Author Topic: Bringing it around full circle  (Read 5771 times)

Joel

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #50 on: September 25, 2020, 10:00:01 AM »
Agh, those dreams are the worst. Thanks a lot, sub conscious! I was having a few myself the last few nights but I think they've faded off. Sounds like you dealt with them well. Great work daylighting suspect behaviors - I do that myself and it's really powerful!

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #51 on: September 25, 2020, 07:26:18 PM »
Quote
Agh, those dreams are the worst. Thanks a lot, sub conscious! I was having a few myself the last few nights but I think they've faded off. Sounds like you dealt with them well. Great work daylighting suspect behaviors - I do that myself and it's really powerful!

Joel - Haha! They sure are. And to make matters worse, they sometime involve a current or past work associate or a mutual friend, which when I awake leaves me feeling not only triggered by the experience but with the sinking feeling that I've committed the ultimate betrayal of my wife. Kind of a dick move by my brain if you ask me, but I guess it keeps me on my toes.

With re: to daylighting, I usually put sexual dreams in the category of optional, since I can't really help that I'm having them. They do occasionally mess with my mood, though, and on rare occasions they have triggered some pretty intense fantasies, so I know I have to stay a step or two ahead of those situations.

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #52 on: September 27, 2020, 01:51:21 PM »
Day 1. This past couple of weeks has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, with the most recent dip occurring last night when I had some alone time with my wife, felt triggered afterwards, and then acted out by M'ing. P was not part of the equation, but that doesn't matter. P or M are both unacceptable in my book, so I'm turning the counter back to the start.

If anything good came out of this experience it's that I was able to think about the plan I've just developed and identify some of its weaknesses. One weakness is that I didn't specify a particular timeframe for holding myself accountable if I behaved in a way that crossed a line. Take yesterday: Even before the events of last night unfolded, there were a couple of behaviors involving objectification that definitely crossed the line. I call these "Level 3" behaviors because I consider them to be at high-risk for triggering an immediate or eventual relapse. I kept telling myself I would sign on to RN at some point to daylight these behaviors, but I ran out of time and decided I'd do it the next day.

With the gift of hindsight, I can now see that I was giving myself permission to come clean at my convenience, which depending on my motivation, can mean the difference between heading a behavior off at the pass before it's too late or allowing it to go the distance and possibly relapsing. So, as of this morning, I am committed to being accountable for Level 3 behaviors as soon as possible and for Level 2 (medium-risk) behaviors within 12 hours. I've made accountability for Level 1 behaviors optional because I consider them to be low risk.

This morning I am alone in the house, which is a rarity these days, but I'm not feeling triggered. If anything changes in that regard, I'll be sure to reach out.

Be well, all.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 05:35:57 PM by LetItGoAlready »

Joel

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #53 on: September 28, 2020, 11:14:58 AM »
Good work on the accountability. Can totally empathize with wanting to leave M'ing behind for good. The plan and systems sound great, stay accountable!

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #54 on: September 28, 2020, 08:47:32 PM »
Quote
Good work on the accountability. Can totally empathize with wanting to leave M'ing behind for good. The plan and systems sound great, stay accountable!

Thanks, Joel. It's amazing to me how long I've been allowing things to go to shit and waiting until after the fact to report a complete breakdown of the system. As I see it, a change of plans has been long overdue.

It's Day 2 and I'm pleased to report that I have not carried out any edging behaviors today that need reporting. However, it has been a long day, so I think I'm going to pack it in tonight and come back here fresh tomorrow.

Be well, everyone!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2020, 12:10:59 AM by LetItGoAlready »

3rdprecept

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #55 on: September 29, 2020, 06:55:06 AM »
Awareness of behaviors and my intentions behind them makes a huge difference in the quality of my life.  I find that in any given moment I have countless thoughts and motivations.  Recognizing the space between thought and compulsive action is where recovery begins for me.

