Self improvement and a life vision

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Fry2, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Hello Penis My Old Friend

    Hello Penis My Old Friend Well-Known Member

    Off topic but here's a book recommendation for you. Seveneves :) Really great hard sci-fi that includes lots of science about rocket trajectories and orbits, etc. ;)
  2. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    The other day I forgot my phone and then realized how much I use it to kill dead moments and to … yeah.. change my emotional state. I try to ask myself why do I need this right now. What am I avoiding. What may help in such cases is to do a mindfulness bodyscan. You close your eyes, take 3 minutes and then first you focus 1 minute on your body (what do I feel? Do I have tension somewhere, or pain, etc.), then 1 minute on your emotional state (what do I feel? Anxiety, joy, anger, etc.) and then 1 minute on your mind/ thoughts (do I have many thoughts, are they negative? or exited?). And after all that you ask yourself 'what do I really need right now?'. It find it really helpful sometimes. It just takes such little time and the result is often quite interesting. Maybe you can try it out next time you want to check out the stock markets. I should do that exercise more often again as well.....
  3. MarstonS

    MarstonS Walking the longest walk...

    Man you are good at using analogies :cool: That's another great one. Indeed I have been thinking the same..for many years now. Sometimes though, I also wonder if we perhaps think too much? Perhaps we should think less and instead use "focus"...learn how to direct our focus on the right things. But then again, what is the right things?...and so we're back to the thinking again. Damn! :D
  4. Hello Penis My Old Friend

    Hello Penis My Old Friend Well-Known Member

    Cool. Hope you like it. It's long though (800 pages) and the locations change quite a lot. It's a few hundred pages in when they first get into space, if I remember rightly. I recently recommended it to a colleague and he loved it.
  5. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Yes, definitely stop going there if this is what you're told. If it is good for us, then why are we all suffering?
  6. cjm

    cjm Well-Known Member

    ive had mixed experiences with therapists, in that some have said "oh its only porn everyone does it" and only one was familiar with, and sympathetic to the no porn movement, if you will.

    i guess it may be because, in terms of addictions that therapists often have to deal with, Porn is not so obviously damaging, at least in the physical sense. It's more of an insidious, subtle addiction.

    also, like you say - lots of guys seem to get by with it with no E problems, or much in the way of other problems either

    Maybe over use/ addiction to porn is really a symptom of some other deeper issue, maybe that's what your therapist is getting at? Might be worth thinking about a little anyway.
  7. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    I wouldn't say good since much of the industry is very wrong, but maybe they don't take any harm from it. But for people with addictive natures like me, it can only be detrimental.

    I've experienced this, too. It seems like something I simply need to endure before things get better. I'm getting some joy back, but I still feel empty some days. It's going to take time.
    While it's good to stay occupied, I think that rest is equally important. It's not much of a recovery if we end up getting burned out.

    I can't really comment on social life since I'm something of an urban hermit. But personally I'd prefer to have one friend with whom I have common interests, rather than many loose friends that are just there to fill out a contact list. That said, I'm comfortable on my own, and I don't particularly have a need for friends. At least not at this point, but it might change further down the reboot. I have not always been a lonewolf, after all.
    cjm likes this.
  8. cjm

    cjm Well-Known Member

    hey man, well my therapists take on my own baseline level of depression and emptiness was something like this: Being emotionally neglected as a child by parents and although looked after in a material sense, not being loved in a demonstrative sense, a child can absorb this feeling of "deadness" and carry it into adulthood as an almost default state. Im not saying this is the case for you, of course - its just something to think about. Maybe this depression is something to do with your addiction problems? I'm no therapist and I dont know you personally, just throwing it out there as something to think about :)

    Also im not encouraging blaming ones parents, they are after-all just human, and often damaged in their own way with their own baggage - but as a child we dont appreciate or realise that

    Ive seen this guy maybe 3 times now, but he's familiar with my story as I saw his colleague extensively in the past
    TheScriabin likes this.
  9. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Well-Known Member

