My journey to the end of the night

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by KBF, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    This is my first post on here. I've been an onlooker for a while. I decided to join after finding here some good advice. Over the years I have unconsciously come to associate the Internet with P, but this community is a very nice example of what a great tool the Internet can be when put to good use.

    I've been PMOing since I was 13-14, and have wanted to stop, without success, for many, many years. I'm now 28, and fear that if I don't kick off this bad habit now, I may never do so. Recently, I went 8 days without PMO, which is probably my record. It may seem like a short time, but it was quite a challenge for me, so I consider it as a partial success. After relapsing, I shamelessly indulged for the next few days. But here am I again, encouraged by my recent modest success, and ready to take on the challenge again.

    During my recent streak without PMO, I realized quite a few interesting things about my bad habit, myself and the road to recovery. Reading this forum has made me realize the importance and usefulness of keeping a journal. I think self-accountability is an essential weapon in the fight against any vice, especially PMO which is no doubt one of the most secretive, and therefore also most pernicious, vices of our age.

    I would now like to officially embark on a 90 day challenge, and I will use this journal to keep track of my progress. I say "90 day challenge," though I know all too well that for me this will be a day-to-day, sometimes even minute-to-minute, challenge. However, one thing I learned over time is that one should seize every opportunity where one has a desire, even a small one, to quit PMO. For, most of the time, the desire to quit is altogether absent, and one is engulfed by darkness, and succumbs to feelings of despair, hopelessness, and depression.

    There is one state worse than that of being hooked on PMO, and it is that of accepting that condition as normal, justified, inevitable, and giving up, for whatever reason that may be. Our mind tricks us in countless ways to bring us to surrender. We are by nature weak and easily deceived. Thus we keep falling. However, the knowledge of our own weakness and tendency to be easily deceived can, and should, become the starting point of our movement out of self-deception. Even the smallest hope or glimmer of light should not be neglected when it breaks through the thick layer of darkness and self-complacency in which we normally find ourselves engulfed. When one finds in oneself even the trace of a will to quit, one should seize upon it at once, without hesitation. The struggle against PMO requires a radical leap out of the cave of self-deception into the world of freedom and light. The way out of PMO is not forward, but upward.

    Word of the day: rectitude.
     
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  2. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Reviving this thread after five years. Five long years. During this time, I have made a series of personal realizations, have learned more about the destructive effects of porn, have had a few moments of success in the struggle against this habitual sin, but overall these moments of light have been like small patches of grass in a wasteland. The habit feels more ingrained, more pernicious, darker than ever. But here I am again – at 33 years of age – with the exact same resolution and mindset as before. Re-reading this post after such a long period triggers a host of opposing feelings: defeat, resignation, frustration, shame, anger, but also hope, determination, faith, fortitude, and compassion. I realize I have not made as good a use of the resources offered on this forum as I could have. I would like to resume this journal, and to find accountability partners on this long journey.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
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  3. Musicmad

    Musicmad Fapstronaut

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    Hi friend. Kudos for your post. It must be difficult to read your original entry, but I hope that you can be successful this time. Your writing is enjoyable and descriptive, so I would happily follow your journal and progress. Best of luck on this journey!
     
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  4. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Thank you for your reply. I see you are part of the Lord of the Rings Challenge. I just read about it, and definitely intend on joining the Fellowship of the Ring. But first I must figure out how to add a simple counter to my signature; your help with this would be appreciated. Best of luck to both of us!
     
  5. Good luck on this new trip my friend!

    Be strong and disciplined with yourself, make the laws but not the traps, fight tirelessly for that which you desire so much, don't let more time slip away, don't let even one day slip away without reminding yourself that you are the boss and that you want to be happy! You want a different life where the greatness of you as a person comes out.

    Strength, Soldier!
     
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  6. Musicmad

    Musicmad Fapstronaut

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    I find the challenges are a really useful way of having at least a small bit of interaction each day, which serves as a good reminder of why I am doing this.

    I can certainly do my best to help! I think you can only do it on PC - at the top there is a tab called 'Update Day Counter'. Fill in the requisite time and date to show the start of your streak, and it should automatically get added to your signature. Let me know if it doesn't and I'll have another look.
     
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  7. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Found and filled the 'Update Day Counter'! Many thanks!
     
