Hi, i'm am no one special. Just a guy who suffered from addiction for 21 years and helping others. It's a long LONG post, i hope you'll read it. Well, sex/porn has always been a problem for me. Around the age of 8 or 9 there was a woman who abused me. It still feels not as abuse (I’m still in therapy) but because I don’t feel any traumas I assume everything is alright with me. But that’s just my first reaction. When I start meditating, and really go back to that moment and the whole life after that moment, I can honestly say.. It fucked me up big time! I started masturbation right after that moment I believe. i am pmo addicted since the age of 9. I was bullied a lot so after i found out the pmo was such a relieve, i started practicing pmo on a daily base. So from there on i pmo'd for like 3 time a day every day. When i became 18 i got dexamfetamine due to problems regarding to focus, concentration etc. From the moment i noticed the effect of amphetamine and pmo i was so damn hooked, i still pmo'd sober every day, but i guess once a twice week i did full night amphetamine and pmo. It was absolutely the best feeling in the world. When i moved to my own apartment in a big student city to study it started to escalate. Long story short, i became more and more addictive and at the age of 26 i started to masturbate on amphetamine almost every week. I binged fapped for about 3 a 4 days in a row without sleeping. Just only masturbate and searching for extreme EXTREME violent porn. At one point - 17 may 2015- i got in a severe psychosis. I already had 3 before, but this one was so damn heavy that i called my parents and told them literally everything (later I realized it was only 20%, but I will come to that) about my addiction. I told them i was addicted, i was searching for extreme porn etc etc. From that moment my recovery started. First, i went to rehab. The first time i got out after only 1 day. Full of denial i immediately got back to my old life. After almost 3 months of substance abuse, i got psychotic again and i went straight to rehab again. Even though i had a good time there, i never had that real "AHA- this is what it is" moment. So, i got clean from booze and drugs and remained sober for like 2 months. When everything was cool again in my head I forgot all the agreements that I had made with myself and started using booze again. (sidenote: i never quit pmo during this process because i did not know it was so bad) So, i started using booze again and it fucked me up again. Again, i got a heavy psychosis. This time it was so heavy that i heard voices outside screaming that they would kill me and i thought my parents were at the base of a conspiracy to cut down my throat.(because of the violent porn i have watched i thought people wanted to kill me) So they needed to take me in the mental hospital. I stayed there for 1,5 months, fully drugged by all sorts of medication. So, when i came back from hospital i was exhausted and i have been laying on the couch for a straight 8 month period. Still i pmo'd on a daily base. After been sick for like 4 months i recovered a bit and i started doing some charity work. Another 4 months later i started studying again. But this time on a much lower level than i used to study because i had fucked up my brain BADLY> From there it went ok and I started to get my life on track. Till I again forgot the agreements I made with myself and fucked it up again. Relapse after relapse. Drugs, booze, pmo everything haha. The psychosis came back and so did all the medicine. So I decided to finally give up booze and drugs for good. I needed to fix my life. I stayed sober for a year. I had a job as an experienced counsellor in the mental hospital and I helped people with the same problems I have/had. But, I stayed pmo’ing. And I became heavily addicted to instagram and facebook. I was always addicted to instagram, but not it became obsessively. I write poems and it did so well on instagram that I kept posting. Al of a sudden –within 2 months- my live was only about facebook and instagram (and pmo) I also i increasingly became addicted to sugar and caffeine. I also started to find ways to feel better than normal by searching for nootropics. I'm a big fan of natural supplements, but at one point i needed to have moooore happiness. At one forum a guy wrote the best nootropic he has ever used was going on nofap after being addicted. I found it interesting and started to read about nofap... And there was the fucking AHA MOMENT! I've never felt more connected with people I've never met before than with all the boys and girld who write about nofap and porn addiction. So, i decided to give it a try. My first streak was 4 days and i felt good. After 4 days i relapsed and i thought " bleh, this is not for me." Classical for me- as for all addicts- is denial. So after a week of fapping again i wanted to try it again. I stayed clean from fapping for about 7 days and i felt great! But, after a week i got relapse in drugs and bing fapping again. I felt terrible. 