How Shall We Escape?

Phineas 808

Respected 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, 53 [19, 35], 2, 14).

Today I hit my mini-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 feel a lot better than last time. As anyone may notice, it's only a short scroll up that I posted another 10 days (5/30/21), and with that were ...earlier episodes of p-subs and edging. This has not been the case this time around. I had the one night or two nights where edging was an urge, but I dismissed it.

Again, I had that time I reported as a success story, where I had strong urges in the day while everyone was gone somewhere. At this time, I had prayed through the urges, but it was a conscious choice to either feed the urges or to purposely change my mindset.

These successes above are an upward trend where I feel that I'm gaining a strength and momentum that I had before in my earlier successes. I am thus feeling hopeful, and am on a better war-footing, but without the hyper-vigilance of 'white-knuckled' approaches. There is diligence and vigilance, as will be noted below, but it's not in any kind of fear of falling or failure. I feel peaceful and where I need to be.

Deeper Issues or Concerns?

I had to consider how to deal in my own journal with what very well could've been a negative spiral for me. The silence above is not aviodance on my part, on the contrary, as there was an increased intensity of focus on my methods and approaches- not so much logistically- but digging deeper to focus on my attitudes and mindset.

I worked on my post concerning what a successful reboot should look like (found here), edited, expanded it, and focused it like a laser- especially as regards the 'going forward' and the 'extra-focus' sections.

On social media I went on the offensive, particularly on IG where I had an album saved where I had a massive collection of pictures of beautiful women. These weren't tasteless, sexual or p-subs, etc, but represented a strange dependence on a woman's beauty. I did save pics in the past that were p-subs, or could be viewed as such. Having this may have seemed innocent enough, particularly from an artist's perspective, but I needed to dig deeper as my lapses were too frequent. I deleted pic after pic (so many, lol...!), and then deleted the album.

This didn't feel legalistic, but necessary. I do have other (non p-sub) things saved that assure me that I'm not just being overly restrictive (or doing a 'scorched earth' policy toward myself).

I am also connecting with videos of certain therapists, etc on YT who post about PA, and related issues from a compassionate standpoint, to help coach me, like Dr. Trish Leigh and Noah B.E. Church, and others.

This time around there's, yes, habit-change focused on the behaviors themselves, but a deepened awareness toward the underlying emotional and spiritual components behind my former behaviors.

Mostly, I seek to not think about it- and that's the best policy for someone who doesn't use porn any more.

Blessings, All.
 
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I used to do something more or less similar with splitting the streak into smaller parts. I used to have what I called "checkpoints" like in video games :LOL: It was something like 5 days, 7 days (because it's 1 week), 10 days, 14 days, 15 days, 20 days, 21 days... You get the idea. And I tried to only pay attention when I reached the checkpoint, not obsessing everyday with "This is the second day, this is the third day" etc because I saw that it was counterproductive given the nature of my mind. But nowadays I'm actually trying not to count days anymore. I have only one goal: To reach the end of the day without feeding dopamine to my addiction. And tomorrow the same. Porn reinforces the addiction, feeds it and makes it follow me, the best thing is to starve t to death. It's the fastest and safest way to do it but at the same time it really sucks.

This thing doesn't have to be complicated. What helps is understanding how this addiction works. I guess it was one of Gary Wilson's video (Rest in peace) that I saw an animation with a rat that had a wire or something connected to his brain and the rat could push a lever or something to get a dopamine hit and he kept doing that all day. That's us and porn. Porn is the lever we push to get the dopamine hit and then the solution becomes simple: don't push the lever. Which means no porn, no peeking, no subs, no "Five minutes is too little to hurt" mindset. It means complete abandonment of porn. Many people would freak out being told this because their brain knows what it means: It will be painful, the withdrawal will be brutal. Thinking that there is actually no way to ever access the dopamine of porn sounds more terrifying than the latest horror movie. But I believe this is the fastest and safest way to do it. That's why I don't really believe in reducing porn use, after I've tried that a lot. I'm not done with it even after reducing the frequency. It has to be completely starved. Okay, maybe it could help in the beginning to see that we can go more than 1 day without porn, to see what to expect etc but after that we still need to move into the complete starvation territory to quit. Porn addiction can be starved to death but it can't be starved to death if we feed it even a little. Okay, here someone could say: "But if someone watches porn for 10 minutes after 6 months of abstinence and then goes another 6 months, it's no big deal." Okay, maybe, but I know people who fucked with porn like that and ended up messing up big time. It's safer not to touch porn. We can't control porn use because one of the definitions of an addiction is that the drug is in control, not us. The best way is to abandon it. That's how I see it.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Keep going Phineas! I enjoy reading your posts and I am following your story. It is terrific and it is helpful to me and I imagine many others as well.

Thank you, brother! I had literally said the same thing about reading your journal before I read your comment! I appreciate your support, and am standing with you in your victories as well!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Hi, Escape! Thank you for your comments.

