How Shall We Escape?

Phineas 808

Respected Member
@ Orbiter ~

Thanks. Oh, the time was accountable, to myself. Managed? It could very well have gone badly for me, but I entered this time very mindfully and aware of my own weaknesses and tendencies. What I noticed in myself, despite any slip, was the self-control. As noted, there were several things I 'started' watching (non-p), but never finished. There could have literally been hours of indulgence, but this was not the case. Instead of a weekend of regrets, I actually had a relaxing and fun time, mostly.

@ Escape ~

Thank you, brother.
 
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Phineas 808

Respected Member
Day: 30

This is 3/9 or 1/3 toward my current abstinence challenge of 90 days.

This is also 1 month into this recovery effort, building on previous streaks (139, 19, 53 [19, 35], 2, 14).

Today I hit my mini-goal of 30 days without P, PMO, MO, albeit with episodes of p-subs (2x) and edging (1x).

I have only 6 more mini-goals to hit before reaching 90 days!

How do I feel?

I was definitely very focused on hitting this day, and celebrating it. I have my 90 days divided up and color coded, to where 1-30 = red, 40-60 = blue, and 70-90 = green. I hadn't hit this goal since 5/13/21, and was disappointed at the time for not being able to celebrate 'going into the blue'.

My wife going out of town was a surprise that I really had to coach myself through as best as possible. I knew that lapsing was a very real possibility, especially since my prior episodes. I did feel the effects of AVE (Abstinence Violation Effect), but this is mere black-and-white thinking that I talked myself down from more than once.

I feel good, like normalcy has returned, and I'm settling back in for a serious- not just a streak- but of ending my porn use for good. I'm glad, too, that though I had a good run early in the year of leaving porn behind (in 2020), yet due to lapses since, I'm grateful now that I'm leaving this behind at least, in 'last month', and I can again do months clean from this.

Deeper issues and concerns?

My wife is back, and it feels good in the home. There were some performance anxiety episodes in the last two times we made love, but the second was successful, as she patiently worked with me. I'm hoping that the next time we have sex, I'll be more robust and libido driven, and, as we often joke, "I get hard, and I stay hard!" Typically, this isn't always an issue for me, but I know the first time I could blame alcohol (?), but p-use in the past isn't out of the question, it having not been too long ago.

I am of course being diligent, vigilant toward recovery- without being hyper-vigilant. I'm not taking anything for granted.

Social media? In-and-out. Phone use? Still being changed as to my former habits, to where I can actually do some reading when taking care of nature. Mostly, even in lieu of recent events, I don't think about it, don't obsess.

Another thing was, that during this time alone I was true to myself concerning a friendship I had to sacrifice... Nothing 'wrong' would've occurred, but there are deeper concerns that need to be honored.

Looking forward now, as I'm now into the blue phase of my recovery effort.
 
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Awesome, man! 2 more months to go. Going without porn forever is actually not impossible. This is a fact. Don't listen to the addicted reptilian brain. You see, our brain got hijacked (through the high dopamine of years of porn use) into believing that it is something very important for our survival. This is where we come and turn of the dopamine pump. Despise not feeling like it, we do actually have the last say. It's our choice when we relapse. Even if it's just one second before we jump into the fire, we still have that 1 second to choose to avoid the fire.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Awesome, man! 2 more months to go. Going without porn forever is actually not impossible. This is a fact. Don't listen to the addicted reptilian brain. You see, our brain got hijacked (through the high dopamine of years of porn use) into believing that it is something very important for our survival. This is where we come and turn of the dopamine pump. Despise not feeling like it, we do actually have the last say. It's our choice when we relapse. Even if it's just one second before we jump into the fire, we still have that 1 second to choose to avoid the fire.

Thank you, Escape!

Everything you say above is worth repeating and quoting! I hadn't even thought of it like that, 2 months! That doesn't sound very far away, does it?

Heck, when I hit 120 (+19), that was over 4 months! It's really how we frame things in our mind. Some could look at 2-4 months, and say 'damn!!', because they're white-knuckling it, and have the 'dry-drunk' mentality. It's like, do you really want to be free of this? And, look, I get it... P, PMO, and MO is damn pleasurable, and exciting- especially to the lizard brain (well put!). But when it's all said and done, it's taken all the joy out of life, because there's no more reward center of the brain (at least, it's fried). Also, it killed our noodle in the process!

