See them grow up

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
LetItGoAlready said:
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.

;D :D ;D
Don't know if I trimmed the quotes right... but this made me grin. Sounds similar here, LIGA..... track pants on the bottom and a smart shirt and knitwear up top.... Dresscode = "Zoom"
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Was walking to my desk today and the question popped into my head, "should I look at P instead of working"? It popped up really calmly, like "should I have a cup of coffee"? Didn't need to kick-off any of the crisis management stuff. I acknowledged it and calmly told my chimp "No. That would be a bad idea". It's in response to Monday tiredness and work anxiety, in relation to a decision due this week on whether I've won a big contract for my new employer. I'm unusually optimistic, although experience says that winning isn't the most likely outcome. In days gone by, this would typically see me acting out and I guess my chimp just wants somewhere to hide from the uncertainty and expectation. Alternative coping strategies already used today include writing here, a phone call with the buyer, and some vanilla diversions. The urge will pass. No drama. Other than this, I'm all good.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
I was congratulating myself earlier for becoming a lot more independent and comfortable in my own company as I've become less reliant on P. As soon as I considerd that, it occured to me that I might just have become less popular over those years  :-[.
I'm certainly a lot less extrovert and more self-controlled than I used to be, which makes me less popular with some people. On the other hand, the same changes have made me a lot safer to be around. The crazy me was deeply unhappy and chasing any number of false "highs" to avoid feeling inadequate. I felt that I needed to be popular to be safe and that being outrageous made me popular. It helps me to turn those issues inside-out. The foundational issue was feeling unsafe and insecure. Accepting that I'm not at risk of harm and that I don't need to be afraid, are right at the core of my ongoing recovery. I need to keep finding ways to reinforce feelings of security and self-acceptance. 
 

TheNorman

Active Member
The saying "misery loves company" is very true sadly. I know exactly how you feel WIP. I still get comments about how I need to "let loose more" or how "I used to be more fun" because I would get wasted and do stupid shit. When you're on top of things those same "friends" that loved to watch you act the fool suddenly aren't interested in having you around and sober while they get shit-faced. It doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt when you know friends are getting together and not including you though...
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
TheNorman said:
When you're on top of things those same "friends" that loved to watch you act the fool suddenly aren't interested in having you around and sober while they get shit-faced. It doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt when you know friends are getting together and not including you though...

True. And we've also had to separate ourselves from some old pals that were part of our acting out and substance abusing days, purely for self-protection. Oh well.... not complaining. Being a little bit boring is better than being a dangerously out of control fake  :-\.

Continuing to stay off the P and away from acting out as a whole. But the possibility of relapse always feels so close. Like the wall between the clean me and my addict shadow is made of tracing paper; translucent and fragile, so I could just reach right through and resume the old life without any effort. I've known so many guys come through here over the years that seemed to achieve success so completely, like they washed the old behaviours and cravings away and came out squeaky-clean. I just don't seem to achieve that. No matter how well I think I've showered, I still seem to have a whiff of B.O. Perhaps that shadow or smell is always going to be there... like Steve Peters' "inner chimp"? Probably answered my own question  :)
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Came across an old computer folder earlier today that I'd hidden some P in, back in the day. Not sure if it was me or my chimp that asked "should we"? Pleased to have been totally disinterested. Boring load of old shite.

Popping with energy. Started the day flat as a pancake but work & family have fuelled me up. I think that makes me an "extrovert", even if I'm a miserable bastard; that need for external motivation. Glad I found it. Changing jobs in December has been such a good decision. Second best decision since I changed job 8 years ago from one in which I had complete freedom to indulge in P & S addictions. The lesson I need to keep in focus? Don't be afraid of change if it aligns with what I know needs to be done. The worry? I'm still pathetically reliant on my job as a source of validation and self-esteem. I take it all far too seriously. With that in mind, I'm going to log-off. Gym beckons. Burpee o'clock.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
TheNorman said:
Glad to hear you won that battle, not so glad to hear the word "burpees" though ;)
Go get 'em bud!

