Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by ruggerdoug, Jul 31, 2014.
You and me both RD, you and me both. I am in a similar place. Hang in there. Best,
Yep. So as we sit here in our Dr. Jekyll outfits, terrified of when Mr. Hyde will come from behind and do a quick-change on us, let's realize that he's only in control when we let our guards down. I know it is exhausting being on guard all the time, but reality bites. I hate it too, but just know this, Rugger" You're awesome, you totally deserve all the success you've already achieved, and the best is yet to come. If your feelings of not being good enough are truly part of the reason you fall, then they must be dealt with. I know from experience that negative thoughts usually intensify when we try to suppress them. When they come, let them be. They're just thoughts. They're not who you are.
The difference in our results will only come if we change our methods. Keep doing the healthy things that you've been doing. I admire your drive when you set goals and achieve them. But if you regularly burn out on that and fall back into the old habits, maybe you push yourself too hard. Just my two cents, and I'm certainly not in a position to preach about this (you and I are similar in a lot of ways), but be kind to yourself, man. You're awesome!
@Old Tom Bombadil, well it is a shitty place to be but at least I have company!
@Mozenjo, I push too hard because I'm not ever good enough. I don't so much as burn out but find the old ways soothing when the going gets tough.
My son rescued me Thursday night. Took me -- and the dog for dinner. Restaurant had a dog menu. So the 3 of us went out for dinner. He works from home and is going to start watching the dog during the day which opens up work and crossfit without anxiety.
Going to work Friday was the first time in 3 months I've been out of the house and not anxious about the barking.
I've fallen into the abyss -- not just PMO -- in many ways with some bad "non-porn related" choices. Over helping with my youngest son's college (b/c my ex won't). Trying to muscle through a staff shortage with my tendency to work all the time. Drinking. Putting work first and not doing me ... fitness, eating right, etc.
I'm working on those things.
I appreciate both of you and being able to just be raw here.
Morning coffee! The sky is a tremendous blue this morning. The sun is shining through the windows. I feel like today is going to be a good day!
My grand plan to kill it for 105 days blew up Thursday night. That's where the angry post came from. I felt like a victim to myself after giving in one more time.
I am not a victim.
I have chosen to get back into the grove of daily PMO and continued drinking.
I have chosen in the past to stop both at different times in my life.
I admitted to myself last night that I am choosing, right now, to not stop.
It feels easier than doing the things I need to do to get life to a healthy place.
No one I'm close to really knows what a mess I feel like I'm in. Some have a clue but no one knows the full extent because I hide it. I hide it by continuing to isolate myself which feeds the problem even more.
On the surface that others see -- some of this is true -- I have a great relationship with my sons, a tremendous job, a successful career, a respected "brand" in the business community, an active lifestyle ... but the truth is I don't reach out to my sons enough, work too damn much, am financially weak, insecure about the business community finding out I'm a fraud (as in I really can't do the things I do), active with my friends but not when I'm alone ...
I've made steps in the right direction -- Crossfit, buying the right foods, ripping dating apps off my phone -- but then I've only tepidly followed up.
I may CrossFit once per week because I'm worried about the dog barking so I can't go ... so I say ... or no really because I don't really want to because after a few days of it in a row I feel good.
I feel like I don't deserve to feel good, have an active life, have a relationship, be at a healthy weight, so on ... I start moving in that direction and out comes the porn vids and the beer because it feels so uncomfortable feeling good. Every burst of positive I knock down with PMO, beer and late night eating. Fat and limp I don't have to worry about the kind of woman who I want in my life having any interest. And the pain of regret I feel in the morning or after the O feels like the punishment I deserve.
Where I am right now is not sustainable. It is not much of a life. It certainly isn't the first half of 2016 -- 5 years ago -- when my life was trying to poke a whole in the bottom to get lower than rock bottom. Analytically, I am far better off, but emotionally I do not feel better off.
I woke up this morning, poured a cup of coffee and poured this out, too. I didn't know it was in me.
It rings true. I'm deciding to sabotage myself. I need to decide to stop or it is going to continue.
I have work to do for my job. My day is going to start rough tomorrow if I don't do some tonight.
But I've decided not to do it. I keep talking about working through the exercises in the Paula Hall book. That is the real work I have to do. I keep setting it aside for other things.
I'm going to work through that and then go to be early.
Start fresh tomorrow.
Hopefully under some control.
