It’s been over 90 days since I quit porn cold turkey and started my first ever streak (+- since our counters broke down). The nightmare mode streak, as I call it.
At 27 yo I currently have no GF, do not plan to use escorts, never used or plan to use drugs or alcohol, and even dropped coffee and PC gaming for good. Yep, and I’m a virgin (haha, loser!), but I could care less right now.
The urges were moderately strong for the first week, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Starting from day 7 and up to day 50 it was somewhat an easy ride. I experienced ‘some’ superpowers, less anxiety but can’t say I instantly became the chick magnet ™. Emotional swings were handled pretty easily. My coding and debugging skills instantly became better, I could easily stay concentrated at work for hours like I used to. It damn felt like I just got wizard powers back! So overall results were positive (save for terrible headaches, most likely related to caffeine withdrawal. Nofap made it a complete torture). I really thought it was going to be easy from now on. Well, I was mistaken.
From about day 50 to day 60 the superpowers started literally ‘burning’. E.g. I definitely observed something like 2 out of 3 symptoms of mania. Mood was constantly elevated, mind was rushing, as If I just hit a caffeine overdose and that thing was causing insomnia and spiraling out of control. My body was never really affected by sedatives, now I could drink all those herbal sedatives like plain tea with no effect whatsoever. Wish I did more meditation so that I could handle it, for nothing really worked. At that point I really considered relapsing with no second thought, since my self-control was at the limits. But at day 60 I had my first wet dream (save for I had no dreams that night, just found something like ‘wet explosion’ in the morning). My super-plan of making wet dreams lucid failed.
And all the fun started with day 60. After a mood drop after that wet dream pressure started to build up again, only faster. So I did invest more time in meditation. Mood swings got worse, and it took a while to handle them properly. Emotions kicked in with more strength. I was experiencing more of them during the first days, but now beautiful music started to literary blow my mind.
Lifestyle changes, like picking up salsa dancing and spending more time outside allowed me to gradually reduce my anxiety, one baby-step at a time. Salsa (the moment you stop the exercises and have to pick a girl do dance with) is one hell of anti-approach-anxiety-therapy.
About day 70 I was again half way in the manic state, sleep times reduced to ~6 hours or less, but this time I meditated my mind calm and shut myself off with melatonin for a nice 10+ hour sleep. No wet dreams, but manic state went away.
About day 90 that happened again, but I had no melaxen at that moment, and I was one day too late so I got a nasty cold.
Anxious state was coming along randomly, often in the morning but less and less, almost gone by now. Achievement unlocked: I fixed the damn thing and if so it was all damn worth it!
- Careful with superpowers, for they are not really super-powers. They may seem tempting to use, but they are a dangerous state, that looks like hypomania. You are over-confident, you are not ready to handle all the new emotions yet, may behave irrationally and do and say things that you may later regret. And you have at least some of your internal failsafe mechanisms disabled. If you don’t sleep properly for 4+ days, but still have what you think enough power to go on – do the rational thing, get some sedatives/meditation/melatonin – and force yourself to rest.
- Same goes for emotions. They are cool, enjoyable, but they also have the dark side. They make you vulnerable to girls’ flirting with you. If you ever played RPGs – imagine porn gave a constant 100% resistance to charm and seduction. Now you don’t have it anymore. Keep that in mind and think rational. Unfortunately, not all girls are worth your feelings and some of them will enjoy breaking your heart to pieces. Yep, some are snakes like that. Without the porn-shield (r) ™ and with all your new emotions and shields down it will be damn very painful to break up.
- NoFap is definitely stress. A lot of stress, so find ways to drain cortisol from your system. Damn, just cry when nobody sees you if you are desperate. Seems to help to get out of both manic and anxious state. Good thing I could always make myself cry on demand since childhood, but I never used this skill for over a decade. Manage your mood, or you’ll break yourself. People here report increased urges because of chocolate bars, I never had a problem with that and normally consume a lot of sweet things when working (And I’m lucky to never get actually fat)
- I think I succeeded so far because I was never really a porn addict and never really enjoyed fapping after all. Just considered it something my body needs unless I get a proper GF. And even didn’t bother to test the hypothesis until it was too late. Now I understand that I’ve been going for over a decade at only a fraction of my full potential. I did achieve a lot of things in life that I’m proud of, but I could’ve done more and better. Well, at least it was easier for me to quit.
