Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pausing & Falling -- And Changing?

I had put a pause in accountability reports last week so that I can attend to the project I am working on.  It has been almost two weeks since I put on that pause.

In that time, I have masturbated twice, and once I fell to pornography online -- last night.

One of the biggest hindrances to purity is not to have accountability. And so, I am taking some time to write this, and to be accountable again.

As for the porn last night, I found myself interested more in the memory of what I used to enjoy rather than what I was seeing right there and then.  The more I work to help other men overcome their own SSA, the less I find SSA appealing.  Even the most attractive male figure feels to me now as "just another man."  The strength, the security, the power that I used to attribute to them no longer seem quite so potent.  

In a sense, over the past two weeks, I was more affected internally when I fantasized those two times than when I looked at porn.  When I see the men in flesh with my eyes, they look... well, like me.  And I certainly don't quite see myself as the masculine savior that I project onto the men I fantasize about (not real people, usually images that I have seen in pictures or old memories of porn when I used to be really given into it).

I think I am changing, on the inside.  Why?  Because when I looked at the porn, I saw no so much men that have attributes I don't have, but that their attributes are not very different from my own--and thus, not so attractive to me anymore.  

I am wondering if I am indeed growing into manhood at a deeper level?

Right now, I really do feel like a man, and can hang out with other men, even the crude ones that drink, smoke, and ogle at women. I think I can even connect with them at the unspoken emotional level, and have them feel like I am one of them.  Why? Because I feel that way, especially after my experience of looking at porn last night (mostly of straight men), and feeling like I am just looking at one of my friends, and I am not really very different from them.

Am I beginning to self-identify with straight men at the core of who I am?

The only thing that I am afraid of doing now is to begin fantasizing about women.  I want to do that.  I want to look at women on the internet and masturbate to fantasies about having sex with them.  Yes, I have a wife, and I can make passionate love with her, but aside from her, I have not allowed myself to fantasize about women, even though I am starting to think that maybe I should.

Should I?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Healing Words

He said:

"...nothing you reveal will change my commitment to care for and love you."

I heard:

"... neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate (us) you from (the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord) My love."

I wish I knew this love as a 12-year old.  From my father.  
He's gone now.  

But it's not too late.  

These words are real.  
I will accept them.  I will cherish them.

So deep, so full, so free.

I was looking at porn, but I was looking for love.
The former can never replace the latter.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Godly Sorrow

As I was reading (studying), your faces came to me.

One of you had mentioned repentance.
I could imagine your face.
Searing judgment.

A sadness came upon me.
I am worthless.
I am nothing.

Deep shame.

I let it sit,
let it slowly
its sadness
into my soul.

From somewhere, a light.
Invisible, almost imperceptible,
melting sadness into surrender.

My impressive education is not worth anything.
This important project is not worth anything.
Nothing I do is worth anything.
Only Jesus.

Yes, I am worth something in Jesus.
A worth not pumped-up or pompous but contrite and content.
A worth requiring no-striving, only surrender and recognition:
You are my all in all.

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." (2 Cor. 7:10)

Fell Again

I fell last night.  Internet pornography.

I will write more later.  I have been thinking what's gone wrong this week, after 3 weeks of "success."

Accountability is good, but it's hard to feel so exposed and vulnerable.  I am ashamed of myself, but I'm trying not to dwell on it.  I'm not being proud or avoiding.  It's just too painful to expose my same-sex sins to other men, straight men.  You must think of me as less-than, reject, worthless.  I know better in my head; but in my heart, I pretty much hate myself.

The worst part: the people I am helping are doing better than I am.

Only in writing can I be so vulnerable.  I have nothing to hold on to except for the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for me.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quick but Important Post

Monday: Finally was able to be intimate with wife.  It was great.

Tuesday: Things were well, but decided to put a deadline on my work.  Pushed myself to work extra hard, double the effort.  The stress was being felt, and I found myself fantasizing a little more than usual.

Wednesday: Couldn't sleep--woke up after 5 hours.  Felt miserable.  Had a stressful exchange with wife in the morning.  Left for the gym.  Went into shower.  Masturbated.  There was an attractive guy there that stimulated me.  I tried to fight it all the way, but once I began to touch myself, it was too late.  In the afternoon, the stressful exchange turned into a huge argument.  It was resolved but left me exhausted.  I went to nap.

Thursday: Things are stable again.

Friday: I will be going to the gym again tomorrow.  I want to write this so that I am accountable before I go.  I don't want to fall again.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Reaching Out

At around 5pm, I decided that it was already too late to study. I had an early morning meeting, then spent lunch with a needy person. After that, attended a student's concert.

It has all been about "helping others" today. After that, I thought to myself I should just take the day off and relax to be with the family and kids.

I did that.

Lo and behold, I am now struggling. My body is aching for sexual release. And I don't know why. I have been sober/pure for almost 3 weeks now. So why all of a sudden this need?

I can only think of one reason: CHANGE.

For the first time this week, I told myself not to work for a change. And perhaps, some resoluteness within me relaxed, and with it, my sobriety.

So, the best thing to do is to reach out. I'm reaching out now.

If you read this, please pray for me. It's Saturday night, January 10th, 2009.

[Note: this trigger reminds me. I was supposed to think about "purity" this week. I didn't so much think about it as "did" it. I avoided sexual thoughts or sexual pictures completely, seeking instead to embrace holiness.]

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Abstinence vs. Purity

The last time I masturbated was December 22, 2008.

Wow.  I have not masturbated since last year.

Sounds impressive.  But not really.

