starting again

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

  1. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    And again better today. More temptations (n0t really urges) based on thumbnails that come up in my Youtube feed (am I so desperate for stimulation that that is enough to set me off?). Not much planned for today, so I'll have to be a bit more diligent.

    Telling on myself: My wife set the password on the router, and the DNS server set in the router blocks most of the porn stuff (as I've noted, no blocker is perfect, which is why it's not great to depend on them). The computer I'm typing this on, however, uses an internal system to choose the DNS. So I can circumvent the blocked DNS in the router. (I think I'd forgotten about that until a day or two ago.) I set the DNS setting in this computer to the porn-blocker DNS, so that I'd have to take an extra step before I actually could get to a porn site. But now that I've told on myself here, I think I'm a little less likely to do so. In any case, not today.

    Just remembered: I have a sewing project to do, and today would be a good day to do it. Will get the stuff out after my wife leaves for work in about ten minutes.

    Now it's time to check in with recovery partner.
    mailboxsam and path-forward like this.
  2. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Weekend. Wife is home today. I'm planning 40+ miles on the bicycle with some of my club members. Not really having urges to porn today, although I am having some fantasies come up. I think that's normal (if a bit unseemly in a 68-year-old guy).

    Didn't do anything about the DNS in the computer as I wrote about yesterday. I don't want to think about that too much, as it will be a temptation.

    I don't feel like writing today, I'm doing this because I don't want to start missing days. I'll check back in tomorrow.
  3. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Yesterday, I got a call from my sister. Her husband has ascites, a condition caused by too many years of too much alcohol, where the renal system of the body shuts down and you don't urinate. The body fills up with fluid. The patient can suffocate if the pressure is not relieved, because the lungs have no room to expand. It's one of the uglier of the many ugly ways alcohol will kill you.

    I quit drinking and using street drugs about 40 years ago. I used porn for decades; I recently found that my first recovery began in 2017. I was abstinent for three years and relapsed; my second porn recovery is on my counter.

    There's not a good outcome for unchecked addiction. Porn won't cause the same disease sequelae that alcohol does, but what porn does to your relationships and your personhood is ugly, too.

    I hate what addiction does.
    mailboxsam likes this.
  4. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    As I wrote to my recovery partner, I'm having a temptation today, not as strong as an urge, but I will have to manage it. It's a slow day for me, so just being busy is not going to do it. It's time to use the tools I've been developing (and one of them is this journal).

    As for the brother-in-law's ascites: I'm not as bothered by it as I think I ought to be. I'm not close to my sister, and this condition means that she's been hiding the extent of his drinking for years (ascites does not come on suddenly). But she needs support now, and I'll try to call frequently.

    In other news, things with my wife are good. One of the benefits of recovery for me has been an improvement in my marriage. I know that doesn't happen to everybody, but it has happened for me.

    I hope youse-all continue well.
  5. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I spoke too soon about yesterday's "temptation, not an urge"; it took over on a short bike ride, and wound up affecting my focus for hours. What a pain.

    I think that I had the idea, with five months abstinent, that I could do recovery on autopilot. I guess that's not the case.

    So back to the disciplines: writing here, writing to the recovery partner. I'll do the SMART Recovery meeting today (that didn't work out last week; I'm sure it will be better today, but I'll check). I've also got a chore to manage today; being busy, and doing something for somebody else, will help.

    Back to work. I hope youse continue well.
    path-forward and mailboxsam like this.
  6. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    More on that urge from a couple days ago: I got an idea that was a fantasy, and I built on that fantasy for an hour, thinking, "What's the harm? I'm not going to act on it!" But that's what got me so tempted/ I need to remember that I don't have a great history of controlling these things. And allowing these thoughts room and time to flourish will have difficult consequences.

    I'm not the brightest guy you ever met.

    In other news, I did my SMART Recovery meeting yesterday, and I did my writing, and things are better. And here's hoping I learn from my hard experience.

    More chores today. Also, wife is off for the next few days; that will help.

