The Long Way Home

Wolfman

Member
It's about three hours since I last PMO'd. A bleak realization seizes me in the wash of orgiastic pleasure: I'm going deeper down a path whose end is an all-consuming nothingness. I've been deep down this path. And, although I've managed to climb up significantly, this path is one that I've never really been able to escape.

I'm thirty years old and I've been watching and masturbating to internet porn since my somewhere in my mid-teens. I can't remember exactly when I started, because I can't remember a time without it. If I try to reminisce about my sexuality, porn seems always to have been there, from the earliest days on. For the longest time, I had no idea of its effects, because I lived a closed existence. Keeping few friends and not seeing any women. But I was often depressed and emotionally unstable. It's when I got into college that I started meeting more people and seeing women, I started feeling better. My sexual encounters were exciting, save for one thing: there was a baffling and frustrating gap where there should've been an upright joy. I had severe ED.

At first I thought it was a performance anxiety, but after cruising the internet a bit, I came to believe that this was porn related. I could really feel--as I still do today--where my brain is on fire when looking at porn, it is silent and dead when I was with a real person. Every other part of me wants the other person, except the whole.

But I've come to realize that the problem is not just with ED, but additionally as an emotional crutch and as a surrogate for real, meaningful relationships. I would PMO as a pick-me-up, a boost to my mood or get by. When I was having a low day--just like today--I'd start with a few nude images, before hopping to a video, and then the game was up. Any willpower at that point was gone. The first time after a week feels really nice, but then, doing it the second day in a row, rapidly it feels hollow and disappointing.

Porn has been such a big part of my life. It's likely done more damage than I can imagine. But I can't deny it's also been a comfort and a space where I could explore my fantasies. The problem is the persistent, many years long usage. Now I know, I've known for years, but I really want to quit for good. The short-term comfort does not make up for the debilitating and humiliating ED and the emotional dismemberment. I hope this journal will help me on heading the right direction on this path; upwards and, eventually, off it completely. I welcome any support and any suggestions. Thank you for reading.

It's about four hours since I last PMO'd.
 

Pete McVries

Active Member
A journal can be a great tool though and a catalyst in order to succeed, so don't be discouraged. Input of other members can be very valuable. It certainly helped me a great deal!

Knowledge is power so don't hesitate to read a lot in the beginning. I always advice to read Gary Wilson's Your Brain on Porn book and the Porn Myth by Matt Fradd.

It'll provide you with a lot of useful information and you'll be able to at least partly grasp how damaging ongoing and longstanding porn use is whether you are 15 of 50 years old whether you are a man, a woman or trans, whether you identify as straight, gay or pansexual.

Take care!
 

Wolfman

Member
Thanks Johnny (if I may) for your comments. I agree, it's a big thing and it needs to be dealt with from multiple angles, most definitely practical things and new habits. That's part of why I've titled this journal the 'long' way home. Thank you for the link! I'll watch it straight after I write this post. 

And thanks Pete (if I may) for your suggestions and encouragement. I'll check out both books, starting with Gary Wilson's!

Since I mentioned the title, I might say a few more words about my thoughts about it (continuing the journal). I'm not expecting it to be easy or even something that is just one day "achieved". But I'm also not accepting my current situation and I want to change--I need to change--hence why I've come to try this. Thinking back on earlier attempts, I would fail when I thought I had overcome it. When I thought I was doing well and considered the whole problem to be an "easy" matter. When I stopped doing the work, that's when it would come back and bite me. So the first thing I need to make myself aware of, I think, is perseverance. Particularly coming back to this journal and updating it. Maybe not every day, but at least not leave it for more than a week. I should establish a good routine with visiting the forums often. Because the hardest part is yet to come, and I think half the battle is won through good preparation.

It's been a day, and I'm feeling quite okay. But as I said, the hardest is yet to come.
 

switcheroc

Member
You can do this, mate. You took the first step. Make the commitment, and read up some success stories on YBOP website and also on YouTube. I think the YouTube vids were quite helpful. There was this one kid, i forgot his YouTube handle, who made a video account of his NoFap. He was almost an entire year clean. It was a big encouragement to see this teenager achieve it. If he can do it, I can do it. If I'm too weak and I crumble, that makes me a real loser.
 

