Reboot Nation

Journals => Ages 40 and up => Topic started by: Strikeatruepath on June 18, 2017, 05:56:54 PM

Title: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on June 18, 2017, 05:56:54 PM
Here I am, struggling with an addiction to porn. I had always been attracted to it, but its availability was limited for most of my life (thank God -I feel so sorry for all these young guys who have been exposed to this shit from such a young age)

In my forties I got a computer and I thought all my birthdays had come at once with all the free stuff available. It took me a long time to realise that I had a problem with it

Once I started watching I couldn't stop clicking away looking for more and more exciting images and scenes. Hours would go by and I would get angry with myself for wasting so much time -that I could be using for healthy and productive things such as art and music, time with friends and family etc. I became more and more bad tempered and reclusive, losing more and more motivation and confidence. Horrible!

Couldn't wait for my partner to go out so I could get back on the porn and Ive been feeling crap for betraying her and having this "dirty secret" that I am so scared she will find out about. I really hope I can move on from this as soon as I can so it will be in the past.

My pattern of use has not been to masturbate to porn, but to seek out more and more stimulating pictures and films and to acquire them. I realise that this is a way of drugging myself ("edging"), and it all keys in to natural urges. The porn hijacks my powerful natural drives. I have the "thrill of the hunt" seeking out this stuff and I capture it by downloading it onto my computer -I very rarely watch it again! It all gets deleted when I regain control and decide to continue in my effort to stop using.

I realise that this stuff is really TOXIC. It leaves me feeling like shit and poisons my whole being, taking me further away from who I am and the person I want to be. IT IS NOT THE DIRECTION I WANT TO GO IN MY LIFE.

I feel so ashamed and alone. I don't feel like I can tell anyone in my life about it and theres nowhere I could write about it at home where my writings wont be found. So here I am on this forum to let other people know my story and the ups and downs of my recovery. I'm thinking it will be good for me and good for all the other guys who are in this position to share our experiences and ideas.

Although I have relapsed many times, I have reached the stage where I feel like I am recovering. I have handled my last two relapses really well -much better than in the past. I have managed to stop the binge from lasting so long and Ive been able to avoid berating myself for my lapses. For me these are major steps forward and give me hope for the future.

This is a really tough thing to go through as all the guys on here know. I beat a ten year smoking habit and it was dead easy compared to this!

Anyway, I have just come out of another relapse and wiped all the porn off my computer. Back on track again thank goodness. My plan now is to have a look at what happened and learn some lessons from it.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your own recovery process



Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Detente on June 19, 2017, 12:28:55 AM
Hi Richard, just wanted to say welcome.  Looks like you know what's going on and where you want to be.  Good luck on your journey!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: workinprogressUK on June 19, 2017, 03:43:09 AM
Good luck today, Richard. It's the only day that matters. Have you got yourself some plans and safeguards in place for when the urge strikes?
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on June 19, 2017, 03:18:38 PM
Thanks guys for the welcome and your encouraging words.

"Have you got yourself some plans and safeguards in place for when the urge strikes?"

My plan for when the urge strikes is mainly to get off the computer right away. If I must use it then it will have to be in a public place or at home only when I'm in the same room as my partner. When my partner leaves the house I will get off the computer and do something else.
My last relapse was caused by using my life drawing as an excuse for searching the internet for pictures of naked women "to practice my drawing with" It wasn't long before gifs and videos of sex started appearing and for a while I was able to ignore them but of course in time I gave in. I think it was because I was tired or stressed or bored maybe -but looking back it seems it was inevitable. Like an alcoholic sticking his head into the door of a pub repeatedly inhaling the aroma or having "just a couple of sips" of beer.

So, I know I have to avoid ANY sexually stimulating pictures or videos. And also to work on dealing with tiredness, stress and boredom
I have meditated for 30 mins every morning for a while now and this has really helped with the stress and the tiredness, so I am intending to find time to do more of this. My sleep is better than it was a few months ago in that although I nearly always wake up in the early hours, I find I can get back off to sleep fairly quickly. Ive been taking more exercise this lately too, which is very good for me.

As to the boredom well I think that is because I don't seem to feel any actual strong sexual urge -its not my raging sex drive that makes me head for the porn but more a lack of it! I want that powerful alive feeling (you know -that feeling that porn in reality destroys!) I am finding it hard to accept that my sex drive is so low these days. The years have gone by (53 now) and I am slightly overweight so I would expect a bit of slowing down but not this much. Not really sure what to do about this. Maybe the only thing is to stay off the porn and wait to see what happens in the long run? And to remind myself that it is always better to stay off porn whatever level my libido is at.
I draw and paint and play musical instruments and really want to spend more time and energy on these things.

Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on June 20, 2017, 06:05:38 AM
A little depressed today. I have no urge to use though -if I did feel the urge I wouldn't be here on the computer as I am alone in the house this morning!

All my life I have suffered from feelings of sadness and anxiety, entwined with notions that I am inadequate, useless, untrustworthy, a disappointment, and that I am essentially a bad person.

I think that these false beliefs and painful feelings are what I have been trying to escape from by using porn. I have the tears behind my eyes right now but no urge to use; instead I am choosing to experience my feelings because they are there underneath whether I use or not. Using would just drive me deeper and deeper into the vicious spiral downwards of bad feelings leading to porn use, leading to more bad feelings leading to more porn use and on and on and on.

Ive made quite a lot of progress over the years in 'dealing' with this stuff ie increasing my awareness of it and how it affects me, through counselling and meditation.
In my twenties I was full of anger and it was a force that controlled my life at the time and I got in trouble with the law a few times. It drove me because I didn't really know what it was or where it was from. In the end I came to realise that it was from my childhood sense of helplessness and experience of the abuse of authority. My anger homed in on anything symbolic of this, notably the government/establishment. It felt so good and powerful to defy them. In time I came to realise this and to see the harm I was doing to myself -and the anger was no longer in charge. I knew where my anger came from and came to accept and live with it.

I am hoping that my increasing awareness of my feelings and the mechanism of using porn to medicate them, and of the harm that it does to me (and others ) will lead to a situation where I am in control again, as happened with my anger all those years ago

Well time to get off the computer now as Ive no need to be here now Ive finished this post! Best wishes to you who are reading
-Richard


Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Firstbigstep on June 20, 2017, 06:32:29 AM
Hi Richard, and a belated welcome. Loads of parallels to my own situation - particularly the self hatred aspects. I won't bore you with  (another) account of how I got here - if you have a look at my journal, it's all there!

What I will do is endorse this forum. If I'm entirely honest, not everyone is at the same point in their journey.  I find myself challenged by those who appear to be entirely focused on their sexual prowess and equally by those whose entire journals appear to be a sequence of lapses.

From what you've written,  you seem to be aware of the wider implications of your porn use - there are many here who will offer you support, guidance and compassion throughout your journey.

