Zander Reboot - Light at the end of the tunnel



For what it's worth I have an observation on myself that could eventually help you (just in case really). I stopped hardmode like 3 weeks ago and went softmode (which works way better for me rn in the sense that I have much much less porn pressure in my mind and all the benefits I gathered from the previous hardmode streak, ps : when I say softmode it's a recurence of 1 mo/6-7 days, I specify just to make sure you don't imagine it was MO fiesta and still keeping "benefits" of no pmo).

But litteraly 4 days ago I decided to consider my gaming as an addiction and I have to say that it pretty much reminds me of the same amount of days of no PMO. And my brain is litteraly trying to balance the lack of dopamine release by creating more urges to porn, even today MO felt "not enough" and my brain was like "hey bro, PMO is the way to not feel that feeling of "something is missing".

Also, Yday i got out in the crowd of the city and felt the exact same way as if I were walking in the forest, alone. No feeling of pressure at all. My analysis of this would be that, if it was not a "one time thing", gaming kinda bring the same lvl of hyperstimulation porn does (in my case), and even further, if that non-stress response was due to no video-game for 3 days, I had some positive effect of "abstaining" that I never had with nofap.

I write this coz I used games to help me with nofap, which did, really, but as I read earlier you were too, there might be something to be taken in this experience. But again, it's on such a little amount of time the observations have be considered carefully.

Also I used to play games exactly like I used to do porn, to escape the world and in an extreme way (time spent daily wise). Your relationship to video game might be different and thus, have a different impact idk.


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@Flesh I'm not bothered by gaming. I'm old and wise enough to know that they are a complete time sink. There is no pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow. In fact, they are very much like porn in that regard. There is no winning. There is no finish line. You're never going to find the perfect porn video to watch, just like you're never going to leave the gaming chair feeling like you've actually accomplished anything of value. I use them as a tool to pass the time when nothing else seems to do the trick. I don't like when I'm playing them, and it's embarrassing in a way, but when I'm in the dark places my main goal is to just get through them.

In fact, the last 2 days I haven't played a single game because I'm starting to climb out of the valley and my brain is becoming more open to others sources of pleasure.

So I'm now 2 days away from being 22.25 months free of porn. If 24 months was my main goal, then I'm less than 2 months away. Just need to keep moving forward, because I'm really gettin' bored by all of this shit. The internet is more harmful than it is positive, by a longshot, and I'm ready to not have to rely on it so heavily.

Once I get out of this mess I have so many things that I want to do it's not even funny. I have about a million fucking reason to never relapse again, and I jsut need to keep reminding myself of those reasons when times are tough. Even though I'm most likely done with the dark ages of tis era, they may come back. And if they do, I need to be ready.

More importantly, I need to be ready for the time when my libido starts to fully return. I've already seen some signs of life every now and then, and I've read enough stories of long-termers to know that sometimes the libido returns before the withdrawals subside. If that happens to be the case, then that will be a point in time when I need to make some solid decisions. I'm very much prepared to do whatever is necessary to make it through any high-risk-of-relapse time periods. I'll take a train to New York and stay in hostels, I don't give a shit. I'd give all of the money I possess to ensure that I rid myself of this addiction for good.

Things are going to start changing within the next 6 months for me. I've never heard of a reboot lasting longer than 27 months, and even if it takes me 28, that would still fall within the 6 month threshold (22+6=28). Change, to me, sounds so fucking awesome. I mean, I'll cry my fucking eyes out when I get the gut feeling that my flatline is over. I'll fucking bawl. I'll jump up and down like a god damned child.

I don't know what to expect, I don't know what to think, I don't know the timeline. A lot of unknowns in my life. I don't like that anymore. I'm tired of not knowing much about anything. I'm tired of waking up and asking myself, before I get out of bed, if today is going to livable or not. I'm jsut fuckin' sick of it. I've never gotten used to it and I never will. I don't have stockholm syndrome. I'm not in love with my captor. I fuckin' hate him and have picture, from day 1, how I'm going to rip his fucking eyeballs out and shove it down his stupid throat.

