Outstanding job, my brother! What has helped you overcome the temptation to not go back to PMO?
Thanks for the question. Please don't feel like you need to read all this, I'm writing it as much for me as to answer your question.
1. Admitting that I had a problem and that I needed help, as cliche as it is, it was true for me . I repeated this pattern for years... I would pmo for a few days and then quit, sometimes for a few days, sometimes weeks, up to a few months. Each time I failed I would convince myself that this would be the last time, that I would quit and never pmo again. But I would never do anything very different in order to quit, and I always thought I could handle it... and was wrong, again and again and again.
2. Getting educated. The next step was me searching on google on how to quit porn. The first website I found was yourbrainonporn.com which was super helpful, that led me to this forum and reading many other peoples stories helped me realize how bad this problem can get, and how badly I needed to quit once and for all... to stop play games with myself.
I still listen to or read something related to educating myself on this subject every now and then. Knowing how this addiction works, and affects my brain, has really helped me see the problem for what it is and how to overcome it.
3. Writing publicly about my problem. In the past I had talked to a few people about my problem and asked them to pray for me and help keep me accountable, but that wasn't ever enough. Of the few people that I talked to, only one person ever checked up on me again about the problem to see if I was ok, but it was so long after our talk that it didn't really affect anything. I needed to be accountable daily. That's one of the best things for me, even if I'm just posting my daily streak to an anonymous audience, it still helps me be accountable every day.
4. Reducing access to technology to bare minimum. Just before starting this reboot I got rid of my smartphone and switched to a kid based wireless provider - it's still a "smartphone" but it doesn't have any access to the internet, no app store, no apps other than texting, camera, notes, etc. nothing that has internet connectivity. That sort of solved a problem, but then I started keeping my ipad around, it was wifi only and I thought I could handle that - I was wrong, I messed up with the ipad. So at the start of this reboot I committed to leaving my ipad at work, and only using my computer at work. I also quit watching tv, other than watching an occasional kids movie with my family, or the show "the chosen" with my wife, I haven't watched any other tv since september 1st. Social media is very limited for me, I only use facebook - not very often, probably 5-10 minutes a day. Also since I only use my work computer I can't look at porn without it being highly likely that I would get caught doing so. So even if I wanted to look at something, I would run the risk of somebody walking in and seeing me any time, which is plenty of motivation for me to keep everything clean. There have been a few ads that I have seen that in the past would have triggered me, but now with all my other restrictions and changes that I've made it hasn't been a problem.
Some things that help in addition to these things, but I won't include in the list above because they have been a part of my life for years, but clearly weren't enough to stop me from PMO in the past...
My faith: as a born again Christian I knew porn was wrong, I felt horrible every time I looked at it but I knew that God would forgive me and that He still loved me even when I messed up. I've always been motivated to quit porn because of my faith, I also believe it's what stopped me from going into different genres of porn, somehow I drew the line when it came to watching sex or anything with men in it, I would only look for nude female content... i'm not suggesting that this is ok, but just pointing it out because after reading other peoples stories on this forum, I have seen how dangerous it can be and what a slippery slope it is. I'm not saying any of this with a superiority attitude, i'm simply saying that I think it was because of my faith that I never went further down the rabbit hole of porn.
My family: every time I pmo'd I knew I was letting my family down and that I was being unfaithful to my wife. I was a virgin when I got married, and I always thought that when I got married and had sex for the first time that I would lose any desire for porn... how I wish that were true. I did quit for several months after we got married - and I don't remember what happened that made me pmo, but once it happened, I knew I was capable of it - like realizing I wasn't cured, so I got back into it. The same thing happened after each kid that I had, I'd quit for months but then inevitably fall back into it.
I have wanted to quit for my wife, for my kids, for years. I don't want to let them down.
Keeping busy. Sometimes in the past I would PMO when I was alone with nothing to do. That rarely happens anymore, seems like I'm always busy with work or taking care of the kids. This wasn't enough in the past to stop me - i'd find a way to sneak off and pmo - but combined with everything else i'm doing - it helps. It keeps my mind occupied on other things.
lastly... I don't want to feel like trash anymore. Every time I would PMO I would feel like a piece of garbage, knowing i'd failed, knowing i'm a hypocrite, knowing I'd wasted time, knowing how selfish I was being, knowing how much hurt I was causing, knowing that it would make an angry person. That's why I titled my journal enough is enough... I want to be done with this filth for good.