Rat in the attic

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by A New Man, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    I turned 40 in March and figure it's past time i took my place among the venerable grey-beards.

    My back story is very similar to many here. I've relapsed two times and am currently sitting on day 424 of my third stretch. Nevertheless i came very close to relapsing last night and am currently sailing in very dangerous territory. Coming here and starting a new journal is how i'm dealing with the immediate fallout of this near-miss.

    Usually I'm OK day to day, but if there's an "event", an out of the ordinary stressor, it puts me right back in the danger zone. The immediate cause of this recent episode was a confession I made to an old mate of mine about my porn addiction and reboot (in an email, not face to face). He is the first person in the real world I have told about it and i did so because he and his partner have done several rounds of IVF without success and i wanted him to know in case he also has a problem with this (The number of couples in my social circle who are having difficulty conceiving is kind of ridiculous and doctors always seem to focus on the woman's role and not so much on the sexual habits of male partners). Anyway...he didn't reply for several days, probably because there was a lot to process in my email, not least of which my insinuation that he does something that carries a heavy stigma (for all our talk on here of it being widely assumed that all guys do it, it's still taboo to admit it). His silence was driving me crazy- i even tried starting meditation again to deal with the stress- i spent 5 minutes belching up pockets of stale gas- not sure how much it helped.

    Then yesterday i came down with a cold. I got up at 3am to sleep on the sofa to avoid waking my wife with all my coughing and ended up fantasizing and edging for 2 hours or so. The thing i miss most about my habit is not the porn itself but the porn-like scenarios i used to concoct in my imagination and that is what i spent my time doing last night.

    A couple of observations about last night- either my dick has physically changed since quitting or it has a significant curve to the left that i never noticed before (huh?). Secondly, when i got up this morning i felt real excitement for continuing the relapse, like i'd pulled out the stopper, there was also a feeling of freedom, like the first day of a holiday. Fortunately my mate had replied to my email overnight and thanked me for my advice, which seems to have taken the wind out of the sails of my relapse. He said he had faced similar issues but was not in a situation atm where he could access porn and was taking other measures to ensure a healthy sperm count.

    So that's how things stand atm. It's sobering to think how close i came to breaking my run last night and all over a silly email. The longer i go the more i realize how deep and insidious the addiction is. I have to reconcile myself to the fact that it's not going away any time soon and in order to stay clean i need to keep learning and adapting. Specifically this episode taught me i need to-
    a) never tell people stuff over email if I can't handle waiting for a reply
    b) have more faith in people
    c) toughen the fuck up (develop greater emotional resilience)
    d) never get up in the night for any reason (other than to take a piss or if the house is burning down)
    e) double (quadruple) my guard when sick

    It was a convergence of factors yesterday, but i'm not new to this and i should have known better.

    I know many of you from the other parts of the forum. Thanks for your support so far. Any pointers on consolidating a long term reboot will be most welcome and very timely right now. Hope i can be of some use around here as well.

    Cheers, ANM
     
  2. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Today's going a lot better.

    The lowest point yesterday came when i used google images to search for parody porn. I made two searches but closed the browser after 10 seconds. Seeing the porn freaked me out more than turned me on. Later i wondered how the fuck i had even managed to get that far- then i remembered i uninstalled K9 2 months ago for work. So that's reinstalled. Back to basics for me now, keeping busy, ignoring fantasy. I've added a second counter to keep me honest.
     
  3. Caoimhín

    Caoimhín Winter's coming...

    Welcome to the Forties!

    One thing you should add to your list of conclusions is:

    NEVER EVER ASSUME you know what other people are thinking. Like many people, I wrack my brain with worry over what others think of me and often it could not be further from the truth.

    It really does seem that after orgasm there is an effect for a couple of days, call it chaser if you will, where you libido is up and you just want to do it again. Well perhaps the same thing goes on just from edging and fantasising. I don't know much about the hormonal response of orgasm: does it happen only afterwards or is it something that kicks in the moment you put the car in gear?

    Watch out for the next couple of days!
     
  4. Newt

    Newt New Member

    Great to have you here telling your story which is so familiar to many of us. Try to identify those alternatives to porn when you are stressful and make them a go to. Just try to burn into your mind that no real satisfaction comes from PMO and that it's a phantom form of relief. Think of how you feel when you give in and the victorious feeling that comes with avoiding temptation. I understand that desire to hunt certain scenarios, I have that to. And it's often what drives the search more than just being horny or something. Maybe you can find an alternative "hunt" in other areas of interest?

