Well look who is here .... UGH.

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

  1. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @nuclpow I am in counselling .. have been on and off for nearly 6 years ... started about the same time I started here. It's not been a solid 6 years as I'll go long gaps without it. I get in deep and make progress and then hit a wall and take a break.

    @Mozenjo I know I deserve. I think I do. But I don't feel it. The feeling is I don't deserve nice things, good relationship, etc.

    Your comments give me a nudge to just recap where I've been in the last 6 months. Backpacking trip with my friends where we got deep around the campfire and they shared with me that I was a different person (+POSITIVE) but that they still noticed a rollercoaster in my life -- lose weight and then get fatter, be organized about things and then a mess. They shared it was less bad than before I started working on things (NEUTRAL).

    Went back to counselling shortly after that because they were right.

    Started discovering things about my mom and my childhood.

    We all have core beliefs that drive us. It's pretty obvious given some of my mess I had a big bit of emotional puss somewhere in deep. Depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, an addiction are all smoke to the fire coming off the puss (YUCK! awful visual). But I've never really been able to identify what it is. I knew I had a negative self view but repeating things like "I'm a loser" or "I'm unlovable" just didn't fit. I win at a lot of things I do. I've had some great relationships and am deeply loved by my sons.

    COVID put me on my ass and I was isolated for almost 5 weeks given the quarantine and some of the after effects.
    I earned an enormous bonus with a tremendous year last year at work.
    My buddies all agreed to a 40 day lenten spartan challenge with no booze, daily meditation.
    I jumped into the challenge, lost 7 pounds, was feeling great and then just shit the bed. I drank last weekend. If door dash were an online game I won it over that weekend, too. Went into a deep depression that lasted almost all last week. It was the worst depression I've had since 2016 when life fell apart.

    Counseling on Tuesday in the midst of it all and ... "I don't deserve it" popped out. I've discussed it before (in cognitive behavior therapy the theory is we have to change the we think to change how we behave so we've always been searching for it but if it came up it never seemed to "fit". It fits.

    I love my mom. She passed away years ago. I miss her. And I'm fully aware of the fact that she was also emotionally manipulative. And as we started collecting those stories they all had a common theme. I wasn't good enough in whatever the situation was and didn't deserve whatever was given, promised, expected, etc. My Dad got me a .22 for the Christmas right before my 12th birthday. Tradition in our family was you got a .22 when you were 12. My parents were divorced at the time. Mom and I were close. She KNEW that I had a strained relationship with my Dad, that I was constantly questioning whether he loved me / liked me. So the .22 was just a gun AND it was a big fucking deal. Came home from his house ecstatic about it and told mom I was thrilled b/c Dad recogized I was old enough to have the gun and so on and so forth. It was a huge thing for me. I mean not only did I get the gun Dad spent the Holiday weekend. We spent a lot of time with him teaching me how to hold it (as if it is ALWAYS loaded), load it (clip holds 7, load 5 so the spring holds up) etc. And then we went out an slayed an untold number of pop cans in what was a glorious massacre. So I'm riding high -- gun, shooting, great, quality time with my Dad.

    I told mom I wanted to write Dad a thank you not expressing how that made me feel and how I wanted to do more things like that with him.

    Mom lost her mind. She cried for 3 days inconsolably. I don't remember the things she said but I'm certain that they were emotional bombs. My step dad punished me for upsetting her. I never sent the thank you note. I never expressed that to my Dad in any way. He's 83 now. We have a acquainted relationship. A few times in my life it has gotten deep and meaningful but that never sticks. We talked for 7 minutes or so twice a month. In the parallel universe where I sent the thank you note I might have had Dad react by telling me how proud he was of how responsible I was and that I deserved that gun (of course, he might also have said, well it was the last thing the store had and we put off shopping to the last minute!).

    It feels trivial. But 3 days of mom being passively emotionally abusive with her reaction and my step dad punishing me for it (yelling and likely tv and other restrictions, not physical) and it was a big fucking deal. And we had a lot of those events in my house some of which I remember from when I was 3 or 4.

