I'm going to try to come up with a new idea each day this month that might be usable to help in this process of not using PMO in place of real people and love. I'm not sure I'll come up with one each day, but I'll try. I'll update this thread as I think of things. My apology in advance if any of these are already on here, have been posted by someone else, or are just plain obvious to some. I can't filter out what I've read. I've written this for men, but women can adopt these ideas as well. I know there are women out there with similar problems even if it doesn't involve porn.
1. First of the month. Start whatever change you plan to implement on the first of the month. That way you don't need to count days, but can readily know how long it has been down the road. Some report that counting makes it more difficult.
2. Consider the women. I know that there are certain things I would not do because it is wrong to the fellow women in my subgroup of people. I may not know the women personally, but it impacts them. Sometimes it is easier to be considerate to others than ourselves. So each time you look at porn, go for orgasm, etc., that leaves some women without a sweetheart. That women might be your friend, family, etc. Women can think of the men too. We need each other so we might as well be considerate with our personal choices.
3. Focus on the successes, not the failures. It is easy to feel like a failure with relapse, but if you've gone from PMOing multiple times per day to once in several weeks, you can't beat yourself up too badly. You will still see positive changes even with relapse. We need relapse to learn. Cupid suggests trying karezza and then comparing it to orgasm seeking sex. When solo, abstaining might be said to take the place of karezza and relapse the place of orgasmic sex. It is all about learning.
4. Find your own courtly companion. This is hard to do and you are unlikely to find someone that isn't focused on orgasm seeking sex. Nevertheless, it is important to talk about sex with the opposite sex. You need to be comfortable with this before you have to deal with the issue as it pertains to yourself. That is especially true if you want a future partner that is open to the ideas discussed here. Some possible ways to try this anonymously are Craigslist or similar forums. If you are ok without being anonymous, you can try friends. One way might be to lend the person Cupid and then discuss it afterwards. That way the person knows you're not somehow coming onto them and really just want to share in a discussion. She might even thank you for it because she will learn something if she is open minded. You also might become better friends if she has her own issues she wants to talk about.
5. Interact with addicts. Volunteer at any place where you can interact with addicts. It is really helpful to see some of ourselves in these other afflicted people. You need to probe them and get to know them. It can be helpful to see that the stigma of addiction is a burden placed by society, but that many of these people are victims of circumstance just like us. The stigma doesn't need to be there. Knowing the signs is also helpful in detecting the addict in a future mate, friends, etc. Addiction isn't going anywhere even if one personally overcomes it.
6. Focus on the transformation. Focusing on what one is trying to avoid might make it harder to avoid. Rather, focus on the process of transformation. You might as well capitalize on the brain and physical plasticity. It is a great time to work on learning new skills and changing other more innocent bad habits.
7. Enjoy the smallest details. Eye exercises may or may not stop vision loss, but there is something to be said for noticing the details and training your brain to acknowledge them. Observe anything you enjoy, no matter how small. Such mindfulness helps return the brain to harmony as it learns that dopamine in small doses is satisfying. Does a girl smile at you? If so, return the smile. Even compliment her for giving a friendly smile if she does it regularly. They don’t all smile. It deserves some recognition. Cherish her acknowledgment of you as a human being. If one acknowledges you, another can and will. You need to train yourself to notice.
8. Use and train your five senses. I need to experiment more, but I had the experience of having dinner with people during a blackout with just a few candles. It makes one realize how untrained our senses might be compared to our ancestors. Try to find ways to work out the five senses. It’s fun and might enhance brain plasticity. Sharper senses should make finding a partner easier as we can better detect the subtle “I’m interested” cues. It will make the presence of a partner more powerful both during and not during sex. It will also make porn seem truly 2D. (There is now 3D porn, but thankfully no scent yet. Quit now because it will only get harder.)
If someone knows some ways to train each sense separately, please add them.
9. Listen carefully. Our brains might trick us, but the brain can’t readily trick those around us. Pay attention to comments people in our lives make about us. These positive comments will reinforce that the changes we’re struggling to make are indeed positive. The comments also highlight characteristics of our rewired being. The traits might be new and we might not notice them before someone else points them out to us.
10. Try things you don’t like again. Rewiring changes our tastes. Things one used to not like might be more pleasant now than we think. Some things we used to like might now seem not so great. Embrace the changes as you find them. Don’t sweep this valuable information about yourself under the rug.
