Positive Effects from Abstaining from P/M

Submitted by vm22 on
Printer-friendly version

Hi Guys...I'm fairly new to this forum and I am sure that this question has been asked before in previous posts, but I thought it would be good for all of us to share our accomplishments. It sure doesn't hurt.

This website has been enlightening to say the least. It's been a week from p/m and I am feeling optimistic. I definitely feel more energized and less anxious. And making the choice to stop is such an empowering feel. My confidence is up. I've always consider myself to be a positive guy. But I guess after 20 years of masturbation I turned to a negative person at times. Each day it feels like I'm revealing my old self, the positive upbeat guy that I was. So yes, I'm excited. Knowing that also helps me stay focus. My urges don't seem all that strong anymore. The first few days were tough though.

What I'd like to hear from you are the positive experiences you've had or noticed? And if you could, at what weeks did you feel this? I'm particularly interested in the social/relationship aspect. You see, I think a lot of my social anxiety was because of p/m. Because of that, I avoided many opportunities to go out and socialize and date. Women have been attracted to me but I was too afraid to lead it further. I cringe at some of the great opportunities I've passed up. But that's life.

Right now, I am trying to change my behaviors. The abstinence has made me feel more confident about going out, however I feel some anxiety still. Will this get better? I'm curious to know.

I applaud you all for making your transition.

Social interactions

I have experienced social anxiety for about 12 years. For a stretch, it was extremely painful. Its been a long search to try to learn ways to deal with it. People always thought I was on drugs because I was so socially awkward for a while. I learned to avoid the pain by withdrawing at home as much as I could, as soon as I got off work or whatever I had to do, Id come home and enjoy the inner worlds of reading or media. I did this for a long time because I never connected my isolating behaviors to my lack of success in the social realm, and whenever I tried, too many awkward things would happen or I would embarrass myself. These patterns continued throughout school and even with partners. Strangely, with my partners, I was such a homebody, I felt like their cat or something. I was pretty "safe", I wasnt leaving them, but my genes eventually kicked in and I would search for greener pastures and left them when something else came along. I never even really learned how to date, it was just one train wreck to the next. No need to develop social skills, these women gave me everything that I needed in hopes that I wouldnt leave them. In short, I had no need to change or grow up nor did I want to. However, I was very social in high school, but I seemed to lose my social edge after getting way too far into smoking pot. After that, the social phobias and anxieties started to set in and I felt too sensitive and aware during social interactions. I was unnatural and lacked the ease that good social interactions give. Since this pain had set in, it has been a journey to try to find out what works. I tried religion, nope, made it worse for me, although there was a lot of great interaction from within the group. I tried to adjust my diet for years as I was CERTAIN that it had to be this. I learned a lot and carved out a great diet for myself, but it still wasnt fully getting at the heavy social anxieties. Plus, its just very difficult to monitor your feelings with what you're eating. There are so many factors. I thought for sure that it was sugar, so I struggled with that for years. I had a little success with this and have pretty much put that out of my diet for the most part. But I still was having major problems with anxiety. I thought that maybe I was having a vitamin deficiency so I started looking into good vitamins, and that too seemed to help a little, but I knew it was something deeper. A this point, I still was not hardly able to be comfortable even going into a grocery store. Everything was painful at this time.

I learned that I was depressed from a medical doctor after presenting him with physical symptoms that wouldnt go away. He told me that I was depressed and I didnt believe him. A half a year later, I had a nervous breakdown at the end of a relationship and it seemed like all of my symptoms of social anxiety were intensified. I knew that I was depressed and at that point I knew that my social anxiety had to do with my underlying depression. I still wanted to date during this heavy depression and I started going to see a therapist and doing the things generally suggested like exercise and diet. I did not see any change at that time because the main priority and focus was this major major gash of depression that was not responding to my efforts of diet, therapy, exercise, prayer. I started trying to date and it was like I was twelve, I had poor people skills, poor life skills, poor habits, poor mental habits, ocd, I was a total basket case who's only sane streak was a knack for studies, but even that was wearing away as my depression ate at me. I was constantly discouraged from my failed attempts with women. The girls that liked me didnt compare to my ex, and the girls that I liked ran like hell from me. My depression took a physical turn and came out as very bad headaches, my workload at school was intense, I was stressed, didnt have much emotional support, and all of my time was dealing with these headaches and books. Thats when I really started getting into my addiction to escape. My social skills got way worse and my self esteem just dropped off the map. Actually, before this, I was probably making progress, but I had one date that didnt call me for 2 days and I took it the wrong way! I had issues at the time. During my full addiction, my social skills were not even there. However, I just by staying in school and getting constant exposure to being around people, I started feeling a little more at ease doing things like going to the grocery store or sitting in a crowded room. Not completely, but it was getting better.

