Keeping it Clean - Journaling a Life Without Porn

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by John McClean, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut

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    That's super, Kallalininen. You're already coming up with better stuff than any outside teacher could give you.

    Run with it. Don't miss even one day.



    Way to go, Bogo. This is the stuff winners do ... things that are too much work or distasteful to others who just play at success.

    I would strongly recommend a strategy exactly like this to everyone. And not just when temptation hits. Make it a daily routine.

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  2. Bogo Biggins

    Bogo Biggins Fapstronaut

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    I was thinking about this on the way to work:

    1. Children's brains are highly plastic in nature. This is why we remember so much from childhood so easily. Big events, both good and bad.

    2. When we have indulged in P and M like rabid dogs for a protracted period, our sexual brain effectively becomes so screwed over, that it becomes succeptible during a short window to these sometimes bizarre suggestions. In other words, for a short time after such periods of abuse our sexual brain is open to reprogramming as it is superplastic - it becomes like a child's brain.

    3. This may partly explain why many porn addicts gradually get further sucked into bizarre porn. The more they watch P while fapping, the more they gradually remodel their sexualised brain to get turned on by whatever bullshit they are watching at the time. They inadvertently reprogramme their brain to get off on harder and harder porn. I have read here many accounts of people getting turned on by bizarre P they would hate in real life.

    4. It gets so bad they eventually actually reprogramme their brain to not get turned on by something like normal sex.

    If all this is right, and what happened to me was real, then we have a solution to P addiction: The next time you, me or anyone has a massive P and M session, finish off by forcing an M with your super-plastic brain over something super-unsexy (like a picture of Donald Trump). Problem solved...no more fapping for weeks!
     
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  3. lifetraveler

    lifetraveler Fapstronaut

    Incredible! So true.
     
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  4. vxlccm

    vxlccm Fapstronaut

    Well, @John McClean might not say it, but I would like to just make sure you know, @kallalininen that reading the Bible might be a great source for motivation. It might also build some faith in Jesus :)

    Seriously. Proverbs, for example, is awesome collection of wisdom. Even for those that discount divine inspiration, there's a reason the Bible has the distinction of the all time #1 most published book :D
     
  5. Jneilson75

    Jneilson75 Fapstronaut

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    Bumping this thread, because so many fantastic insights have come from @John McClean

    Hope things are going well and that your health is good.
     
  6. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut

    Thank you, @Jneilson75.

    I've been on vacation for ten days ... just got back.

    Will get back into the posting groove in the next couple days.

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  7. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut

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    I was reading a self-help book on my vacation and the author quoted some psychologist ... it might have been Carl Jung ... who said that, technically, we don't "break" bad habits. And we certainly don't stop doing a thing by focusing on stopping doing that thing.

    In fact, at those times in our lives when we do end a persistent behavior that we no longer want, what has consistently happened is that we moved our attention on to some other thing and the unwanted behavior or thoughts evaporated from lack of attention. I gave it some thought and found that true in my life. I got over ex-girlfriends mostly when I got a new girlfriend. I got over getting fired from a job when I got a new job. I stopped some persistent negativity when I started doing some cool new thing that captured my interest.

    So I started thinking this week about the goal of NoFap. Our goal shouldn't be "getting control" over compulsive PMO. Getting control seems to me to imply a new type of focus on the thing, stronger than ever. I think that's asking for trouble. I do understand that serious addiction, as opposed to mere "bad habits", does require some sort of dual-focus in life - forever keeping one eye on the offending temptation so as not to be waylaid unexpectedly and acting out before we even know what we're doing. But the larger, more general picture is one of evaporating the thing, ultimately forgetting about acting out because we're on to other, more productive things.

