How do you feel feelings?

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by Carbon Icon, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Carbon Icon

    Carbon Icon Fapstronaut

    Yes this is a serious question.

    I've been P and M free for 30+ days. I'm feeling very happy about this. I've got involved in SA 12 step which is extremely helpful for maintaining sexual sobriety.

    The challenge I'm having is that I find myself indulging other problematic behaviours. Specifically I'm drinking to much, most days, 2-3 beers. I'm not getting drunk but am definitely using this to check out at the end of the day and often find myself just waiting for that part of the day when I can indulge.
    Also I'm binging on sugar and chips. Ironically I eat a very healthy diet. I make myself healthy whole food meals, low carb, low sugar, organic, etc. But then will eat an entire bag of bridge mix and chips in the evening.
    The sugar and beer combined is making me feel like crap in the mornings. Groggy, upset stomach, etc. which is triggering.

    I think I'm compensating for the fact that I don't have porn as an escape, so I'm using this other stuff. It's making me feel really crappy and depressed. Like I'm just bouncing around on the dopamine rollercoaster, looking for anything to get a fix. That not indulging the P addiction is causing me to indulge other addictions. It's making me feel flawed and powerless, like I'll always be subject to the whims of my dopamine seeking mind.

    I've tried so hard to change my lifestyle over the years. I'm trying to have a healthy, active lifestyle. And I have been very successful in this. Making changes slowly over time. But I can't seem to get to the point where I am in control of myself so much so that I don't indulge in these problematic behaviours or live in this state of reaction all the time.

    If my understanding of addiction is correct, I should believe that I'm doing this to avoid experiencing uncomfortable or painful feelings or thoughts. Ok, but I'm not aware of avoiding these thoughts on purpose. So how do I feel these feelings that I'm trying to avoid?

    Sorry if this post is rambling and inarticulate. I'm groggy and don't have the will or time to edit it for coherency right now.
  2. I'm doing the same thing right now. I'm drinking more soda. I used to never get cans of soda in the break room at work, but I am now.

    I don't think it's so much about avoiding painful feelings or thoughts. It's about using junk food to fulfill a need. I don't know what your relationship situation is but, I only have few friends that I don't see often, and I have no romantic partner. I'm alone most of the time. I use junk food, masturbation, television to compensate.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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  3. Awesome post. Yes. I shared I noticed this. Restriction of porno led to it mutating into other “tolerant” binges.

    At one point it was Netflix series and chocolate cake.

    I think there is a study on the dopamine chart that compares eating to sex. The rise in dopamine from eating mimics the spike from watching porn.

    You would have to eat a LOT more to get the same level of dopamine release though.
  4. bigbnoo

    bigbnoo Fapstronaut

    I hear you. My belief is that addictions are all different flavours of each other, underlying they have similar things triggering them.

    Last time I went on a massive streak, I used gambling to replace it. Thankfully, the pure shame of it all prevented it from getting really bad.

    If you can keep your head in the right place, then resisting is easy because logically it can be explained why it is not good. It is that minority of the time when it isn't that things become very tempting. So like for PMO I am at the stage were perhaps 80% of the time I am solid, but the other 20% of the time my brain is crying out to relapse.

    Somehow if you can, put the other addictions out of bounds. I am fortunate perhaps, as a health problem means that I pretty much quit drinking, I used to smoke but I also don't. Gambling-wise I re-arranged my funds so that they are not in easy to access places. But obviously, P is almost instantly accessible to all.

    Maybe take up some new hobbies as an escape which are healthier. Sports, for instance. Obviously we can't be out all the time, but at home I have taken up learning languages on Youtube, also started collecting old toys. Gives you something else to think about, and always something to do if you are at a loose end on the computer.
    Freeddom_Taker and Carbon Icon like this.
  5. Recovery is a process and it takes time. When one addiction is being addressed, it seems there is always something else that pops up right behind it.

    You must get to the root of it all for there to be long-term recovery and lasting mental health. Why do you PMO? Why do you eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting? Why do you drink every day? What pain are you trying to comfort, what perceived lack are you trying to fill?

    Answering these is the hard work of recovery. It is part of the 12-step process (the inventory piece). It is best to do in supportive community, as the revelations can be *very* difficult. But if we don't dig into this and get to the bottom of it, we'll just continue to swap out one addiction for another or fall back into past harmful behaviors, over and over again.

    I am cheering you on toward a new kind of life!
  6. Darren hutto

    Darren hutto Fapstronaut

    Yes I’m like that too when I don’t use porn I go for junk food to get that high to feel better then I feel more depressed and I drink sometimes too cope my feelings of loneliness and to cope with my depression it’s like I switch to stop porn but my other addiction take over me it’s like I can’t control all these addictions it’s likd the more I fight it the stronger it grips me down it sometimes overwhelming at times and my mind is wanting to feel better but I’m trying to control my addictions it’s not just with porn but food too but my porn addiction is serious like I need to stop it but it grips me like ties me down and I can’t escape it
  7. Hros

    Hros Fapstronaut

    My go-to when feeling depressed is junk food. Used to be either PMO or junk food, now it's just the latter.
    However, when things get really bad and confusing, I take a walk - 20, 30 minutes, sometimes longer. I don't listen to anything, I just let those feelings sink in. Sometimes I'll quietly talk myself through what I'm feeling while walking.
  8. Darren hutto

