Author Topic: Resolved to conquer this  (Read 5061 times)

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2020, 05:58:59 PM »
Two weeks in the PMO-free bank.  I'll be counting in weeks henceforward.  But if I were to relapse for whatever reason, the level of guilt I will feel will be... drum-rolls... a big fat 0.

Hey Mr. Slurps, thanks for passing by.  I always appreciate listening to others' thoughts.  On the reading, I try, but I have been very lazy of late... perhaps because of the weather getting unbearably hot.  I have read Man's Search for Meaning, still have the book on a shelf.  But it's been a while... funny how easy it is to forget a book's material after one reading.  I would like to revisit that, for sure.

Meaning of life is where it's at: even if the PMO were still lurking in the background, it wouldn't really matter for me at that point.  When meaning is present, the whole perspective changes: you become grateful for what you have, do not become troubled by what you don't, and enjoy the simplicity of every moment.  Funny enough, when things become meaningful, the other problems have this way of 'magically dissolving away'... There's a reason why so many of us are stuck in a rut (with the addiction or whatever else may be) and seem to have a hard time finding a way out.  I over think it -- so I gather that many others are also over-thinkers.  It may sound enterprising to try to cultivate the skills of a Zen/Kung-Fu master to repel away the triggering thoughts... but the problem is that: A) it's a hell of a lot of toil n' grind n' sweat; and B) not everyone has the disposition to even want that.  And yet, a simple and elegant solution remains at our disposal: just figure out a way to get more meaning out of every day.  The rest of the pieces will fall into place over time.

I used to fight with myself.  A lot.  Never again will I commit another act of self-inflicted hatred.  So for me, the way forwards is: keeping the eyes open for an opportunity to discover something new.  And build from there.

Joel

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2020, 09:14:10 AM »
Well done on the streak, mate. Frankl is a definitely a shelf book - I've dipped into it throughout my life - just one of those books with lessons to be integrated into our lives.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2020, 05:21:41 PM »
Thank you for your words of support, Joel!

Relapse counter reset to 0!  Back on my feet for another run.  But before I tied up my shoelaces, some thoughts need clearing:

About a week ago, my drive seems to have dwindled.  By mid-week, I felt a negative tension with a family member.  I knew it was some sort of sour emotion the other felt, but she did not communicate why she was feeling that way.  Not wanting to push anything, I just let it pass.  Strangely, I felt glum myself.  And got this idea that watching a lil' video here might not be a bad idea.  Of course, knowing full well it would be a relapse.  But I am not 'fighting the fight', I am not after some vain-glorious campaign of accumulating 100 days or something like that, so I gave in.

However, the next day something curious happened.  My mood went to the toilet and stayed there for 4-5 days.  I went through the motions feeling utterly dead on the inside, in a haze of low energy and depression, seeing no point in accomplishing anything at all.  And that's when it hit me: I've been speaking about getting a better life... but I myself am nowhere near the kind of life I want to live.

The negative feelings arose from months of unemployment (quit last job in January to pursue coursework), then COVID, then applications to jobs and continuing online education.  But what I felt was that I was carrying awful sensation that it was all for naught, that somehow the career transition I was hoping for is really just a pipe-dream.  That I was too old compared to others in the field.  That I am not competent enough or not connected enough.  And here's another: that it might not even be the dream work after all.  Was I right about this choice of career change?  Am I sure it's not this other career with lots of adventure work or rather this one involving animals?  These hushy voices put everything I did these past few months into question, throwing me into a state of hopelessness and chaos.

