My 4-Pillar System to Live Porn-Free Life

Published in Slow living, Resources

Beginning

If someone had asked me about living a porn-free life six years ago, I would have laughed sarcastically. Hiding the guilt and shame inside, I would have said that this curse is inevitable and that one is doomed to suffer from it for the rest of their life.

I naively encountered porn at the age of 12 and slowly sank deeper and deeper into this mire to the point where I objectified every single woman who passed me by. That included some of the most respected people in my life. I sold my soul to the devil when I fell into the trap of porn and let it fester for 13 years. Looking back, I can see how porn changed my thoughts, my beliefs, and in many ways, me as a person.

Ancient Indian sages believed, "We are who we believe we are."

If the material "I" is the combination of my mind and my body, it's safe to assume that what I eat builds my body, and what I receive through my senses shapes my mind: what I see, what I hear, what I touch, what I smell, and what I taste.

What would you say when someone asks you who you are? Is it your body? Or is it your mind?

The mind doesn't differentiate what you feed it. It does not discern whether what you offer is divine or evil. It merely takes everything as it is, and based on the prior information, it formulates a response. Over time, the mind learns to favor pleasure and detest pain.

...And this is something some people have figured out. My spam folder is filled with people who want to sell me a subscription to an adult website for "premium content." Some are one click away from stealing all my data and credit card information.

And all this might seem like a game of not watching explicit images and erotic videos, but the reality is much worse.

Hooked model

Years ago, I read a book on how to build products that people get hooked on. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Hooked model is that you need four elements to make something irresistibly attractive. So attractive that people feel they have an intrinsic desire for what you are offering them.

Indeed, I love the book and I have immense respect for Nir (the author) for sharing everything in such detail. However, understanding the psychology of such a product can be crucially beneficial for our growth, especially when we're exposed to a super-stimulus like pornography.

So how does this relate to porn addiction?

Well, sexual desire is our most potent intrinsic motivation. As we mature, we naturally become aroused and prepare to propagate life on Earth. We express sex as a way of contributing a part of ourselves to perpetuate our existence. Nature is rewarding; for our role in maintaining life on the planet, we receive the highest pleasure; ecstasy.

The process looks something like this:

  1. We become aroused and "feel" the need of orgasm.
  2. We modify our identity to align with this new goal, so we find a partner and make love.
  3. We receive a reward: an ecstatic feeling of pleasure and elation.
  4. We invest in the "partner" and "self" to improve and build emotional bonds.
  5. This process forms our habit.

But what if we change something...

What if we end up getting lured into easy access to triggers and with a limited action we have the similar experience.

Do you think you would be able to do anything else beyond this one habit once we discover that all we need to do to take action is click a mouse or touch a screen?

And what if triggers are present in every Instagram scroll?

Won't our mind defend its most precious reward with every possible thought?

And what about those who are genuinely attempting to heal from past trauma and depression? The impact of porn hits them even harder.

The instant dopamine release gives a deceptive sense of "resolution," providing an easy escape from a reality that is too harsh to endure and too painful to witness every day. Why improve if all we're going to do is die in the end?

It becomes "natural" to have a perverted worldview when consuming pornography, REGARDLESS of the frequency.

But I managed it. After years of struggle, I finally made the decision to quit. Following that decision, it took me over three years, numerous meditation programs, global travels, and hundreds of resources and books to understand what was truly broken and how to heal. Perhaps I needed to believe that I COULD HEAL.

Buddha said, "Apta deepo bhavah," in an ancient Indian language which means be your own light. But it's essential to understand that your life is your responsibility, not that of Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, or any other God or godlike figures.

Over time, I began to follow a framework, which I'll share below, that helped me shift my focus from being a victim to rising to meet the challenge, gradually failing and then winning each day. In time, I transitioned from watching porn for 5-6 hours a day to not watching it at all.

I went from dreaming about random images of naked bodies to envisioning a better life for myself. I found myself smiling more and feeling a sense of inner satisfaction.

Interestingly, the back pain that I assumed was a chronic condition disappeared within a few days. Here's the complete framework that helped me. I follow it every day, and I encourage you to do the same.

All it requires is 60-120 minutes of your day and yields a much improved version of you. It's a fair trade! All it takes is a choice.

4-Step Unplug Blueprint

  1. Mind Programming

To put it simply, the mind is somewhat like a fertile plot of land. What you sow, you reap in abundance...

... If you frequently dwell on pain, you invite more pain into your future life. Force yourself to be happy, and soon, it brings you happiness.

