My way to Liberty

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Libertad, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    My coffee consumption went up over the last year and I was consuming around 6-7 cups of coffee a day and started to look into it a bit more.

    Here is a good article about coffee consumption: All About Caffeine Addiction and Withdrawal & How to Quit | Be Brain Fit

    Two take aways I found interesting:

    1. Caffeine floods the brain with unnaturally high levels of dopamine, fueling tendencies toward insomnia, an overactive libido, addictions, and other self-destructive behaviors.

    2.When your system is flooded with caffeine, adenosine can no longer turn off your brain. So, your brain on caffeine is like a car with no brakes and the accelerator pushed to the floor.

    “Caffeine is the Trojan horse. It looks like a gift but instead delivers adrenal stress, low blood sugar, mood and energy swings, fatigue, depression, malnutrition, and disturbed sleep.”
    — Stephen Cherniske, author of Caffeine Blues

    Caffeine also changes the electrical activity of the brain, causing an increase in beta brainwaves which are linked to a state of arousal.

    My conclusion from the two points above: In our case of addiction to PMO, it could be a really good idea to look into the coffee consumption and maybe limit it or quit it for a period of time to see if something changes in the gravings for PMO.

    To point 1: After not using PMO but I still graved for dopamine, I felt the unconscious need for coffee to give me at least a little bit of a dopamine rush.

    To point 2: The expression that the adenosine disabler coffee can lower the control one has, they used the term like a car with no brakes and the accelerator pushed to the floor, should be a warning if one is losing control in some aspect of life.

    I cut out coffee 28 days ago. I love coffee, but it seems not a good idea if one has difficulty to quit something, to continue to take a substance that lowers the control you have over your actions.
    Maybe I will introduce it later again but with a strict limit of 1 or 2 cups a day, because it seems that it also has a few health benefits when consumed in moderation.
    All the best to all of you here.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2022
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  2. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I used food to get that dopamine rush. Once I quit PMO my food intake increased dramatically, particularly things like chocolate.

    I think it's good to quit certain things for a time and see what the effect, if any, is on our person. We are all so individual. I do think 6-7 coffees is too many, but probably 1 a day would be fine.
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  3. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Because in the last few months, I overreacted a few times against other people, also I would like to be calmer and less stressed over things that in the great scheme of things do not really matter, and also because I feel the need in this modern times of fast changes and chaos of some sort of guidance, for example like Dave Ramsey has for finances, a based guidance for life, I was looking into Stoicism. I belief that stoicism, which I find is in big parts based on biblical principals, has a more practical view on things in my opinion. The emphasis on meditation, journaling, but combined with action.

    The way to overcome past trauma and get out of the comfort zone:
    Action-Trigger- Release- Repeat

    I was doing the action step in a few occasions over the last few months, got triggered mainly in two instances by the words and reactions of others pretty bad and had difficulty to find a way to release it. I went into a kind of revenge mode and reacted harsh, which looking back was not the best way to deal with the situation. Before, when I was still using PMO as an escape, I would have gone into a binge session practicing PMO and after that into a depressed state of mind for days.
    Now the energy, anger, rage, goes more externally.
    Also, I should find a way to be mindfull to the fact, that I am changing, and friends and family need their time to adapt to the changing me, that has more energy, is less of a push over, stands up for himself and is clearer in what he wants or what he is willing to accept from others.

    Here is an overview over Stoicism as Markus Aurelius saw it.

    Marcus Aurelius: A Brief Summary of The Meditations
    March 6, 2015Stoicism

    Statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback.

    If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.~ Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 AD) was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 and is one of the most important Stoic philosophers. What today we call the Meditations take the form of a personal notebook, which wasn’t intended for publication. Aurelius called them “Writings To Myself.” They were written in Greek, although his native tongue was Latin, and were probably composed while he was on military campaigns in central Europe, c. AD 171-175. Today it is widely regarded as one of the most important works in all of Western literature. He died, most likely from the plague or cancer, on a military campaign in present-day Austria. The work is divided into 12 short books.

    In Book I Aurelius thanks those to whom he is indebted. He thanks his grandfather for teaching him to be candid, modest, and even-tempered; his father for teaching him to be humble, calm, and frugal; his mother for teaching him to be generous and non-materialistic; and his teachers who taught him the value of hard work, self-discipline, equanimity, rationality, humor, and tolerance. From his teachers, he also learned to love practical philosophy, instead of metaphysics, logic and the vanity of the Sophists. He also thanks his wife for being affectionate.

