How Shall We Escape?

E

escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
When one medicates things with porn, they come back after porn abstinence and hit hard. It happens to me when my streak gets longer and it's probably one of the reasons why I relapse, to "stabilize" myself, which means coming back to familiar territory that doesn't mess up my mind. It's sick how the misery becomes the normal and how I choose misery because this is something I know. Quitting the self-medication means leaving the fake comfort zone and that is the unknown not the known. The known is a prison right now though. I've reached a point where I can't even imagine what's like without being addicted. I don't even know how it's supposed to be without self-medication because I've being doing it since I was about 7. An entire life up to this moment medicating myself with this shit, it makes me sick only to think about it.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
When one medicates things with porn, they come back after porn abstinence and hit hard. It happens to me when my streak gets longer and it's probably one of the reasons why I relapse, to "stabilize" myself, which means coming back to familiar territory that doesn't mess up my mind. It's sick how the misery becomes the normal and how I choose misery because this is something I know. Quitting the self-medication means leaving the fake comfort zone and that is the unknown not the known. The known is a prison right now though. I've reached a point where I can't even imagine what's like without being addicted. I don't even know how it's supposed to be without self-medication because I've being doing it since I was about 7. An entire life up to this moment medicating myself with this shit, it makes me sick only to think about it.

Thanks for coming by my journal, Escape!

If I can challenge how you're thinking about this...

It may not seem like it now, but you're only doing what's natural: doing whatever you can to get back to a place of normalcy, of feeling happy, secure, or comforted. We all do this, and it's natural. But for us, we chose a 'faulty coping mechanism', as you know, to deal with life's pains and problems.

I understand what you're saying. It's challenging, but taking away P, PMO, and MO away as a coping mechanism will simply force us to feel life, instead of numbing ourselves to it. We will then become more resilient, stronger, and when necessary, find natural and healthier coping methods.

Instead of seeing ourselves as choosing misery, we're actually doing what we've come to know down through the years as our coping mechanism. It became second nature to us. But, this is what we're challenging. As we abstain, we're reaching (like you said) for the unknown in need of comfort, but let's instead sit with the pain, the discomfort, try to see it as (just like urges) passing, momentary, fleeting.

Because we'll always, even if we don't do anything, eventually come back down to a place of normalcy, and relative peace!

This can be a two-pronged approach one can add to their strategy: 1) Learn to dismiss urges; and 2) Learn to build resilience when uncomfortable, hurting, in pain, or under stress.

Wait that extra amount of time before you check your Facebook status, or whether someone 'liked' a post, maybe take cold showers, whatever this might look like for you.

You can do it, brother. 
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
For self-accountability purposes, I lapsed last night. It was P, and later on MO, but without images or fantasy- just so I could go to sleep.

Days accomplished in abstinence:

Between November 6, 2020 and March 25, 2021, I accomplished 139 days without P, PMO, MO, and with minimal edging and P-subs.

This is also 4 months, 19 days; or 19 weeks, 6 days. It is also 19 days passed my accomplished goal of 120 days.

What happened?

This episode occurred in a 30 minute max time period, and though I began with excitement and anticipation, it was full of questioning myself, like, "What am I doing?"- or, "I don't need to do this...", and it turned out to be a thing of no enjoyment, followed by disappointment with myself.

First, I own my lapse. Regardless of external stimuli or circumstantial events, I lapsed from within myself- I did it.

Second, a user (sex-bot) followed me on Twitter which was after my particular 'tastes'. And there were certain emotional challenges regarding a relationship.

Third, there was an anticipation toward this lapse which preceded even me hitting my 120 day goal. It centered around a video that, last year, I basically determined to finish. I would periodically come back to the memory of it, as something to return to...

There's been this enduring ambivalence between using P, MO, edging and P-subs and perhaps it will always be there to varying degrees? Hopefully, as time goes on in abstaining from these behaviors, this 'pull' or ambivalent feelings toward it, will decrease until it's almost a faint memory...?

Plan going forward:

I had quit counting days, and used my previous goal as training toward life after habit change. Going forward, I plan to continue as I am, not counting days. But if there's a re- to my lapse, i.e., relapse within 30 days of this episode, I will implement a new 90 day plan consisting of 9 X 10 day periods. I already gutted a post on my page 1 to serve this purpose.

I will also continue to cut to the bone my social media use, which I need, ironically, for ministry purposes. But there are still several things I can do time wise, content wise, to alter any dependence on it, or having it trip me up in the future.