Thanks TN. Was a nice feeling. I can imagine you hockey guys doing burpees as practice for crushing some poor guy mercilessly into the boards. Not the case??  :mad: :mad: ;D

Feeling good today. Spending 15 minutes reading some other journals has created a feeling of fellowship and empathy that I hope will carry me through the day. Could probs do with reviewing plans and tactics and getting a bit more structure to the next phase of recovery, coping with coming out of lockdown. But for now... feeling good is good enough.

Wishing you strength in your battle.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Good job at being disinterested at finding those old files...

It goes to show that what once might have been a gold mine can be eventually seen for what it is, a pile of shite.

Good luck on formulating your next phase plans and tactics.

Be well.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Boring Monday, so far, off the back of a really fulfilling weekend. Magnolia trees started blossoming today and I could drive around with the roof down and the sun on my face. Spring is springing just as lockdown is easing. Reasons to be cheerful. I'm anxious, though, about some blockages at work, an Easter weekend chock-full of social gatherings and a first trip to the bike park since I concussed myself there in December. I'm stopping myself from just getting stuff done. Which writer is it that says we suffer "fear of success" rather than "fear of failure"? P has crossed my mind a few times today but, like Phin says, "it is, a pile of shite" and it would solve none of my challenges. Time to log-off and exercise. That ought to help. Hope I have better energy tomorrow.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Triggered again this morning. Having to apply myself to staying clean. Struggling to understand why I'm triggered, but perhaps now isn't the time to think about it. Focus on the priority, which is staying clean in each moment. Focus on root cause later, when my defences aren't already stressed. Remove myself from the laptop. Go take a walk outside and have the dialogue with my inner chimp. Remind myself how much of my life I wasted as a practicing P user. That last bit matters. Don't allow the "emotional relapse". Not going back out there matters. It needs to stay top priority. Writing this has helped.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Good job on distracting yourself in the moment, walking away, logging off...

Yes, have that inner dialogue when your defences are fortified. And this may seem like semantics on the surface, but it's not a dialoge with your inner chimp, as he's to simply be ignored until he all but diappears. Engaging the inner chimp (the addictive voice) only strengthens it, even if arguing against it. Toward our former habits or addictions, we only provide a non-response as our best response, simply dismissing the urges (and their rationalizations).

Can you explain further what is meant by 'emotional relapse'?

Wishing you success!
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Phineas 808 said:
Engaging the inner chimp (the addictive voice) only strengthens it, even if arguing against it. Toward our former habits or addictions, we only provide a non-response as our best response, simply dismissing the urges (and their rationalizations).

Thanks, Phin, for encouragement and advice. That's certainly how I'm trying to evolve my response. I've seen yourself and a few others saying, along the lines of, "each time I argue with or fight or engage this tormentor.... I validate and empower it, so better to ignore and deny it the energy". I think that's what I'm picking up. And it certainly sounds logical to me. I often think that using P becomes a more immediate threat when I spend time focused on NOT using P.... if that doesn't sound too wonky? Anyway - I hear you and I'm trying that approach. Thanks for your help :D

With regard to "emotional relapse", I think it'll turn out to be something you're familiar with, but just use a different name for. I think you do a lot more structured thinking and analysis than I do! I've dropped a link to a drug recovery article that summarises it well below. Basically, i think we can split relapse into three phases - 1. Emotional, where our emotions start to become troubling and we need to successfully employ coping strategies that don't include P. 2. Mental, where we start to consciously consider using. 3. Physical, when we actually go back out there and act. For me, the first indication of "emotional relapse" is when that voice in my head, that I still consider my chimp, shares messages that deprioritise my need and want to stay clean. If I start giving validity to those messages, I can pretty quickly find myself justifying using again, and consciously considering using.

https://www.theraleighhouse.com/addiction-blog/resources-myself/3-stages-addiction-relapse-emotional-mental-physical

Hope that makes sense. Thanks as always for your support. Feeling much stronger today!

 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Thanks, WIP, for the definition.

I can certainly agree with that 3-fold process of a relapse. I would say in that situation, the emotions serve as inner cues (triggers) that, if reacted to via thinking or rationalizing using, certainly will lead to the actual physical actions of using.

What makes this dangerous is that the emotions add or intensify the whole process, solidifying the emotional connection we make to porn. This goes a little deeper than mere habit change, although we can deal with it the same way.

