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Messages - TK-421

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1
Porn Addiction / Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« on: April 25, 2018, 05:03:10 PM »
I haven’t posted for a while, but also agree that this thread should NOT be deleted. It has been incredibly helpful for many people and it would be a terrible shame if it was not available to new people who have yet to find their way to this forum.

2
Porn Addiction / Re: disclosure
« on: November 16, 2017, 12:49:41 PM »
I think it would depend on what the nature and purpose of the disclosure is.  Are you suggesting that you would tell your friends that your husband was looking at and MO'ing to their Facebook photos?   I think, as it with any issue in a marriage, that the first requirement is that there is discussion and agreement between both spouses about how to deal with important issues, especially when dealing with personal issues.  What would the purpose of the disclosure to your friends be?  Is your husband in agreement?  Would disclosure be helpful to both his recovery and your own recovery?  Is the reason for disclosure to have a confidant (if so, perhaps a therapist is a better option for someone to disclose to).  Would you and your husband be around these people together at some point in the future?  How would that impact the relationships? Would it be possible for everyone to carry on as normal?  I really doubt it, in my view.

Perhaps I have missed the point of your question.  Perhaps there are some people who think that not disclosing is somehow protecting your husband from the consequences of his actions.  I disagree though.  If there is a genuine desire on the part of both spouses to be honest, open, and sharing I think simply disclosing sordid personal details about one spouse's struggles does nothing to support recovery, undermines the marriage and most likely undermines or ends the friendship as well. 

3
Ages 40 and up / Re: My "Hard 90" Journal
« on: November 16, 2017, 12:01:17 PM »
There was a poster on here a while ago, Balanced, who I really liked and who had some very good insight into this problem.  He's not active anymore, but I thought I'd repost his comments he gave me after a lapse. I think his words sum up very nicely what we need to focus on:

"TK, I'm sorry to hear about your lapse and continued struggle. This is difficult work, and I emphasize both DIFFICULT and WORK...

The key to success, I found, is really simple, though really difficult: Control your thoughts. Our thoughts feed our decisions, and our decisions lead to behaviors. Our thoughts lead us to believe that lapsing is OK, that it is not that big a deal. But a pattern of lapsing becomes a pattern just like PMO, a hole in your defenses that becomes a formalized entrance into PMO.

I can't put it any more simply, and I mean this as an empowering statement -- you CAN control your thoughts, all of the rationalizations and self-sympathy, all of the justifications and permissions, you control all of those. Choose the thoughts you want, cast out the thoughts you do not want. This will lead to better decisions, fewer moments of weakness, no lapses, and no more bad behavior.

You have it in you, believe in yourself, you are strong enough to do this...learn to love the feeling of exercising resolve and self-discipline more than the feeling of momentary pleasure from PMO or MO. Make strength and control over your thoughts the new drug for your brain. It can become a powerful pathway for creating lasting change...I know with certainty, standing at day 1108 PMO/MO-free, that we alone, as men and human beings with potential, are capable of making this change, and responsible to ourselves to do so.

Find the strength, exercise it, recognize the strength and power you have when you exercise self-discipline, feel the rush of being able to overpower the single distracting or enticing thought, enjoy the feeling of strength...repeat, repeat, repeat."

4
Ages 40 and up / Re: My "Hard 90" Journal
« on: November 16, 2017, 11:53:20 AM »
Cool,
I like and agree with what you said about being vigilant everyday, I think that's what scripture means when it commands us to put on the "Armor of God" daily.  As to the aspect of repentance, for decades I didn't understand what it meant, I thought I understood it but I didn't.  For years I understood repentance to be essentially saying, "I'm sorry", but as I learned recently its more than that.  Repentance is a, "Turning away from", deciding and choosing to move away from whatever sin has ensnared us, to go in the opposite direction.  Confession too, is more than just verbally acknowledging what we've done, its also agreeing with God that what we did was a sin, a sin against Him.(see Psalm 51)  So its easy to understand why if a person thinks Confession & Repentance is just merely saying sorry, like I did, its easy to see how one might think its gives a license to sin.  I think I may have that book you mentioned, I'll check and see.

Peace,

RN Twin

I agree, repenting is turning away and, genuinely, committing to not committing the same sin.  Out of curriosity I looked online for a definition of repentance and found this: 

The Greek word translated “repentance” in the New Testament means “to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness”.

