What you give is what you get (I went 580 days. Relapsed. Finally back on track.

OutOfTheBaux8

New Member
I seem to always be going one step forward and then right back again. I just MO:d to an erotic novell this was after an hour of urges. It was an awful novel. I was really close to looking at pictures. I feel a little bad about my actions now. It is easy to talk the talk another thing completely to walk the walk. Some people would probably consider this a relapse but my definition of relapse is PMO, that means videos/pictures. Still this is a setback for sure. A good thing is that I am taking the train to my family to celebrate Christmas tomorrow so I will be in a new environment for a week. I am grateful for my blockers that stopped me from doing anything even worse. Still, I should put some more responsibility for my actions on myself.
I should listen to myself and the people that write to me more. I really don't want more incidents like this.
I definitely get how you feel. Even more so when my GF says it to me about taking a step forward and then 2 steps back. This is tough stuff, but don't let yourself forget how much better life is without this stuff. And don't be afraid to cut yourself a little slack cause no one is perfect. But keep it in mind that you are still improving.

Baux
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
I have been having "slips" on YT for three days in a row. From now I will not refer to them as "slips" but as "f*ckups" because they are not okay for me to keep having. I shouldn't beat myself up for having a slip sometime after some struggle but It has become a way to casual occurrence. It has been like presents that I have been giving myself.

I'm grateful for you recognizing both the good things that you're doing along side the unfortunate struggles. So important to have that healthy and holistic view.

This can be a challenge, how to regain a laser-like focus on recovery, which of necessity means cutting out all our actions that feed the addiction, without hurting ourselves in the process. If calling them that ^ helps to regain this focus, without unduly shaming yourself, go for it. I call such things for myself 'episodes' and this lets me know that they are not okay, but without judgement.

I may have posted something before about how these goals can be hijacked by the lower brain as 'excuses' to reward yourself? The beast-brain will say, "Wow, you've done so well this week, time for a little reward..." and then proceed to suggest its dopamine hits.

Likewise, it's using shame and perceived rejection (the Tinder girl not understanding you) as an excuse to be 'comforted' by the dopamine hits...

Standing with you, Josef, as you work through this, and reestablish that focus.
 

Emptyroom

Active Member
Hi. I am sorry, but I just had a relapse (day 149). The real deal this time. I don't feel bad or regretful though. I have realised that having a long clean streak isn't everything. I have 149 clean days and 1 day with PMO. I am still making progress because one hundred and forty-nine steps forward and one step back is not failing.

I have been here before and at this point I always say: I have to stay strong now during the coming couple of days and not make PMO a habit again. Then I usually express that I feel that my relapse has given me some new motivation to quit but I know from experience how hard it can be to resist at this point and I know that the motivation that comes directly after a relapse can be pretty short-lived and disappear when the urges come back. As Noah Church said to me: "When that door to porn is firmly shut, you can rest easy and just focus on living your life, largely unbothered by urges to use. But once you peek past that door even once, the addict sticks his foot against the doorjamb, making it very difficult to get it shut and locked again."

I have have a feeling that I could make it this time though but I don't know If I can trust that feeling. I don't know how things are different from before, I can't fight urges with will-power alone, but I feel like my understanding of this journey is less black and white than it was before. I can lose in the short run and still win in the long run. Knowing this helps me to not get depressed because of my relapse which might help me. Another thing that might help is that I think I know why things have come to this again:

I think it is a combination of things that has lead me to this relapse. The first thing is an inability to deal with being uncomfortable with my school-situation right now. That is to say, being stressed about feeling that it takes more than my level of intelligence to pass this class. Added to this is the fact that I don't know if I really have chosen the right profession for me. I can't say why I would like to have this job that is the aim of my studies. I don't know If I really find it interesting enough. This has become more clear during last week but I haven't really thought about it until now. The third thing that I think has lead me to this relapse is that one of my dearest friends said yesterday that she probably will move to another country in three months. She really is the glue that binds my friend-group together. I'm not sure if my friend group can survive without her. Also she is one of my absolute favourite people. She is one of the few people that I feel really close to. I don't know how things would be without her. I think that my inability to handle the loss of this person is another thing that has lead me to this relapse. Also, the climate situation and the situation in the Ukraine right now has also been in my mind recently. I don't mean to give excuses, it's me who hasn't been able to handle the anxiety. I haven't even noticed it really. It has sneaked up on me and I haven't even thought about these things until now. Obviously another problem has been these "slips" that have become worse and worse and now have lead me to a relapse.

