1.POSITIVE & PRESENT
There will be moments of absolute beauty, understanding, and peace throughout initial recovery. There will also be moments of intense depression, anxiety, fear, and abandon. The key for making it through these moments is to remind yourself that all things are temporary and these emotions will pass, no matter how intense.
Remember that you are basically a good person who is worthy of happiness and love. It’s okay to feel these emotions and it is a normal part of this process. You haven’t actually “felt” anything in a long time. Let yourself explore these emotions. Try not to repress. You really are worthy of love and happiness and you will find both.
Don’t stay inside your head for too long. Don’t dwell on any negative feeling for a prolonged period of time. Experience it, feel it fully, and then move on. Stay PRESENT focused whenever possible. Do not obsess over the past.
If you find yourself fantasizing about porn, remember all of the awful things that it brought into your life. It’s not fair to your brain to obsess over the perceived positives of something without considering the negatives. Remember all of the horrible things that this addiction did to you. Remember how unmanageable your life had become. Remember how selfish you had become. Then focus on all the positive things that have entered your life since you have started this recovery process. Think of all the potential the future holds with recovery.
It doesn’t matter what kind. Jogging, sprinting, yoga, heavy lifting, ballet, basketball, nature walks etc… Get outside of your comfort zone and start using your body. Your body is a beautiful gift and part of porn/masturbation addiction is taking our bodies for granted. I exercise every single day. Sometimes it’s only 10 minutes of stretching, sometimes in a 1 mile sprint, some days it’s 2 hours of lifting. There are no exceptions to this rule for me.
3.ELIMINATE & EXCHANGE
Stop bringing your laptop into your bedroom. Stop bringing your cellphone into your bedroom. Read before bed or meditate instead.
Get off Facebook. Delete time-wasting apps on your phone. Spend time on r/nofap instead. Or use the calendar app to keep your monthly and weekly schedule up to date and accurate. The notepad app is also helpful for remembering things and making to-do lists.
Stop staying up until 4am playing video games. Stop staying up until 4am period. Try waking up early and going for a morning run or doing meditation. Try it once a week, then twice a week, then maybe every day one week. I always thought I was just born to be a night-person. Now I love mornings. I love waking up before anyone and getting work done.
Stop smoking weed and other drugs. It took me a while to realize that I was using weed as a way to escape reality. Recovery and sobriety is about a commitment to reality at all costs. When I am stressed I drink a chamomile or stress-releaving tea. I started drinking kaumbucha as well. I also recently started meditating. I recommend all of the above as great stress relieving activities.
Stop eating fast food. Learn to cook a couple simple healthy meals. I know how to make chicken chili, vegetable stir fry, and a few other easy dishes. I keep my apartment stocked with fresh fruit, hummus, nuts, chicken breast, and vegetables. It’s totally affordable since I stopped drinking and smoking and eating fast food. And I’m much less tempted to eat poorly when healthy options are available.
It’s important not to overwhelm yourself with trying to change too much at one time. Pick a couple things each week and really focus on accomplishing them. The trend here is that we are eliminating the negative behaviors and replacing them with positive ones. This is called “first-order” change. When you substitute one behavior for another behavior within a certain way of behaving you are engaging in first order change. This is one of the first steps towards sobriety and recovery.
Consider telling a friend about your addiction. You might be surprised that they are or have struggled with something similar. Tell a parent or someone in your family. Tell anyone who you trust and who you think will be supportive of this life style change.
I told both my parents, my sister, my girlfriend, and I am currently in therapy with a licensed addiction therapist. I know some people are very resistant to try therapy (I was the same way), but I think this was a crucial step for me progressing in my own recovery. I told my therapist things that I have never told any human being before. Opening up to someone and having them respond with compassion and understanding helped me to realize that I am not really a bad person and I am worthy of love and happiness. I have gone my whole life thinking that I am basically a bad person. Seeing acceptance in the eyes of someone else is a truly powerful and life changing thing.
5.RESEARCH & REFLECTION
A few books really helped me reach this 90 day point. Those books are:
“John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame that Binds You” – an amazing and inspiring book that was the pinnacle turning point in helping me to get rid of my shame and start loving myself. This was the single most important book in my recovery.
“Allen Carr’s Easyway to Control Alcohol” – quitting drinking was a huge step for me gaining sobriety with my sex/masturbation addiction. Many of the strategies for quitting drinking can be directly applied to quitting porn and masturbation.
