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Messages - dlansky

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1
Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: February 05, 2019, 07:52:13 PM »
Two weeks down ... it's been a while since I have made the two-week mark. I haven't been especially tempted since my last post. I keep trying to ask myself, "What is the most loving thing I can do right now?" If I am bored, I think about something I could do for someone besides myself and work on that. I am also spending a lot more time reading, which has been mind-opening.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: See them grow up
« on: February 01, 2019, 08:31:27 PM »
My country has blindly voted to trash relations with our nearest neighbours and biggest trading partners? "Onwards and upwards"! I spend 6 years trying to rewire my brain, and although I still get tripped up by a dumb advertising poster, I won't let it get me down"....... "Onwards and upwards"!

I kind of admired your country for "Brexit" myself, but I guess we'll see how it all works out.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: February 01, 2019, 08:16:18 PM »
Yay! Double digits! 10 days in. Of course, it only takes 10 days to reach double digits; another 90 until I get to triple. Still, feeling pretty good about today. I was focused and got done the things I wanted to get done.

I did "act out" in a way this morning. As I noted in an earlier post, one of my triggers has been ASMR videos, where people do sometimes rather ordinary things, but in the process, make produce soothing sounds and motions that, if a female is doing the video, get me rather hot and bothered. I received an email from an app that I used to have on my phone promoting new ASMR videos. I knew I probably shouldn't look, but I also wondered whether I would even be able to download the app, now that I have certain restrictions on my phone. I said a "Hail Mary" and then got as far as checking to see if downloading the app was possible, but as I did so, I realized that I was acting out just by checking. There is really no good consequence that could come from my watching it. Moreover, I realized that taking the time to watch an ASMR video would most likely throw off my plans for the morning, which included just enough time for me to visit the gym. So, I did not download the app and got my workout in. Baby steps.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: January 31, 2019, 11:09:55 AM »
Just about 9 days in. Today may involve some challenges as I am stuck at home for now, but I have various projects to work on and plan to focus on those, starting ... now!

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Ages 40 and up / Re: My new day 1
« on: January 30, 2019, 06:35:59 PM »
I am not necessarily an advocate for disclosure, unless a question is asked. That's controversial, I know, but I believe the most important thing is to strive to be the man I promised to be when I married my wife. She knows that I have a history of struggling with porn and expects me to stay away from it. I honestly don't believe she wants to know more. The last time that I managed to stay clean for a few months (the streak ended up being about 2-1/2 years) I came very close to telling her. I started out by talking to her about how I'd been trying to be a better husband, because I felt she deserved the best version of me possible, yada yada, and then she started making out with me before I could say anything else. I took that as an indication that she didn't really want to know more.

I've heard stories from some husbands whose wives had already suspected something and were hurt but relieved to know the truth. I have also heard stories where the husband was persuaded to tell his wife by other well-meaning addicts and found that she couldn't handle it. One guy told his wife about the addiction after being clean for a few weeks and she left him. While "full disclosure" is a popular suggestion, I have heard from counselors as well as clergy people who do not always believe that it is the right approach.

That said, if the wife is asking questions, then she is already aware that something is up, and she deserves honesty, in my opinion.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Time To Make A Change
« on: January 30, 2019, 06:22:08 PM »
Congrats on 11 days, and kudos on the counseling.

I am staunchly pro-life as well, but I have think I have been pretty compassionate when speaking with women who have told me they have had abortions. What has always struck me is that, despite the wide use of the phrase "pro-choice," these women have pretty much always expressed that they felt they had no choice; that there was nothing else they could do in their situation. I think that when we have heard certain lies over and over, even if we knew they were lies when we heard them, but a situation comes up when that lie seems really convenient, it is all to easy to persuade ourselves to believe the lie. I have never been involved in an abortion, but I certainly have convinced myself that terrible things were actually OK at various moments in my life.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: See them grow up
« on: January 30, 2019, 06:12:14 PM »
I appreciated your "half-baked ramblings" in reply to my post. ;-) Triggers do abound, don't they? Dropping my teenage daughter off at high school and seeing what some of her classmates were wearing was a bit of a trigger for me this morning, but I too had to refocus.

