Rapha's recovery thread

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Rapha, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Created a new journal to essentially reinvent myself as I enter a new phase of life. In about 90 days from now I will be turning 40 so I've opted to keep this journal here to keep track of my progression.

    I frittered away my late teens, twenties and thirties in a cycle of compulsive, shame fuelled sexual behaviour which has had a hugely detrimental impact on my life.

    It's truly frightening how quickly life passes us by. I'm determined to make the next decade the best experience I've ever had. This means actively working on improving in all areas of my life e.g. health, finances, body, spirituality, hobbies and relationships. This time I am doing it for myself. There's a powerful exercise on Recovery Nation where you're asked to find an photograph of yourself as a child and look into the eyes of your younger self in order to reconnect and feel compassion towards oneself. At that age I was innocent and free from addiction - and it's that child for who I am now reclaiming my own life by making better choices.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  2. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    This latest recovery attempt was prompted by a horrendous week long, obsessive fantasy-fuelled binge which turned out to be completely fake. I discovered that the person I'd been paying online wasn't the person behind the account they were pretending to own. So as well as being emotionally draining and financially damaging the fact I realised I'd been scammed was the final straw. I deserved it. A harsh wake up call and a sombre reminder about the futile nature of these hollow fantasies.

    I've always been drawn to secrecy and enjoyed the thrill of taking certain risks. And now that I work from home, I have more time than ever to myself. This time could be used in destructive manner or it could be a chance to completely turn my life around. The choice is mine. My wife cannot see what actions I take when she's not here, that's why I cannot do this for other people, the desire to change has to come from me.

    I feel pretty stressed right now. Once again, I'm toying with the notion of quitting smoking weed altogether. It feels like a daunting thought as it's something I've relied so heavily on for many years. Deep down I know that it's hampering my recovery massively. It makes information difficult to retain, dulls my senses, stops me from feeling uncomfortable emotions, masks my shame and basically limits my potential in so many ways.
     
  3. 100DaysMission

    100DaysMission Active Member

    Congrats on trying to make a change Sundance, I wish you all the best in your fight. It must be a bummer working from home and trying to stop, just more of a challenge I guess.

    I used to smoke weed. My first 100 day streak I did whilst still smoking, my second without. I'm not going to patronise you like a number of people do when discussing cannabis. Though I did benefit a whole lot more from my second streak. And I still don't smoke, even though I fell back into PMO.
     
  4. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Working from home isn't that bad actually. Yes, it means I spend more time in solitude and there's the opportunity to act out, but on the flip side it also gives me more time to invest in recovery. As for the smoking of weed, I don't mind if people here were to lecture me about it. Ultimately I'm here to get support and to learn from others so any input from fellow rebooters is welcome. I won't take any criticism of my approach personally, so feel free to offer advice, no matter how brutal.

    It's been 21 days since I started this reboot. On reflection, it's probably the longest streak I've ever done. I've never really made an effort to count days in the past but in these early stages I'm finding it's giving me the momentum I need. I'm also continuing to make daily video logs of myself which I find particularly useful. It hasn't all been plain sailing up until this point. On Saturday, I did look at porn quite a few times but didn't take it as far as a PMO session. It's obvious why the mini relapse occurred - I was hungover from a party the night before. Hangovers have always been problematic for me. This is definitely something to bear in mind for future. The solution is pretty straightforward, i.e. don't allow myself to get too intoxicated, otherwise I'll regret it, in more ways than one.

    Part of my recovery programme involves bringing attention to some areas of life that I'm deeply dissatisfied with. The aim is to see these 'failures' as OPPORTUNITIES, because failure = opportunity. That's the mindset I need from here on in.

    I hate my life because:

    I'm addicted to Internet porn
    I'm in a sexless marriage, I'm scared of sex / intimacy. I've suffered with PE & ED in the past.
    I've been working out for years but still only in reasonable shape
    Not earning enough money
    I'm addicted to smoking weed

    Opportunity list (converting above factors into opportunities)

    1) I've got an opportunity to feel incredibly proud of myself if I overcome this addiction
    2) I've got an opportunity to experience genuine intimacy and love and a healthy sex life with my beautiful wife. This would transform how I feel about life.
    3) I've an opportunity to transform my physique into something truly special. It would make me feel desirable and good about myself
    4) I've an opportunity to win new business to supplement my existing income which would allow me to buy things we need for the house
    5) I've an opportunity to be more sociable, funnier, have better skin, more energy, have a sharper mind, have better health and have more stable mood transitions
     
    Billy B. likes this.
  5. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Great post.

    Your story is my story. Other than the weed, I came to this site hating my life for the reasons that you hated yours.

