The Journey continues, the Challenge goes on!

imsorrynotsorry

Active Member
Hey happydude,

I think this corresponded with a period of heightened libido and just a general urge to look at attractive women. I've since had a few nights of NEs so I suspect this is my libido coming to a head and everything is likely to calm down now.

This is what i experienced as well. Except i didn't watch P. The libido got up and higher than normal, after that it got to a normal level, maxbe increasing healthy and sustainable.

It seems the whole situation with your friends frustrates you a lot and i can understand that so well. It's good you come here and write it down. I hope this is helping you. I must say, i know a friend who gone silent in the lockdown and no one suspected anything. After a week i called him, talked with him and later met him for talking clear. He explained me a lot of his situations, etc. what i want to say is, i turned to him to ask him about him and he didn't tell me on his own. Both sides should communicate, your friends are suspecting things i guess, have you ever told them truly how you feel? This is the only way, at least for me.
 

Bilbo Baggins

Active Member
Hi happydude,

I just read the 5 or 6 first entries of your journal and I have to say I enjoyed. It almost felt like reading a novel, because the way you write things is a mix of good analyze and nostalgia. Kinda weird to use the word nostalgia here, but even for us poor fellas who never had it easy with women, it can really describe how we feel about old memories, even if they are sort of bad memories.

Thanks for sharing this. While I have read a lot of literature in my life, I mainly use my journal to give updates regarding PIED and my reboot. Of course, since I am not a native English speaker, I find it harder to write about existential stuff and reflecting on the past. But I really enjoyed reading your journal. I think we?re about the same age, so I relate to many things you wrote.

Looking forward to write to you again. Keep it up, man.
 
hey imsorrynotsorry, thanks for the reply. Really appreciate the comments and thoughts.

It seems the whole situation with your friends frustrates you a lot and i can understand that so well. It's good you come here and write it down. I hope this is helping you. I must say, i know a friend who gone silent in the lockdown and no one suspected anything. After a week i called him, talked with him and later met him for talking clear. He explained me a lot of his situations, etc. what i want to say is, i turned to him to ask him about him and he didn't tell me on his own. Both sides should communicate, your friends are suspecting things i guess, have you ever told them truly how you feel? This is the only way, at least for me.

I think even if I didn't have a PA, I find writing down my thoughts in a journal really quite helpful and often therapeutic. So yes, it certainly does help. It's almost like that Pensieve thing in the Harry Potter books, I have so many memories and thoughts in my mind that it's useful to have a place to store them and free up my brain for other more important things.

In the case of my friends, only one has really messaged with any regularity (like every few weeks or so), often saying nothing more than "hello".  A few days ago I finally responded to one of his messages, one in which he said I should message as I've not engaged in the group chat for 8 months now. I said very little, just that I had nothing to 'message' about - he has since replied but I don't really want to engage any more. He said I should speak up if I need to talk about anything but I'm not really up for discussing all my grievances or sharing my feelings, particularly via WhatsApp. I think if I did discuss all of my feelings right now, people would just take great offence. I suppose my list of almost rhetorical questions would be:

- "Do you know how it feels to lose all your independence after leaving your flat share (since the pandemic hit) and moving back in with your parents?"
- "Do you know how it feels to have lived in flats and house shares for the past two years where you never feel at ease, can't sleep properly and wouldn't feel comfortable bring a girl back?"
- "Do you know how it feels to still view your parents' home as your actual home because that is the only place you feel totally at ease?"
- "Do you know how it feels to still not live somewhere that you can call your own?"
- "Do you know how it feels to go on nights out as the only single person and be the only one in the group that doesn't attract female attention?"
- "Do you know how it feels on nights out when you say you'll 'wingman' me for the evening?"
- "Do you know how it feels to be unattractive?"
- "Do you know how it feels to have never lived with someone (a romantic partner)?
- "Do you know how it feels when the group organises a group getaway and it's everyone with their partners and then just you as the one singleton?"
- "Do you know how it feels to have not been on a date nor had sex in well over four years?"
- "Do you know how it feels when you could probably count the amount of times you've had sex in your life on your fingers and toes?"
- "Do you know how it feels to have never really been in a serious relationship?"
- "Do you know how it feels to have never been on any sort of weekend away or holiday with a romantic partner?"
- "Do you know how it feels to have had such a poor record when it comes to attracting girls, and with relationships in general, that now you're in your thirties you truly believe that you will be single for the rest of your life?"
- "Do you know how it feels when we're supposed to do things as a guy group and all your partners come along?"
- "Do you know how it feels to see everyone in long term relationships, married and with children and you are long-term single, still don't have a place of you're own and essentially still live at home?"
- "Do you know how it feels to be in yours thirties and have all the above feelings?"

