Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by ruggerdoug, Jul 31, 2014.
Keep up the good work. You are thinking very clearly as I can see. You have come a long way RD!
A lot of my struggle up until now been tied to recovering from the chaos and losses of life and addiction that led up to and included my divorce, a failing (yet successfully sold) business, a lost girlfriend and a slew of other not so fun things.
Much of that is behind me. I am starting a new chapter. I've bringing into it some financial consequences though that is improving, a great job with lots of stress and PIED. Life is as close to a blank slate as it has been for me since graduating college.
I'm feeling a sexual energy that goes beyond cravings to self medicate though they are still there. I no longer look at porn, stalk my old girl friend's social media or read erotica. I'm still drawn to dating sites. I'm getting that under control. And it feels more like me trying to find a date (been on a few) than it does flipping through a bunch of pics. Bumble and Tinder are porn subs for me and they are verboten.
I am ready to be ready for a girlfriend in my life.
I've dropped 16 pounds and counting.
I've started a different form of therapy that attacks head on some early childhood trauma at set me up to feel the need to self medicate.
I've in the last 30 days or so finally understood the meaning of "Loving Yourself". I always thoughat it was a feeling but it is action. Love yourself by eating right, doing the things you love every day ...
I am in a flatline like mode ... not complete but nearly ... some sensitivity has returned with the no O but the compulsive touching has certainly impacted that. I had a little bit of playful fun at the end of a date yesterday. To even get partially hard she had to touch me and even then I was only about 50% ... she is a friend that knows my issues and was patient ... it didn't take me long either ... so I'm getting there but still have PIED and premature ejaculation. Where I'm at is a huge step up from where I last was ... so I'm a bit more confident.
But I'm not cured or fixed. The addiction is still there. I've gone 21 days without a self induced O. The last week I was compulsively touching myself so much it ruined two work days. I finally got that under short term control but realize that is my biggest weak point now.
I am working on 3 things:
1. NOFAP. I started the 21 day challenge this morning at NOFAP. I KNOW that if I can make it to 90 days my PIED will improve.
2. Loving myself. Which I've learned in the last 30 days or so is an active thing. If I like working out, having a clean apartment, being active, etc. then DOING those things instead of things that make me feel awful is loving myself. I'm doing a much better job of doing that.
3. Figuring out who I want to be. Sounds fucked up at 54. My therapist asked me that last week to describe who I want to be in a few words. Speechless. Work to do. But I understand the exerscise now. I've defined myself by my work and not by the whole of who I am. We do 360 reviews in the office. Three of my employees mentioned I needed to take time for myself. I've felt trapped lately when I've been asked in various settings what I do for fun. I have things I like to do but I really don't do them. And I have other things I want to try out.
Fabulous Father's Day. I feel energized by my boys and how they still put me on a pedestal like they did when they were toddlers. They do that knowing that their dad is a porn addict. Here's to a good week.
You sound you are on the path. Good job the truth is very sobering isnt it ?
Reset on the 21 day challenge. My weak spot is M. I'm nearly in flatline and I am compulsively touching myself. Its been a fight for 3 days solid. It starts as a mindless action. Sigh.
Here's the good stuff. I'm nearly 30 days without looking at porn. I'm less than that without reading erotica. I'm more than 30 days from Tinder or Bumble. No desires to do any of them. I have dabbled on a couple of web based dating sites (no phone apps) which aren't as toxic (they are still toxic) as the phone based apps. I went 20 days without an O. There were moments of M in all of that. And now that is the major problem. I don't feel like I'm at risk of going back to porn, erotica, phone based dating apps.
I've always known I've got a stew of related things. Porn addiction. PIED. Psychologically induced ED. Too much masturbation. The real issue I'm fighting at the moment is the compulsive masturbation. The negatives of it is that it keeps you bathed in a cocktail of feel good chemicals. The literature says it doesn't cause ED. Whatever.
I am almost in flat line. There is feeling. But no amount of stroking gets me beyond 50% hard. As my no O time went before the total relapse the feeling would be a little more pronounced and the hardness a miniscule bit better. Oddly enough, it was enough to suggest if I would knock the M the fuck off and let things improve they are going to improve.
All of my things come because I'm trying to fill an emotional hole. Started EMDR with my therapist yesterday. I'll report on that. We are essentially looking to find the touchstone trauma that is the foundation from much of that and help the brain heal from it. He has another client that has improved their porn addiction from the technique. (Interesting trivia ..... I was his first porn addict. He now has 6).
