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Messages - Orbiter

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Ages 30-39 / Re: My journal, my friend
« on: September 18, 2020, 07:09:17 PM »
Opening up is a tricky one isn't it? I've never been a fan of the idea even though it feels so wrong to conceal something like this from someone you care about who would be so affected if they knew.

On one hand, having someone who is aware of going on, supportive, caring, that you can work through this problem together with sounds amazing on paper. Also I think once suspicion from a partner becomes so high that they know somethings wrong, concealing it can become corrosive and ultimately lead to a relationship ending and you leaving a very confused & hurt person behind.

However support seems to rarely be unconditional and it could also throw fuel onto the fire of other problems in a relationship and I could imagine GFs of my past using it as ammunition in fights or arguments. There are also many women who do not and would not believe this is a real addiction, would look at the pattern of behaviors we've all shown over the years much less sympathetically and just think we're bad people who are calling the bad things we do an addiction to justify it and manipulate sympathy from others.

Rebooting is (to me at least) an enormous undertaking. There are a million articles and talks all over the internet about keeping a goal or an undertaking to yourself until you've made some meaningful progress or are ready. Telling people of goals & plans can not only trick us into thinking we've made progress we haven't but can also expose us to negative feedback, disbelief & criticism at a point where we are perhaps still too fragile to deal with this.

Luckily we have an incredibly supportive & knowledgeable community of great people on this forum we can turn to in the meantime.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: September 18, 2020, 06:41:01 PM »
I remember years ago, when I quit smoking for 2.5 years, my alcohol intake was out of control in the first few months. It was like I substituted having a cigarette for having a drink and, as a result, I was blind drunk almost every night I was out. In comparison, kicking a habit like PMO and having a beer over dinner or after work doesn't sound that bad to me.

There's a link with the dopamine seeking for sure. I think there's also a point-of-no-return with these sort of habits where if not kept in check, they can make the urge stronger and lead to relapse. I also think suddenly depriving the brain of all these dopamine hits at once puts an unnecessary stress on the brain and is maybe somewhat unnatural. I think a problem that i've had in the past is going all or nothing because I did not believe there could be a balance in an addicted brain. So this time, i'm trying to go a bit easier on myself. If one or two more cigarettes or an extra meal or a beer here and there can help me get through this, then the benefits out-weigh the drawbacks.

In saying all that though, there needs to be positive habits like exercise, reflection, creative & productive pursuits and healthier habits that need to be in place to balance this out but i'm hoping that in not worrying so much about some of the not-so-great habits, I can more calmly get through the day and stay focused on the habit i'm really trying to kick (pmo).

Ages 30-39 / Re: Starting over with a journal after 4 years...
« on: September 18, 2020, 06:59:03 AM »
^ What an amazing project to be involved in. Go you and the Mrs!

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: September 18, 2020, 06:57:48 AM »
Two weeks and counting wooooo!

I woke up today with a lot of tense energy, the withdrawals are definitely playing into this I think. I've been channeling it into pushups & planks and had a long walk today to let off some steam. Spent a bit more time than I would've liked on the computer but was not tempted and didn't fall down any bad rabbit holes. Still, spending too much time on the computer in this state feels like 'flying a little too close to the sun' for my liking and I need to watch out for that.

I've been keeping in touch over the phone with a lot of people (friends, father, work colleagues etc.) and have had the urge to do this a lot lately. This is a bit unusual for me but the outcomes are positive so i'll roll with it.

Other than that, i've noticed a lot more 'dopamine craving' urges & habits seeping in. I'm eating a lot more over the last few days and smoking more than usual. I'm going to give myself a pass for the next week on this as, while i'm not entirely happy about it, i'd rather be doing that than PMOing at this stage.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: September 17, 2020, 04:15:46 AM »
All wise words Shade. This is a bad tendency of mine to be over-reliant on achievements as a source of self worth. I have little to add to your great post but I have been thinking about it since you posted and it is certainly something I should and will take on board.

It is day 13 at the moment. Things are going good but urges & intrusive sexual thoughts are coming on strong. I am committed to avoiding temptations and am focusing on making it through the weekend as I will have enough to distract me when i'm back at work the following week. I have plenty to keep myself busy this time which I will use to occupy myself but without too much pressure.

I also feel I need to resume making regular journal entries again. Although I am pleasantly surprised that I am still able to stay away from P for this amount of time without daily entries, things are going to get difficult from this point onward and I need a space where I can be accountable but also write down my thoughts & feelings to keep them in perspective.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: September 11, 2020, 07:12:59 AM »
Thank you both for the thoughtful replies & support.

