I reread much of your posts from pg.4 to now, and know exactly how you feel after a lapse, the pride of not wanting to admit to a fall, and also the ambivalence surrounding 'counting days' (which I myself don't do anymore).
I strongly encourage you to focus, not so much on your feet in front of you (and thus tripping), but on the greater journey you've embarked on since starting here at RN on Dec 11, 2020.
It's the bigger picture that ensures you that you're in an upward trajectory, despite recent lapses. It's being focused on unimportant aspects of our journey, the day count, the lapses since, the pride, letting oneself down, etc, that are keeping you from going forward.
I like your thinking, that you are not that person who uses porn, you've moved on from it. This is still true. Remember John, "He who is born of God does not commit sin, nor can he sin, because he is born of God"- of course as ministers, we kind of explain this away as- "Oh, he's talking about habitual sin, or sinning on purpose"- but we know (from experience) that's not true.
When were we be 'born again'? Before we get out a calendar, we merely need to point at that empty tomb 2k years ago as our starting point. Being born of God begins for us in His resurrection (see 1Pet 1:3). If we link what John says in 1Jn chapters 3, and 5, let it have its full weight, but compare it with Paul's teaching on the new creation versus the Old Man, we'll understand the importance of renewing our minds- not as an intellectual exercise, but as a spiritual attitude of recognizing the new creature we are in Him.
Believing in you, and standing with you in your stand against porn.
Thanks for the replies, guys. It helps knowing folks read what we post...it helps me at least to keep motivated to post. Just remembering to post everyday is a simple replacement for using p.
@Nico you're right. thanks for the encouragement that all that I've learned during my long period of being p free isn't wasted. I feel like such a failure right now, but it's good to know that I'm starting off stronger now than when I started in Dec. 2020.
@Phineas 808 thanks for the encouraging word. I agree. My rebirth is proven by the cross of Jesus. The new life I have is Christ living in me (Gal. 2:20). A long ago Scottish pastor once said “For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.” So much of my journey has been focused on myself/my sin/use of p. I'm so much stronger when I instead look at Christ.
And I've not considered skipping the daily count until now, but I think I might forgo counting. I'm not sure it helped me before. I still may acknowledge time away from p with a date occasionally, but counting days became less effective over time and took away from the simple discipline of journaling. It subconsciously focused me on an end goal (90 days, 1 year, etc...), which might not be bad, but for me right now, I need to focus on today. Tomorrow, I'll focus on tomorrow. And in a few days, I'll look back and realize its been a week, a month, etc...
Thanks for replying and encouraging me. Same to you guys. Thankful for a place for open conversation on this issue.
I was reading in a (hard) journal today that back in 2017 I hit over 120 days without counting them, by just living life- being careful not to set oneself up for a fall. I also noticed how 'black-and-white' or perfectionist my thinking was back then, too, though. This would explain why I had to rejoin RN back in Nov of 2020.
But yeah, now I'm all about just finding that sweet spot of non-obsession, or just living life. I also have an approach of 'radical acceptance' (coupled with 'radical grace'), where even if I do obsess, act out, or even lapse, that it's not 'game over', not a restart, not a 'day-0', but just to get up, learn all I can from my lapse (what led up to it, how was I feeling, what stressors were involved, how was I loose with external stimuli), and just go on.
I simply mark down in a hard journal the date of my last lapse (categorized for me as P, PMO, or MO), and then just go on. Of course I can look back and see how much time I'm putting in between lapses, or note if I'm having a particularly rough month, or whatever.
The point for me now, brother, is to make deeper changes and not be as focused on the day count. Sure, it may reflect my efforts at purity, but is not necessarily a true representation of the inner changes that need to occur.
P.S. I love that reference to the Scottish pastor, and looking at Christ 10x for every look at self. And of course Corrie Ten Boom said:
"Look without and be distressed, look within and be depressed, look to Christ and be at rest."
