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After 15 Years of an Obsession with Erotica, This is How I Finally Broke Free

By May 9, 2019 No Comments

Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

We recently received this story from a female Fighter with a story that too many people can relate to. The truth is, written porn, also known as 'erotica,' can become a compulsive habit that can harm the consumer. Read her story to see how she got hooked from an early age, and broke free with the support of those around her.

Dear FTND,

I wanted to start this note by saying thank you. Because of you, your articles, your advocacy, and speaking out about pornography, I am overcoming an obsession that I have had for fifteen years. Fifteen years.

In two days, I will be 200 days CLEAN. Because of the work your company and team have done, my life has literally changed completely. I have gone from so many issues to freedom. I even got “free” tattooed to remind myself that I’m free from chains that have literally tried to destroy my life. And it never would have happened if it wasn’t for FTND.

Related: Is Reading Erotica As Harmful As Watching Porn?

For fifteen years, I thought I was the only girl in the world who ever struggled. And that because I read erotica, my struggle wasn’t really “valid.” And it wasn’t until reading the articles you and your team posted that change started to happen. And now, I am currently free of pornography. I’m sure you get a million stories a day, but I wanted to share mine. I feel like this is the least I can do as a thank you to you and your company. You know the dark realities of porn, but I want you to know that your work is making a difference.

Here is my story.

I am a 23-year-old female. And since I was seven years old, I have struggled with pornography. It started innocently enough… I learned to read early on. Books were my haven, my escape. Fortunately, I didn’t grow up on screens like so many children nowadays. After all, I am a 90′s baby, so I had a short time gap where my time was filled with books and not screens.

I remember one day specifically, I wanted to watch a movie. I don’t remember which one it was, but my parents asked me to look it up on a website that would tell you the movie content, such as violent content, etc. And on this page, there was a specific section about sexual content. They don’t go into heavy detail, but it was enough to make my seven-year-old mind whir. I remember when my eyes saw and my brain processed the sentence, I felt embarrassed and ashamed for reading it. I wish with so much of me that I could say I allowed the embarrassment to keep me from going back to it.

The next few years were filled with me sneaking downstairs on the computer to read the descriptions. And the worse the rating of the movie, the more they seemed to have in that section. I would search out movies that I knew were all about sex just so I could read the description. I would stay home “sick” so I could read, uninterrupted. I would always have another window ready on the computer so I could switch screens before I got caught.

It expanded from there. The internet seemed to have provided an endless amount of sexual content for me to read. Thankfully, I have never been into pornographic photos or movies. That never worked for me. But words paint a picture, make no mistake. I was hooked. There were times where my interested died down when I was bogged down with school and other things, but it always came back, viciously.

Related: True Story: My Consuming Childhood Addiction To Erotica Stories

In high school, everything revolved around sex. This fueled my obsession with erotica like none other. I decided somewhere along the line that I wouldn’t be bad or uneducated in bed. I wouldn’t be a girlfriend who didn’t know what she was doing when the time came. This brought me into the world of looking up sexual descriptions for “educational purposes.” This was a complete disaster.

Pornography isn’t limited to just photos. Some of the things talked about in magazines, websites, blogs, about how to make your boyfriend happy, how to be good in bed, etc. were some of the most damaging things I have ever read. I still “know the tricks” when I don’t want to. When I experienced a lot of things for the first time, I Googled how to do it. I searched how to be the best at it.

Honestly, pornography has ruined 95% of my firsts because I felt not good enough. Even worse was knowing that my first times doing physical things were more than likely being compared by the guy I was with to pornography he saw.

For The Sake Of Love

I kept my obsession a secret.

When I was 17, I started dating the man who is my boyfriend now. We’ll call him J.

He and I have been best friends since we were 16. And I know he had a history with porn, but he didn’t know mine. I knew about his when I was 16, but until I was 22, no one, and I mean no other soul on this earth knew about my struggle. I had been lying to everyone I knew, acting like I was above it, and even looking down on others for their struggle. All the while, justifying my own because I didn’t look at pictures or videos.

