Rapha's recovery thread

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

  1. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    What's happening inside of home we can never know. Some people seem like they have it all going on. I know a couple of people like that and they've both privately confided to me how unhappy they are. Not saying your friend is, but it is easy to project things onto people. We all have our unique set of qualities. I remember the best math teacher I ever had in school was an English teacher. Because math wasn't his strong suit, he had empathy for people like me. He helped me learn where greater minds couldn't. Empathy would seem a better quality in this example than aptitude.

    Keep on trucking!
    Squire likes this.
  2. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Thanks, I think what feels different this time is that I'm giving myself time to heal and I'm not allowing slips to knock me off course. Every day, I'm reminding myself that I deserve love, respect and (self) forgiveness.

    Fair point - and you are right. While this guy seems to have it all on the surface, he has privately confessed certain weaknesses to me (debt, potential infidelity etc).

    I previously talked about the concept of 'values' . The values I'm currently trying to develop are self respect, self control, personal improvement, relationships & freedom. An intellectual understanding of these is one thing, but I need to put them into practice. I need to learn how to use these values/boundaries as a basis for decision making. This will, over time help me change my core identity and strengthening these values is my goal for the next few days.
    Squire and Saville like this.
  3. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Wow, yes, this is so important, Rapha. The dog of doubt and condemnation bite at our heels and sometimes calves, but we have the power to subdue them through daily forgiveness. Thanks for the reminder.
  4. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    My head feels like a jumbled mess at the moment so I'm coming here to write things down and process my thoughts. A few years ago I had a career that I despised. I hated my work colleagues, I hated the industry, I hated myself. So I left that place and I somehow managed to get a break and carved up a creative little job for myself in an entirely different industry. For the past 2.5 years I've been self employed which has it's pros and cons. The freedom and flexibility have been amazing but sometimes it feels as if I'm self unemployed. My finances have taken a major hit, some clients left me and I'm fearful that I'm not maximising my potential by continuing to do this work. At the moment I'm typically at home which means I have a hell of a lot of alone time. Of course, in the last couple of years I've done some fucking stupid things, wasted hours with my dick in my hand. But overall, I've had time to reflect, learn, improve and some aspects of my life have improved. I managed to give up a 20 year drug habit. I've also been able to invest more time into recovery and to develop some new interests. A few days ago I worked on my resume/CV and applied for some jobs. The 'rejection' letters have started to trickle through but thanks to the work I've done during recovery I'm in a better place to handle rejection than I've ever been. I'm no longer taking it personally, instead it's only going to make me more determined to succeed. I am slightly fearful about going back out into the big wide world (working from home has been so easy and comfortable). But it's early days, I am going to continue applying and see where it takes me.

    I deserve love, self respect and I forgive myself for past mistakes.
  5. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    Yes, @Rapha remember when you look at others you only see what they want to show you. When we compare with others, we're comparing their best parts to our worst parts. This is why social media generates depression, even when the posts are positive.

    I haven't had a lot of interaction with you and haven't read all your journal to get caught up on your story. So I will give you my first impressions as a "new" acquaintance.
    • When I clicked on some of the forums and saw, "oh, this is Rapha's journal" my first thought was "I like that guy, I wonder what he's up to."
    • Reading just what was on this page, I thought "that guy who stole Rapha's card flourish sounds like a douche but at least Rapha found someone with a similar interest."
    • "I'm glad he's reading NMMNG. I got a lot out of that book."
    • "I understand how having visitors can throw off the routine, but life always throws random stressors at us. He needs a recovery routine that stays solidly on track even (especially) when things get crazy around the house."
    • "He's focused on the important issues -- core values and self-respect -- not just trying to improve his sex life or some other short-term goal. That's how you recover. Really recover."
    • "Wow, he quit his job and went into business for himself. That's a bold move. I'm not sure I would have the courage to do that."
    • "Working from home is a recipe for disaster for a porn addict. I would not do well with that much unstructured time and access to internet."
    • "DUDE, HE GAVE UP A 20 YEAR DRUG HABIT! And just dropped that grenade casually into the conversation and moved on! Wait. how did he do that? How long has he been clean? What has he learned that could help me with PMO addiction?"
    • "Now he's applying for jobs again. Glad to hear that, it will give him more stress, but will probably make his recovery easier in a lot of ways. He's not too proud to change course when his first plan didn't work out the way he was expecting. He's flexible."
    • "It would be scary to apply for jobs again at my age. On the other hand, at my age I have a lot more confidence and experience than I did when I was younger. And that's something employers want."
    • "He got some rejection letters, yes, of course. He's doing it right, casting a wide net, there will be lots of rejections. But he's not letting it discourage him. But just a few days in. I hope he will make it a habit to apply for things every day like it was part of his job."
    • "I hope he will keep posting, this is an interesting story. And he has some qualities I would like to develop."
    So there you go. You transparently put out some positive and negative feelings you're having, and this was my reaction as a stranger to what you said. Thanks for giving me a window on your life. I like you.
    A New Man, Libertad and Saville like this.
  6. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Wow, @Squire thanks for that post. It's always good to get an 'outside' perspective.

