Author Topic: Reboot - My Journal  (Read 5053 times)

Amart170

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Reboot - My Journal
« on: April 01, 2016, 09:00:14 AM »
To everyone here,

It's frankly amazing to me that such a place exists.  It's something I've been wanting for a long time but was never able to bring myself to find.  It was a random "yourbrainonporn" youtube clip that popped up in my suggestions area that brought me to the web site, and from there to here.  In the hyper-sexual environment of the internet, I'm glad there's a place dedicated to rebooting.

A little about myself:

I am a single 32 year old male American who has struggled with PMO since I was old enough to feel a sexual urge.  I've had weeks where every day was spent with PMO, sometimes for a total of several hours.

I have suffered some instances of sexual-abuse, which probably per-dispositioned me for this mess.

I am a transitioning military man, going off of active duty and am now seeking a position with my state's national guard.

I am religious.

All these things above have given me a great deal of strength, but also shame.  Each one has taught me a set of morals and beliefs that have never jived with my addiction, and it was not until several months ago that I was finally able to admit to myself that addiction was even a thing.  I had bought into one of the myths of porn and believed that admitting an addiction to pornography was a way of avoiding responsibility, that this was just a lack of willpower and that I was just being lazy.

I've never made myself accountable to anyone else, especially during the many times I've attempted to put this mess behind me.  Having found this site and others like it, recently, I think I may have the needed incentive and that extra "umph" I've always felt I needed.

So here is my journal and my tracker bar. 

Today is day 1.

Wish me luck.

motojunky

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 12:33:31 PM »
Amart  - Welcome and be encouraged. Taking personal steps towards your recovery is good. I can relate to some of your story. Get educated. Talk to someone about your past. It is a battle that few are willing to take on it seems. Good to see that you are willing. Do not be ashamed, be willing and honest.

MichaelBrad23

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 05:35:14 PM »
Amart,

Today is my Day Number 1 as well. I think finding a community who cares, who understands how serious this is is essential. I have tried kicking this addiction several times but never had the support his community offers. If you haven't checked out the thread on Accountability Partners, I'm looking for one and would be happy to check in on you and encourage you.


With God all things are possible.

MichaelBrad23

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2016, 11:25:15 AM »
Amart,

Glad we can connect and keep each other accountable. I'm here for you.


With God all things are possible.

Amart170

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2016, 11:36:31 PM »
Things I've been doing:

Listening to music: 

I'd forgotten just how empowering and stimulating music used to be for me.  Since having given my time away from PMO, I've been filling more of my time with the music I'd forgotten I loved.  Mostly instrumental and what would have been considered "New Age" stuff (Celtic, Nordic, American Western, Enya, etc).  Since having learned that it's the dopamine my brain is craving (I used PMO as an escape from boredom, pain and anxiety/fear) I've been looking for more empowering sources away from my triggers and common habits and haunts.

Playing chess: 

The first night, I was still riding low from depression, guilt and shame over what I'd recently done.  I'd read somewhere that intellectually stimulating activities that helped form new neural pathways and remain elastic helped the individual in overcoming the urges and desires associated with addiction (brain plasticity).  Of these activities, Chess had been shown to be one of the better ways to improve the portion of the brain that was responsible for risk and assessment, something that was weaker in addicts.  It helped them to weigh the cost of the immediate satisfaction from giving in to an urge vs. the consequences of doing so.
I fired up an online game of chess and started playing against the computer.  I played over and over again, always loosing.  While I knew that the computer (even at the low setting I'd selected) had a better ability to weigh consequence, I was noticing that my ability to focus and think about my moves just wasn't there.  I wasn't even thinking about my moves, I was just responding to actions and memories I'd done in the past and firing away with "twitch" movements without thought.  When I tried to think about the consequences of my moves, I found that I physically could not do so.  I could feel part of my brain just not working.  My thoughts weren't even slow, fuzzy or "hard to think," I had lost the ability to reason and judge consequence for more than a couple seconds ahead.
That was a scary moment.  Later the next day, after a session on my rowing machine, I fired up the game again.  This time, it was only four games in before I beat the AI.  That was a spurt of dopamine, right there, let me tell you!  I just finished another game and it was only two games in before I beat the AI.  I'm able to focus better than I have been able to in quite some time.

