Trying for Freedom!

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Tryingto, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    I signed on five days ago and thus far have followed much of the advice offered by others on here, but not this one - no journal. What if I don't keep it every day? What if I relapse? Wait until I have some days under my belt! Blah, blah, blah...

    I am 52 now and have been addicted for the best part of 40 years. Over the last eight years, I've come a long way via the 12 Steps, but have resisted getting honest about images (I use porn substitutes now) and masturbation. Even though there are people in group who do not masturbate, I did not believe this possible until I came here!

    And so now I am at five days. This is long-ish for me, but not the longest (perhaps 12-13 days) streak I've had though these decades. But I'm struggling. Today was a tough day at work. Tonight brought more challenging news from this front. I am full of doubt and self-criticism - and want to act out.

    I'm here instead, reading a few other posts and starting a darn journal even though lots about this act freaks me out. It's getting late so I am going to (1) ready for bed, (2) do a little stretching, (3) read for a while, and then (4) drift off.

    No p (substitutes) for me tonight. No m and no o. Also no fantasy - which has been creeping in through the day. I want to get to 30 days! More later...
  2. Immature

    Immature Fapstronaut

    Welcome! keep fighting the good fight!
    mab65 likes this.
  3. Jerk Reaction

    Jerk Reaction Fapstronaut

    You and I are kind of at the same time level. Your words ring true for me too, although today I had a good day. Hang in there buddy, I am cheering for you!
    mab65 and Darren Wil like this.
  4. Satchi

    Satchi Fapstronaut

    Well done mate. I know how you feel I find public journaling freaky too. I used to go to a 12 step group. I found the taking inventory part really powerful. A lot of great help here as well. All the best.
  5. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Satchi - Thanks for this comment. Your linking of public journalling with taking inventory is very powerful. It makes total sense, though I had never seen it quite this way. I feel a little more relaxed - and a little more motivated - to keep this going.
  6. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Well, I made it through a challenging night. A lot of energy crackling away. A lot of restlessness - tossing and turning, this sort of thing. I fell asleep late and woke up early, but did not pmo. I did spend sometime immersed in fantasy this morning, which is dangerous. But nothing more.

    In part, knowing I was likely going to post in this journal today got me through. Not wanting to admit acting out, to set back to zero days, to shrivel away in shame and self-loathing.

    At some point in last night's / this morning's sleeplessness it occurred to me that all my anxiety and whatnot cannot be laid at the feet of my work. Sure things are intense right now, but this nofap business is also a factor. Sure I have cut back massively on how this addiction manifests in my life. Sure I have had stretches of no pmo before. But I have never really believed that a life without porn (substitutes) and masturbation was possible.

    I'm not suggesting I believe wholly now - but I do believe a bit more and this is bound to have an impact upon my life. Which is probably a bit of what was going on last night. Feeling without all the unusual distraction. And a long term addiction starting to get more than a little bit angry.

    'Give yourself this little bit of understanding,' I think. A small personal kindness that seems a good place to end - for now...
  7. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Okay, time for bed. Feeling a little bit sad and lonely this evening. I'm not too worried about pmo right now, but do have concerns about fantasy. This can become an irresistible soothing blanket in times like this - just wrap myself up and withdraw from the world.

    So I need a plan and here it is: I've got a good book going right now, so I'll read this until I begin to nod off. If I wake, both it and my (very safe) iPod are nearby.

    I have come through another nofap day, however. When today began I did not believe this would be the case. A good reason to feel proud of myself as I cozy up for the night.
  8. Jerk Reaction

    Jerk Reaction Fapstronaut

    I hope you sleep well and get good rest. Hang in there buddy!
  9. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Here I am moving toward the end of Day 7 (thanks for the encouragement to get here Jerk Reaction). I am tired and worn out, but underneath all this feel pretty good. I'm proud of myself for getting to this point. As a recovering addict and abuse survivor this is not a familiar feeling - personal pride.

    I have a few things to take care of before going to bed. I want to let this feeling percolate a bit. So my intention upon crawling under the covers is to do just this. To let myself feel this emerging pride, the fledgling sense of self-worth and value. What a curious experience!
    noFapToTheFuture likes this.
  10. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Here I am in the midst of Day 8.

