[24 M] M.A.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

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Some thoughts which are still relevant to my life today. I’m actually on day 0 now after relapsing on the morning of 16 September. In the first half of this month, I fought a tough battle to get to 15 days (which I hadn’t managed to do before, in the course of this year). I’ll rise up now and I look forward to reaching higher this time.:person_climbing:

Sat, 25 May 2019, 06:12 AM

"I have been putting off writing in this journal, which is a way to connect with myself and calm the chaotic thoughts whirling in my head. Instead, I have been choosing the easy, but unwholesome means to escape _ PMO. I’ve just passively given up on trying to improve my life in terms of my sexuality. I have been masturbating each night and not even trying to resist the urge. In fact, some days I look forward to jerking off. It seems like it’s the only comfort I can get from the deep worries and insecurities I have. I know I’m being lazy to plan my life and find a way out of my present position, where I feel stuck and not going forward in my career or education.

I need to become a person who can plan his life 5 or 10 years into the future… I want to become better than what I am now: a hermit, spending all my life in isolation, barely capable of saying a word to my family, or able to articulate myself to new people I meet. I’m sick of perceiving myself as a victim. I can’t be a victim of things I have no control over _ i.e. the current economic decline in my country which is affecting many. I want and am willing to find a way out of this!

I don’t mean to make desperate, reckless decisions for the career path I will to pursue. I have been reading the famous book Rich Dad Poor Dad by the very rich businessman Robert Kiyosaki. It has really overturned some of my old convictions about the way to plan my future. I think I have read it at the most opportune time in my life because it has provided me insight on what would be the wisest steps to take moving forward. The book is consolidated in my mind by the motivational videos from the YouTube channel Alux.com which give me practical steps towards achieving success in my life in all areas, and a window on which failure moves to avoid.

In Kiyosaki’s book, just one of the very “in-your-face”, but commonly ignored facts is that being rich (or at least wealthy, i.e. just having enough to survive a lifetime without working) is what most of us want. We all don’t want to worry about putting food on the table all the years of our lives. I acknowledge that I want to live a full life, with minimal worries, especially none about money, so I want to adopt the advice that is plenty in that book. I want to read it again so that I can grasp it even better and better. So, based on Kiyosaki’s advice, I will continue to pursue the avenues I’ve been thinking of recently, but I will also remember to eventually “mind my own business” and “pay myself first”.

I just want to get my wheels in motion again and it’s almost been a year since I’ve been “parked” and so I have been losing precious time. As Kiyosaki says in his book, time is one of our most valuable assets. I am still young and capable of taking risks

Maybe I should begin doing it [journaling often] towards my sleeping time until it becomes natural, instead of watching shows or contemplating PMO, or victimizing myself.

Similar to the time since I last was doing anything for my career, it’s almost been a year since I joined this app. I have met good, intelligent people who also share the desire to end their addiction to PMO. I have made great chat friends [like @Evan_East, who shares really insightful videos about his NoFap journey on Youtube; @JasonK; @AlexGee, and a few others]. In the course of this past year, I haven’t moved much on my struggle to quit PMO at all, and I know I am the one holding myself back. But, as I have mentioned before, I also believe that I will move forward on this journey as soon as I gain momentum in my career by doing something new and exciting while gaining experience. I don’t expect I will get much monetary reward from government-work here in my country, but I will have to capitalise on the cards I have been dealt. One piece of advice from Kiyosaki which I’ll have to remind myself in my effort to quit PMO is to be careful what I put in my brain because I become it!" - A.M.N

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Today I’ve got a streak of 6 days, and I feel happy that I’ve managed to come this far. I’m happy because so far this year, and in the last half of 2018, I’ve only rarely crossed the 5 day mark. My highest streak was 34 days in 2018, and that was the day I returned home from an amazing trip to South Africa. Actually, it was an education-related trip, a two day seismology workshop and 3 week geophysics field school that began on June 20, 2018. It was such an awesome, unforgettable experience for me and to this day, no week goes by without my stopping to reminisce about the peace and fulfillment I felt then. It wasn’t totally perfect, because I had trouble socializing and talking to people, but compared to what my life has been like ever since I came back, that experience was like heaven.

