Thankful for a Fresh Start

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by LTE, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Emotion surfing, I like that. This reminded me of a term in recovery called 'urge surfing', riding out a wave of urges without giving in to them.

    That gives one a sense of control, and confidence that they don't have to succumb to external or internal pressures. But that we are ultimately in control and have the final say.
  2. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Urge Surfing; I like that. I like that a lot! We'll never be able to completely avoid all our vices, but we don't need to drown in them. We just have to stay on the surface long enough to surf away from them.
  3. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    It's a great feeling. While the overwhelming majority of my recovery has been fairly easy, I've had to outlast a few cases of blue-balls and knowing that you can accomplish that is a great confidence builder. I don't plan on exposing myself to any sexually stimulating materials of experiences today (or any other day) but if it were to happen accidentally, there is great comfort in knowing that I know how to deal with such things without giving in.
    That's it. Winning often boils down to surviving. Surf away from trouble.
  4. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    J.J. Phoenix - back in the day, little did we realize that it all comes down to our ability to "surf" :)
  5. Yes. Implying balance, rising above, and getting back on the board should we at all falter.

    To be ready, even for the unexpected wave is still an art I'm working at. :)
  6. You hit on a couple of key elements, lte.

    1. That our recovery doesn't have to be some constant fight, as in 'white-knuckling', but can be easy if we're in the correct frame of mind;

    2. Outlasting urges, which reverses the idea that we're somehow at the mercy of an addiction, or of our urges. You can outlast them because they're temporary, whereas our desire for conquering our desires (our pathos) is more fixed;

    3. Building confidence. In years of succumbing to our baser passions, our will-power is pretty much shot initially. So the importance of setting and meeting our goals paramount for building confidence, and increasing will-power;

    4. Not planning on exposing ourselves to anything that feeds the 'wrong wolf' as we may say. We don't encourage and feed the addiction little morsels for some future big fall. We're not setting ourselves up for failure, but for victory. My own struggles no doubt were prolonged by me keeping my addiction at times in some back room on life-support, in hopes of resuscitating it should the need arise. Only a merciless and thorough death is befitting this addiction; And-

    5. Because we're not feeding this thing, it's a whole lot easier should we be exposed accidentally to some scene or picture, that we can let it roll off us, as water off a duck's back.

    Thanks for that.
  7. bork_gray

    bork_gray Beaker doesn't "bork" like the Chef.

    Excellent five-point list there Phoenix. I'd add to it, there's also the DEVELOPMENT OF SKILL of recognizing urges, recognizing triggers, coming to be AWARE of the things that would set us in the wrong direction. It's a self-observational habit I've developed, which points out to me where the edge of the slippery slope lies (in my mind, in the outer world full of temptations, in my imagination, in my past experiences, etc.) so that I can avoid it even before I might otherwise start slipping.
  8. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    Fighting, struggling and white-knuckled moments are all but obsolete for me at this point. This is normal life for me; and I like it.

    One key that they use in treating people with OCD is teaching them to endure their anxiety long enough for the anxiety to dissipate of its own. Once they experience this, their need to act upon their compulsions seems to vanish into thin air. People receiving such treatment discover a whole new life; and it's all because they learn that they can outlast their anxiety. At least for my history, this information has proven invaluable. It applies directly to how I dealt with, or failed to deal with porn and masturbation issues. A thought would sprint through my mind and I couldn't let go of it. Sooner or later, I would follow the compulsion until I was spent, physically and emotionally. It's still possible to obsess on something, but I've gotten very good at ignoring these obsessions and they now dissipate almost instantly. If they don't I know that I can out last the anxiety and every time I do that I come away stronger.

    All of this builds into greater confidence and more resilience. Eventually it becomes automatic and happens without conscious effort.

    Great point, Gray. There are skills to be gained and if we choose to see them this way, then we can begin to be more aware of decision points.
  9. WRAT

    WRAT Active Member

    I never thought about having OCD but yesterday I fully expected to relapse. I was exhausted and obsessed with surfing porn. I thought I was safe because my wife was off work but as soon as she left for some shopping, I was surfing bad stuff. This gives me a lot to think about.
  10. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    Both the addictive or the OCD explanation work. The remedy, in both cases, comes down to rewiring.
  11. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Aside from some persistent but mild OCD symptoms (I'm a notorious "checker", who must be certain that the door is locked before I leave, with the iron turned off, etc.), I've only had one intense episode that caused a depression so deep my wife (at the time) took notice. The inability to shake intrusive thoughts kicked my ass like nothing ever had. But at the time I hadn't even considered that it was OCD. I thought I was just losing it. Coincidentally or not, I was seeing a therapist at the time, and he suggested the OCD diagnosis. After reading about it, the lightbulb went on, and a part of who I am came into focus. That knowledge of what it is, and that by being conscious of it, you remove it's control over you, helped immeasurably.

