Age 31 - Reclaiming my masculinity
It's been a long time since I've been active in this community, but I thought I owed you all a debt of gratitude in the form of this post, because now, finally, after a year of trying and failing and failing and more failing, I have achieved what I thought was the impossible - 90 days of complete PMO abstinence - on my birthday no less!
So if you're new and you're sitting there wondering how the hell someone can do that, and how you never could in a million years, have hope - because that was me a year ago. As much as I desperately wanted to be free of this illness (addiction is a disease - make no mistake), I couldn't stay clean for more than a few days before I would inevitably feel that absolutely irresistible urge and find myself once again resetting my counter to zero, puzzled, humiliated and demoralised, unable to understand why I felt so compelled to sabotage myself. I felt baffled by this condition that is so insidiously self-defeating, that for most of the 20 years I had been practising it, I thought it was normal, or even healthy - just a fact of life.
But I knew something was wrong. Many years before I first came across this sub 12 long months ago, I got a hunch that fapping was at least a major cause behind my lack of success with women. On my own initiative, I stopped for 7 days, and found that girls were hugely more attracted to me, so I loaded up on booze and hit the bars, but got so drunk and out of control that all my hard work had been for nothing. Clearly there was more to my deep, inner drive for self-defeat than just fapping. Not thinking too deeply about it at the time, I gave up and went back to PMOing most days, often up to 5 times a day, for the next 10 years. Those 10 years of my twenties were mostly miserable. Due to my confidence issues, poor social skills, unstable mental health, drug and alcohol addiction, and so on, my desperate yearning for the universal cure-all remedy to life known as sex was never satisfied, and the deeply buried resentment and sadness that permeated every day of my life seemed like it would never end - a permanent cockblock from within.
It was through my desperate seeking of a remedy for my ills that I was directed to this sub by a twist of fate from another forum on a completely unrelated subject. I watched Gary Wilson's TED talk on porn (www.yourbrainonporn.com), saw this sub and read about the benefits of long term abstinence, and my mind was blown. Wow. This was it. Surely. It made so much sense. I immediately knew deep in my gut that I had to do this. As impossible as it seemed, there was no alternative. I had to rid the disease of masturbation from my life. And so it began. A few days here, a few days there, always relapsing and hating myself for it. I just wanted to be like those towering superhuman giants out there who were taking those super hot girls home from the club. Why couldn't I be like him? That was how short-sighted, childish and misguided I was in my early days of trying to quit. It was all about getting laid. I thought, in my deluded state, that if I only get some girl to fuck me, then I would be all better, that life would be sweet.
And so it turned out that I had embarked upon a long, long journey, with many twists and turns of self-discovery. I didn't know this at the time, and would have been heartbroken if I had. I still thought that the medicine for the pain of life was found between a girl's legs. I still do much of the time, but I'm nowhere near as bad as I was. Every time I relapsed, I got right back on the horse and tried again. I NEVER GAVE UP. For those who are struggling, who can't even get a day clean - NEVER GIVE UP. Keep going. I'm living proof that severe cases can get and stay clean. So one time after 4 days of abstinence, I thought I would try my luck at a club again. I got some legal highs, had a few beers and road tested NoFap. The response from girls was again amazing like it had been all those years ago - but I STILL struck out. I was way out of control on the booze and the drugs and went to bed alone that night, steered as usual by this mysterious inner pussy-dodging autopilot that for some reason wanted to ruin my life.
I woke up the next day feeling like shit and deeply gutted that I hadn't scored. Fapping myself to death over the course of that day, it was clear I had to do more than just stop playing with myself. I had to cut out the booze and the drugs, too, if I really meant business. I've had a problem with them since my teens, and they're the main reason (my own fault, of course) that my life has been going nowhere all these years. I really wanted this. I wanted it so much. So I put the drink down, and the drugs, and the porn, and fixated on women as my ultimate saviour and goal in life. I was willing to sacrifice everything for this. I was still deluded, but determined and with the right direction, even if it was for the wrong reason. I also gave up other vices such as sleeping in late, sugar and internet chat rooms, started going to the gym for the first time, and lost a lot of weight. I began the slow process of becoming a worthwhile human being, a process that is still in its very early days.
