Finally posting

Skittelz

Member
Day 82

Been a tough couple of days relationally with my wife, and there have been moments where retreating into the safety of porn for comfort has sounded nice. But I haven't got close to tripping up, because it's easy right now to see how empty the promises of porn are. It's just trash, and w will only hurt me in the long run.
Man, I know them feels ... No matter how difficult life gets, relationship troubles are the most stressful by far. So hats off to you, my friend, for being able to navigate those waters.

Stay up brother man
 

Dungalef

Member
Thanks for the encouragement @WinkTinkTillium, @Skittelz, @tay97 and @OrangeSpider. It's an honor to be fighting at your side!

Day 83 today, which means I'm a week from 90 days! I know that in some ways the numbers don't really matter, but this one feels big to me. It would be the first time in a very long time that I've made it this far, which is a reminder to me that there is light at the end of the tunnel!
 

Dungalef

Member
Having a panic moment right now and I need to talk this through. 😬

I was browsing Twitter just now and I saw a link to a hashtag that looked like it might have racy stuff... Clicked it and started scrolling a bit, not really thinking I'd see anything explicit (but kinda hoping to if I'm honest). There were a few racy pictures, and one or two NSFW pics which I scrolled past really fast, but kept scrolling. Closed it down after maybe a minute or two.

I feel so so stupid. No idea what got into me. I didn't actually want to make the choice to look at porn, but I was dancing right on that line, definitely engaging in "yellow flag" behavior. For the first time in this streak I feel my rational mind losing hold, and the existential dread creeping in. Like I'm on the inevitable downward slope again, and I'm just gonna end up dancing with relapse for days or weeks until I finally go far enough that I can't pretend I haven't relapsed anymore.

I can't figure out if this should be called a relapse, for one thing. Any thoughts guys?

Also, I really want to get back on the train but I'm worried I won't be able to. Because the part of me that clicked that link and scrolled felt so...impossible to argue with, impossible to beat. Gah. Feeling like either this was already a relapse, or that it's the inevitable start of one, and either way I feel so helpless and stupid.

Once my irrational side has settled down, I think I'll go and read the piece @Blondie wrote about black and white thinking. That might help, I think, because I can feel that b&we mentality taking over.
 

SimonM

Active Member
Oh, I've been there many times! You're right to take it seriously because it IS often the sign of failure to come. But I wouldn't consider this a relapse. It's a warning! Stay strong and don't make porn an option. I'm focusing this time on the fact that when porn is not an option due to circumstances (me far away from computer) then I'm not feeling the temptation. If we can bring that kind of peace to every moment we'll be good - it just can't EVER be an option. I know... easier said than done!
 

Warhawk88

Member
Nobody is perfect, and while you can do the best you can to stay clean, it's inevitable that you'll encounter triggering content at some point. You identified the issue, and closed out of it, so good work not allowing it to take you farther than it did. Obviously, it rattled your cage a bit, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It means you're thinking! A huge part of this process is learning how to identify the wrong behaviors so we can make the right ones. It's not really clear what kind of content you stumbled upon, and only you can make the call as to whether this counts as a relapse, but one thing is certain, there is no reason to let it bring you all the way back down. Put it in the past and move onward as you have been for the past 80+ days. You've made awesome progress. A little slip only becomes a bigger issue if you let it. You can do this brother!
 

Blondie

Respected Member
Hey Dungalef, I definitely would not consider this a relapse. Is it playing with fire? Absolutely! This is the exact situation I was thinking of when writing that piece about black and white thinking.

At this point, your brain will make the most insane rationalizations for you to "keep on going" or "You've alreadly fucked up, might as well completely fuck up!" This is all bullshit, so don't listen to it.

You're in charge of your actions and not your past habits.

You got this man. Focus on a goal or something you love, and devourer it like you would devourer porn.

To err is human, but to keep on getting back up is divine.
 

Phineas 808

Respected Member
I can't figure out if this should be called a relapse, for one thing. Any thoughts guys?

This is a very important question. Having clearly defined 'red-lines' that if crossed mean a reset is important, as it keeps us honest and accountable to ourselves.

I like how you said 'yellow-flag' behaviors, because you're already recognizing that maybe this was a 'slip' and not necessarily a 'lapse'- and certainly not a 'relapse'- and it's important to distinguish between these. Of course playing around the edges of the porn-pit will only encourage eventually jumping in- but remember: we always have a choice. We can back away now, call it good, learn our lessons and go on.

I like how you recognized 'black-and-white' thinking as a problem, and Blondie's article is a great resource. Also, look up the term 'abstinence violation effect' (AVE) as that may be what you're experiencing now... Have understanding and compassion on yourself, and be non-judgmental about what happened, recognizing that it was all in your power to do or not do, and you'll bounce back from this and move on wiser and stronger than before.

