Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

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recycledbraindrain
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Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by recycledbraindrain » Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:03 pm

Hi, I signed up to this forum today. I had been searching online for some inspiration and I am quite interested in learning about Buddhism. I have developed some bad habits in recent years. I have wasted a lot of time looking at porn online, even chatting with others about sexual fantasies and this kind of thing (all adult, legal, consensual, I should add). It seems to be a form of procrastination and escape. Sometimes when I am most under pressure and especially overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life (and I seem to have an above average amount of pressure and stress in recent years) I seem to retreat into this behaviour. Then after losing maybe 6 to 8 hours of an evening and disturbing my sleeping patterns, I wake up too early, with the sudden feeling of panic, thinking Oh, I did that again last night. Then I’m tired, like today, and can’t function properly. Well, there is a sudden feeling of panic that makes me vow to myself never to do it again, and then dig into my work with a lot of concentration and effort, trying to make up for lost time, until I just start feeling sleepy and slow down. Tiredness can start the whole process again. But not always. I run a business from home so that makes it particularly easy to slide into this habit again and again. I really hate wasted time. I don't know why I have started doing this. I know each time it begins that I don’t really want it and won’t get satisfaction, and will just end up really annoyed with myself. I can be very rational about it all and then suddenly these feelings come and it is like a drug that takes over. It feels like normal. Like it’s what I want to do. Even though I know that I will disagree hours later. It only brings frustration and dissatisfaction. How can I get this under control? Eliminate it from my life? I appreciate that's a big question. I know it is an addiction, but I can't talk to anyone about it. Thanks for listening.

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Paul
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Paul » Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:19 pm

Wow, that's a lot of time...

Have you tried adding filter software to your PC?
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

recycledbraindrain
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by recycledbraindrain » Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:00 pm

Paul wrote:Wow, that's a lot of time...

Have you tried adding filter software to your PC?
Hi, thanks for replying. Well it is a lot of time. It's not every night. Some weeks none at all. Some weeks maybe 25+ hours. But that is a lot of time. Oh dear.

I don't know anything about filter software. I have a Mac book Air. Is it available?

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smcj
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by smcj » Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:19 pm

Hi. I used to be addicted to porn also, but fortunately I got over it before the internet really took off. So I can partially relate. I do pity people that are addicted and have an internet connection though. It must be tough.

In Buddhism, technically "habit" is a facet of karma. In the traditional texts it is under the category of "the result that reflects the seed of the act", which means if you do something repeatedly you are prone to continue doing it. As such it also includes things like learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument. But obviously it includes negative actions and addictions. So from a buddhist perspective you can say that you are struggling with your own negative karma. As such there are remedies.

As I said, I am no longer addicted to porn. I cannot tell you with 100% confidence that meditation solved the problem, although that is what I believe happened. It is possible that I just outgrew it. When you get old your sex drive decreases. But then again I have friends my age that are still addicted, so I can't tell you that in the future the problem will just take care of itself either.

The practice that removes bad karma in the Vajrayana is Vajrasattva. It is a visualization and a mantra practice. In my opinion it is very much like prayer, but that is a completely unpopular perspective here at DW. When I did it, it was something everybody was supposed to do. I didn't do it to address the porn issue. It just sort of seem to work out that way. Dharma being the way it is, I'm not sure starting a practice like Vajrasattva with having a specific problem like porn in mind is going to work so well. Having a specific criteria for success or failure seems to be an impediment to a fruitful practice. So I suggest that you do the suggested contemplations on impermanence and death, etc. That takes away the agenda of specific target and allows the practice to unfold in your mind as is appropriate for your karma. You may have other karma to clean up that you're not so troubled by too. Being invested in the action of the practice (ideally with a motivation of love) without either expectation of success or fear of failure is important.

If you decide to do that kind of practice you should go find a lama and get instruction. It takes a long time to work, or at least it did with me. Like I said, for me it took so long that I can't swear that it wasn't a case of my just getting old. But I was lazy about it, so you get out of it what you put into it. Plus everyone's karma is different. Some people get relief reasonably quickly too.