    During marriage counseling a couple of years later, our therapist wondered aloud if there was a link between my porn use and OCD. My personal opinion is that addiction is an equal opportunity affliction, and whether I'm more predisposed to it than the average bear or not, then like you say, LTE, the cure is largely the same. Be aware of it, its causes and its symptoms, and you're well on your way to effectively treating it. Not acting on it removes its power, and it eventually withers away. If it comes back, it's not as strong the next time, and it withers more quickly.
  12. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    When I thought of OCD, I thought of Howard Hughes or Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets, but was shocked to learn that it can take numerous forms. Some people may have very good function in life, but have one obsession that they can't shake.

    I heard about one woman that had a strange obsession regarding brushing her teeth. She would spend 25 minutes per night with this obsession and visit the dentist at least once per week. She feared breaking a tooth, so she ate only soft foods. It was fascinating. She was successfully treated, BTW.

    Checking obsessions are fairly common, sort of the sniffles of the OCD world. Other compulsions may or may not accompany a checking obsession, but, from what I've been able to determine, the disorder is similar for all of these problems, an anxiety disorder. The lady that brushed her teeth had broken a tooth as a child and that triggered an irrational fear of losing teeth.

    What I've learned about all this seems to feed back into my life. I had checking issues a few times and recall, as a child, becoming obsessed with certain sounds GSR were part of speech, or certain details about people or objects. For example, as a kid I was fascinated by the transfer case control lever in 4WD vehicles. I have always assumed that was the case because such vehicles were outside of my experience and such a control was novel in my world. It was a relatively minor, and mostly harmless, obsession.

    I can certainly describe my porn use as obsessive, and my masturbation as compulsive. I'm not saying that is the only way to interpret it, but such an explanation does answer some questions. More than anything, it would answer my obsession with sexual imagery from my youngest years. I think it started with wholesome curiosity, but I was so scared, so over-stimulated by porn, even the mildest hint of nudity, that I fell into porn addiction.
  13. Thank you, lte. I can certainly, and have related my own obsessions with masturbation/porn with OCD. I watched those shows on 'My Strange Addiction', or the like, with great interest- finding similarities or affinities with what I've faced.

    I have no problem with crossing the borders into learning about eating disorders, food addictions, and even alcoholism in order to understand my own [previous] issues with porn and/or masturbation. Though, to be fair, certain addictions are more closer to sex-addiction than others are. I would classify eating disorders as closer to sex-addictions than, say, alcoholism- as both are related to bodily necessities, eating and sex, whereas we don't need alcohol to quench our physiological thirsts. On that note, of course sex is never just for sex, but is tied with the whole human, emotional and spiritual, which we can only fulfill with another (compatible) human being.

  14. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    It's a complex thing, because I do believe that sex is a necessity for most people. Let me elaborate, I believe that intimacy, most usually expressed by sex with a loving partner, is a necessity. If I were to weigh that last sentence I would assign the greatest weight to the words "loving partner". I would rather live in near celibacy with a loving partner that had little to give but gave their all, than to have frequent sex with a partner that didn't love me . . . and I have made that very choice at one point in my life. I ended a relationship with a woman that was very capable of exciting sexual activity, but not capable of loving me. It was the closest I ever had to a meaningless fling and it was not good for me.

    In my humble opinion, our popular culture has completely destroyed sex. The significance of sex has been distorted in popular culture. I think that sex is very important. I think it is foundational to civilization, but I think that monogamy is essential in order for it to provide a stable foundation. If two people use their sex drive as a positive motivator to keep them working together in all of life's matters, sex can be a very powerful force. I find sex much more comprehensible when I keep reproduction at the center of its purpose. That does NOT mean that I think sex is only for procreation; I do not believe that in any way shape or form. However, if we are aware of reproduction as being inextricably linked with sex, the comparative values become quite different from those portrayed in popular culture. Remember; for most of human history, sex and reproduction were all but synonymous.

