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Fearless of triggers

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by ZenAF, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. ZenAF

    ZenAF Fapstronaut

    Disclaimer: My streak refers to no masturbation to porn. But I did look at porn during my streak. Never to use as fuel for my fantasy or to tease myself or anything like that. I'll explain in detail why I did it. I understand if you dismiss my input for not being a pure no porn streaker. However if you want to learn how I managed to be completely fearless of triggers and relapses continue reading.

    First a bit of background: I started watching porn when our home got internet, back in 2004 when I was 12. I had a lot of fun with it, but as I got into my twenties I got a feeling of the greed inside me that I had every time I watched. I decided firmly that I didn't want porn for the rest of my life, for many reasons, freedom being one of them but also to not bother my future wife with an addict.
    Two years ago I wanted to quit. And I couldn't. That's when I knew that I'm an addict. Half a year later I joined NoFap. What followed were a series of trial and error of various methods, all the classic stuff you guys are already aware of. It all amounted to 17 days PMO free as my best effort (until this streak) which, you know, is pretty weak.

    However I did learn many lessons from my relapses and failures. The strongest one was that I understood, that every relapse always came down to making a choice.
    I realized that I've played a game with myself when relapsing, a game that was based on lies:
    The first lie is that I told myself that I'm dead serious about quitting.
    The second lie is that the urges in the moment were too strong and "I couldn't help myself".

    To explain the first lie you need to understand some basic psychology. The psyche of a human being is layered. Your different states of mind, like anger, joyfulness, lust, thoughtfulness, conscientiousness, all act like different versions of you. That truth was discovered by famous psychologists like Freud and Jung and was later confirmed by neurobiologists who saw that the brain has different systems that act on their own accord and also have a way of harmonizing. Your conscious, or the "core you" so to speak, is what weighs what each side of you has to say and makes a decision (commonly depicted in movies as the little angel and the little devil sitting on the shoulder).
    The different parts of you all have, and this is crucial to know, different belief systems and goals. Because of that it is quite normal that you can have two opposing view points inside of you, as I'm sure you know from your own life. However, because most of our psyche is hidden in the unconscious we are often unaware of our inner intentions.

    That ignorance of our own hidden ambitions is at the very core of why people relapse. See you might think that your intense urges to watch porn come from your addicted neurobiology. And that's partly true, but that's just a symptom. The root cause is your lust, acting as a separate part of you, which still believes that porn has great value!

    So when I used to tell myself that I'm "serious about quitting", I was only aware of what the conscientious part of me wants. The part of me that cares about the best life in the long-term for me and kind of acts like a father. I'm sure you know what I'm referring to. However unconsciously my lust was still in no way ready to let go of porn.

    That's the setup that lead to the second lie. What I perceived as the "urges being too strong" was simply me not being able to stand against my own will. The truth was, every time, I relapsed because deep down I wanted to.

    So I realized that all the struggle and all the mental battles were caused by me not knowing what I truly want. I was split in two and therefor directionless.

    One day I read a part of a ginormous post by a chinese fellow on this forum, it was something like "6 years no relapse". He said one thing that struck a cord with me and helped profoundly. I paraphrase:
    If you're not serious about quitting porn, it's as hard as trying to punch through stone with your fist. But if you are serious it's as easy as punching through paper.

    This guy had it really figured out, 6 years porn free, and apparently if you do it right it's supposed to be easy.

    And I'm here to tell you, even tho that unfortunately offends some people, it is easy.
    The ease comes from the fact that you don't doubt yourself anymore. You don't doubt yourself anymore because you know what you want through and through.

    The fear of triggers and all the advice to avoid it has one single reason. People don't trust themselves. They know deep down, that all it takes is a memory of how good it feels, and the part inside them that still wants porn will bubble up and take a hold of them.
    Well for me it doesn't anymore. That's why I'm not worried about triggers or relapses. Quitting porn has become a relaxed waiting experience for me.

