WantToBreakFree's Diary [32 M]

motivation
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#1

7 days and counting…

I’ve been attempting to reboot for several years now, with no lasting success. My longest streak was 46 days, but my average was only 5.

After bouncing along with regular relapses for a while, I once again found the motivation to push myself towards victory, and have managed a fully clean week for the first time in…a couple of months at least. Small victories, but we’ve got mark these things along the way when we can.

What I’ve observed so far…

It’s well known that the first week can be hardest, and problems like The Chaser effect are well known.

Having urges isn’t the problem, it’s how you handle them

For me, how you interpret your urges plays a huge part in how they affect you. If you sit there thinking I mustn’t masturbate, but if I don’t I’ll probably explode or I don’t want to break my streak, but I could really use some porn right now, you will definitely relapse. If, however, you feel the urge, thinking It’s just an urge, they will come and go from time to time, let’s just sit this one out, works a lot better.

Fantasy -> Arousal -> Urges

Another big mistake is fantasy. I never start a fantasy because I want to relapse. I fantasise because I make the mistake of telling myself that it’s harmless and won’t lead to anything. But it always does. Fantasy leads to arousal, and fighting urges when you are aroused is about a million times harder than fighting them when you’re not.

Stay mindful

One of my greatest weapons is mindfulness. Part of this is regular meditation practice, which keeps me calm and focused. The other part is a little note book and a pen that I keep beside me whenever I’m sat at my desk.

As soon as I sit down, I note the time, the fact that I’ve sat down at my desk, and a brief summary of how I’m feeling. After that, every time I have a random thought or feeling that’s not related to my task, I write it down. It might be something to remember, or it could be an admission that I’m feeling stressed. If I’m doing this in a coffee shop, I make a note each time I see someone at the counter that I find attractive.

I don’t re-read these notes or try to analyse them in anyway, but the act of writing them down helps me to acknowledge them. I can see stress or worry or other triggers building up. I realise when I’m bored, or procrastinating. If needs be, this will help me realise when I need to take serious action, like going for a walk or calling someone, but more often than not, the simple act of staying aware of what’s happening in my head is enough to stop the urges building up. As well as dealing with the usual boredom and frustration, this has even helped me deal with high stress situations, like prepping for a job interview.

Use the Force forums, Luke!

For the longest of times I didn’t realise the power of the forums. I was convinced that my porn addiction was a problem that I could solve by myself, in my own mind. Sure, I would read what others had written, hoping for some practical tips, but it was only when I started posting and replying that I finally understood…

It’s the act of connecting to other people that makes you strong!

And so into my second week of this reboot. I’ll update here soon. Thank you to everyone for keeping me going!

Sharing code: d5f29d

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#2

Very interesting post here, what you saw is very relevant !
I’m seeing your days, let’s continue together. :slight_smile:

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#3

9 days clean, but not without urges…

I had some fairly strong urges this morning for the first time since I begun my current streak. I wouldn’t say I’ve not had any at all before now, but this was the first time that they were persistent and didn’t want to be easily brushed aside.

I’m going through a number of different therapies at the moment, and because I this, I was able to make the connection between my urges and wider negative feelings that I was having about a decision I needed to make. I already know that negative feelings are a trigger for me, as I use porn to soothe and distract myself when I feel uncomfortable.

By making this link, and realising the root of my urges, I was able to find the strength to resist. It wasn’t easy, and I was helped greatly by a busy day that meant I couldn’t act out immediately. Having the knowledge that my urges came from a real life problem and weren’t just sex drive gave me the strength to fight them. I knew that my real life problem would still be there after I’d reset, and it would feel worse because of what I’d done, so why bother.

This sort of cool headed reflection can be really difficult to achieve when experiencing the pull of porn, but I’m trying to practice it as much as possible, so that it can help me again. Next, I need to practice some self care, to make me feel better and more relaxed, so I’ll be meditating shortly, and then hitting the gym.

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#4

You have mentioned some good insights on the way urges develop. I am in the same boat as you where the use of porn is more as a way to getaway from the real world, sort of like an emotional crutch.
The point about fantasies is absolutely true. The mind indulges in fantasies as it feels there is nothing wrong in it.However, one thing leads to another and the end is a feeling of emptiness.
let’s connect on the app.
Sharing code - tksb9p

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#5

12 days clean, encountered relapse anxiety

Does anyone else experience relapse anxiety? I tend to experience it more the higher my count goes. Basically, it’s anxiety caused by the fear of relapsing. The more days under my belt, the more I worry that I am about to throw it all away.

