Amas Diary - Thoughts along the way

It is!
I never doubted that :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
That’s why I need to teach myself a way to deal with those emotions in any other way

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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 :smiley: I’ll try to update a bit more frequent, maybe once a week, and keep you posted on my progress!

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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 :wink:

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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!

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This was the cherry on the cake. :wink:
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

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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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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 :slight_smile:

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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.

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Thoughts on day 34

This entry contains a lot of thoughts that are not connected directly to PMO (well, to some extent everything does, right?), so just to spare some of you the trouble of going through my rambling :wink:

So far so good. Yesterday, I was tempted to listen to a new track released by an actress I used to listen back in the days (as a reminder, I was mainly addicted to audio files). I did for 10 minutes or so, then stopped and got out of bed. Didn’t think of it the rest of the day, so I’m feeling quite good about this. It’s a sign that I start giving a shit about what it does to me and start longing for things outside the box.

What continues to bother me now and then is that some trains of thought end at the old “is that a thought that I’d have when completely set free, or is it still influenced by my old habits”-station. Especially when considering relationships of any sort or certain decisions I have to make at some point.
A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I decided to make plans of moving in together after I hit 90 days. Back then it sounded like a great idea: in a time of trouble she was giving me a lot of comfort and safety, and moving in with her sounded like the next step, in our relationship as well as in my well-being. It’s nice to have someone around, and I never believed myself to be the type for living alone too long.
The thing is that as it turns out, the better I get, the better I get at handling alone-time, and the more I start to appreciate it. In the evenings, when before I fought against the loneliness end sooner or later ended up sitting in front of the PC for one or two hours, now I read a book, drink tea and light some candles to feel cozy in my room. I treat myself, as some might say. And I enjoy it.
If we move in together, that won’t be possible anymore - at least not to this extent, not quite as it is now that I live alone.
Also, I partly made the decision to move in with here based on the way I felt it would be better than living alone, and now that thought is gone, so I kinda feel like betraying my feelings and hers to some extent, if that makes any sense…It’s just like I feel it’s a decision and a step I should take genuinely, not based on some sort of loneliness or insecurity.
It just feels like what scared me before now feels like an opportunity, if you catch my drift. And I feel like giving something up too early just because I wasn’t able to appreciate it before.

If I put this into the bigger picture, it’s what haunts me these days. The thought that I am making decisions now that are influencing where I’m going just because I don’t have a full grasp of what I could want, what I could like, what I could enjoy if I am getting better (or let’s call it doing a reboot, even if I’m still not sure when you can talk about a full reboot).
What if I always thought I’d be the guy to settle early and have kids, but now I discover what traveling and meeting other people could give me, just because before I was afraid of people I’m not familiar with?
What if I thought I’m okay with working in a restaurant for a few years, living in the same city, when now I finally am putting more effort into playing the piano, studying abroad or another city?

But then again - and here’s where my head is going in circles a bit - what does it change? Shouldn’t I just make the best decisions I can right now and not be afraid of what might change in half a year? Are all of these thoughts just constituted by my need to “know what’s going on”, to “know what’s going to happen”, having some kind of control over what’s happening to me?

Maybe that’s exactly what I have to learn to accept, especially over the course of the next weeks.

I am able to retrack my journey back to September 2016. That’s when I started tracking my relapses. In the last 3 years, I relapsed on an average of roughly 8 days. Over the last year it’s an average of 13 days. In the last 6 months it’s even 15 days - that’s just twice a month for half a year!!
I never made it that far in all those years, so this is still new territory for me.
Let’s see where this is going. Thanks for going through all of this - I guess I needed the rant. In the end, I’m excited what’s waiting for me - and all of us- down the road. Thanks for sticking around :slight_smile:

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Thoughts on Day 38
Short summary: how I’m doing, what changed specifically and what I think contributed to my long streaks lately

It’s going well is all I really have to say these days. It feels so weird looking back to the days where I constantly thought about porn, where all I was looking forward to during work was to listen to that one file that was uploaded the day before, where I was in a constant mode of longing for escape. It’s still there, I can’t deny that, way back in my head, sometimes sending a faint echo of how I once felt. But it’s a bit like looking into the mirror and imagining the way I’ve been dressing and wearing my hair when I was 16. As long as I don’t mix up what I see with what I once was, I guess I’ll be fine.

Still, even if I feel like stepping into the outside world for the first time in years, I want to put down a few things I noticed, as small and unimportant they seem now. Some of them, most in the end I guess, are not a directly caused by PMO. They are mere consequences of what happens with me when I start to use my brain for other things than fantasizing, when my wits are used to socialize instead of chatting with random people on the net.

For instance, the way I write changed. For starters, I do write again, on a rather regular basis. When I was heavily on PMO, it was a nightmare just thinking about sitting down, and even if I fought my way to the desk I would write maybe three sentences before bringing up doubts of me not being any good at writing,nof my stories going nowhere, of nobody recognising them. Why am I even here not using my time for anything useful instead, I’d think, and then get up and ironically end up watching porn. Nowadays I still might stumble upon these doubts (everybody who is reading his own work will I’m sure) but i still get writing (or playing/composing music, applies there as well) and create. Because I enjoy doing it.

