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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:12 pm 
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Posts: 41
Good days continue. My therapist says I have reached a good place and am definitely on the right path. I already felt this, but it is nice and motivating to hear it confirmed.

Health Assessment:
1. Not really, but on Monday night I drank too much, got very emotional and was tempted again to chat online. It didn't happen but it could have. I did interrupt the behaviour and went to sleep, but also fitfully. In my previous state, I would probably have looked at porn on a night like that.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. Yes!!! Very effectively for the past 4-5 days.
5. Yes.
6. Briefly, I was tempted by the idea of going somewhere "just to see" - I resisted the temptation, and focused on my daily goals instead.
7. Yes. I have been feeling very emotionally connected with my past and the land I grew up in...
8. Yes.
9. No. Not self pity exactly, but a borderline state, in which I felt at once elated by realising I can achieve happiness by relatively simple means, but at the same time felt almost-depressed regretting that it has taken 20 years for me to realize this.
10. Yes. On Monday I drank too much. This opened up the door to strong emotions and a list connection to my past (good things) but these same emotions also led to bad thoughts of release.
11. Hmm... I have tried, but at the same time I have been struggling with new feelings... overall: OK.
12. Yes.
13. Yes.

Lesson 21: Recovery Goals

A. Goals I have tried to achieve and failed:
- to write and publish a book:
I wrote it and sent it to a critic, who gave me some insight into what was wrong with it. I told myself I would rework it, but never did. Truth is, the book was just another way of dealing (or not dealing) with my sexual issues. In some ways it was an excuse. It was not separate enough from me. And maybe, since it did not help me resolve my issues, I was simply not ready to put it out there...

- to do a major travel throughout India by rail:
I want to do this more than my wife does, and so every time we plan some travels, I shelve this plan, even though I have wanted to do this for over 6 years. I think it is because of the lack of a greater vision of life that I have... My goals and dreams have always seemed less valid than my wife's, because of my immature, short-term, "let me roll with it...whatever" attitude.

- to be faithful to my wife:
Failed, obviously, because I did not know how to deal with my emotional/sexual needs and somehow believed in immediate gratification and that secrets were normal.

- to have a well-paid and fulfilling career:
I convinced myself it was a good choice to travel the world and live an adventurous, "seize the day" kind of life. But I think avoiding the serious choice of a career is a symptom of a greater avoidance of commitment to the future. Until now, I have not had a real, solid plan for myself.

B. Goals I have attempted and reached
- I have travelled to some very difficult places and had amazing adventures. I succeeded in my travel goals because flight has been one of my coping mechanisms and embarking on distant adventures, however difficult, is still easier than confronting whatever was lacking at home or inside me.

- I have found a soul mate in my wife. Other than this huge issue of my sexual compulsions, we built a good relationship. It sounds cruel and ridiculous to say this now, when she is so heartbroken, but we work well together. I achieved this because I need love and so does she. We are the kind of people who strive for companionship. It has worked because we learnt to make compromises and map out what was achievable and what was not. We always discussed major decisions and kept an open mind to what the other wanted.

- I established myself as a reasonably successful DJ, the culmination of which was organising a large warehouse party all by myself. I achieved this because my wife gave me the support and motivation I needed, and because I strongly love music and wanted to share it with others, and (especially) because I was not satisfied with the reality here so I decided to change it. My therapist says I have a revolutionary power within me, the belief I can change everything. This is probably a good example of that.

C. Recovery Goal
To keep progressing with recovery at my current pace or better at least until February, this includes:
- seeing my therapist weekly
- recording and analysing important dreams
- doing 2-3 RN lessons per week
- abstaining from porn, masturbation, exhibitionism, etc (this is pretty much achieved)
- abstaining from chatting or trying to chat online: I want to make it to 2017 without ANY slips: this is the challenge.
- keep responding to my wife's sadness/anger with love and support, even when she rejects me. When she provokes me, makes me angry or sad, swallow my feelings, "all eez vell", take a deep breath, make some distance, say I am sorry.
- be patient and wait for time to heal...
- give my wife a card, flowers, a present at least every 2 weeks
- deal with bad thoughts well: if they happen, accept the slip but be aware of it, try and stop it, move on, don't let mind slips get you down and feel failure. Just make sure they happen less and less often, that you manage them well and learn to get over them.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:11 am 
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Things are not good.
After my last post, my therapist took a week off and I think this made me complacent. I stopped writing out my daily plans and felt too confident with myself. I also became very defensive when my wife pointed out that I was acting badly...in any case this all led to my acting out last night by harassing random girls online. Initially, my bad instincts took over and I attempted to cover up, but then I realised this would mean I had given up, so I actually woke my wife up, showed her the conversation, and told her everything. A pretty bad slip.
Tomorrow, I will see my therapist at last, for the first time in 2 weeks. I also feel I need to change my daily assessment to pay more attention to excessive emotions, confidence, etc. I have promised not to drink for at least an entire month: this should be a help.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:08 pm 
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Lesson 22: Measuring Compulsive Behaviour

