On the edge of temptation

Submitted by Frank on
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Today is the 9th day of abstinence, and somehow the enthusiasm I had for going to straight 30 days of abstinence minimum is fading. Of course, initially I started out thinking that I will *never* surrender to the temptation but a few days later I compromised it to "30 days first, and other plans later". At this moment, I am undergoing temptation to watch pornography, and well it is quite a temptation. The whole hormonal sexual system just fires up in times of stress like this (although today's Sunday, I have a lot of pending assignments) and just shuts down the rational mind completely. The old brain wishes to take over.

But then the right feeling starts coming back. Frank, stop. Remember who you are. Think, O Stoic! Don't be impulsive, you'll get into huge trouble. You see, this is the most difficult part in overcoming addiction. If you can't get yourself to regain consciousness and think, you're guaranteed to go back to addiction. No matter how much willpower you have initially, it'll start fading and you will be left with only conscious will, not the newly-programmed desire to beat addiction. And so, to wake myself up, I'm listening to some music I have just for these type of scenarios.

First, I put Clocks by Coldplay which puts me in a kind of serious trance that detaches itself from emotion. And this is integrity in the moment of choice. You use reason to select which emotion you want to experience. This choice cannot be done without an initial will to actually use reason, which will be provided with the shame, guilt, depression and anger that the addiction has produced. By the 9th day, I have lost touch with the negative feelings associated with the addiction, and all the tempting feelings remain programmed. This is where affirmation right from Day One plays its role.

Now, I put Low (X&Y) by Coldplay. More of Coldplay -- I have Swallowed in the Sea, White Shadows, Twisted Logic, and Square One lined up, in ascending order of potential to provide inspiration. This kind of music gives me a hybrid feeling -- of compassion ("please, Frank, don't surrender, you have the power") and of courage ("Be strong! Let not thy character melt to these flames of lust, remember the Pledge of Stoic Honour").

I think that this is the most important period of recovery: integrity in the moment of choice. When you have spent some time being abstinent, temptation comes back. During this period, you do have lots of moments of consciousness, you do know that you're being tempted, that this is wrong, and that you have the power to change the situation. Lord, give me the power to change things I can change, serenity to accept things that I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The motivation to have integrity in the moment of choice is based on two emotions: that of the pain of being addicted, and that of not wanting to live such a lifestyle. I think the latter idea provides excellent long-term motivation, while the former is suited for short-term motivation. So I just got myself a snack (bread and some curry, I am fully vegetarian by the way), although I told myself it wouldn't be the healthiest thing to eat, especially right now. But, well, I'm eating it now because I don't really have an eating disorder, I can control that well (I've gone to McDonalds and Pizza Hut and have spent a whole dinner eating nothing but salad). By the way, I'm alone at home right now, forgot to mention that.

Well, I can't think of more to write. I'm sort of in an okay mood now, having regained composure. Now I have to focus on my assignments. Philosophical thinking has undergone priority shifting, mainly because my preparations for college are going to be very tedious. Do write your comments, I really want to know what you think about me and my blog (even if it is really harsh, please do write openly).


Temptations throughout the day

I was faced with temptations throughout the day today, and for reasons only the old brain knows, I made myself listen to erotic audio (the old brain's compromise to the strictness of the new brain). What is most strange about this is that I acknowledge all the stuff the old brain does to me, yet somehow control over it does not come, inspite of exposing myself today to a considerable amount of inspirational material.

physical activity and inviting back the soul

It seems like you have your strategy pretty well planned out, and it's worked for you well today. Congratulations! I hope you're able to remain strong.

Do you do any form of physical activity? I think that during times of stress or temptation, releasing this pent up energy through exercise is a good idea, even just for a short while as a study break. And it will get all the blood circulating to your brain for studying too!

I just recently went to a workshop on Siberian Shamanism in Seattle with Nanai shaman Nahyedza Duvan. She says that all diseases, mental or physical, are issues of soul retrieval. There are some diseases in which the person's soul has left because an outside force or power came in and imposed itself. The other, far more frequent kind of illness comes when someon gives away a part of their soul in exchange for something else they want. If you have given any part of your soul away to pornography in exchange for the pleasures it brought you, it is now time for you to call that part of your soul back that you have given away - and emphatically. Using a drum helps, both to drive away clingy spirits and to invite back parts of yourself you have given away.

