Author Topic: Back on the wagon  (Read 10285 times)

PE30

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Back on the wagon
« on: June 14, 2017, 11:41:02 AM »
Hi all.

I'm a married guy with two children; I am a Christian. I joined up to this last autumn and managed nearly two months porn and chat-room free. Then my stepmum died and in the stress (and in the three nights in my dad's house away from my wife and kids) I relapsed.

And I relapsed hard. To the point where I had two women who both wanted to meet me for sex: one of whom I was actually due to meet tomorrow, and one of whom I was due to meet next month.

Anyway, last Thursday I had a Facebook message out of the blue from a girl I'd previously cheated on my wife with. (Back-story: we met on a chat room in late 2013, slept together in early 2014, got found out later that year). I'd lied so much to this girl - I'd essentially catfished her, using a different name, withholding my marital status... and she has been ruminating over the past couple of years on how much hurt I've caused her.

I've apologised, profusely, and I'm hoping that this is the end of it. I did a horrible thing back then and I'm gutted that I allowed it to spill into real life and cause her real hurt.

So that's it for the chat rooms. The porn was never so much of an issue - it was more of a chaser when I couldn't find anyone to chat with.

Anyway, I'd really appreciate your help with
(a) conquering the feelings of guilt, shame and fear which now plague me;
(b) making sure that I kick this habit into the grass for the rest of my living days.

In a way, I'm thinking that these feelings of guilt and shame are healthy to an extent as they're galvanising my brain into staying away from anything that might damage my relationship with my wife. Also I'm wondering whether there was a degree of God-given timing to her message: it was a painful message to receive but if it's served to protect me from further unfaithfulness then it's no bad thing.
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 04:33:34 AM »
8 days in. I had a really good chat with a friend last night, who prayed for me. I've also signed up for counselling through my work. I'm trying to face these problems head-on this time, even if that's more painful. I'm finding that I need something a bit more than a straightforward "count the days til you get to your target" (though this is also helpful and gives an idea of progress).

I'm also trying to avoid non-sexual 'replacement' activities. For years I posted on a music forum (many times daily) and spent more of my time talking to online people than to IRL people. I also tried Scrabble (yes, I know) and ended up compulsively playing 4-5 games of Scrabble online per day.

Anyhow, I'm just posting this to keep myself accountable. Please feel free to reply / send encouragement etc etc.
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 08:58:47 AM »
Here's a question: how do you cope with the boredom?

I have been trying to avoid replacement behaviours such as posting on music forums, playing online Scrabble and so on. But I really feel like I need to engage in a new hobby or activity. Also, I'm struggling at work with boredom - I am used to working at a certain speed to keep up with all the various conversations I'm having online on my phone.

I've got an evening in the house on my own tonight but I'm preparing myself: indian takeaway and something not too triggery on Netflix :)
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Nikola Numez

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 10:13:45 AM »
Quote
how do you cope with the boredom?
Quote
engage in a new hobby or activity
exactly. although porn can murder the fun part of the brain and it may take some months to recover from this, you can still pick and choose something that is the most fun to do. it may not be super exciting at the moment but if it is the most exciting thing of all other things that you could do, then go for it!

im not saying you wont find something very exciting to do but if you dont, just go with the most fun thing you can do :)

also there are maybe things that would be good for you but you are procrastinating.. you can focus on those too. im sure there are bunch of these activities too.. activities where you experience excitement only because you finished doing them  ;D

just look inside, i think you always intuitively know what you could be doing instead of feeling bored. its just a matter of getting in touch with that.... and of course overcoming procrastination and laziness ;D 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 10:15:55 AM by Nikola Numez »
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Totem

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2017, 10:14:42 AM »
Boredom is in some part effect of overstimulated dopamine circut.
Try meditation - 15 minute session once-twice a day.

Beside that - try writing your goals, than sort them by priority, pick small one, plan how to do it and execute.
Start small - it will be way faster.

I battle with myself all the time about huge goals and often fail or need to let it go. Huge things are hard as hell.
No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2017, 10:30:29 AM »
Thank you for your advice! I think I need to get better at goal-setting at work. It's not so bad in the evening as I can spend time with my wife, read, play guitar and watch Netflix... It's just getting through the working day.

Maybe I'll start taking a mindful / meditative walk at lunchtime.

Anyway, I got through an evening home alone without too much difficulty. Watched a film, played some guitar and went to bed. Was horny as heck when I woke up this morning but I just rode it out.

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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2017, 10:00:49 AM »
Weekends are generally pretty easy as there is very little alone time. Plus there is plenty to keep me occupied and away from boredom.

It's Father's Day in the UK and I can't help but feel guilty for the wasted years and the risk I have exposed my girls to. I continue to pray for mercy and strength.
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 02:47:57 AM »
I got through the weekend okay - to be honest it was too hot to think about anything particularly sexual yesterday (in England, we don't cope once it gets to the 80s because houses aren't built for hot weather!)

