Author Topic: NoFap Consciousness  (Read 52367 times)

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #575 on: June 15, 2019, 09:32:20 AM »
So in six days I will have done the best year I have ever done with regards to PMO. It is already the best year in fact. But I am looking at this all the wrong way. I have a tendency to sabotage targets just before I meet them as if to prove to myself that they are not really important in the scheme of things. But after all these years I shouldn't be thinking in terms of targets, I should simply choose to never repeat the old habits again. I talked myself into making this choice before and managed nine straight months without PMO. At the time I wasn't thinking about targets, I had simply chose to stop. I have to make that choice again. One thing that occurs to me is that we are hardwired to play games of negotiating sexual pleasure. Life would be impossible if we experienced sexual pleasure twenty-four seven, and relationships involve holding back and testing loyalty. I think there is a danger of falling into the trap of such a relationship with P which leads to the endless cycles of abstaining and returning that characterize chronic relapsers like myself. We set targets, negotiate with ourselves, hold back, then give in, all as part of some warped sexual relationship between us and the computer. It is as if we are testing loyalty somehow, even as we know the relationship causes us harm. We have to break the relationship once and for all, and never go back. Testing how long we can abstain plays into the hardwiring of how we deal with relationships, real or otherwise. We need to choose to break the relationship, to cast it aside, and never look back. It is not a question of how many days, months or even years that we can go without, but of simply choosing to no longer be in a relationship sexually between ourselves and the computer. At the beginning, proving to oneself that one can make targets of abstention that one sets, helps to establish that one can live without the relationship, but at the end of the day, once that is done, one has to cut free of the relationship altogether, by making the choice. Everyone who has done even a month or maybe less, knows that we can live without P. Yet we still come back to it. We still desire the relationship on some level. We have to make the choice to break with the relationship once and for all. In some twisted sense, writing here can also become part of the relationship, reinforcing our relationship with the computer, though it is a much better substitute for P. But if we continue to use P and write here all the time, we are just building the bond. How many times have we said we will stop, only to return and then write here analysing our mistakes. I'm not saying this site doesn't help, it does, I personally have done much better at abstaining since joining, much better, but there has to come a point where we say it is over. I have chosen not to actively search for P, not for some period of time, but ever again, and that is final. Thank you.

Pete McVries

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #576 on: July 18, 2019, 04:31:34 PM »
Georgos, how are you doing?
nine months clean and counting...

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #577 on: August 18, 2019, 12:22:49 PM »
So it's been fourteen months now with only four PMOs in that time. But I have kept returning to searching for P even though I managed six and a half months without it at the beginning of the year. I can't seem to shake the urge to search the moment search terms enter my mind. Thinking about this, I want to try something, separating the search terms from the images. I want to try just doing searches for text results and not clicking on any of the links. I'm going to try this for two months and then try and stop completely again. I'm not MOing. I don't want to be searching for P when I'm forty. I don't want to be looking at pornographic images, however mindful I am and even without MO. I want to be free of P for ever. I have to learn to be mindful with words as well as images, so that words don't lead to images, just as images don't lead to MO. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #578 on: September 07, 2019, 01:32:37 PM »
So I know I can abstain without any problem. Life is better when I abstain. Today I had a relapse of searching for porn, and it came from a reminder of the past. I was anxious about the wife of a friend of mine possibly knowing that I had used porn in the past. That anxiety caused me to relapse to prove to myself that it isn't that bad a thing. The anxiety over what I have done has yet to heal. It gives me confidence saying that I don't use it now, but it doesn't undo the past. I still don't have a girlfriend. I'm almost forty and have only ever been in a sexual relationship for six months, only having sex twice in that time. I still feel abnormal when it comes to sex. Simply not thinking about it and abstaining from porn and MO allows me to feel normal in everyday life, but not about sex. I do need therapy. My financial situation doesn't allow me to pursue it properly at the moment. It's crazy, I think something like 80% of U.S. males regularly view porn, some of them have anxiety, I don't know how many, but they can't all be as paranoid as me, otherwise the country would collapse. It is normal, yet it doesn't feel normal to me, no matter how many times I tell myself that almost every male does it. I am still deeply ashamed of my porn use, ashamed of even viewing porn, scared of being judged. I can forgive myself, but I can't shake the fear of being judged and not forgiven by others. I think I have kept returning to searching for porn, even though I no longer MO or PMO, because I'm seeking to reassure myself that it is alright, that it was alright. It is like digging yourself deeper into a hole in an effort to get out of an awkward situation. I barely looked at porn today. None of it turned me on. It was simply the action of repeating something I've done in the past to comfort me into feeling that it was ok. If I can never do it again, why did I do it in the first place? I have a neurosis with regards to porn, it is not simply an addiction. I haven't MOd for three months now. I have PMOd four times over the last fourteen and a half months. Abstaining is easy, one simply makes the choice to abstain and does so. The addictive nature of porn is a problem, but for me the neurosis is worse now. I don't suffer withdrawals anymore from not searching for porn or MOing. Quite the opposite, I feel better, more at ease with myself. The problem is my neurosis about being judged. As I said, I need therapy. I haven't tried disciplining myself to do text searches for porn whilst abstaining on clicking on the links as I said I would do in my last post. For the last twenty days I've simply abstained. As I said, it is easy. I have got caught back in the cycle of addiction after relapsing before, but I can easily go fifteen, twenty, thirty, days in between. Returning to it after that has nothing to do with chemical imbalances caused by addiction but rather chemical imbalances caused by neurosis. I'm not saying it's not addictive. It is. But my problem with it goes beyond addiction into the realms of other mental health problems. Perhaps that is true of all addicts. Addiction is a mental health problem, and mental health problems defy neat classification. At any rate, I am going to try and discipline myself with the text searches starting tomorrow. I don't know if that is really a good idea, but that is what I want to do now. I want to be able to deal with the language of porn without it leading to actually viewing it. That way, I reason, thoughts about it won't lead me to relapse. However, today it was anxiety over the past, and I don't know what I can do about that. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #579 on: September 07, 2019, 02:03:33 PM »
So I'm going to add something. I think anxiety really is dealt with by confession and forgiveness, but it is not as easy as that. The original point of confession in Christianity was to be forgiven so that the thoughts, or logismoi, to use the Greek term, you were attached to were dissolved. I am not a Christian but I see the value in this practice. However, it is clear from the history of the Church that the ritual of confession began to get abused, with priests and the Church hierarchy using it as a method of wielding power over others, indeed in so many cases they didn't do what they were supposed to do which is forgive and absolve the person, but actually persecuted them. The Spanish Inquisition, for example, were not known for their forgiveness. This is down to lines in scripture saying that blasphemy, whatever that is, is punishable by death. I am not trying to single Christianity out or have a go at the Church per se, there are plenty of examples of monks and other highly respected Christians forgiving blasphemers and even murderers, so it is not all one way with regards to the practice of confession, but forced confession is something different again. And this is my point, one cannot go through life confessing to everyone when one has the slightest anxiety, or maybe one can. Today, my anxiety came about from suspecting someone knew my past, and was concerned about it, and me keeping silent in the hope that I was wrong. I still don't know whether she knew or not, all I know is that I was paranoid she was concerned about it, if she did know, that is. Forgiving myself is the most powerful thing, if I had truly forgiven myself, then I wouldn't have worried about what she thought. As I have pointed out before, forgiveness is not the same as condoning something. Forgiveness is not a licence to do anything. Forgiveness is about things that have been done, not things that you are going to do in the future. So the only thing I can say, is that if the past still bothers me, it is because I haven't forgiven myself properly. I have not come to the point where the idea of everyone knowing about my past has been absolved. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #580 on: September 08, 2019, 06:35:37 AM »
So I didn't mean to get all embroiled in religion yesterday, I'm certainly not religious. However there are some practices from religion that are very practical and helpful. Nobody bats an eyelid at meditation for example.

