Becoming my best self


Day 76
Yesterday during the night I had a wet dream, during which I dreamed about relapsing to porn. It's interesting, just when it starts feeling like porn or urges about it are pretty much nonexistent in my life, suddenly this happens. There was some brief guilt and anxiety when waking up, but then there was relief realizing it was just a dream and I'm still doing good with my recovery. Nothing to worry about of course, but it is a good reminder that danger of falling back to old habits is still here. Recovery still continues.

I have a girlfriend now, which turned my recovery around a bit, but mostly to the good. It's the first girl I'm dating since I started recovery, and it's nice to see some of the positive changes that happened to me since previous relationships. For example before I used to be very needy and attached, and used to compulsively lust for sex similary I would lust for porn. I was basically unable to cuddle with a girl without needing to have sex with her. Now I feel much more in control, and am able to show some restrain, which I believe shows a bit more attractive trait. There are some problems though - flatline is definitely a thing, although the second time it was a bit better, so I will see how that goes.


Day 98 (without porn)
I have finally reached my goal of 90 days without porn! In the end it wasn't what I expected, since in the past weeks I was either traveling or I was so focused on other things... I went past my 90 day goal without even realizing (hence day 98 now).

It wasn't perfect. I orgasmed multiple times, few times from sex, few times from wet dreams, few times from masturbating. Having sex with my girlfriend helped a lot, maybe even for some could be considered cheating. But anyway it wasn't my goal to go completely no PMO. It's now the longest I've ever been without porn (before my longest time was about ~50 days) so I'm very happy about that.

Having this journal helped me a lot in the beginning to get out of the rut I was at the moment, and it did help me to stay accountable during the rest of the streak. The journey is not over though. Recently I was so focused on other things, I did get a bit lazy. Not only with this journal but I also cut back on other things like working out, meditating, and I've been letting more and more procrastination sneak into my life. And it shows, I've had more urges to MO recently, and this morning I had a wet dream about relapsing to porn again. I need to become a bit more proactive again, so I will probably try to write my journal more often now.


Not happy to be back here again, but decided it's for the best.

Since my last post I have reached about 140+ days porn free. Very proud of that goal, it's been my biggest progress from this addiction since I was a teen. A lot of things have changed during this last streak. I have a girlfried with whom I've been for around 3 months now, I finished most of my university courses and started working regulary, also been looking for my own apartment.

About a month ago I broke my streak and relapsed. I regret not getting back to this forum immediately. I suppose at that time I had this belief that it was just a one time thing that I could deal with. I've been doing good with other parts of my life, so I didn't pay much attention to it.

But now over the past month I can see how, with me not paying attention to it, the addiction has been slowly creeping back into my life. I didn't get back to porn immediately - in the beginning I perhaps started fantasizing a bit more often, sometimes having the urge and did MO. A couple times I slipped to porn again (perhaps 5× in the past month, but maybe more). This past week has been especially stresful and I peeked at porn on wednesday. Then yesterday I binged to porn for about an hour. That's when it hit me that I'm back into the addiction.

Now that I'm writing this I can see the mistakes I did. I kept it all for myself and let the addiction grow. Perhaps I was overly confident about my previous streak, and didn't believe that it could return. Well, I'm not doing that mistake now, I clearly still have things to learn. And I'm not getting back to this addiction.

In the past month I could see clearly how it affected me. I became more lazy with my habits and goals - that's one thing. But mainly I could see how it affected my relationship. I have noticed being less affectionate, fantasizing more about other girls, needing more from her, using sex less as something passionate as it used to be before, and more as a "masturbation tool". So far it hasn't reached the point that I ruined anything, but it's just a matter of time. I'll not let that happen, I will become better for her. But I will also become better for myself.

Day 1
My plan so far is to get back to daily (or at least regular) journaling. Sharing my ups and downs, and not hiding anything.
Honesty is important during the addiction. I realize I will have to tell my girlfriend about this. I have told her before about my porn addiction in the past. However I've been hiding for the past month, worried what she would think. But I will have to tell her. Will keep you updated about that.
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Day 4
Doing ok so far. Yesterday I came home late and was a bit tired and stressed. I couldn't sleep, so I thought about watching some ASMR videos - wasn't a good idea. After a while of clicking from video to video, I realized I am just looking for a hit, similary to porn, so I stopped.
Need to find some other habits to de-stress in the evenings. Stress is a big trigger for me.

