How Shall We Escape?

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
@ Leonidas ~

Grateful that you stuck around to see my reply, and not 6 months later ( ;D). Thank you for taking the time to work this out, mano y mano.

Thank you for your apology. But as joepanic points out, this conversation has its place on my journal, in that it opens up new avenues and vistas in understanding each of our recovery efforts. On my part, I wish to apologize if my replies at all suggested that your own efforts were some how inferior or less commital to my own. Heck, you may be more honest with yourself than I am! Scary thing about this particular vice (PMO) is that it can warp our sense of morality and threaten our character.

As for being riled up, it all worked out well, in that it was based on misunderstanding. So, giving us the opportunity to better connect on clearer information is a good thing. On my former (deleted) journal from 2014-16, there was a conflict with a user who came on after I had a lapse, and basically tore apart my reasons given. But it wasn't that he was calling me out on actual bull shite, but that he was a pompous jerk who came around every so often just to 'push' his 6 months, etc, days free of porn in everyone's face. I know that was not your motivation, and I appreciate the conversation.

The 'most of us' comment, that's my misunderstanding then. Touchy, touchy! Lol...! You're right, these journals (being so personal as is) can be so sensitive and hence evoke a reactionary response. This is especially true, I think, in lieu of a lapse. I commented on someone's journal here after they lapsed, with compassion I thought, but I don't think they appreciated such an 'in depth' 20 point analysis of their fall  ::) Needless to say, they haven't really interacted with me since!

Please mention a *trigger warning* before talking about spanking here (joking)! Again, there's definite good that came out of our interaction, especially your remarks about not being overly minded about this issue, which is in agreement with my overall approach. So, the 'less is more' definitely helps. We're all complex creatures, and I can deal with this issue on one level (the simplicity of just moving on), and at the same time on a completely different level (the complexity of untangling the why's of my former use).

That makes two of us overly analytical sorts (are you a Virgo?). I so appreciate your response and well-wishing. This forum is the only place I have any semblance of a support group, and so am thankful for your interactions.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
@ joepanic ~

I'm grateful for the interaction with Leonidas, and that the action/reaction opened up deeper insights into aspects of recovery that may have hitherto alluded us.

I always appreciate that about you, brother, is that you're always wanting to dig deeper into your own journey and what it means, and into what recovery is in general. I also appreciate you're always encouraging discussion.

Be well.
 

Leonidas

Active Member
I'm glad for the pleasant turnaround!  That it all turned out well.  Joepanic was first to highlight the lessons learned and I totally agree that in spite of the differences, something new came out of these interactions: perhaps more in-depth introspection, perspective taking and taking some steps back to look at the the bigger picture.  I also saw revealed the funny, comedic side of you I hadn't seen before!  I learned a lot from these past 48 hours, and perhaps I might have missed that chance had I just said: "Just keep on fighting the good fight, mate!.. and keep your hands where you can see them!" (not that there is anything wrong with that).

My star sign is Aquarius, though I'm not too sold on the whole Horoscope thing.  But maybe that has something to do with the fact I have yet to reach the 6-month porn-free pompous jerk stage (damn you, Aquarius!).  But mark y words: I am NOT giving up on that dream, no siree!!!

Have a happy Easter weekend,
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
I am continuing my journey as a man who does not use porn, does not practice auto-eroticism, and does not edge or indulge in p-subs.

My 120 day goal was and continues to be a success, despite the lapse I had late March.

I don?t fully know why that occurred, other than the thought that I continued to have, that I needed to ?finish? watching a certain video (?), and the emotional and external cues I experienced at the time... But I am done trying to analyze it.

Seeing it was indeed episodic, and not part of any relapse, and that it has no residual affects on me, I am continuing on as if it never happened.

However, I continue in a self-imposed 30 day probationary period, ending April 24. This is not punishment, but to ensure that the behavior (or whatever led up to it) is not repeated, reifying old habit patterns.

But I feel good, and am no longer addicted to P, PMO, MO, or to the behaviors surrounding these, what were my former rituals.

Proof: I am returning from a wonderful vacation with my family, which I thoroughly enjoyed. When I was addicted, I would use the whole vacation experience as a big ritual toward the hoped for acting out by seeing porn on cable T.V. whenever the family would go to sleep. Or, if we were in Vegas, I?d be too distracted with the same, and wanting to pick up the discarded porn-brochures they would hand out like gospel tracks...