That’s probably the biggest change I’ve noticed lately. That I start enjoying things again, and that it gives me enough satisfaction to actually pursue things to earn that feeling. A few days ago I wasn’t feeling good after being out with friends, came home and thought about how to get rid of that feeling. I thought of doing what I used to do in such situations - sitting down and watching or listening to porn for two hours, probably of some girl telling me she cares about me and that I’ll be fine - and discovered that I was tempted, but ultimately knew better. Damn me, I’d just feel all the worse after, empty, drained, destroyed, lonely. So I went to bed, read a book for an hour and fell asleep while doing so. Woke up the next morning after one of the best sleeps I had in a while although it just lasted six and a half hours.

Which leads to another point. Better sleep. It’s mostly connected to getting some rest before actually sleeping, you know, let the engine rest a bit before turning the switch. Especially screens, smartphones as well as PC’s, still keep your brain and eyes busy. You are not relaxing when watching a movie with fast cuts, even though a lot of people tend to call that relaxation, do it after work to calm down, but in the end you are still feeding your brain a lot of information instead of letting it rest. That also helps me be more aware when I actually need to be. The whole system of energy distribution you could say changed , and for the better!

And that’s eventually what makes the most difference for me as a person, how I feel it changing my character. I feel less stressed and under pressure all the time, which makes me calmer (some people around me notice this and tell me from time to time, especially my girlfriend) which makes me more likely to handle difficult situations, which erases more situations where I’m possibly overwhelmed and thus prone to relapsing. It’s like the chaser effect, some snowball effect, going off, only this time in the right direction.

To put some numbers in, for those to whom this helps to put it in perspective - a few months ago I worked about 2 to 3 shifts a week in the restaurant and sometimes came home and felt all drained. The moment where something went wrong at work I couldn’t get back on track anymore, the used to fap or play video games to compensate, then fall asleep in an even worse mood.
In September, I worked 5 to 6 shifts a week, at the same time managed the personell, uploaded about one or two tracks a week to my SoundCloud, invested about 30 to 45 minutes 5 days a week to workout and still managed to meet friends, see my girlfriend regularly and organized both of our birthdays with her.
Now writing all that done I realize how much that actually sounds and how little it felt during the month.
I feel like September has been one of the most happy and satisfying months in years.

So, how did I do it? What’s different this time then the last few times I tried over the last three years?
I think it’s a culmination of several points. First of all the fact that I don’t judge myself anymore for what’s happening with me, and that helped not seeing a single relapse as a huge drawback. A mere stumbling at best, and that again helped ignoring the chaser effect. It helped building a succession of a few low streaks and building up towards the greater ones. I can see that when checking on my streaks since the beginning of the year.
The social component was important as well. A few friends know what’s going on although most of them I don’t keep updated all the time, so they know about it generally. My girlfriend though helped me as well by listening, by not judging, and by just being there, strange as it sounds. Sometimes I just needed to think about the life we seem to start building for ourselves, and my continued addiction would ruin all of that not only for me, but also for her.
But in the end, I’m doing this for myself, and I get more and more glimpses of what I could do and how I could feel when I’m free. Not, and I repeat, not that stuff about the person I could be. I was the person I wanted to be all the time, just perspective changed. That’s an important point to me, because accepting myself changed more than beating myself up and aiming for a “better version of myself”. Although that might be wat I’m doing in the end. I don’t know, it’s complicated…

Last but not least I also have to acknowledge chance, outside influences I couldn’t control. Things like my busy work schedule, like friends approaching me to go out, like heavy weather keeping me at my friend’s house instead of letting me go home. Of course I don’t know if all those things did actually prevent a relapse, but I guess the played their part to some extent. I was at this point already before and I fell to my urges. That can’t all be me, it never is, and I think it’s important to not forget this. We can adapt to our environment, but we can’t ignore it. Someone working in a strip club won’t go clean as fast as someone locked in a cell with his arms tied to the wall :smiley:
I guess what I want to say is not to compare yourself too much but see other journeys as inspirations at best, as help to think a few things through and make your own journey. You won’t decide where you wanna go if you just step in the footsteps of the ones before you, looking down to trace them.

Anyway, the last big streak went on for 40 days. I’m ready to go beyond. Thanks again for reading, you played a big part in my Recovery! See ya soon.

Thoughts on Day 43

I’m almost halfway to 90 days. Until one or two days ago, my urge to watch or listen to porn were fine. Fantasizing was down to a minimum. My focus mainly on my music, work and spending time with my girlfriend.
But yesterday and today was not too good.
Yesterday my mood was completely over the place. I was gloomy in the morning and continued not having fun with anything I did. Everything seemed pointless or like a huge pain in the ass. I spent the day with my girlfriend, and I feel sorry for her because we could’ve had a nice time, but I guess I wasn’t the most cheerful fellow to hang with…which I knew at the time, and which made my mood even worse.
In the evening I brightened up a bit, maybe I needed some time to myself.
Today was better mood-wise, but in the evening my mind told me to go online, play some videogames, wind down, and there it was, the urge to go to the once so easy way out.
All I did was looking up some reddit posts by NSFW-users, didn’t even touch myself. I noticed what I did and stopped, then reminiscing about the last days, and noticing all the small hints - me starting to fantasize, looking at women in this stupid “I’m-after-all-of-you”-look, which I hate. And I think this thinking slowly took over my general mindset, even influencing the way I valued the time with my girlfriend.
No one deserves to be looked at this way.

