Orbiters Journal of Recovery

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Day 3 today as I relapsed twice after I last posted.

Hey Imsor, thanks for dropping by.

Re the difficulty getting hard, it seems it's either the case of me relapsing at the beginning of a flatline or, if you are correct, the symptoms & addiction are actually getting WORSE despite the work I have been doing or days i've been clean. That is a depressing thought.

You're right in that there clearly needs to be a number of clean days for the addiction to weaken. 7 days here, 3 days there, 14 days here, 21 days there etc. clearly is not enough to make a difference and even one relapse right now has a profound effect. The MO-ing last time around clearly did not help either and I will have to stop that for a period. Unfortunate as it is my only sexual outlet.

So if we assume that the cause for the relapse is that the addiction has become too strong, clearly what needs to occur is a long, sustained streak of days clean to weaken the hold it has over my brain.

It seems I am unable to do this at this point. Do I simply dust myself off and try again or do I need to stop and consider why?

A common narrative I have noticed reading the journal of rebooters more successful than myself on this forum is they often seem to have families, partners or generally are in situations in life where they have quite an active life that, through rebooting, they gradually 'rediscover' over the course of their time being clean. They have this life that they are neglecting as a result of their addiction and reconnecting with it becomes it's own reward.

I feel like this is not the case with my own. It is despite my efforts over the years, quite empty in many respects. There is no GF, wife or partner to devote my attention to, there is no family waiting for me to spend time with them. There is no strong career or creative/musical happenings that are awaiting my attention & focus.

What the addiction has robbed me of is the promise of this.

It sometimes feels like there's nothing tangible to look forward to on the other side of recovery. Perhaps this is why it's so easy in times of stress, depression & fatigue to, in a crucial moment, simply give up and relapse yet again, try again tomorrow etc.

Granted I think there is a 'chicken-egg' element to this in that the addiction, as well as close to a decade trying and failing to recover from it, has meant I have not addressed any of this this and perhaps i've been stuck on 'recovery-ism' and procrastinating on improving other things.

I was quite tired after work yesterday. I got home and lay in bed. While there, there was an overwhelming urge to get the laptop and waste a couple of hours watching Youtube (which would probably lead to a relapse). I did not do so but I think this highlights a problem of my recovery which is - even without PMO I am still living the same life & repeating the same bad habits & cycles that I was an addict. Most people at my age would not even have the time for such a situation.

If there is no life for me to reconnect with, I have to create one.

Part of this I think is I have to make some changes to my routine and lifestyle. The first change is I have started getting up an hour earlier & going to bed an hour earlier. I am using the extra uninterrupted time in the morning to get all of my internet & journaling things out of the way as well as fit in some exercise. If I can get some of these things out of the way in the morning and begin the day with some positive momentum, i'm hoping this will free up the latter part of my day to socializing & engaging with new activities & routines in ways I haven't in the past.

Porn is most definitely NOT an option to me. The different is, in my case at least, I think there are some other changes that need to occur so I can meaningfully stand behind that commitment.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Hi, Orbiter!

If I may interject my thoughts in what you say above here:

I think that for you here the focus needs to be on ending the habit itself, and not to worry so much about the physical effects of it (erection-related, or flatline). Once you start reaching lengthier streaks (and you will!), than you can start noticing the physiological benefits. For now, simply worry (so to speak) about ending the habit itself.

In other words, don't get too down on the physical (symptoms 'getting worse'), they're simply the result of what you're trying to change, and should rather motivate you. But bottom line: you're doing something about it!

Keep at it, keep stringing together longer and longer streaks! But remember, any day without P/MO is a good day! Celebrate your streaks, even if they're only 3 days, 10 days, 5 days- but notice your patterns and modify your plan accordingly.

I would include MO with PMO as being the same thing in your efforts to quit. In my opinion, porn is just an elaboration on MO anyway.

A common narrative I have noticed reading the journal of rebooters more successful than myself on this forum is they often seem to have families, partners or generally are in situations in life where they have quite an active life that, through rebooting, they gradually 'rediscover' over the course of their time being clean. They have this life that they are neglecting as a result of their addiction and reconnecting with it becomes it's own reward.

I feel like this is not the case with my own. It is despite my efforts over the years, quite empty in many respects. There is no GF, wife or partner to devote my attention to, there is no family waiting for me to spend time with them. There is no strong career or creative/musical happenings that are awaiting my attention & focus.