Porn is evil. It will wreck a man (or woman's) soul. It is one of the banes of our society, without question. It lives in the dark, yet is in every single home. It has infiltrated the most basic of our instincts. It's like a poisoned well.

I don't need to point out all that it has done to change our mainstream culture. The popularity of OTC Viagra, Onlyfans, instagram models, fake butts, fake lips, depression, low libido, disrespectful sex, the fact that Pornhub is the most visited website on the planet by a fucking 1,000 miles, and a million other things are impossible to ignore.

I so badly want to finish my story with a somewhat happy ending so that people will know that it can steal a man's soul. If I make it to the other side then I'll be proof that it is beyond anyone's imaginations, evil wise.

It'd be phony to say that my motivation is to inspire others. That's fucking selfish, narcissistic, and phony. I've abstained because I want my life back. I want to know who I truly am, what I'm capable of, what it feels like to experience true emotion.

Part of me firmly believes that most people don't even believe that my symptoms are caused by porn anymore. I operate under the assumption that most people who read this shit roll their eyes and pawn me off as another wacko on the internet. A sentiment I totally understand. This shit makes me a fucking whacko.

I think the way I'm going to rectify my assumption is by posting a video to my journal once I made it. Reading random internet words means nothing to people anymore. Anyone can do it, most people who do it often have underlying issues, and it provides a level of anonymity that allows anyone to shape themselves in any way they so choose. But if people see my face, see my emotions plastered onto that face, and hear the inflection of my voice, then it'll be hard to ignore the words I've written. Nothing can replace true human interaction, and if we can't have that than a video will at least attempt to replicate it. Hell, Gabe Deem's handsome face did a lot more for me than most other things as far as understanding that this shit can affect anyone.

Lord knows I've said some stupid shit on here. These withdrawals morph my entire personality. When I'm feeling dark, everything about me is dark. There is no getting out of it. I become a negative motherfucker. Anger and sadness ooze out of me at equal measure. But I'm not like that. This shit will crush even the happiest man's spirit.

Whatever. I'm still not out of it yet. 6 months is a long fucking time, especially when most of the time is being spent as a half-human. Time drips by when I'm at my worst.

Fuck, I don't even want to think about it anymore. I still don't know any of the answers, and that's probably the hardest part about this whole thing. NOT KNOWING. NOT KNOWING WHEN THINGS RAE GOING TO END. When is this urge going to end? How many more days do I need to abstain? How long am I going to feel depressed? How many days will this relapse cost me? How long will I have to wait before I can feel like my old self? How long until I start feeling confident again? How long until I can have healthy sex? How long will this measly boner last?

Gotta keep working, even if no one else believes that I am in fact working. Gotta put yourself out on a limb sometimes.

Still not out of the snakepit. Doesn't even feel like I'm close, so I'm going to keep operating under the assumption that I'm not. No longer do I expect the best. I hope for it, but I expect the worst. I expect this thing to take 28 months, deep down. In fact, I don't expect that it'll ever end. I'm fuckin' serious. I'm so beaten down that I don't truly believe that I'm going to get out of it. I really, really don't. Other people may have gotten out of long flatlines, but I don't have any evidence that I will. It's a hard emotion to describe, but I honestly don't believe there is another side to this. I'm just that fuckin' taken over by this shit.

But I do HOPE that I will get out. That's the difference I think. I don't expect to, I don't think I will, but I HOPE THAT I DO. I have no evidence that has shown me that the pain will ever go away: I've been stuck in the same 3 month cycle for two years now. I have a thorough excel document that supports this statement. Nowhere in my records do I see a change in the pattern. The darkness is still dark. The okay times are still barely okay. I have no tangible proof that I will leave the cycle.

BUT I HOPE, SO FUCKING BADLY, THAT I WILL. So all I can fucking god damn motherfucking do is not relapse, and to eek out as much positivity during my okay times.