Anyway, that is what I felt this past week.  Do I blame these emotions for the relapses?  Nope.  If anything, I am very grateful for having had the wake-up call.  And if it takes a relapse for it, then so be it.  All I know is that this is telling me to put a bit more focus into writing or re-writing a simple life plan.  What are the tangibles I would like to have in the next 6 months?  Is there something fantastic I would like to experience in the longer term, such as a trip or ideas for a community project?  Could I realistically choose to re-orient the career change again, or do I persist with the one I chose 5 months ago? The relapse is screaming at me for not having tended to this self-check.  Alright then.  So let's get to this long awaited self-check and draw up an update to the plan.

jixu

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2020, 07:56:11 AM »
Hope you have been able to get some clarity on the way forward in your career path and plan.  There is an interesting statement that is attributed to that great American philosopher Mike Tyson that goes something like this: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."  Maybe we have to implement planning yet simultaneously keep on the watch and be flexible to go with the flow and keep the eyes open, as you mentioned in your prior post. 

I never really switched myself, but things have been pretty decent overall.  Recently, maybe the last 3-4 years, however, has seen the stress level go all the way past the Spinal Tap 11 scale for sure.  I am kind of stuck but I have made peace with it and channel my creativity and other such desires into other areas of my life. Work stress is easily far and away my biggest trigger so I have to stay alert. 

I'll bet your career change idea was correct-now I hope you can continue on, even in the midst of the factors you enumerated.  Even just pursuing this career switch itself will provide you with skills for the future, regardless of the endeavor at hand.   Looking forward to hearing your latest!  Take care and you can do it!


       

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2020, 10:03:55 AM »
Jixu: your hunch IS correct with regards to the choice of career change I mentioned.  If I may elaborate: the choice I made was not some whim of the imagination, but more of a no nonsense tally of my strengths coupled with the field of application I would feel best suited for.  So this isn't a grandiose plan to become an underwater sea explorer -- although I must admit I like the fantasy!  Flashy work descriptions were always a bit of problematic fantasy for me... not in that they were bad work ideas, but that they kept me unfocused and seeking refuge away from what I was doing in the present.  Something of that sort might have been going on in my head... as a way to once again jump ship and escape.  But now that I am calmer and more at peace with myself, I can easily accept that craft does not define the man.  It is an important part, so it DOES matter to choose work that provides some degree of fulfillment... but I no longer believe one must be hopelessly in love with what one does. Funny thing is: it is like feeling a load off my shoulders.. all that pressure to find THE craft.

Mike Tyson's, aka "the philosopher"  ;D, quote is simple and not too deep... but it reveals something interesting: that for all the careful planning one can do, in the end we shouldn't forget that life is being played out in the open.  I like the idea of being flexible as things arise... something may happen, an opportunity might come up which is nowhere near what one planned... an yet may prove equally capable of providing satisfaction and growth.  Reminds me of the Romans: always learning from their failures, watching what others were doing better, making adjustments and trying again.  Empire was made possible by keeping a modest outlook and a flexible disposition to change.

jixu

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2020, 06:30:56 AM »
Being calm and peaceful with oneself in the midst of a major decision is a great accomplishment.  Sounds like is was well thought out.  Hope you will post updates on the craft quest once in awhile!

Best wishes on the other battle as well-take care!

Georgos

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2020, 05:28:14 PM »
"We must never believe that they are not watching our every move" - Fidel Castro

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #32 on: July 20, 2020, 02:06:37 PM »
3 days in the books.

Feeling encouraged today.  Dividing my time between study, reading and job hunting.  Most incorporate more exercise, for the sake of health but especially to feel the sensations of movement and flex out the limbs that have remained motionless in front of the computer.

Started reading more.  Got books out of the library, with post-Covid regulations, but possible.  It's easy to forget to make it a habit, but whenever it is part of my life, it feels great.  I'm keeping a watch as to how things progress and how that makes me feel.

Jixu: as a bonus, the craft can keep changing throughout life.  So even after passing 60 or more, there will still be room to try something else, who knows?

Georgos: Nice quote!  He was a brilliant orator, from what it seems.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2020, 10:46:04 AM »
6 days so far...