What the addiction has robbed me of is the promise of this.

I disagree, not with your observation, but with your interpretation of it. In my early 20's (back in the late 80's!), I had a habit of MO, and this contradicted my morals and principles. I lived alone, had no carreer, and had no wife or gf, and yet- with much prayer along with many attempts and failures, I finally defeated that addiction. Long story about how I fell into P/MO a year later, but I think the point stands...

Your wonderful and awesome life is twofold, first and foremost- yourself now! And secondly, who you are wanting to become in the future, your future-self! This future self may have your wife, your gf, and some exciting carreer or hobby, or life-mission, but it is toward yourself that you must do this now.

I just want to encourage you to not give up trying, no matter how consistent or inconsistent it looks. Keep stringing those lengthy streaks together, and the more you do this, the more you alter your habit and change your life.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Day 4 today

Low on energy & mood (I feel like I say this so often I should put it in my sig) but otherwise not too bad.

Getting up earlier has taken some adjustment but I feel it has been beneficial for me so far and frames the day I feel in a different way. In getting all the 'necessary' computer tasks out of the way in the morning, it frees the day for other pursuits and crosses off another excuse to use the computer during periods of difficulty & temptation (late at night, in bed, bored, tired, down etc.). This stacked with the cold showers and exercise is giving me a better focus to the start of the day.

The downside is I am getting noticeably more tired during the middle of the day. I am hopeful this will change as my body adjusts.

Phineas 808 said:
Hi, Orbiter!

If I may interject my thoughts in what you say above here:

I think that for you here the focus needs to be on ending the habit itself, and not to worry so much about the physical effects of it (erection-related, or flatline). Once you start reaching lengthier streaks (and you will!), than you can start noticing the physiological benefits. For now, simply worry (so to speak) about ending the habit itself.

In other words, don't get too down on the physical (symptoms 'getting worse'), they're simply the result of what you're trying to change, and should rather motivate you. But bottom line: you're doing something about it!

Keep at it, keep stringing together longer and longer streaks! But remember, any day without P/MO is a good day! Celebrate your streaks, even if they're only 3 days, 10 days, 5 days- but notice your patterns and modify your plan accordingly.

Hi Phineas,

This is indeed all true, and it comes back to a point on focus that was discussed a few posts back. It's too 'outcome dependent' and there are too many reasons to fail if beating physiological symptoms is the primary motivation.

I think the impatience and focus on progress in my recent posting comes from a place of frustration & disappointment. It can feel confusing & somewhat maddening at times when I realise how many years of my life i've put into this and it's still such a big problem. Even sometimes seeing the number of pages my journal has compared to the others feels almost embarrassing.

This is something I need to let go though. Comparisons are faulty and prone to our own weird emotional biases, nothing productive ever came from comparisons or worse still, jealousy & envy. My journey is unique and relative to itself.

I also need to learn to not forget good advice i've given myself or been given in the past. I feel sometimes there's a somewhat circular nature of forgetting & repeating the same lessons again & again which I am prone to.


Phineas 808 said:
I would include MO with PMO as being the same thing in your efforts to quit. In my opinion, porn is just an elaboration on MO anyway.

You're right and, honestly, I should know better by now than to attempt this while MO-ing. Maybe it's the whisper of the addiction that says to me it won't lead to relapse or hurt progress but particularly with the physical symptoms, MO-ing only delays progress & leads to feelings of disappointment & resignation when things don't physically work as well as they should.


Phineas 808 said:
A common narrative I have noticed reading the journal of rebooters more successful than myself on this forum is they often seem to have families, partners or generally are in situations in life where they have quite an active life that, through rebooting, they gradually 'rediscover' over the course of their time being clean. They have this life that they are neglecting as a result of their addiction and reconnecting with it becomes it's own reward.

I feel like this is not the case with my own. It is despite my efforts over the years, quite empty in many respects. There is no GF, wife or partner to devote my attention to, there is no family waiting for me to spend time with them. There is no strong career or creative/musical happenings that are awaiting my attention & focus.

What the addiction has robbed me of is the promise of this.

I disagree, not with your observation, but with your interpretation of it. In my early 20's (back in the late 80's!), I had a habit of MO, and this contradicted my morals and principles. I lived alone, had no carreer, and had no wife or gf, and yet- with much prayer along with many attempts and failures, I finally defeated that addiction. Long story about how I fell into P/MO a year later, but I think the point stands...

