Married Hard Mode - 60+ days goal

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by Leftwhirled, Nov 18, 2021.

  1. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    Hi there - I've been lurking on NoFap for a while and decided it was time to get a reboot thread going.

    Background: 33M, married 6 years, 2 kids 4 & 1. Been using porn since about age 12 or 13, daily use (or more) except for brief gaps throughout that whole period. Also had some issues with cheating prior to my marriage related to college (+ alcohol) and music festivals (+ drug use). Not excusing my behavior in any way.

    I've had major problems with honesty throughout that whole time - lied to my parents all the time, lied to my wife, lied to my friends - extremely bad news and I've hurt a lot of people. Now I'm at a crossroads - one way is pretty much marriage over. I love my wife, even though it may be hard to see how. I love my kids and I couldn't stand being away from them. The other way is a whole lot of hard work - possibly more than I've done my entire life to address self-doubt, giving up, turning away, keeping my own counsel. I have an established counselor and have signed up for accountability meetings through NoFap as well.

    My goal is to give up masturbation for good. I have not viewed pornography since January of 2021, but have masturbated regularly since mid-August. My primary struggle is honesty. Honesty, transparency, vulnerability. All those important things that make good human relationships. Those are what I'm trying to cultivate.

    I appreciate your support, advice, and to be challenged. Uncomfortable questions are nothing compared to what my spouse has gone through.

    Best wishes to you all in your quest for freedom.
  2. 88991s

    88991s Fapstronaut

    Best wishes.
    wicket likes this.
  3. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    Alright here's another day. Got up at 5 AM this morning. I set my alarms on my phone for every day at 5 AM. Normally we get up around 6 anyway with the kids but 5 will give me a little time to set some goals for the day before everyone else gets going. I was groggy for sure - I stayed up until 11 on NoFap and then taking care of chores. It feels good to work on my addiction and I think, at least for the near future, maintaining a very high level of focus on this issue is not only going to help me overcome it, but also demonstrate to my wife that I am taking this seriously. I said it last time I did a reboot, but I need to get over this for myself FIRST, then for my relationship and my family. I went for a walk - it was negative 6 F here this morning. Haven't been for a walk at that temperature in a while and it definitely snaps you back to reality. My goals today are to 1. Find 2 resources to help me write a Statement of Purpose, 2. Create the template for my weekly report card, and 3. Do one thing that I've been putting off.
    Riser and Tuvok like this.
  4. again

    again Fapstronaut
    NoFap Defender

    Wow. It seems you really are at a crossroads. There is a LOT at stake now. For every one of us there comes a time to draw a line in the sand and say, "This is it, no more". After that be ready for a struggle but if you're not ready for a struggle get ready for your second option: "one way is pretty much marriage over."
    You know which to choose. Best wishes
    BenSarek likes this.
  5. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    Saw my counselor today and told him about the relapse that was going on until a few days ago. This is big setback in my recovery, but I cannot be deterred. We talked about how much fear motivates me - fear of rejection by my wife, fear of feeling like an imposter at work, fear of being fully honest with myself about my addiction and how it has impacted my life. This goes way, way back. I experience rejection by my parents in childhood. Welcome to the club, I suppose. Pornography and masturbation became not only medicine for that emotional pain, but a semi-secret way to get back at them for causing it in the first place. My conversation with my counselor got emotional - closest I've ever been to crying in front of him I think. Today was one of the first days when I felt really accepted. I fucked up, and then he was still there for me. I told him I lied to him and he said "OK now how do we move forward?". Acceptance (without letting me off the hook) felt good. It feels like one of the things I've been searching for.

    Had a tough talk with my wife a few minutes ago. I shared my "report card" for the day - sort of an informal status report that I dreamed up - Did you lie today? Did you masturbate today? Did you fantasize or experience sexual thoughts today? I told her about my conversation with my therapist. I told her a bit about why I relapsed - I lost focus, I took my recovery for granted, I succumbed to the pressure that I was feeling from work and from trying to work on our relationship under difficult conditions (very little time to interact). Of course our conversation gets interrupted by our son who refuses to sleep for any reasonable length of time.