In my life, I've seen this manifest repeatedly. However, I couldn't apply this understanding to my porn addiction. Once you comprehend this, you'll be mindful of what you're absorbing mentally. Start by filling your mind with positive things during your recovery.

So, each day, for at least 30 minutes, read or watch something about living a slow life and reprogramming your mind for "delayed gratification". Porn creates neural pathways in your brain for instant gratification. This is why Gary Wilson, the author of "Your Brain on Porn," calls it a super stimulus. The more you learn about the effects of porn and rewire your brain to avoid highly stimulating phenomena, the more proactive your senses become in returning to their natural state. You heal, slowly but surely. There's no quick fix, and that's a good thing. There's no need to rush.

  1. Accountability

Even when you grasp everything intellectually, another hurdle in recovery is relapses. In the beginning, reverting to old habits is a common occurrence. Because you're working on your mind, it's critically important to have someone else hold you accountable.

You can't trust your mind because you're in the process of retraining it. Even your most compelling excuse will seem reasonable to you. Even if it's harmful, your mind will defend it; justify it. The only solution is to find an accountability partner— a close relative, partner, friend, or someone from the Unplug Nation.

  1. Environment

There's a Russian proverb that says, "Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are."

"Your environment is stronger than your willpower."

"You are the average of the ten people you spend the most time with."

These quotes from different eras of human history demonstrate the power of environment. In the early stages of recovery, it's vitally important to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. When you're tempted and feel like falling back into old patterns, you need people who understand and support you.

If you relapse, they can provide the inspiration necessary to start the journey again.

  1. Spirituality

Humanity's quest for a deeper understanding of life has always inspired us to accomplish incredible things. When individuals catch even a glimpse of a better self, it becomes easier to work on self-improvement.

One of the harmful effects of porn is that it corrupts how we think and perceive ourselves. Our behavior changes as a result, and we are forced to see ourselves from the lowest possible perspective. In Indian spirituality, the concept of Chakra perfectly elucidates this process.

Select Dynamic field

In short, the journey of human discovery travels from the root chakra, where life begins, to the Sahasrara, or crown chakra. For a balanced and free life, we are meant to harmonize all the chakras that govern the different emotions and energies that drive us.

One of the challenges that I personally discovered with pornography is that it hindered my ability to forge human connections, foster empathy for others, and develop my intellect.

Many addicts often feel an inability to love others and are persistently judgmental about other people's bodies. They start questioning their sexuality or identify themselves solely as sexual beings, despite having many other facets.

Understood in terms of the Chakra system, your energy becomes stuck in the root chakra, and a critical part of your recovery involves letting go of these entrenched emotions.

The more you immerse yourself in meditation and reconnect with your body, the easier you'll find it to heal naturally.

The goal is not merely to manage addiction. The true aim is to eradicate it permanently.

This requires immense willpower and love. You can't win the war against porn addiction by simply playing the role of a toxic alpha male. It's a struggle that will test and break you, but each time you rise, you'll grow stronger.

If you adhere to the four pillars of this framework, sooner or later you'll discover that your desire to watch porn and avoid hard work has disappeared. You'll realize you've transformed into a new person.

The big change

It was 14-15 months after quitting pornography when I noticed the change. I had been working hard on myself every day—exercising, meditating, reading books—and was in the midst of launching a new side-project when I met this girl at a café. It was possibly the most unexpected encounter I could ever have.

We spent time together, and I simply enjoyed her company. I didn't harbor ulterior motives to exploit the situation or take advantage of her. We clicked, spent time together, and then went our separate ways. Looking back years later, I consider it one of the best days of my life.

I remember the once shy kid who couldn't talk to people, especially the opposite gender, couldn't make friends, and resorted to porn to escape reality. I remember the innocent kid whose innocence got robbed by pornography at the age of 12. He was grateful.

The final words

The devil lurks in the shadows, waiting for you to lose your conscience. The moment your attention wavers, you risk falling back into old habits. But does that mean you're condemned to an endless cycle of recovery?

Healing is a lifelong journey filled with incredible experiences. It's time to dedicate yourself to healing. Eventually, you'll recognize the triggers but won't be enticed to squander yourself on a screen. You'll notice the devil, but he'll have diminished so much in size that he no longer affects you.

One day, you'll have the choice to either move on or assist others in escaping their addiction. Regardless of your choice, you'll look back at your past self with gratitude for making the decision to improve.

Start today. You have nothing to lose and an entire life to gain.

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