[33 M] Luke's journey to freedom and self-acceptance

I’m Luke (real name is Lukas) from Germany and I’m 32 years old (33 in 16 days). English is not my native language, so I apologize in advance for grammar and language mistakes.

I’m trying to beat this addiction for a long time now. In a few hours I’ll be at day 7, but I had long streaks in the past. I was over a year once, but the addiction sucked me back in again. I had a terrible binge after Christmas and I am clean in 2020 so far.

I watched porn from an early age and it got more severe once we had high speed internet when I was 14 or 15. I watched it for hours and it destroyed my confidence (especially around women), many friendships, my energy levels and to some extend my sexual health.

Over the years I realized that abstinence isn’t enough. It’s necessary but it’s not sufficient. I need to work on my life and on my weaknesses to escape this addiction. I need to work on self-acceptance.

I hope everyone here is doing good. Keep up the good work!

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Danke Lukas! I’m also in the same fight. Lost my girlfriend as well because of the addiction… Really want to turn things around

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@kollake
Thanks for your reply. I’ve lost a girlfriend because of this, too. Long time ago. It’'s time for us to get our lives back.

Wish you all the best.

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In my starting post I wrote that I’ve lost some friendships over the years. Even my two best friends I haven’t seen in more than a year (one of them lives in the Ukraine now). Well, this evening I met both of them because the one who lives abroad was in the country surprisingly. We met only for two hours but had a good time. I’m very glad and I hope this is a turning point in my social life. I definitely need to work on my confidence and social anxiety.

I also meditated and exercised today, so it was a pretty good day. Internet use was minimal.

7 days in, a lot to go. But I try to take it day by day. I won’t watch porn today and tomorrow will be a new today.

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This morning I woke up after I had a very sexual dream. It was hard not to fantasize after waking up. I meditated for twenty minutes but it was hard to Focus on my breath because of flashbacks. Afterwards I felt better, though.

A new day were I’ll stay clean.

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Wow - over a year before! You’ve done it before man, you can definitely do it again and truly break free this time.

Strong start to the year - good job in not letting the dream bring you down.

One day at a time brother!

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@Forerunner
Thanks for your encouragement. I really appreciate it!

I think my biggest mistake during that year of abstinence was that it wasn’t much more than abstinence (like I said in my first post: it’s necessary but not sufficient). Other than that I had a waiting mindset. I Just waited and hoped my life would turn around in it’s own. This time I’m going to work on myself. I’m going to be proactive rather than passive.

The last few days I applied your method for dealing with urges. I like it very much so far. What I like about it is that you don’t beat yourself up and you are not trying to fight the urge. Instead you accept it as something normal without acting in it while focussing on a positive life vision.

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Great outlook - you’re taking charge and responsibility for growth in your life this time. Proactive - brilliant word.

I’m glad my method is helping you! It’s from Power over Pornography: The Proven Solution to Overcoming Pornography Addiction by Brian Brandenburg. The book reminds us among other things that everyone gets urges, but not everyone acts on them. No need to feel any shame or guilt for getting them, or feel the need to fight them off. We have the freedom to choose our response to them at all times.

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Today two colleagues and I were at the gym during our lunch break. We used to do that a lot in 2018 but stopped in 2019 because we went there at different times. We are going to do it more often in the lunch break from now on. We are working on different stuff in the gym but nevertheless it’s more motivating when we are there together.

Some fantasies in the gym. A lot of girls in tight yoga pants. But I remembered forerunners tactic and was quite successful.

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Today I feel like shit: exhausted, low energy, depressed, headaches. Probably withdrawal symptoms. Plus I have some trouble with my landlord.

I’m aware those are triggers. I know I would feel better if I’d PMO, at least for a while. But in the long run it would make things worse. What I’m trying to do on days like that is focus on positive habits no matter what.

I won’t watch porn today, even If I’d feel better for a few hours.

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That’s the idea man - you know what you’re doing!

What positive self-care do you do - which healthy activities help boost and improve your mood?

@Forerunner
What helps me is accepting that days like these are part of life. Dwelling on the negative feelings won’t help, quite the contrary.

What also helps is relaxation. If I’m in a state of low energy it’ll get even worse If I try to “push through” the day. Yoga helps, also meditation and breathing exercises. And talking to other people. When I feel bad I always have the tendency to isolate myself.

Today I feel a little bit better than yesterday. I also think I’m in a flatline now. The last though ot watching porn didn’t cross my mind the last two days (which is good).

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Today I feel a bit better again. Exercised yesterday in the evening even though I had a tendency to skip it. After work I’ll play some pool billiard with a colleague.

Porn doesn’t really cross my mind but I sometimes have some flashbacks throughout the day. I’m used to that, though.