In the past, each morning I would shower in the motel room, full of regrets for acting out to looking for or seeing something on T.V.

All that is gone! I can now enjoy, honestly enjoy trips without having the addiction as the sole focal point.

This victory is indeed years in the making, but it was so important to establish that period of 4 months without acting out or responding to the urges.

While it wasn?t picture perfect, it was honest enough to mean real habit change. And for that, I am grateful.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Thank you, escape!

This morning I am feeling challenged and a little negative concerning relationship issues, but this has no bearing on my freedom. If anything, I have to be a grown up, and learn how to navigate certain entanglements, or challenges on a couple of different fronts, and to do so while---> feeling all the raw emotions that go with them!

This is all a part of recovery and rewiring, is feeling all the emotions we were so accustomed to dull and numb via porn use. No more drug means exposure to life, with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows.

All the more, we need resilience, we need strength, we need to be real men.
 

Orbiter

Active Member
Phineas 808 said:
I am continuing my journey as a man who does not use porn, does not practice auto-eroticism, and does not edge or indulge in p-subs.

My 120 day goal was and continues to be a success, despite the lapse I had late March.

I don?t fully know why that occurred, other than the thought that I continued to have, that I needed to ?finish? watching a certain video (?), and the emotional and external cues I experienced at the time... But I am done trying to analyze it.

Seeing it was indeed episodic, and not part of any relapse, and that it has no residual affects on me, I am continuing on as if it never happened.

However, I continue in a self-imposed 30 day probationary period, ending April 24. This is not punishment, but to ensure that the behavior (or whatever led up to it) is not repeated, reifying old habit patterns.

But I feel good, and am no longer addicted to P, PMO, MO, or to the behaviors surrounding these, what were my former rituals.

Proof: I am returning from a wonderful vacation with my family, which I thoroughly enjoyed. When I was addicted, I would use the whole vacation experience as a big ritual toward the hoped for acting out by seeing porn on cable T.V. whenever the family would go to sleep. Or, if we were in Vegas, I?d be too distracted with the same, and wanting to pick up the discarded porn-brochures they would hand out like gospel tracks...

In the past, each morning I would shower in the motel room, full of regrets for acting out to looking for or seeing something on T.V.

All that is gone! I can now enjoy, honestly enjoy trips without having the addiction as the sole focal point.

This victory is indeed years in the making, but it was so important to establish that period of 4 months without acting out or responding to the urges.

While it wasn?t picture perfect, it was honest enough to mean real habit change. And for that, I am grateful.

This whole post warms my heart so much to read Phineas. All evidence of true recovery and the humble but truly tangible 'reaping of reward' on the other side of the years of struggle & addiction.

Keep up the great work!
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
This whole post warms my heart so much to read Phineas. All evidence of true recovery and the humble but truly tangible 'reaping of reward' on the other side of the years of struggle & addiction.

Keep up the great work!

Thank you so much, Orbiter! I've been on both sides of the fence, if I can use that analogy:

I've lived with the addiction mindlessly, just letting it drive my behavors in their weekly, and daily rituals; living that insanity of doing everything in the same way, and expecting a different result. And living with the resulting shame, and defeat that permeated all other areas of my life.

And I've lived with it mindfully, setting goals, writing down (hard journal as well as online) my lapses/relapses, and charting the frequency of these, learning my patterns, and hacking into my habits, changing them until they were unrecognizable, resulting in this freedom I now enjoy.

My latest goal of 120 days served as training for simply living life, albeit free of the addiction. And my little self-imposed probationary period serves for times I may lapse (as I did last month), to simply monitor that I'm living that real life, imperfections and all- however, mindful as to not reinstate the habit/addiction.

But even counting days itself can serve as a determent from acting out- and yet, if one had to again, there's still the past accomplishmets of knowing that this can be successful in defeating the habit, and training toward normal joy-filled living.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
I lapsed On Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

It was to MO when I was out of town for a 2nd innoculation. There was no P, and so no PMO. This is itself a miracle given my then mindset, that despite being alone in a hotel room, that I hadn't seen any nudity. There was 1 scene on T.V. that was very racey, and I could tell where it might have gone, and so changed the channel. My heart was racing, and I did some deep breathing exercises. However, I should have turned off the T.V. I wasn't overtly looking for stuff, happy to watch whatever interested me, but if I saw something sensual, I might've been okay with that...

