Get educated, get tools, and learn to love withdrawals

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by William, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    Edit 4-10-14. I began this thread in 2013 because I kept watching newbies visit and post the same questions over and over. I wanted to start a thread that answered most of those questions in one place, and I wanted to give an example of how many of us have become free, and have taken off the chains of porn. This thread is for porn addicts for whom porn has caused problems in their lives, who compulsively search porn, over and over, and on some level believe it is impossible to quit. I am here to tell you, it can be quit, you can quit it, you can take off those chains. Now, it took you years to get addicted, so, take time to get smart about the problem. If you are serious about quitting porn, read this post entirely. Reading this thread will not cure you of porn addiction, but it will allow you to begin your journey armed with important knowledge. Where we end up often is dictated by where we begin. Do not begin in ignorance. Get educated. Now, go make a pot of coffee, make a pot of tea, get a water, and block about 1 and 1/2 hours to read this post--and all the links--to the very end. That 1 and 1/2 hours could potentially take years off fixing the problem we share. If, at the end, you take anything positive away, please repay the favor by posting something positive and helpful.

    William. Peace.



    Hi guys, I usually post the Ted Talk with Gary Wilson, which is the video I watched to get educated, shortly after which I went PMO free and have been for five months. It should be required for everyone who is quitting. It is here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_RIm9ZMN1I

    However, over on yourbrainonporn.com , the site Gary Wilson runs, I came across another great video which hits the same points as Gary's Ted Talk, but in a quicker, and a bit lighter way. It is here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ya67aLaaCc&feature=youtu.be

    And don't forget to read a success story by a nofap hero, Gabe:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRehA9C0ajQ&list=UUxUD8G1jO8T-Ef2tuADCZOA

    I actually originally posted a post directly by Gabe, whereas recently, on 3-30-14, Dogwood posted the story about Gabe here, and this story is so compelling for younger guys with ED issues. Watch it, learn. You CAN overcome this.

    And more:

    http://www.nofap.org/forum/showthread.php?3549-Action!-or-not!!!-Have-you-actually-Prepared-for-it

    The problem can be overcome!

    Above is the education. Getting educated about the addiction was the biggest step for me in quitting it. I thought I had a problem below the belt, when in fact it was always in my brain, above the belt. We talk about being PMO addicts or even porn addicts, but in reality we are dopamine addicts, it's the greatest drug in the universe, and we carry it around in our brains. There are other chemicals involved too, but its easier for me to just conceive of it as dopamine alone. I am just a guy who wanted to break the PMO cycle and to quit P, not a scientist, so give me a break if the science is not absolutely accurate. It, dopamine, is released in response to porn, and our brains come to love it. Your PMO cycle will never be broken so long as you've got porn on the brain, or literally running around inside it. A lot of guys slow down when starting to try to quit, but they will never be quit if they keep porn in their head.

    Tools: Porn blockers. Don't just quit, don't just passively stop and sit there, take affirmative action to change your online habits by making it difficult to access the problem. This will help you in various ways. Stopping your ability to access porn will help you stop accessing porn, and accessing porn is the underlying problem here. Maybe blockers won't stop you, but for me, they slowed me down and acted almost like a reminder that I was stopping. Like a tap on the shoulder. Also, taking these steps means you are taking steps to control your situation, which is a bit empowering. I also post here, it helps, and there are other tools out there from accountability partners to therapy to 12 step programs.

