If you or a loved one struggles with a porn addiction, or indeed, any addiction at all, then it’s probably in your best interest to learn how to overcome the problem. Overcoming an addiction is no easy task, but there are a lot of different things you can do to help bring about positive change.
If you are interested in taking a hard and fast approach to overcoming your porn addiction, then you’ll probably want to do a reboot. A reboot is exactly what it sounds like: an opportunity to flush yourself of your old addictive habits so you can replace them with something new.
Sounds nice, right? Certainly, the end results of a reboot are positive. However, I’m not going to pretend that the process of a hard reboot is easy. It takes dedication and support to complete a successful reboot. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources, both inner and outer, that you can rely on to support you through this powerful change.
These resources, as well as the process of rebooting and its importance, are what we will be discussing on this page. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll have a complete understanding of how you can undertake your own reboot and kick your porn addiction.
So, what exactly is a "reboot"?
The comparison of a brain to a computer is becoming more and more accurate every day. In this particular situation, it can be helpful to use this analogy so that you can understand why rebooting is so effective.
As you are most likely aware, rebooting is the term used when you restart your computer. During a reboot, your computer clears things out of its temporary memory. Doing this frees up space for new activities and allows you to refresh the computer’s memory.
The human brain is similar to a computer in a lot of ways. We learn things by building new connections between our neurons. This neural circuitry is like an infinitely complex wiring system that controls our behavior.
However, instead of downloading apps and programs, we develop behavioral patterns. These behavior patterns can take up storage space in our hard drive. A person probably won’t fill up as quickly as a computer hard drive, but nonetheless, it can be difficult to install newer behavior programs when there are old ones running.
What are the benefits of rebooting?
If your brain is getting filled up with unhealthy and potentially dangerous beliefs and behaviors, then your mental health and emotional health are going to suffer as a result.
This is why it’s incredibly important to clear out old programs once in a while. This is especially true if you have an unhealthy program running, like a pornography addiction.
If you’ve ever had a virus running on your computer, your first instinct is obviously to get rid of it. That should be your reaction to an addiction as well. These are viral strains of bad behaviors that are destructive to your well-being. You should prioritize running your own personal virus scanner and rebooting your mind so you can get rid of these unhealthy, addictive behavior patterns.
Addiction to porn can cause all sorts of problems in your life.
Porn addiction can interfere with your social life, and many porn addicts find that they often avoid social gatherings so that they can stay home and masturbate. Or, they will have to frequently excuse themselves during these gatherings so they can go find a private space to watch porn.
Porn addiction can also have a serious impact on romantic relationships. Frequent porn and masturbation will change your physical response to sexuality. You might develop sexual disorders as a result of your porn use. Or, you might develop extremely unreasonable expectations as a result of watching pornographic material.
And, possibly most importantly, porn addiction can seriously damage your relationship with yourself. Porn addiction often indicates some sort of underlying issue. This may be a trauma that occurred in childhood, or perhaps resulting from an early romantic relationship. Or, perhaps your religious or community beliefs have led to repressed sexuality that seeks to find expression through porn and masturbation.
Whatever the case, addictive behavior is a sure sign that not all is well. By continuing to engage in the addictive behavior rather than addressing the underlying condition, you are doing a great disservice to yourself.
Doing a reboot is one of the best ways to get to the root of the matter quickly. Rather than slowly weaning yourself off of sexual material, a reboot allows you to just kick the habit immediately.
Doing a reboot requires a good amount of willpower and determination. However, after you pass the initial hurdle, the benefits will be obvious and very rewarding.
What’s involved in a reboot?
The basis of the reboot is actually quite simple. You need to abstain from everything pornographic for a while. It’s in your best interest to try and stop masturbating as well. However, if you find this to be too difficult, and you feel like your risk of relapse is actually higher if you try to stop both at the same time, then you should not stress too hard about masturbating as long as you don’t use any sexually explicit material.
This can be allowed because it is often pornography that stimulates the urge to masturbate. Many people will habitually open a porn website without even thinking. Operating entirely on autopilot, they will open up a selection of explicit material and their body will become physically aroused as a result. Eliminating this crucial step can be very important and effective for anybody hoping to stop masturbating.
If you are able to stop doing both, great. Take note of how different you feel once you stop masturbating. As in, take actual notes. Record your energy levels, your mood, anxiety levels, and even your physical appearance for 10, 5, 10, 15, and 30 days after you stop masturbating (and be very proud if you can make it 30 days without masturbating, as most people can’t!)
People who are actually able to abstain from masturbating for extended periods often report surprising benefits to their health and well-being. We will discuss more about this later.
