Tea-man's search for meaning

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Tea-man, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Hi All,

    I've been meaning to start a journal for a while now, I have spent a lot of time on here but not so much in the journal section.

    I first watched the your brain on porn material about 15 months ago. It was eye opening to say the least, and I recognized how much I had allowed porn to affect my life, and the justifications I made up for myself. I started trying to quit last year, and had some really positive streaks, followed by some rough patches. I think last year I had 3 successful month long challenges (not sequential - I tended to relapse the first few days into the following month, but had cut it down to less than weekly by the end of the year. My best streaks were 52 days (helped by a holiday), 48 days and 36 days. The start of this year I had lost my enthusiasm, and did not even track how I did - but I had definitely cut down at least. Unfortunately, my worst relapses and darkest thoughts were after starting trying to quit, and I have relapsed to much worse material than I ever touched prior.

    There is good news though, I have cut down significantly since, and now I am on my longest streak so far - 62 days and despite stress and boredom I think I've finally broken the habit - not the addiction, I still have fantasies and flashbacks - but at least I can now sit at the computer without worrying about bad habits taking over, I feel like I would have to make the conscious decision to give in at this point.

    I am seeing the benefits. I feel like I am a better man, a better boyfriend, and a better person. Some of the biggest positives include changes in my relationship, the intimacy I feel (I was always able to 'perform' but I feel like I used to need to objectify my girlfriend or picture fantasies at times - not the best for a deep connection), and I guess I am enjoying the feeling that I have less and less to hide each day. My recovery is going great, and I have a very supportive partner (who I have 'drip fed' some information, but not much...), so I am optimistic that I am in a good position to succeed.

    So, I thought I'd start this journal to keep myself on track. I think that I am at the point where I need to focus on recovery over abstinence, I still fantasize about relapsing at times and deep in my heart I don't know if I believe I truly want to quit forever... although I am feeling strong now and I have the option to relapse, but it would seem fake to me at this point.

    Today, I had a fairly good day. At work I did allow my mind to drift towards some arousing thoughts, not thinking of porn but I don't believe it will help recovery if I continue like that. I got back into my training routine tonight also, and so am up just finishing the intro post, and I have started writing about my story with porn... but I might leave that for another day.
     
  2. Rissen

    Rissen Member

    Well done man. You've come far already. Keep up the good work and I'm sure you will see even more benefits and improvement down the road.
     
  3. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Thanks Rissen, I am starting to feel the benefits for sure, but I think the benefits now have to come from personal development rather than just a passive approach to abstinence, although that has helped to break bad habits - now I just need to replace them with better ones.

    So,... Porn...

    I first saw porn when I was in primary school. I can still remember a bunch of us saving thumbnails from internet searches in the school library (They didn't check the internet history back then, amateurs!), and had a few pictures saved on a floppy disk that I would load up and paste into a word doc so I could see them all at once. I was caught once by my sister (I forgot I had it open in the background when I left the computer, that was awkward!!), but apart from that managed to get away with it. I must have been mid teens when I first saw video. I was over a friend's house when he spent all night on limewire (or Kazaa?? Can't remember) downloading a short two minute video, I can still remember it. I just had to get the same video at home (but was too embarrassed to ask to copy it), and eventually did, and collected a few more. I was fairly good at hiding stuff from my family (they weren't too good with computers), and eventually got a collection. When ADSL came online my collection got bigger, and more graphic, I got some pretty hardcore material which shocked me at the time but soon became my favorite stuff.

    I think from maybe 16ish years old I had my own room with a computer, which let me to start PMOing whenever I got the chance, which was most nights. I thought I covered my tracks pretty well, but there was one time I had backed some up on a computer which only I used, and some files which were in the same folder as my porn were mysteriously deleted. My dad never said anything to me at the time or since... I was terrified, but I guess he didn't want to confront me about it, and since it was like 12 years ago I guess he never will. Apart from that I don't think I've been caught since... although, I wouldn't be surprised if people knew and were too polite to say anything.

