Starting a new Journey

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by ImonaJourney, Jun 30, 2022.

  1. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    I DID IT! I GOT TO DAY 30 WITH ZERO PMO!

    Oh, and what a day that was. lol.

    So, last May and June, I was under an incredibly high level of stress and as a result of that, I went on a PMO binge for about a week. There were multiple things happening in my world that were coming from all different directions and my brain was getting overloaded. The only thing I knew to do at the time was binge on porn. I thought I could get some type of relief from PMO. I felt like I went into a PMO-induced coma for a week. However, it was at that time that I began to realize just how badly I was treating myself and how it was also affecting my family and friends - my relationships. That's when I decided to stop PMO.

    Then, on Day 30, the day I wanted to celebrate a milestone in my recovery, I found it so ironic, that when I woke up and barely got through the first half of my cup of coffee, I was being hit with another episode of high-level stress. I felt like God was saying, "Okay, you have already experienced some extreme stress a month ago, things didn't turn out too well. However, you've been on your recovery journey for 30 days now and learned a lot. Let's see how you do this time."

    This time around, when I realized what was happening, I just had to sit back and let out a little chuckle. That's right. I laughed at what was going on. Please keep in mind that I was still under the weight of this stress that was causing my brain to explode on the inside, but I laughed. The stress put me in bed for a day and a half from pure exhaustion but, I DID NOT GIVE INTO ANY FORM OF PMO! I got through the challenge and most of the problems that were causing the stress began to just work themselves out.

    Here's what worked for me...

    A. First, and foremost, I had already created a Vision Plan that made up the foundation for my recovery and there are three parts to it:
    1. My relationship with Christ is more important than porn
    2. My relationship with my wife is more important than porn
    3. My relationship with myself is more important than porn
    B. I began reading and learning about my porn addiction and how it affected me mentally, physically, and spiritually.
    C. I began journaling and answering the Action Step questions on ******.
    D. I was able to connect with an incredible Accountability Partner with which we have a lot of similarities in regards to our recovery.
    E. One of the most important things I began to notice is:
    1. Because I didn't deal with anger, loneliness, boredom, bitterness, and resentment in a healthy and responsible manner, I fell into the death-spiral trap of porn.
    2. When I gave into porn I felt guilty, shameful, and embarrassed, I was less confident, and dealt with depression and high levels of anxiety.

    So, now that I'm 30 days out (actually, today when I'm writing this, I'm on Day 32), what is life like for me? I have less brain fog and I have clearer thoughts. I can look my wife in the eyes when having a conversation with her without feeling or being ashamed. I have been able to get out of the house more often to work on my part-time photography business. I feel more confident and that I am a little bit stronger to deal with life's hick-ups when they come my way. I've been able to look around me and be mindful of all that is happening around me, and enjoy it as much as I possibly can for the moment. I have been able to consistently read God's word and have my daily devotions. I'm learning a lot about myself through the devotions I read.

    My next goal is to get to Day 60 with Zero PMO. I will still continue to implement the strategies I mentioned above and possibly add some more. Looking at my calendar for the next couple of months, there are a lot of activities on it that could cause me a lot of stress. I'm going to do my best to deal with the stress item in a healthy manner and as much as I can, take a step back and take a break, realize everything will be okay, and if possible, just laugh.

    Day 32 - 7/27/2022 | By the Grace of God
     
  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Congratulations! Yea, it seems that it's really about being able to handle the high level of stress thrown at us without resorting to dysfunctional coping methods such as PMO binges. It's not at all easy to do but it really seems to be the only way to go about it. One thing that helps me choose to accept the stress without going to PMO or other dysfunctional coping mechanisms is the hope that growth will result, in time, from this and that not only will I be able to support the weight of the stress better but I will also slowly develop skills which will make it that there will be a lower level of stress (because a lot of stress is created by my own problems such as lack of assertiveness, not knowing how to communicate my needs well, etc.).

    Regarding the capacity to go through intense periods of stress, there seems at times to almost be an element of letting go into that stress and stop trying to fix it. As you say, some of that stuff sorts itself out. But key to really accepting it and letting go into it is staying consious, that is not resorting to the numbing agents such as the PMO binges.
     