Your wonderful and awesome life is twofold, first and foremost- yourself now! And secondly, who you are wanting to become in the future, your future-self! This future self may have your wife, your gf, and some exciting carreer or hobby, or life-mission, but it is toward yourself that you must do this now.

I just want to encourage you to not give up trying, no matter how consistent or inconsistent it looks. Keep stringing those lengthy streaks together, and the more you do this, the more you alter your habit and change your life.

A poignant observation & a good way to frame the dilemma.

Thanks for your thoughtful contributions as always Phineas.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
You're welcome, Orbiter!

Yes, comparisons are often an untrue representation of the situation, and your journey is your own.

Who cares how many pages this may take, as it simply means that you're more engaged perhaps than others...? Some have far more pages than yours, too! But this, too, is a faulty indication of progress or the lack thereof.

For most, it's good to post often- perhaps daily, especially as it keeps one focused.

For myself, the lesser amount of pages simply means that my strategy is to disengage and simply live my life. I want my posts to have specific purpose and meaning toward my, or other's success. During my current probationary period, I'm on a little more, as its simply what I feel I need to do for now...

Some are perhaps not engaged enough, while for others one wonders, 'Why haven't they moved on yet?' - as they clearly have success??

But to each their own, and it's their own journal. If at the end of your journey it's 65 pages, that's your business!

Be well.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Phineas 808 said:
You're welcome, Orbiter!

Yes, comparisons are often an untrue representation of the situation, and your journey is your own.

Who cares how many pages this may take, as it simply means that you're more engaged perhaps than others...? Some have far more pages than yours, too! But this, too, is a faulty indication of progress or the lack thereof.

For most, it's good to post often- perhaps daily, especially as it keeps one focused.

For myself, the lesser amount of pages simply means that my strategy is to disengage and simply live my life. I want my posts to have specific purpose and meaning toward my, or other's success. During my current probationary period, I'm on a little more, as its simply what I feel I need to do for now...

Some are perhaps not engaged enough, while for others one wonders, 'Why haven't they moved on yet?' - as they clearly have success??

But to each their own, and it's their own journal. If at the end of your journey it's 65 pages, that's your business!

Be well.

Agreed totally! Comparisons & my tendency to do so are actually something i've been working on with my psychologist. Unfortunately there's no appointment this week like I expected so I guess I will be reflecting on it here or solo this week.

What I worry about sometimes is that the repetitive nature of my relapsing is an indicator I am not making any real progress. Like the reason this journal is the size is it is because i'm blindly repeating the same mistake and the length is evidence of lack of progress due to some 'eureka' moment that hasn't happened or recognizing some faulty emotional or thought mechanism I haven't figured out.

I do think though, at least at the stage I am at, an individual should be still posting daily at the very least for accountability. Until May last year, a lot of my journal has had only sporadic entries throughout the years and that lack of consistent focus & dedication in those periods may have had a big part in leading me back to a place of significant addiction at the end of 2017 and again near the end of 2018 & much of 2019.

Thinking of it that way (which I haven't really until today) my addiction might have actually escalated in some respects over those recent few years.

Perhaps it's time I need to forget about the 'failures' and 'successes' of the past and approach this not as some 'veteran recovery-ist' but as someone at the very beginning. Someone at day 1 at the beginning of the journey to a better future.

Thanks for the feedback Phineas. Wishing you well!
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Day 5 today

Mood & energy still the same though I feel that may be more due to a tiring week and readjusting my sleeping/waking hours than anything recovery related. Won't go on about it too much either way as it is what it is and I suspect that focusing too much on it can be the beginnings of the lower brain collecting relapse justifications & excuses.

I will be busy most of this weekend. The potential day of danger might be on Sunday which I feel I will be quite tired and need to rest much of the day. I will have to consider how I handle that day. It might be a good day to have a low-key catch up with someone or get a list of tasks together to take care of around the home.

An overall thought in my journal & my recovery is i've been feeling it lacks structure. I am making this commitment which is all well and good and I endeavor to learn from every lapse/relapse/mistake which is also good but perhaps I need to set something like I will (for example):

* Journal Daily
* Complete ??? mins of exercise
* Wake up earlier in the morning to get the essential computer tasks & journaling out of the way
* Reward myself with something at the end of day 7, 14, 21, 28 etc. etc.