This whole concept, brother, relates directly to what I had been dealing with since even before my 120 day goal was met! I'll update some commentary on it on my journal...

I'll check out that link...

Grateful for your returned strength, brother!
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Busy with obligations. Need to get my mindset more positive about those. In early 12-step days, I saw guys "doing service" and I was so ragged at the time that I couldn't conceive of having the time to do things for other people, let alone the inclination. Worked until midnight last night, only taking time out to coach my sports team, pick my kids up from their sport and have dinner with the wife. On reflection, that's an amazing evening, filled with enriching experiences. I should feel better about myself for having made change happen. Potentially stressful few days ahead, so I'll spend as much time outdoors as possible, moderate alcohol and keep the laptop turned off, unless I have to work. 
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Checking-in after a positive weekend. Executed the plan. I let my brain start to wander into fantasy a couple of times but it didn't take root. Not because of any clever tactic or technique. My brain just didn't seem receptive, which I guess is good. Although the fact that part of me wanted it to, is not so good. Hopefully no harm done. Gyms open again in the UK today, and I can't wait to get back there. No intense P urges, but P still has falsely positive connotations, through rose-tinted hindsight. It flattered my ego in a way that I haven't yet replaced. I need to learn more humility.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Easing of the Covid lockdown here is really positive. Life in the UK has been grim for most of the last year. I've been surprised by the force of some triggers I've felt in returning to a semblance of normality. I'm struggling (and largely failing) not to objectify women at the gym this week. Is it just natural to be aroused, after a year spent mostly in isolation? The resulting P triggers are a stone in my shoe that I could do without, though. I'll wear a baseball cap tonight, which may sound like a piss-poor avoidance plan, but I find it limits my peripheral vision and stops me "scanning". Has been helpful in the past. I'm also going with my daughter, which should remind me more than anything that women don't wear what they wear to attract the eyes of pervy old guys. They're just doing their own thing and it has nothing to do with me. "First look's on God". Anything more is asking for trouble. Friends coming to visit in a couple of weeks, which will be the first time we've had people stay for over a year. Best friend has spent most of the last year in CB Therapy for attachment issues. She knows my past P & S addiction story in some detail and has already put me on notice that she thinks I need to get a lot deeper into understanding the underlying causes or my anxieties and behaviours. I can totally do without the investigative zeal of the freshly recovered addict, digging over old ground, so that's something I need to manage carefully, because it's making me dwell too much on the past and surfacing some stuff I really want to stay in a cold grave. I find nowadays that my recovery is best served by proactively planning forward, rather than letting stuff ambush me. Not for the first time, I wonder why I can't just put all this shit behind me. Best laid plans of mice & men  :-[ That said, I'm clean today and I'm aware of my challenges and limitations. Need to be proactive and take control. That's it.
 

TheNorman

Active Member
Glad to see some light at the end of the covid tunnel and for sure, and your experiences at the gym highlight the flip side of the isolation coin: women at the gym when you've been locked away must feel somewhat jarring.
I also hear where you're at with the friend who has been in therapy and wants to share some of that insight. Don't take it as anything other than someone finding clarity and wanting that same thing for you (says the guy who is in therapy and wants everyone on this forum to experience the same kind of help!)

I'm proud of you WIP. You're keeping your head on straight, making sure to watch out for things that could trip you up. Keep going strong (and feel free to post about your deadlift gains too bud!)
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
TheNorman said:
I'm proud of you WIP. You're keeping your head on straight, making sure to watch out for things that could trip you up. Keep going strong (and feel free to post about your deadlift gains too bud!)

Thank you, my friend. I've always sincerely appreciated your support. I get what you're saying about therapy, having spent a long time in it and learned a lot about myself. Might do me good to have somebody rake the embers and remind me of a few home truths.

Haven't trusted myself yet with deadlifts. Various bits giving me "noise", since hitting the gym like a kid in a sweet shop last week ;D. Maybe today... for a couple of "looseners"? So if I log back in tomorrow saying I've strained my back....

In a good place here today. Chimp suggested a look at P, because I'd deserved a reward, which was thankfully an urge I could sense, review and reject. Looking forward to a busy and rewarding week. Wishing you all success in your own fight.
 
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