How Shall We Escape?

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Thank you, PR! I suppose even the technical is itself a win, given that at one time this would not have been possible. Wave red meat in front of a dog, and guess what he's going to do!

A technical win shows that at least change is possible, even if one is not themselves changed in heart...

But that's the difference between a technical win (90 days, but one is white-knuckling all the way through!), is that the behaviors may either come back with a vengeance or the form of them will change. Like, maybe one used to call those 1-900 numbers, they changed- but not in heart, and so now they cruise central for prostitutes...

So, to truly kill this thing, eventually, the change has to occur at the heart-level. We begin to hate this thing, not because we'll get caught, or it will inconvenience us, but because we hate it for what it is in itself- that it is intrinsically evil.
 

zaraki888

Active Member
Thank you, brother! Glad to see you, would look forward to any updates in your experiences..?

Either way, grateful for the support, and always good to see you!

You are welcome :) I am also glad reading your message thank you!

Thank you for asking about my experience. Unfortunate I got stuck in a loop going back and forth having difficulty going beyond 22 days. I think it isn't the struggle by urges anymore that keeps me down but the unhappiness and disappointment looking at my life.
My new way of dealing with this addiction is to focus on the things I love doing and doing it right now, instead of procrastinating and fighting the addiction putting restriction on myself. I make sure I do something that makes me happy and proud about myself. This is my new measurement about success.

At the moment I am also reading a book called the easy way to mindfulness by Allen Carr. I thought I knew the meaning of mindfulness. I was wrong.

Nice speaking to you Phineas!
 
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation...?" - Hebrews 2:3a. *

This text has much significance to me. The patriarch Joseph fled and escaped from Potiphar's wife, who was sexually aggressive. Potiphar's wife represents pornography. Joseph represents our ability to flee and escape PMO.

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

My Story

I am a man in his early 50's. I am finding freedom and victory over addictive sexual behaviors. Through the decades old fight, I have found what works for me.

I grew up in a loveless home, where emotional and occasional physical abuse occurred. As a child, I found pornography on the playground in the 4th or 5th grade, and took it home as a keepsake. My neighborhood friend also had a stash.

I ran away from home at age 13, kicked out at 16, and grew up on the streets. I was the victim of a trauma as a runaway, which compounded shame based thinking.

I became a Christian at age 18, but struggled with lust and masturbation. I was in a legalistic and spiritually abusive church for 9 years. I overcame for a limited time (1990-91).

Sharing my trauma to my horrified (then) girlfriend, the death of my mother (Dec, 1992), and years of legalistic abuse caused new behavioral addictions to surface and escalate. These struggles included pornography and masturbation. Getting married didn't end the struggle, as I created a double-life. I also had an obsession with prostitutes (1993-94) and going to video porn stores (6x ending 2003). I became secretive with T.V., home computer, and later the iPhone.

Trying different things to quit, I learned more about my addiction. I had different degrees of success (Patrick Carnes 2001; Desert Stream 2006), though often shame would drag me back down. Shame based thinking led to a lot of white-knuckled approaches.

I embraced the radical grace of God in 2013, and it began to undo my shame, a major driver of the addiction.

I joined Reboot Nation under a different name (2014-16), and accomplished long streaks without PMO or MO. I deleted my RN account after hitting my goals. I didn't want to identify with these behaviors any longer. I regretted this later...

I had hit 116 days without porn at least two different times. I even hit over 300 days, close to a year (March 2019 - March 2020) without going to porn sites!

Then the pandemic happened! I retired from a 22 year career and ended a close friendship at the same time (ongoing). Needless to say, I turned back to old habits of pmo 1-2x a week. This was due to unhealthy habits with social media: Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Since June of 2020 I've been counting days again, at least until I can break this habit. My best didn't go past 24 days (July 2020), and I would average 8 days more or less without looking at porn.

I finally dealt with my social media use, and the relationship with my iPhone in general. This has so far given me 34 days free! This latest streak was significant, because I'm no longer using p-subs with social media, or edging! I'm yielding a more 'honest-reboot', a true and clean abstinence I can feel good about.

My Purpose in this Forum

First to help myself. This journal will help me to stay accountable to myself, and to focus on my current goals to end this habit. After reaching my goal of 120 days, I'll just live my life with new and better habits, without P, PMO, or MO.

Second, to help others in their journals with what works for me.

My Approach

All my successes have been without porn filters or blockers, and without accountability partners.

I focus on breaking the habit first without trying to heal the past, though we can do both simultaneously.

I do not embrace the disease model of addiction or 12-Step programs. But if this helps you, I won't knock it!

My approaches are mainly-

Spiritual: This will include prayer, meditation, reading scripture, etc... But I have learned to not be moralistic with yourself, as that only strengthens the habit.

