Trust me dude. I've been in the gutter an incredible amount of times. Yes, at that point you give yourself a pat in the back. There is nothing better you can do. Beating yourself up when you're in the gutter, when you have messed up does not help at all with anything. You can make dramatic and passionate vows to yourself or others, you can write a 10 page letter to yourself, you can go out in the streets screaming "I will never PMO again", you can even go post publicly on FB "I'm the dirtiest human alive I have failed myself again, I will never PMO again I promise you all". Or further punish or humiliate yourself. All this is hurting yourself more. All this is incredible anger. All this will make everything worst. All this is the addiction. If a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand. ...... Yes I am quoting the Bible lol. I've seen people here write how they ate they're semen when they lapsed. WTF ? Or how they promise to pay this amount of money if they slip again. This is all waging a war against yourself. This is not the correct path to health. Health does not grow from an unhealthy and violent manner. You break the cycle of addiction by breaking the toxic shame when you relapse. Then abstention is way easier handeld. Yes abstention has it's place but it's essentiel the motivation for abstention comes from LOVE and not from FEAR or SHAME. A streak has to happen as a simple by product of a healthier life. One must not even pay a lot of attention to it. When one reaches this mindset a slip is nothing. He truly brushes up and keeps going in his healthy life. On the other hand when one is fighting the addiction because of shame and fear and bullies himself into a great streak, then when he loses that streak he will hurt himself so bad. I doubt that's you because I am convinced you have done so many good things in your life besides the abstention. I'm sure in your case your current streak is clearly a by product of your life improvements. A streak has to grow like a flower on your balcony, placed in a sunny spot, that grows while you're busy going to work everyday. And that you take a look at from time to time and enjoy without too much pride or fear. It must not grow as a plant in a pot while you sit obsessively next to it, sweating with effort and grinding your teeth with urgency and seriousness and dedication, watching it every second only thinking about this plant. All this is not a lesson for whoever has reached long term stability. I am sure that person has naturally integrated this approach. This is a lesson for those, like me, who have kept in the purge relapse purge relapse cycle for a long time (the "serial relapsers"). The ones who know they commit very honestly to stopping and still find themselves using again after some time for various reasons. It's a very difficult emotion to deal with and puzzle to crack but the key is this : these people are stuck in this pattern because they're effort at quitting are drivent from fear and self shame. The very problems which have brought on the addiction in they're lives are now perpetuated through the battle of breaking the addiction. They are trying to shame themselves out of the addiction when toxic shame is the soil on which they grew this addiction. At the moment you pat yourself on the back after you PMOed, it's not the addiction. It's the beginning of health. Sure it maye take a long long long time to undo the addiction. But that's how it begins. If I catch my lil bro stuffing himself with cake for the 99th time and I kick him around that will only increase the odds of him stuffing himself again. Actually indeed at some point it's wise to give him a pat in the back and say okay man. Do as you want. You know I don't agree. But do as you want. An act of Faith ! And this is how you tie all this into step 1 ... of the 12 steps. The powerlessness. You stop trying the old methods of fighting the addiction head on and you focus instead on understanding what Love is and trying to let it in. The unconditional self kindness and self forgiving. "Understand that I don't think stuffing yourself with the cakes will get you to where you want, know that I don't see that as a good choice, but I will not hit you if you decide to keep doing it". "I am sad for you, and it breaks my heart, but I won't hit you." Self honesty balances out self kindness and keeps it in check. Like you said, by being kind to myself when I slip, that does not mean I tell myself it's a good thing that I have slipped. Conclusion : this is all theory and is all my opinion. Everyone must follow his own instinct his own path, whatever works for him. Everyone should experiment for themselves what works and what doesn't. I am not claiming this is some absolute truth (despite the tone of the post) all I am saying is this is what I believe at this point in time and it's what, I believe, has proven to work better in practice (experimenting) in my own life for my own addiction (type and strength). When I take a more calm and loving approach it seems to foster a longer term stability and capacity to stay off the unhealthy habits then when I take a more violent all or nothing approach (which can work for some time and then usually stumbles out). Basically all I am saying is I agree with the mantra .... progress not perfection. I've been at this for a long time and it has taken me many approaches to understand the inner act of unconditional self support at all times (the pat in the back even if I PMO while knowing PMO was not a good thing to do) is the best way for me. Look at how I use to write to myself, at 27, about 5 years ago .... From my own journal on here. You can see the lack of self compassion and the self harshness. The public insulting of myself as an attempt to make myself feel better.... All the unskillful unnecessary drama. (The formatting is the original, it's not stuff I'm pointing out now). The stuff I wanna actually point out now here is the phrases where I start bashing myself calling myself a pussy and how I am such a weak person. Back then I was obsessed with forcing myself to beat this with an incredible all or nothing streak. Back then I was very very very hard on myself when I relapsed. My old journal was a constant repetition of this mindset. The value in this approach was to experiment with it and show me it doesn't work long term. There had to be a switch in paradigm. I still envy and admire a good streak but I will only get there when I stop being so proud of my own streaks or so ashamed if I lose them. I will get there when I let go of the streak approach and only focus on the current day. I am confident people who achieve long periods of stable abstinence (i.e. long streaks) have this healthy detachment from they're streak. They are proud of it and they sure should be, but it's a healthy and detached pride. The pat in the back and the quietly getting on with it is the best thing to do, even if it was the 99th time I binged on the cakes at midnight when everyone was asleep. In practice it's hard to do this. But the more you come at the addiction from a place of love and kindness and patience instead of a bullying place of shame and fear and dare I say of too much urgency, the easier it becomes to give yourself an undramatic pat on the back and keep on going. And ironically the less I shall find myself binging on those cakes past midnight secretly. I didn't expect to write such a long response. I told myself I will answer in a few phrases .... But this stuff hits me deep. Because I know how much I tried to stop this.