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My Life Has Two Eras: B.F. and A.F.--Before Fanfiction And After...

It's getting to the point where I think I need a therapist. Or some form of professional help.  

I've been addicted to fanfiction since I was twelve...I'm now twenty.  It screwed up my high school experience, my grades, my college admission and is now threatening to take over college (I thought I had it under control for about a year, but eventually realized that I was deluding myself, and the only change was that I had accepted the fact that I was doomed to waste 6-12 hours a day on melodramatic drivel.)   I've tried limiting my reading time, but when I start, I can't seem to stop. I've also attempted to go cold turkey on multiple occasions, but eventually get sucked back into the relentless black hole that is ff.net.  I've also recently stumbled across livejournal, and discovered to my immense delight/horror the endless fic communities, conveniently arranged by fandom and pairing for my obsessive emersion. 

I think my main issue is that I think about these stupid stories and characters all the time. And when I say all, I do mean ALL the time. Anything I do, whether it's talking to people, reading a book, watching a movie...it all somehow links to some experience that a character had in a fic I read.  I really don't know what to do about it. I'm sure there's some perfectly sound psychological explanation as to why I do this--I'm not content with my life, I'm vicariously living through made-up characters-- but frankly, I'd just like to stop, since it's really f--king things up.  

Telling a shrink that I'm addicted to fanfiction kind of sounds ridiculous, though.

Advice?
sb411 sb411 18-21, F 8 Responses May 27, 2010

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If you're interested, Fan Fiction Addicts Anonymous (FFAA) is a support group where you can discuss your struggles with fan fiction addiction. It could be a good place to talk - and a good start to recovery. =D<br />
<br />
http://fanficaddictsanonymous.webs.com/

Hi. <br />
I've read all 7 comments above and now I feel like I'm just repeating exactly what has been said to you before, HOLY S*#T THAT'S EXACTlY WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME!!! <br />
Ok so, I'm a 12th grade student who has her English Final Exam TOMORROW and if you're wondering what I'm doing here instead of studying, my answer is, I'm reading a fanfiction.net story right now. It's an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G story and I have read it at least 5 times before but here i am again...It's been 3 years since i started reading and initially i read Detective Conan/Case Closed fanfic(in 9th grade) but that was maybe once in two weeks...then in 11th grade i read the twilight books 7-8 times(HUUUUGE FAN BTW) and my stupid brain thought "hey i feel like reading bella/edward in a slightly different manner and i think i should try fanfiction.net for it" and BAM! That was when my addiction started and I'm clearly still addicted. i was a star student in 10th grade, getting 94.25% and a schiolarship but i ruined my studies, behaviour(both with friends and family) and all the extra-activities i used to do....all to read fanfiction. If its not my laptop then its my iPhone and if not my iPhone then its my iPod-Touch and now all things, except my laptop have been kept somewhere in my fathers almirah. I've kept my laptop on pretense of downloading some sample papers for my test, pathetic i know. <br />
Even after all this time, I feel suffocated at even the thought of leaving ff.net or deleting the above 800 links and bookmarks I've made on all my devices....i really hope this doesn't spoil my life any further but i dont know how to quit...can anyone give any advices please?? I'll be gratefull....<br />
Sincerely,<br />
An Extremely Worried Girl.

I've been to a counselor for depression, but the thing is I never told her I was addicted to fanfiction: I never told her that it consumes my life, and that it's the cause and root of my depression. We talked about ALL OF MY PROBLEMS, except for that. I stopped seeing her a while ago because we were done with sessions, and I was much happier, but the thing is, I'm still addicted to fanfiction. It started my senior year of high school after I graduated. I was bored one summer, and my friend had recommended it to me, and now 4 years later I have a 2.5 GPA instead of a 4.0. I graduated high school at the top of my class. My goal was to graduate college in 3 years and go to med school. It is now year 4 and I have to apply to post-bac programs in attempt to raise my credentials. I hate myself for reading, but I JUST CAN'T STOP! I stopped for a little while, and it was the best time of my life! I think I agree with the first person who commented, giving myself doses in moderation or something. I've been trying that recently, but it just sort of failed. I told myself I'd turn to God, and when I want to quit, I do, but when the urges come back and I give in, I don't ask for help. I don't take control. I give in. Join DramioneLurver and I in our attempt to weed this out of our lives.