    Hang in there man, well get over this thing together!
     
  5. DiggerG

    DiggerG New Member

    You have put together an admirably long stretch of non-PMO. You really don't want to jeopardize that. Remember, the slip usually happens well before the actual slip. You may just be bored with life. After this long of a successful stretch, life should be pretty normal. You mention a wife; is everything ok between you? I am a recovering addict and have AA meetings to go to to and a sponsor talk out issues like you are having. I don't know of any "PA" meetings, but there may be some. Let's google and see. A lot of shotgun thoughts here, but my best advice is hit these forums hard. They are a way to talk out our problems. Very helpful

    Good Luck,
     
  6. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    I might not have O-ed the other day but the prolonged dopamine spike had a definite effect. i felt dead inside for a couple of days afterwards, like the fire had gone out. I'm pissed about it, but at least now i have something (a recent memory) to compare Fap and NoFap states of mind. Also i've been very emotional- crying at the drop of a hat and then laughing till i cry- and last night I had porn dreams for the first time in many months. There is definite connection between fantasy and porn in my brain. One leads to the other almost immediately, within 24 hours if i am not very careful.

    My second relapse started with fantasizing at 4am in the morning. This near-relapse also started with fantasy at 3am. That's a real danger zone for me, when the conscious mind is not on guard.

    Curiously my wife had a portentous dream 2 nights ago. She dreamt i was swallowed by a giant snake- the snake was very slowly moving through our house and everyone was able to get out of its way very easily, yet somehow i ended up being caught in its jaws. We haven't discussed my addiction and reboot but this shows me she is aware of the struggle at least on a subconscious level. It proves to me we share a deep connection.

    My reaction to my mate's silence shows me my confidence is still contingent on the good opinion of others, especially those who mean a lot to me. You're very right, i can't know what people think of me, and even if they do dislike me or think less of me... why do i let it bother me? One of the great things about the reboot is making peace with yourself and being able to look the world in the eye again. Who cares what other people think, i know i'm doing my best.

    I somehow lost sight of that 4 days ago. I think it was because my usual strategies for maintaining equilibrium (working hard, watching docos and movies, coming here) were just not cutting it. I need to build in other strategies- people swear by meditation- that could be a more powerful way of maintaining balance, but i need to practice.

    I think you're onto something here. I'm coming to the end of a uni break, so there's not been much structure to my days lately. Also the relationship side of things is not something i have discussed much on the forum- my approach has been to fix myself and let the intimacy return to the relationship as my ED improves. That might not be enough though. We probably have sex once every 6 weeks or so at the moment. My natural libido is still recovering, but I am usually good to go 7-10 days after sex. Usually my wife is not interested until 20-30 days later, by which time i've gone into a mini flatline. By the time we finally get a chance (we have little kids and are pretty exhausted a lot of the time) i'm usually gagging for it. I dunno, i think if i could get sex every 10 days or so i'd be a happy man and not in as much danger of relapse. I'm going to suggest we have a date night every 2 weeks with special food and movie and hopefully something after.

    Thanks for your comments guys. Replying to you got me thinking more about what happened.
     
  7. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Recently I have been away from the board because of work commitments. I have been so busy i barely had time to sleep, let alone fap or worry about fapping. I don't really have much to say about the addiction at the moment- it seems remote from me right now and i don't want to dwell on it too much just because i might have passed a threshold and don't want to imagine my way back there.

    Some reflections on the last month-
    1. The new career i have chosen is very demanding and I now appreciate the value of time. I think i forgot or perhaps never knew how much was possible in a day. I used to worry about the time i had lost to fapping, but now i realize i can actually make up for it by simply doing/living more everyday.
    2. Youthfulness has nothing to do with age. It's all about attitude and keeping your sense of humour.
    3. Over the last 5 weeks I lost 5kg. Simply being up and moving all day made the difference. A lot of my aches and pains have disappeared since I stopped fapping and started moving around more.

    I decided to change careers at the end of 2012 within days of stopping fapping. I don't know whether it was a coincidence or not. Anyway I am now walking a very different road than I was 18 months ago and I am moving further and further away from the old road. I don't know where i'm going anymore. Before I gave up I always knew I was always going to end up using porn until the day I died.
     
