Well look who is here .... UGH.

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by ruggerdoug, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Slept in. Sitting down at my work/church computer. Going to church online in a few minutes.

    Partial flatline. Meaning I'm not thinking much about it but I'm getting a little morning wood and it hasn't turned into a micropenis. I don't know if I'll go full flatline this time around. From the PIED perspective every long streak is different. I remember a few times going through a period of nocturnal emissions and daily dribbling. Not sure that is coming.

    Morning wood this morning was 80%. And with it came thoughts to test. I've done this enough to know that there is always that moment mid way to 30 where you start wondering "Am I cured, yet?". That's likely, if I remember correctly, going to be with me for a while. Going to have to be vigilant today because neither of the boys are home and it will be easy to act out if I make the decision to do it. But it is a decision and I don't plan on making it!

    And the other nag that has started pulling on my mind is that I don't have someone to test it with when the time comes. I need to shut that negative thinking down, too, as it is a gateway back to the dating apps.

    So .. today ...

    Church, which I'm watching the intro music now as it starts .. and then some chores and some work and planning next week out and some workout time and a long walk for the dog ..

    A full productive day! And a day that needs NO PMO!

    BoughtWithBlood likes this.
  2. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Made it to 15 days. And reset.

    I traded the slip for some self knowledge. I don't like the trade. I would have preferred to discover this about myself -- actually 2 things -- without the slip, but it all had to happen together.

    I have been off dating apps this entire time. A leftover from when I was on the dating apps and I have been casually texting about life. She's sent two photos, both G-rated. We've talked on the phone. None of the talk has been sexual nor has the texting. It has been enjoyable but not significant. I usually fall in love in 2 minutes. It hasn't been like that at all.

    So Saturday we were texting pretty early. And she just stopped. Didn't hear from her after a group of texts mid day. Just crickets. I had a prior relationship that ended with a ghost. Nearly 2 and a half year relationship just stopped with no explanation. @moz you can remember some of that drama most likely.

    Anyway as time wore on I started getting anxious. I alluded it to it when I journaled Sunday morning. By last night I still hadn't heard from her and I felt incredibly empty.

    Dating apps. And the tumble began.

    I've been fighting it since late afternoon Sunday. The same day I closed my morning with "A full productive day ... " Not so much.

    First lesson is the one about the hole and the neediness that goes with it and my choices to fill it back up.

    Finally, hear from her. Reasons were trivial why she hadn't communicated. That should have been it.

    Then it gets worse. I'm stuck on the apps. A little M. No porn. No O. But fuck just stuck swiping and swiping. And back to texting with her.

    I do Siri speech to text. I was in such a frenzy tonight that I sent, accidentally, to her a message intended for someone else.

    It just happened and she's in bed.

    So she's going to wake up to that in the morning.

    I did that a couple of times when I was married and when I was dating after the marriage.

    I feel so ashamed I am so weak.

    Even when it appears as if this thing is under control it has me deep.

    Sunday morning I thought I was setting the world on fire.

    Not so much.

    Apps are off my phone. I'm deeply ashamed. More to the point I'm afraid she's going to wake up to a ugly realization. We weren't romantic or talking relationship but that was the whole point of the dating site which we met on. I assume I've hurt her. And there is nothing I can do to rewind and fix it.

    I feel so broken.

    And as I've been dealing with this it struck me. I don't have PIED. I have deep shame for all the shit like this that's scattered throughout my life. The porn, the cheating, the being disconnected from people I love b/c of the porn, the inability to please a partner b/c I've chosen a form of pleasure that interferes with that. There is a long, long list of bad things I've done associated with my addiction. And I can't rewind and fix them. All that is with me. All the time. I feel dirty.

    I know I have to forgive myself to move forward. I have to deal with this shame. Until I deal with it the cycles will never end.

  3. badger

    badger Active Member

    i feel i have done some bad things in the past. but i'm not a bad person. i can't fix them all, like you, but i can do something positive today. i also feel dirty, degenerate because of all the porn and types i have watched. not normal. but again, today i have a choice. i guess this is where the rewiring comes in. it took me many years to get where i am. i can not expect to feel pristine by next tuesday. so i keep hanging there waiting for the miracle. praying for you my brother.
  4. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @badger, thanks for your words.