Yes, there were p-subs involved and edging.

No deep analysis is needed on the fall itself, there were typical emotional cues: my wife was angry with me, even while I was travelling, and that for my health no less! This made me feel very lonely, though I did my best to entertain myself innocently enough (rum and pomegranate juice!). But I think that not enough vigilance was acted on, and I think I wanted to medicate what I was feeling internally. This is no excuse, but an acknowledgement that I have better, more spiritual ways of dealing with this- and I did pray, and that initially helped me fall asleep, at least until I woke up again 2 hours later...

Going forward...

Well, I violated my 30 day probationary period which spanned from 3/25/21 set to end on April 24, 2021. This was -12 days earlier. After which, I would have simply went on without counting days.

So, this automatically activates a new abstinence challenge, this time being 90 days in duration. A new training period, if you will.

During this time, I will seek, not only to abstain from P, PMO, MO, p-subs and edging, but to also learn whatever lessons I failed to learn during my successful 120 abstinence challenge. Whether these lessons are logistical, emotional and/or spiritual.

In the bigger picture, in the last 160 days (counting from 11/6/21), I've only lapsed 2x. This is a percentage of 1.25% (only 1 of those days involving actual P)!

So while I hate to have to count days again, there's a deeper reason why this would still be an issue in my life. Dealing with habit change only clears the table for a closer and deeper analysis, which I intend to pursue, to once and for all put a wooden stake in the heart of this vampire.
 
E

escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
Relapsing only 2 times in 160 days should definitely sound impressive... if you have the mind for it but given the obsessive nature of my mind, if it's not "perfect", it tortures me. I shouldn't be doing this but I don't know what else to do. It's like my mind doesn't "respond" to the "commands" I'm trying to give it. If I went 120 days and then relapsed once in only 15 minutes, my mind would still go like: "You fucked up. This will make the social anxiety get strong again and you know you need at least 15 more days until the anxiety starts to get better." And I can't break the obsessive circle of monologues in my head. Overthinking everything etc. That's how I am, I haven't been able to escape this. It only works when the streak is "perfect" but perfect is very difficult to achieve for me as a serial relapser and binger. My limit is low as my best record is only 25 days.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Thank you for your comments, escape!

You will go beyond your 25 days! Make that a personal challenge...

As for the perfectionism, as I've mentioned to you before, I share that same mindset...potentially. This is why I have to step back, and look at that bigger picture.

We are not 2-dimensional creatures, but exist on multiple dimensions. Learn to see things from two or more perspectives, simultaneously.

On one hand, we want that perfect streak- whatever goal you set for yourself. On the other hand, there's the history of your efforts. You say, serial relapser, and there's that. I kind of use that term to put a finger in my own face to try harder, or to put forth a more honest effort. But if you're trying at all, take that in to account. I could see if you just didn't care, and were like, 'Whatever, I'll just given in to this until the day I die...'- but there's a part of you that wants what's better, wants what's more real, true and pure. You want the good, and not the ugly- despite it's momentary pleasure. And, of course you see the effects of the reward circuitry of your brain being fried, leaving you a 'limp biscuit'. So, don't ever lose sight of the bigger picture, that, no matter how many times you (or I) fail, always remember how long you've at least put in the effort. And always remember, 1 day without P/MO is itself a good thing- and worth counting.

The perfectionism thing can help to serve as a challenge to go for longevity away from this crap in the immediate term, but I would give greater weight to the long term efforts put into this- like me, I can go all the way back to at least the early 2000's for my own efforts, and though there's been a lot of failures, I've gained so much over the years, and am perfecting my approaches.

The important thing isn't how often we've fallen, but how soon can we bounce back and put in an honest effort?
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
From my morning devotions, two things were impressed on me in my reading:

1. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee. - Psalms 81:16.

He is the Source of all of my joys and pleasures, that anything I need- especially emotional and spiritual, I am to turn to Him immediately, and satiate myself in Him.