Good man. And a good plan. I was successful last week partially due to keeping the computer off before bed. And staying away from pix on my phone.
And then today not so much. As you said a little while ago, it gets kinda stupid. But we're stubborn, so we will get this done. It's difficult work, but we will get it done.
@Mozenjo, yes to the stupid. But rather be here continuing to work on it as opposed to just giving in totally.
I spent an hour last night working through the first few chapters of the Paula Hall book. I've already read it through once. This pass I underlined key points (nothing I didn't already know from her or somewhere else) and did the exercises as I came to them.
I learned nothing new or earth shattering.
I did wake up this morning with that work on my mind. For the first time in weeks I didn't fap before I got out of bed.
Working through the book helped me sleep, too.
It feels as if I have made a decision to get healthy instead of that shame filled "I'll stop (soon)" declaration we all tend to make right after the last fap.
Here's to a good day!
So glad to read this recent post. I really admire how you have kept posting through this struggle. Your thoughts and feelings really resonate with my own life. Sounds like you're about to catch a good momentum wave. All the best from the land of Oz.
@Woolomooki, I do feel like I'm about to enter a good space ... trouble is I've been catching waves for too long .. I want one last big one to swoop me up on the beach and all this come to an end!
Had a couple of tempting moments this afternoon.
Touched and tugged for a few minutes but didn't escalate to actual porn.
Other times I've felt the pull (pun intended!) to go further.
Something I read last night that I knew beforehand but appreciated the reminder sits in my brain today.
A poor paraphrase .. as addicts we learn to soothe our emotions with sexual acting out to the point that we associate those emotions -- sadness, stress, anxiety, loneliness, in my case -- with sexual desire. Its not really sexual desire but the brain's hunger for a hit.
Lately I've been heavily depressed. Lots of triggers for it. Rather than manage it all I just let it happen and then fapped my way through it. That's what got me to where I was last week. That kind of life is not sustainable.
Today, I am sorting out the emotions from the fake sexual desire. Nothing major in any category but I'm at that place where even a little touch of the emotion sets me off.
It is so easy to get off the path and so hard to get back on.
I feel I am making my way back on ...
A good solid single day on the calendar feels good.
Woke up early this morning my brain swimming in anxiety.
I chose not to fap my way out of it.
Finally, got up, walked the dog, made coffee and sat down to work.
The major part of my stress is there is too much work to do for work.
Avoiding it just raises the stress.
Fapping away the stress doesn't get the work done and makes it harder to catch up.
It won't last forever.
But it can get drug out longer if I don't get things done.
No fun in any way, but this IS progress.
Time to set some new boundaries for myself.
I just cheated on myself.
I've specifically been thinking no PMO with the counter. After a burst of stress, I found some erotica online to read and read through a few stories.
Out of bounds. But I carved it out in my head because I wanted the carve out to be able to say, "I am clean no PMO!" when I still had erotic lit to read.
So ... no more.
I'm not going to reset though I do this is a slip.
I am going to define some things:
1. NO PORN.
2. NO erotica
3. NO dating apps
4. NO M until I hit 30 days and then I will reevaluate
I am working toward an exercise in the Paula Hall book that that will help this. You list all that you've done sexually (she recognizes the differences between sex and porn addiction, but this is more of a sex addiction homework). Then you draw a 2 circle Venn diagram. One circle is "YES" as in yes I can have sex in a relationship. One circle is "NO" as in no I can not look at porn or read erotica. Where the circles intersect is "IFFY" .. or maybe yes, maybe no .. like MO under certain conditions (such as no NOs involved) or like dating apps under certain conditions once I hit 90 days ...
The No boundaries are firm and the Iffy boundaries are something to work on.
At the moment I am inclined to let everything be Iffy so I always have an out.
I am traveling tonight for work. In the hotel room I'm going to do that homework and be firm with myself with the NOs and keep the Iffy's to a lean list of a few.
NO MORE EROTICA. It is a no.
Mixed bag of things.
Good. I've stayed away from late night beer and eating. Already I'm down another 5 pounds. Have been traveling for work and not been at the gym. Mostly water weight but it feels good to know that is moving in the right direction.
Bad. Cutting out one thing successfully has shifted the temptation of the other. Resetting the counter again after a slip this morning. Have not had a chance to get to the Paula Hall book this week b/c of travel. Actively working helps. I need to figure out a better way to manage schedule, find a podcast to listen to in the car / plane to keep the work going even when my nose can't be in a book.