Maybe this knowledge can help me get back on track somehow. I have my doubts though. I will do my very best.
Urges will come and go and I'll just have to wait them out. It will take less time than I think before the urges leave. Urges are not unstoppable forces. They are mirages that disappear after a few minutes. I will try to do some math in my head when they come tomorrow.
Now I really have to go to bed. It is incredible late at night.
Take care!
/Emptyroom
 
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Phineas 808

Respected Member
I'm sorry for your latest lapses and struggles, Josef.

You're absolutely right in your thinking, though- very healthy way to see these slips and lapse as to their causes and where they fit in the overall scheme. Very wise words from Noah Church, also.

I've been here, too, Josef. Once that door is cracked open, but then again, hasn't it already been cracked open? In my estimation, this is the wake up call that perhaps was needed. Now is the time to use this as a means of rebounding back. I'm reminded of Eros, and how the Greeks viewed him (think "Cupid's arrow"), like when the passions are at their strongest is similar to pulling the bowstring back as far as it will go, and now you can use that energy (from the lapse) to propel yourself forward toward your goals.

I can appreciate this on so many levels, too. Of course we ourselves are the cause of our success or momentary lapse, but the state of the world, close friendships ending (I'm going through something similar), the not knowing of one's purpose, or unrealized dreams, all cry out for us to want to 'right ourselves', and get back to that place of equanimity. This will happen naturally on its own, but we like to come back down to some kind of normalcy faster via the dopamine hits...

149 steps forward, and only 1 step back is awesome, brother! I'm in your corner, rooting for you!
 

kadoos

Member
hi .Thank you for sharing your experiences
I have been out for sixty days and I am depressed and I do not have the energy to do my job
How to get rid of depression after quitting?
 

Emptyroom

Active Member
I'm sorry for your latest lapses and struggles, Josef.

You're absolutely right in your thinking, though- very healthy way to see these slips and lapse as to their causes and where they fit in the overall scheme. Very wise words from Noah Church, also.

I've been here, too, Josef. Once that door is cracked open, but then again, hasn't it already been cracked open? In my estimation, this is the wake up call that perhaps was needed. Now is the time to use this as a means of rebounding back. I'm reminded of Eros, and how the Greeks viewed him (think "Cupid's arrow"), like when the passions are at their strongest is similar to pulling the bowstring back as far as it will go, and now you can use that energy (from the lapse) to propel yourself forward toward your goals.

I can appreciate this on so many levels, too. Of course we ourselves are the cause of our success or momentary lapse, but the state of the world, close friendships ending (I'm going through something similar), the not knowing of one's purpose, or unrealised dreams, all cry out for us to want to 'right ourselves', and get back to that place of equanimity. This will happen naturally on its own, but we like to come back down to some kind of normalcy faster via the dopamine hits...

149 steps forward, and only 1 step back is awesome, brother! I'm in your corner, rooting for you!
Thank you Phineas. I appreciate your support and presens. I like what you said about equanimity. It will happen naturally on its own.
I have blocked both google and YT for the moment in an attempt to rebound.

I am reading a book where the protagonist has a crisis and chooses to sit in a well for a few days and just think about his life. I am thinking of doing something similar but less dramatic. I'm going to go down in my basement and sit there for an hour or two and see what thoughts come to me. Then my plan is to go to bed earlier than usual without spending time on the internet at all.

hi .Thank you for sharing your experiences
I have been out for sixty days and I am depressed and I do not have the energy to do my job
How to get rid of depression after quitting?
Hi Kadoos!
My tips are:
1. Clean your house. This usually gives me positive energy I didn't know I had afterwards.
2. Exercise a bit every day if you aren't already. It doesn't have to be much.
3. Buy and eat more fruit and vegetables and have a more varied diet.
4. Try to fill your life with positive things. I suggest having daily, positive and small goals every day. Make your days more ritualistic. Give yourself routines.
My last tip is just to wait. Things will get better if you just put more time between yourself and P.

I hope these tips will help you Kadoos.
Good luck!
 

