Fellow Gentlefolk, Travellers on the road to Freedom from PMO!
Here I am, standing before you with a confession that I managed to get myself through straight 325 days without PMO. Unfortunately, I succumbed again to the lure of P and here I am, back at day 0…
But am I really back at day 0? The short answer - NO
After such a long time I believe I have made not just a single step, but a whole leap forward. There is a handful of lessons I feel that I learnt along the way that I would like to collect in one place and share, so that maybe - just maybe - somebody will benefit from them. Another Somebody, just like me…
(I’ll sometimes add some points to this list - I have a feeling that it’s good to collect some wisdom in one place, however little it may be)
I thought about myself as a user, therefore I kept using P. I kept thinking about myself as a user who gave something up - therefore I felt as if I was losing something
However, as soon as I changed my Point of View, everything became easier. I told myself “I am a non-user”. To some of you it may seem ridiculous, but the fact that you are trying to ditch PMO is already sign that you are closer to a non-user than a user.
And the important thing is - every day without PMO is not about giving up P, it is about reestablishing your Freedom - therefore it should be cherished!
2. Beginnings might not be easy not because you give up something, but because something’s been taken away from you
For me, more or less the first two weeks were a kind of hell. At many points I needed certain willpower to reassure myself in the attitude that I am a non-user. However, the truth is – it was mostly a sort of self-imposed brain-washing that I am giving up something that I needed. It was shedding, almost like a snake getting out of its old skin. The process might be hard, but once the skin is shed, you suddenly feel the thing that you gave up.
With every passing day, week, month, you feel that I felt like I was further and further away from the addiction that I left behind. Sometimes I really thought, that maybe I could go back to it, what would be the harm in it? Then I needed to get myself back on track – I am not a user, I have no need of it. And indeed, I didn’t need it. And without it, to tell the truth, I always felt all the better, more free. In some sense unleashed.
However, this false feeling that since you don’t feel an urge, maybe it is ok to have a peak? Well, the truth is, that the answer is always no. Indeed, it is one of the reason why I stumbled this time, again – I just took a peak.
That is my personal opinion and you don’ have to agree with this - but I have tried blockers before and they always created the Forbidden Fruit Effect - you know it’s there, but since you made it inaccessible, it feels all the more tempting. And usually, if you’re clever enough (need is the mother of invention) you’ll overcome your blocker and end up watching even more than before.
I had once a leg surgery when I was still a teenager. My parents asked my surgeon whether I will need any stabilizers. I won’t quote his exact words, as they don’t seem to apply - but he said that it will heal better and more stable by healing on its own. With crutches at first… Thus I stress, I don’t say crutches are useless, but that they should be put down as soon as you can walk on your own. In case of NoFap - I think we can walk on our own right from the first steps.
This is something I’ve got to tell you right from the beginning - if you’re a male, in my opinion you will feel attraction to female part of our population. You will feel arousal during some interactions. Even more, you will feel horny. For the sake of all the deities – we are not machines, we are animals!! (anybody disagreeing can consult their local biologist…)
However, if this attraction, arousal and horniness leads you to PMO once you’re back in the privacy of your own home, house, flat… It is something that is not healthy. However, if your solution to this is limiting your interactions with the female part of humankind – you’ve got it wrong!
Again, in my humble opinion – the solution is to go and interact with women. Engage yourself into simple talks, maybe even flirts. Go for a date, go for some drinks in a mixed group. Treat all your companions as human beings. The way I see it - you can even enjoy a company of a woman and intimacy if, and only if, you are honest with her and you want to get in connection with another human being. If you are using any woman to satiate your craving for sex… Again – we maybe are animals, but not just any animals. For the sake of all the deities, we are humans!
That’s one thing I found out and which very much strenghtened me – it’s been actually a hard year for me. Struggles in a relationship, Two deaths in my family, a breakup almost in parallel with one of them. Lots of work on my studies. All through this I’ve been supported by my relatives, my friends. However, it’s been already a few months after I started the NoFap. The honest truth - nowhere during this time did I feel that PMO will be a good way to find relief. I mention this, because it is conceivable for me that before that I might have fallen into this…
Sure, I’ve felt terrible during those times. I felt angry, sad, I’ve been on a verge of breaking down, but I got through it without crutches.
