I’m writing this diary for myself. Been fighting pmo for years. Had long streaks like 1 year but at some point i still relapse. I hope that writing a diary may end that relapse cycle. I will write my thoughts as often as i can and esp before i relapse hoping that writing the thoughts down will prevent the relapse instead. So just read along if you want and hope.you can relate and be my.confidants along the way
Im on day 10 now. Last night i had sex with my wife. But when i woke up i’m.still.in want for more release. Im feeling naughty. Opened up instagram and facebook. I know im using it to scout for triggers. But i willed myself out of it and instead open up nfcompanion. New results require new actions they say. If i want to get out of this, must try something i havent done before. So this diary is born.
My most vulnerable time to relapse is early in the morning when i wake up. Probably because of morning wood. But often times it’s because i wake up with unwanted feelings, such as, i dont want to go to work today, or i just feel anxious or depressed for no reasons or maybe subconscious conflicting thoughts. So i procastinate waking up, taking breakfast and do something to escape. usually by taking my phone and start “getting updated” from instagram to news which eventually digress to something else. The point is im using pmo to escape my pain. I know this and im still stupid enough to fall into the cycle. One the advice ive heard before is that i should start feeling the pain, accepting it, and taking action. I guess that’s where I should work on, to start feeling the pain and not numbing it with PMO. Easier said than done though. Today the pain that i was trying to escape from is a botched project costing at work of which im responsible of. I dont want to admit it and want to point fingers. But i guess i have to take responsibility and sort it out.
What about you? When is your most vulnerable time for relapse? What pain are you escaping from?
Day 12. Not feeling horny today. I have a lot if things to do. Somehow i’m stalling a bit. Browsing the web, social media accounts. I found one thing worth posting on this diary: sometimes we let our “curiosity” lead us to triggers and then to relapse. I saw this post on instagram, the photo was nothing triggering just text, saying something about sex. And my train of thought was “i want to understand the story”, “who is this man”, so i click on the profile pic to see more posts. Luckily nothing triggering there as well. If there was then i would have fallen into the stupid cycle again. Somehow before i clicked on that photo, there are clues that it’s somewhere in the danger zone, but my “curiosity” deceive me with thoughts like “there’s a big chance it’s safe for you, dont be too paranoid”.
Note to self: When you know you should be doing something do it. Dont procastinate. Dont let laziness lead you to the slippery slope of curiosity and negative discovery. Stay away from the “danger zones”
Day 14. I woke up with anxiety which at first i didnt know what it’s about. This is the kind of emotional pain that makes me want to sleep back hoping it will go away or it leads me to escape to PMO. it’s good to be self-aware about it. But how do you deal with it if it’s not going away without sleeping or without pmo? I guess we nofappers have to learn new coping mechanisms. All these years, we have learned to use our penis to solve the problem. when we feel sad, lonely, anxious, stressed, angry, etc, we flee the pain and go for the pleasure, in our case we ejaculate and boom the pain seems to be gone in an instant. But the reality is the problem is still there, you’re still not happy or whatever it is that was bothering you is still there.
Back to me, so today i’ve learned something new. When you feel emotional pain, identify the source/cause. Sometimes it’s not clear initially why you’re feeling that way. And when it’s unclear, you wont know how to deal with it and just use PMO instead. List down all that’s bothering you, everything. In my case i thought it was the workload in the office that was making me anxious, but I realized it was the lack of integrity issue with a friend that was bothering me subconsciously. I promised him to fix something yesterday but wasnt able to do it. When i found out this was the cause, the pain subsided because i knew how to deal with it: talk to the friend and deliver by tonight.
Note to self: next time be persistent in finding the root cause of all your unwanted feelings.
Looking back on your last relapse, what was the unwanted feeling you were trying to avoid and what was the root cause of that feeling? How could you have eased that feeling without using PMO?