This turned around when I realized that my addiction was so out of control that I had forced myself to a SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) meeting. I was active in my addiction for nearly a year with this group, even while having a sponsor and still trying to date women (I should have just written the word SHAME across my forehead before each date because I just came off as a sad person to these women), but it forced me for the first time to really reach out to people and learn to listen to them. It was actually the most healthy social interactions Ive had in my life. I felt a kind of bond and acceptance that was rare and these people were genuine and real. I learned some good social skills and learned how to connect again to people. I was learning to make friends and my general social phobias started to slowly fade. They were still there, but it was not longer debilitating to me. I did good work with this group for a while, started rebuilding some old friendships and making an effort to connect with my family again. I would also try and make more small talk with people in general throughout the day, but girls were still overwhelming. I would always screw that up. I am a decent looking guy, so I can grab their interest, but I came off like there was something wrong. And there was. But I still enjoyed a friendships with women and guys and classmates at the time even though I was a little dysfunctional with them. I was trying really hard to to heal though from the major onslaught to my self esteem from my addiction. It really had me in a terrible cycle. I was just toxic and social interactions were just tainted with women that I was interested in romantically. I focused on simple life skills like keeping hygienic and clean, keeping my house clean, doing laundry regularly, learning to get to bed at a regular hour, getting major dental work done. Very basic stuff that most people take for granted, but that I had never really learned to do on my own.

I got through my major addiction and I started dating dysfunctional women, so my addiction of course went into getting sex with them. I still wasnt going out and learning to talk to healthy women. These were twisted girls with drinking and drug problems. I was trying to date women on the internet too and I just gave up on all of that. It was a lot more fun than my previous addiction, but I was still neurotic and insane and wanted nothing more than a real companion. At this time my social skills were still getting better because I was away from my major bottom line, but I still wasnt confident at all. I wasnt really selecting my partners. But I still did not have the energy, the know how, or the focus to develop the social skills. I was doing a lot of work with a therapist and my SLAA group at the time and really just trying to manage my addiction at the root level. At this time, even though I didnt go out very much, I was starting to become a little more comfortable talking to healthier women and I would at school, but it was just basic rudimentary stuff. A lot of work at this time was focusing on how not to beat myself up if I had been rejected. This was essential in preventing a slippage back into my addiction.

I started experimenting with full abstinence and foregoing orgasm after I had met a girl and was with her for a week. She was totally nuts and quite a binge drinker, but she was a blast of heroin to me because she was wild. I became too needy with her in a very toxic way and she naturally dropped me. I felt hurt and confused because every girl that I pursued for something more than sex, I would get rejected. I knew something was wrong and I had been flirting with this site for a little while and it made sense to me. So I went through my first experiment (which I documented here in earlier blogs) just to see if it would work because I needed something to. Well, it did in a major way. I abstained for about 90 days and though there were some rough times, I felt better at times than I had in many years. I knew there was something to this. I wasnt particularly trying to do new things with social skills, but I found that little things were easier and some of the deeper issues werent holding so much sway over me. I felt more sane than I had in a long time and I felt a strength in my core (hard to explain) that I had forgotten that i had. It felt as though I was getting glimpses of my old self again from way before any of my social anxieties and depressions. Like when I was a teenager before drugs. I would get glimpses of these feelings and I knew that there were some fundamental things happening that I wasnt even touching with diet and exercise, etc. My success with women did not improve in this time because I was too busy trying to deal with other things and especially these deep rooted problems. My success in school was remarkable and I was clear headed at the time. I was meeting both guys and girls at school and keeping things civil and just maintaining. I didnt try to hit on these girls (mostly because I was feeling shy and internal still, but I really did have a rational impulse not to screw things up with a small circle of people in my class). Plus my friend was hitting on them and I got to see the craziness from afar.