Wishing you all the very best with the process.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on June 28, 2017, 04:38:18 AM
Well, I have been porn free for 12 days now, which is great. I have the opportunity right now as my partner is out for a couple of hours, but I am making the choice to write in here instead, then I'm going to get off the computer and go for a walk.


I've been feeling a bit down and stressed at times and the dreaded "Dead Dick Syndrome" has been here -but it is slowly coming back to life.
I find the dead dick syndrome very difficult to deal with, especially when there are long or recurring spells of it. Life can feel very dull and flat, and in the past I have used porn again to try to force myself to get aroused -always a bad move!

So far I have not had any strong urges to use; I know from experience that a month or so in is when it starts to get tougher for me. Last couple of times at this stage I have started searching for and looking at pictures of nude women and it has gradually led to full on porn videos. It has taken a week or two to get there, but it is inevitable, so this time round I will avoid looking at any stimulating material, however "soft" or "mild" it may be.

I think II have reached the point where I believe that porn isn't an option for me and I'm feeling a bit scared and vulnerable -this is a natural way to feel I suppose, because I am leaving a hiding place/letting go of a crutch that I have grown to depend upon when life is tough.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on July 03, 2017, 05:57:10 AM
Seventeen days now without using! I am very pleased with this but I know from past experience to never let myself get too complacent...the really testing times will be when I get strong urges.
So far I have just had small temptations to look at sexy images and these have been easy to resist.
I have been taking regular exercise and I have improved my diet, and I am feeling good generally (although I have been quite low at times)
I am feeling more relaxed with my partner too -which is a blessed relief as our relationship is so important to me. I love her dearly and I don't want this shit to get between us.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on July 06, 2017, 07:12:02 AM
Still going strong -0ver 20 days now. I am aware sometimes of a feeling of emptiness/hunger/stress. Not sure what it is about, but maybe it is the feeling I have covered up with porn use? Or withdrawal symptoms? I don't know, but no doubt I will find out in time. Aside from this feeling, the main problems I'm having are disturbed sleep and Dead Dick Syndrome. I have felt depressed and inadequate at times, too.
BUT...I have a whole lot more energy, I am focussing well on my creative goals and I am free of the terrible guilt and shame that I was feeling.
I really feel like I am on track and going where I want to go.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: js2004 on July 06, 2017, 07:18:29 AM
Keep going!  For me not feeling the guilt and shame was huge. Once I got over that it really became about the feelings I was covering up with my P&M use. Now I am learning how to deal with those feelings and it hard as shit. First time in 20 years I have to feel instead of finding something to cover up my emotions. But it's what I need to do to stay free of the crap online.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on July 06, 2017, 07:32:02 AM
Yeah js doing what we have to do to stay free, dealing with the underlying feelings. I'm guessing we just have to feel them, which takes courage. Really they are there whether we use porn or not, and the porn makes them a whole lot worse and so more difficult to face...then its more porn and even worse feelings and so the vicious cycle goes on. I am so glad to have broken out of this pattern.
My plan is to take time to focus on the feelings and experience them, to write about them on here, to talk to a close friend of mine about them. If they are too intense I will look for some counselling.
Onwards to a better future!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: js2004 on July 07, 2017, 10:48:39 AM
Better future is the key for me and I think it's a great attitude to have to be successful.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on July 15, 2017, 07:17:59 AM
This has been a great week for me. I am feeling so much better about myself and I am getting out in the world more. Meeting new people, doing new and worthwhile things.
No signs of the sex drive returning, no life down there at all -its total Dead Dick Syndrome. Just have to trust that it will return in time. It feels very strange not to have that sexual energy, but I suppose it is good to be able to focus on things better without the distraction.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: js2004 on July 15, 2017, 02:49:20 PM
Good to hear.  I'm pretty sure it will return in time. Take care of yourself mentally first.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on July 17, 2017, 06:32:51 AM
Thanks js.
 I've had a great weekend with lots of time spent with partner and friends, I'm feeling better about myself and more confident. The weight continues to go down......and there are signs of life 'down below'!(at last)
Had a few urges but resisted them and stayed off the computer when they happened.
Things are going great, but I am on my guard for when I get a low mood or stressed, as this is the time when I am most at risk. Instead of the instinctive reach for porn I plan to feel my feelings and to take care of myself. I want to learn more about those feelings - where they come from and how  I can respond to them in a healthy positive way. To undermine the urge to use, rather than being undermined by it.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: js2004 on July 17, 2017, 07:52:00 AM
Glad to hear you had a good weekend and that things are more alert in your libido. I had a decent weekend myself. It really is amazing that the further away from this garbage you get the easier it becomes to manage. I'm at day 40 and feeling great about where I am at.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on July 19, 2017, 07:34:54 AM
Thanks js.
I am at the 30 day mark now! Life and my self confidence have improved enormously already. Temptation is getting more intense though as it has in the past at this stage. I am on my guard and staying away from any kind of images that turn me on.
Off on holiday for two weeks at the weekend, so wont be posting for a little while as no computer/ internet. This also means no temptation either -look forward to forgetting about the whole issue for a week or so.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: js2004 on July 19, 2017, 10:19:52 AM
That two week stretch will be helpful for you. I flatlined at about day 30-35 so if that hits you embrace it. It made a week or so way easier and I felt like my brain took a week off of thinking about P&M and sex in general.  My libido I do is just now starting to return but not near the level I was at on day 5. Have fun on your holiday!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on August 08, 2017, 05:31:06 AM
Back from my hols with my other half. Had a great time and the libido is really improving, which is great.

On my first day back home I felt tired and depressed, and found myself beginning to slide down the road to relapse. I searched on the 'net for pictures of nude women for practicing my drawing. I have got no need to do this as I already have more than enough reference pictures. Luckily I had  enough awareness to realise where it was leading and got off the computer.
 I remember how my last relapse began this way and gradually I looked at more and more explicit material, thinking I was strong ignoring videos and things that showed up -but after two weeks or so I was back where I really didn't want to be. It wrecked the feeling between me and my love, and killed my libido. Fucking hate it!
Well I have absolutely no healthy need to be on the internet looking for pictures of women. So that's it -I'm not going to do it. I remember recently dishing out some advice to someone on here about staying away from "sexy pictures" because they only lead back to porn use -how it is like an alcoholic sticking their head in a bar and inhaling the smell of alcohol. So, from now on I will follow my own advice!
I am going to be generous and not count it as a relapse -but I it was a close thing and it has reinforced my knowledge that this is really dangerous ground for me and I must avoid it.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: js2004 on August 08, 2017, 10:02:48 AM
STP - Glad to to hear you had a good holiday. As fo the sexy pics you are 100% correct on where it will lead you. I had the same issue last week in the airport but made it through and didn't count it as a slope as well. In fact I took it more as a learning experience and evaluated everything that lead me down the path. Anyways glad to hear everything is well. 
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on August 17, 2017, 07:58:42 AM
Thanks js.