    Darren hutto Fapstronaut

    Yeah I don’t have time too walk I work a lot
  9. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

    It's totally normal at early stage of recovery to crave highly dopamine rewarding activities. When you stop addiction, your body enters in dopamine deficiency state. At this point your brain tries to force you to get dopamine fix no matter the source. That's why you crave sugar, alcohol etc. Exactly the same happened to me. You need to push though it. How I solved this problem? I stopped buying any product with added sugar (I was a chocolate junkie) and got sugar only from fruits and milk. I stopped drinking alcohol altogether and limit coffee intake. I exchanged my smartphone for a "stupid one" and limit web use to only job and recovery related content (this was done last month). I got my daily dopamine fix from 30 to 90 min of aerobic exercise. I put time limit on exercise to not overdo it, because when you're in dopamine deficiency state your mind will tell you to go into extremes to get as much endorphins as you can, no matter the consequences. Your brain chemistry normalizes after a few months and craving become a non issue. I still crave sweets sometimes but I learned to ask myself what's bothering me, when I want to eat something sweet and usually there is an answer. I'm surprised how many times sugar wants to be solution to some unresolved tension within me.

    If you notice that you still feel bad or even worse after 5-6 months of abstention (especially it you feel more anxious or depressed) you need to consider that you might have some underlying unresolved psychological issue(s) you tried to self-medicate with PMO-ing. If you can't figure out what would that issue(s) be, it might be worth seeking professional counseling to figure out what is the cause of the buildup stress/anxiety/depression and try to address it so you can make peace with your past.

    Dangers of cross addiction and unresolved issues:
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  10. Trying358

    Trying358 Fapstronaut

    I think your self diagnosis as a good one. I would try EMDR with an EMDRIA-certified therapist. It does exactly what you're looking for -- puts you in touch with those emotions, and their original source. Then it lets you heal the underlying traumas as an adult, so that the emotions go away.

    CBT can also be effective with this sort of thing but it's an ongoing process, EMDR can pull these problems out at the root so they're unlikely to recur.

    I've done it and it's almost miraculous in its ability to deal with these buried emotions and trauma. But whatever you do, you need to see a psychologist to take this stuff out -- and if one isn't working for you, see another, since studies show that psychologists vary widely in their efficacy and also that a good match between client and psychologist is more important than the therapeutic technique that's chosen.
    Carbon Icon likes this.
  11. Carbon Icon

    Carbon Icon Fapstronaut

    Thanks guys, great feedback. I guess I need to completely eliminate the beer and junk food until further notice. *sigh*

    As soon as I typed this my mind started thinking about other ways to get a dopamine fix. LOL

    The thing I don't understand is:
    I've done a lot of therapy in the past and feel that I have a full understanding of my childhood trauma and it's relation to my addictions. I feel that I've processed that information, forgiven people and recalibrated my relationships accordingly. So I don't understand what I'm so desperate to escape at this point. Life is very good.

    Some possibilities:

    1. The regular old day to day demands and stresses

    - just need to learn to accept things and bend instead of breaking. Be able to have things happen and not go into an automatic reaction - be able to calmly contemplate the correct response first.

    2. My inner voice

    - even though I've gotten my life and relationships in order I still have an inner dialogue that is not always positive. In fact it can be quit cruel and hurtful. My self esteem is fine, but still have a negative inner dialogue.

    3. Loss of meaning

    - I was raised very religious but rejected it at an early age. Later I came to feel that life is a gift. I have felt a wonderful sense of connection to the natural universe, and gratitude for the abundance it provides us. But this feeling can be fleeting and does not necessarily provide meaning beyond a sense of carpe diem and passing on the genes. I think the answer perhaps lies in service to your community and a shared sense of meaning, but this is difficult to come by in our day and age of self indulgent, individualistic consumer culture.
    I've been re-reading The Sea Wolf by Jack London. A book that was pivotal to my rejection of religion at a young age, but does not provide a pleasing alternative. Would be interested in reading something about tribal/communal development of meaning in context of our scientific modern time. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for listening and feedback. I appreciate this community.

  12. Trying358

    Trying358 Fapstronaut

    It seems to me, based on what you say, that your therapy *hasn't* worked. Understanding isn't what you need -- your cortex (rational thought) isn't the issue, but rather your limbic system, seat of the emotions. And to heal that you need depth psychology -- EMDR, psychodynamic therapy, etc.

    At the same time, if you have a negative inner dialog, the natural fix is CBT -- cognitive behavioral therapy.

    Lack of meaning -- there is plenty of meaning in day-to-day life. Not just helping people (though that's a good way to find it), but raising a family, going to work and making/doing things that help others. Perhaps you are missing this because you were raised to believe that our ultimate meaning was determined by God. But if you've lost your faith, you have to accept the absence of an overall meaning, and focus on the local meaning. I say this as someone who was also raised with religion and rejected it as a teen. While my faith was ultimately restored, during the long interregnum I didn't feel the loss of meaning that you have, so I don't think you have to either. I was committed to too many things.

    You might also consider joining the Unitarian Church, sometimes snarkily called "the church for people who don't believe in God." It helps gives you the sense of purpose that you're lacking.
    Carbon Icon likes this.
  13. Carbon Icon

    Carbon Icon Fapstronaut

    That's really interesting...I will research this and put some thought into it.

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