Author Topic: Orbiters Journal of Recovery  (Read 27284 times)

Orbiter

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #350 on: December 04, 2020, 10:46:41 PM »
Phineas808 - Well put! In our search for deeper motivators we can sometimes put too much stock in thoughts that could be more accurately described as 'neurological junk'. Having the mindset of waking up with 'I won't PMO or look at any adult material' and doing what it takes on that particular day to stick to it seems to be working well for me.

SebNZ - The pandemic has really put things like this into perspective hasn't it? I know what you mean with the desire to be more social, but from (repeated) personal experience I find I get into dark, anti-social headspaces when i'm in social company and exhausted from it at the same time. This is further exacerbated if there is drinking or drugs involved.

The reality is we're only missing out on a mediocre time at best if we're walking into it feeling like that. There will always be other occasions to catch up with people and I believe it will always be much more enjoyable & meaningful if we're in the right headspace.

Now if I could just learn to follow my own advice better...


Just came onto the forum after beating an urge to look at a video I last relapsed to. The urge is lingering but the worst part was surprisingly short. It has been a quiet few days apart from work and I am slowly starting to feel restored by it. I have been procrastinating on things I need to get done and my motivation to do much is quite low at the moment. Pushing through and working on getting something done for 15-20 minutes and resting in between seems to be a good pace for me to work at right now so I will keep to it.

Not much else to report so far. Wishing you all well.

Orbiter

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #351 on: December 06, 2020, 02:57:09 PM »
Hi all.

I couldn't update yesterday due to the forums being down but I unfortunately relapsed 3 times yesterday. It was some pretty serious bingeing.

I feel awful today but, if I can just make it through work today okay, I can at least be home after and properly sleep. So tired.

Phineas 808

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #352 on: December 06, 2020, 10:17:57 PM »
Hey, Orbiter.

I know that sucks pretty bad, especially all the after effects of that...

Get some rest, and try to assess what happened, analyze where you think things went off track and let us know...

The sooner you bounce back from this, the better. Don't make it more than it is... this stuff takes time to beat old habits and learn how to dismiss urges.

Hope to help in any way I can, brother!
My abstinence is currently at 112+days.

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EarthWalker

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #353 on: December 07, 2020, 03:22:16 AM »
No worries man.

Regroup, Reload and go after it again.

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Orbiter

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #354 on: December 07, 2020, 06:41:25 PM »
Thanks Phineas808 & EarthWalker

Yesterday was tough but I manged to get through it. Once I got home from work I went to bed almost straight away and wound up sleeping most of the evening & night which I clearly must have needed. I live in a relatively busy area of my city and, due to the easing of restrictions and Christmas rush, has become very crowded with lots of traffic. This makes even simple things such as getting to the store to get the groceries surprisingly stressful. At least for the next few days, i'm going to try and minimise this until I am feeling stronger.

I'm not really sure why I relapsed so badly the other day. Something just took over me and I couldn't stop all day. The only thing I can think of is just accumulated stress & fatigue which has been a constant over the last month or so.

I feel better today but still very tired. I'm hoping as I recover from the last relapse I can approach whatever it is that drove me to it with a clearer head and a stronger game-plan. I think I need at least a solid month of hard-mode to give myself a break. I feel like i've gone backwards a fair way over the last two months since my last decent streak.

Phineas 808

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #355 on: December 08, 2020, 12:43:17 PM »
Quote
I'm not really sure why I relapsed so badly the other day. Something just took over me and I couldn't stop all day. The only thing I can think of is just accumulated stress & fatigue which has been a constant over the last month or so.

I feel better today but still very tired. I'm hoping as I recover from the last relapse I can approach whatever it is that drove me to it with a clearer head and a stronger game-plan. I think I need at least a solid month of hard-mode to give myself a break. I feel like i've gone backwards a fair way over the last two months since my last decent streak.

Sometimes it is hard to pin-point exactly where we 'went off track'. For certain, the stress and fatigue may be cues that result in urges. But remember, being stressed and fatigued does not have power over you.

One thing we can say, for why it seemed to just take you over, is that to some degree prior, somewhere along the line, there was reaction to urges. These may be either in small compromises or even in reasoning for or against the urges, even in trying to resist the urges, all these feed the habit as we're nonetheless reacting to the urges.

