Author Topic: A journey of self-love  (Read 332 times)

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2019, 06:23:05 PM »
Almost to the four week mark of intentional no PMO!

I have had streaks of no PMO before, but my effort was half-hearted and I would eventually find myself relapsing because I wouldn't acknowledge the reasons why I relapsed.  It was because I had such trouble with my emotional coping skills.  My brain has been working hard to figure out the difference between using PMO as my main way to cope with the emotions of life and my own emotional coping skills (which were very little).  These first four weeks have been the toughest on my brain, body, and testing my resilience to trust the process and lean into the pain of PMO withdrawal. PMO does not take the place of feeling real emotions!  I remain committed to not sabotage my brain by overstimulating it with dopamine.  My self-worth is rising, my self-belief is rising, I feel a better ability to learn and be grateful for what I do have. 

Trust the process of reboot, one day at a time. Trust that your emotional coping skills are growing.  Trust that your brain is learning how to focus again. Trust that your self-respect will improve as well as your self-confidence.  Trust that your self-worth and self-value are improving.  For me, these are the things that were buried because of my addiction to PMO.  I tried searching for them outside myself for years, but they were within me the whole time, just buried under shame, guilt, and the lies/deception of an overstimulated dopamine crazed mind.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 06:29:50 PM by Freedomisworthit »

BlueHeronFan

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1159
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2019, 07:39:33 PM »
When did the brain fog/the ability to focus begin to come back noticeable for y'all?  That symptom has been one of the most irritating, I walk around feeling inadequate or stupid because it is really difficult to comprehend with clarity what is happening around me. 

Thanks for your input.

I don't know if it's the same thing, but I definitely experienced more intense and distracting urges earlier on (and whenever I was getting close to reaching a goal for number of days). Those sort of left me feeling like I was in a fog or was a zombie or whatever. Usually, they would last for a couple days and then go away for a while. For me, this has all been really cyclical: symptoms and challenges of withdrawal/recovery come and go. In general, though, they have gotten weaker when they have come back. I still deal with similar things, just not as intensely as I did in the early days.

Also huge congratulations on almost 4 weeks! The earliest weeks/months are the hardest, but they also matter the most, I think. Definitely trust in the process and keep moving forward one day at a time!

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2019, 01:47:01 PM »
Today is the 28 day mark of intentionally not using PMO as a way to cope with my challenges in life!  I find myself really working on my mental/emotional state - healthy self-esteem, healthy self-belief, and working to solidify the feeling that I am needed/belong.  I think using PMO really led to deep feelings of isolation and disconnect from my family, friends, church, coworkers, society, etc.  Those have been hard feelings to fight and work through.  I feel a deep yearning to hold on and fight for my connections to a healthy self-belief, self-esteem, and a belonging to the social groups I value.  It just goes to show me how terrible PMO is, it rips apart the very fabric of healthy mental/emotional/social health and destroys relationships.  STAY AWAY FROM PMO with all your resilience and self-discipline! 

I'm grateful to each one of you that responds to my posts, it really does help to know that there are other men like me who are struggling with similar feelings/experiences and have won or are winning their battles with the consequences of PMO.

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2019, 02:27:25 PM »
During your reboot from PMO, did y'all ever have a feeling of being reconnected to your willpower - it is hard to explain, but my brain is relearning to become aware of my body, heightened senses, feelings, movements, my mental/emotional state, and letting me know what I need to survive.  I suppose that because PMO hijacked my brain, it numbed me to my own willpower, impulse control, and all my physical sense were dulled.  I've also thought a lot about how dependent my existence was on pornography or even my loved ones (parents, siblings, friends) and I didn't do a good job building my own personal independent life.  Can anyone else relate?

Thanks for your input my Reboot brothers.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 04:23:54 PM by Freedomisworthit »

BlueHeronFan

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1159
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2019, 07:38:59 PM »
I know what you mean about it being hard to explain about the willpower thing. I don't know if I 100% understand what you mean, but I definitely feel like I have gotten more in touch with my actual body, thoughts, feelings, etc. I'm more aware of myself and where I am and what I'm doing.