Feeling ok overall with the activities I set up around work.  Reading more, exercising more.  Finding some time to practice music.  But it is really the reading that has surprised me.  I am currently into Seneca's Letters on Ethics... I got to it from a friend's suggestion but also because of my fascination for Ancient Rome.

Work-wise, still have part-time duties.  But I have the worst of tasks, which is to organize material destined for a scientific article, which is the least likable thing but it must be done.  It feels like drudgery. but then isn't it true that the most amazing line of work can also come with its own thankless tasks?  This is where I need to simply "plow through".  A few more days of this and I'll be in the clear.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2020, 10:59:52 AM »
Had a brief fantasy slip on Saturday.  Part of the reasons for my choosing this journey was to veer away from engaging in those patterns of thinking.  It's no catastrophe, but a gentle reminder to redirect the course.  Not away from the bad, but towards something more meaningful.  This is day 2.

I have been sleeping poorly of late.  Today I am aiming to sleep early, get some much needed rest.  I have been thinking a lot about current circumstances.  Is there an idea lurking in the back of my mind that I have not given room to grow?  One that would dramatically change life, if only from a perspective-taking standpoint?  Why don't I imagine myself opening up to the widest possibilities, and accept an influx of ideas without rebuffing them outright, no matter how silly they may sound.  If I can be this week like a sea sponge, suspending disbelief and taking in as much as possible...  later THEN can I worry about wriggling out the excess water and consider the best ideas.

I always thought: turning around one's life is literally a book away!  (it reportedly did happen to a brother of a friend).  That's why keeping up with the reading is something I try to maintain constant.  But what if the greatest book ever written lay within?  And what if in it lay the best map, the one that can support my journey through life?  How would I go about finding it?

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2020, 11:49:50 AM »
Ok. A slip Thursday night so day 1 for me again.

I am finishing reading a book by a relatively renown local psychoanalyst.  There is a treasure trove of concepts that are exposed there especially relating to the male psyche... that stem from the ABSENCE of a good fatherly model in childhood.  The father's absence is either literal, as in gone from the house before the child was even born, or something akin to it... up to physically present fathers (but emotionally and intellectually absent).  If we were to consider sheer numbers for that range of 'absence' that would put it to somewhere around 50%..?

Well that would explain a lot of the modern man's plight: with roughly half the guys having had an inadequate or absent masculine role model throughout the crucial formative years, the transition to adulthood is incomplete or arrested as a result.  To share a concept that completely took me by surprise: ritual initiation of young males into manhood! I am paraphrasing this passage here:

"This lost art, once practiced by ancient tribes would have the adult males initiating the younger boys verging on their coming-of-age threshold... by having them go through a trial of mutilation!  I am not speaking of male circumcision here, but rather of a ritual that these boys would go through that would result in physical pain and suffering.  Mostly symbolic, the rituals' prime objective was to grant each teenager his rite of passage into the world of men, and to break free from the world of the mother."

Just thought of sharing it for now without trying to overlay my own interpretation of it.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2020, 09:24:32 AM »
Day 2

There was a lil' slip on Wednesday that resulted from fantasizing the day before.  I have been reading some important takes on the meaning of others' personal journeys here, and it would seem that I may have neglected personal accountability.  I have been mostly advocating for self-compassion... and for me, I believe it is absolutely priority number one.  I believe most of us are here because we've entertained a poor relationship with ourselves.  But if that is first, then personal accountability should come a close second.

Obviously, the challenge is set: how to become accountable yet provide oneself with sufficient compassion to move forward in life, leaving behind the old unskillful behaviors.  It's a great challenge, at least for me.  But to be successful at this, I must integrate both implements: accountability and self-compassion.  They complement each other and make it possible to address the dual nature of our species:  we're hot one day, cold the next; blissful on the one hand, depressed on the other; gregarious last Summer, lonely in these strange times.  Damn the duality!  But if it weren't for it, we'd be predictable bores, wouldn't we?!