    At uni I started watching a bit more. When I was stressed or bored, it was something I'd turn to whenever I got the chance. I had always been a quiet kid, and never had any experience with women so it was a bit of an outlet, so I convinced myself it was okay. A year or so in, I got a great girlfriend (who I'm still with), though it didn't stop my use. I was unaffected by the ill effects at the time, or at least I never noticed any issues - well, apart from escalation of material. And risky use of porn, I can remember a few times just 'having' to PMO, and finding the nearest bathroom rather than waiting a few hours, or bringing up a picture just to see it. But I still considered myself normal. When I got a laptop and wifi in my final year at uni, my use increased dramatically, I think this was the start of the real issues because of the variety I had available, I had a decent collection but still would not usually watch more than a few videos...

    Anyway, Fast forward to the start of last year. Despite moving in with my girlfriend nearly 5 years prior, I was still I'd been a regular user of the tube sites, and would often watch porn to get my fix after she'd gone to bed, or whenever she was out of the house. I'm ashamed to say that I'd often wait for her go to bed alone, just so I could watch uninterrupted. I still didn't have ED, but I found myself picturing hardcore porn scenes during sex to stay hard, or picturing multiple guys involved. I was even seriously questioning whether to bring the possibility of having another guy involved, but I knew what the answer would be so never did. I had watched TS material, although only occasionally, and bi material was a psychological turn on in anticipation but a huge turn off in reality except for erotic stories. I was also having some pretty disturbing thoughts, I guess you can only spend so long staring at cocks filling holes before you start to picture them in your fantasies as well. Anyway, as I said, when I saw the your brain on porn videos a few things fell into place for me, and I guess the combination of realizing how shitty I was as a boyfriend, combined with a level of confusion at the material I had escalated to was my trigger to realize that I had to stop.

    I mentioned my previous best streaks, had a few successful month long challenges but a lot of these were tainted because I'd peek or something, but I still considered them wins. I just couldn't stop peeking, which was the challenge that plagued me for the last year, but I have done well so far with this one. Now my challenge is to be a better man, replace bad habits with good, and to finally get rid of the positive associations that I still have with porn, even the other day I started to drift and fantasize about how I'd relapse, what I'd watch and do etc - so I have work to do.

    I was going to ask myself daily questions on here... so, my first question is, why am I committed to recovery?
    I am committed to recovery because:
    Time is precious, and I am too busy to waste time on porn.
    My sexual energy will be focused on the woman I love to bring us closer together
    I do not want to keep secrets from my girlfriend, friends or family any more. I will be comfortable with anybody using my computer, and I will not need to fear the truth being exposed
    I have earned the responsibilities I have and intend to fulfill them
     
  4. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    I have had a few more good days, I am feeling a lot better at the start of this month - the challenges are great but I had previously struggled with surviving my own success, I would tend to anticipate the challenge being over towards the end of the month and relapse early into the next month. I didn't have the same issues this time.
    I am have not have too many intrusive thoughts over the last few days either, and with starting a new job and a full social calendar coming up, I am expecting that I won't have time to think next week, yet alone think about PMO.

    Anyway, my thoughts on this day will be 'gratitudes'.
    I'm thankful my life is on track right now. I am thankful for my supportive girlfriend, the trust of my new employer, and the opportunity to spend time with my friends and family. I am thankful for discovering this information also, which has led to many positive changes I have tried to introduce, and to this forum which has provided good information and a welcome distraction when starting out.

    My plan: I don't have a life vision, or a solid routine. I intend to create some habits that will help me with this, I am currently thinking that by waking up an hour or so earlier I will have time to do some positive daily habits which will help my life move forward. At the moment I am thinking time could be spent doing a bit of exercise, some stretching, and then working on personal development for 20 or so minutes; before reviewing some 'to dos' for the day and drawing up a daily plan.

    Does anybody have a good morning routine that has helped them with this?

    I think the key part to my morning routine will have to be a good nightly routine - go to bed much earlier I mean. So I will go into next week with good intentions and track my performance. I will write on here whether I am successful.
     
