An e-mail to a friend - tactics and strategy

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by Deleted Account, Nov 9, 2020.

  1. I first posted this on an accountability group/sub-forum, sharing my experience with NoFap. Then later I sent this to a few friends of mine who are hoping to overcome PMO. But I thought it would be best to post it here as I feel it would benefit many more fapstronauts.

    Please ignore the religious content in this text. Also please note that I wrote the email as if I was addressing him directly (like the way we usually write emails or letters) - please bear this in mind when reading this. Hope you can come with good suggestions to improve the NoFap rebooting strategy.

    "MY JOURNEY TO SUCCESS FROM PMO & USEFUL STRATEGIES THAN HELPED ME

    P – Porn
    P-sub – Porn substitute
    M – Masturbation
    O – Orgasm
    T – Temptation
    U – Urge
    C – Craving
    Reset – resetting the NoFap day counter
    Fapstronaut – one who is rebooting

    I had a problem with PMO. But deep in my mind I did aspire to become a monastic so since then I have been looking on how to overcome my desire to PMO. In early 2016 I came across NoFap on Google because I was curious as to how people who had the same problem as me overcame that. NoFap, in case you didn’t know is specifically made for those are addicted to PMO. Even though I did not fit the criteria for addiction I felt I needed to get involved sooner or later. It took me sometime to convince myself to join it given that I was reluctant to agree that PMO was a problem for me. But later in 2017 I joined. One does not have to be an addict to benefit from NoFap, and people join for various reasons. For me, it was just more than overcoming PMO and was to do with use that as a stepping stone to get onto full celibacy.

    People can do NoFap in anyway they like by setting their own goals and standards. But the typically recommended challenge is to go without PMO for 90 days. For addicts within a period of 90 days if they abstain from PMO then they are known to reboot (as in be the way they used to be before they developed the habit of PMO).

    I just joined and avoided PMO. I couldn’t go beyond a week in most streaks, and even the longer ones (the longest one I had before this was around 50 days) were dirty streaks (as in I did watch some P even though I did not MO). Overall, I treated the NoFap challenge like a passive process and this was the main reason that led to my repeated failure.

    My continued failure on trying to overcome PMO as well as taking the next step of celibacy came to an end when I became more conscious of the spiritually-oriented outlook on celibacy. This was around middle of 2019. As I told you through Whatsapp, I started reading ‘Practice of Brahmacharya’ by Swami Sivananda. I copy pasted the points he made into a word document. Then later I read ‘Brahmacharya: Celibacy' by Dada Bagawan. I later collected as many pdfs of ebooks and articles of Brahmacharya (spiritually-oriented celibacy) and put them in one folder hoping to read through all of them – this is still currently ongoing. Unfortunately there is not a single Brahmacharya book written by a Buddhist author, so I had to go to the next best thing available – sources from Hinduism.

    I started to spend days on 8 Precepts even outside of monasteries or retreats. There were times, even when I was at work I followed 8 precepts. This is not to say that this was necessary, but it was of help. Being under 8 Precepts in the lay life helped me change my attitude towards them. This is because I had this passive view that whiles at home it’s just the 5 Precepts and 8 Precepts are necessary when in monastery or retreats. This changed.

    Around this time I had Buddhist activities in line coming one after the other. I went on small retreats as well as staying in monasteries as a lay resident, helping out the monastics. This also included seeing teachers which I respected and brought out the best in me such as my root teacher HH Sakya Trichen. Also soon after finishing with one Buddhist activity and going to the next just added more courage and commitment to the celibacy vow. This is not to say that my streak did not fall – it did, but I managed to have streaks of 2 weeks and 3 weeks before relapsing/resetting which was a significant improvement.

    Also I was on the Facebook Brahmacharya group, and copy pasted important posts from them.

    As for NoFap streaks, my failure in them came to an end when I became optimistic as well as considering rebooting as an active process (instead of the mistaken view that it is passive). When I was out of the monastery at home I made sure that I watched at least one NoFap video every single day.

    Two main methods that helped me was to do 5 Tibetan Rites daily and do cold showers first thing in the morning either with Wim Hof breathing or without. I am currently looking deeper into urge surfing – this is where you are supposed to use the breath to surf the urge. After a while I enjoyed getting urges, where I did not act upon them but allowed them to be there without feeding them or fighting them.

