Greetings, my fellow fapstronauts! It is with great pride and humility that I announce my completion of the NoFap 90-Day Challenge with the help of this amazing community! I'd like to take this opportunity to briefly share my history, summarize the current changes I've experienced, and outline my plans for the future. Please read as much or as little as you'd like, and feel free to ask me any questions as a comment or PM.
Like many here, I was exposed to masturbation at an early age, a year or more before entering puberty. Around age 13, I began to discover pornography through dial-up Internet on the computer in my room. Growing up in a Christian home, I always knew these things were wrong, even though my parents hadn't given me "the talk" yet. Eventually, I was caught, so Internet filters and restricted computer access curbed my addiction… for awhile. With the passage of time and the absence of discussion about sex, my parents operated under the impression that the problem had been cured. Filters went down, high-speed Internet came up. I never stood a chance.
Thus began over a decade of addiction to pornography and masturbation. This became my dark and secret identity, a character who operated in blatant contradiction to my convictions as a Christian. Since it was impossible to reconcile my private actions with my public life, I became adapt at adopting personas to fit the situation. The "true me" never came out - if he even existed during that time. It's as if I had been split into two persons, both of whom were unsatisfied with life.
I tried multiple times to quit my addiction, but I almost always made these attempts alone because the shame and guilt surrounding it kept me from asking others for help. The rare occasions when I did open up to others for assistance eventually ended in quiet awkwardness as I continued failing to make progress. I tried everything to get out of the rut of porn addiction, from counseling to antidepressants to an 11-week bicycle tour; many of these were helpful, but none were sufficient.
This community, /r/NoFap, changed that. On September 1, 2012, Internet browsing lead me to the NoFap September challenge, which I promptly joined. I somehow succeeded, ultimately reaching a 43-day streak before a careless relapse sent me into a series of weekly PMO sessions for about a month and a half. Finally, enough was enough; I undertook the NoFap 90-Day Challenge with renewed vigor, allowing me to stay clean through finals, clean through my 24th birthday, 1-month clean by Christmas, and clean well into the new year. The past 90 days were not without the occasional slip-up and viewing of porn, but I responded to each mistake with a way to avoid repeating it, leading to clear progress.
This is the section most of you will be interested in: what's changed and what benefits I've gained thanks to 90 days of NoFap. I'll present it as a list.
- Pride. I know my life is on the right path, and I can look myself in the mirror and smile. I no longer need to hide my life.
- Humility. At the same time, I've learned my weaknesses and discovered the strength of relying on community for help. The best way to be served is to serve.
- Emotions. From unexplainable happiness to crippling sorrow, I now experience emotions like never before. Masturbation had numbed these extremes, leaving me dull and complacent.
- Perseverance. Even now, I experience daily temptation to relapse. I have gained the strength to live by my deepest desires rather than my fleeting feelings.
- Joy. I'm now able to make eye contact with strangers and genuinely smile. Such a simple thing, such a profound impact.
- Friendship. My closest friends have become even closer. After opening up to them about my battle with porn addiction, each admitted having the same struggles, and we now communicate like never before and hold each other accountable.
- Faith. My spiritual life, which had been dead for years, now grows with new life. I am no longer a contradiction of actions and convictions.
- Hope. No matter how difficult things appear at the moment, a better future now seems obtainable. I'm no longer stuck in place because of my addictions.
- Love. Although I have yet to meet her, I can honestly say that I love my wife. Staying pure from lust, working hard at my job to save money, studying to complete my college education: I do all these things out of love for my future wife.
Other than those intangible yet very real changes, I haven't experienced any "superpowers." To be honest, though, I've gained exactly what I sought through NoFap. My life is truly better, and it continues to gradually improve.
So, what's next for me? Unquestionably, I will continue my NoFap journey. The final destination for me is a life free of pornography and self-gratification. My sexual passions and energies are not for me, they are for my wife; so I will gladly exercise self-control over my urges.
In the immediate future, I plan to adjust my NoFap badge next week to match the number of days I've gone without even edging. This will have the effect of "resetting" my badge to 91 days next Sunday, after which I plan to officially request an Elder Badge as a sign of my accomplishment and (I hope) helpful participation in this community.
On that note, I absolutely plan to continue contributing to /r/NoFap; first, because I find joy in helping others overcome the same struggles I face; second, because every time I've relapsed or come close to it was because I isolated myself from community for too long. Active participation in /r/NoFap and other communities helping men (and women!) gain freedom from the chains of pornography and masturbation is a must for my own continued progress and unshakable resolve.
My full "reboot" is not yet completed. I look forward to making additional reports at 120 days of NoFap, 90 days of PornFree, 6 months of purity, and 1 year of a new life.
My life is forever changed. I cannot say with certainty that I won't relapse ever again, but I know that I never can, or ever will want to, go back to the way things were. The dull life of complacency is gone for good and has been replaced with passion in the present and hope for a future filled with joy.
Once again, questions and comments are most welcome! Thanks everyone, and strength to you!