Author Topic: Tommy's Journal  (Read 44567 times)

ready2go

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #225 on: March 12, 2015, 02:34:59 AM »
Anyone who can squeeze any type of intimacy out of Las Vegas is some sort of wizard magician in my book.  Congratulations Tommy!


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Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #226 on: March 14, 2015, 06:54:43 AM »
Yeah, the only romance in Vegas (for me, anyway) is the romance my wife and I brought with us.  Otherwise, it's just sensory overload.  Though getting off the strip and out into the desert to hike was more our style and a nice respite from the chaotic casino world. 

So, now I'm home and I just need to call myself out on something that I want to be conscientious of.  We got a lot of great pics of our trip, including some fun photos of us wearing sort of a retro Vegas look for our vow renewal ceremony.  It's prompted me to go on Facebook a lot these past couple of days to see what people have posted in response to my wife's pictures.   I'd been doing a decent job of staying off of social media and I want to be sure - after having enjoyed seeing people ooh and ahh over the pics she took - that I go back to my commitment to spend little-to-no time there each day. 

While it can be a portal into porn for me, it's mostly just a place where I wasted a lot of time and energy, and also a place where I found ways to flirt with a few female friends which I since stopped and want to continue honoring that commitment.   So, as of this AM, I'm going back to my previous approach, which was to check in every day or two for about five minutes, just to see who has a birthday and to check the group pages for my meditation center and our neighborhood group to see if there are any announcements I need to be aware of.   Otherwise, I don't want to get caught up in what color the dress is, or who said what to whom, etc.  I see how easy it is to get reeled back in and I don't wish to revert back to that lifestyle.

So, I'm saying it 'out loud' here. 

Otherwise, went to my first 12 step meeting in a couple of weeks yesterday and it was a really resonant experience as we discussed how to integrate our life in recovery into our day to day lives.  In other words, who needs to know about our recovery and who doesn't, etc.  It was a helpful hour of sharing and listening. 


Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #227 on: March 19, 2015, 05:40:29 AM »
Hey gang,

So I find I'm on here less and less, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not.  I do find my brain drifting into fantasy from time to time, but there's been no PMO, so I'm still good there.  In fact, need to learn how to 'reset' my counter for a higher number goal without it starting me back at zero in the process.  Hmmm.

Anyway, as our buddy Lyon is doing, I am hoping to live offline more and more - I got sucked back into FB a bit on the trip to Vegas with my wife, as we took and posted some fun pics and I fell into the ego gratification of seeing how many people commented/liked them, and then kept going back to check in.  I need to cut that out - it's my gateway portal back into sitting bored in front of a computer which rarely ends well. 

My online meditation class for teaching at-risk/prisoners has ended, that went very well.  I reached my initial 90 day goal.  My wife and I are doing great.  The trick is I need to keep this positive behavior going and I want to strike a balance between visiting here, posting, and encouraging others, and getting the hell off my Mac and living life more fully.

Wish me well, and I really will do my best to drop by here and root everyone else on, or reach out if I feel like I'm struggling.  Because I know I will - this is an addiction and not one I've somehow "conquered" in 95 days.  There's more rough terrain ahead, but I feel better equipped to deal with it than I was even a few months ago.  I see what I have to lose, and to gain. 

Athena

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #228 on: March 19, 2015, 11:54:44 AM »
In fact, need to learn how to 'reset' my counter for a higher number goal without it starting me back at zero in the process.

If you sign into your PMO-Tracker Control Panel, you should see a link "Customize Counter Features" near the middle of the page. Click that link.

Next, look for the question that says "Do you want to display a goal?" You can adjust the number of days there.

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #229 on: March 19, 2015, 12:58:03 PM »
Thanks, PMO!  Done and done!  120 days, here I come!

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #230 on: March 21, 2015, 07:11:55 PM »
Thanks, PMO!  Done and done!  120 days, here I come!

Awesome, Dharmabum!

I'm knowing how you feel, after reaching my own 120 goal. It's like a paradox: I know I need to break away from here more, but at the same time come back on, and encourage as well as receive encouragement.

It's amazing to me that, while my habits have changed after 120 + days, my mind will still want to seek disengaged and escapist behaviors when the problems of life arise. This is less and less, but I can no longer let it catch me off guard.

Due diligence is still a must even at this junction.

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #231 on: March 23, 2015, 05:37:02 AM »
Hey guys,

It's been a few days, and I should really check this in to hold myself accountable and to share the underlying message as well.

So, due to our schedules, it's been about a week since my wife and I were intimate.  things are great, she's just on a different work schedule than normal.  I had a particularly erotic dream the night before last and when I woke up, I was all kinds of horny.  She had to get out the door to work, though, so she showered and ate breakfast.  I hopped in the shower and while I was in there, began to edge for the first time in a while. 