I also want to remind myself of a comment I left on another journal that may well come in handy in times of self-denial:

I imagine inviting my 'relapse-self' out for a cup of coffee and engaging in a simple conversation with him.  How would it unfold?  Could I momentarily resist the urge to reject him outright... and just listen?

TheNorman

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2020, 08:26:13 PM »
Accountability and self-compassion: They seem like opposite sides of the coin don't they? You're so right, it's hard to have them both. I think the compassion has to come first. Know that the changes you're making to be better are because you're worth fighting for. Then know that in order to get better you have to own your mistakes and learn from them. It's nice to hear that message from time to time because we do need the reminder.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2020, 06:37:29 PM »
Day 6

Servers seem a lil' slow today.. it's Sunday, so that's got to be the reason. Perceiving a shift in my vision of the world: like a feeling that there is no desperation in trying to get to something or some place. The kind of acceptance and peace with the self that comes with the wisdom of old age (not that I think I'm wise... I'll have ample opportunity to prove otherwise!)  But something strange however: that I miss the feeling of not having that special connection with a lady. The kind I strove for in my late 20's and early 30's... which all went to naught when I got cynical about the whole romance thing. Remained cynical for as long as I could... then realize now that THAT is also pointless. There's nothing to be had by despising what one does not have, not even inner peace.

So moving forwards, it seems. But not stupidly and pointlessly for just recovery's sake. But more from a genuine need to want to change my outlook... not just on P, but on the grander scale.  Seated on top of a horse, one sees the world quite differently compared to standing on foot... something about being 'up' for a while was enough to inform me that my vision at ground level can be just as optimistic, if I let it be so.

Accountability and self-compassion: They seem like opposite sides of the coin don't they? You're so right, it's hard to have them both. I think the compassion has to come first. Know that the changes you're making to be better are because you're worth fighting for. Then know that in order to get better you have to own your mistakes and learn from them. It's nice to hear that message from time to time because we do need the reminder.
I love your two sides of the same coin analogy! It's very easy to forget that these two things are integral in all of us. But as reminders, we also have the sun and the moon, high tide and low tide, Summer and Winter, Mother Earth and 'Father Sky', male and female... duality exists everywhere! One cannot exist without the other.. and so it is with discipline and compassion.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2020, 01:04:11 PM »
Hit a wall last night: day 0

Old insecurities flourished, started reading stories on reddit and then indulged to fantasy MO.  That often leads me with a conundrum: "But there was no P! So why reset?"  I am resetting on the insecurities... because it is not the vision of a man I have for myself.  My vision is of one who fully accepts himself, does not try to hide behind shortcomings (real or perceived) and above all, who chooses to connect with others rather than opting for the solo route.

I've identified my problem is tied to a porn-induced fantasy stemming from an insecurity.  The other portion is desire for connection.  So now I need to address the 'how-to' of eradicating the insecurity (for if that falls, then so will the fantasy like a house of cards).  The other half is really doing something about connecting with others.  Covid-19 seems to be like the perfect excuse for not doing anything and staying away from everybody.  But there have got to be ways to become part of a community that meets from time to time whilst keeping with the safety measures.

TheNorman

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2020, 02:17:33 PM »
The fantasy MO is definitely the grey area that easily leads back to P, so good for you on calling yourself on it. Ultimately the fantasy and disconnect feed into the P trap and that's why it's such a struggle. I'm in the same mode of figuring out all the stuff that pushed me into disconnection and fantasy and address those, while avoiding places like Reddit that made it much too easy for me to dip into images and videos that were either triggers or full blown P.

Joel

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2020, 03:27:20 PM »
Yeh, such a tricky time. It's crazy, not for generations has there been a need to stay away from everyone. Hope you can find a balance somehow, my friend

ShadeTrenicin

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #42 on: August 21, 2020, 02:11:08 AM »
Hey Leonidas;

I too know the tempation of fantasy based MO (as in fantasizing about P or past P endeavours) and it's a slipperly slope. Does it activate the same neural pathways in my brain as just looking at P? Does this help the recovery? I've noticed that it's very easy to get lost in P fantasy MO and that you can actually binge on it.

