starting again

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by sufficio, Apr 1, 2023.

  1. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    This thing about enjoying recovery is really sticking with me. I just wrote to my recovery partner something along the lines of, "If PM is unremitting misery, and recovery is also unremitting misery, then what does recovery have to recommend it? At least with PM you get to orgasm!". So I'm looking for ways to enjoy my recovery life. I'm sure I'll be less tempted if I'm concentrating on the positive things I would lose, rather than just the avoidance of being in trouble. That's what it took to get me here, and into recovery generally, but fear of consequences alone won't keep me in recovery.

    So some of the things that recovery is bringing:
    • I've developed closer relationships with two of my friends. These guys are really important to me. Because I've been clear about how difficult times have been, each has reached out to me and told me how important our friendship is. That would not have happened had I not come into recovery.
    • My relationship with my wife is far better (well, DUH.). It's not just that I'm not in trouble with her; it's that we've been more playful and friendly. I can remember what is was like years ago, and why we married in the first place.
    • I'm also noticing other, real women, and some of them are noticing me. I'm gonna be 68 years old in a matter of days, and I'm no Chris Hemsworth (or whatever his name is), but some acquaintances have "renewed their acquaintanceship". It's pleasant. It's never going to be anything that my wife has to be concerned about; I am firm in my resolve of fidelity to her (and I renew that resolve regularly in my morning meditations), but it's pleasant, nonetheless. That may have been happening when I was into PM, but I never would have seen it because I was so blinded by the artificial images I kept exposing myself to -- and I'm pretty sure it WASN'T happening, because I'm sure I'm different when I'm active in PM.
    I remember hearing left-wing political figures saying words to the effect of, "If I can't dance in your revolution, then I'm not coming along." Well if I can't joke, play, and enjoy life in recovery, I'm not sure I want it.

    And, now I think of it, I think we have a responsibility to each other to show that recovery is enjoyable. If this thing is not attractive, then who's gonna stay here?
  2. Larry

    Larry Member

    Great to hear all of that @sufficio . Nice to hear about someone whose life is going well. Keep on truckin’.
    sufficio likes this.
  3. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I found the quote. It's more-or-less from Emma Goldman, and she never said it. What she said was:

    • One evening a cousin of Sasha, a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause.

      I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business, I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to became a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.” Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal. (Source)
    And if recovery isn't going to be a "beautiful, radiant thing"... then you can keep it.
    Mozenjo, path-forward and Saville like this.
  4. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    It's been a while.

    My wife and I went away for a few days on vacation. It was great. First, of course, we're getting along better now that I'm not stuck in the addiction, and (I'm sure related to that) we're generally having a much better time with each other. And then, we had sex a couple of times, and it was pretty good.

    I'm not cured, by any means, and I still need to keep my PMO recovery as a priority (it's SO EASY to get distracted by a sexy ad, for example), but it is good to get some of the benefits of recovery.

    Now it's back to real life. I have some things to do that I had to put off because we were away, and it's also time to look more into recovery meetings - I find they help to keep my motivation fresh.
  5. Larry

    Larry Member

    That's fantastic! You're doing great. Don't be too hard on yourself...most every man gets distracted by a sexy ad or a sexy woman. It's not going to set you back.
    path-forward and sufficio like this.
  6. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    First: The counter shows sixty days. Holy crap.

    But second: Over the weekend, my wife told me that she was grateful that I'd chosen her and our marriage over the addiction. Well, her mentioning that became something I'm grateful for. That will help me stay focused for today!

    I'd been doing a practice of listing things for which I was grateful, and things to focus on for the day. I've fallen off that, and it's time to get back to it.
  7. Larry

    Larry Member

    Wonderful! Cherish what you have.
    sufficio likes this.
  8. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I just wrote to my recovery partner, and it makes sense to post here: I just got a stupid temptation. Nothing dramatic; nothing urgent... I finished a few chores, and sat down with the computer, and thought, "You know, you could..."

    No. My wife and I just had a great couples-therapy session yesterday; we're getting along great (and both of those things are on my "gratitude list" for today - I write it out as part of a mindfulness practice); I'm going to an in-person recovery meeting in a couple of hours - PM is NOT what I want to be about.

    Thanks for giving me a place to dump this crap.
    path-forward likes this.
  9. Larry

    Larry Member

    You are doing wonderfully, my friend. It must feel good. I have tried to write gratitude lists, but find it very difficult. Not because there is nothing I am grateful for, just because when I am down I can find reasons why none of those things are important. But, of course, they are. Hang in there.
  10. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I find it's useful to admit I'm feeling down, and to say to myself, "Look, I don't feel grateful for this thing, but I know I should, so I'm going to list it anyway." I find it's important to do the discipline. The feelings will catch up later. We don't feel our way into right action; we act our way into right thinking and feeling.
    path-forward and Saville like this.
  11. Larry

    Larry Member

    That's surely good advice. I find it hard to do, but probably should make more of an effort. Thanks.
    sufficio likes this.
  12. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I just wrote this to @DBA , my recovery partner:

    It's about 5:20 am as I'm writing this. My wife and I had an argument about real estate and money last night. I didn't sleep well; I'm still worried and angry. I've really been tempted, saying "What's the use? Here I am putting in all this work on recovery, and we're going to be poor and break up anyway..."