Funny you ended your post with "onward and upward" -- I happened to end my post the same way today. Is that phrase used a lot in the UK? The reason it was on my mind was that I was listening to a podcast yesterday in which C.S. Lewis' last "Narnia" book, "The Last Battle," came up during the discussion. Lewis uses the phrase "onward and upward" in the book to describe his vision of heaven, in which we are not in a sort of static state of awe in God's presence but constantly moving in deeper and discovering him evermore deeply. I thought the phrase also described what I want my life to look like -- constant growth and improvement.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: January 30, 2019, 06:03:09 PM »
Hey, thanks for the reply workinprogressUK. You seem to understand where I am coming from. Eight days in and feeling pretty good. Onward and upward!

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Time To Make A Change
« on: January 29, 2019, 02:43:36 PM »
Yours are 5 and 2, right? Maybe something in that. I just recall the first two years after my second kids was born, while the first was still a toddler, being the most traumatic and stressful of my life.

Oh, yeah. I have four kids, and I remember how my stress levels would shoot from 0 to 100 in seconds sometimes. Being a parent requires incredible patience and love. Porn was a way I tried to escape the stress, but not a healthy one; it only made me less patient and less loving in the long run.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: January 29, 2019, 02:20:50 PM »
It has been one week today since I have acted out. I am focusing on mindfulness (I started reading a book called "Catholic Mindfulness" which, as the title indicates, approaches the concept of mindfulness from a specifically Catholic perspective) and that seems to help a lot. I also watched a video which turned out to an eyed for a Christian porn-addiction program but which nevertheless offered some good insights. One was that Christians (and others too, I would imagine) often make the mistake of focusing on the bad they've done or are trying to avoid at the expense of seeing the good they could be doing. Throughout this week, I have tried to ask, "What good things could I be doing right now?" I am trying to do this not only when temptation strikes, but at any moment when I have a decision to make about what to do with my time. Actually, this was something I did quite a bit during my last successful "reboot" as well.

I went to a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting a couple of weeks ago thinking I had nothing to lose. I thought the mutual support would help if nothing else. However, I did not feel that I belonged. I cringe when people define themselves as sex addicts, and this morning I had a thought about why. I was contemplating God as the origin of all that exists and as absolute goodness. We are good to the extent that we act consistently with what we are -- what God created us to be. Sexual acts are good to the extent that they are consistent with what human sexual activity is intended to be. When someone says, "I am a sex addict," it seems to me that they are defining themselves as something they were never intended to be. I would greatly prefer the statement, "I have a sexual addiction," because no one IS a sex addict, in the sense that sexual addiction is part of their nature. We are created to practice chastity and self-control -- to the extent we lack these qualities, we are lacking in our very being. We are less than we are meant to be. God wants to restore us and make us whole, not leave us as "less than." When Jesus healed the paralytic, he said, "Your sins are forgiven" and "Arise and walk," (Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26) not, "You are a paralytic and should always consider yourself so." Right now I have a habit of using porn-like material and then masturbating about once a week. My goal is to break that habit. I will always need to be mindful of my vulnerability to this kind of temptation and avoid it, but I don't believe it would be truthful or healthy to define myself as an addict. Also, as the "YBOP" site discusses, porn addiction is actually a bit different from sex addiction.

I also got a sense of "I know better than you" from the guy leading the meeting, even though he acknowledged that he's been coming to the meetings for several years but has yet to remain chaste for more than a few weeks at a time and that his marriage is on the brink of collapse. Yet, he seemed to feel he should tell me what to do in my marriage.  I think a face-to-face support group might have advantages, but I don't feel that this was a good fit.

Anyway, I hope others are doing well. Starting week two.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: January 22, 2019, 03:24:27 PM »
So, I haven't been here in a while. I fell again this morning, following what for me has been the usual pattern of escalation of late. I started out listening to hypnosis recordings on Saturday night, which quickly led to more risque recordings. By yesterday afternoon the recordings were a lot more explicit, and then this morning I listened to a couple that were especially so. I did not actually give in to masturbation until this morning, but really, if I am trying to trigger orgasm by listening to various recordings, it's the same thing. So now I need to start over again.