    First, things aren't as bad as they seemed last night. She and I texted this morning and she wasn't as taken aback by my screw up as I thought she would be. It likely won me no points but it didn't blow the whole thing up easier. Probably a lesson to be learned there about not immediately focusing on the worst that could happen.

    That being said it doesn't change how I feel about last night.

    Porn is degrading to the women in it. It is also degrading to those of us that watch it though I've never stated it so bluntly. I read on NOFAP a long while back that watching porn was self-cuckolding. That you wanted to be with "her" but couldn't. Last night as I wallowed in the shame of what I've done I remembered that. My use of the dating apps isn't about who I might find but about who I can't have. Each swipe is a small punishment even though I get a certain porn like joy when I do get a contact or start a conversation.

    When I meet a woman and begin to build a relationship -- say Wendy for instance -- I'm needy because I don't feel I deserve her. And then when we get intimate all that porn and everyone I've ever slept with is in bed with us in my head. Yes, it is PIED, but it is more than just that. I wish I could put a vacuum on my brain and suck all of that out!

    I am not wallowing in shame today. I'm not looking to self medicate any shame away -- today.

    I did identify something that I must address. In ways I am thankful for that.

    For 5 years I've been searching for the "source". Last week in therapy I found the childhood source. But last night I found out how the shame of my addiction feeds into and keeps active that shame with new reasons for shame.

    I want to forgive myself. I want to move away from the shame.

  5. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Dealing with the shame ultimately comes down to stopping doing the things that cause it, of course. Our dilemma is consistently changing the cycle from the 'circling the drain' type to the healthy type.
    You fell back into your dating app pattern for the same reasons you did in the past. Yes, loneliness is part of it, along with the dopamine rush of doing something you know you shouldn't do. And whatever else it is that compels you, not the least of which is habit. The fucking habits are embedded, and exorcising them is really hard work. I get it. You know I suffer from the same malady.
    So...we dust ourselves off and try again. The question is always "what do I have to do differently to make it stick?". The answer to stopping the cycle is to stop the cycle. You have very articulately described many, many ways of doing that, and you've been successful at implementing them up until you fall. That's what we're all dealing with. The challenge of consistency, and not letting recovery fatigue wear down our resistance. If the fatigue comes from trying too hard, or something else, it always comes down to being vigilant when it matters; when our spirits are down, and all we want is "relief". But it's not relief for long, and we start again with renewed hope that is always tempered by the knowledge that if we are to finally get past this damned addiction, we have to really, really want to.
    Carry on, my friend.
  6. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you made the situation worse in your head than it actually was. I have a habit of doing that too.

    We've all done things we terribly regret.

    But none of this makes you a bad person. Using these dating apps is like a dysfunctional form of self soothing for you. Hopefully you can move towards a healthier approach and address feelings of unworthiness in your therapy.
  7. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @Mozenjo, my dinosaur friend thank you for the encouragement. @forlorn, you, too!

    I got right back up again.

    Actually glad it happened.

    Best therapy session I had in years.

    Just tagging in tonight. Processing. I'll share later.

  8. ananoman

    ananoman Active Member

    Ruggerdoug- I’ve come back to this site after a 3 year absence- saw your journal entries and just wanted to encourage you to stay the course- and don’t be so hard on yourself
  9. badger

    badger Active Member

    welcome back
  10. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @nonoman, welcome back indeed!

    At the moment anything that seems like me being hard on myself, I feel, is from my intense desire to get to the core of this stuff. I've been on and off of here for 6 years. My first post was July, 2014. If I read those early posts I read words from a man in total disarray. I'm far from that man now. So much has improved but I'm still filling something with PMO, still not living the life I want to live, still suffering from ED, still not happy. Happier, much happier, but not happy. It is a puzzle and I am intent on solving it.

    Went to bed tonight at 830. Woke up at 1145 pm and couldn't go back to sleep so I got up. Did the dishes. Some laundry. Going to do this and then go do some more chores.

    Had one of the best counseling sessions ever this week.

    We covered a lot of ground.

    I told him in detail my story from over the weekend. Between this session and the one the week prior I've worked some new information out about myself.