    I know what you mean about working from home being a recipe for disaster for a porn addict. All that unstructured alone time. However, even when I was working in an office with others I found time to act out in sexually compulsive ways. You see, things like tube sites and porn videos have never been the main attraction for me. Sure, I've watched more than my fair share, but my main thing was interacting with and paying adult models/fetish girls to chat online. The addict mind finds creative ways to do what it wants. And as long as you're paying these girls, it can be done pretty much anywhere, at home, the office, on the train etc. For me, it didn't have to be an endless stream of pictures and videos on a computer, it could just be secret chats and acts of self degradation. Worryingly, I became addicted to paying for that crap. Anyway, more than a change of location, I needed a change in mindset, which brings me onto the second point.

    I smoked weed for 20 years before giving up in September 2017 (I'm 8 or 9 months clean). How did I give up? I got to a point where the benefits of smoking pot were outweighed by the disadvantages. I made a list of pros & cons of continuing versus quitting. The weed smoking did serve a purpose (it helped me avoid/manage emotions). The point is, PMO has also served a (functional) purpose in a similar way, i.e. I've used porn to deal with uncomfortable emotions and general dissatisfaction with life. Now that I'm learning about values and emotional management I hope I that will become my primary emotional management strategy. Sorry this was a hurried post, I have to head out. Have a great weekend everyone.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
    Squire, Saville and dig deep like this.
  7. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Wrote a long post but lost the content as this forum failed to save my draft (again).

    Been a disappointing few days on the whole. I relapsed. However, the important thing is that I need to learn from this mistake. The situation that led up to it was a series of disagreements and a general lack of closeness to my wife. It hurts to say it, but I do not think we're the right fit for each other, we are different in so many ways. We have very little to say to one another. She's such a negative and antisocial person. She likes nothing more than to sit in her gown watching shitty American TV shows while popping painkillers. TBH she was troubled before I met her. However I do sometimes worry that our marriage has deteriorated her emotional state. She probably envisaged a life of excitement, romance and passion. What she got is an insecure, needy man who can't get it up.

    Sorry for the 'pity party', I'm frustrated and angry with myself. But what's done is done, now I've written about it I will no longer dwell on it.
  8. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Good for you that you recognized the pity party...this is huge! I believed that I had wrecked my marriage because I didn't achieve greatness and then fucked around on her. Wrong! I didn't have a clue how to be a husband and she didn't have a clue how to be a wife. I dropped the guilt because it was killing me, sucking me down.

    Er, wrong! You know yourself that the above is just an excuse, one you've made before. No, it's not easy, nothing about this is easy. However, we decide how we're going to behave, not our wives, our parents, or anyone else. You've made some good strides, Rapha. Now, drop your feelings of shame and really turn your life around.
    Rapha likes this.
  9. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    For a few weeks I started writing at the bottom of each of my posts something I like about my wife. I guess some people thought it was corny or I was brainwashing myself or taking an overly-positive view of her. Actually, I had been negative about her so long I needed in a disciplined and structured way to look for what was good in her. And after a while I really did start to remember why I married her and started to feel like, even though she is a difficult person in many ways, she is my difficult person. I chose her and I'll work with what we've got, and in fact her bad stuff is not as bad as my bad stuff. It's just different bad stuff.

    I'm glad you are thinking about your relationship with your wife, not just obsessing over a relapse. The relapse is a symptom. Forget it. Keep on looking at the root causes, as you are. This is really important. But also important to do something about it.

    My suggestion is to sit with her while she watches those shitty American TV shows and start talking to her about what's happening in those shows. The shows themselves are a waste of time. Spending time bonding with your wife is not. Start with what she is already doing, start bonding with her and grow from there.
    dig deep likes this.
  10. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Just to be clear, I'm not blaming anyone but myself for what happened. You're right, it was an excuse. I used the disagreements with her and the general dissatisfaction of our relationship as justification to act out. Basically, I was too emotionally immature to handle the situation. I mentioned the specific set of circumstances that led up to the relapse so I can be more watchful of myself in future.

    Ha, I can tolerate Big Bang but I draw the line at Raymond. But the point you make is a good one. It's not about the show, it's about spending time together and making an effort to communicate. What you suggested seems obvious, but had you not brought it to my attention, I wouldn't have done anything about it. So I thank you for your input, it's sound advice. I did say that one of the values I'm trying to strengthen is 'relationships' and that sounds like a good start.
    Saville and dig deep like this.
  11. Squire

    Squire Well-Known Member

    Awesome, yeah so if it helps imagine yourself as an anthropologist studying your wife, her customs and culture. What sorts of things does she like and why does she like them? How can you bridge the gap to communicate with that culture?
    dig deep likes this.
  12. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    She's also filling the void. Popping pain killers sounds a little ominous.