So I think that a reset based on the insecurities is a good step; you don't approach it as black and white but as a whole because you recognize your insecurities as part of the reason why you watch porn.

Good luck I am rooting for you and I hope that you can find a way to stay safe but also socially active
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Love yourself; allow your emotions, understand your emotions and make love for yourself your number one priority

http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=17919.0

Georgos

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #43 on: August 24, 2020, 03:43:53 AM »
Hi Leo, I find you to be the most insightful commentator and journalist on the forum, look forward to your next update,

.G.

workinprogressUK

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #44 on: August 24, 2020, 11:31:20 AM »
The other portion is desire for connection.  So now I need to address the 'how-to' of eradicating the insecurity (for if that falls, then so will the fantasy like a house of cards).  The other half is really doing something about connecting with others.  Covid-19 seems to be like the perfect excuse for not doing anything and staying away from everybody.  But there have got to be ways to become part of a community that meets from time to time whilst keeping with the safety measures.

Maintaining real connections looks, from here, to be the easier fix than eradicating insecurity. Nothing you can do within the lockdown rules to connect or reconnect with anybody?

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #45 on: August 25, 2020, 01:40:55 PM »
Day 2

Had another one of those fantasy MO slips on the weekend, which came about quite unexpectedly as I had come back (refreshed?) from a 3-day escape to the countryside. The break was nice and the surrounding greenery brought me back to Earth (away from my own head I suppose).  But then as always, my neural tubing found a way to circumnavigate my conscious centers to have its own pleasure-seeking ways... Always fascinated by how clever and astute the brain, in its infinite capacity to outfox me, can figure out new solutions to new problems.  It would sell mother and shirt (if it could) for a hit of dopamine without batting an eye... but then thinking of my neural mesh in such a way probably isn't the kindest way of looking at my own pathology.  I digress.  All this to say I relapsed.  Anyway.  It's two days and an entirely new situation.  New job: pull up antennae and listen carefully for any rumbling noises... anything suspicious, report back to base camp.

TheNorman: I agree with the P-link... it is all the more obvious on the DAY of relapse.  Way I see it: MO to fantasy --> feeling of DISCONNECT --> SEVERE drop in mood --> more likely to resort to another compulsion (porn, drugs, gambling or whatever) to compensate.

Joel: Thanks for the encouragement.  It's especially difficult for those of us (myself included) who need to learn to socialize more.  The present situation adds another obstacle.

Shade: Difficult to answer the question of whether fantasy-MO = porn-MO.  Guess for now, nobody can be sure.  In my case, I believe the insecurity stems from porn's influence.  Therefore the fantasy-MO is of the porn-brainwashed variety.  What you said here:
"So I think that a reset based on the insecurities is a good step; you don't approach it as black and white but as a whole because you recognize your insecurities as part of the reason why you watch porn." was the arrow that hit the center of target.

Georgos: Much appreciated! I just love the level the 40's section brings... I've learned a lot from others.

WIP: Quite true.  I have a couple of friends on hand, but what I strive for are new connections.  A community service or volunteering opportunity might do it.  I could get off my arse and start looking for one but here I am bitching and complaining about it!  Come on, just let me do one call this week to some association and see how that goes... thanks!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 01:53:12 PM by Leonidas »

ShadeTrenicin

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #46 on: August 28, 2020, 04:52:50 AM »
Hey Leonidas,

Sucks that you're on day 2 but you are also back on the horse and back on here. That's a good sigh.
In hindsight, is there a specific thing/action that could've been done to overtake the course to relapse? As in could you've taken pre-emptive measures or a last minute fail safe?


