Starting again here... sort of

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by over_it, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    A bit of a quick backstory - I used to have a journal here but ended up deleting it, partly because I felt like I was reasonably well on top of my p problem. Depending on how you look at it that was true, perhaps to an extent. It was no longer really a regular feature of my life although I certainly had times when I went back to it. In truth since first recognising I had a problem to seriously trying to kick it (around 2013) I've never had more than about 3 months without p. I'm not too hung up on that as counting days loses significance quickly when you focus instead on the gains over time.

    Anyway skip to the present... my marriage fell apart last year and I am about to get divorced. Pretty crappy time but naively I thought it wouldn't be that stressful as I'm largely over the emotional stuff. Of course I was wrong! Since separating last year I have had weeks or even months without PMO but since October have struggled on and off, usually with isolated binges. I recently had just over a month completely P free but then have more frequent binges this month - weekly then two days in a row (yesterday and today) leading me to where I am now.

    Where am I now? Sick and tired, yet feeling like this is almost comfortably familiar. Actually I read an interesting book about addiction to unhappiness - the basic argument is that some of us, due to upbringing or whatever, end up confusing unhappiness with happiness and actually perpetuate situations,unwittingly, that keep as unhappy to maintain some kind of equilibrium. Sounds weird I know but I have begun to suspect this theory might have something in it.

    I have learned a lot from the last 4 or 5 years of trying to kick this thing for good - probably most usefully that my anxiety problem and my p problem were not really two separate things but closely related - I use p for stress relief. Not surprisingly it's terrible as a medicine, and having not really used p on a regular basis in recent years I am reminded everytime after a binge how shitty it can make you feel. With isolated binges I have found myself bouncing back easier. But it's the chaser that's getting me and it feels like it's gettting on top of me again now.

    I am trying not to be too disappointed - I know doing so is counterproductive. My brain is just tricking me into using my old method of dealing with stress. But I want to get back on track and find more productive ways to reduce stress. Writing this here is a first step and hopefully gives some small degree of accountability again. I know if I can get through the next week or so of cravings I'll be doing ok again. I have a lot of work to do on all things self, but right now I'm thinking staying offline in the evenings when tired will be the first goal. I'll check in here tomorrow.

    Persistance, not perfection - as someone said - that will get us through.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  2. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I think that while it's an interesting theory, it isn't relevant to healing. When we're unhappy, like when we engage in P, it is impossible (at least for me) to know which feelings are which. What usually happens is that I rationalize my behavior in favor of what keeps me stuck. The way forward is simple. No P, no M, and taking care of the mundane tasks in our lives, tasks which all addicts let fall by the wayside. It's great to pray, meditate, get counseling, but WE have to take action. Over time these simple steps will clear away the fog and you won't be wondering if you're confusing unhappiness with happiness, or vice versa.

    If you reread your first paragraph you write a lot of qualifiers. I've put them in bold.

    I'm not taking you to task, brother. It's all about support here. I was deeply involved in sex addiction and recognize rationalization when I see it. Beating this addiction means drawing stark lines, otherwise we exist in a terrible kind of no-man's land.

    I'm sorry to hear about your marriage breaking down. Were you and your wife having regular sex or had that fallen by the wayside? There is no doubt about it that P, M, fantasy, edging, and all other behaviors of a sexual nature outside of our marriage eventually kills it.

    Welcome back and I look forward to reading and sharing in your successful journey away from P.
    onesea likes this.
  3. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    I join with Saville in welcoming you in this fight
    over_it likes this.
  4. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    Hi Brother... very sorry to read about your marriage. I believe you know how good it feels to get free from PMO addiction.

    YBR and the guys here is such a great help in this battle. We are here for you friend.
    Boxer17 likes this.
  5. over_it

    over_it Active Member


    I take your point about the theory of being addicted to unhappiness. I think though my summary hardly did it justice. The authors of said book would disagree it is not relevant as they do have present strategies to help overcome unwanted behaviours, and the first step to doing that, they argue, is understanding the problem. Unfortunately while it resonated with me at the time of reading I have since forgotten the detail and obviously did not put in the work to test their method! And of course it is not specifically about P. I know what you are saying with not knowing which feelings are which, being in a fog. But I have been at this long enough now to learn to spot certain patterns of thoughts and feelings and cannot help but analyse the why of it.