2. Remember Lot's wife. - Luke 17:32.

As long as we have remembrance of our past life, and its addictions, we have opportunity to return to them. As long as we're mindful of our mistakes, failures, and/or illicit pleasure, we become frozen- turned into a pillar of salt, as was Lot's wife when she gazed back on Sodom, before judgement came upon it (Gen 19:26). So too, we become 'stuck' in our former behaviors when we look over our shoulder at that which only deserves judgment.

This doesn't mean we can't learn from our mistakes, but that we should not always be mindful about them.

That is where I'm at now. Part of the mystique of Joseph, who fled from Potiphar's wife (pornography, lust), is that he- unlike Lot's wife, didn't look back. Don't look back!
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
I feel it important to note my current frame of mind, and to cite it as evidence of the progress that I'm making in my recovery effort.

Despite my recent lapse to MO, and the activation of a new 90 day plan, I am still very much building on the successful 120 day goal completed early last March.

How do I know? I am not shaky, I am not unstable in my abstinence, I am not nervous or afraid about falling or lapsing around every corner, I am not obsessing about anything.

I feel confident as I go forward, I am still adhering to the habit changes I successfully made during my previous abstinence challenge, I am very much mindful when I log onto social media, and am being very cautious, contientious, and brief when I'm on either platform.

I did deal with some things, but am grateful that I am not overly restrictive, that I didn't take a 'scorched earth' policy on myself, as that only really strengthens an addiction with it's obsessions.

Q: What is the secret to bouncing back from a lapse versus being sucked under and dragged out to sea?

A: Knowing without any question that we, and we alone are to blame for our failures and our successes. Yes, we can put ourselves in compromising situations that work against us, but at the end of the day, it's not social media's fault, it's not the sexy billboard's fault, it's not the magazine rack at the super market's fault, it's not the low-cut blouse of your coworker's fault, it's not even your hard day at work's fault. Nor is our lapse or relapse the fault of our trauma, our past, or our emotional states.

All these things serve as cues, outward and inward, but there's always a space for proper response or non-response, and it's there, in our own hands, whether or not we stand or fall.

Blessings, All.
 

Orbiter

Active Member
Positive reflections here that are reflective of an aware & healthy mindset in my opinion. Lapses or not, we are still responsible and still ultimately, the ones in control.

You've got this Phineas, keep up the great, inspiring work.
 

Nick Simons

Active Member
Hey Phin,

Loved the way you summarized this perspective of how we ultimately own that little space between thoughts / feelings and our actions.  Sometimes it can feel overwhelming with the perceived complexity of what it takes to walk free - but it really all does come down to what you described as how we handle that space ... and in the end we have ultimate control. 

Stay strong and thanks again.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
@Orbiter~

Thank you, brother! Very good to see you!

@Nick Simons~

The inspiration for the concept is found in this quote:

?Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.? ? Viktor E. Frankl

Learning this is key to taking back power from outside stimuli ('triggers') and placing it back in our own hands, where it belongs.

Sometimes it's very subtle how we relate to this, but in the day-to-day, dealing with something we encounter, we can choose how to deal with that, like, if I linger here, is it because I want that dopamine hit? Then we can choose to delete it, etc...

Or, if something 'triggered' us, instead of running for the hills (strengthening the resultant urges), we can stop, check our pulse just to become aware of our own physical responses, take deep breaths until we calm down, simply observe ourself and our reactions, as an outside observer, nonjudgmentally. This mindful approach will place you outside of the usual tug-o-war, and completely change the dynamic.

Blessings.
 
E

escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
Phineas 808 said:
@Orbiter~

Thank you, brother! Very good to see you!

@Nick Simons~

The inspiration for the concept is found in this quote:

?Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.? ? Viktor E. Frankl

Learning this is key to taking back power from outside stimuli ('triggers') and placing it back in our own hands, where it belongs.

Sometimes it's very subtle how we relate to this, but in the day-to-day, dealing with something we encounter, we can choose how to deal with that, like, if I linger here, is it because I want that dopamine hit? Then we can choose to delete it, etc...

