How Shall We Escape?

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Evil will still be evil
Even that is open to interpretation.
I would say that evil becomes less evil when it is deluded with good. Doing evil with good intentions and vice versa.....
the interplay between the opposites is fascinating and all part of the "big picture", the divine drama
"God" and "good" share the same root in the English/Germanic lineage...what is of God is good, and "God" became "good", but God came first, and I am not sure that "God" is the opposite of evil, except for in our human interpretation as what we "perceive" to be a world of duality....
I must accept good and evil as we interpret them as opposites but both part of life, because one doesn't exist without the other...if one vanishes, then the other ceases to exist altogether, which is impossible, or perhaps becomes a non dual world in which only "God" exists and nothing else, which was the state of the world at some point
Rebellion against the Natural order of things could be interpreted as "evil", like so many modern human perversions....
How about how we treat "sex"?
Do we have any idea what we are doing? I don't think so. Why are we so rebellious? Are we all little "Satans"? Do we think that we are the highest form of intelligence? Here we are on this spinning planet floating through the universe, buzzing around like bees around a beehive. It's crazy.
But we have the ability to contemplate this, despite our earthly desires; we have the ability to connect to the divine and independent of desire through Spiritual practice. I think the charismatic "Paul of Tarsus" talked about this a little....he recommended abstaining from sexual activity to devote your life to Spiritual practice.
Quite honestly, when you take the sexual tension away from relationships, it makes things easier. I remember once a female friend I had when I was 18 or so, told me that if we had sex it would ruin our friendship, and we never did have sex, and I watched her go through a great deal of "boyfriends". I think that was a real friendship, and in hindsight, I appreciate it.
Even though my wife moved out and even though we haven't had sex in four years, I have not "moved on" to another sex partner, even though I fantasized about it. So, now I am choosing to eliminate the sexual fantasies. What is this doing to my relationship to my wife? Actually, it's improving it, and I don't want to go back to the way things were, ever.
I am building a life around "monk mode". A new identity, a new "world view".
I enjoy your thread, because you are thoughtful and Spiritual in your approach.
 

Phineas 808

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Thank you, A.D. for your comments, and am grateful for our interactions. I get to talk about things I don't normally get to in this forum, and it has the benefits of taking our recovery efforts to a deeper spiritual and even mystical level...

For evil, it was a reference to trauma. I appreciate your point and my view on evil, whether it's moral evil (sin) or natural evil (the edge of a knife), is that it's relative in certain respects. Is it a lie if I'm protecting the Jews from the Nazis? Is it a 'dangerous cliff' if I never walk to the edge?

My views on evil are more metaphysical that it doesn't truly exist, or- that it is nothingness in an absolute sense, absolute privation and non-being. You're right, evil is not the opposite of God: for one, that would infuse 'evil' with an existence it doesn't have; for another, it would limit God to a duality to which He doesn't belong.

All that is evil in the world, for an example I'll refer to those who (unfortunately) hurt children, which I sat as a juror recently in convicting a pedo. The harming of a child for selfish reasons is a nothingness in that it serves one's selfish pleasures in denial of life, in denial of true Being. One's fleeting pleasures (a nothingness) is elevated above the intrinsic and infinite value of a child's wellbeing as a human being, and hence an immoral choice toward nothingness and privation over and above the good of the child and the universe to which he/she belongs.

That segues into the issue of our own sexuality. There's two (at least) versions of us: the one we live out existentially day to day and the other that exists metaphysically, a perfect us, (here's the ubermensch, lol!). The one is relatively existent/non-existent and lives in a world of shadows, often blinded by misguided and self-created, societally conditioned illusions and delusions. The other is rooted in God/Christ-Logos, and is the truest self. It is you as God knew you in pre-temporal eternity. To live in such a way that serves the fleeting pleasures of our existential self contrary to our highest good, which is after our metaphysical truth and identity, is to serve evil, to engender an evil that works against us.

Blessings.
 

Phineas 808

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Here is my weekly check-in.

Where am I now?

I am currently 45 days free from P, PMO, and MO.

I hit my 40 day mini-goal last Tuesday, and my next mini-goal will be 50 days.

I'm equanimous, albeit under the weather due to a cold (I don't think it's related to a lab 🤔). I am getting on, and feel like I'm resting and hydrating.

