7 days and counting…
I’ve been attempting to reboot for several years now, with no lasting success. My longest streak was 46 days, but my average was only 5.
After bouncing along with regular relapses for a while, I once again found the motivation to push myself towards victory, and have managed a fully clean week for the first time in…a couple of months at least. Small victories, but we’ve got mark these things along the way when we can.
What I’ve observed so far…
It’s well known that the first week can be hardest, and problems like The Chaser effect are well known.
Having urges isn’t the problem, it’s how you handle them
For me, how you interpret your urges plays a huge part in how they affect you. If you sit there thinking I mustn’t masturbate, but if I don’t I’ll probably explode or I don’t want to break my streak, but I could really use some porn right now, you will definitely relapse. If, however, you feel the urge, thinking It’s just an urge, they will come and go from time to time, let’s just sit this one out, works a lot better.
Fantasy -> Arousal -> Urges
Another big mistake is fantasy. I never start a fantasy because I want to relapse. I fantasise because I make the mistake of telling myself that it’s harmless and won’t lead to anything. But it always does. Fantasy leads to arousal, and fighting urges when you are aroused is about a million times harder than fighting them when you’re not.
One of my greatest weapons is mindfulness. Part of this is regular meditation practice, which keeps me calm and focused. The other part is a little note book and a pen that I keep beside me whenever I’m sat at my desk.
As soon as I sit down, I note the time, the fact that I’ve sat down at my desk, and a brief summary of how I’m feeling. After that, every time I have a random thought or feeling that’s not related to my task, I write it down. It might be something to remember, or it could be an admission that I’m feeling stressed. If I’m doing this in a coffee shop, I make a note each time I see someone at the counter that I find attractive.
I don’t re-read these notes or try to analyse them in anyway, but the act of writing them down helps me to acknowledge them. I can see stress or worry or other triggers building up. I realise when I’m bored, or procrastinating. If needs be, this will help me realise when I need to take serious action, like going for a walk or calling someone, but more often than not, the simple act of staying aware of what’s happening in my head is enough to stop the urges building up. As well as dealing with the usual boredom and frustration, this has even helped me deal with high stress situations, like prepping for a job interview.
Force forums, Luke!
For the longest of times I didn’t realise the power of the forums. I was convinced that my porn addiction was a problem that I could solve by myself, in my own mind. Sure, I would read what others had written, hoping for some practical tips, but it was only when I started posting and replying that I finally understood…
It’s the act of connecting to other people that makes you strong!
And so into my second week of this reboot. I’ll update here soon. Thank you to everyone for keeping me going!
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