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I Read It So You Don't Have To: Growing Up Duggar (by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar)

Hi all -- for the past few weeks, I've been occupying my hours of quarantine boredom by reading several of the literary masterpieces written by Real Housewives cast members and sharing write-ups of my perilous adventures with the BravoRealHousewives subreddit. But -- at my core -- I am nothing if not a glutton for punishment. So when u/acoffeycup suggested that I crack open my copy of Growing Up Duggar and do my best to decipher the wisdom within, I couldn't turn down the challenge. And in this newfound spirit of evangelism, it seems only proper for me to share the fruits of my journey with your pliant and receptive ears. So pull up a chair, scoop yourself a big ol' slice of tater tot casserole, and listen in respectful reverence to my personal testimony of Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar's 2014 book, Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships.
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On the book's cover, the four eldest Duggar daughters smile placidly at the reader, bedecked in a dignified assortment of denim and denim-adjacent garments. Yet even within these constraints, our feisty fashionistas still find ways to express their own unique aesthetic sensibilities. Jinger, for example, sports an early iteration of her now-iconic blazer, opting to emphasize her youthful spirit through whimsical cap sleeves and a precious baby-doll waistline. Next to her, Jessa stares soullessly into the camera, and -- almost against my will -- I find my eyes drawn to her hypnotic gaze. But thankfully, before I am sucked too deeply into that most barren abyss, I am distracted by the smattering of small pearlescent buttons adorning what might otherwise be mistaken for a extra-small mechanic's shirt, and I seize the chance to move along to the next Duggar offspring at hand.
Jill's silhouette is by far the most avant-garde of the foursome, perhaps foreshadowing her oft-hypothesized rebellious inclinations. A tunic-length dress is cinched cheekily above her waist with a thick, woven belt, while a long denim underskirt fully obscures her sheepish shins. In the back right corner, Jana jazzes up a simple tee with a bold statement necklace ostensibly purchased from the clearance section of Earthbound Trading Co., the perfect compliment to an exotically hemmed skirt that I can only assume has been sewn together from the tatters of Duggar rags past.
Eager to learn what invaluable wisdom these pages hold, I impatiently open to the book's introduction -- welcomingly titled, "Greetings: From Our Hearts to Yours." As I begin to read, I am heartened to learn that there is hope for each and every one of us, "whoever you are -- whether you're the girl we met who goes to a Christian school and attends church three times a week but is still struggling inside, or the girl with five tattoos and multiple piercings." Yes, whatever sins you may have committed in your ungodly ignorance -- provided, of course, that you have not yet blighted your body with that accursed sixth tattoo -- the Duggar girls hold a special place for you in their hearts:
Even though we have never met most of you reading this book, we want you to know we love you and care about your future. We want to share our stories with you, knowing you have a story, too, and hoping something we say here might empower you to use your story, your life, to help others.
The Introduction continues with a brief summary of the Duggar Family timeline, in which we are informed that "Mom and Dad look at life as a race against time." This seems to me a bit incongruous with the whole 'eternal life' thing, but perhaps Jim Bob and Michelle were affected by the hit 2002 film Clockstoppers just as strongly as I was. I am also excited to learn that I will soon get the chance to hear more about the authors' "passion for being involved in the political realm," as well as their "commitment and desire to reach out to people in faraway countries." With a few concluding remarks emphasizing the importance of relationships, the introduction comes to an end, and we begin the book proper with Chapter One: "Your Relationship with Yourself: Getting to know and love the girl in the mirror."
We are informed that "Jana and I (Jill) sleep in double beds with our youngest sisters, Jordyn and Josie, and the other girls sleep in twin- or youth-sized beds," which seems as good a time as any to clarify that our authors ranged in age from twenty to twenty-four years old at the time of this book's publication. But if you find yourself pitying the cramped conditions of the Duggar daughters, think again! Not only is it a delight to spend so much time surrounded by siblings, but the elder girls are often led towards profound truths by the innocent remarks of babes. To illustrate this point, Jill recounts a scene in which a young Johannah asked to wear her sister's retainer. Wise beyond her years, Jill gently denied the request, explaining that the retainer had been made to fit her mouth and couldn't be worn by the small girl (a small blessing, as I can absolutely imagine the Duggar family passing down a single retainer from child to child for a decade or more). But what sagacious insights should we glean from this touching tale?
Thinking about that conversation later reminded me that we can't conform ourselves to other people's molds. But we try sometimes, don't we?
It's so comforting to remind myself that I was molded for Jesus's mouth only -- why would I try to adapt to the crooked canines of this fallen world? We are next provided with a list of "ten aspects of life" that God wants us to accept. These range from the blatantly problematic -- "whether we're a girl or boy" -- to the bafflingly sinister -- "the date we will die." When it comes to the more physical aspects of your aesthetic presentation, however, a lack of effort is unbecoming. Or, as the Duggar Girls reminisce:
We heard a pastor say one time, "Any ol' barn looks better with some paint on it!"
The girls also explain their convictions regarding modest attire -- "we want to be respectful of those around us." Personally, I've always attempted to show respect to others by presuming that they have the emotional and cognitive wherewithal to avoid turning into some kind of raving hormonal beast at a bit of tasteful sideboob. But that's why I'm not the one writing an advice book!! Thankfully, in this day and age, a number of options exist for those who want to be both chic and chaste. For example:
Several of our friends have purchased stunning dresses from designers such as www.beautifullymodest.com or www.totallymodest.com.
I'm rather partial to inordinatelymodest.com myself, although the sales at bewilderinglymodest.com just can't be beat! But our gracious authors bring us back down to earth, reminding us that there are far more important things in life than the frivolous fads of fashion -- namely (as we begin Chapter 2), "Your Relationship with Your Parents: Love, respect, and communication."
In order to facilitate these crucial lines of open and honest communication across such an innumerable brood, we learn that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have made the radical decision to carve out dedicated time for one-on-one conversations with each child -- "usually on one Saturday a month." These precious monthly check-ins with one (or, on a particularly special occasion, both!) parents provide an opportunity for otherwise scant face-to-face contact, and also allow the Duggar parents to exercise some of their more cutting-edge parenting techniques. For example, our authors let us in on one particularly hard-earned pearl of wisdom practiced by their beloved parents -- "often to help get the conversation going, they'll ask us questions."
With such a lofty standard being proffered, I understand how intimidating it may be to even attempt to incorporate such advanced strategies into your own parenting repertoire. But rest assured -- in case you have yet to acquire the child-reading confidence necessary to formulate such thoughtful queries on your own, I've taken the liberty of transcribing a few of the book's most incisive inquiries to help you parent like a pro.
How's your thought life going?

What things about your past would you like to change?

What things in our family discourage you?
"Discouraging" is exactly the word I would use to describe Michelle Duggar's bedragged coiffure, although something tells me that's not exactly the kind of confession that line of questioning is designed to draw out. A subsequent passage emphasizes the importance of obedience, which we learn should be "instant," "cheerful," "thorough," and "unconditional." Such instruction is necessary, as the Duggar Girls explain, because "we are all born with a sin nature." Similar to the appendix, the "sin nature" is a vestigial organ that humans retain as a remnant of our distant evolutionary past -- at least, according to the heathens who indulge in that sort of paleobiological storytelling. And if such instructions still seem overly domineering to your unenlightened mind, this adage from George Orwell's 1984 the Institute in Basic Life Principles may help reframe your mindset:
Obedience is the freedom to be creative under God-given authority.
We transition from this doubleplusgood quote into the next chapter: "Your Relationship with Your Siblings: Becoming best friends," in which the authors waste no time in assuring us that the Duggar siblings "range from outdoorsy types to computer geeks, animal lovers to bookworms." Plus, I can only assume, a brain, an athlete, a basket-case, a princess, and a criminal. We go on to learn that the clan represents "a diverse assortment of personalities, interests, strengths, and weaknesses." Which sounds suspiciously like the noncommittal vagueness of someone who has never before possessed a character trait more forceful than, perhaps, a vague appreciation for wainscoting. Inevitably, however, these differences in temperament lead to vicious conflict. For example, as Jessa tremulously recounts:
An incident many years ago served as a lesson to us all. A younger sibling asked, "What kind of ice cream are you getting?" and the frustrated older sibling replied, "You don't have to always copy everything I do! Why don't you just pick out your own flavor?"
Mom immediately took that older sibling aside and shared how much hurt and devastation a remark like that causes. […] Apologies were made, and the younger sibling readily forgave. The older sibling resolved to never speak demeaning words like that again but rather to embrace and uplift this sibling, and today, these two continue to be the best of friends.
I find it truly inspirational to know that even this -- the most unimaginably devastating of sibling brawls -- could be delivered from the brink of schism and restored to genuine affection. Yet it is not just sibling relationships that must be navigated with this sort of grace and levelheadedness. No, as we learn in the next chapter -- "Your Relationship with Friends: 'Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future'" -- it is important to shrewdly evaluate our friendships to assess their effects in our lives. To illustrate this point, the Duggar Girls encourage us to be mindful of the influence we exert over our loved ones.
Think about your last conversation with your friend. Did it lovingly challenge him or her spiritually?
I think back to a time when a dear friend lovingly challenged me to take edibles and re-watch the first season of Double Divas -- surely this is the kind of spiritual development that a true confidante should inspire! The authors also relay a parable that their parents shared with them as children to demonstrate the importance of standing up for your convictions. In the apocryphal tale, a young girl begs her father to allow her to attend a friend's slumber party. He agrees -- provided she promises to uphold her Christian morals -- and sends her off after a parting moment of prayer. But what began as a carefree romp soon turns sinister, as the chilling saga continues:
The party was lots of fun, and the girl had a great time playing with her friends. And of course, what is a birthday party without a big piece of cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream? But late that night, before bed, the mom suggested they have a "pretend séance" using a Ouija board.
When the girl heard what this involved, she said respectfully and quietly to the group, "I'm not going to be able to do this."
When the mom asked why not, the girl replied, "I've given my life to Jesus, and I'm not able to do things like this."
The mother was stunned by the little girl's words -- and by her quiet courage in speaking up for her beliefs. She packed up the Ouija board and suggested the girls play something else before bed.
And that mother's name? Albert Einstein. But truly -- I can only hope to one day have even one fraction of the courage shown by this young girl, in this absolutely true story that definitely without-a-doubt one-hundred-percent happened. A more believable anecdote quickly follows, however, this time starring a young Jim Bob Duggar in the role of "huge nerd".
Dad became a Christian when he was only seven, and one day when he and some other little grade school classmates were out on the playground, one of the boys started using God's name as a curse word. Dad quietly told the boy he wished he wouldn't misuse God's name. "After all," Dad told his little friend, "He's the One who made us and loves us."
Following in her father's smarmy footsteps, Jessa encourages the reader to eschew those friends who are only concerned with "watching all the newest movies, listening to the latest pop music, and judging others whom they deemed 'not cool.'" We are also treated to the compelling account of an accident at one of the family's rental properties, in which several cases of energy drinks exploded within a warehouse. By the time this tragic mishap was discovered weeks later, "the energy drinks had actually eroded away a layer of the concrete -- in some places, a half-inch deep!" The moral of this story, as we are solemnly advised, is that "the same thing happens to us when we spend lots of time with 'friends' who may seem sweet and appealing but who are exerting a harmful influence on our hearts." I would have thought a more telling moral would have been "Probably don't drink energy drinks" (or perhaps, "Check on your rental properties more frequently"), but I digress.
Our rollicking ride continues with another of Jim Bob's classic legends: "the story of a nice, likeable young man who grew up in a Christian home but eventually became a drug addict." Eyes wide with horror at the very thought, I read on. After making the grave error of surrounding himself with people whose "sole purpose in life was to 'have a good time,'" this unnamed man soon finds himself ensnared in a perilous trap. Then, on one fateful night, he attends a party and is handed a beer by a passing stranger.
At first he just stood there holding the beer in his hand, smiling and contemplating what he would do. He had never had a desire to drink, but he did not want to feel like an outsider, so when no one was looking he poured half the beer into a nearby potted plant. A little later his friend came by and said, "You didn’t drink any, did you?" Then, grabbing the bottle out of his hand, he noticed that it was half empty. "Hey, guys, he's one of us!" the friend announced to everyone.
Shorty after that the young man started drinking; later he got introduced to drugs. How sad that one, seemingly small decision started him on a path of self-destruction.
I can only assume the rest of that pivotal party went more or less like this. A bone-chilling illustration of just how slippery a slope can be!
We move along to a more cheerful topic in Chapter Five, which switches gears to focus on "Your Relationship with Guys: Saving yourself for the one God has for you." Here, too, we are greeted by the eternal words of our communal patriarch-in-spirit, JBD:
About the time we entered our teenage years, Dad told us a story about a girl he went to school with in elementary and junior high school who was boy-crazy. […] He said he wondered at that early age if eventually this girl would find Mr. Right or if her habit of throwing herself into relationship after relationship would prove to be preparation for a future unstable marriage.
Sadly enough, when this girl finally got married, it didn't last long, and that same pattern of discontent, insecurity, and self-centeredness that had affected her dating also affected her marriage.
Prior to today, I would have found it hard to believe that anyone else could be quite as smugly infuriating as Jim Bob Duggar. But -- if even half of the stories I've read in this book so far are to be believed -- he's gotten only more mellow with age. It's a level of condescending smarm I wouldn't tolerate from a distant great-aunt desperate for an heir to her vast fortune, let alone from the insufferable schoolboy herein described. Nevertheless, my thoughts and prayers go out to this pitiable Jane Doe -- our nation's epidemic of Boy-Craziness has wreaked havoc on so many communities, no doubt the devastating consequence of 5G, vaccines, and/or the 19th amendment.
In order to avoid such dangerous impulses, a responsible woman should take care to abstain from romance novels -- "they paint a picture of an unrealistic, unobtainable relationship." I'm not exactly sure what part of Her Country Star Billionaire Groom seems so "unrealistic" to these narrow-minded nincompoops, but I'll table that conversation for another time. We have more important things to attend to at the moment. Namely, the continuing explanation that, for women, romance novels do "the same thing pornography does to men." I'm grateful for this analogy -- as the most delicate of damsels, I'm not even really sure what pornography is, let alone what about it those mysterious menfolk could possibly find so stimulating! But I do know that warm tingly feeling I get when I cuddle up late at night with a thick, beefy Harlequin Romance!
Alas, it is this very indulgence may prove to be my undoing! As we soon learn:
When a girl reads romance novels, she's doing something very similar [to watching pornography], drawing perfectionistic, romantic pictures into her mind of what she thinks marriage is.
This is a sentiment that, prior to the publication of the book I hold before me, had been most recently proffered by the famed Scottish wordsmith Charlotte Lennox in her 1752 novel, The Female Quixote, and I appreciate our authors for bringing light to such an underrecognized talent. The Duggar Girls continue our intellectual escapades with a reminder that "God put that deep need to be loved and accepted in our hearts so that He could be the one to fulfill it." As an astute pupil of the cultural arts, I immediately recognize this approach as step three of the D.E.N.N.I.S. System (Nurture Dependence).
For this vast array of reasons -- as eager as we may be to go to pound-town tie the knot -- we are cautioned to remain patient until our fated suitor arrives, engaging ourselves in trivial, non-threatening pursuits like "teaching younger girls" or "seeking out ways to bless others through ministry." We should also make it a priority to hone our skills of resistance when it comes to those worrisome "intrusions of lust" that Satan embeds within even the most innocent of minds.
We like to think of [these thoughts] as a live hand grenade coming our direction, and before it explodes we quickly pick it up and throw it right back at the devil.
I can only assume that this what Bruno Mars was trying to convey with his hit song, "Grenade" -- the intertextuality never ceases to amaze me! The Duggar Girls go on to demonstrate their dexterous command of the metaphor -- "We give God the position as 'boss' and 'ruler' of our lives, and we release the 'steering wheel' to His control." -- before highlighting ways to serve God regardless of your marital status. For example, "visiting places like Honduras and sharing the gospel with villagers is a ministry opportunity our family greatly treasures." And by "places like Honduras," I'm sure they mean, "places with countless centuries of rich cultural heritage ravaged by colonial conquest and its lingering effects," and not "places where brown people live." Pretty sure, at least.
But even once you've managed to attract the attentions of your future beloved, you must take care to guard yourself from falling too quickly. To ensure that you don't award your affections to an unworthy suitor (thus irrevocably tainting your eternal purity), the Duggars suggest asking the following questions:
Is his passion in life for earthy money or for eternal riches and rewards?

