Action!? ... or not!!! Have you actually Prepared for it?

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by aron, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. aron

    aron Fapstronaut

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    I see a lot of guys coming to this website with a strong desire to overcome porn addiction just to fail over and over again. They see that other people have overcome it and they get filled with the hope that they can do it too. Well yes, they also can do it too, but not without a strong preparation. It's similar to seeing someone run a full marathon on TV and then going out and running just to stop after 1km because of exhaustion. With the proper training they would also be able to achieve the same result, but I emphasize that training is necessary. And training is just one tool, along with proper diet, proper sleep and staying away from alcohol. There are several things one athlete needs to do if he wants to be successful. The same way one needs to do several things and avoid other things if he wishes to quit porn. I must warn you that doing what I will tell you won't eliminate relapses completely, but it will make them highly unlikely to happen. Everyone will relapse, and the ones that don't are just the exception rather then the norm. So, considering this, let's move on.

    Changing a behavior, is extremely difficult, especially if you don't know what you are doing. There are several stages through which one usually goes to successfully change a behavior. They are:
    1. Precontemplation - at this stage you won't admit to yourself or anyone that you have a problem. If you are at this stage you will have no intention of quitting pornography anytime soon. You are still not aware of the negative effects that porn has on your life.
    2. Contemplation - at this stage you are starting to see the negative impact the porn has on your life but still not feel ready to take action anytime soon. You are not sure *how* and *what* steps are necessary. By now you know that you have an addiction and want to get rid of it, and you have the intention of getting rid of it sometime in the far future
    3. Preparation - at this stage you are determined to quit porn and start nofap sometime in the near future. You are reading as much as possible as to what you need to do to be successful and prevent relapses
    4. Action - at this stage you are doing the nofap challenge, and are doing everything you can to prevent relapse. It is during this time that you will experience withdrawals
    5. Maintenance - at this stage you have overcome your porn addiction, you know what are your triggers and you are confident that as long as you avoid them you won't relapse.

    I want to focus on the Preparation stage. In my experience there are several things one must ABSOLUTELY do before he even begins starting the nofap challenge. You MUST do them all before starting nofap. If you don't want want to do them then it's fine. But then again don't do nofap, because you are not determined to make the steps towards full commitment. Just come back to this thread when you are ready. However, if you are ready, then read on:

    1. Create a decisional balance sheet. This sounds more complicated but in theory is pretty simple. This is more part of the Contemplation stage, but nonetheless is necessary to do it before attempting nofap. Just look at your life and see how porn has affected it. Having a clearly defined reason for quitting porn will make it easier to commit yourself for a long term recovery process. You need to look at your life from different points of view and ask yourself some basic questions. Here are some examples of areas and questions:
    - Emotionally: What are your emotions before you watch porn? What are your emotions after you end watching porn?
    - Relationship: You might have a significant other (SO) in your life. How would your SO react if she would find out about your porn use? Or if she found out, what was her reaction? Describe her (possible) feelings. Would she agree and join you in watching porn together? Would it lead to break up?
    - Family: How do you think that your parents would react if they knew you are a porn addict?
    - Socially: Did you porn habit have a negative influence on your social life? How (be specific)?
    - Financially: Did you find yourself spending money on porn? How much in the last month/year/in total?
    - Work/School: How did porn affect your effectiveness in accomplishing tasks at school or work?
    - Spiritually: Did you find that porn is an impediment in connecting or your relationship with Divinity? Is pornography use compatible with your spiritual believes?
    - Sexually: Do you suffer from porn induced delayed ejaculation (DE) or erectile dysfunction (ED)? Have your preferences in women or sexual activities changed since you started watching porn?

    2. Get rid of all porn. If you are truly motivated to do this then you will have no objection in doing this. If you don't want to do this step then you are not ready for Action. Don't worry, it will take a little bit more time to realize that you must do all these steps. So listen carefully. Delete any porn videos and images that you might have on your computer/laptop. Install Eraser and delete everything with it. This way you won't be able to recover the files in the future. Don't make the mistake of moving the porn stash to an external HDD. You want to remove porn completely from your life, so why have it around? Also throw away any porn CD/DVD and porn magazines that you might have. Don't just hide them, throw them away in the garbage or, if you like the drama, burn them.

    3. Prevent yourself from accessing porn in the future. Install a parental control software that will prevent access to porn sites. I strongly recommend to instal K9. Actually I haven't found a better one. After installing it ask a friend to set an admin password for you so you won't be able to disable it. There is a way to overcome K9 but I will tell you how you can stop it. The only way to disable K9 is to boot from an external USB or optical drive. What you have to do is go into BIOS and disable the options of booting from USB and optical drives and then ask the same friend as above to put a password on BIOS.

