Author Topic: Covid - an inflection point?  (Read 14982 times)

UKGuy

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #225 on: September 08, 2020, 02:44:43 AM »
Thanks guys - I really appreciate your thoughts and wisdom.

@Joel - I still do believe that the forum (or more specifically connectivity with others who I can learn from, share with, help and be helped) IS key to my recovery. Perhaps my naivety was believing that it was the final piece of the jigsaw - clearly there are some missing pieces still, but at the same time, I believe it is through the connectivity with others that I will find those pieces. The replies from you and the other guys are a great example of this for me. I know I need to shift my mindset and approach away from the counter and to the behaviours that underpin the progress to that counter, and specifically to strip ego out of the equation, as that was a big factor in my relapse. Thanks for the Dobber rec BTW - great episode. @Shade - the Dobber is the guy who hosts the 'Porn Free Radio' podcast that Joel and I listen to. Worth a look if you've not already.

@Liga - your line  'a big fat perv fest' made me laugh out loud! You are spot on about the role of our SO. I identified a few months ago that she could not be my motivation for change as anytime we had a disagreement, my motivation evaporated and that led to relapse. This was a different level though - as you say - it wasn't a disagreement as much as a huge disparity in my intention vs the impact on her (and her subsequent response to me). The situation you outline with your SO feels exactly the same, and I hope that you've been able to reassure her of your (and our!) intentions in being here. I like the line 'you're not bad, you're not good - you're just you, and that's all you have to be' - a great ego disabling mantra to have

@ntg - I think your words perfectly sum up what this community can be if we approach it in the right way. I am hoping that, like you, treading the middle ground in my participation here, with a little more humility, will bring benefits to all. I don't have to be an all conquering superman notching up the days and dispensing advice to others! As my mum says 'pride goeth before a fall' It certainly did!

Thanks again guys.

UKG


Joel

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #226 on: September 08, 2020, 08:55:06 AM »
I still do believe that the forum (or more specifically connectivity with others who I can learn from, share with, help and be helped) IS key to my recovery.


Absolutely

I wouldn’t say you had a lack of humility. It was more that wave of excitement that I could see you riding which was more what worried me. I’ve been there before, and that kind of momentum deflates at a certain point.

I really connect with the double whammy of presenting yourself to your wife and getting pushed away instead of embraced, then the forum perhaps hitting one of those lulls, and you (or me – as I’m talking about myself now really ;) ) not feeling the connection from it we’d like. As both these things consist of real people, we can’t get exactly want, or even predict what we’ll get.

Have a great day!

workinprogressUK

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #227 on: September 08, 2020, 12:31:24 PM »
I've never for one second thought that you lacked humility. You brimmed with enthusiasm and a compassion for your fellow sufferer. You still have that compassion, maybe even more now that you have a couple of new scars. You're still a source of positivity for me.

Joel

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #228 on: September 10, 2020, 05:58:46 AM »
Actually, WIP said far more eloquently what I was trying to say, whereas I was rambling all over the place. What he said!

UKGuy

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #229 on: September 10, 2020, 08:15:42 AM »
Actually, WIP said far more eloquently what I was trying to say, whereas I was rambling all over the place. What he said!
However you say it, I appreciated both comments very much. Thank you both.

UKGuy

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #230 on: September 13, 2020, 06:10:56 AM »
Hi all,
After a fairly significant relapse, I've managed to get 7 days under my belt. I've been using a completely different approach to my goal driven, count focussed strategy and although only a week in, the results have been pretty encouraging for me. I wanted to share the new approach with you.
Central to this is the question that LIGA posed earlier on in the week about being and remaining 'all in'. This is something that I've struggled with, not just with PMO, but many aspects of life. Enthusiasm, commitment, progress...strong in the early stages, but diminished with time as complacency and perhaps even boredom sets in. That sense of 'all in' soon can wane. I've also discovered that aspiring to a target only gets you so far - after 130 odd days, I was starting to feel that I was chasing a carrot dangling on a stick that was strapped to my head. I'd lost my sense of 'all in' and when troubles came along the lure of PMO was too strong for me. I then felt devastated and a sense that getting back to where I was (in terms of days achievement) was impossible. BACK TO SQUARE ONE.
My new approach dispenses with the target altogether (well, as altogether as is possible when you're wired like I am), but I've been able to put it to one side to the extent that 'bettering' my 130+ days isn't a primary goal, and therefore I am not presented with this huge mountain in front of me.
The 'one day at a a time' approach has never really resonated with me until now - it's not felt sufficiently progress oriented, but I've discovered that there is a power there if used in the right way, and it can also be an opportunity to regularly reaffirm one's commitment in a way that maintains that sense of 'all in' day by day - the caveat here is that I've only been trying it for a week, but my temptations have been pretty much zero.

