Reboot Nation

Journals => Ages 40 and up => Topic started by: workinprogressUK on January 18, 2017, 10:36:35 AM

Title: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 18, 2017, 10:36:35 AM
I'm a mid-forties, married, professional, father of two from the UK. I lead an outwardly successful life but I’ve been hamstrung since puberty by very low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and a sense that somehow I just don’t fit in. I’ve learned over time that it’s some form of arrogance to consider myself especially different, but like many addicts, I grew up feeling like I was uniquely unpleasant and unworthy of love or respect. The way I self-soothed through a lonely adolescence was through porn. Given that this was in the days before the current, porn-saturated, wild-west enabled by high-speed internet, my M.O. was mostly through self-generated fantasy. I spent the vast majority of my teen years living in a hazy bubble of degrading, masochistic fantasies. I withdrew into my fantasies and away from the world, thriving on porn-induced dopamine hits that I had no understanding of. Porn became more and more dominant in my brain, and my social life, hobbies and friendships withered as the neural pathways that carried my fantasies became the only ones I exercised.

I won’t bore you with the details about how my tastes evolved to become more bizarre and how things moved from brain-baked fantasy, to broadband-enabled imagery, and on from there to a whole new realm of physical acting out and sex addiction beyond porn. But life got out of control, characterised by losing at least one job, a couple of trips to the Emergency Ward, physical assaults being perpetrated against me and, eventually, my wife finding out. That was my rock bottom. Seeing my partner of 23 years lying on the floor, sobbing hysterically and blaming herself for the way that I had betrayed her put everything in perspective, and I resolved to live a porn-free life and try to get back in control.

I attended a 1-week, intensive, residential, recovery course here in the UK, which I still value as a life-changing event. Exiting the course, I put in place all of the “first level” protections you know well, like a K9 web filter, a new mobile phone account, cancelling my mobile broadband contract, destroying my collection and deleting all my web accounts. I also worked hard on the, much more tricky, “second level” issues like my self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy; I changed job to a company where I would be less isolated, I took a course to become a qualified ski instructor and started to teach kids how to ski in my weekends, I invested in organising weekends away with friends I had not been in touch with for ages, I tried to rebuild things with my wife and I hired an expensive counsellor.

The withdrawal symptoms ravaged me for the initial months and relations with my wife were very slow to recover. Trust is still sketchy now. But I leaned on trusted friends, support networks and coping strategies, such that triggers eventually became less regular, and I became increasingly comfortable as a non-porn-user. That was three years and eight months ago. I managed two and a half years clean, before a brief relapse into porn and physically acting out about 12 months back. You see, I never managed to clean-up all my underlying issues and to some extent I just developed other, unhealthy, coping strategies for feelings of deep anxiety and inadequacy. About two and a half years ago I felt threatened at a party by a bunch of guys, so I drunkenly punched one in the face, narrowly avoiding being arrested. Twelve months later a similar thing happened, only this time I faced prosecution and was given a formal police caution. This year, 2017, was supposed to be my “year of not fucking things up”. But I picked up a serious knee injury just before Christmas, which has stopped me from playing the sports that have been so important in my recovery. My work situation, having been very rewarding for three years, suddenly became unstable. My wife lost her job, and the nagging doubts about whether I was happy in our relationship re-surfaced. I responded by checking-out, logging-on and have found myself for the last two weeks to be increasingly consumed by my old porn habit, and increasingly neglectful of my real-world obligations to myself, my wife, my colleagues, my friends and especially to my two beautiful kids, who I dearly wish more than anything else to see grow up. It has been incredible how quickly the old desires came to dominate my every waking moment again. Unbelievable! And i let it happen through arrogance and complacency.

There’s a good likelihood that my wife will find out that I’ve relapsed. I’ve made an indiscretion that I expect her to discover, which will likely see me expelled from the family home. If that happens, I’ll have nobody but myself to blame. But regardless of whether that happens or not, the behaviours have to stop. I have to get control of my brain and my soul back. So today is my first day resisting the urge for porn and masturbation. I feel cold, anxious, fidgety and unfocused, but at least I’m not using. I know I can do this. I have done it before and I am a lot less addicted to sex and porn than I was last time I rebooted in 2013. So please wish me luck and strength!

I’m off now to delete that one last email address I was thinking of holding on to  :)
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Penitent on January 18, 2017, 12:59:35 PM
Those easily-discovered "indiscretions" may not be indiscretions but may be seeking punishment. It's something we can do to ourselves. We loathe what we do, so we loathe ourselves for doing it. Thus, we engineer ways to be harmed by doing it.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Onthejourney on January 18, 2017, 01:06:07 PM
Hey wanted to let you know I am cheering for you.  You've had success once, and I know it can be yours again.  Whatever you did back then to go so far, return to that.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: TK-421 on January 18, 2017, 04:22:05 PM
Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you'll find lots of support and resources here. I'm also sure that your previous work will be helpful for you on your journey towards recovery. This really is a journey of a few steps forward and one or two backwards. The addictive voice doesn't win until you give up and stop seeking ways to fortify your defences and have a better understanding of yourself and your behaviours.

I encourage you to check in regularly,  post in your journal and offer your support and insights to others.

Wishing you well.

TK-421
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 19, 2017, 07:13:57 AM
Thanks, guys, for your replies and your support. It really is appreciated!

Well... I'm back on my horse. Not yet managing a trot and far from leaping elegantly over fences. But me and my brain are managing a steady walk together and I haven't been bucked-off. So I'll celebrate that victory (mini fist pump) and then get back to my processes (as the athletes say) and grind through the day. I'm also grinding through my teeth, which is causing a nice, sharp, pain behind my eyes, and I'm shivering. Everything is going pretty much as you would expect  :)

I have a business trip to London this afternoon and evening, which will be a challenge. Bright lights, big city and a gazillion triggers. I've cancelled my overnight hotel and will get myself home instead. I'll concentrate on NOT scanning my environment - stay private in my own space and don't go looking for trouble. I've downloaded some new music to soothe the ragged beast. I will NOT buy a wifi pass on the train and I WILL hit the gym before I head down to the station. I will get through the day and I'll arrive on Friday in recovery, rather than in practice. Wish me luck!

Thanks,
WIP
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 20, 2017, 09:24:24 AM
Well, I got through Thursday's trip to London and I've arrived on Friday in recovery. For that I'm grateful. Very glad that I traveled home last night instead of staying away. So glad to remember that "environmental scanning" is to be avoided. Head down. A phrase sprang to mind that I recalled from an old SA associate; "the first look is on God". i'm not much of a God person, but that one stopped me feeling too guilty for just "seeing" attractive things, but reinforced that it's not OK to look again and wallow in it  ;)
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 23, 2017, 05:04:45 AM
Made it through the weekend without relapsing, for which I'm grateful. Primary emotion today is sadness that I'm back here. Have to look at my own arrogance and complacency for that. 700+ days of sobriety, then a bunch of time kidding myself that i was living clean, when the reality was that I was flirting around the edges and walking out onto ever-thinner ice, . Well.... the ice broke. Back to the beginning; a large portion of humble pie and a side dish of guilt and the shame. Need to get through that self-pity; not going to help. I remember somebody writing....

"If you're not working on your recovery, you;re working on your relapse".

I stopped working on recovery and filling my brain with positive, "real world" sources of pleasure and relaxation. And that left a vacuum into which the insidious little bastard of sexual compulsion sneaked back in. Writing this has helped me re-focus. Confident that I will make it through the Monday Blues and hopefully things will still be in one piece tomorrow.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 24, 2017, 03:26:33 AM
Still here and clean. Lot's of triggers but I've built the firewall and I'm strong. Big project arrived at work yesterday, which caused stress, especially because I go into hospital tomorrow for surgery, with the outcome not clear. Need to focus on a compact list of priorities today, because things will get sketchy if I spread myself too thin.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 25, 2017, 01:39:06 AM
Wednesday. Still feeling strong. Triggers are minimal, despite going to hospital later today for surgery.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on January 25, 2017, 06:59:21 AM
Well done on fighting the battle. It is a tough fight but you know you can do this.

Hope your surgery goes well.

Looking forward to hearing from you on the otherside.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 26, 2017, 09:46:30 AM
Thank you FirstBigStep. Thursday and I'm still in recovery. No lapses.
Surgery yesterday had a disappointing outcome, but at least I weigh less today, having lost a cruciate ligament and half of my medial meniscus. That was a lot worse than the prognosis. Silver lining is that I don't have to endure 4 weeks non weight bearing, without driving or flying, so a lot less stress and anxiety to manage as I fight the relapse. Then back in for a cruciate graft in March and then 9 months of rehab. Hmmmmm.... that doesn't read so well  :-\ But never mind. It is what it is and the dopamine and adrenaline of sport are integral to my addiction recovery, so injuries have to be too.
A few little triggers, lying on the sofa without much to do, but nothing that couldn't be diverted. I'm smiling. We fight on  ;D


Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on January 26, 2017, 09:55:02 AM
Hey, Workinprogress!

All that time you'll have to do the important things in life!

Sorry to hear of your surgical outcomes - far from ideal, I guess, but it gives you time to plan what you will do with your rehab time.

I don't know what to suggest as a dopamine trigger for that period if you can't do sport (and obviously won't be doing the old PMO routine!) If anything comes to mind, I'll let you know.

Good luck with your recovery and your reboot.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 26, 2017, 09:56:24 AM
Going to get back in the gym tomorrow and SMASH IT  >:( :D
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 27, 2017, 06:06:26 AM
Friday. Keeping it on the straight and narrow. Trying to keep mind and body positively occupied, without yet being able to drive or work out until this evening. I'm sure there's some saying to describe how "sitting on your arse all day with nothing to do is likely to drive you off your head". One day at a time. I'll win today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 30, 2017, 04:47:47 AM
Monday. Made it through the weekend OK. Tempted to relapse a couple of times but I've fought through that. Fighting triggers today too. It's humbling me to attempt two rehabs in parallel. That's motivating the weak part of my brain to run for cover and hide in some soothing and comforting old P. Because I cannot run away and hide from the pain and instability in my knee, because having to physically hobble about the place wincing, especially after forcing myself through a strengthening session at the gym, is more immediate. That takes away a lot of my energy to fight the addiction. And I have another 9-12 months of fixing the knee, including at least one more major surgery. But in the bigger picture, the addiction fight is the biggie and I need to save more energy for that one. It;s going to be a very uncomfortable day, I think, but I'm going to use the tools and techniques and get myself through it. Good luck to all in your battles today  ;).
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: clean-n-sober on January 30, 2017, 11:48:05 AM
workinprogress,

I read your journal and just wanted to wish you the best of luck in rehabilitating both your knee and your mind. I agree that the latter of the two may pose the greater challenge. We've all been there. I'm just getting started after PMo'ing "just one last time" before coming here and creating an account at RN

It's evident from your words that you love your family and want to be the best you can for them. I would say that given your history of sobriety from PMO that you have a pretty good foundation to start anew. I agree with you that there are always underlying issues that pull us back into the self soothing escapism that is PMO. We've conditioned ourselves with a coping mechanism that, on the surface,
can be dismissed as antidote for feeling horny, but that I believe speaks to much deeper needs. These are difficult things to "flesh out", at least for me. I'm wishing you much progress.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 31, 2017, 04:16:55 AM
Thanks clean-n-sober. Your support is a real encouragement.
Yesterday was a really tough day. Toughest so far. But I managed to keep my day free from P at the expense of having a really ineffective day at work. Small price to pay in the bigger scheme of things. Not yet using the techniques I've been taught to make the fight a little easier. Really should have RUN yesterday rather than staying in front of a laptop that was a constant source of stress. REMOVING myself from the source of temptation makes it a lot easier to UNDISTORT my thinking and NEVER FORGET the pain I caused in the past to myself and those who care for me.
Today's going to be a better day. I know that. Best wishes to all those of you who are struggling.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 01, 2017, 04:19:10 AM
Wednesday marks two weeks PMO-free and the first day since my operation that I don't feel miserable and foggy. That's good news, but I'm kind of stuck in feeling pissed at myself for having been ineffective in the last few days. I guess I had a general anaesthetic 6 days ago, and that often results in a hangover. Feels like my internal "operating system" is only back into balance today. So today I'm going to try to do better than just coping. Time to step it up. Execute on a couple of recovery tasks. Take the fight to the enemy  >:(  ;D
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on February 01, 2017, 05:31:06 AM
My father had a saying...

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present"

Let your lost days go. You've just had surgery, you're recovering from that and rebooting your brain - give yourself a bit of a break!

Look at the positives - you are still PMO clean, you've battled through another day when the easy thing to do was wallow in the porn induced sludge. You didn't do that, you're another day nearer to beinf rid of your habit.

All strength to you on this path.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 02, 2017, 03:52:17 AM
Thanks FbS. The gift of behaving like the person i always wanted to be is one i'm grateful for. Long may that continue! Thursday. Things are improving. I have company today, which is always a bonus. And I am away tonight with work, which has typically been a PMO trigger. I've downloaded a new brain-shrinkery book to occupy my mind with constructive stuff on the journey, and I've arranged a dinner with colleagues and a client, rather than skulking in the hotel on my own. Expecting a struggle but one that I'm confident I'll win. Thanks for reading!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on February 02, 2017, 06:20:31 AM
Your work situation sounds a lot like mine.

A lot of solo time, a lot of time away, lots of nights in hotel rooms. Working with people I don't necessarily know or like.

And days like today, where I've down time in the day time,  were always my porn time. Another struggle but one I intend to beat.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 03, 2017, 02:15:05 AM
Sounds very similar indeed, Firstbigstep. I'll confess to having stolen a living from numerous employers who paid me good money for days lost in a fog of P. Work stress in its various form is still my biggest trigger. Getting clean allowed me to get my career back on track and super-charged my earnings. That wasn't the reason for doing it, but it was certainly a welcome side-benefit!

Well... here I am on Friday morning, still clean, despite a totally sleepless night. No P, M or O for a couple of weeks. Not sure what caused the insomnia  ???. No demons and no white knuckles. Maybe just one of those things.

Wishing you all a safe and productive Friday  ;)
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 06, 2017, 08:28:51 AM
Navigated the weekend without any slips. A few practical things helped;
1. Not booting my laptop. Booting-up for vanilla reasons can be one of those SIDs for me (Seemingly Innocuous Decisions... couldn't remember the name for them in an earlier post) that I sometimes make that present unnecessary risks
2. Letting myself be convinced to go socialise at my local rugby club on Saturday. They might be idiots, but they're my idiots  ;D
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 07, 2017, 05:07:03 AM
Made it through Monday. Making it through Tuesday. Just. Not feeling particularly strung out, but cognitive distortion in my amoral old limbic system is reminding me how enjoyable my old acting out behaviours used to be. There were times when I was a practicing addict that i did hate what i was doing and hated myself for doing it. But there were plenty of other times when it gave me a massive buzz. Reading back through some notes today, I'm reminded that 80-90% of my brain function happens in the limbic system, and that Chimp brain is always looking for the fastest, easiest, lowest-effort way to feel safe and soothed. So if the 80-90% of my brain that get's first bite at every decision is telling me that P feels good and everything else is boring or too painful, then it can't come as any surprise that it's a constant struggle. Right now my Chimp isn't screaming for a fix but it is trying to cajole me back to one. That's just brain chemistry, right? Can't be avoided. So according to my notes from last reboot, I need to fully engage my conscious, human, brain so that i don't leave any big gaps for my compulsions to back-fill.
Wish me luck!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on February 07, 2017, 05:12:25 AM
Good luck today and every day!

Keep the chimp under control, or he'll run riot again.

It is a long hard fight we're all in.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: inpursuitofhappiness on February 07, 2017, 06:18:06 AM
Good luck WIP and well done for recovery first time.

Your story at first inspired me, then later worried me which i guess is a good thing as it keep you on guard!

Your situation first time around similar to me, lost my way, destroyed my wife, and in process of rebuilding and keep everything i hold dear close, plus must be a better role model than my dad and step dad were, thats really important to me or maybe my son will follow a similar path.

Struggled along for years secretly but currently at 40 days and feeling really strong, so your story made me realise not to drop my guard when feeling good and so i thank you for that.

As you said keep grinding and kick the arse out of this, i have never hated an enemy so much and so that gives me the determination to really win this time.

Best of luck, lets both get to 90 and beyond!!!!!!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 07, 2017, 10:15:19 AM
Thanks for your post Inpursuitofhappiness. Love it!
I wish I could reassure myself that P addiction has a finite incubation period, and if I'm not presenting any symptoms after 90 days, I'm cured.... but that wasn't the case for me. I got complacent.

I like the "mountain climbing" analogy some of the guys use here ... you don't ascend seamlessly in one smooth trip. I also love the one my wife uses... this is a nasty, fist fight and even when you're winning, you're going to have to take a few shots yourself. Just got to stay aware, stay conscious and keep fighting.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 08, 2017, 09:50:12 AM
Wednesday and still PMO-free, which I guess means I'm 3 weeks in. That looks like quite a lot of days in my diary, but it feels like yesterday.

Feeling the benefits, mostly at work, where I have a lot of energy and focus. Work prospects for 2017 largely depend on a decision that's due early next week. I have to work hard on disconnecting the decision, which I can only influence, from my own judgement of success or worth. Whether I win the decision or not, I remain the same person with the same flaws and facets. Could somebody please remind me of this sage logic next week if it goes "tits-up" and I'm wallowing in misery?
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Andyuk on February 08, 2017, 11:51:44 AM
We'll be here!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: newmeditations on February 09, 2017, 10:43:09 PM
Had to laugh a little (I'm sorry) only because I can so relate to connecting work with self-worth. One of my favorite reasons to lower my self-worth even more by acting out. So true though that it is an imaginary connection and if we can hold on to the truth that it is not a verdict on our value it helps tremendously. I wish you a very successful outcome (often our worries are also imaginary) but if things don't go as planned, what else could it mean? (besides disaster)  ;) Always the option to decide what to believe.

Reminding you ahead of time in case I miss the update.

Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 13, 2017, 08:31:06 AM
Navigated the weekend OK. Still no P or M. O with my SO, which was nice.
Struggled to keep my head down on a party night out in town on Saturday. Had a think about it yesterday and I chilled out. Being in that environment isn't safe for me, and I won't rush to repeat it. But beautiful women haven't, in themselves, been a big trigger for my acting out and I didn't act out after Saturday. I know my own, peculiar, little, triggers, and they're niggling away at me. My chimp is chuntering away! Actually typing this journal is bringing those triggers to the surface, so I think I'll finish here, log off, and go take a walk in the unusually nice weather we have in the UK today.
Take care yourselves!
WIP  :)
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: SmithsDisco on February 13, 2017, 10:18:13 AM
Hey workinprogress

Your story is so similar to mine its scary !!
mid 40s UK man - married - 2 kids - similar history

i myself stopped PMO a few years back , and my recovery is up & down to say the least
I seem to go from recovered to flatline in an instant.
I have no real idea how to fully recover , although im guessing i may have messed up my head over the whole issue and im more left with PA / Mental issues towards ED.

Should you ever need to chat etc feel free to send me a PM .. Can swap email etc should you wish

All the best
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 13, 2017, 04:40:57 PM
Thanks for your note, SmithsDisco. Much appreciated.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on February 14, 2017, 02:44:55 AM
Hmmm - I think the chimps are out in force at the moment!

I'm not sure if it's a seasonal thing (the old sap rising!) but I certainly feel more trigger sensitive at present.

The good thing is that I've resisted all urges to go back to the PMO routine (In fact, I don't miss the porn at all)

The less good thing is that I don't feel particularly good about it - as today is my 90 day "anniversary" - no irony that it's Valentine's Day! - I guess I should be feeling great. I wasn't expecting much, but thought I'd feel better than this.

Ho - hum - I guess that's the way it goes...

Another wrestling match with chimp brain beckons - he's a bit quieter this morning, thank goodness!

And SmithsDisco, I too worry that I may have done irreparable harm to my brain and psyche - I just hope the youngsters following along get to grips with this issue before they have spent as many years  in a self destructive cycle as some of us old hands have (excuse the rotten syntax!)

Again, if either of you guys want a direct contact, drop me an email address - the forum isn't always the ideal means of communicating!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 14, 2017, 07:06:18 AM
Indeed they are out in force, Firstbigstep  >:( Congrats on your 90 days though!

Agreed that living clean doesn't feel especially brilliant. But I do appreciate not feeling the horrible bouts of shame for my actions and the permanent pressure of living a lie. Makes me more effective and less selfish. Still consider myself to be a total arsehole for what I did before and that guilt kind of hangs around me like a bad smell that I just can't walk away from  :-[  So much fear! But living with the fear is something i currently judge to be better than the alternatives. I read a bit more of "The Buddha's Brain" last night. Maybe I'm just "shooting myself with a second arrow". I can find equanimity in so many situations, but not when I consider my own worth as a human being. Got to get that fixed.
Another day/night completed without acting out. I'm annoyingly weak emotionally. Wife was away last night. I feel anxious when she's not there and M is the most natural and obvious way to soothe that anxiety. Strangely, it's more acute when she is away and I am at home .... but I historically used chronic M much more when I was away than when I was home alone.
Bit of a vicious circle here today. I'm afraid and anxious about previous acting out with P. My limbic system's medication for fear and anxiety is P, so my chimp is demanding the very drug that has gotten me into this mess. I think it's going to be a long day, guys.
Wishing you all success in your battles today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on February 14, 2017, 09:25:53 AM
Hey WIPUK,

I'm going to embark on using some affirmations about myself. I've used this in the past to help with some self esteem issues, but they've drifted off on the tidal wave of self disgust that my PMO habit helped me to nurture.

I think the discovery of what has caused us the problems we face is a shock, then to find that it's something we actually don't like just perpetuates the cycle.

