Author Topic: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.  (Read 198213 times)

William

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Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« on: July 28, 2014, 08:02:32 PM »
My bona fides:  over one year no relapses, no porn, no PMO, no MO.  Gabe asked me to post here.  I previously posted on NoFap, which I loved, and where my post had over 19,000 reads, when I left it, having achieved one year clean. 

Hello Gentlemen.  First, let's figure out if this post is for you.  If it is for you, stay, read, and contribute, it may bring you peace.  If it is not for you, leave, it will bring you no peace. 

This post is for porn addicts for whom use of porn has become seemingly impossible to quit, highly compulsive, and whose pornography use has caused significant problems in their lives.  "Significant problems" means erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, premature ejaculation, or, the worst, problems with the women they care for.  By the way, this is not just for men, women suffer from this as well, but I usually speak to guys being a guy myself. 

But, it is not just for the guys in the paragraph above.  The paragraph above may describe you.  But there is something else that includes you in the group of guys I am speaking to here, and that is you have finally made the decision to quit porn, completely, forever, to give it up, to leave it behind, to abandon it, to excommunicate it, to defriend it, to have nothing more to do with it, to live a porn free life, and to never go back to the slavery that porn addiction represents.  If you want to stay a slave, go away.

You see, Gentlemen, there are two types of guys here.  I only have something to say for one type.  The first type is the guy who understands porn is a problem for him, but who wants to control it, to cut back, but, to keep it in his life.  That type is an alcoholic who likes to keep a bottle in the house, even if it is not opened, and is on the top shelf pushed way back.  He is an alcoholic in denial, and sooner or later, he is going on a binge.  The first type suffers from hubris and arrogance, and ignorance. The second type is the guy who has accepted porn controls him, that he cannot control porn, but that porn has come to control him.  The second type will overcome his porn addiction through humility, knowledge, and suffering--the suffering is only for a relatively short time.  Knowing he cannot keep porn in his life and control it, he has committed to deleting it from his life, and thus controlling his life again.  I am in the second group.  Porn no longer controls my life because I know that with porn in my life, porn controlled me.  I now control my life.  For those of you who are or wish to be in the second group, I invite you to this side of the line.  For the rest, you have much love from me, and I wish you all the happiness you can have relapsing, every two or three days, for the next 60 or 70 years. 

There are three things that men quitting porn must do; Get Educated, Get Tools, Learn to Love Withdrawals.   You must educate yourself as to the problem.  If you are in the midst  of porn addiction you think the problem is huge.  It is a hurricane, you are in the middle of it, and you cannot see the end to it or how you will survive it.  In fact, the problem is very small.  The problem deceives you, that is part of the problem.  You see porn addiction happens in the brain, it is totally above the belt.  Porn addiction is very simple:  You are having a chemical reaction to visual stimulation.  The solution:  eliminate the visual stimulation.  Sounds simple, and on some level it is, but...I'll come back to the "but" in a moment. 

This is the perfect place to get educated.  Gabe Deem is a great teacher.  His is nearly three years clean.  The first thing I advise you to do is read and view everything he has said on the problem.

Not less helpful is Gary Wilson.  He has taught us the science behind our addiction. 

The link to the video that saved my life is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU

Copy and paste it. Watch it.  Take notes, watch it again. 

Understand that this is just cause and effect, stimuli and response.  The problem looks huge to you now, but, in fact, it is actually quite small.  Again, I will come back to the "but" in a moment.

Hit this link.  It is Gabe.  He is human, you are human, if he can do it, you can do it.  You can do it.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JRehA9C0ajQ

Understand you don't just begin your journey to getting clean cold, you prepare for it, you anticipate it. 

http://www.nofap.org/forum/showthread.php?3549-Action!-or-not!!!-Have-you-actually-Prepared-for-it

The thing is, it took you years to get here.  If you are not willing to put a couple hours into preparing to get clean, then you love the high porn gives you more than getting clean, and that means you are not yet ready to get clean.  To get clean you have to reach a place in  your life where "getting clean" is the most important thing to you.  If it is five down on your wish list, you are not ready. 

Above is the education. Getting educated about the addiction was the biggest step for me in quitting it. I thought I had a problem below the belt, when in fact it was always in my brain, above the belt. We talk about being PMO addicts or even porn addicts, but in reality we are dopamine addicts, it's the greatest drug in the universe, and we carry it around in our brains. There are other chemicals involved too, but dopamine is the main culprit.  Dopamine, is released in response to porn, and our brains come to love it. Your PMO cycle will never be broken so long as you've got porn on the brain, or literally running around inside it. A lot of guys slow down when starting to try to quit, but they will never be quit if they keep porn in their head.

Tools: Porn blockers. Don't just quit, don't just passively stop and sit there, take affirmative action to change your online habits by making it difficult to access the problem. This will help you in various ways. Stopping your ability to access porn will help you stop accessing porn, and accessing porn is the underlying problem here. Maybe blockers won't stop you, but for me, they slowed me down and acted almost like a reminder that I was stopping. Like a tap on the shoulder. Also, taking these steps means you are taking steps to control your situation, which is a bit empowering. I also post here, it helps.  Most guys swear by K9.  I have used it, and I recommend it.  You can stop reading here, go to K9, install it, come back and finish.  Don't give yourself time or a reason not to. 

Here comes the "but".  Last, withdrawals.  Withdrawals suck. We don't talk enough about them here. They are why we fail. They are our brain's dopamine drenched chemical reward center begging us, threatening us, punishing us, pleading with us, rationalizing with us why we need to PMO. Withdrawals are painful, they are physical, mental, and emotional pain. They are the jitters, the shakes, the sweats, odd pains in odd places, the brain fog we feel when quitting, and our brain's way of telling us all that unpleasantness can go away with just a little harmless fix. When going through withdrawal I felt I had a sinus infection and my teeth actually hurt. I did not have a sinus infection and my teeth were fine, but my brain, at some level, had to make me feel bad to try and make me feel good through a porn induced dopamine release. The good thing is, if you are having withdrawals, it means your brain's dopamine levels are on their way back to normal. Once you get back to normal those things stop, but you can't get back to normal until your brain re-balances, and that takes...let's just round up to 90 days. You will probably see significant lessening at about 35-40 days, but even after that, you will experience them.  Newbies must be told this will not be easy, it will be hard, and they have to expect this pain, endure it, embrace it and even want it to accomplish our task, getting dopamine production back to normal.  If you are addicted you WILL feel this pain.  You must accept that, and you must embrace it, and you must prepare for it, and on a certain level you have to WANT it.  It will not kill you, you will not die, but on a certain level you will feel like it.  You know that euphoria that porn abuse gave you at its height?  Think of withdrawals as that, but negative times two.   No one gets out easy, so, if you are not willing to get out hard, you are not willing to get out. 