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  3. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    I agree completely with what you shared. Thanks for the encouragement.
     
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  4. path-forward

    path-forward Active Member

    Congratulations! And love your feedback on approach! Agree that learning to handle stress and other triggers is key to maintaining sobriety.
    Also - reminding yourself of your commitment to yourself and others. And reading and learning more about the addiction and ways to cope with it.

    I am approaching 60 days no PM (and actually no PMO either due to PIED - will only O with my wife). And there are many similarities to our journey and approach - tho I don’t have an accountability partner yet.

    keep on pushing yourself to remain disciplined.

    and keep reminding yourself how bad you will feel if you relapse.

    congratulations again on your achievement!
     
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  5. Rudolf Geyse

    Rudolf Geyse Well-Known Member

    Hey @ImonaJourney, just saw your thread for the first time, so glad to hear you are in a good space.

    I read your first post in the thread and I believe the Christian worldview is anti-shame, guilt, etc. The way the Bible puts it, is that we are not accepted by God based on our performance in life, but rather based on Christ's performance in the life He lived on our behalf. This is amazingly freeing. If we believe in Jesus, if the cross and resurrection are real to us, then we are God's sons. When my son blows it in doing what he shouldn't do, or not doing what he should, I don't kick him out. I love him through that and do whatever I can to help him get back on the right track. So there is a "good" kind of guilt, or conviction that we need to do better, but I am totally free from feelings of shame, "bad" guilt, or thinking I'm not good enough. The point is, no-one is good enough, but Christ's work makes us good enough, quite apart from whatever I bring to the table (or don't bring). All I can bring is belief and thankfulness.

    If my acceptance was based on my performance, I'd have no hope - I might perform well for a day but then I'd blow it the next day. Knowing that it's based on Christ's performance, I'm set free from always having to jump through hoops - but at the same time I'm so thankful for this freedom that I want to do better. There is this idea, which is preached a lot, that we are saved by "giving our lives to God". But Biblically I see that we are saved "by grace through faith" - just believing in the finished work of Christ, given freely to us. The right response to being saved is to give our lives to God. Therefore we don't want to give ourselves to what God says is unhelpful for us to flourish. Hence why we are applying ourselves to removing PMO.

    Anyway I hope I have communicated in a way that makes sense. This stuff was life-changing for me. All the best as you continue!
     
  6. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    Rudolf- I like what you have to say and I'm reminded of Romans 8:1 which says, "Therefore, there is no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus." I believe that Satan condemns us but Christ allows us to feel guilt about the sinful action(s) we have done so we can RUN to Him for forgiveness, Grace, and mercy. I also agree that "...on-one is good enough..." and again I am reminded of Phil 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in me/us will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus."

    Thanks for the good word.
     
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  7. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    I'd like to share something I've learned from a study on Isaiah 41:10 that I'm doing. This verse says, "Fear not, I am with you, be not troubled, I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." I'd like to focus on the last part of the verse, "...I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Jack Wellman writes this about the right hand, "...the right hand is symbolic of ruler-ship, authority, sovereignty, blessing, and strength." The mental picture I get when thinking about the "right hand" is when we greet one another, we shake with our right hands. When we close a business deal, we usually shake each other's right hand. Usually, when we shake hands, we look each other in the eyes. When we look each other in the eyes we convey a sense of confidence, respect, and agreement. In our current pandemic state of mind, we might switch up the hand-shake with a fist bump. Nonetheless, we are using an action with our right hand to support the other person.


    So, how do I/we apply that to this forum and support each other on our recovery journey? First, I intentionally, and purposefully, grab ahold of, I cling to, I grasp the right hand of God for His strength and help. I can't do this without Christ in my life. Secondly, I symbolically extend my right hand to whoever would like to take it within this group. Many of you have already reached out to support me with kind words of encouragement and I'd like to do the same.