I've kind of gone off on a slight tangent but the above list - which i have to say did get me quite emotional writing it (including angry and sad) - is pretty much what I would want to get off my chest, so to speak. And to me, the worst - literally the worst - response someone could give me to any of the above would be a sentimental or 'reassuring' platitude: "Someone will come along for you";  "You're not ugly, it's what's inside that counts". etc etc.  No one can do anything about the above. It's my life and no one else's so it seems totally pointless to share these things, particularly as they are possibly quite embarrassing and are things I'd rather people not know.

I suppose to conclude, what with only one person in my group maintaining some form of communication, I am highly sceptical when he says that others are interested in what's going on with me. I may be completely wrong but it seems like the 'concern' is more from a gossipy angle and so I have no intention of sharing thoughts and feelings that could be circulated as gossip. I'm having a mentally challenging time right now to put it mildly so I think being the subject of gossip just isn't something I could handle on top of everything else. Hence, keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself is the safest option for me. And besides, I would confidently bet large quantities of money that the response from my friends to maybe 90-95% of the above list would be: "No I don't know how it feels".  Maybe something will come along that makes me change my mind but right now, I don't feel comfortable or confident enough to publicly air anything in the above list.
 
Hey Bilbo Baggins,

Hi happydude,

I just read the 5 or 6 first entries of your journal and I have to say I enjoyed. It almost felt like reading a novel, because the way you write things is a mix of good analyze and nostalgia. Kinda weird to use the word nostalgia here, but even for us poor fellas who never had it easy with women, it can really describe how we feel about old memories, even if they are sort of bad memories.

Thanks for sharing this. While I have read a lot of literature in my life, I mainly use my journal to give updates regarding PIED and my reboot. Of course, since I am not a native English speaker, I find it harder to write about existential stuff and reflecting on the past. But I really enjoyed reading your journal. I think we?re about the same age, so I relate to many things you wrote.

Looking forward to write to you again. Keep it up, man.

These are extremely kind words :) . I do quite like writing and I do often try to write as if I were telling a story so it is wonderful to hear that someone else likes not only what I'm writing but also how I'm writing. Writing is definitely a skill and some of my favourite authors are able to write less but say more, and often focus on describing senses and feelings in a situation rather than simply describing the situation in a very matter-of-fact manner. Maybe the reason for this is because we as humans are emotional beings, we aren't Vulcans or robots who are devoid of all feeling. When describing a holiday or a day out or a city we will usually lots of adjectives rather than nouns and talk more about intangible things rather than something's physical attributes in a purely cold, clinical fashion.

And you are right about my postings often being quite reflective and nostalgic. I find it useful to really think about why I felt a certain way during important periods of emotional or just general life upheaval and the reflection can sometimes unearth thoughts and ideas and different ways of looking at a particular situation that you weren't aware of at the time of the event. Nostalgia, too, is extremely dangerous so it helps to keep this in the forefront of one's mind, which I do try. Like when I have thoughts about my first girlfriend, I occasionally think about making contact again but this is pure nostalgia and completely insane. It's been over 9 years since we were together, she's had multiple partners in that time - at least one per year - but appears to have done very little else with her life professionally. I'm almost the complete opposite in what I've done during the same period and the only reason I still think about her is because she was my first sexual partner. Due to my sexual performance [at that time] being severely inhibited by P-related ailments as well as a total lack of previous sexual experience, the only reason I think about this girl is because I am very sad I didn't have a proper sexual relationship with her. She was extremely experienced, really knew what she was doing and I just regret that I was never able to have lots of great sex with her. Aside from this entirely physical yearning, I have no other interest in getting back together with her. My brain knows this but those 'mental' rose-tinted spectacles often rear their head when I am feeling down or lonely (or both) and craving physical intimacy, which is a lot more often right now for a multitude of reasons.

