It's time to change

logicprox

Active Member
8 days.

I'm starting a new journal, for a couple of reasons. One, the name of the journal I was using included my age at the time that I started it and is no longer accurate. Perhaps I thought I would so obviously and clearly bring my addiction to an end that I wouldn't need the journal anymore by the time I had a birthday. If so, I obviously got that wrong. Two, I feel like I just want a fresh start.

2022 was the best year fighting this addiction that I have had since I started. It just wasn't good enough. After using on day 1, I broke the 14 day clean barrier for the first time since I started using and took that streak to 66 days. Sadly, after using again, I never got back to that, though I did break 20 days multiple times. But the truth is I never really got the momentum back and while the last 1/4 of the year or so wasn't an all out return to my old usage patterns, it was certainly not progress and my head and heart just weren't in the fight.

Towards the end of the year, I looked at the calendar and realized I could still do a month clean...and then used. Then it was two weeks, and all I had to do was not use on a Friday night before my flight to see family before Christmas gave me 5 freebie days to build momentum for those two weeks...and then used.

So here I am January 1, 8 days clean instead of a month or two weeks. I would have liked to have done better, but it's actually the longest streak I have ever had going into a new year.

I'm building a plan. It's got a lot in common with last year's plan but it's going to incorporate some of the lessons learned as well. I'll share more of that over the coming days. For now, I'm back.

Porn is fantasy. Fantasy gives me nothing in the real world. I live in the real world.
 
Last edited:

logicprox

Active Member
9 days.

My schedule is back. I have a very specific sequence of events every morning, and every night in preparation for sleep, and I'm planning out my days overall. One of the biggest obstacles to breaking a habit or an addiction is avoiding the cues that your brain recognizes as "time to perform this habit". But on the flipside, if you can have a set of cues and routines that do not include the habit, you can reduce the likelihood of ever being triggered. That's what I'm trying to do.

I've set myself up with an app to track when I do or do not perform the elements of the routine. Positive dopamine hit whenever I get to check the box. Sounds silly, but I know from the past it works for me. So I just built it out in better detail.

I also know what a lot of my cues/triggers are now:

1. Waking up at night and grabbing my phone. Solution: Sleep with my phone off and in another room. Doing that. Part of my new routine.

2. Pretty girls on social media. Solution: Delete social media from my phone. Done. Also, historically I have only really been accountable to myself for actually using porn. Meaning, if I haunted a hot girls' instagram or watched some slutty Tik Tok videos, since that didn't break my streak unless I either went to porn or MOed to it, it was easy to justify. Of course, most of the time once I started down that rabbit hole I did one of those two things. So, I'm not planning to break my streak for doing those things but in my habit tracker I am taking those as a negative hit if I do them, so introducing some accountability.

3. Traveling for work. There's two reasons this has caused be problems historically. First, it usually wrecks my schedule, things are just different staying in a hotel. Second, it often comes with more drinking, between happy hours and the hotel bar. I'll deal with the alcohol aspect separately since that's #4. Solution for the first part: When I travel, I will plan out a travel specific routine to follow morning and night, one that works for those circumstances.

4. Alcohol. I just find myself significantly more likely to slip if I get drunk, or sometimes even buzzed. Honestly, still working on the best solution to this other than just never drinking at all. But I will find it or I will cut off drinking.

5. Being excessively tired.This usually leads to me not wanting to work on anything productive and lounging in front of the TV until I get bored with TV and use. Solution: Better sleep first of all. Night routine should help with that. But barring that, if I start to feel that excessive tiredness I will first try just taking a walk around outside in the freezing cold to see if that wakes me up. If that doesn't work, I will see if there is anything socially I can do to just get out of the house. If nothing on that front, I will either go work out to wake myself up or go to the top floor of my apartment building where there are some nice public areas to read and a hot tub and do one of those things until I feel like I am able to go to sleep.

6. Lounging in front of the TV. Sometimes seeing a hot girl on TV. Solution: No more solo TV (unless watching it while I do my indoor cycling). I was doing really well at this for a while last year and it made a huge difference. This is in my Habit tracker as well.

There's more to my plan, but will write out more of it in future posts. It's just a lot to type haha.
 

logicprox

Active Member
10 days.

Besides the actions that directly pertain to PMO, 2023 is also about continuing to deal with some of the underlying reasons I use. I identified last year that I had social anxiety I needed to deal with, and that I used PMO to deal with anxiety and to avoid it (effectively if I can just sit at home and get digital women, I don't have to deal with going through my anxiety to meet people). This year will be a lot about dealing with those underlying issues so a lot of my plan for the year includes actions to fix my issues there. Going to be doing some CBT. I sort of startted to ease into it last year, but was not consistent or organized. That changes this year.
 
Last edited:

logicprox

Active Member
11 days. Been fairly quiet the last few days. Have almost forgotten about PMO entirely. Won't last I'm sure, but I don't mind it when it is like this.

It's also enlightening how completely irrelevant to living well and happily PMO is. Don't need it at all.
 

GBS

Well-Known Member
Good luck @logicprox .