    I hope youse continue well.
  7. Montesquieu

    Montesquieu Member

    I’m the same way. I find that it’s much easier for me to refrain from fantasizing/thinking about sex *at all* except when I’m with my wife. I would have thought that this would make recovery much more difficult but it’s actually much easier this way for me. If I allow myself to fantasize for any significant amount of time, it tends to ultimately lead to porn, even if it isn’t immediate.
    mailboxsam likes this.
  8. DBA

    DBA Active Member

    As Sufficio said, we all have our different ways of trying to beat porn, and we certainly can't tell others how to do it.
    We need to work out our own ways, things that work for us.
    mailboxsam and path-forward like this.
  9. Montesquieu

    Montesquieu Member

    In case that was a response to my comment, I wasn’t suggesting that everyone has to approach it the same way I do. I was essentially agreeing with what I took sufficio’s point to be—that it can be challenging (and for some of us impossible) to allow much leeway when it comes to fantasy, etc. That’s the approach that has worked best for me but certainly if others can be more lenient and stick with their goals, then that’s certainly great.
    mailboxsam likes this.
  10. DBA

    DBA Active Member

    Hi Montesquieu,

    Forgive me if I got your post wrong and didn't see that it was in response to what Sufficio had said. I'm a loud mouth,
    and say too much.
    Montesquieu and mailboxsam like this.
  11. Montesquieu

    Montesquieu Member

    No worries, @DBA! I understand.
  12. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    So I see there are others who have had the issue with fantasy. Each of us is going to find his/her own way; I'm not going to restrict fantasy to my wife, although I am going to have to govern it better than I did the other day.

    As far as porn addiction, things continue better. I've returned to a routine of disciplines, which seem to be helping, and I have people to get support from, both online and IRL. I do a daily email with a guy here in Central Jersey, and after seeing each other in person a couple of nights ago, we missed the email. I was all set to start the conversation again, when I saw there was one from him in my inbox. It's good to know that he finds the conversation enjoyable or beneficial, or something, enough to keep it going; I'd hate to think I was a burden. But I remember from my earlier recovery, and from my substance-abuse recovery, that being connected with people was beneficial for everybody. I don't know why I thought it might be different here.

    It's going to be a busy morning, and then a do-nothing afternoon, and then a busy evening. Life goes that way.

    I hope youse continue well.
    mailboxsam and path-forward like this.
  13. DBA

    DBA Active Member

    We should never think we are a burden. That way we don't ask for help because we think we don't deserve it. We need to recognise that
    we do need to rely on others, in person if possible, and if not online.
    -Luke-, sufficio and path-forward like this.
  14. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    In addition to this journal and the recovery partner correspondence, I have another discipline that I've been less consistent on: I write a list of things for which I'm grateful, and a list of things I want to focus on, or have to get done for the day. I haven't done it for almost a month. I'm getting back to it today. I do it as a two-column table in a word-processing program, but I'll do two bulleted lists here to show how I do it, and then copy it over. For grateful:
    • Fun day trip with my wife yesterday;
    • Other volunteers at the bike exchange were I work cooperated, and arranged to get many donation bikes (and I may be able to pass the manager task on to one or more of them!!);
    • PITA acquaintance, who insists on everything her way, did all the hard work in arranging for something for her party that I have to pick up; now I have only to pick up and pay for it;
    • Expect to see friends and get two good bike rides in over the next couple of days.
    For what I have to do today:
    • What will fidelity to my wife look like today?
    • How will I enjoy recovery today?
    • Get to ride.
    • Boil eggs.
    • Eat more healthily than yesterday!
    (Of the "what I have to do": the first two carry forward every day; the first because I never wanted to admit that porn was infidelity, and this keeps it in front of my nose; the second because a person with experience of both counseling and addiction recovery pointed out that those people recover who learn to enjoy recovery. And the last item is because on a day trip with my wife yesterday, I ate a lot of stuff that was delicious, but if I keep eating like that, I'll get sick, in one way or another.)

    I hope youse continue well.
  15. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    My wife has been off work for a few days, and has been keeping me busy. I'm tired, but that's OK; there are worse things.