- Take note of how many hours you sleep. If your time of sleep decreases to below 7-8 hours and keeps like that for several days – body will start failing. Even if you feel cool thanks to super-powers it screws up coordination (Never try to dance salsa when you’re not well-rested! It sucks), reaction times and affects decision-making. If it does get below average – take supplements. If I’m not well-slept muscles and joints hurt a lot more after salsa and exercises. Immune system will also degrade if you do not sleep well. I had a problem managing sleep recently and now got a terrible cold.
- Careful with coffee. I relapsed the coffee-streak for a cup of latte at starbucks at about day 67 – got immediate mood swing towards the ‘manic’ state, and a huge drop back to anxious state the next day. This may easily make you relapse.
I think I’ll just go on. No matter how many days are on my badge counter, no matter it’s broken or not. Just go on. It’s worth it and you don’t have the time to fap – you have to fix your damn life.
Almost forgot this part, will edit now. Dreams were and are damn weird. Some were motivational, some were creepy, some were shitty. But they had way better plot, cast and operator work that most of current movies. One day a pronstar came into my dreams that tried to talk me into relapse. Gave her a one-finger salute, and told to ‘f*ck off’. She said something that I had no power. “Do I?” And I intensionally woke up. Fell asleep the next minute with “Damn, now they put porn ads into my dreams”
After 13 years of hell I started nofap with just one goal… just kidding.
Well, it’s been a bumpy ride, since I’ve dropped caffeine and fap for good, cold turkey after 5+ years of caffeinating myself and 13+ years of jerking off. Cold turkey, with no right to relapse. After all I’m almost 28 and I have only one shot at fixing myself.
And I’ve just started to notice differences. You may have read my 90 days report here, so I’ll sum up the long term changes in this post.
Anxiety. I did have it before starting nofap, I’ve fought it for a long time with nothing but willpower. It didn’t really go away just yet, and I have occasional spikes that tend to come along with urges, but overall the fight is a great deal easier now. I had to give yet another tech talk, I was prepared to cope with my usual anxiety spike and… There came none. I felt almost disappointed. It looks half of my anxiety episodes now either come when I’m getting tired or are mere memories. Like… I feel like I’m anxious because my brain remembers me to be anxious at similar situations.
Urges. Those creeps changed a lot since day 70 or so. They were not cravings for porn any more, but for an emotional bond. Since I have to deal with a few cute (but alas empty) chicks at work that I do not want to date, I experienced something that was a hell of self-control exercise. I learned how feelings screwed up my rational thinking and eventually resisted all the charms. But there was even more to that. Meditation taught me that I can control even the strongest feelings like love, switch it easily from one girl to another if you want it or shut it off and redirect into a full tank of pure motivation. They say love is something you can’t control? Now I know it’s all pure bullshit! You can! We all know jerking off is the easiest way to fix it, but there’s a harder way that yields most rewards.
Emotions. Can’t say I’ve become a lot more emotional, but emotions do look brighter and harder to control. My new self-control perks balanced increased emotional sensitivity mostly, but I had a few anger outbreaks when I said things I didn’t mean to my relatives. Once or twice when I came home and thought that I could finally relax my self-control. Turns out you never can when on nofap.
Social. It looks like I started feeling people a little better, my social skills still suck – but I’m working on it. I had no problem dealing with people, but it was always exhausting for me and I hated it. Especially in my later anxious years where over 80% of your brainpower was directed to fighting inner anxiety and made you literary collapse when you got home.
