Real Love

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Stubborn, May 31, 2020.

  1. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    For my first real journal entry, I invite you to have a laugh at my expense. I want to share a little story!

    *slight trigger warning*

    I just did a google image search. I was looking for a very specific picture (Don't worry, I won't describe it in any detail.) I found it in the very first row, on the very first page of search results! I just entered the model's name. I'd say the whole thing took about eight seconds.

    I wanted to find this image because it was the very first non-mental picture I ever masturbated to, probably twenty-two or twenty-three years ago now! At the time, it was printed on PAPER! It was a special playboy summer edition which I found stuffed into a plastic milk-crate full of dirty magazines that lived under a bed in an old hunting-camp! You could not imagine a less erotic place for a boy to have a formative sexual experience! It smelled more like grandma's book collection than something arousing! Nevertheless, there I was: thirteen or fourteen years old, thumbing through that milk-crate, absolutely transfixed.

    Today's image search took me less than ten seconds but back in the mid-1990s, in order to see this exact same picture, my adolescent self had to wait 'till his family was out so he could walk a kilometre through the woods to a shitty old hunt-camp on the neighbour's property where he had to physically flip through a bunch of printed media! And once he'd found the prettiest girl in the milk-crate, he brought her outside, exposed himself in the brisk air of a Canadian October and took care of himself in a drafty, tin outhouse!!! No tracking algorithms, no spyware, no pop-ups. Just paper and ink!

    As funny as it is to think back to that time, it's also really sad. That boy just wanted to feel something like love. He wanted it so badly that he would go to those pathetic lengths. I feel a lot of pity for him now.

    So, I found that damned picture today. (And I have to say, it is a good one even though the composition reeks of the 90s! There's a swimming pool... of course!) I searched for it because it seemed fitting to take a look back at the origins of this stupid thing that's been plaguing me for over two decades now. I'm ready to be rid of it.

    I've done my homework, I've made a plan, I've failed once before so I know what's likely to trigger me and most importantly, I'm absolutely sick of this shit! I start my day counter at midnight tonight!!! Wish me luck!!!
     
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  2. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    Twelve whole hours! Hahaha! So far so good. :p
     
  3. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    Well, day #1 is coming to an end. A few little moments of temptation but nothing too difficult to overcome. All in all, it was a success! I know things will become more difficult so I'm not going to get cocky.

    It's crazy that this seems like such a radical idea but it's 11:15... I guess I'll go to bed!
     
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  4. BoughtWithBlood

    BoughtWithBlood Active Member

    Goodluck on your second day! Make it a habit to just focus on one day at a time. Before you know it, a lot of days have passed :)
     
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  5. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    Alright, so day #2 hasn't been too terribly painful in terms of my willpower faltering but my subconscious is freaking out! I'm having the most irritable thoughts and feelings (It could just be that the world is absolutely fucked right now!) and last night I had a ridiculously sexy and slightly awkward dream about a close friend.

    I was also going to quit drinking on day #1 but felt that quitting four things in one day (P,M,O,B) was asking an awful lot of myself. I am tapering off the booze but the prospect of going cold turkey was just too daunting.

    On a positive note, I made time for an hour of physical activity yesterday! A moderate lower body workout with lots of stretching afterwards. Also made a big batch of cabbage rolls and roasted potatoes for the family. Time consuming meal prep and a big hearty dinner. Time well spent! Really trying to put my free hours to good use!
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
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  6. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    Day#3

    What a rotten time getting to sleep last night! I lay awake in the dark for about an hour and a half trying to shut my brain off! It was largely the state of the world; George Floyd, the virus, the isolation, uncertainty about the future. It seems a bit petty to be hung up on your own little troubles when there are so many, much bigger things happening all around. However, I do think that if I take every possible action to be the best version of myself, it will make me a more active citizen, a more mindful community member and a more compassionate friend to the people I care about. I think by tending to myself I can do more to make the world a better place in some small way.

