At 5:23 yesterday afternoon, I hit 5 months no PMO. By far, the thing that inspired and inspires my drive to move forward is the posts of success stories. I have never posted in this section, but I do hope that someone may be inspired by my post. All of this really began when friends on the block found a garbage bag of pornography in an empty lot. The fact that it was in a garbage bag should have been a red flag, but I was 5 or 6 when I first saw it.
It kicked off a dopamine rush and my brain bookmarked that high.
In my teens, I found my father’s pornography and became fascinated with porn. ( I am currently in my late 40s, so Internet wasn’t established just yet. ) I would eventually go and buy porn from a place that sold it in town. With women I would not be focused on friendship. I had objectified them.
I first got the internet in October of 1999, and I can remember rationalizing that I would be fine. It wasn’t long before I started and my brain was fighting to watch it. It was like I had found the garbage bag of porn again. So many images available. I would sacrifice sleep to look at porn.
Quickly, it began to eat away at my physical well being, feeling exhausted. Socially, I felt ashamed. No integrity. I tried to look like all was well but inside I felt like I was falling apart.
I tried everything to quit, but when the urge hit, I felt that my fall was inevitable. I thought that the only way to rid myself of this urge was to give in. I thought that I would never sleep without masturbation. I thought that I would have constant pain if I didn’t release it. I was told that somehow ejaculation keeps a form of cancer away.
I thought that this battle would be lifelong.
5 months ago, i began this journey. This is what I have learned and experienced – and pass on.
1. I have learned, over the past 5 months, that the urge passes. The buildup will move though urinating – It’s tough to see, but I sometimes see traces of semen in the bowl after urinating. This truth was incredibly freeing, because I didn’t feel like I was HAD to fall.
2. The research on ejaculation somehow preventing prostate cancer? Again, this has been debunked by counter research.
3. Another thing that I discovered was that the voice of my limbic system has no conscience. It can speak suddenly and powerfully, demanding that I find pleasure to counter any of life’s suffering. But i soon learned that my limbic system can be challenged and controlled by my intellect. When I exercise the voice of my intellect against my limbic system, treating it like a kid who is repetitively demanding something that is unreasonable, I knock down the power of the limbic system. My intellect’s statements are clear and authoritative, stated to my limbic system ” NO, WE ARE NOT GOING THERE. THIS IS NOT AN OPTION. WE DON’T LOOK AT PORN.” It may sound somewhat mental, but it lets me stand apart from the limbic system and exercize my intellect and will. The limbic system initially “speaks out” by suggesting a porn memory, or a fantasy – it’s like a laptop in my head. I shut it down by quickly introducing the voice of the intellect – with the previous authoritative statement. I find that this truly works. I do it as soon as I am conscious of my mind drifting. I will redirect my eyes if something pops up on a TV ad and I will quickly shut down the laptop in my head as it tries to replay what I just saw. Voice of intellect is amazing in shutting down that limbic voice. It takes practice but it works.
4. I avoid TV channel surfing and Internet surfing. Both TV and online are like walking into a bad neighborhood. You don’t meander around or you’re going to get mugged. Go straight to a planned, safe destination. Get what you need and then get out. Advertisers online will try to hook you in with an image that triggers dopamine. This is how you get “mugged”.
5. I did cold showers for 100 days. This is all about building up your intellect over your limbic system. It forces you to exercize the voice of reason because your limbic system will move you to turn the shower to hot. I would turn the shower on cold, but not step into it until my limbic system started to speak. Then I would have my intellect let out a GRRRR!!! against the limbic system and step into the cold water. 10 seconds for the body to acclimate, but it makes you feel like a champ as you finish the shower. This was one of the best things that I did for myself.
6. Prayer is also key. A little after 2 weeks in, I began to pray for an hour every day. Often times I break it up throughout the day, but it keeps me focused- asking God for the strength to keep this going.
1. I am far more confident in speaking about issues because I feel like a moral person who walks the walk. It has changed my ability to speak my opinion and dialogue.
2. I am in far more control of my emotions. My ability to control anger has changed significantly.
3. My ability to analyze what needs to be done and to explain a plan to others has dramatically changed. I know that I’m coming from a solid place and I live from a solid foundation.
4. My capacity to endure trials has changed. I don’t fold. I can take on a verbal challenge with a lot more confidence.
5. I am able to speak about my weak areas with a newfound confidence. Letting someone know that I’m not good at something does not affect my value and well being.
6. I don’t depend on affirmation like before. I used to need every beautiful woman to smile back.
All of this from no PMO. I would have NEVER thought that when I started this on May 23rd that I would ever get to this spot. I keep moving forward because this is an adventure – discovering that I’m a good man and that I have a tremendous mission to help others. My life has changed dramatically over the last 5 months and I am looking forward to great things.
I truly hope that others are helped by my post.
LINK – Success! 5 MONTHS NO PMO
UPDATE – BENEFITS AT 11 MONTHS (no PMO)
The longer that your brain heals, the more you see yourself with honesty.
I thought that I knew myself when I began this in May of last year – that I was aware of my strengths and weaknesses . But I was blind.
The first 90 was an eye opener. As I progress, I see more and more.
