Following on from ‘The Cycle’ post.
“You can’t extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.” – Charles Duhigg
According to the quote above, I cannot get rid of this habit, I can only change it.
I’ve been doing it for 17 out of 29 years of my life. What this means is I cannot change the triggers and urges. I will always sleep in a bed in a bedroom, changing the environment isn’t something that is practical.
What I can change is the routine.
This means finding another way to get to the reward. The reward is a relief from the lack of intimacy and achievement. I believe finding healthy sustainable solutions to gain the reward would change this habit.
There wouldn’t be any reason to succumb to watching explicit material if there is another solution that gives the same pleasure. This means trying out new ways to deal with triggers and urges, which then will lead to dealing with loneliness and success.
Auditing myself has made me come to the conclusion; Loneliness and lack of achievement are the root causes of my addiction.
The root of the problem means understanding the causes and basis of a problem. In this case, understanding the cause as to why I watch explicit material every morning and evening.
I don’t get any urges while I am around other people and outdoors. The times I get urges are when I am alone. It creeps into thoughts and the fight begins.
Is loneliness the root of the problem for everyone? The NoFap community have endless stories referring to intimacy; breaking up, trouble speaking to women, sexual issues and even confidence to look at a woman’s eyes.
Lack of achievement
I do not feel like I have achieved much in my life. I haven’t tried to build anything. Haven’t pushed myself out of the comfort zone. I haven’t taken a big risk and succeeded, OR fail! Failing is better than nothing!
At 15, I knew what I wanted to do in my life. I wanted to be a graphic designer and that’s what I currently do. Saying what you’re going to be at that age and doing it is actually quite an achievement, but I haven’t worked on anything that I can say I am proud of. At this moment, this project, ‘My P Memoir’, is something I am most proud of.
It’s very easy for me to play a video game for an entire day, or watch countless hours of YouTube videos or Twitch live streams… or stay in bed due to a hangover. In the end, I become disappointed with myself for not doing the things I should be doing, which is fulfilling my dreams (linking to lack of achievements).
Addressing the root of the problem is a massive step to recovery. Not only do I think I am on the right road to recovery, but I am also learning more about myself.
This isn’t the end of addressing the root of the problem.
Trigger. Urge. Device. Browser. Porn. Masturbation. Orgasm. Clean up. Self-disappointment.
For years I have been doing this cycle.
I’ve read a book called ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg. This book made me realise even more so that overcoming this addiction (and any addiction) was possible. A lesson I got from the book was how habits work, in which Charles talks about ‘Cues’, ‘Routines’ and ‘Rewards’:
Cue – A trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use.
Routine – The physical, mental and/or emotional activity.
Reward – Helps the brain figure out if this loop is worth remembering.
Triggers and urges (the cues) happen when I am alone within indoor spaces. The most popular environment my cues occur is bedrooms. The most popular times are when I wake up or in the evening after 6pm. Flashbacks of videos, images, the smell of the previous relapse, the feeling of orgasm (the reward) and depression trigger the brain into performing the routine.
The routine is getting my device, often a phone or tablet, laptop if I am really desperate. Then watching various explicit materials and eventually masturbating until the reward.
The short-term relief an orgasm brings. The process is complete.
Charles also noted another element to this habit loop, the ‘craving’. The craving is why I relapse. It overpowers the will to change the habit.
The craving is the relief from lack of intimacy and achievement. Numbing the pain.
The root of the problem.
Choose any hero.
They all go through some sort of bad situation that tests them physically, mentally and/or emotionally. They face the uncomfortable challenges and actions that need to be taken.
They didn’t ask for it to happen, like a curse.
If a person hasn’t gone through any ordeal, they wouldn’t be seen as heroes to anyone. It is when an uncomfortable challenge presents itself that heroes are made.
The struggle makes the hero.
Every person that has gone through an addiction and overcome it has came out a better happier person. It’s as if the whole experience was a golden opportunity to learn about themselves.
I hope to get there one day.