The limits of your reboot will depend on you. For example, some people are so sensitive to explicit material that they will become aroused simply from watching a movie featuring a scantily dressed hero or heroine. Others may have a higher tolerance for arousal and only need to avoid watching pornographic material.
You may or may not also decide to abstain from sex entirely. This certainly isn’t necessary if you are simply hoping to overcome a porn addiction. However, some people may appreciate the additional challenge, as well as look forward to some of the benefits that can be enjoyed by avoiding ejaculation (for men).
Rebooting, Reddit, and noFap
If you’ve never heard about the NoFap movement, don’t stress about it. The movement is still relatively new, having its origins only in the last decade or so.
NoFap is a group that originated on the Internet forum known as Reddit, which is one of, if not the most frequently visited community websites. On what is most likely the world’s largest pornography rebooting community — a Reddit forum known as “NoFap,” dedicated to helping people abstain from masturbation — large numbers of people dedicated to stopping their masturbation habits have been steadily increasing.
The group is now home to more than half a million members. This is a stark increase from just a few years ago. In 2014, the community had just over a hundred thousand members.
The people who adhere to the NoFap routine report a number of benefits to abstinence. These (self-reported) benefits include:
Increased energy and motivation
The body recognizes that semen is the most important fluid aside from blood. Semen is the life force that perpetuates our species. As such, the body always wants to make sure that there is enough supply of semen to create offspring should the chance rise. If you’re constantly shooting your semen out of your body, then you are going to be spending a lot of energy trying to replenish it constantly. When you stop masturbating, this energy will suddenly be available for other bodily processes:
Just because you stop watching porn and masturbating doesn’t mean that you stop being aroused. Many find that they are able to channel their arousal into an actual engagement with people that they are attracted to.
Many people who practice abstinence have noticed other people complimenting them on their appearance. It’s not uncommon to hear that people experience blowing skin, a clear complexion, and the reduction of acne.
Rebooting techniques and tactics
These are a few of the best methods that you can use to cope with recovering from a porn addiction. Taking advantage of these resources will help to support you and ensure that you have a strong foundation for your reboot.
These strategies involve the use of external support. It’s important not to cut yourself off from other people and resources. Tackling any addiction on your own is hard and extra resources give you something to lean on.
One of the most important things for anybody recovering from an addiction is social support. This might mean something as simple as talking to your friends or family about your addiction.
If you are not comfortable talking to people that you know in person, there are plenty of online social support groups. The subreddit that we discussed earlier, NoFap, currently has more than half a million subscribers who are all eager to help other people find their own path to abstinence.
You’re going to want to find something that you can replace the habit with. Porn and masturbation both cause a release of dopamine that can reduce stress and anxiety. Finding other activities that you can enjoy, either alone or with others, can help you enjoy these rewarding sensations without porn.
You might want to take up a new sport or team activity. Playing with others is a great way to connect and build emotional bonds. Many people find that strong emotional bonds can comfortably satisfy the same sort of need that they feel with pornography and masturbation.
Or, you could take up a creative hobby. Any sort of practice where the result is the reward can keep you occupied and determined to improve. Things like making art, sculpting, gardening, raising animals, or building things like furniture can keep your creative mind occupied and your reward center constantly fired up.
These strategies help you utilize and learn about your own internal resources. Using the power of your mind, understanding your emotions, and getting in touch with your spiritual side can all help you recover from porn addiction.
Going to behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of the most popular methods for overcoming addictions of all sorts. CBT aims to help people identify problem behaviors and beliefs.
If you don’t want to see a therapist, you can learn about CBT techniques online. There are a number that you can practice on your own without the help of a therapist.
Meditation is an extremely important form of therapy for anybody interested in living their best life. Meditation is not just useful for people struggling with addictions. Everyone can enjoy it. However, it can certainly be very useful when you’re trying to make these changes.
Meditation helps to promote clarity of mind. In doing this, you can become much more aware of your emotions, your physical response to things like arousal and cravings, your state of mind, your thoughts, and your beliefs. Holding an awareness of all of these things allows you to get a much better grasp of your worldview and the way you relate to yourself and others.
In other words, meditation can help you see clearly the way that your addiction operates, how it affects you, and how you can overcome it. It’s worthwhile to take a meditation class to learn firsthand from a teacher. However, there are lots of online resources that can teach you how to meditate right now.
Porn addiction can be very difficult to overcome, but it’s certainly not impossible. Doing a hard reboot is one of the best ways to overcome the problem quickly.
However, don’t push yourself too hard. Don’t be afraid to reach out for social support to help you overcome the issue. The support that you receive from other people, such as friends or other recovering porn users, can help you learn to support yourself with your own inner resources.