Rapha's recovery thread

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

  1. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    Wow, she sounds so HELPFUL with your memory problem...Repetition, right? LOL

    Totally your choice of course, don't want to layer extra anxiety on you. I see it though as making my own choice at a time when I am strong and locking it in so that this choice can remain effective even when I am not strong. I made a decision to get married. I made my own choice but then I locked it in and made it permanent with a wedding. Or more to this point, if I had a stash of physical porn magazines and wanted to give up porn, it would be a good idea to get rid of my collection, right? It wouldn't be more noble to hold on to that collection and then make a decision every day not to look at it. It's kinda like deciding to leave a rattlesnake in the closet but just not open the door. So I think what having filters does for me is it allows me to lock in my choice and not have to have supreme unshakeable willpower in any and all circumstances. I am finding it to be very freeing not to have that rattlesnake ready to jump out every time I peek in the closet...

    I am not trying to pressure you or fill you with guilt though. Do what is best for you. Maybe the decision I've made that works well for me would not be best for everyone or work for everyone. It is just another option in your toolbox to consider, in case you feel you need it.
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  2. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Despite the fact I've been journalling here on and off since 2015, I feel as if my commitment to this process is finally sincere. I'm at a stage where I'm attempting to address the root cause of my problems. With work being quiet I have a lot of free time to read, analyse, learn how to deal with uncomfortable emotions and work on changing ingrained habits.

    I am currently reading / watching all of the following. Online articles about addiction, Principles by R Dalio, Slight Edge, No More Mr Nice Guy, Recovery Nation workshop, Reboot Nation videos, reading YBR journals. However I recognise that I'm currently trying to seek information from too many sources. A snippet here, a snippet there, a few paragraphs from a book, some ideas from a video. The thing with this approach is that it's easy to get overwhelmed. A lack of information isn't the problem. So, in order to maintain some focus I will stick to just two sources for now.

    No More Mr Nice Guy - I'm roughly half way through this book and I am attempting to work through the exercises. The author states that rather than seeking external validation, it's better to seek approval from the only person that matters - yourself. Upon doing so, you will automatically build better connections and start to share intimacy with others. He also suggests you should start taking good care of yourself, whether it be taking better care of your teeth, buying new clothes, drinking more water. "Taking good care of the self is essential for changing one's beliefs about the self".

    Recovery Nation workshop - I've tried this multiple times before and found it intensive in terms of time and the amount of effort required. But it's also very insightful in parts and it offers the kind of structure I like. I won't allow myself to get too bogged down in the detail of every exercise, but I will use it as a solid platform for ongoing learning and development. I'll continue reading and working on these exercises over the coming months. Recovery Nation talks a lot about 'values', which the author states are the primary tools for maintaining fulfilment and satisfaction in life. Values are the foundation for stability in a person's life. Below I'm going to paste some text from the workshop which highlights that we need to make a shift towards decision making based on values.

    There are two types of emotions you need to be aware of in the addictive environment: value-based emotions and behavior-based emotions.

    Behavior-based emotions involve the emotions that are experienced as a result of triggering stimuli and the compulsive ritualistic behavior that follows. And so that we are clear, the "behavior" can be fantasy, masturbation, smoking, drinking, gambling, eating or any other action that has the ability to alter one's emotions. Such stimuli/behavior elicit immediate emotional reactions that can overwhelm a person's value system and, over a sustained period, progressively destroy those values altogether.

    Value-based emotions are considerably different. They are based not in the reaction to stimuli, but in the preparation for it. They are based in a foundational commitment to long-term growth and life management. They are based in having developed an open and honest line of communication with oneself.

    Think of value-based emotions as those feelings that are generated from a collective bundle of related thoughts that all have a central theme — like family, religion, health or education. Themes that are important to establishing your identity. Such emotions are often consistent and stable. Think of emotions produced through spontaneous reaction to stimuli as erratic and fleeting. When your actions are consistent with your established values, positive emotions are produced. When your actions conflict with these values, negative emotions are produced. When your actions are based on spontaneous reaction, instability and chaos results. The trick to managing the two in unison is to remember that behavior-based emotions can produce overwhelming changes in the here and now. Value-based emotions produce powerful, sustained emotions over time. There is a healthy time for both.

    @Squire Thanks for pulling me up about the web filter thing. What you have said makes sense. What's the name of the filter you've installed?
    Squire and dig deep like this.
  3. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    I'm also reading No More Mr. Nice Guy and am about halfway through it. Huge, transformative ideas. Super helpful book. It's catapulting me forward in accepting and valuing my own masculinity.

