Hello everyone, My name is Fran and I am super happy I have found about the NoFap community movement. All my praise to the founder Alex and all the fapstronauts for their courage to open their private life to fellow strangers to expel shame and welcome encouragement instead. I want to join this community because after being a NoFap without knowing about the movement, from 17 to 26 years old (I had sex with different girlfriends and some M during this time, but I had no addiction) I am now experiencing depression and addictive patterns one more time in my life. I will tell you then my stories in 2 part. Disclaimer! this is going to be a 10 minute read more or less, please understand this is my very first given occasion to make this public "confession". 1. My no fapping "golden age" Let me tell you about my pre NoFap no fapping "golden age". Ten/eleven years ago, I was an italian lonely 15 / 16 teenager with low self-esteem, addiction to video games, poor experience with girls and I was looking at porn (PMO should I say?)almost every day. Way before NoFap was created (Alleluja!), I was struggling with my sense of shame and the sense of awareness that I was NOT living up to my dreams and my "life standard". I was disappointed with myself but I was addicted..I could not change my self destructive behaviour. Looking back, I have realised PMO was a (wrong!)way for me to cope with a sense of loneliness within my family (split in 2 opposites model of living and different values) and emotional struggles caused by the death of my grandfather after years of Alzheimer morb (2004). When I was 16, I was thus having A high exposure to all sorts of porn, over playing videogames and especially at late hours. This all possibly eventually degenerated. I developed then a serious form of insomnia. I could not sleep for days. I would have just lay on the bed with closed eyes but could not stop the noise in my brain. I could not just be able to fall asleep and simply switch off the brain. I had tried many therapies at that time: homeopathy, psychology, radiotherapy, agopunctury and...nothing worked! I went out from that terrible year and half of hardcore insomnia / getting terrible marks at school only assuming a prescribed medical therapy with benzodiazepines (benzodiazepines. any of a class of heterocyclic organic compounds used as tranquilizers, such as Librium and Valium.) Basically to stop the destructive effect of an addiction, generated from my attempts to escape the emotional distress I was experiencing, I was given as therapy a heavier addiction.... to benzodiazepines. Funny eh? So I did not stop with my PMO then but at least I started to sleep again, although only for the effect of the chemicals. It took me about 1 year and half to detox from benzodiazepines, reducing progressively the doses of the drug. It was only at that time that I have started my recovery. At 17, I had somehow realised that insomnia, low esteem, lack of authentic social relationships, loneliness and PMO was all connected. It was a spiral going downward the one in which I had been falling for almost 2 years. When I realised that I thought "This had to stop or...just STOP!" And I started from PMO. I have quit porn and videogames and started "challenging" myself. How many days could I have stayed without porn and masturbation? first 3 then 7, the 10, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 1 month, 3 months. A funny story about that... My counting system was... LEGO BRICKS. For every PMO day I would have added a brick to my construction and I have ended up building a castle, for real! I had show that castle to my first REAL girlfrined, one of the hottest chicks around the town. And she released me, indeed! Such an explosive liberation the first time she set me free ! We stayed together for a good 5 years being a very happy and passionated couple. And for all this time I had seldom experienced PMO videogames and insomnia. I was free and not alone any longer!!!! It was like a miracle. Looking back at that process, It was not a miracle. Only hard work paved the road to success. At the core, in my case, there was a quest for my "true self". When I was 15/16 and I was deep into PMO and videogames addiction I was still thinking "This is not who I am, this is not how may life is supposed to look like". the more my addction eroded me, the more there was a growing disappoinment of a deeper and higher Me which deeply hated my addiction. After my Critical time being insomniac, during my recovery that "Higher Me" took the lead of my behaviour. Strongly, vehemently, tiranically almost I have changed my behaviour, thus I have changed my story. In one year I was able to change dramatically my situation for the better. Not only I quit my bad habits, but I did replace them with a strong committment to self improvement, exercising, studying, developing my world view reading a lot of philosophy and literature and ultimately dating my first SERIOUS girlfriend. To conclude my healing and maturation, after my last exam at highschool, I took a vespa and drove around Italy, with a tent, for almost 50 days, alone. That was the happier and more challenging and eventful time of my life. Such a big step and endeavour for me to domesticate all my fears. That gap between two school system gave me time to work seriously on that "higher me". I became a determinated indidual and did choose to study Anthropology at the college, quite an unconventional choice in Italy. END OF PART 1 /// don t read further if you want to preserve that "taste of victory" feelin.... part 2 is coming tomorrow, is already late here!