Unleashing Mental Force

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by trapped7, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    Day 1

    Almost 3 months since I posted.

    I have had different experiences.
    Without going into detail, first something happened, part of which was great.
    Later on other events came to pass, and - again - I had an emotionally very difficult time, with life hitting hard on different fronts.

    I am sure it's because of this that my spirit in part disappeared in a spiral of addiction.

    Now I feel the urge of attempting to turn this around once more. I again know it cannot continue like this.
    I possess the knowledge, and in the meantime the experience to know what to do.

    As a starting point I will focus on the basics again. Healthy nutrition, continuous exercise, meditation and sufficient sleep. On top of that try and make efforts at socializing regularly.
    Avtivities to stay way from are of course P and acting out, limit Video Games / Internet with a timer to 1 hour each a day as well as not eating junk food, in my case too much sugar.

    The second commitment is to post here regularly, meaning every day, at least for the first few days.

    I hope I will find a way again.
     
  2. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Hey trapped-

    Good to see you. I've missed your insights.

    I recommend Wabi-sabi's journal if you haven't found it yet. I read it end to end a few weeks back and it really helped clarify some of the issues for me. The biggest thing I learned from it is to just keep trying different things to break out of the cycle, and to not beat ourselves up too much when we do slip, but to view slips as learning experiences- as he says, nothing leaves you until it has taught you what you need to know.

    We're different people to the guys who started this journey 4 years ago (is it so long already?). There are different guys on the boards (still some old handles though) but the culture's still very supportive, and we're building a real repository of wisdom here on how to beat/live with this thing in the short, medium and long term. The 40+ forum is where I hang out these days mostly.

    I noticed Gil had changed his handle the other day. I hope he's doing OK.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading about your journey again and seeing you kick this thing in the butt once and for all (which is shorthand for saying building resilience and finding strategies for managing stress and urges).

    We're all in this together.

    ANM
     
  3. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    ANM,
    Thanks man. Yeah, unbelievable how fast time goes. Yes, we are more experienced. Even though I really don't feel any different from me 4 years ago.
    The older I get the more I realize it actually feels all pretty much the same.

    It's nice that some of the people from then are still hanging around, although I wonder what C12 is up to these days. Well, he might show up sooner or later, like most of us do.

    Day 2
    Got a cold which is getting worse.
    Other than that, ok so far. Not that productive at work, but did a few things.

    My goals for the remainder of this day:
    - Eat something healthy for dinner and a healthy snack with fruits and nuts.
    - Clean up, so my place looks reasonable.
    - Go to bad early and instead of hourlong internet surfing listen to some podcast. (Dan Carlin's History podcast is pretty awesome by the way, and free for the most part.)
    - meditate for 5 minutes.

    Working my way towards a more healthy lifestyle again as this cold gets better.
     
  4. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    Day 3

    Still recovering from this cold. Will take a couple of more days, so my priority is to rest.
    I wasn't really productive at work considering what I could have done, but I'll give myself a break, because I am sick.
    I achieved the goals I set for yesterday.

    My goals for the rest of the day:
    - Limit movie/internet/videogame to another 2 hours at most.
    - clean up a little more
    - meditate 5 minius
    - learn language until I meet my daily goal.
    - go to bed early and don't have anything electronic going on in the one hour before that.
     
  5. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Your goals show a lot of insight into how this all works. May I ask, what's your policy on M-ing this time round? I'm still doing the No Arousal thing, and it seems to work (it's really my only option, as I find M is a total slippery slope).
     
  6. Mendoza

    Mendoza Well-Known Member

    Glad to see you back to the fold, Trapped. I'm with ANM... M is the fresh sheet of ice on a downhill slope.

    Also that last objective, limiting electronics and computer time before nighttime, I believe is something I'll have to adopt myself as I've been faring badly with online idling.
     
  7. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    Day 4

    The cold is slowly but surely going away. I was a little bit more productive today at work and intend to continue that line tomorrow.

    Goals for the rest of the day:
    - clean up at least a little bit.
    - limit "electronic time" to 2 hours maximum, use timer to ensure.
    - no electronics one hour before bedtime
    - meditate 5 minutes

    ANM,
    The only strategy that I have found to work during the past 4 years is a strict "no fantasy policy". So I guess that answers your question.
    I liked what one experience rebooter once shared with me calling it "MVP sobriety". Not stimulating yourself Mentally, Visually and Physically.