    Her response was tough to take, but not unexpected. "Show me." Talk is cheap. She's right. Our path back to trust was arduous before, now I'm not sure it's possible at all. But I know I will never forgive myself if I don't try. Even if she doesn't believe it, I do care about her well-being as a person. I have to believe she can recover from this, even if I'm not part of her life.

    A thought I had today was about how much I'm in my own head. Before the cheating disclosure in January, I actually wrote a long list of all of the most damaging things that I expected her to say to me. Some of them came true. But by preempting what she might say (and effectively saying it to myself first), I thought I was trying to protect myself. However, I have also realized that because of this much prior contemplation, I hadn't left myself any space to be authentic in that conversation. Because I had been living in the future inside my own head, that moment felt practiced almost. I will strive to be more authentic in my conversations by trying to avoid over-analyzing. Something I think I can do to help with over-analyzing is stop researching stuff so much - reviews about TVs, computers, devices, video games, cars...EVERYTHING. I convince myself that I'm just "doing my due diligence", but it I think that over-analyzing bleeds over into other things such as my relationships. I've disabled the YouTube app on my phone and deleted my news app which I also spend too much time on. More time to work on my recovery and the quality of my relationships.
  6. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    Friday finally. It's been a long week at work, but fortunately I'm ahead a few hours so short day today. My wife and I had planned to have a date today - this was sort of derailed by disclosure as well as her boss's boss being in town. I desperately want to spend time with her, not to try to have sex but just to build our relationship in any small way that I can. I asked her last night - three years from now, what kind of relationship do you want to have with your partner? How does it make you feel? What do you do on a day-to-day basis? (I don't know if I've even answered this question for myself) Of course I would want to make that a reality for her, if possible.

    This reboot is going well so far - no relapses as of today. My Internet usage is way down so that is helping stay focused on my goals. Getting up at 5 AM is challenging, especially when our son refuses to stay asleep in that critical part of the evening. I am feeling a little more vulnerable today - can't put my finger on it. During my walk I just felt a bit less focused. It might take a while to refine the morning routine. The original idea was 20 minutes for exercise, preferably outside to get some fresh air, 20 minutes for journaling/posting on NoFap/setting goals, and 20 minutes for something else - possibly working on something I've been putting off. If anyone else has experience with 5 AM wakeups and making the most of that time, I would be interested in hearing about that.

    Goals for today: 1. Write a Statement of Purpose for my recovery, 2. Spend at least 2 hours with my wife where I appreciate and accept her as the person she is, 3. Do one new thing - maybe check out a new restaurant.

    I hope you're doing well today. Sending you courage to continue on your journey to recovery.
    Riser, Tannhauser and again like this.
  7. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    It was a busy day today but a good day - one of the best days in the last few months I'd say. I was still a little groggy this morning and not 100% sure what to do with myself for an hour at 5 AM but I'm working through it. I would like to figure out how to incorporate some meditation, even if only for 15 minutes or so. I feel like I need this exercise in my life right now to get in touch with my true self which has been trapped and concealed by nearly 2 decades of lying to myself and doubting myself. One of my goals tomorrow will be to find a resource for learning meditation because it's not something I have much experience with.

    My wife and I actually got to spend some time together today. We went out to lunch together at an actual restaurant for the first time since early 2020 (when I was deep in addiction). It felt wonderful to just look into her eyes and engage with her. It's something, at least. A human connection, even if badly damaged by my behavior. We did some more Christmas shopping, bought drinks for a month-long event that we're participating in, and just talked for a while at home. So I achieved 2 goals I'd say - spend time with her and going out to a place that admittedly isn't new, but we haven't been to in 3+ years so I'm calling that one a win.