    After years of relapsing and starting over, and hating myself more, I got smart and forgave myself. Sounds like you are close to self-forgiveness, working at seeing "failures as opportunities."

    Looking back over my life, as I now see it, the only failure that counts was the failure to be happy. Other stuff that I missed out on doesn't count.

    Being happy is just another skill, as I'm learning myself. It's something you have to learn.

    Another observation: life is strewn with traps for the unwary. Personally I'd put alcohol, drugs and porn together in this category, but I'd also recommend cold showers and push-ups as character building, so be wary of taking advice from me!

    It starts with forgiveness. Let the past go.
     
    Billy B. likes this.
  6. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    @Wabi-Sabi, thanks for your comments. You're absolutely right, I am a tiny step closer to self forgiveness and yes, learning to be happy is just another skill. I'm not quite there yet, but it's work in progress ;)

    I've woken up with a renewed sense of optimism today. The wonders of a good sleep. My wife looked beautiful as she lay there asleep in the morning sun. As I crept downstairs to make breakfast followed by this post it briefly dawned on me how many similar mornings I've wasted with my secretive, compulsive behaviour. But now that I'm leaving my porn addiction behind, I feel more at peace - it feels good not having to continually check certain sites to see if I have responses. Compulsive behaviour and the secrecy that goes along with it creates so much unnecessary stress.
     
    Billy B. likes this.
  7. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Today could well be something of a turning point. It's day 36 of this reboot and I've made the decision to quit smoking weed. Annoyingly, despite having written those words I'm not sure if I fully believe it, as my addict mind is trying to convince me that it's just a temporary break. As I'm getting older, my chest infections are becoming more frequent and I know that smoking is affecting my body on a cellular level and doing damage in more ways than one. At some point this has to come to an end. I simply cannot go on like this. To the outside observer I may seem like a reasonably healthy guy who has his shit together but the truth is I spend 30% of my day in a zonked out state. Bet I'm not much fun to be around when I'm like that. I'm already flooded with anxiety just at the prospect of going an evening without it. But after all, I've used it to mask my feelings for so long now. It's served a purpose of helping me avoid uncomfortable emotions and 'aided' my sleep when my mind has been plagued with worry. It's possible that it's helped me through the early stages of this reboot as it's acted like a substitute to PMO. I've justified more smoking to myself e.g. "if I can't have PMO, at least I can still have a smoke to look forward to...". I think it's also killing my libido too but during early recovery it's not something I've been too bothered about.

    It's not going to be easy since I've used this substance for 20 years. In the last few years my use spiralled as I've become a daily smoker. However, what better time to go through this withdrawal? I work from home, so even if I have a few sleepless nights, I'll deal with it.

    Anyway, instead of wallowing in self pity I need to see this as a positive. The sun is shining, summer is around the corner, this is an opportunity for improvement rather than a loss. Here are some of the benefits I stand to gain by being weed free.

    More sociable, better skin, more energy, I'll remember my dreams, more creative, funnier, I'm more likely to engage in hobbies and more likely to communicate with others, I can look people in the eye, my confidence will return, everyday tasks won't feel like such a mental challenge, my eyes won't feel so dry, my memory will improve, I'll procrastinate less, I'll eat more healthily, my productivity will dramatically improve, my mood transitions will be smoother, I'm more likely to look at alternative income streams.
     
  8. 100DaysMission

    100DaysMission Active Member

    Good luck Sundance.

    I remember quitting weed for the first time (I use very infrequently now, only a few times a year, it works well). The hardest thing is training yourself to sleep without smoking, I realised I had literally forgotten how to fall asleep. It was pretty frustrating and horrible to begin with.
    What I found helped the most was exercise...make sure you're body is tired when you go to bed, and it makes things a whole lot easier.

    Having not smoked at all for six months round about now (though I quit daily use a year ago), I can of course testify that you will most likely get all the positive outcomes you listed. And it does get easier. It's hard at the start, because you want to smoke, and you have to force yourself not to. But when the sleeping comes back, and you start to stabilise, the urge diminishes pretty quickly.

    I think with weed as well, it can get to a point where you can just smoke socially and infrequently, even if you've been a heavy user. Just get that period of abstinence behind you so you can see the benefits. And buy little bags, lol.

    Hope it goes well, I think you're making a great choice.
     
    Billy B. likes this.
  9. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Hi guys, well it's been a whole 20 days since I last posted here. I've kind of been avoiding this place because my life spiralled out of control recently. I relapsed to porn and took it really badly. It turned into a binge and it's still going on. It's costing me a lot of money. I also failed at quitting weed so it's a double whammy (a couple of days after deciding to quit a friend came round bought a bag with him - been smoking ever since). Really annoyed with myself over this. Things seemed to be going well and then I went and ruined it all.
     
