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P.A.W.S. - what are they, cure, duration

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by Fenix Rising, May 12, 2019.

  1. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Fapstronaut

    Hey guys,

    I looked at some of your recent posts. I'm sad to see you're all still here. But it makes sense, honestly. Glad to hear some are actually seeing improvement though.

    First off, I deleted my account for several reasons. I realized I had some sensitive private information in some of my posts, and there was no way I could remember what I wrote since I'd posted so much stuff. Also, I was just fed the fuck up with being here, and I knew that if I didn't wipe out everything, I'd keep coming back. I needed to break away hardcore - from the mentality of being here. I was sort of hooked on this place (as it's easy to become when suffering). I apologize for disappearing, like Ang from Avatar haha; I hope that didn't have any significant effects on anyone who followed me. I needed to look out for myself. Plus, I'll admit, for all my long and lengthy posts, they were just speculations, mere pontifications. I'm not sure there was much value to them. I didn't and don't know more than you - even if I could say it in lofty ways.

    My update: ha, the good news or the bad? What can I say? Here's the thing - I relapsed (several times?) in the last year. None of it has put me back to square one, but it always has a negative effect. It's always damaging. I've kind of been circling around a threshold of "recovery" for a long time, but also some how, some way, I'm still improving? Can you believe that? I woke up really happy this morning! Generally though, my thinking is clearer, my capacity for pleasure is warmer. I'm more confident. More me my true self! A lot lot funnier, especially around girls. But I don't know what to say. I'm not "fully" healed. I kind of gave up on the idea that my frontal lobes would regenerate completely. My focus has been how do I survive as I am? How do I come to accept that I caused permanent changes to my brain? Assuming that's what happened. Because, like, who knows? haha.

    Despite the relapses, which it's always hard to say how significant they actually are in the big picture, it seems the case that the brain I have now is the brain I have now. Period. Some mystery moment when I wake up "fully" healed with complete restored frontal lobe capacity looks more and more unrealistic the longer I live post collapse. Yes, there's always hope. Always. Always. Always. No matter how small. And I'm still improving, so if I "improve" for the rest of my life, I'm always getting better. And that's the positive reality.

    It feels like there were fundamental structural changes to the function of my arousal mechanisms and processing systems from bingeing. So the improvement that still occurs happens within that new neurological paradigm, which is why I theoretically can't ever "fully" recover; I can only improve within a fixed context - if that makes sense. But on the other side of the coin, I'm still very much a dope junky, so my "recovery" is suspect. I want to be honest about that. I don't know the full range of possibility - given a perfect version of myself. That's an enormous burden to bear. I watch Youtube, internet, movies, shows - still addicted to my phone. And I'm lazy when I can be, and that keeps your brain unused and stuck in a funk.

    However, my life isn't bad. Not really. I get too fixated on narrow perceptions. That's always my downfall. I'm too internally sensitive for my own good. But life isn't bad. I'm getting my masters in counseling. I've got a great job. I've made awesome friends. Found good community. And I'm still improving. And the good part of me is still kicking. I've fallen off the map morally. In some sad ways. But my better self is still with me even when I don't live him out. And I want to be a good person. Really bad. Fear of being broken inspires my worst self.

    I've got girls. Lots of them potential mates. At work. And I've met some through dating apps. Just went out with one of my girl friends, and she told me there were plenty of girls fighting over me at work. Had no goddamn idea. But definitely feels good. Especially since I've had moments where I've felt disgusting and unlovable to all women. When I go out on dates, the women like me. I'm funny and confident, and always have an intellectual edge over them, so I tease and flirt and play cute. From the experience, I've learned how much more valuable I am than I ever gave myself credit for - particularly to women, but also to people in general. I've learned I have a lot to offer, and that counting myself out has been a big loss. That's why I'm going into counseling. Getting my masters. I think I'll actually be a pretty damn good therapist.

