Recovery Journal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Montesquieu, Jun 23, 2023.

  1. Montesquieu

    Montesquieu Active Member

    Thanks for your thoughtful posts and support, @path-forward and @sufficio. I really appreciate it.

    It looks like your reasons are quite similar to mine, @path-forward. That’s a great list and I appreciate that you shared it with me.

    One of my challenges (divulging a bit more than usual) is that my recent, more earnest attempts to quit were to some extent related to something I read about social anxiety. I struggle with what I’d call situational anxiety more than social anxiety. Basically, I get unusually nervous in some public speaking contexts or during work-related confrontations and things like that. When I read that there is a connection between hypersexuality and porn consumption (higher cortisol levels, dysfunctional stress system, low D2/3 receptors) and social anxiety and then read all of the testimonials from people with life histories very much like mine saying that when they stopped PMO for a few months, things improved tremendously for them, I became very enthusiastic in my attempts, and finally I had yet another really good reason to quit.

    So I committed yet again to abstinence from PMO but this time also (for the first time) committed to abstinence (or at least a very significant reduction) from MO and fantasy as well. With this new, really strong reason on my side, it was much easier. Around this same time; and for the first time in my life, I became convinced that this is an actual addiction—not just something that I spend too much time on. These things helped tremendously.

    But the problem is that while it is true that I’ve noticed some small reductions in my situational anxiety, it hasn’t been as significant as I would have hoped. And last week, the event that triggered this relapse was that I became very nervous in a situation at work that really wasn’t cause for nerves at all (and as you can imagine, this can be embarrassing and leads me to avoid or take medication for certain things at work). And so even though I recognize that it isn’t as if abstinence from PMO/MO for five months is going to completely eliminate nervousness in the kinds of situations that have historically made me nervous (all I can reasonably hope for is a non-trivial reduction), my addicted brain seized the opportunity and then it felt as if I were possessed for a couple of days where it felt inevitable that I’d succumb and I finally did. I couldn’t think of reasons not to (even though I’ve written them down). I wasn’t operating from a reasonable place. The addicted part of me just kind of took hold of me (I’m sure you all know what that’s like). There is a great line in season 1 of True Detective where Cohle says something along the lines of “I knew that it might not be tonight or it might not be tomorrow, but sooner or later, I knew . . . I was going to have a drink.” That’s exactly how I felt.

    Anyway, so the repair to my system of reasons is to really emphasize all of the stuff that path-forward wrote (which are my other reasons—and they are certainly sufficient on their own). I don’t have to eliminate the reason related to overcoming situational anxiety (and I’m doing other stuff for that as well) but I need to be more realistic about it and also give recovery more time. But more importantly, it cannot be among the most important reasons because it sets me up for relapse so easily. A bad moment at work becomes a reason to relapse, and that won’t work.
    Mozenjo likes this.
  2. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Monty, sorry about the relapse, but it really sounds like you've got your head on straight about it. I am also one who has also only gotten some solid weeks behind me when I've given the beast no quarter. Meaning, 1) I don't let thoughts drift towards lust for very long unless I'm with my fiancée, 2) I don't even look at her pictures, because that's not only a gateway to subs and then porn, but it is also damaging in its own right, and 3) by all means, I acknowledge that I am powerless against this stuff, and that a short peek is definitely off-limits. Because it will always lead me back to the well.

    I have also suffered from social anxiety. My fear of speaking in front of large groups of people used to be quite debilitating, but since I am occasionally required to do it as part of my job, the more I do it, the easier it is. But I still don't relish it at all. I'm glad you noted that there can be a link between this condition and addictive tendencies, as I had never heard that before. But my introverted side tends to make me more comfortable just being by myself (duh), and we all know what can happen when we spend too much time alone. Not sure where you fall on the introverted/extroverted spectrum.

    You did great, and you know you have it in you to go the distance, because you are aware of how insidious this addiction is. The ruts that have been carved into our gray matter don't just go away in a few weeks or months. I've heard from several people here that real progress starts to happen more around the one year mark. And the addict doesn't want to hear that. It always wants to convince us that we can handle a dip in the pool. But that pool is acid. I'm afraid it always will be for us. As you've mentioned, path-forward's list of reasons to stay away is a great one. We should read it regularly.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It was very helpful to me. I wish you the best.

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