The Most Difficult Thing I Will Do!

SoberRich

Member
Hello gents,
I have decided to start a new journal in a new effort to take this more seriously after several repeated failures. I had no idea going into this how difficult this would really be. I'm not sure why because I have been battling this for more than 20 years now. Compared to quitting drinking, which I have done fairly easily, this has been much harder. To quit drinking all I really did was stop going to places that triggered me and I really changed how I thought about alcohol. I reminded myself about how it was destroying my body and my mind. I stopped romanticizing it the way we are programmed to and looked at it through more realistic glasses and the desire for alcohol just went away. That has not worked well with porn, which keeps on creeping its way back in. I am back in the ring trying to work things out. Tomorrow is day 1 again. Let's make it a good one.
 

SoberRich

Member
Full of resentment today on day 1, which I know is not the best situation but it is where I am at. I am resentful to my wife for not letting go. I know that it is mostly, or wholly, me who did damage to the marriage, but I feel like she leaves no room to grow with pettiness and bickering where forgiveness and a growth mindset should be. I am resentful of my mother for all of the excess baggage she added to my life from childhood onward. I had a good childhood for the most part with loving parents, and I know from experience in rehab that rehashing the past over and over is not helpful for growth or recovery so I don't feel that doing it yet again here is any help. But I think it is of relevance here that it was my Mom, not my Dad who did the sex talk when I was in my teens and she definitely projected all of her unhelpful and damaging feelings and thoughts onto me. I do believe in displaced shame as a psychological construct and feel that her shame from her childhood and life was displaced onto me. In her sex talk to me she made out "girls" or women to be almost predatory and for a 16 year old boy this was frightening and also a shaming thing to be told. I feel like she shamed me early on in life for being attracted to girls my age and wanting to have sex. It was the women that were vilified in her talk, but simultaneously this was a sneaky way for her to get control of me and to rein in any desire that I had for sex without outright doing so. I don't mean to make my mom come across in a bad way. She had a difficult childhood being raised with 5 sisters in a middle class household. I'm sure it wasn't easy. I think Mom uses religion as a way to cope with what she went through
 

SoberRich

Member
Really resentful at my wife at the moment so instead of doing anything stupid I am just going to write here. For some background, she and I, and are 2 year old son, are mostly being supported by my wealthy parents who give us a fair amount of money every month from what will eventually be my inheritance (not bragging or trying to make anything uncomfortable, just trying to explain) while I have been working various part time retail jobs for the past few years until something struck my interest. This wasn't the plan. For a while I wanted to try to get back into museums, which is what I studied, but then I moved on from that. My parents told me to find something of interest that would make money, so then I settled on the jewelry industry and becoming a gemologist. So now I am studying part time and working part time at Home Depot just to bring in some money and my parents are helping to pay for me to earn my Applied Jewelry Professional (AJP) diploma from GIA so I can start my career at a jewelry store next year. I will continue on to higher level gemology diplomas further on down the road. My parents, and my wife, also want us to move to the UK to be closer to where they now are, too in the next few years, but that is another topic.

There is so much friction and tension right now between my wife and I because, quite frankly, my wife has gotten too used to me being around, only working about 32 hours a week. I keep reminding her that studying is my entrance ramp for a BETTER LIFE FOR US but this mostly seems to go in one ear and out the other.

This frustrates me because things will not always be this way. Quite frankly I think the distance of me working a full time jewelry sales job would be VERY GOOD for us because I think we just are around eachother so much and get on eachothers nerves right now. It isn't that I don't want to do chores or don't value keeping the house clean. I do, but my wife's definition of a clean home is very different from my own.

I feel like I am not getting enough time to study to really memorize all of the information for my course, and I have two more courses to complete by December (my own deadline) so I can start working in the industry next year. So, what I am doing is just filling my brain with enough to pass this exam (it is open book after all, the course is online) and I am downloading the textbooks for perusal in my own time even after finishing this course.