This week, I went and looked at "soft porn" on the internet.  I'm not even sure if you can call it porn compared to the kinds of online videos I would look at if unfettered by accountability.  Nude pictures on Google images, mostly men, sometimes women.  I've also started to desperately look for anything somewhat erotic on YouTube.  Not very much there.

Triple X Watch is still on.  I'm not sure if it will pick up on what I've browsed... about 3x this week?

It frustrates me not to be able to have an orgasm.  Looking at these erotic internet content frustrates me even further because there is no follow-up sexual release.  My bottom line is: no masturbation.

Technical abstinence.  "I might have looked, and I might have allowed some fantasy to happen for more than a few seconds here and there, but hey, I haven't masturbated.  I'm pure!"

No, I am not.

Abstinence is a matter of stopping.  Purity is a lot more than that.  I'll put some thought to that next.  I will blog about it.  Perhaps, pursuing purity can be my next goal.  First, to understand and articulate it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

When I Don't Write

A long day of work today.  I started my day by writing in this blog.  I wrote because I was wanting to masturbate--some kind of anxiety surrounding work.  Writing helped.

At the end of my work day, I felt good about having been productive, but I also felt down.  At that point, I should have blogged again, but I thought I would not write so much and create more burdens for my readers.  And that's when I fell.

Triple X Watch has some loopholes.  For instance, it doesn't catch when I look at sexual images on Wikipedia.

Oops.  Too late, another secret out.

I fell in terms of succumbing to Wikipedia images.  But not to masturbation.  Those images are pretty benign compared to the other stuff I used to look at.  But still, I fell.  Or maybe "almost fell" because my bottom line is masturbation.

I moved on to other things, caught up on my blog subscriptions.  That helped.

But at the end of that, I felt down again.  Empty.  I still wanted to masturbate.  

The wife is not available to me, and I am still weary of going close to her.  At any time, she might react again and hurt me more.  It helped that she apologized today and tried to make up for it.  It showed that I am not insane to think that she is an emotional wreck.  But it doesn't make relating with her any easier.

It's 2 a.m.  I need to sleep so that I can wake up on time to exercise.  But I felt I needed to write, to process.  Because when I don't write, I seem to fall.

Question is: Are you reading?  And is this too much?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Potentiating Heterosexuality

Before I went to sleep last night, I prayed for the Lord to give me some sexual release in my dreams. I did not get a wet dream, but I did get sexual dreams. Several of them, but I only remember the last one.

I dreamt of being at the coffee shop I am at now (I often come here to study). I went into the washroom and there were girls standing at the urinal. Blond, thin, beautiful. I went to the one at the corner, and another blond girl with long straight hair stood next to me. She undid her zipper and proceeded to pee like a man. I was really curious how they were doing it. I peered over and looked, and she was simply peeing out of the zipper, out of her female genitals. It was a bit messy for them. As I was about to leave, she got angry at my curiosity, aimed at me and peed in my hand. Disgusting. Mostly disgusting that these women acted so much like men.

What was interesting about the dream was that earlier yesterday, when I went to the mall to return something, I was attended by two blond girls. The one on the right helped the one on the left to sort out a problem, then smiled at me. I was looking at them both and wondering who was prettier. Clearly the one on the right. When she smiled at me, I felt for just one second, the possibility that I might like to make out with her.

I'm going to let this attraction sit and not drive it away. From all of my research and consultation, this is a normal process of "potentiating heterosexuality." The risk here is that with my wife unable to be intimate with me, I might begin to fantasize and dream of having sex with other women, more beautiful than her. Dangerous isn't it? I a little danger. And I serve a God who is a lot bigger than anything I could possibly ever imagine myself doing. I want to be straight, and have all the "normal" temptations that straight men have. If this is what it takes, so be it.

Entering Sobriety (also known as "Becoming Scandinavian")

I've been here before. Upset yet calm, angry yet sober, sad but still productive.

This is how sobriety feels. You don't let your emotions rule your behavior. You choose your behavior. You rational mind is more in control of your behavior than your emotions are. In neurology-speak, one could explain it as letting the frontal lobe higher executive functioning override the primitive-amygdala impulse.

I am becoming Scandinavian!

God forbid.

I am becoming more able to do what the author in 2 Cor 10:5 advises: "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Every thought really means every emotional response if you understand cognitive psychology well.

I had an argument with the wife last night. She quoted some article about a man whose wife did not want to have sex at 5 months of pregnancy. Then she said that the wife had a C-section for all three of her births, so in total, there was no sex for him 21 months for each birth. She said that he never complained to his wife but supported her. Then she concluded by saying that he has not masturbated since 1998.

I responded by saying that just because his wife did not want to have sex or he did not masturbate does not mean that he had to go "sexless" for 21 months. There is a lot that they can still do as a couple, for instance, the wife could give him manual penile stimulation.

She started to react at that point, and the rest of the conversation was emotionally-guided rather than rational, and because of her anxious reactions, she never heard my point. I stormed out of the room and went to sleep somewhere else.

I am very proud of myself. I did not fantasize, I did not go onto the internet for comfort or distraction.

I know she is going through old sexual trauma issues. I'm the one who pushed for and found her a very good new therapist for her to work on that. But it can't all be about her and her discomfort. There is a great deal of discomfort on my part to have her want physical-but-not-sexual closeness. And when she spites my discomfort of going sexually sober (because she is so reactive over my wanting sex between us), I feel like there is no point to be married to her.

Don't worry, I'm not considering divorce. I am just processing -- big difference. The latter is an extremely healthy thing to do.

But I am sober. And I am not masturbating. The ache is getting less and less. I am beginning to feel what someone said to me earlier this week, "I don't know why but it felt like a joke to want to go and masturbate after that fight with my wife."