Sport. Definitely a bonus. Meditation gave me perks to just walk into cold water with no emotion when others are bitching about how cold it is. I now mix meditative state of mind with any repetitive daily rituals, like brushing teeth, workout, swimming, etc. And get double the bonuses.
I started a bunch of hobbies, like dancing, archery, piano. Dancing gave me blue balls once, though, but the body quickly understood that it ain’t getting the fix. And I have motivation for all of those!
Is it a placebo? Perhaps. Maybe it works by giving you an ultimate inner villain to fight and thus strengthens you. Do I regret those 13 (or even more, I can’t even remember) years of fap? It looks like I do not. Those years of loneliness, fighting a fight I could never really win, merely prepared me for this fight. I learned to go forward even when I didn’t know why I should and my own body was against it. I learned to turn anxiety, fear and loneliness into cynical motivation by overcoming those for hell knows how long. That was only way I could keep going in those dark years.
So if you guys do relapse, do not beat yourself over it. It may just not be the right time for you for you for a way off from your purgatory. Take your time, learn why you failed and next time make it.
What of me? I’ll just go on. It’s been more than 180 days, but it looks like I have a very long way up ahead and I’m not even half the way through. How long will it take? 180 more days, a year, a decade? I’ve no idea and it really doesn’t matter. I’ll just keep going and meditate on each and every step I take, and make sure that with each step I turn myself into something better.
UPDATE – An overdue yearly report (hard-mode)
I’m over a month overdue with my yearly report, so here it goes. Extremely long read. I tried to be as fair as possible, noting all the cons as well as pros. AMA, I’ll try to answer all the questions tomorrow.
Pros: Social anxiety fading away, social skills getting better day by day. No more colds, better health. Better skin Body hair coverage increased More dence hair on my head Better overall concentration and productivity Better stress response
Cons: Sweat is stinky. Like real stinky. Tried a shitload deodorants, they all suck. Overconfidence. Comes in rushes, makes you feel high, impulsive. Have to be very careful Easily become dependent on social interaction. Hard to spend extended time alone at first Mood swings every time a wet dream approaches, completely f.cked up the next day after the wet dream (but getting better) If you miss your workout – intense urges strike. Elevated blood pressure
The long read. Before NoFap:
A year ago I was broken. Even though I smiled and looked okay, I was damn broken inside. I kept pushing towards my PhD, work, whatever and every morning I would ask myself why I keep that fight. My emotional part had zero reason to do it. I had zero motivation, yet pushed forward. My irrational part was nearly dead. It didn’t want to do anything, but my rational part forced me to go forward, carrying the half-dead other part on it’s back, creating a constant fucking cognitive dissonance. I was never at peace with myself. I had issues to just keep on track with few friends I had. Once exceptional memory was getting worse every day, no matter how much I tried. I barely felt any emotions at all, yet watching a film where characters get themselves in socially awkward situations would trigger my anxiety and beg me to turn it off. I made myself watch anyway, just as an exersise. Anxiety and especially social anxiety were crippling me. Sometimes I’d waste an hour just to get my ass out to work and all my way there my brain would keep inventing excuses why I should stay home that my rational part was constantly discarding. Programming. My only work and hobby was soon of no joy. Professional burnout – I got all the symptoms of it and that was the worst of it. Tech conferences were even worse. When I had to give a talk, social anxiety kicked in giving me hot-cold rushes down my spine. I looked okay, I smiled, I talked, but deep inside it was a damn hell and torture that I barely managed. My hands always shook shortly after it. I had no girlfriend ever that freaked me out. Really, 28 year old and nowhere near normal relasionship? Sport was impossible. It never energised me, but made me sleepy and tired. I never gained weight, was always thin. Any muscle I got after working my ass out for a month would be gone within a few days. And that would happen each time I got a cold. And I got colds damn often and coughed for months after. That’s folks precisely what 13 years of PMO does to you. Despite the fact that I’ve never drank alcohol, did drugs or compulsive use of social network shit or gaming that ramp up dopamine… I was always depressed inside, covering the the pain and loneliness with an obligatory fake smile. I knew that in my country getting my ass anywhere near a depression diagnosis and my career is no more, so I kept fighting with no medication. Well, I guess this is the only thing that saved my ass so far. I’d normally jerk off once every few days to the nearest porn I’d find just thinking it’s a so needed ritual for my balls since I had no GF. The year before nofap I’d use that to medicate anxiety that was the dumbest idea ever. I don’t really recall how I ended up doing so. I was damn lucky I had a strict taboo towards suicide with a label “don’t even think about it”. My rational part was the only alive part in me at that time. It took me about 6 moths of studies with whatever energy I had in me to find out about nofap and considering it a go. After all, there was nothing else wrong with me. I lived a way more healthy life than many of my friends… And finally things started to change. Not instantly, but they did.
