How Shall We Escape?

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Thank you, Orbiter.

I was afraid it was too long of a read! I had already shortened it, too!

Grateful if it can be of benefit.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Last night was very interesting...

My wife and I had sex, and it was good. Physiologically, everything worked well. But I do, time to time, use memories (vanilla) to help me stay focused without going into performance anxiety, which is the only thing that's caused ED in the past. I know that's not ideal, but for me it's like using snake venom to counter a snake bite... for lack of a better analogy.

Anyways, we both felt that total love and acceptance, the peaceful and good neural chemicals a married couple feels after they've made love, the contentment, the belonging, etc...

Afterwards, my dreams were very sexual, like, what part of my brain did I activate?? I don't know if there was a chaser effect activated or not, but I had several dreams that were pornographic or highly sexual. Not all, one dream was of making love to my wife, so that's good... But another had the type of situation or fetish that I've been habituated toward in typical episodes.

These are certainly internal cues, but any urges have been so far minimal. For the sake of accountability (first to myself, and to you all as well), I'm writing this now, just in case the [former] habits resurface with any force.

Be well, All.
 

LetItGoAlready

Active Member
My wife and I had sex, and it was good. Physiologically, everything worked well. But I do, time to time, use memories (vanilla) to help me stay focused without going into performance anxiety, which is the only thing that's caused ED in the past. I know that's not ideal, but for me it's like using snake venom to counter a snake bite... for lack of a better analogy.

Anyways, we both felt that total love and acceptance, the peaceful and good neural chemicals a married couple feels after they've made love, the contentment, the belonging, etc...

I can relate to this, Phineas. Over the past few months, I have shifted between having ED problems while having sex with my wife and needing to summon fantasy as an emergency measure and being on the opposite end of the spectrum - needing no artificial stimulation and feeling completely connected and in the moment with my wife. It's a confusing thing to deal with for sure.

On the whole, though, it sounds like it was a good experience and helped you both connect on a deeper level, which should be taken as a positive sign.

Afterwards, my dreams were very sexual, like, what part of my brain did I activate?? I don't know if there was a chaser effect activated or not, but I had several dreams that were pornographic or highly sexual. Not all, one dream was of making love to my wife, so that's good... But another had the type of situation or fetish that I've been habituated toward in typical episodes.

Over the years I've come to associate erotic dreams with feelings of anxiety because there is always a point in the dream at which I become self-aware, realize what I'm doing, and feel guilty and/or ashamed and thus anxious. Not saying that's true in your case. Everyone's different. But perhaps the anxiety you were feeling around staying focused and not getting tripped up by performance worries worked its way into your subconscious?

These are certainly internal cues, but any urges have been so far minimal. For the sake of accountability (first to myself, and to you all as well), I'm writing this now, just in case the [former] habits resurface with any force.

Way to stay ahead of this and be accountable. Better to report urges while they are at the minimal stage if possible. I believe that helps rob them of some of their power. 
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
On the whole, though, it sounds like it was a good experience and helped you both connect on a deeper level, which should be taken as a positive sign.

Thank you for your relating with my experiences, that definitely means the whole world.

Yes, I believe over all it was definitely a good thing. A far cry from the isolation, secrecy and anti-intimacy represented by porn.

Over the years I've come to associate erotic dreams with feelings of anxiety because there is always a point in the dream at which I become self-aware, realize what I'm doing, and feel guilty and/or ashamed and thus anxious. Not saying that's true in your case. Everyone's different. But perhaps the anxiety you were feeling around staying focused and not getting tripped up by performance worries worked its way into your subconscious?

I understand shame-based dreams, and when I get those. They're usually not very fun nor sexy, I can assure you. But they definitely remind me of guilt or shame when they occur.

These were more enjoyable, and I think may be simply related to the brain pathways etched out from p-use in the past, and the lower brain signaling that it misses its dopamine hits.

Way to stay ahead of this and be accountable. Better to report urges while they are at the minimal stage if possible. I believe that helps rob them of some of their power.

Thank you, Liga.

You're right about this... I do see that this is a desperate signal from the lower brain wondering why it's not being on 'drip-feed' as in the past.

During this time I have to be diligent without being hyper-vigilant, and hence, responding to urges- even with rational thought.

 

Joel

Active Member
Phineas 808 said:
Last night was very interesting...

My wife and I had sex, and it was good. Physiologically, everything worked well. But I do, time to time, use memories (vanilla) to help me stay focused without going into performance anxiety, which is the only thing that's caused ED in the past. I know that's not ideal, but for me it's like using snake venom to counter a snake bite... for lack of a better analogy.