    ^This default state can also be the state we feel most like our true selves, despite the intense pain. Imagine a month of living in Korea not speaking a word of the language.., The home sickness we might feel is a craving to reconnect with the stability we know. I think depression is similar. It can be such a fundamental part of our survival mechanisms, our solution to pain, if that makes sense? As an infant, if the alternative was to die, we chose the pain. But it is an unconscious process in children, and they are so positive they keep on going whatever is thrown at them by their parents, and only as adults does it start manifesting, as anxiety, depression etc. It is frightening because we often fail to appreciate that connection to our past because we don't see it, we just feel it. The pain is non-verbal. A scary movie is fun, safe fear, because we get the trick, but with trauma we don't always understand the connections and we freak out, rather than allowing feelings to just be.
    Pete McVries likes this.
  10. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Seize the day

    About the fatigue: did you try intermittent fasting? It is something that worked quite well for me in the past. Basically not eating between evening diner and next day lunch. Just a couple of days a week should already be beneficial. I also understand that you have a baby, and thus probably a lot of interrupted sleep. Can it be that this is the main reason?

    My therapist (also a woman) also told me that porn and masturbation is normal and that it can't be an addiction. However she could understand that I used it to cope with emotional discomfort. I think many therapist don't really have the capacity or education to do a critical in depth study on the matter themselves. For most of them it is not even worth it, because you're just one of many clients, and it is just their job. Why is it by the way that most of us rebooters end up with female therapists? If you can, I would look for a guy and explain the porn thing right away and see what he has to say about it.

    I can identify with a lot of things from your last post. Are you familiar with
    ? I found it so helpful, because it's a good free program to find the causes of your addictions, but especially to help you create a basis for recovery: what are you doing it for.

    There's also a lot of good stuff going on in your life. What may be helpful is to write down the things in your life which you're thankful for. I see more people doing that here on the board, e.g. 3 things every day...….
  11. cjm

    cjm Well-Known Member

    Yup. Id recommend a male therapist. In fact id only want a male therapist (now) personally but that could just be me :)
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
  12. ClimbXR

    ClimbXR Pending Deletion

    Agree with @cjm about male therapists. There are certain thing guys can discuss better with each other.

    Also, the fact that your current therapist has no clue what internet porn has done to the current generation shows she is way behind the times. It's a huge problem facing millenials and generation Z. In Europe there are entire clinics dedicated to this. As well as Israel.

    I'd say in the United States, things are a bit slower on that front unless you have access to top tier experts on the cutting edge of emotional health.
    cjm likes this.
  13. Thebeg

    Thebeg Well-Known Member

    This was also the case for my male therapist here in the Netherlands. Psychologists base their work on scientific research, and it will just take more time before the porn issue had received enough examination.
  14. ClimbXR

    ClimbXR Pending Deletion

    That is very true. I think in the next two decades, internet porn addiction will be treated as a serious mental illness. It took the community 30 years to realize video game addiction is serious. I've seen people wasted away by it.
  15. MarstonS

    MarstonS Walking the longest walk...

    Perhaps this is the first step...I don't know but I DO know that whenever we try to ressist an emotion we make it at least 5x stronger so by trying to learn to accept the "grey cloud" we at least prevent it from getting even bigger..., "ahh, there's that grey cloud again, don't really like it but that's ok. Hey cloud, I'll sit with you for a while and if you want to tell me something, I'll be listening" .....

    .ok that might have sounded a bit stupid but I'm being serious.

    And, I have said it before so you might perhaps be tired of it by now but...anyway, It is like I wrote your post myself. The escapism in form of work, yup, I do that....the grey cloud if I don't get any dopamine fixes, yup. I got it. It's not fun....But, we'll keep going. Some day we will look back at this and say, "man I'm glad I didn't give up"
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  16. Thebeg

    Thebeg Well-Known Member

    Hey Fry, good of you to check in. Sorry to hear you're in tougher waters right now, but good that you want to cancel the drugs order.
    I think this is an important part. Essentially the dopamine trigger has already started when you fantasize. I know it all too well, dwelling in the fantasy of a relapse. The dopamine is already hitting hard by then, so acting out is just sealing the deal.

