Tag Archives: addiction

Facebook doesn’t want anonymous accounts

Addictions are hard to discuss in public and to be open about. Recovery is a long, multi-step journey, which may or may not include admitting the addiction publicly.

The internet has the potential to be an invaluable resource to those battling an addiction, in order to communicate with others in similar positions and seek help from professionals, but it requires even greater care with regards to personal privacy when using it for these purposes. Some sites seem to, perhaps indirectly, acknowledge and support this. Others, like Facebook I have just found out, less so.

For me, I have carefully created anonymous (I hope) Twitter, Reddit and WordPress accounts for this very purpose. I can blog, tweet, share thoughts and tips, ask questions, get motivation and seek support about porn addiction, all without worrying about sharing with the public who I really am!

One of the people I follow on Twitter (Feed The Right Wolf) linked to his Facebook page in order to invite people to join a proposed support network he was setting up. Sounded like a good idea, but I wasn’t going to connect using my real Facebook account now was I!? So I set up a new account, and I was required to enter my real name. Facebook even has some rudimentary fake name detection so it instantly rejected my attempt to use my “Healing My Brain” alias, however it did tell my I could change my name to an alias after my account is set up. Knowing Facebook’s track record in privacy, I wasn’t taking any chances so I entered “Dave Matthews”, a favourite musician of mine. Once in, I went straight to my account page to change the account name to purely Healing My Brain, only to be met with the message “you can only hide your real name after 60 days“. Thanks for telling me that after I had created my account Facebook.

Thank god I didn’t use my real name, as it would now be listed on Facebook against my porn-related posts.

The reason why social and other advertising-based websites want you to use your real name is that it increases the value of the profile they generate about you, which they sell to marketers and advertisers to fuel their business.

However, Facebook is of such a scale that it can serve a higher purpose. Those of us who can hugely benefit from its service but must do so anonymously are currently not supported by Facebook. This is a real shame. I am effectively breaking Facebook’s terms of service by using a fake name, and I suppose they could shut my account down if they really cared, but I’m going with it anyway – do they really care about my details that much? They are already gaining all the info they need from my real account, so why not allow me to have an anonymous account that I can use to help beat my addiction by connecting with other organisations who are already active on the network? Its easy for these organisations to be public, but much less so for the addicts who are making their first tentative steps into the world of admission and support. Forcing people to do it with their real names is going to seriously reduce (or totally eliminate?) the numbers of people who will willingly seek support under their real identity.

Of course, the question of whether porn addiction should be such a taboo that people don’t want to share their identities is a whole other topic. Ideally we live in a world where porn and its risks are talked about openly, but we are not there yet, so let’s not force people down a path that society hasn’t even accepted yet.

Here’s a link to my new Facebook profile page, if you’re interested!

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Still here

It has been a long time since I’ve blogged or tweeted, and that only means one thing… I’ve been back on the porn. If I go silent, that’s what it means, as if I’m succeeding, I’m going to want to talk about it!

But I’m re-energised and re-motivated to try again. I’m engaging a lot more with people on Twitter, to keep the fight at the forefront of my mind. I am reminding myself to not get complacent. I am telling myself truths throughout the day to remind me why I’m doing it, that I’m a better person for it, and what to watch out for.

So far so good. Tomorrow morning will be 5 days in. Sounds like nothing, but feels like a lot. Its been ok so far though – I’ve been having plenty of fun with my wife so the physical urges are being kept at bay – I am prepared for when we don’t have sex for a while – that will be the hard part. But I’m ready for it. It’s time to take control of my life and stop being a slave to urges, routines and impulses. There are bigger things at stake.

Easier said than done perhaps. I have said this before.

We’ll see. I’m feeling mentally empowered. I feel counselling is close if I don’t beat this on my own, and that is a real sign of defeat, or at least a direct acknowledgement that I am unable to beat this on my own, and I hate that thought – the thought I am totally not in control of my life and need someone’s help. I MUST be able to do this on my own, surely….?

Previously I tried internet blocks etc. Those were distractions. They didn’t address the core issue of my desire to watch porn; they just made it harder, avoiding the problem and not dealing with it. This time there’s no blocks or anything. Temptation and gratification is just a few taps away all the time. Wherever I am, there is the potential for porn – such is the life of an addict in the 21st century. 

The one thing I haven’t done is talk about it with my wife. It is so hard on her and she clearly prefers avoiding the subject. She must know I still watch porn and accepts it. That is the level of love she has for me and she deserves better. But I want to make progress on my own. I don’t want to tell her I have a problem; I want to tell her I have a solution. Or at least that I am addressing it and making progress. If I can get to 1 month, maybe I’ll tell her. She knows about this blog though but I have no idea if she reads it – I don’t mind if she finds out through here.