    I'd describe things as kind of good news / not so good news right now. The good news involves feeling natural arousal for the first time in... Well, for the first time in so long that initially I did not really now what was happening. Typing now I realize it wasn't too far off how I felt during adolescence. I would see a girl and all these feelings would begin swirling about - including an erection. 'What the heck?!?' I used to wonder for a while.

    Pretty much same thing happened today. This and that happened - and then 'What the heck!?!' When I realized what was actually going on (attraction and arousal without p / sub) it was kind of cool. I hadn't realized this addiction had dulled this sort of thing, but I guess it has. Eight days clean of pmo and look what's back!

    So that's the good news. The bad news is I am very tired today having travelled for work and find myself manipulating this newly rediscovered faculty with fantasy. Several times on the plane home I drifted in this direction. Being the biggest hit I've had in days, it was very seductive. So there's something to watch there, something to be careful of.

    But I have made it eight days no pmo. I have been eight days no p (or p substitutes) before. But I really don't think I have been this long without p and m for this long a stretch in many years, perhaps even decades. So cause the be proud (what an amazing declaration for me to make!) - proud and vigilant.
    noFapToTheFuture and Darren Wil like this.
  11. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    It's late and I'm a bit triggered.

    A last minute work-related email check-in brought some uncomfortable / uncertain news. A whole lot of fear, shame and defensiveness has come forward, and I want to soothe myself. For the first time in over a week, my mind is saying, 'Just forget about this nofap business. Give yourself some relief.'

    So I've come here to affirm my intention to stay the course and to lay out a bit of a plan: Bathroom, some reading, then I'll make a hot water bottle (which I am finding very soothing these days!), and head off to bed. No p and no m.
  12. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Well, I have made it to Day Nine.

    Last night was a tough one. Though exhausted, the buzz from cross country travel kept me awake until about five in the morning. The number of times in these wee hours that I considered saying 'To heck with it!' and going the pro route were considerable.

    It was really helpful to recall the advice some people give here - don't even touch yourself. In the past, this has proven a slippery slope into this and that and the other. Having self-contact out of the equation eliminated this easy descent. At about three I put on a movie (Pursuit of Happiness), by five I was out - which allowed me to wake up with my present streak intact.

    This morning I called my 12 Step sponsor and talked things through. He was quite impressed with the series of events and, by conversation's end, I was too. Thus far, this has been one of the biggest benefits of coming here: I feel an appropriate sense of pride and accomplishment. Through earlier streaks it was different: I felt a little like I was holding on for dear life, which really diminished any sense of, 'Hey look what I'm doing!' It's a nice shift.
    Deleted Account likes this.
  13. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Here I am in Day Ten and I just had the most interesting experience.

    As I've mentioned many times, porn substitutes have played a very big role in my pmo addiction. For the last couple years, I have considered the 'Sears Catalogue' quality images I can access online via my strongly filtered computer an improvement on overt pornography.

    Now, maybe in some sense this has been an improvement. Maybe this has been a necessary step for me, an important transition. Recently, however, I have become aware of two things: (1) I have essentially been using these 'non porn' images as porn and (2) this has likely had the same brain effect as overt pornography. Put another way, I became aware I was still in active addiction.

    So for ten days I have been pmo-free - a state in which 'p-free' means no porn or porn substitutes; none of those 'Sears Catalogue' images. I'm really not certain how long it's been since this was true for me.

    A few minutes ago, I was looking for a friend through google. This lead to searching her out through the image function. All innocent enough until... I started to notice that I felt odd in some way. The coffee shop I was in began to recede. Sights and sounds became muffled. A low-grade version of a very familiar buzz pulsed through my body.

    To be clear there was nothing - nothing - overtly charged in what I was looking at. Head shots and smiles, for the most part. The effect on both body and mind, however, was very charged. It was my old friend addiction and dissociation coming back with notable strength. I was shocked!

    I quickly left that part of the search engine and moved on to other tasks. I do feel bit shaken in the aftermath, however. Apparently this is something else that requires attention and care.
  14. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    My counter says 11 Days today - hooray!

    This in itself is a pretty good marker of progress, one of which I have the rare sense of feeling proud about. This is a curious experience: 'proud'. If you had asked me twelve days ago if I knew what 'proud' felt like, I'd say 'Sure.' Now, however, I'm not so sure. I'm not actually certain I have ever felt this way - appropriately proud about something I am doing. Curious...

    In other news, I just completed a massive work project. Literally less than ten minutes ago I sent off the final email for this. Whoosh! And then I wanted to act out.

    I have heard many people over the years say that feeling good can be as big a trigger as feeling lousy with this addiction. Lots have linked a sense of 'job well done' with 'I'm due a reward' with acting out. I have seen this in myself a few times - but always after the fact, always after I relapse. In this instance, though, I noticed it within seconds. Like a couple jam band songs morphing into one another: 'I'm due a reward.' > 'I want to act out.'

    What is interesting and affirming to me is what happened next. I did a bit of tidying up, made a cup of tea and sat down here to write. Admittedly this is being done in part to avoid pmo - fair enough. It is also, however, being done because I want to.

    While I was quite resistant to start a journal here and have no idea who - if anybody - reads these words, I like doing this. More specifically, I like doing this rather than acting out. It feels good in a grounded, no big deal kind of way. And it seems to strengthen that foreign feeling noted above: appropriately proud.

    So here I am. I just completed a massive work project a few minutes ago. I do feel like this deserves a bit of acknowledgement / reward - and sitting here with my cup of tea typing away is exactly this. I also want to tackle the dishes that have gone unwashed and do a few other household chores. And perhaps do some reading before dinner.

    All are rewards for a job well done - and more. As a recovering addict and abuse survivor whose sense of personhood has been profoundly distorted by these things, it also seems important to acknowledge that these healthy activities are happily engaged acts of personal care.
  15. vxlccm

    vxlccm Fapstronaut

    This quote from your "New to NoFap" post stuck out to me...

    Lots of us have had these issues. You are in the right place to discuss them and to work on achieving a goal of a whole different life that is a more rewarding experience based on meaningful things.

    I've also struggled with that we around here call psubs or pornography substitute images. Not only do many of us not want to do that, we have found our relationships improve by eliminating that behavior. Similar issues are ogling women or entertaining fantasies about things. A big part of the problem there is it can lead to more downfall into P use (pron / pornography), and begin a worsened downward spiral of shame, helplessness, and emptiness.

    For me, personally, I've found it possible to clean house in the mind and get a lot of those thoughts out. Sure, things come up on the random, and certainly more often when you're confronted more often, but there are ways to not "entertain" those unproductive and detrimental thoughts. Stick around and keep talking and you'll find evidence from within your own self that there is a better life waiting for you, as well.
    Indigo and Deleted Account like this.
  16. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    After a couple of weeks, vxlccm, I am already beginning to see the evidence you speak of.

    I have been in recovery for sex addiction for about eight years now. My 'back breaker' vice was chatlines and chatrooms. These seemed to gateway that lead to a whole other level of acting out - a tortured, anxious, self-hating, miserable, life denying level of acting out. My years in recovery have done wonders for this situation and more.

    What NoFap seems to be adding to this mix is something that allows me to acknowledge and meet the continuing effects of psubs and masturbation. I'm not sure what it is about this place - the explicit pmo focus? the 24/7 accessibility? the chance to read and write about this stuff in such intimate and ongoing ways? all of these? - but it is helping me do some things I have, to date, not been able to realize elsewhere:
    1. I have not masturbated in twelve days (a near adult record),
    2. I have not looked at psubs in this same length of time (a definite adult record).
    3. I feel good about myself and my life (what!?!).

    So many thanks for the support, acknowledgement, and encouragement.

    All of these are life savers for sure!
  17. vxlccm

    vxlccm Fapstronaut

    So glad that your experiment is working, approaching records and all ! :)

    I'd completely say it's the focus on P that makes it so much better. Aside from the specific individuals in our community that are awesome. I'm here because of certain people as well... too numerous to embarrass by name, but you'll meet nearly all of them, no doubt. Secondly, here in 40+ we do talk a lot about psubs, and I've felt that's vital for me, personally.

    Keep up the slog, sir. Not always easy. But, very possible, and very worth it. Stay out of all that risky behavior. Only hell awaits not too many steps after P. That's why we're cutting it out. Not so much because the thing is evil, but because we've found it to create a bad influence within. More good news is you'll end up finding lots of meaningful things that you prefer.
  18. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Day Twelve - I remember when I knew I was addicted to something. I was sixteen and I was masturbating a lot - multiple times every day. I decided to stop for a month, but couldn't. So I decided to stop for two weeks, but couldn't. I could not do one week. I could not do five days. I could not do a weekend. In frustration, I decided this was my fate and masturbated six or seven times one day.