Blondie

Well-Known Member
Hello EmptyRoom, I'm so sorry to hear about your relapse brother. They say in "professional help books" you're not supposed to say to someone, "I know how you feel", but unfortunately, I know exactly how you feel, as do most here. But it's true; you had a hell of a streak, and one day does not ruin it. Let's face it, If this shit was easy, none of us would be here. We all mess up once in a while, only thing that matters is that we get back in the game and dust ourselves off. Focus your thoughts on how good it felt to be free those 149 days, instead of that one day of regret.

Peace brother, you got this.
 

Emptyroom

Active Member
Hello EmptyRoom, I'm so sorry to hear about your relapse brother. They say in "professional help books" you're not supposed to say to someone, "I know how you feel", but unfortunately, I know exactly how you feel, as do most here. But it's true; you had a hell of a streak, and one day does not ruin it. Let's face it, If this shit was easy, none of us would be here. We all mess up once in a while, only thing that matters is that we get back in the game and dust ourselves off. Focus your thoughts on how good it felt to be free those 149 days, instead of that one day of regret.

Peace brother, you got this.
Thank you very much Blondie! With your profile-picture it feels like getting a motivational speech from Clint Eastwood himself!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Thank you Phineas. I appreciate your support and presens. I like what you said about equanimity. It will happen naturally on its own.
I have blocked both google and YT for the moment in an attempt to rebound.

I am reading a book where the protagonist has a crisis and chooses to sit in a well for a few days and just think about his life. I am thinking of doing something similar but less dramatic. I'm going to go down in my basement and sit there for an hour or two and see what thoughts come to me. Then my plan is to go to bed earlier than usual without spending time on the internet at all.

You're most welcome, brother!

I like your ideas on both fronts, changing your daily internet/social media routine, and sitting with yourself for an hour or two.

Self-reflection is so important, evaluating ourselves, and trying to get at the roots of 'why'. Of course you'll bring a note pad with you?

Thinking about equanimity in that way, our issues show more that we're healthy than the opposite. We're just trying to 'right' things, but we give space in order for things to right themselves over time. And if that means sitting with uncomfortable feelings, then we'll become that much stronger (more resilient) in the process.
 

kadoos

Member
Thank you Phineas. I appreciate your support and presens. I like what you said about equanimity. It will happen naturally on its own.
I have blocked both google and YT for the moment in an attempt to rebound.

I am reading a book where the protagonist has a crisis and chooses to sit in a well for a few days and just think about his life. I am thinking of doing something similar but less dramatic. I'm going to go down in my basement and sit there for an hour or two and see what thoughts come to me. Then my plan is to go to bed earlier than usual without spending time on the internet at all.


Hi Kadoos!
My tips are:
1. Clean your house. This usually gives me positive energy I didn't know I had afterwards.
2. Exercise a bit every day if you aren't already. It doesn't have to be much.
3. Buy and eat more fruit and vegetables and have a more varied diet.
4. Try to fill your life with positive things. I suggest having daily, positive and small goals every day. Make your days more ritualistic. Give yourself routines.
My last tip is just to wait. Things will get better if you just put more time between yourself and P.

I hope these tips will help you Kadoos.
Good luck!
thank you
 

Emptyroom

Active Member
Day 5.
I don't know how it happened but for the first time after a relapse, I didn't fall down the rabbit hole. The morning after my relapse I had some of that chaser effect: I PMO:d to a single image but then, all urges disappeared. I really don't know what happened. It feels like I never relapsed. I have not been having any slips either. I don't understand it but I am thankful.
On Wednesday I got sick. It could be COVID (I am vaccinated) but I only have minor symptoms. Still, I have managed to do a lot of my goals. Today (Friday) I have been very slow and I have only managed to do my studies. I've studied for at least 1 hour everyday which I think is good. I should probably aim to do more but that was my best right now and I have to accept that.

I have worries about my studies and I feel that there is a lot of things on my table that I have to deal with and I hope that I can manage this stress out and work through it.

How did it go with my goals this week?
Surprisingly good!!