    A while back I was really into reading up on the evils and heartaches of excessive mortgages ... how many people have had their financial lives ruined by getting into mortgages that were inappropriate for their income levels. I was reading books on off-grid low-cost housing ... tricks for paying off mortgages sooner ... formulas for determining "safe" debt levels ... when to rent vs when to own. I made that a real obsession for a while. (Mainly because at the height of the easy-mortgage era of the early 2000's, I got in way over my head on a house and really mucked things up for myself.)

    At one point, I met an elderly woman who was living in a rural area in a decent livable mobile home on two acres. Everything about her said, "living modestly." Her house was modest, her car was modest, her stuff was modest. But ... get this ... she had no mortgage and no car loan. She lived free and clear with only monthly utilities to pay for. No housing concerns at all.

    Because I was all into how dangerous certain mortgages were to many people's financial futures, I really wanted to make a big conversation with her about how smart she was, how well she had set herself up for an easy retirement, blah blah blah.

    I went into my little obsessive conversation on the subject, going on about the dangers and evils of mortgages. I'll never forget the hauntingly simple reply she gave me.

    "A mortgage. ..(Shrugs her shoulders indifferently.)... I never even think about it."

    Wow. Millions of other people up to their necks in debt ... millions losing their homes ... millions of others managing day-to-day, but still having to focus and get help to keep afloat ... even people who do alright making their monthly payments, but still stressed about what "could happen" if things turn sour in their jobs.

    And here's a low fixed-income woman with no mortgage in a presentable home on two acres who doesn't even think about it.


    That's the goal in recovery. Again, I get that serious addicts never again have the option of completely disregarding their compulsion. It does have to stay in view and we do need to remain attentive. But the goal here is not "control". The goal is not to have just as many hours and personal resources dedicated every day to managing PMO as we once dedicated to acting out.

    The goal is to move on. The goal is new projects, new areas of interest, new levels of productivity, new passions, new relationships that consume the focus so thoroughly that our former interest in porn and masturbation largely evaporates from lack of attention. Maybe even lack of time. Too busy with better things to focus on than porn! Can you imagine such a thing?

    It's like that old conversation we used to bop around when Bill Gates was still making big bucks. It was said that if Bill Gates saw a twenty dollar on the sidewalk ... and stopped to bend over to pick it up ... him stopping for that second or two to grab the twenty would actually lose him money because what we was on about in his daily routine was making him more money every two seconds than the twenty dollar bill that he stopped to pick up.

    That's what we should aspire to. Lives so full and rich of the stuff we truly do love that to stop and view porn would instantly be recognized as a step down and a loss.

    Porn and masturbation... (Shrugs his shoulders indifferently.) ...I never even think about it.


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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  8. Unhooked

    Unhooked Fapstronaut

    He’s back, folks! Thanks for your winning insights.
     
  9. Jneilson75

    Jneilson75 Fapstronaut

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    Amen. And also move on with the tools to handle a crisis without resorting to the old dopamine fix of PMO in that stressful moment...
     
  10. Rusty the Horse

    Rusty the Horse Fapstronaut

    Well said
     
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  11. Kebin

    Kebin Fapstronaut

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    Agreed 100%. Sometimes we give this thing waaaay too much power. Time to move on, grow up, and focus on the things that matter.
     
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  12. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut

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    I wonder if this one unusual challenge I've dealt with for years now resonates with even one other person on the forum.

    I'm on day 232 today ... and have had the benefit of two years clean in the past ... so I can speak with a little clarity of what that length of sobriety does and doesn't give you.

    I can see now that it's important to my own continued recovery and personal development that we need to have reasonable expectations of what sobriety will deliver as it arrives. I've learned that the subconscious mind knows a lot more than it lets on ... and if the conscious mind runs with some idea or expectation that the subconscious knows to be false, any project that tries to continue on through that contradiction becomes an uphill battle. It really does help to know the complete future truth of what we're doing here and not merely insist on some dream, demanding it become true just because we want it. (Stay with me, this will make sense in a moment.)