  8. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    Glad to hear you're on a good path and doing well - really.

    The positve things you experienced prove that the choice you made 2 years ago was right.
    What you say about how much is possible within one day rings true to me. I was always astounded at what I was able to accomplish within a few days when I felt some level of pressure.
    If it's just up to me I usually end up being not that productive.
    What you said inspires me to think in terms of "driving" things and projects again instead of just "doing" them.

    I like what you say about youthfulness and I agree. I know quite a few older people who are just so vital and alive because of their general outlook and attitude.

    Also congrats on getting in better shape - I hope you'll keep walking that wholesome path you're on right now, and that it will lead you further and further away from the path we all have been walking on, until you completely forgot where it was - if you haven't already.

    take care,
     
  9. Sidd

    Sidd Guest

    Welcome and congratulations on how much you have already achieved. Also glad that you are doing better and have got over the recent bump in the road. I understand what you mean about emotional resilience. For me there is a sort of fear of other people being upset with me and a need to make sure that I please them and am liked. It is a childish reaction and plays right into the mentality of PMO use as a comfort when anxiety about other peoples opinions/ judgements comes calling. I am sure that you will have learnt some valuable lessons from this. Good luck and keep going.
     
  10. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Yesterday I relapsed to PMO after about 18 months clean. The last couple of months have been tough with lots of changes and stress- my new work situation involved a new boss who doesn't particularly like me or appreciate my work and i let things get to me. The good opinion of others matters to me, even if the opinion of flawed and unreasonable people- it's messed up- why the fuck should i care what a stranger thinks, especially an unpleasant one?

    Now i'm back at home and dealing with my kids 24/7 and its another set of stresses..

    <Triggers>
    The relapse was weird. I was not even that excited or experiencing strong urges- i just did not give a shit and thought why the fuck not? Also my wife is sick atm (nothing serious, just heavy cold) and sex is not on the horizon for the next week at least. When looking at the porn it wasn't that exciting but i kept on looking and i guess trying to recapture that old high but i wasn't able to enjoy it. I looked for my old favourite stuff and it was a mild turn-on but nothing like the rush i used to get from it (which is good i guess). Eventually i found something that did it for me and I O-ed very fast. The whole thing lasted about half an hour. Afterwards i felt empty and wondered why i even bothered.

    </Triggers>

    It's a worry that i relapsed after so long, but i realized from it that porn and PMO are not actually that exciting or interesting to me anymore. It sounds a bit like wishful thinking i know but i think my brain has actually changed quite a bit over the last 2 years and NoFap is my default mode now. We'll see over the next few days/weeks I guess.

    I'm re-evaluating my approach. I can do long stretches of abstinence but my foundation is obviously not good/still weak. I'm considering telling my wife at last- i've relapsed 3 times over 2 years and while the stretches are getting longer and longer if i'm honest i probably will return to porn at some point in the future unless i change something fundamental about my approach or attitude.

    It's a pretty shallow diary entry for something so serious but that's all Ive got to say about it for now.

    You only fail if you give up.
     
    MissingSelfCompassion likes this.
  11. newperson

    newperson Member

    Hi A new man,
    Relapsing 3 times in 2 years is close to nothing. If you didn't enjoy it, as you said, perhaps it means you're cured and your brain now is more used to no PMO.
     
  12. Nofapado

    Nofapado Guest

    ANM you have made amazing progress. It happens. It's part of recovery. What's done is done. Move on. There is something below the surface that PMO is covering. Your relapse awakens you to the deep work that needs to be done.
     
  13. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    The porn was nothing special the other day but then nothing is really interesting me at the moment- i think perhaps the reason for this is i'm still coming down after a really intense few weeks of work where i was living on adrenalin and my wits and now i've got a stretch of normality ahead of me which is causing a sense of malaise.

    Yesterday i was getting what i call blank urges. In the past my mind would have been filling with porn imagery and fantasy at this point but try as i might yesterday i was just getting static like there's nothing playing on the porn channel any more. I feel like i would really have to make an effort atm to get back into PMO again, and as i said i don't really give a shit and can't be bothered.

    Since relapsing i'm noticing women more on the street. I think the PMO session must have knocked my libido out of its dormant state- i spent months and months training myself not to look at any stimuli and my brain has finally woken up to the fact that there are women around me again. It's a pleasant feeling but also a danger zone. I need to learn to deal with libido in the healthy way without acting out. I think this means learning to appreciate the company of women and feeling horny without allowing the feelings to morph into fantasy and porn. Key here will be living in the present moment, enjoying female company when in their presence but not carrying around the images or dwelling on them later.

