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Messages - Orbiter

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1
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: Today at 07:00:26 AM »
It was an impulse decision and one that would probably require a decent long-term plan. Anyway, tackling PMO addiction is plenty to deal with right now, I will work on ways to moderate my smoking in the meantime. We shall see.

I am now working from home two days a week as most of my work activities during those days (at least at this point in time) can be done remotely. This is a huge relief to me and a welcome change from a full week of working in relatively risky situations. Work and keeping in touch with friends & family over Zoom + phone has taken up much of my time this week so there's not much else to report. Still clean though!

Tomorrow I will hit the two week mark which is nice considering (comparing to other times anyway) how little effort I have had to put into getting here this time around. Still, I need to stay vigilant, it's always quiet before the storm...

2
Good job staying vigilant Shade! Managing urges at day 5 is hard enough but fatigue and that loss of cognitive strength makes it so much harder. All the more important to stay away from any screens during this time you've identified as a dangerous one. Just ride it out a few days more and the worst of the chaser effect will be behind you.

You can do it!

3
Ages 30-39 / Re: We can do it if we don't give up
« on: August 09, 2020, 07:13:44 AM »
Hang in there Icandoit! Every day clean weakens the habits stranglehold over you just a little bit more. No effort is wasted and it will get easier.

4
Personally i'm a firm believer in both leaving phones out of the bedroom and minimizing the concerning dependency we all have on them in general. It's such a simple thing to do but the difference it can make to our lives is considerable. I banned my phone from the bedroom mid last year and since then i've made leaps and bounds not only in my ability to stay clean for longer periods of time but also my sleep has improved considerably without having it as a crutch. Also I feel the time between going to bed and falling asleep is an important time of the day to reflect, process and, if necessary, accept and make peace with the events of the day. Obviously these are merely my views and experiences and we're all different, but I encourage you to keep doing what you're doing all the same as it clearly works.

5
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 08, 2020, 07:58:24 PM »
Thanks for the responses & support Shade & Imsorry.

It's pretty much survival mode at the moment yes. Last week, work & adjusting to the new Covid situation & restrictions seemed to take up all of my thoughts. Living with my flatmate has been particularly frustrating through this, but I suppose he's going through troubles of his own and i'll just need to give him some space when my patience is low.

It also didn't help that I took a break from cigarettes for a few days. I did it because I was genuinely sick of smoking them but the withdrawals on top of all the other stresses and of course PMO addiction was simply too much and I caved yesterday. I'll get around to giving it another go when life is a bit easier.

It was an interesting experience going through the two withdrawals at the same time. Quitting cigarettes is kind of like a sprint in that it's short, intense and difficult but after the first two or so weeks you've pretty much beaten the worst of it. Quitting PMO is more like a marathon, it's milder in some ways but it's a such a long process and in that length of time it requires constant vigilance to make sure you don't get exhausted from it, plus there's so many ways to slip up and falter. I thought it was an interesting comparison to reflect on anyway.

Regarding distractions. It's something i've been giving a lot of thought. As I was discussing with you Imsorry a few posts back, I think I need activities that aren't necessary tied in to big long term goals at the moment as I need to be focusing on maintaining myself in the short term. I have started a small garden out the back i've been maintaining and when not on the computer, I have been drawing again which is something I haven't done for almost ten years which has been nice. Other than that, a bit of reading, lots of cooking, listening to music, watching a lot of interesting movies. Throughout this, I have also been keeping up my (light) exercise which, while not particularly intense, has become quite the nice daily habit and I feel it has made a difference to my overall wellbeing.

I purposefully put a hold on any musical projects i've been doing. I came to the realisation yesterday that I have been struggling with musical burnout for some time and over the last two weeks, I have reached a point where it's actually upsetting to do. So I packed up all my equipment into cupboards, under the bed etc. and just stopped.

It's feels so strange since it has been my sole passion for the last two decades but making that decision actually felt pretty amazing. Not only is it giving me the mental space to address other areas of my life but i've noticed I can actually properly listen to music again and somewhat enjoy it which is amazing. I think I have a tendency to obsess over particular goals to the point where other areas of my life suffer and hopefully with this break I can bring back some balance to it.

6
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 08, 2020, 08:37:15 AM »
Time to rescue my page from what will soon be the depths of page 2!