God speed to everyone. Maybe, as time goes on we won't have to operate under the same umbrella that fucked us over in the first place (the internet), but I don't see that happening in the near future. If you think society is a just place where the truth is always revealed than you are going to be disappointed over and over again. No one knows what in the fuck is going on, and most everyone is motivated by their own agenda. Porn makes people a lot of money, and money, to a lot of folks, means power. And we all have read enough history to understand that the lust for power will always cause damage. Porn is taboo to talk about because there is an inherent shame to it.

I'm rambling. Peace out. Don't relapse. And if you do, ask yourself why it happened. Dig deep.


Good for you if gaming isn't a problem, one less demon to fight.

Once I get out of this mess I have so many things that I want to do it's not even funny

I know flatline, "the dark place", and all that is stricts FACTS but it just reminds me of my own struggles to do anything still not long ago and looking back I know see that it was just me rationalising with really good reasons the fact that I don't move on in life overall so I don't have to face what is scary. I put this there too so u can reflect on it and see if eventually u're not using that very good reason to wait and not having to face your life YET.

There is a concept is "the subtle art of not giving a fuck", by mark manson (brilliant book, it's even free as an audiobook on ytb), which is :

emotional inspiration -> motivation -> action -> loop = being a loop that once initiated feed itself up, that's the regular way of doing, and the main problem of procrastinators.

And he says that how ppl who achieve a lot do is the opposite : action -> motivation -> emotional inspiration -> loop

And the secret is to not look for the big step in what you want to achieve but a tiny little step like whatever really. It works so fucking well for me and I didn't even notice that this is what I was doing for my gym training, I never think about the whole training that is scary and heavy, I just think about the first steps that gets me in "then we'll see, we're not there yet".


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Still feeling bad more than okay.

Had a massive wet dream a couple days ago.

We'll see what happens. My mental has been pretty weak the past coupla days because I haven't been able to be an actual person. I expected to be out of the valley by now. Yesterday sucked ass.

Everything still up in the air. No conclusions to be made.


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Still having bad days. Brighter, but not better. That makes sense to me, though I doubt it will to anyone else.

Still dumbfounded by how utterly destroyed my brain is.

Hard to be optimistic when the only evidence you have points to the negative. Not going to cave in though. Without hope I am nothing. The loss of hope is the true death knell.

Upon looking back, I've observed that some of my symptoms have gotten much better, while some have gotten worse. The "pain" I feel has most definitely only ramped up as each month has passed. Throughout the first 9-10 months I had a lot of hard fucking days, but nothing like the ones I've experienced months 11-22.

My ability to be social is the one thing that I can say has improved. I'm much more comfortable going out into the world when I'm not feeling so shitty. Over the last 2 months I've run more errands and taken part in more activities than the beginning of this. I've started working out on a regular basis, including going to a crowded gym. Still not comfortable in my own skin, but it's gotten easier.

Another thing that has gotten worse is the amount of time I spend in the dark times. The ratio of okay to bad days has gotten worse. The pain seems to be lasting longer, and I haven't gotten as many "reprieve" days.

I'd say my fatigue levels have gotten much better. As I said before, I'm much, much more active. Still only a shell of my former self, but things in this arena have improved greatly.

Something that has remained static is my intelligence. My IQ has dropped a SIGNIFICANT amount during this flatline. I'm flat out stupid most days. My wit, creativity, etc. etc are next to fucking nothing. In fact, I'd say I've only gotten dumber. So maybe this isn't static, but another downward trend.

Sleep is static. Has been utter shit all throughout.

My perception and clarity of vision has stayed pretty static. Most days my lens of the world is foggy at best. I simply cannot appreciate the finer details of life, including the beauty of spring/summer.

There are so many fucking things that I want to experience before my time is up. I hope, every day, that I make it out of this before I die. I just want to be a human again. This is my primary motivation.
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Had a wet dream this morning. It was a fairly lucid dream, and it is for sure affecting me today. Not until I'm out of the flatline will they stop causing symptoms.

