Discovering my potential through rebooting

Dantes

Member
Day 1

Hi guys,

I'm 27-year-old dude, who has been trying to kick the habit of porn and masturbation for about 5 years now. My longest streaks have been around 20-40 days, but I have always fallen back to masturbation for the stupidest reasons. Sometimes my brain tells me I need to relapse to relax before stressful occasion, sometimes I end up alone with the laptop, tired and that is a recipe for disaster.

Currently in my life things are fairly good, and I feel fortunate to gradute from university this spring and have pretty decent job opportunities to choose from. I also have a girlfriend, which means that I probably won't reboot in so-called hardmode. Don't know if this is an advantage or not. I do quite a lot of sports and physically am in good condition, but it just feels that porn is holding back my potential. My potential to strive and get enthusiastic about improving myself, my potential to be present with other people, and overall my potential to love life, which I feel glimpses of sometimes and it is something I crave to have more. More real feelings, disappointments, anger, joy, anything that makes me feel real. I probably could go on with my life like this, PMOing every now and then, but somehow I feel that there is just so much more to this life. I feel like I have waisted years, but I'm trying to keep looking into the future, as that is now the only thing I can change.

What to expect from this journal? My goal will be to post every day for 90 days, and after that we'll see. In order to achieve this, some posts will maybe only be 1 word long. The idea is to make the threshold to journal absolutely minimal to catalyst forming of the habit. There will be quite a lot of self-improvement stuff here outside of PMO, which I hope can improve other rebooters life as well.

Wish me luck and see you tomorrow,
Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 2

It's been relatively easy day without PMO, as I have been busy all day. That's commonly the best way to avoid relapse, to keep yourself busy.

See you tomorrow
Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 3

Almost missed the post bbut remembered to report just before sleep. Still no struggle PMO-wise, as I have been busy elsewhere all day. Off to the bed and on to tomorrow.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 4

So today I felt like the challenge began. I dropped caffeine more than a year ago, but I still occasionally drink tea and having sensitized myself for caffeine my mind goes racing everywhere when I do. This coupled with some excess energy I've been building up for few days resulted in urges, but my new system (more on this later) allowed me to redirect the urges to another thoughts very quickly. Managed to scatter the worst of urges by going for a run.

Balance and control

I chose to produce some text about balance and control, since I found this is an area where I need to improve vastly. These terms will overlap somewhat in the context I use them today, but I just figured this division between them today and I will write on this idea now to see how it comes out.

I have always been pretty impulsive person and when I become enthusiastic abbout something I give it my all. Last few years I have found that this might not always be the smartest thing to do. For example when I got into online poker, I was thinking about it every time of the day and I couldn't wait to practice new skills to improve my game. I quickly bought couple of books and was anxious to wait for their arrival. This seems fine in and on of itself, but these events seem to happen in those days of my life when I have other duties. In this case I finally had myself some time to finish bigger projects regarding school, but I used my newfound enthusiasm about poker to push those duties aside, effectively using poker as an excuse to avoid more important matters. I thought I would became succesful very quickly and begin making money in poker, but I grew tired of it as soon as the newness fade away and became the time to grind. I never lost money in poker, I was very strict about bankroll management. This was very important for me already in the beginning. I would therefore say, that there was some control in my behaviour with poker, but there certainly was no balance

Where am I aiming with this control and balance?

In the future, with being more systematic about how I spend my time, I wish to exercise both balance and control over my life. Control will now be exercised by my journal and calendar. Balance is something I must plan to incorporate it in my life. It is important so I do not get too sucked in the self-improvement, trying-everything-at-once and focusing on too many projects at the same time. It includes the ability to wind down daily, being efficient in drawing myself away from the anxiety of self-improvement, so I can be efficient in returning back every day.

Using this post to brainstorm a bit, these things are what could be the essence of balance in my everyday life:
- Sleep, aiming to have consistent sleep rhythm, waking up approximately same time daily. This should be a no-brainer for every aspect of recovery and psychological self-help. I highly advice everybody to read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (even though there are some scientific errors and inaccuracies, for these google alexander guzey).
- Reading, fiction
- Stretching
- Meditation, for this I am already aiming to non-zero (I will post about this too later!) my Headspace every day. Maybe I should get into habit of using it before sleep every night
- Making mental effort to schedule my day, for as to end working  6 pm latest and devoting the rest of the day for relaxing activity
- Friends, even though I am fortunate to have several friends, there should perhaps be more effort on my side to arrange evenings with them. Harder to apply in coronavirus-era

Quite satisfied with what I could come up with by just emptying my mind on the screen. Maybe someday I will be able to formulate my thoughts more systematically so these could be of use to somebody, but right now I won't take too much pressure on quality of these posts. Making a routine out of this is now the utmost priority.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 5

It feels now that the urges have hit the first gear. I'm also playing with fire taking zinc supplement, which has been increasing difficulty of nofap in many written posts I've seen, perhaps due to increased T levels. It's monday so I'm spending the day working, no worries relapsing there but spending evenings alone are now a huge threat. No choice now but to stay alert and vigilant and to try redirecting the triggering thoughts elsewhere.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 6

I can tell that this will be hard evening nofap-wise. Woke up early today to do some cardio before work, so I am already feeling very tired. Spending the evening alone inside whilst being tired is not the best cirmustance for nofap, but we'll take this hour by hour, minute by minute.