And you're right, if at any time, even when caught up in a cycle, we always have the power to abort, to veto what the lower brain wants to do. Grant it, our executive powers of decision (prefrontal cortex) are slowed and weakened, and the power of habit has seemed to undermine our freewill, urges themselves can never force us to do anything if we're in the moment and mindful as to what's happening.

Be well.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Thank you, Escape!

Everything you say above is worth repeating and quoting! I hadn't even thought of it like that, 2 months! That doesn't sound very far away, does it?

Heck, when I hit 120 (+19), that was over 4 months! It's really how we frame things in our mind. Some could look at 2-4 months, and say 'damn!!', because they're white-knuckling it, and have the 'dry-drunk' mentality. It's like, do you really want to be free of this? And, look, I get it... P, PMO, and MO is damn pleasurable, and exciting- especially to the lizard brain (well put!). But when it's all said and done, it's taken all the joy out of life, because there's no more reward center of the brain (at least, it's fried). Also, it killed our noodle in the process!

And you're right, if at any time, even when caught up in a cycle, we always have the power to abort, to veto what the lower brain wants to do. Grant it, our executive powers of decision (prefrontal cortex) are slowed and weakened, and the power of habit has seemed to undermine our freewill, urges themselves can never force us to do anything if we're in the moment and mindful as to what's happening.

Be well.

Congratulations Phineas! I like the way you've divided the days into three distinctive phases of recovery. It actually makes a lot of sense in my mind. The red is the quitting/withdrawal part, the blue is the normalizing to life without part and the green part is solidifying the foundation for sustainable recovery. Very nice.

I should also correct myself in that by 'unaccountable time' I meant to refer to 'the belief of unaccountable time' which is of course a self-serving belief that the addict brain uses to justify the behaviour. All time & action is accountable of course, to ourselves, others, all.

I feel like any addiction, we perceive it as pleasurable because it de-sensitizes & numbs our brains to receiving the pleasure & joy from anything else. This addiction is especially insidious because it distorts our expectations of intimacy, robbing us of our ability to meaningfully connect with others. No vice is worth that!

Congratulations again! Wishing you well in your victories today.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Congratulations Phineas! I like the way you've divided the days into three distinctive phases of recovery. It actually makes a lot of sense in my mind. The red is the quitting/withdrawal part, the blue is the normalizing to life without part and the green part is solidifying the foundation for sustainable recovery. Very nice.

Thank you, Orbiter. Yes, that's pretty much how I conceptualize it: the red is kind of a zone for potential lapse, where extra vigilance may be needed. As whatever we did to lapse can easily become habitualized or re-habitualized if repeated... This, of course makes it harder to quit.

And, yes, the blue is part of training and normalizing toward a new life without porn or MO.

And the green is coming into the 'endzone' as it were, where our habits are really changing, and we're closer and closer to our goal, sustainable recovery, as you said.

...by 'unaccountable time' I meant to refer to 'the belief of unaccountable time' which is of course a self-serving belief that the addict brain uses to justify the behaviour.

Thank you for clarifying... Yeah, that's the big temptation for me in the past is that it's time unaccounted for, or where I can 'take advantage', and it's really hard to not let that go to waste, as it were. That's how the beast-brain thinks of it...

On the pleasures of addiction, you're right. That's how we escape from the pain of life. This is why endurance becomes so important. It's almost like everything in life is black-and-white but only P/MO is in color, lol...! Like, "Hmmm, which one should I do to make me happy?"- but eventually, even the color in that fantasy-happiness goes away...

Now in recovery, we're reversing that: everything (good, bad and ugly) is colorful, only the joy-killing porn is black-and-white.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Last night, lying in bed, had urges to edge... I knew it was coming. I immediately told myself, Whatever you do, just don't react to the urges... They came, my body did feel them, but I let them pass. At least another wave came, I neither reacted for or against them, and it passed. I went back to sleep.

The urges may have come from something I saw on T.V. last night, a science fiction movie where a scene showed nudity. I could foresee where it was going- and had I switched at that time, would it have caused me to obsess? I saw what it was, nothing graphic, rather vanilla. Saw what the story line was, where it was going, and knew that if I lingered, it would cause me problems. I changed the chanel.

I neither obseesed about it, nor returned to it. Had no desire to go back to it, and pretty much forgot about it. But it may have served as a cue nonetheless, but the whole thing passed without incident. No fault (re: ERP, Exstinction Therapy).
 
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Last night, lying in bed, had urges to edge... I knew it was coming. I immediately told myself, Whatever you do, just don't react to the urges... They came, my body did feel them, but I let them pass. At least another wave came, I neither reacted for or against them, and it passed. I went back to sleep.

The urges may have come from something I saw on T.V. last night, a science fiction movie where a scene showed nudity. I could foresee where it was going- and had I switched at that time, would it have caused me to obsess? I saw what it was, nothing graphic, rather vanilla. Saw what the story line was, where it was going, and knew that if I lingered, it would cause me problems. I changed the chanel.

I neither obseesed about it, nor returned to it. Had no desire to go back to it, and pretty much forgot about it. But it may have served as a cue nonetheless, but the whole thing passed without incident. No fault (re: ERP, Exstinction Therapy).
Great, man! That's what I'm talking about! When urges hit hard, we actually don't need to do anything. They come and go.
 

Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Last night, lying in bed, had urges to edge... I knew it was coming. I immediately told myself, Whatever you do, just don't react to the urges... They came, my body did feel them, but I let them pass. At least another wave came, I neither reacted for or against them, and it passed. I went back to sleep.

The urges may have come from something I saw on T.V. last night, a science fiction movie where a scene showed nudity. I could foresee where it was going- and had I switched at that time, would it have caused me to obsess? I saw what it was, nothing graphic, rather vanilla. Saw what the story line was, where it was going, and knew that if I lingered, it would cause me problems. I changed the chanel.

I neither obseesed about it, nor returned to it. Had no desire to go back to it, and pretty much forgot about it. But it may have served as a cue nonetheless, but the whole thing passed without incident. No fault (re: ERP, Exstinction Therapy).

It might perhaps also be a trail on effect from the weekend? A chaser effect of sorts to the edging. Sounds like you handled this time and i'm sure they will become weaker with vigilance & repeated dismissal over the next few days.

Also a timely reminder, just in case you may or may not need it, that in moving away from this addiction day-by-day you're missing out on nothing.

No one ever regrets NOT relapsing.

Keep up the great work Phineas. Wishing you well.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
It might perhaps also be a trail on effect from the weekend? A chaser effect of sorts to the edging. Sounds like you handled this time and i'm sure they will become weaker with vigilance & repeated dismissal over the next few days.

Thank you, Orbiter.

It may be, but I don't see a direct causal link. Certainly, had I edged- or other activities- it would have reinforced previous behaviors or actions, and strengthened any resensitized neural pathways. But overall it was related to the cue from the movie I saw.

No regrets. I don't feel that strange nostalgia for porn during this time of my recovery effort. This was true toward the end of my 120 day challenge, though I went even 19 days beyond that! But I do see that as a real threat that could return, and address it in my Focus Checklist:

Dismiss feelings of nostalgia as mere thought, or urges from the lower brain (remember AVRT). AVRT = Addictive Voice Recognition Technique.

Be well, also.
 

guitar1968

Active Member
Thank you, brother! Welcome back, lol...! Hope you had a great vacation?
Vacation was great. I was definitely sexually charged a little more than I would have liked, but it's hard to go to beach these days and not feel that way. The bathing suits are smaller than ever. But I was able to keep it from sending me back to porn for sure, but I would like to get to a point where I'm not going there in my head. Of course we will always be attracted to beautiful women. But to see them as more than a porn fantasy is the goal. I'm getting there.

Thanks for asking.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Definitely, brother! Sometimes I have to catch myself, if I'm taking it beyond admiration of beauty into 'lust', I say things to myself, like, 'What? Am I going to just take her down the grocery aisle and just have sex with her?' I do this to kind of 'snap' out of fantasy land.

Yesterday, I caught myself making a 'porn scene' in my head about a woman that I saw, but stopped myself, like, 'Why am I going into fantasy?'- this was (and should be) asked nonjudgmentally, but as a way to see if there's any underlying reason, like, am I just trying to relieve stress? Or, am I upset about something, and so attempting to escape into fantasy? This isn't to get all 'Freudian' with ourselves, but to simply learn to face pain and discomfort without resorting to escapist habits.

Glad you had an overall good time.
 

Joel

Active Member
Good stuff, Phin. Noah Church speaks highly of Esther Perel's book Mating in Captivity. I'm reading it at the moment. You may want to ask him about it.

I'm doing okay with fantasies at the moment. It took a lot of work, but now i can step back and say, 'Why would I want to objectify a person?' However, Perel isn't against the idea of men fantasizing and says it's kinda natural. It's interesting food for thought. Maybe you (and I) can put fantasy in its appropriate place rather than being perfectionists about banishing it from our minds? ...or being slaves to it.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Good thoughts, Joel. That makes sense. Yes, at some level fantasy is definitely natural. Just being watchful over myself in public, it seems to be an escapist thing for me, like, why am I dealing with stuff in this manner?

