First up is a background of my case. It's mostly there for my personal benefit, and for many of you it will be tl;dr and therefore I recommend scrolling down to my journal entries. I'll do my best to post every few days, and I'm starting with a recap of the past 26 days. Quick Overview First and foremost, I'm looking for someone to buddy up with to help motivate each other to accomplish our reboot as well as other related goals. Everything's easier when you know someone else is going through the same thing! If you're interested, send me a message. Objectives of reboot: eliminate constant "foggy headed" feeling, gain more energy, balance my emotions, eliminate recently-acquired social anxiety, become more socially motivated, find new group of friends, eliminate recently-acquired light depression (a.k.a. be happier), begin dating again, find a girlfriend, get a life, save the day. I'm starting this blog on 2/24/12, which is my 26th day into my reboot. I've already noticed remarkable improvements in several areas that had been troubling me over the past 4 years. What was most disturbing to me was that for awhile there I simply didn't feel anymore, as though I was shut off from the world around me. Fortunately, there are clear signs of that already dissolving away. Background I first discovered porn when I was 11 or 12. My uncle worked for a satellite TV company and as a result my family had full access to even pay-per-view—along with about 20 porn channels. I thought I was the luckiest kid alive! As I went through my teenage years I watched porn and masturbated, but only about two to three times a week. I was always dating cute girls, had a great group of friends, and all in all had a great high school experience. I was filled with self-confidence and I was almost always happy. Things went downhill after I graduated high school and left for college in 2007. While I was away my dad became addicted to prescription pills and I felt powerless to help him. (My parents are divorced, so there was literally no one else to help him.) In an attempt to run away from my feelings I partied like crazy all throughout my freshman year, and I also began watching more porn and masturbating more. I was so emotionally fucked up that I didn’t date or even have sex at all my freshman year. At the end of the year I moved back in with my dad and enrolled in the local junior college. I thought I could get him off drugs; instead, I continued on with my bad habits. I started dating this cute girl who I had nothing in common with except liking sex. Looking back on it she had her own fair share of issues as well... in any case, we broke up after a few months, and by the end of that bleak year I needed to get away. I was afraid I’d continue with my “partying” ways if I went back to the first college I went to, so I instead transferred to a small newer college where I knew absolutely no one. So everything went happily ever after, right? Not quite. The college I transferred to was a horrible choice for many reasons, #1 being it’s essentially a glorified commuter school in an area filled with retirees. Not a top-choice place for a young adult to live. For the first six months I lived in a studio attached to a house where I hardly ever saw my roommates; I spent most of my time alone in my room feeling depressed, watching porn, and masturbating. After that I moved into a house with some guys I met off Craigslist, which was definitely better than being alone all the time, but they turned out to be manic depressives with substance abuse issues. Deep down inside I know they’re good guys, but to this day I can’t believe I lived with them for an entire year… It definitely didn’t benefit me to be around depressed people all the time (and I still kept up my almost daily PMO routine). After a year living with them I moved in with a different roommate I met off Craigslist, and she’s turned out to be the best roommate I’ve ever had! I’ve lived with her for a little over a year now, and up until about a month ago I maintained my almost-daily PMO habits. Whew! It feels good to get that off my chest! While there are still huge amounts of background missing, this is a pretty good overview and I’m going to keep this thing moving. So how does all this history tie into my decision to quit watching porn and masturbating? It all started about a year ago when I reached the conclusion that I wasn’t depressed by my dad being a drug addict anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks, but there’s nothing that I can do about it and he’s made his own choices in life. But even though I was finally over that situation, I was still feeling the shitty way I had been feeling for the past three years: constantly foggy-headed, socially anxious, moody, mildly depressed, feeling generally out of it, depersonalization, yada yada. It always felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. In an effort to “fix” myself I began doing all sorts of things to improve: working out/running, reading lots of self-help books, quitting smoking, quitting weed (which was minimal at this point), reducing alcohol consumption, and even quitting coffee (the hardest thing I’ve ever done). It seems like all these things helped a little, just not enough to truly make a difference. Yet while I was doing all this I was still engaging in my almost-daily PMO routine! Have a bad day at work? Watch porn and jack off. Feeling bummed out? Watch porn and jack off. Experiencing stress? Watch porn and jack off. It was always there for me, and since it’s considered to be “normal” I never thought twice about it. That’s what makes it so insidious. Looking back I can literally see how my porn use and masturbation frequency skyrocketed when I went off to college, which is when all of my issues and lack of confidence came about. About a month ago I was looking up something on the internet and out of nowhere I thought “I wonder how watching porn impacts the brain?” Where this thought came from I have no idea, but I ran a Google search for the phrase and came across yourbrainonporn.com. READING THE USER EXPERIENCES, IT WAS SCARY JUST HOW WELL I COULD RELATE TO THEM! Suddenly everything made sense: the constant brain fog, the always feeling tired, the social anxiety, EVERYTHING. I decided on January 29, 2012 that I was done. I had changed everything else that I thought my problems were stemming from and that the problem had to be my porn and masturbation habits. I deleted all the porn off my computer and installed a website blocker to prevent access to my favorite porn sites, and decided that I was going to do this experiment for at least 90 days. (As a sharp contrast, the longest I’ve ever gone without ejaculating in the last 10 years was less than two weeks.) Glad to get this background out of the way. Remember, one life, one path. Journals Days 1 - 26 Recap Week 1: This week actually wasn't as difficult as I was anticipating. My emotions were scattered, but they've been that way for the past several years. I went on a business trip for four of these days and didn't have time to concentrate on PMO; this helped a lot. Week 2: THIS week was difficult and awesome at the same time! I read someone somewhere describe the PMO withdrawal process as being strapped to an emotional pendulum; this was most certainly the case throughout the second week. I went through a few days of feeling like THE MAN before going through a couple days of feeling worthless. What's interesting is that over the past couple years I could go through different moods over the course of a day, while at this point my moods started becoming more consistent, either good or bad. There also wasn't a whole lot of middle ground. Either I was feeling AWESOME or terrrriibbbllleee. During this week I also created an online dating account on a free dating website since one of my main objectives is to get into a relationship, and went on the first real date I've been in on over a year. She ended up being a little weird (definitely attractive though) so after that I just left it as-is. I was just stoked to go on a date again! ;D Week 3: Went through several days of feeling IN THE ZONE, which I had been missing for years! I got a girl's # I randomly met and began talking to several others through the dating website. I also noticed I was much more focused in the gym. The pendulum effect did kick in at the end of the week and I went through several low days in a row. What may have had something to do with it was I went out with that girl to get coffee mid-week (I had tea) and then set a date for that Saturday to get a drink; maybe it was all in my head or maybe it was vibes she was giving me, but I felt super confident that she was going to be spending the night after our Saturday date. I spent all Saturday cleaning my room, cleaning my car, etc. just basically preparing to have a chick spend the night for the first time since I moved in here over a year ago. Anyway, my mood shifted about midway through the day to where I was just feeling out of it. It didn't even feel like anxiety about the date, just generally feeling blah. That night we went out and I was nowhere near the man I had been just a few days ago! Just really uninspired as a whole. In any case, she didn't spend the night, and then for literally the next three days after that I was just feeling low. I'm wondering if it had something to do with my hormones getting all cranked up thinking "alright, I'm gonna get laid tonight!" before crashing when it didn't happen. The cool thing about all this is that within three weeks I've already gone on two dates! (Plus the first week doesn't really count since I was out of town for most of it.) I think just getting out there again is vital, and not having a few dates work out the way I hoped puts me closer to the one that does.