Also, porn is a chameleon.  You have favorites, you have categories, a lot of us go to places that are far, far, away from what we would consider our natural, healthy sexual taste or orientation.  You have to understand that "porn" is just a button we push to get a dopamine high.  Once those early porn pathways are desensitized, we look for new, novel, different pathways, leading us father and father away from who we were in the beginning.  When quitting porn, though, we will trigger on almost anything.  Porn addiction can be starved to death, but when quitting, the addiction is willing to be fed by almost anything.  No matter how hardcore your porn addiction became at the end, when quitting a Victoria Secret's layout will trigger you.  You have to avoid the chameleon, it is just your dopamine soaked  brain trying to talk to you, whisper in your year, that you must relapse.  In fact, you must NOT relapse.  Porn is not just porn for the addict quitting porn, it is any sexual imagery that sets off dopamine release. Porn is seeing it, watching it, perceiving it, hearing it, thinking of it, imagining it, remembering it. It is having an orgasm while thinking of it, whether with a partner or during MO. It is edging. It is PMOing. It is using porn substitutes like chat rooms or soft core imagery that triggers a dopamine release.

Now we begin. 

Thanks for allowing me to post. Posting and responding to posts are part of my recovery, so thank you.

I wish everyone who read this past the second paragraph luck on their journey.

Much love.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 06:40:14 AM by William »

OSS

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2014, 10:35:23 PM »
Brilliant!

There's a lot to digest here, definitely going to be re-reading this often.

By the way links 2 and 3 are broken.

Pisces21

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2014, 08:36:24 AM »

Also, porn is a chameleon.  You have favorites, you have categories, a lot of us go to places that are far, far, away from what we would consider our natural, healthy sexual taste or orientation.  You have to understand that "porn" is just a button we push to get a dopamine high.  Once those early porn pathways are desensitized, we look for new, novel, different pathways, leading us father and father away from who we were in the beginning.  When quitting porn, though, we will trigger on almost anything.  Porn addiction can be starved to death, but when quitting, the addiction is willing to be fed by almost anything.  No matter how hardcore your porn addiction became at the end, when quitting a Victoria Secret's layout will trigger you.  You have to avoid the chameleon, it is just your dopamine soaked  brain trying to talk to you, whisper in your year, that you must relapse.  In fact, you must NOT relapse.  Porn is not just porn for the addict quitting porn, it is any sexual imagery that sets off dopamine release. Porn is seeing it, watching it, perceiving it, hearing it, thinking of it, imagining it, remembering it. It is having an orgasm while thinking of it, whether with a partner or during MO. It is edging. It is PMOing. It is using porn substitutes like chat rooms or soft core imagery that triggers a dopamine release.

This so much! I thank you for this! I didn't realize EVEN SEXUAL IMAGERY- even if it's not a video or as shocking as the porn we've come to love can mess us up. I considered yesterday to be 30 day PMO free mark, but along the way I have looks as images that are sexual in nature ( not really explicit) but they gave me erections and reminded me a bit of the porn/video-chatting i would do BUT I did not masutrbate/orgasm or proceed to look at actual porn- I hope this doesn't mean I've relapsed..

Promise

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2014, 09:05:10 AM »
A relapse is slipping back into the behavior you observed while addicted.  There's no doubt that images you find explicit will trigger that little dopamine rush and may cause your recovery to take a little longer, but they won't set you back, and with 30 days PMO free, there's no way anyone can argue you havn't made great progress.  So no, you havn't relapsed.  I think these sorts of triggers are IMPOSSIBLE to avoid in today's modern life, but if you turn the other cheek, hide the trigger, ignore it then you've done the right thing, letting your limbic system know that there's no way to get rewards here.  Eventually your reboot will be a success :)

Correct me if I'm wrong here, people! :p
« Last Edit: July 29, 2014, 11:42:35 AM by Promise »

somethingelse

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2014, 09:29:30 AM »


OP, thanks for your post, it was very insightful. I can really see why you've been a success, you show throughout that you're writing that you've been totally uncompromising towards porn. Also you're weariness of your response to triggers/solutions says a lot too.

If I may ask, if you could post your original success story from the nofap site, I'd be really grateful. Much thanks :)

A relapse is slipping back into the behavior you observed while addicted.  There's no doubt that images you find explicit will trigger that little dopamine rush and may cause your recovery to take a little longer, but they won't set you back, and with 30 days PMO free, there's no way anyone can argue you haven't made great progress.  So no, you haven't relapsed.  I think these sorts of triggers are IMPOSSIBLE to avoid in today's modern life, but if you turn the other cheek, hide the trigger, ignore it then you've done the right thing, letting your limbic system no that there's no way to get rewards here.  Eventually your reboot will be a success :)

Correct me if I'm wrong here, people! :p

Definitely true man. Well done on going past a month too :) Looking the other way at 30 days is just as crucial as doing so at day 1, so nice work for pressing on.



William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2014, 09:46:30 AM »
Hi Guys, thanks for the nice responses.  Readings posts and replying are part of my recovery, so thanks. 