The isolation gives me the sensation that everything is on pause. Achievements don't feel like achievements and progress doesn't seem as evident because there's little indication of it from life. This in part has lead me to relapse more as not only do I not feel the external benefits of being clean in the same way but I also don't feel the external consequences of relapsing other than work being more difficult. It is frustrating as it would be so amazing to come out of this lock down clean and with a fresh start to life. I can still do this but I can't help but feel there's so much more progress I could have made in this time. Work is also stressful and it is difficult to balance that out with other activities when you are at home, more or less alone, left with the problems of the week and sometimes little to do.

You are right though, thinking back to the beginning of this year, I have made a lot of progress in many areas and as long as I don't give up I will continue to and, even at this point, am in a much better place than I was. I just need to remind myself of that, relax and not over-think things too much.

A lot of my stress relievers are creative in nature and I have not been feeling very creative or able to absorb myself in projects as I usually would. My exercise, cooking, walks & recent gardening activities help when I do them consistently. When I stop though, I am still quite defenseless to temptations at times.

I feel the circumstances that have been surrounding the recent wave of relapses have been unusual and not things that I would normally have to deal with. I have sorted out the issues with my real estate situation, almost sorted out my issues with work and have made some good progress in getting things working on that end so I am in a much better place then I was in my last post. Managing the stress trigger is a source of difficulty for me, especially as relapsing makes it worse as I am less able to manage & solve the problems in life. I do manage things much better than I used to and have made some good habits over this year but I know I have a lot of work still to do.

Today is day 7 at the moment. I have one relapse the previous Friday but have been clean since. I am going into this weekend with a lot of the problems I was dealing with behind me and, as long as I keep occupied and have things to keep me busy, I feel I can make it through to the next week. There is little else to report at the moment but so far so good.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: September 02, 2020, 04:45:07 AM »
Yes it and several other things going on in work & life at the moment are strong triggers. All I can do at the moment is put the effort in and practice self care when I can until it passes.

For accountabilities sake, after the double relapse I last posted about, I had another two the following day. This has left me ill-prepared for the trials of the week but, though I am having to put twice the effort into everything I do right now, I am still getting through and I haven't peeked, been triggered or done anything remotely connected to PMO since.

I feel like my progress in recovery has reached a halt for some reason, like I have nowhere to go from here. This is not strictly true as I could and should at least be putting the effort into getting some momentum with a strong streak but I can't seem to hold the self-discipline for long enough at the moment. My libido is almost non-existent still but of course I relapse because of stress not desire so that only helps to a point.

Isolation & stress are probably playing a big part in this at the moment. It's hard to find ways to continue to make distance from problems when life is work, dealing with problems and isolating at home at the end of every day.

I'm sure things probably aren't really as bad as i'm making them out to be. I guess i'm just feeling a bit lost.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Heavy addicts small victories
« on: September 02, 2020, 04:29:08 AM »
Rescuing you from the depths of page 2 KittyHawk! I hope your absence is an indicator of being preoccupied with good things happening in your life.

If it isn't and you need any support, don't forget we're still here.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 28, 2020, 06:44:48 PM »
Hey guys,

So first on the good news, the routine is going well. I notice I am having more trouble with the evening routine than the morning routine but in general, it's brought a good stability to my life. I haven't been as disciplined as I would like to be but it's work in progress and even holding myself accountable for it is a big step in the right direction (imo anyway).

The bad news is I relapsed twice yesterday, both sessions totalled just over 4 hours which is something I am definitely not proud of. I let my guard down yesterday and though I did my morning and evening routine, did not have anything else planned in the day. I was also procrastinating over sorting out some potential tricky business with our real estate agent + fatigue + perceived lack of accountability or purpose due to stage 4 isolation and all the usual etc. etc. etc.

So there are some things working better this week and some things I still need to improve on (evening routine, plan + strategies to be occupied over the weekend).

Ages 30-39 / Re: Taking it seriously
« on: August 24, 2020, 04:05:23 AM »
Great stuff! Positive momentum like this will continue to build and ultimately give you strength & purpose to deal with the hard times and make the most of the good.

Onwards and upwards!

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 24, 2020, 04:02:49 AM »
Hi Shade,

Feeling pretty low after the two relapses over the weekend, it's to be expected of course but it's how it is and I can't think of much else to add to it that I haven't already said every other time i've relapsed.

On a positive note. To be proactive with my morning & evening routines I have made a document with checklists of steps through the things I need to do for each day. I started small with the very basics (eg. glass of water, exercise, breakfast, shower & new change of clothes etc.) and though I do these already much of the time, the key is to make these habits consistent and over time build a regular routine. In the evening one, leaving the laptop & phone outside the bedroom on the charger is definitely on the list. I'm hoping this system will keep me accountable and help solidify a healthy routine and some of these necessary, fundamental habits that I need in place to be stable & focused.