You got this, brother! Don't view 90 days as an end in itself, don't become complacent and careless with this thing, treat it as something to celebrate- but also just another day where we have to make the right decisions that benefit us, which we'll have to do for the rest of our lives anyway. Blessings!
 

Dungalef

Member
Day 87
Hard to find time/energy for long posts right now... Lots going on in life, kinda tough tbh. The close call and you guys' response to it have given me a lot to process though. One of these days I want to sit down and hash it out in a longer post. We'll see if it happens, haha...
 

Skittelz

Member
Day 87
Hard to find time/energy for long posts right now... Lots going on in life, kinda tough tbh. The close call and you guys' response to it have given me a lot to process though. One of these days I want to sit down and hash it out in a longer post. We'll see if it happens, haha...
Life is tough. When bad weather comes, all we can really do is keep moving. Slow progress is better than no progress, right?

Hang in there bud
 

Dungalef

Member
Life is tough. When bad weather comes, all we can really do is keep moving. Slow progress is better than no progress, right?

Hang in there bud
Thanks man.

'm actually doing pretty well, I think, in the reboot and in life. Just really weary... Kids have been a handful, and not sleeping well, and my wife is off-and-on depressive these days, and it's just...a lot.
 

Dungalef

Member
Day 89

Wow…tomorrow’s the big 90. It feels good to have been not quite so focused on this forum the last couple of days, I think it was a good counterbalance to the strong motivation I have to get to 90. I feel like I’m calibrating a bit better, remembering that while 90 is cool, it’s even cooler to just be free from porn and not have to obsess about exactly HOW free I am. Free is free is free, and now I can just do my best to stay that way.

After a few days of pondering on the “lapse” that I recently had, I’m feeling a lot more level-headed about it. I think @Blondie is right that I was playing with fire, but that I didn’t actually relapse. Sure, I saw a bit of NSFW content (a couple of topless women, and a few more nearly so). But it was brief, unpremeditated, and I recovered fast. I entertained it, but didn’t indulge it. It’s like I invited the porn monster to the door, opened the door, even let him in, but then kicked him out and closed the door before letting him hang out and chat. Weird metaphor maybe, but it works.

I also think that @Phineas 808 is spot on about the abstinence violation effect, at least if I’m understanding the concept at all. What I do know is that I have an unhealthy habit of getting super obsessive about figuring out whether my risky behaviours actually “count” as a relapse or not. It shows this underlying mentality that I have internalized SO DEEPLY that the one thing that matters is the number of days since an “incident.” Why have I internalized this so much? Well….lots of reasons, I won’t get into them all here. One big thing is that I have had involvement with faith-based organizations that require a certain amount of time “clean” as part of their conduct policy. Which I understand because of the need to have SOME objective metric that they measure character and behaviour by, but it has ended up being super harmful for me personally in the way that it has made me so obsessed with knowing exactly how long I’ve been “clean.” Which makes me focus on finding out exactly where the line between acceptable and unacceptable is, instead of just on growing and healing and doing the best I can!

Basically, there has been an external black&white model (by necessity) that I have internalized in unhealthy ways. There are other factors (e.g., what counts as something I need to tell my wife about, etc etc.) but I won’t get into all of them. All of this is something I’ve come a long ways from in the last couple of years, but clearly there’s still work to be done there, haha… I do know that I’ve gotten a lot better at just focusing on what I need to do, and then letting the rest happen as it happens.

And you know, I’ve really come SO FAR. Just 6 months ago I was having struggles every week, if not every day, and obsessing about borderline behaviour instead of just running away from it. And then in December something clicked and I was able to finally stay clear of all this stuff for a couple of months. Risky behaviour slowly crept in, until I was low-key binging again by April and into May. Then I joined this forum, and the extra accountability and awareness that it has given me have made all the difference. I feel like a new man from last year.

Sheesh…this time last year, I was SO discouraged. Had battled this for literally years, maybe even a decade, and was starting to feel like it was hopeless. Like every step of progress was so tiny, and would just be lost again inevitably. Not only do I feel hope now, I actually feel confidence. It’s not just that I MIGHT be able to beat this, it’s that I CAN. And you know, i kinda already have. And that feels so freaking good.

See guys, I told you I’d get around to unpacking all this eventually, haha. You know, I probably won’t have time to post much tomorrow, so I guess we can say that I’m doing my 90-day reflection one day early. :) Thanks so much everyone for all your support. You guys have been such a huge part of this journey… @Blondie, @Phineas 808, @Skittelz, @tay97, @particularly_respecting, @downhillfromhere, @Warhawk88, @OrangeSpider, @SimonM…I know I’m missing some, too. Thank you guys so much. :)
 
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