I'm going to go ahead with my text search of porn, trying to discipline myself to not click on the links, however I'm going to make it easy for me this first time by waiting till the evening, so there is not long before I go to bed.

I'm going to do a search, read the trigger words, and then try and abstain for at least ten days, before trying a similar search without clicking on any links.

I was thinking yesterday about a couple of things that I wrote. One is that along with confession, repentance is also generally required to make it effective, and the other is the idea from Alcoholic Anonymous about addicts having to accept that they cannot even have one drink. The latter idea is apparently not widely accepted by psychiatrists who tend to preach moderation, but not complete abstinence, I have been told. I don't know if that is true. At any rate, I'd like to read up a bit more about the AA approach to complete abstinence, how you come to terms with it and get yourself into that mindset, and how you relate it to relapses in a way that doesn't destroy your soul. I suppose the idea is that once you accept it fully, you don't relapse, but maybe this is the problem that many psychiatrists have with AA as it becomes a sort of lifestyle cult with people struggling to accept complete abstinence for years, very much like on here, for some, myself included.

I still don't know what I think about this. I know that everytime I relapse I feel terrible and it feeds my neurosis, on the other hand, I think that learning to accept that porn use is a mainstream activity for many, even the majority of men, is something that would help me with my psychological issues. Note, I don't suffer from ED, my reasons for stopping are purely the psychological distress that my addiction has caused me.

Conquering the addiction certainly helps with my neurosis, but conquering my neurosis requires greater psychological healing as well.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #581 on: September 08, 2019, 02:25:39 PM »
So I just did a text search for porn without clicking on any of the links. I tried to be mindful, and I did it very consciously, not out of any urge, so it is a bit artificial.

I now have about two hours before I go to bed. I need to try and abstain for at least ten days without searching again, I think. I certainly need to abstain indefinitely from actually looking at images.

A couple of years ago I set myself the challenge of separating MO from P. I am successfully doing that having only done both together four times over the last fourteen and a half months or so.

Last year I abstained from P for 195 consecutive days, along with other shorter stints. However I still looked at P too much.

I am currently three months in without MO of any kind.

So I am succeeding.

I now want to separate trigger words in my mind from searching for images.

I have had almost six months of sanity now, and my priority remains to stay sane. Abstaining from P and MO helps me do that.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #582 on: September 15, 2019, 03:34:14 PM »
So you cannot undo the past, only forgive and forget. Forgiveness does not require justification for the past. Everything is an experience. Forgiveness requires repentance, an acknowledgement that the past is causing you suffering. Once you have acknowledged that it is the past that is causing you suffering then you can move on to absolution and release from the attachment to the past. It is the past, it is not the now or the future, that is causing the suffering.

I still don't understand the miracle of absolution from a Christian perspective, perhaps, being a miracle, it cannot be understood, though I tend to think there are no miracles that cannot be explained somehow.

The word "porn" still triggers anxiety in me, it still connects me with the past, it still reminds me of my past porn abuse, even if it only reminds me of the feeling of anxiety. I'm not sure what to do about this, I cannot forget the word ever existed, it exists, yet somehow I can be absolved of my connections to my past through forgiveness.

