A Challenge: Quit Booze, Pot, Caffeine ect. In Addition To PMO

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By my most recent count, today is day 237 of no PMO (or what I will now refer to as MOP because that is the order in which every one of my past slips occurred...when I chose to let them happen.)

Dear friends,

The following is an excerpt of an even more ridiculously long post which can be found in ekamau14's blog entitled "diverting your attention towards more creative activities and actions." He wrote a short and very inspiring post about how things really do get better once you get some time away from MOP and that there is power in finding alternative activities to replace porn with. Somewhere in there he poses a question about alcohol and I decided to take up this question which is one I've given a little thought to in the 55 days or so since I quit drinking and smoking pot. His post can be found here:

http://www.reuniting.info/blogs/ekamau14/diverting-your-addiction-toward...

It is my hope that some of these observations might help others as they seek to get away from chaos of brain circuitry ups and downs. If you think you might have an alcohol (or any other drug addiction) I encourage you to seek help - you don't have to fight it alone. For those of you who are unsure if you have an alcohol/drug problem, just try it and see if you can go 90 days without it. It's hard enough quitting porn, just wait till you try to quit those other things you might feel you will have "no problem" quitting. I wish good luck and wellness for all of you who accept the challenge, you will without a doubt learn something, no matter what else happens.

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I am glad you focus on the issue of alcohol (which we might as well add in drugs too). I recently decided that I wanted to quit drinking and especially smoking pot (something I love to do). While I've been on this healthy kick for several months it just seemed the next right thing to do. What I discovered was that I simply couldn't do it on my own and pot and booze were things I thought I would never get addicted to. (Sound familiar?) Just like with porn it's the kind of addiction that is socially acceptable to a large group of people and comes with a certain kind of "coolness" packaging (which we all know is bullshit anyhow, but it's very seductive.) I think this description applies to booze, pot and also PMO.

Since I realized I couldn't do it alone I decided to seek help. I know now that I had a problem precisely because of how difficult it is to "stay quit." It has been really difficult at times not giving in and drinking or smoking pot, still haven't given in as of this writing, and I am sure the only reason I haven't is because I had the help of other people who have also struggled with these issues and not because of how smart I was.

No one can answer the question of "is alcohol/drugs a problem for you" except you. The best test, in my opinion is to try to go dry for 90 days and see if you can do it alone and monitor the effects it has on your moods, routines, wallet - everything, just like a "reboot" from PMO. Even if you can go that long without significant pain, anxiety or mental suffering, it doesn't mean that it couldn't be problem for you now or in the future, but it's a pretty good test to observe how your brain reacts to not having these things (either booze or some other drug) around. Recently I had the same realization I had years ago in relation to porn, so I warn you from the outset, pot and booze are no better for me than porn was, in some ways they were worse.

I believe there are many of us who are "multiply addicted" and just like to get outside ourselves no matter if it's sex, drugs or alcohol. As long as we don't have to just sit and feel how we feel - we like it, enough to forgo food, sometimes shelter and showers, love or sex with a real person in order to have it at the quantity we like to have it. It's the exact same reward circuitry behind all this stuff so it makes sense that if we struggle with one we might struggle with another.

I really identified with this in your post:

"(W)e need to divert that ability towards more creative and helpful activities that add more value to our lives."

The question I had to ask myself: was continued drinking and smoking marijuana a "creative and helpful activity that add(ed) more value to (my) life." The truth is, if I am being honest...it was the direct opposite. Just like PMO/MOP it held me back in so many ways, from relationships to self esteem, to simple things like, I don't know, having extra money to spend, cleaning my room, and more existential things like actually accomplishing goals that weren't about satisfying immediate needs but were about fulfilling long term ambitions that always got put off in favor of a puff of weed or a really tasty ale or as we already agree, the hours or days long hunt for the perfect porn image that would inevitably end in an empty, loveless orgasm.

So now I see with different eyes on this St. Patrick's day. I'm a young 35 year old man of Scottish and Irish heritage who comes from a long line of alcoholics on both sides. My family history is stacked against me and my personal history is stacked against me. The crazy thing is that I'm not drinking now, because if any reasonable person knew my background and story they would assume I would go on drinking until I succumb to some ailment or another.

This is not intended to be a sermon (what can I say, that's in my history too!) just that it is a very good question indeed that you ask about this alcohol/drug issue and it's connection to PMO/MOP. Many, many times I have come home drunk from the bars feeling worthless because I had some vain, drunken hope of meeting a woman only to find myself staring at the computer screen and jerking off yet again. Or worse, be too drunk to bother to turn on the computer and thus be forced treat my body in such a rough manner that it would hurt the next day.

