Past time for an update. I have relapsed to MO two times in the last 10 days. I’ve also been fantasizing a lot, building up a specific scenario in my mind, and edging to it when I can’t sleep, which has been pretty frequently because of kids waking me up, increased alcohol and caffeine intake and the relapse itself firing up old pathways. I have no idea how much damage I have done, but crossing fingers not introducing porn will have minimized it. Of course that was part of the rationalization, “It’s not porn yet, so it’s not going to do as much damage…” We’ll see I guess. Relapsing after a long time clean, the contrast between pre- and post- relapse mental states is pretty fucking clear. The dopamine felt like fire in my brain. I become distracted, unable to follow conversations, detached from those around me. I even had trouble forming sentences yesterday and the day before, and it had a noticeable effect on my memory. I didn’t fall into the trap of hating myself and blaming others- oddly I still managed to feel connected to other people I met around the place (but not family for some reason). I think the stuff I’ve learned from Pema this last year, about ego and connection to others, have become a permanent part of my personality, which I'm happy about (struggling to find a silver lining here). I don’t know where this fantasy-driven relapse came from. Like I said, the holiday started strangely with flights cancelled and a 2 day drive with young kids. Everything else has been pretty predictable and easy. One thing that threw me I guess was watching my dad act out with his own addictions while we were with them, and watching my mum try to manage him. Watching parents get old is stressful and stirs up all kinds of stuff. I’m hoping this post marks the end of this episode. The thing I will change for the next attempt to quit will be: incorporating meditation and tonglen into my daily routine. Understanding Chodron’s ideas is not the same as putting them into practice. Doing so will give me an actual weapon (tool) for when times get tough again. Cheers lads. I'll come visit your journals now.