That’s something that’s been bugging me all through the COVID19 Pandemic. Harsh self-talk. I have been a judge for myself, saying how bad it is that I’m succumbing to these cravings I have, that I’m not working enough, that I could put more effort into the research I’m doing. That I have nothing under control, that I should be more organized. The thing that I feel lonely? I shouldn’t, in the end I’ve got a relationship. Other people? You should make the effort to reach out to them! Lingering fear of the COVID? That’s also something that you shouldn’t feel, chicken…
Shit talking, judging, telling myself that I’m worst of the people… Sounds familiar? This kind of Shittalk is not something that will help you heal. This will hamper you. Would you ever talk like this to your friend if you wanted to help them? I don’t think so. So stop doing it to yourself as well! You’re not Judge Dredd, FFS! Sing to yourself, every once in a while, You’ve got a Friend in Me.
I thought I understood it, but seems I needed to relearn it - your triggers might throw you back into your well-established coping mechanism. The unhealthy mechanism of choice on this forum seems to be PMO, but it could be cigarettes or whatever…
For me, triggers include extended solitude, boredom, frustration from work, feeling of social isolation, stress and at this moment, it is pretty much it. I used to guard myself when I knew that these things are entering. However, this time I believe that they somehow synchronised together and resulted in this “I have no inspiration to do anything, then maybe I will do something unproductive”, and so I ended up coping with the stacked things of my mind, very much unconsciously, until I was this one small step too far…
…and that’s the other half of it - I decided, instead of incriminating myself and calling myself a failure, to be very much mindful about what I did and how I feel about it, what are the reasons and where is the separation between healthy and unhealthy. For instance (my own opinion, possibly controversial), in case you have any sort of fetish, which I believe is very human to have, there is a major difference between enjoying it with a partner in real life and watching it on a computer screen in a voyeurist fashion, which we all know here too well…
Again - I am admitting that I ended my streak of 325 days, which amount to a mind-boggling 47 weeks and 3 days. It is just 5 weeks short of a year! And I am proud of myself to have gotten this far. This has been almost a full year of freedom for me. I am looking to the next year of freedom, starting today, and most probably more than a year.
I have not fallen from the height of 325 days to the ground level. I just had a small detour into a swamp, got myself out of it. Yeah, surely - I’m all damp and dirty, some ferns in my hair and dirt on my trousers. But I am walking forward, not far from the point where I lost my track. Thus I am saying – I’m still on the road that already took me 325 days!
And I encourage all of you to think similarly - maybe its been just a day since the last time you’ve walked into some quicksands… But your journey might be very long already and trust me, you must have learned a lot along the way! Therefore I am not saying that my streak is 0…
- Current journey length – 47 weeks and 3 days
- Time since the last swamp – 0 days
See - we are all here a community of people who struggle with PMO. Or at least that’s the common thing between all of us.
But none of us is defined by PMO. Take me, for instance. A scientist. A guitarist. A fifty-fifty between social person and introverted guy. Ocassional photographer. Used-to-be poet… Many of things about me I’d rather tell other people if they want to have a label. But The Point I’m trying to make - each of us is valuable, no matter the labels, and each of us deserves to reach happiness - or fight for it whatever the obstacles on our way!
To sum up - I Stumbled and I’m back on track.
From now on
- I’ll try to minimise my exposure to images of women in general, but will not refrain from enjoying their company and conversations with them, should I encounter any in real life.
- I will refrain from P, M or O, however I do not say I will refrain from flirting and possible intimacy of both mind and body with a soulmate, should I encounter one.
- I will avoid sites which may shift me astray, but I will not install any blocker.
- I will keep being an awesome human being and in case I happen to forget - I will try to remind myself about this
- Should any stray soul look for assistance on the rocky roads of NoFap, I will try to offer a word of advice or an ear to hear them out!