Guys I need help with P-substitute

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by Fenix Rising, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

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    I developed serious substitute addiction to screens during current 5 months in monk mode. I know it sounds exaggerated, but it's not much better than daily binge PMO sessions. Being in monk mode is hard enough (after nearly 20 years of binge MO and PMO addiction), I feel like I don't have willpower to cut off my computer to and I basically can't do it completely as my work is PC use related. I tried to moderate it, but just like it was with PMO, it seems I can't control it. I spend hours and hours, sometimes whole afternoon, mindlessly watching YT , browsing news media etc. It feels as compulsive as browsing for porn and binge PMOing. I'm becoming more and more anxious about life prospects, guilt, shame, lost years and I try to escape the tension by this behaviour. I'm literally dragged to it. I don't even like it, but I still do it like on autopilot. I do exercise and try to meditate/pray on daily basis and it helps to a degree but peace of mind doesn't last long.

    I have become so so anxious last days. I have to go to mountain hut with good old friends this weekend and to cousin's wedding the weekend after. I should be looking forward to it but I'm terrified without any apparent reason except social anxiousness. I see it clearly now that binge PMO was my way to numb my anxieties/fears. I "used" it for so, so long that now I literally can't function without it. I browsed back my forum posts from year 2018 and I noticed that I experienced exactly the same overwhelming anxiousness last time I did long term monk mode. Around 175 days I was a total mess and relapsed soon after (around 200 days in I think). I feel like I'm in the hellish never ending loop. I just can't repeat the same mistake again when relapse instantly dragged me back into binge PMO rabbit hole for half a year. It could break me.

    I'm so desperate at the moment I'm thinking of going on a month long low budget solo hike/pilgrimage after cousins wedding to do "digital detox" the hard way (maybe Camino del Norte) but would this help me? Is this just one more form of my escapism? Guys please help… What do you think? What should I do? Is pilgrimage good or bad idea? Should I do something else? I'm really afraid that pressure will break me if I do nothing.
     
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  2. jonfisher

    jonfisher Fapstronaut

    A month long hike is a pretty interesting idea. Personally I think it could go either way, depending on how you handle it. Simply going on a long hike will not fix any problems. If you go on a hike, you have to commit to experiencing your emotions as they come, addressing them, and working through them logically.

    I have found it pretty helpful personally to do some "digital detoxing." You say you can't do it because your work is PC related, but I wonder if you'd be able to commit to only doing work with your computer for a while, and help make this happen by doing the work outside your house (e.g., at a library, co-working space, office, ...)? I find that addictive uses of computer are way easier when you just have unrestricted access to computers. Overall, though, I find that just removing addictive outlets like this is not enough, because like you said, you may just transfer the addiction to something else again, or relapse into PMO.

    "I'm becoming more and more anxious about life prospects, guilt, shame, lost years and I try to escape the tension by this behaviour." "I have become so so anxious last days." "numb my anxieties/fears"

    Here's the thing: this is something inside of you and it will keep bursting out of you every which way unless you figure out ways to start compassionately addressing it, head-on. Maybe it's something that was programmed into you when you were very young. Maybe it's something that's spiritually missing for you. Maybe you have some need to grow close relationships with people in a way you haven't before. For me, my anxiety, guilt, shame, and tension was a combination of all of these things in a deep way. I'm only at the beginning of addressing it, but addressing this has begun to change my life in real ways.

    I think having the discipline not to PMO and not to pour your energies into "transfer" addictions is a very important step. Now you have these hidden emotions in focus, do some searching and building. Relapsing will re-bury them and re-numb them so you won't be able to address them as effectively. But now, ask yourself: where is this coming from? What do I really need right now? Can I forgive myself for what I've done, learn to love the way I live and care about myself despite my mistakes? What do I want my life to look like?

    Finally, if you're interested in a book recommendation, I recommend In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts, which is an absolutely great book all about addiction and how it works.
     
  3. I wrote a long list of things you should do to replace the useless browsing habits, but I'm sure you've read them dozens of times and even wrote about them yourself, so I won't be posting them here, but I do think working towards on your inner self is the way to go. Why are you anxious? Is it because of a lack of socialization? Well, that goes away with socializing. The more you socialize, the less you're anxious. Are you afraid of something bad happening to you? Think about your situation and rate it from 1-10, are you really in immediate life danger or living a comfortable modern life? Are you starving for food? Are there nature disasters at your door step? Are there wars near you? No? Good. There are people in wars, struggling for their lives, living way way worse lives and yet they go forward. We should be thankful for every passing day. We should be thankful that we have a roof over our heads, we should be thankful for the food on our plates, we should be thankful for the water we consume/use. We should be thankful for this life, that we have been blessed to live such a precious and rare thing.

    Going on a pilgrimage might be a good idea as that would open your mind to these things, but you might just return to your old self after the trip is over. There is no other way than to change your old habits and reduce the amount of time you spent in front of a computer. I used to turn on the computer when I woke up. Now I turn it at 4-5 pm. I used to read all the news, now I don't read any news. Why should I know of some negative thing in a distant country that doesn't affect me in any way and even if it remotely does, I'm more than happy staying ignorant. I used to play video games all day, now I rarely play. I used to multitask, now I focus on a single thing. All things in moderation should be the way to life. Everything in small portions.
     