For example, if it were that strong for me, and maybe I was giving in to them for a while, if I had a strong urge to look at say an unexpected picture, instead of fighting it, I'd go ahead and look (hopefully non-p). Not so as to indulge, but to take power away from the external picture. Then I would just breathe deeply, observe myself (like an outside observer), and- and this is so important- without judgement. Then you'll feel yourself come back into control. Then you can get out from what was causing urges.

What we want to do is take power away from external cues (triggers), and place power back within ourselves. Whenever we can give outside stimuli power over ourselves, we've already become weaker and made the habit stronger.

You're not going backwards, brother. Just assess what the difference between now and then is, and tweek your game plan accordingly.

I'm excited about the changes you'll make and future victories that you're going to have!

« Last Edit: December 08, 2020, 12:46:41 PM by Phineas 808 »
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Orbiter

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #356 on: December 14, 2020, 06:35:47 PM »
Back again after a week(?) away. Unfortunately i've relapsed at least four times since, it's not good but i'm trying to move forward. How I felt throughout the week was that i'd just 'run out of fight' and didn't have the strength or energy to control the addiction left. I ate take-out food because I felt I had no energy to cook and, if it was too late at night, I just wouldn't eat. I consciously avoided my journal & this site. I drank alcohol every night & chain-smoked. I showered only when I physically had to be at work. Didn't do any washing, let the house become a huge mess etc.

I basically just gave up.

By the time I made it to the end of the week, I was in such a negative, depressive state I could barely look at myself in mirror without crying.

Weirdly the two things I did keep up were the exercise & cold showers in the morning. The latter was not particularly difficult as the weather has been quite hot and the cold showers have been both relieving & invigorating (as has the exercise I guess).

I have pulled myself out of it over the last two days and plan to make this week a week of getting myself back from the brink. I did a large meal-prep of healthy food, cleaned the place and have committed to getting positive habits back in place. Next weeks challenges can come next week.

I think I am undergoing an important but difficult shift in mindset at the moment for the 'white-knuckling and putting all my energy to make 90 days' mindset to a more gradual, sustainable day-by-day transformation into a person who doesn't PMO. I have become quite good at 'staying strong' & fighting the addiction for one to three weeks at the time but my approach seems something that is never sustainable. It feels like fighting the addiction only makes it's pull stronger and the longer I stay away, the more frequent & sever the streak of relapses at the end seems to be.

I need to make the shift to something that is manageable and can last. I am still working out what this actually looks like but I think a fundamental part is getting better at positively managing urges as they arise. There has been a lot of great advice, both from Phineas with the AWARE and Shades 6 point plan. I think this is an area I need to start addressing and building into habit as I feel it is only then that this will actually begin to get easier & more sustainable. I think I also need to address some social anxieties & personal barriers that prevent me from healthily connecting with others. I have been reading a lot about attachment theory lately and, though i'd heard of it, actually going into detail on this has been quite the revelation.

For the sake of the journal, I should add I have not relapsed in three days.

Phineas 808

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #357 on: December 14, 2020, 07:31:41 PM »
Quote
I think I am undergoing an important but difficult shift in mindset at the moment for the 'white-knuckling and putting all my energy to make 90 days' mindset to a more gradual, sustainable day-by-day transformation into a person who doesn't PMO. I have become quite good at 'staying strong' & fighting the addiction for one to three weeks at the time but my approach seems something that is never sustainable. It feels like fighting the addiction only makes it's pull stronger and the longer I stay away, the more frequent & sever the streak of relapses at the end seems to be.

I need to make the shift to something that is manageable and can last. I am still working out what this actually looks like but I think a fundamental part is getting better at positively managing urges as they arise.

Congrats on 3 days, Orbiter!

I think that what you hit on here is key to becoming that person who doesn't use porn...

The difference you hit on is between fighting tooth-and-nail, white knuckling and simply dealing with urges as they arise.

All the lower brain, habituated to using these escapist behaviors, can do is send urges whenver a cue (or trigger) is experienced. But even at this point, you're still in control. If we just mindlessly approach our day, then habit will take over. If, instead, we're mindful, when an urge comes around, we can look at it nonjudgmentally, and breathe through it.

