Well look who is here .... UGH.

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

  1. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee.

    Woke up feeling something like arousal. No morning wood but it feels like there's blood flow. Feels like I'm turned on, but I have no reason to be.

    Two weeks ago I'd be eyeballs deep in my phone fapping.

    Not an issue for me today. I'm pretty resolute that I'm not going to act out.

    Work call in 5 minutes that I hope is enough of a distraction this eases for the day. I'm certain now that I won't act out in the next 5 minutes. Or the next 60 .. but what about 2 pm this afternoon ... or later still ... resolute now but need to be vigilant all day that I choose to not be a masturbator.
  2. Woolomooki

    Woolomooki New Member

    Stay strong. Reading your posts has been one of the reasons I decided to join this forum. Keep distracting yourself until you refocus. Exercise is my current go to.
  3. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @Woolomooki, thanks for the note. That was particularly encouraging when I needed it.

    Got through yesterday "OK". A string of days like yesterday and I'm resetting. Managed to get to the edge of the abyss without falling in, however, so I get another day to the counter.

    Work stress is the cause.

    The significant meditation I've done with Headspace has taught me to feel the stress and accept it. That was the biggest reason I got through the day.

    Tough wake up this morning. Woke up -- the first time -- at 4 after a nightmare. I have 2 high performing managers. One is the swiss army knife that can do anything and is usually the reliever when something gets screwed up. Friday something was found to be screwed up. My dream involved the whole work situation. I dreamt that I called him, talked to him for a minute and then his wife chewed me out for over working her husband!

    And then I was wide awake worrying about the work stress.

    I meditated some. Drifted back to sleep but the dream and stress were still on my mind. Came very close to a fail. But stepped away from it by just accepting we have a situation to manage through. I had plans to deal with it Sunday. I'll figure it out though it won't be fun. It will be ok.

    So safe! But still on the edge.

    Just finished my routine Saturday morning buddy hike. We walked 4 miles. I'm writing this and then going to take my routine after the Saturday morning buddy hike nap. The hike and the fellowship were enough to take the edge off. I'm certain I'll be fine for the rest of the day.

    I used to think the meditation thing was hocus pocus fake. Doing it consistently with the help of headspace (phone app) is certainly not hocus pocus. Rugger is certainly not monklike in my meditation habits and skills. More and more though I am catching myself using the meditative skills I've learned to calm myself, reduce stress, accept emotions, etc. I would recommend it -- I've been doing it for years but this last 30 days I've been doing it consistently several times a day - but you have to really invest in it before I think you get a return from it.

    Beautiful weather here! Nap! Then start to purge and pack for the move.

    Going to be a GREAT DAY!

    Woolomooki and Mozenjo like this.
  4. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Rugger, I found your nightmare about your workmate interesting. Part of having a conscience is caring about how our actions affect others. You're a good manager yourself for worrying about over-working one of your staff.
    And your conscience won the day when you were honest with Wendy and didn't just jump back into the sack right away.
    So, kudos to you for doing the right thing!
  5. Woolomooki

    Woolomooki New Member

    Awesome job not falling in to the abyss. Work stress sucks but sometimes cannot be helped. A few years ago I left my comfortable job with a mid sized IT company and with some colleagues formed a startup and for next 2 years we went for it. It was crazy, always chasing the next thing, the new issues, the new customer. Hmmm, that sounds familiar.

    None of us were money men so eventually it all fell in a heap because we tried to take too much on. I was super stressed so I decided to bail and get a nice stress free office job again. It has made a big difference to my well-being my only worry is getting bored. It was good to remind myself that if your job is really affecting you then you can always leave.
    Not saying that is the case with you at all. Sounds like as Mozenjo said you are just good at your job and trying to cover all the bases. Sometimes the stress is unavoidable.
    I have been thinking about meditation so to read your thoughts has been great and I will download that Headspace app and try it out.
    Keep strong.
  6. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee!