As I said, forgiveness is not the same as justification. Contextualizing porn as something I and many others have experienced is one way forward, but this needs to be done without justifying it.

Openly admitting it, and continuing to admit it, is not the same as forgetting it, but again can help.

I was thinking of writing to some Orthodox monastic elders to enquire further about the ritual and miracle of forgiveness and how it works, but I don't want to get drawn into religion. Indeed, if I were to confess, my first confession would be "I don't believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour".

I am very open to the miraculous, the supernatural and the like, having experienced altered realities through my condition of paranoid schizophrenia, I genuinely believe anything is possible, without a consensus of explanation, but I am also very wary of such things.

The practical side of confession and forgiveness is obvious to anyone who practices it, but the miraculous side is difficult to reach without something more than just going through the motions.

I am still trying to work out how I can release my attachment to my past porn abuse when I am routinely reminded of it. As I said, I cannot forget the word "porn" or any of the other trigger words. Contextualizing without justifying and practicing mindfulness seem to be the only way forward. Saying sorry to myself for ever indulging in porn abuse is also helpful.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #583 on: September 16, 2019, 05:35:55 AM »
So the purpose of confession in the Orthodox tradition at least, is to remove mental attachments, or logismoi, that separate you from God. The aim is to be one with God, and anything that separate oneself from God is a sin. Note that sin has no moral attachment, only a practical one of separating one from God. But this isn't my aim. My aim is to merely quit searching for porn. So going to deep into the religious ritual may not be the best way forward. Releasing attachments, sure, but aiming to be one with God is not my preoccupation. Indeed I'm not even sure I believe such an aim is possible, if indeed there is even a God.

This forum serves as a forum for confession. It also serves as a forum for journaling progress.

I have almost done a hundred days without MO as of today.

I think the problem I still have with regards to contextualizing porn is that I still feel great anxiety about admitting it verbally in conversation.

Of course, not every conversation lends itself to a conversation about porn, but to a large extent I still want to hide my shame in everyday life.

Writing about it here is a start, but far removed from talking about it with my friends and family.

I think the best thing to do is to start with talking about it with a therapist. But I can't afford a therapist at the moment.

I still believe that time will heal if I can just abstain for long enough, but as I said in my previous post, every time I am reminded of my past porn abuse I still have felt anxiety and an urge to dig deeper into the pit.

Practicing mindfulness with such reminders is the best way forward.

I still intend to do another text search after ten days are up to try and learn to become mindful when reading or thinking about trigger words.

I am doing the best I've ever done. I'm feeling better than I have done in a long time. Hopefully my progress will continue.

Thank you.



Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #584 on: September 17, 2019, 05:30:54 PM »
So I have written before about the idea that it is easiest to stop one behaviour by replacing it with something else. The metaphor is that to empty a jug of air, it is far easier to fill it with water than to create a vacuum.

With this in mind I am seriously thinking about Christianity and replacing my addiction with it. This is not something I particularly want to do, but it is something that has occurred to me as I have thought about the act of confession and forgiveness.

One of the things that occurred to me was the need for repentance in confession in order for it to work. This was only a vague idea, as I had vaguely heard the two things spoken of in the same breath by religious people.

I googled "repentance and addiction" and all the sites were Christian ministries. They all related repentance to sin, which as I said means separation from God. I noted that there was no moral judgment, but this is not strictly speaking true for some if not the majority of Christians. To separate onself from God is morally wrong in their eyes, and stems from disobediance.

Thus already with the word repentance you have to buy into the Christian world view, and as I said I'm not sure I want to do that.

What I want is to quit porn, and I am looking for a way to do that, having failed for the last thirty odd years.

Repentance litterally means "to turn away from", and has come to mean Biblically, "to turn away from sin", which means to turn away from something that separates you from God.

I suppose you could turn away from something without acknowledging it as a sin, as a separation from God.

According to Wikipedia, Protestants don't believe in repentance they belive in something called contrition which is, again according to Wikipedia, a fear of God's wrath. This, the claim is, is because turning away from something in order to seek favour denies faith. I don't know if this is true. I assumed that the website ministries that talked about repentance and addiction were Protestant, but maybe they were Catholic. I don't know. At any rate, contrition seems even more problematic to me than repentance of sin. Just my personal opinion.

So sticking to repentance as merely turning away from something, what is the advice these Christian ministries give. One is genuine sorrow and grief over the offence itself and not just the consequences of it. Others are humility, gratitude for God's gifts, submissiveness to God and a willingness to serve others.

These are all statements couched in very Christian terms, and as I said, I'm not sure I want to become Christian in order to give up porn. Yes, I want to turn away from porn, no I'm not sure I want to turn to Jesus.

The problematic word for me remains "God" whenever it is used or implied. Either I don't know what it means, or I don't believe in it.

Theologians have argued whether you can ever truly know "God". Some have argued that you can only know "Him" by his works. I don't even believe that.

This disbelief goes against humility, submissiveness to "God" and gratitude for "God's" gifts. It goes against the claim that one cannot do anything without "God's" help or permission. It is the belief that one can achieve something on one's own, through one's own will.

I have been trying this for the last thirty odd years and not succeeded, which is what is making me seriously question whether I should be believing in the former things I currently disbelieve.

These former things transcend Christianity, they don't require a belief in Jesus, but they do require a belief in "God" or at least a higher power.

Belief in a higher power is one of the steps of the 12 step program that has been so successfully, at least that is the claim, applied to many addictions.