    And that's only the sobriety part, that's only providing the space in which recovery work can happen, which is basically about directly facing what we are escaping from as well sincerely looking to connect with other human beings.

    Mendoza,
    Thank for checking in, good to see you're actively engaged in this. Yes I think it can contribute a good deal to our health, both directly, but also through improving the quality of our sleep.
     
  8. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    Day 5

    Cold almost gone. However now this extreme fatigue is kicking in. Maybe because of Low Dopamine, maybe other factors, I don't know.
    Not really productive at work, because I am just not interested enough.

    Goals for today:
    - Go to sleep early
    - No electronics one hour before bed
    - achieve language learning goal
     
  9. Mendoza

    Mendoza Well-Known Member

    Then go the extra mile for the goals you want. Accomplishing side projects has a revitalizing effect on the other half of your day: work. It might not be interesting, but by satisfying your desire for language learning, sport or artistic pursuits, it fills you with more oomph for the more mundane tasks. One feeds the other.

    Conversely, when the day is spent doing nothing, it's a negative feedback loop. Cycle of negativity ending in disaster. Believe me, I know... I'm a pro at self-inflicted disasters.
     
  10. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    There's a natural slump in mood and energy that follows an O, besides the addiction-related stuff. Get past these first days and as Mendoza says you'll feel a lift in spirits and have more energy for other pursuits. I don't know that I can tell you anything that you don't already know- stay busy, label and deflect urges, and remember to treat yourself in healthy ways.

    I agree with this, to a point. Personally I feel there's some mysterious alchemy to the reboot process- i'm not talking about super powers- I mean the ability to reach a emotional balance, to reconnect with others (as you say), the realignment of our perception (not objectifying people, women and men), stepping out of status struggle (not worrying about where we stand in any given relationship and just being), habitually turning our attention to the present moment and not living too much in the past or future or fantasy... It's powerful stuff and although there is "recovery work" to be done on our specific issues (poor self-esteem, self-centeredness, laziness are mine), just having faith in the process and letting it unfold is going to take us a very long way (I'm paraphrasing 40New30 here).

    You can do this, and so can I, and every man on here. (it's funny, when I wrote that I felt a little tremor of fear- "Can I though?"... fear of the addiction- how can i not fear it after so many relapses? but I believe (and in fact must believe) we can "hack" our minds and lives to the point we're effectively free of it on a day to day basis).

    Sorry for hijacking your journal.
     
  11. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    I relapsed and the addictive cycle quickly unfolded to more and more relapses. It's crazy.
    It really takes a good streak to be in a better place.

    However 5 days without acting out was a start.

    I had a good experience on the weekend hanging out with friends and meeting some new people.
    I realized again how important this is, and on the following I actually did feel more positive.

    Now I feel like I am still caught in a spiral.
    I have to pick myself up and try again even though sometimes I am not sure why I am doing that and when I will able to go for a long streak of months at a time.

    Mendoza,
    I agree with you. I wasn't productive today and feel accordingly - on top of feeling bad because of brain imbalances.
    I remember it's wort a lot to start the day the right way.

    ANM,
    I totally agree with the comment about mysterious alchemy. If you focus on engaging in healthy activities, no matter which part, eating healthy, calming our minds, reconnecting with others, then it seems one of these feeds the others in turn.
    I tried to do "recovery work" in the form of psychotherapy but haven't seen that much success because of it. Maybe a different psychotherapeutic approach might help, but I notice that focussing on basics (nutrition, exercise, meditation) along with socialising and connecting with friends has a quicker and more tangible impact on my life than any "recovery work" I have done (which to be honest I have barely done outside of therapy).
    I do think we can to this and if we relapse just keep going back to what works. Like you said about yourself, of course I have my doubts too, but I have seen the effect of doing the right things, and maybe more importantly refraining from doing the wrong things in the past. Thank you for 'hijacking' my journal, I appreciate it!

    Edit: Why does my Day Counter suddenly want to access my google profile info? Strange times...
     
  12. Mendoza

    Mendoza Well-Known Member

    A similar thing happened to me which is why I ditched the counter altogether. Might as well just get rid of it. I really don't think you're losing much honestly... if you day count on your own journal, what more of a reminder do you need? Side note: for me, counters where a social mark to be proud of until I realized that it just served to inflate the ego, in the insidious hopes of edging out others to see who's alpha dog... I guess others have their valid reasons for using one... I simply couldn't find a use for it anymore.
     
