starting again

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

  1. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Wow, that's interesting. What is your general approach in dealing with LaMont? Ignore him or confront him?
  2. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    It depends on the situation, and on my condition at the time. Sometimes, I can just admit that "sometimes I'm gonna get tempted; that's just the way it is" and move on. Sometimes, LaMont is really loud and insistent, and at those times, I have to remember what following him got me: I was unfaithful to my wife with porn; we had severe marital problems and I came closer to divorce than I had ever been with my wife (I've been through divorce once, and it's nowhere near as much fun as it sounds); we had to go to counseling and rebuild our marriage. I also came closer to suicide than I ever had (I have an anxiety disorder for decades, and sometimes I have had pretty serious suicidal thoughts, but porn actually brought me to a suicidal gesture). Remembering that stuff helps me get past it.

    This just came up recently in my correspondence with my recovery partner. I don't believe in these magical convergences, but it is an intriguing coincidence that managing the urges by thinking of the consequences has come up in two separate-but-related contexts.

    Thanks for the question. I hope you continue well.
  3. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Thanks for explaining and sharing. Yeah, porn can wear a face of being your friend, but it will always stand between a man and a healthy connection with others. Not only between 2 people in a romantic relationship, but in between people in general. I think that connectedness is is the opposite of porn consumption. And porn consumption blocks the connection with others, but connection with others is also the best medicine against porn addiction.
    mailboxsam likes this.
  4. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    The first part of that is certainly true. I need to think about whether connection with others is the best way of managing the porn addiction. It may be true; I've made references in this journal to my wife's old coworker's contention that the people who do the best in addiction recovery are those who learn to enjoy it, and it may be that connection is related to enjoying recovery.

    Mostly a good day so far. Got out for 50+ miles on the bicycle with three of my similarly-aged-and-retired friends, and my wife, although she's heading to a movie this afternoon, is demanding a date this weekend, which is a good sign - if she were disgusted or fed up with me, she'd be demanding something other than a date.

    I hope youse continue well.
    Gil79 and Caz like this.
  5. mailboxsam

    mailboxsam Active Member

    Nice one - big ride!
  6. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Two more after! Sunday, 25 miles with a group of varying abilities, and today 29 miles with a group closer to my speed. I know we get readers from all over; here in the US today is Labor Day, and for this holiday, my club offers rides for members at many levels of ability.

    Cycling is one of the things I do that's NOT PMO, and I find it helpful, both frm the physical activity, and (because of the club) because it makes for social connections. If, as some have said, connection is a counter to addiction, then the cycling club is one of my counter-addiction strategies.

    In other news, little temptation today; Lamont appears to be quiet. This is a non-problem. Time to check in with recovery partner, who appears to be recovering from a recent illness.

    I hope youse continue well.
  7. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Wife goes back to work today. In the past, after her being home for a three-day weekend, this would have been a big opportunity; I would have spent hours on the computer, in probably two or three different episodes. If I tell on myself, perhaps I won't be tempted to engage in the behavior. There is a blocker on the router, to which she has the password (and I do not). But not blocker is perfect, and there are always workarounds; for example, I could simply get another router and put that in the system while she's away, then hide it before she returns, or I could get a device that uses the cell phone network for internet and bypasses the home wifi. And now that I've told on those, I won't do them, either.

    I don't know why I'm being so detailed in my descriptions today; perhaps I'm more tempted than I know, or perhaps I'm going to be ailing (I feel a bit cold this morning; was the air-conditioning setting a bit too energetic? My wife doesn't seem to be affected, which is why I have this vague concern about my health). I have a few chores to do today, and I plan to attend my SMART Recovery meeting. A facilitator who's been away all summer is returning, and I'll be happy to see her.

    Two packages which are supposed to be delivered today appear to be delayed. An annoyance.

    Time to check in again with recovery partner. I hope youse continue well.
  8. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    One of packages from yesterday arrived; one did not; more annoyance. It's just an annoyance, not a crisis. I need to remember that. There are procedures to follow if the package s lost (which it's not, officially, until tomorrow or so), and I want it; I don't need it.

    SMART Recovery meeting went well. I'm glad prior facilitator is back, not because of her facilitation skills, but just because I like her. There's another meeting on Thursdays that I haven't been going to because I can't get there on time, and it's a little out of the way, but a) it's not like they're going to dock me for coming in late, and 2. recovery is worth some effort.

    Extra credit if you noticed the intentional error in that sentence.

    Temptations today. I'm tired and cranky, haven't exercised yet (unusual for me), and today's going to be idle. I should clean up the workbench area and give the bike another polish, and I don't have any reason to avoid either today. Those tasks will make good distractions.

    Thanks to youse who are checking in. It helps to know that somebody is looking at this stuff. In fact, over the next few days, I'll go back and look at some of your stuff. Then on to recovery partner.