White knuckling almost expects that we'll be taken over by the urges, or that the 'triggers' have so much power over us, or that we're so weak, we'll succumb to the slightest leaf that falls on us.

Recovery or reboot is simply taking power back from 'things', from 'events', from 'triggers', from 'trauma', from the 'past', from our own 'emotional states', from HALT (a recovery ancronym), and placing it back in our own hands. That power is the space between urge and response, this is always in our power. And the urges, no matter how strong, how urgent, how life-and-death they may feel, can never 'force' us to respond any certain way. Use that space in between urge and response to change your life.

Here's a helpful formula:

Addiction: trigger/cue > urge + repetitious response = stronger habit/addiction.

Freedom: trigger/cue > urge + repetitious non-response, or a different response = habit change.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 07:33:56 PM by Phineas 808 »
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Orbiter

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #358 on: December 15, 2020, 06:14:09 PM »
Well put as usual Phineas. I think these are the things I need to take to heart and remember. The addiction will weaken once I begin to face the urges, mindfully & pro-actively change my response them and/or not respond to them at all.

Although a part of it, simply avoiding triggers and walking the tightrope of escaping urges & clinging onto days alone until the inevitable stumble & fall happens will not weaken the hold it has over me. The urges then become so powerful & all consuming I have to plan my entire life around avoiding/fighting them which in turn sets me up for the inevitable binge streak post relapse.

I think I have explored a lot through this year of the importance of changing my life & mindset, which I feel I have made progress on, but actually facing the urges & taking control of them is not something I have been doing.

You also made a good point of the space between urge & relapse. The way I have framed this addiction in the past is there is so little space between the two, the only way to break free is to avoid/run away from urges as much as possible and starve the addiction. But there is no change of behaviour or growth in this, it just becomes delaying the inevitable. What I need to remember is until I have actually, physically relapsed, I still have some control and, as difficult as it can be, there are choices that can be made in every step of a relapse to stop.

It's time to take the power back!

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #359 on: December 22, 2020, 06:34:53 PM »
I relapsed twice two days ago. Was able to resist some urges throughout that week but i'm clearly a long way from managing them without becoming overwhelmed.

Phineas 808

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #360 on: December 23, 2020, 10:30:48 AM »
Orbiter, I say this as one who must do the same in his day-to-day, especially when urges arise:

Don't manage urges, dismiss them. Don't even resist them, dismiss them.

Sometimes when we fight urges, we're really responding to them, and the habit-pattern simply repeats itself.

Acknowledge them without judgement, be aware of the physiological reactions (pulse rate, shallow breathing, etc), and then breathe slowly and deeply until the urges pass.

When or if the next wave of urges come, repeat the above. 

My abstinence is currently at 112+days.

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ShadeTrenicin

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #361 on: January 10, 2021, 02:18:29 PM »
Hey Orbiter,

Hows things 'down under'?


keep it up my friend
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Love yourself; allow your emotions, understand your emotions and make love for yourself your number one priority

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #362 on: January 17, 2021, 04:21:14 PM »
Thanks for dropping by Shade & Happy New Year to you all!

It has been some time on here so I guess I will briefly discuss how i've been doing recovery-wise. I took a break from the forum for a month or so as I felt I wanted to give some other areas of life my attention and felt the cycle of posting I was in was cementing my weekly relapse cycle I was stuck in.

So in brief, I had three great weeks PMO free and one bad week (i.e the previous week) where I had several unfortunate relapses. Amongst other things, I felt it was a sign that I need to return and seek out some accountability & support from you all again. I attribute the triggers/cues over the last week to anxiety about returning to work from my break, some difficult circumstances & problems over the holiday period, quitting smoking over this period & excessive socialising i.e too much alcohol, too little sleep, not looking after myself.

I have been fairly consistent with keeping the phone out of the bedroom but I still find I am taking my laptop to bed to watch Youtube, watch shows, listen to podcasts, read stuff etc. This is clearly something I need to stop doing ASAP starting from today. I've done it before with the phone so I know I can do it again with the laptop, I just need to start.

