This afternoon at 523 I hit one year no PMO. Some call it "monk mode" or "hard mode." A year ago, my relapse pattern seemed set in stone. 3-5 days, then I would look at porn nightly for a couple of weeks. I would need 2 hour blocks of time and would find that late at night. Always tired, always exhausted, always ashamed. Triggered by every beautiful woman, living in weakness, living in reaction to the next trigger. A year ago, I felt led to make a change in my life - and then started looking up information about porn / masturbation addiction recovery. It was then that I realized that there was an online community of people with the same problem- and that many of them were going 30, 60 and 90 days without pornography. Realizing that people had found freedom and that they were happier and thinking clearly - made this thing seem possible. At that point, I didn't know what PMO stood for. I started learning - 1. About how 2 parts of my brain work. That I have a limbic brain that brings up urges, but it does not have a moral compass. The compass is found in my pre-frontal cortex, where reasoning takes place. I looked up online to find out where these 2 parts were located in the brain - this helped. Being able to see where the limbic brain is located and where the pre-frontal cortex is located, empowers the pre-frontal cortex and weakens the limbic. It's not all mush - but sections. 2. I learned about dopamine production - the neurochemical reward that felt so good. This neurochemical is used so that I keep doing things that keep me alive. I learned that this neurochemical is good, but that there are ways to hack the system, to effectively break into the drug cabinet of my brain and overload the dopamine receptors. PMO is a way to hack into the dopamine cabinet in my head - a huge brain hack and overload. 3. I learned that the consequence of brain hacking is devastating. Receptors will partially shut down to limit the overabundance of dopamine that I acquired with the PMO brain hack. When all is said and done, the receptors are still, temporarily, shut down - to the point that normal joys of life can't produce enough dopamine to plow through shut down receptors. Receptors have to re-open. 4. I learned that there is a healthy dopamine hit from connecting with others about PMO recovery, that the community connection gives the brain a reward - and that it will carry the brain through as the receptors are adjusting. 5. I learned that my pre-frontal cortex is a POWERFUL tool against the limbic brain. If I speak with authority, the pre-frontal cortex lights up because I am forming words. The limbic brain then reacts to the pre-frontal cortex's authority like a demanding child who has been scolded. (In my childhood, the pre-frontal cortex was not fully formed and I was mainly driven by the limbic brain. If my father raised his voice, I listened. The pre-frontal cortex is like the voice of my father, and when I tell the limbic system "NOT TODAY" or "NO - THIS IS NOT AN OPTION" or "ABSOLUTELY NOT - NO" - the limbic system STOPS suggesting things, like I did as a kid.) I use "authoritative voice" daily. It is key to my recovery. Don't knock it til you try it. This point was KEY ... I REPEAT... KEY to being successful here. 6. I learned that if I have an urge - that I can ride it out. I don't have to give in. "Blue balls" are relieved with urination - it passes through. 7. I learned that prayer is the foundation of all things. Grace set my brain free from the get go. I have not exercised the authority that God gave me all along - until this past year. 8. I learned that as my receptors heal, the little things in life will trigger healthy dopamine production. The idea of this used to seem impossible - almost "lame". A sunset, a conversation, a great meal - all have the potential to trigger healthy levels of dopamine - and open receptors treat the healthy level of dopamine like a feast. 9. I learned that I have been blind through life - from the brain hacks. I have not seen my strengths or my weaknesses with true clarity. I learned that I still have more to go in becoming a better man. 10. I learned that the best is yet to come. I can use my experience to help others. This keeps me aware of myself and effective to others. This has been the best year of my life! I am grateful to God and to so many who have been committed to recovery. After a year of this, I can handle urges very effectively. My main drive is to protect my brain from brain hacks - no PMO and at the same time no intentional fantasy. The second that I catch myself unintentionally thinking about a lustful thought - I deal with it quickly. The big thing for me was not doing this alone. Online support, combined friends that you trust and a connection with God that you trust even more - is essential. I hope that his will inspire someone who is struggling like I did for way too many years. This CAN be done. We need to stop thinking that its impossible. My next milestone is 500 days. GOD'S PEACE!!!