Does he have a vision for his life of doing great things for God?

Is he a man of character, showing initiative, creativity, diligence, enthusiasm, and wisdom?
I'm 99% sure that "initiative, creativity, diligence, enthusiasm, and wisdom" are the primary attributes from a knockoff version of Dungeons & Dragons -- who knew the Duggar girls were so into RPGs? (I guess they did warn us earlier that some of the family members are "computer geeks").
In the next several passages, the authors explain the "very real and very purposeful differences" between dating (bad!) and courtship (good!). First, they highlight a number of treacherous threats that pervade modern romantic culture.
A danger of modern dating is that it is typically two young people, alone, enjoying an activity. Usually a guy invites a girl out to a nice restaurant or some fun place or event. They enjoy a carefree time without the responsibility of the normal tasks and pressures of life.
I'm almost too overcome with terror at the thought of such a wretched situation! But somehow, (mostly by channeling the immeasurable determination of someone only allowed to show affection through three-second side hugs) I find the strength to read on. But to my despair, even more tragedies await me! As we are instructed to imagine:
What could be worse than having to tell your potential future husband that not only did you not wait but that you also have a severely painful STD that he will likely get if he marries you?
Not a SEVERELY painful STD?! But idk, lots of things could be worse than that, probably? Maybe it's just my overactive imagination, but it seems like you could knock out that whole conversation in one night over a bottle of wine, particularly given ongoing advances in modern medicine. But it seems I still have more to learn -- as I soon read:
Physical intimacy in marriage is pure, wholesome, and beautiful. Outside of marriage, it spreads disease, death, and destruction.
I've never really thought of myself as a "sower of destruction" before, but…I don't hate it. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what kind of casualties ensue the next time I have sex with my live-in boyfriend. As they say, nothing spices up the sex life like ascending to your thrones as eternal agents of pestilence and devastation!
Our next tip for identifying an ideal mate encourages "meaningful conversations about history, politics, theology, and such" -- I can only assume that the extensive footage of this intellectual discourse is edited out from the family's show at the demands of tyrannical production companies. But while those easily titillated minds might prefer to focus on worldly concerns, our authors are courteous enough to remind us of what truly matters. While he doesn't have to be "the best-looking hunk of human flesh ever created," it is vital that any potential partner practice "the fine old art of gentlemanly chivalry." As the Duggar Girls explain,
A gentleman's courtesy is not about women being weak or strong: it's about men needing to be men.
Jim Bob, as one would expect, exemplifies these virtues. We are regaled with recollections of his many demonstrations of decorum throughout his storied marriage:
Years ago, he was working on honoring Mom in several specific ways, including remembering to open the car door for her.
As soon as I finish reading this book, I'm going to get right to work on a list of specific ways that my boyfriend can work on honoring me -- I'm sure he'll be very appreciative for the guidance!
However, before I can get to that, I must tackle my next lesson: "Understanding What Christian Guys Look For in a Future Wife." Based on an admittedly "small and totally unscientific survey" of their male acquaintances, the Duggar Girls are able to share with us a few explosive secrets. For example, the ideal wife "has a hunger and thirst after righteousness" and promises to "faithfully help [her husband] grow deeper spiritually." What's more, she should also be "involved in some sort of ministry -- preferably music ministry." The chapter concludes with a convenient list of commitments for the reader, including pledges to "choose wholesome activities" and avoid "bad Internet sites."
In Chapter Six, the Duggar Girls lead the reader to examine "Your Relationship with Culture: Making choices that will keep you pure." Almost immediately, we are cautioned that
With just a few clicks of a keyboard, the Internet gives us the ability to research any subject. But it also has the potential to destroy the souls of those who get entangled in its dark side.
And lest you think this is hyperbole, our authors reiterate that "it is not a matter of if but when Satan will try to tempt us." As a thought exercise, the reader is encouraged to reflect: "would your Internet choices be the same when you were all alone as they would be when someone were sitting beside you?" In particular, the girls draw attention to the seedy underbelly of harmful gossip sites, breezily brushing off these piteous busybodies with the following bit of clever wordplay:
We've heard that some discussion boards or chat rooms might be better named bitter rooms because those drawn to them often seem rather bitter.
As our quipsters continue, "unfortunately, some people seem to derive much pleasure from nit-picking other people's lives." Thankfully, I derive my pleasure from nitpicking other people's books, so I'm totally in the clear on this one! Our authors encourage us to reform these renegade impulses by explaining that when we stop wasting time on mindless pursuits, we'll find ourselves becoming more productive, enterprising individuals. As a result of this ideology, we learn that "by age ten, John was working on and operating heavy equipment." I'm unimpressed -- call me when you've got a three-year-old on woodchipper duty. Regardless, it is clearly far safer than its petrifying alternative -- exposure to the horrors of television.
And what, pray tell, might these horrors be? Magic -- "which often shows up in children's movies" -- is revealed to be "part of a demonic realm that God wants us to stay away from." As the authors solemnly intone, "as harmless as it may seem, it's not a joke in God's eyes." Graciously, the Duggars have deigned to provide several reliably pure entertainment options:
many of the old classics that promote honesty, respect of parents, and reverence for God

educational documentaries that teach about science and history from a biblical perspective

many carefully selected episodes of The Andy Griffith Show as long as they are not centered around a lot of romance or deceptiveness, as some of them are
With regard to making appropriate music choices, "much prayerful consideration" is required, lest we "bring a blot to the name and character of the God we represent." However, in order to guide our future reflections, the Duggar Girls go on to provide a helpful technique for assessing acoustic chastity.
Soon after Mom became a Christian at the age of fifteen, a friend encouraged her to write out the lyrics of questionable songs and then compare them to the truths found in the Bible. For instance, if a song's lyrics are saying, "Follow your heart. Do what feels good," we compare it to the Bible and find that […] we're not supposed to follow our hearts, as that will only get us in trouble.
I suppose that means I'll have to rethink my upcoming single, "Follow Your Heart (Do What Feels Good)," but that will have to wait until I've fully absorbed all the insights this book has to offer. For example, as I read on, I learn that I should be particularly suspicious of "rock 'n' roll and its variations such as hard rock and heavy metal." As the authors expound:
Since its beginnings in the 1950s, this music's main goal and purpose have been to promote every one of the issues we want to avoid. A heavy backbeat and words being sung in a breathy and sensual voice -- and even the style of rock 'n' roll music itself -- give off an attitude of rebellion, resistance toward authority, and a rejection of morality. None of these things come without consequences.
Lest you think that our authors are merely being alarmist, they go on to explain that when they "examined the lives of many of these artists," they were dismayed to conclude that "the life expectancy for rock artists and musicians is around forty; many of them die at a young age for reasons related to AIDS, drug or alcohol abuse, or suicides. It's a tragic reality." Far less perilous to enjoy "classical music and traditional hymns," as they are known to "follow a pattern and maintain a very distinct and definite order."
With this final injunction, we move on to the volume's penultimate chapter, "Your Relationship with Your Country: Making a difference in the political arena." My attention is instantly captured by the opening sentence, which informs the reader that "God used a series of supernatural events to clearly lead our family into making a difference in the world of politics." The "supernatural event" in question turns out to be the undeniably divine miracle of Jim Bob Duggar…finding out about a rally against "partial-birth abortion" and then…attending it. I can only imagine how much more wondrous the world must seem if such a banal and explainable episode is sufficient to incite veritable fits of exaltation.
But this portent is just the beginning of Papa Duggar's political career, and I read on to learn even more about "the values Dad stood for." Although this lineup presumably does not include any sort of commitment to avoiding sentence-ending prepositions, it does include a promise to vote "the right way on life-and-death issues."
Before long, Jim Bob "felt God urging him to run for the US Senate," and although he loses the election, publicity from the campaign eventually brings about the family's first taste of national media attention. After much prayer and "wise, godly counsel," the family agrees to be filmed for a reality show -- "we agreed to do it based upon our hope that it would enable our family to share encouraging Bible principles with many other people." And indeed, the family now receives "hundred of letters and e-mails" per week from viewers who have been "spiritually challenged" by watching the series.
But rest assured -- "Dad's loss in that Senate campaign did not end our involvement in politics." If you, too, would like to follow our authors' example and become more civically engaged, you could "find a conservative Christian who is running for office and then call and ask them where he or she stands on the issues." I suppose I should give them a modicum of credit for the inclusive phrasing, "he or she," but the fact that I don't have the slightest doubt as to the intended meaning of "the issues," prevents me from even a half-hearted endorsement of this sentiment.
Blessedly, however, we've reached our story's denouement -- a final chapter entitled, "Your Relationship with the World: Developing a servant's heart." Jill tearfully recounts a ministry trip to El Salvador, taking care to highlight the contrast between the "iron-barred windows" of government orphanages and the "love-filled" Christian facility the group goes on to visit. What accounts for this stark discrepancy? "They've fed these children not only with food for their tummies but also food for their spiritual lives." As Jessa quips, "It is so neat to see how God works." Of course, as you might have suspected, the Duggar Girls quickly realized that, "as with every trip, it was clear that we were the ones who'd gotten the biggest blessings." Truly -- the engagement you get from an Instagram post featuring a bona fide orphan is worth more than any financial reward one could ever hope to gain on this mortal plane!
We next learn about Jill and Jana's experiences with the local volunteer fire department. Mercifully, this endeavor doesn’t necessitate as many Rugged Man Skills as you might assume, and the two are able to respond to such dainty predicaments as "a little old lady's cat stuck in a tree" and "a kid with his lip stuck in a sippie cup" without jeopardizing their feminine delicacy. Jill next shares more about her journey with midwifery. As she reassures us, it's not just "Christian, homeschooling moms" who opt for home deliveries, but "single moms" as well!
Jana, in contrast, tells us that she "[feels] called to focus on childbirth coaching and prenatal preparation instead of 'running the show,' as Jill does so competently when she serves as midwife." And Jinger has been called to minister at "the juvenile detention center in our area," which she fashionably abbreviates as "juvy" to highlight her comfort with urban vernacular.
As I read on, I learn more about the Duggar family's love of music, which is far more diverse and expansive than one might initially assume. For example, did you know that the Duggars "enjoy traditional music as well as classical," or that a young Joy-Anna was encouraged to undertake the daring pursuit of "[learning] to play the violin 'fiddle-style'"?
As these examples illustrate, God's gifts can take a myriad of forms! For this reason, we go on to learn about the importance of "learning how to give an enthusiastic, friendly greeting to others." This technique is a surefire way to spark a deep and meaningful conversation with anyone you may encounter. And, in the most dire of emergencies, "we know we can shoot up a little flare-prayer and God is always able to give us the words to say." However, one should always take appropriate caution "not to be too overly friendly with people of the opposite gender, as that can send the wrong kind of message!"
As luck would have it, we have only to look to the Duggar parents to find examples of more decorous ways to approach intimate dialogues. As we learn:
Many times our parents have guests over and then ask if it would be okay if we watch one of Jim Sammons's Financial Freedom Seminar messages together from embassyinstitute.org and then discuss it afterward. Once they watch one message, most people want to go through the whole series.
With a few final nuggets of wisdom, the volume comes to a close. The authors graciously offer an obligatory apology for daring to burden the reader with their inane female ramblings -- "Thank you for sticking with us through this super-long chapter!" As they continue:
We know we've shared a lot of concepts about relationships, but it is our prayer that God will direct and encourage you as you begin to make them part of your own lives.
As you go off and begin your own personal journey towards relationship rapture, you may find encouragement in the idea that -- despite their celebrated name -- the Duggar Girls are not just some faceless paragons of virtue. As the author biographies on the back inside cover remind us, these are regular people, with their own unique interests and capacities. While Jessa might be found "memorizing scripture" or "discipling friends," Jill would rather spend her time "counseling girls via phone, text, in person, or email." Jana "stays busy managing the family mailroom," and Jinger? She's "always full of energy, that is, when she has a cup of coffee in her hand!"
And with that cheeky witticism, I close the book and begin my quest towards docile, denim Duggarhood -- I wish you nothing but blessings as you enter this season of life!
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The Hand in Mine