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Considering options to block porn on my devices

I am considering, and very likely going to implement, some form of porn-blocking method that I could implement across all devices I use. If I could successfully do this, that would be a massive helping hand in the effort to break my porn habit, as I literally would not be able to watch it, even if I tried.

The options I can think of, from the top of my head, are:

  • Install specialist porn-blocking 3rd party browsers/plugins on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air
  • Install a router-level blocking technology on my Airport Extreme
  • Employ a DNS-level blocker

Each will have their pros and cons. A router-level block won’t stop me from switching to 3G to circumvent it, so that’s out. Browsers are a good option, but obviously mean I lose all the functionality I get from using my current browsers. DNS-level blocking is also interesting but I’m not sure what the implications are – my phone is provided by my company and I’m not sure what impact changing these sorts of settings would be.

Obviously in addition to the above, I need to ensure that any methods I could use to undo any restrictions is locked down, most likely by letting my girlfriend choose the password.

If anyone has had any success with any of these options, or any other method, I’d be interested to hear about it.

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The porn fix vs the sex fix

One side-effect of porn that is widely discussed is that it can interfere with your enjoyment of real sex. Generally speaking, this, fortunately, has not been a problem for me. My sex drive has always been really high and so I always enjoy sex with my girlfriend, and porn rarely enters my mind during it.

However, the last 24 hours have given me cause for concern that this may be changing.

Yesterday, day 9 of the latest porn-free stint, I returned home from work and looked at porn. I didn’t go any further; I just looked. It was like I was trying to get my fix while pretending I was avoiding the repercussions. After 5 minutes I’d close the browser and go back to whatever I was doing, only to open another private browsing tab a few minutes later. This lasted about an hour, and as you can imagine I was a bit worked up by the end of it.

My girlfriend returned home and I didn’t tell her. I did, however, make it quite clear I was in the mood that evening and as events transpired, I ‘got lucky’. However, despite achieving what should have been the cure to my woes that evening, I was still not satisfied. I still wanted to look at porn. Which I did, and this time I gave in, and the urge was gone.

Obviously this is just an utter mess of irresponsibility, manipulation of my girlfriend, and setbacks regarding the journey of quitting. It was almost promising that I was able to restrain myself from physical action when initially looking at porn, but the rest of the events of the evening proved that was irrelevant.

Today I admitted all this to her as I can’t keep it a secret. And now she’s gone to bed without me and I’m here blogging about it on my laptop, feeling utterly ashamed, embarrassed, angry and a cocktail of plenty other emotions.

So, to get back to the title of this post “the porn fix vs the sex fix”, what was most interesting was how sex did not satisfy my urge to look at porn. I think that previously, while I was looking at porn regularly, I never noticed this because the urge was always under the radar. However, having gone 9 days without porn, that urge was stronger and I think that highlighted how relieving it seems to satisfy a different part of me/my brain than sex.

This is of course quite worrying, but arms me with some more knowledge I can hopefully use to control this addiction.

As the days without porn have continued, I’ve felt stronger urges to look at it. This made me realise that by simply not watching porn, all I’m doing is using willpower to restrain myself, but I’m not actually addressing the core issue. I need to be training myself not to want to look at porn. Do I do this just by not looking at it for a sufficiently long period of time, or do I do it via other means? Reading & education as an example. A commenter of this blog godtisx suggested reading stories from ex-porn stars speak out against the industry, to encourage me to break the fantasy, and I’ll certainly consider this.

I’m really worried about the damage I may be causing our relationship. I don’t know how much my girlfriend can put up with and I don’t really know what effect this is having on her deep down. I just know that I’m not improving as fast as I need to be, and need to start thinking of more pro-active measures.

The fact that things have been great between us for 7 years while this was a secret, and are difficult now I’m being honest, is the cruelest of ironies.

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Rediscovering myself

This weekend my girlfriend is out of town. I was faced with the prospect of two days on my own, obviously with the goal of not watching porn. This is my first major test.

To provide some context, in a similar situation in the past I would have earmarked the entire weekend for porn watching. This would mean I probably wouldn’t go out and do anything productive or meet any friends, and I would revert and escape into the self-indulgent world of porn.

Fortunately, I had already been invited to spend the day with some friends for a birthday bash, which meant I avoided the hours of temptation I would have faced if I spent the day at home in front of the laptop. And that, I suppose, is one thing that has changed; instead of seeing a weekend alone as an excuse to plan long and elaborate porn-watching sessions, I am spending it out and about with friends.

In doing so, I feel I am almost having to rediscover who I am. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what I mean by that, but the fundamental drive of my daily activity has now changed. Before, when out with friends, I would always have in the back of my mind when I would next be able to watch porn. I would more than likely cut the night short to achieve this. Now, the night feels natural and I am in no hurry to get home. I feel like I am re-learning what it is to be me, when out with friends.

