Fantasy Avoidance or Neutralization Techniques? I'd Love To Hear Some Thoughts on This...

Submitted by etgalore on
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Howdy. I'm on day 42 with no PMO.

I find that as hard as it has been to abstain from PMO, and have abstained for 42 continuous days--wow--, it has been easy compared to keeping fantasizing at bay. In that respect I have failed mostly.

I've always had a very vivid imagination. Not that I could see images in my mind, but my body always reacts to what I'm thinking about, and I get very focused on what I'm thinking about. If I imagine I'm having a conversation, sometimes I'll will start talking aloud. If I imagine I'm getting sick, my glands will feel swollen. And I won't hear actual people in the room calling my name, etc. So, when I think about a woman I saw at the mall, or on a movie, or about my old girlfriend, well, just thinking is very pleasurable.

And I can fantasize for three hours or more just laying there trying to get to sleep. I will try to distract by thinking about a mechanical process, or about a computer program or something, or about my parents or something. But my mind will go right back to the fantasy, because the fantasy is way more pleasurable. Can I blame my poor mind? I know it's a case of my natural inclination not being in line with my long-term welfare, but I don't know how to switch directions.

We all know about the "don't think about elephants" phenomenon. Ok, raise it to the tenth power. You get "don't think about the most pleasurable thing you can think about, and if you do, you will mess up your recovery, so you really need to not think about that thing that is so extremely pleasant to think about."

I also wonder sometimes, "Well, isn't it ok to fantasize about just making out with someone?" But I'm starting to think maybe that is counterproductive too.

I'm going to keep trucking, of course, but I would like to hear any ideas you may have on this. What works? What doesn't? What kind of thinking is going to help? What kinds of thinking are going to mess up my circuits?

Etgalore -

Congrats on 42 days!! I'm one behind you at 41. Just make sure that you're always one up on me. I don't want to catch you!! Keep up the good work!! Sounds like you're doing great!!!

Concerning fantasies - I haven't had the problem so much as I can recall "favorite" scenes from porn video clips that I have seen. Sometimes those have crept into my mind. When that happens, I have to make myself start focusing on something else, or get up and do something else. If I'm at my computer and those kind of thought come to mind, I have to get up leave. If I don't do that, then I'm afraid that I might want to go back and start looking at porn. Get this, the other day I woke up thinking about a college friends wife - that happened after I saw her picture the night before on Facebook!! Unbelievable!! I didn't fantasize about her, but I was wondering why in the world am I thinking about her - I haven't seen T & J in over 25 years. Holy Cow - the mind, what a terrible thing to waste!!

Keep at it Bud!!!

Wow buddy, 42 days in the

Wow buddy, 42 days in the bag, thats awesome! Im on day 18 and I envy you! Your account really sounds familiar to me. Im also the kind of person that behaves in a manner that's consistent with my thoughts rather than behaving to the external stimuli of the environment. In terms of reducing the fantasizing, I think it is perfectly normal to a certain degree. We are guys and he gave a preoccupation with the opposite sex, its only natural. Going back to the elephant phenomena, dont try intentionally to avoid the fantasies. Thoughts pop up sometimes out of nowhere from your unconscious mind. You dont have control over the unconscious mind's mysteries mechanics like you do over your conscious mind so dont stress if that sexy woman that you couldn't help but notice from the mall pops up while you are doing dishes Smile Accept it for what it is, say ' She was definitely worth getting to know' and move on to something else mentally. The more you try to avoid something, especially if that something, that through biological design and evolution, you naturally derive pleasure from, the more you want it and can't help but think about. So case in point, your doing great, it is what it is, when the thought comes up come to terms with it and just move on to something different.
Peace Smile

Amazing Streak

Good job on the 42! I've always had a trouble with fantasies as well and my mind drifts when it's idle towards those things... but I'm making myself a new mantra, if I've got time to daydream, I'm doing it wrong. I also avoid fantasy in bed at night by being so exhausted I fall asleep instantly. I know I'm weak with fantasies, so I'm not going to slug it out with my brain and I'll just avoid the fight altogether.

Jake

I added your tip to YBOP. Smile See third on the list here: http://yourbrainonporn.com/i-relapsed-what-now

@etgalore Have you ever tried meditation? It really helps to teach you ways of harnessing your thoughts, or at least turning them off.

