I started this journey in 2013. I was the captain of my college, but I was not the leader I could have been. No charisma, no quick-fire wit, no humor, normal looks but minimal attractiveness. I wasted so many opportunities where I could have done good for the people. I could have been a role model to a lot of my peers, but I destroyed myself day after day, or night after night.
I could have been at my best, but every day I was at my worst. Then I found this community.
FF to 2017. To say that the NoFap journey was difficult is an understatement. The timeline was not short. I had to erase years alternating between moderate to heavy addiction. Full recovery was at least two years. Working on optimising my neural architecture brought it to four. It is likely the single most important thing I have ever done in my life. Four years later, I’m well into a business and engineering dual degree at one of the top 50 universities in the world. I’m grateful to be there. I work on the sales floor of an electronics retailer, and have served thousands of people in my time. I am mostly all smiles, I am mostly high-speed, I read about notable figures in history, and I love the human people unconditionally. Not naively, it’s a deliberate choice I make every day. When I graduate, I will work to develop the technology humanity needs for a sustainable future.
Four years later, these are the words I remind myself occasionally when life becomes difficult – There is no year without this day. There is no day without this hour. There is no hour without this minute. There is no minute without this second. Here and now in this second, I decide and I say no. Here and now I turn off the mental autopilot, the neural cruise control. It is hard, but I’ve done the practice. Autopilot off.
My thoughts on how to win at this problem of NoFap is to approach it from a neuroscientific perspective. We are physical systems, and changing the physical neural system is the most effective way to changing who we are. Willpower is not enough. Maybe pick up a book on the reward pathway, or learn about executive functions. Read up about brain structure on Wikipedia. I think a lot of people here place way too much emphasis on dopamine, when I feel the community should be focusing on endogenous opioid peptides, addiction to which is likely the real core issue here.
My personal opinion is that this an endogenous (internal) morphine addiction, and I think thus it belongs in a category where higher up the same category are some of the most difficult of addictions that human beings have to overcome (opiates). It is really really hard to leave, and for some, without professional help it is a life sentence.
Hence I hope to see more discussions here in this community backed by solid neuroscience research, even if self-taught. Citizen science to fix up citizen woes. I have grown and learnt a lot from NoFap checking in over the years, my life is possible in part because of the wise words and relentless spirit I found here. I am grateful for the support you have all given me. Thanks and good luck with your journeys.
See you on the other side.
I’m 20 years old.