    As for the mission statement, I'm still working on a rough draft. Didn't get that one completed today, but that's OK. Something else I mentioned to my wife was that I beat myself up about the most mundane shit for no good reason. Like last night I made spaghetti for the family and included some boiled carrots to get some more vegetables in there. And then as I was putting it away I was criticizing myself for not getting a high enough carrot-to-pasta ratio - like some part of me thought that I was hurting my family for missing a few pieces of carrot. Honestly, why waste a single thought on that when I could be spending time with my family or focusing on my recovery?!?

    Here's to holding onto what we've accomplished and striving for more.
    Riser and again like this.
  8. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    Had a pretty good day today - unfortunately my wife was sick with maybe a stomach bug and threw up a couple times overnight so she didn't sleep very well. I took my daughter with me to Costco to get some things and to take some pressure off my wife while I was gone. With her being sick, I did get a chance to take care of her and comfort her a bit which was something she may have refused even a day before. I know that kindness and support are not enough to save our relationship, but I also care about her as a human being and the mother of my children.

    Had my first accountability call with NoFap this morning and it went well! I was impressed how many people showed up and gave at least an audio update. I told them the whole story, or at least as much as I could in a few minutes. It's great to just talk to some other people that have been through what I've been through. At some point, I need to get an accountability partner. I'm hoping a relationship will develop from the group that could evolve to that level. I do feel like that's something that would make a difference for me and give me a chance to support another person directly through empathy and holding them to their words. I love my best friend and respect his opinion tremendously, but I don't feel like it's right to ask him to be an accountability partner at this stage of his life or given the support that he's already provided. Having someone with similar struggles will make me a lot more serious about my commitments.

    Still working on that mission statement - this may count as procrastinating at this point which is not good for my addiction, but it is still a high priority. Goals from the accountability meeting for the next week: 1. Absolutely no PMO, 2. Set aside at least one her per day to work on my recovery, 3. Do something every day to show my wife that I love her. Just dusted off the Man's Guide to Women so hoping that will generate some ideas. What do you all do to show affection to your spouse and improve your emotional connection?

    Stay strong brothers!
    Riser and again like this.
  9. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    Helping Her Heal, Worthy of Her Trust, Out of the Doghouse , are all great books/dvd to help your relationship. For her -Intimate Deception. For you -Treating pornography Addiction by Dr. Kevin Skinner and Out of the Shadow by Carnes.
    Leftwhirled likes this.
  10. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    I had a good day yesterday. My wife and I took the kids over to another kids house that my daughter met through swimming lessons. My wife and I had connected with the other child's mom over talking at several lessons and it actually turned into an opportunity to spend time with some other people and let the kids play which was wonderful. It felt good to get outside the comfort zone a bit. COVID has made us pretty risk-averse and it's taken a long time to realize all the negative impacts that that has had. In our January disclosure, one of the primary focal points was building out individual support networks. For both of us, that's our individual counselors and best friends, but neither of the best friends are local and neither of them have been through the process of recovering from addiction or betrayal. This highlighted the need to go out of our way to make more friends locally, but the FEAR of COVID (both from us and others) made that more difficult. I'm at the point where I think the damage to my mental health being caused by isolation is outweighing the risks of COVID and I'm ready to take some steps out there to develop new friendships. I know Meetup is a potential resource. I'd like to look for some interest-based groups, potentially one just for fun to start. The goal is that this is something I would do individually to cultivate some more male friendships. I've usually stayed away from stereotypical "manly men" because 1. I didn't consider myself part of that group - few shared interests (I really don't care for most sports other than hockey), 2. Social anxiety/fear of rejection, and 3. I felt like I often experienced misogyny in that context. Look at this guy who's concerned about misogyny and then is a porn and masturbation addict! The irony.

    I had a good talk with my wife last night. We have a weekly State of the Union conversation to express gratitude for the other person's actions that week, to talk about struggles or disconnections, and to ask for what we needed for the following week to make you feel more loved. I never had a good answer to the last part because I thought I did not really know how to feel loved. I think this is partially because I don't know how to love and accept myself, so how could I tell another person how to do that?