I think that because this journal is the only true place that I can share my feelings, this really helps my writing because it's often more emotionally-driven posting rather than just talking about the cold, hard facts of what has happened to me. Here I can really express how I feel without fear of embarrassment or ridicule. Posting also allows me to discuss certain things that I otherwise don't want to tackle because I don't want to face up to, or simply accept, the reality of my situation. My previous post is a prime example of this. In that post there were quite a few things that my mind has regularly thought about but doesn't want to believe as these thoughts are probably a lot truer than I am ready to accept. Anyway, thanks again for you really nice post, Bilbo Baggins; I now feel under pressure to keep up the quality of my writing :D
 
Although I am very much in need of a mental break (from work) over the Christmas period, one of the downsides of the current pandemic situation is that we tend to spend much more time at home now, away from friends and family and without the mental distractions that work provides. For me, the main consequence is that my brain and I get to spend a lot more time together. And when my brain and I are together for any extended period I get ever more reflective and philosophical, neither of which are particularly mood-uplifting. Take today as an example, I had gone out for a drive. This situation in itself is one that forces my brain and I into an even more intimate position and I began thinking about my current life situation. Compared to large numbers of people, financially I am really quite secure. This is not through inheritance or other unmerited means, it is by me saving regularly and as heavily as I can each month and being in a situation (job and living) where I am able to do and have done this [saving regularly]. On an emotional level (relationship-wise), however, I have no collateral. Against this premise, I wondered if I would be happier if I was in a relationship with somebody that I loved, was married to and had a family with but had no money in the bank. Or flipping the thought experiment, would someone in the above hypothetical relationship and situation be happier if they had no one but their bank balance was very healthy.

The time alone in the car provided sufficient opportunity for further thinking time, which for me becomes more and more destructive the longer the thinking time continues. The one thing I really hate about myself is my unattractiveness. Ever since midway through high school (mid-teens) I have been extremely conscious of girls giving their attention to others (rather than to me) whenever in social situations. Seeing all those around you finding it so easy to get with girls and me being the one on the side-line really hurts. Even now, with friends married, with kids or in very long-term relationships, girls go towards them rather than me. My very first girlfriend (from mid-2011) was an exception to this but based on what she was / is like - someone constantly moving from one relationship to the next and has spent almost none of her life single - I don't really believe that I was anything other than 'the next guy' to her. Considering our relationship was only four months long and it was bookended almost immediately by other relationships I severely question how attracted she really was to me. And my second, and so far last, girlfriend was quite similar to my first in many ways. Unbeknownst to me when we began dating, she was another person who worked her way through relationships at rapid pace. Not long before we broke up I asked her if I was just 'the next guy' to which, ironically, she said no even though soon after ending our relationship she was with someone else.

I have no idea how attracted to me my two exes were but based on their histories, I struggle to believe they went in the relationships with me with eyes open and actually liked me for who I was rather than what I was, i.e. just the next guy. Then only last year, after spending quite some time messaging a girl and upon having what was one of the shortest and most uninteresting dates in the history of civilisation, having a girl say that she's more interested in pursuing a relationship with a guy she probably won't see again (rather than continue things with me) really hits close to home.

Do I have a fear of rejection? That is a very good question but getting rejected implies that one must have moved beyond the initial encounter and reached the actual point of getting rejected. As I hardly ever (essentially never) find myself in a situation where I have got passed Stage 1, the actual face-to-face rejection doesn't really occur. I think though that the implied rejection - girls showing me no interest in the first place - probably does count as getting rejected, albeit not explicit in a verbal sense.

No wonder P still remains a part of my life, regardless of the extent. To experience that biological response of having a person not reject you, no matter how false the actual experience is, is strong. P women will never reject you, they will always be there, waiting, and will always say yes when you call upon them. That's not to say I have had a relapse or anything - I think I'm closing in on 150 days without a PMO - but right now, the need to have someone not 'reject' me and be 'attracted' to me regardless of whether it's real or not is growing. Aside from two brief periods in my life I have been single my entire life so I am just used to it, used to it in the sense I don't really know any other. With each passing week, month and year, however, the loneliness gets evermore overbearing. I'm no closer to finding someone than I was when my relationship with my ex ended in Sept. 2016; for god sake it was three years before I was exchanging messages with another girl. And with the age that I am, it is extremely easy to project the loneliness forward and also bring all the anticipated, future loneliness back into the present day as some sort of double whammy.