The approach is this (A familiarity/experience with mindfulness/meditation practice is important to get the most out of this):

Each day before I do any work, I sit down to meditate for 20 minutes. I have a timer that splits the 20 minutes into 4 x 5 minute sections.

Section 1 Observe breathing, bodily sensations - become 'grounded' as you would at the start of most mindfulness practices.
Section 2 Observe thoughts, feelings, urges, persuasive voices regarding PMO (if present). Recognise those feelings as 'not you', watch them, be aware, but don't judge or resist them.
Section 3 Remind yourself why you took the decision to be 'all in' - your motivation to choose to stop PMO. For me there are 3 sections: 1) To be whole 2) To not cause pain, 3) To fulfil my potential. I have separately sat down with a pen and paper and defined what those points mean to me (important part of the process) and I dwell on them for those 5 minutes. For example under 2) not causing pain, I dwell on the pain that PMO has caused me -  sleepless nights, shame etc, the pain that it has caused my wife and kids - my grumpiness, absenteeism, the pain it could cause my wife and kids - my kids discovering me 'acting out', or perhaps the pain that I've caused other participants in PMO (e.g.: other chat parties) by acting out - engaging them in 'chat' which perpetuates their own addictions and adversely impacts their lives and those around them. There are more positive aspects in sections 1) and 3), but I've found that this is a really powerful practice that refreshes my motivation and sense of 'all in' on a daily basis.
Section 4 Thoughts of gratitude around those that have helped me in my quest (you guys, my wife, higher beings - if relevant for you), my gratitude for succeeding yesterday, and finally a sense of connecting with 'me' - the real 'me' - my inner self - the bit that knows the difference between what's good for me and what's not good for me. I finish this section by recommitting for the next 24 hours.
That's it. The golden rule - you have to do it every day. Let's face it, unless you're a Buddhist monk, mindfulness practices themselves often fall by the wayside when we're busy, or feeling fine. The power of this approach is in doing it every day. When you're feeling low, but also when you're feeling on top of the world.
Anyway - that's it. I'll keep you posted on how it works out for me, and if anyone felt inclined to try out something similar, I'd be really interested to know how it goes for you.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend chaps.
UKG
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 08:51:37 AM by UKGuy »

Leonidas

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #231 on: September 13, 2020, 10:39:55 AM »
I am inspired by your new approach to meditation... something I would really like to implement in my daily routine.  I believe section 1 is a basic body scan and 2 & 3 are what's called insight meditation.  I was once dabbling with insight but never got the opportunity to get into it much.  Lastly, number 4 seems like a great way to notch the session off, remembering others for their impact on our lives.

You're right about consistency: it's easy to fall by the wayside.  Maybe not the Buddhist monks, but even they have to deal with urges!!


workinprogressUK

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #232 on: September 14, 2020, 08:16:58 AM »
Sounds good, UKG. Whatever it takes to create that positive dialogue with your inner self.
I enjoyed some mindful meditation myself, yesterday, until the repeated thought that my baldy head was getting sunburned could no longer be allowed to float away :-) Wishing you a great week, mate.

UKGuy

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #233 on: September 15, 2020, 03:06:43 AM »
Nice cartoon Leon and I'm glad the approach resonates - let me know how you get on if you decide to give it a go. So far, so good with me. A couple of urges yesterday but subsided naturally.
WIP - sounds like a nice outdoor meditation experience with our glorious Northern weather? - mindfully remember to take a hat next time! ;-)
Take care all.