Wolfman

Member
Cheers switcheroc! Appreciate your encouragement.

Yeah, the YouTube videos are super helpful. I've seen four episodes of Universal Man's series, the one which Johnny recommended.

Given my understanding is increasing, I should set myself some concrete goals. I'm inclined to agree with the 90 day reboot. I think that this is what I need. Not only for the ED, but also (and perhaps more importantly) to heal my emotional being. I need to start going out into the world, just for the sake of hanging out with people and making new connections; connections, with women, which are not based on the sexual prospect.

It's really hard to think about this. 90 days! But I think the basic rewiring is necessary, and spiritually I need to put this whole sex-thing to the side.

So, I'm deciding to do the 90 day reboot. "Hard Mode." No PMO, and no sex. This will be the "short term" goal, as the long term, or "eternal goal", will be to completely erase porn altogether from my life. I want the remainder of my years to be without this poison. I want to find new ways of becoming and learning. Becoming a more compassionate and actually living version of myself. And these better ways of being do not include P, because that does nothing to enrich life, but only robs it.
 
Wolfman

Welcome to the forum!

If I try to reminisce about my sexuality, porn seems always to have been there, from the earliest days on.

I'm in the same boat. I'll never have a reference point for my normal sexuality because I started masturbating to it before I had sexual urges. I started out of curiousity. I think Charlie Marcotte mentions the same thing in the YBR Radio series (season 1).

I'd like to add a few more informational resources in addition to those that Pete mentioned. First, if you want quick access to the contents of Your Brain on Porn, you can always go to the author Gary Wilson's website, located here. It contains all the info in the book and more, though I do recommend the book as it is more condensed and focused than the website. Second, check out Noah Church's great book Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn. He made it free, and if you click that link, you'll be able to view and download the PDF. Noah differs from Gary, who is kind of the informational godfather for porn recovery, in that he is actually a former addict himself, so it can be nice to read about the addiction from that perspective, and it might be a bit more accessible than YBOP; however, YBOP wins in terms of overall information. They are both great reads though. In addition to Universal Man, Noah and Gabe Deem (the founder of this site) have their own informative YouTube channels. Here's Noah's, and here's Gabe's.
But I'm also not accepting my current situation and I want to change--I need to change--

While you will need to experiment with a lot of techniques, methods and lifestyle changes to craft a paradigm that works best for you, I recommend that you never forget what you wrote here. I've been struggling to overcome this addiction for so long, but at the core of it all is an acknowledgement that I need to change to live a better life. That understanding has kept me going in spite of all the setbacks and disappointments. Please never give up.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Take care
 

Wolfman

Member
Dear NewStart04,

Thanks for the welcome, the wealth of information, but most of all, for your acknowledgement, empathy and hope. I think in life we either keep growing, or we decay, there's no fixed, solid, neutral state. A place where we have "made it, full stop". The question is whether we want to move on with life, or stagnate. Porn is definitely not something that enables the pursuit of a good life.

I will for sure look up those resources, and check out Noah Church's book. I don't want to overload myself with information, so I'm keeping like a steady block of 1-2 hours a day where I watch or read about quitting porn. After I've done Universal Man's playlist, I'll try one of the books. It's also because I want to make sure to leave time for other things.

So I agree with the idea that there needs to be three elements to this process. 1) Understanding, 2) practical change, new habits, and, 3) accountability. I think I'm doing alright with the first part (I'm usually a good study, so theoretical things come to me easily and I can gobble them up in big chunks), the key there is keeping it steady. 1-2 hours a day, unless I'm engaged in a social event.

Practical change is a tough one, I think, because I'm not the sort of guy that easily meets and gets on with new people on his own, but kind of has to fall into it, or have it happen to him. But this is what I have to do intentionally now. I've just moved to a new town for my studies, so I sorely need to make new friends. To this end, I've joined couchsurfing and I went to a language cafe yesterday where I met with a girl and a guy. We had a good three-hour meetup where we talked about various stuff. I have to say, it really felt good to just be with people and not be obsessed about finding a girl, getting laid, or whatever. Just switch that whole thing off and enjoy the conversation and the present for what it is.

