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Topics - dharma108

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Ages 30-39 / Reset again and again and again....
« on: January 24, 2016, 05:10:07 PM »
Resetting the counter again. Trying not to be discouraged and that's a hard one.  Part of me feels like at least I can make it 4-5 days and then again, I have been struggling to make it past 7 w/o PMO which feels like no progress and internally I feel stuck.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been ignoring my issues and they have been getting worse it seems over the last year.  I am trying to re-commit to 1. Awareness and 2. Disciplined action.

These cycles seem to repeat.  My partner has been on the edge once again of giving up on our relationship due to the way I am engaging/not engaging.   I can see how much my addictions play out and effect the rest of my life and cause pain to those around me as well as myself.     I am making the commitment to try to stop.  I am making the commitment to re engaging in therapy.   I am making the commitment to engage in my meditation practice and to meet with my teachers around this.  Feels like I need anything and everything to step toward a more lasting recovery.

I am feeling exhausted with this and tired of the repeat cycles and hearing myself say the same shit over and over again.   What is it going to take to act in a way that will feel like consistent action?

To starting over again.       

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Ages 30-39 / Haven't posted in a while
« on: January 06, 2016, 11:05:08 PM »
Haven't logged in for 8 months, My tracker is not accurate.  Its been 7 days and honestly been struggling to get passed 7-10 days for over a year now.  My partner is an Al Anon family member.  Her family members have struggled with addiction for years.   We have been talking a lot about addictive behavior and how it manifests.  I have been noticing how my tendencies fluctuate from over eating and sweets, to drinking, to over working and even obsessive device tinkering (that check your smartphone itch).  It always comes back to porn for me though and I keep admitting to myself that I do not have control over my desires.

As a Buddhist practitioner, attachment to desire is a major root cause of suffering and that certainly rings true for myself.  I have been avoiding my practice because of the uncomfortable fact that I need to face myself and deal with this.  I recognize that I will not progress spiritually if I cannot work in a healthy way with my desires and cravings.  I notice how my major obstacle is discipline and consistent sustained effort with many things in my life from porn addiction to Dharma practice and meditation, to exercise and also applying myself to the things that bring me joy.   I have been questioning "what is it that holds me back from making effort?", "what is keeping me from doing the things that I enjoy?", "what is it exactly that triggers my addictive habitual patterns?"  I feel like I experienced a break through moment recently acknowledging that most often I am triggered by the fear and rawness of feeling vulnerable.  The acknowledgement that maybe I feel sad or uncomfortable or unsure, or that I don't quite have it together or under control.  I run from that feeling, engage in addictive behavior and then start the spin cycle of shame and unworthiness.   This cripples me from making future effort as "I will surely fail".  What really gets me is that I have a framework for working with all of this.  My practice teaches me to lean into the uncomfortable, look honestly at these cycles that vulnerability is what leads to compassion  and I am still not practicing.  Conceptual understanding doesn't mean anything without the application and discipline of practicing.  So I am trying to work one day at a time working mindfully and trying to attempt to give myself space with the struggle.

 

   

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Ages 30-39 / 34 yrs old 20 plus yrs use time for honesty
« on: January 25, 2015, 03:27:38 PM »
This might be a long one....   I am new to the site. 