    So I would say that when the heavy fantasies are there you're already sort of in the middle of the mental relapse. By then it's already almost impossible to turn back. And you see, that's the stupid part about it. Technically we haven't relapsed by that point, but because all the dopamine is telling us to go just one tiny step further, we tell ourselves "it's ok", until we truly get to the point where it doesn't matter anymore.

    Stay strong bro
  17. Intothewild89

    Intothewild89 Active Member

    What do you mean by orders? Are you physically purchasing something related to pmo? Dude I totally hear you about going from 0-200 in a matter of minutes. Two binges ago, I recall feeling great finally after 6 or 7 days and swearing to myself I'll NEVER go through that shit again because I hate porn so much. Literally within 2 hours I fucking relapsed for HOURS, even though I KNEW I would have to go through 4-7 entire days of feeling intense anxiety and migraines. My will power some how goes on bypass and nothing stops me. It's such a weird mode your body turns into.

    What has been your longest streak? You say you're having trouble lately each night. Do you think the daily relapses are causing your blunted willpower? That's just classic addiction process at work. If you're able to get some days and weeks under your belt, that willpower should start to strengthen. This is why I'm trying to block porn just long enough to get that willpower back. Keep on keeping on brother! You can do it.
  18. Intothewild89

    Intothewild89 Active Member

    Yup. This is why you can't even THINK about it. You have to change your actual thoughts AS SOON AS they surface. This is such an important part of sobriety, especially our addiction. It's all visual. You cannot let those visual images begin or you've already lost.
  19. staythecourse

    staythecourse Well-Known Member

    It might be time to check into rehab or get to a meeting.
  20. Fry2

    Fry2 Well-Known Member

    Addiction Relapse and Blood Sugar Dysregulation
    Christina Veselak, LMFT, CN

    Missing a meal or consuming a high sugar diet are primary relapse triggers for all recovering addicts.

    Research has clearly shown that low or dropping blood sugar levels lead to cravings, and ultimately, to relapse, in clients with both process and chemical addictions. This blunt fact is substantiated by many years of clinical experience, in my practice and in those of many other chemical dependency clinicians around the world.

    Symptoms of low blood sugar, caused by a combination of adrenalin release and a glucose-starved brain, include anxiety, shaking, sweating, heart pounding, and emotional reactivity such as irritability, anger and tears, “brain fog,” fatigue, and insomnia. These symptoms are also in people with “dry drunk syndrome” and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Fortunately, restoring blood sugar levels through appropriate food and the use of the amino acid l-glutamine often completely eliminates these symptoms.

    Clinical experience also confirms that women addicts are much more likely to relapse during the last phase of their monthly menstrual cycle. As estrogen (and progesterone) levels drop towards day one of the cycle, blood sugar becomes more dysregulated, exaggerating all the above symptoms (a drop in serotonin levels, also due to dropping estrogen, often needs to be addressed as well).

    How could sugar and low blood glucose exert such strong, negative effects on addiction recovery efforts? The brain absolutely requires glucose to function. Although the brain’s mass constitutes only 2 percent of an average body’s weight, the cerebrum utilizes 20 percent of the carbohydrates that are consumed in any 24-hour period. Moreover, the brain does not have the capacity to metabolize its own source of energy, and can store very limited amounts of sugar. Therefore, the brain requires a steady supply of fuel.

    Blood sugar level balancing is a metabolic process that is tightly controlled in the body. When we eat food, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which passes into the blood stream and raises blood sugar levels in varying amounts of time, as noted on the glycemic index.

    The glycemic index lists how long it takes for the carbohydrates in a particular food to be absorbed into the bloodstream, compared to the amount of time necessary to absorb white, refined table sugar. Sugar is 100 (the highest rank) on the glycemic index, a cup of cornflakes is 84, and apples are 35. Foods with lower scores are absorbed more slowly, and produce smoother changes in blood sugar levels.

