Time to heal

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

  1. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Got a muscular injury at the moment so am feeling frustrated, especially since I have been making good gains at the gym lately. I'm an active guy but this injury means I have to sit at home all day and rest. As I lay awake with the pain last night, I was briefly tempted to fantasise in order to lift my mood, but I resisted and eventually sleep came. I've started reading a book called Portrait of an addict as a young man, it's a biographical account of drug addiction. Seems like a good read so far, I can relate to some of the stuff he writes about and it feels good to be reading again.
  2. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I know the frustration of not being able to work out. Hope you can find another healthy outlet.....
  3. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    There's a great post on YBR from 'The Underdog' who says that people on the forum are focusing on the wrong things. In the post, he says:

    They are not changing the way they think.
    They are not changing the way they live.
    They are not changing the way they view sex and women.
    They are just trying not to masturbate, while everything else remains the same.
    That, my friends, is abstinence, not recovery.

    With that in mind, I realise I need to step things up and try to change the way I think and behave. It may be difficult and time consuming but it's a fundamental part of recovery and self improvement. Continuing my work on the theme of loneliness and rejection I will highlight a few more areas in my life that I aim to focus on improving. I'll paste a few statements below which I aim to reflect on over the coming weeks.

    Notice when you are seeking approval of your self-worth – make your own positive judgements about yourself such as ‘Yes I do look good’ or ‘Yes I can make the right decision’.

    Notice times when you feel sensitive to rejection and disapproval and challenge these feelings by looking at the evidence – is it really that personal or are there other quite legitimate reasons why someone might appear rejecting?

    Be mindful of when you are seeking reassurance of others’/partners’ love and availability for you such as ‘Do you love me?’ and look for evidence in what they do, what they say, and how they attend to you to answer this yourself.

    If you are providing a lot of care-giving to others this might be a strategy to try and get external affirmations to fill the gap where self-affirmations should be. Review your approach to helping others and get it in balance and appropriate so that you focus on self-care.

    If you feel that you communicate often with others but find that they seem not to be listening then reflect on what you are saying – is it demanding, clingy, intense or jealous insecurity? If so try and reign in your pursuing and demanding behaviours and consider others needs too.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  4. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Funny that you mentioned The Underdogs post. I too read it again today for the first time in months. He definitely had some really good things to say.

    Good to see that you are trying to change things even though you are on a good streak. I guess many people (myself included in the past) get overconfident after a few weeks of abstaining and then a relapse comes out of nowhere.
  5. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Agree, that post serves as a good reminder. One of the most crucial things he said is that "addiction is not the cause of your shitty life - addiction is the symptom". He got this idea from Recovery Nation. I'll post the full text below from RN. I think this paragraph is amazingly insightful.

    Addiction is not keeping you from living a healthy life. It is not the reason that you are struggling. Even the consequences of your addiction are not the reason that you are struggling...though it is easy to perceive them as such. No, your addiction and its consequences are merely symptoms; the reason you are struggling is because you have yet to learn how to manage your life in a healthy way. It has been your life skill deficiencies that have fueled the 'shortcuts' you have taken to manage your emotions. Shortcuts that provide immediate emotional stimulation (which is good); but to the detriment of your long-term health (which is cumulatively very, very bad). When these shortcuts become ingrained as your primary emotional management strategy, you can consider yourself as having an addiction. But note: it was not the addiction that triggered the life crisis...it was the lack of healthy life management skills that triggered the addiction. It is vital that you understand this, because without such a realization...you are voluntarily choosing to stick your head in the sand and thus, remain powerless to actually manage your life.

