starting again

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

  1. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Thanks for the support, and thanks, also, to the folks that occasionally drop in.

    Slept in my own bed last night. My wife goes to work today. She heard yesterday that a second of her three sisters has a breast abnormality, so now she's worried about breast cancer, and is planning to go for a mammogram. She needs some support now.

    With all this going on, it would be easy to find a way around the filter and PMO. But that's not what I need to do; in fact, it's what I need NOT to do. That won't help my wife, or improve my brother-in-law's condition, or make my mother's death easier.

    I've got some getting-back-to-normal chores to do today, and a probably bike mechanic job. And it's time I memorized the four points of SMART recovery. Those will be my tasks today.

    I called my sister yesterday to tell her we were safely home, and she shooed me off the phone quickly. I think she compares my condition to hers, and she's affected: perhaps sad, perhaps worried, perhaps jealous. We're not close. I had thought what is going on would bring us closer, but it does not appear to be the case, and I can't improve the relationship single-handedly. I will have to let it be.

    I hope youse continue well.
    StarWarsFan, path-forward and Gil79 like this.
  2. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I dropped my discipline of writing in this journal yesterday; I'm back to it today.

    I wrote this to my recovery partner:

    I've written about my mother's and my brother's condition, and how they are affecting me. In a related case: I was at the Bike Exchange last night, and a man came in to donate a bike. I recognized him as a former volunteer after a moment. He asked me to help him get the bike off the rack, as he'd since had a stroke that robbed him of most of the use of the right side of his body.​

    It's another consequence of age. He wasn't fat or grossly our of shape, and he's about my age; perhaps younger.​

    I'm overthinking aging, death, and disability right now.​

    I'm having temptations related to that. I have an online SMART Recovery meeting this morning at 7:30 (in about an hour as I write this), and a number of chores to do. It's not enough to keep me busy the whole day, but it's probably enough to keep my focus. I'll have to admit that the temptations are real, and think through the consequences of acting on them. I can probably get away with it once... but I know from experience, that the addiction will get away from me; I can't reliably control porn or masturbation.​

    I've also got to get mindful about ways to manage the runaway thoughts and anxiety. I suspect the leader of the SMART Recovery meeting will have a suggestion; she often inadvertently gives me a direction to pursue.
    The Bike Exchange referred to is a place where people donate old or unwanted bikes. We fix the ones we can and strip the others for parts, and sell used-but-rideable bikes at low prices, to people in the community and students at a local university. I've been volunteering there, off and on, for about ten years, and I'm a co-manager and mechanic. I've developed some great relationships with other volunteers. Few of them know about this addiction (most of them know about my history of alcohol and drug problems), but they've been a marvelous help, in this and in many other ways. It's a pain in the ass to go there sometimes, but I'm almost always glad I did.

    Thanks to the folks who check in. I hope youse continue well.
    path-forward, Gil79 and Mozenjo like this.
  3. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    As I wrote to my recovery partner, things are better today.

    Yesterday, I had a "coffee date" with a guy who I started talking to months ago when he stopped drinking (he's also a fellow bike club member and a fellow volunteer), and that was great. I'm sure the writing about the issues here, and talking in the SMART Recovery meeting, set up the system (so to speak), but I felt a great relief after talking to him. He knows about my porn addiction, and my history of suicidal thoughts and my suicidal gesture in March.

    I've got something to do this morning (as I generally do on Thursdays), and then I'm planning to catch the tail end of another SMART Recovery meeting.

    It's not ALL better, but it's better. It's better enough that I know I'll get through the day.

    That sounds like a post-closing sentence, but I want to put in one more thing: my recovery partner and I have been most careful about maintaining anonymity from one another, but he recently suggested connecting on Whatsapp. It's probably a good idea, but I need to think about it more. If I'm going to set up a Whatsapp (I haven't used the system in years), there's not point in not also giving him a link to the blog where I post a LOT (mostly bike stuff, but also other business). I don't know that I'm ready to do that.

    And that's where I am today.
    Gil79 likes this.
  4. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    I just heard my recovery partner has medical issues that require a decision, and has decisions to make that will affect the quality and length of his life. I wish him well, and will offer whatever support I can.

    Selfishly, I worry for myself; I've grown, if not dependent on his contact, at least to presume that it's available, and writing to him is part of my recovery plan.

    I'm OK for today. I need to sit with this news.

    I hope youse continue well.
    Gil79 likes this.
  5. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Sufficio, what are the SMART recovery meetings? Are they specifically for porn addicts?

    Strength with all, man!
  6. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    No, they're for any addiction. SMART Recovery works for me, partly because the 12-Step programs are too religious (more on that in a minute) and partly because the SMART program is specific to the addiction, where the 12 Steps are about changing character defects and personality. Instead of 12 steps, SMART has four points: building & maintaining motivation; dealing with urges; managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and living a positive and balanced life.

    I was a regular at AA for fourteen years, and attendance at that program really worked for my alcohol and drug recovery. People in the 12-Step programs will say "it's spiritual, not religious", but there's God all over the steps, they regularly pray in the meetings, they talk about turning over their lives to the care of god (the business about "as we understood him" doesn't really get away from the necessity of religious belief, I now see), and the point of the steps is the spiritual awakening referred to in step 12. I was able to believe that stuff at that point in my life; I'm no longer able to believe that there is any god who will care for me in any meaningful way, or respond to prayers. I have no opinion on how other people believe that (as long as they're not trying to persuade me about it), but it's surely an empty belief for me.