    Day 33 - 7/28/2022 Zero PMO | By the Grace of God
     
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  8. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    Okay - I need some help. I currently have the ****** app on my phone and I've been going through several of the lessons they have so I can better understand my PMO addiction. Today's lesson is a really hard one for me and I'd some encouragement on either side of this issue.

    Today's lesson focused on telling my wife of my addiction and I am severely scared out of my pants to do this. Right now we are in the midst of a full-blown kitchen & dining room remodel so we can sell our house in a couple of months. We are also getting new carpet for 4 rooms in the house. To top it off, we are building a brand new house out on a family farm. My wife works full time and I stay home, because I'm on Social Security Disability, and try my best to take care of all the contractors, start packing for the move, figure out what goes in the garage sale, is thrown out, or going to Goodwill. We are both stressed to the max.

    I feel the need to tell my wife because I want to stop living a lie. I'm really tired of waking up every morning, looking her in the eyes to tell her to have a good day at work but we can't talk about this problem I have. Also, know that over the past 10 years I've been in and out of doctor's offices, counseling offices, and hospitals for various mental and physical problems. I finally feel like we are getting to a much better place in our relationship in spite of all the stressors mentioned above.

    I AM SCARED to tell her and I AM SCARED to keep it a secret.

    My biggest fears are:
    I'm afraid to tell my wife that I've relapsed
    I'm afraid of what it will do to our already stressed-out relationship. How much more stress will that put on my wife?
    I'm afraid of the questions she will ask and whether or not I would be able to answer them in a way that will encourage more communication between us.
    I'm afraid that she might think that since I relapsed then I will do it again and again down the road.
    I'm afraid she will think I do not value her or our marriage
    I'm afraid that if I tell her then there will absolutely no chance of ever being intimate again.
    I'm afraid that somehow our two boys will find out and they will think I'm some weird sex-crazed old man sitting in the corner binging on porn every chance I get.
    I'm afraid of what friends and family will say if they ever find out.
    I'm afraid of all the triggers/feelings that could come back to the surface and possibly cause me to relapse again.​

    So, yes, I'M SCARED!

    I'm open to thoughts and ideas. Just please be as kind as you can if you respond. This is a highly sensitive topic that I am trying to navigate.

    Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

    Day 40 - Zero PMO | By the Grace of God
     
  9. path-forward

    path-forward Active Member

    I think telling your wife or friends about your P addiction, as some therapists and books recommend, is an extremely personal and unique decision.

    And given the stress expressed in your last post, I don’t think this is the right time. As @Saville has said - let your positive and healthy behavior be a way to show your wife you are doing better.

    if you think there is reasonable probability, that she will act negatively - then IMO you are only hurting each other. And clearly you believe there’s a reasonable chance she will act negatively.

    You deserve a chance to get better! And it sounds like this will only take you backwards if you disclose it to her. You shouldn’t feel an obligation to literally follow any book, therapist or app.

    Try to stay strong and focus each day on one more day of abstinence. One day at a time.

    keep fighting my brother!
     
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  10. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    Thanks for the encouraging words path-forward. I really appreciate it. I guess I need to look at and focus on the good that has come out of my 40 days of zero pmo instead of what an app says. Sometimes i get so caught up in what something or someone says without giving it much thought. I just act on it. I think it's time to take a step back and just think about the good and let the past be the past. Thanks again.
     
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  11. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    40 days clean is wonderful, incredible, fabulous! You are already changing, my friend. When we stop using PMO as our drug of choice it opens us up. We become vulnerable and our emotions can swing like a pendulum. Add into that mix a renovation and an impending move and things can feel really hairy inside our old noggin. I love what @path-forward said: "You shouldn’t feel an obligation to literally follow any book, therapist or app." We are, each of us, an independent person and we can make our own choices in life, even if we don't perceive ourselves as an "expert."

    Your wife is stressed out and a sudden admission about your use of porn could throw her entirely off kilter - this would be bad for you. I've written extensively about why I think it is a bad idea for most men to confess their PMO use to their significant other. There is the odd woman who can handle such a thing, but most completely lose their shit. I have read accounts on this forum, over and over again, about how someone's SO was devastated when hearing that her man was jerking off to P.