    I hope youse continue well.
    DBA, StarWarsFan and path-forward like this.
  9. Caz

    Caz Active Member

    Do the workout. Clean the bike rack. Stay busy and keep up the fight.
  10. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I didn't do the workout, but I did clean the bike. That was yesterday. I forgot to check in today (I usually do early morning), but I'm OK. I'll plan to get back on track for tomorrow morning.
    Caz likes this.
  11. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    OK, back on track for my early-morning check-ins. This has been an out-of-control week (or a little more): I've been eating all the junk, I missed a day of exercise (which has happened maybe five times this year; I do some kind of workout every day), and I didn't do the check-ins with this forum and my recovery partner yesterday (and, even though he's away, with little opportunity to get online, he did ask where I was!). But I hit three SMART Recovery meetings in three days this week. I'm not feeling temptations, but I also know that lack of discipline and letting go of positive habits and supports are NOT pillars of success.

    Have some chores to do today: a shopping trip (I'm retired; wife is not; better distribution of labor this way, even though she does almost all the cooking [deo gratias]). Also, my mother has been transferred to a nursing home; her falls and dementia were more than her memory care could manage. We have a long-term-care policy for her, and I've got to start the claims process; a thick packet for the claim arrived yesterday, and I want to scan all the pages, and then begin the process of completing them (my sister, who's actually power of attorney, has other fish to fry right now, so any help I can provide will be useful).

    My wife says the claims process won't be either as difficult, or as time-consuming, as I think it will be, and she's probably right, but I don't want the system to crash because of a stupid thing I might have done better, so I've got to focus on that. I hope, with these responsibilities, that temptations will be reduced.

    I expect I'll check in again tomorrow.
  12. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    No check-in yesterday due to an early call; my wife and I each did a ride at a charity ride in support of a local land trust, trying to limit development in a semi-rural area in Central NJ. The area is hilly, and the rides celebrate that, with many climbs and descents. I'm tired today, as a result. I'm trying to decide what to do with the day that is engaging and useful, and not too physically demanding.

    Not many temptations now. I expect more during some idle time early next week, but, as I wrote to my recovery partner, I have strategies in place to manage those. I just have to use them!

    I hope youse continue well.
    path-forward likes this.
  13. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Today is Monday: wife will be off to work today, and I'll have alone time. I'm already planning: early morning bike ride for exercise (before the rain comes), then some shopping and some household chores. I also have a job coming; I'll need to arrange for interview over next few days (probably remote, as much of the work will be remote).

    Later this week, we'll be going to visit my mother in the nursing home. She's got dementia, and may not remember me (almost certainly will not remember my wife). My relationship with my mother was difficult, so it might be better if she doesn't remember much. We will also see my sister and her husband. They've also been distant and secretive, and we've recently found out why: the husband, my brother-in-law, has had ascites, a disease associated with end-stage alcohol abuse. My sister would not tell me about any problems as serious as this. He's had medical problems in the past, about which they've also been mysterious, but these complaints are consistent with alcohol. I worked in alcohol and drug treatment, prevention, and education for decades, and their pride would never allow them to admit such a thing.

    It's a trip of about 400 miles. We'll be driving up there Wednesday and returning Sunday. I'm glad my wife is going; other than that, I'm mostly dreading this trip.

    That's the first time I've written about this trip. I need to let my recovery partner know. I think I've been putting off thinking about it.

    I don't feel PMO temptations about it at this point, but I'll be careful anyway.
    Caz likes this.
  14. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Counter says 180 days today. That's twice 90 days, of course, so a milestone, and a little less than 6 months (I count from March 15, the Ides of March, which wasn't my last PMO [a few days earlier], but the day I drove to the bridge to contemplate jumping off).

    My wife and I have a practice of discussing the state of the marriage on Monday nights. We used to call it "sex talk", then "state of the union"; now it's "marriage talk", because it's often not about sex. Last night, she asked about urges. I talked about my distinction between urges (longer lasting, more insistent) and temptations (instantaneous, easier to manage), and how I need to look out for them, and when I've come to expect them (of course, temptations and urges can come when unexpected, but there are times when I know I'm likely to have a temptation). We're doing OK.

    I'm retired, but I have a job interview in a few hours; a remote interview for remote work. An old boss who was very supportive needs a bailout, and I have the time, the skills, and the credentials, and I can limit the amount I of hours I have to work. My wife will leave for work in a few minutes, and then I'll get cleaned up so I don't look so doggy onscreen.

    I didn't get a response from the recovery partner today, which is unlike him. He's older than I, and has health problems, I hope he's OK. If he dies, or is unable to respond, I'll never know what happened to him. This confidentiality has its advantages, but also has costs.