    Fry2 likes this.
  13. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Hey trapped-

    How you doin'?

    Just reading through my journal and appreciating your good advice.

    Hope you're well bud.
     
  14. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    Day 10~

    Joining again the quest of dealing with this samsaric, reincarnating fiend, this so-called addiction.

    After another longer period of severe acting out for weeks something in me realized again I cannot live like this.
    Since then I have made some positive life changes, engaging in some activities I've been wanting to engage in for a long time, which felt good.

    Some key elements and powerful strategies I have aquired over the past years of dealing with this, that I am planning to put to use once more, I hope they can be of help to anyone who might sense some value in them:

    - the addiction always escalates if I give in only once
    - It all starts with fantasy, if I can be aware of that and quickly change channels when fantasies arise the likelyhood of a relapse is zero.
    - nutrition, exercise and meditation are the three most powerful pillars of a healthy lifestyle.
    - exercise and meditation in particular have a powerful and positive effect on neurotransmitters
    - "Not To Do" lists are more important than "To Do" lists
    - Appreciation and Mindfulness go hand in hand and when practiced regularly affect my sense of well-being positively.
    - The way to implement healthy habits in our every day life is by using tiny habits which follow a trigger. No motivation is needed to do this and it works.
    - The oppositve of addiction is not sobriety, but connectedness. Socialising and emotionally positive relationships are important for everyone, but especially for addicts.

    There is more that come to mind, but this should suffice for now.

    Even though my life circumstances could be described as very good, I am feeling physically and emotionally quite devastated right now.
    This must be to a large extent because of chemical imbalances and havoc that the addiction has caused in my brain.
    And that is, why my prime directive must be to quickly change channels when fantasies arise, supported by a healthy lifestyle (nutrition, exercise, meditation, sleep)

    Good luck everyone,

    ANM,
    Thank you for checking, I hope you are doing well these days.
     
    titan_transcendence likes this.
  15. titan_transcendence

    titan_transcendence Well-Known Member

    Hi trapped7,

    I liked a lot what you wrote in your latest entry in here. Especially this clicked something deep in me:

    "- The oppositve of addiction is not sobriety, but connectedness. Socialising and emotionally positive relationships are important for everyone, but especially for addicts."

    This is so true. All my life I have felt disconnected to other people, mostly of any social group, but in the personal level too. I have always feel myself being that weird guy, feeling shamed by my addiction and unworthiness. Breaking that curse could really lead to break the shackles of this addiction. But how to do that, its different story altogether. Addressing one's issues with the help of therapy could be the first step in right direction but obviously more is needed.
     
  16. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Hey (un)trapped7 (i hope you don't mind if i call you that) i agree with everything you wrote above. The key point for me, which you emphasize, is the importance of not giving fantasy even a toe-hold. This is so important- so even when things in life are not optimal, if we stick by this one golden rule, we can stay clean. Of course it's not the only answer- like building high castle walls is not the way to end a war- but it does give us breathing space and a refuge to start working on a lasting peace.

    For me the trigger is always stress, be it emotional, work, illness whatever. I can handle 2 types of stress, but when they start stacking, that's when my brain wakes me up at 4am and drops a big juicy fantasy in my frontal lobes. It is a kind of primitive default setting in my brain- I don't think that will ever change. So for me it comes down to managing stress, and when stress does manifest as fantasy at 4am, shutting that fucker down.

    Since you were last on the board much I blew another long stretch (in August 2016). I think subconsciously I was frustrated that the gains in the bedroom I experienced in 2014 were not happening so fast this time- plus a bunch of other stuff below my awareness. This time round I'm reading more journals and trying to involve myself more around here. 40New30, Saville, Billy B are all on good runs and i like to keep up with them, in the hope some of their mojo will rub off. Looking at my life things are different- i stopped biting my nails, my house is clean, my garden is neat, i am working more- these are external signs that something has changed- just hope this time its for reals.

    Keep posting here, even when you don't really feel like it (or especially then?)

    Peace to you brother.
     