    Funny story, I went out with this one girl. Really cute. We ate food and talked, and I decided to wrap things up, and she basically threw her number at me. We got close fast, and I could tell she wanted me. We went back to her place and got super physical. But I don't know, there was just something I didn't like. I still haven't had sex (though several opportunities) and when it comes down to it, and I have a naked girl underneath me, I just don't want to do it. I just don't have feelings for her. The sex drive is there. I get hard. I'm obviously capable. But my better self doesn't want it. And I've listened every time. Honestly, the main thing that holds me back is not knowing if I can have a sex life because that's critical. But I don't want to have sex without love and trust and commitment (another insight from recovery). But yeah, what a catch-22! And here's the other thing. I'm ready. I want a wife. I want a family to raise. I want the whole thing. I think I could be an awesome husband and father - but if I'm neurologically broken? Sexually broken? I can't morally or ethically find a sweet girl, marry her, only to find out that it can't work because of this technicality. How demoralizing is that? Girls are sexual like guys. Maybe not in the same way as men, but it's important to them, and I just can't do that to her.

    So, yeah, lots of stuff to still figure out. Life is still life. lots to deal with. But the real positive is that YES regardless of how long and miserable and confusing this is you will continue to get better no matter what. I mean assuming you don't poison yourself with pmo. So far as you steer clear of that, you're gonna keep getting better, at least that's my story. I'm sorry I wasn't the perfect guy who could perfectly recover and come swooping down with the hope you're looking for, and be the one to tell you that, "Aha! Once I went 4 years clean, I woke up and I was just reborn! Super Saiyan!" I can't say that. I can't honestly say that. I guess I left because I realized I couldn't. I wanted to give you hope. Because I don't want any of you to give up. Fuck that! You can recover a life. Because for all my imperfections, I'm doing it. And I'm gonna continue doing it. And I came back here because I wanted a space where I could be this honest. I realized I was alone. I've got good people in my life, but I was alone and unaccountable. And that's never good. Nobody else in the world understands what this is. No one. That's tough.

    Getting out there socializing has helped so much. It's kept me on the horse. Being willing to build connections and care about people is huge. I also tried psilocybin mushrooms, and those were actually really helpful. In fact, there was a time where I spiraled into looking at porn, and I had a ton of brain fog and head pressure, and when I took the mushrooms for the first time, it felt like a complete brain reset. All my gains returned to me, and I still (after a month) felt positive benefits. At the peek of my trip, I met this childlike fairy that came out of a hole inside my unconscious (it was a part of my psyche, but clearly a distinct entity), and it encouraged me and helped me scrub my brain clean with some suds while we chanted "We can do it! If we just believe!" lol. It was very innocent, very very Disney'ish, like Peter Pan or something. I think it was an archetype of my child self that was appearing to help me. After we finished cleaning my mind, the fairy said, "goodbye" and went back into my subconscious, and I took a shower, which was incredible. And I just felt this pool of self-love pour out onto me. Love for me. Love for my family. My friends. And life. And it helped me to have love and compassion for my brain and all the changes it has undergone - also, and this is critical, it helped me with acceptance. To accept where I was. After that I went to bed, and felt super fresh in the morning with no more brain fog, and like I said, it's lasted a long time, still no fog to this day. So, always be super careful with drugs, but those psychedelics (I believe for myself) have enormous therapeutic value. Sadly, because these substances are illegal, I can't incorporate them into my recovery. And I don't have direct access to them.

    Another thing that's helped (if you're interested) is massage therapy. I've always been super conservative with money and don't like spending it on anything luxurious. I just save, save, save. But one thing I've learned is that ever since I was a child, physical touch has been a critical aspect of my mental and emotional health - and all my childhood I was severely deprived of it. I need to be touched (and give touch as well). From trauma, I've been ashamed of that fact for some reason. But I finally decided I did not give a shit how much it costs, it was coming out of my budget to get deep tissue massages regularly. My mental health is way more important than money. It's been a huge breakthrough, but I decided to accept my need for it fully - it's 100% gonna be a part of my regular life now. Because it's been so incredibly beneficial and healing. I am a good 30-40% happier the following week after a massage. My head is clearer. I'm more joyful. Have more pleasure. And the more I do it the longer lasting are the benefits. I've released copious amounts of trauma from my body as the therapist works on my body, and that has resulted in a great deal of positive emotion, levity, and peace. It makes my laughter deeper in the bones and richer in texture.