It wouldn’t really matter, I suppose, except for the fact that anxiety is one of my triggers, so the more I worry about it, the more likely I am to make it happen.

This came to me this morning when I was swimming, and thinking to myself about how far I’d come recently. It was a completely irrational fear, of course, as I couldn’t possibly relapse whilst swimming, and in truth, I’m unlikely to have any time alone for more than a week, and yet the fear was there.

Even now, sat here writing this, I find myself feeling uncomfortable about getting through the next few days. I think I have a false belief that masturbation is somehow necessary and that if I don’t relieve the pressure, I might explode.

Of course, the only pressure is in my head. I’m not even aroused. These tricks of the mind are the hardest part for me, because I find myself not knowing what feelings I can trust and listen to and what is down to my brain looking for new ways in which to trick me.

Time to practice some self care, starting with a walk in the fresh air.

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#6

I guess the pressure we put on ourselves of not giving up the streak ends up being the reason for relapsing. Those anxious feelings develop and the story repeats all over in my head that i need to watch porn to make myself calm. I lose will power and my hand automatically reaches the phone and bham!! before i realize it i have relapsed.
Later when i reflect back i feel guilty over lack of control on myself !!

#7

It’s a very familiar story @thephoenixmyth! Learning to distinguish between legitimate sexual desire, habitual use and triggers can be the hardest part of this process, but we mustn’t beat ourselves up when we relapse. Recovery is a journey we go on, not a simple quick fix.

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#8

1 day clean, again

A trip abroad last week, followed by a busy Easter weekend meant that I didn’t have time to update here, or even update the app (still running in an emulator) to report 2 relapses.

The first was just before I went on my trip. I felt pretty cross with myself for a couple of days, as it was probably the stress of prepping to travel that triggered me, but I hadn’t considered the risk beforehand.

The second time was yesterday, the first day I had free after I got back. I knew it was going to happen. I’d found the urges building up slowly over several previous days, but had been too busy to do anything except ignore them. Sometimes the idea implants itself in your brain and you just know that you won’t be able to resist when the time comes.

This time, I didn’t beat myself up about it. Usually I follow a relapse with a day or two of depression and self recrimination, but I didn’t actually have time for any of that, as I needed to present myself well for a job interview. So instead I allowed myself to just accept the situation and move on. I meditated and went for a walk and refused to engage with any negative thoughts.

As a result, within a few hours I was feeling pretty good again, and had rediscovered my positive mood and energy. The more I enjoy life, the less I need porn, so getting myself happy again is a pretty good way of avoiding a further relapse.

More importantly, I want to be proud of myself. Between these two relapses, I spent several days walking around a city fully of beautiful women and nights spent sleeping with my phone charging next to my bed (due to lack so sockets in the hotel room). The thought of using porn crossed my mind every day, but I never gave in to it. I rode out the thoughts and went to sleep. That is a massive deal for me, as I always used to use porn at night.

Resetting that counter always feels like going back to square one, but if you look closely, you’ll find small signs of progress all over the place. I can and will beat this addiction (eventually) and so will you. Never give up trying!

#9

Saw your relapse

Just you to know you’re not alone , i edged a lot for two days last week some sperm come out but didn’t masturbated even with the urge, even if i saw things … I have chosen to not masturbate.

The fight is not over yet, let us continue.
But… the " i knew it it was going to happen" is a lie to me, it’s just some illusion thoughts, i had them , but even when i was at 1 milimeter of relapsing i was able to refuse masturbation so maybe you can do it ? Or maybe it was different than me …

Anyway good streak you’ve done ! Let us continue.

#10

Repeated the same pattern again today. Was bored with the mundane work and before even realizing the trigger hit me and with the mobile in hand, the mind went into auto-pilot mode. Watched p*** shit and ended up masturbating. What a waste of life man!!

#11

Thanks @SunRise. I think you hit the nail on the head. Separating out real thoughts from illusions is extremely challenging for me. I’ve been in the pattern of using porn as a fix for everything for such a long time that my brain struggles to consider any other options. Sometimes it feels as automatic as breathing.

@thephoenixmyth Boredom is a pretty common trigger for me, and I get bored a lot, unfortunately. Learning to be aware of what we are feeling and why seems to be key to staying away from porn and avoiding triggers, but that requires practice, practice, practice.