Ritual Measured: Downloading porn
Primary Elements Involved: Physical Stimulation, Visual Stimulation, Suspense, Orgasm, Accomplishment

Values assigned:
Visual Stimulation: 3
Physical Stimulation: 2
Suspense: 3
Fantasy: 2
Orgasm: 1
Accomplishment: 1

Filters Applied:

Visual Stimulation:
Time: the longer I looked at different pictures, the more excited I would get: 8
Intensity: seeing more hardcore images would increase excitement, but not necessarily and not always: 5
Habituation: over time I needed to see more and more extreme pictures (though not necessarily and not always), and I would often need to find new images that I hadn't seen before: 8

Physical Stimulation:
Time: excitement grew over time, but it did not depend that much on whether I was touching myself or not: 3
Intensity: no real impact, mechanical: 1
Habituation: no real impact: 1

Suspense:
Time: extremely important both before I started looking for images (imagining them) and during the search (will i find something I have never seen before?) : 10
Intensity: the more images I would download simultaneously, the more files and folders I would amass, the greater the excitement: 5
Habituation: same as above for visual stimulation: I would need to search deep for newness, finding it was very exciting: 8

Fantasy:
Time: the longer I would think about the images, make up scenarios and toy with possibilities, the richer the fantasy: 6
Intensity: I would develop deeper and more twisted fantasies to excite me more: 5
Habituation: I would occasionally introduce changes to fantasy to renew excitement: 4

Orgasm:
Time: it is a result of the other elements an a result of time, the longer I had been excited, the more powerful the orgasm: 5
Intensity: related to fantasy and visual stimulation: the more exciting the fantasy, the more exciting the images, the more intense the orgasm: 6
Habituation: an orgasm is an orgasm: it's good: 1

Accomplishment:
Time: not related to the overall length of time. In fact, wasting time had a deleterious effect: 1
Intensity: the discovery of unknown or particularly stimulating images would increase the feeling of accomplishment: 8
Habituation: constantly needed to find more new material to feel accomplished: 8


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:13 pm 
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It took me a while to complete that lesson. I have been feeling lazy lately, very passive. I have been true to my word and my plan: so far, 3 months with no porn or masturbation, but after my last slip chatting with a stranger 2 weeks ago, I cut out alcohol from my life, and socialising without it and just generally unwinding have not been easy. I am more in control, yes, but everything is also a bit dimmed. Sadder.
Still have extreme ups and downs with my wife. I hope things get better between us soon...


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:47 pm 
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Lesson 23: Practical Uses For Measuring

Although the specific numbers assigned to each element in my rituals seems going perhaps a bit too far, I think I am already using the techniques described to keep myself in check.
I am definitely more aware of the different emotional states (social anxiety, boredom, frustration, feeling unfairly hurt, ...) that offer me the excuse for temptation. I have been practising being aware of where I stand. Meaning, I have tried to imagine what I COULD be choosing to do with my time, my alone time when no one is watching... I try to imagine where these patterns lead.
For example, the other day I drove past an internet café at which I used to download porn. I suddenly was aware of a tiny tiny voice inside me saying "you could do it; no one needs to know", yet at the same time I heard my good conscience saying "yo promised" and "you've been clean of porn for over three months, keep it up" and I imagined the series of events that would ensue if I gave in - especially the terribly depressing feeling of guilt, failure, despair at having suddenly fucked up three month's effort. I think understanding the elements of my behaviours allowed me to separate the good voice from the bad voice. To identify it for what it is... almost like in a cartoon: the little devil on my shoulder. But knowing that is what it is makes it easier to control it.

Right now is a tricky time. My wife has gone away for 4 days. I have let her go away because this is a test for me: to give her freedom, let her be someone apart from me, and also I will see how I deal with solitude (although I have a busy schedule). I can sense the tingling temptation that I often feel the moment I am left alone, but when I tried to imagine actually cheating on her, I felt physically repelled by the idea.