Yesterday was fine. I don't expect much hardship this soon, but I know it's on its way. Yesterday offered a few opportunities to avert my eyes from images that are likely benign to most, but for me can be triggering. That urge to study the image was there. An acknowledgement of its lure and the desire it creates. I've done this long enough to know that once that chemical pathway is triggered, it's almost impossible to keep my brain from getting the reward it wants. Need to move on quickly.
I've also been challenged in a way to retrain my brain. I need to do some things I don't want to do. Its hard to NOT do what you want to do, but maybe more manageable to DO things you don't want to do...though still challenging. This is partly why exercise and other healthy habits can make us stronger in this fight. I want to train my brain that it doesn't always get what it wants. And it's wants can change over time.
So I'm focusing on ADDING routine to my life (and less focused on taking away p from my life) and hoping this will be more fruitful than simply trying NOT to use p. Exercise, reading, prayer, journaling are few things I'm focusing on.
Don't focus on the negatives.
Doing normal things are the right way to a good life
Making effort is the right approach to a good life
Porn is too easy, too fast, too high, too addictive. It is not sustainable. It is self depleting and self destroying. It is not good for life.
Every hour on the hour, take a moment to recognize all that your have achieved in that hour.
Keep practicing this
You will quickly find a lot of good in your life.
This is healthy.
This is how people without addiction stay happy and successful.
They build themselves up internally, not externally using others to make them feel good.
All addictions are fundementally about feeling good, strong or able. When we can achieve this internally by ourselves, there really is little to no need for us to look or depend elsewhere
Haven't posted in a few days. Been busy with work and family, but overall things are going well. I'm not as focused on p and more focused on other things which I know helps.
It feels strange not to count the days, but I'm enjoying the freedom it seems to give. I just feel like I've moved on in a way...instead of being a guy who has only abstained for x number of days, I'm a guy who doesn't use p. I've been that guy before and I can be that guy again. I've moved on and am doing the work of adding positive elements to my life...not as a distraction, but simply for the good they bring.
Here's to another day without this terrible evil that has stolen so much of my attention for far too long.
Amen, brother! I am with you in that 'new-found' freedom! This is our 'true nature', who we really are in Christ. Take a deep breath of God's love and forgiveness, and walk in the sunshine of that resurrection morning, because based on that- we are new creations.
Another day free. I’m still fighting compulsive behaviors that eventually lead me to pics and vids that trigger me. Mostly this is just YouTube shorts or Instagram. I don’t have them on my phone so it’s harder to access but when I do, I can easily fall into a pit and spiral. I’ve had some attention getting moments that i responded to well. Early triggers didn’t have the affect on me that they have in the past.
Got busy with work and neglected logging on to RN to journal...and it definitely affected me. I slipped up a few days ago. It's like when I'm steady on RN, I do well. But when I am not journaling here semi regularly, I slowly slip away. I realized a long time ago that my p problem had really become an habitual thing that I often did just because I was bored. When I am not actively aware of it, I often find myself engaging in it just because it's something I've done habitually for 30 years.
I'm not counting days anymore. I've said before that when I slipped up while counting days, it created such shame because I had to "start over". I'm not starting over. I simply had a bump in my forward journey. However, I am glad that I counted days in my initial reboot as I feel it was crucial in resetting my brain's focus. After those 251 days of being PMO free, I can definitely say that every attempt to reject p now has been easier. It isn't as compulsive...just more habitual.
So, I'm not starting over. I'm just realizing what lead to my slip up and moving on. The bright side is that after a year of not even trying to abstain from p, I went almost a full month without it and it was EASY! That tells me that my earlier successes were building blocks and not wasted!
I say this past month abstaining from p was easy, and it genuinely was. I simply decided to stop using p. It took focus and intentional daily recognition that I wouldn't PMO (honestly, much like dieting), but it wasn't difficult. I slipped up after one month simply because I got lazy and then ended up in a situation that left me vulnerable.