A recovered alchoholic I know who lives by the 12 step program says that he prays to sages, people he views as higher powers. So I don't necessarily need to accept Jesus to do this step.

I am still thinking about the idea of sorrow for the offence itself not just the consequences. This is something else I need to process.

I am doing better than I have ever done before, and I cannot deny what has worked to get me to this place. Prayer works, confession works and forgiveness works. All of these things have contributed to me abstaining for longer and longer periods. But still I have been returning.

Today is day 100 without MO.

I don't like the idea of becoming religious. Even the idea of following the 12 step program seems like a life choice I don't want to have to live by. I am still an intellectual rebel at heart, the opposite of an intellectual submissive. I can even see how arrogant my writing is, but I could say the same for all the religious evangelicals out there or anyone who preaches.

As I said, I know what has worked for me, but still I haven't quit completely.

I have barely managed thirty consecutive days without porn since March.

I want to quit, I know I feel better without it, how to get there has still been eluding me.

Thank you.







jixu

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #585 on: September 17, 2019, 06:41:02 PM »
I am not Orthodox and can't read much Koine Greek but I have really enjoyed and learned a lot about prayer, contrition, and purification from the Orthodox fathers.  I recently bought a book on prayer written by a Coptic priest that was full of insights and compelling thoughts.  I have found in my own life that working through Psalm 50 (51 in the Protestant bible) is good balm for the soul and a way to get a fresh start.

Best wishes as you journey on-stay in the battle!

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #586 on: September 18, 2019, 07:49:32 AM »
Thank you jixu.

So I don't know if I feel sorrow for what I've done. I know that it has damaged me and caused me hurt, but I tend to view such things as just experiences with no moral judgment.

Do I need to say sorry, and who do I address my apology to?

Can I even say sorry sincerely, and will it help me to overcome my addiction?

I read one article by a Christian addict who said she was always apologizing for her "sin" as she saw her addiction to be, always repenting, and she never overcame her addiction. It was only when she recognised it as a bio-chemical sickness that she was able to overcome it.

I am interested in what works, and as the above example illustrates, repentance alone maybe doesn't work, although the person in question never stopped repenting.

Saying sorry because one believes it will release one from the past is not really sincere, I don't think. It is expecting some gain or favour. This was the argument for contrition over repentance.

It is easy to type the words "I am sorry", but it is far harder to mean them sincerely.

But I will type them, I will address them to this forum.

I am sorry.

I am sorry for the pain that my porn addiction has caused me and others.

It is a start, but I think the first thing I need to do is say sorry to myself, and mean it.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #587 on: September 18, 2019, 03:14:57 PM »
So saying sorry today hurt and still hurts. I've realised now that I never forgave myself. What I did was suspend judgment. By ceasing to judge myself I felt better and indeed being less judgmental generally leads to a happier life. This was the answer to my prayer for mercy. However it is not the same as forgiveness.

Wikipedia defines forgiveness as follows:

Quote
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be, and with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), pardoning (granted for an acknowledged offense by a representative of society, such as a judge), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).

The key word is "victim". By ceasing to judge I was ceasing to hold myself responsible for my actions in creating a victim out of myself and others. I was trying to excuse and forget.

Forgiveness means acknowledging the offender and the victim, which are both me, in this case, though my porn abuse affected others as well.

I am the offender and I am sorry for that.

I am sorry for my porn abuse and the pain it has caused both me and others.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #588 on: September 19, 2019, 03:16:17 AM »
So I'm still struggling to say sorry and mean it. To admit that I was wrong to ever look at and use porn. Right and wrong are not part of my world view. Things can be better or worse, but everything is relative. Right and wrong tend to be used as absolutes, and I don't believe in absolutes. Having said that I often say sorry for things I have done when they have caused pain or inconvenienced someone. I am happy to admit my mistakes. I don't know why it is so hard to say that I am sorry for my porn abuse. Perhaps because it is thirty odd years of my life.

The first time I said sorry I felt pain. Now I just feel like an idiot. I still feel I need to repent some more. When I prayed and begged for mercy, it was as a victim. I have never really repented as an offender.

With over 80% of U.S.American males using porn regularly and all the theories of sexual liberation, I'm still not 100% convinced looking at porn is wrong. But I know it has caused pain to me and others, and that I accept as wrong to a degree.

I said in a previous post that one of the pieces of advice for repentance was to say sorry for the offence not just the consequences of the offence. I admit that causing pain, the consequences, is an offence. But the act itself still seems to me to be just an act.

In my las post, I tried to say sorry for the act itself, and as I said, I now feel like an idiot.

Offence is such a strong word. I have trouble with the idea of morally judging sin, or separation from God. In fact I have trouble with the concept of God full stop. So if it is nothing to do with sin, what is the offence? Causing pain is an offence, but the act itself need not, in my view, it is all relative. Indeed, everything we do causes pain in some sense. Thus are all acts an offence? It is this kind of reasoning that leads Catholics and other Christians into a cycle of perpetual guilt. Buddhists say that this life is a life of suffering and try to accept it in order to transcend it. Christians say that this life is a separation from God, original sin, and thus a life of suffering as well, and try to forgive each separation in order to transcend it. It is pretty much the same argument in both cases. The difference is that forgiveness still involves a judgment, where as accepting can involve no judgment. Separation from God is an offence against God, an act of disobedience, that life involves suffering is just a fact of life, with no moral judgment. I think this is why Buddhism is often seen as more attractive to many.