    Sounds good!
  13. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Quite some time ago when things seemed to be going well I wrote in my journal I didn't think I'd ever go back to relying on sexually compulsive behaviour as an emotional coping strategy. How wrong I was. The last 4-5 weeks I've been acting out, back to my old ways, paying girls for online services. It's cost me financially as well as emotionally.

    It's been exhausting, the amount of time I've devoted it to it is crazy. Now sexually sated after an earlier O, I am crawling back towards my recovery efforts to start again.
  14. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    It's not the getting knocked down its the getting back up. Proud of you sir
  15. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    I've been up to my old tricks and have been stupidly paying girls online. Same old story, I've been doing it to avoid dealing with uncomfortable emotions/fears and to fill the void of boredom. I've willingly buried my head in the sand.

    Being a porn junkie again has been draining. It could be my imagination but these last few weeks seem to have noticeably aged me. Lines have become more pronounced on my forehead, my hair looks greyer and there's less of it! I know it sounds stupid but I've been too ashamed to come here and journal.

    Thanks @Boxer17 you're right, it's our ability to get back up and fight that matters. It almost feels like I have to go back to basics and relearn the fundamentals. I'm going to try to return to daily journalling in order to build momentum. A few months ago things felt like they were going well, I need to get back to that place and beyond.
    Boxer17 likes this.
  16. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Well-Known Member

    You MUST not give up. Things build and slowly get better. At first it seems it's not working but it is you must believe.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
    Boxer17 likes this.
  17. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Yes @Bobo belief is a critical ingredient. You're right about that. We have to believe that we can change.

    I'm finally out of the pit of misery and the last few days have been better. I've been reading a book that a few other people have mentioned on here called the Power of Habit. Still working my way through it but I think it could come useful in increasing my awareness of triggers and learning to interrupt the pattern to make healthier choices. I've realised a lot of what I do is on autopilot mode. Whenever I'm a little bored and craving some kind of stimulation I fire up a browser and navigate to Twitter, this habit is so ingrained it almost feels like an automatic process. Currently trying to come up with some replacement habits that don't involve sitting idly in front of a computer.

    On a more positive note my gym workouts have been great lately and I'm making gains. I'm also cooking more lately.
    Libertad and Boxer17 like this.
  18. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    The last 9 days have been much better. While I have still engaged in certain compulsive behaviour, there has been a vast improvement overall. I've added a couple of small acts of self care into my daily routine and done them consistently. The same goes for my exercise and diet, consistency has been a key factor. As a result, I'm starting to feel better about myself. By doing something positive, repeatedly I am learning self discipline and experiencing progress. One area I'm lacking in is belief and spirituality. I've never been a religious person but I think some form of spirituality is an essential part of recovery. Therefore I have slowly started to introduce some guided meditation into my life - it hasn't become a daily practice yet but I'm working towards it. I'm using a guided meditation by Deepak Chopra called 'the soul of healing meditations'. Meditation is a difficult skill to master, the benefits of it aren't always immediately obvious but this time I'm determined to persist and will make it a part of my life.
    Libertad and A New Man like this.
  19. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Almost a month since I last posted here. I'd love to say things have been going well, but in truth I relapsed in a big way and beat myself up about it. I have family and friends that love me dearly yet I feel so alone in this personal struggle.

    Feel as if I've been going round in a recovery-relapse loop for a while, which is very frustrating. However, all I can do is try to see these failures as opportunities. Opportunities to learn, to grow and improve. Part of the the problem is, I have an abundance of time on my hands (a lot of alone time) but I'm using that time and (my sexual energy) in a inefficient way. I think I need to experiment with some new reward systems. Presently, whenever I've bored or at a loose end I fire up a browser and launch Twitter for an instant hit of gratification. I'm doing it to relive boredom and partly to interact/communicate. I need to experiment with some alternative behaviours that will provide a similar level of stimulation - but preferably something that doesn't involve me being online. TBH, in my recovery attempts I've never really limited my own Internet access. Perhaps this is something I need to consider. On a more positive note I'm still exercising well and eating healthier.
  20. Rapha

    Rapha Active Member

    Watched a programme about young women affected by anorexia, it was one of the most upsetting things I've ever seen. Despite the hugely negative consequences to their bodies they still desperately cling onto this destructive behaviour. It often stems from intense feelings of worthlessness, powerlessness, a desire to have control over something, a fear of growing up and facing the real world. They use the sensation of starving themselves to numb the pain of real life. Can anyone see the comparison I'm making here? How our addictions can be our own little world, our 'friend' and how it helps us keep real life at arm's length. On some level I cling onto my own destructive behaviours, they have become emotional management strategies, albeit unhealthy ones. I recognise it's time for me to give up these patterns I've relied on for so long, I must remain emotionally unprotected, out of my comfort zone and work on overcoming my fears.
    Libertad and A New Man like this.

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