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The Beginning of My Journey

Discussion in 'New to NoFap' started by puravida.21, Jun 3, 2021.

  1. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    Today is the first day of my journey to an addiction free life.

    I've been addicted to porn, and more recently candid/voyeuristic porn, for more than half of my life. Over the past five years or so, my addiction has led me to some pretty disgusting places. I've jerked off in my car while watching women in their homes, jerked off as I watched women walk by my apartment window, and even filmed women in public.

    Yesterday I got caught.

    I tried to film a woman in the grocery store and when I got home and watched the video, it was obvious that she knew exactly what I was doing. I felt so ashamed.

    I could only imagine if the situation was worse and I was physically harmed or possibly even arrested. How embarrassed would I be if my fiance, or my family, or anyone I knew found out about my sick perversion?

    This isn't the first time I've tried NoFap but this time I am serious about turning my life around. Yesterday was a wake up call. I have an appointment scheduled to speak with a therapist tomorrow afternoon and I've committed to completing 90 days of Standard Mode.

    I'm choosing Standard Mode over Easy Mode because for me, porn isn't just my issue and I know that. If I gave myself the permission to jerk off without porn, I can see myself parked in my car somewhere jerking off in public and telling myself it's okay. For my own personal journey, I'm not only considering porn to be the standard videos but also social media. One of my biggest triggers has always been Instagram and until this morning I had a secret account with hundreds of saved pictures of teens and young women in bikinis.

    I know this is going to be hard but I know this is the way to avoid the potential living hell my life would be if I were to be arrested or have someone catch me and share my acts publicly on the internet for anyone to find out about.

    Grant me the strength to find peace from this addiction.
     
  2. ca98go

    ca98go Fapstronaut

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    I think it is very good and strong of you to take what happened at the store as a turning point. It is already a great accomplishment that you have scheduled an appointment with a therapist. I know you can do it. Be strong!
     
    Fridaytaurus likes this.
  3. Hey man, I’m going to move this to the correct section. Welcome and best of luck!
     
    Fridaytaurus likes this.
  4. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    I'm on my third full day since I started this journey. I had two intro calls with therapists yesterday and scheduled one meeting for a couple of weeks from now. We're planning on meeting weekly. On top of that, I will continue on my PM challenge until I can complete 90 days. My goal is to rewire my brain.

    When I tried this before, I came across a book called Breaking the Cycle by George Collins. One of the things that he suggested was to name the part of your personality that wants to act out. I refer to him as "the pervert" or as "The jack in the box." I've been telling myself when I see a woman walking down the street to not wind up the jack in the box. Don't let him out. Another thing that Collins suggests is to talk to that personality. He recommends that you imagine them sitting in the bleachers in an empty dark gymnasium. Ask him why you want to sexualize these women.

    I relate it back to a time in college in when I felt rejected. It was the first year that I was no longer in a long term relationship. I hadn't thought about being single or trying to get with another woman in so long and now when I looked around, all I saw were attractive women that I thought would never be attracted to me. That is when my addiction to porn took a new turn. I became obsessed with "MyExGf" type sites because they had photos of girls that looked like the ones I would see at college. Fast forward 10+ years and that sad, pathetic, rejected-feeling loser was still driving my actions. But not anymore. I'm shining a light on that pervert and talking to him when he pops up. It's hard. I can hear that voice say "Oh but you gotta look twice at this one. She's so hot it would be unfair not look." It's amazing how quickly my brain can go from no to "just this once."

    The worst part of all of this is now I feel so much more shame than I ever did. I think the shame is finally conscious and I was spending years suppressing it by acting out and masterbating. Most of my shame comes from feeling like I've betrayed and lied to my fiance. I feel like the person she is looking at and in love with is not truly who I am. I feel like I am a liar. I feel like a fraud.

    I know I am the man that she loves. I know everything that she loves about me is who I am but I can't help but to think that if she knew about this dirty secret, she would feel betrayed.

