How can you relapse if you cannot access the internet?
You can’t, and that’s the basis for going offline. A porn addict having instant access to the internet is like a food addict having cake on his work desk. In the latter situation we can all agree it to be just a matter of time before he breaks down and eats it.
Yet the same sentiment does not translate to rebooting. This post takes a closer look at the most effective tool in the rebooters arsenal: Going Offline
Why should you go offline?
Going offline is the logical next step when you consider willpower to be unreliable. Especially in rebooting where anything but zero setbacks is unacceptable.
With Nofap the goal is to get that 90 day mark without a single relapse. If such a travesty occurs, the counter resets.
Let’s say your willpower can be counted on to beat 99% of urges, you will still relapse every 100 days. And that’s with one urge a day. Even with three urges (which we all know is low-balling it), you would never get past a 30 day streak.
I don’t like those odds and neither should you.
So if willpower cannot be relied on, we must not put ourselves in minimal situations where temptation may occur for at least the 90 days.
That means no internet. At least not anywhere not public.
If you still doubt the necessity or effectiveness of going offline, ponder on this:
Isn’t restricting internet access is for a porn addict the equivalent of removing booze from the house for an alcoholic?
How should you go offline?
There are three ways to do it:
- Disconnecting internet to your home
The benefits of this is that you will still have your electrical devices to work and play with, which will considerably help with battling boredom.
However, the other half of going offline is to take action building a life for yourself outside the virtual world. Spending the days playing video games will certainly hinder that.
Also, keeping your computer available absolutely requires that all of your stash has been deleted. Otherwise you’re just fooling yourself.
- Hiding computer & downgrading phone
Easier to manage if your internet connection is already set up and billed on a monthly basis with contracts and what not. The nice people at the service provider won’t be happy if you go clipping your broadband cables.
But you have to find a place to keep all your devices that is not accessible on a whim.
Somewhere where either their retrieval is truly such a pain that it doesn’t seem worth it or they are being held by someone that can keep you accountable.
The best case scenario is that you have an accountability buddy you can bring you smartphone and computer to and who won’t give them back for relapse purposes.
Other possibilities are bus station and school lockers. Leave your laptop at school and you will be much more likely to win the weekend.
I call this the rogue because it is highly unreliable and undermines everything going offline stands for.
Going rogue is when you retain both your internet connection and your access to electrical devices, but decide not to use them.
I can already tell you that it will never work.
Because you are actively denying yourself from going online, you are creating a lack in your life which makes you crave for the internet even more. The forbidden fruit effect takes full effect.
On top of that you’ve created another willpower drain in addition to quitting PMO. Not good.
What are the benefits?
You shall reap what you have sown.
Without any access to the internet, triggers for porn use will be few and far between.
With the access gone, the temptations are gone, which in turn reduces willpower dependence.
You will sleep better, because the blue light from your screens won’t interfere with melatonin production in your brain. Higher quality sleep will improve your mood and energy levels (among many other things). This will result in an upwards spiral that benefits everything and everyone in your life.
For most of us even going without internet for a week makes it blaringly obvious how little content there is in our lives without it. We are living our lives vicariously through the internet. Take away that and there is little left.
The resulting boredom will immediately increase the enjoyment of reading as a pastime, which in the case of non-fiction book will lead to becoming more successful.
You will want to approach women despite feeling the same anxiety as before. When shackled, your natural libido acts as a counter-force to it.
In a similar vein, the boredom caused by the lack of internet access will act as motivation to get out of the comfort zone and try new exciting things.
And as a cherry on top of the cake, your presence and mindfulness throughout the day will improve.
Your thoughts won’t be drowned under a torrent of constant stimulation.
What are the downsides?
The main downside of restricting your internet access is how disruptive it is to your life in the modern world.
Everything works on an internet connection. Your education, social life and work may require you to be reachable via email or social media around the clock.
Another negative effect, and an immediate one at that, is the unfathomable boredom you may face during the first week.
While things will seem boring to you due to the intensity of your usual entertainment, this is mostly a preparation issue.
Cutting out the constant stimulation can also be an uncomfortable experience. PMO is often used to numb negative thoughts and emotions. Unfortunately, so is excessive internet use.
With those two gone you are forced to face the music.
Be aware that you may face considerable mental discomfort.
Consciously and proactively take steps to address your thoughts and emotions in a healthy way instead of turning to porn or other unhealthy coping mechanism such as junk food or drugs.
Going offline successfully
Step 1: Preparation
Proper preparation is vital to going offline successfully. It’s the difference between cracking from the boredom in a mere couple hours and having a great time offline for a week straight.
Prepare your transition by listing alternative ways to keep yourself busy and entertained. Prepare music, books, activities, travel, sports, hobbies, movies, television shows and video games.
Arrange your friends to inform you of any vital information from social media so that you won’t miss out on anything. And if you have accountability buddies online, remember to inform them, so you won’t just suddenly dissapear.
Step 2: Disconnecting
Now it’s time to cut the chord. Figuratively, if not literally.
First and foremost, remove any stash of adult material you have on your computer, phone or any other device. The whole idea of going offline is undermined if you still have access to porn.
Then disconnect from the internet. Phone, computer, all.
Finally, downgrade your phone if at all possible. It is too easy for the modern smartphone to find an internet connection anywhere, so go a little bit hipster and replace your modern one with an oldschool cool one.
Step 3: Proactive action
Do not wait for boredom to sink in. Proactively start taking action on the things you have listed for yourself. Do this even, or especially, when you don’t really feel like it. Passivity will lead to a relapse.
When done correctly, going offline is perhaps the most effective way to combat porn addiction.
Not only will it help tremendously by cutting down on urges and access in the now, over time it may result in a more mindful and active lifestyle away from screens. That in turn will improve one’s life overall and reduce the likelihood of relapse down the line.
If you have struggled with rebooting for some time now, going offline might be something worth giving a shot! Don’t half-ass it, and it might be the thing turning the tide in your recovery.
- Use the knowledge of your current situation to create an effective plan for going offline
- Complete a smaller internet fast of a few days or a weekend
- Reflect on the successes and failures of that internet fast
- Improve upon your approach and start extending your fasting period