Thank GOD for 50 days clean!
This is my second time ever making it this far, after 13 years of addiction.
My highest streak was 58 days on hard mode fully clean, then a few extra days of peeking until relapse in January 2019.
During that streak, I wasn’t disciplined; I was disciplining myself. I put myself through absolute torture in order to get there - fasting every single day until nightfall (no food or water during daylight hours), running 6 days a week, no junk food whatsoever - I had a single hard candy over the 58 day period - 100 push-ups, sit-ups and squats 6 days a week - I later increased to 150 reps after it got easier, no social media or WhatsApp, no gaming, no songs - only instrumentals, daily posts on the Rewire Companion message board and more. I was beating the addiction out of me, and in the end, I crashed and burnt out.
After falling from my highest ever streak in January, I spiralled into a continuous series of relapses. More than 100 times - 46 different days this year. It was difficult to make it past two weeks. Some days, I could barely pass a few hours after making a new commitment.
My strategy this time is very different - much more loving and compassionate to myself, and I’m confident that GOD willing, I’ll be making another post in 40 days to celebrate my reboot.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share my strategy in hopes that it can help others to succeed and finally break free of that cycle of relapsing. I call it…
A HERO’S STRATEGY TO DEFEAT THE URGES!
Urge Prevention Your shield against urges coming into contact with you
- Understand the root cause of the addiction. Take a pen and paper and write down your current feelings and state of mind. Investigate the reasons why you feel this way and keep going until you come to PMO as part of the problem. Find out the other reasons as well that things in your life aren’t the way you want them to be. Look at your health, your studies, career, family and friend relationships, personal goals etc. Learn something entirely new about yourself and untangle the fog that PMO has placed on your self-awareness. Then, choose a day once a week where you can just read over your findings and keep them fresh in your mind. This will give you extra strength. PMO is not the root of all your current problems. It may even have started that way, but now it is a symptom of them. A healthy person with high self-esteem and a good mental attitude cannot remain an addict.
- Forgive yourself completely for the past. Leave all past relapses behind. Leave the sins behind, the broken promises to yourself and others, the times you neglected your work or your exercises, the wasted time on video games and movies and browsing Instagram, the pain you caused to family and friends, all of it. That was the old you in the past. You cannot ever change what he did. You can choose to be the new man you are at the present moment and work each day to have a beautiful future. You are the hero in your movie or video game now. Fully believe that you deserve to live this life and that with the help of the Almighty, you will accomplish it this time.
- Make a firm, definite commitment to real change this time. Write it down and sign your name. Decide that you are now on your lifetime streak. There are no more thoughts like 'Just one extra day and I’ll start fresh tomorrow!’ Do something new that reinforces this belief for you. There might be something you always imagined the PMO-free you would do, like being less socially anxious, regular exercise and healthy eating, playing an instrument or learning a second or third language. Start doing this now. You could even start writing your 90-day success story, and work backwards to accomplish it before you get there. What habits would you implement to get there?
- Every day, reaffirm your commitment to staying clean and maintaining your ultimate streak, and your belief that this is it. This will take less than a minute a day, but it is so powerful as it keeps your progress and success in the front of your mind to fight for you when urges come. Why would you relapse? The current you will never relapse - he just said so this morning! If a day is too long and you fear urges building up, then do this morning, afternoon and evening.
- Also, when you make your daily commitment, be grateful for your progress so far. Remember, these are the last times you will ever pass these days again. The Last Day 5. The Last Day 10. The Last Day 30 and so on. That’s incredible after years of addiction. You’re a new man; appreciate it.
- Make it a habit to remove lustful thoughts from your mind instantly. The woman passing by in the street, your classmates and work colleagues, previous crushes and girlfriends, that music video, flashbacks of P imagery, all of them have to go. Just like we wipe our hard drives, phone memory cards and browser history of all the P we used to watch, now we wipe our mental hard drive and keep it clean. The new person you have become does not fantasize about women like that; he respects them. 2 seconds of thinking these thoughts is too long. Look away and choose to think about something positive instead. Doing so creates a new habit in your brain which makes urges very weak and so much easier to dismiss.
- Write up 2 lists; one list of all the reasons why you don’t want to go back to PMO or break your lifetime streak, and the second list of all the reasons why you want to continue being free and what your new life will look like. Make your lists personal and emotional, powerful enough that if you saw them before relapsing in the past, you’d think twice before throwing away your progress. Read it and you’d rather bathe in ice water than type those filthy words into the search bar or touch your manhood. Read this list at least once a week to keep your mind fresh and prevent urges. If your urges are still strong, read it more times, even daily if you have to.
Urge Intervention Your sword to fight urges which break through the defences
- Write up a short, powerful vision for your life. One paragraph long, something which you can memorize and instantly bring to mind each time the temptation comes. Powerful enough to snap sense into you and remind you of what you want your life to be like. Soon enough that it doesn’t feel like ages before you make it there. 90 days is a good length.
- Each time you get an urge, tell yourself, ‘At this moment, I want to go back to PMO. And that’s okay. Everyone is tempted. I don’t need to feel ashamed or guilty for any urges. It’s my actions which count.’ This is completely different to our former habits; most of us would deny the urges and hope they go away on their own, which worked for a little while and then they came back stronger and fiercer than before. Recognizing that urges can come at any time to anyone and that they are not bad is very powerful. No one resets their counter because they had a really bad urge. Urges are not sins or crimes or relapses. They’re a natural part of being human, and each one provides us with the opportunity to prove that we are a new person on a new journey, through what we decide to do next.
- Tell yourself, ‘This decision is only for this urge. I am free to decide differently next time.’ Your ultimate goal is to never relapse again, but our brains are very funny when it comes to long periods like that. We begin to feel like we’re missing out and depriving ourselves of some reward or positive experience - even though we’ve spent years in addiction and never received this. This is why you will hear stories of someone relapsing after 4 years - he believed he was missing out on something and thought he would go back to check it out, and then he finds himself back at the beginning. When you give yourself the freedom to relapse at any moment if you so choose, the door to PMO is always open, and your brain doesn’t think it’s missing out because it can always go back. This paradox empowers us to never return to PMO.
- Decide that at this moment, your vision is more important to you than 5 seconds of PMO pleasure. Recite your memorized paragraph, and watch the urges fade away. Your brain cannot focus on the powerful mental image of your vision and thoughts of PMO at the same time, so one has to fall away. The stronger your vision is, the quicker the urges will die. This happens within 90 seconds for me.
- Make a habit of carrying out this process every single time you experience an urge, no matter where you are or whether you have access to P or not at that moment. Practice this twice a day every day even if you don’t have an urge that day. This practice is what will save you if the really strong urges come back.
Hero, you now have your sword and your shield and are prepared to fight the urges head-on. This is a fight for your life! Nothing is more urgent or important. When you make the conscious decision to do whatever it takes to be free, it will happen. GOD will help you make it so.
Stay vigilant, stay strong, stay free! Glory is just a few days around the corner - I will meet you there!