This has been a long time coming. I didn’t do it for super powers. I did it because it was the right thing to do. I’ve been battling with this thing for over half my life, and it has sucked time and attention away from my loved ones, wreaked havoc on my self-respect, and damaged my life and my development as a human being in ways I can never fully recoup.
Porn + internet = a dangerous combo, and a kid stumbling into it with little context or defense can get seriously fucked up.
On the other hand, I’m a strong believer that willpower can overcome almost anything, maybe not on its own, but with support, creativity, and perseverance.
If you’re having trouble getting there, here are my recommendations based on what worked for me:
- Remind yourself daily why you’re doing this, what you have to lose, and what you have to gain. Don’t forget: this affects you and everyone around you.
- Curiosity killed the streak: remind yourself daily (and whenever you get an urge) that porn is porn is porn – no matter what kind it is, it would end up in the same place: you, alone, jerking off, and feeling terrible, miserable, and regretful.
- Set consequences for yourself. If you relapse, take away something you enjoy for a week. Make it hurt (not physically, but you know). Remind yourself of those consequences every day and stick to them if needed.
- Be aware of yourself and your urges. Meditate, remind yourself to live in the moment. Take it a day at a time. That’s the only way to get there.
- Give yourself something to do. Set a schedule. Join a club. If relapsing means you’re bailing on your plans, you have the added pressure of having something else you want or need to do. It’s much easier to give up if you’re sitting around trying to figure out what to do with your free time.
- It’s like the Truman Show out there. If someone wants to tune in and see everything you’re doing online, they can probably figure out a way to do that. Don’t assume nobody knows what you’re doing, because chances are somebody does. Your browsing activity might come back to bite you someday.
- Don’t give up. Really. I can’t tell you how many times I failed and relapsed and picked myself up and got so far and failed and relapsed again. Keep trying, and if something works, you stick with it like your life depended on it. It does.
Here’s what didn’t work for me:
- Porn blockers: I got around them. Plus, what does it say if you can’t trust yourself? Better to get to the root of the problem, I think.
- Distracting with other addictions: it never seemed to work. I might come home with a strong urge and play video games for hours until it went away, but it seemed to just delay the inevitable. Better to deal with the urge head-on.
- Feeling sorry for myself: it just takes away more precious willpower. If you relapse, take a look at what happened, learn from it, realize that people make mistakes, put a positive spin on it (hey, I’ve only relapsed x times in the past y days, that’s an improvement!), pick yourself up, and try again with a vengeance!
Anyway, it took 15 years or so, but I’m here. I realize it’s not over, but it feels like a new chapter. I still get urges, but I’m confident I have the tools to get through them.
In short: it was difficult, it took a long time, but I made it 90 days, and it feels really, really good in a meaningful way.
I hope you all get there too.