For me, porn was a way I could escape. Sometimes life was difficult for me, or I didn’t feel loved, so I wanted to escape to a place which would comfort me and make me feel loved. As soon as I stopped PMO I had to face my fears more directly. Each time I felt scared, I got such a strong urge to use porn, but using the management strategies (the nofap app, validating myself, comforting myself etc.) I kept it just under control.
This was a really difficult stage, but I found taking it moment by moment really useful.
2. What Now? Trying to Find Myself
Now that I was beginning to be able to manage my fears and emotions a bit better, there was a bit of a gap within myself. I tried filling this in many ways. For me this was mostly socialising every night, meeting new people, going to the gym, studying languages, but I also tried other things like a bit of drinking. Some of these were not so good for me, some of these were too much in excess that my life was getting a bit out of control. I was tired because I went out too late and couldn’t function during the day, and didn’t really have any ‘me time’ because I realised I didn’t really know what ‘me’ was.
After time (these things take time), and learning to distinguish why I was doing certain activities made me be able to learn what was good for me, and what I enjoyed. Some things I was doing because I wanted others to approve of me, and other things I just used to escape. The important thing is to learn to listen to your emotions and let that guide you on what you should keep in your life and what you shouldn’t.
3. Starting to Feel Like a Human Again and not a Person with Problems
I now started finding time for myself, found things that I enjoyed and did things in moderation. However, I still felt like a victim. A person with problems. A broken machine that needed repair. This made me feel terrible and I always felt like a self improvement project working towards some ‘future’ instead of enjoying now. But through doing the things previously, I started to feel happier with who I was. I was doing things true to me, and my mindset got to the point where I could start believing I wasn’t a person with problems. I was a person, and a really good one at that.
4. Relationship Stuff
Throughout me exploring myself and what I liked during that time, I met lots of wonderful people, including girls. I now notice I appreciate qualities such as kindness, caring and emotional understanding a lot more than I used to. Looks and expectations from porn are starting to fade out (but haven’t yet completely). I personally still feel not completely ready for relationships at this stage. Many of the effects of porn have been reduced dramatically, but I think some are still there. I think someone being ‘ready’ really depends on the person and how they feel with themselves.
All in all, stopping porn has allowed me to properly face my problems and fears instead of running away from them. This has allowed me to really start being in control of my journey for the first time in my life, instead of paddling in the water just trying to stay afloat. Porn screws with your mind, like your expectations and your self esteem, and only time away from it can really help you to start repairing.
Sorry for the long post, but best of luck to you all and you all deserve to be in control of your path and be the best and happier you.