I'm also doing more to exercise: I started for the first time ever stretching! (Tip from Universal Man's Reboot Regimen) I've had a mild back pain for about two months now, and while my current office chair is crap, the day after I had done the 5 min stretching thing, my back just feels so much better. I'll be doing this exercise once or twice a day now! I went on a three hour hike today, which was really good. This is something I have actually been doing regularly, but I'm just going to have to keep it going. Lastly, I'm thinking of doing some weightlifting. I used to live with a flatmate who had a bench press in our flat, and he would show me how to do it and I'd be using it. This stopped after I moved away, but now it seems like a good time to get back into it maybe.

The last thing, accountability, is maybe the toughest. I've only talked to two of my friends about this, and this was four years ago when I first tried rebooting. I didn't get much support from them though, maybe because they're both older and that weren't the generation to be hit by this. Nevertheless, I'm thinking it would be good to share this again with one of them, at least, or my brother, with whom I have grown a close bond with in recent times. Having somebody out there to talk to about this, I think, would help lessen the burden but also act as an objective standard, something outside of oneself, to which I can be held responsible. But I'm also dreading this, because it feels deeply shameful and I feel like I'll become "that guy who has a porn problem", it'll become real, it'll be part of my character, it'll get an existence outside of me (despite the fact I did tell two people four years ago). But it's already real, it's already a part of my character, and hiding it like this from everyone is maybe a self-deception. I want to say that there's nothing wrong with the shame, that one has to learn to accept it. I don't know. Would it not be a kindness towards myself if I reached out to just one close friend? Another friend recently told me, when we were speaking about other things, you have to be compassionate with yourself.

It's October 26. 4 days. Haven't felt any urges. Only a few very weak thoughts, but they were brushed aside. Learning and being motivated to do stuff has helped. But I'm still expecting the worst to come.
 

Wolfman

Member
It's been a week, and I feel that what I've been doing is working. Working my way, almost every day, through Universal Man's videos, has been like a soothing balm on the frenzy of my mind. The working out, stretching, walking, hiking has helped keep the fury of the body at bay. I've also returned to playing guitar (something I have been doing on and off since my teens, but it was 9 months since the last time). And I'm signing myself up for a dance course, starting next week. I have social events to attend every day of the upcoming weekend, so that I'm not stuck doing the same things or, worse, doing nothing. As for accountability, I haven't yet made the step to tell anyone. It hasn't been weighing heavily on my mind, given that the journal does help for some of that, but I do think I should get in touch with at least one close friend soon.

The urges are getting more pronounced, and sharp, but I haven't yet felt that they were beyond my control. It's more like tasty suggestions coming from my mind rather than riveting desires. Before it used to be that, when triggered, it was like Chernobyl, everything that could go wrong, went wrong, a cascade of safety nets that were torn asunder like a hot knife going through butter. Now it feels like those safety nets have themselves been in a workout and become like fortresses of strength. I think that, in the past, I tried too much white knuckling it; I hardly did any of the educating I'm doing now, and the practical part was virtually non-existent. I guess I needed those failures--but so much time has gone by where I didn't try at all, falling back into a kind lull, pretending I didn't know how bad this thing is and can be. Well, if I fail now, it'll be different, and I'll be damn sure to take note of what exactly happened: the circumstances, the emotions, my inner dialog. As Universal Man put it (quoting from memory), mistakes are integral to a system's self-development. That is evolution.

But there's been some nice developments already! I seem to notice people much more. Paying more attention to their facial expressions, their pronouncement, their behavior, their vibe, their clothes, style, etc. I was in the grocery store a few days ago and I was stunned how every girl seemed beautiful and attractive. This didn't trigger an urge to PMO, though. It was more this aesthetic appreciation, but I can't remember the last time it was all around me, like there was so much beauty around me and I had for many years been numb to it.

I'm also just feeling more things. I guess that goes in tandem with the above said thing. And I'm trying to just be appreciative of these emotions, both joyful and sad, and whatever between.

7 out of 90 days. This is going to be an interesting ride!
 
Wolfman


Look at you! One week in and you are already taming the inner beast.