Don't call yourself weak - I believe that we can learn of our problem in minutes (my revelation was just like light switch being flicked) Unfortunately, the readjustment and recovery take WAY WAY longer. It feels like a large piece of elastic between the two - my understanding and comprehension are away in the distance, whilst my brain is dragging its heels behind. It sometimes takes a few steps, but I think my brain is part chimp, part donkey, judging by its stubborn refusal to come to heel at present!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 17, 2017, 11:25:24 AM
Friday and still clean. Navigated a business trip away Weds/Thurs without letting my guard down. A few trigger moments but nothing that's especially acute. Holiday next week, which is always a stressful time. Will prep myself to minimise risk.
Thanks and take care.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Andyuk on February 17, 2017, 02:36:01 PM
Good luck with holiday time and stay vigilant....
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 27, 2017, 08:09:17 AM
Survived holiday by the skin of my teeth and now back at work. Triggered repeatedly on the journey home and had to go 12 rounds with myself to stay straight. How many times did some snide, little voice in my head whisper that it was OK to tune out and lapse into some easy fantasy? Picture on the hotel wall, somebody dressed in a certain way at the airport, feeling tired on the bus, urge to "edge" in the toilet on the flight, obligations that I owe when back at my desk.... trigger, trigger, trigger  :-[. You've all been there though, right? Some days you can just see it coming at you, like you're stuck in a tunnel and there's a train coming towards you fast? I knew it would be like that. Last day of a holiday is usually a tough one for me, and the first day back at work typically has a high propensity to trigger me too. So I'm being very gentle with myself today. Booked a lot of video conferences with colleagues. Did the school run with the kids. Healthy lunch followed by a little bit of fresh air. Good music playing in the office and a nice fire lit. Whatever it takes to soothe myself in a healthy way. Confident that I will make it through today too, even if I grind through half my teeth and eat 500 calories of chocolate  :)
Wishing you all strength and resilience today. Take care.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Andyuk on February 27, 2017, 04:16:24 PM
Sounds tough but you made it through to the other side.
Well done!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: TK-421 on February 27, 2017, 10:49:29 PM
Survived holiday by the skin of my teeth and now back at work. Triggered repeatedly on the journey home and had to go 12 rounds with myself to stay straight. How many times did some snide, little voice in my head whisper that it was OK to tune out and lapse into some easy fantasy? Picture on the hotel wall, somebody dressed in a certain way at the airport, feeling tired on the bus, urge to "edge" in the toilet on the flight, obligations that I owe when back at my desk.... trigger, trigger, trigger  :-[. You've all been there though, right? Some days you can just see it coming at you, like you're stuck in a tunnel and there's a train coming towards you fast? I knew it would be like that. Last day of a holiday is usually a tough one for me, and the first day back at work typically has a high propensity to trigger me too. So I'm being very gentle with myself today. Booked a lot of video conferences with colleagues. Did the school run with the kids. Healthy lunch followed by a little bit of fresh air. Good music playing in the office and a nice fire lit. Whatever it takes to soothe myself in a healthy way. Confident that I will make it through today too, even if I grind through half my teeth and eat 500 calories of chocolate  :)
Wishing you all strength and resilience today. Take care.

Keep up the good work.  Part of this is recognizing and acknowledging the triggers that we all come across on a daily basis.  The key is to acknowledge them and move on.  It is normal and healthy to notice an attractive woman.  The difficulties start when we linger on a person or image for too long and allow unhealthy fantasy to carry us away. The key to this is learning to love the feeling of exercising self-control more than the temporary pleasure that PMO and fantasy offer. 

I have found that I have to be especially vigilant when these triggers first appear.  Part of the recovery process is recognizing when these unhealthy and unwanted thoughts first come along and not giving them any space.  I found that when I first was trying to reboot that I was getting tripped up by Facebook photos or lingering on some attractive woman I saw in public.  It really is empowering when you truly begin to appreciate that you  have control over how you respond to a specific stimulus or trigger.  Believe me, if you are human you have the ability to control your actions.  After what for many of is is decades of doing whatever felt good in the moment, it is sometimes hard to grasp the concept that we can control any of this.  Urges can really just seem to come out of nowhere.  If we are vigilant though, what feel like uncontrollable urges come from allowing unhealthy thoughts and fantasy to bump around in the brain for too long. 

It really becomes empowering to learn that you can experience a trigger, acknowledge it, move on and then commend yourself for being a man who is in control of his actions and living a principled life in accordance with his values.

All the best.

TK-421
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 28, 2017, 07:32:03 AM
Thanks for your support and feedback, guys. Must admit that I do feel empowered, confident and really positive today, having navigated my own little storm and reached calmer waters. I do tend to find that on tough days, it helps me to treat each trigger moment like an individual battle, unconnected to any bigger aspiration or fear. Just me and my chimp, in that single moment in time. I can either win that 5-second battle, or choose to lose, because I agree wholeheartedly that I do have a choice in that moment.

Found myself smiling in bed last night and this morning. "Mindfulness" is an over-used phrase but I have always struggled to have a quiet mind. I always preferred a lot of noise, which I don't think is always very helpful. I was lying in bed and could acknowledge to myself that I felt really warm, comfortable, happy and relaxed. Didn't need my brain to be anywhere, or in any way occupied. I just felt right. Don't know how that connects to anything else especially, but I think if I can find ways to keep my brain "tuned-in" to the nice stuff in my reality, and avoid feeling the need to tune-out, then I will put another barrier between me and P fantasies.

Anyway - another day ticked off. Have a good 'un yourselves.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 03, 2017, 08:04:00 AM
March 3rd. Back from a business trip to Barcelona and still P&M clean. Licking my wounds after toughest day so far yesterday. Kicking myself too, because whilst some triggers take me by surprise, others can be predicted and planned for.... and i failed to do that. I was in Spain in the first days back from holiday, feeling tired and full of cold. I was already vulnerable. Couldn't be helped. But I was there with a colleague who has consistently made very overt and persistent sexual advances towards me. I don't know what the guy sees in me, but on the 2 previous occasions we've been away with work together, he has propositioned me in the bluntest and most persistent manner. I had considered not going, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt, after he promised that he wouldn't repeat his past behaviour. But a few drinks into the evening and it started again. Subtle at first, and I tried gently to rebuff him. But he was eventually just blatantly asking me to sleep with him, so I ended up just getting up, telling him that it was not something I wanted, and leaving. That resulted in a next-day combination of tiredness, illness, mild hangover and terrible feelings of guilt that I must have lead this guy on at some time - given him the impression that his attentions were welcomed. So my head was a mess yesterday, with repeated, white-knuckle, battles against the urge to drop out into some fantasy. And the mess was exacerbated by knowing that I could have taken steps to prevent it from happening;

1. Don't turn business meetings into a night out drinking
2. Don't give a persistent sexual harasser another opportunity to hit on me

So I hope that in writing this, I can embed these lessons. I need to respect that I'm vulnerable at the moment and that I need to look after all the other facets of healthy living, unless I want to make this reboot even more difficult for myself. I'm away again next week and expected to socialise, so I need to commit to myself that booze is off limits. And I need to separate myself from this colleague and make sure that I don't put myself at risk again. I shouldn't have to put up with it, though, should I? The guy's a junior colleague. I don't know why I lack the self confidence and assertiveness to deal with it. I'm like a paralysed victim each time. Pathetic. I need to drum up the courage to deal with this in a mature manner. But I just can't help but feel like I'm the one in the wrong and that it's all my fault. Grrrrr  >:( sometimes I despise myself.

Right - silver lining - I'm still here and I'm still on the bright side of the street. No relapse... just. Be grateful for that. And maybe some long overdue lessons learned. Chin up! Move on. I live to fight another day.

Sorry for unloading.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 03, 2017, 08:26:28 AM
Maybe worth saying...
When I was on the ragged edge yesterday, one of the key motivations for not relapsing, was knowing that if I did, I'd have to come on here and write that I'd failed, or come on here and tell lies. Neither option was palatable, so thanks for being my virtual Accountability Partners :-) 
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on March 03, 2017, 10:17:59 AM
WIP UK.

Firstly,  congratulations on getting through the last few days. You've done really well.

There is absolutely no justification for the behaviour of your colleague and no reason why you should have to tolerate it.

I'm no expert in these matters - it may be an issue that your HR department can help with if you want to go down that path. If not, I'd suggest you speak to him in a neutral lovcation, stone cold sober, and make your position clear. I'd also suggest that you warn him that you will go to HR if he makes any advances in the future.

Situations like that are very hard to deal with (been there once myself) and you have shown great strength and resolve to resist. Give yourself the congratulations you deserve.

Onward and upward - you're still winning!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: MioSr on March 03, 2017, 12:12:37 PM
Work,  just read your March 3rd post. Totally relate. I so often take the blame for situations which are uncomfortable. The thing to remember is that you've been kind and thoughtful, not the one to blame. You didn't want to hurt this guy's feelings. That's what I hear. You wanted to be true to yourself and not disappoint another. When the guy started pushing, it caused anxiety (understandably). I think you've only behaved admirably. People are going to push their agendas. That's really hard for those ofus who don't want to hurt others' feelings.

 I know for me, one of the allures of fantasy is that it's a realm where I'm not hurting others' feelings, only my own. Instead of entertaining the voice that says you're in the wrong, see if you can't amplify the one that says you've been kind and that this man is crossing boundaries repeatedly. You've got everything in the world to feel proud about. And a trip away with no P&M is a HUGE deal. Congratulations!

Go, go, go!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 06, 2017, 11:36:48 AM
Thanks both for your support and feedback. You're correct, MioSr, that I didn't feel comfortable being... rude? Is that it? I'm not sure. But I often lack the self-confidence to assert myself politely when things are still relatively low-level. That has resulted in a couple of occasions when things stay bottled-up for far too long before they've exploded, sometimes in violence. I'm trying to be more assertive.

And you're right, FBS, that I walked rather than reacting in an inappropriate way, which is a success. I still feel naive about getting into a tricky situation, but I am pleased that I extricated myself without screwing up.

Anyway, as you say, onwards and upwards!
No major challenges over the weekend. Monday successfully navigated so far. Must be getting close to 50 days P&M free now.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Dem on March 07, 2017, 07:35:51 AM
Your thread has been very encouraging to me.  Married guy here trying to fight through this thing and it's almost like I am reading my own story. I'm grateful that my wife is patient with this experience and I pray something good happens for you. Be encouraged.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 07, 2017, 09:28:03 AM
Thank you, Dem. I really appreciate that. Hoping that nothing bad happens here too!
Must admit, feeling good today. Been under the weather with a cold for the last week and it has an impact on me. Was reflecting on the Barcelona incident and reminded that my sex addiction was never so much about lusting after others, as an addiction to being lusted after by others. Goes back to the original chestnut that a lot of other people have shared - that I have always felt so damn ugly and unlovable, that i grew up with an overwhelming desire to be found attractive by somebody... anybody. So I didn't immediately reject a guy flirting with me, because a big part of my persona is really flattered and gratified that he was flirting with me. Didn't matter about gender or sexual orientation. Just the unresolved issue with self image raising its head. Glad I thought that through, because it was niggling me. And glad that I dealt with it, and it's in the past.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 08, 2017, 05:39:19 AM
Great workout at the gym last night set me up for a good day today. Wife rebuffed my affections in bed this morning, but that's her prerogative and I'm not taking it personally. Couple of work situations making me feel physically nauseous this morning, which I know is not healthy. I have unrealistic expectations of myself sometimes.... erm.... all of the time  :-\. Need to be more realistic. Can't be making myself puke if I perceive the slightest error in my work. Despite that, I'm grateful for another day of serenity in relation to P today. Hoping for more "easy" days ahead!!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Dem on March 08, 2017, 08:38:13 AM
Good luck bro. I've shared this feeling many times.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 10, 2017, 09:20:21 AM
Got that "Friday Feeling". The end of a good week in which I've re-established equilibrium... and a bit of what they refer to in the book "The Buddha's Brain" as equanimity. Don't seem to be experiencing extreme highs or lows and life seems to have a bit of flow about it. A low-key weekend ahead, without any obvious bumps in the road, so hopefully I'll be checking-in clean on Monday. Enjoy yur weekend, guys. Stay strong!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: lyon03 on March 14, 2017, 05:16:29 AM
Thanks for your posts brother. So how are you today? Post an update. This forum was a huge part of me learning to live porn-free. Be well. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 14, 2017, 12:30:57 PM
Tuesday evening. Haven't posted properly since last week. All relatively calm and contained here. Away from home on business but not experiencing any significant discomfort or triggers. Continuing to work-out a lot and I tried a new gym at the weekend that had a really positive, communal, vibe. I'll go back there again. Lots of socialising in the last few days, which helps get me out of my own head and is good for me. Enjoying my music too. Doing a lot of things to stay busy and energised in the real world. I have occasionally experienced pangs of desire to go back to P over the last few days. Not like a raging, gnawing, tooth-grinding, urge to relapse. Just a part of my brain reminding me of the pleasures.... maybe my chimp probing for a bit of complacency? i've been able to acknowledge it, pause and reject the option. No panic or white knuckle. Positive signs.

Back to hospital this Thursday for more surgery; a pretty big one this time, but it should be the last one. Looking forward to the challenge of the rehab.

Hoping I can stay in the current frame of mind for a while. Wishing you every strength in your own fight.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on March 15, 2017, 06:59:53 AM
Hi WIP,

Glad to hear you're doing well and good luck with the op.

I think you are right - there's the white knuckle ride of the first month or so, then the chimp tries to sneak under the radar. Problem is that he helped design the defences, so knows all our weak spots. Once in a while he starts to make progress, so that's when we need to shore up the defences or move the sensor.

I certainly find my biggest challenge comes from being isolated - having split up with my wife and moved to a new area, it's not easy to engage with new people. Add to that the challenges of self employment where I'm often working alone (like today!) and it is those times that my resolve weakens a bit and I have to get a grip on myself (as it were!)

Thanks to guys like yourself, I know I'm not fighting alone, however lonely I get.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 17, 2017, 05:38:10 AM
Surgery last night was apparently successful. Won't try to write too much, as I'm full of morphine and cocodamol, so highly likely to write a load of old bollocks.

For me, complacency is the biggest danger. If I can keep recovery activities front of mind, I'm primed to deflect and reject triggers and withdrawal pain. And living socially is one of the best recovery choices for me. I work from home, alone, but I often go and work at Starbucks or Costa or similar, just so I get the buzz of being with other people. Is it a 12-step phrase? "Never get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired"? It's a good one though. I guess that's going to be tricky for me in the next few weeks, unable to drive or travel. Will have to do a lot of video conferences instead, perhaps.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: MioSr on March 17, 2017, 11:12:27 AM
Work,  really glad to hear surgery is behind you and went well.

I just wanted to say thank you. You had written something on another man's post about tackling a tendency to fantasize (away from pics). That profoundly clicked with me. I'm beginning to understand how much I do that. It's one of the big reasons I keep stumbling I believe. Doing my best to understand it and move past it.

Thanks and rest well.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 20, 2017, 08:55:33 AM
Hi MioSr. You're welcome. "User-generated P" was the basic fuel for my descent into P and Sex addiction over 30 years. It's still the most difficult for me to block too. Not many process steps from nought to fantasy, are there?

Monday afternoon and I'm relieved that the first, most isolated, days of post-op recovery are over, without letting myself down. That's historically been the riskiest period after previous surgeries. Things are calm currently. Calm to the point of having no sexual urges at all, which is a bit of a double-edged sword, but one I'll take for now. Plenty of time to build back healthy sexuality once I'm further away from relapse.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 21, 2017, 09:33:12 AM
Tired! Still have a lot of anaesthetic and pain killers sloshing around my system. Sleeping 11-12 hours a night and struggling no to nod-off every afternoon  :-\. Feeling safe and stable though. Glad for that.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 22, 2017, 10:38:48 AM
Another day of sanity ticked off. Thanks for that. As long as I don't get complacent or arrogant, I can continue to build this foundation. Just go to stay focused. Good luck to you all.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 28, 2017, 05:01:01 AM
28th today, right? All stable and calm. No P withdrawal symptoms at the moment. Not really any libido at all, which is something I'll hopefully remedy in a healthy way in time. Can't help but worry that there's a lot of Coolidge Effect at play here. Nearly 30 years with just one partner. Perhaps it's asking too much to expect that relationship to be a big source of dopamine as well as Oxytocin. Hope I'm wrong.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: fyg on March 28, 2017, 06:15:48 AM
Glad to read that all is stable and calm workinprogressUK. I have no experience of long term relationships. For my part, I often worry if things are going to work out (like in my therapy) for the best; I think it's completely normal - there is risk involved, but also nothing to lose in trying and only things to gain - that's my humble opinion.

Keep going man! :)

Thumbs up!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 30, 2017, 09:33:26 AM
Grrrr..... gnarly morning today. Work stress and strain had me triggering at things I haven't triggered at for a while. Things I didn't want to look at came repeatedly into centre view. Reminiscence from my friendly chimp that P offered a pleasant, blissed-out, alternative to all the work bullshit. Glad that I've built up enough "clean time" for the neural pathways to P to be weaker than they used to be. Glad too to have an outlet here. I think I'm through it. Grateful for another day clean. Will not be complacent.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Abc on March 30, 2017, 10:16:02 AM
hang in there workinprogressUK you got this ! Its just a little test and you got this ! Have a great rest of your day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: MioSr on March 30, 2017, 10:29:19 AM
WIP, big kudos for getting through that white water. SO hear you on those moments. Someone once told me that when you're trying to change something, ALL you see is that thing and it feels like it's everywhere. I do believe that in time, these cravings and urges toward the false promises of P will lessen in severity.

You're doing it. Way to go!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 03, 2017, 05:10:55 AM
Thanks for your support, guys. It's really appreciated. And I think you're right, MioSr, about the things we want to change seemingly popping up everywhere  :-\!
I don't prioitise counting days, but I think I'm 80 P&M free now. Not sure that matters, but staying P&M-free today matters to me a great deal. I'm very flat and detached emotionally at the moment. No heat in my system. Can't get excited, passionate or emotional about anything. I guess it's just a case of "shit stinks". My system had far too much "heat" in it, and a hard reboot is all about extinguishing the flame, rather than just turning the thermostat down a notch. I'll fix.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on April 03, 2017, 07:05:05 AM
Just a quick note of encouragement - life can get a bit flat and ordinary after hyping one's system with porn induced dopamine for so long. I think we all had our systems wound up to the point where our sensitively is out of whack with the day to day stimuli of day to day life.

Stick at it - you're doing great.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Karzam on April 03, 2017, 04:21:52 PM
Hi WIP,

 Congratulations on both the surgery and no PMO - awesome work! :)

Karzam
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 05, 2017, 05:20:52 AM
Thanks for the encouraging words, gentlemen.

I remember speaking to some recovering S addicts after residential group therapy I went through. One of our group asked "isn't life a little boring"? And the two guys said "in order to stay clean, I'm happy to accept boring over lies, fear and shame". My system was running pretty hot, so "ordinary" works for me! I really do need to work on those "life goals" though, so that I have something positive to get excited about. I know that's so important for longer-term success. When I've worked on them in the past, they've been really helpful, but they've always included physical and active goals, which are a little difficult right now given that I'm only just off my crutches. No more prevaricating on that though.... will get that done today.

Struggling with resentment today and still have a bloody awful lack of focus. Need to manage my obligations so that I can be a bit more assertive about the things I want to focus on.

Strength to you all today, guys. And thanks again for reading.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: MarstonS on April 06, 2017, 03:07:12 AM

Hey man, wanted to stop by your journal. I notice a lot of similarities.

Keep going, even when the stong inspiration lacks, the future will be much much brighter without that porn beast on our shoulders.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 10, 2017, 07:12:33 AM
Trying to surf an enjoyable weekend wave as far as possible up the beach of Monday misery. Enjoyed S with my wife and especially enjoyed being able to stay present, in the here-and-now, and really enjoy being in that moment. Only the second O since I rebooted. Both healthy. Gives me confidence for the fight ahead. I know that it reassures my wife too. I respect that her trust in me is relatively low, and the flatline behaviours I evidence in reboot bear many of the same characteristics of my behaviour in addict mode; emotional detachment, low libido, not looking after my appearance. I can see sometimes that she's looking at me suspiciously and I know that she worries about how secure she is in our relationship and whether I'm acting out again. It gives us both a lift in so many ways to be physically and emotionally intimate. That's the lesson to myself today; can't afford to get too introverted and selfish in relation to my recovery. Can't be self-conscious about showing her affection.

Could write a bunch more waffle but this strikes me as a good place to finish and go and reflect on a couple of things. Wishing you a successful day!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 12, 2017, 05:32:01 AM
Wednesday. Glad of the opportunity to log-in and feel connected to kindred spirits. I've felt very tempted this morning by P. Maybe January's fear of relapse and terror of being found out has faded a little? Bunch of Cognitive Distortion this morning, with my brain whispering that "it's only a little bit of P" and somehow "I've deserved a break".
So I need to use the tactics I've learned and RUN. Once I post this, I'll log-off, Remove myself and go feed my hens (not a euphemism  :D). I'll Undistort my thinking, because there's no such thing for me as a little bit of P and if I've deserved a break, there are other ways. And I'm Never going to Forget how much damage P has done to me over the years. I'm not going back out there. Thanks for being here. Wishing you success in your own fight today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: fyg on April 12, 2017, 08:47:30 AM
Hi WIP,

Sending you positive vibes wherever you're at today. I just read your backstory and a some of your posts. Your formative years sound very much like mine, as to creating neural pathways that relied on fantasy due probably to low self-esteem. My porn use did escalate back when I used to browse for many hours every day, but it didn't really go to really extreme stuff on the whole. Anyways...

I'm all about increasing self-esteem nowadays... so I'm on the same page as you there man.

Thanks for a positive post even though you have challenges today. Wishing you a good day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Firstbigstep on April 15, 2017, 02:43:40 PM
Hi guys.

Off grid for a while but still kinda hanging in.

I think many of us had self esteem isdues early in our lives.  I'm still battling mine now. Good to know I'm not alone.