    I also did cue-exposure therapy, which was risky as I could have relapsed had my willpower failed. But it worked completely and now I am fully resistant to P. I would not recommend this to everyone, even though it did work for me. I followed detailed on a specific YouTube video that instructed how to do this properly. I followed them and did cue-exposure every single day for 50 days starting from around day 40 (which was when I became aware of it).

    I do not consider myself having fully accomplished celibacy as I am still fallible. But I have made it closer to the summit more than I have ever done, and I am continuing to take further steps to perfect my celibacy. I feel confident that even if I was to take up robes now, I won’t have any problem with the celibacy vow at all.

    Here is a list of things I did differently (and hope to do in the future) in this current streak which I didn’t do before. Feel free to take onboard whichever you will think that you will find useful.

    1. ELIMINATION
    I deleted all P images on my laptop and desktop computer. I deleted my personal Instagram account as this was a starting point where I would look up photos of thots and then later find myself PMO. I cleared all history, passwords, cookies from my browser. Deleted any favorites/bookmarks which had P or P-sub.

    2. NEW BROWSER
    I used to use mostly Google Chrome and apart from using it for normal surfing, this was the browser that I used to P and then later MO. So I started using other browsers that were on the computer – Opera and Firefox. I used Firefox for normal surfing and Opera I used specifically for NoFap and NoFap related issues.

    3. NEW YOUTUBE ACCOUNT
    I had subscribed to too many channels on my personal YouTube account. So I opened up a new one, mostly for NoFap. It was through this new YouTube channel that I subscribed to channels that had content on NoFap. It was through this YouTube channels that I watched videos on NoFap on a daily basis. Whiles watching the various NoFap videos I made short notes on a Word document. I still havnt reached the end of this so this is an ongoing project where I hope to collect all the points from as many videos as I can and set up a proper pathway to properly rebooting – with the view to helping others who have PMO issues. Having this new YouTube account means that I don’t comes across P-sub content like in my previous YouTube channel. This doesn’t mean that I deleted my old one, I still have that one. But I use my new one more often and for the purpose of self-improvement and most of that is NoFap related.

    4. JOURNAL
    I started my journal on NoFap and maintained a log of that on a regular basis. Even though I did not do it daily, I still put entries of how certain days were. If you come on NoFap I can show you my journal. But later before I moved to the monastery I got a notebook and used this to do my NoFap journaling. I called my journal Brahmacharya/NoFap journal. I used a template to give myself a score and then write down my reflection for each day. I can share more details on templates. One of the main aspects of the template I used was the ‘8 Breaks of Brahmacharya’ (yes I know this is Hindu, but I did not see a direct contradiction with Buddhist Brahmacharya). Each and every day I made sure that I would not break any of the 8 aspects of Brahmacharya (with some notable exceptions like when I was listening to erotica). I am currently maintain a written journal where I write reflections every day. These days I have hardly much to write about as thoughts of sexual indulgence come to my mind seldom. I hope to read Mark Quipett’s free ebook called The Metascript Method which explains a highly effective way of journaling which is designed to change behaviors and habits for the better. The main purpose of reflection is to figure out how TUC arises and to figure out precursor thoughts and activities which later lead to TUC which can later lead to PMO. Then it helps to eliminate precursors or at least to be aware of them if we encounter them. This can only be identified through active reflection by maintaining a journal.

    5. NOFAP
    I got more involved in NoFap where even though I did not log in every day I did make use of it more often than not. In NoFap there is a section on Success Stories and here I read a few. I started interacting more with other fapstronauts and this means that I was being encouraged by others as well as I was encouraging others. The feeling of being part of a group which is focused on a single goal itself is motivating enough. In my mind I knew it was important not to develop a cult mentality or dependency around it because this is not healthy either. But during the early days I felt it was important to feel that we are all in this struggle together marching in one direction as one regardless of whatever our purposes are behind NoFap. I became relatively more active on the Buddhist group in NoFap and I made posts in here.