I don't know how accurate this is, but there is purportedly a Native American story about an old man telling his grandson about two wolves that are battling within for dominion over his being. One is a destructive presence and the other is a constructive one. The grandchild asks which wolf will win, and the old man replies "the one you feed." Keep feeding the right wolf.

Take care
 

Wolfman

Member
Thanks NewStart04, that's a very good image, because this sort of thing is like letting a part of you die, and another part of you grow.

So this week I've been struggling. I noticed at the start of the week that I kind of was running out of gas. I still kept up my activities, but they were much heavier and lacked that initial push they had before. I was lying on the bed, half-drained, looking at documentary stuff on youtube, and I thought to myself, "this is the exact scenario where it would've happened". But it didn't this time. The barriers are still holding strong.

Yesterday, though, I got downright depressed. I just shut down completely. I've been in this place many times before, and while sometimes I have gone to PMO as a way out, I would also just let it wash over me. There wasn't a danger of PMO'ing, there just was zero temptation, but instead there was just this vacuum. You know when you accidentally sleep on your arm and the blood flow stops, your arm feels dead and heavy? Yeah, it felt like the circulation of energy stopped and I was sapped for willpower. I did have planned a thing where I would go out on a language cafe to meet other people. After stewing for an hour and a half I got up, put clothes on and ventured out. I don't know where the energy came from, I didn't feel like I wanted this, but I had set myself to go to this event and I would keep it. In any case, I hadn't gone out of the house that day and I welcomed just going outdoor for a bit.

Not many people turned out, but it ended up being a decent conversation. I also had quite a few beers, and while the tipsy phase felt alright, when things started veer more towards the drunken side I felt really weak and vulnerable. It's like all the messiness inside of me shot up and made me extremely lonely. I got back home, watched a movie and went to bed. No PMO - so that does feel like a small victory.

I want to mention another thing. Earlier this week when I was browsing youtube on my phone, there are these "ads" with half-naked women for some stupid app. I can't believe that youtube allows these sort of ads, but I guess that's the sexualized, digital world we live in. Funny, before I wouldn't have bothered about these sort of things, now it's like a glaring red signal.

I reckon that this is the beginning of the dying convulsions of the bad wolf.
 

switcheroc

Member
Those barriers will go up and down, man, you need to stay motivated. I got one strong motivation the other day, and it was some celebrity news. If you didn't know already, rapper Kanye West is also on no PMO! He says he beat his porn addiction. Before that, it was Terry Crews, who admitted that he had porn addiction and that he also beat it. If fking kanye west beat PMO, I'm beating PMO. Fuck Kanye West! LOL
 

Wolfman

Member
Thanks switcheroc. It's funny how people who seemingly have it all, fame, money, family, also have had to deal with this.

Feeling the struggle now. It's not that I'm craving P, oddly enough, but my head just feels like it's missing something. I just feel stressed and agitated for no apparent reason. Before, I would've no doubt done PMO as means to deal with this. I had a hard time falling asleep last night, even though I had done a workout earlier that day. I tried to relax, to breathe, to do the self-talk. Earlier that evening, I had texted a few girls I had gone on a date previously (but with whom I hadn't communicated with for over two weeks). It's not that I was craving either of them physically, but I wanted to someone to talk to. Maybe I should've talked to one of my friends, but everybody's so far away. It somehow feels more remote.

In any case, I think I came to realize that the agitation and frustration in my head is due to a lack of being part of a community (I mean in the world, I'm of course grateful for being part of the community on this forum--which have helped me in making it this far, no doubt), that I don't have any lived emotional bonds around me. I'm generally a solitary guy, but I think the reboot is demanding more support than usual.

I don't know. I'm trying to look up causes or communities around me I can join. Maybe volunteering for something.

[Sidenote. So for some super frustrating reason, I couldn't access rebootnation.org on my laptop for the past few days. The mobile network worked fine. So after trying a bunch of things today, my guess is that my ISP has blocked the site? In any case, I got a VPN (never had to use that before) and I can get on the forum via that.]
 

Wolfman

Member
Just want to mention two things that happened yesterday.