The hand in mine used to be my little sister’s. Ava was born when I was twelve, and she looked up to me the way most children looked up to their parents, not their siblings. Her father abandoned us a few months before she was born and our mother worked long hours at menial jobs to provide for us, so I ended up being Ava’s world.
I understood the pressure my mother was under, and I loved my little sister, so I never complained about babysitting after school and during the summers. Ava was mischievous, loving, precocious, and had a stubborn streak that rivaled mine, and I devoted every free moment to her.
Although she did love our mother, I was the one Ava came to when she had stories to share, wanted answers to a question, or was frightened by nightmares. Her attachment to me was fed by her admiration, and I enjoyed being her protector and guide as we navigated the world together.
With Ava’s hand in mine, we would walk to the park or the library and spend the afternoons there until suppertime, which is when we would go home so I could cook, do my homework, and clean the house. After supper, I would sing Ava to sleep and leave dinner in the oven for our mother before turning in for the night.
The next morning during breakfast, Ava would perform the highlights of the previous day to our mother, her innocent exuberance softening the looming stress of the grueling day ahead. It was a routine we had grown accustomed to and we made the most of it, thankful for our health and each other.
After graduating high school, I chose to stay home and help my mother support the family. She opposed my decision, insisting that I apply for scholarships and follow my dreams, but I told her my dreams could wait. I didn't want Ava to feel abandoned at such a young age. My mother gave me a tight, grateful hug and promised she would try to take a few days off so we could have our first family road trip.
That road trip created unforgettable memories, all tarnished in a single instant when a drunk driver collided with our car, taking my sister’s life along with his own. My mother and I survived, but not without misfortune. Along with our injuries and grief, our stay at the hospital revealed that I would be losing my entire left arm and that she had previously undiagnosed cancer.
After we were discharged, I remained with my mother. The funeral and our medical expenses had left us in debt and our loss had wrung our hearts, we needed each other. It was a difficult road for us, learning to cope with our mourning, her diagnosis, my amputation, and our poverty.
With my inability to leave the house during my recovery, and with no close family and no time for friends, the entire burden fell on my indomitable mother as she held three jobs that left her exhausted, her hands rough and cracked. Yet she never once complained and accepted her fate with grace.
Without my sister to devote my time to, I doubled down on the housework to make up for my uselessness, but this proved to be a challenge. Although I didn't lose my dominant hand, I still had to relearn how to calibrate my balance and perform basic tasks such as washing up, dressing, eating, cleaning, and cooking.
It didn't help that my brain continued believing my left arm existed, leading me to rely on my phantom limb to support myself or hold things. With my well-intentioned help more often than not ending up catastrophic, my mother suggested I take it easy until I got used to my new state. I reluctantly agreed.
One evening, as I was crying in my room, a startling sensation in my phantom limb interrupted my self-loathing. I sat up, my tears forgotten as I stared at the empty space where my arm would be. I felt a hand in mine. A small, soft, familiar hand gripping me tight. As tight as when we used to cross the streets to go to the park or the library.
“Ava?” I whispered.
The fingers pressed down one after the other the way Ava’s did when she was happy, and my tears started anew. I ran to my mother, and after the initial shock of being woken up, she hugged me as we both wept in a mixture of sorrow and exaltation. She wiped my tears with her calloused, boney fingers and said this was my sister’s way of thanking me for being there for her by now being there for me.
Ava’s hand never faltered, providing me with comfort throughout the duration of my recovery. Her constant presence also served to keep my left arm occupied, and my mind grew to accept the permanent contact and stopped volunteering my phantom limb to perform impossible tasks.
In return, I resumed singing to Ava at night. Her grip would never go lax the way a sleeping person’s would, but I knew she enjoyed it as her fingers pressed down one after the other to the melody.
With my mother and sister’s support, I adapted to my new reality as I learned to manage my pain and maneuver without difficulty. Once I felt capable of holding down a job, I walked into town armed with optimism, my resume, and my mother’s blessing.
As I navigated the sidewalks, I found myself subconsciously following my sister’s subtle tugging. Now aware of her guidance, curiosity took over and I followed until I ended up at Henrietta’s Health Hut. Confused, I walked in, and Henrietta welcomed me with more compassion than usual.
Aware of our circumstances, she asked if I needed a job and offered me a part-time cashier position. I was beyond grateful. The next day, when Ava guided me to Earl’s Auto, I had my resume ready and managed to secure a part-time job cleaning and polishing his rows of used cars. A week later, Ava guided me to BenjaPins, where Benjamin hired me as the evening counter attendant at his bowling alley.
My mother and I came to call Ava my guardian angel. Whenever she tugged at my hand, I followed her lead. Sometimes she would usher me towards opportunities, sometimes she would protect me from injury or unsavory situations, and sometimes the purpose of her guidance was a mystery, but I always abided without hesitation.
Yet, despite my guardian angel’s help, my mother and I weren't able to earn enough to pay off our debts nor were we able to afford chemotherapy or medical relief. After four months, my mother became too weak for her labor-intensive jobs and had to resign.
In desperation, I reached out to the community. I took a day off to set up a donations stand in front of the local library, and a few sympathetic people passed by to offer their support and donations. Our town’s residents weren't wealthy, so every penny was received with heartfelt gratitude.
After seeking charity for most of the day, the sun began to set and foot traffic dwindled. Ava tugged at my arm, signaling it was time to go, and I rubbed the fatigue and tears out of my eyes as I packed up to head home.
Distracted by my morose thoughts and Ava’s impatient tugging, I fumbled with my poster and jumped in surprise when a pair of hands reached out to help. Ava’s tugging became urgent and I tensed up as I turned to face the stranger, only to have my breath taken by a pair of expressive, brown eyes.
“Hey there! Didn’t mean to scare you,” the young woman said with a bright smile. “Just looked like you could use some help. Whatcha got here?” She took my poster and inspected it, her sunny expression shifting to sorrow. “Oh, I’m sorry about your mother. How’d the fundraising go?”
“Everyone helped as much as they could,” I replied, my pulse racing with a mixture of emotions. Her breezy confidence was unusual in our town, and I wondered if that was why my guardian angel was apprehensive. “Are you new here? I don’t think I’ve seen you around before.”
“Yup.” She smiled and reached a hand out. “The name’s Quinn. I inherited my uncle’s house after he passed away. Got me out of the hellhole I was in before, just wish he left me some money too!”
She chuckled and I couldn’t help but smile, my wariness ebbing despite Ava’s agitation.
“Welcome. I’m Mia,” I said, shaking her hand. “I’m sorry to hear about your uncle.”
“Don’t be, he died doing what he loved, the old kook. You may’ve known him, he used to own the Sugar Daddy candy shop round the corner here before he shut it down.” She leaned over, her breath minty as she whispered, “A bit of a risqué name for this quaint little town, if you ask me.”
I laughed, trying to ignore the butterflies in my stomach. “He did get a lot of flak for that, but he was really generous so people forgave him. He used to give my sister and me free gummy bears.”
“That’s the guy!” She rolled up my poster and snapped a rubber band around it, her gaze lingering on my collections box. “How much did you make?”
Ava’s warning returned to the forefront and I slid the box closer to me, gripping it tight. “None of your business.”
“You’re right, you’re right, I’m sorry. That was pretty rude of me. I was just asking because I don’t think you’d be able to collect enough with this method. Have you tried asking for donations online?”
Her sincerity was disarming. “No, I don’t know how to do that,” I replied after a second of hesitation.
“I do. If you have time, we can go up to the library right now and set it up.”
Quinn gave me a warm smile, and I eased up as I smiled back. “That’s really kind of you, thank you.”
We spent the early evening in the library as we set up a crowdfunding campaign, and Ava’s tugging became background noise as Quinn’s earnest advice and unreserved personality drew me in. It was only when I felt a sharp pain in my phantom limb that I jumped in shock, aware that I had been ignoring my guardian angel.
I blathered out a mixture of appreciation and apology before I left Quinn at the library, flustered and ashamed as I wondered if Ava had wanted me to go back because my mother needed me. I ran home, expecting the worst, and I sighed in relief when my mother greeted me with a tired yet affectionate smile.
I didn’t understand Ava’s actions, but I was certain there was a valid reason behind them. She always guided me right and I was grateful for her protection and help. Yet, I couldn’t help but acknowledge how, had I listened to her, I never would have met Quinn who offered me hope in our darkest time.
The crowdfunding campaign was a moderate success and it raised a decent amount. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. The doctors said the money would be better spent making my mother comfortable during her last months, so I hired a stay-at-home nurse to tend to her while I worked my three jobs to support us and pay off our debts.
I wished I could thank Quinn for her help, but we never exchanged contact information nor did we ever bump into each other on the streets. I assumed she may have realized this town was too small for her, sold her uncle’s place, and left to the greener pastures my mother always wished for me.
I tried to never question Ava’s counsel again, but one afternoon, my obedience was tested during my one-hour break between jobs. On Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s, my sister would guide me to The Sub Bus, a sandwich shop near Henrietta’s Health Hut, but today was Monday and I was looking forward to Grover’s tomato soup.
As I neared Grover’s Café, Ava pulled my arm in the opposite direction and I stumbled to a halt, my smile fading in disappointment. I turned to walk away, but my cravings made me look back, my mouth twisted in deliberation. I calculated a quick compromise: instead of dining in, I would take my tomato soup to go.
I took a few hopeful steps towards the café, but Ava yanked my arm in the opposite direction once again. Sighing in defeat, I acquiesced, certain my guardian angel was protecting me from some perceived danger. I shuffled away, only to jump as someone called out to me.
“Hey, Mia, wait!”
I turned around, and my mouth fell open when I saw Quinn running up to me, a Grover’s Café apron tied around her waist. Ava frantically pulled at my arm, but I didn’t listen as my heart performed a few somersaults.
“Have you been avoiding me?” Quinn asked as she stood in front of me, her arms crossed. “I know you come to Grover’s when I’m not working there because he keeps raving about the one-armed girl who lives for his tomato soup. And today I take over Carrie’s shift and, here you are, playing tug-of-war with yourself, afraid to come in.”
“What? No! I didn’t even know…”
I trailed off, my eyes expanding as I realized the lengths my guardian angel had gone to just to keep Quinn and me apart. Ava had an aversion to Quinn herself, I just didn’t know why.
Misreading my reaction, Quinn laughed. “Hey, I’m just kidding. Didn’t mean to put you on the spot.” A hopeful look replaced her joviality. “How’s your mother? Did the crowdfunding work?”
Her concern eased my mind. “Oh, yes, it did. It wasn’t enough for chemo, but she now has meds and an in-home nurse always with her. Doris is amazing, so I can work knowing my mom's in good hands.” After a beat, I shrugged off my sister’s forceful tugging and said, “I’d like to thank you. Can I treat you to coffee sometime?”
Quinn grinned. “How about in fifteen minutes?”
“Oh, um, I have to be at Earl’s Auto in forty-five. And after, I work at BenjaPins ‘til midnight.”
“Then come in. We’ll get you some tomato soup and after my shift I’ll join you for the remaining half-hour and walk you to Earl’s. How’s that?”
I smiled. “Okay.”
Hoping to understand why Ava’s reaction to Quinn conflicted with mine, I hit Quinn with rapid-fire questions more personal and intense than the ones I had asked in the library. She replied with humor and candor, joking that this wasn’t the first time she’d been interrogated, and I found myself captivated by her experiences and outlook.
In return, she hit me back with her own rapid-fire questions and listened to my answers with interest. Although life had taught me early on to guard my inclination, the ease I felt sharing my history, dreams, and interests with Quinn pushed the initial attraction to the next level.
I didn't solve the mystery of Ava’s aversion, and I didn't care. When I went home later that evening, I was exhausted yet exhilarated, a bounce in my step as I told my mother the news. She was so happy for me that I omitted the mention of my guardian angel’s disapproval.
To appease my sister, I continued to follow her leadership and sing her to sleep. She appeared to have forgiven me, not minding that Quinn and I kept in touch via phone calls and texts, but when it came to seeing Quinn in person again, Ava wasn’t pleased.
Quinn and I met up at a shabby arcade not far from where I lived. Despite Ava’s distraction, we managed to collect enough tickets to win a prize and I made a beeline towards the two-for-one keychains. I searched the baskets and narrowed my choices to the glittery plastic starfish.
“What’s your favorite color?” I asked Quinn.
“Orange. Yours?”
“I like blue,” I replied as I dug through the starfish until I found an orange one.
“Couldn’t you have said pink?” Quinn joked as she sifted through the predominantly pink collection.
I chuckled and clipped the orange starfish to the strap of my messenger bag. “Did you know starfish can regrow their arms if they lose them? But I’m glad I can’t, because then I wouldn’t have Av—”
I swallowed my words and Quinn looked up from the basket she was rummaging in. “Wouldn’t have a what?”
Throughout all our conversations, I never once mentioned my guardian angel. I didn’t want to then, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to now. Ava was something personal to me and I wasn’t ready to share her presence and influence with Quinn. Not yet.
“Nothing,” I said. “I just meant things happen for a reason, so we shouldn’t be upset or regretful because there might be a miracle behind it.”
“Deep,” Quinn said with an exaggerated nod of contemplation. “I had no idea you were so spiritual.”
She laughed as I gave her a playful nudge with my hip. “Oh, shush,” I said.
She resumed her search and managed to fish out an elusive blue starfish. She studied it for a few seconds, and I gasped when she snapped off one of its arms.
“What’d you do that for?” I asked.
Quinn gave me a mischievous smile. “To see if it’ll grow back.”
I smacked her shoulder and she chuckled as she clipped the starfish on the buckle of her backpack. “I think it looks perfect this way.” She hooked her arm in mine. “Come on, let’s get out of here. I feel like ice cream. My treat!”
While we shared a banana split, I winced as the sensations in my phantom limb evolved from urgent pulling to sharp pangs, almost as though Ava was digging her nails into my flesh.
Quinn noticed my discomfort. “You don’t look so hot, are you okay?”
“Yea, just standard phantom limb pain.” I grimaced after a particularly vicious pang, my stomach turning. “Actually, I’m sorry, I think I need to go home and rest.” I set my spoon down with an apologetic smile and stood up. “Thank you for the ice cream. Next time we should try Poppy’s, my treat.”
Quinn stood up as well. “Sure, but I’m not letting you walk alone like this.”
“It’s okay, I'll be fine. I live in the opposite direction of you anyways.”
“I don’t care if you live in Timbuktu,” she said, tossing the leftover ice cream in the trash. “Let’s get you home.”
She hooked her arm in mine, supporting me the entire walk to my house, and she gave me a quick peck on the lips before we bid each other goodnight. With my fluttering heart at odds with my abused limb, I researched all I could about Quinn online, but I couldn’t find a shred of evidence to support my guardian angel’s antipathy.
After asking Doris for some privacy, I told my mother the truth. She wiped my confused tears and held my hand in her calloused, boney ones, comforting me as we tried to come up with reason and remedy. She suggested that, as my guardian angel, Ava may be protecting me from the disapproving eyes of our straight-laced community.
To pacify my sister, I stroked the air where her hand would be latched onto mine and assured her I could handle myself. When the discomfort persisted, I sang to her for an entire hour until my voice became hoarse. She didn't relent and, giving up, I resorted to taking painkillers as I curled up next to my mother, her love and warmth soothing me to sleep.
The next morning, I was relieved to find Ava’s peaceful hand in mine, but her nails dug their way into my flesh again when I opened a message from Quinn. She had sent me a website detailing at-home remedies for phantom limb pain. Touched by her gesture, and frustrated by Ava, I tried to reassure my sister of my awareness and conviction, but she didn't release her vicious grip until after I closed the website.
The following weeks were a battle as my stubbornness challenged my guardian angel’s. I dutifully sang to her and followed her lead for every occasion, yet I wouldn't listen when it came to avoiding Quinn. In return, Ava punished me with her bitter tantrums.
Although the side glances Quinn and I got in public were a reality, I couldn't understand why Ava refused to acknowledge the positive influence Quinn had on my life as her presence lightened my mood, soothed my stress, and suspended my troubles.
When I introduced Quinn to my mother, it felt as though she had always been a part of the family. Even Doris took a liking to her as Quinn would drop by while I was at work to cheer my mother up with her anecdotes and jokes. I was certain my mother’s approval and happiness would convince Ava that Quinn wasn't a threat, but my sister remained stubborn.
Whenever Quinn noticed my pain, she would offer to help in any way. Once, as we sat in the mirrored booths of Lorraine’s Diner awaiting our milkshakes, Quinn began massaging my right arm while I looked at my reflection to force my brain into thinking it was my left arm. Her gentle touch satiated my heart, but it didn't dissuade Ava. It also didn't amuse Lorraine, who banned us from her diner.
Since Quinn got the last word in, proclaiming that Lorraine’s milkshakes tasted like curdled orc’s pus, we were also banned from other establishments run by Lorraine’s family. Two were hair salons and one was the daycare that had accepted Ava in return for my mother’s cleaning services, so Quinn and I weren't inconvenienced, but our exclusion only supported my guardian angel’s point of view.
After a particularly unpleasant day, we snuggled on the couch, and Quinn leaned her head against mine as she said, “One day, we’re going to leave this crappy town behind.”
“Yea, and find us a paradise 50,000 miles away.”
She chuckled. “That'd bring us right back here.”
“What do you mean?”
“50,000 miles is almost exactly twice around the world.”
“Oh...my mom always wishes for me to follow my dreams and find happiness 50,000 miles away from this miserable town.”
“You still could,” Quinn quickly said. “Sorry, I was just being pedantic. It's only true if we go around the fattest part of Earth, and my math's probably way off too.”
I smiled. "Or, maybe her wish was for me to find you, right here. Just in a roundabout way."
Emotion softened her eyes and she held me close as she joked, "Well, now that we've traveled 50,000 miles to find each other, finding a paradise far from this dump should be a piece of cake!"
Although traveling anywhere was a fanciful dream, I shared it with my sister, hoping to reassure her that the future was bright if we could just be patient, but patience was never one of Ava’s strong suits.
During the first few months, I tolerated the penalty, the happiness I felt being with Quinn outweighing any discomfort. But with each new date, the pain increased in duration and intensity until it was an agonizing constant. I would spend the nights crying as it felt like Ava was biting and clawing at my phantom limb with savage abandon.
Nothing provided relief and my strained, desperate singing failed to appease her. My mother would often stay up to soothe me and I felt terrible knowing how much pain she was in herself yet unable to reassure her as I sobbed against her frail body.
The torment reached a point where I could barely focus on my jobs. After receiving a barrage of complaints from customers returning the wrong-sized bowling shoes, what I dreaded most became reality when Benjamin remorsefully had to let me go.
Devastated, I knew Ava had won. I discussed the options with my mother, and she gave me a sad smile and wished me strength as we both agreed on what I had to do. With a heavy heart, I invited Quinn over.
The moment she saw my face, she held my clammy, trembling hand in concern. “What’s going on? Is it your mom?”
“No. My mom’s okay. As okay as she could be.”
Quinn swept the damp hair off my forehead. “Is it your phantom limb? I don’t get why you refuse to see a specialist. Doris is right, suffering like this isn’t normal. I keep telling you we can set up another crowdfunding campaign.”
“No. Quinn, I…” I pushed through the pain and took a nervous breath. “Remember when I told you about my little sister?”
“Yes. Ava, right?”
I nodded. “Well, I never told you that she…she holds my hand. My left hand. She’s been helping me, leading me far from all the bad stuff and guiding me to all the good stuff in my life. And from the first day I met you, she’s been trying to pull me away.”
“So, she doesn’t think I’m one of the ‘good stuff’ in your life?” Quinn asked, half-joking as she tried to follow along.
“I know it sounds crazy,” I said holding back tears, “but she’s the reason I have this pain. She’s hurting me because she’s angry I disobeyed her. She doesn’t want us to be together.”
Quinn let go of my hand and frowned in confusion. “Wait, you’re serious? You want me to believe that your little sister’s ghost is punishing you for dating me by taking it out on your missing arm?”
I nodded, sniffling. “You’re an amazing person, Quinn. You’re the reason I’ve been bearing all this pain. But I can’t, not anymore. It’s getting worse and I’ve already lost my job at BenjaPins. I can’t afford to get fired from the rest. We have to stop seeing each other."
In a desperate attempt to justify this forced breakup, I gauged Quinn’s reaction as I said, “Ava is my guardian angel. She protects me. It’s like she knows the future and can see people’s secrets and intentions.”
Quinn’s innocent, puzzled expression filled me with shame at my veiled accusation. I knew she wasn't malicious, but I had selfishly hoped to ease my heartbreak by uncovering a more reasonable explanation for Ava’s disapproval. But now there was no denying my guardian angel’s viewpoint.
I looked down in defeat. “I think Ava believes this town won’t accept you and me together. I’ve tried over and over to convince her that I’ll be okay, but she’s stubborn. She thinks she’s protecting me. She’s only six, she doesn’t know any better. She doesn’t know this’ll hurt me just as much.” I began crying as my heart contorted. “I’m sorry.”
After a few silent seconds, Quinn cleared her throat. “Ava, you’re only six, so I’ll keep this simple. I promise to leave your big sister alone as long as you promise to stop being such a meanie to her.”
I turned my head up in surprise and caught her shooting a stern look at where my left hand would be. Her eyes then traveled up to meet mine, and she gave me a half-smile that teetered between playful and tragic. I emitted a tearful chuckle before I stifled a sob.
“If this is what it takes, then I hope it works and you never feel pain ever again,” she said, tucking my hair behind my ear.
Overwhelmed, I reached out to hug her, but the pain spiked and I drew back, gasping. Quinn winced in sympathy and stepped away, her hands up in surrender.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, grimacing.
“Don’t be. You deserve a happy life, Mia, and if me leaving brings you a tiny step closer to that, I’m ready to do it yesterday.” She paused, then whispered, “But if you ever need me, I’ll always be there for you or your mom. Just ask. Okay?”
I nodded, sniffling, and she nodded back, her smile not enough to mask the emotions behind her eyes. I watched through my tears as she walked out into the night, her four-limbed starfish glittering a farewell as it swayed on the buckle of her backpack.
I spent the evening in agony, my heart broken, my arm ravaged, my memories enshrined.
When morning rolled around, the pain subsided and I gave my mother the bittersweet news, knowing she was suffering just as much seeing her daughter grieve and writhe. With her sad smile now a permanent fixture, she pointed to the orange starfish I had fashioned into a pendant, and I broke down again, burying myself in her arms.
Despite my aching heart, I went about my usual routine, red-eyed and glum as I abided by Ava’s wishes. While walking to The Sub Bus during my break, I reflexively stood still when Ava tugged my arm down, too lost in melancholy thoughts to wonder if she was saving me from a speeding bicycle or a falling potted plant.
I was jolted back to reality when a man tackled me to the ground and landed on top of me, knocking my breath out. A split-second later, glass exploded behind us and I ducked under him, shielding myself from the hail of shards.
When the commotion died down, the man got to his feet, brushing the glass out of his hair and jacket before helping me up off the dirty snow. Around us, a crowd of onlookers gawked at a runaway tire that had crashed through the display of Rhonda’s Boutique.
I stared in disbelief, wondering how Ava could have miscalculated the risk.
The man snapped his fingers in front of my face, asking if I was okay, and I shook myself out of my daze as I nodded, thanking him. He told me to pay attention to my surroundings next time, and I apologized before I made my way over to The Sub Bus, confused and shaken.
After collecting myself, I gave Ava the benefit of the doubt and continued to follow her lead for the rest of the day, not keen on experiencing phantom torment again. I tried to take the man’s advice and remain alert instead of blindly obeying my guardian angel, but habits were difficult to break, especially when the heart and mind were preoccupied.
While walking home with groceries later that evening, I followed Ava down a path I rarely took at night. Exhausted, cold, and downcast, I didn’t notice a trio of men emerging from the shadows until they approached me, cat-calling.
I tensed up and tried to walk by without incident, but one of them grabbed the empty sleeve of my winter jacket and yanked me back. My fight or flight incited, I dropped my groceries and slipped out of the jacket, leaving everything behind as I bolted home.
I arrived at my front door soaked with sweat, snow, and tears as I shivered against the cold and adrenaline. My mother was asleep, but Doris noticed my state and comforted me, helping me report the incident before she ran me a hot bath and cobbled together some dinner.
I thanked her for going beyond her duties as she tucked me in, and she assured me that the police will catch my assailants. I nodded, but I was more disquieted by my “guardian angel’s” change in behavior. Hoping to ease Ava’s deadly petulance, I sang her favorite songs, tears streaming down my face as I longed for Quinn’s warmth, humor, and compassion.
Despite my efforts at appeasing her, the next day Ava continued to lead me towards perilous situations, and I had no choice but to ignore her in order to survive. To my dismay, the disregarded tugs amplified to pain once more as Ava’s little nails found their way deep inside my phantom flesh.
I clenched my jaw, determined not to let her affect my routine, but tears lined my eyes as I wondered what I could have done to deserve such punishment. I apologized to Ava yet again for ignoring her in favor of Quinn and begged for her forgiveness…then I froze as an alternate theory materialized in my mind.
Quinn wasn’t a threat to me, she was a threat to Ava.
Ava was loved and coddled as my little sister and cherished and revered as my guiding star, my protector, my savior. She and my mother were the sole occupants of my heart and mind, the three of us an unbreakable, supportive unit.
Then, Quinn found her way in, saving me in a different way.
To my mother, Quinn was welcome. To my sister, Quinn was competition. Quinn divided my attention, occupied my time, and earned my gratitude, and Ava must have felt her esteemed position threatened. She forced me to banish Quinn from my life, but she didn’t realize that Quinn would remain in my heart and mind, her place forever preserved.
This permanent restructuring must not have suited Ava. After experiencing her hazardous guidance despite my renewed obedience, I wondered if her childlike selfishness was demanding I join her in the afterlife, hand-in-hand with my pure and undivided attention as we were in life.
That night, wincing against the pain, I curled up in my mother’s skeletal frame and told her my suspicions regarding Ava and her jealousy. My mother remained silent, her calloused, boney fingers tracing the features of my face with tenderness and deliberation, as if she was trying to memorize them.
Realizing my insensitivity, I kissed her, apologizing for making her life more difficult than it needed to be. She gave me her sad smile and patted her heart, and I patted mine back, holding back tears as I hugged her as tight as I could without hurting her.
Before bed, I tried to reason with Ava, explaining how no one would ever take her place and that I didn't want to lose my guardian angel. I assured her that Quinn’s memory wasn't a threat and that heartache will diminish over time, but Ava’s nails refused to relent. I appealed to her compassion as I reminded her that our mother was sick and needed me, but that didn't sway Ava either.
The next morning, I walked to Henrietta’s Health Hut with hollow eyes and a clenched jaw, frustrated yet determined not to let Ava’s unjust punishment distract me from my responsibilities.
I had barely begun my shift when the digging nails were replaced by the petulant biting and scratching. I managed to power through them as I greeted customers and scanned their herbal supplements and protein shakes, but when the pain escalated to unfamiliar levels, I had to brace myself against the counter, my heart straining with each sharp pang.
Sweat trickled down my face as I tried to maintain my professionalism, but after fumbling with Mr. Wilmer’s items, he called out to Henrietta in disgust. He blamed my unnatural state on my aberrant lifestyle, but she ignored his complaints as she escorted me to her office and sat me down on her couch.
Through tears and sobs I apologized and begged Henrietta not to fire me, claiming that I only had a migraine. She was quick to assure me that I was an invaluable employee as she popped open a bottle of natural painkillers and handed me a juice box. She then closed the lights, lowered the blinds, and told me to lie down and relax while she took over my shift.
Left alone in the room, I ignored the painkillers and juice, my stomach twisting and heaving. The pain was no longer a child’s tantrum but bona fide torture, my skin flayed, my muscles peeled, my raw nerves pulled apart strand by strand.
My heart stuttered and lurched against the suffocating agony, and I clawed at my arm’s vacated space as I begged Ava for mercy. She was relentless, and I wailed in despair as her goal became clear: if I wasn't going to be led to my death, then I was going to be driven to it.
Although death's promise of relief seduced me, I refused to succumb. My mother needed me. I had to fight, but I couldn’t do it alone. Amidst flashes of blinding pain and my flowing tears, I managed to call Quinn.
“Hey, Mia!”
My voice came out a taut squeak as I grimaced against the pain. “Quinn…”
“Mia? Is everything okay? Is it your mom?”
“No.”
“Is it the phantom limb pain?”
I sobbed, my despairing “yes” fragmented.
“I’m leaving work right now. Are you at Henrietta’s?”
“Yes.”
“I’m running over. I’ll be there in five. We’re going to get through this, okay?”
I whispered a strained “okay” before I hung up, my phone tumbling out of my hand as a bout of nausea washed over me. I groaned, gasping for air as my vision speckled and the blood drained from my face. I lay down, but the heartless mutilation of my arm continued and I buried my face in the cushions as I bawled, my tormented screams muffled.
Wave upon wave of agony twisted my soul and unraveled my sanity, each spasm an assault that drew me closer to the grave. My beleaguered heart convulsed as I writhed against the couch, my sweat-soaked shirt plastered to my skin, every desperate breath competing with a cry for mercy…
…and then mercy was granted.
A deep, trembling breath filled my lungs as relief shrouded me, soothing my limp, haggard frame. I felt as though I had surfaced from a ravenous abyss and landed in paradise, every atom celebrating its emancipation.
I sat up, shaking, and bewilderment joined my exhausted relief.
My phantom limb was completely liberated.
The pain was gone, but so was Ava. My left arm felt almost foreign without the ethereal contact I had grown accustomed to.
A mixture of emotions incited fresh tears. Ava must have recognized Quinn’s sincerity in our last phone call, realized her treatment was unfair, and chose to pass on and rest in peace. I was going to miss my guardian angel’s protection, guidance, and company, but I wasn't going to miss her jealousy and stubbornness. It was time for both of us to move on.
I stood up on unsteady legs, ready to resume my shift and prove my worth as an invaluable employee. I reached for the box of tissues on Henrietta’s desk, only to flinch when a hand found mine once again.
I froze as I held my breath, hoping this merciful break wasn't a cruel taunt, but confusion eclipsed my dread.
The hand in mine wasn't my little sister’s. It was bigger, the calloused, boney fingers gentle as they gave me a reassuring squeeze and lingered for a few seconds before they released me.
My legs buckled and I fell to my knees, my head bowed in stunned silence.
Doris’s ringtone chimed from my phone.
There was commotion outside.
Someone touched my shoulder.
I looked up, dazed. Quinn’s eyes searched mine before she pulled me close and held me tight, our starfish pendants clinking. I leaned my trembling head against her shoulder, tears of sorrow merging with those of relief.
----
X
submitted by SkittishReflections to nosleep [link] [comments]

