Searching For A Former Clarity

Discussion in 'Ages 25-29' started by BanquosGhost, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    This is the start of my journal. As I said in my only post on the forum to date, I have been meaning to commit the time to do this properly. I have a lot of explaining to do. But I don't mean, by saying that, that I have a lot of excuses to make. I know that a lot of what follows will be very familiar, though I hope not hackneyed, but equally, it is of value for me to do this whether or not you have heard it before. I don't know whether your scroll bar now requires an electron microscope to be seen, but I warn you, there is a lot of explaining here.

    Anyway, let me tell you about myself. I'm a 28 year-old man (why does it feel strange using that last word about myself?) and I live with my Dad and his partner. I moved home after my old housemate left for a different city and I was, and still am, in a difficult financial position despite me being in a seriously professional job, basically the result of poor financial planning which may have had some root in the reason why we are all here.

    I have had a fetish since my early teens. And here I need to give a general trigger warning. I have gone into frequent and quite specific detail about my fetish, which is a smoking fetish, including what triggered it, how it makes me feel, how it is aroused, and so on. Some of it may be a bit off the wall, but for anyone with the same thing this is an attempt at a catch-all warning. I do really hope there is someone out there in a similar boat, and I don't want to put anyone off reading, but do be warned. There will be a specific one again below, but please do be a bit careful, as I have felt I've needed to be pretty open (for reasons that at the distant end of this first post I hope will be fairly clear), regarding the content of my fetish, and particularly with specific examples of ED.

    So, a fetish. And before that, a fascination. With smoking. With women who smoke, and, over the years, the habit of smoking itself. I took it up myself out of what started as that fascination (spurred by the idea of doing something 'wrong' and utterly out of character with the stereotypical straight-A student I was), but what eventually developed into an all-consuming fetish.

    I was a late starter in terms of masturbation (and a late developer physically anyway). I was 14. I got off that first time by 'thrusting' against my sheets while fantasizing about starting to hang out with the 'bad girls' and becoming a smoker like them.

    Pretty much at the same time, the early days (for the masses at least) of the Internet came into my home via my Dad's ISDN connection - which allowed a whopping 192k - and for my recently sexually awakened self, with it the opportunity to search for pictures of girls smoking - which I would cut and paste into collages and try to hide in some hopefully remote be obscurely-named folder. Not remote or obscure enough - my first confession, but not the last, was to my sister, who asked me 'why are the girls in this picture all holding cigarettes?' By then I was aware enough to know what a fetish was, and that I had one. So I told her. Her reaction was pretty level, really, which is something I probably should have learned from. However, it continued to be my dirty little secret, which is still how I see it.

    Right, don't worry, I am not going to give you a blow-by-blow account of what happened over the following 12 years or so. I will cut to the chase eventually. But the reason I have droned on about this background is important for me to properly share the difficulty I have had and will continue to have.

    I already knew I had a fetish. that didn't, initially, stop me from fantasizing about sex, or particular girls' tits, or whatever, and in the beginning I made a conscious effort to have 'normal' wanks every so often. I wanted to be 'normal', and that even went to the lengths of a pre-arranged 'hookup' with a girl I used to go out with for us to both do it for the first time, even though I didn't actually find her particularly attractive at that point (I was 18). Perhaps needless to say, it didn't end well, and worse, gossip along the lines of 'he had to lay there beating it into life' started to spread around school in that Brownian way that stuff like that has. In truth, it was myself I was beating up, and the teary rage I went into at the time at my own impotence would not be the first.

    So I began to assume that my fetish would have to be piqued before I had anything like 'successful' sexual contact with a girl. Now, don't get me wrong, I am aware that a lot of guys on here are virgins, and many are the same age as me or older. I am not ignoring that - and I hope my experience might help (I have had some contact with therapy, which I will come on to). The point I am making is that I embarked on my late adolescence, and relationships with girls even after that, with the preconception that I was 'not normal' or 'damaged' somehow.

    I had (until recently) seen my fetish as 'organic', I guess. However, I know, both through my own experience and what I have learned about the 'Coolidge effect', which has helped me rationalise what I instinctively already knew, that the development of 'what gets you off' can be fairly dramatic.

    So where's the porn come in?

