Continuing update of my journey to recovery

Submitted by thelongrun on
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The last thread got to be 2 pages long so let's continue the conversation here.
Thanks to everyone who has read and contributed to my journey. I feel in some way you are walking this with me and that is comforting.

"When we last left our hero, he was struggling with life's twists, turns, and pitfalls..."

Nothing much to ad today. I am on day 29 of my recovery.
My insides are hollow and mush and that has everything to do with my life circumstances at the moment.
My body hurts. But again, that's situational.
I do not have an urge to re-lapse. Far from it. I don't have an urge for much. Just to be alone and cry really.
I'm at work, but that is not going to be productive today so I am going to skip out of Dodge early.
In the past, stress like this, loneliness like this would give me an excuse to relapse. It won't this time. That is comforting.
As I said before, this is the new me. I like the new me. It gives me more energy, postive thoughts, clarity, memory, confidence, and integrity. I like the new me alot. I don't want to meet the old me again ever, and I'm sorry anyone did.
I can only go forward, not back. This sad feeling will pass, and come back, and pass. It's all part of life isn't it? Just not the part we want.

Marina - is there "anti-dopemine?" Something that is released when we are sad? Anti-Reward center stuff? Because if there is, then that is what is flowing through my veins right now. Would be interesting to see what the brain does when sad, as well as when hopped up on dopemine.
More later.

Quiting both, one helps the other

Hey Sync,
In response to your question on the other thread - I have given up Porn which I had a huge addiction to and MB. I could not give up porn without also stopping orgasms. They are linked.
Someday I will probably be able to have orgasms without risking a relapse and put up with a hang over. But I don't plan to for a long time.
It is actually more enjoyable to not orgasm than I thought it would be.
Lots of fun new things and looking at the world coming from this.
As far as depression goes, I have a long history of depression. Family history etc.
I am not depressed now. I have loads of reasons to be, but I am currently not depressed.
I separate depression from justifiable sadness. Sadness with a cause. Some would call it depression but it's really splitting hairs when you come down to it.
I know that i will come out of this sadness when things clear up and I let go and get on with my life. I am not stuck. At least depression wise.

Various things

First, I hadn't noticed that you were posting in the forum (which is great, too), since it looks about the same as a blog post. The reason that this is important is that I should have set you up with an actual blog, so you could more easily add new pages. (My beloved webmaster is trying to empower me, so he wanted me to start creating blogs. I didn't know how, but I'm learning.)

You are now enabled to blog (which anyone else can ask to have happen, too). Here are some helpful instructions my webmaster prepared:

Second, I'm sorry you're going through such a tough time. Your story reminded me of this line in a book by Marianne Williamson, "Return to Love," in which she says something like, "I finally surrendered to the Divine. In his overwhelming gratitude for my self-improvement, I thought God would come into my life and sort of...redecorate it. Instead he got out the wrecking ball and destroyed it completely. His thinking seemed to be, 'Sorry, Honey...there were cracks in the foundation.'"

Needless to say, her life was much better after she rebuilt it on her new principles, even though the metamorphosis was very painful. I hope you're spared 'the wrecking ball,' but I'm sure it feels at the moment like it is inevitable due to your moving out.

I'm especially sorry about your wife's position because of your children. Children of divorce often seem to end up feeling like they are "alone and unsupported," regardless of the reality. But I'm sure there are exceptions.

Here's another thought. Maybe she has to "win this one," at least for now, because she felt so powerless over your reckless behavior. My husband was still an alcoholic for the first 4 months of our relationship, and I found it very stressful. If he was late, I agonized over whether he had gotten drunk again (often he had not). So in a sense I suffered much more than he did, and I would not have put up with it for very long. (Happily this controlled-intercourse approach to lovemaking did seem to balance his brain chemistry, and he's now 6 years the story had a happy ending.)

That powerless feeling, of wondering if your unhealed mate's addiction is going to rear its ugly head in some unexpected, awkward way is VERY uncomfortable. It took me a while before I didn't worry when he was late...even after he had turned the corner. All this is a long way of saying that throwing you out may restore her sense of empowerment, in a healing way, if you can bear with it for a bit.

I also think she will miss you a lot, and that the kids are going to beg her to reconsider. THAT's when you want to make your heartfelt apology, and reveal your changed behavior. Wink

Meanwhile, you're right to take the attitude that you're just "paying your dues." When it's all behind you, this agonizing period will seem a very short, fading memory. I think your chances of mending things...eventually...are pretty good, actually. If Hilary could forgive Bill, your wife can forgive you. Smile

Personally, I think your biggest challenge is not to succumb to the lure of the Coolidge Effect during the messy waiting period. It's our theory that part of the reason sex is programmed (via our reward centers) to create subconscious friction between intimate partners is to drive us to new partners. (Porn addiction is just one version of this 'separation-itis'.)