    That said, I can assure anyone who asks ... extended sobriety does not automatically translate into a happier and more productive life. I think we sometimes hear from guys, usually around the two to four week mark, who get a glimpse of some newfound freedom and start to develop this image of a huge and amazing life that's waiting for them for no other reason than if they'll just stay sober.

    Do I need to mention that there are millions of men in the world who are not only completely sober from porn ... but who have never even gotten caught up in porn in the first place and thus never got damaged by the stuff?

    And of those millions of sharp clean guys, many of them struggle with happiness and productivity issues regardless of their success staying clear of porn. They're still dealing with the common challenges of evolving their lives ... it's just that porn is not one of their challenges.

    So being free of porn and masturbation does not inherently equal happiness and productivity. My two years clean bears testimony to that. Life is definitely better without porn, but it was no magic bullet to the big life.

    I would describe it this way: If you have a rock in your shoe, it's absolutely guaranteed you will be unable to run a four minute mile.

    But if you take that rock out of your shoe, that's no guarantee that you suddenly will run a four minute mile. You'll still have to train, diet, persist, believe ... all the stuff champions need to do to manifest their visions whether or not they ever had a handicap in the first place.

    But one thing you don't have if you stay sober is that voice telling you you're no good and that you don't deserve the things you want.

    That's no magic bullet toward living the big life, but it definitely is a major asset. If you're in a room with a major loser telling you you're no good ... and you decide you now want to live a bigger life on an upward trajectory ... the first thing to do is to get rid of that loser that tells you you're no good! That will make all the subsequent steps a lot easier.

    So I mention this because on the underside of this idea is this limiting thought ... (I often have this) ... that "I can't get started with my life until I get rid of the PMO".

    On one level, it almost has a "moral" ring to it ... like some justice thing. "You'll get the big life when you can control the PMO because then you'll deserve it."

    The fact is, in any undertaking ... wealth, family, fitness, etc ... there are always a significant number of people we would quickly say "don't deserve it", even though they did what it took to achieve it. And the only reason we might say that is because we tend to crosswire the actions that bring one kind of success with other actions that don't. ie, A guy does all the things every day to create a world-class physique, but he's an arrogant twat - so really, he doesn't deserve a body like that.

    In those cases, it seems to me that life is much more exacting than we are of what it gives a guy in response to his actions and what it doesn't. Life does give that guy a world-class physique because he eats and trains in such a way that creates a body like that. But what life doesn't give him is deep meaningful friendships or a rich thriving marriage because, again, he's an arrogant twat. Life doesn't overlap entitlements. That dude's exercise routine and his twat-ness are two completely unrelated things. He's a champion at one - and a failure at the other.

    But life doesn't blur that line. Human beings, however, (especially jealous ones), often do. And when we do it to ourselves, that's how we limit ourselves in areas of our lives where we could still be great champions, regardless of our moral failings.

    The message to me right now ... at age 53 and dealing with some real self-created limitations in my life is this: Whatever difficulties and wreckage PMO is wreaking in your life ... come WIDE AWAKE right now and look closely whether or not some other goals you have may still be completely achievable. This idea that because I have difficulty with PMO ... that that somehow automatically means I'm chained to bad fitness standards (or whatever) is a complete illusion.

    Again, there are guys who have never gotten caught up in porn - who have difficulty keeping their food and exercise together. That to me is absolute proof that I have as much right and opportunity to start pursuing a meaningful goal as some sharp guy who has never messed up his life with pornography.

    Please don't use compulsive porn and masturbation as an excuse to limit your life in some other unrelated way. You must absolutely demand of yourself that you NEVER play jury and judge and determine that you are not "entitled" to pursue a goal you consider worthwhile because of your issues with porn and masturbation.


    That voice inside that says, "Others can have this, but you can't ... because you're a porn and masturbation addict," is a LIE and a completely irrational, logically indefensible one at that.

