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Grade A Addiction Personality - Growing Guide on how I beat many addictions

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by Sheet, May 8, 2023.

  1. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    This is one is the hardest. Alcohol withdrawal makes you itchy. Nicotine makes you aggressive and sugar is just so tiresome, but this one is the hardest.

    I think it is helpful and therapeutic to write about your struggles as well as read them and reflect on your own behavior. However, this is thread takes a different approach. I wanted to share and write about some of the strategies to fight the little thing inside your brain which is constantly demanding the things you crave so much, why it craves it and how to deal with it. I am by no means a trained scientist but I studied my fair share of neurobiology, cognitive science and psychology so I can safely avoid spreading misinformation. And, as the title teased, I am in fact a diagnosed grade A addiction personality, just like my pa and his pa before him. I fought alcoholism, nicotine addiction, methylphenidate (Ritalin) addiction and gaming. On top of that I am punching a bag of sugar as we speak but this fight is not going so well. But I guess for all our deranged attention spans sake, I will keep it short. The following post will tell you daily about the things I discovered and the strategies that helped me overcoming my other addictions. Hopefully it will work on porn too.

    Number one thing and the only thing which kept my mother from committing suicide the past 30 years…

    Do it TOMORROW

    It is as simple as it is effective. If you strongly believe that you will give in tomorrow or in a few hours your brains “reward centre” will honor that with a check of happy hormones. Just never cash in that check. It really doesn’t matter that you not so secretly plan to not do it. Because you going to. Just tomorrow. And if tomorrow comes… just do it the next day. The human being is capable of tremendous torment as long as it is for a short and oversee able amount of time. So for my part I know that I am capable of withstanding the urges when it’s only for next 10 Hours or so.

    [Disclaimer: If you adapted a “Not today” strategy that is fine as well. Just keep in mind that positive plans and emotions are often more effective in that matter, but as we say to the god of death “not today”… is fine aswell]


    [Disclaimer: English is not my mother tongue nor the language I had my studies in so I am avoiding too complex terminology for the sake of the needs of translation and general intelligibility – feel free to correct me if something has a different meaning than intended]
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2023
  2. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    Introducing… Mr. Swine! Man does he scream sometimes.

    On day 5 of my Porn Cleanse, minding my own business and only because of an unfortunate auto correct in my search engine of choice he appeared like a flash bang from one ear to another. My old fried Mr. Swine. Immediately as he knows he has just a little time before he must return to the void he starts arguing. ‘Just this one time’, ‘You had a good streak, it is time to reward yourself’, ‘I read somewhere that completely going cold turkey is very bad for your mental health’ and so on and blah blah blah…


    In addition to his usual routine of promising and lying and in difference to for example to alcohol he has become quite the visual artist too. And as all my neurons connected to some spicey memories started blasting I decided to write down Tip Number Two:

    Personify and Isolate your addiction memory. Or to channel your inner Junky.

    You know how your mouth waters if you see the waiter with your food or when the microwave makes the characteristic ding noise? Or how much you enjoy the fizzy sound a Can of beer makes when you open it? Your Addiction Memory, the part of your brain which makes the connections between sensory impressions and the sweet sweet happy juices. And as Night follows Day you will start arguing with yourself, trying to convince you, to persuade you. Often with the same effectiveness on how we convince ourselves that today’s circumstance won’t allow a visit to the gym but a ordering pizza a second time this week is a damn fine idea. Winning those arguments is a particularly difficult hurdle in addiction recovery and a topic for a later post.
    Here let’s focus on the benefits of personifying all those thoughts and cravings.

    1. You will be able to tell the difference between the sources of your thoughts.
    There is the You who visited this forum, decided to do NoFap and was tired of dedicating so much of your life to this unhealthy addiction and there is the part of the brain who thinks binging now because you are home alone, is a pretty great idea. It can’t be the same You, can it? Scientifically speaking it is, but humans tend to differ parts of your brain since the dawn of time. Just research how old the ‘heart and soul’ metaphor really is. If you can decide with your heart or with your head then you can surely say that the part of you who wants to relapse right now is not the whole You.

    2. It really helps to antagonize these parts of you.
    A addiction is a faceless feeling always creeping up on us and often addicts start hating themselves which leads to even less happiness and a bigger craving. So, picturing something you can feel resentment towards is a good tool not to drift into a downward spiral

    3. It scales the issue down.
    What would you say is more difficult? Changing who you are or changing a behavior which is only an isolated part of you? Because you are most likely a wonderful person, only the little part in your brain which screams dopamine, dopamine is a bit sucky.

