Age 32 - 300 days, skin condition healed, calm, empathic, approaching strangers
tl;dr: nofap works, I am staying on it, AMA. Make yourself a warm cup of something nice, position yourself into your favourite reading position and go with me though this 300 days NoFap journey summary.
I wanted to do NoFap even before I found this sub. The reason for that is that I was already aware of the damage this futile activity is capable of causing. Just to be clear here: I have nothing against the actual fapping, however PMO cycle is simply devastating: in my personal case, my hormones were screwed up, my priorities were all over the place and last but certainly not the least, the time spent doing it was enormous. I found this place, read some posts here and said to myself: now or never. 300 days later, here I am.
First days were hell. Blue balls effect that was happening to me (yes, it is real), was so strong that on a few occasions I simply just positioned myself into fetal position and hoped it will pass. I then learned about ice packs and started using them directly on my testicles (ice wrapped in a freezing bag, wrapped in some cloth). Few of days like that and it all went away. I made a deliberate decision not to use any technical gimmicks to help me with urges and didn't tell anyone I was on this journey.
The reason for this is simple. I already have won myself back from one huge addiction and that was smoking. This took me three times to do it and the last time I made it, it was solely based on my decision that enough is enough. Only your mental power can help you fight your inner demons and in order to have a complete victory, you have to win this war alone.
So there I was, all exposed, workmates sending me pictures of women with more or less clothes, banners of various content popping up, the usual stuff. As with any other exercises, beginnings are hard, but now I am totally immune to this low level propaganda. Make no mistake, I do have urges, huge ones, but I gained this ability to filter out sexy pixels. Make no mistakes urges will never leave you and you cannot down your guard or you will lost it. Do not touch yourself when you are feeling aroused. Do not tempt yourself. Be vigilant and stay strong forever.
From the early start I also made decision the utilize the power of cold showers. The real ones. Cold all the way, all in. Besides NoFap, this was the best decision I have made in my recent life, and I will explain the benefits in the following chapter.
Ok, this one might be controversial, but it really did happen. Some 6 or so years ago, I had this skin condition that looked like eczema or psoriasis and in manifested as cracked skin on fingers and feet.
It was terrible, uncomfortable and made me really depressed sometimes. I spend a lot of time due to nature of the work on a PC, and when it all flared up, I was literally feeling each press on a keyboard directly in my brain, due to pain I was experiencing. In all those years, no doctor could help me and all creams and shit I was prescribed with only helped a bit with my symptoms.
Now enter NoFap and daily cold showers. 3 to 4 months in, this condition is...gone! Yes, you read it right and believe me, it really is. I still do get a bit dryish skin from time to time and I still have a dandruff issue, but this embarrassment is gone. In addition to cold showers and NoFap, I also lost some weight (around 20 pounds), but it did happen later and my diet is a bit different, more healthier but this is also a relatively recent change. I did all recommended medical exams, did tests for all kinds of infections etc. Doctors simply cannot pinpoint it, and only after taking this action, my situation was resolved.
Regarding PIED, I never actually had it, but binging did cause me to become insensitive from time to time. I had some sexual encounters during this 300 days, more on the beginning of the process, and everything was working fine. So far, I had two wet dreams, I do get morning and mid-night erections (those are particularly hilarious, since they do wake me up in some cases) and I get aroused.
Flat lines are real. They come and go and you just have to live with them. Some last for one week, some for three, but they will happen to you.
Since you cannot escape your mind and this is the war happening there, this ones are huge. Yes, they feel like superpowers and I don't care if they are placebo or whatever, but they are real.
First few days in, as expected, you are all over the place. The only thing ringing in your mind is question: "Is this all worth it?". My beginnings were marked by this special situations I was in, rapidly losing one woman I cared for and seeing another one that was my casual encounter and short time friend doing the most stupidest thing in her life without listening to the voice of reason (she managed to screw her life royally), which put additional pressure on the whole effort. However, there is always a point in your life, where you have to make a decision and for me it was to focus all my mental power into NoFap. You cannot help other people until you help yourself.
Those two persons are now basically gone from my life, so I lost that battle, but won multiple other ones. This experience and restored hormonal balance made me find willpower to open another front against my biggest demon that was haunting me from the beginning of my life: procrastination.