Definitely, counting days can be 'counter-productive'. My goal is to always come to a place where I no longer need to count days, once I accomplish an abstinence challenge. For me, hitting 0 doesn't mean starting over, but in the bigger picture, it may mean that extra vigilance is needed to not rehabitualize the former behaviors. My goal is to leave this crap behind me, and to just live life, which means not counting day by day, but perhaps checking in once in a while, and saying, "Oh great, it's been 285 days since I last used!"- and go on...

I do have a probationary counter of 30 days, if I lapsed after hitting my goals. If I meet that period without further incident, I'll simply go on without counting. But if I lapsed again (re-lapse) within that 30 days, then that means I'd have to meet another 90-day abstinence challenge. That's what occurred for me after my 139 day streak.

Yes, definitely, the 'porn is not an option mindest' is the only way to go. We can keep this quote in front of us:

99% is a bitch, 100% is a breeze. ~ Jack Canfield

Or,

There is a difference between interest and commitment.
When you’re interested in doing something,
you do it only when it’s convenient.
When you’re committed to something,
you accept no excuses, only results.


~ Ken Blanchard

The dopamine levels acquired through porn are akin to heroine, and so one hit is all it may take to want to repeat the high..., so after a lengthy time of abstinence, it's best to just walk away. How hard folk kick themselves when they were Scott free, and then played around a little, and found themselves where they started.
 
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Definitely, counting days can be 'counter-productive'. My goal is to always come to a place where I no longer need to count days, once I accomplish an abstinence challenge. For me, hitting 0 doesn't mean starting over, but in the bigger picture, it may mean that extra vigilance is needed to not rehabitualize the former behaviors. My goal is to leave this crap behind me, and to just live life, which means not counting day by day, but perhaps checking in once in a while, and saying, "Oh great, it's been 285 days since I last used!"- and go on...
You know, people have confirmed through experience that the urges, craving, thinking of porn go away but at this point my brain can't even image how it would be like to wake up in the morning and maybe realize by the evening "Hey, I haven't been thinking about porn all day." Because my day starts with porn flashbacks and end with them. Reaching that point where porn leaves me alone is the goal to die for.

Yes, definitely, the 'porn is not an option mindest' is the only way to go.

No porn no matter what even for 5 minutes. If porn is the beast, dopamine is how we feed it. I like to call it "dopamine of porn". This addiction can be starved to death but it can't be starved while feeding it.

The dopamine levels acquired through porn are akin to heroine, and so one hit is all it may take to want to repeat the high..., so after a lengthy time of abstinence, it's best to just walk away. How hard folk kick themselves when they were Scott free, and then played around a little, and found themselves where they started.

I always thought that porn is like a mix of cocaine and heroin. More like getting high on cocaine or maybe meth and then doing heroin. Because it starts with that crazy dopamine that gives you that crazy arousal that makes you feel high and on top of the world and then when you finish it's that relaxing kind of feeling that people describe with heroin.

And yes, after staying away from porn for a while it will trigger on things more vanilla than the genres we got to. We need to be careful. Messing with porn, even for a little bit, has the ability to create what I like to call "the slope". One wrong step and you can go rolling all the way down, while you think it's too little to actually make you trip. The brain knows how to convince you that a little won't hurt. But even that little goes against the fact that dopamine feeds the addiction.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
You know, people have confirmed through experience that the urges, craving, thinking of porn go away but at this point my brain can't even image how it would be like to wake up in the morning and maybe realize by the evening "Hey, I haven't been thinking about porn all day." Because my day starts with porn flashbacks and end with them. Reaching that point where porn leaves me alone is the goal to die for.

This is true in the shadow of habitualized behaviors. But as a short time passes without us reacting to the urges, the brain will naturally calm down to a state of normalcy. Because we were so involved in our addiction, we may have lost what 'normal' feels like, but it's there the whole time. Just giving ourselves that space, we will again know what it is to not think about this stuff 24/7.

And yes, after staying away from porn for a while it will trigger on things more vanilla than the genres we got to. We need to be careful. Messing with porn, even for a little bit, has the ability to create what I like to call "the slope". One wrong step and you can go rolling all the way down, while you think it's too little to actually make you trip. The brain knows how to convince you that a little won't hurt. But even that little goes against the fact that dopamine feeds the addiction.

Yes, once we've spent time away from the addiction, we become sensitive to lesser stimulating stuff. Oddly (or thankfully) it was perhaps my faith that I never went headlong into using hardcore stuff for extended periods of time. Yes, I've had my moments of hours-long episodes, but my using has been broken up over the years into spurts and excursioins, or messing around with more vanilla stuff with the occassional hardcore, that it can easily be resensitized to lower level stuff. This has also kept me from PIED, too, thankfully. Also, I didn't grow up on high-speed internet like many of the younger folk on here.

Your metaphor ("the slope") is a good one, what I may call "the porn-pit"- like one is skirting on the outer rim of the porn-pit with p-subs, etc, but then before they know it, they're sliding down into actual p-use, and areas that are hard to pull out from...

But with these metaphors we must be careful to remember that, no matter how far one is sliding, we always have the ability to pull out, disrupt, change our focus, distract ourselves, set a timer, pinch ourselves, we always have veto power to override any lower-brain activity. This is more difficult if we're in our habit, but nonetheless true, and perhaps the most important time to remember.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Day: 20

This is 2/9 toward my current abstinence challenge of 90 days.