With most problems, I approach them very rationally and logical. And in the case of family members or friends I can extract their emotions from their issues and come up with a solid solution to help them out. With me though, I quite literally have no idea of how I change my situation. All the empirical data, close to 20 years of it, tells me I've been unattractive ever since my mid-teens and I'm not suddenly getting less unattractive than I once was. Contemplating that I will be alone for the rest of my life is a hard-hitting thought, and is something I imagine no one really wants to accept. For me though, these thoughts and the perpetual feeling of loneliness penetrates deep into every part of my body and mind. I find it very, very hard to manage the emotions these feelings elicit. On the surface, I suspect I appear absolutely fine as if nothing is bothering or has ever bothered me, let alone deep-rooted existential concerns; heaven knows what people would think if they knew what was going through my mind.

I think it's quite common for people to worry more about things during the Christmas period than at other times of the year; Christmas is a time of being together which surely draws more attention to this for people who are alone. Maybe, therefore, I'm worrying more than I would. I don't think I am but not having the luxury of an outside observer who could look into my brain, I really don't know. In the context of my PA and recovery, yes, I am doing quite well right now. However, I do believe I will soon reach a plateau whereby P will remain lurking in the background for as long as this life of being single and just feeling lonely continues. Conceivably, I think I may have already reached this plateau...
 

Bilbo Baggins

Active Member
I get some of your points. My situation is different than yours, I have been in serious relationships for more than 12 years. But I recognize myself in judgments like ?I will live alone my whole life?. Just like you, I can clearly understand other peoples problems, but not mine. I will also give in to extreme thoughts like the one you wrote about being single forever. For me, it?s more ?I will never heal from ED?. Of course, these judgements are wrong. Sometimes, we are stuck in a certain situation with a certain perspective on it (especially artistic people with a lot of imagination), and we think things that are not real at all. All I can say is, don?t trust these thoughts. Easier said than done. But from what I can tell, almost everything we think we know is wrong, or partly wrong. Often, you can?t trust yourself, especially on complicated issues. Instead, it?s better to think outside of the box. Life is way bigger than what we think. That?s what Neil Young says here:

There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.

Anyway. Happy holidays, man, and good luck with this. Sometimes, with our thoughts, the best is to send them to hell and just not think at all. Most of the time, we don?t know shit. And the only way to find out the truth is by trying things.
 

imsorrynotsorry

Active Member
Hello happydude619,

thanks for your response, which was a bit huge to be honest.
I find it helpful that there is one guy who is asking about. Which not means that the others don't ask themselves what's up with you. Sure, via Whatsapp it's not possible to talk right, that's why you should meet him.

From the whole list of things you wrote down, i'm sure that there are 1-3 points you can discuss with your friend, in person. Our friends listen to us and talk with us about things. They aren't therapists.

How is it going with PMO?

Imsor
 
I get some of your points. My situation is different than yours, I have been in serious relationships for more than 12 years. But I recognize myself in judgments like ?I will live alone my whole life?. Just like you, I can clearly understand other peoples problems, but not mine. I will also give in to extreme thoughts like the one you wrote about being single forever. For me, it?s more ?I will never heal from ED?. Of course, these judgements are wrong. Sometimes, we are stuck in a certain situation with a certain perspective on it (especially artistic people with a lot of imagination), and we think things that are not real at all. All I can say is, don?t trust these thoughts. Easier said than done. But from what I can tell, almost everything we think we know is wrong, or partly wrong. Often, you can?t trust yourself, especially on complicated issue. Instead, it?ll better to think outside of the box. Life is way bigger than what we think. That?s what Neil Young says here:

There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.

Anyway. Happy holidays, man, and good luck with this. Sometimes, with our thoughts, the best is to send them to hell and just not think at all. Most of the time, we don?t know shit. And the only way to find out the truth is by trying things.

