I started not because I wanted the superpowers or to meet women, but because I was tired. I was tired of being ashamed, of having a private life that was not the same as my public life, and of feeling like I wasn’t a whole person.
I’ve divided this into sections rather than chronologically to make it easier to get through.
Motivation — One of the most important aspects for me has been who I am doing this for. I’m not doing this for an ex-girlfriend, that cute girl I’m friends with at the gym, or to meet a new girlfriend. No, I’m doing this for me, and me alone. I want to be better, and I will be better. I feel the sooner you stop doing this for others and realize you need to be doing this for yourself, the better off you are, and the easier it is to be motivated. Also, remember those that go before you. If they can do it, you can too. They’re just ordinary people.
Emotions and Dealing With Them — I masturbated to bury my emotions. Full stop. A lot of bad stuff happened to me during my formative years (middle and high school), and not just people being cruel assholes, no, I also had all kinds of medical problems. Life sucked. Big time. Discovering PMO in my late teens was the coping mechanism that kept me sane during the pain, loneliness, tests, and diagnoses. For the longest time, the payback was definitely greater than the pain.
The downside is that I didn’t feel anything. I was numb from the toes up. That was also the upside. All this made me into a perfectionist. Probably to balance the shame and guilt in my private life. Finally, I realized that not feeling anything also meant not feeling happiness, or joy, or exhilaration. I began to give my emotions voice, and let them out of their fallout shelter where they’d been hidden for years. This isn’t for the faint of heart–it hurt like you wouldn’t believe and I cried, a lot. The first few weeks I was an emotional mess, and some of my more observant friends asked me what was going on…because I hadn’t ever shown emotion before. I told them I was “working on some inner stuff” that needed to come out. As I dredged up this crap, the urges got stronger…to a point. Eventually, the pain subsided, I started to run out of things that hurt, and the urges started to evaporate.
Finally, I began to meditate and pray more. The meditation has taken the form of allowing what I’m feeling to be given voice, accepted and acknowledged. This has helped me during urges–it provides a sort of diagnostic to tell me why I’m feeling a particular way. “I’m horny” gets broken down into components like “I’m lonely, I feel like a coward because I didn’t introduce myself to that person, and I’m feeling overwhelmed today”. Broken down to those parts, it goes from being a nebulous urge to concrete feelings that can be worked on. While I realize many of you aren’t religious, it’s important to say that I learned that God is pleased with me no matter what I do (if you’re a Christian, and you think God’s mad at you, you’ve got it wrong), so I’m okay with accepting even ‘impure’ thoughts like really wanting to be intimate with a woman. I’m not perfect, I never will be. If that’s okay for God, it will be okay for me.
Flatline/mood swings — Mine started early, around day 17. I suspect because my addiction was of the ‘several times a week’ type rather than the ‘several times a day’ type. It was full-on post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), with depression, feeling guilty, feeling sad, having cravings, sleep disturbances, anxiety, you name it. This where my ace-in-the-hole came in: I’ve been very sick in the past, so PAWS, while hell, was a walk in the park compared to being in the hospital at age 24 with everyone running around thinking you’re having a heart attack. I wouldn’t say it was a walk in the park, but it was manageable. Having emotions means having moods, which means having mood swings–those were new to me, and learning how to respond to them was scary work.
30/M here. 90 days ago, I began a journey that I’d been down once before, but without any form of formal structure…to be free of PMO.
Benefits — These have been countless
- My voice got objectively deeper
- I’m more focused
- I’m less anxious
- I found a new passion in climbing
- I’m satisfied with who I’m becoming
- I’m working out more and harder than I was before I started
- I sleep better, yet need to sleep less
- I’m making plans for more than just the following 2 weeks
- I have confidence (I wasn’t sure at first, but going swimming and hot tubbing shirtless with friends proved that I do…I was always so self-conscious)
- I am no longer the scared sack of crap that I perceived myself as.
TL;DR: NoFap is difficult work, but it is good work. If I can do it, so can you.
BY – NotMyRedditHandle
One third of a year gone by without PMO. By the numbers: 11 wet dreams, countless urges redirected, 1.5″ gained on the arms, 3″ gained on the chest, 3″ lost on the waist, 1 garment size down, 2 climbing grades improved.
Emotions: I am finally, finally, at peace with who I am. This was a very painful change. I had a dream two weeks ago that left me emotionally screwed–I was a zombie for 3 days. Despite meditation and contemplation, I just couldn’t crack that nut. The content of the dream isn’t particularly important, what is important is that it broke me. Utterly. On the fourth day, after feeling like I’d been hit by a train, the weight of it became too much and my heart cracked and crumbled to dust under 15 years of denial over how I truly felt, how I was unable to trust anyone or anything. I’ve never felt emotional pain like that before in my life (not even losing loved ones compares). This was the pain I’d been running from, covering up with PMO, and suppressing. I didn’t run this time, I’d been prepared through the suffering of PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome), cold showers and mental conditioning, so I did the only thing I could do: feel it, own it, let it break me, weep uncontrollably. After that day, I started to feel better…and within a few days, my heart healed stronger than it had ever been before. Today, I am at peace with who I am, secure in my faith, able to trust people that are deserving of that trust, and contemplate having a relationship. I’ve not had a girlfriend in 5 years, the last one convinced me I was too fucked up to really be able to trust and love and connect. No more. Today, I know I am ready.
- As difficult as it might be to believe, my ‘morning steel’ is even harder now
- My anxiety is essentially gone
- I’m taking positive steps towards a future, and I’m happy with that
- I truly understand myself…every part of me that makes me tick
- I truly love myself, and I’m no longer ashamed of anything about myself
- I am well on my way to becoming my best self now
So the big change for me in the last 30 days has been emotional, with some of the other changes being more incremental improvements.
My brothers and sisters, keep climbing!