    Avatar -- Even talking on the phone and texting non sexual content I am still interacting with an avatar of a human. Sure, Hannah (the woman above) but she is only what she shares. Her picture might be out and out of date with what she looks like now. She might be married or might not be. Etc. I don't "know" her in the sense you know someone when you are with them physically -- not sexually -- and able to see their expressions, body language, feel their energy, etc. I tend to connect with avatars and that is a part of the function of the dating apps for me.

    Intense Los -- Talked about how I felt in that period of time when Hannah stopped communicating. I felt an intense loss. I've felt that same loss when my parents told me they were divorcing (I lost my dad that day as the mechanics of divorce at that time -- fathers got visitation twice a month -- cut our time down together and we never have had a close relationship. I've felt that intense loss in 3 romantic breakups -- Kim (HS g/f), Susan (college g/f), Alicia. Whether or not it makes sense I felt that intense loss on Saturday and it built up on Sunday and I reacted by trying to fill it with an avatar by going back to the dating apps. Fear of that intense loss drives some of my behaviors. Reacting when I feel it drives some of my behaviors. Something significant to work on.

    Capability - Expectation - Performance Gap - Spoken about this before. Mom thought me genius! She expected nothing from me and while I did well I have never performed to that genius potential. I'm comfortable in that gap. It fits the patterns in my life that my self sabotage is to stay in that gap rather than close it and perform at my potential or at least feel like I am.

    Types of shame - I am carrying shame from that performance gap and from that intense loss as a kid AND I am carrying the shame of years of porn, cheating when I was married and all things related to that. I use PMO and some other bad habits to fill in when I feel intense loss, fill in when I feel shame. When I am intimate with a woman the sexual shame I carry comes to bed with us. My ED is not just PIED but partially caused by that as well. My PIED and other issues come from self medication of the other type of shame. Are they two sides to my shame? Or two totally different types? Do I deal with them together? Or is it going to take different kind of work to clear them out? Don't know but I know that they are there to deal with.

    So I've identified new ground to work on. I've been frustrated for a long time that I wasn't making progress, walked away from here and from therapy. I came back here, back to therapy and it feels like I am really moving forward.

  11. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Just random thoughts as I have my morning cup and wait for church to start ...

    Hannah, the avatar that I've been talking and texting with, ghosted completely and I think finally. I usually breath life back into a conversation like that but decided yesterday to just let it go.

    I have had growing temptations to jump into the dating apps. I know why now and feel like I can manage the tug and not give in. Giving in will just create another cycle of where I binge on choices and start touching again. It is going to be a serious effort to stay away today but .. I don't have any accounts, I deleted them entirely with the last cycle ... I am going to my son's to watch the Steeler's came tonight which gives me an anchor to work toward ... I how this fits into my addiction clearly and so I'm more informed than I've been ... and I've just called myself out here with the hopes that will help me be self accountable.

    Woke up this morning with morning wood. Though I keep slipping the overall improvement trend line is up. I'm not in a position to "test" live whether I can perform or even kind of perform with a woman but realize forcing that isn't an option. That doesn't bother me all that much, given what I shared about dating apps above, but this situation gives me some hope to keep doing what I'm doing.

    Somewhere along the line I got sex and love all twisted up. Sex is not love and when sex happens with someone you love it can certainly enhance the connection. But just having sex -- with a person or with my hand and a screen -- isn't love, doesn't improve anything. Just sex with a woman I meet online might in the moment feel like the closeness of love but it isn't love. OK, I know all that. But I feel differently. And sometimes my pursuit of screens online, avatars on dating sites and even real live women is about my having sex to feel love instead of about me finding someone to love who loves me with whom I have a close intimate relationship with including sex.

    I don't know whether I learned that somewhere along the line or whether it is a distortion from the years of porn. Again, I know it to be true, but I feel differently about it. If I don't keep my feelings unchecked then "sex is love" is going to take over. And if I let the addiction get to that then random movies online and then women in them is love ... totally twisted.

  12. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Difficult day but no dating apps. Got a little bit done but mostly slept. Depressed. 100% certain it comes from not having an "avatar" to text with on and off during the day.