I was walking down the main street in the afternoon, on my way to a cafe to sit down and read. I noticed a luscious body walking not far in front of me. My eyes locked on her legs and butt. This has happened so many times. I'm not getting aroused, but my thoughts are wandering off and fantasizing. And I would keep this going for several minutes, until our paths diverged. But yesterday, I caught myself in what I was doing and I thought about what kind of guy I want to be. Do I want to be the guy who can't control his own eyes? Do I want to be the guy who just gets paralyzed in fantasizing inaction whenever someone good looking comes by? Feeling like a helpless animal? No. No and no. Once all of this clicked in my head, my eyes zapped away in the opposite direction. The strange thing was, I didn't feel particularly tempted to look back. I felt quite okay keeping my eyes elsewhere, thinking about what this was and just going about my day. I didn't look back.

I was at the bus stop, going to a buy a carpet second hand. While waiting, a girl came up from the stairs and stood a few meters away from me. She was riveting. And our eyes met several times. I felt compelled to go and speak to her; but I didn't. And I wondered why. Perhaps there weren't enough signals exchanged to merit an introduction. But I wondered if my addiction to P had handicapped me in this regard. Made me insecure and inept. Regardless, several moments passed and our eyes wouldn't meet again. I then dropped the matter entirely. It would be nice to get better at these things, to be more confident, and I feel that I really could be the further away from P I get. But, bottom line, if it's not there, it's not there - simple as that. Go about your day sir. It's really a nice carpet, actually.
 

Wolfman

Member
Been a while since the last update, and it's rather too long an interval for my liking. But here we are.

I've been noticing increased cravings last week, but not for porn. Instead, I feel like MO half the time. Though these aren't difficult to stave off, but it's more like it would have been really nice to do it. Like having a cool beer is nice after a day of drudgery.

This weekend, though, I was on fire. On Saturday, near midnight, I started texting a girl I went on a date with 3-4 weeks ago (it'd been a week or so since our last communication), and the chat quickly turned into flirting. Nothing overly obscene, just a lot of innuendos. But I just really felt like having her right there and then. Of course, this wasn't a real possibility, so I enjoyed our chat for what it was. But after we'd said good night I was tossing and turning in bed, fantasizing. I tried to get my thoughts on other things, but this just wasn't easy, because I could feel as if desire was coursing through me like something long, hot and sweet. I fell asleep eventually, but that wasn't the end of it. I would wake up a few times during the night, still frenzied with passion. On the morning after I texted her again, in so many innuendos asking if she'd want to hangout that day (basically asking to hookup). After a few playful messages back and forth she tells me she's busy that day and I say that it's okay. And man, only then did the temperature in my body start to cool -- when for sure I knew there was "nothing to get". It took me 2-3 hours to get back to my senses and I realized what a feverish, red haze my mind was in.

But I don't regret it. I was dangerously dancing to break my streak due to sex (I had basically given in), but what I felt felt so real, vivid, all-consuming. And after the whole thing had passed me I felt really grateful, because there's been less than a handful of times in my life I've felt this alive, with my body bursting with physical excitement. I think PMO has basically numbed or put a lid on this aspect of my being, but now it's coming back in true colors, and what a rich tapestry of feelings it is. Oddly enough, even though my desires went unfulfilled, I do feel like I have fulfilled something, and that is to live these desires fully out, true to their real, perhaps organic, imagination. Without P and without MO -- just let these feelings blaze, like a forest fire, clearing the way for new saplings.

26 days days. Though had I not broken it in spirit? Or am I unwittingly placing challenges for myself?
 

Wolfman

Member
This week was really hard. Things are a little intensive with work and I need to prepare a paper for this coming week, so I was working everyday researching and writing.

But this Wednesday I just gave out on all strength and energy. My whole body and mind had become limp. I decided not to push myself for work, or at least not immediately and go for a walk in the forest. I had a good hour of walking, and it was nice to see the extravagant autumn colors on display in the many trees. But when I came home from that walk I hardly felt better than before I initiated it. It just felt like nothing was interesting, there was no meaning to anything (or, there was meaning, but it just seemed like an abstract idea, so far away from my reality); I swear the things around me just lost their hue. I relaxed, watched a movie and various things on youtube. Then made myself dinner and returned to relaxing. It was a day where it felt like nothing was happening and nothing was felt. I didn't do any work that day.