    That said, it wasn't just watching American news articles that kept me up last night. Bedtime has always been when 90% of my PMO took place. Sometimes it would be hours of super destructive edging. An "O" was the signal to my brain that it was time to shut off. After finishing I would kill the lights and usually be out cold in about 30 seconds! It was like getting a shot of tranquilizer.

    I plan to spend some time meditating today. I think for the next while I'm going to need lots of practice observing my thoughts in a non-judgmental way and then just letting them go.
     
  7. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    Day #4, almost complete!

    I'm happy to say I haven't come anywhere near screwing it up! :) However, I'm definitely identifying some traps I'll have to watch out for in the future! Quitting the porn that's on the internet has made me realize just how much porn there is inside my head!! Multiple times per hour I have to redirect my attention away from mental pictures that my mind just defaults to! A lot of these are memories of past partners and this sucks because it means that the nice pictures which I'm fighting to avoid also come with a dose of real-life regret and sadness!

    Zero-tolerance is hard! Stopping these insidious, little, sexy thoughts before they morph into fantasies takes some serious mindfulness!

    Anyway, it's not much of an accomplishment but four days is longer than I've gone in a couple years and I'm really happy about it! Feeling strong going into day #5!
     
  8. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    O.K. Last night hard mode got kinda hard. Anyone out there have experience dealing with whole nights full of erotic dreaming? Fuck... I almost feel like I should restart my day counter!

    Not a great night's rest and a very low start to the day. It's beautiful outside though! I've got a big breakfast and a fresh cup of coffee in front of me. We'll start with gratitude for these things and work our way up from there.
     
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  9. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    You are not responsible for your dreams. In my experience, and if you are a vivid dreamer on top of that, expect some porn dreams in the months to come. Nothing you can really do about them but try not to be too bothered (which sometimes can be difficult).
     
    Living likes this.
  10. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    It's my Birthday!

    36 is gonna be a special year! I can feel it. My gift to myself is completing my first successful week of hard mode! That and going back to work after two and a half months off. Boy, I miss the days when you'd get a cake and some action figures!
     
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  11. BoughtWithBlood

    BoughtWithBlood Active Member

    Have a wonderful day and an even better year! Cheers
     
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  12. Shady

    Shady Active Member

    Happy birthday, @Stubborn and keep going.
     
  13. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    Thanks, @Shady! And I definitely will keep going!

    If I'm honest, I don't really like Birthdays. The passage of time stresses me out. I started feeling like I'd fallen behind in life, probably twenty years ago and the feeling persisted. Since starting this reboot, I've been really enjoying finishing each day with a sense of genuine accomplishment. It doesn't flood my brain with dopamine but it builds me up in a way that I've missed for so long.
     
  14. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    Sometimes, I wish I hadn't given my journal such a corny name! "Real Love"... Oh brother... I kinda regretted it after about two days of rebooting but I'm getting used to it now. It's actually pretty relevant to my motivations for quitting porn!

    I wouldn't blame someone for assuming that by "Real Love" I was talking about real sex or the affection of a real lover/partner/paramour. This is partially true but there's more to it! I have a friend who would do something she called "mirror work." It was basically observing her reflection and telling herself every day, as sincerely as possible: "I love you." I haven't engaged in that sort of "mirror work" but I see my reflection every morning and every evening and when I do, I try to observe my gut reaction to it. It's amazing how often the first thing to enter my mind is a criticism! "You should do this." or "You should change this about yourself." Sometimes it's even worse than simple criticism. Things like: "If I can see the shame in your eyes then so can everyone else." or "You would lose all your friends if they knew how fucked up you were!"

    So, I guess when I decided to call this thing "Real Love" I was partially talking about "Self Love." It's been so long since I saw myself in the mirror and really felt; not just spoke words but actually felt something like real self love. This is really what I'm pursuing by being here. I know there's a good version of me that's been thrown off-course by a messed up youth, huge amounts of social rejection during my formative years and by a quick-fix, capitalist culture that has a cheap and addictive solution for every little pain. If nothing else, I've started to search for that good version of me.
     