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  8. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Indeed! Strength right back at you, friend!
     
  9. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

    Reminder to self - relevant as much at the beginning of the journey as it is at every step along way:

    We must begin the journey of overcoming habitual sin by being sure in ourselves that what we are seeking is not the means to justify ourselves, as if we could say, “Look at me, God, I can be holy too”, but the means of union with God, so that God becomes the focus of our life. One of the problems with those bound by habit is that God is not the focus. There is undoubtedly faith and repentance towards God, but the habit makes us think about ourselves all the time. This is not the means to salvation. Indeed, it leads to a greater bondage.

    - Father Peter Farrington, from his book "Spiritual Life," a rich and profound collection of passages and chapters dealing with the spiritual life, freely available here: http://www.stgeorgeministry.com/spiritual-life-free-ebook/
     
  10. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    A brief entry at the end of the day. The past two days went by with a fair but tolerable share of temptations, mostly around noon (after lunch) and in the evening (before bed). At noon, to oppose the temptation, I watched the first of Mark Queppet's SSMS YouTube series; I took notes. Found his advice valuable; it helped, at least, in quashing the temptations. I will try to watch one episode every day, and seek to implement his teachings. I had to remind myself a few of times today that my goal is not merely to quit (P) – this is only a means to an end, which is to seek closer intimacy with God. I was harshly reminded of this toward the end of day when, in the heat of a discussion with my girlfriend, I said to her something arrogant and hurtful. I felt depressed and troubled about this episode throughout the evening. However, it served me as a much-needed reminder that ridding myself of (P) is but one aspect of the complete transformation I should want. After all, all sins derives from one root and, therefore, are, to some extent, interdependent. I should be wary lest my struggle with (P) blinds me to other parts of the house that are on fire, or lest I unconsciously use NoFap to justify bad behaviour in other areas.

    On a related note, I think I am somewhat "addicted" also to news/blogs. I probably waste an exorbitant amount of time weekly reading the news or keeping up with blogs. In addition to the time wasted on this which is better spent elsewhere, this is a huge source of distraction and disturbance for my psychic, intellectual, and spiritual life. I've tried limiting my intake of news in the past by installing blockers on my browser, but, as with (P), this had little to no effect, and I ultimately removed the blockers. I will have to rely, in this effort as well, on mindfulness and more holistic strategies. NoFap is but one aspect of the future self I would like to grow into.

    Below, the three wise monkeys.

    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Hey. Good luck in your journey of NoFap :) There will be hard times in this journey with temper issues but NoFap does help you be self-aware of mind and spirituality.
     
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  12. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    This is my fourth day, and I've just finished watching the episode on "Truthful Self-Talk" in Universal Man's Sexual Self-Mastery Series (SSMS). His analysis is spot on and his truthfulness impacts me at a deep level. Before I first started this series, I would tell myself, "Do I really need to spend 30 minutes every day hearing someone tell me what I already (presumably) know?" I assumed that I already knew the gist of what he had to say – most of it, I assumed, boiled down to porn is bad, that it messes up with your brain, and that you eventually need to muster the willpower to overcome it – and therefore I questioned whether I really needed to hear someone go over this in details. I felt impatient, not unlike how I feel impatient when engaged in a conversation with someone who seem to be taking too much time to explain their point or tell a story, or who seems to be giving unnecessary detail (this feeling, when it emerges during a conversation, is usually accompanied by a self-congratulatory thought: "Why can't they be concise like I am?"). In the last couple of years, I've started realizing that my impatience in these contexts (even if I do not show it) sometimes comes from a certain degree of pride, presumption, impulsiveness, and disrespect. I realized at the same time that being a good listener – being really in tune, not just with the content of what the other person is saying, but with the situation, the environment, and with the actual person behind the words – requires treating the conversation as a whole, including the context one finds oneself in, and the person with whom one is engaged in the conversation, with great respect and attention. This means letting the person speak what is on their mind in their way, without interruption or impatience, even when it does not conform with my way, that is, my idea of how much time or much detail what they have to say should involve.