The very start. Nightmare mode.
Quiting porn and fap was no big deal for me. After having to fight my way through own personal hell… Seriously, what could be worse? At that moment there was very little human in me left even to appreciate the irony. The first days were hard, but this fight shifted the focus from anxiety and the rest. It was something new, so I really enjoyed fighting urges. For once I found out that I had urges, desires. I didn’t make it easy for myself. Instead, I decided to make it as difficult as I could. I didn’t even ban porn or ads in my browser. Instead – disabled adblock for a while, even let myself peek onto pron for a while, when you feel you’re driven by it, but at the same time you have that strict rule: nofap One that that you can’t break. I said to myself: What’s good my willpower if I get aroused by the first tits I see on the internets and can’t control myself? Surprisingly the urges where never near enough to break my willpower. After a few weeks I quit caffeine, and slowly started adding more and more sport and meditation. Headaches soon became the new torture. Caffeine withdrawal while on nofap was a total mess, but after the headaches stopped I finally felt… alive. For a moment life wasn’t that shitty, as if I saw a dim glimpse of light somewhere there, far far away. I felt more and more emotions, music really blew my head off. I quickly found fun listening to metal once again, but soon had to stop – those fast beets way supercharged my emotions. But it all had their bad sides. I became way more impulsive and barely managed my own emotions no matter how much I meditated. I always thought I had exceptional self control. At that time I found out that it takes one to have a self to control it. It took me two or so months to have my first wet dream. It was a blessing for I nearly thought of relapsing just to get my emotional state into something… controllable. By the next wet dream about a month later I was way more prepared and had everything under control… I started swimming, running and working out for a change. And for the first time in my life I didn’t feel sleepy and half dead after working out. I also started salsa. The latter was awesome to finally challenge my social anxiety. The first time I was dancing I had mood swings like two or three times per minute from high to low and back. I challenged my social anxiety many times before, but this time everything was different. After social situations I would come back broken and collapse. But not this time. I came feeling better. Yes, my muscles were aching, I didn’t really make new friends yet, but I wasn’t THAT dead as I used to be. Before NoFAP I tried hard just to keep my social anxiety at a somewhat controllable state, fighting hard to just keep it from progressing and slowly loosing bits and pieces of myself to it. That moment I understood one thing: “For once I can fight this shit back and reclaim what’s mine!”. And just like that the next time went on smoother. After each salsa lesson and any other social situation I’d meditate and give myself a score. Social interaction, coordination… everything. And made sure my scores increased a little bit every time.
Phase two: a different kind of urges.