  15. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Self love and real smile !
     
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  16. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    I've gotta say, week #2 went a lot quicker than week#1! Being back to work helps pass the days.

    Confession: This is the first night this month that I haven't gotten at least sort of drunk. One dependency at a time I guess. Now that I'm feeling a bit more confident about the PMO I could probably turn my attention to some other areas of life that need work. Without the numbing effects of porn, there's suddenly a lot of time to feel things again and so far the feelings haven't been great. Depression has followed me around my whole life and right now there's no place to hide from it.

    As heavy as everything seems right now, I'm feeling pretty strong.
     
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  17. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    As you stated correctly both alcohol and porn help you numb your depressive thoughts and emotions. And even though you manage to make them less noisy that way momentarily, they always linger in the back of your mind/heart and do their damage over time. Abstaining from porn and alcohol will inevitably lead to you having to face those depressive thoughts and emotions but you will also have the opportunity to deal with them they right way by examining why they are there and where they originate from. Not that I think you underestimate this, but these smoldering problems and negative emotions can finally accumulate and eventually push you down an abyss when the moment is right from which it will be very hard to climb back out. This might sound scary but breaking your record should strengthen your will to stay abstinent. Many bottled-up emotions and thoughts will probably emerge. But dealing with them, fixing them, being able to shelve them ad acta will give you a lot of peace of mind. I don't know if it's possible in your country or if your financial situation allows it but if you feel it could help you, think of seeking therapeutic help. It helped me a ton.

    Keep on going, mate!
     
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  18. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    For years I've heard other men talking about the "Flatline" and I think it's starting for me after less than three weeks! I was kind of looking forward to it, honestly! Being rid of the intense cravings sounded like a really great thing! Now that I'm here though, it feels fucking strange. I'm trying to make sense of what my body and mind are telling me. The two do NOT agree with each other! All day long, my head is swimming with images of real, flesh-and-blood women that I've been so lucky to have in my life but my body doesn't seem to care. I've been practising some yoga and even the gorgeous instructor on my favourite YouTube channel doesn't tempt me to relapse. It's only at night, lying in bed, thinking about the past and even then, it's pretty manageable.

    Maybe I'm just feeling depressed by... nature? I've got the mind of an 18-year-old and, sadly, the very real physiology of a guy who's only four years away from 40, wishing he'd taken better care of himself for the last decade. It's a pretty lonely time in life. I've been single for about six weeks now but I think I only had sex with my now-ex-partner about four times in the last year. Honestly, it may have only been three times. :( I want to believe that there's still some hope for me. I know this "numbness" is just a phase but it's difficult to make sense of because I've never felt anything like it before. Even so, I have faith that tomorrow can be better than today and that's worth fighting for! Still feeling good about my 100 day goal!
     
  19. Stubborn

    Stubborn Member

    Wow, today was a rough one.
    Visited with a dear friend last night for the first time in three months and woke up with a killer hangover. I'd forgotten how triggering it can be, finding yourself in that emotional and physical state where everything is so close to the surface and everything feels so hard. My brain was just screaming for some kind of happy sensation! The addiction was bargaining with me relentlessly. A relapse seemed like such a good idea.

    Found release in other places today. Ended up having a good cry which I usually can't seem to do more than about once a year. The world seems like such a sad place right now. I miss my friends and feel very lonely. I guess the reservoir just overflowed.

    Today was brutal but in spite of everything, I held it together and as a reward I get to wake up tomorrow having completed three successful weeks and starting into my fourth!

    So much gratitude to this community!
     
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  20. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Stubborn

    I hear you about the feelings of loneliness. They've been getting to me a lot over the past couple of months, and I really should start dealing with them sooner rather than later.

    What a great reward you've prepared for yourself! With how difficult recovery can be, you know you've earned it.

    Take care
     
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