I am trying to forgive myself, not just suspend judgment. I think that is more powerful. But to do this I need to admit that my use of porn over the years was an offence.

Once I go down such an absolutist path, I don't know where it will end, that life in this world itself is an offence against God, original sin.

Must I say sorry for everything?

I will say sorry again for the act as well as the consequences, even if I don't fully mean it.

I am sorry.

I am sorry for looking at porn and the pain it has caused me and others.

Thank you.

malando

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #589 on: September 19, 2019, 12:52:14 PM »
I saved myself the trouble of having to be sorry and convinced that what I did was "wrong", and just went straight to "porn was a really bad thing for me, which cost me a lot". In the end that's all I needed - a forensic analysis of how porn affected my life revealed that it had damaged me. Once you know what it cost you, how it harmed you, it's almost impossible not to regret what you did, and that leads to feeling sorry. How that plays into some Godly version of sorry/repentance doesn't really concern me, but I suspect it's an extension of the same process. Later education on what happens to victims of porn - the actors/actresses, the partners of porn addicts, fills in the rest and I'd say once you're fully educated on that, it's only a matter of time before you're convinced of the immorality of it. People who refuse to acknowledge that hidden reality are probably doomed to repeat their mistakes at some point - especially if they are playing out some sort of freedom-of-sexuality idealism-struggle in their head.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #590 on: September 19, 2019, 02:01:28 PM »
Hi Malando, as always, thanks for your input. Have you really been clean all this time? I say that, because I have had some success, I know I can go months at a time, but in the end I have always returned at some point. I don't know if this is because of some sort of freedom-of-sexuality idealism that you mention. It's no longer a question to me of how long I can last, I believe I could last any number of days if I chose to, but quitting completely has seemed to evade me. I don't know what more I need to get straight in my head, I know it damages me, I know it damages the participants, but the highs and lows, and wallowing in self pity seem to have a hold on me like I actually want to remain an addict. Does that mean I have no morals? Does it mean that over 80% of U.S.American males have no morals? There I am wallowing again. Your advice is appreciated.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #591 on: September 20, 2019, 05:55:09 AM »
So as I said in my last post, I believe I could go any number of days now without P or MO. Any record I set, I can break eventually. I think once you have gone a few months, you know this. This is where counting days ceases to be useful. At some point you have to commit to being recovered. Are you going to count days until you die?

Counting days is useful when you are trying to prove to yourself that you can go without. But once you've done that, you really need to move to the next stage of committing to being a non-user.

This is why I'm looking into things like repentance and other practices.

I have done over five months hard mode in the past. There really was no good reason to go back, other than I convinced myself that it didn't matter and I missed the lifestyle.

I am currently on about four PMOs in fifteen months. Technically fifteen months is tomorrow. It is a bit of an arbitrary measure since I was PMOing more frequently before that, but it sounds good. I feel like I've put PMOing behind me.

I am on over a hundred days without MO. I am feeling much better for it, and am actually worried about the prospect of having the opportunity to have sex as life without O is so much more stable and I don't want to sacrifice that.

Going without P has been more problematic. I haven't been using it, but ovet he last few months I have kept returning for only a few minutes every ten days to twenty days or so. I don't know why. I have looked at it in a sort of detached way, just seeing if I could engage with it without arousal, which I have been doing.

Generally I have been feeling much better and much more at peace with myself. I am on the longest streak without schizophrenic symptoms I've ever had since developing the condition some twenty years ago.

So nothing is wasted. My problems with PMO have been the psychological impact, not ED. Many psychiatrists prescribe moderate use for addictions rather than complete abstinence, and I have reached that point. So in many ways this is a story of success.

But I still want to never purposely look at P again. I want it completely out of my life. I don't know what is stopping me from doing this. I feel fine without P and MO. But every now and then it has occured to me that I could look at it, and it has been so easy to do so. I have always felt bad afterwards. But I have become so accustomed to the highs and lows, that I somehow have missed the lows as wells, missed having an excuse to feel bad about myself.

There is also the temptation to rebel against my self-imposed discipline. There is a thrill in rebelling. I enjoy fighting with myself intellectually, as anyone who has read my journal can see. I like trying to question myself and my motives and arrive at new conclusions. Looking at P has given me reason to continue debating with myself when I can't think of any more questions to ask of myself.

I would never have explored mindfulness or prayer or forgiveness without my addiction.

It has kept feeding my endless introspection.

I'm going to say sorry again. This time for the pleasure I have derived from actions that have caused me pain.

I am sorry for deriving pleasure from P that has caused me so much pain and suffering over so many years.

I am sorry for wasting my life on my addiction.

Thank you.







Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #592 on: September 21, 2019, 09:52:10 AM »
So good to see people getting into the hundreds. I want to do six months hard mode. I'm not even sure I want to have sex, though that could be tricky as I'm trying to date somebody at the moment.

I need to work on the rewiring process. I am succeeding at splitting P from MO. In the past fifteen months I have done the two together four times, including a nine month stretch, a three and a half month stretch and a two month stretch of abstinence. The three and a half month stretch is still counting.

Splitting P from MO is the best thing I have done so far in terms of rewiring. The next step is stopping completely.

Tomorrow I will have done fifteen weeks without any MO at all. I want to do six months hard mode. In fact, I want to never search for P again. I don't want to be searching for P in my forties.

I'm sorry for deriving pleasure from something that has caused me so much harm.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #593 on: September 23, 2019, 06:57:35 AM »
So several of the posters on this forum are very inexperienced with regards to sex and that has been one of the motivating factors for rebooting.