Needless to say I am just so very frustrated. This situation that my wife has gotten used to is just so artificial. She has to realize that even though she wants to be a stay at home parent, that means I have to go out and get a real full time job to start supporting us financially. My parents have no problem with providing another income for us, for which we are very lucky. But I am so frustrated. We grate eachothers nerves so much being around eachother so much, but it seems like she doesn't want me to go out and work full time. I just can't understand where my wife's head is at.

I am just going to focus on doing what I know is right, work towards being a full time earner for our family. I do want to participate and help with the household chores, raising our son, etc. But my wife has to understand that things will not always be the way they are now. I will start working full time next year and doing what I really should have been doing this whole time. She just has to get used to the idea of me doing a 40 + hour work week.

Isn't this what she wants??? Just so much GAH!

Rich

P.S. Going to be taking the first exam today during our son's nap (it's my day off from work), so wish me luck. I will update with everything later.
 

SoberRich

Member
[Trigger warning: potentially triggering thoughts below]

Checking in. I wanted to wait a few days to see if I could make any good progress, or at least a start. I have committed myself to complete sobriety from alcohol. After I came home drunk 2 nights ago and my wife and I had a bad fight and I really realized that alcohol and I truly do not mix. I had been trying to moderate and the truth is I was moderating. I only had 2 drinks: one IPA and one hard seltzer, that night, and yet I still turned into a ruthless jerk. I don't know what it is, but when I drink all of the resentments and all of the anger comes out and it is not good for anyone. When I am sober I have more control and more of an ability to deal positively with my emotions.

So I am 2 days sober of alcohol now. Not much point in counting days as I have committed myself to being sober for life. I don't go to AA. I have had bad experiences with it and I never stayed sober for long there. I have simply changed my paradigm about alcohol. I now see it for the toxic poison it is, and I see the damage it has inflicted on my life for decades.

And I am starting to do the same with porn. I have lost track of how many days clean I am of that. Not many, let's say 2 or 3. I am finding that much harder, especially when I feel resentment towards my life. For some reason that I have formed a habit of constantly returning to Reddit porn or other stuff whenever we have bad fights.

My wife and I are actually getting better. Slowly but surely. I get frustrated with how stubborn she is, but I knew that about her when I dated her. I am learning how to react to her better, I am getting less defensive. It is a slow work in progress. I am getting better at simply doing what I am asked. Etc.

As far as porn, I am getting frustrated with the process of de-pornifying my brain. The hardest thing is un-learning the idea that I have a "right" to see women naked. Mentally, logically, I know this is a completely non-sensical idea, that we have a right to the bodies of women. I know this for a fact. That no one has a right to women, to sex, to relationships. We aren't owed anything. And yet porn teaches us that women's bodies are commodities and that we get to use them for our own pleasure.

At work yesterday I saw many attractive women and it was a unique process of seeing them as people, which is new for me. There was one attractive woman who was wearing a flattering dress and was braless and I have to admit I took a few glances. I was wearing dark sunglasses because I was working in the garden center, so she likely didn't notice, but I was discreet and I only did it for a few seconds. The old pornified me would have saved the image of her in my mind and would have gone to porn sites and looked for images that looked like her. I would have tried to use that to act out to. I didn't. I simply noticed that I was attracted to her, and that was that. I went on with my day. The thought of doing anything about it never occurred to me.

In another situation, there were women who needed my assistance getting items into their cars, or getting items off the shelf and they seemed pleasantly surprised that my eyes were always looking away when they turned their backs. I was never caught shifting them, or covering my tracks, the way I might have before when I was actively using porn.

So I am seeing some progress in the real world. I am seeing how quitting porn is leading to changes. It is early yet and we will see what happens next.

Checking out clean and sober,

Rich
 

SoberRich

Member
Checking in on a hot summer Florida evening on my dinner break at work. Sober of alcohol and porn. Don't know what day it is of abstaining from porn. Probably 3 or 4. Sex has been on my mind all day but it is different now. It is my wife and also my ex I am thinking about, and real experience s. I don't seem to be getting the typical flatlining that people talk about. But it is early days yet. I mostly think about what a healthy sexuality looks like without porn and Reddit. What is okay, what isn't. I have explicit photos of my wife. Is it okay to look at those? Is it okay to masturbate to things I imagine? My wife and I, unfortunately aren't having sex at the moment due to troubles we have been having (mostly my fault), but I doubt we would be having sex anyway with a , 2 year old and my stay at home wife is tired all the time. I imagine this is pretty common. I am focusing on being a better husband and dad right now. But what does healthy look like when you're not having sex. I'll think more about that.