    The hardest part is wrestling with the idea of do I tell her. I've come to the conclusion that right now, I will not. I think it's the perverted, jack-in-the-box part of my personality that wants to tell her. He feels shame and wants to release and until a few days ago only knew one way to release it. Now he's saying, put it on her, she can help carry the weight. But that is totally unfair. This is my burden to carry for now. In the future, once I've processed this with a professional and successfully rewired my brain, I will re-evaluate this question and see if it's something I want to bring up to her.

    I plan to get to a point where I am truly 100% the man she thinks I am and I will forgive myself for my past actions and feel pride for becoming that man completely.

    Until then, please grant me the strength to continue on this journey.
     
  5. Welcome to nofap. Well done for seeking out the help of a therapist. Shows you mean business. I wish you all the best in learning how to tame and master your urges!
     
  6. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    Checking back in on day 13.

    The past week had its ups and downs. It started with me driving with my fiance to meet my family for a week long getaway. Throughout the drive, I couldn't stop feeling ashamed of all of my past actions and worried for what my fiance may think of me. That night while laying in the hotel room, I felt my heart rate rise and my mind start to move into panic mode. I was catastrophizing and worrying how much longer can I keep this secret inside. I imagined myself telling my fiance, her being so upset that she didn't want to be with me and family and then having to admit to my family why my fiance and I weren't speaking to one another.

    I told myself I had to at least make it until the end of the week. I started to come to terms with the idea that if I said anything during this trip, it would do more harm than good. I needed to just get back home and get to my appointment with my therapist (today) before taking any steps towards telling her.

    Over the course of the week I started to feeling better each day - less ashamed and anxious. I think that's partly because I was so distracted by everything we were doing but also because of a few other things.
    1. I started to talk to myself differently and tried to feel more proud of the steps I've taken (reaching out to a therapist, not succumbing to urges) instead of ruminating on my past actions. I should be proud of the fact that I am dealing with my issues on my own terms - not because of being arrested, hurt, or found out.
    2. I thought a lot about why I may have been acting out in the first place, read more about how porn changes my brain, and realized that I am an addict. I am not helpless. While my actions are disgusting and repulsiveness, they are the product of a lifetime of addiction and some trauma.
    3. I tried to really focus on the fact that I know I am a good person. And my fiance knows that too.

    When I got back on Saturday night, I felt such an urge to jerk off. I had to talk myself out of pulling up porn (Instagram photos of women). Instead I started researching about how voyeuristic actions and porn addiction can lead to divorce. I read first hand accounts of wives struggling with getting a message through to their husband that they had a problem. I didn't want to be that husband. I don't want my fiance to be that wife. It worked. I didn't jerk off but I felt ashamed again.

    Yesterday was better. And today I am looking forward to speaking with my therapist. I want to go over some things that happened in my childhood that may have led to my actions. I've always "self-soothed" by sucking my fingers, biting my nails, touching my hair and other parts of my body (non-sexually) obsessively. Masterbation was just another extension of self-soothing. I also want to bring up some trauma that occured during my teenage years. Shortly after that time, I noticed a trend of feeling rejected, ugly, and unwanted. I saw girls on my college campus that I found attractive but thought would never like me. I became obsessed with sites like MyExGf and then started downloading photos of Facebook friends to a secret file to jerk off to. I almost never jerked off to videos or hardcore porn since then (11 years ago.) When my fiance moved in with me, I had to change my daily habits. I was working nights and so I decided I would jerk off in my car before going home since she would be there. The rush I got from being in front of someone's house was a new high. I started driving around, jerking off in my car, while looking into people's windows. I never really wanted them to see me but the idea that they might gave me a new rush. From there, I would jerk off in my kitchen looking out the window as women walked by and I watched them. I was attracted to the idea that they were real and just a hundred feet away or so. I stopped all of this successfully and even stopped taking creepshots until just a few weeks before I got caught. I'm glad I got caught in the way I did. It was the wake up call I needed and a realization that things could be worse.