I'll check out that book, sounds interesting.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Day: 40

This is 4/9 toward my current abstinence challenge of 90 days.

This is also 1 month and 10 days into this recovery effort, building on previous streaks (139, 19, 53 [19, 35], 2, 14).

Today I hit my mini-goal of 40 days without P, PMO, MO, with no episodes of p-subs or edging.

I have only 5 more mini-goals to hit before reaching 90 days!

How do I feel?

I am feeling okay. I've been getting thoughts about using P, but I recognize them as the lower brain (limbic system) wanting its dopamine hits. I've also been feeling low libido, and am not sure why. It may be attributable to performance anxieity that my wife and I worked through the last time we made love, which is perhaps over 10 days ago. Sometimes I lie in bed, and I want to feel an erection, and I know I could if I encouraged it- but, I don't want to encourage it in a way that would compromise my current recovery efforts. I think it's a matter of time, when my wife and I have sex again, that I'll be ready to go. I don't think it's any kind of flatline, as I haven't had to deal with those issues, nor do I have PIED.

I'm not obsessive. I'm not white-knuckling, as my approach typically is not dependent entirely on will-power. I'm staying true to habit changes I've put in place, including a positive regular reading of my Focus Checklist, whether in whole or in a targeted way.

I'm almost half-way through my 90 day abstinent challenge, and I plan to celebrate that, too. Every little success deserves a celebration in this mother of a fight!

Deeper issues and concerns?

Making love to my wife is important for many reasons in the relationship, and we haven't for 2 weeks or more. This is a regular (or irregular) pattern for us, whereas I'd like sex to be about every week, at least. Last time was with performance anxiety on my part, as mentioned above.

I'll be possibly out of town when day 50 comes around, on our 27th wedding anniversary. So, I may post about it after the fact? We'll see.

The daughter began to project on me last week, and I didn't recognize it as such right away, and the episodes made me feel very angry and sad, until I saw what was going on. But she's better toward me now. At the time, that was a powerful emotional cue, but I sought to handle it mindfully, and not let it affect me as it did back in May.

I'm certainly in a better place, have traction, and intend to go the whole distance of this abstinence challenge. My concern would be, what if I feel nostalgia toward P, or have P-memories, or wish to revisit a video from the past? This happened last time toward the completion of my last abstinence challenge (of 120 days). But during that time, beginning in February, there was certain things on Youtube, innocent in themselves, but could be used in nefarious ways, that I think struck a deep cord in me while I was asleep, and that this, along with the P-nostalgia, led to my eventual P-use back on March 25th. So, my question to myself is this:

How can anyone say 'NO' to such pleasure??

But I have to ask again,

> Is the person who uses porn someone that my wife and daughter can be proud of?

> Am I willing to further damage my brain, its reward system, and hence real-world sexuality and pleasure for a quick rush?

> Do I want to miss out on the possibility of using my gifts and talents to help others, and fulfill the God-given destiny that I have?

> Don't I want to be an authentic version of myself that I can feel proud of, and without being a fraud?

> Don't I want to feel clean, pure and good about myself?

> Having a clean conscience, don't I wish to live life in freedom from this, and enjoy all the opportunities that will come my way?

> After all these years, don't I want to finally be done with this thing? Can I truly anticipate a life without P, PMO, and MO?

Again, it's imperative to utilize AVRT (Addictive Voice Recognition Technique) and see any thoughts on future P-use as lower brain activity, even what we may call the 'beast-brain', and not give it what it wants...
 
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40 days, that's awesome start, man! I know this is not your first "40 days" like in my case, but it's great without doubt. It seems you know what you have to do, just stay focused and don't negotiate with the addiction.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
40 days, that's awesome start, man! I know this is not your first "40 days" like in my case, but it's great without doubt. It seems you know what you have to do, just stay focused and don't negotiate with the addiction.

Thank you, Escape.

Yes, it's very difficult if you do have a lengthy streak going, and then lapse. It's possible to bounce right back, but usually a struggle. There's reasons for this, but I won't trouble you.

Exactly, focus and not negotiate with the beast-brain is how we stay on track. And you, for this 40 days and beyond, you're learning powerful methods and tools to stay vigilant and clear of these ungodly habits. We can do this!
 
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