40 Years Old and Trying to Unwire

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by CJLove, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. CJLove

    CJLove New Member

    Day 1

    First timer to these boards, and first post since joining today.

    Quick background - married male, dad of 2 little ones, been exposed/addicted to porn since I was in my mid teens. Only came to light that this was a real problem in my 30s, when my then-girlfriend/now-wife found my stache of clips and asked me WTF before melting down and having a massive blowout crying session. Never anything extreme, in fact more turned on by the "softer core" higher end studio porn, and haven't ever experienced the escalating drive to find harder and harder stuff to please me.

    Fast forward a number of years since that, have seen multiple therapists, done a lot of research on the addiction, and had some nice runs at abstinence, including a few 90 and 120 day Windows....the last of which was 36 days, that ended last week, after which I've had sputters of on-and-off windows of 2-3 days but can't get farther than that. Classics symptoms of the addiction - ED, gawking at girls, view the world in a sexualized manner, not turned on by my wife - check the boxes and I'm your guy.

    Bottom line - I'm here because I need help, I can't go this road solely alone, and while I've made progress I need more assistance to take it to the next level.

    My wife and I have so many issues to deal with, this is just one, but the bottom line is telling her the latest on my situation won't do any good right now - we have no connection or intimacy on any level and this will just further wreck the few strands that are keeping us together (for sake of the kids). More to explain on that later.

    So I'm here to offer help and be helped....I know the benefits of abstinence and rebooting because I've been there and happy to share. I know how good it feels to stay away and almost feel your brain start to rewire and purge away the disgusting porn visuals. I'm happy to share the good experiences and lessons I've had, and to learn from others.

    I need this desperately - can you help me?
     
  2. Hello CJ,
    First, welcome to YBR... you have come to the right place. We are a bunch or people very similar to you who share, work on staying clean and help each other.

    I am 100% certain others will have much more to offer from a help stand point since I have been struggle myself. What I can offer is my support and encouragement.

    This is how I see it... there are hundreds of thousands of guys out there who struggle with this addiction and either do not know it or will not admit it. You have done the difficult part and first step to admit it and ask for help. PLUS you know you can do it!!!!!!! I would LOVE to have some of the success you have had in the past. And I know you can do it again!

    So for now, keep moving forward, posting on your journal and reading other journals. For me this is more of a complete recovery rather than just abstaining from PMO... as an author I frequently read puts it: "every journal towards something is a journal away from something".

    Peace and God bless brother,
    GMS
     
  3. Nofapado

    Nofapado Active Member

    CJ you are right indeed that you can't go it alone. We need other people. My hope for you is that you are here for change and not relief.

    Welcome!
     
  4. CJLove

    CJLove New Member

    Day 2

    No slips the last 24 hours - thankfully. Many more days ahead, with undoubtedly more challenge.

    Thanks Nofapado and GMS for the kind words and support. You're right - admitting to the problem is the first big hurdle, then understanding it fully and appreciating how difficult it is to overcome it is the next phase. I feel good in that I have a handle on all of that....what is so frustrating is that i KNOW how beneficial it is to stay away, how GREAT it is to go long bouts (ideally forever) without diving back into this mess, yet somehow, someway it is nearly impossible to do so. I guess this is where the primitive part of the brain takes over control from the logical part....

    To me, the primary driver comes down to BOREDOM. I have done so many things to shut down the usual triggers - using as a mean to cure frustration/stress (with wife, work, family otherwise)....using the computer (I only use the phone now)....using at various times of the day - in the morning, during a break at work, etc.

    However, my pattern simply falls into finding an hour or two in the evening, when everyone in my household is asleep, busting out the iPhone when I'm bored, and just going to town. Its too late to do many productive things at that stage - e.g. exercise, heavy projects/work, going outside, etc....so I find up slipping back into the trip of turning on the phone....and the rest is history. My mind is bored to tears at that time of night, and I just immediately go to porn to fill that void.

    I've got to find a more productive use for that "dead time" and I also need to ideally get the iPhone in a place where I wont use it. I know that wont completely solve the problem, but it will certainly help. Any suggestions would be welcome.

    My second issue is something I'm reading about here, and this one could be worse than the porn - its the wiring to my own touch...aka the 'death grip' that others here talk about. I've masturbated for so long the same way that I wonder how anything/anyone else possibly give me the same sensation or pleasure? More recently I've tried to use the opposite hand, which really is a good barometer as to how well my reboots are working, as if I can get progress with the opposite hand I know that the sensation is starting to come back. To me, I think the death grip is a problem way worse than the porn - I'm so used to feeling sensation a certain way/pattern, that regardless of the stimulus (artificial, screen, real life, etc) its hard for anyone else or any other method to compare.