11. Beware of substitutes. You might find yourself doing some unexpected things, such as eating a tub of ice cream when you normally would not. This seems to be the brains hunt for dopamine wherever it can find it. This is actually positive because it indicates that the brain is more desperate. Be mindful and try not to overindulge when it sneaks up on you. Don’t entirely starve the brain either because then it will be more devious. Go for moderation. That strengthens the rational brain’s ability to find balance.
12. Progress is incremental, nonlinear, and accelerating. Setbacks are inevitable and even necessary to understand the differences between orgasmic and non-orgasmic focused sexual energy. You need a solid rational basis to have your new brain override the old. Your new brain needs to learn the processes of the old brain and the benefits of an alternate path. As long as we are learning about ourselves, we are making progress. As our knowledge grows, progress becomes faster and more permanent. We are orgasmic beings so we will orgasm at times. It is the wiring and drive behind the orgasm and what we do afterwards that we are trying to unlearn and relearn.
13. Do something positive with your sexual energy. Don’t repress the sexual energy. It is powerful enough to control most of us. Find something worthwhile to do. Exercise, help a friend, etc. This eases the sexual pressure and trains the brain to not rush toward its orgasm fix. Rationality must control until the brain relearns that there are other ways. The same mammalian brain that wants orgasm also won’t feel like doing an alternate activity. Stay ahead of the old brain with a stronger game plan. Focus on finding the root of the craving instead of on how to get the orgasm. If need, take a walk while you think about why you feel you need orgasm.
14. Patience pays off. We have been raised in an orgasm driven society. Many of us have been orgasm driven much of our lives. We can’t expect to flip a switch and be the opposite of how we’ve been. Our old brain is telling us it is not worthwhile if it can’t be done immediately. We’re not making these changes for the short term or to make the old brain happy. Here’s an analogy. Company A is short-term profit focused. That’s good for investors who want orgasmic instant gratification. Company B is long-term focused. That’s good for owners. Companies similar to A might seem to be ok in the near term, but flounder through turmoil and in the long-term. Companies similar to B might seem unattractive in the near-term, but generally succeed long-term. We are owners. We can’t swap out into another body. Own ourselves. It’s worth the effort and the wait. Even your old brain might thank you down the road when it gets what it really needed all along . . . genuine companionship.
15. Be other focused. Orgasm is for you. If you focus on others, the drive toward orgasm lessens. We actually seek wholesome and mutual affection given to each other by two other focused persons. It is nearly impossible to seek orgasm and be other focused simultaneously. It is also nearly impossible to be focused on giving another person an orgasm while truly other focused. You’re not rushing to get the process over with if you are other focused. You are enjoying giving and sharing life. If that takes time, enjoy the journey.
16. Be present. Focus on being present in whatever you are doing. No day dreaming, worrying about the past or future, negativity about things you cannot change, etc. This is hard for us withdrawn people to do, but we must try at every opportunity. It is easier to be as close to 100% focused on the task at hand than to worry about all the other things you can’t deal with at that time. This too brings balance. The added benefit is you can’t relapse when you are always fully present elsewhere. If you’ve ever been in a near death accident, you know you can be gone in an instant. Enjoy the here and now.
17. Rediscover the old you. Try to remember what you were like before you began neurochemical doping. Some of us may have to go back to childhood. Remember even benign things like food can be dope for our brains. You want to know about the more unadulterated you, the natural you. Ask others (family, long time friends, etc,) and think about what was different in both good and bad ways. I’ve not tried this yet, but it might be interested to make a list of the old you, the newer you under doping, and then see how you feel as you go through this adjustment. Maybe we really are children at heart. Have our brains been tainted by our lifestyle? Is an aging mindset simply a slow brain poisoning?
18. Let your muscles do the work. Try to plan at least some activities that leave you with a good, but exhausted feeling muscles. Then, your muscles will need to heal. Those muscles will then do some of the resistance work for you because the muscles don’t want you wasting sexual or other energy through your old habits.
19. Use hidden reminders. Find ways to remind yourself of the challenges and goals you’ve set for yourself. Maybe you put a post-it with your Reuniting username at your workspace or use that as a password for something at work. No one will suspect a thing, but this can be a powerful reminder of the tasks at hand.
20. Focus on your actual goals. When a craving arises, momentarily ask yourself if satisfying the craving will contribute toward achieving your goals. This works with other addictive substances too, e.g., eating junk food doesn’t lead to health, fitness, etc.
