Keeping it Clean - Journaling a Life Without Porn

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

  1. jyvais

    jyvais Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for sharing John, it was a good read. I totally resonate, blocking, refusing to act and get my act together although I know it's urgent. Loosing control and letting my life goes to shit because I can't seem to find the strength to do the things I should. Far worse, refusing and dismissing any kind of pressure to do those things with the excuse that stress will lead me to pmo or will push me deeper into the hole. I know those feelings too well and coming back on top has become a challenge. Staying nofap isn't easy but overall and so far it's manageable. This blocking seems to have no end. I shouldn't be responding right now but the prospect of getting my list to do done is daunting and as for now has more pain associated than confessing being weak.

    Porn really mess with the person we are and I'm not sure anymore if the addiction starts form the very beginning or when we loose control. At this point, I'm convinced that addiction gets a hold of our mind way sooner that we think. Here it goes, stay with me and let's see if I have a point.

    Yesterday it was our anniversary and the day didn't go as planned due to work stuff that always seems to get stuck in the middle. Luckily, we still made it happen and had a very good time but I knew something was off my wife wasn't engaging despite my numerous attempt to make her talk. It was only when we got home that she felt comfortable to lay out the situation. Something that I rather not disclose but that is utterly important and happening as I'm writing. This event has triggered in her thoughts about my value as a husband that slapped me in the face. She went really deep and it wasn't easy to listen the words that came from her mouth. Below an apparent farewell attitude, she doesn't trust me anymore and I'm not the charming prince I once was. Right away, I was very sad and hurt feeling unwanted and somewhat betrayed (I get it it's karma, right ... ok I can take it). If you read my last posts, I expressed concerns about the nature of her reasons to have sex with me. Does she love me or it is just that she rather comply while looking for an exit?

    But that's nowhere near relevant to what's really happening. While all my focus was dominated by an emotional approach wondering if she does or doesn't love me or if am/was I enough ... my obsession lays with the fear being unwanted and rejected. Anyway, She directly pointed out to the fact that I'm not carrying my own weight and that I'm in a way dragging her backward. I explain, I had to reinvent myself a few years ago, I quit smoking, became healthier and chose to change career do something that I really enjoy. I spent a lot of money and hours studying and learning the craft but at the same time while she believed that I was entirely dedicated to my new career, she understands now why it took so long. Instead of working like she did, I was jerking ...

    However, she surprised me even more ... she compared our relationship to us navigating on a boat in the middle of the ocean. It's a big boat and she's paddling while I'm fixing the sail. The problem is that I never seem to finish to repair the sail and she's tired of paddling of course. I asked her if despite the fact that jumping would be worse since there's nowhere to go if she desired to jump. She said no, we're going there together, that was always the plan, I don't want to go there without you. I just need you to fix the fucking sail once for all.

    She was dead serious and put everything in context with this event that is unfolding. One way or the other, it's a significant change that put in perspective things in very a different way. it's another great reason to stay away from p, it's also a reason to put out the big guns and get over the blocking and the procrastination and the Lala land ...

    It's very easy to become even more self centered in recovery, it was a fair and good call
     
  2. Jneilson75

    Jneilson75 Fapstronaut

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    Blocking — if you started blocking club, you could fill a city. I struggle with that, but I think my mother struggles with it even more. She grew up with a father who made her cry almost every day. She got fantastic grades in school, but somewhere in University, she kind of shut down. She has never really picked up since. It’s a tough one, I struggle with it, I don’t think I have any answers for this one right now. Perhaps I need to look beyond just the blocking and spend more time on the why.

    Haaaahahaha, it’s funny because it’s true. So sad.

    You’ve mentioned this a couple of times before, it appears to rattle around in your brain a lot.

    I am in the same boat here, I read the scriptures daily, pray multiple times daily, and while I see the influence of God in my life, I rarely feel close to him. Everyone is going to have a different reason for why this occurs. I think this describes just about everyone, even most of the people I meet who claim they are close to God. But when you meet that rare person, you can just tell, right?

    You seem to have this vivid picture in your mind about what a spiritual person is and how they act. You take this picture from the words of others who profess this uncanny ability to be focussed on God. People who are not only “willing”, but “able” to do whatever it takes.

