How do I end the cycle of fap relapse?

Nov 18, 2023

I've got a letter from a young man who for most of his life has used porn and experience PIED. Several times he has gotten good streaks and experienced great benefits, but he continues to relapse and go back to his old ways.

Anon's words are in italics. My comments and responses are in bold

Hello Noah! Hope you are doing well.

I am 24 years old. I want to share my story with you. I know it is a little long but as a younger brother I want to share this with you.

Noah, I have been struggling with PIED for the past 4 years. I first experienced it in 2019 when I was with a girl whom I liked then but I couldn't get an erection. I felt humiliated. I told her I couldn't get it up due to stress and she understood.

I didn't understand what just happened. I was a healthy, good-looking guy. I did not smoke or drink. I was regularly working out and had no stress as such, so I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.

I've been there, man. That sounds very familiar to what I experienced and the confusion I suffered with. I hope you know now that you're not alone and that there's a lot to hope for.

After 2 months, I came across a video on YouTube about nofap then discovered YBOP and from there your book. Fast forward, I read everything and started my nofap journey.

Good! I wrote that book nearly 10 years ago now, but everything there is still very valid. You can get the PDF for free here.

1 month went by, and I was doing great but then I relapsed. I thought I would be back on track soon but I kept relapsing for 4 months straight. (I sabotaged my relationship with that girl because of my low self-esteem.)

The lucky few are able to stay pornfree for good after they realize the harm it's done them. The rest of us realize that we've lost full control of our actions, and we have to fight to get that back. I'm sad to hear that the struggle cost you your relationship, but I have a feeling good things are ahead for you.

Again, after watching your videos and with sheer determination in January 2020, I started my Journey.

This time it was much easier as I was so occupied with my academic work that I did not think of PMO. 1 month into nofap, I started flirting with a friend of mine. We always had a spark, but I never had the courage to confess my feelings.

My life was changing. I was doing great academically, I got placed at a renowned bank. My face was glowing and finally, I started dating my friend. People were complimenting me. I was socializing and felt like I was alive for the first time.

Getting porn out of your life doesn't magically make the rest of your life fall into place, but it can feel like magic when you're finally free from the shackles you've been imprisoned with. You feel light, free, and capable. Opportunities come your way and you have the will to act on them. I'm glad you got to experience what this is like.

But then, COVID happened. I had to come back to my hometown. I started relapsing again. To cut it short I lost my job, I lost the relationship, and I started my own business and despite doing well, I didn't have the will to continue. Next, I started preparing for one of the toughest exams in the world as part of my career.

I was neither disciplined nor focused. I couldn't clear the exam in my last two attempts. I was so focused on not relapsing that I kept on relapsing again and again. This addiction became the center of my life, again.

I'll be straight with you. This back-and-forth cycle can last for years, for decades, or even for the rest of your life. But it also doesn't have to. It can end. A big part of getting there is acknowledging that this addiction will always be a part of you. You can never get complacent. That doesn't mean that you have to be on edge all the time. It doesn't mean that you're doomed to constant urges. But it does mean that you need to stay vigilant. You need to stay connected to the people, skills, tools, and WHY that allowed you to become pornfree in the first place.

I tried everything from putting on blockers on my phone to joining forums, and went for 10 days of Vipassana meditation but nothing seemed to help me. After every short streak of a week or so, I would relapse. The major reason for relapsing was that I had isolated myself for my preparation, I stopped working out, quit social media, and did not socialize at all.

I felt like I was on a self-destructive streak. From a charming person and a fitness freak to a dull, overweight individual. I lost myself. But in June 2023, I decided it was time to break this cycle, I started working out again, Meditating more regularly, and connecting with new people at the gym.

Fast forward, to almost 20 days ago I decided to go on a trip with my friends. I was meeting my friends after almost 3 years and I thoroughly enjoyed their company. I had no thought of porn or masturbation.

After this, I decided to take a solo trip. On this trip, I met a beautiful girl. There was an instant connection. Things flowed very naturally between us. We talked for hours, explored places, and ended up kissing and making out. As usual, I did not have any erection. She asked me about it, I told her that I had little sexual experience (which is true) and I needed time to get comfortable. But this time there was a sense of calmness in me. I was confident that now I was ready to come out of this addiction.

That's really great that you could open up to her like that, even though it's not yet a full reveal of what's going on with you. Openness and communication are essential if this or any future relationship are going to go anywhere. I know that's scary, but if it's a real connection and you two can have something in the future, that conversation will go much better than you fear. And most of the time it does. Watch this for more.

It has been 6 days since I returned, and we are still talking and flirting. I genuinely want to fix myself for her. I don't want to ruin yet another relationship. I have no urges to watch porn or masturbate. I want to have something real. I intend to tell her the entire truth after I complete the 60-day mark. I am in a flatline as of now.

Noah, please as an elder brother advise me on how to navigate this situation. Because I know I will need time to recover and the road ahead is bumpy. Please guide me.

Here we go again! I'm happy you're once more on the upswing my friend, but I don't want to see you fall off the mountain once more like you have every time before now. One of the biggest single steps you can take to make sure you don't fall prey to that same cycle is to build yourself a strong recovery community. For that, I highly recommend you join the Rebooter Support and Discussion Group that I run. We have several online group calls each week. It's designed to be a regular and reliable place for you to check in, ask questions, share your experiences, and find healing-focused friendships. I've seen it make a huge difference in many people's lives.

The other thing I recommend is getting yourself into the My Life Rebooted course that I made for people in exactly your situation. If you want a path forward to permanent sobriety and an amazing pornfree life, it's there. It will take financial and emotional commitment, as well as significant time. But it will empower you to break this cycle. Learn more here.

I also received an update from Anon before I recorded this video. Here it is.

Hi Noah, Hope you are doing well!

Noah, Today I am on the day 38th of my Nofap and I relapsed. I was alone, sleep-deprived, and a little bored. Old patterns triggered and I ended up watching porn for like an hour and ejaculated.

I have been in this situation in the past as well, where I broke my streak like this after achieving a significant number of days. My past approach has been to ridicule myself and punish myself but that doesn't work.

This time I have decided to be more compassionate towards myself. I will forgive myself and instead of resetting the counter to zero, I will set it to 37-1.

I know in the upcoming days chaser effect will follow me. I will have strong urges. But I will try to keep myself away from all kinds of stimulation. I will assess what led to this relapse. I need to design a strategy to instantly get out of my comfort zone whenever urges hit me.

Noah, are there any suggestions that you would like to give me?

Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to release this video before your relapse, but I could have predicted it would happen. Because I wasn't seeing you do anything new that you hadn't done before on your previous streaks. If you keep doing the same things and expect different results, you're going to be disappointed again and again. I've gotta give you some tough love here, Anon. It's time you start taking this part of your life very seriously. Get into my Group and course, or get personal coaching with me. Or if it's not with me, take other steps that you haven't done before. Get a therapist, get into another program, open up to your family. I promise you, the easier path is actually to put in the work now so that you don't have to experience this painful cycle ad infinitum. Good luck brother.

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