    Re: filters, on my computer I use Firefox and the free add-on Foxfilter. I also use K9. I added every browser except Firefox to the list of blocked sites. I used a site called Strong Random Password Generator to make a 16-digit password with lots of symbols and numbers and keep that password on a piece of paper at work. I put parental restrictions on my phone with a password as well and I use an app called Lion as my browser on that phone. It reports inappropriate web sites to an accountability partner--one of my coworkers--so it's a huge disincentive to use that browser for anything inappropriate. I have a separate computer at work that has full web access but I would never use it for porn because my workplace monitors things like that.

    In one way of looking at it, it seems like less freedom. But I want to be free from porn and this helps give me that freedom.
  4. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Discovered at an awards dinner last night that a few of my work clients have started using another supplier. The news hit me hard. It hurts and it's embarrassing. It also explains why I've been suffering financially for the last few months (they've been using someone else). I may be able to talk some of them round but perhaps I need to take this as a message and up my game. I was so wound up that I've been unable to sleep. I cannot stop thinking about it.

    Ordinarily this type of rejection would send me into a downward spiral but I'm doing my best to remain positive. I'll use it as a learning experience and I'm 100% not going to self medicate with stupid pornography. I refuse to violate my boundaries of self control and self respect. I'm making decisions based on my values rather than on my current emotional state.

    One thing I'm finding helpful at the moment is to integrate a daily bike ride with my recovery efforts. Whilst riding I will mentally process whatever it is I've learned that day. For instance, if I'm battling negative self talk I'll concentrate on this whilst cycling.
    Squire, Libertad and Saville like this.
  5. dig deep

    dig deep must stop wasting my life on porn

    I do this too,go out for a walk or bike ride it's like I'm my own counsellor discussing things in my head going through ideas, I find a good way to sort things out.
    Squire likes this.
  6. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Loving your energy and your wisdom. Keep on biking. :)
    Squire likes this.
  7. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Several years ago whilst away on vacation, my wife confessed that she resents me because "we can't have sex" (due to my ED/PE). Years later the situation is still the same, we haven't discussed it and haven't attempted to have sex. It's as if we have accepted this is just how it is. I mention this because it's a source of emotional discomfort to me and has been for some time. However, instead of continuing to hide away and self sabotage, I am now prepared to embrace the reality. I read somewhere that we have a choice between "healthy and painful truth" or "unhealthy but comfortable delusion". The irony is, if we chose healthy and painful truth, that pain can be turned into pleasure, i.e. painful problems can be viewed as potential improvements. One of the values I'm trying to instil is to 'improve my relationships' and part of that means establishing an intimate relationship. This 'goal' seems way off to me at the moment, I'm lacking self belief. However it's something I need to start thinking about as my recovery progresses.

    Although I'm not counting days I've had a good clean run and my self confidence is growing.

    I know it sounds like a cliche, but lately I do feel as if I'm able to make more eye contact whilst interacting with others (I have a tendency to blink a lot and often avoid eye contact)

    The last few days have been stressful. We've had family visiting which meant lots of noise, activity and interruptions to my routine. I'm also moderately stressed after finding out last week that some of my clients have left me and started using another supplier. My finances are suffering and my ego is still bruised. I'm angry at the clients who have abandoned me. They were unhappy with some of the work I produced but I wish they'd talked it through with me first. I can sit here and wallow in self pity but I know it won't get me anywhere. Rejection is one of the things I've been analysing recently and I'm trying to change the way I respond to it. Despite the disappointment, I'm trying not to take it personally and to avoid self inflicted negativity/thoughts from making matters worse ("I must be a loser" / "I'm useless" etc).

    Instead, I will try to learn from the mistakes I made and come back better and stronger. Hopefully one day I won't need those clients because I'll have more lucrative clients.

    But for now, I need to revive my self worth and do something good for myself. Remember what I wrote last week after reading No More Mr Nice Guy?

    "Taking good care of the self is essential for changing one's beliefs about the self".

    All those little acts of self care count for something, shaving, dressing well, wearing nice aftershaves, taking time out for myself, drinking water. And those daily bike rides in which I can reflect and process whatever it is I have learned that day.
  8. titan_transcendence

    titan_transcendence Well-Known Member

    I was 15 years in relationship with a woman with little or no passion at all. Last 5-6 years were completely without sex. During that time I begun to think that I was asexual or that P has fucked me so badly that I could be aroused only by it or certain fetishes.
    After the break up I found quite quickly new relationship and felt almost immediately huge sexual passion with this woman. Sadly the relationship collided because of different issues. Also, my ex started very sexual relationship after our break up and have said me that she has found her sexual identity once again.

