The Road to Redemption

GBS

Well-Known Member
I really like that @SimonM - good suffering and bad suffering. You know my views, The good suffering starts to make you feel on top of the world. Your brain is changing, you are changing, what you do is changing, who you are is changing, people love you for it, we should love ourselves for it. It’s almost not suffering really.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Another term for "patience" could be "long suffering" as used in the King James Bible...words have changed over time, and now the misconception that all suffering is bad is detrimental to our growth. Well, we know better, don't we?
Abstaining from anything shouldn't induce pain, but the problem is engaging with stuff, and I have to chose my stuff carefully. Yesterday I spent an hour scrolling through "profiles" on this stupid dating app. Man, I can see where this might turn out to be another addiction!
The tendency for compulsive behavior is so strong, I think it can be turned into something beneficial...and in some ways it has with my daily yoga routines and dietary changes etc. The dating app is a brand new thing for me, and quite honestly, I am turned off by the ones that portray anything that is sexually arousing. Out of the hundred or so profiles, I think I chose 6 or seven that were interesting. So yeah, I'm picky.
But, here again, I don't need to be pushing hard for some kind of new romance, because I'm probably not even close to ready for something like that. And there really isn't that much out there that appeals to me, but for some stupid reason something in my mind tells me that there just might be that perfect match. Reason tells me otherwise. So, reason is the intellect, right? What about passion? Oooh, that's dangerous!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Living with chronic back pain is endurable as long as I can adjust my life to it, but it is a symptom of past behavior and events.
I think about my lifelong porn addiction and I think that it also has caused some permanent damage, like the circumstances I have to live with every day that are the results of past choices including financial and career decisions, relational issues with family etc. Again, the issues are deeper than porn, but porn use itself caused damage to my behavior, habits and my psyche.
When I think about the results of my past choices, I can get very depressed. The small amount of time that I've been porn free is nothing in comparison, but it is a step in the right direction, a small step. Every day a small step at least. I had a recent setback with my low back recovery, I guess I had been pushing my limits, exceeding the boundaries of what I can physically do without doing more damage to my lumbar spine.
My low back recovery and my sexual recovery are basically my two most important "jobs" every day, aside from the estate work that is dragging on. Everything is so psychological. One thing that has changed for the better has been my willingness and ability to relate to people in general, it has become easier for me to engage in conversation and relax while I'm with people. I am less judgmental, less critical, more open to sharing and just generally more upbeat and honest. I still struggle with identity...how to make sense of my situation.
Today is another day...how do I approach it? With gratefulness or with contempt? I really don't know what will happen today, even though I think it will be the same as yesterday, but it won't, even if it's just a little different.....
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
I hate the thought of being needy.
Currently I have "basic" needs met, food, shelter .....I am a caretaker of a piece of property for a bank, real estate I've called home for a decade. I am an estate manager, I guess that's my "job". One minute I am miserable, the next I'm just floating through space and time...
What are the other needs? Intimacy? Connection? Sex?
What about purpose? I wonder how many people can live their purpose without being "close" to anybody? And do I have to grow calloused if I am alone mostly? I don't think so. Can I love everybody? And everything? Perhaps.
Relationships can be problematic. Very problematic...the closer you get to someone, the messier it gets. So maybe there is a healthy boundary that must be maintained with ALL people, maybe only then can I truly love people.
Yesterday was different than the day before...I went to the little "farm market" in town, but not much farm stuff really< I got some blueberries, peppers and squash.
Yes, I loved the people there as best as I could. Maybe I "needed" them yesterday, just to be around them for a while....
Right now I don't need sex and that is a good thing!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
I started with NOFAP and still post there as well. Lately there are a lot of posts from guys who are in this for 200, 300, 400 days and more and many of them still struggle DAILY. So, this recovery journey is lifelong. Perhaps some have experienced miraculous changes, perhaps some can only make tiny steps, one day at a time....but I claim that porn is a symptom, a symptom of something much deeper.