    I dunno. I can do hard monk mode and have gone for months and months without PMO, MO or even sex, but the fact that i relapsed after such a long dry period tells me i need to learn to live with my libido rather than deny it.

    Rewiring has got to be the answer. I've avoided the topic of rewiring in my journal for way too long- i guess it's easier to focus on what i'm doing or not doing rather than putting myself out there for potential rejection and more episodes of ED. I think my journal has to become about my relationship with my wife now rather than quitting porn which i think i have basically done, despite my slip up the other day. I need to start putting effort into rebuilding our intimacy again and thinking up ways of seducing her. Alright then. That's the commitment i'm making today. I'm going to try something every week to get her in the sack. This week i'll organize a date night with all the trappings from when we first started dating- the foods and games we used to play. Hopefully that will wake something up inside both of us.
     
    MissingSelfCompassion likes this.
  14. Nofapado

    Nofapado Guest

    Yes that sounds like the way to go. Rekindling a sexual relationship with your wife is the positive and health step to take at this point in your recovery
     
  15. Calm

    Calm Guest

    Exactly! Your Libido is normal, it's the Porn that isn't!
     
  16. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    OK, time to get serious again.

    Had sex on Saturday morning, erection quality was fine but sensitivity was reduced even after one quick PMO session last week.

    Then yesterday I looked at P again for about 10 minutes. I was dealing (badly) with the double chaser from the PMO session and the sex that followed. The porn wasn't that arousing, but my brain was beginning to get that old buzz back again.

    I need to acknowledge that PMO is more exciting than real life and will suck me in again if i'm not very VERY careful.

    I know where it leads- it leads to watching porn while my kids are in the same room as me (when they are playing on the other side of the room but still, there is risk they will sneak up on me and see what i'm looking at), watching porn with my SO in the same room, working quietly on her computer, staying up late to watch porn and getting up very early in the morning to watch more porn and being tired and grumpy all day with my kids (a feeling which can be fixed by.. you guessed it, watching more porn).

    And of course there's the ED. I'm finally getting proper wood after years of semis and i clearly don't appreciate it/have already forgotten the angst of failing repeatedly in the sack.

    And that's just the stuff I am conscious of.

    I know it's not recommended to wallow in self-pity and beat yourself up too much after a relapse, but seriously, how fucking dumb am i forgetting everything i have supposedly learned this deep into the reboot? I think the timeframes involved are just so long that there is real risk of forgetting the pain that brought us here in the first place- i managed to forget the porn images but then i forgot the other stuff too.

    So it's back to basics for me.
    1) Block all images online (my eye has been lingering on triggers without me even realizing it)
    2) No perving at women in public even for a moment
    3) No fantasy
    4) Restarting log of urges/mood/caffeine/alcohol/exercise/meditation etc.
    5) Devising romantic situations with my wife. It's tough because we're always so tired with the kids taking up so much time/energy, but it's so important- i feel it is the best route to recovery.

    <Trigger>
    One observation about my recent relapse- i can't believe how much she-male stuff is out there now and the prominent place it's given on the front pages of mainstream streaming sites. i was just looking for my standard vanilla hetero stuff and she-male stuff was bloody everywhere. No wonder dudes are getting hooked on that shit- if you're looking to get off and clicking on the first thing that pops up you're going to quickly build tolerance and then a taste for it. Porn is a pit and it's only getting deeper and darker.
    </Trigger>
     
  17. Caoimhín

    Caoimhín Winter's coming...

    Maybe it was just a random choice of words or maybe a Freudian slip but I think that the idea that PMO is more exiting is a real eye-opener for us all... but we must reveal it as a lie. Our bodies / minds feel that it is more exciting because of the dopamine rush but that is the illusion of sex in the cyber-world. Consciously remind yourself that PMO is an illusion and a replacement for the real world. Real sex with a partner is more exciting in that it engages your body, mind, spirit.

    When we uncover and shine the light of day onto the lies that PMO has bread within us, we have a tool for dealing with it.
     
