Days 4-7 Recap / 170718 Tuesday – Day 8

Brief, several day recap. I begin to develop a kind of daily checklist.

Sometimes I find it difficult to concentrate and remember: ok, what is this blog about again? I want it to be so many things.

I find that, occasionally (maybe even often) writing in this stream-of-conscious way tends to stir up my inner anxiety/despair/self-criticism. Why is that?

I want this to be some kind of record (for science??) about documenting the attempt of a 30-something white male to end an addiction to pornography, video entertainment, procrastination, excuses, avoidance, and a child/follower bear-no-responsibility mind-set over the course of a year.

But, a key step of recovery, I think, is replacing those activities with something that’s positive and something that develops and manifests the core of who I am, so wouldn’t this blog also need to include what I am doing, and not just what I have avoided doing?

Because, I’d like to think I am not just my addiction, even though whenever I think about who I am, that’s often what I think about.

We are a mix of desirable and undesirable qualities, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sure, if I could press a button and be perfect, I’m not sure what would stop me from pressing it. But what does that even mean, and is it even categorically possibly? What is ‘perfection’? And if I never made mistakes, I would lose something quintessential to myself. Would I even be able to recognize myself? Would I actually be conscious? Or just some kind of automaton? Is a fundamental part about being human the process of holding space for your imperfection and fallibility? The understanding that at this very moment, because of my lack of knowledge of the future and all options, I am on course to my next mistake, my next thousand mistakes, and eventually, my death.

I think I am going to develop a kind of checklist. I’m not sure if I will complete it daily, or if I will do a kind of review at the end of each week.

Work in progress:

CHECKLIST

  • Pornography? Yes, 1x, yesterday (Sun)
  • Video games? No
  • YouTube? Yes, in the presence of my partner.
  • Unstructured news browsing? Yes
  • Unstructured general browsing? Yes
  • TV/Movies? Yes, but with another human being
  • Maintaining clean apt? No
  • Sleep for at least 7 hour? No
  • Career/Passion work?
  • Misc/daily chore/task work?
  • Eating well?
  • Exercise?
  • Physical affection? (Hugs, cuddling, sex)
  • Feeling the inner parent?
  • Social interaction?
  • Introspection?

Frustrated by/ Needs work:

Grateful for:

I can feel how this blog can become an avoidance mechanism (and it has been that occasionally). I still am figuring out how to establish a balance.

One of my biggest challenges is simply maintaining some sort of basic schedule and plan for the day. 98% of my life has been becoming absorbed by some activity until an external force pulls me out of it.

Day 3 Recap

A few moments of choosing to sit with, observe, and breathe with my emotions, rather than compulsively going to my phone.

Pornography, video games, or Movie/TV platforms: None.

Exercise: Swimming

Physical contact/affection: Some. Not as much as I’d hope.

Yesterday was a little weird. Began to feel some withdrawal symptoms. Hadn’t gotten enough sleep. One of my coworkers began talking about a game that I had been playing last before beginning this attempt, and that wasn’t helpful. I wanted to say, “You know, I really don’t want to talk about this.” But instead, I just leaned into it. Why? Maybe because I wanted to seem courteous or friendly. He’s a nice guy.

When I got home, I had some pretty significant urges. The game station was just sitting there, available.

I took a nap.

But when I woke up, I began unstructured, impulsive browsing of Facebook, articles, and the like. It was all interesting, and there were some informative articles. But it was unstructured. It wasn’t the priority. And I felt like I had to keep going, like I couldn’t just stop.

Some good things:

  • Seeing the ‘likes’ that are starting to come in for posts – that’s very heartening – thank you
  • prepared to leave for somewhere in advance (instead of waiting until the last moment, then scrambling, then feeling pressure to drive faster)
  • Exercised

Weird things:

  • A man, completely naked, approached me aggressively in the locker room trying to talk with me and got angry when I said I just wanted to change and wished him a good workout. It made me so uncomfortable I left and reported it to the front desk. Apparently he’s done this once before and has some social developmental issues, which I understand, but I was a little frustrated when it seemed like all the front desk people were going to do was apologize to me for my experience. This was the first time something like this has happened to me, so I didn’t have the wherewithal to ask the front desk people, “So…is there any kind of follow up to this? Are you going to approach him and talk to him about how doing XYZ is inappropriate?” He didn’t touch me, and I did go back in and change, but he definitely slammed something in the bathroom. But…I feel like something worse could have happened and I walked away feeling like the deeper issue wasn’t resolved. I think our culture just extremely ill-equipped on how to have difficult, awkward, but civil, respectful, productive, healing conversations, with a variety of people.
  • My partner and I fought last night. Among a few other things, they got their upper wisdom teeth removed the day before and couldn’t eat much of anything more than yogurt consistency, and I had made a salad for dinner, and they got frustrated at me for eating in front of them. They were pretty frustrated about some other issues, so I was trying to be understanding about the salad thing, and some of the other things they said, but it was difficult. I am still learning how to express ‘productive/respectful anger’, and not ‘lash-back anger’, or ‘get even anger’. Nonviolent Communication is a big thing for me.

 

Was this a successful day? Partially. Still need work towards structured time.

Day 2 Recap

Fine.

No exercise.

Slept about 6ish hours? Don’t get enough sleep.

Really busy with stuff, so not lots of opportunity to feel urges.

Hmm…well, I spent the night at my partner’s apt last night and I did impulsively look at some news articles.

Is acting on impulse always bad? (Would like to get away from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ language – is acting on impulse always harmful?)

But it was just to pass the time.

They had to work on some stuff, and I didn’t have much of a plan.

Why am I so hard on myself?

Because it’s the little things…little reminders that I feel out of control.

Right, but, this kind of self-shaming (that I feel now) isn’t going to help me. And…now I’m shaming the shaming.

Hard to pin down what a ‘successful’ day is, but there are varying degrees.

In comparison to my worst days? It was pretty fantastic.

Day 1 recap

Fine. No real urges.

When I went to go running at the gym (which I rarely do), no one else was there, and I automatically turned on the TV and saw that ‘Beetlejuice’ was playing on one of the channels. I’ve never seen the movie, and since running on a treadmill can be pretty damn boring, I began arguing with myself why watching TV was ok while doing something like working out.

And maybe it is.

But I decided I just wanted distance from any kind of form of visual entertainment that wasn’t needed for some kind of educational purpose.

Normally I have a tough time getting to sleep early without the use of watching YouTube videos/playing games until I’m exhausted, but I employed a number of different tactics I’ve developed, and that actually worked out pretty well.

Didn’t get to bed quite when I wanted to, but that’s ok.