    So those are the latest questions I have as I start this journalling process. As always, I appreciate any and all feedback and thoughts.
     
  5. Hello CJ,
    Great work getting to Day 2 and coming back. I totally understand the boredom statement. I try to fill those times with reading books (paper not in the Nook or iPad). Trouble is some of the novels I read can have triggers.

    One think that 40New30 has been pushing me to do and I have not yet is get a good lock (like K9) on ALL my devices. This for sure would have been another defense against my last slip. This is such a secretive addiction finding someone to trust with the K9 password is difficult for me. I also think the secretiveness with this addiction only adds to the difficult to overcome it. My alcoholism was much easier to recover then PMO.

    Regards,
    GMS
     
  6. Jam

    Jam Active Member

    A lot you wrote resonates with me. Boredom is a killer for me - or has been. Getting ready to hit the road again and I am terrified as boredom is such a huge part of that. I also find that down time at nights a danger zone. Right now, I am trying to think about it differently. I am thinking about my brain craving dopamine - rather than wanting to look at porn. It seems to help right now.

    The sad thing is I think the PMO has increased my boredom, in that things I used to enjoy like reading, or watching movies do not hold the same appeal. The good news seems to be that you have identified a key danger zone for you. Since I share that one, I'd love to hear what strategies you come up with to deal with it. If I find any magic bullets, I'll pass them along.
     
  7. CJLove

    CJLove New Member

    Days 3-8

    Had a really nice run....until tonight. No porn, no masturbation, no orgasm, nothing. Had that typical "5-7 abstinence high" that kicked in on Thursday and I was feeling great. Everything was good.

    Until tonight.

    Sitting by myself as my family is asleep upstairs, I watch a great movie on TV, need to pause it to take a break to go to the bathroom, peak at my phone as I get back and all of a sudden the urges overwhelm me,
    I'm searching and scanning and the next thing you know I'm 2 hours into porn and masturbation.

    How awful this addiction is! It just sneaks up on you suddenly out of the blue and crushes you. Awful!!

    I'm not going to let it get me down and I'm going to post more frequently now as I know the days after a slip can lead to a tailspin which is NOT what I want. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm way better than I used to be and focus on the small steps, what was now 8 days of abstinence has to be a helluva lot longer this next time around.

    I feel awful, the shame and guilt and hopelessness are heavy and strong and i feel powerless given this sudden and random slip. Gotta try to refocus and get back on the wagon....
     
  8. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Hi, CJLove. Jam mentioned that P is the cause of boredom and I think that is bang on. Many, if not most, on here have lost interest in almost everything. I had to fast forward through every movie and my book reading became virtually nil. Before, I was a movie nut and I LOVED reading. Everything took a back seat to my P use. Even when my children told me about amazing things they were doing I struggled to feel proud of them, or be interested in it. On an intellectual level I appreciated what they were doing, but emotionally I. felt. nothing! This felt worse than not feeling anything for my wife, because I had already decided that my wife had wrecked my life and that she was a narcissistic bitch. Yowzer, but I was a sick puppy! :p

    Here's the good news, no, the great, fantastic, amazing, scintillating, heart warming, fabulous, news: we can get our lives back. We can become fully plugged into our amazing trip on this awesome planet. We can have fully functioning penises that jump to attention for our wives. If you still love your wife, and I think you do, then you can rediscover how wonderful it is to make love with her again and to feel your lips together. WooHoo! :D You're staying together for the kids? Well, you might find that you're staying together for the love.

    You've had a couple of good streaks, so congrats on that. But, they're in the past and now is now. As addicts our accomplishments of staying away from P don't count for much after we've caved. Today, we MUST not yield. Your resolve has to be for today and future days, not using the past as some kind of measuring stick. Right now you are a different man than in the past. You are probably more addicted. It's like yo-yo dieting. Lose weight, then gain more back. Sad, but true, in my estimation.

    Tip: Do NOT use your hands to MO. Hands desensitize the dick. The death grip is aptly name, as it kills our cock. At the beginning I used a soft blanket and didn't let my hands touch my dick. But, now I'm committed to not MO'ing at all. Rebooting means just staying away from down there and having sex only with a real person. I was in a sexless marriage where we both hated each other. Giving up PMO and MO has changed all that. Turns out my wife was a pretty good choice all those years ago.

    Ditch the shame and guilt and keep posting - everyday!
     
