"One day at a time" or "I'm done forever"?

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by Rebootian, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. Rebootian

    Rebootian New Member

    I guess this is a question for the guys who have quite a lot of recovery time under their belt.

    I suppose it is a question about a personal philosophy, but I thought it would be interesting to explore the attitudes towards long term recovery.

    I've heard some successful people who say they will 'never ever look at porn in their life ever again'.

    Then on the other hand you have the traditional twelve-step mindset in which you tackle life and recovery 'one day at a time'

    Any thoughts?

    Part of me gets the sheer boldness of the first statement (hell, who hasn't said similar things to themselves immediately after a relapse?)
    But there is a lot of potential for let down if you ever happen to trip up, especially if you've bigged ot up so much!

    However, I understand the 'one day at a time' logic too, it's just such a huge mountain to climb and the thought of never watching porn again is so daunting and intimidating (and many of our brains don't event want to give it up, not for a day, nevermind eternity!)
    So doing the best we can do to stay clean, in this precise moment of the now, makes sense.
    But I can't help feeling (certainly regarding the way my sneaky and sly brain works) that this mantra may potentially carry a hidden suffix-
    "I will not watch porn, one day at a time ....

    ...But I might tomorrow!"

    I'm not actually proposing we have to subscribe to either statement really.
    I just thought it would be fun to see what people make of the two outlooks and what they might mean to the individual, generally speaking, as an indicator of the way they regard the recovery journey.
    Deleted User likes this.
  2. Rebel

    Rebel Active Member

    One day at a time.

    There are people who relapsed after being 500+ days clean. I don't believe they got back to square one after one relapse.
    realness, Pete McVries and positivef like this.
  3. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    To me it's not about personal philosophy at all. If you can name all the people on this board who have succesfully quit cold turkey you hardly would come up with little more than a handful. The only one I can think of is Gabe Deem. For the vast majority of us giving up porn once and for all is simply not a realistic goal. And if you try to do this with unrealistic goals you will make this all the more hard for yourself.

    'One day at a time' does indeed mean that you might tomorrow, but it's not like that's a goal. 'One day at a time' is not just about today, it's about tomorrow as well and about every day that comes after that. If you keep that long term in focus and live towards your values you will make your life a whole lot better. But yeah, I do accept the idea that due to whatever circumstance I might slip every now and then, and that while that's undesired I will get over that. I don't pick the 'one day at a time' approach because 'the thought of never watching porn again is so daunting and intimidating', but because like 99,9% of us I'm not Gabe Deem;)
  4. Shield of Valoran

    Shield of Valoran New Member

    I think both are useful and with caveats, which you've already pointed out. People have vastly different needs, and what works for some wouldn't work for another.

    Personally, I like the 'one day at a time' mentality, following the 12-step methodology, because of the reason that tomorrow might be the day I start over. I like that it embraces the imperfect journey of recovery, and I think the 'never look at porn again' mentality, which is actually in the 'one day' mindset too, is too black and white. I think that works for some, and more power to them. I think I'd get a little suffocated trying to come up with that kind of grit - I became addicted because I didn't have much of it to begin with!
    Rebootian likes this.
  5. DoneAtLast

    DoneAtLast Well-Known Member

    Speaking strictly from personal experience: the first, then the second. Maybe another one in there, too.

    The first bit (90 days minimum) is always one day at a time. There is always a lot of white knuckling. Cravings come and they come hard, and they are most intimidating when you're sitting there wanting to open up your favorite site knowing that tomorrow and each day after that will be waiting for you wanting you to look at porn. One day at a time is an excellent strategy. Not only does it make it easier to deal with, it frankly is more honest. It isn't about allowing yourself the idea of relapsing tomorrow instead of today, and I certainly got trapped by that mindset myself (spoiler: if you tell yourself that, you will relapse tomorrow, if not today). What it is about is focusing your limited mental and emotional energy on the present where you are making a decision about relapsing instead of trying to take on every future trigger all at once. Part of the lie of the white knuckle triggers is that they absolutely won't fade until you finally give in; the pressure will just grow and grow until you explode. The truth is that as I worked through that phase, the triggers waxed and waned, and if I rode out a crest, soon enough there would be a trough.

    Eventually the middle game comes where we need to decide what life is going to look like without porn. The brain chemistry component starts to mellow out, and the mental/emotional parts need to be dealt with. How do we console ourselves when we feel sad or lonely, how do we deal with porn triggers that make us horny (or at least "porn horny", which I'm not convinced is the same thing because they feel distinctly different to me), and we strategize differently. We're not worrying about the day to day triggers like before, rather we're laying foundations to build up a different life. I don't know what language they'd use, but I think this is likely consistent with the AA philosophy as well. That's why people keep going back to meetings and talking about where they are. It isn't because they are tempted to drink every single day. They're trying to put their life back together, and maybe figure out why they went off the rails to begin with.

    I've shared my story of when I finally realized I'd quit for good before so I won't bother recounting it all here, but it involves realizing I just didn't have a taste for it anymore. Sure, I felt triggered in many ways, but I also didn't want it. I often compare it to an ex-smoker that ends up being repulsed by the smell of cigarette smoke. This ex-smoker might get triggers/cravings in the sense that they get aggravated or tense in the same way when they'd reach for a cigarette, but smoking just isn't an option any more. I get triggered, tempted, even occasional flashbacks... but the idea of pulling up tacky pictures/videos of naked people and playing with myself is super cringey now, while at one point in time it was second nature.

    My long game, coming up on my three year mark, involves sifting through everything I've learned and experienced about sex and relationships, and knowing how to separate out the porn stuff. How imminent are sexual desires, what is it exactly that I'm craving, what do the weird tastes mean at this stage, and so on. (I've posted a couple threads on this sort of stuff, and won't bog this one down with all of that.) This is more for my own emotional and mental health than it is about keeping me from relapsing, though I guess if I really went off the rails in this phase I could find myself back on a porn-bound track.

    To quote a YouTuber I've been watching lately, "Das Jus' Me Doh". Maybe if I had some deeper sexual scarring, if I hadn't laid any foundations in that middle realm, if I'd retained my tastes for porn in one way, shape or form, or if in any other way I'd managed to not completely walk away, then I could be the sort to relapse after three years. For some guys, porn entered their lives in a more real way. Maybe they were visiting escorts as a habit that grew out from porn. Maybe they were in the habit of trying out new techniques they saw in porn with their S.O's/dates/hookups. Maybe they suffered sexual abuse. Who knows. When I hear about the relapses or delayed recoveries of guys who have been porn free for a year or more, I'm always suspicious of those things. I think of those things as shrapnel left in a wound so it never fully heals. Sometimes wounds seemingly heal over shrapnel only for it to work its way out years later, sometimes it remains open and infected. Maybe "one day at a time" would have helped them, but going a year or more with that sort of mindset sounds exhausting to me. I would've needed the middle or long game, or else I'd be constantly relapsing.
  6. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    One day at a time until you wake up one morning and realize, you can't recall anymore when you contemplated watching porn the last time.
  7. Rebootian

    Rebootian New Member

  8. Rebootian

    Rebootian New Member

    Thanks to all for their comments and insight so far. Really interesting!
  9. realness

    realness Active Member

    I really appreciate this whole thread. Especially the perspective of @DoneAtLast . I'm right there making multiple attempts at a longer streak, still fooling myself with the lie that the pressure will grow. Thank you for your perspective and encouragement!
    Deleted User and Rebootian like this.
  10. badger

    badger Member

    one day at a time leaves the door open to relapse tomorrow. just my views. never -you close the door permanently. of course easier said than done.

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