You may have remembered me from my previous post:
I’ve decided to start creating these journal posts as a personal reference for my journey towards total recovery (so I can look back on), but if it helps anyone else out on the way then even better.
These past 90 days have been complete and utter hell, no question about it. I originally dived in head first forgetting how bad the recovery process could get, and I say “forgetting” because I’ve completed a 94-day reboot before over 4yrs ago.
The worst thing that I’ve encountered about this recovery isn’t the urges, anxiety, mood swings, nor the loneliness; the worst thing by far is the inability to communicate on an interpersonal level. Something happened to me be along the reboot during the rewiring process and as a result I can no longer communicate with people without feeling like I constantly have my foot in my mouth. I have to constantly “think” how to communicate rather than “feel” it out (for those of you that can relate).
I also no longer feel good about any accomplishments (nor get angry), most likely the anhedonia.
anhedonia + extrovert = Death Penalty
It’s tough, but I’d have to say that I’m looking at about 1-2 more months until this gets relived at the point where I need it too.
The actual urges however got under control by day 79 (it gets MUCH easier), and I no longer get turned on my porn.
So far, the data I’ve been following has been eerily accurate.
Here’s a quick reference guide to the average recovery process (based on both stimulant and porn data) that I’ve been following almost religiously, but feel free to dismiss it as “broscience” since I lost all the citations I saved (yes I know, how convenient, but this is merely a journal post and not a scientifically backed guide so who cares anyways).
STAGE #1: Quitting Cold Turkey Phase (0-14 days) – Because your brain has been neuroplastic ally morphed by the excess chronic consumption of masturbation (a form of natural reward), you can expect to have some heavy psychical withdrawal symptoms during these initial two weeks of sobriety. Fatigue, disorientation and depression, cold sweats, shaking and even heart palpitations are all common symptoms. Your brain will remain in a “lustful state” until you’re able to break the addiction, so expect a multitude of urges and pornographic flashbacks to hit you hard throughout this process.
STAGE #2: Honeymoon Phase (15-45 days) – After the initial intense withdrawals subside your body will start to begin the real recovery process. THIS is the stage where I see most people on here say that they’ve gotten their “superpowers”, but unfortunately this is only a phase. Expect your energy, mood, confidence and optimism to all increase. Cravings will start to decrease at this point.
STAGE #3: The Abyss Phase (46-120 days) – Welcome to hell. Urges to relapse will return with a vengeance, anhedonia and low energy is common will start to takeover. Brain fog, irritability and insomnia will mostly start to affect you. Most people (like myself) start to believe that they’ll never get out of this endless abyss. P.A.W.S is common here. The majority of people will relapse on either stage #2 (as a result of the “God complex”) or Stage #3 (a seemingly endless flatline). The DeltaPhos-B protein that accumulated in the reward circuit of the brain should start to remove itself completely within the 50-65 days mark (56 days on average).
STAGE #4: Neuro-Chemical Rebirth Phase (121-180 days) – P.A.W.S will still be common, but for the most part the actual addition to porn/masturbation will most likely be broken within / or in between stage #3 and #4. My addiction broke on day #79 during the abyss stage, but of course every case is different. During this stage the risk of relapse reduces tremendously, you’ll most likely feel accomplished and optimistic at this point. You’ll begin to adapt your new lifestyle (which may include new jobs or relationships).
STAGE #5: Complacency Phase (181 – 426.12 days) – P.A.W.S will still show up (although less and less frequently until it gone completely), on average this entire process will take at least 14 months (more or less dependent on the individual). Maintaining your new lifestyle and identifying new areas of interest will characterize this phase (i.e. learning a new language, starting a business, etc., etc..).
I personally used a countdown app that I installed on my phone in order to keep me pushing through it, not sure if that was a good idea looking back in retrospect (neither was taking six classes worth of graduate school classes). I’d recommend just sticking to the counter provided within this subreddit and practicing a lot of meditation.
My form of mediation was just to put on my headset and lay down and close my eyes for a bit whenever I flatlined (more specifically that downward pressure on your head feeling). I would also recommend not stretching yourself too thin (especially once you get into the honeymoon phase). Once you get to stage #2, you’ll feel the scapegoat super powers that may fool you into taking on more responsibility (which will backfire HARD once you hit the abyss in stage #3).
Installing a “COUNT UP” app is highly recommended though once you hit day 90, it’s a good way to keep you motivated (pic related its mine).
Props to the guy that posted this background pic though.
I’ll be sure to post an update on Day 180 (all else constant).
Best of Luck.