Reboot Nation

Journals => Ages 30-39 => Topic started by: NewStart04 on August 04, 2019, 08:34:38 AM

Title: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 04, 2019, 08:34:38 AM
Hey there fellow rebooters,

I am a 31-year-old male who has been suffering from porn addiction since a very young age. I first started looking at internet porn when I was ten (circa 1998) and got hooked on it soon after. As I entered my mid-teens, I underwent a big change in my life, and, because of this, I was able to completely stop looking at porn and masturbating. Unfortunately, I fell back into the habit a year later. I can still remember that day. I was walking back home from the bus stop after school when the thought, "hey, you want to masturbate?", popped into my head. After getting back home, I wound up masturbating in the shower, and while this didn't immediately lead to me looking at porn, things quickly snowballed, and I found myself heavily looking at porn again soon after.

At that time, resources like this website, YBOP, Your Brain Rebalanced, and Addicted to Internet Porn were not available. I really wish they had been, but I also know it doesn't do much good sitting around regretting the past.

Now while I had wanted to quit ever since I fell back into the habit at 16, I was never able to go the distance when I tried, and this made me both jaded and exhausted. There was even a period for a few years when I gave up on the thought of quitting entirely. After that, I had various attempts here and there, but they all proved unsuccessful as well.

Fast-forward to 2015, and I am now 27 years old. Some difficulties I was experiencing in life then made me look at myself to see what about it was problematic, and one of the problems I flagged was my frequent and unhealthy porn use. This got me to start poking around online, and I came across some videos of Gabe Deem on The Reboot Nation's YouTube channel. It opened my eyes to the addictive nature of porn, and this was a fantastic realization because, before that point, every time I tried to fight my porn habits, I would always have a voice in the back of my head saying, "no matter how long you try to abstain, the distress you feel from doing so will never go away" and "all men are just naturally horny, so there's nothing you can do about it." The magnitude of this realization notwithstanding, I have still been struggling with recovery over these past four years, and recovery itself has become more difficult due to the countless relapses I’ve had. This is in spite of the fact that I became more informed, first with Noah Church's book Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn (and his YouTube channel Noah B.E. Church), and later with Gary Wilson's website and book Your Brain on Porn.

Now take into account that I had various difficulties in my past and developed other destructive habits along the way, so I can't chalk up all my problems to porn use. I have come to terms with some of the trauma from my past and have done away with some of my other destructive habits, but these changes have not been enough to release me from the clutches of this addiction, at least so far.

Now I know this doesn’t provide you with a complete picture of who I am, my struggles, my failures, my efforts and my achievements, so if any of you are interested in learning more about me and my history, please feel free to ask in this topic or via message. But I have a tendency to ramble, so I'd like to get on to the meat of this topic.

As mentioned at the beginning, I am a 31-year-old male. I live alone in a foreign country, have no familial ties, the few friends I have live in different countries, I lack any prominent work skills and specialized knowledge, don't have much of a career, my savings are limited, I suffer from poor physical health (damaged joints, multiple GI problems, tissue loss on penile shaft due to years of unchecked aggressive masturbation), I suffer from mental health problems (OCD, ADHD, and talk to myself when I am alone), poor cognition (brain fog, verbal fluency), anxiety, depression, and low emotional intelligence, among other things.

I know we all have our own problems, and I am not trying to wallow in despair. I am just trying to give you all some idea of what I am going through.

I am currently on the cusp of a big change in my life. My current contract is about to end, so I am now looking for another job, but I don’t have much time to find one. To make matters worse, I am only allowed to stay in my current country of residence if a company sponsors my work visa. This is extremely stressful for me.

But you know what? As extremely painful as this all is, I am putting in, for me at the very least, some solid effort in facing the situation before me without running away from it. Instead of getting overwhelmed by anxiety and running away from my problems, I am doing the following: a.) I am currently on my fifth day of no PMO on hard mode, which is indeed quite short, but it’s amazing to me that I haven’t relapsed with all the stress engulfing me each day, b.) I have decreased the amount of time that I talk to myself (a habit that I’ve had since I was 14) over the past two weeks, with the last few days being close to virtually free of self-talk, c.) I used to have problems with substance abuse, all of which I was able to quit (1 year or more, depending on the substance), except for caffeine, which I have been off of completely for about 2.5 weeks now, d.) I have been able to maintain my daily schedule of work, cooking, chores, etc., without letting it all morph into a chaotic, unregulated mess, e.) I am staying strong with my 20 minutes a day of insight meditation (the Waking Up app has been great for this), a habit which I started developing at the beginning of this year, f.) I am slowly dealing with my OCD by thoroughly going through a treatment book (though I am putting this on hold until things settle down and I find a job, I don’t want to rush through it), g.) I am more proactively and considerately interacting with others (currently just my coworkers since I don’t know anyone else out here and job-hunting is not giving me any time to go out there and meet new people at the moment) g.) I am trying to respect sleep more, even if I don’t sleep well, by not staying up too late, and h.) I plan on reaching out to my family soon (after almost five years of no contact).

I am still really scared (embarrassing though it is to admit it), wracked by anxiety, and I feel like I am being tossed about by the waves, but I also feel like I may have realized something that I had been blind to all these years. By exposing myself to this incredibly overwhelming fear and anxiety, I will, in time, be able to habituate myself to this feeling and live more comfortably with it. And, by changing how I respond to this fear, i.e. by not resorting to porn, fantasy, substance use, talking to myself or obsessing over negative emotions, past mistakes and missed opportunities, I can become increasingly able to live a life where I don’t feel some form of misery, emptiness or anxiety most of my waking hours, but instead feel happy and positive overall.

For your reference, I am including a list of my top 5 streaks below (not including the year I quit when I was 15-16):

1.) 8 weeks (early 2018) *Was still fantasizing
2.) 6 weeks (mid 2017) *Was still fantasizing, started looking at porn again during week 4 and masturbating without climaxing during week 5
3.) 5 weeks (late 2012)
4.) 5 weeks (late 2011) *Was having sex and orgasming multiple times a week, so I wasn’t giving my brain any recovery time
5.) 4 weeks, 6 days (relapsed June 13, 2019) *Looked at porn on four separate occasions, fantasizing present

Sorry for the essay length introductory post. I understand we are all busy and have our own problems, but, to anyone who does read this topic and follow my journal posts, I hope that you will wish me success and send some goodwill my way. It would really mean a lot to me, and I am going to work on doing my best to become a better, stronger human being, regardless of how my future turns out. I hope that I can one day serve as someone others can look to, along with Gabe Deem, Noah Church, and the many others who have overcome this disease, as an example of successful recovery.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 04, 2019, 08:36:21 AM
July 31, 2019 - Day 1

Urges: Nothing too strong. I nipped any that appeared in the bud.

Emotions: I was snubbed multiple times by a colleague today, so that obviously had a negative impact on my mood. Thankfully, I was able to remain civil and friendly, both toward her and others, which was a relief. I felt some anxiety throughout the day, but that was due to some physical pain that surprise-attacked me at work and concerns over job-hunting. Some of these feelings carried over after work, but I think I was able to tolerate them and successfully complete what I wanted to do for the day.

Cognition: Thinking was a little slow, with some haziness at work. Verbal fluency was a bit dampened, but overall I was ok.

Pain: Moderately deep, aching pain today. Noticeable but not dominating.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 04, 2019, 08:39:46 AM
August 1, 2019 - Day 2

Urges: Thankfully nothing too bad today. The few urges I did have were quickly nipped in the bud. I did have one incident of urges flaring up, but I didn’t indulge, not even for a moment, and that really helped. Two days down…I know the journey is long and it can and will get a lot worse, but I refuse to die an addict.

Emotions: I felt moderate anxiety and fear (health-related) throughout the day, but it got a little better after work. Some feelings of incompetence, worthlessness and depression were peppered throughout the day as well.

Cognition: Verbal fluency was quite poor in both languages. Thinking was moderately slow, a little confusion was present, focus was ok, thoughts were pretty hazy, forgetfulness was bad but not terrible.

Pain: Some aching in my penis. Noticeable throughout the day, but no severe pangs.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 04, 2019, 08:40:53 AM
August 2, 2019 - Day 3

Urges: Lucked out again today because I didn’t have too many noticeable urges. Anything that popped up was immediately nipped in the bud. This has got to mean that I have some big ones in store for me sometime soon, but for now I am just going to count my lucky stars.

Emotions: Elevated anxiety, some worthlessness and a bit of depression. Felt a bit of irritation from an incident that occurred after work as well.

Cognition: Verbal fluency was downright terrible in both languages. All members of the brain fog ensemble where in town today: slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, forgetfulness, and hazy thoughts.

Pain: Felt some aches here and there throughout the daytime, and then felt some more pronounced ones accompanied by a little burning during the evening.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 04, 2019, 08:42:25 AM
August 3, 2019  - Day 4

Urges: The first round of heavier urges hit today. Thankfully, they were only moderate ones, but I think part of this was due to the fact that I did an amazing job of not giving them even a second of indulgence once I was aware that they were occurring in consciousness. I think most of them emerged during periods of staggering emotional distress, which may hint at how much I have been using this addiction as a way to cope with intense emotions, like anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. Sitting alone with these emotions without any escape was pretty painful, but it is undeniable how helpful it was to go that route instead of giving the urges power.

Emotions: Waves of various emotions throughout the day: anxiety, fear, worthlessness, helplessness. As mentioned above, I did my best to endure them without avoidance and go about my daily tasks. I think I did a bit of mental reassurance after I got back home for work, but I took them head-on for the most part.

Cognition: Same as yesterday. Terrible verbal fluency in both languages, and full blown brain fog (slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, forgetfulness, and hazy thoughts).

Pain: Penis pain not too noticeable today, which is quite welcome. I hope this continues.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 04, 2019, 08:57:37 AM
August 4, 2019 - Day 5

Urges: The urges definitely ballooned up today. I was feeling high levels of fear, anxiety, and helplessness (due to thoughts of my upcoming job transition and uncertainty about the future), and my body wanted a release from this torturous agony so badly. They were pounding on me internally, beseeching me for some way out, and they tried their best to turn the PMO faucet on. Thankfully, I once again nipped them in the bud, though I did have a few instances of me indulging in a fantasy for a second or two, but there were no instances longer than that. Today has been so draining and exhausting. I really hope tomorrow feels a little better.

Emotions: As I mentioned above, I felt high levels of fear, anxiety, and helplessness today. While this was caused by my current circumstances, I do wonder how much (if any of this) was caused by my body throwing a tantrum because it couldn’t get any dopamine.

Cognition: Verbal fluency and brain fog were in the gutter (but this may be due in part to the fact that I couldn’t fall asleep last night and was pretty sleep-deprived).

Pain: A little bit of a dry sticking with a burning sensation, but nothing too noticeable.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 05, 2019, 09:35:27 AM
August 5, 2019 - Day 6

Urges: I woke up in the middle of last night (after I had already posted my entry for the fourth), half awake but totally engulfed in fear and anxiety with intense urges on top of them. Unfortunately, since I was half awake, my guard was down and I did indulge in fantasy for about 15-20 minutes (the overwhelming fear and anxiety didn’t help), but thankfully I was able to put my urges in the background, and, eventually, I was able to fall asleep again. This led to yet another night of inadequate sleep (I hope this isn’t going to start forming a pattern). The first 2-3 hours I was awake, I did fantasize a little and was occasionally sticking my hands into my shorts to kind of flick my penis from its base, but I took another nap, and after that I had my fantasies pretty much under control for the rest of the day. I feel like today was the first day that I didn’t have a great response to my urges, but at the same time, the fact that I made it through the monstrous urges that hit me in the middle of the night feels like a miracle. It is a great relief knowing I made it through that hellacious ride.

Emotions: As mentioned above, I felt strong fear and anxiety in the middle of the night. These were still present after waking up, but they weren’t as strong. They lingered in the background throughout the day, but I got some important time-consuming errands done (I went to immigrations to get the ball rolling on extending my visa, which should buy me a bit of time) without procrastinating them, so that felt somewhat rewarding.

Cognition: Verbal fluency was mediocre, but not terrible. Some difficulty focusing, some difficulties with memory, some haziness, etc. Overall I felt impaired but not terribly so. The same could be said about my social interactions. I think I was overall pleasant and communicative but a bit awkward as well.

Pain: A bit of that dry, burning pain again, but I probably irritated it a little when I was doing the abovementioned flicking here and there after waking up. The strong urges may have also stimulated my shaft a bit, so this may have added to the discomfort. It wasn’t too noticeable for the most part though.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 06, 2019, 06:53:54 PM
August 6, 2019 - Day 7

Urges: Because I unwittingly fantasized the night before, and thus broke my streak of essentially no fantasizing, I found it was a little more difficult to completely avoid fantasies today. They weren’t terrible, and I don’t think I overindulged, but I noticed myself having slightly extended fantasies here and there. Thankfully they weren’t excessively sexual. Overall, urges were medium strength and not frequent. I think today was fine, but I hope that I am back to nipping them in the bud when they appear tomorrow.

Emotions: Anxiety was there as an undercurrent throughout the day, but thankfully the fear I have been experiencing recently wasn’t very present. I did have a pocket during the day where I felt like everything was bleak and pointless, but I was able to bounce back and get a lot of tasks done (I spoke with an employment agency representative who introduced me to a couple of available positions, shopped for some clothes, submitted the remaining documents for my visa extension, and got my first physical in over three years).

Cognition: Verbal fluency felt better but still impaired, the same with memory. Thinking felt slow at times, with a bit of haziness in the background.

Pain: Slight aching here and there, but overall not very noticeable. It is nice that this is grabbing my attention and distracting me less.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 07, 2019, 09:06:02 AM
August 7, 2019 - Day 8

Urges: I had some moderate urges throughout the day. Indulged a little here and there, but I kept them at arm’s length for the most part, which is great, but I really want to push fantasizing as close to zero as possible. I think limiting dopamine spikes as much as possible will help me recover faster. Today is a minor milestone for me because I looked at porn for a little on the same day of my last streak (about 4 weeks 6 days, ended about two months ago), so compared to that I am already doing better, with no intentional searching for erotic content and very limited fantasy.

Emotions: Felt a bit amped up after work started, later began feeling moderate anxiety, and after that a bit of depression and worthlessness. After getting back home from work, I felt some moderate anxiety and helplessness.

Cognition: At the start of the workday, verbal fluency was alright, but after an hour or so in, it started dropping, and it plummeted during the second half of the day. This was really disheartening for me. I feel that the same thing was happening simultaneously with memory, thinking speed, and thought haziness. The effect this addiction has on brain fog and verbal fluency is really crippling. It makes me feel like I am defective, and it’s extremely hard to cope with at times.

Pain: Very minor today. I feel like I am seeing the quickest improvement in this area.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Pdub on August 07, 2019, 11:39:48 AM
I like the format of your journal.  It's easy to see what you care about and how you're doing.  That said, keep it up man!

Speaking two languages fluently is difficult.  Sometimes you just have to accept that you won't be perfect.  Don't let -good- be the enemy of perfect in that regard.  Your native language is always a bit easier to hear and speak.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: mranoym31 on August 07, 2019, 04:53:56 PM
Your last post is very well worded. Especially the emotion and cognition part. Inspiring reading your journal. Keep it up!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 09, 2019, 07:34:25 AM
Pdub:

Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your words of encouragement. I'll try to keep that in mind if I find myself being overly critical. Unfortunately, my verbal fluency has been poor in both languages. Have you ever noticed any negative effects that porn use has had (or is having) on your verbal fluency?

mranoym31:

I am really glad to hear that you found some inspiration here. Sometimes I feel like I can be very repetitive with my word choice, and this makes me worry that I might be making people less interested in reading my account. I suppose that I was just overthinking things. Thanks for giving me some perspective.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 09, 2019, 07:36:25 AM
August 8, 2019 - Day 9

Urges: Moderate urges again today. I think I did a good job not giving them much of my time or energy. Probably a little better than yesterday.

Emotions: Moderate anxiety. The rest is hazy.

Cognition: Verbal fluency felt a little better and brain fog felt a bit lighter. Felt less socially awkward.

Pain: Pretty mild today.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 09, 2019, 08:19:55 AM
August 9, 2019 - Day 10

Urges: This morning, I had to submit some paperwork to my liaison at the employment agency, but I was experiencing more difficulty than I would have liked trying to finish it. This was extremely stressful for me, and, toward the end, I felt some strong urges building up within me. I once again did more of the penis flicking that I mentioned earlier in my journal and may have even brushed my fingers across the glans a few times as well. None of this was premeditated, but it was frustrating every time I noticed it happening. The urges continued to intensify, and once I noticed that I started having an increasing desire to type in an erotic string of words into a search engine, I knew things had become too dangerous. I rushed the last bit of my paperwork, sent it out, and then separated myself from the computer. During the rest of the afternoon, I felt moderate urges here and there, but after getting back home I fell into a darker mood, which made me gravitate toward stronger urges. Sensing the danger, I decided to eat out tonight and go for a walk after. I am now back at home, but I still feel them in the background. I just want to go to bed and get this day over with. Hopefully tomorrow is a bit better.

Emotions: Stress, frustration and helplessness in the morning. Depression and anxiety in the afternoon. These two emotions have continued into the evening, but now they’re amplified by fear and the return of helplessness.

Cognition: Brain fog is definitely worse than yesterday. Verbal fluency was down as well, but not as bad as the brain fog.

Pain: A bit more burning today. Probably from the flicking I did this morning.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: mranoym31 on August 09, 2019, 08:58:53 AM
I am 31 like you and feel your pain. It's helpful reading other people comments and following journals. Keep strong!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 10, 2019, 10:44:25 PM
mranoym31

Thank you for the empathy. It's a shame that this addiction has followed us into our thirties. I find it difficult at times not to think about all the damage it has caused and all the opportunities I have wasted because of it. But I also know that fixating on the past isn't helpful, and the best thing that we can do, regardless of how hard it is, is to focus on changing what we can in the present.

Best of luck. I hope your streak is going well.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 10, 2019, 11:09:16 PM
August 10, 2019 - Day 11

Urges: Moderate to strong urges throughout the day. Thankfully, I wasn’t hit by any extended periods of them, but I believe I was able to avoid this because I often went outside for walks when I was feeling overwhelmed, and I did my best to avoid fantasy, which I was very successful in doing (only a few flashes here and there).

Emotions: This anxiety and fear about the future are just terrible. They do vary in their degree, but at times they feel downright relentless. I understand that the uncertain nature of my current circumstances is a big part of this, and that if I am able to secure something, these emotions will be somewhat alleviated. I suppose one frustrating part of it all is that I am unable to determine how much of these feelings is because of external stressors and how much of them are because of PMO withdrawals. I feel so much resolve to recover, but it’s when these emotions peak that I feel some of my resolve start to wither. I still think I am ok, but I am worried about how trying these next three weeks are going to be. Damn, I really wish I had made more PMO progress before reaching this crossroads in my life. Inconvenient doesn’t even begin to capture it.

Cognition: As if these intense emotions aren’t bad enough, my continually poor cognition and verbal fluency beat down any confidence I build up and make me feel incompetent and worthless. Were they the worst they’ve been during this journey? No, but I really do hope that I see some relatively consistent improvement with them over these next few weeks. It is difficult to hope for a better future when I feel like they are weights strapped to my feet, dragging me down to a hopeless future.

Pain: Probably the same as yesterday, a bit of burning. I didn’t stimulate it all today, so I wonder what the cause is. Maybe I had some erections while I was sleeping?
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 11, 2019, 11:34:20 PM
August 11, 2019 - Day 12

Relapsed


I can't believe it. After how much I fought during such a stressful period of my life, I ended up flushing this short but significant progress down the drain.

What happened was essentially I went for a walk to dispel some of the urges I was feeling, and I stopped by a store to get something to drink and eat. I passed by the magazine section, and saw one with a cover showing many young women in bikinis. It caught my attention and amplified my urges, but I moved on to look for something to buy. I couldn't find anything I wanted, so I decided to leave the store, but decided to exit the store passing by the magazine section on my way out. I glanced at the magazine again, remembered it's name, and then continued on my walk. I wanted to look up other covers, but fought against it until I was just about to go back into my apartment. This is when I whipped out my phone, and looked at some of their past covers for about 20-30 seconds. Even after doing so, I was still ok for a time, until stress and urges hit again and I decided to go for another walk. Now nearby where I live is a red light district of sorts, and this reminded me that I could schedule a prostitute to come to my place almost any time of the day. They even have websites for doing so. I have never done anything with a prostitute before, I don't think I ever will, but the novelty of this thought made my urges shoot up and I started browsing some of the local prostitution websites, entertaining the thought that I could get someone to come to my place if I wanted. While doing so, I came across and started searching for nude pictures and occasional demo videos (essentially pornographic, including handjobs, blowjobs etc.). This in turn escalated into me looking at more sexual videos and eventually porn. This browsing ultimately lead to me masturbating and orgasming.

It all started with that magazine. It's one thing for us to come into contact with a sexual trigger by accident (difficult though that may be), but it was that second pass by the magazines that really did me in. I knew that intentionally looking at triggers/fantasizing are always a risk and that I was still too early on in recovery, but for that short moment, I ignored all the self control that I had built up over this past week and a half and did something I knew could potentially throw it all away.

I know almost all of us have fallen back to the bottom of the hole, but this relapse feels completely devastating, and the stress of everything surrounding me feels like it's going to swallow me whole. But I don't want to give up. No, I can't give up. I'd be consigning myself to a life not worth living. But the one major thing I had going for me right now was the resilience that I was cultivating to resist porn regardless of the circumstances I find myself in. Things are only going to get harder, and this time around I won't be able to look back and say "at least I have made it through 12 days of this hell."  I'm scared guys, I really am.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: malando on August 12, 2019, 06:58:37 AM
I'm sorry to hear that, NS. And yes, we all know the feeling of relapse. I understand the devastation. You'll have to give it a day or two for that feeling of anger and remorse to dissipate. But it will. So just make sure you don't relapse again - it's really easy to do when you've been doing really well and you feel like you've let yourself down in a big way. In can activate a quitter's reflex (you want to quit quitting porn), and cause you to act out in protest and frustration. I don't think you're thinking that way now, but be on guard for that type of cascade of thoughts. It can lead you down the same rabbit hole as the one the magazine lead you down.

You have learned a valuable lesson from this. It will strengthen your resolve once you are through this feeling crisis. You'll know to avoid that trigger next time, and anything that resembles it. For now, you just have to ride out the feelings of frustration, let it go somehow, and recommit to your goal. I think you can do it. Best wishes, M.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 12, 2019, 10:53:49 AM
Malando

Thanks for the great advice. I was worried about the quitter's reflex both last night and this morning, so I did all that I could to keep myself preoccupied and avoid being idle or alone too long with my thoughts.