Been busy these last few days and no chance to post on here. The other half doesn't know about my struggle with porn use, so I have to do my posting when I get time alone.

I have a couple of days at home alone now that she has gone away to see some friends. I have the urge at times to search for stimulating pictures/ videos on the internet and really need to be on my guard in this situation. In my bad times I would have seen this as a golden opportunity to binge, but I don't this time. I have made a decision and a commitment to stay clean, and know the danger of surfing for exciting pictures of women: it has always led me sooner or later to using porn again.

So, I'm going to watch some videos about porn addiction instead, spend some time out walking and visiting friends, and get on with  my drawing and music practice. Watch a film or two maybe. Enjoy some alone time.

Feeling strong and positive on this my 61st day.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: js2004 on August 23, 2017, 06:07:59 AM
Hope all is still going well with you!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on August 24, 2017, 09:11:27 AM
Yeah thanks js. Still off the porn and on with my creative stuff. Diet and exercise going steadily too. Felt down for a day or two, but much better now. I reckon that as time goes on I am becoming more and more able to focus on the really worthwhile things that I want to make happen in my life.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on September 04, 2017, 06:07:38 AM
The sex drive seems to be somewhere over the horizon. I feel like theres nothing I can do but wait in hope -or at least just get on with life and see what happens in time. I understand that this is what people go through when they give up porn use.
Managing to resist the urges to view porn on the internet -this time round I am avoiding the trap of using it to try and revive my sexual energy.
Don't ever want to go back to the porn
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on September 12, 2017, 05:52:16 AM
Sex drive back! Enjoyed sex with my partner, but I know my dick could be go into hibernation anytime!
Hunted for 'sexy' stuff on youtube yesterday, thankfully I managed to stop myself after a couple of minutes. This kind of thing leads to relapse for me -I need to be very careful managing these urges. Stay off the computer when I am alone, unless I am on this site.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: lyon03 on September 12, 2017, 06:31:02 AM
Well done on sex with your partner and resisting the gateway porn; or as I call it, "porn lite." Do you think the YouTube seeking was like a chaser effect? Was is the day after? I myself find that I masturbate from time to time the day after sex with my boyfriend because I find myself hypersexualized. Be well. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION. 
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: jjacks on September 12, 2017, 06:42:08 AM

i like the "chaser" metaphor. for masturbating the day after having good sex I have done the same thing here a few times, sort of like celebrating my success ...
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on September 15, 2017, 12:29:20 PM
Yes, the youtube searching was the day after. Id heard of the chaser idea before but didn't know what it meant. I guess that is another thing for me to look out for and avoid in future.
lyon I like the name you have for the youtube stuff "Gateway Porn". I've found myself sucked into a relapse with this several times in the past; it leads straight back to porn which as you say, is not an option.
My partner is away for a couple of days and here I am alone with a computer. I have decided to avoid searching for any stimulating material, and if I gat any strong urges I will get off here and do something else for a while.
Thanks guys for reading my post and giving me your thoughts.....Power to you in your porn free lives!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on September 16, 2017, 09:58:09 AM
I have found that the urges to view stimulating material have all but disappeared now, which is very good news. As I said, I nearly relapsed the other day. My thanks to Lyon for putting a name to that stuff ("Gateway Porn") Labelling it for what it is has really helped me reinforce my decision to avoid it. It is so easy for us to kid ourselves that a little bit of this or a little bit of that will be ok.
thanks for reading my stuff
-Strike
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: lyon03 on September 16, 2017, 04:34:05 PM
Thanks for posting Strike. I'm glad to have helped. That's the purpose of this forum: to encourage others while also exchanging information. So for every post I write, I try to encourage at least 3-5 other members with their own reboot/recovery. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on September 19, 2017, 12:12:47 PM
I have made it to the 3 month mark! Hooray!!! I managed to go six months once but this is the longest I have ever  gone without porn since then - I have always relapsed within a month or so.

Of late I have had strong urges to look for nude pictures of women on the internet, there is a part of me which is trying to persuade me that its ok cos its not porn. I see this as my addicted brain trying to lure me back to using. When I decide not to give in to these urges I feel depressed. And when I get depressed I get the urges more. A bit of a loop that I have to be wary of.

It seems like I am mourning the loss of porn from my life. I may be missing the drugging effect when I feel low or stressed or bored -but I am definitely not missing the guilt, the self loathing, the deception, the low confidence, the wasted time, the energy drain, the stunted creativity -the toxic life-fuck that using porn is. As Lyon03 says: "Porn is not an option"

Thanks for reading
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: lyon03 on September 20, 2017, 06:35:27 AM
Thanks for sharing strike. If you haven't already done so, I'd suggest reading "Your Brain on Porn." What you've described is similar to something I experienced my first six months of reboot. I believe it's at about the 90-day mark that our brains start breaking down DeltaFosB which is a neurochemical that tells us to repeat things that are pleasurable and rewarding. As you may already know, we are really addicted to dopamine, or the brain's pleasure neurotransmitter. So we suffer from porn-induced dopamine addiction. Think of dopamine like running water and DeltaFosB like the irrigation ditches. What you're doing now is the equivalent of trying to find pleasure in a way that runs counter current or maybe even at right angles to your brain's pleasure centre. For example, in early reboot I'd often find myself just hypnotically typing the URL of a porn-tube when I wanted to type: www.pornaddictsanonymous.org. Similarly, I found that I'd go to the gym and yet sexualize everyone there out of habit. After all, I'd trained my brain to think everything and everyone was in a potential porn scene. I believe these "automaton" responses, reactions, and cravings started to subside around the 6-9 month mark. Thanks again for sharing your experience friend. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION. 
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on September 20, 2017, 12:44:38 PM

 Yeah it seems like riding a bike at right angles to the grooves of habit -a bumpy uncomfortable time, with spells when we end up back in the hated grooves. New grooves are slowly being worn in our new, healthy direction, but it takes time I guess....
I will take your advice and give that book a read. Looking forward to easier times, however far down the line they are for me

Thanks Lyon for your perspective and advice
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: lyon03 on September 21, 2017, 11:02:32 AM
My pleasure. Reading "Your Brain on Porn" and other books about addiction helped me overcome the shame associated with addictive behaviour. When I learned that I was addicted to the neurostimulant dopamine, not just lusty x-rated videos, the science helped. Seeing my addictions in scientific terms helped me detach and see them in neurological, rather than emotional or perhaps even biblical, terms. It helped to know that I wasn't just an "evil sinner" but someone who got hooked on porn-induced dopamine addiction. Thanks again for sharing. Keep coming back. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.   
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on September 23, 2017, 06:18:50 AM
Feeling down again today, but I really think this is positive as it is partly a result of letting go of my porn use, and deciding not to travel along the avenues that would lead me to relapse. Grieving for the loss of my crutch, my fucked up attempt to 'cope' with difficult feelings.