    1) Is that you? Is that really the type of person you are? Is that the only way you can feel successful and self actualized? Is everybody on this planet exactly the same, with the same ability to focus, with the same spiritual gifts? I read testimonies from people who talk about the spiritual uplift from reading the entire Bible in a very short period of time. But that’s not me. I don’t have that kind of ability to concentrate. Sometimes I can study for an hour, sometimes I’m done after a few verses. I have a tough enough time getting through a 10 minute prayer without my mind going everywhere.

    2) Are you comparing yourself to someone who started their journey in a different place than you? Do you expect yourself to be at the end of their journey in short order? Do the writers speak of their struggles, their growth, growing from grace to grace, because I can guarantee you nobody just starts praying for four hours a day.

    3) Do you look back and recognize with gratitude your own growth over the last 10 years? The almost imperceptible daily improvements? Six months of no PMO is nothing to be scoffed at.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  3. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut

    Remarkably potent post, @jyvais. Your story and mine are so similar that it's eerie. I could have written that post and would have had to change very little.

    First off, let me say that it's cathartic to know that, not only did someone read my post, but someone resonated with it. These are the times I wish we were in a live group and knew each other face to face. Just you listening to me and then sharing your experience with your wife is the stuff that deep healing is made of.

    The part about not carrying one's own weight in the relationship hits me hard. I have an almost identical situation. One thing I know though ... speaking only for myself ... this blocking runs so deep in my life that there is no external pain that will motivate me to be productive. Even hurting someone I love wouldn't do it. The forum is full of guys who hurt or even destroyed their marriages in favor of PMO. And while PMO isn't my greatest monster at the moment, I have the same twisted loyalty to blocking that most of the guys here have to their porn and acting out.

    My only hope is in doing the daily work of keeping a relationship with God the actual number one matter of my day. I use the word 'actual' because my experience is that a great number of spiritually minded people, the vast majority, probably, only have their relationships with God prioritized as a matter of semantics and mental images. Most of us, if we actually accounted on paper for every minute of every day, would be pretty surprised and embarrassed at what we actually have made the top priorities of our lives. TV, food, entertainment, mindless work, sleep ... this is stuff of most people's lives.

    And even among spiritual folks, the math rarely adds up to people following the disciplines of their faith in a committed manner. Church once or twice a week ... a few minutes in prayer every day ... scattershot reading of their Bibles ...

    ... if this was college, they wouldn't exactly be on their way to a doctoral program.

    I bring the whole spiritual disciplines thing up because I have a belief about life in general. I firmly believe that if every man lived in complete surrender to God ... not just in religious affirmations but in the actual daily ongoing state of mind ... those same lives would float upward effortlessly. We're made to be "possessed" by God, just like people are possessed by evil in the scary movies. When a man is fully surrendered to God, a spiritual Presence washes over the intelligence and judgement and we just start to become right in our lives - without having to give it great effort. The initial surrender takes a lot of effort for some people ... but the resulting heightened intelligence and judgement does not.

    It's like having to go to great lengths, traveling across the country, to get to a certain medicine, but once you take it, the healing is effortless. It just happens simply for having taken the medicine.

    A lot of us on the forum, and most western people in general, usually think of themselves as "missing something". If I could just get this thing, whatever it is for that person, added on to my life - then all of life would be great. Most people's "thing" is socially acceptable. If I could just get a good income, a respected job, a nice house, a sound retirement, a new sofa ... then all of life would line up. On NoFap, of course, our thing is not socially acceptable. We like to believe that if we could just get the right sexual fantasy worked out, then we would find relief - even if for just a moment. Strange how that relief never comes, no matter what we chase or how close we get to the ideal.

    I no longer believe we're "missing" anything at all. We don't suffer from the spiritual pain of lack. We suffer from the pain of frivolous abundance. Thoughts, beliefs, baggage from the past, memories, repressed sins, unrealistic expectations ... all bags of sand weighing down our beautiful hot-air balloons.

    Hot-air balloons that would float effortlessly upward if we just ditched the baggage. No added acquisitions ... quite the opposite. Just going into that place of spiritual surrender where all the nonsense burns away and only the purity of our lives, as God intended them to unfold, remains. When we lose the crap, the sandbags, through that process of surrender ... and the process of being fully owned (ie, possessed) by God ... we start to mysteriously just get things "right". Just like we make so many mistakes now not even knowing we're making them ... there's a way to live that allows a man to just as mysteriously live correctly - with very little or no effort.

    And the marvel is that nothing needs to be added to our lives. No new skills, no additional respect from others, no manifestations of power like money or appearance. We just lose the crap through an intimacy with God and life floats upward.