I agree it requires a complete change of thought and attitude.  It also requires daily vigilance - I know, and I know you do as well, that it is possible to be entirely sincere in our thoughts, words and actions that we are sorry for what we have done, that we want to change, that we are casting off the old thoughts and lifestyle, only to have it return to our incredible dismay.  It is important therefore to be vigilant daily and not let the thoughts creep back in. I'm going to repost a comment I got a while ago from Balanced that I really liked.

5
Ages 40 and up / Re: My Confession
« on: November 16, 2017, 11:42:01 AM »
DAY 7

Well I'm concluding my first week, so far so good.  Just as my friend TK-421 stated on his journal, "we must stay vigilant, always on guard".  He's very wise.  I don't have as much to say today, its quiet and on a positive note I woke up with some "Oak Wood" this morning, my BP is down and I've lost some weight too.  For me this journey never was about any sort of ED or issues in the bedroom, although I wouldn't complain if I could get a little more stamina in the deal(My wife can't understand why), I suppose its a guy thing to always want to do better at everything.  Any success I have, I do have to give the credit to God, I know for a fact that I cannot do this in my own strength, I would most assuredly crash & burn.  So in closing, stay vigilant, stay focused, be humble. 

Later Dudes,

RN Twin(aka Chip)

Good work Chip. We got this.  I like that approach, for today I will stay vigilant, focused and humble. 

6
Ages 40 and up / Re: My "Hard 90" Journal
« on: November 16, 2017, 11:40:32 AM »
Thanks for sharing TK.

Time on our hands is really dangerous, so its important to find something meaningful and pursue it.

I'm working hard on staying away from p too.
The slope doesnt exist. Touch it and the drop is guaranteed.

On thing I'm trying now though, is if you must mo, mo to one you know and love, and not mo to strangers.

Cos o is deeper than just an act. There is connection too. And the reason why we get detached to our partners is because we o to others and that changes who we want to connect with. And its terrible because those others we o to will never be in our lives.

But more importantly, if we dont pmo, and deal with ourselves and our discomforts more directly, we definitely grow stronger and think clearer.

Thanks TAN, I appreciate your comments and always enjoy receiving support and insight from others.  I think that is an important part of finding success, to feel like we are not alone in this struggle.

Everyone's experience is slightly different, but for me I actually found it to be problematic to MO my wife (or someone you know, as you suggested).  In my early attempts to quit, I also thought that this was acceptable (or even to MO to photos of my wife) and was something I didn't initially want to eliminate.  There is a poster on here named William, who I think is very knowledgeable, and his position is that we have to take a very wide view on what is "porn" - it obviously includes watching porn, but also includes remembering porn, having porn fantasies while have actual sex, even bikini photos if you are using it as an artificial stimulation to get a dopamine rush.  So, for me anyway, MOing to someone I know was really just a way for the addiction to find another subtle way to stick around.  I was using it as a porn substitute. For me, it's these small justifications and the permissions that I really need to be on guard for.  Today I give myself permission to MO to while thinking about my wife, tomorrow or the day after it is to pictures of her, then it is to remembering the hot girl from the store, then Facebook, then I realize I'm half-way back in, so no harm in going all in for a while.  That's how it works for me, so I have to be vigilant.  I'm not saying you are wrong, because like I say everyone needs to find what works for them.

7
Ages 40 and up / Re: My "Hard 90" Journal
« on: November 15, 2017, 01:12:06 PM »
I can identify with a lot of what you said, the "fed up" feeling, the "start fresh" with everything, the lunacy of wanting to treat yourself to "one last" hoo-rah of PMO.  This time for me it feels different in some ways, I did get to the "fed up" stage, but I decided to face it a little differently this go round.  Now what I'm going to say next does involve religion, but its where I'm at and maybe sharing might help someone, if it's not for you then feel free to ignore me. 

I am a Christian, even though like a lot of men I got caught up in this PMO stuff a long time ago and could just never shake it.  Shame was my constant companion, my prayers felt like they bounced off the ceiling and in a crowded room I felt secluded.  I watched as others around me confessed deliverance from all kinds of sinful habits, but I never could seem to find what they found, even when I prayed in earnest, eventually I would fall back into the pit.  For me the cycle went like this: PMO(binge) - SHAME - CONFESS - REPENT(week) - REPEAT.  Like a lot of men I'd last somewhere close to a week, maybe a little more sometimes and then suddenly out of the blue the thoughts, the temptations would start to tickle my brain and suddenly it sounded like a good idea...

