The Journey continues, the Challenge goes on!

Although the actual day seemed to have far less meaning than in a typical year, and when I say "meaning" I refer to the day's almost entirely consumerism-led nature, but today was Valentine's Day. Even if I was with somebody I think this day would be a complete none-day for me as its motive seems totally misplaced. Not that this is the topic of this post, I hasten to add, no, instead it's more that when I reflect on things I realise that my life contains so many unwanted 'records'. Even though I dislike the day, I have never been in a relation with someone on Valentine's Day. I have never been in a relation with someone at Christmas or New Year, either. And for only two of my birthday's have I been in a relationship with someone, once was with my first girlfriend and the other time was with my second girlfriend. However, these birthday's clearly meant very little to either girlfriend because within one week of each of these birthday's, both girls ended the relationship with me. Taking account of this, I have not spent any one of the year's significant days with someone I loved and who genuinely loved me back. Thinking about it, in my entire life I have only ever had one day trip with a girlfriend...

All the above, and lots of the relationship stuff I discuss in numerous previous posts really does get me down. Even without Covid-19 I couldn't see a way out of my predicament. I also can't talk to anyone about it either; "can't" as in don't want to talk to anyone about it and I probably never will. I don't know why I find it almost literally impossible to talk to people about what's on my mind. Am I afraid of being judged, thought less of, ridiculed or made to feel truly embarrassed by what I have to share? It's quite easy to share on a forum like RN because everyone is anonymous and my thoughts, worries and emotional baggage will never reach friends or family, meaning my pride and ego remain intact. However, the benefit I get from writing in this journal only goes so far, beyond which I just enter into a Catch-22 situation whereby I'm sure talking with someone about my issues would help but I don't want to talk about my issues so I don't get the help I so desperately require.

The pandemic (and the work from home / no social life / no life at all) has drained me of all but a few residual emotions so I don't even feel angry or psyched-up to think "F*ck it" and just drink to feel better. It's probably a good thing that I'm not seeking solace by pouring alcohol down my throat but the regularity with which I'm drinking has been increasing over the last couple months, mostly since Christmas I'd say. It's not a good sign but I'm at a point where I kinda don't care all that much about anything. I could boil my life down to one word, one syllable in fact: Meh...  I think this lack of experiencing any sort of emotion or feeling is also affecting my libido because I can't remember the last time I felt naturally aroused by something; stimulating imagery or not. This is helping me to continue my period of no PMO, which is good, but I just wish I would (or could) just feel something else right now, some raw, spontaneous emotion. I think the best way to describe my life right now would be to say it's just like when you drive to work but when you get to work you can't remember any of the journey. You're awake and your brain is processing information, almost subconsciously but you aren't actively paying attention, you're on an autopilot of sorts and nothing is worth remembering. And because nothing is worth remember you mind turns off and you remember nothing at all. And for me it's been months since anything at all worth remembering actually happened.
 

Bilbo Baggins

Active Member
This is also the emotional state I?ve been in since I started rebooting (apart from moments of darkness). As you said, at n?est it makes it easier to stay away from porn, because we don?t really feel aroused by anything.

What is giving somewhat of a flavor to my life right now is creative projects. Even though I rarely feel any good emotions, at least I feel like I?m building something with my projects. It can take a while to reap the fruits from our work, so I think it?s a good idea to at least try to do something meaningful, something you like. It could be music, or cooking, or anything actually. It might not be immediately satisfying, but in the long run, it might help you to feel that your life isn?t empty or boring. We have to be patient, and try new things. As time goes by, it will start paying off.
 

imsorrynotsorry

Active Member
It's quite easy to share on a forum like RN because everyone is anonymous and my thoughts, worries and emotional baggage will never reach friends or family, meaning my pride and ego remain intact.

This is true and there's more to it.
In the forum we can share our experience all over the world all the time. For many of us this is where it begins and the talking to people, may it be a specialist or family/friends is a really big challenge to tackle. In the forum we have this clear environment with people who are understanding our PMO problems without doubting it. This is clearly helping in processing the addiction.
To get away from an addiction it is helpful to have exchange with a specialist too, because they are guiding you through the way out of it. In the end, opening up to our loved ones is important to acknowledge who we are and that we can be loved, even though we have our issues.

One step at a time, no rush needed.

Imsor
 
Rereading my last entry, I feel I could probably copy and paste it and it would still be applicable to how I feel right now. I feel like I'm a stranger within my own body, as if I am in the Matrix. Everything feels like a dreamlike state, it feels normal but also there's the sense that something is not quite right with reality. Nothing seems all that real at the moment and I feel completely detached on an emotional level from everyone and everything. I feel uninterested and unmotivated in making contact with others but conversely, there are a few people I'd like to message and check-in on how they're doing but I can't bring myself to do it, I just can't face the pressure of sending a simple message.