Of course, over time I can build on this and add new things that I want to work towards or could help but it's baby steps for now and I feel this is a good start.

Hi Shade,

Great to read you've taken so many proactive steps since the last relapse. Relapses are always unfortunate and always feel terrible & disappointing but if we can learn the lessons that are there to learn, we can harness this to 'refine' our strategy of recovery and that's always a positive.

I'm not sure if it's a subconscious projection of my own desires for companionship & intimacy, but I still think the 30 day & rewiring is the way forward. Re-connection with others and our own innate, natural desire is a part of this journey & sustainable recovery and if it's something we will inevitably have to start, why not now?

Wishing you all the best, enjoy your 3 day holiday away!

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 23, 2020, 05:04:38 AM »
Relapsed again today. As I said, no routine or structure has been in place this weekend and to no surprise this is the result. Next week needs to be the week I get things back on track as i'm beginning to realise how low a person can sink mentally in these periods of forced isolation.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 22, 2020, 03:54:05 PM »
Relapsed in the late hours of last night. I wasn't sticking to the strategies + too much time on the laptop.

How frustrating.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 22, 2020, 01:43:44 AM »
Hi Shade,

To answer your first question, I generally find most social interactions exhausting to an extent. The nature of a lot of conversations these days and the current situation in the world and a lot of peoples lives tend to make the nature of these interactions quite heavy & intense. It's like I need a certain amount of personal time & activity to 'decompress' if that makes sense.

Regarding the day counting thing. I feel perhaps I do not convey what I was trying to say well. I wasn't calling for us all to scrap our goals, stop thinking of days entirely or anything like that. These are still important and achieving these goals is important to our personal growth, resolve to beat this addiction & overall self worth.

What I was meaning was that I (and perhaps others) have been rebooting for awhile with the mindset that we have this goal and we'll do whatever it takes to achieve it. The strategy is 'whatever it takes', the method is 'whatever it takes' etc. I have thought of these strategies that I stick to and I often relapse when I don't. When I relapse, sometimes a new strategy comes out of it but often I just pull myself back up and carry on expecting things to be different next time when they're not. What i'm saying is I need to focus on strategies & building a life & sense of self where abstaining from pornography is sustainable. Though I do reflect and put strategies in place, I don't focus on this enough. There are still so many times where i'm STILL thinking 'grrrr gotta make it to 14 days, just two more to go!' and that is simply not sustainable. The focus needs to be on the system not the goal for me at the moment. And each relapse if i'm totally honest probably shows something i'm doing that needs work, or something in my personality & mind I need to address and work on.

With all of that said, today and yesterday were all successful clean days so that's good!

As always, thank you both Shade & Imsorry for your continued support. I cannot understate how valuable it has been and continues to be as I push forward on this journey.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 19, 2020, 02:39:04 AM »
So I had a series of video chats with people last night that went quite late. As a result I broke my curfew and did not get a good nights sleep as a result. The exact thought that was running through my mind was 'I have been working all day and been in contact with other people. I have had no 'me time' so i'm going to have some this one time'. I didn't relapse or anything, but this thinking and this habit of staying up late on the laptop needs to change otherwise i'll probably relapse again in the exact same way a week or so from now, maybe even less.

I was thrown by a very intense sexual dream I had last night about a co-worker. I couldn't go back to sleep after as I felt too worked up by it. I feel that on the bright side, it wasn't a P dream or a dream of 'PMO style' content so that something? I would like to think it's a sign my brain has healed just a bit to experience some 'normal' urges but who really knows.

One thing I have been thinking about lately is the potential fallacy of living to goals or setting overly lofty goals. I think the cycle of failure that this almost inevitably brings wears away at our resolve eventually. What if, instead of focusing on some arbitrary number of days, a person instead focuses on developing their own system of living that will keep them away from PMO and simply stick to it, develop it and see where it goes. I feel like i've touched upon this with the re-direction of focus onto other projects and all that, but I don't think the importance of this has ever really been so clear to me as it is now. I plan to explore & articulate this though more over the coming days.

Ages 30-39 / Re: My journal, my friend
« on: August 19, 2020, 02:26:32 AM »
Hi Imsorry,

I know it's been awhile since I last posted in your journal, you've been making such incredible strides it's difficult to know what advice to give someone seemingly so much further ahead in their journey than myself.

I did laugh to myself just a little when I read of your mention of my recent troubles. I am glad though that it could serve as a reminder of the futility of relapse and, despite whatever your brain tries to deceive you into thinking, it sucks. Through this process you've most likely grown too much as a person to ever feel the same intensity pleasure or escape from PMO again. It would at best, be empty & boring.