COMPLETE GUIDE TO QUIT PORN FOR GOOD AND IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

This is not written by me, but I HAD TO share it with all of you, because this is not some temporary trick to achieve 30, 60, 90 days target. It is a step by step guide for the complete reboot, to completely change your approach towards quitting porn and tackle PMO in the right manner.
I've shared it in a few other subs, because I want to reach as many people as possible.
It is extremely long, but trust me, it will change your whole perspective of quitting this addiction. Just read.

Written by - TheUnderdog

Porn Addiction is Being Severely Underestimated


How do I know this?
Because most people in the community believe that in order to get rid of this addiction, all they have to do is keep trying over and over again, until eventually things will just 'click' and their brains will finally become rebooted.
Very few are treating this as a true addiction. They just see it as a habit they want to break.
This is evidenced by the stubborness of many, relying purely on willpower for months, only to constantly reset their counters and beat themselves up for not making any progress.
Most people don't realize how incredibly difficult it is to completely remove artificial stimulation (of any kind) for the rest of their lives. We're talking about years and years of brain conditioning here.
We're dealing with some powerful stuff here, but it is not treated seriously enough, probably because it's widely accepted by society and is not a substance like heroine or cocaine.
I cringe when people relapse, reset their counters, and proclaim "This is it, I've had enough, I'm going to do it this time"...
Stop kidding yourself.
This is an addiction that has to be attacked from many different angles. You need a full arsenal of tools and strategies, as well as a proper mindset.
Willpower alone won't do shit.
Abstinence is NOT Recovery
What people usually try to do is go as many days clean as they can.
That's all they do.
That's all their goal.
They achieve a certain amount of days, then for whatever reason they relapse, so they start over and repeat.
That is abstaining. That is not recovering.
It is extremely common for people to achieve a certain milestone, such as 30, 90, or 100 days, relapse a few days later, and then find themselves unable to get momentum again. They go back to the beginning and they feel like they lost all their progress from their run.
There is a constant frustration for lack of progress. People are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, trying the same thing over and over again without success.
This is because very few are addressing the real roots of their problems. Very few.
Everyone is focused on how many days they have managed and if their symptoms are either present or gone. They judge their progress by measuring dick hardness, spontaneous erections and morning woods.
They are "trying to quit porn" so that they can "get rid of their ED".
So they abstain for as long as they can, hoping that this can cure their symptoms.
Completely wrong approach.
If they don't see ED improvements, they get discouraged.
If they see ED improvements, then maybe a porn session or two won't hurt, right?
If there is no woman around, they justify watching a couple of times. After all, they are not having sex anytime soon, so whats the point?
They delay dating until their ED is cured or they have managed to go 100 days. But they never achieve this in the first place precisely because of this incorrect mentality.
The same applies to other symptoms such as social anxiety, energy levels, motivation, etc.
They try to quit porn, so that the symptoms can go away, and so they can finally live life.
People are focusing on the wrong things.
They are not changing the way they think.
They are not changing the way they live.
They are not changing the way they view sex and women.
They are just trying not to masturbate, while everything else remains the same.
That, my friends, is abstinence, not recovery.
The Foundation of a Proper Reboot
Porn addiction is not the cause of your shitty life.
Read that again.
Of course, it's difficult to improve your life when you're having intense porn sessions every single day that drain your energy and make you a zombie. But porn is not the reason your life sucks.
Please, this is very important to understand, you have to stop blaming porn for your problems.
This mentality of life awaits me after recovery is destructive.
Porn is not the reason you're a procrastinator. Porn is not the reason you're depressed. Porn is not the reason you're lonely. Porn is not the reason you haven't been able to lose weight or gain muscle.
Porn is the symptom.
You watch porn to escape reality. You watch porn to manage your emotions. You watch porn because you're bored, lonely, stressed, depressed, angry, isolated. You watch porn to feel good for a moment, to replace uncomfortable emotions and situations in your life.
Here's how you get rid of this addiction:
You don't focus on quitting porn so you can finally get to live life after you're recovered.
You focus on learning how to live, how to manage your emotions, how to change the way you think and view the world.
You put all your energy into building the life you want.
This will naturally lead your mind away from porn.
Success is not measured by how many clean days you've managed.
It's measured by how much your life has improved since you started rebooting.
This is what you need to do.

Step #1: Write a life vision for yourself


How do you envision your life a few weeks, months, or years from now?
Spend a whole day (or week) thinking about this.
Don't say I don't know what to do with my life.
Are you telling me you have no clue what you want in any of the following areas: study, work, family, friends, hobbies, health, etc.?
Even if you're not sure, you need to give your life some direction.
This is by far the most important part of recovering from pornography addiction.
Write like crazy. Write many pages if you want. Make the biggest post you've ever done in your journal talking about how you envision your future life.
This life vision will be the foundation of your reboot.
This is what you will focus on 100% from now on.
Close your eyes. Visualize it. Write it down.
If you don't know what you want in life, then this is actually a more serious issue than porn addiction itself.
Like I said, spend a whole week if you need to.
Brainstorm.
Ask for advice.
Take a notebook and go to a park.
Inspire yourself.
This is the beginning of your recovery.
Take it seriously.

