On the way...

Sir_Cooms

Member
"I’m either on the way, or in the way"

Day 0:

I just came out of hopefully the last relapse of my life earlier today. I am in a very low mental place right now. My BDD/depression just flared up again and I just feel so alone, despite having many friends and family. I really hope this would be the end of my suffering. I am not ready to give up on life and I won’t give up (even though my brain is telling me to), not so long as there’s still fight left in me.

I’m a long-time lurker but I just made an account to journal for the remaining part of this year my progress and track how my mental health is recovering. I will probably also share my story on my struggle over the next few weeks. I have done some things that I am not proud of over the years. You all are an inspiring bunch and I know one day I will look back on my journal and be proud of how far I’ve come.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 1 - No PMO:

Today marks the start of this journey. I am hopeful, yet there is a part of me that is scared of the unknown. I am sure this time is the one, and I am hopeful to end 2022 with around 84 days PMO free under my belt. My day so far is going good. I had strong urges when I first woke up. I normally have a bad feeling about streaks that start with an urge on the first day - but I guess you play the cards you've been dealt ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I say this because all my long streaks in the past started with this strong conviction that I will never touch porn again in my life, and I feel like this gives me enough juice to power through the first month, which is when I'm most prone to relapsing. Of course, this is all anecdotal and I can't back it up scientifically, but I am a firm believer that relapse is caused by doubts, and they are what creates the cravings to use. I believe the term used in the AA community is 'white-knuckling', which is when you are fighting the growing doubts in your head to use/drink, and it makes you crave even more.

I went to the gym in the morning after getting those strong urges, and by the time I was done, it was completely gone. So there's something to look forward to. I feel like I am back on track now, and managed to pull myself, even after observing myself make that decision to PMO (which is usually a point of no return for me). I was already thinking about what clips I would watch and my PMO ritual - you know the drill. I guess it's little wins like these that I should learn to cherish on this journey.

I'm now positive that I will not relapse today, but I will remain vigilant.

Backstory:

I am a textbook cautionary tale. 28 years old and been PMOing for as long as I can remember. Although I know I am not old, I have actually been PMOing longer than some people on here have been alive, and I am not even 30 yet. I went through the classic escalation phases (maybe a bit earlier than some people), where I started by touching myself when I was 6 and by the time I was 10, I was regularly masturbating to stuff I see on TV, magazines, internet, etc. It wasn't until I turned 14 that I got into porn sites though. I have been actively trying to leave this addiction behind me for 14 years now, which sounds crazy now that I am typing it. In terms of the damage it's caused to me, I think it got to a point where the damage magnitude is not quantifiable anymore. Everything about this addiction is pure hell. I know PMO is the cause/trigger of most of this damage (even my BDD, I dare say) because the times when I am on a long streak, everything seems to be improving. I feel like I am in a state of...equanimity, a kind of balance with nature when I am not using. With porn, I have to now deal with the brain fog, the pain in my genitals after using, the loss of self-respect because of what I have been watching over the years (DON'T LISTEN TO THE CRAP THEY FEED YOU, YOUR VERY SPECIFIC FETISH THAT YOU ARE NOW INTO IS NOT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT), the horrendous PIED, the damage I have done to my partner...and this endless list goes on. I have done somethings that I am not proud of. I have seen things that I am not proud of. My advice to younger members on this forum is: don't try to act out fantasies that developed with increasing porn use until you've done at least 2-3 months without porn. Trust me, most of the time it's just faux fantasies that will go away when you stop feeding your brain this poison.

I can't tell for sure what the biggest damage that porn has done to me, but I can list a few things I normally feel after a relapse, most recent being yesterday's:

1. Feeling less of a man (because of what I watch), 2. Time lost over the years (this hits me now more than it did a few years back), 3. Wasted opportunities, 4. PIED (I can't even get it up to porn anymore, let alone my partner), 5. Betraying my partner, 6. Lying to myself and my loved ones, 7. That constant feeling that I am living life in second gear because of porn, 8. The brain fog (I need a healthy brain to progress in my career), 9. Depression and crippling BDD symptoms just resurfacing.

I know there is more to life than porn. I will continue fighting until I get there.
 
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Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 2 - No PMO:

Today was fairly rough in terms of my mental health. I was just feeling quite low generally. Maybe it's the Monday blues, maybe it's withdrawals, I don't know for sure. I am sure however that I will not PMO today no matter the cost. I have big plans for 2023 and will not let porn sabotage another year.

Overall it is mostly a mediocre day. I have a lot of faith in my ability to stay clean now though. These days I am trying to reflect on my past strategies in leaving porn behind. It looks like what works for someone may not necessarily work for another and this has been a real learning curve for me. I have been actively trying to stop my compulsive masturbation habit since 2010. You would think 12 years is enough but my lizard brain just kept coming back for more. I kept gradually escalating to more extreme porn over the years until I reached what I thought was rock bottom around mid-2010s (nothing illegal but definitely close to the edge).