Exercise:

I've been exceptionally lazy, of late.  I'm burning off my accumulated Terminal Leave (Military term: the amount of time-off a military member has accrued during their service which has not been used before the end of their contract and must be used or forfeited), which in my case is roughly 65 days.  That's two months of paid time-off.  I don't have to report in and I don't have to wake up at 0-dark-thirty in the morning to make it to morning PT (physical training).  Needless to say, going from a regular period of staying physically fit to doing practically nothing has not been good for my health, physical, mental or emotional.
I finally got off my arse and put myself through a workout yesterday that left me gasping and ready to puke.  It sucked for a few minutes and then kicked in that amazing after-workout high that lasted for hours afterwards.  My thoughts had been trained to seek after P for relief and release from stress, and while my brain was being dutiful and supplying me with these images, I didn't have any trouble ignoring the tiny urge to PMO because I was already feeling 110%.

Mindfulness:

Spending a few minutes each day just being mindful of my current self.  Finding a spot to sit down in a relaxed, natural position and find a blank surface to stare at (nice white walls in my apartment).  I then start posing questions to myself: How am I feeling?  I then let myself ponder how my current emotional state is sitting.  Why am I feeling like this/what's the cause of these emotions?  I then start looking for the reasons behind why I'm feeling the way I am.  Once I find it, I ask: Alright.  I feel this way.  Is there anything else that's adding to it?  And I repeat this process until I get to the root of my emotion.  I will then write that down and at the end of my mindfulness session I've got a list of what's really on my mind that I can address instead of ignoring and letting things build up until I'm so stressed for reasons I can't immediately say, that I seek out my go-to activty of PMO.

I've been on clean stretches before so I know that I've still got work to do, but this is the first time I'm really looking to build up a replacement to fill the space that P held in my life, and I feel pretty empowered for doing so.

MichaelBrad23

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2016, 03:20:54 PM »
Glad you are doing well. keep it up! I didn't know that about chess...I'll have to give it a try. lately, I've been doing Sudoku but that doesn't have the same risk analysis aspect.


With God all things are possible.

Amart170

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2016, 06:17:51 PM »
Day 5 (despite what the counter says).

There have been some moments of great weakness that come, images flashing through my mind, as my brain is seeking out the stimulus it once had.  Each time, though, I've been able to hold them off and not regret doing so.  When I do, I look back at what caused me to have this craving pop up and mark it down (finding more triggers).  Coming back to the forums and having a physical reminder in front of me of my desire to beat this part of me greatly helps cool my craving.

I was reading on Reboot Nation about the differences between mere abstinence and true recovery.  It was a great dunking of reality, kind of like a cold splash in the gut.  All these years, I've been attempting abstinence over recovery.  I've never really tried moving on, building something to replace what I've stopped doing, addressing the underlying cause for my addiction.

I'm a fairly private individual by nature but the extent to which I've been solitary has always been because I had in the back of my mind that I would first overcome this addiction and then go out and "live life."  Somehow, I always knew this wasn't the right way to go about it, but it never got put into plain words like when I read it this morning.  Thankfully, I'll be moving soon (couple more days) and the return to a place with more people than cows will help out quite a bit.  Greater access to the things I enjoy doing that involve people.  I'm also far more willing and desirous to get out and do something.

virtueorvice

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2016, 01:11:40 AM »
I was reading on Reboot Nation about the differences between mere abstinence and true recovery.  It was a great dunking of reality, kind of like a cold splash in the gut.  All these years, I've been attempting abstinence over recovery.  I've never really tried moving on, building something to replace what I've stopped doing, addressing the underlying cause for my addiction.

Good luck to you, mate! Recovery is what we need and a big step towards it, is understanding the problem. I am trying to devalue P in my life and replace it with higher, permanent values.

We all seem to have given too much power and authority to P, but there are better things in life.

I'm learning that if there's pain, I tolerate it without PMO! If there's frustration, I get over it without PMO!

Addiction is a symptom of emotional dysfunction. I need to learn to control my emotions and base my actions upon values and not mere emotions. So, having high values in life helps a lot.

zacfoo

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 09:11:04 PM »
Hey Amart, Glad you are here. Anything you need, just ask. We're here to help.