Or, if something 'triggered' us, instead of running for the hills (strengthening the resultant urges), we can stop, check our pulse just to become aware of our own physical responses, take deep breaths until we calm down, simply observe ourself and our reactions, as an outside observer, nonjudgmentally. This mindful approach will place you outside of the usual tug-o-war, and completely change the dynamic.

Blessings.

That's it. That's what I'm talking about. There is that second between the urge and the act. It can happen that fast. I've failed a lot during this phase. After that I tell myself: "Why the fuck did I do it?" And then I see all the things I could've done to avoid it but in the heat of the moment I "forget" all that. The dopamine rush has that ability to make me not care anymore and have that feeling that I can handle what comes after the relapse. But when the high is over, the misery takes over and then I see that what follows is not as easy to handle.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
That's it. That's what I'm talking about. There is that second between the urge and the act. It can happen that fast. I've failed a lot during this phase. After that I tell myself: "Why the fuck did I do it?" And then I see all the things I could've done to avoid it but in the heat of the moment I "forget" all that. The dopamine rush has that ability to make me not care anymore and have that feeling that I can handle what comes after the relapse. But when the high is over, the misery takes over and then I see that what follows is not as easy to handle.

Exactly, escape! This is why recognizing our behavior or addictive patterns are so important, so we can hack them.

As soon I can, I offset, distract, defuse, undermine, switch-it-up, or otherwise ignore if I think that I've been cued, emotionally or circumstantially toward my habits.

This won't for me always look like a direct struggle, as I've found non-response or dismissing of urges, the best way to go. But I think the point here is to be as mindful as quickly as possible, and to not simply, mindlessly, walk into a habit pattern unfolding right before us.

Sometimes, too, it looks 'messy'- like, if I was (back in the day) really obsessing, and I was acting out, I would at least set a timer (3-5 minutes), in order to disrupt the pattherned behavior, and give myself that breather I might have missed earlier, to make a better choice.

I've pulled myself a timer or two from such dangerous situations.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Day: 10

This is 1/9 toward my current abstinence challenge of 90 days.

This is also 1 week, and 3 days into this recovery effort, building on previous streaks (139, 19).

Today I hit my goal of 10 days without P, PMO, MO, and without P-Subs or edging.

I have only 8 more mini-goals to hit before reaching 90 days!

How do I feel?

I am not obsessing on anything, I am not engaged in any p-subs or edging.

Had been fighting with my wife on-and-off since April 12, when I lapsed, and it lifted since last Tuesday. So, my marriage feels better right now.

I'm being extremely cautious around social media, limiting my time on IG, re-deleted Pinterest (yep...!), and am careful to not be too engaging on FB with the opposite sex. Also, on Youtube, I deleted some nonsense I was following.

Limiting my iPhone usage to set times, other than occassional checking as desired.

Regular use of pc, work related, news related, book writing, normal FB posting, interacting, etc...

Deeper issues or concerns...

Made love with my wife, and Ol' Willy went down for the count 1x, but came back and pleased the wife; 2x, but came back, and I got mine... Ol' Willy usually doesn't go down, and this may be attributable to alcohol consumption earlier that evening, and probable performance anxiety. But, over all a success.

Images are still a challenge, but am trying to be focused in the moment, on the tactile and just being present while making love. Is it because it's dark? Maybe if I could see her better, I'd rely more on the real-life visual? Bottom line for me, if we successfully make love, even if an occasional image is involved, I'll take the win while I minimize/eliminate this eventually toward proper rewiring.

I have hopes of fulfilling this current abstinent challenge in early July, so I can celebrate a porn-free summer. I am building on previous successes, 2x lapses not withstanding.

I am also hoping to dig deeper on ways to say 'Goodbye'- or 'Good riddance!' to these former behaviors, once-and-for-all! I suspect that a part of us who have been, or are currently successful have a part of them that identifies with their former habits, their former self, and almost doesn't wish to 'pull the plug' and be rid of it, like they would lose a part of themselves in the process? Or, it may be a fear of the future, of the unknown? I have in mind a user (no names) who seems to be 'cured' of this thing, on the verge of saying 'Goodbye', but then stops short, as if holding on to an identity (?). I'm like, "Why not just call it done, already?!" Of course, I didn't say this...

As before, I plan to indeed move on (finally!), but will never be too far away so I can offer help to any who need it.


 
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