After the lust in the last post, there's been no more episodes like that. In fact, the girl I chatted to had stopped responding. I don't mind actually. I know she's dating others, so likely busy with that, and that's fine -- because if things would have happened between us, they would've already.

What I do mind is this gnawing pressure of being alone. I'm wondering if that was the trigger for this depressive episode. That it's not so much PMO as it is returning to doing the type of work that is inherently isolating -- though I don't doubt for a second that the PMO recovery is involved.

On the day after the depression, I started feeling physically weak. Aches in muscles and limbs. My back ached. First lower back for an hour, then it jumped up to the upper back. It felt as if I was just about getting sick with fever or something. Maybe that's why I was down the day before; the body was preparing for disease? That sort of thing has happened to me before. But I didn't catch a fever, or a running nose, or anything normally associated with those symptoms of feeling weak and general aching. I had a really strong headache. As if my head was being drained or something (is this the reboot working? I don't know). After a few days it just evaporated, and this morning I feel pretty much back to normal.

Throughout all of this, PMO has not been on the agenda. Through the loneliness and the weakness, I was not once even tempted to resort to PMO to "deal" with this. I'm learning that the real way, and the only way, to deal with issues like these are through action - getting out there and doing things.

By the way, a few weeks back I actually went ahead and told my brother about my addiction, the whole business with PMO and how I think it's been a parasite on the quality of my life. I spent over an hour writing a long message to him. The response was one I truly wished I had had from my lover and friends at the time when I first discovered that porn could be a real addiction and cause to ED four years ago: surprise, willingness to know more and a seriousness about the whole situation. He was genuinely surprised about this and was earnestly eager to know more, asking me a host of questions. He then wondered about his own friends, who he knows are consuming porn daily. He then wondered about himself: could he be getting addicted? I told him, as an experiment, try to make do without porn, just to see if you can. Since then it's been about two weeks since he used porn -- so the fact that he can just switch the whole thing off without any research, going to forums, changes in practical life, suggests to me that he may not have been very deep into it. And I'm really grateful for that. I'm grateful he hasn't sunk down on the path I have and that he will avoid that crippling parasite on his life altogether. There are really no benefits to porn.

But it felt good telling him, and whenever I think about it now, there's at least one person out there who knows me in real life and has some idea what I've been going through and really takes that seriously. So there, that's the element of accountability I had first set myself. This journal, this community and now this one person: all this gives me the unseen strength to not give in even when I am at my lowest and weakest. Thank you.

I'm not actively counting my days (which is actually a good thing I think), but instead I got an app to do the counting for me while I get busy trying to learn to live. We're at 4 weeks and 4 days.
 

Wolfman

Member
On night to Wednesday I had a wet dream. I dreamed I was with a woman I had met recently and things were fairly vanilla. But as I had orgasm, I remember thinking "Oh no, my streak is ruined!" (upon reflection, I don't think I care so much about the streak itself as I care about being in control of my sexual life; and in the dream it definitely felt like I was not in control) and I felt so guilty in the dream. When I woke to, I realized that it was a dream and I just had a sudden pang of relief. I'm not feeling bad about the wet dream, if anything it's a sign of progress.

Apart from that, the week itself was busy with work. I traveled for a work-event and it took all of my focus. It was a great event and I had the chance to meet lots of new people.

But on the day after I came back I felt utterly depleted. After the climate demo (something I've been going to every occasion I get these past three months), I was physically and mentally exhausted. I didn't go to my dancing class that evening. Instead I went to bed and cocooned myself there for three hours. I didn't sleep. I didn't feel want. I just stared at some shimmers coming from the street. I felt a bit better towards evening, and on Saturday I regained some motivation. I did a workout and it felt really good.

Today, however, I felt drained again. I don't know what this is, but it's becoming more frequent and longer lasting. I have a creative writing project that I've had to pause for several weeks due to work, but now that I have time I can't seem to muster the energy and the will. I try not to distract myself -- there are really too many distractions in our society (movies, video-games, etc.)-- but sometimes I feel that this reboot, all the habit changes, can just become too much. Either that, or I'm missing some kind of emotional support. But I also know that things are going to get hard and I might be right in the middle of it. I've been off PMO for 5 weeks and 5 days now, so almost half-way of the reboot, so it makes sense that the PMO-brain is starving and messing up the weather in my head out of desperation.

