I know I can do it. I can feel myself getting closer to success.

logicprox

Active Member
Got a couple random potential triggers thrown my way today, and I followed up on one of them (searching a name out of "curiosity") but I stopped myself before I got too far/viewed anything explicit. Definitely know I need to be on alert though, because I was definitely flirting with trouble. About to go to sleep now, day 2. I have to start setting up better habits for myself and sticking with them. Good habits are so powerful because they can kind of compound on themselves and put you in a better place all around. The hard part for me has always been sticking with them. But I have to be resilient. Keeping on trying is a big part of the battle.
I think habits have been making all the difference for me on my current attempt compared to all my sub 2 week attempts before. What are you doing to enforce/remind yourself with your new habits and what do you think is keeping you from sticking to them?
 

jonazo91

Active Member
Unfortunately I failed again. I got through the night okay, but then woke up and immediately started sabotaging myself and it didn't take long from there to relapse. What can I do? I have to just try again. Now seems like a perfect time to quit. I need help, I guess. But I don't know who to turn to. All I have right now is myself and this message board.
 

Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
Unfortunately I failed again. I got through the night okay, but then woke up and immediately started sabotaging myself and it didn't take long from there to relapse. What can I do? I have to just try again. Now seems like a perfect time to quit. I need help, I guess. But I don't know who to turn to. All I have right now is myself and this message board.
Can you identify how this "sabotaging" starts? What's the first thing that happens?
 

jonazo91

Active Member
Can you identify how this "sabotaging" starts? What's the first thing that happens?
I think it's usually when I'm tired or bored/idle. And it usually starts with searching something innocent enough that I could back out of it, but I already know what I'm doing and it's already kind of "started." Although there are other times where I just jump into something explicit right off the bat. It's like when I get the urge, there's no resistance at all. I don't know.
 

logicprox

Active Member
I think it's usually when I'm tired or bored/idle. And it usually starts with searching something innocent enough that I could back out of it, but I already know what I'm doing and it's already kind of "started." Although there are other times where I just jump into something explicit right off the bat. It's like when I get the urge, there's no resistance at all. I don't know.
That has historically been me too. I never allow myself to be idle anymore and it's helped a lot. If I don't have something productive to do, I am reading. If I'm on the internet, it's because I have something very specific to do. Otherwise, I'm not on it. Maybe that level of extremeness isn't for everyone but honestly, I haven't missed idle internet time even a little bit.
 

Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
I think it's usually when I'm tired or bored/idle. And it usually starts with searching something innocent enough that I could back out of it, but I already know what I'm doing and it's already kind of "started." Although there are other times where I just jump into something explicit right off the bat. It's like when I get the urge, there's no resistance at all. I don't know.
"Something innocent enough that I could back out of it" sounds very familiar to me. I've lost count how many times I let my addicted brain convince me that I could handle a little bit. I would start with the "lightest porn in my world" and then slowly but surely move to the typical stuff I watch while binging edging and PMO. But what happens in my case is that for watching to start, it needs to begin with the thoughts, with me paying attention to the thoughts. What I usually do is start "playing porn in my head", replaying favorite pars of porn scenes in my head or fantasies that I've created for myself using porn, and this get the dopamine going, if it lasts long enough, it creates a dopamine frenzy and I'm pushed hard towards seeking more, it's always about more, flashbacks are less intense than actual watching so I would fuel myself with flashbacks and then move to watching "the lightest thing I could look at because it's too light to do too much damage" Correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to enter some sort of autopilot when porn watching happens fast but I'm sure there is something that proceeds the act of watching and this is where you need to intervene. Stopping the porn dopamine as quickly as possible is a key to rebooting, it's a necessary part in any rebooting plan in my opinion, even if you don't actually have a plan this could still help a lot. How to avoid engaging as quickly as possible with the thing that leads you to watching. You got this, man! I'm sure you'll figure it out.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
That has historically been me too. I never allow myself to be idle anymore and it's helped a lot. If I don't have something productive to do, I am reading. If I'm on the internet, it's because I have something very specific to do. Otherwise, I'm not on it. Maybe that level of extremeness isn't for everyone but honestly, I haven't missed idle internet time even a little bit.
I mean that's honestly how I want to live my life. It's just finding that energy to keep myself on track always seems like a struggle.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
That has historically been me too. I never allow myself to be idle anymore and it's helped a lot. If I don't have something productive to do, I am reading. If I'm on the internet, it's because I have something very specific to do. Otherwise, I'm not on it. Maybe that level of extremeness isn't for everyone but honestly, I haven't missed idle internet time even a little bit.
I mean that's honestly how I want to live my life. It's just finding that energy to keep myself on track always seems like a struggle. But in theory I always want to be doing something productive
"Something innocent enough that I could back out of it" sounds very familiar to me. I've lost count how many times I let my addicted brain convince me that I could handle a little bit. I would start with the "lightest porn in my world" and then slowly but surely move to the typical stuff I watch while binging edging and PMO. But what happens in my case is that for watching to start, it needs to begin with the thoughts, with me paying attention to the thoughts. What I usually do is start "playing porn in my head", replaying favorite pars of porn scenes in my head or fantasies that I've created for myself using porn, and this get the dopamine going, if it lasts long enough, it creates a dopamine frenzy and I'm pushed hard towards seeking more, it's always about more, flashbacks are less intense than actual watching so I would fuel myself with flashbacks and then move to watching "the lightest thing I could look at because it's too light to do too much damage" Correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to enter some sort of autopilot when porn watching happens fast but I'm sure there is something that proceeds the act of watching and this is where you need to intervene. Stopping the porn dopamine as quickly as possible is a key to rebooting, it's a necessary part in any rebooting plan in my opinion, even if you don't actually have a plan this could still help a lot. How to avoid engaging as quickly as possible with the thing that leads you to watching. You got this, man! I'm sure you'll figure it out.
Thanks man, I'm gonna try this.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
Once again I've been spinning my wheels and still in about a once a day habit. I don't have much new to add but I just want to crawl out of this hole as soon as possible and get working on myself again. Today and yesterday I relapsed shortly after waking up. I've been doing a little better at waking up at least a little earlier than I had, but now that I have idle time in the morning, it often ends up in me relapsing. So I guess I need a morning routine to get started on rather that idly looking at my phone for an hour or so while laying in bed. Everything takes energy. I'm finally coming to terms with how lazy I am, and I know it's within my power to get better, it's a constant effort to keep myself on the right track. But once I get going and I'm engaged in something productive, I find i do have the energy. It's just hard to find the energy to get started. This all just ties into my association of "idle time" with "porn time" which has been killing me for years now. I can't let myself keep living like this.

Maybe I sound really down, but really my mood is okay. Maybe I feel a little numb but not deeply depressed or anything. I just want to make some progress already.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
Sorry it's been a few days, but I've had a nice streak going over the past few days so that's good. But as I've said, I don't want to get complacent when I'm doing better. I've had a few slight triggers, and even followed up on a few of them more than I ought to, but haven't gone as far as viewing anything explicit, since I believe Tuesday. So that would make it about 5 days as of today. I woke up from a dream that I think was porn-related, because I woke up with a tinge of guilt, but mercifully I couldn't remember any details. Just keeping myself honest by posting here and trying as much as I can to reinforce good habits to replace the bad.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
Relapsed again late last night, after having had a pretty nice day. All I had to do was go to bed instead, but I was determined. Even after my phone died, which would have given me an out, I switched to my laptop. I woke up this morning feeling completely lethargic and drained, and now I have to hear re-find my energy to start again. It wasn't even a very long streak.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
I went a solid 5 days again before relapsing late last night. I should have known better, because I was on little sleep throughout the day and just needed to go to bed. I'm gonna try not to let it slow me down too much. If I'm consistently able to keep clean for 5 days, that's still something of an improvement, although I'm not going to be satisfied until I feel like porn is completely behind me. I'm going on a trip to Europe with my fiancee next week, and I think the excitement of that will be enough for me to overcome any cravings I'll have while I'm on the trip. I just need to keep my sleep schedule in order and keep up good habits.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
Right now it looks like I'm back in a rut. Or have been, anyway. Often I do this thing where I get urges late at night, but I'm too tired to go through with it, but I start looking at porn so I've already "broken my streak" and then relapse when I wake up the next day. This morning, I still had porn on my phone from the night before, and had really NO desire to actually go through with it. But eventually my porn-brain won and I relapsed.