Due to our primitive brain's programming, it FEELS right to give up on one partner and assume that it will all be better with someone else...and I hear hints of this perfectly natural assumption already in some of your posts. This belief is, for the most part, a Big Lie (unless, of course, you try another way of making love with your new partner Wink ). And the churning mating dance is very hard on kids. The reality is that the separation-itis usually just rears its ugly head with the next lover...often in some new format, or in the OTHER partner...after a brief honeymoon of sexual frenzy.

So have a look at these articles if you haven't. They need to be in the back of your mind, especially over the next couple of critical months.

The Coolidge Effect

The Monogamy Challenge

We're all wishing you the very best (and your wife and kids, too).


This feeling is "low dopamine" or possibly reduced nerve cell receptors for dopamine. Scientists aren't positive which it is, or whether it's a combination of both. Too much dopamine seems to trigger this uncomfortable feeling.

It's grim, and it's the reason that addicts grab for relief when an opportunity presents itself. In the end, as Jorgen's poem hinted at, the lows (desire to escape discomfort), more than the highs, drive addiction.

I always think of this research when this subject comes up: It shows how powerful this low-dopamine feeling can be, no matter how healthy the person is. Our society is very silly not to teach this "dopamine=mood" and "habits-shift-dopamine" bit of information to everyone on this planet, as this dopamine high-low drives so much potentially destructive behavior. Why would we reach for an option if we don't know there's a problem?

Also, did I post this one about elevated dopamine and depression: I think science is, one day, going to get really clear about the unfortunate long-term effects of frequent elevated dopamine (such as porn addicts experience). In this case, they found that elevated dopamine in rat brains changed some receptors for a key protein...creating longer-term effects. What did they notice??? The rats seemed "depressed."

The medical profession won't acknowledge that sex can be an addiction, but they'll happily stuff you with anti-depressants once excess stimulation has helped bring on depression. Wouldn't it be better to tell people about the true risks early on in the process? (Can you tell I'm working on an article about this? Sorry about the soapbox Wink )

Anyway, the good news is that your brain is plastic. It CAN heal, and your changed behavior is an excellent way to restore balance (and help you realize how strong and healthy you really are).


Wow Marnia, you are truly inspiring. I would love to hear your story some day - how you got on this track. You have a real passion for it which is evidenced by how often you respond to all of us on this website. Your support and advice and science is helping so many people. I hope you are sufficiently proud of yourself for that!
As for the Coolidge effect etc. Yes. I can see that that would be easy. And in some ways, my grasping for porn was a controlled Coolidge in a way. I could never bring myself to the real flesh version of another mate, but I could somehow kind of stomach the digital kind.
Yes I need to be careful. Yes there are opportunties coming up. Thanks for pointing them out and reminding me. I am trying very hard to live in the moment, be real, and honest in my interactions with my wife. I am trying not to have a hidden agenda or alterior motive. I don't want to work towards some end that is a fantasy in my mind. If it is meant to be, I will continue to want to pursue it. She will want to pursue it and we will come back together. If I pursue an agenda, even if I acheive that, it will be hollow and fake because it was contrived. However, if we both live apart, and get the yearning to be back together, then that would be a healthy way to get back together.
Yes, the kids. That is the hardest thing for me. It could make me cry just thinking about them. Of course we will be good and supportive. We trust each other completely to be able to be good by the kids - but we are realists (at least I am!) to think that they will be negatively affected in some way.
However, I have seen friends of my parents get divorced the day their youngest child moved out of the house. How fake is that? How hollow a life must the kids have lived? So neither extreme is good.
My fervent hope is that we are able to mend the fences and start a new story together.
That is what is in my heart of hearts.

OK. Gonna try out the blog. I have never blog'd before! How exciting! It will be sad to leave this section though. Is it easy to find the blogs? The forum seems harder to locate now with the new webstyle. It used to be easy to find along the top of the webpage. Now I have to scroll down. No matter.
OK. All for now. A warm bath is waiting for me!

I think your attitude is good

My point was only that whether or not YOU have an agenda...the primitive part of your brain that evolved to pursue genetic success certainly does.;-) And it prefers more progeny...with different partners, so the immune systems of any offspring are as different as possible (the better to survive diverse threats in the shadowy future).

That's not to say that there is only one "good" way for your circumstances to work out. The new you can make any script work well, I'm sure. And it's wise to stay open to every possibility and be grateful for the light in it whatever unfolds.