    It looks like I am digressing, but there's a connection to be made here with what the impatience I experienced in anticipation of embarking on the SSMS series, and I think this is connected to one of the most valuable things that Mark (Universal Man) talks about in the above-mentioned episode: the need for compassion in talking with oneself, in the conversation that needs to happen between the emotional and the rational parts of ourselves. The rational side needs to become both a leader and a friend to the emotional side. Mark emphasizes the need to talking to oneself: repeating to oneself the truth about porn, and telling ourselves that we want better for ourselves, and that we need to change our lives. This is all true and good. However, all the talking would be useless if one did not also listen and know how to listen. Mark points out that sometimes the emotional side will not want to hear the rational side, will act up. He suggests this may be because one is too aggressive in talking with oneself, put's oneself down, leading the emotional side to react. This is very easy to understand if one imagines the two sides of oneself as two actual persons engaged in a conversation. Now, imagine these two people lived together, shared a room, and had to live together in this arrangement for the rest of their lives. Giving this arrangement, if one is miserable, the whole also will suffer. Vice versa, when one is satisfied, the other, also, will be satisfied. If the two are to have a wholesome life, then cooperation and compassion between them is a must.

    This does not mean that the two should mutually indulge each other all the time. The short-term satisfaction of one may not be in its long-term interest. In the case of the human brain, the rational side, or prefrontal cortex, is the side that has the ability to gauge the long-term, to judge what is best, to decide. However, in order to implement its design, it requires the cooperation of the emotional side, which, although inarticulate, holds tremendous power. The rational side needs to learn, first, how to listen to the emotional. It needs to lead, but with compassion. This involves treating the emotional side with the respect it deserves (and given its sheer power, it would be unwise not to respect it).

    But the emotional side has to learn how to listen to the rational side. I do not say that it has to learn how to obey – which seems a lot more complicated – but merely to listen. I believe that acquiring the skill of listening to oneself is at least as important as the acquiring the skill of talking to oneself. This skill of listening to oneself is similar to the skill of listening to others. That same impatience, stubbornness, frustration, and restlessness, that I experience in a long-winded conversation, or at the prospect of having to watch (or read) something I think I already know (and I may well already know it), is the same impatience, stubbornness, frustration, and restlessness that my emotional side feels when it is acting up against the rational voice in me and pushing me to relapse.

    Mark warns against rationalizations, and how to dismantle. There is a voice even more vicious than that of rationalization. Whereas rationalizations have at least on the face of them a rational facade, there is a dark voice which sometimes does not even care to rationalize, but seeks to overpower the voice of reason almost by sheer force. In those moments where it erupted, I almost caught it responding to the voice of reason: "Shut up, already. I already know what you have to say and I don't care." That's the scariest enemy and the most difficult to defeat. In the past, I've almost always relapsed when the inner dialogue had gotten to this stage. I need to find a strategy to defeat that voice when it manifests – to be ready for when it appears (and that it will appear is almost inevitable, judging from past experience).

    Here, I think what Mark has to say regarding constantly talking with oneself is crucial. The emotional side is only able to tell the rational side to shut up because it has grown into a bully, and has been allowed to grown into a bully. It is like those terrible children who insult and sometimes even hit their parents. The process of restoring the correct relationship between parent and child reason and emotion, has to be gradual – firm, but gradual, i.e. compassionate. Therefore, before and at the same time as I tell myself that I should quit (P), I should tell myself to listen to myself. The issue is ostensibly one of (P); deeper down, however, it has to do with my emotional side refusing to listen to my rational side in general.

    The relationship between rational and emotional parts is a damaged one. The correction needed is twofold: on the one hand, listen to my emotional side, and listen to it with compassion, without immediately seeking to repress it, or to judge it – it is my eternal roommate, and the sooner I befriend it, the easier it will be for me to live happily; on the other hand, however, I need to progressively teach my emotional side not only to listen when I give it orders – any order, including the order "Don't watch (P)," – but more importantly and fundamentally, simply to learn to listen to me, in general, with the promise that I will talk to it and treat it with the respect it deserves. More compassionate, and more talking – less in the form orders, but more in the form of feeding it truth, projecting a truthful self, telling it, compassionately, that I will require its help to help us improve our living situation: that the effort required of it will bring returns, and that we can both together move forward, not one at the expense of the other. This image fills me with the same kind of joy as when a broken relationship between roommates is finally restored and the two can enjoy the full house together. I should the light of this image suffuse my whole being, let it heal me.
     
