Moving Forward

TakeActionNow

Respected Member
@PrometheusUnbound
I feel you.
I was in an utter depressive state back in 2017. Even contemplated ending it.

Outlook is really derived internally. If one keeps one focusing on the negatives, they will only see the future as negative too.

I am at the point where I say, fuck this.
I will be happy with whatever I have
I will not fight with anyone else on my beliefs
I will respect myself and not care what others think of me
I will let go of my past and only look forward to the future.

I recently saw a video of a chubby girl turned thin. The soundtrack she used featured mainly 3 words "just show up"
It doesn't matter if results are not up to par
It doesn't matter if there are no results
It doesn't matter if others tell you otherwise
Just show up
Because nothing happens if you don't

You are brave and strong to share this
You are wise to ask and seek this
If the logical and linear ways don't answer, try something you normally don't. Maybe that's the way.
 
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PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 119; no MO Day 57

I was listening to some talk about their AA experience and they mentioned the phrase 'the pink cloud', which was a new expression to me. It's the state of euphoria that addicts get when they get their first taste of sobriety and maybe mistake the feelings for permanent change. This causes many to relapse because they get over-confident, or feel they don't have to put the work in because things feel easy at that moment.

I have definitely had some similar feelings during the journey so far. I noticed that every time I would post about a good day, it would be followed by a bad one. I guess because I let my guard down. It's something that I've noticed in a lot of people's journals. I think a lot of us suffer from bad time management, procrastination etc, and get a wind of inspiration and motivation from taking a break from PMO. We do an abrupt 180 on our bad habits, and don't feel urges, which we attribute to the new good ones. The problem is, when the inevitable stresses of life and withdrawals/urges return, our new life shape does an abrupt 180 back.

I guess the important thing is to find a balance. My ego definitely has a tendency to get puffed up and deflated too easily. Same with my motivation. A pink cloud is a cloud like any other. They come and they go. It's the same with good days and bad days and no PMO. Both are equally valuable.
 

SimonM

Active Member
Makes sense to me too. My past failures usually came after I felt strong for a while. I started to tell myself that I was going well enough I could handle a little, or that I deserved a "reward". On my cloud I forgot why I wanted this stuff out of my life so bad. ... And about 5 seconds after PMO I suddenly remembered.

I also find though that being down, on a dark cloud can also easily lead to failure. So maybe a key is really to try to stay grounded in the middle? And have tools other than P to deal with situations where we lose the balance...
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
Makes sense to me too. My past failures usually came after I felt strong for a while. I started to tell myself that I was going well enough I could handle a little, or that I deserved a "reward". On my cloud I forgot why I wanted this stuff out of my life so bad. ... And about 5 seconds after PMO I suddenly remembered.

I also find though that being down, on a dark cloud can also easily lead to failure. So maybe a key is really to try to stay grounded in the middle? And have tools other than P to deal with situations where we lose the balance...
True, I think the dark cloud leads to more, which is why the pink one is so tricky. There is a story about a Chinese horse farmer that explains the middle way quite well. I will try and find a link.

Edit: https://mindfulness.com/mindful-living/are-these-bad-times-or-good-times-the-story-of-the-zen-farmer
 
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GBS

Well-Known Member
Nice one Prommers. Perspective - a key word in our recovery. We all want to get to a place of peace with ourselves and for most of us here it is a world where pornography plays no part. Where our sexualising plays no part. How we get there is totally up to us. There will be spin off ups and downs along the way. We must accept them and realise that the world is not perfect and most not what it seems.

Part of what I just wrote scares the life out of me but I won’t hijack your journal.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 121; no MO Day 59

I just had some minor surgery to remove a cyst from my backside. I can finally sit on a chair, which is great. There has been some other good progress in my life recently. I feel part of my family, in a way that I hadn't so far. My partner and I had been together a relatively short time when we had our son and we have both had troubles with alcohol and mental health in the past. But we are finding ways to communicate and are starting to understand each other more. I don't look at my time as being stolen somehow anymore, time that I was increasingly giving away to porn anyway. I can really feel the positive changes that the past 4 months have started to bring. I had been starting to question whether I should be keeping a count of the days, and checking the site so much - defining my days as a porn addict. However, I am recommitting myself to the journey, and will be counting the days indefinitely. Urges are minimal at the moment, but there is the odd, sneaky one. Like when my partner was away working and my son staying at the babysitter alone in the house at night recently. My brain immediately said "that would be nice". The thought still appeared even though there was no chance of me acting on it. So it's always worth reminding myself of the gravity of the situation.

From a site discussing the AA approach to counting days:

When Does Counting Help, and When Does It Hurt?

Practically speaking, a person should count days if it helps them achieve their goals.