This morning I talked with my partner about things I feel down about in life at the moment (not the porn though as I haven't told her about this yet) This was very positive and a step forward as I am generally not very good at asking for, and receiving, support from other people

Thanks for reading guys
-Strike
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on September 27, 2017, 12:35:25 AM
Hi Strike,

how are you?

I find that open honesty is incredibly cathartic ( and sexy!!! )
So few of us dare to do this because of inherent shame or regret
but it is those who dare to accept their imperfections that can go forth and achieve the greatest things
They are not more perfect than we are, but they are less hindered than we are, because their flaws do not hinder them like we believe our flaws hinder us. Instead of busy hiding it, they can openly improve on it.
In fact, they are proud of their flaws, as they are proud of their strength.
Combined, they are doubly prouder and stronger than we are. Wow amazing !

Go forth and be strong and open my friend.
No man is an island, and to go the distance, we should enlist all the help we can get.
And others DO want to help you!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on September 28, 2017, 06:33:24 AM
Thanks for that, TAN, your words make good sense.

Right now I don't feel strong enough to tell my other half about my struggle, but it is something I would very much like to do when (or if) the time is right.

Ive been going through quite a deep low these last few days, but thankfully my mood has lifted a little overnight and today feels more positive and hopeful.
Due in part at least to the fact that I have cut out all sexy image/youtube video searching which I was doing occasionally in small amounts ....I was stopping short of anything erotic or featuring sex acts, and not doing any masturbation. The problem was that I was going in small steps toward relapse as I have done in the past.

My decision is to suffer my low mood rather than let it drive me back to that hated place of using. And trust that things will get better (with the expected ups and downs along the way) with healthy thinking, good food, exercise, this forum, meditation etc

I think that depression and difficult feelings have driven me to porn use through my life, and this porn use has led to an exacerbation of these things, making them a whole lot worse. For example, social anxiety increases hugely with the shame that we feel about using.
 
I had a disturbing memory today. I remembered word for word parts of stories from porn magazines I read 30 to 40 years ago! They didn't turn me on -they were just going through my mind -wierd!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on September 28, 2017, 08:53:30 AM
Strike,

I empathize with you.
I had a difficult day today too.

Remember, addiction is hardest to cure through cold turkey. It is always better to have a simple replacement.
crave cigarettes ? play the rubix cube
crave PMO? practice your guitar.

I just realized this:
Everytime we endured a rough patch, we grow stronger and more confident in ourselves.
When we turn to PMO to get over the patch, we deny our chance to learn from this experience and be stronger.
Day after day of PMO, we miss this chance.
Imagine a grain of sand in strength and confidence gained for each day of facing our fears and not escaping through PMO
10*365 = 3650 grains of sand in 10 years.
That's a lot of grains of confidence we've missed out in 10 years !

So how do we get over rough patches without turning to PMO?
1. always remember the bigger picture. In time, this too will pass
2. practice cognitive behavior therapy by repeating positive words in our head.
3. aim to collect today's grain for tomorrow's sand castle
4. Take a moment to explore this emotion. Ask where and why is it coming from. Ask factual questions is it reasonable or justified? Breath. Question it deeply and repeatedly until you are comfortable that it and your reality are 2 seperate things. Only reality matters.
5. practice self love !!!


I am also starting to question if we were really depressed or is our life long depression PMO caused or it is our opinion.
I've been deeply depressed for the better part of these last 5 months so i know how terrible and grey life was then
but i also think depression is possibly a state of mind.
If so we must learn to change the way we think, and become more positive.
to completely forsake and forget our past, and decide from this point onwards that whatever we experience is not depression or self pity, but just another day with ups and downs, just like what everyone else is experiencing, nothing more, nothing less.
we are no more special or less able than others. we are all the same.

I spoke with a monk recently on depression. His words were most touching.
"You are never alone. There are hundreds of thousands of lonely depressed people just like you. you are not alone"

This is a tricky topic, I am just beginning to explore it
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results"
So for us to be better, more than we were before, we must do some rework/reinvention of ourselves.
Its probably very difficult and uncomfortable, but nothing easy was ever meaningful.

"if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him" -> if i apply my old ways/habits/outlook, i need to kill it

Don't take things, low days or even depression, personally. This is something worth considering!

peace to you my brother. the weekend is almost here.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Maximus76 on October 01, 2017, 03:27:18 AM
Hey brother. Just want to say, MAN you are strong! You keep going despite the depression and low periods. A true inspiration.

I'm 100% sure it will start paying dividends real soon!  Me, I'm still stuck in the cycle of relapsing when things feels too shitty :(  ...guess that's why I admire you so much.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on October 01, 2017, 08:34:21 AM
Strike,
actually its kinda easy when depressed. Cos I'm so grey and interestless. Suicide was the bigger danger.
Now that I'm rolling, urges are coming more frequently cos the mind is moving and ideas are popping.

I know what you mean about shitty states. Thats my major weakness too. I just want a quick feel good hit like pmo.

Thing is, I'm coming to realize and accept that everything emotional from the mind CANNOT BE TRUSTED. Emotions are not rational. They are formed from habit and practice. They care not past and future. Only now. And they are craving in nature. That is why they are so dangerous.

Spend the time questioning the emotion.
Why do i feel sad. Do i need to?
Is this permanent? What are my life goals?
What is the factual right thing to do now?

You'll come to realize that your logical mind has the proper and right answers.

I'm working on brainwashing myself now.
When I'm running, i keep saying I'm strong, I'm fast. It takes my mind away from my physical pain.
When I'm angry or filled w hate, i keep saying I'm happy I'm happy.
Amazingly, it actually works!

Reality is the perception in our mind.
Change the perception and we change our reality.

We WERE addicts because we WERE controlled by our emotions.
Take charge of our emotions NOW and we begin to take charge of our life, our destiny.
Outlook, attitude, aptitude all follows.

Write with me my brother.
Few understand me like you do.
Everyone's doing behavioral change.
But few realize that mind leads choice and behavior, so its really mind that needs changing

Be strong and optimistic.
It is only the abundant and positive mindset that can lead you to salvation
No self pity cos thats entitlement.
Only unlimited self love and the choice that you deserve the very best life has to offer, that you choose yourself over everything else matters.

This mind change selfhelp really works.
Change your mind, and you change your reality.

We have long chosen pleasure over performance.
Now is time to do your best and chose performance over pleasure. Performance rewards far better than pleasure.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 03, 2017, 05:54:04 AM
Thankyou, TAN.

I have been away with the other half for a couple of days visiting family. I didn't feel like it, but once we were there I really enjoyed it -new places, new experiences.
Still struggling to avoid searching for the "Gateway Porn" of images/videos of scantily clad women. Succeeding mostly and reigning myself in quickly when I succumb. What I am aiming for is to avoid this shit altogether as I am too aware of the danger of relapse that I am putting myself in.
Ive also found that I am constantly trying to get an "eyeful" of women I see in my daily life -my mind is seeking its drug wherever it can find it!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on October 04, 2017, 10:37:06 AM
Strike,
I'm concern for you my brother.
You have to find out what's making you crave to search.
Also you got to do the cold turkey of not searching. To know yourself. To prove to yourself you can do it.
We are NOT connected to our emotions, that's why we find it difficult to control our ways.
To gain back control is to experience and learn.
Looking for pics is only the symptom.
You've got to find out the root.