1-year sobriety down the drain. I REALLY wanted to do something about my life so i decided to go back on nofap. That was 15-02-2018!!! After a week of nofap I felt on top of the world.. Extreme positive. But, after a week, i thought.. "aah, i feel so great, everything is done, trauma is gone, i feel so good jeeej jeej jeeee let's fap." I already told my parents about nofap and they strongly suggested not to do it. And then it hit me. My body and brain was lying to me ever since i started using drugs.. I did not feel great. The body and my mind were telling me i feel great in order to get a shot op dopamine. So i decided to not give in and bam.. psychosis number 6! I'am so ashamed of the whole process.. Starting with vanilla pictures in books to softcore to hardcore to extreme to more extreme to even more extreme to etc... I know it's the addiction doing what he can do best.. Making you sick. Making you an animal. Making you everything you dont want to be! But as i wrote in the message above.. I have been watching (extreme) porn so SO SOOOO long that I have made such an enormous contribution to the exploitation of these people.! I feel horrible about it. I cant change anything in the past, but due to that past i now have made the choice to work my entire life to not fuck it up again. I'm done with my life as an addict and i finally are willing to fully committed to getting sober. I strongly believe that when you have been addicted so long, working on recovery needs to be as important as oxygen, water, food and sleep. I finally understand that i'm not addicted to pmo, booze, drugs. Nor to instagram, facebook, sugar, caffeine. They are al giving my a shot of instant happiness. I'm addicted to short-term solutions. To the effect of short term solutions. And it's not only those things.. My addiction is in every fibre of my life. My recovery always ment that i told my friends, relative, parents almost everyone how good i'm working on my recovery. I felt the onbssesive need to get compliment about my work, recovery, my life etc etc. My addiction is in EVERYTHING! Someone wrote this "easy choices, hard life - hard choices easy life" For me it is "Easy solutions -> hard life / Difficult Solutions -> Easy life." I'm am so happy that i found this community. Since i stopped all the artificial stimulation such as coffee, sugar, instagram, facebook, nofap etc etc. And since i told my parents about what happened in my youth i felt more relaxed than all the drugs could do. After all, it took me another 3 years to tell everything. I always said to myself that it was not necessary to tell people what happened because I never really realized how it fucked up my life. When I realized how it affected my life, I hoped it would go away on its own. NOT. In the end i needed to come clean and tell everybody what happend. My therapist and my parents really needed to explain how it fucked-up my life. I dont have a job, not a college degree (even though i was able to go to uni). I'm living with my parents, i have no money etc... I'm just glad that even though life hasnt treat me well, i still believe life can be wonderfull. So as I said, I've been addicted to booze, drugs, sugar, caffeine, pmo, pmo with a lot of amphetamine, instagram, facebook, compliments etc etc. When i stopped using one, i got involved in the other addiction. I guess addiction is just a symptom of a deeper problem. It's common for addicts to get addicted to other things when they cut the primal addiction. I guess when you get deeper into why you're addicted it's getting easier to understand. So figure out the reasons you're getting addicted! And it’s not because you like it. There's more underneath the simple “I like it.” Just, as i wrote, take a deep look in why you are addicted. Because every short-term solution will cause in increase in dopamine and therefore we feel good. We need that shot because we cannot deal with the feeling that we have when we don't get that shot. We cannot deal with negative emotions.. So, you need to know why you are seeking for the artificial stimulation. I see it as an onion. The sour onion is nicely stored in the outer skin. For the sake of convenience, we call the skin around the onion addiction. When you remove the outer skin around the onion, you spontaneously start to cry. It is acidic. It hurts your eyes. So our natural reaction is to do something about that. Because we as humans are, evolutionarily, programmed to find quick solutions, our first reaction is to put that sheet back in place. We masquerade the acid. So we either fall back into our old addiction, or we find, unconsciously, a new addiction. So, as I said, When you open the outer layer of the onion, it’s sour, and you will get tears.. Therefore you need to unpeel the onion. You have to peel all the onion until you get to the core. Work on that core. Unpack the core. And when you have found the core, unravel the core as well. I've noticed that whenever you get to the core, there's still a core. I have had 6 times that I thought I was at the core, but that there was still an underlying problem. And eventually, when you finally got to the core, you stop crying because there is no onion left anymore! It’s also very handy to watch this video 10 times!! And it helped me a lot to make a plan. So when i began to stop being addicted i just wanted to stop.. And that's good, but it's freaking hard to maintain focus with only one reason. So i made a plan. Why do i get addicted? What is it in my life that gives me so little joy that i always need to find other ways to get happy. .. So start with the gigantic question... WHY AM I ADDICTED? Do you fully understand why you happen to use all the time? As i wrote i was a full-time addict. Porn, drugs, booze, sugar, caffeine, social media, compliments of other people.. Every short-term solution i used to cope with my problems.. Really, after thinking for so so so long about my addiction i came to the conclusion that my addiction is in every fiber of my life!! And i finally got to a point where i really understand why i'm addicted. Since i fully understand what addiction is and what the mechanisms are behind (my) addiction, it's easier to not give in! So, figure out all the things you need to know about addiction in general and about addiction in relation to you. The Internet is pretty useful for that. And, maybe not the most fun thing to do, get bored a lot! In this modern time, we are always busy with something. From the moment you realize you get bored, you will find a way to deal with that boredom. We have internet, books, SMARTPHONES, people to hang out with. See where i'm