    Things have come a very long way since then. This addiction has progressed and, in fits and starts over the last number of years, receded. Twelve days without p / psubs or m, however, is still a major achievement for me. In fact, it is nearing the territory of a personal record.

    Perhaps a half dozen times in my adult life I have been here before: ten days, twelve days, fourteen days without pmo. Then I falter and relapse. There is something about this timeline that really challenges me and I can feel these challenges creeping in right now. I think about sex a bit more. My eyes linger of images that cross my path. I have been having erotic recall about past partners and so on...

    I want to ride all of this out and see what happens. I want to hold steady where in the past I have faltered and learn what waits on the 'other side'. In many ways, I have been the kid I describe above for a very long time - the one who surrenders to this horrible fate and masturbates because there's nothing else. I want to give this kid a chance to grow and learn there is, in fact, something else. I want to make it to Day Thirteen.
    noFapToTheFuture and vxlccm like this.
  19. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Thirteen days - wow!

    I cannot recall what my personal best is regarding no porn / psubs and no masturbation. Though such stretches have been relatively rare through the years, their actual duration is pretty hazy. This said, I am pretty darn confident that fourteen days - two weeks, tomorrow - is the longest I have gone as an adult. So tomorrow is an exciting (but let's not make it too exciting) day!

    This said, I am feeling pretty challenged right now. An evening exchange with my SO left me feeling pretty triggered and all I want to do now is... The silver lining in this is how clearly I am seeing this dynamic right now. I really just want to crawl under a rock and edge to psubs (which is all I can get on my filtered computer).

    To be clear, I am not saying I am going to do this - but I sure do feel like it. After that interaction with my partner I feel hurt and scared and lonely. Not knowing what to do about this, I feel this urge to turn in the direction of those 'old friends'.

    What is different tonight versus all those other nights, is I know more strongly than ever that those 'friends' are not actually friends at all. They are fiends. They are this addiction leaning into one ear and saying all the 'right' things: 'You deserve this.' 'You've been treated badly.' 'This will take away the sting.' 'Just once won't hurt anybody - and you don't have to tell!'

    What is different tonight versus all those other nights is the feeling I have deep in my bones. While the addiction whispers away, this feeling feels me I have to get through this. I have to ride this evening out. I have to resist the temptation is pmo because there's something waiting on the other side. Something waiting in fourteen or fifteen or thirty days. Something I have been missing and been longing for. And something I will only discover by staying clean.

    Thirteen days - yes, wow! I am aiming for one more...
  20. Tryingto

    Tryingto Fapstronaut

    Well folks, with fourteen days porn, porn sub and masturbation free I am pretty certain I have hit a new personal best. The last time I was simultaneously free of all three of these for this length time was likely back in the pre-teen era. That is some forty years ago.

    As I type this last sentence, I suddenly feel very sad. This is something that's been coming up a lot today - a deep and bruising sense of sorrow, perhaps even grief. So much time lost to this addiction. So much life lost under it's influence.

    I've been remembering a long ago girlfriend these past couple days. I think part of this has been motivated by addiction. With no porn, no porn subs and no masturbation, thinking and memory is this habit's main outlet these days. So I have been remembering an ex-girlfriend and part of this seems like erotic recall. A desperate attempt to get some kind of hit.

    But there's more to this than addiction. I've been remembering how much I liked her - how interesting she was, how different from myself, and how part of me really wanted to know this difference, to know her. I never did, however. I never got the chance to know her because almost every single minute we spent together was coloured with my attempts to act out. Looking for ways to sneak away. Looking for hints that she might be into it. Looking for and looking for and - never really seeing or connecting with her.

    There's a real sadness around this tonight. So much time lost, so much life lost to this particular addiction. And, of course, this is only my sense of things. What was her experience of our time together? How did my actions impact her? I hope not too badly. I hope any adverse impact did not last. I hope she's doing well now. And I hope, at some level, she can feel that I really did like her - I just didn't know how to live this.

    So I am fourteen days sober - a new personal best. While I am very clear that I am doing this work for myself and very proud of having reached this marker, I'd like to dedicate this accomplishment to her. With profound appreciations for being in my life. And profound apologies for meeting her through the filter of addiction, only through the distorted filter of addiction.

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