Author Topic: Back on the wagon, part 3  (Read 316 times)

PE30

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Back on the wagon, part 3
« on: May 12, 2020, 05:25:01 AM »
Hi all

I've been here before. For those of you who are new: I'm 40, British, married with two children. I have had a long-term issue with using chat rooms, and a lesser (but connected) issue with pornography. I have been three months, six months, eight months clean, but fell off the wagon in March last year. (Looking back, the triggers were my dad getting remarried, plus work difficulties, but still).

To complicate matters: in 2013 I embarked on an affair with a woman who (whilst still overage) was a lot younger than me. It was mainly conducted online but we met up three times and slept together on one occasion. I lied to her about my marital status and I traumatised her severely when the truth came out. Every so often, she pops up and tells me what an awful person I am. My wife is aware of the full, ugly truth of it all.

I'm not the same person I was in 2013, and I've never repeated the same mistake, but I'm not the person I want to be. I have let my faith in God slide and have indulged myself too many times.

My aim is to stay clean, one day at a time, but crucially:
- to root out the insecurity and neediness that leads me to chat rooms;
- to grow as a child of God, as a husband and as a father.

I feel like I made excellent progress in 2017-19 and I want to build on that. To accept my failures and weaknesses but not let them rule me.

Today is day four. The first three days have been incredibly rocky and there have been times where I have wondered whether I have the strength to continue. I have been crying loads. Today has been a little easier though.

I'd really appreciate your prayers, guidance, support and encouragement as I go at this again, afresh.

Clean since 8 May 2020

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2020, 08:32:40 AM »
The early days of a reboot are tough aren't they?

My main emotion is guilt: at the way I treated my wife and other women in my life, at the example I have set for my children, at the wasted years. I have achieved quite a lot in my life, am in a good job, have responsibilities outside work, but I struggle to see myself outside of the prism of my addiction. Which I guess is a surefire way for me to end up relapsing!

I guess it's a question of keeping these things in balance. I don't want to sweep it under the carpet - I need to change more fundamentally than I did last time, but I want to see myself as God sees me.

I am an addict in recovery - I have the capability to do this a day at a time, with God's grace and strength, and with the support of my wife.
Clean since 8 May 2020

Joel

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2020, 09:32:30 AM »
'The early days of a reboot are tough aren't they?'

The hardest! Nice one for getting on the forum and sharing your truth. I think sharing these things so we don't have shame and 'dark little secrets' is a great step toward recovery.

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2020, 07:50:13 AM »
Day 5

A few thoughts:

1. The dark thoughts tend to be strongest in the morning. I wake up and then I remember everything negative. However, the bleakest days are the early ones. I was walking round our local supermarket in tears on Monday - just overwhelmed.
2. Part of that is guilt at the lost years, and guilt at the hurt I've caused, but part of it is just chemical re-balancing.
3. Lockdown has made this reboot harder, in that there's less to distract me. It's less about temptation to relapse and more about the ability to regulate my mood.
4. It's also made me realise how few close friends I have, and how that's a big gap in my life.

Still, it's just the passing of time.
Clean since 8 May 2020

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2020, 01:09:14 PM »
Day 6

Not too much to report today. Feelings of shame and horror are slightly less severe today. Been quite busy at work, which is helping.

I'm going to try, as part of this process, to work on my mindset. I have an ingrained feeling of inadequacy, which I think leads to me pursuing women on chat rooms. I am adequate though. At least, in Christ I am.
Clean since 8 May 2020

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2020, 12:39:52 AM »
Day 8

Made it through my first week... Work is significantly busier at the moment so that's keeping the negative thoughts at bay. Feel like I need to pray more, my life isn't where I think it should be.

It's amazing to think how this addiction sucks it out of you. When relapsed, I'd probably be sat up til 2 or 2am chatting with people. Now it's 6.38am and although I can't sleep, I've had seven hours uninterrupted and I'm lying guilt free next to the woman I love.

Sex life isn't there at the moment but that's down to medical reasons on her part. It should pass. I don't think it does me any harm to live life for a while with no sex or masturbation.
Clean since 8 May 2020

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2020, 08:20:54 AM »
Day 9

Well it's been a really nice weekend. Had some time out of the house with the girls, even had a picnic today, cooked some nice Chinese food for the family last night. I'm starting to feel a little bit more like my normal self - the initial feelings of dread and sadness are starting to fade.

I've also booked a week off at the end of next week. I know that it's difficult to make too many plans in the circumstances, but I need the time away from my laptop for my own personal wellbeing.

Temptations are always there but I'm resisting
Clean since 8 May 2020

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2020, 01:16:57 AM »
Day 11 here

Things are usually pretty busy during a working week. With all this COVID work I'm typically logging on at around 7 / 7.15am and am generally not done til 6 or even 6.30. Makes for a long day!

Temptation still lurks but I feel like I build momentum as I get into a reboot.

In terms of positive effects: I definitely feel closer to my wife at the moment and am improving our connection. It's not that I'm a terrible husband when I relapse - we still have sex, we have fun conversations and meals together - but I know that I am constantly straining to please two masters (as it says in the Bible).