    I'm being self-centered, and I'm being short-sighted about the argument. There are ways we can work things out, and PM is not going to help the matter at all.

    But I'm hurt that she isn't seeing my concerns, and how something I said in good faith a few months ago has been twisted. I can admit that I'm hurt without it becoming an excuse to relapse.​
  13. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    This is a very important insight. The "what's the use?" syndrome is the addict asserting itself and saying "I can make you feel better". Of course it won't. No problem is solved by relapsing.
    It's frustrating when our SO's don't accept responsibility for something we think they should. I was just in that situation a few days ago. But taking the high road, as difficult as it can be, pays off.
    path-forward, sufficio and Saville like this.
  14. Larry

    Larry Member

    That's a tough situation, @sufficio. I have been there--having a dispute or just being neglected by my wife. What the fuck, I say, why not just enjoy myself. I have given into that many times in the past. We're trying to get past that, though, and it can be a struggle. I am sure you and your wife will work it out and you will be glad that you didn't give in. We can do it!
    path-forward likes this.
  15. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Yeah, I know the name of that song...

    We did. She actually admitted she was wrong about part of it, too! And now we're back to getting along well.

    Thanks for your reply.
  16. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    In my last session with my individual therapist, he suggested I try SMART recovery, and especially to see if there were in-person meetings to attend. I went to one last week, which was small (three of us and a facilitator), but I really took to it; I'm planning to go again today.

    The SMART Recovery workbook arrived yesterday, and I started reading. Almost before I knew it, I was doing one of the exercises, and then I had done all the exercises in the first chapter (it was about maintaining motivation, which is a particular concern of mine on this journey). It's not a difficult read; I'll probably get to it again later today.

    My chemical-dependence recovery went mostly through the 12-Step programs, and one of the things that kept me from relapsing on substances was my fear that what had worked int he past would not work again, because I no longer had the beliefs that allowed me to depend on the 12-Step system. I have no objections to 12-Step, and no judgments about people who use those programs; I just don't think that they would work for me the same way they did in the past. SMART recovery speaks better to the place I am now in life.
    path-forward and Mozenjo like this.
  17. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    My wife and I set time every week for a marriage check-in, and her one concern tonight was that I wasn't keeping up my disciplines. I'd been thinking earlier in the day that recovery seems almost second-nature now, and I knows it's too early in my recovery for that. My wife and I ARE getting along; things are definitely better, and so on... but I know I could easily fall backwards, and, while I have decades of history in my chemical-dependency recovery, I only have weeks in my recovery from porn.

    So I'm coming back to post here; I'll make my SMART meeting tomorrow (and I'll be honest that I didn't do the assignment of the next chapter of the book that I set for myself), and I'll keep in at least daily touch with my recovery partner. I've got a therapist session in a week, and I want to be able to say that I'm continuing to maintain my disciplines and taking suggestions.

    In fact, I can wrap up this post, and do some work in the SMART recovery book right now, can't I?
    path-forward likes this.
  18. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Having temptations to look at fashion ads, lingeried ads, and such. Figured I'd post about it here.I'm not sleeping. Temptations aren't the end of the world, but they are a pain. I'll be OK, and there won't be a need to change my counter.
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  19. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I'm not sure it's porn-related, but I wanted to post about it. One of the ways my wife assessed the quality of my recovery the last time I recovered from porn addiction, was that I started noticing real women: that they were attractive, that they spoke to me, or whatever. She asked a few days ago if I was noticing real women this time... and I'm really not, from a sexual standpoint. Part of that is that I'm 68, and it's ever-present to me that I'm old, and the women to whom I might be attracted, would mostly find it weird, or scary, or icky, or humorous that I was attracted to them.

    The one woman I have noticed is a member of my club, and I've noticed her because it's clear she's noticed me: things come up in our conversation that make clear that she's actually listened to, and remembered, some of the things I've said; she's noticed some of my personal mannerisms, and so on. I find it flattering.

    It's not enough that I'm going to do anything about it (I'm not even going to discuss it with the woman in question), but it's not unpleasant.
  20. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    In the past few days, I've noticed a couple of women have flirted with me. It's pleasant, but it's started an urge. The urge is not overwhelming, or even particularly strong, but it's annoying, and not what I want to be about, so I'm posting about it here.

    One of the things I need to be honest about, is that the flirting likely wound not have happened if I were still up to my ass in PMO. I'm a different person (probably not radically different, but different enough), and whatever limited attraction I have is undoubtedly diminished by PMO. (And if not, I still wouldn't have noticed the attention: when I'm deep into porn, I don't pick up on subtle cues!)

    Better now. I'm glad to have this place to rant. For tomorrow, another SMART recovery meeting and a meeting with my therapist.

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