    Protein, fiber, and fats generally slow down digestion, and reduce the rate of glucose absorption. Refined sugars and starches typically rank high on the glycemic chart. They raise blood sugar levels rapidly, as does tobacco. Surprisingly, pure alcohol is 0 on the glycemic index and actually lowers blood sugar levels through a variety of mechanisms.

    When we eat, sugar is released into the blood stream and the pancreas releases small amounts of insulin. Insulin attaches to the sugar molecules, escorts them to nearby tissue cells, and metabolically “asks” the cells to store the sugar. In non-diabetic people, the cells readily accept the sugar molecule, and store it for future need. In normal circumstances circulating blood sugar levels then drift downward, and insulin goes away.

    When blood sugar levels dip close to baseline, the brain signals us that it is again time to eat, and people find a source of food by which to raise blood sugar levels. This cycle usually takes about four hours, and blood sugar concentration is supposed to rise and fall in a gentle wave throughout the day.

    However, at least 80% (if not more) of all alcoholics, premenstrual women, those who habitually eat large amounts of sugar/refined carbohydrates, and those from alcoholic families, have dysregulated blood sugar metabolism, termed reactive hypoglycemia. In these cases, the pancreas appears to release excessive amounts of insulin, leading to a precipitous drop in blood sugar which then may fall below normal baseline.

    Two very significant metabolic changes happen when blood sugar is below baseline. First, the adrenal glands release adrenalin in an attempt to slow down this precipitous drop by stimulating the release of some stored sugar back into the bloodstream. Second, as the drop in blood sugar continues, the now starving and unbalanced brain sends out urgent signals for the body to do whatever it takes to bring blood sugar levels back into balance.

    This message can easily translate into a powerful craving for quick energy sources such as alcohol or sugar, but this signal just as easily could lead to a craving for any drug or addictive behavior of choice, since an addict’s brain has previously been conditioned to look to its drug of choice to restore comfort and equilibrium. Thus, the alcoholic craves alcohol, the sugar addict craves sugar, the smoker craves a cigarette, and the sex addict craves sex. This relapse-inducing craving especially occurs if a meal is missed, and simply too much time has passed since the brain has last been fed.

    What, one may ask, does sex for the sex-addict have to do with low blood sugar, other than a conditioned attempt to restore equilibrium? There are several answers. The first answer has to do with access to the brain’s problem-solving skills. When adrenalin is released, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. One result of this activation is less blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, the cognitive center where plans are made, skills accessed, consequences assessed, and instinctive fight/flight reactions are triggered.

    Thus, with low blood sugar, a powerful physiologic trigger for use and relapse is encountered. An addict may be working a strong recovery program, and has learned new and helpful skills. However, at that “hypoglycemic moment,” access to those skills is physiologically blocked, and the conditioned response of reaching for the drug behavior of choice is activated to force a release of stress-managing neurotransmitters.

    Furthermore, researchers Matthew Gailliot and Roy Baumeister have determined that “self-control relies on some sort of limited energy source.” Their research

    “…suggests that blood glucose is one important part of the energy source of self-control. Acts of self-control deplete relatively large amounts of glucose. Self-control failures are more likely when glucose is low, or cannot be mobilized effectively to the brain (i.e., when insulin is low or cells are insensitive). Restoring glucose to a sufficient level typically improves self-control. Numerous self-control behaviors fit this pattern, including controlling attention, regulating emotions, quitting smoking, coping with stress, resisting impulsivity, and refraining from criminal and aggressive behavior. Alcohol reduces glucose throughout the brain and body, and likewise impairs many forms of self-control. Furthermore, self-control failure is most likely during times of the day when glucose is used least effectively. Self-control thus appears highly susceptible to glucose.” (emphasis added)

    This situation causes more problems. Coping skills are blocked by adrenalin, while self-control is diminished by a lack of energy and blood flow to the brain. So, a stressor that a well-fed addict could successfully cope with, without relapsing, instead leads to a “slip” or relapse, in a person with low or dropping blood sugar. Even more disturbing is the reality that an external stressor is not even needed, for low or dropping blood sugar to lead to cravings, relapse and addictive use.