I hate this cycle. I can feel that maybe I'm getting a little better. I'm trying not to let myself off the hook ever again. But I know there's a very real risk of the shame/depression/relapse cycle getting worse, as I feel the "failure" if every time I relapse so much more. Maybe I really should get away from that word.

I just want to make some progress. I don't know how I can just keep making the same mistakes and not learning anything, for years. Sometimes I feel like I'm just not ready to quit. But I can also never go back to "comfortably" using porn without being aware of the harm it's causing me.

The worst thing I can do is feel down. I need energy to keep up good habits, and to be able to resist urges. Maybe I'm going about it wrong. All I can do is start back up and keep trying.
 

Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
Right now it looks like I'm back in a rut. Or have been, anyway. Often I do this thing where I get urges late at night, but I'm too tired to go through with it, but I start looking at porn so I've already "broken my streak" and then relapse when I wake up the next day. This morning, I still had porn on my phone from the night before, and had really NO desire to actually go through with it. But eventually my porn-brain won and I relapsed.

I hate this cycle. I can feel that maybe I'm getting a little better. I'm trying not to let myself off the hook ever again. But I know there's a very real risk of the shame/depression/relapse cycle getting worse, as I feel the "failure" if every time I relapse so much more. Maybe I really should get away from that word.

I just want to make some progress. I don't know how I can just keep making the same mistakes and not learning anything, for years. Sometimes I feel like I'm just not ready to quit. But I can also never go back to "comfortably" using porn without being aware of the harm it's causing me.

The worst thing I can do is feel down. I need energy to keep up good habits, and to be able to resist urges. Maybe I'm going about it wrong. All I can do is start back up and keep trying.
I know this cycle. I have a tendency to hit rock bottom so fast. But what I've found out since the beginning of the year is that you can shock the addiction by using a short-term tactic to get some momentum. It can help you get a streak going. After that, it's a different situation, it depends on how you react, in my case after 40 days I entered a different territory where it was not as simple, but this is a different discussion for a different day, you should not worry now about what phase you might encounter in 20-30 days or whatever, but try to find a way to get some momentum. Dealing with each phase as it comes. Anticipation and thinking about a difficult future creates fear. "It's the fear of future withdrawal that creates withdrawal" I am paraphrasing here but it's a line from Easy Peasy.

What worked for me was to go back to the basics. You know what people say that sometimes the basics are the best. Basics done to a high level. The way this addiction works at the core of everything is pretty simple: You experience a dopamine release as a reaction to porn. This big release of dopamine is the problem. It feeds the addiction, it activates the addicted brain, it makes resisting porn very very difficult, seemingly impossible sometimes. Then a tactic is formed: To save myself a big trouble I should keep this (porn) dopamine low. I started using this as a short-term tactic, done over and over again as many times as necessary, and it helped me get some good momentum. Done right, it can take you far away. I've used this twice and in both cases have achieved longer streaks: 50 days and 40 days.