Hey Bilbo Baggins,

I'm definitely one of those people who shouldn't be left alone with his thoughts. This is why I like how I was pre-pandemic: Living a busy and hectic lifestyle in London with little time to think about things other than work, social activities, and life-admin / planning etc.  I also remember reading something a few years ago that suggested that less intelligent people (not being derogatory here, I hasten to add) were often happier than more intelligent people because they were generally more impulsive, less reflective and spent far less time over-analysing or overthinking things, and reacted to the emotions that they experienced. Obviously there must be some stereotyping at work here but the general principle seemed quite interesting and I can certainly relate to the benefits of being more reactive to one's emotions. During one day in summer 2019, after I'd had a bad few days in relation to my living situation, I arrived into work in an outwardly bad mood. After a few minutes of me moaning and banging around one of my colleagues came over to me and asked if I was ok. This simple gesture (from someone who was as much a friend as they were work colleague) made me feel so much better, I had a quick chat with them about why I was feeling down and angry and I then felt a lot better. If I hadn't been outwardly unhappy, I wouldn't have been approached by someone to check on me and I wouldn't have talked through my problem with someone either. So I think there is definitely positives to not hiding one's emotions all the time or putting on a 'brave face', so to speak.

Right now I feel very cocooned physically and socially, and this doesn't do my mental state much good at all as I spend too much time overthinking things and no time at all discussing my issues with people or expressing my true emotions. I miss being able to be explicitly happy / sad / angry / elated when I actually feel happy / sad / angry / elated because I just bottle everything up and completely unload in this journal of mine...

Anyway, I hope that you have had a good festive period too :) And maybe my target should be to try to get back to being more emotionally reactive and actually discussing what I'm feeling rather than avoiding the emotions and just writing them down.
 

Bilbo Baggins

Active Member
That makes sense to me. As you say, interacting with people in a healthy way can be very beneficial. Writing on the forum or in a private journal is not interacting with people, but at least it?s a way to express yourself. It?s better than keeping it all inside.

Have a good one, friend.
 
Hello happydude619,

thanks for your response, which was a bit huge to be honest.
I find it helpful that there is one guy who is asking about. Which not means that the others don't ask themselves what's up with you. Sure, via Whatsapp it's not possible to talk right, that's why you should meet him.

From the whole list of things you wrote down, i'm sure that there are 1-3 points you can discuss with your friend, in person. Our friends listen to us and talk with us about things. They aren't therapists.

How is it going with PMO?

hey imsorrynotsorry,

Apologies for the "huge" response! When I get typing, I often write loads; much of it a response to the comments of others as well as a post in its own right. Currently, we are not allowed to meet up with others (in the UK) due to the pandemic situation, but I know what you mean (speaking in person rather than via instant messaging). As you rightly say, these people aren't therapists. My main concern with discussing things with my friends is that I have major doubts as to how much they would understand, knowing what I know about them. Although I could be wrong, I am quite sure none of my friends have experienced any of the situations I mentioned in the list of questions I wrote down so I don't know how much they could empathise. I'm sure that they could listen and talk about things with me but I can't imagine they'd be all that interested. I think my biggest concern is that I have a lot of emotions inside, particularly pent up anger, that is at risk of being channelled towards the first person who spends time talking to me about my situation.

ANYWAY! On the topic of PMO, it's been over 150 days since my last PMO. This is the longest period for maybe 2-3 years now, which is good. However, over the past few weeks I have found the viewing of P has been occurring every now and again. I think being away from working (i.e. something that keeps me very) and then spending the Christmas period alone and without someone to share it with has caused me to lean back to looking at P, almost as a coping mechanism. My PMO-free period is definitely a good news story, I now need to ensure I stop resorting to looking at P as a coping mechanism whenever I am feeling down or low.
 
Well we're back in a full lockdown in the UK, whatever lockdown or tiers actually mean anymore. This makes little difference to me so the news last night was received with a "meh" and a shrug of the shoulders.

On the P-front, I've had two really good days where absolutely no P or triggering material was consumed or thought about. And I know I have written about this so many times before but whenever I have a completely clean day, my sleep is so much better.

Sticking with this topic of sleep quality, one thing I have noticed since the beginning of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 is how much alcohol affects my sleep. Since starting my current job in September 2018, which is based in London, I think I drank more alcohol in the 18 month period (to March 2020) than I had done in the previous 4-5 years combined. The reason for this is very much social-scene related, both in relation to work drinks and personal drinks. Towards the end of the above 18 months my alcohol tolerance was reasonably high to the point I could have 2-3 pints and experience no noticeable after effects. I think since April 2020 (i.e start of lockdown 1.0), however, I dramatically reduced my alcohol intake to the point where I was virtually tee-total. Whenever I did have a drink, which was hardly ever, I found that my tolerance had plummeted and I would feel slightly tipsy after just one pint bottle of beer / cider. And if I had an alcoholic drink in the evening, even 2-3 hours before going to bed, I found that my sleep quality would not be great.