I admitted to him yesterday and I'll admit to you all now. If my junk worked I'd be hitting it. I'd be chasing women and getting laid as much as I could. I used to be ashamed to admit that. I used to pretend that I was some higher level creature (nice guy syndrome for sure) that didn't need all that sex. I am stunned at how quickly women want sex in a dating context. I swear that most of the women I meet and interact with want to have sex on the first date. I feel inauthentic and fake when I say "no, let's wait so we have a chance for a solid relationship" when I really am screaming inside "let me put off your finding out my dick won't work". I feel shame from the story. I've told the truth and it bombed. I've gotten naked and had things fail and it bombed.
None of the progress I've made is null. But I'm still at a minimum 30 days at best, 90 days at the average before I can hope for any kind of performance. And even then I'm worried about PE when the moment comes.
My list is actually 4 things:
1. Nofap. 21 day challenge. Good thing is I have a 5 day backpacking trip at the end of the 21. When I make 21, I'll be outside and disconnected for another 5 with friends. If I make 21 I'm in good shape to hit 30.
2. Forgot this one. Therapy focused on healing from the touchstone child trauma whatever that is.
3. Loving myself actively.
4. Figuring out who I really am. The shameless acknowledgement that I would be hitting everything I could if my junk worked is a sample of me getting that together. I've put up a facade on that for years pretending that wasn't true. I like sex. That is part of who I am and that is ok.
OK. Time to focus. Life awaits. I'm not going to get through it any better with my hands on my stuff.
Well, if that's what turns you o n why not ? One of the things we seem to hold as dear is: I must be above all of this pedestrian or common needs !
Why ? Why cant you be you ? That's the bottom line RD! You are who you are the hell with those that dont accept you or try to tell you ---you
Checking in. Resetting. Sharing progress.
This past week has been a little crazy. Nothing in particular but life has been stressful in total. I slipped on the loving myself part. Didn't work out. Didn't eat right. Drank too much. Led to a slip yesterday. Still no porn, but M&O came out together.
It really is pathetic. I'm secure enough to stay away from porn totally. I'm compulsive enough to give into M way to much and O with it yesterday. I know if I looked at porn I'd get a real erection. But yesterday it was a flopper. Even in the midst of it part of my brain was say 'YEAH!" and another part was saying "REALLY? THIS IS WHAT YOU CALL FUN?" This slip scared me more than any other I've had the last few weeks. I did read two erotica stories during the entire thing. That is the first slip where I actually took a step backward.
I've written a 90 day contract and will be sharing that with my counselor and a friend of mine who knows my mess. My current therapy is weekly so the 90 day contract can be executed as 13 one week runs. I can do that. I need someone to be accountable to. The friend is a woman ISo met on craigslist 11 years ago. We communicated for 8 years before we ever met. We've never been intimate. We were both appalled at what we were doing when we met on CL. We had dinner last night. She found out her husband has been looking at gay porn and acting out behind her back. He's positive. And she's freaked out. Oddly enough because of our sordid beginnings she felt I was the only one she could share it with and talk it through. I've asked her to be the other accountability person because she knows my past in greater detail than anyone that has read this journal. I admit its kind of weird.But as I've gone through this she's often given me the woman's perspective. In the past we've talked like once every 9 months so she's not been a constant. And I don't see it going into dangerous waters. I've got a third friend that I'm going to ask to be an accountability partner with but only at a high level. He knows about my addiction but I don't want to feed him too much detail because he is also a board member of my employer.
I'm resetting today. And committing to 13 7-day weeks. Hard mode.
So slip. Reset. But real progress, sort of.
I feel like I am dealing with the right things. In therapy, we are working on the childhood trauma that likely set me up to be so susceptible to self medicating with porn, finding it so difficult to give up on failed relationships, being a lousy partner picker, being so susceptible to other forms of self medication.
I understand that self love is a serious of acts and not a feeling.
I accept that only the work part of me is defined and that the way I live my life is incomplete which makes for a whole lot of room to let the self medication in.
I have been on several dates recently. It's been enough for me to acknowledge that I want a woman in my life but I don't! I'm ready to be ready. But I know the other things need to be addressed.
One of my dates said something interesting .... she said you seem to be a really intense successful man who lives a really lonely life.