My aims for the week:

1. complete all work in good time and with a good quality;
2. find an additional line of work to keep myself occupied;
3. stay calm!

I have a counselling session booked in for Wednesday. I'm hoping that this will help.

Any encouragement / motivational words welcome!
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2017, 03:07:35 AM »
I had a horrid dream last night in which I relapsed - had a really graphic dream involving various pornographic images but it didn't feel sexy at all, it just felt depressing.

Anyway, it was just a dream. I didn't relapse.

I've just noticed that the 60 day target expires on the last day of my holiday with the family. Days 53-60 will be easier, but I'm home alone for quite a few days in the preceding week. Anyway, it's only day 12. One  day at a time.
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2017, 05:57:59 AM »
Additional: I just read something briefly on someone else's journal about objectification. I have so far to come with this. When I see a good-looking woman, I need to stop looking twice; I need to nip this at the root. It's difficult though. I feel like God is stirring me to be a bit more thorough with this reboot: to keep pushing things back to where He wants them. To conquer my lust and not just its manifestations.

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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2017, 07:17:23 AM »
More weird dreams last night. But dreams are just dreams - I didn't wake up and act on them.

I'm 13 days in - I'd say, if I'm honest with myself, that this is my weakest point - that 12-21 day period where the initial enthusiasm for quitting is on the wane and I find myself wanting to let things slip.

However:

- I've got counselling this afternoon at 3.30 and I'm hoping that this will help
- it's my wife's birthday tomorrow.

I don't want to let anything slip - this is for the long haul. I want thorns and briers to grow on those paths that led me to destruction, and I want a clear path of self-discipline and righteousness. I'm praying for God's Spirit to swell in me in a greater measure.
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2017, 10:39:18 AM »
The counselling was really helpful actually. The counsellor seems to think it's an addiction that I'm dealing with here. I guess that confirms my thinking.
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aquarius25

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2017, 01:50:18 PM »
You are doing really well. It's great to hear that you are taking it seriously and you are not only rebooting but getting counselling too. I am sure deep in your heart you already know this but at some point, you might need to consider telling your wife. Not only for the fact that shame builds when kept in secret. Porn is all about shame. Healing can only be had through open, honest, integrity, authenticity, respect, and taking ownership for your actions but more... you and your wife might need to be tested. At some point when a spouse cheats there is a safety issue too. It is completely your call, you have that right. But would you want to know if the tables were turned and your wife was in your place? God can heal all things, even this. It might not seem that way, but if he can create the entire universe then maybe you can trust him with this part of it.

Either way, keep up the good work. I am not saying these things to shame but more to encourage real life changing healing for you and for your wife.

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2017, 02:08:14 AM »
Hi Aquarius

Thanks for the encouragement. I should make it clear that my wife knows - both about the addiction and the counselling. She found out  late in 2014. Although I've had a couple of relapses since that point, I feel like telling her was absolutely crucial to my recovery.

And yes, heck yes I'm taking it seriously. I work in housing and loads of the people I deal with are single guys in their 50s who have made a mess of their relationships. I want to look ahead to 20-25 years' time and think of myself walking my daughters down the aisle, not sitting in some miserable house-share. I don't want to throw away the amazing gifts God has given me.

Two weeks done, anyway :)
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2017, 07:59:23 AM »
Oh and yes, we both got tested last year and were clean. The counsellor I talked to yesterday described how addiction leaves a trail of chaos in its wake - I feel like the last two and a bit years have revealed more and more ways that I'd ended up damaging things. The good news is that with God's grace, my wife and I have begun rebuilding. I have had relapses but I am in recovery.
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aquarius25

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2017, 08:08:10 AM »
That is really awesome! Frankly a breath of fresh air to other journals. Almost inspiring as a partner, lol. One thing I might mention that my husband expressed was helpful in him not wanting to look at porn anymore was thinking about the porn industry as a whole. Realizing that by viewing he was participating is a really demoralising and well frankly sad industry. Not many "fruits of the spirit" blooming there. It wasn't to shame himself but more to take ownership and responsibility for it. Since that realisation, he said it really ruined his appetite for it as all. Now, through our business, we make and donate to organisations that help fight human trafficking and things. Just a thought to help keep you focused. Sending prayers of support to you and your family.

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2017, 04:42:41 AM »
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

I totally agree about porn - even if you remove the trafficking element, it's an industry in which young women are paid a pittance to perform ever more uncomfortable and degrading sex acts. If I would not wish that on my own daughters and wife, why would I expect someone else's daughter / gf / wife to perform for my gratification? If you analyse it, it's utterly wrong.

