2 years of sobriety- My journey in finding self-acceptance and inner peace

Discussion in 'Ages 20-24' started by Freedom from Servitude, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    I had a near miss Friday evening. I was on the borderline of relapsing. After finishing my extended working hours, I was very tired and found myself procrastinating on the computer. I was tempted to watch a documentary on social media with triggering material in it. Bad idea. I reached out to my sponsor sensing that I was in a dangerous situation. But I was stuck in a rut, and just couldn't bring myself to leave my desk. I found myself typing in the name of a porn star on Youtube. My heart pounded and I had a full on erection. Fortunately, nothing explicit came up in the thumbnails. At this point, I decided that a relapse was simply not worth the consequences and closed the internet window. I survived in this case, but only through the skin of my teeth.

    It is the latest in a series of misses lately. They point that I have been relaxed in handling trigger situations and that I am not meeting my needs.

    In the case of Friday's events, I felt triggered to act out because I have been working hard filling in for my boss while she is on holiday. I hadn't had a proper weekend off in a while. I also had just finished working extended hours on Friday. My need to recuperate and restore balance was not being met. Under those circumstances cravings are like excess steam that is released when a machine is under too much pressure.

    For the past two days, I have been listening to my feelings have given myself the rest and relaxation that I need. I spent a lovely day with a friend walking in the countryside yesterday and am putting my feet up today. I am also due to go on holiday next week. I am severing my ties of the past and moving forward. Life is on the up
     
  2. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    I went on holiday last week and was surrounded by women wearing very little in hot weather. I found it a challenge to keep my eyes off them. I did, and I had a great time for the most part. Spending time with the family brought out my insecurities. I blamed myself when the conversation ran dry and for not finding things to say. Actually, I am quite a good conversationalist, it was just, as is often the case, my brothers and sister were just content to stay at the level of casual chit chat and childish humour. My therapist told me that this is pretty normal for families, and she was absolutely right. She suggested that my expectations were too high. That struck a chord, however, obvious it seems. Always I endeavour to remind myself that I am perfect for the unique individual that I am. I strive to give myself the self love I deserve.

    I found myself in another trigger situation last night when I was tempted to watch a drama with sex scenes in it. I was genuinely interested in the drama for its historical setting, but, if I am being honest, the prospect of seeing sex scenes was what motivated me more to watch it. It is another example of how I have been 'pushing the envelope' to see how much I can get away with lately. I am using this as a checkpoint to reevaluate my whole strategy. Something isn't working and if I am not careful I will come crashing down. This is how relapse starts. The definition of what becomes acceptable gradually expands and before you know it you are opening a porn site.

    What was interesting was that I did not feel triggered to go and look for porn and masturbate. I did not experience a dopamine rush either. Without doubt all of these things would have happened two years ago. I was just fine, like I imagine any non addicted person would be if they saw those scenes. I have been feeling strong all day. This makes me feel that something has changed physiologically in my brain since the old days. Healing is too much of a simplification, the inner addict will always be there, but change has taken place. However, I am not using that as a licence for complacency. In future, I must avoid trigger situations whenever I can if I am to keep on my path of recovery.

    I have yet to fully investigate why I have been struggling lately. However, I feel that waning motivation has a lot do with it. I have been chasing after an outdated vision of sobriety that I dreamt of in the days where I was firmly within the grip of this addiction. I hoped that, by now at nearly hitting the two year mark, I would feel great and at peace within myself. Undoubtedly, I have gained so much by kicking porn and masturbation out of my life. However, I still feel empty, and I experience a lot of pain with my anxiety and depression. When I am triggered, the lack of sexual pleasure can be seen as a big price to pay for marginally better mental health. So it is time to go back to basics and develop a realistic vision for my life in recovery. I can also do with an example to look up to who has managed gone through similar challenges as me and has managed to push through them to reach as place of satisfaction in their life. There aren't many stories of guys around here who have been at recovery as long as I have. At my SA group, I have the longest standing sobriety. No matter, I shall have to make do. I choose to give compassion to myself for last night and acknowledge that I will mistakes, however, hard I try not to. I am imperfect and so will be my journey of recovery. Here is to hitting 2 years of no porn and masturbation!
     
  3. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    It has been over a month since I last posted, so its time for another update. I have now hit 2 years of no PMO and MO. It hasn't been a perfect journey and I have come close to relapsing a few times, but I haven't crossed the line I set for myself. For that I am really proud of myself.