She walked in to tell me something and I stopped immediately.  She didn't acknowledge that she saw me (and it turns out, she apparently didn't) but I assumed she did and I spent much of the day feeling awful: guilt, shame, embarrassment, fear, regret.  All the things we're working so hard to escape.

But she got home from work and I could tell from her demeanor, she hadn't a clue.  I got lucky - not that she would've thrown me out or anything, but things have been going so well, and I've made it 100 or so days now without PMO.  But edging still creeps up on me.  I have to - HAVE TO - get it under control. 

Her work schedule will shift again soon and she'll be on a friendlier schedule, which means more intimacy.  In the meantime, I need to behave.  Mostly, I need to learn my lesson from this.

Saturday was the most peaceful day I've had in ages.  Sunshine, quiet, a book, walking around outside barefoot and enjoying the onset of spring.  No chores or work hanging over my head. 

Sunday was rainy and colder.  I was horny and thought I got caught edging.  I carried a load of negative, unnecessary emotions with me the rest of the day (until she got home from work) that were completely unwarranted AND not ones I need to be feeling if I am living my "above the line" behaviors. 

Lesson learned here.  It's good to recommit to my very top line behaviors, and to learn a valuable lesson without having to pay a steeper price than the one I burdened myself with.

Thanks for letting me share, everyone.  Even at 100 days, we're still susceptible to the burden of our disease, and reminding ourselves of what we have to gain and lose is a great way to keep that beast at bay.

lyon03

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #232 on: March 23, 2015, 11:03:26 AM »
Bravo for being honest DB. Are you planning to tell your wife about the edging? Or would it be a good idea to have an edging counter as well? Thanks for posting brother.

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #233 on: March 23, 2015, 07:43:51 PM »
Lyon,

I want an edging counter, but want to keep my PMO counter (now close to 100) intact, even though they are very entwined.  I think the slippery slope of edging will be harder to conquer than the full-on PMO behavior, and I want to celebrate my PMO progress separately from my edging challenges so I can feel like I'm getting the carrot and the stick, as it were.  ;-)

How did you add a second counter w/o losing the progress on your first one?  Is this a question for the admin?

Athena

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #234 on: March 23, 2015, 08:38:23 PM »
How did you add a second counter w/o losing the progress on your first one?  Is this a question for the admin?

Here is the answer:

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: May 09, 2015, 08:16:30 AM by PMO-Tracker »

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #235 on: April 29, 2015, 09:31:57 AM »
It's been awhile and I need to check in.  I've tried to 'graduate' from this board by continuing my 12 step meetings and daily check-ins with my sponsor, but I think I need the added accountability here, at least on a semi-regular basis.

I've been edging like crazy the past week, including going online to view some really borderline stuff and some in the shower stroking that isn't serving anything in my life.

Want to check that in, say that I recognize I'm stepping beyond my bottom lines -- it's not about a counter for me at this point, number of days, etc - it's about day-by-day.  It's about being accountable in the moment, and then stringing those moments together.

I want to catch myself before i wind up back where I was, wasting hours and energy on fantasies, videos, and flirtations that only undermined my marriage, my happiness, and my spiritual/emotional well being.

So, saying that 'out loud' and welcoming any feedback you might have, from guidance to support to a polite kick in the pants to stay committed to every resource possible to keep myself sober. 

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #236 on: April 29, 2015, 11:24:34 AM »
My last reset started by mo in the shower.  I should be clear that quitting mo was never my goal.  I simply wanted to stay away from p.  It worked for a long while and I thought I could manage it.  However, eventually p fantasy made its way into my mo sessions and eventually I was using p again.

This time around, I realize that mo has to be eliminated as well...at least for me.  I also realize that even testing myself in the shower is off limits.  Once hard, I cannot stop myself from m.  Also I tend to panic if it didn't get hard from touch alone and would think of porn to make sure it worked.  For that reason, my dick is off limits in the shower, except for a quick wash.

You have done great getting this far.  You could not have done so without determination and will power.  It would be a shame to let yourself fall back into the abyss...take it from me, I wish I did not slip back in the last time.  I am having to claw my way back out again.  Trust me, in case you forgot, the first few weeks suck.

Good luck, stay strong.

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #237 on: April 29, 2015, 12:22:34 PM »
Thanks for the kind words and timely reminders, Unchained.

Yes, the first few weeks are tough, and I've been edgy for awhile now.  It's a reminder to stay vigilant and that - for some of us, at least - the urges don't subside as much as they ebb and flow.  I can go a couple of weeks without feeling a tug to look at videos or linger in fantasy, then I find I'm compelled to delve in.  I get caught off guard and it makes me more susceptible. 

I'm gonna rely on all my tools to stay afloat.  Thanks for reaching out - means a lot, especially since it's been a month or more since I posted.  Still learning my lessons...

