For many people that are new to getting clean or have been doing it for years, the battle can seem like an endless uphill struggle with no hope of permanent victory in sight.
You may have streaks of 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, or longer at a time only to fail later on sometime down the road.
Many months and years pass by and as you look back, you realized you’ve come a long way from when you’ve started. Perhaps you’ve hit some new streak milestones and had a couple of good runs before falling flat on your face again.
This is the rut that I was stuck in for nearly 5 years of my life.
Usually, I would go a few days or a couple weeks at a time without any problems or a teeny bit of cheating and ‘looking at pictures’ every now and then.
Every so often, I would go on a streak that was much longer than usual and get excited over all the wonderful progress I’ve made, only to eventually fall flat on my face and binge.
After the bitter disappointment of failure subsided, I’d browse the Internet for motivational posts, hype myself up with some positive self talk, and pick myself up as soon as possible and try to jump back on the wagon for as long as my will would allow me.
This is a fairly accurate description of ~95% of people who try to quit.
They come from all walks of life…
- The middle aged man who lost his wife because of his addiction to pornography
- The 21 year old college kid with a steady girlfriend and good grades
- The 50 year old who’s been a veteran for the past 30 years
- The 14 year old who’s parents walked in on him
- The 26 year old who wants to quit to be closer to God
- Practically anyone who’s learned about the negative social and health consequences of porn and jacking off and wants to be a healthier, livelier individual
The details may vary slightly here or there, but what I’ve found is that almost everyone follows the same blueprint and gets similar results.
If I fast track 2 years from when they started their journey, I can just about guarantee that they are still enslaved to their addiction. Sure, they may have made progress, enjoyed some streaks, seen some huge improvements here or there, but eventually they hit a brick wall and get dragged back to where they came from.
The relapse may come after 2 days, or it may come after 2 years. But eventually, it will come.
Unless you’re one of those few ‘lucky ones’ that have found a permanent escape route.
They are an elite group within this subculture that don’t follow the same path as the rest of the failures.
As an outsider looking in, it seems impossible to come up with a rational explanation for how someone can go years at a time without any relapse or major slip up. It’s almost as if they have some secret that the rest of us don’t have.
What is their secret?
Were they gifted by God with some superhuman level of willpower that can break free from any temptation?
Was it just dumb luck?
How do they do it?
After 5 years of cycling through temporary victory and failure, I’ve finally found the answer I was searching for.
Winners use winning strategies that consistently get results.
Losers follow losing strategies that are either inconsistent or don’t get results.
When I was a loser stuck in a rut for many years, I would perceive people who emerged victorious as demi-gods who had something within them that I didn’t have.
I would rationalize, “Well their willpower must just be better than the rest of us” and leave it at that.
What I didn’t know at the time was that they had an unfair advantage. Whether they were consciously aware of it or not, they were relying on the same winning strategies over and over and getting results, while I stayed stuck spinning my wheels.
As I look back on the past few months, I’ve noticed that whenever I feel like relapsing, I used the same tricks over and over again and they repeatedly work.
What felt like an impossible burden while relying on the same shitty strategies that don’t work feels almost effortless when replaced with winning strategies.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
Most people who “try to quit” don’t actually try to quit forever. They may convince themselves that they are, but deep down in their heart they are following an abstinence approach.
To abstain from something means to put it aside for a temporary period of time. For example, if you abstain from eating chocolate because you’re trying to get abs, you’re not telling yourself that you’re never ever going to eat chocolate again.
Fighters may abstain from sex before a fight in order to win, but that doesn’t mean they’re telling themselves that they’ll never get laid ever again.
When you choose to abstain from porn or beating off, whether consciously or unconsciously, you’re essentially telling yourself that you plan to continue it sometime down the road.
If I were to ask someone that just relapsed and wants to hop back on the wagon whether or not he believes he will ever relapse again, he would most likely answer ‘yes’ (if he’s being honest).
After all, he’s relapsed 100 times over. Wouldn’t it be naïve to think that this time, he will quit forever? Forever sounds like an awfully long streak. Way more than the 30 days or 60 days that he’s used to.
So he’ll tell me. “Well… I like to be optimistic but I’ll definitely (crossout) most probably relapse sometime down the road. But at least I’ll beat my last streak of 30 days! Who knows, perhaps this time I can make it to 90 days!”
It doesn’t sound so bad on the surface, but this is the worst possible mindset to have. If you give me an answer like the guy above, I can guarantee with a 0% margin of error that you will remain a slave in the long run.
Former alcoholics and crackheads even understand this better than 95% of the people who attempt quitting masturbation and porn.
Nobody brags about “streaks” when they’re trying to quit heroin or cocaine. But for some reason, the concept has blown up in the community and it’s a mindset that will keep people enslaved forever.
