11 Helpful Tips On How To Stop PMO Addiction
In this article you will learn 11 helpful tips on how to overcome PMO addiction.
Before we start, though, I have to start by being brutally honest with you, overcoming your PMO addiction is not going to be easy.
You will most likely run into frustrations in several forms, like for example…
- Doubting the process
- Doubting your ability to ever become free
…but you know what? That's okay and it's all part of the process!
I just want you to be aware of it right from the very start, so that you can go into this with the right mindset.
A mindset of,
“Hey, it's going to be a long journey and I'm going to be tested at times, but I'm determined to make it”
And make it you will.
Read this tips carefully. While it's is possible to overcome your PMO addiction without doing them all, I really recommend you do your best to implement as many of them as possible, because if you do, I can guarantee that you will have a better reboot with less frustrations.
I have personally been involved in the rebooting community now for almost 9 years, first as a rebooter myself, and the last couple by helping others, so I have seen what works…
…this is why I urge you to implement as many of these tips as possible.
So, if you're ready for it, let's get started!
Related post: here is the best online course for quitting porn
Tip #1 Get Yourself A Notebook – Your Rebooting Notebook
The first thing you want to do, as soon as you have read this article, is to get yourself a notebook.
You will have to use it for several things during your journey and I will talk more about that later in this post.
It should preferably be a real, physical notebook and not a digital one. The reason for this is that what you are writing has a bigger impact on your brain when the hand-brain connection is involved, like it is when you are physically writing something down on a piece of paper.
Now, there are many fancy journals you can find, for example this one available on Amazon, and sometimes it can help us take things more seriously if we get some classy tools to aid us on our journey. But there is certainly no need to get a fancy journal if you don't feel like it.
Just a simple, spiral notebook will do just fine.
By the way, if you didn't know “rebooting” is just a common word used for unhooking from PMO and rewiring your brain to the real world instead of pixels on a screen. The reason for me telling you that is because that word will be used a lot in this article.
Tip #2 Before You Start, Write Down THIS in Your Notebook:
On your very first day of rebooting or even before you start you should write down the following in your notebook…
- Your “why”
- Your “why not”
The “why” simply means why quit? It's obviously your reason for wanting to reboot in the first place. What are your biggest reasons for wanting to do a reboot?
Write all your reasons down and be very clear and specific about it.
…and your 3 year positive vision
Then under all your reasons for why you want to quit, write down what your life could look like three years from now if you manage to leave this destructive addiction behind you and get all the benefits a no PMO lifestyle potentially can give you.
Make it big, vivid and appealing, because the truth is…
…you can really change your life A LOT over a 3 year period of time.
Your “why not”…
The “why not” simply means, why NOT continue to use adult sites?
Write down all the reasons for why it would be a bad idea for you to keep going without changing your life.
…and your 3 year negative vision
Then under those reasons, you end it by writing down what your life could look 3 years from now if you keep going with your addiction and if things totally spin out of control.
What if things escalate and get even worse, where are you 3 years form now then?
Make it the absolute worst case scenario.
Read it every day
You should now sit down and read your “why” and your “why not” every single day, at least for the first few months of your reboot.
This is crucial because it programs your brain with both the carrot and the stick. Carrot = “towards” motivation and stick = “away from” motivation.
This is much more effective than if you just have “the carrot” as on some days we tend to work best with the “stick” and when then getting an urge to relapse we get a strong reminder of where we could be 3 years from now if we let it get out of hand, and so we go…”oh, how about we don't go there!”
Yes, I really said ready it every day.
How many times a day?
Well, at least once, but I recommend two times a day. One in the morning, when waking up, and then once before bed time.
This way you will really program it into your brain.
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Tip #3 Install A Good Adult Content Blocker
Every addiction weakens your prefrontal cortex (PFC).
This is the part of your brain that can be found right behind your forehead.
It does not matter what your addicted to, but every addiction makes your PFC weaker.