The funny thing about this addiction is there is always room for further excavation, so rock bottom today can be just another Monday 5 years later. There is only one way out of this addiction, and it's to stop digging and climb your way out of the pit. I have to remember that there is no 'moderation' or I 'will quit tomorrow' in my world anymore. Not only has that proven itself to be complete bull crap, but it cost me so much time. I need to know that there is no such thing as 'in moderation'. You don't dig in 'moderation' when you want to climb out of a hole. You don't even dig upwards. The shovel (any thought or action that supports the continued use of porn) must be discarded and left in the bottom where it belongs before I start climbing.
 
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Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 3 - No PMO:

Another day on the journey to a clean 2023. Today has not been kind to my mental health. Some stress related to work caused my BDD symptoms to flare up again. The problem with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is that I tend to think I'm worthless unless I have certain physical traits. I don't want to care about how I look so much, and I seem to get triggered very easily now compared to a few years back. My BDD symptoms are at their worse when I am watching so much porn, because my self-esteem had already taken a hit from my lack of self respect, which feeds my sense of worthlessness and thus goes the vicious cycle.

Mental health issues are crippling. You barely function as a person, but still have to endure going to work to make a living. We don't have kids yet even though my wife is trying to talk me into it. I don't mind having a kid, but I want to fix my mental health first. That and our sex life is nothing to write home about thanks to PMO...

Seriously I can't wait to pulvarize this addiction. I want to be born again.

Day 4 here I come.
 
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Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 4 - No PMO:

Another PMO free day. I didn't have any notable urges but I do have that lurking restless feeling that usually comes when I want something. Of course, my brain just wants its fix, but caving is something that I am now willing to die first before I entertain. I don't know if I will start getting urges in the coming days or not, but usually I get the first strong wave between days 10 and 25. From past experience, it's usually not until day 60+ that I start to feel improvement at a mental level. Not to say I feel like crap the whole time until I get there, but I start to feel gradual, significant improvements in that time.

A common low point in my PMO days was when I would spend entire days, from morning till night, in selfish indulgence while putting off important stuff because I'm 'busy'. I'm sure you can all relate to varying degrees. Telling people you're busy when you don't feel like hanging out is one thing, but not doing stuff you're supposed to be doing is a different ball game. As Terry Crews often puts it: 'if day turns into night and you're still watching, then you've gotta problem'. Well for me days often blended into each other. Even after I was seeing my girl (who is now my wife) because we lived in 2 different parts of the country, I would tell her that I am busy with work or going out with friends, so I could just stay home and beat it "in peace". I got fired from 2 jobs in the past because of my performance so I can't possibly be working that hard. I can't think of one possible area of my life that porn has not negatively impacted if I tried. Here's to a billion years without this poison.

On to the next one...
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 5 - No PMO:

Still going strong with no urges to report on. Although I Feel very low still. Had an early morning jog which relaxed me a bit. I usually listen to Audible or podcasts on my jogs and avoid listening to music, as I feel it messes with my brain chemicals after I stop listening. Today though, I decided to not listen to anything and just contemplate nature, which was fun. This should give me enough juice to last the day.

The road ahead of me is still long but I know with enough grit, I will get there. Also, if I follow my schedule religiously, not only will I have been porn-free for 80+ days by the end of the year, but I would also start 2023 a few pounds less. Win-win.

One big benefit of being porn-free that often gets overlooked is the feeling of emancipation. It's hard to put into words what exactly I feel when I am not using, but it is the same as what I would imagine being locked in solitary confinement for years and then being released. Nothing goes unappreciated. Everything is brighter, more colourful. I am not there yet but I know I have to get there no matter what.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 6 - No PMO:

Another day in this life-changing journey. Slowly coming out of this wave of BDD. It was a tough few days but I feel a lot better today. I'm also grateful it's Friday night so I could rest for a couple of days. The PMO withdrawal symptoms will start to peak around mid-next week, so I will aim to get a good night's sleep every night and keep stress to a minimum. I'm exercising regularly and trying to keep a good mindset. I know the next week is a huge determinant as to whether I'll make it to 30 days or not. Statistically speaking from past experience, most of my big slips occur between day 14 and 24. So technically I am now making my way to the belly of the beast. As corny as it sounds, this is exactly how I feel.

