my thoughts about this topic (sorry that it got a bit longer):
what is a relapse? for me, it is something that I feel so bad about, that I would reset my counter. If I would just continue with my counter after a relapse, I would always feel bad to tell someone the amount of my current counter since deep inside I know that it is not true. So, there are things for me that I consider as bad and I know that they don’t help in my progress but they aren’t as bad as that I would reset my counter because of it. (more about why you shouldn’t reset your counter after every tiny bit later)
the counter is not a display of your progress in rewiring your brain. That’s what most people here constantly forget. it would be really strange if our brain worked like the counter. Imagine you haven’t done anything bad in 30 days, you then watch boobs for 3sec and pufff, all your progress is gone. That’s not how our brain works. the rewiring is done by the plasticity of the brain and is a continuous process. Sure it is faster if you live a perfect life but that doesn’t mean that there is no progress at all if you relapse every now and again. The amount of connections in the brain are related to the amount of times they are used. So, there is already a rewiring (not a full recovery but a start) even if you relapse and watch porn once every week instead of daily
The counter is a tool which should help you battling this addiction.
What a longer counter does to me, is to motivate me and make me feel good. I can look at my counter and be proud about how long I’ve gone without any relapse. It shows me that there are other things that make me happy in life since I was able to go for x-days without porn or masturbation without feeling like crap.
What does a short counter do? it frustrates me, I wanna get rid of this addiction. I hate myself that I was weak again.
To go to one extreme: if I reset my counter after the tiniest bit of sexual content, thought or action, I could be constantly on 1-2 days and I would feel horrible since I would think that I’m not progressing at all
How much does that help me in my progress?? The more frustrated I am, the more urges I have and the more I relapse. That’s why I try to keep my counter as long as possible
But what happens if I had something I consider a relapse and don’t reset the counter? I wouldn’t feel proud anymore while looking at my counter because deep inside I would know that I don’t have a 30 day counter. That means that it wouldn’t help me anymore.
What I do is, to look at my counter and honestly figure out whether or not believe in what it tells me. Is this really the streak I feel?
e.g for me the border of not resetting my counter is if I watch a live performance of my favorite singer. If i do this once in something like 4weeks then I feel like the negative effect of resetting my counter is much higher then just keeping the counter. that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that I did something wrong. It’s just that I know that I can progress faster if I don’t reset my counter
that means that everyone of us needs to draw a border somewhere, where he thinks that he did something too bad to keep counting it as a decent streak. I personally would just recommend to not draw the border too tight. Once I feel like I have established a good grip on the life with my current thoughts about what a relapse is, i can still think about changing my mindset and work on new things I would like to get rid of