I've found that I've been drinking more, and more regularly, since Christmas so I don't know if drink has become some sort of subconscious coping mechanism. Or maybe it's just that I'm so bored that I am doing what so many others have been doing (during lockdown) that for something 'to do', I've been drinking.

@Bilbo Baggins,
What is giving somewhat of a flavor to my life right now is creative projects. Even though I rarely feel any good emotions, at least I feel like I?m building something with my projects. It can take a while to reap the fruits from our work, so I think it?s a good idea to at least try to do something meaningful, something you like. It could be music, or cooking, or anything actually. It might not be immediately satisfying, but in the long run, it might help you to feel that your life isn?t empty or boring. We have to be patient, and try new things. As time goes by, it will start paying off.

I totally agree with the above. It's just the issue that I have right now is my brain seems to be preventing me from focussing on or even commencing doing something new. And when I say "something new" I don't really mean anything particularly 'out there'; just going for a walk, reading a book, or starting-up a new game all feel like a monumental effort. I just don't know what's happening to me. Anything outside of my normal routine - in the weeks it's work at my desk for often 12hrs a day and at weekends, it's mindlessly browsing the internet and watching tv until it's time for bed - is just so hard to do.

@imsorrynotsorry
This is true and there's more to it.
In the forum we can share our experience all over the world all the time. For many of us this is where it begins and the talking to people, may it be a specialist or family/friends is a really big challenge to tackle. In the forum we have this clear environment with people who are understanding our PMO problems without doubting it. This is clearly helping in processing the addiction.
To get away from an addiction it is helpful to have exchange with a specialist too, because they are guiding you through the way out of it. In the end, opening up to our loved ones is important to acknowledge who we are and that we can be loved, even though we have our issues.
One step at a time, no rush needed.

Thanks for this. My problem is that I'm far more comfortable in isolating myself. I've not spoken with my friends in almost a year, although only one has tried to maintain contact. I just don't feel in any appropriate mental state to chat with them about things, nor reactivate the lines of communication. I'm really finding it hard to speak with anybody about anything right now. I bet over the course of a week (i.e. 168 hours) I spend maybe just one hour each day outside of my bedroom and that's it. This hour includes showering, using the toilet, getting a few drinks of tea, and getting some food. Less that 5% of my life is spent outside of my bedroom. And for many weeks now, maybe a few months in fact, I've hardly stepped foot outside the house, be it to go into the garden or to go out somewhere. The most exciting thing that I'm just about managing to achieve is watching a film. I maybe watch 1-2 new films a week and just doing this, which is something outside of my hugely boring routine, still requires a lot mental effort. It's all extremely frustrating and tiring...

Regarding porn, I've still not had a NE for some time, and without checking my journal I'm guessing that it must be at least 5-6 weeks since my last. I note this because I've been feeling more sexually charged recently, which is a tell-tale sign that my libido is increasing. Triggering thoughts have been increasing, as has the urge to want to consume triggering material. Because my mind finds it difficult to do things right now (read a book, go for a walk etc.) it has definitely been wanting to do something 'easy' and which will make me feel good; aka PMO. The urge to PMO has been strong recently and thoughts about what (or more precisely, who) I would like PMO to have steadily grown over the last week. P stars I've not looked at for such a long time have returned to my mind with such vividness that it's unbelievable. I've not given in to the urges though and I'm just over 200 days with no PMO which, under the circumstances of me having a very difficult time mentally, is really good. Has the 200 days been completely P-free? No it hasn't as there have been numerous times of weakness. However, I've not PMO'd and that is a real personal achievement for me, it really is!
 
It's nearly a week since I posted so a brief(ish) update is probably required.

Recovery-wise, my libido has been up and down; some days even mildly triggering material has a big effect, other days I feel completely level-headed and free from any urges or desires.  The PMO-free counter keeps ticking away but it's now reached a point - over 200 days - where counting days seems quite unimportant.

At work, my year's cohort has finally found out the post-graduate scheme roles that are available. We should have finished the graduate scheme at the end of August 2020 but Covid-19 put paid to that and instead we were furloughed for four months, went through a redundancy consultation and then had a further extension to the graduate scheme. Thankfully though, we now know that we all have one month left before moving into permanent positions, which is something very much to look forward to. And I'm doubly happy because I had significant concerns that the team that I am in currently could have been the location of my permanent position, something I really didn't want; happily, however, this is not the case. Another positive to look forward to is that in March, I have 10 days of annual leave booked-in and together with a bank holiday, I only have 15 working days left in my current team.
 
As noted in my previous entry, for a while now my libido has been up and down, with much of this attributed (I think) to it being quite a while since my last NE. I'm sure it must be at least 5-6 weeks since my last NE, which is a surprisingly long time. Anyway, last night I had a NE, and it was accompanied by a very erotic dream. There's no need to go into significant detail but the dream was essentially me getting together with the one P-star that I view as my favourite, someone that I often felt I had strong romantic feelings towards in the past. It's not that much of a revelation that I dreamed about this person because for such a long time, they would be my go-to person when in the depths of my PA. Since the NE, I've experienced no after-effects, such is brain fog, headaches or feelings of a negative nature, which is good.