    Try it for yourself, give it a name, a gender or a personality and start noticing what you want and how Mr. Swine tries to sabotage you.


    [Disclaimer: This is a visualizing technique to become more reflexive NOT an excuse for unmoral behavior. You still bear the consequences of your actions. If Mr. Swine lies to a loved one for example you are still at fault, similar if your dog shits on the sidewalk and you will have to pick it up, because in the end the dog will not be fined. You will]
     
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  3. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    One simple Trick

    Feeling very challenged by this new withdrawal this Tip Number Three will be a rather short one:

    Drink half a liter of Water or 16oz of Water.

    Yes, it is straightforward as that. Not every tip is going to need the same mental capacities as explaining someone the functionality of magnetic resonance imaging via charades. If the urges rise and your inner demon starts screaming give your body something to do.
    The best thing is cold sparkling water. And it needs to be in one sitting as fast as it is not torturing yourself. I could bore you and myself and explain how messenger substances need a balanced water regulation to function but as I am in happy hormone deficiency right now, I rather not.
     
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  4. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    Know your enemy

    Nothing kills the lust for porn more for me than researching how damaging it is to your brain.

    But more important for us is to understand, that porn addiction is nothing more than faulty wiring in our brains. No evil entity how tries to tempt you with unholiness, not a part of your personality. It is nothing more that wrongly connected neurological conduits which f°°k up our hormonal balance.
    So here is Tip Number Four:

    Research the precise functionality of your addiction.

    Our brains a wired to respond to sexual stimulations with a happy hormone called dopamine. One of its primary functions of this neurotransmitter is reward anticipation and gratification. BUT it also works as a programming tool so to speak for memories and information. These connections or wiring to keep the metaphor from above alive get stronger with repetition. So really harmful thing is, besides the ability to remember porn scences better than Spanish vocabulary, that the amount of dopamine we get, when we watch porn is simply too much. The aftermath is, just like other substances which are hyper-stimulating, desensitizes and damages our whole reward system. So, we become unable to feel or feel less joy from natural sources like pride and laughter and instead need to consume increasingly ‘exotic’ content.

    For me personally it was always less scary to know what is going on then having my imagination run havoc. Like if a dermatologist identifies your mole as harmless and not as skin cancer, it is important to know that we have a condition which has causes and which can be reverted or at least treated. There are a lot of good studies out there but I would recommend not watching any documentaries if you still in a vulnerable state since those tend to have explicit imagery in them which is incredible stupid and ironic.
     
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  5. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    You have Potential! A potential to become addicted that is.

    Today Mr. Swine is screaming incredibly loud and bombarding me with images and tricky lies to get me to relapse. It got so bad; I even did sport. In hard cases where I am chemically unhappy, I can’t hinder myself for ironically thanking my parents for my fucked up brain. Yes, it is a coping mechanism to reduce the guilt I am feeling but there is some truth in the fact that your parents are responsible for your porn addiction as well.

    The word ‘addiction potential’ has two meanings in my native language. For one it is the potential for a substance or a habit to make someone addicted to it. It is estimated how often you have to use a habit or substance before you become addicted, not with hard numbers but with probability. For example, Nicotine, Sugar, Painkillers and Alcohol have a high likeliness of making you addicted to them and Cannabis and Sport have a low likeliness of making you an addict. (In the case of porn the studies aren’t completed yet but it is discussed, that porn has a real low addiction potential because you are not becoming addicted after 50 or even a 200 porn videos. But this is also what makes it so dangerous because a lot of people consume porn daily for many years not knowing how addicting it has become.) So smoking a hundred cigarettes will more likely make you addicted that going to the gym a 100 times.


    But why are these likelihoods so vague? It is because we as humans get addicted differently fast. And the differences are enormous. Here comes the second meaning of the word addiction potential into play. It is your potential to get addicted and that is what differentiated between people. So some people can go clubbing stimed out of their mind for years and develop no addiction and others like me, only do Ritalin about 8 times and get addicted to it. That is why I am a so-called grade A Addiction personality. I have a very high likelihood of becoming addicted to substances and habits. I have to emphasize that these are things that therapists and trained medical personnel determine and not strangers on the internet. But it is important to at least try to Tip Number 5:

    Try to figure out how likely it is for you to get addicted.

    Mainly it depends on two factors and know it is going to make sense why a shat on my parents in the beginning:


    · Individual Factors:


    Genetics. Did you or someone in your family has an addiction or multiple?
    Did you start consuming in your adolescence phase?
    Are you stressed, pressured or vulnerable for anxieties?
    Do you have psychological disorders?
    Are you hyperactive or have an attention deficiency?
    Where you traumatized as a child?



