In order to succeed, you have to reprogram.

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For the past 10 months, I treated my relationship with PMO as an addiction and my self-respect plummeted subconsciously because of it. I picked up a book called "The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure," and the headline of this post is inspired by a portion in the first few pages.
When you think about it, 40% of our daily activities are just automatic habits-- get out of bed, brush teeth, pour cereal, drive to work, etc. If we consciously made decisions for everything we did daily, we would be overloaded with stress. PMO is exactly in that 40% of automatic habits. At some point in our lives, we PMOed enough times to make it a ritual for whenever we were under stress. We programmed it voluntarily.
Now all you have to do is reprogram. How? Teach your body to no longer crave PMO under stress.
This is a pretty simple process. Habits are comprised of three parts:

  • the cue
  • the routine
  • the reward

I'll offer an example scenario. Let's say that, between the times of 3-3:30 PM, you get bored at work. You decide to head to the cafeteria and get a cookie. After you buy it, you socialize with coworkers in the cafeteria.

  • The cue is being bored at 3-3:30 PM
  • The routine is buying a cookie
  • The reward is eating it while socializing with coworkers = not being bored anymore

Here's the thing. You've begun to gain weight. Another issue is that it's impossible to alter the cue or the reward, but you can change the routine. You notice that all you really want to do is socialize with others for a few minutes before going back to work. You can replace buying the cookie in the cafeteria with just walking to a co-worker's desk and talking for a few minutes. Yay! Problem solved.

Now let's insert the "habit" formula to PMO.
Example PMO situation (not the only possible outcome)

  • CUE: You've been hanging out with your friend a lot more often lately, but he's been bringing his girlfriend and they participate in a lot of PDA. This makes you feel lonely/desire that intimacy with someone
  • ROUTINE: PMO to porn
  • REWARD: short-term feelings of happiness, however false they may be

So, you can't really change the cue or the reward here. But we can override ourselves and change the routine. Here's what I'm doing:

  • CUE: feel horny
  • ROUTINE: run, or lift weights
  • REWARD: sense of accomplishment, knowing that if I stay persistent, I can have a rockin' bod; also, endorphins

Understanding this has really changed my perspective on how I look at PMO in my life. It doesn't stress me out as much trying to let go of it, because I have a stronger grasp of the problem. I thought I would share to potentially help you guys.

NOTE: Information in this post was inspired/taken from two books:

  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure by Pax and Chris Prentiss
    I am not intentionally promoting these books. They have just been really helpful to me recently.

You're not dealing with a PMO addiction; you're dealing with a dependency that you automatically programmed yourself to do under stress. In order to succeed, you have to reprogram. This is the key to succeeding.