What I've realized is that in most people's case a relapse starts in two ways:
1) They see something by mistake and get triggered;
2) They do a good job staying away from looking at anything but they think about porn, they interact with the porn images that show up in their head and this gets the dopamine wild and makes everything very hard to resist. Here we see things like: "A little bit will be too little to do much damage" which is a trick played by the addicted brain to say: "Okay, you responded by paying attention to the signals I sent your way, all the thinking, all the porn flashbacks and images, was my hand, but I want the cream, not just this, I want you to abuse porn but as I see you don't want to go straight there, I will try to trick you into give an inch take a mile."

So now the question is what would you do to keep dopamine low in those 2 scenarios? You see something by mistake, what do you do? What do you do when you catch yourself thinking about porn or "watching" the images and videos that show up in your head?

What do I do? I call it "Avoiding to interact with the porn thoughts in the first second".
1) A porn image shows up in my head, I try to ignore it in the first second by thinking about something else, focusing on something else, replacing the porn video in my head with another video of me doing something else, whatever works. The sooner, the better.
2) What do I do when I see something by mistake? Close that right away and do the same thing, avoid to interact with the image of that thing that remains in my memory and try to do what I said at point 1)

I don't know, try some of this, see how it works. You got this, man!
 

jonazo91

Active Member
So I've been able to stay clean the past two days and now am about to go on a trip with my fiancee where we'll be in a hotel room and hopefully I'll be too busy to even think about porn (although I've thought that before and been wrong, I've also thought that before and been right).

I've been kind of trying to use some of @Escapeandnevercomeback 's advice about handling urges. I was admittedly skeptical at first because I thought it would be like "running away" from my thoughts instead of just letting them be. But so far with my small sample size of time, it's been almost relieving to just kind of "NOPE" at the first sign of porn this. Instead of engaging them, I just immediately think "ah, let's think about something else" and I change my train of thought.

I can't vouch for it in the long run yet, and I know there will likely be times where it isn't all that easy, but if it works 7 times out of 10, it's a useful strategy to have in my playbook. It's not a matter of being fearful of my thoughts, it's just a matter of not engaging right from the get go. Like, "no thanks, next."

So thanks.
 

Escapeandnevercomeback

Respected Member
So I've been able to stay clean the past two days and now am about to go on a trip with my fiancee where we'll be in a hotel room and hopefully I'll be too busy to even think about porn (although I've thought that before and been wrong, I've also thought that before and been right).

I've been kind of trying to use some of @Escapeandnevercomeback 's advice about handling urges. I was admittedly skeptical at first because I thought it would be like "running away" from my thoughts instead of just letting them be. But so far with my small sample size of time, it's been almost relieving to just kind of "NOPE" at the first sign of porn this. Instead of engaging them, I just immediately think "ah, let's think about something else" and I change my train of thought.

I can't vouch for it in the long run yet, and I know there will likely be times where it isn't all that easy, but if it works 7 times out of 10, it's a useful strategy to have in my playbook. It's not a matter of being fearful of my thoughts, it's just a matter of not engaging right from the get go. Like, "no thanks, next."

