I’ve been working for 5-6 weeks now to adopt a new level of sobriety. I realised that by getting back into the habit of scanning personal ads and joining adult contacts sites, I was indulging in a deliberately obsessive activity that was diverting my energies and attention from healthy stuff and real people that matter to me.
Various events since then have reinforced to me how getting to 100% wholehearted attention on the people and issues that matter to me is fundamental to me living a full and happy (sober) life again:
• my daughter’s partner leaving her for
ANO that she’d been having an affair with for 3 months
• a realisation that much of the pain my daughter was experiencing about that was v similar to situations that I have left ex’s in at times in the past, up to 10 years ago
Cut a long story short, I’ve re-stated my bottom lines as
Bottom lines (that I’m committed to being entirely clean of)
• B1: sexual dialogue over digital media
• B2: verbal sexual dialogue / flirting / fantasy with anyone other than a partner
• B3: physical sexual acts with anyone other than a partner
I’ve also defined some ‘Middle lines’ that I recognise draw me towards obsessive compulsive thinking, and need to be avoided:
• Porn, Objectification of other people, fantasy-fuelled Masturbation, ‘Dressing Up’ alone as a fantasy-creation of women I objectify, joining or browsing personals sites
These middle lines are harder, and I may eventually add some of them to bottom line list, but for now I’m diarising them Bridget Jones style with a daily scoring system of:
2 < 3 min – immediate recovery
3 < 10 min
4 < 30 min
5 < 1 hr
6 < 2 hr
7 < 4 hr
8 < 8 hr
9 < 16 hr
10 24hr wipeout
...which is making me reflect daily on how to avoid them and that’s making a big difference. I’ve been much more ‘present’ in lots of situations, which is enabling better progress to other goals on here.
...from web sites and blogs. Even though I’ve been doing well at staying away from damaging and hurtful behaviours, this has helped me ‘click’ about recognising more & jolt myself into taking further steps of abstinence.
In a dating relationship, I’m realising how much low level fantasy I still indulge in to ‘spice up’ the day, and while I never allow that to progress to action, it troubles me that my attention is not while-heartedly focussed on other healthy priorities that I’m looking to be more committed to.
It’s still a basic disabler if a life lived to the max.
Healthy Sex (only) within a committed relationship
Don’t objectify others for sexual gratification, celebrate their beauty
Avoid fantasy about indulgent or abusive sexual experience, whether stimulated on the street, through media or any other image or idea source
Stay in the present.
Not doing so well on this just now. :-(
- healthy exploring with M, I believe
- have pretty much put down dressing-as-seeking-a-high
- avoided unhealthy relationship with G
- ads on ‘adult’ personals sites closed down again
- honest sharing with M about other addictive behaviours
Genuine signs of recovering, I think. :-)
I really don’t want to be even a recovering addict. Just wish all this had never happened. I contributed to this article on the new film “Shame”, and I hope it’s done something useful for someone, but all the emotive comments just make me feel even more acutely the difficulty of ever becoming a fully integrated member of society again.
Feeling very isolated again.
- far too much time online on dubious personals sites
- NO progress on accounting and tax stuff I should have been doing
- obsessive (but hopefully not inappropriate) thinking about getting on with growing a relationship, possibly with M…
- possibly with one or other people I looked at on a much more appropriate dating site this evening, by which time I had started to get a grip
- clear out the dining room (big deal!)
- make late but OK progress with the wardrobes
Undoubtedly this is all revolving around my problem of loneliness and depression which ran amok this weekend.
I had a very pleasant night out last night – took my friend A to the ballet. All very sociable and nice. One evening of the way I wish my life was all the time. Of course, as a result I didn’t get to the first rehearsal of the theatre group I’m trying to join, but I’d committed to this first.
Once I got home, though, I felt lonely – tried to settle with a news review programme for company before bed, but ended up going out to buy chocs & carbs, then got to bed about 1am after return of daughter from work at midnight+...
Also read a couple of work emails that reminded me of the challenges that may be coming up in February.
End result, I end up flirting around on an ‘adult’ personals site on and off through the night and early morning, and it takes over an hour to drag myself back into the present and get moving for work.
Now on the tram on my way in, right on the edge for latest acceptable arrival time, and having wasted hours of effort and attention on a fantasy detour.
In short, this wonderfully funny man, who was a family friend of the farming family that I grew up working for, and I’m told used to tell his jokes in their kitchen, died essentially of alchoholism and depression underpinned by loneliness, fear, shame and stress. Sounds bloody familiar, and truly shocked me into yet another reality check on where I could end up if I don’t absolutely get a grip on my compulsive behaviours, and the way in which they continue to isolate and depress me.