Clean and sober,

Rich
 
Hey SoberRich,

I am on my third serious attempt at a genuine Reboot... two other times I failed miserably and relapsed like CRAZY. I'm back on Day 1 again... and I am going to do it right this time. If you want to be Accountability Buddies, let me know!
 

k-fff

Well-Known Member
Full of resentment today on day 1, which I know is not the best situation but it is where I am at. I am resentful to my wife for not letting go. I know that it is mostly, or wholly, me who did damage to the marriage, but I feel like she leaves no room to grow with pettiness and bickering where forgiveness and a growth mindset should be. I am resentful of my mother for all of the excess baggage she added to my life from childhood onward. I had a good childhood for the most part with loving parents, and I know from experience in rehab that rehashing the past over and over is not helpful for growth or recovery so I don't feel that doing it yet again here is any help. But I think it is of relevance here that it was my Mom, not my Dad who did the sex talk when I was in my teens and she definitely projected all of her unhelpful and damaging feelings and thoughts onto me. I do believe in displaced shame as a psychological construct and feel that her shame from her childhood and life was displaced onto me. In her sex talk to me she made out "girls" or women to be almost predatory and for a 16 year old boy this was frightening and also a shaming thing to be told. I feel like she shamed me early on in life for being attracted to girls my age and wanting to have sex. It was the women that were vilified in her talk, but simultaneously this was a sneaky way for her to get control of me and to rein in any desire that I had for sex without outright doing so. I don't mean to make my mom come across in a bad way. She had a difficult childhood being raised with 5 sisters in a middle class household. I'm sure it wasn't easy. I think Mom uses religion as a way to cope with what she went through
What your mom did to you sounds like something my older sister had done to me. She would shame me constantly for showing any interest in girls. It destroyed my confidence in highschool and led to a lot of problems with women down the line.
 

SoberRich

Member
Completely lost at the moment. I acted out last night by reading sex stories on Reddit and I even made an account and wrote one. Fortunately, if you can call it that, I finished myself off before I posted it and I immediately deleted the post without putting it online. I felt immediate shame for doing it, and deleted the Reddit account right away. What is wrong with me? I feel like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

Do I want this enough? Isn't my real life marriage, my son, my soul, my personality, my career, enough for me to quit?
 

SimonM

Active Member
Completely lost at the moment. I acted out last night by reading sex stories on Reddit and I even made an account and wrote one. Fortunately, if you can call it that, I finished myself off before I posted it and I immediately deleted the post without putting it online. I felt immediate shame for doing it, and deleted the Reddit account right away. What is wrong with me? I feel like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

Do I want this enough? Isn't my real life marriage, my son, my soul, my personality, my career, enough for me to quit?
Yeah, I have asked myself those questions many times. Obviously the answer is no. It's not enough. Not because we aren't sincere but because of how strong this addiction is and how surrounded by triggers we are that are virtually impossible to escape from - situations where we used to act out such as alone with a device, beautiful women, adds, TV shows...

My conclusion is that we need extra supports from just our will power. A habit of coming to RN when we feel the urge, maybe filters, maybe a book we read from whenever we get into the wrong head space, or even an accountability partner. Gollum was a lost cause in the end but Frodo was able to throw the ring into Mount Doom - with the help of Sam only though! :)
 

SoberRich

Member
Just acted out to porn, so that proves to me that the Chaser Effect really is legit.

I think the reason I failed is not building solid boundaries for myself. I also had difficulty telling the difference between the porn monkey wanting attention and my brain healing from the porn habits.

I will work more on my boundaries, but until then the Dos and Don'ts from now on

1. I don't have a particular problem with masturbation so I will continue to masturbate to my own imagination when the feeling arises
2. Absolutely no porn (including Reddit), no social media (I don't have any, but no creating new accounts) and no activity online.
3. No looking at images of my wife. To early for that, and it is also wound up in porn rituals at the moment.