As for others who may have followed my story to any degree, this is a decades long struggle- and so I'm not too surprized to have lapsed. Though, I was hoping to leave this all behind in 2020, it seems cyclical, March is when I tend to revisit this, even if I've abstained.

Certainly, deeper psychological work and spiritual grace needs to be done and received in order for lasting change to occur. But I've proven that I can radically hack into and change my habits.

I continue to have hope to be a man that does not use pornography.

 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
You've been winning the war, Phin. Focus now, and this stays a blip. I respect that this is a risky time for you, though, so I wish you every strength. I remember when I first committed to quit, my wife told me that I was facing one hell of a tough fight, and I couldn't expect to win without soaking-up a few, hard, punches in the face. I guess you just got clipped. But it's good to see you're already back on your feet. You're strong, experienced and have great processes.

I come back to the thing that has me scratching my head, though, my friend..... your reliance on Social Media. It's tripped you up before and it's tripped you up now. Even if you never trip again, it's going to be a source of tension for you. You're a man of faith and it's clearly important to your work in ministry, of which I'm sincerely respectful. But isn't there a way you can carry out your work without running your own social media accounts, or putting something like "K9" on your devices so that somebody gets alerted as soon as you go into a grey area? I think you have a much stronger recovery plan than I do, but "socials" look like an Achilles heel from here. 

You're a star performer. Hopefully you climb straight back on the bike and get pedalling, even if you have to do a few days uphill. Good luck and best wishes!
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
You've been winning the war, Phin. Focus now, and this stays a blip. I respect that this is a risky time for you, though, so I wish you every strength. I remember when I first committed to quit, my wife told me that I was facing one hell of a tough fight, and I couldn't expect to win without soaking-up a few, hard, punches in the face. I guess you just got clipped. But it's good to see you're already back on your feet. You're strong, experienced and have great processes.

Thank you, WIP! Yes, focus is key and essential right now. And your reply was invaluable toward that effort.

Yes, I've come to appreciate that this is a mother of a fight. Victory in this area is not easy, and hard won, albeit 'smartly' won if we can avoid the mistakes of earlier failed attempts. But this addiction is akin to heroine or cocain addiction, and while the whole recovery process is taking power back so this is not the case, it is something to remember as yet another reason to stay clear of this thing.

I come back to the thing that has me scratching my head, though, my friend..... your reliance on Social Media. It's tripped you up before and it's tripped you up now. Even if you never trip again, it's going to be a source of tension for you. You're a man of faith and it's clearly important to your work in ministry, of which I'm sincerely respectful. But isn't there a way you can carry out your work without running your own social media accounts, or putting something like "K9" on your devices so that somebody gets alerted as soon as you go into a grey area? I think you have a much stronger recovery plan than I do, but "socials" look like an Achilles heel from here.

I respect your perspective here, and it's frankly not the first time addressing this has been suggested. Of course my success in reaching my goal of 120 days was largely due to rearranging my social media and iPhone use, and so this is very much not lost on me- and I've long recognized it as a source for many (if not most) of my falls.

But, and I give credit to your words above, when I read what you wrote here, it's motivated me to cut even deeper than before in regards to social media use: a new plan has emerged.

Plan toward social media:

I am to use social media (FB, IG, YT, Twitter) only 2 days a week, Saturdays and Sundays- and then, only the amount of time given during my former changes. So, M-F will be given to either reading a book, or else getting ready before bed, or as I get up in the mornings, I'll just sit there if need be.

Exceptions: If I have a definite purpose for going on; if I'm inspired with a post- get in, get out; or, if I'm to strictly get my news updates (my Twitter usage).

There are still changes to be made, too, as to what content I see on there. This is a very purposeful endeavor, but I should be ready to 'go live' Friday with implementing this plan. 

You're a star performer. Hopefully you climb straight back on the bike and get pedalling, even if you have to do a few days uphill. Good luck and best wishes!

Vigilance is certainly called for, but I think that these further changes will be radical enough to keep me sharp and focused in living out my recovery.

Thank you, again, WIP. Your help proved that I made the right choice to include this forum in my bouncing back from this.
 

J01

Active Member
I like the way you are approaching the slip; mostly I am glad to see that you are not blowing it out of proportion.  You have accomplished a lot, and, just as importantly, you have encouraged and refreshed many, many others along the way.

You know the drill-do a Psalm 51 cleanse and keep going.  He is merciful. 
 
E

escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
4 months without porn is awesome. 30 minutes of bullshit won't kill all of that. Make sure you don't binge and you don't make mistakes in the next days and things will be alright. Be vigilant because the first days could be difficult, that's what happens to me, after a PMO sessions I struggle not to get another one in the next 2-3 days.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Thank you, Escape.