On other non-P but probably wellbeing-related topics, over the weekend I went out for a walk both Saturday and Sunday morning. It was only for 30 minutes each time but due to working from home and being in lockdown, various parts of my body have begun aching and certain ailments have reared their head, all of which I put down to being extremely sedentary for almost all hours of every day of the week. As such, just getting up and about and doing some exercise, is something I intend to continue with. It should also help my mental health by virtue of exercise providing benefits in this particular area as well as in the physical department. Small steps are being made, both figuratively and literally...
 
Another week goes by and very little happens or changes. Mentally I've generally felt fine, and when I say fine I mean that I haven't had too many ups or downs. Quite often I'll have days where I feel like I'm trapped inside my own body and mind and I just won't know what to do with myself. I sometimes find myself just standing in my room, staring blankly at nothing in particular and not being able to think of anything to do.

In my friends' group chat, there have been mutterings about starting up the weekly quiz again, playing a quiz on YouTube whilst having a video call between ourselves at the same time, and sometimes just having a group call at some point. And almost every time someone makes this suggestion, a number of the others say that they're busy as they're doing something with their partners instead. Considering that they are all living with their partners and we've been in lockdown for near-as-makes-no-difference an entire year meaning that they are always with their partners, the fact they STILL use spending time with their partners as an excuse to not partake in group activities is a joke, in my opinion.

In regards to my own circumstances, it will soon be five and a half years since I last slept with somebody. It only feels like a month or so ago that I was writing in my journal that the five year (unwanted) milestone had been reached. With other aspects of my life, even the most difficult things that seem very hard to achieve, I can quickly create a plan of how I could go about achieving them. The relationship thing, however, is an entirely different beast. Even without Covid-19 I still think I'd be here, today, soon to reach five and a half years without a single sexual encounter. I just cannot see a way out of this situation and as the months and years go by and I get older - mid thirties aren't that far away - it eats away at me more and more. Although I'm currently doing quite well regarding not PMO'ing I just think that they'll be a mental 'showdown' in the not-too-distant future with the voice that says, "Why are you bothering to avoid P??. A relationship or partner is no nearer on the horizon than it was five years ago so what's the point?". Obviously being P-free has many more other positives away from just the sexual health/physicality perspective, all of which I have experienced and continue to experience. It's just that I feel like I can't go on forever without experience the physical side of being P free. I know that I write about this topic quite often but on some days more than others my mind wanders back to this aspect of my life and the emptiness that exists.  How long can a person go without being in a situation where they are with somebody that they really, really like and the other person feeling the same way back? With each passing month I become more and more aware that the chance to find 'someone' is steadily diminishing and the longer that this goes on, the more I'm going to be tempted to think "F*ck it" and go on a P binge.

I just don't know what to do anymore with this aspect of my life, I really, really don't.
 
As is always the case with periods of being free from PMO, they will eventually come to an end and for me, my period of +200 days ended one week ago. It was pretty inevitable that my PMO-free period was due to come to an end - I found myself consuming more and more 'stimulating' material... Oh, who am I kidding, I was watching P and it was enjoyable. I hadn't implemented what I mentioned a few weeks ago, maybe longer, in that I would cut out watching those stupid hot girl 'call in' shows that all seem to start at 10pm. I didn't stop fantasising about stimulating stuff when I went to bed at night. And I let myself continue to consume P-themed material before I went to bed. The slip itself was, pardon the pun, quite anticlimactic. I wasn't actually going out of my way to PMO, which is what I'd done with all the most recent PMOs / slips; the O just kind of happened and it wasn't all that exciting or overly enjoyable.

I'm actually quite glad that I had a slip because it's given me a chance to reset. I had so many bad habits over the past few months and just assessing progress on PMO free days probably isn't the best thing to do. Not accounting for the general consumption of P nor recording when I was PM'ing painted a false picture of how well I was doing. Although counting days isn't the be all and end all of measuring success, I really need to track P, M and O separately because I think this will provide a far clearer representation of how well I'm doing.

In relation to actually being glad I slipped and now having the chance to reset, I've since had a really good and clean week since last Friday. No P, no stimulating material, no watching stupid post-10pm 'call-in' shows, no thinking about stimulating stuff in bed at night, and ultimately behaving how I should have been behaving. It's probably the cleanest week I've had in many a month, which is a big positive. And in my eyes, one perfectly clean week is far better than a few months of no PMO but where consumption of stimulating material, including P, is rife. Obviously urges tend to drop off immediately after a PMO and the desire get rid of P once and for all also skyrockets so I appreciate that, right now, I'm probably still riding the crest of that particular 'wave' of renewed enthusiasm but still, one totally clean week is actually nice.
 