Thanks everyone.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 19, 2017, 03:57:47 AM
Tuesday morning. I think this is 90 days P&M free. Never set myself that target but I guess it's worth mentioning. Pleased to be clean today. Mind is messing with me. I feel very anxious and insecure. I've enjoyed what appear to be successes at work, but I just can't process them that way. Need to find some time to identify a positive lens through which to view things. Seems like the more I succeed, the more I want to destroy the success. Why am I more comfortable thinking of myself as a loser? Because I don't feel like I merit success. I've come to think that it's one of the worst forms of arrogance to set targets for myself that I'd never dream of setting for the people who work with me and for me. Maybe it's the case that if I knock myself down first, nobody else gets the chance to destroy me? When does self-effacing become self destruction? 90 days in, and with the benefit of nearly 4 years in recovery, there's still a big part of my brain that would be happy dropping back out into sex addiction and porn. That's a tough pill to swallow. Got to find a path to the positive. Onward and upward. Good luck to you today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: fyg on April 19, 2017, 04:29:05 AM
I think lots of us can relate to the negative slant we put on good things. I think it's partly an addiction we have to negative thinking, via neural pathways. So, hopefully, we can be easy on ourselves when these thoughts appear - maybe understand why, and laugh a little, if not at the time, maybe a few hours later.

But! If you don't mind me saying, 90 days and all the positive change you mention, from where I'm standing looks and sounds amazing!! Keep going man, you're totally on it!! (even if you don't totally feel it - they say something like "it takes the brain/ourselves some time to catch up to the positive change we have implemented into our lives"!! Like, it will feel incongruent for a while as we're not used to it, like choppy waters at sea, and then balance will restore, and the sea will be calm. Then it might get choppy again ;) ). Onwards and upwards. And thanks on the good luck :)
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 20, 2017, 09:30:48 AM
Really appreciate your support, FYG. Thank you for that. Hopefully my brain's just taking a little time to get used to the changes and I'll be in a better place soon.

Fantasy and masturbation were originally a refuge I went to when I was confronted by things I couldn't cope with. That developed to compulsive levels, as my neurals became conditioned to the constant dopamine, and then escalated into more extreme behaviours, as my brain became de-sensitised to the "softer" stuff. So now I'm in recovery and I won't allow myself to go back to porn and all that went with it, but there are still plenty of everyday things that I struggle to cope with. Meaning that until I can find a way to deal with these issues, and develop healthy coping strategies, I'm going to continue to feel anxious, insecure and generally shitty, because I've denied myself the old self-soothing route. After a long time in therapy and a lot of self study, I know what some of those unresolved issues are.... but I'm a million miles away from resolving them. Which leads me back to being "clean" but bloody miserable.

Don't get me wrong, that's a hell of a lot better place than "dirty" and bloody miserable, which is where I was when I was acting out  :). I think I'll start to see an improved mental state when I'm further into my knee rehab too, and I can get back to travelling with work and exercising properly. For now, I'm grateful to be able to vent my frustrations here and to enjoy another day sane.

Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Abc on April 20, 2017, 09:47:02 AM
workinprogressUK, Congrats on your progress and sorry to here your clean and miserable. I do know what that's like, I was a really bad cocaine addict for many years and I went through the same thing once I was clean. At about a year clean I was seeing things a lot clearer and was truly seeing all the damage I had done and all I had lost. In my head I was like Dude you might as well get high because your life sucks you lost everything and no one cares anymore so you can get high and forget about all this crap. I think its just we are thinking without our drug of chose clouding or judgement and also mixed in with out addicted brains still trying to get there fix. I can tell you it gets better my friend so dont give in and lose all you have worked for up to now. My mother and father made me see a therapist and he really helped me to see the light and appreciate where I am at. I am so glad they insisted I go because I never would have went on my own. And you are right it will help when you are back up and moving around and can keep your head busy too. Hang in there buddy and stay strong.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: fyg on April 20, 2017, 10:52:56 AM
Most welcome WIP  8). I'm sorry you're miserable too. I dunno whether this helps, but lately, a sense of humour has been returning for me - I think, as I've been feeling shit too, and I think that if you allow yourself to feel these feelings without escaping too much, you start to find natural coping mechanisms again. My refuges are/were similar to yours. Abc's words of realising the damage that had been done in his life are starting to become clear for me just lately too (also read similar in Lyon's journal last night)... I'm sure it will become clearer still...boy o boy!

I dunno, but I think there is a balance between looking deeply at these things like we're doing and being positive also :) That's the path I'm gonna try and tread. Anyway some days I have less to say than others, and today's one of 'em. Abc has your back covered saying things will get better, I think it's always great to have support from somebody who has been there and come out the other side.

Good vibes to you, man!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 24, 2017, 05:54:12 AM
Very solid weekend, followed by a Monday morning wobble. That's become an established pattern and I wonder if it's one that other "recoverers" experience? I logged-in to my newspaper at the office and found myself tempted by some articles that were definitely in a "grey area" that I'd be wiser to move past. Because as I read in "Bob's" journal earlier, allowing myself to look at something even vaguely off-message, especially on a monday morning, or at another time when my resolve is weak, just amps-up the withdrawal pain and the temptation. And then I have to waste a lot of energy resisting the temptation, rather than just getting on with a positive day. So I think I may have to try to avoid catching up on The Guardian until after lunches. I'm not a fan of UFC as a sport, but I read an interview with their commentator "Joe Rogan" a few weeks ago in a weight training magazine and he said something like "I focus first on delivering my obligations, because once I've done that, I can go about the rest of my life free of guilt and anxiety", and I like that message. I'm a natural prevaricator, so it really helps me to get my obligations dealt with first, and then I can do other stuff without feeling like a loser.

Anyway, to conclude this little ramble, I shut down The Guardian's "Culture" page, resisted The Chimp telling me to go look for some juicier morsels, and came on here to get my head straight. Really helped, especially clicking through to a blog suggested by one of the Mods, Gracie, which had some great stuff in it.

In other news, in line with my efforts to make my non-P life more stimulating and challenging, I've signed-up for Mandarin lessons. Part of "The Life Wheel" approach to achieving balance that I founs so helpful as part of The Hall Recovery Course.

Right! Onwards an Upwards. I have a day to conquer  ;D
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 25, 2017, 07:44:17 AM
Successful day so far today. Front-loaded my diary with appointments, which kept me off the Internet and seems to have helped me to stay focused. No relapse urges. Anxiety being managed. Hope that remains the case through the rest of the day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: sound mind on April 25, 2017, 10:59:55 AM
workinprogressUK thank you so so much for writing this and congratulations im thinking how on earth a i going to reach 90 days. So i just put that on shelf bring and just have a look on my shelf now and then. i am no PMO  i think 7 days not really sure  but what you have said in your posts are so awesome to me why !
Because i think as i'm reading your story your helping me think when your on porn we know it effects our sound mind and i'm trying
to work this out with everybody's stories I've read so as i am rebooted hopefully my mind will be sounder so bare with as i join you on this journey.

I would you be ok me talking about what you have prevoiusly and tell you what i think might be going on
in your life that i can see whats going on in mine if that makes any sence
kind regards not so sound mind yet 
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 25, 2017, 11:51:29 AM
Thanks Sound Mind. Kind words and much appreciated.
Congrats on breaking out of your previous patterns. Your mind is seven days sounder than it was before.... and counting. Wishing you every success.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 01, 2017, 11:45:01 AM
Taking some satisfaction from having put some structure and Internet management into my working day. Also for leaving a friend's BBQ last night at 8:15 before the wine started flowing too fast; both things that have helped me stay balanced, positive and focused on the Monday morning after a hectic weekend. Also happy that I've chosen to work this Bank Holiday. Gets me ahead of my own personal anxiety curve. Nice evening here, so I'm heading out to play some cricket. Hoping that I have similarly positive days ahead.

Take care of yourselves. Wishing you all a calm day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: bob on May 01, 2017, 07:23:18 PM
Workin,

Sounds like you are making real progress. Keep it up.

Peace
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 03, 2017, 07:04:25 AM
Thank Bob  :)
Over 100 days P&M free now, and I have to admit that life is a lot more predictable and safe than it was when I was acting out. So much less Cortisol floating about in my system, now that I'm not worried about deviant behaviours being discovered by family, friends or employers. Being able to live without that fear is a major benefit of ditching the old lifestyle. Another is that I'm so much more productive at work, resulting in the four years since I made the decision to break my sex addiction being the most financially lucrative of my career. I still miss P from time to time and I certainly struggle to resist cravings for that and for M. But all in all, life's a whole lot better on this side of the line. Hoping to stay clean today, and wishing you all success in your daily struggles.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Abc on May 03, 2017, 08:53:48 AM
100 days ? Thats awesome WIPUK ! Keep up the good work ! You are an inspiration to all. 
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: sound mind on May 03, 2017, 01:18:50 PM
Thank Bob  :)
Over 100 days P&M free now, and I have to admit that life is a lot more predictable and safe than it was when I was acting out. So much less Cortisol floating about in my system, now that I'm not worried about deviant behaviours being discovered by family, friends or employers. Being able to live without that fear is a major benefit of ditching the old lifestyle. Another is that I'm so much more productive at work, resulting in the four years since I made the decision to break my sex addiction being the most financially lucrative of my career. I still miss P from time to time and I certainly struggle to resist cravings for that and for M. But all in all, life's a whole lot better on this side of the line. Hoping to stay clean today, and wishing you all success in your daily struggles.

love your title    well done sir and love what you wrote the benefits are awesome I've read it all over thankyou for your honesty. Living without fear WOW   
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 09, 2017, 03:49:58 AM
It is taking so long to reinforce positive patterns in my brain, after years of perpetuating negative ones. I'm not complaining - just making a little, mental, note. I succeeded last night, with my wife away on business, in avoiding any craving for M when I went to bed. Used to be a chronic wanker in my acting out days, especially when sleeping alone. But I don't allow myself to turn on my laptop after dinner nowadays and that helps break the connection between a night solo and P&M. Reading an appropriate book never gave me an M craving. I don't know about anybody else, but I do need to set rules, and stick to them, or everything gets a lot harder. I've broken one this morning. No major drama. But I've found that, in recovery, I can easily waste most of a day online, moving through a series of websites that are now pretty well ingrained as a neural pathway the size of a fairly major road. Not the 12-lane motorway that P&M used to be, but a fairly efficient thoroughfare all the same. So I've been trying to avoid the Internet until my lunch break, and that's made me a lot more effective and productive. So having farted about online for the last hour, I know I'm going to struggle to stay offline for any meaningful period of time for the rest of the day. Just one of those little "grey area" decisions I still get wrong some times. Smiling about it... nice to recognise a small error of judgement for what it is... rather than an Epic Fail. But I'll log-off now and try to remind myself about this one tomorrow. But still clean and reaping the benefits in general. No P or M since mid January and everything seems to be getting better.
Wishing you all a successful day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workingonit on May 11, 2017, 08:23:33 AM
Hello WIP - I am Workingonit - please to meet you. 

After not logging on for a while, I thought I would (as I have someone I regularly have contact with through here via personal messages), and came across your name with UK in it. I am also UK and was interested to read about your journey.  The one message was how you had a business trip coming up and had strategies to cope with it.  How did they fare?  Did you slip?  My porn sex addiction was completely hidden my entire life from everyone.   Although some people may have doubted my sexuality at some point or another, no-one in my life except a few people I have spoken to in the last few years (including therapist who I believe is part of the group you did your week course with - what an experience those sessions were) have any clue what I have been getting up to - and boy did I have fun.  The setting up the trips to London, et cetera played a massive part and I have had to rethink how I live to avoid putting myself into those situations. Re-routing travel plans is the major one.  But then as well as big days out, I would also avoid a nice eve with friends, or time with a partner to use P.   Surely there must be some way to turn that power to strategise into something positive?!?!

I still make plans but do not stick to them unless I have a mini slip of an eve maybe, once every three months, whilst building up time between uses. Still, that is a slippery slope but at least I am managing to not use now every day. 

The same reasons resonate for me as well.  My self-esteem is rock-bottom at times from being raised by drug-addicts who  have no self-esteem themselves.  Families!  Have you heard the Philip Larkin poem? 

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   
    They may not mean to, but they do.   
They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,   
Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

It is a constant battle but don't you love the ripples of esteem you get from time to time when you know you are doing right by yourself and those around you, and being strong?

Ok, that's it for now - have a nice eve!

Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 11, 2017, 12:18:18 PM
Hi Workingonit.

Really appreciate your message, and especially the poem, which made me grin  :D.

My experience sounds similar to yours. The whole preoccupation phase of planning my trips was often more exciting and engrossing than the actual acting-out. I sometimes booked business trips that involved no business at all, and lived a lie. But I have turned it around, and, to your point, a lot of it related to increasing my self-esteem. As a result, I've had just one, short but fairly extreme, relapse in four years, and I'm on the way back from there currently.

I used to act like I was self-employed, scrimping every penny, staying in cheap hotels in the 'burbs, travelling at off-peak times and on budget airlines and eating scruffy food. That all fitted with my self-image as a loser and a nobody. So I changed-up my game and started to fly with proper business airlines, got an airport lounge account, stayed at Marriott hotels, arranged to have dinner with friends or colleagues while I was in a city, rather than being a loner. If it made sense to get a taxi, I'd get a cab, rather than schleping on the tube and walking. I didn't gratuitously take the piss. I guess I just acted my age and my level. I avoided staying in places that I knew to be close to red light areas or dodgy clubs, or hotels in which I'd previously acted out. I learned the power that music has to influence my mood, so I always made sure I had headphones and a fully charged phone. If I forgot my headphones, I'd just buy a new pair, because long journeys without music tend to trigger me and the financial cost was inconsequential. I bought magazines to occupy my mind. I always chose hotels that had a gym, and I made sure that I used them. The trips weren't a barrel of laughs, because I typically travel to 2nd-tier cities in developing countries. But I made them manageable and I was able to continue doing a job I enjoy, without acting out. I truly believe that a secondary benefit of getting clean and treating myself with respect has been that my work performance has taken off. You're correct that we were wasting so much energy and creativity in our porn/sex addictions. Once I found the ways to stop wasting myself in porn, and deliberately opened up a load of alternative, positive, avenues for my energy, my life took off.

I can't say that I get any ripples of self esteem. I still feel largely like a twat, mate  :). But life's manageable and safe and predictable.... and I'll take that for now.

Hope this ramble has answered your question. And thanks for getting in touch with a thought-provoking and funny note.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Gabriel1960 on May 14, 2017, 11:59:32 AM
Great job on your progress!  You are truly blessed. 

Keep at it!  It's worth it!

Gabriel
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 15, 2017, 10:35:40 AM
Monday. Weekend was good in a lot of ways. Some of them pertinent to my recovery. Spent it with family and friends on a mate's dairy farm out on the coast. Humbling to see my friend going about his not-very-well-paid business with a smile on his face and a level of expertise that I know I'll never achieve in my profession. Very rewarding to get up early with my kids and go help him move and feed the herd. Made me think that there's a lot of noise in my life that I could tune-out, you know? So much unnecessary stuff. I should also spend more time outdoors, getting muddy and not worrying about keeping my Nikes white  :) Pleased as well to maintain good strategies for alcohol management when I'm socialising. Really helps to stop me from triggering at the slightest thing the next morning. All in all, a really positive few days and I'm going into the new week on the front foot. Wishing you all the best in your fight.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: guyinsideout on May 15, 2017, 02:53:23 PM
Hello workinprogress, thanks for posting in my feed, much appreciated you took the time read and comment. Your post above about realizing how much P robs us of your creativity really struck me, as that is one of my biggest problems. Being in a creative field, I now realize how much P has robbed me and how I let it. I have thought lately that maybe I just wasn't creative anymore but after finding this community and YBOP I see my situation so differently and feel some hope to take back my brain and build something new and regain creativity and self esteem. You are doing great, sounds like a great weekend. Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration, keep going...

G.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 22, 2017, 07:05:28 AM
Could be, guyinsideout, that the energy you were dedicating to your P habit was leaving little room for your normal creativity to thrive. I hope that your mojo returns as you stay off the P.

Bitter-sweet feelings here. Now over 4 months P&M-free and I'm grateful to fellow rebooters for helping me stay clean this far. Should be grounds for confidence. But this is a tricky time of the year for me. Wedding anniversary later this week and my wife has reminded me that it was 4 years ago today that she discovered my P habit. Sobering to hear her say that her foundations are still shaken and unsure. Trust is made from very fine glass, isn't it? And once I broke it, there's no glue in the world that could put it back together exactly as it was before. I don't think it would be any easier to be a recovering alcoholic or heroine user or gambler, but i doubt that any other addiction does such immediate and fundamental damage to partner relations as sex addiction does.

But I guess the best thing that I can do for myself, my wife and my marriage is to stay clean, which means focusing on the processes that have kept me clean before. The one thing I really can't afford is to relapse. So I'll wish you all a successful day, and I'll be grateful that I feel strong today, and look forward to still being clean tomorrow.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 25, 2017, 07:39:56 AM
OK here. I am managing my chimp well and not letting small pressures or anxieties turn into anything bigger. No conscious urges for P lately. I'm niggled by dreams that hang onto scenes from my old acting out and p habits, but I can't control those, so I'll just let them go.

I live near Manchester in the UK, so this week has been quite upsetting. Off into the city tomorrow and I'll pay my respects to the poor people who lost their lives this week. Puts my own challenges into stark perspective and reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for, and nothing to resent.

Wishing you all success today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 30, 2017, 05:29:08 AM
Celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary this weekend. "Celebrate" being a genuine description. I felt a long way from acting out behaviours or desires, and I felt very close emotionally to my wife. First time in years that I've felt confident about my future in our relationship together, although even typing that makes me nervous. Life is very full. No desire to go back to P/S addiction, and very little space for it to creep back in either.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 31, 2017, 11:59:23 AM
first session today with a new Personal Trainer. Looking to amp-up the productivity of my training. Mandarin class cancelled tonight, so I can enjoy a night off with family. I'm convinced that staying positively engaged in real-world stuff is the key to my staying on the straight n narrow.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 07, 2017, 10:35:45 AM
MO last week for the first time this year, which I'd historically have a total downer about. But it hasn't freaked me out. Maybe I'm kidding myself? But there was no porn and no fantasy driving it, so I feel pretty chilled about it. Came at the end of a fulfilling week with my SO and when I was in Berlin, which I find a very sexy place to be. I'm fighting my sex addiction and porn addiction. I know fantasy is a big part of both for me, so those three are all red-line, no-go, behaviors. M is a grey area that I'm not comfortable with, hence not having done it for about 7 months, but it doesn't break me. That was last Thursday. No cravings or hangover since, so I think my instinct is right about this one. No rush to do it again, though.

Wishing you success in living clean today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Samarkand Searcher on June 11, 2017, 09:27:16 AM
Hi WorkinprogressUK

I had a good read of this (and will come back for more!) so much of what you said rings true with me - work travel, self esteem. Even the knee!

Thank You
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 12, 2017, 08:28:26 AM
Nothing new under the sun, is there, SS  :)

Bleeuuuurggghhh!! Just had a big trigger moment. Sometimes things come out of left-field that I can't control. Other times, like this one, I get over-confident and flirt with things that I know I shouldn't. On a fitness website, looking for some motivation. Allowed myself to dwell on the wrong kind of image. ZAP! Big blast of dopamine and now my head's buzzing and my ears are ringing and I have cravings for P. Idiot! Time to RUN. Shutting down and going for some fresh air. Glad to have this site as a "first aid" location when things get sketchy.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 15, 2017, 06:43:26 AM
Still very focused on recovery. Enjoying, for the most part, a re-read of the YBOP book, although the numerous mentions of the fact that prolonged porn abuse has been proven to cause irreparable damage to grey-matter was a little deflating. I'm keen to dig into some of the reference research too. Managed my inner chimp through a quarterly work meeting that I find very stressful, and got through for the first time without hating myself, colleagues or boss. Wow!

I don't know if pressure to relapse is cyclical. Do any of the longer-term guys have any thoughts on that? Assuming any of them reads this  :). I'm at around 150 days p-free now. No fantasy. 1 M. But I feel more cravings now than I did at 90 days. Anybody else had similar, please?
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 19, 2017, 03:40:56 AM
Still troubled by craving for P. Like a nagging, mild, hangover. Will be a good day to check over an old rehab book and do a little exercise on "remembering how shit life was at rock bottom". I think I'll get through the day but it's going to be one of those tooth-grinding, unproductive, anxious and unfocused ones.

Wish me luck.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workingonit on June 20, 2017, 12:32:03 AM
Hello Workinprog,

Have you seen the bit about hypofrontalism?  This is the bit that gets me.  It means we lose the ability to reason, think clearly and make sensible decisions (like using or not, but there are other life choices we make that might be seriously affected). Here Dr Kevin McCauley describes how hypofrontality works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=146&v=jkOl7QIXxlQ

You should watch all the videos for PleasureUnwoven as it is really interesting. 

Now according to his video the 'addict' is unable to refuse the intense emotional obsessional experience that keeps bringing the brain back to the addiction.  They cannot reason that there are consequences to their additive actions.

But you can, and do.  You know the difference between using and not.  Now you are re-wiring to bring your brain back into focus.  My memory is really bad.  It is because I do a job that does not stimulate me, have gone through years of intense stress (on top of the porn addiction recovery) and do not use it (aside from trying to remember stuff I seem to have no capacity to remember.   

But I can, and do!  I am learning new ways to memorise names.  I have always been terrible.  What are you like at names?  Now I assign something to each person I meet.  Sally became Mustang Sally, Rebecca became Becks, Jamie (and his magic torch) Alison (Baba and the forth thieves) the point of neural plasticity is that the brain can change so you need to change it.  It changed with the addiction, right? Maybe you will not be what you could have been due to the porn, but their is new research into the brain and recovery from serious trauma and it is all about forging new pathways.  Neurons that fire together, wire together.