Before I came to RN last year I'd read several books on the issue, some Christian authors, some scientist, some philosophical, but regardless of what knowledge I gathered eventually I surrendered to my urges.  Its difficult to explain but, in times past because I knew what I was doing was wrong and I wanted to get out at some level I thought it was a matter of will power.  For 20 years I searched for the trick, that special technique that would finally pry me loose from this dirty little secret, I never found it.  At times I doubted my salvation too, I mean I just knew something was wrong and all the evidence pointed squarely at me, it had to be me.

What I'd misunderstood for so long was that, quite simply it is impossible for me to do what I was trying to do.  Bottom line, flesh is weak and on its own it eventually succumbs to temptation.  So what to do...  You see it never was about what I could do, that would nullify what Jesus did for me and you 2000 years ago on the cross.  We have to surrender, not surrender to the porn, we must surrender to the fact that on our own we crash and burn.  So this time, when I bottomed out for the Trillionth time, I admitted it, I gave it all to Christ, I can't fix myself I need Him to fix me.  Now I still have to make an effort to resist, I still have to do my best to avoid putting myself in situations where I might see something that would send me the wrong way.  But in the end I know its not me doing the heavy lifting, HE IS.  I realize some will see what I'm saying as foolish, I expect that, but I would be remiss if I didn't share what I know.  I give HIM all the glory, I have done nothing.  Do with that what you will.

RN Twin

Thanks for sharing this Chip, I can really relate to so much of what you say and have experienced in this struggle.  I look forward to your comments and input and, although I am not happy that we both continue to struggle in many ways, I am glad that you are here now.

Now...some thoughts about what you have shared.  I am not an every-Sunday worshiper although I did grow up in a family that attended church every Sunday so perhaps that has had an effect on my views.  I believe in a God personal to me and find comfort in many religious views and verses from the bible. 

A book that has had a profound effect on me in the last year or so is Stephen Covey's "7 Habits".  I highly recommend it if you have not read it.  The book is not presented as a religious text, but the main theme is that there are correct principles according to which we need to live our lives and that, as humans, we have the unique ability to plan and control our actions.  Covey talks about "natural laws" that are as applicable to the personal dimension as they are to the physical dimension.  As an afterward to the book, Covey shares the fact that he is a religious man and his personal view that these correct principles and natural laws come from God. His exact words are "I believe correct principles are natural laws and God, the Creator and Father of us all, is the source of them, and also the source of our conscience. I believe that to the degree people live by this inspired conscience, they will grow to fulfill their natures; to the degree that they do not, they will not rise above the animal plane." 

These words have really had a profound effect on me and summarize my views.  I believe God expresses himself to us personally through our conscience.  If I am not living a life in accordance with correct principles (so all the things that a porn life requires like lying, cheating, deceiving, lusting, being lazy, wasting time, etc), this will express itself through my conscience and I will not find peace or happiness. 

Covey also shared in his afterword, that even he struggles daily to follow the habits he set out in his book.  To me, this means that the living according to correct principles, in harmony with God and our conscience, requires a daily effort (and is a daily struggle).  There will not likely be an "aha" moment where everything suddenly puts itself right and we never have to think about these things again.  My task then, as I see it, is to work on this daily and each and every day I need to refocus on "correct living".  I know a lot of the focus here is on counting days, but for me, the effort needs to be on making positive decisions every day and really forget about the day count.

I found your comments on confessing sin and being repentant interesting.  I think this can be very helpful in finding success, but it also can develop an unhealthy cycle as you have described. You know, if we can just confess our sins and repent then we really have free reign to do what we want because we'll just keep confessing and repenting.  I think (and I think you do too) that this is deceptive.  If we are even unconsciously allowing ourselves to fall into this cycle, then I don't think there has been any true repentance.  To continue to live an unprincipled life with the expectation that we will just ask for forgiveness and all will be ok is just wrong.

I also agree with what you say about the responsibility for this being on us.  I have shared that even though I am not religious in the sense that I think that if I just ask God for something that he will deliver it to me, I have on at least two occasions found myself on my knees begging God, if he exists, to remove the sexual compulsion from me.  This obviously hasn't worked for me, because, like you say, the onus is on me to do the work.  It's like the old adage that says if your house is on fire it is ok to pray to God for assistance, but you'd better be running for the hose while you are praying.  This adage really reflects my views, I can't just pray to God to do it and expect a miracle without doing anything myself.