    Withdrawals suck. We don't talk enough about them here. They are why we fail. They are our brain's dopamine drenched chemical reward center begging us, threatening us, punishing us, pleading with us, rationalizing with us why we need to PMO. Withdrawals are painful, they are physical, mental, and emotional pain. They are the jitters, the shakes, the sweats, odd pains in odd places, the brain fog we feel when quitting, and our brain's way of telling us all that unpleasantness can go away with just a little harmless fix. When going through withdrawal I felt I had a sinus infection and my teeth actually hurt. I did not have a sinus infection and my teeth were fine, but my brain, at some level, had to make me feel bad to try and make me feel good through a porn induced dopamine release. The good thing is, if you are having withdrawals, it means your brain's dopamine levels are on their way back to normal. Once you get back to normal those things stop, but you can't get back to normal until your brain re-balances, and that takes, depending on who you speak to, between 11 and 90 days. I usually guestimate between 11 and 40. Newbies must be told this will not be easy, it will be hard, and they have to expect this pain, endure it, embrace it and even want it to accomplish our task, getting dopamine production back to normal.

    In my opinion, there are two type of guys here. Most of us don't know that, nor do we necessarily think we are in one category or the other. On the one hand are guys who are trying to control their porn use, don't want it out of their lives, but want to find methods where they control porn and porn does not control them. In my opinion they are addicts in denial. That is not meant as anything negative toward those guys, but for me three words were necessary: I am addicted. On the other hand, there are the guys who know they are addicted. I am in this group. We came to understand porn controlled us, that we cannot play with it or learn how to pick it up and put it down whenever we wanted, and that, consequently, to be free, we had to get porn completely out of the brain. We are addicts in recovery. Might help if you figure out which side of that you are on. I suppose, statistically speaking, there is a third group, being guys who watch porn all the time but can quit at will, or maybe a fourth, guys who have never seen porn in the first place, but I don't think guys in those last two categories are here.

    Lastly, we need to let the newbies know that porn is not just porn, it is any sexual imagery that sets off dopamine release. Porn is seeing it, watching it, perceiving it, hearing it, thinking of it, imagining it, remembering it. It is having an orgasm while thinking of it, whether with a partner or during MO. It is edging. It is PMOing. It is using porn substitutes like chat rooms or soft core imagery that triggers a dopamine release.

    Thanks for allowing me to post. Posting and responding to posts are part of my recovery, so thanks. I wish everyone luck on their journey. Peace.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  2. 7thManDown

    7thManDown Guest

    I totally agree man. I know that I had to be on the side that said I am an addict. I kind of looked at it like a drug addict... it's either keep doing it forever, or never at all. I also agree that there is really no "managing" porn use. I think it consumes you, and that everyone gets to a point where they either accept it as a part of their life, or completely get rid of it. But like you said, it's hard as fuck to quit, so it takes time.
    Awesome post William!
     
  3. xavieravenue

    xavieravenue Fapstronaut

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    A wonderfully insightful post. Thank you William! I relapsed yesterday but I'm getting stronger and I hope to end my addiction. You're awesome, great post!
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    Typically fabulous and informative post. Your mention of recognising and dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal will surely help many a fledgling (and experienced!) 'fapstronaut' to jump this often woefully underestimated hurdle, massively increasing their chances of sustained success. Your commitment, insight, and example are priceless :)
     
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  5. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    No prob jilted. There is a reason we relapse. There is a reason we hurt when quitting. Our brains do not want us to, they love the dopamine too much. Knowing what was happening to me at that time helped me quit. Before then I did not realize there was a beginning, a middle, and an END to withdrawals. You can survive them; it does not feel like it at the time, but you can, and you have to embrace them as part of the cure.
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Distinguished Fapstronaut

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    Totally agree :cool:
     
  7. aron

    aron Fapstronaut

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    Thanks a lot for the article. I wanted to ask you when did the withdrawal symptoms start for you and how long did they last?
     