So it's almost 10 days now in terms of days in a row clean. I had a brief 10 or so minute PMO lapse to some pictures but other than that, i've been clean the whole time since my last post here. Unfortunately the lock down restrictions and Covid-19 numbers in my place of living are getting increasingly worse by the day, the risk of catching it in my line of work is becoming increasingly higher and that that has been a source of stress. Other than this, there is very little to report. Progress can be tough to gauge sometimes in such periods of isolation as there's no real external reflection of where i'm at. I confess it's difficult to know what to write/post at this point in time.

7
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 26, 2020, 12:22:58 AM »
Thanks Shade, Icandoit & imsorrynotsorry for dropping by and your continual support.

So this is day two at the moment. I had a pretty bad relapse where I binged to pictures for a few hours. I've had that horrible, foggy, seedy feeling that you get from consuming far too much P ever since. I feel the emotional triggers were stress & exhaustion from work and the lack of social accountability in this current period of isolation (i.e quitting doesn't matter, it's lockdown and nothing is going to happen anyway so why not do it once etc.) . Hopefully in a few days time I will have stayed the course through the chaser effect and will be back on track. I am not going to worry about the two weekly MOs right now as contemplating it provides too much temptation to relapse. I need to focus on just making it to two weeks right now.

I'm taking your advice to heart imsorry and aiming low at the moment. The goals i'm setting for myself are all small, short term ones that I can basically achieve in a day (pushups, play an instrument, phone a friend, do washing, cook a meal etc.). I find in times like these, I need to give myself a strict routine for the day that fills up enough of the hours. I'm focusing on small things as well as I need some achievable short term goals that don't reinforce the failure/relapse emotional cycle and keep me focused in the present rather than worrying about the future and/or ruminating over the past. As for PMO, my only goal at the moment is to keep myself adequately & healthily occupied enough so I can make it through the week without relapsing.

Thanks for reading.

8
I echo everything UKGuy said. It's good to have you back and wishing you all the best, good health & sleep. With the ongoing issues with health & sleep, are there some things, even small things, you could do to make things a bit easier on yourself through this?

9
Ages 30-39 / Re: We can do it if we don't give up
« on: July 22, 2020, 02:06:49 AM »
Sorry to hear of the recent string of relapses Icandoit. Do you think the lack of proper sleep from the recent night shifts might be contributing to your difficulties? Is it the stress? What device do you find yourself most commonly relapsing on after these shifts? Perhaps some thought could be given to specific strategies to manage the post-night shift urges?

10
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 22, 2020, 02:03:44 AM »
Hey Icandoit, thanks for dropping by and for your support. The concept of working towards something as a routine rather than this enormous undertaking is a great way to re-frame these challenges in our mind, something I should be giving more thought that I have been lately. I'm spread a bit thin with goals because there's (always) so much to do and I feel there's always so much lost time to make up for. I need to pick one and stick it through, no doubt about it. I just need to think on which one to focus on.

On that note, i'm also super glad to hear you picked a goal to work on. I can't wait to hear of your future progress in your journal. I remember 30 being a great age and it's a great period in your life to begin working on it.

This week has been super busy and I have had little time to consider the chaser effect. With that said, right now it feels quite strong and it would be so easy for me to succumb to it. Thankfully I have much to keep myself occupied in the meantime and have made a list of stuff to work through for the rest of today. I think I will take this course of action for the next few days until I am a bit further out of the relapse forest.

I have been toying with the idea of introducing a routine of controlled MO once every two weeks. There is a danger of this leading to a relapse and dealing with the inevitable chaser, but I have been consistently relapsing at the two week mark since the beginning of May and, at least while I am stuck in the routine of working and staying at home, it may be the lesser of two evils. I may begin with one at the end of the working week and set in place a routine of doing it once at the end of every second working week. My current approach doesn't seem to be working for me and i feel it's at least worth a shot trying something different.

11
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 21, 2020, 05:21:46 AM »
Hey thanks for dropping by Shade,

Unfortunately I relapsed in the early hours of the morning this morning. This has made the day incredibly difficult, not only because of a very intense day at work but also that i've done it at everything else today on 3 hours sleep. This relapse was especially disappointing as it was on a work night, which I haven't done in a long time. Also, when my housemate was trying to contact my ex over some outstanding rent-related documents that (still!) haven't been signed off, I looked over his shoulder as he was accessing her instagram and saw some pictures of her with some new guy by a beach (couldn't even dream of visiting a beach in our area at the moment).