Does straying seeking eyes = lack of focus?
If so can you find something to focus your life on?

There are ways.
Please my friend, don't suffer needlessly. Find ways that work for you, and apply them. You can do it.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: lyon03 on October 07, 2017, 05:26:04 AM
Thanks for sharing Strike. I'd recommend setting up a porn filter for your computer or smartphone. K9 seemed the most effective for me. I think it's normal to have a "negotiation phase" of addiction. I did and it sounded a bit like this:

- Still photos (not videos) of naked men aren't porn
- I'll just watch the porn without jerking off
- Erotic fiction isn't pornography

And so on. Some people I know from a 12-step porn programme write out exact what's considered acceptable and not acceptable behaviour. I believe this is called an 'inventory' of sorts. Perhaps you could write out what exactly what you consider safe and addictive behaviours. Food for thought! Thinking of you my friend. Love Lyon.

Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Inner_Light on October 07, 2017, 06:33:40 AM
I like Lyon's idea of the inventory of what's acceptable and what's not.  The process of thinking through what goes on that list and what doesn't should be valuable.  For example, is fantasizing sex with actual women I see porn?  I say not (I actually want to increase the degree to which I respond sexually to attractive women).  But what DOES go on the list is allowing that to be a trigger for watching porn rather than having real sex. 

Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 07, 2017, 06:58:07 AM
Thankyou Lyon and TAN.

TAN you are right, I have to do the cold turkey of not searching, get down to the roots and dig them out! Behind the urge to search are things like low mood, anxiety, uncertainty and very low self esteem. When searching, I am totally focussed on and excited by what I'm looking for and these problems don't seem to exist any more.....
I'm working on these drivers -it takes time as I'm sure you know from your own experience of learning to love and be kind to yourself. Childhood was a nightmare, and I suspect that I may need to deal with some trauma.

Lyon, writing that list is a great idea. I suppose I've had an unwritten list of sorts in my mind already, which is evolving over time and I have been crossing things off along the way. Things I have crossed off so far are:

"I'll set a timer and just watch porn for half an hour"
"Its ok to just watch porn now and again, such as on weekends"
"I can just download my favourite videos and leave it at that -they may disappear off the net and I'll lose them for ever if I don't"
"I can have a stash and stop searching for porn"
"Still pictures of porn are ok, I wont watch videos"
....all of these things meant instant relapse, and I learned from the experience.

Very recently I crossed this one off:

"Its ok to watch sexy videos on youtube" -this includes videos that are not classified as sexy, but which I find sexually exciting/titillating

Still on the list is:

"Its ok to look at nude pictures, so long as they are not from a porn site"

But I am coming round to believing that this must be crossed off too. It has led slowly to relapse before and is likely to again if I carry on. It is part of my addiction.

Yes, I have decided now to stop searching for sexy pictures. This means anything anywhere that I find sexually interesting/exciting.
Wow. This feels like quite a step.

Had sex with my other half last night -it was loving, and really good and we felt close. I feel very happy about it and about the fact that it wasn't a struggle for me this time. I am on my guard about the "chaser effect" that some of you guys have mentioned though!


Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 10, 2017, 07:32:34 AM
The last couple of days have been a true test for me and my resolve as my girlfriend has been away from home and I have had plenty of opportunity to use, along with some of my triggers (tiredness, boredom, loneliness)
No porn use or searching for sexy pics, so I pass with flying colours!
Instead I read some of "Your Brain On Porn", did some drawing and painting, visited a friend, and started volunteering in my community among other things.
This is my true path -and Strike is striking it!
It feels so good to be recovering I want to cry
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: lyon03 on October 10, 2017, 07:51:28 AM
Excellent post! There is no better feeling, nor greater (natural) high, than being our authentic selves. Well done my friend! PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 11, 2017, 04:43:38 AM
Thanks Lyon.

Its great to have this forum for sharing the achievements and good times as well as the difficult stuff. Sharing, giving and receiving encouragement on this journey of recovery.

I am thinking that it may be good to always consider myself to be in recovery, because on the one hand I know that it would be dangerous to allow myself to become complacent; and on the other I'm seeing that recovery is not just about abstaining from using but about creating a healthy, fulfilling, meaningful life.

Looking forward to my girlfriends return today -I've been missing her
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 16, 2017, 07:39:56 AM
Not sure what to add to my last post, things are going along ok. Girlfriend came back -now gone away again. So at home alone but I have no urge to use right now. Going to read some more of "your brain on porn" and more of that link that TAN gave to me, and also get on with some music and art as now is a good time to do creative stuff cos I will have free reign of the flat for a couple of days.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on October 16, 2017, 09:46:03 AM
Hi Strike,

do take some time to meditate.
It is wonderful and liberating, and very good for the soul.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: lyon03 on October 17, 2017, 02:35:06 AM
Thanks for the update Strike. Please post here if you feel the loneliness or "porn itch" start creeping up on you. I look forward to your next update. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 19, 2017, 06:25:51 AM
Thanks Lyon.
I'm having a lot of stress in my life right now and that itch is definitely there -I scratched it by searching for nude figures "for my life drawing practice" Didn't lead on to porn use or masturbation (or any life drawing), but I know it was another near relapse. Lyon you call this stuff "Gateway porn" which is a good way of labelling it.
In a link given me by TAN from another site a guy advises that its best to not search for anything sexually interesting (artificial stimulation) -that it will easily lead to relapse. I know this from my own experience, yet I'm finding this searching for nudity very difficult to stop -that's the addiction. I'm finding it tough to really commit to cutting this searching out during emotionally difficult times. 
So I guess I need to stay aware of how gateway porn can lead back to porn use, stay keyed in to my feelings and stay off the computer when I am at risk of searching. At the same time though I need to continue to build the life I want.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on October 19, 2017, 12:12:46 PM
Strike, my thoughts are with you.

I have 2 techniques to share w you.

1
I learnt that when meeting someone you are fearful of, imagine them naked and having a going to cum face. That always puts a smile on my face. :)
Similarly,  there are some harsh Buddhist techniques i know of to help people move away from attachment to sex or life. It is to slowly visualize people towards a state of decay until beyond death. The idea is nothing is permanent. I dont advise you to try this, because it has powerful mental effects, but it is very effective in teaching impermanence. Please research deeply before you do.

2
A better way perhaps is to keep drilling the whys, so you can move beyond blurry emotions and figure out your real motives.