If it does not come from an expert and if I am not really interested in doing something (usually through being too lazy) I do not try stuff.  But if I can become excellent at remembering names then what new memory tricks could you learn?  What new things could you learn? 

Be positive and be focused on something.  I am starting small with the names but am going to try something else visual next, not sure what......
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 21, 2017, 09:12:08 AM
That feedback is so informative. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Really appreciated. I'll go check out the video. But you;re right that I never managed to win with reason. Never managed to talk-down the chimp, who always took a  "fuck it" attitude to risk. The riskier... the more intense the hit, right?

And for what it's worth.... I suck at remembering names. Where my car keys are. What my kids are supposed to be bringing home from school... and all the other stuff that just never mattered to my addict brain. Good at faces, mind. I can easily recognise people I only met briefly 30 years back.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 22, 2017, 10:05:16 AM
Very good watch and read. Confirmed a lot. My layman's attempt at explaining what I think I learned;

Years acting out have damaged the bits of my brain that correctly attribute value and priority, as well as the bits that help me understand and benchmark my behaviour. So not only is my decision making fundamentally impaired, but I'm no longer able to see how wrong my decisions are.

Kind of explains to me why I continued to make some really, catastrophically, bad decisions and evidenced some very nasty and anti-social behaviours for a couple of years after I stopped acting out.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Samarkand Searcher on June 23, 2017, 07:27:31 AM
hi

ditto for names and faces! I have noticed that my memory is worse when I am full on PMO and everything else multiple times a day! I am much sharper when I don't.

Same for the fuck it attitude? Did you have any childhood trauma? I think that this can lead to people being wired differently when it comes to getting a buzz from things?

Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 18, 2019, 12:09:17 PM
It wasn't my intention to be active in here again but I've fallen off my wagon, and this place helped me maintain a long spell of sobriety last time around, so here I am.

Ten days into this reboot, having spent the last three months of 2018 out there, before three weeks sober during December. I'm grateful, in a small way, that my acting out was mild in comparison to years gone by. That hypofrontality is something I managed to get on top of, and I'm better at moderating my own behaviour and not doing crazy stuff. The thing I've found the most difficult to deal with, after living clean for anything up to three years at a time since I tried to get a grip of this in 2013, is how little pleasure I find in my life as a recovering addict. Holidays, hobbies, wins at work, social events and even the company of my family provide little joy, and people around me are noticing how little enthusiasm I show for things that ought to light me up. I've seen it referred to as addictive anhedonia, and I guess it comes from having overloaded my dopamine sensors with junk for so long that they're de-sensitised to "normal" pleasures. That's something I'm going to try to stay sober long enough to repair a little. It would be nice to smile a genuine smile.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 21, 2019, 10:33:17 AM
Grim day. Cold, grey and still. Nothing happening at work. I feel agitated but not energised. Triggered by the boredom and by habit. Held out so far. I think I'll grind it out OK. Work meeting in 30 mins stopping me from knocking-off early and hitting the gym. If I hold out until tomorrow, I'll have 2 weeks without. That's sufficient motivation not to give up.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: joepanic on January 21, 2019, 11:03:52 AM
2 weeks!!!!  a good milestone   take in your meeting and change your routine in going to the gym a little later   I found it was always good to change things up a little  keep it interesting   sort of embrace a slight unknown   you never know what you might find there   The great songwriter Neil Young once quoted   "I don'   t always go down the middle of the road   Once in a while I aim for the ditch  its a rough road but you find more interesting people there"  and from those people you might find more acceptance  and support   So look forward to changing it up for a few days and perhaps your mind will be consumed by getting through something different

     Cheers  looking forward to seeing you start a 3rd week

       Post often it helped me it will help you
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 22, 2019, 12:39:24 PM
Thanks joepanic. Like a lot of guys here, the gym's my "happy place". Training is something that really creates flow and a sense of self confidence for me. I'm a little cranky just now because I'm carrying a bunch of little injuries and glitches that are stopping me from doing what I like to do there. But thanks for reminding me that there's a lot of pleasure in changing things around and trying something new.

Took the time to read back through this blog. Looks like i managed nearly 160 days clean before something triggered a relapse 7 months ago. Can't remember what it was, but I apparently had plenty of warning signs and opportunities to RUN. I've always been an arrogant prick. Probably thought i knew better. Oh well. I am where I am, rather than where i want to be, so I'll take the learnings from that fail and do the best that i can from here. Can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to be sober today!

Wishing you all success.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 23, 2019, 10:18:25 AM
Checking in. Enjoying reading the journals of other posters. All OK today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 24, 2019, 06:02:19 AM
I read this in my morning newspaper. It's about NY resolutions, but I saw a lot of crossover for me in addiction recovery, so I thought I'd post it here.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jan/10/struggling-with-new-year-resolutions-willpower

Key takeaways for me;
- Don't try to achieve too many objectives at the same time; Staying off P takes up all of my willpower reserves. Denying myself a beer, or a piece of chocolate, when I'm feeling shitty, because I'm tracking my macros.... well that's only likely to make me less able to resist P next time the Chimp starts screaming, so I should chill-out about 100kcal of carbs
- extroverts need external and 3rd-party validation of their efforts. I'm an extrovert, so it's good to post here and be part of a crew
- "Changing habits is a motivational marathon".... don't i know it!

I'm clean today and grateful for that. I miss my old behaviours and the pleasure they brought me. I've not yet found other pastimes that come close to replacing them. But remembering the damage they did to me is enough motivation to stay clean today. If you read this, I wish you every success in your own mission.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 28, 2019, 05:53:23 AM
Monday morning and I feel anxious; back at my desk with my computer for company and not very much to occupy my mind. My chimp is bothering me with what my human brain knows are cognitive distortions. I'm tired and unmotivated and the chimp is offering P as the solution; telling me that it's only a little look or a little fantasy and no big deal. Checking-in here makes me pause and let's my rational brain take back control. Helps reestablish a bit of balance.

Thanks for sharing your journals and progress and challenges. It's really motivating to read some of those logs. Wishing you success in your own fight today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on January 28, 2019, 09:36:03 AM
Stick with it WIPUK. You’re doing well!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 29, 2019, 09:47:11 AM
Stick with it WIPUK. You’re doing well!

Thank you Sir!

Still clean. Three weeks. Grateful for that. No major cravings. Some of the old trigger behaviours are becoming less problematic, too. Making a few changes, which seem to be helping. My counsellor always told me "you spend all your time doing. You need to spend more time just being". I've always felt guilty at rest. Never really watched TV or films or chilled-out. But my kids are getting to an age where we can share the same sources of humour and I've started watching a couple of "12 Cert" comedies with them.... real juvenile, inconsequential stuff, like "Grown Ups" and "Wayne's World". It's nice to find myself laughing my ass off at the same jokes they are. Very grounding. Still don't know where any of this is headed, or what my end game is beyond staying in recovery. I'm sure the bigger picture will become a bit clearer when I have a bit more sober time under my belt and my synapses have started re-wiring a little. Here's hoping. I'm up for the fight.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 30, 2019, 07:32:57 AM
Having "spammed" just about every other thread with my half-baked ramblings, time to write-up my own.
Still clean and going strong, but i was triggered a couple of times in the car today. Stuck in traffic for ages because of snow, with nothing to occupy myself. I'd had some vivid dreams last night, so my system may have been unconsciously running hot. It was just an outdoor advertising poster for a fashion brand "eyewormed" me. It's not always the BIG things that pull the trigger, is it? I haven't had to deal with specific triggers much over the last few weeks, so this was bad (increased risk of relapse) and good (an opportunity to work on my prevention tactics). I'm not religious, but I keep in mind a little phrase a fellow sufferer gave me years ago "the first look's on God". What I take from that is that I can't control that I see something and my brain notices it and a synapse fires. What I can control is whether I dwell on that image and start to make connections in my brain about how i process the image; I just can't afford to look again! That was the right first step. I also switched on some music in the car to refocus my mind on something else. The urge passed. I'm grateful for that and for the things I've been able to learn from you guys and other people in recovery over the years. Onward and upward, I hope!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: dlansky on January 30, 2019, 06:12:14 PM
I appreciated your "half-baked ramblings" in reply to my post. ;-) Triggers do abound, don't they? Dropping my teenage daughter off at high school and seeing what some of her classmates were wearing was a bit of a trigger for me this morning, but I too had to refocus.

Funny you ended your post with "onward and upward" -- I happened to end my post the same way today. Is that phrase used a lot in the UK? The reason it was on my mind was that I was listening to a podcast yesterday in which C.S. Lewis' last "Narnia" book, "The Last Battle," came up during the discussion. Lewis uses the phrase "onward and upward" in the book to describe his vision of heaven, in which we are not in a sort of static state of awe in God's presence but constantly moving in deeper and discovering him evermore deeply. I thought the phrase also described what I want my life to look like -- constant growth and improvement.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: switched_off_again on January 30, 2019, 06:41:27 PM
I'm not religious, but I keep in mind a little phrase a fellow sufferer gave me years ago "the first look's on God". What I take from that is that I can't control that I see something and my brain notices it and a synapse fires. What I can control is whether I dwell on that image and start to make connections in my brain about how i process the image; I just can't afford to look again!

I like this! Look elsewhere, think of something else, count down from 10, anything! Just don't dwell on it!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on January 31, 2019, 08:57:48 AM
Funny you ended your post with "onward and upward" -- I happened to end my post the same way today. Is that phrase used a lot in the UK? ..... I thought the phrase also described what I want my life to look like -- constant growth and improvement.

That phrase is indeed used a lot here in the UK, although being British, you probably won't be surprised to read that it's typically used with a degree of pessimism. I have to go out in the rain without a coat? "Oh well.... onwards and upwards". My country has blindly voted to trash relations with our nearest neighbours and biggest trading partners? "Onwards and upwards"! I spend 6 years trying to rewire my brain, and although I still get tripped up by a dumb advertising poster, I won't let it get me down"....... "Onwards and upwards"!  :) Your interpretation is far more inspiring!

Thanks for reading switched-off, dlansky. Really appreciate your feedback. Engagement helps me stay on track. As for the "count to 10" or similar, switched-off, i totally agree with you. Our chimp brains process stimuli 4x faster than our thinking brains, so we need to find any way we can to buy time for the thinking brain to manage the situation. I did a 10-step programme and although it didn't work for me, I think that without knowing it, the old AA guys had something with the "give it up to my higher power" thing, because it just bought them a bit of time to say "no".

Clean today. Coming down with a cold but otherwise, feeling pretty good. Wishing you every success in your battle.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 01, 2019, 10:03:42 AM
Friday afternoon. Glad to have made it through another working week and into the relative calm of the weekend. Twenty something days and things are calm, but I guess I'm in flatline. Hoping that when i eventually come out of that and start to feel some emotions, I'll be able to keep control of them. But I guess I should focus on today and let the future look after itself. "One day at a time", and all that. Being addicted made me very insular, antisocial and isolated. I'm really trying to be more sociable and make real connections. I used to do that naturally but I find it really hard nowadays. I'm such a miserable bastard. I have sports hospitality with a bunch of guys tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully I can keep my chimp boxed. I know it's beneficial, even if i feel like an outsider.

Wishing you every success in your fight over the weekend. Hopefully I'll check back in OK on Monday.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Totte on February 01, 2019, 10:28:07 AM
Friday afternoon. Glad to have made it through another working week and into the relative calm of the weekend. Twenty something days and things are calm, but I guess I'm in flatline. Hoping that when i eventually come out of that and start to feel some emotions, I'll be able to keep control of them. But I guess I should focus on today and let the future look after itself. "One day at a time", and all that. Being addicted made me very insular, antisocial and isolated. I'm really trying to be more sociable and make real connections. I used to do that naturally but I find it really hard nowadays. I'm such a miserable bastard. I have sports hospitality with a bunch of guys tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully I can keep my chimp boxed. I know it's beneficial, even if i feel like an outsider.

Wishing you every success in your fight over the weekend. Hopefully I'll check back in OK on Monday.

Hello awesome work!
An,d this is an awesome way of thinking ”One day at a time”

Keep up the good work!
Tom
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: dlansky on February 01, 2019, 08:31:27 PM
My country has blindly voted to trash relations with our nearest neighbours and biggest trading partners? "Onwards and upwards"! I spend 6 years trying to rewire my brain, and although I still get tripped up by a dumb advertising poster, I won't let it get me down"....... "Onwards and upwards"!

I kind of admired your country for "Brexit" myself, but I guess we'll see how it all works out.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on February 02, 2019, 04:59:27 PM
Hi WIPUK, A little while back you mentioned about your counsellor saying you should spend time just “being” sometimes instead of “doing.” I’ve been thinking about that, and I think it’s a really good point. I know I’ve gone on a few times in my journal about replacing the porn with other activities, often projects to improve myself, but just doing something relaxing, definitely not porn, is good too. So watching films with your kids and laughing with them is a perfect example of a “being” activity. My equivalent is watching “Brooklyn 99” with my daughter. It’s really silly, but somehow, as the squad is a thinly disguised family, I find it quite uplifting.

Keep clean! I know you can do it.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 04, 2019, 06:57:05 AM
Thanks for your feedback, guys. Good to get the reinforcement that we're in this together.
Monday. I came through a very sociable weekend clean. I spent time in the company of some people I've previously screwed-up with and I didn't feel anxious or antagonistic, which is a big relief. My recovery landscape has changed a little, in that I'm no longer flat-lining. That might be because it was a more alcoholic weekend than I'm used to and a hangover tends to trigger me. I think they do for a lot of us, right? Yesterday my emotions and sexuality were more pronounced than they have been through January. I need to be extra vigilant this week, and have my little tactics and plays to hand. Knowing what i need to do.... and Doing what i need to do.... haven't always joined-up, but I'm focused and aware, so i have the groundwork done and i just need this to stay more important to me than anything else. Looking forward to a successful week, and, if you read this, I hope that you have a really strong, positive week too.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 05, 2019, 04:53:34 AM
A lot of resentment in my system today. That's going to kill my progress today if i let it fester. I spent a bit of time thinking about it this morning. The people that i feel resentment towards have actually benefited my long-term health, even if that wasn't their motivation. I wasn't taking accountability for my failings and selfishness and in every case, they saw through that. I have no reason to resent or blame. I'm a seriously lucky bastard and I owe them gratitude and forgiveness. This has happened before, when I'm in recovery and I'm glad to have the opportunity today to confront it. Previous successes I've had in staying off P have coincided with me seriously screwing-up in other ways... booze... violence... drugs... emotional distance to loved ones. P has been a comfort blanket i wrap myself in to cope with my resentment and when i took away the comfort blanket, the resentment comes flooding back and I get an almighty hangover. No wonder I suffer P cravings. What's clear from thinking about this and writing these notes today is that I need to deal with these resentments and get rid of them. If I don't come back grateful and more appreciative tomorrow..... could somebody please kick my ass?
Thanks for reading and very best wishes to you in your fight today.

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com/2014/01/resentment-and-addiction-from-sa-white.html
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 06, 2019, 11:20:36 AM
Not typically a counter of days, but yesterday I reached 28 days with no P, M or O. I count that as a little landmark. Pride? Not at all. But it's an indicator of progress. I worked out a lot of that resentment yesterday. Still been a bit road-ragey today and lacking cognitive focus. Work productivity has been very ordinary, but at least I'm clean. Increasing my reading without trying to spook my wife. One of the things I find most upset by, as I continue to learn, is the abundant evidence that recovering addicts like me find it very hard to feel pleasure, or happiness. I saw it referred to as "Addictive Anhedonia". I guess it's a natural outcome of the sensitization/de-sensitization effect and it's no surprise to read studies connecting this to partner sex. The passage below particularly struck me.

"masturbatory conditioning may lead frequent consumers to prefer pornographic to partnered sex, ultimately leading to sexual disconnect between them and their partners and lowered sexual satisfaction. The more dissatisfied with partnered sex they become, the more they may perceive that pornographic fantasies and solitary masturbation are preferable to sex with their partner, and the more frequently they may consume pornography."

Vicious circle. The more porn I consume, the less my brain enjoys real sex. The less my brain enjoys real sex, the more it craves porn. Outstanding  >:(. Well, hopefully the same virtuous circle can be created too. That's what I'm banking on. I linked to the abstract below.

https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/relevant-research-and-articles-about-the-studies/porn-use-sex-addiction-studies/associative-pathways-between-pornography-consumption-and-reduced-sexual-satisfaction-2017/

Into London this evening. I need to keep my eyes down and avoid scanning. No objectification. Wish me luck, please, as I wish you the best of luck in your recovery today. Thanks!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on February 06, 2019, 05:26:18 PM
Hi WIPUK, Hope it all went well in London today.
Well, as I understand it, the negative effects of porn are reversible. I keep seeing mention of brain “plasticity” in articles. I guess we all need to keep working on growing the right neural connections! ;)
Keep strong!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 08, 2019, 09:28:31 AM
Hi BigMog. Thanks for positive reassurance. Believe me.... I am pinning my hopes on brain plasticity! Hopefully we both fire 'n wire the positive neural pathways.

Happy Friday. Very grateful to be clean and feeling pretty good, despite a trip to the big city. No P, M or O since start of January. I read a good article today on "the fix" website, which provided me a welcome reality check about recovery, and not expecting everything to feel great. I need to reinforce my learning and experience by this kind of reminder. I will have ups and downs, I will feel unwell from time to time, I will grieve for my lost crutch and at some point, my chimp will try to derail things. I have my BIG strategy and my little tactics. I've been here before and fallen down, but each time I try, my brain is less reliant on P. Dropping the url in here for future reference and reading.

https://www.thefix.com/living-sober/some-pitfalls-early-sobriety-avoiding-fuckit-bucket

Have a great weekend. Hoping we all log-in sober and sane on Monday.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 12, 2019, 06:16:49 AM
Coming up on 5 weeks without P, M, O or any other manifestation of my S addiction. I'm a very long way from healed but I feel strong in relation to addiction recovery. As long as I keep recovery front of mind, I'm confident that I will resist the cravings. Typing that reminds me of a good phrase I heard from a fellow recoverer in an old 12-step meeting;

"If you're not working on your recovery, you're working on your relapse".

I mustn't get complacent and let myself drift back to bad habits. React to any cognitive distortions. Stay present with this stuff and keeping up my study, especially because I'm going on ski holiday this week and they're always a big trigger for me.

I need to find the way to reconnect emotionally with my wife too. We're currently like two old friends, respectfully co-habiting a house. There's no emotion in either direction. Again, I've been here before and I believe that I need to prioritise getting free of the addiction before I work on trying to put a spark back in our relationship. For the millionth time I find myself wishing that I'd never let P into my life. No point crying over spilled milk though. I'm not a victim. Onwards and upwards. I can think about that another day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 13, 2019, 10:06:36 AM
Reading about resentment again today. A former boss got in touch yesterday to see if I could be interested in coming to work for him. Thing is, the last time that former colleague spoke to me was when he fired from a job I really enjoyed, for reasons that I thought were unjustified. It's an event I've struggled to rationalise and it set off my inner chimp something special  >:( >:(! Then I realised that this happened nine years ago. NINE!! WTF? And I've still not gotten over it? That kind of resentment is just swilling around inside me, rotting me from the inside out. I dug out the famous quote below;

“Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

It's been attributed to everybody from Buddha to Nelson Mandela to Carrie Fisher of all people, but it appears, like so many good quotes about "not fucking yourself up", to have its roots in AA back in the 1930's. I'm trying to work through this resentment and find a bit of peace. With the benefit of hindsight, the job was in a toxic environment for me and it was a really fertile environment for my S addiction to get really deep and nasty. I'm not yet ready to call this guy up and thank him for firing me, but I'm getting a bit of perspective. I'd really like to find a way to reduce the power of my "fight, flight, freeze" reactions. Need to find a way to let life flow around me. Find myself a bit of equanimity. I'm glad I wrote this today. Gives me something to work from. Wishing you strength in your fight today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Corey_Balboa on February 13, 2019, 03:53:26 PM
Hey workinprogressUK funny enough, your last post reminds me an identical situation. I went back to work in a company I hated but, because of the cash, I wanted to give it a try one more time. Guess what, people don't really change and about ten days after I already felt that things won't go very far.

Toxic people is really a problem. Their ghosts stay in your head and their shadow make you go into directions you wouldn't have chose at first place. I made a psychotherapy years ago and, at one point, it's hard to explain but I decided by myself to expel these toxic people out of my world. I won't be able to explain everything but the fact is, I chose to block them, erase every remaining trace of them ( especially social media) and deliberately forget them. It's just awesome how you can actually persuade yourself of things. It made my life much better.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 22, 2019, 04:47:34 AM
Thanks CB for getting in touch. I hope you're well. I totally agree with your perspective on "toxic people" and their attempts to poison others around them. I find that part of the trick is working out who those individuals are, right? Because those people can be pretty good at hiding their true intent. My fave "head-shrink" book has a big chapter on recognising that there are probably very few people that each of us can truly trust to have our back when the shit hits the fan, and I've tried similarly to you to remove the toxic people, truly cherish the ones who are on my team, and not take the views of the inbetweeners too seriously. I hope that has worked for you.