    4. Get rid of smartphone. If you have a smartphone, I recommend getting a cheap phone that doesn't have internet access and move your SIM card in that one. This is really an important step, as I have seen people relapsing after 45 days because they still had internet on their smartphones. Remember, having K9 and using a cheap phone w/o net access is just for the duration of the reboot, usually 90 days. They are just tools to help you through this difficult period. After you recover, you can and should get rid of them.

    5. Read success stories. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Go to yourbrainonporn.com and read the stories of people who quit porn addiction. It will fill you with hope to know that other people had this problem, fought it and overcome it. This will give you an extra motivation and the confidence that if they could do it you can also. You will also get to see how their lives have improved and what benefits you can expect in yours after 90 days.

    6. Learn about the dopamine and reward system. Again yourbrainonporn.com explains it very well. Understanding how the reward system works, you will understand how you got addicted to porn and why it is so hard to stop it. Once you understand how it works it will be much easier to figure out what to do in order to quit. Remember this, that because of porn your brain is used to really high levels of dopamine. When quitting porn you will have less dopamine in your brain, and it will become dopamine-starved. This will manifest itself in withdrawals.

    7. Learn to accept your withdrawals. As mentioned above, while the brain is getting accustomed to lower level of dopamine, you will experience withdrawal symptoms, just like an addict, because you know what, porn is an addiction. These symptoms can vary from person to person, and even in the same person from day to day. Learn what those symptoms might be and be prepared to face them. There is no way to avoid them, but why would you want to avoid them? Facing them head on and overcoming them will make you the better man in the end. It will give you pride and confidence that you have been in hell and survived to tell the story. The best attitude to have is to take one day at a time. Some days will be more difficult than others, but tell yourself that you just need to make it until the end of the day. For each day the purpose is to not watch porn until the end of the day. In this way 90 days will pass like the wind.

    Quitting an addiction with such a powerful strong grip as pornography is no easy task. And because of its complexity one must fight it from multiple angles. There is no magic bullet, that just one thing that will work. One needs multiple strategies in fighting this addiction. I have given some of them here. The list in by no means complete, but I found it to contain the minimal set of prerequisites for success. The more prepared you are the less likely you will relapse. To conclude with a comparison, imagine building a house with no foundation. That house will collapse sooner or later at smallest earthquake, but if it has a deep foundation then it will stand and not fall over so easily. Your foundation lies in what you do in the Preparation stage. If you prepare thoroughly then you will be able to go for extended periods of time without porn. If you don't prepare accordingly then it will be a matter of hours or days till you will relapse.

    To learn more about dopamine head over to this thread http://www.nofap.org/forum/showthread.php?2402-Get-educated-get-tools-and-learn-to-love-withdrawals.

    For more details I recommend checking out the books "Changing for Good" by Prochaska and "Treating pornography addiction" by Skinner.

    "Those who fail to prepare are preparing to fail"
     
  2. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    That's an outstanding post aron. Should be required reading for every guy who visits here. Too many of us start in ignorance, which is a formula for failure. Many of us do not understand about dopamine and withdrawals. Porn is the button we push to get our dopamine fix. It's Pavlovian. A dog smells food, the dog drools. Dust blows in our eyes, we blink. Guy sees porn, dopamine is released.

    Thank you for an excellent discussion of our problem.
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    Great stuff aron! I could wax lyrical about that post (and I'm tempted!;)) but it more than speaks for itself. There is a sequence that when followed in the correct order MASSIVELY increases your likelihood of long term FULL recovery and its outlined above. I stopped heavy drinking and smoking (nicotine and weed) on the same day in 2008 and have never touched any of them since, and I NEVER will again, no in 'recovery', RECOVERED, period! And now I'm doing the same with PMO and haven't even had an O for 52 days(!!:eek:)and I will NEVER use porn in any way, shape or form EVER again (and I am VERY confident in that statement!!) and some might say that takes balls :eek: but honestly it doesn't, just good old fashioned knowledge (of the sequence described in arons post). Knowledge is power and yes I would also say this is required reading for anyone who REALLY wants to change...for good!:)

    It's also worth mentioning that I hear a lot of people refer to the struggle/fight/battle etc, but it REALLY doesn't have to be that way(not unless you want to get in your OWN way?!?!)... http://www.nofap.org/forum/showthread.php?2655-The-Way-of-Harmony
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
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  4. undeath52

    undeath52 Fapstronaut

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    Great post, aron. This should be stickied in the welcome thread somehow.

    Bookmarked. I will take all these steps very seriously. The smartphone most of all. It is both my best organizational tool and my greatest crutch.