One of the things I think that needs to be rewired first in this regard is a feeling of entitlement to sex, which is fed by PMO addiction.

Both men and women are susceptible to feeling entitled to sex. It is a general feeling that relates to how attractive one feels.

PMO distorts this feeling. We get O on demand and so when we are not getting it we feel like we have been slighted. On top of this we start to confuse O on demand from self stimulation with O on demand from members of the opposite sex.

It took me a long time to realise that the reason I stayed a virgin until I was in my thirties was because I suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, not the other way around.

In other words, my flaws made me unattractive.

Realizing that I was not entitled to sex, that I had to earn it, was a key part of my rewiring.

I have sort of plateaued at the moment at being fine without sex. I am happy with myself, but realize that I am doing nothing to earn sex.

I prefer remaining as I am, happy with myself, to making the effort to earn sex.

Earning sex is not about changing who you are, it is about doing things that make you attractive, ranging from general cleanliness and looking after yourself, to engaging with work and partaking in hobbies.

It may seem that you have to change who you are in order to do these things, but that is not true, you just have to do them.

Worrying about what you do rather than just doing it is the unattractive thing, it casts doubt on the worth of your actions.

Plenty of people with a PMO habit have sex lives, many even on this forum. Indeed there are many married people on this forum.

Worry about PMO is a turn off. But practicing PMO can have negative effects as we all know. Thus the solution is to simply not do it.

It is the worry that makes me say that it is a neurosis as well as an addiction.

Stopping PMO will not automatically make you entitled to sex. Rather the opposite, it will make you have a more realistic appreciation of what it means to earn sex.

This is the first phase of the rewiring process.

Earning sex requires other things besides. Some posters already do these things and so are able to have sex lives.

For me, I know that my priority remains moving away from paranoid schizophrenia.

Just staying sane is an accomplishment for me in itself.

Worry about lack of sex and PMO have been a big part of the reasons for my condition. Quitting PMO whilst recognising that I am not entitled to sex has been a big part of my recovery from being a paranoid schizophrenic. What I am entitled to be is myself.

I have still not gone a year without either PMO or schizophrenic symptoms. However the progress I have been making is already allowing me to flirt via text messages with women, something that I would never of been able to do before.

What I have to do to earn a sexual relationship is still not clear to me, but one thing I am doing is not worrying about it anymore, and that is one of the biggest steps forward I have made in a long time.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #594 on: September 23, 2019, 01:32:24 PM »
So I am thinking about the extent to which I have been objectifying women and myself.

This is the real reason I have not had a sex life.

Objectifying is a separation.

Of course if I focus on what separates me from a woman I will not have sex with her.

Objectifying women has led me to objectify myself, or perhaps the other way around.

This is why I have engaged with PMO rather than a real sex life.

This is the reason I have caused myself so much pain through PMO.

It has been a vicious cycle, the more I have PMOd the more I have objectified myself and others.

I need to say sorry to myself and others for this as well.

Once again, it is easy to write, far harder to really mean it, but I shall write it anyway as a start.

I am sorry.

I am sorry for objectifying myself and others.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #595 on: September 23, 2019, 03:11:30 PM »
So my last post hurt and it hurt a lot. I am wondering about this whole repentance thing. I just went out and had a schizophrenic or perhaps gnostic experience. I'm leaning towards describing it as the latter even though it was mildly disturbing. It made me think of the arrogance of my last apology and original sin. According to the Torah and Old Testament of the Bible, it was God who cast us into this world of objects, made us as to see ourselves reflected as an object. Was I apologising for God? We always perceive objects and objective facets of both the world and ourselves, at the very least we use names. Must I apologize for this? Am I, by apologizing for this, negating God? The gnostic experience I just had made me think like this. Perhaps that is the point of repentance. But I am now wondering if perhaps it isn't masochistic. It really hurt and the more I meant it the more it hurt. Only by rationalizing around it could I feel comforted, but in reality it was realizing that for a moment I believed in God that gave me the most comfort. Indeed this is the point of repentance as practiced in Orthodox Christianity. But do I need to experience pain to believe in God? Do I need to believe in God at all? I have come to the conclusion that to not believe in a higher power is violence. It is disobediance against that which created you. One can start with one's parents. Believing in one's parents is belief in a higher power. One can continue back, believing in one's ancestors. Perceiving them as "things" rather than powers is lack of belief. This is my problem with "God", it is a word, which is a "thing". But the true God is not the one that can be spoken. It is a power, the power of love. I am just writing, using words, I cannot convey belief. I think even atheists believe in some power that has influence over themselves. Indeed I am sure of it. Whether they believe that power is good or bad or indifferent, happy with them or angry at them, assisting them or oppressing them, I know they believe in some power beyond what they can control.

To come back to my apology then, did I need to apologize for it. Certainly I objectified myself and others. But that is a part of life. Our perceptions are relative. My main argument remains, if I focus on objectifying myself or the woman I am talking to, in being separate and separating her, of course I will not be able to make love. To live in this world without ever objectifying is impossible. But one can turn away from objectifying and put one's focus on absence of separation. Believing that we are one is the basis of love.

When I have dated I have constantly put my attention on my separateness, only when I have put my faith in being one with the person I was dating have I got anywhere towards sexual interaction. Shame over PMO has been one of the biggest things that has separated me from women. The acts have fed my feelings of separation and made me to feel different. I have been orgasming whilst interacting with objects, images, words. I have been orgasming whilst objectifying. If I did this in real life with a woman it would be rape. I do need to say sorry for my PMO abuse.

