Orbiters Journal of Recovery

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Thanks Escape, Ajinkya & Yogi.

Day 6 today. Feeling much the same as yesterday. Energy & mood is low and I accept this will likely be the case for most of the next three or so weeks. Thankfully I seem to be recovered enough from whatever cold/flu thing I had to resume the martial arts I started the week before, which I did yesterday. The routine & the physicality will hopefully bring stability, focus and counterbalance the sometimes depressive, empty feelings of withdrawal.

I intend to focus on that, the Youtube channel, spending time with friends & family, enjoying activities on my fail safe list and getting things done around the place. I am also reading through my focus list daily as well the euphoric recall one to remind myself that I am doing this and why. Simple, straightforward.

It's unwise to get too confident at such an early stage but I feel like I have things relatively under control at this point.The change of focus to urge management and habit change seems to be a positive one. As a result I seem to be handling urges & intrusive thoughts well enough, and I have indeed been getting them. The only issue is the tendency for fantasy to creep in during the period where I am waking up but not fully awake. Once I am more conscious, I seem to be able to recognise it, relax & breathe my way through it when it happens.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Posting on here to prevent myself from PMOing tonight. I was mindlessly browsing on the computer while feeling tired, stumbled upon a post on this forum about massages and fell down a rabbit hole of p-subs. I stopped myself but the temptation is strong.

I won't give in.
 

EarthWalker

Well-Known Member
Please don't put pressure on yourself. Be kind to yourself man. Take a break. "soft" ignore the problem for now. Let go of expectations, judgements, etc. Don't feel pressured to do anything. As counter intuitive as this sounds. Just relax, let go.

I heard this story. That the guys at Seal training the famous BUD/S / Hell week. The guys that do the best are not the ones who think how they are going to get trough the entire week but the guys who focus on how they are going to get to the breakfast.
 

yogi

Active Member
Orbiter don't lose heart.
Restart and don't pressurize yourself. don't force yourself, as that paradoxically shifts the focus back to porn.

You will overcome this addiction one day.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
A belated thanks to AJM, EarthWalker & Yogi. I appreciate the support & encouragement.

Day 4 today

There has not been much to report in my absence. I took a break from recovery as I was becoming unhealthily fixated on recovery and particularly my perceived inability to. Despite 'giving up' my PMO habits did not significantly change. If anything the severity of the relapses decreased. Perhaps this was due to removing the pressure I was putting on myself.

To balance out the break I took from recovery. I am committing myself to taking this month of August off PMO. In saying this, I can hear a prideful part of my personality saying "Do you want to say this? Won't you just look silly when you relapse into old patterns by the end of the week?". I will take each day as it comes and make an earnest effort to avoid the regular pitfalls that I stumble on (namely the myth of 'unaccountable time' at the end of the week).

Congratulations to all on the progress you have made in my absence. Wishing you all well on your journeys today.
 

EarthWalker

Well-Known Member
Welcome back bro. Good idea to remove the pressure from yourself.

I noticed with myself the more I resist something the more pressure is generated. This is why this self-acceptance is doing wonders for me.

I find it the hardest to let go of expectations. But in letting go of expectations it is not like I would diminish how badly I want something. I still want to recover. But I will let the events flow less constricted that way. So it is possible to actually get more healing done in less space with less expectations on how I want things to unfold.

Best of luck and much love to you
EW
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Welcome back bro. Good idea to remove the pressure from yourself.

I noticed with myself the more I resist something the more pressure is generated. This is why this self-acceptance is doing wonders for me.

I find it the hardest to let go of expectations. But in letting go of expectations it is not like I would diminish how badly I want something. I still want to recover. But I will let the events flow less constricted that way. So it is possible to actually get more healing done in less space with less expectations on how I want things to unfold.

Best of luck and much love to you
EW
Hi EarthWalker, thanks for dropping by and for your support.

Yes it seems to have been beneficial. An interesting point you make with expectations as well.

Expectations often serve as the sort of checkpoint marks that define our goals into something tangible & measurable right? As recovering addicts we make a vision of what life we're working towards to move forward from this addiction, which is defined by a series of expectations of what life is like on 'the other side'. One problem I guess is that we base our expectations on what we think in the moment recovery is (which could be wrong) and stake our success on achieving that.

One thing I have been discussing with my therapist is a tendency to overthink things that I have, and how this can wind up being a means to self-sabotage and talk myself out of doing things I should and into things I shouldn't. Being able to let go and accept that whatever will be will be is perhaps the way forward in this.