    If you understood what I've written so far you should have a hint of what I did. I first made the desires, reasoning and goals of my lust as conscious as possible. Then I started to decompose them through logic. Porn is a bad deal I told myself. It's not that it's not fun to PMO, it's that the costs are too high and there are way better alternatives in life. And to my surprise my lust listened to reason. Remembering all the bad feelings I had after relapses helped. Also that masturbation to fantasy is really just as good as watching porn and not even half as harmful. And sex is obviously way better than PMO by default, but when abstaining from porn it becomes incomparably better. A world of joy with no ceiling. Porn and sex is like a 20 cent sour chewing gum that gives you cancer next to a beef wellington with truffle sauce which adds 5 days to your lifespan.
    It took days and weeks of self-reflection, but I finally managed to change the value that porn has to me. That was last January.

    Essentially I synchronized the belief systems and goals of my different parts. I became of one mind regarding porn. See when you truly no longer want to PMO you don't have to be scared that you will betray yourself.

    I started this streak. But this time I didn't want to just rely on my change of mindset. I failed with the cold turkey approach too often in the past. And I learned from a famous clinical psychologist, J.B. Peterson, that if you keep failing at a goal aim lower. Succeeding at small improvements beats the hell out of constantly failing at large improvements.

    So for this streak I decided to not jerk off to porn for 75 days. But if I have the impulse to just look at it I won't stop myself. After 75 days I'll also stop looking at it.

    You might ask yourself at this point if all that talk was bs, because how can I still look at it if I don't want it? Well so far I've only changed the belief about using porn to jerk off. When it comes to simply enjoying the sight of hot chicks I have some more work to do.
    But I can say with all honesty not once during this streak did I come close to jerking off. It wasn't even an option for me. Most time's (like three times a week) when I'd open a porn site to peek, I'd close it after 2-3 minutes, because my brain knows there's nothing to get. So I pretty much just open it out of habit.
    Again I don't need to "fight my urges" or convince myself any further. It really does feel easy to not do it.
    Every time I look at porn now it's like a mental stink arises in my brain, which feels familiar yet unpleasant. I'd used to always bare it because that's just what porn is, but now my brain goes like "Do I have to endure this stink? No, of course not, let's close this shit."

    Which is why to me this is a success, because before I was a hardcore binge watcher, it used to be the first thing I did when I woke up and the last thing before I slept. And the only thing that I found good enough towards the end was sissy hypnosis and porn addict brainwash hypnosis, so you know, pretty much the worst stuff an addict can watch.

    I'm very relieved that this part of my life is behind me. I'm looking forward to have porn completely out of my life very soon.
    My sex life has improved drastically in the sense that I can enjoy the girl I'm with now for who and how she is in the moment, rather than having to imagine more dirty images during sex to satisfy my porn brain.
    I've reached a new level of trust in myself. Because I've witnessed the power of free will.

    So to close this off here's some advice that helped me immensely to get to this point:

    If it feels hard, you're fighting yourself, you're doing it wrong! If your mind feels at ease you're on the right path.

    NOTHING CAN FORCE YOUR HAND! Only your will.

    Your lust is a part of you. Make it your friend not an enemy.

    Brutal honesty about your own desires is the quickest way to break the delusions of your lust.

    Thank you for reading and thank you for this forum.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    GeeJ, Ra1, Clauss24 and 24 others like this.
  2. dannyboy91

    dannyboy91 Fapstronaut

    Great post, sounds like you have found a good way to rewire your brain on this stuff! I am hoping that I can do the same as for 10 years I've been fighting it without being able to break its hold on me. Thanks for the wisdom!
    Clauss24 and ZenAF like this.
  3. ZenAF

