In this post I will discuss some of the most frequently asked questions in the community.
It is important to do this, because there are common mistakes being done in rebooting and it is harming those trying to recover.
I had a wet dream, did I relapse?
No. Absolutely not.
Believing that a wet dream is a relapse is perhaps the most common misconception in the community.
It’s a natural bodily process which you have absolutely zero control over. That means you are off the hook!
It might even be a great sign of your brain recovering. Most porn addicts don’t ever have wet dreams, but report experiencing them on long streaks.
If you want to give back to the rebooting community, spreading the knowledge that a wet dream is not a relapse is a good way to do it.
Don’t necessarily shout it from the rooftops, but correct someone if you see them making this mistake.
How long until I reboot?
No-one can say for sure, since it heavily depends on your starting point.
Just as we say in the community: Your Mileage May Vary.
Besides, all brains are different and there is no way to say that “rebooting takes X amount of days from Y starting point”.
You are better off focusing on your recovery process itself. Make sure setbacks won’t happen and the time is enjoyable!
The underlying mindset behind this question is often magic pill thinking.
Many ask this question, wanting to know how long they have to bite their nails until the benefits swoop them away to a perfect life.
If there is one thing I know, it’s that such a thing will never happen.
Quite the contrary. If that is your approach, you will most likely not be able to fully recover until you let go of those internal beliefs.
While you still hold on to them, you will be expecting unrealistic results, the lack of which will discourage you sooner or later.
How do you keep from fantasizing?
There are two sides to approaching this, one is preventative and the other is reactive.
The preventative side is meditation.
Learning to be mindfully present in your day to day life will help you become aware of what you are thinking at any given time.
That concept may sound hellish, but becoming the unattached “observer” is actually more peaceful than endlessly attempting to distract yourself.
Once you become aware, you can realize fantasies early on and use the reactive approach to kill it.
The reactive approach is a mental trick to let go of fantasy.
The most important thing with this is for you to be willing to let go of the fantasy.
If you re-engage with the thoughts, they will come back and you will have to repeat the process.
The process itself is very simple.
When you noticed yourself fantasizing, create a mental picture of a big bright red STOP sign on top of that mental movie.
Once it is plastered over, make the whole thing explode into a million pieces and let them fall into the darkness.
At this point, completely let go of those thoughts and move onto something else. Distract yourself if necessary.
With the combination of these two approaches, together with some effort, you will be able to conquer your wandering mind over time.
Did I relapse?
This is an interesting question, one which reeks of streak mentality.
The fact that you need to ask this question already proves that your behavior was not congruent with your recovery.
At worst it was harmful to your progress. At best it was needlessly tempting fate.
But I’m not saying you need to reset.
In fact, I advise against it.
Resetting a streak often leads to the “fuck it” effect of binging since you are resetting anyhow, which is logic that doesn’t make sense even in the best of times.
I’m personally not convinced that a full-on relapse sets you back to square one from a streak longer than a few days, so I’m quite certain that a small stumble won’t do that either.
You are best off just reflecting on what behaviors you find acceptable and continuing your streak while cutting out the behaviors you consider unhelpful.
The two exceptions to this advice are sex and wet dreams. Both of them are exceptions because they do not count as relapses to begin with.
Is watching porn a relapse?
Yes, most definitely yes.
I believe the Nofap movement to have somewhat skewed the perception of rebooting through excessive focus on giving up masturbation.
The website YBOP, our mecca of scientific literature and knowledge on porn addiction, emphasizes removing porn from your life over abstinence from natural sexual acts such as masturbation and sex.
I concur with this mindset.
I do believe that forgoing masturbation and perhaps even all sexual acts can be extremely helpful in the process of recovery.
Eliminating the habit of masturbation might even be beneficial long-term as well.
I can’t say for sure, so I believe it to be a personal choice. I only aim to help you find what best works for you.
But what I can say for sure is that porn is harmful to your brain.
Recovery from porn use is what we should emphasize more, given that this question even exists in the community.
To prevent misunderstandings, I am not saying that excessive masturbation isn’t a problem.
If you feel that to be a problem area of your life, rebooting should indeed focus on it.
What I’m saying is that porn consumption should be eliminated either way.
Frankly, if you claim to be rebooting yet still watch arousing material, then you are just kidding yourself.
Did I lose my progress?
As I previously mentioned, I am not convinced that any single stumble or relapse puts you back to square one. Especially from a long streak
Binges and recurring relapses are where the real setbacks are done.
My advice would be to just continue on with your recovery. Do not despair or beat yourself up for your stumble.
Learn from the experience and adjust your approach accordingly.