[24 M] A.M.N's Journey

I would like to share my personal experience of the journey to recovery from addiction. I am hoping it can serve to help me, and anyone else who may resonate with this experience. I will begin by sharing one of my journal notes in edited form:

Thursday, 22 August 2019, 04:09 PM

"Today, like many days since I completed my undergraduate studies, has been a quiet, drowsy and unproductive day. I did very little of what I had intended to do: to go through the research papers that my potential supervisor gave me some two weeks ago to help me decide on a research project proposal for my MPhil research.

I am glad that I’ve decided to quit PMO and gay dating apps, phew! Today I’m on day 1 and I seriously mean to reach my 50 day goal. I also wish to cut down on entertainment which distracts me from working on my MPhil project. Without a school schedule to guide me, I solely rely on my self-discipline, which I know is crippled. I know the decision to quit PMO and entertainment is very a crucial determining factor for the quality of the results I will get at the end of my MPhil work, which I need to excel in. That gives me all the more reason to leave these bad habits behind. The man I choose to become now, is the man I am going to be the rest of my life. I certainly don’t wish to be a procrastinator anymore. I have lost so much time already.

There are two main things I know I must do that will change my life significantly; so, I must focus on those. These will open up for me or increase my chances of getting greater opportunities in my future. These are: working on my MPhil research project and applying to as many scholarship programs and A-Level teaching positions as I can.

My sister is helping me quite a lot with my applications in South Africa, where she is and has made a lot of financial sacrifices to help me get certification at SAQA, a requirement for applying in SA universities. I should remember what she has done and do my best to get a scholarship. Then, I would be able to repay her for her sacrifice. The SAQA certification will probably increase my chances of finding work in SA.

The National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) which I have been dreaming of participating in seems like a dead end road now. I communicated with one of the professors involved in the program and he was kind enough to give his honest opinion, that as a non-South African it will be “almost impossible” for me to get into the program. With this information I can now make a far more informed decision without regrets, phew!

So, I am going to shift my focus on other, more promising bursaries which are directed towards graduates from my home country, like the Beit Trust Scholarship or the Center for Space Research bursary in NWU (which I need to double-check on updates). I should also think about applying for the Gates Scholarship.

The other limb of my self-improvement is my MPhil project… I now remember as I write this that I need to come up with a timeline/structure that I will follow that will ensure I do my work on time.

I’m hoping that I also get a well paying TA job or A-Level Physics job (although I am told the latter will be a load of work). I need the job because I need the money to support myself. I can’t keep on depending on my parents… That is why I attempted to apply to high schools in my city to get a job as a teacher. One teacher who is my mother’s church friend last month suggested I apply to private schools. Financial constraints hindered me from sending my applications before schools closed. I want to send my applications as soon as the school offices open in September. I need to have some seriousness with this and so I will research on when the school offices open so that I can send in my application for teaching positions. I don’t have very high hopes for it, but it would be very lovely if I get in one private school. That would give me hope of being able to improve my life and my family’s life. At least my mother is still working outside of the country and supporting my younger brothers. Getting a job would be lifting a load from both my parents and that is why I am desperate to get work immediately.

I should be proud of myself for some steps I have taken for self improvement, like completing my research paper draft. That reminds me: I need to check with my undergrad supervisor on how far he has gone with reviewing it. Last week when I had an unexpected meet with him where he said he would be done with it this Monday, and would be sharing with me possible journals in which to get it published. Wow! This journaling does help to put my mind in order. I should do it regularly, like weekly!!

I’m also glad that I sent my application for tutoring assistantship at my former university last week. Now I hope an opportunity opens up… But, I’m not so keen on going to teach in the public school where there are poor learning and teaching conditions and the pay is hardly encouraging. There is a lower limit to how low I can go and I think that kind of job would be below that limit. I need to focus on the best possible level I can get to, that’s why I need to be serious about my MPhil, scholarship applications and bidding farewell to my addiction to PMO." - M.A.N

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019, 10:40 AM

"I feel some joy that I have managed to reach 9 days without doing PMO. However, it’s not a lot of joy because I don’t feel any of the benefits yet. That’s ok anyway, because I expect they will not show up until after I’ve reached a much higher streak. For now, I feel just as usual. My motivation is low and my concentration is poor. I’m still not as productive as I would like to be. I’m journaling right now so that I may get my mind to focus on the “present” to enable me to do the work I need to do now, and not dream about doing it in a future that may never come.

