of my recovery and haven't been directly affected by my decision to give up porn. I have experienced an improvement in all of these symptoms as a result of the self help and personal development that I have been working on. Giving up porn has made this possible, but crucially, I have seen no clear evidence that physiologically speaking, that quitting porn has lead to an improvement in these symptoms. This is why I am pretty convinced they are issues in themselves. The only exception to that statement is my libido which comes and goes. I gather this is pretty natural actually when someone is sexually inactive.

    You are right that in the previous abstinence streaks, I mentioned that I had seen an improvement in symptoms. However, I also reported at the time that this levelled off over time. I think that this was actually due to an initial testosterone boost that comes within the first few weeks of abstinence. It is particularly noticeable if you have never built up a significant abstinence streak before, as was the case when I had originally made that post.

    If you read my last post carefully, I didn't say that I don't think that there are benefits to semen retention. I believe that there is definitely value in the practice. As I stated, I feel more confident, driven, interested in people and have more energy and focus when I am on a dry spell. That's why I am on hard mode again. However that's not the same as saying that all of my issues are sorted just because i decided not to masturbate to porn.

    I am open to the idea that I may have experienced PAWS at some point, but its difficult to tell because the symptoms are similar to other mental health issues. If my mental health issues were simply the product of addiction recovery, I suspect that they would have gone after 3 years of complete abstinence, 3.5 if you include a minor slip.

    Yes, I feel numbness from time to time, but that's a pretty normal part of depression. I have no problem with being able to cry and laugh.

    I have spoken to quite a few recovering addicts in the SA and SAA fellowships and I haven't ever seen a case of addiction recovery magically solving everything. Recovery simply makes us face our imperfect lives.
     
    Pete McVries likes this.
  6. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks for the kind words, Luke. Yes, in the sense of giving up porn and creating a more balanced lifestyle, mine is a success story. My expectations of what success constitutes has changed and that has simply been a reflection of the fact that I didn't know what a life without addiction felt like. I had fantasy hopes where I wanted everything to be perfect because that was what I was trying to achieve with my addiction. And, yes, the often shallow success stories from the Nofap forums didn't help. I am grateful to all of the ones I have read for giving me motivation to stay sober when I needed them, though I stress it is important not to read too much into them. Most are written after comparatively short periods of sobriety (I include the 90 day reports in that number) and only include a snapshot of what the author was feeling at the time. Its just like seeing your friends photos on Facebook that have you convinced that everyone is having a better time than you. I don't have a girlfriend or a stable full-time career but both are partly out of my control regardless of how much effort I put into it. We live in difficult times. I might as well love myself for who I am regardless of what I have and where my life ends up. Nobody's life is perfect. Its all too easy to negatively compare your own imperfect recovery to an impression of a 'perfect' recovery from somebody's story. If we are not careful, this can lead to disillusionment with our efforts and relapse. Yet, these success stories do at least serve to remind us that a more fulfilling lifestyle can be achieved by giving up porn. We need to be constantly reminded of the power of our addiction.

    I used to think that I would get to a stage when I would no longer crave porn. I now see that this is likely to never happen. In the cases of other addictions like alcohol, a rare number of people can give up their drug of choice and never look back. For many, barely a day goes by when they don't miss it at some stage. I believe that I belong to the latter category..From this perspective, I am as far as I ever will be when it comes to abstinence from porn. I can only remain sober one day at a time. 'Just for Today' as we say in SAA. My slip last year which could have become something far worse is a reminder of that. My addiction is a constant shadow that follows me.

    So, I suppose the question is posed, why not write a success story now? I would like to have more acceptance for myself and more peace within. When I have got there sufficiently, I believe that would be a good time to write a success story.
     
    Pete McVries likes this.
  7. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    02/03/2020

    Part one

    Expanding on my previous posts, I am going to fill in gap since I last made an entry in November. It is fair to say that emotionally it has been a bleak autumn and winter for me. I have felt as though I went a few steps backwards with my anxiety. It wasn't as bad as during the worse times, but the sense that things were steadily improving left me. While I can't always be on an upward trajectory of growth, my background levels of anxiety were significantly strong ever since my working hours dropped at the end of last September. However, ironically my recovery has also been in a very good place and I have continued to push myself out of my comfort zone. I have also been effective in curbing procrastination and I have been spending a lot of time engaging in personal projects and productive activities. One of my projects has been redecorating my room and creating a new study area. Another has been building my confidence as an independent driver- driving has been a major phobia of mine and this has taken a lot of energy to work with. Certainly the fact that I am facing triggers of anxiety has contributed to stronger general levels. Yet, it doesn't explain the whole picture.