Counting helps when:​

  • It provides motivation for sticking to one’s plan.
  • It gives a sense of achievement for achieving one’s goals.
  • If a person decides to share their count, they enjoy social support and encouragement.
  • The individual is counting out of excitement at beginning a new life, not fear of falling back into old patterns.
Counting hurts when:
  • A slip becomes a full blown relapse because the person figures, “I’ve lost my time anyway, may as well go all out!”
  • Fear of public humiliation deters a person from seeking help and support after a slip or relapse.
  • Counting is imposed by an outside authority, which will eventually lead to rebellion.
  • A person bases their entire self-worth on the number of days on the sobriety calculator or the number of AA/NA chips collected. Just as dietitians recommend against basing feelings of self-worth entirely on the number on the scale, professionally trained therapists (not those whose only training is participation in 12 Step programs) warn against believing that more sobriety equals being a better person. Or worse, that having a drink or drug reduces a person to worthlessness. Such feelings can lead to severe relapse and even suicide.
 

GBS

Well-Known Member
Hey @PrometheusUnbound glad your bum is improving! If you couldn’t sit down before, could you only lie down? Also glad you feel family progress. I think these are all the wonderful spin offs of our changing grains. As porn leaves, other things happen and some are truly mind blowing.

Day counting - I am smiling here. I love the challenge element but I fear we rank ourselves as inferior or superior to others purely on the numbers. Up to a point, of course, a person who has done a year off is ahead of someone in their first month. But we all know our journeys are our own, and they just aren’t all the same at the 60 day mark or whatever. So it’s a little bit cringe making I think, but I still do it so I guess I accept it’s helpful. I just don’t think I deserve any more respect than someone who’s done half or a third of mine. The MO clean days however is just me and my brain - love it.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
One of the things I am learning about chronic pain is that when I focus so much on fixing it, the focus stays on the problem, and the same goes for porn addiction...when I focus on how I am staying porn free and how much time I've spent porn free etc. it's the same, my focus is still on the problem. I have to stop counting days, because I will never "make up" for all of the time I've spent with porn. It really is a matter of living one day at a time...I only really have this day, that's all, the rest is only anticipation....
The counting days thing is an interesting topic...I remember during AA meetings some people announced their sobriety date at every meeting and took great pride in that, and others, even though everybody knew they had been sober for a long time (or did they?) would never recount their sobriety days. It depends on the person, I guess.
For me, the focus on problems is a problem!
 

TakeActionNow

Respected Member
@PrometheusUnbound to each their own for counting.

I personally am not a person who likes this kind of accountability. I'm ok with rough ballpark figures, but not exacting. I find it distracts and redirects the focus of reboot from addressing root causes to keeping tally. And for me, the bigger the number, the more stressed I get. So I'd rather not.

I only keep rough account of the 1 week; 2 week; 1 month; 2 month marks because they hold unique characteristics of rebound intensity that are tied to the body's natural response to hormonal and recurrence patterns.
Eg.
The body remembers in interesting ways. Let's say one was depressed once in September. The following Septembers pose high depression risks because the body relates that period with the experience, regardless if the depression reason exists or not.

Beyond that, I rather keep check on managing my health and stress levels, as they are the root causes of my relapses.
 
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Blondie

Respected Member
This a great conversation.

I completely agree with the pros and cons of counting @PrometheusUnbound.

Counting really is a personal thing and should be up to each individual. Personally, it helps me greatly and keeps me motivated throughout my good and bad days, but that's me. Counting is something that can at the very least show some qualitative progress in your recovery, which without it, is slightly hard to judge how far the mind has healed. I like this and it keeps me in the game. The biggest downfall I see, and as that list rightly pointed out, is after a relapse the person might just lose all since of progress and hope because they've attached and identified themselves with only a number and not all the days in between. When I relapsed after a year a half this was definitely me, and it was insanely heartbreaking to say the least. However, I've learned many things since then and believe my "counting" has matured and I don't see it as the end all be all and as only a part of the process.

Now the biggest number to me is the overall number. For example, I did a post on my thread somewhere that I'm too lazy to find, that over the course of four and half years now I've only relapsed 20-30 times (rough count). This number shows the true progress of my recovery, and even though it's not quite as "sexy" as my current streak, it shows the reality of my situation which is all that really matters in the end. From a guy who use to look at porn all the fucking time to now only seeing it a month's worth of days over the course of 4 1/2 years, that's puts a smile on my face and my new life shows this change in me. And if my great relapse taught me anything, it's that it's not the number per se but what you're doing in between those numbers that really counts: as, fixing your life and relationships, setting goals for yourself, becoming a better man in general, meditating or whatever works for you, finding ways to cope with stress in life etc., these things will save your life, and not any high or grand number.

I know it's a Blondie cliché, but thinking in black and white can really fuck us. Maybe the question isn't, to count or not to count, but rather, let's use every fucking tool in the toolbox to get us to that glorious summit at life's end, where we can all one day look down at the marvelous spectacle below us and say to each other "Fuck yeah, we did it!" At the end of that glorious day, it won't really matter that some of us took different routes to the top, all that will matter is that we ALL got there.

Best brother!
 