    ZenAF Fapstronaut

    Yeah the problem with other people's advice is that we rarely take it. That's just the nature of human beings. Just like the post that I read by the chinese fellow didn't "fix me". However what advice can do is put you on the right path of self-discovery, just like that one paragraph from that post did for me.
    But you have to find your own path, your own understanding of yourself, because the only wisdom that really sticks is the self earned one. Anyways, as long as you don't give up it's just a matter of time. ;)
    Clauss24 and Nekkhamma like this.
  4. slug175

    slug175 Fapstronaut

    Lots of wisdom in this post. The portion you wrote of the subconscious not being convinced to quit really resonates with me. I'm constantly telling myself that I'm done with porn, but then I relapse just a few days later. Like you said, I'm just lying to myself over and over. I'm working on getting my subconscious on the same page as my rational mind, but it isn't easy. I will get there though.
    Nekkhamma and ZenAF like this.
  5. ZenAF

    ZenAF Fapstronaut

    No it' not. What makes it difficult is that we have a certain romanticized idea of who we are, or better said, who we'd like to be. If that idea conflicts with the truth of the nature of our lust for example, we tend to turn a blind eye. Hence keeping important desires subconscious. Many desires and beliefs we hold are irrational tho and all it takes is to look at them clearly/consciously and we'll drop them. Clearing the fog so to speak.
    Clauss24 and slug175 like this.
  6. 4DCreator

    4DCreator Fapstronaut

    I am a bit confused. You have in your counter that you don't look at porn for 55 days and you actually look at porn. So your counter is showing false information.

    If you want to apply CBT on yourself to disconnect watching porn from masturbation that's ok nothing wrong with it. It should work, but porn will always flood your brain with dopamine as it is connected to natural sexual desire which you probably won't disconnect from as you have no access to that part of the brain. Then it is up to you how you manage your dopamine and how you act on it.
    Butterfly1988 and Buddhabro like this.
  7. ZenAF

    ZenAF Fapstronaut

    That's not quite right. The counter says "Without Porn" not "Didn't look at porn". The counter can be personalized for a reason. It's not here to enter a competition, in which case I'd be ok when you criticize it. But it's here to help us remember the milestones in our journey. Also you can't claim that I'm deceiving people since I've placed a disclaimer at the beginning of my post (which you didn't but it's implicit in your message).

    "Without porn" means no masturbation to porn, "Without porn masturbation" means without porn and without masturbation to fantasy, and "without porn masturbation orgasm" means all the before but also no sex. So when people reset their "Without Porn" counter it is generally because they've masturbated to porn, which I didn't do for 55 days.

    The fact is that there's very few people who do what I do, because when they look at porn they get triggered and relapse. So since this case of mine isn't common there's no appropriate setting in the counter. I could have set it to "Meeting my goals", which of course is also true, but when I started the streak I wasn't aware of that setting and also I think it doesn't sufficiently reflect the achievement of not masturbating to porn.
    Anyways I understand your sentiment to put my counter into question, since it isn't "pure", but I'm dismissing the implicit allegation of deception.
    What does CBT mean in this case?
    Yes I'm aware simply looking at the images will also release dopamine (but so will looking at a hot woman on the street by the way) and reinforce the "look at porn" pathways. As I said after 75 days I'll also stop looking at it to cut it out of my life for good. For now I'm happy I've got this far without struggle.
    Clauss24 likes this.
  8. 4DCreator

    4DCreator Fapstronaut

    CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) Without porn for me means without watching porn images because even watching porn images is sort of soothing and self-medicating for a man. Everybody has a different opinion.
    Butterfly1988 and ZenAF like this.
  9. control your life

    control your life Distinguished Fapstronaut

    Thanks for sharing..keep strong
    Nekkhamma likes this.
  10. ZenAF

    ZenAF Fapstronaut

    You nailed it! We humans think and shape our reality according to narratives. That's why I was suspicious early on of a lot of narratives that are pushed on this forums that use terms like "fighting urges" "battle" "resist at all costs" etc. Well you only fight things that are powerful, otherwise it's not a fight. So you make these urges more powerful through your narrative that you choose.

