Author Topic: Free At Last  (Read 52851 times)

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #450 on: June 13, 2019, 04:43:02 PM »
Thanks for your comments, guys, really motivates me to not go this way alone! :)

I'm constantly trying to convince myself that porn is most natural thing in the world and even healthy. Looking for researches and so on, but anyway inside you know that it's just a crap, haha.

I know that long before even suspecting my porn binges to be damaging or an addiction, I justified them to myself when I had my first girlfriend. My theory said that there was a natural desire to be with various women (which is actually true looking at the coolidge effect) and in my mind she should have been glad I was looking at porn so I wouldn't feel the need to cheat on her (still I lied to her denying my porn consumption). Yes, this is beyond stupid.

It's also difficult to keep my conviction of avoiding any artificial stimulation as I advance in my porn free streak. While there are lots of reasons to avoid fetish and hardcore porn (besides from morphing sexual tastes and human trafficking), there are hardly any good reasons not to look at semi-nudes in social media or bikini / lingerie pics. I also need to be aware of sexting (which is why my cell phone stays away from home), because what's the problem with looking at a picture of a girl I've seen naked live or even will be seeing live a day or two later?

I guess it's a good moment to point this out for myself in the near future, when the memories of the latest relapse vanish and motivation isn't as high as during the first weeks: I can never allow myself any form of artificial sexual stimulation ever again. The way to porn is carved deep in my brain and even the slightest glimpse at semi-nudes, every act of sexting will trigger those pathways and cravings won't leave me until relapsing completely on a hardcore porn binge.

The voice inside my brain that screams for a little dose of a dopamine rush will grow if I try to calm it down allowing that little dose. The only way to get rid of this addiction is to completely dry out my addicted brain. The heavier the cravings and withdrawals, the more I advance. There is NO negotiation with my addicted brain. I will not even enter the process of questioning my way, because I am not in control. I made a decision to finally quit and I know what's necessary. There might be some day I don't feel this conviction, but there is a reason I went clean for weeks and there is NO questioning this way. NO negotiation about any exception.

I failed a hundred times with the idea of only cutting out binges and hardcore porn and instead allowing myself either sexting or softcore pictures once in a while. It does not work and this option is deleted forever. I want to get rid of porn, I want to get rid of any artificial sexual stimulation, I don't want that porn induced dopamine rush anymore.

It's not just a thing I would like to give up some day because it bothers me a little, no! Quitting porn is my number one priority in life, above ANYTHING else. I wrote hundreds of journal entries, fight this for over half a decade now and as soon as I seem to walk the path of success, I am not willing to make the neccessary sacrifices anymore.

Enough is enough, there is no turning back, no "Well, I might start a new streak", no "Those restrictions really suck, I can handle social media and cell phone use now!", no excuses, no exceptions. This is not a streak, this is the new just me not using porn or porn subs anymore.

I am prepared for two weeks of hell now. I experienced severe depression around the three week mark many times now as I wrote in this journal. This is not the real me and this will pass. My partial goal is to complete the month of june without porn and then work on strategies to advance even further. Two weeks is a great success already.

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #451 on: June 13, 2019, 05:55:05 PM »
AWESOME! I know I've spent a lot of time thinking that I was okay as long as I wasn't looking at hardcore porn. What a lie!

I used to say, well, lingerie is okay because it's not porn. Well, it wasn't porn for about 15 minutes, and then I was right back at PMO. It's that addictive dopamine rush that gets us, and anything that triggers it is dangerous.

I've been working hard at noticing and cutting all those little triggers. There's no good reason for them. Even the little things that showed up on social media. I decided it was better to go without social media on my phone than to risk exposure to little triggers.

It's not just about PMO, it's about fixing those damaged pathways and protecting them from even little triggers. And it's about changing our lives, not just getting a longer streak.

I'm with you in this one, man! Let's keep at it!

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #452 on: June 15, 2019, 02:04:55 AM »
Thanks a lot once again, BlueHeronFan!

15 days

This is going to be a tough weekend and my only goal for now is to advance another day. The second half of the first month began and I've been at this point dozens of times so I know it might feel like hell at some point. Need to keep putting lots of effort in from now on, going to advance step by step!

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #453 on: June 15, 2019, 07:32:29 PM »
Anytime!