I need to keep perspective on this stuff and move on, but it's hard when there's so much time to think. The birthday thing surprised me as I usually don't pay much attention to birthdays, but this time it made me reflect on a lot of things. A lot of regret & missed opportunities over the years, a lot of things I wanted to achieve but never admitted to myself I did perhaps because I didn't have enough belief in myself that I could do. I still don't know why it's all come to me now, but it put a lot of harsh realities in perspective that I was unprepared to deal with.

I think one of the reasons I lose perspective and give up is I look at life in too big a picture. When I look at the past, I look at everything. When I look to the future, my mind races out of control with all the potential problems & worries to come. I've noticed something that I do that I never fully realised until now is I have a tendency to day dream something that could go wrong in the future, act it out in my head in excruciating detail to the point where I have completely upset myself. I don't know why I do is or how to effectively stop it when it happens, but I need to address it as that was happening a lot leading up to the recent bunch of relapses.

I think a good thing to do in situations like this is do activities that bring me to the present. Simple pleasures like cooking, tending to a garden, doing some work around the house, light reading, going for walks around the various parks & creeks in my area or taking some photos. I think of these activities in particular because there is no long term goal, story or history to worry about with these things. You do then, you're doing them, then they're done. I think my life needs more simple pleasures & persuits. This is something I should perhaps explore more during this time of Covid restrictions.

12
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 18, 2020, 07:42:06 PM »
Hi imsorrynotsorry,

Thanks for dropping by. I think you're right in that I lost perspective in the middle of the withdrawal and lost faith to the point where it seemed ok to relapse. I think other factors were that I have not slept well for a week and am quite run down (low energy, sore muscles, mouth ulcers etc. - usually a strong sign), the situation with the city lockdown and also being a couple of days away from turning 35, which has hit me surprisingly hard emotionally. I was quite down after the relapse(s, I relapsed twice) but I focused on simple tasks at home, took some time to reflect and made sure to get an early nights sleep. I feel tired and fairly drained but I am feeling better and ready to get back on the horse today.

I'll report in again tonight to follow up.

13
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 17, 2020, 09:39:01 PM »
Just relapsed. I will give a proper update later.

14
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 17, 2020, 06:53:20 AM »
Felt much the same as yesterday today.

Still clean though.

15
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 16, 2020, 06:55:43 AM »
Throughout this week I have felt quite exhausted, a feeling which seems to be culminating more and more today. Perhaps it might be the withdrawals talking to an extent, but with this exhaustion comes a certain muddling of thoughts and often a lot of negative feelings & memories. Friends, family, girlfriends, partners of the past, being a slave to this addiction for as long as I can remember. This and everything else culminating to the point where I am sitting here typing this right now. I know it's not constructive to ruminate on these things and particularly what life right now might be like had I made some better decisions and had more belief in myself over the years but these thoughts often come flooding through at times like these. I suppose like an urge, you need to accept these feelings and let them pass through you.

An early night is proably a good idea at times like this.

Wishing you all well.

16
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 15, 2020, 07:41:14 AM »
Thanks Shade!

Another small entry today. I have had intentions of posting more but the days have been quite busy and I haven't had the time to sit in front of the computer and articulate my thoughts as much as I would like until late at night, not a time I should be on a computer or phone. With that said, tomorrow will be two weeks clean and I should have more time free to post and visit others journals then.

Stay safe & clean everyone. Hope you are all well.

17
Great job on the pre-emptive strike Shade. Hope the urges eventually subsided and you were able to get a good rest in the end.

18
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 14, 2020, 08:07:51 AM »
It's late here but I just wanted to quickly post to say it's near the end of day 12 and i'm staying strong. There has been some urges & discomfort down below but nothing too intense or difficult. I'll aim to make a more detailed entry tomorrow.

19
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 13, 2020, 01:47:26 AM »
Regarding the parts of my life I haven't addressed, I decided to just go through those on this journal as they come up, otherwise that particular post is going to be very long. I will elaborate on this however over the coming weeks.

My mood in the morning was very low, i'm not sure whether this is due to withdrawals or returning to work (which was in the end fine). Very restless night with lots of dark thoughts but I managed to push through and resolve it enough in my head that I managed to get some sleep.