    Part of overcoming this addiction is recognizing that we have shirked responsibility toward ourselves. I said "ourselves" not others. Most men here have decent jobs, are good fathers and are engaged in their communities on some level. However, toward ourselves we have abdicated authority to be who we are. Being responsible for our own person means there are some things we have to suck up and keep to ourselves; one of those things is the PMO skeleton lurking in the closet.

    It would be WAY less traumatizing to your wife to tell her that you were a reformed alcoholic than to tell her you used to us PORN. Porn use carries a heavy stigma.

    We live in a confessional society. Everyone wants to confess and divulge everything. Learning to hold our own counsel can deepen our resilience and give guidance to how we should live our lives as men. You aren't a war criminal, are you? Do you sell crack on the side? I'm guessing the answer to those questions is: no!

    Keep doing what you're doing. It's good you're asking insightful questions, but this journey is all about you. It isn't about your wife, your children, your church, or your community.

    You really are making incredible strides. Be proud!
     
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  12. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    Saville - I can't thank you enough for the non-judgemental calm way you shared your thoughts with me. Yesterday I was in panic mode and today, reading your post has really helped me out. So, again, thank you.

    I really like what you said, "Part of overcoming this addiction is recognizing that we have shirked responsibility toward ourselves." That is so true and I can definitely identify with that. I think several years ago when I relapsed, I just gave up on myself because the stress was too great. There were a lot of things going on in my life that I either couldn't handle or didn't know how to handle and I just gave up being the real me. I abdicated my authority over to porn and the death spiral it is. Right now, I'm fighting every day to figure out who I am and what that means and looks like. I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the new me does not include porn. I can say that through this forum, journaling, my AP, and my daily devotions, I am beginning to figure out more and more who I am. Some days are better than others and vis a versus, but I'm still moving forward on this journey.

    One last question if I might. When I read your replies to my posts, you always respond with great insight and wisdom and as I mentioned earlier, you are very non-judgemental. All of these qualities are greatly appreciated. Is there somewhere I can read more of your story, or connect with you outside of this forum?

    Thank you again and hope you have a great weekend.
     
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  13. StarWarsFan

    StarWarsFan Member

    Generally speaking, I agree with both path-forward and Saville regarding your situation. I was one of the lucky ones whos wife did not freak out when I told her. Although, I didn't tell her right away, only after I had been clean for a few weeks and we were trying to get our sex life back (and me working again).

    I'll admit that when I first started posting here I didn't agree with Savilles approach at all, but as I've read more and more accounts of reactions I've definitely changed my stance on this. Not to say that all guys should never tell their SOs, but that in most cases they should keep it to themselves and let the self-improvements speak for themselves. My wife has definitely noticed a very positive change for the better in me since I've quit P and severely reduced MO. It's definitely a personal thing and each situation is different.
     
  14. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    You can find my journal here: Too Late to the Party? | Your Brain Rebalanced

    All the gruesome details of my struggle on in the many pages. I've changed some of my viewpoints since the early days, but writing in my journal, and the journals of others, helped me overcome the addiction and lead a better life.
     
  15. Kuhn

    Kuhn Member

    > I personally need to deal with the underlying problems. When I was lonely, I would get my phone out. When I was angry, I would get my phone out. When I was bitter or resentful at someone, I would get my phone out. The feeling or emotion had to happen first before the action of getting out my phone took place. And I was terrible at dealing with my feelings or emotions.

    I recognize this in myself as well. I stay fixated on my phone for hours sometimes because the alternative, coming to my senses and feeling a tinge of shame about my actions is just that little bit worse than continuing.
     
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  16. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    So, let me just share that the process works, guys. It really does. If you stick to a plan that you personalize to your own struggle and recovery, be consistent, and stay on the mark, it works.

    Case in point. for several years my wife and I have not been intimate in any way shape or form. Unfortunately, we sleep in separate bedrooms at the moment. The last few times we were intimate I had experienced a lot of pain down in my groin area. I went to a specialist and he said it was because of some of the medications I'm currently on. Since I couldn't be intimate with my wife, along with other stress-related things happening at the time, I gave into porn. I remember thinking I'll never have a chance to experience intimacy with my wife so why not just throw in the towel?