Back from holiday today. I was right to be nervous because, as always, I'm suffering cravings today on returning. I took a deliberate decision to end my holiday on thursday night, so i'd have friday to organise myself and de-stress, before the hectic family weekend and flying out on work travel on Monday. That feels like having been a really worthwhile investment in compromise. The cravings were mainly brought on by being really tired on the way home, after a really intense week in the mountains. A bit of cognitive distortion, with part of my brain telling me that "X isn't fantasising" or "Y isn't porn", which was clearly bullshit. It got me thinking about the HALT acronym, related to Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tiredness. I had a quick read to refresh and refocus this morning. The URL is below. I was glad to be able to recognise the risk and manage it.

https://www.thetreatmentcenter.com/blog/halt-acronym/

Relieved to say that I've had no P, M or O since the start of January. Hopefully I'll get through today and into the weekend OK. I hope that anybody who's interested enough to read this will have a strong day today too.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 25, 2019, 11:54:37 AM
Travelling in Eastern Europe; an itinerary full of triggers, based on past acting-out. I've resisted, helped by reading The Chimp Paradox and updating my recovery plan with some bits that were missing. I need to remember that it's not enough for my PFC to be 100% committed to recovery, because my limbic system needs to be 100% committed too and that's a battle I've not yet won. I still get the anxieties, associated cravings and distortions of logic that tempt me back to P. This remains a grim slog. I have another day clean, which is something to be grateful for. But I don't feel like I'm winning the long-term battle for sanity, happiness, connection or sobriety. I guess that's just the way it is. I need to live in the here and now, stay present, not get ahead of myself, be grateful for what I have and hope to come out the other side some time.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Corey_Balboa on February 26, 2019, 03:51:29 AM
Hey mister, I see that we are going the same doubts and tormented thoughts. Hold on, you are doing great so far. Your HALT concept is pretty accurate, and helps to put things in perspective. Well do it !

Cheers
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 27, 2019, 07:43:43 AM
Hey CB. Thanks again for the input. It's so encouraging to get positive feedback.
I had a lot of travel time Monday-Tuesday, which allowed me to get a lot of study done. Did some addiction-specific stuff but also some focus on happiness, which i think was worthwhile. Many years wallowing in my addiction have made it hard for me to feel happy. Did a couple of exercises prompted by some reading and identified a list of 10 things that can immediately improve my happiness and 10 things that improve it, but with a delay involved. The "immediate" list is proving really helpful. I'm not going to be a dick and type it all out here, but this morning I really enjoyed an espresso in my garden with some music playing; all three simple little things on my list.
8 weeks sober today. No P, M or O for 56 days. Grateful to be feeling OK and to the people on this forum for helping to strengthen me.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on February 28, 2019, 09:13:19 AM
Thursday. Emotionally flat today. On the other hand, work stress is low. Feeling a lot of compassion and affection towards my wife. Organised a babysitter so we can go on a date night together. Being proactive about fixing a weekend away with the guys. Reflecting on that, I'm a lucky boy; OK job, nice wife, some friends. Clean so far today and confident of staying that way until tomorrow.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: switched_off_again on February 28, 2019, 07:05:53 PM
Travelling in Eastern Europe; an itinerary full of triggers, based on past acting-out.

Hi WIPUK - god, how this resonates with me! Years of addiction to certain sites has completely skewed my perception of and reaction to certain countries. Madness....

Sounds like your mind is in quite a good place at the moment. Long may it continue!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 01, 2019, 10:12:14 AM
Thanks, guys, for your feedback. Much appreciated.
Just checking-in. All OK. No gremlins.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Rex on March 01, 2019, 10:22:55 AM
Thanks, guys, for your feedback. Much appreciated.
Just checking-in. All OK. No gremlins.

workinprogress,

Great work, you are doing great!  Congrats on hitting the 2 month mark free from PMO. It will continue to get easier in the third month but keep vigilant and don't let your guard down.  Keep up the hard work, the victory is yours!


Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on March 02, 2019, 10:47:18 AM
You’re doing well WIPUK!
Keep strong!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 04, 2019, 06:05:35 AM
Monday. Enjoyed a very rewarding weekend. Improved connection with my SO. Date night was a good idea.
The thing I'm most grateful for today may sound a bit weird but I've thought it through repeatedly over the weekend. It's coming up to 6 years since my S addiction had its "rock-bottom" moment. At that time i moved out of the family home and into a residential rehab. On the back of that, I enjoyed 3 years clean of P before a relapse. I fucked-up plenty of other things during that 3-year period, but P and S acting out weren't in the picture. During the last three years, I've enjoyed stretches where i've been clean for over a year but I never held on for the long term. I've suffered slips and had three or four relapses, but on each occasion, the relapse behaviours were less extreme and it was easier for me to take back control of my mind. Every one of those spells in recovery has helped my brain to re-balance and made my neural pathways less reliant on P or other acting out. This reboot has, so far, been significantly easier than any of the others. I'm taking nothing for granted. I still experience triggers and feel pressure, but they're nothing like as powerful as they were 5 years ago, when the cravings made me physically ill and mentally unable to function. So today I'm really grateful for those past attempts. Each attempt has repaired me to a lesser or greater extent. They were all partial successes, rather than failures. I'm cleaner and stronger now than I was last time. I risk falling off my wagon at some point, but every attempt builds my foundation for permanent success. If you're reading this, every effort you make, even if you slip or relapse, helps build your foundation of strength too. I'll stay clean today. I hope you will too and i wish you every success 
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 05, 2019, 10:47:24 AM
Clean today and grateful for that. Not untroubled, though. Through the flatline phase and I'm enjoying healthy, emotions and connections, but the same progress is making me crave unhealthy ones too. Got myself into a couple of grey area situations and I need to avoid doing that again. Looking at them from a glass half full perspective, I have to be pleased that I got out without a slip. But i was tempted. I was thinking about them today and doing some reading. The key takeaway from that reading was a refresh on Seemingly Unimportant Decisions, or SUD's. My chimp has always found them to be the easiest way to get around my defences. I'm prone to cognitive distortion of the truth in these instances, and I can easily kid myself that I'm clicking on a training article about glute exercises because I want to train my glutes at the gym tonight..... rather than because glute training articles typically target female readers, and often feature female motivational photographs and video. I bullshit myself so convincingly in these instances and it has happened twice this week - once online and once offline. I'm thinking back and I recall a couple of past slips last year, which started with being on a tired day and letting my chimp brain convince me that this kind of SUD wasn't important or deliberate and in so doing, putting myself in danger and testing myself unnecessarily. The upshot? I'll avoid "peak hour" at the gym, when the circuit training classes take place in the room i lift in. I'll also blacklist those training sites with the "motivational" imagery. It's good to know the enemy but if I can avoid bullshitting myself into taking risky SUD's, I can make my life a lot easier and less stressful.

Wishing you every strength in your fight today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 07, 2019, 10:15:28 AM
58 days without PMO. Feeling some distance between my current self and my old addict self, which i can only think is good. Earlier today, I had some past acting-out behaviours pop into my memory and I was a little surprised not to feel any disgust or shame, or "I'm no longer that person" mindset. I'm still that person. I just don't do those things any more. Hopefully I won't do those things ever again. Hopefully it's not just a short-term behavioural change that I've white-knuckled myself through. I really want to rediscover a set of values and attitudes I can live my life by. Shit.... I'm weary. Recovery uses up a lot of bandwidth, doesn't it? It feels so good to be clean today, though  :).
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 11, 2019, 03:59:46 AM
Another Monday check-in. A little bit tatty around the edges today after a sociable weekend. Alcohol at a level i don't feel comfortable with, given how much booze and hangovers trigger me. Some triggers are unavoidable. Some shit is going to happen in my day. So there's no need to make things any more difficult for myself by over-indulging in stuff that triggers me. That said, I'm still clean of PMO and very motivated to stay that way. I just remembered something from the weekend that I really wanted to get down in here today. How good it feels to not live with a liar's fear. I remembered the stress i felt when I acted out; the fear of discovery, the anxiety of constantly lying, the worry about my wife or kids picking up my phone or looking at my laptop or seeing a bank statement. Life is so much better like this... knowing that I don't have to worry about any of those things any more, because acting out isn't something that i do any more. Wish I could say that I was confident that it'll always be that way but I'm nowhere near that yet. Still feels good to be clean today, though. Something to be very appreciative of.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 13, 2019, 09:44:54 AM
Wednesday. No PMO and very grateful for that. Back from a business trip and overnight social with my team in central London. Annoyed to have had more booze and less sleep than I should have. I feel a bit rough today, which I wrote only two days ago was something that I'd avoid feeling. But here I am already, with a hangover and a bunch of triggers to avoid, resist or fight. Dickhead. Need to be more respectful of the sacrifices i need to make if i'm going to beat this and stay clean. Can't have my cake and eat it.

On the brightside, despite lacking discipline, no slips and I feel strong. Made some good decisions; stayed in the same hotel as colleagues, didn't turn on the TV, didn't fire-up my laptop in my room. Plenty more travel coming, so i need to keep up with those. I think I will make it through today. Wish me luck!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 14, 2019, 09:51:44 AM
Just checking-in. On solid ground today. Feeling good. Busy with work. Training later. Started tracking my diet macros again, which is a discipline I enjoy. Something to feel control over. Still no PMO and no urge for P. Need to stay focused and not allow my cognitive distortion any head space. Over 9 weeks clean and very grateful for that. Life is so much more rewarding without P.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on March 14, 2019, 09:59:20 AM

Totally agree. Well done. Thanks for encouragement to stay focused.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: switched_off_again on March 14, 2019, 07:26:34 PM
Great stuff! 'How good it is to live without a liar's fear.' I totally, totally empathise.

Sad to admit, when I was caught in the grip of P, there was a few times I cycled home from work at lunchtime to check I hadn't left a browser open. Same happened on several morning's after...

I'd feel guilty when I heard stories of people being raided and caught with bad stuff on their laptop, even though my tastes were always pretty tame (relatively speaking).

I'd imagine a time when my ISP didn't have a log of all the porn sites I'd visited.

I'd worry that any scam phone call was actually someone who was going to blackmail me...

All out of proportion stuff brought on by guilt and the associated anxiety...

It really is nice not to have any of that...
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 15, 2019, 08:42:20 AM
'How good it is to live without a liar's fear.'
Sad to admit, when I was caught in the grip of P, there was a few times I cycled home from work at lunchtime to check I hadn't left a browser open. Same happened on several morning's after... I'd feel guilty when I heard stories of people being raided and caught with bad stuff on their laptop, even though my tastes were always pretty tame (relatively speaking). I'd imagine a time when my ISP didn't have a log of all the porn sites I'd visited. I'd worry that any scam phone call was actually someone who was going to blackmail me... All out of proportion stuff brought on by guilt and the associated anxiety...

It really is nice not to have any of that...

Absolutely, my friend. I read your post and I couldn't help but feel that old anxiety and guilt  :(. Made me feel genuinely nauseous. The risks we took. The stupid decisions we made. The complete warping of priorities!

Feeling good today. Rewarding week at work. Looking forward to breaking early and heading to the gym soon. Busy weekend ahead. Only the mildest P urges. Cautiously confident of staying clean for the weekend.

Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on March 15, 2019, 11:26:19 AM
The proposed legislation in the UK to reduce P availability to children is good move in principle.
The old guilt and fear associated with P addiction give me mixed signals. Overall, it will, for me, be a deterrent to accessing any P.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on March 17, 2019, 08:55:33 AM
I too can relate to the anxieties mentioned earlier, though I won’t catalog them here. I will be glad to leave them in the far, distant past.

As for proposed legislation, I have to admit I wasn’t aware of it, though I think some regulation would be a good thing. I will look it up. I think lots of education for kids, (even those in their 50s) is vital too!

I guess my view for how society could handle pornography mirrors my personal experience in that just having porn blockers doesn’t work because I can disable them if I start sliding down the PMO hole. On the other hand just reprogramming myself to do all the good long term changes to eliminate porn doesn’t work so well on its own because, if the porn blockers etc aren’t there, a moment’s weakness can lead to a binge.

Similarly, for youngsters, if they understand why porn is bad and they can’t easily access it, then maybe the problem can be reduced.

Anyway, apologies to all for breaking my vow of not rambling on in someone else’s journal.

Our main priority is to fix ourselves (and encourage each other).

Keep strong, remember, we don’t do porn!

Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 18, 2019, 08:52:21 AM
Anyway, apologies to all for breaking my vow of not rambling on in someone else’s journal.

I'm more guilty than anybody of "rambling on in someone else's journal"!  :o Was that a hint, BigMog?  :D
I take your point too.... I need to set barriers that make P more challenging to access, at the same time as providing education to make it less desirable.

Lot's of stuff in the UK media this weekend had me thinking. A famous ex-footballer and current TV pundit had admitted relapsing in his fight against gambling addiction. He's also a recovering alcoholic. The various experts were pushing very strongly the view that when we try to come off a drug, and create a resulting gap, our brain will look to fill that gap and that because we often feel "dysphoria" (anxiety, unease, unhappiness) at the time we come off Addictive Substance A, we often fill the gap with Addictive Substance B to numb-out from that dysphoria. When I first tried to crack my S and P addictions, 6 years back, I went through a spell of drinking heavily and getting drunk at social events and I got myself into a couple of fights, resulting in a formal police caution. Not good. My therapist at the time helped me to understand that i was displacing my inability to deal with underlying emotional issues, from one substance/behaviour (P/S) to another (alcohol/drunkenness). She helped me get on track with the deeper stuff and I massively reduced my alcohol intake. Haven't been drunk in years. Brings me back to the two things I need to keep hammering into my brain, over and over again;

1. Unless I continue to work on my underlying issues of low self-esteem, perceived unworthiness, attractiveness and insecurity, the "chimp" part of my brain will start looking for a quick-fix, through some other numbing behaviour/substance
2. Unless I commit myself to new, positive and healthy behaviours that fill my time and give me something worthwhile to be excited about, I'll be creating fertile ground for unhealthy stuff to fill the vacuum... in summary... a relapse

https://www.addictioncenter.com/community/addiction-replacement/


Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 19, 2019, 09:27:25 AM
70 days no P or M. Something to feel grateful for and also to feel humble about. Seems such a small thing to achieve for a short amount of time but it has been and it continues to be a challenge. My system generally has less heat in it now. I'm physically cooler. My brain is clearer. I remember dreams, which I can't recall having been able to do before. Things are far from perfect in other areas of my life but they're stable and I work best when i focus on one task or challenge at a time. I won't tempt fate by increasing the energy i invest in those areas yet. Need to stay focused, stay in the present and enjoy the positives.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Rex on March 19, 2019, 09:39:27 AM
70 days no P or M. Something to feel grateful for and also to feel humble about. Seems such a small thing to achieve for a short amount of time but it has been and it continues to be a challenge. My system generally has less heat in it now. I'm physically cooler. My brain is clearer. I remember dreams, which I can't recall having been able to do before. Things are far from perfect in other areas of my life but they're stable and I work best when i focus on one task or challenge at a time. I won't tempt fate by increasing the energy i invest in those areas yet. Need to stay focused, stay in the present and enjoy the positives.

workinprogressUK,

Congrats on reaching 70 days, that's a big milestone!  It will continue to get better...  Remain vigilant and continue to be upbeat and you'll notice that it continues to get better as you progress in your reboot..

You're doing great keep up the great work!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on March 19, 2019, 11:31:11 AM
Yes, big congrats. Amazing achievement. Still with you in our day by day progress through recovery.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 20, 2019, 10:57:07 AM
Thanks you Rex... Cranm329. Really appreciate the continued support. P addiction isolated me and it's good to feel part of a community.

No P or M. No cravings for P for a while. Feels good. I'm very fortunate. Lunch out with the wife in the sun today. Off climbing with my son this evening. Life's good without P. Wishing you all success in your own fight.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 21, 2019, 09:21:31 AM
Reading an overview of Marlatt’s Cognitive-Behavioral Model fro Relapse Prevention in The Journal of Alcohol Research & Health. Looks very similar to the one I followed in rehab a few years ago. One paragraph jumped out at me, so I copied it here for further thought;

"The covert antecedent most strongly related to relapse risk involves the degree of balance in the person’s life between perceived external demands (i.e., “shoulds”) and internally fulfilling or enjoyable activities (i.e., “wants”). A person whose life is full of demands may experience a constant sense of stress, which not only can generate negative emotional states, thereby creating high-risk situations, but also enhances the person’s desire for pleasure and his or her rationalization that indulgence is justified (“I owe myself a drink”). In the absence of other nondrinking pleasurable activities, the person may view drinking as the only means of obtaining pleasure or escaping pain".

I was brought up with a very strong focus on delivering "shoulds" and the suppression of "wants". Not all negative; good to respect obligations. But i remain uncomfortable with pleasure. I feel guilty doing things that I enjoy, if it's not also "doing my duty". I've been guilty of resenting the Shoulds on many occasions and using that as a rationale for acting out. I'm trying very hard to find more balance between Shoulds and Wants, to accept pleasure in a sober life. But obligations always weigh much heavier. Timing of this read is interesting. Going away with a friend this weekend and leaving the family behind  :-\. Wife's idea to stop my week being a cycle of work, childcare, gym and chores. It's a good idea, I know, but I feel soooooooo fucking guilty about it  :(. Reading this study will hopefully reinforce the importance of finding pleasure in real friendships, experiences and hobbies. If the scientists say it's in the best interests of my recovery to go have some fun for a weekend, perhaps I can loosen-up a little.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 26, 2019, 09:33:26 AM
First thing's first... I reckon it's 88 days since I looked at P, allowed a sexual fantasy of any kind, or resorted to M. In that time I've had a single O with my wife. I don't know if that's a "hard mode" approach or not, but I'm absolutely committed to staying clean, which means never using any form of P again. My life is a pleasure and I love being a more present, honest, reliable, empathetic, person as a result. I'm super grateful to be clean today and I really appreciate the role that this forum plays in that.

Secondly.... I got some feedback from another forum user that a reply I made on somebody's thread was inappropriate and encouraged people that P could be used safely. That wasn't my intention. I read my post again and whilst I'm 100% clear that I was telling the guy that porn can't be used safely by guys (like me and him) with porn addiction / compulsion, it could at face value have been an invitation to try a book that championed P consumption in moderation. I've apologised to the other user, I'll apologise to the OP and I apologise to anybody else who thought that post was ill advised. Sometimes I try to be cleverer than I am and that can result in the words not being clear and the message getting confused. One to take on the chin and learn from.

Wishing you all the best in your fight against P today. P is not an option.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on March 26, 2019, 11:35:16 AM
Well done going 3 months. The O thing is a personal preference, I believe. As long as (like YBOP suggests) it does not give a 'chaser' effect and difficulty with urges, it's up to individuals and their partners to decide about O. Thanks for your integrity about the P issue. I didn't read it but have chosen to steer clear of any external sexual stimuli for ever. All the best for your nominal 90 days or whatever duration you decide upon.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 27, 2019, 06:54:57 AM
Oooops!
Got my dates wrong. Not enough fingers and toes. 78 days.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on March 27, 2019, 05:54:36 PM
Hi WiPUK, 78 Days is still excellent. Keep at it!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on March 28, 2019, 07:06:58 AM
Thanks BigMog!

Feeling triggered, so I'll be brief, shut down and hit the gym. Two very late nights coming back from holiday on Monday night and a business trip yesterday. Sleep patterns disrupted and I've let myself get tired. Combined with a bit of post-holiday blues, which is making me feel very bored and lacking focus. Can hardly claim to feel hungry, I'm not angry, but maybe I'm a bit lonely. Going to get out of myself and hit the gym. Time to RUN. Removing myself from my computer now. This is just a short, minor, craving and I have the power to change the situation. Bye for now! Have a great day, everybody.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Prodigal son on March 31, 2019, 04:35:22 PM
Rock On!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 02, 2019, 09:13:59 AM
Coped with my triggers last week and remained clean. RUN works well for me when I implement it. Should execute it earlier and not try to white knuckle my way through a P craving.

No P or M since early January. I think that my brain continues to rewire, through a hard reboot and avoiding anything that revs my system too high. About to take on a fairly significant financial commitment at a time when economic prospects aren't favourable. I need to see the pleasure that investment brings my family and keep doing the things that will keep me on the wave at work. If I let it stress me, I hear my chimp saying "fuck this and do some P". It's a quiet voice currently and easily filtered out.

Injuries mostly healed now. Only my shoulder still sub-optimal and I can cope with that. Sport and training are my most helpful and positive outlets, but I need to moderate and not over-train. Injuries put the brakes on my recovery in more ways than one.

If you read this... sincere thanks. Wishing you every success in your recovery today. I commit to stay clean today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Rex on April 02, 2019, 11:46:00 AM
Coped with my triggers last week and remained clean. RUN works well for me when I implement it. Should execute it earlier and not try to white knuckle my way through a P craving.

No P or M since early January. I think that my brain continues to rewire, through a hard reboot and avoiding anything that revs my system too high. About to take on a fairly significant financial commitment at a time when economic prospects aren't favourable. I need to see the pleasure that investment brings my family and keep doing the things that will keep me on the wave at work. If I let it stress me, I hear my chimp saying "fuck this and do some P". It's a quiet voice currently and easily filtered out.

Injuries mostly healed now. Only my shoulder still sub-optimal and I can cope with that. Sport and training are my most helpful and positive outlets, but I need to moderate and not over-train. Injuries put the brakes on my recovery in more ways than one.

If you read this... sincere thanks. Wishing you every success in your recovery today. I commit to stay clean today.

workinprogressUK,

You're doing great, you're almost at 90 days!  That's a great accomplishment!  During the reboot process you're going to have  good days and bad days all mixed in with the daily curve balls that life throws at us.  When the stress and bad days really get to you and the temptations seem intense.  Remember, it's only temporary and it will pass.  Keep focused on how far you have come in your reboot and the great victory that you have obtained staying clean.  During the rough patches it's so easy to forget that you are free from PMO, just keep moving forward.

Keep up the great work, you are doing great!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 04, 2019, 06:49:06 AM
Thank Rex. It really does feel like I'm making progress. And when I stop feeling the gains, it's great to get encouragement from somebody like you.

My resolve is currently strong. Much stronger than any cravings or desire for P. I'm confident that I'll stay clean for as long as I prioritise honesty over P. My processes are helping me to behave rationally and logically. 80-something days clean. I don't have the emotional flatline feeling but my libido is lower than I can ever remember. Has been since I last relapsed at New Year. Hopefully that will pass and it's a symptom of rebooting rather than a emotional/relational issues. Whatever happens, P's not part of my present and it can't be part of my future.