I realize many people don't believe in spirits or a soul so this suggestion may not be at all effective for people with a worldview that does not include these things. But from a shamanistic perspective, this addiction does not just have to do only with biochemical pathways in the brain. It has to do with your soul and what is the best way for you to live so that your soul may flourish.

Recovery is an across the board development

hotspring, you are completely right. In fact, I was going to write down just what you said before I checked your post. The recovery process success is directly proportional to the amount of exercise and discipline in other areas I've been following. The last two days I haven't exercised at all, not at all. And I've been noticing that my urge to eat more junk food increases and this in turn leads to a negative spiral. Tonight I found myself trying to masturbate, and stopping as hints of orgasm emerged. This is bad, really bad. Frank, you stink, man, you crackhead. What the hell is the matter with you man? Have you even got any dignity? What's happening to you...

Why am I reaching such compromises with emotion? Tomorrow is Monday, I want to stick to a new schedule and really exercise well. I'll even go to work on bicycle (like 3 miles from home) and to class by bicycle too (3 miles from home, in the opposite direction), I'll stop using the scooter (save petrol and prevent pollution) or public transport (which is sort of expensive for me in my locality).

I've come to the realization that breaking an addiction isn't really complicated -- the best way to describe it = it's very simple, but not easy. You just have to work hard, there's no substitute for that. Tomorrow's the test. I'm going to bed now, going to get up early morning and start up all fresh!

biking is great

Yes, biking is a really great way to get around. I'm lucky to live in one of the most biker-friendly cities in the US, and the benefits are enormous. In addition to providing exercise and emotional release, better circulation and therefore better overall immunity and functioning of all body systems, biking also is very empowering because it is cheap and does not lead to pollution. I have lived for four years without a car, and I don't miss it one bit. To propel yourself with your own energy is very empowering, and it also makes it very clear how easy it is for most people to waste energy, since they do not use their own and don't have much of a concept of what it really takes to get around. Biking even makes me appreciate my food more, because I have a more literal understanding of how much energy it takes to get my food to where I am.

One thing I am confused about is that you keep on correlating emotions with your porn addiction, and therefore constantly describe the need to overcome emotions in battling your addiction. I'm not sure that emotions and addiction are the same thing. I think maybe some emotional states are a catalyst for addiction (ie, feeling stressed and so finding a way to soothe the stress), but the problem here isn't the emotion itself, but how we choose to manage it. I think it's very dangerous to try to rid yourself of emotions, especially since they are symptoms of how you are living your life. As such, they are messengers to you from your soul to your will. A better approach might be to pay close attention to your emotional states in general. How do you feel when you smile at someone, how to you feel when you want to look at porn? If you felt stress before wanting to look at porn, the ideal thing would not be to repress the feeling of stress, but to look at what in your life is causing stress and change that. Or, if the emotion is desire, look at what it is you really desire in life and find more tangible ways of getting it - ie, if you desire to merge with the divine feminine, find ways to be around women and their energy so that you can better understand how to interact with it. This will greatly enrich your ability to have satisfying sexual interactions in the future, if you already feel comfortable with feminine energy.

Pornography does not teach you how to do this. The few men I have been with who were porn addicts were noticeably shut down emotionally, could not open up in the act of sex, were intimidated with all aspects of real interaction, and were therefore poor lovers and companions. Naturally, I dumped them - not because of any moral judgement of their porn addiction, but because of the detrimental effects it had on every aspect of how they approached living and their unwillingness to become empowered and fully alive.

Find a healthy outlet for your emotions. Then you can have emotions without addiction. Emotions are extremely important aspects of our beings, and they can allow us to communicate with others, have empathy, and share tenderness. Without them, sex is mechanical. Cultivate equilibrium within yourself and your emotional states can be extremely rich and important aspects of fully enjoying life!

Good luck on your journey.