    That's happened to me too, it's easy to get complacent. I'm 42 years of age and have been struggling with compulsive behaviour for years. In some ways, the addictive behaviour comforted and protected me, yet it's also had devastating consequences on the quality of my life which is why I am aiming to change the way I think, behave and live.
    Gil79 likes this.
  6. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    After a busy few days I recognise I'm feeling tired and am craving a dopamine buzz. Logged onto a popular social media site earlier and searched for something I shouldn't have. The search revealed a result that excited me, a brand new profile that I found particularly alluring. I was so tempted to initiate contact with this person but have managed to resist - for now, at least. I need to get her out of my head. Think logically about this, no good can come from me communicating with this person. I could succumb to this urge but I've seen this play out so many times before. I pay some money and get super thrill out of our secretive communication for days, sometimes weeks on end. But afterwards comes a crushing low, a loss of money, lots of regret and all the feelings of helplessness that go with it. I've fetishised some ridiculous things over the last few years, to the point where certain masochistic fantasies have become intertwined with part of my identity and with one of my hobbies. It's hard to explain without going into detail, but suffice to say, it's pretty pathetic. Although I'm tired, I'm going to get out the house and do some exercise. A nice bike ride to try and release some natural feel good chemicals.
  7. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Had a bit of a wobble yesterday, the closest I've come to relapsing in the last 70 days. I did browse an adult themed profile but ultimately it didn't go any further. I was bored, home alone and it was raining heavily so I couldn't go for a walk/bike ride. Today has been a better day, although it's been stressful, had some unexpected car trouble which messed up my schedule.

    A while back, a good friend confessed to me he's a daily drinker. I see this guy as being quite successful. He's got the good looks, an incredible physique, money, a nice wife and kids. After that conversation I somehow justified that if it's OK for him to do that, then surely it's OK for me too. I used to just do it on Fridays & Saturdays nights. But then it became more regular and spread to Sundays and other days through the week. I rarely go crazy with the booze but I've decided this regular drinking at home thing has to stop. And I need to stop comparing myself to that guy, our circumstances are different.
  8. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I know everyone has unique circumstances but I sometimes wonder if my problems are worse compared to others on this board. I hear people talking about having sex with their partners one day then returning to PMO a few days later. I think I'd be content if I were able to have sex with the Mrs at all. Currently I'm paralysed by fear of failure (potential performance anxiety).

    My sexual conditioning and habits are so ingrained you could put the world's most beautiful woman in front of me and I doubt I'd be able to fuck her. My brain is desensitised to 'normal, vanilla sex'. This is one of the reasons why I'm so determined to change my habits for good. The first step is to create that break from the dopamine dependency, the second is to attempt to re-wire my brain to real sex.

    Haven't touched a drop of booze all week, quite pleased about that. There's a lot of stress and uncertainty in my life at the moment but Im coping with it.
    Saville likes this.
  9. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Well-Known Member

    I think you have it! I think you know how to get better! Rock on bro !
    forlorn likes this.
  10. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Do you have a plan for overcoming this? I don't have real performance anxiety but I do have some sort of sexual shame to overcome. I think that talking about it and learning to have sex without any goal (orgasm of on or the other) are critical here.
  11. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I don't have a plan as such. Maybe my performance anxiety issues will be partially be resolved after a long break from PMO. But what you say makes sense, communication and learning are essential. At the moment, neither are occurring. My wife and I don't talk about (the lack of) our sex life, it's almost as if we've resigned ourselves to this situation and we simply live as friends. But thanks for the reminder, at some point we do need to have that awkward conversation.

    I've done some selfless acts this weekend which made me feel good about myself (offering my time to give people lifts, cooking for visitors etc). Currently home alone as the wife has gone out with our visitors. I filled my alone time by working in the garden. I've created a pretty looking space which I'm actually quite proud of - even our guests commented on how beautiful our garden looks. Some parts are in full sun, others are in shade so I've had to put a lot of thought into it.
  12. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    As you know I've been in this exact situation. I don't think you need a convo. I hate having conversations now - I'm all conversationed out. Action, as the cliche goes, speaks louder than words. Kiss you wife, embrace your wife, and keep showing affection, all with the idea of having sex. Do it for yourself. We put ourselves in such cubby holes when it isn't at all necessary.
    Boxer17 and Mad Dog like this.
  13. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure how interested she is in my actions, but I take your point.

    Had a minor disagreement with someone on a work group chat. I'm no stranger to confrontation, I don't mind rocking the boat, so to speak. I was tempted to respond publicly and vent my true feelings but doing so could have made me appear petulant. Instead I'm going to stay quiet and let the other person have the final word.

    Yesterday I decided to close my PayPal account because it's the method I previously used to pay women from the Internet. Scrolling through the activity page and seeing all those payments with corresponding names and email addresses was triggering. It made me wonder, what is this person up to now? Has she posted any new pictures on her Twitter page? I snapped out of it when I remembered that the 'benefits' of acting out are fake. And it was depressing seeing the list of hundreds of pounds that I've squandered each year on this addiction. Annoyingly though, PayPal wouldn't let me close the account. An error message came up saying your account cannot be closed at the moment. I'll email their customer services to see what's going on.

