Age 29 - Flatline, ED

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History

Today, I am 41 days without P, 39 days without M/O, and most definitely would never have made it this far (or probably tried at all) without Marnia and Gary's hard work on spreading awareness about this addiction. Thank you both very much. Also, the personal accounts and rebooting stories have really been something I've needed to fall back on when my willpower is weak, so thank you all for being courageous enough to post the most intimate of details for the benefit of others -- I know it's anonymous, but still, it's kind of difficult to bare your soul for all to see!

Although I've been reluctant to write about my own process, I've been thinking over it, and I feel I owe it to the community to add my humble input. Maybe my story will spark someone else to try and overcome this destructive behavior that we all find ourselves battling -- it's the least I can do. On to the tale-->

After learning what I've learned here, I consider myself lucky. I'm 29 years old. I began masturbating at a young age (I think younger than most, though I'm not sure what the average age for boys is), long before ever discovering porn, and it appears that that is a good thing. It began as rather non-sexual, meaning there was no fantasy, I was just enjoying the physical sensation. The first time I ever saw porn, if I recall correctly, was from my father's stash of Playboy magazines in the closet. I also remember finding some torn pages from a Hustler magazine at school when I was around 11 or 12, and I took them home and masturbated to the images and kept them in a safe hiding space. Once we got a computer, probably when I was about 13, I saw my first VERY hardcore images, and eventually tried "cybersex" in an online chat room. Throughout this period, I both pleasured myself to pornographic material and also to simple fantasy. At some point, however, I started relying more on the external stimuli, and there were times I would masturbate to internet pictures up to 4 or 5 times per day!

I had sex with a woman for the first time when I was 18, and there were no functional problems to speak of. I don't think I even knew it was possible to have problems. With my college sweetheart the sex was great and there were, again, no problems. However, during this time (especially summer breaks when I didn't see her for extended periods), I did masturbate to internet porn, usually static images. I also discovered the benefits of getting older and made some trips to the local adult video store to buy VHS tapes. Toward the end of our relationship, I remember instances where we were having sex, and I had to fantasize about something else in order to keep my erection at full attention...this never became a real problem, but I do remember it happening from time to time, and even my girlfriend was able to sort of sense when my mind wasn't completely with her.

After college, there was a period of about a year where I did not have a girlfriend, and during this time my porn use definitely escalated. I think it was around this point that I started downloading videos and had a substantial collection. I would surf the net for probably 1 or 2 hours daily and download and masturbate etc. Then, the first E.D. of my life happened. I was about 23. I had a new girlfriend, and the first two times we tried sexual intercourse I had trouble getting and maintaining an erection. I chocked it up to nerves and condoms. Thankfully, this disappeared and the sex was natural and great for most of our relationship, but during this time, instances of needing to fantasize about other things (porn scenarios, women) to maintain an erection increased. I also noticed that I still craved porn even though our sex life was very charged and fulfilling. Toward the end of our relationship, I remember not finding my girlfriend as attractive as I once had, and began comparing her to porn actresses. I grew dissatisfied and the relationship ended.

For the next several years I did not have any meaningful, romantic relationships with women, nor did I have any sex. I felt a vastly decreasing motivation for speaking to females, and though I did try to date, it never felt right, never felt exciting, and I suffered E.D. on two separate occasions with women. Concurrently, as you might have guessed, my porn use was reaching it's peak. I began paying for internet porn sites, downloading many videos, and my taste for more explicit material became stronger. I had been a fairly outgoing, sociable, fearless sort of kid, but I now felt much different, like the old me was just a shadow and the new me was this withered, anxious, pessimistic beast. I was not very fond of myself at this time, but I never put two and two together. It was just something us men did -- we jerked off, enjoyed porn, and that was the way it was -- the man's way. Something else had to be causing these problems, right?

A year ago was when my porn addiction really started taking a toll on my life. I mean, it already had in many ways, but now it began taking up unacceptable portions of time. I discovered that I could manipulate my favorite videos with a video editor. I would edit my favorite parts of the scene, cut them and splice them and arrange them with music -- it was a serious production. I began splicing different videos together, spending hours getting everything just right, getting the music aligned, etc. Needless to say it was sick, and I would sit in a trance doing this for hours. My excuse was that I was reducing my video collection, cutting out all the stuff I didn't like and making the most potent, most sexually stimulating videos I possibly could. Ten atom bombs were better than fifty grenades, right?

The stimulation these videos offered was unlike anything I'd experienced before. Several movies cutting back and forth between each other at a rapid pace, all timed up to climax at the same time the music did. I believe that part of the allure of pornography is the element of control -- this new hobby of mine was taking control to another level. It was the most addictive thing I've ever experienced. Once a video was complete, I would render it, watch it, masturbate to orgasm, and then, as if waking from a dream, I'd wonder what the hell I was doing all day. I would feel intense shame, guilt, and anger for wasting so many precious hours doing something so disgusting and worthless. But, the next day, it was calling, and I'd repeat the process.

It was strange, even though this was the worst my addiction had ever been, it was also the first time I'd ever realized I had a problem. I felt so disgusted after binging that I'd often delete all my videos, everything, and say I would never do that again, that it was wasting my life away. I could only hold out a couple days or so, and I'd be right back, desperately downloading and editing videos again. Over and over I tried to stop myself, but over and over I'd return to it. I've never been so unable to control my urges.

I met a girl over the summer that I really liked. We never got sexual, it just didn't work out, but in the back of my mind I knew that if we did get sexual, I was going to have a problem. I guess my brain had begun to connect the dots before I was fully aware of it. I deleted all my videos and for about 2 weeks didn't look at porn or masturbate, just in case I did go to bed with this woman. I thought of it as storing up sexual energy. If I hadn't masturbated for a while, there was no way I could have E.D., right? I'd be raring to go, wouldn't I?

I flatlined during this short abstinence. My penis had no life and no sensitivity what so ever, so I sort of freaked out and started looking up erectile dysfunction causes. This ultimately led me to YBOP. I couldn't believe it! It was worse than I ever imagined -- porn had altered my brain chemistry!

After I stopped seeing this girl, I felt safe again knowing I wouldn't have to worry about performing, and this gave me a license to go back to my old ways. Now that I'd read some of the YBOP information, however, I didn't realize a seed had been planted and that I was already on my way to kicking this addiction once and for all. After a couple more binges, I found myself returning, educating myself, and I finally decided that my life needed to change.

The last time I looked at porn was October 16th. The last time I masturbated to orgasm was 2 days after, on Oct. 18th. On November 14th, I masturbated to sensation only, and even though I really wanted to, I prevented myself from O'ing which I was quite proud of. Those were the only slip ups, and I WILL NOT relapse because I want to do this thing in one shot and be done with it! I feel better than ever! I have more energy, more motivation, and a sharper mind than I've had in years! I can't wait to see even further improvements!

Rebooting experience

Here is a breakdown of my experience so far. This is my first every reboot attempt, and again, I'm a 29 year old male. To keep these records, I have a couple of paper calendars stapled together for the months of Oct/Nov/Dec. I cross out each day as they go by, and make small notations in the forms of symbols to indicate my moods, libido, energy level etc. This has worked really well for me. My goal is to reach 76 days, on January 1st, 2012.