    Which leads me to another point: abstinence alone is insufficient. Yes, staying clean allows for those little incremental improvements to occur week to week, month to month. That's always kind of going on in the background. But it's slow; it's too slow. And you will go fucking INSANE sitting around watching the microbial changes to your brain in month by month increments. Massage therapy was my gold mine. I encourage you to look deep within and figure out what your needs truly are and have the courage to address them. It makes an enormous difference. Sitting around thinking through my trauma had no positive results - only negative ones. Even talking about it felt like a negative self-indulgence. Once I started treating my trauma through the body, that's when things started making a difference.

    Another thing I'm exploring, but haven't quite gotten around to fully is religion or spirituality. That's another big one. I kind of left my faith for intellectual reasons mixed with religious trauma/family stuff. That's been a hard thing to work through. But I'm coming around to the idea of going back to church with my friends. I still don't think any of it is intellectually credible. But as a practice, and a community, and a faith for the sake of my spiritual health, I think it's really important. But it's tricky because there's baggage. We are tribal creatures, and we need to belong. And we are also all spiritual - some more than others. But it is part of being human. And we don't just need to belong to a club, maybe - but belong on a deep and spiritual level to something in the world, something greater than ourselves. I'm coming into an acceptance of that. And figuring out how I can, on one hand, lack any belief, but also somehow believe in the practice. Or, like, attach myself to it emotionally for the sake of spiritual, mental, and communal health. Religions, to me, like drugs and therapy, and exercise or anything "good" for us as humans, serve a critically mysterious role in most people's lives, and I've realized, just because I don't understand that - it does me no good to reject its importance to my being, however inscrutable the reality. We are ritualistic creatures. Religion is kind of a ritual you perform in preparation for death. And a faith in grace and eternal life - it does something for the spirit that nothing else can. Being able to pray to Love, to commune spiritually, to worship, to hope. It settles the soul. There is a life it gives to your being that goes beyond any other substitute (for me, at least). And, I know I need that - deep, deep, down.

    But to sum up: psychedelics, massage therapy, interpersonal connections, and ritualistic spirituality = super positive benefits. Rewiring is good, too. But I don't like being sexual with girls such that I lead them on (although I have before. Part of my moral failings, sadly). And, without an emotional or relational connection, there's something about it (for me) that just doesn't feel right. But I do experience positive benefits after making out and holding, touching, squeezing a girl. It awakens natural emotion. Natural desire. And makes me feel more human - because it connects me to a living, breathing person. Physical intimacy is absolutely 100% healthy and necessary for all human wellbeing, I've learned. But again, there are some personal ethical issues that I'm working through with that.

    Anyways, I still love you guys. I still believe in you guys. You're doing good work. There's still hope. God damn it! There's still hope! My goal is to continue to get better and eventually get married. There's a girl I might have my eye on. We'll see how that goes. I really want a family. That's my big dream.

    I'll keep you posted as I don't feel like I have a neurotic relationship to this website anymore, thankfully. Staying away helped a ton, not gonna lie. But also, without accountability, I made a lot of mistakes and fell off the straight and narrow. But haven't we all? That's life, folks.

    Remember, wherever you're at, if you're alive, there's always hope.

    With deep love,

    Don Quixote :)
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022
  2. mentorr

    mentorr Fapstronaut

    Hey DonQ,

    It's good to have you back. From my personal point of view there is no need to apologise at all, as we all have our own personal decisions to make. However I will say that I think you grossly underestimate just how much your posts contributed to this forum. I can openly admit that there have been a few days where I have thought about reading your past posts not only to self-educate but to remind myself that there are long rebooters just like me that have gone on to feel better.

