I’ve strengthened my biggest strength: my family. I’ve had my most productive period at work, ever.

I haven’t come across too many stories like mine, where there was no focus on sex or getting better at it. I’m posting this hoping it will help someone who might think that way or may be even open your mind to a new way of thinking. I recommend taking a look at my journal since it has a good progression on updates. I will revisit this in a few weeks when I have more time and make lots of edits but here’s the first draft:

Why did I start?

When I started, I was at a really, really low point socially and professionally. I realized that I had been medicating all my problems with porn. But that only provided temporary relief from the problems itself. Instead, as I immersed myself more in this medication, it started to become a part of my routine and a part of who I was. It made me prioritize my long-term goals lesser and instead focus on seeking instantaneous gratification. I had realized this was a problem several times but I could never commit to giving it up. I can recollect telling myself several times: “I’m so stressed, I deserve porn.” I also had several problems sexually that you can read on my journal but here I choose to focus on my social and professional problems. Strangely, the tipping point for me was watching this movie “Love Itself”. It’s a very emotional movie and at the end of the movie, I found myself crying uncontrollably for a good 15 minutes. It wasn’t just because of the movie. I realized how unloved I felt in general. I had not treated my family, the only people who I felt loved me, the way they deserved to be. I had alienated so many of my friends who had once loved me because of my ego and failure to recognize the implications of doing drastic things. Perhaps because my brain thought “I don’t need this, I can always fall back on porn.” I realized how happy I felt when I was loved. It became a bit clearer to me that the world doesn’t fucking revolve around me, and I need to learn to empathize with people and see things from their point of view. I blamed porn for my inability to feel any emotion. I blamed porn for my inability to do work. I had prioritized watching it to doing quality work. I hated porn, and I wanted to eradicate it.

On why my previous attempts failed and what I changed this time.

I’ve attempted to give it up several times before the big difference this time was that I didn’t do it to become some sort of sex god. In fact, I didn’t care about that aspect at all. I can look at myself in the mirror, say it, and truly believe it. In a way, I felt it was rather odd to be so addicted to it. There are so many ways to feel pleasure and we choose this weird way over everything else. Since my only interest was to become better at sex, I would not masturbate but I would still think about it all the time. That path never worked for me. It’s in a way akin to edging and the brain can’t handle that level of stress. This time, I planned to not think about it at all. I had a clear purpose that seemed more worthy. That was to be a better human being, be kind to people, take care of the planet, improve my understanding, to learn to empathize, and to be able to prioritize things based on deep thinking and understanding of my own values.

When I started, I just hated porn and refused to think about it. In hindsight, that’s not a bad idea. Will power is important, but definitely not sufficient. I spent most of my time learning how to become more productive at work and attempting to fix things with most of my friends. I spent more time talking to my family on a regular basis. Very quickly, I saw how these things made me feel really happy. I began to smile more and when I looked at myself in a mirror, I actually looked happy. But this was just the start of things.

What did I think 90 days would feel like?

I honestly never thought so far ahead. I saw the day counter regularly for a few weeks but I rarely saw it after that. I had only two goals. Do better work, be a better person. I tried to reflect on this on a weekly (almost daily basis). It’s not just about wanting to be that but learning and preparing yourself for it. It definitely wasn’t easy. I spent many days by myself feeling very lonely. But I never saw it as a reason to watch porn again. Instead, I tried to really feel that emotion. I never wanted to feel it again. Really, it’s that emotion that helps me never get back to porn, I never want to feel that again.

What is it like at 90 days?

I feel very, very lucky. I’m not surrounded by a 100 friends. It’s often just 1, sometimes more. But I make sure I let these people know how thankful I am. It’s not by telling them that but by acknowledging how important they are. I make the effort to plan to hangout with them. It doesn’t always work, but that’s okay. They don’t owe me anything.

I’ve strengthened my biggest strength: my family. I spend more time with them than ever and it’s not just any time. I really look at them as my team and they play a vital part in my decisions, and me in theirs. I’m extremely lucky here, because they let me know how important I am to them. They also see this change in me and encourage me. That’s a big motivation.

I’ve had my most productive period at work, ever. There’s still a lot of room for improvement but I actually really like my work. I often think about where I’m going with it in the long term. Not everything might work like I want it to, but I’ve put in a lot of effort. I will continue to, even when progress is incremental.

What were my biggest obstacles?

For the first 30 days or so, I rarely ever thought about porn. There were days when I thought I was “cured”. But unfortunately, your days are never perfect and your life will inevitable be turned upside down. My reactions to these situations were what I’m most proud of. I never took the easy solution, I thought about it as well as I could, remembered how I had once felt and how I never wanted to feel again, and faced the situation by actually dealing with it.

There was a day when I thought I don’t even need Nofap anymore, I was beyond it. But my biggest realization is that this journey isn’t a 90 day journey. It’s a lifelong one that I will work on everyday of my life. And I’m okay with that. Never ever underestimate the power of a slip-up. You can have minor slip-ups or even a full-fledged one but don’t brush them away. Deal with them, feel the pain, because when you really feel it, you’ll live in a manner that won’t let you feel that again. I know this is a tricky subject: to actually feel pain because there are solutions we must not take here. If you feel so much pain that you can’t see the route to take to get out of it, please please seek help. My idea here is not to constantly feel pain but to feel it so you don’t repeat your mistakes. I hope your will to survive and live happily overpowers all other emotion.

What were some things that helped?

– Goodbye reddit. I wanted to devote my time to doing things intentionally, and not by getting carried away on tangents from random people.
– Goodbye Youtube comments. I only use Youtube on restricted mode.
– I said goodbye to social media for 75 days before reintroducing only one form of it back.
– Meditation: a game changed. Made me realize that I could change my personality completely.
– Reflecting: as time progressed, this was the game changer for me. I spent several nights staying up questioning every action of mine to understand why I did something or feel someway.
– New hobbies: became a minimalist (more of a lifestyle), take care of plants, paint, yoga.
– Got rid of habits: I was competitive at a few sports, I gave up all of them. May be I will get back to it if I develop a healthy understanding of being competitive but I felt it was too selfish.

What is my relationship with porn and sex now?

This will sound strange but brace yourselves. I think porn is great. I’m not going to lie to myself that I never liked it, of course I did. But I will never watch it again. It’s just not for me. My relationship with it only led to bad things. I’m sure people can find a balance with it if they want to. Not me.

About sex, my thoughts on it have led me to realize I still don’t understand it at all. I wanted something so badly because everyone else seemed to want it. I thought I was using porn because I was very horny. But in 3 months, I’ve never been horny (I’ve also never let myself be). Sure, when I watch something relatively steamy in a movie (my instinct has become to look away), I get aroused. But that’s where it ends, I never think more on it.

I’m open to understanding more about it and some day I hope to. But as of now, I really have no idea how it lets me connect with another human being on an emotional level.

I’m going to stop here. I tried to keep the topics to the social and professional issues as much as I can. I hope this helps someone who thinks a little like me.

LINK – 90 days: a journey beyond sex

by pho_thom_md