Time to heal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by forlorn, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    I have been listening to an audio recording about the power of goal setting and have decided to commit to it. One area of my life I'm dissatisfied with is my finances so that will be a good place to start. Somewhere along the way I settled for less than I deserve. I'm in my forties, I have a high mortgage and hardly have any savings.

    I will detail a few points from the recording - goals should be reviewed frequently. Use pressure to your advantage so you have to make the goal a reality. To begin with, don't worry about the 'how', just get the goal written down. Use the power of why. State reasons in both the positive and negative. The justification for this is to get your brain to link pleasure to getting the goal and pain to not achieving the goal (i.e. if I don't achieve it, what will it cost me?)

    By writing down my goal in my journal it will make me accountable.

    From January onwards my goal is to earn £3,000 per month. I currently earn around £1,300 per month.

    Why I want to achieve this goal?
    To have better experiences and enjoy more luxurious travel
    To be on an equal level with family and friends
    To feel less financial pressure and stress
    To be able to give better gifts to others
    Be able to spend without guilt
    Be able to dress better
    Be able to afford home improvement projects that we have been unable to complete
    To stop having to accept 'handouts' from my parents
    To be financially stable enough to cope with emergencies
    If I don't achieve it I'll still be left with a big mortgage and ever increasing bills
    I don't want to feel like a failure who hasn't lived up to his potential
    If I don't achieve it, yet another year will pass where I'm earning a mediocre wage while those around me are succeeding
    Boxer17 likes this.
  2. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Hey there forlorn. No time like the present. In your 40s there is still time to make those changes. Good on you !
  3. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Rough day today. Hangovers have always been problematic for me, mind and body screaming for a dopamine high, classic relapse territory.

    I got a little argumentative with a bartender last night. It came about by a combination of terrible service and my own drunkenness/confusion. Although my friends agreed the bartender had been rude, I felt as if I lost control and handled the situation poorly. It had been a nice evening out with friends but ended on a sour note. The situation stirred up real anger inside of me, a side of me these friends have never seen before. I felt a little embarrassed by it afterwards.

    I am for the first time in my life getting a little worried about my drinking. Am I on a slow descent into alcoholism? The warning signs have been there over the last few months. With 2 or 3 drinks inside me I'm at my peak, charming, funny, able to hold a good conversation. Any more than that and it's often a downward spiral leading to confusion, over disclosure, memory loss or other negative consequences, but I don't know when to stop. Similar to acting out sexually in a way drinking in excess is shows a lack of forethought, short term thinking. That needs to change. I don't want to go teetotal but I recognise I need to get some discipline and set boundaries. With Christmas around the corner now is a good time to curtail my drinking and set limits.

    Despite feeling worse for wear I'm not going to allow a PMO relapse to occur. Instead, I will spend my day as productively as possible. Tidying my home, eating well and thinking about the financial goals I set myself yesterday.
  4. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    I agree. And Pmo is definitely short term thinking that is not profitable
    forlorn likes this.
  5. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Boredom, loneliness, rejection, lack of attention. all cause unpleasant feelings but it's important to recognise they are part of life. As this process goes on I am learning how to better cope with them. One way I'm practising this is simply to sit in silence, to teach myself that I don't need the distraction of a smartphone, TV or the Internet all the time. There's a long way to go in terms of emotional mastery but this is a start.

    I'm definitely experiencing a loss of libido, but I'm OK with it. It means triggers are easier to overcome. My wife knows I've had problems with P but she doesn't know the finer details. Nor does she know that I'm in recovery. We lay in the same bed but she sleeps the other way so she doesn't have to face me. Our relationship is sometimes strained but I do feel a connection to her. It's easier to feel this way when you're in recovery. Whenever I was in a cycle of habitual P use, I was less likely to want to even be close to her, maybe I felt like I didn't deserve it. In fact when I was acting out sexually my patterns of behaviour changed in many ways - I even noticed that I lost interest in music and would not play it during those times.