It just goes to show how even a small chemical imbalance, be it caused by those 'feel good' chemicals released when consuming P or by the effects of drinking alcohol, can have such a noticeable effect on one's sleep. And this effect is particularly apparent when one's tolerance to both 'drugs' is very low, as is the case with me right now.
 

akpal2

Well-Known Member
I completely agree with you happydude. In my latest reboot when i relapsed from hardmode at the 2 weeks time the initial dopamine rush from sexting/porn made me dizzy. It was incredible. Of course, i binged then and which is why now I am at day 4 of new reboot with hardmode and this time carefully removing as many potential triggers as I can.
 
Again, not too much to update today following my entry from a few days ago. I've maintained the complete absence of consumption of anything stimulating / triggering, which is good. The slight downside is that I seem to be hyper sensitive to even the most slight thing, be it an attractive news reporter, tv presenter or someone on a tv show. I don't think the reaction is in a P-lust kind of manner, more like a: "She is so beautiful" thought. Obviously, those people on tv are more real than P people but they are still people who are behind a screen and may as well be fictitious in the context of my life. However, I do hope that this is a positive sign that my brain and body will and can react appropriately and get excited (in a natural way) to normal people that I find attractive, particularly so when this whole lockdown crap is over and done with and I begin interacting with real people again.

Sort of linked into the above comments around having some really clean days and also being hyper sensitive, just before I woke this morning, I was in that semi-conscious state of being not fully awake but aware and slightly in control of your thoughts. I was having some sort of erotic thought - I don't recall exactly what - but I don't think it was P-heavy. Well quite quickly I ended up NE'ing, if it is technically a NE as I was semi-conscious. There was no physical stimulation, it was purely thought-induced, and I've noticed that I've experienced no after-effects (mild headaches, concentration problems, negative thoughts etc.) from the NE, which I often do if I PMO / MO. If nothing else, this is all a good sign that my body and mind are returning to a pre-P equilibrium.
 
I have been trying to watch more films recently, films that I haven't watched before rather than doing what I typically do and just watch films on tv that I have seen many times before. A few evenings I watched the Studio Ghibli film, Only Yesterday. In short, it's about a single person in their late twenties, reminiscing about their childhood and reflecting on where they are in their life right now. It was an enjoyable film, mostly because it was meaningful but also because it triggers something deep inside many of us: a reflection of our life after reaching a certain age. Is our life unfolding as we once thought? Are we happy with where we are? Are we happy with who we are? Are we happy with where we are heading? What do we truly want out of life? Are we willing to sacrifice certain things or make big changes to achieve what may be missing?

The film ends positively but it manages to make you reflect heavily on where YOU are right now, on how you ended up where you are right now and where you are heading in the future. For me, it made me wonder how much different my life would have been had I not become all consumed by MO and then later P/PMO in my teens. It's a ridiculous thing to think about as the past cannot be changed but it's still something to reflect upon nonetheless. There were definitely a couple secondary school liaisons that could, and probably should, have become more if I hadn't spent most of my time at home getting off to P and other x-rated material. I'd have probably gained far more experience, and far sooner, in being in and holding down a relationship too. And I would have had a far better relationship and sex life with my first girlfriend, instead of one so overwhelmingly affected by PIED and PE.

The film also made me thing about where I am now, not so much in a job / career context because I think I'm doing ok with that side of things, but more in a relationship context. I know that I've harped on about this in a number of recent journal entries but looking at so many other people my age (and younger!), they have long-term partners, are married, have a place of their own, sometimes a child, and seem relatively settled. How something like this will ever come to pass for me, I absolutely do not know. In the above film the protagonist goes on a week's holiday to the countryside simply to pick and harvest flowers. The journey was as much to retrace a childhood trip but also to get away from the city in which she lived, and had done her entire life. Away from money, technology and mod cons, they felt a sense of belonging with the family they stayed with. They enjoyed this sense of belonging, something that was kind of lacking in their normal life, yet they remained afraid to embrace this belonging, I think, due to the sacrifice it would mean making; leaving the city, their job and their friends, albeit friends who were now raising their own families.