Maybe taking my tangent even further: PMO is definitely something that I used to numb pain. But the thing about being numb is that it doesn't just block pain. It blocks everything! When we numb ourselves with addiction, we do escape from our pain for a while, but we also lose the ability to feel anything. Getting PMO out of my life has definitely caused me to feel everything more. The hard days are harder (because I'm not just running from them), but the good days are better (because I can actually experience them).

It's amazing to me how I always used to think that porn was my only problem and that I knew myself perfectly. This process of recovery has been a surprising process of deeper self-discovery than I ever thought was possible. Porn definitely isn't my only character flaw (lol), but fighting it has taught me a lot about myself, who I am, and how I can be what I want to be. Recovery really does change everything, not just one bad habit.

So stay in tune with the process and the progress, and just keep it up!

wecandoit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • **

  • 51
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2019, 07:17:03 AM »
During your reboot from PMO, did y'all ever have a feeling of being reconnected to your willpower - it is hard to explain, but my brain is relearning to become aware of my body, heightened senses, feelings, movements, my mental/emotional state, and letting me know what I need to survive.  I suppose that because PMO hijacked my brain, it numbed me to my own willpower, impulse control, and all my physical sense were dulled.  I've also thought a lot about how dependent my existence was on pornography or even my loved ones (parents, siblings, friends) and I didn't do a good job building my own personal independent life.  Can anyone else relate?

Thanks for your input my Reboot brothers.

Definitely. After staying away from PMO for 11 days I saw myself the way I was without the numbing. It was that feeling that I had work to do. With PMO is easy. It's a routine of numbing myself, staying sedated and feeling nothing. I think it's safe to say that I am emotionally immature because my only coping skill was PMO. I only have two options: Go on with PMO and stay the same or stay away from PMO but work on maturing emotionally. It's obvious which one I should choose.

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2019, 01:01:31 PM »
I know what you mean about it being hard to explain about the willpower thing. I don't know if I 100% understand what you mean, but I definitely feel like I have gotten more in touch with my actual body, thoughts, feelings, etc. I'm more aware of myself and where I am and what I'm doing.

Maybe taking my tangent even further: PMO is definitely something that I used to numb pain. But the thing about being numb is that it doesn't just block pain. It blocks everything! When we numb ourselves with addiction, we do escape from our pain for a while, but we also lose the ability to feel anything. Getting PMO out of my life has definitely caused me to feel everything more. The hard days are harder (because I'm not just running from them), but the good days are better (because I can actually experience them).

It's amazing to me how I always used to think that porn was my only problem and that I knew myself perfectly. This process of recovery has been a surprising process of deeper self-discovery than I ever thought was possible. Porn definitely isn't my only character flaw (lol), but fighting it has taught me a lot about myself, who I am, and how I can be what I want to be. Recovery really does change everything, not just one bad habit.

So stay in tune with the process and the progress, and just keep it up!

I definitely agree that using PMO numbed everything in my life.  It numbed my emotions, it numbed my relationships and how I felt about myself.  It numbed me to my past, present, and future.  Life seemed so easy with this great escape or coping mechanism I had found.  I used to wonder why others thought life was so hard.  How mistaken I was - life is so much more and can be SO challenging and yet SO fulfilling.  As I've stayed away from PMO, I feel the same way as you described.  I thought that porn was my only problem and I knew myself.  But, I was wrong, I had barely scratched the surface as to my self-esteem, my self-belief, my self-worth, my religious faith, my relationships with loved ones, etc.  Giving up PMO is the hardest habit I've had to break, but is slowly beginning to give way to everything I've yearned to get out of my life - love, connection, purpose, achievement, fun, a better/brighter future.