I'm now up to 11 virtually perfect days free from P, M and O. I did have an NE last night that took place during a sexual-themed dream. Aside from this, which I don't count as any sort of blemish - you can't control your dreams, after all - everything is really, really good. I can't really believe how easy it has been to stay away from P, M and O. As mentioned previously, the PMO nearly two weeks ago has caused a real reset, somehow, within me and it's been an incredibly long time since I stayed this long away from any sort of stimulating material, let alone P, M or O.

In other news, one of the people in my 'close' friend group messaged me once again, following numerous non-responses from me, asking what was going on because I'd not replied for so long.  Just to manage the situation, for want of a better term, I finally replied just saying that I didn't feel at all like talking with people right now and just wanted to be left alone. By doing this I feel like I've relieved some of the pressure I felt to respond and I have bought myself some time in which I know I won't receive further messages that I'd feel pressured to reply to

I'm really not sure where this particular rabbit hole is leading insomuch as whether I will feel comfortable socialising with my friends again. There will always be the pressing question of why I stopped talking in the first place and that just isn't something I really want to talk about so any conversation about that [topic] would stop as soon as it started. It's been near-as-makes-no-difference one year that I last spoke (verbally) with anyone of the people in my friend group and in a week or two, it will mark a year since I engaged in the group chat. And I just realised that today marks exactly four and a half years since I last had sex, which was with my ex; this is a 'milestone' that really hurts. It's also over 18 months since I was last in a semi-romantic setting with someone, someone who pretty rapidly decided that they weren't interested in me, with this rejection told to me in an incredibly humiliating fashion. I really should stop thinking about these events or timeframes but I do find it very difficult not to, given their duration.
 
It's now two whole weeks since my recent PMO event, two whole weeks since my 200+ days PMO period ended, and also two whole weeks since I actively consumed anything even remotely stimulating. It is most definitely the cleanest two weeks I've had in such a long time; possibly in years. Even in times where I've had extended periods of sobriety, I will have still had some level of consumption of stimulating material, even if just very minor. There have been very few moments indeed where I've truly remained as clean as I have done over the last two weeks. And hopefully this super clean period continues for a little while longer yet!
 
Today will not be a huge update, hopefully. As far a P goes, I am now up to 17 virtually perfectly clean days, entirely free from P, M and O. It feels good that I'm not blindly cheating myself and saying just because I'm not PMO'ing means that I'm having a good recovery. Being free from all three is definitely the way to go, the way that I would preach to others and the only way to truly break the habit. Weirdly, I've not really experienced any sort of chaser-effect since the PMO 17 days ago, which is uncommon because whenever I've PMO'd in the past, usually within 2-3 days I get strong urges to PMO again. This time, these feelings have failed to materialise. However, now at the midpoint between 2 and 3 weeks completely free from P, M and O, I have noticed a steady increase in sexual energy, albeit not in a lusting way. More that I would like to engage in intimate, physical activities with someone.

On this same topic, the other day I happened to check the FB page of my very first girlfriend and to my complete and utter unsurprise I noticed that she had noted herself as 'single'.  In earlier journal entries, those crazy enough ( ;) ) to be reading this journal of mine might remember this is the girl who was never out of a relationship for more than a few weeks but was never in the relationship for more than maybe six to nine months; one year max. Therefore, doing some very rough maths this girl is likely to have been with say seven to ten other guys (conservative figures) since I was in a relationship with her almost ten years ago. And knowing what I know about this girl, logically I have no reason at all to still be interested in this person that I have not spoken with nor had any form of communication with over the last ten years. And yet, seeing that 'Single' status on her FB has again stirred an urge inside me to contact her. Even before Covid I had a similar flirtation with messaging this girl, which would have been completely out of the blue (from my side). However, as I mentioned in previous journal entries, I always felt I had unfinished business, so to speak, with this girl because our relationship was so heavily affected by my (unknown-to-me-at-the-time) PA. She was the first person I had sex with but because of PIED and PE, the sex was terrible. She was really experienced and really good whereas I would only ever last a few seconds, quite literally, if I could get hard at all. Here was a girl that regularly wanted to have sex with me and I could do nothing about it, all because of my PA. I've always regretted this; that there was so much sex available to me, someone whose sex life across my entire adult life has been close to non-existent, and I didn't make the most of this situation. Therefore, although purely fantastical, totally ridiculous and just stupid to even contemplate pursuing, I have again been tempted to contact this girl. I know I'm only yearning after a physical relationship, and it would not be the right thing to do (when judged against who swathes of criteria) but biological urges are very hard to suppress at times. And after more than four and a half years of having no sexual relationship, anything right now would be better than nothing. Anyway, I just need to work on clearing these thoughts from my mind and keep up the current momentum of this great period free from P, M and O.
 