There are only 2 categories of people when it comes to quitting any addiction.
There are slaves and there are the free.
Just because an alcoholic abstains for 60 days or 90 days doesn’t make him any less of a slave. It just means he didn’t indulge for that period of time.
You cannot quit porn or masturbation (or any addiction for that matter) indefinitely by using an abstinence approach. Abstinence always implies a temporary state of being.
If you truly want to quit, you need to adopt a quitting approach and adopt winning strategies that are in line with that approach.
If you’ve been trying and relapsing for months or years, you need to STOP what you’re doing and realize that what you’re doing clearly isn’t working.
You can’t fake or bullshit your way through this process, but you can make it a lot easier on yourself by implementing what I call ‘winning strategies’.
These are strategies, or techniques, that have been tried and tested over and over again and have a reputation for building upon success. Different people have their own little personal twists on it or have their own unique strategies – which is completely fine as long as it works for them.
Here are the 3 techniques that I’ve developed and used on a daily basis that saved my skin time and time again from what seemed like an inevitable relapse.
Winning Strategy #1 – Visualization
Visualize what your life will be like if you didn’t have this burden on your back and visualize what your life will look like if you continue to indulge. Think of everything you’ve missed out on because of your addiction. Make it as vivid as possible.
If you’ve been reading into no fap or you’ve been attempting this challenge and failing time and time again, I guarantee you’ve already got some sort of idea in your head as of how your life will be drastically better if you could somehow beat this addiction.
Maybe you’ve gone on a long streak and experienced the benefits for yourself. Or maybe you’ve just read other people’s testimonials and have convinced yourself that a better future awaits you if you stick to this path.
In order for this to be effective, you need to have a clear idea of what it is you’re trying to gain out of this whole quitting porn and masturbation thing. If all you have to go on is some vague idea of ‘benefits’, thats just not going to cut it.
What you need is a personal vision that you care about with a burning passion that evokes an emotional response that is more powerful than the emotional response you get when you feel a relapse coming on.
The reason most people have a huge problem with relapsing (my former self included) is because they take the wrong approach to dealing with it. They try to convince their brain and their dick through logical arguments why it’s a bad idea to take a hit of neurochemical narcotics.
Chances are, you already know that watching porn and jacking off is bad for you. If you didn’t know that, then get educated and get with the times! What are you waiting for??
The Original Your Brain on Porn Ted Talk
Everyone who’s ever been addicted to any drug is consciously aware of the fact that their addiction is bad for their health and well being. The reason they continue to indulge in it isn’t because of a lack of knowledge or understanding.
You key to dealing with this is realizing that you’re not a robot. You’re a human being whose decisions are largely based off emotion and gut feelings – even if you don’t feel comfortable admitting it because you feel you’re super smart and ‘above that’.
Quit fooling yourself. You’re not doing yourself any favors.
Now lets dive into the nuts and bolts of EXACTLY how this technique works and why its so effective.
Chances are, if you’re new to quitting porn or you have a desire to quit porn and quit jacking off, you already have an idea in your mind of how you would stand to benefit from this – however vague it may be.
Even if you’ve never experienced it for yourself, you’ve at least read up on other people’s experiences and you wonder how your own life would be different if you could somehow overcome your own addiction.
If you’re unsure on what exactly you stand to gain, here are my own personal experiences
You need to spend some time to sit down somewhere and write out EXACTLY what you stand to gain from this and what it is that you’re working for. What is it you hope to accomplish?
Lets say you’re living off a job where you have to trade 5 days of your life in exchange for 2 days of freedom just to make ends meet. Don’t you want more than that?
Don’t you want to build a system that can make money independently of your time and allow you to go wherever you want to go and do whatever you want to do irrespective of your time without having to worry about bills?
Can you close your eyes for a minute and imagine what it would feel like to be able to live free on your own terms? Where would you live? Who would your partner be? How would you live out your days? Would you come home drained from making someone else rich only to have a TV dinner, jack off, and pass out?
Wouldn’t you rather wake up on a Tuesday morning in a nice apartment by the beach, do the things you want to do, come home, and have sex with a hot partner that’s really into you?
I know which reality I’d prefer.
Financial freedom – and all the emotions that come along with it – is an extremely powerful motivator and burning desire that a lot of you can probably relate to. It certainly isn’t the only motivator. You may have something else entirely in mind that you want to get out of this whole thing.
Whatever IT is, you need to practice creating an image in it within your mind down to the finest detail, including sights and smells. Pour your heart and soul, feelings, and deepest emotions into it.
This is what you are fighting for.
This is the reality that you are striving to create.
This is the reason you’re going to say “fuck you” to an opportunity to relapse.
This is what is at stake if you continually fall off the wagon.
Are your hopes and dreams worth more than a hit of neurochemical heroin? I know mine are.
