Willpower alone is not enough.

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1 YEAR OF UPS AND DOWNS PART 4

Willpower alone is not enough. Willpower can be exhausted like everything else human. Using the above FENCES and PATHWAYS below will reduce your need to exert yourself. Most of our behaviour comes unconsciously. This is just about creating strategies to utilize our unconscious in our favour.

When you remove a major pleasure, there will be a void that needs filling. If you don’t fill the void with beneficial pleasures, that void will eventually get filled and then it won’t be with something good for you. The void will close up if denied pleasure for a while but why make things harder on yourself? I use the term “pleasure stacking” to describe the use of multiple mini pleasures to collectively make life easier while I handle not having that major pleasure from before. It also reduces the chances of starting another addiction during that timeframe. Here are my most trusted PATHWAYS:

  • Meditation – I could draw the clearest correlation between my meditation practice (mindfulness meditation) and my abstinence. Meditation does a number of things (scientifically proven). It improves the attention and control of the mind. When a fantasy pops into your head, you’ll be able to let that image go and refocus your mind elsewhere more easily. Massively reduces stress and other negative feelings. More importantly it makes you more aware of what those negative feelings really are so we don’t get carried away with them. After meditating, the mind is so quiet and clear, things feel amazing.
  • Exercise – once you get to a few days in, you’ll naturally find a certain amount of energy that needs to be used somehow. Like a dog that doesn’t get taken for walks, we go insane without using our energy. Exercising is so much easier when I don’t PMO and it’s a major helpful way to feel good (after the workout), relieve stress, improve sleep (remember how important it is to get to sleep quickly when getting to bed) and generally feel good.
  • Socialize – I sometimes still feel uncomfortable going into group settings but the next day I usually wake up feeling better than ever. Social needs are definitely linked to this because it’s to do with the neural-transmitter oxytocin which is the love/connection chemical.
  • Get a cuddle buddy - the reasons are the same as above. I met this girl who comes round and we often just lay together watching TV and it’s great because it’s a wonderful way to open up and feel a bonding. It really warms the heart. That surprisingly small act of chilling next to someone without even speaking can have wonderful effects over the following days.
  • Gratitude diary – this is on the YBOP website under solo tools. Fantastic evidence shows that this simple thing will improve your overall mood if you stick to it.
  • Having SMART goals. That’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely goals. Saying “I’m never going to look at a girl again” is not achievable. Personally, I don’t like the 90 day challenge because it puts the goal at a line that makes things….. CHALLANGING. Either just focus on short periods at a time like the weekend and then the week or just say “NOT FOR ME, THANKS” but I know that having a 90 day chart on my wall made the goal appear difficult and reduced my self-belief. Personally, having had experience at this, I take things one day at a time now and focus only on what can help or hinder me in the PRESENT moment (while knowing in the back of my mind that this behavioural change is for life).
  • Bedtime routine – again, if your vulnerable situations are bed related, set a routine that helps you to fall asleep as quickly as possible once you’re in bed and to give you the best night sleep possible so that when you wake up, you’re refreshed and can get out of bed more easily. A good night sleep is essential for our mood and stress management. One thing that is crucial for me is to turn the lights down about 20 minutes before going to bed and stop all electronics like phone etc. 10 minutes before. This winds me down. I always wake up refreshed if I use a bed time routine.
  • Self-hypnosis – if you’re still one of those people who believes hypnosis is some form of magic or mind control, I suggest you research some more. Hypnosis can help amazingly with a wide range of goals. Unfortunately, most of the iTunes audio downloads, specifically for porn, aren’t amazing from a hypnotherapists perspective (but they do help, especially if you listen frequently). Also, you can use the audio downloads for other issues that link over to PMO like stress or sleep or exercise motivation etc. Alternatively you can go and see a hypnotherapist in person although it will cost you a bit more. It’s quite funny that as a hypnotherapy student at the time, I avoided seeking professional help at all costs and then when I did, everything became a million times easier.

What to do when an urge arises? Like Gary from YBOP says, you can’t white knuckle this and rely on willpower alone. The best way to overcome this is to rely on strategies that make the need for willpower less likely. However, if you do encounter the willpower moment, here are some things that you may find useful:

1) Remove yourself from the environment. Leave the room or the building and you’ll find your state change rapidly. Even if you still have the temptation, your ability to act on it is reduced. The more removed you are, the more the change of mental state.

2) Go for a drive. It’s distracting and the music in the car will help also

3) Go for a walk or jog. This will expend that extra energy, release endorphins, serotonin and dopamine and will give you time to clear your head.

4) Watch stand-up comedy. I know TV is not recommended but stand-up comedy is typically just ugly guys, making us feel good by belittling themselves and celebrities we love to hate.

5) Take 5-HTP. Ok, so I’m not saying this to everyone. 5-HTP is pretty much serotonin supplements. Serotonin makes us feel calmer and happier and in larger doses is used for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

I absolutely do not recommend supplements as a major tool to overcome this problem but they can be considered like a mental health version of a walking stick. If you hurt your leg, while things are really rough, it can help you to stay up right. Then as things get a little better, they support you while you do the real therapy (in this case meditation, exercise, socializing etc.) and then you remove them completely while continuing the therapy. If you use them daily, you’re becoming dependent and medicating which defies the point of freedom. But it can act like a walking stick at particularly hard times. Gary from YBOP is right in that this problem is not here because of a supplement deficiency. Just be careful with it please.

6) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. I won’t explain it in detail so Google it if you don’t already know. It’s used for post-traumatic stress disorder and pretty much overloads the attention so other things (like that fake porn thing that you used to believe meant something) get removed from the attention.

7) Pray. I don’t as I’m not a believer but for some of you I’m sure this can be comforting. If you relate this issue with a higher power and purpose, reconnecting your heart and mind with that higher power and purpose will strengthen your resources to head in the right direction.

What’s my view on having sex during reboot? Personally I think that if you’re not recovering from ED, go for it. That’s exactly what your body needs; to appreciate the real beauty in this world. My one caution is while actually having the sex is great for reboot, the memory of it or anticipation of it could be a risk factor e.g. sexting.

Comments

thank you gary so much