I also have learned (through so much suffering) to withhold judgement toward myself for any particular thought.  In the past I would get very upset with myself for "thinking" a thought only to realize that just deepens the attachment to the thought and the process of behavior. Now I try to suspend judgement and any negative self-assessment that comes from a thought and just simply recognize it's temporary arising and passing away. 

So much of our thoughts and what goes on in my mind is an illusion that causes me pain. If I'm not careful the natural nagativity bias that my mind opperates on can quickly manufacture a harsh and painful world for me to live in.

I’ve tried to quit 1000 times...all I need to do is stop myself for today. Moment by moment if I have to.

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #56 on: September 29, 2020, 07:56:21 PM »
Quote
Recognizing the space between thought and compulsive action is where recovery begins for me.

Hi 3rd - Really appreciate your ideas here on how you are tackling your "countless thoughts and motivations." I guess, by calling attention to my thoughts in a very public way, this is my attempt to give myself more space between thought and action. I don't trust myself anymore to just deal with these thoughts in my usual secretive way given my track record. Perhaps some day, with a little more distance between myself and P, I will win back my own trust. But for right now, as you've said, I'm just focusing on getting through things one day at a time, one moment at time.

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #57 on: September 29, 2020, 11:30:21 PM »
Day 3. Work has been piling up this week, and so is the stress. Can't say that I've been great about working it out through exercise, but I've at least steered clear of triggers and triggering behaviors. This will be the third straight day of not giving into anything reportable. Now I'm looking forward to a day off on Friday and spending some quality time with my daughter. That will be my reward for good behavior.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 09:21:03 PM by LetItGoAlready »

jixu

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #58 on: September 30, 2020, 05:14:13 AM »
Good job on dealing with the work stress-handled incorrectly and it is back to faptropolis!  Hope you enjoy the upcoming Friday.  A day off and spending time with a kid-sounds nice, very nice.  Stay engaged and keep vigilant!

3rdprecept

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #59 on: September 30, 2020, 02:54:53 PM »
I'm on Day 4 and I can identify with the struggles with work LIGA.

I'm happy to hear about your planned day of and time with your daughter.  I hope you have a great time and it helps you to rebalance the joy and contentment that has been in short supply for us all in an early reboot process.

I'm cheering you on from the sidelines and right there with every step of the way.
I’ve tried to quit 1000 times...all I need to do is stop myself for today. Moment by moment if I have to.

Leonidas

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #60 on: October 02, 2020, 09:44:34 AM »
This past couple of weeks has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, with the most recent dip occurring last night when I had some alone time with my wife, felt triggered afterwards, and then acted out by M'ing. P was not part of the equation, but that doesn't matter. P or M are both unacceptable in my book, so I'm turning the counter back to the start.
Sorry for quoting an old post, but I found this interesting... because I also consider M slips to be part of the PMO package.  Inasmuch as the M elicits a porn-like fantasy in my mind, to me it makes little difference whether it's inspired from direct P-viewing, P-recall or P-based fantasy.

There is a BUT however.  Because M slips are 'not acceptable' this means that building streaks will get that much harder.  I may be asking for too drastic a change in one go, so for me, a more attainable goal is to reduce the number of M events any given month... and keep track of the monthly progress.  Building a 100 or 200 day streak might be doable, but in current circumstances there are so many things that can set us up to fail.  A person on a Sabbatical leave residing in a Buddhist Monastery with limited or no access to computers has their work cut out because the environment helps a great deal with that objective.

But back to our present reality: I guess it really boils down to whether we can accept that we are not infallible... that as great as it would be to not have to M at all, maybe figure out what would be a happy medium.  If 3 P-visits and 8 M releases a month were creating havoc and unhappiness, what would 1 P visit and 5 M releases feel instead?  And if that is not good enough, what would 0 P visits and 3 M releases (per month) feel like then?

Joel

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #61 on: October 02, 2020, 11:04:48 AM »
Good stuff, mate. Sounds like a really challenging time; hope the weekend provides you with something of a breather, and you can aquire what you need when trying times return (ie the working week!)