There are lots of meditations here: http://yourbrainonporn.com/tools-meditation

Here's a recording, done by a friend, which actually walks you through a number of techniques, so you can pick out what works best: http://www.reuniting.info/download/misc/06Track6.wma

If you use it every day for a couple of weeks, you will be amazed at how you have a bit of distance from the fantasies, so they become easier to turn from.

Meditate before sleep~

I have *always* been one to suffer from massive "brain worm" infestation, lol~~meaning, when I would lie down for sleep at night, my thoughts would circle endlessly about things that worried me.

A few months ago I saw something on television (Dr. Oz) with Deepak Chopra and he gave a lesson in how to meditate for good sleep.

What you do is lie on your back with your hands on each side of your pelvis, breathe deeply and first start by saying a few self-affirmations (I am a good person, I am loved, I can do anything, etc.) and then start to list each and every thing you can think of that you are grateful for that day.

When I first started doing it, my gratitude list was long and included everything from the coffee I drank to the bumblebee I saw!

Honestly, now I barely get through being thankful for my lover and my family and my horses and doggie and I'm dead asleep!!!

You have to do it every night and it really does rewire your brain!! It's much better than any sleep drug and it works every time~~

Good luck to you! Lots of good tips here!

rediscovered

Similar to you I have a lot of fantasies

when I'm either going to sleep or waking up. If I have off I just gotta get up and stop laying around in bed. If it's at night I take the occasional sleep aid.

You guys all have some decent time...today is day 8 for me. Kinda tough but I've done this before. Keep up the good work y'all.

I like this one~

This is from OSHO and even though I do it during my meditations, I'm not doing it *enough* so I'm going to try doing it more (another one that is supposed to stopped the mind from endless thought patterns):

“Concentrate the energy on the Hara, the point two inches below the navel. That is the center from where one enters life and that is the center from where one dies and goes out of life. So that is the contact center between the body and the soul. If you feel a sort of wavering left and right and you don’t know where your center is, that simply shows that you are no longer in contact with your Hara, so you have to create that contact.”

When: In the night, when you go to sleep/first thing in the morning.

Duration: 10-5 minutes.

Step 1: Locate the Hara

“Lie down on the bed and put both your hands two inches below the navel and press a little.

Step 2: Take a Deep Breath!

“Start breathing, deep breathing. You will feel that center coming up and down with the breathing. Feel your whole energy there as if you are shrinking and shrinking and shrinking and you are just existing there as a small center, very concentrated energy.

Step 3: Center While U Sleep!

“Fall asleep doing it — that will be helpful. Then the whole night that centering persists. Again and again the unconscious goes and centers there. So the whole night without your knowing, you will be coming in many ways in deep contact with the center.

Step 4: Reconnect with the Hara

“In the morning, the moment that you feel that sleep has gone, don’t open your eyes first. Again put your hands there, push a little, start breathing; again feel the Hara. Do this for 10-5 minutes and then get up.

“Do this every night, every morning. Within three months you will start feeling centered.

“It is very essential to have a centering otherwise one feels fragmentary; then one is not together. One is just like a jigsaw — all fragments and not a gestalt, not a whole. It is a bad shape, because without a center a man can drag but cannot love. Without a center you can go on doing routine things in your life, but you can never be creative. You will live the minimum. The maximum will not be possible for you. Only by centering does one live at the maximum, at the zenith, at the peak, at the climax, and that is the only living, a real life.

“For example, there will be less thinking because energy will not move to the head, it will go to the Hara. The more you think of the Hara, the more you concentrate there, the more you will find a discipline arising in you. That comes naturally, it has not to be forced.

“The more you are aware of the Hara, the less you will become afraid of life and death — because that is the center of life and death. Once you become attuned to the Hara center, you can live courageously. Courage arises out of it: less thinking, more silence, less uncontrolled moments, natural discipline, courage and rootedness, a groundedness.”

rediscovered

Gratitude

Thanks for all the good suggestions and help. I did a combo of two of the above suggestions last night. Made sure I was totally exhausted before lying and down, and then proceeded to list all the things I was grateful for during the day--which included the fine folks on this very forum. At any rate, I zonked out in about three minutes.

Yes, and

Yes, and here are three other ways to distract yourself:

1) Start noticing everything around you and labeling it and asking questions about it rapidfire in your mind. Like this, "Oy, that plant looks sad. I better water it. The birds are chirping. My belly itches. There is writing on that piece of paper there. Oh, I need to make sure I send those transcripts. There's another paper over there. The dog is looking out the window." These things will distract you, and ultimately one of them will pull you out of your present state. E.g. I am actually going to water that plant now.