The fun thing about living with zero social skills is that people are always a mystery to you, a black box: Was that smile on the girl’s face inviting, a polite excuse for ‘Damn, what an asshole’, or something else? You can’t read body language, you can’t feel other people emotions, damn you are blind! You damn even don’t know when it’s time to shut the f.ck up! In this case you either become an awkward jerk afraid of anyone and run from the world… Or go read the books on psychology, rational choice theory and make the best to use of whatever knowledge you have. It’s slower, sometimes less precise, but sometimes better since emotions are not involved in the process. And besides it’s the only thing you’ve got left. Being socially anxious, yet trying to live a more or less social life makes you use whatever tech you have around. I even had a bunch of scripts to do data mining and a dozen of fake social network accounts for them all to quickly find out a summary about people I meet. In fact – they were the only accounts in social media that I had. Funny though, how knowing how much intel you can get about a person from a social media account and how accurate it is… It makes you want to stay away from ever using social networks yourself, no matter how addictive they can be, no matter what people think about you. But – to the point. Roughly about the time I got the first bunch of my emotions back a cute girl starts working at our department and for the first time in hell knows how many years I understand that I have a crush. Like a crush-crush. And I’m her boss. What’s worse, my rational part is shouting “Don’t even think about it, damn idiot! That’s the one who will screw your entire life!”. Indeed if you look at her ‘work skills’ it was… Well facepalm. A very typical overconfident and shallow type of person. And no way I was going to date someone who openly posts photos of her in the underwear on the instagram like weekly. That’s what my rational part thought. But my irrational part was still thinking she was the queen of the universe, and there was something other than fap material in her. This time I craved not for fap, but for an emotional bond. And that was the worst possible person around. That ‘craving’ came periodically and was damn worse than any urges for porn I’ve encountered. I couldn’t talk to her longer than half an hour since ‘pink goo’ as I called it started accumulating in my brains. I was delusional as hell. My brain would try it’s best to forget all the bad parts about her and find at least something positive. I meditated even more. Meditation times were up from 30 minutes to up to 2 hours if things were shitty. I ended up with a system where I wrote down facts about her. Each fact would add from +3 to -3 of karma points to her score from my perspective. With my brain selectively ‘forgetting’ facts about her that was the only thing that helped me push through. And every time I would resist those urges for emotional bond, no matter how shitty I felt – I noticed small things changing about me. Hair all over my body started growing more and more. I only had single hairs from my elbow and up to the shoulders… Now there were rows of new hairs getting darker and thicker each day. Muscles were itching for a workout. I had to keep calm not to overdo sport. That felt weird. And for once muscles didn’t just dissolve into nothing if you skip a day or two. It was about my day 280 when our whole department had once of those days before the actual product release. This is usually the time when software developers are overcaffeinated and nervous and a shitload of stuff needs to be done to be sent to Q&A team in time. I used to love those days. Music to disconnect you from reality, and code, code, code… Unfortunately I’ve been loosing my grip over the years and it’s been over 5 years when I’ve never been able to concentrate on a code task longer than 3-4 hours. If I went beyond 3 hours – I’d usually ended up triggering terrible anxiety and an overall mood drop. I ended up weaseling out of tasks requiring a shitload of concentration for a while, but this time I had to get down to actually write some f.cking code. This time – no caffeine boost for me. Well, so I tried. When I ‘woke up’ fellows were asking me about going to lunch. Five hours went like a few moments, I nearly missed lunch and I felt awesome. No mood drop whatever. After lunch I resumed my code sprint, ended up working late and spent another 6 hours at the office. And guess what – no mood drop, no anxiety spike, no whatsoever. I got home tired as hell but so happy that I almost cried. Today I’ve written more code than I usually did in a week. I felt like a freaking tech wizard that just got his code-o-powers back after a very long time. Damn, took me long enough to figure this one out.