Checking my recovery day-counter, it's been 24 days since my big PMO event.  My day tracker now breaks down P, M and O separately and I've implemented a traffic light system (red, amber and green). Green = Perfectly clean;  Amber = Minor infractions;  Red = Full on fail / slip

With the above in mind, I hope to track any patterns in behaviour that are leading me towards a PMO or, heaven forbid, did lead me to a PMO and I'm therefore reviewing patterns retrospectively.  Obviously I hope to deal with things in a preventative manner rather than a corrective manner but only time will tell.

As a general update, the last 3+ weeks continue to be some of the cleanest I've had with so many consecutively-clean days.  Obviously this is a great positive but over the past few days, I've found myself feeling extremely highly charged. I've had a couple days where I put the M cell in my tracker as amber because, well, I've had a few very brief M moments. Nothing all that serious but I want to be truthful and honest with myself so I'm definitely not marking these days with M as green.  I've also discovered that explicit material had entered into a few of my dreams recently, and all I can think is that my libido must be quite high / strong at the moment. One of the more intense dreams was actually last night and oddly, it included my ex girlfriend. This is the girl I dated in 2016, was pretty gutted when the relationship ended but once the initial months after the break-up were over, I never really thought about this girl again and this is something that hasn't changed even to today. This is why the dream about her was so strange because I just do not think about this girl anymore, not even a little bit. However, the dream about her was so incredibly intense it seemed to stir memories of her because she has been in my thoughts quite a lot today. I did then look on her Facebook profile but unsurprisingly, it elicited no emotional response, because as I have mentioned before, my mind accepted the end of the relationship long, long ago. Even so, the dream about her was so out of the blue that I think this is the reason she's stuck in my thoughts today.

Anyway, not too much more to report. The clean period is going really well, just that pesky libido is really making me lust after stimulating material and even just a fleeting thought around an old P memory causes a hormonal 'rush' to run through my body...
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Hey Happydude619,

Long time reader, first time poster here.

It seems like there is a clearer focus in your days clean this time around which is great. Looking forward to seeing how this new traffic light system will pan out.

Re the ex, the libido being stronger at the moment is definitely not a bad thing, probably quite the opposite as it must be a sign you're in a relatively decent place in your recovery. Reading through your journal, I do feel though there is a certain recurring element of loneliness that comes up in your posts. Even if you accepted the relationship ended long ago, perhaps it's more hanging on to some particular (possibly somewhat rose-tinted?) memories or thoughts that take you back to a time where you felt this less?

I think it's only human and natural to feel this way, especially given the additional isolation of the pandemic & lockdowns, as long as you're aware of what it is/could be.

Keep up the great work!
 
Hey Orbiter :)

Long time reader, first time poster here.
Firstly, it's always nice to hear that someone finds my 'ramblings' and never-ending stories worth reading (so thanks for the comment).

It seems like there is a clearer focus in your days clean this time around which is great. Looking forward to seeing how this new traffic light system will pan out.
I'm still surprising myself how good / clean I've managed to be; closing in on one month almost perfectly clean now. It is such a long time - I'm guessing years - since I went this clean for so long.  It's around 9.5 years since I discovered my PA and since that day, I've never come within a 'million miles' of returning to my old relationship with P and I'm definitely happy about this. However, the casual consumption of P / stimulating material has never really gone away. Hence why the last 3 weeks have been such a refreshing experience because they've shown that once I stop lying to myself and cheating about what constitutes a 'clean' day, I can actually remain entirely sober for more than just a few days.

In the case of my libido (in general), I am actually really happy when it spikes. I say I'm frustrated but it's more in a jokey way. More than anything it's nice to feel something inside. Also, it's always comforting to 'feel' real attraction to even very basic and mundane things: An actress in a tv show, someone on the news, an attractive female musician in a completely non-explicit music. So yeah, even though the spikes in my libido do increase my temptation and yearning towards wanting to look at and consume P, I am so happy whenever I can feel that my libido is alive and kicking.

Reading through your journal, I do feel though there is a certain recurring element of loneliness that comes up in your posts. Even if you accepted the relationship ended long ago, perhaps it's more hanging on to some particular (possibly somewhat rose-tinted?) memories or thoughts that take you back to a time where you felt this less?

I think it's only human and natural to feel this way, especially given the additional isolation of the pandemic & lockdowns, as long as you're aware of what it is/could be.

Regarding the dream about my ex, it's been 4.5 years since we broke up - it's so scary how quickly time goes by... The relationship was a bit whirl-windy but she is probably the only person I have ever fancied so intensely and I did think I was falling in love with her. Even though the relationship barely lasted 4 months, I think I was pretty heartbroken when the relationship ended but there was a definite finality to the break-up and quite quickly my brain accepted this. So even though I was furiously attracted to this girl, I knew that the relationship achieved all that there was to achieve so I've pretty much forgotten about her. However, due to the relationship's intensity I have no doubt there are still some memories buried deep in my brain that may raise their head every now and again, hence my dream.  Regarding ex's, it's actually my first girlfriend from almost 10 years ago that I still think about, which is odd because I never truly fancied her and the relationship was pretty crap.