    6. NOFAP & RELATED RESOURCES
    I read a few kindle ebooks and highlighted strategies that the authors used. I made a list of books to read including Gary Wilson’s ‘Your Brain on Porn’. Since I have already rebooted long before one might call further continuation with this pointless. Call it overkill, but I hope to get to the bottom of this because I have a plan to help others reboot also. It is highly recommended to read the NoFap User Guide which is available on pdf given freely by NoFap. In addition to this I started by reading Mark Quipett’s Reboot Regimen which is also a free ebook given by Mark Quipett. You can get it easily from a Google search, but it is here on this email. Currently I am reading Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking which is based on Alan Carr’s book on overcoming smoking addiction. I also started reading ‘Soaring Eagle’s Rebooting as the Best Remedy’. Soaring Eagle developed health problems secondary to PMO. He reversed not only his PMO addiction but recovered his health by full abstinence for 6 years. This is living proof that PMO not only damages our mind but our bodies too. I still havnt finished the book but I will be. When I was at home, I made sure I watched NoFap videos on YouTube every single day.

    7. BRAHMACHARYA RESOURCES
    Practice of Brahmacharya by Swami Sivananda was the catalyst from the spiritual point of view. Brahmacharya: Celibacy by Dada Bagawan reinforced this further. These two books gave me a massive momentum with a considerable thrust in my streak and its impetus even continues in me today. I read some articles on Brahmacharya. I copy pasted important points from both these texts. I later downloaded various Brahmacharya articles and a few ebooks. I have one big Word Document where I have made short notes on whichever the Brahmacharya content I have gone through. This is also an ongoing project where I will continue to read resources, copy-paste essential information on the word document. Later when that is finished I will filter off the content which is directly in contradiction with Buddhism (such as the view of God and view of eternal self just to name a few). Then after the filtering and distilling the content I hope to write down a concise strategy to initiate, maintain and prevent the degeneration of Brahmacharya from a Buddhist point of view. So far there is not a single of Buddhist book on Brahmacharya that I could find so I guess this book has to get written through me, although I wish for some Buddhist author to write it given that there are far more capable celibates in the Buddhist world where I am just new to it. I don’t mean to say this in a conceited manner, and I hope I don’t give you this type of vibe. However, in Buddhist literature we are yet to see a mainstream book Brahmacharya by a Buddhist author. I cant say when this will happen, but this is currently an idea in the back of my head. I am not considering this as a strict aim, but if it happens as a consequence of me looking up useful information as well as being effortlessly celibate, then it will be for the benefit of Buddhists who aspire to live according to a lifestyle where celibacy is an essential aspect of that (such as being a monastic).

    8. 8 PRECEPTS
    Before going to live in the monastery since the end of December, I made effort to follow the 8 Precepts 3 months prior to that. I did not do this perfectly as I did watch movies and shows on some days as well as listened to music. My main focus was the celibacy and the rest of the additional precepts were like the shell covering the celibacy precept. Also some days it was a bit late when I had lunch. But at least I am glad I made an effort and it is difficult to do things perfectly from day 1. Even living here in the monastery I did listen to music on some days and one day I watched an entire film even though I wasn’t supposed to. However the celibacy precept was fully intact.

    9. COLD SHOWERS (+/- WIM HOF BREATHING)
    When I was at home around September, I started doing cold showers early morning. I tried to do Wim Hof breathing prior to cold shower as this helps to optimize the effects of the cold shower on the body and mind. In the past, usually when I wake up in the morning there is the desire to be comfy and do a bit of PMO. But taking cold showers in the morning meant that I was ready to face the day and not stay in a comfort zone. PMO is a highly rewarding yet very low value activity. Cold showers were the exact opposite as this is not a rewarding activity yet very high value. So I do have to say that cold showers, because it was diametrically opposed to PMO, it played a major part in keeping my reboot stable during the early days of my streak. In addition to an early morning cold shower, I also took additional cold showers when I develop TU or even TUC. Now I can manage to stay celibate and deal with urges without cold showers, but still I continue with cold showers whenever I can because I really felt the benefits and want to keep going.

    10. THE 5 TIBETAN RITES (AND THE 6TH TIBETAN RITE)
    I started doing the 5 Tibetan Rites at home as well as in the monastery. The reason why I did this was because there is a 6th Tibetan Rite which can be done by celibates only, and only when one develops an urge. The idea is that when one gets an urge, one can do the 6th Rite. One can repeat the 6th Rite as many times as necessary, but for me I found that when I do it properly, even once is enough. A word of caution – 6th Tibetan Rite should only be done when having an urge and only if celibate (like when we are single, especially trying to abstain from PMO). Also one should not take a cold shower immediately after the 5 Tibetan Rites. The 6th Tibetan Rite can help in instances where one can’t do a cold shower – such as when having a cold/flu, feeling unwell.