So thanks.
It is definitely something to be added to the plan. I am a serial relapser with little success when urges come but avoiding to engage with the thoughts has been the only thing that has given me some hope so far. Nothing else worked. It's not a matter of running away from the thoughts, it's about not giving them attention. Running away from the thoughts sounds to me like being bothered by them, annoyed by them and having to make yourself forcefully avoid them. While not giving them attention detaches yourself from being bothered by the porn thoughts. I think it's a matter of finding a way not to pay attention to the porn thoughts and images without being annoyed by the process. It's about doing it as many times as needed, without emotional involvement, without thinking about how many times we had to do it so far and about how many times we will have to do it in the future. This creates burden. While the process is a thing in the moment. It's not always easy, but we need to make an effort and try hard. If you think about the simple way in which this addiction works at the core of everything, the idea of "keeping the porn dopamine low" makes absolute perfect sense. If thinking about porn gives you urges, it means it releases dopamine and the best way to deal with this is to avoid engagement as soon as possible. Like this, you keep this dopamine low and save yourself a lot of trouble. This thing has the ability to work on long run for sure but other things might come up and surprise you so be prepared for obstacles. I felt great and then I became very lethargic and miserable mentally. It was a different beast that I had to deal with all of a sudden but the low dopamine thing is still a part of the plan. By doing this, you tackle the very core functionality of this addiction. Of course, recovering from porn addiction most of the time doesn't mean only time away from porn, it means stay away from porn forever as well. It means not returning to it, it means building a life where porn is not important anymore and welcome. But it think we need to start with something and avoiding to engage with the porn thoughts is a short-term, quick tactic to use which is not even difficult to learn how to do, and you can build some momentum with it. You got this, man! I know you can.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
Been traveling and now staying in a foreign country since last Thursday. As I was kind of hoping, I've been mostly too busy (and too confined to a hotel room with my fiancee) to have much opportunity to use porn. However, I haven't been without triggers, including emotional/environmental triggers like stressful travel, insomnia, and extreme tiredness, but also direct triggers. The first day we landed here, I saw a bus advertising a local strip club and it prompted me to look it up online (out of "curiosity," of course 🙄 but I didn't take it any further than that, although I did view some "Yellow light" material on their website.

Today, my fiancee and I went to something called the "Sex machines museum" (her idea not mine) which as you can imagine was full of potential triggers, including plainly pornographic images on the walls (albeit "vintage" ones meant to be sort of titillating historical curios). In any case, I definitely allowed myself to look at them a little more than I ought to have, and in my head I was definitely thinking, "this isn't really healthy for me." I wouldn't call it a relapse in itself, though. It was an innocent enough experience for what it was, but it did kind of give me insight into how most of the modern world views porn as a harmless little vice. The message of the museum was "sexual deviancy is as old as time and there's nothing wrong with it," which is fine on it's own, I guess. Modern Internet porn being available to any 5 year old with an internet connection is not the same thing. I was certainly tempted by the museum's implicit message to think that maybe my porn habit isn't a big deal. But ultimately I know better than that. It isn't "horniness" that I'm fighting and I know that.

Anyway, I'm here because once again I'm having trouble sleeping, while my fiancee is asleep, and I was nearly tempted to give in and look up some porn. But instead I'm going to go to bed.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
Unfortunately, I caved again. I did manage to get to sleep without any issues, but then the morning betrayed me. I've been having really weird sleep here: my first night staying here, I had a wet dream, and then this morning I woke up from a night terror. My fiancee says I was screaming "oh God, oh God" but I remember very little of the dream. I never have night terrors. I'm chalking it up to jet lag. But then after that, and a pretty stressful morning, I started looking at porn on my phone while my fiancee slept, for about an hour. Then I finally put my phone down and tried to get some sleep again, but then sure enough I went back to porn and proceeded to PMO.

I was really hoping I'd be able to stay away from porn this whole trip, and I don't know, maybe I was setting myself up for failure, or just not ready for the stressful parts of travel (it's been a lot of fun, but also really really stressful at parts). I was weak. I don't feel better, in fact I feel still really tired and I wish I'd used that time to sleep instead. Not to mention I'm very disappointed in myself and it's harder to look at my fiancee with the same confidence and ease of mind throughout the day after watching porn behind her back while she slept. But I have to make the best of the rest of this trip, stay strong, and "get right back on the horse" as the saying goes.
 

jonazo91

Active Member
I'm stuck right now. I just PMO'd for the second time today. I have these cycles lately where I'll go just under a week without porn, and then relapse for the next whole week or so. I'm so tired of the cycle. I'm so, fucking TIRED OF PORN! It's just an endless bottomless pit of despair. And part of what makes it so damaging is it seems so harmless and so "easy to stop at any time." I just want to be done with it now. And move the hell on with my life. I have to start somewhere. I have to change something.

I just want to make some forward progress already. Please.
 
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