    But, in my case, I've made the disciplines of that spiritual life yet another "thing" I need to do, so I resist it. So unfortunate, because it's exactly opposite how it's supposed to happen. How I'm going about this makes as much sense as "trying hard" to get a woman to love me. Love is a process of honesty and surrender. If you work for it, you either damage it or you end up with something contrived and artificial. Bring your wife flowers sometime and tell her you got them for her because you know you have to to keep her happy and that you believe this is the "method" by which you'll build love in the relationship.

    It won't work with her ... and it doesn't work with God, either.

    But I'll say this ... your wife's comments about staying the course are a great luxury and you should drop to your knees in gratitude to God for having heard her say such a thing. But don't fool yourself into thinking that her loyalty and dependence is the "thing" that's finally going to pull your act together. I can assure you it's not and that if you depend on it in that way, you're only setting yourself up for the next cycle of your own addictive thinking. I no longer believe that there is any external motivation that will heal a man fully of a decades-long addiction. We'll even let our own bodies die rather than pull it together. That's how deep this runs.

    But there is a true and reliable inner motivation ... and it's not a thing or a "motivation" at all. It's a letting go of so much stuff we carry around ... again, baggage and sins and beliefs and what-not. When those sandbags get jettisoned ... (a daily discipline, not a one-time act) ... then we begin to become the men that God and our wives can revel in.

    God help me become a man who will finally stop slathering more stuff onto myself in the quest to get the formula just right. The great irony is that the man that God throws his resources into is the man who's essentially empty and ready to be filled by a great power he can't provide for himself.

    Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.



    That's what I'm looking for. I'm done trying to fill my pockets with the stuff and the sand of life. All it does is stop my balloon from rising. Empty bags and open hands are the secret to getting airborne in life.

    Do whatever it takes to be rid of the old dead weight.


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  4. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut


    Thank you for the reply @Jneilson75.

    To answer your question rather concretely ... yes, I have this picture from two sources. One is the books I've read by people who I believe truly made God the number one value in their lives. They all have in common the ability to sit quietly (or even work quietly) with the mind completely still and surrendered to God. To these people, God is not a belief or a theology, but a direct experience. And yes, when you meet that rare person, you can just tell. They are transformed human beings and full of something I want for myself.

    The second source of that picture is my own experience. I've had that experience myself ... not so much an "experience" as stretches of time in which I set down the baloney of my contrived self and let the real me happen. It's like turning off the TV to the tenth power. Also turning off mental chatter, preferences, cares/worries ... even just keeping the body still for a half hour and not having to twitch around.

    Like the verse says, "Be still ... and know that I am God." That's the only way to actually know - and not just believe. When the anarchy of our thoughts and history is quiet for moment, then we've created an open space for God to occupy.

    The verse says "taste and see" that the Lord is good. I believe that's a metaphor for an invitation to participate in a direct experience, something that transcends thought and belief. Tasting and seeing are words used to describe something that is, essentially, sensory in nature ... not merely something that is agreed upon in some studious manner.


    Yes.

    I still superficially enjoy the occasional personal achievements, mine or someone else's, but these days I no longer appreciate anything really deeply other than time alone with God.

    Isn't it interesting that that's the same thing I resist more than anything? There's definitely something going on there.

    Although I should say ... my experience has been that when I come out of those rare hours of surrender, everything is sweeter and more adventurous for being in that state of mind. Even eating left-overs becomes an awesome adventure when I'm fully surrendered and steeped in God for an hour.




    I would phrase it this way: As mature adults, we all seem to be in agreement when we talk about "being in love". It varies somewhat from couple to couple, but universally it is the same experience at its core. We're all having that experience of looking onto another human being and feeling a profound connection and regard and appreciation. That feeling is often so profound, that we are changed for having this opinion about another person.

    And as to all having the same spiritual gifts ... I don't believe an actual experiential love for God depends on spiritual gifts. It depends only on surrender and willingness. God goes wherever a place is set for him. Gifts are needed in service and leadership, but not in the pursuit of an intimate relationship with the Divine.

    In the Christian world, it gets down to two levels of experience. One is the mental construct of religion ... the beliefs, the practices, the stories and the history. The other is the direct experience of the Presence of God - something that doesn't lend itself well to explanation or description but which is available to every human being at every moment.