Apart from my creative projects, i've been making an effort to reach out to friends including those that are outside my regular small circle over this period of lockdown. One of the goals I set from my vision under the 'Friendship' banner is to reconnect with a larger group of people and also some of my family such as my sister who lives far away and I have completely lost contact with. I made some good progress with that yesterday and will continue to make efforts at least a couple of times a week until this becomes a more regular part of my life.

Nothing much to report apart from this. Urges still low, it's day 11 and i'm in the middle of the low mood, flatline phase but it will pass if I persevere and look after myself when needed.

20
Congratulations on the 15 day mark. Sounds like it was a nice, productive, wholesome day spent with Mrs T which is just the sort of thing being in the depths of this addiction can rob us of. Go Shade!

Good on you for identifying the cellphone issue. I almost never bring mine into my room anymore except when i'm making a call (sharing a small apartment with another person during lockdown will do that) and I can't state how much of a difference this has made. I have a cheap digital alarm clock I use for my alarmsand the charger never moves from the living room. Of course, your situation is unique to you and the best strategy for you will be one of your own but even identifying it and writing about it is in itself a huge step yes?

Regarding the 'mindful wanking', if you feel you can manage the chaser then by all means do what you've got to. I am in some respects in a good position in that I do not have a wife or girlfriend to trigger those urges throughout the week. Though there were other issues there, I do remember struggling with this a lot more when I was in a relationship.

Wishing you & Mrs T good health and a positive, productive week ahead!

21
Hey Shade,

Sorry to hear of the continuing health troubles and difficulties with P. I may be wrong but could the 'fuck all attitude' be somewhat of a defense mechanism for feelings of defeat & dissappointment? It's natural to feel that way of course when stumbling from such exhaustion but it can also serve as justification to have another look so I hope you tread with caution over the next few days.

Lack of sleep is a huge trigger for me, I can relate as i've lived a life filled with many nights of 4-0 sleeps (periodic insomnia since childhood :/ ). May I ask what you're using to look at P during those hours? Do you get up and go to the computer? Is there a phone in the bedroom. I've noticed quite a few of your recent relapses seem to be at these hours in this particular situation. Is there a strategy perhaps you could use to deal with this particular problem? Maybe something to think about.

Mindful wanking sounds good on paper...do you reckon it may be a trigger though? I was trying it a bit earlier this year myself but I always wound up relapsing shortly after. It could possibly be an option after a certain (long) period of being completely clean, maybe.

Either way, it is good to see you post again on the forums. Your support & insight are as always, invaluable and greatly appreciated by all of us.

22
Ages 30-39 / Re: We can do it if we don't give up
« on: July 12, 2020, 12:09:03 AM »
Hey Icandoit,

Sorry to hear of the recent setback. Can you identify any triggers or thoughts going through your head at the time? I know you said you stopped yourself from edging the previous day but your post does not say whether it was involving P, what time of the day, what's been going on, any external triggers etc.

This is your journal and it's entirely up to you, but perhaps with a bit of detail and background of the relapse we could be of better help?

Either way, we're still rooting for you. Time to shake off the binge and get back on track yes?

23
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 11, 2020, 09:08:55 PM »
Hi Shade,

No doubt about it. It can be a double-edged sword at times as both emotions, withdrawals & urges feel more vivid too. So far i'm handling things fine though and have had little problem keeping myself occupied despite having a lot of free time over the last week.

School, essential shopping (yes this seems to include visits to the hardware store), work (unless you can work from home), visiting family for care/compassionate purposes, visiting an intimate partner or exercise are the only reasons we're allowed to leave home at the moment. There are police road blocks up along many of the main roads and they have the power to issue quite expensive fines for breaking the rules. Restaraunts & cafes can still do takeaway orders etc.

It's actually much less restrictive than some of the lockdowns other people in the world are experiencing and for me, it's not too hard to adapt to. As a front-line worker, the risk of working, the job uncertainty and the crazy amount of protective measures we have to abide by are the main sources of stress for me but so far i've managed.

WARNING: BIG POST

So, two days ago I revisited a reboot plan of action I did back in 2013 (yes i've been doing this for this long) as part of the Recovery Nation workshop (http://recoverynation.com/recovery/recovery_workshop_002.php Lesson 2C). The exercise was developing a vision of what sort of life you wanted to work towards. There was one point through this where I felt like I had achieved most of my goals but reflecting on it, I realised I had lost my way sometime over the last few years and have not been living a life that really matches the vision. This is what I wrote:

QUOTE
"LESSON 2C

I found this an especially tricky exercise as the more I thought about it, the more I realised I have never really had any personal vision, at least not for a very long time. No strong idea of the kind of person I am or who I want to be. The more I think about it, I always had this empty idea of "being born, doing some shit and dying once I'm too sick, broke or bored to continue living". It's an empty, amoral & selfish vision of life.