    Not much going on today; this report is just about checking in and keeping to the practice. From here, I'll go to the gratitude/focus list that I mentioned in the last posrt.

    I hope youse continue well.
    path-forward likes this.
  16. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    Great work @sufficio ! Inspiring to many including me!

    Keep it going!
  17. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I hope so, but that's not the reason I keep doing this. The one whom I need to inspire is me.

    And that's the plan, because when I didn't keep it going, I had to start again. That was bad. I remember the days and weeks around the beginning of this recovery, and I remember the shame, the anxiety over whether I would lose my wife, the depression. I came closer to suicide than I ever had.

    Today is good. I have a job to do later, and my wife is around, taking a few days off. For today, I remember where I was; I have a plan for what I need to do.

    It's easy to slip back, though, in little increments. I see in @path-forward 's signature, he has a reference to "no p peeking". That's a good reminder, and it makes me think of some of the things that led to my relapse. It's not BANG, and you're on the porn sites again. It's lingering over ads in the feed, and then over to "innocent" images, and then "This won't hurt; I can do a little". That last sentence was one I told myself all the way into several-times-a-day relapsing last time.

    I hope your experiences are less dramatic and painful that mine.
  18. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Late start today.

    Over the weekend, my wife and I exercised one of the privileges attendant to our marriage license (ahem!). Since then, I've been having temptations; again, not as strong as urges, but temptations nonetheless. One of the other sites I was on used to refer to this as the "chaser effect". I'm not planning to do anything about it, and I'm writing about it here (and will write to my recovery partner), and I attended my SMART Recovery meeting today, as part of my plan to manage this addiction.

    In other news, my mother, who has dementia so severe that she can no longer speak on the phone, is being moved from her memory care facility to another where she can be managed for her failing health and frequent falls. Our relationship was not great; she made no secret that she was often disappointed in me, and used guilt as a primary persuasion tool. Her birthday is around this time of year, and in a few weeks, my wife and I have plans to go up there. My wife is upset with how callous I am about my mother's care and the fact that my sister and I don't seem to care to visit; my wife thinks that no person should be forgotten like this. But my mother is barely a person at this point. And there are all those years of family trouble to consider.

    Today is not my best day.
  19. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Between the worry about my mother (my wife is more engaged with her than I, and it is understandable; my wife doesn't have the decades of dysfunction with my mother that I have) and some other thoughtlessness, there was stormy weather in the house yesterday, but it appears to have passed. After five days off, she is back at work, and I feel like I can get back to routine. (I know that she will be retired also in a few years, but I will deal with that when it happens.)

    I almost forgot the temptations I was having yesterday. I did not yield, and today is better. I did my SMART Recovery meeting, and I'm going to think about adding another.

    Chores today, and bike mechanics to do. On to the day.
    mailboxsam and path-forward like this.
  20. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I feel like I'm back on track today. No particular urges (temptations continue, but I think I've just got to put up with those, and realize that they will occur).

    I got a response from my recovery partner asking if remembering the consequences of the addiction is helpful in maintaining recovery. Well, yes; George Santayana in The Life of Reason (yes, I just looked it up): "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." When LaMont* starts his seductive talk about how glamorous and fun one more go-around with the PMO would be, he never talks about the ensuing repeats, and then loss of control, and then consequences: inability to be sexual with my wife, withdrawing from her and from everybody else, hours and hours of wasted time and unavailability. I've got to remember those on my own. That's an important part of recovery. The euphoric recall will be there; the memory of the consequences is a discipline that I have to maintain.

    *If you haven't read this journal all the way through, you may not know that LaMont is the personality I assigned to my addiction voice. Take the worst attributes of the used-car salesman, the drug dealer, the pick-up artist; dress him up in the loudest, tackiest clothes (that may need a wash); he's a little too loud and a little too close, smells bad, and is bursting with half-baked ideas that are bound to get us in trouble. He's never got anything good in mind, but he also never gives up.

    I hope youse continue well.

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