#12

Day 0 again, but I’m not quitting

One of the things that makes quitting porn so difficult, compared to some other changes in life, is that you’re giving something up.

Obviously giving up porn is a good thing in the long term, but it’s difficult to feel good about it as you’re doing it, because you’re taking something away from your life, not adding something to it.

I’m told that to make a change in life, we must set measurable goals, that we can aim towards. Goals fall into 2 categories: Achievement goals and Avoidance goals. Giving up porn is an avoidance goal, because we are trying to stop doing something.

The best way to succeed with an avoidance goal is to pair it with an achievement goal. To succeed, we must replace the thing we want to give up with something positive that we want to start, That way, we are no longer fighting not to do something (a negative experience) but fighting to do something different (a positive experience).

By focusing our energy and attention on the new, positive thing we are doing, we can achieve our avoidance goal at the same time, without the difficulty of focusing all our attention on what we’re not doing.

I need to come up with my achievement goal. Unfocused time, or spending my time doing things that I don’t find fulfilling, is the root of so many of my relapses. I want to achieve something tangible, that I can be proud of. Not just days that are measured by what I managed not to do.

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#13

Here we go again, as long as we learn about relapses there is still hope.

Let’s keep up together.

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#14

You seem to be ahead of me, @SunRise. I hope you keep it that way :slight_smile:

#15

Day 4 - Keeping busy

In accordance with my last post, I’ve been trying to do positive things that occupy my time better than porn could. One of my little discoveries is that I quite enjoy getting on my bike (which I haven’t ridden for years) and going for a ride in the sunshine. I’m no sort of long distance cyclist, and I’m a bit afraid of riding on the roads, but being out of the house, in nature and getting some exercise makes me feel pretty good.

Another use of my time has been programming. Normally I’d be doing this for a living, but I’ve been off work for a few months, and haven’t written any code for ages. Now that I’m looking for work again, I’ve found myself playing around with some new technologies and languages. Few things stimulate my brain in a positive way as much as learning and honing my skills, and it’s been refreshing to rediscover a love of my chosen occupation.

Neither of these things represent a “cure” for my addiction. If anything, they are more about avoiding it. But by filling my life with positive things that I enjoy doing, I’m hoping, bit by bit, to show myself that there are better ways to have fun. Ways that I can tell my wife about.

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#16

Day 12 - Working hard

I’ve recently started a new job, after several months of not working. As well as getting me out of the house, this has given me something interesting to do with my time, and people to talk to during the day. Engaging in complex tasks whilst also chatting to friendly people who are genuinely interested in getting to know me has helped to remind me that there is more to life than sex or porn.

Keeping some perspective and keeping interested in the other things that life has to offer helps me to cope with the urges. If they strike when I’m alone and have nothing else to think about, they will be hard to shake off. But if they come along whilst I’m with other people and fully engaged in my surroundings, they will find that there’s no place in my thoughts for them, and they will depart after just a moment.

#17

Day 19 - New challenges

It’s quite a while since I’ve had any urges that are directly related to porn, but I’m currently dealing with new ones, related to real life. Having recently started a new job in a mixed sex office, I’m now at the point of noticing my female colleagues. This is a temporary situation to do with the brain’s fondness for novelty (one of the key “selling points” of porn). In a few weeks, once I’ve got used to everyone, the novelty will be gone and I won’t notice anyone any more.

But for now, I find myself having to work a little harder than usual to stop the sexual thoughts quickly, before they have the chance to develop into arousal. I don’t especially want to fantasise about my new colleagues. It’s disrespectful and ungentlemanly, but also part of human nature, sadly. For all I know, they might be having similar thoughts about me (but I doubt it).

The route to success isn’t to fight against these thoughts, or stopping them from happening. It is just to notice when they happen, acknowledge that they are happening and then let them go. I’ve finally begun to learn the lesson that I can’t indulge in fantasy at all. Even casually thinking about sex, when I have no intention of relapsing, will lead me down a road on which I don’t want to travel. Turning back towards the light over and over is my plan now.

I’m trying not to be overly confident, as I’ve got further than this and failed before, and I could definitely do so again, but I’m beginning to feel the new habits getting a little easier. Turning my thoughts away from porn used to be a massive fight every time. Now, sometimes, it can be easy. Almost automatic, like remembering to brush your teeth or eat lunch or something.

Recovery is a journey, and I’m taking it one step at a time…