stepbystep's journal

stepbystep

Active Member
Thanks Phineas for your support!

As I head into the holidays, different challenges come up. I usually avoid porn during this time when family is visiting and things get busy. But, based on past experience, I am more vulnerable to using porn when I return and become complacent. It's so easy to forget how destructive porn is and how hard it is to stay away. I'll keep these thoughts in mind as I enjoy the holidays. Happy holidays to everyone!

I recently became sick from side effects from a vaccine. I got some perspective as I laid in bed for long periods of time resting. I became grateful for the things in my life and it became even more obvious how ridiculous using porn is. No more porn for me!

Day 41 P-free and day 4 MO-free.
 

zackergeet

Active Member
Thanks Phineas for your support!

As I head into the holidays, different challenges come up. I usually avoid porn during this time when family is visiting and things get busy. But, based on past experience, I am more vulnerable to using porn when I return and become complacent. It's so easy to forget how destructive porn is and how hard it is to stay away. I'll keep these thoughts in mind as I enjoy the holidays. Happy holidays to everyone!

I recently became sick from side effects from a vaccine. I got some perspective as I laid in bed for long periods of time resting. I became grateful for the things in my life and it became even more obvious how ridiculous using porn is. No more porn for me!

Day 41 P-free and day 4 MO-free.
Happy holidays @stepbystep hope you get better from the vaccine. Yes porn is destruction for us, we have to get rid of it.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
Thanks zackergeet, happy holidays to you too and everyone here in the forum!

I have been spending time with family and it's been busy but refreshing. Overall, I haven't felt many urges to use porn which I'm grateful for. I'll continue to be vigilant as I head into the next phase as I get back to my usual routine.

I re-engaged in some sexual activity with my wife in the last two weeks. It felt amazing as I have avoided sexual activity completely for a while. But, I found that engaging too often after the first time wasn't as great. Finding that right rhythm is something I'm working on and being aware of.

I haven't been very good with exercise during the holiday time. It's challenging with my routine being completely different, but this is something I hope to focus on in the next couple of weeks.

Day 54 P-free and day 17 MO-free.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
Today I'm 61 days P-free and 24 days MO-free. 60 days is a huge milestone for me. I can't remember the last time I stayed away for this long. A few things that were different this time around:
- Installed a porn blocker and had my wife keep the password. This was a sign of commitment and helped me avoid some very close calls. While there’s always a way to get around a blocker, I’ve found it has stopped me from using porn during my vulnerable times. I avoided installing a blocker for the longest time because I thought it was unnecessary, inconvenient, and it didn’t solve the fundamental problem. But, it made things simpler: I did not need to use my will power and knew porn was not easy to access. It created enough of a barrier for me to take a step back and avoid a full-blown relapse.
- Started therapy sessions. I started getting professional help for my problem through a CBT therapist. I tried to find a sex therapist or someone who specializes in porn addiction, but it couldn't find a good match. I've been meeting with him every couple weeks, and it's really helped to have another person supporting my recovery (besides my 12 steps sponsor). Mentally, something clicked when I heard him say: porn is an addiction. it's a problem. it hurts you and your relationship with your wife.
 

zackergeet

Active Member
@stepbystep congrats on your day 61 continue like that! I am glad that you are looking every single way to get rid of PMO. Your effort definitely will pay off and you will get where you want to be. Great job my friend!
 

EarthWalker

Respected Member
- Started therapy sessions
Beautiful brother! Way to go. From my lensing, seeing someone helps a lot. Wanted to add to feel free to change the professional when things start to stagnate. I toned down sessions with this one person that I have been seeing for about 1 year quite regularly - 1x per week. I have the last session next week but also wouldn't mind just getting a refund. Will see how I feel. I feel like this person helped me as much as in alignment for them to help me. A few months back I started to see another person which offers a new perspective. So there was a period where I was seeing both. But now after maybe a few more session (or months) I'll also stop seeing the second person as well as I feel like I got the help I needed externally.

Going on a tangent: This "I'll figure it out on my own" mentality I have I find is coming from a place of hurt. It is ok to ask for help. We don't need to figure it our all on our own. But again wisdom is to know and feel when the sessions are helping and when things stagnate and time to move on. Again just saying feel free to try a few different people. Overall I had session with 4 different people. 2 male and 2 female. I find it interesting how the session structure is quite different with the 4 of them also the results. Also find a combination of male + female great as I find that females can offer a perspective and approach that male don't and vice versa - both are very helpful.