The thing about relapsing is, it happens in the head, in the brain, between our ears, so to speak, above the belt, not below it.  One of the things I have seen quite often are guys who I call "serial relapsers."  You may be one of them.  I was for a long time, before I understood the problem. These are guys who consistently go two or three days, maybe even two weeks, but are consistently relapsing.  In my opinion they are focusing too much on the physical aspects of the recovery (MO) when they should be focusing on the mental aspect of the recover.  Dopamine addiction happens in the head, in our minds, when we take that roller coaster ride on the dopamine express.  We get on that ride by engaging in hypersexualized thoughts.  A lot of guys are patting themselves on the back because they are going a second, a few days or a week or two, while MOing, but not doing it while sitting in front of a computer.  This is a common mistake--that by watching less porn, or MOing while not watching porn--they are making progress.  The reality is that if they are thinking of porn while MOing, if they are engaging hypersexualized thought in the recovery process, they are actually keeping their dopamine levels up.  You will not beat porn addiction while keeping your dopamine levels high because the definition of porn addiction is keeping your dopamine levels high.  The rationalization that cutting back on porn is progress, as opposed to abandoning it, is just a rationalization many of us use to avoid the inevitable withdrawals that accompany getting back to normal. 

If you are quitting porn, you are not just quitting porn, you must relinquish any hypersexualized thoughts.  That is easy to say, but hard to do.  But you CAN do it.  This means understanding things do trigger you, knowing what they are, avoiding them, and developing a method to distract yourself when you will, inevitably, trigger.  Someone said that triggers cannot be avoided--that is correct, triggers cannot be avoided completely.  But you can make a plan to make it less likely to experience them, and you can make a plan on what to do to make sure your triggers do not lead to relapse.  When we first got hooked on porn no one knew that porn addiction was even possible.  It is only recently, in the last two years, that hard scientific proof that porn is addictive has been produced.  And it is not actually porn, it is dopamine.  My point is, we took years to get addicted not knowing we could get addicted.  That was a foreign thought to most of us.  Without knowing what we were doing we put a lot of time (years) and effort into getting addicted.  We did not know it at the time, but for years our main hobby could have been described as "getting addicted to porn and reinforcing the addiction."  Porn addiction can take years.  That's a fact.  Porn recovery can take 90 days, mere months, but if you are going to be free in that 90 day window you have to totally shut off that dopamine pump in your brain, the one you have made very strong by years of daily use.  Since dopamine is produced in response to sexual thoughts, and super produced in response to hypersexualized thoughts, we have to avoid those thoughts as much as possible when quitting.  Once you get your dopamine levels back to normal and quit watching porn you will find that reality, as in real women, will become the normal stimulation to produce the normal dopamine response that you want to have. 

I hope this helps.

Much love.

Will I AM.

Bibbity

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2014, 04:06:39 PM »
Thanks for this William!!  Brilliant!  As someone who is in the "no fantasy during MO" camp it's nice to see a strong post about it that explains it so well.
In order to rise from its own ashes, a Phoenix first must burn.”
― Octavia E. Butler

tein

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2014, 04:28:36 PM »
This is awesome, thanks so much for this.

I have posted my own little story as to why I'm here, http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1237.0.

On a couple of your points, if you wouldn't mind commenting and giving your thoughts:

The addiction thing. I used to PMO like every day years ago. Over the last few years, I probably did it once a week, just because I like looking at porn. My partner and I have an excellent sex life so for me there wasn't that need anymore to use porn constantly. Hell we're a pretty kinky couple so most of the 'fantasies' I seeked in porn, we're happy to experiment in, in the bedroom. So with the PMO, I don't feel like I'm an addict, more like a drinker who likes going out on the weekend and getting absolutely smashed, and behaves well in the week. I dunno? And can I successfully recover and continue to act out those fantasies between us?

My problem, I think, is PE, and I'm a firm believer that was started by porn (watching it as a kid, rushing my jerking before mom and dad arrived home). Thankfully I have time on my side - I am away for a year traveling, and my good lady is at home (unfortunately she couldn't join me). So I'm going to try. I'm two weeks in, no porn, no masturbating. I have a strong will power but I think seeing soft images, even in every day advertising, may prove difficult against the 'excitement' part of it (I don't mean not having to rush home and jack off, I don't think I have that problem, but the passive arousal thing).

Would be grateful for your thoughts. Thanks!

William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2014, 10:00:05 AM »
Hi everyone!  Thanks for posting.  Reading posts and replying are part of my recovery, so thanks for helping.

@ OSS--Thanks for the links info.  Gabe has graciously corrected what he could and I will work on the rest.

@ Pices 21--Thanks for the feed back.  A lot of people consider porn addiction to be...porn addiction.  In fact it is not.  Porn is just a button we push to get a dopamine high, so, what we are really dealing with here is dopamine addiction.  Until this is understood it is difficult to see a way out, but once it is understood--that the problem is visual stimulation causing a chemical reaction--then the way to get clean is really fairly straightforward; avoid the visual stimulation.  The thing about the human brain is, it's the most complicated central processing unit in the world, so when we talk about "visual stimulation" it is not even actually seeing a sexual image, it can be remembering it, imagining it, fantasizing about it.  When quitting porn, that is when turning off the dopamine spout, that part of the brain that has come to love it, will begin to trigger on stuff far more vanilla that where we ended up at the worst part of the addiction.  We simply need to be aware of these things and be vigilant. 

@ Promise.  Thanks for posting.  I agree that experiencing a trigger, seeing a trigger, thinking about a trigger is not a relapse.  At this point I really don't trigger, but even if I do I only get a dopamine rush followed by a withdrawal.  The withdrawal can manifest in a few unpleasant ways, but most common, I feel nauseous. That is because at this point my brain is used to normal dopamine levels and higher levels make me feel almost flu like symptoms.  The main thing is, to bring our dopamine levels back down we have to avoid triggers and especially relapse.  Relapse as you know can result in the binge effect, meaning once the dopamine levels spike, they really want to stay high.  Once you get back to normal you will see and experience triggers, just like everyone else, and just like non addicts, they won't tempt you to relapse.  Translation:  once you get clean it is much, much, much easier to exist clean than in the very beginning of that journey. 