Dantes
 

quitforeverthenwin2

Well-Known Member
Keep up the good work man! I know what you mean when you talk about the poker, not that I played poker, but the being very enthusiastic about something then losing interest. In my case, I think it comes down to discipline and delayed gratification. I have been listening to a lot of stuff from Jocko Willink lately and it makes sense, basically he says it's all about discipline, as simple but not easy as sucking it up and doing things even if we don't feel like it. It's easy to feel like doing something in the beginning but a couple of weeks or months in it's not as fun, but on the other side of those boring (ish) weeks or months are deeper rewards, like real skill and actually being successful at whatever it is ( in my case I'd like to have my own ( small to start) business. 

Another aspect is all or nothing, I skipped a few things yesterday now want to skip them today. Why? Makes no sense. One day off doesn't mean these tasks are not still important to me.


Good reminder about the cardio. Exercise is really helpful, all of it boost my mood and happiness, but I had found that cardio exercise, basic steady state biking or whatever for even a shortish ( 20 - 30 ) min time very helpful in keeping urges at bay and recovering from lapses. I am aiming to change up my workout program to include a bit more cardio, so a bike ride today'll be helpful.

And finally, yes evenings ABSOLUTELY are the toughest times when it comes to this addiction
 

Dantes

Member
Thanks mate! I agree with sticking with what you began. I know that poker wasn't actually realistic goal for me, considering the time it would've taken to grind and I think I knew this somewhere in the back of my head. I have to choose more wisely in which things I will keep working against boredom.

And about all or nothing, this has been my weakness for a long time. I have taken all or nothing in changing my life many times already. First the problem is waiting for the right moment and after that it's usually the first time an obstacle comes on my way and the change isn't "perfect" anymore. This is absolutely a thing I must combat this time.


Day 7

Happy with my first week. First couple of days were not really an issue, but these last two days I can feel my body craving for something and the brains seem to think that is PMO. This evening already is quite a challenge, luckily managed to have the discipline to workout after leaving work so that burned some energy off. I can feel the first waves of motivation weakening, and this is where this routine comes in. I also have this system where I force myself to do at least a bit of work every day on chosen subjects. I will post more on that later. Easter is coming and will be spent with family, which makes avoiding PMO easier.
 

Dantes

Member
Day 8

There shouldn't be too much difficulty these next few days consideringI'm not spending any time alone. Will keep on posting daily nevertheless.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 9

Posting today already in the morning. As I wrote earlier, I don't see the next few days until monday as a threat regarding PMO. But I have another concern which is my new system. Spending time with family is important, but I need to find time for my daily routines. I have a paper journal, in which I keep list of my non-zero activities. Non-Zero days is this concept I found on reddit, and it's main purpose is to avoid procrastination. If you are interested, you can find the whole thing in comments of this post: https://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/comments/1q96b5/i_just_dont_care_about_myself/ The last week I have found it pretty easy to fulfill my non-zero activities, and this is the advantage of spending time alone. Now it is more challenging, and I think keeping up these routines is as important as abstaining from PMO, as I'm trying to develop myself and fill the void that PMO leaves behind.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 10

Another morning post. No problems PMO-wise. But even when spending time with family, it's good to be aware of thoughts that might come up and lead to toxic thought patterns. Just because this can't lead to watching porn and masturbation doesn't mean that giving up and starting to fantasize won't affect your brain. This can be from triggering content from TV etc. We will never live in a world completely free from triggers, so it's important to strengthen our minds against triggers in times of smoother sailing.

Blocking websites
I think the most important good things going on for this nofap try are blockers and this journal. The blocker I am currently using is called cold turkey, and it is finally something that is enouvh robust. Adding that extra resistance between yourself and porn when your mind gives up might be what saves your streak. But even better, as this time I'm pairing nofap with more self-improvement than before, I decided to block instagram and even youtube. I find that these two websites are so full of triggers, that having them blocked is essential to keep this streak going, even though the main motivation in blocking them was to avoid procrastination in studies.

I know it may sound like I might be too ambitious in trying to change myself in so many ways simultaneously. But I'm seeing these synergies and I have no choice but to trust this system. Time will tell if this is the right approach for me.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 11

Posting briefly just before bedtime. Shortly, left my family today and will spend the next week alone in apartment, so challenging times are on their way. Will be back tomorrow.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 12

Posting very late today. Spending the last week of university with a lot of partying with study friends, so already stayed up until 4 am. Today wasn't a challenge as I was so busy, but tomorrow will be as hangovers are one of the biggest triggers for me.

p.s. I realized my phrasing in last post made it seem like I left my family behind, when I just meant to say that I left the family house. English isn't my native tongue and these mishaps may happen.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 13