Without porn it was always more difficult to orgasm, drunk or sober, relationship or no relationship. That's my experience. It also happened to me more than once in my year or so of PMO relapses that alcohol/pot use would precipitate a relapse. One part of my reward circuitry was saying to the other "Well now I'm feeling pretty fine but I could feel much finer and it's only a few clicks away all I have to do is just start counting over again and no harm done," and other such nonsense that my smart brain cooks up for me to be right back at square one with my addiction.

In conclusion (and sorry for such a long ranting post), I contend we aren't that smart at all. I think it's our very intellect that is an enormous handicap in this addiction. We are the types that read the rulebook and start quoting chapter and verse to ourselves how we've done it right ... yet it doesn't seem to work somehow. We are the types that can see connections that sometimes others can't see and would like to think we can figure things out for ourselves. Thing is all this is true *except* when it comes to addictions. We have a *blind spot* to our own capacity to do harm to ourselves, even if we are actively attempting to quit those behaviors.

In my experience, the only way to counteract this tendency to forget so *easily* how terrible we felt a few mornings ago after our last binge, is to share our feelings and really get to know others who will help us in the process of being fully honest and accountable. Only by working with other people can I feel some relief and it really is a relief as you pointed out so eloquently. That's one reason I keep coming back to this website because I need to interact with people who are doing this "no PMO - eventually Karezza" thing. I *need to read* your stories and struggles and help where I can, or else I myself am at risk and in so doing I may get to see 9 or so months of no PMO (for me MOP lol.)

Thanks for reading, if you have gotten this far. I will probably repost this to my blog for easy retrieval in the future...because as far as I have come I never forget how well-nigh impossible it is for me to take my own advice!

Comments

Is 90 days really an accurate

Is 90 days really an accurate test? It's hard for me to know because I drink little and haven't gotten drunk since maybe age 8. I dislike social drinking (usually drink water at bars unless someone insists on buying me a drink and is getting offended that I'm not drinking) and prefer, if anything, limited drinking on my own at home (traditionally associated with the alcoholic). It's funny if I've traveled somewhere and have to consume the alcohol randomly acquired along the way. I have to find a way to consume it before going on by planning it out. I'm not dumping some can of beer I've lugged around without trying to enjoy it. As soon as I'm drinking more than every other week or so I start to notice how it can be an addiction. It seems especially important to watch one's emotions as one decides to drink.

I wish we had a healthier societal relationship with alcohol in the US. I'd rather see people on a park bench having a beer at lunch than in a dark club getting wasted. It's also scary how much people drink before getting in the car. That's a global problem. [Would there be less car accidents if people didn't orgasm so much? Probably.]

lol....

As always some very good questions from you freedom. Is 90 days an accurate test? I would suspect that it would be very difficult indeed for a person who is genuinely addicted to go anything near that long without help. I did mention that even if one can do it, even without significant duress, that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. In fact it's pretty common for alcoholics to have extended periods of abstinence just to "prove" to themselves it isn't a problem and then they can go back to their prior use/abuse with a clear conscience. I have done this more than once in my life so I'm on the look out for this type of self congratulation that leads to letting the addiction back in.

Interesting. When I actually

Interesting. When I actually go to a bar for some reason, everyone seems like an alcoholic. I'd barely drink even if it were free and I knew someone would get me home. Given the pressure to drink, it's no wonder people overdo things. Are people really that socially anxious or bored?

Think that "proving" things abstinence applies to PMO? Or is it unique to alcohol? Is there usually a outer limitation to that time span for proving things?

Perhaps a question is does one care if the addictive substance is gone from the world?

"Is there usually a outer

"Is there usually a outer limitation to that time span for proving things?"

Not if one is a true addict. You only have today, tomorrow could be slips-ville whether you have 90 days or a year. Happens all the time.

I don't think PMO is any different, at least for me. It is conceivable that even after 8 or 9 months of no PMO I could have one bad day and be on a porn binge for the next two or three weeks and if that happens the shame cycle happens. If I feel enough shame then it is conceivable I wouldn't come here and tell a soul what happened and I could just go back to the old ways again and ignore the problem because it isn't generally recognized as a problem.

With alcohol the problem is more recognized and widespread but there is a vast ideological system reinforcing alcohol use and abuse. From movies to football it's everywhere....a very lucrative industry especially in an economic downturn. It's what they call "recession proof."