  13. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Going on my 7th day of no PMO. The last couple of days have been more difficult. I feel a diffuse internal pressure which sometimes feels to be slowly and imperceptibly wrapping itself around me, like a snake that slowly coils around its victim until it crushes and suffocates the victim. It's as if my porn mind and the demons assailing me discovered that I am waging a war against them and are resisting by weakening my defenses. I have to remind myself continually during the day not to listen to these murmurs and focus on the goal I set myself at the beginning of this journey. But focusing is not easy when my soul is being assailed. Physiologically, my symptoms include heaviness or lethargy, and some numbness, in my body, especially in my head – like a kind of mental congestion. I am less present to the outside world, slightly more withdrawn, "in my head."

    Reminder to self: don't "fixate" too much on the internal pressure, this creates greater internal tension, and I know I will ultimately blink first. Instead: shower this internal voice with love; say to it: "I know this is difficult, but we have to do this, for both my sake and yours." This is my limbic system feeling itself being starved and starting to rise its voice: "Where's my food!?" Tell it to be patient, and that the reward for its patience will be infinitely greater than its previous measly diet of digital crumbs.

    Reminder: I am not "punishing" myself, even if this process sometimes feel like a punishment. This is the greatest favor I am doing my soul.

    Reminder: You've been here before. Build on your previous failures.

    Reminder: Breathe the internal tension off. Feel it dissolve with each breath. Or rather, feel its hold on me dissolve. Roll with it.

    Reminder: Prayer is ultimately your only help, your only consolation, your only refuge.
     
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  14. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Woke up in the middle of the night after a dream during which I thought I had relapsed (not a wet dream, however). I was happy on waking up that I hadn't actually relapsed. Temptation has been swarming around my head incessantly and increasingly in the past couple of days (today will be my 9th day of NoFap). I find myself sometimes indulging in some of the fantasies, before coming to myself and trying to snap out of it (with limited success), at times by calling on the name of the Lord to have on mercy, at other times through sheer willpower. Inside my head, there is a porn brain working around the clock to push its agenda on me. It weakens me, mentally and physically. It almost feels like I have withdrawal symptoms, although these are subtle and difficult to pinpoint. For the most part, this manifests as a consuming compulsion to relapse, which takes up a lot of mental place, and which weighs on the body as well as on the mind. With every day without PMO, I feel something I haven't experienced before: it is neither a good feeling or a bad feeling per se: just a strange feeling associated with the idea that my body has never been pushed past a certain limit without PMO; the feeling of unreleased semen over a prolonged period takes getting used to.

    The more I focuses on the idea of relapsing – especially when I mentally enter into a dialogue with it – the greater the temptation, the greater the pull of caving in, like when one who after climbing a certain stretch of the mountain looks down into the void underneath him, gets filled with terror, and feels an urge to jump (apparently this phenomenon has a name, it is called Call of the Void, from the French l'appel du vide). I have been somewhat successful at dismantling rationalizations whenever these come up. In the last couple of days, my porn brain served me different versions of "Just One More Time." I've been successfully retorting with the answer Universal Man proposed: Well, if the excuse of relapsing just one more time this time works, what's to keep it from not working in the future? Most of the time, this suffices to bury the rationalization. Sometimes, it comes back with something so improbable, like this barely-concealed lie which might be dubbed "One Step At A Time." This one tries to sweet-talk me into taking the NoFap journey gradually instead of hard mode, of allowing myself to indulge between incrementally larger streaks. One among the many problems with this lie is that it is incapable of justifying why I should break my streak now instead of later. I say to it: "I agree to indulge, but you must be willing to wait 500 days." Another reason: I cannot think of a single positive benefit to relapsing now other than to serve the relapse itself; it negatively impacts on the NoFap otherwise, if only because the relapse would reactive and reinforce the neural pathways that NoFap is trying to erase. I cannot think of any way in which this so-called programmed relapse would actually help me quit on the long run. I thereby unmask it for what it is: the lying porn brain trying to deceive me into thinking it has my interest at heart, when it is only seeking to fulfill its own ends. From an experimental and empirical perspective, it is fascinating to see witness how the mind is capable of telling itself lies. It is equally, if not more fascinating to witness how the same mind is capable of uncovering these lies for what they are and removing their sting. I notice the calm peace which gradually sets in at the end of this process, when I realize that I am not my mind. And this realization, that I am not my mind, ultimately leads me to the question: Who Am I? And a subtle joy fills me, as well as an excitement (which I try to contain) at the realization that the NoFap journey is allowing me to experience, to some degree, realities spoken of by the religious sages and ascetics of all times. In some sense, the NoFap journey is a kind of self-initiation: initiation to oneself, to the inner workings of our mental world, to our hidden resource of strength (the almost miraculous power to break free from automatic behavior), to the direct experience of free will, and so much more, even up to ultimate questioning about the nature of the self. The addiction and the way out of it might truly be a blessing in disguise.... But I need to persevere!
     