    In Book II Aurelius reminds us that each day we will meet some terrible people. But we have faults too, so we shouldn’t be angry with them. For we are all just bits of blood, bones, and breath; our life is fleeting; our bodies will decay. As for death, it is nothing to fear; it can’t hurt us. But what is most important about us is our minds. We shouldn’t let them be slaves to selfish passions, quarrel with fate, or be anxious about the present or afraid of the future. We can’t guarantee fame or fortune, but we can keep our minds calm and free from injury, a state superior to both pleasure and pain. Freedom is the control of our minds.

    In Book III Aurelius tells us to be mindful of little things like cracks in a loaf of bread, the texture of figs and olives, and the expressions of wild animals—even mundane things have charm he says. But we shouldn’t gossip or speculate about what others say or do. Instead, think and talk only about things you would not be ashamed of if they were found out. Think and talk with sincerity and cheerfulness, and there will be a kind of divinity within you. There is nothing more valuable than a mind pursuing truth, justice, temperance, fortitude, rationality and the like. So be resolute in pursuit of the good.

    In Book IV Aurelius tells us that we can always find solitude in our own minds. If our minds are serene, we will find peace and happiness. As for how others view us, we have little control over this. But virtue is still virtue even if it isn’t acknowledged. Remember, our lives are ephemeral, one day we live, the next we are dead. So act virtuous, use your time well, and be cheerful. Then, when you drop from life’s tree, you will drop like a ripe fruit.

    In Book V Aurelius says we should get up each morning and do good work. We should act naturally and contribute to society, unconcerned about the reproach of others. And don’t ask or expect payment or gratitude for doing good deeds. Instead, be satisfied with being like a vine that bears good fruit. Virtue is its own reward.

    In Book V Aurelius disavows revenge—better not to imitate injury. We should do our duty, act righteously and not be disturbed by the rest, for in the vastness of space and time we are insignificant. Think of good things and control your mind.

    In Book VII Aurelius advocates patience and tolerance. Nature works like wax, continually transforming—so be patient. People will speak ill of you no matter what you do, but be tolerant. Evil people try our patience and tolerance, but we can remain happy by controlling our response to them.

    In Book VIII Aurelius argues that being disconnected from humanity is like cutting off one of your own limbs. Instead, live connected to nature and other people. No matter what you encounter maintain a moderate and controlled mind. If you are cursed by others, don’t let it affect you any more than your cursing the spring affects the springtime.

    In Books IX, X, and XI Aurelius argues that we should be moderate, sincere, honest, and calm. If someone reports that you are not virtuous, dispel such notions with your probity, and use humor to disarm the worst people.

    In Books XII Aurelius asks why we love ourselves best, but so often value the opinion of others over our own. This is a mistake. Remember too that the destiny of the greatest and worst of human beings is the same—they all turn to ashes. Do not then be proud, but be humble. Die in serenity. As Aurelius wrote from his tent, far from home and never to return: “Life is warfare and a stranger’s sojourn, and after fame, oblivion.”
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  4. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    I am almost 49 years now. During our regular PMO use we can forget that our life´s time is finite and think that we have an infinite time to stop with it. I don´t want to get too deep into a thinking of regret over the past, but for all who are still fighting, ones we make us aware and can see the amount of energy and time we put into PMO during years even decades, it can be a good kick in the a.. to think about that for a moment. The past is the past, and thoughts and feelings of regret can keep us stuck and be unmotivating, but a look at the facts without excuses can also be usefull to motivate and push us in the right direction.

    Here is a passage from Markus Aurelius Book 2 Verse 4:

    Remember how long you have been putting this off, how many times you have been given a period of grace by the gods and not used it. It is high time now for you to understand the universe of which you are a part, and the governor of that universe of whom you constitute an emanation: and that there is a limit circumscribed to your time - if you do not use it to clear away your clouds, it will be gone, and you will be gone, and the opportunity will not return.