During these past few days of being on nofap, I haven’t been struggling that much against the urge to do the whole PMO act, but mostly I have been warding off images of male pornstars that occasionally pop into my head out of nowhere or are triggered by something. Like a few days ago I saw a movie where the protagonist, acted by Charlie Hunnam looked a lot like a male pornstar I am familiar with. Whenever these memories come to me, I immediately nod them away without entertaining them. It feels like I’m depriving myself of something essential; but anyway, that’s what I’m supposed to feel when quiting an addiction that has been normal to me for quite some time. Last night I entertained the idea of cuddling with this one guy I’m attracted to. I would have to avoid it next time, because I’m sure it’ll escalate and turn into a relapse if I keep doing it. I also dreamt that my father discovered porn inages saved on my laptop (which there aren’t, in reality), and that felt horrifying. One of the liberating benefits about noPMO is that I won’t have to worry about sharing my devices with others.

Seriously going on this journey, at least for now in the early part of it, feels like I’m an acrobat walking on a high tightrope over a deep valley, in unstable equilibrium, fearing I could fall at any second. For this reason, I need to keep my mind busy and free from idle thoughts. If I’m really dedicated to doing something during the day, I can do it, despite that recently the country has had to suffer load shedding and not have power in houses for many hours during the day. I should keep going on this journey, despite not feeling motivated at the moment. I’ve almost got to my first target of 10 days. After that my next challenge will be 20 days." - M.A.N

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Healthy nutrition, working out, meditation and practices as yoga potentiate the effects… Just saying that you shouldn’t rely and expect to turn into a genius after a few days of not engaging in a destructive brain melting activity :wink:
You have very fascinating interests, I wish you all luck to find the answers you’re interested in in space sciences. Years of semen retention may open up your mind into the infinity of the universe!
Stay focused, don’t let anything deceive you, don’t fall for the reboot trap that hinders 90% of the people that start because they are afraid of their flatline phase and turn back to pmo. Think in months and years instead of days and weeks.
Peace

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Hi @Svami-MahaGanja. Thanks for those important pointers. I agree that it’s not merely the number of days of noPMO that will improve our lives, but it’s mostly the efforts to practice healthy habits that you mentioned above: eating healthy food, working out, meditation, etc. So far in my life, I haven’t taken these practices seriously. But, now I’ll begin to add them to my routine, while I also train my mind not lose focus every time I begin a positive act that my addicted brain doesn’t perceive as stimulating. I definitely wish to practice semen retention for as long as I can, for the rest of my life if possible. I hope this is the beginning.

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Wednesday, 28 August 2019, 01:14 PM

A desperate need for connection is one of the major reasons (if not the only reason) that I am addicted to PMO. In these notes, from two weeks ago, I described my feelings of need. Some of the details may be better understood by those who have similar preferences or just can relate with these kind of feelings, regardless of who they like.

“I feel quite lonely at this moment, wishing to be close to a man who likes me romantically. This same feeling has been one of the causes of my recent relapses. Last night while I relapsed, I watched a video showing a very attractive man… [doing what adult entertainers do]. This brought on a yearning feeling more than it brought on sexual arousal. I yearned to be in the presence of such a handsome, well-built guy just to feel his embrace and hear relaxing whispers of love from him, and not for sex at all. So, that led me to search the internet for ways to attract the kind of gay men I truly wish to around. I suppose I searched this because finding and attracting a likable guy has been quite elusive to me. I’ve signed up on so many dating sites hoping to find this, but I’ve never been lucky. That article I read last night reminded me of the fact that what I am searching isn’t an easy-come free lunch I expect to get with little effort from my part. In fact, if I don’t do what’s necessary to attract the kind of person I would like (according to steps given in the article I read last night), then I can’t expect to get what I desire. The steps mentioned in the article urged for one to become more sociable and not to be afraid to make approaches to people one likes with the willingness to accept rejection when it comes. So, the question I should ask myself now is if I am ready to make such an effort? The problem is that I wish to focus on my career-life and this conflicts with my need to bond with someone, hence my PMO addiction. Perhaps this is a painful gap I should train myself to live with for as long as it takes for me to improve myself in every aspect I wish to. So, I think whenever this lonely feeling should arise, I should remember that my steps towards self-improvement make me more of unique and special person while PMO destroys this. Perhaps, the more and more I improve my life that yearning feeling will go away. Mastering self-discipline is the most important skill I can adopt in this point in my life. I need to take this seriously and give no chance for my mammalian brain to override my rational brain. Self-discipline, self-discipline, self-discipline! I’ve failed several times to get very far on the Alux.com’s 50 Days Discipline Challenge which I adopted to help me quit PMO. Today, is perhaps the beginning of my 10th attempt at it. I truly want and need to take it seriously. This will mean increasing my productivity during the day, working on my MPhil research proposal, avoiding going past an hour of entertainment and social media, avoid being delayed by external influences. Whatever is not getting me to my goals has to go.” - A.M.N