    And then I married her archetype and lived with that for nearly 20 years. Being told I'm pathetic in front of the neighbors or in front of my boys. Giving gifts she asked for on major holidays only to have her have a mom-like meltdown because I got her what she asked for and not what she wanted and if I loved her I would know what that was ... no sex because I didn't deserve it because I wasn't a good enough husband ... and so on.

    @Mozenjo I know I deserve. But I don't feel it. I heard that message for 50 years of my life. So I'm more comfortable with not having things than I am of feeling like a fraud for having nice things. So I've become world class in my ability to keep myself from nice things. PMO is a block against nice things as much as it is a chance to self medicate. I deserve more than my story has given me.

    Here's to changing the rest of the story.

  2. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Poor sleep last night but I woke up feeling good -- not depressed.

    Spent the day yesterday by myself thinking most of the day. Visited head space several times. Did no work.

    Looked for a book on changing negative core beliefs but nothing I found seemed useful. Some too technical. Some too self helpish -- Ra Ra You can do eet! I want something in between.

    The big thing I've found is my time in headspace (meditation app if you don't know). That's where this "I don't deserve it" popped out so firmly. I'm working through an Acceptance meditation right now. The mindfulness thing does help a lot.

    Anyway, just my morning journal. Not much to say.

    Have a great week!

    nuclpow likes this.
  3. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    My therapist called me Monday soon after I wrote the above.

    He discovered a book on sex and porn addiction: Understanding and Treating Sex and Pornography Addiction; A Comprehensive Guide for People Who Struggle with Sex Addiction and Those Who Want to Help Them By, Paula Hall.

    I have the dubious honor of being his first porn addict patient. He has many more now. I was also the first person he thought about when reading the book. I've ordered it. There is a small chapter on negative core belief.

    Back to the office today. I'm going to try and go most days. No temptation to fap even after I got home. Argued with myself about grabbing a beer on my way home but no beer Doug won over just one beer Rugger! I ended up being more productive than at home (even though I would have worked longer at home).

    I think the isolation has been worse than just bad for me.

    Tonight I looked at my first rental. Too small. Tempted to say yes because it was nice but it is in an older part of town. My bed would not have fit in one of the rooms. I deserve better. The temptation to say yes was me willing to accept something other than what I deserve. I made the decision solid after saying to myself "I deserve a better place".

    So anyway ... I'm feeling pretty good about life right now.

  4. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I can imagine. To our child-minds certain circumstances and events can have a huge impact on us.

    I've met Paula Hall, a long time ago. I had an individual appointment with her but lost my job shortly afterwards so didn't continue the sessions. She's the real deal, one of the first therapists to really understand sex/porn addiction. Hope the book is useful for you.
  5. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Slept in because I could. Should be an easy work day today. Working from home because I've got packages coming. Have to be extra vigilant between the relaxed workday and the being alone. Yesterday's burst of people has helps a bit.

    Woke up woody like ... not full on wood but more than not .. and that's after 2 solid days.

    Had a moment where I was tempted to test. That has passed.

    Not much to say. Looking forward to waking to a 3 on my counter tomorrow.

    @forlorn, I am looking forward to a new voice hopefully with a new message or new information. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Good job letting the urges pass. Find productive ways to use whatever time your relaxed day will allow for. Vigilance, Rugger. Day 3 will look so much better tomorrow than a goose egg :cool:
  7. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @Mozenjo, thank you for the encouragement. You better keep your ass 9 days ahead of me! Only way I catch up is you to drop your vigilance. Don't! I enjoy the view from here!

    Dinner with the oldest tonight. Shared with him the "don't deserve it" thing.

    I put it into practice tonight.

    He is getting married next year. I have offered -- can afford it and want to -- pay for the rehearsal dinner. My ex is doing a number of other things and I want to have a "Rugger-only" thing. My thing is that he, his fiance and I will go to dinner a few times. Once we pick a place the couple, my ex and her husband and I will have dinner at the choice to plan the event. If she wants to help pay I am both shocked and fine with that. But I'm going to help them pick. My thing. I told my son that after I shared the deserve it thing. And I said it in those terms "I deserve to have my thing as a part of this."