My friend is a Christian who is stuck in church doctrine and porn....one may wonder how the two work together in my friend's life...not well. My advice to him was to ditch some of these stubborn beliefs and free up some hard drive space.....
Yes, I need space, I need room to breathe, I need room to grow, even now at age 52, I need it more than ever.
I am much more open to the world and recovery and compassion go hand in hand, especially compassion for myself!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Entering "society" without the mind of a porn addict is like taking on a new identity.
Who am I? Who is this person? What has been buried for so long under these feelings of shame?
How I relate to anyone is directly dependent on how I relate to myself. If I see myself as a wondrous creature, then I can easily see others this way. If I see myself as a miserable lump of flesh and bone, then, well....so change of mind is needed. As the old saying goes, if you tell a lie long enough, it eventually becomes truth, but in this case it's more like, if you tell the truth long enough, it be becomes truth for you. So what do I actually believe about myself? It depends on what I do or don't do, but it also depends on how I perceive the NATURE of HUMANS. And people are prone to live by what they learned in childhood. I discovered porn at a young age, and so it became part of my life until I made a decision to resist it and CHANGE my old thinking patterns. What do I truly believe? And if I am in a foxhole in a war zone or whether I'm a wealthy corporate CEO's son born with a silver spoon in my mouth, how does that affect what I believe?
Is the very nature of existence not the same for all of us? I mean deep down, because it is all suffering...just varied levels of it.
Perhaps the game changer is the acceptance of suffering...why was I not told this as a child?
Our society needs wisdom, not porn. You and I need knowledge, understanding and wisdom, all three to beat this addiction, this mind-numbing, mind-fucking, mind-destroying cancer called PORN!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Movement-Flow-Energy
This may be my mantra these days. What have I done to combat PORN?
Acceptance-this is the situation I am in whether I like it or not, whatever I do, say, feel or touch, the next moment it's irreversible, what's done is done, now I must live with it, let it settle, let it become grist for the mill
Breath-the most important part of recovery is breathing, I know it sounds funny, but breathing is everything, it's life, and there are many methods of breath control, and once I start paying attention to it, my mind clears...
Rhythm-the heartbeat of the Universe, becoming one with it, feeling the vibration, sometimes so subtle, sometimes so strong, the pulse of existence, of creation, of the cosmos unfolding before my very eyes, before and after, it is eternal....
Thank God for coffee at 5:30 am!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
The woman who contacted me on the dating app doesn't say much.
So I wonder if she doesn't have much to say or is afraid to say it. I also wonder how much of society is repressed in some way, stifled or afraid. Porn obviously contributes to anxiety and the suppression of creativity. I have noticed, since I quit, that creative juices are starting to flow, that my mind is becoming more open to possibility, that my focus is dialed in on a larger field of view.
I am truly a romantic type and philosophical, that's not "good" or "bad", it's just part of who I am. The porn killed it. The porn just kept me angry.
I watched a "tearjerker" last night...can you believe it? What the fuck is going on?
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Well, I "unmatched" the wordless woman, perhaps I got a little crazy with my comments, but I did note on my "profile" that I enjoy philosophical conversations, so whatever. I have to be careful and not get too carried away with this dating app. It could become just another addiction. However, it did cause me to do some nice portraits of myself using my digital SLR, they turned out pretty good actually. Feeling "good" about myself in any way has been foreign to me. Social settings still cause some anxiety, but I am breathing easier and more steadily, because I've taught myself to be mindful of what's happening in the body. And people are people...I am one of them...I am one of "them"??? Wow, that's different. It used to be me against the world and now I'm one of them. When people meet me, do they think I'm arrogant, rude, blunt? Perhaps. Perhaps I should pay attention to how I say things.
My 12 step sponsor told me that my dog is my higher power. Well, I yelled at my dog yesterday and then I repented and told him I was sorry...did he care? No, he didn't give a shit. I must remember that he just is what he is, and he doesn't apologize for it, yes, my dog is a good example for me: Be who you are in all of your depth, in all of your radiance, in all of your faults!
