I’ve been PMO free for more than 90 days. I don’t post a lot on nofap.com but I feel the need to share what has helped me along the way as I know you’re all struggling right along with me…fighting the good fight.
I’m not looking for encouragement or congratulations. I just want to share what has FINALLY gotten me to this point in my life. This means a lot to me and its my experience/perspective which won’t fit everyone’s needs but hopefully you will find it helpful.
First, I know what the root cause of my problem was. Since I was 13, I’ve never known how to deal with emotions, so I buried them. Once I accepted that I wasn’t comfortable with dealing with these feelings, I started paying more attention to them. Instead of shrugging off what was bothering me, I started accepting the feelings and addressing them. I would tell people when I was upset about something, I would tell people “no” (which is something I’ve always had a problem with), and I would embrace it when something was eating at me instead of swallowing it. If you’re the type that’s like me, you need to do this. I feel the need to make everyone around me happy and I’m great at getting things done. Because of this, I’ve learned that I’m able to help people when they’re busy/stressed, but this often comes at a price and for me that’s not a price I’m willing to pay anymore.
Second, accountability is critical. My wife has been my biggest supporter through this process. She’s a very strong woman but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. She’s struggling with this just as much as I am and it nearly ended our relationship several times. Without her support, albeit wavering at times, I would never be at this point now (long term goals are still to come so I’m nowhere near finished). I talk with my wife now more than I ever have in the past 11 years we’ve been together. We talk every night about how things are going for both of us, the struggles we’ve faced and how we’ve dealt with them. I found that her support was not reliable all the time so I reached out to rebootnation and nofap for another accountability partner to keep me reliable when I needed it most. It’s important to own up to your addiction and accept that you have a problem and need help early on in this process.
Third, study! Learn what it is that’s going on in your brain. Read books like “Treating Pornography Addiction”, “Power Over Pornography” and “Love You Hate the Porn” to help you with your battle and rebuilding relationships. Look at blogs, journals, and articles from people who have been through your struggle and find out what worked for them. Absorb yourself in this information daily so that it keeps you focused and on guard. I found this helped me most in the beginning to understand what was causing my addiction, my vulnerabilities and triggers, and how to prevent relapse. Without this information, you’ll be lost and probably not successful.
Fourth, believe that pornography no longer exists. Seriously…it no longer exists. This worked wonders for me. It sounds stupid but I read it in an article (can’t remember the reference) and it changed my course. You have to truly accept this statement and cherish it. It’s challenging at times since the media knows that a significant portion of the population is addicted to porn in some way and they put ads, commercials, shows, and movies in your face all the damn time with images and clips of sexy women…but this can make you successful and greatly reduce your cravings/urges in the long term.
Fifth, share what you’ve learned with others. This is what I’m doing now and have found myself doing with my accountability partner. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but if you help one person who is struggling in a similar way as you to get through that battle, it could change someone’s life and also creates more accountability for you. This is something I need for longterm success. By sharing your stories and successes with others and setting an example for the, it puts you in a leadership position where you don’t want to let everyone down. It would suck for me to follow this post up in a week with a relapse!
So again, I know this won’t help everyone and I know it’s a lot to read. But I needed to share this information with this community and I hope just one person can relate and find this helpful. I need to be more involved in this community to help others and to reach my longterm goals. So please, reach out with any questions and I will be here.
The Benefits of Success
I’ve posted about how I got to 90 days and the struggles along the way before. But I wanted to post something about the benefits of success along the way…as something to look forward to if you’re early on in your journey. For me, a lot of the benefits came as a surprise and I’ve heard that from others as well. Once these positive feelings/interactions start coming, it helps to provide an extra layer of protection and encouragement against relapse.
The first benefit that I noticed was feeling more rested. The middle of the night or early morning was a tough time for me when I was struggling and it was often when I would PMO. So, naturally I felt more rested once this stopped. I had trouble sleeping on a couple of occasions early on, likely related to withdrawals, but this went away after the first month. Now, I wake feeling rested. Everyone’s circumstances will be different as to when they are most vulnerable, but expect to have more time to do things that really matter.
I also noticed that I was actually more emotional which has helped with my marriage. I pay attention to my emotions now, rather than trying to bury them. Swallowing my emotions was a big vulnerability for me and when shit hit the fan, it was often because I wasn’t dealing with some issues. I talk with my wife on a daily basis about what’s eating at me and what’s eating at her too. This has greatly improved our communication and our relationship.
I have more confidence in myself than I had in the past. I’m a pretty successful person with my career so that’s never been an issue for me, but my personal interactions with people have always had something missing. Now that I feel less ashamed of myself and I’ve given up the deceitful double-life that I was living, I feel more comfortable just being myself. I don’t have anything to hide anymore so I feel better about myself.
I’m still struggling to rebuild my wife’s trust…this has actually been a bigger battle for me than giving up PMO. I’ve always wanted to give up PMO. It was no longer an option for me. My family and my marriage mean more to me than anything else. We have plenty of fights still about these issues but I see each fight as a ‘hurdle’ cleared on my way to rebuilding her trust in me. It’s the only way I can make it through the pain/memories related to these fights. At least then I know it’s progress towards recovery.
Enjoy the positive benefits along the way, gentlemen. Reward yourself for your progress, and keep up the fight.
UPDATE – Two Years…An ‘Impossible’ Milestone
I know my counter says its less but my actual quit day from PMO was 2/5/15 when my wife discovered that I was still struggling with my addiction. I joined NoFap and started my counter months into my journey.
It’s been a VERY long two years to get to this point but I wouldn’t change any of it. I have two kids, 1 and 3 years old, and I’ve been married for 8 years now. It was time for me to get past my biggest weakness and do what was right for my family. My wife was a huge motivation for me early on. Without her help, I never would have made it through those first months. This was all extremely hard on her and our relationship almost fell apart several times during that first year. Giving up the porn was cake compared to what I’ve had to do to rebuild the trust with my wife.
I want others to know that you can make it to this point but, just like giving up drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, you have to really want to quit. If you’re not truly committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve sobriety, you’re just not going to be successful. Make the right choice and if you slip up, get your shit back together and keep learning from your mistakes. Be willing to do whatever it takes…getting a coach, joining a group, deleting common social media apps from your phone, giving up your favorite shows with nudity/sexual content, or even getting a ‘dumb phone’. I made a lot of changes in my life during the first month of recovery. The reason I’m still going, is I haven’t changed anything. I still do everything the same as I did when I started. I found something that works for me. Helping others on NoFap helps to keep me focused on recovery and helps me remember where I’ve come from. I don’t often post about myself on NoFap, but I wanted to celebrate this milestone and I hope others can learn from my journey and be able to post their 2 year milestone on here when the time comes. Keep fighting