Anyways, we both felt that total love and acceptance, the peaceful and good neural chemicals a married couple feels after they've made love, the contentment, the belonging, etc...

Afterwards, my dreams were very sexual, like, what part of my brain did I activate?? I don't know if there was a chaser effect activated or not, but I had several dreams that were pornographic or highly sexual. Not all, one dream was of making love to my wife, so that's good... But another had the type of situation or fetish that I've been habituated toward in typical episodes.

These are certainly internal cues, but any urges have been so far minimal. For the sake of accountability (first to myself, and to you all as well), I'm writing this now, just in case the [former] habits resurface with any force.

Be well, All.

Great work, Phin. You're doing everything right, but that doesn't make this thing easy. Connect with our loved ones, with the goal of being completely out of our heads. the longer are sobriety goes, the more natural it becomes. Let's just stay on the path!
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Great work, Phin. You're doing everything right, but that doesn't make this thing easy. Connect with our loved ones, with the goal of being completely out of our heads. the longer are sobriety goes, the more natural it becomes. Let's just stay on the path!

I'm trying, lol...! Just after years, decades fighting these habits, tasting victory, knowing what a half-assed approach (mine) looks like, knowing what works, what doesn't work- I know how to apply the tools I talk about.

Thank you so much!

Yes, I hear your advice, Joel. I couldn't agree more. It's disconnect with my loved ones, particularly my wife, that helped me to create this would-be monster. So, connection is certainly part of my emotional reboot.

Being completely out of my head will be a challenge, as I kind of use it (as I explained to Liga) as an antitode in lieu of occassional performance anxiety. Snake venom to cure a snake bite. My thinking is that it's better for me to make sure that I please my wife and connect, and don't 'bomb out' because of performance anxiety. So, that helps (as needed) to make sure she 'gets hers'.

But I do more and more enjoy our intimacy in the moment, seeing (as best in the dark), feeling, the sounds, the emotions, in the moment so I can connect with real-world sex without fantasy.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Day 32!

This is 4/15 toward my overall goal of 120 days.

Today I hit my goal of 32 days, this is without P, PMO, MO, and all without P-Subs or edging.

My cues seem to be mostly internal at this point, and arising a little more frequently typically at night when I'm sleeping. This may be from a dream, or an unknown source. But, I'll be sure to not react, because to react (even in fighting with it) only strengthens the old neural pathways, hence, the habit.

I'll see the occasional cue on T.V. watching one of my favorite shows (Dexter or Sons of Anarchy), but those I'll usually go fix a drink, snack, or get ready for bed until the scene passes. If there is something that comes up while watching T.V. or a movie, I'll change 'how' I see it.

If urges come up, I'll take note of the physiological changes (pulse rate, breathing, etc), then take some deep breaths. But, I don't purposely put myself in compromising situations.

This true-recovery or reboot is within our reach, let's walk this victory out together!
 

Joel

Active Member
so I can connect with real-world sex without fantasy.

Exactly what I'd working on!

without P, PMO, MO, and all without P-Subs or edging.

Great stuff. That's real rebooting!

If there is something that comes up while watching T.V. or a movie, I'll change 'how' I see it.

If urges come up, I'll take note of the physiological changes (pulse rate, breathing, etc), then take some deep breaths. But, I don't purposely put myself in compromising situations.

This true-recovery or reboot is within our reach, let's walk this victory out together!


Great stuff exploring the physical aspects with no judgments. the zen masters would be proud! And changing 'how' you see certain things is really interesting; this totally helps - 'that young blemishless woman in a bikini isn't a de-personified sex object,' it's an image - filtered through photo-shop to sell something - of a person who will get older, is a whole person... My problem is letting go of the initial attitude because of the insane chemical high it creates in me. I'm getting there, and when I can let go, that 'how' of seeing things is so key.

And, man, I used to love Dexter! what a show! :)
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Phineas 808 said:
Day 32!

This is 4/15 toward my overall goal of 120 days.

Today I hit my goal of 32 days, this is without P, PMO, MO, and all without P-Subs or edging.

Congratulations! Your processes are working. You've been around this block enough times to know not to relax, though. Keep working it!
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Joel >
Great stuff exploring the physical aspects with no judgments. the zen masters would be proud! And changing 'how' you see certain things is really interesting; this totally helps - 'that young blemishless woman in a bikini isn't a de-personified sex object,' it's an image - filtered through photo-shop to sell something - of a person who will get older, is a whole person... My problem is letting go of the initial attitude because of the insane chemical high it creates in me. I'm getting there, and when I can let go, that 'how' of seeing things is so key.