Wishing you every success in your own personal fight.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on April 05, 2019, 03:07:28 PM
Nice going WiPUK! Glad to see you doing so well. Yep, we’re all kicking P out of our lives.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: switched_off_again on April 05, 2019, 06:58:06 PM
Great work WIPUK. Your awareness of your triggers and your ability to cope with them is inspiring. Your response to my most recent post is 100% correct. I need to look back at the patterns I have written about and learn from them!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 08, 2019, 04:26:27 AM
Thanks for the feedback SOA / BigMog. Your support helps me to stay with the programme when I feel challenged.

Still clean today. No P or M since January 8. Rewarding weekend on many levels. Invested my time, money and energy in family and friends, which feels like a privilege. Having been dishonest and self-centred for so many years, it's humbling to give something back and feel like I'm putting the happiness of those around me first. I behaved badly for years, so I can't take this happy family life for granted. I'm very fortunate. I need to keep respecting that.

On the down-side, libido is still very low. Just a single O with wife since Jan 8 and I have no desire in that direction. Everything else in the relationship works fine, but neither of us seems interested in physical intimacy. Maybe it'll come back with time. Maybe it's something we'll need to proactively work on. I don't feel ready to prioritise that at the moment. Writing these updates is powerful. I can come in feeling shit and go out feeling good. I can come in feeling calm and log out troubled. Lots to think about on the back of this one  :-\ That said, I feel strong. I'm focused. I'll stay clean today. SO glad I have no P in my life!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: jixu on April 08, 2019, 05:05:36 AM
Thanks for your encouragement and it looks like you have hit or have almost hit 90-keep up the good work friend !
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 11, 2019, 06:52:04 AM
Thanks for your encouragement and it looks like you have hit or have almost hit 90-keep up the good work friend !

I have indeed, Jixu. Thanks for that  :). More than 90 days without P or M. Checking-in clean, sober and apparently sane. For anybody reading this who is still in the incredibly difficult early days, please hold on and keep fighting. IT WILL GET EASIER FOR YOU! The feelings of loss, emptiness, desire and numbness of the early days are horrible and I remember them, but I don't experience them any more.

Came back in the early hours from a business trip to North Africa. That itinerary traditionally has a whole bunch of triggers associated with it for me. Making the trip as easy as I could helped avoid triggers. Just because we're in recovery from something we're not happy about doesn't mean we need to wear sack-cloth and ashes. For me, that only makes recovery more difficult! Booking those extra comforts, like airport security fast-track, a lounge pass, a nice hotel rather than the cheapest one.... they can all help make an already stressful and difficult experience a lot less likely to flip me out.

Wishing you every success in your personal fight today. Porn isn't worth it. I'm going to keep fighting. Thanks.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 15, 2019, 07:53:18 AM
Still clean and in my recovery. Only by the skin of my teeth and I'm bloody grateful for it. Very strong cravings for MO yesterday. Only mild craving for P but I've really struggled. Jeez.... wish I was stronger. Wish I had a better handle on this, too. Confusion; why the strong cravings now? I had a good friend staying for the weekend, going through divorce, wanted to chew the cud into the early hours. Got tired. Maybe more importantly, I've been flatlining since January and only recently starting to feel emotion. One O since Jan 8th and none since mid Feb. Perhaps it's natural to want some relief after the denial? Glad to be feeling back in control today. No harm done. Still in my recovery. Learning all the time. Hoping for a stable day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on April 16, 2019, 06:01:01 PM
Keep strong WIPUK! Well done for staying clean on your Africa trip and not giving in yesterday. Good victories. Looks like you’re freeing yourself from the grip of PMO.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 18, 2019, 06:40:31 AM
Thanks Mog. I'm finding it easier to stay in control than i used to. Cravings are pretty mild and infrequent but I think it's important for me to stay "present" now, rather than complacent.

I think it's 100 days without P or M today. That makes me especially glad when I think of how completely owned by P I used to be. I've had streaks this long before though, and fallen off my wagon eventually. I'm studying more than I did in past rehabs - just to keep it in focus.

I don't know about anybody else, but during my reboot, I really tried not to touch down below any more than strictly necessary. Inspected my nuts the other day in the shower and one of them feels big and weird. Problem is, it's so long since I checked them out that I can't remember if they used to feel that way or not  :o Facing up to the need to get down to the doc's and present him with my neglected nutsack after 100 days of hard-mode reboot. What could possibly go wrong  :P   
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on April 18, 2019, 02:56:54 PM
Well done WiPUK. Amazing achievement. All the best with the swollen ball. Hope that the doc is able to give you the all clear.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: switched_off_again on April 19, 2019, 11:40:36 AM
Thanks Mog. I'm finding it easier to stay in control than i used to. Cravings are pretty mild and infrequent but I think it's important for me to stay "present" now, rather than complacent.

I think it's 100 days without P or M today. That makes me especially glad when I think of how completely owned by P I used to be. I've had streaks this long before though, and fallen off my wagon eventually. I'm studying more than I did in past rehabs - just to keep it in focus.

I don't know about anybody else, but during my reboot, I really tried not to touch down below any more than strictly necessary. Inspected my nuts the other day in the shower and one of them feels big and weird. Problem is, it's so long since I checked them out that I can't remember if they used to feel that way or not  :o Facing up to the need to get down to the doc's and present him with my neglected nutsack after 100 days of hard-mode reboot. What could possibly go wrong  :P

I hope the doc is a him ;) Hope it checks out ok and congrats on reaching another milestone (100 days not the swollen ball!)... Also think that your awareness of the continued risk of relapse will stand you in good stead.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 22, 2019, 08:34:02 AM
Thanks, guys, for your positive vibes. Doc thinks it is an epididymal cyst, which is nothing to worry about. I have no reason to second-guess the good doctor and he's sending me for a scan, just in case. In other news, still P & M free. Wife and I made love a couple of days back, which was a relief in more ways than one, as our relationship has lacked intimacy recently. I think I can say that I'm now in the maintenance phase of the change/recovery cycle. Need to stay focused on healthy behaviours and routines to minimise likelihood of relapse. I feel strong now; in control. Long may that continue!

Wishing you strength in your own recovery today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on April 22, 2019, 02:15:49 PM
Glad the lump sounds innocent.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Prodigal son on April 24, 2019, 10:48:57 AM
Glad to hear you got some good news.  Keep it going!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 25, 2019, 07:17:52 AM
I read a few articles this morning on here, ybop and on The Fix website. One quote from a relapse prevention article on The Fix struck me;

An essential recovery tool for sidestepping relapse is avoiding isolation. When we are alone and in our heads, we are in dangerous neighborhoods.

I work from home, alone, in a one-man function. I live in the countryside with no local amenities or contacts. I don't go out to the pub or have any real friends within 200 miles of home. My main hobby is training at the gym, which I largely do alone. None of these are complaints. I'm one seriously lucky bastard to be able to live in the beautiful countryside and not have to commute to an office, and I'm probably the most sociable guy at my gym. But I need to recognise that I've chosen a lifestyle that's a relatively "dangerous neighborhood" for my recovery. I have to try hard to make my default answer "yes" to any social opportunity, when my natural inclination is to introversion. That's something I'm going to focus on, miserable old bollocks that I have become  :).

Full of work anxiety this week. My personal administration is poor as a result. The weather has turned bad after a glorious weekend. I'm unhappy. So what? Lots of people are unhappy lots of the time. I don't have the "get out of jail" card for unhappiness. Just need to deal with it and Shut The Fk Up. Shit stinks.

107 days without P or M today, though. Typing that caused me to exhale fully and feel a lot of positivity. Life has gone from being a chaotic and at times catastrophic roller-coaster, to one in which I can accept having a sad-on. Progress!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on April 25, 2019, 03:24:22 PM
Thanks for encouragement WiPUK. I relate to the isolation thing. Dangerous. Socialising at the gym/sports centre is a lifeline and gets us off recreational device use.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on April 30, 2019, 10:24:26 AM
Checking-in. All OK. The odd "flash" urge to use, but I can currently swat them away. Hope that continues to be the case during a tough spell at work. I've signed-up to do a new sports coaching course as an opportunity for personal growth and to be able to make a contribution; to give something back. Need to keep finding ways to fill the void that used to be P. Life is very much better than it used to be.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 03, 2019, 07:13:51 AM
Friday afternoon. I'm troubled; prevaricating over tasks that I'm on a deadline for. Confrontational and resentful. My inner chimp has plenty of useless advice to offer, one of which, as always, is to act out. For fuck's sake! Why is my brain so slow to re-wire? I've been at this for 6 years now and the cravings still make me feel so uncomfortable. Really glad to be here today, because reading the journals from other recoverers is a powerful source of inspiration. Partly because I'm at heart a team player. Partly because I'm an arrogant bastard and it would dent my stupid ego to fall over again in front of you all.

Started reading a very detailed and very interesting paper that Gary Wilson's a co-author of. It's accessible through ybop and the academic study is linked below. I will finish reading over the weekend but the bit that has me worried is the statement that "abstinence from internet pornography is sometimes sufficient to reignite desire in coupled sexual relations". Sometimes. In the meantime, relations at home are tense and frosty, perhaps because we're approaching our wedding anniversary, which is a date my wife always associates with my sex addiction and lack of trustworthiness. She suggested on Wednesday night that I might be using P again, because I forgot something important. I have no right to indignation, having lied repeatedly to her over the years. But it really hurt, and my chimp brain started screeching that it shows why I shouldn't bother trying to fix my marriage and I shouldn't bother fighting the cravings. I have very little desire for her currently. That hasn't sparked back up after I stopped using. She feels unloved. I know that if I used a bit of P, I'd feel immediately horny, maybe we'd have sex and she'd feel wanted again. Without P, I don't feel motivated. I have no answers, other than to continue plodding along, feeling miserable and hoping that staying off P will result in the outcomes that I'm hoping for. None of the other options are viable. This is the least worst. Got to keep fighting the urge for instant gratification and be confident that reward will come in time. No turning back. P is not an option.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039517/
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: jixu on May 03, 2019, 08:14:28 AM
I am sure that I speak on behalf of many here by stating that you are a real asset to this forum.  The combination of raw honesty and seasoned wisdom and encouragement is both refreshing and useful.

Recently I have been attempting a new wife strategy: change the pace, change the place. Maybe give it a shot. This is not rocket science, but I
feel that I haven't done it enough in the past.  I find that when we say "our communication is bad" or "we aren't communicating on the same wavelength" or that type of phrase, it really means we are not connecting; there is tons of communicating going on, but no real depth of connection. So, I think the key is to amp up the shared activities, and try to do them outside the house.  Sure, watching a movie together at home is okay as far as it goes, but when we leave the house I find we engage in more meaningful discussions, and even random topics can pop up. Even a small thing like getting a treat on a Tuesday night on the spur of the moment can prove beneficial and break the routine drudgery cycle. Tomorrow I am going to suggest a certain activity out of the blue-she'll probably think I'm on street drugs or something!

Hang in there!

   
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 06, 2019, 06:14:00 AM
Thank you, jixu. Really appreciate your positive vibes. i really needed them at the back end of last week. I felt really low and the resentment was messing with my head. On reflection, I can't assume that staying clean and being happy go hand in hand. Staying off P isn't a fix-all for my other challenges.

I feel much better today, after a very busy and sociable weekend. Intimacy was better at home. Pleased to have tightly moderated my alcohol intake during a holiday weekend here. Alcohol and the day after are both triggers for me to slip and I struggle when I've partied. It's a relief to have stayed focused on my processes and to feel stable and stronger today. 
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 07, 2019, 07:01:36 AM
"Mood follows action" - My brain tells me I'm not in the mood to do something that I know is good for me, so I need to force myself to move. Make myself act. And my brain will follow?  Supposedly what we do influences how we think and how we feel. Hmmm. I think I buy this hypothesis. "80% of success is showing up". The Marshmallow Test. Thinking Fast & Slow. The Chimp Paradox. Enough credible "neuro" research out there to convince me that the messages my brain gives me first and fastest often present the easiest / laziest course of action, rather than the best one. Just having a brain dump here, so please forgive me for making even less sense than usual. I was tired yesterday evening and my Chimp told me that I'd worked hard and earned a night off the gym. But the gym was in my schedule and I hadn't been on Sunday, so I got hold of myself and got to the gym. Trained the session I had planned. Performed less well than last time, but I felt really, bloody good for going. "The only bad workout is the one I didn't do". Training hard puts me in control. As well as training my muscles to be more efficient, it trains my brain to resist the easy / lazy option that my Chimp presents first, and commit to the difficult / rewarding option that "i'm not in the mood to do". It gives me the confidence to persevere when things get difficult. Things often get difficult, right? Staying in recovery is hard. Even harder than Bulgarian split squats, ffs. I need to keep taking the right actions in order to maintain the right mood. I need to keep pushing for a better understanding of how my own fucked-up brain works too.   :D working through these thoughts has improved my mood!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 10, 2019, 06:30:15 AM
Friday 10th. Checking-in. Clean. No P or M since 8th Jan. Four months and I feel broadly poisitve. Currently feeling some libido. I really, really hope this could be the end of a long and worrying flat-line. Was in London the last two days. Cards in the windows of phone booths triggered me. Difficult to suspend my eyesite, without walking into lamp posts. Kept walking. Deep breaths. Forced myself to think of something else and tell myself verbally that I'm not that person any more.

Read this today on a mainstream, UK, media outlet... albeit a liberal one. Reminded me of the stories of so many guys in here and I felt strengthened by reading it on "prime time" rather than on a specialist website. 
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/10/my-life-sex-addicted-porn

Moving into the weekend feeling strong. I have a new book due to arrive tomorrow - another perspective on rewiring that I hope will provide new ideas and inspirations. I'm very grateful to have this website to help me stay clean, and for the fellowship of other contributors and recoverers. Hope I can stay clean. Porn is not an option.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Cstan98 on May 10, 2019, 05:05:21 PM
WorkinProgressUK. Can help me to pass 18 days to become 4 months. What advices for me?
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 13, 2019, 06:21:15 AM
Hey Rick. Thanks for the note. I read your journal and I want to congratulate you, first, on 18 days clean. That's a great start. On reflection, my advice to you is to focus on expanding the number of positive interests and sources of fulfillment in your life, whatever they are. You seem very focused on the size of your penis, which I can't imagine is going to change by abstaining from P. If you continue to focus so much on something that you feel negative about, you're just going to reinforce negative vibes about yourself, and that can't help. I have to say, Rick, I'm really not the guy to help you with your penis size worries. But I wish you every success in staying off P.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 13, 2019, 06:44:42 AM
Monday. No PMO. Played a game of rugby yesterday for the first time since a serious injury a couple of years back. Playing made me feel more connected to old friends that I'd become physically and emotionally isolated from. A split eye and a twisted ankle are a small price to pay for that fellowship  :). Started reading a new book last night; "Rewire; Change your brain", which seems to build on themes explored in books like "Thinking Fast & Slow", "The Chimp Paradox" and "The Buddha's Brain", that I feel comfortable with; we have an automatic (emotionally driven) brain and a logical, thinking, brain. And we spend a lot of time trying to improve our thinking brains, but for people like me, with a history of self-destructive behaviours, developing better ways of managing the automatic brain are potentially the most worthwhile investments.. Hopefully the author will help me find some of those management strategies and tactics.

Still being triggered. Still feel like there's a potential slip around every corner. I'm getting so much better at reducing and managing the triggers, though. Super grateful for that. Just got to keep working hard and not get complacent.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on May 13, 2019, 11:04:24 AM
Monday. No PMO. Played a game of rugby yesterday for the first time since a serious injury a couple of years back. Playing made me feel more connected to old friends that I'd become physically and emotionally isolated from. A split eye and a twisted ankle are a small price to pay for that fellowship  :). Started reading a new book last night; "Rewire; Change your brain", which seems to build on themes explored in books like "Thinking Fast & Slow", "The Chimp Paradox" and "The Buddha's Brain", that I feel comfortable with; we have an automatic (emotionally driven) brain and a logical, thinking, brain. And we spend a lot of time trying to improve our thinking brains, but for people like me, with a history of self-destructive behaviours, developing better ways of managing the automatic brain are potentially the most worthwhile investments.. Hopefully the author will help me find some of those management strategies and tactics.

Still being triggered. Still feel like there's a potential slip around every corner. I'm getting so much better at reducing and managing the triggers, though. Super grateful for that. Just got to keep working hard and not get complacent.
Quote


Right with you in this. Must get hold of the chimp book. All the best keep your frontal lobes pointing forwards!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: lyon03 on May 13, 2019, 02:29:32 PM
Great update my friend. Rooting for you!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 14, 2019, 09:00:30 AM
Reading Rex's journal earlier. He made a great point about slips / falls / relapses having their foundation long before the actual act of looking at P, saying that the process starts as soon as we rationalise P as an option. It troubled me, because I'm regularly tempted to rationalise P. I'm guilty of cognitive distortion... especially emotional reasoning and disqualifying the positive. That twisted thinking can result in messages that P is OK, which I know isn't the case, and I have to wrestle back control from my chimp. It'd be easier not to have to wrestle. Much more productive to maintain a mindset that minimises cognitive distortion and emotional reasoning and lets a little positivity in. I need to stay open to learning new stuff every day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 17, 2019, 04:45:18 AM
Friday check-in. No PMO. Still standing.
My libido is slowly returning. I'm starting to notice women around me and have feelings. I find it confusing because my first reaction is to give myself a mental slap and try to shut those feelings down, as evidence of slipping, or objectification, or relapse. But maybe they're just the kind of normal feelings that guys who haven't been compulsively using porn for their entire adult lives feel? Lived for so long as an addict that I don't really know what normal is  :(. I'm really enjoying learning, though. I'm confident that I'll stay clean this weekend. Friends visiting and lots of socialising in the plan. I need to get my alcohol plan fixed and stick to it. Can't be arsed triggering myself through lazy boozing.
Wishing you all a successful weekend. 
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 20, 2019, 12:45:41 PM
Monday. Still clean and feeling good. Been studying, which makes me more confident that I can stay in recovery this time. That said.... my brain aches a little!

Learned today that the behavioural change model that I'm most comfortable with, the one that goes pre-contemplation - contemplation - preparation - action - maintenance - termination is called the Trans-Theoretical Model (TTM) and it was developed by Prochaska and DiCelemente in the '80's. Basically says that our ability to successfully change problem behaviours is largely governed by two factors;

- Decisional Balance - our evaluation of the pros and cons of that change.... the good old balance of greed & fear
- Self-efficacy - the extent to we feel individually capable to deliver the change

Prochaska also went on to develop the Strong & Weak Principles for behavioural change. This bit has really got me thinking. The research evidences that we are much more likely to move from Pre-Contemplation (no intention to change) to Contemplation by fear, rather than by thoughts of reward. To move from Contemplation to Preparation is about 50:50 and from Preparation to Action requires about twice as much accentuating the positive as focusing on the negative. And as we attempt to evolve through the action phase, into maintenance, we become increasingly likely to do that through focusing on positives rather than negatives.

I reflected on my own journey and it really resonated. When I think back to my Pre-Contemplation days, when I was happily acting out, positive motivators had no impact at all. It was the negatives that had the power to make me change at that stage; the "rock bottom" moments, like getting blackmailed or beaten up and fear of being kicked out of the family home. They were the things that put me in therapy and moved me to Action, rather than nice stuff like spending more time with friends, or being emotionally closer to my wife. But now that I feel like I'm in the later stages of Action and maybe even entering the Maintenance phase (which typically only happens after about 6 month clean according to Prochaska), it's all about the positive. It's not the fear of being caught that stops me from relapsing. My motivations to stay clean are now all about a desire for the good things in life..... relational strength, investing in friendships, staying fit, learning new skills, doing well at work, spending quality time with my kids etc.

I think that lines-up with a lot of the thinking around this site and some of the things I've read other forum users say; once we've made the commitment to recover and started to live without P, even in the painful, early days, we're more likely to succeed if we focus on the positive new things we can experience without P in our lives, than the guilty, shame-filled, negatives.

I need a lie down  :-[. I need to shut up  :-X. I actually need to get back to work, but I'm really glad that I invested in some study today. Link to one of many interesting articles below, if you're interested. This one covers three different behavioural change models.

https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/documents/1409/behaviour_review_theory.pdf

Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 22, 2019, 09:46:40 AM
"Rewire" book is giving me a lot of food for thought. According to the author, most people subconsciously construct a relatively positive paradigm for themselves, which protects them from feeling negative thoughts about themselves. I don't think I've been very successful in building that bubble for myself. Leads to a very negative self image.
Wedding anniversary this week is a source of stress and negative emotions here. My feelings of guilt are stopping me from asking my wife about her emotions. I expect her to ask if I have been 100% clean for the last 5 years since our rock bottom moment and I know that I'd have to lie, or tell her that I've only been clean for 3 months. I have low confidence of being able to manage that conversation, so I'm avoiding. There's no emoticon for a chicken on here, is there  :(.
Other than that, I'm OK. Bloke jumped in front of a train on my commute home yesterday and killed himself, which puts things into perspective.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 27, 2019, 05:32:17 AM
Public Holiday here today. Often challenging for me. I don't know why I trigger so often on these days. Maybe because I typically work, while most of my mates have the day off and it challenges my "shoulds vs wants" resentment. I guess the fact that I'm writing that means it probably has something to do with it. Only working the morning, though, so will be away from tech and doing outdoor stuff with the family for the afternoon. Otherwise, all good. Wedding anniversary was the most successful in the last five years. Still clean.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on May 27, 2019, 07:32:48 PM
Glad anniversary went well. Congrats staying clean.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 28, 2019, 05:02:09 AM
I'm finding it harder to resist cravings for P today than I have at any time since 8th January, so I hope that journalling what's going on is going to help, because I'm all over the place and came very close to falling off my wagon just a few minutes ago.