Pretty disappointed because I think they send me backwards on the recovery spectrum, but I could be wrong. Trying not to beat myself up too much because at the end of the day I was still half asleep.

Going to try and avoid any sort of fantasy. I always catch myself whenever I begin to let my imagination get the better of me, but I can take it a step further and cut it out before it even begins.

I'm doing well with everything but there is always room for improvement. Meditation is the ultimate tool, but I've been feeling too shit to do it.

Once I start feelin' a tad bit better I'm going to double down on meditation, because there is no better way to gain control of my thoughts and impulses than that (for me, could be different for others).

That's the 2nd wet dream in the last week. That's another change I can document: the existence of them. I never got any during the first year (maybe 1 or 2 I can't remember). Now I get them about once every 1-2 weeks. Signs that things are still changing.


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Vision has been clearer today. Makes me think of all of the things that can be improved at the end of this flatline. The list is fucking astronomical. Vision, emotions, IQ, wit, energy, attitude, self-awareness, positivity, sexuality, sociability, sleep, digestion, motivation, charm, charisma, love, artistry, reading, writing, watching movies again, smiling, laughing, on and on and on and on and on. This shit has been a true soul killer for me. Especially over the past couple years, where the relapses began to nullify absolutely everything.

Still craving porn almost all hours of the day. It's a low level white noise that constantly hums in the back of my head. Sometimes it grows very loud. Sometimes it's easily ignored. But it's always there, and I expect it to be there until I leave this godforsaken flatline of the ages. Jesus fuckin christ man, my brain really loves porn. It's fucking insanity. I still go to the grocery store and have to fight thoughts about porn scenarios that I subconsciously taught my brain through hours and hours of edging to non reality. I, through porn, taught my brain and body that sex happens like it does on those evil websites. Too bad I was at the perfect age for it to really leave a mark. Prime trauma bearing years. Our brains are ripe little fields at that age aren't they. I just happened to grow all of the wrong crops. Except the habit of working out. that's like the one good habit I developed in my teens. The rest of it was absolute trash. Except for my ability to socialize. I was lucky enough to have learned that skill as well.

As I've said many times, I just don't want to die before I get to the end of all of this. And I don't want any of the people that I love to die during this timeframe either. There's so much lost time that needs to be made up.

I still have hope that this will all end, but I still don't trust that it will. I don't even know what it's like to not be in some sort of withdrawal or active addiction. I have no expectations for how things will be because I've only had like 1-2 days, years ago, where I felt as if I was almost free from this vice. I still remember the one day perfectly. I was able to watch a movie and actually experience it as a normal human. It was fucking magical, and I still cling to that memory as often as I can. Sadly it was only one day, and it was years ago, and it wasn't enough for me to think that it was truly real and not just some sort of one off. I don't trust it, I suppose. Too many things have changed, too many years have accumulated after it.

I don't even know who the fuck I am. Things change daily. hourly. I'm a new person every fucking morning it seems.

Less than 3 weeks away from month 23. Though I don't ever expect to be free of all of this, I'm still going to celebrate my 2 year anniversary in some fashion. Means will be limited, seeing as how my ability to enjoy life is so thoroughly obliterated, but I'll hopefully think of something. Or maybe I'll put off the big celebration for a time when I'd be able to properly celebrate it. Who knows. If it were today I wouldn't be able to do jack shit about it. Nothing sounds appealing. My anhedonia is the stuff of legend.

I'm being honest when I say I don't actually expect to heal at this point. It's just been too long. I've been let down too many times to allow myself that thought. That guarantee. But I do very much HOPE that it happens. I hope so fucking hard.

It's impossible to truly expect something that I have no evidence of.

I think the healthiest way I can move through the rest of this is to try and learn from the pain somehow. At least some of it. It's been too constant and too ever present for me to garner wisdom from every second, but there will be times where I can find meaning in it by attempting to garner some sort of lesson. I don't know though, that sounds kind of forced and over-spirity. At the end of the day I want to get the fuck out of this. I'm done with the lessons, I'm done with the seriousness. I'm just fucking done.