going.. Our brain get's stuffed with imput, imput, imput.... We are never empty anymore. Yeah, i know, boredom is not fun, but it's essential for healing the mind and for finding answers on such big questions as for why am i addicted, why do i relapse all the time. So, go on the internet, read stories about other people's experiences and get bored and think.. THINK A LOT. I happened to find it most relaxing to go out for a walk in the forest, do a lot of cardio, read, or just meditated. There are a lot of meditation forms. I like the one i count my breath. And, i like the one where i just think about everything that pops up. Most of the time its about my addiction. So you need to make sure that when you want to fully recover from addiction it has to be at the very top of your list... It has to be the most important thing besides food, water, air, and sleep. So when you fully understand what the mechanisms are behind your addiction, then you make a solid plan.. Just getting in to reboot without a plan is the same as beginning an iron man triathlon with no training at all. And with a plan i mean a real plan.. So i made a mind map of all the reasons why i don't want to fap and why the hell i want to quit my addiction. I would suggest you make a written paper with 40 reasons why you don't want to fap anymore. I say 40 because 2 to 5 reasons are to short. 40 reasons is a moderately long list so it takes a little time to read. It might take your mind of the urges. I guess we addicts are really good at finding reasons why we should do it.. And therefore we are so damn good at convincing us to give in.. And, not to forget, one of the most important things is healthy food. My recovery would have been absolutely unsuccessful if I had continued to eat unhealthily. In the end, I even had to give up caffeine and sugar and masturbating to porn. We, addicts, are always seeking for the dopamine shot. So in order to recover and re-wire your brain, it's good to quit all short-term solutions. I would suggest joining the dopamine challenge. I've added a link to the dopamine challenge.. haha.. https://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/5crla0/the_dopamine_challenge_are_you_tough_enough/ Making a plan is so important. Not having a plan is the same as wanting to run the marathon without wanting to train… So we really need to change that mindset and make us only see the reasons why we don't want to use anymore.. It helped and still helps me a lot, when i really have strong urges, to make a mantra of all the reasons why I don’t want to do it. And, as a craving for drugs, alcohol or a porn related thought or image comes up to my mind I count from 1 to 6 and backward and visualizing the numbers. I just count and visualize as long as I need to get rid of the porn images or thoughts. This does two things.. Namely, it get's your mind of the urge when you do it consistently and... it helps your brain make need pathways not related to substance abuse (rewiring). I really noticed that after 3 weeks of consistently doing this, the cravings began to weaken... And afterward, when the cravings are gone, i do full the mantra 6 times.. And if that not helps, and i'm at home, i jump under the ice cold shower. It's such a shock to the body and mind that in 90 percent of the time i cant even think about it haha.. And if even that dont help me, i will go run as long as i need. Last time i needed to run i kept on going for 25 kilometer hahaha. So the other things i do to deal with the urges are.. Intermittent fasting. I only allow myself to eat from 05:00 to 07:00 in the evening. It makes my willpower grow, i dont have a lot of food cravings anymore. I also fast 4 days a month only on water. So i dont eat, but only drink water for 4 days. It helps me A LOT to have a clear mind and it's fucking good for upregulating the dopamine receptors. I've noticed that in the beginning it's quit hard.. But you have a choice. I have gained so much more willpower and discipline by doing intermittent fasting and the water fasting ritual. Ow, and fasting helps to restore dopamine receptors!! Just read this... https://www.nofap.com/forum/index.php?threads/the-benefits-of-fasting-on-the-reboot.64894/ https://vitals.lifehacker.com/how-to-free-yourself-from-food-cravings-with-intermitte-1702108722 i meditate a lot. It helps me SO SO SO SO fucking much in controlling my mind. Read this https://www.nofap.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-meditate-for-mindblowing-state.28105/ https://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/5udawq/meditation_is_extremely_important_to_succeed_with/ It's also FUCKING good for getting new dopamine receptors... I only take ice cold showers.. It helps me a lot with increasing my willpower. We, addicts, have the habit of always choose the most comfortable path.. So if you're able to really go uncomfortable, it makes your will power go though the roof. and it's pretty good for your body.. https://www.nofap.com/forum/index.php?threads/cold-showers-are-the-bomb.33956/ https://gettingstronger.org/2010/05/opponent-process-theory/ Hard Solutions, Easy Life - Easy Solutions - Hard Life I guess it will be a long, difficult and arduous journey, but it is more than worth it. When i started working on my addiction(s) i had absolutely no idea what i was doing. I didn't think it was necessary either. I guess when you read my story you will see it was more than necessary. I'm working on my recovery now for 3,5 years and i still am not where i want to be. I even stopped working now for 4 months to work more on my recovery. In the end, I stopped everything. Instagram, facebook, sugar, caffeine, drugs and alcohol. I also try to work on my obsessive urge to get compliments. At first, I felt I had to give up everything. I thought it was terrible because I needed it. Now I gradually come to the conclusion that everything I didn't want to give up in order to live just, took my life. Live moderately, be satisfied just in time and happiness comes when you don't expect it because you were not busy with becoming happy but with life. Based on my own experience of the past 21 years, I really believe it is a long journey. I did not get addicted just like that. It did not happen in one go. It is a long way from becoming addicted. That is why i cannot expect to be ready just like that, all of a sudden. Every time i thought I was there, there's something new to come. (onion: underlying problem) And that's not a bad thing, that's good. Because i want to recover completely. I solemnly believe that recovery must be as important as the oxygen you breathe, the food you eat and the water you drink. You will not be addicted in 1 year. That is something that goes on for years. And probable you will reach this point a couple of times.. The point where everything seems to go fine and then you forget all the agreements that you have made with yourself… I have experienced so many times that things were going well again (at least, I thought so) and that I forgot about my own agreements. I forgot about the agreements because it went well again... So I relapsed about 100+ times. Be careful of those moments. Now I realize that it is the other way around. Things are going well because of those agreements! Do you know what the problem is with mankind as a whole? We, humans, are hunters and collectors based on our past. The part of our brain that is responsible for the feeling of pleasure and of "ah, this is important so I need to have it more often" was about the first part of our brain. That is also logical. Without a sense of pleasure, we would never have been able to evolve. Food is important to live so that's why we feel good after eating. Sex is extremely important for the reproduction of our genes, so this is one of the most intense, natural, dopamine rush. As I said, it is a mechanism that has ensured that we are living at the moment. So by nature we are always busy with feeling good. Only in the past was it a question of a primary good feeling. It wasn't so much about long-term planning. Eating, sleeping, connecting with your group, fleeing danger. These were mainly things for the short term. One of the few things that were planned in the long run was the reproduction of our genes. I'm sure you understand what I mean. So, the disadvantage of humanity is that we always go for short-term solutions. Look, for example, at our eating pattern. It is completely illogical to eat 18.104.22.168 times a day. Our body hardly gets time to process it. I eat about 2200 calories once a day. Mainly fat, a little protein and very little carbohydrate. I feel so much better than when I ate 4 times a day But, there is good news young man. We can train our brains. It took a very long time for me to get through the mechanisms behind addiction. Each time I stopped doing something and then started doing something different. That works for a while until you derail again. Each time you fall back into old habits, the paths of the old customs become stronger. And every time you fall for short-term solutions, the prefrontal cortex becomes weaker. The prefrontal cortex is involved in cognitive and emotional functions such as decision making, planning, social behavior and impulse control. So, as you can see, one thing lifts up the other. I can't give you an answer about how you should do it. I can only tell you why things always went wrong with me. I didn't put my recovery on top of my list. And, I recovered mainly for others. To get compliments, to hear that they were proud of me. Not because I have no willpower. Or no discipline. And, because I always opted for short-term solutions, I found it extremely difficult to make long-term goals. Sorry for the long post, but I hope I inspired you to work on your recovery. Ow, and i would suggest with starting with a full hard-mode reboot. That’s the best way for dopamine receptor recovery and for getting it out of your system.. And do remember to please: We don’t give up things in order to recover. We gave up life, in order to be addicted. PS. Especially during the time i used amphetamine and pmo I was looking for such perverted things that in the end I believed I was a terrible man. After i quit using drugs it was still extreme and therefore i still believed i was terrible. Now, after 101 of abstinence, i am finally starting to get a normal taste again. I came to the conclusion that my tast in woman is pretty avarage. I, for instance, watched a lot porn which you can consider far beyond normal for me. Also gay porn. Gay hardcore porn. I even had a lot of sex with guys.. A lot. I never considered myself as a gay, but for a long time, i have thought i was bi-sexual. Now, after quitting my addiction, i have a more vanilla tast and i realized i'm straight actually haha. So do the complete reboot, get sober and then, after that, you can define what's normal for you! If you have any questions, just ask. My journal: https://www.nofap.com/forum/index.php?threads/21-years-of-addiction-my-fight-my-story.164500/ PSS. The absolute basis for a good life is to think about yourself first. When you learn to really think about yourself, then naturally there will be a lot of room to think about others. We can say that we did not think well of ourselves, which is probably why we have become addicted. Now, look around you, how many people live on the autopilot. And how many of those people are really capable of standing up for others. The autopilot of today's world is that we are constantly devoting ourselves to fast, short-term solutions. So, be proud of yourself that you stand up for yourself, that you think of yourself and do what is best for you!