    @Woolomooki, @Mozenjo knows my whole story. I founded and ran a firm of my own, in IT coincidentally. The company was one of the victim's of my addiction and my divorce in '16. (The divorce was not solely because of the addiction; had I not been addicted the business would not have been failing). There is always work stress! That work stress of where is the next deal coming from, when will we have enough cash for payroll, etc. is in my past. I sold my company to the firm I work for now. So I have all the fun upside of ownership and leadership with autonomy without the stressors of payroll, benefits, etc.

    I enjoy my job. I am good at what I do. The stress I'm dealing with now comes from an employee who isn't getting it done and who we have discovered lied on her resume when we hired her. So I'm navigating a project she screwed up at my largest, longest client while trying to figure out how to separate her from the company without further screwing the project up. TMI! But I'll survive!

    I'm becoming very aware of my morning thoughts. Regardless if I wake up anxious about the day for any reason or not, I wake up thinking about sex. My old pattern was to roll over and grab my phone. If the stress and anxiety was high or if the sexual thoughts were particularly strong I'd start the PMO ritual.

    This morning anxiety was mild. I somehow have to find the time to redo about 8 hours of project work on this messed up project and spend the afternoon with my son purging and packing my apartment in anticipation of the move.

    The sexual thoughts were strong. More out of habit than out of a need to self medicate any stress.

    No phone. No touch. But then damn if I didn't catch my brain trying to will an erection. And yes, the meditation allowed me to experience the thoughts as a viewer rather than a participant. That's the best I can describe it. I was going to lay in bed a while. It rained last night and it is a wonderfully cool morning. I sleep with the windows open which made it the perfect snooze button morning. Got right up, walked the dog and poured the morning coffee.

    Magical sexual brain to penis communication powers averted!

    I realized -- brilliant realization after fighting this shit for 7 years -- that the 90 day goal is not just about giving the penis a rest or letting the brain rewire when the penis is in play but to give us time to let the brain purge itself of the immediacy of these crazy thoughts. It didn't happen this morning but I can recall specific scenes I've seen or pictures I've seen on dating apps that really "got me" as well as times I was with girlfriends. They can run through my head like some trashy slide show during these times of abstinence. I have but not enough - have gone long stretches and remember they subside. I wish there was a way to put a vacuum to my brain and suck all that out.

    Old Tom Bombadil and Mozenjo like this.
  7. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Yes. "First Thought Wrong" is a chapter in "Breaking the Cycle". How the first crazy thoughts that pop into our heads when we're in a vulnerable place need to be seen for what they are. Wrong. They keep popping into our heads because we keep giving them strength by "believing" them and acting on them. So why would they stop coming? Yes, 90 days seems like a really long time to me, but it's not long at all if we just get off the merry-go-round and live life.

  8. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Purging, packing and pitching done for the day. My son and I totally cleaned out the boys room. It is all packed up and ready for the move.

    He left and I laid down for a nap ... and almost slipped ...

    Today's slip was brought by the feelings of emotions that go along with the packing and the move.

    Totally verifies my discovery that I lean toward one type of porn when I'm negatively stressed and another type when I'm positively stressed.

    Took steps in that direction but stepped away from that path.

    Came down here and ate a late lunch and logged in here.

    Feeling has passed.

    Good stress can trigger for me as much as negative stress can.

  9. Great posts Rugger that really resonate with me. I think what you say about wanting to suck out all the trashy thoughts and images with a vacuum or something is so great
  10. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee!

    Thank you @Old Tom Bombadil! It is one thing to not get on a computer / phone, click or type in an address, start searching and something else to do nothing and have those damn images pop into your head. I hit two weeks on my counter today. I've not been pure monk the whole time as I've had some close calls. Everyone of those started with images from the past rushing through my brain. Do I conjure them consciously? Subconsciously? How can I stop them from surfacing? More to learn on this journey.

    Going to the office today. Post COVID I've been anxious about leaving the apartment. That has slowly subsided. I've been to the office several times in the last month or so but usually find an excuse not to go. For whatever reason I woke up this morning excited to go. It was going to be a game day decision so I guess I am going.

    That will make today an easier day from the PMO war front.

    I have two exercises I'm to have done for my therapist in two weeks.

    One I've started this morning.