During that time while I was in South Africa (which was a first for me) I rarely got the chance to contemplate fapping… Oh my God! I was so at peace! The only time any hint of PMO occurred in my mind was when I was asleep in my own room (a dorm room, which was paid for by the sponsors of the workshop, for selected participants from around the world) and I had a blurry dream in which I saw a TV screen showing human figures I couldn’t make out clearly. The TV image was obviously suggestive of porn. I don’t remember feeling tempted to relapse then. During the day, I spent time with the other participants of the workshop, working together on a practical research project that entailed getting up early in the morning to wear a pair of heavy black boots, layers of warm clothes (because it was in winter and really cold), bug repellent spray (for some), and carrying survey instruments that would detect changes in the Earth’s force fields (gravity, electrical, magnetic, etc). With that, we would go out into the wilderness and do some geophysics.

It was a fun experience overall, because I got to meet with people from all over the world (from other countries in Africa besides mine, and some people from the USA). I wish I had been better at interacting with those wonderful people. The great thing is: we were placed in groups, and that made it easier for me to get to talk with three guys who were in my team, since I was working together with them againsts common opponents, :smile: . All the while I was there, I was also in the NoPMO Whats App Group For G&B Men, and I recall that the day before I returned to my home country I told one of the members that I feared I would relapse as soon as I was back home and to my mundane life. It didn’t surprise me that the same night after my arrival, I actually did relapse. That was my highest streak for 2018 gone down the drain.

I’ve never managed to get past 20 days ever since that time, and I believe I know why. I don’t think it’s just because I’ve been struggling to find a job ever since last year, or that I haven’t moved to a totally unfamiliar environment, like I had when I went to that workshop in S.A. That may be part of it. But, what I think is the core problem is that my social life is severely starved . My experience in South Africa didn’t make me get the highest streak I’ve ever had just because I was in a new environment. It got me a high streak because I was literally forced to see people almost all day, everyday for 3 weeks, no matter how shy I am. So, that got to feed my innate social needs. That’s the opinion I have, at least.

So, I’ve known for a long time that I need to be around people more if I’m serious about ending my addiction. Actually, the urges to watch porn are the natural needs to bond that have been hijacked and subverted, in an organism that evolved millions of years ago to seek healthy and comforting bonds from other organisms like it. Although I say that I believe these things, I haven’t made any effort to improve my social life. I’ve been living a hermit-like life for years, hoping that as soon as I find a job I can then begin to interact with people. I’ve also joined dating apps in the hopes of meeting like-minded people near me, but that has been hopeless. The people in those apps are just looking for one thing (i.e., sex) which I’m not too interested in. I had to delete those apps because they were triggering me to relapse.

I know I cannot hope to have an amazing experience like the one I had in S.A. any time soon (but, maybe some time later in my life). So, how can I hope to break out of my addiction while living as I do now? The answer to that, I think, is to interact with yálls here on this forum, and with my other chat friends on Whats App, even though we live tens of thousands of kilometers away from each other. Checking on each other’s progress daily really goes a long way, because this addiction really needs a daily commitment. Joining the 300 :v: NoFapstronauts Whats App group, in which @drago08 and @Forerunner are admins, was a great idea because I managed to attain a streak of 15 days while in their group. But, I wish I hadn’t broken my pledge to avoid PMO this month :frowning_face: . Now I know that I must stand firm, and each day make a strong decision to quit PMO.