    11. URGE SURFING
    This is like a meditation exercise where one switched from focusing on the breath and the body instead of feeding the urge at the level of the mind. I am still experimenting with this so I cant recommend this fully. For now I have got audiotracks on my iPad that I listen to from time to time to get the hang of it. If I do get the full hang of it where I can use it like a device whenever I get an urge (which is very these days), it means I can switch onto it whenever I want, even when I see a little bit of T before it completely develops into U. If this works then later I plan to develop a Buddhist-oriented version of urge surfing by adding applied Vipassana, applied Anapanasati and applied Metta onto main fold of urge surfing.

    12. SETTING THE NARRATIVE REGULARLY
    I wrote on my written journal as well as included some sheets on my plastic folder about the NoFap/Brahmacharya narrative I was meant to keep reminding myself on a regular basis. I havnt been particularly good at this but I did this whenever I felt I needed to remind myself as opposed to not doing it at all. On my Brahmacharya/NoFap journal I wrote my plans and the reason why I am doing NoFap. I also wrote as to what I would think would happen to me in 3 years I continued to fail in NoFap. Inside my folder with plastic wallets, I have documents which have the mindset I need to keep. I havnt made use of this as much as I intended to and I hope to improve on this. But even reading and taking the content into heart, itself gives a huge booster. When the narrative doesn’t get set up regularly that is when we are likely to fail. Even the times where I happened to have urges unintentionally were times when the narrative was out of my mind.

    13. CUE-EXPOSURE THERAPY
    Okay I have to be honest that this was a huge risk that I took, but I put trust in myself to do it. Basically cue-exposure therapy is about briefly exposing myself to a trigger (P) and then closing the window down followed by contemplating on a reflection. This is one ‘rep’ (like rep in exercise in the gym). I started by doing 5 reps each day and then increased this to 10 reps. I did this for 50 odd days and now I am super-resistant to P. In this current phase on NoFap I don’t do cue-exposure therapy, but after I finish this phase I may include cue-exposure therapy once again.

    14. EMERGENCY BRAKE
    This is the last resort, in case if I am dangerous on the verge of starting M. For me, I image someone pulling a gun to my mother’s head and then saying, “if you M then I will pull the trigger”. I also try to imagine this as real and that I am really there in the scene. So this means that M is not an option. I know this is not good to use this every time frequently as this has powerful Sankhara. But I very very rarely got to the situation to use this and didn’t have to use this ever since my reboot. But it is there as an effective emergency brake to use in case if things get out of hand. It’s because now I have eliminated M as an option, it not even in question.

    15. IDENTIFYING PRECURSORS
    PMO may not happen on its own. Sometimes there can be precursors which seem innocuous or normal but later encourage TUC which in turn makes us reach out to PMO. With me, when I looked back, some PMO sessions started from Instagram when I was looking up thots. Because of this I deleted my personal Instagram account. Some encourage just to unfollow accounts with P-sub but I mostly used Instagram for this purpose. I opened a separate Buddhist oriented Instagram account where I only follow Buddhist Instagram accounts. As for the personal Instagram account I knew that it was a major reason why I had to keep resetting my NoFap counter and my account was of no other use to me either. Another precursor was from my normal YouTube account. YouTube would suggest me videos, some of them which had thots in them. After watching one P-sub video after another, I would later develop TUC and then move onto PMO in a day. So I started a new YouTube account specifically for NoFap where YouTube would suggest me content related to the purpose I was using it for from this new account in a totally different browser (Opera). So like this I identified typical precursors and found ways to avoid them.

    16. REFLECTING ON THE FEELING AFTER PMO
    I remind myself of the feeling after a PMO session. Soon after PMO I would feel less motivated, lethargic and feel like taking a nap. So to keep my streak going on, I reminded myself of the unpleasant aftertaste of PMO which made me turn away from it every time curiosity developed in me to PMO one more time. I don’t have to rely on this anymore, but earlier in the streak it was of use to reflect upon from time to time."
     
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