I feel hopeful that I'm making a true go of my recovery, that my streak is substantial and can continue into triple-digit territory, though we're but half-way to that. This could be my 'lengthy streak' for the year, and hopefully carry over into 2023.

Am I being earnest and diligent in my approach?

I feel that I am. Yesterday was my free-day for social media, where I allow myself to be entertained. Algorithms are still what they are on TitkTok, and so I get the users who communicate their message physically, if you catch my drift. I did have a user come up that I would've obsessed over had I not just followed her (for now?). There may be 2 - 3 users like that...

My thinking is between being overly restrictive and actually working with stimuli in a way that tells me that I'm in control. This is in the spirit of ERP or exposure therapy.

Sure enough, I'd have user-x or user-y come up, but I'd look at it from a different perspective. I was mindful when or if the user's video was illiciting an urge to obsess on it in any way.

How did you cope with negative emotions or stress?

I would catch negative self-talk, like everytime I'd say, "I hate it when....". I either change that to 'strongly dislike' or analyize why I'm feeling so negative. So, trying to redirect my feelings into more positive territory is key. I'm challenging myself to enjoy the short time we have here on earth, not being so negative or down, but enjoying this gift called 'life'.

How were deeper needs fulfilled?

My wife and I made love last week, so that was good. So many times I shut her down, by not allowing Ol' Willy to awaken- what, am I asexual when it comes to my wife?? I feel that way most times, but I went with it this time (as she usually initiates it). And we had a good time.

I didn't feel obsessive at any time this past week. How about in public? I don't have a strong draw toward any one woman, just all of them, lol... I don't think I obsessed over any? But this may be a matter of opportunity?

I did key in on a talk-show host on T.V., and was taken aback by her beauty- but was she even really that beautiful? I need to be mindful of these issues. I did 'cheat' a little on my social media routine, and I knew I needed a little 'pick-me-up'. But because I was under the weather, I allowed this. It never became obsessive or p-subs.

What are you doing to work toward your future self?

Continuing to work on B and C, but not wanting to neglect A. Thankfully, I worked on that. I did have a video that I couldn't move off my phone (state of the art, right?), and will have to reteach it... so that sucked. It seemed that strange challenges would arise concerning my efforts toward my future self, but, anything worthwhile is going to be a struggle, right? Not giving up, and hopeful. I'm seeing hopeful signs. A young lady wants me to baptize her in a river, so that's special. And yesterday I shipped off an item, and also contributed to the household by doing jury duty, lol... I almost expected not to be paid, lol..., so grateful to be a part of the justice system when called upon.

So, little signs of life. And I'm grateful.

Special Question #8. What are your long-term/short-term goals?

Again, interesting that this question comes up, given the above statements. These questions are in the spirit of this quote:

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. - Socrates *

*Character from Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman

In that spirit, my long-term goals are to be fruitful toward God, to be used by Him to preach and teach the Gospel. To be anointed to where it shifts spiritual atmospheres, and things are affected on earth. To be a blessing...

In the short-term, I'm working on two or three 'tent-making ministries' that will go to support the longer term vision. These are referred to as B and C above, whereas A is the main enchilada. I'm seeing signs of good things, but must continue to work hard to bring about the life that I want to provide to my family and myself, so that I'm freed up to pursue my actual calling.

You can see why P, PMO and MO are antithetical to my goals. It's not who I am, really. Thoughts become actions, actions become habits, habits become character, and character becomes destiny. So, the unwanted behaviors, beause they seek to poison who I am on a cellular level, are the biggest threats to my dreams.
 
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Phineas 808

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I almost forgot to mention:

Today is 19 years since I stepped foot in a porno-book store and watched porn or PMO'd while there (x6).

The last time, July 17, 2003, was told to my wife after she unexplainably beat me home from across town (I left a little earlier in a separate car). In my hubris, I though I could go to x-site, get one off really quick, and then beat my wife home. No! She looked so quizzicle that I told her everything (2nd big mistake). This almost ended our marriage, and we had a 6 month old child at the time!

I won't here debate why that was not a good move on my part (none of it), but that in doing so, made the next 10 years or so very challenging.

Well, since then came out the iPhones, and they are a potential 'porno-bookstore' in one's pocket, and that's what we've been dealing with now.

But the good news is that habits can be changed, and though the picture may not yet be perfect, I've made exceptional strides in my life dealing with sex and porn addiction (e.g. no longer cruising for prostitutes, ended 1994).
 