As you rightly say, the feeling of loneliness has been a spectre in the shadows of my life for quite some time now. Like you mention, perhaps my brain is searching for that feeling of intimacy within the depths of my memory banks, which manifested itself as the dream about my ex. I have quite a few ongoing emotional hang-ups but the loneliness / lack of intimacy is certainly within my top 3; quite possibly it's number 1.  As you've probably noticed, my relationship with my close friends has been a challenge over the last year due to them all being in long term relationships and living with their wives / girlfriends.  In our group chat, one of my friends recently mentioned that he was hoping to move house soon (with his girlfriend). This was just another one of those purely matter-of-fact comments that I find difficult to read as it hits me hard by drawing my attention to my complete absence of relationship, not to mention probably being years away from actually living with someone (thinking very optimistically there, I hasten to add). My friends are continuing to progress with their personal lives and I remain standing still, if not regressing. However, not that I actually know but I'm sure there are aspects of my life that my friends maybe would like in their lives but for whatever reason can't have them.  Ultimately, I think no one is truly satisfied and, rightly or wrongly, they compare themselves to others. And although I haven't spoken to my friends in over a year now, I bet if I did they'd have a similar number of frustrations and challenges to me, albeit different problems.

But yeah, again, thanks Orbiter for taking the time to read and to comment. It always gives me a shot of positivity when reading the comments of others :)
 
Rather than bleat on about my usual themes of feeling lonely, struggling with communicating with my friends, and my what-feels-like-a-million-years of unwanted celibacy, I'm going to talk about positive stuff.

Firstly, due to working from home full time I've found it so very easy to sit down for 12+ hours per day with minimal moving around during the day. As such, quite bad coccyx pain has manifested itself as well as a general feeling of lethargy. To tackle these issues, since early 2021 I've been trying to go out walking on a Saturday and Sunday. The length of the walk isn't huge but it's a local route and I've begun timing myself to challenge myself to get quicker. I've certainly felt better by doing more exercise, my 'lap' times have improved but they've now stabilised and the total duration of my walk doesn't seem to be reducing any so I think I'll soon start extending my walk, which will give more opportunity for improvement.

Secondly, after Easter I FINALLY started my full-time role with my employer, following the completion of the graduate scheme. Originally, the graduate scheme was due to end at the end of August 2020 but due to Covid-19, furlough, a redundancy Consultation and a general restructure, the graduate scheme was extended by seven months. For me, I had mixed feelings about this extension. I was happy that I didn't lose my job and after four months of furlough together with quite a few months of a redundancy Consultation, I was quite happy to have a little stability. However, my main issue was around the 'seat' I was in at that time. The graduate scheme is rotational and I'd moved into my final 'seat' and new team at the beginning of March 2020. This final rotation was only supposed to last six months, but was ultimately extended due to the aforementioned reasons.

Overall, I did like my team although there were two senior members in the other half of team that I never 'clicked' with, and this is something that wasn't uncommon in the slightest. The team was one that would always get graduates joining in a rotational capacity; a new graduate every six months in the side of the team that I was in, and a new graduate once a year in the other half of the team. Due to this regular churn of graduates, a reasonable portion of all graduates would gain experience within this team. The graduate scheme in its current format has been running for maybe four years now and due to the experiences that graduates had in the other half of the team (in particular), the team gained a reputation for not being a particularly enjoyable place to be. And this was down to the couple senior team members I noted previously. Although not being in that half of the team my old role meant I'd have to deal with one of these managers on an almost daily basis and their general passive aggressive and accusatory attitude eventually ground me down. Whenever there was a problem, they would only help you AFTER they'd taken a few subtle pot-shots at you first. They would very cleverly 'throw you under the bus' first and then look to sort out the problem afterwards. I also got a strong impression that they knew when you were doing something wrong even if you had no idea that it was the wrong thing to be doing (due to a lack of knowledge / experience by virtue of being a graduate) and they would quietly let you continue down the incorrect path or route to ensure it went wrong for all to see. Essentially, they would cleverly provide you with 'enough rope to hang yourself', so to speak. Other graduates (and non-graduates too!) experienced the same sort of thing and I know many, including myself, who became quite disillusioned with being in the team due to the two very strong personalities. The hilarious irony about all this was when I rotated into the team at the beginning of March 2020, I think it was in the first team meeting I had that one of these senior team members said to me that "we're all a team here and we need everyone working towards the team goal of getting [stuff] delivered because we're under loads of pressure from the business". It was a team alright, but only by name and certainly not by nature.

Due to being on furlough and not being able to do anything or travel anywhere, I, together with loads of other people, had loads of annual leave to take before the end on March 2021. Because of my disillusionment with the team and being bored of sitting through the same meetings week in week out, during much of February and March I booked off lots of Monday to Wednesday. These days included all the meetings I'd got so bored with and were the meetings I interacted with those people I didn't like the most. I'm pretty sure others knew that I was being very strategic with my regular Monday to Wednesday leave; hell, I even told my old manager (who I did like and who totally sympathised with my feelings) why I was booking off so many Monday to Wednesday.

