At 523 yesterday afternoon, I hit 5 months no PMO. By far, the thing that inspired and inspires my drive to move forward is the posts of success stories. I have never posted in this section, but I do hope that someone may be inspired by my post. All of this really began when years ago when friends on the block found a garbage bag of pornography in an empty lot. The fact that it was in a garbage bag should have been a red flag, but I was 5 or 6 when I first saw it. It kicked off a dopamine rush and my brain bookmarked that high. In my teens , I found my father's pornography and became fascinated with porn. ( I am currently in my late 40s, so the internet wasn't established just yet. ) I would eventually go and buy porn from a place that sold it in town. With women I would not be focused on friendship. I had objectified them. I first got the internet in October of 1999, and I can remember rationalizing that I would be fine. It wasn't long before I started and my brain was fighting to watch it. It was like I had found the garbage bag of porn again. So many images available. I would sacrifice sleep to look at porn. Quickly, it began to edge away at my physical well being, feeling exhausted. Socially, I felt ashamed. No integrity. I tried to look like all was well but inside I felt like I was falling apart. I tried everything to quit, but when the urge hit, I felt that my fall was inevitable. I thought that the only way to rid myself of this urge was to give in. I thought that I would never sleep without masturbation. I thought that I would have constant pain if I didn't release it. I was told that somehow ejaculation keeps a form of cancer away. I thought that this battle would be lifelong. 5 months ago, i began this journey. This is what I have learned and experienced - and pass on. 1. I have learned, over the past 5 months, that the urge passes. The buildup will move though urine - It's tough to see, but I sometimes see traces of semen in the bowl after urinating. This truth was incredibly freeing, because I didn't feel like I was HAD to fall. 2. The research on ejaculation somehow preventing prostate cancer? WRONG. Again, this has been debunked by counter research. 3. Another thing that I discovered was that the voice of my limbic system has no conscience. It can speak suddenly and powerfully, demanding that I find pleasure to counter any of life's suffering. But i soon learned that my limbic system can be challenged and controlled by my intellect. When I exercize the voice of my intellect against my limbic system, treating it like a kid who is repetitively demanding something that is unreasonable, I knock down the power of the limbic system. My intellect's statements are clear and authoritative, stated to my limbic system " NO, WE ARE NOT GOING THERE. THIS IS NOT AN OPTION. WE DON'T LOOK AT PORN." It may sound somewhat mental, but it lets me stand apart from the limbic system and exercize my intellect and will. The limbic system initially "speaks out" by suggesting a porn memory, or a fantasy - it's like a laptop in my head. I shut it down by quickly introducing the voice of the intellect - with the previous authoritative statement. I find that this truly works. I do it as soon as I am conscious of my mind drifting. I will redirect my eyes if something pops up on a TV ad and I will quickly shut down the laptop in my head as it tries to replay what I just saw. Voice of intellect is amazing in shutting down that limbic voice. It takes practice but it works. 4. I avoid TV channel surfing and Internet surfing. Both TV and online are like walking into a bad neighborhood. You don't meander around or you're going to get mugged. Go straight to a planned, safe destination. Get what you need and then get out. Advertisers online will try to hook you in with an image that triggers dopamine. This is how you get "mugged". 5. I did cold showers for 100 days. This is all about building up your intellect over your limbic system. It forces you to exercize the voice of reason because your limbic system will move you to turn the shower to hot. I would turn the shower on cold, but not step into it until my limbic system started to speak. Then I would have my intellect let out a GRRRR!!! against the limbic system and step into the cold water. 10 seconds for the body to acclimate, but it makes you feel like a champ as you finish the shower. This was one of the best things that I did for myself. 6. Prayer is also key. A little after 2 weeks in, I began to pray for an hour every day. Often times I break it up throughout the day, but it keeps me focused- asking God for the strength to keep this going. BENEFITS? MANY! 1. I am far more confident in speaking about issues because I feel like a moral person who walks the walk. It has changed my ability to speak my opinion and dialogue. 2. I am in far more control of my emotions. My ability to control anger has changed significantly. 3. My ability to analyze what needs to be done and to explain a plan to others has dramatically changed. I know that I'm coming from a solid place and I live from a solid foundation. 4. My capacity to endure trials has changed. I don't fold. I can take on a verbal challenge with a lot more confidence. 5. I am able to speak about my weak areas with a newfound confidence. Letting someone know that I'm not good at something does not affect my value and well being. 6. I don't depend on affirmation like before. I used to need every beautiful woman to smile back. All of this from no PMO. I would have NEVER thought that when I started this on May 23rd that I would ever get to this spot. I keep moving forward because this is an adventure - discovering that I'm a good man and that I have a tremendous mission to help others. My life has changed dramatically over the last 5 months and I am looking forward to great things. I truly hope that others are helped by my post. GOD'S PEACE!!!!