Reboot Nation

Journals => Ages 40 and up => Topic started by: warp4 on December 14, 2019, 12:53:32 AM

Title: Dark place
Post by: warp4 on December 14, 2019, 12:53:32 AM
I'm really in a black place right now.  I've actually been pretty successful over the last few weeks.  Reached about 40 days, maybe more with no PMO.  I've had this horrible addiction almost since we got our first computer with dial up.  As is the case with most married guys here, my wife eventually found out.  To say she's unhappy about it is an understatement.  I've tried to stop multiple times over the years, but I was never strong enough.

This year it got really bad, as I lost my long time job, doing what I really loved.  Losing my job had nothing to do with porn, but the stress over the last few years ramped up my "dependency" which peaked this summer after becoming unemployed.  I knew I was in trouble and started looking for help online.  I found YBOP and shortly after RN.  I had no idea this was a big problem for others as well.  I started going through my computer, deleting all the porn I had saved in secret little folders. I was like a squirrel, hiding in places I later forgot.  I got a lot of it, but not all.  A couple of weeks ago, my wife was looking for a file on my computer, a recipe or something.  I wasn't too worried she would stumble across anything, as I felt I had gotten most everything.  But I hadn't, and she did.

That night, after years of humiliation and poor self esteem I had caused her, she asked me to move out.  We talked more and I begged her to let me stay, already 2-3 weeks into my streak.  She relented, and things were going pretty well for a couple weeks.  Then, last night I was dealing with some pain in my foot and legs, so I got out of bed so I didn't disturb her.  I ended up sleeping in the extra bedroom, but I left my phone on the nightstand next to our bed.  I actually left it there so she wouldn't think I was doing anything bad.  I admired myself for this.  During the night or this morning, she decided to look at my phone, probably to see if there was crap on it.  Of course she found some.  An email I had sent myself with a couple of 1 minute clips.

Tonight, she told me she's not sure if she loves me and doesn't really understand why she's staying, other than it's Christmas.  I told her I had been clean for six weeks and had tried to eliminate everything from my PC and phone, but had obviously failed.  Told her about RN and YBOP, but I don't think she really cares.  All she knows is the lies I've told over and over.

Can't blame her, I'm pretty much a piece of shit.  So I'm in the extra bedroom again tonight (my choice, since I started weeping and didn't want to keep her awake).

I'm in a black place now.  No job, no friends and maybe no wife.  The only support I feel like I have now is my counselor, who knows about my habits.  I wish the internet had never been invented.  I wish I was made of stronger stuff.  This is killing me.
Title: Re: Dark place
Post by: jixu on December 14, 2019, 10:43:07 AM
That is some heart-wrenching stuff.  Let's think about this a moment and consider some ways forward, both in action and conceptually.

First, you are not in a dark place, you are in a hard place.  You are understandably enveloped in gloom-who wouldn't be?  Yet, there is light, there is a path out.

Second, you are not a piece of s.  You worth as a person is not determined by job, marital status, and current porn streak.  Sure, those are important, and I'm not saying they aren't, but that isn't how your worth as a person is derived.

Third, it seems like the jenga piece, the collapsing factor, is employment.  What are you doing concerning that?  Are there any options, are you pursuing it, have you given up?

Fourth, keep the communication with your wife going.  If possible, add another concrete factor, such as an accountability partner, a recovery group at church, etc.  My guess is that your marital prospects will improve if she sees real action on your part in this and other areas in your life.  Easy for me to say from here, but get some movement going.

Don't give up-just start trying some more stuff.  Going here and seeing a counselor are huge steps and a great start; you just might need to amp it up a bit in the area of 3rd party involvement and engagement. 

Don't be a stranger and disappear from this forum-keep the reports coming. 

You are at a huge, critical, and challenging point in your life and you are going to come through it!

Title: Re: Dark place
Post by: Gracie on December 14, 2019, 12:20:24 PM
Read through the partner area.  It will give you some perspective.   A good book for the two of you to read is Love You Hate the Porn by Mark Chamberlain.  Also: has information that is very valuable for both the addict and the wife.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Dark place
Post by: jcwright on December 14, 2019, 08:05:13 PM
Warp4, it seems to me that you really want to make things right. May I suggest one thing ? Print a 8.5x11 yearly calendar. Mark with a circle every day that you have had success and an X on the days you have not (very important to be honest about it). Visualization is so powerful. When you start "seeing" your success, I don't believe you'll go back to your old ways.

Also put that calendar where your wife will see it. That creates accountability. Keep at it, no matter what. This forum is here to support you!
Title: Re: Dark place
Post by: warp4 on December 17, 2019, 01:16:10 PM
Hey everyone, thanks for the replies.  It really helps to know that someone is reading and takes the time to respond.

A bit of clarification, I'm still on a no PMO streak, I don't know the exact number of days as that particular activity (tracking X number of days) seems unimportant in my overall goal.  It's been over a month, for sure.  To be honest, I'm surprised it hasn't been more difficult to stay PMO free.  There are times when I have to really buckle down to resist the urge, especially since stress and time alone have always been my biggest triggers.  I have plenty of stress and alone time these days.  Maybe I'm flatlining, don't know.