Day 16. Today i’m overwhelmed. A lot of things going on: workload in the office, my son is sick, i’m taking meds to remove a stone in my urinary tract, deliverables on some church commitments, pending house chores and family budget getting out of hand. The overhelm is one of my kryptonites. It’s one of reasons i relapse. My pattern is Escape: drop all of them, stop and sont do anything on any of these concerns and i know it’s stupid. Rather than face them one by one, i flee, i distract my mind with eventually my eyes with triggering images and thoughts. Because facing the overwhelm is difficult, burdensome, requires too much effort, emotionally draining. Probably i’m afraid that i’ll fail, that i dont have what it takes to overcome all of them, and that i’ll never be good enough.
How should i fight this overwhelm? Thoughts that come to mind:
- Bite them one at a time. Dont abandon and escape. When you escape, the problem.is still there, and in fact you may make things worse by not taking action.
- Think that theres a possibility you’ll drop some of them due to limited time, resources and energy. And it’s ok.
- Take responsibility. You took in more than you can take and thats your fault.
- See this as an opportunity for personal growth, increasing your capacity to handle life.
- Focus on the most important things. There will always be things coming our way and being overhelmed is a natural part of our daily lives.
Day 17. Temptations slowly creeping in. I can catch my eyes looking for triggering good looking bodies as i walk on my way to office. But i also catch myself that I’m in pain. This time im centering on the thoughts of why i’m not getting a new job. I’ve been looking for one for the past 6months and it never progressed, just a few interviews here and there. I’m pissed off that im not good enough or that im lazy enough to push for it with every method i could possibly think of. In my mind, the thought says “you’ll never succeed even if you try. So why try? Just wait for something to come along”. And this is passivity. Im starting to realize as i write this post that im probably more passive than active. A passive man. The more passive a man is, the more prone he is to PMO, is this statement true? Where have i learned to be passive? Why am I so resigned in many areas of my life? This will be my reflection for the day.
Hey man, I’m following your diary for a while now, and thought I’d at least leave a thought on your last entry
For me, the kind of passivity you describe is a well known issue. I as well found myself asking why I don’t DO anything to reach my goals, why I just float along and let things happen, and when I don’t like these things which is rather probable, I beat myself down for it.
I think there are as always various reasons for this, some rooted in my character, but others rooted in PMO. Always getting instant gratification in something will eventually affect your motivational center, or, in other words, it makes you lazy. Passive. You are only looking for rewards without linking it to actual effort that comes before it.
Realizing that may help a lot!
But also I found myself trying too hard because of that realization. It’s good to take action in some parts of your life, but maybe try to keep a healthy balance. Sometimes it’s the best way to go to “go with the flow” and see where it leads you
Cheers, and stay on your way! You made it pretty far, and it’s always inspiring to read about your personal growth!
Hi @amadeus, thanks for your comments. Yeah somehow PMO could have contributed to my passsivity and my passivity contributed to my PMO addiction as well, like the outlet for the repressed frustrations. I do agree with the context you pointed out as well, to let things happen for some areas of our lives, esp in times when action may cause more harm than doing nothing.
Today i’ve searched the web and learned more about this topic of passivity, via John Lee’s work. By his definition, i’m indeed a very passive man and it’s not good. Good thing there are tools to deal with it.
Thanks for keeping me company in this diary.
if you have a good video in particular, could you maybe post a link?
being a bit less passive couldn’t harm me either😅
Sure. Here are some of what I’ve read or listened so far:
Passivity and the male psyche (Articles)
Passivity - Part 1
Passivity and Grief Work - Part 2
Passivity and Getting Out of Passivity - Part 3
Grow Back up
Day 19. I have a lot of things to do. When i woke up, i sensed i didnt want to do them. Have to get out of that feeling. One thing I’ve learned from that passivity topic is that passive men are men who “pursue” that which they say they dont want, or put it differently, pursue the opposite of what they want. For example, say i want to have good looking body so i wanted to go to the gym. But everything that i do, my schedule, my reasons, actions all lead to “i cant go to the gym” or “i will never have that 6pack abs and bulging muscles”. How ridiculous, isnt it? But a passive man does that subconsciously and unless he works on his passivity he will always fail.
