Yeah, I’ve tried avoiding myself but it didn’t work. Sadly, it’s become a part of our lives now, so we need to be able to manage that and create a new future where PMO is fully behind us.
Okay, so my prevention strategy is this. I wrote down a list of 5 negative consequences I’ve had in my life as a result of PMO, and 5 positive consequences I will get when I’ve overcome this addiction. Added to that I wrote a 1 page letter to myself on Day 1 where I swore to GOD I’m not doing that again and encouraging myself to go all the way this time. Every day, I spend five minutes reading my letter and list to keep my mind fresh.
Doing this daily helps remind me of what pain I have experienced - diagnosed with clinical depression, poor results when I finished school, broken relationships, poor finances from lack of focus etc. - and how great my life will be afterwards - improved confidence and self-esteem, charisma, more time to focus on my goals and self-improvement etc. I also remind myself daily of my commitment on this journey.
In my research, I found that one huge reason why we have continued to relapse in the past is that our brains forget just how painful relapsing is, and only remember the pleasure we experienced at that moment. If we could carry that ‘Never again’ feeling around with us after every relapse, we’d never do it again.
My urge defence goes like this for every urge that comes up:
- Acknowledge immediately that I want to PMO at this moment in time.
- Tell myself that this is okay, wanting to PMO and actually doing so are entirely different matters. It’s my actions that count, not my urges.
- Remind myself that everyone is tempted just like me. P is everywhere on the internet. But being tempted doesn’t mean I have to PMO.
- Recall that I always have the power to choose at any moment. I’m in the driver’s seat. If I truly did want to PMO and break my streak, I can do so. I don’t REALLY want that, so I will choose a better life.
- Then I recite a 3 sentence, vivid vision statement based on my 5 positive consequences from my daily list to remind myself of what a better life looks like.
- Tell myself I can choose differently the next time. I always have the choice to PMO or to choose a better life. I am not depriving myself of PMO however, rather I am empowering myself with a better life.
With those 6 steps, my urges are gone within 3-5 minutes, sometimes sooner. As my streak has increased, sometimes the urge dies out before I even get to step 5.