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TakeActionNow

Respected Member
@Phineas 808 I think I am neurotic, so negativity is very strong in me. I am now practicing CBT and DBT aggressively to counter the negative self talk. It takes practice and I think I am getting better. Also more effort in daily life is making me feel better about myself. Please give CBT and DBT a try. No need to read big text or go for therapy. Just pull off Google summary and start on a bit at a time. Best of luck!
 

Phineas 808

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Phineas 808, I think I am neurotic, so negativity is very strong in me. I am now practicing CBT and DBT aggressively to counter the negative self talk. It takes practice and I think I am getting better. Also more effort in daily life is making me feel better about myself. Please give CBT and DBT a try. No need to read big text or go for therapy. Just pull off Google summary and start on a bit at a time. Best of luck!

Thank you for your advice, TAN.

I have/do utilize CBT in my various approaches, though I may not necessarily be aware that I'm doing it at this point. But my strategies either come from or mirror that approach.

I'll look more into DBT, as I haven't heard of it until now. I do practice a dialectical approach in other areas or practices in my life.

Blessings.
 

Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
@Phineas 808 I think I am neurotic, so negativity is very strong in me. I am now practicing CBT and DBT aggressively to counter the negative self talk. It takes practice and I think I am getting better. Also more effort in daily life is making me feel better about myself. Please give CBT and DBT a try. No need to read big text or go for therapy. Just pull off Google summary and start on a bit at a time. Best of luck!
Porn definitely increases my neuroticism level by a lot.

This is what Wikipedia says:

"In the study of psychology, neuroticism has been considered a fundamental personality trait. For example, in the Big Five approach to personality trait theory, individuals with high scores for neuroticism are more likely than average to be moody and to experience such feelings as anxiety, worry, fear, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, guilt, depressed mood, and loneliness. Such people are thought to respond worse to stressors and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations, such as minor frustrations, as appearing hopelessly difficult. They are described as often being self-conscious and shy, and tending to have trouble controlling urges and delaying gratification."

This is definitely me when binging PMO.
 

Phineas 808

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Posting after returning from our 28th wedding anniversary- and depending on how that trip went could color this post. But this is a forum about fixing ourselves, finding change, and not to work out all our marital issues. So, not sure how I'm to post going forward... but here goes...

I am currently 52 days free from P, PMO and MO.

I hit my mini-goal of 50 days last Friday. My next goal is 65 days, 15 days from my previous goal. This number will represent going past a strange wall of 64 days, which I've hit now twice this year. So hitting this goal will mean that I'm currently in the best streak of this year. My best for this year so far hasn't gone past this, and so it's important. My goal is to continue this streak well beyond this into next year 2023, and have that as my next lengthy (and hopefully, my forever) streak.

I am being diligent in my approach. Yesterday was my social media 'free-day', though there wasn't much time for that as we were out of town for our 28th wedding anniversary.

My diligence needs to be such, especially in lieu of our celebration which fell short of expectations, and thus became a source for tension, stress, fighting, accusation, blame, guilt-tripping, and actual guilt.

My wife and I are both getting over [non-lab related >?] flue-like symptoms. So, there's that. We decided to go anyway (mistake?), as we were both feeling a little better. That was all fine, and the trip itself started off okay (we just went about 65 miles max from our home base). But because it wasn't planned out, we kind of 'winged it'- serendipity, right? There were indeed serendipitous moments (a winery, in addition to the wine we bought simply gave us a bottle of wine because it was our anniversary and we were so nice to her). But when we arrived at our destination, there was an ongoing festival (which we didn't know about), but that meant that the rooms were full. We envisioned a b&b, but were to have to settle for a hotel/motel type of room. We found one at a good rate, but she couldn't stay there. It wasn't intimate enough: fair.

Long story short, we both drove home in silence. I knew she was ruminating, building a case of blame against me how this was all my fault.

At this point, there's a lot of fodder I could throw her way, and that's not really my intention. But what a perfect segue into a more meaningful (and helpful to myself) post.

This is not meant as an excuse, but I grew up without a father (he left, or we left him when I was but 4 years of age). This lack of a father figure means that it's very challenging to have direction, to shape, to have initiative, to plan trips- or plan much of anything... Now, I've gotten better at this over the years, but it's been slow going- heck, I'm 55 for crying out loud!

This father-wounding has left me trying to figure out manhood for most of my life, and pornography hasn't been much of a help in regards to that.