I won't get the song right but there's a new country song out that with a refrain that goes something like ... I drink because I'm alone, I'm alone because I drink ...
That is me.
I self medicate because I'm alone, I'm alone because I self medicate.
The progress is that I see that now. The effort is to move toward being less lonely when I am with only me and then growing from there.
So I know all of that. But I feel in conflict. The more I get things worked out the harder the fight is it seems. My 90 day plan includes no alcohol. I did a three week run with no drinking that ended a few weeks back. Even a few drinks makes me more likely to M for instance. I can do a strict 90 days hard mode. My contract is extremely Spartan because I realize anything less and I will find ways to fuck it up.
I said earlier today that I'm ready to be ready for dating and a relationship.
I desire it but I do not feel desirable.
I do not feel like I bring much to the table other than being a great guy:
My finances are still in a state of flux.
I am still working through financial and legal issues related to the divorce.
I'm living in a partially furnished apartment (townhouse but it's the same thing).
I drive an 11-year old car because the likely conclusion of the major legal issue is giving it up; buying new is not in the budget but it would potentially be for naught.
I can't get it up.
I have tremendous confidence in my work. I am confident in the weight room. I am confident out in the woods.
I have confidence talking with women until the conversation starts to get sexual ... and then my confidence fails.
It really kills me. Even just a few years ago everything worked and I was an assertive man in life and in the bedroom. That I am not now just kills me. And then contributes to my making it worse.
Reset after a slip again last night. Better frame of mind this morning. Day 0 of a 90 day challenge on NOFAP. Four accountability partners in place.
Posting while I wait for a client call to start.
Some things I wrote in my physical journal:
•Women are available in abundance
•There will be single women in 90 days as in much abundance as they are today.
•Dating sites are distracting me – mentally, emotionally, sexually and in terms of time that should be spent on other things.
•A woman would be just as distracting.
•I’ll be better positioned for some sort of a relationship in 90 days IF I follow my plan; right now I feel like I bring nothing to the table. In 90 days, if I stick to the plan I'll be a fitter, more financially sound, male as opposed to the broke, ED ridden puss I feel like today. Sounds ridiculous .. it won't take much ... that's how close I am all the time.
•I need to build my routine before I can bring someone into it
Bad week. But a good thing happened.
The new therapy lodged some ugly stuff loose. I have a better idea now of why I self medicate like I do. I do not have a great idea about how to deal with it. I am terrified with what I've found and want to put it back in the box but I can't. And it isn't good if I do.
All of it in a nutshell ... some events occured when I was younger that wired me to emotionally believe I don't deserve "it" ... nice things ... stability ... a mate that fits my needs ... etc. ... when I get something that feels right I act out to self sabotage becuase I deep down don't feel like I deserve whatever that is.
So when something good comes my way I self sabotage because I'm uncomfortable with it because I don't deserve it.
Explains the fapping, the other bad choices in my life ... so now that I know ... the question is .. what the hell am I going to do with it?
And that is the therapy for the next several months.
Moving forward but the climb is getting hard.
Sounds familiar. It is so difficult to recognize self-sabotaging actions in the moment, but when I look back I often really wonder why I did things that did me no good at all.
I know what you mean. It's strange.... things that lodge in our heads.
I'm at ground zero of my mess now.
I've self sabotaged and self medicated for years. I've done it because I felt an emptiness emotionally. I've been guarded in relationships even when I thought I was being open.
Somewhere along the line I learned emotionally that I don't deserve it ... it being nice things, success, stability, relaxation, etc.
I feel more comfortable being uncomfortable and then self medicating the discomfort away.
So fucked up.
But now I know. Two things are going on:
1. The knowledge is helping me change my behavior. Suddenly keeping the apartment clean, not looking at porn, taking a risk to say hello to a nice looking woman, taking some time off during the work day to relax is about loving myself and giving myself what I deserve.
2. The feeling is still there though so some of the pull to act out is stronger than ever.
Making good decisions in the spirit of I deserve it is the hard thing I'm faced with now ... because sometimes when I choose to do something for myself or someone compliments me I am racked with the feeling that that isn't true ... and that hole in my chest feels bigger and emptier than ever.
Letting that feeling be ok and working through becoming comfortable with the nice thing causing it and keeping that good thing good is my work.