It's not just "social anxiety" that drives the masses to booze and drugs it's the fact that they are harried and stressed financially and living through a massive economic upheaval. Even the most optimistic have a hard time keeping faith that things will get any better and aren't able to keep their heads above water.

Dano_Clarke wrote:

[quote=Dano_Clarke] there is a vast ideological system reinforcing alcohol use and abuse. From movies to football it's everywhere....a very lucrative industry especially in an economic downturn. It's what they call "recession proof."
[/quote]

As opposed to the industries feeding off PMOF?

At some point, a slip is perhaps not part of the addiction cycle. Or do you think once one is addicted any slip is feeding the addiction? It seems one has to at least filter for mindless slips that are running on the old circuits. The others might not be the same.

Bars and such are intentionally noisy, dark, cramped, etc. to drive up anxiety and condone drinking. Just realizing that makes those anxieties more manageable. Drink water. No one knows or cares, it's free, and everyone else won't nag about not drinking.

I've been trying to fully accept any action to avoid that shaming cycle. It's not always easy as much can be contrary to the ideas here or other values. Hypothetically, I'd try to completely accept and enjoy (to the extent my brain is) any PMO slips. Resistance seems futile. Accepting the brain worms early on usually sends them elsewhere. It's perhaps like Snake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_(video_game). I'm going through a process where I'm rebuilding my abstinence skill set. I'll see where this notion takes me. At the minimum, it reveals shaming which is interesting.

It is really sad that there

It is really sad that there are is so much business revolved around people's addictions. Whether it be porn, alcohol or nicotine, none of it is good but the profit margins are out of this world so there will always be someone to make money from them.

This guy nailed it

If people have the right to be tempted—and that’s what free will is
all about—the market is going to respond by supplying as much
temptation as can be sold. Market incentive continues well beyond
the point where a superstimulus begins wreaking collateral damage
on the consumer.—Eliezer Yudkowsky

I quit both alcohol and weed

different times.

First quit weed. That was difficult. I smoked a lot and then stopped and never went back. For three months or so I felt very flat. Just flat and too flat to even be depressed. Empty. Does that sound familiar? Addictions all are similar.

Alcohol was easier for me but I missed it (and weed) for about a year or two after I quit. I just one day decided to stop drinking and then I did. And weekends and especially times like Sunday evenings were very empty and flat.

With weed especially I'd have dreams when I had relapsed. I'd be taking a bong hit and suddenly realize that I wasn't supposed to be smoking anymore. Then I'd realize it was only a dream.

The thing I had to do was get rid of all my weed friends, though, when I quit weed. I had a social life revolving around getting high with certain friends and we had nothing in common that I felt I could salvage when the weed was out of the picture.

I have to say my life is way better without either of these. I wish I could drink socially. I wasn't an alcoholic but I felt like I could have become one. So I quit rather than face constant pressure of resisting the next drink that I really really wanted. For me abstinence is easy and moderation is difficult.

I wouldn't have the sense of mastery I have in my life now if I was taking bong hits or drinking the way I used to. My partner drinks but she drinks only a small amount in accordance with rules, like only weekends never weekdays, and only two glasses of wine at the most. I couldn't do that, so I stopped altogether.

 

Hi Dano, in my case it's

Hi Dano, in my case it's certainly true that PMO addiction goes along with various other addictions - to caffeine, to social drinking, and in the past to prescription and non-prescription drugs. It's as though I am using all of these things to self-medicate for some sort of lack I feel in myself, particularly when it comes to social confidence. But of course the addictions are self-fuelling, and end up making the rest of your life feel worse, hence the need to re-medicate, and on and on it goes. I've just started on my no-PMO journey, and am simultaneously giving up caffeine as I feel it also messes with my dopamine system. I really don't think I could give up drinking - I'm no alcoholic, but I drink heavily when I go out. I have huge admiration for people who can quit it though - would be nice to be free of those hangovers! And by the way, day 237 - pretty impressive! Are you rebooted do you think?

That's an interesting statement...

"I'm no alcoholic, but I drink heavily when I go out." ..."I really don't think I could give up drinking" ... "(It) would be nice to be free of those hangovers!"

Damn man if I didn't know any better it sounds like you kind of want to try to quit. I'm not trying to convince you to quit for good or anything or that I think you are an alcoholic - that's not for me to say or do. Maybe you should take the challenge. 90 days is only a couple months man, you can do it, and it might help with your PMO work.