Phase three: The spring. As the sun was shining more and more, so did my body decide it should spice things up a little bit. My urge-o-meter was hitting the limits again, more and more often. And once again, things started changing. I’d normally get some strong urge for porn, triggered by something absolutely random, next day I’d crave for an emotional bond that fucked my brains in more ways I could imagine, and the next day I’d feel high and overconfident. Wet dream period was getting shorter. Usually next day after a wet dreams I had terrible headaches afterwards, mood swings, and anxiety rushes. Along with the headaches my blood pressure would jump up and down, but would normally be higher than normal. I always had since I could barely remember blood pressure way below normal. 100 x 65 or so. Now my blood was pumping at 120 x 80, a few times along with the headaches blood pressure would rise to 140 x 95. No wonder I felt like total shit. Wet dreams made things VERY unpredictable and I had once had to add some coffee to the mix, or I’d screw up an important business meeting. But the overall tendency was that wet dream period was decreasing, as well as the amount of ejaculate I’d find in my pants in the morning. It looks like they were mostly related to my emotional state and really trigger mostly when I was emotionally unstable. At that point the period went down to one wet dream per 3-4 days, and after a few cycles they just went away for over a month. Memory was getting better day by day. Old memories would come to me day by day at random. I even managed to recall my childhood memories from about 2 or 3 years old. Distant, shiny, happy. Details of the last five overfapped years of my life came way after those childhood memories and it turned out that those years weren’t that dark as they seemed not so long ago. Stress response changed a lot. Stressful situations coupled with social interaction no longer exhausted me like they did earlier. I would quickly recall the meditative state to quickly calm down and the body did the rest. The fun thing is, really stressful situations gave me those painful blue balls shortly. I could like feel the balls getting heavier. And once back home after a stressful situation huge urges would kick in. Spring brought a few notable changes to my perception of life and people around me. I finally really ‘felt’ people around. It was weird at first, but so much easier than making educated guesses about what they might feel. And I also started not just seeing, feeling how f.cked up many people really are. Instagram, facebook, whatever. They run, chase that small droplets of dopamine, and think it’s normal because otherwise they’ll feel sad, lonely, depressed. I knew with my rational part that all those social media merely exploited human instincts to make profits. They didn’t care for anything else. Now I felt it. I could literary feel how addicted some people are, endlessly swiping friend feed on instagram, browsing facebook, or even going out socialising. Barely existing at work craving for the weekend to come. And my crush whose ghost was still haunting me from time to time was one of those social media addicts. Addicted to likes, selfies, attention. Broken perhaps just like I was. Reaching out for her phone to check instagram or facebook every time when she didn’t get it from the first attempt. She was still working with us doing random paperwork, though I was no longer her boss. Once we met at lunch I gave her the last advice I could. If one wants to master something, one should learn to sacrifice something he or she likes. That is always the price we pay. We had a nice chat, I told her in simple words how these things worked and that she can’t compulsively reach out for her phone or run away to a club every time shit happens in life. Sometimes you have to just accept all the shit that happens in life, and don’t seek an immediate relief. She was pretty much honest with me and admitted that she felt bad when not checking in social media once in an hour at least. I didn’t even had to tell her I’ve rigged a script to gather stats of how often she was ‘online’ in social media during work days. The fact that she failed at her very first job since graduation bothered her. Especially since developing mobile apps was always a distant dream for her. “But I can’t I’d feel depressed if I do, I don’t want it. Some people can handle it, I’m not one of them” She was overprotective about her point of view, so I didn’t argue like I’d normally would. That was her choice. She made it. And no matter how painful it was – I had to accept it. At that moment I understood how similar I was to her just some months ago. I’d argue as much as I could, not because it was right, but just to reduce that discomfort that someone has a different opinion. Seeing how a once talented girl abandons her dream in favor of those fake shiny pleasures was painful. But for once I could accept it and embrace that pain. This was the last day I craved for an emotional bond with her. I could finally let it go. After all, I was really thankful to her. She unwillingly made me a great deal stronger. That said, normal pleasures by that time were becoming more and more addictive. Carbs, junk food, social interaction, games, books. Everything. Roughly at that time I started following a strict ‘dopamine’ diet, allowing simple pleasures to myself only on very big occasions.
Summing up the last year, what changed? I’m still a 28 year old virgin. My social skills are still aren’t the best, anxiety still sometimes pays me a visit. But for the first time in my life I’m now at peace with myself and I will remember how much I screwed up for the rest of my life and make sure I never fall into the same trap again. Not with porn, not with anything else. Although honestly, no one knows what will happen tomorrow. I still have random thoughts like “Why not trying a prostitute? What could possibly go wrong?”, and I still have to find a calm and rational “no” answer to that question and follow it. This fight is never really over.