Noticed a bit of resistance to journaling. A part of me would rather I keep all my thoughts to myself, deal with this alone. But at this point that would be a recipe for relapse. Something keeping me accountable is important, at least for now.


Again, few months later, I'm back...

It's now day 8 since my last PMO, however I did peek 4 days ago and watched porn for a couple minutes, but decided to stop. Although I didn't MO, I will start the streak here at day 4 pornfree.

Some things have changed since last time. I have completed 140+ days pornfree last year, and made a lot of progress there, but sadly returned to some old habits again. As you can see in my last few posts, I had a failed attempt of returning to this forum last October.

Right now, there are a few things that can be said about my addiction, some good and some bad:
  1. The good:
    • I am now at a point where I relapse only a couple times a month. This is a HUGE improvement, compared to where I was before, when I watched porn 1-2 times a day. I would say that I am able to stay healthy and balanced like 90% of my days, and it's only some days, when the emptiness returns, or the stress builds, when I feel the need to watch porn.
    • Another thing I have to mention is, that overall, my mindset about my additction has changed a lot- I don't feel as much shame as before, and porn isn't such a huge deal for me. I also had other insights, and mindset changes which I will get to later.
  2. The bad:
    • Obviously, since I decided to return back to this forum, there are still issues. There is still the 10% of days where I relapse. It varies of course, sometimes it's once in two weeks, but sometimes it's 2× in one weekend (happened earlier this month when I was really stressed).
    • Overall I think, that in the past year (since my 140+ day streak), I haven't been able to go longer than 2-3 weeks without relapsing. Obviously the addiction is still here, and there is still a lot of work to do.
    • I have also noticed effects on my relationship with my girlfriend. There are some problems that we have that I think can definitely be (at least partly) attributed to my porn addiction. And I feel the problems are slowly getting worse.

Few things I have realized about my porn addiction in the past months:

Although in the past months I have failed committing 100% to a successful streak, I have still done some effort to deal with my addiction. Here's a few things that I have realized and that have changed my mindset.
  • I have deepened my understanding about how addiction works - after doing a lot of research, watching YT videos, reading books, etc. I understood a lot about my addiction. One book that helped me a lot is of course "Your Brain on Porn", and also "Breaking the habit of being yourself" by Joe Dispenza (although that doesn't specifically deal with addiction, he talks a lot about unlearning habits and automatic thought loops and patterns). Also found ChatGPT a pretty useful tool - it has a lot of knowledge, and discussing my addiction with it gave me some good insights. Understanding what actually happens in my brain by itself definitely doesn't fix the problem. But it definitely helps a lot.
  • I stopped beating myself up for failure - I realized that feeling like a loser everytime I watched porn definitely wasn't useful at all, and it just added to the guilt and shame, which just keeps the cycle going. Although this idea still feels counterintuitive and I still don't do it perfectly, I started to try instead practicing self-compassion and I try to view each relapse as a learning experience.
  • I realized that the key is to not focus on porn and instead focus on improving my life - I guess I already knew this before ... hence my thread is called "Becoming my best self". But over the past months I seemed to have forgotten about this and stopped practicing it and got lazy. My goals and values have also changed a lot in the last year, so it's time to focus on them again.
  • I realized the importance of overcoming shame around my porn addiction - this is definitely a big one that I'm missing right now, and also a big reason why I decided to return here. I suppose the reason why I failed returning in October was, that I relapsed and I let the shame stop me and instead decided to hide. I notice this shame a lot in my relationship as well. When I started dating my girlfriend last summer, I was in the middle of my 140+ day streak, and I didn't have a problem being honest to her, and I told her about my porn addiction. But once I relapsed and returned to porn again, I started being more secretive and hide from her, and thus wasn't able to break the cycle.
  • Therapy and working on my past traumas - Obviously being addicted to porn as a child and teen has been pretty harmful by itself, but I believe it's also important to search for other sources of pain in earlier parts of my life. These have very likely also contributed to the "need" to being addicted to porn. So far I have gone to two therapy sessions which has helped me a lot (need to say it wasn't regular talking therapy sessions, but instead an alternative method called "regression therapy" which focuses mainly on past traumas)
This all sounds great, so what is stopping me from being successful?
I'd say my biggest problems right now are honesty and commitment.
  • One thing is that I am unable to be honest about my addiction, to others and to myself - instead I let the shame win, I hide, and I turn back to porn.
  • Another thing is I am unable to commit. Although I do want to focus on improving my life, and do have the knowledge to stop... and while I have analyzed each step of the addiction process - what the triggers are, what my thoughts are, what the automatic responses are, what my negative beliefs are and what the reinforcing actions are... when it comes to it and I have an urge, I still allow myself to rationalize myself to relapsing. I'm not committed.
Another problem is, that my brain hasn't been able to heal. Although the frequency of relapses is smaller, it's still there. And I can very much feel the negative effects of the addiction (my base dopamine level is lower, my mood is worse and I don't feel as confident and motivated).