Perhaps it's an ego thing as well? Instead of defining our identities & self by our goals & expectations, perhaps we need to instead see them as tools that we can use to cement positive, sustainable habits in our lives? Food for thought.

It's day 5 today. So far, so good.

Wishing you all well in your journeys today.
 

EarthWalker

Well-Known Member
I think it is awesome to work with a therapist. I am very happy for you. This is great.

I am also seeing someone and is making a big difference.

edit: I wrote some musings on expectations and identity here but feel better to do it on my journal.

Much love and good luck
EW
 
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Orbiter

Well-Known Member
I think it is awesome to work with a therapist. I am very happy for you. This is great.

I am also seeing someone and is making a big difference.

edit: I wrote some musings on expectations and identity here but feel better to do it on my journal.

Much love and good luck
EW

Agreed! It is something I wish I had started years ago. I'll have to drop by your journal and catch up on your recent writings.

It is day 6 today and I am once again facing a familiar situation i.e the weekend.

The way I see it, I can look at this and either dread giving in and lapsing as I have done many times before or use it as an opportunity to prove to myself it doesn't have to happen. A lot of this writing probably sounds very familiar but, if I can make it through these three days, I can make it through any. This is a precedent that I would like to use this weekend to set myself.

I've got lots of music to listen to, write & record, books to read, plenty of non-triggering entertainment, people to call, places to walk and plenty of work to do around the apartment to keep me occupied. With all this there's no reason I shouldn't be able to make it through a mere three days.

Yesterday I was hit with some temptation as I was at home, tired at the end of the working week. I felt myself slipping into some old thought patterns but this time I successfully did what I often say I will but do not.

I fled temptation.

I left the house, went out and didn't return for a couple of hours. By that time, the thoughts & temptation had vanished. It's I suppose a rather biblical approach to temptation which makes a lot of sense. I feel like if I can continue to use techniques like this & Phineas' AWARE to really address these patterns, I can become skilled enough at doing this to break the old patterns of behaviour. I know i've said a lot of this before, pride cometh before the fall and all that but let's see how the next few days go.

Wishing you all well in your journeys today.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
It is day 7 today and temptations & urges are hitting me strong this morning.

Yesterday turned out to be a bumpy ride and I was exposed to two cues. Firstly there was one point on the day I was lying on the couch with my phone & drifting in and out of sleep. I found myself reverting to the old pattern of looking through some escort ads. Thankfully I didn't encounter any serious nudity or pornographic images and managed to bring myself (with some difficulty) to close it without escalating to porn, MO-ing or PMO-ing. Because of this, I have made the choice not to count this as a relapse. A dubious decision perhaps but I feel I need to prioritise breaking this frustrating cycle of weekly relapses over ideas of a 'perfect reboot' that may or may not happen.

The second cue was when I was out for my evening walk. I was passing by one house where I saw a couple making love in full view of the street, blinds & curtains fully open. I was quite shocked and, to be honest, it took a lot of willpower not to stop & stare.

It was triggering of course but also stirred something else inside me. They way they were doing it was nothing like anything you'd see in some gross video on the internet. It looked almost tantric, the way they were holding eachother so close, how slow they went, the eye contact etc. It reminded me of an intimacy that my addiction & ED robbed me of my ability to achieve. I felt envious of them, and a strong emptiness & longing as I walked away. More importantly, it also gave me a renewed determination to keep pushing ahead with staying clean in August. To experience something like that, I need to kick this awful habit first.

Woke up with lots of urges & intrusive sexual thoughts today but I am almost half way through this weekend and determined to make it through to the end. To progress forward, I must break the cycle that i've been stuck in the last few months. To do that, I must make it through this weekend.

Wishing you all well in your journeys today.
 
You're doing great man!
PMO indeed has stripped us of that intimacy which otherwise is innate in our nature. Hoping to get my life back together too. On day two of sobriety today.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Hey thanks for dropping by Yugal and for the encouragement & support. Things like that really make a big difference. I wish you the best of luck on your second day clean, you can do this!

It is day 8 today which means that not only have I completed a whole week sober (the longest i've gone since March) but I am on the last day of this weekend which means I have almost broken the weekend cycle of relapse. Pride cometh before the fall and all so I won't celebrate too soon but it is encouraging to know that as long as I make it through today okay, I will have finally broken a cycle of behaviour I have been stuck in for months.