  5. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Day one didn't quite go to plan, I was up early enough but so was my girlfriend and we spent some time together, so ... well, that was probably even better. But the plan is to do it all again tomorrow, try and get a bit of stretching in and get to work early enough that I can get my shit together and do some valuable reading.
    On the P front, I was good today but I did think about watching some, I guess it was just boredom. I went through a phase last month where I honestly was not interested in looking at P, I just imagined that if I did it would be fake... but I have lost that repulsion and now I am feeling like the option could be there. But I am feeling strong now.

    Why not P?
    I don't have time. I want to feel in control. I will not be a slave to a whim
    I do not want to have to break this habit when I'm older, I want to move into the next stage of my relationship with my girlfriend completely recovered.
    I will not contribute to the industry
     
  6. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Pretty rough today, I was having some pretty strong impulses at work but luckily I was able to cool off well before I got home. I think that it is pretty important to keep busy, it has definitely allowed me to ride out some urges just because I have had less opportunity, which makes it easier for sure.
    I had a decent day at work otherwise, got to workout afterwards, and just a bit of TV after. Not really keeping this up like I'd want to, I will review the format.
    A bit of a milestone today. I had a look and I realized that I have made it 70 days without P or MO. That's 10 weeks, my longest streak by a few weeks at least. So I am really happy with my progress.
     
  7. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    I am feeling the weakest I have now since the start of the second month of my reboot... I am lucky because I have been kept out of the house all day, otherwise I'm not sure if I would have been able to resist with willpower alone. It is now a few days I've been having these urges... I don't know what has changed. I am going to have to experiment with cutting down facebook. Once it was a good opportunity to keep tabs on people and catch up - now it is mostly just people sharing links and photos, including my friends are liking photos of fitness models or bikini girls, I'm not sure if this is triggering me or if it something else but either way it is not adding value to my life so I can experiment and see how it goes without it.
    Stay strong all!
     
  8. AddictedAgain

    AddictedAgain Pain = Growth

    Tea-man,

    Is there some unresolved conflict in your life? I find that this is the case sometimes, resulting in me wanting to escape via PMO. A problem you have been putting off solving perhaps?

    70 days is impressive, keep up the good work.

    BTC
     
  9. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Thanks for the feedback BreaktheCycle... I think my issue is a general dissatisfaction with the way I handle things; I think that this year has just flown by so quickly and sometimes I feel like I have nothing to show for it. I am getting to the point where I am expected to be a responsible adult and the man of the house etc, but sometimes feel like I'm still a kid. I mean, objectively I am a fairly successful guy, but behind the scenes I feel like I can't get my shit together. I spent a few hours cleaning today (and have a few more to do), it's a good example of how I let things slip, I have spent half the weekend just looking after things that most people just seem to handle without effort. Also, I have been with my girlfriend a long time now... Sort of feeling like it's time to take things to the next level but the implications of it are pretty overwhelming right now and I'm not sure how to handle it. Anyway, just have to slight edge it haha.

    On the P front, I have been fantasizing a bit today, not ideal. It has brought this problem we are all facing to the front of my mind, I feel like I have had to use willpower for the last few days whereas before it was effortless. But, so far so good.
     
  10. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Fantasies out of control last few days, and as I said in the July thread I ended up looking at personals... I don't know why, I guess I was just after SOMETHING.
    Shit...
    But, still no P.
    I need direction I think, because if I keep myself busy I don't even feel the need to watch P. I still haven't started that morning routine I was talking about, nor have I made progress on the life vision... so that is a few things that I think will help me. It is late, so my whole routine will be difficult to start tomorrow, though I will settle for a cut down version of the plan.
     
  11. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Not a great weekend - I managed to stay P free but it was a close one; I am still struggling to find my drive and I am sort of drifting along not making much progress with my life. I am trying to revive my 'to do' book, a little bit at a time, as well as now having the opportunity to get back into my studies. New job is going well though I found myself slacking today, not a good sign at only 2 weeks in, so I stayed back to make up for it. I will turn off mobile data tomorrow, which will help me with my reading commitments as if I compulsively check my phone, that's all I will have to do.
     