Well, crysis averted, for now. Still, I wonder if this was a simple coincidence, or if something triggered my behaviour and mindset. That’s what I’ll be thinking about the next days, and carefully watch myself.
Thanks for sticking around. Cheers.

Edit: Has any of you guys and girls ever tried to track their feelings and moods, like in a daily calender or anything? And if so, what were your experiences with it?

Thoughts on Day 45

Halfway.
Although I’m going not only for 90 days but far beyond, this is not only my highest streak in at least 2 years or so, but also a nice milestone. A stepping stone, also.

What a journey. I can’t believe it took so long, but then again I’m so happy I made it this far!

I also put some thought and self reflection into it and pinpointed some of the triggers that led to the bad time I had the last few days. Generally, I was in a bad mood and tried to cope with it, but this mood itself was the result of the change in weather (no sun for the last few days, has quite the impact) and my light sickness that prevented me from doing sports the last week or so. It’s astonishing how such seemingly small things can add up. It’s crucial not to forget that no matter how many days behind me, I’m still not invincible or something, I’m still not immune to anything affecting my mood and behaviour, even though it gets better. If you know what’s up though you can take action, and that’s what I’m doing now. Starting sports again today, having s productive day at work after that and cleaning my rooms before cooking for my girlfriend in the evening.

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Thoughts on Day 56

A lot of times I read about us making a conscious choice to withstand and battle our addiction. We make the choice to try and overcome an urge. We make the choice every time anew, everytime when we end up at a crossroads where one way leads to relapse and the other to a healthy lifestyle. And every time we make this choice, it becomes easier the next time we face the need to do so.

Lately, I think a lot about the way I dealt with stuff before I got at least one foot out of this hellhole. I am clean for 56 days now, almost two months. I perceive things around me in a different way, and that also applies to how I look at my past self. I’m able to admit certain behaviours. I wasn’t before. It was dragging me down too much and I guess I couldn’t afford that back then.
What I’m talking about is that I have to admit that every time I watched porn, every time I started touching myself and every single time I didn’t stop and relapse, I made a choice. The choice to relapse. The choice that what it gave me was more important to me than the things I wanted to work towards to in the long run.

This is a new thought to me. Before, I thought I refused to make a choice when I relapsed. I should’ve made a choice to resist, instead of letting go and just mindlessly following my fucked up instincts.
But as well as instincts can be a good thing and safe your life, the choice I made was ruining it.

To realize this is important in my opinion, because it separates the connection of instinct/negative and choice/positive. My problem wasn’t that I didn’t make a choice, the problem was that I made the wrong choice (or, maybe the right one if you take my situation back then in account, who knows).
My problem was not that I followed my instincts, but that I didn’t reflect on my instincts. Because a lot of times you have to go with your gut, as the saying goes.

I don’t know, maybe it seems insignificant to some of you. To me, it was an eye opening moment and another big step towards accepting myself for who I am! :slight_smile:

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Are you doing sex with your girlfriend ?

56 days on Hard Mode ?

I don’t do Hardmode, so yes, I do have sex with my girlfriend and occasionally masturbate also.
My main goal is to get rid of porn and the things it did to my way of perceiving women and the act of sex in general, to my lifestyle by consuming too much time and my mental health because I was just using it to stop thinking about my problems.
I don’t see any harm in a caring and loving way of interacting with your partner. It’s just important to realize that making love to your partner is fundamentally different from what people see in porn

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Thoughts on Day 60

Today I’m struggling. It is really difficult to concentrate, to focus, to get shit done.
I’m picking up the smallest things, growing them into massive problems and let them dragging me down.
My girlfriend is also in a weird mood the last days, and - which is the most startling part - not really communicating about it apart from “I don’t know I’m in a weird mood” and then shutting me out. Maybe that’s all, sure, but our plans to move in together finally take shape and I am really uncertain if she is really into the idea, so naturally I am afraid of her “weird mood” being somehow related. Even if not, at least the “cutting of communications” part is nothing I want to endure in a relationship that has reached this level. Maybe I’m overreacting. Experience tells me I’m not. Still…
I guess the whole thing makes me feel left out, kind of alone, and thus I’m starting to feel shitty and crave old habits again. Luckily, I have to work in the evening, so if I can resist until then I should be fine for the day. Although I am a bit afraid of the night.
I don’t wanna go back. I don’t wanna be that kind of guy anymore. I don’t want to give up control over my life. I wanna be in charge. I have to remind myself, everytime I waver today.
Wish me luck. guys!