Today I was very close to relapsing but somehow pulled through. I kept on thinking about the idea of losing almost two week streak and having to come back and post here about my failure. As I wrote earlier, the urges were strong during hangover. Or maybe the mind is just very weak in those times. Nevertheless, these situations should be avoided. It is the final week of school so naturally I want to celebrate with my friends, but maybe there i a way to avoid spending timealone during hangover. Will be spending restof the day with my friends so no real threatof relapse anymore.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 14

Feeling proud of my first two weeks, even though lot of guys are rocking it with a lot more days on their streaks. It wasn't a walk in the park, but a lot more solid than I expected. I suspect it helped that in beginning I had a lot of motivation and determination. This journal isalso big help. Right now I'm feeling a bit tired of all the partying, so can't tell too much about benefits yet. Went to the gym today as coronavirus situation here permits it now. It is still quite triggering noticing women (especially with the outfits worn these days in gym), but there were some promising moments where I considered the girl I was watching a lot more like a person than a sex object. Also when I noticed myself ogling at these girls, I quickly felt disgusted about myself and repelled the emerging thought patterns. So a lot more work to be done.

Thinking about future, today I will probably be drunk, which will mean hangover tomorrow. I tried to make plans to go to the gym early in the morning, to avoid those hangover urges. Tomorrow we will also leave for a cabin with my friends, so that will make the chance to PMO quite difficult. This will last until sunday, so if I can survive tomorrow, I'm quite confident about making rest of the week. The next week I will leave for work in another town, where I'll spend the evenings alone. It is the same place where I began rebooting, so maybe spatial memory will trigger my motivation again. That's kind of hopeful thinking, so I will have to stay very careful next week also.

I can feel the initial determination from the first surge of motivation diminishing. This partly due to it being two weeks now and partly due to all the partying this week. Now it is especially important to keep doing my non-zero activities and focusing on my daily system. This is the moment where discipline starts to take over motivation as the force carrying me through this period of self-improvement. To allow this, I must be extra diligent with my journal (both here and my private journal) midst all the partying.

Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 15

Having a horrible hangover as projected, but managed to avert biggest threat (urges when waking up) by going for a walk. I am in no condition to do anything more physical than that. If I can resist the next two hours or so, this day should be no problem as we leave for the cabin.

See you tomorrow,
Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 16

Another very late post, it's currently almost 5 am. A night of partying behind, going to bed now. No real threats of PMO.

See you tomorrow
Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Days 17 and 18

Missed a day, which is a shame but I was spending thath whole day with my friends so nothing to report from that PMO-wise. However, having returned from my brief holiday I'm now back and spending evenings alone after work. I had sex today, which might reduce the organic urges for a few days, but I can also feel the chaser effect now. This was a term I only know came across and thinking about it I can recognize that it's been a cause of multiples binge PMOs in my past. I'm going to head to bed now and try to keep myself busy tomorrow. It's now vital to get back on track with my everyday system asap.

See you tomorrow
Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 19

So this my first day back to work after a whole week of partying. Super low energy, but despite that getting spontaneous erections which is nice to feel. The worst of yesterday's chaser effect is maybe over, but the tiredness brings its own threat. Got a private message from another member here which felt super motivating. Managed todays workday and even with tired brain didn't make stupid decisions in grocery store afterwards. So I just ate a salad, now aiming to study, meditate and read. Early to bed and tomorrow should be a lot better energy-wise.

See you all tomorrow and stay clean, even if it is just for today
Dantes
 

Dantes

Member
Day 20

12 hour shift at work really drains energy and makes pulling another day of reboot easier. I'm feeling some of my energy return after last week, which manifests itself into more urges. I expect the rest of this week to be challenging as my energy recovers. Tomorrow I am planning to go for a run after work to spend extra energy.

Something quite interesting hit me when I was on a walk yesterday evening. One reboot journal in 30-39 area gave me this idea.


Giving up porn

One wonderful book about recovering from addiction is Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I read it about a year ago, even though I never smoked, as I was curious to learn about breaking addiction. I can't remember many of the ideas but the whole point of the book is to convince yourself that you're not really giving up anything when stopping smoking. One point being that smoking in itself is not pleasurable, as you are only addicted to nicotine, not to the pleasure of smoking. I always sort of thought this was true to pornography as well, but now that I thought about it, I'm not sure. Because porn really is supernormal stimulus, just as drugs are. It's an unfair battle between porn and real life, which real life can never win.

Browsing through internet porn can give you more chemical pleasure (in sense of dopamine release) thatn the most beautiful woman or man alive ever could. It's sickening to think about it but it's true. Novelty, variability and extremity of stimuli are so significant that your synapses will empty almost every last bit of dopamine in them. So, in a way, you are giving up something. Actually, you might be giving up the best feeling thing in your life, chemically speaking. So don't expect it to be easy. I felt sort of bittersweet thinking about this, sort of like I was leaving a friend or part of my life behind. Maybe porn was my friend, a friend I never wanted, but one that got me hooked nevertheless. But it's time to let go, because that friend is now preventing me from living my best life. So farewell, porn.

I'm glad to see many new posts in reboot journals today. It would also be interesting to here your thoughts on what I discussed above.

See you tomorrow
Dantes
 
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