    Paula Hall's book has an exercise that has you list all the sex acts in your kit in 3 different categories. She has you draw a venn diagram with a yes circle and a no circle. Where they cross if "iffy". Yes, for instance is, for me, is "sex in a relationship" while no, is "dating someone I must hide". Iffy is filtered dating apps (dating apps are a no for certain; but what about a dating app where I have a clear and stated purpose and set up guard rails based on what I am looking for and only look within that filter) which is part no -- dating apps are poison to me -- and part yes -- how else will I meet someone?

    The point is to find:

    Firm ground with the yes answers.
    Firm boundaries with the no answers.
    Thoughtfully deal with the "iffy" answers -- could they be a yes under certain circumstances? should they be a no and iffy is just avoidance?

    An emotional decision on a bad day might turn an "undocumented no" -- like PMO -- into a yes in the moment. This helps me clearly understand what is off limits and healthy.

    I started it before morning coffee. I have 15 items -- Nos are easiest to write down, yes' next but more thoughtfully. The iffy ones are the hardest. I find myself rationalizing some no's into iffy. Thought it would be a one and done thing to do but it appears as if it is going to challenge me.

    When I'm done with it iffy and no are off limits for the 90 days. With what I've done so far, two weeks in, I've not anything in either category. There are some iffy's that in past streaks have been ok in the moment (uh, like filtered dating apps) that then turn out to be the crack in the wall. So no iffy's.

    Off to find some pants! Work from home means wrestling shorts and barefeet. Today I must wear clothes to work!

  11. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee!

    This is one of the first things I do every morning. Even if I don't have much to say it helps me ground myself to another day PMO free.

    Flatline. But a different one than in the past. I'm used to the flatline but usually with the short term physical decline there comes a slow down of sexual thoughts. The physical decline is there ... but I've still got a lot of thoughts and urges running through me that I want to go away.

    I woke up this morning thinking about installing dating apps. Didn't. Won't. But I could do without the thinking that I should.

    It's a process. Patiently behaving until the counter hits 15.

  12. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee!

    I started the week thinking this was going to be a good week to dig into the homework I have for my therapist.

    I started one exercise but have not logged back into recovery nation or looked at the Paula Hall book.

    My counter is solid but I've slipped toward some bad habits. No porn. No dating apps on my phone. But I've lingered longer than I should on ads online here and there, about chose a Netflix movie that I had no business watching given the content and other little things like that.

    The way to fix that is to get to work!

    I'm going to spend Friday night in and working on my homework.

    I feel kind of flat right now. The work is hard but it usually energizes me.

  13. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Early afternoon coffee!

    I didn't sleep well at the beginning of the night last night, finally hit my stride and slept in .... way in ... I just got up 20 minutes ago and now it's past noon.

    First inklings of morning wood this morning. Think that is a clue that I'm not sleeping enough.

  14. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Happy Easter! Morning coffee!

    I am going to spend the next few hours working on me.

    Yesterday, I cleaned out my to do lists -- took a to do list "bankruptcy" where I just deleted or archived everything. Only those critical things that I know have to be done were kept. It helped me clear my mind. The stress of all those undone -- some good ideas but nothing I will ever get to -- tasks amps my stress up.

    I also downloaded and started a PMO spreadsheet from over at NoFap: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15Y827IrabmPbqU9GW5l9AumXUlCqM82_237qHv29Y0I/edit?usp=sharing

    I've not looked at porn or had dating apps on my phone in 19 days. But I've not been the perfect monk over that period. The spreadsheet has a PMO column and an MO column. I added a SUB column to track any time I look at subs and a MED column for whenever I do any of my other self-medicating tricks (i.e. drinking to excess by myself, late night eating, late night video game playing, etc.). I'm not going to count individual instances in the sub and med categories though I will in the O related categories. I've been pretty good at coming here for morning coffee every day. When I log in here I'm going to call myself out and log it to the spreadsheet for the day before?


    The counter is NO PMO. The spreadsheet is all those little things that aren't big enough to reset the counter but, as I am finding, are enough to be an obstacle in getting healthy. I used one years ago -- in fact it is linked to my signature line -- but I can't log into it.