You're absolutely right, I'm not discounting the 139 days without P/MO for a 30 minute lapse. I've trained for this in those 4 months, on how to bounce back and stay focused, even after a slip.

Though the danger is real enough, where I have a plan set up for if I had another lapse within the next 30 days... Though we don't plan for it, knowing ourselves, it's easy to resensitize old neural pathways, or reestablish old habit patterns.

Looking forward to good things.
 
Phin, I'm sorry to hear about your slip up, but I trust you'll bounce back. You've been an encouragement to me and so many others...now you just have to believe what you've said to everyone else!

The difference in this most recent episode and the acting out 136 days ago, is that 136 days ago you were acting out of habit and training. What happened 2 days ago was a slip. I think you can legitimately say that it wasn't out of habit. You've created 136 days of new habit...what happened was the EXCEPTION, not the RULE.

You are the guy of those 136 days. And while I agree you may need to redefine your relationship with social media, you can trust that your brain has changed. I personally had to drastically reduce my social media and put filters and accountability software on all my devices because for years I simply tried to defeat p without making changes to those habits. I realized for me this was like trying to tame a pet tiger that really just wanted to eat me. I had to get rid of the tiger!

You'll keep at this and I'm sure find what works for you. I appreciate your transparency and look forward to many more victorious posts from you brother.

Take care.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Thank you so much, berry! Your thoughts and encouragement are seriously helpful right now...

Yes, I actually feel really good this morning.

Last night I had an episode of edging without fantasy, but it was old habit patterns wanting to reemerge, wanting to be reestablished.

How did I deal with this? As I lay in bed, I simply turned to the Lord in prayer- thanked Him for His forgiveness, thanked Him for being the only thing that can satisfy my deep emotional and spiritual needs. And this thing shifted toward a very peaceful and porn-free sleep.

Berry is right, I'm not the guy I was from March 2020 to June, when I started (again) to quit. Nor am I the same guy when I rejoined this forum in November of 2020. It's easy for me to fall back into old patterns of thinking, like old files playing in your head. But this is why I do things the way I do, as a huge psy-op against old mentalities.

Nonetheless, since rejoining RN in November of 2020, I have not succumbed to my unwanted behaviors of P, PMO, or MO,
but this 1x, aside from scattered bouts with edging and/or p-subs.

I therefore continue to build on what I accomplished with my latest goal of 120 + 19 days. But I'm ready, if necessary, to count days again, with a 90 day goal. But, I really don't want to count days again!
 
E

escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
Focus on the day you are on. Try not to make any mistake until the end of the day. Tomorrow is for tomorrow. Treat each day like this and they will add up. If it helps, don't even count days anymore. Mark the day when you start and then, once in a while, you could look back and say: "Since then it's been X days, that's great." That's what I like to do. Okay, I have that big ass counter in my signature but only because it looks cool.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Lol...! Good advice, Escape.

Yes, focus on what's in front of you now, that's how to avoid white-knuckled approaches to change.

Yeah, I'm practicing what got me to my 120, and if I pass my probationary 30 days, I'll simply keep going as I did after I hit my goal.

The change in strategy is in greatly limiting my social media use, but not in a legalistic way hopefully. It will help, as my initial changes helped.
 

Orbiter

Active Member
Hi Phin,

Sorry to hear of the stumble. I feel like everyone else here has covered most of what I was planning to say but I just wanted to add if you're feeling in any way down, dispirited, frustrated or plagued by thoughts of perfection not met, that this is a mere blip on the radar of your journey forward. I'm sure after a short while you will be right where you were at before.

Good idea on limiting the social media use. A good practice to do for life in general I think.

Wishing you well!
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Thank you, Orbiter! Your support has helped me before, as it does now...

The perfectionist part of myself is some what disappointed, but I know this to be faulty thinking on my part... Hitting my goal of 120 days is a huge win for me, and if I reject the black-and-white thinking that occurs with the Abstinence Violation Effect, and see things more holistically, I should be fine.

Update:

Had no issues last night, and got good sleep. I'm currently not counting days, albeit I'm within a self-imposed 30 day probationary period which, if there's a repeat of the lapse (a relapse), I'll engage in a 90 day abstinence challenge. Either way, no matter what happens, consecutive lengthy streaks will follow.