  8. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    Hi aron. This is not science but most guys say they struggle with the reboot for between 11 and 40 days, though I have seen guys say they struggle with it for up to 90, and there are guys on here PMO free for over a year who relapse. I think if you can make it 30 days, the withdrawal symptoms seriously weaken. Understand that is a porn free 30 days; if you keep porn in your life, as in your brain, even if not Oing to it, you are prolonging the problem, not fixing it. In order to actually reboot, you have to get sexual thoughts out of there for a while. You have to consciously not have sexual thoughts. That is hard for guys like us. 5 months in and I still choose not to indulge in sexual thoughts, meaning I am still tempted. I do have them, of course, but I don't indulge them, and at this point I am starting to understand they are not triggering me. I won't let them. If you are a daily user, you are probably experiencing minor withdrawal symptoms on a fairly constant basis, as in daily. You are probably experiencing them now, since you are quitting. That is why we use daily; not because we make an intellectual decision to use porn, but because we feel a minor withdrawal symptom that makes us want to scratch that itch. If you are going to quit you have to totally quit and you have to sort of look forward to the withdrawal symptoms. Part of the problem in quitting is that guys do not anticipate that it is going to hurt, that they are going to feel unpleasant physical symptoms but also serious anxiety attacks. Knowing that those are just your dopamine levels coming down and your brain fighting that helps. Our brains love dopamine and hate it when its not there, or going back to pre porn normal levels. I know a lot of guys recommend tools to get through withdrawals, such as working out, walks in the woods, and meditation. But, I know of no one who has come up with any remedy for getting around them altogether; there is some suffering involved. Porn is a drug (well technically, it is the mechanism to release the brain chemical dopamine). You make a decision not to use it, or, you don't. But you cannot get clean with it in your head, so get it out.

    Good luck on your journey.
     
  9. aron

    aron Fapstronaut

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    Thank you very much William. You are an inspiration. A lot of guys (including me at some point) are unaware of the withdrawal, and the suffering that comes with it. Now I am looking forward to it. And knowing that these symptoms have a beginning and an end makes me more prepared to face them.
     
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  10. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    Thank aron, appreciate you saying that.
     
  11. monke

    monke Fapstronaut

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    i once managed to stay clean for 21 days and i didn't feel anxiety or depression

    why is that ?
     
  12. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    Hi monke, I think is fantastic that you were clean that long, and that being clean that long you felt no anxiety or depression. Many of us do feel those things when quitting.

    My question, though, is did you have any other withdrawal symptoms, and if not, why don't you stay quit forever?

    It may be you are not addicted. But if you are not addicted and are still going back once in a while, why do it?
     
  13. Shai_Halud

    Shai_Halud Fapstronaut

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    Will, you are right about Not being relay for the withdrawals. I was ten days in when it hit me. I'm sure I'm an addict, and I'm trying to quit. As I won't see the wife for about six months I have a built in hard mode advantage. But what's after that? Can I never look at an old pic of the wife in a club outfit again if it used to serve as porn? What about MO itself? Once the withdrawals are gone can you go back to MO If you keep porn out?
     
  14. sans-fapp

    sans-fapp Fapstronaut

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    This post, to me, is the real core of my problem. As a PMO and edging addict, my disease is treatable but never curable because I can relapse anytime I get too complacent about my efforts to stop PMO. Edging has been my way of getting the most dopamine rush and keeping it going indefinitely. It is hard to quit, but I'm on day 3 of no PMO and edging. Great post William!!!!!
     
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  15. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    Hi Shai, you ask two different questions, and it helped me to understand they are completely different questions. When you ask a question about porn you are asking a question that involves "above the belt" issues, in your head; when you ask a question about MO, it more of a "below the belt question." We did not have a high speed internet porn addiction before high speed internet porn, obviously. I mean we (guys) had porn, and a lot of us liked it, but liking it and being addicted to it are two different things. As far as I can tell there are no cases of being addicted to pornography unless it is high speed internet porn or a HSIP substitute; before HSIP there are no cases I am aware of of an addiction to porn.