    I'll talk to my therapist tonight about all of this. I'm worried about how I will tell my fiance and when. I think she will feel like I am a liar and may even feel betrayed. At the same time, she deserves to know who she will be marrying and if she doesn't want to marry me, it will crush me, but I would rather her know the truth than live in a lie.
     
    Metis07 likes this.
  7. luckydog

    luckydog Fapstronaut

    Hi there @puravida18 welcome to the forum.

    So glad to read of your progress in becoming PMO-free, it takes an enormous amount of courage and self-awareness to 'wake up' like you are doing, and kudos also for dealing with the issues in therapy.

    I know you are wrestling with disclosure with your fiancee, whichever way it goes know that it is great to tackle this issue before you get married. Perhaps you could disclose with your therapist present. Believe me, after 20+ years of marriage if you don't deal with it before you WILL deal with it after marriage, one way or another (i.e. divorce). And from all I know of close friends who have divorced, it does a complete number on both yourself and your finances not to mention the kids (if any) that are involved. One friend in a messy divorce had two lawyers negotiating for him - at a combined rate of $700 PER HOUR of them arguing over the terms of the divorce. His spouse lawyered up at three lawyers working for her - at a combined rate of $1250 PER HOUR for the same argument. Think about that - spending about $2,000 per hour for every hour they wrangled over who-got-what including custody of their kid. Awful, my friend is still in therapy over all that.

    Also I'd consider learning about SAA, as 12-step group therapy has done wonders for me and many others. Lots to be gained too, in getting plenty of accountability partners to relate to on a peer basis. Don't think that because your addiction took you in a particular direction (in terms of the specifics of acting out) the drivers are very common. I learned a ton about my own addiction and how common the drivers were by digging in to the 'why do I behave this way?' and discovering the emotional component to be the dominant reason.

    Thus YBOP is just biology (note: I'm a biologist by training and that book did NOT help me at all), as a former Bible-thumping evangelical myself having a religious conversion doesn't help either. Porn and masturbation is most often a problem of the soul, of the past associations, an emotional connection to meet certain needs, that now I need to figure out how to handle without porn and masturbation. It can be baffling.

    From Doug Weiss The Final Freedom p.71 Chapter: Psychological Freedom, section on 'Feelings'
    This is a major part of sexual addiction recovery. During our development years, many of us did not learn to identify or communicate feelings, and yet feelings can be one of the most treacherous and dangerous areas in our early recovery. Many sex addicts at some point felt unloved, rejected or unappreciated, which put them into a difficult place if they don't know how to express their feelings. Many addicts end up medicating through a unhealthy sexual activity as a way of dealing with feelings. In any addiction, I find that feelings are something that addicts don't have much skill in fully expressing. This is just a lack of a particular skill issue. It is not a matter of a level of intelligence.

    In the midst of the addiction, when the sex addict had a feeling, and didn't know what it was, when he acted out, it went away. It was a simple solution. But in recovery, he doesn't have the solution of acting out. Now he has the problem of having a feeling and not knowing what it is.
    //

    I wish you the best.
     
  8. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    Hey @luckydog thank you so much for your response. I found everything you said to be incredibly helpful.

    I really resonate with that idea of "having a feeling" and not knowing what that emotion was so it just led to acting out.

    As of now, it feels like that feeling that drives most of my actions is boredom. But it may be more than that. Often times when I have a moment of downtime, especially if I'm home alone, I literally hear a voice in my head saying "I'm horny." Lately, I'm trying to dig deeper and I'm starting to listen to these subconscious statements and feelings and trying to notice when they're occurring. Is it because I've recently been tasked with something that I don't want to do? Am I actually just feeling nervous or anxious or upset about something else? I'm trying to identify these connections because I think it will help me better understand my triggers and avoid them or deal with them differently.

    I appreciate your suggestion about checking out SAA. My therapist made the same recommendation and I've attended 5 or 6 meetings so far. I do find it very helpful to be around other people who are struggling with similar issues. It's amazing when you realize that you're not the only one who is dealing with this.