  9. Jam

    Jam Active Member

    CJL - I am so new at this, I don't have advice from much experience. But something the Ruggerdog wrote to me has made a ton of sense. He talks of getting the right mindset to this. You have to really want it and then put a plan in place to execute it. There is no one way to do this - so below is just how I would have viewed your situation if it was me - because that was exactly me, more times than I can count. It was me to a T.

    Sitting by myself while everyone else is asleep - That is a flashing red light - doesn't matter what 'constructive thing I am doing. It is a huge warning sign - BEWARE. I sometime struggle sleeping, so it is a real issue, but I am only going to be there kicking and screaming. Instead now, I might be lying next to my wife with earbuds in listening to music. I might shower. I might log on here and read or write. I know that no matter how great I feel in the moment, that scenario - me alone while house is asleep is super-dangerous.

    Checking cell phone - my phone is off and put away (unless in airplane mode while I listen to music), as is my computer - I can pull it out in an emergency and log on here - that is it. I'm struggling with books and movies right now, so I listen to music. For me that would have been two red flags.

    I also have filters on my phone and computer. I don't know or have the passwords. The goal for me is to put as much distance between between the sudden urge and the ability to act on it as possible. I love that quote, "between stimulus and response there is a space and in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." My goal right now is to ut as much space between that stimulus and response. I want to make it hard to get access to porn.

    Not meaning to lecture at all. I am only 16 days in now. I haven't accomplished jackshit yet - but your scenario sounded like it could have been me. You seem to want out - I desperately want out. As dumb as it sounds, the little things help me. I'm laying out my plan for my road trip and it is going to sound so dumb to some people, but I need help. I have to have a plan and a lot of that has to do with this stimulus and response.

    Press on brother. It is a new day. We are all here. We are all walking the road. We fall. We get back up. We hug. We move on. Your life is so much bigger than that moment last night. Make a plan and work your plan. Keep coming here. I've been amazed at how supportive these real-life strangers and virtual friends are in such short time for me.
     
  10. CJLove

    CJLove New Member

    Day #9

    And THAT is why I joined this site.

    Jam and Saville, your comments were eye opening and very insightful. You are totally right that it's not really the phone or the triggers that are my issue, it's putting myself in the environment to even encounter those triggers that is the problem. Huge piece of enlightenment there, as will be the changes required to basically go to sleep when everyone else does and/or put the phone in another room or on lockdown. But really a nice perspective on how to make meaningful change happen there.

    I totally agree on the MB being the worst issue for me. It has really killed and numbed my dck, to the point that if I couldn't MB but still saw hot women, porn, whatever stimulus I don't think I'd have this issue (not that I'll be trying that experiment). My member feels like a soft sponge when I do these binges and its deflating (literally!). However I also know that during bouts of abstinence the feeling and sensation starts to come back. So progress is possible - I just need to really get the plan in place to make it happen.

    Yesterday was a good day, avoided all triggers, spent time with family and friends, and booked an appointment with a therapist that I haven't seen in months, who knows about my problem and who I can talk to about it. My goal tonight is to do just as you guys suggested and just withdraw completely from the triggering environment - wish me luck!
     
  11. Jam

    Jam Active Member

    We are here with you - and I'll wish you strength rather than luck. Reading that previous entry of yours, I was reading so many random nights from my life. There may come a time where I don't have to be so strict with myself and my access to the internet - but during this reboot I know myself too well. I'm innocently watching a movie, or reading some news story and a thought pops up - likely not even full on P - so I take just one quick look before getting back to what I was watching. Yeah right!

    Anyway, glad you are here and facing the issues. Keep walking forward. We've seen others do it. We can do it. But as has been said, we have to really want it and that means before we PMO not in the guilt afterwards. Honored to be on the road with you.
     
  12. CJLove

    CJLove New Member

    Thanks Jam. You're exactly right in that I feel like I've come so far and CONSCIOUSLY remain pretty vigilant most of the time in avoiding the triggers (thanks to many reboot episodes....I do think that progress from the past is not all for naught...it does help one learn and cope), but that one random episode...one random picture....one random moment of boredom can throw things into an instant tailspin.

    I appreciate the support and will continue to post more regularly.
     
  13. Tony74

    Tony74 Guest

    Just here saying that I admire your courage and strength for making this decision. Your off to a great start. Wishing you all the best.

    One day at a time...
     