    I hope I can keep that in mind when the next temptations come.
  5. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    49 is young in my books! :) Maybe time to date someone?
  6. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Yes @Saville , it could be time for that too.
    I am not forcing it. At the moment I am more into solving a few things about myself and my believe system, but I am not opposed to it if a good girl appears.
    I am confronted more and more with the fact that PMO was just the part of the ice berg that peaks out of the water but the bigger part and problems lay beneath the obvious unhealthy habbit of PMO and that I have a messed up belief system.
    Journaling (private) daily helps a lot but the things that come up are not easy to let go. I am glad, that at least I have now the motivation and bravery to confront myself with it. Before, PMO was my cowardly way to not deal with what lays beneath and distract myself, but about this function of PMO many here talked about already, the role that PMO plays in escaping reality and uncomfortable facts and hard memories and Traumas.
    I am continuing to go ones a week to a shrink and I am glad that this service is included in the health care system were I live in the moment.
    To sum it up, things did not get easier, but on the other hand, my motivation and energy to finally resolve things and not run from them grew also. I don´t deny that sometimes it feels hopeless like a sisyphus job.
    I found it really fits my situation at the moment. Here is the quote from the myth, maybe others can see themselves and their struggle also in it:

    Camus uses the Greek legend of Sisyphus, who is condemned by the gods for eternity to repeatedly roll a boulder up a hill only to have it roll down again once he got it to the top, as a metaphor for the individual’s persistent struggle against the essential absurdity of life. According to Camus, the first step an individual must take is to accept the fact of this absurdity. If, as for Sisyphus, suicide is not a possible response, the only alternative is to rebel by rejoicing in the act of rolling the boulder up the hill. Camus further argues that with the joyful acceptance of the struggle against defeat, the individual gains definition and identity.

    In conclusion, enough of whining and complaining.:) Finding joy in the daily struggles is the secret then. Ha

    Overall, I hide less, from others and from my inner self and my problems. Small steps towards the resolution of what comes up and no longer running from it.
    All the best to all of you out there.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2022
  7. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Had a huge fight with my parents today. The relationship between us was always complicated, burdened by many things that happened decades ago and never got resolved and kept adding up over time. I know that I should come to the point to forgive them and move on and let the past fade away. But I am just not able to and it is holding me back and costing me a lot of energy and causes destraction in my daily life.

    To see something positive in all of what happened today with my parents is, that I have no urge to PMO. Just a deep sadness and also frustration against myself, that I am not able to let all that go and just live my life today as an adult.

    The behaviour of my parents towards me was always, as far back as I can remember, a dark cloud over me. To keep my distance did not help in the past because I take the thoughts with me.
    I just can´t understand their behaviour towards their own children. Especially because they were devoted christians on the outside. It never made sense to me.
    I read in a psychology book, that the more unexplainable and unlogical the harmfull behaviour of the parents was against the child, the deeper it gets imprinted, because the childs brain wants to solve it, but can´t explain it and comes finaly to the logical conclusion, that it must be his own fault that his parents mistread him and that something is wrong with him. Especially when the parents are kind and helpfull towards other people outside of the family.

    My older brother wrote me two days ago, that he thinks about killing himself, that brought the past to the surface for me and was most likely the reason why I exploded with my parents. He is married and has a child. We had a long phone call and he seemed stable but one never knows.

    Sorry to use this forum for problems that are not directly PMO related. I just needed to put them somewere.
    And I was at home all day and had time to think about it.
    To gain something from this, if I take these things as obstacles of life, everyone has his own of course, a good sign is, that the distractions I use today, are less harmful and energy draining then PMO in my opinion, like watching a few episodes of a netflix series, watching Youtube and procrastinating on a few things I would have done otherwise and things of that nature.
    Despite that, I got a few things done in between of the netflix episodes. So I don´t was totally unproductive.

    After writting it here and reading it, I have to say that overall it is a good day. I am able to reflect over what ever happened, even when I am not always in the moment, for example when I shouted at my parents, but I have not the urge to go too deep into the distraction mode and am still able to function and not like before, to go into PMO binges for days. So overall it is progress. The goal would be to stay calm when dealing with my parents, not get too angry, stay present and long term find a solution to solve, forgive the past and move on. I have not a lot of time because both are very old already.
    If I want to become a man who does no longer run from his problems, that could be the way. Without PMO the past has a tendency to come up more and more, things that have not been resolved and stare me in the face. At least in theory it sounds like this is it. o_O
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2022
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  8. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    @Libertad. Great post. You are clearly challenging yourself to think in a more “evolved” way about how you deal with tough situations.
    Very sorry about your situation with your parents and your brother. It’s so very hard to see a sibling struggling emotionally. It’s great your brother share his feelings with you. That’s a big step for him. Hopefully he continues to stabilize as a result.