    And thank you also for the advice on how and when to speak with my fiance about my addiction. I've agreed with my therapist that I will disclose my addiction to her in the future. I may not disclose every single details (as in every different way I've acted out in the past) but I do want her to really understand that this is something I've struggled with for years and I'm now taking my recovery seriously.
     
  9. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    I also want to provide an update - mostly for myself on how I have been doing since June 2nd (48 days ago).

    My first goal was to refrain from masterbation for 90 days. My first attempt lasted 19 days which was a personal record for me. My previous PR was 18 days. The streak ended when I was home alone and my addict brain found a new resource for getting off. I had been on Instagram, where I found most of "porn" and noticed a link to a woman's site where she sold clothes. I ended up creating a fake account, pretended to be another woman and asked for specific photos in specific outfits in certain poses. This led me to masterbating and ended my streak. I think my motivation was that these women were responding to "me" and supplying "me" with specific photos. I was finding a new way to fill this feeling of being wanted and feeling attractive.

    I went on another 15 day streak just to end it by looking at photos of girls on Instagram again. This particular day I was also home alone but for some reason I woke up with this feeling like the day was already lost. Somehow I felt like the addict had already won the battle and it was just a matter of time before I gave in.

    Since then I've tried to create more safeguards like blocking the amount of time I can spend on Instagram. As I mentioned above, I've also started attending SAA meetings.

    This past Sunday led to a couple of firsts (both good and bad). I was home alone again. This was normally a time when the addict would come out to play but for the first time in my life I thought "Hey, I need to attend a meeting today to keep me from masterbating" and that's what I did. I joined an 11am SAA meeting and I found it very helpful to be around other people going through the same thing as me. But by the early afternoon I was back on Instagram. I even started masterbating but I was able to stop myself, walk outside and get my head back to reality. One of the things my therapist talks about is "the bubble." - that feeling or space we're in when we're scrolling for the next video, photo, or thing that will get you off. By going outside I was not only able to feel like I left the bubble, but come back to reality.

    The problem was that throughout my time in the bubble on Instagram, I saw on the profile of one of the girls who I've gotten off to that she was hosting an open house for sale in my town. I convinced myself to go for a bike ride to clear my head but partly that was driven by my addict brain and my addict self that wanted to go to the open house.

    I road my bike down the road where it was taking place, praying that I had the wrong street and I misremembered the address but then just when I thought I was out of the woods, I saw the sign. I at first told myself to keep riding - the only one who wants to go in there is your addict self, not your real self - but after a block or two I heard myself say "I'm gonna listen to my dick" and turned around.

    While I was there I acted completely normal though I do remember my addict brain thinking "Oh maybe I can jerk off in the bathroom here" I spoke with the woman who I'd seen on Instagram but from any outsider's perspective, I didn't do anything creepy.

    When I left I felt ashamed and even shocked. I felt like I had crossed a new line. This was the tendency of a stalker and I couldn't believe that I had crossed a new line.

    One of the things that I've heard in SAA that I relate to is this idea that there continues to be lines that you say you'll never cross but then you see yourself cross them, set a new line and then eventually cross the other. This is what scares me. If I cannot get a handle on this behavior, I will very likely end up in jail.

    One of the things I will do next is to describe "my hell." I not only need and want a goal that I can move towards but one that I can move away from, aka "my hell."

    Overall, after 48 days, I am proud to say that I've attended 5 SAA meetings, met with my therapist 4 times, defined and then redefined my inner circle behaviors and only masterbated 3 times. This has been incredibly hard so far. I haven't even mentioned some of the mood swings I've noticed myself undergo when my addict brain doesn't get what it wants but I know that if I continue on this road I will find success and serenity.

    If I fall off the horse, I will get back on.
     
  10. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    My new inner circle:
    • no masterbation
    • no taking photos of women in public
    • do not look at social media with any intention of looking at attractive women
    • do not purposefully visit areas with the sole intention of seeing attractive women
    • do not go to a place specifically because you saw an attractive woman post a photo there
    • do not follow women in their cars or in public at all
    Today, July 20th, is my first day of true sobriety where I have not participated in any of these actions. I plan to track both my PM streak (currently on day 12) separately from my Sobriety-from-inner-circle-behaviors streak.