This disease really is insidious and tries to find whatever avenue it can to bring us back into the cycle. I quit alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and video games completely, and none of them came close to the difficulties I have had with this addiction. They weren't easy to quit, but porn addiction is just next level difficult, at least for me.

Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 12, 2019, 11:17:40 AM
August 12, 2019 - Day 1

Urges: Some medium strength urges scattered throughout the day. I may have had a flash of strong ones once or twice. Keeping myself occupied, almost never idle and alone with my thoughts, was very helpful and led to zero urge indulgence.

Emotions: Felt really low but keeping myself constantly occupied helped me to not get caught in the undertoe.

Cognition: Ok I think. I tried not to think too much about it today to be honest. Didn’t want to give in to the quitter’s reflex.

Pain: Some pronounced burning, sticking etc. Not surprising seeing as I just relapsed.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Pete McVries on August 12, 2019, 11:46:14 AM
Sending you some strength! I like the way of your journaling even though, I, as a reader, don't get to know you more despite your lenghty opening post. Your situation seems to be difficult which makes it extra stressful and difficult to reboot succesfully. Regarding the recent relapse, I'd like to add the following: Firstly, once you've stacked a few clean weeks, it will get alot easier to not act out when come across triggers. You will learn how to deal with them. The earlier you manage to snap out of a possible relapse, the easier it is to stay clean. When somebody relapses there are always a lot of red flags and warning signs along the way. One does not magically end up in front of the computer with their pants around their ankles with a few videos loaded. The start of relapse is much earlier. Your relapse began when you came across that magazine. And even though you sort of realized what was happening, and even though you were battling against it, your addiction still won in the end. The trick is, to realize what is happening as soon as possible and then act accordingly and find solutions to the urges so that you won't end up relapsing. I hope you find ways that work for you. It's also helpful to look at the ways you relapse and prevent them as good as you can. And to answer your question in my journal, almost all of my mental problems either dissolved or got way better that I don't feel like a picture of misery anymore.

I have two suggestions: Since you are dealing with a lot of adversity, maybe it would be helpful for you to add to your form of journaling a short passage where you either note something positive that happened to you that day or something that you did good that day. Or both ;). You are focussing on a lot of negative things like urges, negative emotions, negative cognitive effects and pain. While I think, these things are noteworthy, perhaps it would be helpful to shift your focus to more positive things. And even though there seema to be a lot of darkness in your life, I'm sure there are some rays of light.

Take care, and don't lose hope! You are not on your own!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 12, 2019, 10:24:10 PM
Pete McVries

Thank you for the words of support. It's gives me some relief hearing that triggers will affect me less a few weeks in. I felt like I was being pretty mindful during my last attempt, but I think the important thing that I forgot was that I need to consistently be mindful, because I will never be sure when a trigger or urge appears. I am even more relieved to hear that many of the mental difficulties will either disappear or considerably weaken. I think this piece of information will help take some of the edge off of this next attempt.

Also, thanks for the advice about including something positive in my daily entries. I will definitely start doing that.

Wishing you all the best. Take care.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: CB on August 13, 2019, 11:42:58 AM
Keep going, a relapse is just a bump in the road. Not a wall you can’t get through.
I think every addict will relapse while trying to quit. It’s scary to quit and let go of something we have used to comfort us when feeling stressed or down.
I have been looking on escort sites in my area too, I did that as some new sort of way of getting a high. I have never been going to prostitutes either. But the ”forbidden” thoughts of doing so got my brain in to a dopamine rush.. as many other things when coming to sex.
In the beginning there will be 1-2 or 3 weeks of strong urges, and then if you get a flatline don’t get scared and try if your dick still works. I did as many others and relapsed. It will get better week by week. My lust has come back more and more, and it feels comforting to know. One step at a time you will make it!

Thanks for sharing your story!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 14, 2019, 12:38:47 AM
CB

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I really appreciate the support, and I really needed some to be honest.

Good luck with your recovery.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 14, 2019, 12:42:14 AM
August 13, 2019

Relapsed

I know this doesn’t look good, having relapsed twice in three days, but I think I have learned something important here. For me to be able to successfully recover, I need to focus on taking things day by day, focusing on the importance of each day, not procrastinating and not focusing too much on my thoughts.

By focusing on each day, I will allow myself to avoid getting overwhelmed by the big picture and make every day, regardless of the difficulty, more digestible and easier to cope with.

By not procrastinating, I will fill my day up with other activities and prevent myself from being idle, as idle hands are an addict’s worst enemy.

Lastly, by not focusing too much on my thoughts and preventing my rituals of reassurance, I will expose myself to my OCD fears, habituate to them, and change my response to these fears over time. I realized my OCD can often suck me back down the drain of addiction, and I need to focus on this problem as well to successfully recover.

I am sorry to have disappointed you all with my poor performance recently, but I am ready to get back in the saddle and show you all that I am more than what this addiction makes me.

I want to live a life worth living.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 14, 2019, 05:25:09 AM
Sorry for the relapse, man.

When you relapse, you don't fail, you find another thing that didn't work. A relapse is an invitation to analyze the situation, see what went wrong, what mistake you made, what you were thinking before the relapse, what environment, circumstances etc. led to your relapse and so on. If you feel down after a relapse, it's normal. It sucks but, at the end of the day, people feel down from time to time. But don't allow yourself to go lower than that because you reach misery and a mind in that state is a great environment for the addiction to keep complete control over you. One day things will eventually click.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 14, 2019, 11:17:49 AM
Lero

I have a history of making bad situations into worse ones. But I do have a say on how my circumstances change, for better or for worse. Thanks for reminding me of that.

I think I did a decent job of using analysis when it helped (using my experiences throughout the day to better decide how to fine-tune my recovery approach) and avoiding it when it was dangerous (i.e. when urges, moods etc. try to use it to push me down a darker path).

But at the end of the day, this is only Day 1. I need to remain vigilant. Thanks for looking out.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 14, 2019, 11:24:33 AM
August 14, 2019 - Day 1

Urges: I didn’t mention this yesterday, but last night was quite the binge. I looked at porn non-stop for a couple of hours. Lots of videos, lots of images, edging, constant searching for novelty. Because of this, I was exposed to a lot of visual imagery, and this manifested today in a variety of flashbacks. That being said, I did really well with not focusing on my thoughts, as once they appeared in consciousness there wasn’t anything I could do about them. All I could do is change how I responded to them. No indulging, no lingering. Breaking the day into smaller pockets helped a lot, and I went for a lot of mini-walks (usually 15 minutes long), which also were a great help. One problem I noticed was that at nighttime, if I heard noises or thought I saw some movement inside an apartment or house, my focus would center itself on the visual/audio stimuli in hopes that it would catch something sexual. It’s really voyeuristic and invasive, and I found I had to snap myself out of these moments more often than I would have liked. I need to be more careful about this. Maybe I could bring some unplugged headphones and just put them in my ears to filter out the noise. The visual stimuli though…I think I just have to boost my mindfulness about it, because the walks are great and I don’t want to give them up (way better than dealing with urges inside).

Emotions: Sadness, anger, regret…you name it, I felt a lot of emotions today. I did my best not to obsess about them, avoided reassuring myself, and tried to have a clearer mind when they were amplified and felt like they were sucking me into a bottomless vortex. Sometimes I just had to sit with the intense emotional pain (there were a few moments), but I guess that’s how it goes sometimes. Habituation is a slow process.

Cognition: I wasn’t paying much attention to this today unfortunately, but I felt my concentration was decent.

Pain: As I said earlier, my binge session was a heavy one yesterday, so the burning was pretty pronounced. There was some sticking, but not much aching. I didn’t let it distract me too much, although it was painful at times. I am hoping that the pain will lessen a bit tomorrow. I think it should.

* Something positive / something I did well
I followed through very well with the three main points I recognized yesterday as essential for my recovery. I also got some nice feedback from my accountability partner, heard some great news about his continued success and breakthroughs, and it made me feel some sympathetic joy. It’s nice feeling connected, especially during this recovery process. I’ve been pretty isolated for years now, especially this last year…anyway, I want to get better and I want him to get better, and it was a nice touch to the day realizing that I was feeling some joy from the prospect of both, not just my own.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 14, 2019, 11:33:53 AM
Good reflections, man. You are a step further.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 15, 2019, 10:09:53 AM
Lero

Thanks. Day by day right?
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 15, 2019, 10:16:09 AM
August 15, 2019 - Day 2

Urges: Strong urges, but was on top of almost all of them. There were a few slip-ups, where I could tell doing an action wasn’t the best idea but I reacted in spite of my better judgement. One time was on the train, where a woman was sitting with her legs wide open and she was wearing a short skirt. I noticed it out of the corner of my eye, and my brain was telling me not to look no matter what, but after a few seconds hesitation, I glanced at that area for a second (didn’t see anything FYI). Thankfully, I was able to avoid looking at her after that. There was another time on the train where I noticed a woman wearing short shorts across from me, and I was able to avoid peeking until she stood up to get off the train, which was when I glanced at her exposed thighs for a second or two. I need to get better at managing my responses in a short period of time. Aside from these incidents, I was PMO free with no fantasy. I still had a few flashbacks from my last relapse, but I didn’t indulge in them.

Emotions: Today was a roller coaster. I had am some really intense pockets today. I took them head on for the most part. It’s insane how devastating emotions can be. I need to habituate to these feelings, otherwise I feel like I won’t be able to make the progress I need. I feel so weak at times without my emotional crutch.

Cognition: Concentration was difficult. Felt like my thoughts were all over the place. Confusion present, but was able to make it through the day.

Pain: Definitely less than yesterday. Less burning, some aching, but not too attention grabbing.

* Something positive / something I did well
Bearing the pain of today’s intense emotions without running away into fantasy.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 15, 2019, 10:27:37 AM
Quick question: Are there any PMO trackers that I can use on this site? I have started using one on YourBrainRebalanced and was curious if I could do the same here.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Pete McVries on August 15, 2019, 11:56:11 AM
https://www.tickerfactory.com/
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 15, 2019, 12:08:43 PM
Pete McVries

Thanks for the link. Slow and steady.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 16, 2019, 12:17:10 PM
August 16, 2019 - Day 3

Trigger Warning: Start
Urges:
Today was tough. Strong urges popped up throughout the day, and this wasn’t helped by the fact that it is summer out here (read really hot and humid), so our female clients were wearing clothing that revealed more of their chests than normal. The first session I had with a female client had her bend forward a few times, drawing my gaze to her exposed cleavage. I wasn’t trying to stare out of horniness, but I kept finding my eyes on that part of her body before I was truly aware of what was going on. After a few times of this happening, I doubled my mindfulness efforts and was able to consciously direct my gaze to her face so that I didn’t have to worry about this. The next session was difficult because the client this time around was a bit bustier and thus more distracting. Unfortunately, I noticed that I was consciously looking at her chest, and at one point she pressed her arm into one of her breasts, which made it balloon out a little. This threw my urges into an absolute frenzy,  generating a scene in my mind of taking her on the table buck naked and aggressively having sex with her. This lasted for 2-3 seconds, and it was all me. I didn't realize it after the fact. I was aware of what was going on when it was happening. I then snapped out of this and redoubled my efforts. I was able to make it through the rest of the session ok, but this definitely shook me up. Later on in the day, I had another female client who, you guessed it, was wearing clothing a bit more revealing than usual. I noticed myself glancing for a moment once, but after that I kept myself in check.

Now throughout the day, my coworker (there are only 3 people where I work; more like 2.5 since one staff member isn’t full time) rebuffed all my attempts to interact with her, even though I was only trying to be moderately sociable and kind to her, taking into account that I will be leaving this job very soon and I wanted to mend fences with her somewhat since we have had a rocky relationship since I started working here. I thought things were going better between us, and we had just come back to work from vacation so I thought she would be in good spirits. She put on an affected air of kindness, but she always tried to cut the conversation short, passive-aggressively jabbed at me a few times, and was pretty cold toward me. I get that this is her prerogative (and I want to respect this), but it just made me feel really low and upset. She really put me in a bad mood, and this wasn’t helped by the fact that I kept obsessing about her attitude toward me throughout the day, going over our interactions repeatedly in my head to see if I did something wrong or if I could figure out some clue as to why she was acting this way. I am ashamed to admit it, but these bad feelings, combined with the obsessing over them and my urges throughout the day, made me have a flash of violent sexual thoughts about her in my head after I left work…...about taking her against her will on the office floor. This is not the type of person that I am, I think such actions are completely immoral and wrong, and this fantasy just amplified my negative feelings and made my obsessing even worse. On top of it all, it was feeding my urges. So I told myself I was obsessing, and remembered something Noah Church mentioned in one of his videos: the acronym HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). In this video, he said that a lot of the time, if we stop to see what is behind our urges, we can often find one of these four culprits. I was tired (mediocre sleep the night before), and she did make me feel pretty lonely and angry (again, I understand this is her prerogative, doesn’t change the fact that it hurts though). I think this helped me break out of the obsessive cycle, and urges were not too bad for the rest of the night (though remembering the dopamine burst this reprehensible fantasy gave me poked at me a few times tonight). I hate how negative emotions like anger, anxiety and disgust can be paired with urges (or PMO) to boost the intensity of dopamine.

Damn, I want to write more about this, but I have now realized that I already wrote too much. I hope you guys don’t look down on me for this. Over the last few years in particular, I have had a few instances of sexual urges paired up with these downright awful and violent sexual images/fantasies. I promise this is not who I am, as I have never done anything like this to a woman, nor have I ever actually considered doing so. But when I do have these experiences, they really mess me up inside. They make me feel like a monster, which then makes me want to run away from feeling this way by fantasizing and looking at porn. I guess the one upside to all this is that I didn't take that route.
Trigger Warning: End

Emotions:
As mentioned above, I felt repeatedly snubbed by one of my coworkers, and I don’t think it was all in my head. This made me feel somewhat hurt, and it flared up internally a few times into anger. What really gets me is that I was authentically trying to be nice: no negativity, no meanness, just normal and kind human interaction, and she would either jab at me or cut me off from connecting with her at all, even though I will never see her again in a few weeks. I want to respect how she decides to behave toward me, but when I can tell she is intentionally trying to make me feel bad, it is so hard not to obsess over her behavior.

Anyone have experiences about OCD and PMO that they would like to tell me about? Like how much (% value maybe, or is that asking too much?) they’ve noticed a drop in OCD after a considerable amount of recovery time. I feel like these two have a symbiotic relationship for me, and I remember Gary Wilson mentioning in YBOP (twice I think) that OCD can make recovery considerably more difficult.

One thing I will say is that I have, over the last few days, been listening more to these really long ambient songs on YouTube, and they do seem to be helping. I sometimes have them on in the background when I read the forums, type posts, do physical therapy, or when doing other miscellaneous tasks. Before I would listen to YouTube, but I would constantly get distracted by having to look up new songs, by the transitions between songs in a playlist, or by getting too caught up in the emotions they make me feel. These ones however don’t ping my emotions too much, and they repeat without too many changes for 1-3+ hours, which has been helping me. I recommend trying some of them out for those of you that want to experiment with additional focus, relaxing more, or coping with overwhelming emotions.

Cognition:

Verbal fluency was ok, mild-moderate forgetfulness, thinking was somewhat slow, concentration a little fragmented.

Pain:
Not too bad, better than the other days since relapse. Moderate burning and aching here and there, but they didn't grab my attention for most of the day.

* Something positive / something I did well:

Breaking the chain of obsession around my coworker, even when all the negativity surrounding it felt like it was swallowing me whole.

Also, since I am leaving soon, I am letting the clients who I am meeting for the last time know that this is goodbye. One of them is this high school girl who got a little choked up about me leaving. I tried to be positive at the end of the session to ease her sadness, but she was a bit teary-eyed afterward when I saw her in the lobby. I got a bit emotional too (although I didn’t show it), and asked her if she wanted a hug. She dropped what she was holding, and she briskly walked over to give me a hug. It was a great feeling guys. I can’t describe it exactly, but it was nice. No sexual/perverted thoughts, no urges, just an honest exchange of feeling through physical contact. An expression of gratitude on her part and an attempt at easing her sadness on mine. A genuine exchange of human emotion. It saddens me knowing that I got sucked into an obsessive whirlpool of negativity after work, but at least I had this moment. At least I had that. I wish I had more moments like these. Maybe that's why my interactions with my coworker today bugged me so much. They remind me about this void of human connection that has been growing larger and larger over these past few years. They remind me of how a lot of my life has become a maelstrom of negativity: sadness, anger, irritation, regret, spite, depression, anxiety...the list goes on.

Sorry for the deluge of words today everyone. It felt especially cathartic to write down my thoughts and experiences today.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 16, 2019, 12:31:07 PM
Fuck, man, you're killing me with the triggers. But yeah, I have the same problems.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 16, 2019, 01:10:42 PM
Lero

Sorry about that. I made the trigger disclaimer red. Hopefully that will catch at-risk readers attention.

Thanks for reading through my essay length post.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 16, 2019, 01:12:34 PM
Lero

Sorry about that. I made the trigger disclaimer red. Hopefully that will catch at-risk readers attention.

Thanks for reading through my essay length post.

I am kidding, man. I knew triggers would follow, don't worry. I didn't read everything, just a little bit and then skipped. Sorry for that, as I couldn't read your whole post but...
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: malando on August 16, 2019, 01:32:30 PM
Hi NS, no need to apologise for anything you said, or the length of it. It was an honest, well-expressed exposé of where you're at - and I can only commend you on your honesty and courage in examining yourself like that and writing it down. You are on the right track: becoming more and more aware of yourself and your inner workings. That's a good thing and that's what will get you to your desired destination. So thanks for sharing, man. Best wishes, M.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 16, 2019, 07:48:52 PM
Malando

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your kindness and encouragement. I felt better after reading your post.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: CB on August 17, 2019, 01:26:19 AM
Yeah OCD can be a big black pit some times.. I have also been having sexual, violent and many other obsessions and intrusive thoughts. One that’s been really bad the past year is after have watching sissy/shemale porn, I started to have HOCD, doubting my sexual orientation. That led me to have another bout of Relationship OCD about my gf of course. I’ve always had ROCD in my relationships. And I think pmo has been a big part in my OCD getting a bigger or greater grip on me. Because of the ADHD I tend to over react thinking Black/white about things, when for example having a hard time to get a erection I would be like, ”Oh no, maybe it’s true, I’m not into girls anymore?!”. Maybe you can relate to this, OCD has many faces. But it can really be keeping one from a sober life from pmo. Felt like I had to share a little since I know how difficult it is when these thoughts strike. Good thing though is that we scare ourselves because these thoughts show the total opposite of who we truly are, and they are just thoughts.

Hope you’re feeling better!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: mattdes on August 17, 2019, 02:00:44 AM
Keep going man!!! I wish I had started at 31 . I'm sure I would have been cured by now. A lot of your story I can really relate to. We are all in this boat together. It's a struggle but let's get fixed together. Let's never take this boat again.
We'll fly in the future haha.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: mranoym31 on August 17, 2019, 05:19:13 AM
Continue on your path. I am still free of PMO even though I had a weak moment last night, I left the computer. Hope you can continue to do the same. Good luck! Stay strong!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 17, 2019, 08:03:04 AM
CB

Thank you so much for sharing. Your post helped make me feel better. It really is nice to hear from someone who wrestles with this issue. All of our journeys are unique, but sometimes this uniqueness can make me feel more isolated and alone. OCD is this whirlpool that just keeps on spinning. I hate when it sucks me in and makes me lost in its unending cycle. And if it's not one obsession, then it's another. ADHD is another beast, but unlike OCD, I haven't really read much about it yet. Between these two and my addiction, I feel so broken and worthless at times...anyway, I am sorry to hear about your SOOCD and ROCD. I have never experienced SOOCD, and I am not so sure about ROCD (I have been single for years now so I can't really remember). If it's any consolation, all SOOCD cases I have read about ended in a complete reversal in SOOCD upon quitting porn for good, with rebooters completely returning to their original sexual orientation (straight or gay). So I think there's a lot of hope. Plus you are now 2 months+, so you're getting closer and closer to that goal line, regardless of where your journey has decided to place it. Ever heard of TAF (though-action fusion)? It is a cognitive distortion (a pattern of thinking that leads you to have irrational beliefs about the world) I came across in the book I am reading on OCD. With TAF, one tends to consider thought equivalent to action. You spend your time trying to figure out why you are having a thought and whether or not it means something about you...instead of recognizing thoughts as complex phenomena arising due to a variety of factors, many of which we won't and can't be aware of. You're SOOCD example reminded me of this. I am still a novice, but if you ever want to chat more about OCD, let me know via this topic or PM. I would be happy to try to pass on some of the information I have obtained from reading about this subject.

mattdes


Thanks for the support! Our recovery counters are at around the same number of days. Let's push through this together and look back on this addiction as a nightmare we used to live in. No more sailing through dark and murky waters.

mranoym31

As a fellow rebooter, I just want to thank you for not relapsing yesterday. You're showing the rest of us what successful recovery looks like every day you overcome the obstacles this addiction throws in your path. So thank you.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 19, 2019, 11:40:58 AM
August 19, 2019 - Day 6

Urges:
Nothing too terrible today; however, whenever I spent time outside, it felt like my eyes were being sucked toward any female walking down the street, and it was really hard to get my brain to resist the pull. If my eyes fell on a woman, or if I heard a voice, I would get triggered really easily, and all the physical discomfort associated with urges would hit my body. I tried to stay focused on my walks, and for the most part I did. My eyes lingered on a few houses here and there in the evening, my addict brain hoping that it would get some nourishment through visual-audio voyeurism, but I think I did a pretty good job keeping it in check here too (with the occasional lingering gaze here and there).

I didn’t post for a few days, but they were full of some bad urges caused by some really stressful experiences that happened as well as an incident where I saw a busty woman nude from the waist above (no intentional searching; I looked up a search string with the word prone, and I got an image demoing what position a woman would take when getting radiology work done…this was brutal, but thankfully unintentional). As for the stressful experiences, I wish stress didn’t swing so me hard into urges all the time, but I know this is one of the brain changes that occurs in addicts, so I just have to push through and recover more if I want things to get better.

Emotions:
Yesterday had some great experiences but also some pretty rough ones, so my emotions were intense and varied. I wish I could deal with them better, but I got to remember that time is the healer.

Today was alright. Had that pervasive feeling of anxiety that feels like it’ll always be there in some shape or form, but the rest of my emotions and mood were manageable for the most part.

Cognition:

Didn’t pay much attention to it since I don’t have work today and I didn’t do much reading, nor did I interact with anyone (these three usually give me an idea of how my cognition is faring).