    I realize how powerful that avatar label is for me. I've never thought about it that way but it is true. If you connect with someone online and only text and talk but never meet they really are no more full dimensional than other forms of digital entertainment although they are a bit more interactive! It feels as if there is someone in your life but there really isn't. That I let Hannah ghost and then didn't react to fill the avatar role is new ground for me.

    It is new ground in the fact that I know what is going on inside. I know why I'm depressed, know why I'm tempted to go to dating apps, why I'm tempted to PMO .... knowing has been good defense. Just sleeping the day away was a primitive way to defend but I'm good on the day. Heading to my son's to watch the Steeler's game so I've made it through the day.

    I want to be able to do more than defend, to turn a day like today into something productive. To have activities that excite me so much that I could do those and not feel the loss of an avatar. But that, for today, wasn't in the cards, but it is a good thing to work towards.

    Knowing is growing, I guess. I do feel good about where I am even as I feel a little bit miserable being depressed.
  13. badger

    badger Active Member

    you are correct, i have done many things in my life that i regret. mainly hurt the ones i love. that's the past. what am i going to do today? i don't have to repeat the fuck ups i did. think before acting is my mantra. before i say anything to anybody I try to use this acronym today- T H I N K- is it True, is it Helpful, is it Inspirational, is it Necessary, is it Kind? don't always do it. i am a work in progress. much better than i was yesterday. than the day before, etc. hang in there.
    Thelongwayhome27 and NewStart19 like this.
  14. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @badger, interesting acronym. I've think I've seen it before. For me "true" is interesting. I certainly feel lonely. I certainly feel the loss when an "avatar" ghosts me. Those feelings are true. But acting out on them, trying to fill them with porn or other women from dating sites is neither helpful, inspirational or particularly kind to myself. I make it necessary though in some ways and short circuit the THINK function. It truly isn't necessary but I turn it into that when I become needy.

    Work is finally winding down. I'm going to have some time to myself over the next couple of weeks. I want to practice being healthy by myself. Something other than nap!
  15. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Woke up a little wobbly this morning. Packed work day today. Some things that MUST get done. I woke up (first time in a while) stressing about the day ahead.

    Fortunately I'm on Zoom a lot today and my son is here. I'm pretty sure that those two things will put some guardrails up for me today. After breaking the 15 day streak I've found it difficult to get to day 3. I'm at 2 today and need to stay vigilant.

    If I am at the start of a streak I have noticed I can usually get to one day ... struggle between 1 and 3 .. but then do just fine between 3 and 7 ... struggling again from 7 to 10 ... then I sail unless a big event strikes. I've had two 30+ days streaks this year and am unsure of what life is like past two weeks and up to 30. But I do know myself bumping along here in the singles.

    Lots on my mind ... as all that processes in the back ground today I'm going to be back here journaling ...

  16. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    And here I am at 6 days ... Merry Christmas!

    I've spent the last two days in bed sick .. COVID? .. don't know cant find a testing center open until next week ... but I'm on the mend and isolating.

    No real fears of porn temptations when you are asleep with a hacking cough feeling miserable!

    Good therapy session earlier this week. Still working through the things I discovered. I'll share later I'm sure.

    It snowed here. A beautiful Christmas at the end of such an odd year.

    However you celebrate the spirit of the season enjoy the ending of 2020 and look forward to a great 2021!

  17. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    In quarantine. Tested yesterday but won't get results for a few days. Told to isolate for 10 days which puts all next week when I'd planned on doing things with my boys just a more of the same home alone thing. Such is 2020.

    I slept in today. Whatever the hell I had turned me into a sleeping machine. I feel a lot better now.

    I'm going to journal a bit here and then make a plan for how to relax with purpose and be productive over the next week.

    I'm going to work a little bit -- on training and strategic things -- because we get bonused this year on unused PTO due to COVID. That sounds better than just burning the time with nothing to show for it. BUT I'm not going to treat next week like a normal work week either. I have to limit myself or I won't get the rest I need.

    And I have some chores around the house that need done so life is easier to live. Just some things that weren't quiet put a way after moving back from Wendy's.

    And who knows what else. I just know that before this evening I'm going to have a plan that keeps me busy from now until the 4th so that I will feel like something was done, I will feel relaxed and I won't feel pulled to PMO.