    And the great thing about that kid is he gets it and agrees. She's doing like 7 other things that I give two shits about. But I care about this. And I deserve it.

    He also invited me to help him with the bar selections.

    Seriously 2 weeks ago I would have accommodated her. Felt like a big pussy. And then fapped to release the shame and stress.

    That has been my life for like forever. Give in. Accommodate. Feel guilty if I get my way. Feel manipulative if I get my way. All because deep down feel I don't deserve what ever it is.

    Lots of work to do but I've figured things out.

    I am riding a roller coaster emotionally right now.

    Two things to do:
    • I have work to do to reduce the negative thinking, replace it with a more positive core belief and change behavior.
    • I have work to do to repair the damage - PIED and other things. Behavior must change first.

    Mozenjo and Cali like this.
  8. Cali

    Cali Active Member

    You also deserve to enjoy a life free from PMO and all the baggage that comes with this addiction. When the urges come remind yourself of this fact; remind yourself of the PMO free life you deserve.
    Mozenjo likes this.
  9. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @Cali, thank you for the encouragement.

    I agree with you but think about it a little differently. I deserve to live a healthy and peaceful life or I don’t need PMO to fill in the gap.

    i’m not really done much emotional work this week. The book I ordered came today but I haven’t looked at it yet. It’s still in the mailbox.

    I’m in bed right now Wideawake. I had a reset moment earlier today. I’m journaling right now because I’m fighting myself. I can’t sleep. I’m going to write this out and then go to headspace for a while. My mind is telling me to get in the self medication cabinet and go get a six pack for the stores close. I’m not going to. I would go to sleep for sure! And then miss my hike tomorrow and then be depressed all day. And then PMO to not feel so depressed.

    so I’m very likely to just not sleep tonight.

    I didn’t do the emotional work this week because some of it’s gonna be hard work late tonight will be.
  10. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    The weekend is wrapping up.

    I turned down a booty call to Wendy's Friday night more because I was pretty sure that even though I'd get off I'd come away ashamed at my performance. I own the fact that I did not turn the offer down because it was right or right for me or right for her. She's made several attempts at suggesting we get back together. I enjoy the friendship -- she's the only woman I've broken up with that I still have a relationship of any kind with -- but she's not my next relationship.

    Hiked 6 miles with my friends Saturday morning, installed a bike rack and got my old bike to the shop to get it fixed. I'm planning on riding more often when I get it back in a few weeks.

    Drank and ate too much last night. I talked myself into some beer. I know it was to just shut my mind off. I have this instinct to shut it off but I don't know why ... I don't know what is in there I don't want to think about.

    The book I ordered on my therapists suggestion came Friday: Understanding and Treating Sex Addiction by Paula Hall. It repeats a lot of things we know - if you've spent time educating yourself on porn addiction - but the sex addiction angle brought some new insight to me. It's more aimed at the therapist than the addict but I have found it extremely interesting. I'm 4 chapters in and have learned a lot about me. I've read a chapter, napped, done something active, meditated and gone back each time. I'm trying to process the book. Not much has gotten done this weekend.

    The book confirms what I have always known. I've got shit to deal with that isn't porn or sex .. or drinking or overeating or over working .. but brings them all into my life to keep the shit buried. I've probably typed those words here before but I'm not sure I really meant this. I'm going after the shit. I've been scared to up until now. And I've finally got some idea of what the shit is. Still scared a little bit. But I realize I'm just on a hamster wheel with this if I don't go deep.

    The book tells the stories of one of her patients who dealt with their porn or sex addiction based on their knowledge of the addiction but who ultimately had failed relationships because he refused to delve into why and what caused it. He never quite got to remission and his wife saw the lack of interest in delving into why as lack of commitment. So, for her own mental health, she left.

    Much of my time here I've focused on fighting the sex addiction ... knowing it is all about the dopamine .. fighting it with healthy distractions, commitments, streaks, cold showers, etc. -- but I keep relapsing.

