One week since caffeine

Wednesday, May 20th.

That was when I had my last Mountain Dew.

The only day I had a major headache was last Friday, two days later.

Apart from that, the only symptoms I’ve noticed have been feeling extra tired. I’ve been sleeping ten hours or more most nights.

My withdrawal symptoms may be relatively minor because I’ve been going easy on myself. I’ve been letting myself have soda every day, just not caffeine.

If you’re thinking of quitting caffeine, I’d recommend doing it at a time when you can sleep in every day, especially for the first week or so.

I still don’t feel very energetic, but it’s only been a week. I do feel less irritable, though.

Overall, I’m glad I quit.

I’ll be even more glad when I stop feeling so tired.

Second Day Caffeine-Free

I let myself sleep in this morning.

Slept longer than usual, but that’s not surprising.

I did have a headache. It’s mostly gone now.

Thought about getting a small Mountain Dew, but decided against it. I want to get through the withdrawals as soon as possible.

I just want to feel normal.

No More Caffeine

I’ve quit caffeine more times than you can shake a stick at.

For days, weeks, months even.

Then, one day, I’ll feel it.

Maybe I stayed up too late the night before.

Maybe I needed to get up extra early.

I’ll see a vending machine. Or a gas station.

“Just one won’t hurt.”

Right?

A few weeks ago I saw this:

Caffeine doesn’t give you energy, it just keeps you alert.

I knew that already.

I didn’t know it triggered the release of dopamine and cortisol.

Dopamine addiction is the reason the reason it’s so hard to just quit porn.

Cortisol is also known as “the stress hormone”. Elevated cortisol levels make it harder to lose weight.

I don’t drink coffee. It’s against the Word of Wisdom. It’s also gross.

Almost all of my caffeine has come from Mountain Dew.

So has a lot of my weight.

So by continuing to drink this stuff, not only have I made myself fat. I’ve also been causing myself extra stress, making it harder to lose weight, making myself irritable, AND making it harder to quit porn and get to the Temple.

If that’s not reason enough to quit, I don’t know what is.

Symptom of a Larger Problem?

One thing I’ve noticed recently is that I’m not tempted to watch porn when I’m feeling good. When I’m feeling down, angry, sad, lonely, etc, that’s when I feel the urge.

I didn’t become an addict because I was a bad person. Something was wrong. I felt bad. I wanted to feel better. I found something to relieves the pain, if only temporarily. In the long run it made things worse.

Maybe this sounds familiar. If so, find another way to feel better.

Show yourself some love. Real love. Be compassionate to yourself.

Think about all the good things in your life. Make an effort to feel grateful. Really feel it.

Make a goal. Start working toward it. Get help from someone else who’s done it before.

Spend time around good people. Get away from people who drag you down, or at least spend less time with them.

And obviously, pray for help to improve your life. Your Heavenly Father wants you to succeed.

You should, too.

Urges are just thoughts

That’s the theory, anyway.

You think about watching porn. You to entertain the idea. The feelings follow.

What if you short-circuit the process?

Derail that train?

What if you dismiss the thought?

Move on before the feelings come?

That’s what Amy Johnson, PhD suggests in The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit.

The book is not specifically about porn or masturbation. Amy Johnson used this technique to overcome Binge-eating Disorder.

The neurons that fire together, wire together.

If you watch porn and masturbate every time you feel the urge, you strengthen the connection between the urges and the behavior.

Dismissing the urge, even once, weakens that connection. The more urges you dismiss, the weaker the connection.

I haven’t overcome my addiction yet.

I admit I haven’t tried very hard.

But I have been able to dismiss urges successfully.

I know I can beat this thing, it’s just a matter of making the effort.

Porn addiction

XXX

She knew I’d had problems with it before.

She asked me about it directly .

I was ashamed. I didn’t want to admit I’d done it AGAIN.

So I lied.

Eventually the truth came out. She could accept that I’d slipped again. She couldn’t accept my dishonesty. That’s why she left me.

My addiction started years before I met her. Someone had shown me some dirty magazines, then suggested I get some of my own. At first I said no. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me.

It became a cycle. I’d buy a few magazines. Hold on to them for a while. Then throw them out in disgust. What had I become?

I’d be good for a while. Eventually I’d be drawn back in.

After several years I went back to church. I tried to stay invisible. Eventually the Bishop asked to meet with me. I told him everything.

I started checking in with him once a week. That seemed to do the trick. Eventually I got a Temple recommend. I did baptisms for the dead a few times.

After a while I stopped going to church. I fell back into old habits. Then I met her.

After we got married it was easier not to indulge. At least at first. Life became stressful, and I wasn’t good at communicating. I started acting out when she wasn’t around.

We moved. I resolved to quit once and for all. I went to the Bishop and confessed. He wanted me to get counseling, and said he would pay for it. He also said I needed to confess to my wife.

Confessing to her that first time was hard. I was sure she would leave me. She was hurt. But my confession helped us grow closer. I promised not to lie to her again.

I was good for three years after that. It didn’t seem hard.

We moved a few more times. Life got more stressful. I gave in to my urges. I was so ashamed.

Then she asked. I forgot my promise. I lied.

I confessed to the Bishop, but not to her.

We started marriage counseling. We became closer than ever. But something was in the way. So I told her.

I thought it would be like before. Our marriage would be stronger than ever. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

For six months she struggled. Eventually she decided to separate.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m not the only one. A LOT of men in the Church have this problem. My guess is around half. You’re not alone. Far from it.

There are a lot of single brethren out there who are addicted to pornography. Get it out of your lives. Do whatever you have to in order to be clean.

Then there are the married brethren. I’m not singling you out to shame you. I’m singling you out to warn you. You could lose everything. You don’t want that. Be open with your wives. Do whatever you need to do to save your marriages. I hope it’s not too late for you.

Ask Heavenly Father for help. Meet with your Bishop as often as you need to. Get marriage counseling. Go to addiction recovery meetings. Do what must be done.

If you slip, BE HONEST.

You may think you’re sparing her feelings, but you’re really betraying her trust.

Point of Origin

Pin in a mapMy starting point:

I’m 41 years old.

I’ve been separated from my wife for a year and a half.

She lives in her parent’s basement. Our two boys live with her.

I live in my mom’s basement.

I weigh 400 pounds.

I’m unemployed.

I’m a porn addict.

That’s the bad news.

The good news:

I get to see my boys almost every day.

I go to church.

I pray morning and night (most days).

I read my scriptures every day.

I read lots of other books.

I have a car.

I have my freedom.

I have a Savior.

I have more blessings than I can count.

I know I can improve myself.

It’s just going to take a lot of work.