On the social media front, Friday was my first day fully implementing that. Sat-Sun are when normal social media use can occur, as used during my 120 day goal. I think that this will be a dopamine detox in and of itself. My brain will be forced to find more natural sources of dopamine, like human interaction, marital bliss (ha!). If this schedule proves to be legalistic, I'll modify my plan as needed.

My targeted focus right now:

1. Redirecting my responses to spiritual and emotional needs toward God and spirituality. Ironically, the only fitting responses to urges are a non-response; however, I'm talking about needs versus urges.

2. Changing the meaning that porn has for me, by watching anti-porn videos, especially as expose the evils of the industry. Ex-porn stars have shocking stories to tell, as well as ex-addicts. 

I challenge myself to be more honest with myself, dig down deeper for real and lasting change.
 
E

escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
Good things, man. You don't let a slip cause concussion.
 

Leonidas

Active Member
Stopping by to say hello (hi!  :D) and to echo Orbiter's sentiment, it is more or less obvious from our perspective that you've got all the tools at your disposal to re-engage once again with your goal.  You often gave me the impression of being a solid, steadfast and capable man.. the sky would literally seem the limit for you so make sure you pay heed to your own advice and avoid the perfectionism trap!

I was a bit taken aback by point #2 though: you say you want to watch anti-porn videos to change the meaning porn has for you.  I believe that most of us have already decided to shift the meaning of porn from day 1 (regardless of individual progress).  I think that change in the meaning has already occurred within you from the get-go.  Relapses may give the impression that our perception (or meaning) has collapsed... our resolve may falter on some days, but I doubt this means we're losing our commitment to destroy the habit.  About the anti-porn cause... I have nothing against it.  That porn is exploitative and that it warps minds is an accepted fact.  But do you really want to revisit these documentaries again?  Or is it the perfectionist in you having his way?  ;)  I believe that a key to dealing the habit its death-blow is to give it less attention by engaging with activities you love or perhaps improving some other life areas that take you away from dwelling too much on the problematic behavior.  The only thing I am going on is a gut feeling, based on my own experience of feeling lighter and less worried of potential relapses.  Still have my run-ins with fantasy/M, but I have virtually disconnected from the hours and hours of p-viewing I used to do indulge in up until five months ago.

Take care,
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Hi, Leonidas! :D

Thank you for your opening statements. Much appreciated!

You're right, I do have the necessary tools, and am very confident in my methods and processes. I'm about as solid and stedfast a man as one can be, albeit with his own flaws and shortcomings.

But while perfectionism is possible on my part, it may be that my goals are more holistic and wider ranging than your own. I include not only porn use, but also masturbation, which of course these include edging and p-subs. And, my recovery being more wider in scope, the why's of my [former] porn use are included.

My response to my overall recovery, given its (anticipated) lapse, is that my methods deal with the habit itself, leaving untouched the emotional needs or reasons behind the addiction. So while I can successfully deal with the habit, as I did in my 120 day goal, I'm less successful- or perhaps as much as I can be- in dealing with the emotional side as to why the maladaptive behaviors developed to begin with. This includes challenges from my past, as well as present circumstances that illicit emotional responses.

In response to your comment on my 2nd point above:

You assume that "most of us" are done on day 1... At best, most of us have decided that porn has adversely affected us, maybe broken our noodle, maybe broken our family, our marriage. And yet persistent in many here is an underlying need to return to it that often times goes beyond the mere habit or addiction to it. Changing the habit deals with the physiological need we created for it (the craving for dopamine), but what may be unchanged is a perceived need on an emotional level. Many of us who have our habits rooted in emotional or sexual trauma, or family of origin issues, understand this. Your assumptions here fail to understand or appreciate that.

(The use of your term "most of us" seems to juxtapose yourself and the majority from myself, which is divisive language and a little judgemental on your part)

The best you can say is that the meaning porn has for us has begun to change from day 1, but to assume that this isn't something that continues to change and deepen over time leaves one scratching their head.

On the contrary, relapses indeed suggest that our perception remains somewhat faulty. And of course, our commitment and/or resolve certainly weaken with each lapse, each indulgence, each compromise. Does that mean it goes away altogether? Of course not, but we do need to revisit our level of commitment or intensity of resolve each time we lapse or slip, so as to strengthen our overall approach.

I can stand over myself all day and demand a strengthened resolve, but the motivation of this won't be as strong if there's yet an underlying perception of porn (as having some kind of value) that is yet flawed. I sense this in myself, despite years of fighting this, despite recent victories. And I'm actually reaching for a deeper healing in addressing this in myself.