    We have a little trip coming up, a few days away in another city with friends. Looking forward to sightseeing, dining, drinking and spending time with others. Generally when I get back from these holidays I feel on a downer, maybe it's because I've had a few days of hedonistic pleasure without any responsibilities or pressure. I have to treat it differently this time. I don't want to be one of those people who just gets excited about holidays and is depressed with the rest of their life. That's why learning emotional management and accepting reality is so important.
    Boxer17 likes this.
  6. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    You've noticed something important here. My life was pretty much the same, except then we began sleeping in separate beds. Part of my recovery was to reach out and touch my wife when ever I felt the connection. We often don't do what we want. We are held back for all kinds of reasons, such as bitterness, fear of rejection, resentment, etc. As you are lying there feeling a multitude of feelings, your wife is feeling the same...or at least she should! Reach out, touch her, say something nice, and then you can turn over and sleep.

    You are bang on about our patterns of behavior. I also lost interest in music, in reading, in talking to my kids - basically everything except my next hit of dopamine.

    Post more! Your journey is important!
    forlorn and Boxer17 like this.
  7. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Hi all, despite being at the 38 day mark I am on the verge of a relapse. All those sensations have come flooding back, the excitement of searching, the intensely pleasurable feelings. The secrecy itself is thrilling to me.

    On the flip side I've experienced increased anxiety, avoidance, a feeling of being unable to relax, of constantly sneaking off to check emails responses, a loss of wanting to connect on any level with my partner, confusion, feeling as if I'm a fraud.

    The trip away with family and friends was great but my mood since returning has been low. It's a combination of things, feelings of inadequacy, financial worries and boredom/lack of direction have led me down this destructive path once more. While technically I haven't MO'd, there has been an element of both P and M, sufficient enough that my counter should be reset. Therefore I will be resetting my counter and starting afresh. Disappointing, but I have to acknowledge the truth and then move on.
  8. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    After 38 days of sobriety from both P and M, I find myself starting over, but I'm not too down about it. I'm picking up where I left off and continuing to develop emotional management skills. I've reset my counter and this time have changed it purely to avoid P. I'll still be avoiding M as part of the process but won't be tracking it as rigidly.

    My thoughts are so sporadic at the moment. I'm finding it difficult to know what to focus my time and energy on. I seem to flit between tasks without having any real focus. I really need to regain some focus and put my time and energy consistently into doing things will increase my feels of contentment. One aspect of this is to find some kind of meaningful work to increase my income and meet my financial goals. It's difficult finding a balance between something that is profitable yet enjoyable. Having watched a few YouTube videos over the weekend I've come to realise that it's important to specialise in a field within my career rather than be a generalist. I need some direction in my life other than sitting in front of the TV every night looking for distractions.
  9. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    There is a demon voice that tells us we are unworthy, lacking in such and such, and bored with life. These are all lies! We don't have to do our lives perfectly and it is, in fact, in the mistakes where all the gold is to be found.

    If we take care of the little jobs, the minutiae, then we begin to see with clarity the direction that is best for us. Joy is in the doing, no matter how humble that "doing" is.

    It's great you've posted two days in a row. Being active in your journal, and on the journals of others, is the best way to heal.
  10. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Thanks Saville for your thoughtful words and encouragement. So true what you say about that demon voice inside us.

    The first few days are the hardest for me. It's like I'm climbing out of a pit but repeatedly hitting snags along the way. I'm feeling a lot of tension and anxiety at the moment, to the point I feel a tightness in my chest. I'm toying with the idea of getting some therapy, either face to face or online.

    I've spent a few days thinking what direction I want to take my career in and have finally come up with something that I feel passionate about. It requires more thought (and definitely action) but if I get it right, it could well give my life some meaning.
    Boxer17 likes this.
  11. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    This sounds great!
  12. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Tumble weeds are gathering in your journal. Sup, bro'?
  13. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Thanks for checking in on me.

