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Schrödinger

Schrödinger's 90 day reboot

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Day 1

So I have completed day ONE of my 90 day reboot. I am 42 and have been struggling with a porn addiction since the age of 16. I have tried and tried and tried to give up and have been unsuccessful. I have worked through the e course, and hope that that has given me some tools to get through and complete this reboot. I feel hopeful and happy, but at the same time anxious as to whether i can do this. I normally struggle from days 20-50. I have set myself 9 periods of 10 days to navigate through. After about 20 days, my brain gets really testy and i feel i have to act out. That’s when i need to be careful. I have thought about some fulfilling disciplines and will take up the following every day: exercise, calligraphy, astronomy, meditation, learning a language. I have thought hard and long about a drill that i will go through the next time i am tempted (think about what’s is going on in my head, deep breaths, ask myself what i want, and then a brisk walk whilst singing to some good music). I will think about why i want to give up my addiction (people/passions/purpose). My main cognitive distortion is that i can always start another reboot, and start again. This is a lie that my brain has repeatedly told myself each time over the last 26 years, which is all my adult life. 

 

Finally, i am going to check in daily and give an update here as a blog, to give myself some accountability. 

 

I have to do this. I have to break free. My eyes are welling up with tears as I write this. I know it is just psychological. People have survived for years without porn. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. Giving it up won’ t kill me. 

 

And in 90 days time I will have begun my healing and the journey to living an awesome life will have truly started.

 
 
Edited by Schrödinger

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Day 2

So I have completed day TWO of my 90 day reboot. 



The mindsets videos by Mark look interesting, but i am not sure how we can use them. Are they meant to be a guide to our states of mind when we are not acting out? Or do we pretend we are in the challenge zone when we have an urge? 



A Stoic philosopher called Seneca once said:



The greatest man is he who chooses right with the most invincible resolution.



In my blogs, I will be using and sharing some useful tips that I have learnt from philosophers and cognitive behaviour therapists. 



My triggers tend to be stress, frustration (including things not going my way) and boredom. 



Sexual addiction is at heart, based on irrational thinking. 



To treat it, one can adopt an ABCDE approach. 



A stands for activating event, or adversity



B stands for belief



C stands for consequence



D stand for disputation 



E stands for effective outlook





In sexual addiction the activating events are the triggers: stress, anger, frustration, loss, boredom, tiredness etc. 



The C is acting out, in my case looking at pornography.



B is the critical bit. It may well be thought that A leads to C, but in reality, it is B that causes C. 



Identifying the irrational beliefs B is the key to treating sexual addiction. These irrational beliefs are to be disputed and challenged (forcefully and with energy) at D.



This will then lead to E: a porn free and awesome life, where you are in control of your emotional state, and you have great mental health. 



Patrick Carnes once said that sexual addiction is running away from reality. 



I will talk more about the four characteristics that constitute an irrational belief in my next post.

 
 
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Day 4

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat (Roosevelt)

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Day 5

Completed day 5 of my 90 day no PMO reboot.

"Concentrate every minute … on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions … you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable"

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Day 6

Completed day 6 of my 90 day no PMO reboot. 

I have been thinking of the role of gratitude in our lives. Too often, we don't make time for this. One of the things that i am doing every morning is to consciously think of a few things I am grateful for in my own life. 

I also liked what Oliver Sacks wrote in the months before he died:

"I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."

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`Day 9

There are 8 unhealthy negative emotions that most human beings struggle with. Dealing with these is an important part in overcoming sexual addiction, and maintaining great mental health. These emotions are: 
 

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Guilt
  4. Shame
  5. Hurt
  6. Anger
  7. Envy 
  8. Jealousy

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Day 10

Ten days completed. Feeling good about myself. And positive. Taking one day at a time. Have taken a couple of days of work, to do some reading and some exercises from the e-course. I know i will struggle from day 20, so am getting ready for the battle that will come ahead. Jax-you asked which emotion(s) i find most troublesome. For me, it is probably anxiety and anger. And I say that knowing full well that i am otherwise quite a balanced individual without any history of psychiatric problems. Anxiety about just general things that might come up-having to deal with my ex wife, what my job might throw at me in the coming few weeks, maybe something that i want/need but am unsure about etc. And anger (which is probably related to a frustrating situation), when things might not go my way, or i might not get what i want, or someone has said something i don't like, etc. 