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2019, 01:06:22 PM »
During your reboot from PMO, did y'all ever have a feeling of being reconnected to your willpower - it is hard to explain, but my brain is relearning to become aware of my body, heightened senses, feelings, movements, my mental/emotional state, and letting me know what I need to survive.  I suppose that because PMO hijacked my brain, it numbed me to my own willpower, impulse control, and all my physical sense were dulled.  I've also thought a lot about how dependent my existence was on pornography or even my loved ones (parents, siblings, friends) and I didn't do a good job building my own personal independent life.  Can anyone else relate?

Thanks for your input my Reboot brothers.

Definitely. After staying away from PMO for 11 days I saw myself the way I was without the numbing. It was that feeling that I had work to do. With PMO is easy. It's a routine of numbing myself, staying sedated and feeling nothing. I think it's safe to say that I am emotionally immature because my only coping skill was PMO. I only have two options: Go on with PMO and stay the same or stay away from PMO but work on maturing emotionally. It's obvious which one I should choose.

I agree, I thought the same thing, life was easy with PMO.  The trade-off for engaging in my addiction to PMO was NOT WORTH IT!!  It sucked away the joy of food, water, sleep, friendships, family, church, hobbies, employment, future plans like marriage and children.  Everything else seemed to be boring or way too much work.  I'm so grateful that the brain is plastic and can revert back to normalcy concerning dopamine levels.  Maturing emotionally and actually feeling my emotions like boredom, loneliness, sadness, anger, frustration, rejection, hurt and letting those emotions pass has been a great learning experience for me.  But, I know they are important life skills.  WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2019, 01:39:44 PM »
So, I started my day counter when I first started experiencing panic attacks/anxiety attacks and the insomnia/sweating/hot flashes/ from rebooting.  But, I now realized/know that I started rebooting earlier than that.  I don't know the exact start date, but I'm estimating mid-Oct (it's the best estimation I have) is when I actually started again to reboot (not looking at any kind of soft porn or inducing sexual arousal through internet usage).  That's when the symptoms of headaches, low key anxiety, lack of motivation, brain fog, underlying stress were present (although those symptoms have been present in my life for years and I couldn't pinpoint WHY it continued to be so even after I completed a 12 step program, had talked with church leaders, etc.).  I had learned how to help my spirit become healthy again, but I believe I need to learn the skills to help my mental/emotional health become well again - and that meant learning what brain changes occurred while I was engaged in my addiction and what relapsing meant.  I deleted my Instagram and Twitter accounts around mid - October because they were eating up my time with mindless and meaningless posts and i found myself edging to sexual posts of women in bikinis or in tight clothing at the gym, focusing on their body parts instead of them as human beings.  I suppose that instead of starting Week 5 of rebooting, I'm honestly on Week 7 or so (I could be farther along, but I'm being conservative, I wish I had written down my starting date since I last watch any kind of internet pornography).  I am experiencing an increase in mental focus (I'm not flitting from one thing to another as much) and my mind is starting to get excited about activities and responsibilities that I thought boring or were too much work in the past.  I have really disliked the lack of focus and brain fog I've felt since rebooting, it is like my attention span is no more than a minute or two unless I exert great willpower to keep my attention on my current task (felt like I had ADHD).  Some task or responsibility that shouldn't take too much brain power would leave my exhausted mentally/emotionally. On a positive note, I have been getting better sleep the last couple of days.  My depression and general anxiety about life are beginning to lessen in severity, intensity, and length during the day.  I still experience social anxiety, but not nearly as heavily in the past weeks.  My mind is formulating how I could converse with all different kinds of people (I used to just try to avoid socialization unless I had to do it - like for an assignment or my employment).  I experienced insomnia/trouble staying asleep for the last 3 weeks or so (Weeks 3-6).  That was SO DIFFICULT.  I'm grateful that I've realigned my priorities in my life - my emotional/mental health has moved way up for what I need to take care of everyday.  PMO used to be my way of caring for my mental/emotional health.  NOT ANYMORE.  I've got a long ways to go still, but I'm patting myself on my back for getting this far with no PMO.  Life is beginning to appear interesting again (I've felt a lot through my PMO journey that I was just reacting to life instead of living it proactively, planning out tasks and executing them, also, my emotions were something that I couldn't control, but I've learned that managing emotions comes from the frontal lobes of my brain which were impaired during chronic PMO use) and I'm excited to help that feeling to grow today and moving forward.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 02:13:40 PM by Freedomisworthit »

