Author Topic: See them grow up  (Read 30199 times)

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #275 on: September 29, 2019, 02:49:06 PM »
how nice to be aggravated and annoyed, and over-taxed by social situations, and yet despite all that not be running into porn's embrace.

Ironic to log-on and read that, idunno. It's appropriate and reading it again gives me much-needed strength. I'm triggered too, tonight. Have been triggering all afternoon. Chimp's cajoling, rather than screaming, that "there's no harm in a quick look".... "just look at some soft stuff". Kind of minimising the implications. An i have to admit that there's nothing i'd love more right now than to give in. But I haven't. I've been tempted to drop out on any number of occasions today, but I've toughed it out. Nothing graceful or sophisticated in the approach. I guess I've just white-knuckled it and been bloody-minded in refusing  >:( ;D. So.... logging off and heading to bed now, feeling fairly proud of myself. I've really struggled not to fall, so I'm proud to finish the day still standing. These are the days that matter; when it hurts and I have to cause myself discomfort and anxiety and fight my own feelings. Feels rewarding to have made it through. Wishing you all success in your own recovery today/tonight.

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #276 on: September 30, 2019, 04:39:19 AM »
Good stuff, man. What you described there is not foreign to me. During my longest streak I craved dopamine like crazy. I told myself: "No, I don't want to give up. I want to keep going" but my body didn't understand that. All I could feel all over me was: "Let's PMO and feel great!" But, we must not forget how we feel after a relapse. Maybe it would even be a good idea to visualize it, try to transport us to a relapse and see if we like it. I'm sure we don't. This recovery is suffering, no doubt, but it's not an endless suffering, it ends one day. And then we can look back and say: "See, it was a great choice not to give up cause now it's over." Relapsing gets us back to that cycle where we never reach the day when we are done with it. So good choice to keep going. Fuck that voice. It's the addicted brain. "It's not me, it's the addiction." It's not us who want P, it's the brain.

BigMog

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #277 on: September 30, 2019, 09:15:07 AM »
Well done, WiP. Stick with it. Yep, I’ve frequently heard the cajoling chimp. I think we’re stuck with him for a while but we don’t have to do what he wants!
Stay strong!

jixu

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #278 on: November 02, 2019, 11:45:48 AM »
Hi WIP!  Hope you are doing okay.  If you get a chance hope you can give an update, rain or shine-miss having you around !  Take care

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #279 on: June 08, 2020, 09:17:58 AM »
Mixed feelings in writing this. Journaled in my last attempt at recovery, and the one before that. Ultimately failed to stay clean. My recovery will be, at best, steps forward followed by steps back. No big win. So I'll give the journal another chance. Has served as a distraction today and it might in the future. Not sure about counting days. Relatively easy to log days without addressing underlying issues, until one day I decide that living clean is no longer priority #1 and I go back out there without any material change. Corny as it is, I'll just try to be clean today. I can always check my calendar if it ever feels important to know when I started trying.

Joel

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #280 on: June 09, 2020, 05:13:51 AM »
Hi Wip,
Haven't read much of your journal, but 40+, UK, on this forum - I think we have a few things in common. I like your understanding that recovery isn't a linear journey; but am concerned with how hopeless your post sounded, to me it sounded like - what the hell, thought I might as well start journalling here again. Yep, I totally get what it's like to feel hopeless in this fight, and to quickly check in on a forum - feeling awful, not much to say, but need to check in. But have you got some ideas, reading and strategies in place you feel you haven't tried before? Have you analyzed your last relapse and worked out how you'll succeed next time where you failed last time?

jixu

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #281 on: June 09, 2020, 07:19:46 AM »
So glad to see that you are back and engaged in the battle!  As for being clean, today is the day that matters the most, right?

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #282 on: June 09, 2020, 09:04:39 AM »
Finished The Marshmallow Test last night. First time in three attempts. 278 pages of good stuff, summarised on p257. Notes here before I forget.