UKGuy

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #234 on: September 18, 2020, 06:06:52 AM »
Hi all,
Is it me, or has the forum gone very quiet recently? Not sure why - back to school, something else? Anyway, I hope it's a good thing and that everyone is well.
A successful week here in the sense that despite multiple emotional triggers - bit of success, bit of failure, bit of worry, a little disturbance in a few relationships, being told I've got moderate arthritis in both elbows, and some bloke threatening to stab me (long story - I won't bore you)....I've been very good, and little temptation to PMO. I'm attributing that to my new meditation regime, albeit I do feel that there is an underlying disturbance today in my mood - probably on the back of a bit of teenage conflict with my eldest daughter last night and me and my wife being on different wavelengths this week. The daily re-commitment affirmation at the end of my meditation didn't feel quite as solid as it usually does. I've got a nice afternoon planned with my wife - off out to Manchester to a have a few cocktails and late lunch at a very nice restaurant (belated anniversary), so I'm hoping that that will have a positive impact on my wellbeing.
Cheers all.

workinprogressUK

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #235 on: September 18, 2020, 08:24:44 AM »
Congrats on a successful week, and on not being knifed. Energy levels fluctuate, don't you find? Hopefully you'll find the strength naturally returns to your affirmations. Could be the last warm, sunny, Friday evening until spring, so I hope you make the most of it and have a lovely evening.

jixu

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #236 on: September 18, 2020, 10:58:19 AM »
The stabbing thing kind of reminds me of a quote from Mr. Churchill: "There is nothing as exhilarating as getting shot at and missed."  Take care out there!

mr.slurps

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #237 on: September 18, 2020, 05:35:58 PM »
Hi Guys,  Day # 6*  Notice the asterisk, it means days without porn.  I was relapsing so much that I was going down that sink hole of escalating porn. more graphic...
I realize that this is my inflection point to use UK's word.  I would get horny at 5-6 days and relapse w/ porn.
What I'm trying is a non-orthodox approach (sorry UK).  I still masterbate but the only stimulation is images in my mind. There is an amazing benefit-- I don't edge and finish in about 5 mins and that suppresses temptation for the rest of the day.
Now I'm not saying this is a permanent solution b/c I still have the strong temptation to delve into porn. Do you guys think re-wiring/re-programming works w/ this method?
PS I set a dumb standard for myself. "Mr. Slurp you need to have a decent streak going before you go back to the forum." That's dumb and you guys should feel free to unload on me for that.

mr.slurps

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #238 on: September 19, 2020, 05:29:18 PM »
Hiya UK, Please excuse my annoying habit of invading your highness'es sacred space. I'm like a ghost of xmas past, a benevolent ghost that wishes well for you.(Halloween is coming.)
Besides, it is fitting that you should be burdened by my drivel since you're a large part of why I'm still here. (Thanks pal.)
Today is day #7 of no porn for me.
I've yet to look at your streak.  How many days? Feeling well? Pissed off at Ireland? (No sympathy, the sun never set on you Brits beating up the rest of the world. lol)
Still meditating?  I am.  You're not going to believe this.  I'm beginning to research a trip of a lifetime to Myanmar (Burma), Calcutta, Mandalay, Rangoon and maybe Bangkok.
In some very attenuated way I may be able to blame you. (You're encouragement to meditate leading to vids of Buddhists.)  Maybe I'll send you a bill for some portion of the $8k which is is likely to cost.
Feel free to invade my journal.

Joel

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #239 on: September 20, 2020, 11:16:59 AM »
I like the new approach, Guy. When we fail, we need to change our approach; and it's all positive action - ie you're focusing on doing sth, rather than not doing sth.

But bummed to hear about your health diagnosis. Hope you're able to process it all - positive thinking and gratitude can go a long way.

