Time to heal

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

  1. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Slipped a week or so ago and will be resetting my counter. I've decided to come back here and report it rather than allowing the relapse to build momentum (whenever I disappear from the site for an extended period of time it's usually a bad sign).

    It's the name of a fictional bar in a book I once read. I guess there is a sadness within me, but it doesn't entirely reflect who I am. Would I consider changing it? Maybe. It's not a very inspiring name is it?
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  2. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I reconnected with my father at the weekend, I hadn't seen him in 6 months. He shared some stories of his childhood and the difficult times they endured as a family. It was useful hear these stories as it helped me to feel a sense of my own identity that I felt was missing.

    Woke up feeling a little more rejuvenated and hopeful than usual. The thought cropped up in my mind that I should try re-writing some goals. To look at areas such as relationships, career, financial, spiritual, health and specify how I'd like these areas of my life to look 6 months from now.
    Libertad and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  3. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    That's probably such an important aspect of recovery. Important and yet so hard to do I think (for some). It really forces us to look at life and make choices. I really believe that in my case not being able to do this is what contributes to my addiction.

    Nice to hear that you have seen your father after a while.
    Libertad likes this.
  4. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Woke up early due to anxiety. It was my mind's way of telling me what's troubling me. A combination of regret about a lack of marital intimacy and a general fear that my youth has slipped away. I'm not going to run and hide from these feelings, I will acknowledge them and accept the circumstances of my life as they are. This is not to say, I'm happy with the way everything is, but I have to accept the reality.
    I struggle with it too. Having previously written goals, I failed to connect with them. Some people way say that they need to be written in a way that's specific and measurable. At this stage, I just need something that will provide direction. Also I think we have to be careful not to get too hung up on the attainment of the goal. What really matters is the process - the learning and self development along the way.
    Libertad likes this.
  5. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

    for me some days all i can do is put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing. a lot of small insignificant right things is what makes a good day. a lot of these days make a month. a lot of these months make a year. a lot of these years make a decent serene life. another one of my old man ramblings. praying for you my brother.
    Libertad and realness like this.
  6. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    If you're anything like me, your mind is dominated about thoughts of yourself. "I'm this type of person, I'm that type of person". Constant self-judgement. We've probably all heard the phrase "you are not your thoughts". Yet it's so easy for us to perceive it as such. It starts with awareness, recognising that you're simply the vessel that these thoughts are passing through - it's not who we really are.

    In other news, the last couple of days have been mostly good. No real desire to escape from reality and feeling more sociable as a result.
    TrueSelf and Libertad like this.
  7. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    To be aware in the present. Everything, our own thoughts, thoughts about the past or the future, our sourounding with it´s distractions, everything wants to keep us in an unaware state of mind in the prison of worry and judgement. PMO was one way to escape from this battle for a few moments. But as we all found out by now, it was a sick way, a way that leads to destruction and despair and is in fact an avoidance strategy of the battle. I hope we all don´t overreact and can stand up to the battle and face what brought us here and have a great 2022.
    All the best forlorn.
    TrueSelf likes this.
  8. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    If I'm being totally honest with myself, I have to admit that my recovery strategy is not working. In fact I'm no longer sure what my strategy even is. The same patterns are repeating themselves. I take in a few snippets of information here or there, a video/podcast provides some temporary inspiration. I normally achieve a couple of weeks clean and start to feel better about myself and then, it all comes crashing down. So predictable it's embarrassing. What's the point in having a journal if meaningful change isn't occurring? Where is it all going wrong?
    I think it's a combination of an unwillingness to do the hard work, a lack of structure and a failure to believe in myself.

    I say this not to beat myself up, but to serve as a wake up call and to stop being so delusional. A dose of reality is what's needed. Of those reasons mentioned above, I think the main one that's holding me back is a lack of self belief - more specifically I need to take a deeper dive into my core identity in order to change the way I perceive myself (what do I believe about myself at the deepest level that is causing me to think and behave in a certain way?). I'm not even sure how to begin uncovering my limiting beliefs. But unless I do it, the same patterns will continue to repeat themselves and I'll be writing the same nonsense in this journal 12 months from now.
    TrueSelf and Libertad like this.
  9. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    That is the point of view, total honesty, on which you can build on. No BS approach, no false positivity BS, no fake it till you make it.
    A no excuses, brutally honest evaluation of your current situation is a solid basis to build on.
    All the best, forlorn.
    TrueSelf and forlorn like this.
  10. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    In my last post I mentioned some reasons why I think I've remained in a recovery-relapse loop for years. A lack of self belief, that's a big one. Realized I need to stay more present, to try and connect with my own subconscious. I've taken a break from alcohol as the daily drinking wasn't doing me any good. Being free from booze helps me stay more focused and enables me to observe my thoughts. This is a work-in-progress as I still find myself constantly wanting to be distracted. Whether it be checking social media, watching a TV show, compulsively looking at my stock portfolio etc. I recognize I need more time for stillness, where I can be at ease and allow myself to think and to feel.

    The other thing I'm working on, is trying to achieve an acceptance of my history. This will require a certain mental shift and a change in the way I perceive myself and the world. Everything that's happened has already happened. It's in the past, it cannot be changed. Stop trying to fight it. What's the future I'm stepping into? What am I committed to creating? These types of questions will serve me better than trying to 'fix' my history.
  11. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Been feeling a little isolated. Although I have some good friends, not many of them live close to me and of those that do, they're often busy as they have young children. It's much easier to make friends when you're young, but nobody tells you that at the time. I certainly haven't made any new friends in the last decade (maybe longer).