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
OK, I have to limit the dating site to once a day...setting healthy boundaries.
Setting boundaries is a big deal. It has to be done. Knowing my own limits is VITAL to recovery. Pushing myself a little can't hurt in the RIGHT direction...that means stepping out on a limb with people, allowing the possibility of rejection or criticism. It's OK if I am confident in my own being. Being porn free for 4 months now is a big step towards that comfort.
Priorities, focus, and intense concentration.
The little things matter.
One step at a time.
Yes, these are all mantras I must repeat to myself, it's called PRACTICE.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Lust for life...I've heard that somewhere.
Do I lust for life? I can't say I do, because I take it for granted. It's too bad really. The German word "LUSTIG" would be an appropriate term for this condition.
Lust is another one of those terms that is frowned upon by Christian church dogma. Another reason to be ashamed, ashamed to feel lust. And shame is the big factor here isn't it? Why don't we just sit around on a crowded beach and masturbate? Shame. I'm not saying we should, but, we are ashamed to be nude in front of each other, afraid to show our naked genitalia. Another German word "Schamhaare" is a term used for pubic hair and literally means "Shame-hairs", so we should be ashamed of our pubic hair?
It's fucked up all of this shame about lust and nudity and sex etc. and I think that is what makes porn addiction even worse. In Europe when I was a kid, I remember seeing lots of topless girls in the Summer, it was just accepted back then, no big deal. Why are female breasts such a big deal? Women love showing them off...like they are made of gold or something.
Lately I've gone shirtless a lot, and it feels good, even if I don't have the perfect male torso, and yes, I have a little fat around the waist, not much, but enough to make me self conscious. So fucking what, it's healthy for skin to be exposed to the sun, so I am going to live for myself, not others or what I think others might think.
I want to have Lust for Life.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
My sleep patterns have improved considerably since quitting porn.
Last night I must have slept hard, I don't remember any dream. But the big difference is that I look forward to sleeping now. I mean I hit the sack, and I'm out. That is a big change from what it used to be. No alarm clocks anymore, I wake up about 5am with the sun. I go to bed about an hour after sunset now during the Summer, it will be interesting to see how the pattern develops as we get into Winter....
What else has improved since quitting porn? My training routine.
Since my last back episode about a month ago, I quit using weights and now just doing calisthenics and bands. Along with intermittent fasting, I think my testosterone levels have increased a bit. You know, the guys that have always said that you can get a complete workout with pullups, pushups and dips...they were right. They are compound exercises and they pretty much cover the whole upper body. Of course that still leaves your legs and hinge stuff, but shoulders is a big deal, most of us guys are really lacking in the shoulder department.
Number three is that I've been participating in dating sites. That's a game changer also. A big confidence thing. So many of the women are "professionals" with lots of recreational hobbies...what busy lives! It's crazy, I think women are impressive, juggling the kids, career and hobbies...do they have any time for dreaming? Women should rule the world. My attitude towards women is changing for the better.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
3am and I can't sleep, too much stuff in my head
As I lay there, did my hand wander down to stroke? No, not interested. Not interested in porn or masturbation. Not at all! Am I cured? No, I will never be cured. I'm fucked for life actually, because what caused the porn addiction to begin with is still there, my fear of people, my fear of myself, my fear of living.
There is a difference though, and the difference is that I have decided to bear the pain.
The difference is that I have decided to seek healthier ways to cope with my fucked up self. Physical training, the elimination of shame and breathing.
When I was a kid, those things were not options in my "toolbox", because I was stuck in a fucked up home, and later, as a young adult, I was stuck in a fucked up relationship, marriage, kids etc. Nothing I was good at....terrible actually, and the "career" thing, even worse!
So now, things are still fucked up, but I will allow myself to suffer through this shit, and I am no longer dependent on anyone. That is called freedom by the way. Inner freedom, no longer emotionally dependent, no longer "bound" by a woman. Externally, well, there is a lot shit to deal with, that's why I woke at 3am.
But right now, I feel like I am my own man so to speak, my own sovereign self, I can do this.
 