October 16th, 2011 - Masturbated to Porn for the last time.

October 17th, 2011 - Reboot begins

October 18th, 2011 - Before deciding to reboot, I had ordered a couple of male masturbation toys. They unfortunately arrived this day. They cost over $100. I decided to try and masturbate with them, but to sensation only. I was able to reach orgasm (albeit with an 80% erection) on sensation alone. Afterwards, I felt terribly guilty, and it dawned on me that I would be unable to go through with this whole thing if these toys were lying around. So, I threw them away, then and there. I considered it a final farewell, and also it served as a symbol of my determination -- even though this cost me a lot of money, throwing these brand new things out was confirming how serious I was about overcoming this addiction. I felt that this was an important stepping stone.

October 19th-30th - Flatline. FLATLINE. F L A T L I N E. I did not have any libido nor any urges to masturbate during this period. It was nice because I also did not feel the need to look at porn. Although the flatline felt strange, it made it easy get through the days. Half way through this period, I noted increased sociability, and specifically on the 27th and 28th, I began to look at the beauty of real females. For the past few years, I most certainly observed women in person, found them attractive or unattractive etc., but this was different. It was like I was noticing little details about their curves or their eyes or their general feminine aura. Also during this time I had trouble sleeping through the night on a pretty regular basis. My mood was fairly stable.

October 31st - I had a vivid dream. I was watching and kind of participating in a pornographic scene. There weren't cameras, but actors from the porn world I recognized were there. I believe I was having sex with the actress but I don't recall for certain, I may have just been watching. It was very funny in a way, dreaming about watching a LIVE porn scene -- you could tell my brain was going through a process, that's for sure. I also woke in the night with an erection following this dream, and the erection was persistent and quite firm.

November 1st-7th (end of 3rd week) - My libido was still non-existant, but I did notice porn flashbacks/images appearing in my mind that I had to shake away. Because my libido was very low, I did not feel tempted to masturbate. My social skills this week continued to improve, and my eye for feminine features also became more noticeable. Real women were looking quite pretty! My mood to this point had never really been in a depressive range -- I'd always felt more depressed when binging on porn, so this was more like a neutral level, and it was getting better with all the improvements I was seeing.

November 8th-10th - My libido had begun to come back a bit. It was not high, but it was more of a medium level of sexual energy I was experiencing. At the same time, I'd begun to get the worst cravings for porn that I'd had since starting the reboot. Images would manifest from scenes I knew too well, and I had to fight them off like crazy. Sometimes it was very difficult. I also indicated a dream on the 8th, meaning a sexually charged dream, but I don't recall the details of it.

November 11th - I had a very vivid dream where I had sex with a woman I know in real life that I have had fantasies about in the past. This was accompanied with the strongest morning wood I've had in years and years and years. I was quite pleased!

November 12th-14th - My libido had gotten more potent, and when I was out in public, I found it increasingly hard to not notice every girl around me. Women I would not have found attractive a year ago were now looking very enticing and quite beautiful. It was wonderful! The negative side of this was that my cravings grew, along with the flashbacks. On the 14th, a Monday night, I had gotten an erection just from very mild touching of my penis. I felt very pent up, so I felt that maybe it would be okay to masturbate and orgasm as long as no porn was involved. I sat on the couch and used a condom because I wanted to see if I could be sensitive with a condom on and also to prevent any major cleanup. I was happy to find that my penis was quite sensitive and I was easily aroused without fantasy. I came close to having an orgasm, but just as I reached that point, I began to feel that this was wrong and it was too soon. I did not want to wake up the next morning finding myself depressed and craving porn, or feeling like my progress was washed away. So...I stopped. I let my erection dwindle and that was that. I considered it a win and was proud of myself for having so much willpower. To reinforce my decision, I came onto this site and read some posts. I found this quote from Gary: "If you have ED, or other porn-related sexual issues, continuing orgasm and masturbation may not yield the results you want in the time-frame you expect. I have yet to see anyone successfully "cure" their porn-induced ED while continuing a regular orgasm schedule. " That was it, that was all I needed. I did the right thing by not going to the big O and now, any time I need a reminder, I just read that line. I want to be cured!

November 16th - 30 days! I'd gone 30 days without porn and 28 without orgasm! 4 weeks! I was elated, and my sociability, mood, energy level, and eye for the ladies were at an all time high this day. I also had a good bout of morning wood.

November 17th-25th - Everything had gotten better. My cravings were reduced, and I was experiencing the MOST energy I'd felt in years. I swear to God, I'd never felt so motivated and energetic since I was a kid. I wanted to get things done, take care of business etc. I also realized that I hadn't had as much caffeine as usual the past few days. My libido had sort of leveled off and I wouldn't call it high or low, but I also began getting sensations in my crotch just from looking at women in real life -- I know that this phenomenon hadn't occurred in a VERY long time.

November 26th-27th - The 26th, my cravings came back big time, from the instant I awoke. I don't know why, not sure what might have caused it (I did stay up much later than I usually do the night before, and woke later than usual). For the first 3 hours of the day, I just kept thinking about pornstars and how nice it would be to download and edit some videos together. Thankfully I did not have a great deal of sensitivity in my penis and did not have any morning wood to go along with this problem. So, I fought off the urges and steadfastly decided I would not ruin my progress. Ah, yes, also, I had just passed the 40th day, and so I was wondering if I could maybe test the waters a bit. 40 days was enough, wasn't it? Then I realized that this was just my stupid wiring playing me like a fool, so I told it to shut the hell up and I went about my day. I also looked at my calendar repeatedly, put it out in an easy to see spot, to remind me that my goal is not just to get past 40 days but to go to the New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LINK TO BLOG

by richaroo


UPDATE (2014)

Holy smokes it's been almost 3 years since I first posted to this blog. What a ride it's been, too! Ups and downs, good days and bad days, relapses and successes, and, most of all, many realizations.

<--break->I know that most of the community has moved to YBOP or YBR, but I don't want to start a new blog and hopefully some people will read this and it will help them. If by chance in your busy life you read this, feel free to add it to my YBOP rebooting account (titled: Age 26, ED, Relapses [see below]).

My last entry was after I had gone 120 days PMO free. That was back in 2012, and unfortunately, I still haven't completely kicked the addiction, although each year has been better than the last. I've done several stretches of between 100 and 120 days free of porn since then, but there have been many short-lived binges in between, and this year I finally figured out a few things that I hadn't yet learned despite the long journey.

(1) For those of you who are decade long users (or more), and especially the younger guys who have grown up with high-speed Internet porn, 90 days or 120 days isn't going to be enough to fix you! This is going to be a several year long struggle, but it can be reduced by using A few of the ideas I'm going to list below. I say this because it is too easy to let your guard down when you've gone 90 days and then, before you know it, you are back in the clutches of your addiction!