    Anyway, that conversation format was supposed to be for connection and sharing which I obviously was not doing because I was lying about masturbation for almost 3 months up until a week ago. So I suggested reorienting State of the Union to be even more explicit. I talked for several minutes about my strategies going into this reboot/my recovery in general, what's changed since last time, a direct statement on use of pornography that week, masturbation that week, and lying that week. I also thanked her for spending time with me on Friday - again, I know it means effectively nothing in terms of whether our relationship will survive, but it was a moment of low pressure interaction in a sea of challenges.

    She's in a dark place right now. She said that she feels numb and unable or unwilling to connect. Her emotions say "Push him away" or "Don't accept any help because he doesn't deserve even one inch". I cannot control another person's emotions, I can only control my own response. Although emotionally painful, I can see why she would be feeling those things. I would probably feel the same myself in that situation. I still love and support her even if we cannot connect emotionally right now.

    Well I was a bit happier before writing out all of that, but I'm glad it's out. Goals this week are no PMO, at least one hour of work on my recovery each day, and being present in my interactions (not living in a pre-thought-out future). Hope you all have a great week and Turkey Day (if you celebrate that)!
    Riser and again like this.
  11. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    The book 5 love languages is really good! It can help you identify yours and even better, makes it easy to see what other have as live languages! My husband is physical touch and words of affirmation, I’m physical touch and acts of service. Your love language is what makes you feel loved. It may take being clean for a while before you try and find out. It’s harder to identify if you are numbing out with pmo.
    Leftwhirled likes this.
  12. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    I had a nice walk this morning. It's snowing again, but just lightly and it's very peaceful outside. I've been listening to the Porn Reboot podcast by J.K. Emezi. Strong recommendation for this podcast if you're struggling with addiction to pornography or masturbation. He seems to just tell it like it is, no sugar-coating it, no minimizing, no deluding yourself. I'm not signed up for his program or anything, but I think you can get the vast majority of the information about his recovery system just from listening to the free podcast. There are like 300 episodes. I typically listen to an episode while having my morning walk, but I didn't feel like it so much today. Instead, I decided to do some affirmations and deep breathing:
    I prioritize my recovery.
    I can set and achieve goals.
    I have the support of my family and friends.
    I am a responsible father.
    Emotional connection builds trust.

    My neighborhood has loops with different streets. When I returned to my street, I saw my footprints in the snow. I observed that I had been dragging the heels of my boots, elongating my tracks. As I approached home, I stepped over my tracks, not to erase the past, but to demonstrate to myself that I can tread the same path, the same day-to-day existence with two very different mindsets.

    My daughter woke up too early, during my recovery time which slightly derailed it. This caused a strong emotion: Frustration. For a few minutes, I allowed this feeling to walk with me, threatening to control me with its intensity. I see my neighborhood, each house unique, a different emotion. Pain, fear, guilt, excitement, respect, and maybe even love. As I pass, I can't know who will emerge or insist on sharing my time. I have spent my life running, hiding, denying, or ignoring this part of myself. Acceptance cannot occur without acknowledgement. I have a long way to go.
    Riser likes this.
  13. again

    again Fapstronaut
    NoFap Defender

    Very good.
  14. BlackTemplar

    BlackTemplar Fapstronaut

    I'm not sure if I understand your goals. I read you haven't looked at porn since January. Then, are you just trying to stop masturbating? I haven't read the whole thread, sorry if I missed something. Question from someone who is trying to quit PMO. Best of luck anyway!
  15. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    Thanks for your question, BlackTemplar. I did quit masturbating and viewing hardcore pornography in August of 2020. In late 2020, I relapsed to masturbation via porn substitutes for about 2 months - social media and google images, mostly, but also some physical pictures. In January of 2021, I began rebooting again and did not masturbate until August, 2021, then relapsed to social media and pictures again for about 3 months.

    My NoFap goal is to permanently quit masturbation, whether that be stimulated by porn or social media or whatever. I am not morally opposed to masturbation, but it has caused too many problems in my life and I need to not do it anymore.