    I can very much relate to your feelings about your parents. My own were also very respected within my community. But caused deep and permanent harm to their children. I have clinically determined PTSD from the trauma I experienced. My siblings suffered even more.
    My parents are both now deceased. I did not really address the issues with then when they were alive. I think just too painful and knew it would not go well. Instead I took the path of a passive aggressive relationship

    only after they passed away, was I able to work through my issues and forgive them.

    I definitely think my PMO addiction was partly a form of self-medication for how how they often made me feel.

    You seem to be working on things in a healthy and honest way with yourself. Having no PMO in your life definitely makes it more compelling to confront the demons in your life - as the easiest outlet to ignore them has been taken away.

    you sound like you are making great advances in your journey to better understand yourself.

    keep up the great work! It’s very inspiring to me.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2022
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  9. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much for your thoughts on my post and that you found it inspiring.
    I was insecure about posting it on here, because to me it first appeared more like an unloading of personal problems.

    Glad to hear that you were able to forgive your parents. I believe that this is such an important step for our healing and to be able to move on in life either it is in person or after they passed away.
    On Youtube a guy, Tim Fletcher has a lot of videos about CPTSD which I found very helpful.
    Thanks again for your empathy and congrats on reaching 90 days soon.
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  10. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    You are very welcome @Libertad! and thank you for the good wishes on reaching 90 days.
  11. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Journaling is amazing!

    I think we can hate the behavior of a parent but still feel some love for them. You will never resolve any problems with them. They aren't capable of going there. It's like the old adage "move on, nothing to see here."

    You are staying strong and that is wonderful.
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  12. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    I took some time to reflect about what you said and I am starting to believe that you are right.
    This is such a hard pill to swallow.

    That is important. This separation between their behaviour and them is the prerequisite to be able to still feel some sort of love for them.
    So in conclusion I should be able to forgive without resolving the problems with them. I believe that that is right. There should be no prerequisite to forgiveness. And I then should move accordingly to protect myself in the future when dealing with them because most likely they will never be able to reflect on their behaviour and make changes.

    I am so determined about this topic, because the relationship with my parents played a big part in my PMO habit and really want to be able to move on.

    May I ask, have you been able to forgive everyone that ever did you wrong? Is forgiveness the prerequisite to moving on or would you say that it is possible to truly move on without having fully forgiven?
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022
  13. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Wow, now that is a big question. lol I guess I asked myself: what is a parent's job? If they clothe and feed us and give us shelter then they have ostensibly done their "job." If they do better than their parents did then they have gone above and beyond their responsibilities. Our modern notion that parents should emotionally lift us up has created a lot of trauma. To put it another way: we come into being through our parents, not from our parents. This means we are not tethered to the trauma and guilt our parents have and hold onto.

    Our parents look at us and think, "when are they ever going to wake up?" "Why can't they just be normal?" They have almost zero realization that their lack of life-skills created PTSD in the next generation, but then neither did their parents. Basically it's all one big fuck-up.

    In my own life it was my mother who created fear and mistrust in me. My dad was a quiet man who basically had just given up on helping raise the children. In a perfect world my mom would have been more invested in my emotional well-being, instead of constantly wanting to have all the attention for herself. My dad, on the other hand, would've have worked harder to be a part of my life. But they weren't and so what I have in my control is to move past them. They are long dead now, but I look upon both of them with fondness and sometimes love. They did their best. I didn't have to forgive them, I had to forgive myself.

    I forgave myself for not being the perfect son, for not achieving what they thought I should've and for not having tried harder to make them proud. I have embraced the "me" now. I am worthy, no matter what I've accomplished. I am strong, no matter what I've done in my past. I am learning, no matter what my age. I have a house, I have food, I have enough money to live, so what am I complaining about? My emotional needs are MY emotional needs. I will take care of myself, which means forgiving the past me. Today I'm a lion and I'm going to roar!
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  14. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Thank you @Saville . This helps.
    After what happened I felt always like frozen and in prison inside, not noticing or being able to understand that I have the keys for the prison door in my hand. Will reflect on it and hopefully be able to accept, that it was always my own decissions and responsibility for not living fully and hiding behind PMO and other mechanisms for a fake protection in the search for a feeling of security.

    So glad that you are here on this forum, Saville, the roaring lion.
    Thank you.
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  15. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I meant to write "Today, WE roar like lions!" :)

    You might recall my last journal entry was about a small dark circle on an otherwise white piece of paper. Our parents, or anyone else who has been difficult in our lives, are like that dark spot. Except, in this case we are standing so close to the paper that all we can see is the dark spot. In other words we lack perspective. When we stand back a few paces suddenly the reality of our situation comes clear.