Hey RD. I sure like those positive thoughts. It can be So easy to sabotage ourselves. I like that you are unchaining yourself from the negative. All the best to you sir
Good article that explains what I'm going through: https://www.forbes.com/sites/briann...rse-when-you-try-to-change-them/#797ecc9332b0
Extinction burst occurs when you try to change a habit and the habit intensifies in response to your effort to quit. That is exactly what is going on when I say that I feel I'm doing better but that I'm at war with myself.
I am getting long streaks of no P, slightly long streaks of no O but M is compulsive (I'm about 11 hours into a reset) and feels like I can't stop. I'm drinking more than I want or should.
Given the streaks I am getting morning wood here and there; I'm more sensitive; I have something that resembles a sex drive. I'm working my good habits routines (medidation, working out, time in the outdoors, relaxation time, good eating, supplements, etc) hard and consistently.
Yet, there's a huge battle inside.
And now I learned that Extinction Burst is a thing. Knowledge is power. If you are having the same issues read the article. It is really just a short click bait thing. I googled my way to better explanations.
@Boxer17, I appreciate your consistent encouragement. It goes a long way as this can be such a lonely fight.
Solid first day under my belt (no pun intended but there it is!).
I revaluated some things that I thought weren't P-subs but evidently were. I cut all that out of my life. Twenty four hours later it i easy to not PMO or M. In fact I'm down to a few habitual touches here and there which I'm ending as soon as they start.
I feel very good about where I am at the moment.
I went hiking today. Gym later tonight. Meditation tonight.
t sucks that I've got a lot to do and we are past the bonus days in the long weekend. But I feel like I've been pretty good to myself.
I'm sleeping well, deep and often. Sleep is such a powerful tool in this fight. It is when our brain heals. With the healing comes crazy dreams. I know in part I'm healing because I'm having them. Took a long nap after my hike today. The dreams were a mix of fantasy, porn images and real life, almost all of it sexual. I had afternoon wood with it. It wasn't triggering. I'm not upset by it ... in fact the opposite, because the dreaming means healing is going on.
My therapist asked me to write up a statement of who I am. When I've done that in past it's usually taken on an air of "marketing message" rather than accurate in the moment Doug.
In our busy lifes we have to create the time for ourselves. It is like sweeping everything from the table saying 'now this moment is mine'. When you claim that moment and do something with full attention to yourself, you relax. This message to yourself is very powerful on tje subconcious level. You make yourself important. You give yourself love.
@Gilgamesh, I’ve only recently acknowledged it self love is action not a feeling. I’ve been frustrated for years but people said you just need to love yourself. And I look in the mirror and see somebody I can’t love. In the last month or so I had an “AH HA” moment. And I’ve started to set time aside for myself. My feelings toward myself of changed slightly as well. I feel like I’m very much on the right path.
I had a good night last night. Stayed up way too late working on a new budget application that I downloaded.
One of my goals was to be done with that this weekend. And i will be. Things are tight for me financially but if I actually managed it life would not be as stressful. That’s one of those things that is on the self-love list that used to be on the to do list and misunderstood.
I’m on day two of the three day NOFAP challenge. I’m seeing healing Sines that used to take a week or so to get to. Nice morning wood this morning. Crazy dreams again! Sign of healing and sign of deep sleep.
The great thing about the timing is day three will be tomorrow morning. I will start the 10 day challenge tomorrow. I go backpacking Wednesday morning through Sunday. For a number of reasons my addictions aren’t a problem on the trail. That means when we come back off the trail I’ll just have a few more days to hit a two week streak.
The crazy urges that I know identify as an extinction burst have calmed some. But I expect That to come back at some point. If feel prepared for that.
We are creatures of habit, often triggered by the same routines, patterns of behaviour and surroundings. It's nice to have a change of scene once in a while, enjoy the backpacking.
Drinking has become a P sub for me of sorts. I over drank Sunday night, woke up late Monday morning and then relapsed last night because I was in such emotional turmoil I made the decision to self medicate.
I set myself up for the fall with the drinking. I was drinking because of the stress of going back to work after a great 5 days off.
I then chose ... openly chose to PMO twice ... to relieve the mixed emotional distress and feelings of depression left over from the drinking.
Tomorrow morning heading out to backpack for 5 days. Totally going to disconnect. Already told my staff I'm just going to turn the phone off entirely.
I need that to re calibrate.
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