    Spent several hours yesterday moving, tidying and organizing things in the home. Had a clear out of the kitchen cupboards and re-designed how the space is used. Simple stuff like putting the most commonly accessed things at eye level and getting rid of things I don't need. It may sound pretty trivial but I find there's something therapeutic about beautifying the environment I live in. And of course there's the practical element too. If everything is shoved towards the back of a cupboard it's hard to tell what needs stocking up.
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  12. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Beginning to observe certain things about the way I perceive myself lately. Previous therapy sessions revealed I have issues with defectiveness. It certainly shows up in my behaviour in specific ways. Say I send an e-mail to a bunch or work colleagues or a WhatsApp message to a group of friends, I become anxious ("did I say something stupid"?, "I wonder what they think of me") etc.
    I think that's what's going on behind the scenes. Although I may feel as if I'm deeply flawed (part of this is subconscious), I could remind myself that I'm perfectly fine as I am. I could embrace and accept myself. After all, the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us is a choice.
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  13. realness

    realness Well-Known Member

    That's great progress forlorn. PMO and our other unhealthy coping mechanisms feed that doubt/shame monster and lead us into misery. I'm glad that you're gaining awareness of those patterns and finding freedom. Your post brought back a memory of a friend challenging me one time: "there you go again, realness, worrying about what other people think....." . He did it in a kind way. It was the first challenge and clue that I was unhealthy, obviously so, and this was the only friend who was willing to point it out.
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  14. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Very true Realness, gaining awareness of our patterns is a crucial step on the road to recovery.

    At this moment, things feel pretty stable. In the last 2 weeks I've barely felt the desire to escape from reality into the painful world of porn. I feel cleaner, my social interactions are better.

    Of course, I've been in this situation many times before - what usually happens is, by the end of the third week the pressure builds up and I end up having an intense dopamine-fueled session jerking off to my favorite porn fantasies. And then of course I end up being disgusted with myself and immediately commence another period of sobriety.
    I sometimes question if I were to masturbate once a fortnight (purely for functional reasons) would it stave off these relapses? Or are my relapses more of a response to intolerable emotions. It's a complex issue because there are both physical (libido) and mental (emotional) aspects to this addiction. Clearly I need to develop more rational, adult-appropriate responses instead of self-soothing in a such a dysfunctional way.
    These adult-appropriate responses could include taking time out, talking to friends and various other ways in which I can derive genuine fulfillment.

    What's the future I'm stepping into? What am I committed to creating? These are the questions I will continue to ask myself, instead of trying to avoid my history. On the subject of avoiding one's history I heard a quote the other day where a guy said " if you had no memory, where's your problem?".
    Mozenjo and Libertad like this.
  15. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Three weeks into this reboot and still no major desire to return to the addiction. The more I feed it, the more I need it.

    Whilst there's still a lot of stuff to mentally unpack, I am noticing signs of improvement.

    I am developing a deeper understanding of my subconscious patterns - part of this is to do with observing/recognising that inner voice, the critic, the constant chatter within the mind. I'm getting better at not allowing those self-deprecating thoughts to dictate how I feel about myself and how I perceive the world. Also trying to stop black and white thinking (e.g, because of reason 'x' I must be a total failure). Life is more complex than that, there are things I'm good at and things that need improvement - areas for growth.

    Another thing that's making a difference, is that I'm busier than I used to be. Not just busy for the sake of it, but towards the end of last year I changed career and miraculously landed a job working for an employer whose goals I actually believe in. I wouldn't describe at as a dream job, but it's not far off. We spend so much of our lives working so I feel it's important to try to do something that aligns with our interests.

    I've been around long enough to know that this isn't the end of my relationship with porn. Challenges lie ahead. But this is a place of progression, of learning new things and developing the mindset of enjoying the process.

    I'm looking forward to warmer weather, lighter evenings and to be able to spend time in my garden.
  16. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Good insights. The processes and actually enjoying them, is a great sign and takes at least partially away the impact or negativity of relapses and keeps us on track no matter what. All the best.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2022
  17. UK Don

    UK Don Active Member

    Great to hear Forlorn. Impressive that you are keeping such a level head even as this reboot seems to be going smoothly at the moment. I've found it can be hard to understand the bad times during the good, and vice versa.
  18. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Thanks both.

    Although it could be perceived as a risky move, a few days ago I made the decision to MO. Crucially the motivation wasn’t to escape reality or to avoid intolerable emotions. It was purely to relieve a little sexual tension. I suppose you could call it a pragmatic wank :). And since there was no porn involved, I didn’t feel that crushing sense of despair or helplessness that comes with a PMO relapse. Nothing else has changed. I’m still in a good headspace.

    Got a busy few weeks ahead with work deadlines and some potentially stressful family interactions. Need to stay extra vigilant. In times of stress, turn to healthy forms of self soothing - making myself a nice meal, relaxation, talking with friends/family.
  19. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Whenever I disappear from the site for an extended period of time it’s usually a bad sign. I can’t even begin to explain how strange the last few weeks have been. Dealt with a death in the family and a bizarre situation where I potentially saved someone else’s life. Then I had a pretty spectacular relapse, there was a couple of weeks where I checked out from reality. But there have also been some general successes (career progression, developing new relationships) and good points along the way. I’m overcoming a bout of illness so am still fairly medicated but overall I think I’m getting back to a good place. Everything seems fairly effortless at the moment and it feels like I have things to look forward to. The worst of the pandemic is surely over, the days are getting lighter and warmer and I’m excited about what’s to come in the months ahead.
    Boxer17, CleanBootsBaby! and Saville like this.
  20. UK Don

    UK Don Active Member

    Hey mate how's it going?

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