First of all, I want to express huge thank you to this subreddit – the mods, the participants, everyone who helped me along. I learned about NoFap a little bit over a year ago and I have to say, my life changed dramatically since. I am truly overwhelmed by emotions now. Thank you everybody.
Since I am pragmatic, I will skip the part describing my childhood etc. and will go directly to the topic: my observations from the journey.
Regrets: Out of all things I regret the most that I started PMO at all. But I did not know it is that bad at the time so I don’t blame myself. The second thing I regret is that I have not learned about NoFap and the great TED talk earlier. Again, this is not something I could influence. The third thing I regret is that it took me a year after learning everything important to get here. Truly, I realize I COULD and SHOULD do it earlier.
Benefits I know many of you are here for this, but to be honest, I did not focus on them much. I focused on getting rid of something, not gaining something else to my life. What improved to some extent was my social anxiety, paranoia and the ability to look into the eyes. I did not get rid of these problems completely as I know that their root is not in PMO but hey, I am comfortable living the lifestyle I am so no problems, just improvements. By quitting PMO I gained quite lot of free time and I got back to some hobbies I abandoned before – again, fantastic feelings of accomplishment and relax. This is important, boredom is super dangerous. During NoFap there were some big changes happening in my life and in retrospective I am quite surprised how I handled them – that I did not have some kind of nervous breakdown – even some my relatives expressed their admiration how I handled these things. I dont feel like I did so well as they say but again – it felt natural and okay to me so I am glad that it is past. My physical state was never bad, but it certainly improved by working out and healthy eating. My varicocele improved significantly. This was the biggest surprise for me from the benefits. I got deeply religious, improved at job and even realized that some things in my life, some my basic values and things I believed in and people I trusted were wrong and false. It certainly is not an easy feeling, but I feel liberated and responsible for my own actions. Out of all things I value the humbleness and respect for others the fight with this this shameful addiction taught me.
Observations and advice I know this is not a popular opinion but it worked for me so I will share it, hopefully it helps somebody. The things that helped me most were Anonymous alcoholics and watching animals. Let me explain. My first streak lasted 70 days. The next one 30 days and from then the streaks were less than 2 weeks. I was scared, dismayed and confused. It seemed simple in the beginning so why am I failing? So I checked some local AA and went through their materials. I realized that we are doing basically the same thing as I, they just use substance and we use PMO. It was at that time I got honest with myself and understood that NoFap is not some temporary thing, it is not some random activity, it is something extremely serious and for a person like me who does not drink, smoke, eat pills it might pretty much be the most important thing because the addiction IS life changing and IS dangerous. At this time I developed a great sadness and bad feelings for the whole P industry and societal norms. I started using the wisdom and approaches I learned from them. For example what I realized was that the physical urges are not the worst. The enemy is clearly defined when fighting them. It is those stealthy doubting thoughts and brain tricks that start later on the way that are the most dangerous. My streaks started to be again 20 – 40 days long. What I observed was a general lack of enthusiasm for PMO even when I relapsed. I did not like the things I was watching and the sensations I felt at all. There were no good feelings, I just felt disgust. This helped me as I was less tempted to try it again as I knew what feelings I would feel after. 90 days ago I realized this. If Bill Gates came to me, or anyone from you offering 10 billions $ for making a 90 days streak would you do it? I am damn sure everyone would, after all it is just about not touching our dicks and moderating what we look at. I would even go to some uninhabited island just to make sure to not fail. And what is more valuable, my life and its future or 10 billion dollars? Well, I can enjoy life without 10 billion dollars, but without life I can’t enjoy any wealth. It was at that moment I knew I had to stop immediately.
I observed animals too because they are often a concentration of traits we have but mask them. Children and animals are honest and not pretentious, so I learned from them. Now, if a dog licks or pisses on an electrical fence you know damn well he will not come back to try it again anytime soon. And are we any different? Our brain works in the same way. Am I feeling good? Ok, the brain tells me to continue participating in this activity. Am I feeling bad / am I in pain / distress? The brain encourages me to get away from it. For example I hate the taste of fried octopus. You bet that voluntarily in any restaurant I will never order a fried octopus ever. I simply hate it. So now the link between this simple observation and quitting PMO. When I took a relapse as not big deal, as a lesson, as nothing to be ashamed of I was not going anywhere, my streaks were short, sometimes I even looked forward to the PMO sessions as I was not doing NoFap at all! 90 days ago I developed such strong disgust, I was so angry at myself for relapsing, I was so ashamed, I was so enraged at my own hypocrisy that I had to stop. There was no other option. I HAD TO STOP. I imagined being married, committed to my partner – that is the nofap commitment. How would my partner feel if I cheated every month because you know, sorry I relapsed, not a big deal… I felt like the biggest hypocrite. I was attempting to stay clean for almost a year and have gone nowhere – I relapsed the day before. This realization helped me the most. It held me above water under some really stressful situations and I believe it will help me continue enduring. I have to do it, there is no other choice. The PMO does not give anything but takes a lot.
So thank you for reading this ramble, I had to get it off my chest. Again, BIG thanks to everyone here, I know that we are secular and I avoided the topic of religion, but I am grateful in that area too that my eyes were opened and my faith restored. If anyone benefits from this I will be very happy.