@ somethingelse--thanks for posting.  My original thread at NoFap is over 200 replies long so I won't post it here, but here is the link.  Hope it helps.

http://www.nofap.org/forum/showthread.php?2402-Get-educated-get-tools-and-learn-to-love-withdrawals

If the above does not open as a link, just copy and paste it.  As of today it is on the third page of the pornography addiction forum, but it is moving farther back as I am no longer posting there.  When I got one year clean I decided it was time to move on.  In the beginning I posted multiple times.  I think porn addicts have a OCD component to our personalities.  A lot of that has to do with dopamine addiction constantly tapping us on the shoulder wanting to be fed, but I for one, before I quit, could be on the computer doing a job or school work and just compulsively "click" on porn.  It was almost an unconscious act.  I could get to porn in less than two seconds, and I probably "clicked" on a pornographic image from 10-40 times a day, stayed for a few seconds (not knowing I was just getting a dopamine fix) then click back to whatever I was doing.  I was not PMOing, just getting high, though I did not know it at the time.  What I am trying to say is, in the beginning I learned to jump to NoFap compulsively, and therefore posted a lot more in the beginning.  I did not get a dopamine high by posting, but I did get a boost of something knowing I was helping myself while helping others, and that is a good feeling.  How do we help ourselves?  We help ourselves by helping others.  Porn addiction is such a lonely and isolating condition that I always advise those quitting to reengage with life.  Life can be incredibly beautiful or incredibly painful, but it will always be one thing porn addiction is not:  real.  When quitting porn you must commit to many things, but engaging reality, no matter what, is first and foremost.

@ Bibbity, thank you, it is nice to see someone whose partner had the problem still helping.

@ tien, thank you.  The first thing I would say, in response to your post is, not everyone is a porn addict.  Not everyone who watches porn is addicted to it or is going to become addicted to it.  While delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction are often noted as problem for porn addicts, and symptoms of the problem, premature ejaculation, not so much.  I don't personally feel PE is a symptom of porn addiction because I experienced PE before becoming addicted, so it can certainly happen to people who are not porn addicts.  I think taking porn addiction totally serious is helpful to one who is addicted and who is quitting.  That said, a sense of humor has its place.  Gallows humor I suppose.  I don't know much about sex problems, I know quite a bit about porn problems, but I will give you some sex advice which you can take or not.  When I had PE I came up with the "making spaghetti" solution.  When I began to have sex I would think about making spaghetti.  Not very romantic but this is a solution.  In my mind I would go to the kitchen, I would open the cupboards, and I would see I was out of the ingredients.  I would make a mental list of what I needed, then (all in my head) I would walk out to the car, drive to the grocery, go in, go through the aisles, find the ingredients, go to the check out, pay, get in the car, drive back home.  That whole trip took me about 20 minutes.  If by that time I still needed more time I could always cook the meal and serve it so to speak.  This sounds ridiculous, I know, and it is, but after I developed that method I always had a distraction in my head I could use to avoid PE.  I even sometimes still use it.  You might try it for a laugh. 

Promise

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2014, 05:02:27 PM »
Thanks for the post William, lots of stuff that rings true :)

I've read some really great posts that change my perspective on this whole thing.  First and foremost that it's more about life than it is about addiction.

Also I did something similar the first time I was with a girl, laid back and tried to remember all of the countries in Africa  ;D I think she was getting a little concerned from my lack of feedback though :p

William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2014, 05:51:29 PM »
@ Promise.  My geography knowledge is very poor.  I only know about three countries in Africa, so that method really would not prolong the experience for me.   8)

Peace.

tein

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2014, 08:05:25 PM »
@ tien, thank you.  The first thing I would say, in response to your post is, not everyone is a porn addict.  Not everyone who watches porn is addicted to it or is going to become addicted to it.  While delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction are often noted as problem for porn addicts, and symptoms of the problem, premature ejaculation, not so much.  I don't personally feel PE is a symptom of porn addiction because I experienced PE before becoming addicted, so it can certainly happen to people who are not porn addicts.  I think taking porn addiction totally serious is helpful to one who is addicted and who is quitting.  That said, a sense of humor has its place.  Gallows humor I suppose.  I don't know much about sex problems, I know quite a bit about porn problems, but I will give you some sex advice which you can take or not.  When I had PE I came up with the "making spaghetti" solution.  When I began to have sex I would think about making spaghetti.  Not very romantic but this is a solution.  In my mind I would go to the kitchen, I would open the cupboards, and I would see I was out of the ingredients.  I would make a mental list of what I needed, then (all in my head) I would walk out to the car, drive to the grocery, go in, go through the aisles, find the ingredients, go to the check out, pay, get in the car, drive back home.  That whole trip took me about 20 minutes.  If by that time I still needed more time I could always cook the meal and serve it so to speak.  This sounds ridiculous, I know, and it is, but after I developed that method I always had a distraction in my head I could use to avoid PE.  I even sometimes still use it.  You might try it for a laugh.

Thanks William.

That is very, very interesting. And that's funny because I do a similar thing - walking from my old apartment, down every street I usually took, or sometimes a different route, to the park and back to the apartment! And sometimes it works. But the thing is, it kind of spoils the experience.

Over the last few days I've done a lot of reading about PE and porn, and there seems to be more people out there who think this is related. There's loads on the PEGym website. And, because I started PMOing so young, that's all I know, and it makes so much sense to me. But I respect your opinion - I could be back in a few months time and I may be saying, "William, you're right - I just have a problem with PE regardless - so back to making spaghetti and long walks to the park!"

wootzor

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2014, 07:11:30 PM »
Hi guys. I'm new around here.

Being doing NoFap for a little over a year (actually I started the day before the OP did) and still haven't given in ever since I embraced that journey. Just about the same time I tried to start being porn free but unfortunately that only lasted a month or so before I eventually gave in. I've never considered myself addicted to it but it's certainly something I'd be better off without. It's a shame I didn't stop watching it completely the minute I stumbled upon YBOP and other resources for the first time but anyway, you can't change the past. It's about moving forward and doing what's got to be done so today I finally decided to take it seriously and start on my "porn free" journey. I have yet to read through this thread and the rest of the forum as I just stumbled upon the site through Gabe Deem's YouTube channel while I was reading a little about the topic but I'll be reading through the topics here, though I can't promise I'll post often as I'm a pretty shy guy and normally don't participate much on the communities I'm a part of and end up only reading what others write.