I did this once before and managed to stay away for more than 2 years, but I can't seem to get myself back on track this time around.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: November 29, 2018, 12:37:31 PM »
uncreatedlight,

Thanks for the post and the thoughtful questions. I am trying to find the right approach to prayer for me. Centering prayer is actually somewhat controversial, as it seems to ignore the distinction between the creator (God) and the creation (us), assuming a more New Age view that there is no "Other." That said, there are plenty of other Catholic prayer traditions, and I do need to avail myself of them more consistently. I did spend a half hour reading scripture yesterday.

Regarding your second question, what I typically do is convince myself that something non-explicit is really okay, even though I find it arousing. For example, there are various binaural and ASMR recordings that include no references to sex whatsoever, yet somehow tap into the sexual pleasure centers in my brain. I listen to those and find myself craving something that will really push me over the edge, and that's when I start listening to the hypnotic recordings. Sometimes I do actually reach a full climax just from listening and imagining the sensations being described while in a trance. More often either the recording ends before I have gotten there or something breaks my trance, and then I am just so aroused that I feel I have to act out. Of course, the solution is to avoid the binaural and ASMR recordings in the first place, but it is always so easy to get to them, as the are not generally blocked by filters. My current situation is that I have blocked YouTube and web browsing entirely on my phone and tablet, so that my only place to access YouTube is in my home office, which isn't the most relaxing environment for trancing out anyway.

Today I am currently feeling a bit anxious, from the fact that I can't just reach for my phone to provide distraction the way I have been doing, from the many things I have to get done in the next few days, and from some stresses my wife and I are dealing with regarding my teenage daughter. I will need to rely on prayer as well as mindfulness and willpower to get through this.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: November 28, 2018, 11:28:13 AM »
So, I didn't really fulfill all the lofty, ambitious goals I set in my last post, but I did go to bed at a more reasonable time and more deliberately. I also didn't spend the evening reaching for my phone, as I knew I couldn't browse the internet on it anyway. There were a few inconveniences, like when I wanted to look up a recipe on my phone while cooking dinner and couldn't. Still, people have survived for millennia without the Internet in their kitchens; I should be able to as well.

I have a notebook organizer in my house, but it only has a block of space for each day -- it is not designed to be an hour-by-hour organizer, so I am considering going and buying one. Alternatively, I could just use a spiral notebook.

The good news is that if I make it through today, the next four days will keep me busy and allow few opportunities for slipping. Yet, I know that on Monday I will face the same temptations once again and will have to be prepared to face them.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Conscience Cleanse
« on: November 28, 2018, 11:21:55 AM »
Glad to see you are up to day 19. Perhaps this is backward thinking, but it occurred to me that a medication that lowered my libido might help a lot. Even if it means you aren't feeling the full force of the sexual urges you might otherwise experience, you are building habits that do not involve pornography or masturbation and turning to other things for joy and pleasure. That's great.

Of course, I'm sure you could do without whatever issue you are taking the medication for -- I wish you well physically, mentally and spiritually.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: November 27, 2018, 07:00:51 PM »
Lately it's been a cycle of one step forward, one step back. I guess that's better than two steps back -- hopefully I'm not kidding myself about the lack of negative progress.

I've taken steps to make my usual paths to failure harder to access, but then I find new ones. I learned how to block certain websites from a computer at the local level, and it is tricky enough that I'd have to look up how to do it to change it back. I included Instagram on that list, because even though it isn't a porn site, I use it like it is one. I have K9 a ridiculously hard password that I have stored on a flash drive, which I am keeping locked up in a fireproof safe so that it's a pain in the neck to access. The password is buried in the middle of a text file that is filled with various prayers to hopefully remind me of my faith before I give in to temptation. I have blocked Youtube from my laptops, tablet and iphone and have locked it at the "safe" level through K9. I blocked internet-browser access from my phone and Kindle Fire. For the Kindle Fire, I was able to create a long, complicated password that I also stored in the text file with the K9 password, elsewhere in the text file so it's harder to spot.

Blocking my iPhone was tricky, as it only lets you do a four-digit, numeric passcode instead of a real password for parental blocking. What I did was set the restrictions I wanted, randomly typed a whole mess of numbers into a textfile, saying them out loud as I typed them. I then quickly typed four random numbers as the passcode, also typing them into my password text file. Immediately afterward, I quickly typed a bunch of other numbers, also saying them out loud as I typed. So now there is a four-digit passcode I can access if I really need to, but I actually tried to see if I could remember it later on and could not.