The PFC is the part of your brain that is responsible for self control. It is the control and planning center of your brain and it's the part of the brain that prevents you from punching your boss in the face when he's being extra stupid that Wednesday afternoon when you're already tired and pissed off…
…a good way to think of your PFC is as your brains “police”.
The good news: your PFC will grow stronger the further away from your addiction you get…
The bad news is that you now have a weaker PFC that the “average guy” that does not suffer from any addictions.
The good news is that, with time your PFC will grow stronger and stronger, but this will take a few months of staying away from PMO.
But since your PFC is so weak in the beginning of your No PMO journey, you can not relay on your willpower and try to white-knuckle your way out of the addiction.
That just doesn't work!
In the beginning you have to strategize by…
- Limiting your exposure to triggers.
- Structuring your days in whatever way you can to make it easier for you.
One good way of doing this is to install a good porn blocker.
Even if it's not a long-term solution to your addiction, that space of time is often all you need to turn of the relapsing autopilot and get your brain back on track.
Tip #4 Come Up With Some Good Replacement Activities
You need to come up with a few good replacement activities, both long-term and short-term, activities that you do instead of jacking off to adult sites.
The short-term activities are the most acute ones that you need to figure out today.
Example of short-term replacement activities
Get away from your phone / computer and…
- Go outside and take a walk
- Do the Wim Hof breathing
- Take a cold shower
- Do push-ups
- Go for a drive
- Go to the gym
- Read a physical book
These were just a few examples.
Feel free to come up with your own.
They key point, though, is that your replacement activity needs to be something you do AWAY from your computer and your phone. So, if you go for a walk, do NOT take the phone with you.
When to use a short-term replacement activity
You should use the short-term replacement activities whenever you are sitting there with your phone, or at your computer, and you feel that the urges are starting to become too much for you to handle.
You should surf the urges for a while, (see tip #5 on how to surf urges) and then if the urges come back several times an you feel you won't be able to handle them, then you go for your replacement activity.
Also, I recommend you stay away from your computer and your phone for at least 30 minutes before you go back. So, if your replacement activity is for example “push-ups”, then you do your push-ups for however long you want to, let's say 3 minutes or so, but don't go back to your computer for another 27 minutes.
This is because it often takes about 30 minutes to get out of the relapsing mindset and into another state of mind.
When to use long-term replacement activities
Long-term replacement activities are not that acute and not something you desperately need to figure out today.
But you will still need them.
They are simply bigger goals you have in life. Something meaningful to do.
This is absolutely crucial because, when quitting PMO we are often left with a big hole in our chest, a void , if you will and we need to fill that void with something meaningful.
Now, since we are all very different this is highly personal, but here are a few examples of bigger, long-term activities…
- Starting an online business that you keep working on aside from your real job.
- Learning a new language so you can travel to that country and get to know locals.
- Writing a book.
- Becoming a bodybuilder.
- Starting to play a musical instrument.
- Start singing in a choir.
- Travel the world.
- Start helping others who suffer from PMO addiction, in one for or another.
As you can see, the long-term replacement activities are much bigger. It's because the are just that: long-term, so they need to be something that you can keep working on and keep growing in.
Something that makes you grow as a person and something that gives you meaning.
Tip #5 Surf The Urges
In tip #4 I told you that you should “surf” the urges for a little while before you do your short-term replacement activities.
This is because we need to learn how to master the urges by surfing them, and we can not keep relying on replacement activities for the rest of our lives. I mean, think about it, you can't always leave your computer every time you get an urge when you have to work on your projects or do some other important activities.
It's just that in the beginning of your reboot, you really need those replacement activities because it takes time develop good urge surfing skills.
You should start as soon as day one – and build up
This is why you should start surfing the urges already from day 1, but only do it for a short amount of time before you resort to your short-term replacement activity. As the weeks build up, you should start surfing longer and longer and then, after a few months, you can stop doing the short-term replacement activity altogether.