(2) Simply getting porn out of your life, no matter if it's for 90 days or three years, isn't going to do the trick. This is what I had to learn the hard way. Sure, you can go without porn for a long time, but if you don't fill your life with other meaningful and fulfilling things, then you will just fill that void with porn again, or with something else that is equally unhealthy. Socrates said: "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." I labored and labored so hard on keeping PMO out of my life, that it became my WHOLE life, this epic, never ending struggle to fight off the desire. This can turn your addiction into something even worse, because you become obsessed with it and you are constantly thinking about it, or, more accurately, constantly thinking about not thinking about it. Fill your life with other things, then you won't have time to think about it anymore! This is a huge factor, and you won't recover unless you adhere to this, I promise you that.

(3) I guarantee that every person with a PMO addiction is also addicted to one or several other things. If you read accounts on the Internet, you will often hear about drug use, prostitution, and other unhealthy addictions that are intertwined with pornography use. Pornography is just a symptom of an addicted mind. If it isn't porn, an addict will reach for the next thing that comes and takes them away from life, allows them to escape, numbs them etc. You must identify all of your addictions, and instead of using those other things as a kind of methadone to help you quit the porn, you have to kill all of those addictions at the same time, get your mind focused all at once, and start filling your life with things that are not addictive and do not act as an escape from reality. This is a mistake I made many times throughout the past few years. I would quit the porn only to say to myself that I could play video games or binge on television shows to help ease me into the recovery. This was totally backwards. I was just switching one addiction for another, and eventually, my favorite addiction would always come back to haunt me.

Now be careful here. Things you may not think are an addiction, even the littlest things, may be hurting your progress. One must identify all those things that are used for comfort in times of boredom, loneliness, or discontent. When you are anxious with nothing to do, do you drink beer and watch TV all night? When you are lonely do you eat unhealthy food, or waste time watching stupid Youtube vids? Do you lurk on Facebook for hours, or scan craigslist personals? You should be able to sit by yourself quietly and do one simple thing, like reading a book, without feeling anxious. If you are sitting there reading but can't focus because you suddenly get the urge, almost an uncontrollable urge, to go to the mall and buy a pair of pants, then perhaps shopping is one of your escapes from reality and needs to be treated that way. Even the things that seem so harmless may actually be just another crutch we are using to numb some hidden pain.

(4) One thing that really helps is tracing your addiction back to its roots. When did you first use porn as an escape? Why did you use it as an escape? What were you seeking comfort from? For me, I realized that I have had a deep-seated fear of rejection since I was very young, and particularly the fear of rejection from women. Pornography allowed me to insulate myself from any chance of rejection, and now I felt as though I was in control of this thing that, throughout my childhood, had seemed so uncontrollable and scary. Of course, this was an illusion, as most of you know. All other addictions serve the same purpose. They arrived at a time in your life when you felt vulnerable and had no other ways or ideas of how to protect yourself, so you fell into addiction. You must understand that you are no longer a helpless child with minimal options. You are now an adult with many different paths to take, and you no longer need to rely on unhealthy outlets that damage your life. You can now stand up for yourself and do all the things that, perhaps, when you were young, seemed impossible.

(5) Just because you are no longer looking at pornographic images or videos, does not mean you aren't still objectifying women (or men), and this has to cease as well. Most of the noFap community is very excited to get rid of porn and get back into real romance and real sex, but we have to be careful that our entire attitude about women and sex doesn't stay the same. Remember, for years you have objectified women and believed that raunchy sex and extreme sexual pleasure are the greatest things life. Many people continue with the same attitude even though they are no longer looking at porn, and this will eventually lead back to serious issues. Now, this isn't to say that you can't look at women and appreciate the female form and whatnot, but you must be in control of these desires and not let them run wild as you had let your PMO habit run wild. Pornography is a fantasy, and so is ogling that woman on the corner and imagining what she would be like in bed, or imagining tons and tons of wonderful sex now that your ED is cured. Try to get some perspective on life and on what really matters. Sex is great, but it isn't everything. Don't let it run your life and don't let it occupy your every waking thought, there is much beauty in the world and many other things that are just as gratifying and fulfilling.

So there are a few nuggets of wisdom from this weary traveler. I hope they help some people see things a bit more clearly. I did 110 days this year porn free, but recently relapsed and went back-and-forth between binges for about two months. The reason this happened to me is precisely because I failed on numbers 2, 3, & 5 above. I think I finally learned my lesson, and my mind is in a very good place right now. I am working on enriching my life with social activities, and I am now aware of all of the things I use as an escape from reality (addictions), and they are many! I've gotten most of them under control and I am working towards the future, because frankly, I'm pretty damn tired of fighting the past.

http://www.reuniting.info/blogs/richaroo/holy-smokes-its-been-almost-3-y... By richaroo


[Earlier post - 05/07/2012]

11-27 I began masturbating at a young age (I think younger than most, though I'm not sure what the average age for boys is), long before ever discovering porn, and it appears that that is a good thing. It began as rather non-sexual, meaning there was no fantasy, I was just enjoying the physical sensation. The first time I ever saw porn, if I recall correctly, was from my father's stash of Playboy magazines in the closet. I also remember finding some torn pages from a Hustler magazine at school when I was around 11 or 12, and I took them home and masturbated to the images and kept them in a safe hiding space. Once we got a computer, probably when I was about 13, I saw my first VERY hardcore images, and eventually tried "cybersex" in an online chat room. Throughout this period, I both pleasured myself to pornographic material and also to simple fantasy. At some point, however, I started relying more on the external stimuli, and there were times I would masturbate to internet pictures up to 4 or 5 times per day.

I had sex with a woman for the first time when I was 18, and there were no functional problems to speak of. I don't think I even knew it was possible to have problems. With my college sweetheart the sex was great and there were, again, no problems. However, during this time (especially summer breaks when I didn't see her for extended periods), I did masturbate to internet porn, usually static images. I also discovered the benefits of getting older and made some trips to the local adult video store to buy VHS tapes. Toward the end of our relationship, I remember instances where we were having sex, and I had to fantasize about something else in order to keep my erection at full attention...this never became a real problem, but I do remember it happening from time to time, and even my girlfriend was able to sort of sense when my mind wasn't completely with her.

After college, there was a period of about a year where I did not have a girlfriend, and during this time my porn use definitely escalated. I think it was around this point that I started downloading videos and had a substantial collection. I would surf the net for probably 1 or 2 hours daily and download and masturbate etc. Then, the first E.D. of my life happened. I was about 23. I had a new girlfriend, and the first two times we tried sexual intercourse I had trouble getting and maintaining an erection. I chocked it up to nerves and condoms. Thankfully, this disappeared and the sex was natural and great for most of our relationship, but during this time, instances of needing to fantasize about other things (porn scenarios, women) to maintain an erection increased. I also noticed that I still craved porn even though our sex life was very charged and fulfilling. Toward the end of our relationship, I remember not finding my girlfriend as attractive as I once had, and began comparing her to porn actresses. I grew dissatisfied and the relationship ended.

For the next several years I did not have any meaningful, romantic relationships with women, nor did I have any sex. I felt a vastly decreasing motivation for speaking to females, and though I did try to date, it never felt right, never felt exciting, and I suffered E.D. on two separate occasions with women. Concurrently, as you might have guessed, my porn use was reaching it's peak. I began paying for internet porn sites, downloading many videos, and my taste for more explicit material became stronger. I had been a fairly outgoing, sociable, fearless sort of kid, but I now felt much different, like the old me was just a shadow and the new me was this withered, anxious, pessimistic beast. I was not very fond of myself at this time, but I never put two and two together. It was just something us men did -- we jerked off, enjoyed porn, and that was the way it was -- the man's way. Something else had to be causing these problems, right?