    I've noticed the same thing as you, when I started to become serious about quitting and realized how addicted I am, that's when the urges became the most powerful of all my time consuming porn. But it's because I antagonized them, made my lust my enemy, when in fact, I was afraid of myself. The power of porn is just a mirror of your own desire.
  11. I can agree with you in total that brutal honesty will help with breaking this. That just goes back to being self-aware of who you are and what you’re capable of. Thanks for this and i’m glad you found a method that helps with you. Hope you can be like that guy who is 6 years and counting.
    ZenAF likes this.
  12. Great work, sensible chap.
    The 'mental stink' bit is very familiar, also. Horrible feeling.
  13. Andreid

    Andreid Fapstronaut
    NoFap Defender

    Wow, man, you are very smart if you've figured out that 'algorithm'. I didn't realize you can be friend with your lost and use it in your advantage. I will consider your wise words from now on in life. Who knows, maybe my addiction will be gone in no time. Thanks!
  14. ZenAF

    ZenAF Fapstronaut

    Thanks man, I hope you get there!
    I don't take much credit for this knowledge, I'm just putting pieces together that we've got handed down by great men who dedicated their lives to understand people.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  15. Andreid

    Andreid Fapstronaut
    NoFap Defender

    Yeah, I know you read a lot before in order to get to that conclusion, but you saw a new perspective some of us couldn't figure in all these years.
  16. letter

    letter Distinguished Fapstronaut

    My Journal

    Abstaining from PMO and expecting magical changes to happen is like trying to catch the wind in a bag. You just gotta let the wind flow through your hair as you change your mind. You don't need to catch it, it catches you.

    Some of my greatest victories against PMO happened right in the worst parts of my PMO-addiction-habits. The changes happened through stuff I used to be so ashamed of. The abstinence & change of habits came easily after I had unlocked this, knowing that I needed to change myself to change my habits. Change my mind to change my life.

    The other way around...so difficult.

    Thanks for sharing, so glad you made it through :)
  17. This is great.

    Yes, I do need to find my own motivations and work with those, as opposed to neglecting them.
  18. On second thought, I think this could be a ground breaking approach.

    Perhaps this is why there is so much struggle in avoiding PMO - we keep fighting our urges instead of coming to terms with them.
    Trolimp2xm likes this.
  19. ZenAF

    ZenAF Fapstronaut

    Well the problem is that people approach themselves too scientifically so to speak. They watch all these videos on addiction and how their brains are messed up through porn. They learn that the addiction is deepened by watching more porn. So they come to the simplistic answer that all they gotta do is to not give in to the urges for long enough and the brain slowly stops being addicted. And then they soon figure out that it's hard as fuck to not give in to those urges. And based on what they know they think the reason for why it's so hard is because they're just really addicted. So they try to fight back even harder, reaching for more and more desperate measures. Not realizing they're trying to drive a car with the breaks on.

    All you do when you suppress your urges is you load them up with power like a rubber band and they snap back twice as hard. You can't treat yourself like a dumb animal that doesn't know what it's doing and then just try to lock yourself into a cage. People need to realize that a part of them wants porn and that part isn't dumb, it has the same access to your intelligence like the conscious you has and it will use every trick in the book to get what it wants. Trying to suppress it will never work in the long term. Instead they should make it conscious, understand the many reasons why they go after porn: arousal, curiosity, self-loathing, being in touch with evil, boredom, escape, etc. And then rearrange their beliefs.

    I know this is not easy to understand. All I know is that this method works and it works so drastically better than what I did before that it must be because of how I changed my thoughts about porn. But it's hard for me to articulate and summarize exactly what does the trick. Because it's many things at once that play together and make it work. This thread has been my best shot so far at explaining myself, but I'll keep trying to make it more understandable.
  20. Thank you for this insightful thread. The psychology involved in your approach is similar to what I try to practice; that is, trying to be mindful of what's going on in the "lower" levels of my psyche, to bring the thoughts/urges to my awareness so I can put a space between them and my conscious self. Thank you for articulating this so well. Cheers! :)
    Nekkhamma, ZenAF and Deleted Account like this.

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