    In a broader sense, I don't think this will be achievable without improving some other areas of my life as well - for example, my social life has mostly sucked for the last several years. I want to change that to have a small group of supportive friends or people with similar interests. Also, my ability to deal with emotions without masturbation is terrible (although a bit better since I quit drinking)! Another goal is to develop healthy coping strategies.

    Best of luck to you in your recovery!
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  16. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    Tougher evening today. I've been feeling pretty scattered at work the last few days - maybe something to do with the reboot. I'm hoping that will improve over time. I also need to set some more realistic goals for myself in regards to my job because I engage in a lot of negative self-talk related to that as well. Things like "You didn't get enough done today" or "You're letting the people around you down when you don't get this stuff done". In an objective sense, I don't think is ever really accurate but it's sometimes hard to stop. Something I do feel like I've been doing better at is catching negative thoughts as they happen or at least acknowledging them. This morning was a good example with the walk - I recognized that listening to a podcast was not what I needed and instead of trudging on in silence I listened to myself and what I needed in that moment.

    When I got home, my wife wasn't home with the kids just yet. She's mentioned to me before how, in betrayal trauma, sometimes feeling normal is a trigger because you've gone through this terribly stressful event and then all of a sudden things are just routine again? It feels all wrong. I had this same impression when I arrived, came upstairs, and started locating dinner for the kids. It felt TOO normal which caused me to reflect on the possibility of losing my relationship. I don't think it's hyperbolic to say that's possible with the amount of disrespect and disregard that has gone on inside of our marriage. This just gave me this deep sinking feeling - after the January disclosure I literally know what it means to have a heavy heart because that's exactly what it feels like. Although I was able to acknowledge it and tell my wife about it (after she prompted me), it made it more difficult to enjoy interacting with my kids.

    I'm still feeling kinda low right now. I hope to be able to go to bed early. One more day before the long weekend, but still so much to do.

    Stay strong, brothers!
    Riser, salaciousDone and again like this.
  17. BlackTemplar

    BlackTemplar Fapstronaut

    That's inspiring. I'll keep an eye on your thread. Stay strong brother!
  18. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    I'm feeling a bit better this morning. Walk felt refreshing, did some simple body weight exercises this morning to get the blood flowing, had a good talk with my wife last night that covered a lot of topics. I think I'm getting close to a flatline. This happened last time I rebooted in January and it went on for a few weeks. My sex drive did eventually return, but it was disconcerting initially because I didn't realize it was a common part of the process. I wouldn't be having sex or masturbating right now anyway, so it's actually kind of helpful.

    The next major goals in my recovery are to find a reliable accountability partner (and to be one in return!), to make time (preferably more than once) each week to connect with my partner, and to convert some of my recovery goals into action items that are concrete and measurable. For example, one of my goals is to reduce negative self-talk around my work performance and self-worth. This isn't easily measurable. If anyone has any suggestions on how they create measurable goals, I'd really appreciate if you shared those. There may even be some people who read this who could also benefit from it!

    Making time each week to connect with my partner is critical for even contemplating saving our relationship. I used to think that our most valuable resource was time, which is true to an extent. But an equally valuable resource is my courage to engage emotionally and to just remain present. I've realized that I tend to live in the future, especially when it comes to difficult conversations. I meticulously plan what I'm going to say like a story, I consider her different possible reactions and how I would then react to those (more on this in a minute). It's not being present and I don't think it's healthy for me at all right now because it leads to LYING. It leads to a predetermined narrative that is spun in the best light possible. Being present for me means purposefully not preparing for these conversations and showing up as my authentic self. Healthy things to do together are discussing my addiction recovery progress, planning for the future, building our in-person social network, and just spending some low-pressure interaction time like playing a game or watching a movie.

    Back to the narrative thing: I had created a list at one point (before the cheating disclosure I think) of all the things I could think of that my wife could say to me that would be the most painful, the most damaging, etc. I created this list so that I could say these things to myself before anyone else had the chance to say them to me. I used to do stuff like this to myself as a kid too and I guess I never fully got over it. Like if I hurt myself first, I was exerting control over someone else's ability to hurt me. I think that list is on my old computer, but I'll try to post it next time if I can find it. Some of them actually came true.