That girl i keep yoyoing in love with, i get very excited when i think of calling her. Tbh i dont know why.
Then i do the whys and realize it might not be excitement of talking to her, but fear of rejection from her, or the fear that the reality of 'our relationship' doesnt exist. (It doesnt)

But it is so subtle i couldnt tell the difference between desire and fear until i drill down.
The drilling down helps me to clarify my emotions and select more appropriate next steps
I realized and ask myself why am i depending on her for my own happiness?
If my happiness is my priority, it should originate from within, and not be determined from external stimulus.

And then just like that, the attachment is gone and i am free to do other things.

Stress may not be a bad thing. It stretches you and makes you stronger. The same difficult life experiences if viewed differently can present very different perspectives.

My old personal experience of heading for p is to run away from difficulties. Today my preference at going head-on into my difficulties is far more rewarding.

Take care my friend. I have faith you will be stronger.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 24, 2017, 01:21:14 PM
Thanks for that TAN
I started another voluntary job recently. At the moment I am out of work and it feels great to be contributing to the community, doing something worthwhile and meeting people. It doesn't cost anything, either, which is good as I have no money coming in! My attention is off my own thoughts for a while, which is really good for me as I tend to dwell on the negative a bit more than is healthy....
Tonight I am alone at home but I feel much stronger. The other half is away and I have the opportunity but I am going to do some art work instead of seeking stimulating pictures.
Time for me to properly commit to avoiding searching for any kind of sexually stimulating material ("Gateway Porn", which is anything stimulating -whether it was designed to be stimulating or not)
So I am going to start counting my days free of this kind of stuff, as well as my days free of porn

I am now 125 days porn free (wow I hadn't realised how long that was!)

....and 6 days free of Gateway Porn

....and counting.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 29, 2017, 07:39:57 AM
11 days free of searching for gateway porn.

By this I mean searching for scantily clad women wherever I can find them (except on porn sites which I never go to now) but mostly on youtube or tumblr.

I have stopped doing it because I believe it is maintaining my addiction and also because it puts me in great danger of relapsing.
It has led to relapse for me several times in the past before I came to this forum.

My pattern was to give up watching porn but after a few days I would begin to search for the gateway porn. At times I would stumble upon "hard" images and resist investigating them. But eventually I would get triggered and give in...and I would be back in that nasty place we all know so well. Sometimes it would take a week, sometimes two, but mostly it happened around the one month stage.

So this time round I have been on my guard and haven't searched so much for the gateway porn, but I've reached the conclusion this far down the line that I have to give this up altogether.

It has been 130 days since I gave up porn, but Ive read accounts by guys on here who have relapsed at over 100 days or even 200 days -so there can be no room for complacency.

Yesterday I had some very intense cravings, today I feel ok. I have a feeling this final letting go is going to be tough for me, and I think its very important to continue building a good life for myself doing the things out there in the world that I enjoy and bring me a sense of purpose and meaning.
Creativity, work, family, friends, relationship are all things that suffered from my addiction and they are all improving now. It is good to see positive benefits.

Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on October 30, 2017, 08:06:29 PM
Strike,
I'm with you.
Stay free of any stimulus, however small. They snowball very quickly and so are all dangerous.

Next, give a try to ride through your emotions and cravings.without labelling them, just to know their nature.
Feel them build up , peak and then pass away.
Soon you will come to realize they are like an itch, a pain... All the same, just a sensation that is impermanent.

You're fine and strong. You're doing great!

Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on October 31, 2017, 05:20:32 AM
TAN, thanks for your support and encouragement -just what I needed to hear this morning.
I will do as you suggest and try as best I can to experience the emotions and urges as they come and go.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on November 03, 2017, 10:44:10 AM
Hey Strike, how are you?

I had a little chance today to not label and experience my emotions
without labels the feelings felt rather neutral
afterwards, I became somewhat withdrawn and inward looking.
not sure why, but its ok.
i guess it happens to all of us
one with myself ? haha that's rather nice actually

i'll be bright and sunny tomorrow : )
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on November 03, 2017, 12:25:25 PM
Thanks for the shout TAN
I'm ok thanks, just a little busy with visitors here. So not much alone time to post on here -and less temptation, which is good.
Managing to stay away from the gateway porn, but as I say, less temptation right now.
Started doing some qigong exercise today to see what it does for my energy levels and clarity of mind.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on November 03, 2017, 06:46:31 PM
Qigong?
Then you have to read this from the success stories page

http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14359.msg145747#msg145747 (http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14359.msg145747#msg145747)

Awesome effort on his part for translating. I'm looking forward to more from him
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on November 10, 2017, 06:43:45 AM
Thanks TAN that made interesting reading.

My attempts to do regular qigong have been hampered by a pulled muscle n my shoulder but I hope to be back on track soon.

I had a couple of minor relapses in searching for (soft) nudity but managed to limit it. I am still aiming my target of avoiding searching for anything I find sexually exciting.

It has been nearly five months since I searched for or viewed porn, and now I am focussing on dealing with the urge to view nude/scantily dressed women. Minor stuff compared to the hard porn, but from reading "Your brain on porn" recently I know that by doing it I am keeping the addiction pathways going in my brain. This slows down my reboot and increases the danger of sliding back to using porn.

I'm going away on holiday now for a week or so, with no opportunity to search for nudity and I will be using the break to think of some strategies to move forward with this latest challenge.

Thanks for reading guys and I will aim to get a bit more active on here again when I get back.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Punk Monk on November 18, 2017, 04:55:44 PM
"Gateway porn"! Nice term! Because that is exactly what it is. (Sorry...I'm just now realizing that you've been calling it that for some time).

And yes, it definitely slows down the reboot process. It's like a recovering alcoholic having a "small drink" or even a "sip of beer" every day. The whole idea to free one's self from the need. Can't do that if you want it even a little.

Good luck, man. Enjoy those holidays.

P. Monk
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on November 21, 2017, 06:04:57 AM
Thanks PunkMonk the label "Gateway porn" is one of Lyons inventions -I have adopted it as it is such a good one as you say. The hols were very relaxing with great weather.

Today it has been five months since I gave up porn -wow. The longest I have gone before was six months, but that was not as "clean" as this as I was constantly searching for hardcore nudity (but justified it by telling myself it was ok because it wasn't from an actual porn site)
This time round it has been "soft" images (the gateway porn) that I have searched for on an on-and-off basis and I am working on eliminating this altogether. Slipping and learning my way along as I did with the hard stuff.
Sex with my partner has not been happening often, I wish I could be reliably horny -but I'm not, even after being off the porn for well over the 90 days and only masturbating once during all that time (without using porn). I find this very frustrating and quite depressing really.

The rest of life has improved immensely, especially the way I feel about  myself which has led to increased confidence and I feel more at ease when I am with people. I have built up a routine of voluntary work as a way of contributing to the community and as a route into paid work; also I am doing loads more drawing and painting.