My housemate practices Wim Hof breathing every day and he absolutely swears by it. I've never given it a go myself but it sounds like this and the running is sorting you out. Having a good toolbox of coping mechanisms to healthily manage stress is something that will always be useful to us. Mastery of handling stress & urges I realize more and more is the true way forward, regardless of how many days we've all been clean for.

Keep on going Imsorry. You're doing so great.

And don't worry about morning wood, honestly I don't believe it's a big indicator of anything important.

Hi Shade,

Sounds like a very difficult flood of urges & emotions you are going through right now. From my experience, when I was going through the early stages of rewiring the last time I was in a relationship, I had a very similar dopamine dip/emotional crash to PMO-ing after each time, I personally think this is due to the association of intimacy & PMO. The good news is that I found after more 'moments of intimacy' the comedown & chaser became less severe to the point where it was quite easily manageable and I could just enjoy the afterglow without having to worry about any consequences. This is I believe a big part of rewiring.

Have you talked with her and explained your feelings? I'm sure you have but if not, I feel this could go a long way as this could be the start of such an enjoyable journey for both of you, it would be a shame for it to stop at the first hurdle. At the end of the day, you know what the right thing for you is better that I do but I do feel this is a natural part of the process of healing.

All of this can be managed either way because now you know what can happen, you're prepared and you've got strategies to address it. Stay the course you've set for yourself and I feel like you have a lot to look forward to.

Keep up the great work!

EDIT: Don't forget to exercise forgiveness & compassion to yourself as well. This is part of the process & part of healing. Your good intentions, love for your wife and desire to grow are what truly matter.

Ages 30-39 / Re: We can do it if we don't give up
« on: August 18, 2020, 03:17:34 AM »
^ This

That's great to hear Shade! Sounds like a positive step in the right direction. I'd imagine it must be extra nice to finally be reaping some rewards for all the hard work you've been putting into this reboot. Keep up the great work!

Ages 30-39 / Re: Taking it seriously
« on: August 18, 2020, 03:08:59 AM »
Great job recovery000. Stay vigilant & keep up the good work!

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 18, 2020, 12:47:31 AM »
Thanks Shade for your (as usual) thoughtful & compassionate contribution. In situations where I relapse to material that I perhaps am not so comfortable with, I can swing between the extreme of self-chastising myself to the point where I give up and relapse and or the other way, which is being too accepting of it and giving myself the green light to escalate further. Recognition that it is an unnatural stimulus and harmful to my wellbeing & psyche but acceptance, self-forgiveness and a recommitting to moving further foward & away from these habits I guess is the way to go.

I will as of tonight, place the laptop with my phone in a spot in the living room to charge at night. Me and my roommate are good friends and I completely trust him but i've always had a password on my devices so I can tick both boxes on that one!

For accountabilities sake, I should say I did MO Sunday morning. While not helpful to my recovery at this point, it didn't feel as damaging as a full blown relapse or even a peek of p.

Ages 30-39 / Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« on: August 17, 2020, 04:41:55 AM »
Wow imsorry! Everything you described in that post describes it so so well! The different mindsets, the self-sabotage, the anhedonic negative cycle of pleasure seeking etc. I relate to everything you described so strongly. Also, it's some comfort that I am not the only one who feels the same lack of arousal after two weeks. I'd put that whole post up on my bedroom wall if I wasn't worried someone would see it.

The reality is, this life is the life of an addiction who relapses every two weeks. Neither here nor there, the addiction itself is no longer as pleasurable and the urge isn't as strong but yet the addict never moves forward from it and is stuck in the same place. I think i've come a long way from even a few months ago where I would hold out for the working week and binge all weekend or years earlier when even the slightest stress would instantly lead to multiple hours long relapses. Still, this is only another stage of the journey and I need to focus on pushing forward. I think a big part of this means tackling some of the mental & emotional bondage that prevents me from escaping this.

On the practical end of things, i'm sticking to the laptop usage rules I outlined earlier. Like the phone, it's a practicality that could potentially bring big improvements with not too much effort.

Thank you all

Stay strong Shade! Remember everything you've learnt about your urges, the hungry ghosts, use the 6PP when necessary and keep yourself busy and you'll make it past this i'm sure.

Keep up the good work. You've got this!

Ages 30-39 / Re: We can do it if we don't give up
« on: August 15, 2020, 05:06:37 PM »
On the positive side though, you didn't binge though right? I feel in the quest for 'the perfect streak', we forget to recognize how important things like this are. I feel this is important as things like not bingeing or not succumbing to the chaser multiple times before getting back on track is a sign the strength & mechanisms of this addiction are slowly breaking down.

You said awhile back you had a goal to lose a certain amount of weight I believe? How's that going?

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