Take care everyone and keep strong!

« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 07:16:03 PM by wootzor »


William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2014, 04:18:14 PM »
Gentlemen, thanks for the kind words. 

Wootzor, don't be shy.  Stick around and post.  We have a lot of students here, we could use more teachers.  A guy who has been clean as long as you have has a lot to teach all of us.  Over a year of no porn and you have learned a lot about quitting that the newbies could benefit from.  I do hope to see you here telling us how you have done it, what challenges you have met and overcome, and any techniques to getting clean that have helped you.  There are a lot of people here who can use that knowledge. 

Peace.

http://www.rebootnation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1256.0

Movonnow

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2014, 08:01:33 AM »


That's right. Your post made me realize : when porn is in my life, porn controls my life. From the time I spend alone in my room to what I do in class (working or checking women out?), to what kind of hobbys I have, to the presence or absence of a real sex, to self esteem, self confidence, to my hability or unability to solve problems and face real life, to what I do with my days on week-ends.....porn control it alls. If I want not to let it control my life any further, I have to completely erase it from my life. Otherwise, sooner or later, it will control my life. It's black or white, not grey. If porn is here, it is controling everything. No image, no video, no erotic text, no fantaisy (at least during recovery), nothing. I want to be able to live a normal life, to fantaisies about my girls' body without being controled by my sexual impulses and my sexuality. I can't watch those videos nor can I prepare my recovery right now. But I swear I will do it during the days to come. I will not read my book and instead devote this time to my recovery. I think it's well worth it.

"The good thing is, if you are having withdrawals, it means your brain's dopamine levels are on their way back to normal. " 

This is the kind of knowledge which gives meaning to withdrawal and which allows to go through it - because we know it serves a higher purpose.

Thanks a lot for this post. I will definitely watch Gabe's full story video this evening.

William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2014, 09:00:40 AM »
Hi Moveonnow, thank you for the kind words and the kind post.  Reading posts and replying to them are part of my recovery, so thank you. 

A lot of guys, myself included in the beginning, do not understand how porn works, how if effects the brain.  A lot of guy mentally emphasize the mechanics of porn addiction, that being PMO or MO.  In realty, porn and porn alone reinforces the addiction.  I know when I first recognized I had a problem I cut way back on PMO and MO, but I kept watching porn, daily.  I did not think it was a problem, I thought PMO and MO were the problem.  I thought that looking at pretty girls, at sex scenes, was just what guys do.  I was wrong.  I had been seduced by porn.  Guys, at their best, do not escape from life, they engage it.  Life is full of victories and life is full of defeats, real guys know that and are willing to experience both.  What I did not understand was that porn, PMO, and MO, for a porn addict, are just buttons we push to get a dopamine fix.  Then, I saw the Gary Wilson TED talk.  Gabe has posted it as his first link on page one, the home page, of this forum.  If any guy reading this wants to understand the problem, so they can get clean, go there now, and watch it.  It is about 16 minutes, and I think that after I saw it the first time, I quit porn, and I never went back.  In the process of quitting porn, that was the most valuable 16 minutes of my life.  You are right Moveonnow about porn being in control.  Back when it controlled me, I did planned my day around getting my fix.  It was a porn lifestyle.  Get up, PMO, go to work or school, find time to PMO, go back home, PMO, work out or study, PMO.  Although there were times when I did not PMO multiple times a day, there were days I did, for instance, when alone, when my family had left.  In the beginning of quitting, you need to plan your day around NOT getting your fix, and you need to totally avoid porn, completely.  The way a porn addict controls porn is to totally delete it from their life, absolutely, completely.  This is to bring your artificially high dopamine levels down, and to allow you to rewire to the thing that is most important in life........that being life.  Porn is the ultimate comfort zone, the ultimate escape and detachment from life.  In order to go from addicted back to normal, you are going to have to get out of your comfort zone, and that means withdrawals.  As much as they totally suck--that is an understatement--embrace them for what they are, your brain rebalancing. 

Moveonnow, I have absolute confidence you can do it.  Just look at Gabe, nearly three years clean. Look what he has done with his life. He turned the addiction upside down.  He is an example of what it means to be porn free.  He is in control of his life, not porn.  You can be too.  You have taken the first step, and that is being humble.  Understanding you cannot control it, so don't try.  Delete it. 

I hope this helps.

Peace. 


Movonnow

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2014, 09:49:54 AM »
Yeah it helps, but something you said made me think :

" you need to plan your day around NOT getting your fix"

Wait. Aren't there a way to get some dopamine fix another way? I mean, if porn is the problem, that means I just have to find another source of dopamine.

Or, is the dopamine the real issue? Do we really have to cut the dopamine and experience withdrawal? Or is the issue just one of the source of this dopamine?

I do hope I will recover from this addiction. I mean, I have been addicted for most of my life now, I can't wait to see how it feels to live a normal life!

William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2014, 11:56:36 AM »
Hi Moveonnow, the answer to the question is:  it's the dopamine.  We talk about this addiction in terms of "porn addiction", but porn really is not addictive.  Porn is just a button we push to get a dopamine high.  Dopamine is an actual "substance", it is a chemical in the brain that is released to reward certain things, namely, searching for sex and searching for food. If porn did not give us a dopamine high we probably would not watch it.  Without the dopamine high it gives us, watching porn would be like watching the sun set, it might be interesting, but it would not be so interesting as to be addictive.  Porn is very interesting to us because our brain's primitive reward center actually cannot and does not distinguish watching porn from sexual thought, it rewards both equally.  The purpose is to encourage us to have sex.  The purpose of that is to promulgate the species, it is a normal part of being alive.  The thing about porn though is that it allows for not merely sexual thought, but hypersexual thoughts, 24/7 for the rest of our lives.  Add to that the Coolidge effect, meaning we are not satisfied with one sexual thought, but are naturally drawn to new, novel, different sexual thoughts, and the addiction forms.  If normal thoughts of normal sex gives us a normal dopamine release, porn or hypersexual thoughts gives us a hyper boost of dopamine.  For porn addicts, porn turns our dopamine pump to high.  If we are naturally at "0" in our dopamine levels, porn lets us turn it to "10" and keep it there for years. 

