Thanks for these thoughts
I completely agree with you. I’m currently changing my mindset about this whole journey and wanted to write a post on my own. But you were faster (I think I will add one to my diary at the end of this week too )
Got stuck in the belief that if I change this one thing now than this will lead to a perfect life in X-years. Leads to wrong expectations and too much pressure on executing one particular change. Your post helped to further to improve my current changes.
Can’t wait for your next entry
Thanks for these thoughts
Thank you so much! This diary is foremost just a help to sort my thoughts in some way, but it’s always great to see sharing it helps others in some way as well!
And great to hear about your change in attitude that you seem to be quite content with! I’ll check your diary as well!
Thoughts On Day 0
I came home pretty late and all it would had to take was to go to bed. I didn’t. Instead, I sat down on my laptop. Not because I wanted to check my mail, not because I had some urgent business to get done, no, I just felt the need for positive input. Because before I was home, I met my ex-girlfriend (trying the staying-friends-thing) and that left some confusion inside me.
It seems I couldn’t handle this confusion. I could not just lie down and sleep, or try to sleep. I was pretty tired as well, it wouldn’t have been a problem. So watching a video on YouTube led to histerically checking every website I’m logged into led to porn.
Another companion updated me on my current streak just minutes before, so I willingly ended it after 6 days.
I hope to pick myself up again soon, and make the next one last longer again.
Thoughts On Day 0
Yeah, I know. It doesn’t look to good right now.
I somehow feel pretentous for writing down all those thoughts, for actually thinking I would have found the way to go. A way to become the person I always see myself being one day. And it is funny enough that what I am striving towards was actually what made me stumble again.
Some things are changing right now, and other things are not. It seems the latter can’t keep up with the first.
The most obvious is that I am single again, which is a simple thing to say, but rather complex if it means leaving behind a five year long lasting relationship. A toxic relationship in many ways, which makes its end something I don’t regret (yet?), but a very close one nonetheless. Most of my decisions in the last years were influenced by this relationship, by my feelings for this woman, and even if it is officially over, emotionally I have yet to get through the whole thing.
It made me into who I am today, and I have yet to discover who I can be without it.
I still have to adapt to the way things are now.
And I still have to find a way to deal with all the emotions I start to notice when staying clean for a longer period of time. I admit it, I’m afraid of them. A lot.
At times I notice a feeling which makes me uneasy and I don’t know why. That alone makes me somehow feel disconnected from myself, because I seem to never have learned why I feel those emotions and how to deal with them. I’m afraid some of them aren’t even bad ones. Just imagine being excited, in a good way, like when you are looking forward to a concert of your favourite band, or meeting someone you really like. Right now, I misinterpret those feelings.
I want to learn how to embrace them. How to give up control to some extent and let my feelings influence my behaviour.
I hope noticing this will help me in the next days. And it all doesn’t look as bad as it might sound in this rather contemplative entry. I started doing sports six times a week and haven’t missed a single day yet, for example.
So let’s see if I can get up and confront those changes. Embrace them!
Just to make sure that i understand you well. Did you relapse too feel less sad?
Somehow, yes. But not “sad” in particular, just…uneasy. Weird. That’s the best description I can come up with
I just had this feeling that made me uneasy, and the way I dealt with it, to make it go away maybe, or to just react to it, was to relapse…it was not something I did on purpose, it was more like my instincts told me: that’s how you feel, so this is what you should do now
that describes it perfectly.
it’s the way to handle bad emotions.
i guess it’s often the same reason when people smoke. they are stressed -> they smoke to calm down. i feel uneasy -> i watch a porn to feel good again
Isn’t masturbation to escape emotions the worst way to masturbate?
I never doubted that
That’s why I need to teach myself a way to deal with those emotions in any other way
Thoughts on Day 6
Hey folks, it’s been a while since my last entry. There were a few reasons for that, one being my increased activity as a moderator of this forum, but the main one being me having no new insight at all.
The last few weeks had their ups and downs, but most importantly: I was occupied by life far too much to either stop and reflect about it or spend too much time on the app.
The first three or four weeks, back when I started using the NF Companion app, it helped me a lot. For one I started to tackle this problem for real again. The community and feedback of you all gave me the strength to tell my family and friends about my addiction. Reading your stories, your struggles, your small and big victories also made it clear to me that it was not just something I make up, it’s real, I’m not the only one affected by PMO and there are ways to break free again.
Thanks for that.
But there is a point where I had to stop relying on it too much. I had to start working on the way I live, and spending too much time on this forum brought the danger of trading one addiction for another.