Good luck Leonidas, I am rooting for you
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Love yourself; allow your emotions, understand your emotions and make love for yourself your number one priority

http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=17919.0

Joel

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #47 on: August 29, 2020, 05:59:12 AM »
I've found these lovely 'breaks' can be tricky. I've had really long holidays, where I've felt connected to the nature and earth, but I also spent the time reading nofap/ self-development stuff - but relapsed on getting home. Breaks are good to recharge the batteries, but in my experience, they are literally time off from the real world and the process of quitting P. Got to make sure we overcome those gateways that are bad habits, and that lead to worse habits. Have a great day.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #48 on: August 31, 2020, 01:49:08 PM »
Day 3

Another lapse in judgment (oops).  MO'd to fantasy, yet again.  I've been paying more close attention to sleep lately, and what I have observed so far goes something like this:
- LESS sleep tends to make me feel more anxiety
- sleeping late combined with online activity late at night seems to provoke fantasy-related thoughts... the next day
- sleeping 8+ hours instead of 6 or 7 has an overall calming effect
- if sleep arrives before midnight -> good omen for the next day

Have I been neglecting sleep hygiene?  Could inconsistent sleep patterns foment a muddled head and lead to poorer decisions?  I heard from someone whose been reading about health-related topics that the Dalai Lama apparently requires 9 hours of sleep to be functional the next day!!  While I am certainly not a 9-hour type, I can see the reasoning behind the rule that more is better (and earlier is better than later).

I will aim to hit the sack regularly no later than 11:30 throughout the week, hoping to get around 8 hours every night.  Effective immediately!

Sucks that you're on day 2 but you are also back on the horse and back on here. That's a good sigh.
In hindsight, is there a specific thing/action that could've been done to overtake the course to relapse? As in could you've taken pre-emptive measures or a last minute fail safe?
Hello Shade, no preemptive measures taken.  I think of this as more of a tactic than a strategy of avoiding a relapse.  The fail-safes are like a kind of "white-knuckling" which is a way to fight against oneself... so can be effective for some but not for me.  My current strategy is to give in (relapse) when the feelings are too overpowering... but to figure out how manage life so that I get a lot less of those 'rushes'.  Less time micro-managing PMO avoidance -> more focus on changing life for the better.  I have a feeling I will relapse more often than most others, but what matters for me are the life changes over the long haul.

I've found these lovely 'breaks' can be tricky. I've had really long holidays, where I've felt connected to the nature and earth, but I also spent the time reading nofap/ self-development stuff - but relapsed on getting home. Breaks are good to recharge the batteries, but in my experience, they are literally time off from the real world and the process of quitting P. Got to make sure we overcome those gateways that are bad habits, and that lead to worse habits. Have a great day.
Exactly what happened to me.  Thought it would be like a buffer against the odd urges.. but often found that it was the day after coming back from vacations that urges suddenly hit out of nowhere!

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #49 on: September 02, 2020, 10:20:20 AM »
Day 5

On Monday evening, I went to bed right on the midnight mark, but I somewhat cheated.  I had read some slightly stimulating material online which is not the smart thing to do right before bedtime.  So I ended up with about 7 hours of sleep, which although not bad, kind of set me up (with the evening's stimulating material) to random sexual thoughts.  As I needed to commit to a work deadline, I decided it was best to MO to rid myself of the thoughts.  Did not feel down, but noticed a loss of energy that spread throughout the day.  Was able to finish the work I had promised myself to complete and this made up for the loss of energy.

The take away from this was that the MO could have been avoided had I not insisted on the stimulating reading 2 evenings ago.  I keep thinking of the Dalai Lama and his 9-hour sleep ritual.  Today I am feeling a lot better, having had the 8.5 hours to recoup from the yesterday's accumulated fatigue.  My mind feels clearer, quieter and less inclined to seek out constant entertainment.  Totally recommitting to the bedtime by 11:30 rule.

Hope everyone is doing ok.