The question you ask I have seen asked probably a thousand times, and it is the kind of question an addict asks.  I know because I used to ask it myself, and that is, essentially, is there some other healthy way to get a dopamine fix?  The answer to that question is, no, there is no healthy way to stay high on dopamine.  If you are a dopamine addict, aka porn addict, and you are trying to get back to normal, the only way is to lower your dopamine levels back to normal.  That is going to hurt, that is going to cause some withdrawals, and withdrawals are physical, mental, and emotional pain in some form.  Again, if you are quitting, that pain you feel is actually a good thing because it tells you your dopamine levels are dropping.  In my opinion, the reason porn addicts PMO over and over again is not just because we like the dopamine high.  That is one side of a two sided coin, the other side of the coin is that between the highs, we are also coming down and experiencing the lows, mini-withdrawals that make us want to go back to the well one more time to make them go away. This in turn creates to porn cycle, feel low, want to get high, PMO, feel high, high goes away, feel low, want to get high...  You get the idea. Over and over.  If it helps I will tell you the cycle can be broken, but the only way to break it is to totally abandon the dopamine highs, and that means refusing to push whatever button you have been pushing to get it. This process is not overnight, I advise it takes on average 3 months, or 90 days.  By day 45 you will have many days that are no problem at all.  You will probably have some that are as hellish as day 12, but the withdrawals do come fewer and far between and by day 90 are seriously lessened, meaning you may feel them, buy you won't feel them so much you are seriously tempted to relapse.  Now at a year out I don't feel them and have no temptation to relapse.  Even if I see porn, and being on the internet one will inevitably see something pornographic, I do not trigger, I do not feel withdrawals, and I have absolutely no doubt I will never go back to the porn lifestyle.  Never again.  This by the way does not make my life a "success", but it puts me in a position to have success in my life which I never could while living the porn lifestyle. 

Please, if you have not already watch this vid and get educated:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_RIm9ZMN1I

Once you understand what is going on in your head, the problem becomes so much smaller and more manageable.  Honestly, I did not even know porn could be addictive until I saw the video and I had never heard of dopamine or the chemical reaction we have to sexual and or hypersexual thoughts.  Moveonnow, this addiction can be overcome.  There is no easy way out, but there is a way out that takes effort, that is a bit painful, but that you and anyone else can do.  There are plenty of examples of guys who did.

Peace.

Movonnow

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2014, 12:20:29 PM »
So it's useless to do 3-days streak. Because I will feel a little low, then get back on a dopamine high. The only way to recover is to go through months of abstaining from PMO.

This video explains how I have been behaving for the past decade. I'm not sure yet if I'm glad I watched it or not.

Anyway, thanks  a lot for those informations. I guess there is no other way out. Tomorrow I will begin to prepare my recovery with the link you gave to Nofap forum.

There is still one thing that I don't understand : if you are one year-365 days(!) clean and free of this addiction, why do you say that posting here is part of your recovery? Isn't your recovery over?

William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2014, 03:54:16 PM »
There is still one thing that I don't understand : if you are one year-365 days(!) clean and free of this addiction, why do you say that posting here is part of your recovery? Isn't your recovery over?

Yes, my recovery is over.  But reading and posting were part of my recovery method, and so I still, out of habit, thank people for writing.  Although posting is no longer part of my recovery, I still reinforce the fact that I am clean by reading and posting.  I don't have to do it, I won't fail or relapse if I don't do it, I simply choose to.  The weird thing about the process of getting clean is that I know things about quitting that are not generally known but that really must be known I know what it is, I know how to quit it, I know what to tell guys quitting to help them quit, and I wish I had had someone to tell me these things when I first began quitting.  For instance, I spent about 14 months "trying" to quit before I understood that porn itself was the main problem, before that I focused on abstaining from MO and PMO, but still watched porn.  What harm in it, I asked myself.  That was before I saw the Gary Wilson vid and learned that porn is the problem.  The main reason I post here is because I think I have information that guys who want to quit can benefit from, and I like the feeling I am helping others. How do we help ourselves?  We help ourselves by helping others. 

To answer the real question you ask:  You won't need to be in a place like this forever.  Once you are rebooted, just be on your guard about indulging in porn, and your addiction will be behind you.  I don't think of porn addiction like other addictions, I don't believe you have a lifetime ahead of you fighting it.  Once you get your dopamine levels back to normal, you will have normal dopamine highs to normal stimulation--that being real women.

Peace.

MrEd

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2014, 03:48:51 PM »
I think in all the years Ive been dealing with this problem this is without a doubt one of THE best threads Ive seen.

Thank you William. The time and effort you put into this thread has literally changed my life!

William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2014, 10:38:34 AM »
I think in all the years Ive been dealing with this problem this is without a doubt one of THE best threads Ive seen.

Thank you William. The time and effort you put into this thread has literally changed my life!

Hi MrEd, thank you, and you are welcome.  Reading posts and replying are part of my recovery, so thank you.  That is just about the kindest thing anyone has said to me.  I appreciate it.

Peace.

William

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2014, 12:04:11 PM »
I am a porn addict.  Or, at least I was.  The thought "I am a porn addict," or "I am addicted", are thoughts that were totally alien to me 2 and 1/2 years ago.  I did not even think such things were possible.  I laughed off the concept.  I thought that porn, like sex, was just all American fun.  I was the opposite of a puritan, I believe in sexual freedom, sexual expression, I just saw porn consumption as an extension of that freedom, that lifestyle.  I was wrong. 