Now going back to me, im writing this post to work myself out of it. The list of my reason for procastinating on my todo list today are:
- It’s too cumbersome. I dont want the discomfort. - avoidance of pain
- Everything has to be perfect or in place first before i do this and that task - perfectionism
- What about me, i need some rest, today is saturday, right? - laziness
- I want to do my own thing, not all these tasks imposed on my life by other people - self centeredness
- Even if you’ve done it, it will not succeed anyway, so dont try. you’ll just be average man - hopelessness
- It’s their fault why i need to do this. - blaming/not taking responsibility
- Somebody will be pissed off if i dont do or do this and that - fear of rejection
- I dont know if i do it whether it will succeed or not. - fear of failure.
Now i have to deal with all of these. Time to man up and grow up. A child will easily give in to the above or use them as excuses. But you donkeykong, you’re already an adult, you can take any hardship. Pay the price for the things that you want in life! Dont be a chicken. Dont go the PMO cycle. There’s no easy way, no shortcuts.
Day 21. I noticed that my depression always kick in during wake up time. I really have to get back to a morning ritual again. It’s been 3 weeks now, the longest streak i had in months. What’s present for me is lesser shame (hence more confidence in front of people), clarity and spontaneity in the way i communicate to other people (because i cant think and talk straight when i do pmo), romantic feelings towards my wife, lesser urge to pmo, more self-awareness to my inner world and pain.
What stresses me today is that my performance at work is dwindling down. Im not making much impact, i’m afraid that im no longer viewed as somebody important. My past projects are not outstanding successes. I’m creating a story in my mind that my boss no longer sees me as an indispensable asset but just so and so or worse a burden. That’s one of the reason i wanted to find a new job and have been looking for months now but no progress yet.
I see 2 things at play here that i want to explore in this post: my need to feel significant and my fear of failure. the former one is feeding the latter. I’m afraid to fail because i’m afraid that people will no longer like me. I realized just now that it all stems from being abandoned. My mom and dad separated when i was around 7 years old. And that left a huge impact in my life. The idea that dad left me because i’m not important sums it up. And so life for me is a struggle of being good enough to be accepted, be loved and be needed. I think my pmo struggle may be rooted on this as well. That deep longing to be hugged, be bonded with other men, and not getting it and going to porn for artificial intimacy. Perhaps if i work on my abandonment issues and building real strong relationships with people who sees and loves me for who i am, and cultivating an identity that i am valuable outside of my talents, achievements or possessions – all these will heal me from the pmo addiction.
Thanks for this post. That last part got me thinking, because I noticed similar behaviour in my own social life. If I think about it, it’s weird how much I connect “being loved” with “being worth loved” or “being worthier to be loved than others”, hence my huge fear of loss
Yeah, we’re pretty conditioned to think that our worthiness for love is based on many things other than our selves per se.
Day 23. While reading a devotional snippet just now as part of my efforts of rebuilding my morning ritual (for the purpose of avoiding pmo), i came across this topic of “loving freely” and instantly i’m reminded of the first time when i just let my love for a person grow naturally and rapidly to the point where i became overly emotionally attached. But then we parted ways, which left me devastated and started my episodes of depression. This pattern happened a few times and it’s always painful so i have probably vowed subconsciously to never let my guard down anymore. That i would at all cost avoid being emotionally attached to any person (except my family) and to do so i would do one or more of the following: keep them at distance, dont admire, dont connect deeply, never let them see the real you, dont care much, always restrain myself when im with them, dont say whats on my mind, and many others. And it’s funny that i long for close friends/relationships but ignore the fact that ive been doing all of the above. I’ve been isolating my self as my form of protection from being hurt emotionally either from separation, rejection or abandonment. Stop loving people and you stop being hurt. But when you stop loving people you still get hurt inside though, because loneliness hurts too. And isolation and loneliness is so painful that most of us cant stand it so much so that it’s one of the common triggers we go to PMO to ease the pain.
I once read an article that connection is one of the keys to overcoming addiction. We need connection with other people to be healed. I like this quote from imanalive.com, a blog im reading on related to overcoming sexual addiction: “It’s relationships that hurt us, and it’s relationships that will heal us”. Love freely again, donkeykong, love again.