    The main reason I want to take this extra step and define and track my inner circle is because I know this is truly the best way for me to rewire my brain. I have tried in the past to just "not jerk off" but allow myself other activities and it doesn't work. I know where that path leads. For example, if I go on Instagram "just to look" chances are I'll end up masterbating. Even if I don't, I'm giving my brain that hit of serotonin and making it harder to rewire my brain.
     
  11. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    My hell:

    In my hell I've been arrested for a number of possible reasons:
    1. I was caught masterbating in my car outside of someone's home
    2. I took a photo of a woman in public
    3. I followed a woman home from the grocery store
    4. I continually stalked a woman repeatedly
    5. I sexually assaulted someone
    6. I exposed myself in public
    7. I was caught looking at porn in public
    Though I haven't participated in all of these activities, if I continue down a path similar to the one I've been on, it's reasonable to think that I may in the future.

    Once I'm arrested I have to go to jail, be labeled as a sex offender or have some sort of arrest record where it is public knowledge that I did something disgusting.

    My fiance would leave me.

    I would have to have my family know about my secret.

    My friends would find out and think that I'm a sick pervert.

    All of the women in my life would never look at me the same and always treat me differently.

    I would likely end up severely depressed and anxious and likely have to take medications but wouldn't have a job to pay for them.

    I would like spiral and continue to feel ashamed and therefore act out again and put myself in more jeopardy of getting into worse trouble.

    I wouldn't be able to live in my current house with my fiance. I would have to move back home with my parents and feel ashamed.

    Her family would find out about my secrets. I would lose the trust of my parents.

    I would love my job. I would have to try to apply for new jobs with a record and likely never be hired for a well-paying job again. I wouldn't have health insurance and wouldn't be able to keep up with my current health issues.
     
  12. luckydog

    luckydog Fapstronaut

    Hey @puravida18 that's a lot to take in, and welcome back!

    Glad to see the progress, the participating in meetings with others, and the work with a therapist. Great stuff. And nice to see here a clear definition of inner circle activities - you will also need to include what is in the middle circle, which for you may be any use of Instagram, as it clearly leads you down the road of acting out. I have given up Twitter, even though I have a large following and used to use it very often for work. It's not that big a deal.

    And you need to also clearly define and expand upon the outer circle: what is healthy, what involves others, what is so apart from porn and invasive and degrading thoughts, what will work to your strengthening in recovery? And work on expanding what that is, whether some activity with your fiancee, or a regular phone call with a sobriety partner, or a list of people you have lost touch with and want to reconnect again.

    It is in this outer circle that I focus on when I have unstructured free time. You've indicated the times you've relapsed is when your addict brain just takes over with 'free time'. Put some activities in there, and believe me when you have 1pm to 5pm free and there's a sobriety partner call at 3pm you are not looking at porn in the run-up, and you surely don't feel like masturbating afterwards.

    Lastly think through the positive benefits of being porn-free. As Matt Dobschuetz says, Get to the Good Stuff. There's a ton of benefits and Good Stuff, rather than the lengthy list of 'not this, I don't do that' etc etc. You are now free to do a ton of other creative and intellectual pursuits. I for one am reaping wonderful benefits.

    I wish you the best.
     
  13. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    Thanks again for your response @luckydog i really really appreciate it.

    I’ll listen to this podcast and let you know what I think.
     
  14. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    Last night I slipped and masterbated for the first time 23 days. It had also been 11 days of full sobriety from all inner circle behaviors.

    I knew this weekend was going to be challenging because I was going to be home alone for the entirety of the weekend. In the past, these scenarios have been my addict's playground. There had been times where I would spend an hours just "in the bubble" and letting the addict control all of my behaviors. I made it until about 10:30pm last night, I told myself if I just got to sleep I could make it until another day but I made the mistake of bringing my phone to bed with me and allowing my addict to find a new way in. This time it was by doing things outside my inner circle. Since I had never defined pornography or other specific websites that I had typically gotten off to to my inner circle list, I told myself it was okay to just look at those. Well we all know how that goes.