To cut a TLDR story short, I won't go into detail about my methodology of how I finally broke that cycle of relapsing every few days. Maybe I'll write that up in another post, because it IS important. To be honest, I still don't really understand how I got here. It's a miracle. What I am sure of though is that the practice of abstinence throughout all those failed streaks is what set me up for this one. I'd go 7 days, 5 days, 2 days, 3 days, 11 days, etc. Without all those "practice streaks", I doubt I would ever have got this far today. So if you are stuck in that cycle like I was - KEEP GOING. It's that practice of dusting yourself off and getting back on that horse each and every time you fall off that allows for eventual success in the long run, and it's the long run that I'm in this for. 90 days is just the beginning - I'm quite aware that I may have to go for years before my life is on track and I'm ready for relationships and a sex life. But if that's what it takes, that's what it takes, and it has been the process of learning PMO abstinence that has toughened me up enough to accept the hard realities of adult life that must be faced in order to be a free, independent, sexual male. Isolating and fapping is an easy way out that after 20 years ceased to be easy anymore. That's what forced me to commit to this "challenge" - the pain of hiding from life became greater than the pain of facing this addiction and being willing to see what was on the other side of my comfort zone. For me at least, NoFap is all about growing up. I went into it with the attitude of a child, expecting rewards from life in return for good behaviour. That attitude has changed a whole heck of a lot over the last year. NoFap isn't about girls, it's about ME and my life. Huge, profound revelations like this are yours to have if you're willing to do the work.
As far as the traditional "benefits" go, many will be disappointed that I have few to report, or rather, they won't look like much just reading them. As I said, this journey is about finding self-esteem, self-respect and growing up and becoming a man. This concept was of no appeal to me when I started out - I just wanted a girl to come along and fuck me better and fix all my problems for me, which is what I expected judging from the accounts many others have posted here. I am however a severe case with massive issues around sex in the first place, so it's of little surprise to me that just because I haven't fapped for 3 months I don't have an entourage of women begging me to fuck them 24/7. It doesn't work like that, at least not for me, although I do find girls I know definitely treat me differently to when I was fapping. It's really subtle in most cases, but I think they can feel the vibe on an instinctual level that I don't fap, and it IS attractive to them. As far as confidence to attract girls I don't know goes, that's still way, way off for me. I have to get my own house in order first. Everyone is different, and so everyone gets different benefits to a different degree in a different order. You WILL get benefits though no matter who you are, because the greatest benefit of all is to be able to say, to yourself or anyone, that you don't fap. That might sound totally fucking stupid to those of you who have yet to get clean for this long, but I can say unequivocally that the number one benefit of NoFap is the lack of fapping. It's what we have come here to achieve, right? No longer am I stuck on this daily rollercoaster of distorted motivation and dopamine splurging - desperately wanting to not fap, but finding myself unable to stop. What I've learned through long term abstinence is how deluded and clouded my thinking was because of fapping and porn. I had been in a total BRAIN FOG for all those years, a fog that is still clearing now. The emotional upheaval has been huge, and I've had some real trials and tribulations over the last 90 days - but I haven't fapped. NoFap isn't a cure all for your life problems - but it's the foundation of one - a ploughed field in which you can sow seeds for a new future that isn't bedeviled by the shame and secrecy of PMO. A life of hope and strength - not jizzy tissues, jealousy, bitterness, shame, self-hatred, resentment and unfulfilled dreams. It's not easy, but nothing worth fighting for is.
So for those of you who are struggling - keep the faith and never give up. It's like learning to ride a bike. After falling off and grazing your knees like 100 times, you suddenly realise that you can just DO it without falling off at all. I never get complacent, and I always take it a day at a time, but I have confidence now that my abstinence is sustainable over the long term, and that's what I wanted. That, and to take girls down from that mile-high pedestal that they have no business being on. We are men here, most of us, and in my mind this sub is all about reclaiming that masculinity, free of the shame that comes with falling into the seemingly inescapable pit of PMO despair that so many of us have found ourselves in. I hope to have provided some optimism here, and feel free to ask any questions.