In a similar vein to the above, for a few years now I have regularly wondered where I truly belong. And every time I have wondered this my response has always been the same: "I have absolutely no idea".
 
Today's entry is likely to be less philosophical or existential-heavy, which is surely a relief for all concerned!

It's been just over a week since I last posted, primarily because I've had nothing to really write about or update. Work is still keeping me busy, which helps maintain my sanity in the current lockdown / can't leave home / can't visit people / can't go to the pub situation. I've continued with my film watching, with maybe a new film being watched every 3 days or so, which is certainly a pleasant way to wind down in the evening, particularly after a busy and long day working. I've also started to read more in the evenings, which has been quite an effort to actually implement. I don't know why but it took maybe 2-3 weeks between deciding to read before bed and ACTUALLY reading before bed happened. It's probably a topic for another journal entry but I definitely think that my brain finds it very difficult to let go of looking at a screen if the opportunity to look at a screen is there. So for those 2-3 weeks of threatening to read a book, I instead just browsed my phone until it was too late to read because by the time I stopped browsing, it was time for bed. There's likely some addictive tendency at work that makes my brain want to mindlessly look at a screen rather than read a book. However, for the past few evenings I have read for maybe 20-30 minutes so I am trying to just get into a routine with reading and I hope it won't be too long until reading before bed becomes second-nature. Due to working from home and it being so easy to rack up 12 hours of screen time a day with almost no optical respite, I think I really need to focus on reducing my screen time. Hence why, I am trying to read more in the evening.

On a P-front, the period since my last entry has been quite good. Implementing the above (watching films and trying to read more in the evening) has definitely helped alleviate my 'boredom-leading-to-procrastination-leading-to-mindless-browsing-leading-to-P-searching'. I've only had one evening where I found myself yearning after P, and it was that night that I had the worst night sleep. Whenever I've completely avoided P or anything stimulating / triggering just I sleep so much better; the evidence isn't even anecdotal anymore as I have been monitoring my sleep quality for some time.

I suppose as a general summary, I've had a good week on a recovery front. I can't take this for granted, however, as I know all too well how easy it is to get complacent, and complacency is the kryptonite to a PA recovery...

 
Back in June 2020 I began properly tracking my 'clean-days' vs 'not-clean-days' on a calendar, something I hadn't properly done since autumn 2018. I don't put too much importance on counting days because after a while, counting becomes less critical to my recovery. Counting is useful for the first few months but after a significant period of clean days, it doesn't really matter to me. Despite what I've just said, however, I have just updated my calendar and I've noticed that I've now achieved just over 180 days free from PMO; in other words I've made passed the half year mark.

Yes, there have been a number of occasions where I have found myself consuming P, some of which I had a strong craving to PMO. Thankfully though, I have kept free from PMO. Is this duration something to be celebrated? Of course it is, albeit celebrated in a reserved and restrained manner. It is all too easy to think "Cool, I've made it half a year PMO free so I'm in a really good place and can stop thinking so much about my recovery". Even though it's 180+ days free from PMO, there are certainly lots of areas that I can improve on. My goal must be to build-up a similarly long period of time completely free from the consumption of P or triggering material. There are lots of other things that can, and most likely will, be added to the following list but I think my objectives (to improve my recovery and reduce certain addictive tendencies) need to be:

1. Reduce laptop and mobile phone screen time (outside of working hours)
2. Continue with reading in the evenings before bed (something that I've only recently started to do)
3. Try to stop using my time in bed, particularly as I am trying to get to sleep each night, for thinking about triggering material
4. Switch my tv off before 10pm in an evening to prevent me from watching (but not engaging with!) those 'babe' call-in shows

In summary, 180+ days without PMO, plenty of areas to still improve on, and a short list of key target areas.
 

akpal2

Well-Known Member
wow congratulations on 180 days PMO free happydude. I am so happy for you.

