This is the first of two parts of what I call the Successful Rebooter Formula. It is a way of approaching problem areas of your life that allows you maximum control over them and fastest progress as a result.
This is what has brought me more success during the past few years than the rest of my years on gods green earth combined. Both (true to its name) in rebooting and beyond.
It is all about the process
This is the core of the successful rebooter formula. The one commandment to rule them all.
The golden rule of recovery goes as such:
Process is what ensures long-term succcess in recovery. All failures will be met by reflecting and improving upon the process.
In other words, relapses are never met with just a whole-hearted decision to “do better” next time.
Every failure is analyzed and the approach is modified to overcome that particular difficulty.
Why is this important?
It infuriates me beyond all reason that most of the recovery community subscribers think long-term recovery will be achieved by smashing your head against that same-old wall until you’re bloody and weak from the effort.
Hell, if we could all decide to never relapse just like that, our community wouldn’t even exist!
But that is exactly what most do every single relapse. Pick themselves up by the bootstraps and go at it again with nothing but a solemn swear that they won’t relapse this time.
Isn’t that exactly what you said last time, and the one before that?
I admit, sometimes the starts do allign to even the worst attempts. The same way a blind man can run through a mine field unhurt – if he’s lucky enough.
I wouldn’t take my chances.
Luck, motivation and willpower are not the building blocks of success. Yes, even willpower. I’ll get to that in part two.
I am not saying that you are powerless. I personally do not agree with the sentiment of the anonymous programs (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) on being powerless before our issues.
Quite the contrary. You have immense power to take full control of your life, as long as you concentrate it in the right place.
When set into action, revolving your life around perfecting your processes can become very similar to leading troops in wartime.
Plans are formed and revised, intelligence is gathered, victories are celebrated and even harsh setbacks met head-on with counter-actions and the modification of failed plans.
I have personally imagined it this way.
It makes it seem much more interesting. More interest means more engagement and more engagement means better results.
If it helps, I recommend you do the same. If the fires of war do not tickle your fancy, then something else instead.
After all, gamifying things has been shown to help change behavior and improve lives.
Thousands of rebooters have already loved the idea of gamifying their reboot, and have done so through the Nofap War.
If you are not yet familiar with the concept, it is explained here.
Breaking down the process
But what is the actual step-by-step of this approach?
Glad you asked.
There are four steps to the Successful Rebooter Approach:
While this can be applied to any area of your life you wish to improve upon, it is important to focus on just one aspect of your life at a time.
Otherwise you are likely to become overwhelmed, leading to paralysis of action.
Since you are reading this, it is a safe bet that porn and/or excessive masturbation are an issue in your life.
It may be neither the most severe nor pressing issue of your life right now.
Use it regardless, as an example, until you have grasped the formula well enough to apply elsewhere.
For any situation, it is vital to see reality as it really is.
Too much optimism will lead to a sloppy approach due to over-confidence.
In the same vein, over-abundace of pessimism will lead to despair and no action at all.
Always focus on only one thing at a time.
Going off listing things that are completely fucked in your life will overwhelm you.
Split between multiple pressing issues, you will be unable give any single one the necessary focus to develop a sensible plan of action.
So for right now, we will focus on the problem with porn and excessive masturbation.
What would porn addiction look like stated in objective terms?
I would define the problem somewhat like this:
I wish to remove porn and excessive masturbation from my life, and I have thus far been unable to permanently do so.
Your personal statement will look slightly different, depending on your life situation and goals.
But there are a few key words in my own statement I do want your attention on:
I immediately start off by stating that I want to do this.
This is my personal choice, which makes me intrinsically motivated to do it.
If I needed to do this, I would feel the ever so slight resistance I do toward anything compulsory.
I state that so far the task has been beyond me, leaving the future somewhat optimistically unstated, even as I stick to the facts at hand.
Whether your best streak is two hours or two months, the only thing which has eluded you is permanence.
The stated aim here is a life free of porn, without struggling to keep away from it.
Now, grab a pen and paper!
Write down the definition of your problem as objectively as possible.
Take a moment to go over it. Make sure that it realistically defines your current situation, so we can move over to…
If you were at the doctors office, the identification section would be stating that you are sick.
In this section, the bearded fellow with glasses and a white jacket calls you over and starts picking the problem apart.
In other words, here we will get to the specifics.
Why haven’t you been able achieve permanence? What causes you to relapse?
In other words, what is your current process? What do you currently do?
We know it’s not working (or else you wouldn’t be here), but we must know what exactly is not working before we can take the steps to fix it.
Here are a few examples to help grasp the concept:
- You have trouble keeping hands out of your pants when trying to fall asleep
- You use your phone late in the night, causing you to eventually relapse
- Browsing the internet on your computer eventually leads to boredom and relapse
- At the two-week mark, you start getting urge after urge, which you eventually succumb to
Those are just a few examples. Unfortunately, there are as many causes to relapses as there are rebooters out there.
Do not shift blame, take ownership instead
It is easy here to blame something else.
It might be your work, or that you are unemployed with time on your hands. You may be inclined to blame school, or stress, or loneliness.
Anything you might name with that line of thought are legitimate issues.
They are the circumstances, which is exactly what we are trying to identify.
But we are not shifting blame.
Instead, we are taking full and unconditional ownership of our failure.
And we put that ownership into constructive action by applying…
Your situation and circumstance may have had a large part in your relapse.
But it is completely your fault that you did not take proactive action to mitigate or prevent the circumstances.
It is also your personal failure to not take reactive action to control the situation with corrective measures.
Proactive action is all about preparation.
It is about foreseeing possible future scenarios and preparing for them as if you had no willpower at all. I will explain the importance of this in part two.
The goal is to stack the deck for you, not against you.
Were you sleep poorly and relapse? Then you will have to sleep more and higher quality sleep in the future.
Did horniness lead to a relapse? Then you will have to work out more and stay in an environment that its not relapse-friendly.
Were you bored? The you will have to take measures to stay busy and engaged in the future, especially during evenings and other potentially dangerous times.
The proactive measures may be one of three types:
- Plans of action for unavoidable dangerous situations
- Helpful daily habits to form
- Preventative measures to avoid some circumstances altogether
Reactive action is what you do when finding yourself in a very bad situation.
What constitutes a bad situation depends entirely on you. In terms of recovery, it should mean anything that has lead you to relapse in the past.
It could be boredom or loneliness. Or anytime being emotional. For most, the influence of alcohol or other drugs certainly denotes a dangerous situation.
Reactive action should make you remove yourself from the danger by any means necessary the moment you realize that you are in such a situation.
Remember that you are to act as if you will not have any willpower to resist the temptation the moment it first arises.
Unsuprisingly, my advice again culminates on action taking.
Now that you know how to approach perfecting your process, it’s time to put it into practice.
The most important part is to start.
Don’t worry about taking everything into account your first time ’round.
The real power of this comes from reflecting and improving upon the process over time.
To kick things off, start with these steps right now:
- Identify your current situation objectively and realistically
- Reflect on your previous relapses and identify common causes for your relapses
- Adjust your life to fix those issues; take proactive action to avoid those situations and prepare plans of action for them just in case
- Repeat indefinitely