    We got into some deep thoughts during therapy last week.

    Some of this I think I have already shared but we dug into it a little bit more.

    I feel like I have two types -- maybe better said, sources -- of shame. There's definitely shame that comes from childhood. And then there is the shame of all this porn and cheating and poor decisions related to the porn and cheating. Any time I lay down with a woman and begin to get intimate that shame lays down with me. I'm not sure how to let that all go. Even when I'm at 900 days no PMO that shame will be with me unless I find a way to purge it from my system or to accept that part of myself and forgive myself so I can move on. I do not know how to go about doing that.

    The other type or source of shame is this gap from childhood. Mom claimed one thing about me and expected another. My therapist asked this week "do you feel like your mom loved you" and I answered I don't know.

    And i don't. Feels in hindsight that I was more of a prop for mom than someone she truly loved. And that and the gap I feel all snap into place as to why I do many of the things I do.

    There is a lot more to explore. And I oversimplified the revelation.

    But I do think I have found the core source of the shame I've spent years trying to cover with porn and sex.
  18. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    I have COVID. Just tagging in. I'm fine but exhausted. The fatigue part of this is no joke.

    Happy New Year everyone!
  19. badger

    badger Active Member

    praying for you my brother
  20. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @badger, prayers worked! Along with too many doses of Dayquil/Nyquil and, on average, 18 hours of sleep per day for a week. What an ass kicker that was. I have a friend who got it at the same time and chastised me b/c I was having such a hard time of it. "It is just like a bad cold," he says! Others get it and have almost zero symptoms. Others, of course, die. Mine was somewhere between really bad cold and really scary. I never felt in danger but for someone who has a bout of meningitis as an adult I will attest that COVID is not just a bad cold or just "like the flu". Doc told me to expect a new, apparently random symptom everyday and COVID did not disappoint!

    Today is the first day I woke up feeling normal. I'm enjoying my first cup of coffee in a week where I can taste it. Probably should be my last caffeine for the day because as much sleep as I've had another cup and I won't sleep until Thursday!

    I am offiically back in the game of life not that getting that sick isn't a part of it. But I didn't do much else than work to get better. Had a couple slips in the whole thing but I'm not going to be particularly hard on myself on those. I'm no longer infected with COVID but I am still infected with porn and a whole litany of toxins and symptoms that come with that addiction. I managed COVID. It is time to restart my managing my curing my porn issues.

    The wildest thing through this process are the wild dreams I have had. Too many to remember them all. In hindsight I wish I had kept a journal.

    My oldest son and his girlfriend were very prominent in a number of them. Alicia was as well. One dream with Alicia was so vivid that when I woke up I tried to go back to sleep to pick the dream back up. We were hiking and she was telling me why she left. It wasn't an unpleasant, nightmarish dream. I woke up and tried to go back to sleep b/c I don't feel the conversation was resolved. Another one with her in it we were fighting over a blanket b/c it was cold and the blanket ripped. Lots of dreams about work. One was about a Zoom conference call where I and one of my teammates made total assholes out of ourselves in front of the company. I dreamt a mic dropping last comment, a good night everyone and then closing my laptop. I would have had a heart attack had I woken up the next morning and the laptop had been in my room.

    I realize that COVID wasn't the only thing my mind and body were working on healing from over this past week. The dreams were my brain healing. Some of that sleep may have been the result of the huge sleep deficit I put up over the last year.

    I have often thought that it would be helpful for me to schedule a period of time where I do nothing but sleep, think, walk (none of that last week), meditate ... this week was a forced version of part of that. Underlines, I feel and think, that I likely need to make that happen at some point in 2021.

    My birthday is tomorrow. New Year's resolutions take on a stronger meaning when your birthday and the New Year begin at the same time. Usually, this week before the two days I spend working on resolutions. I'm going to spend some time today on that.

    I would be acting the drama queen if I put a huge weight on this last week. I was sick and now I am well. I was never really in danger and this certainly wasn't a life altering experience (though sleeping through the Buckeye's kicking Clemson's ass certainly was a major detraction) but I did a lot of thinking, realize the dreaming was healing and so was the sleep. I made some advancements even as I didn't try. Time to suck it up and get back to work.


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