Thanks for reading.

TK-421

8
Ages 40 and up / Re: My Confession
« on: November 14, 2017, 01:11:12 PM »
Welcome back Chip, as soon as I saw your first post in this journal I knew it was you!  It seems like we are on a similar path.   I just did an update in my journal - I haven't posted much regularly but do check in every now and then.

TK-421

9
Ages 40 and up / Re: My "Hard 90" Journal
« on: November 14, 2017, 01:03:21 PM »
Well, where to begin?  This feels like a reintroduction of sorts.  I haven’t posted on here regularly for quite awhile.  I first came to this site in April, 2016.  I was tired, tired, tired of the porn and over-sexed lifestyle and really wanted to make some positive changes in my life.  I had some moderate success with a couple of periods of 70-80 days clean and learned a lot about myself and how this addiction works.  I inevitably found, however, that I would return to my old habits.  Not usually a complete dive right back in, but a slow return through allowing undesirable behaviours creep back in until I found that I was right back where I’ve always been.  I have yet to make it to 90 days clean.

Make no mistake, this is hard and this is work.  I’ve quit both smoking and drinking (for over 20 years now) and for me porn and sex addiction is infinitely more challenging and more complex.  I look back at all of my posts over the last 18 months and have mixed emotions.  Everything I posted and said at the time was completely sincere and as open as I could be at the time – at times I really did feel like I was getting on top of this problem, only to succumb once again.  I don’t want to dismiss the words of encouragement that others offer each other here, because I do think it is important to finding success. However, sometimes I am discouraged when I see the number of people that come and go here and wonder if it is even possible to beat this.  I know there are some people that have found some long-term success and I think they are great examples to others.   

So where am I now?  In a lot of ways I don’t think much has changed from my first post 18 months ago when I said, “I’m tired of it.  I’m tired of the depression, the anxiety, the brain fog, the desire to be alone, the isolation, the confusion and the stress.  I don’t like the person I’ve become.”  All of these apply today as much as they did the first time I posted here. 

Some of my circumstances have changed.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m currently living abroad with my family for a year.  I was sick and tired of my job, near burn-out and just feeling like I needed a change.  So here we are, there have been a lot of great experiences for me and for the family so far – however, one of my MOST IMPORTANT goals for the year was to really dedicate myself to overcoming my porn/sex problem.  This is a period in my life, which may not come again, where I am free from stress and work demands and also have time that I can dedicate myself to personal improvement.  I’ve been doing some of this – going to the gym regularly, watching what I’m eating and getting into shape.  I’ve recently started back in a martial arts class, which is great.  I have more time to spend with my kids and their activities.  I have been catching up on all the reading I never seemed to have time to do over the last 15 years.  But my old unwanted friend, porn, is still hanging around.  The pattern over the last 4-5 months has been 3-4 days of abstaining, and then total immersion for a while.  Then repeat.  This is exactly like a drug addiction for me, because if I go back into porn, I lose all control.  I can spend 8 hours or more a day online, in chat rooms, literally up all night and exhausted the next day.  This is not how I want to spend my time and it is endlessly confusing to me how I am not able to control myself.  I have zero self-discipline at times, struggle with organizing my day in a productive way and focusing on my goals. 

My relationship with my wife is probably the worst it has ever been.  Maybe we are just tired of each other, but there is little to no patience, kindness or affection.  Surprisingly, we have had a great sex life at times and she, apparently, has been totally into it.  Lately she has had little to no interest in sex.  I have realized that if I don’t initiate physical contact or sex, there is zero.   In some ways, I have used this as a justification for distancing myself from her (i.e., if she doesn’t seem to give a damn, why should I).   Maybe somewhat surprisingly there actually hasn’t been some sort of “major porn discovery” to provoke the recent distancing between us.  We’ve had several in the past, but have always seemed to get through them.  For whatever reason now, it seems like we are just both tired or stressed.  We have been going through a stressful period with one of our kids, so I think between that, my job uncertainty and my porn problems that it all comes together to create a situation where there is limited affection, love and respect.

As I’m writing this, my daughter came to tell me that everyone is going out for a few hours.  So I’m alone for the first time in a long time and my first thought “Maybe I should watch one last porn vid with the sound on before I really quit!”.  That’s how crazy this is.