Although I don't think counting streaks is a permanent solution, I definitely do need a successful streak now, at least the first 30 days (perhaps more if I still feel it's needed).

Here's my action plan to quit porn and become my best self - at least so far:
I will add to this as I progress, but right now I will focus on these 3 simple steps:
  1. I will commit to this streak and start doing daily posts to this forum. My goal is at least for the first 30 days.
  2. I will review my goals and focus on building my habits. I should probably start small with this one:
    • => Right now my starting goal is to make my days more structured and organized.
    • A good habit to focus on is building a proper morning routine, which has been very unorganized now. I will wake up right after my alarm -> 10-15 minutes breathwork or meditation -> cold shower -> breakfast.
  3. Return to honest communication with my girlfriend. This probably will take time and won't be easy, so I don't want to force it. But it definitely has to be done and I will give it my best. It should get easier as I progress in my streak and let go of some of the initial shame.


Those are good insights, but is your goal still to keep porn in your life, just with longer streaks?


Those are good insights, but is your goal still to keep porn in your life, just with longer streaks?
Hi Androg, definitely not the goal! I'd say the ultimate goal is to remove porn and at the same time forget about streaks completely. But also expecting that this will take a lot of work and learning.


Day 5

Today started pretty good, I did my morning routine as I wrote yesterday, however I had a super stressful day at work. Only managing to squeeze in this post pretty late before sleep, since I arrived so late. After finishing this post I will stay away from screens for the rest of the night and try to wind down, do some stretching and meditation, so I can have a good nights sleep and start fresh tommorow.

No urges so far... and I'm not expecting them too much in the following days, they will probably come stronger around the week two mark.

One thing I am noticing though is the staring - when I'm outside, in the grocery store, on the bus, etc... I. See. Girls. Everywhere. Especially this time of year when everyone is wearing skirts and shorts. My brain just can't stop scanning and looking for the little dopamine hits everywhere around me. This is something I noticed a lot in the past months. And of course it's nothing new and unusual that I didn't do before, but right now it's more noticable since it's my brain's way of trying to stay hooked even without using porn. This is something I will need to focus on later.


Day 6
After yesterday I didn't sleep best and overslept. Didn't do my morning routine and actually noticed a small urge to masturbate. I just continued with my morning no problem but it's interesting. The main trigger was obviously stress from yesterday.

But why was I stressed? Apart from the external stimuli (stressful day at work), one reason might be that my life generally isn't the healthiest and the most balanced. I haven't excercised in like two weeks and my mood has been pretty low. That's more things to work on.

Over the weekend I'm going on a short trip with my girlfriend which should be nice and relaxing. It will also be nice to spend some longer time together, which we haven't done for some time now, mainly because of us both having college work - just one more reason why our relationship hasn't been the best now, so hopefully this will help us grow.


Days 7-8
Back from my weekend trip, so I missed one post, but that's fine. The weekend was great, but I'm now back at home by myself and actually am experiencing some mild urges.

