6 Step Reboot Plan... that helped me quit
I haven't masturbated to/orgasmed to porn in 367 days. Until a year ago, I had tried many times to stop and kept failing, until I finally gave up, only to stumble on this website and try again. After going a year without PO, I summarized my experience and reboot process into Six Key Steps.
This is basically "how I did it":
- Using this site made me realize everyone is different and has different goals. This plan is what worked for me and may not work for everyone, or anyone, else.
- I can't say I've had PIED or ED, so if you're quitting porn and you experience PIED, you may not find this very helpful. It seems porn users with ED sometimes require separate reboot strategies, and often want to quit MO (see next disclaimer). So this may not (or may still) be helpful for you (sorry)
- Masturbation for rebooters is a touchy subject. I am in the pro-MO camp, so my plan permits MO eventually. BUT note in the plan, I think quitting MO at least temporarily in the beginning is totally crucial to quitting porn. If you are firmly in the anti-MO camp, you may not find this helpful.
- I was single when I started my reboot. If you're in a relationship, this could complicate things. Sex can be a trigger. My plan leaves out sex and MO for at least a month and then sparingly for at least 3 months. If you can't be honest to your partner about your reboot and withhold/ limit sex for at least 3 months (or as long as it takes), you might not find this helpful (sorry, again).
- So, this plan may not be for you if you experience PIED or ED, and/or want to quit MO. But if you feel powerless or addicted to porn and you want to quit watching and jacking off to it, I think you may find this helpful. That is what I wanted to do and this is what worked for me.
Step 1 - Cut out any and ALL sexual activity: You are going to be asexual until further notice: No sex, no thinking about sex, no thinking about not thinking about sex, no flirting, no masturbation, no fantasizing, no lusting, no checking out the girls' (or guys') asses, no staring at her boobs, no second base, no third base. Nothing. SEX, as in real intimacy with another human being, is encouraged later, BUT not during the first month. You just gotta be careful that real sex isn't a trigger for you (see next step). May help to sit down with your gf or bf, wife or husband, fb and share with them your reboot goal and how there will be no sex for a while. Hopefully they can understand.
Step 2 - Avoid Triggers: You can't accomplish step one without avoiding triggers. I wrote a post about triggers earlier in my reboot. I wrote a list of ALL the things that can potentially make me want sex. You really have to think outside the box on this one. It's not just things that lead directly to porn use. These can be little things you may not think about, like TV shows or certain social situations, like being alone. These cause a build up of sexual energy throughout the day. Write them out, then avoid them. The concept being almost all porn-watching episodes begin with triggers, which build up over time and release through porn use. And it's easier to stop the trigger mid-act (changing the channel or logging out of facebook) than stopping the real thing you're actually addicted to. Read this.
Step 3 - Sex and Controlled Masturbation: Probably the most controversial step. My opinion about MO is that it's possible to MO during a reboot and still quit porn (I've done it), as long as it's done in a very controlled way. Basically, it has to be a very last resort, detached from porn and fantasy, and done very very sparingly. Here are the rules I followed
- No MO (or sex) the first month at least (bare minimum). You need this month to clean the slate. If you can't make it this long, don't worry.
- When to MO: Always go as long as you possibly can without masturbating. Masturbating should always simply be a very very last resort when you simply can't go another day without an orgasm
- How to MO: Get away from the phone/computer/tv (lie in bed, take a shower, etc.) --> Don't fantasize, instead briefly think of (recount) real situations you've actually had or can have --> cum as soon as possible. Don't drag this out.
- After MO: It's important to mentally reset your No MO Count. You are back to 0 and must wait as long as you can before your next one MO. If you don't do this, you risk sliding back into regular, uncontrolled MO, which will trigger PO. So always be actively thinking about the fact that you are avoiding MO!
- Do NOT schedule MOs: A schedule leads to anticipation which is definitely a trigger
- Limit MO to no more than once a week: You should not be MOing more than once a week. You should be able to go a lot longer than this before caving. I used this as a guide to make sure I was going as long as I could before MOing
So, the idea here is that for some guys, like me, simply not orgasming for several months is unthinkable (I've never even had a wet dream). I will surely fail if I tried (and I have numerous times). So if you really must, do it in a way that is detatched from porn and fantasy, and only done as a quick relief. I stand by this method because it worked for me by letting me build up an intense sexual energy and then release it through...not porn. I felt I was training my brain to associate sexual relief with something other than porn. SEX: If you can have real, safe sexual encounters with someone instead, that is even better, but I suggest only having sex after at least one month and only when you've built up that energy.
Step 4 - Slowly return to healthy sexual behavior: After about 3 months (for me, maybe longer for others) of little to no sex and masturbation, I slowly began returning to regularly scheduled programming, sans porn. I suggest writing a list of the kinds of healthy sexual behaviors you're okay with (i.e. sex with partner, flirting or mo). Then adding them back into your life. You're still avoiding triggers at this point, but are allowing your self to experience healthy sexual behaviors. Start by only doing it sparingly (build up that sexual energy). For me, after a few months of this I slowly slipped back into regular normal activity. By this point these behaviors became more gratifying than porn. REMEMBER those triggers though.