  12. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Managed to stick to a good morning routine this morning, run, stretch, listening to positive stuff. I think that if I keep my life busy enough I will wake up a year from now and be a different person, but it is getting the right habits in place first.
    I was allowing myself to fantasize yesterday. I have to cut it out because it is interfering with work, but I feel like I want to. I guess it's my body craving dopamine...
    I'll keep this running and see how I go, I have a few minutes before I have to be anywhere so will try and meditate for a few minutes.
     
  13. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Two good days in a row, morning routine is solid.
    My streak is going well on paper, but unfortunately I am starting to fall apart at the edges. I feel like I'm needing intimacy but don't like my chances tonight.
    I have done some things for arousal value that i'm not particularly proud of (although have avoided porn), and my fantasies have been pretty vivid lately and I have let them take over - and I have read that visualization is very important in terms of establishing neural pathways etc so I feel like my reboot has gone backwards due to this.
    To be honest, i'm struggling to care. I'm almost looking forward to the end of the month and finishing this last challenge... It would have been a 90 day streak and it would be a shame to start again but I still want to cheat.
    ... I don't know. I know it is self medicating, I need to find what is making me feel like I need this, something is causing me a lot of frustration obviously, and I haven't dealt with it. Is it my relationship; maybe? My job? My inability to get things done? Frustration at myself?
    It is a difficult time.
     
  14. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    I messed up... don't know what to say or feel.
    I had ups and downs over the reboot but was able to ride them out for the most part.
    I am definitely stronger now but I think that I led myself down a path of rationalization, and I had a fear that I was missing out or something. I think that I have to work on 'maintaining the rage', I started out strong but I didn't keep the reasons I had at the forefront of my mind. I have to ask myself some hard questions over the next few days
     
  15. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    So, I'm back, have been pretty solid over the last few days, very few urges and feeling like I am turning things around.
    I still am not 100% with my work or studies, so I was hoping to use this journal a bit more for additional accountability.
    I am grateful to have this site, and for YBOP, because despite the long process of quitting this process has improved me as a person. Each time I fail I get a bit stronger, and I have my eyes opened a bit more. Last month I failed after going nearly 3 months, because deep down I wasn't ready to let it go, I missed it and I wanted 'one more'. Well... there is no such thing as 'one more', because 'one more' means you are addicted. I can finally see myself letting it go, no 'one last time', no thoughts of 'what i'd do if I had one more chance', nothing. I feel good about this
     
  16. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    I was thinking today, 'It must have been 2 weeks already'. Turns out, 16 days, but yeah, like clockwork the urges start again. Frustrating, because I know where it leads, and the false hope that a relapse will be all that I expect it will be. I am glad I have this journal, and track my urges and thoughts. Typically, it starts with fantasy, images or thoughts, and it comes in waves which disappear in time, recurring every few weeks. I am on the start of a wave now, the first since my relapse. I am not sure the reason behind it. Perhaps it is because I am always going to have something that reminds me of porn every 2 weeks, or maybe it is because I am not mindful of my thoughts and they can drift to a level of detail which creates a 'mental relapse'? I don't know.
    The man I want to be does not have time for this. And I do not want to be fooled again by the promise of a relapse so easily, least not my myself.
     