I think it is a great step for you. Pun intended, haha. Wish you well with the session and in general.

EW
 
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stepbystep

Active Member
Going on a tangent: This "I'll figure it out on my own" mentality I have I find is coming from a place of hurt. It is ok to ask for help. We don't need to figure it our all on our own. But again wisdom is to know and feel when the sessions are helping and when things stagnate and time to move on. Again just saying feel free to try a few different people. Overall I had session with 4 different people. 2 male and 2 female. I find it interesting how the session structure is quite different with the 4 of them also the results. Also find a combination of male + female great as I find that females can offer a perspective and approach that male don't and vice versa - both are very helpful.

Thanks EW, I also have the same problem of "I'll figure it out on my own." It's when I started seeking help for my addiction that things took a turn in recovery. You have a great point: I'lll keep an open mind as I continue my sessions and try out other therapists when appropriate.

Day 68 P-free and 31 MO-free. Overall, I'm feeling well. I did have some P fantasies that popped up while going to sleep last night, but I didn't dwell on them for long. I always need to stay vigilant as I know how easy it is to go back. I am always vulnerable. Given there's so much sexual stimulating messages day-to-day and given that my mind that is ready to call up P at any time, it's very challenging! It has gotten a lot easier than the first few weeks though.

One technique that has helped me in stopping a relapse is the following:
1. As soon as I middle circle (e.g., fantasize), I recognize that I'm in danger and get way from any device to access P. It helps me to do a quick prayer to take away the P obsession.
2. Reach out to a recovery partner, e.g., I text them I'm middle circling and I'm going to instead take a walk.
3. Go help someone. It can be as simple as doing housework or posting in this forum.

I used to follow the above steps any time I felt like middle circling or had urges, and this used to happen many times a day! Now, urges are further apart now, but I still use the above about once a week or two and it does wonders.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
Day 74 P-free and day 37 MO-free.

I recently engaged in sex again and it was amazing because I could keep it up the whole time. I had ED problems before but did not experience it this time. I do struggle with fantasizing when having sex, but I'm healing. Next time, I'll focus on avoiding fantasy.

When I do not use PMO ...
  • I’m in line with my values.
  • I feel healthy.
  • I’m less anxious and stressed.
  • I sleep better.
  • I’m more social and self-confident.
  • I have more time to develop friendships.
  • I don’t view women as objects.
  • I feel inner peace and spiritual oneness.
  • I’m productive.
  • I don’t feel guilty.

How about you?
 
Inspiring work stepbystep! Very cool to read the perspective of someone who is closer to where I want to be and all see all the benefits that come with it. The Three Steps to stopping a middle-circling relapse you mentioned above are really helpful; just had to fight an urge and came to this forum and going to do some exercise and stretching afterwards to get out of my head. Keep up the great work!
 

stepbystep

Active Member
Thanks Phineas and joyfulhealingmetta98!

Today I'm 102 days free from porn and 65 days MO free. I'm grateful that things are so much better for me than before. I still do get urges, but they happen about once a week or two and go away quickly. The key for me is to remain vigilant and not let my mind dwell on fantasy, especially at night when I'm most vulnerable. I have been engaging in sexual activity, and I'm actually able to focus on the experience and stay present rather than imagining porn scenes. I could be more consistent about my recovery work though (e.g., reading my program, book, posting) that I've not so great with lately. I'm pulling myself back on track in the next week or two.

One thing that's been on my mind lately is how powerful affirmations are. What I say to myself makes a huge difference on my behavior. These affirmations have been very helpful in "retraining" my brain and avoiding triggers. For example, one trigger for me is focusing on negative aspects of my past, like stupid things I said, slipping to porn, or my frustrations. This type of thinking never helped and made me turn to porn even more. When I notice that happening, I repeat to myself "I focus on the present and do not dwell on the past." That immediately gets me back to focusing on what I need to be doing in the present. Simple technique, but powerful as it puts me in the right mindset right away.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
This post is about respecting my limits and avoid putting myself in triggering situations that takes me straight back to porn. Two limits I respect are: no fantasy at night while sleeping and no short videos on social media.

