So I have finally achieved 90 days clean. And I say clean because that’s exactly how I feel when I go to sleep every day: clean. And you sleep a lot better when you conscience is clean. Up until now I’ve always been very shy and undisciplined, always finding excuses not to do things whether because they were boring or because they were a “useless waste of time”.
You see, I don’t believe in god, and throughout my life, I tended to use that as an excuse for not becoming the best version of myself, for being lazy and undisciplined, because after all, no god means no right or wrong. Well, turns out there is a little trick in all this.
While I still believe there is no right and wrong, during all these days in which I haven’t drowned my feelings with porn, Youtube nor videogames, I have found something deeply human inside of me, something that pushes me to greater things and overcoming myself
Outside of me, I have found something deeply venomous not just to humans, but to all living beings. Everywhere you look at now, we are constantly being sold the philosophy that we need this and that to be happy, that if we are sad it is because we haven’t yet tried the new shitphone X or because we haven’t yet discovered that incredibly funny TV series. I’m talking about addiction.
Have you ever observed what happens to any pet when you overfeed them? Even if you don’t talk dog, I’m pretty sure that if you have ever payed close attention to a fat dog, you will have noticed something wrong with it, like it is tired or maybe even sad, who knows. But it is easy to see that there is something wrong with it.
Addiction is a complex phenomenon. It is both the disease and the symptom. It is a disease, because as we already know in this forum, it desensitizes us to the real world and devoids us from emotion: we simply become hollow.
Why too much short term happiness makes us sad long term is not yet fully understood, but neuroscience is making great progress in this respect lately. But is also the symptom, the symptom of having lost our faith in ourselves and the future. The symptom of not caring for the world and being unable to bond with people, of being alone even in crowded places.
After all this journey, I hope that many fapstronauts have already realized that addiction doesn’t have a defined shape. It is something vague, a shapeless poison that creeps into the mind and is hard to remove because you can never point directly at it. It is there, but nowhere in particular. You begin to feel ashamed of yourself, no matter how much you try to rationalize what you are doing, because deep inside you know you are simply giving up and running away from problems. Since you are ashamed of yourself, you cannot quite look at people directly in the eye without feeling inferior to them, and that is when social anxiety begins, a quite common symptom in every addiction.
As time passes, what was once enough to keep you distracted from your problems becomes simply boring and you begin to need more and more stimulation. But more and more stimulation means less and less time for the mind to rest, and again nobody knows for sure why the mind needs to rest, but we know for sure that it needs to and the consequences of not allowing it to do so: anxiety, depression, brain fog… The worst of this is the brain fog. It feels like going through life with your feelings inside a bubble, so everything that life has to offer you to escape the addiction never reaches you, or does it fainter so you barely notice it.
And I cannot emphasize this enough, because I’m not just talking about emotions. I swear that after 90 days clean my ear with the violin has greatly improved and food tastes better and more, to the point that I can now distinguish the flavour of some foods that seemed exactly the same to me until now.
I think that should be enough for describing the addiction; now it is time for sharing the benefits I have experienced to give hope to anyone who reads this.
So as I have said, I feel more alive, and I feel more. I became addicted to porn at around 10, and since then (I am actually 19) I have been completely numb to the little details in life: I ate poorly and didn’t even make the effort to taste food, I hated sport because I only felt the pain while I was numb to the great feeling of being physically active and fit, I was blind to the beauty of mathematics while now they are the center of my life, I had to blast my ears with super loud heavy metal because I felt nothing with classical music and now I’m learning to play the violin, the smile of a girl meant nothing to me while now it makes feel completely alive and attached to her. I feel more alive, and I feel more.
Everytime you get urges, don’t think of them as just a pain in the ass: only when it gets hard are you actually improving your self control and kicking your addiction. But don’t go searching for them, and by this I mean absolutely zero edging, it will just lead to a relapse, trust me. And even if it doesn’t, you must think of any addiction as a toxic relationship that you must end at all cost.
Just like you don’t get over an ex looking at her/his photos, you have to take out from your life anything that remembers you of porn, and I strongly suggest eliminating videogames and internet (of course, only the addictive components of the internet like social media and youtube, nothing wrong with using wikipedia, needless to say).
So the motto that has kept me going during these days is Aristotle’s immortal quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.
You won’t beat porn addiction if you are still an addict, because addicts don’t beat their addictions until they cease to be addicts.
You must act like a healthy person in all areas of life. Work hard like you don’t run away from problems through your addiction, pay attention to people as if your addiction had never desensitized you to social interaction, be resilient as if you had never given up to your addiction. Because if you act as an addict, an addict you will remain.
Austerity is key in all of this. The problem with needing too much, is that we begin to depend on things or people, so we are constantly worrying because tomorrow this might break, he might leave, she may reject us… And what will we do, if we need them?
I think that the reason our generation is so stressed, as shown in many statistics, is not because we have to work more, but because we need more and we are unconsciously but constantly worrying about not having the best phone, having to watch a thousand series that are actually just funny at most, so on so forth.
Again, don’t act like an addict. Of course, ask for help to a true friend if you really need it at some point, but try to rely mostly on yourself, because feeling capable of going on by ourselves is the best antidote against anxiety, knowing that if things go wrong, we will have the necessary strength to keep going.
My philosophy towards life has changed a lot. I used to be quite indulgent with myself, and became easily defeated whenever I had to work for more than five minutes to achieve what I wanted, because I was raised with videogames and porn and with their constant and instant gratification I simply became used to the idea that I could do anything in just a few seconds, so I never truly spent time in achieving something great.
But that is no longer the case. I’m not going to stop here: simply quitting porn is not enough.
My dream in life is to become a great mathematician, but in order to do so I must learn to concentrate deeply on what I am doing, and concentrate for long periods of time, and having grown in a sea of instant gratification doesn’t help.
Nonetheless I stay positive about this, because if I can do well in spite of all of this, I know I will be capable of much more if I train myself to become more resilient and focused each day.
You probably have already guessed it: How to train your resilience and focus every day? Well, sorry for being mainstream, but yes, meditation.
I always meditate twenty minutes before going to bed, but in order to be only a little less mainstream, I can tell you that “monk” meditation is not the only meditation, or at least not the only way to train your focus.
If you go out with your friends, pay close attention to what they say and their body language, making and effort to grasp as many details as you can from the conversation. If you are doing sport, don’t train with music but instead be mindful of your body and try not to let your mind drift off. If you are studying, don’t even touch the phone and put all of your effort in understanding the concepts.
Our time here is limited, so fill your life with meaningful experiences and live life to its fullest by paying close attention to every detail.
If you ever feel tempted to relapse, just remember that by doing so you are prolonging your brain fog many more months and that means losing more experiences from life, and that the longer you stay clean, the stronger you will become and the more you will enjoy life.