    Why now?

    I had plans for last night that were changed at the last minute. I missed my morning hike because my sleep was so bad Friday night. I didn't want to spend an evening by myself. I went to my favorite growler store, got a growler of beer that I kept telling myself was for last night and this evening. I then proceeded to play video games and watch a movie on Netflix until 4 am which is when I went to bed .. at about the time the growler was empty.

    I did those things for the same reason I PMO. Shifting the behavior isn't healing unless it is a "healthy" addiction I shift to (like a fitness addiction which I can't seem to get no matter how hard I try!).

  15. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Happy Easter Rugger!
    Yep, that's the ticket. Growlers and video games and movies and late nights aren't going to get you where you need to be. I remember a line from a comedy bit (don't remember where I heard it): "everything in moderation and moderation's the first to go", which is a different spin on Oscar Wilde's "everything in moderation, including moderation". I think we're still here largely because we fool ourselves into thinking we have control over the things we need to moderate, and by the time we realize we actually don't, we're waking up with the usual regrets and wasted days.
    That fitness addiction is indeed a bugger to acquire, but it too can be damaging. My girlfriend overdid exercise when she was younger, because she was addicted to it, and ended up having a physical breakdown because of it. I'm certainly in no danger of that happening, but it's important to realize that if we have a tendency to get addicted to things, we should be aware of that before taking things to the extreme. But exercise is indeed a great thing to make part of our daily lives.
    Enjoy your day!
  16. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    @Mozenjo Happy Easter!

    I am joking / not joking about being addicted to exercise. What I truly mean is that I wish I could mentally get to where exercise was a choice for me on a regular basis and where I used it to manage my emotions somewhat. Instead of it being something I do from a point of self care or self love, I see it as a chore. I've known a few in my life that were truly addicted to fitness. That was all they did in life and used it to keep people out, had negative consequences as they broke the body down, etc. Not really what I want.

    I spent a good part of the early afternoon on writing my vision statement. It is an exercise in the Hall book, an exercise at recovery nation and the homework my therapist assigned.

    I make decision based on my emotions. Stress! PMO! Anxiety! MO! Boredom! Beer! ...

    The idea is to write your vision out gives you a tool to define your values. Reading mine I see no room for PMO, MO as self soothing, excess alcohol, late night food, etc.

    This is a work in progress. My vision ...

    In 5 years, I am a 61 year old man living a healthy, balanced life.

    I have deep, active relationships with my 3 sons and their families.

    I am the successful leader of a consulting practice.
    I am viewed as a thought leader in the industry and an authentic, caring leader by those that I lead.

    I am physically active and fit. I work out regularly and eat well in order to be healthy and active.
    I live an active life outdoors. I'm fit enough to grab a bag and go on a spontaneous weekend adventure or a longer high adventure.

    I have a house and the security of my finances being in order.
    I face retirement excited about the opportunities it affords me to spend time with my sons, with my friends and my adventures.

    I'm still working on where these things fit:

    • God - my relationship with God today is not strong. I don't know what I think or feel about that.
    • Friends - I have some close friends ... I have lost great friendships over the years simply b/c I didn't invest myself into them ... this is important to me but I am unsure how I want to express it
    • Community involvement - not sure what I put here ... it is important enough to me to consider but I'm not sure the motivation
    • Emotional availability -- not sure how to express it .. yes to sons, to friends and to a romantic relationship
    • Relationship -- I don't know. My first pass at my vision didn't include anything about a relationship. I can't will a woman into my life in 5 years. I realize I might not have a woman in my life. I think that is why I didn't mention it. I feel ok as I read my vision statement that I don't include that.
    But what about sex? Where does that fit? Does it fit? If I don't envision a relationship am I just admitting to myself that I'm going to be sexless? Sex isn't the only kind of intimacy but it is the first that came to mind. Is that my healthy sex drive talking or the addiction?

    This reads and feels like a healthy doable vision.

    And it is motivating. It is sunny outside. I'm going for a bike ride!

  17. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee!