    All things considered it has been difficult to avoid the assessment that my decision to MO a few times in late November/ early December may have affected my overall anxiety and depression levels. I have been trying to look at this from an objective perspective. There is no way I can eliminate the possibility of my feelings as being the product of a negative placebo. Regardless of what actually is at work here, I have been feeling significantly better as a result of 2,5 months of abstinence from MO. Another thing that makes me cautious of MO is that whenever I do it, it doesn't seem to be far away from trigger situations and that makes me question whether it is possible for it to be an entirely healthy practice. The question as to whether it is possible for me to practice sexuality healthily while I am single is an ambiguous area that can easily be exploited by my addiction. That's why I have decided to commit to an experiment to settle the matter. I am going to stay on hard mode for about 6 months and reevaluate my approach from there. Even though I continue to remain sober, I feel that the only way that I can be sure that masturbation isn't problematic for me is to have a solid period of complete sexual abstinence and practice it from a safe distance from middle circle behaviour. Having been reminded of the benefits of abstaining, I am not sure MO is something that I want to do at all in the future at the moment.

    I don't know why after such a strong period of recovery MO seems to have such a bearing on how I feel. Is it because I haven't been able to rewire the brain with a real life partner? Does it point to an underlying health issue like hormone levels? One avenue that I have been exploring lately is the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It started off as an alternative path I could explore out of curiosity. I did some EFT a few years ago and my positive experiences using that along with the personal testimonies of other people has opened me up to the idea that there might be something to energy medicine. I have also found Qigong relaxing. I started attending classes last October and felt some encouraging results. I have probably had the best results however with a particular form of Qigong I have been learning from a book called 'Qigong for Anxiety'. Over the past month, it has allowed me to go one step further in releasing nervous tension stored in the body. I haven't felt this relaxed in my body in years. It hasn't all gone though. My experience trying Qigong and my persistent anxiety lead me to try Acupuncture. I made the decision to see a TCM doctor last month. In his initial diagnosis, he gave me yin deficiency of the kidney, spleen and heart. I found that interesting as kidney yin deficiency is something that has come up before on recovery forums online. He recommended 6 acupuncture sessions to release blockages in the body and address the issue, but said that it had a 60-70% chance of success. I had my third session on Tuesday. Its too early to tell what the lasting impact of these sessions is, but I certainly find them very relaxing. I leave them with a healthy boost which lasts the rest of the day. I think that the methodology has had some effect and it hasn't been just the result of lying down for half an hour!

    My Acupuncture sessions reminded me of my experience with EFT. I have been doing EFT on and off for about two years but never established a regular, systematic practice . I was heavily into it to begin with after reading 'The Tapping Solutiion' and then gradually stopped practising it regularly when I found it wasn't the silver bullet to my anxiety. That was back in the days when I was still trying to cure myself of anxiety! Ever since I have been doing it on an off to deal with specific episodes. I have always found it has been great to break obsessions and free up mental energy for other things. I have also been doing it to help me get back to sleep during the night, which it is pretty effective for. Last week, I decided that I wanted to revisit EFT properly. I watched a few Youtube videos and read some online articles. I have now got a strategy in using it. I have been tapping on various interconnected issues- the themes behind my anxiety and associated memories. I have also been approaching EFT as a method to accept my anxiety rather than cure it. Likewise, its too early to tell what an impact it is making. My general feeling currently is that I could be on to another valuable tool in my recovery. To sum up, the cumulative impact of abstinent, Qigong, Acupuncture and EFT is bringing about a big improvement in my mood. I feel as though I am on a virtuous cycle again. Nevertheless everything is impermanent and everything moves in waves. I had a tough time in a flare up with my anxiety while away with my family the weekend before last. Gratefully, I have felt relatively relaxed since.
     
  8. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Part two

    It is often the case that times of difficulty allow me to develop an insight. I found that weekend away with my family was a reminder that, no matter what I do, I cannot control my anxiety. I create more pain for myself when I try to. The only thing I can do when an anxious episode comes on is surrender, work with it and accept it. Any attempt to rid myself of it only makes it worse. To that end, I shall try only to accept my anxiety That way, it is possible to discover inner peace within the storm.