    A question from me if you do not mind; would you say that the use of YouTube/Internet Browsing/Social Media etc has had a negative effect on your recovery? Do you feel as though it has contributed to your recovery in any way?
    Phoenix Beyond and Dave G 123 like this.
  3. jay3241

    jay3241 Fapstronaut


    Hey bro,
    Some tips that will help you with sleep while in PAWS ----
    1) Take Magnesium Glycenate daily 1 tablet an hour before sleep
    2) Start taking ashwagandha with milk daily ( pls take it only with milk as milk acts as a carry vehicle for its effectiveness)
    3) Start breath meditation daily 15 min twice a day ( total 30 min)
    4) Watch youtube videos for pranayama - Anulom Vilom (daily 1 hour at a stretch), kapalbhati (daily 15 min) bhastrika ( daily 10 min)
    5) One thing which helped me the most ( and i am not advertising this ) is Sudarshan Kriya from the Art of Living -- you have to learn it. Please check art of living website. It is a paid program where they teach you this breathing technique -- but trust me it makes night & day differnece in relaxing you. Stringly recommended
    I pray and wish you the best ! feel free to pls msg or reply
  4. Ljozeee1

    Ljozeee1 Fapstronaut

    Hi guys, i need to ask you one question. I started nofap in april this year. First month was great, but then i started having withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and depression. Even after relapse withdrawalls didn't end.
    Then i had i streak of 50 days and feeling better, but then idk why, i bindged for one week.
    I started new streak 12 days ago, but man this anixety is intense. Im having anxiety attacks, feeling dizzy and nauseus. I didnt know porn was this damaging.
    I dont know if this is paws because a see a lot of you guys are on much longer streaks and still feeling withdrawals, and i didnt have streak that long.
    I just want to see you guys are fucking amazing for going through this hell for such a long time. Now i know for that i will never watch this shit again.
    Ezpz likes this.
  5. mentorr

    mentorr Fapstronaut

    I think it’s difficult to say whether you are going through PAWS at this early stage. Going off of my own experience I would say it is likely that you are going through the recovery period after recently relapsing/quitting . PAWS tends to come later on down the line.

    One thing that stood out to me in your message is the following line:
    I think if you want to be successful in your reboot, you really have to be willing and ready to do the inner work. Rebooting is slightly more than just abstaining from PMO, there is a requirement to understand why you react/respond to circumstances and scenarios in the way that you do. If every 3rd Sunday of the month, you wake up at 2am in the morning with a strong urge to fap to sissy porn then it is your responsibility as a rebooter to look into where and why exactly that urge is occurring. Rebooting is a pilgrimage to recovery. A marathon and not a sprint for most of us (unfortunately). Use this time to look into who you really are without PMO.

    Finally, I think you’re fucking awesome too. There really is no difference between all of us in this forum other than time.
  6. Ezpz

    Ezpz Fapstronaut

    Withdrawal effects everyone differently. None of us really understand why we are the unlucky ones to go through a more prolonged withdrawal.

    I would say that you would know if you from suffering from PAWS if you fall into one or both of these situations:

    1) you started having withdrawal symptoms before you decided to quit P.
    2) you continue to have withdrawal symptoms after 3 months of no PMO.

    It sounds like what you are going through is the initial withdrawal phase. Which for me was actually different than what i go through after 3 months.

    Hope that helps and thanks for your kind words.
    Freeddom_Taker and Ljozeee1 like this.
  7. Ezpz

    Ezpz Fapstronaut

    I will be hitting 6 months recovery very soon. Its wild to think back at how fast its gone. It definitely feels slow day to day.

    A summary. I am still having a lot of wet dreams which im pretty sure is due to stress. I still feel very addicted and im pretty much dealing with all the same paws symptoms along with now what i believe is long covid symptoms. Covid seems to have made my life twice as difficult these past few months. It is hard to tell because all the symptoms overlap with paws.