“Joe Zychik The Most Personal Addiction” http://www.sexualcontrol.com/images/stories/the-most-personal-first-48.pdf Zychik has some whacky ideas about certain things, but mostly I agree with his approach. I think it’s a shame that he doesn’t believe in or recommend therapy. I think he’s just bitter about that kind of thing because he dropped out of high school. Give his book a read. It’s free and it’s got some great recovery-related stuff in there.
“Patrick Carnes’ Facing the Shadow” Carnes is not my favorite person in the sexual recovery community. But he is one of the most researched, respected and established. His book is not really laid out well in my opinion and could be a little discouraging to those new to recovery. Overall, it has some great information though and I would recommend it especially if you have a therapist to guide you through the material and exercises.
You have to take responsibility for your life, your failures, and your current situation. You were a victim. You fell into a trap. Both these things are true. But now you are aware of the trap and you have to start taking responsibility for your selfish addict past. Specific repeated choices have led you to this point. The same ability to chose healthy living and recovery will lead you out of this dark place.
Promptly admit when you make mistakes. Don’t blame others if you relapse. Always look at your life situation and ask yourself what are the choices you have made that have led you to this point.
Ask others for help if you need it. Don’t be so arrogant to think that you can or have to do this by yourself. It takes great courage to admit your problems and ask for help. It is easy and cowardly to pretend that you have no problems. Don’t blame the nofap community or your parents or your friends or anyone if you relapse. Only YOU can make the choice not to engage in this addiction.
This does not mean necessarily mean God or church or religion. For me spirituality is meditation. Spirituality can be found in music. Spirituality can be a beautiful sunset or a thunderstorm. Anything that reminds you of the amazing and powerful energy that exists in this world. Remember through all of this that no matter how small or insignificant you might feel, you are still special to someone else. Your life is important and is a gift. You are worthy of love and happiness.
I dreamed of the day when I would complete 90 days and I could come to this community and share what I have learned. When I confessed to my girlfriend about my infidelity it was one of the darkness and scariest moments of my life. When I shared it with you all it was met with a lot of support and I also felt like I was helping others in the community just by sharing my story.
Keep in mind that this community is now over 150,000 members. The majority of posts do not get much attention and this has little to do with content or quality and more to do with luck. I’ve had posts that are some of the highest rated in this sub and posts that have 0 upvotes and no comments. Don’t be offended or take it personally if this happens.
Start loving yourself and showing it with your actions. Reward yourself for success. If you can afford it, treat yourself to nice things every once in a while.
You deserve happiness. You deserve life without addiction. Celebrate milestones. Give gifts to yourself. Go to get a massage. Go to a movie. Go the park and read a book. Laugh, smile, and cry when you need to. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is short. Enjoy it. You are worth it.
Here’s a copy paste from stuff that helped me early in my recovery, in case you are looking for more concrete tips. Best of luck to you in your journey of recovery. I believe you will find your way and trust you have the power within you to change. You really do deserve to be happy. You really are worth it. Since you are fairly new to recovery here’s a little info that has helped me through my journey. Go ahead and do some research for yourself about the positives of porn and masturbation. Question everything you read and you will soon realize that people out there are fooling themselves. They are addicted to a drug and are desperate to somehow justify their drug-use. People are willing to go to great lengths to explain their shitty habits. We are very protective of things that we know deep down are addictions. Here is a little reading material for you! Remember to never stop researching and exploring this addiction. It is cunning and the more you learn the better success you will have. Remember to take it all with a grain of salt. The important thing is that these resources will help you start to question your inner-addict. http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/2zrqrk/this_is_so_true_must_read/ (it’s my own words, so I hope that doesn’t come across as narcissistic. I just think thinking about these things is extremely important in early recovery) http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Shame-Binds-Recovery-Classics/dp/0757303234 This book is great for dealing with shame. It has helped me greatly with my own struggle to deal with my past and make peace with my mistakes and accepting myself as a person. http://www.amazon.com/Allen-Carrs-Easy-Stop-Smoking/dp/0615482155 This book is not written for sex addiction, but it shows how recovery can be an extremely positive experience. I would definitely recommend reading it and substituting “porn and masturbation” for “nicotine.” http://www.sexualcontrol.com/The-Most-Personal-Addiction/ There is a free PDF download on the website. I really like this book because it gives concrete strategies for overcoming porn and masturbation addiction. Read it all with a grain of salt. And approach everything in your initial recovery with skepticism. http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Shadow-Starting-Relationship-Recovery/dp/0982650523 I’m not a huge fan of Patrick Carnes because he seems to miss a basic idea about recovery that I think is important. But this book really is great for exploring your addiction. I would recommend it in small doses. It is highly interactive and it is sometimes very challenging to work with. This book is best used with the help of a therapist.