I am sorry for orgasming whilst objectifying.

Thank you.

malando

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #596 on: September 23, 2019, 07:47:13 PM »
Georgos, it seems to me that by zeroing in on being "sorry", you are creating additional problems for yourself. It's causing a crisis regarding the parameters and extent of your sorriness - as well as whom you are apologising to (God, yourself, people in your life). I'm not saying these are not valid things to evaluate, but it shouldn't overshadow your overall direction of improvement. I think it's safer at this time to acknowledge the things you regret, and by all means, work out why, but maybe don't get too embroiled in "sorry" as it pertains to guilt. Guilt is an expression of ego and it interferes with objective analysis. Personally I don't think anyone needs to apologise to God, so that's a non-starter for me. It's better, and more productive, to work out what things you regret and know didn't work out for you, and take steps to correct each of them.

As far as "earning" sex. I get what you were driving at - but I also think it's mostly bullshit. Yes, looking after yourself and being a well functioning, attractive person makes it more likely that you'll pick up a partner, but there are innumerable cases of people having partners who actually want sex with them even when they are not in ideal shape. Sometimes it just works out - synchronicity, kismet, happenstance - call it what you like, some relationships spring out of the most unlikely circumstances. People fall in love with people who are terminally ill, morbidly obese, physically disabled, suicidal, depressed, incarcerated. The list is endless. So the mere fact that this happens means a model based on "earning" sex is flawed. There are people who have this transactional model of pairing, but that's more for people living a certain type of lifestyle which focuses more on the ego: material wealth, hedonism, attention seeking, power, influence. In these circumstances, high partner-count and proving one's attractiveness take centre stage. Similarly, although ironically, people who have never had sex, or have had very little experience and find it elusive, tend to adopt the transactional model - they explain their own lack of success with sexual partners with being deficient in the same things that highly successful sexual conquerers use. It plays into their feelings of low self-worth.

The reality is most people who are in a longterm relationship did not "earn" it. They found themselves in a circumstance where a relationship managed to grow with somebody - probably at a time they least expected it. For most people, they will say they were surprised how it happened, and that anything came of it at all. There is far more to this than many people realise. You shouldn't look to sexual conquerers, or to people with issues around being inexperienced, for clues on how relationships form. Both of them are poor vantage points for understanding. I found my partner at a time when I was at a pretty low point regarding my self-worth and feelings of attractiveness. If you had asked me my chances of finding a girlfriend a month prior to that, I would have said, "zero". This is how I know it's not about "earning" anything. All it takes is being in the right place at the right time, being genuine and having some qualities that are of interest to the other person. The mass media has existed on countless fallacies on how you can snag a partner - but that's just garbage fodder for people who are desperate.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #597 on: September 24, 2019, 04:24:56 AM »
Hi Malando, thanks for posting your comments.

I agree 100% with your points about "earning" sex being mostly bullshit. I was trying to build on my point about the falacy of feeling entitled to sex by thinking about what the opposite to that is. But earning sex is not really the opposite, it sort of implies that if you do XYZ you will then be entitled to sex. In other words, it is still all about entitlement. I think feeling entitled to sex is one of the biggest problems that people who are worried about lack of sex have to deal with, and a lot of it can stem from PMO abuse as I have said. Stopping feeling entitled is a big part of the healing process allowing you to return to feeling comfortable with yourself. I am still struggling to see the difference between feeling confident and feeling entitled. Confidence is said to be one of the keys to getting a lot of sex, but maybe this is also bullshit, based on ideas about sexual conquering. As you yourself say, you were in a low place when you met your partner.

I think the better realisation is about objectification and separation. I know that I have a tendency to constantly objectify myself on dates, for example, and thus inhibit my ability to be myself, and find reasons that me and my date are separate. I don't tend to objectify the other person so much, I don't think, at least not in conversation, but over the years of PMO abuse, I have trained myself to seek orgasm through objectification of women. So I think objectification does have a big part to play in why I have been so unssuccessful at forming sexual relationships.

With regards to saying sorry and causing a crisis for myself, I am not sure. I still feel sane, despite experiencing a somewhat altered reality last night. As someone who was not brought up to be religious, I have often wondered what the difference between having religious experiences and insanity is. A lot of my explorations of mysticism were born out of the idea that people could experience altered states without parnaoia and them causing them harm.

Saying sorry is helping me, I think, because I still think I need to recognise that PMO abuse is wrong, not just something that has caused me to suffer. I need to acknowledge why it is wrong at a much deeper level than simply saying that I have had bad experiences from it. Nothing is absolutely wrong, but I have still had the idea that it was more an accidental twist of fate that PMO didn't agree with me, because so many other people seemed to be able to endulge in it with no negative side effects. Saying sorry is helping me to acknowledge that I engaged in something that was wrong more objectively, not just subjectively.

I know it might seem a bit over the top, the connection with the existence of God and turning away from sin, or separation from God, but it is a spiritual practice and in that it is no different from mindfulness which comes from the Buddhist practices or kung fu as a spiritual practice, both of which can get quite extreme. Mindfulness can lead you to a spiritual crisis just as much as repentance.

As I said, feeling the hurt that comes with saying sorry, is helping me to acknowledge that what I did was wrong, and hopefully this will help me to turn away from it and not return. But there is no guarantee. I have mentioned in a previous post someone who was always repenting for their addiction and never managed to overcome it through this practice alone. The amount of hurt I have been feeling has made me question whether this path is suitable for me, given my condition, but so far I have found it therapeutic, although the experience last night could have gone the other way, had I not been doing so well.