Related: True Story: Shame Got In The Way Of My Recovery From Porn

Early summer 2016, my porn struggle had spiked. I was at the highest use and amount I had ever been to. I was beginning to panic, I felt completely out of control, alone, and helpless to do anything. One day, J and I were walking on the beach. I told him earlier that day I needed to talk to him. I’d been working for six hours to try and get the words out of my mouth. And when they came out, they were anything but graceful. “I…read a lot of porn.” I managed to blurt out, my eyes glued to the sand and hands shoved as deep in my pockets as they could go.

I honestly felt so ashamed and I knew in telling him that, I was also telling him I had lied to him for the past six years of our relationship about something deeply personal. He paused and looked at me for a long moment. And then he wrapped me in the biggest hug as I burst into tears. He proceeded to turn my face towards him and tell me that he was so proud of me for telling him. That he knew how hard it was to say those kinds of things. That he knew how hard it was to struggle. That he knew how bad I must have felt. And that he was so sorry I had ever been there.

And then, he took me out for ice cream. And I cried the whole way.

I was set free from shame.

In that moment, he showed me something I didn’t know was possible. This was my darkest secret and he took me out for ice cream. He asked a few questions, and made sure that I knew he was there to help. A few weeks later, I went on vacation. That vacation was the last straw. I found myself sneaking away, hiding in the bathroom, skipping nights out, skipping dinner, avoiding family time, etc. just so I could go read sexually explicit material. I was desperate for help.

I have known and knew about Fight the New Drug for a long time, but it was on that vacation that I applied and was accepted into Fortify. I was accepted and immediately began tracking my setbacks and victories. As soon as I learned what my triggers, habits, and circumstances were with my setbacks, it stopped. And I mean, literally, stopped. As soon as I realized I was trading my happiness because I was bored or lonely at night, it stopped. I quit, cold turkey. And that cold turkey quit, was the best thing I did. And the most difficult.

Related: Why Being Anti-Porn & Anti-Shame Go Hand In Hand

I would literally shake because my body craved it so bad. I would shake, cry, and break into cold sweats. I felt like I was malfunctioning without it. My physical body ached for it. There was one day on this vacation, that I walked away from my family, into my bedroom, fully prepared, willing and wanting to look at porn. I was shaking and felt like I was going to throw up. I wanted to look at it just so my body would stop. At this point, I was probably around 2-3 days clean. And I remember standing in my room, and I started to cry. I told my body no.

Out loud, physically said to myself, “No! I’m not doing this! We don’t need this! We can do better than this! We’re done!” And I went back out by my family so I couldn’t do it.

The first two months were the worst for me. I felt like vomiting, all the time. But, I didn’t want to log a setback on Fortify. I didn’t want to reset my Victory Counter. I didn’t want to restart. Fortify awards you with medals as you go on successfully. I didn’t want to have to re-earn all of those medals. And I didn’t want to have to tell J that I fell. I didn’t want to have to restart.

I can very proudly say that the day after tomorrow, I will be 200 days CLEAN. And I’m so excited. I crave it every once and a while, but I don’t miss it. Some habits die hard and a fifteen year long habit is one of them. But it’s over!

Fortify

I couldn’t do it alone, but I did it!

I want to say one thing. Porn is not just limited to photos. Erotica addictions are a very real and serious thing. But if I can overcome it, so can you. If I can kick it, anybody can. I will also say this though: support is essential. It wasn’t until I let my boyfriend, who is my very best friend, know what was going on that I started making progress. He didn’t do the work for me, but his encouragement, his love, and his support was absolutely essential in my victory. To have him there to cheer me on and hug me when I messed up… It was literally life-changing.

Related: 5 Ways You Can Support Your Partner As They Kick Their Porn Habit

Tell someone. Get a battle buddy to kick this with you. Don’t be ashamed. I’ve been there. I understand what you’re feeling, but don’t let your feelings win. You need to win. You need to beat this. Because life is so much better when you win. Life is so much better without pornography. You feel lighter. You feel happier. You feel more free. You feel like yourself. You don’t have that sense of dread or shame about you.

And if you’re the one who someone tells they are struggling, don’t kick them to the curb. This is your moment to be a true friend and help someone walk in freedom. And Fortify was irreplaceable. For me to be able to physically see what my problems were and how I was triggered completely changed the game. I won when I had information. I won when I knew how, what, when, where, and why. I kicked booty. You can too!

Go, be free.

-A.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

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