This resource has been really good for me, and it may help you towards true recovery and not just abstinence: http://www.recoverynation.com/recovery/recovery_workshop_contents.php

Just read the Orientation and you'll know if the workshop is a good fit for you.

Keep up the nofap. You are embarking on a worthwhile mission. Stay the course. Fight to good fight.

Amart170

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2016, 08:00:39 AM »
Day 8.

There have been some ups and downs during this time.

Downs, because while I am avoiding my known triggers, having them thrust upon me from so many directions  has lead me to the conclusion that unless I turn full hermit I will never quite be able to avoid them all.  Too many things out there in the world and my brain is too messed up, right now, from what I've done to it over the years that almost anything remotely sexual can "push the button" and kick in a desire for PMO.

Ups, because despite these times, I've not relapsed in the longest stretch of time since before I can accurately remember.  I've gone for longer stretches but it just feels so good, for now.  I'm aware of what's ahead and how much work I still have to do to re-wire my brain and it's circuitry into a healthy state, and of the inevitable struggles, but having hope for what seems the first time in ages is like having a light in the dark.

Just want to say thank you to everyone here.  From those who write in their journals, updating us, to those who post in mine with encouragement and to my accountability partner who checks in with me, thank you all.  During the times when I start to worry that my urges might be more than I can handle, just coming back here and seeing that I'm not alone in this struggle, and seeing my counter and not wanting to put a red mark into it, gives me intense motivation.

MichaelBrad23

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2016, 04:15:11 PM »
Glad to hear you're doing well and feeling good about it! I've found that the longer I go without and realize it, i am amazed that I feel so great!


With God all things are possible.

Amart170

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2016, 04:48:35 PM »
Day 11

I've come to the conclusion that I've picked a good time in my life to reboot.  I've moved back to my home state and working on transitioning into the national guard.  I've got a place to stay for now and I'm looking for temporary work until my new unit sends back out to be trained in my new position.

All this change is "stressful" but it's not anxiety that I'm feeling, which would normally lead to my downfall.  Instead, I'm feeling pretty optimistic and eager to start my new life in a new place, one where P doesn't have anything to do with it.

I've been going full abstinence, but it's certainly not easy.  While I haven't had the urge to M, I'm still experiencing the flashes of images and memories of P that come during my difficult times (mostly during stressful situations).  While I don't smoke, I wonder if this urge is anything like a smoker wanting to reach for a cigarette.

motojunky

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2016, 07:57:21 AM »
Amart170,

Thanks for your service in NG. Hope your training and new position goes well. Good job on having a positive attitude through your transition and battle. Don't worry too much about the images. About the urge of porn vs cigarettes .... being a former of both. The porn is much harder to kick. However I do now have more cravings for a cig these days. Your body is just going to reach for whatever will feed your addiction. Keep on strong. Battle on.

Amart170

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2016, 01:05:13 PM »
Day 15.

I have heard it said that the first two weeks are the hardest.

For myself, I've come to the realization that the hardest days when I do not adhere to my "new life."  To explain:

I've recently moved and I'm working on finding new employment for several months, as well as transition to a local National Guard unit.  I'm spending more time with my family and getting more exercise, etc.  Spending far less time at my computer and near the things which allow the ease of access to P.  However, during the times where I am in places or doing things that are similar (or exactly the same) as when I would PMO, the desire comes back.

I'm experiencing firsthand how the years of my addiction have programed my brain to think in a certain way.  I don't want P.  I'm not stressed, I'm not needing to cope and I'm not particularly interested in sex or stimulation, but my brain, convinced that it does, keeps sending the signals to "feed it."

Your brain is a wonderful tool, but I'm amused, aghast and a little afraid at how its biological programing works to sabotage my efforts.  My own fault for putting it in the state its in, but come on.  Conventional belief says you do your thinking with your brain.  In essence, your self-hood is contained in your brain and the thoughts in it are yours and in your control.  Now I'm seeing how this isn't the whole truth.  Part of my mind has been hijaked and isn't fully within my control and now I'm faced with the situation of having a stranger sharing my thinking space.

I am not pleased by this.