BlueHeronFan

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1159
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #34 on: December 02, 2019, 09:09:14 PM »
It's so awesome that you're seeing the results of the work that you're putting in. It's paying off, and it's good to recognize that. It's even more encouraging to think that you're only 5-7 weeks into a lifelong process. If you're already seeing these benefits, just imagine what's coming in 5 more weeks!

Of course, progress isn't linear, but the benefits do accumulate. Never forget it because there will be days when those benefits feel a little more distant, and it will be helpful to remind yourself of the good that is coming into your life as you recover.

But it really sounds like you're in a good place now. Just keep putting in the daily work!

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2019, 01:07:22 PM »
Thank you! I'm really grateful to have endured and persevered through weeks of miserable detox and withdrawal symptoms.  I will stay vigilant.  I find that the most consistent symptoms at this 7 week (and counting) mark or so, I don't know the exact day count) are brain fog (not as severe as previous weeks), boredom (trying to find productive activities to fill the time I sexually fantasized, thought about PMO, etc.), mood swings, social anxiety (that has really been reduced since I first started reboot), and headaches.  I find myself feeling really grateful for all the kind and wonderful people I've associated with along my life's journey so far - family, friends, classmates, teachers, coworkers, church members/leaders, random strangers.  I feel an increasing need to stay sober and continue to better myself each day so I can give back to them, the next generation (I went to college to become a teacher), and my future spouse/children (she is out there somewhere).  I want to use all this knowledge I've gained and appreciation for life's moments (even the frustrating, hurting, boring, depressing) which I numbed so much through PMO use.  LIFE IS WORTH LIVING WITHOUT PORNOGRAPHY - that becomes clearer and clearer as I win my battle with my cravings/urges! 

FOCUS ON THE DAY AND WIN THE BATTLE - YOUR LIFE, FUTURE PLANS, AND LOVED ONES ARE WORTH IT MY REBOOTING BROTHERS!
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 01:54:21 PM by Freedomisworthit »

BlueHeronFan

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1159
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #36 on: December 03, 2019, 06:39:50 PM »
Yes! Keep it going!

Life without porn is definitely better. Not just because we enjoy life more without it but because we can live more of it when we aren't wasting all our time staring at a screen.

Keep that bright future in mind and then just focus on living right one day at a time!

quitforeverthenwin2

  • Member

  • Offline
  • ***

  • 176
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2019, 11:11:38 PM »
Man, was just catching up on your journal and still need to read the rest. But awesome post! Here catching up on the forum to get through an urge myself and this is a really motivating post and great reminder.



Almost to the four week mark of intentional no PMO!

I have had streaks of no PMO before, but my effort was half-hearted and I would eventually find myself relapsing because I wouldn't acknowledge the reasons why I relapsed.  It was because I had such trouble with my emotional coping skills.  My brain has been working hard to figure out the difference between using PMO as my main way to cope with the emotions of life and my own emotional coping skills (which were very little).  These first four weeks have been the toughest on my brain, body, and testing my resilience to trust the process and lean into the pain of PMO withdrawal. PMO does not take the place of feeling real emotions!  I remain committed to not sabotage my brain by overstimulating it with dopamine.  My self-worth is rising, my self-belief is rising, I feel a better ability to learn and be grateful for what I do have. 