    Once I relapsed, I lost sight of who I was and how beautiful my wife was and is. We became more like roommates raising two teenage boys. Since I quit PMO, I'm on Day 43, my wife and I have begun to hold hands while taking walks, we joke with each other more, and we have started to give each other those impromptu kisses now and again. Even this past week, she has come into my bedroom to tell me good night and give me a kiss good night. I can't tell you what this does for me mentally as a man. My man-ego (lol, I just made that one up) is sky-rocketing and I'm getting back more self-confidence.

    Yesterday we were in our local Menard's picking out things for our kitchen remodel. We started joking around with each other and somehow, in our conversation, I asked jokingly, "So, do you think we will ever be at a place to fool around again?" She had a smile on her face and said, "Yeah, I think that's possible." I replied back, "I think I'll take that possible opportunity and run with it." We both laughed a little, took each other's hands, and squeezed a little tighter as we walked down the aisle.

    I think the spark is being re-ignited with my wife and I'm really excited to see where it takes us from here.

    Just to re-cap... yes, quitting PMO and the process that goes with it does work.

    Day 43 - 8/7/2022 | By the Grace of God
     
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  17. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    So pumped for you!
     
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  18. path-forward

    path-forward Active Member

    Great to hear @ImonaJourney! So happy for you! Keep your focus on positive healthy behaviors!
     
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  19. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    Kuhn- I get it, man. I fully understand where you are coming from. I did/do the same thing. Sometimes, dealing with people and all the emotions that come with it sucks. However, it's something we must do every day of our lives. Can I make the recommendation that you pick one underlying problem to start focusing on? Figure out why this problem is a "trigger" for you. Why is it so important a trigger? Can you begin to create a strategic plan on how to combat that problem/trigger so the next time it rears its ugly head you are better equipped to deal with it? If you are lonely, can you call a friend or better yet, go out on the town with some friends? If you're angry, what caused the anger in the first?

    These are steps that have helped me out in my journey to free myself from PMO. I have kept a journal, writing down what my triggers are and trying to create a plan I can implement when those triggers erupt. For me, it really helps to "see" in writing what my triggers are, what caused the trigger, and then how to handle the trigger successfully. Just a thought.

    You've got 33+ days behind you. That's a great accomplishment. Congrats on that. Keep moving forward. You can do this.
     
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  20. ImonaJourney

    ImonaJourney Member

    I am so thankful for this forum and all of the men that have responded to my posts and encouraged me along the way. I have been learning a lot through this journey. For example, back in June, I was under so much stress that I crashed and burned by going on a week-long PMO death spiraling binge. I allowed all the triggers that went with those stressful moments to control my actions. I gave up and gave in. I felt so weak and hopeless. I relinquished all responsibility to the stress and triggers that were going on at the time. I felt worthless.

    Starting next week, my wife and I will begin walking down a whole new path together. We will be taking our son back to college, we will start a full kitchen and dining room remodel. There will be a garage sale, new carpet in four rooms of our current house, putting our current house up for sale, and then getting ready to move into a brand new home we are building out in the middle of a corn field, all while networking for new clients for my photography business. I can't wait. lol

    Yes, this will be stressful. BUT... I can look back on some major stress-related things that happened over the summer and I can see that I made it through just fine. I'm going to take the new attitude that "I can do this!" The only reason I can make that statement confidently is because of the foundation I have been building:
    • My relationship with Christ is more important than porn
    • My relationship with my wife is more important than porn
    • My relationship with myself is more important than porn
    One of the most important things I will have to remember and implement is each day to focus on taking care of myself first. Get my cup of coffee, take time for my daily devotions, finish at least one lesson from ******, email my AP, and post here on Reboot and YourBrainonPorn. Then, and only then, can I begin to tackle the other things with both of our homes.

    If you're interested, get the YouVersion bible app and look for the Stormproof Men devotional. It's awesome and really brings to light some very powerful thoughts.


    Day 48 - Zero PMO | By the Grace of God
     
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