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 Post subject: Hunger
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:46 am
Posts: 36
How do you handle sexual hunger when you have committed to abstaining? I'm trying to focus on my values and my vision, to remind myself that I don't want to ever return to the negative behaviors I've exhibited in the past. I haven't abstained for any real length of time during my adult years. I'm on lesson 17, so if there is a later lesson about this I'd love to read it.


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 Post subject: Re: Hunger
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:03 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Hi Pixie,

Well, the first thing to understand is that, most likely, what you're feeling is not necessarily sexual hunger. Having a sex or love addiction is entirely different than simply having a high sex drive. Can those who have sex addictions also have a high sex drive? Yes. But so too can those who actually have low sex drives, yet still feel an overwhelming urge to engage in sexual behaviours. Still others experience feelings of guilt, self-hatred, and self-loathing when they engage in sexual behaviours, yet still feel a substantial drive to do so. So, what you should drop from your thoughts is that this is actually a problem of sexual hunger.

The real issue here is that, over time, you have developed sexual or romantically compulsive patterns in order to manage your life and your emotional state...both the day-to-day stresses you have, as well as the inherent stresses you have developed as part of your perceptions over time, usually based on unhealthy inner beliefs you've ingrained, some of which since you were very young. These behaviours, fantasies, thoughts, etc. have provided you with an enormous amount of comfort, power, control, and feelings of safety and security over the years. So what happens when you cease them all at once (or at least your major overt behaviours)? Naturally, since so much of your emotional identity and stimulation comes from these sources, you feel a substantial and uncomfortable hole...and obviously, a significant craving to return to your behaviours. Now, it's true that you may be craving sex/love/affection too, as over time, your patterns have gotten tangled up with healthy feelings surrounding sex and love, creating a mess that requires the untangling of recovery...but this is the main source of the "hunger" you feel...your mind trying to balance your uncomfortable emotional state, not a craving for sex. This is a key point in coming to understand your emotions.

For now, stay focused on incorporating and developing your values into your daily life, and trying to make healthy decisions as best you can. The beginning of recovery is not pretty. For a while, it will really feel disorienting, like you're on an emotional rollercoaster where you really don't know up from down, and this is one of the times when you really just have to bare down and push through it. In early recovery, even the sincerest of people usually do go through a time where it really does feel like a mental war against your compulsive behaviours and your emotions...but this is only due to the lack of skills and development; it will not always be like this. That war, and digging your heels in, is also important for realizing that the worst that can happen to you is feeling very emotionally uncomfortable...and when you finally realize that your emotions are finite and your stress can only get so high, you will also realize that you're in complete control of your life. That your emotions only control your decisions if you let them.

The lessons coming up for you on emotional management will talk about this in more detail. So for now, just keep going steady, and abstaining from your compulsive behaviours, while keeping the main focus positively on the values you're developing. The answers and understanding is coming. :g:

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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 Post subject: Re: Hunger
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:21 pm 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 291
I would first dispel a myth that "white knuckling" is a bad thing. Basically you are not feeling at peace and you really really want to act out but you just hunker down through force of will to get through. That is what early sobriety looks like sometimes. Most therapist will recommend no MB or sex with even your partner for 90 days.

What this early abstinence is for is to change your chemical/mental balance and to alter your sexual state. Now there are people whom white knuckling is the only aspect of recovery they achieve and some can maintain this for years. But this is not recovery. What this is, is an opportunity for the real work to take on a more powerful anchor in your mind. Think of it as fasting before performing a spiritual rite. Now you can work on what's really the issue with your sexual medicating and immature actions without distractions.