    Surrender sums up my attitude to relationships now. Last year I obsessed about needing a relationship and making it happen. Now I have a more relaxed and have a kinder attitude towards myself about the subject. Whether a relationship happens is something that is largely out of my control. I am no less of a person for not having a girlfriend and I don't need a woman to make me feel valued. Besides, I have come to see that being single does have its advantages. I am a lot more freer to spend time on personal development and just generally doing the things that I want than I otherwise would be if a woman was on the scene.

    On the addiction front, things are generally going well, but I have to stay on the lookout for the odd time I find myself sinking into autopilot and drifting on the internet. Facebook is a common culprit. Just a few moments of scrolling down could potentially lead me to finding a triggering photo which could give rise to more problematic behaviour. Online streaming sites like the BBC I-Player is another one I have to be careful for. There are a few programmes with sexual content in them which can tempt me if I am not on it when it comes to procrastination. As I have no desire to completely block my access to these sites, this unfortunately represents the only major gap in my line of defence. Neither of these sites have been a problem within the last few months, but I have noticed it is easy to slip into the scrolling 'just looking' trance. Any amount of time spent in the middle circle zone is too much time during which the addiction has influence over me. I can't always be perfect and to try to be so in the past has driven me mad, but I must always remind myself that the more I can starve my addiction of any influence the safer I will be. I have to be careful because cravings to act out and general horniness have been tough lately to the point of disturbing my sleep. It hasn't helped that I haven't been able to get to a meeting in about a month. Nevertheless, I have been working my 12 step programme well, keeping in contact with the fellowship. I will be going to a meeting tonight which I am looking forward to.

    This post is probably going to be my last entry for a while. As much as I feel the value in writing them, it is time consuming. I will keep an eye on what happens on the forum every so often and reply to anyone posts here, but beyond that I'm aiming to keep my activity to a minimum.
     
  9. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Just a quick update for my journal. The past 5 weeks since lockdown in the UK have been going quite well for me. On balance, I feel as though that I have been spending the time well. I have even been enjoying it to be honest, although I am starting to miss not being able to see my friends. As my role revolves around working with the public, I can't work from home and have been furloughed. I am actually waiting to start a new job but they can't train me at the moment until government guidelines on social distancing change. For the meanwhile, I have been catching up on various projects. I have been stepping up the exercise routine doing both running and strength training. I have been learning some new Qigong routines. I have also finished doing some DIY bits in the house and have been finishing step work. Last week, I made the decision to give my Step 4 inventory an overhaul. For those of you, who don't know what it is, it is a list of fears and character defects. It is also a list of memories that keep coming back as well as harms caused to other people. These kind of things have the tendency to linger inside the mind so it is always good to be able to share them to remove any power they may still have. I first did it back in 2016 when I joined the fellowship. However, in the time since, there is so much more that I know about myself now that I felt needed to be put down. My inventory is a lot more detailed now and i feel that it does justice to my past. The finished document is about 50 A4 pages. I then shared this with a friend from the fellowship and felt much lighter within myself for it.

    I have also been doing a lot of reading. I finally got round to finishing 'No more Mr.Nice Guy' which is a fantastic book. I realised while reading it that I am a characteristic nice guy. I took a lot away from the book and so have some of the guys that I have recommended it to. Another excellent book which I am reading at the moment is 'The Success Principles' by Jack Canfield. There is a lot of wisdom in this book. Some of the techniques like its approach to the law of attraction and affirmations has helped me be very productive over the past 5 weeks.

    Spending so much time at home can either be a curse in that it is wasted in lazing about and acting out or it can be a blessing. I am grateful that this time has been a blessing for me, so much so that I am not in a hurry for it to end. I think I have also been lucky that I have not had much in the way of cravings. This might be a side effect of the anti-depressants I have started to take again. However, I just saw a triggering sex scene in a TV programme that I was watching just now, and the cravings to act out are strong. I know that I will ride through them though, just as I always do. I think my focus on goals more than anything has given me a quiet time with my addiction. I'll leave it there for the time being until the next time.
     
  10. auzzie_mikey

    auzzie_mikey Well-Known Member

    Try focusing on asubha meditation if you want to lower sexual urges.

    And also antidepressants keep my sex drive low.
     
  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Those 50 pages of your step 4 work is pretty inspiring. I'm glad to hear you are doing well in the lock down conditions !
     
  12. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    I am getting round to writing a long overdue post. It has been a year since the slip where I peeked at some images, and 4 years since I last viewed hardcore porn.