  17. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    Day 22

    Been staying clear of acting out for quite some time until I gave in to F just a little bit, which of course progressed.
    I haven't looked at any material though and am determined to get back to a no F regimen.
    Nutrition, Exercise and Meditation I have been relatively successful too.

    Here is a Not To Do List, just for myself, but hopefully it can be of some help to someone.

    - Don't follow F when they arise.
    - Don't criticise, condemn or complain
    - Don't follow regrets about the pasts or worries about the future
    - Don't practice anything impulsively, without making a plan first
    - Don't check the email, news and other sites on default
    - Don't buy stuff you don't need
    - Don't eat sugar or junk food
    - Don't believe 95% of what your mind tells you
    - Don't believe 95% of the things you hear

    I plan to live each day to the fullest and to be thankful for every day I have.
    Every day, every hour and every minute without acting out is a step towards healing.

    TT,
    Good to hear from you.
    I have to force myself often to hang out with people, but I universally do feel better if I choose to.

    ANM,
    Thanks for your great insights, yes I agree not giving F a toe-hold, like you say, provides a strong basis for everything else.
    As for your relapse, I think what is really important is the length of the timeframe between relapses.
    It's the amount of time in between that is spent living a healthy lifestyle that matters.
    Even if we are still addicted and will always be, we have seen major improvements and if we keep working on recovery it is we are going to see more.
     
  18. A New Man

    A New Man White Knuckle Brigade 2013

    Good work not letting it escalate to actually viewing anything. I can't do that- there is a F>P bypass in my brain. Makes it easier I guess, knowing where the line lies (right at my feet).

    I like your list of not to dos. There's so much there, all the noise and clutter of the world. Imagine how peaceful it would be if we could turn the volume down on all of that. I have started to become aware of how sugar affects me too, the up and down and the brain fog. It's nothing comparing to PMO, but still annoying and on days when i have a tight deadline, probably the difference between success and failure.

    I don't know how much time you have to read journals on here, but there are a few worth checking out. Wabi-Sabi is worth reading from beginning to end. He's reading Pema Chödrön lately and posting summaries. Recently a rebooter from 2013, jebu, bumped his journal. His attitude is really great and when i reached the end of it i felt really positive and energized about the reboot. So often i feel like it is "work" but in fact we're freeing ourselves from something debilitating. The pay-off is slow and subtle, but it builds and builds until one day you can just smile.

    Glad to be walking this path again with you.
     
    tricking mind likes this.
  19. trapped7

    trapped7 "what you resist persists"

    Day 35

    5 weeks in, now sometimes experiencing waves of anxiety. I am about to hit the 40 day mark that P. Carnes describes as the initial cool down before the actual brain rewiring"
    Everyday I am not acting out is one step closer to healing and recovery.

    I am becoming more aware of my own negative thinking patterns and am starting to see the value in reframing and seeing things positively.
    This is a skill that has to be learned, as our thinking automatically goes to the negative.

    In the Buddha's brain the author described our mind as functioning like "teflon for positive thoughts and velcro for negative thoughts. "
    I can't think of a more appropriate metaphor than this.

    Wherever the reasons for this are, social conditioning or evolutionary psychology, the value of having the skill to think positively is easy to see.

    ANM,
    Shockingly, there still isn't much consensus in what kind of nutrition is best for us, there are however a few concepts that virtually everyone agrees on;
    not eating sugar for immediate health improvement is one of those. So good luck to us, even though I didn't eat any sugar for a week I've had my share of today.
    Again as always, small incremental changes and tiny habits are going to be most effective.
    Thanks for pointing out those journals, even though as you say unfortunately I don't have too much time, and I'm also glad to be walking this path again together.
     
  20. Thebeg

    Thebeg Well-Known Member

    Keep it up trapped7. 35 days is really good, you should be getting into this flow where the weeks start flying by. How is your love life looking currently, any women in your life?

    Having some years of Vipassana meditation (the original technique thaught by the Buddha) experience, there is a subtle nuance to this statement. The human brain does have a subconscious tendency to experience suffering. That is, because it tends to react based on either desire or aversion. Both can lead to suffering (a desire that is not fulfilled or is taken away, or something averse happening to us).

    The idea of the meditation technique is to train to subconscious mind to observe the bodily sensations rather than react to them. You may want to look into it, I've done a 10-day retreat twice and it's really powerful stuff, although the course itself is pretty hardcore (10 hours of meditation daily).
     

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