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.

Relapse

I relapsed a couple of days ago.

I’ve been in a funk ever since.

It had been about a week since my last relapse. I was feeling pretty good.

I’m not sure exactly what happened. Maybe I gave the thought too much attention.

Hopefully I’ll feel better by Monday.

Have a good weekend.

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.

It’s holding me back

My porn addiction.

Yup, it’s still there.

I don’t talk about it much.

I’m sure it’s part of the reason I feel like I don’t deserve a better life.

I relapse.

I feel bad about myself.

I relapse again to try to feel better.

That’s the thing. In the moment it feels good.

After a few relapses I start becoming numb to the shame. Like wading out into cold water. At first it’s shocking. Painful. Until you get used to it.

Then I get lazy for a while.

And there’s the part that doesn’t even want to quit. The part that enjoys it. It’s like eating an all-candy diet. It’s terrible for you, but it tastes good in the moment.