I also wonder if, along with my reflections, I should make my journaling more structured with a simple but regular daily section. Something like a simple:

* Things today that went well
* Things today that could be improved etc.

I'm aware I have done things like this before and in some respects they worked and in others they have not worked but maybe it was the way I was going about them that was wrong rather than the overall idea. I would need to resist the urge to over complicate something like this but perhaps some additional structure along with what i'm doing at the moment might be beneficial to keeping me 'on track' as it were during more difficult periods during the initial days/weeks of recovery.

Perhaps some google searching on potential journaling ideas is in order for this morning.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Day 6 today

Very tired & unmotivated today. I actually have a fair few semi-urgent tasks I need to get done today but it's just a struggle to find the motivation. I'm not exactly sure what you would call this state of mind but I have experienced it enough to identify that I often experience it on days I 'give up' and fall into a cycle relapse.

Time to put the laptop away for the day I think.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Hey Orbiter,

I'm grateful that you're able to recognize that demotivated state as a precursor to a lapse or relapse.

Assess what led to this state of no motivation, and how you can turn it around in the future.

Looking forward to your renewed focus, and any necessary tweeks to your plan.

You got this! You're learning what's working and what's not working in your approach.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Day 0 today.

Hi Phineas,

Definitely a relapse in this case i'm afraid as it's been a string of binges over today & yesterday. I was quite surprised at how depressed a lot of the material I watched left me. Perhaps it's just the odd state of mind i'm in but it just felt really sad, empty & fake to me.

I've been in a dark, depressive state of mind for the last two days. It started out as being mainly exhausted from a draining & difficult working week but then I started feeling this wave of extreme emptiness & loneliness hit me yesterday. I could barely bring myself to even eat, I spent most of the day trying to get myself out of bed. I was thinking A LOT about my ex and went down a surprising & extremely unhealthy rabbit hole of trying to search the net for any social media stuff about her in between relapses.

I don't know exactly what came over me but I've just been feeling so bad about everything and extremely lonely. The loneliness has really shocked me as I am usually quite comfortable being solitary and rarely experience feelings of even mild loneliness.

I feel like this week has not been a good week. I'd say I just want it to end but i'm also kind of worried about the week to come being just as bad.

I realise there is a lot here to unpack and this might not be the most constructive of posts but I really had to put this up somewhere.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
I'm glad, Orbiter, that you have this outlet, and am grateful if I can be of service!

What you described- not to be a narcissist- reminded me of how I was feeling, even as I tried celebrating my goal being met! At that time I was feeling very lonely about that friend I've mentioned, and was going through FB, not to connect with her- as she doesn't even have an account, but to make an emotional connection with someone- and this while I was smoking my cigar to celebrate my goal being met! But I also knew that these feelings could try and lead me back to my former habits...

It sounds to me like these binges are resultant to inner cues coming from a deeper emotional place. Forgive me if I'm only stating the obvious.

What can you do, or what have you done (besides P/MO) in the past to deal with these emotional states? What can you do to incorporate a helpful and healthy response (or non-response) to these emotions when they arise in the future, so as to not turn to the unwanted habits?

Walking with you.
 
Hey there Orbiter,

Firstly, as I see it's been close to a week since you last posted, I hope that despite the recovery-related challenges you've been going through recently that this week has had some positive moments.

Reading through many of your more recent posts, unsurprisingly I can really relate to lots of what you've said.

From 02 April 21
The question I have is why did I do it? I feel I am at the point where I actually don't like it. So what is it about PMO that makes me return to it? What need is it fulfilling that I would return to it despite everything? What am I missing here...

What you state here is the epitome of addition. The completely illogical nature of consciously not wanting to do something because you know it's bad for you yet you still go ahead and do it. You are not missing anything, nothing at all. All of us at one time or another have probably had a mental scream at ourselves asking the totally rhetorical question of why we went back to P when we know it's bad for us.

From 06 Apr. 21
A common narrative I have noticed reading the journal of rebooters more successful than myself on this forum is they often seem to have families, partners or generally are in situations in life where they have quite an active life that, through rebooting, they gradually 'rediscover' over the course of their time being clean. They have this life that they are neglecting as a result of their addiction and reconnecting with it becomes it's own reward.