Self control is regularly undermined by temptation. When I'm tempted by short-term rewards, my brain's emotional, Hot System heats-up fast and dominates; it minimises longer-term consequences and accentuates short-term pleasure. The logical, Cool System is weaker and slower, so its inputs to the final decision always come second. That worked fine when my primitive ancestor needed to avoid being eaten by sabre-tooth tigers or mate, but nowadays it just sets my default to give-in to temptations, which leads to otherwise sane people sometimes doing stupid things. Any regret I might feel about my "hot" actions is typically short lived, because my psychological immune system is designed to protect me from inflicting pain on myself by rationalising & excusing my lack of self control. That makes it less likely that I'll do anything differently next time I'm tempted. How to avoid this? I need to activate my Cool System much faster, at the time when it's naturally weak, to increase focus on the longer term consequences and reduce focus on the shorter term pleasure. The best way to do this is through pre-prepared If-Then plans that anticipate specific triggers and prepare specific responses e.g.
If I get the urge to log-on to a P site Then kick-off some mindfulness exercises, open up RN instead and read my original post.
If I'm still tempted Then shut down the laptop, consciously remember my rock-bottom moment, and go out for fresh air.

Very similar to "The Chimp Paradox", "Thinking Fast & Slow" and "Rewire".

Thanks, Joel, for input. Appreciated. Strategy hasn't changed. Some new tactics to keep executing the strategy when I'm tired or lonely, feeling rejected, threatened or isolated are updated, because the hardest part for me is maintaining beneficial changes over the long term. Didn't matter whether I made it to day 850 or day 22 before I slipped..... I still ended up back in my cesspit.

Really good to hear from you again, Jixu. Being clean today feels great, thanks. Out of the twisted madness.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 09:06:48 AM by workinprogressUK »

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #283 on: June 10, 2020, 05:15:32 AM »
In its natural state, my brain's already primed to prefer fast and dirty rewards over those that would give me better long-term outcomes. Bacon now rather than a 6-pack in August. Beer over a clear head tomorrow. A new TV over an investment in my savings. And fundamentally.... a wank now over sex at some point in the future with my wife. It's already a challenge to choose cleaner, long-term reward over potentially unhealthy, short-term rewards.

By mainlining industrial quantaties of P for 30+ years, I flooded my brain with P/S-related dopamine to the extent that it deprioritised cleaner rewards even further (friendship, education, career achievement, love, health) and absolutely prioritised P/S related reward. Over-saturation also desensitised my brain so that it needed higher volume or potency of P/S stimuli to feel rewarded. And at the same time, the changes to my neurochemistry resulted in the cerebral cortex withering (reduced grey matter) and damage to the part of the brain that assigns priority. So I'm less able to rationalise what's happening and bring my logical/cool/human brain into play, and I also don't even recognise that my behaviours have become batshit crazy.

To revisit again later.

mr.slurps

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #284 on: June 14, 2020, 03:42:52 PM »
Hey Man,  I like the way you said "my behaviors have become batshit crazy".
In other words YOU are not crazy.
That's an important distinction you just made subconsciously.
Behaviors can be changed.

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #285 on: June 15, 2020, 04:59:29 AM »
Behaviors can be changed.

Agreed. That's why I'm here. And thank you for the encouragement, Mr Slurps.
15th May; last date I viewed porn. 30 days. No study this weekend.

mr.slurps

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #286 on: June 15, 2020, 11:56:30 AM »
Hiya Workin,  You're welcome.
Anger has been one of my issues. Meditation has helped a lot.
These milestones (congrats!) for me are a time for tough love w/ myself.
Beware even the opportunity to relapse. Keep the crap at a safe distance and then get even further away for a few days.

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #287 on: June 16, 2020, 04:20:49 AM »
Sex addiction could just as easily have been booze, gambling or coke. Marry in haste. Repent at leisure. Over 30 years together and increasingly indifferent to each other. Marriage damaged by my porn / sex addiction and underpinning lies. But porn / sex addiction was perpetuated by a sliding marriage, boring job and a core belief that I'm sub-standard. Underlying Issues. Never resolved. Is it just The Coolidge Effect? Tempted to think so. Could I be happy on the outside? Happier? Can I be happy again on the inside? Porn's not the answer. Fact. Gateway to increasingly self-destructive behaviours. Covid has helped; closed-off some dark avenues and slowed life down to give me time to get a grip. Strange what you can be grateful for.
I'd rather be unhappy without porn than unhappy with porn. That works well enough for now. 

Joel

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #288 on: June 16, 2020, 11:39:31 AM »
Covid has helped; closed-off some dark avenues and slowed life down to give me time to get a grip. Strange what you can be grateful for.


Great posts, Wip. Some great work going on here. I've read more of your journal now. The above has been the same for me. I was stuck, now i've had time to get somewhere. If I ever need more motivation, i can just think, it took me a pandemic to get this far - I may not get another one.