Pain:
The burning was strong today. I guess the healing down there has fluctuations too. I haven’t really talked about this much with you guys, but the damage down there is bad, and I mean bad. That being said, I know the first step to take is getting some considerable mileage between me and this addiction. Once I’ve done that, I will earnestly seek out a urologist and see what steps I can take. But for now, I try not to think much about that as it doesn’t help me with my current addiction problem and often ends up making me feel worse and crave more porn. Noticing changes in the duration and intensity of the pain are more helpful to focus on for the time being.


* Something positive / something I did well:

I kept myself occupied and got all my tasks for today done.

My accountability partner said he felt good today, and I was really happy for him.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 20, 2019, 02:10:13 PM
August 20, 2019 - Day 7

Urges:
The morning and afternoon were alright, nothing too terrible. The evening hit me with a couple of sucker punches though. The first was when I went for a walk to cool down from some earlier urges. It was then that I heard some noise coming from a nearby house and instantaneously became a thrall to my sudden urges. I creepily stood next to the house, transfixed on any sound coming from it, my heart pounding, my stomach tight, the yearning tearing at my insides, and I tried to catch anything I could for a few minutes. It was maddening…at some point I came to my senses, and realized I looked extremely suspicious, and, more importantly, I was violating someone’s privacy. I snapped out of my trance and walked away, and after I remembered that I had suggested putting earphones in my ears when I go for walks. I won't forget next time. I don't want to endanger myself, nor do I have the right to violate someone’s personal space like I did tonight. The second blow was when I tried to tackle a task that is a source of some anxiety for me. It caused incredible urges within, and I tried to handle them with self talk because I felt trapped and paralyzed. But this didn’t help much. It dispelled a little of the anxiety for a brief interval, but actually made things worse, because I have been almost entirely free of self talk for close to a week (a great accomplishment for me), and I felt like I was giving into pressure and letting myself down. I still felt I could salvage my progress (because I hadn’t been talking for that long..maybe 5-10 minutes), so I took a few deep breaths, silenced myself, and decided that I didn’t have to finish this task right now, and that there was nothing wrong with trying again tomorrow when I am in a different state of mind. The third haymaker came when I was watching a movie. There was an actress whose beauty hit me like a thunderbolt, and my mind was tractor-beamed into thoughts of wanting her. I wanted her so bad. So, as some of you I think are familiar with, I played the slippery slope game for a little, and tried to look some pictures of her up online. Nothing arousing or sexual there, but that’s not the point is it. My brain was trying to trick me with its rationalization, and I fell for it. “It's not porn, it's not even sexual. Look, stop overthinking things and just look it up. Need some help? Let me give you a little dopamine spike…yea that’s good. Now look up a few photos of her. See? Nothing worrisome. Alright now, let's just see if there are any slightly more revealing pictures of her. How about bikini pics? That's not too extreme...” Thankfully, I got myself to end it there, but I can’t do this to myself from here on. I can’t play with fire. I’ll apply take 10 or something like that next time. Anyway, I am just glad it was another PMO free day.

Emotions:
I was alone and inside most of today. Depression, regret, and worthlessness were my companions. But, if I were to make an analogy, I felt like I was being swept down this emotional torrent while clinging on to a single log that was keeping me afloat. This log was the determination that at least I know I won’t relapse. I can’t relapse. I might have days like today where I feel adrift in a sea of hopelessness, but things will get better. They'll get better because I won’t relapse. And on days where I am feeling better, I can make more progress and build on what I want to become. I just got to take it all one day at a time. For now, I just have to endure the pain.

Cognition:
Focus was fragmented. Memory seemed somewhat poor. Not sure about the rest.

Pain:

Had some pockets of burning pain, but the rest of the day was fine.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Turning myself back in the right direction each time I was sucker-punched by urges.
- Realizing that today is just one day so that I could deal with the suffering and hope for a better tomorrow, all the while being ok with not expecting it anytime soon
- Finished almost everything I wanted to do today, even though I was pushed close to the brink by my urges. It was hard getting back on my feet, but I think I was able to regain most of my balance

I feel exhausted guys. Show some love if you can. For all of you who have gone through hell today, I am sorry that I haven't said so directly in your topics, but it's terrible that you have to suffer like this. I just want all of us to get better and put this disease behind us once and for all. But for now, all I can do is hit the hay. Take care.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Pete McVries on August 20, 2019, 02:34:23 PM
I just skimmed through your journal because I don't have so much time at my hands at the moment, but you come across like a really good dude with a good heart. You know, like the high school girl felt when you had to say your good-byes. Things like that don't happen by coincedence. You are evidently appreciated.

Getting the addiction under control will most certainly not fix all of your problems but it will most definitely help you lay a foundation on which you can build a nice house. Rome wasn't built in a day, neither will you be able to beat you pmo addiction that quickly. Slow and steady, as you said.

About the trigger moment. Try to detect them as early as possible. That could have been a relapse. Been there, done that countless times. The sooner you stop, the easier it'll be to snap out of anything pmo-related.

Wishing you all the best!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 20, 2019, 02:36:39 PM
Man, withdrawal could get brutal, I can't say it less scary. But you will survive. This withdrawal doesn't kill. It's not like, let's say, detox from alcohol or drugs. We are actually fortunate to experience an withdrawal that is not dangerous for us (but very painful in itself). The truth is that the withdrawal will go away but not too fast. My streak is 1 month and I am still not done with it. I still experience hard urges  :( It's hard but it's possible. There is no other choice for us. In order to quit this addiction we need to go through the withdrawal. And you know what sucks? You see, I've become addicted to something that I didn't even know it was addictive. I told myself: "What the fuck, man? Why do I need to suffer now for something that I did by mistake. I was not even aware of this shit! I didn't choose deliberately, I didn't say yeah I want to be a porn addict." But nothing will change the past, nothing will change the fact that the withdrawal will still come. Only those who are willing to accept the withdrawal and go through it will escape. The others will repeat in a circle for who knows how long. I like to see it in this way: If you give in and think about putting an end to the suffering with a relapse, you don't put an end to it, you only postpone it. It will eventually return. The withdrawal doesn't go away with a relapse. It goes away only with time. Time is the perfect medicine for our problem. And if you relapse and go back to day 1, you will make it back to another day with terrible withdrawal. The withdrawal comes back, it might not be the same day but days with hard withdrawal will still come. We should go through it once and be done with it. I have 30 days of porn sobriety right now and it seems like it has been a month with withdrawal suffering but actually only about 17 days had hard urges. The first 6 days were a breeze. Then day 7 (the same day as you) I woke up with a crazy craving for porn, I barely escaped alive. Starting with day 7 urges tortured me until my streak got to double digits (I don't remember the days) when I had about 2 days (?) without urges then torture again. Only the MO session from day 21 gave me a break of 4 days (in which I had flatline symptoms). Then since day 26 until today I've had a few days in a row with hard urges and craving for porn. It's hard, but you see, I had better days too. It's not a continous brutal experience, day in day out. Or at least it wasn't for me, I hope it won't be for you either. However, many days with brutal urges could come. There is nothing you could do than prepare yourself, find the determination to endure it and then one day you will be fine, you will look back and congratulate yourself for not giving in because now everything will be over and the pain will only be a distant memory.

P.S: About talking to yourself, I don't think you should worry about it. It's your "balance". It would only be a problem if you were not aware of it. Then you would be mentally insane.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 20, 2019, 02:41:05 PM
About the trigger moment. Try to detect them as early as possible. That could have been a relapse. Been there, done that countless times. The sooner you stop, the easier it'll be to snap out of anything pmo-related.

That's what helped me during my current streak. I wouldn't have made it to 1 month without this. Stopping as early as the impulse starts and not escalating into looking for material. This is so fucking crucial, I'm telling you.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 21, 2019, 09:28:48 AM
Pete McVries

I totally understand just skimming through it. I have a tendency to write too much, but let me tell you, writing on RN and YBR have been really cathartic for me, and sometimes I can't help myself haha.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to write this. I still think I am light-years away from becoming a good guy (let alone a really good one), but it is one of the things that I aspire to becoming, and it's words like yours that help lay the bricks necessary to build a bridge between me and this lofty goal. You know, you're a pretty good dude for writing this comment : ).

While I definitely don't think porn is the source of all my problems, I do think it is inextricably tied to many of them. I can't wait to see which problems get fully resolved by recovering and which problems become weaker and easier to target/manage.

Roger on the trigger moments. I am hoping that my future journal entries, regardless of whether they cover pleasant or agonizing experiences, will provide evidence of the fact that I am committed to beating this addiction and will give no quarter to urges.

Lero


You have been such a great influence since I have joined these boards. I will hold fast to my commitment to beat this. No matter how many times these urges knock on the door, it's my responsibility to not let them in.

Definitely not crazy (though some may indeed feel this way when I talk about my problem, and I can't blame them for that), but I do think that, at least in my case, the self talk does have detrimental side effects, and, while it is not an addiction, life feels difficult without it, but it gets easier to cope over time and I feel better about myself when I refrain from giving in. If I had to guess, I think it is related to my OCD. I think I use it as a ritual in an attempt to neutralize fear caused by uncertainty, and when I avoid using it, I think I habituate to discomfort and deal with stress better. In addition, I think it contributes to procrastination, disorganized thoughts, decreased verbal fluency, and lower social/emotional intelligence. Definitely too early to say, and I know this is a porn recovery forum so I'll avoid going into further detail, but I am feeling optimistic about this!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 21, 2019, 02:11:45 PM
August 21, 2019 - Day 8

Urges:
Was able to keep almost all of my urges entirely in check, so nothing more than moderate cravings today. There was one time where I felt a stronger urge to fantasize because my coworker was being cold and unkind to me again, but, this time around, I let it drop and prevented the obsession train from leaving the station, even though there was a strong flash of desire in my mind to fantasize about her and her body. Clearly, how she treats me is a trigger, and while it is curious why this is the case, to be honest, this is my last week at this job and if she wants to treat me this way, so be it. I don’t need to be a jerk, and I sure don’t need to let something like this lead to a relapse. I just let it be and moved on. Gotta appreciate the small victories.

Emotions:
A bit of irritation because of my coworker, but I didn’t let it flare up and avoided externalizing it. I told a lot more clients today that it was our last day together, and a few people cried or got misty-eyed. One client and his mother started crying, so I walked over to him and gave him a hug and a pat on the head. Some people gave me farewell gifts, others told me they really liked my sessions and think I am a great employee, and one person even went out of her way to squeeze in a session and see me once more for the last time. Good vibes today for sure. After work, I went back home and spent some time reading through various accounts of porn addicts' experiences, and it made me feel this pervasive feeling of sadness. This wasn’t necessarily a negative sadness, maybe more of a sympathetic one. Fair or not, the bulk of the recovery pains have to be borne by the rebooter alone, and I know this can be a very empowering experience once he/she has made it through to the other side, but it’s also such a shame that so many people are being tormented by this, often getting stuck in cycles that just put the pain on rinse and repeat. I'm going through this. I know others are as well. Sometimes I just want to say I am sorry. I am sorry that you have to go through this. I am sorry that I have to go through this. I know it means little. I wish it meant more.

Cognition:

Verbal fluency and memory were mediocre. Confusion present. Thought speed and concentration were ok. Thoughts weren’t too hazy.

Pain:
Some aching here and there, but not noticeable for most of the day.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Didn’t get caught up in a cycle of obsessive thoughts about my emotions (learned from my past mistake)
- Redoubled my efforts today after yesterday’s lapse in judgement, and it showed!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 22, 2019, 01:25:31 PM
August 22, 2019 - Day 9

Trigger Warning: Start
Urges:
Today was a bit more difficult than yesterday, but I made it through pretty well. In the evening, I went to the mall to get some farewell gifts for my coworkers. One shop I visited was the bookstore, and on my way to the section I wanted to go to, I passed the magazine stand, and my eyes happened to (this was not premeditated; I haven’t been to this bookstore before) fall on a magazine cover with a young woman sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall, wearing only a bra and underwear with her legs spread eagle. It’s like damn, how hard do the fates want to make this for me? My brain immediately thought, “I can only imagine the ecstasy I’d feel being between her legs”, and tried to get me to imagine her groin without any underwear on. But the dopamine spike the first thought gave me was a red flag, so I directed all of my attention to the task at hand. Afterward, on my way back home from the mall, I had a sexual fantasy for about a minute about an imaginary girlfriend I conjured up in my head. I think this was a result of the previous dopamine spike, but some of it was also due to the loneliness I was feeling at the time. I just reminded myself that there’s no reason to conjure up this fantasy woman. If I have a romantic, sexual partner in my life I do, and if I don’t, I don’t. And with that it faded into dust. Later on, I was watching a movie that had some sex scenes in it (oral, M&F rape, M&M rape), which was annoying to say the least, but I was happy that I just averted my gaze to the side of the screen and didn’t focus on them. I got triggered a little later by a nude photo in the film, so I went for a walk…but forgot to bring my earphones yet again! Thankfully, even though I hard urges to latch on to any possible sound or sight that might suggest somebody was getting it on, I kept walking and made it back to my house without any lingering. That felt nice and restored some of my confidence. That magazine was BS though. I am looking back on that memory now laughing to myself, thinking “haha wow that was a curveball”, and not obsessing over what I saw. It’s kind of a nice feeling. The last time I relapsed was due to a similar experience, so it feels like I got a second chance to show my antagonist that I still got some fight left in me. Oh yea, there was a small pocket where I felt some bad discomfort in my gut with nausea, and this really made me want to escape into fantasy. Thankfully, I told myself to use the discomfort and nausea as the focus of my attention. I didn’t add any thoughts on to the sensations. I just tried to ride them out and let them run their course. And they did.
Trigger Warning: End

Emotions:
Had a few points where I got misty-eyed thinking about the past and the present. Some feelings of worthlessness here and there. There was a point in the afternoon where I had this attack of irritation for a few minutes. I knew how childish I was acting and that there was no need for me to feel that way, but the feeling of being pissed off fed into the next one, and then the next, and so on. Sometimes, I think I just have to take my foot off the gas.

Cognition:

No work again today, so I didn’t pay attention to it. I should figure out a way to gauge this on days when I don’t have work.

Pain:
Less noticeable than yesterday, which is a plus.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Responded to some devilish urges like a pro
- Felt like I took back my belt from the trigger that did me in last time; confidence boosted a little

EXTRA NOTE: I came across this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-qcfDHztx8) on Noah Church’s channel, and I think it is just great. He’s a former addict turned recovery coach, and the video manages to be funny, informative, and serious at the same time. Check it out if you’re interested, it’s pretty short.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 22, 2019, 03:38:43 PM
Great, man. Every day without a relapse is a success. And the streak will get bigger day by day. Sorry for not always reading your entire post but sometimes you're killing me with triggers.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 22, 2019, 10:26:04 PM
Lero

Thanks for letting me know. I need to get better at remembering to mark any potentially triggering content red or something like that.

Anyone know how to cover the text so that it is only visible if you drag your mouse over it? I have seen this on other forums, but I am not sure if we can do that here. Please let me know if we can.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 23, 2019, 08:45:16 AM
Lero

Thanks for letting me know. I need to get better at remembering to mark any potentially triggering content red or something like that.

Anyone know how to cover the text so that it is only visible if you drag your mouse over it? I have seen this on other forums, but I am not sure if we can do that here. Please let me know if we can.

Yeah, you might write the "possible spoilers" in red or something. Or write something like:

"Possible spoilers.

Start of spoilers:
I went to the store etc.
End of spoilers."

Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 23, 2019, 11:29:20 AM
August 23, 2019 - Day 10

Urges:

Was on top of everything at work. Once I got back home, things like being behind in the tasks I wanted to complete, a desire to procrastinate, feelings of worthlessness, and some pronounced pain in my gut all conspired to get me to fantasize. They kept chasing me upward and upward, but I was always one step ahead and didn’t let them overtake me. It’s tough, and I am not being overconfident. I just know this is the willpower I want. The willpower I need. I have to keep feeding this and not the urges.

Emotions:

I am sure you all are tired of hearing this by now…but damn my coworker was being a real jerk again today. I am so tired of how her behavior and attitude fling me into the realm of negativity and despondency. But it isn’t all bad news. Just like the urges mentioned above, I didn’t feed any of the obsessive thoughts surrounding her behavior or how it made me feel. It was tough, but I have to remember that it is I who feeds these beasts, and, while I may never truly be able to beat them, I can strengthen other aspects of myself so that I don’t have to live in fear of when they strike. It’ll take time no doubt, but its on me to develop that which makes me stronger and starve that which makes me weaker.

Cognition:
Verbal fluency was somewhat poor. Brain fog present but not terribly debilitating.

Pain:
A few aches throughout the day, but the rest of it was fine.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Getting things done
- Keeping myself out of reach of urges and obsessing
- Thinking about the future and not assuming that a negative outcome is what awaits me at the end
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 23, 2019, 11:31:39 AM
Lero

I need to start being more mindful about the sensibilities of my fellow rebooters. I think your idea of using tags is a safer buffer than just marking the text red.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on August 23, 2019, 11:54:19 AM
Lero

I need to start being more mindful about the sensibilities of my fellow rebooters. I think your idea of using tags is a safer buffer than just marking the text red.

It might be a better idea than writting with different color because it stands out and you know how there is this tendency to pay attention to that first.

I don't have a problem about people here writting everything that it's on their mind. That's why it's called "Journal", it's like keeping a diary. I might read those entries in full one day (when I can read those things with ease) but right now it's a struggle to handle the triggers so I have to skip them. 
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 23, 2019, 07:55:14 PM
Lero

Yea, that's true. I should've realized that. I'm going to go back and change my previous posts.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 29, 2019, 03:46:23 PM
Hey there fellow rebooters,

Life has been pretty busy for me recently, so I haven't had much time to post. There are some tidbits I have noticed repeatedly popping up in informational resources regarding porn addiction (videos, text) as well as in advice I have received from successful rebooters. Not sure if any of this is landmark information for you, but I think they have given me some aha moments, so I would like to share them really quickly.

1.) Addition over deletion. While removing this addiction from our lives is a top priority, many addicts who focus solely on deleting an addiction are statistically unsuccessful in breaking the cycle. Instead of focusing our attention on the addiction, we should instead try to implement changes to our lives so that the addiction itself doesn't seem that appealing anymore. I think this video series actually outlines a concise, detailed, and easy-to-understand approach about how to go about doing this. Please check it out if you are interested (I think the whole series is somewhere around 1h30m):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8JjuyRIxOg&list=PLE_vQWWxgaiH1Xcri6_WJDZnC_XezkyAO&index=1

I already meditate on a daily basis, and physical injuries prevent me from doing any exercise aside from moderate walking, so I am going to try to implement the reading habit into my life.

Noah B.E. Church mentions how he every day, before going to bed, writes a message to himself to read the next morning, as well as a list of rules to follow and tasks to get done.

2.) Focusing on the addiction gives it power. To be honest, while this forum and others like it have been great resources for me, I noticed that since I started using them over the past month, I have come to obsess about regularly checking and posting on the sites (not bad if you remove the obsessing component), and this was ultimately causing me to think more about porn and my addiction. I felt pressure to post in other people's topics, because I didn't want to be selfish and focus solely on myself, but this also made spend more time on the sites and think about them when I wasn't online. This may sound selfish (I sure hope it doesn't, but it definitely could come across as such), but I think, at least for a while at least, I am going to limit myself to just posting my journal in this topic and staying in contact with my accountability partner. Once I have made more significant recovery, I might feel more comfortable posting in other's topics. Hopefully my recovery experiences will be useful to other rebooters later on down the line.

In the meantime, take care everyone. Hope you all have a great PMO free day!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 11, 2019, 01:46:36 AM
September 10, 2019

How was today?
I think it wasn’t bad. Finished all of my morning and night routines and got all my chores for the day done as well. Got some others tasks done to boot. Didn’t really get any reading done today, but hopefully I can do that and some other tasks tomorrow. I had a bad night’s rest break an uncommon string of good sleep, so that made the day a bit less manageable. Thankfully, I didn’t sleep in that late, and I am going to crash soon.

Urges:
Moderate urges throughout the day, but thankfully due to some strong focus was able to keep them at arm’s length. Had a lot of flashbacks pop into my head today as well.

Emotions:
Felt alright all things considered. I think the solid focus I had today helped.

Cognition:
Felt kind of clear-headed, but the lack of sleep made me feel numb at times.

Pain:
Uncomfortable. It was occasionally distracting.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Stayed focused
- Had a nice chat with the cashier at the supermarket today. I want more experiences like this
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 13, 2019, 12:32:55 AM
September 12, 2019

How was today?
Woke up a bit late, but was able to get all the routine stuff done, along with one or two extra things. I spent some time outside of the house with other people, which was nice, although it was a bit difficult at times because they were talking about someone who recently passed away. Because of that, things got pretty emotional at times, but it was nice to hear their stories and meet someone new.

Urges:
I really do hate urges. Not the worst today, but I can’t wait for this ravenous sexual hunger to go away. It can be really exhausting.

Emotions:
Anxiety was a bit strong, but thankfully was able to remain pretty mindful throughout the day.

Cognition:
Ok perhaps. Didn’t pay much attention to it, as there was nothing that demanded me to use my brain. Verbal fluency was pretty decent.

Pain:
I can’t wait to get enough time under my belt to the point where I am ready to see a urologist. Need to prove to myself that I can stay off long enough before going. Gotta keep looking toward the future.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Was considerate of others’ emotions today
- Handled myself well socially
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 14, 2019, 03:50:31 AM
September 13, 2019

How was today?
Not bad. Checked things off my list and made it through a lot of boring (but necessary) reading for an upcoming test. Pushing myself through a boring task can be quite the trigger, and it was, but I made it more manageable by taking breaks doing nothing so that I could decompress. The only downside of today was that I stayed up too late. Can’t wait to go to bed.

Urges:

Moderately bad, but handled myself well. There was a point during the evening where I didn’t notice any triggers but increasingly felt unsettled, and it dawned on me that this is the carbonated bubbles that precede the fizzy spray of full-blown urges, so I went to the first floor where there is no Wi-Fi and just chilled for a while. Mindfulness of the body really helped here. Still can’t really pinpoint what the triggers were, but hey, crisis averted.

Emotions:
Some awful boredom, but that was necessary and I knew where it was coming from. During the evening, I felt dark feelings toward myself and others, but I just told myself, “F*** it. They don’t need my negativity and neither do I.” Overly simplistic, but it helped me nip a negative thought spiral in the bud. I feel like I am slowly getting better with this and it helps a lot with not relapsing. Looking forward to more OCD reading to further bolster this capacity.

Cognition:
Focus felt decent, but it was probably great objectively speaking, seeing as I was able to make it through a bunch of slow reading. Memory was alright. I remembered some of the material but forgot other parts. I’ll have to check tomorrow to get a better idea.