    But my point is, that I think its almost impossible to initiate passion or sexual interest in your current relationship when still in it. Maybe it could happen if you guys would break up for awhile, or take some kind of pause in your relationship. In my experience, if you just continue together you both will miss the sexuality with other person the rest of your days.
    I dare even say, its not fault of your P use that you lack passion. Maybe you just do not have that kind of passionate energy between you two. You might be very good friends or share many mutual interests, but certain kind of sexual energy is just needed between the couple for sex to work.
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  9. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    I thought my relationship was pretty much sexually over too. It's one of the things that scared me into the reboot- i thought i'd lose her if things kept going the way they were. Since starting the reboot our sex life has restarted. It's not great yet, but getting better. Also to be completely selfish about it the sensation of sex is very different from pre-reboot days, A LOT better. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
    Saville likes this.
  10. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    I'm getting better at responding to triggers. Clearly there's still a long way to go but I'm starting to recognise when I'm 'in the zone' and am able to snap myself out of it. Why ruin my progress for a few minutes of excitement followed by days of misery?

    Recovery is such a personal, private act. Nobody can see our actions when we're alone. Nobody can know what we are feeling or thinking or how we play these internal mind games with ourselves. That's why it's crucial our motivation must stem from the fact we want to recover for ourselves. We can tell ourselves we want to recover for our wives/kids etc but ultimately you have to want to do it for yourself.

    I feel the same way. Online interactions with cam girls and watching fetish clips of them telling me I'm a worthless loser etc has further eroded my confidence and self belief. This kind of damage cannot be reversed overnight. Although, I want a speedy recovery, in reality it will take time to heal but I feel ready for the challenge. After all, my sexuality, a core part of my identity is at stake.

    Thanks, it's good to hear that. It doesn't matter that your sex life isn't great - at least you have one and the important thing is it's getting better :)
    And you're totally right, by pursuing a goal of re-establishing intimacy I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If I don't establish a sex life with my wife I do not think she will leave me. We are emotionally dependent, respectful of one another and pretty close. The only thing missing is the sex(!). I've never believed in myself or visualised myself as a sexual person. This mindset needs to change. I had a dream last night that I met a woman who seemed interested in me, it was an unusual sensation for me. It felt good to be desired.

    There are so many mental hurdles to overcome - as well as stopping PMO, dealing with rejection, challenging limiting beliefs, PE/ED, anxiety, raising self esteem, anger, fear of failure, it's overwhelming. I'm building up a reading list to address some of these issues. Despite the bad weather I'm continuing with the daily bike ride and using that time to process my thoughts. On today's ride I challenged the negative thoughts I hold about myself. I reminded myself I'm not a bad person and tried to think of the positive aspects of my character. If this is repeated over time, I will start to feel better about myself.
    Oneway, A New Man, dig deep and 2 others like this.
  11. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member


    Ditto with the bingo! :)

    Nor did I. I thought I was a low-libido person with probably low testosterone. Wrong! After giving up all my sexual proclivities I found that I liked sex and wanted it rather often. Like with A New Man I had zero sexual relations with the old girl. It takes a bit of courage, but sexual intimacy is wanted by both people at the end of the day. I would honestly bone every day if the wife was into it...which she's not. :( I'm almost 60 and my libido shows no sign of declining. If you'd told two years ago that I'd turn into a horn dog, I would have told you "you're nuts!"

    Wow, so much good going on in your journal, Rapha. I love how you're problem solving on your bike, while at the same time being a man of quiet action.
    Rapha and Libertad like this.
  12. Oneway

    Oneway Active Member

    That question summarizes it all.
  13. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    I tend to avoid contact with people from my past because I'm ashamed of the way (some aspects) of my life have turned out. However I realise now there's no point in trying to project the image of a perfect life. People will like me for who I am, and they will accept me despite my flaws. I have therefore decided to make contact with a couple of old school friends who I haven't seen in years. I've arranged to meet with them in a few months time, it will be good to reconnect.

    In a previous post I mentioned that I'm trying to shift from emotion based decision making to value based decision making. In other words, I will use a core set of values as a basis for decision making and as a source of fulfilment. This will be an evolving list of values, but for now they are:

    self control
    self respect
    improving relationships
    personal improvement/progression

    In order to strengthen these values I have to start taking more action. Thinking is important, but actually following through with action is far more important. After making this journal entry I will focus on getting things done for the rest of the day. In particular I'll be focusing on doing things I've been putting off. Making that phone call to chase up a client, starting my tax returns, returning things that I borrowed off others, filing paperwork etc.