In my life, I dealt with a certain amount of social anxiety that kicked my tail every day. I did not like who I was, so I never looked deep within. I felt inferior to a lot of people and superior to others. Pornography gave me the illusion of connection. I felt like a thousand beautiful women were connecting with me.
In NO PMO mode, I am learning to stop, slow my brain down, and look at my life. My focus is much more interior now, and I focus on being a man of virtue and integrity. I am affirmed by living out a virtuous life for God and humanity.
This has set me free to be a man of faith, integrity, and virtue to those around me. I’m not chained down anymore, I’m free.
DO NOT QUIT!! I am fueled by curiosity – to see more of what I have missed in my life because of an addiction to PMO. I see more every day.
Remember that this is not impossible to kick. You’ve got to be committed to get free. If I can do this you can do this. I did not think it would work, but I am living proof that it can happen.
If you relapse over and over, there’s a piece of the puzzle that you’re missing. Something that you’re doing or not doing, some belief deep within about the process that is being overlooked. Don’t give up and don’t give in! Find the root and knock it out. I struggled with this stuff for years, and I now know freedom from PMO.
This afternoon at 523 I hit one year no PMO. Some call it “monk mode” or “hard mode.”
A year ago, my relapse pattern seemed set in stone. 3-5 days, then I would look at porn nightly for a couple of weeks. I would need 2 hour blocks of time and would find that late at night. Always tired, always exhausted, always ashamed. Triggered by every beautiful woman, living in weakness, living in reaction to the next trigger.
A year ago, I felt led to make a change in my life – and then started looking up information about porn / masturbation addiction recovery. It was then that I realized that there was an online community of people with the same problem- and that many of them were going 30, 60 and 90 days without pornography. Realizing that people had found freedom and that they were happier and thinking clearly – made this thing seem possible. At that point, I didn’t know what PMO stood for.
I started learning –
1. About how 2 parts of my brain work. That I have a limbic brain that brings up urges, but it does not have a moral compass. The compass is found in my pre-frontal cortex, where reasoning takes place. I looked up online to find out where these 2 parts were located in the brain – this helped. Being able to see where the limbic brain is located and where the pre-frontal cortex is located, empowers the pre-frontal cortex and weakens the limbic. It’s not all mush – but sections.
2. I learned about dopamine production – the neurochemical reward that felt so good. This neurochemical is used so that I keep doing things that keep me alive. I learned that this neurochemical is good, but that there are ways to hack the system, to effectively break into the drug cabinet of my brain and overload the dopamine receptors. PMO is a way to hack into the dopamine cabinet in my head – a huge brain hack and overload.
3. I learned that the consequence of brain hacking is devastating. Receptors will partially shut down to limit the overabundance of dopamine that I acquired with the PMO brain hack. When all is said and done, the receptors are still, temporarily, shut down – to the point that normal joys of life can’t produce enough dopamine to plow through shut down receptors. Receptors have to re-open.
4. I learned that there is a healthy dopamine hit from connecting with others about PMO recovery, that the community connection gives the brain a reward – and that it will carry the brain through as the receptors are adjusting.
5. I learned that my pre-frontal cortex is a POWERFUL tool against the limbic brain. If I speak with authority, the pre-frontal cortex lights up because I am forming words. The limbic brain then reacts to the pre-frontal cortex’s authority like a demanding child who has been scolded. (In my childhood, the pre-frontal cortex was not fully formed and I was mainly driven by the limbic brain. If my father raised his voice, I listened. The pre-frontal cortex is like the voice of my father, and when I tell the limbic system “NOT TODAY” or “NO – THIS IS NOT AN OPTION” or “ABSOLUTELY NOT – NO” – the limbic system STOPS suggesting things, like I did as a kid.) I use “authoritative voice” daily. It is key to my recovery. Don’t knock it til you try it. This point was KEY … I REPEAT… KEY to being successful here.
6. I learned that if I have an urge – that I can ride it out. I don’t have to give in. “Blue balls” are relieved with urination – it passes through.
7. I learned that prayer is the foundation of all things. Grace set my brain free from the get go. I have not exercised the authority that God gave me all along – until this past year.
8. I learned that as my receptors heal, the little things in life will trigger healthy dopamine production. The idea of this used to seem impossible – almost “lame”. A sunset, a conversation, a great meal – all have the potential to trigger healthy levels of dopamine – and open receptors treat the healthy level of dopamine like a feast.
9. I learned that I have been blind through life – from the brain hacks. I have not seen my strengths or my weaknesses with true clarity. I learned that I still have more to go in becoming a better man.
10. I learned that the best is yet to come. I can use my experience to help others. This keeps me aware of myself and effective to others.
This has been the best year of my life! I am grateful to God and to so many who have been committed to recovery.
After a year of this, I can handle urges very effectively. My main drive is to protect my brain from brain hacks – no PMO and at the same time no intentional fantasy. The second that I catch myself unintentionally thinking about a lustful thought – I deal with it quickly.
The big thing for me was not doing this alone. Online support, combined friends that you trust and a connection with God that you trust even more – is essential.
I hope that his will inspire someone who is struggling like I did for way too many years. This CAN be done. We need to stop thinking that its impossible. My next milestone is 500 days.