Daily GoalsMondayTuesdayWednesday (sick)Thursday (sick)Friday
Go up at 8 AM 0% completed-
Went up at 8.30
went up at 9.15-went up at 9.45
Meditate twice (at least 5 minutes each time) 80% completedCompleted
Completed
CompletedCompleted-
Spend 15 minutes on a yoga-mat 80% completedCompleted
Completed
CompletedCompleted-
Study Arabic for 30 minutes 80% completedCompleted CompletedCompletedCompleted-
Read for 1 hour 40% completed 40% completed- CompletedCompleted--
Study for 2 hours. 60% completed 1/2 completed
1/2Completed
1/2 completed1/2 Completed100% completed.


I really want to thank the people that wrote to me or reacted after my relapse. I have a feeling that your support made me feel safe and stopped me from going down the rabbit hole. Blondie, Phineas 808, kadoos. OutoftheBaux8, thank you for being there!
 
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jberg

Member
Emptyroom, I read some of your journey and it seems you and I have some things in common. I want my success story to be that I was addicted to porn, found recovery, and never relapsed. But that is not what happened to me. I'm on day 44 of my 3rd reboot off porn. One thing I'm learning from this forum and from my own experience is that saying "no" and disconnecting from porn is not enough. I also have to say "yes" and connect in a powerful way to something else. For me, that means connecting to my wife, my children, and to engage in service to others including folks on this forum and others (I'm also a member of SA.)
 

Emptyroom

Active Member
Day 7.

Positive things about today
  • Because I am sick, I have not been able to go to class today but I managed to join them through Zoom. This means I don't have to do extra assignments. That really takes a lot of this weeks work-load away from me.

  • I took a long walk with a friend. It was stimulating to talk to him, He is a good support because I am stressed about writing my bachelor's thesis. I don't know what to choose to write about and I have to decide within 10 days time.

  • I didn't wake up to late today. I had a class at 10.

Negative things about today

  • I am sick (Covid) but I only have very mild symptoms.

  • I am stressed about my upcoming bachelor's thesis. I don't care enough about my subject. I just want it to be over. This also makes me worried that I have chosen the wrong direction in life.

  • I have had some "slips" again. I had one just now. I was going to call it something else but I don't feel like calling it what I said before just now. I know It is to escape the stress. I know it's bad. I feel that I should make an effort to not do it again but I don't want to push myself or punish myself too hard now.

  • I think that I am depressed and have been for some time. I watched a video about symptoms of depression and I almost had every symptom. It has become more clear than it has been in some years that I have lost the ability to feel happy or sad. I don't care anymore about my interests really or my friends. I pretend for myself that I do. I have friends and I spend time with them so It has to do something for me but It doesn't feel right somehow. Maybe the fact that I can see this more clearly now means that it is getting better. Maybe its not true, maybe I care more than I think about my life.

  • I haven't had any goals today. This makes me feel worse than I should. I should keep up with the goals. Maybe have only 3 or 2 for now. I am sick after all.

Take care!

Emptyroom
 

dopaminer

Member
Hey man, good to hear that you're back on the P-free train even after a relapse (it happens to all of us)! It sounds like you've got a lot of stresses right now, what with your bachelor's thesis, the pressure of trying to decide a potentially lifelong career, a good friend moving away, the general state of the world, and being sick. That's a lot of shit to deal with all at once - so I'm hoping you can go a little easy on yourself about your goals. Even completing just a few is awesome!

Because you mentioned looking into depression symptoms and identifying really strongly with a lot of the symptoms you found, I'm also curious if you'd consider any kind of counseling or therapy. That shit - feeling that low - is HARD to deal with, especially on your own. I realize it's definitely not for everyone, and it can be really hard to approach, but it might not be a bad idea to look into if you've got access to anything like that! In the worst case you have a judgement-free chance to just talk about and verbalize what's going on with you which could help you better understand where you're at, and in the best case they'll provide you the support you need to start feeling better. I definitely don't want to sound like I'm pushing therapy as the end-all-be-all, but I know it's really helped me out when I've fallen into anxiety and depression - so I figure it might help you!

All the best, man. Keep it up!
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Be gentle and compassionate with yourself, brother. You're not feeling well physically, and you're dealing with depression.

Your goals will work out. If you seriously evaluate what you want out of life, what you want to be educated in, it's not too late to change things. The hassle may be worth it, if you're not stuck in the long run with a job you hate, and you missed your passion. The good news, Josef, is that you're in the age group: 20 - 29, that means you have time to figure things out!

Hope you feel better, on all fronts.
 