    · Social surroundings


    Is there conflict, abuse, or neglect in the family?
    Do parents approve or approve of substance use?


    Do you have a lower socioeconomic status?
    Are substances such as alcohol or other drugs readily available or cheap to purchase?
    Are there common norms or ideas that favor consumption?
    Are there so-called peer groups that also consume substances?

    Do you have poor academic performance?
    Is substance use perceived as high among classmates?
    Does substance use poorly controlled in school?
    Don't students see school as rewarding or meaningful, so their commitment to school wanes?


    Is there high performance and competitive pressure?
    Is the scope for decision-making or the control over one's own actions felt to be small?
    Does the person feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed?


    The list goes on and gets more specific but as an orientation; The more questions you answered with yes the higher is the risk for you to become addicted. Again, not as an absolute but a support for you to decipher the reasons why you became addicted to porn. Clearly listing those reasons helps us deal with them but that is a topic for another Post.
     
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  6. Woodcutter74

    Woodcutter74 Fapstronaut

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    Sheet, thanks for taking the time to write this. Very educational and an eye opener as well. Because I have many addictions as well, I can relate to what you went through May I have permission to copy the link of your post on my page so others can benefit what you just shared here? Cheers mate. :)
     
  7. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    Please do. I plan on writing a tip everyday of the week for the next month. I am happy that some of you read these because I did not kid myself when I wrote this 'one is the hardest'. Freaking cigarettes were nothing compared to freakin porn :eek:
     
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  8. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    We have some reprogramming to do.

    Kicking this week off with an important tip but a rather hard one to follow through.

    Like every person with an addiction caused dopamine deficiency and a degenerated attention spam I can’t stress how hard this one is. But in the other hand I start remembering my favourite porn clips like there were good friends, clear as the day I saw them first. Which is rather frightening since I remember them quite clearly but forgot how to write the fauvorite, so it is time to cut some connection which will be this weeks focus. The final goal will be lesser dependance on instant gratification and the first step to that is Tip Number Six:

    Take your time.

    Ever noticed that you do mundane tasks in the fastest way possible? Whether it is cleaning or cooking or doing some tasks at your work which you have already done a hundred times before? Ever noticed that most of the time you change the video you are watching to another one before you finish it? Or you start a new game and rush and skip everything dialog and cutscenes and be annoyed that you can’t experience gameplay instantaneously? (And petting a dog or eating a meal is quite easy to enjoy slowly, right?) I do notice that daily. 16 Years of substance abuse and porn consumption have left me unable to enjoy anything that doesn’t spurt out happy hormones immediately. That my friends is a big problem, and it diminishes life quality the more we practice those habits. The crux is that relearning taking your time is boring as duck. I won’t sugar coat that. It is not noticeable right away either.
    A good start is taking three things you do everyday like making coffee, dressing yourself or going to the grocery store, even checking your emails or something and do it a little bit slower. Take those three things and dedicate some time which you would usually waste with porn and try to actively notice things you have not before. Like what sounds does your coffee machine make? How many different feels have the fabric of the different layers of your clothes? Is there an Icon in your email program you never pressed? Any little detail. The best is to try several but one in the beginning is enough.
    Even deliberately breathing is an effective training, through your nose into your stomach. Do your shoulders move up and down? Are there different ways to breathe to your nose? Keen your senses to feels and smells and sounds you usually actively fade out.
    This as an active practice will help you sensitize again. Furthermore, this is the baseline for these weeks following tips. And if you just try these, I kid you not, you will notice that rewiring your brain to something that is not dependent on the rush of dopamine porn provides us is indeed possible. Hang in there.
     
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  9. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    Happy Four

    Staying abstinent has difficulty spikes. Ever noticed that? If you are sad or bored it is way harder. Obviously by now we know that the reason for that is dopamine deficiency. In addition to that our hormonal balance fluctuate throughout the day. So, if you feel hard times rising up and Mr. Swine is reminding you of your urges just know that they won’t last the whole day. This is just self-therapeutic writing because mornings are the hardest for me and are far from today’s tip.

    Anyway, the next tip will be kind of embarrassing for some, and I always feel a little silly doing it so bear with me.
    The happiness researcher Richard Wiseman did an experiment once where he asked his probands if they would, they are happy people or unhappy once and then gave them a mundane task. The task was counting Ads in an newspaper. BUT on the second page there was an ad which read: “you can stop reading – this paper has 34 ads in it”.
    An overwhelming majority of the people who thought of themselves as happy found the ad where the unhappy bunch just counted through the whole paper.