Pain:
No pain, no gain

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Finished a lot of boring, but important, reading
- Finished all components of my D&N routines, even though my tank was running on empty during the last quarter of the day
- Didn't let my thoughts lead me into quicksand
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Pdub on September 14, 2019, 10:04:15 AM
@NewStart04 it's good that you can identify boredom as a trigger.  I know from my own perspective if I have to sit through a dull video on technical jargon for an hour, my attention fades but I will keep it on in the background listening.  This attempt at multi-tasking has often led me to not even realize that I'm unconsciously drifting toward porn.  Taking breaks is actually a really great way to give your brain the break it needs to digest what you just learned. 

I too have had some dark feelings in the past week and feel like I've been overly negative.  Here's hoping I can take a page out of your book and recognize it, tell myself to get over it, and change my own mood.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 14, 2019, 06:55:41 PM
Quote
Lack of motivation, listlessness, thoughts of suicide, anger, resentment, desire to give back in to old habits

Is this what you were referring to? I don't know about other rebooters, but for me addiction can make me feel all of the above and more, at random times and of varying intensity. The thing is, I have been an addict stuck in a cycle for so long it can be hard to figure out what part of this is me and what is the addiction. Makes me wonder, what type of emotional landscape is awaiting me on the other side of recovery? The tumultuous and uncertain nature of it all can really make me lost and confused, but tools like mindfulness meditation (as I have probably mentioned ad nauseam in your topic haha), as well as reading and some CBT, have been helping me get swept away less and less by all this. If you want to hear about any resources, I'd be happy to tell you, so let me know if you are interested. No pressure though : ).

Do you think I should avoid multitasking during the recovery journey? I am interested in hearing your thoughts.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on September 15, 2019, 08:03:07 AM
Quote
Lack of motivation, listlessness, thoughts of suicide, anger, resentment, desire to give back in to old habits

Is this what you were referring to? I don't know about other rebooters, but for me addiction can make me feel all of the above and more, at random times and of varying intensity. The thing is, I have been an addict stuck in a cycle for so long it can be hard to figure out what part of this is me and what is the addiction. Makes me wonder, what type of emotional landscape is awaiting me on the other side of recovery? The tumultuous and uncertain nature of it all can really make me lost and confused, but tools like mindfulness meditation (as I have probably mentioned ad nauseam in your topic haha), as well as reading and some CBT, have been helping me get swept away less and less by all this. If you want to hear about any resources, I'd be happy to tell you, so let me know if you are interested. No pressure though : ).

Do you think I should avoid multitasking during the recovery journey? I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

I definitely relate to this. I've been a P addict since I was a teenager. It's been more than 10 years, I guess you could safely say that I don't even know anymore "who is the real me". I've been masturbating for a long time, before discovering P. I masturbated watching music videos and nudity scenes from movies, plus the flashbacks of those scenes. I could get fixated on some scene from a movie, think about it and masturbate all day long. I was exhausted everyday because of too much masturbation. Probably days when I didn't masturbate were when I was sick or something (cold or flu). So I can't really say that I've ever been at full potential. I only was "at full potential" (whatever that was) when my age was in single digits and I hadn't discovered masturbation yet. So the idea is that I need to stop PMO and MO and see who I am supposed to feel without all the dopamine abuse and exhaustion. But I know that I have the potential to feel way better. I've seen it during my 40 days streak. After about 3 weeks I loved it. I had more energy, more tolerance for bullshit, I enjoyed small things more (I started playing a video game that I had played 1000 times and I was supposed to be tired of it, but I enjoyed it like it had been 20 years since I'd played it last time). My social anxiety was so small that I wasn't afraid to engage with people. My brain fog was gone, my mind worked like a computer, I could focus, find the best words to speak my mind, there were little nuances in the way that I conducted myself. So you see, there is a lot more past P and we need to get there. We should probably feel even better than what I described. At least I hope so, cause I am still young. I must not let myself reach 40s because it gets hard. I can't reach 40s and still be a P addict. I need to deal with it before 30s. It's crucial. I am no more in high school. I am 29 years old. Everyday I remind myself how I felt after those 3 weeks hard mode. I want to get back there cause I liked it and I definitely don't like how I feel when I am heavily invested in P.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 15, 2019, 04:13:03 PM
Lero

It's strange because our normal is in a sense abnormal, in that we have spent the majority of our life stuck in the cycle addiction. But it's there, somewhere on the other side of abstinence. It seems like you were able to return to normal considerably after only three weeks, which is great! You've already done some of the time on your current streak, so after a bit more patience you can be back to where you were.

Wishing you the best of luck.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 16, 2019, 03:29:53 AM
September 15, 2019

How was today?
Yesterday was pretty bumpy, but today was good. Finished everything on my agenda, and spent some of my extra time helping out someone I know who is sick with diverticulitis.

Urges:
Not too bad, but I still hate ‘em. Wish I could throw them into a black hole and watch them get spaghettified.

Emotions:
People in my surroundings were a bit mopey (understandably so for the most part) today, but thankfully this just energized me to be proactive and helpful. During the evening I felt a bit…forlorn? Not sure how to describe it.

Cognition:
Verbal fluency was a bit weak.

Pain:
It’s like I can sense the lost tissue even though it’s no longer there. I’ve heard similar stories about people who have lost limbs.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Helped out someone who needed it
- Was friendly to those I met outside when I was running errands
- I passed a guy asking for money on the street, but I was caught up in my own plans and thoughts when he spoke to me, so I just waved my hand and walked on by without acknowledging him or making eye contact. Soon after, I felt bad about how I potentially came off as rude, so I got some cash back at the store, walked back to where he was, and gave him $10. I apologized for “ignoring” him earlier, handed him the bill, and he responded with gratitude and a smile. It felt good.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 19, 2019, 05:52:50 AM
September 18, 2019

How was today?
My sleeping schedule has become pretty awful again, but at least today was surprisingly productive. I got a ton of things done. I am going to try to start fixing my sleep schedule, which means only a little bit of sleep tomorrow and a day full of sleep-deprived discomfort, so I will need to be wary tomorrow, since my chance of relapse greatly increases when I am tired.

Urges:
Not too bad today, but I was reflecting on how dangerous they can be. They’re like tinder. One second its dry, and the next, due to some external influence, it’s quickly ablaze. It is exhausting having to be on guard for each and every moment of the day. I try not to think more about this addiction than I need to, as I feel like that inflates the addiction, but, at the same time, staying vigilant is draining because you never know when urges are going to strike. Having a plan is good, but for me (and maybe I unique in this?) being an addict for so long across so many situations has created a plethora of triggers. It's hard to live life and make it through the day. I need to become more ok with doing nothing when the going gets tough.

Emotions:
I wouldn’t call today a roller coaster, but they were a bit scattered.

Cognition:
Was able to remain pretty focused, though my thoughts were hazy at times. Verbal fluency was ok. Not good but not terrible.

Pain:
Some aching

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Followed through with some boring studying
- Compiled some old notes I was meaning to get around to for months
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on September 19, 2019, 06:08:19 AM
Not too bad today, but I was reflecting on how dangerous they can be. They’re like tinder. One second its dry, and the next, due to some external influence, it’s quickly ablaze. It is exhausting having to be on guard for each and every moment of the day. I try not to think more about this addiction than I need to, as I feel like that inflates the addiction, but, at the same time, staying vigilant is draining because you never know when urges are going to strike. Having a plan is good, but for me (and maybe I unique in this?) being an addict for so long across so many situations has created a plethora of triggers. It's hard to live life and make it through the day. I need to become more ok with doing nothing when the going gets tough.

I know exactly what you're talking about. I guess you are like me and P is spread all over our body like symbiote for Spiderman. But, what can I say? I've been watching P since I was 13. It's been 16 years, man. I understand what you mean with the triggers because I also feel like there are so many in my life. I mean, even words remind me of words said in dialog of P scenes. There is always something to remind me of P, even when I'm trying to complete ignore it and not thinking about it at all, focusing on doing what I have to do and then BAM! I hear some words and P pops up in my mind. Sometimes it's fucking exhausting.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 19, 2019, 05:49:55 PM
Lero

I like the symbiote analogy, however in this case it doesn't give us any special powers, but instead zaps us of our potential and leaves us weakened husks.

I sympathize with you, and, although it sucks, at the end of the day it's on us to break on through to the other side. I sometimes however do get the feeling that the agony of urges and withdrawals are downplayed by some rebooters, but maybe this aspect of recovery isn't as difficult for them? Not sure, but for me, when recovery really gets tough, I experience some pretty intense mental and physical distress. Even with addition over deletion, adding healthy habits, being productive, being more social, considerate and helpful, planning for a better future, minimizing my thoughts about the addiction, responding differently, etc., there are times where urges, withdrawals, or the combination of the two subsume all of that.

I do think recovery is possible, but the suffering for me is really intense. I guess I just have to keep soldiering on.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 20, 2019, 05:12:37 AM
September 19, 2019

How was today?
Productive! I’m tired so I’ll keep this nice and concise.

Urges:
Had a couple of flashes but kept them at bay.

Emotions:
Had a trough during the evening. Felt low due to a perceived lack of compassion. Was a bit rough taking the weight of it raw with no substitutes.

Cognition:

Focus was good. Fragmented at times but good. Memory wasn’t bad surprisingly.

Pain:
Sticking

* Something positive / something I did well:
-   There was a seagull that was ill and crash-landed in the back. It was too weak to fly. Tried to give it some food and space and called animal control so that they could hopefully relocate and maybe treat it. Thought it was a better idea than just letting it outside the building and having it navigate the world in its infirm state
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 22, 2019, 12:37:29 AM
September 21, 2019

How was today?

Wow! So sleep-deprived today. In spite of that though, I was able to get some big-ticket things done and keep myself up long enough to help get my sleeping schedule back on track WITHOUT fantasizing or giving into urges (being sleep-deprived or tired are big time triggers for me). So regardless of how I feel physically or emotionally, today was a triumph.

Urges:
After getting my main task done in the morning, urges were deviously knocking at my door at random intervals throughout the day. The fatigue combined with the urge-induced exhaustion was pretty bad, but I made it through without relapsing. Really fantastic.

Emotions:
Not bad. Barring the tiredness, I felt alright. Had a surge of compassion during the evening. Haven't felt that in a while. It was refreshing.

Cognition:
Pretty sharp considering how sleep-deprived I was.

Pain:
Nothing too noticeable. Some aching here and there I guess.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Got two important tasks done today. No BS. No excuses. No relapsing
- Put myself out there during an evening walk to try and help someone out of compassion
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on September 22, 2019, 04:17:37 AM
Damn, man, you got sleep problems. It's probably the withdrawal.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 23, 2019, 04:18:44 AM
Lero

Some of it is. Some of it's me being a fool. I've had difficulties managing my sleep for most of my life. No better point to change that then the present though right? : )

Hope you had another awesome PMO-free day.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 23, 2019, 05:17:21 PM
September 22, 2019

How was today?:
In one word? Tough! Crappy mood, urges and/or withdrawals all day! But made it through with no fantasy, no porn, no masturbation.

Urges:
They incessantly nipped at me all day long. Never indulged, which was great, but damn was it exhausting.

Emotions:
I could tell from the moment I woke up my mood was terrible, which in a way was a good because it made me aware of the fact that today was going to be a trying day, so I needed to be especially careful. My companions today were intense irritability, restlessness and frustration, and it didn't matter what I did. Everything seemed to add fire to the flames. Strangely, anxiety wasn’t present. It never misses an opportunity like this, so I suppose it's absence is something to be thankful for.

As an aside, I think Gabe Deem is a great guy trying to make a difference, so please don't take this as a jab, but I remember him saying in one video that “with patience, support, a willingness to go through a little bit of pain to get better, recovery is possible.” (Quote is taken from this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZeOWLxgqOQ&t=3m18s)) This always stuck with me. A little bit of pain? I can’t speak for everyone’s experience, but, for me, recovery is a grueling, painful, and exhausting process. Do I feel this way every day? No. Do things gradually get better? Yea. But it definitely isn't a little bit of pain.

I am not straight white-knuckling my way through it. I practice addition over deletion, try to be more social and kinder to others, focus on dealing with other negatives in my life, work toward developing a life plan and better future, plus loads more, and I know that’s the ticket, but there are times, like today, where the addiction relentlessly bears down on me and all I can do is suffer through it.

Anyway, mini-rant over. Maybe I am more susceptible to urges and withdrawals than the average person, but at times I feel like the agonizing aspects of recovery are downplayed; however, regardless of the veracity of my impression, I know things will get better at some point and I just have to keep soldiering on.

Cognition:
It was hard to be productive as any and everything I tried seem to make me feel worse and push me closer to wanting to indulge in urges, so I didn’t really get a chance to explore my cognition. I’ll say NA for this category today.

Pain:
A bit more painful. I am not sure exactly what happened, but I woke up in the middle of the night with my pants and underwear off and a hard-on, so maybe my member came into contact with the bedding while in it’s erect state, and that irritated it a bit. There was no mess or fluids present, so I must’ve just subconsciously removed them without doing anything else (or having any wet dreams), something which hasn’t happened in a while but has occurred during my previous recovery attempts. Anyway, I have no memory of it, but either way, good thing I made the first floor, which is where I sleep, a no tech-device area. Even if my half-awake self wanted to relapse, it would have had to walk all the way upstairs and turn on my phone or computer to do so, and at that point I’d be fully awake and stop myself. Planning ahead of time for these uncontrollable disasters really is crucial.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Didn’t relapse! That’s all I can say, but it was quite the victory. I am comfortable with just that for today
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 24, 2019, 05:53:00 PM
September 23, 2019

How was today?:
Was ok for the most part. Not that productive. Had a difficult spell with urges in the evening, but came out on top again, with no porn, masturbation or fantasy. I felt bad about including Gabe Deem in my complaining mini-rant yesterday. He has done a lot in spreading awareness about the problem of porn addiction, helped and inspired many sufferers, and is still making efforts to educate people on the subject (released this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffKy-DFU1S4) a few days ago). So my bad at picking at a part of a sentence he uttered years ago because it doesn't reflect one part of my recovery experience.

Urges:
They popped up a bit here and there, not too bad until the evening. It was then that my GI problem got worked up for the first time in a while, with some pronounced pain and tightness in my esophagus. When my GI problems, usually in my esophagus, start acting up, especially when it is the first attack in a while, my brain immediately tries to cover up the pain and fear of it getting worse with PMO. This is actually what got me during my best streak of 8 weeks. It was tough, but I kept reminding myself that if the attack does get extreme, then getting my body more worked up by masturbating to porn would only make it worse, and if it doesn’t, then there is nothing to be afraid of. These types of situations are uncommon and uncontrolled, meaning that if I want to reprogram how my brain responds to them, I have to make sure to take advantage of every time it happens to remove the compulsion to respond with porn use.

Emotions:
Some depression during the afternoon and heavy sadness during the evening.

Cognition:
My productivity has dropped over the last few days, so I yet again don’t have much to say here. I am not that worried though. I think it’s just one of those mood lows that one can experience during recovery. During my last streak, I had a period of three days where I was just down in the dumps and couldn’t do much aside from going to work. I think it’s something like that, though the quality of the experience is somewhat different.

Pain:
A little aching

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Made it past the pitfall that brought me down during my best streak
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 25, 2019, 02:33:02 PM
September 24, 2019

How was today?:
It was ok. I woke up late but had a burst of activity in the first quarter of the day. After that, I decided to spend some time outside, which turned into a lot of time. Met with someone I hadn’t seen for a while, but this was around the time when my mood decided to shift into a depressed state. It wasn’t my friend’s fault. I think it was just a continuation of the mood low I mentioned in my previous entry. Anyway, it was cool seeing him, but the depression continued after he left, and continued for the rest of the day until I went to bed. During that time, I went on a meditative walk, which helped me handle the rest of the depression and the additional sadness I felt during my last hour awake.

Urges:

As the difficult emotions hit me in the evening and once I didn’t have anyone in my company, I started noticing an increase in urges. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I wasn’t thinking and did a stupid but unintentional search that resulted in me seeing a pornographic image, albeit for a split second. I blurred my eyes, looked to the side, and closed the tab immediately. This definitely inflated my urges a bit, but thankfully I didn’t obsess over what I saw and was able to direct my attention elsewhere.

Emotions:
Heavy depression in the evening. Simultaneously felt some strong sadness in the final hour before bed.

Cognition:
I did pay attention to it this time around, and it was poor. Verbal fluency was bad and short-term memory was terrible. Didn’t obsess over it though, which was nice.

Pain:
Aching

*Something positive / something I did well:
- Did pretty well with not obsessing over negative and harmful stimuli
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 26, 2019, 05:32:08 AM
September 25, 2019

How was today?:
It was fine I suppose. No emotional roller coaster rides today. Moderate productivity, still a bit low, but I remained somewhat active. The urges though…

TRIGGER WARNING - START

Urges:
Yea, the urges. They kicked in during the second half of the day. I was at a clinic then, and in the hallway there was a woman walking in front of me. Now I know everyone has their own proclivities, but when it comes to me, women who are on the short side with juicy bubble butts really turn me on (I acknowledge this could be the inner addict within me, and that this could change; I also acknowledge that physical appearance really shouldn’t matter, and this leaning toward objectification is porn-influenced and not something I want to carry with me long-term), and the rear she was endowed with looked really round and well-shaped. When she walked, the buttock on the same side of the leg being placed on the ground would do this mild jiggle-shudder with each step she took…oh damn, remembering it right now is fiercely triggering me! To get to the point, I noticed her butt not out of intentional ogling but rather by chance; however, this sight lit my urges up, and I reflexively (not intentionally) had an image (or maybe more like a gif?) flit in my mind of me taking her from behind, with her butt jiggling after each forward thrust. It was really vivid, but also short-lived. Maybe 2-3 seconds. I snapped myself out of that trance and was able to stop indulging then and there. For the rest of the day, almost every time my eyes fell on a woman, be it while driving or walking, my body would respond with strong urges. I didn’t have any more creeper moments like the one mentioned above though. It was all pretty exhausting. I don’t know about you guys, but I experience certain physiological symptoms when I have urges: a clenching in my gut, accelerated heart beat, heavier breathing, etc. It was draining being buffeted by these sensations over and over again. But each time they arose, I gave them no quarter and didn’t indulge.
TRIGGER WARNING - END

Emotions:

Pretty neutral. Not much to say here.

Cognition:
Similar to yesterday I think. Perhaps a little better.

Pain:

Aching again

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Survived an onslaught of urges. I think most of my wins recently have been PMO-related, so I am hoping to write something here tomorrow that doesn’t pertain to this domain
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Lero on September 26, 2019, 07:39:02 AM
Urges could get brutal, man. I know how it is. But we need an emergency attitude. The more we post-pone the recovery, the less days remaining in our life we have. If we continue to be addicts, day after day we reach another end of the year and another, then one day you look at yourself and say: "Fuck, I'm 40! I wish I was done with this when I was 30 so I could live the last 10 years better." I will end my 20's soon. I really really want to start my 30's better, god damn. I want by the time I am 30 to have at least half of year without this shit. Anyway, if this is not our no. 1 priority, we won't do shit about it. Because porn addiction actually includes more. You cannot be a porn addict and have an awesome life at the same time. Porn makes you procrastinate, have no mood and energy to do things, you don't accomplish much.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 27, 2019, 04:58:23 AM
Lero


Yea, I am definitely tired of wasting time. No time like the present right? I am having a great run so far: no intentional fantasizing, no intentional viewing of arousing content, no masturbation, no orgasm. Hope your journey is going well too.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 27, 2019, 05:57:47 AM
September 26, 2019

How was today?:
Pretty good. Got everything I wanted to get done done. Hoping to correct this ongoing awful sleep schedule by waking up nice and early tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Urges:
A weaker version of yesterday. A bit relentless, but not as bad.

Emotions:
Noticed some inexplicable social anxiety in the daytime. Had some general anxiety in the evening. It wasn't all bad though. I also felt satisfaction from my boost in productivity.

Cognition:
Still not very sharp. Oh well.

Pain:
Aching, but weaker than previous days.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Getting **** done! Happy I can write something not related to PMO here
- Make fun of me all you want, but, for the first time in a while, I found a new song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRFWmNgTqRE) I really enjoyed listening to
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on September 28, 2019, 03:32:23 AM
September 27, 2019

How was today?:
Pretty nondescript. Not bad by any means though. Killed it again with the complete denial of PMO and fantasy.

Urges:

Strength: Medium
Frequency: Sprinkled throughout the day

Emotions:
Somewhat lethargic. Is that an emotion or a sensation? Perhaps unmotivated is more appropriate for this category. Still got a decent number of tasks done, but could've done more. Hope I wake up earlier tomorrow.

Cognition:
Verbal fluency and memory were lacking.

Pain:
A little aching

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Actually cooked something for the first time in a while. Not the basic boiling, frying, or toasting that I usually do. I actually cooked. Steamed brussels sprouts, garlic shrimp (with butter, parsley, lemon juice, caper brine, red pepper and salt), and mashed potatoes. I'm stuffed.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: mattdes on October 14, 2019, 01:48:41 AM
How are you getting on? You haven't posted for a while. Hope you are doing good!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 17, 2019, 12:33:26 AM
mattdes

Thanks for checking in! I really appreciate it.

I'm still hanging in there. I'm feeling a bit more motivated and optimistic about the future. How about you? Enjoying your 40s? Sounds like a great decade to kick this addiction to the curb.

I feel you about the loneliness. I know how miserable it can get, and it's a shame that's what you are going through right now. If it's any consolation, I'm rooting for you.

In the meantime, keep up the great diet and exercise.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: mattdes on October 17, 2019, 02:21:08 AM
Thanks man I appreciate it! Yeah I'm trying to break my pathetic abstinence record  :P.
I've had the dreaded shrinkage and no libido which i guess is good for the reboot but makes you feel a bit robotic. Haha

Well keep checking in and updating. This forum has gone very quiet of late which is a pity. I think we can all help each other so much.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 19, 2019, 06:24:00 AM
It's been a little while since I last posted in this topic. Things have been a bit bumpy since then, but overall pretty good. I feel like I am cultivating a stronger sense of trust in myself. This in turn has led to me feeling more optimistic about the future and motivated to work on my life in the present.

That being said...

I relapsed the previous night. It started during the evening when my GI tract was acting up. I was more anxious than usual because I suffered an attack the night before from some pronounced GI pain and was worried I would have to go through that again. At the same time, I felt some strong urges, some of which were definitely triggered by my discomfort. In spite of all this, I did a great job of enduring them as just experience without adding anything on; however, when I experience a cocktail of physical discomfort and urges, my brain sometimes tries to up the ante by randomly flashing certain erotic concepts in my mind to give me a larger rush of dopamine than normal in an attempt to push me over the edge to relapse. And that did indeed happen this time around. More than once. But, I am happy to say, I was able to do the same as before: I just noticed them as experience and resolved myself to endure the discomfort.