Congrats on 15 days! You can worry about getting through the rest of the month when it comes. For now, just focus on today. Just focusing on a single day has really helped me to deal with the strongest urges. When the urges hit, I just don't feel like I can live with them. They're so uncomfortable and aggressive. If I think I have to live with them for weeks or months, I just give in. But I can deal with them for a day. And then I can deal with them for one more. Eventually, they calm down.

The first time I ever actually got through a wave of strong urges was a huge breakthrough for me. I learned that they don't last forever, and I learned that I can actually get through the worst of them. But I couldn't have done it if I wasn't focused on just the day I was in. I think that's an important strategy for dealing with addiction. Just focus on today and wait until tomorrow to worry about tomorrow.

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #454 on: June 16, 2019, 06:18:16 AM »
When the urges hit, I just don't feel like I can live with them. They're so uncomfortable and aggressive. If I think I have to live with them for weeks or months, I just give in. But I can deal with them for a day. And then I can deal with them for one more. Eventually, they calm down.

Thank you, I basically know this but tend to forget when urges hit. I noticed that at recent bigger streaks around 40 or 50 days my brain "convinced" me to relapse to release the pressure.

After weeks and months without porn, the initial "superpowers" of the reboot are gone. When cravings set in, I'm able to resist in the beginning but start to question the whole journey if they keep appearing. This little voice in my head tells me "If you don't relapse today, you will relapse tomorrow, just end suffering." or "If you relapse now, you can start a new streak and feel the motivation and power of a new reboot again."

The big misconception are the "superpowers", because after weeks and months they are still there but in my perception are normal already, because I forgot how I felt after relapsing. During the first weeks of rebooting everything feels better, because I felt like shit when I returned to the porn abyss. After weeks and months without porn one tends to forget HOW bad it felt to relapse.

I don't want to go through this ever again. This is not placebo, I really feel better when living a porn free life!

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #455 on: June 16, 2019, 06:46:00 PM »
I don't want to go through this ever again. This is not placebo, I really feel better when living a porn free life!

Exactly this! Urges are hard to deal with and they can really beat us down into feeling powerless, but they can't actually hurt us. They're just feelings, and we don't have to listen to them. Don't believe them! Don't give into them! You know it, I know it, but it's always good to hear it again: they don't last forever. They do pass!

Here's to living a truly better, porn free life!

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #456 on: June 17, 2019, 02:45:10 AM »
Urges are hard to deal with and they can really beat us down into feeling powerless, but they can't actually hurt us. They're just feelings, and we don't have to listen to them. Don't believe them! Don't give into them! You know it, I know it, but it's always good to hear it again: they don't last forever. They do pass!

Actually it surprises me how easy the weekend was in terms of urges. Now I'm looking forward to a really busy week (including the weekend) which will hopefully help me getting through the toughest time. I remain prepared for the worst as right now I enter the most critical stage.

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #457 on: June 17, 2019, 07:33:22 PM »
Awesome! I think it's smart to prepare for the worst but also to stay busy. Sometimes I have really busy days in the middle of urges, and they just kind of go away because I can't pay any attention to them. Other days, I'm not so busy and it feels like it takes a lot of work just to get to the end of the day clean. If you're prepared for the situation, though, you can deal with it better.

Keep it going!

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #458 on: June 18, 2019, 01:01:34 PM »
Thanks once again for your support, BlueHeronFan! :)

18 days

In terms of social anxiety I face the hardest two weeks of my life - and I chose to! will speak at meetings and organize two public events (speaking in public).

In one case I have to cover a colleague and my first reacion was to make up an excuse to not be the person in charge. But immediately I realized there's still the wrong idea in my mind. My social anxiety is definitely linked to my porn use, but sometimes I still have this misconception of remaining 90 days or a year porn free and have all my social anxiety vanish.

This is not how reboot works. While abstaining from porn I have to face my fear, I need to go through uncomfortable situations. Immediately after thinking about making up an excuse instead I said "Yes!" to the opportunity.

Yes, I'm going to be nervous at the beginning. I still feel uncomfortable facing new situations. But the only way to get out of this is forcing myself to face those situations and experience that they are not nearly as bad as I expect them to be.

Looking back 6 years ago I dropped out of college because reading a text in class would cause me to sweat all over my face, even waiting at the supermarket counter caused me to sweat if it was my turn and people were looking at me.

