I set myself a hundred day challenge because I’d had enough of feeling scared. I woke up every day and I was paralysed with dread. I’d lost control of my life. I didn’t know where my impulses were going to lead me next.
My brain was a bad travelling companion who might rob me at a moment’s notice. I felt completely hopeless.
I began masturbating when I was eleven and it was an instant addiction. Straight away, I began using it as a means to shut out reality and to avoid challenges. If my family and I were on holiday, I would stay behind in the hotel room, wanking off instead of socializing and exploring. It’s a pattern that remained in place right up until a hundred days ago. I am now twenty-eight.
So what benefits did I experience, not having the escape hatch? Well, no super-powers. But I do feel better, more human, more whole. Problems no longer seem insurmountable. Life is hard but I can handle it. The fear / paranoia / anxiety is fading. After the first month, I found a real sense of contentment and quiet confidence. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to feel at ease.
I feel that my humanity is returning, slowly but steadily. I can feel pain, I can learn from it and I can find a sense of direction from it. I’m rediscovering my identity. It’s such a relief to leave behind that splintered existence and live as one human being instead of two. It’s about time. I intend to continue the nofap lifestyle from now on. If I live to be ninety years old, I’ve wanked off enough.
You’ll read a lot on this forum about emotions flooding back all at once. It’s true. I’ve experienced severe mood swings and irritability. Sadness can come without warning. Sometimes I’d want to cry at work. Once I had a spontaneous breakdown while making dinner – the realization of what I’d lost hit me and I kept repeating, “The waste, the sheer fucking waste.” Watching films has helped keep my emotions in check. I watched The Shawshank Redemption a while ago – I hadn’t seen it in ages and started sobbing pretty much from the start; huge guttural heaves that shook my shoulders. It was cathartic.
Breaking away from this addiction has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Coming out of the porn trance, I looked around and saw a lot of neglect. I’ve been living in a wet dreamworld, a kingdom of wank, and I’ve let my true life go to waste. At times it has been extremely painful to live with that fact and to dwell in the mundane reality I’ve created over the last seventeen years. Every single one of my personal relationships has suffered. I’m working on a very low salary and scraping the rent together is a monthly struggle. I have ambitions but I’ve done almost nothing to realise them. The future will involve rebuilding what I’ve let waste away. It’s never too late.
I’m setting more goals for the next one hundred days. I want to re-establish relationships with my friends and family, pursue a meaningful career, and rid myself of other bad habits. Escapism still defines my life to a large extent. I avoid social situations. I binge on junk food. I spend a lot of time building playlists – I do this in an obsessive compulsive manner. Life is still hard. The difference now is that I can handle it. I’m not going to run away. The masturbation addiction was the first domino.
When I was at school, an art teacher taught me a valuable lesson. He held up a picture of an apple. “What is this?” he asked. “It’s an apple,” I said. “Wrong,” he said. “It’s a picture of an apple.” Fellow fapstronauts, there’s not a lot of advice I can give you, everyone here needs to find their own path and do this challenge in their own way. All I’ll say is this. Reward yourself. Be good to yourself. Don’t be afraid of pain. And remember, it’s not a woman, it’s a picture of a woman.