    SMART Recovery doesn't have that. It's much more self-directed. There are specific exercises in a workbook (I found doing the exercises in the workbook most helpful). You can find out more at the SMART Recovery site (that's a link), including links to meetings, both local-in-person and online.
    Gil79, Montesquieu and StarWarsFan like this.
  7. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Just checking in today, mostly as a reminder to myself. It's being a rainy weekend here in Central Jersey, and I'd hoped to do some outdoor stuff that isn't gonna happen. I mustn't let the disappointment or the enforced idleness lead me to PMO, and I mustn't sink into a morass of self pity (over the weather, but also over my past and lost opportunities, which I can feel might happen today if I let it).

    So: doing the disciplines today. Be responsible, take courage. Put the best face on, and keep moving.

    I hope youse continue well.
    Gil79, StarWarsFan and path-forward like this.
  8. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Another rainy day... but today, I actually have stuff to do: I've got to go get vaccines today (COVID, RSV, flu; get 'em all at once and get 'em out of the way). I'll probably feel like crap tomorrow, but it's supposed to be rainy then, too. I also have to pick up a couple of photos at the CVS. We no longer have a photo printer, but I can upload the photos online and pick them up a day later (sometimes the same day), and the two photos are less than a buck. For the few photos I print every year, that's a way better deal than a color printer.

    For tomorrow, I have a bike I promised to have done at the Bike Exchange, but that's not till 5pm, and I hope I'll be recovered by then. I hope I can make the SMART Recovery meeting at noon, but I might not.

    At my age, the flu vaccine I get is four times as strong as the one lesser but younger mortals get, and it sometimes really nails me the next day. (The good news is that if I'm that sick, I won't be worrying about PMO.)

    So I'm doing the daily disciplines. I did my exercise today (I really didn't want to) and I'm checking in here, and I'll go check on recovery partner next.

    I see that yesterday, I ended with, "Be responsible, take courage. Put the best face on, and keep moving." That's not a bad admonition.
  9. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Thanks for your response Sufficio! I can imagine that you have better affinity with SMART than the 12-steps program. The religious side of the 12-step program is definitely something that holds me back. It is just to vague for me. I checked the SMART website. I think I am going to have a look at the workbook and maybe try to find an online meeting to join. Thanks!
  10. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    It's a good fit for me right now, and sometimes, that's what recovery si a good fit, at the time we need the good fit.

    After the vaccines yesterday, I had an uncomfortable time and a sleepless night. I was badly tempted, and chased some PSUBs. That's as far as it went. The reminders of how low I got in the spring, and what I did to my wife and marriage held (although the misery around those memories didn't make my discomfort recovering from the vaccinations much better). I didn't sleep much, but I'm somewhat better this morning: headache-y, but that's it.

    Back to real life today, I hope. I have my SMART Recovery meeting at noon, and the bike to work on this evening.

    It will not always be this bad.
  11. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Yesterday was tougher than I expected with the vaccine recovery: the headache lasted, and I was exhausted into the evening and came home early from the bike exchange where I volunteer. But I did got to my SMART Revoery in-person meeting, and I expect to attend an online meeting in about an hour. I don't expect any unusual temptations or problems today... but if they arise, I have some ways to manage them.

    In private correspondence, my recovery partner pointed out the importance of the daily conversation and check-in. It may not always be the case, but the daily contact with my recovery partner (and my daily writing here) has been an important part of my recovery. Keep doing the stuff that works.
  12. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Much better today. Thursdays are a bit busy; I do a Weight Watchers meeting at 10, then I catch the last of a SMART Recovery meeting at 11, and I volunteer at the Bike
    Exchange 5-8pm. I think I'll be able to finish my shift tonight, and one of my regular pals will be there.

    In other news, I've signed up for a bike mechanics class in Oregon for April-May for two weeks. My wife will come out for the first week, then she'll fly back on the middle weekend, and I'll be alone for the second week. I'm already making plans (where are the grocery stores? How will I do laundry?), including plans for maintaining my recovery. I'll have internet, of course, so I'll still plan on doing the daily check in here and with my recovery partner. I won't do my in-person SMART Recovery meetings, and my online meeting will be at 4:30am local time. I won't do that while my wife is there, but I might do it the second week (I'm an early riser anyway, and my sleep is gonna be unpredictable), and I'll look for other meetings, either online or in-person.

    I figure if I lay this out here, I'm more likely to maintain the plan.
    path-forward likes this.
  13. sufficio

    sufficio Active Member

    Running a beat late today; many chores and errands to do, and I got started early and forgot to check in here, until I got a Whatsapp from my recovery partner. He pointed out that, with my plan to be away and alone for a seek next spring, he might want to check in then for my plans, and I decided it was a good idea to start planning now. I'll check the SMART Recovery site for online meetings at times I can attend.. in fact, I'll do that when I sign off here (as I listen to the laundry go around in the machine).

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

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