I will make it -- Looking forward to taking my life back

Day 201 -- MO was better today and to a girl I normally wouldn't have MO'd to either. Still nowhere near where it should be but improved vs. few days ago. Anyway just logging in the thoughts before grabbing dinner with a friend. Can't believe 2022 is almost over
Day 202 -- Little bored today so writing a reflection post. Strangely past few weeks seemed to be a bit harder to avoid thinking about porn vs. the preceding months. Was wondering why but I came to a conclusion:

Triggers. Seems obvious in hindsight but also not obvious. Obvious because 'duh' but not obvious because I haven't been exposing myself to traditional triggers. What are the traditional more obvious ones? Here's a list I came up with:

  • Any kind of hardcore porn obviously
  • Softcore porn (ex. going thru booty pics of IG girls). I only have a FB these days (never had IG / TikTok, deleted my Snapchat recently) and LinkedIn which are probably the most modest social media platforms out there (some risqué stuff on FB Reels so be careful there but otherwise largely tame)
  • TV that is obviously risqué. I pretty much don't watch any TV these days that is deliberately risqué (ex. all of those love island type shows on Netflix, magic mike with all the female strippers, etc) and while I do occasionally watch anime it's only the kind where is little to no fan service -- which cuts out a lot of options but I'm more than willing to make the sacrifice
  • Dating apps. Not on them atm though I will at some point, but going in eyes wide open to be as careful as possible here when I do
  • Erotica. Assuming it's tagged as such vs. you read something and it turns into erotica at some point
I've done a good job generally of avoiding the ones above. What's been harder? The below:
  • Quasi-erotica that seems to pop up randomly in non-ertica fiction. I read fiction stories a fair bit these days but sometimes without warning a sexually charged scene will pop up. Which sucks because I really don't care to read it but it just hits you and your brain kind of follows it for a bit before stopping at times
  • Certain video games. Like I said before I used to watch / read quite a bit of animated porn. Damn I wish I never touched this stuff, because unlike regular porn everything is put on steroids -- from the body types, to the reactions, to the craziness of the scenes, etc. Everything is blown out of proportion. Some video games are obviously risqué and are more easily avoidable, others just have random scenes that pop up (i.e. even Fire Emblem Three Houses had 1-2 few). Hard to avoid as these are normal games that some horny creator thru 1-2 scenes that are designed to hit our minds in a certain way which suck
  • Tame anime / TV shows. Again certain scenes will happen out of nowhere, hard to really see coming
Basically over the past few weeks I think I've seen more of the bottom category that's just popped up out of nowhere and that's why it's felt harder to stay away from porn vs. past few months. TRIGGERS are the biggest reason for relapse, at least for me. To the extent that we can minimize them we should. The one thing I haven't found much of a solution to is the subtle ones that pop up out of nowhere. Good thing is these become easier to resist over time but it's frustrating to see they still have a hold. I wonder what the solution is for this
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One more thought -- I guess in the past I always used these 'soft triggers' (and the hard ones of course) as reasons to PMO (i.e. find a doppelgänger version online of whatever fantasy that evoked). Now when I see them, I'm doing the opposite which is fighting against the habit that I formed over 8yrs of constant PMO'ing. So it's just going to take time for these addiction pathways to weaken and every time I don't follow thru with this pathway my self-control becomes stronger and that pathway is on its way to breaking down.

The other thing that really amazes me in this modern world that we live in is that addictions are endless. For most of us, porn is the main one but there's a whole world out there beyond drugs / alcohol / gambling (which have existed for a long time, though in the case of drugs that's way more potent now). Video games come readily to mind as well as sugary food (we humans never had access to such concentrated doses of sugar that is processed food) and I'm sure there are many others.

We live a in a world designed to cater to our dopamine in a way that's never been possible throughout history. I was recently playing a new Pokemon game for the nostalgia and even the characters are animated in almost life-like fashion! The Pokemon series is tame, but I can just imagine the gateway this kind of thing introduces to impressionable kids...who go into anime...who then go into anime porn. And it's not just video games, IG / TikTok feed into regular porn or OnlyFans or whatever else.