    Well, I would say that upwards of 95% of the time, what I have treated as internet porn basically consisted of videos of girls smoking cigarettes. Sure, there are sites out there that cater for nudity, sex, and other genres to a greater or lesser extent but to me, that was neither here nor there. In any case, in my mind, it is 'porn'. Any attempt to rationalise it as 'just a perfectly innocent video of a model enjoying a smoke' went away years ago - in truth I never really even tried that myself. Stuff would be downloaded, stuff would be deleted. My browsing history was like 'have I left the gas on?' if anyone could go near the computer in my absence, and so for me, that's what porn is. And just like, I'm sure, a good number of you guys, I eventually got to the position, through external USBs and what not, of maintaining a collection. A collection that would be updated through pay-sites on a weekly basis. I don't even want to think how much that has cost me in simple monetary terms, because that isn't the point. But I ended up there after years and years of browsing photos, stories (almost invariably on the theme of girl tries cigarettes, girl gets addicted), preview videos, clips on YouTube (there are probably tens of thousands), sites dedicated to compiling pics and press cuttings of celebrity smokers, I could go on.

    This all grew fairly gradually, and over those years, as I've said above, I would be in and out of relationships with a number of different girls. I lost my virginity at 20, with a girl from my summer job (I was home from university between second and final years) and it was pretty much explicitly on the basis of 'getting it done'. This, however, was after another tearful breakdown after a failure to perform, which this time ended up with me coming clean about having a fetish to a girl I was involved with (definitely a first).

    Things went on, and, pretty much unnoticed my dependence on porn (as I am now simply going to refer to it) deepened. When I was turning 24 I went out with a girl who was turning 18 - but who was much more nature and savvy in the bedroom than I was. Cue more months of tearful failure, angst, and feelings of inadequacy (on both sides) before again, I came clean. And if you need any proof of what I said above about her maturity, she insisted I get help. So I did.

    Our relationship didn't last long enough for her to still be around when I was eventually seen by a therapist, but that wasn't really related to the sex (which happened on a few occasions, but hey).

    So obviously, I turn up, go through a fairly similar account to what I've just given above, and she asks me about my family background, which was always very stable (my parents split when I was comfortably an adult), save for a particular facet of the grieving process I don't need to go into here. She gave me some very good counselling, explaining about the importance of the relationship and needing to feel comfortable to perform, which subsequent experience has told me isn't necessarily wrong, but she didn't seem overly bothered about the whole fetish/porn thing. I mean, she was obviously right about there being added 'pressure' if I was not fully comfortable with the girl, she discounted what I thought was a mental block which would come when I tried put a condom on ('the music just stops'), but there wasn't any real exploration of porn, etc, which reading YBOP seems pretty understandable.

    And now finally, the chase. Sort of. Last October I ended a three-year relationship with a girl I knew from school (couple of years younger). By the end our sex life had started to peter out. And it had been good, certainly by comparison with what went before. We didn't rush, knew each other well anyway, but it was a long way short of perfect. ED would come and go. Apart from one or two occasions when I seemed to have an indestructible boner that was set to last forever, though, the ED was always in the background. If I'm honest, I would always have to fantazise to some extent. Now this, looking back, is really the crux of it. Where all the stuff from YBOP starts to make sense.


    My ex was a smoker. I told her all about my problem - and she would do everything she could to help. Including smoking during giving me a hand job, or oral. But it didn't work. The 'image' of her doing it just wasn't there for me. It was just her, and she just happened to be smoking. In my room, trying to 'beat it into life'

    I would still have to rely on fantasizing.

    Sometimes, during full sex, her having a cigarette between her fingers would *help*, in the sense that it made the anyway-ongoing sex totally mind blowing for me, but if I wasn't there in the first place, I wasn't there. I began to realise even then, having to fantasize about videos I'd seen or even the girl that was lying right fucking underneath me (imagining her starting or whatever), that shit really wasn't right.

    And the last five months of our relationship is when I became totally dependent (this, by the way, was less than two years ago). When I made the conscious decision to stop 'one-off' browsing, and emptying my history every two or three days, and started building a collection. Now by that point, I had anyway been masturbating on pretty much a daily basis (and often more than once) since I was about 20, I guess, but this is when getting the latest clips, savouring them, paying for them, organising them, really started to take hold of me.

    And the sad thing is, I really didn't notice the impact on my, I mean our, sex life. But looking back it was obviously there. Our relationship ended after a two week holiday in which we had sex once. I had not even felt up for it, nor even noticed that we weren't doing it, until that last night. And usually whenever we were away it was, let's say, different. I realise now that it's not even just me that this shit has damaged. And she did nothing to deserve that. The breakup was fear of committing, which I would have had anyway, but it pains me to know that she probably has issues about her body and sleeping with guys because of my addiction.

    And then I stumbled across YBOP. I wasn't even looking for it - it was linked in a BTL thread in a newspaper review about a play dealing with the objectification of women. I don't need to describe the Eureka.

    That was something like 6 weeks ago. I looked at YBOP for about a week, then I did a deliberate binge, went until I couldn't go any more, felt totally disgusted at myself and deleted everything in one fell swoop. I lasted five days. Then for a while every day was a new reboot, and eventually I have in and downloaded more. This went on for most of last month, downloading, deleting, redownloading, until I realised I had had enough.

    I found this place. I wish I had come here straight away, but hey, I have already wasted years, right? Years during which I came to crave the dopamine rush we all know so well, but equally the opioid effect. Porn became my 'go-to' to block everything out when it got too much, which in my high-stress job is pretty often, it was my nightly dose of sleeping pills to knock me out when my mind couldn't stop racing - ironically especially when I had a really important day coming up ('come on, you need a good sleep, so hold out and really get off tonight'), but all the time it was fucking me up.

    An earlier moment of clarity should have come when I read a comment in another BTL thread expressing the poster's concern about a 50-year old relative who used porn on a daily basis. The response was 'as long as he is still functioning, he isn't doing any harm'. What did that mean? 'Still functioning'? So, I had days (I work from home a lot) where I would actually whack off mid-morning to test myself to see if I got anything done. I didn't, usually. But I wasn't any less productive than 'normal' (normal being 'any day immediately following years straight of daily PMOing') so I didn't worry. Too much. But it was at the back of my mind, and now I finally see that my innately disorganised, pull-it-out-of-my-ass-at-the-last-minute mindset has been horribly aggravated by all of this. And often now, I don't care if I don't manage to. Being self-employed means that this way lies ruin. Not even to mention other things I've just not got around to as much, like surfing, keeping up languages, etc. Or perhaps even more importantly the general feeling of living life with the emotional volume turned down.

    So, this reboot.

    I agree with those who have said on here that no-PMO-for-x-days will not magically sort everything out, that it doesn't mean I will wake up on day x+1 with a filing system of military precision, a gleaming new car and an endless string of sex partners waiting to be serviced.

    My belief is, though, that rebooting will clear a space for me to get 'me' back. And actually, allowing myself a bit of ego, I used to be a pretty fucking awesome guy - though it feels like a long time ago.

    After the first attempt (realistically there only was one attempt and then what gradually became a full-blown relapse which ran into weeks) I noticed it was much easier to wake up, much easier to sleep, and to focus. Perhaps more accurately, I realised on the second day of my relapse (the first fantasy-only MO didn't have too bad an effect the next morning) that by comparison, waking up after PMO the night before is a bit like waking up after a tree has fallen across your bed.

    This time, it has seemed a lot easier. I have had a certain confidence, which I've supplemented by picturing myself sitting there with a jizzy old pair of shorts, doing the 'dope-fiend lean' after I've finished, thinking "No. Not there again."

    Today has been harder. For some reason I just felt like crap when I woke up, like when I was back in the cycle, and I started edging. I caught myself, and I didn't go as far as actually watching a clip, but I was certainly in dangerous territory. So as I said back at the beginning, I knew I had to devote time to getting this journal up and running, and I certainly have. Work has just had to wait for an evening. I had been, in truth, waiting until I started to get into trouble and using the writing of this as a timely reminder.

    So to the reason for all of this detail, and probably the one thing that worries me most while doing this. As I explained in some detail above, my fetish pre-existed my use of video-based PMO. And my ED pre-existed my total dependence on it. What went before, was largely fantasizing, often about girls I had seen smoking out and about that day. I l know some of you might think "So? I have to walk past girls wearing next-to-nothing every day, get over it!" Well, it's not the same. Many of you will no doubt have some fetishes which might make this look 'tame' (and I am NOT for a second being judgmental). But my issue is that the 'material' for my fetish is usually there just out on the world on a daily basis. And the point is, this develops into an obsession in itself. And it sucks. See a girl rummaging in her purse, find yourself praying she pulls out a pack of cigarettes. Overtake a car with the window down a bit, lean over to see if it is a woman driving and whether she has a cigarette resting between her fingers on the wheel. Reminders might be anywhere, and what I'm saying is, depending of course on what you're into, you might not usually see fetish material just standing outside the station or driving down the road.

    One caveat to this, and then I'm done. I have noticed over the last year or so, that glorious technicolor (or 1080p HD) has taken over. So although I feel hardwired to be constantly on the lookout for girls smoking, out and about, I have rarely if ever fantasized about such 'sightings' in the more recent past. Who needs a 'bank' when you have an unlimited Platinum card available online? However, I've read about the 'peeling back' effect where guys have flashbacks about stuff they thought they had forgotten - if the unwiring process is linear, will I then start wanting to use what I see on a daily basis to MO again? My 'compulsion' seems to have survived, even though it has been rendered redundant by the internet. I can't put K9 on the world - I guess the answer is train yourself to be distracted with a specific mechanism, but if anyone out there has had anything similar and has any advice, I really would be grateful.

    If any of you made it this far, thanks for reading. I know I haven't done the traditional list of reasons, goals, explained the time frame on my counter, but enough for now already. I have to have something else to write about in the next instalments!


  2. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    Re: Pulling out of a nosedive - and back to 36,000ft!

    Thanks, man, I will beef up the warnings at the beginning accordingly. I do wish you luck, and more importantly support. Thanks for the feedback - do you have your own journal?
  3. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 0

    The ups and the downs:

    -I have identified possibly my most dangerous trigger situation;
    -I went longer than I ever have without orgasm (not counting a 2 week holiday a year ago - which was with my ex - we did it once);
    -I managed to stave off what I thought was a worse trigger situation - work stress - far easier than I expected to;
    -I have had the danger of edging confirmed completely - once you start, it will be in the back of your addict mind for days;
    -I started to see real benefits lifestyle-wise - and finally 'got around' to making changes I really needed to make to my work habits; and
    -This list is longer than I expected when I started typing!

    -I binged. That seems to mean different things to different people. So here is some honesty. I PMO'd on Sat night, three times on Sun and once today, edging each time to videos to get the 'best hit' I could;
    -Several times during it I thought 'to hell with this reboot, this is what I really like, I'm going to do this for a few weeks then try again';
    -It was physically painful. I became used to MOing into something, like a sock or old shorts. Maybe some real sensitivity had started to develop because it chafed and got sore. I carried on anyway;
    -None of the progress I mentioned above could stop me - I felt as if I had earned it;

    So, the first of those +ve points and the last of the -ve come together. I was up working on Wednesday night on an urgent and substantial piece of work - until about 5am - I felt predictably groggy the next morning - and I finished editing it about 2 hours after I got up (so by around 12.30pm). At that point, I had got up, thrown dirty old 'casual' clothes and turned the PC straight on - showering could wait. The problem is, once I got it done, I felt relieved, euphoric, but also physically crummy, and most of all like I deserved a 'reward'.

    I started off edging - fantasising about my ex (fetish and just sex related) - and although I have mentioned her quite a bit I really don't see her as 'the one that got away' or anything - she just always turned me on. I managed to snap out of it. But it just wouldn't go away, the same thing happened in bed that night (but again I stopped myself, ditto Friday with the same 'subject matter'). But the problem, obviously, is my 'lizard' brain wants dopamine - or possibly opioid release.

    I've just devoted over ten hours straight to a tough, satisfying, pressurised piece of work, but getting it done well (not to say the money) doesn't feel like enough of a reward. Or high. And I've yet to convince myself that pushups, cold showers or putting my nuts in a freezing cold sink (especially when it is 2 deg C - just about 35 deg F outside) is going to do that. Is it training myself not to want any reward? I can see you would get endorphins from intense exercise (I am typing this before I leave for 5-aside-football) but I don't know whether I should try and find a replacement 'treat'.

    I struggled with urges on and off (and my first ever experience of blue balls, in the queue for food at fucking Ikea of all places) until Saturday night. Then I thought "I'll just have a look and see what has been released..." Predictable results. The high I got from 'giving in' was frightening. And my 'reptile logic' is pretty embarrassing now as well. I was edging to preview pics and I though 'I am just Ming to P here. I have to reset now if I'm being honest with myself... So pay for them and download them. The binge was partly wanting to disgust myself (which I achieved pretty quickly), but which will probably help for a day and then cost me, partly because I didn't want to 'waste' money. Of course, I already had as soon as I clicked download. I would pay double now if I hadn't had them.

    Anyway I have gone on long enough. I am going to make some changes to approach. The first is, I am going to post every day. I have changed my counter a little. More tomorrow - I am going to be late for football / soccer (I really don't mind what you call it).


  4. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 1

    Has gone really well. It is only day 1, I know. Had to get up pretty early to prepare for two work engagements, neither of which was particularly taxing. Read 'The Flinch' in between them. Did some minor housekeeping / admin stuff, then hang out with my friends, just playing videogames really. Could have been more productive, I guess, but it's baby steps right now just to stay safe at the beginning. Being busy obviously helps. Just had a long phone conversation with my best friend from work about dealing with (an almost ancient) former girlfriend who still pretty much haunts me now. I have not mentioned her above, ED etc wasn't really relevant then. Have decided to grasp the nettle, and to do so by virtue of a message in a photograph, so a bit of a photography project for me there, which I had started to mess about with again last week before the bad stuff happened.

    Trying to be quick because it is late and I want to make sure I am getting decent amounts of sleep, but just wanted to say that I spend a lot of time on here reading people's journals but not feeling 'qualified' either in the sense of 'time served' or 'expertise' to add a lot to many discussions. I totally understand that this support thing is reciprocal and self-reinforcing, so I will, I really will. This is a community and I want to be an active member. For now, though, making a habit of getting a daily post on here is Priority #1 as far as YBR itself goes for me. Baby steps.

    Thanks for reading.

  5. Pedigree

    Pedigree Active Member

    Welcome Banquosghost.

    I agree, posting on YBR is very important. It keeps you accountable and it keeps you motivated when you read about what other members go through here.

    If you think you have something to add, by all means contribute to the discussions. There's guys on here who are new (MindoverMatter, Jp91) who just jump in there and make a contribution.

    Good luck, man.
  6. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 2

    Good and bad. The bad is really that I was utterly unable to focus today. My concentration level was appalling. I kept catching myself jumping about from thought to the next - "Oh, I need to sort out my car insurance. Oh, I need to make sure I get my kit sorted for football later. Oh, I think I'll make a proper breakfast today. Yadda yad yad, &c" This is even with me having made a conscious decision to avoid the computer for most of the day, even. I kind of expected this - I got next to nothing done for the first few days after my last reset. More 'relevant' bad is that I did catch my thoughts straying off where they didn't need to go, but probably only 4 or 5 times, and never for very long.

    What I was pleased with today:
    - I have, off the back of a 25-a-day habit, stopped smoking. My nicotine habit has not stopped, at all, but I have fully converted to an 'e-cigarette', which is at least not smoke, from a health perspective. No re-calibration for me yet on the nicotine front, I'm afraid, but today marked the first time I have been 36 hours without a cigarette in close to a decade. And although it isn't completely 'safe' from a trigger perspective (if this makes you think 'wtf?' see above) it is a lot better.
    - My (male, best) friend from work commented that I seem to be making a lot of positive and quite drastic changes (some of which are professional and I don't want to risk going into here) in my life.
    - Football was great, again, 3 goals and 2 assists in 2 games this week (stats don't count - the fact that it mattered and I went nuts when I did score, does).
    - I managed a much longer period of a cold shower - which eventually I hope will be my first step at beating the flinch (until now it was only the initial shock before I let it warm up).
    - I did some semi-ambitious cooking, and for breakfast (French toast, which is easy, but with fried/caramelised apple, not easy, not a complete success but worth doing and pretty tasty).
    - After many hours of no meaningful work I got myself 'up out' the house and took work to a coffee shop. Got a good amount done.
    - Above all, I just felt really positive. Not 'this is going to be easy, I can't lose', not by any stretch, but that 'each day as it comes' feels good, and my bad relapse at the weekend can't undo the physical fact of the shit I managed to get done, and just looking back over the end of November and into December I can see some momentum. This isn't about just ED. It absolutely is in there, of course I want my 'dick to work' and to feel like a man sexually, but this is about my life. This is about no longer fucking coasting. No longer just doing enough to scrape through, and then rewarding myself with a wank. This is about getting my old life back, and making a new one, where for a start the fucking sound isn't on mute all the time, and I feel things. And I can't just wish that into existence, if I hope really hard. I have to make it happen, by effecting discernible, real changes. Or words far better than mine (if deliberately misquoted):

    "We're building something here. Piece by piece... And all the pieces matter."

  7. questforself

    questforself Know thyself

    Welcome! Enjoy your reboot process! At times it is difficult, and at times easy but in any case, it is very good for you. Getting rid of addictions is always a step up. And this one is a stubborn SoB! Fight a good fight.

  8. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    Thanks for dropping in, Q. So far this week has not been too bad - I desperately need to get some work done though - and I figure that not letting it pile up will help me with the 'needing a reward' thing.

    That's what it's all about, right there. The process, and enjoying it.
  9. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 3

    Pretty similar to yesterday. This post is just a minimum to fulfil my obligation. I have spent hours this evening absorbing other people's journals - Find myself nodding along with references to internet addiction then thinking "fuck look at the time!" It is 1:15 GMT so really just these few lines.