Quitting PMO has been a Huge confidence boost and I'm free from agonizing and obsessing over sexual things all the time. Yes I think the reboot is fairly well accomplished. Don't forget there is a reboot (which allows continued abstinence) then there is the long haul: The rewire. That is something that I know I don't have yet. I get frequent wet dreams, every other week or so (I swear that when I'm stressed I have more of them...). Anyway in those dreams (and sometimes awake or in between sleep and awake) I will have the same old pornographic fantasies pop up. That stuff is still in my head and will take a long time to fade away. I became expert at putting fantasy away as soon as it shows up. I have a level of control of myself I never previously thought possible and it gives me motivation to continue.

I look at quitting booze and pot for me as the next logical step in having a healthy, more fulfilling life. I'm glad to hear from you because I was kind of thinking no one would give two shits about something that isn't directly related to masturbation, orgasm, porn or ED. LOL You proved me wrong!

Oh yeah, I quit caffeine (my old nemesis) at the begining of the year during winter break. I had an entire week of brain fog and irritability. The following week I felt more or less normal. It's the first time in decades I've lived without it and I'm glad I'm finally rid of it.

Great post Dano! I too share

Great post Dano! I too share the great alcoholic Irish gene and have seen what has done to a lot of my aunts and uncles. I think every addiction is just a form of escape. It's when we confront our real life problems and difficulties that we become better people, instead of self medicating with porn, booze, drugs or whatever. If we don't have some kind of hardship that we are forced to actually deal with instead of hide behind something, that is when we grow. I've been binge drinking since I was freshman in high school. I spent one whole year of college literally drunk every day, not all day but every day. Two years later I gave up alcohol for 9 months(personal record) and it was awesome, I worked full time, went to all of my classes, played rugby and exercised all of the time. I think giving up everything one is addicted too is the only real way to live the life that you want and accomplish all of the things you want(how cliche is that?) I'm with you on the 90 days, starting today of course. You're a little bit ahead of me on PMO or MOP or for me just MO (I'm on day 2) but I hope to make it as far as you have already buddy. You are true inspiration.

What is wrong with you guys?

What is wrong with you guys? I mean, obviously porn is harmful, but... Quitting weed and beer?!(shakes head...) Just kidding...

Ok. I'm one of those people that believes this... Pot is a medicine that has been used for thousands of years, and should just be legalized. I'm pretty sure over-the-counter cough syrup is much worse for you, and yes, people have in fact, abused it... No one has ever OD'd on pot, it's a fact and I'd rather hear of teens smoking pot than drinking cough syrup to get high... What surprised me most when I first tried weed, was that, to the proportion that people made it sound really bad and all the "It's bad for you"'s, it didn't do anything really strange to me, it was just nice and felt easier on the system and better for me than alcohol for sure. As for all those man-made/extracted-and-concentrated drugs, including meth, coke, etc., Who needs 'em...? I think it's just sad that things are getting to a point where if I were to ask around, meth would be a phone call away, and weed would take considerable effort...

Now, on the other hand, should weed be smoked "medicinally" every day, several times a day to the point of becoming total nothingness? I think not... But, I personally think it would be helpful for everybody to use it, maybe, 3 or 4 times a year.

But, in all fairness, I did quit them both at the beginning of my recovery from PMO for 2 years. I think it gave me perspective, and think it's why I now use them in good conscience. I no longer use them just bc they're available. I usually have deep insights about myself and my situation when I smoke, and beer is just for fun/chillaxing (just so you know, fun for me no longer means I am at my 20th beer of the night and start getting in fights for no reason, it now means just enough to get a very nice buzz) I don't smoke or drink as much as my friends do anymore when I use them, and, in fact, I hardly ever smoke weed anymore...

no different than porn, is it?

we have reports of tons of people on this site whose friends have no issues and who apparently consume a lot of porn. No ED, no troubles at all it seems. Yet some people have great troubles with porn.

You are fine cutting back and having weed occasionally. I am not. I avoid it 100% and am better off.

I think if you end up with an addiction you are safer just avoiding that thing for the rest of your life. Not everyone needs to but in general it's far safer.

haha!

Trust me man I was right there with you not too long ago! The problem is that once we are using these things they have a power of their own and our rational brain works overtime to keep these habits intact, to justify them.

On the other hand, it could very well be you don't have any problem quitting whenever you want.

I don't know maybe this thing is like a detox for me. I'll tell you one thing after two months of no booze or pot, I have more money in my pocket and I don't have to worry about anything associated with the downsides of those substances. I got just a little bit of peace of mind.