I am a PMO addict. Yesterday, I reached the 180 day milestone of no P, no P-subs, no M and no edging, with a total of only four O together with my wife. Since I already wrote a lot about my background and my ongoing struggles in my journal, there’s no point in repeating everything, so I’ll just summarize where I came from:
I was a delusional asshole. I was selfish, lazy and emotionally disconnected from my wife and kids. The only enthusiasm I showed was for keeping my addiction alive. I was a filthy liar, trying everything to keep my addiction hidden. Even though my wife caught me red-handed numerous times, I managed to weasel myself out of it, always making false promises but never keeping them. I put my marriage, my family, my job, my whole life in danger, being completely oblivious to the consequences.
Sadly, it took me more than a decade to reach rock bottom. A decade where my life and my marriage were stalling. Even today, I still haven’t got a full grasp on what sorrow and despair I caused for my lovely wife. The woman I once fell in love with head over heels, back in those blissful days when the addiction hadn’t got a firm grip on me yet. The woman that gave birth to our two wonderful kids. The woman that always remained true to her wedding vow, in good times as in bad, always suffering in silence while never ever giving up on me.
Eventually, the day marking the turning point of my life arrived. By then, I had tried to stop my self-destructive behavior countless times already, to no avail. But on that day, I realized that if I don’t stop now, I never will. I didn’t even fully realize that I was addicted back then, but I admitted for the first time that I had a problem, and I started to refute my addicted reasoning, e.g. “I’m not harming anyone” or “Everybody does it“, because it conflicted with the sorrow I caused. A few days later, I stumbled upon YBOP and NoFap, and suddenly all the pieces started to fit together perfectly. I really was a PMO addict.
During the following few weeks, I was obsessed with the reboot. I literally spent days reading YBOP and I soon realized that there’s no shortcut to this, that I simply couldn’t half-ass it. I had to put in the effort to overcome this addiction, the more the better. I was fueled by inspirational posts on NoFap and by the honest support of my wife who rightfully felt that I changed. Failure was not an option for me any more! And lo and behold, things improved drastically. My feelings came back with a vengeance, when I wasn’t able to feel anything for years. My laziness disappeared, I became a better husband and father, I became more attentive, less scatter-brained, without even trying! I rediscovered joy in mundane things, madly fell in love with my wife all over again, introduced new healthy habits like cold showers and working out.
During the last 180 days, I often wondered why my reboot is so easy, absurdly easy, compared to others that are struggling everyday and relapsing every other week. Yes, there were urges, and yes, there were powerful flashbacks that I simply couldn’t push away at first. There were some ugly Chaser-induced mood swings that hit me completely unprepared. But most of the time, racking up the days was a breeze. Only today did I realize why it was so easy, when I read through the first post of my journal again. I somehow managed to skip learning everything the hard way through countless relapses, introspection, rinsing and repeating. Let’s take a look at what advice I share on my first journal post:
ChangeMattersToMe said: ↑
- If you have a SO, be honest with him/her! I can’t stress enough how important this is. Having to deal with this stuff for years without being able to talk about it with anybody was horrible. In comparison, having your favorite human on your team, fighting the addiction side-by-side, is a breeze. It’s still hard, but not nearly as unpossible as fighting alone.
- Admit the addiction! It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength and willpower, it shows that you’re capable of self improvement.
- Stop betraying yourself! It’s easy to believe that there’s no harm in doing what you do, but take a close look at yourself, maybe post-orgasm, when the numerous tabs with disturbing videos are still open. Is this really what you wanted to do today, if you had the free choice? If you’re not sure if you’re addicted or not, you probably are. Time to step up and take action.
- Educate yourself! Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the way your brain reacts, the easier it will be to nudge it into the right direction. I thought for 15 years that there’s something wrong with me until I read about the Coolidge and Chaser effect. Your lymbic brain will try to prevent yourself from doing that, but it will eventually lose that battle.
- Never give up! I know that from experience because I quit smoking before. You’re not turning into a non-smoker after 30, 90 or 365 days, you will be a smoker for life that just chose not to smoke anymore. The fast-firing addiction neurons are still there, only waiting for you to relapse, and you have to be aware of them forever. But it will be so worth it!
Be aware that this was about 14 days into my reboot, and I don’t have a single thing to add or change after 180 days. I’m fully aware that I’m posting in the “Success story” section and I’m not stressing this to show off, or to dishearten anybody, quite on the contrary. I’m telling you this because I’m living proof that resets and relapses are not an essential aspect of recovery.
To be fair, I have a proficiency to obsess over new and exciting things, one of the reasons why I’m good at the job I do in IT, and luckily the addiction had failed to take that away from me. Whenever I try to conquer a new topic, I soak up each and every information there is, digest it and come up with a solution. If I failed to wrap my head around it fully, I try harder. If I get stuck, I change my angle of attack and try harder! The moment I acknowledged the other, addicted voice in my head, the one I simply couldn’t tell apart from my real self, my logical thoughts, my reasoning, I was fighting tooth and nail to silence it, once and for all.
I often hear people say (including myself) “Every reboot is different”, but is it? Isn’t every reboot exactly the same, but every addict is in different stages of his/her recovery?
- “P is bad, but I still want to MO (to fantasy?)”
- “PMO sucks, but I still want to O through real intercourse”
- “I will never ever O again and it will be worth it!”
I’m not saying that all O have to be avoided at all costs forever, but the nature of PMO addiction inextricably connected P to O (hence the name, deep, I know!), so any O with it’s accompanying chaser effects inevitably jeopardizes the recovery. Many people never acknowledged the full destructive power of the chaser effect until they abstained long enough, me included. The insidious thing about the addiction and the chaser effect is that it’s impossible to see how it affects you until you abstained long enough and apply enough self-reflection. For the last 90 days, I was convinced that I will never O again if I can’t mitigate the chaser effect somehow. Seeing the negligible effects of my most recent chaser, I know that I will be fine as long as I don’t stop working on myself.
Finally, I have to thank everybody on this forum, and I mean everybody. This place is a sanctuary, a place for addicts to seek help, to discuss, to vent, to ponder, to give comfort and get good advice, and in my case, the place to go when I would look at P in my previous life. The sheer amount of kindness and selflessness, insight and wisdom, compassion and empathy displayed on here is second to none, and every single one of you is making this place a little bit better.
If anything of this makes at least some sense to you, and you’re not quite where you want to be in your recovery, take another look at my advice in the quote box. And if at first you don’t succeed, try harder, as if your life depended on it. As a matter of fact, it does.