How Shall We Escape?

zaraki888

Active Member
Thank you, Zaraki!

To be fair, I understand the 90 days as a rough baseline to work toward in 'rebooting' physiologically from a habit that has devastated our dopamine receptors, cutting link between true pleasure with a real human being, and our penis. There's also a roughly 60 days, more or less, to address brain-fog (hypofrontality) and p-memory (DeltaFos B). Also, it generally takes 3 to 4 months to change a habit...

So, in the beginning, counting days might make sense. But after a while, it quit making sense in my journey as it began to be a negative. I wasn't after any particular goal or 'abstinence challenge' (90 day or 120 day), which I had already completed a couple of times last year any way.

I can definitely relate to the fear or possibility of lapsing right when you're about to hit your target number...!

But now simply living life free from P, PMO and MO (which agrees with your EasyPeasy Method), counting days feels almost like 'counting down' to a lapse. Or it creates a false sense that I'm alright at X-amount of days, when other things could be going on against recovering.

Not counting days for me also diminishes porn in my mind, that it's not some all-powerful thing I'm trying to avoid, and it takes pressure off of me from failing. If I lapsed, I'm not stepping on the 3rd-rail of my recovery, it's not curtains or the end of the world. While not desireable, it's not a show stopper. Can neural pathways be resensitized? Sure. Can old habits become rehabitualized? Definitely. So, we address what needs addressing, but without all the pressure.

Good luck in your journey!


Hello Phineas,

Thank you for writing back. Reading your post it reminds me of how helpful counting days was. Perhaps only counting days in the beginning might be beneficial until the habit has changed and then the right approach could be to forgot about porn all together. This was my idea to do it but I wasn't sure for how long I had to keep doing.

Yes it started to get negative for me too after I was finally able to reach 4 months but I didn't feel any change or there was but I wasn't aware of it. I have relapsed in the past on day 86 and day 82 and it took me a lot of time, years to get back to even reaching 21 days. So I got fearful.

I totally agree you wrote ''counting days feels almost like 'counting down' to a lapse'' To me it feels just like that, like an unease feeling of having to look over my shoulder if someone is there. Yes that is also true creating a false sense doing something like a hidden crime but lying to oneself of doing nothing wrong.

The thing I don't like about counters is when someone has to reset it to zero, even though he may have really reached a half year porn and MO free. That is amazing progress but day 0 feels like everything is lost. Much easier in those moments to have a binge session or 2 being on day 0 as tomorrow is day 1. I noticed by myself how strong I really was, reaching close to 90 days but after a small slip up, I completely lost myself while I could have just kept going no big deal. So angry, disappointed and having fears thinking I lost all progress, I might as well give up. This time I won't fall for it being resilient.

Yes I also agree not counting days does feel much different then when I did count days. Indeed I still should be careful with slip ups as my brain can wire back in no time.

Thank you Phineas and I wish you good luck too in your journey!
 
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Orbiter

Well-Known Member
Thank you, Zaraki!

To be fair, I understand the 90 days as a rough baseline to work toward in 'rebooting' physiologically from a habit that has devastated our dopamine receptors, cutting link between true pleasure with a real human being, and our penis. There's also a roughly 60 days, more or less, to address brain-fog (hypofrontality) and p-memory (DeltaFos B). Also, it generally takes 3 to 4 months to change a habit...

So, in the beginning, counting days might make sense. But after a while, it quit making sense in my journey as it began to be a negative. I wasn't after any particular goal or 'abstinence challenge' (90 day or 120 day), which I had already completed a couple of times last year any way.

I can definitely relate to the fear or possibility of lapsing right when you're about to hit your target number...!

But now simply living life free from P, PMO and MO (which agrees with your EasyPeasy Method), counting days feels almost like 'counting down' to a lapse. Or it creates a false sense that I'm alright at X-amount of days, when other things could be going on against recovering.

Not counting days for me also diminishes porn in my mind, that it's not some all-powerful thing I'm trying to avoid, and it takes pressure off of me from failing. If I lapsed, I'm not stepping on the 3rd-rail of my recovery, it's not curtains or the end of the world. While not desireable, it's not a show stopper. Can neural pathways be resensitized? Sure. Can old habits become rehabitualized? Definitely. So, we address what needs addressing, but without all the pressure.

Good luck in your journey!

It's all part of not being defined by the habit yes? Part of shedding any addiction is the point where one no longer identifies as an addict to it i.e we're not "trying to quit" because "we've quit". Though my struggles with PMO continue, I am over a year cigarette free and I honestly couldn't tell you the exact number of days it's been since my last one. There's probably some wisdom to the observation that counting days beyond a certain point actually becomes detrimental.

