Hello, I have achieved 365 days so I thought it‛s time for me to write some kind of a report to give back to this community. First, I gotta say that this is going to be a rather dark report, as I haven‛t made as much progress as other people have in a similar time frame.
The first few weeks were of course horrible, but it was also there that I actually felt as if I got “super powers”. My head cleared up, I did feel more energy, and the unthinkable happened – women would look at me, and I even got a few smiles. For context, I‛m a virgin in my thirties and struggle with social anxiety. So when women smile at me or don‛t immediately look away when I look at them, that‛s huge for me. I would always think that this is bullshit when I‛d read about this in other people‛s reports, but alas, it‛s true. Unfortunatly, nothing came of it. A few months later, it felt as if this phase was over, and everything returned to how it was before. This is something I don‛t understand, but then, I assume that I perhaps need to work on myself a bit more.
One of the most powerful experiences was that I had an unbearable urge in my first few days, but I simply didn‛t give in and then it went away after 30 minutes. That was very important to me. Making that experience that it actually passes was very important.
I had a flatline that lasted a few months, and then, out of nowhere, horrible urges came back. That‛s also when I started fantasizing and getting more nocturnal emissions again. Getting fantasies out of my head is something that I am still working on. I do however strictly forbid myself to fantasize about anything porn related. Whenever that pops up, I simply turn it off.
I can say that getting the fantasies under control is the single most important thing. That‛s where a relapse has its beginning, and I came close to relapsing a few times, but I always averted it. In general, when a sexual thought enters my mind, I try to push it away. When I see something that might turn me on, I look away. When there‛s a scene in a movie that might stimulate me, I skip it. When I turn the page in a magazine and there‛s a hot woman in an advertisement, I turn the page. This is essential, and I believe that making this choice to not indulge in any kind of sexual stimulation has been the one thing that has enabled me to get to this point.
Also I lost a ton of weight, started working out, changed the way I eat. Making good progress there, but I‛m still far from where I want to be.
The reason why I haven‛t made as much progress as I‛d like to is that for me PMO addiction is only part of the larger picture. My actual issue is internet addiction, and I made a few attempts to go on an abstinence streak for that as well, but I failed several times this year. I‛ll have another go at it soon. The few times I lasted for more than a month, I had an unbelievable clarity in my mind, and I would recommend it to everyone. The problem is that while PMO can be eliminated completely without much of an actual practical consequence, getting rid of the internet alltogether has severe consequences for my life. I‛d have to go back to a 1990s lifestyle, at least for an extended period of time, and that is just harsh, since I do a lot of online shopping and also need to look up a lot of stuff. The more I progress the more I realize that making a change here is what has got to happen eventually, there is no other option, and it‛s going to be brutal. It all boils down to this: If one addiction is out of the picture, another may enter it. In the end, I‛ve got to somehow eliminate the dependance on stimulation from the outside. This is something I still greatly struggle with. Can I ever be free from a need for stimulation to fill a void inside me? The future will show.
This leads me to another point, both in regards to nofap and to the internet. Getting rid of something that has been an integral part of your personality for a long time can be scary. I must admit that I still don‛t have a solution for this. I still couldn‛t get myself to delete my final backup of my porn folder, because there are so many memories attached with a lot of videos, going back over 15 years. I realize that this is a step I have to take eventually, but so far, I couldn‛t do it.
The most shocking thing for me was that the urges came back after many months. I had some monster urges from hell at around 300 days and almost relapsed. At this point I must admit that it has been very helpful for me to read the reports of others who have relapsed after many months or even years. In a way, I was prepared, even though it caught me completely by surprise and I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening to me. If you reach a high number of days and feel like you are on top of the world, don’t let your guard down. You can have an acute situation within a few minutes out of nowhere, and you need to be ready for it.
Bottom line is this. While there may be instances where 90 days can lead to a dramatic change, you should also consider that this may or may not happen to you. Big changes in life require patience, because you‛ll have to repeatedly do the same uncomfortable things over and over again without getting immediately rewarded for it. With that said I am fairly satisfied with where I am in regards to nofap. PMO is something I can‛t see myself doing anymore, it has become a strange and weird thing for me. No matter how strong an urge is these days, PMO is simply out of my life and I don‛t consider it an option any longer. I simply leave the erection alone and think of something else, and then it goes away, and this is „normal‟ for me now. A few days ago I was looking at a harddrive backup that I made a year ago and I actually forgot where the porn folder was! I had to look for it for two minutes until I found it. Can you believe that? I was baffled. So, while not that much has changed in my actual life, this kind of success motivates me to tackle the bigger problems in my life as well.
Here are some resources that have helped me.
- An article on YBOP that talks about how fantasizing is detrimental to your efforts. It gives you a few methods on how to deal with it, and on how to get it out of your mind: https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/sexual-fantasy-the-more-you-scratch-the-more-you-itch
- Here‛s another article about a similar method: https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/other-techniques-for-rewiring
- A video on relapse prevention. Changed the way I look at relapses and has helped me a lot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmjjxdDwOIc
- An article from the guy who did the above mentioned video, about long term withdrawal symptoms. This made me realize that the struggle will last for a very long time, and it also helped me to put the sudden urges out of nowhere in perspective. http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/post-acute-withdrawal.htm
- Anything from Gabor Maté, a Canadian specialist who treated addicts for a long time and who has written the book “In the realm of Hungry Ghosts”. He also has talks on YouTube and he has changed my outlook on my situation completely. It‛s all about the pain that we try to bury with addictive behavior, and about getting to the root of your suffering. Dealing with his content made me a lot calmer and more understanding of things. If you feel an affinity to his thoughts, go ahead and check out his other stuff, especially about the mind-body-connection. It has blown my mind. Here is one good video among many others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpHiFqXCYKc
- The book “Demythologizing Celibacy” by William Skudlarek. I‛ve been very interested in what monks say about celibacy and how they go about it. This book is a combination of catholic and buddhist thoughts combined and it was insightful for me to read the reasoning that these two groups bring forward, and the history of some of the monks who attempted to go through with it.
- Also this wallpaper has helped me tremendously. It has a certain energy or feel to it that really gave me a lot of strength: https://www.reddit.com/r/wallpaper/comments/1lotmc/a_wallpaper_i_made_flight_2560x1440/
Thank you for the support over the past year, and I wish you all the best.