    I did continue with The Flinch - haven't smashed any cups yet but made very good cold shower progress. I had to stare that fucker of a button out for a good minute but then I just made myself do it. When I started doing cold showers I would set the temperature to warm, but stand under it from when I switched it on, thinking "it's OK, the warm is coming, just a few more seconds". Well today, I decided to promise myself to get one part of the shower done (I usually brush teeth, wash hair and wash body, and sometimes shave in the shower) before putting the warm on. So I washed my hair. Rubbing really hard, shivering, breathing really deeply, but taking 'pain'.

    But then, I thought to myself "...all you are doing is delaying a reward. Classic addict behaviour. Keep delaying it, get the shower gel out next. And then try and trick yourself into another stage, and get it all done cold" (obviously this thought process took like 0.4 seconds). So I did. My shower's 'cold' is not like the ice water in the tap, sadly, but it was damn cold, especially at this time of year. Like I said, I was properly shivering.

    And then when I got out, I felt magic.

    So this was to the good. I downloaded the 5BX exercise programme. I've been meaning to do this for months. Incidentally, I set myself 'three month goals' when I was away travelling for two weeks in the Spring. They didn't get done. Funny, looking back I thought at the time it was being away from my work/home life that enabled me to see myself in context and think about where I was going - now, I don't think it was a co-incidence that I went 10 days without PMO for only the second time in my adult life on that trip, either.

    Productivity OK, got the work I was doing yesterday written up and completed, could have done more TBH but not a complete write-off. I am heading towards a bit of a deadline pile-up, so I do really need to work smart now to avoid that need for release that led inexorably to my last relapse. I have an 'out' work appointment tomorrow PM and I have to put my car in for a service at c 8.00 am - the appointment is at 2.15 pm, thankfully in the same town, so I will use the morning to crack on with some work in a coffee shop and/or public library. Got no option then.

    Shit, that was a long few lines. But I've certainly spent thousands and thousands of 14 minute periods doing less worthwhile things than that before!


  10. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 4

    Nothing much to report. No urges today, pretty shitty workwise.

    Staying safe.
  11. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 5

    I deliberately leave updating this to the last thing I do before I got to bed. Last night was crazily late (well, errr, 45 mins later than now) so it was a one-liner to check in and make sure I kept to my word. I don't have time for a lot more tonight. EDIT - But as always, here comes an essay anyway...

    Two things, though. One, my world is spinning. I have had a case of what I believe is called 'oneitis', which has lasted almost a decade. 'Let her go' hasn't worked. I still dream about her from time to time. A girl from my second year of college. A fast, destructive relationship (at the time) which fucked me up. Although she caused an electricity to run through me like I have never been near in all the years since, I couldn't deal with the off, on, needling, hot, cold, spectacular arguments and loving rapprochements any more, it was ruining my degree and I was in big trouble (perhaps fortunately over the long run mine was not an institution at which you could fully slack off and catch up at the end of each year). I ended it. Not long afterwards she left, dropped out altogether.

    The photography project I referred to above was for her. A message drawn in the sand. Really, just to put it all on the line and know one way or another if she was still 'there', and then have an answer to deal with, at least. Photography-wise, my maths was not good enough to deal with perspective properly (no metaphor!), and it didn't quite work today, but I made a start. Then later on this evening I find her Facebook deactivated - and I checked this week (we have had not contact in years but were officially 'friends' (very early adopters - I am giving too many clues here)). She's gone. On the day I finally put my months of resolution and what I thought was a flash of inspiration into practice, her face is replaced with "default female cutout" and an error message. I feel like I have been kicked in the guts. But, I have no urge whatsoever to seek my old solace. I have really tried to take on board the 'just not an option' approach, and it does seem to be holding.

    After the horror in pixels subsided, I have realised there are still ways of contacting her with a letter or similar. I should say at this stage I am a total atheist - but it is really hard not to see this as the cosmos or whatever saying "Are you sure you really wanna do this...? Is it really just an answer you want, 'cos here's a perfectly good 'No' for you..."

    Anyway, before this becomes a problem page, or the plot of a sixth-form effort to ape an Ian McEwan novel, on to the other, more relevant point.

    ***Which might trigger you, if you have the same fetish (smoking) as I do***

    I re-read my first post before doing this. I was really really concerned by seeing women smoking out and about as a trigger. Yesterday, I was in town after work, doing my best upright posture in a pinstripe suit, and walked past probably half a dozen women, some of whom were really attractive, all smoking. Not a thing. No rush, no fascination. I'm not going to pretend I didn't get a good look, but in many cases, I almost thought what I would have done when I was a kid, namely 'yuck!'. It didn't look right. I really hope this is some kind of progress. I am not exaggerating here, either. It felt like the start of the beginning of the opening of it nearly being a turn-off. Maybe all that shit in my head about an 'organic' fetish (see first post) was just that. I can't deny the earlier fascination, way way pre-pubescent, but I equally can't deny, even as I was growing up, having an intuitive sense that I was 'grooving' this into myself. That I made me be this way, wank by wank.