Just need to dust myself off and start again tomorrow.

Rich
 

SoberRich

Member
Getting back on my feet today after I drank before an evening work shift last night, which was another reminder that my two addictions are connected. My wife and I had a big fight last night where I was forced to admit that I was still having trouble with porn, not that I think it matters because she and I don't have a sex life right now. I was wanting to keep that to myself and fight this battle alone.

But I am getting back on my feet and dusting myself off, being grateful for everything I still have: a wife, a toddler, a job, a career in the making.
I am reminded of what we were told at rehab: that recovery isn't over till its over, so I am getting back up and I am grateful that I have actually been drinking as little as I have.

My Recovery Action Plan
  1. No social media, no Reddit account, absolutely no checking Reddit
  2. No porn of any kind. I know when it is porn.
  3. No alcohol: zero tolerance policy
  4. Start every day listing everything I am grateful for
  5. Take a book with me everywhere I go. Read when I have free time.
  6. Read Your Brain on Porn and the other recovery books I have.
  7. Carefully choose who I associate with at work. No associating with the high schoolers or anyone who doesn't take life as seriously as I have to every day.
  8. Practice mindfulness throughout the day.
  9. Practice stoicism. Don't try to change the world around me. Let it be.
  10. Focus on the things I have control over: treating my wife and son with dignity, love, and respect. Focusing on the career I am building. Don't allow managers at work to stress me out about the job. Don't take on other people's stress.
I will add more when it comes to me. I will be sober of alcohol today and clean of porn.

Rich
 

SoberRich

Member
Just acted out to porn, which now in hindsight I see I was inadvertently setting myself up to happen. I remain sober of alcohol and caffeine, the former for well over a week (I wasn't keeping count) and the latter for a little less than a week. I had quit porn at the same time as quitting alcohol. I just want to slap myself as I had written the action plan above (a rather vague one), but I see how I didn't plan at all for my days off (today and tomorrow) from work. There are lots of excuses that I want to throw out. I was just too busy with work. I didn't have time with spending time with the toddler in the mornings. Caffeine withdrawal was doing a real number on me (it is), but I know these are all excuses. I didn't prepare for my days off the way I know I need to, as I can't lean back on not having the time to act out on my days off.

I can see that I was very much coasting this past week. I hadn't felt any real flatline going on, but that might be because of the Strattera (Atomoxetine) I take every day for my ADHD, which numbs my libido anyway through most of the day after I take it. I haven't noticed any physical symptoms that others have talked about.

I feel like I fell for coasting. For most of this week I simply felt too much like crap, from quitting caffeine, to want to act out. I had no energy and I had no desire to do it, or anything for that matter. So I coasted through, thinking that it would just stay that way.

I can see I was watching too much Youtube which is always a middle circle for me. I was getting in this vicious cycle where I wasn't reading, which is one of my favorite hobbies, but was watching Youtube videos after a long day at work instead, and then I would get frustrated with myself for getting behind in the books I was reading, which just led to more passively watching videos.

I had been masturbating to my imagination, maybe once or twice a week. I don't abstain from masturbation since without the porn that has never really been a problem for me. I don't have PIED or any problems in that area. There are times in the past when I thought I did, but it was problems deriving from my problems with alcohol, and went away when I stopped drinking.

I also think that is another part of it. Once I quit drinking and didn't feel compelled to use porn (the two always went together in the past) I started adding quite a few clean days without really needing to try. I also was finding success. Once I stopped drinking during breaks at work I started picking up hours back up, and so now I was getting more busy. I got caught under the assumption that the porn problem was just gone, which is always a dangerous assumption to make.

Well, that is all I can think of. I feel like I made good progress, even if I wasn't making good use of it. I will focus on not letting myself convince myself that I can slip in drinking too, continue to abstain from caffeine, and get right back on the bull with the porn. I won't view anymore tonight.

Now I am going to get some reading done before my toddler wakes up from his nap.

Rich
 
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