I've found the most success under hyper-grace. This is to believe that, no matter what, you're forgiven of all your sins: past, present and future. And to also believe that you're loved, made righteous and saved, before you were ever born (all you have to do is believe).

Mindfulness: It's about being in the present moment. Instead of fighting urges head on, I use awareness, focusing on the breath as I dismiss urges nonjudgmentally. I repeat this for every wave of urges that come (urge surfing).

Science of habit-change: We may retrain the brain (neuroplasticity) away from these learned habits. This is more empowering to me than the disease model of addiction. We change the habits that surround our unwanted habit, as we take back our power.

My Plan Executed

My plan is to abstain from acting out to P, PMO or MO for 120 days. I'll have then retrained myself toward different behaviors and habits for life's circumstances.

Why this number? 120 is very spiritual (Gen 6:3; Acts 1:15; 2:1-4).

Also, it takes 90 days to promote habit change, and deal with the neural chemicals released during P, PMO:

DeltaFos B: 42-56 days (6-8 weeks), dealing with porn-memory.

Hypofrontality: 56 days (8 weeks), dealing with brain fog.

120 days = 15 x 8 (counting from 11/6/20, with completion dates):


8 days: 11/14/20
16 days: 11/22/20
24 days: 11/30/20
32 days: 12/8/20




40 days: 12/16/20
48 days: 12/24/20
56 days: 1/1/21
64 days: 1/9/21




72 days: 1/17/21
80 days: 1/25/21
88 days: 2/2/21
96 days: 2/10/21




104 days: 2/18/21
112 days: 2/26/21
120 days: 3/6/21

Goal Completed!

Blessings.
Dude, I really dig how analytical you are, and how diligently you track your progress. Also admire how you overcame the negative encounters with religion you endured and still maintained your faith. I know how that feels, I grew up seeing my Father drunk on Friday night, then in the pulpit preaching about the evils of alcohol Sunday morning, then got involved in a very legalistic cult later in life, so I know. But like you, I was able to focus on Him, not on man.

Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Sorry to hear about the loop, a place I've known all too well... Finding new ways to break that loop, hopefully...

I think it isn't the struggle by urges anymore that keeps me down but the unhappiness and disappointment looking at my life.
My new way of dealing with this addiction is to focus on the things I love doing and doing it right now, instead of procrastinating and fighting the addiction putting restriction on myself. I make sure I do something that makes me happy and proud about myself. This is my new measurement about success.

Sounds like you're identifying the deeper issues that may drive the addiction. Like, there's stopping the immediate behaviors and habits that surround our using, but then there's the internal drivers that many of us have, such as shame (in my case), as well as neglect, rejection, family of origin issues, etc... Many just need to 'stop a habbit', but for many of us the issues go deeper, not as excuses or even limitations, but there's a recognition that there's a brokenness inside that somewhere along the way we adopted these maladaptive behaviors to try and meet those needs.

I like your approach, not overly focusing on dealing with urges, if I understand correctly, but in trying to meet the deeper need for self-acceptance and love, being proud of yourself.

Would love to hear your 'corrected' thoughts on mindfulness as you see it now.

Nice talking to you as always, @zaraki888!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Dude, I really dig how analytical you are, and how diligently you track your progress. Also admire how you overcame the negative encounters with religion you endured and still maintained your faith. I know how that feels, I grew up seeing my Father drunk on Friday night, then in the pulpit preaching about the evils of alcohol Sunday morning, then got involved in a very legalistic cult later in life, so I know. But like you, I was able to focus on Him, not on man.

Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration.

Thank you, brother! I'm very encouraged that you got my story, and that it resonated with your experience. Moralism versus spirituality for me meant either continued struggles (with no end in sight) or the dawning of victory after victory. It sounds that this may be true of you as well...

Grateful for your interest and your comment. I'll try and find your journal here (if you have one), and follow your story. Blessings!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Checking in this morning for self-reflection and self-analysis.

Where am I now?

I am now 56 days without P, PMO or MO. There were no issues with p-subs or edging.

This number is significant in that this is the amount of days it takes for certain neural chemicals associated with porn use to typically dissipate:

DeltaFos B: 42-56 days (6-8 weeks), dealing with porn-memory.

Hypofrontality: 56 days (8 weeks), dealing with brain fog.

How are these things frustrated by p-subs or effected thereby? I don't know. I do know that p-use greatly increases these, and that it takes as long to address them. I don't think that hypofrontality was ever an issue for me, at least not for years...

What was helpful or hurtful?

It was helpful to press on in my new habits surrounding phone use (when and where) as well as my schedule concerning social-media. Sticking to this has been of utmost importance. Consistency and repetition have been very helpful.

Have I made progress or regressed this week?

I made progress in that I stuck to my new habits. There were times when it seemed that my lower-brain was really screaming for my 'old-normal' of just getting on for it's drip-feed of dopamine. And I knew that it was pivotal and necessary to keep to my new behaviors in order to cement them despite the uncomfortable feelings.