I've read that the stages of a relapse are 1. emotional relapse, 2. mental relapse and 3. physical relapse. My emotions are in a place where relapse feels like the most natural thing to do. I'm anxious to the point of physically trembling. I'm jumpy and very ill at ease. I'm absolutely in the "mental relapse" zone; my chimp is telling me that I could cope with a little bit of P and that it would help me settle. It's telling me that fantasy is fine, as long as I don't M/O. It's reminding me that life had more of a buzz to it when I was using. My human brain knows that's all bullshit and that my chimp just wants a way out of the anxiety. I need to let my Chimp have its tantrum without acting on its suggestions. I need to buy a minute. Journalling this is helping. Breathing exercises are helping. Letting the chimp shout is helping. OK. That's better. I've bought myself the time for my human brain to get back in control. i know that P isn't the answer. I remember how bad things used to be. I know why I'm anxious and I can find other solutions. I have a lot of conflicting work stresses pulling at me. I'm concerned today that my job isn't safe and I'm not in control. I've realised that I'm working from a coffee shop that used to be a P-browsing haunt in the bad old days. I'm going to write a plan for how to manage those conflicting stresses but first of all, I'm going to log-off and leave this triggering location. Alright. I am back in control. Sorry to unload my stress here, but writing it really helped me to stay present and not give-in to the cravings.
Be safe and strong today. P is not an option.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Rex on May 28, 2019, 08:37:49 AM
I'm finding it harder to resist cravings for P today than I have at any time since 8th January, so I hope that journalling what's going on is going to help, because I'm all over the place and came very close to falling off my wagon just a few minutes ago.

I've read that the stages of a relapse are 1. emotional relapse, 2. mental relapse and 3. physical relapse. My emotions are in a place where relapse feels like the most natural thing to do. I'm anxious to the point of physically trembling. I'm jumpy and very ill at ease. I'm absolutely in the "mental relapse" zone; my chimp is telling me that I could cope with a little bit of P and that it would help me settle. It's telling me that fantasy is fine, as long as I don't M/O. It's reminding me that life had more of a buzz to it when I was using. My human brain knows that's all bullshit and that my chimp just wants a way out of the anxiety. I need to let my Chimp have its tantrum without acting on its suggestions. I need to buy a minute. Journalling this is helping. Breathing exercises are helping. Letting the chimp shout is helping. OK. That's better. I've bought myself the time for my human brain to get back in control. i know that P isn't the answer. I remember how bad things used to be. I know why I'm anxious and I can find other solutions. I have a lot of conflicting work stresses pulling at me. I'm concerned today that my job isn't safe and I'm not in control. I've realised that I'm working from a coffee shop that used to be a P-browsing haunt in the bad old days. I'm going to write a plan for how to manage those conflicting stresses but first of all, I'm going to log-off and leave this triggering location. Alright. I am back in control. Sorry to unload my stress here, but writing it really helped me to stay present and not give-in to the cravings.
Be safe and strong today. P is not an option.

workinprogressUK,

One of the things that I have come to really understand in this whole reboot process is how the brain plays such a huge role in the addiction.  If you can beat the brain you can beat the addiction.  No matter how hard the brain wants you to revert back, it will begin to lessen in its power the more times you beat it.  Don't give in, when the cravings hit, the brain is trying its best through tremors, anxiety, and all its other bag of tricks (many of them PAWS symptoms) to get you to fall to PMO.  Do an Internet search for techniques to stop panic attacks, these type of techniques help to push the brain into doing another task which causes it to stop tormenting you with the PAWS type symptoms.  For instance if you count backwards from 100 to 0 or other similar techniques to get the brain working on something else it stops the cravings and PAWS symptoms.  Think of your brain like a computer, if the computer can't stop doing a task, then give it another one that bogs down the processor and its memory so that it can only work on the task you want it to work on.

Keep fighting, remember no matter how bad the cravings and temptations get they will lessen and go away.  Time is on your side, wait it out and win!  This reboot is won on the long game, the brain has the short game, but if you play the long game you'll aways win.  The more times you beat the brain, the brain will eventually learn its new norm without PMO and the reboot will be complete, and you'll have total victory. 
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: idunno on May 28, 2019, 12:54:37 PM
I hope you make it through today, WIP. You'll be laying the ground for even more success in the future. Hoping the best for you.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 30, 2019, 05:08:14 AM
Think of your brain like a computer, if the computer can't stop doing a task, then give it another one that bogs down the processor and its memory so that it can only work on the task you want it to work on.

Keep fighting, remember no matter how bad the cravings and temptations get they will lessen and go away.  Time is on your side, wait it out and win!  This reboot is won on the long game, the brain has the short game, but if you play the long game you'll aways win.  The more times you beat the brain, the brain will eventually learn its new norm without PMO and the reboot will be complete, and you'll have total victory.

That's great advice, Rex. Thank you for your encouragement and for helping me learn new ways to stay on track. Really appreciated.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 30, 2019, 05:08:54 AM
I hope you make it through today, WIP. You'll be laying the ground for even more success in the future. Hoping the best for you.

Thanks idunno. Really appreciate your encouragement and fellowship.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on May 30, 2019, 05:17:01 AM
Happy to say that I made it through my rough spell on Tuesday. Very grateful. I was surprised and humbled by how hard the anxiety gripped me, and how persistent my chimp was in cajoling, encouraging, demanding me to relapse into p. I had to use a bunch of techniques to get through; distracting, removing, pacifying, refocusing. I'm grateful for the time I've had in recovery and even for past slips, which have helped me learn more about the way my own brain trips me up. Hopefully, I won't have another day like that for a while. Relieved to be in calmer waters with a better perspective on things. So..... onward and upward. Wishing you strength and serenity in your own fight today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 04, 2019, 11:30:08 AM
Continuing to struggle with inability to concentrate or feel pleasure, lack of energy, low mood. Caused me to research Rex's point about PAWS a bit more. Really interesting and I'm grateful for the pointer. It's certainly a neat explanation for the way I feel. It fits.
On the other hand, the articles tend to say that PAWS often coincides with stress, which, I think is a trigger, and that PAWS could also just be unresolved issues bubbling back to the surface, which again trigger P cravings. So I'm not sure if I buy-in to PAWS as an illness, as such. Or whether it's just the way I feel when unresolved issues and anxiety surface. 
Key thing is to be aware that I'm going to have bad spells that will last for a few days at a time, and that they're likely to continue for anything up to 2 years. It's good to know - thanks again REX.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 05, 2019, 09:18:52 AM
Mood and ability to concentrate are better today. Grateful for that as I accomplished nothing over the last few days. Maybe that's just something I'll have to put up with from time to time? I remember a therapist once telling me that I "might just have to cope with being miserable", which doesn't sound hugely constructive but actually was. I can't always expect life to smell of roses. Keeping very busy. Started a new training course in sports coaching at weekends, as well as taking up mountain biking, which is giving me a new source of positivity, as well as a way to lose skin and blood. Staying focused on the good things in life. 
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: jixu on June 06, 2019, 06:12:23 AM
That sounds like some good new stuff, plus it gets you outdoors more, something I'm trying to increase myself.  Keep going, it is a daily battle indeed.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: idunno on June 08, 2019, 12:30:02 PM
WIP, it's kind of funny, maybe because I can relate so much to it, but I feel like saying "Good job being miserable!" And I mean that in friendship, of course. :) I never thought that being miserable could be an accomplishment, but it really is! Like what I've been going through with my wife at times recently, and what your therapist said -- it's a major thing just to get through a wee spell of misery (much less an intense, long one) without sinking our own boats through porn.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 10, 2019, 06:19:26 AM
"Good job being miserable!" And I mean that in friendship, of course. :) I never thought that being miserable could be an accomplishment, but it really is! Like what I've been going through with my wife at times recently, and what your therapist said -- it's a major thing just to get through a wee spell of misery (much less an intense, long one) without sinking our own boats through porn.

We're agreed on that, my friend. Never used to be able to cope with feeling low. Always needed to feel buzzy. It's definitely progress to be able to recognise and live through a bit of misery or melancholy.

That sounds like some good new stuff, plus it gets you outdoors more, something I'm trying to increase myself.  Keep going, it is a daily battle indeed.

I think the more outdoors and sociable I am, the better. Same for you? Just been reading some relapse prevention stuff and I'm reminded (for the thousandth time) of the need not to isolate myself and not to spend any more time than necessary with a screen in front of me.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 10, 2019, 06:50:01 AM
I wrote on 28th May about the 3 stages of relapse, and how I felt like I'd been in emotional relapse and had moved into mental relapse, and I was fighting not to physically relapse. I stayed on the right side of the line and the acute stress dissipated. But in managing my cravings today and doing my study, I can see that I'm still in the muck and nettles. I DON'T WANT TO RELAPSE. But I'm irritable, introverted, closed, anxious and feeling generally uncomfortable with myself. My automatic/chimp brain and my present/human brain are in conflict. Suggestions to use P, cravings, minimization, justification... the stuff we all feel when things aren't going well. I took a screen break; went outside and did some breathing exercises that i feel help me to stay present.... stop myself drifting off onto autopilot. Anything to create a delay - some sort of firebreak between emotion and action. Then went for a little walk and had an out-loud talk with myself to remind myself about how much I have to lose; how shitty I feel when i use P, how much i dislike myself, the shame i feel, how emotionally absent i become as a parent, how ineffective and unproductive i become at work and how dysfunctional i am as a husband. My chimp tells me that it'll be different but I KNOW that it won't be. It will be a car crash again - like it always was. These tactics have all helped. I feel like I've ridden-out the storm and bought myself enough time to stop. Final piece in that jigsaw is to share my weakness and fear with somebody.... which i guess is anybody who reads this. One day at a time. I didn't slip this morning. Hopefully I won't slip for the rest of today. I know I'm fortunate. I count my lucky stars to have a few months of sobriety in my computer that provides a foundation for resisting the temptation today.

I know I have unresolved issues that are dragging me back to this place and I need to work out how I can open-up those closed parts of my brain, but I don't yet seem to have the capability to do that without destabilising myself. I find it incredibly difficult to be assertive. I'm the "nice guy" who's so full of shame and guilt that instead of being honest with my thoughts and feelings, I just say "yes" to placate people and then seethe with hidden resentment. I need to work on becoming more honest and assertive. So much learning to do.... but I'm a willing learner.

Thanks for reading. Glad to have shared a few things and got them off my chest. Hope you have a strong day.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on June 10, 2019, 08:11:23 AM
Hi WiPUK
With you in all this. Can empathize. A couple of perhaps crass observations. Chimps either live in caged enclosures in zoos or are free to live naturally in the savanna. Perhaps shame is the result of our chimps being locked up in the wrong place? I recognise that my inner self (chimp or Id) is sending me primal messages to act out sexually. That part of me wants a lot more sex than I'm getting and without the moral/religious/social constraints. Don't live in shame, it just leads to pain and depression and so more addiction. Be kind to your chimp and let him free in a safari park of healthy fantasy. All the best and enjoy the bananas (just lightening a very serious situation for us all) :)
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on June 10, 2019, 03:14:49 PM
Hi WiPUK,
Well done for hanging on in there. Good to see you’ve weathered this particular storm.
I identify with the lack of assertiveness and confidence. It’s been pointed out to me on a number of occasions. As with many things, including porn problems I don’t think there’s a magic bullet, but  I think doing all the good things we’re doing to beat PMO should help over time.
Keep strong!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 17, 2019, 07:16:09 AM
Chimps either live in caged enclosures in zoos or are free to live naturally in the savanna. Perhaps shame is the result of our chimps being locked up in the wrong place? I recognise that my inner self (chimp or Id) is sending me primal messages to act out sexually. That part of me wants a lot more sex than I'm getting and without the moral/religious/social constraints. Don't live in shame, it just leads to pain and depression and so more addiction. Be kind to your chimp and let him free in a safari park of healthy fantasy.

Hmmmm. I don't know. I spent years and years self-soothing in fantasy as a young adolescent, before i had access to P. The P i got hooked one was the same as the stuff i fantasised about and i found that the two went hand in glove. I appreciate your advice and especially the effort to lighten the mood, but I don't think this is the right way forward for me.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 17, 2019, 07:37:17 AM
A week ago i was "hanging on in there" to quote BigMog. Glad to say that I stayed "hung on in" and I made it through. I'm on more solid ground now and being more proactive in managing underlying issues. I place far too much emphasis on work success as a way of defining myself. I'm currently under a lot of pressure and my job prospects aren't so secure. But I am not my job and my job is not me. it's just something i do to earn money. If and when i no longer have this job, there will be alternative ways to earn money. There are things about my situation that i can change, and i need to make those changes confidently. There are things about my situation that I can't change, and I need to accept them and not obsess about them. Focus on the things i can control. P cravings are frequent when i feel this pressure, but luckily they're not very powerful. It's a bit like the old "chinese water torture" though. Pissing me off. Like "perimeter testing"... trying to find a weak moment or a weak point. I'm looking at "If-then" plans as a tactic.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: bob on June 18, 2019, 07:46:14 AM
Work,

This are wise words my friend...

But I am not my job and my job is not me. it's just something i do to earn money.

There are things about my situation that I can't change, and I need to accept them and not obsess about them.

As you, I struggle to understand the rationale for my behavior with porn/sex. I use to ease pain, self doubt, and insecurity. And my work environment plays a major role in this challenge.

Thank you for your honesty.

Peace
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 20, 2019, 09:05:38 AM
One M. I think i just wanted to more than i wanted no to. If I track my journal over the last couple of weeks, I can see that my resolve hasn't been as strong as it was. Still no P. And no feeling that I'm going to relapse into P. Maybe that will prove to be pride before a fall, but I think that's unlikely.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on June 21, 2019, 03:06:13 AM
Stick with it WIPUK, there are several of us cheering you on from the sidelines.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: jixu on June 21, 2019, 08:07:34 AM
Keep going WIP; do not give in to the fleeting equivocation.  Like BigMog said, we are with you!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 22, 2019, 05:22:08 PM
Sincere thanks for the support, guys. I really appreciate it. Makes such a difference.
Saturday night here. Just finished my homework and prep for a training course I'm at all day tomorrow. I feel calm, in control and at ease with myself. Happy to have made it through another day without P.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 24, 2019, 04:08:17 AM
Monday. Had a great weekend; training course I did yesterday was sooooo stimulating and rewarding. Just loving being out of my comfort zone and learning something new. It's keeping my boredom trigger absolutely at bay. Can't recommend enough the benefit of finding stimulating, "real world", stuff to keep my "human" brain, occupied, energized and present. I'm away overseas again today, and I'm going to refocus on some of the tactics and techniques that have worked for me in the past to avoid triggers while travelling. No need to reinvent the wheel. Just need to know what has worked for me in the past and keep doing it.... until it stops working for me in the future. The key is to stay present and focused on that... not let things drift into chimp / automatic brain territory. Hoping for a serene and productive week. Wishing you all success in your own fight against ugly P.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 26, 2019, 07:32:16 AM
Survived the travel trigger. Had to buy new headphones at the airport because i forgot my regulars. Expense was well worth it. Music has a lot of power to influence my mood and stop my brain from drifting - especially when I'm tired or bored as I inevitably end up on business travel. Stayed off the hotel TV. Only 1 beer with dinner and kept the laptop turned off when i came back. Trained in the hotel gym Monday night and Tuesday morning. Walked to my meetings. Enjoyed the fresh air and the exercise. I know broadly what works to keep me stable and avoid temptations. The key is executing on the strategy and tactics consistently.... not getting lazy or complacent. Too many sad stories in this forum remind me how easy it is to fall off my wagon again.... and how difficult it would be to stop a slip becoming a binge. I don't know about the whole "mindfulness" trend, but I am absolutely 100% convinced that while not relapsing into porn is something that i keep front and centre in my conscious, thinking, "human" brain... something that I think about, focus on, plan for, prioritise and make sacrifices to achieve..... i don't relapse into porn. When it stops being a conscious priority is when I'm in danger of slipping. Hopefully I can get better at maintaining that focus.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 28, 2019, 06:43:44 AM
Getting close to 6 months without P. That's an achievement worth fighting for. Can't take anything for granted. It still takes effort, every day. I didn't like SA or the 12-step process, when I was in them. But a lot of the catchphrases work for me;

One day at a time
Progress not perfection
You're either working on your recovery or working on your relapse
Recovery is a journey, not a destination
An addict alone is in bad company

Writing here is part of working on my recovery. I need to take more time out to appreciate how fortunate i am to be in recovery. I've been incredibly lucky. I know that working hard helps me stay lucky.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: allforone on June 29, 2019, 11:05:37 PM
6 months will be a big achievement! Stay strong. We are fortunate to have found this website and support each other here.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on June 30, 2019, 02:29:42 AM
Six months! Nice job WiPUK. Keep doing the things you’re doing.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: switched_off_again on June 30, 2019, 04:45:45 PM
Excellent work! Your determination shines through.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BlueSky72 on July 02, 2019, 04:03:00 AM
Yes! Fantastic work WiPUK! Just keep letting the old stock burn away - no new logs on the fire!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on July 08, 2019, 04:26:57 AM
I'm reading "The Marshmallow Test" at the moment - trying to finish it after getting bogged-down last time. Mentioning it because they suggested a tactic to help resist the temptation for small, short-term rewards at the expense of big, long-term rewards. I'm generally OK at resisting small rewards when there's a bigger prize to focus on, but I've had a massive blind spot when it comes to the small reward offered by P. The author suggests "If - Then" plans as a tactic for avoiding cravings and resisting triggers. I've set myself an "If - Then" plan related to P cravings. If I get triggered when at my desk, Then I drop whatever I'm working on and come straight here.... do a bit of reading, study or journalling until my brain settles. Got a little trigger earlier today, so I'm here. Seems pretty simple  :). Hopefully it will work for me.   
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on July 09, 2019, 04:11:40 AM
If - Then.... brings me back again. Triggering repeatedly. Pin-prick small triggers kicking-off as soon as I start work. Same as yesterday. Fair to assume that my anxiety is work-related to some extent. What am I anxious about? Below target for the year and under pressure from head office. Perceived risk I'll get fired. Can I recover my target? I have a deal at "verbal yes" that gets me very close. It's not the sweetest deal for either party, so I'm not getting much support getting it closed. But I can get it over the line. So I need to soothe the anxiety. Listening to my chimp isn't helping. Need to manage the little fucker better. So..... off for a little walk in the fresh air. Chimp and I will have a chat. Then hopefully back to work with clarity of purpose.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: idunno on July 09, 2019, 02:39:06 PM
To hell with that little fucker!

My mind's been in all kinds of directions these last few days, so it's helpful to read about your experience with anxiety. Thanks.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on July 12, 2019, 10:45:00 AM
To hell with that little fucker!

 ;D ;D Thanks for that! Feeling more stable and less anxious. I was thinking after typing my last update. I'm prone to triggers as soon as I turn on my laptop. I've never accessed P on this laptop, but it's still a very similar neural pathway to the one that lead me to P on a predictable basis for a very long time. So I've tried to start my work day without turning the laptop on, to try to break that chain. I've started with phone calls or making/reviewing written notes for the last couple of days. Maybe nothing, but I haven't been triggered in the same way the last couple of days. Hoping for a good weekend. Just me and the wife away without the kids. Wishing lots of strength to fellow rebooters.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on July 15, 2019, 03:23:57 AM
Not sure if it's arrogance or mental laziness or something else, but since I know my triggers pretty well by now, why do I make decisions that send me towards a trigger? I don't think it's a deliberate SUD. Study says that it's because I let my "hot" system, or "chimp" or "automatic brain" make the decisions, and my cool / human / logical brain didn't intervene. Very sociable weekend. Didn't get drunk and I did make plenty of good decisions, but three nights of consistent alcohol have left me tired and lacking focus this morning. Faced with a bunch of fairly stressful and uncomfortable tasks at work, my chimp suggests I zone-out instead. It's an option I'm not going to take. Gonna be mentally and physically healthy today. So if I slip up, I'm made a liar of myself to all of you gents. Not going to happen. Not today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on July 15, 2019, 04:05:32 PM
Not sure if it's arrogance or mental laziness or something else, but since I know my triggers pretty well by now, why do I make decisions that send me towards a trigger? I don't think it's a deliberate SUD. Study says that it's because I let my "hot" system, or "chimp" or "automatic brain" make the decisions, and my cool / human / logical brain didn't intervene. Very sociable weekend. Didn't get drunk and I did make plenty of good decisions, but three nights of consistent alcohol have left me tired and lacking focus this morning. Faced with a bunch of fairly stressful and uncomfortable tasks at work, my chimp suggests I zone-out instead. It's an option I'm not going to take. Gonna be mentally and physically healthy today. So if I slip up, I'm made a liar of myself to all of you gents. Not going to happen. Not today.
Well done with your decisions and determination. Don't know about the "liar" bit but I can empathize. It takes great honesty to admit a slip up.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Lero on July 15, 2019, 04:24:50 PM
Not sure if it's arrogance or mental laziness or something else, but since I know my triggers pretty well by now, why do I make decisions that send me towards a trigger?

I know how this is, man. I've been dealing with this problem. If you read my journal, you would see that I've said something similar a lot of times: I know what to do but, for some reason, I end up doing exactly what I should avoid. I couldn't understand what was wrong. But you see, even with bandages and medicine, a wound takes time to heal. Don't beat yourself up. One day things will start working. I've heard other guys saying that things finally fell into place for them and this issue went away so this is good news. We know it's not forever. Eventually we will find our way to make it work. I feel like it's starting for me already after 2 months of confusion and frustration. God bless.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on July 16, 2019, 06:14:43 AM
Thank you Lero - Cranm329 for giving me a hand. I take the point that it takes honesty to admit a slip-up or relapse. I think I find it easier not to relapse than I would to relapse and admit it. Past experience tells me that I'd disappear up my own arse for a while - at least as long as it took me to realise that things had gotten unacceptable and I came crawling back. Weak of me, and in writing that I'm not making any judgement on guys who slip and come straight back here to 'fess-up. I admire their honesty. I never had a binary relationship with telling the truth  :-[.