Now I stand in front of groups of up to 20 persons and speak for an hour. I got used to giving speeches to people from our company and be prepared in advance, it's not a big challenge anymore. The next step will be to represent our company at an exhibition and have random conversations with random strangers. I can not prepare in advance and don't know who I will be talking to.

This is more challenging to me, but the idea that some irrational fear might hold me back from important steps in my life - in this case my career - motivates me to take action now.

As a good side effect I'm incredibly busy with preparations and after work, household and gym just fall asleep without any cravings.

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #459 on: June 18, 2019, 06:01:27 PM »
My pleasure!

That's awesome that you're facing your anxieties too! If you can face fears and stress without using porn as a crutch, I think you'll be doing yourself a huge favor. You'll be teaching your brain that it doesn't need porn to deal with difficult situations and emotions, and that's really what we're trying to do.

My addiction might have started out of curiosity about women's bodies, but it turned into a coping mechanism. I think learning to cope in healthy ways is a huge part of fighting this thing. Way to be proactive about it!

Do or die

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #460 on: June 19, 2019, 12:04:41 AM »
I liked your story. After 50-60 days its really feels that some major struggle is upsent from our life. We are becoming familiar with the struggle of porn addiction. This making a new cycle in mind. So defeat your urges all time . and be rebooted
Its not about stopping. Its about to accept that you are stopped it.

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #461 on: June 22, 2019, 12:00:16 AM »
Thank you very much, guys!  :)

22 days

Three weeks hard mode complete and the hardest stage is setting in. I'm really vulnerable to rejection, just the thought of it. My feelings tend to be negative and now I even get obsessed about anticipating this state of mind. Like if I know  before in terms of recovery how I feel at a certain stage of reboot (and it seems like many of us have the same euphoria at the beginning and fall into a little hole a few weeks later), how much do I know about my real self? Is my real personality still covered below tons of porn memories of almost two decades?

I get strong feelings of regret of wasted lifetime, like spending my best years in front of a computer screen and now even if I break free from porn I won't be able to turn back time.

Even my dreams are negative. It's scary, but the good thing is, I know this will pass and come back in smaller waves. This is the biggest wave and if I deal with this one, it will become easier (though not easy, of course).

My next goal is to get through this weekend, going step by step.

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #462 on: June 22, 2019, 06:48:09 PM »
You've got it! When things get hard, this is when your efforts really count!

I know the feeling of thinking you've wasted the best years of your life. I feel like that a lot of the time. Like how would my life be different if I had never googled porn that first time?

But that kind of thinking doesn't help us recover. It only keeps us trapped. One of the best things I've started to realize in my recovery is that I'm not going back in time to a version of me that has never looked at porn. Instead, I'm moving forward to a better version of me that has looked at porn but has decided it's not for him. Instead of wishing I had a different life, I'm learning to make the best of the life I do have. That can be a tough mindset to change (I'm still working hard at it).

All this to say, you're doing a lot better than you probably realize, and your best years are still ahead of you! Keep up the good effort, and let's get through this weekend!

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #463 on: June 24, 2019, 12:21:38 PM »
24 days

I said the worst stage was setting in, but I had forgotten just HOW bad it was going to become. The good thing is, I kept this journal for a while now and just look up what happened around the 20 days before:

20 days

Severe depression, can't sleep anymore, I feel lonely and powerless. Completely hopeless and no positive perspective on life whatsoever. There are reasons in my life to not feel good, but they didn't appear just now and I realize how every negative thought hits me 100 times as hard. I already know the trouble around the 3-week-mark and need to push through this all time low. Feel like crying, on a scale from 1-10 my current mood is a 0.

This time it happened some days later, but the rollercoaster is going down and despite not having any explanation on how this is possible, I just know it's part of reboot for me (I never read about anyone else suffering from a certain pattern of mood swings like that - in my case history repeats itself).

This will seem ridiculous to me in a few days, but I will write it down anyway - because this is how I feel and this is not the real me:

I can not sleep because when I go to bed I start to observe myself breathing and think something's wrong. My heartrate increases because of the stress I am causing myself and I become obsessed about being physically ill. Maybe I suffer some undiscovered disease, I start to think. Just the feeling of my shirt around my neck makes me feel like choking and while I desperately try to focus on something else I think about death and am afraid of being alone.