What area needs extra focus this coming week?

Awareness in general. I need to be aware of being cued by either my environment (real world), by any online surprises, or by any emotional based episodes. Fights with the wife or missing my friend all need to be approached with awareness.

How are you feeling now?

I awoke sad this morning, not sure why- though I could speculate. I think emotionally there's a downward trajectory given the state of affairs in the world and in my personal life that I need to counter and challenge in myself.

Other than that, I'm feeling good- I'm neither obsessive nor tempted.

Deeper issues or concerns?

The financial challenges are coming up very stark and menacing. And while I'm working extra hard on my personal business, I'm having to have faith for both my wife and I. But I believe that despite what the economy is doing, there will be a prevailing and super-natural provision.

Missing my friend, which is an on-again off-again ongoing scenario. But after her little stint in attempting to connect with my daughter (who didn't recognize her?), I'm convinced that I need to create as much distance as possible from her, and just move on. This is painful- but necessary.

Special Question # 27. Are you being vigilant or high-risk?

I was home alone for much of the day yesterday, and during my free-day regarding social media. I could have taken advantage of that, could have acted out with P, but while these things crossed my mind as possibilities, I made sure to be vigilant to not go down that path. Even to dip one's toe in the water signals to the brain to go ahead and go down that path, to start up the ritual that ends in using.

So, I'm being vigilant. And given that there are a couple of follows I have on TikTok that could be very 'triggering', I came on very mindful of this and didn't linger for too long. I enjoyed this platform (and IG) and it didin't feel overly restrictive, but at the same time 'vigilance' was the right word.

Be well, All.
 
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Blondie

Well-Known Member
Hey Phineas, great job on staying strong last week, 56 days porn free is a blessing in every sense of that term.

I hear you about feeling sad sometimes, even though I don't always know why. I have friends (old friends from way back) that I talk to here and there, but no one besides my lady that I talk to very frequently. Sometimes I feel bad about this, but also, I could change it if I wanted to, but I don't so I guess that's my fault. I'm also introverted and like doing my own thing and working on my goals and don't really like many of the things most people like doing, so that's part of it as well. But yet, once in a while, I still feel that aching feeling inside. Maybe I feel this from societal conditioning? Like I need more than I actually have? Who knows...

Looks like I need to do more soul searching! ;)

Great job Phineas, and thanks for all of your encouragement.

Best
 
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Phineas 808

Respected Member
Thank you, Blondie! Your comments are always uplifting and beneficial.

I think you and me share a lot in common, I would surmise. After a few years of feeling almost like an abberation, I discovered that I'm neither an 'alpha male' nor a 'beta' -but what's referred to as 'sigma-male'- and that's why it's hard for me to relate to so many, and to keep friends.

I'm easily bored with the mundane every day conversation, alphas annoy me- and don't get me. But at the same time, while I don't usually bother with doing what it takes to have friends, the need is still there I feel.

I'm also introverted, don't like what most people like (an example is- sports!). So, spot-on.

Hope your day and week goes well.
 

Ezel

Active Member
Checking in this morning for self-reflection and self-analysis.

Where am I now?

I am now 56 days without P, PMO or MO. There were no issues with p-subs or edging.

This number is significant in that this is the amount of days it takes for certain neural chemicals associated with porn use to typically dissipate:

DeltaFos B: 42-56 days (6-8 weeks), dealing with porn-memory.

Hypofrontality: 56 days (8 weeks), dealing with brain fog.

How are these things frustrated by p-subs or effected thereby? I don't know. I do know that p-use greatly increases these, and that it takes as long to address them. I don't think that hypofrontality was ever an issue for me, at least not for years...

What was helpful or hurtful?

It was helpful to press on in my new habits surrounding phone use (when and where) as well as my schedule concerning social-media. Sticking to this has been of utmost importance. Consistency and repetition have been very helpful.

Have I made progress or regressed this week?

I made progress in that I stuck to my new habits. There were times when it seemed that my lower-brain was really screaming for my 'old-normal' of just getting on for it's drip-feed of dopamine. And I knew that it was pivotal and necessary to keep to my new behaviors in order to cement them despite the uncomfortable feelings.

What area needs extra focus this coming week?

Awareness in general. I need to be aware of being cued by either my environment (real world), by any online surprises, or by any emotional based episodes. Fights with the wife or missing my friend all need to be approached with awareness.

How are you feeling now?

I awoke sad this morning, not sure why- though I could speculate. I think emotionally there's a downward trajectory given the state of affairs in the world and in my personal life that I need to counter and challenge in myself.

Other than that, I'm feeling good- I'm neither obsessive nor tempted.

Deeper issues or concerns?