But I am here and ready for another PMO free day. Keep fighting the good fight y'all.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 7 – No PMO:


Today was a very exhausting day. I visited some friends from out of state and we had a good time. I didn’t think of porn at all during that time, which is a big win for me. I am also glad that today marks a week off this poison. I don’t think I have much to report on today besides that and I am excited for another porn-free day tomorrow.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 8 – No PMO:

8 days PMO free. Every day that passes, I feel I am getting closer to my goal. I did not have any urges worth noting today. Possibly because I kept myself busy going out with a couple of my friends. It feels good to not waste away the weekend jerking off to porn. My BDD/low mood is still giving me a hard time though. I’m thinking to wait it out a bit, get to two months PMO free and then see how my symptoms are. If they still persist, I will likely reach out to a professional, possibly get some meds if need be, but this is definitely not my first choice.

PMO has taken so much from me, and only gave me back anxiety, depression, and emptiness. As much as I want to be free, I have to remember that the road is long. I have been trying to quit porn for too long now, and I am now past that stage of my life. I feel like in the past, I could afford to relapse and bounce back easily. Nowadays, if I relapse, the pain is just too great. I got to a stage of my life where actually, the pain of relapse is a lot worse than the ‘pleasure’ I get from indulging. Just the very thought of relapsing now makes me scared of the black depression that follows. My lows are just too low now and my highs are mediocre. I feel nothing anymore. I want to live. I want to enjoy life.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 9 - Nein PMO:

I'm fast approaching double-digits. Counting the days till I am free of this addiction. Urges are slowly starting to become more consistent, but definitely manageable. I need to mentally prepare myself for the days ahead as they will not be easy.

I need to get my head in the game and not let the fear of relapse derail my progress. I am in this for the long-haul. No matter how many thoughts and random urges I get hit with, I will stay on the path. But my body needs to take back what I owe it (recalibrating dopamine receptors, etc.) so things will suck for some time and that's okay.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 10 - No PMO:

Things are getting a bit more difficult. I can't stop thinking of porn and gawking at every pretty woman I see on the street. I take it as a sign that the sexual frustration is kicking in. Soon the rationalizations will start, my brain will try to convince me it's not a big deal to 'let loose this "one time"'. Not a big deal? [TW] I was literally contemplating suicide 2 weeks ago, because I thought at least then I wouldn't have to deal with that feeling that I am a slave to something. How the hell is that not a big deal? Also the feeling that I am less of a man haunts me non-stop. I need to actually either have sex with my wife or part ways and let her live her life. We're both relatively young so there is no justification to make her endure this life with me like that.

How many times do I need to relapse before it is enough? How many times do I need to lie to my loved ones before it's enough? How many times do I need to beat it with a limp noodle before it's enough? How many times do I need to let myself down, live a mediocre existence, before I decide it's enough. That's the key. It is never enough. There is no rock bottom for me. My cumbrain will not rest until I am dead, drowning in my own coom.

I know that one day I will beat this addiction, but for today I only need to take charge of my life.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 11 - No PMO:

11 days without watching porn, touching myself, or fantasizing. Not too bad but still a long way to go. I don't start feeling secure till I reach 30 days usually. I can't think of days where it's more important to remember how porn almost destroyed my life (and definitely set me back more times than I can remember) than the next two weeks. As I mentioned before that's where 70% of my fails lay.

I failed my way through high school and guess who the main culprit was? Well I would masturbate 3-5 times a day through my teen years so it doesn't take a genius to conclude that using valuable time to bust a nut was a large factor in my mediocre performance. The problem with life is a single decision you take can derail your future even 10 years in. I'm still dealing with the ramifications of the day I first decided to masturbate when I was 5 or 6. I was too young so I don't really blame myself on that. I feel it was almost inevitable in a way. But the time I relapsed after 6 months of no PMO when I was 16, I can't help but think if only I decided to switch off the TV and take a step back when I saw that scene that triggered me. I don't even remember the name of that crap movie. I was very proud of that streak. I was very happy and alive. I could study for hours during the day and I had no brain fog. I would have been 12 years clean today and saved thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars that I spent fueling my addiction since if I had made the decision to walk away.

But alas, I can't take back time and mistakes is what makes me human. The most important thing is one day I will be 40 and I will either regret not being clean for 12 years or very happy that I made it. I have to learn to forgive myself and look to the future. There is only one time that matters and that's now.

Here's to the next 12 years PMO free.
 

seano

Member
You got this! Stay strong.
I too feel like I've wasted way too much of my life with PMO. But I think regret can be used as a motivator as well, just like you said
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 12 - No PMO:

I'm entering the tough days and I can feel it already. I can't stop thinking of that filth and my brain keeps replaying scenes in my head. Of course the rationalizations have also started. My cumbrain is trying to convince me that I could really use a session right now, that all my problems would disappear as soon as I get that dopamine hit. "What's the point, it's not like you could have sex with my wife if you wanted cause your Johnson is not cooperating. Instead, why don't you just watch your favourite clip". Of course most of my fetishes are humiliation because they reflect how I feel about myself.