The 8 unhealthy negative emotions are balanced by 8 

healthy

 negative emotions, which psychologists say we should aim for. These are, correspondingly: 


 

  1. Concern
  2. Sadness
  3. Remorse
  4. Regret
  5. Disappointment
  6. Annoyance
  7. Healthy envy
  8. Healthy jealousy 

Unhealthy and healthy negative emotions can also be called unhelpful and helpful emotions. 



So with me, I have to try and change my two most troublesome emotions: anxiety and anger, into concern and annoyance. 



Anxiety is a horrible emotion to have, and part of it is the inability to accept uncertainty about a situation. We also make situations bigger in our minds than they actually are. 



It is of note also that anger is generally directed at a person 'he did this to me', whereas annoyance is directed more at a situation (rather than a person). 



The 

key

 to sorting out our emotions, and to have fantastic emotions is to tease out the beliefs that underly/influence these emotions. Too often we think it is a particular person or event that causes an emotion. But in reality it is our beliefs that we have about a person or a situation or about ourselves that then cause an emotion. 



I will talk more about beliefs in the next few posts.

 
 

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DAY 25 

So, it’s started. 24 days it what it took. Which is approximately how long it usually takes. A friend asked me to go on to iPlayer and watch Newsnight. As I was typing that in, I noticed from the corner of my eye, a programme about p. It grabbed me and hooked me in, and before I knew it I was watching bits of it knowing that I shouldn’t. Luckily that whole period of flicking through the programme lasted only 30 seconds or so on part, and because it was on the BBC, there was nothing explicit in it. Any other time, that might have been an OK programme to watch, but hey, it’s not in a reboot, and not at this particular time of a reboot. It left me with a deep pain in my heart though, and made my mind go into overdrive.

I then put my relapse preventions strategy in gear, summarised by the pneumonic STAR.

This will be me going in to a healthier auto-pilot mode.

STEP back and observe what is going on in my head.

The first thing is that I think my mind and body are missing porn-terribly. I have a deep ache in my heart, and I am wishing I can act out. My chimp is jumping up and down because it hasn’t been fed for 24 days. I have not satisfied its dopamine rush with the artificial super-stimulus of porn. I have also been busy with my sister and my nephews and niece, so have not really had time to myself. Originally I was going to build a few outer defences-go to the gym, learn a language, play tennis. I have not done any of those. But on the other hand, I have not done anything I did not want either, because I have spent time with my family. Which is healthy.

The second thing I think that is going on in my head is that I had two dates with a beautiful and interesting woman. We connected really well. However she did not want to take things further, and I have felt sad about that. Perhaps deep down I am feeling it as a rejection. And so I have been going on Tinder and an online dating site and writing to a couple of other women, none of whom seem to be as interesting.

TAKE a few deep breaths.

Just chill man! My heart beat seems to be racing away at about 10-20 BPM faster than it should.

ASK yourself what you want

I remember Rob saying that when he was struggling, he would write it down in a journal, or go onto a forum. Which is what I am doing now. My ideal self would be kind to myself. I have had a busy couple of weeks. And it’s OK to feel sad if a date didn’t work out. There is no reason why she would have to say yes to me. The world does not work like that. Moreover, it is not the ‘end of the world’ by any stretch of the imagination. And if I thought about it, I can quite easily deal with this! I have enough resilience inside of me to accept it as something disappointing, but that’s life. It doesn’t say anything about me, or her. And I won’t die from either not acting out, or from her not wanting to see me again!

RUN

Remove yourself immediately. I have listened to some feel good music for 30 minutes.

Undo negative thinking. Remember one more time does matter, I don’t have to act out even though my brain is telling me to, my brain is lying to me, and all sort of neurochemicals are whizzing around.

Never forget what you are going you lose. Look, I am on my 25th day. And I was doing really well.

Porn does not fit in with the sort of person I am or want to be. It will affect my health. And it will make me lose out on a beautiful loving relationship with a real woman.

PLAN

So what is my plan:

I will be careful over the next couple of days. I will go out for a bike ride later. I will continue reading a brilliant book on Willpower (by Baumeister, if anyone is interested). I will start my daily healthy regular habits that I had thought I would do from the start. This urge WILL die down. I will use this experience to learn more about myself, and grow into a better person (growth mindset). I will be more determined to continue with my 90 day no PMO reboot, not least because I have £1000 riding on it. Look at Federer or Djokovic-they are able to bat away any challenge that comes to them (challenge mindset). I will engage with my feelings rather than run away from them (engagement mindset). It is OK to feel sad about my dates, and OK to feel physically restless because I have not acted out for almost 4 weeks now. Patrick Carnes said breaking the addiction is about holding on to reality at all costs. I still have an ache and a yearning in my heart telling me to act out, but it has diminished by 20% simply by writing all this down, and knowing somebody out there will read it, and realising that I have brought my thoughts and feelings out into the open. I am a man. There is nothing bad about me. I became addicted 20 years ago and ended up forming unhealthy behaviours. All I need to do is start building new paths and roads in my mind. Look at my life tree. It’s growing nicely.