  10. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Hi, Sundance. That's quite a list you have there. It's the kind of list addicts make. It's our own personal honey-do list and we all know what a drag those are. Make a different kind of list. Make a list that states all the good things we like about ourselves. I don't know you, but I'm quite sure you could put the following on your list.

    I care.
    I love my wife.
    I'm smart.
    I'm creative.
    I can be really funny sometimes.
    I think about my life and wish good things for my family and others.

    It's easy to point out all our short-comings, isn't it? We say things like: I suck, I'll never do this, I'm too old, it won't happen for me, I'm not lucky, I'm weak, I wish I had more discipline. Shit, what an exhausting list. No wonder so many of us lack energy. If someone physically beats you up you feel exhausted. But, here we are beating ourselves up every day mentally. In point of fact: we are abusing ourselves.

    Sundance, you are perfect as you are. Right now, at this very moment, you are worthy of love and praise. You don't need to be fitter, you don't need to quit smoking weed, or even looking at P, to be so worthy. This is something that most of us here lack...we don't like ourselves very much. Cut yourself some slack and allow that, right now, you are lovable and and a fine human. Tell yourself this. Don't look at your younger self, because imo that's shaming yourself. Look at yourself, even in your minds eye, and tell yourself that you are person of quality. Obviously your wife thinks so and so do all of us here.

    So, now you know that you are fine, and not deficient as a human being, now you step back from porn. No one here is judging you, we know your struggle. Because you are loved and worthy of praise you won't want to put smoke in your body. Hang out with people who won't bring a bag to your house. Inviting other addicts into your inner-sanctum is like lighting a match in a barn full of hay. Hang out with your wife more, take dance classes together, color in one of those funky coloring, books and tell yourself each and every day "this is the best day of my life and I am worthy of praise and love."
     
  11. NCBob

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

    Hey Sundance, just wanted to piggyback on what Saville posted.

    When we focus on what we think is wrong with ourselves, what we need to change, and what we're not doing well enough at, we reinforce the reality of these things in our minds.

    The truth is that all those things are just illusions of who we think we are, and not the real deal.

    Maybe it's just the way the human condition is programmed to be - and if so, it's totally out to lunch, and barking up the wrong tree.

    The truth of who we are rests in love - and only love.

    So when we spend time doing what we love, loving others, appreciating ourselves for our efforts and accomplishments, appreciating others for who they are, taking time to stop and smell the roses, etc., etc., we start barking up the right tree.

    This mindset is the anti-Christ of our addict brain - and our addict brain will fight it tooth and nail. The problem is that our addict brain has nothing to do with who we really are.

    Keep showing up and keep posting!
     
  12. 100DaysMission

    100DaysMission Active Member

    This is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. And it's true for you sundance, I second it. You are worthy.
     
  13. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    I'm feeling a little sorry for myself right now and guilty over this binge. To put it into perspective, I've engaged in activities where I've paid findommes to belittle and humiliate me. As well as being financially damaging it's emotionally destructive on some level too, e.g. being told "I'm a worthless loser" etc. Kind of hard to feel that I'm deserving of love after partaking in this kind of thing for so long.

    Anyway, cheers for the responses guys. It really does mean something to me. It's given me the impetus to get back on track. As difficult as recovery can be, it's a hundred times better than being stuck in a horrendous cycle of addiction. Time to pick up the pieces and get back on track. And yes, I'll try to keep on posting here through the good times and the bad.
     
  14. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    OMG, you're human and fell down. In the big, wide, world, a lot of people might judge you, but YBR is a safe haven for us all. No one is judging, no one is pointing a finger, no one is shaming. We are supporting you in your ups and your downs.

    Keep coming back here. This is your port in the storm. We're with you, we're a team. It's great that you came back and revealed your little slip. Today is a great day to get back on track.
     
  15. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Today marks day 4 being clean of both P and weed.

    I had previously fooled myself into believing that I could recover from P whilst still smoking weed on a daily basis. There were times when I felt the smoking helped me - it numbed my libido and also allowed me to believe I had an 'outlet' / a saviour (i.e if I can't get my kicks off P I can still get it through smoking). At times this strategy worked for me and I achieved reasonable spells of abstinence from P - but the flip side was that I generally felt groggy the next day and the increased amount of smoking was having other adverse affects, especially in terms of my inability to retain information, failure to follow through with tasks and my overall productivity.

    And recently things had got worse. A few weeks ago I introduced a an addictive stimulant into the mix and started bingeing on a combination of all three. Then, during one horrendous sleepless night, I decided enough was enough and deleted the numbers of dealers from my phone.

    Anyway, moving forward it's been a tough few days but I'm finally coming back to life.
     