    Maybe It'll be back to pen and paper for me.
     
  5. Mark

    Mark Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    Aron, its worth mentioning that there is an all important 'termination' stage and I think this is the one that truly separates this system from more traditional systems that usually ensure there's a 'step' or two in there that keep you tied to a self perpetuating (and largely unsuccessful when you check the figures they will never produce themselves) 'organisation'. Its the termination stage that I refer to when I stress that I NEVER consider myself to be in 'recovery' because if you follow the system above properly and commit to an appropriate 'maintanence' period etc you can eventually declare yourself 'recovered' and not spend the rest of your life living out the ridiculous notion perpetuated by the 'disease' models that you be labelled something your not etc and be told you will be forever in 'recovery' (keeping the numbers up!)

    The research the above (your post) refers to was done studying thousands of people who DID NOT attend traditional programmes and were therefore able to 'terminate' their previously addicted behaviours and what Prochaska and his team did was interview them and then identified a common pattern/sequence that those who were most successful long term had followed which they subsequently 'formulised' and is now becoming an increasingly popular 'alternative' to the traditional 'only 'show' in town' approaches. And rightly so!

    I ended up waxing lyrically after all, I just can't help myself!!:eek:;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  6. aron

    aron Fapstronaut

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    Completely agreed. This was the premise of the post.

    In Prochaska's book there is indeed a termination stage but in Skinner's book this stage is missing, so I wasn't sure whether to include it or not. I don't have a definite opinion on this as myself have not reached this step, and it very well might be true that after a time of "being in recovery" one might declare himself "recovered". However I don't like being "in recovery" for the rest of your life just so an organisational system can be perpetuated. That is just plain wrong. The same way if once you were fat and lost weight, why should you carry the "fat" stigma for the rest of your life even though it doesn't apply to you anymore?

    Couldn't agree more. In the beginning while I was educating myself, the more I read the more empowered I felt, pieces of the puzzle were coming together, I was understanding why I got addicted, why do I continue stay addicted, and once I understood that then immediately the realization came of what I should be doing to get rid of this addiction.
     
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  7. Mark

    Mark Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    I'm sure 12 step programmes work for some people and advocates would say its about sticking around and giving back to newcomers. (which I understand) but I had a dear friend who told people four times a week that he was an 'alcoholic' and he hadn't touched alcohol in over 10 years and the only thing that kept it on his mind was the 'meetings' etc! I'm surprised Skinner left termination out but he must have had his reasons? Anyway not to detract from such a great thread any longer so thanks again :)
     
  8. Harold

    Harold Fapstronaut

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    Indeed helpful Aaron. That is why I use to fail. I did not build the foundation strong enough yet.
    I will use this post a manual.
     
  9. Incredibly helpful post, thank you very much!
     
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  10. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    aron, another member posted this link. I think it is helpful to understanding the problem. The speaker, from the nofap academy, says what we have been saying, but in a slightly different way. Quote: embrace the discomfort of the moment. Sound familiar? Though he does not use the terms sensitization, desensitization, and neuroplasticity, he is talking about rewiring the brain.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd02B4Vlwog

    He also talks about preparing, planning, for how to deal with the triggers when them come. Not just enduring them, but having a preconceived plan for what one should put in one's head when we trigger.
     
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  11. verticalplatypus

    verticalplatypus Fapstronaut

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    One of my biggest issues is that I am tech savvy and can easily bypass filtering programs like K9. All that stands between me and forbidden websites is my own willpower.
     
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  12. PVG

    PVG Fapstronaut

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    Hello Aron,

    Great post my friend. I have not experienced a relapsed but your workds made me realize I still have some weak points that can make me fall. I will work on this.

    Thanks !!!
     
  13. aron

    aron Fapstronaut

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    I am also tech savvy and have in-depth knowledge of computers. I challenge you to find a way to overcome K9, the way I proposed it: install K9, ask another person to set the admin password, AND also disable booting from external optical drives or usb sticks, and set a password for bios. I have tried, and believe me I did try, and I found no way to overcome it. But don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself and see if it works for you. But don't dismiss something even before trying. A smart person will always try something before forming an opinion on the matter.

    The problem is that you cannot rely on willpower alone. To better understand this you have to imagine willpower as a muscle. A muscle performs better when is rested compared to when it is tired or even slightly used. Try doing 10 pull-ups when you are rested compared to doing 10 pull-up when you did 30 before that. You will struggle in the second case. The same thing happens with the willpower. But you will be asking me, when do I use willpower? Well, you do it every time you see a sexual image and DECIDE to look away. Just the action of DECIDING to keep looking or to look away drains your willpower little by little. In the beginning you will be able to resist, but during the day, after repeated exposure to sexual imagery, your willpower will decrease up to a point where you won't be able to say NO, and soon a relapse will follow. Willpower and self control are the same thing. The issue here is to make it in such a way that you rely on willpower as little as possible. If willpower was the only thing that was needed to free you from your porn addiction, than you could have beaten this addiction a long long time ago.