Day 24. I sense danger. Perhaps my hormones are up. Im not horny but Im seeing images in my mind, thoughts of sex and nudes which i try to quickly snap out of, but it comes uninvited. I have not been viewing any triggering materials so either this is my testosterones or there are unwanted feelings im subconsciously trying to escape from. The weekend is near where im seeing there be times i’ll be alone in the house. This pattern looks familiar, the play script to a relapse. I’m feeling vulnerable now and i cant trust myself to just be “strong and wise” in the moment of temptation. A number of failures have taught me that. Must do something now to alter the sequence of future events, or else the most likely outcome is i foolishly enter the pattern again and fall into the trap.
What is more wise?
A: to think that this is our weakness and we have to avoid all encounters because we will surely fall
B. To think that we are stronger now (because we managed to achieve a longer nofap streak ) and prove to ourselves that no amount of urges can take us down so just let it all happen, dont avoid anything.
I’ve been doing B for a long time and i always fall. Now my inclination is A. Im more victorious when i avoid the battle in the first place. Dont think that you are strong lest you fall, stay alert.
Day 26. I’ve been quite engaged now in this nofap forum/app. Kudos to the developer and everyone in this community. I do find it helpful. It helps me be more conscious of my own nofap journey. Reading other people’s success and failures, advices and thoughts makes me relate and be present and mind my own struggles. The app also has become an outlet for me to express my thoughts without fear of rejection. And for today i want to explore on this topic.
I have been slowly telling stories and my background everywhere on this app. Everytime i reveal some details, i always feel uncomfortable afterwards. I feel emotionally vulnerable. The idea of what if people find out who you really are, what if somebody in the future can use these info against you, what if this will be shared all over the world. Im afraid that people will reject me. Everything boils down to shame and fear of rejection.
I once read that to overcome this addiction, we need to confess to at least a few trusted people about everything in our lives, including the most shameful and darkest past, esp in relation to our sexuality. The reason for this is that we need to get past our shame and we need to come to a point that after having bared everything we are still accepted and loved. The more we keep our struggles to our selves, the more shame grows, and more shame leads to more isolation and isolation worsens this addiction. Confessing everything helps. Confession heals us. But in the contxt of this forum, dont share the gory details esp those that can trigger other people to relapse.
Day 29. Nothing much happening lately. But I’ve occasionally catched myself indulging just slightly on activities that i’ve tagged as “Danger” signs. Everyone of us has them but may be diferrent from person to person. Maybe as an analogy, lets call the road to relapse as stages from Warning -> Danger -> Destruction.
For me these are:
- H.A.L.T.S acronym. Stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Stressed
- Being Depressed, worried, anxious about something
- Unresolved conflicts, resntment with someone
- feeling small, unworthy, not good enough, failure
- feeling guilty if doing something wrong
- when im procastinating on something important but difficult task
- browsing social media: fb,instagram, google+
- browsing for movies to watch on netflix and streaming sites.
- reading movie reviews on imdb
- when im looking at other people on the road and checking them out if they are sexy or not and fantasizing them naked
- when im alone in the house for a long time
- when i “research” or im just curious on some medical and scientific facts on male anatomy, sex, premature ejaculation and other related topics
- when i wake up in the middle of the night erect
- when i look and browse fitness whether print or online magazines and see sexy bodies
- when i look at some pretty sexy person and cant take the image off my mind for a long time
- when i doubt my identity and want to prove that i’m not attracted to men and go around looking for men images and prove to myself that im not attracted to them
- when i watched a movie/tv series with some sex scenes in it, even P13 ratings
- when i watched myself naked for a long time
- when im on vacation and bored in the hotel
DESTRUCTION - point of no return or the act of relapse itself
- watching rated R movies
- looking at nudes
- hardcore porn
- anime / manga porn
- gay porn
- touching myself, edging
- masturbation, binge
Where am i going with this? Try this one out. List your own version of the above. Because being self-aware is crucial. We need to know the details of why and how we fall, the sequence, in order for us to learn how to manage ourselves better and fight PMO. We catch ourselves and deal with it while it’s still early, at the warning signs level because the farther you go down the road, the harder it is to resist, the more willpower it takes and more biochemicals are working against us.
Today i had Danger signs but i unlocked the puzzle and quickly recognized the old pattern so i came out safe.