I feel like this is not the case with my own. It is despite my efforts over the years, quite empty in many respects. There is no GF, wife or partner to devote my attention to, there is no family waiting for me to spend time with them. There is no strong career or creative/ musical happenings that are awaiting my attention & focus.

For what it's worth, I don't fit into any of the above criteria, particularly regarding relationships. In fact, in my whole life I've only had two relationships, each of which was four months in length. My very first relationship (and girlfriend) was in mid-2011 and it was during this relationship, right at the end in fact, that I found out about my PA; I found out due to having major issues in the bedroom.  My whole reason for kicking the PA was then motivated by my yearning to be able to perform in bed. However, as the months and years passed by and there was literally no sign of any sort of intimate relationship (serious or casual) I began questioning the point of avoiding P. It was really difficult to keep going, it really was. After the previous relationship ended, it was not far off 5 years before I found myself in a relationship again; hell, it was over 4 years before I actually kissed someone. Anyway, this second relationship lasted only four months, ending as it did in September 2016. I've not been in a relationship since and only had a couple of very brief moments of extremely mild / tame intimacy with two other people, both of which were in mid-2019. I've never been in what I would call a meaningful or serious relationship and being completely honest with myself, I think that there is a strong possibility that I will never have a serious relationship. I'm not all that good looking, I don't get female attention on nights out and I don't have confidence to approach people, either in real life or via dating apps. My life has felt very empty for quite some time and it's often been all too easy to think, "I'll probably never have another girlfriend again so what's the point in quitting P? I may as well get some sexual pleasure from somewhere and that may as well be with P".

In short, I don't have any relationship / partner / family reason providing justification for quitting P. I've always wondered if I did have a partner if I would be more motivated to quit. It's a completely hypothetical question, of course, but one I have mused over. There are times when I really struggle, not only to remain motivated to quit P but simply to care about why I'm bothering to quit P at all. I may never get to find out if my sexual dysfunction issues (PIED and PE) have been cured. And sometimes, seeing all my friends living with their partners, two of which have children, and seeing other happy, smiley couples on tv breeds an internal feeling of dislike towards these people. I then start heading down the road of, "I don't care anymore, I'm having myself some P".

I suppose to conclude the above, even though I am long-term single (virtually celibate), I still want to be rid of P. There are times when I'd love to go back to P, I really would; the yearning is real. However, despite having no current relationship and probably WILL never have a relationship, I still want to be free from P. My mental state and mental health feel so much better the longer I'm free from P and to me, this is super important. And I have no doubt that this is something that's very important to you too.

I know when times are difficult in the course of recovery, one slip, even after months of staying clean, can rapidly descend into slip after slip after slip to the point where it feels like you're losing control. I hope you're no where near this point just yet but you certainly have my empathy as it seems like you're having a pretty difficult time right now.

Lastly, if it's any consolation, I can definitely relate to your feelings and actions you mention in your last post (11 Apr. 21): Looking at social media of old girlfriends and spending too much time doing this; feeling really lonely, and; having a lot of mental stuff to unpack.  Even though my recovery is going pretty well at the moment I was still doing and feeling these above things really recently. Even when we're in a good place we're still susceptible to feeling down about things. I can't provide much advice because I'm still struggling with many of these things myself. However, all I would say is that in the most difficult of periods, extreme times call for extreme measures to break the cycle of slipping. What this may be, I don't know, but as an example of something I did a long time ago to get through a super difficult period was to get to bed and go to sleep really early (before 9pm). Late evening was my most at risk time and because I often felt like slipping was almost inevitable, I did the only thing I could to avoid temptation and going online: go to sleep and go to sleep early. Building up some clean days sounds like the most important thing right now so if you need to turn your phone off, switch off the wifi etc. just try it and see what happens.

Wishing you all the best
hd619
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Phineas 808 said:
I'm glad, Orbiter, that you have this outlet, and am grateful if I can be of service!

What you described- not to be a narcissist- reminded me of how I was feeling, even as I tried celebrating my goal being met! At that time I was feeling very lonely about that friend I've mentioned, and was going through FB, not to connect with her- as hse doesn't even have an account, but to make an emotional connection with someone- and this while I was smoking my cigar to celebrate my goal being met! But I also knew that these feelings could try and lead me back to my former habits...