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #62 on: October 02, 2020, 07:11:57 PM »
Jixu, 3rd, and Joel - Thanks for your support. I really appreciate it. Taking the day off today was a good decision. It was much needed after a tough week. Wishing you all a restorative weekend!

Quote
I may be asking for too drastic a change in one go, so for me, a more attainable goal is to reduce the number of M events any given month... and keep track of the monthly progress.  Building a 100 or 200 day streak might be doable, but in current circumstances there are so many things that can set us up to fail.  A person on a Sabbatical leave residing in a Buddhist Monastery with limited or no access to computers has their work cut out because the environment helps a great deal with that objective.

But back to our present reality: I guess it really boils down to whether we can accept that we are not infallible... that as great as it would be to not have to M at all, maybe figure out what would be a happy medium.  If 3 P-visits and 8 M releases a month were creating havoc and unhappiness, what would 1 P visit and 5 M releases feel instead?  And if that is not good enough, what would 0 P visits and 3 M releases (per month) feel like then?

Leo - I hear you on setting attainable goals vs going "cold turkey." I tend to approach problems with scientific curiosity, and I like that about your plan as well. You're running with the hypothesis that exposure to P or M in increasingly smaller/less frequent doses over time will relieve some of the complications that people experience with a hard-stop approach like mine. That makes a lot of sense to me. But at the same time, knowing what I know about myself and my patterns, I'm not sure how well that would work out for me if I tried it.

I generally find that I can rationalize myself out of just about any "agreement" where there's a possibility of getting the reward I'm seeking. And once I allow myself the reward, my compulsive brain takes over and I sometimes end up sinking lower than I wanted to. For example, if I were to allow myself 3 P visits a month, I might give myself permission to binge for as long as possible during each visit. So, what started out as a quick one-off might turn into a 6-hour porn-fueled smorgasbord. Or maybe I'd convince myself that a "visit" isn't really confined to a single instance of porn use and allow one session to turn into several consecutive binge sessions instead. I don't know. I can talk myself into just about anything once I'm under the influence of the P or the M drug. I guess I just don't trust my ability to place limits on my use if I give myself permission to use the drug at all.

But that's me, and I'm far from an expert on the best way to recover. I'm just trying different things to see what sticks. My latest experiment is with upping my accountability when I see the first signs of a blaze - to use UKGuy's example - rather than waiting until I've got a 3-alarm fire on my hands. I only just started, so it's hard to know if I'm going to get anywhere with this approach, but so far, so good.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2020, 04:41:02 AM by LetItGoAlready »

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #63 on: October 02, 2020, 08:07:35 PM »
Day 6. I realize it's been a few days since I've checked in, so I wanted to provide a brief update. I was out in public today (always a challenge for me but especially in this era of sheltering at home), and as usual I had a hard time keeping my ogling in check. I didn't do terribly, or even badly. But I also wasn't a complete saint. So, first things first, I wanted to out that behavior. Based on how I've chosen to define it, at its worst the ogling was a Level 2 (medium risk) behavior, which is to say that it could lead to a higher-risk behavior if I were to allow it to continue, but I was never in danger of being seriously triggered (Level 3).

The other behavior I wanted to expose was just the feeling of being disconnected from my body at times. My little man decided to stand at attention at the weirdest times today, for reasons I couldn't connect to a particular trigger or event.  Maybe it's because I've recently come out of a pretty prolonged period of flatline, and I am suddenly starting to feel things again. I don't know. Whatever it was, it didn't trigger me in any way or throw me off my game, so that was good.

Finally, I just wanted to say how dreary my posts feel lately. Now that I'm committed to checking in and exposing behaviors before they get out of hand, most of my energy seems to be going to that and less has been going to the fun and quirky posts that I'd prefer to write... As I'm typing this, though, I'm realizing that there is a built-in incentive that comes with this new recovery approach: If things go well and I have little to report, then my reward is that I'll get to write about the things that I really want to write about. But if things go badly, or at least not the way I want them to, then I'm stuck writing a no-fun play-by-play of what happened. In that way, I guess, this new accountability system gives me an added incentive to succeed. I kind of like that about it.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2020, 12:17:35 AM by LetItGoAlready »

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #64 on: October 04, 2020, 12:35:17 AM »
Day 7. While I was out and about today, I managed to sneak in some side glances and a few second looks, so I’m coming clean and exposing that behavior now. Other than that, things have gone pretty well today. I spent an enjoyable evening with my wife rediscovering the nightlife that we have mostly avoided since the COVID restrictions began. It felt nice to be out on a legitimate date night for a change instead of being cooped up at home.