Step #2: Give urgency to your life vision


Ok, now you know what you want in life. Even if you're still unsure in some areas, such as not knowing what to study, that's ok. At least you can give your life some direction for the moment. This is very important. You need to give your life direction. You need to move towards something.
Here's the problem. Many of us know what we want, but we keep delaying it. We're experts at delaying goals. We wait until New Years, or the beginning of a month, or until circumstances get better.
So this is what you're going to do now:
You're going to give urgency to your life vision.
Write down why you ABSOLUTELY MUST start working on it right now.
Make another huge post or journal entry about it.
Let's suppose you're 27 and you have no job, no car, still live with your parents, and spend most of the day playing video games. Why in the world would you wait more time before starting to do something about it? This is urgent bro. You're fucking 27!
Or maybe you've never had a girlfriend in your life before. Well, what are you waiting for? Go buy some nice clothes, start going out more frequently, make mistakes, get rejected, ask women on dates. Start getting some experience NOW.
You have back pain? Start working on it. Don't wait. The more you wait the worse it gets. Start doing yoga or swimming. Move your hips and back constantly every day.
Write down reasons why you must start pursuing your life vision right now.
You have to stop living like this.
This is urgent.
This is high priority.
We must convince ourselves that change is imminent.
It's very important.
A life vision is no good if you have no urgency.
You'll just keep delaying it. Waiting for circumstances to improve. Waiting for motivation to arrive. Waiting for the beginning of new year.
Create urgency.

Step #3: Develop an indestructible belief in yourself


One of the main reasons we quit goals is because deep inside we don't believe we're actually able to do it.
When successful people like Arnold Schwarzenegger decide they want to achieve something, they become completely obsessed about it. They have an indestructible belief that they will achieve it.
They are not affected by circumstances. They create results in their head before they even get them.
This is what you have to do if you want to accomplish anything.
For example, let's say you want to learn how to play guitar. And you have the urgency to do it, because you know it takes time, so the sooner you start the better. You have to start now.
However, after a few days of learning the basics, you start losing motivation and becoming discouraged. You realize that playing guitar is not easy at all. You feel overwhelmed by how much practice you need to put into it. You start doubting yourself and thinking "There's no way I'll ever become a great guitar player and form my own band". Friends tell you things like "Dude, you should've started years ago. All great guitarists started when they were young".
So you quit.
This is a result of a weak belief in yourself. You don't believe you have the potential to become a good guitarist. Which is obviously completely false. We as humans have unlimited potential.
Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't think like this.
Look at what he said:
How many times have you heard 'You can't do this', 'You can't do that', 'It's never been done before'. I love it when someone says ' No one has ever done this before', because when I do it, that means I'm the first person that's ever done it!
This is how we should think when we set up to do anything in life.
Uncertainty is what kills people. Not knowing if they're able to achieve it.
We need to brainwash ourselves every day into believing that we WILL do it NO MATTER WHAT.
All of these steps are equally important.
Do not skip them.
They are the foundation of your reboot.
They make rebooting so much easier. Your mind will be completely focused on what you want in life. You will be fixing the root of all your problems.
The secret of change is to focus all your energy not fighting the old, but on building the new.
Stop making posts complaining about your shitty life. Stop making posts saying how you're sick of being addicted to porn. Stop talking about porn altogether.
Instead, transform your journal into a self-improvement journal, focused 100% on moving towards the life you want.
"Forget" about porn.
This is basic rebooting stuff, yet many people are constantly breaking this rule. They write about porn cravings, morning woods, spontaneous erections, what day they're on, how much they struggled to abstain, how they can't wait to reach 90 days, etc.
When you consistently focus 100% on building the life you want, your mind will naturally move away from porn. You will also lessen the void left by quitting porn, which is very real.
Many people quit porn only to find themselves in this life emptiness that is very hard to handle. Then they go back to porn precisely because this void is too much for them.
Focusing on your life vision is a superior rebooting approach.
Relapses aren't that discouraging if you're actually improving your life. Ironically, you will notice that the more you focus on what you want, the less frequently you will relapse.
It's important that you think in terms of life vision and pursuing your dreams, not in terms of "I have to get busy and fill my life with activities so that I don't watch porn". This is something you're doing for yourself.
Stop ranting about porn.
This journey is about your LIFE.
Focus on that and the porn will go away.

Managing Your Emotional Life

Ok, let's keep going.
Porn addiction is much more than just getting cravings and relapsing.
One of the reasons we become addicted is because of our inability to manage our emotional lives.
You have to remind yourself that quitting porn is about growing up and becoming a much more mature person.
It's much more than I want to quit porn so I can cure ED and have plenty of sex with women!.
Much more than that.
We've been using porn for years as a method of handling our emotions.
We need to stop hiding away from uncomfortable life situations. We need to stop using porn in order to escape from reality.
We must learn how to handle life and emotions without the need of porn.
We need to understand that one of the reasons we relapse is because we're pussies that can't handle negative emotions.
We use porn as medication. We use porn to hide away from life. We use porn to temporarily relief anxiety, stress, loneliness, boredom, anger, etc.
Readjusting Your Sexual Expectations
This is by far one of the most difficult things to do.
When you quit porn, you're not just saying good bye to artificial stimulation.
You're leaving behind the world of "never ending flow of hot chicks with big tits and round asses".
Real life is nothing like that.
We've been spoiled by porn. We believe that we should be out there having lots of sex with different women. We believe that this is the key to happiness and fulfillment.
The problem is that it is incredibly difficult and unrealistic to "fuck hot chicks on a regular basis".
There's nothing particularly wrong with having that goal, but you have to be willing to take some MASSIVE action. You have to go through hundreds of rejections. You need to have a lot of balls. You must do what 99.9% of men are incredibly afraid to do.
How many people here are doing what it takes to have the kind of sexual life we all dream about?
Very few, if any. We see these super hot chicks on tight dresses and we hope that maybe someday we might be able to have sex with them. We read books about seduction. We visit PUA forums. We watch videos on YouTube of guys approaching girls. We make theories and discuss them online.
But we aren't doing shit about it.
It's all just a dream. An idea we have in our minds. Something we hope someday we will do.
Here's how most people get laid in real life:
A guy meets a girl he finds attractive, so he asks her out. They get to know each other. Then they continue to go out and form some sort of relationship. Then after some months the relationship either becomes serious or falls apart.
That's the real world.
You have to accept that, unless you're willing to take massive action, you won't fuck anywhere near as many women as you expect to.
Accepting this is very difficult, but it is necessary.
We need to learn how to live without this world of endless hot chicks, otherwise we'll become extremely disappointed and dissatisfied with real life, which is nothing like porn.
Anyone here is more than capable of getting a girlfriend. But our girlfriends most likely won't look like pornstars, nor they will act like them.
There's a very high probability the sex won't be pornographic in nature. There's going to be a lot of sensuality, caressing, and also clumsiness. Some days your girl will look sexy, other days not so much. Some days she'll be in the mood, other days she won't. Some days you'll struggle to keep it hard, other days you'll cum too fast. She might be able to achieve orgasms, or she might not. You might do it every other day, or maybe only 3-4 times per month.
Remember, pornstars are paid thousands of dollars to do what they're told and fulfill all your fantasies.
You must stop living in dream land.
I know this is very difficult to accept, but we have to give meaning to our lives outside fucking hot chicks.
Our happiness cannot depend on that. Otherwise you'll keep coming back to porn every time you fail to get laid in real life. You will remain attached to "sex with hot chicks" for the rest of your life. You have to change the way you view sex and women, because I can assure you it has been completely distorted by porn.
By the way, I don't believe there's anything wrong about pursuing casual sex instead of a relationship, just make sure you keep both feet on the ground.
I would also like to add that relationships are about sharing your life with another person. I know many people here want a girlfriend so that they can finally start getting laid, but relationships go much more deeper than that.
If you've never had a girlfriend before you'll know once you get one.
Thinking About Sex is USELESS
What's the point of fantasizing?
It accomplishes nothing.
It slows down the reboot, increases the urge to masturbate, and reinforces neurological pathways related to porn.
It's a meaningless activity that should be eliminated.
It keeps your mind focused on sex, tits, asses, fucking, when it should be shifted towards other activities in life.
If you find yourself thinking about sex, you should mindfully and calmly redirect your attention to something else.
You want sex?
Great.
Then do something to actually make it happen.
Fantasizing by itself serves no purpose at all.
You need to understand that if you want to abstain from orgasm and masturbation, you cannot be thinking about sex and women, because this will inevitably cause you to relapse. Trying to abstain while at the same time fantasizing or peeking at pictures of chicks will only lead to frustration.
Stay away from any kind of artificial stimulation. Don't take peeks. Don't browse pictures of girls online. Don't type pornstar names on Google image search. Don't read escort forums.
Do not arouse yourself.
Basically you have to adopt a philosophy of "I'm either trying to get laid (approaching, texting girls, going out on dates, flirting with women, hanging out with friends, getting rejected) or doing something completely unrelated to sex (work, studying, exercise, fun, reading, playing an instrument, chores, housework, watching movies)".
There is no grey area where you are alone thinking about sex or checking out girls online. This accomplishes nothing. It serves no real purpose. It will only increase urges, lead to relapse, and make you frustrated.
As soon as erotic thoughts pop up in your mind, you should calmly ignore them and refocus your attention to something else. You keep practicing this forever until you master it.
You have to attack this addiction right from the root. Trying to abstain from hardcore porn accomplishes nothing if you're still constantly fantasizing and peeking.
If you keep strengthening the mindset I talked about above, you will be making meaningful progress.
This used to be called "Monk Mode", but I don't like that name because it implies that you're going to become celibate.
This isn't about becoming celibate. This is about doing what it takes if you want to get laid, instead of wasting mental energy on sexual thoughts that will only improve the chances of relapsing.
If you ever want to achieve a long streak, you can't be checking out girls online, even if it's just some bikini pictures. You can't be fantasizing when you wake up in the morning. You can't be taking 5 second peeks at porn.
As soon as you do any of those things, this huge beast called porn addiction will take control over your prefrontal cortex and it's just a matter of time before you relapse.
You have to be extreme.
But don't worry, it's much easier than it sounds.
It's actually harder to stop yourself from relapsing once you're already thinking about sex, than it is to not think about sex in the first place.
How do you not think about sex?
Simple.
Focus your mind 100% on your life vision.
Every....single....day.
Dismissing erotic thoughts as soon as they arrive in your mind is the cornerstone for preventing relapses.
This is basic stuff guys.
It's Not Orgasm What You Crave
Many people here believe that abstaining from orgasm is the most difficult part of rebooting.
WRONG.
When you get porn cravings, your brain is not asking for orgasm. As an addict, it is begging you for your hit. It misses the high, the tits, the asses, the novelty, the rush, the unrealistic sexual scenarios, the fantasies, the super hot chicks, the perfect camera shots, the feeling of letting go and indulging in pleasure, the fucking, the cumshots, the doggystyles, the boobs bouncing around, etc.
If lack of orgasm was the problem, then everyone would just fap without porn (or any other artificial stimulation). There would be no relapses and everyone would have 500+ day counters.
The urge to ejaculate only becomes a real problem once you start peeking, edging or fantasizing constantly. When you find yourself in a state of arousal then obviously you will want to cum.
But the initial urges are "addiction urges". They are mental. They are not a physical need for ejaculation.
If you feed these urges by peeking, even if it's just pictures of hot babes in bikini, then they will invade your mind and rob you of your ability to concentrate or remain calm. Eventually "autopilot" mode will be engaged and we all know what happens next.
You're not having urges to cum.
You're having urges for a "high" and a "rush".
Remember that.
This is why porn urges don't go away when you get a girlfriend.
It is a drug, and you need to learn how to live without it, regardless of whether you have a girlfriend or not.
When you abstain for several days or weeks, your sensitized pathways are anxiously waiting for any sexual cue, no matter how short or brief. This is why people mistakenly confuse real libido with porn cravings. They take a peek at porn after 15 days and they feel this intense rush and urge to cum, so they conclude that it is libido and that they must relieve pressure.
The problem was taking a peek in the first place. Had they just focused on more important things instead, they would've been able to finish the day clean without problem.
If you manage to completely abstain from fantasizing and checking out chicks online (in any form), then going a long time without orgasm won't be a problem.
And don't even think about testing or caressing your dick.
Focus 100% on your life vision.

Counters vs Spreadsheets


The following advice is aimed particularly towards those members who are having trouble getting a good run. If you're already doing good, you can skip this section.
Ok, here's the thing:
There is a sickening obsession with long streaks on this forum.
People like counters because supposedly they are helpful for tracking progress.
Well, guess what? Spreadsheets do a much better job at that.
There's a reason why I'm so stubborn with this anti-counter thing.
They are dangerous, destructive, counterproductive.
Counters reinforce the idea of being "back to zero" every time you relapse, making it way more justifiable to binge before starting over again. Not only that, but you completely lose track of how many times you're actually masturbating. They don't show the whole picture. There is absolutely no way to measure your progress at all. It's a never ending cycle of abstaining for a few days and then going back to zero.
Every time you reset your counter you become increasingly discouraged and unmotivated.
There's too much emphasis on what day you're on, no fap challenges (there are currently 7 no fap challenges running, it's ridiculous), 90 days, 100 days, etc.
If you're consistently unable to get past XX days and you're always in the low numbers, then your counter has lost its purpose.
Counters are only good when you've managed a good run, because this gives you a sense of accomplishment and provides sufficient accountability to actually prevent relapses sometimes.
Now, let's talk about spreadsheets:
- They keep your addiction under control: By keeping track of how many times you're actually masturbating and having orgasms, you will be forced to keep it in the low numbers. If you relapse, the spreadsheet will discourage you to binge, especially when you're sharing it with the forum. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep your orgasm count to less than 5 per month.
- They allow you to see the full picture. In gameover's words: "You don't realise how you forget over a month how many times you actually masturbate, peek, pmo or orgasm until you have it in front of you. I thought i was well under 3-4 orgasms a month but I have been up around 6-7 and this month was no better." You'll be surprised at how many times you're actually fapping.
- They completely eliminate the "counting" factor. All you have to do is keep it as clean as you can. Pretty cool eh? No more counting, no more 90 day goals, no more fap challenges. After all, we're trying to quit porn for life, not just 100 days or whatever.
- They will never discourage you. If you do relapse, you input it on the spreadsheet and move on. You don't make a new thread called "Relapsed again" or "Not making any progress". Trust me, if you went from fapping 25 times per month to 2-3 times per month, you're making huge progress, even if your counter only says "6 days".
Spreadsheets are NOT a taper off approach, of course. The goal should always be to never watch porn, to be as clean as you can, to take it one day at a time.
Tapering off, as in "I watched porn 20 times last month, so I'll watch it 15 times this month", will never work. You should never think like this. You should never give yourself the green light to PMO.
Ideally, you should replace your counter with a spreadsheet and completely forget about what day you're on. Then, if you do manage to get on a good run, you can put your counter back up for accountability and motivational purposes.
However, I understand many people here are in love with their counters.
They look pretty.
They are fancy.
I get it, I get it.
So this is what I propose:
(Once again, this ONLY applies to people who are struggling. If you're already on day 70 or whatever then don't change anything, but consider using a spreadsheet if you do end up relapsing.)

Conclusion


To sum it up, the typical rebooting advice of Hey man, just do a 90 day reboot is basically useless.
This is a very serious addiction and should be treated as such.
Willpower alone won't do it.
Change the way you live.
Change the way you think.
And please, stop making so many posts about porn, cravings, urges, relapsing, erections, 90 days, etc.
Instead, focus on the most important thing:
Your life.