  14. Hello CJLove,
    Just want to say great work so far and thanks for sharing. Your journal is a help to me.


    GMS
     
  15. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    As many have said you are off to a great start. Woo Hoo!! :D
     
  16. CJLove

    CJLove New Member

    Day 10

    Consciously worked hard to avoid triggers and traps today, the toughest being up at night watching the presidential debate by myself. Actually turned my phone off during the program and put it in another room, which helped. However, I've tried similar measures before and given into temptation, but this time, with the help of this board and keeping abstinence top of mind, I really worked to not break down. It wasnt easy, but it also wasnt a "white knuckle" effort. 43 out of the last 50 days have been P free. Not perfect, maybe a C+/B- grade at best, but progress...
     
  17. Hello CJ,
    I think looking at it as 43 of the last 50 days P free is a very good way to look at it. And it is a great accomplishment! By looking at it this way, it will help from falling into a long extended binge. Of course we need to live free of PMO but 43 out of 50 is at least a B in my books!

    You are doing great!

    GMS
     
  18. Jam

    Jam Active Member

    I second GMS' comment. That is a great way to keep perspective on this. You are definitely headed in the right direction. Great job in turning off your phone and putting it in the other room. I really believe that if we just create a little space, often that is enough. I'm giving you an A, but only one day at a time. :)

    You are right that at some point putting the phone away may not be enough, somewhere down the road you may give in. This is where 'one day at a time' comes in. Don't worry about that point down the road. That is the brain trying to convince you to give in right now (it is a clever devil). All you have to do is say no, now. What happens tomorrow or the next day is a whole different deal. Sounds like you said no, last night - that is awesome. Sorry to be on a soap box about this, but this insight has really been a huge break for me - My brain wants dopamine. I don't have to resist this urge for 90 days or the rest of my life. I just need to resist it right now. I can do that. You did that!

    If you haven't installed a filter like K9, I would strongly recommend it. There are work-arounds to that - but like putting the phone in the other room, it just creates a little more space. Like you observed, it requires willpower - but not the total white-knuckle affair so many of us have experienced. Awesome job - keep it rolling.
     
  19. CJLove

    CJLove New Member

    Coming back on here after a few months away.....the bulk of which were "decent"....I'll give myself a "B-" grade over the last few months in terms of staying vigilant, avoiding porn and masturbation for the bulk of each week.....but the escalation back into the urges, and the increased regularity of using has picked up over the last month -- it has me VERY concerned.

    A particular incident last night pushed me back into a VERY dark place - which almost felt like ROCK BOTTOM - and that has me here today. I'd rather not disclose the nature of it here - its very embarrassing and has me feeling particularly shameful (no one caught/saw me using, no one knows for the better....its just something that has me feeling very angry and pissed at myself).

    So I'm back to pick up where I left off, and to get back to regular postings, EVEN IF the posts are a journal of a slip, or a screw up. Better to post the bad with the good, then to not post at all. I tend to withdraw once I get into a tailspin, and that is the complete OPPOSITE of what I need to do at that time!

    I'm going to start small this time around. I have a goal of staying sober for 20 days, as I have a special occasion at the end of that timeframe....and it is my milestone to hit that target.

    The same triggers are killing me, except there are now new ones:

    -- Phone not left in separate room (old)
    -- Boredom (old)
    -- Kids/wife asleep, I'm alone (old)
    -- Too late at night to combat boredom by doing anything productive/physical (e.g. working out, cleaning, major tasks)
    -- Insomnia bouts in the middle of the night, hard to get back to sleep, boredom + phone around (NEW, and TOUGH)

    I know the traps, but I often feel powerless to combat them. Looking for any help and guidance to get me back on the wagon and fighting the good fight again!
     
  20. CJ, glad you're back. Interesting comment about the phone. I've never had any urge to check P out on a small screen so, thank God, the phone has never been a conduit. It's the laptop. And, yes, having in the bedroom (I'm single now, so alone) used to be a real issue. I'm thankfully at a point now where I have no real desire to view P at all. Yes, I have trigger moments frequently (humorous videos on YouTube, hot actresses, mainstream talk about porn, etc.) but I'm finally able to process the triggers and realize they are just tempting me to do something that I know the outcome of: self-loathing and disgust with myself. Took me a good 15 years to finally crack that code and start practicing what I know. The point is, it sounds like you know what you need to do...so act on it. Develop a plan for success. Eventually the desire to stay clean will outweigh the desire to use. The insomnia issue you point out was a real problem for me too...still is actually although i'm sleeping much better these last 100+ days. But, yeah, the night and it's temptations were always the hardest part of the day to get through. So maybe find a way deal with having that phone available. The lure of the phone may very well be fueling the insomnia.
     

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