One main reason is, that my issue with checking girls was super strong today and yesterday. For example this morning we went to a public swimming pool and I could feel the constant anxiety of having the urge to check out girls, even when my girlfriend was right next to me. This troubles me sometimes - of course since I have a girlfreind it makes me feel guilty, but also I feel like this could be signaling that my girlfriend is not the one for me, and perhaps I should try dating other girls, since maybe I'm not attracted to her enough. It's not entirely true - I do find her attractive, and although sometimes we're not 100% perfect, I think we are a good fit for eachother.

I'm sure being attracted to other people is completely normal, but the thing is, it feels like it's happening so often, and often it feels like other girls are even more tempting to look at than my girlfriend, which makes me feel guilty. But of course this is just my addicted brain at works. My brain is so used to having the constant novelty - dozens of girls in each porn session, whatever type, shape, color or age my brain desires just a few clicks away. Only now it's manifesting in real life.

Right now I'm not sure if my girlfriend is entirely what I want. It's impossible to say, since I have this porn-addict fog around me. One thing I'm sure about though is, that when we started dating one year ago and I was abstaining from porn for quite some time, I didn't have any of these thoughts. And I loved her a lot. And I still do, although returning back to the porn addiction killed some of this love. So I have to get back to the reboot and see.

I hava to keep asking myself the question: even if could have whatever girl I desire, like I can in porn, and I could sleep with every each of them, would I really be satisfied?
The answer is, of course, no. At least not by itself. This desire is just an illusion, and this constant chasing for new, new and new is a trap that just leads to more desire.

But another question is: what will really make me satisfied?
  1. one answer could be some sort of sexual or emotional satisfaction, whatever that means to me - could be by building stronger connection with my girlfriend, or perhaps somehow else. Even though I'm fighting a sexual/porn addicition, sexuality is still an important part of life and so is having a fulfilling relationship.
  2. another answer, probably more important, is having emotional fulfilment elsewhere - in my purpose, values, or having a balanced life.
But the answer is DEFINITELY not in compulsive sex or porn. I think after years of being addicted, that had been made pretty clear to me. So I have to keep this in mind.
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Maybe you should give more thought to whether she is contented. Selfishness leads to discontent.
Good point. And yeah, I think I've gone way beyond the point of selfishness many times in the past months and I doubt she has been contented. Apart from the problems and conflicts I described in previous post, our weekend together was otherwise really nice though, so it gave me some hope. But yeah I can feel it's still not ideal. Way more commitment is needed, not just to my streak, but also to her.

Day 9
Today was mixed - my mood has been pretty low in the morning and I felt slightly demotivated at work for some reason. But the rest of the day was good. I did some chores, did a workout and cooked dinner. Another day done 👍


Day 10

Today went pretty good. I was having some thoughts this morning about my motivation and commitment for this reboot. Right now my motivation is pretty high. Some mild urges come and go but they're not a big deal for me. They might get a bit stronger in the next weeks. However I am feeling pretty confident that this streak has a high chance of being successful. Of course I don't want to get over myself, I can't predict what the future will be. But there's a few reasons why I think so:

  1. Doing these daily posts is keeping me accountable. If I keep it up, it's a great way of staying commited - and even if perhaps I do slip, it will keep me accountable and honest and make me learn from my mistakes.
  2. I am motivated by the streak itself and the progress I'm doing. The fact that I am getting my life back together feels great and I definitely don't want to throw it away.
  3. I am not expecting any serious stress in the next months. Summer is starting which is always a good time and I'm planning a few holidays. Also I graduated college few weeks ago and am working now. And although some work stress will always be here, it doesn't compare to the exam stress I would experience every few months that often made me relapse.
These are great ways to stay motivated and commited. However I realize that by themself they might not be sustainable in the long run. They are great now - they will definitely allow me to stay a few weeks/months clean and help reboot my brain a bit, get my dopamine levels back to normal and feel more confident. Without the daily posts and accountability, there's a good chance I would have relapsed in the past week.