Don't confuse this with the long-term replacement activities,as they should always be there. For the rest of your life, you need to have something meaningful to keep working on.
How to surf the urges…
Below is a video of me explaining the concept of urge surfing.
You need to watch it in order to understand it.
Watch the video now to get a full understanding of urge surfing!
Is surfing really that important?
Some of you may be wondering if mastering the art of urge surfing really is that important?
Yes it is!
Surfing the urges is something you are doing in that very moment when you are exposed to a triggers and are about to go into autopilot mode and act out your relapse. And since surfing the urges means that you do not resist, feed or follow the urges it also means that it is then and there you make your choice to NOT relapse.
And at the end of the day, when overcoming an addiction there is one thing that needs to happen… and that is you choosing to NOT act out.
This is why I would estimate urge surfing to be at least 80% of your whole reboot, maybe more…
…it's really that important!
Tip #6 Watch Out For HALT!
HALT is an acronym that is well known in the addiction recovery world. The acronym forms certain words that feed into your cravings, increasing your risk of relapse…
…and thus they are things you should be aware of.
Here they are…
No matter what addiction we are talking about, those four have made many a relapse come about.
So, in other words, if you find yourself to be in one of those states, do something about it.
- Whenever you are hungry, you are much more likely to relapse.
- If you are emotionally upset, you are 5x more likely to relapse.
Meditate and go for a walk!
- Loneliness has made millions of addicts relapse over the years.
Reach out to someone! (even if it's an online forum, it's still connect and can help)
- If you are tired, your risk of relapses increase significantly.
Rest , take a nap or go to bed!
So, really do your best to take the HALT seriously. I can guarantee that you will get much smother sailing throughout your PMO reboot if you do so.
One more thing to mention about this, when you fix the hunger part, do NOT try to fix it with junk food because that will only mess with your blood sugar and then 1-2 hours after your meal it will backfire and you are suddenly in an even bigger risk of relapsing.
Make it a protein rich and healthy meal.
Sugar is the worst, as it stimulates your dopamine system and once you start waking up your sleeping dopamine bear, it wants more. More dopamine, in whatever form it can get it. For example dopamine from…
….yup, you guessed it PMO!
Tip #7 Consider Operation Blackout
One think that was an absolute lifesaver for me when I was struggling to end my own PMO addiction, a few years back, was something I use to call “operation blackout”.
Operation blackout was a very big part of me finally succeeding.
Operation blackout simply means shutdown of your digital devices a few hours before bedtime, every night. No internet, no phone and no devices that you could use to PMO.
For me, operation blackout served two functions.
First, it removed me from triggers and the risk of relapses when at my most vulnerable, i.e. night time, when tired and willpower was low.
Second, I got a few hours of a healthy mindfulness period every evening, without digital distractions. It was almost like a short dopamine detox and, after getting used to it, I found it to be very relaxing and rejuvenating. It also significantly lowered my stress and improved my sleep quality.
Tip #8 Write Down All The “Lies”
99% of guys will relapse a few times before overcoming a PMO addiction and so, it would be fair to to assume that…
…so will you.
The relapses will teach you what to modify and what not to do again.
After rebooting for some time you will have to learn all the “lies” the addicted part of your brain is telling you, just to get you to “act out”.
I can give you a few examples of what they can look like…
- …but masturbation is healthy and a good way to get to know yourself!
- …hey, just check where “insert your favorite porn star is born”, you don't need to watch any content!
- …psst, just see if there is a category for “hot girls with cowboy hats”, you don't need to watch!
- hm…just see if there are any erotic scenes in this Netflix movie”
- …sex is normal, just watch for 5 minutes!
- …come on man, just 10 minutes, everybody does it. It's normal!
…and so on.
These were just a few examples of what an addicts brain can come up with in the heat of the moment.
Here is what you should do about the lies…
Your addicted brain will come up with some arguments for you to act out.
You need to identify them as lies, and not only that…
…you need to write them down.