All these things are just tools in the end, constructs we make & use to the greater purpose of meaningful recovery yes? If the tool no longer serves a purpose, why continue to use it?
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
An update:

I'm doing well. Today is over 10 days since I acted out to P, PMO, or MO. I'm not calculating the days exactly, not to be fuzzy about it, but to say to myself that I'm not approaching this in that way anymore. At the same time, it's an assessment for where I'm at now.

I had ended the year rough, and it was the culmination of where p-subs had taken me. But I addressed, once again, my social media use: deleted this or that follow, unsaved this or that pic, and addressed the algorithm in my 'discover' area. So, we're also talking about a solid 10 days or so since p-subs or edging has been engaged in.

There is maybe one or two follows I overlooked (forgetting what they were) that are kind of provacative on IG. This is somewhat on purpose, as to not be overly restrictive, which would have the opposite affect on me, and perhaps encourage obsession. So, I kind of use them as 'exposure therapy', as not acted on or reacted to, which reminds one that they're in charge, not external stimuli.

There were, then, early yesterday morning about 3 different stimuli which kind of interested me, caused or cued urges to come up for me. I let these go, without acting on them. They were not an issue even by the end of the day. The urges were real, and if I gave them thought, emotion, or reaction, they would have grown stronger and demanded to be acted on. Instead, I dismissed them. I'm also keeping my time limit on IG to be around 15 minutes a day, average. IG provides 'tools' to control your time, but it's a deception to get you to actually use more. One has to be aware of that.

I'm doing well and feel good. I'm not obsessing on anything, and working my recovery.

@Orbiter > Exactly, and well said. We need to know what helps us currently, and discard what gets in our way.
 
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Phineas 808

Respected Member
Last night I lapsed to MO. It has been since November 28, 2021 for the last MO episode, that is 45 days since this particular behavior.

Since Monday night I've been struggling with p-subs and edging. Why? I had been doing so well in not dealing with these behaviors, however, that Monday my wife and I got in an ugly fight. It dug into core issues for me, and I lost control emotionally, in an uncharacteristic fashion.

My wife was very focused on a to-do list, and I pushed back on something (did I need to even do that?), and it triggered a fight. She attacked core issues for me, which maybe she meant in a more immediate sense but I took as an attack on identity and purpose. All illusory, all nonsense in the bigger picture, however, in the moment it struck a cord...

Not only did I feel emasculated and denigrated by her words during the fight, but I also felt extremely angry and disappointed with myself for having lost control like that.

I knew my use of T.V. later on that night was a search for comfort, and likewise how I've been dealing since with IG in the same-old way. This has been two nights of this, and last night it became a MO session.

I type this out now to head this off from descending further into other behaviors that are not too far away.

How do I plan to handle this as far as social media? The same as I've been doing. Anything saved or anyone followed out of this place of lust must be dealt with, and I have to once again deal with the alogrithms, which I was so proud I changed- but it is what it is.

How do I address the deeper issues? [trigger warning] I know that my longing to see heavy bosomed women is a yearning for love and nurturing I never received as a child. My mother was emotionally neglectful and abusive, and my deep needs for nurturing, comfort, and affection became sexualized even as a child. This is why these are for me maladaptive behaviors.

I am no longer that abused and neglected child. But recognizing the source for these wants and needs, the causes for this brokenness within is important. My answer as before is to turn to God to meet these needs spiritually. If I can make love to my wife (we made up yesterday), that's good. But even my wife cannot meet my inmost needs. Therefore, I'm seeking to meet my needs spiritually, as it's God that I'm truly thirsty and hungry for.
 

Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
Hey, man, I believe it's actually a good thing that you only relapsed to MO and not full PMO. You have a degree of control over this thing that I like. Those addiction are really a form of comfort and medication, aren't they? I know how this goes, I've been a slave of comfort and self-medication since I was 7. It's not easy to get rid of this unhealthy coping after many years and maybe especially if they started as a kid when noone really has any good coping skills. When you talked about looking for comfort, I felt that. I don't know what the solution should be, building other coping behaviors that are not destructive? Or what. I mean, I'm sure you've made some considerable progress in this aspect so far but then what's the final piece? Why do we keep going back to porn or masturbation? I know it's a repetitive habit, ingrained habit and all this but is it just that? Or something deeper that I don't get.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Hey, man, I believe it's actually a good thing that you only relapsed to MO and not full PMO. You have a degree of control over this thing that I like. Those addiction are really a form of comfort and medication, aren't they? I know how this goes, I've been a slave of comfort and self-medication since I was 7. It's not easy to get rid of this unhealthy coping after many years and maybe especially if they started as a kid when noone really has any good coping skills. When you talked about looking for comfort, I felt that. I don't know what the solution should be, building other coping behaviors that are not destructive? Or what. I mean, I'm sure you've made some considerable progress in this aspect so far but then what's the final piece? Why do we keep going back to porn or masturbation? I know it's a repetitive habit, ingrained habit and all this but is it just that? Or something deeper that I don't get.