A year ago was when my porn addiction really started taking a toll on my life. I mean, it already had in many ways, but now it began taking up unacceptable portions of time. I discovered that I could manipulate my favorite videos with a video editor. I would edit my favorite parts of the scene, cut them and splice them and arrange them with music -- it was a serious production. I began splicing different videos together, spending hours getting everything just right, getting the music aligned, etc. Needless to say it was sick, and I would sit in a trance doing this for hours. My excuse was that I was reducing my video collection, cutting out all the stuff I didn't like and making the most potent, most sexually stimulating videos I possibly could. Ten atom bombs were better than fifty grenades, right?

The stimulation these videos offered was unlike anything I'd experienced before. Several movies cutting back and forth between each other at a rapid pace, all timed up to climax at the same time the music did. I believe that part of the allure of pornography is the element of control -- this new hobby of mine was taking control to another level. It was the most addictive thing I've ever experienced. Once a video was complete, I would render it, watch it, masturbate to orgasm, and then, as if waking from a dream, I'd wonder what the hell I was doing all day. I would feel intense shame, guilt, and anger for wasting so many precious hours doing something so disgusting and worthless. But, the next day, it was calling, and I'd repeat the process.

It was strange, even though this was the worst my addiction had ever been, it was also the first time I'd ever realized I had a problem. I felt so disgusted after binging that I'd often delete all my videos, everything, and say I would never do that again, that it was wasting my life away. I could only hold out a couple days or so, and I'd be right back, desperately downloading and editing videos again. Over and over I tried to stop myself, but over and over I'd return to it. I've never been so unable to control my urges.

I met a girl over the summer that I really liked. We never got sexual, it just didn't work out, but in the back of my mind I knew that if we did get sexual, I was going to have a problem. I guess my brain had begun to connect the dots before I was fully aware of it. I deleted all my videos and for about 2 weeks didn't look at porn or masturbate, just in case I did go to bed with this woman. I thought of it as storing up sexual energy. If I hadn't masturbated for a while, there was no way I could have E.D., right? I'd be raring to go, wouldn't I?

I flatlined during this short abstinence. My penis had no life and no sensitivity what so ever, so I sort of freaked out and started looking up erectile dysfunction causes. This ultimately led me to YBOP. I couldn't believe it! It was worse than I ever imagined -- porn had altered my brain chemistry!

After I stopped seeing this girl, I felt safe again knowing I wouldn't have to worry about performing, and this gave me a license to go back to my old ways. Now that I'd read some of the YBOP information, however, I didn't realize a seed had been planted and that I was already on my way to kicking this addiction once and for all. After a couple more binges, I finally decided that my life needed to change.

Here is a breakdown of my experience so far. This is my first every reboot attempt, and again, I'm a 29 year old male. To keep these records, I have a couple of paper calendars stapled together for the months of Oct/Nov/Dec. I cross out each day as they go by, and make small notations in the forms of symbols to indicate my moods, libido, energy level etc. This has worked really well for me. My goal is to reach 76 days, on January 1st, 2012. If you want to read my story leading up to this reboot, here it is: http://www.reuniting.info/node/9793

October 16th, 2011 - Masturbated to Porn for the last time.

October 17th, 2011 - Reboot begins

October 18th, 2011 - Before deciding to reboot, I had ordered a couple of male masturbation toys. They unfortunately arrived this day. They cost over $100. I decided to try and masturbate with them, but to sensation only. I was able to reach orgasm (albeit with an 80% erection) on sensation alone. Afterwards, I felt terribly guilty, and it dawned on me that I would be unable to go through with this whole thing if these toys were lying around. So, I threw them away, then and there. I considered it a final farewell, and also it served as a symbol of my determination -- even though this cost me a lot of money, throwing these brand new things out was confirming how serious I was about overcoming this addiction. I felt that this was an important stepping stone

October 19th-30th - Flatline. FLATLINE. F L A T L I N E. I did not have any libido nor any urges to masturbate during this period. It was nice because I also did not feel the need to look at porn. Although the flatline felt strange, it made it easy get through the days. Half way through this period, I noted increased sociability, and specifically on the 27th and 28th, I began to look at the beauty of real females. For the past few years, I most certainly observed women in person, found them attractive or unattractive etc., but this was different. It was like I was noticing little details about their curves or their eyes or their general feminine aura. Also during this time I had trouble sleeping through the night on a pretty regular basis. My mood was fairly stable.

October 31st - I had a vivid dream. I was watching and kind of participating in a pornographic scene. There weren't cameras, but actors from the porn world I recognized were there. I believe I was having sex with the actress but I don't recall for certain, I may have just been watching. It was very funny in a way, dreaming about watching a LIVE porn scene -- you could tell my brain was going through a process, that's for sure. I also woke in the night with an erection following this dream, and the erection was persistent and quite firm.

November 1st-7th (end of 3rd week) - My libido was still non-existant, but I did notice porn flashbacks/images appearing in my mind that I had to shake away. Because my libido was very low, I did not feel tempted to masturbate. My social skills this week continued to improve, and my eye for feminine features also became more noticeable. Real women were looking quite pretty! My mood to this point had never really been in a depressive range -- I'd always felt more depressed when binging on porn, so this was more like a neutral level, and it was getting better with all the improvements I was seeing. Also began getting some pretty annoying headaches (pain radiating from behind one eye). They would happen intermittently and last for about 30 minutes at a time. I have never had chronic headaches like this in my life!

November 8th-10th - My libido had begun to come back a bit. It was not high, but it was more of a medium level of sexual energy I was experiencing. At the same time, I'd begun to get the worst cravings for porn that I'd had since starting the reboot. Images would manifest from scenes I knew too well, and I had to fight them off like crazy. Sometimes it was very difficult. I also indicated a dream on the 8th, meaning a sexually charged dream, but I don't recall the details of it. Headaches persisted.

November 11th - I had a very vivid dream where I had sex with a woman I know in real life that I have had fantasies about in the past. This was accompanied with the strongest morning wood I've had in years and years and years. I was quite pleased!

November 12th-14th - My libido had gotten more potent, and when I was out in public, I found it increasingly hard to not notice every girl around me. Women I would not have found attractive a year ago were now looking very enticing and quite beautiful. It was wonderful! The negative side of this was that my cravings grew, along with the flashbacks. On the 14th, a Monday night, I had gotten an erection just from very mild touching of my penis. I felt very pent up, so I felt that maybe it would be okay to masturbate and orgasm as long as no porn was involved. I sat on the couch and used a condom because I wanted to see if I could be sensitive with a condom on and also to prevent any major cleanup. I was happy to find that my penis was quite sensitive and I was easily aroused without fantasy. I came close to having an orgasm, but just as I reached that point, I began to feel that this was wrong and it was too soon. I did not want to wake up the next morning finding myself depressed and craving porn, or feeling like my progress was washed away. So...I stopped. I let my erection dwindle and that was that. I considered it a win and was proud of myself for having so much willpower. To reinforce my decision, I came onto this site and read some posts. I found this quote from Gary: "If you have ED, or other porn-related sexual issues, continuing orgasm and masturbation may not yield the results you want in the time-frame you expect. I have yet to see anyone successfully "cure" their porn-induced ED while continuing a regular orgasm schedule. " That was it, that was all I needed. I did the right thing by not going to the big O and now, any time I need a reminder, I just read that line. I want to be cured!