I hope, to eventually learn to socialise with people face-to-face (that’d be so nice). I also wanted to share a tool that is helping me track my goals and daily commitments to get me to my goal. It’s from a template I got from the YouTube channel of Alux.com, from their video: 15 Steps To Master Self-Discipline, which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to get the “superpower” of being able to discipline their own actions. The template is a 50 day self-discipline challenge, to work towards your goal (whatever it may be) for 50 days. I share my copy of this challenge. Note that I haven’t been doing so well, but at least I see what I’m missing and can make changes accordingly, before it’s too late.


Thanks for reading this long post, I’ll be posting more about my progress. :blush: :wave: :facepunch:

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Saturday, 14 December 2019 06:34 AM

During the past two weeks or so I have behaved irresponsibly towards myself. I have let myself fall back to the porn addiction and avoided making the effort to quit. As a result I have drained myself of energy and motivation which I need now especially because I am preparing to go to university next year. I seriously have to stop doing this now! I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. It isn’t a minor flaw that I can get away with, but it’s a mistake I could pay for dearly in the long run.

For example, this week I was supposed to submit an application for a bursary at University of Johannesburg. Despite that I had been given three days to submit it, I didn’t submit it on time and my porn addiction is to blame for it because on Wednesday I had the whole day to write the cover letter, fill the application and submit everything on time, but I chose the life where I go to bed early and jerk off to porn. This is really irresponsible of me especially because of the joint effort my family is putting to help me get to university next year. This is far from showing that I appreciate what they are doing for me.

I just hope that I will get the bursary to study at UJ since it has the courses and research areas that most appeal to me. The University of Kwa-Zulu Natal will be a second choice since I can get a loan to study there. I’m hoping that I can get the response from UJ about my application for the bursary so that I may make decisions quickly. From now onwards I need to manage my time properly and take time to start preparing for my studies. I know that since the programme is just a year long, it will be quite rigorous. Having prepared a bit will help me not feel too nervous, especially being in a new environment. I want to go to University of Johannesburg for many reasons such as that some of my relatives live in Johannesburg, and also I was there in 2018, so it won’t be too alien for me.

Also, the sooner I start practicing my self-discipline skills the better. That would be a skill I will really need to do well in my studies and it would be an offense to myself to keep drowning my discomforts and fears in my porn addiction. So, I need to start today, no more delays. I wish I had this mind set a month ago. I cannot get the lost time back, but I can use that time which I have. Planning will be important. So I will plan, gather the resources I need and then start reading. I have about 5 weeks to do this.

Joshua Miles and my other NoFap companions have been giving me advice and urging me to quit PMO, but I have let myself fall back. This is a poor reflection of my character because I never go back on my word. But, this is the person I am becoming. Is this who I want to be? Definitely not, but that is what the addiction is doing to me. That is why I need to quit PMO right now!!! I cannot keep doing this to myself. As Joshua says in his videos, this is a problem that needs urgent attention because it is affecting every part of my life. So, now I will come up with a plan to help me quit. I will re-join the Hero’s 90 Day Challenge on the rewire companion forum although I feel discouraged that I have failed three times while on it. What should encourage me is that I almost came to 30 days while on the challenge.

I need to keep writing on this journal as often as I can to keep myself on track. I owe it to myself and the people who love me.

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It doesn’t matter how many times we fail, what really matters is whether we get up and try again with our full potential and sincerity.

I have also had a very bad past because of the addiction. Am also trying to recover and get back my life. I have failed numerous times. But one thing I know is this: No matter what happens and how many times I fall down, I will still get up and try. I will fight this addiction till my last breath. Because ITS WORTH IT.

You also can do the same thing brother. And I believe in you and your calibre. Never ever give up.

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Yes, as Aragorn said, it’s not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up.

I’ll be following your journals man, I hope you have luck with the Hero’s 90 day challenge this time, I love that thread. I think it is good you are giving it another chance.

Stay strong :muscle:

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Thank you very much for the encouragement @Aragorn. As you say, what matters most is that I try again with my full potential and sincerity. I must do the work that’s required to keep myself on track. I will do as much I can and never give up.

