I went no-poo in July of 2011. I soon realized I had curly hair. I spent the next YEAR trying to find my groove. I found this site at some point but didn't really look at it until a couple of months ago. As soon as I really looked at it and determined my hair properties (namely protein needs and porosity) it has greatly improved. Seriously. Finally, *fifteen months later* I have consistent good hair days. Now I am moving in to perfecting it - narrowing down more ingredients my hair likes/doesn't like, learning about dew points, etc. there is hope but, you're right, if you are becoming bitter and frustrated with the process maybe it's time to just take a break and not worry about it for a while. Good luck.
remember, with all advice or suggestions for your hair, YMMV!!
My hair:
2b wavy, medium texture, low porosity, med-high density. Protein finicky.
My routine:
Cleansing: DCNP, every 4-5 days (occasionally use CJ cleansers).
RO: CJSC, occasionally use JCDC
LI: KCKT or CJSL
Gel: KCCC, CJCIAB for 2nd day hair (sometimes third)

Heat is my friend: warm water rinses, steam caps, and diffuse dry. I love CLU cloths and my Denman.