I also feel that, after the first week (of feeling pretty rubbish and stressed) my overall wellbeing levels are returning to a better level than they were. Chat room addiction brings with it this cheap and intense high, but the calmness of being 'clean' is a much more pleasant feeling.
Clean since 8 May 2020

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2020, 03:43:23 PM »
Day 15

Not an awful lot to report. Am on a week's leave now, which is nice. Obviously we can't go anywhere because of lockdown but we're trying to have a holiday at home, the best we can. It's been quite sweet actually.

Still have these awful pangs of guilt and shame but maybe they can be a motivational factor to stay clean.
Clean since 8 May 2020

jixu

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2020, 07:07:43 AM »
Good job on the 15 days.  Hope you enjoy your week off.  I know what you mean about limited places you can go but you can still create something enjoyable.  Yesterday we just grabbed some snacks and headed out into nature for a few hours-it was great.  Sometimes the simple things can be so nice.   Keep up the good work!

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2020, 04:23:54 PM »
Thanks jixu :)

Day 18

Things are okay here. Still on a week's holiday - enjoying time with the family. Was aware today of how I was looking at women on the beach. It's horrid how the mind tries to take you back to the sources of pleasure...

On the plus side, things are very good between my wife and I. We've been talking lots, getting over some old conflicts, having sex, enjoying life. I guess that's the antidote to all this: finding positive outlets.
Clean since 8 May 2020

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2020, 04:17:42 PM »
Day 21

Not an awful lot more to report since last time. Made it to three weeks, which is something. Feels tiny. I just want this to be rid of my life forever, and my impatient brain can't cope with the balance sheet between the years addicted and the days clean.
Clean since 8 May 2020

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2020, 09:02:11 AM »
Day 24

Back to work after a week's leave. No massive change so far: still very busy. Had a lovely week off with my family though.

I feel like it's all or nothing for me with this addiction. Once I'm on a good footing, I'll make good progress. But when I fall off, I find it difficult to get back on again.

Anyway, am into week four, so that's something.
Clean since 8 May 2020

PE30

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2020, 01:52:59 AM »
Day 25

Feeling pretty shaken, to be honest. My wife received a letter yesterday from the girl I mentioned in the original post, detailing everything I'd done to her and the impact it had on her life. The contents of the letter bore no surprises but it made for incredibly grim reading nonetheless. I'm shaken up to know that she's managed to find my address - though thinking about it, it was fairly straightforward to do. I'm also at a loss to wonder when it's ever going to end.

I feel like I'm never going to see the end of this: that my life is permanently ruined by the actions I took six years ago.

I know that suicide is not the best way out of this, but the thought keeps popping up in my mind.
Clean since 8 May 2020

UKGuy

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2020, 11:35:17 AM »
Hi there PE30,
I hope you are feeling a little better than when you wrote your last post. I can only begin to imagine what an unwelcome development that situation was for you and your wife.
Whilst I am not a health professional, it feels as if you have a range of issues to deal with, and that the PMO aspect has in the past added to your problems (as it led to the incidents with the girl), and continues to be an avenue of escape that is open to you in avoiding your thoughts and emotions.
That said it appears as if there are issues aside from PMO which also need to be addressed separately to achieve a state where you and your wife can find full peace, love and trust, and also resolve the issue of this past situation continuing to come back and cause disruption in your life, but do so in a way that is sensitive to the needs of the girl.
I wonder if you and your wife are receiving any professional help or counselling to deal with the situation you find yourselves in at a more holistic level? It may help.
Ref the suicide thoughts, I've been in that place in the past too, and thankfully come through - you will too. But, you need to make sure you see your GP - suicidal thoughts are an acute symptom of depression and need dealing with. Once you've done that, there's a book that I can heartily recommend - Stop Thinking, Start Living by Richard Carlson. That book was a godsend for me.
Take care and I wish you and your wife well at this time.

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Re: Back on the wagon, part 3
« Reply #15 on: Today at 03:59:00 AM »
Thanks UKGuy

I've had counselling before, but I'm exploring the possibility of getting some counselling again. I do not feel suicidal any more and to be honest, the feelings only really manifest themselves after something like this. However, there's an underlying feeling of guilt and shame that I struggle to shake off.

I don't know how to make things 'right' for the girl. My wife has contacted her to express her sympathy for her situation and to tell her that I've been through a process of counselling and restoration. She messaged her on Tuesday and we've not heard anything back yet. Maybe it will help her to know that nothing like that will ever happen again. (I have slipped over the past five and a half years but I would never allow myself to go back to that situation again). The honest answer is that she is beyond my circle of influence.

Anyhow...

Day 27

I've been a bit up and down the past few days, as you can imagine. Clean though, and with no thoughts of temptation. My brain often feels over-loaded, but I think this is partly because of the stress of work, plus the stress of this situation.

My wife has been amazing through all this - she is so strong. Likewise I've been really open with my church pastor who has been really supportive. I feel incredibly weak but there are good people around me.



Clean since 8 May 2020