    MissingSelfCompassion likes this.
  18. Bodhissatva

    Bodhissatva New Member

    Hi ANM,

    I so can relate to your story (not the 2 years streak, just the relapse and the wife part). I have begun, reconnecting to my wife as well. This was 2 weeks ago, and it was way to early for me in the reboot, so it led me back to the pit. But I know the method was sound, so I wanted to share it, just in case it might be useful for you.

    I understand the "being too tired for sex" part so, so well. I have 2 kids, and no one ever tells you what it will do to the couple when you start that adventure. The bottom line is, I convinced my wife we needed to re-kindle the passion, and what I suggested was to set specific date nights, but in order to keep some spontaneity, we agreed to "surprise" each other every time.

    The first night, I was the one in charge of the surprise, and the next time we scheduled, she was in charge of it, and so forth. The surprise were simple: the first time, I brought 2 candles, half a bottle of champagne, strawberries and chocolate fondue. The next time, she brought the same candles, but with massage oil.

    This, interestingly, fired dopamine for me, but the right way, towards the right kind of reward. Obviously, this is just the start and I still have a long way to go to recovery and reconnecting fully with my wife, but it was a good start ...

    Take care, ANM!

    Bodhi
     
  19. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    You're right. I was going to delete that line before posting but then left it in because it was how i was feeling yesterday. In the early days i kept a log of mood. PMO used to make me feel 8/10 but then my mood would crash to 5/10. Gradually my baseline mood crept up so that by June this year i was feeling 7/10 most days. The high you get from PMO can't really be compared to the happiness you feel after months and months clean. One is escaping pain (and illusory/emotionally deadening), the other is a positive emotion.

    Cheers for the share Bodhi. Learning to channel libido in healthy directions is a real challenge for me right now. The chaser is deadly too, especially when we haven't had sex/O-ed in weeks and the body thinks the drought has finally broken. Part of the issue is synching our libidos- i'd be ok with sex every 7-10 days but my wife seems to want it even less frequently than that (for which years of neglect on my part is no doubt the cause)- maybe 14 days would be a good starting point and hopefully she will begin to desire it more often in time. If we wait longer than 2 weeks i enter a sort of flatline.

    Last night we watched a movie together (i have been working evenings for weeks) and had a great conversation about it afterwards. It's nice that after 20 years together we can still discuss a topic and surprise each other with our ideas. It's the foundation of our relationship- and probably why she's put up with me and the bad sex for so many years.
     
    chrism likes this.
  20. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    ANM,

    I hope you don't mind me throwing in a few lines here.

    As you well know, I also went for a longer streak of no P (11 months) before relapsing again.

    When I read your post after the brief relapse, where you wrote about how P probably wasn't that exciting anymore (which you instantly identified as wishful thinking) I thought to myself "I wouldn't be so sure about that either" and figured you might be facing some trouble soon.

    Even though you definitely show good awareness of your situation I'd like to galvanize you a little more here.

    My first couple of relapses seemed quite harmless to me as well. I thought it would just be a brief period, and despite all I learned about the addiction I thought I still had it under control. I minimized and rationalized the relapses. "just vanilla", "just a short session", "just once, has been a week since then" and so on.
    But unfortunately this addiction is quite powerful. It's much like a black hole, if you get to close it will suck you in and you won't be able to escape.
    And even after a longer time-frame of abstaining, you can end up in a very bad place again in no time.

    I wish I would have been much more alert when I relapsed for the first time after that long period of abstinence. I wasn't, and I have been struggling with this again for more than 3 months now.

    When I read what you wrote about possible negative consequences of this, like having family member see what's on your screen, my initial reaction was - sure that would be really bad of course - and yet that's not the only bad thing that would happen.
    It's gets much worse than that. The addiction would take away everything from you again if you feed it. Your spirit, your motivation, your generally positive outlook on life, your energy, your effort to take good care of yourself, your interests, it would probably worsen your relationship, take away your desire to be social - just to mention a couple of things for a start.

    So whenever you observe your mind minimizing what happened "not a big deal", "only two times in 18 months" or whatever it is for you, I would go into high alert. I'm saying that here, because I did not.
    You said it yourself - back to the basics and you instantly wrote down a list of things to keep in mind, which is awesome.

    Try to always remember how important this is and what might happen if you get side-tracked some more. Or on the other hand think of what you can keep or still gain if you continue to stay strong!

    In the meantime, I'll try and do the same - remembering the basics and applying myself.

    I wish you well.
     

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