2) Or just immediately get up and start walking around. If you can, go outside. Do note stare at the ground. Look all around you. Observe nature or people or your surroundings, wherever you may be.

3) Play guitar, keyboard, video games, fix a typewriter or a car--in other words do something (anything but that) with your hands.

I'll second meditation. I

I'll second meditation. I like rediscovered idea and have another one.

The brain can ruminate, meaning it gets stuck on thought patterns. This is something I personally have worked to deal with.

Mindfulness is a concept where you live in the moment. Ne way to do it is to take deep breaths and focus specifically on one part of the breath such as how your gut feels when inhaling or exhaling. The goal is to ignore all other thoughts by only recognizing they are there and return to the present.

Eventually you spend the entire session in the present, it takes time and practice to get there. Once you do master this, it can relax you quickly, and more importantly, stop the brain pattern that was locked onto something.

Good luck! You are doing well.

Fasting

Nothing like an empty stomach to keep you off of fantasies. Healthy too.

Here's one woman's 9 day dry fast (no water or food) continued with water fast (water allowed) until day 40.

http://www.fastingconnection.com/component/content/article/192-fourty-da...

I am at day 20 (no P or M, one wet dream at day 9), and practicing fasting in and out. No fantasies at all.

Oh yeah, meditation helps too. Here's the simplest method of meditation ever:

Sit with your back straight, close your eyes, and focus on the words "I AM" (or AYAM - the meaning doesn't matter, only the sounds). Every time you catch yourself drifting to other thoughts just gently come back to the mantra "I AM". The transitions are good, they mean your mind is sorting things out.

Do this for 20 minutes, twice every day, then go about your business (don't do it right before bed).

From this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Meditation-Pathway-Personal-Freedom/dp/097646...

fasting

It's not healthy for whom?

It depends of course, you cannot survive more than about 15 days without water, nor more than a couple months without food, but that doesn't make fasting unhealthy per se. Even too much water can kill you. The dose makes the poison.

Fasting is natural among animals, so we're perfectly adapted to it. Lots of people cannot conceive of the fact that you can actually skip some meals or go without water for a few days. The truth is, once you try it you discover you don't even get thirsty or hungry for a few days, which is your body's way of telling you to leave it alone. Ketosis is not the same as starvation. Your body will tell you when the fast is over because hunger returns. That's when you have to eat otherwise starvation starts.

Again, this is a big topic, don't give advice based on the preconceived notion that you need water and food every day, because that doesn't make any evolutionary sense. Our bodies are truly amazing and fasting is a fascinating process in terms of the transformations that take place in the body. There's a wealth of information on fasting out there. Get informed before you try it and it's perfectly safe and beneficial. Drink when you're thirsty, eat when hunger returns, and you'll be just fine.

Maybe I'm a Daoist at heart

because I say, "Strive for a balanced brain, not rigid rules. With balance you can trust your appetite signals and rigid rules aren't needed."

Creating imbalance with extreme measures is risky. Too much extreme behavior that overrides healthy appetite signals can cause semi-permanent changes in the brain - much as heavy Internet porn use can. Read up on the brain changes during anorexia or overeating if you doubt this. Gary worked at an institute where people often went on extreme fasts, and he saw a lot of severe, and less severe, problems.

Agreed

How often do we really eat because of hunger?

I usually eat because of
1) emotional needs, relief, pleasure or
2) discomfort as a result of skipping meals which I mistakenly take for hunger.

This may sound self evident but it took me a while to figure it out: headache because of lack of food is not hunger. Hunger means it rains in your mouth every time you think about food. Headache means your body has work to do.

So I'm all about listening to your body, just make sure you read the signals right.

advice is good

Advice is good, absolutes are bad.
Recommending fasting is just as delicate as saying that orgasm is bad for you.
Whenever I hear someone saying orgasm cannot possibly be bad for you I'm like: oh boy, should I even go there?
Same happens when I hear "it's not healthy to go without water". I'm not gonna go there.

I think there are smart people around

No one is going to starve to death because of my message.

I was recommending, you were outright saying it's bad for you without any justification. That's the absolute. It's perfectly understandable if you never experimented with fasting, common wisdom says it cannot be good.