    I'm ready to figure out why I have a void that needs filled.

    I went through my phone tonight. Cleaned it up. There were still remnants of things there. As of almost 8 pm EST I have no porn, no dating apps, no communication apps like Snapchat or Kik that I used when meeting over dating apps, no g-rated pictures let alone porn.

  11. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee post. Slept in a little bit. No testing this morning. No looking at my phone. In fact, woke up and laid in bed awhile. Part of my brain wanted to test, part to look, part wanted to start worrying about today and what's due and what's undone.

    I reset the alarm 30 minutes and meditated my way through it. Feet hit the floor and I was very relaxed.

    Working from home today but don't think I am at risk of acting out.

    Reading that book, at least so far, has been a good thing.

  12. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Morning Rugger, looks like you've reset, but make the rest of this day clean! We'll get there, man.
  13. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Yes, @Mozenjo, I finally reset. Which is different than changing my counter every time I give in knowing that shortly I'll be changing it again.

    In hindsight that's what I've been doing for about 2 months.

    All my new insights into my behavior are true and accurate, but my commitment to use that information to actually "fix" things and do something different was soft, weak, non existent.
    • No PMO for a day or few.
    • Workout for a day or two.
    • No beer for a day or two.
    Always back to poor choices with weak rationalization.

    This time is different. I think its just a culmination of all these discoveries over the last few months, this feeling that I'm stuck and becoming more and more agitated with being stuck and the fact that I am getting closer to changing where I live (new start). Getting the book over the weekend kind of lit the fire on that whole pile.

    The reset is solid. It is actually a reset.

    I was tempted last night to make a beer run to get a beer to help me sleep. I meditated myself to sleep instead.
    I was tempted this morning to PMO. I meditated that away.
    I have been tempted several times today to take a work break and PMO. I napped once instead and kept monk-like clean.
    I've flipped to keto because that is the diet format that I feel best under. And I've been strict solid on that. Other diets were too permissive for the beer. I do know that bourbon is a choice under keto but I also know dark liquor is a Willie Wonka ticket to deep dark depression for me if I over do it. I have none in the house and plan on keeping it that way.
    And so on.

    Over the last few months I would have rationalized myself into behaviors that I don't want every step of the way.

    Work day is over. It is still sunny outside. I have more work to do tonight but I'm going to push a way and take a walk in the remaining sunshine with my dog.

  14. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    About to head to the office so I'm pretty confident I'll make it to Day 2.

    Couldn't sleep last night. Meditated for 20 minutes instead of looking at porn or fapping.

    Was not tempted for the usual beer run.

    Trying to put myself first even among all of these work obligations. Slept 8 hours last night. Walked. Read Hall's book. Meditating a lot. Set some work aside for today that I normally would have done last night.

    We set records last year at work. This year growing pains. I'm tempted to throw myself into it more and get through the growing pains quicker. Pressure is going to build if performance continues. Yet, I can't sustain the life I want to live if I give work my all right now.

    Putting me first will be almost as tough as not PMOng.

    But I'm finding the two go together in both combinations.

    Great day today!

    nuclpow likes this.
  15. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Great therapy session yesterday. Tough week.

    I'm on the right path. The Hall book is the real deal. Mostly a repackaging of stuff we all know if we are informed about the addiction. But some truly insightful new perspective, too.

    We spent the session talking about my experience with the book.

    I have a much better understanding of why I do this and other self destructive things.

    As is to be expected as soon as you get close to throwing the monster out of the house he starts raging. No slips but damn is it hard. I'm raw from excitement that I'm figuring this out. And I'm raw from the things I've discovered that were buried deep.

    Anyway ... I'm good but having a tough week.

    Old Tom Bombadil likes this.
  16. Rugger the way you express it "as soon as you get close to throwing the monster out of the house he starts raging" is so spot on and mirrors (and really helps with) the crap I am going through. Yoour journal is helping me. Thank you.
  17. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Good call on getting it fixed. What type of bike do you have? I started with a hybrid a few years back but found it hard work on hills so I switched to a quality road bike - the difference is phenomenal.

