Additional Techniques for Dealing with Flashbacks and Cravings

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  • The Red X Transcending desires of a physical nature can be done with the technique of eliminating the image before it reaches formation and attracts energy. Stopping the image or fantasy from gaining momentum will save a lot of trouble and a lot of unnecessary pain and struggle. Here is a write up on the process from Dr. David R. Hawkins. Imagine the canceling of the image as soon as it appears with a big red X. (This was transcribed from a DVD called "What is Real?") How to transcend any desire of a physical nature. How to overcome a craving. A craving first starts in your mind as an image. If you watch this carefully you will see any craving first appears as an image, whether it is a cheeseburger, hamburger, a naked body, whatever, or if you are an alcoholic, a drink. First comes the image of the drink.You eliminate it instantly (imagine the big red X on the image [and "hear" a loud gong or buzzer in your mind]). The image draws energy to it, so when it first appears, it is only about 5 watts. If you don't exterminate it within the first second, it is about 150 watts, then 600 watts, then its a "have to."You can interrupt the progression by interrupting the image. All right, so even if you look at something, a cheeseburger, or whatever, it isn't just the cheeseburger. It is that instantly you have the image of a cheeseburger in your mind, and that is what you crave. Therefore, you have to be very fast and see the object of the cravingness appear in your consciousness and make a choice to eliminate it now.I always tell alcoholics you have about one or two seconds to eliminate that image of a drink. In the AA book, it talks about some guy, sober 14 years, or 11 years or something, and, he walked in a hotel and the image of a martini came to mind, and mindlessly he walked to the bar and after 13-14 years of sobriety, he relapsed and got drunk.So, in that one second, you will see in the AA book, where the early members recount their experiences, that, out of no where, suddenly appeared the image of the martini, and that's when he had his chance.When he did not eliminate the martini that instant, he automatically walked to the bar and lost 14 years of sobriety. He didn't consciously choose; he just didn't have the consciousness technique, the spiritual technique (to know how to eliminate the image).These guys tried it, too:
    • I've totally stopped fantasizing about porn about four weeks ago. I have a technique that works well for me. Whenever a porn flashback is entering my mind I see a big red X-mark entering my view. After that, I think of a red ambulance siren with a loud noise. If the porn image is still pushing on, I explode the image in my head, actually visualize a big explosion. That has so far eliminated any dopamine rush in my brain related to porn. The key is to be quick and I believe the technique becomes more automatic in time.
    • My big red X is a rubber stamp and makes the sound of “Ehh Eh!” - the sound when a wrong answer was given on the TV show “Family Fortunes”.
    • My mistake was that when porn scenes or images of nude girls popped up in my head I would entertain them before trying to get rid of them. I read something yesterday that said mental pop ups are like light bulbs. The ones that last for a second are 5 watt, 2 seconds are 60 watt, and three second ones are 600 watt. In other words, the quicker that fantasies are extinguished, the easier they are to resist. So, I've been using the red X method today. As soon as an image pops up, I throw the red X with a black background over it and block it. It's actually becoming more and more automatic, and I feel significantly better emotionally when I DON'T entertain the fantasies. They are like giant brain teasers that leave me all wound up with no place to go.
    • I had to modify the technique. Each time I would try and use the red X, the image behind it would still come through. Now, I focus all my energy on "building" that red X inside my head. I imagine what color it is. Closely scrutinize the shade. Is it dark red, magenta, blood red? I picture it with some depth to it. It looks solid. It has sides and a back to it. As I think all these things, I become so involved in the visualization process that the PMO fantasies simply fade away. It is becoming easier to call the red 'X' when I need it.
    • My red X has a black background, so that no images can get through! Sounds silly, but it works. Mine looks just like the giant 'X' on the title screen of the video game 'Xenogears' with which I am very familiar (try a google image search for that). I didn't plan it that way, that's just the particular X that showed up in my mind! Haha. It helps to practice visualizing the red X during times when you are not feeling tempted. The technique is more effective that way. Plus, my red X even includes the sound of a large metal gate slamming shut! Really clicks my mind back to reality. You of course will want to add your own particular 'enhancements' that work best for you.
    • No fantasy/thinking about sex - this is something i didn't realise/appreciate at first, but i noticed my reboot sped up when i stopped thinking/playing out sex in my mind. This again amuses me because i was always thinking about sex and thought it was a natural process, but my brain was not supposed to be constantly aroused! As with pornography there needs to be a consistent approach, so if you find yourself slipping into a sexual fantasy thinking of something like a 'Stop' sign, or the colour red, these were quick images i used and it worked over time, and now the sexual thoughts that had been seared into memory have faded.