Dealing with fantasy is tricky. Your brain is in charge, so switching it off is nigh on impossible. Can’t see from your thread whether you’re doing hard mode (no masturbation at all), but in order to get rid of fantasy I would say hard mode is borderline essential. Doing 30 days hard mode is difficult but a manageable goal.

I wish you every good fortune.
 

logicprox

Active Member
Good luck @logicprox .

Dealing with fantasy is tricky. Your brain is in charge, so switching it off is nigh on impossible. Can’t see from your thread whether you’re doing hard mode (no masturbation at all), but in order to get rid of fantasy I would say hard mode is borderline essential. Doing 30 days hard mode is difficult but a manageable goal.

I wish you every good fortune.
Hey GBS! I started the streak as just no porn. I decided a few days ago to also do no MO. Thanks!
 

logicprox

Active Member
14 days. Nice to be back at 2 weeks. Woke up in the middle of the night (my historical downfall #1). Using P didn't cross my mind but I did start to M. Remembered I am not doing MO though and was able to stop and just go back to sleep.

Shout out to @GBS. I don't know for sure if you asking about this helped cement it in my brain so I remembered even when sort of half asleep, but it certainly didn't hurt.
 
Last edited:

GBS

Well-Known Member
Good for you. Resisting is the job. It’s incredibly hard which is why the rewards are high. I found that if I MO’d I just accessed fantasy however much I tried to do so mindfully. Fantasy and masturbation together is not much different to porn watching I think. It obviously depends on the fantasy but if we are to clear our heads then MO is asking for trouble - understatement.
 

logicprox

Active Member
16 days.

"This ‘back to front’ reverse process makes all drugs difficult to kick. Imagine the state of panic of a heroin addict without any heroin; now picture their utter joy when they can finally plunge a needle into their vein. People who aren’t addicted to heroin don’t suffer that panicked feeling.

The heroin doesn’t relieve the feeling, it causes it. Similarly, non-users don’t suffer empty feelings of needing internet porn, or panic when they’re offline."

"We talk about internet porn being relaxing or satisfying, but how can you be satisfied unless you were dissatisfied in the first place? A non-user doesn’t suffer from this unsatisfied state, completely relaxed after a no-sex date, while the user isn’t until they’ve satisfied their ‘little monster’."
 

logicprox

Active Member
19 days. I ate ice cream yesterday. It sounds irrelevant but it isn't for me haha. I realized there's sort of a cluster of cues/habits that often go together for me. I get tired or bored, i crave junk and relaxation, I engage in some combination of junk food (usually desserts), TV, and PMO. I think there's a couple connections there. One is a general pattern of wanting an easy and cheap (in terms of effort) dopamine hit, and all of those things qualify. The other is that I think the way I have commingled those things historically has led to an overall connection in my brain amongst them, so one naturally leads my brain to the other.

Last year after I sort of lost my way, I was ending a lot of days on desserts and TV, and then often down the PMO waterslide. I formally cut TV out as part of my overall plan for the year, and I've been doing well at that. Even while I ate my ice cream yesterday I read a book instead. informally, I have been controlling my diet more, staying off junk food until last night (other than socially, think it's fine if I'm out with other people, different context, different cues) but it wasn't formalized, I didn't establish rules for it.

Sometimes you just have to be hardcore to get what you want. So from now on, no desserts unless I am having it socially. That's the rule.
 

logicprox

Active Member
20 days. The last couple of nights laying in bed I found myself starting to fantasize but stopped myself (whereas I wasn't really stopping myself a few days ago). Progress.
 

logicprox

Active Member
21 days. This is now the 2nd longest period I have gone without PMO since I started using. It's a long way from my 66 day longest period, but I'm not focusing on trying to match that streak at all. Just focused on changing my brain.

I read a book called "How to Change" around the holidays, and it walks through a lot of the obstacles people face when they try to change and what the science says about how to deal with those obstacles. There was a lot in the book but the one thing that stuck with me the most (even though it wasn't a totally new concept, it just really struck this time) was the idea that most of what we do day to day is habit driven, not making conscious choices. So sometimes the best way to change is to change the entire habit loop.

I think one of the biggest things that is helping right now is that I built out a specific series of actions to take at a specific time in the morning and at night (during the day I work) and I eliminated the activities that tended to lead to use (lounging watching tv or YouTube, eating junk food...while watching tv usually, browsing the internet mindlessly, social media use) so I really don't hit the triggers that made me use very often.

Occasionally there are still general emotional triggers, especially right before bed, but I have cut down the number of habit loop triggers substantially so i am not dealing with the cravings nearly as frequently.

There's other things that I think are contributing too, but this feels really significant right now.
 

logicprox

Active Member
22 days. Remembered another situation yesterday that sometimes acts as a cue to use PMO. I am learning music production. Sometimes it's really fun. Sometimes it's really frustrating when it feels like I get stuck on something. In the past when I have been working on music and hit a wall, I have sometimes taken a PMO "break". Yesterday I had that feeling.

The funny thing is never once has using actually allowed me to come back more energized and ready to tackle what I got stuck on. In fact, usually it just made me more tired and often I just cut the music session short and wasted the rest of the day on TV or scrolling social media.

So I didn't use. I went grocery shopping since that was something I needed to do this weekend anyway. Urge passed.
 
Top