So that’s where I am.  I have sometimes thought about just starting a new journal, but I want a complete record of all the ups and downs.  To be honest, I’m not sure what I need to do next.  Maybe a new program, a new book, a new therapist, a new routine, a new wife, a new city, haha.  I don’t say that to be flippant, it just seems at times that I have tried lots of different things and found only limited success.  One thing I do think is missing is the face-to-face support network.  When I quit drinking, I went to AA and got in with a good group of guys who were a great resource for just getting together and talking about the issues and struggles we had.

Anyways, this is a long post – if you read it all, thanks.  I am keeping this journal for myself, but also for anyone else who reads it and can identify with some of my struggle.

TK-421

10
Ages 40 and up / Re: My "Hard 90" Journal
« on: October 10, 2017, 04:24:45 PM »
Hi all, I haven't posted in my journal for several months and feeling the need to start again. I wish I could report that it's been smooth sailing, but it hasn't. I will post a more detailed update later, but wanted to at least start again with a short post.

TK

11
Porn Addiction / Re: False Alarm! and Farewell :)
« on: April 13, 2017, 11:45:33 PM »
That's a good summary of all of the rationalizations and justifications I've used over the years. Sorry if that comes off as flippant, but my often heartbreaking experience tells me that that it is not possible for me to be a casual porn user. If you are able to pull it off, have fun!

TK

12
Ages 40 and up / Re: Getter Better Gets Better
« on: April 11, 2017, 11:26:54 AM »
Hi GB - Welcome to the forum, I hope you find success here. I've been on here for about 10 months and have learned a lot about myself and this addiction in that time. I haven't posted for a while, but was struck by some of the similarities between your story and mine - I'm about your age (45) and gave up booze and smoking over 20 years ago. I have a journal on here as well if you care to check it out. Will try to post more later, but welcome.

TK-421

13
Ages 40 and up / Re: DAY 1
« on: March 15, 2017, 10:34:46 AM »
I really do understand your struggle because I have been exactly where you are, really feeling that beating the porn addiction was the most important thing in my life. I still feel that way. If I let myself descend back into the PMO Madhouse, nothing else in my life will make much sense.

Taking things one day at a time is important, but remember that the day count is not really goal. The goal is to change behaviours and thoughts. If we do that, the days will add up as markers of our success. The key really is to learn to control your thoughts and often this is a process. It's a process of learning what thoughts begin to lead us back down the rabbit hole. It's the justifications, the little permissions about what is ok that start to creep in and eventually lead back to a relapse. It is important to really analyze what is happening in your mind when you slip and find ways to fortify your defences so that it doesn't happen again. Another poster on here told me that I needed to learn to love the feeling of exercising self-control more than the temporary euphoria of a porn-induced dopamine rush. We are humans, and so each and every one of us has the gift of having the ability to control our actions. For all of us, we descended into a world where we rarely or never said no to a trigger or an impulse. With time this leads to a complete erosion of self-control to the point that it really does feel like we are out of control and beyond all hope. The good news is that this isn't true. We are all capable of making the first small steps and making real commitments to ourselves. Things will never be perfect, I have had my share of stumbles and slips, but I really do believe that each and every one of us is capable of implementing real personal change and taking big strides towards being the type of men that we want to be.

Good luck in your own journey.

TK-421

14
Keep at it. One thing you said is that it's not about counting days and I think this is an important observation. For many of the guys here, including me when I first started, there is too much of a focus on counting days. The number of days really isn't the goal, the day count really is just the result of getting on a good path.

The real goal is to stop all the the negative behaviours, and that is done by learning about and studying the problem and then learning how to control your thoughts and actions. Sounds simple, because it is. The difficulty is in discovering the strategies that work for you in order to get ahead of the addictive cycle and to learn how to be a person that is able to control his thoughts and actions.

15
TK- So what could be going on in your head; that's safe, while masterbating?  Never heard of it.  This detox is necessary.

It's different for every guy, so people have different views on whether MO is ok. For me masturbation and porn are so inextricably linked that in order to have any success they both had to go. I know some guys claim that it is possible to MO with sensation only and therefore ok. Not for me. When I used to jerk off compulsively I wasn't thinking about roses and warm breezes. It was all about the porn and fantasy. For me masturbation is just a slippery slope back into the PMO Funhouse, and so I don't want it in my life.  Granted, I'm married and it's easier to cut out MO when I have an active sex life with my wife. Anyways, those are my thoughts.