    I continue to have uncontrollable urges during sleep on some nights where i wake up and MO before i regain my consciousness. This is incredibly frustrating as its something i cannot control.

    I do feel as if i have slipped into the ‘window and wave’ pattern now. Every 3 weeks i am having a few days where things are better before going back into paws. This always happens after i experience the worst days for some reason. Every time symptoms reach their peak i will always have a break in paws the day after.

    Nothing else to report really. I want to leave this forum behind, ive been here for to long.
    Freeddom_Taker and Dave G 123 like this.
  8. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Fapstronaut

    absolutely it does.
  9. El-Pistolero

    El-Pistolero Fapstronaut

    I am in the top echelon of users, with an addiction that lasted 22 years, give or take. My previous attempt took place 5 years ago...withdrawal symptoms kicked in after 6/7 months and they were hellish...so much so I reverted to my habit out of despair and fear.
    My question to those who have been fighting this demon: Have you stopped working, as in, going to your jobs, ot did you resist through it all? I am devastated...
    Freeddom_Taker likes this.
  10. mentorr

    mentorr Fapstronaut

    When I first began rebooting I was in a position where I had to work (due to rent bills etc.) It was super difficult. I ended up taking multiple days off from work just because the brainfog, fatigue and anxiety was so hard to manage in the workplace. I work as an IT Manager, so at the time I had to manage a team of engineers, host meetings, interact with suppliers and my symptoms were just difficult to hide. After approximately 9 months of recovery we went into lockdown which somewhat saved me from the pain of interactions, but it also set me on a path of escapisms via YouTube, Social Media, Video Games.

    In short, I had to work through my recovery and it was a pretty rough time. My main advice would be; be good to yourself, avoid pushing yourself unnecessarily if you can. Avoid stress like the plague and rest as much as possible.
    Dave G 123 and Freeddom_Taker like this.
  11. El-Pistolero

    El-Pistolero Fapstronaut

    I can only imagine how hard it must have been. And here I am, contemplating two, three or even four years of PAWS and hellish syndroms. I am genuinely terrified. But thank you for having taken the time to reply.
  12. I've been having them since 2014. They worsened in 2016 and at their peak between 2018 to 2021. Right now, I got a lil break in between each month. If I relapse, withdrawals stop and start again after 2 weeks.
  13. Dumnap

    Dumnap Fapstronaut

    Look into The Sinclair Methode. https://www.sinclairmethod.org/what-is-the-sinclair-method-2/
    Naltrexone can help you speed up recovery and eventuallly erase or uncouple the addiction pathways and cure the addiction itself. This in combination with a neurogenetic psychedelic (like freebase 5-MeO-DMT or N,N-DMT) ) can change the way you look at this habit over time. I will start thuesday with Naltrexone... I will keep you updated.
  14. humbleone

    humbleone Fapstronaut

    @Don Quixote nice to hear from you again. So are you saying that engaging with sexuality after the long recovery, actually brings you back into PAWS symptoms?

    For 8 weeks I have gone full sex addict mode, did sex parties, orgies, etc etc, on 4 different occasions, this was after a 90 day streak again

    This time I did it deliberatly, I was just like fuck it im going to go do it properly, tomorrow I will start another streak lol
  15. Ezpz

    Ezpz Fapstronaut

    Sounds to good to be true. Beat your addiction without having to do any work. Good luck with this one!
    Dave G 123 likes this.
  16. Dumnap

    Dumnap Fapstronaut

    It's worth a try. It has a succes rate of round and will only cost around 50 pents per dosage.
  17. Dave G 123

    Dave G 123 Fapstronaut


    I could write a novel about this from my own experiences, but it would be a tragedy.

    Yes, I have stopped working, and it is because of PMO / PAWS. I lost my job last year because of PMO-induced exhaustion. I used to work in the IT sector, but brain-fog, terrible memory etc had been an issue for many years. I struggled for maybe a decade to hold on to my job, but ended up going on a long sickness absence, followed by loosing my job in 2021. It was so bad that I was having real doubts if it could be PMO-induced, but where I am now, I have no doubts at all.

