My bona fides: over one year no relapses, no porn, no PMO, no MO. Gabe asked me to post here. I previously posted on NoFap, which I loved, and where my post had over 19,000 reads, when I left it, having achieved one year clean.
Hello Gentlemen. First, let's figure out if this post is for you. If it is for you, stay, read, and contribute, it may bring you peace. If it is not for you, leave, it will bring you no peace.
This post is for porn addicts for whom use of porn has become seemingly impossible to quit, highly compulsive, and whose pornography use has caused significant problems in their lives. "Significant problems" means erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, premature ejaculation, or, the worst, problems with the women they care for. By the way, this is not just for men, women suffer from this as well, but I usually speak to guys being a guy myself.
But, it is not just for the guys in the paragraph above. The paragraph above may describe you. But there is something else that includes you in the group of guys I am speaking to here, and that is you have finally made the decision to quit porn, completely, forever, to give it up, to leave it behind, to abandon it, to excommunicate it, to defriend it, to have nothing more to do with it, to live a porn free life, and to never go back to the slavery that porn addiction represents. If you want to stay a slave, go away.
You see, Gentlemen, there are two types of guys here. I only have something to say for one type. The first type is the guy who understands porn is a problem for him, but who wants to control it, to cut back, but, to keep it in his life. That type is an alcoholic who likes to keep a bottle in the house, even if it is not opened, and is on the top shelf pushed way back. He is an alcoholic in denial, and sooner or later, he is going on a binge. The first type suffers from hubris and arrogance, and ignorance. The second type is the guy who has accepted porn controls him, that he cannot control porn, but that porn has come to control him. The second type will overcome his porn addiction through humility, knowledge, and suffering--the suffering is only for a relatively short time. Knowing he cannot keep porn in his life and control it, he has committed to deleting it from his life, and thus controlling his life again. I am in the second group. Porn no longer controls my life because I know that with porn in my life, porn controlled me. I now control my life. For those of you who are or wish to be in the second group, I invite you to this side of the line. For the rest, you have much love from me, and I wish you all the happiness you can have relapsing, every two or three days, for the next 60 or 70 years.
There are three things that men quitting porn must do; Get Educated, Get Tools, Learn to Love Withdrawals. You must educate yourself as to the problem. If you are in the midst of porn addiction you think the problem is huge. It is a hurricane, you are in the middle of it, and you cannot see the end to it or how you will survive it. In fact, the problem is very small. The problem deceives you, that is part of the problem. You see porn addiction happens in the brain, it is totally above the belt. Porn addiction is very simple: You are having a chemical reaction to visual stimulation. The solution: eliminate the visual stimulation. Sounds simple, and on some level it is, but...I'll come back to the "but" in a moment.
This is the perfect place to get educated. Gabe Deem is a great teacher. His is nearly three years clean. The first thing I advise you to do is read and view everything he has said on the problem.
Not less helpful is Gary Wilson. He has taught us the science behind our addiction.
The link to the video that saved my life is here:
Copy and paste it. Watch it. Take notes, watch it again.
Understand that this is just cause and effect, stimuli and response. The problem looks huge to you now, but, in fact, it is actually quite small. Again, I will come back to the "but" in a moment.
Hit this link. It is Gabe. He is human, you are human, if he can do it, you can do it. You can do it.
Understand you don't just begin your journey to getting clean cold, you prepare for it, you anticipate it.
The thing is, it took you years to get here. If you are not willing to put a couple hours into preparing to get clean, then you love the high porn gives you more than getting clean, and that means you are not yet ready to get clean. To get clean you have to reach a place in your life where "getting clean" is the most important thing to you. If it is five down on your wish list, you are not ready.
Above is the education. Getting educated about the addiction was the biggest step for me in quitting it. I thought I had a problem below the belt, when in fact it was always in my brain, above the belt. We talk about being PMO addicts or even porn addicts, but in reality we are dopamine addicts, it's the greatest drug in the universe, and we carry it around in our brains. There are other chemicals involved too, but dopamine is the main culprit. Dopamine, is released in response to porn, and our brains come to love it. Your PMO cycle will never be broken so long as you've got porn on the brain, or literally running around inside it. A lot of guys slow down when starting to try to quit, but they will never be quit if they keep porn in their head.
Tools: Porn blockers. Don't just quit, don't just passively stop and sit there, take affirmative action to change your online habits by making it difficult to access the problem. This will help you in various ways. Stopping your ability to access porn will help you stop accessing porn, and accessing porn is the underlying problem here. Maybe blockers won't stop you, but for me, they slowed me down and acted almost like a reminder that I was stopping. Like a tap on the shoulder. Also, taking these steps means you are taking steps to control your situation, which is a bit empowering. I also post here, it helps. Most guys swear by K9. I have used it, and I recommend it. You can stop reading here, go to K9, install it, come back and finish. Don't give yourself time or a reason not to.
Here comes the "but". Last, withdrawals. Withdrawals suck. We don't talk enough about them here. They are why we fail. They are our brain's dopamine drenched chemical reward center begging us, threatening us, punishing us, pleading with us, rationalizing with us why we need to PMO. Withdrawals are painful, they are physical, mental, and emotional pain. They are the jitters, the shakes, the sweats, odd pains in odd places, the brain fog we feel when quitting, and our brain's way of telling us all that unpleasantness can go away with just a little harmless fix. When going through withdrawal I felt I had a sinus infection and my teeth actually hurt. I did not have a sinus infection and my teeth were fine, but my brain, at some level, had to make me feel bad to try and make me feel good through a porn induced dopamine release. The good thing is, if you are having withdrawals, it means your brain's dopamine levels are on their way back to normal. Once you get back to normal those things stop, but you can't get back to normal until your brain re-balances, and that takes...let's just round up to 90 days. You will probably see significant lessening at about 35-40 days, but even after that, you will experience them. Newbies must be told this will not be easy, it will be hard, and they have to expect this pain, endure it, embrace it and even want it to accomplish our task, getting dopamine production back to normal. If you are addicted you WILL feel this pain. You must accept that, and you must embrace it, and you must prepare for it, and on a certain level you have to WANT it. It will not kill you, you will not die, but on a certain level you will feel like it. You know that euphoria that porn abuse gave you at its height? Think of withdrawals as that, but negative times two. No one gets out easy, so, if you are not willing to get out hard, you are not willing to get out.
Also, porn is a chameleon. You have favorites, you have categories, a lot of us go to places that are far, far, away from what we would consider our natural, healthy sexual taste or orientation. You have to understand that "porn" is just a button we push to get a dopamine high. Once those early porn pathways are desensitized, we look for new, novel, different pathways, leading us father and father away from who we were in the beginning. When quitting porn, though, we will trigger on almost anything. Porn addiction can be starved to death, but when quitting, the addiction is willing to be fed by almost anything. No matter how hardcore your porn addiction became at the end, when quitting a Victoria Secret's layout will trigger you. You have to avoid the chameleon, it is just your dopamine soaked brain trying to talk to you, whisper in your year, that you must relapse. In fact, you must NOT relapse. Porn is not just porn for the addict quitting porn, it is any sexual imagery that sets off dopamine release. Porn is seeing it, watching it, perceiving it, hearing it, thinking of it, imagining it, remembering it. It is having an orgasm while thinking of it, whether with a partner or during MO. It is edging. It is PMOing. It is using porn substitutes like chat rooms or soft core imagery that triggers a dopamine release.
Now we begin.
Thanks for allowing me to post. Posting and responding to posts are part of my recovery, so thank you.
I wish everyone who read this past the second paragraph luck on their journey.