16
^^ What WIP said. That's exactly what this is about.

17
Ages 40 and up / Re: My "Hard 90" Journal
« on: February 27, 2017, 11:14:25 PM »
Checking in, as its been awhile.  Things are good.  I wish I had something profound to say but I don't!  It feels like I'm rolling along and enjoying being free of all of the shit.  I know others have said it, but it really takes awhile to sink in that even though this can feel like an overwhelming problem at times, it really is not that complicated.  I'm not saying this to make light of a porn addiction, because believe me I have suffered and literally been on my knees imploring whatever God may exist to remove the compulsion from me. 

I acknowledge that I am addicted to porn. I am learning that I am able to control my actions and be the man I want to be.  I am not compelled to act on whatever thought just pops into my head.  I acknowledge that I am (and may always be) vulnerable to porn and so I need to get it out of my life.  Another poster on here made the comment that he doesn't have any moral opinion about porn for others, but has come to accept that it is not good for him.  I concur with this statement entirely.  Porn is not good for me.  It is net-negative. I don't want it in my life now any more than I would want to smoke crack.  If I give it any space in my life I cannot control it.  If I am to be the man I need and want to be, which is loving and supportive husband, a caring father and an honest man who lives a principled life, then I simply cannot entertain any thought of using porn or dabbling in porn-substitutes.  I cannot put porn on a shelf and indulge every now and then.  Maybe others can, but I can't.  Porn will always take me to compulsive, out-of-control behaviours and that is not who I want to be. 

Wishing well to all the other rebooters.  This is a winnable fight.

TK-421


18
Ages 40 and up / Re: See them grow up
« on: February 27, 2017, 10:49:29 PM »
Survived holiday by the skin of my teeth and now back at work. Triggered repeatedly on the journey home and had to go 12 rounds with myself to stay straight. How many times did some snide, little voice in my head whisper that it was OK to tune out and lapse into some easy fantasy? Picture on the hotel wall, somebody dressed in a certain way at the airport, feeling tired on the bus, urge to "edge" in the toilet on the flight, obligations that I owe when back at my desk.... trigger, trigger, trigger  :-[. You've all been there though, right? Some days you can just see it coming at you, like you're stuck in a tunnel and there's a train coming towards you fast? I knew it would be like that. Last day of a holiday is usually a tough one for me, and the first day back at work typically has a high propensity to trigger me too. So I'm being very gentle with myself today. Booked a lot of video conferences with colleagues. Did the school run with the kids. Healthy lunch followed by a little bit of fresh air. Good music playing in the office and a nice fire lit. Whatever it takes to soothe myself in a healthy way. Confident that I will make it through today too, even if I grind through half my teeth and eat 500 calories of chocolate  :)
Wishing you all strength and resilience today. Take care.

Keep up the good work.  Part of this is recognizing and acknowledging the triggers that we all come across on a daily basis.  The key is to acknowledge them and move on.  It is normal and healthy to notice an attractive woman.  The difficulties start when we linger on a person or image for too long and allow unhealthy fantasy to carry us away. The key to this is learning to love the feeling of exercising self-control more than the temporary pleasure that PMO and fantasy offer. 

I have found that I have to be especially vigilant when these triggers first appear.  Part of the recovery process is recognizing when these unhealthy and unwanted thoughts first come along and not giving them any space.  I found that when I first was trying to reboot that I was getting tripped up by Facebook photos or lingering on some attractive woman I saw in public.  It really is empowering when you truly begin to appreciate that you  have control over how you respond to a specific stimulus or trigger.  Believe me, if you are human you have the ability to control your actions.  After what for many of is is decades of doing whatever felt good in the moment, it is sometimes hard to grasp the concept that we can control any of this.  Urges can really just seem to come out of nowhere.  If we are vigilant though, what feel like uncontrollable urges come from allowing unhealthy thoughts and fantasy to bump around in the brain for too long. 

It really becomes empowering to learn that you can experience a trigger, acknowledge it, move on and then commend yourself for being a man who is in control of his actions and living a principled life in accordance with his values.

All the best.

