So, after 60 days of a very intentional reboot, I can finally say that I feel in control of my life and impulses, to the point where I enjoy life without the tyranny of sexual impulses. A few months ago, the idea of walking down the street without thinking about anything sexual seemed impossible.
I held fast to the hope that being a person with control over his sexual attraction was attainable, and here I am, ready to tell you how much this has brought me to the place where I wanted to be. This is my reboot.
Porn has been off the radar for about 5 months. I believe that having had that period away from porn before starting has helped maximize results since I did not have to go cold turkey. I tackled fantasy, thoughts, masturbation, and triggers through my reboot instead of having to tackle porn as well.
P-subs, yes. Be honest. Write down everything that eventually leads to you with your hand massaging your stuff. It may be social media, it may be YouTube, it may be television, movies, album covers, posters, your window to your neighbor, volleyball at the beach. EVERYTHING. Decide right now that you’ll have to give up some freedom to help free yourself from ‘sexual urgency’.
A recovery group other than NoFap is beneficial. I think this place is great, but there is a big amount of people looking for the alpha-male treatment to their pride. They focus on superpowers. They want to get laid. They see bad forms of sex as good since it’s with a person (prostitutes, abusive relationships, etc.). I’m not judging people’s choices, but there’s little to learn from them and their approach will not change your life.
At times, I feel it’s toxic to relate to your porn problem as something that needs a little quick fix in order to get your prize in the form of more sex. No alcoholic goes to therapy because all he wants is to go out with friends and drink just enough to feel tipsy and not get drunk. Most people who want recovery focus on the problem first and make decisions later about their use, if and when.
I chose SMART Recovery. They have a good scientific approach to recovery through self-empowerment and cognitive therapy. I got a lot from there and got to hear (with a mic) real people, and real problems, and real situations. Trust me, it helps you gain perspective and identify where your own goals need tuning. And yes, it teaches you about where you definitely not want to get with your own use of porn.
I have adopted a bunch of personal rules and guidelines in order to help move forward my reboot. Many may seem completely unrelated to porn but I’ll do my best to explain later. Some of them:
– No alcohol
– No coffee
– No carbonated drinks
– No unnecessary sugars/fats
– Workout 5-6 days during the week
– Tell people I meet and people I know about my porn issue
– Cold showers, or cold showers at the end of a warm one
– Intermittent fasting
– Stairs, if the option comes
– Move room around at the beginning of reboot
– Look people in the eyes in conversation
– Contact people I see around and didn’t get to know
– Engage in conversation with my CSAT, cooperate and help him help me
– Take different paths to same places I usually walk around
You can create and add things you find helpful. The bottom-line is to answer a few questions: Is this helpful towards my recovery? Does it make me take more decisions during the day? Is this too hard for me to keep up (if so, start small – don’t set yourself up for failure EVER)?
With time, you’ll start seeing that adding small decisions, even illogical ones (ex. Take five flights of stairs, go to a different Starbucks even though your ‘favorite’ one is right next to you, ask a stranger for directions even though you have a smartphone, etc.) to your day grows in the form of actively engaging your thoughts.
I believe that this lead to me recognizing early on that I was also in control of sexual thoughts. Eventually, I was able to wave them, just as easily as I can wave the strong urge to fall asleep when I have to read something before an exam, just as much as I can forget about being hungry while sitting in class.
Any urge presents a signal to us that the body is hoping/expecting/demanding something, and I believe that we have the ability to be in control of those signals. Nobody lets their body dictate every move in their lives, so why should sexual drive dictate mine?
Things to add to the mix:
– I definitely support the idea of sticking with your rules for as long as you’re going through this. Most of them will stay with me throughout my first year, to help me develop that sense of ‘choice’.
– I recommend taking therapy in order to recognize those things you really want to work on, like your personality, your setbacks, your thought patterns.
– Do spend time analyzing the lies that have kept you returning to porn (men are sexual, men are visual, it’s necessary, nobody can stop, etc.) and start working with yourself on understanding how these are flimsy excuses that prevent mastery of your body and mind.
– Yes. It’s your body, and it’s your mind. You should be in full control.
Within a short time, through reading material, assessing personality issues I wanted to get rid of and re-educating myself about my beliefs, I could start feeling changes in attitude. My work ethic improved, my relationships got deeper, I was more aware of my reactions and emotions – and more in control as a result.
Many of those areas were affected by porn use, and I thought it would take a long time to fix them. Setting goals for yourself helps you get to where you want to be faster. Recovery/reboot is not a line that looks the same for everyone, but you will get the results that best represent your efforts and urgency in dealing with your porn problem. Mere abstinence will not bring any change to your character, it will just prevent losing liquids and some minerals.
Chose the change you desire for your life and define what is the good sexual behavior you intend to keep going forward. What you consider ‘good’ may need some adjustments in light of your own analysis of how your behavior represents what you see on the screen. (Ex: casual sex may not be helpful, sex while fantasizing may hold you back, masturbation alone may get you back to porn)
This is where I feel I am at the moment. My life is stable and centered around the objective of making porn and masturbation as appealing to me as doing taxes. I’ve gone through the stages of acknowledging porn as a dysfunctional but rather loyal “friend”. I had the talk with it to let it know that I was about to cut the relationship we had, thanked it for years of loyalty and close friendship. I took the necessary steps to not even let myself get to miss it and now my life, personality and choices have no room for it. This is where I start building the blocks of the life I want.
Among the things I put on this list that have become valuable and important:
– Meaningful and honest friendships
– A life of honesty, transparency, and truth
– Commitment (work, relationships, goals)
– Excelling in school
– Helping others in their journey out of porn
Again, you can build this any way you like with the things that you want to have. Not the things that are impossible, but those you possess now and want to maintain from now on. When you get to the end of the list, you will see so much more value, that porn will be of no interest to you. All of these contribute to life, porn gives zero.
And yes, now it is also time to mend relationships that were affected by your porn induced behavior. Trust me, it’s hard but people understand and even if they don’t want to hear about anything, you’ve made your steps in order to place the past where it belongs and move on with a life worth living. That’s valuable!
Also, take some random things you want to do but never thought of doing. I chose to sign up for a 10K, with the idea of doing a full marathon next year. Why? Delayed gratification. It’s somewhere on the horizon, but I know that I will feel so great and so proud of accomplishing something big like that. Keep yourself aiming forward with small things to look forward to. When your desire for the future is so great, your focus on the now will increase and you will find it hard to regret your new past.
I feel like I’ve said a heck of a lot. But honestly, I am thankful for the amazing information found here and all around the internet. I’m thankful for people and their honesty in detailing what got them to where they are.
In my 28 years, I have never seen such strong change and progress in my personal life as I’ve seen through my time with NoFap. Even though I know a lot of you aren’t the religious kind, God is the one I should truly thank for all of these changes. Being released from shame and guilt through Jesus, and having my mind be renewed by His Spirit has contributed more than anything else I have found throughout my recovery. I’m free, and haven’t made it to 90 yet.
Keep strong, and don’t fap.