November 16th - 30 days! I'd gone 30 days without porn and 28 without orgasm! 4 weeks! I was elated, and my sociability, mood, energy level, and eye for the ladies were at an all time high this day. I also had a good bout of morning wood.

November 17th-25th - Everything had gotten better. My cravings were reduced, and I was experiencing the MOST energy I'd felt in years. I swear to God, I'd never felt so motivated and energetic since I was a kid. I wanted to get things done, take care of business etc. I also realized that I hadn't had as much caffeine as usual the past few days. My libido had sort of leveled off and I wouldn't call it high or low, but I also began getting sensations in my crotch just from looking at women in real life -- I know that this phenomenon hadn't occurred in a VERY long time. Headaches had pretty much disappeared by this time, and my sleeping was no longer disturbed.

November 26th-27th - The 26th, my cravings came back big time, from the instant I awoke. I don't know why, not sure what might have caused it (I did stay up much later than I usually do the night before, and woke later than usual). For the first 3 hours of the day, I just kept thinking about pornstars and how nice it would be to download and edit some videos together. Thankfully I did not have a great deal of sensitivity in my penis and did not have any morning wood to go along with this problem. So, I fought off the urges and steadfastly decided I would not ruin my progress. Ah, yes, also, I had just passed the 40th day, and so I was wondering if I could maybe test the waters a bit. 40 days was enough, wasn't it? Then I realized that this was just my stupid wiring playing me like a fool, so I told it to shut the hell up and I went about my day. I also looked at my calendar repeatedly, put it out in an easy to see spot, to remind me that my goal is not just to get past 40 days but to go to the New Year!

11-28 Today was the ALL TIME high for noticing attractive traits in women! It is pretty ridiculous, as a matter of fact. I could not keep my eyes off females in my vicinity. Women I have known for some time were looking awfully beautiful and sexy to me today, and these are women I haven't really had those sorts of thoughts about in the past. I feel spontaneous erections may be around the corner. "Mr. Happy" made some significant motion in my trousers today when I was observing the, ahem, bust-line of a woman (I was being respectful of course, and discreet, mind you). But I most definitely have not felt that kind of a reaction -- down below decks -- in ages...at least, not when dealing with real life females. It is really nice to know that I am STILL human (we all are), and that my mind has simply been drowning in a sea of over-stimulation for too long.

As I've already learned, along with this increasing libido is an increase in the temptation to masturbate. When I think of masturbating, I automatically begin thinking of porn, pornstars, scenes etc. It seems at first like it would be very nice idea to indulge, but then I just shake my head and say to myself, "No, there's nothing for you there. You are so much happier here, and besides, you don't want that anymore. You HATE that." And then I just think about how much I HATE porn and excessive masturbating and what it's done to me and the temptation disappears. It's getting noticeably easier to achieve that state of mind, and the flashbacks are beginning to weaken in their vividness and potency.

I was also rather social today. For the past few years, when in social situations, I don't normally speak much unless I'm asked a question. I wouldn't say I'm socially awkward, just sort of quiet and observant. But today I really felt like chatting and being the catalyst of the conversation -- granted, this was not with a stranger or acquaintance but with a family member, but still, it was unusual for me. This, I believe, is one of the biggest benefits of the reboot process, and it's getting better and better each day.

I'm keeping motivated by thoroughly patting myself on the back. I really can't believe I've made it this far. This is the longest I've gone without having an orgasm since I probably had my first ever orgasm. WHEW!

12-04 My energy levels and sociability were quite high all week. I've been feeling really good, and my mood has really stabilized. I feel pretty darn happy from the moment I get out of bed to the time I get back into bed. I even find myself looking forward to tomorrow, which wasn't always the case.

We all know what the doldrums feel like, and we all know that we occasionally dread our tomorrows, especially when we have long work days ahead of us or big problems to take care of. The thing is, those feelings should be the exception, not the rule. During the heights of my PMO addiction, I never looked forward to much of anything, dreaded going to work, and never saw socializing with friends and family as all that great, especially in comparison to my PMO rituals which gave me more pleasure and stimulation than anything else. With that addiction absent from my life, all the little things make me really happy, and I find myself laughing often, smiling for no real reason, and just being in good spirits all around. I thought I was a pessimist, but really I was just an addict.

Other big events this past week included three days in a row (Nov. 1st, 2nd,3rd) of morning/nocturnal wood. Yesterday morning, upon waking, I had the most "severe" case of it I've had since I was with my last long term girlfriend in 2006 -- over 5 years ago. It's nice when your body gives you messages like this, makes you feel like you're on the right track. Even though this erection lasted over 25 minutes, I did not really feel the urge to masturbate. I just lay there and enjoyed the sensation and thought about how far I'd come.

I am still getting some porn flashbacks. I will see images of pornstars or parts of scenes that I know well. At the beginning of my reboot, the first couple weeks, these flashbacks would make me strongly consider masturbating or looking at porn online. Now, when I get them, I don't really feel the desire to do those things. I get a small rush from seeing those images in my head, but that's about it. I'm able to shake them away fairly quickly and without consequence. Their power is receding gradually.

The desire to be with a woman romantically is starting to cause me a little pain. I really crave some touch/cuddling/kissing etc. Sex would be great too, but the thought of just having a significant other or someone to be close to is sounding better and better by the day. I have not felt this motivated to actively pursue female connections in a very long time. It is great to feel this way again, but it's also tough because I'm accustomed to being so numbed to that desire. PMO is like a shield from having to actually feel anything real, and now that I'm feeling again, it makes me sad and lonely at times. Previously, I would feel the desire to have female companionship, but it was more like just an idea, as if I knew that I *should* want to be with somebody although I didn't actually fully desire it. Now, it's a very tangible sensation, as if my whole being is just starving for intimacy and affection.

12-11 Well, for the past week I've had severe nocturnal and morning wood, almost every day. My libido has been up significantly, and yesterday, day 55, I made the executive decision to attempt to masturbate and orgasm using nothing but sensation.

This decision did not happen lightly. I can't explain it, but I just sort of felt that it was time to try this, to prove to myself that masturbation itself is not a big deal, as long as it is absent of the type of stimulation pornography adds to the experience. I strongly believed that I was at a point where it would not lead to excessive masturbation or binging or any of the things we fear.

I did not just decide I was going to masturbate out of thin air, as though I'd missed it so much and just had to treat myself to it. Instead, I really felt this strong pull to do so, like a lot of sexual energy was coursing through me and needed an escape. The slightest touches to my genitals and even the rubbing of the sheets against it at night caused me to become very horny, and as a couple days went by, it sounded more and more like a good idea. This is in huge contrast to feeling the urge to masturbate when addicted to porn. Your penis could be deader than a doornail, but the mere thought of all those beautiful women doing those nasty things and how it would instantly make you aroused was the true draw, and it's easy to mistake that for sexual energy. I now know the difference.