    I have mixed feelings about it. I stopped enjoying that particular job years ago, but was too tired to fill in application forms (at least well enough to sound like a credible candidate) to actually make a move. For years I thought I could quit PMO, get another job, and live happily ever after. In reality I cut back on PMO slowly but steadily over many years, just enough to convince myself that I was making progress, when in actuality my underlying health was slowly getting worse.

    Loosing that specific job was a relief - and so was not having to show up every day and pretend that I could pull my weight. But in other ways, obviously, it wasn't a good thing. I'm lucky to have low running costs (cheap house, no dependents etc) and can manage on the resources I have for the foreseeable future without working, but will probably have to work again at some point - or loose my house. I've talked about this a bit recently in my journal - my last relapse happened while I was trying to do some work-related re-skilling, and ignored the warning signs from my inner addict for too long, until I cracked. That was exactly 7 days ago to the hour (....) that I'm writing this. But afterwards I really started to think about what I was doing - that I can't do a computer-based / home based job because of the risk of acting out. If I can't quit PMO, I can't get well enough to function in any job. So maybe I have to be realistic and forget working in an IT job, and focus on just quitting and getting well, and then work in something else.

    @Tao Jones went through this - he switched from IT to being a plumber and seems to be doing very well.

    I hope this isn't too bleak, but that's my experience. But hey, I'm still alive!
  18. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Fapstronaut

    Well, I actually just had sex last night. First oral, and then regular intercourse later in the night. That was two orgasms back to back. I was actually quite shocked to find that I was able to not only get hard again after the first round, but perform sexually, too. Also, I lasted way longer than I thought I was going to. Don't get me wrong. I finished in under a minute (Nofap keeps you sensitive and full). But I found a good girl who has actually been really open to my paws recovery background and was happy to take things at my pace. She's almost a God send given how patient and understanding she has been. It's wild how empathetic she is. She even told me she's dated guys in the past with a similar background, and that it's not as big of a deal to some girls as its blown out to be, which is a hopeful consideration. Although everyone's different.

    Anyway, I feel fine. So far. My brain is buzzing from the dopamine. And I do expect to come down over the next couple days, and honestly, who knows how the good, the bad, and the ugly of that'll actually be. The times that I've just cuddled, kissed, and made out were actually quite nourishing to me. It kind of finally tapped me into all the hype about re-wiring and how critical that is to the recovery process. Because no it didn't give me symptoms. Rather the opposite. That led me to take the next step and have sex. I can definitely feel that watery dope saturation around my eyeballs and "frontal lobe tendrils" for lack of a better description of my cognitive structures. And I know that buzzing juiciness can't last forever. I'm just wondering how hard the come down will be. I know I won't feel great after the dip, but time will tell how relevant it will be to the bigger picture.

    Overall, I'm skeptically optimistic about it. I'm a little sleep deprived because it was a late night. And I have to go back to work tomorrow, so I'm hoping I remain functional through that. I really don't feel that bad, but come on, I just had sex, and I'm still buzzed. Please have my soul in your thoughts and prayers. I'm hoping in the next few weeks to come with good news regarding the possibility of a sexual future.

    Either way, I'll keep you posted.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2022
  19. Phoenix Beyond

    Phoenix Beyond Fapstronaut

    Good on you, Don Quixote :) I'm happy for you. From what I know, sex isn't the bad thing: PMO is ;) I just peeked at some pics of some lightly dressed girls; got to be careful. These pics feed into the addiction brain (the sex brain is something else entirely, sex is good for recovery I believe)
  20. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Fapstronaut

    sex brain is different from porn brain. There is no doubt. And yes, I think sex is healthy. But when you're in recovery, dopamine spikes are not ideal in any capacity. So there has to be some respect paid to your reward system as a general factor in your recovering health.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2022
    Dave G 123 and Phoenix Beyond like this.

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