The Top 3 FATAL MISTAKES Rebooters Make
Last week there was a comment made by a forum member here that bothered me a lot. He said:
I know i will get hate for this but anyway, I must enlighten some of you. Most of the people on here will never fully quit PMO or make it past 100 days. I know people need to stay motivated but it's difficult.
It bothers me because it's not true. And it bothers me because I want everyone in this forum to succeed. It's been more than 3 years since I discovered Reuniting/YBOP and it's been almost 1 year since I created this forum. I've seen it all. I've read it all. I don't consider myself addicted to porn anymore.
Gary Wilson and Marnia Robinson are the true pioneers in this field. It is thanks to them that we have thousands of men around the world trying to quit porn based on scientific understanding of how it affects our brains. I will be forever grateful to them.
However, scientific understanding is not enough, as evidenced by the huge amount of rebooters struggling and having a hard time with this addiction.
What I'm going to share with you guys is nothing new. You probably already read it somewhere else. But it is not given enough importance around here. People are worrying too much about porn induced ED, dopamine this and dopamine that, testosterone levels, wet dreams, etc. But not enough on how to actually beat this addiction.
This thread is not meant to be motivational. Motivation is temporary. You can watch a Nike football commercial on YouTube, get all pumped up and motivated, and then relapse 4 days later. It means nothing.
This thread is meant to give understanding. It's meant to give you the final piece of the puzzle needed in order to beat pornography addiction.
I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that anyone who understands and applies what I'm going to share here is going succeed quitting porn.
All you have to do is avoid making these 3 mistakes.
Please take your time to truly absorb what you're going to read next. This stuff is not obvious and many men are completely unaware of it, specially those who are new to rebooting. Successful rebooters probably won't benefit as much from this thread.
Sit down, take your time, and go grab a cup of coffee or tea, as I'm going to share with you the top 3 fatal mistakes a rebooter can make.
Mistake #1: Using Porn to Stop Feeling Bad
People who are unaware of this mistake are going to have a very difficult time quitting porn.
This is what usually happens:
You're very stressed about work or school. You spent all your day working your ass under pressure and you know that the upcoming days are going to be the same. There's pain in your body. You're mentally exhausted. You want to relax and feel good. So what do you do? Watch porn.
You go out to have fun one night. There's one girl you really like, so you try to talk to her, but she keeps ignoring you. One of your more outgoing friends keeps making her laugh with his jokes. You're jealous. You say to yourself "Fuck this shit" and start approaching other women right there. They all reject you. Even one of them said to you "Get away from me!". You go back home feeling incredibly frustrated. Your mood is very down. You start to wonder if you'll ever be able to get a beautiful girlfriend. You get temporarily depressed. It's painful. You want to escape these feelings. So what do you do? Watch porn.
You went out drinking last night. You had a lot of fun, but now you're left with a terrible hangover. You have a headache, nausea, stomach pain. You can't concentrate or do anything. You're just lying there drinking some Gatorade. Obviously, being hungover sucks. You want to stop feeling bad, at least for a few moments. So what do you do? Watch porn.
You're bored as fuck in your house. You and laziness become one. You're not in the mood for anything, not even watching a movie. Boredom, boredom, and more boredom. Who wants to feel bored? Nobody. Time runs slowly. Nothing is fun. You go to Facebook and there are no interesting updates. You refresh your favorite forums and there are no new replies to your posts. There's nothing to do. You start becoming anxious and restless. So what do you do? Watch porn.
Please, stop this.
You need to stop medicating yourself with porn every time you feel pain and discomfort.
This is ignorance to the reality of life.
Stress, depression, frustration, hangovers, boredom, injuries, physical pain, anxiety, embarassment. You know what they are? You know what they're called?
They're called LIFE.
Do not run away from life. Do not run away from reality.
We will never become happy if we keep doing this.
In Buddhism this is called aversion. Running away from pain. Running away from discomfort.
All these bad feelings are temporary. Boredom, stress, hangovers, feeling down. They will all pass.
If we keep taking refuge in porn and running away from pain and discomfort then we will never be able to grow as persons and become real men.
We need to break out of this cycle. Or at the very least try to.
Otherwise, what are you going to do when things get tough in life? Hide in your room? Become depressed?
What are you going to do when you realize that hitting on girls brings up a lot of anxiety and nervousness? Run away? Make excuses?
What are you going to do when you're stuck in a traffic jam for 2 hours and you're hungry as fuck? Complain? Hit the horn endlessly?
What are you going to do when you realize that losing weight isn't as easy as you thought it would be? Give up? Binge on junk food?
We need to stop using porn as a pain reliever.
We need to face reality, not run from it.
Please understand what I'm talking about here. If you do then you will be able to identify every time you're using porn as an escape.
Read carefully the following text taken from In Buddha's Words:
The first of these distinctions, drawn in Text I,2(1), revolves around the response to painful feelings. Both the worldling and the noble disciple experience painful bodily feelings, but they respond to these feelings differently. The worldling reacts to them with aversion and therefore, on top of the painful bodily feeling, also experiences a painful mental feeling: sorrow, resentment, or distress. The noble disciple, when afflicted with bodily pain, endures such feeling patiently, without sorrow, resentment, or distress. It is commonly assumed that physical and mental pain are inseparably linked, but the Buddha makes a clear demarcation between the two. He holds that while bodily existence is inevitably bound up with physical pain, such pain need not trigger the emotional reactions of misery, fear, resentment, and distress with which we habitually respond to it. Through mental training we can develop the mindfulness and clear comprehension necessary to endure physical pain courageously, with patience and equanimity. Through insight we can develop sufficient wisdom to overcome our dread of painful feelings and our need to seek relief in distracting binges of sensual self indulgence.