It's first of December, and this year has only one month left. I'm thinking back on this year and how drastic things changed for me at the end of summer. How this led to a deep sense of failure at life, which, compounded with PMO, sparked the incandescent realization I had to remake myself, starting with this root of evil.
 

Wolfman

Member
Had another wet dream last week. Not a big deal. More of a nuisance, really. But it's fine, I guess. I felt a little chased afterwards, like I wanted more, but this was very weak and after a few days I was back on track.

Last week was intense. I decided to go to an environmentalist group meeting, and while the introduction session was interesting and all, it was when the real meeting after, when the people who are well engaged come, that it became really interesting. We filled the room. Some fifty or something. Mostly young people, late teens, early twenties, mid-twenties. A few adults, and some with grey hairs. But it felt so right being there. Among this group of people motivated and engaged in a world issue. I felt something come alive in me that has only been there in the abstract--actual engagement with the world.

On the weekend I cancelled a date I had with a woman to attend workshops and meetings. Because this is something I wanted to commit myself to and so I held to that. I pitched in with the buffet by preparing a large bowl of salad. Later in the weekend I helped out in the kitchen for the better part of a day. It was hard work, but being among other people who are volunteering for the sake of something more than merely their individual lives infused me with a solemn inspiration. Not to mention how many varied people I met, professionals of all kinds and the interesting conversations we had. I'm going to keep getting engaged with this because, perhaps for the first time, I feel like I'm in the world and that I exist. I've always put these things far away from me, as if they didn't concern me or that other people can fix it, like I could be a happy bystander. That it would be simply enough for me to agree in opinion, but do nothing about it. Well, not only does the world lose out on my support, but, more importantly and more motivating, I lose out on the world. I do things, I meet people, I move around, I have projects - all this energizes me in ways I before wouldn't have thought possible or experienced. It is so far removed from my previous, shadowy existence of habitually being glued to the screen and giving myself the illusion of satisfaction. It was a corner of a life that didn't exist.

All this activity is not without its costs. I do feel tired, and it's not all party and fun, and actually I'm quite out of my element a lot of the time--but I think the reward of just being there is a slow, but perpetually increasing glow of fulfillment.

So the date I cancelled got moved to today and we'll meet this evening. I'm sensing that there might a chance of intimacy and, were I to pursue this, it would break my streak. I've been thinking about this a lot the last week, and I don't think I should let the streak be the ultimate authority and preclude intimacy, _provided_ that intimacy happens organically. So I'm not looking to hookup, but I also don't want to deny the chance _if_ it happens in a way that is not forced. I think the main thing is that I feel like I am in control and that I, in unison with my body, want this. If I'm feeling a real fire, and if I consciously want it (the control element), then I think it's wrong to back out because of the plan. These encounters can be beautiful and it will tell me more about my own progress, and if does turn out to go badly, then I'll take responsibility and learn from that. And if things don't happen organically between me and my date, then no harm done and I've had an opportunity to reflect on this.

The critical thing is to keep PMO away, and, quite honestly, I don't even feel like MO these days, even without the P element. I'm thinking that I might as well stop with MO (past the 90-day reboot, if I make it), because, in spite of the moments of depression and fatigue, I'm actually enjoying more who I am now. I've already learned so much about myself, this addiction, about discipline, life and intensity, I feel more awake than I've done in months, perhaps years. So PMO feels more and more like a thing of the past, and why not MO as well? Because I can be so productive and engaged without MO, why then would I even want it?

6 weeks and 5 days.
 

Wolfman

Member
Just a quick follow-up on yesterday's post. So the date went fine, I had a nice time, but there were no feelings on my part to initiate any intimacy. It was clear from her that she wanted something, and was quite insistent, but neither my mind nor my body was ever there in that special moment. I just felt nothing. In fact, I felt like I just wanted it to be over. She's a very sweet person, but we don't really click, so I guess it seemed to me like I was wasting her time. Ahh, being so self-conscious about these things--I think that's the real issue. I couldn't let myself just be playful and enjoy the moment. I guess I have still a lot of recovery to do.
 