Thank you, Escape, for the support.

Yeah, being able to keep this in a kind of 'graded approach' as it were, is a blessing of longer streaks. On a major level, I know I'm in control, even if occassionally I somewhat lose control.

Indeed these have been coping methods of mine for years, even if the behaviors themselves have changed forms.

There are three parts in answer to your question:

1) Changing coping methods to something more healthier, as you said. This is why I mention God (for me) because I know that these needs, though manifesting sexually, are a deeper spiritual hunger/thirst. So, in the past- and now- if I'm obsessing or acting out, I'll try and switch it up, and go to my office in the middle of the night, and pray or worship. This has helped me many times.

2) Learning how to sit with these raw emotions, feelings of neglect, rejection, anger, sadness or depression, etc, without the need to 'escape' them through these behaviors. This is part of my 12th principle of Increase resilience and endurance. This, too, is where mindfulness comes in.

3) Seeking to heal emotionally from past trauma and distorted thinking that leads into acting out sexually.

So, there is more than just the physiological and/or psychological habit, but also deeper emotional issues and past trauma. This is why it's so important to be patient with oneself. Again, there's no one-size-fits-all cure, and everyone is different and heals from this differently.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
That's an interesting way to look at it
I think measuring the success rates would be good for regular periods of time, let's say a year, seeing the progress could be reeeally motivating.
I'm too tired to write more today, but you have my support.
Your consistency and determination is really admirable.

Thank you, brother! Yeah, I'm thinking of breaking things up into 3 month periods, so I can compare percentages of success to see if I'm trending better, or worse.
 

Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
Thank you, Escape, for the support.

Yeah, being able to keep this in a kind of 'graded approach' as it were, is a blessing of longer streaks. On a major level, I know I'm in control, even if occassionally I somewhat lose control.

Indeed these have been coping methods of mine for years, even if the behaviors themselves have changed forms.

There are three parts in answer to your question:

1) Changing coping methods to something more healthier, as you said. This is why I mention God (for me) because I know that these needs, though manifesting sexually, are a deeper spiritual hunger/thirst. So, in the past- and now- if I'm obsessing or acting out, I'll try and switch it up, and go to my office in the middle of the night, and pray or worship. This has helped me many times.

2) Learning how to sit with these raw emotions, feelings of neglect, rejection, anger, sadness or depression, etc, without the need to 'escape' them through these behaviors. This is part of my 12th principle of Increase resilience and endurance. This, too, is where mindfulness comes in.

3) Seeking to heal emotionally from past trauma and distorted thinking that leads into acting out sexually.

So, there is more than just the physiological and/or psychological habit, but also deeper emotional issues and past trauma. This is why it's so important to be patient with oneself. Again, there's no one-size-fits-all cure, and everyone is different and heals from this differently.
I understand what you mean, bro.
 

Oldnewguy

Member
Hey man. I know I’ve only been back for a couple weeks, but however I, like most on here have over 20 years of dealing with this too. I’m similar to you in that I have deep childhood issues of abuse and neglect. One thing I’ve realized lately through reflection is that our brain “go to’s” when it comes to trying to get that dopamine flood. I know for me that some of those “go-to’s” are:

1. “One little peek”
2. “I’m also doing this for my wife, and if she’s going to act like this toward me, well I have my needs too.”

Both of these, are always myths.

thanks for sharing your experience and congrats for cutting it off and refocusing. Your progress is not lost!
 

JerryTX

Active Member
@Phineas 808 Hey brother just checking in today myself and catching up. I too today posted some Psub and edging behaviors that have gotten out of control. Like you I have struggled of late and fell to MO as well. I won't get into it on your journal and you can catch it on mine.

Regardless we have the grace of GOD working for us and through us. Thanks for sharing and helping so many others. When I post at this point I have a sense of guilt to the "group" of my struggles. I want to be further along than I truly am but I know how much I have improved. A lot of it has come with your help and guidance! Thanks and GOD bless you Phineas!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Lapsed > MO last night. This has been 4 days since I last lapsed in this way. There were no p-subs involved, and I've been controlling my social media lately. I've not seen P or PMO'd this year, since the 28th and 29th of December, 2021.

This has been a rough week, having had that fight with my wife and lapsing to MO that following Wednessday. But I think that bottom line, this behavior threatens to become a habit. The previous night, I had urges to MO, and I let those urges pass. I caught myself each time I went to act on those urges. And I went to sleep with no further incident.

