Thanks - a lot of wisdom and good points in here, I will reread this if temptedIt took a seriously long time for me to get to where I am today, mostly because my approach earlier on were too simplistic and not comprehensive enough.
I list the key activities that made significant difference
1. Rebuilding of self
Because addiction narrows the activities that provide pleasure, we are truly miserable when without release. Only through making effort to do things, and giving self recognition on achievements did I slowly learn to appreciate what I've done and can use accomplishments to gradually replace PMO as a source of pleasure.
I remember a time when nothing I did could make me happy. PMO really destroyed any ways for me to feel good about myself.
Nothing else helps the mind collect, organize and process each day like journalling. Through journalling I can reinforce learnings and truly felt progress happening. Without progress, one invariably feels hopeless and pointless.
3. Science & knowledge
Addiction is scientific in nature. How the abuse affects mental, chemical and biological states. What are the duration and cycle. What can be supplemented.
This knowledge is imperative in helping to plan schedules around withdrawal states so that we understand what is going on and how to extend clean periods.
4. Substance Avoidance
Of course key to recovery is substance avoidance. But even more so is a mental approach that ALL activities relating to the substance must be avoided. This includes fantasy, recollection, discussion, collection, and alternatives must all be avoided.
The reason is not a desire to be celibate. But rather, the necessity to rebuild pleasure awareness from other sources that were destroyed during the addictive cycle.
The bondage to the substance cannot be properly cut if material similar to the substance were used as a source of replacement. The association is too strong.
Take the attention away from the miserable self and focus on someone or somewhere else. Preferably not a intimate partner because when sex with them ends, PMO begins. Preferably also something that should not cause too much stress or anxiety. Hobbies, self improvement, social engagements are all good.
Derive non-sexual related joy, pleasure and achievement. My focus now is my son, my home renovation and my personal studies.
6. Self management and preventive measures.
There are always precursors to relapse.
Not just triggers, but buildups and avoidable surprises.
So self care is imperative:
Rest and recovery
Optimism and positivity for the future
Recovery is not simply about quitting.
It is more about rebuilding what were destroyed because of addiction: