8 Months of Monk Mode: some Insights

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Fenix Rising, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

    First some background: I've had binge MO dependency for 25 years and binge PMO addiction for 17 years. I've been trying to quit for at least 15 years but been more serious about it for the last 3 years. My addiction was the worst kind, it progressed over the years to more and more extreme material until hours long daily binges became my new normal. I developed major depression, social/general anxiety leading to social isolation and severe PIED. I've had some unresolved underlying issues to begin with but self-medicating it with (P)MO made symptoms 100 % worse over time.

    When I truly decided that enough was enough?

    When PMO couldn't "help" me relieve my anxiety/depression symptoms anymore and my body couldn't take even more physical abuse. I did complete few 90 days and shorter hardmode challenges previous to that, but always fall back into binge PMO rabbit hole soon after.

    What has changed this time around?

    After a family death, divorce and job lose I realized, I can't go on like this or I'll kill myself in the end so I decided to start my first monk mode in 2017/2018. I thought abstention will do the trick. All I have to do is rewire my brain and I'll be OK. Boy, was I wrong… I lasted 6 months until buildup stress/anxiety and depression broke me. I had a full blown relapse lasting for 4 months of escalating daily binge sessions and needed additional 4 months to get back on track with my recovery. I realized just abstention won't cut it. Luckily I came across the work of Dr. Stephen Ilardi's: 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs, contacted him and started to implement the program in my daily life. http://tlc.ku.edu/elements

    Basic steps of this program are:

    1. Physical Activity (Exercise)
    2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    3. Sunlight
    4. Healthy Sleep
    5. Anti-Ruminative Activity
    6. Social Connection

    This made all the difference in the World. It was not a magic bullet but in a few moths time of following the program and celibacy I was slowly getting better. I still had some episodes of severe anxiety and depression but the inner stress/anxiety didn't build up like in previous attempts to quit. The next big discovery were YT channels of Ryan Donnelly and Tim Johnson. A former long term drug/alcohol addicts now helping other people with dependencies to break free. Their advices are pure gold.
    I also learned neuroscience behind addiction, mainly from prof. dr. Marc Lewis. You have to know your enemy, if you want to beat it. I hearty recommend reading his book The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease.

    I learned that you need to have holistic approach if you want to break free. Addiction is a symptom of living life off balance. Addiction tries to numb the pain and fill our inner void. That's why a former addict has to completely change his life. We basically have to learn how to bring ''balance'' back in our lives. If one just abstains from active addiction, he/she will soon relapse or develop cross addiction to help him/her with buildup pain and emptiness. That's why beating addiction is so hard.

    Now here are some ways how to bring balance back to our lives:

    I can't go into more details here, but there is lots of in depth advice in my journal:

    How do I feel after 8 months of monk mode?

    It has not been an easy ride, especially for the first 5-6 months, but for the last two months progress has been enormous.
    1) More than a decade long depression has lifted
    2) Social and general anxiety are getting better and better. I'm more calm and my thoughts have become less negative. I'm not half empty glass kind of guy anymore
    3) I'm physically much fitter then 8 months ago
    4) My allergies have subdued
    5) PIED is probably cured as I'm getting regular boners in the morning and even during the day
    6) My self-esteem is getting better
    7) I'm slowly becoming more social. Still not as much as I used to be, but at least I'm not turning down invitations to social events anymore and I've started actively seek company
    8) Women flirt with me everywhere I go. I don't know why, maybe adopting healthier life style makes the difference, who knows.
    9) Cravings to view pornography are completely gone. I do get some flashbacks now and then but I learned to observe my thoughts and not act on them

    I apologize for the long post. I hope it helps someone find a way out of addiction nightmare.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  2. Hros

    Hros Fapstronaut

    Congratulations man, excellent work! Sounds like life has really turned around for you.
    Arms.R.heavy and Fenix Rising like this.
  3. Varg

    Varg Fapstronaut

    Good job!!! Be proud of yourself, thank you for motivation!!!
    wallieboy92 and Fenix Rising like this.
  4. Bull87

    Bull87 Fapstronaut


    Thank you for taking the time to post this. Very insightful. I’m on day 97 today. This has been the hardest thing I’ve done in life. The quote that stood out to me was “If one just abstains from active addiction, he/she will soon relapse or develop cross addiction to help him/her with buildup pain and emptiness”. And in a way that’s what I have been doing. I have done 97 days of journal entry and that has helped tremendously. But other than that, I’m just waiting for the anxiety to pass, for the intrusive thoughts to go away, for the feeling of up and down depression to subside. But I’m not creating a new life for myself. There are some underlying reasons which I’m starting therapy in 3 days and I hope we will get to some root issues. But again, thanks for posting your story, it brings me hope.
    ares72 and Fenix Rising like this.
  5. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

    Thanks, I'm glad you find the post useful. If I may give you some tips how to deal with depression and anxiety. First therapy works great for identifying underlying reasons, but knowing what is causing you discomfort won't cure it. Shrinks usually offer SSRIs and anxiolytics as a solution coupled with long talk therapy but this has very limited efficiency for most people plus it makes you drug dependent often for years or even for life with all nasty side effects that can bring. It's basically replacing PMO for pills to manage cope with life. I've done the counseling and take SSRIs&anxiolytics years back but that's not the solution. They just numb your emotions and do nothing to solve an underlying issue.

    Luckily I came across my current doc who is very down to earth person. He said to me something like: " Pills can't cure your soul. You know what caused the trauma in your childhood now. This resulted in your low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. No matter how much you talk about it, that will not solve the problem that you have. Now it's time to take actions not talk. Seek and implement active solutions" and he handed me dr. Ilardi's book.

    So what have been the steps to put my depression/anxiety at rest(I'm not saying cured it because you never know if it's coming back)?
    1. Make peace with your past -> Aug 18, 2019 accept it, forgive and let go. Holding on to anger/resentment will only eat you up inside
    2. Sleep -> A moment ago 8-9 hour a day preferably between 11pm and 2am ("Sleep is the best meditation" - Dalai Lama)
    3. Diet -> don't eat processed food. Cook meals yourself if possible. Drink 3 liters of water daily. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Don't eat food with added sugar in it.
    -> supplements I take: fish oil (Omega 3), vitamin B complex, Vitamin D3, Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium
    4. Exercise -> Aug 6, 2019 do at least 30 minutes of walking on fresh air every day (I started doing 30 min walk and ended up with running/cycling for 60-90 minutes daily)
    5. Wim Hof method -> Aug 20, 2019 (helped me cope with anxiety as much as anxiolytics did, but without ups and downs anxiolytics bring you. I've become more calm all the time)

    I could write you about prayer, meditation, connection with higher power, importance of gratitude etc. but I'd be just preaching, because I didn't implement them in my life at the current stage of recovery. But these 5 steps do work if you implement them on daily basis. It's not an easy thing to do, but it can be done. There is something called 5-second rule which helped me with my discipline tremendously:

    5-second rule book: The 5 Second Rule - Mel Robbins
    Self-discipline is uncomfortable. The brain is programmed to do what's comfortable for it. Neurological research have proved that if you want to accomplish anything uncomfortable, you have 5 seconds to accomplish that, before your brain will start to talk you out of it. For example: As soon as alarm goes off you need to jump straight out of bed. When it's time to step under cold shower, go for a walk etc, you should not think about it, but just do it. This applies even when dating. If you like someone across the room just approach her, say hi and invite her for a drink. The longer you think about it slimmer are the chances you'll actually do it as your brain will make 100 excuses why not to do it and opportunity will go away.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  6. Innervision

    Innervision Fapstronaut

    Thanks for such inspiring post! You write very well and your ideas are exposed with crystal clarity. It's interesting how, through different paths, we get to the same basic truths and methods, such as investing on self-awareness, exercise, healthy lifestyle and so on. Hope you much progress and realization on your journey, all the best!
  7. partems

    partems Fapstronaut


    I have quite the same terms of PMO and for me it’s so valuable to read all your posts.

    I am in 181 day of monk mode today and reading your current state for me is some kind of nearest future) because what you have described previously similar to what I feel/felt before with depression and anxiety.

    Thank you! and please keep going!
    Dexter Moran and Fenix Rising like this.
  8. FrenchOliver

    FrenchOliver Fapstronaut

  9. Bull87

    Bull87 Fapstronaut


    Thank you! These are some practical tips. And I’ll look up these names/methods/books you mentioned.
    Fenix Rising likes this.
  10. UK Lad

    UK Lad Fapstronaut

    Amazing story I’m glad you are nearly there. If Depression goes then there is much hope. I’m on day 400. Was suppose to be o day 495. I reset by 50 and 40 days due to two very minor glimpses of porn recently. It’s only right I guess.

    When youre sleeping it rewire your brain a lot. Also let your phone die out before 9pm. Charge it in morning.

    I hope you get there man.
  11. terens

    terens Fapstronaut

    Such and educational and giving post thank you for sharing your story :) great work
    Fenix Rising likes this.
  12. wallieboy92

    wallieboy92 Fapstronaut

    Thanks for the incredible post. You're awesome! Keep up the good work.
    Fenix Rising likes this.
  13. Dexter Moran

    Dexter Moran Fapstronaut

    My dear friend thank you for sharing. I can relate to everything you have written. I have struggled with PMO addiction for 9 years. But my battle with depression has lasted my entire life.
    I will certainly access the links you have provided. Keep up the good work and continue making posts. Thank you again. I intend to start my own journal soon. Perhaps you will find it useful.
    Fenix Rising likes this.
  14. on_a_mission4truth

    on_a_mission4truth Fapstronaut

    Nice post!
    Fenix Rising likes this.
  15. chillgorilla123

    chillgorilla123 Fapstronaut

    Thanks for sharing your insights, you've put in major effort to be proud of!!
    Dexter Moran and Fenix Rising like this.
  16. Watanabe

    Watanabe Fapstronaut

    Nice post and much appreciated, I'm feeling as flat as a pancake the last few weeks but this kind of stuff helps motivate me. Cheers
  17. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

    It takes a lot of practice, but it is. Well thoughts will come and go, reaction to them is crucial. Observe your thoughts when they occur and notice what kind of emotions they trigger. Be an outside observer of your own thoughts. Over time you will be able to dismiss to thought flow or redirect it from negative to positive direction.

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