But these reasons won't be forever. Motivation from the streak won't be as strong. There might be stressful times again in the future that I will have to deal with. I could see this in my previous 140+ day streak - the commitment wasn't as strong and I ended up relapsing.
So what is needed to be successful in the long run? There are many things for sure, but the most obvious for me is what I mentioned in previous posts. It's to focus on my purpose, my values and my goals. Instead of being addicted to porn, be addicted to life and becoming my best self.

So what are my goals and values?

Right now my goals and values are not that clear to me. I have some in mind, and I have done lot of journaling about it in the past. But a lot has changed since then.

Later this week I will be on holiday. I'll have some free time when I'd like to do some reading, excercise, etc. but mainly Id like to do a lot of journaling. I will try to journal a bit about my life goals and values and I will post it here after.


Day 12
Right now I'm on holiday visiting family for about 2 weeks, so my post frequency might vary. Some days I'll have plenty free time to journal, some days I might not have time (for example yesterday I was traveling some days). It's ok though, I guess right now it's not as important since I'm not expecting anything critical, I'm around people most of the time and also sharing a bedroom, and even when I was fully addicted, holidays were always a time when I'd indulge less or not at all. I'll still try doing my best to post daily though, since I want to get into the habit and make it consistent.

The staring and lusting for women around me has been crazy for me. Tonight I think I even had a dream about a girl I saw yesterday at the airport - which is insane. But I guess it might kind of also be a good sign. In previous streaks, whenever I would start dreaming about porn, or had sexual dreams (or even wet dreams), it was always a sign my brain was starting to get back to normal. And although not completely, they did happen less often after some time. And I actually haven't had one of these pornographic/sexual dreams in months which says something.

I was watching a video yesterday from Dr. Trish Leigh about this lusting and staring which gave me some insight. My brain has gotten used to getting these small dopamine hits all day long, even when not watching porn. Among other things, one thing she suggested is not look at body parts (where the eyes usually go) but instead see the whole person, perhaps even shortly establish eye contact. It sounds counterintuitive, the ultimate goal is to stop noticing them and being anxious about it. But I guess it makes sense - the goal is to stop seeing them as objects, and instead start seeing them as humans, so next time I'll give it a try.


Day 13
Just to follow up on yesterdays post, I was walking around town for a bit and was trying the "technique" I wrote about = trying to view women less as objects (seeing their body) and instead try to see the person (look at their face, eyes, try to see their personality). One interesting observation I noticed is that once I do this, from the girls that I would usually find triggering, like 75% of them are actually not attractive to me. They might have an attractive body, but I can clearly see they're most likely not girls I'd actually like to get to know. Of course there's still the other 25%... but this still does seem to help to not feel lustfull all the time, and then feel anxious about it after.


Day 16
Holiday going great, still 1 week left and I'm feeling pretty relaxed. I really needed a break from work. I have pretty much zero urges, so it's also a pretty good boost for the beginning of my streak. Tonight I had a porn-relapsing dream, but from past streaks I learned to view these as mostly a good sign, like my brain is detoxing. An interesting observation I noticed that dreams always start being more vivid a few weeks into the reboot.

I'm realizing that since I'm on holiday with family, I don't have that much free time for my own to do things that I planned before (like doing loads of journaling, reading and other self-actualization stuff). Might've been a bit ambitious there. However I manage to do my daily morning routine - including breathwork and a short workout, and on occasion I do some reading or listen to a podcast. Been listening to Huberman labs episode about dopamine, really helpful! And I try to do my daily journal. Not too much time otherwise to do anything more crazy, but decided quite soon that I won't push it or worry about. I'll just do whatever feels natural. The main goal now is to relax!


Day 18
Haven't seen my girlfriend for over a week now. Yesterday when we were videochatting I realized I'm kind of starting to miss her and am looking forward to be with her again. This makes me happy, since I've been feeling a bit cold towards her in recent months. It sucked, I didn't want to feel that way towards her at all! But with the porn-addicted brain, my mind was all over the place - my interest was 50% on her and 50% fantasizing about other girls or watching porn. I can see now how far down I let myself go, but luckily it's not beyond repairing. Signs of small progress!