    Spreadsheet saved the day this morning. Woke up with pretty bad anxiety about the day today. This week we are starting a podcast plus I'm behind on some other things. That all just started running through my head.

    Started to touch because I know that would have calmed my thoughts. Stopped because I didn't want to put it on the spreadsheet. Meditated instead.

    Not much to say. Didn't sleep well last night and having a tough time getting started this morning.

    But none of that is a reason to PMO.

  18. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Been a good day today. The spreadsheet is helping. Funny, really. I control the judgement about the counter. I'll let little things pass because they weren't big enough for a rest but truth be told they are bad enough to get me thrown out of the monkhood!

    Enter the spreadsheet. I tick any of 4 actions that I've decided our out of bounds including full on PMO. I don't want to tick anything.

    Tonight will be a good night.

    Learning. Even after all these years still learning.
  19. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee! ....

    Slept with the CPAP for the first time in months. I stopped when I got COVID and never started using it again.
    Worked out yesterday to plan. Rowed 30 minutes in the morning. Took the dog for a long walk. Lifted weights last night.
    No beer involved.

    All joking aside about "being addicted" to exercise working out left me feeling like I'd accomplished as well as physically stimulated.

    First morning wood throughout this streak.
    Woke up with a busy day ahead of me.
    I didn't have the usual morning anxiety.
    My first totally clean day since I started the PMO calculator.

    I did not want to lift last night.
    It was late -- 930 -- and that late always screws my sleep up.
    But I forced it and did it anyway.

    I'm going to be hard pressed to fit that into my day today but I'm going to do something as a work break.

    I think I rediscovered something important to me.

  20. ruggerdoug

    ruggerdoug Well-Known Member

    Morning coffee!

    Been a couple of days. Stressful week. Just work stuff.

    Really feeling the tug to act out. Stress is there but things are mostly good so the tug is toward the dating apps and a "conquest". So far I've resisted.

    I'm helped in my resolve because I'm in a good solid flatline which I'm thankful for. Been through this process enough that I consider the flatline my friend. It takes the constant nagging of the addiction trying to convince you to fap one more out off the table. It does come with some baggage. Flatline, my friend, makes you doubt that little bit of you ever was your penis and occasionally calls up doubt to urge a "test". The test results are always D or F work with a barely rigid member dribbling something out followed by the uncontrollable urge to do the test again -- but with a porn booster -- to make sure things aren't broken. Since I know the results of the test I choose to be patient and wait this out.

    Working out enough that I feel it the days I don't get it done. I've got to keep working toward moving (running, rowing, biking, hiking, walking) and lifting every day.

    Evidence from this, so far 23 day run, is that:
    • Morning wood comes after a day where I've worked out hard, slept well (with CPAP) and not had any beer the night before.
    • I'm firm in my resolve to avoid P ... and therefore no PMO ... as well as my resolve not to O or download dating apps to my phone.
    • Tracking from the spreadsheet shows I'm still looking at things I shouldn't look at and occasionally over touching.
    • The foundation for the long streak is the work I've done on my values. I'm making decisions based on those values more often than not. In moments where I really feel the urge I'm going to meditation or rereading my values to shut it down.
    I realize I'm working toward living those values all the time. When I'm at my worst -- controlled by the addiction -- I'm making emotional decisions or making decisions to manage my emotions with poor self medication choices of which porn and/or masturbation is the ring leader.

    I'm not going to have the capacity for a healthy life until I get to a point that my values are a roadmap.

    Negative example: I've not hiked with my buddies on the weekend b/c I've chosen to drink on Friday night and not wanted to get out of bed the next day. Emotional decision to drink rather than value decision to abstain and hike the next day.

    Positive example: My son has a radio program on his college radio program. I knocked off early Tuesday, drove 2 hours, took his brother and him out for dinner. Plan was I was going to sit in studio and watch. I ended up doing 5 bits with him and had a blast. Drove back that night. Slept in a little bit and was energized the next day because we had such a fun time. My top value is being a Dad active in their lives. I chose the healthy diversion over work b/c I've recognized that value to me.

    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021

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