    The last few months since my last post have seen a lot of growth that I cannot do full justice to in one post.The lock down has been a very positive experience for me. Its impressive to see how much you can get done with all the extra energy and willpower that gets freed up when you are not working. I used this time to create healthy habits including a running and strength training habit as well as get a lot of outstanding jobs done. I have also experimented in new fields like investing. I acknowledge that I have been lucky in that I am in good health and that I don't have any relatives who are at risk from the virus. My family have also remained in work. I respect that this is a very difficult time for a lot of people at the moment. Nevertheless, on a personal level, I don't dread the prospect of another lockdown. I see the enormous potential.

    I have started my new job now and have settled in well. I fit in well as part of the team and have even been looking forward to coming into work. As someone who has experienced a lot of anxiety in the past, that's saying something. The new start has been a lot smoother emotionally than any of my previous jobs, nevertheless I started those with a lot less experience than I have now.

    My anxiety levels have been relatively low. I attribute this to the following factors:
    Firstly, has been the extra productivity, a system to help me achieve my goals and the added self-esteem that this provides.
    Another factor has been a regular Qigong practice of two sequences of movements a day. I am currently doing an online course in Qigong from Flowing Zen which I am getting much value from. I have been able to deeper my Qigong practice from the course and it has allowed me to relax more into the art.
    Furthermore, a huge contributor has been my anxiety coaching. Through my TM group, I met a coach specialising in the DeMartini method. Its a complex approach to anxiety that I won't go into full detail here. In a nutshell, it uses visualisation and a form of hypnosis to dissolve the emotional charge of memories of the past. This emotional charge is caused by fantasies or situations that have happened that we wish were different but fail to see the value in them. The reality is that all experiences and all emotions have their own advantages and disadvantages, even our most treasured memories which we wish would last forever. Our inability to see this creates unnecessary stress. I have used the techniques that I am learning to go through university and work memories and have been impressed by the results so far.
    Finally, early on in the lockdown I made the decision to give anti-depressants a serious go. I requested with my GP to go on Escitalopram in April, which is widely regarded as being one of the most effective anti-depressants with minimal side affects. I am not sure how this affected me. If I have been affected by them at all, then the change has been very gradual for me not to notice it.

    Last November, I set myself a target of going completely free from masturbation by July. To give a bit of background, prior to last year, I was three years free from masturbation. Because I had developed sexual anorexia, I made the decision to experiment with mindful masturbation for a bit. However, this was accompanied by some progressively triggering behaviour which eventually led to my slip last year. In order to determine whether masturbation could be safely practiced by me in sobriety I committed to going six months of solid abstinence before I would review this stance again. What I noticed from being outside the bubble is that I do not miss masturbation at all. It doesn't add much value to my life and I am also more driven and focused without it. I also think that because it was so closely tied in with my past PMO habit, that it increases my chance of relapse. Its simply not worth the risk. I had forgotten all of these things during my 3 year fast because it was such a long period of time.

    I am aware that sexual anorexia remains an issue and its somewhat tricky to address without being in a relationship. In conversations with friends and family members, I have noticed how disgusted I can feel towards flesh and sex . This is not where I want to be. In order to discover a middle way, I have allowed myself to be more relaxed with certain triggers. Situations like instinctually looking at women at the street are not big issue and its perfectly natural behaviour. I just mindfully accept it and shift my awareness to something else without a show of force or judging myself for it. I have also been less strict about nude scenes in films. Nude scenes in films have induced a panic within me before when I fear that I have done something to damage my recovery. This makes me determined to avoid any visual stimuli whatsoever, which is a hugely ambitious task in this day and age, which in turn fuels my fear around all things sexual. A conversation with a friend of mine in the fellowship helped me to clarify the ambiguity that I had on the issue. He told me that its perfectly natural to be aroused by these scenes, it becomes an issue when you seek to obsesses and escape in your own bubble. Naturally, it also becomes an issue if you are triggered to watch porn and linger on mental flashbacks. I can only relax my approach because I have got a solid period of recovery behind me- it would have been impossible when I was starting out. Without encouraging complacency, I have won the war and deserve to enjoy the peace without anxiety and being on edge all of the time. On the occasion that I feel myself in danger of entering the bubble, I reach out to a fellow in SAA and break the obsession. Ever cautious, I am still not sure whether I am deluding myself or whether I have discovered a better way to live in recovery.
     
  13. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Nice to hear from you, FFS. To not just draw something positive from the lockdown, but to take the chance to develop on a personal level and make it an overall positive experience is a great attitude. Thumbs up for it!
     