The first one, fantasy, makes it more likely that I will MO during night and that eventually leads me back to porn. I do sometimes break this limit even now because fantasy does help me fall sleep. It's how I've been falling asleep for many years of my life. But, I know it is possible to stop and still fall asleep. Slowly but surely, I'm fantasizing less and less.

The second limit, no short videos, is a very important one for me. Short videos allow me to watch so many videos quickly until I find one that's triggering. One thing leads to another, and before I know it, I'm craving for porn badly. I know most social media now trending towards more and more short videos, but it's too risky for me. I do not watch short videos anymore.

Day 114 P-free and 77 MO-free.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
I've been more vulnerable than usual and had fantasies pop up often in the past week, both during the day and while going to sleep at night. I can't pin point why this was. It is possible that I've been more tired because of work and family life.

I do want to report that engaged in middle circle behaviors (social media). But, I've stayed away from porn-subs, porn, and MO so far, which I'm very grateful for. It's so easy to go back to porn that I need to continue being vigilant.

Recently, I've been thinking about the unmet needs that porn used to satisfy. One was my feeling of inadequacy at work and in my personal life. Any time I felt I was not good enough, I would fantasize and reach for porn. Another was my feeling of not being normal while growing up. Coming from an immigrant family, I felt my family background and culture was so different to my peers that I used porn to cope with this. Nowadays, when I recognize how my fantasies relate to these feelings, I accept them and repeat affirmations, helping me manage my feelings in a more healthy way.

Day 127 P-free and 90 MO-free.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
It's been a while since I last posted, but things have been well overall. This week I'm feeling intense triggers and urges, which gave me reminder that maybe it's time for another post in rebootnation. I am very grateful that I've stayed away from PMO for about 4 months now. I haven't been very particular about keeping a day count, although I do have a counter on my phone that I glance at every few weeks or so.

Today I'm reflecting on how helping others helps me improve my recovery. I struggle with this aspect of recovery a lot and doesn't come easy to me. There are many different ways to help others: reading and posting in other journals, sharing my experiences in my own journal, chatting with a recovery partner in real life, etc. I'll admit I haven't been doing much of any of these except for the last one, which I mainly do when I have a trigger. Just sharing my struggles with triggers / urges though can help another because they can relate to it. But, it's not limited to only to recovery-related things; it can simply be helping with anything at home with family or friends. When I stop thinking about myself for a little bit of time, that helps me grow and manage myself just a little better. Today, my goal is to be helpful to those around me.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
Thanks ShadeTrenicin for dropping by!

I'm going to talk about one negative and one positive in the last few weeks.

First the negative. I've been triggered due to social media, especially instagram and tiktok. I have been middle circling a few times a week by looking for triggering stuff to pop up. And, of course it did and that made me very vulnerable. If I continue this behavior, I know I'll be slipping and sliding right back to porn. Today I commit to avoiding instagram and tiktok for the next few weeks.

Now the positive. I've noticed that I have more of a "fighting" spirit and calmness in general. For example, this week I had a heated conversation with my wife and instead of letting words slip out that would hurt her, I was careful to say only helpful things until my emotions calmed down. Later when I was calm, I was able to express myself more clearly. Another example is struggling at work. Instead of escaping hard work through porn this week, I "fought" my way through the work day and stayed porn-free.

Wishing you all a great weekend ahead.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Good job on coming up with a plan to tackle social-media (one of my own areas of watchfulness), SBS!

Also good news about the new fighting spirit, coupled with the inner calm. When we can hold our center, we can fight a better fight!
 

stepbystep

Active Member
Thanks Phineas for the encouragement!

I'm here to post that I've been struggling in the last few days. It's been really tough. Yesterday, I fantasized in the middle of the night and stopped just short of MO (thank goodness!). And, this morning, I wasted quite a bit of time on instagram and tiktok (yes, I broke my promise to avoid them), I thought about going back to porn and considered doing it, but stopped short of doing that (again thank goodness!). But, if things keep going like this, I'm going to go back to my addictive behavior very soon. I'll write more soon after I've had some time to think about what's going on and what's making me so vulnerable. I know one thing is I haven't been very consistent with recovery in the last few weeks. I'll restart recovery work daily and come back and post about my progress. Wishing you all well until then.
 
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