Even small daily tasks are hard to handle at this stage, I don't do the dishes, I don't cook in advance. My plan on nutrition fails, I don't go to the gym and instead just sit on the sofa being worried. The sheet of daily and weekly tasks remains empty and this is the normal setup to a relapse within a few days. I often feel like returning to the first stage of reboot with "superpowers" was going to be better than suffering.

Why do I quit porn? Because I have a positive perspective on a life without porn. As all motivation and hope vanishes, there is no perspective left and I will give in easier. At this point I have to convince myself that this feeling will pass if I just don't give in.

It feels like schizophrenia because to some degree I am fighting myself.

I will now leave the house, buy fresh food, clean the kitchen and dishes, cook in advance for some days and get my daily tasks done.

For the next days I will write on here on a daily basis and hold myself responsible within my journal in front of this community.

After 10, 15 days I always start to think it was totally impossible to ever relapse again, but just how I feel right now gives me an insight on why I often prefered the easy way out and returned to porn.

I remember the words of William (if you don't know about him, check out his extremely helpful journal pinned in the main section):

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.

This pretty much sums up how I feel right now and to say it sucks would be the biggest understatement ever.  :(

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #464 on: June 25, 2019, 03:43:54 AM »
25 days

Went to the gym, prepared food, got my tasks done, still felt like shit in the evening. Today I woke up and felt a little better already, the first month is almost complete and I will focus on this goal!

dusty

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #465 on: June 25, 2019, 06:54:08 AM »
Nice Achilles. I have a feeling that this time you will go trough the reboot like a rocket  :D

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #466 on: June 25, 2019, 05:25:49 PM »
I'm really sorry to hear that you're feeling so bad, but it's amazing that you're dealing with it with such a clear head. I definitely know there have been days when I've just tried to do the minimum amount of work while my body and brain roared for porn. It was all I could think about, all I could feel.

Those are terrible days, but they come and go. On the worst days, I just make a deal with myself that I'll get through today. Just today. It feels awful, but I can deal with it for one more day.

I only ever managed to get through a period of intense craving recently. In the past, I always gave in before it got to its worst. Actually getting through and seeing that those feelings do subside eventually was a huge eye-opener for me. I love that quote from William. I haven't seen it before, but it's true. Kicking the habit does not mean that we'll magically stop wanting porn. It means we're going to choose not to do it even though we want to.

Stay strong, man! Do what you need to do to get through one more day. All this will pass eventually.

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #467 on: June 25, 2019, 11:44:31 PM »
Thank you very much, guys, you really help me a lot! :)

26 days

Another day complete. I have to find a way to return to my healthy habits as I feel like my brain is just shutting down any motivation by saying "I will get my high NOW or we don't go anywhere."

I have to remind myself that I am still at the very beginning. It is about building distance to my former porn life and builiding a new life step by step. I didn't even complete the first month and have been hooked for almost two decades, this will take time.

My absolute low was two days ago, I will not feel guilty for not completing my tasks or skipping on healthy nutrition again. Relapsing won't get me anywhere and the "superpowers" of initial reboot are no solution for lifetime. I don't want to remain trapped in that recovery-relapse-cycle and put in lots of efforts already to get out.

There's a hard way ahead and I will allow myself a day off tasks today and make a plan for tomorrow and the upcoming days.

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #468 on: June 26, 2019, 05:05:41 PM »
You've got it! One more day closer!

There's no shame in going slower and being less productive when you're trying to deal with intense urges. There's just no way to focus on any kind of task when your brain only wants one thing. What's important now is getting through the wave, not your to-do list. Do some exercise, go for a walk, watch a movie (that's distracting not triggering, of course), whatever works. You can get back to work when your brain settles back down.

We're fighting this fight together, and as long as we're trying we're winning.

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #469 on: June 27, 2019, 04:19:31 PM »
Thanks a lot once again!  :)

27 days

Just a little update as I'm extremely busy these days: I'm doing very well, the mood-rollercoaster is going up again, but I stay prepared for another ride downhill any time. Cravings for porn and sexting are really extreme, I even got triggered by the new WhatsApp profile pic of a girl showing just a little bit of cleavage. It's important to not take the cell phone home, I will relapse 100% if I do it. This might not be neccessary forever, but I didn't even complete the first month yet and despite having overcome the toughest days, I still remember relapsing very often towards the end of the first month while on promising streaks. This fight has just begun, no reason to celebrate yet.