    At this point in my life, I do believe that God intends for every human being to have that direct experience, but that very few people do the work of calming down their bodies and thoughts long enough to hear God speak to them. The noise and activity of life (even the noise of compulsive religious thought) is just too compelling for most of us and remains an almost constant distraction. It's actually staggering when you consider how much time (in actual man-hours) practicing Christians invest into church activities and Bible reading ... and how little time they invest into stillness and quiet worship and communion with God.

    We would prefer to keep up the noise level rather than suffer a few minutes of emptiness that God can then fill.

    For porn addicts, the visual noise is even more compelling. Something about porn is shaped very similarly to that space God is intended to fill. I imagine it's that illusion of being enthusiastically loved and appreciated and having a profound personal impact on another human being. Sex is remarkably similar to profound spiritual experiences. Pornography suggests all that stuff, although of course none of it is actually happening.
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    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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  5. Jneilson75

    Jneilson75 Fapstronaut

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    It was very interesting for me to read your last post. I found myself feeling quite antagonistic with the first paragraph. Not because I disagree with what you wrote... I have to ponder this some more. Possibly because my willingness to surrender completely to God is in question.

    Wouldn’t you say that service, with the proper motivation, actually increases the ability to be intimate with God?


    I think about this often — trying to explain spiritual connection to God to someone who has never felt or doesn’t recall feeling that connection— for example, a self-professed atheist. There is simply no way to do so. The only way I can happen is if that person decides for himself to take that journey.

    …because we are afraid of what we may feel or come to realize. Or because we know deep down that we need to take our lives in a different direction and drop some “trinket” of this world and we’re just not ready to let go.

    I agree. I think that a sexual experience is going to be the most “spiritual experience” most people ever have in their lives, dare I call it that.

    As you mentioned, we are all in our own way want to feel that strong connection with another person. PMO is a method of counterfeiting that intimacy. Why even looking at a beautiful girl (fully clothed) can make a man feel “as if all of his dreams are coming true in that very instant”. Fake intimacy works for a while, but leaves a painful cavern in its wake.
     
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  6. Søren K.

    Søren K. Fapstronaut

    Bam. These last posts, @John McClean and @Jneilson75, are a huuuge reminder for my own prayer life. I do agree with much, if not all, of what you have stated, and again have encouraged me to spend more time in prayer. I absolutely do already, but I often forget WHY I pray. Thanks for the reminders, guys.
     
  7. Strength And Light

    Strength And Light Fapstronaut

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    Hi John. Interesting that I should read this post of yours less than an hour after having some very interesting thoughts about "baggage" also. Here's how it went for me:

    I was on my way to work in the morning and stopped to get a cup of coffee. A few days ago, I had a day where I felt a little less than awesome, but this morning I could tell that I'm in a great mood - much to be thankful for, no present or looming stresses. So I recognized that I'm happy and at peace. This casual realization was followed by another thought: Happiness doesn't last, just like suffering doesn't last. This wasn't a depressed or distressing thought, it actually felt like some type of enlightened thought. It occurred to me in these exact words, that typically when I do arrive at happiness and peace, I sigh and set down my bags as if I'm home. Then what happens is something inevitably comes along, known or unforeseen, that pulls the rug out from under that happiness and I become distraught, anxious, depressed, etc...in trying to figure out how to get back "home" to happiness, and I feel much tension in plotting and trying to get there.

    It occurred to me that I've been operating under the belief that happiness is where I'm supposed to be. So anytime I wasn't in a state of happiness I was feeling tension. So this morning when I realized that I'm happy and had the breakthrough thought that happiness is just another fleeting state of mind, I didn't unload my bags as if I'm there to stay. Surrendering to the notion that happiness is fantastic but temporary allowed me to actually get rid of my bags, because I'd been carrying them looking for a place to set up permanent camp.

    I realized the baggage I've been carrying around is the notion that I'm supposed to be happy and if I'm not, I'm somehow failing. I'm not supposed to be anything. I myself am fleeting. In dropping the baggage I'm more nimble to move from circumstance to circumstance without as much tension.

    I don't have a huge point. It's more along the lines of why those Buddhist monks make those elaborate artworks out of sand. It's an exercise of the awareness that all things must pass. Surrendering to that is somehow freeing rather than frustrating.
     
  8. Bogo Biggins

    Bogo Biggins Fapstronaut

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    Many congratulations on 200 days.

