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

Well-Known 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!
 
Day 1

I'm currently in a pattern of slipping up about once every month or so. I realize this started after my initial relapse on August 11. Since then, it's just been easier to slip up and harder to get back on the wagon. I slipped last night because my wife is out of town and I PMO'd...the most disturbing part is that it was premeditated. I planned to do and was excited about it. This is the first time since my reboot that has happened, and it reminded me of where I was this time last year. Since August, I've just kind of become complacent thinking I had mostly beaten this thing, but apparently I haven't. Last night was a reminder of what I was a year ago and how easily I can lose all this progress.

So I'm starting over with daily journaling...which seemed to help immensely when I started my reboot on December 12th, 2020. Just the daily reminder and accountability (even if its anonymous) is powerful.

I will say that I am in a MUCH better place than before I started my reboot! I'm not nearly as depressed, and I don't feel as hopeless to defeat p. My brain has healed in so many ways. Temptations are definitely not as strong, and I'm more focused on the real stuff in my life. So I'm hopeful that I'm building on something solid. I think a lot of my p use was due to boredom, and last night was a reminder of that. It didn't feel like a pull to PMO because of an irresistible neurochemical, but more out of curiosity and boredom. So lame, but it doesn't feel like I'm fighting the same beast as before. This time, he's emaciated because I've starved him for so long. This time, he seems pathetic and far less attractive.

Day 1
 
Hi Barrylewis
So encouraged by your journal & the responses from other Christian men. I'm a missionary, struggling with porn (gay & straight) and the shame is overwhelming.
I'm encouraged to know that there are guys who are fighting, and overcoming. Even after a relapse, they are getting back up. Thank God for grace!
 
Hi Barrylewis
So encouraged by your journal & the responses from other Christian men. I'm a missionary, struggling with porn (gay & straight) and the shame is overwhelming.
I'm encouraged to know that there are guys who are fighting, and overcoming. Even after a relapse, they are getting back up. Thank God for grace!
Squidward81, you can do this too. If I can make it 241 days without PMO ANYBODY can! And I'm reminding myself that I can do it again as well.
 
Day 3

Nothing big to report today, but I'm hopeful that simply reporting/journaling regularly will help me get back on track. I'm building on my 241 day reboot and trying not to get stuck on the couple of times I've stumbled after. Some temptation last night when an opportunity opened up, but I was able to put it out of my mind.

I'm not defined by what I do (good or bad). I'm defined by the life of Christ who lives in me...who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

Day 3
 
Day 3

Nothing big to report today, but I'm hopeful that simply reporting/journaling regularly will help me get back on track. I'm building on my 241 day reboot and trying not to get stuck on the couple of times I've stumbled after. Some temptation last night when an opportunity opened up, but I was able to put it out of my mind.

I'm not defined by what I do (good or bad). I'm defined by the life of Christ who lives in me...who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

Day 3
Amen!
 
Well, I'm back. I REALLY need to be on RN more often. I have struggled to stay away from P for months now. I had a streak of 241 days that ended in August of last year, and I keep trying to figure out how to get back to that place. The one factor that I've not implemented is regular journaling here at RN. I think that was a huge help for me. Also, I realize I have tons of pride. Even though this forum is anonymous, I have a hard time returning here to admit I've fallen off the wagon after such a long streak. I mean, how can I fall so hard after 241 days of being PMO free!?

So I'm here again. Admitting I'm weak and need to journal here regularly for the accountability and for the daily refocus on my goals. I miss the man I was when I was PMO free. I was happier, less depressed, more focused on my work and family, and had more purpose in life and ministry. Porn has taken that from me again. I've tasted the freedom I know is available to me, and I want it more than Porn.

Here I go on Day 1
 
Day 2

Busy lately with work, and I used to think that was a distraction. Now I know that when I get busy, I tend to seek out P. It feels like an escape. Also, I know that I tend to seek out P when I'm alone, bored, tired, sad, overwhelmed, anxious, etc.... So basically, most of the time.

I don't expect much draw to P today as it's only day 2. Seems like I generally make it a week between episodes, so I'll hope to prepare for that and not be caught off guard by it.
 
Day 3

I caught myself eyeing psubs today as they popped up on my social media feeds. One major factor in my last streak of 241 days is that I removed all social media from my phone. If I want to view any social media, I have to use my laptop, which is far more inconvenient. But lately I've found myself viewing psubs there. I've toyed with deleting all my social media accounts in the past and may do that...still unsure. I would like to delete them not only for the way it triggers me, but also for the other anxiety producing affects which are well known at this point.

I remember the feeling during my very first streak of being surprised at how easy it actually was. I don't mean to say it was easy (it wasn't!). I just mean that I had never even tried to quit before, and I realized that if I just put in SOME effort, I could make strides. If it was easy, I wouldn't be here today having fallen again. Its just that I realize when I'm off the wagon, it's because I've given up trying and am not really focused on staying away. I think that's why RN helps...it gives me a daily focus. I realize that near the end of my last streak, I had become somewhat complacent and had allowed myself to engage in media that I shouldn't have because I thought "I've beaten this. I've got to stop thinking about "reboot" everyday and get back to normal". I thought maybe I had moved on from P and that psubs wouldn't affect me anymore.

I realize now that I'll need healthy patterns in my life for the rest of it if I want to live P free. I know now that I may never get to a point where a psub doesn't trigger me. And that's ok. I want freedom.
 
I freaking hate this. I'm embarrassed that I tried to start over in February only to make a few days. I experienced such freedom for almost a whole year! And now it's been another year of bondage. I'm going to try this again.

I have had an up and down struggle over the past year, but lately, it's been out of hand. I just can't get p off my mind. I hate the thought of letting down those closest to me, but even that hasn't been enough. Today is a new day and a new start.

Historically, i've not been very good at journaling here...but I need to accountability. Thanks for reading. I'll try to reply to others as I can.
 
Day 1 was as expected. I'm still generally down about my problem and cautiously optimistic about how this reboot will go. I didn't expect to relapse yesterday...one day at a time, right?

So today is another day. I don't plan well for the healthy habits I know I need to form, so I'm working on that today. A plan for exercise, reading, prayer, etc.... I know (as many of you do) that this journey is more about moving TOWARD something that moving AWAY from p.

Hoping the next few days of relatively easy abstinence will help me prepare for the hard days to come.
 
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