It sounds to me like these binges are resultant to inner cues coming from a deeper emotional place. Forgive me if I'm only stating the obvious.

What can you do, or what have you done (besides P/MO) in the past to deal with these emotional states? What can you do to incorporate a helpful and healthy response (or non-response) to these emotions when they arise in the future, so as to not turn to the unwanted habits?

Walking with you.

Phineas,

On reflection, I think the idea way to deal with feelings like loneliness in future is by reaching out and connecting to people (call a friend on the phone, post in my journal, posting in other peoples journals, visiting someone if possible, getting out of the house to a place where other people are). I think I also need to make sure to do this if I lapse in future as an emotional cue such as loneliness is often even worse after PMO and not breaking the cycle with some form of connection will lead to further lapses in future.

I think while I have learnt a lot, my recovery still lacks strategy & structure. I often find this harder to committ to than abstaining from PMO but it's the one area I haven't properly addressed.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Happydude619,

On top of connection, I think returning to the basics of being away from machines after a certain time, implementing certain habits such as the early nights sleep & morning are important because, on top of being circuit breakers to some of those repetitive behaviours, they also provide structure to recovery which is what i'm missing.

It's up to me to pull myself out of this again, and I know what works but I can never stick to it. Maybe the structure needs to be less ambitious? I don't know. I need to think about this.

I'm sure despite our current respective states of isolation & loneliness, we will overcome this some way, some day & we will be able to look back on this period in time from a better place.

Wishing you well!



happydude619 said:
Hey there Orbiter,

Firstly, as I see it's been close to a week since you last posted, I hope that despite the recovery-related challenges you've been going through recently that this week has had some positive moments.

Reading through many of your more recent posts, unsurprisingly I can really relate to lots of what you've said.

From 02 April 21
The question I have is why did I do it? I feel I am at the point where I actually don't like it. So what is it about PMO that makes me return to it? What need is it fulfilling that I would return to it despite everything? What am I missing here...

What you state here is the epitome of addition. The completely illogical nature of consciously not wanting to do something because you know it's bad for you yet you still go ahead and do it. You are not missing anything, nothing at all. All of us at one time or another have probably had a mental scream at ourselves asking the totally rhetorical question of why we went back to P when we know it's bad for us.

From 06 Apr. 21
A common narrative I have noticed reading the journal of rebooters more successful than myself on this forum is they often seem to have families, partners or generally are in situations in life where they have quite an active life that, through rebooting, they gradually 'rediscover' over the course of their time being clean. They have this life that they are neglecting as a result of their addiction and reconnecting with it becomes it's own reward.

I feel like this is not the case with my own. It is despite my efforts over the years, quite empty in many respects. There is no GF, wife or partner to devote my attention to, there is no family waiting for me to spend time with them. There is no strong career or creative/ musical happenings that are awaiting my attention & focus.

For what it's worth, I don't fit into any of the above criteria, particularly regarding relationships. In fact, in my whole life I've only had two relationships, each of which was four months in length. My very first relationship (and girlfriend) was in mid-2011 and it was during this relationship, right at the end in fact, that I found out about my PA; I found out due to having major issues in the bedroom.  My whole reason for kicking the PA was then motivated by my yearning to be able to perform in bed. However, as the months and years passed by and there was literally no sign of any sort of intimate relationship (serious or casual) I began questioning the point of avoiding P. It was really difficult to keep going, it really was. After the previous relationship ended, it was not far off 5 years before I found myself in a relationship again; hell, it was over 4 years before I actually kissed someone. Anyway, this second relationship lasted only four months, ending as it did in September 2016. I've not been in a relationship since and only had a couple of very brief moments of extremely mild / tame intimacy with two other people, both of which were in mid-2019. I've never been in what I would call a meaningful or serious relationship and being completely honest with myself, I think that there is a strong possibility that I will never have a serious relationship. I'm not all that good looking, I don't get female attention on nights out and I don't have confidence to approach people, either in real life or via dating apps. My life has felt very empty for quite some time and it's often been all too easy to think, "I'll probably never have another girlfriend again so what's the point in quitting P? I may as well get some sexual pleasure from somewhere and that may as well be with P".