How i'm feeling at the moment? Well, very restless & 'uncomfortable' to be honest. I'm trying to be gentle on myself keeping occupied and avoiding stacking too much pressure, plans and whatnot on myself. Just trying to enjoy the days the best I can, deep breathing through the discomfort & keeping busy.

Tough times may be ahead but any bad day in recovery feels better than the post-relapse crash. Struggling, potentially for days through being triggered still feels better than the post-relapse crash. I have never regretted choosing to not relapse. I must make sure to remember that.

Wishing you all well in your journeys today.

Oh and P.S.

Two perhaps minor things I have been doing differently through this.

1) I have set my mobile phones screen to greyscale and keep the night light mode on at all times. It may not sound like much at first but I find removing colour and replacing it with a dull sepia tone GREATLY reduces the addictive pull of a smart phone. I started this during my month where I 'gave up' and I was surprised how little desire I had to PMO with the phone even when giving myself permission to.

I believe there's psychological merit to this. I have noticed a lot of modern adult material uses increasingly hyper-saturated colours, actresses wearing intentionally bright & vivid costumes performing in colourful & disorenting sets filmed with hyper-saturated lighting and post production. I believe this is an intentional choice, one that advertising agents have used forever, designed to stimulate hightened arousal in the viewer, bypass higher/critical thought and appeal straight to the monkey brain.

2) When I am having a day or had a day with too much time on the internet, I unplug it for the rest of the day. Something for the next day too. Very simple but something I have only been able to do when living alone. When I do this, it leaves me only with the alternative of a black & white phone on a low-bandwidth cell plan. I have found this can be enough of a disincentive to get me moving and off the computer even when I do not feeling like doing so. Early days but I often surprise myself how productive I can be without the internet even for a day.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Today is day 9 which means that I, for the first time since the first quarter of this year, successfully made it through a whole weekend without relapse, lapse or PMO. Hooray!

Little else to report other than that. Urges are there in the background but so far have been manageable. Feeling the familiar sense of lethargy mixed with heightened sensitivity that one begins to feel around this mark. This is the phase where I need to make sure I push through these feelings as staying active & occupied will be very important. Who knows what the rest of the month will bring but I feel confident I have the tools to make it through today. What tomorrow brings I shall face then.

EDIT: Wishing you all well on your journeys today.
 
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Wolfman

Active Member
1) I have set my mobile phones screen to greyscale and keep the night light mode on at all times. It may not sound like much at first but I find removing colour and replacing it with a dull sepia tone GREATLY reduces the addictive pull of a smart phone. I started this during my month where I 'gave up' and I was surprised how little desire I had to PMO with the phone even when giving myself permission to.

I believe there's psychological merit to this. I have noticed a lot of modern adult material uses increasingly hyper-saturated colours, actresses wearing intentionally bright & vivid costumes performing in colourful & disorenting sets filmed with hyper-saturated lighting and post production. I believe this is an intentional choice, one that advertising agents have used forever, designed to stimulate hightened arousal in the viewer, bypass higher/critical thought and appeal straight to the monkey brain.

2) When I am having a day or had a day with too much time on the internet, I unplug it for the rest of the day. Something for the next day too. Very simple but something I have only been able to do when living alone. When I do this, it leaves me only with the alternative of a black & white phone on a low-bandwidth cell plan. I have found this can be enough of a disincentive to get me moving and off the computer even when I do not feeling like doing so. Early days but I often surprise myself how productive I can be without the internet even for a day.
Those are some great tips! I've been maybe thinking of doing a internet-free day a week or something. Just toning down the digital stuff. All these lights and the flashing is like perpetually drinking coke--it quenches our thirst only to make us thirstier and for us to keep coming back for more.

Congrats on getting over the weekend, Orbiter! Small steps make the big moves, not the other way around.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Those are some great tips! I've been maybe thinking of doing a internet-free day a week or something. Just toning down the digital stuff. All these lights and the flashing is like perpetually drinking coke--it quenches our thirst only to make us thirstier and for us to keep coming back for more.

Congrats on getting over the weekend, Orbiter! Small steps make the big moves, not the other way around.

That's a great idea Wolfman! Perhaps a couple of days even? To really get some quality time away from the mindtrap of the internet. With that said, I have a long documented tendency to go overboard with habit change that can sometimes backfire so maybe just the one for now is a better idea!