So, what led to the relapse? Well, fast forward a little--I had been dealing with this for a few hours at this point--and my dastardly brain was so clever that it connected the dots to something I didn't know existed: I was thinking about a future plan I have to go to a VR center with my friend, which led to me thinking about what the experience will actually be like and how fun and novel it could be. I felt excited by the thought of being able to try something for the first time and interested in how it could potentially add heretofore unobtainable layers to the experience of video games. Riding on this anticipatory excitement, my brain suddenly changed lanes to a different thought: VR could do the same with porn, and, even thought I don't have goggles, I could watch it on my phone that instant. It is bizarre that it made that assumption. Yes, you can watch VR porn, or at the very least a watered-down version of it--I never tried the real stuff so I can't really compare--without goggles, but I had never encountered anything before that informed me it was possible. My brain just assumed you could.

Anyway, as I mentioned, I was already riding a feeling of anticipatory excitement with my thoughts on VR. This was then hijacked by urges that were of a different nature: a teasing of pleasure that offered new layers of stimulation previously inaccessible. I crumpled in an instant. I was immediately tractor-beamed to my phone, a thrall to the promise of new landscapes of indulgence.

While I am sure the experience with a headset is quite different, the "2D" experience was still intense. You see, although the spell this addiction has cast on me has continued to be unbroken, I have, starting from a few years back, pushed the boundaries of porn novelty to the point where it all has become pretty boring. So the game my brain has been playing these past few years is, when I am beset by cravings, to rapidly cycle through randomly novel concepts that I have not explored in an attempt to crack open any chinks in my recovery armor. I've made a lot of progress with this recently, but the idea of experiencing porn in 360°--well not really, it was more 180°ish--was a dopamine avalanche. I was submerged before I even had a chance to escape.

Note the next part of this entry is going to be pretty graphic, so heed the trigger warning if you think you might be susceptible. It's graphic because I want to attempt to express the effect this experience had on me.

SEVERE TRIGGER WARNING - START

While there are limitations to the technology, and they were definitely noticeable, it really did add new layers to the porn experience. There was an excitement I hadn't felt in years, topped off with this strangely fun feeling of giddiness. The "2D" VR actually made the fake experiences feel more real. As if I was a participant in this desire-laden fantasy. I had harems of women fanned out in front of me, taking turns giving me oral, with "my" member being passed on to a new person, or with another person jumping in because she "wanted" to suck it so badly. And I could (relatively) organically change my field of vision so that I could look at one of the other women on the side who had started talking, or caressing her breasts, or rubbing her labia and clitoris. And then I could return to the person giving the blow job, or move to focus exclusively on another woman with a different novel feature: rounder breasts, larger nipples, longer hair, sexy eyes, and so on and so forth. Of course, these videos aren't immune to the standard novelty booster of clicking around to any point in the video, so I could jump from these scenes to ones with vaginal intercourse where I could switch from viewing the spectacle in front of me to looking at a woman licking "my" nipples on the left, and then move to the right to see a woman rubbing her breasts up and down "my" body. Almost all of the content I watched had vaginal intercourse scenes in the woman-on-top (cowgirl) position, and this positioning is where the "2D" VR videos felt the most real. I could "look" down and see "my" partner's labia bend slightly outward while her pelvis reciprocally slid up and down "my" penis, and then I would hear a sudden vocal outburst of pleasure, to which I could immediately "look" upward to see breasts bouncing up and down below a face expressive of orgasmic pleasure. On top of all this, I could zoom in and out whenever I wanted. And at the end of the videos, after "I" had climaxed, "my" partner would pull her vagina off "my" penis, during which I would keep changing the vertical angle of the video to enhance the perceived realness of "my" ejaculate seeping out of her vagina. My primitive brain was blown away. It was as if I had inseminated her. It was insane. It was sensory overload.

SEVERE TRIGGER WARNING - END

I know that the above is quite descriptive. Sorry about that. I just had to let this out somewhere. I don't want to hold the experience in. Writing about it proves to be cathartic and helps me flush some of the residual urges out of my body.

But, in spite of how overwhelmed I was by it all, I have not plummeted into despair. This is because all is not lost. My recent efforts in cultivating motivation, optimism, and an internal confidence that allows me to trust myself to be in control of my addiction are not undone by this. I was swept off my feet to relapse by the promise of new layers of stimulation, but that was precisely because they were new. The unknown nature of "2D" VR porn is what led to the instantaneous descent. But it's no longer unknown. I know what it's like. Yea, it was pretty incredible. Yes, the freshness of the experience gave a new vitality to the thought of masturbating to porn. But the thing is, it still is porn. It isn't real. It's the promise of a better reality that I crave. Not an enhanced fantasy.

It's up to me to prove it to myself and all of you that I have it in me to change. That's a challenge I happily accept and am ready to fulfill with all of the motivation and optimism I have fostered up to this point.

So, having just experienced a new horizon in artificial pleasure and stimulation, what's next? I think the answer is a simple one. It's not more of the same. It's a better tomorrow.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: mattdes on October 20, 2019, 02:05:13 AM
Holy shit that sounds intense and sensory overload man. Dangerous stuff for recovery. I'd avoid it like the plague if I were you.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 20, 2019, 03:09:12 PM
mattdes

That's the plan. It helped reinforce the idea that it is all porn at the end of the day. A dead-end promising nothing.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 20, 2019, 03:09:28 PM
October 19, 2019 - Day 2 (No porn, masturbation, orgasm or intentional fantasy)

Was out all day with a friend. Suffice it to say, it was a nice PMO-free day.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 21, 2019, 01:33:10 PM
October 20, 2019 - Day 3 (No porn, masturbation, orgasm or intentional fantasy)

I'll try to return to something resembling my previous format, but I've been a bit busy recently, so these short posts will have to suffice. The evening made me feel an elevated sense of urges, but I kept playing it smart and didn't give them any chance to grow. My mood was pretty sour in the evening--irritated, angry, spiteful--but this too was properly dealt with.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 22, 2019, 03:16:45 AM
October 21, 2019 - Day 4 (No porn, masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)

Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Nothing too interesting or significant about today. I’ve been listening through the Your Brain Rebalanced Radio podcast series recently. I think I’ve listened up to #11 (out of 15). I was thinking about how all the people on this podcast overcame their addiction a few years back and how I could’ve as well, and it made me feel awash in regret. This isn’t the only time that I have felt so.

And that’s fine. Through my continued practice of meditation, as well as from my reading about OCD, I am far better now at cutting the thread. I’m going to feel the feeling at times, and there is still plenty of room for me to develop better mindfulness so that the feeling has less of a hold on me when it does emerge—after all, I’ve only been at daily practice for about a year—but the feeling itself only has relevance if I am using it to learn from past mistakes and put what I’ve learned into practice. If I am already doing that, then the feeling is no more than just that. It’s a feeling. A sensation of sorts. I don’t need to attribute additional significance to it, and I definitely don’t need to give it any extra attention.

I went on a drive today on a scenic highway. There are lots of curves on it, which made the drive great fun. Later on, the sun set, and I was driving through this heavily wooded area that was pitch black. Everything above my low beams was darkness, and the scenery exuded this mystical, fantastical ambience. Throw the back to back curves of the road into the mix, and it was like being at an amusement park. Pretty cool stuff.

Before that, I went for a stroll on a trail off that highway. There were cows here and there, and when I reached the end of one part of the trail, I encountered this calf that stood locked in position, transfixed by my presence. I stood in place for a few minutes and just kept staring at it, taking in the sights and smells, which included plenty of cow pies. Not the most pleasant of odors, but just being there and noticing it all was enough. Just experiencing it all was momentarily satisfying. Afterward, I saw the calf trotting behind its mother, playful and full of energy, and it made me remember when it was lost in gaze, presumably interested in this strange, new creature it had encountered. Observing this calf made me think about how nice it would be to have more energy, interest, and enjoyment in the everyday things. And I can. One step at a time.

Trigger / Response Log:
- Too much time in front of the computer -> Went elsewhere to do another task
- Anxiety -> Left the house and went for a drive
- Pressuring myself to finish some tasks -> Went to another part of the house and relaxed

Urges:
Elevated backdrop of urges an hour or two after waking up. The same during the final hours of the evening, but it was a bit stronger than before.

Emotions:
Was hit by some strong anxiety mid-afternoon. Also experienced some regret during the day, as I mentioned in the summary. Felt some irritability after getting back home, and then some emptiness. I embraced the roller coaster. Doesn’t mean I like it. It is what it is.

Cognition:

Garbage! I mean this in the most positive and optimistic way, haha. What this basically meant for my day is that I avoided tasks that required any modicum of cognitive effort. Don't get me started on my verbal fluency. It was like a failed juggling act.

Pain:
The previous two days were pretty painful, so today was surprisingly ok. Nothing too noticeable.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- I stopped by a convenience store at a gas station to use the restroom and decided to buy something after since I used the facility. The person in front of me in line had his card denied, but was trying to buy something he head already prepared, so he just argued with the cashier about it and left. While paying for my items, I offered to cover the cost of the unpaid item, but the cashier declined my offer. Probably a relatively insignificant act, but it felt nice to offer, and I think the cashier felt a bit better after I did so.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 23, 2019, 04:53:54 AM
October 22, 2019 - Day 5 (No porn, masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)

Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Today was a difficult day. Not the worst I have experienced during recovery, but it definitely had its fair share of unpleasantness. This was amplified by the fact that someone I live with and with whom I don’t get along at all was generating a lot of friction with me. I still feel good about the day however, because I took it all in stride.

Aside from my daily walks, I didn’t spend any time outside today. Hopefully I’ll have more of a chance to do so tomorrow.

I listened to S02E03 of YBR Radio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fou3TUVkGE) and encountered a great analogy that I would like to share. It went something like, “There’s no recipe for a porn-free life. You don’t add a dash of cold showers and a dollop of exercise and come out with a porn-free life. It’s more complicated than that.” I think that is one of the key realizations I have gained over the past few months. Not only do we all need our own tailor-made porn recovery paradigm, but we need to be able to adjust various elements of it in order to adapt to whatever life throws at us.

Trigger / Response Log:
Too much time in front of the computer -> relocated to a different area and relaxed
Bothered by someone I don’t get along with -> moved to a different space and let my emotions run their course

Urges:
There were a few sneak attacks here and there, but I immediately snuffed them out every time.

Emotions:
Irritability and frustration throughout the morning and afternoon, but the evening saw things die down and I felt more comfortable.

Cognition:
The Great Brain Fog band gave a live performance with all its members today. Verbal fluency didn’t go to the concert.

Pain:
Alright for most of the day, but I did experience some tight aching during my walk before bed.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Didn’t let my emotions get the best of me
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 24, 2019, 11:27:17 PM
October 23, 2019
- Day 6 (No porn)
- Day 0 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Writing this the day after, so I can't remember everything, but I'll try my best to recount my experience.

I had two events planned for the day, so my overall time for other tasks was limited, but I was still able to get a lot of what I wanted to finish done. At the close of the day, I was hit by some of those killer tractor-beam urges and was remarkably able to break free. More on that in the urges section.

Now before going to bed, I remembered something I heard Gary Wilson mention when I was listening to YBR Radio S02E04. He said that he noticed that a lot of rebooters who have OCD (though I note he was mostly referring to those that have HOCD or SOOCD, something I do not suffer from) feel that their anxiety goes through the roof when they stop masturbation and porn. He stated that sometimes people with OCD need to occasionally masturbate to alleviate their anxiety, insofar as they stay away from porn and porn fantasy. People like this have to be careful that they don't make things so extreme that they cause themselves problems.

I believe I mentioned this in the opening post of my topic, but I was actually able to live a porn-free--no masturbation and orgasm also--life for about a year from 15-16. Unfortunately, one day, I decided to masturbate, partly out of boredom, partly because it had been a while and thought it could be interesting, and this led to me spiraling back into porn addiction relatively quickly. Because of this, I have always been wary of masturbation, even though I know the real problem here is porn use. In addition, other comments I have heard from other rebooters (including some of the big names like Noah Church) suggested that porn and fantasy-free masturbation isn’t a good idea for those who are really addicted, as the gradient of their slippery slope is just too steep, and the lubricant is already too slippery.

Anyway, having listened to Gary I realized that maybe I had been overly conflating masturbation with porn. And this in turn made me realize I hadn’t tried plain old masturbation in a really long time. There have been a few instances here and there where, after bingeing to porn for a few hours, I would hop into the shower and masturbate to fantasy in an attempt to mix things up. So I considered trying a session of only masturbating and seeing what it was like. I also had experienced some terrible urges earlier, so I thought I might as well utilize this observation and experimentation approach--which has been the driving force behind my recovery as of late--at an early stage and see if porn-free masturbation could be at all useful for me when dealing with urges and anxiety during the recovery process.

So I tried it out, first with just masturbating to sensation, no fantasy. And guess what? As Gabe Deem refers to it, I had a “limp noodle”. I couldn’t get hard at all. I was just tugging on and stroking a continually flaccid penis. Wonder if that qualifies me as having mild PIED? Anyway, that led to me adding a bit more to the mix. I thought I might as well take a two-birds-one-stone approach and see the impact masturbation to fantasy had on me. I started to fantasize about some people I had seen recently in I guess what you would call a sexually romantic, or at least pseudo-romantic way. This did make me feel a bit more into it, but I didn't feel much additional "activation" in my penis. I then transitioned to sexual fantasy, and I did get erect...but it wasn’t all that hard and would diminish with time. It was tough to get my penis hard enough to the point where stroking it would lead to climax (and to maintain that), but I was able to do so. The session probably lasted about 15 minutes.

My thoughts? Well the ostensibly mild PIED I experienced was interesting. I never really identified as having it, and it still doesn't register mentally. Aside from that however, the important realization I gained from the experience is that it's best for me to stick with hard mode. First of all, masturbating didn’t really make me feel any more at ease. Second, I think that sitting with the urge (the sexual tension), coping with it, and getting better and better at doing so is way more valuable then the arguably minimal relief I get from masturbating. Plus, if I masturbate, I am reinforcing the compulsion to fantasize because normal masturbation by sensation didn’t work at all. What's more, I think there is something really useful that only hard mode allows you to develop. This was mentioned in YBR Radio S02E05, and I will expand on this in my second post that covers today's recovery period. Third, it leads to a chaser effect, which I will also elaborate on in today's journal entry.

Basically, long story short, I wanted to experiment with porn-free masturbation to see if there was any utility in it for me, and thought it was best to do so now rather than later because if it lead to relapse, I wouldn’t lose much since my current attempt is still in its infancy. My personal conclusion is that the benefits are minuscule and there are multiple downsides; however, because I ran this experiment, I am going to split my counter into two separate ones for accuracy's sake.

I also want to add that I have seen plenty of accounts of people doing porn-free masturbation to relieve built up tension, saying that they are ok after the fact, only to relapse at some point in the near future. But for all of you who are reading and feel concerned, please don’t worry about me. Porn-free masturbation did make today more difficult, but it didn't impact the stronger sense of trust I have in myself that I mentioned in my 10/19/19 post. In fact, it makes me feel even more empowered, something which I will mention in my later entry.

Trigger / Response Log:

Fatigue -> Going to bed
Being in front of the computer -> Turning the computer and phone off
Wasting time on the internet -> Turning the computer and phone off

Urges:
I felt tense for most of the day because there were two “events” that I had to participate in, which constrained the time I had--and there was plenty I wanted to get done. This feeling didn’t really manifest into any specific urges, but I think the focus I had throughout the day helped me to keep it all in the background as a harmless, inchoate cloud. Fast-forward to the evening and I had finished the second “event”. It was almost 1:00 AM. I was tired, in front of a computer, and mindlessly wasting time looking at random and pointless content on YouTube and the internet. Fatigue, being in front of the computer, and wasting time on the internet are all consistent, strong triggers for me. And they were all concurrent, which multiplied their effect. After thoughtlessly exposing myself to them for around an hour and bouncing around aimlessly on the internet, I encountered a triggering phrase and I just lit up. It’s what I refer to as tractor-beam urges. You know, the ones where you feel you have no agency. You're just a voodoo thrall, a zombie who helplessly submits to and follows whatever the addiction dictates. It's like you have no choice but to relapse.

But suddenly, something just cut through it all like a knife. It was incredible. It was the manifestation of a years-worth of consistent mindfulness practice. The physical sensations were still there. The entirety of the urge was still there. The complete desire to submit and binge was there. But I just felt apart from it all, like I was a spectator. And from the same position, I was able to see the consequences of the binge, of the relapse. I could see my future goals. From there it was simple. I turned off all my internet-accessible devices and went somewhere else. At this point, I realized there was something else that I wanted to experiment with and that I didn’t have to fear it. I just wanted to try it out, monitor it, and evaluate its effects (this refers to the masturbation experiment I mentioned earlier). After that, I went to bed. It was simple, and it was incredible.

Emotions:
Irritability throughout the day, with some anxiety in the evening.

Cognition:
Focus was pretty good, which was pretty refreshing. Everything else felt unchanged (i.e. bad), though I suppose verbal fluency was slightly better than recently.

Pain:
Ok overall

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Learned experientially that the tractor-beam urges are just like every other urge. They can be resisted.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 25, 2019, 06:19:41 AM
October 24, 2019
- Day 7 (No porn)
- Day 1 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Wow, it’s late and I am super tired. There was a lot I wanted to talk about, but my sleep-deprived brain might not be up for the task.

I did mention in my previous entry that there was something I encountered in YBR Radio S02E05 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGHex1jgshs&t=26m30s) that expressed how there is something useful that only hard mode allows you to develop. It might not be entirely accurate, but here are some quotes from the podcast that convey what I mean, the first from Mark Queppet (https://www.youtube.com/user/SacredSexualityVlog) and the second from Alexander Rhodes (founder of NoFap (https://nofap.com/about/)).

Quote
Yea, it’s definitely possible. What they call hard-mode—complete abstinence—it’s totally doable. I know because I did it for almost two years. It is really hard in that adaptation phase, but eventually you get better at dealing with it. The most difficult thing is learning how to get comfortable with your emotions, learning how to be present with uncomfortable emotions, because you have that memory of that release, you have that memory of that escape. That can be a tough thing to deal with, but once you get really good at finding other ways of dealing with your pain, learning how to actually accept them and shift your thoughts, what I would call transmute your energy by putting it into other things, finding passion and intimacy for other avenues, that’s when it actually starts getting easier to the point where it’s like "wow I don’t ever want to go back because that old way stunk."

Quote
It’s like you gain an edge in life. It’s kind of like a cheat mode in life.

I think hard mode develops an unshakeable ability to remain porn-free. I’ve seen/heard various accounts of people who are able to successfully kick the habit because they are able to find a partner, only to fall back into porn addiction after breaking up. I don’t want to predicate my recovery on anything else. I want to make sure that alone or in a relationship, happy or sad, energetic or tired, you name it, my recovery is a foundational component of myself at my core.

I also mentioned the chaser effect and an increased feeling of empowerment. I’ll write about this in the urges section.

Trigger / Response Log:

Feeling frustrated -> Stopping what I was doing and relocating
Adding more tasks to my plate -> Focusing more on the original tasks I was trying to accomplish
Remembering that I masturbated the day before -> Recognizing what happened and not attributing any additional significance to it

Urges:

I’m just going to talk about one particular urge here. It was another one of those tractor-beam urges. Insane! Two days in a row with these streak-destroying urges. The type where you just “know” you are going to relapse. Right then and there in the moment. I would say this was definitely influenced by the chaser effect of my experimental session that I mentioned in my previous entry. Definitely not something I would want to go through again, which lets me know that while I am not worried about that session, masturbation is just not worth it to me, in addition to the other points I mentioned.

But yea, it was empowering, because, for two days in a row, I was able to mindfully just disconnect from the tractor-beam urges. And when I disconnected from the one I felt today, even though I was experientially feeling the same thing during all those previous times where I was past the point of no return, I was simultaneously able to see the cycle of relapse and remission—this seemingly infinite hell I’ve been stuck in for all these years, as well as my future hopes and dreams. And the choice was so easy. The whole experience was incredible. It really signified a fundamental shift from within. I still have my fair share of suffering to go through, with all the urges and withdrawal symptoms to come. But the future choice I will make is a given. Either stay in a self-destructive cycle or live a life worth living. The choice is a simple one that I know I can snap into each and every time. For this alone, I am forever grateful for that which I have learned through meditation. So let the suffering begin. I’ll take it all as it comes.

Emotions:
Experienced some irritation and frustration earlier in the afternoon. Then a great sense of elation when I overcame the incredible urge I felt later on.

Cognition:
More of the same

Pain:
The pain down there was definitely sharper today. Another reason to lay off the stimulation until I recover enough and see a urologist.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Cutting through the all-encompassing veil that urges can cast over the mind
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: switcheroc on October 25, 2019, 10:29:01 AM
Hi NewStart04, thanks for dropping by my log earlier.

Have you considered getting a girlfriend to help you through your porn-free quest? Getting off porn means you will be rewiring your brain back to its natural attraction, which is towards real women and real sexual experiences. You will crave this, and you have craved this, having read through your logs. If you had a woman, you could at least relieve those urges, instead of seeking an alternate release, i.e. porn.

I know that in my log I wrote that I discovered that even having multiple sexual partners did not make me averse to porn, but I also consider that back then, I wasn't seriously trying to quit either. Now, I'm seriously quitting, 1 week PMO-free now with zero urges, might be having sex tomorrow with the wife, but I am feeling better and more comfortable with her.

Who knows, the right woman might help you with your other problems as well.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 26, 2019, 02:56:27 AM
October 25, 2019
- Day 8 (No porn)
- Day 2 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)

Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Up late yet again, tired and need to wake up early tomorrow. In short, today was fine but nondescript.

Trigger / Response Log:

Didn’t track them today.

Urges:
Moderate urges throughout the day. Gave them no quarter!

Emotions:

Irritability again. A bit short-tempered.

Cognition:

Slow.

Pain:
Bad same as yesterday. Here’s to hoping tomorrow is different.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Got things ready for tomorrow’s plan
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 26, 2019, 03:14:44 AM
switcheroc

Congratulations on the first week off! I hope that your time with your wife tomorrow turns out to be a better experience than usual. Whenever I read about people rebooting in relationships, I always think about how awesome the potential benefits are. Not only is the rebooter improving, but other people also have access to this improved version of the rebooter.