21. In case of emergency, use the least of the evils. I know some of you will say when you are starved you have to eat something and sexual needs are like hunger. Hunger-wise, that might be true if one is truly starved. Much of the time we are barely empty feeling or simply low on a needed food element such as protein, sugar, salt, etc. We’re often simply craving dopamine. In any of those “starvation” scenarios, you can pick the least of the evils. There is no equivalent sexual starvation. Some might feel that there is. Even with that view, use the least evil available at any given time. Make a hierarchy in your own mind, e.g., non-sexual (e.g., exercise) is better than (>) masturbation > orgasm > porn. That minimizes the need to ratchet up the stimulation. With that perspective, a variety of poor choice habits go by the wayside.
22. Keep tabs on yourself. One doesn’t have to record much, but it is useful to keep a minimal record of the progress. It is nearly impossible to remember it all down the road. A little record keeping also eases the need to consciously track the days, your actions, etc. You can always look it up if you need to know. Writing it down also lets to consciously become aware of what you do, where you have been, and so on.
23. Retain an open mind. Many of us got here because our mind was open enough to accept that conventional wisdom might be wrong. Don’t fixate on the ideas on here such that you lose your openness. There are lots of good, bad, silly, odd, hard to understand, etc. ideas floating around. Just keep thinking. You need to find your own harmony.
24. Be open to people. You might notice more strangers, colleagues, people of the opposite sex, etc. approaching you. This might be that we simply begin to notice, or perhaps we genuinely have become more receptive. Either way, look for it and embrace it. It’s fun.
25. Consider true needs. List the things you want and need from a partner and the things you want to contribute to a partnership. Write it down so you can analyze them later. Then, put yourself in the partner’s position. Have you put anything on the page that is undesirable or even unacceptable to you from your partner’s perspective? Make a note of those items. Review your notes in a few days and consider how you now assess the outcome of the exercise.
26. Use the exchanges. Read through the exchanges at your own pace. They can be inspiring even when alone. Just think about them. Try creating your own exchanges for future use.
27. Exploit technology. Use technology as a crutch to resolve your deeper issues. It can be immensely helpful to work through your hang-ups with strangers on here, other forums, or even craigslist or dating sites (these sites are not just for sex and dating). Get used to being present and open in a e-sense. The outpouring of support will be there. Just keep looking. I’ve gotten support from multiple strangers I’ve never met and might never meet. People share so little depth that most are happy to chat for a while. Look for that “wow” reaction. That means you’re getting deep feeling out and they are enjoying helping you. It is relieving to feel the other person’s caring energy. You’ll probably gain a friend or two in the process.
28. Be true to yourself. Admit all your issues to yourself and the slowly to others. Most of our issues are common to humanity and we all have or will experience them at some point. By sharing them, your mind solidifies your understanding of the issues and adds corrective elements based upon others’ input. You begin to accept yourself and others as the imperfect creatures that we are. Knock the issues down one by one. Go slowly and methodically, if need be, as if pulling a Jenga block. Eventually, the towers will fall. The resulting vista is amazing clear.
29. Contemplate your desires. Say you desire a beautiful woman you know. Contemplate this. What does it really mean? Imagine your desire fulfilled. What do you feel? Are you satisfied or wanting more? Is she satisfied with you? Can you give more? Use this as a tool to explore “virtual” avenues before you get there. The purpose is not sexual fantasy. Rather it is the construction of a safe virtual emotional space in which to explore your being. Your quest is for the knots inside and the areas you need to strengthen.
30. Observe your body language. Is your body expressing something your rational mind does not see? Become in tune with your motion and the motion of others. Make a scientific study if you have to. Try to replicate others motions. How do you walk, sit, talk, etc? Does it change if you are tired, hungry, anxious, etc? This will also help you be in tune to flirting, possible friendships, etc. This is a great life skill, but takes time to master.
31. Give positive energy. Find a project here or elsewhere in your life in which you can contribute positive energy for some extended period of time. Give your mind a positive creative outlet to break the addictive brain loop cycle. Seek dopamine in lower more continuous doses. It’s like eating many small meals versus one giant one. The quality of the ideas is less important than the process of thinking in a new light for a significant period. Become open to sharing your inner thinking. Our thoughts are beautiful, but we hide them in fear. Knowing that you are capable of adding value to the world is freeing and restorative. It scrubs the smut off the brain. It eases much insecurity.