I've been enjoying lately the 'super power' of being attractive to women in general, because of my self-control, and my not wasting seed. But there's so much more to rediscovering our manhood or masculinity on the other side of porn-addiction than this attraction, important in its own right. There's being able to step up, take responsibility and blame when things don't quite work out, and being able to plan, to execute, to have vision, to be creative, to love- and this is most important- to love one's wife, one's family. This one is so difficult for me, as I can list 1,000 reasons to not love, to be selfish, to have selfish considerations here. While I'm not to be walked on as a doormat, I'm to have dignity, and self-respect, but love is always selfless and even self-sacrificing.

So, with all those considerations, I have to go forward and figure this out, even when she's standing there- as judge, jury and executioner- wanting to simply freeze-frame me into her neatly built boxes of 'this is how you've always been'.

Addendum: We're being amicable and affectionate this morning, so that's good news.
 
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Blondie

Respected Member
Hey Phineas, congrats on accomplishing your mini goal of 50 days. Keep it up sir.

Sorry to hear about your trip and how it turned out. These things happen sometimes, but great job on staying clean through it all. Whatever happens, remember this; these emotions will settle down and won't last forever.

You are able to handle this, and porn will not help you in any way.
This father-wounding has left me trying to figure out manhood for most of my life, and pornography hasn't been much of a help in regards to that.

This touched me, because even though I have a father, I still have felt the same way sometimes. Who knows what this means, but I'll have to reflect on it more.

Best
 

Phineas 808

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Thank you, @Blondie! I know those are big questions, 'family of origin' type of issues, but so important for longer term healing.

Blessings to you!
 

Blondie

Respected Member
I've been enjoying lately the 'super power' of being attractive to women in general, because of my self-control, and my not wasting seed. But there's so much more to rediscovering our manhood or masculinity on the other side of porn-addiction than this attraction, important in its own right. There's being able to step up, take responsibility and blame when things don't quite work out, and being able to plan, to execute, to have vision, to be creative, to love- and this is most important- to love one's wife, one's family.
I really like this.
 

Phineas 808

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Porn addiction can be envisioned as a 9 headed hydra, such as Heracles had to fight as his 2nd labor. This isn't intended to inflate porn as an undefeatable larger than life force outside of ourselves, but to simply identify the multi-faceted nature of it as a defeatable beast. As we say, 'Know your enemy'- so it is here.

If we see pornography addiction as a 9 headed hydra, what would be its body? What would be its tail or heads?

The body of this addiction is shame, the tail is past traumas, and its “9 heads” (though it could have more or less) are:

1. Secretiveness
2. Narcissism
3. Escapism
4. Isolationism
5. Pride
6. Misogyny
7. Guilt
8. Mindlessness or ignorance
9. Faulty Beliefs

This shows the interconnectedness of the drivers of this addiction. But it is not some all-powerful force 'out there', but that which we've created in our minds through fautly beliefs and repetetive habits.

As the hero in this story, what would be our weapons and armor?

We need the sword of knowledge, the helmet of mindfulness or awareness, and the shield of method, planning or strategy.

Stand in your power, take the sword of knowledge- sharpen it by learning about this addiction, learn about yourself: know thyself. This is how you will cut off the heads of this hydra. Put on the helmet of mindfulness, be aware in the present moment. Be present in the 'now' moment of your life, not mindless in habit-land. And take as your shield whatever methodology works for your life. Those habits that you have in place to replace the unwanted habits, use habit to dismantle the bad habits. This shield may need to be altered and tweeked to best serve you, if this or that doesn't work, try something else- but above all, never ever give up the fight. You are, after all, the hero of this story.

3A531E89-C4AA-45D2-A809-9D408F367A66.jpeg
 
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Blondie

Respected Member
This is great Phineas! I don't even know what to say... really powerful stuff.

I really like the nine heads concept and what those symbolize.
This shield may need to be altered and tweeked to best serve you, if this or that doesn't work, try something else- but above all, never ever give up the fight. You are, after all, the hero of this story.
This.

At the end of the day, all that matters is that we find a method or methods that work for us. I know mine is an amalgam of many things, and that's okay, as long as it works!

Nice job Phineas, beautifully written.

I need to reflect more on the 9 heads and what that means for me.
 

Phineas 808

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Thank you, Blondie!