This kind of visualization takes practice to master. Ideally, you want to reach a point where you can recall this mental image with as much detail and emotion as possible within a few seconds. You should FEEL a change within you and in your emotional state when you do this properly.
This weapon is your own personal nuclear missile in your arsenal against the enemy that seeks to rob you of your dreams and a life worth living.
This is done completely with the mind and has the power to change your entire emotional state, which is all an urge or craving really is – a temporary emotional state.
This takes time to master and you need to put in the time visualizing it on a daily basis with as much detail as possible.
In the meantime, here’s a more “hands on” practical approach that anyone of any level can implement and get instant results with…
Winning Strategy #2 – Sensory Distraction
The easiest way to win a fight is through forfeit.
If you’re set to box a world champion boxer, which scenario presents better odds of victory for you?
1. You spar at him toe to toe, endure everything he throws at you, get beaten down, only to be eventually dealt a crushing blow that ends the fight.
2. He doesn’t show up and you win by default
That’s a no brainer. The easiest way to win a fight isn’t by enduring 12 rounds of brutal back and forth blows and getting the majority decision. The easiest way is to avoid fighting altogether and win by default.
Lets take this example to PMO.
The vast majority of your battles will be won in your mind. You can’t control what thoughts pop up in your head, but you can control whether or not to engage them.
This is the secret behind so called ‘willpower’. When a thought comes to mind, you have two options.
A sucker’s bet
You can choose to entertain it, fantasize, and have a back and forth monologue where you’re on the fence on whether or not it’s a good idea.
If you’re especially determined, you may be able to keep this up for a while. But eventually, it will wear you out and you will give in.
If you have to wake up every morning and have a series of agonizing mental battles on a daily basis about whether or not it’s a good idea to stick to your commitment or relapse, this whole process is going to feel like a never ending night.
This is what I call a losing strategy.
It’s what losers do and it’s the reason they will stay losers until they either give up or change their strategy.
If a master salesman had the opportunity to sit down and have a long drawn out persuasive argument with you every single day of your life, he’s guaranteed to eventually get you to buy whatever he’s selling. You may not give in today or tomorrow, but eventually, you will give in.
Your primal mind is far more powerful and convincing than any salesman you’ll meet in the real world and unfortunately, you can’t shut the door in its face and tell it to fuck off. You can never run away from it because it is a part of you.
If you choose to engage it in a debate on a day to day basis, you will eventually give in to it. The good news is, the longer you go without relapsing, the less that primal voice will nag you.
A winning strategy for success: Evasion, not engagement!
When a thought comes to mind, use whatever means necessary to distract your mind. Here are a few popular tactics I’ve used that work well.
1. Pull out a medium to hard level Sudoku puzzle and try to solve it.
2. Do 100 pushups (or however many is considered a lot for you)
The Sudoku puzzle is a lot more convenient because it fits in your pocket (or your phone) and there are many situations where doing push ups is impossible.
The thing about urges and temptations are they are temporary. They only last for a few minutes. If you can distract yourself for 5 or 10 minutes, the urge will pass and you can get back to your normal life.
The physical pain of a high rep physical exercise will make it impossible to think about anything else (and shift the blood flow to your muscles).
When I’m solving a hard Sudoku puzzle, it is literally impossible to think about anything else because it requires 100% of my mental faculties.
Some people advocate playing a game on your smartphone or drawing a picture. While that could work in theory, it is far less effective because it doesn’t require your full attention and mental energy.
I’ve found that pain and long math based problems (like a Sudoku puzzle) are the most effective solutions for allowing urges to pass because it is impossible to think about anything else under those two circumstances.
So the next time you’re browsing the Internet and the urge flares up, you have two options.
1. Use your willpower to battle it. This could last for hours and leave you feeling depressed for denying yourself fun or it could leave you depressed for giving in and relapsing.
2. Pull out a Sudoku puzzle and focus diligently on it for 10 minutes until the urge subsides.
Why endure a battle when you can skip the fight and win by default?
I like the easy way a lot better.
Question: Are you telling me I should literally carry around a Sudoku puzzle in my pocket wherever I go? But that’s so inconvenient!
Answer: That’s exactly what I’m telling you. Its only a slight inconvenience compared to the alternative (fighting an emotionally draining battle or worse, relapsing).
This is especially useful in the beginning stages. As time went on and my willpower strengthened, I eventually dropped this and relied entirely on strategy #1. 3 months down the road, you may no longer need it and choose to do the same.
If you’re a rookie, shut your mouth and just do it. This has been tried and tested and undeniable works, regardless of whether you’re 2 days in or 4 months in.
Once you endure an extended period of time, you can shift to a refined, strictly mental approach (strategy 1) exclusively, for convenience sake.
But for now, put convenience on the shelf and prioritize results.