So, I masturbated, using just my hand and some lotion with very slow, rhythmic, gentle motions. It was easy to get and maintain an erection throughout. At no point did I have to apply excessive pressure or speeds. I thought after 8 weeks without orgasm that my head (both of them) might explode when I finally climaxed, but that wasn't the case. It felt great, was extremely enjoyable, but it didn't hit me like a dose of heroine or anything. I just sat there, happy and relieved. I did not have the immediate feeling of, "God damn, I have to do that again!!" I was more in a state of peaceful satisfaction, and I thought that maybe in a couple weeks I might do this again. In the past, with porn, it would only be fifteen or thirty minutes after a whack session and I'd be planning when my next one for the day would be. Blah!

I was careful to watch for the chaser effect, but there was none. As I'm writing this it's the day after, and I have not had any urge to masturbate all day long, nor look at porn. I even had morning wood in bed this morning!!! This surprised me, as I thought that that would disappear for at least a day or two following, but nope, it was right back there.

I'm happy about the way this worked out. I think it's healthy to be able to do this without spiraling out of control. I'm going to watch for the next couple days and see if there are any noticeable differences in social interactions, libido, energy levels etc.

Also, I don't want to make it sound like I'm endorsing doing this. It is risky, and I understand that. I'd simply felt like I'd been a significant time without M/O'ing and my body was really ushering me toward this decision. Again, it's difficult to explain why, but I just sort of felt like at this point, it wasn't going to damage my reboot or set me back any, AS LONG as I was able to do it without fantasy and without any forceful means of manual stimulation. If you read earlier in my blog, I had a weak point back in mid-november where I just wanted to masturbate for the hell of it, because I missed it and I almost couldn't control myself. I started to, but stopped myself from O'ing because it felt wrong. It was too early and I wasn't ready to head down that road. It was a significantly different experience than this one.

12-20 Well, unfortunately, I masturbated to porn yesterday, day 64 of my reboot...I'll just get that out of the way.

I thought I was out of the woods. I thought the waters were safe. I don't know what caused it, I'd been feeling great, feeling like I had this addiction under control, and then last Friday, day 61, I began to get IMMENSE cravings for pornography, tons of flashbacks and fantasies that I just couldn't shake. I came close to PMO'ing the next couple of days, and basically fought the desire off with everything that I had. Just to get rid of the damn urges, I MO'd without porn on Friday night, to sensation only, hoping it would make the feelings go away, but it did not work.

If you read my earlier blog posts, you'll see that I had gone 55 days without orgasm. On day 56, I felt very in control and decided to just test myself with some sensation only masturbation. It worked fine, I did not seem to have a chaser, went the next 5 days without cravings. My guess would be that I just had a delayed sort of effect, because I had not had such terrible urges since week 2 or 3 of the reboot process.

So, yesterday I PMO'd for the first time in 64 days. Luckily, the moment I was done, I snapped out of my trance and immediately felt TERRIBLE. I'm glad I felt terrible, because I want PMO'ing to be associated with that, not with pleasure. I felt shame, guilt, and most of all anger at myself for being so weak.

I guess I'd gotten a bit cocky, thinking I could MO the week before with impunity, that it wouldn't derail me, but it seems it did. I believe I experienced some mild neuro-chemical moodiness, because when I would see attractive girls I felt intimidated and hopeless, like I would never be with a woman again. This attitude was typical of my PMO days, but it had recently turned into unflinching optimism -- I guess the orgasm negatively affected that.

I learned a couple things from this. There is more to this process than simply abstaining from PMO. One mistake I made was being at home most of the weekend in isolation. Even if you are deep into a reboot, it's very important to get out and seek human contact and interaction. Being alone with only electronic entertainment as your companion is a very dangerous scenario, indeed. I think this had a big role in causing my slip-up. It may be that relapses and slip-ups are inevitable unless you find a lover. A human being can only take loneliness for so long before they look for anything to fill the void. It may be that your reboot is never complete until you find a partner. Until you do that, you may always be in danger of going back to porn for comfort.

Also, 60, 90, or hell, even 120 days really isn't that long. Think of all the hours you've spent with porn, all the days and nights and months and years of your life that you spent breathing it in like oxygen. That type of an addiction cannot be kicked in a handful of days. I think it is going to take a significant chunk of time to really cure this disease -- something along the lines of six months to a year, at minimum.

12-22 A couple days ago I relapsed. The day after I was steadfast in my determination to make the relapse work for me, so I was extremely productive and shrugged off any cravings like they were dust under the rug. Yesterday, however, the cravings fought back big time, and before I knew it I was looking at porn. It was sort of the same old, predictable pattern following a relapse. You say to yourself, "Well, I already relapsed, so if I look at a little more porn it can't hurt," etc. etc.

It was different this time, though. I fluctuated between the auto-pilot, dry-eyed, porn crazed state, and then the disappointed, 'I don't want this' state. Back and forth it went, with me masturbating for a moment, then stopping myself. Because of this battle, the whole ordeal was not really that pleasurable -- it was stressful, more than anything else. Finally, even with erection in hand (and a mighty one, I might add), I decided that this was not what I wanted and I stopped dead, right there. No O, no nothing. I just stood up and put my trousers back on and said "no thanks, this isn't me anymore." I don't think I've ever been able to do that. Perhaps it's my frontal lobe (cortex?) getting stronger.

So I actually feel like I took a step forward, despite everything. Today there have been a few cravings but they don't have claws to speak of. I've been productive, in a good mood, and feeling much like I did at the best points of my reboot. I am prepared to face some post-orgasm ripples in the coming days, but I somehow feel more ready than ever to take on whatever this addiction can throw at me.

[Later]

I'm going to get a little deep...sorry, in advance.

Porn, at its core, is much like any other addictive substance or behavior. Usually these things are brought into our lives in order to numb some sort of pain or discomfort we're feeling. We then begin to rely on them and that is when we become addicted. The problem is that they work. They DO numb your pain, but therein lies the problem.

You see, you can't selectively numb an emotion or feeling without numbing every other emotion and feeling. So even though these things dull the sting of vulnerability, loneliness, sadness, disappointment, and fear, they also dull the positive range of emotions like happiness, hope, joy, and love.

I don't want to speak for others, but if all you guys out there are anything like me, pornography for you is a way to specifically dull vulnerability. I do not like to be vulnerable, especially when it comes to women. I do not like the feeling of rejection, or feeling like I'm somehow sub-par for a woman's standards. Trace it back to some deep-seeded childhood trauma or what have you, I don't know where it comes from, but I do know that pornography has been a way for me to take control of something that I've always felt was uncontrollable.

If you have a harem of digital goddesses back home, you no longer have to risk rejection from a woman, or put yourself in a situation to be judged by a woman, or make yourself vulnerable in a relationship with a woman. You now have full control of your sexual gratification, and you might even feel like you've bonded with those two dimensional beauties on your hard drive. Why risk anything when you've got 100% guaranteed satisfaction waiting for you a mouse-click away? There you go, problem solved.