    Glad to hear you're enjoying the Paula Hall book.
  18. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @Old Tom Bombadil, thanks. I find working things out here to be very helpful. Your comment makes me feel good knowing that my working things out in the open helps someone else! That "monster" is a real thing. I forget the term but read a long while back that in alcoholism research often when an alcoholic starts to quit the addiction gets worse.

    My last two days have been challenging. I've been solid on not bringing the dating apps back into focus. But as the week has progressed each morning I've woken up with a bit of wood. First, it is amazing that just a few days of abstinence sees things starting to come back. Second, that monster beckons to test, touch (is it real?) ... and then I've had some positive and negative stress in my life here at the end of the week .. all told the last day and a half I've come very close to a reset. About to go hiking ... before I go I'm going to have a plan for the day written down or I will stray.

    @forlorn, I have a Specialized hybrid. My plan is to get it fixed and start riding regularly. If I do I am going to treat myself with a good road bike. I have to wait until the 18th before I get it because they are having trouble getting components for the tune up. I have to move more ... walk, hike, row .. and adding biking to it gives more options.

    BIG NEWS! I found my next place to live. There's an older area of town here that is coming back. It is quite trendy and only about a 5 minute drive from my office. It is in the heart of our downtown's entertainment district with several parks nearby. Rentals pop up and go same day. My future daughter in law found it on Facebook market, I looked at it and pulled the trigger same day. I'm always nervous about financial things because of the bankruptcy and the tax issues. Those are behind me but the shame of them always come to the surface when I do a transaction. About 20 minutes in the rental office was excruciating as I stood there while they ran my credit. All is good though!

    I move in mid April which gives me a month overlap. I can move in slowly and purge my things. Lighten up so to speak. It is a redone townhouse build in 1920. Lots of character, tucked back in a secluded part of the neighborhood but only about a block and a half away from some of the best restaurants and some great outdoor bars in town. The urban church I go to here and there has a church not half a mile away. I'm tremendously excited.

    It is a place I deserve. And the stress of that is spinning the emotions!

    At least I now know what I'm dealing with ... and have that change of environment that I've needed for so long.

    Old Tom Bombadil likes this.
  19. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Congrats on finding a new place, it sounds exciting from the way you've described it. A good opportunity to have a de-clutter and a fresh start.
  20. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @forlorn, the place I'm in now feels like the depressed divorce bunker I slinked into when my life fell apart in 2016.

    I picked it because it was the nicest place in the school district my boys went to. They are out. And I am free! COVID delayed it a little bit but it is time for me to have my own place. Yes, there will be a purging and a decluttering and a starting over in some ways. When I moved in here life was chaos and it feels unsettled here. This will be the coolest, nicest place I've every lived!

    Moving won't change everything. Moving won't end my addiction or fix my mental health quirks. A new environment does give me the chance to change so many patterns. I'll have a separate room for my work office so I won't be "in the office" all the time like I am now.

    The interesting thing is the struggle I've felt since putting it all together.

    THIS is the dynamic that gets me.

    I feel excited about this place for reasons shared as well as unshared.

    Funny. Just stopped journaling and signed the lease.

    As I was writing about it I got hit with a big wave of "you don't deserve it" ... and I realized that I was already planning on procrastinating on signing the lease .. so I jumped off here and signed it and returned it.

    Between naming it and meditating over the last few weeks, I can clearly hear the "I don't deserve it" voice in my head and can feel it. THAT is a bigger trigger for me that than I ever realized. Once I found and secured the place that feeling built up all day yesterday. After my hike I came home, took my old guy nap (we did 7 miles which is the longest I've gone since COVID. I woke up depressed and never quite got out of the funk.

    I am depressed, touching myself to the point I'm resetting and having a shitty weekend because I don't feel like I deserve this awesome place I found.

    I think I deserve it.

    I do not feel I deserve it.

    Fucked up. But I've found a huge part of my "stuff". I just don't know how to deal with it.


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