Trust the process of reboot, one day at a time. Trust that your emotional coping skills are growing.  Trust that your brain is learning how to focus again. Trust that your self-respect will improve as well as your self-confidence.  Trust that your self-worth and self-value are improving.  For me, these are the things that were buried because of my addiction to PMO.  I tried searching for them outside myself for years, but they were within me the whole time, just buried under shame, guilt, and the lies/deception of an overstimulated dopamine crazed mind.

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2019, 03:17:45 PM »
I appreciate the encouragement and kindness - that my post was helpful for you!

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2019, 03:27:53 PM »
I've been thinking a lot about trust today and how much I used to trust in pornography - it was my most trusting relationship, my teacher, my friend, and my world.  How WRONG I was.  Intimacy with people and being able to trust my family members, friends, leaders, teachers, mentors, and myself has been a long process.  I've cried many times about how difficult it has been to acknowledge my distrust in these key individuals in my life, but by coming to grips with the problem, I'm working on the solution - the deep sense and feeling of trust.  It is clearer to me why my relationships were so unfulfilling and I kept turning back to pornography - I didn't trust in myself, their love, their wisdom and help, etc.  Relationships are built on trust, love, respect, and honesty. PMO tears relationships apart my rebooting brothers!  How sad it is when my mind was so far gone that I didn't trust those closest to me and I pushed them away.  Ugh, I'm grateful to be recognizing this and daily, I'm seeking to develop a better sense of trust in people.  It is a long process to build on honesty, trust, and connection with others and yourself again, but it is worth every effort.  I'm hopeful to begin feeling the effects of trusting more fully and consistently in people again.  Can y'all relate to this distrusting feeling as a consequence of PMO/withdrawal?

BlueHeronFan

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1159
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2019, 10:25:31 PM »
I think I can relate, but I have never thought about it in these terms.

I know, for me, relationship stress (break-ups, disappointments, etc.) have been big triggers for me. I think it's sort of like porn isn't what I really want, but it is always there, reliable, and "good enough" for my addicted brain. I have definitely turned to porn when I have felt like real people have let me down (which is unfair, but when are addicted brains fair?)

I'm loving your deep reflections. Understanding what makes us tick is a great way to progress in our recovery, and your thoughts and questions have really stretched me to think about things in new ways, and that's an awesome way to keep recovery from getting stale. Thanks a lot and keep it up!

Freedomisworthit

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *

  • 40
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2019, 01:12:00 PM »
Thank you for your comments and thoughts and encouragement.

My PMO use was related to my own self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.  For me, it wasn't as related to my relationships with others.  I typically gave the best of myself to others, but on the level of personal self-care, I treated myself like garbage (mainly from the effects of using PMO - the physical brain changes of desensitization, sensitization, altered stress response, hypofrontality).  As a result of not intentionally building my own self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence organically (it grows little by little through persistent effort), I walked around feeling really bad about myself (on top of the brain changes through habitual PMO).  I'm grateful for these realizations and taking responsibility for my words, actions, and deeds.  It is a scary process to take on your own emotions when they seem so foreign to you, but I acknowledge that by insisting and persisting in what you want to be over time (beliefs, attributes, values, goals), it will come to pass.

Day by day, I'm working to strengthen the neurological connections in my brain where I know need work like trust, intimacy, self-esteem, self-belief, and other areas.  These are areas for me which weren't really existent with PMO in my life.  I've really learned RESILIENCE, PERSISTENCE, and ENDURANCE during this phase of PMO recovery (I'm coming up on 8 weeks of sobriety) while my brain is acclimating to my new sources of strength and ways to thinking.  It is really difficult at first, but that which we persist in doing becomes easier because our strength to do it increases.

Keep moving forward my rebooting brothers!

BlueHeronFan

  • Member

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1159
    • View Profile
Re: A journey of self-love
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2019, 08:46:26 PM »
Really good thoughts!

The more I work on recovery, the more I have grown to like the person I see in the mirror every day. I really used to have a low opinion of myself, and I always felt disdain when I saw my reflection. Things are changing, though.

Keep on going, learning about yourself and learning how to take care of yourself. You're definitely worthy of it!