Same for me, I have multiple methods from different disciplines- from spirituality to the latest in cutting edge mindfulness tactics. I'm a firm believer in using a multi-discipline approach, whatever works for the individual.

You'll see that among the heads isn't much that's out there, like a bill board with a scantily clad woman on it, or the seedy part of town, or women dressed in summer clothes (which isn't much, lol...!), it's not even necessarily what happened to us at age 5... Each of those 9 heads are subjective 'reactions' to things, or beliefs and perceptions. In one sense we can see how powerful the mind is, that it can create such a problematic dragon in our lives- but at the same time, it's all in our mind and habits. We are what we repeatedly do..., and just as thoughts can dissipate, so too can our self-created dragons be chased away as a bad dream in the night.

Be well, brother!
 

OrangeSpider

Active Member
Porn addiction can be envisioned as a 9 headed hydra, such as Heracles had to fight as his 2nd labor. This isn't intended to inflate porn as an undefeatable larger than life force outside of ourselves, but to simply identify the multi-faceted nature of it as a defeatable beast. As we say, 'Know your enemy'- so it is here.

If we see pornography addiction as a 9 headed hydra, what would be its body? What would be its tail or heads?

The body of this addiction is shame, the tail is past traumas, and its “9 heads” (though it could have more or less) are:

1. Secretiveness
2. Narcissism
3. Escapism
4. Isolationism
5. Pride
6. Misogyny
7. Guilt
8. Mindlessness or ignorance
9. Faulty Beliefs

This shows the interconnectedness of the drivers of this addiction. But it is not some all-powerful force 'out there', but that which we've created in our minds through fautly beliefs and repetetive habits.

As the hero in this story, what would be our weapons and armor?

We need the sword of knowledge, the helmet of mindfulness or awareness, and the shield of method, planning or strategy.

Stand in your power, take the sword of knowledge- sharpen it by learning about this addiction, learn about yourself: know thyself. This is how you will cut off the heads of this hydra. Put on the helmet of mindfulness, be aware in the present moment. Be present in the 'now' moment of your life, not mindless in habit-land. And take as your shield whatever methodology works for your life. Those habits that you have in place to replace the unwanted habits, use habit to dismantle the bad habits. This shield may need to be altered and tweeked to best serve you, if this or that doesn't work, try something else- but above all, never ever give up the fight. You are, after all, the hero of this story.

View attachment 706
This is very good, thank you!
 

Phineas 808

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Good morning, All. Giving my once-in-a-while and infrequent update or check-in.

I am currently 66 days free from P, PMO, and MO.

This is over 2 months without the unwanted behaviors. And during the month of July there were 0x episodes of P, PMO, or MO.

This ongoing streak is now the longest of the year, with hopes of being extended into next year. This broke through what was one of those strange walls. It is the 3rd time I hit 64 days this year:

1st 64 = 12/30/21 - 3/4/22 > During this time I still had the bad habits (p-subs and edging) that were established since August of last year. Though there was struggle, and intermittent victories, my habits worked against me.

2nd 64 = 3/27/22 - 5/30/22 > This period followed changing my phone habits and creating a social media routine where I allow myself a free day.

3rd 64 = 6/2/22 - Ongoing > It was a concern that I'd come into the same trouble that caused struggle in late May, and so was very cautious during this time, and was mindful as to emotional states. But this 'wall' was passed through with no issues or episodes.

I heard a slogan from the group, The Mindful Habit, which I don't follow too closely: It takes a habit to break a habit.

I couldn't agree more. Changing my phone habits and imposing a social media routine, as well as challenging the content I watch, has been a game changer for me, as it was from day 1 (with deleting Pinterest). Now, coming on to social media 1x a week shows me in stark contrast my former habits versus how I am throughout the week. I'm able to ask myself, 'Why this follow', or I can more readily catch myself if I'm at all acting out through this medium.

If I'm more quiet here on RN going forward, know that I'm not too far away if anyone needs my help. I'm not going away but will enage less and less as I feel that I'm moving on from these struggles, from identifying with them. This will be true, regardless of success or failure. I know what works for me and what I want out of this recovery.

This is not a goodbye, nor am I declaring that I'm 'cured'. I'm very well aware that I could 'turn on a dime', but I also know what freedom looks like, and am hopeful.
 
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Ezel

Well-Known Member
Great stuff Phineas, you do you my man.

And whatever happens feel free to come back and share with us your experiences, we really could learn a thing or two from it.

See you around champ...
 
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