Landed on day 32 without any PMO. Some of my experiences...
- First two weeks went like a charm. I was working in a hospital as part of my education. This helped me in getting my mind off the porn (in general, as I was watching both straight and gay porn at the time).
- After the second week the cravings are like coming & going. I noticed your environment is really important. Unsurprisingly, they show up more when I'm at my desk where I used to masturbate.
- I did some testing on how to cope with the cravings like a pro. Whenever a porn flashback comes up in my mind I say to myself "Ah, that's just the individual moronic pathway working, don't listen, distract!". Understanding what's going on in your brain is a great help for me.
If necessary I run the program called 'Freedom' which blocks my internet connection for 30 min. I just decide to distract, go for a walk, listen to music through headphones or take a powernap. Anything that effectively puts your mind somewhere else long enough... this works well for me.
- Like others are experiencing, I'm getting great relief from intensive exercise. Swimming and especially power training really gives you a positive boost. It seems I'm becoming rather dependent of it. My brain probably needs it's dopamine shots now and then to compensate for the sexual inactivity.
- Listening to some great music, eg during exercise, especially music that enhances your mood, helps me big time. I'm also noticing I can listen to a song more intensily, repeat it over and over, ejoying it kind of another dimension.
- I do believe in the power of visualisation! Everyday, I'm visualising my outcome for 5 min. I close my eyes, relax... "How would it be when I succeeded in abstaining for 60 days and get to a rewire? What am I feeling? How would I walk, talk, act?" I'm seeing another version of myself: higher self-esteem, more creative, more social, relaxed... I'm also visualising how I succesfully cope with all the nasty cravings that interrupt me and how I focus on study, music, exercise, and spending my time efficiently.
Some more difficult experiences, of course, we're in withdrawal!
- Flashbacks, really annoying. Didn't have any during the first two weeks. Now in the fifth week they suddenly show up. Making abstinence a real torture.
- What's really disturbing me now is the fatigue and lack of concentration, as I'm studying for finals now. It occurs that I'm studying, get a flashback, stagnate, and fall asleep. This happens a lot. Anyone else having a similar problem? I'm conciously trying to get enough sleep at night, but fatigue and lack of concentration are disrupting my study. Also brooding and worrying are of course not helping me concentrate.
It's encouraging to acknowledge the withdrawal as part of the journey. As one forum member summarized: "At first I was annoyed that a side effect of this process is getting these flashbacks and annoyed at having to resist them. Then I realized that it's not a side effect - this IS the process. Every time you successfully resist, that takes you one step nearer to being free of them. That's how progress is made in this crazy game."
Over all, my mood is getting better. As the days are counting, I'm feeling more optimistic, confident and determined.
I'm more comfortable during social interaction, which sometimes was a problem before. During the second week I noticed my speech was different. I talked more slowly, but more relaxed. :) This helps me bring my message across with more clarity, as I did have problems speaking clearly at times.
Interest in women has increased, but seems to vary a little from day to day. I feel like I have more eye for women when I'm not having cravings for a period. Seeing some improvements when interacting with girls though, which is a real confidence booster rigth now. :)
Occasionally I feel like this is all a revelation for me. A lot seems to run more smoothly, I am way more positive minded then before.
I think it helps to define a clear goal for yourself. Make it specific (how many days you want to abstain), attractive (search for many reasons why you really really want to reach your goal) and keep your track (be critical, ask yourself frequently if your methods really work, keep track of your moments of success, seek support from others,...)
As I read in an article on YBOP (I save all the brilliant quotes from Marnia and Gary in a seperate document : "We humans have a lot more control over the sensitivity of our brains than has been acknowledged. The rational brain càn logically override the primitive brain circuitry signals, so this issue can be overcome!" Hell yeah!
All the best,