    I believe that choosing a partner should be done carefully. People have differing temperaments and it's helpful to find a partner that is well suited to our temperament. But no match can be exact and any couple, no matter how well matched, will have to learn to work together in spite of significant differences. It is my opinion that our sex drive is also a bonding drive. Our sex drive is different from that of most animals. A cow is not upset when the bull that bred it yesterday breeds another cow today. It is of no concern whatsoever in the bovine world. Cattle, and most mammals, do not bond with their sex partners. Elephant communities are essentially matriarchies and sororities where the young are raised by the cooperative efforts of the females in the group. Males may play a protective roll in the community, but they don't bring home the bacon, so to speak Birds usually do bond with their mates, sometimes for life, other times for just long enough to raise their young. But bonding has an important roll in avian reproduction; one parent keeps the eggs warm while the other brings food for its mate. Young birds are typically fed by both parents and both parents play a roll in their early lives. There are exceptions in the world of birds, but pair bonding does serve a purpose for many avian species.

    Humans are far more complex. We remain in contact with our parents and our siblings for life. Human reproduction is highly complex. We have, and more importantly, are aware of, the existence of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins (of varying degree of relation and removal), nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces, etc. We may play a role in the upbringing of people that are barely related to us, but they are still important enough that we volunteer our time, energies and resources to relatives several generations removed from us. Our sex drive is a complex drive that includes bonding because human society is far more complex than most animal societies. (Although they are finding that even snakes tend to bask along with their siblings.)

    When we are dealing with sex, we are dealing with something that has very broad implications upon our lives. It's no wonder that we have a complex relationship with sex in our time of social turmoil. Even with the successes I have enjoyed over the last 800 days or so; I wouldn't go so far as to say that I've conquered sex; but I have proven that I have the strength not to masturbate; not to accept an artificial substitute.

    My understanding of sex has changed dramatically in this time period. I now understand why very attractive and sexually alluring people can have lousy sex lives and that very unattractive people might have great sex lives. There is a dual nature to sex that can't be ignored. In some ways it is all about the physical, and the very same instincts as in the animal kingdom. But it's also all about the emotional. It is the ultimate social bond and can tame the most unruly of people. I guess that it boils down to our ability to embrace our sexuality, yet keep it from controlling our lives.
  15. WRAT

    WRAT Active Member

    Really good stuff LTE. In our lifetime we have seen birth control evolve. I fondly remember some ladies from my Grandmothers generation saying that it wasn't necessarily morals that kept them decent but the fear of getting pregnant. Condoms of some form have been around for a few centuries but it was the early 20th century before they were mass produced.

    We've seen porn going from a picture in a magazine that had to be purchased to high definition video available for free in a matter of seconds.

    We grew up after birth control and before aids. I was no sex athlete but had a few low rent rendezvous in my young single days. I can't say it felt bad but it did not compare to being in a committed relationship. I just don't see our society pushing the idea of a committed relationship. In fact, it seems to push the other way. You mentioned taking a financial bath in a divorce and most of us know a guy or two who has had the same thing happen. Sex sells and most of our models have beautiful bodies. In my porn viewing I've had numerous popups of people within my zip code ready to do it right now. The good news is I never clicked on them but the bad news is I was tempted.

    You also hit home about very attractive people having lousy love lives; I know a few of them. I have a handsome buddy we called horse dick because he earned that nickname. He goes to his empty house after work and drinks himself to sleep.
  16. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    If you strip away the hysteria that so often accompanies the subject you sometimes find that morals are fairly pragmatic. I don't believe for a moment that there is any characteristic difference between people born 100-150 years ago and people born in the years since. Lust is hardly new. But, before both control became as easy to obtain and as effective was it has been in the last fifty years or so, getting a woman to say "yes" involved a bit more risk on her part. Fear of unwanted pregnancy was a definite factor in the social mores of generations past.

    Our world has changed so drastically in my life span, and the pace of this change seems to be accelerating. It's no wonder that porn problems have arisen with the growth of Internet porn.
  17. a short guy

    a short guy Well-Known Member

    LTE, just a hello. Always nice to read your incites and encouragements to others.
  18. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    Always great to hear from you.
  19. Thank you for your words, lte. Sex as a psycho-spiritual force must be respected as such. As you said above, today's society has totally jacked up sex conceptually and experientially in our heads. Sex will not allow us to simply boil it down to a mere physiological phenomenon.

    As the Bible teaches, it's the only sin that is simultaneously a sinning against [the laws of] our own bodies, and also a defrauding of our brothers and sisters.

    Only within the context of a meaningful relationship, where two souls can become deeply intertwined, and actually become one, does sex find it's rightful place.
  20. LTE

    LTE Master Of My Domain

    I couldn't agree more.

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