Author Topic: Time for a change  (Read 319 times)

Change2019

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Time for a change
« on: April 07, 2019, 03:36:25 PM »
32 years old. I have managed to kick the habit for extended periods previously but sadly it's crept back into my life over the past few months and now reached a point where my use again troubles me.

Unlike some of the users of this forum I have not had to deal with ED or other physical performance issues. It's the psychological side which bothers me - the feeling of compulsive use of something which I know does me no good whatsoever, and which actively makes me feel bad about myself. No good at all for self-esteem and confidence. Plus the contradictions between how I hope to treat women in the real world with the way they are treated in P. There's all sorts of hypocrisy there and I hate to think of how some of the women in my life would react if they knew of my habit.

In short, I don't want to continue to experience the profound sense of shame which - I find (others may not) - accompanies the use of P. I'm at an age where I need to make some big decisions about how I want to focus my future career, relationships with family, friends and girlfriend, and other big questions. I don't feel that that I can be my best self until I've truly overcome this problem and replaced my current dysfunctional behaviours and habits with more fulfilling occupations.

So that's where I'm coming from. When I think about the enormous potential which I might unlock by resolving this longstanding compulsion I feel excited about the future (particularly having read some of the 'success stories' on this site). I'm also aware that I will need to work really hard in order to build up the necessary discipline, routine and focus to get to a point where I feel I'm truly getting the most out of life. These are all qualities which I used to have in abundance in my teenage years but which have been eroded over time - and particularly by my use of P. But they must still be in there somewhere!

Some of the tools I plan on using to make the changes I want to make, and to recover my self-esteem and pride in who I am, are physical exercise (running, yoga, racket sports), meditation (daily in the morning, using the Headspace app), changing my environment (charging my phone in a separate room; avoiding using my laptop in bed; installing K9 filters on my computers). I'm also planning on significantly cutting down on drinking - too many of my lapses occur when I've had too much to drink or I'm overtired.

One thing I'd appreciate advice on from forum members: is there an app with K9 levels of security which can be used on Android phone? I have previously used Open DNS to block access to P material over wifi but this doesn't seem to work with my current phone. I have uninstalled the web browser for the time being but the reptilian part of my brain knows that it's only a couple of steps to reinstall it if a craving hits. Thanks in advance for any recommendations, and indeed any other tips and encouragement as I kick off this journal.

Thanks all and best of luck
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 03:38:53 PM by Change2019 »

Change2019

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2019, 04:21:46 PM »
It's been a couple of days since I reached a point where I thought 'this needs to change'. I've put a simple note on my phone 'to do' list which shows how far to go until I make a 90 day streak - just 87 days to go!

Since my realisation of the need to make some changes earlier this week, I've taken some simple, practical steps: making sure it's as difficult as possible to access material via phone and computers, restructuring my environment, and focusing on giving myself the best opportunity to succeed through getting plenty of sleep and exercise, meditating, and filling my days with a good balance of hard work and fun / fulfilling activities. I've decided to avoid alcohol altogether at least for the first week or two of this process, as some of my worst lapses in the past have been associated with being drunk (or at least on the way to drunk) and tired after nights out. Alcohol can also bring out the melancholic in me, which I believe is also a trigger. Either way, it won't do my wallet any harm to cut back for a while.

Beyond the points mentioned above which are aimed at addressing the behaviour I want to change, I'm also coming to a point in my life where I'd like to explore talking to someone (i.e. therapy) about some of the more difficult aspects of my childhood, relationship struggles etc. My personal theory is that using P has been a coping mechanism for me when I'm faced with difficult or extreme emotions I don't know how to manage or respond to, starting during a very difficult time as a teenager when I felt depressed and alone. It's for this reason - the fact that P has for so long been the crutch I turn to when I feel down, alone, tired, anxious, exhausted, or worried about the future - that I figure it may need more than just healthy eating and an exercise plan to ensure I can make the change I want to make for the long-term. I'm pretty sure that otherwise I will slip back into the same behaviour if I don't try and get into these underlying causes, even if the process may take a long time to work through.

Do any of you guys have experience of therapy or counselling as part of getting a handle on your dependency, and do you draw any link between working on yourself in this way (i.e. trying to work through historic issues in therapy) and progress in moving away from using P? I'd be interested to hear from you if so.

Best wishes and good luck to all

Pete McVries

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2019, 07:42:36 AM »
Hi Change,

I'm currently in therapy. Half a year ago I started therapy and it's mainly about my PMO addiction and my ED and how I can beat it and become a healthy sexual male again. My therapist has helped me a ton and I'm so grateful for her but it wasn't easy to find a therapist who would understand me. In fact, she was the fourth therapist I had tried and by that time I had almost lost any hope in finding someone who suit me. But I got lucky, I guess.

Our therapy is very practically orientated, you know, setting things in motion that will benefit me. It's a behaviour therapy and just from my point of view, I can tell you that I think, it's the best form of therapy. Depth psychology digs really deep but often lacks the practical approach. Also, the depth psychologist interprets a lot with you and you guys won't always be right. If you want to beat this addiction, I think, behaviour therapy is the way to go.

I hope, this helps you a bit. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
My Journal

Six months clean and counting...

Change2019

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 08:02:43 AM »
Thanks, this is a really helpful reply. I had wondered whether a more practical (I was going to write 'hands-on' but perhaps not the best metaphor...) approach would be more useful, at least in the short term. I'm interested in the idea of some more general therapy to get under the surface of why I react to certain situations in the way that I do, and to develop a healthier relationship with my parents and loved ones. It's useful to to know about your experience.