    Maybe, time can be a healer. Clean time, at least.

    Good night and God bless (my gran used to say this, and atheism aside I just felt like signing off with it).

  12. CrazyGopher

    CrazyGopher Member

    Sorry to hear, that you were unable to contact the girl :(

    But maybe you are right, and it was a sign from the cosmos that you need to find somebody more suitable ;D

    Dunno if it will make you feel any better, but I too have girlfriends from years ago haunt my dreams.

    I've heard men have a much harder time letting go of past relationships than women do. Certainly seems like the case, for me.
  13. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    Thanks CrazyGopher. The thing about the dreams is reassuring - everyone else I have mentioned it to basically seemed a bit weirded-out. She wasn't suitable at the time, but man through these particular spectacles here she seems like my soulmate. I haven't quite decided what do. I'm 90-odd percent sure I would be able to get a letter to her, and there is a big part of me that thinks a dramatic gesture would bring it an ending one way or another. I will keep you updated.
  14. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 6

    I wrote a very long post. None of it was anything that hasn't already been said: I was trying to think about my approach to whole thing. However when I started cooking reheating my dinner, I logged in for a set time, 60 minutes, which I lost track of, probably on the fifth edit to make the shadow look right, and I'm sure as hell not re-writing that mountain of sub-dialectic waffle . So here's a smaller, different mountain.

    I have had a couple of urges today, caused by realistically minor work disappointments and my worst site / skeleton in the closet inexplicably popping up in my browsing history. I managed to recognise the voice as not really belonging to 'me' (saving the massive over-simplification of brain anatomy) and there was no peeking.

    I woke up with major MW. I did a full cold shower, and couldn't work out whether my leg quivering so much was really involuntary. In an attempt to experience more non-dangerous physical discomfort I decided to grip as hard as I could on to the heavy steel collar of the petrol pump as I filled the tank from empty earlier, which in this weather wasn't quite like holding a block of ice, but after 45 litres (10 gallons) my arm wanted to fall off at the elbow. I may or may not have earned a hat the size of my petrol tank, and it may not have been sodium hydroxide on a bare arm, but it was a step.

    As I said above I am not going to delve into an analysis of why my counter is set up the way it is, and how I hope to avoid a relapse when the inevitable two-week urges (probably strengthened by Christmas drinking and a likely weapons-grade stress/release cycle) hit. To sum up what was c.500 words in two short sentences: First, I want to keep this as clean as I can, flawless is the goal (free POS lyric: "nothing's better that aiming at nothing and hitting your mark"). Second, if the need for release gets too strong, make it a clean O (no or minimal fantasy, real life if possible) and just get it done - do not spend three consecutive nights edging and thinking it's OK because your counter is still going because you didn't O, if you are only storing up a chaser-induced PMO binge in a few days' time.

    Finally, I have also realised (with a hugely-appreciated nudge in the right direction on PM to which I will reply fully tomorrow) that in the long term, my current work / home setup is not sustainable. There are radical changes I hope to make which realistically will take months if not a year, and ultimately need to happen for professional reasons anyway - but will reinforce trying to quit this, and will be helped by trying to quit this (I prefer my circles virtuous where possible).

    There are less radical changes, which I began on my last reboot attempt (sorry, English, the week before last), and with the year winding down now can be exploited fully in January with a bit more conscious effort. I may be self-employed but I don't have to work from home. I might find the hot-desk office I have access to a big distraction during normal office hours (or at least some of my colleagues and their largely regurgitated breeze-shooting / fat-chewing), but there are things called iPods, and headphones, and the XX, and public transport, if it is a routine I need, which I have always really known to be the case.

    On that very point, instead of the customary meme, I am going to sign off with a link to a T-shirt I am going to buy:

    But this time, I will.

    That is all for now.

  15. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    Thanks for the reply RLB. What I was trying to say was, that is what happened to me last time (about 2 weeks ago now). I haven't edged at all since my last reset - intentional edging now means a reset of my counter.

    So, to clarify, what I meant was that 2 weeks ago, before my last relapse, I started edging, ended up doing it every night, and on the third night I then 'had a peek', then full blown relapse. What I'm questioning aloud is whether I would have been better off allowing myself to O to sensation only or minimal fantasy. I'm hoping I won't have to deal with this, but I may well do - I've tried to avoid this 'buildup' happening by making a reset happen if I 'M/edge at all' - and my goal is for it to stay this way until I at least beat 11 days, and I will see how I go from there.