UKGuy

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #240 on: September 20, 2020, 03:13:13 PM »
Hi all, and thanks for your comments, including hurricane Slurps storming through my journal (great to see you back and doing so well Mr S!).
Following my last post I had a bit of a 'slip'. The arthritis thing has caused me some worry over the past week, which in turn impacted on my mood regarding my business project. This, along with a thoroughly enjoyable and extremely alcoholic day out on Friday with my wife resulted in a hungover relapse yesterday (at least proof that my elbow is not entirely shot yet!)
All joking aside, despite this hiccup, I still feel that the daily meditation practice is having a real impact (I didn't do it yesterday incidentally), and whilst I made some poor choices towards the end of last week - mainly around alcohol consumption, I am attributing them in the main to a reaction to the arthritis thing which I need to deal with properly. Have a call with a consultant tomorrow which will give me some practical perspective I am sure (one way or another - but at least I'll have a plan of action).
I am taking great encouragement from the fact that the last 14 days (that was the length of the 'streak') were relatively easy, and that I feel I have grown and developed my plan and my perspective, despite the outcome yesterday.
So I am re-mounting my horse with a positive expectation for the days ahead. Wishing you all the best for next week.

3rdprecept

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #241 on: September 20, 2020, 07:04:45 PM »
UKguy you recently posted on my journal entry. I'm amazed at the depth of these journals with so many pages of entries.

Meditation on a daily basis has been an important part of my recovery. Remarkable insights and awareness can develop through being quiet and being still.  My understanding of how helpless I am to my PMO habit has become clear by way of my meditation practice.  For me meditation encourages me to live a more ethical and compassionate life. The downside of meditation is that it lays bare the intensity of suffering that is in my life. Acceptance of the suffering allows me to clearly see the causes and do something about it.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 08:47:51 PM by 3rdprecept »
I’ve tried to quit 1000 times...all I need to do is stop myself for today. Moment by moment if I have to.

mr.slurps

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #242 on: September 20, 2020, 07:33:22 PM »
Hi Guys,  3rd you hit the nail on the head for my meditation practice. I do get some great insights and it helps me to stay positive and avoid anger.
UK, I felt you lost some of your confidence from circling. Pal, even knowing you only on here, you need that. Maybe do something to get yourself all pumped up. like... "I make the best damn cornbread in the entire world! I dare anyone from England to challenge me. Mine is the best!!!" (all true lol)
You know what I mean UK.  Just get your edgy balls back to fearsomeness. You may be the best pencil sharpener in the world for all I know. hahaha  I know you pretend to be humble. But you need to beat on your chest like Tarzan for a few seconds. (j/k about the humility)
You may end up in my neighborhood. Lots of people move to Phoenix b/c of arthritis. Hope you aren't being distracted too much.

mr.slurps

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #243 on: September 22, 2020, 01:14:15 AM »
Hiya UK,  Man, whenever I fall off the wagon and (nearly) abandon ship I miss you and this forum. Like casting swine (me) before pearls. (That was a lousy joke but I'm not going to cut it. lol)
So man have you gotten your swagger back?
Do you make the best yorkshire pudding in the world? Even my mother's lame version was delectable.
I swear man, sometimes you are the glue that holds this leaky boat together and keeps us from sinking. (That may qualify for a Mr. Slurp's metaphorical hall of fame. hahaha)
Tomorrow, no porn for 10 days. I feel like thumbing my nose at the basterds that push the porn pills.


LetItGoAlready

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #244 on: September 22, 2020, 10:58:01 AM »
Quote
I am taking great encouragement from the fact that the last 14 days (that was the length of the 'streak') were relatively easy, and that I feel I have grown and developed my plan and my perspective, despite the outcome yesterday.

I'm really glad  to see that, despite the recent slip, you remain committed to your new regimen and perspective on recovery. It's an empowering feeling when you know you've found a workable strategy to manage the impulses and are no longer simply living in reaction to them. It's a proven road map you can come back to whenever you lose your way. As for your streak of 14 days, I think we're in agreement that it's the quality of your days clean that's important, not how many days you can string together at one go.

Keep up those positive feelings, UKGuy. You're doing great!

workinprogressUK

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #245 on: October 05, 2020, 07:24:06 AM »
"There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, it's own lesson on how to improve your performance next time".