Write them down in your reboot notebook.
Then under each lie you should also write down the truth.
Lie: Come one, everyone does it, it's normal!!
Truth: So, what? I have decided to reboot because porn is hurting me. There's way too many negative consequences for me to keep doing it and what others do has nothing to do with me. Period!
Lie: Just check where “insert your favorite adult star” is born!
Truth: What for? Why on earth would I even need to know that? Everyone knows that on the page I'll find the answer, there will also be a lot of triggers and I would most likely relapse. I don't need to know where she is born!
Lie: Just check IF there is any “such and such porn category”, don't watch any, just check!
Truth: Are you stupid or something? Why would I even need to know that? I no longer watch porn!
Lie: But come on! Sex is healthy and natural.
Truth: Again, are you stupid? Real sex is as different from today's super stimulating porn as checkers is from today's modern video games. Pron and sex is not the same thing!
I think you get the picture by now.
Every time you notice a lie, write it down in your notebook and write the real truth under the lie.
This will help you to recognize them faster in the future as they pop up when you're sitting by your computer. Both help you recognize those particulars lies your wrote down as well as similar ones, that might pop up.
Recognize them for what they really are, lies that the addiction part of your brain is pulling to get you to act out.
Tip #9 If You Relapse – Write Down The Following:
Once more we are going to have to use the notebook, so by now you have probably started to see why I made the very first tip in this article “get yourself a good reboot journal”.
Let's hope you won't have to face that many relapses, but if you do, and when you do, it is important that you sit down and write down the following in your notebook…
- What did the relapse look like?
- How did it happen? (what steps lead up to the relapse)
- What small things happened earlier during the day that could have contributed to the relapse?
- What could I have done differently?
Number four is especially important in order to prevent future relapses.
It wasn't until I started doing this myself that I started seeing big improvements in my own rebooting a few years back. I can't overstate the importance of daily journaling when trying to overcome an addiction.
Let's move on to the next tip, which is the strangest of them all…
Tip #10 Eat More Salt
Did you know that, if you eat a bit more salt, you are less likely to relapse?
Yes, this is something not many people know about, but it is absolutely true.
If you are low on salt, the reward system in your brain becomes hyperactive and starts looking for quick rewards.
This means that things like…
- Junk food
…just to name few. Those things suddenly becomes much more tempting.
Of course, when trying to overcome a PMO addiction, this is not good, so you go ahead and add a bit more salt to your diet.
Unlike what we have been though, salt is not bad for you. In fact, it is essential for survival and we also have a “salt thermostat” that just gets rid of any extra you don't need, if you happen to take in too much.
Tip #11 Seek Support From People Who Understand What You Are going Through
Telling someone about your addiction is helpful in many ways.
Yes see, addictions have a nasty trait, they tend to thrive and grow in secrecy, so by telling someone you trust yous instantly put a small crack in the addiction.
In addition, having some form of a support group that you can reach out to, when having cravings, can be a wonderful tool on your journey to stop PMO addiction.
Not only that, but you'll be able to get support when those days of low mood roll around, because trust me, they will come.
Just telling a friend in real life can also do wonders for you. If you can't find anyone whom you can trust, then talking to a professional is of course another option. He or she can also help you get to the root of your problems and perhaps help you come up with a good strategy for you to improve your situation.
How To Stop PMO Addiction Final Words
I hope you found the article informative.
Make sure to not fall into the, all to common, trap of only reading and not taking action. In other words, I hope you don't just read these 11 tips, but actually also implement them and use them as you trudge forward on your mission to stop your PMO addiction.
The tips are not just pulled out of a hat, but they are things I have seen help thousands of people, over and over again, during my, now almost 9, years in the rebooting community.
Also, bookmarking this page so that you can come back and read it several times could be a good idea.
Thank you for reading!
P.S. If you are addicted to PMO and want to stop, get my 90 Day No PMO Advice And Tool Guide 100% FREE by signing up to my email list right here.
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