    Maybe all of this is just sophistry - for now I don't want to over-think it (yeah I know, I already have...) and just get to 100% on my first goal. Really I'm just thinking aloud about what my next goal should be, and trying to learn from where I went wrong last time, but I will continue to absorb more journals and other people's thoughts before I get there.
  16. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    Haha, thanks. Basically, you put it a lot more clearly yourself (I was only really saying exactly this):

    Looks like we're on the same page, and I wish I had remembered you covered this in the first post of your journal which I encouraged you to write and commented on not even a week ago! Sorry man! :-[ :-[ :-[
  17. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 7

    Still trucking. Day in numbers:

    Full cold showers: 1
    Urges: 2? Maybe?
    Hours working: 4
    Hours spent on this forum: 3.5?
    Hours spent on Facebook: 0
    5-a-side games: 1 (points: 3, games left of the season: 1, wins required for promotion: 1)
    Girls asked out for a coffee on email: 1
    Girls who said 'not this week I am seeing friends every day, but how about after Christmas?': 1
    Percentage of inherent contradiction with getting in touch with 'oneitis': 6.3% (just want to increase the number of girls I hang out with, with no particular 'aim' or 'result' in mind)
    Yoga teachers' phone numbers supplied by friends from work: 1
    Hours until I have to wake up: 5.2


  18. newday323

    newday323 Member

    Congrats on hitting a week man! I read through all your entries and you have a really interesting story. I'm definitely gonna keep tabs on your journal. Anyway, stay strong..we're in this together!
  19. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 8

    Been really busy today. Some work, not really enough earlier, but did get up super early as promised to meet my good friend for breakfast. Early morning cold shower when still half asleep was really nasty but certainly woke me up - even if I then felt seriously fatigued most of the morning and afternoon. Then out for dinner with some people from work, which was more of a laugh than I was expecting it to be. However, before that, I did get one huge thing done, related to this (and thanks for your ever-reliable insights, RLB!):

    So I managed to get down to the beach in time for the last of proper daylight, set up with my tripod and scrawled (well, actually, very carefully drew) a message in the sand for her. I'm really pleased with the image so will now just have to get it printed, with a short note, and post it so it arrives just after Christmas. We will see.

    Thanks so much newday, it means a lot.

    Driving home from dinner with colleagues tonight, very late, had really bad urges. Not helped by smoking - my e-cig has gone faulty and the replacement parts I ordered, guaranteed delivery, did not show up, so 'giving in to that craving' has made the OTHER craving worse. I'm really hoping it's a mix of tiredness and dopamine spikes associated with the above, which will only be temporary. In any case it is fully 'mental' urges. No MW, no W period.

    In any case, I'm about to hit the sack and it's right fucking now that really counts. I'm so glad I checked in to just make sure I got this daily post done and keep my word, as the feedback has helped me silence the lizard. Dammit I am going to get a tick on that counter! Inch by inch!

    Which reminds me of this. I know it's a cliche, it's probably been posted on here thousands of times already, but I tell you, I remember watching it months ago and thinking 'whoa, awesome'. Maybe the emotional numbness is starting to go, because watching it again, just now, after having written about how part of me was considering throwing away those hard-won pixels on the blue bar, I started to feel tears come. So here it is:

    (I can't embed because I am on my phone and not sure how. The phone is not sleeping anywhere near my fucking bed tonight)

    Peace, brothers.

  20. BanquosGhost

    BanquosGhost Member

    DAY 9

    I came clean to my one true friend at work. I sent him my first journal post by email (after insisting he at least skim YBOP). He is an extremely perceptive guy and said about a month or so ago "I've always thought you have an issue regarding sex". We were chatting on iMessage earlier when masturbation came up somehow and I told him I was abstaining. Kind of went from there really. He's been hugely supportive over stuff in the past and he is with this as well (haven't spoken to him properly yet). So I'd always sort of meant to share the whole thing at some point, I think.

    No real urges today. Work pile-up pre Christmas continues to threaten. Progress on that front modest. I have now got 'the photo' printed, will be posting it Friday, I guess.

    The worst part of today has been going back into a 'day-counting' mentality, knowing my target is approaching. Hard to snap out of. Rebooting reminds me of watching a Test cricketer building an innings. I guess even though it is a small first target (for deliberate reasons) I may be approaching the 'nervous nineties'. What would Punter do? Trott? What would Dravid do? Or Amla? I know what they wouldn't do!

    [apologies if none of the above made any sense whatsoever!]

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