Now, 2 and 1/2 years into this journey, just a bit over one year clean, I have learned more about porn addiction and myself than I ever wanted.  I'll tell you something funny that is not really funny, and that is that I have, through this journey, picked up a skill that I can never use anyplace but a place like this, a skill that is taught no where:  learning how to quit porn addiction.  Just as I never thought I could become addicted, I never thought I would be proficient at quitting it.  The do not teach "How to quit porn addiction" in the public schools.

I post here for newbies who want to quit.  Yes, I said "quit".  There is no way to overcome porn addiction unless you totally eradicate porn from your life.  If you are a newbie, reading this, I imagine you are thinking something similar to what I first thought:  "What the fuck, you mean I am addicted AND I have to give up porn??!!  No fucking way!"

Overcoming the addiction is a bitch, no doubt about it.  The thing is, there are two types of guys here and you need to figure out which group you are in because only one group is going to successfully reboot and rewire. 

The first group is a group of totally wonderful guys who have come to accept, reluctantly, still somewhat in denial, that porn is a problem in their lives.  They hate it, but they love it, and giving it up is not their intent or purpose.  They want to control it, but keep it in their lives.  That wonderful group of guys is doomed to failure.  That group of guys, though they may not think it so directly, are really here just trying to control porn.  They have not deduced, yet, that if porn controls them, if they are addicted, it is impossible to control porn and keep it in their lives; if you are addicted you cannot control porn, porn in fact controls you.  Until and unless they understand that they will never regain control of their lives, which is very sad, actually, because porn has absolutely no value, does nothing good, so struggling to keep it in one's life makes no sense.  But then, as addicts, we cannot be said to be thinking clearly.

The second group of guys have come to accept that porn controls them. This is a very humiliating and humbling thought.  We hate to think anything controls us, and we especially hate the idea that our quiet little hobby is in charge.  But this group of guys will succeed, because they know that to conquer porn addiction, porn has to be totally deleted from their lives. 

Now, I see a lot of guys stumble into this forum desperate to overcome their problem.  Many do not know what the problem is, they may not even have put a name to it.  Many have not studied it, most are not willing to suffer to fix the problem, most are not prepared to suffer at all.  They have not prepared to beat the problem.  If you are one of those guys and you are reading this, let me give you some cold, hard, facts.  If you are addicted, you did not get there yesterday.  Most guys who get to this forum with this problem have had the problem for years.  They may not have understood it was a problem until quite recently, but they have been feeding their dopamine pumps through porn consumption for years, whether they understood that or not.  There is a fix for the problem, but this problem is not fixed over night.  You might as well accept it will take a few months, most guys say 3, and you will not fix it without some advance preparation. 

This brings me to an interesting concept, "Mise en place."  This is a French term that has absolutely noting to do with porn addiction recovery, but, rather has to do with preparing to cook food.  It translates literally to "put in place" but can also be meant as "setting up."  If you are a porn addict not only will you not overcome the problem overnight, but you won't overcome it unless you put a program in place, in advance, and set up your recovery.  I have seen many guys come completely clean about 90 days out, but I have never seen a newbie start the recovery process without advance preparation and be successful.  Now, you can learn all this on your own the hardway, meaning start in ignorance and relapse 40-100 times before you start to adopt a successful method of quitting, or, you can adopt a method of quitting that has been shown to work.  Let us begin. 

1)  First, you have to identify your problem.  What is your problem?  Are you an addict or not?  If you do not acknowledge the addiction you cannot and will not overcome it.  So, are you?  Not everyone is.  If you go to Gabe's home page, on the upper left side, you will see a link titled "Road to Recovery."  Click it.  He identifies acknowledging the addiction as the first step.  I know what you are thinking.  "Porn addiction, no fucking way, that is horrible, I am not in that group of freaks."  The first thing to understand is:  It's not that bad, you are not a freak, you are just a guy whose dopamine reward center, through years of porn abuse, became hypersensitive to porn, and probably desensitized to reality.  It happened unknowingly, unwittingly, casually, over time, and was something 100% you did not plan on or intend.  In a sense it is not your fault.  Most of us become addicted almost by accident, but it is important to understand you will only become unaddicted on purpose.

2)  Study the problem, get educated.  One of the things about acknowledging porn addiction is that we tend to blow the problem out of proportion, it seems so horrible, but, actually, the porn addict has a relatively small problem requiring a relatively small solution.  The porn addict has, unknowingly, trained their brain to reward viewing porn with a dopamine release in the brain.  Dopamine is released naturally to sexual thoughts, but in reality, without porn and specifically High Speed Internet Porn, we as a species do not run around high on dopamine.  In reality most of us can expect a handful of sexual partners in our lives.  But our brain's dopamine reward center cannot tell porn from sex and rewards both.  The problem is that, unlike sex, porn is available 24/7, it offers constant newness and novelty--things the dopamine reward center loves.  You could sit in front of a computer for years and never see the same image twice.  Eventually, that reward center comes to like, and reward, porn over reality.  That is when guys start experiencing ED.  I encourage everyone reading this to view the Gary Wilson TEDx talk, a link to which can be found here on Gabe's home page under the title "The Great Porn Experiment."  Under the concept of mise en place, I will say that in the beginning I not only watched that vid before starting, but I probably watched it 40 days out of the first 80 quitting.  I don't watch it so much now, but it helps to understand that you will want to watch porn in that 90 day reboot period, and to plan on watching something else when you want to watch porn.  Gary Wilson's TEDx video was my "alternative vid" when I first began quitting; when I wanted to watch porn I watched it instead, and it was great at explaining why I wanted to watch porn.  Ask yourself, why do you like to watch porn?  What is so fascinating about it?  What is so interesting you can lose hours watching it?  Why is watching porn so much more interesting than, say, watching the ocean, or watching the sun set, or, walking at night under a full moon?  Why is that activity so fascinating for us?  The answer is:  due to our primitive brain being unable to distinguish porn from sex, we get a dopamine rush when we see it.  We don't get a dopamine rush like that at seeing much else.