Of course fasting and abstinence are different, it's the concepts that are both shocking. If someone told me that orgasm has bad consequences before reading Marnia's book I would've been very surprised. If someone told me fasting can be beneficial before reading Herbert Shelton's work it would've also been very surprising. That is the analogy between the two.

Moderation in all, even in moderation.

Hey, I've totally stopped

Hey,

I've totally stopped fantasizing about porn about four weeks ago. I have a technique that works well for me. Whenever a porn flashback is entering my mind I see a big red X-mark(I read this from yourbrainonporn.com) entering my view, after that I think of a red ambulance siren with a loud noise. If the porn image is still pushing on, I'll explode the image in my head, actually visualize a big explosion. That has so far eliminated any dopamine rush in my brains related to porn. The key is to be quick and I believe the technique automatisizes in time. As they say with alcoholics the first two seconds after flashback is where you win or lose the battle. Another thing is, what should I do about the sexual fantasies with my spouse, I definately don't want to show a big red X-mark to her. And I've felt the dopamine entering my body couple of times thinking of us having sex. But as I've understood the key to the effective re-balancing of brain lies in a total absence of dopamine. So that's kind of a hard.

What I've noticed, there are other illusionary thoughts that also release dopamine in system, so my suggestion is to try to be as present as possible all the time. For example today I thought of dressing as a santa clause on christmas and giving a kitten to my spouse as a christmas present, she was so happy, and all our fight and misery was behind us. That illusion gave me a relief for a while. Another thoughts I've been having are situations in a past or illusions of people mistreating me. I can have emotions of anger and hate in my mind that covers everything that is happening right now. Don't let your mind wander too much in things or emotions that have happened in a past or might happen in the future. That is very difficult, especially for a recovering addict who is used to be everywhere but present. These reliefing thoughs should be something to be aware of and accept . When you become aware of it you can push yourself to become present and direct your presence on something healthy you love to do. Or better yet, try to feel the emptiness or sadness or whatever your inner feelings are. I know easy to say hard to put into practice. I'm sure it'll get easier and easier as time go by.

Dopamine

[quote=Kimmou] But as I've understood the key to the effective re-balancing of brain lies in a total absence of dopamine. [/quote]

Isn't that impossible? This isn't alcohol. You need dopamine to function. Just avoid the extremes.

Hey Kimmou

Welcome. Glad the Red X is working. I like your siren. I'll add it to YBOP. Wink

Sounds like you're really committed to the reboot, which is great. Thanks for sharing all your tips. Just to clarify, warm affectionate contact with your spouse is great. It can really help stabilize your dopamine ups and downs, especially if you can stay focused on non-erotic thoughts and contact. Did you read this? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/200909/the-laz...

You get a different "neural cocktail" when engaged in real contact than you do with synthetic stimuli like the Internet. Both actually have some dopamine, but the first is generally tempered with more oxytocin (the "cuddle chemical"), which helps keep you in balance. Just do your best to stay focused on her and touching her, and don't run the "porn-loop" fantasies in your head. Not easy, but you can do it.

You may also find this blog interesting: http://www.reuniting.info/blog/941 Especially this thread: http://www.reuniting.info/node/7220

Start your own blog if you like.

Hi, and thanks for the

Hi,

and thanks for the advice. I'd love to cuddle with my spouse and show her my affection. The problem is basically that she's been so devastated by my porn usage and lies about it so she doesn't want to be touched. She is also in a mood to revenge all my porn usage. Which I totally understand but the thought of her thinking and having other men is pretty awful for me as it has been for her for the past two and a half years. At the moment I don't know how could she ever forgive me or how could I ever help her to overcome it. Maybe the touch is the key, but at the moment it seems so far away.

I find that imagining static

I find that imagining static is the way I avoid fantasy.
Television static is the most blank thing in the world, whenever a porn scenario pops up or something related, just imagine that over the porn image/video, actually try and imagine the static completely takes it over. I even occasionally add in the annoying buzzing sound and it really helps.

Can I ask you

about your benefits? What happens if you fantasize or not fantasize for a few days? For my reboot it is most important that I don't fantasize especially about my "weird" fetish. All people claim "just do no-pmo" but for me it's a huge difference between "No-pmo "and no "no-pmof". The only thing what helped is meditating or doing something which deviate you from the thoughts. And of course the motivation by visualizing the benefits you had in the past.