    I hope youse continue well.
    path-forward and StarWarsFan like this.
  15. Caz

    Caz Active Member

    Congrats on the streak. That’s so encouraging. Wow, Un-retiring. A friend of mine did the same recently, went to help a non-profit. I’m at the mid of 2nd act but it’s something I’m already thinking about. if you do get the work would love to hear your thoughts on it after a few days/weeks.
  16. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    HAH! We're talking about seven hours a week to start, and that's gonna be enough - I'm not going back to real work. I've had enough, and it's time for newer ideas and younger brains anyway.

    In other news, I did my in-person SMART Recovery meeting yesterday, and I expect to be in an online one in 90 minutes or so. SMART works better for me that 12-step at this point in my life; I was able to use 12-step to recovery from drugs and alcohol in the 80's, but I was able to believe stuff then, that I simply can't now. SMART is a better fit now.

    My wife and I are going to visit my sister and my family tomorrow. I expect it will be good to get away with my wife, but I don't look forward to seeing my family. I have chores to attend to today in preparation for the trip. We'll see.

    I'm not tempted or urging right now. I hope youse continue well.
  17. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    From a longish post to my recovery partner:

    We're up in Buffalo today. We go to visit my mother later. There's a certain amount of stress around that. My sister came to the place we're staying last night, and her latest report is that my mother is in bed, mostly disoriented (possibly due to medications). My wife's mother died a year ago, and my wife was one of her caretakers. My mother's condition is bringing back to my wife feelings around her own mother's death. It's complicated; we're trying hard to be careful to get along with each other.​

    We're also to go to dinner with my sister and her husband later. He's had ascites, a serious liver ailment, and I'm very surprised he's in any kind of condition to eat at a restaurant; I worked in substance abuse for decades, and my few ascites patients either died, or took weeks to recover. I'm nervous bout seeing him and his condition. My sister and he never told me about his drinking, which must have been heavy for years to have that kind of consequence, and I only saw them a few hours a year, so I didn't notice.​

    Before the dinner, we will visit my mother. I expect the visit to be brief. Nonetheless, I expect a difficult day.​

    I'm here with my wife, so any excuse to manage the difficulty of the day with PMO, or to tell myself that I deserve it after that awful experience, will be mitigated by her presence. I can't always depend on my wife's presence to deal with the addiction, but I'm not above using it when it's a factor.
  18. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    From another long post to my recovery partner:

    We went to see my mother yesterday. She on palliative care, which means the facility will manage pain, but will not engage in any measure to prolong her life. She had been combative earlier in the day, and was medicated with Ativan and morphine. I'm fairly sure she's not uncomfortable with that combination of medications. She looks old and tired. I hope she does not live much longer; I can't imagine she's happy as she is, although with her level of dementia, it's hard to tell what happy would mean. I doubt I'll see her again.​

    We also went out to dinner with my sister, my brother-in-law, and his brother and the brother's wife. My brother-in-law, with the ascites, is 60, but looks like an unhealthy 80-year-old. He has the heavy trunk and muscle-wasting of the arms and legs I associate with late-stage alcohol dependence. He looks sick. He didn't eat much, and there's little volume to his voice. We put the best face on it, and didn't address the change in his condition at dinner, but in the year since I saw him last, his deterioration is remarkable. I doubt I'll see him again, either.​

    It was a difficult day. Today should be better; my wife and I are going to a Highland Games re-creation locally before we head back home tomorrow. But I'm shaken by what I saw yesterday with my mother, and especially with the brother-in-law.​

    For today, my recovery is safe.
  19. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    It's about 2:50am as I write. I don't know if I'll get back to sleep, and we're doing the 7-or-8-hour-drive back home starting in a few hours. This has been a tough trip. I saw my brother-in-law again yesterday, with my sister. First, I don't think they see how much he's deteriorated, or they're choosing to avoid looking at that (probably more the latter, or a mix of the two). He's lost a lot of body fat, although his weight probably hasn't changed much, because the ascites makes him retain huge amounts of fluid in his torso and gut. We generally come here once a year, and I doubt we'll see him again.

    I didn't write about this in the previous entry, but his face has changed so. He looks so old. And when he smiles, it looks creepy. It's put me off any idea of porn or even in-person sex with my wife. I'm older than he is (although I'm in better shape), and I can't imagine anyone being interested in me if I looked like that. When I see women who are attractive... if they looked at me, would they get the same effect of creepiness, of a person so far gone, so facing death, and I don't even know it? It's disheartening.

    Seeing him (more so than seeing my mother) has also made me think of my own mortality. I don't know how much time I have left at 68 years old, but I want to make the most of what I have. It's not possible to only do stuff I enjoy (and it's irresponsible to my wife and the people around me). I need to think about how I want to spend my remaining time. I need to think about responsibilities, pleasures, and being a good person in the wider world.

    To bring it back to the purpose of this site, when I think of that, PMO isn't a good use of the time. For today, I think I'll be OK.
  20. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    All of that together must be really tough. You're dealing really well with it. Strength!
    sufficio, Caz and path-forward like this.

Share This Page