Anyway, I've now left the above team and have joined my new team in a permanent role. This is a team I spent six months with (on rotation) until I left them at the end of February 2020 to join the above team. As I liked this team and the project I'm happy that I've been able to return in a full-time capacity. I'm just hoping that everything goes well and that I can really make a name for myself (again) in this team.

I'll leave it there for this entry but to conclude it, and to have some stuff related to P and my recovery, my stats as of today are:

P = 29 consecutive days free. All green
M = 29 consecutive days free with 3 non-consecutive amber M moments earlier this month
O = 29 consecutive days free. All green
And in the last 29 days, I've had 3 NEs, one of which was pretty intense around my ex, and the most recent one was just very s*x themed.
 
Just a quick update today, although I can't remember how many times I've said that and then proceeded to write something of comparable length to War and Peace...

All I really want to update today is that my super clean period continues; I'm now over a month almost perfectly clean. The shocking thing is how easy it's been to achieve this, and that all really I've done is make a few minor changes to my habits / behaviours. Health-wise, I've been out for a couple walks in the evening this week so I'm keeping up with being more active that I had been for much of the winter period. And apart from watching three new films over three separate nights, not much else of interest to report.

Anyway, current Recovery stats are:

P = 33 consecutive days free. All green
M = 33 consecutive days free with 3 non-consecutive amber M moments earlier this month
O = 33 consecutive days free. All green

Regarding NEs, since my last posting I've had one incredibly s*xual NE, with the accompanying dream about me being with the P star that I would class as my favourite. She was someone I believed I had deep, emotional feelings for (which were all caused by far too much PMO over her, I know). She will never disappear from my memory so I'll just have to get used to her popping into my thoughts, conscious or unconscious, from time to time.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Congratulations on over a month of clean recovery! Sounds like a shift to quality over quantity in terms of recovery. I feel like your last long streak has weakened PMOs grip on you enough to do this and you've managed to make some positive changes in your approach even after. All success is accumulative I suppose.

Acceptance is the key with those sorts of memories i think. I had several dreams recently of starting smoking again but it has not tempted me to start again. I suppose if it's such a big part of our lives memories will pop up again from time to time. The important thing is it doesn't mean we have to give in to it though. We can be stronger than that.

Wishing you strength Happydude, keep up the great work!
 
Hey Orbiter,

Congratulations on over a month of clean recovery! Sounds like a shift to quality over quantity in terms of recovery. I feel like your last long streak has weakened PMOs grip on you enough to do this and you've managed to make some positive changes in your approach even after. All success is accumulative I suppose.

You're spot on, for sure, in that quality over quantity is the focus since my last PMO. And those 200+ days without P+M+O did help me regain some of the control I'd lost to a certain extent in the early part of 2020 (and still further back into 2019). Like you say, progress is accumulative and I would always tell this to others on the previous forum I was a member of (2011 onwards until it closed down in 2018 maybe). I'd tell people if you've been clean for two weeks and then you PMO, you aren't back to Day 0 in relation to overall progress. A bit like the stock market, you look at the long-term performance rather than the day-to-day to get a true understanding of what's happening.

Acceptance is the key with those sorts of memories i think. I had several dreams recently of starting smoking again but it has not tempted me to start again. I suppose if it's such a big part of our lives memories will pop up again from time to time. The important thing is it doesn't mean we have to give in to it though. We can be stronger than that.

Again, I agree entirely with the above. And it seems that during the night is the most challenging time for me at the moment, particularly when I'm semi-awake / not fully asleep and I still have some slight control over my thoughts. Similar to my last post, in bed last night I had a very s*xually-explicit, P-filled dream that resulted in NE, with the initial thoughts about the P person involved in the dream coming from me thinking about them. In fairness I was semi-awake, not fully in control of my thoughts, and my libido has felt really quite strong over the past week so I think this contributed somewhat to my thoughts turning to something p*rnographic. On my Red, Amber, Green rating it's quite difficult to work out whether to register this as an Amber P moment as there was an element of active thought involve, although under the circumstances of me not being fully conscious, it's maybe harsh to say I did consume P. Therefore, because I didn't actively search out or consume P during a period of the day when I was in full control of my thoughts, I feel P can be ranked green.

Anyway, not all that much to report

P = 40 consecutive days free. All green
M = 40 consecutive days free. However, the last 3 days have been consecutively amber. I need to get this area back to being green
O = 40 consecutive days free. All green
 
On the subject of P, there isn't a whole lot to discuss, not revelatory anyway. Two nights ago I had another NE; through the month of April NEs have occurred maybe once a week, which is more consistently frequent that I've experienced before. This recent NE was, again, accompanied by a s*xual dream; nothing extremely intense like previous dreams that contained either P stars or my exes, it was just very middle-of-the-road s*x.