TK-421

19
Porn Addiction / Re: The Real Reason I’m Doing This
« on: February 27, 2017, 10:12:18 PM »
This is an interesting and informative discussion, so thanks to all who have posted.  I really find it enlightening to see issues from both the addict and partner perspectives.  I've been thinking about these issues over the last few days.  As a PMO addict, I do understand the desire to say, "I was an addict, I was sick and I need your support now".  To make this analogous to a cancer patient I think only tells part of the story though.  Of course no one would blame someone who has been a cancer diagnosis.  It clearly isn't his fault.  The PMO addict however has led a life that almost always involves much lying and deception. This impacts relationships and marriages.  I think it is taking the easy way out, once admitting that we have a problem, to now say that we have no fault in this and are not responsible for any of our actions.

I think any real recovery requires admitting the damage we have done and, to the extent possible, making amends.  I actually think it is a positive thing in recovery to admit where we have been wrong and offer a sincere apology.  Apologies aren't just words either, it is demonstrating through actions that we have really started to change in our thinking and our actions. This takes time.  Human relationships are complicated, especially relationships between spouses.

I have really come to appreciate the concept of an "emotional bank account" that we have with all of the people that we have a close relationship with.  We make deposits though small kindnesses, showing that we are trustworthy and keep our word, etc.  We make withdrawals when we are angry with our partner, lie, break trust, etc.  Any active porn/sex addict is very likely to be seriously overdrawn in the emotional bank account we have with our partner.  Once we have recognized that we have a porn problem, it is great that we can acknowledge and admit this.  It was also very enlightening for me to begin to learn about the brain science that was behind porn addiction and why it was so compelling for me.  It was also very helpful for me to learn that this is not just a result of immorality or weak character.  In a way, I think this is what the OP was getting at - we are addicts and unwittingly fell into a hole and became addicted to something without even knowing that is was possible.  We deserve sympathy and not condemnation!  As I wrote above though, this is only part of the story and I don't think it is helpful to a real recovery to simply absolve ourselves from all of our previous actions and just carry on forward with the "new me".  Part of a healthy, long-term recovery involves taking ownership for the real damage our conduct has caused.  Sure, its nice if as part of the recovery our spouses can learn about the brain science behind addiction (and I think this is helpful for partners as well), but both spouses still need to put in the real work that is required to address the hurtful conduct.

In my own case, I found it helpful (after being on this forum for a number of months) to watch Gary Wilson's video with my wife.  I think this helped her to understand the issues I've been dealing with.  But, as I said, I don't think this absolves me of anything.

Thanks to all who have posted.

TK-421

20
Ages 40 and up / Re: First big steps, but well needed
« on: February 06, 2017, 06:45:24 PM »
Hi FBS,

I'll share my thoughts on the MO - keep in mind that although there are a lot of similarities between all of our experiences, everyone's circumstances and situation is unique and so what may apply to me, may not be applicable to you.  I'll take a bit of different view from the other guys on here regarding MO.  For me, I have found that PMO and MO are inextricably linked.  In the past, MO was a part of compulsive behaviour and driven by my porn habit.  Even when I would MO without porn, I was usually thinking about the memory of a hot girl I'd seen, a porn scene or a recent sexual experience.  Fantasy almost always had some kind of role - whether this was imagining someone nude or me having a sexual relationship with the person.  Even if the MO involved my wife, I think it is fair to say that it was not a healthy activity for me.  This caused me lots of confusion and uncertainty - after all, when I was growing up I had been taught that MO was ok and healthy.  That previous generations that had been told all sorts of myths and lies (like it would make you blind or hair would grow on your hand), were the ones that were confused.  I was part of the enlightened and informed generation, ha!  This is only partly true I think. 

What I didn't know is that I could abuse MO and PMO and use it compulsively as an escape and a way to evade certain feelings.  For me, as part of this process to becoming the man I wanted to be, I have had to give up MO as well.  I do think this is an easier approach to take if we have a partner and a sexual outlet (which is, in part, why I say everyone's situation is unique). I can also tell you that I couple of my slips began with allowing justifications for certain behaviours, like MO.  It is, in my experience, easy to tell ourselves that we need and deserve a release and justify "re-entry" behavours.  "I'll just MO now", "I will just focus on sensation and no fantasy", "I'll do it while I'm thinking about my loving wife".  I don't want to be an alarmist and say that any MO means you are doomed to slide right back in, but in my case this is how it started. MO just to get off because it had been a few weeks, then MO again, then again the same day.  Then checking out some hot Facebook pics, then MO to pics of my wife, then back to a chat app - all the while saying that I hadn't ruined my streak because there had been no PMO.   Eventually there was PMO and I was right back to all the old behaviours. 