    Then again this morning I told myself I might as well get "as much bang for my buck" and enjoy the entire weekend so I acted out again.

    While I'm slightly disappointed in myself, especially because I ended my longest streak ever, I feel more confident in myself than I have in past moments of failure. I can look back to when my journey began on June 2nd - exactly 60 days ago and be proud that I'm even still on this path. In every other past scenario, I would be totally back to all my old ways by now. I would have tried NoFap for about 2 weeks, failed, made another half-assed attempt and then fall back into my old routine. While I haven't been perfect these past 60 days, I have been pretty damn good. I've only masterbated 5 times in 60 days, I've created a list of inner circle behaviors, modified that list, and created a hell scenario to keep me motivated. I've also been to 6 therapy sessions and about 6 SAA meetings.

    I really wanted to make it to day 30 because that day would fall on an annual camping trip. For the past couple of years, I use that time to re-evaluate where I'm at in my life and where I need to go. Last year, I made a commitment to get help with this issue. It took me about 10 months to get around to it but I have started working on that goal. I was hoping I could show up to that camping trip and say to myself "Hey, look I am 30 days free of masterbation and I'm working on this goal" and I am disappointed I can't go into that weekend with a 30 day milestone. But it's okay. I can show up and tell myself CONFIDENTLY that I am walking this path and I am taking steps every single day to be a better version of myself.

    From past experiences, I know that over the course of today and the next few days I'll feel more disappointment and shame but as more days pass without acting out, that feeling will subside and I'll begin to feel more confident again.

    Overall, I'll give myself a B- for my 60 day grade. I'll reevaluate on day 90. I know I will continue to get stronger.
     
  15. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    My new inner circle as of August 1:
    • no masterbation - at all, even if I don't ejaculate
    • no taking photos of women in public
    • do not look at social media (Facebook, Instagram, Depop, etc.) with any intention of looking at attractive women
    • do not purposefully visit areas (e.g. grocery store, restaurant, bar) with the main motivation of seeing attractive women
    • do not go to a place specifically because you saw an attractive woman post a photo there
    • do not follow women in their cars or in public at all
    • do not look at any pornography websites at all
     
  16. fighter 123 345

    fighter 123 345 Fapstronaut

    Hi bro I can understand your situation I'm also tired of this shit. We will get out this togethere
     
  17. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    It's been 72 days since I started this journey on June 2, 2021. Since then I've gone on new streaks that seem previously unimaginable (18 days, 15 days, 23 days, 12 days) Most of the PM-free streaks ended in some sort of binging episode (acting about back to back times, sometimes up to 3 times in a 24 hour span). I think that one of the goals going forward is to not let one slip-up turn into a binging session.

    With that being said, yesterday afternoon after I acted out again, I didn't feel mad or angry. I felt slightly disappointed in the idea that I had to reset my counter. (I also put pennies in a jar as a physical counter and I was saddened by the idea of dumping them all out again). But overall I felt at peace.

    This was the first time I acted out since have a profound psychedelic experience where I really explored how I came to be a porn/sex addict and why I use PM to self soothe. Because of these new enlightened perspective, I saw myself more as a victim and view myself with much more compassion than I have before.

    I've also gotten better at practicing acknowledging that just because I haven't set a new PR for a PM-free streak, does not mean I'm failing. I'm on this journey and I still haven't quit. When I look back at this summer, I will say to myself "Wow, I've only had a few slip ups and I've spent the vast majority of the summer sober from PM." I knew this would be hard, I can't get down on myself for not being able to stop cold turkey right away. PM have been a part of my life for more than half of my life, it will take time to break from the habit.

    Though my streak ended yesterday, I consider it a win that I feel really good this morning and still remaining optimistic 72 days into my journey.

    I am setting a new goal to get to 30 days.
     