And, man, I used to love Dexter! what a show! :)

Thanks, Joel!

Yes, how we relate not only to urges, but to cues is so important. The sooner we can reverse the dynamic of empowering all these external phenomenon, like cues and urges, other people, circumstances, environment, and ourselves as weak, diseased, flawed some how, addicted, etc... > to where we're in control, at least of our reactions- our power to not react, the sooner we'll see an end to this habit.

I believe you are getting there, brother. You're doing this and building on your progress more and more.

If you have Amazon Firestick, or some equivalent, you can find Dexter on Mobdro/Shows;)


WIP >
Congratulations! Your processes are working. You've been around this block enough times to know not to relax, though. Keep working it!

Thank you, brother!

I appreciate your visiting my journal. Yes, you're absolutely right. Complacency can have no place in these current efforts. I don't want to keep adding a re to my lapse- and for that to happen, there can be no lapse to begin with. This means a vigilance, a diligence on my part. A guarding of my heart is needed. However, hyper-vigilance can also work against one, because they'll be nonetheless conscious of this thing all the time, which is also a reacting to the habituated nueral pathways.

This is why it's so important that should one slip or lapse, there has to be a bouncing back as soon as possible, to not lose that momentum, that focus. And this comes by understanding yourself, and being nonjudgmental.

Be well.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
What?s the difference between escape and avoidance?

I call my journal, How Shall We Escape? It's a reference to the patriarch Joseph fleeing from Potiphar?s sexually aggressive wife. It also refers to the biblical injunctions to ?flee? sexual temptation.

(references: Gen 39:7-12; 1Cor 6:18; 10:14; 2Tim 2:22; 1Jn 5:21)

Yet, in behavioral addiction such as PMO, MO, etc, there is such a thing as avoidance itself being bad, or harmful. Avoiding triggers and cues actually strengthens your urges, keeping addictions or habits alive. This is also seen in OCD and other anxiety disorders.

If we put ourselves in certain situations that cater to the addiction, our resolve weakens, and we give in.

But in the lower animal-brain there is fight or flight, which if we respond to, we perpetuate our addiction.

So what is the difference between the two concepts? Fleeing temptation as in escaping versus the ?fight or flight? response to addiction?

Fleeing as the Bible teaches, is toward an immediate escape from sexual sin. It?s what we want to do toward our addiction to P/MO.

But there are also warnings toward legalism, ...touch not, taste not, handle not (Col 2:20-23). Avoidance toward these actually strengthens our desire toward the forbidden or illicit behavior (Rom 7:18-25).

And the flight of avoidance seems like it wants the same goal of ?recovery?, but it's only a reaction toward the urges.

Again, to flee or escape from addiction itself is from our higher brain (the prefrontal cortex). So our planning out situations, changing habits, is about actual change.

Whereas avoidance, fight-or-flight, is from the lower brain. And so avoiding triggers and cues are in response to urges, and so only perpetuate the addiction.

The bottom line? It?s a choice between:

1. Fleeing bad habits because it?s rational and common sense in ending our addiction. We control our environment ahead of time, and not in response to urges.

2. Or, avoiding triggers, gives external things and situations power over us, thus strengthening our addiction.

The first is running in a straight line away from addiction. The second is running in circles around the addiction.
 

LetItGoAlready

Active Member
Hi Phineas -  I really like how you've broken this down. As much as I've thought (and written) about the idea of not resisting lustful urges because it pulls the urge closer, my follow-though on this approach has been less than stellar. I've taken some of these ideas to heart and will look for opportunities today to flee temptation rather than avoid it. Thanks as always for taking the time to share this wisdom with others!
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Hi Phineas -  I really like how you've broken this down. As much as I've thought (and written) about the idea of not resisting lustful urges because it pulls the urge closer, my follow-though on this approach has been less than stellar. I've taken some of these ideas to heart and will look for opportunities today to flee temptation rather than avoid it. Thanks as always for taking the time to share this wisdom with others!

Thank you, Liga!

I used to purposely work with ERP (Exposure Response Prevention) in regards to learning how to deal with urges. It was very helpful work, but not always successful!  ::) I wouldn't necessarily try that now for various reasons, but above all, that I want a reboot / recovery that's above board free of reproach, at least toward myself.