    Traditionally, in treatment and Twelve Step circles, sugar is touted as the cure for cravings. Candy, chocolate and sweetened coffee abound at recovery meetings. Most residential programs make no effort to limit the amount of coffee, sugar, and refined carbohydrates that are served to their clients. It is common for many people to gain weight after quitting their drug of choice. We all know, for example, that for people who are quitting nicotine their greatest fear is gaining weight. What is actually happening in these situations? Is sugar truly useful for the recovering addict or is the real case just the opposite?

    How do we evaluate the AA sponsor’s recommendation that his sponsee should carry a bag of candy for relapse prevention? We believe that this approach actually encourages the switching of addiction from the drug/behavior of choice to sugar. But, researchers have created alcoholic rats by feeding normal rats high amounts of sugar!

    Sugar itself is an addictive and dangerous substance. Increased cravings and other physical withdrawal symptoms are common when people swear off sweets. Sugar has been shown to fire and deplete the same neurochemicals as do cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy. As we have seen above, a major problem with this “quick fix” approach is the fact that after eating sugar blood glucose levels are likely to rise too high and too fast, leading to dramatic swings (the “yo-yo effect”) all day. These unpredictable mood and behavior swings can be literally crazy-making and strongly induce relapse.

    Furthermore, recent research strongly implicates sugar as a major suspect in the etiology of many cancers. Sugar obviously contributes to obesity and diabetes. Finally, switching addictions may support abstinence from the primary substance, but does not lead to true recovery. People who become “sugarholics” are still addicts.

    Therefore, our recommendation is to teach clients how to manage their own blood sugar on a daily basis. Such management is actually quite simple to do, although it might require focus and periodic troubleshooting. We recommend that the day start with a breakfast high in protein and moderate in complex carbohydrates, with protein snacks between meals every four hours. There are many excellent books and articles available which discuss how to make these dietary changes in a healthy and enjoyable way.

    Most women who relapse do so within the ten days before bleeding starts. In general, premenstrual women should eat food high in protein every three hours to maintain blood sugar stability. For people who just forget to eat, seem to be too busy to eat, or have trouble finding access to appropriate food (and potato chips definitely falls into the “inappropriate” category!) we recommend carrying better quality protein bars (whose sugar content is no higher than their protein content).

    It is advisable to eat protein and complex carbohydrates every three or four hours (and again if you become wide awake in the middle of the night) and limit caffeine to no more than two cups per day. For snacks: a cup of Greek yogurt, half an apple and a stick of string cheese, unsweetened peanut butter on celery or carrots, a handful of walnuts or almonds, half a meat sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole grain bread, or a higher-quality protein bar (where the grams of sugar listed are no more than the grams of protein).

    Placing 1,000 mg of l-glutamine under the tongue for fast absorption can be utilized by the brain as fuel. L-glutamine can eliminate a craving in seconds. It is also a GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) precursor, so l-glutamine also reduces anxiety-both by raising GABA and by stopping the adrenalin response to hypoglycemia. Also, people with unstable blood sugar tend to abruptly wake up in the middle of the night due to an adrenalin surge, and find it impossible to go back to sleep because they feel so alert. Eating a small snack, or using l-glutamine at this time helps to decrease circulating adrenalin and puts people back to sleep easily.

    It is often very hard for people, especially those in recovery, to change their unhealthy ways of eating. Tools that we have found to be useful in building motivation and awareness include:

    A food/mood/craving diary

    A list of hypoglycemia symptoms which clients check off (link)

    A 6-hour glucose tolerance test

    Using the glycemic index as a food ranking guide

    Asking clients who have had a slip into addictive behavior to recall the last time they ate, and what they ate, before the slip occurred

    Taking time in each session to find out what a patient is doing to keep his or her blood sugar in balance.

    Feeding oneself in a healthy, pro-recovery way, is an act of self-care that is recovery- and life-sustaining. We encourage clinicians to try these approaches themselves and with their clients and track the outcomes.

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