The financial challenges are coming up very stark and menacing. And while I'm working extra hard on my personal business, I'm having to have faith for both my wife and I. But I believe that despite what the economy is doing, there will be a prevailing and super-natural provision.

Missing my friend, which is an on-again off-again ongoing scenario. But after her little stint in attempting to connect with my daughter (who didn't recognize her?), I'm convinced that I need to create as much distance as possible from her, and just move on. This is painful- but necessary.

Special Question # 27. Are you being vigilant or high-risk?

I was home alone for much of the day yesterday, and during my free-day regarding social media. I could have taken advantage of that, could have acted out with P, but while these things crossed my mind as possibilities, I made sure to be vigilant to not go down that path. Even to dip one's toe in the water signals to the brain to go ahead and go down that path, to start up the ritual that ends in using.

So, I'm being vigilant. And given that there are a couple of follows I have on TikTok that could be very 'triggering', I came on very mindful of this and didn't linger for too long. I enjoyed this platform (and IG) and it didin't feel overly restrictive, but at the same time 'vigilance' was the right word.

Be well, All.
Man, all the work you are putting in and the dedication your have shows that porn is only a matter of time for you until you no longer give a damn about it, and eventually leave it for good.

Nice one with monitoring social media, all my last relapses were because of it in one way or another.

I hope all the best for you Phineas and for your family.

You are an inspiration for us all, keep pushing forward...
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Thank you so much, Ezel!

Yeah, for the past 2 or 3 years, I can honestly say that all my lapses were the result of how I approached social media.

Back in 2020 I deleted Pinterest, and tried in different ways to address the other platforms with different degrees of success. Then, late last year (2021) my habits with social media got worse, and again since February of this year with TikTok (which I compare to crack-cocaine), I needed to get more drastic.

So far, the once a week thing (my reward-Saturday) seems to be working.
 

Ezel

Active Member
Good for you Phineas, social media can turn out quite dangerous sometimes, you could never know what it can throw at you...

The developers can do anything to keep you glued to the app, even if you lose yourself in the process, deep inside you know you have to get out but you just can't.

It's like they brain washed us to keep going back to use. The same principle of hardcore drug addiction. The drug can be different but the fundamentals to get us addicted are the same.

That self control muscle 💪 has to be stretched out from time to time, apparently you got this part checked out in your situation.

I get a lot of knowledge and wisdom from your posts. Never stop posting man, you never know who you might be helping...

God bless you Man 🙂🙂. Keep going 🤗🤗.
All the best.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
That's right. If you want to know about the science behind addiction, just observe how social media- and iPhones in general- get our attention, try to keep our attention, and try to make us feel like we're missing out on the world if we haven't posted in a while... :rolleyes:

God bless you, too, Ezel!
 
I discovered that I'm neither an 'alpha male' nor a 'beta' -but what's referred to as 'sigma-male'- and that's why it's hard for me to relate to so many, and to keep friends.
Interesting - never heard this term but just looked it up and it kinda makes sense
Humans are social creatures and mostly we cannot survive without our tribe - I think that's why the idea of alpha and beta males is compelling
But it makes sense that there would also be men who would strike out on their own, move between different tribes, etc. and not fit neatly into the social hierarchies

For what it's worth, I think humans are complex and I don't buy into reducing anyone to simple personality types
But on the other hand it's an interesting lens through which to view our behavior

Definitely identify more with "sigma" than "alpha" or "beta" though, now that I know what it is
Do you think that affects our relationship with porn/compulsive behavior/recovery?
Maybe we are more likely to try to meet our needs ourselves > easier to fall into this trap?

Thanks again for your insightful post and fantastic progress getting so far without any p-subs or edging! 💪
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Thank you, Respecting.

For what it's worth, I think humans are complex and I don't buy into reducing anyone to simple personality types
But on the other hand it's an interesting lens through which to view our behavior

Me too. I believe that mankind are like a mirror by which God sees Himself and the cosmos in all its myriad splendor. I think that all our limitations, such as fitting ourselves into 'tribalisms' and neatly fitting categories, only serve to delimit ourselves, and to blind ourselves from all the other splendors we're intended to reflect.

It's an interesting consideration, "Sigma male", but it by no means defines who or what we as humans are- or are not.

Do you think that affects our relationship with porn/compulsive behavior/recovery?
Maybe we are more likely to try to meet our needs ourselves > easier to fall into this trap?

I think that it can be a powerful contributing factor- as you said, feeling like no one but we ourselves can meet our own needs. I've found 'being in control', too, is another driving factor. Feeling misunderstood, rejected, and the 'odd-man out' can definitely lend toward isolation and working things out in private...

Good conversation!
 
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Thanks for the reply - can definitely relate to the feelings you listed
Self-reliance can be a great strength, but it can also hinder our growth if we are not careful
Great progress again - very helpful to read about your strategies and how you are working on this 💪
 
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