“Monks, when the uninstructed worldling experiences a painful feeling, he sorrows, grieves, and laments; he weeps beating his breast and becomes distraught. He feels two feelings—a bodily one and a mental one. Suppose they were to strike a man with a dart, and then strike him immediately afterward with a second dart, so that the man would feel a feeling caused by two darts. So too, when the uninstructed worldling experiences a painful feeling, he feels two feelings—a bodily one and a mental one.
“While experiencing that same painful feeling, he harbors aversion toward it. When he harbors aversion toward painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion toward painful feeling lies behind this. While experiencing painful feeling, he seeks delight in sensual pleasure. For what reason? Because the uninstructed worldling does not know of any escape from painful feeling other than sensual pleasure. When he seeks delight in sensual pleasure, the underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feeling lies behind this. He does not understand as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these feelings. When he does not understand these things, the underlying tendency to ignorance in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling lies behind this.
“If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it attached. If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it attached. If he feels a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he feels it attached. This, monks, is called an uninstructed worldling who is attached to birth, aging, and death; who is attached to sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair; who is attached to suffering, I say.
“Monks, when the instructed noble disciple experiences a painful feeling, he does not sorrow, grieve, or lament; he does not weep beating his breast and become distraught. He feels one feeling—a bodily one, not a mental one. Suppose they were to strike a man with a dart, but they would not strike him immediately afterward with a second dart, so that the man would feel a feeling caused by one dart only. So too, when the instructed noble disciple experiences a painful feeling, he feels one feeling—a bodily one, and not a mental one.
“While experiencing that same painful feeling, he harbors no aversion toward it. Since he harbors no aversion toward painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion toward painful feeling does not lie behind this. While experiencing painful feeling, he does not seek delight in sensual pleasure. For what reason? Because the instructed noble disciple knows of an escape from painful feeling other than sensual pleasure. Since he does not seek delight in sensual pleasure, the underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feeling does not lie behind this. He understands as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these feelings. Since he understands these things, the underlying tendency to ignorance in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling does not lie behind this.
“If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it detached. If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it detached. If he feels a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he feels it detached. This, monks, is called a noble disciple who is detached from birth, aging, and death; who is detached from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair; who is detached from suffering, I say.
“This, monks, is the distinction, the disparity, the difference between the instructed noble disciple and the uninstructed worldling.”
(SN 36:6; IV 207–10)
Mistake #2: Being Hard On Yourself Every Time You Relapse
Ok, so you just "relapsed".
Calm down. Breathe.
Stop the drama. Stop the "I'm so sick of this" comments.
Don't get angry. Don't feel guilty.
It won't do you any good.
I made this mistake so many times in the past.
Read my journal. I was a "chronic relapser" as others have said.
Here's what usually happens:
A guy relapses and masturbates to porn. He couldn't take it anymore and had an hour long porn session. After he's done, he feels terrible with himself. He comes to the forum and posts on his journal.
"What a fucking pussy I am"
"I can't believe I gave in, how will I ever beat this?"
"I've had enough of this shit"
"My life is a mess"
Sometimes he feels angry. Sometimes he feels guilty. Sometimes he feels down. He takes relapse very seriously and ends up feeling very bad with himself. He then goes and commits mistake #1 in order to stop feeling bad, which in turn will make him feel more bad afterwards. So he binges until he's completely depleted. Then he tries rebooting again, remaining completely unaware of his mistake. Some days later he relapses and once again goes hard on himself, unable to break free of this cycle.
Listen, the next time you relapse, don't be hard on yourself. Calm down. Open your "relapse spreadsheet" (which I believe everyone should have) and mark the current date with an X. Then calmly get back on track as soon as possible. Minimize your binge as much as you can. You're not back to zero every time you watch porn.
There is this damaging belief in the forum that success is measured by how many straight days you go without porn.
There's a Hall of Fame, yes, but this is just a way to encourage people. It's not an indication of whether you're successful or not.
Please understand. Let's use some common sense here.
If a guy goes from watching porn every day to watching porn 3-4 times a month, then he's already successful.
Why would a guy like him be so hard on himself every time he relapses? It just doesn't make any sense. He's way ahead millions of men around the world who are completely hooked on porn.
All he needs to do is keep trying to reduce the amount of relapses per month. That's why I believe having a spreadsheet is crucial. It will give him some perspective on how much he has progressed.
With time he will discover that the chaser effect loses its strength. Getting back on track after relapsing gets easier and easier.
He might or might not be able to get into the Hall of Fame, but it doesn't matter. The addiction no longer has control over him.
That, my friends, is true success.
And the mere fact that you're a member of this forum and you're trying to leave porn behind is enough reason to be proud and stop beating yourself up.
Mistake #3: Focusing Too Much On NOT Watching Porn
If you're thinking about not watching porn, you're thinking about porn.
As long as porn is in your mind, you will have a lot of trouble letting it go.
The correct approach is to just forget about it.
Stop obsessing about what day you're on.
Stop posting on your journal stuff like "Omg quitting porn is so difficult, the urges are so strong!"
Stop hanging out too much on this forum.
Just forget about porn. Disregard it as an option in your life.
Focus your mind on the stuff that matters. Your family, your dreams, your health, your career.
When urges arise, watch them mindfully. Observe them. Do not react. Do not suppress them. Do not push them away.
Just kindly smile and focus your mind on something else.
Watching porn is not an option. It's not a part of your life anymore.
It's a thing of the past.