Gotta clarify some things:
I have never said that the reason we started watching porn was because of life problems. In fact, I would argue that is not the case for the majority of us.
I didn't have any childhood issues or family problems when I was young. I just discovered porn on my own and liked it because it was very pleasurable. As kids and teenagers we are curious and horny.
However, as years go by, we become dependent on it not only because of its extreme addictive nature and accessibility, but also because we start using it as a way to cope with life.
The reason we start using porn and the reason we continue to use porn once we're addicts aren't necessarily the same.
I also didn't mean to say that all porn addicts have shitty lives. Actually by shitty all I mean is being dissatisfied in one way or another. Maybe you constantly put off your goals. Or maybe you waste a lot of time online and want to change that. That doesn't mean your life is shit. It just means it could be better.
I am completely aware there are exceptions. There is a guy who told me he had no problems getting instant makeouts and fucking chicks the same day he meets them. There are others who actually have incredibly busy lives and only watch porn to get some pleasure and relax.
Whatever your situation is, the main point of my post still stands. You should focus on moving towards what you want, instead of constantly complaining and wasting lots of energy on staying away from porn.
Concentrate on building the life you dream about and this will help you tremendously on your quest to overcome your addiction to porn.
submitted by repcaqq04 to selfimprovement [link] [comments]

Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Jul. 15, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUSLY:
1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002 1-28-2002
2-4-2002 2-11-2002 2-18-2002 2-25-2002
3-4-2002 3-11-2002 3-18-2002 3-25-2002
4-1-2002 4-8-2002 4-15-2002 4-22-2002
4-29-2002 5-6-2002 5-13-2002 5-20-2002
5-27-2002 6-3-2002 6-10-2002 6-17-2002
6-24-2002 7-1-2002 7-8-2002
  • In a shocking turn of events, NWA-TNA announced last week that Vince Russo was joining the promotion, less than 3 weeks after he returned to WWE. Russo's return to WWE was announced as joining the company as part of the creative team on 6/20, but after his first creative meeting, he was demoted to consultant and was paid $1,000 a week to sit at home and send in written critiques of the weekly TV shows. Russo didn't have a contract and it's no secret that his return was deeply unpopular in the locker room and even more unpopular in the office among those who still resent him for how he left in 1999. Russo has told friends that he feels like WWE is a mess and it won't change because Vince McMahon won't remove Stephanie McMahon from her position as head writer. Russo recently sold his record store in Atlanta and was planning to move back up north (he never liked living in the south, but moved there when he went to WCW) but he hasn't moved yet. According to TNA sources, Russo will essentially help with production and writing of the shows. TNA is way understaffed when it comes to people with experience producing live shows like this. Russo was introduced to the staff on 7/9 and, much like in WWE, there were a lot of unhappy people who weren't the least bit happy to see him. He's not exactly the most well-liked guy in the business. But he's still good friends with Jeff Jarrett and Russo had already been contributing ideas and storylines for this company before the brief WWE return anyway. At the time, Russo's involvement was being kept secret because of his lawsuit with Hulk Hogan. AOL/Time Warner was representing him (since the incident happened in WCW). They only agreed to represent him as long as he didn't go work for another wrestling promotion. When the WWE offer came along, Russo managed to get AOL/Time Warner to drop that stipulation, which allowed him to go work for WWE. And now, subsequently, TNA. The lawsuit with Hogan is still ongoing and AOL/Time Warner's lawyers are still repping Russo.
  • Kevin Nash will be out of action for god knows how long after tearing his left quad in a match on Raw. It was Nash's first match back since suffering a bicep tear back in March. After tagging in, he tore his quad on the first move. It's the same injury Triple H suffered that kept him out for over 7 months and there's no way that Nash—who's 10 years older than Triple H—is about to put himself through the same grueling rehab that Triple H did. Triple H moved to Birmingham and lived there 24/7 doing Dr. James Andrews full-time rehab program. Nash has kids and a family and shit, he's probably not moving to Birmingham so he can do rehab 3 times a day. Dave suspects this is gonna take a bit longer for Nash (ended up being around 9 months). The injury occurred in a 10-man tag match that Nash wasn't even scheduled for until he found out the day of the show. Nash's original return to the ring was supposed to be on house shows later that week. The match was planned and designed to get Nash over as a huge monster and build him into one of the top 5 or so major main event stars in the company, because the plan was to do Nash vs. Triple H at Summerslam in one of the top matches (with Rock/Brock and Hogan/Vince penciled in as the other top matches). But as soon as Nash tagged in, he kicked Booker T, but then tripped over him when trying to step over Booker and collapsed, grabbing his thigh and screaming in pain. The match fell apart and nobody knew what to do until Shawn Michaels (not even in the match, just outside the ring) took charge and started telling guys what to do and calling spots. He improvised a superkick on Booker T and told Big Show to chokeslam him to finish it. The next day, Nash underwent surgery from Dr. James Andrews, who has done several previous surgeries on Nash (knee, bicep, elbow, and more). All in all, not a bump gone wrong or anything, just a freak accident.
WATCH: Kevin Nash tears his quad
  • Bret Hart has written a new column in the Calgary Sun, his first since suffering his recent stroke. Dave copies and pastes the whole column here, but I'll just cliff notes it: Bret is doing as well as can be expected. Made a stupid mistake by bike riding without a helmet because he'd been too lazy to fix the broken chin-strap. Hit a pothole, crashed his bicycle, hit his head, believes he suffered a stroke on impact. Was unable to move the left side of his body. Used his cell phone to call for help. Thanks fans, doctors, nurses, wife, kids, family, friends, etc. for being there for him. Promises he'll recover. Dave says Bret's progress has been slow but steady over the past week. He can take small steps with help but is mostly still confined to a bed and wheelchair and is only just now getting feeling back in his left leg. He's spending his time doing therapy and working on his autobiography which is apparently already 960 pages deep and he's only up to the late-80s so far. Doctors were surprised Bret was able to work on his book since they expected him to have memory issues or problems writing due to the stroke, but he has neither. Dave says Bret has talked about dividing the book up into 3 parts and releasing them that way due to the length (it only ended up being around 600 pages so he must have had a merciless editor).
  • WWE reached an out-of-court settlement this week with the Parents Television Council which will award WWE $3.5 million and a public apology from the PTC, as well as a promise that they will leave WWE alone. As part of the settlement, PTC agreed to never have any involvement with WWE business in the future, to never urge boycotts of WWE or of WWE sponsors. PTC head L. Brent Bozell had to issue a public apology to the WWE and Vince McMahon and the apology must be posted on the PTC's website home page for 6 months. They also must remove all other content from its website relating to WWE, its advertisers, or the accusations that WWE held any responsibility in the deaths of several children. Also, if WWE decides to make him do so, they can request Bozell meet with WWE advertisers personally to further explain his apology, and he'll be required to do it. Long story short: the PTC got absolutely fucking SPANKED here. The PTC will not be paying the settlement out of pocket, it will be paid by insurance, which is the only thing that is allowing them to even stay in business because without them, that $3.5 million would have killed the organization. The case was expected to go to trial in September and WWE was seeking $55 million in damages. And they likely would have won easily, so the PTC didn't have much of a choice here. They had to settle.
  • In addition to the above, attorney Jim Lewis (who represented Lionell Tate, one of the kids who was convicted of murdering a young girl) must also publicly apologize for claiming that Tate's actions were inspired by what he saw watching wrestling. Dave recaps the history of the PTC going after WWF at the height of its Attitude Era success, crusading against WWF by targeting their sponsors. At first, the PTC made some valid points about some of the extremely questionable content WWF was producing. Problem is, then they started outright lying and their claims got more and more outlandish, and Bozell turned it into a personal mission to take down Vince McMahon and the WWE, to the point that they crossed over into libel and defamation. They also used fake and misleading statistics when pressuring sponsors. All of this led to WWE taking them to court and mollywhopping dat ass. (I've actually done a lot of research on this WWE/PTC case for some other thing I'm writing and it's a really fun case to read about. WWE's past is pretty indefensible sometimes, but Bozell was out of his mind obsessed with destroying them. He's a hardcore right-wing conservative and his battle with WWE was literally a moral and religious crusade to him. To this day, I bet it eats Bozell alive that he got owned so thoroughly and had to release such a humbling apology. And oh, bet your ass, we're about to read that apology):
  • Bozell's and PTC's public apology on their website reads the following:
`Media Research Center (MRC), Parents Television Council (PTC), Dr. Delores Tucker, Mark Honig and I have in the past made statements regarding so-called wrestling deaths — children killed by other children alleged to be mimicking “professional wrestling” moves they saw on television.
We made such statements to members of MRC and PTC, the media, advertisers on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) SmackDown! program, retailers that sell WWE-related toys and merchandise, public officials and the public.
MRC and PTC also produced a videotape as part of a fundraising campaign in connection with its “National Campaign to Clean Up TV Now!”, which advanced the notion that the murder of Tiffany Eunick was caused by the influence of professional wrestling on Lionel Tate.
The videotape included interviews with Lionel Tate’s lawyer advancing the notion that the murder of Tiffany Eunick, the victim, was directly caused by the impact that professional wrestling had on Lionel Tate.
We based our statements on media reports and source information. We now believe, based on extensive investigation and facts which have come to light since making those statements that it was wrong for MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and myself to have said anything that could be construed as blaming WWE or any of its programs for the deaths of the children.
Simply put, it was premature to reach that conclusion when we did, and there is now ample evidence to show that conclusion was incorrect. I now believe that professional wrestling played no role in the murder of Tiffany Eunick, which was a part of our “Clean Up TV Now!” campaign and am equally convinced that it was incorrect and wrong to have blamed WWE or any of its programs for the deaths of the other children.
Because of our statements, PTC, MRC and the WWE have been in litigation since November 2000. WWE vigorously advanced its position that neither it, nor “professional wrestling” led to these deaths.
WWE also contended that MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and I had misrepresented the number of advertisers who withdrew support from WWE’s SmackDown! television program after receiving communications from the PTC, some of which regrettably connected the WWE and SmackDown! to the deaths of children.
As such, WWE exercised its right to initiate this litigation, during which facts came to light that prompted me to make this statement.
By this retraction, I want to be clear that WWE was correct in pointing out that various statements made by MRC, PTC and me were inaccurate concerning the identity and number of WWE SmackDown! advertisers who withdrew support from the program. Many of the companies we stated had “withdrawn” or pulled their support had never, in fact, advertised on SmackDown! nor had any plan to advertise on SmackDown!
Again, we regret this error and retract any such misleading statements.
Finally, concerning the statements about child wrestling deaths, it was wrong to have stated or implied that WWE or any of its programs caused these tragic deaths. Specifically concerning the Lionel Tate case, recent developments lead us to believe that others and we were given, and relied upon, false information provided by parties close to the case.
The information that we were given and relied upon may have been designed to make a national example of the Florida murder trial, pinning the blame on WWE.
For example, we were told by a source that Lionel Tate was watching a WWE program when he assaulted Tiffany Eunick. In fact, Lionel Tate was watching the “Flintstones” and a cartoon entitled “Cow and Chicken.” We were also told, by a source, that Lionel Tate killed Tiffany Eunick while executing a wrestling move unique to a WWE character called the “Stone Cold Stunner”.
We have since learned that this was not true, nor was there any evidence that it was true. It is now well documented that after the Tate trial concluded, the presiding Judge said it was “inconceivable” that Tiffany Eunick’s injuries were caused by Lionel Tate mimicking wrestling moves.
Indeed, since the trial ended, Lionel Tate’s new lawyers have filed court papers in which they admit that the “wrestling defense” was, in their words, “bogus.”
Given these facts, WWE was within its rights to be angry at the MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and I for contacting WWE’s advertisers to go beyond complaining about WWE content but passing along accusations which we now know were false. Because I feel a simple retraction is not sufficient, I have personally extended my apology to Vince McMahon and the WWE on behalf of MRC, PTC, Dr. Tucker, Mr. Honig and me.
Through this letter, I now make this apology public and specifically directed to the advertising community that has in the past, is currently or may in the future consider advertising or sponsoring WWE programming.
The PTC can have its concern with the content of WWE’s television programming – though these concerns have been reduced significantly over the past years as a reflection of WWE’s changed standards. But nowhere in that debate, including in the correspondence and statements to the advertising community, should there have been any discussion of “wrestling” deaths.
I regret this happening. It wasn’t fair to WWE.
And I say this emphatically: Please disregard what others and we have said in the past about the Florida “wrestling” death. Neither “wrestling” in general, nor WWE specifically, had anything to do with it. Of that I am certain.’
  • PRIDE and K-1 announced their plans to put on the biggest event in MMA history, with a joint show in August, with hopes to draw 100,000 people to the Tokyo National Soccer Stadium. The original plan was for the show to take place on Aug. 29th, but they changed it to the 28th to avoid going head-to-head with a major NJPW show at Buddokan Hall which would have drawn many of the same fans they're trying to get. However, this is during monsoon season in Japan and it's an outdoor stadium, so just in case, they've got the stadium on reserve for several days in the event the scheduled date gets rained out. Here's the problem: this stadium only holds 60,000 for soccer games, so even if you add ground seating, realistically, you can only pack probably 80,000 at most. So the claim that they're going to draw 100,000 fans is "just as legitimate as the 93,173 number that WWE uses for its record." Dave notes that the real record for biggest paid attendance for a wrestling show is Summerslam 92 with the Hart/Bulldog match drawing 78,927 confirmed paid. But whatever. The plan for this show is for it to be an 8-9 match card, with every fight being dream matches featuring big name fighters. Rules for each fight will be unique and it will air on prime time TV in Japan. The main event will be Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Mirko Cro Cop, plus Dave breaks down a bunch of other planned or rumored match-ups.
  • Dave looks at some business numbers and it ain't good news. Just to give one example, WWE's average attendance-per-show was 4,711 during the month of June, which is the lowest month for attendance since Feb. 1997. And most of the tickets for those shows were sold before Austin walked out. So once fans realize that Austin really is gone (at least for now) and not coming back anytime soon, the coming months could look even more dire for ticket sales.
  • AAA's Triplemania X event took place last week (again) and ended with Octagon unmasking Pentagon in a mask vs. mask match. I only mention this because there have been lots of "Pentagon" characters over the years in AAA and later the indies in Mexico, portrayed by different people. But this match ended up being the last time the Pentagon gimmick would be used in AAA for the next decade.....until AEW star Pentagon Jr. began using the gimmick in 2012.
  • Keiji Muto is apparently trying to shorten what's left of his career by being a complete madman. Muto is already beyond banged up, with knees that should have retired him years ago. He has no business working a full schedule at this stage in his career, but he's AJPW's biggest star and best draw, so he is continuing to work every show. But now he's taking it a step further. Muto will be working 3 separate matches in one night for AJPW's upcoming Budokan Hall show. He's doing the Mick Foley gimmick, where he will wrestle under a different gimmick for each match. He'll be wrestling as Muto, Great Muta, and Kokushi Muso (the gimmick he uses only when he teams with Hakushi and paints his body in similar fashion). So yeah.
  • Vader was arrested in his hometown of Boulder, CO earlier this month for allegedly spitting at a police officer, threatening the officers with rocks, resisting arrest, drinking and driving, careless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident. It ended up taking 8 officers and 2 police dogs on the scene before Vader agreed to be arrested peacefully, and they used multiple sets of handcuffs. It started when Vader crashed his van into some bushes, but then backed out, left the scene, and drove home (about a block away). Police came to his home and found Vader severely intoxicated and barely able to stand. At some point, Vader told the police, "I will and can kick all of your asses! Let's fight!" The police brought in the police dogs, but Vader still wouldn't back down and threatened to kill the dogs if they came at him. Then he picked up rocks and threatened to throw them and spit at one of the cops, but missed. The other cops showed up and they eventually calmed him down and arrested him. According to records, Vader has 2 prior DUI arrests in Boulder. This all occurred just days before he was scheduled to leave for Japan for the latest NOAH tour but he still went and is over there working shows now.
  • Kenta Kobashi finally made his real in-ring return after more than a year out of action (aside from the one comeback match where he re-injured himself for 4 more months). Kobashi has been told in no uncertain terms that one more knee injury and he's done for good. Dave figures that knee injury is inevitable. Kobashi is working opening matches all week, teaming with the rookies and doing hot tag spots for now.
  • Former IWGP champion Kazuyuki Fujita is scheduled to make his return to NJPW next week after being out of action the past 7 months with a torn Achilles that caused him to vacate the IWGP title. He's going to continue doing shoot fights as well.
  • Manami Toyota, arguably (is it even arguable) the greatest female wrestler of all time, announced she is leaving All Japan Women and jumping ship to Gaea. Toyota has spent her entire 15 year career working for AJW so this is a surprise and a pretty big blow to AJW.
  • Jesse Ventura was rushed to the hospital this week with a blood clot in his lung after complaining of chest pains. He's now in stable condition, on blood thinners, and should be okay. Ventura has a history of blood clots and a pulmonary embolism in 1984 took him out of action right before he was about to start a lengthy (and surely lucrative) feud with Hulk Hogan. He eventually returned and wrestled for another year, mostly in tag teams and such, before retiring due to the health issues.
  • Dave has some anecdotal evidence of how TNA's viewership numbers are going and it ain't pretty. Between week 1 and week 2, there was a full 50% drop in responses to the reader poll Dave put out on the show. That was to be expected. But the drop from Week 2 to Week 3 was another 41% drop from that. So we're only a few weeks in and it appears this company is already hemorrhaging viewers. Internally, TNA is basically flaunting the preliminary numbers they got from the PPV providers that show they're doing big buyrates. Dave feels sorry for them because he's been following the PPV industry since it began and the preliminary numbers from the providers are ALWAYS wrong and ALWAYS substantially higher than what the real number ends up being. Dave basically says TNA is getting excited over fake numbers and if they're basing their future on what they expect to pull in financially, they're going to be VERY disappointed a few months from now when the real numbers are revealed and those PPV checks end up being way less than they're expecting. TNA's weekly production costs are around $200,000, which means they need at least 50,000 buys per week just to break even on the production costs (and that's not counting all the other costs like paying the wrestlers, advertising, etc. that I'm sure they'd like to have some extra money for). So we're only a few weeks in and, yet again, this whole project still does not seem sustainable.
  • Notes from TNA Weekly PPV: this was by far the weakest of the 3 shows so far. Dave thinks they're trying too hard to copy much of WWE's formula, rather than focusing on what makes them different or what they can do better. They were in Nashville this week, with about 2,000 fans (1,100 paid, the rest freebies). There's a lot of young talent here and they have potential, but so many of them aren't ready for the national stage and it showed. They did almost nothing to promote or build for next week's show, which is a killer when you're depending on people to pay for it every week. Dave thinks it felt like an episode of WCW Thunder. More production mistakes (wrong names on the screen during introductions, etc.). They announced Japanese wrestler Takao Omori and Christopher Daniels will be there next week, but made no effort to educate fans on who those people are or why anyone should care. Monty Brown made his debut and Dave is impressed, since he looks good, was athletic, and has some good mic skills and he thinks TNA did a better job of debuting and protecting him than WWE usually does with new guys. Another angle with NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler and it sucked, leading Dave to joke that Sterling Martin carried their tag team last time. 6 matches into the show and Dave says not a single one of them has even reached the 1-star mark. Thankfully, AJ Styles and David Young saved the show with a 2.25 star classic. Brian Christopher turned heel on Scott Hall, leading Hall to do a stretcher job in what was a pretty good angle but, ya know....it's Jarrett and Brian Christopher.
  • Various other TNA news and notes: they've been taking out radio ads to promote the shows, with the tagline, "If you're tired of that other wrestling..." Dave is flabbergasted that TNA brought Jackie Fargo in for the debut shows (in Huntsville, where he wasn't really a big name) but didn't use him at all in Nashville this week, since he's the biggest drawing star in the city's history. Vince Russo and Disco Inferno were backstage at the show. TNA's new backstage interviewer Goldylocks was in the Los Angeles airport during the shooting there last week that left 2 people dead and several others injured. She was even interviewed by the local news about it.
  • More fun political games in WWE. Paul Heyman and Pat Patterson came up with an angle to continue John Cena's momentum following his debut match with Kurt Angle, in which Cena would slap Vince McMahon in the face and then have a match with Jericho in which he would almost win and Jericho would have to cheat to get the pin. You know, make him look strong in defeat kinda thing, same as the Angle match. Well, Triple H apparently went to Vince and convinced him to nix the angle, saying nobody should be laying hands on Vince right now since they're building to Hogan vs. Vince at Summerslam. This turned into a major issue backstage because most of the locker room doesn't like the "NWO group" (basically, Nash, X-Pac, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H, even though he's not part of the group on TV). The usual Kliq stuff. Some of the wrestlers said that everyone can see that Cena has major star potential and they feel like Triple H cutting him off at the knees like this is more about protecting his own spot. They compromised and had Cena slap Jericho instead (Dave says it was a hell of a slap, and on his podcast, Bruce Prichard has told this story. Apparently Jericho insisted that Cena really lay in the slap to make it look good. And so Cena damn near killed him). Patterson in particular was furious that his idea got scrapped and told everyone who would listen about it, feeling the original angle would have gotten people talking about Cena (something they haven't been able to do with any of the other news guys) and felt the compromise angle didn't really have the same effect. Dave notes there's been a lot of resentment towards Nash and Michaels because they're getting some of the biggest pushes in the company right now despite not working full-time like everyone else. And Triple H is going to always be a target of it because of his real-life relationship with Stephanie McMahon. And, of course, X-Pac is basically protected by all his friends and has gotten out of doing multiple jobs in recent weeks when Nash or Michaels complained on his behalf. For what it's worth though, Hulk Hogan is said to be the total opposite, doing exactly what is asked of him and working as hard as he's capable of doing, has had no problem doing jobs or putting anyone over, and is pretty much avoiding all this Kliq drama. So at least one of these guys is redeeming their reputation here a little (just don't turn any hidden cameras on when he's having a conversation).
  • Chris Jericho has agreed to a new WWE deal, but hasn't yet signed the contract and is actually working without one at the moment. His previous deal expired a week or two ago and he's been hammering out details with WWE ever since. With declining business and no real competition to use as leverage, Jericho's negotiating power was obviously not great. But he is one of the company's key guys and word is Jericho considers the offer "fair, under the circumstances." So probably not as good as he was hoping, but that's what happens when you work for a monopoly.
  • Notes from Raw: "one of those nights best left forgotten," Dave says, as WWE's 2002 continues to suck. Booker T cut a promo challenging the NWO, but Eddie Guerrero answered the challenge instead, "I guess since they could get him to do a job on TV without complaining," Dave quips. And indeed, Booker won. Chris Benoit was embroiled in the beginnings of an angle with Austin and Flair, but when Austin left, everything got changed, and now Benoit is feuding with Bubba Ray Dudley, which is quite the demotion. Shawn Michaels cut a promo talking about the Kliq days, full of insider references that were lost on most of the crowd and it was so quiet that you could even hear one heckler yell, "Get to the point!" Dave doesn't understand why they're fondly reminiscing about a time that was by far the darkest, lowest period in the last 30 years of the business, but whatever. William Regal lost to Jeff Hardy, leading Dave to wonder whatever happened to the Regal/Molly Holly storyline that has seemingly been dropped with no explanation. And, of course, the Kevin Nash injury to end the show.
  • Oh yeah....and then there's this. Raw also featured a match with Trish Stratus & Bradshaw vs. Chris Nowinski & Jackie Gayda, which Dave calls "the longest 3:14 in pro wrestling history." Basically every spot that Gayda and Stratus did was completely blown, some so badly that Dave can't even figure out what they were trying to do. Nowinski and Bradshaw brawled into the crowd. "I think they were running out as fast as they could to preserve whatever reputation they have left." Jim Ross on commentary used the dreaded "bowling shoe ugly" phrase which is JR Code for "holy shit this is a bad match." The ending was completely botched but this time, Gayda at least had the sense to realize that they botched the finish so bad that she probably shouldn't eat a pin from it, so she tried to kick out instead. But Trish and the referee didn't get the memo and so the ref counted the 3 anyway, which made the whole thing look even worse. Crowd booed this like crazy and Dave says it was clear to everybody that Gayda has no business on Raw yet, she's still waaaaaaay too green (If you haven't seen it, this match is legendarily bad and is widely known simply as "That Jackie Gayda Match."
WATCH: That Jackie Gayda match
  • Notes from Smackdown: on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, this was a great show. Lillian Garcia singing "America the Beautiful" was interrupted by Team Canada, who got the most heel heat Dave has seen anywhere in wrestling in a long time. They're trying to redo the 1997 Hart Foundation/Canada angle, except this time, it's Christian, Test, and Lance Storm. Whether it will be successful or not depends on who the babyface is. In 1997, it was Steve Austin. If they pick Rikishi or somebody here in 2002, it's not gonna get over near as big. Batista working tag matches is the best thing for him, because he's looking a lot better lately while being able to hide his weaknesses. The Cena/Jericho angle was good (though probably not as good as the original idea would have been). During the Billy and Chuck segment, Chuck had a line about being tired from walking all day on Sunday. The joke wasn't explained, so if you didn't get it: that recent Sunday was the day of a lot of major national gay pride parades in major cities around the country. And Hogan and Edge won the tag titles in a fun match that the crowd was nuclear hot for.
WATCH: Edge & Hogan win the WWE tag team titles
  • Chris Benoit didn't do any actual matches in developmental before his return, he was just there training and taking bumps, so the matches he's been doing on TV the last week or two really were his first actual matches since the neck surgery. Benoit is said to be in less pain than he expected to be and is hopeful to get back to his old self.
  • Dave saw a recent picture of Rey Mysterio and he's worried. Mysterio has bulked up waaaaay too much for his frame. Dave compares him to The Patriot, another masked wrestler who's career was pretty much ended due to repeated muscle tears from being too steroided up. With Mysterio's size, there's zero reason or advantage to him being so muscular and it's only going to increase his risk of getting injured, especially when he starts working that 200-dates-per-year WWE schedule (yeah, this proved to be pretty accurate. Despite the success he had during that time, the next decade or so of Mysterio's career is pretty much injury after injury after injury).
  • Latest on Goldberg is that he has no plans to do anything in wrestling until later this year, if at all. Dave thinks that's smart, since WWE business looks like it's going to keep plummeting, at which time they'll be even more desperate for him to come in. Dave thinks Goldberg could probably command a pretty large offer to come in around the beginning of 2003 and build to a big Wrestlemania match (close, but not quite what happens).
  • Various WWE notes: Triple H has been out of action since King of the Ring after getting elbow surgery. He's been back in Birmingham again, doing 24/7 rehab. Stephanie McMahon hasn't been working in the WWE offices for the last few weeks because she's been with him. Stacy Keibler asked for time off because she's burned out and was replaced with Dawn Marie for all her scheduled bra and panties matches on house shows this week.
  • During the Sunday Night Heat/Raw tapings, someone held up a sign that said "Big Show is not over" when Big Show was out during Heat. Show saw the sign, flipped the guy off, and pointed it out to security. They tried to get the sign but I guess the guy holding it ran away and actually escaped them. Later during the night, when Big Show was out again (this time on Raw), the sign got held up again. Show once again saw it, once again pointed it out to security, and this time, they jumped the rail and caught the guy and took his sign. Imagine being that sensitive.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: Eric Bischoff debuts in WWE, X-Pac suspended, more on Russo in TNA, and more...
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ULTIMATE GUIDE TO QUIT PORN FOR GOOD