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Two weeks clean today. Still not feeling good and last night I didn’t sleep well. But that’s part of life. Felt stressed throughout the day and did some yoga, some breathing exercises and took a long walk in the morning. Now I’ll spend the rest of the evening (it’s 8:30 PM where I live) reading and I’m hoping for a good nights sleep.

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Had a tough moment today. I was looking something up in the company-internal wiki (a place where you don’t expect something critical) and got triggered by the picture of a woman I saw there. I fantasized for a minute or two and then catched myself and did something different. This reminded me that something triggering can happen even if I feel completely safe.

Other than that it was a good day. I didn’t use the internet much and got something done at work. After work I played some pool and had a nice dinner.

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20 days. Everything good so far. I have some trouble with sexual fantasy in the morning while still lying in bed. I need to get up immediately after waking up. But the thought of watching porn didn’t really cross my mind so far. That’s good but at the same time I have to avoid overconfidece. I had situations like this before: I don’t feel urges for a long time and then - Booom…

Today I was watching my favorite football (soccer) club live at the stadium and saw a few friends there. My club had an important win after some devastating losses in a row. I’m very happy right now.

Next week my birthday. My birthdays used to depress me because another year was over where I didn’t accomplish as much as I hoped. I try to see it more positive next week. I’m doing what I can to become a better person and the last few weeks where fine. I can’t change what happened in the past and I have to accept that.

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Things are a bit difficult right now. I guess it’s withdrawal symptoms. I don’t have much energy, I’m tired most of the time and have headaches often. In tuesday I was at the gym and kept it easy because I didn’t feel that well. And even though I had only a light training I had relatively intense muscle soreness the next two days. Well, things will get better. Maybe tomorrow, maybe a week from now, maybe a month from now. But it’ll get better. And hard days are an opportunity to become stronger. If everything was easy and smooth all the time, how could be improve? How could we build character?

Joining the Hero’s challenge on this board is very helpful for me. If I’m starting to fantasize in a sexual way I use the technique desribed by Forerunner und remind myself of my vision. Instead of just pushing the fantasies away I focus on something positive. I think if I practice this long enough there’s a good chance I won’t run on autopilot the next time a really strong urge emerges. I also like that it takes it moment to moment, decision to decision. Most of us (all of us?) said “I’m going for 100 days/a year/forever” at some point. After a relapse the motivation is huge. But after a while the thought of 100 days/a year/a lifetime can be overwhelming. But what if we decide only for the next situation? Everyone can stay clean for this one moment when a craving hits us. And when the next craving appears that’s a new decision.

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Since joining the 90 day Hero’s challenge and posilting there regularly I kind of lost sight If this journal.

A few weeks ago I read somewhere about the concept of “pre-lapse”. It’s basically the period before a relapse. It might be hours, a day or several days before a relapse. The idea behind it is that a relapse doesn’t come out of nowhere but it’s a gradual process. One might browse the internet more and go to riskier websites. Or one might have more sexual fantasies and induldge in them more often. And after a while you go to a porn site. But the porn site wasn’t the first step, it was just the final escalation in a number of steps.

The good thing is: When we are mindful we can recognize such a “pre-lapse” state and do something about it before it’s too late. It gives us an opportunity to change something. Too often we change something after a relapse, after it is too late.

The reason I’m writing this is because I feel like I’m in such a pre-lapse state right now. Yesterday I fantasized more and it took me longer before I catched myself. Today I clicked on a click-bait article that had some sexual content while mindlessly browsing the internet. I only was on that site for 30 seconds or so, but still, that’s something I shouldn’t do. In the past stuff like that preceded a relapse quite often. I should use that as an opportunity and I’ll double down in my efforts. That means I’ll practice more often (the practice we use in the Hero’s challenge), I’ll use the internet less and I’ll try to do more positive habits.

Other than that everything is okay. I still don’t have much energy and I have some headaches now and then. But that’ll go away soneday. I need patience.

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I agree with the idea of a pre-lapse. That is why I think it’s important that we do have those failures so that next time we know what lead us down that path. You steer clean of all of that and you’re on your way to a long and healthy recovery.

Only you can pull yourself out of that “pre-lapse” state bro. But I can almost guarantee you you’ll regret relapsing if you do. Do what’s right. God bless.

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Totally with you regarding the ‘pre-lapse’ situation. That’s the issue that I’m working on eliminating now, things like those clickbait articles and unsafe images etc. which aren’t quite P, but are moving towards that direction. When we raise our awareness to that state and are mindful of it like you said, we can definitely avoid going any further into relapse territory.

Redoubling on our efforts is key to breaking free of that state. You’ve got this man.

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