I think I am on the right track and need to carry on as I am, whilst cutting out the gateway porn. Extra things I would like to do are more exercise, more meditation and to spend more time with friends.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Punk Monk on November 24, 2017, 06:16:05 PM
I hear ya, Strike.

The "soft" images have always been my drug of choice (so to speak). The fantasy of being with a gorgeous, photoshopped celebrity just fueled the fantasy fire. And it the end of the day, it's the dependence on the fantasy the kills (or at the very least severely impedes) our interaction with the real world.

The challenge, of course, is that's it's everywhere. Even "legit" news sites like USAToday, CNN or Fox all have some section about "see how so and so got into bikini shape" or how "such and such 'stunned' on the red carpet".  In that respect, I find avoiding the "soft" images almost harder than staying away from straight up porn. So kudos to you for staying clear.

I think I've been able to stay off the Gateway stuff for a good three weeks and I'm definitely noticing a change (for the better). The challenge will be when The Missus has her period (and "the store is closed for the week" as she says). That's usually when I give myself license to self gratify. Of course, it can be done without porn...gateway or otherwise. But...it's a challenge.

The key, as you alluded, is to occupy your mind with other creative outlets. Keep up with the drawing and painting. For me it's composing music and writing short short stories. Often, when I sit down at the computer, instead of opening up the browser, I'll either pop open Cubase or MS Word.

To paraphrase the old saying..."And idle mind is the Devil's playground".

Monk
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on December 06, 2017, 05:55:24 AM
thanks Monk

Yeah seems like everywhere we look someone is using arousing images or words as bait to draw us in -we are biologically hard wired to be attracted to this kind of stuff, but add our addiction pathways to this and its all the more potent. A real challenge and it sounds like you are doing well.

I've had one or two strong urges to peek over the last week or two and I have managed to resist by distracting myself. In one case by getting straight in to some art work -the urge passed a short while in to this and I got completely absorbed and engaged. After an hour or so I had a painting in front of me and I had learned new things. I thought how much more natural, healthy and fulfilling this was compared to wasting an hour searching for images.
In a way, this is a good substitute for one of the things I got from porn -complete absorption and distraction from everything. But now I'm thinking that I need to deal with this avoidance and face those difficult feelings!
One step at a time though. I think we all need distractions sometimes, and if we can get healthy ones that work for us then that is a good thing.

Doing ok now and heading for my six month mark which is in two weeks time.

Thanks for reading guys
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on December 06, 2017, 05:03:05 PM
Strike,

I'm really proud of your achievement.

This journey we take is so rewarding. I've know so much about myself and I think you do about yourself too.

But the most rewarding meaning i have now is that enduring is much much better than indulging.
Being focused on doing better, that sense of engagement and achievement, feels so much better than the escapism habit that has been our dependence.

I ran 2 half marathons over these 2 weekends.
They hurt, but they are real, and they also make me feel really good about myself.
Better than I'll ever feel sitting in front of a screen.
And I like these "new" good feelings.
Let's do more of these good things for ourselves.
In time, screen distractions will be a distant fading memory.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Punk Monk on December 10, 2017, 04:24:28 PM
Strike and TAN.

That's great to hear! I'm proud of you both.

TAN, wow! Two half marathons?! That's amazing. And I say this as someone who absolutely hates running. The most I can muster a lap around our Kung Fu school to warm up for class.  So, my hat's off to you sir!

Strike, really cool about the six months of "sobriety" (for lack of a better term). Love how you're getting into your art as an outlet. I'm finding the same joy from total absorption; sat down to noodle on my guitar and by the end of the night, I had a complete song written, recorded and mixed!

I'm reminded of a quote I once read from the Late Great Bruce Lee.  He was describing the difference between wasting time and spending time. "Wasting time," he said. "Is like playing an arcade game. You put in your quarter but you really get nothing back. Spending time, on the other hand, is like going to a vending machine. You put in your money and you get something useful in return."

Porn is a waste of time. But what you guys are doing...that's spending time.

P. Monk

Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on December 12, 2017, 08:54:30 AM
Thanks Monk

Yeah these healthy and creative, absorbing things are like good food -whilst porn is like poison!
Your guitar and song writing/recording experience sounds amazing -this obviously something that does it for you. I play guitar and harmonica, but cant write songs to save my life!  Playing music is great for my mind though and I enjoy composing tunes and improvising.
Reckon its worth training myself to reach for the art stuff or the guitar whenever I get that urge to surf and peek...
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on December 24, 2017, 10:01:07 AM
AS OF THE 21ST I HAVE BEEN PORN FREE FOR SIX MONTHS!

This is the longest I have ever gone without relapsing, so I am breaking new ground.
The benefits so far include:

*Feeling one fuck of a lot better about myself -the burden of guilt and shame is all but gone
*Growing closer to my partner (it really helps to be able to look her in the eye and not feel that I have betrayed her) and a more loving sexuality where closeness and loving feelings between us turn me on rather than just a fantasy of acts and body parts
*Getting out there in the world and contributing to society through voluntary work of various kinds. The shame was making me want to hide away from people and from life.
*More time spent on creative activities -time that used to be swallowed up by surfing porn

Yesterday I discovered a new vulnerability to relapse that I have: having an illness. I have got a cold, and my feverish mind locked on to thinking about the porn scenes I used to watch. I had a feeling of loss, and a strong urge to search for borderline stuff on youtube. Luckily, I was staying with a relative so I was stopped by the idea that it might show on their ISP report. Otherwise I don't know if I would have resisted or not -scary. It seems the virus interferes with the conscious control mechanism, allowing the reptile more sway...Anyway, now I know I need to really be on my guard when I am ill. Same when I am tired, hungry or stressed.

My overall goal is to always be porn free, but I will celebrate times that are symbolic landmarks for me -the next one being the one year mark. If I do happen to relapse I will get back on track and keep going. Maybe the thing that's most important is how consistently we make our best effort rather than how long we succeed at doing without the porn?

Thanks for reading. Happy Christmas, and best wishes for 2018
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on December 24, 2017, 10:24:44 AM
Merry Christmas dear friend!
Have a wonderful and fulfilling 2018!!!
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on January 10, 2018, 07:01:02 AM
Thanks for the good wishes TAN.

Last week I wasted half an hour searching for 'soft' nudity on the internet. Frustrating waste of time but the main frustration is about me not leaving this stuff alone. Ok, so its not actually porn, but the need comes from the  same place and the addiction pathways are being reinforced by it -which means a longer reboot and an increased likelihood of relapse.

I need more awareness of why this happens. I think it is fuelled by feelings of emptiness and fear and I need to sit with these and experience them instead of allowing them to drive my surfing

My big challenge of 2018 is to stay clear of anything on a screen (or on  paper) that I find sexually stimulating.



Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: IWantToLive on January 10, 2018, 07:49:27 AM
Hello Strike,

I know what you mean by material that's not porn but still reinforces the same addiction pathways. I struggle with that too. In my case its the need to check news and gossip websites one after another. I think my mind also wants to substitute one drug for another. But I am doing a little better everyday by being mindful and taking that time to do something else away from a screen. I think this takes practice, and more practice for a long time.

