Life and Peace (Romans 8:6)

Relapse. I hate even typing that word, but I slipped up last night. Work has been more stressful than ever, I wasn't feeling great, and I couldn't sleep, so I found myself wide awake and alone at 1:30 am. Recipe for disaster. I take some comfort in that it didn't involve typical p that I use to go to. Instead, this was an episode of MO that involved edging by looking at pics of bare chested women that I stumbled upon on LinkedIn. I want to think I "stumbled" upon them, but the truth is I was actively looking for something. I think I had convinced myself that I deserved it.

I made it 241 days without an episode. Here's a few things I learned...good and bad:

- I took pride in my day count. I liked knowing I had gone so far and, even though this forum is anonymous, I liked the feeling of being one of the guys on here with a high day count. I know that makes me sound like a jerk, but I was using that as motivation. I wanted to "win" this.

- I also think I was naive to the idea that I would ever slip up or even have a weak moment after those initial weeks. I was so strong. The temptation just wasn't there for a really long time that I was starting to think I had beat this addiction and was above failing back into it. If you look at my last post on July 14, you'll notice I asked about how guys feel after super long periods of freedom. I was wanting someone to tell me that after a certain time, the temptation goes away and you're just free. I was hoping that could be the case for me, but I'm seeing now that I am susceptible to failure in this. I let my guard down because I thought I was over it and I was letting my day count convince me of that.

- Two things that contributed to my slip-up (I prefer to call it that rather than "relapse" and I'll explain below):

1. Over the past couple of weeks, I allowed myself to be exposed to triggers and lingered there for longer than I should. They were innocent enough...women selling clothing on Facebook Marketplace that was revealing, the hot news anchor that I wouldn't take my eyes off of, intentionally getting an eyeful of the cleavage of a woman I work with when she gave me an opportunity. I just didn't turn away, and I think over time, my brain remembered where this would lead...and it wanted it. I was hoping that after 241 days, I would be strong enough to resist these triggers, but I learned that I will need to resist them forever probably.

2. I have gotten out of the habit of my typical morning routine of prayer, journaling, and Bible reading. This time fuels me, encourages me, and reminds me of the truest things about me and the world around me. It reminds me of my purpose and my value. Without it...without Christ...I forget who I am and what I'm called to do, and I begin to live in my own power. I realize now that those 241 days were not out of my own strength but were a grace from God and the building blocks for my next long...hopefully lifelong...day count.

The reason I don't want to use the word "relapse" is because I think (to me at least) it makes it sound like I'm back to zero. Maybe my day count is, but my mind isn't. I slipped up, but I'm not back to the guy I was on December 11th, 2020. That was the last day I had a full blown PMO episode and became so sick of myself that I decided I had to change. I'm not that guy. I'm climbing a ladder and went down a rung...but I'm not back on the ground. No offense to any of you if you use the word "relapse". I'm just trying to remind myself that these 241 days weren't a failure, and that I'm moving on. I won't dwell on what happened last night, and I'll continue to rewire my brain knowing the progress I've made isn't wasted.
 

JerryTX

Active Member
- Two things that contributed to my slip-up (I prefer to call it that rather than "relapse" and I'll explain below):

1. Over the past couple of weeks, I allowed myself to be exposed to triggers and lingered there for longer than I should. They were innocent enough...women selling clothing on Facebook Marketplace that was revealing, the hot news anchor that I wouldn't take my eyes off of, intentionally getting an eyeful of the cleavage of a woman I work with when she gave me an opportunity. I just didn't turn away, and I think over time, my brain remembered where this would lead...and it wanted it. I was hoping that after 241 days, I would be strong enough to resist these triggers, but I learned that I will need to resist them forever probably.

2. I have gotten out of the habit of my typical morning routine of prayer, journaling, and Bible reading. This time fuels me, encourages me, and reminds me of the truest things about me and the world around me. It reminds me of my purpose and my value. Without it...without Christ...I forget who I am and what I'm called to do, and I begin to live in my own power. I realize now that those 241 days were not out of my own strength but were a grace from God and the building blocks for my next long...hopefully lifelong...day count.