I wish I can get to 180 days soon. I only have 170 days to go :p

But you're inspiring others on here, that beating this beast is possible
 

Bilbo Baggins

Active Member
Good job, man. 180 days is very good. As you said, we can be proud about where we are in terms of abstinence, while at the same time continuing to fight to improve ourselves. Kept it up  8)
 
@akpal2
wow congratulations on 180 days PMO free happydude. I am so happy for you. I wish I can get to 180 days soon. I only have 170 days to go :p

Thanks for the nice comments. And I am sure when you start building up decent periods of sobriety, it won't be long before you, too, aren't focussing on counting days because it'll be easier to count the weeks or months instead!

@Bilbo Baggins
Good job, man. 180 days is very good. As you said, we can be proud about where we are in terms of abstinence, while at the same time continuing to fight to improve ourselves. Kept it up  8)

Thanks for your kind words as well. There is always room for improvement and areas for us to better ourselves in and I am absolutely no different. I've been on this recovery journey for over 9 years now and I still have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, and good months and bad months. I will never 'beat' porn, it's far too ingrained into my brain for the cravings, urges and thoughts to ever completely disappear so my goal is to be as clean as I possibly can be and then reap all the benefits that go with staying clean.

Onto a general journal update, there haven't been too many movers or shakers since my last entry. I reckon it must be a while since a NE last occurred as there have been a few moments recently where I've had relatively strong cravings towards stimulating material. And in the night I've woken to find myself thinking erotic / P thoughts, both situations I put down to my libido building up. These feelings ultimately calm down but it can be very difficult to get rid of or ignore these thoughts when hormones are sloshing around your system.

Away from P, I have felt a little down this week and I can't really work out why. Work is really busy and I love my job and what I do but the weekly meetings we have do seem to bring a certain monotony to what was once regularity. I know Mondays are a less meeting-heavy day, Tuesdays are terrible for meetings and Wednesday's aren't much better. I begin longing for Thursdays and Fridays because I have very few meetings and can get work done. But as every week is like this I am finding it a challenge to remain motivated because I know what's coming each week before the week even commences. Put into a wider context I have nothing to complain about really, I have a job which pays quite well, I am able to work from home and stay safe, and I am in a secure environment, accommodation-wise. I just wish there was a little more variety in the context of the working week, that's all. Aside from this, there's not all that much that's changed in the last week or so, but I think things not really changing is par for the course right now (re: the pandemic).

And maybe a light-hearted thought to end this entry on; today (Feb. 2nd) is Groundhog Day. It's probably the most appropriate day to live through right now as it feels like Groundhog Year, let alone Groundhog Day. Maybe that's why the similarly-named film seems to be on tv almost every week at the moment; it's just to rub it in that we're still waiting for something to change!
 
It's been 11 days since my last entry and for all I know this period of time could have actually been two days or six months, such is the unchanging nature of life right now. Even work, which I like because it is usually so varied seems to have fallen into this never-changing world of blandness. On an Excitement Scale running from 'Most Exciting' to 'Least Exciting', life right now reaches the excitement rating of 'Wallpaper Paste'. I only know the difference from one day to the next because they are separated by a period of sleep. Often I struggle to even know what day it is due to nothing having any real meaning or purpose anymore. For a further example of how truly unexciting things are right now, during this week I was really looking forward to the weekend because it meant my beard of four weeks could be shaved off and I could again look a little younger. For the longest time I have shaved fortnightly, which was because of two purely practical reasons: 1) I don't care for shaving so I want to do it as little as possible, and; 2) Two weeks is the maximum time before my beard gets too long, too thick and too bushy.  Currently working from home though and not being able to go out anywhere right now (due to lockdown), however, made me recently 'spice' up my routine and disregard the fortnightly shave for one ever four weeks instead!! Oh how you getting the Excitement-ometer whizzing during Lockdown if you know how.... I'm that bored and unmotivated that it seems to take way too much effort even to be bored.

In other news, it's close to 11 months since I last verbally spoke with one of my friends, or ex-friends as they probably are now, and it's been close to 10 months that I stopped engaging in our group chat. The one friend who would occasionally message me, often saying little more than "hello", hasn't messaged in almost two months, and the rest of the friend group haven't messaged me directly for so long, with some it's been 6 months, for others, nearly 10 months. Even in the general group chat it must be 7-8 months since someone addressed me directly. I think this is another reason for my life feeling like wallpaper paste right now; no one to really talk to about personal things so I don't talk to anybody about anything.
 
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