For further background on how spirituality can effectively address addictions I suggest exploring 12 step programs. They have them for sex addicts, so I assume they have them for porn too, perhaps online (which would be appropriate). If you acclimate yourself to general/generic spirituality that way and then do Vajrasattva as a specific application of those ideas I think it will be the best approach.

Good luck.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Jesse
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Jesse » Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:38 pm

I think accepting these desires as part of your psyche would help. We can accept a part of ourselves without actually enabeling it. Instead of hating that part of yourself, simple accept it. Then you can work to mitigate the problem. Start doing thing's to help with your stress levels. Take more time off. Exercise, eat right. Go out with friends more often. These sound like simple things, but they really go a long way towards warding off stress.

Since you say it's a totally legal/consentual thing going on. Perhaps you can even schedule it into your life. That way it loses it's power over you as a sort of monster that takes over. Schedual it for maybe one hour, once a month. Then tell yourself you absolutely wont partake except during that time, etc.
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

SeeLion
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by SeeLion » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:07 pm

Hey, I have the same problem and what I found helpful is Vipassana meditation (which I have learned in the Theravada tradition).

I've started to practice from a booklet I found online, then would be reading through various resources. The big advantage that I found here is that it breaks the addiction into little pieces and puts your desires into a different perspective, it shows you how your desires work behind the scenes, so to speak.

I think it's really important for you to learn more about your addiction, to understand how it works.

You need to acknowledge not only the addiction, but also panic, the hate for the wasted time and other emotions you are going through which "work together" to increase your suffering. Sadly, it's a team work.

Also, I've read a lot of information about addiction over the internet, and I remember a psychologist talking about his first interview of his patients, which usually would go along these lines.



He would ask something like:

"So are you 100% committed to give up your addiction, are you determined to never do this ever again in your life ? "

Answer: "Yes, I am"

Psychologist: "But, and correct me if I'm wrong, isn't there a part of your mind that in fact would like to do it again, maybe even thinking about it right now ?"

Where the patient would look down, with a sad face, answering: "Yes, there is"

--
Anyway, the point he was making is that it requires a long term commitment, it's not something you quickly eliminate from your life and then can forget about it.

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Paul
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Paul » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:21 pm

Wheelspinchaos wrote:
Paul wrote:Wow, that's a lot of time...

Have you tried adding filter software to your PC?
Hi, thanks for replying. Well it is a lot of time. It's not every night. Some weeks none at all. Some weeks maybe 25+ hours. But that is a lot of time. Oh dear.

I don't know anything about filter software. I have a Mac book Air. Is it available?
Parental controls are integral to OSX, so you might already have it... https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201813
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

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Vasana
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Vasana » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:32 pm

Hi,

First of all, it's great that you want to learn about Buddhism, be sure to get yourself some books and watch some videos which outlay the diverse range of approaches and styles of Buddha-dharma so you can find out which particular methods of teaching and presentation are most helpful and inspiring to you at the present moment. Get a feel for what's out there, hit up you-tube etc.

As for the addiction and habits, i think this is something a large part of the world is dealing with, knowingly or unknowingly so find out how others are working with it too. This thread has quite a diverse range of opinions on the topic, some of which digress slightly, but it's worth checking out;

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=110&t=17407

Learning about the brain, it's pleasure, desire and reward centers can be extremely useful too.

http://yourbrainonporn.com/

Also as a side note, suppressing desire and impulsiveness will more than often, not work. You can get rid of certain behaviors for X amount of time, but if the latent tendencies are only suppressed , they can and will often spring back with double the momentum from time to time. Paradoxically, the more we try to suppress a thought or feeling , the more hyper-accessible it becomes within our minds.

More on the hyper-accessibility of suppressed thoughts here; http://scholar.harvard.edu/dwegner/file ... er1992.pdf

This is a really good ted-talk too on the psycho-social factors which contribute to addiction. Addictions are more often than not replacements for the lack of connection,community and fulfillment in other areas of our lives.