    Some matters are inherently linked to porn and masturbation addiction. You lose a lot of time, no escaping that. If you're hiding it and the wife finds out, your marriage will be severely damaged, no escaping that. Feelings of shame and such, hard - if not impossible - to escape. For those reasons, stay clean and learn the secrets of becoming and staying clean.

    But if you have other secret ambitions, wishes, goals, aspirations ... fitness, money, travels, skills, artistic expression, influence, social contribution, a clean house and good food every day ... come wide awake right now and absolutely demand of yourself ... loudly and persistently ... that you understand that you have as much on the ball and are just as entitled to those things as someone who has never had an issue with porn.

    You can already now begin doing those things every day that will get you what you want. Porn and masturbation muck up certain things in our lives, no doubt, but it doesn't muck up everything. Get clear on what you want that PMO really has no influence over and get to work.

    Getting some one really good thing you want in life ... and defeating PMO ... really are most likely two completely unrelated projects.

    I don't think it's entirely unrealistic to ask, "If I had never once viewed pornography, what would I do right now toward achieving this goal?"

    I can feel a circuit frying in my brain even as I read that sentence, but somehow I know it points in the right direction.
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    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  13. vxlccm

    vxlccm Fapstronaut

    Sometimes, rephrase just a tad helps me...

    Step 1 - Set Goal
    Step 2 - Make Plan
    Step 3 - Get to Work

    Steps 4 through 999:

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    Step 1000 -- Reach Goal :)
     
  14. Jneilson75

    Jneilson75 Fapstronaut

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    @John McClean, that was pure gold. Nofap, can we sticky this post to the front page?

    I have had to extended periods of no PMO during my adult life, and I concur.

    Amen. And for me, this is really gotten in the way of achieving my dreams. Beating myself down. I’m going to put this quote up as my wallpaper on my laptop.

    QFT. PMO does get in the way of starting an intimate, trusting relationship with another person, but that’s about it.
     
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  15. myspirithurt

    myspirithurt Fapstronaut

    Thanks for the inspirational post, John. I really needed this today.
     
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  16. Bogo Biggins

    Bogo Biggins Fapstronaut

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    Agree totally.

    Pmo addiction is like having a disability.

    I might be born with the potential to be a 100m runner and win the Olympic gold medal. However if I lose the ability to walk, it won't happen. But if I don't lose the ability to walk, it still probably won't happen. However my life will be better in so many other ways.

    I always marvel at the number of really academically bright kids I went to school with who apparently didn't achieve much (although this is very much a relative term...I don't put much 'value' on materialism, so if someone is just rich, I tend to think 'so what, anything else'?). Of course 70% are probably pmo'ers like me.

    But certainly 'achievement' is not just a function of 'ability'.

    However, optimistically, if you have ability you certainly have unlimited potential. But do you have ambition?
     
  17. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut

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    Just stating the obvious today ... hopefully a word of encouragement.

    Please remind yourself that your dream of a life free of porn and masturbation is not as difficult as it first appears. If you are imagining a massive stretch of time as, say, two years ... (or however you conceptualize "permanent" success) ... then it's really not two years at all.

    The reality is that changing a habit is a very short burst of great discomfort up front ... then a wiggy stretch of volatile but manageable psychological adjustment ... then a lifetime of relatively easy followup and maintenance. The two years of clean living that seems so impossible may in fact be nothing more than two weeks to two months of focus and sacrifice.

    Let's say you are commissioned with the job of creating two million properly working toasters. The poor schmuck who is destined for failure in everything he does thinks, "Two million toasters! How in the hell am I supposed to build two million toasters? That would take any man decades, if not lifetimes! It's impossible! It can't be done!"

    The champion thinks, "I'm not going to focus at all on building two million toasters. All I need to do is focus on building a working assembly line. A staff of fifteen or so supportive and competent people. The stuff that assembly lines are made of ... conveyor belts, soldering tools, metal parts ... and all the logistics worked out on paper. And then budgeting in a few false starts and bad math that inevitably need to get worked out. Everything after the first one comes off the line is just management."