    I don't know the answer to the question about going back to MO for you or anyone else. I know for me, I cannot go back because at this point I would be incapable of MOing unless I was thinking of porn or utilizing a porn fantasy. Its nice to think I would only think of my wife, and I would at first, but though I love my wife, my addicted brain loves HSIP; it wants rocket fuel, not kerosene. So, if I started thinking of my wife, I would undoubtedly end up thinking of porn. I will tell you that when you talk about "going back" after the withdrawals are gone, as in quick in time to that, I don't think it would be possible for you MO without imagining porn. I am now months out now, and could not do it, and I expect that for the rest of my life, consequently, I will never watch porn again and never MO, ever. That is the price I have made to become PMO free. I loved rubbing one off as much as the next guy before HSIP got in my head, but once I became addicted, I could not MO without accessing porn; even if I was not in front of a computer, I would be thinking about it. That is why when quitting you have to be quit, or you are not quit.

    My advice: take that 6 months and try to reset. Don't allow sexual imagery, pornographic imagery, to run around in there, and do not MO or PMO during that time. Easily said, difficult to do. Porn deprivation for 6 months ought to help you, so long as you remember you are still quit when you get back and don't reward yourself with porn or a binge. Its not enough just to quit using, you have to tell yourself the quit is forever, that you are done with it, that you cannot handle it, that you are not letting it control you anymore, that you are going to control it, by pushing it out of your life and your head. You have to convince yourself this is not a temporary thing, its permanent. A lot of guys make the mistake of trying to put porn in a box and up on a high shelf and telling themselves they will not use again. They don't want to use it but they hate the idea of giving it away forever. But it has to go, forever. If you can make it a month in it does get better, but plan on some suffering in the meantime and tell yourself to look forward to it.

    Good luck to you on your journey.
     
  16. john13

    john13 Fapstronaut

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    Great post, and thanks! I've been 6 days without P and the withdrawal has hit. Yesterday I was ready to throw in the towel but was able to get through it. Today I feel much better that I didn't use so I'm hopeful it can work.
    This isn't my first attempt at quitting, in fact at one time I been off the P for over a year and half. What happened? I stopped doing what I needed to do and before I knew it, I was deep into my addiction.
    This is not something that I can quit for a while then go back and use like a "normal" person, I have to quit forever. You know, during that year and a half life was so much better, I actually felt like a real person instead of someone that lived in the shadows.
     
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  17. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    Hi john... you have to quit forever, or you are not quit. Push through brother, on the other side it lightens up. You cannot use. I cannot use. We like to use, but we cannot. It has to be all or nothing.

    Where we are going, there are no counters. We have quit holding our breaths, we have learned to quit breathing. You have to learn to quit using. Plain and simple.

    Peace be to you.
     
  18. monke

    monke Fapstronaut

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    i'm addicted but i don't have any problems like ED. I felt cravings but on 21th day i fell because i drank a beer so my concentration has fallen down.

    Funny thing is that in period when i look porn is that on the street i only look at thick women i don't even notice thin ones. So PMO effects my way of looking women.
     
  19. William

    William Fapstronaut

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    Hi fappingendsnow!, yep, I had to learn that lesson too. Porn is not just porn. Porn is seeing it, watching it, thinking of it, imagining it, using it, PMOing, MOing while thinking of it and PORN SUBSTITUTES, which are things that trigger us, but are not hardcore porn. For me, bikini picks, Victoria's Secret, and softcore nudes are right up there. There is plenty on Facebook to trigger, including the fact that some of my "triggers" have pages, which I used to visit. A non addict would consider those pages risque, but not porn. For me, they cause my dopamine release center to light up. I likey, as they say. So, I don't go there anymore.

    Thanks for posting, reading posts and responding are part of my recovery. Also, get educated. Knowing porn substitutes are, to our brains, the same mechanism we use to release dopamine as porn, is big. A lot of us, myself included, thought I was making big strides in quitting hardcore sites and only visiting Google Images and searching nudes. In reality I was still just using. Education is key.

    Peace.
     
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  20. takethecharge

    takethecharge Fapstronaut

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    Golden thread. Thank you for your wisdom and experience, it will definitely help me reinforce my quitting.
     
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