The reason I don't want to use the word "relapse" is because I think (to me at least) it makes it sound like I'm back to zero. Maybe my day count is, but my mind isn't. I slipped up, but I'm not back to the guy I was on December 11th, 2020. That was the last day I had a full blown PMO episode and became so sick of myself that I decided I had to change. I'm not that guy. I'm climbing a ladder and went down a rung...but I'm not back on the ground. No offense to any of you if you use the word "relapse". I'm just trying to remind myself that these 241 days weren't a failure, and that I'm moving on. I won't dwell on what happened last night, and I'll continue to rewire my brain knowing the progress I've made isn't wasted.
@berrylewis29 Great post. I recently had a slip up on day 112 that I posted in my journal. As I read your points above, this is something that I could have written about my own journey. Both points are relevant and our mirrored in my life. However, like you stated by the grace of GOD we are free! I know your journal has Romans 8:6 but keep reading my brother! Romans 8:9 - "But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the SPIRIT if you have the SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD living in you. " Keep reading all of Romans 8 it is relevant! By GOD's design this past Sunday Romans 8 was the sermon. Yes I was there and not by design as GOD knew I would be and knew I needed HIS message!

GOD BLESS YOU!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Hi, berry!

Definitely, you're not (truly) on day 0, just the day-count. You won't lose your progress, and will get up and be even stronger and wiser in His strength.

I differentiate between a slip, lapse and a relapse (not to be overly technical). Certainly you had a lapse- or slip if you prefer. But be careful here, and not 'repeat' the behavior, or else it could become a 're-lapse' (adding a 're' to the lapse). A repetition will only resensitize old neural pathways, and reinforce what happened last night.

Keep going, and as you fully own what happened, you'll have a quicker rebound time from this. What often happens to folk who lapse from a lengthy streak is they find it difficult to regain traction. This doesn't have to be, as you return to what worked for you during those 241 days.

You got this, brother.

P.S., I totally misunderstood your question in my last reply...
 
I stopped counting days after the slip up I journaled about in my last post. Since then I've been struggling to get back on course. I found myself mo longer averting my eyes from triggers and in some cases even looking for them. It came to a head yesterday when I had a full on episode of PMO. I should've seen this coming. I had become lax in the things that I know work for me: daily journaling, bible reading, prayer, and had stopped 'filtering' images, etc... because I think I had begun to think I had finally beaten this addiction. I'm down today, but I know what I'm capable of now (in both directions). I'm capable of a 241 day sober streak. I'm also capable of diving headfirst back into my old patterns. I stopped taking them seriously, and started flirting with them again, and they won.

Today, I'll start with baby steps again. Goal number 1 is not to let this relapse become anything more than it was yesterday. I will build on the long sober streak and keep going. I'll journal daily as I regain my balance, remove distractions in my life, and move toward healthy patterns that make me stronger. This is definitely a setback, but its not overwhelming. I took 241 steps forward. I just took a couple steps back. Time to look ahead and keep moving.
 

JerryTX

Active Member
Great attitude to have and yes like many of us, when we think we have beaten the beast, remember he is prowling around looking to devour us! I too in my journey got relaxed after 90 days and lapsed by viewing a video for about 1 minute. Immediately shut it off but MO'd to the image in my head. So the guilt and shame are what the devil wants but we have Grace, Peace, and Forgiveness from GOD. You got this and you will be surprised how easy it is to move forward and regain said "balance".
 

guitar1968

Active Member
Sounds like you have it under control. You may have lapsed, but that doesn't mean you are even close to being back at the beginning. You have the right attitude for sure. If you get right back to the good behavior, you will continue to succeed. We're all pulling for you.
 
Been a while since I've been here, but I feel the need to journal again. I stopped counting days and have been doing pretty well, except the temptation is stronger than ever. Since my relapse on August 11, I've had a couple more episodes. I was generally able to stay positive and keep moving, but I think the strong temptation these days is a result of those episodes not letting go (dang brain chemicals I guess). So I don't think it wise to keep coasting along like I have been doing.

Instead, I need to jump back into journaling. I have maintained my normal daily practices of reading and prayer in the mornings, and that has been helpful, but journaling here always seemed to give me that extra push...I need that again.

I caught up on many of your stories and am encouraged by them. It's a reminder that I'm not the only one dealing with this and that its a winnable war. I won't count days as I consider myself a man who has moved on from porn, and I love that identity (I also found pride in my day count and when I relapsed I was almost as upset about messing up my day count as I was about the porn use...crazy I know). I just want to move on, and I have. But I am far from perfect. I'm reminded even this morning that I am still capable of the darkest things imaginable. But this is true: God is gracious and won't give up on me..."if I make my bed in the depths, You are there, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast." - Psalm 139.

Your journals have been so encouraging...sorry for my absence.
 

JerryTX

Active Member
@berrylewis29 This journey is a tough one! Glad your back on and like you said, it can be a very slippery slope. The enemy never sleeps 1 Peter 5:8! I have come so far and my temptations are not near what they used to be. However, I do know that the P demon is prowling and I have to stay strong and steadfast. We all fall short of the Grace of GOD, but HE forgives!

1 Corinthians 10:13 -- I use this as my main anthem!
 
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