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #289 on: June 18, 2020, 10:15:27 AM »
I can totally buy that, Joel. Could be that once in a lifetime opportunity! I struggle to fundamentally change behaviour until my current state is shocked into "untenable". A bit lame of me to need a global pandemic to wake me up, but a drowning man will grab hold of anything that floats, right?

I'm clean today. Long term prospects still feel bleak, but I won't fail today. I should feel grateful, but the best I can summon is relief.

mr.slurps

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #290 on: June 18, 2020, 10:46:39 PM »
Hiya Workin,  It's good to see you're standing toe-to-toe with your addiction.
By the way, I can tell you for certain that you are not "sub-standard".
I'm still not certain about my own "worth" or success on this planet. But being here and learning from others has opened my eyes to the possibility that I'm not sub-standard.
Thanks for reminding me that neurochemistry is changed by pmo over time. That's gonna be a bear, but if we changed it once, we can change it again. Right?

UKGuy

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #291 on: June 19, 2020, 04:52:01 AM »
Hi WIPUK,
Thanks for the words of encouragement on my journal, which brought me to read yours. I can relate to a lot of your journey.
I hope you don't mind me summarising my observations: The first and most obvious is that you are extremely capable in managing this addiction for long periods of time, but then it feels that complacency sets in (stop journaling...end up relapsing...come back and start again). I wonder what caused you to stop journaling on those occasions, and if you had have continued would that have kept you clean for longer? The other aspect that comes through strongly is this sense of lack of true satisfaction with life, despite appearing to be a very successful guy. I can relate to those feelings of dissatisfaction, having had a pretty severe spell of depression in my life which was triggered by an unrelated life event, and led me to my worse phase of PMO (it was so much more attractive as a soothing escape compared to the reality and pain of depressed life!). I managed to get through it with a lot of meditation (gratitude meditation was particularly helpful), and a book which I plug on here with such regularity that some may think I'm the author in disguise (I'm not)- Stop Thinking, Start Living by Richard Carlson. Having moved on from that period in my life the basis for my journey is ridding myself of my addiction now to ensure I am present (physically, mentally, emotionally) to enjoy life for me to the full, and with my wife and kids, and whilst I'm pleased to report that it's going well, I do know that my motivation to succeed without that goal would be diminished significantly.
My questions to you are:
- What is your motivation for ridding yourself of PMO/other activities?
- Why? (and then some more drill down whys?)
Even though I'm sure you'd rather not be back here, it feels as if you've got an awful lot of experience to share with us, so look forward to you sticking around and growing together.
Cheers from Manchester.
Live with areté, focus on what you control, take responsibility = Eudaimonia.

http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=18284.0

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #292 on: June 22, 2020, 04:59:05 AM »
Tired Monday mornings... often a trigger. Felt the motivation to use P this morning, or more the lack of motivation not to. Received an invitation from an old acquaintance to re-connect, too. So far I've been able to resist.

"I wonder what caused you to stop journaling on those occasions, and if you had have continued would that have kept you clean for longer"?

In my experience, when a physical slip or a relapse happened, and I actually committed the act, there had been a couple of non-physical relapses happen in advance. The first is that "emotional relapse", which for me gets manifested in my no longer thinking that staying clean is my single biggest priority. While staying clean is #1, it's relatively easy to stay clean. I know that as soon as I start to rationalise that it's not the be-all and end-all..... I'm already well on my way into the gutter. It's why remembering my rock bottom moments is so important. Because that fear-based motivation is so much more powerful in keeping me focused.

UKGuy

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #293 on: June 22, 2020, 11:30:36 AM »
I can relate to that WIPUK.

Do you think if you'd have stayed more active here on the forum, that would have helped you resist the rationalisation of staying clean not being 'the be all and end all'? Could it be a healthy habit which acts to keep your motivation alive?
Live with areté, focus on what you control, take responsibility = Eudaimonia.

http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=18284.0

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #294 on: June 23, 2020, 04:39:00 AM »
I can relate to that WIPUK.

Do you think if you'd have stayed more active here on the forum, that would have helped you resist the rationalisation of staying clean not being 'the be all and end all'? Could it be a healthy habit which acts to keep your motivation alive?