In short, I don't have any relationship / partner / family reason providing justification for quitting P. I've always wondered if I did have a partner if I would be more motivated to quit. It's a completely hypothetical question, of course, but one I have mused over. There are times when I really struggle, not only to remain motivated to quit P but simply to care about why I'm bothering to quit P at all. I may never get to find out if my sexual dysfunction issues (PIED and PE) have been cured. And sometimes, seeing all my friends living with their partners, two of which have children, and seeing other happy, smiley couples on tv breeds an internal feeling of dislike towards these people. I then start heading down the road of, "I don't care anymore, I'm having myself some P".

I suppose to conclude the above, even though I am long-term single (virtually celibate), I still want to be rid of P. There are times when I'd love to go back to P, I really would; the yearning is real. However, despite having no current relationship and probably WILL never have a relationship, I still want to be free from P. My mental state and mental health feel so much better the longer I'm free from P and to me, this is super important. And I have no doubt that this is something that's very important to you too.

I know when times are difficult in the course of recovery, one slip, even after months of staying clean, can rapidly descend into slip after slip after slip to the point where it feels like you're losing control. I hope you're no where near this point just yet but you certainly have my empathy as it seems like you're having a pretty difficult time right now.

Lastly, if it's any consolation, I can definitely relate to your feelings and actions you mention in your last post (11 Apr. 21): Looking at social media of old girlfriends and spending too much time doing this; feeling really lonely, and; having a lot of mental stuff to unpack.  Even though my recovery is going pretty well at the moment I was still doing and feeling these above things really recently. Even when we're in a good place we're still susceptible to feeling down about things. I can't provide much advice because I'm still struggling with many of these things myself. However, all I would say is that in the most difficult of periods, extreme times call for extreme measures to break the cycle of slipping. What this may be, I don't know, but as an example of something I did a long time ago to get through a super difficult period was to get to bed and go to sleep really early (before 9pm). Late evening was my most at risk time and because I often felt like slipping was almost inevitable, I did the only thing I could to avoid temptation and going online: go to sleep and go to sleep early. Building up some clean days sounds like the most important thing right now so if you need to turn your phone off, switch off the wifi etc. just try it and see what happens.

Wishing you all the best
hd619
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Hello all!

I am back after taking a break from recovery for a week. On top of the unfortunate feelings I was having in my last post, I felt like I was getting burnt out with 'recovery-ing' and needed to take a break from thinking about it. Despite that and having the place to myself all week, I was actually clean for six days until I (unfortunately) PMOed three times in the morning to the early afternoon. I am still feeling tired & down but that is no surprise after putting myself through that.

Today is a new day and I am trying to learn from my recent lapses to address what I need to do better in my efforts to reboot.

As I was saying earlier, making efforts to connect and engage in the world is something I need to address. One of the reasons I became addicted was from using PMO as a substitute for connection so it should come as no surprise. I think it is especially important before lapsing into PMO and if that happens, it's even more important to reach out after to prevent a downward spiral.

As I have no partner as such to connect with on a romantic or intimate level, this will instead be in the form of journaling here, posting in other peoples journals, reaching out to friends in person or over the phone, going out to a bar, cafe or restaurant or something and being amongst people. I am aware this is a privilege I have given the situation my place if living is in compared to the rest of the world but it's one I need to take advantage of.

The next is structure. There needs to be some consistent structure and purpose in the day that will pull me out of some of those dark frames of mind and keep me focused on my progress. To this end I am going to shamelessly rip off pursuitofinnocence structure which I think is brilliant in it's simplicity & effectiveness, something that can be done no matter how bad I feel on a given day. To this end I will fit in,

    * 30 mins of physical activity a day (this includes a walk)
    * Getting up at 6:30am in the morning & being in bed at 10:30pm at night
    * No electronic devices in bed
    * Journaling daily
    * Limit of 3 hours total computer time outside of work
    * Read 10 pages of a book a day

I will record my progress on these in my journal & note what went well and what didn't. If there are refinements, simplifications or anything I need to make to this process I will but for now let's begin with this and see how it's working after a week.

Day 1 today

Gloomy, tired sort of day today. I decided to get away from home today and spent some time with my dad. After I finish this journal, we plan to cook dinner together, catch up on some TV shows and go out for an evening walk. Apart from a PMO dream I had earlier, there has been no urges and I feel more or less asexual at the moment. Motivating myself to post again was difficult but it's a habit I need to get back into.

Things that went well today are: Connecting with my dad, instead of sitting at home being idle & feeling bad. Briefly working on some music.