" The opposite of addiction, is not sobriety , but connection "

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY9DcIMGxMs
Last edited by Vasana on Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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As a time of suffering will surely come around to me,
May I truly practice the sublime teachings."
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Wayfarer
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:35 pm

re filter software, there's a better solution called OpenDNS. It works if you're only logging on from your home network, basically you connect to the Internet via their DNS look-up service, which is filtered. It is desiged for companies to be able to control their users internet access but it is free for individuals and works flawlessly. http://www.opendns.com

On the general theme, I can perfectly understand it, I too have been through periods where I wasted a lot of time and activity on useless habits. It's human nature to want to do that, (for some of us, anyway) but it can be overcome. I don't know if there's any magic bullet but the fact you recognise the problem is an excellent start.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:52 pm

One thing that has helped me with compulsive habits is the creation of a "pleasant alternatives list".

Basically, make a list of things you can do that are just enjoyable, not things you do as a "duty", but things you get satisfaction out of that are not related to your compulsive unhealthy habits. Keep it handy so you can remind yourself when you get urges. This both has the effect of making you more conscious of the urges, as well as actively building a different habit.

From a Buddhist perspective this is not necessarily the best way I don't think, but if you just want a simple triage approach, this works pretty well IME.

If you start up with Buddhist practice, you can put meditations on your list, and replace unhealthy activities with the healthiest ones there are, so much the better.
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smcj
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by smcj » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:54 pm

I think that we will (mostly) all agree that struggling with an addiction means reinforcing the addiction. By investing your attention in it you are empowering it. It is a vicious cycle. What is needed is something outside the vicious cycle to help break it. In 12 step programs it means finding a "higher power that will lead you back to sanity". In Dharma it means "taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha".
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by cjdevries » Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:15 pm

I also had the same problem for many years. This addiction feeds a mental pattern that takes time to re-pattern, but it definitely can be done. I noticed that it would cause sexual dreams and fantasies that I couldn't really stop. 6 years ago, I realized that this behavior was really hurting my self esteem and making it difficult to enjoy my life. After I quit, it took quite a while to fully stop the mental pattern, perhaps 2 years. I would still get the urge, but I would control it. Then, one day I no longer had even the urge. Now it seems like another life.
.
Also, Buddhism helped a lot. Meditation has helped. However, the habit itself just had to be broken. I went to a therapist about it and she recommended that I accept it and perhaps make it a fun way to explore sex. She was a great therapist, but I'm glad I went against that particular advice. Buddhism will help you to continue to build healthier behaviors and gradually improve your life, if you don't ask for too much too soon. Even just a short daily meditation practice or a simple mantra can bring transformation and growth to your life.

recycledbraindrain
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by recycledbraindrain » Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:53 pm

Hi everyone, thanks so much for your kind and helpful comments. I have made many notes for ongoing reference.

Quick note. I started this thread but then changed my password for my account and after that had problems logging in and have not been able to reset that password. So I have given up with that and continuing with this one.

Smcj, I’m curious to know more about the Vajrasattva practice that you refer to. I understand that having expectations that this will solve my problems are unrealistic, but even if it is just a distraction from my bad habits then at least I am spending less time on my bad habits. I will also try to read up on contemplations on impermanence and death, and look into 12-step programs.

Jesse I agree on the importance of accepting that this is part of me, even though realizing that I don’t have to enable it. But accepting is better than suppressing it and denial (thanks also to Vasana forthje comments about suppressing desires etc). But I think that scheduling it into my life will not work, Jesse. It feels a bit like an alcoholic saying they will only drink one glass of wine on the last Sunday of each month. I just want to be rid of this behaviour and distraction and waste of time.

Ok I’m gonna look into specifically Vipassana meditation. Is that like mindfulness meditation? I already started to practice that but not often enough.

I’ve saved all those URLs Vasana and will follow up these suggestions. Thanks.

