Nofap is a community of men and women that advocates against porn and masturbation. The community believes that both porn and masturbation can have detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental health. What started out as a small initiative, today is a growing movement. Nofap advocates against porn and masturbation as the movement is based on the premise that indulging in porn and masturbation leads to the release of dopamine in your brain. The dopamine is released in a certain way that is similar to how the brain reacts to other highly addictive substances.
Benefits of Nofap
Nofap is said to have a number of benefits, and is very well touted all over the Internet. The most common benefits are said to be:
- Increased focus
- Increased energy
- Less shame
- More time
- More confidence
- Better memory
While many claim that the Nofap method works and rave about its benefits. There is not much research to back this. But, quite honestly, that doesn’t matter much anyway. Because, what works for you, works for you. If you think something can work for you and improve your quality of life, then you don’t need a study to back it. You just need to be self-aware and remain confident in your decision.
Quitting porn can be hard
Quitting pornography is quite possibly one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. A behavioural addiction like porn can be extremely hard to quit, as there are triggers placed all over the internet. As life today revolves around the internet, it makes it especially hard to quit porn. Porn, like other addictive substances, leads to the release of dopamine in our brain. As a result of this, the body gets addicted to porn and starts craving it, as it starts associating with dopamine. The mind and body get so used to the dopamine, that it starts to miss it. When the body no longer gets the hit of dopamine, the cravings and urges begin and this is where most people give up and relapse.
This is where programs like nofap come in handy. They give people hope and show the possibility that it is indeed possible to quit porn. Under the Nofap programme, the act of quitting porn is called rebooting. Rebooting consists of a 90 days challenge where the person trying to quit porn, goes 90 days without “Porn Masturbation Orgasm”. You basically just avoid masturbating to porn for 90 days.
Many have reported that during this challenge there comes a time when you feel complete or partial loss of satisfaction and pleasure in your daily life. This period is called the Nofap flatline.
This reaction occurs as a result of your brain no longer receiving the dopamine it was so used to. It had gotten so used to the chemical that you would once supply to it on demand, but are now refusing. This creates a “drought” in your brain. A drought of pleasure chemicals to be exact.
Symptoms of the flatline
One of the most common symptoms people have noticed while dealing with flatline is brain fog. You experience patches of disorientation and confusion throughout the day. It clouds your ability to understand and also affects your decision-making skills.
Having a low libido refers to having a low sex drive. In this case, it refers to a noticeable fall in your sex drive that is having a negative impact on your sex life. This can be a result of internalised doubt and guilt generally.
This is also one of the most commonly noticed symptoms. While trying to quit an addiction, a person is vulnerable and fragile. During the flatline, the vulnerability and the fragile nature are especially heightened. This tends to take a major toll on your mental health.
Fatigue refers to the loss of energy and motivation. You’ll feel both mentally and emotionally drained. Experiencing fatigue can hold you back as it makes you weary, tired, and run down.
You might be aware that insomnia is a kind of sleep disorder. It makes it difficult for a person to fall asleep or leads to extremely disturbed sleep. Due to the lack of the pleasure chemicals in your brain, your brain goes on overdrive refusing to rest. This causes insomnia in some cases.
Your self-confidence plummets during this period. You lose faith in yourself and your ability to perform normal functions in life. This affects how you think about yourself and how you act around others.
The flatline will feel like a withdrawal from positivity and happiness. You’ll be hit with an intense bout of depression. You might feel hollow for a few days. Like a hollowed-out tree that’s been left out to rot. This is all similar to the withdrawal people feel while trying to quit a drug addiction. But, in this case, instead of drug abuse, it’s caused by a lack of porn and masturbation. In reality, the flatline for a few days is a good sign as it shows you’re making progress.
When does the flatline occur?
The flatline can occur anytime throughout your journey of quitting porn and masturbation. But, the most common time frames in which the flatline generally occurs are:
1. During the first three days
2. Once you pass the second-week mark
3. End of month one.
4. Mid and end of month two.
It takes time for your brain to adjust to the new you. The one that no longer watches porn or masturbates. The flatline is just a kink in that process. As days pass the feeling of emptiness that the flatline caused will also pass away. Allowing you to fully enjoy activities in life that don’t involve porn or masturbation.