To be honest, the chat rooms are much more of a temptation for me - I much preferred talking to women online, turning them on, being turned on, etc etc. But again, I could apply the same logic. Would I want anyone I know and love to be caught up in that? How would I feel if my wife was getting turned on by random guys online? I'd hate it. So why would I apply one rule to myself and one to everyone else? It's illogical.

I've been praying loads over the last two weeks. I'm longing for the presence of God in my life in deeper measure. I can't be lukewarm on this: either He's real and He deserves everything, or I should be pitied above all men. I'm convinced He's real and I'm convinced that true happiness lies with him alone.


This is day 16 anyway :)

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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2017, 01:06:13 PM »
Day 17

Ugh, I had a horrible dream last night in which I relapsed and ended up with KiK on my phone and loads of pics and then my wife wanted to use my phone and I panicked... Was so glad to wake up!

Had a lovely day with my family. I've been trying to be mindful of all the joy they give me, and trying to be thankful for every day. Treat every day as an undeserved gift. I still feel feelings of guilt and shame and fear, but these are beginning to fade.

I've been looking into the 12 step program for sex addicts- I think it's true: I am powerless against my addiction without a higher power. When I turn to God, things change. I have felt my heart softening and the Spirit beginning to dwell in me again. I'm not transformed but I am in the process of transformation.
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2017, 04:12:59 AM »
Day 19

Had a really good weekend. I'm beginning to see how we can't fix this with abstinence alone. I think that this site is so helpful: for journaling, encouraging each other and so on. But we can't fix this on our own. I think it's important to find positive life elsewhere, develop healthy habits that help train our brain to receive its dopamine from steadier, better sources, to surrender ourselves to a higher power... my 19 days have been a testimony to God's work in me, not merely my own willpower. All of these things work in partnership.

I am glad for this strength as I will be going into a potentially tricky evening tonight where I'll be on my own. If you read this (and pray), please pray for me.

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aquarius25

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2017, 07:23:58 AM »
I have read a lot of men here who describe being alone as the most triggering time. When I think about times in my life when I am training to set new habits and create changes in my lifestyle I find it so overwhelmingly useful to write affirmations and have them where I can see them regularly. Whether it be sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, on the edge of the computer screen, and by the tv. Or even a stone or rock you carry in your pocket or something to hang from your rearview mirror. Pick things that you are intentionally saying represent your recovery. Something that reminds you why you are doing this. If you have yourself surrounded by these reminders maybe it will help keep you focused on your recovery instead of getting distracted.

Just a thought. I will be praying for you!

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2017, 08:57:29 AM »
Thanks - that's a good idea. I think I'd need to be fairly subtle about it - i.e. make them quite positive and generic. I don't really want my daughters picking up on it.

To be honest, my best strategy is just to think "what am I going to do with tonight that doesn't involve going onto a chatroom?" Funnily enough, my wife has asked me if I'll make a batch of bolognese for some evening meals. So that'll take up some of the time. And Glastonbury was on over the weekend so I might watch a couple of sets from that.

I just need to be honest with myself and not to be naive enough to think that I can afford to slip back at all.
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Vardan

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2017, 01:17:26 PM »
Hi PE30,
Its great to read that you are back with a firm desire to get rid of the addiction
Ironically I have also started my first reboot in Autumn, and did it 2 months.
After that it was up and down all the time.
I am also Christian.
one thing I am sure about: God does not judge you because of this addiction
He is on your side and will help you through
There is a lot of shame involved, I have the same...it is not easy...
You are dealing with an addiction.

I personally left behind all the thoughts why and how I have started, and all the religious and moral aspect of the question.
what counts: where are you now and where you will be later in your life...
I am also looking for an AP, if you need one we can became partners...let me know
Only thing: I live in Germany and I am not merried.


PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2017, 04:08:01 PM »
Hey

Yes I'd definitely be up for that. I'll read up on the guidelines and I'll happily partner up with you. It doesn't matter that you're not married :) and it's handy that you're from Europe as you're on a similar timezone to me!

It is an addiction; I'm just keeping the future in my mind... A future that is porn and chat room free and is full of love and fun and a clear mind!

Oh FAO aquarius25: I survived the evening. Felt a bit tempted when I got into bed which is why I've come on here to post. There's something about admitting your weakness which makes you stronger!
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2017, 04:11:22 PM »
Final (non PMO-related note): listening to Radiohead on your own for 90 minutes when you're feeling emotionally vulnerable isn't exactly the best idea!
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PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2017, 12:20:37 PM »
Day 20

Past couple of days have felt a little trickier, but then I'm not really surprised about this as (a) I've been a bit tired over the past few days and (b) I typically have a tough patch about three weeks into a reboot. I've got past this before though.

It really helps to write these thoughts down on here- again, I'm strongest when I admit my weakness. Maybe it's best to accept that this addiction will always be with me, but that I possess the strength (in God) to overcome each and every time.
Porn free since 2 February 2018.
Chat room and M/MO free since 28 July 2018.
Fighting on.