I don’t know if I brought up this metaphor before in this diary, but sometimes I feel something that I started to call the void. Dealing with it was the core part of my life for the last 10 or 15 years, and most of this time I tried filling it, making it disappear. Almost every addiction I built during these years was based on filling this void. First it was reading, then it was gaming, then PMO, towards the end my relationship, sex and eventually PMO again.
The reason I feel disconnected from these things while doing them is the void. I don’t read because I enjoy it (I do as well, there’s always both sides, but earlier in my life satisfying the void was the important part). I don’t play games because I like exploring other worlds, try myself, be creative, but to fill the void, to feel some kind of achievement. I didn’t care about watching a movie with the person my (ex)girlfriend was, I cared about spending time with an activity that filled the void.
I didn’t do these things to feel something, to make me or other people happy, to reach some level of content or because I was interested in them.
I did them to NOT feel something else I was obviously unable to deal with.
I still didn’t get rid of this problem entirely. It’s not a 0-1 kind of situation (nothing is, guys, remember that), it’s a change of proportions. Nowadays I’m more likely to do something out of curiosity, two years ago I was more likely to fill the void.
It slowly changes until I can finally say that I built a healthy relation towards it.
My main goal is to face this void instead of filling it.
Imagine going out after dark. You step out of your room, go out on the field and look above. There’s only darkness and a few stars that give you the feeling of insignificance, of being the smallest most unimportant part of the universe. It’s just you and this big, all engulfing void.
That’s what I feel when facing the void.
My natural response to the day was either to run away, build a house, give in to the illusion of a smaller, controllable universe of a few rooms, or to start deconstructing what I saw, to understand the void, the stars, the universe and everyting to apply a controllable and easy-to-understand-system onto it.
What I try to teach myself now is to just stay there on this field, accepting the vastness of it all.
Another way to put it is to compare it to a black hole. Normally I give in to its gravitation, get sucked in and try to feed it with all I got, but the thing is that a black hole is never satisfied, it just sucks in more and more and more until nothing is left (to all you physicists out there: I’m terribly sorry for my scientifically incorrect explanation of a black hole ;D ).
But if I can find a way to stay in its orbit, then withstanding the gravity that tries to suck me in actually gives me power, energy. Like the potential of energy between two magnets.
It’s really difficult to put in words guys, but this potential that I feel when for example not PMOing is actually giving me the strength to work on other stuff.
But sometimes I’m afraid to feel it. Sometimes I’m afraid of this energy, and I give in. To minimize the moments where that happens is what I’m working on right now.
And so far it works pretty well. My life is improving over the last weeks. I started practicing the piano again, uploading music that I created. I’m quite active in a community here in my city, organizing events and bringing people together for different occacions. I’m working a lot, earning the money for a planned trip to Asia - a reward for staying on track until then.
I also started writing again, finished a short story and working on the next one right now.
So, thanks for sticking around guys! I’m aware that my entries tend to sound like esoteric gibberish lately, but being a writer that’s the way I put into words what I feel, so bear with me I’ll try to update a bit more frequent, maybe once a week, and keep you posted on my progress!
Ama, I didn’t know your diary, how can it be?
You are an awesome writer. Your metaphors are pretty fit to my feelings as well.
Unfortunately I’m not that comfortable writing in English, shrinking my thoughts into the poor knowledge of this language I have - I wish I could tell you better how I resonate with what you wrote.
Well, I’d wrap it up quoting contemporary singer-songwriter George Ezra, “what a terrible time to be alive if you’re prone to overthinking”.
Although all the thinking we could address to the matter of our porn addiction - and probably we are leaned to dive into deep consideration -, the best strategy I’ve found so far to deal with my void is to avoid it. Sounds simplistic, but it traces back to the idea of “blessed are the poor in spirit”. In the Portuguese version, instead of blessed, we use a word which means something closer to blissful.
I understand it as trying to be simple without being simplistic (thus, not the same as ignorant). Sometimes I feel fulfilled, sometimes not, but I just keep doing my thing. Sometimes I enjoy the day I had, sometimes not, but I just go sleep expecting to wake up in a better mood the next day. And I try to be ok with not being ok.
I’ll follow this topic to read your thoughts and learn some
Thanks for reading man.