I know what to do but, for some reason, I end up doing exactly what I should avoid. I couldn't understand what was wrong.
Thanks for sharing that. For me, this ties-in with "emotional relapse" happening before any physical relapse. I haven't relapsed. I'm not actively thinking about it. But I know that my emotions are in conflict with my current lifestyle. The resolve is not as strong as it was, I'm not as strict with myself in relation to things like looking at pages of vanilla news sources that I know might have a little bit of titillation in them. I know that's risky but I can easily convince myself that it's not a problem. So I go and the triggers start. Slippery slope. I have to waste energy negotiating with my chimp than I do when my emotions align with my intent and actions. I think it's because I still have unresolved issues. Staying clean for 6 months has stopped my life from being a car crash, and I'm grateful for that, but it hasn't resulted in the evolution of a healthy relationship with my wife, and my chimp asks me "just what is the point of this whole exercise"? I need to build a better emotional relationship with myself.

Been studying the trans-theoretical model of change again. Main problem is that most of the descriptions end in relapse, before re-entering the change cycle, which I don't want to read. But in terms of the types of therapeutic intervention most suited to prolonging the Maintenance phase, consensus is that Positive Reinforcement, Social Support Groups, Stimulus Control and Maintaining Self-Efficacy are the most effective. Some of them I'm OK with. Positive Reinforcement I am most definitely not. All stick and no carrot. Going to focus on that and, as Lero says .... try not to beat myself up.

 :-\ didn't relapse yesterday. hopefully i won't relapse today. Grinding it out until something clicks.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on July 24, 2019, 11:04:51 AM
Fell off my wagon on Monday morning. Grrrrr!  >:(
Back on it since Monday afternoon and fairly philosophical about it.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on July 24, 2019, 05:18:43 PM
The heat involved?
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: switched_off_again on July 24, 2019, 05:36:29 PM
Ahhhh. I slip vs all that successful rebooting. No contest - get back on it!!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: jixu on July 24, 2019, 09:20:57 PM
Exactly right-just get back on it, no need for an in-depth paralysis by analysis type of deal.  We know what we are supposed to do, and realize that there will be set backs along the way.  It is clear: when you have work stress and have a family, and are responsible for people, the going gets quite tough, and we can feel the pressure build.  I used to try stress reduction ploys but they usually came to naught; my method now is just to acknowledge that there will be stress and try to find ways to deal with it.  Easier said then done!

Anyway, thanks for being a good member around here and keep up the good work!   
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on July 25, 2019, 05:26:05 AM
Thanks guys. Appreciate your support and feedback. Not making any big decisions or changes for now. Trying to keep everything mellow and predictable for a while. Feeling OK with myself.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on August 02, 2019, 06:04:48 AM
Managed to see out the rest of last week ok, but slipped again on Monday morning. Back on it Monday afternoon and made some changes. Some things in my environment were triggering me, so I threw them out. Been OK since then.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on August 02, 2019, 03:34:54 PM
Well done, WiPUK. Good idea changing your environment to reduce triggers.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on August 05, 2019, 06:06:03 AM
Good news. Navigated this week without any difficulty. Failed on the last two Monday mornings, and have avoided a repeat today. I'll get through OK. Bad news.... I think I have a hernia. Bollocky piss  >:(
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: hope2reboot on August 05, 2019, 01:21:36 PM
Hi WIPUK,

been reading some of your posts today. Thanks for sharing as I read a lot of good stuff for encouragement. Couple quotes I really like:


“Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift––that is why it is called the present.”

I too had a very long stint of victory (almost 3 years) but relapsed about 6 months ago. Back on track now for only 8 days. It’s a crazy battle but it’s good to know there are many of us in the battle to learn from and be encouraged by. God bless!

Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on August 08, 2019, 06:00:50 AM
Thanks for the support hope2 and cranm. Good to be reminded that I'm not alone, or suffering with any challenges different from everybody else.

Getting through this week OK, although I do feel that I'm building my house on sand, to some extent. I know that my acting out is a "flight" response to some basic stresses and anxieties that I struggle to manage. Sometimes I have the right emotional balance and executive function to cope with those issues without resorting to P. But I haven't resolved them and until I do, I'm going to be at risk of relapse. I know I'm getting stronger with time, and that 3 years clean... 6 months clean... 2 weeks clean are all investments that are building healthy neural pathways and making the P-based pathways weaker. But it's a long haul. One day at a time. One minute at a time, when the shit hits the fan. I've shown a lot of control, planning, resolve, courage and perseverance to get this far and I'm really grateful to be where I am. Just got to stay mindful and focused and not give my Chimp any opportunities to define my actions.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: hope2reboot on August 08, 2019, 09:09:59 PM
Definitely there is strength in numbers. Just knowing others are dealing with same struggles makes it easier. Don’t feel quite so alone. Hope you find out how to deal with that deeper issue so you’re building that house on a rock. All the best WIPUK!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on August 15, 2019, 02:17:03 AM
Thursday. Still clean. Business travel and glad that I've embedded enough healthy habits for this not to be the white knuckle ride it used to be. Doing a lot of reading to keep my mind occupied with thoughts and concepts that should help me. If I keep my brain full of good stuff, there's less room for unhealthy thoughts. "Rewired" by Richard O'Connor is resonating most. Lots of practical tips on how to stay on my wagon. A lot of it aligns with the general themes in here, but he's a lot tougher on the implications for long-term recovery of small "slips". Each time I "slip", I damage my own self esteem and confidence in my ability to recover long-term. Each time I fight-off the urge is a victory that I need to be better at recognising. At the moment, I need to consciously make healthy decisions and evidence willpower when tempted. Hopefully if i do that often enough, it can become unconscious. I guess like moving from consciously incompetent, to consciously competent, to unconsciously competent. I'm currently consciously incompetent  ;D but making progress.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Lero on August 15, 2019, 02:26:58 AM
Good job, man.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: idunno on August 15, 2019, 12:14:36 PM
Sorry to read about the slips, WIP. Wishing the best for you looking forward.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on August 16, 2019, 03:55:15 AM
Thanks guys.
Made it back, with recovery intact, from overseas. Suffered anxiety attacks yesterday. I think the travel and airport claustrophobia were factors. Also the timezone. But the biggest factor was that I'm going on holiday tomorrow and have a huge pile of work liabilities to fix before I leave. I don't delegate so well. Don't know if it sounds weird, but I find that the sense of smell has a lot of power to relax me when I have anxiety attacks. So I raided the Tom Ford concession at the airport for a favourite scent :D. Used a "mellow" playlist on my phone. Shut my eyes. Meditated. Found my way. Even committed the heinous crime of having a beer on one of the flights  :P. Got a bunch of work done. It was good to get home, hit the gym and see the family. Much to do. Logging off. Glad to be sober today.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Lero on August 16, 2019, 04:38:55 AM
Good things, man. Anxiety sucks. I have it too.  >:(
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: bob on August 16, 2019, 06:38:28 PM
Hang in there. I know that is can be frustrating at times.

Keep thinking of the end goal.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on August 18, 2019, 09:10:39 AM
Nice going WiP,
Being away from home for work is always difficult I find, so to get through it with the recovery still ok is an achievement. Enjoy your vacation!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on August 26, 2019, 04:02:42 AM
Back from first holiday. Stayed on my wagon without stress. It was an almost totally analogue trip; no tech and no internet, which helps. Cleared a lot of air with my wife on the trip, too, although it took a big flair-up between us to open up that conversation about feelings and emotions. I wish I was better at getting my feelings out earlier, because once they're out in the open, everything can be resolved. It's bottling things up that creates pressure and resentment.

First day back from vacation is usually a big trigger day for me, but I feel pretty good so far. I'm confident that today is going to be ok.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Free-man on August 26, 2019, 10:23:55 AM
Go for a walk or practice some exercise or some kind of activity, that will calm your anxiety.
Stay strong!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Iloveicecream on August 27, 2019, 12:18:36 AM
Your confidence is a good Thing! I want to learn from it!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on August 27, 2019, 08:37:44 AM
Yesterday was OK. In fact, yesterday was fantastic for a first day back at work after a vacation. I should celebrate that... or at least appreciate it. Today has been better in terms of improved focus and less prevarication. Inner Chimp started nudging me towards P a few minutes ago, so I've come here to recognize that for what it is, and to refocus. It's just my chimp manifesting some anxiety about workload and a bit of boredom. There's no need for panic. I'm in control. Time for a coffee break, away from my laptop, and a walk round the garden.   
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Iloveicecream on August 27, 2019, 09:34:35 AM
This is awesome to stay away from temptation!!!! Amazing
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Free-man on August 28, 2019, 02:43:04 AM
Great idea to go out and calm the chimp (dopamine)
You acted great!
cheers!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 04, 2019, 04:55:08 AM
Back from second vacation yesterday afternoon and at work today. No sign of the post-holiday blues yet, but I'm tired and lacking focus. On reflection, holiday was very successful in reviving intimacy and emotional connection with my wife. Also helped me to re-calibrate some priorities in relation to friendships and materialism. That comes at a price though, because it was a hedonistic trip, with a lot of stimulations that aren't sustainable. So I need to come down gently, hold on tight to the many good things that came out of the trip, and let go of the things that aren't consistent with healthy, long-term, living. The two priorities;

1. Do not under any circumstances let myself slip today. Shut the PC down and RUN if I trigger
2. Invest wholeheartedly in the renewed intimacy with my wife, because my lack of a connection has been the biggest underlying issue hampering a full recovery

Crack those two. Everything else can coast for a while.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Iloveicecream on September 04, 2019, 06:22:37 AM
"Back from second vacation yesterday afternoon and at work today. No sign of the post-holiday blues yet, but I'm tired and lacking focus. On reflection, holiday was very successful in reviving intimacy and emotional connection with my wife"  - excellent,Keep up your effort!!!

Maybe one more advise well I am not really perfect at it myself yet, but it is better to formulate positive Goals such as: Today I wanna hang out with as opposed to do not slip under no circumstances....try to Focus more on the Beautiful Things on life:):)
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: idunno on September 04, 2019, 12:36:54 PM
Hi WIP, the reinvestment with your wife, I think about that, too. I wonder how porn use might have contributed to a chilling of relations between me and my partner. Like a slow corrosion. It takes effort on our part sometimes, deliberate effort to counteract all the negative effects that porn has had. I know porn has made me more snappy and angry at my wife, made me less attracted to her, and probably other things as well. And those effects came as a result of the choice I made (so many times) to view porn in secret for hours on end, for years. So the least I could do is put some effort back into our intimacy. Otherwise I find I'm whining to myself about how things aren't better between us.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 06, 2019, 07:34:11 AM
Friday. Clean and grateful for that. I feel in control today.
Was reading some other journals. Jixu's had some really interesting thoughts, covering "preparation and intentionality". They got me thinking about SUD's - those Seemingly Unimportant Decisions, which aren't a direct decision to use P, or slip, but have sometimes put me closer to triggers and risk of relapse. Link below explains, if anybody is interested.

https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com/view/10.1093/med:psych/9780199334513.001.0001/med-9780199334513-appendix-25

Staying prepared and being mindful of my intentions... keeping my objective in clear focus... stops me from making risky SUD's. The most successful principle for me to build my recovery on is ....

As long as staying clean is a front of mind priority, i'll stay clean. As soon as staying clean is not a front of mind priority, I'm at risk.

Keeping recovery front of mind takes effort, and sometimes I have limited bandwidth, and sometimes.... especially once I've been on a recovery streak for a long time.... I get complacent. All loops back to making the effort to stay prepared and be clear about my intentions... like jixu said.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 06, 2019, 07:43:23 AM
Hi WIP, the reinvestment with your wife, I think about that, too. I wonder how porn use might have contributed to a chilling of relations between me and my partner. Like a slow corrosion. It takes effort on our part sometimes, deliberate effort to counteract all the negative effects that porn has had. I know porn has made me more snappy and angry at my wife, made me less attracted to her, and probably other things as well. And those effects came as a result of the choice I made (so many times) to view porn in secret for hours on end, for years. So the least I could do is put some effort back into our intimacy. Otherwise I find I'm whining to myself about how things aren't better between us.

Too true. Throw in "The Coolidge Effect" as well as high-speed internet porn and the fact that I've seriously eroded trust in our relationship by lying... and it's easy to see how intimacy has been "corroded" in my long-term relationship. I'd hoped that coming off porn would quickly revive my libido with my wife, but that wasn't the case. It's taking a long time to turn round that de-sensitization. I hope I'm getting there, though... slowly and tentatively. Hope you get there too!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 09, 2019, 04:02:00 AM
Very positive and constructive weekend. Making progress in accepting who I am and being grateful for everything I have. Lots of travel this week. Need to make sure I prepare, so I'm less likely to get triggered by the stress.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: cranm329 on September 10, 2019, 02:37:24 PM
Interesting that several of us on here are learning to accept ourselves.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 13, 2019, 11:11:26 AM
Interesting that several of us on here are learning to accept ourselves.

Learning slowly, Cranm329. Very slowly for me!

End of another week and things are stable. Been travelling all over europe and working 18-hour days most of this week. Things are still mellow, though. Doing a better job of managing my emotions, and not feeling as paranoid or worried about negativity from others. I think I'm about 45 days from last slip. Haven't been counting but it's about that. I'll try to keep a "glass half full" perspective on that and hopefully get through the weekend without upset.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 16, 2019, 05:30:21 AM
49 days. Seems like yesterday. The problem with having lapsed in my recovery before, even though all the science says that lapses are typical in a long-term recovery plan, is that it really erodes my confidence. My first reboot lasted about three years clean, before I crashed spectacularly. Since then, the spells in recovery have tended to be ever shorter... 9 month.... 6 months... 3 months.... and when the lapses happen, they've tended to be like falling off a cliff, rather than falling off a log. Grasping for a positive, what is this teaching me? Corny old phrase, but it's teaching me that I really do need to take it one day at a time. Just be clean now and stay clean in the next minute... hour... day.

I train hard at the gym. It gives me some self esteem. I use the internet for knowledge on how to train better. Websites i previously used became triggering, because they often had articles on "serious" training techniques that featured pictures of women in training, and they trigger me soooo hard, so I had to stop using those sites and stop kidding myself that I was there for the knowledge. I've been using one for months that doesn't have those sorts of images.... until today. Grrrrr  >:( :-[ FFS why do they have to f'k up a reliable knowledge resource by introducing soft P? It's such a well-trodden path for me.... training research... "oh! an article about training glutes.... which - surprise - surprise includes pictures of girls training their glutes that i (bullshit) wasn't expecting to be there".... which leads me to searching google images for similar "training" motivation.... which (no shit, sherlock) eventually sees me landing on porn sites and disappearing down the rabbit hole.

Hopefully not today. Not this time.
Sorry for unloading my self-indulgent bullshit on anybody coming here for something interesting. I just needed to get this cognitive distortion out of the shadows and into the light, where i can see it for what it is. Fingers crossed. Porn isn't an option.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: bob on September 16, 2019, 08:50:12 AM
Workin,

Oh this scenario is so familiar. It is what begins the slide. We try to tell ourselves otherwise but time and time again it proves us wrong.

...surprise [it] includes pictures of girls training their glutes that i (bullshit) wasn't expecting to be there".... which leads me to searching google images for similar "training" motivation.... which (no shit, sherlock) eventually sees me landing on porn sites and disappearing down the rabbit hole.

Hopefully not today. Not this time.

By the way; 3 years. That is amazing. I am sitting on about 28 days and it seems like its been a long time. While I have made it 90 days +, it always seems like a long time when we start again.

Thank you for your continued insight. Words of wisdom well spoken.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: idunno on September 17, 2019, 12:48:28 PM
Yeah, it's funny about the images you find everywhere. "Sex sells" is a tough reality for people with our problem, because no matter where you look -- people are selling things! For me, I have to learn to just not get too worked up (or more to the point, aroused) by it. That's easier said than done, though. I have commonly been aroused a bit by something, say an image or a person when I'm out, and it swirls in my mind, becoming this storm of arousal that ends only when I'm home alone at my computer and I pour all that energy into a porn session. Sometimes that process would take days -- the lust brewing and amplifying. Then again, I would let it happen, and would even push it along in my mind. For me, that's the key point. Like the idea you posted to me a while back, WIP, about first glance for you, second for the devil -- I think it's an Islamic saying? -- the point being not to engage in, or just to be aware of, that escalation process. Easy to say, again... Anyway, I hope things are going well for you these days.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: jixu on September 17, 2019, 02:56:44 PM
That was a good "unload" as you put it.  An occasional bout or controlled episode of primal scream therapy never hurt anyone!   
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 19, 2019, 11:58:10 AM
Glad I got it off my chest. Thanks, guys, for the feedback and support. It's the stupidity of knowing that I'm starting to do things that have a mild amount of risk about them, and despite knowing how often i've failed before.... thinking that this time I'll be OK  :o.

Thursday evening. Logging-off. All good. I feel mostly better than I'm used to. Like my grass is fairly green, no less green than anybody else's and no less green than I deserve. Got that "equanimity" kind of mind state, which feels pretty nice. Hope I can hold onto it. Best wishes to you all.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 23, 2019, 05:25:49 AM
Trying to complete this journey is hard enough, without setting the treadmill on an incline. Weekend was more hectic and stressful than usual, hosting a birthday party, two kids' sleepovers and being involved in organising a sport festival yesterday. Didn't give myself enough down-time to recharge my mental and emotional batteries. Every time I suggest just doing nothing, and relaxing, my nearest and dearest react like I'm some sort of hermit. I need to be assertive about my need for a couple of empty hours in a weekend. This morning I went into the garden to "spend a few minutes getting my brain prepared for the working week". My wife came to tell me a load of the same sport things we'd already discussed ad nauseam over the weekend. Thankfully, she wasn't annoyed when I asked if we could talk about something other than sport, but it blew-out my mindful time.

Upshot is that I've started another working week unprepared and feeling unfulfilled. My chimp's telling me there's no harm in going looking at some P. I really need to have the calming, mindful, inner dialogue before I get to work on a Monday morning, rather than once I get to my desk. Isn't that what the weekend is for? This forum is so helpful to me, as the place where i can read and think and focus on recovery. But I wish I wasn't coming here triggered. I guess it is what it is, though. And by the time I log off RN, I'll be in a better place and on a more even keel. I read somebody on here recently say "every day, re-set your mental counter like it's day-zero... and commit not to use porn". That's what I'm doing now.

Key take-away for myself - I need to structure my time better, so that I can make this a little easier.


Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Free-man on September 23, 2019, 06:42:05 AM
It seems that you're having a lot of stress trough the weekends and trough the working days too.
I know when people say `you're an hermit', It's very hard to hear that because it's not your fault, it's just that you're not on the same mood than them.
I know when you say you 'need to recharge my mental and emotional batteries' , there are people that just don't understand that we're not on the same mood as them, that you don't want to make this or that, that you need your own time to think to recharge.
I have social anxiety and when I've been tried to socialise my energy start to down and in a couple of hours I am a zombie that just want to take the bed and sleep.

You're doing very good man.
Stay strong
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: idunno on September 23, 2019, 01:01:21 PM
Hi WIP. I came here triggered today, too. But reading the new posts has helped refocus me or calm me down. I can see in your last post where you'd be aggravated a bit, but how nice to be aggravated and annoyed, and over-taxed by social situations, and yet despite all that not be running into porn's embrace. I don't mean to play the "look-on-the-bright-side" part, but you sound there like the kind of "normal" person I've alternately romanticized and found incomprehensible. I can't even count the times I've let such stressors drive me (oh-so-gladly) into a porn session at the first possible opportunity. I've tended to look at "normal" people who could handle aggravation without recourse to hours-long porn sessions as strange animals indeed. For most of my life, it's been inconceivable how such men could exist.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: workinprogressUK on September 29, 2019, 02:49:06 PM
how nice to be aggravated and annoyed, and over-taxed by social situations, and yet despite all that not be running into porn's embrace.

Ironic to log-on and read that, idunno. It's appropriate and reading it again gives me much-needed strength. I'm triggered too, tonight. Have been triggering all afternoon. Chimp's cajoling, rather than screaming, that "there's no harm in a quick look".... "just look at some soft stuff". Kind of minimising the implications. An i have to admit that there's nothing i'd love more right now than to give in. But I haven't. I've been tempted to drop out on any number of occasions today, but I've toughed it out. Nothing graceful or sophisticated in the approach. I guess I've just white-knuckled it and been bloody-minded in refusing  >:( ;D. So.... logging off and heading to bed now, feeling fairly proud of myself. I've really struggled not to fall, so I'm proud to finish the day still standing. These are the days that matter; when it hurts and I have to cause myself discomfort and anxiety and fight my own feelings. Feels rewarding to have made it through. Wishing you all success in your own recovery today/tonight.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: Lero on September 30, 2019, 04:39:19 AM
Good stuff, man. What you described there is not foreign to me. During my longest streak I craved dopamine like crazy. I told myself: "No, I don't want to give up. I want to keep going" but my body didn't understand that. All I could feel all over me was: "Let's PMO and feel great!" But, we must not forget how we feel after a relapse. Maybe it would even be a good idea to visualize it, try to transport us to a relapse and see if we like it. I'm sure we don't. This recovery is suffering, no doubt, but it's not an endless suffering, it ends one day. And then we can look back and say: "See, it was a great choice not to give up cause now it's over." Relapsing gets us back to that cycle where we never reach the day when we are done with it. So good choice to keep going. Fuck that voice. It's the addicted brain. "It's not me, it's the addiction." It's not us who want P, it's the brain.
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: BigMog on September 30, 2019, 09:15:07 AM
Well done, WiP. Stick with it. Yep, I’ve frequently heard the cajoling chimp. I think we’re stuck with him for a while but we don’t have to do what he wants!
Stay strong!
Title: Re: See them grow up
Post by: jixu on November 02, 2019, 11:45:48 AM
Hi WIP!  Hope you are doing okay.  If you get a chance hope you can give an update, rain or shine-miss having you around !  Take care