Wolfman

Member
Had a good day yesterday. Did my usual workout. I increased the weight for the hammer curl and chest fly. It was heavy but the added challenge felt good (the weight is now twice that from when I first started. I'm enjoying the progress and the exercise sessions themselves). I then cooked dinner and caught up on news and educational stuff on youtube. Afterwards I got to writing. It didn't come to me easily at first, but I let myself just sit in front of the computer until little by little I started first with one word, then another, and then simple sentences growing exponentially. It's was a little bit like laying bricks. After a good block, I felt a bit cognitively overwhelmed so I sat back and watched some video game playback on youtube -- something just really easy. After about an hour of that, I returned to writing and wrapped up the thing I wanted to do. A solid sense of satisfaction came over my at completing this piece.

Waking up today after an ok night (could use one or two more hours), my back and arms are a little sore and aching from yesterday's workout. I made myself a decent breakfast with bacon, eggs, bread and cheese, and while listening to another video by universal man.

Then I recall that yesterday, for the first time in weeks, I thought about some of the more perverted things I enjoyed in porn. And I felt like I missed it. Like it was thing "nice thing" that I used to do. That I had lost something valuable and extremely gratifying. I knew, of course, this was the illusion. The beautiful but deadly dream. I think I even dreamt last night about porn, but it didn't arouse me and I can barely remember it.

This morning I quit one of the two dating apps I'd been on. For a long time I'd been thinking about quitting these things, as they've never really brought me much joy and, rather, have been an energysink. It's kind of frustrating, actually. Hardly get any matches, and when I do, I take the time to craft an individualized first message based on whatever's in their profile. But most of the time, they never reply. Or, if they do, it's all just one-sided. Now, some have been more fruitful, but usually on the other app (which seems to be more serious and geared towards making a real connection). I don't harbor grudges against them, because I've done the same--I'm really just frustrated with myself for bothering so much about it. Through the course of this reboot, I have been paying less and less attention to it, just because I've engaged myself to more real things. But this morning I deleted my profile and I deleted the app. Some four years ago I joined on this wagon of mobile dating apps, and there's been a few fun moments, but then I think back on the days before I had joined that: how much more authentic my relations with people were, things felt more risky, exciting, surprising, strange, meaningful. I think this app thing may be, just may be, evoking a little of the same stuff as porn--the sense of an endless sea of girls just ready to be swiped at your endless content. Thinking you might get something going with this one, or this one, doesn't matter, there are dozens more. An eternal gamble of perpetual winning. So yeah, I'll likely quit the other dating app in a few days time. Give the whole thing a rest, maybe permanent one.

As I sat down by the computer today to check up on work, I felt really overwhelmed (maybe it's just from the workout, maybe it's from the recent date, maybe just too much stuff is happening), and music was playing and at some point I just stopped everything and felt my eyes swell up. Taking a moment, feeling the release, I knew I had to write it out somehow. I turned to this journal.

7 weeks.
 
Hey Wolfman,

So I just finished reading through your entire story, every post. And I must say, it is all wonderfully written. Also, I could have been reading my own story, your experiences are so similar to mine, even down to the recent things you wrote about quitting the dating apps. Although you write in alot more detail than I do.

We both seem to be at the same stage of the reboot process, I'm at just over 6 weeks, and you're a little ahead of me. I was on 4 different dating apps, which I would rotate and go on dates on & off. With varying success, albeit with no long term success. I deleted 3 of them, and kept 1 of them... right up until yesterday that is. And now I'm off all of them. Just seeing face after face, girl after girl before my eyes just didn't feel right. Particularly when dealing with an addiction to novelty. I want less options. All that I deeply desire, is 'one' nice girl.

I'm inspired by your volunteering and the other activities that keep you busy. I recently hired a personal trainer and I'm working out in the gym a few times a week. I have a social event that I attend every 2nd week, but it's not enough. I'm hungry for more human interaction and distraction.

I might try the language cafe events as there is some in my City too.

How are you doing since feeling overwhelmed? Hope you're good and staying well bro.
 
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