So I started exercising regularly, lost some 20 pounds, changed my diet from shit to a better, optimized my sleeping pattern, started working on my side business, which is still moving too slow for my taste, but getting there.
I also managed to become calmer, more focused, learned to position myself better in social settings and am experiencing all this small little details that are direct benefits of the hormonal balance.
I also became a bit more empathic and less tolerable to shit people try to feed me with on a constant basis, especially in my working environment.
I am better at approaching strangers, especially women, and I don't get irritated by small, useless things in life.
Personal experience: when you are are starting NoFap, your hormones are all over the place until your body goes into normal mode. I was very emotional, my lows were in the pits of despair and my highs were in stratosphere. While this storm lasted, I had the same feelings as you do. And it is normal. Some 30 to 90 days into the streak I was partying, drinking and flirting hard (hence my sexual encounters mentioned in OP), but it all accumulates to nothing.
However, now when everything is coming back to the baseline, I got the hold of my emotions. I recognize that watching TV endlessly doesn't accumulate to anything (I stopped watching TV completely some 8 months ago). I only play one online game where I know a bunch of people and it's not more than 2 hours per week. I do follow some TV series and still watch movies, but I download them and watch them in times of rest.
Flirting and partying is still fun, but I see when the event horizon is near and when I need to call it a night. You will understand what needs to be done and what needs to be avoided and will naturally steer towards more productive and fulfilling things.
It includes NoFap, no doubt. I am on a path to find my complete inner peace with each day passing by. I finally understand that I will die on my own, and that this life is the only chance I have got. I cannot spend it on dopamine releasing pixels. Therefore, my plan for the next 65 days is to up my exercising routines, put my side business into a next gear, weed out useless people from my life completely and finally start to enjoy the life I deserve.
That's it. Thank you all for reading this. I know my grammar sucks, but hopefully you found some bits of useful stuff in it. AMA if you want. I have also failed many times before this one, I think 6-7 times before. Stay strong! :)
The key is to stay focused and remember that you cannot fail. You simply remove that possibility from your mind. It will sound extreme (and it really is), but you have to internalize that you would rather be awake for 5 days in a row, than Fap. Only then, will you be able to continue your streaks. Silver lining: it's get easier with time.
tl;dr - NoFap works
Exactly one year from this post: here
I was trying to get on NoFap even before I discovered this very subreddit, and my longest streak was 40 days. 12 months ago, after going through some turbulent times with women, I decided that enough is enough and that the focus of my life should be changed. It was supposed to be only 90 days, but I just continued on pressing.
Benefits and achievements
My biggest achievement is definitely getting rid of this skin condition consisting on eczema / psoriasis like patches (but without scales) on palms and heels that were bugging me for years. I reported it here. First and foremost, I am not a doctor and I am just reporting my experience. So, combination of NoFap and daily cold showers somehow managed to cure me of it.
Sex and erectile function
Some 90 days ago, I started to have wet dreams, culminating with two wet dreams in a row in one evening. I literally got a wet dream, woke up, washed my self and changed my underwear, went to sleep only to be woken up by the same thing. Wet dreams seem to be a norm for me now, happening on a regular basis every few weeks or so. Morning erections are strong. I didn't have constant sex in the past year, but on those occasions I didn't have any problems - and I didn't start NoFap because I had much of the problems before.
I still procrastinate. I still have issues with eating junk food. However, I am changing my behaviour on a daily basis. I became a regular blood donor, lost some 20 pounds over the year, started avoiding bad foods when I muster will to do so. I also exercise semi-regularly and managed to develop some muscle.
I found that on NoFap my emotions are running deeper. When I am happy, I am ecstatic, and when I am depressed I am at the very bottom of the Pit of Despair. Guess it has something to do with clearing out of dopamine loop.
Mentally I am much stronger than before. I find more willpower to try new things and to go through the rough times. Some people respond well to that, some are overwhelmed, but overall it is a positive development. Which brings us to...
I am all over the place here. I certainly had my successes, my approach and total anxiety is all time low, however sometimes I am out of the sync with one I am aiming for. In those situation, my assertiveness overwhelms my companion and things fall apart. On half of the other occasions, it worked perfectly well, so I guess I have to tune my behaviour specifically to the person I am with more precisely.