Be well, all!
« Last Edit: October 04, 2020, 04:49:34 AM by LetItGoAlready »

Joel

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #65 on: October 04, 2020, 06:34:07 AM »
well done on the milestone, Liga! Don't worry about dreary posts! the goal here is recovery, not most entertaining forum member of the year award.

I've started to go out socially too more lately. I've started to settle down to the idea of the new norm. Not much point in resisting the idea that this isn't happening.

Good accountability on the ogling. Do you have a plan/ system on how you might move forward with this?

3rdprecept

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #66 on: October 04, 2020, 09:38:47 AM »
I've found that self-reflection reveals not only the good but also the bad. Due to the clarity of my awareness the mental obstacles seem that much more daunting...I've come to realize that this is a good thing for me.  Instead of feeling defeated I appreciate that seeing whatever is getting in my way clearly (although it brings pain) is the path forward to freedom.

Keep up these posts LIGA and the system of quantifying and "outing" any mental obstacles that keep you from your goal.

I’ve tried to quit 1000 times...all I need to do is stop myself for today. Moment by moment if I have to.

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #67 on: October 04, 2020, 05:24:49 PM »
3rd -

Quote
Due to the clarity of my awareness the mental obstacles seem that much more daunting...I've come to realize that this is a good thing for me.  Instead of feeling defeated I appreciate that seeing whatever is getting in my way clearly (although it brings pain) is the path forward to freedom.

This is a pretty profound statement. As you say, I should appreciate the struggle more rather than feeling defeated by it. Thanks for helping me see it from a different perspective.

Joel -

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Don't worry about dreary posts! the goal here is recovery, not most entertaining forum member of the year award.

I chuckled when I saw this. If such an award existed, would any of us have the balls to attend the award ceremony?

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Good accountability on the ogling. Do you have a plan/ system on how you might move forward with this?

That's a really good question. Under my current system (if you want to call it that), I rate behaviors based on how much they might trigger me. With ogling, I use qualitative criteria to determine if I'm crossing into the danger zone. I consider ogling from afar vs nearer to the person to be a lower risk for being triggered. I also differentiate between a momentary look and an extended one, but that too is assessed qualitatively.

What has kept me from crossing the line so far, I guess, is just the idea of not wanting to commit a Level 3 offense and possibly triggering a relapse. This is really all I've been able to come up with in terms of behavior modification. Otherwise, I've had limited success with mantras and other diversionary tactics like twisting my wedding ring to remind myself that I'm married. Perhaps there are other strategies that I’m overlooking?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 10:12:40 AM by LetItGoAlready »

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #68 on: October 06, 2020, 11:02:00 AM »
Today is Day 10. I haven't been in the best mood the last couple of days. Sleep has been a problem and depressive and anxious symptoms are starting to creep back into my life again. Had an argument with my wife yesterday, too, which is also weighing on my mind this morning, mostly because it didn't resolve itself peacefully. If I'm being honest, though, most of our fights are based on stupid misunderstandings, so whatever sliver of pride I would hope to get back by continuing the argument is really not worth the effort in my opinion. Sometimes it's just better to concede if my heart really isn't in the fight, which it isn't.

Other than the emotional turmoil that I'm feeling this morning, I have no urges or reportable behaviors to speak of and remain dedicated to staying PMO-free.

ToomuchisToomuch

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #69 on: October 06, 2020, 12:03:53 PM »
Hey my friend,
thank you for the post.  I have been in the same boat many a time in the past.  I believe that I know what you are going through.  But congratulations on ten days of freedom.  perhaps painful at times freedom, but freedom on your own terms perhaps?  You are taking the reigns of your life, and it sucks. 