    A good sleep can do wonders. I feel rejuvenated and in the mood to be productive, which is critical today as I have no work and am home alone all day. I'm going to limit my screen time and instead focus on getting other things done, cleaning the house, a few acts of self care, eating well, working out and pursuing my career goals. I've also taken the step of finding a therapist, having my first session this week.
    Saville likes this.
  14. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    That's awesome. I hope the therapist visit opens new vistas for you. :)
  15. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    It does feel like something is missing at the moment. I'm conscious that I haven't filled the void that P has left behind. At least not in a healthy way, I have had an alcoholic drink 5 out of the last 7 days which is a lot more than I'd usually have. Best guess, I'm trying to escape from feelings of inadequacy and boredom. This week I will focus on facing those difficult emotions again, without the aid of alcohol.

    I need a long term project to cure my boredom. I had a work related idea but don't feel fully connected to it at the moment so it needs fine tuning. I want to come up with something that excites me and I can feel passionate about. I want to create something amazing that I can feel passionate about (my work is art related). In other news, I went to see a therapist and have decided to commit to further sessions.
    Saville likes this.
  16. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I recently watched a documentary on Netflix "Struggle: The Lost Art of Szukalski." He was nutsee kookoo, but he certainly had inspiration. I noticed that he never had any self-doubt, none at all. Worth a watch, I think.
  17. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    This shitty forum failed to save my draft as usual so I have to start this post from scratch. Oh and this shitty forum still won't allow me to upload an avatar.

    I'm in a state of confusion at the moment. Really forgetful, making stupid mistakes at work and feeling frustrated too. To top it off I went to the Doctors to have some blood tests because I find that I've been peeing a lot lately despite not consuming a great amount of liquid. Although admittedly much of what I do consume is either coffee or alcohol(!). This young doctor made a couple of snarky remarks which pissed me off, think she saw the look on my face at the suggestion of giving up alcohol and coffee. She wasn't impressed at my hesitancy and indicated I was wasting the time of medical professionals by doing further tests if I'm not willing to make simple lifestyle changes. I just needed a little time to absorb the information. To me, quitting caffeine and alcohol are a big deal.

    My therapist gave me a simple exercise to kick things off with. I will share that exercise here in case anybody finds it useful. It involves listing 4 benefits of quitting P and 4 negative consequences of looking at P. The idea is that the huge benefits of stopping need to have a higher profile in your automatic thinking than the pull of the fake benefits of acting out. Here's the good bit - you're supposed to reinforce through HOURLY reminders what these benefits are.

    Biggest benefit
    2nd benefit
    3rd benefit
    4th benefit

    Then you build your automated disapproval about the costs and negative consequences of acting out (experienced and potential)

    Biggest negative impact
    2nd negative impact
    3rd negative impact
    4th negative impact

    Look at them every day, spend 5 mins every few hours training your brain to keep these at the forefront of your daily thoughts.
  18. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    In a more positive mood today.

    I've been trying to think about trauma that I may have experienced during my childhood or my youth in general. It's difficult to pinpoint specifics at this stage but I feel it's important to try and understand the root cause of my issues.

    Also continuing to reflect HOURLY about the pros versus the cons of stopping my addictive behaviours. I've installed an App on my phone which chimes every hour to remind me to look at my list. The idea is to instil this message in my brain in order to challenge the 'automatic' thinking that leads to these behaviours.

    Biggest benefit - self respect
    2nd benefit - peace of mind
    3rd benefit - improved relationship
    4th benefit - fulfil potential

    Biggest negative impact - loss of self respect
    2nd negative impact - loss of finances
    3rd negative impact - increased anxiety
    4th negative impact - inability to perform sexually
  19. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    That's awesome that you are in a better mood. Reflections on the good things is also a wonderful way to continue throughout the day.

    I personally don't see much point to unearthing childhood traumas. I mean, if nothing sticks out, then why go around looking? The way forward is, well, forward. A lot of therapy is just talking over and over stuff and most people actually don't get any better. Today is a gift and yesterday is gone. I've said this before, but yesterday can go fuck itself. Today, I welcome you with open arms...let's boogie!
  20. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member

    The past is the past---- point blank--- never will come back----- thinking about " what if " is useless---- comforting?--- nope just seems that way but it is really bad for you. When you do that your in the past---- you belong here.

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