    Anyway that was a detour. Ooh one more milestone: I got a new phone a couple weeks ago. I have not looked at material to masturbate to on the new phone. I have also never looked at material to masturbate on my primary (family) laptop. This is literally the first time in my life when neither of my primary devices have been used for masturbation. It's minor, but it does feel good knowing that.

    Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US! What a great thing it is to have a day dedicated to gratitude. Please please please take some time today to tell the people you love how much you appreciate them. I have come to rely on their support more than I ever imagined. To the Saturday 11 AM ET accountability group, I am grateful for each and every one of you. Stay strong brothers!
    Riser and Tannhauser like this.
  19. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    Had a solid day today. Really enjoyed making and eating the Thanksgiving food, sending messages to some of my friends, and talking with my wife. We had a solid talk this evening about my recovery and some other things like our collective goals to expand our social networks. I had the final introductory call with Elevated Recovery today and I've gotta decide by tomorrow if I want to do their 90-day program or not right now. I've seen a lot of positive things on their system - testimonials, the podcast, TrustPilot review - but is is definitely costly and potentially more than I need in my recovery at this stage. Make no mistake, I am absolutely committed to this mission of ridding my life of fantasizing, sexualizing other people, and masturbating to cope with my emotions; however, I'd like to see what a lot more accountability, some actual goals (and some wins), getting up early, and setting aside time daily for my recovery will help me achieve. I told my wife today that I've literally had this ball and chain dragging me down for 20 years, so I don't even fully know what I'm capable of.

    My goals tomorrow are 1. To just exist with my kids. To be present without my brain dragging me off somewhere, 2. To sign up for the Porn Reboot Facebook group to get some more support and to potentially find an accountability partner, and 3. To read at least 20 pages of 1 piece of porn addiction recovery material that I've received in my reaching out thus far.
    Riser likes this.
  20. Leftwhirled

    Leftwhirled Fapstronaut

    I did another meditation this morning after getting back from my walk. It was a "Start Your Day" type meditation. It's the first time that I've done one of those and it was quite helpful. My intention for the day today is Peace. That's it, just Peace. Peace to love and connect with my family, peace from my addiction, peace from the guilt and shame of the past.

    I was listening to a Porn Reboot episode about forgiveness. My wife has done a lot of work in this area. I know that eventually I need to be able to forgive myself for allowing my addiction to rule my life. But I also need to be able to let go of my resentment towards my parents and specifically my mother. I've always known that I harbored negative emotions towards my childhood - feelings of neglect and sadness as I felt responsible for their hostility towards one another and anger at their emotional distance. I don't remember the words or even the actions anymore, but the feelings stick with me. As my wife has told me, forgiveness if for yourself and not for the other person. It's not even done out of an expectation that that person will change because, let's face it, most of the time people don't change much. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or condoning another persons actions. Listening to this episode, I realized that I still carry resentment and anger here. This results in ongoing emotional pain which contributes to my addiction.

    It goes like this: I am the only person responsible for my recovery. Being responsible for my recovery means correctly identifying the barriers to it. A barrier for me is resentment, like an injury that prevents me from doing the things I want to do. Resentment is resolved through forgiveness. Therefore, I am responsible for forgiving because it is part of my recovery.

    Once you know a problem exists and you have the resources and support to address it, only you are responsible for allowing it to remain unresolved. If left unresolved, particularly if it's something you point to as justification or an excuse for your behavior, it becomes a crutch. And the people around you will begin to notice that crutch after a while. If you don't do what's in your power to heal that injury, you may risk losing the support of the people around you. I, for one, depend on the support of the people around me.

    Idea for another post: there is a visualization that I've been using for a long time to deal with anger. I told my wife about it a few months ago and I thought I could share it here in case anyone has else has issues with anger. I hope to get that one out today or over the weekend.

    If you're reading this, stay strong! I wish you all the best.
    Riser, again and Psalm27:1my light like this.

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