Truth be told the only serious reason I feel I have found to keep the internet at this point is for remote working, otherwise I would be tempted to pull the plug for awhile and just use the black & white phone for the absolute basics (checking the news, emails, weather, banking, rebootnation). I find the less I use it, the less time I have the urge to use it and the more room I have for doing the other things in life i'm passionate about. I find my actual computer use is much more purposeful during those times as well.

--------------

So from one benchmark to another, I am now in the double digits on day 10 and FINALLY starting to get a hint of some good recovery momentum again. Feels like somewhat of a candle flame in the wind situation at the moment but definitely more established & grounded than say, this time last week.

I am feeling both the familiar lethargy & creeping lack of motivation along with the heightened sensitivity to cues/triggers that is typical for this period of a reboot. So far I have been pushing through this with exercise, healthy eating & a bit of willpower.

I know from the past this is also a period where I often forgot my 'WHY' i.e why i'm doing this, and in moments of doubt, relapse into old patterns. Thankfully I now have the focus sheets & lists I did before the break so I can remind myself in these times. I need to remember much of this is all in my head and could be over in as little as a couple of weeks time, which to put it in perspective is nothing in the grand scheme of things really.

My city is in lockdown yet again so that is presenting some challenges with work, finances & isolation. Difficult as they may be, these are at least challenges I have overcome before so i'm hopeful I should be able to manage whatever situation presents itself. It just goes to show the psychological importance of setting precedents of success, no matter how small, in daily life. Hopefully I will be able to say in time with greater certainty that this reboot is one of them.

Wishing you all well in your journeys today.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Yesterday turned out to be a rougher day than I had expected. It is day 11 today but could've just as easily been day 0!

My mood was low, work felt like it dragged on forever, low motivation mixed with a lot of restlessness. I think must have gone to the bathroom to urinate 11 times or something ridiculous yesterday. I exercised a little and went for a long walk but was too sore from the previous day to properly exercise. I napped a lot through the day which meant I had a poor sleep last night...which in turn means I need to be extra careful today.

I think recent lockdown is hitting me harder than I expected and there is a growing uncertainly about my work being able to sustain my full current working hours but i'm trying to remain positive and not catastrophise the situation.

For accountabilities sake there are two growing issues I need to address today to remain sober over the coming days.

1.) On my nightly walks, I have found myself still glancing for the tiniest bit too long at passing windows at night. Perhaps I was more triggered by Friday that I realised. I am instead going to go for a walk straight after work with a friend today as the night walks at night have become both a way to fixate on sex, which will inevitably lead to PMO somewhere down the line, as well as a pretty creepy, anti-social behaviour in it's own right.

Hopefully in the future, I will have reached a point where I have regained enough self-control to try them again as they are otherwise such a nice way to end the day.

2.) After returning home from my walk last night I felt quite restless, I turned on the computer, one 'innocent' search lead to another and I spent some time looking through what I would consider p-subs (Youtube exercise & yoga videos). Perhaps my brain is just not sensitive enough yet but throughout I was able to keep my 'WHY' in mind enough to eventually turn it off and avoid outright lapsing. I might not be so strong in another weeks time so I need to exercise some discipline about keeping the internet off and going to bed at the right time at night.

I've made it this far and I do not want to have to repeat the last couple of weeks all over again. With that said, I know if I can stay true to myself and stick to my plan for today, I can turn things around and get myself back on track.

Wishing you all well in your journeys today.

EDIT: Grammar
 
Yeah, I've set up my computer so I can't look up porn. I use "Clean Browsing Client" to block all porn and I set up a password so I can't watch it. I leave the password in my office so if I ever do feel the urge when I'm back home, I can't fucking do a damn thing about it.

It's crucial that you plan your weekends in advance, man. Go do something that'll give you a real natural dopamine high - go sailing, take up dancing, meet friends, go on a date, visit family, whatever... weekends are really tough because you're body/mind wants to be rewarded for working your ass off all week. The problem is we've trained it to think watching porn is the reward. So we must create new rewards for our brains/bodies that are good and healthy and that are, you know, actually fun.

Also, I'm doing lots of meditation. It really does help to focus the mind and build willpower. Get an app. Join a meditation group. Do it a couple of sessions a day, morning and evening, and within a couple of weeks you and your mind will start seeing the benefits.

Lastly, don't be looking at hot yoga videos, etc. That's a slippery slope. It's like the alcoholic who knows he can't even have one drink. Stay away from all of that crap -- go instead to actual yoga class!

Stay strong and healthy buddy.
 
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