Need to stay vigilant. Porn still wants to be watched.


Am I wrong if I say that at some point ur supposed to take action and this is actually what pull you off your thoughts of porn. Rn aren't waiting for them to just go ? Instead of filling your thoughts with other things, it feels like u're acting like the porn will go away at some point then u'll sit there with a brain full of void and THEN u'll be able to fill it with something else. Idk if that makes sense to you.

I'm gonna be honest (and if this bother you in any way, maybe there is something to dig into on that route), part of me think that ur brain takes time to recover and all but another part of me think that this all thing is just you rationalising a situation you're comfortable in. I understand this is a very hard situation for you but I've seen over and over ppl going with this kind of thinking like "bro im in a shitty situation for sur I wish I could do something about it" but in the end they just stuck themselves in their rationalisation, all their very very good reason, and their truly bad situation just coz the fear of living up to what they expect for themselves to do once they're out of this shit is just soooo much scarier.

Maybe do I repeat myself idk, good luck anyway


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Gotta keep sticking to the path. I trust my compass over anyone else's.

I've been watching a show today (good sign, rarely am I able to enjoy it) and ran into some scenes involving sexual stuff. It's Parks and Rec so it's not some sex-filled HBO show with graphic nudity, but the scene was enough to force me to come onto this journal to express my worry. I gotta be better. The moment something like that pops up onto the screen I need to exit the browser immediately. It's not worth the risk. I need to keep playing the long game. It's vital that I do so, above all other things. In fact, I'm going to go outside and meditate right now. If sex scenes pop into my head while my eyes are closed then I'll keep them open and focus on my breath.

Stay the course.

Things have been tough, but today has been a welcomed "okay" day. Not where I want to be, but it's been a relief.


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Still in a place of strong anhedonia. Appetite is fluctuating as well.

Impossible to know where I'm at. Just going to keep rolling forward.


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Gunna keep rolling despite how rough this shit is.

Halfway to month 23. 45 days until the full 24 months. After that I'll just continue to count. I probably won't feel that much different when the day comes, but my brain needs this in order to feel like I'm building towards something. It's the carrot. I'll never get there, but there needs to be one there in order for me to keep moving. Or maybe I will get there. Who the fuck knows.

Sucks that time has been moving so slowly lately. When the symptoms are bad time oozes by. The fact that I'm posting on this forum this often means that I'm still very much not in the moment. Things still aren't too enjoyable for me.

Getting in the moment is the end all be all. That's when life starts to get good (I hope).

Symptoms seem different these days. Even harder to predict than before. Maybe they've always been this chaotic and I've just been too foggy to comprehend the chaos. I'll never get a right answer. It is what it is.

Don't know what to expect. Don't expect much. Just moving one day at a time. Having a lot of thoughts about how much time has gone by, and about how old I'm getting. Death scares me. I think about it a lot.

Want to break free from the flatline for about a million reasons. Can't forget them. They propel me much more forcefully than reasons "not to relapse". Though I guess they are both the inverse of the other. Relapses negate the things that I want.

The list if fuckin enormous. Love. Creativity. Passion. emotion. Healthy sex. Color. Vividness. Books. Friends. Dating. Movies. Laughing. Better sleep. Better appetite. Better digestion. Zen. Fuckin a million other things.

A huge reason I want to get better is to validate my experiences to the outside world. That's a vain thing, and not the correct thing, but it's another reason. I won't lie.

Not like I'm going to walk around and rub it in anyone's face. most people don't even know about my struggle. But I don't know. It's hard to describe. It'll just feel nice to know that I was right about everything. That I suddenly became a much purer version of myself. All that these symptoms do is cloud who I really am, so it's not like I'll be gaining superpowers. It'll be like I'll have the capacity to be my true self.