Change2019

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 08:14:20 AM »
This is just a quick entry to update the journal and to remind myself that I'm doing well - about to hit one week with no PMO, during which I've had some great shared experiences through sport and exercise, socialising with friends (a friend's birthday at a neighborhood bar - I decided not to drink alcohol, which wasn't so bad as I'd feared), and spending time on pursuits which I enjoy (film, art galleries, visiting new parts of my city which I haven't yet explored, and cooking good food).

I figure it's healthy to continue to post here on a regular basis, even if I haven't got a whole lot of time for careful reflection on this particular day. I'm particularly pleased that I'm sticking to the plan even during a stressful period of life changes - I'm moving house in a couple of days time, and also starting a new job in a new organisation.

It's worth noting that even in the space of a week I've started to feel a lot better about myself, and have made more time to focus on plans for the future, supporting friends and family who are going through their own struggles, and generally be there for others.

While I'm feeling upbeat and positive right now, I'm also trying to maintain an awareness that there will be some tough days in the near future (the aforementioned life changes won't be a walk in the park) and to make sure that I stay on task.

Where I am the change of the seasons is also helping me to stay optimistic, with sunshine, cherry blossom and warmer days to enjoy following the long, grey winter. I've been taking some very long walks (10km yesterday) which I think is also helping to process the changes I'm working through.

Change2019

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2019, 07:25:35 AM »
11 days into this new phase and I'm generally very happy with how things are going. I haven't once come close to straying from the plan, despite an incredibly exhausting few days of moving house, getting set up in my new place, and having to deal with all the admin which comes with relocation.

But moving apartments, lugging heavy boxes around, and the general stress of the past two days seems to have taken a bit of a toll on my body: I'm ill with a cold now and it seems as though I'm going to be feeling that way for a few more days yet. It's definitely harder to stay focused and positive when your immune system gives up on you and you can't get out and exercise or don't feel up to seeing friends.

But the sun is shining and I'm determined to stay on track. If you're reading this and wondering about making some positive changes in your own life: do it! Even lying here with a sore throat and a headache on the couch I'm able to tell myself that I'm heading in the right direction, and that I'm in a better place - psychologically - than I was this time 11 days ago. And that feels good.

Take care all

 

Change2019

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2019, 04:05:16 PM »
A solid two weeks in and I'm doing well. That's not to say things have been easy the past few days... starting a new job with a lot of pressure, not sleeping so well (all  linked. of course), and being under the weather have combined to make me feel truly horrible on at least a couple of days this week. But while I've felt low and a tad sorry for myself here and there, I haven't resorted to P as a coping mechanism. Which I'm proud of.

A hell of a long way still to go before I could claim to be rid of this habit, but the journey has started out well and I'm continuing to find it useful to write a few words about my progress on here from time to time (I'm not sure it makes for particularly interesting reading for others, but hey - this is for me).

Start making changes today if you can. Doesn't matter how small. You'll feel better.

Greenzebra

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2019, 09:07:17 PM »
Hey Change,

Keep with it. You're off to an awesome start and you'll find there will be those tough times. Just keep remembering that youre improving yourself.

Im in counseling for myself, with my partner and im also going to group meetings. If you can, use as many methods as hou can. A mixed approach helps best. I find this site is awesome but is tough when you really just need to call someone and talk.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Change2019

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2019, 01:05:04 PM »
I appreciated the note of encouragement from Greenzebra above - thanks.

Somewhat dispiritingly, this entry - the first in a while - is to acknowledge a lapse, on a few occasions over the past couple of days. It was triggered by the usual suspects (extreme fatigue, trouble sleeping, work stress) in a context of feeling overwhelmed by commitments in my professional and personal life. That, and neglecting self care: exercise, sleep, balancing long work hours with a decent amount of down time and relaxation with friends and family.

But the good news is that I successfully completed one month without once looking at porn, and I'm philosophical (rather than angry and frustrated, as I would have been in the past) in response to this latest setback. I'm interested from an intellectual / curious standpoint as to what led me to lapse and I feel optimistic about getting back on the right track, however disappointed I might be with myself in the present moment.

If you're reading this and facing a setback, I wish you luck in overcoming it and moving to a more positive outlook. That's why I'll be trying to do as I get with the programme again during the week ahead.

Take care

Change2019

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Re: Time for a change
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2019, 02:28:16 PM »
My previous entry was to acknowledge a lapse. I'm now doing better again and find myself a few days into a new phase without porn.

Like so many others, the triggers tend to be tiredness, alcohol, feelings of loneliness or low self worth, or a perceived rejection. Any strong emotion (even a positive one, which I don't know how to handle) can make me feel like I want to use pornography. Little by little I'm improving my understanding of this unhealthy dynamic.

The most helpful behaviours for me are exercise, good sleep hygiene (including not looking at screens in the hour or two before I go to bed), and ensuring I balance my natural tendency towards working way too hard with appropriate self care and making time for hobbies and interests.

Today I went through a slightly frantic phase and am only now managing to calm my thoughts and get some perspective. Tomorrow I will run a half-marathon (the first in a while) and hopefully get running and fitness back on track.

After signing off on here I'm going to tidy my apartment and prepare for the week ahead.

Good luck to all of you reading this.