Question: “Does this mean I can’t browse the Internet or forums for inspiration and motivation.”
Answer: No, it doesn’t. As a matter of fact I do exactly that from time to time and it gives me a surge of confidence when I need it. The problem is when you rely exclusively on them to deal with urges.
Winning Strategy #3 – Support and Encouragement
Just like overcoming any other addiction, at the end of the day you and you alone are solely responsible for your long term success or failure. Unfortunately, you cannot outsource the struggle to India, nor can you depend on anyone else to pick up for your slack.
I’ve listed this one last on purpose.
Powerful visualization with a clear purpose in mind and sensory distractions are far superior methods of overcoming struggles in the moment. They are both a safe, reliable bet that can be employed throughout the day, every day for repeated success.
Being a part of an online community and having that extra layer of camaraderie, support, and motivation is most definitely an asset when used correctly.
Problems arise when people attempt to use support groups as their sole strategy for overcoming powerful emotional urges that come up over the course of the day.
I was once guilty of this for a long time, until I wised up and realized the underlying weaknesses of doing so.
The logic goes something like this.
Strong urge -> Thinking about whether or not to relapse -> Browse Internet forum to combat urge and find a good reason why I shouldn’t relapse -> Hope that logic prevails and everything works out.
It may work a few times, but that kind of gameplan is a bust in the long run because your success or failure is dependent upon another person.
Maybe you don’t find the right words of inspiration you’re looking for.
Maybe no one can’t give you a good answer to your problem on short notice (other people have their own lives too).
Maybe you have a “good reason” not to relapse, but your emotional desire is too strong.
If you’re relying on support from other people or the Internet to prevail day in and day out, you’re using a losing strategy and you would be far better of swapping that for strong visualization and effective distractions.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way (it needs to be said), lets talk about how support groups and Internet forums can effectively play their role in your long term success.
The fact of the matter is, if you haven’t gone a significant period of time without masturbating or watching porn (I’m talking 6 months+), you really don’t know what you’re talking about as far as long term benefits are concerned.
6 months isn’t a concrete milestone where the stars will align and all your problems will be solved. Rather, its generally safe to say that most people who reach this point have
- Built up their willpower through repeated trials and experience and have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t work
- Have begun to experience much of the more rewarding long term benefits of being clean
Before you reach this stage where things steadily continually get better over time, your journey will come with a lot of peaks and valleys. One day you may feel fantastic and the next day could leave you feeling depressed and moody.
6 weeks in you may feel like you’re on top of the world and invincible only to fall into what seems like an endless flatline that lasts for the next 2 months.
Most people never make it to 6 months and beyond because they fall off the wagon, get frustrated with their lack of results, and quit long before they ever begin to experience the real benefits.
I can remember many instances where I would feel moody and agitated for weeks at a time wondering if this whole getting clean thing is overhyped and whether or not it was ever going to pay off.
Then I’d read a motivating, inspirational post from someone further along than me and I’d immediately feel my spirit being lifted and a newfound sense of hope within me that would carry me on through the rest of the week.
While I’m firmly against reading and watching “motivational material” as a long term solution, the reality of the matter is that it does work in giving you a temporary mood lift that’s good enough to get you through the rest of the day (or week).
Have you ever seen a motivational YouTube video starring an athlete or someone who was really in shape that fired you up to go shoot hoops like Jordan or lift weights to get big and strong?
I’ve seen this happen with girls who attend a wedding and all of a sudden become enthralled about having a close relationship with a guy for a week afterwards.
We’ve all experienced it and can relate to it in one form or another. Perhaps you can remember a time when a close friend hyped up something that you otherwise wouldn’t care about and got you real fired up and excited to take action!
This kind of motivation is often, if not always short lived. It gives you a temporary spiritual high and lights a fire inside of you that lets you carry on.
During the early stages of my getting clean journey, that “motivational high” was sometimes all I really needed to lift my mood and get me through the slump that I was going through.
The great thing about the Internet is that you don’t have to physically spend time to go somewhere and expose yourself to a bunch of people in real life if you’re not comfortable doing that. Online communities have their own unique benefits in its easier to meet like minded people and share your struggles and your experiences while remaining semi-anonymous.
On top of that, if you have a unique experience and write/post a video about it, someone else who has that same problem can watch/read it and benefit it weeks or months down the road.
We will have our own forum coming soon where you can share your thoughts with one another, so for now just leave a comment down below if you have something to say!
Until next time,
p.s. As per your request, I’m currently in the process of putting together the framework for a good forum on ModafinilExpert , so be sure to look out for that! I’m also putting together a program specifically catered to guys who want to succeed with getting clean in one shot without having to go through the constant cycle of streaks and binges for years at a time, like I once did.
If you have any specific questions or concerns you’d like me to address, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to address it!