    I'm approaching the stage where I last relapsed (the 80 day mark) so this time I have to be extra vigilant. Besides, this has altogether been a cleaner and better reboot so there's more at stake.
    Boxer17 likes this.
  14. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Went into the city and whiled away a few hours in a cafe on my laptop. There's something special about sitting by a large window watching people from all walks of life go by. Such a basic thing to do yet it feels like a treat.

    I do feel slightly guilty about the fact my wife is working hard in her office job and I'm sitting about in cafes during the day. A few years back I gave up my office job to follow my passions (career-wise). It was a big gamble and it turns out my passion isn't particularly lucrative. In doing so I lost out financially but saved my sanity. Currently I only work around 15 hours per week. My wife now earns more than double what I do. Certain family members criticised my decision, they said I should go back to my office job to make more money but I'm not sure I can face it. I should use this free time as productively as possible - put more effort into recovery, into becoming a better man, into setting goals for the future.
    Mad Dog likes this.
  15. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    You're doing it for yourself.

    77 days is great!
  16. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Went out for a friend's birthday last night. I should have known when to stop drinking - it has left me with a hangover that's lingered all day. Historically, hangovers have been dangerous territory for me but today I have proven to myself that I can cope with the discomfort and carry on as normal.

    Thanks, you were the one that encouraged me to post regularly. Doing so has helped me to remain focused. I previously described this as a "war of attrition" - I'm treating the brain as if it needs bringing back into line. As each day goes by, the benefits of stopping the addictive behaviour are becoming more prominent in my neural pathways and I'm starting to feel like a 'normal' person, instead of someone who is hiding a dark secret.

    I'm also committing myself to the view that the addictive behaviours are precisely that - behaviours. Seeing it this way makes recovery seem achievable because I know that behaviours can be controlled, restricted and even stopped for good.
    Boxer17, Gil79 and Mad Dog like this.
  17. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Well-Known Member

    You're moving along!
  18. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Woke up early this Sunday morning feeling slightly anxious. A lot of men my age (early forties) have very busy lives. They'll be up, bathing, clothing and feeding their children. They attend barbecues and parties where they mingle with other parents and have busy days with barely a moment to themselves. I have the opposite problem, "what shall I do today?", "how can I fill the hours"? I restlessly check TV listings to see if there's anything that may hold my attention to fill a gap. I secretly hope a friend will call asking if I'm free to go for a beer later on. Of course I'm free.

    Come to think of it, pretty much everyone I know has kids. I expect men who are fathers devote their lives to their children. They work hard to create a better future for those who rely on them. Having kids gives them a sense of purpose and direction.

    Others may get a sense of purpose through religion.

    I drift from day to day thinking of ways to fill the void. It highlights the fact that I could do with some kind of ambition or purpose in order to feel fulfilled. I will reflect on this throughout the week and see if I can come up with something I feel passionate about over the long term.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
    Gil79 likes this.
  19. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I have kids who are now adults. They did fill a hole in my life, but they didn't fill it completely. Once they were gone I felt the same as you: what will I do today? I give myself projects now. I couldn't come up with something that would sweep me off my feet, a passion as it were, so I just started with the little things. I built a deck, renovated the bathroom, rebuilt my bicycle, etc. I'm not really a handyman, either. I just watched youtube vids and talked with knowledgeable people. I often still feel the void, which I think some people just do. Here's what doesn't make the void better and often makes it worse: eating crap, drinking too much, getting stoned a lot, PMO, fapping, and cheating. What I found helps ameliorate my feelings of isolation and listlessness is just to do small tasks, which often leads to bigger ones. I think our passions find us a lot of times. They are waiting for us to get active, to lift our spirits, and then they sort of drop in.

    I've been clean for three years and it's still a struggle, but as the Buddha said "life's a bitch, er, struggle." :D

    Love your honesty, bro'!
    Gil79 and -Luke- like this.
  20. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Great post @Saville you have put certain things into perspective. I will of course continue to look for something worthwhile to fill the void. In the meantime I'll keep away from PMO and carry on with all the little actions that add up to make life worth living, e.g. maintaining good health, strengthening relationships, eating well, exercising, little acts of self care and learning how to be happy.
    Outsider. and Saville like this.

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