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PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 132; no MO Day 70

I've been a bit our of sorts for a while, although trying to hold it together. Internally I've been very negative and combative and often found it difficult to control moy emotions. I've noticed clearly now that during periods of high anxiety/stress I get horny, which is interesting, and without the option of PMO or MO, kind of ridiculous out of context. I want to act out in the peak moments, but not look at porn. On the occasions that I have to ride the subway alone a couple of times a week, it's still a battle inside - I'm sticking to the look away and no 2nd look after noticing someone. But really these times are in the minority, not a constant fixture all day everyday like before. I'm still pressing ahead with meditating, reading, taking notes, working, playing and listening to music with my son, trying to be patient and communicate better in my relationship, and more recently working on a new art piece. The only thing I haven't been doing is getting outside into nature since my surgery, which may be partly responsible for my drop in mental health.

Just about to go to the park with my son. A happy Mid-Autumn (Moon) Festival to you all.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
I've noticed clearly now that during periods of high anxiety/stress I get horny
Of course, it's a programed coping mechanism. It's our fix, our cure...
Call it mental conditioning. It is about sex and it isn't. It is in the sense that we use sex as a way to flood the system with a hormonal cocktail, like a perfectly mixed drink, and it isn't in the sense that underneath it all it's about fear, shame and anger, and how we deal with those emotions.
Training the mind is a lot of work, and especially if we are under a heavy load of stress.
That is why traditionally yogis and sages have sought hermetic lifestyles, remote dwelling places to keep the distractions to a minimum while in deep meditation.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
Yes, you are right. The (re)action and the emotional state became so intertwined that it has become automatic, like a dog lifting it's paw for treats when it hears a random sound. And it gets no treats.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 133; no MO Day 71

My partner has a number of intense projects coming up until Christmas, which is guaranteed to create a very stressful few months. Our son is teething and generally becoming more needy and difficult. I am making a commitment to facing the upcoming challenges with open arms and an open mind. I would usually wonder why this is happening to me, and in the past retreat into porn, alcohol etc. This time I'm going to try not to be mad with the Tetris pieces and see what I can do with them. It's time to put my family first. Tonight my son woke up screaming and it struck me that I am the luckiest person to be able to comfort him. I will find ways to support my partner and not feel aggrieved at the extra stress in our lives. After all, I really encouraged her to go for it in the first place.

It's occurred to me recently that it's one of the periods in my life where I have felt the most present. When my son was born last year, I was there, but I couldn't feel the magic. It was like I had to tell myself that it was. It feels like it's only since I stopped looking at porn and started looking at myself that I am really starting to be in it. I am not so detached. I am not spending so much time wishing to be somewhere else and just waiting for something.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
"There is a big difference between not drinking and changing your relationship with alcohol."

I like this quote. The author of the article described their time away from drinking as basically reinforcing why they drank in the first place. They missed it so much, and were so convinced that they couldn't live without it that the break they took led them to drink more. It seems to be similar with porn. Unfortunately the path I took to this was quite heinous, and it took a big shock to make me see; but I hope we all can find the courage to face our situations head on.
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
No PMO Day 134; no MO Day 72

There is still a part of me living in porn land, that thinks that the desires and fantasies so deeply etched into my psyche will somehow come true in the future, or at least hopes they will. Some of could happen if I pushed for them, but I think I really need to keep re-evaluating my relationship with pleasure, and pleasure seeking. This deep need for it seems to work in direct opposition to putting my all into something to achieve it. I'm not 100% sure when the last time that was (although this journey is probably a good start). I've seen in a number of others' journals people restarting their studies. I'm not sure if that is for me but it's food for thought. I don't want the spectre of future pleasure to guide me anymore.
 

TakeActionNow

Respected Member
@PrometheusUnbound pleasure can be of many different forms, but unfortunately for us we seemed to have focused only on one.

So the learning now is to discover other healthier forms of pleasure. Being with our child is definitely pleasurable, especially when at the end of the day, they reach out to us, or say I love you daddy.

Another form of pleasure is knowing a job well done. This I have neglected for myself for a long time, which is a big miss because without proper self recognition there can be little feeling good about the self.

Journalling is important because it reminds us of our accomplishments across the day, and the things we can be proud of ourselves. This is in itself the best kind of pleasure.
 

Aeodh Dan

Active Member
I am not sure if seeking pleasure is the way, rather allowing pleasure to come to you maybe....
I like the idea of being open to life whatever comes our way. There is really very little that we can control. Especially outside of ourselves.
I used to get so stressed about jobs...I would try and finish them quickly and well, but I think I looked at work as stress and therefore wanted to get it done ASAP, which was of course a detrimental attitude.
I think any job can be done patiently and with focused attention, it's up to me, and yes, even during less desirable work we can allow pleasure in a an experience, in whatever form that is, maybe just taking a moment to watch a child run down the street or stopping to smell the roses for a minute.
As porn addicts we try to force pleasure to happen don't we?
 

PrometheusUnbound

Active Member
@TakeActionNow Thanks. Yes, it's important to focus on the positives, not just the negative aspects of ourselves to be more grounded in reality. Journaling helps, especially being able to see negative patterns that appear over time. Let's be more compassionate to ourselves.
 
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