    You need to give time to your brain for it to loosen the connections in brain that associate sexual imagery with masturbation. Indeed, K9, or any filter for that matter, is just like a crutch. Using it won't make your willpower stronger. We are not trying to increase the willpower. We just want to give the brain some time off from sexual imagery, so that it's instinctual association between porn and masturbation becomes less automatic. Like a crutch that you use only for a while until your broken leg heals, you will be using K9 just for some time, until your brain heals.
     
  14. aron

    aron Fapstronaut

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    Well done PVG. I think you have put your most difficult days behind you, and the days ahead will be easier and easier to handle. I wish you the very best of luck.

    PS:what are the weak spots that you mention?
     
  15. am92

    am92 Fapstronaut

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    Aron wonderful stuff you got here man really, its a neat way for those just starting out as well as for those who have been 'trying' yet failing to reevaluate and reexamine their past approach to the problem. I like your way of using the will power as a muscle, it makes sense to me now, before i would just indulge when i see a provocative women, a trigger, and later infront of my laptop try with that willpower to resist it after all those urges have build up, reality is my willpower is not that strong i am trying to figure out whats a good way of resisting temptation/triggers when they can't be avoided ie: due to job, school, social interaction. whats your opinion? thanks! and may peace be with you!
     
  16. aron

    aron Fapstronaut

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    Hi am92. I am glad you enjoyed this thread so far.

    To answer your question on how to resist temptation/triggers, I would say it's a nuanced discussion. Triggers are all around us, in advertising, school/work female colleagues, etc. There will always be things that trigger us, and you cannot avoid them all. Some of them you can avoid, others you can't. The ones that you can avoid, you should avoid them. Remember, every time we make an effort to resist something, we are draining our willpower. So the less triggers there are the slower our willpower will get drained. Regarding the triggers that we cannot avoid, well, there isn't too much we can about them. But remember we are not fighting triggers, we are fighting internet porn. The problem with triggers is that they trigger sexual arousal, they are sexually stimulating, and then we start to look for things which are even more sexually stimulating, and the only place we know that can provide it is internet porn. And internet porn is one thing that we can control. And the only way to control it is to filter it. In that way the sexual feelings caused by the triggers don't escalate. Remember, we are not trying to avoid triggers, we want to break the cycle trigger-> sexual arousal -> porn use. The only place to do it is between sexual arousal and porn use, and way to do it is to control the environment, or denying yourself access to internet porn.

    The problem is that because we have masturbated to porn for a long time, our brains have associated sexual arousal to internet porn. This means that in the brain there is a strong neural path between the part that is responsible with sexual arousal to the memories of us using porn. Every time we masturbate to porn we are only making this neural path stronger and stronger. By eliminating internet porn through the use filters, we are not stimulating this path in the brain, and the neural path will become weaker and weaker until it disappears completely. This can only happen if we give the brain some break from porn and time to heal itself. So after a reboot (warning: speculation follows), when we feel sexually aroused, our instinct won't be to go and see porn, but the natural instinct of seeking sexual relief from girls will kick in. I hope this helped you to better understand your problem, the cause of it and how to fight it.
     
  17. ToGoBeyond

    ToGoBeyond Fapstronaut

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    Thank you Aron, I found your post to be a good way for me to started my preparation before I can do nofap. I am going to be honest, in past I did not thoughts or plan something like this before starting my nofap, so I keep on failing, it so disapointed! I would be committed for a weeks, then relapse when something mood/mental issues came up!! I am going to take your post into consideration to take on the action! Thank you! Also do you know any link or information I can learn about PMO with affecting our brain?
     
  18. nmw.n.tn

    nmw.n.tn New Fapstronaut

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    Is there anyway for me to save this post?
     
  19. ToGoBeyond

    ToGoBeyond Fapstronaut

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    Thank you Anon for the link! :)
     
  20. Mark

    Mark Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    This is great information and if anyone is struggling with relapse/addiction etc the book Changing for Good by James Prochaska (as mentioned in this thread) really is an excellent resource for ensuring lasting positive change. Can't recommend it enough!

    Also a surprisingly good resource for understanding addiction and 'addictive personalities' (in ways you may have not considered before?) is Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons and her website Radiant Recovery is also interesting. Well worth checking out, especially if you have a sweet tooth!:eek:
     

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