Over the three week period where I was clean, I focused on responding to triggers/cues in a way that Phineas has been discussing and, while I clearly still need to improve in this area, I felt like I am making progress in this area and this is the way forward.

Another observation I have found is when I am triggered or relapsing, I don't feel the 'rush' I used to. I remember in the past, I would feel the tension/energy swimming around in the chest and almost a tingling sensation in the brain when I lapsed after a long period of time, like a mild MDMA high. This is something I do not seem to get anymore, even after a period of three weeks. The relapses of recent seem to be purely behaviour based as I am often bored even during it and I don't seem to get particularly strong erections during relapses even after a long time clean anymore.

I don't know if this is progress or that i'm finally so de-sensitized that not even P does it for me anymore. I hope it's the former or just a long, aggravated flatline but more often these days I feel I don't really know where I am really at on this journey.

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #363 on: January 18, 2021, 06:59:56 PM »
It is day 2 for me today. I don't really know what to write in this journal entry today but I felt the need to come here and post something all the same.

My mood & energy is quite low as it usually is at this stage after a week of relapses.

Thoughts concerning the relative 'inertia' of my recovery have been weighing heavy on my mind. It has been so many years, so many people on these forums have come and gone, moved on to new stages in their life and i'm still here. I feel I have wasted so much time and squandered so much opportunity due to this addiction.

Am I serious about this? I FEEL i'm serious enough as i've devoted over 9 years of my life to recovering from this addiction but perhaps I am not. Am I simply not strong enough to meaningfully commit to this? Why after everything am I still here, still posting the same old thoughts and the same old story again and again?

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #364 on: January 19, 2021, 12:22:33 AM »
Hey Orbiter,

It's right you being here. I was all alone when i worked my cycles of relapsing and rebooting. Some people are here in this forum, talking about whats going on with them and others keep it to themselfes.
This fight differs over every period. Maybe it's more difficult in the beginning and easier afterwards.
In the end there's only one way: stop PMO and get your own brain back.

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Orbiter

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #365 on: January 19, 2021, 01:46:58 AM »
You're right. It's true we all have our circumstances and perhaps i'm somewhat projecting my insecurities of my current state of recovery onto this perceived success of others.

Thanks Imsor, I really needed that today.

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #366 on: January 19, 2021, 10:14:37 AM »
Hey Orbiter,

Recovery from addiction is a different road for all of us.  Ask anyone who has gone through the process and they will tell you a similar story.  Most of us don't change right away.  It's a gradual change over time through patience, work, and dedication to being a better person.  After reading some of your journal I can tell you do want to change.  Finding those triggers and learning how to avoid them is the only way I've been successful in my own journey.  That or having some compensating measures like taking a cold shower and lifting weights ;)

Good luck, friend.  We're all rooting for you and want you to succeed.
It gets easier.  Every day it gets a little easier.  But you gotta do it every day - that's the hard part.  But it does get easier.

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #367 on: January 19, 2021, 12:55:59 PM »
Hi, Orbiter.

These are very important questions you're asking yourself and your journal. The answers for which only you can provide, and the more deeper you ask, the more honest (to yourself) the answers will be.

Asking myself these kind of questions has helped the 'quality' of my own recovery efforts.

Be merciful to yourself overall, as to your journey. Heck, if I look at my journey as a whole, counting the times when I didn't even really try, it's about 28 years- almost 3 decades! So, how down should I be on myself? I can't condemn myself for the past, all I can do is be a better person today. But part of that better person is digging in, and seriously affecting my habits for the better.

(side note: my journey didn't have to take so long, had to find what works)

Good job!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 12:59:33 PM by Phineas 808 »
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Orbiter

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #368 on: January 19, 2021, 11:29:07 PM »
Thanks PDub and Phineas

You're right. There needs to be a measure of grace & self-forgiveness regardless of where I am in this journey. It is the opposite of progress/productivity to beat myself up over a relapse as that merely cements the cycle.

Today feels very similar to yesterday. Better days lie ahead though i'm sure.

Wishing you all well.

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #369 on: January 22, 2021, 02:50:12 AM »
Was tired, got overwhelmed & relapsed. Sorry guys.

Back on the wagon...

