NoFap And Alcohol (Will Drinking Hold You Back?)
So, will drinking alcohol hold you back on your NoFap journey?
Well, here's your answer…
Yes, for most people alcohol and NoFap does not go well together, and there are two reasons for that. First, because it significantly increases risk of relapses. Second, even if you don't relapse it will probably prolong your recovery time, at least to some degree.
NoFap And Alcohol
I Asked My Subscribers…
I did a poll on my YouTube channel, Project Stronger Self, asking my subscribers about their experience with NoFap and alcohol.
Out of 2500 people voting, this is the result…
As you can see, most of them don't drink, but out of those who do, only 5% is absolut certain that drinking has not affected their recovery while 12% don't think so.
On the other hand, 13% are absolute sure drinking has slowed down their progress and 10% think that it has slowed it down.
Alcohol slows down recovery – but what does “slows down” actually mean?
Judging by all the comments my subscribers left under the poll, most of them interprets “slowing down recovery” as relapses. I.e. they say alcohol increases their relapse frequencies and thus it also takes a longer time to recover.
Alcohol reduces self control…
This is not surprising at all as alcohol will inhibit the prefrontal cortex in your brain (PFC), which if you didn't know, is your very control center…
…ah, this is also why we otherwise, sometimes, do stupid things when we are drunk.
But if you didn't relapse on the day of your party, don't think you're out of the woods yet, because your PFC can be underperforming for 2-3 days after your drinking, and sometimes even longer than that.
Ok, so it's pretty safe to say that alcohol indeed increase your risk of relapses on NoFap, but what if you can manage it?
Does alcohol slow down the actual recovery process if you can drink without relapsing?
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I can drink without relapsing – Does it still slow down my progress?
The short answer is: Yes, alcohol can probably still slow down your PMO recovery.
A big part of NoFap recovery or a PMO reboot is that we want to “reset” or heal our dopamine system. In fact, I would personally argue that it's THE biggest part of a reboot. Although symptoms like porn induced ED (PIED) are complex and are also a result of conditioning.
Related post: how to reverse PIED.
Now, just like watching porn, alcohol messes with your dopamine system. Especially if you drink a lot of it.
But some people don't even need that much in order for their brains reward system starting to suffer.
Fixing your dopamine system – Alcohol will hold you back…
When you stop using adult sites you hope that your desensitized reward system will grow new dopamine receptors, in order for it to become more sensitive to dopamine again.
And for sure, this will happen, slowly but surely…
…however, if you keep hammering your reward system with alcohol during your reboot, the upregulation of those receptors will no doubt take longer, and if you drink a whole lot of it, recovery may perhaps not even happen at all.
How much alcohol is too much on NoFap?
Now you might be wondering, but what if I like to drink a bit now and then, how much alcohol is okay and how much is too much?
Well, there are no simple answers to that.
Let's first look at the relapse factor…
If you find yourself relapsing more often, even after just one or two drinks, then I'm sorry to say, even that is too much for you right now.
If this is you, then you'd be better off holding back on your drinking until you hit at least day 90 on your NoFap journey. Then after that, if you feel like it, you could carefully try reintroducing drinking in moderation.
Ok, but what about drinking in moderation if you don't have any problems with relapses?
Alcohol in moderation and the NoFap recovery speed…
If you can have one or two beers a couple of times a week without it compromising you staying strong on your streak, it will probably not hold back that much.
That said, I hate to be a party pooper here and say that it might still slow down the healing of your dopamine system just a bit. Now, big disclaimer, there are no research related to the crossover effect of indulging in alcohol when trying to recover from another addiction, e.g porn, so please take my words wit a grain of salt.
However, from everything I have read about the brain and the reward system over the years, it would seem to me as even moderation could potentially slow down your recovery time a bit…
Just how much does it slow it down?
No one knows, but if you twisted my arms and forced me to make a guess, maybe 5-10% But do NOT quote me on that one as it's just a wild guess. I'm really shooting from my hip there.
All I can say is…
If I feel that I've been hammering my dopamine system too much with other desensitizing stuff – e.g. social media, video games, junk food or just internet in general – and I really want to take a period where I'm trying to upregulate my dopamine receptors and dopamine system, then I avoid alcohol completely. I will not even have one beer.
I can say that I personally find complete abstinence of alcohol to be beneficial for that “healing period” and from all the experimenting I've been doing over the years, to me it seems to be the fastest way of doing it.
Don't get me wrong, I do drink in moderation in periods over the years, but not during my “brain healthy” periods.
Binge drinking, however, is something that completely destroys me and I really do my best to avoid that nowadays. I had too much of those days when I was younger anyway.
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NoFap and alcohol
Now, could you heal from things like porn induced ED or other negative symptoms that porn causes while you drink in moderation?
Absolutely, you could. Just as long as you're not drinking heavily, as I already stated, but again, I believe the results are quicker if you stay off the alcohol during your recovery phase.
You do whatever you feel is best for you, but if you find yourself frequently relapsing on the day of drinking, or a day or two after, you might want to reconsider your approach.
Thanks for reading,