Tips to Deal with the Flatline
When the flatline hits, is when a lot of people falter and give up. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips and tricks that’ll successfully see you on the flatline.
Start your day by saying your intentions out loud
Every day, the first thing you wake up, make a commitment to remain sober and connected to your goals for the entire day. This’ll remind you of why you’re choosing to do this. Recovery never happens by fluke, it requires every bit of effort on your part. Before the day begins, remind yourself of your reasons for quitting, and throughout the days if you feel discouraged, go back to those reasons you stated and use them as a way of diverting your attention.
Establish a support system
If negative thoughts start to cloud your brain or if urges occur when you’re with people you’re comfortable with then it’s all well and good. They can console you and keep your spirits high. A solid support system plays a major role in recovery, it is what will keep you going. But, you can’t always have people with you everywhere you go. You might be in class or stuck in a meeting when the urge kicks in, plaguing over your mind. So, it’s very important that you establish a support system that can see you through this situation. It is whatever that works for you.
For example, something that might help is having an accountability partner. An accountability partner is just someone whom you can confide in. you need to be 100% comfortable with this person. Anytime an urge arises and you’re stuck in a situation where you can’t leave then you can drop this person a text. Just this small act can really calm you down and become more comfortable with the situation.
Pick up the habit of meditation. There are several methods of meditation. Do some research, experiment, and figure out what works best for you. This single activity can help a lot as it lets you revalue and helps you stay focused on what’s important. It helps you remind yourself why you’re doing all of this in the first place. All the negative effects the addiction/habit has had on your life, that has led to you making this decision. Remind yourself what would happen if you continue down the same path without doing anything about your addiction. Just giving in.
Get yourself out of your daily routine
For a lot of porn addicts, the problem is often related to being in a rut. This is usually in the form of a daily routine that is predictable from start to finish. And as predictable as it is, with such a routine the day will inevitably end with you in front of your computer screen, opening up a pornsite.
No matter what rut you’re currently in, stop using it as an excuse to victimise yourself. This will only end up taking you straight back to PornHub, and thus begins the vicious cycle of attempting to reboot every few months. So instead take the time out, to flip around your daily routine. Even if it’s just one thing you can change in your entire routine, trust me it’ll make a huge difference.
List your strengths
As mentioned above, the flatline cam really kills your confidence and makes you look at yourself in a negative light. So it’s important to remind yourself of all your good qualities. This boosts your confidence and keeps you from going down the downward spiral of self-doubt. Anytime you feel particularly distraught, find yourself some quiet away from the chaos of the world and let yourself breathe. Use this time to yourself to remind yourself of everything so great about you. Don’t wait for others to compliment you, that validation does not matter. For five minutes, toot your own horn if you may. This really will boost your morale.
Avoid Being by Yourself for Extended Periods of Time
More often than not people tend to let their thoughts get to them when they’re alone. This is when the relapse normally occurs. Throughout the day, make an effort to surround yourself with the company you enjoy. Instead of having lunch/dinner by yourself in your room, sit at the dining table for meals with your family and friends. Take a walk and feel the cool breeze on your skin and you watch some dogs play at the park. Little things like these can really help you keep yourself distracted and will help a great deal with your progress. Good company can do wonders for your mood.
Make long-term plans
A good tip that can wire your brain and stop it from a trap of leading to a relapse is setting up long-term plans and goals for yourself. This will take some effort as it requires you to visualize yourself succeeding in the future and having an overall positive outlook. This doesn’t refer to a fantasy, like winning the lottery. Instead, set realistic goals. Instead of solely focusing on your recovery from internet porn addiction, focus on achieving your life goals. This’ll remind you that there is a whole life out there for you away from this addiction. It reminds you that all this misery will definitely come to an end soon.
Just remember that this too shall pass. The flatline is nothing but a small road bump that’ll be gone before you know it. And soon you will be free from the addiction. But, only if you stick by your goals and have strong willpower. You can do this!