You're assuming that I'm revisiting these documentaries (though I have watched similar ones before), and you're assuming that I can't get more out of them. Have you ever reread a book? Or, having rewatched a movie, didn't get more out of it, even a more indepth understanding?

I understand about giving the whole subject less attention, which is why I've been backing away from this forum little by little, so I can simply live without these habits. But again, you're assuming that the 'death-blow' is a one-size-fits-all proposition, when it may be different for each person. But you do have a point about pursuing more meaningful avenues of life as a way to undermine porn- or what it's meant for us. Certainly, we'll naturally find other ways of getting our dopamine, and enjoying life without these behaviors.

Likewise, the extent and intensity of viewing hours have changed for many of us, but if there's still residual behaviors no matter how vanilla, whether it's in the mind or not, is a sign that the underlying perception of porn yet remains flawed.

A final note:

Perfectionism ought not to be confused with a holistic approach. I know in myself that if I give place to p-subs or edging, than I know that masturbation and pornography are not far behind. That's why I deal with them as a whole. Though p-subs/edging serve as a kind of buffer zone to alert me to a potentially deepening problem that will invariably include P/MO if left unchecked.

Perfectionism, on the other hand, is if I see a lapse or slip as a complete relapse. I'm not viewing it that way for myself, but rather as a wrinkle needing attention as to underlying causes, but nothing more.
 

Leonidas

Active Member
Oh, boy!  Here I go running into trouble, yet again!  I had a eerie feeling that I could have used wiser words on hindsight... so I lurked around and sure enough just in time to catch your amazing reply.

So getting it out of the way: I'm sorry, I might have been too quick to assume or to project thoughts that don't have their place here on your journal.  I am also guilty of having riled up others on the forum before, and as was the case here -- I insist on making clear -- these were not communications made on bad faith.  On the contrary, their spirit was pro-social with a view to providing support through a challenge... of the kind that offers a different perspective in the hopes that it might contribute to the knowledge or overall approach to recovery.  In any case, that's the idea I had in mind when I joined the ranks of RN!  The 'most of us' comment: I don't really know anyone here, so it's a shortcut to refer to a majority who I-believe-in-theory to have decided to qualify porn as destructive for their lives (hence their membership here).  And that majority I alluded to DOES include you! (in fact, I 'assumed' you had already made that decision from the beginning).

One thing that I often forget is how intensely personal a journey of porn recovery can be to each member here.  I've noticed that my 'challenges' often provoke a defensive reaction and I suppose the proper spanking I got is on me for not knowing better. ;D I've noticed this in myself as well, when some years ago I had embarked on a different journey of recovery and was in turn challenged by others.  I had been triggered then to launch an arsenal of rebukes to protect my vision at all costs (and perhaps my pride too).  Nevertheless, there is something about THIS journey that exposes a vulnerability that can create misunderstandings on both sides.  In this way, your post reminded me of this delicate balance and gave me pause to remember my own reactions from the past as well as my present transgressions (when I fail to catch them in time).  It also made me realize that context is important, we're all wired differently, so the less-is-more blanket solution I offered at the end was probably not that insightful.

I guess that being an over-thinker myself and wanting to let go of my over-analytical traits, that desire must have projected onto you and I misread your point 2 strategy as something bordering on "over-the-top".  But as you rightly pointed out, there isn't any one answer to this common problem, and what may seem unthinkable to some may actually turn out to be very feasible options for others.  As I said before, you leave me with no doubts that your approach is all-encompassing (from your history of posts, that is an understatement) and on that note, wish you the bestest run yet, Invictus man.
 

joepanic

Well-Known Member
Hello Gentleman 

    I have just read the last few days of your conversation.  As much as Leonidas said something you disagreed with Phineas, I think it opened an opportunity  for you to respond  in a way that gave  me(and probably a few others)  some ideas we may not have thought about  before.  I certainly tool  a ton of insight  from your response to Leonidas.  Gave me a chance to look at my own recovery and I certainly see the parallels.  Addiction recovery is way more than just the abstaining from viewing porn, It must be viewed as a healing of the whole mind body and spirit. With everyone's reasons and circumstances being different, there will be many approaches.  I can be a little like Leonidas in that I have riled up a few people here too.  Usually  members of the partners section(but only when they post on my journal, never when I post in their  section). Just as they have riled me up on occasion.  I think its important that we remember that life really is 10% action and 90% how we react to that action.  Quite often that is where a lot of the real learning takes place. It really gives us an opportunity to  give a view we might not have thought of giving before

    Cheers

    Post often it helps me it helps you
 
Top