    If that paper is our lives then we can always expect for that dark spot to be there, but it isn't going to bleed into the rest of our lives. For myself, my parents are no longer a dark spot. I love them, I'm grateful for what they were able to give me, and I think that while they were on this earth we had some good times. The first face we see is our mother's and during the first year or so of our lives we stare at that face constantly. I have to believe that our mom's looked down upon us with love.

    I know none of this is easy. While my parent's dark spot has faded it was replaced with the guilt, hurt, and disgust of my affairs. This has been, for me, a harder spot to release, even after many years of living a good and considered life. Part of the trouble honestly is just my embarrassment at being such an idiot. I got sucked into the midlife crisis vortex and did what many other idiots had before me - it's a well-worn path. At the end of the day I didn't need to confront anyone but myself. And, once I confronted myself I had to forgive myself. The poet Maya Angelou said it beautifully: "Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn't know before you learned it." As I say, that spot will probably always be there, but around the dark spot is a rather incredible life, and it's that life that I try to concentrate on.
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  16. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    @Saville. Today my best to roar today!

    great quote! And overall sentiments as well!

    I think we all can be too hard on ourselves, creating even deeper feelings of guilt, self-loathing etc. which then triggers even worse emotions and continued unhealthy behavior.

    we all have learned from past actions. And need to do our best to forgive ourselves and then be fully in the present - so that our future feels so much more fulfilling.
  17. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    This was my position. Too close to the dark spot. What you said the other day, about the basic role of parents, food, shelter, cloth and everything else is an extra and like the cherry on top, woke me up.
    I believe you are right. I had no right to expect more from them.
    I haven´t come as far as you to love them fully, maybe with more awareness and consciousness and time this will come. But they gave me foot, shelter and clothes. And now it is up to me if I want to give myself more and it is no longer up to them or dependent on resolving something with them. I really want to be free and no longer hold crudges and anger against them.

    About your own dark spot, from what I have read on your journal and in your comments on other journals over the last few years, you have handeled it incredible well. I don´t want to even imagine how hard it must have been to overcome the resistance and anger of your wife, because women can hold onto such an event for their lifetime and try to control you with it and want to degrate you. You did an excellent job in circumnavigating this behaviour and reconnect with her. And you learned a lot about yourself and gained a lot of wisdom from it. I hope that this spot will also fade away for you with time.
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  18. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Lib! :) Mostly it is gone. I think what I was getting at is that we never arrive. If we liken our journey to a mountain pass then we get better at reading the signs. We know there might be bears in the woods, but we know how to conduct ourselves to stay safe. We don't get as fatigue while walking and our footing is more assured. As we traverse the pass we hear more of the bird song than our fear. Increasingly, we see the layers of green and sparkling wild flowers more than we see the impenetrable forest.
  19. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Just a few thoughts and realizations from the last few days.
    I started to use to do lists, to mark of usefull things, like exercising, journaling and a few other habits I see as tools to grow.
    I did them religiosly but often with the intention to feed my ego, to be able to mark them as done at the end of the day and feel good about the accomplishment.
    While this is not a bad thing, to do these habits, the purpose is to get to know myself, to face the causes of the emotional disregulation which led to my PMO use and instead come to a inner place of peace and forgiveness and no longer run from the problem by doing chores and a list of daily rituals I often used to distract myself from myself, if that makes sense.

    I still believe that these tools are usefull and I will continue to do them, but I try to be more mindful and aware that they are not the goal by themselfes, I can use them as long as they are helpful to me, I am not their slave who has to do them or does them to not to have to face himself. It is not a question of if I can stick to goals, but instead do they serve the purpose I intented them to use for or not. I don´t want to get into another addiction, this time to chores and habits. :) It is a fine line, to know when it is laziness, which is the main influence to not to do something, or awareness that something is not serving it´s intended purpose any more. Till I get more clarity about this, I will continue but hopefully with more awareness and less as a blind follower of rules and habits.

    Just rambling.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2022
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  20. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Lib. Not rambling at all! I think introspection is key to having a strong foundation to beat this addiction.

    And I understand completely. “Keeping score” on one’s life can be unhealthy - if he becomes all encompassing - rather than just a tool to increase self-discipline.

    All good stuff! Keep it up!
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