I predict very tough days ahead. Coupled with my BDD, things in my head are not very pretty right now. It feels like porn withdrawals and BDD are tag teaming to take me down. I know that holding out is the only way forward but sometimes I feel like quitting. Things could be worse and have been worse before so I will fight another day.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 13 – No PMO:

This is a late one, so I’m going to do day 13 & 14 consecutively. Yesterday I had my first tough day when urges reached a high point. I made the decision to relapse and even set up my usual ritual, save for actually looking at porn. I decided to maybe give it a quick run to the gym, and, hey presto, the urge had disappeared. So luckily I ended day 13 on a clean streak. Although I almost succumbed to my urges, I was able to pull myself back through distractions. This usually buys me enough time to reconsider my strategy, how I can prevent relapse when I eventually return home, etc. Despite not relapsing, I find it crazy how my cumbrain can make the decision to relapse for me, when I am still there. We all know the constant struggle for the wheel between the pre-frontal cortex and the lizard brain (the cumbrain) when you are triggered. That feeling sucks when you know you’re caving but you just want that dopamine fix now, so nothing matters. I am grateful I didn't end up relapsing and here to fight another day.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 14 – No PMO:

Freedom by any means necessary is the name of the game. Yesterday I almost relapsed, but as mentioned in the previous journal, I managed to pull myself together and make it another day. I am almost at day 15, so in 2 weeks’ time I should be at 30 days on hard mode. I’m thinking of doing a long report once I get to 30 of my experience with porn and strategies I use to cope with urges and withdrawal depression. Maybe I’ll wait till I get to 90 until I have a better view of myself. I’m still very much depressed and my BDD symptoms are as bad as they could be, so I’m guessing my body will need some time to come to terms that I don't PMO anymore. I guess it’s a hard pill to swallow for my brain because the constant porn flashbacks and brain fogs are a sign that the cumbrain is starving. I really hate those withdrawal symptoms though, they really suck.

I’m halfway through to 30, so my strategy for the next two weeks is to avoid triggers of all sorts and continue with my daily routine, which includes exercising to exhaustion. Once I get to 30, I usually stop counting the days and just check-in on my progress every week or so. I take it as a sign that I subconsciously feel that I have conquered the addiction, even though 30 days is only the start of the journey. When I do make it to 30 days this time however, I will be extra careful not to fall back on my old habits of getting complacent. Making it to the first month now is very precious to me and I will take extra care to maintain the streak.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
You got this! Stay strong.
I too feel like I've wasted way too much of my life with PMO. But I think regret can be used as a motivator as well, just like you said
Amen to that, Seano! With any addiction, I think how you frame things plays a big part in whether you are successful or not. Speaking from experience, my longer streaks had that unshakable conviction that I would not relapse no matter what (of course I do end up relapsing, which is why I'm here now, but I would have been PMO free for months by then). Same goes for thoughts on regrets about time lost or how you approach a relapse when it happens, framing it to your advantage makes future attempts more effective.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 15 – No PMO:

Tomorrow I will be 16 days PMO-free, so I’m now on the second half of the month. I had really bad urges two days ago, but things seem to have improved since then. I feel good about the streak now, but unfortunately, I am still in a depressive state. I hope to get out of it by the time I hit 30 days, but nothing is guaranteed. There is not much to report on from today other than the fact that I will probably be very busy this week. If all goes well, by the end of this week I should be at 21 days. Starting No Nut November with a 3-week streak is a good head start. I don’t particularly enjoy the fact that I am so fixated on streaks, and I am pretty sure that I will stop caring so much after I get to 30, because my chances of relapse decrease exponentially once I get there.

I have a lot planned for 2023, and there is no way in hell that I will let PMO get in the way of it. I have already given enough of my life in slavery to masturbation and porn. For the longest time, orgasm has been the most precious thing in my life, without me knowing it. I hope that I can leave this mindset behind me and treat the orgasm as a way to connect with my wife, rather than a selfish experience, where in quest to attain it, I destroy everything in my path.
 

Sir_Cooms

Member
Day 16 - No PMO:

Another PMO free day which I am grateful for. I am also grateful that I have an increase ability to bring myself back after going into 'autopilot' mode. It seems I am more mindful of my actions now. Of course I still get horny and of course I still feel like caving from time to time, but to be able to get back on the wheel even after almost giving up is a milestone that I have been trying hard to reach.

I hope I can develop this skill further as the days pass so I could become more in control. By the end of this week I will be 3 weeks porn free. This is still not the longest streak I've had this year, which is 68 days at the start of the year, followed by 31 in August, but it is still something. I will fight hard using every tool at my disposal to ensure that I end the year completely porn free. On to the next one...
 
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