  14. Apeman

    Apeman It means you're a baboon... And I'm not

    Hey Freedom From Servitude,
    I remember you. You're taller.
    I came to your journal tonight to get caught up on your progress. I started... and I couldn't stop. Two hours later, I have this to say: You have done a great service by keeping this journal. You struggle honestly, you fail with dignity, you persevere, and ultimately you give it all back by keeping the record. I am grateful to you that you let me read it.

    I'm sorry to hear you had a negative experience with online dating. As a fellow introvert, I found it changed my life. You said Match didn't have many people in your area. What about OKCupid? It's free, and is a lot more focused on personality and profile than, say, tinder. I just... I can tell you're a good guy, and you deserve a good lady that you click with, and I think the internet can help. That'd be kind of poetic, right? You break free of the internet's malign sexual influence, and finally harness it to connect with a real woman.
     
  15. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Hi Apeman, thank you for the kind words and the OKCupid recommendation. I am definitely willing to give online dating another go, and perhaps when the situation with the pandemic calms down a little. It seems that a lot of people are online now and its becoming almost a mainstream thing to meet people that way. Its worth another shot anyway. :)
     
  16. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    30/11/2020

    4.5 years free hardcore porn, 15 months since the slip to a few softcore nude pictures, 12 months of hard mode sobriety

    I have continued along the trajectory of growth these past few months since my last post. A workable productivity and goal setting system I have been developing has allowed me to make consistent progress towards various short and long term goals. I'm still exercising on a regular basis, though now at the recommendation of the anxiety coach I had been seeing, I am now substituting the running workouts with HIIT workouts which are supposed to be more beneficial for the mind and body. I am still doing some running but only once a week to keep my endurance up.

    I am carrying on with my dopamine detox. One decision I made as part of the next wave of changes was to delete my Facebook account. I have never been a fan of Facebook for a number of reasons but have long talked myself out of deleting it for fear of losing contact with friends. 'The Social Dilemma' on Netflix gave me the final push I needed to finally delete my profile. Despite having an Adblocker installed that allowed me to block certain features of the website that triggered my procrastination, it still could occupy a lot of time. I also felt that my mental health would be better off without Facebook, particularly in my aim to rebalance dopamine receptors in my brain. So far, I feel a lot more freer and most importantly I am spending a lot less time on social media as a result. Another part of the next stage of the dopamine detox has involved restricting TV time to no more than two hours a day. This has opened up more time for more constructive activities that give me value like reading.

    I have been more accepting of my anxiety and depression than ever thanks to the help of the anxiety coach I saw earlier in the year, and the Demartini method. Nevertheless, I still feel that something is missing and I continue to wake up in the mornings in particular with a lot of anxiety I continue to tackle this in a variety of ways , including putting in place the coaching methods I have learnt, practicing Qigong and doing the dopamine detox and working the 12 step programme, along with the many other tools that I have learnt over the years. I am not entirely sure what is responsible for my heightened levels of anxiety, but I have started to wonder whether it could be inflammation related. I have been having digestive issues for a few years now which may signify an issue with the gut beyond simple IBS that I have been diagnosed with. The current situation with the Corona virus means that I am still waiting to book a blood test, so I can't identify whether there is also a hormonal imbalance at work here, which can also contribute to chronic inflammation in the body. One theory, I have at the moment, which may or not be validated in the coming months is that my physiology was thrown off balance during a period of chronic stress. Inflammation is a key marker of this. I am doing a lot already to tackle inflammation and another change I have made within the last few weeks is to shift to an anti-inflammatory diet. I was previously Gluten Free, but was still consuming my fair share of processed foods and sugar. Now, I have put in place a comprehensive meal plan based on whole foods and cooking from scratch. I am also going to take some probiotic supplements. I have been on these before, but in the absence of the anti-inflammatory diet, its possible that these would not have had much of an effect. The new diet, with its combined lack of sugar and dairy, higher prebiotic fibre and nutrients to allow the good bacteria to thrive might give me more of a success with probiotics this time round. As ever, I continue to cover all possibilities. If the new diet doesn't have much of an impact further along the line, I am still going to be healthier for it.
     
  17. Bilbo Baggins

    Bilbo Baggins Well-Known Member

    Nice to hear from you. It’s always interesting when long-term rebooters write about their ‘post-porn’ lives.
    Good luck on your journey. I hope you can find the root to your anxiety and get rid of it. And congratulations for staying away from porn for this long.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020

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