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #238 on: May 03, 2015, 06:55:45 AM »
So, I've had a rare experience the past two nights.  My wife and kids have all been gone to various events (movie, work, concert, etc) and I had a good portion of Friday and Saturday evenings to myself.  This used to be an opportunity to do anything from watching a couple of hours of fetish videos to masturbation to experimenting with self-bondage (yes, it's a thing). 

i"m pleased to report I maintained my sobriety and integrity both nights.  Last night, in fact, I spent the evening outside, eating a vegan dinner without any distractions on our front porch, really experiencing each bite of food and becoming aware of how often I live life without actually experiencing what I am doing.  I eat mindlessly, I drive mindlessly, I cook mindlessly.  It was good to just be present with an activity and let it wash over me. I take this back to my addiction behaviors, in that I always rush to a fantasy world when I don't want to deal with something (stress, boredom, worry), and it felt good to just be present. 

Then, I started working on my 2nd Step, in the SLAA 12-step program.  This would be the "surrendering to a Higher Power" which I knew I would struggle with, as I've gone from the certainty of a Southern Baptist upbringing to a more agnostic adulthood where the concept of God is concerned. 

 I wrote a few pages of step work and developed an approach - mostly steeped in my Buddhist beliefs - that feels like a good fit for me and adheres to the 2nd step nicely.  Mostly, it leaves the door open for possibilities.  And that feels good.

So, here's to behaving myself this weekend.  And checking in.  It feels good to check in.

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #239 on: May 03, 2015, 09:45:57 AM »
Great job, Dharmabum. Being in the present moment is what it's all about. Our former escapist self always sought to avoid the present moment (as it's not always pleasant abiding in what is), but sought it's escape in fantasy.

Breathing, awareness, non-attachment, abiding in the present moment- I think that's what nirvana is all about. It's certainly not in being 'hungry ghosts', endlessly seeking to feed a selfish and narcissistic existence.

Peace to you- you are not an addiction. 

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #240 on: March 14, 2016, 05:32:51 AM »
Wow, it's been almost a year to the day since my last post to this journal.  I've created a couple of new threads since then, but my presence has been sporadic.  Suffice to say, I needed to be here more often.  A lot of success, and a lot of slip-ups...many of which could've been avoided if I had chosen to stay connected to my fellow travelers on this journey.

I had a relapse of porn-induced performance anxiety over the weekend and had to tell my wife that I'd been edging quite a bit, surfing YouTube for fetish videos and mostly just spending way too much time in my head dealing w/ anxiety by fantasizing.  She was very understanding and the talk opened us up to a reconnection, which led to successful sex the next morning.   But, I hate the feeling of being 'right back where I was' with the disease robbing me of my sexual confidence.  The good news is, now that i've learned to be honest with her, the rebound to success is quicker than it was when I was hiding things.  However, I have to ask myself, "how many times are you going to lie to yourself about the damage that porn and fantasy do to your well being and relationship?"  After a streak of many, many months of success and confidence, I allowed the daily fears and worries of life to have sway, and chose to use porn/fantasy as a place to hide from them instead of confronting them and relying on tools like this forum, meditation, journaling, exercise, etc. 

It's amazing how many different keys I have at my disposal that fit the lock on these metaphoric prison bars, and yet I still choose to stay cowered in my cell some days, telling myself that darkness and solitude are my friends.

I say it again, I need to come back here often.  I need to share, I need to support others.  That's part of what makes me stay focused on wellness and courage. 

So, I know I've popped up here before and said, "I'm back" only to disappear after a few days.  That's the nature of this disease - at least for me - I rely on resources for a while then try to go it alone, but there's nothing about this disease that encourages wandering through the dense forest by yourself.  Because when I least expect it, it comes roaring at me like that bear that mauls Decaprio in "The Revenant", silent until it's upon me, then merciless in its determination to render me helpless. 

Good to be back.  Good to feel like I have another chance at stringing together days of sobriety and hope.  Good to feel like I'm capable of facing my anxieties and habitual thinking without the false comforts of porn/fantasy. 


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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #241 on: March 14, 2016, 08:22:15 AM »
Welcome back brother. Although I wish you'd moved on to greener (and more sober) pastures, I have to admit that I've missed your well-written prose. Here is a link to a g-rated video that reinforces what you just shared: https://youtu.be/PY9DcIMGxMs. Reconnecting with your wife is an integral part of recovery so bravo. I'm a firm believer that one of the main pillars of my own recovery was connection to this forum and its members. While my stated goal was to eventually stop posting here, that would be a bit like cutting off my hand to stop masturbating. I realized that as long as I could make time for nonesense like jerking off, watching mindless TV, or surfing Youtube, I may as well use my time more constructively by sharing here and encouraging others. So welcome back, share often, and together let's kick the sh*t out of your porn addiction. PORN IS NOT AN OPTION.