    You're right, I did put a lot of qualifiers in there. Partly because I was ambivalent about how to rate my progress but also because I was anticipating how others might interpret what I was saying. The main point I was trying to make was that despite not properly giving P the flick I had made a lot of good progress and feel like I have slipped lately in comparison. I agree no P is the ideal - moderation doesn't work, I learnt that long ago. But to be honest I wasn't as bothered by the slips when it felt like I was moving forward and using P a lot less. I think Underdog has a good post about this, I just can't find it right now. Basically talking about the benefits of spreadsheets vs counting days.

    Anyway I guess in summary I have some good experience and understanding of how to get on top of this but clearly need to work on my approach, especially under times of stress.

    Regarding your last question, sex hadn't exactly fallen by the wayside but it wasn't great either in terms of frequency. Emotional intimacy was more what was lacking though, and the reasons for that were complicated. I agree P is a relationship killer, but in my case it wasn't as simple as that. My ex also had an addiction and I was doing quite well (by my own judgement) and wanting more intimacy in the last couple of years instead of turning to P, yet they were probably the worst years of the marriage. Not saying P didn't contribute, it always does in a negative sense. I felt I grew as a person when I started to manage the problem better.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  6. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    Thanks for the comments, it means a lot especially at the moment. Separation and divorce is a lonely business, especially after a long term relationship. It sounds naive but it took a while to realise I was simply struggling with something many people in cities everywhere (ironically) battle - loneliness. I think when you're still grieving the loss of your relationship that is the focus and that's the source of pain. Then you realise later you don't really miss that person anymore but you're just feeling terribly lonely. I am not an outgoing type and like many guys let some friendships slide a bit whilst married. I have joined a group on meetup though, which is helping feel more accepted. It has pushed me outside my comfort zone just enough to want to keep doing it.

    As for today I felt better than I expected to, having relapsed 3 times in a 7 day period (I don't think I've done that in years!) I remember times of brain fog all day and grey depression after a relapse... today I felt a pretty good connection with some co-workers and had time for a laugh. These things seem more important to me now than before, the little things you appreciate.

    Anyway I'm logging out now, thanks again guys.
  7. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    This is great and shows real healing. Breaking up is so traumatizing, but you're slowly getting yourself back on track. Bravo for that. :) Keep posting. As you know, there's lots of support here and of course you are contributing to the collective wisdom, as well.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    over_it likes this.
  8. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    Hi over_it,

    Please do come back to YBR and engage with us... look at other guys journals, share and comment on others... it all helps in this recovery. yes, appreciate the small things, celebrate them.

    Peace and blessings
  9. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    Thanks and will do!

    I am going to check in early today because I don't want to be online tonight - chaser effect and all that. I can feel those cravings creeping in today, but I am keeping busy and letting them pass.

    While I mentioned the negative side of separation and divorce, the positive is the possibilities it opens up. Mine was in many ways a difficult relationship and it feels like that burden has been lifted. There is a certain freedom that comes out of that, which is often scary but occasionally exciting. I think this perspective is improved with longer periods away from PMO (come to think of it, isn't everything?)
  10. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    If you don't mind me asking... how old are you? How long were you married? Sorry if those questions are not things you want to mention... I never intend to offend. I believe that away from PMO you have unlimited possibilities ... many women will be happy to meet a gentleman who is PMO free... a genuine and authentic man.

  11. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Hello, and welcome (although I think we already chatted over at my journal).

    Sorry to hear about your relationship break-up; no-one gets out of that unhurt, although when you look back on it all after five or 10 years you see it was for the best.

    Embrace the hurt that drives your PMO, forgive yourself, and learn to be happy, confident and free. You will attract people then.

    But for now, the question that set me moving on from white-knucking to working on myself: what are you frightened of? What are you hiding from when you are looking at porn?
  12. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    Hi. Actually I can see it was probably for the best already. As you said though, it still hurts. The reality was I was with someone who was never going to give everything - and that was by her admission too.

    Embracing hurt. yeah, that's tough... but it's a good approach. I think getting some counselling helped me start to do that last year.

    What I am frightened of/hiding from? That's a good question. I would say a lot of things as I tend to be an anxious type of person. I know there is a lot of avoidance of feelings and more going on when I choose to PMO. As time's gone on I've been able to see what's led to the relapses, sometimes even whilst they're happening.

    I think some of my common triggers are feeling alone or stressed, feeling indecisive or even just bored. But I've also had relapses in the past where I've actually been feeling fairly good and wasn't aware of the why... it was more like just the thought occurring that I could look at P.