  • Build your self-discipline I would wait for the time (usually late at night, alone, in my bedroom, with my laptop and internet or iphone and flicker). I would begin my normal session of typing in my usual porn sites or keyword searches (note, this is not "edging" but reconditioning). Once I hit the "enter" button, I felt that rush of excitement in my body, but I expected it. So, the X button on the top of that browser has been my best friend...I hit the button before the page even starts loading, and with a wrapped chocolate truffle nearby, I immediately turn off the wi-fi, turn off the computer, or i-Phone, escort it to my car like a bouncer does a drunk clubber, and toss the chocolate in my mouth to positively reinforce my little injured rat brain. I did this at least daily and also when unexpected cravings hit.
  • Associate porn with an emotion Here's a tip based on neuroscience:

My strategy up until now, among other things was simply to attempt to not think about PMO at all. Well this strategy has not worked. First off, to simply erase a thought from your mind is impossible. Secondly, when you constantly are trying to avoid a thought about a certain action (PMO), this subconsciously tells your brain that this action(PMO) is desirable. So here is what I have learned. A couple weeks ago my neuroscience professor was giving a lecture on the emotion controlling parts of the brain. He mentioned that an effective way to change an unwanted behavior is to associate that behavior with a certain emotion, either positive or negative depending on what your goal is. This brings me to my current streak of 8 days, by far the easiest 8 days of nofap I have ever done. My strategy has been this: Every time a thought of PMO enters my head I immediately picture myself having just fapped, with my pants around my ankles feeling the regret and sadness I always feel at such times. After 8 days of doing this, porn has lost a lot of its allure. Now whenever thoughts of watching porn pop into my head instead of telling myself "No, you will not do that!" I find myself thinking "Why the hell would I even want to to do that if its going to make me feel so bad?" Try this one out guys, it really helps.

  • The Eye Bounce The Porn Trap recommends the "eye bounce" whenever you unexpectedly encounter a porn cue. "Oh, there's a picture of a sexy girl, BOUNCE." The more you do it the easier it gets. Eventually, looking away becomes a habit.
  • The Rubber Band Similar to the 'Red X' technique, the 'Rubber Band' technique can help in the same way. Keep a rubber band around your wrist and every time you start to entertain a thought or fantasy that triggers you, snap the rubber band on your wrist to induce pain. You will condition your brain to associate that trigger as being less than rewarding over time.
  • I never really liked  using the Red X that much because I think it's kind of robotic and doesn't have any "meaning" when applying it. So instead of using the Red X what I do is I say to myself "Fuck that shit" as soon as the urge arises. It has worked pretty well for me so far! You have to do it AS SOON as an image pop ups in your head. The very same moment you get that intention of watching porn. You have to do it before you start making excuses. After you say "Fuck that shit" you then proceed to refocus your mind on what you were doing before. Give it a try!
  • Destruction Visualization "Here's the visualization that I do when I get images and fantasy in my head: I take the image that is burned in my brain and I visualize it being destroyed, like going through a paper shredder, being burned up and then being thrown away. It has helped me out when I was conscious of the thoughts. I even had a time when I visualized and felt as if my brain was being cleaned out or emptied of all those images."
  • Eeeew Technique
    • "You have to internalize that you have a problem and your primitive part of your brain is to blame. Treat it as some sleazy sales person who promises you the world if you take advantage of his limited-time offer. Whenever you have an urge, don't think about how good the physical sensations will be. Instead, associate P and M to feelings of despair, depression, anxiety, a bear eating a man, a pit of large anaconda snakes—something gross!!!!!!! Right now, in your head, associate whatever you recently viewed to something you hate or are disgusted by. Picture it in your mind's eye. Be creative. Say you have this thing for a particular P star and you hate beetles (the insect). Form a mental picture of beetles crawling all over this individual or out of her mouth. Keep practicing this technique."
    • [Another guy] "If this doesn't work and the image is stuck, as sick as this sounds, imagine the flesh on the people involved in the trigger gradually rotting like something from a horror movie. This makes me sound mentally disturbed, but I find that by doing this it eliminates the threat that the trigger has, and it quickly becomes an unpleasant thought rather than a stimulating one."
    • [Another guy] "It helps a lot is to imagine her blowing her nose, vomiting, coughing up phlegm, or going to the bathroom. Hopefully at least one of those is repulsive and possibly amusing. It doesn't permanently kill the attraction for me, but it takes the edge off so that I'm not so worried about it. The worrying is actually what seems to give the visual or flashback power."
  • Imagine static I avoid fantasy when I see an image by imagining static. Television static is the most blank thing in the world. Whenever a porn scenario pops up or something related, just imagine static over the porn image/video. Try to imagine the static completely takes it over. I even occasionally add in the annoying buzzing sound and it really helps.
  • Or...none of the above I have tried the red X technique, but I don't know if it is the most effective. I think that it's maybe more effective (for me) to just "gently push thoughts aside", without too much judgement (like they do in mindfulness meditation), than to "destroy" them in a graphic way, or block them with X, or something like that. Maybe it's better to stay calm and not think about it too much. I agree that the power of these thoughts and images becomes much, much greater with every second, and that it is much easier to eliminate them early.
  • Also see The truth is, THIS BATTLE CANNOT BE WON.

Other rewiring techniques can be found at here and here.