I like how you put it - being simplistic without being simple (or the other way round, semantics really) sums some thoughts up pretty well
Also, I think the notion of being simplistic or plain dumb just because you don’t dive into this void is a thought I encountered a few times now with people being sad about anything in general. It doesn’t mean you ignore it if you concentrate on the good things to counter it. We are what we think, our thoughts shape our reality, and always concentrating on the stuff that drags us down is not “being deep” or “understanding the true meaning of life happy people will never get”. That’s bullshit. Maybe a thought born by pushing the self consciousness, or because we got used to the sadness (or addiction) and its patterns being a core part of ourselves at that point.
Intellectual doesn’t match intelligent!
This was the cherry on the cake.
Simplicity is the new sophistication.
Thoughts on day 28
Hey guys! It’s been such a long time that I actively participated in the forum or continued this diary of mine, but here we go.
Currently, I’m on a pretty good Streak. It’s the longest since a few months, and only beaten once in the last 2 years by a 50 days steak last October or so.
I still struggle at times, feeling the need to go back to something I know and somewhere I feel safe, especially if I’m tired, which happens quite often lately as I’m working a lot. When I get home, I sit down on my bed, start to browse on my phone and soon feeling the need to listen or watch to porn (as someone who is mostly turned on by sound, relaxing erotic audio files are my main problem).
I’m rearranging my rooms though, making it easier to listen to music and feel nice in general, instead of feeling too cramped and only being able to lie down on bed.
I still am completely open about my addiction to most people that are close to me. My girlfriend, happily together now for six weeks, is supporting me as well, which helps a lot. Doesn’t feel like I’m hiding something, but instead I know there’s always someone I can talk to when push comes to shove.
Even though my work ethics, my general productivity and social activity went up a lot since I was heavily addicted, I sometimes feel a bit off, disconnected, like I’m a shadow of myself. I hope this will get better the longer I’m clean and the longer I’m actively spending more time with other parts of my life, giving them value and building a new lifestyle.
I also started reading again! Finished two books in the last month, the first time in the last three years! I couldn’t even imagine how much I missed this part of my life.
Hope you are all doing good. And I’ll make sure to be checking in more regularly, giving some more detailed updates on my emotional state, changes I notice and so on! Cheers
Thoughts on Day 0 (after 40)
After 40 days of occasionally looking/listening to porn, though never masturbating alongside or having an orgasm, I relapsed last night.
I was out with a friend, came home drunk and before going to sleep I started my PC. Gaming led to random reddit browsing led to the porn.
The reason for my relapse is quite similar to past ones: I didn’t act according to what my body told me, what I knew I had to do. I was tired, thirsty and drunk. I felt this unease, and tried to kill it with gaming. That didn’t work, so I ended up with more extreme ways to feel something good, when in the end all I should’ve done would have been drinking a glass of water and going to bed to not feel anything at all.
I also remember not being content with the whole evening. I went out with a friend instead of visiting my girlfriend after work, and the evening turned out rather dull, which made me regret my decision. Then I sat at home, drunk and alone, instead of sleeping by her side, and that frustration also added to the whole situation and feeling of unease and frustration, like: this couldn’t have been it, there has to be more to this evening, I have to make up for the missing happyness I originally expected.
Well, either way, I hit the 40 days mark before that, and I know what to do. Listen to my body and mind. Accept frustration and negative feelings. Not getting too drunk in situations of unease. Actually, not getting too drunk in general. Also, from now on I’ll treat a mere conscious peak at porn as a relapse.
I also want to add that in the past weeks and months, things have turned out astonishingly well for me. I’ve got promoted at work, the relationship with my girlfriend is steady and healthy, I’m in touch with my family quite often and I finally rearranged and decorated my rooms. I notice that in a lot of situations where before I would’ve given up when facing hardship, I now just take a moment and tackle what’s in my way. Feels good after years of fear and procrastination.
So i ended the 2nd longest Streak I had since 2 years, but here we go to top that and go beyond!
Thanks to all my companions who are still sticking with me
Thoughts on day 17
Over two weeks without touching myself while watching porn. Still, for three days or so I find myself watching it for a few minutes, then shutting it off. How come?
The answer is the old “I’m used to it”. It’s something familiar, and in times of trouble or unease the urge to find shelter in that is still a challenge.
The thing is…there is literally almost zero unease in my life right now. Sure, if I start nit-picking, I’ll find a few things I could be worried about, but that’s nothing particularly special, that’s life. I’d just make up new problems.