I relapsed and broke a major bottom line one night and I suffered mental anguish for nearly 3 weeks. My grades dropped, I was isolating again, but I was still struggling and counting days and staying abstinent for about 2 week intervals. My social interactions at this time werent as smooth, but I was trying to still get to know people. My friends were starting to say that they just havent been seeing much of me and I kind of vanished and went internal again. I was soon contacted randomly by a girl on facebook who just got out of a relationship and really wanted to try to make something happen. I was reluctant because she lived so far away, but I was pretty interested in her despite the random circumstances. We "fell in love" with each other really quick and I was driving 12 hours to see her every 2 weeks. In short, I wasnt ready for a relationship and neglected my personal duties and care. I was anxious that she would leave me and I would spend a lot of time at home fantasizing about her and waiting for her to call. It wasnt healthy. However, at this time, I really wanted to have a porn free relationship with someone that I actually respected and cared for and was actually excited about having a relationship with. I abstained from orgasm when I wasnt around her (except for one slippage) and was pretty much in constant withdrawals. I would see her about every two weeks. I was constantly sick and in withdrawals at this time and just had no energy. I was also working through these withdrawals and they were focusing on my insecurities dealing with her, so these were anxious times. When I did see her, things were pretty good, we were in the buzz of a new romantic relationship and I did my best to hang out and be present with her family, which I did very good and I owe it to some sobriety. I was good to her and did things right. However, my downfall was being to needy and neglecting my own needs. After she broke up with me, I stayed vigilant about this program and decided to pay attention to my heartbreak and heal properly. I joined groups online for doing this and journaled like hell here. It was productive and I was feeling good about where I was at, so I decided to go out, even though I was still depressed, and try on my new social skills gained from a little abstinence and a ton of male empowerment material. My friend and I went to a bar and I was talking to girls with a a lot of confidence and they were responding well. It felt very natural for the most part and I really didnt care if it worked out. It didnt, and I really didnt care, but at that moment I run into the girl that had dropped me right before I tried this abstinence program many months ago and we got involved again for another week which eventually led me into kind of dropping her and getting orgasm from porn. I caught myself pretty quick and decided that I should not talk to her or see her or look at porn, so Ive been abstinent since for 3 weeks with a close call this weekend.

My social skills at this point arent entirely all that smooth, mostly because I feel like Im "vomiting" most of the time. I do generally have confidence and ease in social situations, but its like Im just maintaining right now, not really thriving. I have had a few days that were pretty brutal with the social anxieties, but there are also feelings of strength interspersed in there, so its been a mixed bag. I noticed that Im practicing a little more selection with women too. Since Im feeling a little better about myself I feel that I have options and thats a major changer. My measure of success has been more of how effective Im being right now. Im getting things done, important things. Im caring for myself. Im preventing downward spirals. Preventing dropping of major bombs in my life, maintaining. All the things that have kind if got at the root of my social awkwardness in the past. The major turning points with this have come when I started resolving things. Resolving the deep stresses. This method allows for that. So many issues are tied into our addiction. When we start to resolve our addiction, we free ourselves from these heavy weights.

Oh, another positive change is that I felt sick for years, almost like I was almost coming down with a cold. Over this period that Ive described over the past 5 years, this feeling has nearly gone away. I had some mono like feelings during my withdrawal periods, but they are around right now. All of that was draining too. I feel good today, and my experience with this last time was that there will be more and more better days. I will try to make a note of it to include social feelings and progress in the blogs because thats an important aspect to me as well. I want health with all of this soooo bad and it feels like Im getting more of it. Honest journeying, hang in there, we get through this together. Isolation got us here, we go back together.

I can relate

I started smoking pot in high school and it made me anxious. I was paranoid because I was afraid to get caught by my parents of authorities. As well after high school I developed paruresis, the inability to void in public restrooms. That really messed me up because I started to avoid going out whenever possible. The fear of not beign able to void caused me to associate going out as fearful. I am still working on this one. I've done some EFT which has helped a lot and I'm really hoping that this low dopamine I got from p/m is one of root causes of my anxiety. In fact, I think its played a major role. Last week I was in a nightclub and I tried to void. I was successful at it.

There is just something I feel right now. Something very positive. I feel much more confident and relaxed in social situations. So the next few weeks are going to be real exciting for me. Wish me luck! And thanks for sharing!

You only really need think

You only really need think about it for a minute with p/m your devoting yourself to something but whats more is your expending apart of yourself too there isnt even any need to go all scientific you lose yourself thats it.