I mentioned this in my Oct. 24 entry, but I am gunning for hard mode at the moment. Put simply, I want to make sure that my house is in order before involving someone else, and I also want to create a resiliency that can exist regardless of what my future circumstances may be. I had a fundamental breakthrough recently that demonstrated to me that I can handle whatever urges are thrown my way, but of course I still want to avoid any unnecessary ones. It's still too early on for me to sound convincing, so it's up to me to keep stacking the days to prove it. I gladly accept the challenge though. Seeing the vistas available after breaking the cycle is an extremely invigorating prospect for me. I can tap into that now when hit by those streak-ending urges. It was a long journey though.

Definitely not opposed to relationships in the long-run however ; )

Thanks for stopping by. Best of luck with your reboot! You and your wife are worth the best you have to offer.
 
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: switcheroc on October 26, 2019, 10:49:36 AM
You're gonna coast through this, dude, easy peasy! ;)
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: mattdes on October 26, 2019, 03:02:42 PM
Well done man. Your detailed and analyzed reports are very helpful. I read through them and i feel very lazy for not putting the same effort into posts. Maybe it's time I followed your example. Keep going strong pal. You are helping others with your posts.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 28, 2019, 02:10:15 PM
switcheroc

Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.

I think I've gotten to the point where it won't be "easy" per se, but that it's a given. I'm done. I just have to the run the gauntlet of recovery, emerging battered and bruised, but in the end a lot more resilient. Looking forward to it.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 28, 2019, 02:12:41 PM
mattdes

We all have things that work for us. It's about experimentation. I definitely recommend at least trying it out, but in the end it might not be for you. Feel free to copy the format entirely, but tweaking it to match your needs might be the best approach.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 28, 2019, 02:13:07 PM
October 26, 2019
- Day 9 (No porn)
- Day 3 (Masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Writing this two days after the fact, so it’ll be a short entry. I was out all day with a friend, and, for me at least, being outside my place and spending time with people is a surefire antidote for not relapsing. So was the case.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 28, 2019, 02:13:30 PM
October 27, 2019
- Day 10 (No porn)
- Day 4 (Masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Again, after the fact so a short entry. Not the best day to be honest, but still clean. Sleep can be a struggle at times.
     

Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 29, 2019, 07:54:00 PM
October 28, 2019
- Day 11 (No porn)
- Day 5 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Another day down. For the first time in who knows how long, I actually turned to reading a book when I had difficulty falling asleep. What I’ve read so far has been a good read. For those of you who practice/are interested in meditation, I recommend it. It’s called On Having No Head (https://www.amazon.com/Having-Head-Douglas-Edison-Harding/dp/1908774061/ref=pd_cp_14_1/139-7783593-5927411?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1908774061&pd_rd_r=2b6cec3a-e4ff-4556-b46e-472138b4c3ef&pd_rd_w=Uxalt&pd_rd_wg=iFsUg&pf_rd_p=0e5324e1-c848-4872-bbd5-5be6baedf80e&pf_rd_r=7HHVAVQSQRPT0GZP8RA2&psc=1&refRID=7HHVAVQSQRPT0GZP8RA2), written by Douglas Harding. So far, he is doing a great job of describing things like the loss of self. It's amazing how some people are so gifted at conveying thoughts and experience through language.

Also, I finally finished watching through all of Noah B.E. Church’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/bvrningqvestions). I’ll continue to watch any new content he adds, but it feels nice to have finished my mini-goal of watching all of his and The Reboot Nation’s videos (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaEqbNJURD6ChROqueUdNuA). Tons of great content on both channels, and I really recommend the YBR Radio podcast series (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAQri18RcEpRggckauWZXYOUUDAlQ1p6d) (missing episode here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VssMVag7wrc)) on Noah’s channel. Be forewarned that it’s 15 episodes in total at about an hour per episode. I really wish that the two channels had more subscribers and views. It’s a shame they don’t.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 30, 2019, 06:10:41 PM
October 29, 2019
- Day 12 (No porn)
- Day 6 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Wow, I’m on a roll with these “after-the-fact” entries. I’ll try to get back to my normal format, as it helps me fully flesh out how the day went and makes it easier for me to track my progress.

Anyway, yesterday was ok, but the evening was tough. It culminated with me being on the computer, looking at something on Google Images—not sexual, but very triggering—and getting blindsided by urges. But I knew the drill, so I shut down my computer and went to bed. Mindfulness 3, urges 0.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on October 31, 2019, 04:24:33 AM
October 30, 2019
- Day 13 (No porn)
- Day 7 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)

Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Well, here I am, back to the normal format! My sleep schedule has been pretty terrible for a while now. Not sure how much of this is due to the ups and downs of recovery, how much of it is due to poor choices on my part, and how much is due to natural causes. I want to go through a few more weeks (maybe even months) of hard mode before I think more about this. It’ll make the decision making process easier and more focused.

Nothing of note happened today, but urges and emotions were particularly tough this evening. But I made it through regardless. Can’t have it any other way ; ) I told you all I’ll prove that I have it in me to put this addiction in the past where it belongs. Actions speak louder than words right?

Trigger / Response Log:

Cooking a bunch of food that was moldy, realizing that after cooking it and eating a little, having to throw it all away -> Taking a break from cooking and doing something else
Feeling discomfort in my gut caused by drinking too much caffeine -> Being mindful of the feeling without adding anything on to it
Wasting time on the computer (YouTube) -> Separating myself from the computer and moving somewhere else
Feeling painful emotions like anxiety, pointlessness -> Being mindful, relocating

Urges:
For the last third of the day, I felt what I refer to as an “urge cloud”. This is essentially a general feeling of horniness that I get, which persists across a period of time and makes me susceptible to feeling urges for the entirety of its duration. So I decided to do my first sitting meditation for a while, 40 minutes total. It was tough. Really hard to be mindful. My mind was mostly lost in thought. Intense feelings of pointlessness and anxiety emerged, and right when my timer went off, I had the thought of looking up types of “2D” VR that I didn’t see during my last relapse flash in my head. What’s worse, I had my phone in my bedroom—because of the impromptu meditation session—which is something I always try to avoid. Oh boy, the thought of looking up amateur homemade “2D” VR porn was so novel and arousing…and also so out of the question. I turned that digital devil off, and instead came upstairs to write this entry so that I could go to bed. That was a great choice to make. No doubt about it.

Emotions:
I mentioned it above, but I felt strong pangs of anxiety and pointlessness this evening. I also generally felt irritable throughout the day.

Cognition:
I don’t feel like I am making much headway here at all…but that’s ok. Even if this is the true nature of my cognition, then that’s ok. Doesn’t mean I won’t welcome any improvements in this category if they do come. I just have to work with what I got.

Pain:
A bit of stinging here and there, but I think this is consistently getting better.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Got a little high off the energy of all the people in the park today while I was doing my walking meditation. The parents, the kids, the dogs, and the sunlight. More of this please. I love when normal, everyday experience feels good
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on November 02, 2019, 01:22:40 AM
October 31, 2019
- Day 14 (No porn)
- Day 8 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Another after the fact entry, but I’ll try to keep this post in my normal format. The day felt kind of grey and mediocre, but that’s fine. I took some Ritalin for the first time in years, as I have adult ADHD and wanted to see if I noticed any benefits from taking it. Suffice it to say, it didn’t help and instead amplified aspects of myself I’d rather not have amplified. I had some strong urges that hit me during the evening that lasted for a couple of hours while I was in bed. Not sure if the Ritalin had any role to play here, but I made it through regardless.

Oh yea, I watched a movie at a theater in the evening, and partway through the film, two people from the audience got in an extremely heated argument (i.e. a shoutfest), which ballooned after members of their families joined in. At one point, the person nearest me (two seats away) fell on top of me, apparently too engrossed in their screaming fit of rage. I kept my cool throughout though, which was nice. At one point, I was getting ready to calmly leave the theater to inform a staff member in case things devolved into all an out fistfight, but thankfully things cooled down.

Trigger / Response Log:
Nothing specific here. I think the hours of urges I had last night resulted from being in a fatigued state but not being unable to fall asleep. I’ve relapsed many times because of this precise state. But not this time. Nor the next.

Urges:
See trigger/response log.

Emotions:
Things just felt kind of grey and crappy for most of the day. The onslaught of urges made me feel some pronounced irritability in the evening.

Cognition:
Seems like I am not gaining any ground here. Continued brain fog and poor verbal fluency.

Pain:
Ok I think.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Didn’t let a substance’s effect on me serve as an excuse to question recovery
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on November 02, 2019, 04:26:01 AM
November 1, 2019
- Day 15 (No porn)
- Day 9 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Remarks/Summary of the Day:

A bit like yesterday, though I felt a little more productive and the evening wasn’t as tough to get through. I felt a “hangover” of sorts from the Ritalin in the morning and early afternoon. Maybe a better comparison would be that permabaked feeling you get the next morning after smoking too much weed. Except worse.

I did go for a long drive today and took a walk down a nice little trail. It was during the sunset, which was pretty beautiful. I also encountered a group of deer. They weren’t all that spooked by my presence, so I just stood there observing them for a little.

Trigger / Response Log:
Didn’t note any specific examples today.

Urges:
Had one of those “urge clouds” I mentioned in an earlier entry. During the evening. Lasted 2-3 hours.

Emotions:

Like yesterday, but more anxiety instead of irritability in the evening.

Cognition:

Same old, same old.

Pain:
Nothing noticeable.

* Something positive / something I did well:
- Remembering that this is a process that I can’t control when I was ruminating over the fact that the last couple of days have been back to back unpleasant overall. It just needs to run its course. I haven’t even been off for a month yet. Slow and steady.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on November 03, 2019, 04:00:51 AM
November 2, 2019
- Day 16 (No porn)
- Day 10 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Today was alright. Not as grey as the past two days. Productivity was…ok, not awful. Had a nice sitting meditation session today. The sun was intense, but it was one of the better ones I’ve had in a while. I still like the walking ones though. There are so many distractions that you encounter when walking through the city, so I think it is a good way to train mindfulness, but damn these sitting ones have their perks too.

Read some more of Harding’s On Having No Head (https://www.amazon.com/Having-Head-Douglas-Edison-Harding/dp/1908774061). He really is gifted at describing the meditative experience. I’d include some quotes from the text, but it might be a bit esoteric (or even ostensibly nonsensical, although that definitely isn’t the case), so I’ll refrain from doing so.

I haven’t mentioned this before, but I started doing monthly video messages to my “future self” about three months ago, and today is the day of my fourth video, which I will record after this journal entry. I watched the one from last month—for the first time since I recorded it, that’s how I always do it—and comparing how I feel now to then, I would say that I am in a similar place, maybe a little better overall, which is completely fine with me. I’m just glad that things aren’t worse.

Going to a friend’s wedding tomorrow. Should be great!

Trigger / Response Log:
Wasting time on the computer -> Talking to someone
Wasting time on YouTube -> Relocating
Boredom -> Moving around
Feeling anxiety caused by poor reading comprehension and focus -> Switching to another task

Urges:
The daytime was fine for the most part, but the evening was subsumed by a few hours of horniness and urges. I’ve really been buffeted by them these past couple of evenings, but that’s fine. Bring it. Give me everything you got. You’ll tire eventually, not me. Every time I'm challenged, I persevere. No porn. No masturbation. No fantasies. Don't need any of it. It's so difficult but at the same time so simple. Mindfulness to the rescue.

Emotions:
Felt anxiety throughout the day, particularly during the evening.

Cognition:
Verbal fluency was up a little perhaps. Same goes for brain fog.

Pain:
A little bit of dull aching in the evening, but otherwise fine.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Reading a little today. I’ve been doing poorly in this category recently, as my cognition has been pretty awful. At least I tried to engage for a bit. Looking forward to some change in cognition next week, but I'll see what happens.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on November 04, 2019, 06:35:40 PM
November 3, 2019
- Day 17 (No porn)
- Day 11 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)

This will be a short entry not in the usual format. Went to a friend’s wedding yesterday. It was nice. My urges, mood, and withdrawals were all over the place, but I think I handled myself well all things considered. These day-long special events can be difficult for me as they disrupt the daily regimen I am working diligently on building, but I also know that these events are a normal part of life, and I just have to experiment and adjust more with how to incorporate them into a structured life. As a quick aside, my poor verbal fluency really hit me today. It was frustrating, but I know there is no reason to ruminate over it.

Anyway, after I got back home—pretty late, around 12:30 AM—I felt the restless, disorienting effects of the event. I was exhausted and had difficulty falling asleep again, plus an hour or two of depression and an hour of urges. Eventually managed to go to sleep though. No danger of turning to porn or masturbation. I just dealt with the feelings, giving them the time they needed to die down.
     

Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on November 05, 2019, 10:46:21 PM
November 4, 2019
- Day 18 (No porn)
- Day 12 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Whew, today—well at the time of writing this yesterday—was tough! Depression and lethargy all day. Productivity close to 0. I don’t want to remember it to be honest, but it’s done and I made it through. I went for a long drive during the evening, kind of like an amusement park with lots of curves. I also drove through some thick fog, like something out of a movie or video game. It was quite picturesque.

Trigger / Response Log:
Didn’t log any.

Urges:
They kept popping up, probably because I wanted an outlet to escape the sea of depression. Nothing too intense thankfully.

Emotions:
Depression all day. Mindfulness really helps with days like this.

Cognition:

Pretty much untested, though it still felt the same as usual, i.e. like a dull knife that can’t cut much of anything.

Pain:
Nothing noticeable. The other categories should catch up to this in time. Just need to be patient.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Didn’t let the depression guide my behavior and decisions
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on November 06, 2019, 06:48:22 PM
November 5, 2019
- Day 19 (No porn)
- Day 13 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)

Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Nothing of note during the daytime. Was moderately productive, I suppose. Some depression again in the evening, and then some intense feelings of horniness, where your gut is clenching really intensely and you primitively just want to stick your **** into something. That was tough to deal with, but another day down. I know I am still early on in the recovery process, but it feels like it is going to be a few more weeks of this roller coaster until the suffering consistently begins to dampen.

Trigger / Response Log:
Procrastinating -> Sitting with the feeling and letting it run its course, instead of pushing myself to get something done
Wasting time on the computer -> Getting away from the computer
Eating too much ice cream (haha, what am I, four years old? ; p) -> Stopping what I was doing and relaxing
Struggling with reading comprehension -> Taking a break and doing something else

Urges:
An unintentional image of vigorously taking someone doggy-style flashed in my head, and this lead to an explosion of horniness within me that went up and down like a sinusoidal wave for an hour or two. Just when I thought it was dying down and I was in the green, it’d flare up again.

Emotions:
Some depression in the evening. Felt okay otherwise.

Cognition:
I was able to—for the first time in a while—return to some of the reading I had done and go over my notes and the concepts contained within. I wasn’t able to last too long however, but I hope to see this slowly improve with time. I want my brain back!

Pain:
A little bit of stinging, perhaps from some random erections I experienced while sleeping.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Helped the cashier at the supermarket
- Was a little more productive than usual
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on November 07, 2019, 04:00:38 AM
November 6, 2019
- Day 20 (No porn)
- Day 14 (No masturbation, orgasm, or intentional fantasy)


Remarks/Summary of the Day:
Slept in really late today. I’ve always had difficulties with sleep, something I’ve struggled with my whole life since I was a kid. But I have had rare periods where I was able to maintain a sleep schedule truly divine. Where you are able to fall asleep soon after getting into bed. The land of slumber is welcoming, beckoning, readily accessible, and you are able to just drift away into the realm of the unconscious. And you wake up in the morning, naturally, no need for an alarm. You don’t feel groggy. You don’t feel glued to the bed. You don’t feel the malaise of having to start a new day.

I think I have enough pieces in place now to strive for more consistency in this category. Sleep is so fundamental. If various changes are necessary for it to become more consistent, then so be it. Those are changes worth making.

Trigger / Response Log:

Remembering the intensity of yesterday’s horniness -> not identifying with the feeling and recognizing it is in the past
Experiencing a setback in something I was doing -> stopping my work on it for the day
Dealing with a task I have been avoiding for a while -> taking my time with it and stopping when it felt too overwhelming
Obsessing over checking the forums -> getting away from the computer

Urges:
Memories of yesterday replicated a weaker version of what I experienced, but it wasn’t all that frequent.

Emotions:
Anxiety in the background all day.

Cognition:

Ok. Still dull. But a little less so than usual.

Pain:
Aching present throughout the day. Guess this category wanted to join its brethren.

* Something positive / something I did well:

- Dealt with some paperwork and emails I have been avoiding for a while
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on November 10, 2019, 01:52:51 AM
Attention all board members and guests reading this topic!

I've got some significant changes in store and want to devote more time to them, so I am going to be taking another indefinite break from the forum. I think it'll be a nice change of pace to think less about my streak, my journal, and just porn in general.

I still want to share the effects of my PMO-free lifestyle with all of you, so I'll be back sometime in the future. Probably sometime around five weeks from now. I'm excited to discover what experiences I'll be able to share with you all!

Take care and best of luck
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: CB on November 10, 2019, 04:29:13 PM
Keep it going! You’re doing great! I hope you make it through, when you do I’m promising you it will get easier. It’s still difficult most days a week on day 144 for me but it is way easier to not slip than the beginning. I know you can do it!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 05, 2020, 10:26:08 PM
CB

Long time no talk. Thank you so much for the kind words. At times, it is support like this that really makes all the difference.

Wishing you all the best and I hope that things have been more on the up since your last post on the 24th.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 05, 2020, 10:27:31 PM
Wow! It's been quite a while since I've posted here. More than 6 months!

Well, I don't have too much to write at the moment. For those of you that are interested, I am still walking the path of recovery (although I suppose it is arguable if that ever really ends), but in general I am doing better than I was in the past, which is something I feel quite proud of.

The main reason why I am posting here today however is to recommend a somewhat new edition to my library that I think is a worthwhile purchase for anyone struggling with porn or sex addiction (or any other addiction to be honest).

The title is Gifts of Recovery: Daily Meditations for Men and Women in Recovery from Sex Addiction (https://www.amazon.com/Gifts-Recovery-Daily-Meditations-Addiction/dp/1794682449). It is a little reader that--aside from a short introduction at the beginning and an acknowledgements section, index, and about-the-author blurb at the back--consists entirely of daily meditations for the whole year (by this I mean reflections that are meant to guide others in contemplation) and questions that provide, in the words of the author, "...guidance, information, clinical insight, and recovery wisdom." And I really think they do.

Now all of these insights may not be for you, but based on what I have read and applied so far, I can't help but feel the need to at least mention this book in my post. In the spirit of potentially triggering users' interest in adding this book to their recovery toolkit, I am including a few excerpts below to give you all an idea of what the format is like.


June 1


Just because it is OK for others does not mean it is OK for you.
-Therapy Lesson


Everyone is different. What we need for balance and sobriety may
be different than what someone else needs. This is true for us when
we compare our sobriety and recovery boundaries to other addicts.
This is especially true when we, as addicts, compare ourselves to
someone who is not an addict. What may be normal, acceptable,
and even healthy for a non-addict, can be a death knell for someone
with an addiction. More than one of us has found ourselves in relapse
and saying "They let themselves do this behavior and I thought that
sounded like a good idea for me." We must each take responsibility for
realizing and respecting our own boundaries.

Am I finding effective boundaries for myself or am I copying the
boundaries of others? What can others do that simply does not work
for me? What gifts await me as I choose my boundaries based on what
I need and not what others do?


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 17

"A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
-John A. Shedd


The same old same old is the safest bet but it does not get you anywhere.
An addict's life can be chaotic not only because of their addictive behaviors
but also because of the choices they continue to make and the patterns they
continue to follow. Change requires leaving the known and venturing into
the unknown. Only then can we find a life of recovery.

When have I fallen back into my same old patterns? What has been the
outcome of these patterns? What gifts await me as I venture out of the
known and into recovery?


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

February 7


The universe does not say "You've got it!" very often. It does say "You're
getting warmer" and "You're getting colder" quite a bit.
-Therapy Lesson

The moments when we receive the message "You've got it!" are few and far
between. If we base our recovery choices only on these definitive moments,
we will be wandering lost most of the time. However, when we slow down
and pay attention, we notice there are many subtle nudges and hints to guide
us. Recognizing an addictive thought or feeling an addictive urge following a
gray area behavior, especially one that we want to justify as OK, might be the
universe telling us "You're getting colder." A friend commenting on how much
they have enjoyed our company when we have been feeling awkward due to
new recovery boundaries might be the universe telling us "You're getting
warmer." These moments of "You're getting warmer" and "You're getting
colder" provide us with a map to more effectively navigate our lives in recovery.

When have I felt like I did not have the answers to my addiction? When have
I been nudged with smaller and more subtle hints? What gifts await me as I
look for the nudges and hints to guide me in my life of recovery?



And with that out of the way, I'd like to wish everyone reading this post another great, PMO-free day. I hope that you all continue to persevere and keep whatever hope you currently hold, big or small, burning within. I know I'll be doing the same.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 16, 2020, 09:16:21 PM
Hey there fellow rebooters,

Back on November 10, 2019, I mentioned that I was going to take a break from the forum, falsely predicting that I would return about five weeks later. I couldn't have been more wrong. It was more like three months.

At that time, I made a few posts in a handful of journals, only to disappear again for another four months.

I distanced myself from Reboot Nation because I noticed that I was overly obsessing about it, repeatedly checking my topic and those of others. In addition, visiting the forum made me think more about porn and my addiction, which seemed to me to be a bad idea since my thoughts and feelings were already dominated by the two every day. In some ways, I felt like I was adding fuel to the fire.

This doesn't mean that all the time I spent on the forum was detrimental, but it did mean that I needed to take a break until I felt ready to return.

In my November 20 post I mentioned that I had some significant changes in store and that I wanted to devote more time to them. Looking back on the time between then and now, I can say that in some ways I have made significant changes in my life, while in others I haven't. If I imagine that during this period I were to be watched from a third-person perspective (imagine something like The Truman Show), I think the latter would appear truer than the former. This is something that I notice I beat myself up about, more often than I would like. But the fact of the matter is that when I objectively look at the change I have enacted, I see that I've made improvements at a very fundamental, but important, level. And I don't want to lose sight of these victories, as basic as they are.

So I have decided to try and increase my presence on the forum, or at the very least in this topic. I hope that this--in addition to other tools that I use, like my daily records and logs--will serve as a concrete reminder that I have changed and will continue to change for the better, regardless of whatever dark chasm my thoughts and emotions beckon me toward in the present.

What better way to start than to give a concise summary of what has changed for me on the PMO front? Put simply, when I do relapse, I look at porn and its substitutes far less often than before. What's more, I have been able to radically reduce the duration of my sessions, regardless of whether its fantasy or pornography. The result? Recovery has become noticeably easier. Not easy, but easier. And this is so important. I was focused so much on quitting as a whole, to find that 'right' combination of precautions, recovery techniques, behaviors and purpose that would lead me through recovery, that I neglected to invest adequate time, effort and consistency in reducing the problem at its source. To reduce the amount of dopamine that my addiction was being fed so that I could loosen the grip it had on me.