SimonM

Active Member
It all starts with self-knowledge doesn't it? ... and you have gained a lot of that! Your inner freedom can give you an illuminated life even IF there's a lot of crap to deal with. Stay strong and true! :)
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
The elimination of shame is a big deal, there is nothing to be ashamed over.
The past is a memory, that's all. Yes, I was a porn addict for four decades, that's a long time, but it's also just a drop in the bucket. That chapter is over I think, because it was a coping mechanism to deal with life. In the mean time I am learning new coping mechanisms. My outlook is different, and sex, well, sex is not that big of a deal anymore.
Why is there so much shame? There is no end to the spectrum of behaviors in humans..there are ten thousand different arousal triggers or more, and when we don't have our needs filled as kids, well, then we "act out", sometimes we act out for the rest of our lives. Shame involves our identity, so if I find my identity in my behaviors, then that will produce some level of shame I suppose, because my behaviors haven't been that healthy.
My identity is in who I am on a deeper level than the world's stage..it's more of a mystical identity, it's connected to the cosmic source of life. The human body is like a ship being tossed around on the sea, and I will overcompensate at times to keep her afloat. I am the captain and I have neglected this ship in the past.
Shame immobilizes and it made me impotent. And the fact that it took forty years, is not a stumbling block, yes, it's bittersweet, but it's redemption!
 

GBS

Well-Known Member
Poetic @Aeodh Dan - but also a nice piece on the value of shame. It’s an odd one. I think part of the initial healing process is that shame is real and necessary. As time goes on though, as you say, it’s pointless to have it at the fore front of one’s mind. I think recovering partners play a roll in helping one deal with shame being not part of every day living.

So, yes, shame involves our identity but it mustn’t define it. What defines you is what you become not what you have been before. 40 years of not being who you should be (me too, by the way…..and possibly others on here) is just a fact and nothing today with what you are today.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
What defines you is what you become not what you have been before.
Thank you. What has become a challenge for me lately is dealing with physical pain. It started during my late thirties with back and shoulder problems, and even though my body was talking, I wasn't listening, and eventually torn muscles and blown spinal discs during my forties. I was stiff, I wasn't moving correctly and I was still angry. And I think the anger was the primary reason. Who I was before was an angry person. And it's interesting how I beat myself up and it's interesting how the anger came out in my porn preferences. I have released a lot of the anger, it's exhausting to be angry all the time and hard on the family as well. But now I am alone and I have a lot of pain that I deal with, sometimes successfully. What I am finally learning now that I've passed the 50 mark, is gentleness. Yes, I am learning to become a gentleman perhaps for real. So, there are many identities, and those identities produce results of some kind, so in a way, I will live with some amount of wreckage from the past, but as time goes, I will allow Nature to re-populate the ruins.
Yes, pain sucks, but it's also a message we must listen to, experience and use to grow. Initially, the emotional pain as a child was traumatizing, and I didn't realize it was trauma until much later in life, after a lot of damage had been done. How does a child deal with trauma? Repression. But it will manifest, like it did in my life through sexual behaviors. As I look back at the progression of my sexual preferences I see a story unfold, and now,? Now I am the romantic once again...the melancholy dreamer, and it's OK, it's part of my true identity.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
Had a rough day yesterday.
My wife was coming up and of course it's always some dilemma or drama about this or that....
Anyways, she is a major trigger. I still struggle with occasional fantasies about sexual encounters with her when she was young, and they always involve some sort of sadism...she was the perfect match for my deep fantasies, but I wasn't even courageous enough to go "all the way" with her at that time, in our youth. And I'm not sure exactly what "all the way" means, because just like in the media porn world, there appears to be no end.
She showed up briefly very late after my bedtime and of course I had to go out and check the car and of course she bitched about this and that.
After she left I lay in bed half awake, and allowed my mind to fantasize with resultant emission, but no physical masturbation, it was just mental, but the pressure was enough to release some semen. To be honest I had been edging a little all day, just mental fantasy, and I think it was the dating apps that I've engaged in, so this morning I deleted them, done. They are a mindfuck for sure. I don't recommend them.
OK, I had a slip last night, but technically I did not masturbate, no media porn, it was just fantasy and I could easily categorize the event as "nocturnal emission", so I am not going to beat myself up over this. The emission cannot be called an orgasm, not at all. No P, no M, no O. I'm still on track.
My recent setback with my back problems and the wife showing up here created a lot of stress...it could have been much worse.
It's OK, I'm still meeting my goals.
Whew. This is tough, my friends!
 
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