     I think my story starts out in a similar way to a lot of people on this site. Hitting puberty and starting to explore sexuality.  Like most men our first introduction to sex is through magazines,videos images, pornography of some type.  I was an early bloomer and started fapping around 12 years old.   I think I have always been a very sexual person and fapping became a regular part of my life in high school.  It is hard to remember back that far but it seems that my patterns have been similar since high school with escalations and more intense waves from moving into the internet world and having unlimited access to anything and everything.  I recognize that I have had a history with some levels of escapism.  In high school I started using drugs on a regular basis.  I pretty much did everything with the exception of heroin and cocaine.  I had periods where I was always high on something.   As I got into college I stopped using drugs regularly from witnessing the grip that addiction had on many of my friends.  PMO/Fapping was always there though.   It had become such a part of life in the sense that it was like brushing my teeth. Early on for me there was a rationalization that it was a healthy outlet for sexual activity vs extreme promiscuity.  There is no issue of disease, causing harm to another person and it was a way to relinquish a strong urge.   I had girlfriends and hook ups in high school and some in college but looking back I can see how PMO has lessened my engagement with real women and has put a damper on my ability to connect fully and perhaps I could have connected with more women.    I had a partner for seven years starting in my early twenties , we broke up and I hooked up with another woman and then more recently have been with a partner on and off for the last four years.  I think my sex life has been relatively healthy.  My PMO use with my partners has fluctuated in a similar pattern throughout my life.     I would have weeks where it would be once to twice a day to a few times a week with an occasional week off.     The consistent thing that I recognize is that there has never been a time period beyond 7-14 days where PMO was not in my life.  I can say that PMO has had a negative effect on the ups and downs of my sex life with my partners.  I had periods of loosing attraction to my partners and not wanting to connect sexually at all. 
    It has only been the last year that I have opened up to the possibility that I have a problem with porn addiction and within the last month that I have finally admitted to myself that yes I have an issue and I need to take steps to deal with it and try to stop.  There were also some articles that really triggered the process for me (included below).    There are so many layers to calling attention to how my relationship with porn is unhealthy.   I have not suffered from ED nor have I gotten to the point where my tastes have been getting more and more extreme.    But I do recognize that I have never not had porn in my life. I have had times where I would waste entire days surfing the web watching hours at a time for that endless search of novelty.  I have watched porn in what I admit are inappropriate places including work or on other peoples computers.  I have experienced the loss of interest in my partners where PMO has had a negative effect on my sex life.  I have had the feelings of lack of motivation, fogginess and have experienced periods of isolation, have felt desensitized and disconnected and have regularly felt that painful sense of guilt and shame after PMO.  It is not healthy for me to continue inducing the feeling of guilt and shame.
  The roots of the shame and guilt for me seem to stem from a number of factors.  I feel like there are some elements of cultural conditioning left over from the Protestant/Judeo-Christian perspectives that sex, sexuality and connection with the feminine are dirty hidden,bad aspects of our existence that should be repressed,subdued, hidden and resisted.   On a more personal level I am a practicing Buddhist and I feel shame/guilt from admitting that I am not necessarily in control of my cravings and desires and that I am acting in a way that is contrary to certain spiritual, psychological and social-political principles that I value.  Perhaps there is also some shame in the direct fact that I am connecting artificially with my sexuality for the benefit of myself.  This also induces a feeling of fear of human connection/fear of rejection of connecting to other humans in an intimate way.   Over the course of my maturation as a man I have developed close relationships with women and have had a tendency to feel more comfortable around women than men in general.   In these relationships I have had the heartbreaking awareness that many if not most of the women in my life have experienced sexual abuse and/or rape in their lifetime including some of my close family members.   I think the stats are 1 in 4 women will experience sexual abuse and about 1 in 6 women will experience rape.    In my life it feels like more than half.   I also have male friends who were sexually abused but it feels to me like more of an issue that afflicts women.  Due to this fact I have developed an appreciation for women and would like to consider myself as an ally in supporting the feminine energy on this planet.  I feel a great deal of shame that my PMO is an action that contradicts my principles.  To use a Buddhist term to me it feels like a violation of the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.    I feel upset that I am participating in creating the demand for an industry that thrives and even triggers desire and craving. I feel guilt, shame and embarrassment for contributing demand to an industry based on the sexual exploitation of women as objects for male gratification.  This perpetuates a mentality of domination, control and power over women for the purpose of male consumption and pleasure.  To me this is an indirect feed to perpetuating violence against women and rape culture.  I recognize that a growing number of porn addicts are women and that there is gay porn, "female friendly" porn, softcore etc.  But I think the over arching target audience is the hetero-sexual male.  To me porn and my use of it contributes to a paradigm of patriarchy and domination of the feminine energy and principle.  This indirectly or directly relates and feeds into to the current macro-issues we face on the planet related to exploitation vs. stewardship and care for each other and our environment.   So I recognize my micro- personal contribution to creating an imbalance of the macro-masculine and feminine principles.    It hurts me to recognize this fact in myself.  It also hurts me to hear the stories from the women in my life, to hear their perspectives about porn and how it makes them feel and yet here I am in full participation.
  I feel that sexuality is important.  I have had some beautiful and mind blowing spiritually connected and engaged moments with my partners.   There is nothing that can touch that human connection especially when there is an openness to love involved.  I am here to strengthen my connection to human contact and re-commit myself to accountability and discipline to my spiritual practice.   My intention is to continue to engage in sexual contact that does not cause harm to myself and others.   I recognize and admit that PMO counts as sexual misconduct and I have an unhealthy relationship to addiction around that.  I am making the effort to move forward and keep engaged in this process.  I hope I can have patience and discipline to keep coming back for the moments when I relapse. 

Many blessings to the courageous people who are being fearlessly honest with themselves for confronting addiction....
   
I have some links to articles below that inspired me.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/my-year-without-porn-some-surprising-lessons?utm_source=FB&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=20140219

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/03/pornography-masturbation-the-spiritual-story-no-one-wants-to-tell/



 

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