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #242 on: March 14, 2016, 08:32:49 AM »
Thanks, Lyon.  Your posts were always a HUGE inspiration to me here, and when you left, I have to admit, I thought, "Well, maybe this is a raft that we don't need once we reach the other shore."  I forget, with addiction, one is always in the middle of the water.  Shores are sandbars that are prone to getting covered up by tides we should anticipate but don't.

Glad to be back, grateful for the stumbles that led me back here, as I am wiser and stronger for them.  I feel a lot of hope this week, and it's been a while since that has been the case.  Winter, it seems, is a hard time for me.  The promise of spring, and of being transparent again, gives me reason to see the world through more appreciative eyes.

thank you for the kind words of support.  The metaphor of cutting your hand off to stop masturbating is an apt one, and vivid.  ;-)

Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #243 on: March 15, 2016, 07:06:28 AM »
Posting again this AM to get my priorities straight.  Yesterday offered its fair share of stress.  Nothing horrific, but certainly the kind of anxiety that sets off triggers for me to PMO.  Grateful that I didn't, nor did I this AM, which is my most precarious time.  I wake up, still too tired to feel like I can function enough to exercise, meditate, cook, etc.  so I sit with my computer, sip my coffee and slowly ease in to the day.  But for me, too often, that can be a slippery slope to start surfing. 

Today, I resisted that urge, but I need to find a way to not even invite the opportunity.  I need better sleep so I can wake up refreshed and not have to rely on a 45 minute grace period and a large coffee to get me to the point where I feel I'm ready for my day.

The time change doesn't help.  Here in Atlanta, it's still dark when I take the kids to school.  Ready to be greeted by some early AM Sunlight - that certainly changes my perspective, but ultimately, I need to not rely on outside stimulus to get motivated and stay disciplined. 

Those are my thoughts today.  I welcome yours! 

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #244 on: March 15, 2016, 01:41:55 PM »
Hey dharma, you just need to change up that morning habit.

I get a morning NY Times delivered and I have my coffee and sit in a chair and read the paper like we all did in the good old days. It's still leisurely and comfortable but it has nothing to do with pixels and the computer. I can quickly check email from my phone if I need to which avoids all the triggers: the old PMO chair, the room with the door I can lock, familiar bookmarks on Safari, etc. So the morning is no longer about the computer and what you might find a simple click or two in the wrong direction. Try something like that. Welcome back!



Dharmabum

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #245 on: March 17, 2016, 05:51:21 AM »
Thanks, Phase 2.  You're right - i need to create a new morning habit, I truly do.  I continue to get sucked in by a warm blanket, coffee, and my computer.  The first two are fine, but I need a book to replace the computer, because I eventually start surfing instead of sticking to sites that are deemed safe for my addiction.  Working on it.  Will continue to explore ways to make this work for me! 

thanks!

lyon03

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #246 on: March 18, 2016, 06:35:46 AM »
I agree with Phase2. Perhaps you should start your day offline and substitute your morning ritual with another ritual (like exercise, posting here, or speaking with a reboot buddy). If the internet is your heroin and your computer the syringe, is it fair to write that you've got to go 'cold turkey'...at least in the mornings? I'm rooting for you DB and look forward to your next post. Be well brother.   

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #247 on: March 19, 2016, 06:36:21 AM »
Yes, it would be healthy to spend my AM time away from the computer, especially since I am in front of it all day for work.  I need to create new rituals.  I'm in a meditation class all weekend and I am hoping it will create some momentum for doubling down on my morning meditation practice.  I am spotty on it, and sometimes an immersive experience like this weekend (hours of meditation over two days) gets me aligned.

The progress I can site today is that the shower is also a trigger for me to edge and over the past week, I haven't wanted to go to the trouble to get myself aroused, actually recognizing, "wait a minute, I have to work myself up to the point that I'm edging, it's not like I get in the shower with a hard-on.  Why am I consciously putting this effort in for something with NO payoff?"  Calling myself out on that has helped and made for shorter showers as well! 

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #248 on: March 19, 2016, 08:10:56 AM »
Dharmabum

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  If you read my posts and they sound like something that you would say, that's because they literally are something that you've said. 

Just say'n.

Peace and love,

Gabriel

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Re: Tommy's Journal
« Reply #249 on: March 19, 2016, 11:26:03 AM »
Hey Dharmabum,

Just a suggestion - you may want try taking cold showers. I think you might find it rather difficult to achieve an erection under the cold stream. The shower will cease to be a trigger; it will become a place of dread for a number of days until you habituate to it.

I have been taking cold showers for 6 weeks and can attest to the fact that they make me feel completely exhilarated.