All to say I guess I'm sad to see the world reading this type of state because as hard is it is for us to break this habit and move on vs. prior generations, future generations will find it even harder. At what point does progress become regress for mankind? I don't know and I can't control it. These are just big picture questions I guess I have, but at the end of the day need to just boil it down to what's in my control and work on that. God bless all of us and we all have the capability to break away from these chains and make it

EDIT: On the point of anime, it got me thinking -- to be honest I just don't love it as much as I used to -- which I think is a very good thing as I'm not sure living in these 'not-real' worlds (whether thru TV / gaming / VR / etc) is a good thing for the human psyche. Just looking at the natural progress of things I doubt in 5yrs I'll be watching any anime. I don't think it's necessarily awful on its own (the normal stuff like DBZ / Naruto, not the porn-fantasy type anime out there) but it can lead to a gateway of other things at worst and at best I think keeps you separated from the real world in some ways. So while at one point I was a bit sad to see my waning interest in anime, I think this natural progression is actually quite a good thing. I could speed it along and just not watch entirely...giving some thought to this. I want to not just permanently quit porn but try to become the best possible version of myself along the way in all things. This might be one, we'll have to see
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Day 205 -- Nothing too new to report, just another day. Progress is not a straight line, just gotta keep sticking with it

EDIT: MO'd yesterday, wasn't great but then again my penis was shrunken and I'm pretty sure I'm in a mini flatline. Same thing today, penis definitely looks shrunken. So I guess the recent MO's that haven't been very good are due to these mini bumpy flatlines. Amazing how long the recovery process takes -- definitely going to stick with it but really goes to show how long it takes to heal. I definitely don't want to go through this again from the beginning ever. Gabe Deem was totally right with younger guys taking way longer, the avg for younger guys might honestly be like 9 months and could even take up to a yr. Either way, can't sweat things too much, I'm not even thru month 7 yet. Definitely know there's been progress as 2nd time I was able to have sex w/ Viagra and 3rd time I had sex without Viagra and was even able to finish. This never would have been possible pre-reboot

EDIT 2: Just MO'd, was much better than expected even with the likely flatline. We're getting there
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Day 211 -- Just checking in, nothing too new to report. Hurt my abs going too hard too fast in a workout and then tried again yesterday after 2 weeks off but still painful. Just need to give it a good 2-3 months of healing & do other things. What I miss from my high school / college days is how much easier this was, injuries rarely happened and if they did they heal so quickly. These days it feels like everything is injury prone, taking everything super slowly is the only way (though going slow is kind of frustrating sometimes as well). The progression to becoming the best version of ourselves is not easy, it's honestly amazing how many obstacles are in the way. That's life I guess
Day 214 -- Nothing too new to report. Going on an international trip for a few weeks starting Friday so I likely won't be posting much during that time. Otherwise feeling alright, just trying to wrap up work before it. Man I need a break haha
Day 224 - Just quickly checking in, MO'd a few times, have been pretty mediocre honestly. Just need to keep trusting the process, it's already brought me this far and I know there's a lot more ahead. In addition to staying away from porn, I'm going to keep ramping up my cardio and weight training into 2023. Right now I think I'm around 168lb (vs. 175 maybe 6 months ago), and that's including taking creatine now so the effective fat loss has been double-digit. My ideal goal over 2023 would be to lose 18-20lb of fat and throw on 15-20lb of muscle. I know it's doable, just have to be super careful and take things slow to avoid injuries. Will probably add in kegels at some point as well though that's for later
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Continued from earlier which I forgot to mention -- I don't want to tie in things too far but I've gotta wonder if the fat loss discipline I've really acquired over the past 2 months or so is related to quitting porn. These days I'll have delicious meals still but I'll stop after eating a moderate amount. Dessert is no long a 'must' in meals, nor are fatty snacks. I guess I'm seeing this on 'the other side.' Back when I was at my biggest (207lb) and even not too long ago, I'd always wonder how really fit people could avoid staying away from really unhealthy (but tasty af) food. My mindset itself has shifted in such a way that I no longer crave those foods as hard anymore. I'll have them occasionally, enjoy them (though the one downside is that I guess I don't enjoy food to the level as I used to when it was totally uninhibited), and move on after I've gotten a fair portion size.

I'm bringing this up because it reminds me of my quitting-porn journey as well. It's not like I don't get any urges at all, but the ones I do are generally quite weak. It just doesn't have the same hold on me that it once did. I think the same thing is happening w/ food, and paired with a new exercise discipline (4-5 days a week) is really starting to work some amazing changes. Even on this vacation, I'm eating some great meals but I just stop after a while. For dinner last night I just felt full from a big lunch so I just had an appetizer, and I'm satisfied with that. Your stomach / appetite shrinks after a while of eating less, but just as important is I think your willpower grows in a big way as well