I know things have been up and down for you recently, UKG, and you may not feel much like posting, but you're one of the most inspirational and supportive people on the forum, so I wanted to send you some support back. I looked up "triumph over adversity", because that's what we're striving for. There are lots of amazing quotations out there from people who've achieved amazing things. This one from Malcolm X worked for me. You're a learning machine. Keep soaking-up life's lessons and come back stronger. Looking forward to you posting again when you feel ready, mate. 

UKGuy

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #246 on: October 05, 2020, 08:04:43 AM »
Thanks WIP - you are very kind and I appreciate the quote too.
I think sometimes this process, like many processes in life, is about excitement and inspiration at times, and at other times (arguably most of the times) it's about rolling your sleeves up and making things happen for a sustained period of time. Or in this case, keeping your hands out of your pants and stopping things from happening! That's where I am at the moment...just quietly trying to get on and put together a period of success. I vowed to myself to keep clean for the whole of October after a few slips recently, and so far, so good.
I am logging in and keeping an eye on developments and my brotherly love for you all remains strong, even though my posting may not currently be as prolific as in the past.
Thanks again and best wishes to all.
UKG
PS: Everton top of the league and Liverpool getting thrashed - does it get much better?

Leonidas

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #247 on: October 05, 2020, 12:06:22 PM »
I knew there was a voice I've been missing from this forum of late.. glad you dropped by to share a word, UKGuy.  But isn't it great also, to not feel pressured to post and not feel the need to please others?  In a way, that can be liberating too... not to care too much.  And I believe this is healthy as sooner or later most of us will part ways from this online community... as sad as that seems.

Ah, football!  A distant passion from years past that's now a river run dry for me... but who knows if that will reawaken later.  Reminds me of an old legend, perhaps real or utterly made-up (we'll never know), that a trio of Englishmen were abroad when England's last 1994 World Cup qualifier game ultimately led to its disqualification.  Their angst and sorrow were apparently so great that between the three of them, drank in three days what the entire village drank in a month at the local pub!  The story made an impression on me back then, but again the sources are unverified and probably not too reliable... ;D
« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 12:08:49 PM by Leonidas »

UKGuy

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #248 on: November 09, 2020, 04:58:09 AM »
Hi all,
Since the end of my successful 100 and odd day streak, I've been going sideways. A relapse every 7 or 10 days. Just in the last week or so it's got worse. I worked something out last week that has backfired badly. I observed that when I 'skirt' around porn, or just consume 'regular' non interactive porn the loop just continues for me - a relapse every week or so. I know from past experiences however that when I do something that really conflicts with my core values - usually interactive P / chat, that it leads to a shame driven period of longer abstinence. For some crazy reasoning I allowed such a situation to intentionally arise on Saturday, specifically to create that disruption to my recent status quo. The problem was that in doing so, I exposed myself to a new experience (video chat) that had significant 'novelty' value, a massive dopamine rush, and as a consequence my head and desire to consume has gone haywire. I am also fearful that this 'crack cocaine' of an experience will lead to more of the same. I am therefore here, 2nd day clean, to recommit to the struggle and total abstinence of PMO/skirting/fanaticising/etc.
Wishing you all well today and this week.
UKG

Leonidas

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Re: Covid - an inflection point?
« Reply #249 on: November 09, 2020, 11:19:09 AM »
Well it's good to hear from you again!

I can imagine that all of what you describe is making you anxious about the future.  But it may help to remember this adage: non-linear recovery.  I think your example is a case in point of where things can go really, really well and then inexplicably turn back to the previous norm.  But the point is that you were able to put yourself above the unwanted behavioral patterns... therefore it's a state of being that is reproducible in the future.  Then there is the supposed theory of recovery that claims that this be a long term process taking 2 years minimum.  So is it just a question of putting in more time and just being patient?  I have an inkling this is so.

As for your fear that the experience was similar to a "crack cocaine" high, take care to keep fear escalation in check.  Excessive fear has a way of working its way back to fuel stress and anxiety which inevitably leads to the use of coping mechanisms.  As bad as the events that occurred to you may feel, the behaviors are NOT who you are.  So if you do relapse but practice not identifying yourself with the behaviors, you might harbor something akin to equanimity or self-compassion instead of fear.

Take care,