I hope that this isn't misconstrued as me saying that those other components don't matter, because they most certainly do. But at that stage of my journey--which had transformed from a sojourn into a prolonged residence--I had continually overlooked what I had spent time learning when I made the transition from viewing my porn use as a detrimental habit/behavior to seeing it for what it is (an addiction) almost five years ago.

Now for those who are reading, please remember that I am not saying that this is the most important realization to have at your current stage of the recovery journey. Maybe you need to take more consistent precautions. Or maybe you need to look into other techniques to help better cope with recovery. I'm just sharing the above because it was an important change that I had been overlooking for quite some time.

I hope you all have a great, PMO-free day. And if you don't, there's always tomorrow.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Icandoit on June 17, 2020, 01:13:21 PM
Good thing being back here. I understand what you mean that constantly being on a porn addiction forum can make one remember he is an addict. Sometimes we want to forget and focus on our day. But I also believe it's necessary to come constantly to the "meetings" (like AA, Reboot Nation is our place), your frequency depends on you, it depends on you how often you want to come here, I sometimes come daily, sometimes I take several days break. But I need to be here for support, advice and sharing my situation with people who understand what I mean. It's very important, because I haven't been able to open up about my problem to people around me cause they are not porn addicts.

I've seen that you've managed to reduce the porn use. Whatever works for you, do it. It doesn't work for me. I can't reduce, I've tried many times, only hardcore cold turkey works for me, it's brutal but it is what it is. I want to make it to 1 week tomorrow, I don't know how long is your streak but make it to the next level too.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 17, 2020, 10:14:04 PM
Icandoit

Thanks for stopping by and posting. I appreciate you taking the time to read what I wrote.

I’m actually one of those people who takes the saying ‘once an addict, always an addict’ to heart. It’s important for me not to forget this because it reminds me of my reality and helps me to make better choices consistent with that reality. What I meant in my previous post is that at that time, due to a combination of how I was using the forums and where I was at that point in my life, I was thinking so much about pornography, my addiction, and recovery, that it was detrimental to making progress. It’s not like all the time spent here and on YBR was problematic, but some of it was. That’s why I needed some time away from the forums. Hopefully that makes sense.

I hear you about the slippery slope of reducing. Had I tried doing doing so during much of my many years struggling with recovery, I think I would have found myself in a position similar to the one you are in. But I had reached a point in my journey where doing so actually started yielding noticeable improvements in urges, withdrawals, self-confidence and self-control.

Don’t get me wrong. I still look at every moment after a relapse as ‘the last time’ so to speak. And I always will, because that is the only way an addict of my severity will ever truly recover. This ultimately means no more porn, no more masturbation, no intentional sexual/romantic fantasy, no intentional arousal searches on the web, and no intentional ogling of women (or as close to zero as humanly possible for the last three). But doing my utmost to pull back the reins on a relapse when it does happen, as well as gathering data and monitoring my changes, has lead to some significant improvements that are making this process comparatively easier than before.

Something I’ve learned from my experience of struggling through recovery is that different combinations are going to work better for different people at different stages. I definitely am not saying that what I’m doing is the right choice for you now or ever. It’s up to each and every one of us to consistently experiment on ourselves and observe the results over time. From that, we can better construct an approach that gets us closer and closer to the life we want to live.

I hope you have a great, PMO-free day.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 17, 2020, 10:16:31 PM
Experienced some pain in the middle of the night and slept somewhat poorly. Nothing I can do about that, but being sleep-deprived is one of the most consistent causes of relapse for me. Unsurprisingly, I had some persistent urges today but made it through them all. Best thing I can do for the remainder of the day is go to bed soon and turn off my IADs starting now.

Good night to all those reading, or perhaps good morning or afternoon depending on where you're located.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Icandoit on June 18, 2020, 04:15:48 AM
Experienced some pain in the middle of the night and slept somewhat poorly. Nothing I can do about that, but being sleep-deprived is one of the most consistent causes of relapse for me. Unsurprisingly, I had some persistent urges today but made it through them all. Best thing I can do for the remainder of the day is go to bed soon and turn off my IADs starting now.

Good night to all those reading, or perhaps good morning or afternoon depending on where you're located.

Take care

Being tired is a risk for relapsing for me too. Sometimes I've relapsed being awake at night, not being able to sleep. But the idea is, things will happen, triggers will show up, this is not an excuse for us to relapse, we need to find a way to deal with them.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 18, 2020, 10:02:08 PM
Icandoit

Exactly. We can’t control everything in our lives. What we can do is change elements of our environment and behavior as well as come up with new ways to respond when confronted with urges and withdrawals.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 18, 2020, 10:02:42 PM
I came across a poem today by David Whyte called The Journey. There was one stanza that caught my attention and made me think about addiction and recovery. I’ve included it below:

“Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes
of your life”

That’s all for today.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 19, 2020, 11:56:46 PM
Things were overall ok today on the PMO front. I did have a short period where I entered yellow/light orange territory, so I relocated and calmed down before proceeding with the rest of my day.

Hope everyone had a nice, PMO-free day. And if you didn’t, well there’s always tomorrow to get back in the saddle and resume your journey.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 20, 2020, 08:46:43 PM
Well, today was thankfully light with the urges and withdrawals, and this is taking into account that I was somewhat sleep-deprived (consistent trigger) throughout the day because I stayed up late to check in on someone who was having a difficult night.

I have been getting a lot better about turning off my IADs at a certain point in the day and putting them away in a more distant, difficult-to-access area of the house. My goal is to consistently do so by 7:00, and I am pretty close to that target today. It feels good.

Best wishes to all those reading.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Orbiter on June 20, 2020, 09:32:40 PM
Keeping the IADs away at night was something it took me far too long to take seriously. It's not until you do that you realise how essential it is yes? 7pm is a good goal. I've been thinking of doing the same except aiming for 8pm.

Keep up the good work NewStart04, looking forward to more entries.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 21, 2020, 10:18:55 PM
Orbiter

Thanks for stopping by.

As you'll see in my subsequent post, turning off IADs earlier in the day and putting them away in a difficult to access location can be a real lifesaver.

I wish you the best of luck with implementing your own approach. It's one of those things that can really make a difference.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 21, 2020, 10:19:14 PM
Well, I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that I relapsed. The good news is that it was short and only to fantasy. I attribute this to my habit of turning off IADs early and putting them away. I would say the main cause of my relapse was a bad esophageal attack I had in the middle of the night (it's been a while since I've had one) accompanied by some gut pain. I'm not pleased, but I'm not devastated.

Some readers may notice that I haven't made any mention of how many days I was PMO-free. This is because I have tried to distance myself from thinking about counters and streaks and instead focus on urges and withdrawals whenever they happen. What matters to me is dealing with the present, and thinking about streaks and counters can pull me away from that.

From here on though, if someone is interested in how far along I am, they can just use this post as my Day 0 so to speak. Although that would be for FMO. I haven't looked at porn for longer.

I'm pretty tired today, what with the lack of sleep from the midnight attack, spending a few hours outside at a picnic and getting a little sunburned, and then heading back home to do a lot of cleaning I had been neglecting. Going to turn off my IADs after posting this, shower up, and slowly get ready for bed.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 22, 2020, 08:29:21 PM
Today overall was fine. Had some minor-moderate urges here and there, but was in control the whole time. I did decide to take a break from caffeine to once again explore what the long term benefits are. We’ll see how far I make it, but what this meant for today was a ton of crappy headaches. I think this plus some of the negative thoughts/feelings I was having about myself led to the urges, but either way I’m glad I didn’t buckle and give in to fantasy.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 23, 2020, 10:57:06 PM
Another relapse-free day.

Because of some unexpected circumstances, I unfortunately had to finish some things up on my computer later than I would have liked, and thus violated my cutoff time for IAD use. No surprise here, but using them late in the day made me feel triggered. I would say orange-zone level urges. Because of that, today's post will be short because I want to turn them off ASAP.

Hope everyone else sailed through their day PMO-free.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 24, 2020, 09:21:13 PM
Another day down.

Made sure not to make the same risky mistake today by putting my schedule in place beforehand so that I wouldn’t have to use my IADs in the evening. In my experience, some things are so risky that complete elimination is what you want to aim for. Last night, although relapse/slip free, was a difficult but useful learning experience.

As for urges, I think they were overall worse today then yesterday. Spent some time outside, which I haven’t been doing much of with the pandemic, and boy did I underestimate my mental readiness toward ogling. I was doing a pretty poor job, and while many body parts were catching my attention, it was the butts that were really grabbing my attention for some reason. Regardless, I view this as a learning experience, because it informed me that refraining from ogling is more difficult than I originally thought. From here on, I will create a little pocket of time before going out to mentally prepare myself so that I can keep my eyes on the prize of recovery and off of women’s bodies.

All in all I’m alright though. My computer has been giving me problems for years, and it’s finally time to move on to a new device. The new one arrives soon, but it’ll be subject to the same rules I have for IAD use. I’m really looking forward to having a reliable machine that doesn’t frustrate me on a regular basis. One less trigger causing stressor, which is an additional plus.

Hope everyone reading did their best trying to stay PMO-free today. If not, I hope you all learned something you can utilize on the next attempt.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Icandoit on June 25, 2020, 01:01:13 PM
That's right. No matter how well you manage to stay away from intentionally finding triggers, there are always those triggers that show up unintentionally and having a strategy for this is crucial too. What you said about being in public it's a problem for me too. And also the porn that plays in my head. I would say those 2 bother me the most cause I can stay away from watching anything. I know how to deal with things that I see unintentionally online too but if I have to pick one, the porn in my head is the biggest problem because it makes me crave porn like I've been thirsty for a week. When I relapse, it's usually because of this. That voice in my head, coming from my addicted brain, then tries to convince me that a little bit is not a problem.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 25, 2020, 11:21:43 PM
Icandoit

I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve been experiencing with the porn in your head. More specifically though, are you referring to porn flashbacks or porn-inspired sexual fantasies?  In my case, the latter is far more the problem than the former, although I will suffer from a flashback every now and then.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 25, 2020, 11:22:14 PM
Today was tough, but I’m still PMO-free.

Last night, some time after my writing my previous post, I was trying to fall asleep when I overheard a bad fight going on between the people I live with. So, after some deliberation, I got out of bed and successfully deescalated the situation. The experience left a sour taste in my mouth however, significantly affecting my mood and delaying the time I went to bed.

As a result, I felt pretty crappy physically and mentally when I woke up this morning. Still managed to get up pretty close to when I normally do, but this malaise sat with me during the early hours of the day. Luckily, I was okay with urges at this point, but from late morning to mid-afternoon, I was repeatedly battered by urges begging me to fantasize. While many images and scenarios flitted in my mind, I was essentially able to make it through them all without engaging them (although I did dwell on them from time to time for a few seconds). From mid to late afternoon, I spent my time outside and did better with ogling than yesterday, despite the fact that I forgot to make a pocket of time before leaving to get myself ready and be more mindful about my eyes and where they fall when outdoors. I think I won’t forget the next time this happens, but I’m just pleased I did better than yesterday.

Lastly, in the evening, something really frustrating happened (probably amplified by withdrawals), which made me just want to drop my drawers and quickly bust a load to some porn. But I knew this wasn’t really the path I want to follow, so I relocated and set some time aside to calm down. And I did. Another day down.

Wishing all those reading the best with their recovery journey.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Icandoit on June 26, 2020, 04:20:56 AM
Icandoit

I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve been experiencing with the porn in your head. More specifically though, are you referring to porn flashbacks or porn-inspired sexual fantasies?  In my case, the latter is far more the problem than the former, although I will suffer from a flashback every now and then.

I think I'm bothered more by the fantasies I've developed for myself. They made me have mad urges and then the craving for watching porn is strong.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 27, 2020, 09:47:01 PM
Icandoit

Hang in there. Progress may not be immediate, but it is definitely worth it.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 27, 2020, 09:47:26 PM
Unfortunately...

I relapsed yesterday. While I am not pleased with what happened, I am pleasantly surprised with my observations.

The session itself was 60/40 digital content (mostly erotic images with a little porn) and fantasy. The second part was fantasy because I knew that if I continued looking at porn it would just be click after click down a seemingly endless novelty spiral. While the session was definitely a heavy binge compared to what has become my new normal over the past couple of months, it was still comparably shorter than what used to be my average duration. What’s more, if I compared the amount of content I viewed during this relapse to an old relapse of mine of the same duration, then the amount of content viewed per a fixed unit of time would be considerably less. Also, whereas I would usually binge until oblivion and then pass out during the wee hours of the next day, this time I finished my session before the hour I would normally expect myself in bed. Lastly, before going to sleep I did manage to tidy up my living space and finish a few minor tasks before going to bed, which was basically unheard-of with the old way things were.

In short, looking on the bright side, I strangely feel halfway decent about how things turned out. Like this was a worst-case scenario binge, yet it is objectively and noticeably better than my old normal. Gotta love progress.

I don’t want to forget to mention what led to this relapse. Surprise, surprise, I didn’t uphold my shut-down/put-away time for IADs. This is something that I haven’t fully upheld from time to time, and while I have made it through without relapse, every time it put me closer to or directly in the danger-zone (what I like to call the “red-zone”). This has taught me an important lesson, one that is easy to uphold. I WILL always turn off and put away my IADs by my cutoff time, with the only exception being a legitimate emergency (i.e. someone is severely injured/dying etc.) I have built up a lifestyle that has made this possible, and have been able to uphold it for the most part. But it needs to absolute. And that’s something I can do.

So with that, I wish everyone a good night. Back in the saddle again with clear vision. My destination is far off, but I know where I’m going. To a better tomorrow ; )

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: imsorrynotsorry on June 28, 2020, 04:33:13 PM
Hello NewStart04,

Quote
In short, looking on the bright side, I strangely feel halfway decent about how things turned out. Like this was a worst-case scenario binge, yet it is objectively and noticeably better than my old normal. Gotta love progress.

I had to smile a bit, because i found myself in this.
Before i turned into hardmode i felt quite good about my progress of not watching daily and when PMO'd, then only in quick sessions. At some point i only allowed one video per session, just to have some control over it. Strangely it worked with me for a while and just to a place where i was able to have sex with the GF and watch P from time to time (which is nothing good, not proud of).

See you in the saddle!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 28, 2020, 08:37:18 PM
imsorrynotsorry

Always aiming for the time when never again becomes a reality, but I’m glad that I’m better at reframing experience to help get me to that point instead of getting lost in it and losing my perspective.

Wishing you all the best with your recovery journey.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 28, 2020, 08:37:32 PM
This post is going to be a short one.

Today was pretty good on the PMO-front, and I upheld my shutdown time for IADs. Only a few urges here and there.

Gotta be thankful for the easier days.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 29, 2020, 09:00:25 PM
Another day down. Was pretty good at controlling ogling when I was running errands. Not perfect, but much better than last week.

Urges weren’t light, but nothing too bad. Felt some irritation, but it was relatively minor. Had a porn flashback or two from the last relapse, but didn’t engage.

To all those reading, keep up the good fight.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on June 30, 2020, 08:31:01 PM
Had a huge stressor spread out over a long period of time today that kept generating more and more frustration. Not saying it’s justified, but I had a FMO session that was under 10 minutes to try and make it easier to get through the rest of my task. It did make dealing with the rest of it easier overall, but I’m still not happy I did it. Aside from that, the day was okay. Time to turn off my IADs.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 01, 2020, 09:32:44 PM
Just posting to say today ended without incident. As mentioned earlier in my topic, since it is more beneficial for me to look at recovery as a long-term process that has ups and downs, I am no longer that interested in looking at my addiction as how many days since I've last looked at porn, masturbated etc. That being said, this information may be of interest to those reading, so I have decided to start using the day counter in my signature again, starting from my last FMO session yesterday.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 02, 2020, 10:53:03 PM
Today was a good day for all things PMO-related. No slips. No relapses. I've been busier than normal and a bit overwhelmed for the past seven days or so. Hopefully things will start easing up a little sometime soon.

My new computer arrived two days ago, and I finally finished doing everything (and I mean everything, even to the most inconsequential detail haha) to get it set up.

Watched The Reboot Nation's new video on the flatline (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXfZwNqVDVA). Make sure to check it out if you're interested about the topic. I personally have never really experienced it, but I am one of those people who would actually welcome it for an extended period of time (using the definition flatline = little to no libido). I do empathize with those that experience a considerable amount of suffering from it though.

Noah Church uploaded his most recent livestream (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USTUv3A4pW0) a few days back. I'm looking forward to watching it soon.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 03, 2020, 08:16:36 PM
I had the worst night of sleep in recent memory last night, and this led to me sleeping in pretty late today. I haven't mentioned it much in this topic, but I have made incredible strides with my sleep schedule over these past few months to the point where it's consistently the best it's ever been in my entire life. The process has been hard and difficult, but waking up late in the day after having not done so for so long--while unpleasant and upsetting--has been a good experience in that it has shown me how far I have progressed and how a colossal setback like this hardly even dents what I've worked so hard on building up. I think there is a good analogy to be found here with porn recovery.

I've also been thinking a lot about objectification, and how this term is often used in a limited manner to refer things like genitals, musculature, weight, etc., but it seems to me to that it is hardly ever applied to an important part of the body that--on a physical level--really isn't any different: the face. I really want to elaborate on this, but the clock's ticking. Maybe tomorrow.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 04, 2020, 10:24:34 PM
Another day PMO-free. Lots of negative thought patterns cycling through my head (not only today...I need to keep improving my ability to identify and rewire to more productive thoughts...they're really toxic), but no relapses or slips.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 05, 2020, 09:15:52 PM
Without going into detail, last night was a complete nightmare for me (not PMO related). I've tried to take steps today to make up for the damage I caused yesterday, and thankfully it appears to be a good start. Suffice it to say, this incident didn't cause me to relapse, and I am still going strong on the path of recovery since my last relapse. But last night really was a disaster. I'm going to try my best to maintain stability and keep working on my life as I have been: slowly and consistently, without losing hope for a better tomorrow.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Icandoit on July 06, 2020, 04:15:29 AM
Without going into detail, last night was a complete nightmare for me (not PMO related). I've tried to take steps today to make up for the damage I caused yesterday, and thankfully it appears to be a good start. Suffice it to say, this incident didn't cause me to relapse, and I am still going strong on the path of recovery since my last relapse. But last night really was a disaster. I'm going to try my best to maintain stability and keep working on my life as I have been: slowly and consistently, without losing hope for a better tomorrow.

Take care

Good shit, man. Sometimes I go through things like that too but if you didn't use porn to cope, that's a win.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 06, 2020, 01:31:43 PM
Icandoit

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad I didn't use it as an escape during that difficult time.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 06, 2020, 10:01:55 PM
Another day clean. Take care all.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 07, 2020, 09:01:37 PM
Another day down. Have been feeling some pretty intense urges for the past twenty minutes though. Yikes!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 08, 2020, 09:36:04 PM
The urges I was feeling before and after making yesterday's post were rough. Felt some strong physiological discomfort and it was difficult to turn the arrow of attention away to something else. Thankfully they weren't too long: around 20-30 minutes. Today's been better, but I've been feeling light to moderate urges here and there.

Now to turn off my IADs and take some ibuprofen. This headache is killing me.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 09, 2020, 08:20:44 PM
Well, today has been yet another day of urges. Not as bad as the day before yesterday, but worse than yesterday. Although it does limit my overall productivity, I'm glad that I've been behaving how I want to behave.

Not much else to write for today.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Orbiter on July 09, 2020, 10:24:41 PM
At this many days in, remember you're more or less in the eye of the storm with urges & withdrawals. Sounds like you've got it under control so keep doing what you're doing and make sure to keep occupied but not push yourself too hard through this tricky period.

Keep up the great work!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: Icandoit on July 10, 2020, 05:20:28 AM
Making it to 2 weeks is a matter of luck too. It's difficult and your decision to quit is questioned because of the pain of withdrawal. I feel like after that period, it's a matter of whether you really want to accept this withdrawal and do this or not. In my case, it gets different after 2 weeks, it's like I develop a better ability to resist and I relapse only because I do some stupid thing. Try to avoid the mistakes you've made in the past. If you don't know about those mistakes, it's good to keep a diary and write there every time you relapse. Maybe writing here could be this diary, if you want to share. Relapsing many times in a row doing the same mistakes without any tweaking is not good (and I'm talking from experience here cause I've been doing this and trying to change - don't do the same).
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 10, 2020, 08:33:35 PM
Orbiter

Thanks for the kind words.

Glad someone else mentioned this. I think one of the main causes of relapse for me over this past year has been due to unsuccessfully navigating the middle ground between putting my foot on the gas and putting my foot on the brakes. I also think I am slowly becoming more adept at balancing a rigid structure and fixed goals with being more adaptable and flexible. Emphasis on slowly haha.

Icandoit

I used to keep a daily diary of sorts for about a year, which was useful, but stopped doing so as it started to have diminishing returns so to speak. I do however continue to log various data on my life, and have gradually added/removed variables from my logs as I get better at determining what's worth keep track off and what's not.

Best of luck with your recovery journey

Take care

Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 10, 2020, 08:34:14 PM
Well, after posting last night, I was buffeted by urges for what seemed like multiple times a minute on and off for hours. There were a few times here and there where I indulged in fantasy for a second or two, but I think I controlled my mind pretty well.

So far today has been pretty light with urges/withdrawals, so that is definitely welcome. No expectations for the rest of the day however, but that's fine with me. I look forward to posting tomorrow with more good news of a day spent without a relapse.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: ShadeTrenicin on July 11, 2020, 02:29:51 PM
Hey NewStart04.

Although you are a regular poster i've never read or written in your thread. Well that has changed lol :)

I've read your intro post and your post of the last two weeks, and I see that you are having a lot of difficulties with the urges.
Might i share a nice video with you? It's of a woman called Tara Brach and she describes some of the mechanisms of addiction in this video whilst also providing great comfort to the viewer. It's called The realm of the hungry ghosts, dealing with addiction.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mv7zxUbiwU (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mv7zxUbiwU)


good luck, stay strong and stay safe. I am rooting for you
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 11, 2020, 09:05:10 PM
ShadeTrenicin

Hey Shade, thanks for stopping by and posting in my topic! I feel a little bad at times because when I do post on Reboot Nation, I only do so in my topic. It's true that I use both this forum and Your Brain Rebalanced (journal here (https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/forum/index.php?threads/a-better-tomorrow.117445/)), and the latter is where I find my self posting more frequently, but, to be honest, I recently haven't been posting much outside my topic over there either. I think one of the reasons is my new cutoff time for IADs: I almost always post on the forums later in the day, a little before my cutoff time, so I don't have much time to write or--more importantly--spend adequately reading threads to make my posts more meaningful/useful/personal. I also may want to make some more progress with my own journey before I post in others' topics, although I do understand that a few kind words of encouragement can at times make quite the difference.