Same way that I’m used to dealing with unease with Pmo, I’m also used to my state of mind while watxhing porn and furthermore the state of mind that made me get addicted in the beginning. Which makes the whole thing kind of a Perpetuum Mobile. I’m changing for the better, to a state of mind without Pmo, I’m not used to that state, I feel unsure and uneasy in this new territory, I am tempted to watch porn…which would bring me back to the start.
So what I have to do is learn about myself. Get to know myself without Pmo and slowly but steadily make it the me that I can come back to when I’m tempted, instead the other way round.
Oh and on a side note , I love seeing the amount of diaries in the forum increase ! Keep em coming guys!
Thoughts on day 19
The streak of my last entry lasted roughly 40 days. It’s a good feeling seeing them get higher and higher. The last 19 days felt like a breeze. Sometimes I still feel down when I relapse and think of yet another possibility to get clean lost to a moment of unawareness or unease. But then I remember the days when I was barely staying off porn for two or three days while getting all fuzzy and unfocussed.
Now there is so much else to think about.
My job is going really well with another promotion, making me the head of personnel. I’m usually not someone who likes being in charge of things, especially other people, but I can’t deny that it’s a huge feeling getting appreciated and assigned to a position with certain responsibilities.
I also can afford to only work 25 hours or so a week, allowing me to get enough down time and work on other projects. Last week I finished scoring an audio play of some students, and I handed in a short story to a competition a while ago.
The rest of my time I spend with friends and my girlfriend. I am in the most healthy relationship I’ve had so far, and we are even starting to talk about mid- to long-term plans. She knows about my addiction since the second week we dated. It’s nice to know I got her back without her making it a big deal. We made plans to move in together after I’m 3 months clean (normally I give a shit about these 90 days of rewiring and so on , but it was a good amount, and it also falls together with the beginning of December. Would be nice to spend the days before Christmas together).
I proposed that, actually, because now and then I can still feel my addiction whisper into my ears, influencing me in the slightest ways. Mostly, it brings up doubts -whether it’s about me, my relationship , choices I made etc. That’s not something caused by pmo, I guess I was always an insecure person to some extent, but getting a clean mind makes me more able to change that bit by bit.
And last but not least, I started on my fitness plan again, working out five times a week on my mobility, body control and cardio. To know that this one thing every day is a fixed point around which I have to organise the rest of my day had a great impact. Also, it just feels good to get moving again, powering through the exercises…I missed that a lot.
I’ll update again in a while, thanks for sticking around!
Thoughts on Day 20
Yesterday was difficult.
I was quite shaken by a situation in my relationship, and for some time didn’t know what to think and believe anymore. I was in a sudden state of distrust to my partner, to people around me and in the end to myself.
I don’t wanna share too many details, but in the end, I was jealous of another guy (the ol’ classic). There was absolutely no reason to be. My mind started going in circles and I asked myself why I was going crazy even though I perfectly knew that I shouldn’t and I was wrong, the feeling of anxiety just got worse, even physical to some extent. My stomach was going crazy and I couldn’t sit still for a few minutes or concentrate - my thoughts would always end up trying to “solve” the situation and my state.
By now I think the source for overthinking was indeed the same thing that makes me turn to PMO, and because I am finally getting off my mediciation (that PMO kind of is) the things I never dealt with start having an impact on my life again - my own insecurity, my need for validation, the anxiety to be left alone, that people will turn their backs on me, that I am unable to form a real human connection because I fear their rejection, to one day wake up and find out I was just being played with, someone else was more worthy of a friend’s or my gfs attention, that I can’t give them anymore what they want and I’m just left behind. That I’m eternally alone and will never be understood or loved and that this will always stay a fact.
The root lies probably in a combination of my childhood (no real friends, being bullied and my mom telling me that I should just shit on people if they treat me like that. Not mentioning though that not all people are like that, she even told me I should carefully choose my friends when I finally made some, so here’s my deep rooted suspicion of everyone else on the goddamn planet) and the way my first long relationship turned out (my first gf was super naive, always flirting with other guys “without noticing” and in the end betraying me twice without ever showing any remorse, empathy or affection).
I really have to work on getting over this, learning to trust people, even if it sometimes means feeling shitty for no reason for a few hours. Even if I am reminded of past events and the emotions linked to them. Even if it means that there is still a theoretical possibility of having a bad experience with someone else at some point in the distant future. That’s just how people are, how life works. It’s flawed. We don’t come out healthy and sane because we did “everything right”, but because of the way we dealt with the fact that nothing goes as planned.
And I have to endure this until it gets better, until my mind learns by experience that it’s okay to let go, to not be in a constant state of alarm.