Anyway, I must try to remain aware of how I feel and what things are. If I can identify bad thoughts, I can break the pattern.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:21 pm 
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I have unfortunately had several lapses involving porn recently. I hope it is not too late to get back on course. Because other things are going pretty well: I have not been drinking for a month. I have also been successful at staying away from chatting online.
But...
My wife is still unable to see me as anything other than the beast I am trying not to be. I feel I get very little support and I'm afraid that this is beginning to make me give up, lose hope, say "to hell with it!" And give in to the dark side.... But I have discovered a lot of important things through therapy and this gives me hope too. So let's get this going and get back on the right track.

Lesson 24: Identifying Your Compulsive Elements

Here are the basic elements that are in play when I give in to compulsive behaviour:
- suspense
- risk
- sensory (mainly visual)
- fantasy
- exhibitionism
- orgasm
- search/acquisition
- accomplishment
- substance abuse
- guilt/shame
- curiosity
- transgression

Here are some compulsive behaviours broken down.

Porn:
1. Curiosity gives me an excuse to drift towards some unhealthy news article (or similar "innocent" source)
2. While researching, I begin to fantasise
3. My imagination is not enough. I want to see images to accompany my fantasy.
4. I start searching for porn. At first I may look at softcore images, but then my appetite grows as does my need for transgression.
5. I download furiously. Collecting pictures and videos, excited by the suspense of the download bar... Maybe I will see something amazing that I have never seen before!
6. At the same time I may start masturbating, but often the thrill is big enough without manual stimulation.
7. From time to time, I have a bout of anxiety as I think my wife will surprise me. Sometimes I am interrupted and feel guilty.
8. If not, I eventually achieve orgasm.
9. After orgasm, I usually feel depleted, full of guilt, shame, regret...
10. But these feelings subside and I am often able to start the whole process over again.

Exhibitionism:
1. It may start with the above porn ritual. But a some point, I decide to print some of the images.
2. I drive around, looking at people/places I could show my porn to: ideally I am looking for a pretty clerk.
3. Once I find the right place/person, I wait and let the excitement build up by imagining what it is going to be like, showing her my porn.
4. I engage her and try to make the sexual confrontation last as long as possible. I make sure she gets a good look at what I want her to see.
5. I leave, afraid maybe she will call the cops or a manager.
6. I either find another place and start again, or
7. I masturbate reliving the whole experience, and possibly looking at porn.

Online flirting:
1. I feel lonely or bored or empty...so I hang out on Facebook to see if any of my friends want to chat.
2. After some time, the idea of contacting a random girl appears in my mind. I try to resist it, but eventually I give in (usually I am drunk during this ritual).
3. I engage her in conversation, usually under some false pretences. Most often, I imply she is he one who had first contacted me, or added me...
4. The conversation quickly becomes lurid.
5. In the past I have also sent pornographic pictures.
6. I am in full exhibitionism mode now: I am trying to shock her, or:
7. My transgression pushes me to ask her to meet for sex. I say this very directly, pornographically. No seduction. Nothing. I mainly want to shock her I think.
8. Usually the girl will hang up, leave. If she doesn't I will eventually reach orgasm and leave.
9. Afterwards, I feel shame and guilt. What have I done?

All of these behaviours are very much manipulated through the filter of TIME. The longer the build up, the anticipation, the fantasy....the greater the excitement, the escape, the satisfaction...


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:02 am 
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Bad weeks. Since my first slip involving porn, my resolve has weakened and I have found it very hard to resist looking for porn (and slipped again a couple of times). I realize i have to refocus and start taking recovery more seriously again. I will try to keep in mind how good it felt to not give into porn for over three months.
Luckily, small consolation perhaps, but I have remained honest and told my wife about my failures. She was understandably furious, but I told her nonetheless.
So anyway: today is a new start.

Lesson 25: Identifying compulsive rituals

I am not sure how this is different from listing the compulsive behaviours broken down in the previous lesson, unless it is just more detailed....but here it goes:

Porn:
#1 I feel some vague feeling of boredom or restlessness.
#2 This makes me generally irritable and cranky, ill at ease
#3 I try and focus my attention on something productive, like housework or creativity, telling myself this will make me feel fulfilled and stop me from bad behaviour
#4 Instead, the activity seems tedious and I drift out of it, OR I complete the activity
#5 Then, I either feel worse because I failed at my activity, OR I feel I deserve a reward because I fulfilled it.
#6 As a result I hang out online, maybe watch a movie or YouTube videos...
#7 In the back of my mind, the idea starts to germinate... this is a critical moment. I am usually aware it is there. I am keeping it at bay. But it is whispering subliminally into my ear... "just a glance... see if there's anything new on the forums...wonder if that video is still online..."
#8 Or more insidiously, the idea is only there as something I DO NOT want to do, some threat I am consciously resisting. In any case, during these stages, I start to experience a tingling in my stomach, faster heartbeat, a rise of tension to my head...
#9 Usually, I give in all of a sudden. Open up a private browser window and within a minute I have already clicked on half a dozen links.
#10 At the same time, the tingling feeling develops into something else. My heart races, there is a feeling of released pressure somewhere in my head, and the feeling in my stomach travels to my penis, I am getting an erection, I start to give in to feelings of pleasure and high tension/stimulation.
#11 I click on many links. Download many files. Look at many girls, consuming these images compulsively and constantly wanting more.
#12 Unless this ritual morphs into another (exhibitionism, online chatting...) I continue searching and downloading files for a while, raising the tension and level of pleasure.
#13 I reach orgasm, someimes to a particularly exciting image, but usually just because I can no longer stand the tension.
#14 I feel guilt and shame. Star cleanup process: I wash myself, erase the files and computer caches/history etc etc.
#15 Often, not too long after, I find my mind drifting back to the images I just saw, and he ritual continues (maybe another once or twice)
#16 After all's over, I tend to fight the despair by trying to rationalise and tell myself it isn't that bad, could be worse, etc etc.

In my latest slip (and on numerous occasions in the past) there are some added steps/triggers:
#1 I am feeling socially awkward among a large group of people that I am finding it hard communicating with
#2 This makes me drink rather more and quicker than I should (which makes it more difficult to resist temptation OR gives me a shitty excuse not to)
#3 And/or I experience a feeling of being alone (because my wife is not here, because people aren't interested in me, don't like me).
#4 Sometimes, doing something transgressive like searching for porn presents itself as an attractive option that gives sense to being alone. ie: I'm alone, so let's make the most of it by doing something I can't do at any other time... (the website motherless.com has the tagline "go ahead, she isn't watching" - this sums it up pretty well)

Trying to identify the specific phases:
1) The beginning: I think it is hard to define....maybe it is the vague feeling that preceeds everything... But at that point, the feelings can take me in a number of different directions, so nothing is set.
2) Point of no return: this is definitely the moment I decide to click on something I KNOW I should avoid. And even more so, the moment I see the first pornographic image. At that point it is definitely too late.
3) The end: cleanup process and rationalisation


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:35 am 
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Good days since I realised I had lost focus. Back on track.

Lesson 26: Mapping Compulsive Rituals

I will focus on the first slip back when my wife was away a month ago, because it is most vivid in my mind.

1) I was feeling bored and restless when I saw the stack of vintage Playboys that we have (because we are selling them)
2) I curiously glanced at a couple and (possibly) felt ever so slightly excited, but not much
3) Somehow the thought entered my mind as to whether we had an issue with a young Brooke Shields in it. There was one issue which had a "sex in cinema" section. I opened it but didn't find anything interesting.
4) But this made me curious, so I researched online about the Brooke Shields Playboy shoots. At first I just read some wiki pages about her, but soon there were pictures and links to more.
5) I think I lose track of time and get lost in my searches.
6) I am getting more and more excited, as I find rarer and rarer photo shoots and rare, forgotten international editions of Playboy with teen nudes from the 70s. This is all very forbidden and exciting. I keep reading and researching.
7) At the same time I justify my behaviour by believing that most of these pictures are not porn, they are art. (Proof: you can find them on a simple Google search)
8) Eventually, I find an Italian website with scans of lots of forgotten erotic mags. It is an ancient site. Very slow. This makes it more exciting because I have to wait between each link...
9) I keep the pics I like in open tabs. Close the rest.
10) To make things more exciting, I print out the issues I like.
11) Maybe I am fantasising about exposing the printed issues to girls... (but I destroy them before this can happen)
12) Finally, after this goes on for several hours, I masturbate to orgasm.
13) I wash my penis. Maybe I took a shower (not sure).
14) I tear up and trash the printed pics. I delete my computer cache and history.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:39 am 
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Lesson 27: Identifying Compulsive Chains