Something that isn't P-related but noteworthy to mention is that last night, I was on my laptop and listening to music. Whilst listening to an old (i.e 90s) trance song I experienced a sudden wave of anxiety and I wasn't really sure as to why. I certainly have missed going to a club every now and again and having a crazed dance around for many an hour so I do feel slightly down that it is likely to be quite some time before this can happen again. However, this feeling of anxiety was intense, as if something else was intertwined with it and not just the feeling of sadness created by the lack of 'dancing-time'.

In other news, I've not spoken with my friends for over a year now. Aside from other reasons I simply don't have anything that I want to say to them or talk to them about. And if I did speak to them they'd, almost certainly, ask how I've been and I really don't want to discuss that with them so we'd just be then immediately back to there being nothing to talk about. I don't know how to reengage with them. Every once in a while one of them will message me but I get the feeling that they are probably talking about me outside of the main group chat and they're deciding between themselves who will next send me a message to try to get me to respond. It just feels like there's far too much pressure to say something meaningful if I was to chat with them again. I don't know whether they're particular interested anymore about my lack of engagement but I don't really get the feeling that they are. Hence why it's kind of pointless reengaging because I couldn't have a helpful conversation about 'how I've been'. If I was a third party and was to give me advice, I'd say that from my own experience, the best thing to do is talk to people about things. Annoyingly, I'm dreadful at following my own advice that I so passionately prescribe to others...

Two of my close family members have had difficult times recently but they were able to talk to me about their problems. My own 'baggage' just piles up and up, it remains in my head (but does find its way onto this forum), I speak to nobody about anything and I don't think anyone would really have any idea about those things that actually trouble me. People might be able to identify one or possibly two of the things that cause me issues, but I don't think anyone would get close to identifying even 5+ of those things I listed a few months ago in a journal post. I think people see me as someone who's laid back, calm, regularly laughing or finding things to laugh at so I reckon that most people would say that I am doing well (mentally).

Anyway, just to conclude this post, I'm not going to bother putting my recovery 'stats' in today. I can see my own stats and all is going well.
 
At work I have recently moved teams. One of those people that was in this old team, who I chat with quite regularly and discuss non-work stuff, also moved times at the same time as me so now we're in separate teams. However, I still make a point of chatting with them once or twice a week, be it an IM chat or a virtual call. Well yesterday when we spoke this friend of mine said that they were having issues with their personal life, particularly regarding a relatively new relationship. They spoke non-stop for maybe 10 minutes, during which time I said nothing and just listened and although the finer details of their problem aren't critical in the context of this post, the one thing that really 'hit' me was how open and honest they were with me about how they were feeling. Their problem related to someone that they'd recently met-up with in a romantic context, and they weren't sure what they felt about them. They told me that they were feeling very lonely right now, a situation no doubt exacerbated by living alone, that they hadn't been in a relationship for over four years, and that even though the relationship might not be heading towards becoming serious, they really enjoyed just being with someone. My friend is quite upfront (in general) but it kind of shocked me how easy it seemed for them to be able to tell me things; shocked because their feelings are almost identical to mine and I find it totally impossible to talk to anyone about them.

Historically, I've often found that people find it quite easy to talk with me about things and confide with me personal issues that they likely wouldn't discuss with others. I, on the other hand, find that I can't divulge any of my personal hang-ups with anyone. No one knows how lonely I am. No one knows how long it has been since I was in a relationship. No one knows how long it is since I last slept with someone. No one knows how much it hurts seeing all those around me in relationships. No one knows that I already believe that I will never ever have a serious relationship in my life. No one knows that I believe that there's a strong possibility I will never have s*x again. There are so many other things that no one knows and I reckon that no one probably suspects that I have any thoughts like the above because I always appear pretty happy, calm and easy-going. I mean why can't I talk about these things? Is it that I don't want to show emotional weakness to others? Is it because I'm scared of being laughed at because quite a few of the above hang-ups are embarrassing? I think that one reason is that no one can actually help me with any of these things so there's absolutely no point sharing them because I'd gain no benefit from doing so and I'd leave myself wide-open for ridicule.

The irony to all this being that I would always tell others to share their problems. This is because sharing / talking often helps as it can make you feel like you're no longer alone. For me, right now, all my troubles are like an emotional maelstrom in my mind and I don't know how to deal with it. I feel completely incapable of messaging my friends. What would I say? I've not spoken with them in over a year so how would I even begin any form of conversation? And even if I did start a conversation, what would I then say? Discussion matter would be very generic and it wouldn't be possible to share my problems just because it is impossible for me to do so; I literally can't do it. So this loops back to the main topic of this post: why can others so readily share their problems, problems that are near identical to mine but which they have no problem telling to others? I feel as if I am destined to remain in this mental and emotional turmoil for the foreseeable future.... [Sigh]
 
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