The last remaining issue is my Fire Stick. Filtering it is a little more complicated, because I can only use the same parental passcode that I use for Amazon Prime movies in general. We sometimes watch movies as a family, so knowing that passcode is necessary. This morning I ended up watching a YouTube erotic hypnosis video through the device and then MO-ing. I think what I am going to have to do is remove the Fire Stick and just put it somewhere really difficult to access, where hopefully I will find it more trouble than it's worth to use. As a family, we usually watch movies downstairs through the PS4; I think I am the only one who ever really uses the Firestick.

Ultimately, though, the problem is that I let my day be run by immediate urges, instead of following up on real, meaningful things I'd liked to work on. I was listening to a "Love People, Use Things" podcast while running today and was thinking about ways I could add more structure to my days by putting together a written schedule the night before, blocking out specific times for whatever I plan to get done, and spending a few minutes preparing for those activities so that I will be ready in the morning. For example, if I plan to go for a run in the morning, I can have my running clothes out the night before. The podcast host for the episode, Noah Church, even talked about making one's bed first thing in the morning, just to start the day with a sense of purpose. I am thinking I should give that a try. My use of porn/erotic material is largely driven by a sense of worthlessness, powerlessness and hopelessness. Perhaps planning my days with more of a sense of purpose will help me appreciate the value of my time as well as my own inherent value, make me feel more empowered to do productive things and more hopeful.

So, long story short, I have zero days accumulated, but something new to try.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Conscience Cleanse
« on: November 16, 2018, 11:12:56 AM »
A couple of priests have reminded me that even when we feel like we aren't growing in our relationship with God, it could be that the relationship is growing in ways we cannot see. It has occurred to me that sometimes God may allow us to continue to fall into addiction, despite our desire to change and our prayers for His help, because He sees something else in us that He wants to work on first, whether it is pride, greater trust in Him, laziness in prayer or anything else that holds us back from Him. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord." - Isaiah 55:8.

It occurred to me once that the only time I was coming to God in prayer was when it had something to do with porn or masturbation. If my relationship with God is the most important thing in my existence, but the only time I pay attention to that relationship is when I fall into lust, would it be loving for God to miraculously lift that burden for me, allowing me to forget about my need for Him?

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: November 16, 2018, 10:56:20 AM »
Well, I made it through Thursday. I was tempted to engage in something that ordinarily leads me to masturbation while showering yesterday afternoon, but I knew I would regret it, so I hurried up, finished the shower and got out. It does feel good to have broken my usual pattern, even if I am only on Day 8. I know I will need to be vigilant today (Friday), because it seems like on the rare occasion that I don't stumble on Thursday, I get overconfident and let my guard down on Friday. Actually, letting my guard down has essentially been my stumbling block regardless of how long I go without PMO'ing. Even when I had it two years, it was the gradual allowance for things that I knew deep down were problematic that led me back to addiction.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Conscience Cleanse
« on: November 15, 2018, 03:38:40 PM »
Welcome to the club, Boris. My faith is a big part of who I am, too, but I also have habitually fallen in the easy practice of pornography and masturbation. It is not that I really have any doubts about whether pornography and masturbation are what God wants for me -- I am sure they are not -- but it is more that when the going gets tough, I tune out God's voice and go for the quick escape. I don't have a large number of "clean" days accumulated yet -- today is day 7 for me -- but I am finding that the space for this habit in my life gets smaller and smaller as I try to grow in my relationship with God, my family and my community, and try to pursue things I am actually passionate about.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: November 15, 2018, 03:24:29 PM »
So, it's Thursday. My holding pattern is that I mess up on Thursdays, if not sooner. I have set up some additional barriers to make inappropriate Websites harder to get to, but really it's never more than inconvenient. I've heard good things about Covenant Eyes, but the problem is that I don't have any friends that I would trust enough to talk about my addiction to and give access to all my Internet usage to. Meanwhile, I know from past experience that my wife doesn't want to be that person.