    This experiment shows the connection between happiness and information processing. What has that to do with our current Situation? Easy, circling back to yesterdays tip it is proven, that people with dopamine deficiency have trouble processing new information or impressions and thus trouble finding sources of natural happiness. Ah yes finally the key to start reprogramming our brain. Sources of natural happiness. That is, not an instantaneous trick to use but more of a final goal. Natural Sources of happiness in combination of cutting porn induced connections and memory clumps is what you need to stay away from substance abuse in the long run which ofcourse works aswell for habits like gambling, shopping addiction and so on. Not to get ahead of ourself here is todays tip Number Seven:

    Follow the principle of quadruple happiness

    What you do is, and here comes the silly part, sit down in the evening and write down four moments of happiness you experienced through the day. That doesn’t need to be like winning the lottery. Small things are way more effective, like getting partingspace right infront of your home or hearing a song you once liked but forgotten about or how you made someone smile. Basically, anything which gave you just the slightest positive emotions for the moment. (Things that are happening on your screen or induced by a substance like sugar or fat, or alcohol do not count)

    You will see that after just a few days you will become more open to little moments of enjoyment and you can punch me in the face if that doesn’t change your perspective when you do it for over 60 days. You just have to do it every day. Here is mine from yesterday so maybe we can feel silly together.

    15. May

    Saw a squirrel dropping a nut in my apartment’s backyard, it was bamboozled where it went

    Youtube Music shuffled ‘Valhalla calling me’ which is a song a did not know and quite like

    I caught a mug which fell when I put them in the cupboard

    Learned some Spanish vocabulary even though I had like no dopamine for it but pushed through
     
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  10. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    Not this again!

    I secretly wished that this time around I won’t have to resolve to this tip but since Mr. Swines attention seeking screeching doesn’t decrease in a satisfactory frequency I guess I have to. In addition, I have less time today so another quick tip. The one I hate the most - Tip Number Eight:

    Eat less carbs. Eat more protein.

    Ah yes, the things that make every food so delicious and I have a tendency to eat to much of. Whether it is Pizza or Pasta or Potatoes or even Pancakes the carbohydrates are heavy in those. Sadly, they are also Tryptophane heavy which is an amino-acid which is ultimately converted into melatonin which makes you sleepy and drowsy.

    Protein-heavy diets are rich in tyrosine which is a precursor to dopamine.

    In a less bloated language:

    Low-carb diets = more dopamine = more to spare and less cravings and urges
    Carb-heavy diets = more melatonin = drowsy and sleepy.

    If you don’t have the energy to change your eating habits just do halve the carbs and double the protein. Say you are eating spaghetti and meatballs. Just eat halve the spaghetti and double the meatballs. Do that with every meal and you will notice the change once your metabolism adjusts. (Which is 3 – 10 Days usually) If you eat about 20% less than usual and 20% slower too the amount of dopamine to spare will hit you like a truck.

    [Disclaimer: Just like any withdrawal changing your eating habits has multiple stages which differentiate from person to person. For example: I feel wonderful the first week and have a bad mood around the second week and after that those periods get shorter till I am overall way happier – and way thinner – but it can have different stages for you so the single key to success is to not stray from this path until you have the hardest part of your rehabilitation behind you. With a functional hormonal balance there is less reason to follow through and you can result of going back to carbs again. Most people I know from AA tend to go back once they feel they are in the clear but personally I love pasta way too much to collectively bedevil all carbohydrates]
     
  11. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    Back to cutting

    Finally it is getting better! If I had to really struggle 15 Days like that with alcohol every time I relapsed, I would have stayed a very unhappy drunk.

    Nonetheless, the following tip is the continuation of reprogramming your gratification system and your addiction memory. But a huge disclaimer at the start here: DO NOT TRY THIS IF YOU ONLY IN 30 DAYS OR LESS. I will certainly wait till this guide is finished but it was the defining factor how I got over cigarettes and tobacco and helped me with alcohol a lot too. Be warned, here is advanced technique and Tip Number Nine:

    Rewire the memories and associated sensory impressions from porn to different things.

    We already established how certain memories are linked to our porn addictions and how this is simply how the brain works. The same reason you like grandma’s food so much. The taste is reminding you of happier days when you were a child because those memories and experiences are linked. The single factor which makes nostalgia so effective. With Porn of course the optical sensation of viewing images which causes your whole reproduction system to flood your brain with stimuli is linked to a ton of other stuff just like the smell of grandmas bread pudding. So the goal is weaken the connection around our porn memory knot which will ultimately lead to and radical decrease in triggers and thus makes resisting urges way easier.