This is not written by me, but I HAD TO share it with all of you, because this is not some temporary trick to achieve 30, 60, 90 days target. It is a step by step guide for the complete reboot, to completely change your approach towards quitting porn and tackle PMO in the right manner.
It is extremely long, but trust me, it will change your whole perspective of quitting this addiction. Just read.
Written by - The Underdog

Porn Addiction is Being Severely Underestimated


How do I know this?
Because most people in the community believe that in order to get rid of this addiction, all they have to do is keep trying over and over again, until eventually things will just 'click' and their brains will finally become rebooted.
Very few are treating this as a true addiction. They just see it as a habit they want to break.
This is evidenced by the stubborness of many, relying purely on willpower for months, only to constantly reset their counters and beat themselves up for not making any progress.
Most people don't realize how incredibly difficult it is to completely remove artificial stimulation (of any kind) for the rest of their lives. We're talking about years and years of brain conditioning here.
We're dealing with some powerful stuff here, but it is not treated seriously enough, probably because it's widely accepted by society and is not a substance like heroine or cocaine.
I cringe when people relapse, reset their counters, and proclaim "This is it, I've had enough, I'm going to do it this time"...
Stop kidding yourself.
This is an addiction that has to be attacked from many different angles. You need a full arsenal of tools and strategies, as well as a proper mindset.
Willpower alone won't do shit.
Abstinence is NOT Recovery
What people usually try to do is go as many days clean as they can.
That's all they do.
That's all their goal.
They achieve a certain amount of days, then for whatever reason they relapse, so they start over and repeat.
That is abstaining. That is not recovering.
It is extremely common for people to achieve a certain milestone, such as 30, 90, or 100 days, relapse a few days later, and then find themselves unable to get momentum again. They go back to the beginning and they feel like they lost all their progress from their run.
There is a constant frustration for lack of progress. People are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, trying the same thing over and over again without success.
This is because very few are addressing the real roots of their problems. Very few.
Everyone is focused on how many days they have managed and if their symptoms are either present or gone. They judge their progress by measuring dick hardness, spontaneous erections and morning woods.
They are "trying to quit porn" so that they can "get rid of their ED".
So they abstain for as long as they can, hoping that this can cure their symptoms.
Completely wrong approach.
If they don't see ED improvements, they get discouraged.
If they see ED improvements, then maybe a porn session or two won't hurt, right?
If there is no woman around, they justify watching a couple of times. After all, they are not having sex anytime soon, so whats the point?
They delay dating until their ED is cured or they have managed to go 100 days. But they never achieve this in the first place precisely because of this incorrect mentality.
The same applies to other symptoms such as social anxiety, energy levels, motivation, etc.
They try to quit porn, so that the symptoms can go away, and so they can finally live life.
People are focusing on the wrong things.
They are not changing the way they think.
They are not changing the way they live.
They are not changing the way they view sex and women.
They are just trying not to masturbate, while everything else remains the same.
That, my friends, is abstinence, not recovery.
The Foundation of a Proper Reboot
Porn addiction is not the cause of your shitty life.
Read that again.
Of course, it's difficult to improve your life when you're having intense porn sessions every single day that drain your energy and make you a zombie. But porn is not the reason your life sucks.
Please, this is very important to understand, you have to stop blaming porn for your problems.
This mentality of life awaits me after recovery is destructive.
Porn is not the reason you're a procrastinator. Porn is not the reason you're depressed. Porn is not the reason you're lonely. Porn is not the reason you haven't been able to lose weight or gain muscle.
Porn is the symptom.
You watch porn to escape reality. You watch porn to manage your emotions. You watch porn because you're bored, lonely, stressed, depressed, angry, isolated. You watch porn to feel good for a moment, to replace uncomfortable emotions and situations in your life.
Here's how you get rid of this addiction:
You don't focus on quitting porn so you can finally get to live life after you're recovered.
You focus on learning how to live, how to manage your emotions, how to change the way you think and view the world.
You put all your energy into building the life you want.
This will naturally lead your mind away from porn.
Success is not measured by how many clean days you've managed.
It's measured by how much your life has improved since you started rebooting.
This is what you need to do.

Step #1: Write a life vision for yourself


How do you envision your life a few weeks, months, or years from now?
Spend a whole day (or week) thinking about this.
Don't say I don't know what to do with my life.
Are you telling me you have no clue what you want in any of the following areas: study, work, family, friends, hobbies, health, etc.?
Even if you're not sure, you need to give your life some direction.
This is by far the most important part of recovering from pornography addiction.
Write like crazy. Write many pages if you want. Make the biggest post you've ever done in your journal talking about how you envision your future life.
This life vision will be the foundation of your reboot.
This is what you will focus on 100% from now on.
Close your eyes. Visualize it. Write it down.
If you don't know what you want in life, then this is actually a more serious issue than porn addiction itself.
Like I said, spend a whole week if you need to.
Brainstorm.
Ask for advice.
Take a notebook and go to a park.
Inspire yourself.
This is the beginning of your recovery.
Take it seriously.