Last weekend I had a bit of a scare. I was away from home all day and got a text from my wife asking for the admin password to the family laptop so she could add a program. I knew that I most likely didn't have anything compromising on that laptop, but the thing that worried me a little is that I use the same password for my desktop computer and a work laptop that I have. It's not like I had tons of porn stored on those either, but there were things I would not want my wife to see, such as sexy pictures of women in fitness attire here and there, as well as my YouTube video history and other sites that I may have gone to while not in incognito mode and forgotten to delete. Thankfully, she didn't look on those machines. And of course, my first impulse was to change the passwords on those machines once I had the opportunity. But then I thought about it another way -- what if I leave the passwords the same, and use my computer the way I would if I knew that my wife might see where I'd been or what I'd saved at any moment? So this week I searched the computers for anything I wouldn't want her to see and deleted it. Today I came across an old flash drive that I'd used to hide images -- again, nothing pornographic, but images of female fitness models and dancers that I wouldn't want her to know I was saving. I have to admit, I spent a few minutes looking at some of them before deleting them, and a couple of them increased my blood flow a bit. But I realized that this was only going to take my right back to the place I am trying to get away from, and so I permanently deleted all those images. I am still feeling a bit triggered today, but I plan to go running in a few minutes. Then it will be time to pick up the kids from school, and it is a lot easier to avoid temptation when they are home. By the grace of God, I will get through today without falling.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: October 31, 2018, 11:41:39 AM »
After reading lyon03's post about being porn-free for four years, I thought I would try posting more consistently as I break out of this cycle. I know there are going to be some days where I am away from the computer, but at least I can make a commitment to posting if I get on the computer at all.

I have gone to daily Mass every day this week so far and have made an effort to pray in times of temptation. I had a few women inviting me to "follow" them on Instagram but, upon seeing their profiles, realized that no good could come of it. I deleted the invitations to remove the temptation. I also have prayed at Mass for women who feel the need to use their bodies to get attention, and for men (myself included) who are tempted to lust after these women. I haven't stopped drinking completely but have been more moderate about it, and haven't at all in the last few days.

I am feeling kind of depressed today and am not sure why. I have a number of chores to work on today, so I plan to put time into that as well as a book I am trying to write, plus I have a training run for another half-marathon I am doing this weekend. So, lots to keep me busy and away from temptation.

God bless, everyone.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Stuck in a cycle ... again
« on: October 30, 2018, 12:26:40 PM »
I fell again last Thursday, but still not giving up. Trying to be more mindful and remove myself from near occasions of sin. I have also been making a more active effort to engage in daily practices of prayer and spiritual growth.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: 4 YEARS PORN-FREE!
« on: October 30, 2018, 12:14:39 PM »
Congratulations, and thanks for using your success to help inspire the rest of us!

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Ages 40 and up / Re: Yearning for Stillness
« on: October 30, 2018, 12:12:07 PM »
Good idea on the Netguard. I have an iPhone and would really like an app that I cannot disable from the phone itself. I have K9 on my desktop and basically put in a password blindly. I randomly typed in keys into a text file while avoiding looking at what I typed,  then pasted them as the password and saved the password file on a flash drive in case I absolutely need to go in and change something. I am keeping the flash drive where it is a pain in the neck to access. We have a filter on our WiFi, but I can easily disable it. I'd like something that makes it a huge pain to lift restrictions so that I am forced to stop and think before doing so.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: This is the fight
« on: October 30, 2018, 11:44:56 AM »
That's a good observation about being addicted to MO first. Although I found out about my dad's Penthouse collection before I was old enough to be interested -- and sneaked into it compulsively once I was old enough to want to see it and when I had the opportunity to do so without getting caught -- most of what I looked at as a teenager wasn't porn. I would buy swimsuit magazines or even teen music magazines and MO to pictures of various women. In 8th grade it became a thing for classmates to trade class pictures, and so I had a handful of pictures of female classmates I would MO to. There is one girl in particular whose face from her class picture is still burned into my brain.

And yes, I have fallen for the porn substitute lie way too many times. "It's not porn; no one is naked or even talking about sex." If I am using it to evoke lustful feelings, it is porn for me.

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Ages 40 and up / Re: The good, the bad, the ugly
« on: October 22, 2018, 04:35:45 PM »
Hey, Harpoon, I am on Day 4 myself, having promised myself much more progress by now. But like you, I have survived without PMO for a significant stretch of time before. The truth is we don't need it in our lives. We just need to convince ourselves that that's true, get out of the holding pattern and find new ways to cope with whatever pulls us off course.

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