I can do this, and I will do this, and I will break free.

I should be like the rock on a beach, where a wave has crashed over it, but then the wave dissipates and it is all calm again.

Laozi, the Chinese philosopher, once said-the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

This is my first step. It will be painful. But it will get easier.

But it’s a step I have to take.
And will take.

Pascal once said: all of humanity’s problems stem from mans inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

That’s all I need to do. Accept myself. Be myself. Be with my thoughts.

I am a cool, interesting, loyal, funny, and intelligent man, with wonderful and beautiful personality traits, who has much to be grateful for.



IMG_5862.jpg

Edited by Schrödinger
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DAY 33

 

**** you-you ancient cretinous chimp brain of mine. You have caused me untold misery for 25 years, and most of the time, i did not even realise it was you. This morning you tried to get your foot in the door. After 30 seconds, I realised what you were trying to do and I slammed the door shut. I have now completed successfully 33 days of my no PMO reboot, without relapsing once. I have watched no porn, and this morning, all i did was google image a woman’s name. I will NOT let you beat me, no matter how hard you try and repeatedly rear your ugly head. The next few days, you will try again and again. But i will indulge in healthier pursuits. I will be social, go and see friends, read, walk around a National Trust place, treat myself, exercise, and dress well. But moreover, i will be on my guard, and make sure i complete 90 days no matter what. And each time you try to stop me, I WILL RAISE MY GAME. I will starve you of the oxygen you crave, so eventually-I promise you- you will just wither away and die.

Edited by PJ
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Wow Schrodinger - you are really fighting this.  Well done - you seem to doing a lot of good things.  It doesn't sound like you have others supporting you through this.  I just wonder if that might help?

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Well so this is the fist time that I admit I have a problem.  I started to masturbate at age 7 and I'm 45 today. I has cost me my marriage and many relationships. so this is me. my only need is to break free from this monster that consumed my life.

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Hello everyone,

I agree with you workinprogress, Schrödinger's story is inspiring...I really hope he hasn't dropped out. Schrödinger, if you see this post, I want you to know something:
It's thanks to your courage in telling so candidly about your battle that has inspired me to sign up to this forum.

I'm a 43 year old man who has struggled with looking and masturbating to P images since accidentally finding a magazine of a relative since I was about 6 or 7.

I have tried unsuccessfully for YEARS to stay away from P. It has only been in the last few months I I have accepted that to truly improve my chances of recovering and staying recovered, I needed to reach out to a forum like this one. But I was so mixed up, I always felt I could do it on my own, I was embarrassed and ashamed, so always procrastinated from signing up and asking for help. I didn't have the stamina or courage to go longer than 14 days or so without relapsing.
Anyway, after an abstinence of 16 days I relapsed yesterday and again today.  But as I said, it was reading YOUR posts Schrödinger, and the other encouraging messages from the rest of you that has helped me commit anew to this fight. Thank you.  Schrödinger, if you have dropped  out, please know that you are not alone, and we are all here to help each other. Your story and these other positive messages are the latest inspiration I've needed in order to say this:

I'm an addict, and I need help.

Thanks for listening everyone.

 

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I wonder what happened? 

Making things into a fight ....takes enormous amounts of energy ... fighting what exactly.

i find its best just relax and let the feelings be there and just put attention onto them.

i think the thing to watch is the linkage between Porn and masturbation or watching porn as a prelude to acting out.

masturbation in itself is not really harmful and is perfectly natural , like any other bodily function.  

There are so many different views on this. 

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Mr Schrodinger is still going. He's not given up the change completely but has suffered some setbacks as we all do. I hope very much he will come back here and post some more because his energy and persistence is admirable.

Your point about making things into a fight is very relevant and something I think a lot of us addicts struggle with - fighting ourselves. I've found moving forward requires me to make peace with myself but that's not a simple thing, it's a process.

I don't know any guys personally who've decided to quit and then just stayed clean from there on after. Instead, it takes some slips and a lot of learning about yourself, what works and what doesn't along with what you really need and how your life may not be giving that to you, then how I could change that and so on.

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