See them grow up

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
When I was first in serious recovery, about 8 years back, people I respected said "it's absolutely normal for people to slip-up, so be prepared for that, and just make sure you bounce as quick as possible if and when you do". I'm an arrogant bastard. Maybe I was more arrogant back then than I am now, humbled by my failures. But I didn't like that narrative. And besides, I'd promised my wife "never again" and I just couldn't face the thought of being "a failure". I did a good job; neck-end of three years' before I came off the rails, but when I did, I couldn't cope with the self-attributed failure, so I dropped out of here and deleted my account, didn't tell my wife or anybody else, and disappeared into a life of lies and deviancy for 12 months. That happened a couple more times and I hated myself for it. I'm in a really good place currently and I don't feel at all pulled towards P. And looking back, I can see that those wise people were right, back in the day. It was ABSOLUTELY normal for me to slip-up, having spent so many years totally absorbed in my habit. I'd burned my career, no longer had any close friends in my life, and didn't give a shit about anything else. My P habit was a MASSIVE, BIG, iceberg, and I was na?ve to think something that big and nasty would just disappear if I stopped paying attention to it. So the way I see it now, each time I tried to recover, I chipped something off that iceberg... sometimes great big chunks and other times just little bits off the edge... but each time I've tried has had an impact, so now, 8 years later, the iceberg is so much smaller and I have a much better technique for breaking the ice. I'm nowhere near finished with this yet. I'm still a struggling, recovering, addict. But I've read a lot of early-stage journals recently, with guys really struggling with their big fucking icebergs. And I just wanted to try to express that every moment you stay on the rails will make a positive impact in the long term. So hang tough, please. We can all get there.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Good and encouraging word, WIP! That is also, as usual, an awesome analogy.

One can even say with certain approaches like white-knuckling, or trying to simply will themselves into abstinence makes slips or lapses all but inevitable.

I was thinking something similar recently about how little by little, with sometimes massive shifts, we do affect our habits. What was at the time a massive mountain may be now the occasional rock in the shoe. 
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Phineas 808 said:
I was thinking something similar recently about how little by little, with sometimes massive shifts, we do affect our habits. What was at the time a massive mountain may be now the occasional rock in the shoe.

Agreed, mate. I've made a few big leaps forward, and had a few big tumbles, but it's mostly been a battle of inches. That mountain certainly looks smaller than it used to.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Intimacy with wife this morning. Really happy that happened. There's been a bit more physical contact in our relationship recently and I'm glad to have felt more emotionally connected too. Mild chaser effect and I need to channel that in the right, natural, direction. Inner chimp has been reminding me.... only quietly so far... how easily I could get a repeat of that good vibe if I went back to P. I need to keep working on the tried n tested processes to create space between the instinct and any action. I'm going to be OK. Grateful to be where I am today.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Excellent having the opportunity to rewire with the wife! That's where real healing takes place.

Good job, also, on not responding to the inner chimp with its bad ideas! And, as we both know, P is not really a repeat of the good vibe, because for its momentary pleasure, it followed by days, even weeks of regret, guilt, shame, and stronger urges.

You got this.

 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Still on track. 160 days without PMO. What's working, in no particular order;
Being mindful; staying in the hear and now. No fantasising or day-dreaming. That whole "stop thinking, start living" vibe that UKGuy used to batter-on about  ;).
No dwelling in past pain, failure and negativity, taken from the strand above. "My thoughts are only thoughts, not unalienable facts". Move on. Don't let those thoughts settle and persist.
Managing my chimp quickly; especially in not being resentful and getting into petty squabbles. Got to keep the noise down. Keep building a gap between emotion and response.
Proactively connecting with my family; rather than isolating myself from them. Small things. Walks with the wife. Game time with the kids. Turn the radio off in the car, and talk.
Changing my job when the lights on the dashboard at the old one started to turn from green to amber and red. Making the change was frightening, but correct.
Reminding myself really quickly and starkly, when I've had to, how catastrophic and dysfunctional my old life used to be. Don't let dangerous embers smoulder. Snuff them out fast.
 

bob

Respected Member
That sounds great Workinprogress!