Last night the urges came, and they were acted on. There was no intent to edge, but to go for the release. There was mental resistance, but it was going to happen... Obviously this is a concern for me. MO is a red-line behavior for me as it could easily lead to P, PMO. And MO itself can become a habit, as it has been in the past. To myself, it represents a lack of self-control, and is not something I wish to have in my life. If it happened once in a while, mindfully with no shame, without leading toward other behaviors, I'd still track it, but it wouldn't be too big a deal. But it seems for me that I get into a mindset with MO that all morals, all self-promises, all recovery goals go out the window- and anything is possible.

Friday night I did see a nude scene on T.V., it was brief and vanilla. It was softcore. It was close to a personal genre. I could tell where it was going, it was anticipated... How did I process that? This leads into changing what porn means for oneself, not what porn is, but what it's meaning is to you, why it still affects you, or why does it still offer something for you. I felt I did good for how I 'handled' it, but in honesty, I was hoping to encounter another scene last night on the T.V. channel app I use...

Onwards and upwards. I'm going to do a separate post to reflect on what I really wanted to talk about this morning...! That way, this won't be too long a post. Thank you all for your support.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
I've decided to track my lapses and progress on a separate page, which I already do for lapses themselves, but I've created a page where I can track lapses and progress in terms of percentages in two ways:

1. In 90 day periods.

2. Monthly.

For the 90 day periods I began with my 139 day streak with which I rejoined Reboot Nation. It was pretty eye-opening for me as I could see in a broader stretch of time when I was making progress or regressing somewhat. I use the 90 days as a base line of 100% and go from there. I count each lapse as = 1x, regardless of whether it were P, PMO, or MO, but I record what kind it was so as to gauge it's severity.

The first 90 day period stretches from November 6, 2020 to February 4, 2021 and had 0x lapses, and so has a 100% success rate.

The period between February 5, 2021 and May 6, 2021 had 2x lapses, and so has a 97.78% success rate, for example.

This current period, which stretches between November 5, 2021 to February 3, 2022 already has 7x lapses (!) and so if it ends this way (as an earlier period did) it would be a 92.22% success rate, but this period is currently ongoing.

So, obviously the 100% success rate originally achieved last year is what's ideal, and what's possible. This current 90 day period is a lot lower, similar to May 7th to August 5th of last year, but even then my other lengthy streak began on June 3rd, and extended for 157 days! It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to step back and get a bird's eyeview of my progress cut up into these time intervals.

To be fair, looking at it this way is new to me, and so my current period, though it reflects a lot of struggling, was not approached this way until now. Hopefully this on one hand sobers me up as to where I'm currently at, and gives me hope for what's possible.

I also list my lapses there on a monthly basis, and this has flipped the concept of 0 on it's head, meaning that what I want to see on a montly basis are green 0's! "0x lapses"! An encouraging thing to see was during my intitial lengthy streak, where the months December, January, and February of the last and previous year were all 0x lapses.

My next 90 day period begins on February 4th, and is also toward the start of that month, and so I'm looking forward to stringing together these 0x lapses each month, and a 100% success rate for each 90 day period.
 
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Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
I feel you, man. Difficult days are the challenge. They challenge us to go on without seeking the comfort of our drugs. But even like this, I still believe you're doing a good job in stopping to MO only. I'm sure you'll figure out how to get the momentum back and have 100 percent success.
 

Takeoff

Member
you're doing a good job in stopping to MO only
I agree, unless MO works as a trigger for PMO and if it helps abstaining from P then I'd say it's a really good solution. but from my experience MO can be a trigger because it winds up the libido for me. For days.
It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to step back and get a bird's eyeview of my progress cut up into these time intervals.
Hell yeah, it's definitely a good thing. You can do it man.
 

Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
I agree, unless MO works as a trigger for PMO and if it helps abstaining from P then I'd say it's a really good solution. but from my experience MO can be a trigger because it winds up the libido for me. For days.
MO definitely pushes me hard to porn. There is nothing like porn for me right now. MO can't even come close to porn, so it's like: "Come on, what's this? If you started jerking off, what are you doing? Do you enjoy only this?" And that's how I start messing with porn to get more stimulation. It can definitely be problematic to some people. But if it can be handled to some degree, it's still better than actually starting masturbating to porn.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
I feel you, man. Difficult days are the challenge. They challenge us to go on without seeking the comfort of our drugs. But even like this, I still believe you're doing a good job in stopping to MO only. I'm sure you'll figure out how to get the momentum back and have 100 percent success.

Thank you, brother! In this sense, we should even welcome challenges in a true Stoic fashion, so they don't catch us off guard, and so we can use them as training toward that resilience that doesn't seek to hide or escape from pain, but learns how, like you said, not turn to old drugs of choice. If we sit with the pain, as it were, we will find more natural ways of coping and getting dopamine and serotonin to help us deal.

For me, this is taking walks, and even going to journal on Sunday nights (I know, I'm a nerd).

Thank you for your support!
 
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