I sense when people bs me, and I can't stand it. I am getting annoyed by how badly people spend their time on this planet, as a reflection of all the time I spent being a Wanker. My goal for the future is to become less irritated by things other do and more focused on things I can do.
In the past year, I also started to get attracted to things where I can exert my maximal potential. I ended up being in one of the best workgroups on my job. Joined two NoFapWars, ended up in one of the best regiments there (Aquamarines) where we kicked some serious Fapping ass. Went for the best looking woman I have seen in ages and some other things. I am trying to find challenges and dominate them without consciously thinking about it. That is something I have to do even more often in the future.
How to do NoFap properly
First find your reason for doing it. My trigger was fallout with women, but that was not my reason: my reason was the will to change the focus in my life from chasing emotionally and physically unavailable females and massaging my reproductive organs when viewing historical records of people having faked sex in a bad quality to becoming a man that will live his life, cage his demons and dominate this opportunity given to him. This is very important. If your motivation is weak, you will be weak and you will fail.
I already told this multiple times here, but I always think it should be repeated more: already overcoming one major addiction in my life (smoking), my best advice to you all is: forget artificial barriers when quitting addiction. On the NoFap journey, it meant that I didn't use any web filters, didn't delete xxx material from my pc (even though I deleted it afterwards to free disk space for other things), didn't share my struggles with people in real life, didn't run out of the room when someone on the room opened up a picture of naked female etc. I have this theory that urges like that come from inside, and your have to strengthen your inside to be able to resist outside influence. By blocking outside influence, your inner strength is underdeveloped and the moment someone or something overwhelms you with triggers, you will fail. For this reason it is important to embrace your urges and learn how to contain them, rather than let them run rampant while you are hiding in the hole in the floor. To be clear, I am not saying here that you should go to tubesites and strap yourself to a chair while browsing porn for hours (we are trying to avoid that, remember?), I am just saying that you do your business as usual and when trigger comes try to remove them gracefully and by being in total control.
Cold showers from day one. My immune system is also through the roof, this is the first time in many years that I haven't been sick even for a day, while my coworkers are falling left and right.
When high tides hit you, just call it a day. Put yourself in a fetal position if you must, go to the bed do everything necessary to avoid relapsing. Don't get drunk. Don't go to a porn site. Sit on your hands if you have to and just ride it through. It will pass, I promise you. Good luck!
What lies ahead
I am a heavy procrastinator. Once I was with a girl that I warned about this flaw of mine and after sometime she said she couldn't believe that someone is capable of being so lazy. I literally managed to screw some major opportunities in my life only because I wasn't in the mood to do something about them. To be exact, Fapping was my second biggest issue after procrastination. This has to go in 2015.
What is promising is that the first time in my life I managed to exert the constant effort for a year to accomplish something. This is huge for me. By doing that I prepared my mental circuit for what currently is the biggest battle in my life.
Urges under control, I think I can finally focus completely on building a side business I always wanted and getting physical endurance I plan to have.
Peoplewise, it is time to separate the wheat from the chaff, so I will do my best to seek and cultivate relationships with people that are worthy of spending time with and avoid those that are just dead weights. Same elimination procedure will affect my other bad habits, like eating junk food, browsing aimlessly, and generally wasting time, body and mind on harmful and uninteresting things. Little by little I might become a person I want to be.
Whatever happens it will be an interesting year :)
I couldn't have done this without NoFap sub. Seriously, this place changed my life. Thank you all for that.
Special shout to my brothers in Aquamarines! Caw caw! I joined NoFapWar out of curiosity, only to find that I was surrounded by true gentlemen, brothers that stood beside me all the time while we were fighting our urges on a daily basis and cheered my accomplishments like they were their own. Without them it would be immensely hard to survive last 60 or so days. Thank you my brothers!
That's it. If you dedicate to NoFap, only good things will happen to you. Find your motivation, set it in stone and just do it. You will be surprised.
EDIT: I am overwhelmed by all the responses that I got here. NoFappers truly are the amazing group of people. Thank you.