Step 5 - Cope with reality: Porn is a lie. As you begin avoiding porn and embracing healthy sex, your brain may be disappointed. Your gf or bf is not a porn model with perfect hair, boobs, abs and make up; you are not entitled to sex; you cannot have sex whenever and with whomever you want on demand; some people just aren't that into you; you can't order a sex partner like a cheeseburger; and life doesn't play out like your sick twisted sexual fantasies. Deal with it. During my reboot, I (and my brain) had to consciously accept these cold, hard facts of life. Real life is not porn, and porn is not real life.
Step 6 - Take up a NEW hobby: Pick a hobby, any hobby. But make sure it's something fresh, something you haven't done before. For me it was a new 30-day fitness program. This lets you take that extra energy you save from being asexual (joking, but serious) and put it toward something other than pity and frustration. You're cutting out an old habit and replacing it with a new skill. I think it helps if this new hobby has a deadline or end date (like a fitness program or art project). Just make sure it's empowering and uplifting and not something frustrating that can end up being a trigger.
So that's what worked for me: banning sexual activity, avoiding triggers, controlled masturbation/building up and releasing energy, slow return to sex, coping and taking up a hobby. Again this may not work for everyone, but it's worked for me and it's in line with some of the stuff I've seen on here and YBOP. I'd love to know if you found this helpful, and I'd love to read your success story 367 days from now.
BONUS TIP: Beware of substitutes: For me, cutting out porn unleashed a stronger urge to engage in other unhealthy (sexual) behavior. This could happen to you. I suggest being consciously aware of it. If you are prone to engaging in other unhealthy behaviors like using drugs, smoking, drinking, having sex with strangers, etc. make sure you don't increase these behaviors as a substitute for porn.
BY - TJ3
INITIAL POST - one year earlier
I started Rebooting Oct. 29. I'm still figuring out what that means, for me. Like I said in my intro, I plan on figuring this out as I go. So far, over the past couple days I have a few tips I've written for myself:
Knowledge is power: There is a battle going on in our brains between the circuit pathways that respond to dopamine and the circuits that respond to logic. One is impulsive and instinctive and the other is cognitive and logical. Dopamine fuels the impulsive circuit where as knowledge fuels the logical circuit. So far the Dopamine Army is ruling your body and has a super strong army. It's time to build up the knowledge army and weaken the dopamine army. Sounds simple, but it's easy to be on fire Week 1 and somehow lose that passion later on and slip into the bad habit again.
Which brings me to the next one:
Stay informed EVERYDAY: I think educating myself on this issue is crucial. So I read at max one or two articles about porn addiction/rebooting a day, but try not to overwhelm myself. I fear that if I stop, I will lose the fervor, weakening my Knowledge Army and giving more power to the Dopamine crew.
Be careful what you eat: I realized that quitting porn is like dieting. The goal is to cut out the bad stuff and return to a natural, organic diet. Just like with dieting, you always have to be conscientious about what you put into your body--ALWAYS--that should never go away. The more you learn about nutrition, the less you mindlessly eat junk. You become aware of the effects of bad food and that is often enough to stop you from doing it. The same with porn, Though this is a process--a "lifestyle change"--that takes time.
Be constantly thinking about your porn addiction: Even when you are not facing temptation. Don't wait until the beast is in your face before you start thinking about how to fight it. Always be training that Army of Knowledge to ward off the Army of Dope.
Recognize and avoid all triggers: This includes masturbation. Even though my goal isn't to stop MOing, I think it's necessary during reboot. Masturbation and porn go together like bacon and eggs, salt and chips. One will surely lead to the other, until you lose the taste for one. Triggers are the precursors to the actual crime. It is easier to avoid them than the actual thing. Triggers can be as obvious as "Facebook stalking" friends of friends' photos or allowing myself to get bored.
Think about your thoughts When encountering a trigger, consciously state what is happening and how you want to respond. Consciously state the possible outcomes of responding to the trigger vs. ignoring them. Try to be as emotionally detailed as possible because the brain responds to emotion and experience the best. "I am feeling ___ right now. I want to ___. But if I do, I will feel___. If I don't, I will feel___. So I will choose to ___"
Journal daily: This keeps me accountable and involved with community. It also makes it hard for me to lie to myself and others about my progress. I also gain more knowledge from the community.
Don't be afraid of masturbation: I am cutting out MOing for reasons above, but I find it very, very difficult to do. I have to remember that the goal is to ultimately eliminate PMO, and that MOing is not a failure. I haven't MO'ed yet and don't plan to until I reboot, but I wouldn't be surprised if I slip again TBH. And if I do, I have to be sure that it's just that--MO, not PMO or FMO (fantasy), anything to not let the Dopamine Army think it's won a battle.
Guys, I hope this works...So far, so good. A little moody and frustrated, but we'll see. Stay tuned...