Keep it up. Sounds like you have a good handle on what it takes to move forward.

workinprogressUK said:
Proactively connecting with my family; rather than isolating myself from them. Small things. Walks with the wife. Game time with the kids. Turn the radio off in the car, and talk.


Reminding myself really quickly and starkly, when I've had to, how catastrophic and dysfunctional my old life used to be. Don't let dangerous embers smoulder. Snuff them out fast.

These sound great Things I can take to heart. Keep it up. Sounds like you have a good handle on what it takes to move forward.

Peace

Bob


 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
160-day celebration cake yesterday. A big portion of reality pie in my face today  :(
Was looking earlier today for a file on a work USB. Opened a folder called "Sales Meeting 2020" and found myself presented by a whole load of tiny P thumbnails, downloaded a year or so back. Shut the folder down in a shot, but wow.... do I feel conflicted this afternoon! Still so vulnerable to suggestion and opportunity. It's going to be a challenging afternoon. The USB is on my desk. Part of me wants to throw the whole thing in the fire but it has an important work archive on it. I'm nervous about plugging it in and deleting the folder, because I have to admit that a big part of me wants to just dive straight in there, even after all these months of building coping strategies and plans. I'm such a moron for leaving something like that in my environment. Serious reality check. So far away from success. Need to focus on my processes. Keep my chimp in its box and work out the safest way to remove the risk. Don't let this beat me today.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
WIP, don't be discouraged nor dismayed that you feel ambivalent about finding the thumbnailed files in an important folder.

This ambivalence is simply the opposition between lower and higher brain.

If it were me right now, I would use it as an opportunity to do a little exposure therapy (ERP). Wait until you're in a good head-space, and then go in there and start deleting files. Do this mindfully, without giving too much power to an image. Make sure you're breathing deeply and in the moment.

If you feel yourself reacting physically, just stop, take some deep breaths until you calm down, then when you feel that you're in the moment once again, continue deleting files.

This thing, the overlooked files, are only what you make of it in the moment. Instead of being some unseen opportunity for a downfall, it can be a time of victory and a lesson learned.

It's never too late to learn that urges can't make you do anything, but can be dismissed. Most rebooters never train on how to handle urges when they come, so, this can be a valuable moment.
 

Cosmo

Active Member
WIP - I ran into something like this a few months ago when I discovered that some downloaded P pics were still stored on my Bing account, even though I thought I'd deleted them. Looking back, I guess I was not in the right mindset at the time to see it as an opportunity rather than a threat. Totally agree with Phineas on waiting until you feel you can handle it, then checking in with yourself as you are deleting the files. You're 160 days strong, proof that you can handle urges and stay the course. Take care, friend.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Thanks, guys. Reading your posts helped me get into the right, positive, confident, mindset.
Plugged the USB in, opened the directory and permanently deleted the folder. I feel immeasurably better now that I've removed the option. That's a relief! Didn't take up your challenge, Phin, of "exposure therapy". I buy-in to what you say about the files being what I decide to make of them, rather than an "unseen opportunity for a downfall". They only have the power that I give to them, right? But I've gambled and lost too often to risk roller-skating around the jaws of a relapse. So - the deed is done. I feel good for that. Just need to be sure not to dwell on it now that it's a done deal. Sincere thanks again to you both for your help.
 

TheNorman

Active Member
Man what a slap that must have felt like when you found it. Glad you were able to flush that! I am sure there's some kind of DVD or flash drive or something laying around but I am not looking for it and will follow your example if I find it and send it into the ether.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
TheNorman said:
Man what a slap that must have felt like when you found it.

The rug was pulled well-and-truly from under my feet. Really challenged me. Taking a bit of pride from that small success, though, and feeling much better today.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Good job for that WIP!