I just hope that I won’t be too much of a nuisance for my partner. We’ll have a talk tonight, and I hope I can make clear to her what’s going on without pushing her away in any way (especially since I’m the overthinkiner rn and she’s a way more practical and grounded person, which I love about her). So far, it never did, and I don’t think it will.
What I also have to incorporate into the way I live is to stop thinking that thoughts will “solve” any problems I have. Of course it can provide ways and means of dealing with problems, but for some reason (also rooted in that one shitty relationship, there were problems I couldn’t solve, so I started thinking that there is this one way of seeing things that will make my unease go away. Changing the mind that makes the unease instead of the situation that uneases me) - so for some reason I think like that, and it won’t ever work. If I feel lonely, I can’t undo this by thinking about it. What I can do is go out, call a friend, talk to my flatmates, or distract myself by watching a movie or reading a book. Thinking is just the tool for providing ideas, but I still have to actively do things that have an impact on my mood or mindset instead of thinking. That will just lead to overthinking, to going in circles, to being overwhelmed and to blaming myself for not being able to feel good.
Thoughts on day 21
A while ago I had a breakthrough in the way I approach some things. It is partly due to something I read in the diary by @Forerunner. It was something along the lines of forgiving yourself for what you did, for accepting and loving yourself.
I heard this a few times in the context of addiction or moving on in general, and often in religious contexts (I guess forgivness is a vital part of a lot of religious beliefs). Normally, I think - alright, seems about right. I never related it to me, because I was convinced that this is not a problem in my case, that I like myself, that often the problem lies in my perception of people around me.
But actually, this time it struck a chord, also because something similar came up in the talk with my girlfriend yesterday.
I think a big problem was that I have always seem myself as someone who did something wrong, who made mistakes he wish he could take back. I always compared my life to an alternate version where I made the right choices, where I didn’t quit my studies, where I pursued a musical career more serious at a younger age, and always I could link it to my addiction. That it made me bland, unmotivated, unconcentrated etc.
I think that was a big mistake. Treating myself like the villain to some extent. I wasn’t. Everything I did had a reason. I turned to PMO because I lacked affection and social security, and I was looking for it in those movies and fantasies. If I wouldn’t have been to shy, I maybe would’ve had a gf earlier, more different friends also, and that would’ve led to another lifestyle. But I was. I was shy, and that is a part of me. I can’t deny that, I can’t make it undone, especially back then.
What happened, happened. What is important is what comes next. That I now found out that I seek more than false affection, and that I have the means to get it without turning to porn.
I also always had kind of a judging mindset on myself and partly on others. The “how can I/someone do this and be okay with it” thing. I had a set of character traits I deemed as weak or inferior, and another one that I thought a perfect character was composed of. And I judged myself and others affording to that list.
Now that I see it like that it is rather stupid. We are all human, we are flawed, we all have different backgrounds, different minds, goals, values…and as long as we don’t hurt each other too badly (it happens) where’s the point in trying to judge.
So yes, the moment I realized this a lot changed. I’m okay with my choices and I look forward rather than back. I see possibilities instead of restrictions. And I’m okay with myself, which also means I don’t fear being judged by others anymore. Which makes such a huge difference in my mood and mindset. Almost euphoric.
And it’s another step in stopping seeing the problem in PMO and rather focusing on other things. Actually, the way my life was when I started Pmo, it helped me. I can accept that also now. It made me feel better when I didn’t have the social connections that I needed to feel good. It made me feel less alone when the only other option was feeling alone.
But it’s not anymore. Things changed. I’m different from the person who decided to watch porn to feel valued.
It also changes how I look at urges. I don’t have urges to watch porn. I have an urge or longing for connection, and Pmo was the way to react to it till recently. Now I have an urge and don’t think “oh no here we go again, it’s a bad thing, you think about porn again, you bad person, you still have a long way to go”, but “hey, I think I wanna meet someone or talk to someone” instead. And if that’s not possible I think about nice times I had with friends and my gf. Or I watch a movie, distract myself. But I don’t feel bad per se, and that’s again a huge difference.
And all thanks to the community again. It really is amazing that so many people on here share their stories and thoughts. I wouldn’t be where I am now without you all! Thanks
I relate to this so much. I would spend time everyday just dwelling on past mistakes and wishing I could re-write them. My studies, my hobbies, goals and dreams and where I would be if I stuck with them. My mantra was, If any one else had my life to live, they’d do a better job. How could I mess up so badly?
I’m delighted to see your realisations on this. It’s what’s next that matters.