    "I figure I can get a whole line put together in less than two months of intelligent work."


    Everything you want is much easier to achieve than you think, much closer than you think ... if you'll go about this intelligently and suffer the sharp and short burst of start-up pain. Mothers understand this. Manufacturers understand this. People successful with recovery understand this.

    Get the hell out of your head and out of your dark imagination and start engineering.
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    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  18. Strength And Light

    Strength And Light Fapstronaut

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    In the immortal words of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, "Excellent fucking post!!"
     
  19. jyvais

    jyvais Fapstronaut

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    It's always a pleasure to read your post and I'm glad to see you back at writing.

    Your two million toasters story remind me of when I started to work in the food industry. Many years ago, I took a job at a bakery in Miami, I was very young and had practically no experience. One day, Chef comes to me and says "We got contracted last minute for a big 3 days event, you're gonna make 3200 mini fruit pies". "What? me? three thousand two hundred fruit pies? ... for when? I responded - "Don't worry you have plenty of time, we need them for past tomorrow, they pick up at 5am". For him, this was usual business but for me the task was more than daunting, I panicked and almost wanted to quit this nut job but I knew at the same time I was about to learn something incredibly important. Finally the process was quite simple, it was all a question of establishing the right workflow and establishing priorities. Piece of cake!
     
  20. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut

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    Reading a lot of the posts around NoFap ... some of the guys still seem to take it as something of a surprise that there seems to be a connection between their emotional states and their likelihood of acting out.

    I just watched an episode of Leave It To Beaver and Jerry Mathers says, oh so insightfully, "Gee Dad, it seems like the only time I ever get mad is when things don't go the way I want them to."

    [​IMG]


    Um ... yeah.

    The joke there is in the obviousness. Things don't go the way you want them to ... what a surprise ... you get mad.

    And in our case ... insert uniquely customized emotional state ... you're now ripe for that "Oh well, let's just have a quick innocent look and a feel" bullshit. What a surprise.
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    Fapstronaut #1
    30% Anger
    40% Boredom
    30% Feeling "Entitled"


    Ten minutes later ... Bam! ... Cancel out the PMO counter ... again.


    Fapstronaut #2
    50% Lonely
    20% Hungry
    10% Without Direction
    20% Tired


    Ten minutes later ... Bam! ... Cancel out the PMO counter ... again.


    We could write out a ratio formula like that for each of us and it would probably be different for every single man on NoFap. But it gets down the same thing ... the opening ... the vulnerability ... first comes in the form of an emotion - or complex of emotions.

    On the flipside, note too that there are emotional states in which you would never view porn or touch Mr. Winkie inappropriately.

    But it should be obvious ... the weakness, the vulnerability, is not the relapse. It simply foreshadows the relapse.



    Two keys to success:

    Know your "vulnerable" emotions. Recognize them. Understand they have a purpose and that purpose is to defeat you and reset your PMO counter. That is the only purpose they serve.

    Do what is needful to change that emotional state. Movement, loud shouting of affirmations or Scripture, socializing.


    Technically ... yes ... vulnerable emotions have no other purpose than to defeat you. But in practical reality, they can serve as your trigger and your hot-foot to get you off your ass and away from the computer and away from Mr. Winkie. If you follow through 100% of the time and use those emotions to rocket yourself up to a higher plane of awareness and action, then God bless those wretched states. Whatever it takes to get moving ... assuming you DO move.


    But either way ... know them like you know the face and voice of the most dangerous person in your world.

    And then MOVE! Never sit in one of those states. Never wait around to see what happens next. Those states are the guaranteed precursor of a relapse ... and an exceptional opportunity to stop a bullet in mid-air.

    MOVE! .... Don't sit there like an idiot looking at it! ....MOVE! ....Before that state has a chance to manifest.
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