As you get some distance from your relapse, you will stop overthinking things as much. Then, almost any strategy will work well. For now, don’t expect to feel much peace of mind for a few days.Already messed up again today, which is a bit discouraging and I don't always know what to do with it. Because it can feel like I'm just gonna keep getting the same results if I don't change anything....
Buuut on the other hand I've gone down the rabbit hole before of endlessly tinkering with my strategies and having it just collapse every time in face of the impulse. So it can feel like what I need is just to persevere.
Or maybe what I need is a change, but not a strategy change? Maybe a mindset change, a perspective shift? But those don't come on demand, haha. ORRR maybe the problem is that I'm changing the wrong things. Like, maybe instead of blocking a new site, etc etc, I need to focus on posting here every day? Or on building some new habit? Or on being more analytical of my failures? Or focusing more on why I'm doing this?
Blech, I get so lost in my head overthinking and overanalyzing sometimes so that I cannot see the forest for the trees anymore. And so I either just keep flitting around from one failing strategy to another, or I do nothing at all. Either way, the results are the same.
Except....not always. I had a few times earlier this year and last year where I had marked, extended success. Tbh I think it was enough that it moved my baseline forward so that even when I'm struggling, I'm not falling as far as I had before.
But what was it that I was doing that worked so well back then? Part of it was that it was accompanied with some real personal growth. I was having some breakthroughs in my own self-acceptance, and that made me feel confident and empowered, like I could really with this thing. It was also the first time I started engaging seriously with the forums, and that really helped at the time as well. And yet regular posting on the forums has seemed to have diminishing effects for me. It's like I had a spell going where I couldn't be beaten since I'd discovered a new version of myself, but as soon as I found out that the new me was vulnerable too, all of the past failures came piling on.
But I do know that it really *felt* different last time. I was just super determined that I WAS going to win, and so I did whatever I needed to. If I couldn't do it myself, I needed to find out how to get help. So I found these forums, etc. But I don't know how to recapture that feeling of determination. Right now I feel like I want this, but not on a deep enough level to really beat those impulses when they come. Like, my head knows that being free from porn completely will be so freeing, so confidence-giving, it will just make me a better version of myself. But that knowledge isn't enough to stop me when the lizard brain takes over, when the porn possesses me. It's like I'm no longer connected to the part of my brain that wants to stop porn, the rational part that plans and makes decisions. And tbh that probably is exactly what's going on on a physical level even, heh. So....do I try to find a way to embed the desire to stop deep enough that it's instinctual? Probably a losing battle. Do I instead try and outsmart it, figure out how to stay connected to my rational brain and tell my instincts where to get off? That's probably the trick. Avoiding circumstances where the lizard takes over, and doing my best to learn to stay connected to my better self in order to do that.
K, so, time alone at home is a killer. I ALWAYS tell myself that it'll be ok to veg on the computer, and that I'll be able to be strong enough to avoid porn. But it never happens, because scrolling the web turns off my rational brain. Which makes sense, I suppose. It's not that I get triggered per se, but the part of me that is able to be in control of myself is being shut down, so that the instincts are primed to take over. So one obvious step then is to spend time at home off of a screen. Not *always* possible, but it's always at least possible to start that way. I've got tons of off-screen activities I can do, it's just that none of them feel as compelling as watching a show, etc. And I suppose that's the point. If I can be in control of my desire to veg and watch something, I can be in control of my impulse to watch porn. And vice versa.
That felt like a productive reflection session to get to a really obvious conclusion, which is that I'm sabotaging myself with the way I use screens. Super important to gain control of that in the high-risk contexts like being home alone, or being in the bathroom. the latter I've mostly solved with reading books instead of being on phone, now it's time to work on the former.