I've compromised my recovery enough times to know that I don't have all the answers, so I'm nervous this time around about sharing my opinions. But I wonder if you maybe have the cart in front of the horse? I absolutely agree with you that coming here is a healthy habit. It helps cement the Action and reinforce the Maintenance phases of behavioural change, right? I've previously been very active here, until a trigger undermines my emotional commitment to maintain the behaviour change, after which journaling, studying, mindfulness exercises, being accountable, socialising, exercise, not using known grey-area websites, avoiding driving routes that take me past trigger locations and all the other tactics that were built on my emotional commitment to change.... no longer felt worth investing in, because the underlying foundational imperative to change no longer felt worth investing in. The reason I keep failing, after long periods of success, is down to some long-standing self-worth and identity issues that I've not yet found a way to resolve. Not yet :-). So I'm here feeling very humble, in the early Action phase of the latest cycle of my change process, hoping to stay committed for long enough to get into the calmer waters of Maintenance. Being here will help. Reading your journal will help, UKGuy, and considering your feedback on mine will too. All buys me time to try to fix these underlying issues. Wishing you a healthy week, from the other end of the M56.

UKGuy

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #295 on: June 23, 2020, 12:22:45 PM »
I understand WIPUK, and I’ve certainly not got all of the answers either - perhaps I’m just exuberant and enthused by the impact that being here has had on me and my own journey. Apologies if I’m projecting my own solutions into you - that wasn’t the intention - I’d just noticed from your excellent journal that when you were here historically, you had become something of a master streak builder, and it was when you were away that the slips occurred. That’s not of course evidence of causality and your response has helped me understand. As my wife will attest, I have a tendency to sometimes try and play the role of solution provider whatever the situation. I can’t begin to try and help solve your self identify and self worth issues but can relate to them, empathise and wish you good thoughts. Just remember that just because you’re here again doesn’t invalidate the progress you’ve made, it doesn’t take away all of those days you stayed clean, nor the experiences you had (including seeing them grow up) as a result of your heightened mental and physical presence on those days. Greetings back along the M56. Take care.
Live with areté, focus on what you control, take responsibility = Eudaimonia.

http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=18284.0

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #296 on: June 24, 2020, 09:01:37 AM »
Feeling strong today. Woke up early and got my study done out in the sunshine. Made some discoveries and decided on a couple of focus areas for change. Maybe material. Maybe not. But I'm more positive than usual.

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #297 on: June 25, 2020, 05:53:56 AM »
Not feeling the urge to lapse and not feeling shame or guilt from using. Anxious though. Family and friends are all way more relaxed about the Covid rules than I am, and at the same time as not wanting to be the stiff who keeps saying "no", I feel a duty to abide by the rules for the greater good. On balance, I'm more comfortable sticking to the rules as best as I can. Once I start to tell myself that "those rules are stupid anyway" and "it's only a tiny bit over the line", then I'm giving my chimp license to have a field day. Glad I took the time to read and write this morning. I feel calmer for it.

Joel

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #298 on: June 25, 2020, 09:04:53 AM »
Nice work, Wip.

I can't remember if we were talking about how helpful lockdown was for our recovery. It has been for me. But now it's this new stage of opening up - yeh, stressful for me too. My sister has a weird way of communicating like she measures people on how worried they are. 'Are you scared?' she keeps asking me. Anyway, the whole thing has grounded me and there's not much I take for granted these days. Do what you think is right and let's keep these streaks going.

workinprogressUK

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Re: See them grow up
« Reply #299 on: June 26, 2020, 06:51:08 AM »
Do what you think is right and let's keep these streaks going.

Yes Sir :-).

Something I read last night. Wanted to note this morning.
"When defences are used to blind us to a difficult reality, we become dishonest with ourselves, and therefore untrustworthy to others. Instead of wrestling with painful experience, we blind ourselves to reality. Instead of realising that we make mistakes, we get depressed and try to be perfect. Our twisted assumptive world means that we value self-protection above honesty and adventure".

That last sentence really grabs me. Prior to confronting my P addiction, I presented as a mad extrovert. Addicting myself to P made me reclusive, secretive, passive, close-minded and risk-averse in everything other than P/S. Over 7 years of largely not being a P user, I find that I'm still secretive, passive, risk averse and I don't want to be. I've trained my brain really hard to answer "yes please" when instinct is always to say "no thanks". But I really need to keep working on being proactive and positively assertive about what I actually want. Would help if I could get to the bottom of who I am, but that continues to be work in progress. I need to grow the confidence to step off the path of least resistance sometimes.