Sunday, September 2, 2012

In which I become addicted to spiritual highs

So, as I mentioned a few days ago, that fun meltdown I had last week is turning less and less raw with every passing day. I went and saw a therapist and I'm going to start working through a lot of the relationship and addiction issues that contributed to that anger and dissatisfaction I had with my life. I'm not going to lie, I still feel pretty lonely, but all things considered, I'm feeling better about life, more and more so every day.  One thing that certainly helped was all the love and support I felt from my friends and people from this blog. From the absolute bottom of my heart, I really appreciate it. Internet community FTW.

Just wanted to share a quick insight my therapist had.  I had mentioned that after giving up porn, I was feeling great, like I could conquer the world, for a few weeks before feeling like crap again, even though I hadn't relapsed.

She had this incredible insight at that moment. When addicts binge, they stimulate the pleasure centers of their brains. That's what was happening when I was looking at porn. The funny thing is, after I stopped watching porn, I didn't stop stimulating that pleasure center.  I felt so awesome for giving up porn and I felt like such a spiritual giant and I was so proud of myself and I felt pleasure for it. Instead of masturbating down low, I started masturbating up high. Then, just through the natural process, the "high" of not looking at porn and feeling good about that began to wane. I was able to divert the coming-down and withdrawal symptoms of porn by feeling self-congratulatory, but there wasn't anything to help combat coming down from that.

Then came the really profound thing. The greatest thing addicts fear is normalcy, because we're used to living on a different level than normal life. No matter what our drug of choice is, be it alcohol, ecstasy, Vicodin or pornography, we feel more pleasure than is either normal or healthy, so normal life by comparison seems very lackluster.  There's every likelihood that what I have been feeling for a long time is just the result of me getting used to living at a more realistic plane than the one of hedonism that I was used to. To be sure, I had done a lot of avoiding and had bottled in a lot of those vaguely unsatisfied emotions and needs and that's why I exploded like I did, but the basic framework of my meltdown really might just be due to the fact that I'm just not used to living a "normal" life yet (as if the life of a gay Mormon could be anything but abnormal, haha).

Not that I shouldn't have been proud of myself for giving up porn, but it apparently caused problems that I should have been more realistic in addressing.  Anyway, there ya go.

1 comment:

  1. I've teetered on the edge of addiction with alcohol using it when I was coming out because the pain from the whole experience coupled with untreated depression was too much to handle head on. So when I stopped drinking my Dr. told me about two weeks in I was going to start experiencing really intense emotions and that I might get really angry. He was right, two weeks in I wanted to give up on life. It was all because instead of feeling emotions and working through them I drank which made me feel good again. Anything we use to elevate our mood and distract from our emotions will be sorely missed the first time we have to start dealing with an uncomfortable emotion. It gets a lot easier once we begin to practice healthy decision making and healthy coping mechanisms. Cut yourself a lot of slack. God has not withdrawn from you, he is still there but you need to practice those skills...he is the father that just took his hand off the bike so you could practice balancing for a few feet.


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