Time to heal

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

  1. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    @Saville and @Bobo I take your points and to an extent I agree with you. Whatever happened in the past has gone and we may as well concentrate on the 'here and now'.

    The reason I mentioned childhood trauma is because I recently started therapy and was asked questions about this during a session. So far I haven't been able to identify a definite link between a specific trauma and my addictive behaviours and I'm not sure if I'll find one. So why go looking? This question is best answered via some text from my therapist:

    "Where trauma experiences are pushed under the carpet ie not processed or dealt with in a meaningful way, they have a common habit of trying to break out. I once heard the metaphorical idea of a snake under a rug which just moves position when the lump is trodden down. In other words, the trauma doesn't go away by itself, it just keeps making its presence known in a wide variety of symptoms, all of which may lead to the need for self-medicating compulsive behaviours such as sex and porn addictions. Trauma experiences and memories of them are often thought of as being 'locked up' in the emotional part of the brain and therefore requiring unlocking, 'digesting' or processing."
     
  2. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Here's my caviet. I'm not a psychologist, duh, and only you know what's best for you. But, here's what I think, based on only my own experience and having read and talked to a lot of men my age. I think memories can be tricky. It's like we're looking for that smoking gun so we explain why we are the way we are. We root around our memory bank, thinking and thinking. In a way it would be better if one of our parents had punched us in the face, because then we would have an identifiable source for our troubles...it all started back when.

    I think it is a cumulative process, as well as a generational one. Our parents, who were tired and possessed a poor skill-set, did things that defeated us. Usually there is one parent who factors more in this than the other; in my case it was my mom. My mom was a narcissist who had to be the star of the show. She grew up in a time where women were just starting to feel empowered and so she trained her son to be the kind of man she thought was good. Like Glover says in "No More Mr. Nice Guy" I was set up to be in competition with my father. I had to be the man that he was not. My dad, who was a kind man, just let his wife do most of the rearing, as men did back then. Basically, he checked out. However, they both did their best, which was something incredible for me to realize. Just as I'm not perfect, neither were they. So, as I mentioned, the defeat of my character was cumulative. A look here, a glance there, a moment of humiliation, and/or a hurtful comment. For sensitive people, like us, I think we felt vulnerable and unprotected and so had to create fake personae in order to cope.

    Generationally, of course, our parents were just doing what was handed down to them. So, in that sense, our whole fucking society is acting out the dysfunction of the past. In a wider sense you can see this easily. All our strife is based on biases and habits from our ancestors.

    I think we move forward by forgiveness. I forgive my parents for not knowing better. I forgive my wife for, well, not knowing any better. Most importantly, I forgive myself. Imo, the addict wants to suck us back by having us turn over and over our lives, because then we stay stuck. There is no resolution to the thinking, at least that's what I've found. From here on out I just want to do stuff and use my thinking brain to solve the problems of today. I'm not always successful, but I trust the process.

    Thanks for letting me write so much on your journal. Also, write here every day. I know it sounds like I'm a broken record, but it's just so critical. We clear up so much shit when we are active on the forum. Wishing you the best, man! :)
     
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  3. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Thanks for the detailed post and the kind words Saville, it's appreciated. I'll see where the trauma stuff takes me, chances are it won't uncover anything but I'll give it a shot.

    Still working on the process of strengthening my commitment to recover through hourly reminders of the benefits of quitting.

    Self respect - as each hour and each day pass my self respect grows. I continue with little acts of self care whether it be taking time for self, dressing better, sleeping well, eating healthily, working out, drinking less booze.

    Peace of mind - this is priceless. Feelings of anxiety are reduced and I feel at ease with myself and the world in general.

    Fulfil potential - freedom from P gives me the time and opportunity to grow, learn and do things that are beneficial, creative, fulfilling and enjoyable

    Improved relationship - the shame slips away and I feel like less of a fraud. I can look my wife in the eye and I can work towards a more fulfilling relationship.
     
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  4. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Wow, what a positive post. Great way to start my day! :)
     
  5. Caoimhín

    Caoimhín Winter's coming...

    Personally, I think dealing with trauma is a fundamental step in understanding what makes you tick. Trauma has been defined to me as an emotional experience that has not been lived. Because of the trauma, the feelings and sensations of the mind and body have become stuck. Dealing with trauma therefore involves working with it to some degree. It doesn't mean that you have to find a specific thing or person to blame and even that will not guarantee that the trauma will be "digested". This is something that you have to "lean into" and build up to. But I think it is essential.
     
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  6. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I think @Caoimhín is right. Today, right now, I've decided I need a more nuanced approach to all this. So, I'm learning. :) He's right that blaming someone is useless. It just keeps us stuck. But, our body stores up stresses, and I think that identifying these might be very helpful. In a way we are unlocking the physical so that the emotional can get back to itself.

    Best of luck, @forlorn and keep us posted!
     
    Caoimhín likes this.
  7. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    I agree. This element is essential. If you know you're not a fraud your foundation for progress is greatly strengthened
     
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  8. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Thanks for that post. I strongly suspect I won't find a single isolated experience or traumatic incident to 'blame' but perhaps delving into it a little could be fruitful in the long term. A test I did indicated that abandonment and defectiveness could be potential problem areas so I may explore these further.

    Thanks for your continued support. I've had a busy period lately so haven't been able to post much.