  17. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    Another good few days. I have started writing down a bit about my life in a word document, and hope to come up with a life vision. I'm getting in to work early so I have time to work on some things without feeling rushed straight into the day to day. So, things are good and the urges that plagued me have subsided over the few days.
    I was thinking of gratitudes again, and I realise I do have a lot to be thankful for. it is important to remember that, and I have a lot going for me. I sometimes feel like I have underperformed in my life but objectively I'm doing okay, and I shouldn't be hard on myself but instead focus on improving. I think my issue is that I need to try and improve in one area before moving onto the next, I have started a lot of journals and self improvement exercises, like the 6 pillars of self esteem, happiness advantage, the slight edge etc, but never carried it on consistently. I need to just do one at a time until it's habit but I want to do all of the things, all of the time - which of course ends up being counter productive.
    I think the morning plan is a good one. Spend a few minutes stretching, then a few minutes writing. It will help get clear I think
     
  18. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    I haven't learned the trick of doing it though :) Out of interest, what did you start with? Or doesn't it matter? Would you do anything differently?
    But yeah, one thing which has been on my radar is David Allen's 'getting things done', which isn't self improvement per se, but by managing my life better I think it would naturally get rid of many issues I'm facing - and naturally move me towards my goals. I think that I tend to 'forget' what I intended to do, because it isn't a habit yet, so part of the struggle is remembering to check my lists.

    Anyway, on another note I've been getting pretty strong urges today. I have the opportunity (home alone), but ... the annoying thing is I feel no arousal, so I am a bit disappointed my thoughts have turned to porn because I know that I want to watch it for entertainment, just to feel something, anything. So, I will commit to riding this urge out. Someone asked me on here once, what is it I am hiding from? And I have to meditate on this feeling. I think it is a general sense of a lot of things to do, plus no real direction, a bit of boredom, and a bit of overwhelm. Porn has never been about arousal - although its allure is particularly strong when it is combined with arousal also.
    So, I have some tasks that I have been procrastinating on which I will do now, shopping, cleaning etc, maybe make some phone calls to loved ones, and by then the opportunity should be gone - plus I will have done some useful stuff, which is positive
     
  19. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    I hear you on that one. I think my longest streak was at a very stressful time in my life, but I was so focused and clear on what I needed to do that it was alright, I got through it. Then I lasted quite a bit afterwards but ended up succumbing in a moment of boredom. So, not to do with abstinence really, or stress - just clarity and distraction.
    I think like you said, minfullness would help. I want to start meditation etc, but I think my first priority will be mindfullness in the form of active journaling to begin with. So, I will start with an honest assessment of my life in the key areas outlined in the slight edge, and go from there. If I can give myself some direction in key areas I will get some of my drive back. It's interesting, when I daydream, I often imagine myself as what could have been, if I had made all the right decisions, somehow ended up as a millionare/athlete/musician/james bond sort of 'do everything perfectly' character... but this doesn't drive me to put in more effort, it is probably the opposite, it just makes me want to sit there and think how nice it would be to have everything with no effort. So, I have to honestly assess, and set proper goals.
    You're right that PMO doesn't make sense at all. There really is no time to waste - we only have one time on this planet
     
  20. Tea-man

    Tea-man Member

    I have kept up with journaling, stretching and reflecting each morning this week. So far I am enjoying the process, it takes about half an hour but I feel like I wouldn't do it at night so it is worth it.
    I have also started a bit of a 'book/vision' during my breaks at work, and so far I haven't missed a day. I was thinking about putting some of it up here but I'll see how it takes shape and then decide. I have not focused on porn at all during any of my reflecting or life vision... which makes sense really, I don't see it as something that will be in my future if I am to be the man I want to be.
    Anyway...
    I had some serious urges last night. Girlfriend was out and I was procrastinating on some study, I'm glad I was able to keep busy. I am always amazed at how poor my memory is when it comes to porn - surely I know by now that nothing good can come of it? Anyway... close one there.
    Something I have noticed is that I am having less intrusive thoughts this time around. I made around 10 weeks last time but was starting to get some pretty graphic thoughts and urges towards the end which were disturbing in that they showed that my escalation had not gone away, and possibly got worse. This time though, so far so good. It is dangerous because I have a pretty good imagination which I can allow to run wild, and I feel like this is a problem when it comes to a proper reboot. It isn't like a relapse, but ... it really is, because I sometimes indulge myself in a few thoughts which will set me off for a few days. No arousal would be good - I have a girlfriend so i wouldn't go monk mode of course, but I should at least control my thoughts
     

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