The point of my comments is to really try to develop self-awareness.  On Feb. 3 you posted about feeling low, etc.  Then recently back to MO.  Just be aware of the direction you are going - it is easy to justify and rationalize and our unhealthy behaviours are so entrenched that it is very easy for the old PMO wheels to start turning.

As always, take what you like from my observations and leave the rest.  Embrace the process of self-discovery.

BTW, just noticed that I quoted the wrong post on my earlier comment - opps!  The message is still the same though.

Keep up the good work.

TK-421

21
Ages 40 and up / Re: 40 Days to Repent or else...
« on: February 06, 2017, 01:56:17 PM »
Chip (my RN Twin)  - Get back into the fight! You can do this. You have much to offer this forum (and yourself) about the struggle to overcome porn addiction.  I know that you have it in you to find success.  It sounds cliche, but it is true that we don't truly lose the battle until we give up and stop trying.

22
Ages 40 and up / Re: The journey
« on: February 06, 2017, 01:45:26 PM »
FF,

Welcome back and sorry to hear about your recent struggles.  Regroup, refocus and try to gain insight about why you have continued to slip.  You have found some success here, so build on what you have learned and figure out where the holes in your defenses are.  This is a winnable fight.

TK-421

23
Ages 40 and up / Re: Lost in Darkness
« on: February 06, 2017, 01:43:16 PM »
TJRL,

Thanks for the shout out, I'm glad you may have found something useful in my journal.

Keep at this.  Read as much as you can and post regularly.  You are in the early days of a reboot and it is common to feel all the highs/lows and not be sure what is going on.  One thing I've learned is that good news or a high (like the news you got regarding the deal) can lead to temptation as easily as bad news.  Learn about the compulsion and your own thoughts and behaviours.  Don't focus as much on the number of days as on the thoughts/feelings that lead you back to compulsive behavours.  It is important to string some time together to get some perspective on what is actually happening in your brain.  Approach this problem with a true sense of curiosity.  I've found it helpful to try to separate my compulsive behaviours from my "true self" and actually see myself as a sick person who needs to get well.  Be curious about what has happened to you and what you need to do to get healthy.

Wishing you success.

TK-421

24
Ages 40 and up / Re: First big steps, but well needed
« on: February 06, 2017, 01:33:42 PM »
Low days are to be expected..... Yesterday for me was tough , my mind saying why are you not having fun?
Always remember the fun but not the feeling of shit and guilt afterwards ......That's why I can't go back.
Keep strong x

Keep up the good work FBS.  Low days are absolutely to be expected.  This is DIFFICULT WORK! For most of us it took years to get into the mess and it is not an easy fix.  It is a process of success, struggle and setbacks.  It really is a journey of self-discovery.  Continue to post and read on hear.  Keep track of your insights.  Find out what works and what doesn't.  Really pay attention to where the holes in the defenses are and plug them.

25
Ages 40 and up / Re: For the Win This Time
« on: February 06, 2017, 01:28:18 PM »
"I'll just watch material on sites X, Y and Z; but not A, B and C." Fail.

"I'll just watch the softcore (or YouTube, or preview) stuff." Fail.

"I'll just watch in the morning (or afternoon, or before bed, or on the weekend.)" Fail.

"I'll only watch the free stuff, not the paid stuff." Fail.

"I'll not get consumed after this lapse." Fail.

Today's day #4; and 5.3% of a 70-day cleanse is complete. Today = no fail.

Best wishes, fellas,
Fj6

I think what you've written here shows that you are starting to understand how the rationalizations and justifications can start to creep in.  I think it is key to take a step back from our compulsive behaviours and really see where they start.  As you mentioned, its easy to try to put parameters around what we do in order to continue to get a fix.  If I don't want to find myself PMOing for 6 hours to hardcore porn in a washroom at work, I'll just make some rules for myself - No PMO at work, Maximum 15 minutes, I'll just check out sexy YouTube videos.  The problem with all of these "rules" is that they don't get to the root of the problem, which is essentially using dopamine to get a buzz.  You've realized that in order to find success, all of it needs to go, which is an important realization on the path to recovery.

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