    I've read a few snippets of people on YBR talking about dopamine and neural pathways but up until now I haven't given it enough thought (or research). I gather this whole 90-day thing is the point that research tells us that re-wiring of the neural pathways is well established. I now understand the importance of disrupting the automated pathways in my brain by re-learning new, healthier lifestyle patterns. One of the most powerful things I discovered is that "continual repeated disruption of these dopamine pathways will work like a WAR OF ATTRITION". I love that expression.

    Attrition:
    the process of reducing something's strength or effectiveness through sustained attack or pressure.

    I'm going to fight this 'automated' behaviour and dismantle these neural pathways via my very own war of attrition. So with this in mind the next step is to set myself some clear boundaries about which behaviors are acceptable/unacceptable.
     
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  9. Caoimhín

    Caoimhín Winter's coming...

    @forlorn and don't forget that the other side of the equation is very important: reinforcing good behaviours... every time you replace an unhealthy one with a good one, it makes it stronger!
     
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  10. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    I'm currently working on setting some clear boundaries. I recognise that it's important to take these measures to give myself the best chance of success.

    1) No pornography allowed - no peeking, no substitutes, no temporary highs to avoid discomfort, no artificial sexual stimuli whatsoever. This is essential to reset the neural pathways in my brain.

    2) Alcohol limits - Max of 4 drinks out with family/friends. Max of 2 drinks when home alone. These restrictions mean I'm unlikely to suffer from a hangover and therefore less likely to pursue a sexual high to overcome the shitty feelings of a hangover.

    3) Masturbation will be allowed if I feel the need for release but would be restricted to about once every 3-4 weeks (no fantasy allowed during MB as that leaves neural pathways to P open). As it stands I'm experiencing a decline in libido and currently have no desire to Mb.

    4) Reduced Internet time - Scary prospect for me as I currently use it a lot. I will now be limiting myself to 1 hour per day.

    In addition to the above I am thinking about ways of managing 'opportunities', as in changing up my routine to spend more time outdoors (gym, bike ride, gardening). I am also thinking about adding some kind of internet web filter as an extra barrier. Does anyone have experience of these? If so, which one do you guys use? Thanks. F.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
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  11. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member

    Internet is dangerous, be careful. Seems like we can't live without it but we can remember the " old days" ---- was no internet! Good luck--
     
  12. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Many people here have used K-9 blocker successfully.

    Your list sounds good!
     
  13. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member

    We all have a fear of aging. It's one of life's suretys that cannot be escaped. Some wont acknowledge it but its there. The fear of heath problems, financial difficulties, sexual missteps and so forth. Once we realize we are or never lived up to our potential the stress increases. Dont feel weird it happens to all of us that are thinking. You will be ok its as I said a fact of life.
     
  14. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    47 days into this reboot and things are going reasonably well. There's no room for complacency or celebration but I'm happy that I'm moving in the right direction. Staying away from artificial stimulation is giving my brain the break it desperately needs. Continual repeated disruption of the dopamine pathways will work like a war of attrition.

    I have started to notice some benefits of being free from my addictive behaviours. In general terms, my relationships are improving, as in I'm slightly more sociable and I'm spending more time talking to my wife lately. By comparison, on days where I had looked at P I'd feel miserable and less likely to want to communicate because I felt like a fraud. I'd often avoid her and sit in another room, because I was angry at myself. While my life certainly doesn't feel stress free I have less anxiety now than I did when I was acting out sexually. About a week ago I did attempt to masturbate for experimental purposes, however without the use of P (and without being allowed to recall fantasy) I was unable to masturbate.

    I must confess I haven't rigidly stuck to some of the limits/boundaries I set myself in my last post. i.e. on one occasion I did have more than 4 alcoholic drinks on a night out and I haven't managed to restrict my idle Internet browsing time to 1 hour per day. This is something I need to work on.
     
  15. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    This!

    You're doing great, Forlorn. So many good things happening for you. :)
     
  16. Bobo

    Bobo Well-Known Member

    These are restrictions that YOU set for yourself. If not today then the next-- you will achieve them as long as you don't give up and as I see Forlorn you won't give up!
     
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  17. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Over the weekend I felt a sense of uneasiness. I think it stemmed from a feeling that I am not using time productively. Felt as if I was watching shitty TV, waiting for time to pass, almost wishing it was later so it was time to fall asleep. That's not the kind of life I want to live. While I'm not expecting every moment to be filled with excitement I do need a greater sense of purpose and direction in my life. Something from which I can gain fulfilment (a creative work project would be a good idea, has to be something I feel passion for).

    I stuck to my personal alcoholic limits over the weekend. When I'm drinking alone, no more than 2 alcoholic drinks are allowed.

    Today, I've been triggered by a combination of boredom, lack of direction and financial uncertainty. Tough day but I am staying on course, there's so much at stake.
     
  18. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    This is something all addicts feel once we take away our drug. How do we constructively fill the void? I do better now, but I still have trouble not just frittering away my time.

    Yes, there is!
     
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  19. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Now that porn and fantasy are off the table, I currently find myself physically unable to masturbate (unable to maintain an erection). If I were to fantasise I could easily PMO. But fantasy leaves the neural pathways open. To be honest, it doesn't bother me. If anything, it proves just how ingrained my patterns of behaviour had become and perhaps it's evidence that my brain and body are slowly healing. Sure, the neural pathways are still there, ready to be fired up at any given moment, but as time goes on, they are weakening. I am dismantling and disrupting the neurological patterns of behaviour which I have relied on for so long. Knowing this, gives me strength. I'm out of the pit of misery. Onwards and upwards.
     
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  20. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Hey there @forlorn
    Don't dwell on shortcomings. Keep making good habits. You can do this
     

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