I think I will continue to say sorry, to feel the hurt of what I have done, and hopefully get to a stage where I won't do it again. However I am grateful for your concern.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #598 on: September 25, 2019, 03:08:22 PM »
So I have mentioned before the metaphor that if you want to empty a jug of air, it is easier to fill it with water than try to create a vacuum.

I need to fill my life with more fulfilling activities than counting days.

The problem is that stressful activities lead to relapse as PMO or at least MO has been shown to be a form of destressing as powerful as meditation by some researchers.

That it leads to more stress afterwards and creates a vicious cycle of shame and relapse, has not been publicised so much.

I want to address this cycle in another post, how some people claim that the specific hormones released during MO differ from those released during sex, and even that Chinese Medical practitioners can tell the difference between the "neurotic" pulse after MO and the healthy pulse after sex. I will hopefully be able to post about this, but at present can't find much in the way of references.

At any rate, the problem remains, what to fill my attention with so that I don't return to P.

Writing here achieves that to some extent, but then, when I can't think of any more to write, I am tempted to return to P just so that I can write some more.

I have often engaged in politics in the past, but this has caused me more stress than anything else.

Work is stressful for me as I find it hard to concentrate with the medication I am on and can't seem to find anything that satisfies me following the extremes of my mental illness.

The only thing that satisfies me is introspection at this stage, but there is a limit to how much I can do that.

I need to do practical things, without feeling stressed, so that I can avoid relapse, but what?

There are a few things I managed for several months that helped, a little study, a little reading, etc.

But I tried to push to do more and more, and when I failed, the stress caused me to relapse.

Similarly with stopping smoking. Every time I fail, I am tempted to throw everything in.

Filling my daily life with non-stressful activities that don't cause me to have psychotic relapses or return to P remains a challenge.

I don't know what to do about it other than keep trying.

Learning to be content with what I have and practicing gratitude is one way, but I still need to engage with life.

It feels like a Catch 22 situation.

I am continuing to make progress, so for that I am thankful.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #599 on: September 26, 2019, 07:52:07 AM »
So I really think learning not to objectify, either myself or others, when it comes to sexual interactions, is the biggest rewiring issue. Images are objects, you can take ownership of objects, you can control them. People are life, you can't own or control them. Obviously the distinction gets blurred as people possess objects, their bodies, their personalities, their clothes, etc., but reducing the life within to the objects the person possesses is not the basis of sexual interactions. There is no spiritual connection, there is no love. Even PUA talks about their practice as a "game", which is a real life interaction, not a form of control. Objectifying a person is not only wrong, it is not going to get you anywhere. Noticing a woman's possessions, her body, for instance, does not give you the right to take it or control it, even in your imagination, that is rape or stealing. We all know it is wrong, yet P abuse wires the brain into accepting such behaviour as the norm. This is the internal contradiction that P abuse sets up. Even assuming the performers in P give their consent to you using their images for your pleasure, which hopefully is always the case, we do not ask when we use P we just use it. At most we pay a fee and even then it is us initiating the transaction through middlemen. Repeating this behaviour causes conflict in the wiring of the brain, even though for the most part we can distinguish between fantasy and reality, imagination and action. If your imagination is not in synch with your actions then you will be conflicted. Knowing that your imagination is morally wrong, even if your actions are perfectly acceptable, is a recipe for dysfunction. I know I have objectified women, and continue to do so to some extent, when I see them out and about. I know that I objectify myself when I try and interact with them. These are two sides of the same coin. Objectifying oneself is trying to control oneself, and the only reason you have to do that is because you have a tendency to objectify and try and control other people, at least in your mind. Reading people having flashes of objectifictation in their imaginations shows just how much more rewiring they have to do. It gets confusing when it starts with a statement of preference for a certain kind of possession, a certain kind of body. Preference is not the same as appreciation. Preference implies that one can take ownership of it. One cannot possess another person's body. Appreciation means respecting that it is theirs. I know that I do it. The extent to which I do it, I haven't even begun to address. Simply stopping PMO is the first step towards stopping feeding the behaviour. The hope is that time will heal. But we still see women everyday, and unchecked we will still objectify. Fighting objectification is not necessarily the best way forward, like saying don't think of a red elephant, and being unable not to. Fighting produces a reaction, and fighting yourself sets up internal conflict. Indeed I would say that I already fight myself when I objectify people, and it hasn't stopped me from doing it. It is a much harder behaviour to give up, harder even than PMO, because PMO is an action, but objectification is a thought. Thoughts come first. Meditation, mindfulness, is one practice that will help. One can consciously try to be mindful when noticing women. Not fighting oneself, just being aware of the thoughts that pass through one's mind without placing any attachment on them. Over time they will cease to appear. I really do believe repenting can help as well. Saying sorry, feeling the hurt of objectification, will bring about empathy for the other person, which can then lead to real appreciation. I don't know what else to suggest. As I said, I, as much as anyone else who has practiced P abuse, still need to rewire. Indeed just now I was in a cafe and experienced internal conflict over objectifying a woman's breasts. I didn't barely look at them, but I still objectified them, and still ended up fighting myself, and objectifying myself, reducing myself to my personality, which as I have said is another thing we all possess. We own our words, we own our emotions, but they are not us. I am sorry I did this. I am sorry I have so often objectified people and myself. One can be forgiven even without saying sorry, but it means so much more to be forgiven if one truly is. Thank you.