3)  No porn no porn no porn no porn no porn no porn, oh, yeah, and one more thing, no porn.  If quitting porn was easy we would not have these forums.  You are not addicted to porn.  You are addicted to dopamine.  Porn is just the button we push to get it.  When quitting you have to turn off the dopamine pump, so to speak, and that means you have to quit pushing that button.  Easy to say, hard to do.  My advice, part of getting prepared, is don't bother trying to do this with will power alone.  Can it be done with will power alone?  Yes, but, make it easier on your self and install blockers.  If nothing else they act to remind you you are quitting porn.  That is something we need to be constantly reminded of when quitting because if we are not careful we can constantly access porn.  After years of abusing porn we have become experts at locating it, finding it, we know where it is, and it is easy for us to get to, but if you are going to overcome this problem you must stop pushing your dopamine button.  You cannot push it a little bit.  The addiction will reason with you, but you cannot give in.  I have had all the rationalizations.  For instance, your addiction might say," look, you use every day.  This week just cut out Sunday, next week cut out Sunday and Saturday, the following week cut out Sunday, Saturday, and Friday."  Sounds reasonable, right, just cut back.  The problem or reality is, however, that porn addiction can be starved to death (a good thing) but it cannot be starved to death if you are using porn even a little bit.  You ask "what do you mean by 'using'?"  I mean using it to get a dopamine high.  That is the only reason we use porn, for dopamine.  Understand what we are talking about here--and again this goes to preparation--you need to block 90 days of your life, and for those 90 days you need to become "a man quitting porn."  It will be difficult, but we are talking about blocking a set period of time, and one not that long, one that does not require you quit work or school, to address and correct a learned behavior that took years to develop.  You trained your brain for years to reward porn with a dopamine high, you may not have known it, but that is what you did.  You need to accept it is not going away overnight, and that on average the successful rebooter reports success only after 90 days clean, no porn.  So, back to blockers, put them on your computer and make your purpose in life NOT to see porn or have hypersexual thoughts for that 90 period.

4)  Withdrawals suck.  You are going to have brain fog, an inability to focus, and, really, a lack of desire to focus.  You will have physical symptoms.  "Blue balls" don't exist, it is a myth, your balls are not going to turn blue, they will not explode, you will not die or be injured in any way by not watching porn or masturbating.  You will survive just fine.  A lot of guy report jitters and the shakes, which often manifest as something feeling like a prolonged panic attack, as in hours of a day for many days, some back to back.  The feeling of increased anxiety and strain can also be expected.  There is depression, there is anger, there is self doubt and self blame.  You will have physical aches and pains in weird places, a lot of guys report sinus pain.  You will have hours of mentally kicking your own ass for having got to this place and having to go through it to get clean. 

The point of the above, and this is aimed at and only at newbies, is that there is a method to getting clean.  Although there may have been a porn addict who woke up one day and said "never again" and had no problems or challenges, I have never seen or heard of him.  There are problems in quitting porn, there are challenges, you will feel withdrawals, and unless you know this going in and have a plan on dealing with them, even just expecting them, they can sneak up behind you and clobber you, totally derailing your reboot.  You can see guys in this forum and others like it who continually fail, who continually relapse.  It is painful to read their posts.  Every 3 or 4 days they begin their post with "Oops, relapsed, darn, have to reset the counter, next time I am going to make a real run."  I understand there can be starts and stops in this process, but if a guy is here for 45 days and is still relapsing every few days, that is a guy who has not prepared to overcome this addiction, a guy who has no plan, a guy who is hoping to quit, but is not dedicated to quitting.  You cannot merely cross your fingers, turn on a counter, and hope to quit porn addiction.  Quitting porn addiction takes real effort, you have to know that and plan on it. 

If you are reading this, I do not want to see you be a serial relapser.  Block the 90 days.  Before you start, study the problem, understand what is going on in there.  Don't overthink it; it takes a couple hours at most to understand the problem, and don't let the problem become big.  Keep it simple; you are having an unwanted chemical brain reaction to the sexual visualization through porn.  You don't like the reaction, you don't like the way it affects you, want to quit having the reaction--solution:  end the stimulation that causes the reaction. Get some help with it.  Plan on wanting to relapse, on wanting to view porn when quitting, and plan on what you are going to do otherwise.  Me?  I mixed the education with planning on wanting to watch porn, meaning I planned on watching the Wilson vid whenever I wanted to watch porn.  Again, I probably watched it 40 out of my first 80 days in the reboot.  Get tool, get a blocker, K9is good.  I kept K9 on my computer until month 7.  I really did not need it that long, but, then again, I had absolutely no reason to watch porn, so, no harm no foul.  You can get an accountability partner.  Write here, a lot.  When I first began quitting I wrote on a forum every day, sometimes as much as 10 times a day.  What was I doing?  I was doing anything other than watching porn while reinforcing the fact that I was not watching porn.  Porn addiction is a learned behavior, overcoming it is also a learned behavior.  Porn addiction is a lifestyle, for you to beat it you are going to have to learn a new lifestyle.  It can be done.  Block that 90 days. 

So, why do I write this?  Some part of me likes to think there is a guy out there reading it who was like I was.  Totally ignorant of the process, but desperate to quit porn addiction.  I struggled for almost 18 months with quitting before I understand the process, before I understood there was a method to quitting porn.  Like changing any routine behavior we have and do not like we have to focus on changing the behavior.  Once you resensitize your brain to reality and desensitize it to porn, you will be OK.  Though not hard science, I like to explain it in terms of dopamine.  Once you turn off your dopamine in your dopamine soaked brain and get those levels back to normal, you will be OK.  Those horrible feelings go away and you will not have that burning desire to access porn.  That is called freedom.

Peace.   

shell shock

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2014, 01:55:20 PM »
Great post as always William. You are helping me so much and you had no idea (until now :)) Thank you!
By Understanding the workings of this addiction it gets easier to quit it. Knowledge is power.
Somehow your post always seem logical and understandable for me.

I am not very far advanced in my reboot yet but I hope will get to this point where you are now.


travelog

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Re: Hello Gentlemen. Now we begin.
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2014, 03:14:18 PM »
I second those sentiments shell shock. William, your posts are truly inspirational, and you have a real talent for expressing it all so clearly. Thank you, i'm sure you are helping many people here.