Some practical advice to help early on:
    1) Interrupts - If you feel like you are feeling on the path of acting out, stop what you are doing and do something totally different. Get up and walk the dog, call your mom, whatever.
    2) Journal - It allows your to dump some of what your feeling into words. The act of writing does something in our brains and can sometimes change our thinking.
    3) Exercise - If you are not doing it, start. This too will alter you bio/chemical balance in a good way and can be used as an interrupt
    4) Diet - If you eat like crap, stop and start eating better. Cut out the fats and starches and eat fruits and veggies. Again, this is to alter your bio/chemical balance. This is not a "diet", don't deprive yourself of, say, sweets. Just eat better foods.
    5) Caffeine - If you are like me and drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated drinks, reduce the caffeine. This just slows the mind down a bit, makes it not so busy up there. If you are a real caffeine addict, I would not try to go cold turkey at this time, you don't need the added stress.
    6) Triggers - In later lessons you will learn about triggers and how to eliminate them from your life. For now just go out of your way to avoid them if you can. If your drive takes you by the beach, find another route. Heck, I use to walk around work without my glasses just to blur everything (don't drive that way!).

Hope that helps. There are many approaches and paths you can take, this is but one, and good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Hunger
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:10 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3846
Location: UK
Hi Pixie
you have received some great advice already and I am sure that your awareness in provoking the question demonstrates your own concerns regarding any self protection of your addiction

you say
Quote:
I haven't abstained for any real length of time


my advice is dont count days and dont think about abstinence
think more positively, not negatively
think about your much improved and happier life as recovery progresses

not having sex is not a life threatening act, but acting out in a compulsive way certainly is self (and more ) damaging
stay with the lessons
good luck and take it easy

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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 Post subject: Re: Hunger
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:38 am
Posts: 263
Quote:
That war, and digging your heels in, is also important for realizing that the worst that can happen to you is feeling very emotionally uncomfortable...and when you finally realize that your emotions are finite and your stress can only get so high, you will also realize that you're in complete control of your life. That your emotions only control your decisions if you let them.


Great post CoachBoundless. In the beginning of my recovery I definitely felt like if I didn't get some kind of relief I was just going to implode. But it's that realization that emotions aren't permanent and have very real limitations that then allowed me to start making real values-based decisions and not decisions based on my emotional state.

Keep working at it Pixie678 and be consistent with your lessons. As you progress through the workshop it only gets easier as your equipped with more tools and knowledge.


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 Post subject: Re: Hunger
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 174
Hi Pixie,

You've received really good advice about dealing with sexual hunger in the general context of a healthy life. I wanted (and it's taken me a while to write it) to say something I hope others will find helpful about what you can do when you're right there in the thick of it. This has come up for me yesterday and today after being at the beach with my wife in a bikini (first time I've seen her in one this year) and her talking about trimming her pubic hair. Basically I got the idea into my head that we should have sex and have been feeling very frustrated ever since that we haven't!

I'm not sure how much of what I write will apply to women, or even other men, but I'll write about how it is for me and hopefully someone else will find something in that that they can use.

The first thing is to recognise that you're "getting into a state" - that tightness, the discontentment of it, the opposite of being relaxed and at peace. The restless energy of sexual desire building up.

Mentally scan the body and work out where that energy and tightness is located - in my case, usually in my groin. And breath into it. Breath slowly and deeply into that area, letting it expand and cool.

Imagine the energy that's held there spreading out, all over the body. Up the torso, across the chest. Into the arms, down the legs. Up the spine, into the head. Imagine it washing away the fog in your brain and buzzing into the eyeballs. Imagine it flowing out of the fingers and toes and forming a bright shield around you.

And then take some time to breathe into that, notice the difference, see if that tension has left. See if the breathing is any easier.

Hope someone else can use something in that.
Guided


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 Post subject: Re: Hunger
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:28 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3846
Location: UK
Hi Guided
Quote:
being at the beach with my wife in a bikini (first time I've seen her in one this year) and her talking about trimming her pubic hair. Basically I got the idea into my head that we should have sex and have been feeling very frustrated ever since that we haven't!


I believe that it is great that your wife excites and arouses you, thought I wonder why the thought and talk of trimming turned you on, remember that she is a woman not a body
are you frustrated because you feel rejected?(just a thought)

If so you need to address this, remember if she trusts and loves you enough to be with you she is not rejecting you
I hope that you talked about this , if not perhaps you should

stay clean

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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