I think that most young guys view recovery from PMO addiction as gaining superpowers because they aren't fully acquainted with their real selves, or with real life. Since they became used to lesser version of both of those entities, being free of porn allowed them to get a double whammy. Like jumping into a cold swimming pool after sitting in a hot tub. WHAM! The emotion and passion of reality plus the authentic version of your own self. They become much higher functioning beings in a much brighter, more vivid world. Superpowers sounds about right when you think about it.

Can't get too excited though. I'm not there, and I have no proof that I will ever get there. So I need to stay grounded and to keep expectations low. All I can focus on is what I do each day. Not relapsing. And trying to be as much of a person as I can. That's the only shit I can control. The rate at which my brain's healing mechanisms work is not something I can manipulate.
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Respected Member
Little more than a week away until month 23. Doesn't mean shit, but I need that gauge for now. Helps me feel accomplished even though I still feel so shitty all the time.

One day at a time.


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Another wet dream this morning. This time I was not lucid dreaming, so I have no feelings towards it. Is what it is. don't think it affected my mood or anything. Benign. No chaser.


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Norm Macdonald passed away from cancer today. He didn't make it public, and I'm pretty sure he didn't tell his friends either. Maybe even his family. Dude didn't want it to influence the way people responded to him.

He was a hero of mine, but I'm so emotionally stunted by this flatline that I don't feel much of anything.

Regardless, going to keep moving forward.
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Well-Known Member
Hey man - I haven't read your entire journal but saw a bit of your recent posts.
( Wild if I never posted in your journal before, was looking around and thought my journal was the oldest one that is still somewhat active)

Anyways - I found success with Smart recovery. An addiction recovery program that is science based. I am not saying to join it, but want to bring something up I learned from them....

Their program is 4 points. Motivation, Urges, Managing Feelings and thoughts and Living a balanced life.

Basically giving up an addiction doesn't always just make us feel great. Overall I had to look elsewhere to figure things out then the porn recovery community because I haven't found the " quit porn for 90 days and have super powers" thing to be correct. Often when quiting an addiction new emotional issues can pop up, things I used to escape via addiction.

The simple thing is : active action to improve thinking has been very helpful to me rather then just the hope that if I quit porn long enough I'll just feel great eventually.

Stuff like disputing negative thoughts
Practicing gratitude daily
I have found bit by bit help my AVERAGE mood


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8 days away from 23 months. I'm at a place where I'm really paying attention to what day it is. In my heart, the 2 year mark obviously means a whole lot to me. I hope I don't have too much invested, subconsciously, in my departure from the flatline at the 24 month mark. In my eyes, there is a high chance that it's not going to happen. A lot would have to change in the span of a single month. Or it would have to be a sort of "AHA" moment where the light suddenly flicks on and the darkness leaves as quickly as it appeared. I've heard read some stories of that happening, but I've also read plenty where that wasn't the case at all. The tricky thing about this process is that no two people's experiences are the same.

I'm done saying that I don't expect it to happen. I do. Of course I do. I just can't let myself get too excited about anything. I can't set myself up for a free fall. the moment I start getting optimistic is the moment when I put myself on a pedestal: a pedestal that can easily be ripped out from under my feet. I'd rather fall at floor level.

I need to maintain low expectations. And I will continue to do so. It's been pretty easy lately seeing as how I'm 23 months sober and still in the flatline.

I've been having dreams of an ex girlfriend that I had when I was a junior in high school. No idea what this means. My hypothesis is that I used my addiction to ignore a whole swath of emotions and experiences, and that my brain is slowly dealing with and processing these dormant emotions through dreams. It's like my mind is taking out a hoarder's house worth of garbage one bag at a time.

Anyways, I'm just happy when my dreams stray from the norm, which is fractured, broken up nightmares.


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Once this day ends (which will be soon), I'll be 4 days away from 23 months.

As I've said, only reason I'm counting so obsessively is because it's tough for me to get into the moment these days. Seems like this addiction is going out swinging. It's fightin' me tooth and nail.