A relapse can be more difficult to deal with than quitting PMO in the first place. Generally, if you quit, it’s because you’ve made up your mind, you’ve got inspiration and motivation backing your choice. However, a relapse can sneak up on you and before you know it, you’re right back to the start.
A relapse happens in the mind, long before it happens physically. Triggers will certainly be different for everyone, but here are 5 things that will almost certainly trigger anyone’s relapse. Avoid these and keep yourself motivated and strong for the long haul.
Boredom is not always easy to eliminate completely, and there’s bound to be a moment somewhere in your life where it’s simply unavoidable. But how many of us don’t realize when it strikes and we begin to fill the hole even before we know it’s there?
If you think back to when you were a kid, you could immediately recognize boredom. As an adult, that feeling of being uninterested takes on a different representation. Maybe you’re unsatisfied in life – ever wonder if you’re bored? Perhaps you don’t feel fulfilled in your relationships – it’s time to look at the root of the problem.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you ransack your life, turn it upside down and evict everyone and everything that is causing you boredom. Rather, find something that will fill that void and fulfill your life. If you’re on the road to recovery, regardless of your day-count, you don’t want to be faced with the soul-sucking tedium that will almost inevitably lead to a relapse.
What you can do:
· A lack of challenge is generally the biggest boredom builder. Often, people will rise to meet a challenge if the reward is great enough for them, and in this way, boredom is automatically expunged. Find a challenge which is emotionally, physically, and mentally challenging to you, and then do it. My suggestion is to put your energy into a hobby (new or old) that excites you and keeps you occupied and at the same time makes your life better.
· Some suggestions for new hobbies or projects to keep busy and improve yourself: learning guitar or piano; going to the gym or working out at home; learning a language; starting a blog or business.
· Get to know yourself and begin to recognize your boredom. Take on new challenges, invest in wholesome activities and be careful not to “stall”. That said, you should still put time aside to relax when you get a chance, but it should be constructive relaxation, something that will add to your fulfillment, and not exacerbate your boredom.
2. Unhealthy Lifestyle
You may have heard a healthy mind = a healthy body; well, the reverse is just as true.
Neglecting mind body connection is detrimental to your overall wellness. If your body is unwell, you can’t expect to perform at your best in your sex life.
But it’s more than that – keeping your body healthy helps you to feel better about yourself and improves your inner confidence. In this way you get closer to your goal of a healthy sex life and intimacy with a real partner.
What you can do:
· Train your body and train your mind. This will help to train your emotions which regulate your compulsive and impulsive need to do engage in PMO activities.
· Eat well; drink enough water. This is a wonderfully overexposed fact that nearly every article touches on, and for good reason. So I will say it again, drink plenty of water, eat plenty of the right kinds of foods. If we take it right down to basics, you want to ensure that your body has enough fuel for the long road.
· Reclaim your zest for life, and all it has to offer by doing what you enjoy and pushing yourself further than you thought you could go. There are multiple health benefits for exercising, amongst others, it releases pent-up energy, calms anxiety and keeps your body honed. No reason not to exercise.
3. Unnecessary tempting
Subtle nudity and sexually explicit content are just about everywhere nowadays. From Maxim magazine to Game of Thrones on HBO, sex sells and the entertainment industry knows it. Even unrelated advertising makes use of the sex factor. Of course, cable TV, porn targeted magazines and porn related websites will all present a bigger temptation.
What you can do:
- Know your trigger well and work on changing the association with it, simply ignoring it won’t work. But you can fortify your efforts by avoiding the website you know have erotic content on them. If watching YouTube often leads you down the path to PMO, you should consider avoiding it when you’re alone.
· If you want to go one step further, consider adding filters to your browser and cable subscription. It may seem a little strange at first, but it will help you, especially in those first few days and weeks where temptation is at its greatest.
· Refrain from searching for the things you already know will lead to porn sites. Many people report after making the decision to quit porn that they aren’t even aware of roaming until they end up on a porn site.
4. Testing your erection
Recovery requires sacrifice and is an ongoing process. Progress can be slow and sometimes you have to be satisfied with taking small, positive steps toward the end goal. To consider testing the waters after a short period, can sometimes spell relapse. In other words, it’s a short jump from “I think I’ll test my erection” to “oh, here’s some porn”.
That doesn’t mean you can’t test it with your partner – when you feel ready. Remember, the object of this exercise is to rewire your brain for phenomenal and healthy sex, it’s not to abstain from sex altogether.
What you can do
· Keep yourself, your mind and your hands, busy with constructive activities. If you feel you may wander towards some alone time where you could be tempted, start a project that will keep you focused long enough to keep your thoughts off of your desire for PMO. That may mean having an emergency list you can consult in times of need. This way you won’t choose flaky activities that will possibly lead to a relapse because your mind is already focused on making it happen.
5. Social Isolation
People are social beings. Yes, even the introverts. I’m not talking about partying it up – just simple interaction and the chance to connect with other people. We need it and we thrive on it.
For all the obvious reasons, good company can help a person continue to move forward. If your friendships are sound and healthy, you’ll have someone to talk to when you’re down. Someone to keep you inspired and motivated when your own efforts are not enough. Someone who can be a silent support when you’re facing difficulties, and who will share in your joy when you reach your goals.
What you can do:
· Keep your friendships alive. Often, addictions do isolate people from their healthy friendships and building new connections can become strained. You don’t have to force yourself to do anything that is out of character, of course, but try to venture out of your comfort zone once in a while.
· When surveying the dating scene don’t do it solo. Get a wingman. Although it’s easier said than done, it’s your safety net against the negative feelings that come with rejection.
- Don’t spend too much time alone. When loneliness strikes, you’ll be tempted to fill that void with something, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll turn to your usual vice. Go out and make some friends.
As an added side note on this point, try to connect to members of the opposite sex with the sole purpose of being friends. Often times romance can follow friendship. Rejection can be tough, even on someone who is not dealing with anxiety and other emotional letdowns that come packaged with a PMO addiction.
Courage favors the brave, so be proud of yourself. If you fail, fail trying and if you fall, shake off the dust and get up! The sun rises each morning with a new chance at a better outcome.