Great idea Johnny Dangerous. I am making a list of “pleasant alternatives”. It feels almost like a kind of antidote. But one problem I have is that this bad behaviour of mine is triggered by certain things. An attractive woman on a bus last week made me suddenly have the urge to get on my computer as soon as I got home and, well, continue my bad habits. Even seeing someone on TV or online dressed in a certain way and so on. There are a variety of triggers. Even some objects, fetish related I suppose. I know the triggers. I can see the triggers working. But intervening is seemingly impossible. This will always be “the last time I do this.” Once the urge is there I cant stop so easily even though I see it for what it is. I see it as a waste of time that can sometimes bring a little satisfaction which happens to be hollow, I know. And that 99% of the time spent is dissatisfying and ultimately frustrating when I realize that hours have passed. Cjdevries , you are giving my hope that controlling the urges is possible.

It might be related to how I see women, but I don’t know. Actually I am pro gender equality and do not really see women as “sex objects.” I don’t think so. Well maybe I do. But I’m not SO bad in this way. I think. Many of my fantasies relate to dominant women actually. It’s not just about visual porn but about chatting with women online.

Yesterday I found these online which I think will be helpful to anyone in my position. They are 2 Ted talks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRJ_QfP ... redirect=1

SeeLion
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by SeeLion » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:00 am

Ok I’m gonna look into specifically Vipassana meditation. Is that like mindfulness meditation? I already started to practice that but not often enough.
It's related to mindfulness, but different people understand the word differently.

It is a teaching helping you to observe the workings of the mind under a microscope, your senses, emotions, desires, thoughts, etc.

What it does:
- you begin to see how your urges/cravings work
- you can train the ability not to react to them
- it changes the way you look at the objects of the desire

Interestingly enough, it seems that many people are not aware what the urge actually is, they are used to follow the object of addiction, but are not able to describe with clarity what exactly is that impulse, how are they experiencing their craving. The actual object of desire is big and clear in front of the mind's eyes, and we can describe it in lots of detail, but it seems that the urge lurks in darkness, we know it's there, we know it drives us to do certain things, but we don't see IT clearly.

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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Ayu » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:26 pm

recycledbraindrain wrote:Quick note. I started this thread but then changed my password for my account and after that had problems logging in and have not been able to reset that password. So I have given up with that and continuing with this one.
FYI: Your previous posts have been merged into your new account. The former account is deleted.
:namaste:
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by temma_morssen » Sun May 15, 2016 11:52 pm

recycledbraindrain wrote:Hi, I signed up to this forum today. I had been searching online for some inspiration and I am quite interested in learning about Buddhism. I have developed some bad habits in recent years. I have wasted a lot of time looking at porn online, even chatting with others about sexual fantasies and this kind of thing (all adult, legal, consensual, I should add). It seems to be a form of procrastination and escape. Sometimes when I am most under pressure and especially overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life (and I seem to have an above average amount of pressure and stress in recent years) I seem to retreat into this behaviour. Then after losing maybe 6 to 8 hours of an evening and disturbing my sleeping patterns, I wake up too early, with the sudden feeling of panic, thinking Oh, I did that again last night. Then I’m tired, like today, and can’t function properly. Well, there is a sudden feeling of panic that makes me vow to myself never to do it again, and then dig into my work with a lot of concentration and effort, trying to make up for lost time, until I just start feeling sleepy and slow down. Tiredness can start the whole process again. But not always. I run a business from home so that makes it particularly easy to slide into this habit again and again. I really hate wasted time. I don't know why I have started doing this. I know each time it begins that I don’t really want it and won’t get satisfaction, and will just end up really annoyed with myself. I can be very rational about it all and then suddenly these feelings come and it is like a drug that takes over. It feels like normal. Like it’s what I want to do. Even though I know that I will disagree hours later. It only brings frustration and dissatisfaction. How can I get this under control? Eliminate it from my life? I appreciate that's a big question. I know it is an addiction, but I can't talk to anyone about it. Thanks for listening.
Be sure the Bad habits the reason of fail in life.