  15. Easycomeeasygo

    Easycomeeasygo Fapstronaut

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    I have such sever withdrawals but the one I feel the worse from is anger, and rage. I am on day 7 and was wondering if it is normal to think about hitting someone with a hammer and saw his brains out. Im not psycho I wont really do it but I have so much anger which I cant get out. Anxiety is normal especially social anxiety but am really struggling with rage, up to a point where everyone at work is afraid of me. I might even attack my boss
     
  16. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Did this rage and anger manifest only after you started NoFap, or did it predate your NoFap journey? I would say it is "normal" to have violent thoughts, as in, we've all had them and do have unwanted thoughts at some point in our lives. You shouldn't beat yourself for having these thoughts; I'd be more worried, however, if I actively desired such things as you described, and indulged in fantasies of violence, and derived pleasure from this rage. This seems more problematic. In any case, you should try to control your anger – do whatever it takes: try keeping a journal about your state of mind, meditating, doing sports, hanging out with good friends and family, and, most of all, prayer and spiritual readings (at least the spiritual readings, if you cannot pray. There is a wonderful book on this subject I would recommend, titled Dragon's Wine and Angel's Bread: The Teaching of Evagrius Pontinus on Anger and Meekness). I'm still a novice, but I can't imagine a NoFap journey going a long way if anger remains a problem. Our journey may be primarily about PMO, but it requires a total transformation of the soul and achieving overall mastery over oneself. Good luck!
     
  17. Easycomeeasygo

    Easycomeeasygo Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for the reply, it became an issue during nofap. I do not have any physical desire to hurt people as all the anger is in my head and I am aware of it. Its just a metaphor or symbolism of the aggression in my head, though I do understand your concern. It is just anger and high irritability. I should be feeling depressed, or like other people suicidal or anxious but I don't feel that. I just feel angry and maybe self hate because of what I have done. I feel a lot of self regret on all levels. I should have been far better off if I acted like a better human being. I stopped drinking as well, I don't know if I have withdrawals from not drinking but I don't think so. I just feel complete self regret and anger and its persistent. Insomnia does occur sometimes.
     
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  18. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Anger, too, can be divine when directed at the right direction – primarily, as a force of motivation for each one of us to commit to the path he has chosen for himself, that of NoFap. However, from my experience, and as you yourself probably already know, self-hate is fuel to the vicious circle of relapse/regret. You have to show compassion to that part of you which is stuck in old habits as well as being its leader toward changing for the better. I recommend watching the videos of Universal Man in his Sexual Self-Mastery Series (esp. episode #4) about how that cycle is constituted. I stopped smoking recently, and can relate therefore to your stopping to drink (I am de facto also doing this, incidentally). Always reminder: one day at a time. God willing, we will succeed, my friend.
     
  19. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    Universal Man talks about the usefulness of divine anger around the 9:50 mark:
     
  20. KBF

    KBF Fapstronaut

    How to deal with temptations from Joyce Meyer:
    When you hear a lie going through your mind, say out loud:

    Satan, you are a liar. I will not receive or believe your lies in the Name of Jesus. - 2Corith 10:5

    I remind you that it is written, "He that is within me is greater than he that is in the world." I command you to bow your knee to the Name of Jesus and leave me." - 1John 4:4

    Now you have pulled the lie out, like pulling a weed out of the ground. An empty hole remains where the weed was, and you need to fill that space with Scripture.

    Begin to think on the Word or begin to sing praises to God. Make a conscious effort to fill your mind with good, pure, wholesome, and lovely thoughts. - Phil 4:8

    Amen.

    - Mark

    Reposted from another thread.​
     

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