How Shall We Escape?

Phineas 808

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The old maxim: Know Thyself is so apt for us dealing with these unwanted habits or addictions.

In my own mind I came to notice when I pull away from God, when I'm obsessing and yet I won't name what it is I'm obsessing over (though I very well know it).

You know you plan to 'do it' later, and yet you don't quite spell it out, or naming it, or facing it.

I found that simply 'coming clean' to God (Who knows already), and being honest with yourself (which works even if you're not of the religious persuasion), naming what it is you're obsessing over, changes or alters your state of mind.

I'm not talking about a knock-down-drag-out fight with yourself, and I'm not talking about white knuckling either. Just pure honesty- at least with yourself- will take it out of some mindless dissociative obsession which may be a part of one's ritual.
 

Phineas 808

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A term to become familiar with is the 'addictive voice' (AV). Anything that suggests future use of P, PMO is the addictive voice from the 'lower brain', which is the primal instinctual part of the brain that physiologically keeps our addiction alive.

We have to learn, and this explains why we seem to contradict ourselves so often, that there are two parts of the brain as if at war: the prefrontal cortex, which basically wants to do the right or rational thing, and the 'lower brain', what is referred to as the 'beast-brain', the reptilian, or primal brain, which is the brain stem, limbic region and the amygdala.

So learning that these contradictory urges are 'not you', but your lower brain helps you to separate yourself from bestial instincts, which drives addictive behaviors. Any urges or thoughts suggesting future p-use, be this p-memories or lapse-anticipation, all are the AV.
 
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GBS

Respected Member
Hi @Phineas 808 - glad you’re back here on a more regular basis.

I get the two areas of the brain thing. It seemed to me when I was starting out on the recovery road that I was fighting my brain. Of course what was happening was the pre-frontal cortex was finally standing up for itself and telling the lower brain to fuck off. It seemed almost an out of body experience to me, like I was watching my addictive brain being beaten up in the playground for being a bully. So thanks for your words above.

The addictive voice still exists in my head but it’s so quiet now.

All best to you GBS
 

Phineas 808

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Thank you, @GBS. I'll be on as often as I can, given that ironically, I see RN as identifying with my own unwanted behaviors- so, there's that. But, I'm happy to be of help any way I can.

Yes, it's important- so important, to separate ourselves from the addiction as 'not us', and even to personalize it, like many would speak of 'the beast' as that indulgent part of us encouraging the addiction.

Excellent point, that, yes- the 'AV' gets weaker and weaker, quieter and quieter, as the neural pathways become less and less used.

Thank God for neuroplasticity!
 

Phineas 808

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Are you changing unwanted behaviors with willpower or no-will power?

You've heard the term 'white-knuckling' ? This is where you're exerting every effort not to do the thing you're obsessing about, P, PMO, or for some MO. And yet, you're barely making it. Maybe you're peeking, maybe you're moving as close as you can to the behavior without technically doing the behavior; think, edging or p-subs.

Maybe you've also heard the maxim: 99% is a bitch, 100% is a breeze. This maxim suggests that it's not so much about willpower, trying to not do what you've trained your brain to do, but about perception.

If you whittle your whole life down to an unwanted habit or addiction, then, yeah- each moment is a white-knuckle or dry-drunk ride of your life. But if you accept that this issue is just a small part, albeit an important part, of your whole self, then you simply choose your whole life, with all it meaning and purpose, which is so much bigger than this portion we call an addiction, that your perspective will shift.

Setting course for your whole-self, your perfect version of yourself, enables you to put it in 'cruise-control' (set-it-and-forget-it), and live without overly exerting willpower; but overly focusing on your unwanted habit distorts life into that small space, and it then becomes 'black-or-white' or 'all-or-nothing' if you do or do not do your habit. This is why even the smallest failures are a catastrophe to you.

Let go, and just be your better version. This requires forgiving yourself and not catastrophizing your imperfections. Radical acceptance.
 
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Phineas 808

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Never underestimate the habits that surround your [unwanted] habit.

Pay close attention to yourself. What's going on internally, emotionally, that leads up to a lapse? What's going on externally, in your environment, your circumstances or your activities, that lead up to a lapse?

Hack into the matrix of your habit by changing something, anything surrounding your habit. Do you take the phone into the restroom at night, innocently, until it's not...? Do you find yourself typically angry for no reason prior to a lapse? Leave the phone outside the restroom. Ask yourself why are you feeling angry or sad all of a sudden. Recognize that your thought/emotional patterns often precede a lapse. Address those feelings or patterns, and you'll affect the overall habit.

Know the patterns, know yourself.
 
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