    Still working my way through no more mr nice guy. While all of the concepts do not apply to me, some parts are relevant and useful. I will briefly summarise a few points below that will serve as a reminder of what I have learned so far.

    • The overall paradigm of "if I am good, I will be loved, get my needs met and have a problem free life" is not based in reality. Trying to appear needless and wantless prevents you from getting your needs met. It is healthy to have needs and mature people make getting there needs met a priority. Having needs is part of being human.
    • 'Nice guys' seek approval. I know I'm guilty of doing this and over the past few weeks I have become more aware and adjusted my behaviour accordingly.
    • Nice guys hide or distract attention from their perceived flaws - true for me in numerous ways. One example is that I would always wear a cap/hat when visiting the local supermarket, this was partly because I'd always done it but partly because I didn't want people to see my receding hairline(!). I've since stopped wearing the hat.
    • Care-taking - nice guys focus on other people's problems in order to feel valuable and also to avoid focusing on one's own problems or feelings
    • Taking good care of the self helps you approve of yourself. You start to think you must be worth something.
    • Putting your own needs first is important. This doesn't make you selfish. It actually increases the likelihood of you getting what you want/need, it helps you give to others without resentment/expectation, you become less needy and more attractive (i.e. helpless, whiny, needy men are not attractive).
    dig deep, Libertad and Saville like this.
  14. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Great post, Rapha.
    It gives hope that real Change is possible. I will read NMMNG again.
  15. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to like myself as I am. I had a fantasy built up about who I was, who I could be. I feel more content now that I am reasonably comfortable with where I'm at. I was good at thinking about the dreams I had, but useless at fulfilling any of those dreams. This created enormous conflict within, as well as unhappiness. For sure people can fuck off if they don't like us, but can we tell ourselves to fuck off? I know what you're saying, Rapha, I'm just riffing a bit philosophically, I guess. :)

    I love this. I was SUCH a procrastinator. I didn't do my taxes for three years, that is until the tax man came a calling. Yikes! Turned out I owed thousands of dollars, which I had to borrow from the bank; I'm still paying it off. PMO, being a Nice Guy, hating myself, all contributed to that state of affairs, which lead me to affairs. lol Now I have an accountant who I overpay but he makes sure I get my shit in on time.

    This is a big one.

    Been there, done that, ate the shit sandwich that came with it.

    Embracing this concept was a paradigm shift for me.

    I hope you don't mind me reiterating what you already wrote. I find it helps me to read and say these things again. Kind of like repeating a mantra. I help so that I am helped. :)

    You're dealing, Rapha!
    dig deep and Libertad like this.
  16. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Thanks for the replies guys, the interaction encourages me to keep going.

    Today has been one of the hardest days of this reboot. I've been feeling low, angry and anxious all day. I feel as if I haven't learned much and even my meditation was interrupted by a phone call. But nobody said this was going to be easy. There will be difficult days, it's all part of the process.

    Way before online journals were a thing, I used to write entries in a paper diary. There wasn't much space to write, but I did record my thoughts in a single book over a 5 year period between the ages of 17-22. On the one hand it's pretty amazing to have such an insight into my life and thought patterns at the time. Reading it brings back memories of people, places and times, some of which I had forgotten. But it also has a dark side. Loneliness, boredom, self loathing, feeling unnatractive, rejection and over reliance on fantasy are common themes. In the final year of the diary, I chronicled the early days of my Internet usage. The seeds of my PMO addiction were well and truly sown.

    I think it's time for me to get rid of that diary. I'm 70% to 30% in favour of destroying it. I don't know why I'm making such a song and dance about it. I'm annoyed at myself for being so sentimental. It needs to go. Maybe I'll find it cathartic. Like I'm letting go of my past.
  17. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    This time last year, I was a daily drug user. I've now been clean for 8 months and I'm confident that I'll never go back to habitual drug use.

    Now that I'm also quitting using porn I am left emotionally unprotected. I am still learning how to fill the void that porn and drugs have left behind. While slips and relapses will most likely occur along the way, I do not think I'll go back to relying on porn as the primary coping mechanism in my life. I will continue strengthen my values and get fulfilment from them. For example, by working on self control I will make healthier choices e.g. each time I make a choice that aligns with that value, I will feel rewarded and proud of my decision. This process requires repetition but it is starting to sink in.