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #370 on: January 22, 2021, 10:54:07 AM »
You can do it, Orbiter! The sooner you bounce back, the better! (self-forgiveness is key)

Assess what happened, what could have been difference, what part of your plan you could change or tweak so that it better serves you.

Is it a matter of resolve? Dig deep to ascertain how you can be more sharp, more focused.

Walking with you in your journey!
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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #371 on: January 22, 2021, 12:15:33 PM »
Hey man,

Sorry to see your struggling with relapses - I've found sometimes it's impossible once you hit that weird autopilot stage where you just can't seem to stop, then the days roll into weeks and you beat yourself up about it.

Try and go for one day, be proud of yourself, then the next....after about a week the autopilot ( for me ) seems to get more manageable.

all the best.
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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #372 on: January 22, 2021, 06:22:32 PM »
hey orbiter, i notice that you started your journey back in 2017 when I had recovered and now I am back with a relapse. Trying to kick off porn is tough. Some people found it easier to kick off cocaine compared to porn. So that's that.

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #373 on: January 23, 2021, 03:42:32 PM »
Thanks for the support guys, it means a lot. Unfortunately I relapsed three more times yesterday.

Phineas808 - Practical & sound advice as always. To get back out of this, I need to focus on the practical and not fall into the usual trap of self-depreciation and despairing of recovery. That's what makes one slip become many. I have some thoughts on what I should be doing and where things are going wrong.

Aussie_85 - Thanks for dropping by and for your support. Though we didn't interact much, I remember you from YBR days years ago. Porn Addiction not withstanding, it's good to see your doing so well. I feel you've come a long way from those days, hopefully I have as well.

Spot on with the 'one day at a time' advice. I think, especially in the first week, the chaser effect is so strong throughout it's super important to stay busy, plan out the days and keep doing that at least until we've got a bit of momentum.

Akpal2 - I actually discovered YBOP and made the decision to quit late April 2012. In that time, though there have been moments, I have been unable to meaningfully recover in that time.

Last month I quit cigarettes after smoking (with a couple of breaks) for almost 20 years, though this might actually be contributing to my relapses, quitting an addiction like that is childs play in comparison to quitting PMO.

If I am to move forward, I need to stop dwelling on this sort of stuff though. At the end of the day, it's as simple as there's a habit I need to quit, i'm at point A and I need to get to point B. The past is the past.

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Re: Orbiters Journal of Recovery
« Reply #374 on: January 23, 2021, 04:05:48 PM »
DAY 1

As I stated in the above response. I relapsed 3 more times yesterday. There are a few reasons I can identify.

    * The laptop was in bed - I went three or so days this time making sure I didn't have the laptop in bed either in the morning or at night before I went to sleep. The relapse the day before started in the late morning, the beginning of yesterdays binge started in the morning. Both with the laptop in bed. This habit has been surprisingly difficult to kick. I believe addressing this will make a positive difference in staying clean.

    * No planned activities or routine on days off - Self explanatory.

    * Lack of sleep - The heat in my area of the world has been bad lately and due to the angle of my unit and the lack of air-conditioning, it is about 5-8 degrees hotter inside than outside, this extends into the night time as not enough air circulates through to cool the place down. Heat can't be helped but I need to find a way to start getting better sleep.

    * Relief - The week passed was supposed to be a difficult one that I was dreading. It was my first week back at work after the Christmas holidays and also the week where I sought out my health plan for some (long overdue) counselling. Both went well and the relief of stress probably lead to me relaxing my guard and my lower brain wanting to 'celebrate'

     * Heartache/closure - I have mentioned a couple of times in the past a good friend of mine who I have feelings for who has indicated in the past she may feel the same. I brought this up and asked her about it two days ago, she said she did not feel that way and it was just some harmless fun. She was kind about it and I feel I took it well but I would be lying if I said i'm not affected by this.


Identifying this is all well and good, and I need to guage where my head is at, but there needs to be some practical change. I am currently writing this using my laptop at the breakfast table, I will make sure not to have the laptop in bed today or tonight. Other than that, I am going to write myself out a checklist of activities for the day. I feel if I can have a clean, productive day today and get a bit of momentum back, I can at the very least put myself in a better position for tomorrow. If any urges come about, I will identify them in my head, practice the deep breathing and work through it until they are gone.