May retrospective. “Motivation”

Today is the last day of May, so time to reflect on the month.

In terms of sobriety, I improved a little, but not much. In April I acted out 10 days and in May 9 days (although bear in mind there is 1 extra day in May). The % chart looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 21.50.09

In terms of how I’m feeling, I am pretty conflicted. One one hand, I am loving life. I’m settling down in a new town (my old home town), I get to look after my 15 month old daughter 2 days a week which is an incredible experience, we’re expecting another(!) and I have a pretty decent job (although not one without its own set of stresses, but nothing out of the ordinary). I’m even starting to feel comfortable with my friendship status (i.e. I don’t really have many), and slowly building the few friendships I still have and appreciating them for what they are.

On the other hand, I continue to act out regularly. I really thought that improving my quality of life in so many ways would naturally reduce my desires to act out, but this has not happened.

The theme of May for me is clearly motivation. I simply haven’t found the drive within myself to not act out. I have acted out only hours after having a great time with friends or family, or when I’m bored, or when I’m horny. All the old culprits of temptation are still there and I give in to them almost without hesitation. Somehow I have lost touch with the mental strength and techniques I learnt to resist, and it saddens me to admit this.

At a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting I went to 2 weeks ago, one guy admitted he “just didn’t want to quit enough”, and I totally relate to that. One aspect of porn addiction that makes it especially troublesome is that the repercussions of acting out are less obvious – they are more long-term rather than immediate. It becomes very easy to just accept acting out, because the moment I do, nothing tangible has changed. I don’t have to admit to my wife I cheated on her, I don’t have a big hole in my wallet, I don’t have the risk of an STD, I don’t have some strange explaining to do anyone. I can watch porn and get away with it every time. I find this means that the motivation to not act out has to be really strong otherwise the urges win.

Obviously the truth is that I am harming myself and others, just in a less obvious, and longer-term way. I am avoiding handling my emotions maturely. I am reducing the chances of intimacy with my wife. I am setting myself up to be a dad with a secret. I am not getting enough sleep. I am not working as efficiently as I could be. I am not a master of my mind or body and therefore I am a slave to impulsion. What sort of man does that make me?

So what next? Well, I need a plan for June. So far, this is:

  • I have reached out to my old therapist to see if she will do Skype calls with me.
  • I am going to investigate SAA/SLAA meetings in my town and pick one to go to weekly.
  • I need to find a way to stick to a few basic daily routines. I think this should be two things: reading an affirmation statement in the morning – reminding myself why I’m doing this, what to watch out for during my day, and how to live my day – and then writing my journal in the evening, writing things that I am grateful for and things that I did that day that would have been worse or not done if I had acted out.

And the theme for June? Empathy. This is a really key part of recovery, and one that I found really interesting, so I’m going to focus on that topic in June, and try and re-integrate a sense of empathy into my daily life. I will do this by including it in my morning affirmation reading, and in my evening journal entry.

It has been nearly 2 years since I started recovery, and although I do feel I have a lot to show for it, sobriety isn’t one of those things. I really hope I find the strength and motivation to get on top of the acting out, as no further mental or emotional progress will take place until that happens.

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