Of course, your problems are just beginning. We all know this, or we wouldn't be here. It's a vicious cycle. Porn is used to increase security and control, but when it begins to cause things like E.D. and other performance issues, it ends up making you less sexually confident and, in turn, more insecure. The idea of going to bed with a real woman now becomes a terrifying prospect, one full of unpredictability and potential disaster, so naturally you rely even more heavily on your safe little hideaway at home.

But vulnerability is as important as air. The moment we're born we're vulnerable. It is as much a part of the human condition as anything. There is the old saying, "nothing ventured, nothing gained." If you aren't willing to be vulnerable well, then, the only thing you're likely to gain are some blurry eyes and a crumpled wad of tissue, I suppose.

A long time ago I knew this kid who never really thought twice about things. He'd express his feelings for girls he had crushes on and basically do whatever he could to win their heart, no matter the consequence. He risked it all like there was no tomorrow. But somewhere along the line I guess he got older, and then he started thinking twice, and then he started thinking thrice, and then before he knew it he wasn't really willing to take chances anymore, so he hid behind a computer screen instead, wasting day after day after month after month after year after year, playing it nice and safe.

I want to be that kid again.

1-02 It's been quite a ride since I started this reboot process on October 17th. I went over 50 days without an orgasm, the longest I've ever abstained since my first ever orgasm way back when I was a wee one.

My original goal was 76 days, taking me to January 1st. I had a slip-up with PMO on day 64, fought off some urges and some edging after that, but luckily that turbulence never turned into binging or any kind of downward spiral. I started off the New Year feeling great, healthy, energetic and motivated! This was the best start to a year that I've had in recent memory.

I had thought about going to a once a week or once every 2 weeks MO schedule (without fantasy or porn, of course) once I reached this point, but the cravings that followed my recent O's are too dangerous to play around with, so I am going to abstain for pretty much as long as I can.

The past two nights I've had extreme nocturnal and morning wood. This morning I had an erection for at least 20 minutes after waking, but I did not feel like MO'ing to make it go away. It was nice just having my "friend" down there to greet me as I wakened, hehe. I'd been dreaming about an ex-girlfriend of mine from about 9 or 10 years ago. In the dream we had sex, good sex, and I actually reached orgasm in the dream--if memory serves me right, I don't think I've EVER had an orgasm in a dream. Something always happens to prevent me from completing the sexual act, and I spend the rest of the dream trying to go at it again but never accomplishing that goal. I don't believe this was a wet dream, however, but I could be wrong. There didn't seem to be any physical evidence in my bed, but I've never had a wet dream before so I'm not sure how you can "prove" it.

So, despite feeling well this day, the dream has left me a bit melancholy. I really feel the need for some female affection, but unfortunately there are no doors of the sort open right now. Even though I've made great progress and have worked hard to reach it to this point, it seems I have more work to do. Most of my hobbies and activities are solitary ones, but I love them, and they take up a lot of my time. I am not socially awkward, but I am not outgoing either. I'd like to meet someone in a natural way (not over the internet), but I'm not sure how that's going to happen.

I suppose patience will be a virtue in this one, but I've come to learn that part of this healing process requires having relationships with females, both friendly and romantic, short-lived or long term. I don't think this addiction is something you can beat alone, and the more lonely you feel the closer you step toward your old ways.

01-11 Yesterday I felt something I did not know it was possible to feel. It's not to say that it never happened to me before, it's just that I can't recall any specific instances when it had.

I was at a restaurant that I frequently visit for lunch. I find the waitress there to be very beautiful and we know each other by name. I looked up at her while she was standing a little ways away behind the front counter. She was looking right at me and our eyes locked, and then she smiled very warmly and *BOOM*, I literally got this surge of chemical loveliness up my spine and into the back of my head. I smiled back, of course. Now, I don't want to simplify this innocent, wonderful little experience into some drug or neurochemical phenomena, but the feeling was so physical, so palpable, that it really surprised me and it instantly made me feel extremely happy and optimistic. I don't ever remember being so affected by a smile or glance.

It's just astounding. To go from being so numb, where only the most vile and shocking sexual images will trigger a response in you, to getting such a positive sensation from a simple smile and meeting of the eyes...that is what makes this whole process worth it. Curing E.D. or other such problems is just an added bonus. Feeling ALIVE again is where it's really at!

01-19Today is the 95th day of my reboot. It has not been a perfect journey, of course, but they seldom are. In the past 95 days, I've had a total of 6 orgasms. Contrast that with my previous lifestyle -- when PMO addiction was at its worst -- where I would probably average 50-60 orgasms per month. The last three months I've averaged 2 per month...that is one hell of a turn around!

The last few days have been kind of rough. I've spent a lot of time alone and isolated. Couple this with a depressed feeling in regards to never being able to find a woman/lover again, and it led to massive temptation. That is one of my biggest triggers, this cynical outlook on my love life. Sometimes it just seems so impossible, even though I know it isn't.

So, on day 90, feeling a little down, I looked at porn and MO'd. I then MO'd again later that day but without porn. I abstained for 2 days without much difficulty, determined to get back on the horse, but then cravings hit again and I've spent the last 2 days in a literal war zone between my frontal lobe control centers and my addicted pleasure circuit. I am happy to say that my frontal lobe won!

I've come to realize that once you truly set out to get over your porn addiction, it changes something inside of you instantaneously. You will no longer be able to enjoy porn the way you did before. Sure, you'll get the dopamine rush and all of that jazz, but at the same time you will be stressed out and upset with yourself the whole time, which inevitably makes the entire experience less enjoyable. Although I viewed porn at various times the past 2 days, it kept getting less and less exciting. By the end of yesterday, I was viewing a scene that in the past has really driven me wild, and I was so fed up with the whole struggle that turning it off was more satisfying than continuing on. I consider that to be a pretty big milestone, and it is one example of how a "relapse" can actually signal an evolution in your behaviors and self-control. Sometimes you have to take a small step back to take a big step forward.

01-20 Coming off a recent relapse, I felt I needed some new tools to continue making progress and to make sure I don't relapse again.

Here are a few ideas I've come up with that seem to be very effective. I apologize if these have been suggested before by others--I'm certainly not trying to take credit for their ideas but haven't seen them mentioned before. I hope these are of some help to some of you.

**Fighting off flashbacks/pornographic images-->

During the first six to seven weeks of my initial reboot, I used the "Red X" method with some success. For those not familiar, the idea is that when a porn image or scene appears unwillingly in your mind, you block it out with an image of a giant red X. I also used an image of one of my favorite breeds of dogs (something innocent and positive) as an alternative to this. Lately, this hasn't really worked. My new strategy is to use something more complex and detailed: a sentence or paragraph from any kind of text...the longer the better. This has really worked. When an image pops up, I immediately visualize the text itself, and then I try my best to read it in full to the best that my memory will allow. This process takes long enough and requires enough concentration that it rids the mind of the previous "pop-up." The simple Red X image was just too easy and quick and would often be overwhelmed by additional porn images. It also may help if the text has something to do with recovery/addiction, say for instance, one of Gary's YBOP video slides, which brings me to my next strategy.