-IWTL
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on January 12, 2018, 08:58:35 AM
Thanks IWTL.

Yes indeed as you say the challenge is to remain mindful and divert ourselves to something else more worthwhile. In doing so over and over again we are creating new more healthy pathways. Creative stuff seems to be particularly good but for this I need to be feeling reasonably confident and good about myself for this option. When I'm feeling crap then I think taking exercise or doing a task that gets instant positive results is much better as a diversion.
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on January 12, 2018, 08:59:34 PM
guys, hope you are all doing very well

i find that keeping habits are a great way to help

1. fill my calendar with things to do so there is little free time
2. go and focus on the work at hand. focus deeply on the goals and how to do it best
3. when there is free time, read
4. when the night is empty, go to bed early
5. have a sporting goal, a charity goal, a work goal and a life goal, and build into your day time and space to achieve them.

all these goals and activity takes us away from the 1 thing that occupies us and pulls us down: empty self time
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on February 07, 2018, 07:32:08 AM
Back here after a couple of weeks.

Lately I have found myself wasting time: an hour here, two hours there, seeking and peeking at pictures of nude and half dressed women. Its what people would call 'soft' stuff and a much lower level of use than the full on porn videos I used to watch but I am frustrated at how difficult I find it to stay away from it. I feel crap afterwards and unable to focus properly on the things that are good and worthwhile in my life. I need to really make the effort and stick to a plan of leaving this stuff alone. I liked what TAN said in his post just before this one:

"i find that keeping habits are a great way to help

1. fill my calendar with things to do so there is little free time
2. go and focus on the work at hand. focus deeply on the goals and how to do it best
3. when there is free time, read
4. when the night is empty, go to bed early
5. have a sporting goal, a charity goal, a work goal and a life goal, and build into your day time and space to achieve them.

all these goals and activity takes us away from the 1 thing that occupies us and pulls us down: empty self time"

Thanks TAN for yet more good ideas

I need to acknowledge my huge success in staying off the porn videos for the last 7+ months and all the benefits this has had on my life; to consolidate and move forward. When I gave up cigarettes I went through a stage of just smoking one or two a week and this last bit of low level use was the hardest to let go of -but I did succeed in the end.

Thanks for reading guys
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Punk Monk on February 11, 2018, 03:25:44 PM
Dude...are you me?

A lot of the same has happened to me throughout the month of January (reasons are in my most recent post). But that "soft stuff", man. It's a killer.  Like you, I got to a point where I just felt awful and unfulfilled afterwards.

Now I realized that it's my mind's limbic lizard-brain response to stress and discomfort that's driving me to it. Since for the longest time, that was the easiest way to get the dopamine rush. But TAN's advice is spot on. Finding better ways to utilize time and minimize stress are great ways to rewire the brain from porn.

Good luck, brother. And thanks for posting.

P. Monk
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on March 06, 2018, 06:16:06 AM
Thanks Monk for the post and good wishes.

Still battling the urge to surf and peek at pictures on the internet. I have a stash too which I am working my way round to deleting. The stash is something I rarely look at, but is the product of an urge to gather and to keep. I had the same thing with the porn videos -a large stash- but thankfully that stuff is all gone now and I haven't searched for or watched a porn video for 8 months and counting.
Searching and clicking my way through a huge variety of images is the thing that I am addicted to now. Basically I have gone down to a low level "maintenance" use, but I really want to be free of this addiction altogether.
I seem to be weak willed and lacking in strength/commitment right now. I am going through some fairly tough times.
Well I can give this up and I will. I need to finish my reboot ie complete freedom from searching for/viewing pictures that turn me on. I feel pissed off that I gave up those videos only to find that I have another big hill to climb. Ok, lets go for it
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: TakeActionNow on March 06, 2018, 06:38:09 PM
Strike,
It seems to me you are still missing out on 2 important things in your life:
1. Interests
2. Urgency

1. Give yourself clear goals for 2018.
For me its to read 50 books
Do things I've never done before
Do that which I'll regret not doing when i die

2. Urgency
There's about 7000 days left before we become seriously infirm in body and mind.
Then we slowly wait to die, if not dead already.

Every hour spent wasted away on unimportant stuff is an hour less to live.
In coming clean, there is one important revelation i found :
No amount of external can replace the calm ajd comfort of the internal.
But if we give in to all our emotions, we will never see the light of achievement of the dreams that is our person.

Be strong my friend.
Only strength begets strength.
Have faith in yourself to let go of this meaningless and self centered activity immediately and reclaim you life back
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on March 07, 2018, 06:50:49 AM
Thanks for those very clear and relevant points/reminders and suggestions TAN. I am taking them on board as I go ahead now
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on March 16, 2018, 06:19:43 AM
Well I did it -I deleted my stash of sexy pictures. Yay!

And I have gone for a week now with no "seeking and peeking" on the internet. I am feeling better already and also my dick is a bit more lively. Positive changes in other areas of life too with art, music and community action.

I have suffered with anxiety and depression all my life. I believe this has led me to seek escape through porn/sexy images -not just escape, but to feel some sexual excitement/aliveness when the depression saps my sexual energy. Forcing myself to get aroused as when I'm aroused I am not aware of the problems and the crappy uncomfortable feelings. With disastrous consequences!
But now I have a clear awareness of what has happened and how it made the anxiety and depression so much worse.

I really feel like I am making progress in leaving it behind and "striking my true path"
Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Strikeatruepath on April 04, 2018, 04:32:28 AM
Still going strong on the no-seeking-or-peeking!

I am very glad about this, but it has left an emptiness and my dick is lifeless. I believe that my low mood/depression has always been there and that porn and sexually exciting images were a way of making myself feel better. This "worked" for a short time but I became addicted and caught in a vicious downward spiral. Now I am dealing with it.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing make a lot of sense to me as a way to go forward:

1. Connect.
2. Be active.
3. Take notice (of what you are experiencing within and around you)
4. Keep learning.
5. Give.

With meditation, affirmations, creativity and healthy eating.

Thanks for reading guys

Title: Re: Aiming for a genuine and healthy me
Post by: Karzam on April 04, 2018, 06:13:14 AM
Hi Strike,

 Congratulations on getting rid of your picture stash, and welcome to flat lining! ;) I'd definitely agree with what TAN said, find something to occupy your mind and body, otherwise there's the risk you'll find yourself creeping back towards porn, almost as a default activity.

 From my own personal experience and if you can afford it, I'd say get therapy for your depression. I had depression plus social & sexual anxiety for decades and it absolutely had an effect of my use of porn, with the porn then negatively influencing them in return. Obviously what's having an effect on you won't be exactly the same as it was for me, but I'd be surprised if there wasn't some impact (in both directions).

Karzam