Emptyroom

Active Member
Had a relapse again (day 8). It wasn't that serious though. Well, it was but not compared to earlier relapses (not counting the one before this).
I spend an hour watching material on YT then, to make it stop I guess, I watched two very short and sort of tame P-videos. I O:ed to this. My session didn't last long. I'm back at 0 but I don't really care about days at this point. I just don't want it to happen again. It wasn't exciting, I just felt annoyed. There was a point where I thought about just stopping, but I didn't make that choice. This time.

I have managed to lessen my stress because I have figured out just how many pages I have to read every day. I realised that It wasn't that much. I have made a study-plan (sort of). The looming thing is that I have to choose something to write my bachelors thesis about.

Thank you Dopaminer and Phineas 808! I will think about seeing someone professional about depression. It is not that I'm sad, the thing is that I get no real enjoyment out of life anymore. I will think more about my choice of career as well. I'm really not sure. It could be a really good choice but I don't know how to feel when I don't feel excited about this subject. At least not right now.

Take care brothers!

/Emptyroom

A while after I posted this I had another more serious relapse. I haven't really processed it yet, but I will really try to do my best not to let it happen again. It was as boring as I remember it to be. I could make this an opportunity to practice my strategies and my willpower instead of just seeing it as a defeat. Why did it happen? Because I am worried about my studies and about my thesis but It is going to be fine. If I can't do it this year which I will be able to do, I can do it next year or even after that. It wouldn't be the end of the world. If the job isn't for me in the future, I'll just find another path then. I think things will turn out alright for me though. I am almost well from covid now and my studies are going better. There is no reason to worry. I am safe. Feel free to relax. I say that I don't care about the things in my life but things change very fast. In a few weeks I might feel completely different. The one thing I know for sure is that PMO makes me care less about life. So what am I doing? PMO is not worth it even if it relaxes me a bit. It will make my mood worse if I continue so stop right now. For the sake of me in the past the present and the future.
Thanks!

Take care!
 
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jberg

Member
Emptyroom, great to see that you are not giving up! To this day I don't know what made me return to this habit, over and over, while swearing I'd never do it again. I do know that willpower on its own doesn't have the horsepower to tackle this thing.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
Hi Josef,

I can totally relate to acting out to P, PMO even though it's not as exciting as it promised to be, even being bored with it, but continuing nonetheless.

That was me toward the end of last year, I had several browsers open, but nothing rose to the level of excitement that I might have anticipated. And to escalate at this point (for content)? Out of the question!

Why we would repeat that soon afterward is no surprise, either, brother. Some call it 'chaser effect', if that was it, I don't know. But the unwanted behavior does seek a repeat in hopes of being reestablished as a habit. Repeatability is something to watch for, so it's not rehabitualized.

But even if a day, two days, or more were given to the unwanted behavior, you will return to equanimity naturally, and reorientate yourself after a more mindful and purposeful version of yourself.

Please don't obsess over what happened, just receive it as a 'teacher' and learn from what occurred as best you can. Maybe it's a refocus on your goals, maybe it's a tweeking of your plans, but you will find your footing again.

As far as your educational or carreer goals, the lack of enjoyment or excitement, as you also hint at above, is due to the dopamine receptors needing space to heal...? This can be confusing when trying to choose a path, while also having dopamine receptors distracted...

Be well!
 

Emptyroom

Active Member
Day 8.

I am starting to think that I might be in a flatline. That might be an explanation why I haven't been having any real urges in a while. Back in January, I started a new Tinder-account. I was just about to have a date (18/1) when I just lost all interest in meeting the person or any potential partner. I have been depressed and haven't had any natural libido in some time now. I have been feeling like an nonsexual being and I have felt that I don't really care about the people and the things in my life. I have also been lazy and had a hard time going to bed. One question is how much my stress over my studies have affected me and also how much of my troubles are unrelated to P or this stress. I'm glad to say that I have lost a lot of the stress for now. I feel that I can keep up with my studies.
I have been taking a break from having goals this week and last week. I have been having a lot of schoolwork on my hands. Also, I have been having a low energy because of me being sick. I am well now though. I want to keep completing goals but I have to wait for the right time to bring it back. Maybe next week.

Thank you guys for writing. I hope you are doing well!

Take care my brothers and sisters!

/Emptyroom
 
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