MichaelBrad23

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 08:54:07 AM »
Amart,

I know what you mean. Every time I have done a reboot after a while I find that I am once again in my right mind. a lot of guys on here call it a fog... sharing your thinking space with someone else is another good way to put it. I think it takes some time for that fog to lift, and while it's foggy, its hard to find your way out. Or it's hard to convince the other one thinking to leave. Sometimes you need help too. This is one of the reasons I'm seeing a counselor on this because suddenly I'll find myself thinking things that I am appalled at and I want to stop those thoughts as soon as I realize they are going through my mind.


With God all things are possible.

Amart170

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2016, 11:53:47 AM »
Day 21,

     I've been in the process of moving for some time now and have finally gotten a moving company in to take a look through my old place and household goods.  I've been staying in my new location (old home) and the change in scenery has really helped.

     What has not helped is running into an old "acquaintance" that I knew before.  She's the sort of lady who has very little filter and has always been quite fun to be around.  However, she's also the sort that knows all my buttons and enjoys pushing them.  Including the ones that lead back to PMO.  Fortunately, we haven't had as much contact as I feared and I'm completely surprised and pleased by the strength that I've gotten in the past days since deciding that I'm done with P.  Her antics do send my brain down the old tracks, but I'm finding that even when going down these paths they lack the strength of desire to overcome my current willpower.  When the urges pop up, I can acknowledge that they're there, say "hello, how are you, thanks for visiting, bye!"  Mindfulness is being of greater benefit to me than denial.

Amart170

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2016, 09:46:43 AM »
Day 26,

I have, unfortunately, had a reset.  Lack of proper sleep, some anxiety about my moving company, dates, and the influence of some old "friends" led me to situation where I was back in old habits and locations.  When I went back to my place I had nothing around to be accountable to, was very tired and ended up falling to old temptations.

Part of me feels the shame and guilt..but what is amazing to me is that I do not feel them as sharply as I have.  Yes, I "failed" ...but I didn't, at the same time.

There's been a shift, inside me.  I just went 25 days without PMO.  In the past 4 years, I never managed longer than 4!  During those times, after a reset, I'd bing for days to numb the pain.  Now, the pain isn't as sharp and though I still had/have the temptation to seek P back out to cope, I don't really want to.  I like the sensation of being able to say "no" after one of the hardest points in my emotional life (resets) and have it stick.

I'm discouraged because I let myself down, but there's this part of me that keeps repeating "25 days!  You went 25 days!" and lets me know that for someone who's been addicted most of their sexually-mature life, this is wonderful!

So, instead of thinking this a wreck, I'm choosing to think that I've only done this a single time within the last 25 days.

Here's looking forward to another 25, and more!

italianwanker

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2016, 09:49:57 AM »
25? well your record is better than mine  ;D

How was the explosion?   ;D

anewme

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2016, 03:58:20 AM »
Amart 170,

Now your challenge is to go longer than 25 days next time. Just look at it that way.

Don't feel like you "failed" and that there is no point going on, on the contrary, you have done an excellent job and it should prove as motivation to show that you can do it.

I just wonder what led up to the relapse? It might be a good idea to really analyse your emotions, state of mind and try to figure out what you were thinking and feeling at the exact moment you decided to "do it". This may help you to recognise when these moments are coming again in the future and you might be able to remove yourself from temptation if you recognise the emotional triggers.

Well done on the 25 days, this is not a step back, but a necessary "rest break" on the road to success, dust yourself off and keep going. 

Amart170

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Re: Reboot - My Journal
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2017, 11:22:18 PM »
Update:

  It's been seven months since I last posted my status.

  Since the last time I posted, I will admit that I fell back into my old habits and continued to PMO for several months.  It just felt too..easy?  Too "worth it" to continue going back and feeding my addiction.  My brain was "happy" that the "need" was being filled and it didn't feel like it was "dying," and the kick of dopamine and pleasure was as captivating as any drink or hit from an illicit drug.

  However, during this time, I never lost the memory of having successfully avoided PMO for nearly a full month.  I started becoming more active outside of my place and doing more things but none of them fully pulled me out of the cycle.

  Then several things happened in September.  One, I started college again after 10 years.  The course load and getting myself into the habit of study and scholastic work helped pull my mind away from my cravings.  It became easier to tell myself "No, I can't look at porn right now because I have a paper due in the morning."  This didn't get rid of the cravings but I was able to better manage them.