**Reinforcing the reasons you are rebooting/abstaining/recovering-->

For me, I was really determined when starting my reboot, and I went about it all in a very organized and calculated manner. Lately, this attitude and resolve has declined. I thought it might be helpful to re-enact some of the things I did back at the start. So, I RE-WATCHED Gary's YBOP videos. After all, they were the catalyst for starting me on this road to recovery, and having watched them in their entirety again, I can confirm that they are invaluable tools and should probably be viewed once or twice a month, just as healthy reinforcement. They really do wonders.

**Finding healthy sources of dopamine-->

It is widely accepted that exercise is a huge benefit when it comes to recovery. Exercise helps to increase dopamine and serotonin levels and gives you a "high" that can help curb cravings for "other" things. Of course, you can't just exercise every minute of every day, so it's helpful to have some alternatives. Obviously, hobbies, activities, and socializing are other sources of dopamine and pleasure, and as your reward circuitry balances out, you'll get more pleasure and excitement from these things--these are your main outlets. Getting dopamine from these sources is very important, because as your dopamine declines during withdrawal, you'll be more likely to cave in and binge. I recently stumbled upon a new, smaller but effective source.

When I had abstained from PMO for over 50 days, I'd never felt better. Now, if dopamine is the "expectation neurochemical," I realized that if I teach myself to feel excitement about returning to that happy state, to that time when I felt so good, and if I clearly visualized all the ways I had improved and began to grow excited about getting back there, I could literally feel a dopamine response.

As an example, in one of my previous blog posts I wrote about how I met eyes with a waitress and we smiled at one another...I hadn't felt so good about a simple smile in YEARS. This morning, I simply relived that experience in my head, and then began to have some expectations and excitement for such an event happening again, and I found that it gave me satisfaction and pleasure and, most importantly, motivation. So, take some happy feeling from your past and make it real in your mind's eye. Realize that you won't have that happy feeling if your brain is desensitized by porn, but teach yourself to anticipate the return of those kinds of feelings as you go through the healing process. That will help shift your sources of dopamine from negative places to positive ones.

02-01 Well, I rang in the new year with a great attitude and had gone approximately 60 days without porn, masturbation, or orgasm.

Somewhere around mid-January, all hell broke loose. And by that I simply mean I have been nailed with massive cravings and severely weakened willpower. After several slip ups I decided that I needed to get another solid 60 some days under my belt with no PMO. I've tried to start this process twice in the past couple of weeks but have failed both times, my best streak being 10 days.

I don't know what it is. My initial reboot started off with enormous determination and resolve, but I can't seem to muster that same strength anymore. I am going to keep trying.

04-17 Hey all, haven't blogged on here in quite some time, mainly because I wanted to wait until I had some success and positive things to write about.

As a recap: last October I began my first ever reboot from PMO and went 54 days without orgasm and 63 days without viewing porn. After that relapse, I abstained again for a few weeks but relapsed in mid-January.

So, I picked myself up from that, and started a new reboot on February 2nd. Right now, I'm on day 76 of no porn, but the past two days I masturbated to orgasm with sensation only. I have been dating and was hoping my first O would happen with a lady, but things didn't turn out that way. It's funny, because for those of you who are familiar with rebooting, the clarity of mind you get from not PMO'ing is amazing. You think more clearly, you remember things better, you can interact with people better etc. The problem was, as I went into the 70 day range of not having an orgasm, my overall lust became a distraction in and of itself. I couldn't stop thinking about sex or finding a woman to have sex with etc. It wasn't about porn at all, which was good, but it was so distracting that I felt I had to have a release and so I M'd with sensation only.

I did not have to use a shred of fantasy, and I was able to get extremely turned on with a solid erection. I was completely present, just enjoying the ridiculous sensitivity in my penis, and it was very satisfying -- so satisfying that I repeated the next day. I didn't really want to do it two days in a row, but I figured what the hell -- porn is the real enemy, and I have absolutely no desire to watch it at all anymore. Today I feel good, no chaser, no cravings, and I feel less rabidly lustful. However, one thing I was concerned about was that after O'ing, I would lose my drive to seek out women. This has not happened, in fact, the opposite has happened. I would say that since I only used physical touch to reach climax, I suddenly have a hunger for more physical touch, and my brain seems to acknowledge that physical touch from attractive females is highly desirable.

Now, I don't want to advocate M'ing to orgasm in the middle of a reboot, let me just say that. But, I'm wondering if it's important to train your brain away from porn. If your brain associates the huge reward it gets from orgasm with porn and ONLY porn, then it's going to keep pulling you that direction. If that's the last thing your brain remembers getting an orgasm from, then it will naturally want it. After having such a great experience with purely physical sensation, I feel like my brain is learning that it can get its reward that route, from the touch of a human being, whether it be my own hand or a woman's body.

From what I've read, it seems that people with understanding romantic partners have an easier time really kicking the PMO addiction and not relapsing. For those that don't, I'm theorizing that this kind of retraining might be necessary. I'll keep an eye on myself in the next week or two and see what results come about.

EDIT: I also forgot to mention that in this "2nd" reboot, it was like the process was sped up. All the benefits came roaring to me faster, suggesting that it's all cumulative. The last 76 days have been some of the most productive and happiest of my life. I've had conversations with family and friends in which I just opened up about things I used to keep hidden. The emotional wobble many feel had all but gone away by the 3rd week, and I've spent the rest of that time being happy and optimistic without interruption. For those reading this who are starting a reboot or thinking of starting one, do it and don't look back. It's the best thing you can do for yourself.

5-01 Well, today is day 90 of being pornography free. 73 of those days were masturbation and orgasm free. I did it! Previously, I went approximately 64 days PMO free, but I feel more healed now than I did at the end of that reboot. It is certainly a cumulative process with a lot of ups and downs.

These have been the most productive 90 days of my life, and I don't think I will ever go back to my old ways. Pornography has no power over me anymore. Days go by without me ever thinking about it. Even when I masturbate, the thought of porn doesn't enter the equation, and I think that separating those two things is a very important step in the process. You have to realize that porn is not sex, and porn is not masturbation -- it is a completely different animal with repercussions that extend far beyond simple pleasure.

Once in a while I still get flashbacks, but they are easy to kick to the curb and they don't stir up any desire to actually view porn. I have a feeling those will linger for a long time. Years of damage doesn't just go away with the snap of your fingers. I wish I could have all the time back that I wasted on PMO, but I can't -- all that I can do is move forward with purpose, poise, and resolve. I will not fall back down.

Things that helped me through this process (in no particular order):

-spending time with friends and family

-artistic pursuits

-meditation

-exercise

-all the folks who have posted their personal journeys

There is much more to live for than a two dimensional world of hedonistic exploitation and excessive sex, superficiality and narcissism. GET OUT as fast as you can, and start living for REAL!

6-01 Today is 120 days without porn. I'm doing well! I have been masturbating to sensation and minimal fantasy when I feel like it. When I first reintroduced MO back into the mix, around day 70 I think, it was so exciting that I kind of went crazy and did it numerous times within just a few days. Now, however, I'm at a point where it's just part of my natural cycle. It's not uncommon for me to go over a week or 10 days without it, and it's not a struggle at all. It's like I don't even think about it until my libido slaps me and says, "Hey, remember me? We've got business to take care of!"