Things that have not gone well today are: Haven't done much else yet. Motivation has been very low.

What I intend to work on tomorrow: Getting my daily routine of tasks in order. I will report on the progress tomorrow.

Wishing you all well.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Good going, Orbiter!

I think your structure is a good one, as it will help to establish different habits, and will also let you know if you're being lax toward them.

This is so important- an example: the other night, in the dead of night, I woke up and my brain was telling me to bring the phone into the bathroom with me, though not necessarily to look up anything bad. But I've been in the habit to get off my phone after I get ready for bed, and to no longer look at it in the middle of the night. Because I've been following that new habit, my lower brain's request was strange to me, and I was able to 'just say no'.

When our new habits become second nature (takes a little time), they can be a safety net when our brain wants us to be mindless in the moment.

Good things, brother.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
Nice work, Orbiter on the new structure! Keeping busy with life is an important part of recovery. Another thing I've been telling myself recently is that we are working on a long-term solution. Yes, slipping and relapsing is not good for the recovery (and it is a very important part of recovery), but it's not the only indication of recovery work. Slowly, we need to peel away the layers of beliefs behind the addiction. For me for example, one deep rooted belief is that ejaculation is important for good health. Even though I've read in medical websites that there's no negative consequences for staying away from PMO, this belief is one of the beliefs that makes me keep going back. In fact, the truth is not only is there's no negative consequences, it's actually very very positive for me to stay away because I'm an addict that abuses how I use PMO. I can't go back to that anymore. Recognizing these beliefs, breaking them down, and replacing is also a major part of recovery. And, that requires daily work, through reading, posting, and reflecting on ourselves. Best wishes my friend. You're doing the right things.

Step
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Thank you Phineas & Stepbystep

Phineas - In some ways, knowing that the structure has been violated or knowing other bad habits are beginning could possibly be the 'canary in a cage' that might help me further in this process. On top of the accountability, the awareness of it will hopefully create another barrier or failsafe that exists between the "urge > lapse" reflex. Your example is perfect.

Step - False beliefs about these things can be quite deceptive can't they? I find them quite hard to find in myself unless others or life shines a light or mirror onto them. The counselling I have been doing has been (though quite emotionally challenging) a considerable benefit in this regard. I suppose that's both one of the most important but yet one of the most difficult aspects of connection with others; it can often challenge some of our distorted beliefs & ideas. Journaling and giving each other support here is so important to this I think.

Day 2 today

Mood & energy quite low etc. etc.

Despite this however I managed to get through quite an exhausting day of work and managed to hit a few of my daily tasks today

* 30 Mins Exercise - DONE - 30 min walk, went through a physio exercise routine with a client at work and did 60 pushups today.
* Getting up at 6:30am & going to bed at 10:30 - NOT DONE - Got up at 6:45am
* No electronic devices in bed - NOT DONE - Used the phone as an alarm as I was not home. Checked the phone for awhile in bed until I realised and stopped. Laptop crept into bed after I got back from work tired. I realised what I was doing, got out of bed and moved it over to the desk.
* Journaling Daily - DONE
* Limit 3 hours computer time outside work - DONE
* Read 10 Pages of book - DONE

Things that went well today are: No urges or chaser effects. Work was exhausting but went fine. Got some of my daily tasks done

Things that have not gone well today are:
Lost my temper trying to help my father with some computer difficulties. Poor mood. Very tired. Still gravitating towards using laptop/phone in bed.

What I intend to work on tomorrow: Keeping what i'm doing up. Staying clean & avoiding any chaser urges or edging behaviours. Call dad to apologise. Make sure no devices are in bed.

Wishing you all well.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Good job, Orbiter!

I like how your list is helping you toward self-accountability, and to switch things up toward a more mindful and purposeful approach.

(I'd be lucky if I could do 10 push ups at this point!)
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Thank you Phineas

Day 4 today

Bedridden today due to what I suspect is some sort of food poisoning. Won't be doing much apart from resting & yes I am typing this from bed. Some faint temptations so probably not a good day to be using the computer too much. Not good I know but i'll put the computer & devices away after this.

* Tasks - NOT DONE


Things that did go well today are: No PMO.

Things that didn't go well today: Failing daily tasks, being sick. Laptop in bed.

What I intend to work on tomorrow: Getting things back on track once i'm feeling better.
 
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