The thought manifests as word;

The word manifests as deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character.

So watch the thought and its ways with care,

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings.

The Buddha

A cocaine addict, a working person raising a family, a seeker practicing meditation and service, and a highly conscious sage all have the same motivation: the core drive. We all want avoidance of suffering and permanent Love, peace, and safety. What separates us is our habits. Habits rule destiny. Our life is a sequence of habits that determine our course and evolution.


How to Stop Procrastinating and bad habit:

1. Stop thinking. Start doing.
2. Don’t blow a task out of proportion.
3. Just take the first step
4. Start with the hardest task of your day.
5. Just make a decision. Any decision.
6. Face your fear
7. Finish it.
“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task”
William James

Good Habits Kill Bad Habits:

There are hundreds of good physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual habits. These fall into three categories:

1. Constructive activities related to health, work, relationships, recreation, or hobbies.

2. The habits of a seeker: the spiritual methods described in this and other spiritual books.

3. The habits of a sage: spiritual qualities such as Love, compassion, forgiveness, courage, strength, and others listed in the spiritual
alphabet.


i come back soon

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon May 16, 2016 12:35 am

All good advice :thanks: but I just wanted to alert people to the fact that "The thought manifests as word ..." etc is not actually from the Buddha although there are many similar statements in the sutras. See http://fakebuddhaquotes.com/the-thought ... character/ for a discussion which ends, "the quote as a whole is not from the Buddhist scriptures. We can be fairly sure the Buddha never said this, although we can be equally sure that he said things like this."

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by narhwal90 » Mon May 16, 2016 1:45 am

I had something of a porn issue as well. I am in 12 step recovery for other matters but the question of lust vs desire and how I used porn became prominent. Through the 12 step work (4th/5th step work with my sponsor) I began to distinguish between desire, lust and my tendencies towards gratification. I began to see how I was using porn and masturbation nearly as a chemical fix, reinforcing lust. I find I can live with desire- it comes and goes and leaves in peace but I cannot live with lust- so I decided to renounce use of porn. It was an interesting exercise because I experienced a period of resistance to deleting my porn collection- it had value to me, as if pictures & videos were meaningful. Of course, in further consideration- there is no value there only emptiness; free porn saved to the stash when it was interesting in some way. So in the end I had a small symbolic moment hitting the delete key on that filesystem- and it was gone. I did note when it was flushed out of the backups a week or two later, but I haven't missed it.

I do have to handle my mind with care wrt sexuality though, steering away from stimulation- clearly my mind is sensitive. I don't mean to suggest repressing desire, but I can choose to not look into the lingerie section in a dept store, not linger on pictures that come up in news feeds etc.

The choice to renounce was interesting, however. In a real way it was a moment of me placing a bet on Buddhism working; if I choose to act differently, will I start having a different experience? This sort of thing is nothing new of course, but it seems to me it has to be something experienced. In 12-step land its often said "if you keep doing what you're doing you keep getting what you're getting", to which I would add "be it good, bad, or indifferent". So far, choosing to release an attachment and turn away from the old actions does produce a lot more peace of mind.. a large part of the compulsion to use is simply gone.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Mon May 16, 2016 2:27 am

Unless it is a pathological disease diagnosed by a psychologist, I find people in general are far too hard on themselves sexually.
Everyone is different, normalcy doesn't exist.
Moderation, not rejection, has proven (for me as a layperson) to be the only viable response to the strange phenomenon that is human sexuality.

temma_morssen
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Re: Bad habits, addiction, wasted time

Post by temma_morssen » Mon May 16, 2016 12:35 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:All good advice :thanks: but I just wanted to alert people to the fact that "The thought manifests as word ..." etc is not actually from the Buddha although there are many similar statements in the sutras. See http://fakebuddhaquotes.com/the-thought ... character/ for a discussion which ends, "the quote as a whole is not from the Buddhist scriptures. We can be fairly sure the Buddha never said this, although we can be equally sure that he said things like this."

:namaste:
Kim
thank you but still a good advice

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