  18. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    My new inner circle as of August 17:
    • no masterbation - at all, even if I don't ejaculate
    • no taking photos of women in public
    • do not look at social media (Facebook, Instagram, Depop, etc.) with any intention of looking at attractive women
    • do not purposefully visit areas (e.g. grocery store, restaurant, bar) with the main motivation of seeing attractive women
    • do not go to a place specifically because you saw an attractive woman post a photo there
    • do not follow women in their cars or in public at all
    • do not look at any pornography websites at all
    • do not drive around neighborhoods for voyeuristic purposes
     
  19. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    I'm updating again after 3 months. Since my last update on August 17th, I went on the longest streak I had ever gone on, 67 days.

    A lot of my success was due in part to the community I've found in SAA and by setting up my inner, middle and outer circles. Though, one of the things I noticed during that extended period of sobriety was that I was spending a TON of time in my middle circle. In fact, almost every day I was looking at Instagram profiles of women, fantasizing about other women and on one occasion I started masterbating but I was able to stop myself.

    I told myself that this was all okay because my inner circle only had two things in it (porn and voyeurism.) I was lying to myself though. I knew there was more in my inner circle, including looking at Instagram. This continued until I finally had a bad slip and took a picture of a woman in public. I felt ashamed so I called someone in my program for support and ultimately didn't masterbate. I told myself that my sobriety was still in tact because I hadn't masterbating. Again, I lied to myself. Eventually I admitted to myself that my sobriety had been lost and as a result, and almost ceremoniously, I masterbated to "officially" end my sobriety.

    After that, I told myself I will be SUPER CLEAR about what I can and cannot do. I filled my inner circle with a bunch of things that included looking at instagram, porn, etc. I told myself, if I put everything in my inner circle, I won't even get close to acting out.

    Well I was wrong again, the addict always finds a way to sneak back into my mind and find some backdoor "approved" avenue for looking at porn and getting that high. I started looking at social media profiles of women that weren't on Instagram and told myself that was okay. Eventually I reviewed my circles and I had to be honest with myself. I once again lost my sobriety and had entered into my inner circle.

    Yesterday at fellowship some guys were talking about what should and shouldn't be in the inner circle. One of the things that stuck out to me was that we shouldn't try to have perfect recovery and your inner circle should only consist of those things that lead to incomprehensible demoralization. I know that looking at Instagram or Facebook does not lead to these feelings. What does lead to those feelings though is masterbating, acts of voyeurism, stalking behaviors, and hardcore pornography.

    What that means is that looking at Instagram, taking a detour through a neighborhood or listening to a recording of a time when I masterbated are all boundary behaviors and must be avoided. When I'm doing anything like that I have left the safety of my guardrails and I'm teetering on the edge of a cliff and at serious risk of losing my sobriety.

    I'm actually scared of this new approach because I think my addict will use it as an excuse to look at Instagram and spend a lot more time in the middle circle. I do need to realize that my recovery will not be perfect. I need to focus on progress, not perfection and I need to be honest with myself when I start participating in middle circle behaviors. When that happens, I need to reach out to someone in my program or attend a meeting.
     
  20. puravida.21

    puravida.21 Fapstronaut

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    Yesterday I realized though I had once again violated my inner circle and came to the conclusion that I had lost my sobriety. Or at least that's what my addict was telling me. I heard myself thinking, "well if you need to restart, you might as well masterbate."

    Once I went onto Instagram with that intention of looking at specific women, I started to feel some shame. But even then, I told myself, you can restart but restart with some dignity. Just because I lost my sobriety didn't mean I had to masterbate but I did and I feel bad about it today. I feel more irritable and I feel really sad that I threw away 2.5 solid weeks.

    I'm actually thinking about doing it again. Whenever i don't have a streak, I feel like i don't have anything to lose so I might as well "get my moneys worth" but I Know we're having guests here today for the next week and a half I need to be mentally capable of handling more stress and more activity so on the other hand I'm thinking I shouldn't act out.
     

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