So I’ve made it to 100 days of no PM recently, and I wanted to post something about my journey, if for nothing else than to mark the happy occasion. I’ll talk about successes first, and strategies secondly. Then, I’ll add some parting advice.
Begin with successes. Since making 90, I’ve definitely been less prone to shame and to hostility towards my wife. More than anything, I think these were different ways of beating myself up for my porn use. I knew PMO was a terrible, shameful thing. I needed to stop but I couldn’t. And the powerlessness came out in self-directed attacks of shame and hostility towards those closest to me. These are basically gone. To my mind, that makes quitting worthwhile on its own. But it is also a success to be an honest, loyal, trustworthy spouse. I’m not lying or hiding anymore.
Additionally, I think I’m more resilient to frustration now. I used to binge on porn when I would feel down or at a dead-end. It was a way to distract myself. At first, not having this relief is torture, but as my reboot progressed, I got better and better at tolerating not getting what I want immediately and having to focus on solving problems.
I have not noticed any of the so-called “superpowers” that people talk about. (Someone thought it might be the fact that I didn’t quit orgasm for 90 days, which for all I know might be true). However, I have noticed an improved ability to remain focused in work. And I definitely have an increased confidence that I can accomplish my goals.
When I started piling up clean time, the battle become more mental than physical. I do not get spontaneous erections or ‘panic mode’ urges at all. But I do notice that there are certain times where my mind keeps going down the same route of noticing sexual traits or imagining pornographic situations or laying out action plans towards sexual satisfaction. I may never get rid of these tendencies entirely, but recognizing them is the first step. And it definitely is an improvement in my fortunes to be fighting mental habits rather than behavioral ones.
Moreover, accruing clean time adds more pressure to keep going. I regularly think when I’m tempted, “Geez, if I lost it now, I would lose over 100 days.” Getting that time back would not be easy. And I’m not likely to relapse only once. It’ll be months of relapsing. So, I feel successful because in many ways it’s easier to keep putting one foot in front of the other now than it was at 1, 2, 3 weeks. Success breeds success.
As far as strategies are concerned, on this second reboot, I’ve added some additional rules to help cope with the things that threw me off track on the first reboot: no escorts, no erotic massages, no cruising, and no websites advertising any of the above. This has been really successful, because I know that if I look at an ad, it’s back to 0.
I’d recommend attempting an inventory of your triggers. If you’ve managed any clean time, it’s because you’ve resisted urges (which is really difficult) or avoided urges (which is less difficult) or both. You won’t undo a mind shaped by porn overnight, and these urges will grow in severity and intensity before they go away. Avoiding them is preferable to battling them toe-to-toe. But if you have to battle, be ready. So, focus on a few strategies (here are mine) about how to cope with those urges when they arise. Finally, having some form of accountability is key. I have a group of guys I check in with on a messaging app. The accountability group eliminates the secrecy and hiding in which your addiction thrives. A purely online accountability group is less than ideal, but many of us don’t have access to 12-step groups or in-person accountability partners. The accountability group is great, because whenever I’m tempted to break down, I imagine having to explain the relapse to my partners and that is already enough to motivate me to keep going. Thanks guys.
Beyond these techniques, my strategy has been to make meaningful use of my work time and to stay distracted in my down time. The worst urges have been when I’ve slept in, stayed up too late, or have wasted a lot of time during the work day. Here the odd thing was that stopping posting on NoFap was a big boost for me. I spent the first half of the summer posting daily, and interacting with people on this website. But the truth is that I didn’t get much done during those days, and it made me feel terrible. Perhaps I needed the constant support (and reminders) at first, but now I need to have productive days. Activity on social media makes that harder. Even if I’ve been using it less, a thousand thanks to those of you that keep this a vibrant community. Your work is much appreciated!
Finally, I want to offer a piece of advice. If you are reading this, you probably have an addiction. The dopaminergic system in your brain has been significantly altered by your exposure to porn, and the way that you process sexual information or relate to sexual satisfaction is significantly impacted. Remind yourself of this fact every single day. After a bit of success, it is easy to lapse back into thinking of porn as just a normal part of your sexual life.
My advice is to treat your present condition like an addiction, and never, ever let yourself forget it. NoFap is a really good resource, in part because it lets people participate in something like a recovery group anonymously. But if you get frustrated with failing, the problem is not NoFap, or counting days, or your strategies, etc. The problem is your addiction. Until you admit this addiction to yourself and treat it accordingly, there can be no improvement.
Keep fighting everybody. Thanks for reading.
LINK –100 Days Success