I felt that this topic was important because I was saying a lot about not responding to urges through avoidance, and yet I also talk about 'fleeing temptation', or other biblical-oriented terms. So it made me think, how to separate the two concepts in a way that makes sense. It makes sense to me how I'm thinking of it now, but if any questions remain, I'll clarify as needed.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Today is 35 days since I last acted out in terms of PMO or MO.

This day is significant because my last biggest streak, which I had between September 27th and October 31st, before I rejoined Reboot Nation, was 34 days.

This, and ongoing, is now the longest I've abstained since before March of 2020.

The difference has been in changing my habits surrounding social media and the use of my iPhone. I still get online (oddly, before bed and first thing in the morning), but throughout the day I just read a book if I need that quiet time while taking care of nature  ;) .

When I do get online at night via the iPhone, it's briefly in IG, and Youtube. On IG, I average about 15 minutes more or less, a day. This is way down from 45min-1hour or more a day during my irresponsible usage. In the morning, it's briefly in IG (where I pay attention to my usage), and maybe Twitter, or here.

We can all do this, we can all walk out our true nature of being men (and women) of integrity.

 

stepbystep

Active Member
Congrats on the 35 days! Definitely inspiring for me. I agree about phone use and triggers. I find especially evening time with my phone and not having a good plan is a problem for me. I need to have a clear plan for the evening without my phone, eg read a book or fix something around the house.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Thank you, SBS!

You can also challenge yourself, in order to take power away from an object (the iPhone or the internet itself). How you would do this is, have the phone with you, but read a book. Or, if you get on, set a timer (5-10 minutes), staying away from p-subs, of course.

I did the timer thing for a while, but now I'm 'trained' to kind of just 'get-in-and-get-out' with my social media use.

Some ideas to kick around.
 

stepbystep

Active Member
Good point, I have a limit on my social media apps now on my phone. I stay within limits we?ll before but I?m just overrriding them. I?m going to revisit my cell phone time usage and reset the time limit and follow them!
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
Was in an antique mall today, where there were several booths by various vendors with a lot of cool stuff!

It's funny how the brain is used to thinking a certain way, a habitual way toward porn.

In the past, from start to finish, I would've been thinking about finding old porn mags, or something.... Nowadays, I can just enjoy my time, and am not obsessing 24/7 like before (pre-2014-16).

As I was coming up to the front counters, there was a display of old Mad Magazines, and I instinctively knew or felt that there would also be old Playboy magazines as well. Sure enough, there were!

But it was more of a nostalgic interest, than anything else. I saw the cover, which interestingly said, 'Girls of the Internet' (how ironic, right?). I saw no nudity, nor was I interested to study the cover, nor did the model appeal to me either.

It was just interesting to see how old thought patterns can emerge in familiar settings, or cues occur in typical settings. But it was more a blessing to see how much my mindset has changed in public places.

This isn't to say that I wasn't woman-conscious here and there, but it wasn't an overall obsession.
 

workinprogressUK

Well-Known Member
Phineas 808 said:
Today is 35 days since I last acted out in terms of PMO or MO.

This day is significant because my last biggest streak, which I had between September 27th and October 31st, before I rejoined Reboot Nation, was 34 days.

This, and ongoing, is now the longest I've abstained since before March of 2020.

We can all do this, we can all walk out our true nature of being men (and women) of integrity.

Congrats on those milestones, Phineas. We can indeed all do this. Just got to keep growing our lives in healthy directions and being prepared to sacrifice ur short-term desires when they flare-up. Wishing you continued strength and wisdom.
 

Phineas 808

Well-Known Member
workinprogressUK said:
Phineas 808 said:
Today is 35 days since I last acted out in terms of PMO or MO.

This day is significant because my last biggest streak, which I had between September 27th and October 31st, before I rejoined Reboot Nation, was 34 days.

This, and ongoing, is now the longest I've abstained since before March of 2020.

We can all do this, we can all walk out our true nature of being men (and women) of integrity.

Congrats on those milestones, Phineas. We can indeed all do this. Just got to keep growing our lives in healthy directions and being prepared to sacrifice ur short-term desires when they flare-up. Wishing you continued strength and wisdom.

Thank you, WIP, for the support!

These short-term desires do flare up in the form of urges, and really they're not what we truly want at all. Our lower brain wants that, and to recognize that helps shift focus where it needs to be.

The real sacrifice, of course, would be in losing our family, our marriage, and most of all, ourselves to pixelated fantasy. But to your point, it definitely feels like, and may be, a sacrifice in the moment to give up what we think will be a moment of paradisiacal pleasure.

Wishing you the same, WIP! I'll come by shortly your journal.
 
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