Yeah, on the subject of ERP, back in 2016 I used to work with it on purpose to deal with P-urges! After trial-and-error (ha!), I did find a way to safely do it, and it did help immensely with learning to deal with urges. But, I'm with you, why purposely put yourself in such a situation? It's certainly nothing I do now, but if something comes my way where I find myself giving too much power to it (rather than to myself), I may reframe it as I undo its mystique, whatever that may look like.

One has to know themselves. This kind of lends into something I've posted on recently, the difference between avoidance from a place of mindfulness (prefrontal cortex), or avoidance from the 'fight-or-flight' part of the animal brain, where the addiction signals from...

Because we truly want to be free and live healthy lives, we don't plan on seeing crap, not on purpose- so we avoid from a rational place, not setting ourselves up for a fall. But we ultimately know that whether we stand or fall, it was all us, from within ourselves, and not the fault of any outside cue or 'trigger'.

Taking back the power is what rebooting is all about- so, well done, WIP! 
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
I get where you are coming from, Phin. Can't realistically seek a life that 100% avoids risk, temptation and stimuli, can we? What kind of an existence would that be anyway? Far from perfect here, but I enjoyed real success in not objectifying people I see. Used to do that a lot - not just the person themselves but the way they dressed or presented themselves. Taught myself that the way they look and present is not for my benefit and has nothing to do with me. It's just their thing. Really helped me take a big step and still helps me on the occasion that I need a reminder.

Things relatively mellow in general here. Wife's birthday and Valentine's day both went well, which was a relief. Hope to be back here a little more often after a big spike of work at the office.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Checking-in. Felt myself drifting this last week. Not staying present or mindful. Prevarication and lack of motive and urgency to get things done. Self-care has been a bit off, too. Less motivated to train, shower, shave, wear clean clothes. All these things have been precursors for a lapse or slip before, so I'm on edge. I've trained with purpose the last two days, practised some mindful breathing this morning, made the effort to dress smart for the home office today, I'm using MyFitnessPal to stop myself fuelling on sugary shit. All stuff that I know will get me back in a better place and reduce likelihood of a slip. Otherwise... OK.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Good job catching yourself on being mindless, and how that manifested in various ways.

It?s all those seemingly non related things that keep you sharp, focused and mindful.

Are you able to pinpoint an event, emotional episode or something else that began this drift away from what had become your norms? It may help you to correct an unseen deficiency in your overall approach...?

Well done, sir!
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Might have been feeling a sense of comfort in the new job, Phin. A bit of complacency set in that took my edge off. But away from a single event, I think it's just the cumulative effect of a year of covid lockdown. I mean.... who gives a rat's ass if I have a 6-pack? Nobody knows if I'm wearing an ironed shirt or not when I'm working from home. That kind of Can't Be Arsed attitude has come into play. Dunno if others have felt similar.

No complacency this week. Work is on the edge. Exciting and frightening at the same time.
Family life improving a lot. Wife's HRT has made a big difference to physical affection in the relationship.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Yes- have experienced a similar disinterest in relation to the lockdowns, especially early on. I couldn't focus on getting work done, too focused on the news, and had to really dig deep just to get anything done...

But for me, those small disciplines help overall.

Good news on your work and family fronts.

Be well.
 

Cosmo

Active Member
Might have been feeling a sense of comfort in the new job, Phin. A bit of complacency set in that took my edge off. But away from a single event, I think it's just the cumulative effect of a year of covid lockdown. I mean.... who gives a rat's ass if I have a 6-pack? Nobody knows if I'm wearing an ironed shirt or not when I'm working from home. That kind of Can't Be Arsed attitude has come into play. Dunno if others have felt similar.

Can totally relate to this, WIP.  I am man enough to admit that I've been rocking pajama bottoms all week, Zoom meetings be damned.

No complacency this week. Work is on the edge. Exciting and frightening at the same time.
Family life improving a lot. Wife's HRT has made a big difference to physical affection in the relationship.

All and all a good report for this week. Keep it up, friend!
 
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