    I do know what you mean by white-knuckling but I have known periods when I haven't felt like I needed to try that hard. I think then it just comes down to self sabotage or idle curiousity that leads me back after months of no PMO.
  13. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    I hope I'm not hijacking your thread, but I literally wrote out a list of my fears, I think it ran to about 10. Just my deep, irrational fears of being laughed at, ignored, etc.

    I also wrote out my good points, things I was proud of. It made it a less painful exercise.

    As for relapses. . . my biggest driver is self-pity, followed by fear. Like you, I've relapsed when things were going well just out of sheer terror of getting my act together and moving on with my life. Talk about getting attached to your own suffering!

    I can laugh about it now. You know, how fear of relapsing made me relapse. Then fear of succeeding made me relapse!

    It's like anything else, you just work through it until you've built the habit of success.
  14. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    Thanks, and no you are definitely not hijacking the thread... you make some really good points actually. I like the idea of writing out good points. I have on rare occasions thought about my good points but I don't think I have ever written them down so I will look to do that.

    Well this is about a week into my reboot and I am doing ok mood wise. Cravings are there occasionally but nothing I can't deal with, just feel very tired and stressed. I think some of that is just the aftermath of the divorce (which went as smoothly as possible) but still, there is always going to be an element of emotional weight to it. Probably part of that is, like you said getting my act together and moving on with my life.

    Luckily I have a good book on this - 'Wake Up & Change Your Life' by Andrew G Marshall which I started reading last year but I wasn't in the right headspace to finish. I think now is the time...
  15. fcjl8

    fcjl8 The only path for me

    Wishing you all the best in your journey to rediscover the real you! A great man with life to live.

  16. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    Thankyou, appreciate it!
  17. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    So things have just hit me this morning and I am struggling as I don't feel I have anyone to express my real feelings to, unedited. I have to admit there is still some part of my negative internal dialogue that says I should be doing fine or that I shouldn't be feeling this way, or that it's attention seeking - I'm calling bullshit on that. I come from a fairly emotionally repressed family so as far as that goes I am not too bad at expressing what I feel with people I can trust. Unfortunately they are very few and not available.

    Anyway I have been feeling worn out since yesterday at work and the feeling of vulnerability seems magnified today. I'm getting symptoms I have had on and off for a few years that I now recognise as triggered by stress - reflux, dizziness, fatigue. They are mild luckily, but seeing as I am easily drawn to focus on physical sensations I find it a bit offputting.

    Feeling worn out I was giving my dog a pat and just found myself sobbing - not something I'm unused to since separating but it has happened a lot less this year. It felt good to let it out, and it felt like an echo of the loss I experienced. When this happens sometimes my mind goes back to final time of 'her' walking out and me slumping to the floor in the kitchen. Right now everything seems subdued, quiet. I need to start getting ready for work but I just feel like sleeping for a year...

    I have to acknowledge that this has been tough, even though on the surface it's been an 'amicable' divorce. It certainly wasn't something I was happy about at the time of the split though, so it's probably why I feel like this now. The challenge is how to allow these feelings to be felt without numbing myself but also without wallowing in them. I don't want to become self-pitying, and so far I feel I haven't for the most part, at least since last year when I separated.
  18. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    I already feel a lot better just for writing that here, so I'm glad I journalled instead of burying it in my mind.
  19. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Posting here has kept me sane over my three-and-a-half-year voyage into my own dark places.

    We all hurt. Problem is, we are used to hiding it, to papering over the pain and denying we've got any emotions at all. We bury it, because we're frightened of looking weak. . . but things only get worse the deeper we hide them. In other words, sob. Let it out. Make peace with whatever emotions the end of your marriage stirs up. Forgive yourself, and let the past go.

    Some people here talk about meditation as if it's magic, but I've been doing it for years and it helps take the edges off. I'd recommend looking into that if you don't do it already, or some form of mindfulness.
  20. over_it

    over_it Active Member

    Good advice, and you are right about denying. I have come to terms with feelings to some degree but I suppose had underestimated the fact that healing is not always linear. I was just taken by surprise a bit today... but I feel pretty good tonight.

    I have tried a meditation group once but it wasn't really right for me at that time. It has been high on my self care list of things to look into for far too long so clearly I need to actually put the work in. I have read up a fair bit on mindfulness and think I have made some progress on that score but can do a lot more.

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