    Regarding blocking, I conclude two things:

    Firstly, you got to be doing what you want to do. Too many people are obsessed with doing what other people want them to do: If you want to spend your life making model aeroplanes, fine do it; If you like working in a clothes store, fine do it; If you want to write a novel, find do that too. I have now given up doing what every other Tom, Dick or Harry wants me to do and I am a lot more productive.

    Secondly, discipline. Recently I had to write a book chapter for someone. I shouldn't have agreed, but in my line of work if you promise you better deliver. So I disciplined myself to get up at 6 every day and spend an hour doing it. Min 500 words a day. One month later it was job done.

    So that's how I see it. That's how I see NoFap too.
     
  9. Bogo Biggins

    Bogo Biggins Fapstronaut

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    I guess happiness is relative. Further, when we think we will be happy when some event comes to pass, when we get there we realise happiness was in the getting there, not in the achieving of the goal.
     
  10. kallalininen

    kallalininen Fapstronaut

    I took time to read your massive journal. Massive not just because of the length, but the weight. It took me two days to go through it all. I don't share your faith, but I think I can safely say it was worth every minute of it.

    I got interested in this reprogramming or conditioning stuff. You tell how you have been able to make your mind to automatically respond to a trigger with a violent no and anger, or how you are scratching out unwanted images with this imaginative paintbrush. Is all this something that you have developed for yourself or can you point out some references to learn more?

    Deep respect and thank you for leading the way.
     
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  11. John McClean

    John McClean Fapstronaut

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    Thank you for the kind feedlback, Kallalininen. There is nothing more motivating for me than to hear that you read the journal and incorporated some part of it into your recovery. I wish you great success in your ongoing journey.

    Regarding the conditioning work, I can't recommend any source for insight into these things. I've picked up this stuff in little bits and pieces over the years and put it together in my own way. I have no idea where to send you for more.

    One thing I can assure you, though, is that if you use, say, those two strategies you mentioned and stay with them for even just a few days in a focused manner, your own brain will start to generate similar strategies of your own. You only need a tiny bit of success with reconditioning neural pathways in the brain before it starts helping you instead of working against you. Our brains know what's in its own best interest ... and as soon as you let it know what you're intent on doing - and then do it for more than a few days without giving up - it will open up a treasure chest of insights into how to take it to new places.

    I would liken our brains to purebred police dogs. If you get lazy at all in keeping them trained, they'll turn on you and eat you alive.

    If you let them know who's in charge and what the daily routine is ... and then stay with it ... they (the dogs and our brains) will become your most loyal ally. Both human brains and purebred police dogs love to be trained and directed. It's what they're made to do.

    And, of course, the beauty of being a human being is that, unlike animals, we ourselves have the power to direct and train our own thinking. There is no need to ever again be a victim of one's environment, circumstances, or prurient impulses. There is a higher part of each of us that can be put in charge of the thoughts we think and the decisions we make.
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    Last edited: May 16, 2018 at 8:55 PM
  12. Jneilson75

    Jneilson75 Fapstronaut

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    I appreciate your posts, John. Often when I read your inspirational thoughts, my brain “lights up“ and I get new ideas about what I need to do next.
     
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  13. kallalininen

    kallalininen Fapstronaut

    I see. It's still inspiring to hear this, probably even more so than to get all the "solutions" ready from somewhere. I just think that paintbrush trick was ingenious. Actually, during these few days I already learned some similar tricks. For example, if you have a triggering or otherwise unwanted idea in your mind, you convert that into a still picture. Then, in your mind you start ripping the picture in two pieces. It is so liberating to see those pieces starting to curl downwards and finally, after being separated, flying away. Or you can even rip that picture into like ten strips simultaneously, or set the picture in fire, or whatever. Somehow the thought that was haunting you just lost every bit of its power on you. Plus all this is very funny.
     
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  14. Bogo Biggins

    Bogo Biggins Fapstronaut

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    I tried something 52 days ago, that may have helped:

    I felt so desperate and wretched as I lay in bed in the early hours alone after a whole 2 days of the worst P and M for a long time, that I decided to deliberately M while making myself think about the worst thing that happened to me in my childhood (a memory so nauseating that I won't even describe it here anonymously). I havnt M'd since.

    I have to say that this attempt at 'reprogramming' my sexual brain was extreme, and I am not recommending this to anyone. Just saying what happened.
     
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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. lifetraveler

    lifetraveler Fapstronaut

    Incredible! So true.
     
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  18. 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
     

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