Putting the above aside, thanks for giving me some resources to help with the recovery process. I'm not sure if I will be able to get around to watching it today, but I'll check the video out and let you know what I thought about it. I wonder if the title is at all connected to a type of apparition I learned about when I lived in Japan called a "gaki" (I'd translate it as something like hungry ghost/devil, so she just might be referring to the same thing). Guess I'll have to watch the video for myself and find out ; ).

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 11, 2020, 09:05:23 PM
Last night I stayed up far later than I should (and far later than my new normal, the irregularity of which I noticed as a great sign that things have really changed on the sleep front), which wasn't a good idea as it just makes me more compromised to relapse. That being said, I was mindful the entire time just in case I felt an orange/red-level urge so that I could relocate and perform a different behavior if necessary. Toward the end, before I went to bed, I did get an orange-level urge and quickly went to sleep soon after.

Today has gone pretty well so far. Urges and withdrawals have been pretty light. I helped someone who has severe mobility problems with some physical therapy. He often skips out on doing it, even though it's so necessary, but recently it seems he is becoming more consistent, and I more than happy to help him rehabilitate. He seems in a good mood about doing some more tomorrow, which is even more promising. In some ways, I see his recovery efforts like my own. It's a long arduous process with ups and downs, we sometimes get dejected and don't truly commit to recovery, at other times we make excuses or bad choices and set ourselves backward, but we also keep holding on to hope and slowly improve to work toward a better tomorrow.

That's it for today. Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on July 12, 2020, 11:05:50 PM
Violating my IAD cutoff time just to post this and let those who read this topic know I made it through today relapse-free.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 06, 2020, 05:12:54 PM
Yikes. Relapsed with a sizeable binge (still better than my old normal, but definitely long compared to my more recent relapses). Overall, I think I'm mentally ok, but physically I feel pretty crappy. My brain is currently a numb slush.

Man, the process of recovery has been a drawn-out, arduous affair. But I've gotten a lot better about looking at the long-term and getting better at slowly learning and optimizing my more recent efforts to gradually become comparatively better than my old baseline. For long-term, severe porn addicts, this is something indispensably important. It's like a war of attrition for those repeatedly fighting the cycle of relapse and remission, but it can be won. The beckoning of despair and hopelessness is a sham that prevents us from doing our all (however limited that may or may not be) to create more and more of a wedge between our addiction and the people we want to become. It's true there are people who are addicts for life. But I don't have to be. None of us has to be. We gotta keep learning and develop more resolve. I'm gonna love the time that I can tell the people of this community that I did it: I made the impossible possible. And I might just inspire someone else to step up their game and really get the ball rolling to get this destructive habit out of their lives.

I think it's still nice to have the forums in my life, but I am not sure how I want to use them from here on. But I think I am okay with not having any definite plan or schedule. To be honest, it was nice just knowing I had a place to go to post-relapse, to share with others who have struggled or still struggle with this problem. I'm pretty zombified right now, and the tasks I didn't get done today are going to be heaped upon what I have to do tomorrow. But at least I posted, and it feels worth it.

Maybe from now on, I'll try to post miscellaneous thoughts, experiences, hopes, observations, etc. It's interesting how each time I come back to the forums, I want to reengage in posting but the approach keeps changing. Maybe it parallels the slow evolution of my recovery and its related efforts. But my mind is too incoherent for further reflection at the moment. We all deserve some type of love and compassion to further progress down the path of sobriety. Be smart and never give up hope in spite of the setbacks and difficulties. I sure won't, and I hope that inspires at least one other person to successfully overcome this detrimental habit.

My mind is pretty out of it at this point, and I think I am struggling to say something profound. Unfortunately I took 10 more mg of valium, so things are going to get even more incoherent. I think we all deserve higher degrees of happiness, which is ultimately pretty subjective when it comes to the individual, but one surefire way to boost this, or more specifically well-being, is to make consistent strides in dealing with this addiction or any addiction. The road to doing so will differ for all of us, but there are tailor-made, ever-changing solutions out there that do work, and they often demand considerable compromises in other areas of our lives. It's up to us to find them.

I beseech you all to never give up. There's a way out, in spite of al the failures, setbacks, rationales, emotions, etc. Deliverance is in the cards. We just have to keep consistently observing, analyzing and optimizing to make our efforts repeatedly manifest and progressively change the subjective character of our experience. You deserve better, as do those that care about you, want to you be well, and even those you meet with out in the public sphere who could benefit from the positive experience that you can add to their lives.

Work hard, live well, and improve the quality of your conscious experience. We all deserve it. Both a better tomorrow and a better future.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 12, 2020, 08:42:05 PM
To anyone who's interested, I recently learned of a way to customize the layout of both the homepage of YouTube and the page for a video you are currently watching. For those of you who are concerned about being potentially triggered by arousing content displayed on the homepage or the up next/related videos shown on the right of a video you are currently watching, there is a fantastic extension available called Stylish which can completely remove potentially triggering content. If you are comfortable adding extensions to your browser, I highly recommend it. Not just for decreasing your chances of being triggered online but also to avoid being sucked into the black hole of Youtube time-wasting or procrastination. To my knowledge, it can only be used on Chrome and Firefox, but it may also be available for other browsers.

To start, download the appropriate extension for your browser (Chrome and Firefox). Then, go to this site and scroll down to the section titled Option 3 (or use Ctrl F on Windows or Command (⌘) F on Mac and type in Option 3) and follow the steps as written.

Once done, you will notice in the upper right corner of your browser an icon representing the extension. On Firefox, it’ll look like this (the extension is circled in red):

(https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/forum/index.php?attachments/annotation-2020-08-12-175237-png.6792/)

By clicking the extension, a box will drop down. If you don’t have any style installed (i.e. no custom page layouts for the page(s) you’re visiting), it’ll look something like this:

(https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/forum/index.php?attachments/annotation-2020-08-10-212245-png.6793/)
 
If you followed the steps for Option 3 that I mentioned earlier, and you are on YouTube’s homepage, your custom layout will make it look like this (sorry about the picture being too large; scroll to the right of the page to see all of it):

(https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/forum/index.php?attachments/annotation-2020-08-10-212002-png.6794/)
 
Pretty sparse right? But it still gives you the essentials: you can search for videos with the bar on the left and can login (or access your channel if you’re logged in) by clicking on the button to the right of the screen.

If you click on the Stylish extension now, a box should drop down that looks like this:

(https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/forum/index.php?attachments/annotation-2020-08-10-212315-png.6795/)

If for whatever reason, you want to return the homepage to its default layout, just click the blue bar (circled in red) to disable your custom one. You can always re-enable it if you want to restore your custom layout.

What about pages where you watch the videos themselves? Once again, assuming you followed the steps laid out in Option 3, they’ll look something like this (once again, sorry about the picture being too large; scroll to the right of the page to see all of it):

 (https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/forum/index.php?attachments/annotation-2020-08-10-212142-png.6796/)

With this layout, all next up/related videos and comments will not be displayed. Incredible, right?

Like with the homepage, if you do want to re-enable the normal layout, just click the extension and in the upper right corner and toggle active off

 (https://yourbrainrebalanced.com/forum/index.php?attachments/annotation-2020-08-10-212336-png.6797/)

Anyway, hope someone finds this useful. It’s great for both people who are and aren’t addicted to porn.

Take care everyone. Best of luck with your recovery journeys!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: ShadeTrenicin on August 13, 2020, 02:27:39 PM
Hi NewStart,

thanks for sharing the extension! This could be a real improvement for a lot of us on here! Many thanks!


So how have you've been since your last relapse 8 days ago? Have you been able to shake it off and get back on the horse? Your post was pretty profound, despite you mentioning your brain being a total haze. But what I noticed is that you do think that you deserve love and kindness. To me those are one of the most important aspects in beating this addiction. Loving yourself and granting yourself attention and love to me is fundamental to taking yourself serious in beating the addiction.


So how are you feeling about yourself 8 days after the relapse?

Let us know man!
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 14, 2020, 08:28:25 PM
ShadeTrenicin

You're most welcome. I really do hope it helps!

Thanks for checking in on me. I'm persevering, but things have been more difficult for me, not just over these past 8 days, but probably during the last 4-6 weeks. While some of this has been porn-related, not all of it has been. Right now, I want to get back in the saddle with my goals, habits, and life direction, including living a PMO-free life. One thing I really struggle with is knowing when to put my foot on the gas and when to put on the brakes or pull over and find a rest stop, if you follow my analogy.

As for my post before last, I think most of the sentiment was genuine, but some of it was definitely affected by the 30 mg of Valium I took haha. I think the main feeling I was trying to express is "please, no matter what you do, don't give up hope that recovery is possible!" The most damaging aspect of this addiction for me by far is that it robs me of my feeling of self-control, which in turn makes me unable to trust myself. This makes me feel hopeless and repeatedly plunges me into the pit of despair. But that isn't a place for anyone to truly live from.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 17, 2020, 08:22:57 PM
I think in some shape or form, my inability to stay clean stems (at least in part) from an inability to truly accept the discomfort of recovery. True, a purely white-knuckle approach will most likely lead to failure, but I think I have also been running away from the fact that sobriety means not just once or twice, but on many occasions and for indefinite durations I will have to suffer through some type of awful discomfort. I'm in the thick of it right now, and the last two days have been clear examples of the suffering that comes with this journey. It's tough. It'll continue to be tough. But true commitment is when you stick to something even during the worst of times. Acute urges and withdrawals are going to be part of the picture for a few weeks. I am learning to live with that.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 21, 2020, 03:43:51 AM
Still hanging in there. I have no expectations for what will happen in the future. I just keep trying to do what I can to deal with the present moment. This has been very helpful so far. If I had to attribute this to anything, I'd say that my daily mindfulness practice (with a rare loving-kindness or concentration exercise thrown in) has played the biggest role. Being committed to carrying out actions that lead us closer to our goals is important on the path of recovery. I'm glad this is one of the habits that I've introduced into my life and that I've been able to keep on doing it. Not just for recovery, but for everything life throws my way.

Things are still difficult, although I have been given a bit of reprieve after about five back-to-back days of miserable urges and withdrawals...well for the most part. I came into contact with my first sexual stimuli a few hours ago. No grey-area searches or anything like that. I have slowly been going through an atlas I was given at the end of last year--almost done finishing off Africa, and then there's just Australia and Oceania left--and while I was checking out some additional information online about a nation I covered, I came across a photo on a blog of some of its female citizens with no clothing on their upper bodies. Admittedly, my eyes did linger on the image for about two seconds or so once I became aware of what I was looking at. For the next hour after things were difficult, but I tried my best to keep my mind off of it and, while it still flashes in my mind from time to time, I think I'm holding up alright.

Recently, I've been feeling a lot like The Most Sexually Frustrated Man in the World (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOhN-yQNBOQ), but less and less like The Most Deluded Man in the World (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21AvagA3tWM). Hopefully someday I'll be nothing like either of them.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 21, 2020, 09:50:52 PM
Wow, yesterday was pretty terrible.

The picture that I mentioned seeing in my last post actually faded from memory around the time I posted, so I am not sure if it had a role to play or not, but the rest of yesterday (after posting) was pretty brutal. The feeling of wanting to give in, to wanting to relapse, was so strong. It felt like I was near the precipice. But, as I think a member on another board once phrased it, I was able to continually "urge surf" (had to quote him because I don't want to be called a plagiarist haha), keeping myself one step ahead of the shadow-like tendrils attempting to pull me back down to the bottom of the abyss. So I managed. No peeking, no touching, no masturbating. I would say that my total time fantasizing however increased from my previously mentioned 20 seconds to somewhere around 5 minutes. I am not that concerned, as the number is still pretty low, and I was able to snap myself out of the last three minutes of the five (which were one fixed period, not spread out) because I recognized that something as small as this could have a butterfly effect so to speak somewhere later on down the line in recovery. That, plus I know that the only two nocturnal emissions I've had since high school both came from fantasizing heavily before going to bed during longer streaks, and both times I felt the chaser effect. So best not to play with fire.

And the ephemerality of experience manifested itself upon waking up after a strategic nap. Nothing lasts forever. I don't feel overconfident, viewing yesterday's struggle as something definitively resolved. I have no expectations about what will come next, be it today, a week from today, or a month. But the calms between the storms do come.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 22, 2020, 09:59:42 PM
Well the last day was overall fine. Nothing too terrible on the urges/withdrawals front, and I was grateful for that. I didn't take it for granted. I stayed smart though as one frequent source of relapse for me is pushing myself too hard early on in recovery without paying attention to the internal signals telling me that I need to take it easy for an indefinite period of time. So I didn't play with fire, and worked on some of my tasks without overextending. In the past, during times like these, I'd think something like, "Finally some reprieve from the onslaught! Now to make up for lost time and get as many tasks done before it returns." Every time I have regretted this course of action. I am not trying to run away from life or upping my game to tackle more and more challenges, but I need to be realistic about my past experiences and recognize that there is a convalescent period where I need to focus on putting less pressure on myself and be more aware about how far I can reasonably push things. It definitely is still too early on to make any judgments, but I can say that I feel like I am finally integrating enough lessons learned in the past to ensure the success of my recovery.

Sleep is another issue that probably isn't all due to my porn use but definitely is impacted by it (and abstaining from it). It's been extremely erratic, and normally I would start catastrophizing about it and the implications it has on the rest of my life (e.g. I'll always have sleep problems for the rest of my life, or This is bad! I'm more prone to relapse when I am sleep-deprived, etc.), but instead I give the sleep-deprived periods of my life extra caution but try not to focus on them that much. It's already difficult just being in that state, so why add on to it by thinking all these unnecessary and unhelpful thoughts? It's made more difficult by the fact that I have recently quit caffeine entirely, and yet I keep marching on. There's a way through it all. I think I am finally starting to get glimpses of that feeling with this addiction. It isn't overconfidence. But I'm rambling. I'm moving forward with no expectations, and I look forward to whatever improvements come my way.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I am getting a little teary-eyed at the moment. It isn't coming from a feeling of sadness. I wonder, is this what experiencing glimmers of hope feels like? Still too early to say. I have to keep up with this experiment to better see what the results will be. One month, two months, three months, and then beyond it all. Another lesson I've learned: trust the process, and give it the time it needs.

Take care everyone. Earnestly wishing you all the best.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 23, 2020, 10:58:25 PM
Yesterday was ok for the most part...until the end of the day. Was in a downright nasty mood. I'd say it was a combination of strong hopelessness and anger. I try to avoid viewing these feelings as withdrawals, because I am still unable to parse which part of them is withdrawals and which part of them is me + unresolved/untackled life issues. I should have a better idea in a few weeks. Anyway, feeling like that definitely makes one want to wash it all away with hours of stroking it non-stop to more and more pornographic content. Thankfully that didn't happen, and no peeking occurred. Wasn't easy though. My intentional fantasy has gone up from the 5 minutes I mentioned two posts ago to about 7 minutes. Most of it was on the more explicit side, and about 1m30s was across one block. But for some reason, on this particular journey I am able to nip them in the bud early on and leave them there, perhaps because it's another one of those lessons I have learned: sexual (and romantic, because it always ultimately leads me to sexual thoughts) fantasy is not as innocuous as it seems; it's the bellows to the furnace of urges that melts away my resolve to not turn to pornography when things get tough.

One of the downsides I mentioned earlier in this topic about using these forums has surfaced once again: I am obsessively checking them multiple times throughout the day. The problem with this, simple though it may be, is that it doesn't make me feel good. It also is making me think more about recovery than I should. When it's bad, it's bad, and I have no choice but to deal with it. But when things are ok or, much more rarely, good, I really don't need to be excessively reminded that I am going through the worst period of recovery. I still want to use the forums, but I want to be more mindful of my usage and limit it to once or twice a day. I guess the appeal is partly that I can connect with or just read about others who are dealing with the struggle in their own way. But I don't want to get completely lost in the journeys of others because I'm not them and they're not me. No matter how much I want to be reassured, no matter how much I want to be done with this, I will each and every day have to--from a first-person, subjective, experiential standpoint--deal with this on my own. Support, encouragement, and feelings of connection are great, but they don't change the fact that I will, through urges and withdrawals and the other difficulties in my life, have to bear my suffering in its entirety if I want to make it through. Perhaps this is some of the maturation that @Pete McVries mentioned. There's a part of me that's so weak, so frail, that dealing with something that any non-addict could handle, as well as those further on down the road of recovery than I am, is a challenge that requires herculean effort on my part. But addictions, being addictions, do have the benefit of getting better with abstention. Your dendrites lose their super-spininess; ΔFosB depletes; CREB depletes; your dopamine receptor count increases; your stress system becomes less easily triggered. And putting addictions aside, bad habits have the benefits of feeling less and less automatic and more and more foreign as they are continually avoided: your brain finds other routes to send its signals down when exposed to certain stimuli, and someday they become the normal route of commerce so to speak. Subjectively, it isn't easy, but objectively, things change with time. The strangehold lessens. It isn't the full story, but it's a significant part of it (i.e. yes addition over deletion, but deletion also matters). Another lesson learned: look at other addictions that I have completely eliminated (some are at the two year mark) where I have gotten to the point where I don't even have the rare urge any more and my mind doesn't even gravitate toward them during a time of emotional/mental crisis; they help inform me when my addicted mind tries to reach for any reason to get me to relapse. Are there a lot of problems in my life? You bet. Is going back down this rabbit hole going to help in any way, shape, or form? Nope. It only make things that much worse. It's done so every single time. This is something I have a colossal data set for.

Once again I find myself rambling. But hey, maybe that's part of the reason why I post in this topic. Musing over my experiences of recovery and relapse.

NOTE: The next part refers to some members on YBR, which is why you will come across a handful of @ marks.

One last thing. Occasionally, when I am going through a tough time with recovery, I call to mind--from a very general viewpoint--all the people struggling with this addiction, PIED, PIPE, etc., on these boards, and more specifically those who I have interacted with more regularly. While I do think it's a bit strange, seeing as I don't know any members personally (and I don't pretend to), it's one of the many techniques I can pull out of my recovery toolkit that helps from time to time. Remember @Pete McVries, the member who's somewhere around 1y8m clean? He mentioned once that he was stuck in a cycle of relapsing every 5-7 days for a while, and then he just pulled himself together one day and never looked back. That could be me someday. How about @nuclpow? He started his topic 8 years ago--experiencing various struggles along the way--but is now almost a year without porn. That's a protracted struggle, kind of like my own. Don't forget @-Luke-. He made it to around 400 days porn free--at which point he still was experiencing some PIED-- but then fell back into the orbit of his addiction; yet he still hasn't given up. And he's working on starting his own business. What an inspiration. And what's that about @Gil79? He still has his setbacks, but he's slowly been getting better and says he's feeling way better than 10 years ago, and that's on top of having multiple real-world responsibilities, like taking care of and managing a family with multiple children. He keeps the goal of recovery in his mind without letting go of it. Things might be tough for me, but I don't have a spouse or children that depend on me for support. Who am I to think that I have things so tough? And don't forget about @Thelongwayhome27. He's gone off the radar for his own reasons, but either he's handling recovery in his own way (something I should be doing), or he might re-engage the forums someday and get some motivation from seeing how I demonstrated that recovery is possible, even for heavily addicted people like me for whom hopelessness is the norm. And so on and so forth.

We all came here for different reasons, but most are here because they became aware that their porn use has noticeably decreased the quality of their lives. Some dealt with it quickly on their first or first couple of attempts (Gabe Deem, Noah Church), others struggled for some time but were able to get a handle on their addictions, while others did it for much longer but ultimately succeeded. On the other side you have those who are dealing with their first few relapses after buckling down and telling themselves that they were done, those that find themselves slipping up time and time again and who are being reciprocally teased and then battered by hope and despair, and those who feel lost in a seemingly eternal limbo of relapse and remission. On top of all that, there are members who have the addiction pretty much under control but are still experiencing sexual dysfunctions to some degree (PIED, no libido, PIPE, etc.), yet in spite of that keep marching on, encouraged by the accounts of posters like Axiomatic.

The point? Never forget to keep your head up, even during the worst of times. We all have our own idiosyncrasies, be it with our addictions, recovery process, or--from a more birds-eye view--with the subjective character of our experience, but somewhere out there you can find idiosyncratic solutions to your idiosyncratic problems. Your experience is not that of others, just as theirs is not yours. But they handled recovery in their own way. So can I. And so can you.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: imsorrynotsorry on August 25, 2020, 03:23:37 AM
Quote
I want to be more mindful of my usage and limit it to once or twice a day.

That's good and that works in every part of our digital lifes. It contributes to the feeling of being in control, also with the reboot and it helps in shaping your personal strategy against PMO.

Beside that, you sound quite reflective on yourself. I wish you all the best.
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 27, 2020, 06:31:51 PM
imsorrynotsorry

Thanks for posting! I'm definitely trying to make my life less and less digital. I think the biggest thing this addiction has robbed me of is my feeling of self-control, which prevents me from being able to trust myself. But living life stuck in this prison isn't sustainable. I have a lot of issues in my life, and I can't realistically deal with them if I am suffering from such a debilitating handicap.

Congratulations on being almost 5 months clean. That's pretty inspiring.

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: NewStart04 on August 27, 2020, 06:32:00 PM
I have a message to all those who read this topic. I have decided to take yet another indefinite break from the forums. While I have definitely started to feel the grip of this addiction loosen a little, I am also aware that I am still in the convalescent period of recovery, and because of this want to play it safe until I feel I have made it to consistently calmer waters. The connection to others who are struggling with or who have struggled with this problem is great, but I have realized that posting regularly on the forums is at a point where it as a whole creates more interference than it does support. This is because, by checking the forums on a repeated basis, I am getting myself to think more about recovery than necessary. In the early stages, using the forums was a net positive, as having an additional resource to turn to was a relief amidst all the mental anguish I was going through. But now, as the process has ameliorated a bit, I find that going to the forums does more harm than good. But I think this is just the next phase of the process for me.

Not sure when I'll return, but I can confidently say expect good news. As I slowly regain self-trust, I find myself gradually feeling a restored sense of confidence. I look forward to sharing my recovery story with you all once I come back. And I also look forward to seeing good news from other members!

Take care
Title: Re: A Better Tomorrow
Post by: imsorrynotsorry on August 30, 2020, 03:47:26 AM
Hi,

I can understand what you're saying and i'm planning also to do this when i feel more like it.
I think of the forum a perfect chance to process what is going on in different stages of the reboot. Sometimes i need the impulses of others and sonetimes i just want to write down whats on my mind.

Anyway, you know you can come back anytime and exchange with us.

Imsor