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Thank you @Special_Bird. I truly appreciate the moral support. I recently read a motivating story written by you. I will read it again to pick up some lessons in it I may have missed.

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Day 5

I’m glad that I began this new year on a positive note, with the goal to stay free from PMO in 2020 and onwards. When I began this new streak I accepted letting go of porn, masturbation, edging, peeking and picturing pornstars in my head, but I still resisted letting go of fantasizing. I knew that I needed to cut out any arousing trigger, but I was conflicted about giving up sexual thoughts.

Today I’ve realized that I must let that go as well. Not giving up the fantasizing has probably been the mistake I have been doing over and over. Fantasizing began my path into this addiction in the first place (12 years ago before I ever knew anything about masturbating, let alone porn) and so it’s that deep root which I need to pull out.

I came across some things I wrote 8 years ago, and it’s alarming to see that I’ve been struggling in the same pattern, the same loop - this addiction - for such a long time. I hadn’t yet discovered porn in the time I wrote this, but I struggled with masturbation and fantasizing. Fantasizing was my “porn” then, and so I can’t now think it’s a normal and harmless indulgence. I was much more religious back then, but I still feel the same way about this problem. I want to be free in 2020 and onward. I need to be. I am older and hopefully wiser now and I need do succeed this time.

Wednesday 29 August 2012, 10:56 AM

I pray today that from now on I may become practical. I desire to start, now, implementing what I have resolved to do. I cannot live anymore in guilt and sadness. It’s time to change.

I’ve seen that each time I decide to put myself back on track, there’s always distractions that cause me to derail again. I believe there are various ways in which I can prevent this from happening.

Commitment is one of the most essential of qualities I must develop so that I achieve what God calls me to do. I must always remember that God is the master of my life.

I need not to fear anymore; therefore, I have to start today to carry out all the necessary steps. Today I am going to confession. I have to pour out all my sins to God - those unchaste thoughts and deeds; those of offending people with my thoughts; words and actions; even those of indifference towards Him.

I am aware that I have been going to church only for the sake of, I guess, to be seen. I need to stop this today. A whole new chapter in my life is beginning today, and I’m closing the old one which has been the story of my life since, as far as in record, since 2009 (for approximately four years).

Visible, positive changes must now begin to occur in my life. Nothing shall stop me now, not even the most subtle or powerful of discouragements. I need to stop being naive and to see that the world is what one sees it as.

I begin today to spare enough time in conversation with a good friend and wise mentor - Jesus. I know He is waiting for me to open the door of my heart.

Friday 31 August 2012, 02:05 PM

I am glad that I was able to go for confession on Wednesday so as to renew my relationship with God. Since then I’ve tried various ways to keep myself in the presence of God. However, my terrible habit is difficult to stop. I masturbate every night and still give in to homosexual desires. It’s become a part of me which will prove extremely difficult to destroy. Neverthelss, I have to stop the unchaste habits no matter what!

On Wednesday, the priest of my parish preached in his homily about the mercy of God. God has given mankind mercy so as to bring them to conversion. I must therefore, having received God’s mercy, undergo continuous conversion everyday.

Jesus gives me the here and now to immerse myself in His most divine mercy, in the abyss of His unfathomable mercy and I accept it. I surrender myself to Him.

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So touching man…

I wish you all the best in your journey.

May God Bless you…

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Thank you very much @Aragorn. I wish you all the best in your journey too. This new year we can achieve so much if we put our minds to it

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You’re making real progress brother!

When you leave fantasizing behind for good, it doesn’t make what day you’re on, you’ll be able to maintain your sobriety with GOD’s Help.

Well done in doing the work and genuinely making changes.

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@Forerunner, brother, thank you very much. I pray that I maintain this optimism and self-worth that I am beginning to feel now in my short streak. I believe I can change. Your motivational videos keep me challenged and aware of the things that are standing in the way of my reboot. :pray:

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