1) An example of simultaneous compulsive rituals:
As I have already mentioned before, the most common overlapping of compulsive rituals for me would be my use/search for porn on the one hand, and exhibitionism on the other.
Years ago, I think I was quite satisfied with just looking for/at porn. I did not feel the need to shock others with it. And then, insidiously, over time, these secondary rituals started to develop: printing out the porn, making sure random girls could see it, walking around with it...or posting it on social networks, contacting random online friends and making an opportunity to throw my garbage at them...
Substance abuse (mainly alcohol) also plays a part. I drink to numb some anxious feelings or to feel more confident socially, and this lowers my barriers and ideas then start appearing in my head. Maybe subconsciously, I am drinking to make the other transgressions possible?
So here is the complex recipe:
- drink
- porn/search/masturbation
- exhibitionism/fantasy (thoughts aroused while looking for people)

2) An example of consecutive rituals:
Usually, it is mostly a matter of repetition. I come down from the first ritual after I have reached orgasm, but then afterwards am reminded of the images I have seen and the chain starts again.
But maybe it is also a way of looking at things, because the porn+ exhibitionism example I've described above is also a consecutive series: I look at porn and THEN look for opportunities to show it to others.... maybe that's how it started off in any case: now the two form a simultaneous system I think.
I have had several other experiences though, but fortunately they have been rare. Once, I looked into a woman's bathroom and saw her showering, then after I finished with that, I exhibited myself to quite another woman... it was as if I was (somewhat self-destructively) looking for the most extreme sensation before I could end the rituals. Luckily, these consecutive rituals have been rare for me. I found them very dangerous.

I have been very busy studying for a possibly life-changing exam, and I realize I haven't given RN enough time. Lately, things have been very good (mainly because of the strong focus I have on this exam) but I did look at porn again today and felt anxious and miserable afterwards. Luckily, I managed to tell my wife.
Anyway, I hope to be doing this more frequently now.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:15 am 
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Lesson 28: Mastering Compulsive Chains

I do not want to spend much time exploring this in depth, as I find lingering on these thoughts can be quite destructive. I have been dealing with (not being dominated by) my compulsions very well lately and I find this sort of exercise risky. Still, I want to continue with the programme after a long break, so here it goes.

As mentioned before: the basic ritual is searching for and downloading obscene images/video. This is the simplest, core ritual: search>view>masturbate>orgasm>cleanup.
Possible enhancements through which I can enhance pleasure:
- I print the images, hoping to exhibit them to someone
- I exhibit the images on social media
- I show them to random females on messenger
- I go to a public print shop, excited, and have the girl print my obscenities
- alcohol increases risk taking > more intense experience
- going to a sex shop and finding excuses to show my images and pretend I took them, try and shock the clerks...

These are some elements. I prefer not to linger on them since I have been doing a really good job of keeping these behaviours out of my life lately. I am looking forward to moving on to other, less sex-focused exercises.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:25 am 
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Lesson 29: the role of emotions

While I lay, eyes closed, I though of when my wife agreed for us to travel together even though we hardly knew each other: that was definitely one of the most joyful moments in my life. Also I imagined he happy, excited, funny, sunny face. These thoughts made me feel good, happy, lucky....but also a little sad to have hurt her. A bit of guilt. Shame. Nostalgia too.
I also thought of the moments I felt your or sad: when my ex left me, when my father nearly died, when I was confronted about hurting my sister, when I hurt my wife most recently and was discovered for THIS...
Some sadness, regrets... But generally, I must admit that the feelings experienced this way were somewhat muted, distant from me, under control. Usually my emotions sweep me away. I think lately I have been learning distance, maybe that's why...
I do briefly imagine giving into compulsive behaviour to counteract some of the regret...but this thought is very distant. I cannot really make myself think it now. It doesn't seem to fit the rest of what I am doing. Of course, maybe I am simply not letting myself really give in to tempting thoughts, but honestly, the attraction is not there today. I am quite content with being on this side of the fence, feeling better about myself, even if the emotional stimulation and reward is not superficially as powerful...

Anxiety. Yes, I have experienced it. Often in social situations, when I am surrounded by people and I don't want to be, don't know how to act, what to say, where to put myself. Mind you, this is rarely the case when I am facing authentically stressful situations (job interviews, exams, dates...) but usually when I am with mundane people, just trying to be normal, to fit in. The most extremely anxious situations I can imagine involve feeling alone and far away, like when I cracked when I was away from my first girlfriend for a couple of weeks and had to cut my holiday short together back home...or more commonly, when my wife ignores me, locks her door, refuses to talk to me: this drives me really wild with bad emotions and make me feel extremely vulnerable and needy...in turn these reactions make me feel weak and ashamed of myself...a sort of vicious circle or chain reaction...
But, again, all of these emotions seem quite distant from me right now. I feel more at peace now than before.


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