  4. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

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    Thank you for very, very deep answer. I can find myself in all inner questions you've suggested. I lived though some trauma in early school years but could that really be the reason I feel like can't find my place and peace with the world. I'm very empathic by nature, but I tend to distance myself from people, so I can't get hurt. It's a very lonely way to live, but I can't help myself. I get anxious around people. PMO was a blister on the pain. It looks like it takes about half a year in my case to experience the wounds bellow it. I agree must we must progress no matter how painful it gets. I just haven't figure out how to do that. I understand abstention is the first step on the path to recovery but further steps are more blurry, not so straight forward. Thank you for book recommendation, I'll read it.
     
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  5. I've written about it elsewhere, so I apologize if I repeat myself. I was in the same boat. I could not stop myself. So I got away from computers and electronics for a full two years, more or less. It did help. I can be at the PC nearly all day long now and do not have the same time-wasting, mind-numbing compulsions I had before, with P, P-subs, or just mindless browsing (a very bad idea for addicts!). And, to afford myself the opportunity, I did change careers, ending my 20-year career in IT, which required me to sit at a PC all day every day.

    I was a regular user of PMO for 25 years, so my length of time away may be more than is required by others. Still, it worked for me. If we are willing to pay the price and make radical change to our lifestyle, if we are committed to the process of recovery 100%, then our success in recovery is 100% guaranteed.

    Wishing you the best!
     
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  6. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

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    Thank you for your advice. I do know I have to be grateful for living in peace and relative prosperity even if I'm kind of broke right now. I agree with all your observations and recommendations. I know I should socialize more and I want to, yet I can't relax around people anymore. I don't want to take sedatives so I can relax as I think it's just a new blister on the wounds. I really don't know how to move forward. I know what I should do in theory but just saying think positive, be grateful (and I try to be) and socialize more when in practice socializing "drains" my energy and makes me more anxious not knowing why, is hardy a practical answer how to remove anxiety/depression that's causing escapism in addictions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  7. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

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    Wow 2 years, that were some real radical changes you did it your life, congratulations. It's probably the best way to deal with all temptation 100%. Unfortunately I can't do so radical change right now as I've lost regular job and doing some financial & IT stuff for a friend is currently my only source of income. But I thought maybe "pre pinning" websites allowed to use in a browser plus blocking everything else (I really need only 12 of them max and they're all boring as hell) and unplugging from all electronics for a month by going for a hike might do the trick. Do you think it's worth a try?
     
  8. Spending countless hours on social media is not good but no match to pmo at all. To me pmo is worse than even doing cocaine. Judging by the amount of years of pmoing, 5 months is a good effort but insufficient. You're looking at 2 to 3 years for a solid reboot.
     
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  9. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

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    I understand that 5 months is not enough time. I intend to continue with abstinence, but I wouldn't like to exchange one addiction for another. No matter if it's not so harmful than the old one. Some unresolved deeper issues are forcing us to seek shelter under addiction umbrellas. Abstinence without addressing root cause(s) of tension within us can't last. Sooner or later one relapses or develops new form of addiction to help him cope with buildup stress. Even exercise in many former alco/drug addicts becomes their new escape drug (many of them physically harm themselves by overtraining). That's not recovery. I've read that most addicts relapse in 6-12 months period. I found this strange, but I think I get it now. You don't crave for PMO/drug anymore but buried pain has fully resurfaced now. You have to start addressing it or you'll relapse/develop new addiction to burry it again. It's easy to write "address the inner pain", but in reality I have no clue how to do that.
     
  10. Certainly worth a try. The more effort you put into your recovery, the more benefit you will derive from it.

    12-step meetings are also very helpful in beginning to address the core issue. PMO is just a coping mechanism to deal with the real underlying issue. That is what needs to be identified and resolved in a healthy fashion. The "fearless and moral inventory" portion of 12-step work is a great way to start doing the digging.
     
    Fenix Rising likes this.
  11. You and I both know that to break away from the old habits, one has to abstain from them and form new ones. You do this by grinding the new ones every single day, or as much as humanly possible. You posted earlier about stepping out of your comfort zone. This is where you do the most progress. It won't be easy, it won't feel good, but over time it'll have the biggest impact on your life.

    Every human being needs social interaction, some less than others, but everyone to some degree. Some are more introverted than others. However, there's no such a thing such as a "complete introvert" in psychology. We all place in a line segment where there's extrovert and introvert on the other end of the spectrum. One person might move up on the introverted line over time as years progress, but won't exceed a person who was on the extroverted side of the spectrum in the beginning. Extroverted person might come down on the scale, and introverted might go up, but introverted won't exceed him/her.

    The more time we spend in front of a computer watching pixels on a screen, the more isolated we become. Suddenly, even a trivial task such as going to the grocery shop becomes a gruelling one just because a person has been so isolated with his/her own problems without no one to talk to. There are so many mental problems these days, yet people are glued to their screens everywhere without actually talking to other people, face to face. Not through an instant messenger.
     
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