This is also 2 weeks, and 6 days into this recovery effort, building on previous streaks (139, 19, 53 [19, 35], 2, 14).

Today I hit my mini-goal of 20 days without P, PMO, MO, and without p-subs or edging.

I have only 7 more mini-goals to hit before reaching 90 days!

How do I feel?

I feel good, having no urges to report of currently.

I'm cautiously optimistic that the challenging times, the episodes of [re-]lapsing that followed my accomplished goal in March, are now behind me.

I'm feeling good about myself, getting some traction underneath my feet again. Women, too, are sensing this self-control, and are paying more attention, feeling more comfortable around me.


Deeper issues or concerns?

I did listen to an ASMR session the other night to help me go to sleep, and it acted as a cue toward urges, which arose strong. But I treated it as an ERP session (Exposure Response Prevention), and just let the urges pass without responding to them.

The next day there was an event related to what happened with my daughter that occurred, which took up my time and energy. There was also misunderstanding, and teenage reaction. It was kind of strange, because this pattern played out back in May prior to episodes of lapsing: high levels of emotionally charged stress, with an 'out' being offered via suggestive social media.

I was able to see what was happening, what it could all lead to if I allowed it, and made a decision not to entertain p-subs or edging as any kind of answer.

Otherwise, my daughter and I continue to get closer.

Another thing, I'm pushing to get clients for my business I created, and that's ongoing. But need to start making money on this venture. So I feel a kind of importunity or desperation to accomplish my goals, and not just spin my wheels. This is important to mention because purpose and destiny are the new identity beyond the old addicted one.

I am not the ruinous heap I'm walking away from, but the bright new shining star on the horizon.
 
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guitar1968

Active Member
Sounds great Phineas! You are doing great. Always good to hear especially when I'm struggling a bit.

You got this! And, I believe I do too! Keep posting and keep moving forward.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Sounds great Phineas! You are doing great. Always good to hear especially when I'm struggling a bit.

You got this! And, I believe I do too! Keep posting and keep moving forward.

You do got this, brother! This, too, shall pass. Your neural pathways may have been somewhat resensitized, but they'll 'deaden' and go to sleep soon enough.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Congratulations on the 2/9 Phineas and also for taking what you learnt from the last time with your daughter, facing it & working out from the sounds of things a positive result. Sounds like you've been getting some good momentum back again which is always great to hear.

From strength to strength, keep up the great work!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
@ Orbiter ~ Thank you, brother! Your posts always seem to give me strength...

@ Escape ~ Yes, indeed! As guitar so eloquently put it, "Onwards and upwards!"
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Any updates Phineas? Selfless as always, you post daily assisting others but how has your own journey been going recently?

Hope all is well and you have been busy reaping the benefits of your new-found focus & purpose towards recovery.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Thank you, Orbiter!

My wife has been out of town for the past 2 nights, and maybe tonight as well (?). Normally, this has served as a major cue toward an entire process of obsession, acting out, and relapsing. It's almost like an automatic tape (schema) that starts playing, even the moment she talks about going out of town, or doing an overnighter. Typically I do alright whenever her and my daughter are out, and I'm home alone, I usually don't think about it (unless I'm in an obsessive state of mind). But this particularly 'cues' me.

As a side note: I was successful back in 2015 when she went out of town somewhere, at that time I abruptly stopped some little thing (which can turn into a big thing), and just dismissed further urges... Since then, I have struggled in some way or other- but not the hours spent online, or going back and forth. Usually I'll lapse to p-subs, but pray it through for the rest of the night. I do miss out on sleep when this occurs...

How am I doing?

I wanted to lay low, and not come on here until her trip was over, and I knew whether I succeeded or needed to reset... Another part of me was, 'You need to make a stronger commitment or decision, and don't even consider the alternative!' But I also know myself... Again, there's many times where I kick myself for not fighting it more...

I'm approaching 30 days soon, and wanted to post before that a 'victory report', but I'll go ahead and chime in now so as to celebrate the small victories, and put myself on notice should I have 'one more night'.

On night/day 1, there were p-subs (2x) and edging (1x), but no P, PMO, or MO. I'm still in line to celebrate my next mini-goal. I noticed too, that there's just a change in desire. Yes, the libido was high, but looking at this and that, or doing searches, etc, just wasn't as high. And this is a change that's been in place for a while now. There were several things I just didn't watch all the way through. My sleep for the first night was negligent, but I did sleep here and there. Napped later, too.

On night 2, went to bed earlier, and basically stayed asleep all night, other than getting up for nature. I did awake at 5am, and thought about it..., but I was like, "I'd rather sleep."

So there may be 1 more night, and posting this now may help take me over the finish line. I am excited about reaching my next goal, and that should keep me focused in itself.

Be well, All.
 
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Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Great going Phineas, despite facing the situation of both an old but established pattern of action out as well as a weekend of unaccountable time, you managed to make it through which is great. Sounds like you addressed the issue of the p subs well if there's no lingering urges or carry on effects from it.

Also does this mean today is the day 30 mini goal?
 
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