  16. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    It's been bit of a rocky day. I really need to stay the fuck away from Twitter. That place is toxic for me and just far too triggering. Don't know how many times I've deactivated my accounts only to open them up again a few days later.

    Anyway, it's been another day off the weed. I'm still feeling a little clumsy and 'zombified' but on some level my mental alertness is slowly returning.

    One thing that has become apparent is that something is really missing from my life. And that thing is a sense of purpose / meaning. Why do I know this? Because all I can think about at the moment is when I can get high again. I contacted a few friends, not because I particularly want to be in their company but because I'm dreading the thought of spending a Friday night being totally sober. With them, I know I can get high. But what sort of life is this? I need goals and ambitions that have real substance and meaning instead if relying on artificial short term stimulation.
     
  17. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Thankfully I've managed to give up the weed habit. It's now been 10 days and the cravings have pretty much disappeared. I've gone from smoking 3-4 joints per day to not smoking at all. During this time I've have once used another recreational drug and alcohol on a couple of occasions but these were social circumstances with other people. With weed I became introverted and much preferred to be alone. I'm already feeling some of the benefits of being off the weed. For starters, my recovery has become more active. Although I have suffered one PMO relapse I've also invested some time in personal development and genuinely feel I've learned some things that will benefit me. I'm in the process of trying to instil some good habits and I also feel excited about some possible ideas I've had for a business opportunity. Another thing I've observed since stopping smoking is that I've started to feel a deeper level of care towards other people instead of being permanently wrapped up in my own problems. There's a hell of a long way to go but I do now feel that progress is being made in some areas of my life.
     
  18. Gabriel1960

    Gabriel1960 Self-Actualization Rocks!!!

    I found a lot of answers in YBOP. I try to read a couple of pages from it every day. I also frequently check out Nofap Emergency; generally, daily.

    Back in the 90's, it used be very difficult for me to chase after all of the self-destructive behaviors I was trying to abstain from: drinking, PMO, smoking, gambling, sugar, even shopping! (*Please surpress your laughter. It hurts my feelings.*) :) It was effortless for me to switch from one behavior to the other. At first, I was even chain-smoking cigars! :)
    Somehow it all eventually worked itself out.
     
  19. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    @Gabriel1960 Thanks, what you said makes sense. It's good to have some daily reading habits like you suggested, in order to keep the momentum going.

    I had another PMO relapse today which is why I'm now back in the 'guilt / 'recovery' phase of the addiction lifecycle and back on YBR. Had another few days of messing around on Twitter after I reactivated the accounts I'd previously closed. Over the last few years Twitter has become the go to place to get my kicks. It's live, 24/7, constantly updating, always original, has unlimited content, different girls to chat to it's an addict's paradise instantly gratifying. Every time I get a direct message and the envelope symbol turns blue I get a little dopamine rush. A thrill. And then another, and another after that.

    It has to end somewhere. Even since I closed my account again for the umpteenth time a few hours ago my mind has played all sorts of tricks to be back on there, e.g. "What f I solely had an account for this purpose or that purpose", always rationalising in some way. But I have to learn from my mistakes. I read in someone else's journal that he had to adopt the 'p0rn is not an option mentality'. I think I need to go down that route and do the same with Twitter and convince myself that it simply is no longer an option for me.

    In other news, some aspects of my life are seeing small improvements. My mental alertness is returning, I no longer feel 'zonked' every morning from smoking weed the night before. My physique and diet have been good for past couple of weeks. However I need to build some more good habits into my daily life and follow them CONSISTENTLY. This is critical.
     
  20. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Well aware I'm in that semi euphoric phase that comes with the promise of a fresh start.

    Crucially I have to learn from my past mistakes. I already know that triggers are biological and that they aren't going anywhere, at least not in the short term. Therefore the focus for now is how to handle them. Far too often the process has been on 'autopilot' something along the lines of:

    Trigger --> Thought --> Negative / unwanted action (i.e. logging onto Twitter and searching / chatting)

    I need to bring real awareness to this process and slow it down so I can CHOOSE the right action install of merely responding without thinking.

    Trigger --> Thought --> CHOICE i.e. make a conscious decision to do the right thing -- > correct action

    Whether I have to filter my thoughts through this process twice a day or a hundred times per day it HAS to happen. These little decisions are where the battle is won or lost. I have to keep on making the right choice to build momentum and build confidence in myself. I read that when you're thoughts and actions are inconsistent it's known as 'dissonance', e.g. if you want to do one thing but you end up doing another. The inner conflict it creates is hugely draining. That's why trigger management is so important right now. These tiny little decisions have been working against me, it's time to reverse that trend and make the right choices.
     

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