Step #2: Give urgency to your life vision


Ok, now you know what you want in life. Even if you're still unsure in some areas, such as not knowing what to study, that's ok. At least you can give your life some direction for the moment. This is very important. You need to give your life direction. You need to move towards something.
Here's the problem. Many of us know what we want, but we keep delaying it. We're experts at delaying goals. We wait until New Years, or the beginning of a month, or until circumstances get better.
So this is what you're going to do now:
You're going to give urgency to your life vision.
Write down why you ABSOLUTELY MUST start working on it right now.
Make another huge post or journal entry about it.
Let's suppose you're 27 and you have no job, no car, still live with your parents, and spend most of the day playing video games. Why in the world would you wait more time before starting to do something about it? This is urgent bro. You're fucking 27!
Or maybe you've never had a girlfriend in your life before. Well, what are you waiting for? Go buy some nice clothes, start going out more frequently, make mistakes, get rejected, ask women on dates. Start getting some experience NOW.
You have back pain? Start working on it. Don't wait. The more you wait the worse it gets. Start doing yoga or swimming. Move your hips and back constantly every day.
Write down reasons why you must start pursuing your life vision right now.
You have to stop living like this.
This is urgent.
This is high priority.
We must convince ourselves that change is imminent.
It's very important.
A life vision is no good if you have no urgency.
You'll just keep delaying it. Waiting for circumstances to improve. Waiting for motivation to arrive. Waiting for the beginning of new year.
Create urgency.

Step #3: Develop an indestructible belief in yourself


One of the main reasons we quit goals is because deep inside we don't believe we're actually able to do it.
When successful people like Arnold Schwarzenegger decide they want to achieve something, they become completely obsessed about it. They have an indestructible belief that they will achieve it.
They are not affected by circumstances. They create results in their head before they even get them.
This is what you have to do if you want to accomplish anything.
For example, let's say you want to learn how to play guitar. And you have the urgency to do it, because you know it takes time, so the sooner you start the better. You have to start now.
However, after a few days of learning the basics, you start losing motivation and becoming discouraged. You realize that playing guitar is not easy at all. You feel overwhelmed by how much practice you need to put into it. You start doubting yourself and thinking "There's no way I'll ever become a great guitar player and form my own band". Friends tell you things like "Dude, you should've started years ago. All great guitarists started when they were young".
So you quit.
This is a result of a weak belief in yourself. You don't believe you have the potential to become a good guitarist. Which is obviously completely false. We as humans have unlimited potential.
Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't think like this.
Look at what he said:
How many times have you heard 'You can't do this', 'You can't do that', 'It's never been done before'. I love it when someone says ' No one has ever done this before', because when I do it, that means I'm the first person that's ever done it!
This is how we should think when we set up to do anything in life.
Uncertainty is what kills people. Not knowing if they're able to achieve it.
We need to brainwash ourselves every day into believing that we WILL do it NO MATTER WHAT.
All of these steps are equally important.
Do not skip them.
They are the foundation of your reboot.
They make rebooting so much easier. Your mind will be completely focused on what you want in life. You will be fixing the root of all your problems.
The secret of change is to focus all your energy not fighting the old, but on building the new.
Stop making posts complaining about your shitty life. Stop making posts saying how you're sick of being addicted to porn. Stop talking about porn altogether.
Instead, transform your journal into a self-improvement journal, focused 100% on moving towards the life you want.
"Forget" about porn.
This is basic rebooting stuff, yet many people are constantly breaking this rule. They write about porn cravings, morning woods, spontaneous erections, what day they're on, how much they struggled to abstain, how they can't wait to reach 90 days, etc.
When you consistently focus 100% on building the life you want, your mind will naturally move away from porn. You will also lessen the void left by quitting porn, which is very real.
Many people quit porn only to find themselves in this life emptiness that is very hard to handle. Then they go back to porn precisely because this void is too much for them.
Focusing on your life vision is a superior rebooting approach.
Relapses aren't that discouraging if you're actually improving your life. Ironically, you will notice that the more you focus on what you want, the less frequently you will relapse.
It's important that you think in terms of life vision and pursuing your dreams, not in terms of "I have to get busy and fill my life with activities so that I don't watch porn". This is something you're doing for yourself.
Stop ranting about porn.
This journey is about your LIFE.
Focus on that and the porn will go away.

Managing Your Emotional Life


Ok, let's keep going.
Porn addiction is much more than just getting cravings and relapsing.
One of the reasons we become addicted is because of our inability to manage our emotional lives.
You have to remind yourself that quitting porn is about growing up and becoming a much more mature person.
It's much more than I want to quit porn so I can cure ED and have plenty of sex with women!.
Much more than that.
We've been using porn for years as a method of handling our emotions.
We need to stop hiding away from uncomfortable life situations. We need to stop using porn in order to escape from reality.
We must learn how to handle life and emotions without the need of porn.
We need to understand that one of the reasons we relapse is because we're pussies that can't handle negative emotions.
We use porn as medication. We use porn to hide away from life. We use porn to temporarily relief anxiety, stress, loneliness, boredom, anger, etc.
Readjusting Your Sexual Expectations
This is by far one of the most difficult things to do.
When you quit porn, you're not just saying good bye to artificial stimulation.
You're leaving behind the world of "never ending flow of hot chicks with big tits and round asses".
Real life is nothing like that.
We've been spoiled by porn. We believe that we should be out there having lots of sex with different women. We believe that this is the key to happiness and fulfillment.
The problem is that it is incredibly difficult and unrealistic to "fuck hot chicks on a regular basis".
There's nothing particularly wrong with having that goal, but you have to be willing to take some MASSIVE action. You have to go through hundreds of rejections. You need to have a lot of balls. You must do what 99.9% of men are incredibly afraid to do.
How many people here are doing what it takes to have the kind of sexual life we all dream about?
Very few, if any. We see these super hot chicks on tight dresses and we hope that maybe someday we might be able to have sex with them. We read books about seduction. We visit PUA forums. We watch videos on YouTube of guys approaching girls. We make theories and discuss them online.
But we aren't doing shit about it.
It's all just a dream. An idea we have in our minds. Something we hope someday we will do.
Here's how most people get laid in real life:
A guy meets a girl he finds attractive, so he asks her out. They get to know each other. Then they continue to go out and form some sort of relationship. Then after some months the relationship either becomes serious or falls apart.
That's the real world.
You have to accept that, unless you're willing to take massive action, you won't fuck anywhere near as many women as you expect to.
Accepting this is very difficult, but it is necessary.
We need to learn how to live without this world of endless hot chicks, otherwise we'll become extremely disappointed and dissatisfied with real life, which is nothing like porn.
Anyone here is more than capable of getting a girlfriend. But our girlfriends most likely won't look like pornstars, nor they will act like them.
There's a very high probability the sex won't be pornographic in nature. There's going to be a lot of sensuality, caressing, and also clumsiness. Some days your girl will look sexy, other days not so much. Some days she'll be in the mood, other days she won't. Some days you'll struggle to keep it hard, other days you'll cum too fast. She might be able to achieve orgasms, or she might not. You might do it every other day, or maybe only 3-4 times per month.
Remember, pornstars are paid thousands of dollars to do what they're told and fulfill all your fantasies.
You must stop living in dream land.
I know this is very difficult to accept, but we have to give meaning to our lives outside fucking hot chicks.
Our happiness cannot depend on that. Otherwise you'll keep coming back to porn every time you fail to get laid in real life. You will remain attached to "sex with hot chicks" for the rest of your life. You have to change the way you view sex and women, because I can assure you it has been completely distorted by porn.
By the way, I don't believe there's anything wrong about pursuing casual sex instead of a relationship, just make sure you keep both feet on the ground.
I would also like to add that relationships are about sharing your life with another person. I know many people here want a girlfriend so that they can finally start getting laid, but relationships go much more deeper than that.
If you've never had a girlfriend before you'll know once you get one.
Thinking About Sex is USELESS
What's the point of fantasizing?
It accomplishes nothing.
It slows down the reboot, increases the urge to masturbate, and reinforces neurological pathways related to porn.
It's a meaningless activity that should be eliminated.
It keeps your mind focused on sex, tits, asses, fucking, when it should be shifted towards other activities in life.
If you find yourself thinking about sex, you should mindfully and calmly redirect your attention to something else.
You want sex?
Great.
Then do something to actually make it happen.
Fantasizing by itself serves no purpose at all.
You need to understand that if you want to abstain from orgasm and masturbation, you cannot be thinking about sex and women, because this will inevitably cause you to relapse. Trying to abstain while at the same time fantasizing or peeking at pictures of chicks will only lead to frustration.
Stay away from any kind of artificial stimulation. Don't take peeks. Don't browse pictures of girls online. Don't type pornstar names on Google image search. Don't read escort forums.
Do not arouse yourself.
Basically you have to adopt a philosophy of "I'm either trying to get laid (approaching, texting girls, going out on dates, flirting with women, hanging out with friends, getting rejected) or doing something completely unrelated to sex (work, studying, exercise, fun, reading, playing an instrument, chores, housework, watching movies)".
There is no grey area where you are alone thinking about sex or checking out girls online. This accomplishes nothing. It serves no real purpose. It will only increase urges, lead to relapse, and make you frustrated.
As soon as erotic thoughts pop up in your mind, you should calmly ignore them and refocus your attention to something else. You keep practicing this forever until you master it.
You have to attack this addiction right from the root. Trying to abstain from hardcore porn accomplishes nothing if you're still constantly fantasizing and peeking.
If you keep strengthening the mindset I talked about above, you will be making meaningful progress.
This used to be called "Monk Mode", but I don't like that name because it implies that you're going to become celibate.
This isn't about becoming celibate. This is about doing what it takes if you want to get laid, instead of wasting mental energy on sexual thoughts that will only improve the chances of relapsing.
If you ever want to achieve a long streak, you can't be checking out girls online, even if it's just some bikini pictures. You can't be fantasizing when you wake up in the morning. You can't be taking 5 second peeks at porn.
As soon as you do any of those things, this huge beast called porn addiction will take control over your prefrontal cortex and it's just a matter of time before you relapse.
You have to be extreme.
But don't worry, it's much easier than it sounds.
It's actually harder to stop yourself from relapsing once you're already thinking about sex, than it is to not think about sex in the first place.
How do you not think about sex?
Simple.
Focus your mind 100% on your life vision.
Every....single....day.
Dismissing erotic thoughts as soon as they arrive in your mind is the cornerstone for preventing relapses.
This is basic stuff guys.
It's Not Orgasm What You Crave
Many people here believe that abstaining from orgasm is the most difficult part of rebooting.
WRONG.
When you get porn cravings, your brain is not asking for orgasm. As an addict, it is begging you for your hit. It misses the high, the tits, the asses, the novelty, the rush, the unrealistic sexual scenarios, the fantasies, the super hot chicks, the perfect camera shots, the feeling of letting go and indulging in pleasure, the fucking, the cumshots, the doggystyles, the boobs bouncing around, etc.
If lack of orgasm was the problem, then everyone would just fap without porn (or any other artificial stimulation). There would be no relapses and everyone would have 500+ day counters.
The urge to ejaculate only becomes a real problem once you start peeking, edging or fantasizing constantly. When you find yourself in a state of arousal then obviously you will want to cum.
But the initial urges are "addiction urges". They are mental. They are not a physical need for ejaculation.
If you feed these urges by peeking, even if it's just pictures of hot babes in bikini, then they will invade your mind and rob you of your ability to concentrate or remain calm. Eventually "autopilot" mode will be engaged and we all know what happens next.
You're not having urges to cum.
You're having urges for a "high" and a "rush".
Remember that.
This is why porn urges don't go away when you get a girlfriend.
It is a drug, and you need to learn how to live without it, regardless of whether you have a girlfriend or not.
When you abstain for several days or weeks, your sensitized pathways are anxiously waiting for any sexual cue, no matter how short or brief. This is why people mistakenly confuse real libido with porn cravings. They take a peek at porn after 15 days and they feel this intense rush and urge to cum, so they conclude that it is libido and that they must relieve pressure.
The problem was taking a peek in the first place. Had they just focused on more important things instead, they would've been able to finish the day clean without problem.
If you manage to completely abstain from fantasizing and checking out chicks online (in any form), then going a long time without orgasm won't be a problem.
And don't even think about testing or caressing your dick.
Focus 100% on your life vision.

Counters vs Spreadsheets


The following advice is aimed particularly towards those members who are having trouble getting a good run. If you're already doing good, you can skip this section.
Ok, here's the thing:
There is a sickening obsession with long streaks on this forum.
People like counters because supposedly they are helpful for tracking progress.
Well, guess what? Spreadsheets do a much better job at that.
There's a reason why I'm so stubborn with this anti-counter thing.
They are dangerous, destructive, counterproductive.
Counters reinforce the idea of being "back to zero" every time you relapse, making it way more justifiable to binge before starting over again. Not only that, but you completely lose track of how many times you're actually masturbating. They don't show the whole picture. There is absolutely no way to measure your progress at all. It's a never ending cycle of abstaining for a few days and then going back to zero.
Every time you reset your counter you become increasingly discouraged and unmotivated.
There's too much emphasis on what day you're on, no fap challenges (there are currently 7 no fap challenges running, it's ridiculous), 90 days, 100 days, etc.
If you're consistently unable to get past XX days and you're always in the low numbers, then your counter has lost its purpose.
Counters are only good when you've managed a good run, because this gives you a sense of accomplishment and provides sufficient accountability to actually prevent relapses sometimes.
Now, let's talk about spreadsheets:
- They keep your addiction under control: By keeping track of how many times you're actually masturbating and having orgasms, you will be forced to keep it in the low numbers. If you relapse, the spreadsheet will discourage you to binge, especially when you're sharing it with the forum. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep your orgasm count to less than 5 per month.
- They allow you to see the full picture. In gameover's words: "You don't realise how you forget over a month how many times you actually masturbate, peek, pmo or orgasm until you have it in front of you. I thought i was well under 3-4 orgasms a month but I have been up around 6-7 and this month was no better." You'll be surprised at how many times you're actually fapping.
- They completely eliminate the "counting" factor. All you have to do is keep it as clean as you can. Pretty cool eh? No more counting, no more 90 day goals, no more fap challenges. After all, we're trying to quit porn for life, not just 100 days or whatever.
- They will never discourage you. If you do relapse, you input it on the spreadsheet and move on. You don't make a new thread called "Relapsed again" or "Not making any progress". Trust me, if you went from fapping 25 times per month to 2-3 times per month, you're making huge progress, even if your counter only says "6 days".
Spreadsheets are NOT a taper off approach, of course. The goal should always be to never watch porn, to be as clean as you can, to take it one day at a time.
Tapering off, as in "I watched porn 20 times last month, so I'll watch it 15 times this month", will never work. You should never think like this. You should never give yourself the green light to PMO.
Ideally, you should replace your counter with a spreadsheet and completely forget about what day you're on. Then, if you do manage to get on a good run, you can put your counter back up for accountability and motivational purposes.
However, I understand many people here are in love with their counters.
They look pretty.
They are fancy.
I get it, I get it.
So this is what I propose:
(Once again, this ONLY applies to people who are struggling. If you're already on day 70 or whatever then don't change anything, but consider using a spreadsheet if you do end up relapsing.)

Conclusion


To sum it up, the typical rebooting advice of Hey man, just do a 90 day reboot is basically useless.
This is a very serious addiction and should be treated as such.
Willpower alone won't do it.
Change the way you live.
Change the way you think.
And please, stop making so many posts about porn, cravings, urges, relapsing, erections, 90 days, etc.
Instead, focus on the most important thing:
Your life.

Gotta clarify some things:
I have never said that the reason we started watching porn was because of life problems. In fact, I would argue that is not the case for the majority of us.
I didn't have any childhood issues or family problems when I was young. I just discovered porn on my own and liked it because it was very pleasurable. As kids and teenagers we are curious and horny.
However, as years go by, we become dependent on it not only because of its extreme addictive nature and accessibility, but also because we start using it as a way to cope with life.
The reason we start using porn and the reason we continue to use porn once we're addicts aren't necessarily the same.
I also didn't mean to say that all porn addicts have shitty lives. Actually by shitty all I mean is being dissatisfied in one way or another. Maybe you constantly put off your goals. Or maybe you waste a lot of time online and want to change that. That doesn't mean your life is shit. It just means it could be better.
I am completely aware there are exceptions. There is a guy who told me he had no problems getting instant makeouts and fucking chicks the same day he meets them. There are others who actually have incredibly busy lives and only watch porn to get some pleasure and relax.
Whatever your situation is, the main point of my post still stands. You should focus on moving towards what you want, instead of constantly complaining and wasting lots of energy on staying away from porn.
Concentrate on building the life you dream about and this will help you tremendously on your quest to overcome your addiction to porn.
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