    The first step is locating connected knots, like for me when I am home alone, booting up the Pc, sitting a certain way in my chair, an certain hour of the day, the smell of lotion, getting tissues ready, masturbation or having an erection chewing gum and of course boredom and low happy hormones. This of course differentiates from person to person. Now this is dangerous and difficult if you are in the early stages of recovery, because all these things are connected to porn consumption and the stronger the stimulus so stronger the urge to consume again will be!
    It is also important to try staying away from the closer connections which by porn of course are mild to highly erotic imagery.
    The second step is using a different stimuli and forcibly connecting it to another memory through repetition.
    An simple example: I loved drinking canned beer and only the sound of opening a can gave me a rush of dopamine. As I was ready to rewire I started drinking energy drinks. The high sugar and high caffeine functioned as strong stimuli and made it easy for my brain to connect the sound of opening a can to drinking energy drinks and not beer. After daily repetitions for over 2 weeks I started working out after I open a can and starting drinking after. Now the Sound of opening cans barely reminds me of the sensations of alcohol.
    The stimuli and the memory connection may vary but the method stays the same.
    Take A which is smell or sound or habit/action clearly associated with porn and try connecting it to B which is another in the best-case strong stimuli not associated with porn. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. After 2 to 3 Weeks Take B and try to connect it to C. Repeat. This way you will be able to safely experience stimuli a without or with a lesser reminder of porn. If you do that with multiple of these connections, you identified in the beginning, the porn knot in you head will become isolated and in the long run forgotten.

    I have the feeling this is really complicated so here is another hypothetical example:

    Say you used to watch Porn in Bed. Just exchange watching Porn with eating hot Chips. After enough repetition eat hot chips in the kitchen with your smartphone in your hand. You brain will soon associate watching your smartphone in bed with hot chips and not with porn.

    !Again! This technique requires passively activating your addiction memory and will trigger your urges. If you are not absolutely certain you can withstand then DO NOT TRY THIS.

    [Disclaimer: The reason why NoFap is helpful with qutting Porn for good is the same. Masturbation is the single strongest connection to Porn in your brain. People reporting returning to a healthy sexlife are the ones who were able to cut thoses connections. Porn =/= Orgasms]

    [Disclaimer: The most effective stimuli are often very bad for you like smoking, drinking and eating unhealthy food which is in the long run poison for your dopamine receptors. Pace yourself in any case and only use other unhealthy other substances if you are really desperate. Any stimuli like smelling the same parfume or even drinking water or pinching yourself will do, it will just make this harder. I plan on using a rubberband and lemons - No Joke]
     
  12. Sheet

    Sheet Fapstronaut

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    Go even harder.

    Over three weeks now and my urges show no sign of retreating to the back of my brain, which of course is completely normal, but I decided to channel any upcoming frustrated energy into an even more intense cleanse. Since last weeks psychological witchcraft this week focuses on chemistry.
    There are two elements which most of humankind lack in our diet due to the availability of high processed foods. You know the people in your peer groups who won’t shut up about how good they are feeling since they started drinking kale smoothies and lick mountains or whatever? Sadly they are right. It is safe to assume for me that we all lack Iron and Magnesium which is crucial for synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine. (If you want the studies for the link between those elements I suggest the following studies: Wako, Akira and Takada, Magnesium Attenuates a Striatal Dopamine Increase Induced by Anoxia in the Neonatal Rat Brain: An in Vivo Microdialysis Study // Youdimn, Ben-Shachar: Brain iron and dopamine receptor function)
    But if you just want to upgrade your shopping list to support your withdrawal, here comes Tip Number Ten:


    Increase your Iron and Magnesium input.

    By eating from the following food groups you will make it easier for your body to synthesize dopamine:


    - Fruits and Veggies, especially Broccoli, Spinach and Bananas
    - Unprocessed meats such as beef, chicken and turkey
    - Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel
    - Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt
    - Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
    - Unroasted Pumpkin Seeds
    - Dark chocolate
    - Eggs

    I discussed this with an ecotrophologist (Ökotrophologe; Not sure about the correct translation) in my university and she advised against iron supplements for people who do not menstruate. You can take magnesium supplements just fine, just make sure you also get enough vitamin C because without it your body will not be able to digest all that iron. On top of that the more you reduce caffeine and processed sugar the better.

    And for the love of whichever deity you fit suited praying to take L-tryptophan before you go sleeping. It helps you sleep, is available in most pharmacies and it is an essential building block for the synthesis of serotonin which is believed to be the long-term happiness hormone but more on that later this week.
     

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