Jix, thanks for taking the time to write such a long and thoughtful reply and for your ideas and words of encouragement.  I've been following your journal and have been impressed with the depth of your feelings about your journey and your concern for others here and in your life.  With regards to my employment, I've had to take a few months to try to get my self confidence and self esteem back.  I am harboring a LOT of anger towards a couple of folks at my former employer.  I feel that how I was treated after 25(!) years of accomplished service was terrible and not at all in keeping with the values the company pretends to extoll.  I know, every employee who is asked to resign under threat of being fired will say the same thing, it's not lost on me.  I think I'm pretty clear headed about what happened though, and have support of other recent ex-employees who were treated similarly.  Doesn't really help the anger (rage) at being put in this position 5 years before retirement.  This event is really what has driven everything else in my life lately, and it didn't just start when I was "disappeared".  I was struggling for 4 years prior to this to gain some measure of support and understanding from my bosses, but their actions served only to make my job and those of my team much more difficult.  We were all dumped on, for several years.

As far as finding another job, my career and work is very specialized, I don't have the option of going down the street to be hired by another company.  Finding similar work would likely mean relocating to a different state, which may end of being what happens.  Doing that entails leaving family (including my older sister, who was just diagnosed this year with Alzheimer's), my wife's family, her job, all our friends and the city and home we have loved for the last 2.5 decades.  If I want to stay here, I'll have to find work in another field, which is difficult as I am very invested and passionate about my career.  I'm 55.5 years old, never thought I would be in this spot, especially after a very successful career up til now.

As for communication with my wife, I have explained where I'm at right now, that I'm on this website and a couple others seeking help from good folks like you, and that I'm talking to my counselor about it.  Her anger and distrust is what is crippling progress in these things, I offered to send her a link to RN, but she wasn't interested.  Again, my dishonesty and relapses (and dishonesty about my relapses) has given her no reason to trust me.  I was, in fact, feeling pretty good about myself for a week prior to her finding the old (if you can call ~ 7 weeks ago old) email on my phone.  Her confrontation about that really crumbled the foundations of my efforts again.  Dropped me back into "I'm a piece of shit" territory.  I harbor some resentment toward her about digging through my phone, specifically to find "dirt" she can be angry with me about, but I get it.  I understand why she did it and despite my efforts to clean everything off my phone, I didn't remember I had even sent this email to myself.

Gracie, thank you too for your suggestions.  I actually have been reading the Partner forum, and it's very daunting stuff to read.  Some of the comments there are full of pain and anger, and if I put myself in their shoes, I understand why.  I believe one of the most terrible thinks about being a PA is removal of any sympathy or empathy we seem to have, even towards those we love the most.  That's at the root of the "piece of shit" for me.  Some of the comments in the Partner areas even feel hateful, which scares me to death.  The last thing I want is for my amazing wife to begin to hate me, which she implied at our last "event".  She's running out of fuel to support and advocate for me.  I have no argument for her as to why she should continue.

I'll put Love you, Hate the Porn on my reading list.  An upside to all of this is that I'm getting a great education on how the brain works (both for me and against me).  I realize how my inner monkey brain was programmed to supercede my "smart" brain (term loosely used here) when it comes to fear, desire, anger.  Seems insidious that the smart brain actually begins to shrink when you are an addict, as it's the only defense we have against the monkey.  My counselor (a woman) has been a rock for me.  I started seeing her over 2 years ago, when I was struggling with things that were happening at work.  After a year and a half, I finally admitted to her that I was a PA.  That only happened because I recognized I was getting much worse due to the stress at work.  She's been very kind and understanding and it was torture to tell someone I respect so much this shameful thing.  Shame is such a huge burden in being a PA, much the same as it must be for any addict.  No one ever wants to admit they are so small and so weak about such things.

Another upside is that my blood pressure has dropped from 131/85 back to my norm of 105/70 in the last year.  Shitty workplaces can kill you, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  I try to identify the upsides when I can, before I sink into another emotional abyss.  Having you all here helps me to identify those upsides, even though they may be few.

Finally, JC, I'll keep your advice in mind.  I suggested to my wife that we check in verbally every day, but her answer was "I'm not sure I want that".  Like I said, having x number of days without PMO isn't something that speaks very loudly to me.  Recognizing every day as it comes and goes without does.  I understand why it helps many people here, and more power to them.  I just think actually speaking with my wife about it will be more effective, as she will be able to see the honesty (or lie, if it comes to that) in my eyes and voice.

Most of all, right now, this forum, reading YBOP, talking to my counselor and trying to stay busy are my main defenses.  My wife and I are on pretty friendly terms again, but she's guarded and so am I.  I feel like any slip in my recovery will be the end of us, even if that slip is her finding some porn on my phone or computer that I missed or have forgotten about.  Like I said, I squirreled things away over the last few years.  Why, I don't know, I never, ever went back to look at it again.  There was always so much new, free stuff available.  It's like I was preparing for the zombie apocalypse...making sure I had a supply of porn in case the world ended.  It feels sometimes like that ending is just around the corner.
Title: Re: Dark place
Post by: warp4 on December 17, 2019, 01:17:12 PM
Holy crap, I wrote a lot.  Sorry, everyone.  I don't usually say much, but a lot needs to be said right now.
Title: Re: Dark place
Post by: jixu on December 17, 2019, 09:31:20 PM
Lots of stuff going on, lots of moving parts to keep an eye on-that makes it all the more impressive to see that you have maintained your streak in the midst of it all. Hope you can figure the job stuff out, and it was good to see that you have been on friendly terms as of late with your wife.  Even though you can't see it, I can sense a depth and strength to your personality below the surface.  Keep going, you will emerge.   
Title: Re: Dark place
Post by: Gracie on December 17, 2019, 10:38:58 PM
We have had some very angry people on the partner part.  At the height of those posts there were some very unhealthy men attacking the ones posting.  It was very daunting and that is when Gabe asked if I would moderate.  We had several women leave which was sad.  This is a hard road to walk as a PA or the partner.  I would not wish it on anyone.  But I will say, for all the things that could be said, working together is the key.