    My experiences of the past few months have reinforced my conclusion that we never truly heal from the addiction.It will always be there waiting to strike when we are feeling weak. I have had strong cravings to act out over the past few days, and was just an inch away from a relapse before I managed to talk myself out of a dangerous situation I found myself in. The cravings came back with a vengeance last night. I didn't do anything to antagonise them but that just seems to be the way at the moment.

    I am certain that there is a connection between general internet browsing and cravings to act out. Both activities stimulate the reward centre in the brain and cause the release of dopamine. Even if I don't encounter a trigger on a website, if I scroll down for too long, I am inclined to feel cravings. Anyway, I feel that I have managed to contain the situation by calling one of my SA fellows, and by reading motivational videos and stories.

    I still experience a general feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction. Some on here would describe it as the flatline, but at two years, I feel that I am way beyond that. I can't put my finger on what is missing, but I am determined to keep looking and I am sure that I will find it. I think adjusting what I do in my spare time will help me to feel more satisfied. I still go to Toastmasters, and see my friends, but at home I think that there is room for more productive activities that boost self esteem. Examples I have in mind are story writing and drawing. I have been getting my teeth into a fiction novel lately, and I am really enjoying it.

    Increasingly, I see now that the next stage of my recovery now lies in a relationship with a woman. Although I have fantasised for years about getting a girlfriend, I have procrastinated on it in equal measure. I am frightened, yet for the first time in a while, I actually feel willing to confront my fears and do something about it. The question is how to go about finding someone. I don't meet many women in my age group, and I feel a bit uncomfortable about online dating. The latter might just be the only option available to me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018 at 1:00 PM
  4. Lifeisbeautiful

    Lifeisbeautiful Active Member

    Your words give me hope and strength.
     
  5. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks, Lifeisbeautiful. This is not an easy journey but it is so worth it. How are you doing?
     
  6. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    I feel that I have an addictive relationship with my computer. Another potential area of abuse is my smart phone, now that I have one. I have had the day off work today and I have done nothing but laze about, catching up with TV and surf news websites and social media.

    That wouldn't be problem if I enjoyed it. But I don't. I feel unfulfilled and unmotivated, not too dissimilar from when I used to relapse to porn long ago. It only saps away time away from activities that are more rewarding and build my self confidence

    I feel that I would enjoy my spare time more if I occupied my attention doing other things. The TV and its computer has its place, but it is best when it is used in moderation. Right now, I can't trust myself to use them responsibly. I knew I wanted to do other stuff this afternoon like go for a walk in the sunshine, and read, but I couldn't motivate myself to get out of my chair. I was a slave to the dopamine trail.

    Time to treat this seriously as an addiction on the same level as my addiction to porn. I am going to put together a plan of action and get some accountability for those plans on here and in the SA fellowship.
     
  7. jack91

    jack91 Find your way throuh Staff Member

    I am envy about SAA. They sure sound great. I have similar problems than you. I bought game i love and just like that i can lost +6 hours a day in there. Dont know what i should replace it with. To be honest im kinda tired of 'trying ' all the time. Maybe i play games for now.
     
  8. Lifeisbeautiful

    Lifeisbeautiful Active Member

    "That wouldn't be problem if I enjoyed it. But I don't. I feel unfulfilled and unmotivated, not too dissimilar from when I used to relapse to porn long ago. It only saps away time away from activities that are more rewarding and build my self confidence "
    I can so much relate to it. I think addiction to porn and internet (read stimulation) go hand in hand. I too spend a lot of time online on completely useless activities. This means even if I don't relapse, I am setting the stage for one.
     
  9. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks for commenting guys, great to get a dialogue going

    My little group in the city near where I live is brilliant. I'll admit I started to doubts about my place within SA as a non-religious individual because the 12 step movement puts so much emphasis on faith. I felt out of place because many of my fellows in the locality and throughout the UK kept going on about the Christian church and God. This is at odds with the way that I perceive the world. In my opinion, with the programme's emphasis on individual powerlessness and faith in a higher power, it can be easy to downplay the power of our own choices in deciding the outcomes of our lives. So much of my recovery has been based on learning from people online in communities like this. That's a very rational process. If you want to achieve something it helps to learn from the experienced. I still don't see Gods hand in my recovery.

    I agree completely. I am convinced that it is not good for our brains. I am not too bad during the week when I have work. Not having that many hours in the evening to waste away helps :) but I am better at making the choice to engage in other activities like yoga and reading. It is when I have my days off and I haven't got any social commitments that I tend to crash in front of the computer.

    When I can be motivated to put it in place, I find planning my computer use in advance and timing my activities can really help in curbing my screen time. You just have to be disciplined in fighting the temptation to deviate from that plan.
     

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