My personal vision written here is merely the start, it's definitely in it's infancy. Life and identity is something that I think is fundamentally amorphous and this vision will be subject to change & revision as I continue to live life and grow as a person.

Health

Be mindful of the foods that I eat, the balance of my diet. Be conscious of the effects of sleep or a lack thereof, and make efforts to ensure I not only maintain a regular pattern of sleep but wake up (ideally) between 7-8 not only for the sake of my physical and mental health but to make the most of the day and not waste the limited time I have alive. Maintain a base level of fitness and commit myself to maintaining a lifestyle where that can be realistically sustained irregardless of life situations or the fickle judgement of others.

To use drugs & alcohol in moderation, as something to compliment a good time rather than to make a good time, run away from reality or engage in self destructive tendencies. If this becomes impossible, then instead learn to abstain. The most important thing is to not be dependent on them for being social or as a basis for my identity as a person.

Art

Maintain an open mind and continue to develop an appreciation for the art that I love & appreciate as well as a deeper understanding of art that may not hold the same level of personal interest to me. To strive harder not only to maintain a strong musical/artistic output but to put more effort into promoting and pushing it out there to the world. To value my art & music for it's true worth as it's by extension a reflection and true representation of myself. To not engage in self destructive, self loathing patterns of thought which will ultimately destroy my faith in my art and myself.

Money

To be financially independent and responsible. Maintain a baseline level of savings and be careful of money without becoming obsessed with the accumulation of wealth or being uncharitable to those less fortunate than myself. To not be afraid of working towards this and not fear the pressures and obligations of success (this also applies to the other points and I feel this is a big personal hurdle generally for me)

Love

To firstly learn to love and respect myself, appreciate that I have many things to offer to someone else. To not only be more honest and open but to build and cultivate a lifestyle that I can do so without feeling guilty, shameful or unsure of myself and how my relationship with someone affects them. To be able to commit to and maintain a healthy, meaningful relationship. To have the personal strength, patience & understanding necessary to do so. To appreciate a relationship as a gift not an entitlement, and also to have a clear, independent identity & sense of self worth to this end. To not be reliant on love or relationships as a basis for my own happiness & self esteem, as it is not.

Friendship

To respect and appreciate my friends, the commitment of friendship and treat my various friends with the respect and dedication that their friendship deserves (or in the case of some 'friends' does not). To know when to be open and honest with friends but not to use their friendship as an emotional bandaid, punching bag or a way to escape my own problems, insecurities or the work I need to do on myself. To be there for friends and make the time for them when they're in need (within reason, this will require thought as well). To accept help & criticism from them in a constructive way & not as a personal attack.

In the end, to know who I am and to be the best version of it that I can be. To accept & love myself, along with all my strengths and all of my failings as a person, and to live the best life I can. "
END QUOTE

Some of this has since become habit and a part of my life & routine to the point where I don't even think about it. There are other goals that I never addressed or failed to maintain. With this in mind, I spent a few hours two days ago updating this list and making a series of attainable tangible goals to focus on for the rest of this year. Rather than post it all, I will address goals in my journal as I work towards them or face challenges doing so. I feel this has been a beneficial exercise as it's re-established some clear objectives to focus on and work towards. If I can stick to it and this reboot, i'm sure I will begin to reap some positives over the course of this year.

24
Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: July 09, 2020, 10:33:30 PM »
Today it feels like the fog I have been in throughout my break and since my last few relapses is finally beginning to dissipate. Due to statewide stay at home orders, I have been focusing on my creative projects and matters around the house. I shall use both and the time to reflect to keep me occupied until I am back at work, it will be interesting to see how the current situation affects it.

So far today i've had some faint, fleeting urges which were quickly and easy to dismiss and ignore. Mood and libido are overall flat in the way it has been for much of the last two months.

25
Ages 30-39 / Re: Heavy addicts small victories
« on: July 09, 2020, 10:28:51 PM »
Hi KittyHawk,

It's been awhile and I can only hope you're focusing on other areas of your life and not stuck in a downward spiral. Feel free to keep us posted if you feel the need.

We're still rooting for you!

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