Thursday, July 09, 2009

Day 20

Okay, I got some comments and now I have a few things to say.

First, let me say that the last couple of days have been rough. I exchanged numbers with a few girls 3 weeks ago and nothing happened. I got angry and resentful, I treated every women I ran into as if they didn't exist and then I let the hatred subside and got back to just being myself... then I heard back from both those girls and it sent me back into a confused state of fear and anger. Why? Because I feared being hurt again and because I didn't like being ignored for 3 weeks.

The point is I came close to caving because of this incident. I looked at sexual forums for the last few days and though I don't count that as looking at pornography, its definitely something I don't want to do.

I'm aware of my vulnerable state and I'm refocusing my attention on the areas of my life that are going well (like the fact that I'm training hard to be a amateur cyclist racer) and on relaxing (taking a hot bath/shower with the lights low - my preferred method of relaxation).

One of the reasons I look at porn is to relieve stress... however, because I've learned this I can do something different instead: acknowledge when I'm stressed out (awareness) and then relieve the stress by relaxing (there's a million techniques, look some up and find what works best for you.)

Someone else mentioned loneliness as a cause of urges for pornography and that couldn't be more true for me. I used to be way more isolated and that caused me a great deal of pain which I solved through daily use of pornography. For the most part that has been solved by my job, oddly enough. I work in a cafe now and the daily interaction with my co-workers and customers has allowed me to socialize in a structured way (which is my preference).

Because I work at a cafe, I've also met people who share interests with me (like cycling and day trading - which is similar to investing) and I've made friends this way which has solved a second issue that used to cause me to look at pornography: lack of friends.

Back in January of this year I met a girl and we've been "friends with benefits" without being exclusive since then. This has allowed me to feel okay with meeting other women and explore dating (which is important to me) while at the same time meeting my need for sex (this being another issue that used to cause me to look at pornography: lack of sex or the perception that sex wasn't going to occur anytime soon).

These four things that cause me to look at porn (I discovered them with much effort a long time ago) are pretty well resolved at the moment. Acknowledging my need to have these bases covered and being proactive about keeping these needs met has allowed me to go these 20 days pretty easily. This blog is also a great tool in maintaining my awareness of urges and desire to quit.

So to sum up what has helped me go 100 days in the past is:

1. Find out what causes you to feel urges. The best way is to notice when you are looking at porn or feeling a strong desire to look and to take note of what problems or issues have come up recently. Once you do that, think about how these problems made you feel. Lonely? Stressed out?

2. Find alternative solutions to the feelings that propel you towards pornography. Porn is a tool to make you feel better when your down, find a different tool (and don't force it, find one that you actually like because otherwise you'll eventually go back to porn - you're not superman).

3. Keep a journal or blog or something so that you can focus your effort and gain awareness of yourself.

4. Remember that none of these things are quick fixes. If you think you can run through these 3 steps in a day, forget about it. This is why you want to start a journal; it'll allow you to slowly day by day figure this stuff out at your own pace. Hopefully you can gain something from what I've learned but you're not me so your recovery is going to be different than mine.

5. Lastly develop a balanced life. I'm not going to go into the specifics, there's plenty of information on the web about this. Find out what it means to live a balanced life and then do it. It allows you to have stability when your having a bad day regarding one area of your life because you'll have 2-5 other areas that are doing just fine. I've never come up with any kind of strategy (visualizations, NLP, mental exercises, exercise, affirmations, I've tried a lot of stuff) that can keep me feeling as stable as having a balanced life.

I'm surprised how logical and structured this post came out to be. Sorry it wasn't more lively and interesting.

I love you guys, keep your chins up.

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