Day 9 Relapse (Trying To Learn Some Lessons From It)

Submitted by The Fonz on
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So I relapsed on p/m/o this morning.

The one thing that always gets me is when I have a wet dream, and then I wake up feeling like, "aw, crap, so I had a dopamine high that's going to lead to a hangover, but I wasn't even conscious to enjoy the dopamine high." And then I give in because I want to be conscious to enjoy the dopamine high. I thought I was going to make it through this morning after realizing I had a wet dream. I rationalized about how the dopamine high of a wet dream definitely isn't as high as the dopamine-high that comes about from masturbating to porn. I should have used the cold water trick, but I thought the rationalization would work. It didn't.

I was in a bit of a funk all morning. I felt really sluggish. I knew I had to give a presentation later today, and so I was mad at myself for bringing this sluggish hangoverness upon myself. But then the presentation actually went really well. All the preparation I did for it paid off, even though i wasn't feeling 100%. The success of the presentation really picked up my spirits, and it helped me to stop feeling guilty. (I'm getting better at not guilt-tripping myself...my motto now is "my future success depends upon how nice and forgiving i am of myself now"...but it's still a bit of a challenge to not feel guilt).

But ya, I'm trying to learn from it.

I think that I may try to raise the stakes a bit now. Since September, when I first came across Marnia's blog on psychologytoday.com, I've been trying to cut back on masturbation and quit pornography. I've been able to cut back masturbation to about once a week (been trying to make it to three), but I always seem to relapse on the pornography. So, to get out of this cycle, I think I'm going to cut out masturbation for something crazy like two months and let "wet dreams take their course." I think if I'm able to do that then I may be able to cut out pornography. Or do you guys think that's too unrealistic of a goal?

Good for you for coming on

Good for you for coming on here and sharing your relapse so clearly. Pure accountability and steadiness on your part. Helps with the shame so much.

No, not unrealistic. Wet dreams are going to happen and they seem to happen more often if you indulge in fantasy. This has happened to me before too. Dreams are powerful when you are going through this, Ive had entire days ruined because of a dream of an ex or a sexual dream.

"I think if I'm able to do that then I may be able to cut out pornography."

Porn's just got to go one way or another, there's no room for it in recovery. It spikes the dopamine and makes things a lot harder. Trying to recover while still holding onto porn is like trying to start a fire while pouring water on it. Same with sexual fantasy. It seems like cold turkey gets the most work done for us in recovery. You cant even give this addiction an inch. If you can pursue a high goal and not be disappointed with occasional slips, then you will be fine.

Hang in there, how you treat yourself after a relapse is just as important as how you treat yourself the day before.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.
-Plato

I agree with JR, the real

I agree with JR, the real reason to stay away from the porn is to make it easier to stay in control. You'll feel less 'itchy' for the orgasm payoff if you don't view sexually stimulating material.

No use in feeling guilty after a slip up, although it is a good idea to look back at what triggered you and see if you can do something to avoid the stimulus next time. For you, sounds like you may need to be extra vigilant in the future if/when a wet dream occurs...

Yep, I experience the exact

Yep, I experience the exact same thing after a wet dream, you have to be extra careful after those. If you're learning you're progressing and if you're progressing you'll finally reach your goal one way or another. I guess it's all part of the learning game.

Lots of love
Courage

Thanks so much for the

Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice, everyone. I'm back to 48 hours without p/m/o and am feeling better.

I think you're all correct in saying that there's really no room for pornography in the recovery process because it just makes things more difficult.

When I first started undertaking this experiment, my goal was to go a week without masturbating to porn and then masturbate to porn, just to spread it out. I thought that, in that way, I was like a person who only drinks on the weekend. They're not alcoholics, but they do get to enjoy getting drunk every once in a while.

And they probably enjoy getting drunk more than an alcoholic who gets drunk every day. And, indeed, I started to notice that when I viewed porn only once a week (compared to my previous almost daily use of it), I started to enjoy it more. Prior to this, I felt like I was becoming desensitized to it.

And so I thought that using porn in moderation was the key.

But then I came across another Marnia blog about the effects of pornography on the brain. And I decided I wanted to cut it out completely. But that's been a struggle. But I'm not giving up on that goal.

I have a friend who doesnt

I have a friend who doesnt drink during the week, but only on the weekend, but he clearly has a drinking problem. Im not sure if there is any set frequency that would deem someone an addict. Even though my friend drinks infrequently, when he does its problematic and destructive. He think of himself as a "weekend drinker", and in his head, his drinking is fine because he is a "weekend drinker", but he is destructive with himself when he does drink. If you lose control and the act brings you shame, it is a problem and needs to be worked out no matter how frequent it is.

Hang in there

Courage is knowing what not to fear.
-Plato