- I learned about the biology / psychology behind my porn addiction. I read everything I could about my addiction in this forum, at the Yourbrainonporn webpage, and several addiction recovery webpages. This is the first item in my list because I feel it’s crucial, and one that many (especially those that regularly reset their badges) fail to do.I educated myself about why I wanted to look at porn, and why it’s so damned hard to quit. You cannot defeat your enemy until you understand it.
- I did a “personal inventory”: I thought A LOT about why I wanted to look at porn. Most of us use porn as a crutch, as a form of self-medication. What pain are you trying to avoid? What feelings are you avoiding? It might be as simple as boredom. For most of us, there’s more to it than that. I used porn as a way of avoiding things. I used porn to fend off bad feelings, and in particular, grief. I used it to calm my anxiety. Guess what? Porn sucks at providing any real relief. Porn is a quick and easy solution. It’s emotional duct tape. It might patch things up for a little while, but it’s NEVER a permanent solution.
- Accountability: For me, that’s making the commitment to check in with my wife on a regular basis. I also made the commitment to tell her when I screw up. I really care about her, and knowing that she’ll love me even if I mess up but that I will disappoint her is a huge motivation. I also shared my struggle with a few close guy friends. I talk to them about it maybe once a month.
- Adding value to my life / replacing porn: I’ve taken some cooking classes, trained for a Tough Mudder race, finished work on a few short stories, organized my garage, installed shelving in my basement, painted my bedroom, and planted a garden. I might have done half of that in my “zombie” porn-addicted state. THE BEST thing about killing my porn habit is all the time I’ve gained to do other stuff. Stuff that makes me feel good about myself instead of lazy and pathetic. My wife loves how productive I’ve become. I love that when I’m intimate with my wife, I feel more connected to her, enjoy sex more, and I’m not sure why, but can last longer than before. My life has improved in significant ways the last 5 months. Most of them came slowly and because I didn’t just quit porn, I added in GOOD things to my life. I didn’t get super powers. No flying. No ejaculating hard enough to hit the ceiling. All the hoopla about super powers (mostly over at /NoFap) is a bunch of crap in my opinion. You should quit porn for yourself and replace it with other, better habits and hobbies, again, for yourself.
- Avoiding the most common situations where I access porn: I installed K9 on my computer. I have the password, but that extra step to have to look it up on a piece of paper in a file cabinet in my basement makes the act of accessing porn TIME INTENSIVE rather than easy-peasy. I don’t have a filter on my phone, but I make it a habit to only use it in public. I don’t take it to the bathroom with me (gross I know, but that used to be a major problem for me). I also go to bed at 11pm most nights and don’t stay up on my computer alone (another major trouble spot).
- Removing triggers: I’ve stopped watching movies or TV shows with gratuitous nudity and sex. They’re triggers for me, so I’ve decided to eliminate them, at least for now.
- Working out: I’ve already touched on this, but there’s a direct link to keeping your body fit and the discipline that requires and exercising discipline in other areas of your life. Exercise can be painful. Embracing that discomfort and “owning it” can pay dividends when dealing with the discomfort in your life that leads you to look at porn.
- Cold Showers. There’s a lot of debate on this one. I’m not sure if my cold showers every morning have some actual impact on me or if I have some psychosomatic thing going on. I don’t care. I’ve gotten used to them and like the way they jolt me awake each morning. I’ll keep them. YMMV for sure.
All of these things have helped my stay clear of porn for 5 months. That’s the longest for me in several years. I’ve slipped up here and there (clicked on something, then immediately closed it / run into a raunchy YouTube video, then turned it off). I have not by conscious choice loaded up porn. I have not PMO’d (formerly a 1-2 times a day addiction).
Whenever anyone posts a list of stuff that works for them, several people always quickly point out “well that works for you, it might not work for me / anyone else.” Fair enough. This is what’s worked FOR ME. I’m making this list with the hope it might help someone else.
Stay strong. Focus on yourself. Replace porn with something far, far better. You can do this. It gets easier with time. I promise.
I guess I started porn when I was 14 or 15. Whenever our internet got fast enough (56kb baby!) to download images. I’ve quit port a lot of times, but was always “white knuckling” and not really changing. This time is different because I’m also seeing explosive positive change in all areas of my life. This is the first time I actually feel “free” and have no desire to go back to my old porn-addicted ways. I turned 33 during the last 5 months of abstinence.