  The second thing to happen was the death of my longest lived pet.  She was just a cat, but I'm an animal lover and I'd rescued her from the street when she was barely a couple weeks old.  She lived with me for 15 years and went with me to 5 different states and more homes than I can remember.  Every other pet I'd owned had either run off or I had to give them up to someone else because it was better for them.  Seeing my cat growing older, getting sick and eventually dying on the blanket beside me was a sobering and saddening experience that broke up some of my "routine."  Something that had been a stable and well loved influence for just under half my life was now gone and I was not okay with this.
  From what I've learned, changing up your environment and life helps physically rewire parts of your brain, causing it to focus on things that are more pressing than feeding an addiction.

  September 11th was the day my pet died.  The day before was the last day I PMO'd.  It's been 114 days and let me tell you, things are..so different.

  My mind is sharper but I know I have a ways still to go before I'm "healed" of all the mental scaring I've put my brain through.  It could take several years, but instead of depressing me, that thought just makes me glad.  I have those years to go, years that am determined to make PMO free.
  I have far less guilt and shame, both for my life and for myself.  Locking yourself away and feeding an addiction only segregates you from life and people and turns you into something (at least for myself) that isn't human; its just a biological machine who's sole function is to feed the cravings.
  The odd times when something graphic flashes by, I can now make a rational decision.  The images are still tantalizing (its P, after all, that's what it's designed to be), but before I would have a mental block that prevented me from thinking and feeling and doing anything other than what my "lizard brain" wanted me to think, feel and do.  Now, this mental block has reversed.  When my body says "go for it!" my mind says (stronger than the desire) "seriously?  no."  My spirit is stronger than my cravings, now, but it's also wiser.  I know that if I give in, even for a look ("just one hit"), I'll crash and burn.  And that one hit is no longer worth the disaster it brings.
  It's taken months but I've begun to appreciate women again.  By that, I mean I'm seeing the return of natural attraction to real women instead of pixels and words and seeing them as human beings instead of as sources for feeding my craving.  I was too ashamed to go on many dates before (and I never cared for the dating game, anyway), but now...now I'm beginning to want to date again, and the unrealistic standards of beauty I'd held to because of the influence of P are swiftly melting away.
  Perhaps the most significant change is that I've returned to an aspect of health that I'd ignored for many years.  The Spiritual side.  While in the Air Force, we were taught to balance our health physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  My health was out of balance because of the importance the Spiritual held for me..but I was stuck in a life style and pattern that was at total odds with that which I believe to be sacred and it was throwing off all my other "healths."  Since September, I've returned to my church, cleaned up other aspects of my life, sought the help of spiritual leaders and with regular meetings and overwhelmingly warm acceptance and help, I've been able to find a relief and joy in my life that I'd long forgotten.

  I'd stopped coming back to the forum during the months that I was lost in PMO since my success posting because of guilt and shame.  I came back to give advice from my experience since then.  That advice is to not let the guilt win.  Guilt drives us to think we're alone in our misery, that no one else understands or could know just how awful our actions or ourselves are and it encourages us to hide.  Hiding is the worst thing you can do.  Hiding means you find a hole, a place where you are "alone", and in those places are the most dangerous for us because we're not alone.  Our worst enemy has followed us into those dark locations and we're at their mercy.  That enemy is our addiction.  It's ourselves, and being alone with and in our addiction will only perpetuate it.
  To those of us who are not guilty over our use of PMO for moral reasons, do remember that you're here because your actions have led you into something you feel you need help overcoming.  Its become a problem over which you have lost control.  There's no shame in admitting that (and I think our societies need to be far more open about the subject of addiction, in general), but addiction leads to the same thing I mentioned before.  Being alone.  It eventually boils down to just you and the cravings.  Get out.  Get help.  Its not a sign of weakness, you're not less of a man for admitting you have a problem.  A man stuck in a sink hole or caught by a flash flood needs help and it'd be rather foolish for him to not ask for aid, to scream for help.  Addiction is our body controlling our thinking brain.  Its a flash flood and a sink hole from which we can't get out without someone tossing us a rope.  Wherever you find that rope, from whatever source that isn't just as addicting, take it and get out.