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #470 on: June 27, 2019, 05:58:48 PM »
Busy is challenging but also good. It can leave you tired and stressed out, but it also doesn't leave a lot of time for porn. The last few months were some of the busiest in my life, and I think that probably helped me to build a streak in the first couple of months.

But I know exactly how it is to be at risk at the end of the first month. For a few years, I was relapsing basically once a month (sometimes every two months). But I wasn't counting days or really trying anything too deliberately, so I didn't know it was happening that often. Once I realized it, I could see the urges coming and deal with them more carefully.

You're close to finishing up this first month! You can put up with anything for a couple of days. Just don't play around with those little triggers and stay focused. (It would be really easy to rationalize that cleavage as no big deal, so it's awesome that you recognize it for what it is and that you're going to be more careful about it.)

You got this!

Re: Free At Last
« Reply #471 on: June 28, 2019, 06:14:07 AM »
achilles heel,  I believe in you. You've got this! You have the power to create anything you want in your life. While fear may creep in and try to tell you otherwise, you know the Truth (with a capital T) deep down.When you trust yourself and your purpose, you cannot fail. While certain things may not work out as you want them to, that's okay. It's all part of the process and each of these is directing you to what's right for you. Don't force it - let it happen and Trust. When you trust yourself and your intuition, thats when you are in flow. That's when the magic happens. And you, have lots of magic around you. I believe in you. Keep going. You're doing great!

zander13

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #472 on: June 30, 2019, 08:36:06 AM »
Hey man,

Good work so far. I know exactly how shitty this process can feel. The ups and downs are fucking terrible. Good luck to you sir.

achilles heel

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #473 on: June 30, 2019, 02:24:28 PM »
Thank you very much, guys! :)

30 days

I'm glad and proud to say, I made it through the first month without porn or any porn substitutes. Not a glimpse at any artificial stimulation, no masturbation at all (had sex once during these 30 days).

My social anxiety is at an all time low, I mastered important challenges that some years ago would have appeared absolutely impossible to me. This is not achieved by just quitting porn, but just like watching porn and staying home while avoiding people led to a downward spiral, I am now going the other way up.

I can look at the mirror and feel like becoming the person I want to be. My self confidence increases, I don't feel like carrying guilt and shame around and the need to hide. Instead I want to socialize and face uncomfortable situations. At work I had to speak to random unknown people at an event, some of them attractive girls - it went incredibly well and showed me what I am capable of if I just keep going the right way.

What's important now is to realize that this is not a linear process. There will be setbacks, I will fall back into moments of social anxiety and depression. But this doesn't mean I am not improving. I know that at longer streaks before those setbacks made me think, all those positive effects were just placebo and could be achieved also while watching porn. I proved this wrong a hundred times.

The duality of avoiding the old, bad habits and building a new, productive life is important. I will treat tomorrow as if it was day 1. No exceptions on my restrictions on cell phone and internet.

The second month might be a little easier than the first in terms of my stage of depression I went through, but there are other challenges. The biggest challenge is patience. It's still about putting effort in, not about expecting results. I am willing to give it all and not expect any benefits. Low motivation will occur and there will be setbacks in terms of social anxiety, but this is the right way and I am still more determined than ever to quit porn forever.

BlueHeronFan

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Re: Free At Last
« Reply #474 on: June 30, 2019, 06:47:52 PM »
This is awesome! Congratulations on 30 days!

I'm especially encouraged by your thoughtful reflection. This is a huge success, but it isn't the end of the road. You've found some things that are working, just keep doing what works and holding yourself accountable for any little slips/thoughts/urges that will definitely try to topple your streak.

Every day is day 1! That's an awesome attitude, and it has helped me a lot lately. I also know what you mean about seeing yourself in the mirror. I used to have a very low opinion of the person I saw in the mirror: he was an addict, a liar, unhealthy, etc. Now, you know, I think he's not half bad. Kinda starting to like him, lol. Really glad to see your self-perception is changing too.

Keep it up man, this is great momentum. The only thing to worry about is the day your living now. Stack up enough awesome todays, and you'll have an awesome life to look back on.