Most of my arguments with my wife also begin with misunderstandings.  Assumptions from one party or both lead to breakdowns in communications and often result in arguments.  In hindsight of my own such interactions with my wife, I look back and feel like these altercations were so silly.  My wife and I started having weekly marriage meetings in the summer, though we have not had one lately.  It really helped us openly talk about some of the circumstances that lead to arguments and resolve some of those issues.  I was put onto the idea of Marriage Meetings through the book of the same name.  it really helped.  The only reason we stopped, in my mind, is that I am terrified of some of the more difficult subjects that need to be discussed.  My wife knows about my addiction to pornography but does not quite understand it.  There are things that need to be discussed, and I hope to build the strength to get to the point where I can feel comfortable.  I know my wife, and I believe your wife, loves us.  I know that I love my wife.  She is worth it.  I am worth it.  You and your wife are worth it. 

Stretching before bed, and maybe some breathing exercises might help with sleep.  I have resorted to meditation even for a few minutes, has helped.  You deserve a good night's sleep.  I hope that you get one soon. 

G

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #70 on: October 07, 2020, 11:31:24 PM »
Toomuch - Thanks. I always appreciate the support of a fellow poster who has dealt with these same issues. Fights that begin with a stupid disagreement and snowball into a full-blown argument are probably something most people can relate to, but in your case, it sounds like you have actually put a lot of work into your relationship and I commend you for that. I can also understand not wanting to be completely forthcoming with your wife, especially about your P addiction. My wife knows about my issues but has largely left it up to me to solve them. That probably explains why we don't check in and talk about them that often. When we do, though, it's always me that initiates that discussion, and it's never an easy discussion to have.

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You are taking the reigns of your life, and it sucks.

This quote stuck with me. After my wife and I fought and retreated to our separate corners, I had all of the usual hurt feelings - feeling pissed off, unappreciated, disrespected - but none of the usual outlets for those feelings because I was determined not to turn to P to numb them. And yeah, it really did suck to sit with those feeling knowing that none of my usual coping mechanisms were an option for me at that moment. But to your point, that's the way it feels sometimes when we "take the reins" and steer ourselves towards healthy behavior. It doesn't always feel great to handle things in a mature way, but hey, that's life, right?

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Stretching before bed, and maybe some breathing exercises might help with sleep.  I have resorted to meditation even for a few minutes, has helped.  You deserve a good night's sleep.  I hope that you get one soon.

Thanks for the tips. I've really fallen behind on sleep the last few days, so I'm willing to try anything at this point!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 12:38:44 AM by LetItGoAlready »

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #71 on: October 08, 2020, 12:20:37 AM »
Day 11. The fighting I alluded to yesterday has finally sputtered out, so things with the Mrs. are more or less back to normal. I also made it through another day without urges or reportable behaviors. It feels good to live another day free from this habit and be at peace (more or less) with the world around me. Be well, everyone.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 06:55:52 PM by LetItGoAlready »

TheNorman

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #72 on: October 09, 2020, 09:27:39 AM »
Life is so much easier when you're not fighting with your spouse! Glad to hear you're still on the right track. Have a great weekend!

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #73 on: October 09, 2020, 12:30:09 PM »
Day 13. I'm starting this day in kind of a funk, which is mostly of my own doing. I bruise easily, so things that probably shouldn't bother me do sometimes. I haven't always had the best relationship with myself and I tend to place a lot of worry and concern on how I'm perceived by others. So, it's no surprise that when I hear less than positive things from someone else, it just ratchets up the negative feelings I have towards myself.  My goal today is to recognize where those feelings are coming from (shame, self-hatred), let them go, and head into the day with a renewed commitment to staying PMO-free.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 12:57:00 PM by LetItGoAlready »

Jayd

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Re: Bringing it around full circle
« Reply #74 on: October 09, 2020, 01:43:07 PM »
Way to go