There are a number of unexpected and deeply subtle effects that going ‘clean’ is having on me, and I am learning about them as I go. It is not as simple as I thought it might be, and there are some fundamentally important issues of self that I am being forced to think about that I had never considered before.

While my girlfriend has been, and continues to be, amazingly supportive, the strain is beginning to show as the longer-term impacts of this addiction start to be felt. I am not feeling particularly hopefully or complacent right now, and I hope more than anything else that my relationship can survive this.

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Animated explanation on the science of porn

Similar to my previous post of Gary Wilson’s excellent TED talk, here’s an animated explanation of the same scientific view of the process within our brains that makes porn so addictive.

Not only was learning this the single most influential factor in my newly-found drive to quit porn, remembering it when I get the urges is a powerful way of inspiring me onwards, as I can take pleasure in the knowledge that I literally healing my brain.

Source: The Golden Vanguard / AsapSCIENCE

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Status Update: Week 2

Day 8.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  • Generally, as long as I’m occupied, I don’t suffer too many withdrawal symptoms.
  • However, very often I get an impressively strong urge in my loins. It is almost a physical pain in my bladder area, and all I can think about is how watching porn and relieving myself is the only cure. This often happens in the morning, and in the afternoon when I get back from work; times when I’m less occupied and when I am used to watching porn.
  • When I get that urge, it is a pretty miserable time. It requires constant self-motivation to not succumb, and it also generally depresses me a bit as it reminds me how out of control I am with my body and that I have a long road ahead.
  • My expectant attitude to sex with my girlfriend has been replaced with a newfound respect for her sexual moods. I used to get genuinely annoyed when I was in the mood and she wasn’t, as I think perhaps I was so used to instant gratification. Now, I am far less expecting and in return she has been very sympathetic to the situation. I feel terrible about what a bastard I was.
  • Sex itself is fantastic, for the simple reason that it will have been longer between orgasms (as previously they would be daily or twice-daily) so they are more intense. I am also valuing it more. I have been replaying these great sexual encounters over in my head; something I never used to do.

So, in general, things are going ok. Having to control the urges is difficult and stressful, but manageable. I’m not using any techniques other than willpower and attempting to banish any intruding images from my mind and just get on with my day. My respect for my girlfriend and undeniable need to fix my addiction are, so far, sustenance enough for me to keep the urges at bay.

However, I’ve not yet had the true test – a day alone at home. I will need to prepare psychologically for that day in advance.

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The Science Behind Porn Addiction

This video has been doing the rounds lately and for good reason. It is a TED talk by Gary Wilson, founder of www.yourbrainonporn.com (the site which pretty much is responsible for my current drive to quit porn).

In it he discusses the various scientific, behavioural and physical changes that occur in a porn addict, as well as explaining the evolutionary background that could lead to porn addition. It really is extremely enlightening.

As a firm atheist and science-fan myself, this approach obviously suits my view of the world, and has acted as an inspiration  Brian’s objective tone, lack of judgement and approachable manner have made him a bit of a hero for me.

Check out the video for yourself, you won’t regret it:

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Saw this infographic posted on facebook today:


While related to an entirely different vice/addiction (smoking), which has very different and partly irreversible physical side-effects, it was interesting to see the timescale that the recovery period was being framed in.

Recovery from an addiction, be it physical, habitual or mental recovery, can take a very long time. I need to be mentally preparing myself for weeks, months or even years of recovery. Currently I have no idea realistically how long this will take and what the various phases will be, but the worst thing I could do at this early stage is to underestimate the duration and leave myself prone to relapse.

Source: 4designyoutrust

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The Beginning of the End (in a good way)

I am addicted to porn.

They say that the hardest part of beating an addiction is admitting you have one, but for me I have always known deep-down that my porn usage is out of control, excessive and destructive, and so this for me has been the easy bit.

The hard bit is actually quitting. Unlike any other drug I can think of, porn is present and available nearly all the time. I don’t have to go out and meet some dodgy dealer on a street somewhere; it is there and ready on the same laptop or device I was using to browse Facebook. This means the temptation is constantly present and the willpower required to abstain is infinitely greater.

My goal is to gain total control over my porn usage. For the foreseeable future, that means complete abstinence from porn until I have mended the mental damage caused. Maybe forever. Whatever it takes.

The approach I am taking to beat this is one of education and honesty. I have told my girlfriend of over 7 years and she has been incredibly supportive. I have set up this blog and a Twitter account to allow me to express myself without the fear of judgement or impact to my daily life.

Through this blog and twitter I will discuss things like what my usage has been like, how I view “addiction”, how I think I got into it, why it has been so hard to quit and the effect it has had on my life.

I suspect there must be many others out there who are in a similar situation and perhaps this blog can show them they are not alone and share some tips or ideas about how to beat this thing.

That’s all for now. I have so much I want to write but all in good time!

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