I feel that the addiction has settled in pretty deep. I had hoped to just ride a linear climb out when I declared my 105 day plan a couple of weeks or so ago. But I've made a number of small but compounding bad choices in 2021 that have put me on the square I'm on right now.
I'm eyes wide open on the reality. My choices = bad spot but my new choices = new spot if I can sustain the work to climb out of the hole I dug for myself.
That's a really profound statement and worth exploring some more. I relate to it and have had the same thought.
It's good to follow your journey and see your perseverance. You seem to be stuck in isolation where there aren't opportunities to say out loud what's really going on other than this forum.
@realness, I appreciate your comment. Very much a big part of the challenge for me is the isolation. My old job (the 2019 version was very social. The 2021 version which I started in 2020 is the same job goals but with less face to face interaction. As a business team we work very well remotely on Teams and Zoom but it is communication without connection. Being short staffed added to it as I run a 12 person team with 4 openings yet to fill (we've filled 3). My nest is finally empty. My closest friends are all married which cuts down opportunities to do things together. I overcommitted on my son's college fees so I had a pretty thin bank account which limited my choices to do anything. All of those things added anxiety into the pot. I take all that and add to it the craziness with the dog's anxiety and yes, I'm pretty isolated, anxious and depressed.
It has been a perfect set up that my PMO self medication has been used in the past to salve.
I see the pattern. I know it is about choices I've been making. I know I can rethink those choices.
Things are improving in all of those areas that have been stressful. The prozac and the sound proof crate seem to be working together -- bumped into the neighbor yesterday and he says he hasn't heard the dog much lately. One of my friends -- the one who knows the WHOLE story -- lives about .25 mile from me. I had dinner with him and his wife and some football games last night. He called to get me to come out. Thick with the depression I still said yes which is a clue that I'm doing better with it than in the past -- in my history I would have come up with an excuse about why I couldn't go even though the bar was 500 yards from my place, the weather was nice and I wasn't doing anything. I've lost some more weight and I'm down now to the point I can feel it.
I have a solid day under my belt.
I'm working today on more of the Paula Hall exercises (that's what's next after this). It seems reworking through that is extremely helpful in fortifying my resolve to make good choices.
I have to make good choices while I work to end the isolation, reduce the stressors and get some balance back into my life.
Slip yesterday. And not a good day of handling stress and the depression.
Spent some time in the Paula Hall book working. Read some online about managing depression and avoiding addiction triggers.
Everything I read yesterday says reduce the stress. But with the workload and the short staff and my agreement with my employer stress won't reduce until we get a full staff.
I can't get the work done in this state of mental health. And I can't manage my mental health until the work load eases up.
Had breakfast with my boss Saturday. I'm open about the struggle though not sharing details. She's in a similar spot as are others in the leadership (not to mention the staff ranks) of the firm.
That makes me feel normal. But it still doesn't solve the problem.
Traveling today and tomorrow. Fortunately, travel is not a problem for me addiction wise. So I'm likely to not fap and only have a drink or two at dinner. And a great night sleeping in a quiet, cold hotel room!
So as I sit this morning I commit to myself to being clean -- no PMO (and no subs) and only drink with others (because I know we will have a drink or two at dinner) - until this time Wednesday morning which puts me on a path to hit 3 days on Wednesday evening. Entirely doable because I have meetings all day Wednesday -- no breaks to act on any temptation!
Going out of town was a good thing!
The change of scenery was enough to give me some solid ground to stop the binge and slip routine I was in.
Three days solid on the counter. And those days are without a peek at anything out of bounds.
I've done any work on myself because with the traveling there was all that move and wait of the airport.
But I am back to a position where abstaining feels good and I'm not tempted to PMO.
From this good sport I want to progress.
Four days solid. No peeks or slips. Just a week ago I was failing several times a day. Now it doesn't even enter my mind.
Stress has reduced somewhat. The trip out of town was a game changer -- most notably because it was a strategic planning sessions with 4 people in a conference room for 2 days. Lots of positive human interaction.
I want to get back to the Paula Hall book work this weekend.
Four days is not victory.
I still have work to do.
I know just what a big achievement four solid days is when its preceeded by PMO. Keep on fighting matey! All best,
I'm right behind you, Rugger. Four solid days, and feeling strong and hopeful. We're in a good place. Let's stay there.
I think after a hard time every clean day is a little victory. No reason to sit back and let the guard down of course, but we all know how hard it is to get out of a slump.
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