    Overall, it's been another difficult few days. At times I've felt helpless, angry, confused and er, clumsy (work that one out). Bumped my head a couple of times. I've also made some really basic mistakes at work, and then ended up getting annoyed at myself for being so stupid. I recognise that I have a lot of self doubt. The fact that some work clients abandoned me, reinforced feelings of rejection and self doubt. I started thinking "maybe I'm no good at my job". I have also observed myself making self deprecating remarks throughout the day "I'm useless", "I'm an idiot" etc. The good thing is, at least I'm now aware and I can start to do something about it.

    I watched a video which states that the brain has the capacity to rewire through training (by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones), it requires practice and patience. Here are the tips to change negative self talk:

    Notice your body language. Are you grinding your teeth? Are you frowning? Are your muscles tensed? Relax your body and then calm your mind.
    Use affirmations. I'm doing these already whilst out on the daily bike rides but a new one which I liked from the video is "I forgive myself for past mistakes".
    Mindfulness. Be conscious of your thoughts. Witness them, give them names or physical appearances and say "no" before letting them go.
    Know your tiggers. Is a past situation? toxic people? What is triggering your negative thinking?
    Exercise. It releases endorphins.
    Self talk in the mirror.

    In my previous post I mentioned the fact I kept a personal paper diary for a 5 year period in my late teens / early twenties. I burned it today. It felt strange to erase 5 years of my life in the space of a few seconds, but I'm seeing it as a positive. There was a lot of emotional pain in that book and I'm now in a position to deal with it and move on.

    Attached Files:

    Saville likes this.
  18. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    It's been over 11 days since my last post. In that time I've had one nocturnal omission (wet dream) followed by a PMO relapse two days later. I've also had multiple boozy nights out, a few killer hangovers, have suffered an injury and been hospitalised. It's all upset my recovery routine. I've been trying to analyse my emotional patterns that led to the relapse and I think a few different factors came into play. There were multiple subtle things which contributed to it - firstly I heard through a friend that an acquaintance of ours got a big pay rise. I felt envious of that person's financial success. I should not really compare myself to others but it's natural to do so. Secondly, I texted a friend who I speak to a lot and although he'd read my message he didn't bother replying (rejection). Finally, I felt under stress about work, feeling that I had a lot to do while not being sufficiently rewarded for it. I'm analysing this so I can react better to these kind of challenges in future. The next 24 hours are crucial, I need to get back on track and not allow this to affect me any further.
  19. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    In my last post I realised I was getting down when comparing my career/finances to someone I know (the other person is younger than me yet they are achieving/earning more). Maybe I'm doing this comparison thing more than I initially thought. Another guy I know seems to have it all. Not only is he extremely competent at DIY / building things, he's also skilled when it comes to all things technology. The other day I showed him a basic card flourish that I spent a week learning. He picked up the pack of cards and performed the same flourish (and a better one) with ease. I thought to myself is there anything this guy can't do well? He's a great father to his kids too.

    In NMMNG the author states that "Nice guys tend to be disconnected from other men". I don't know if this really holds true for me. However, almost of all my interactions with other men revolve around alcohol.

    The author also states that:

    Nice Guys tend to be disconnected from their masculinity. He says masculinity empowers a man to create and produce + to provide and protect those who are important to him. These aspects of masculinity include strength, discipline, courage, passion, persistence and integrity. Masculine energy also represents the potential for aggressiveness, destructiveness and brutality (most nice guys repress the darker side of their masculine energy). As nice guys try to avoid the dark side of masculinity, they also repress many other aspects of this male energy force. As a result they lose their sexual assertiveness, competitiveness, creativity, ego, thirst for experience, exhibitionism and power.

    Reclaiming one's masculinity involves connecting with other men, getting strong, finding healthy role models.

    Some valid points above. The author states that some of those traits are good things that are worth keeping and that women are more attracted to men who have a strong life energy and a masculine edge to them.

    I am continuing to slowly work my way through the exercises in this book. Despite a slip a week ago, my determination is growing and I am no longer using P habitually as a mechanism to control my emotions. We've had a stream of visitors over the past 4 days which upset my routine but now they've gone I can get back to implementing my recovery plan - i.e daily reading, journalling, affirmations, meditation and taking positive actions.
    Squire, dig deep and Saville like this.
  20. dig deep

    dig deep must stop wasting my life on porn

    This is good ,your breaking the habit:)
    Squire likes this.

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