I share your feelings almost exactly. I was a bit older - 15 - when I got hooked on fanfic, but everything else is practically the same. Everything reminds me about this fanfic or that fanfic. I debated on talking to someone about it, but it sounds ridiculous: it's not drugs or alcohol; it's freaking fanfic. <br />
<br />
For a while though, I managed to get fanfic free. I managed to go without it for almost six months while using this Addiction Recovery Tracker from MedHelp.org. I decided to start trying to go without again. Last time, a couple of other fellow addicts recorded their progress with me. If you all want, you can join me in my efforts; having a sort of support group will really help.<br />
<br />
In case you want to join this 'I Can Stop Reading Fanfic' effort, here's some more information: the idea is that we record the number of chapters of fanfic read in one day as the number of 'consumptions' of fanfiction. We can write journal entries to share our troubles or progress. We can encourage each other with notes.<br />
<br />
It can help. I believe that if we help each other, we can get past this roadblock in our lives. For anyone who wants, my name on the MedHelp website is tsbookworm. Add me. We can help each other through this.

First of all, this issue with ff.net is totally normal. It happened to me too. I've been reading since I was 12 and I'm now 21. The whole act of reading kinda puts me in thrall, to the point where I have no self control and addicted. It's always "just one more" until I look up and see that hours have passed. Deadlines, assignments and meetings with REAL LIFE people are all put on hold, just so I can sit in front of my computer. I also find I'm shorter and meaner with my friends because I just want to be left to my own thoughts. I could literally be sitting amongst a group and be thinking of the stories. It's so consuming! The way these stories portray life is also false, so you're left with fake assumptions about what relationships and life really is. Given all this negative consequences, the act of reading is still really really hard to stop. <br />
<br />
I went cold turkey last year. It was a decision I made out of guilt (I'm a Christian and I know that Jesus did not die for me just so I could fill my mind with fantasies from ff.net all day) and the pain of wanting change, but too scared and stubborn to really acknowledge I needed it. I honestly did not miss it for a year. Then this year I found myself gravitating to romance movies and comics and I realize that my problem was still alive, like a sprouting weed whose roots still held my mind firm. Then I started reading ff.net again. Oh it was so wonderful to start up again, I felt relief akin to an alcoholic or smoker seeking release. But then the same issues started happening. <br />
<br />
I find with a re-occurring problem like mine, I can no longer trust myself. I just want it too much, I've no self control. It's a vicious cycle don't you see? Reading because I'm lonely, becoming lonely because I read. I love stories, but I can’t let my mind get caught up in one so much that it makes me dislike my life and not be grateful for the relationships I do have. I want to learn and be enriched by what comes before my eyes, not have it make my life harder.<br />
<br />
Repeated failure to stop indulging myself in these stories just make me have self-loathing and depression. I need help and I'm going to seek it from God because He cares for me and will help when I call to him. And God's love is for Christians and non-Christians alike. He doesn't care about labels. He loves us all. So have hope.

I thought I was the only one who felt like this. I have been reading ff since I was 19, I'm 30 now and I think it has gotten worse. I stay up till 0600 in the morning reading ff and I even read it at work, which is horrible when you're in the health care industry and you're supposed to be focusing on patient care.<br />
It has actually been scaring me how involved I've become in this, which is why I sought out help and was looking for a forum to ask questions. To be honest seeing that I am not the only one has helped me immensly, it means I'm not the only one, I'm not crazy. <br />
I think the problem is I am unhappy and discontent in my real life so I have escaped to ff. I guess when you're ready to confront realworld problems you don't need to escape so completely into ff; don't get me wrong I will never give up reading ff altogether, I think some of the greastest writers are in the ff arena but I do think that cutting back an hour every week will help.

Wow, this sounds like me so much. Especially about how you think about the characters/stories all the time, because I seriously do!! It's even worse now since I have an iphone and I learnt how to put the stories on there easily, last night I didn't get to sleep til 4am because I was finishing a story that I couldn't put down. I'm not happy with my life either, I'm depressed actually and my grades have dropped heaps. I guess reading fanfic is just one thing I can enjoy in life right now.

I'm a Christian too, and I've been reading FF for almost two years. I noticed that my grades were slipping, so I made myself a plan. I only read FF on my iTouch at night. I do all my normal stuff during the day, and then after I go to bed I read my FF. But I noticed I was staying up too late. So I made myself some rules:<br />
1. Read your Bible first. I have a Bible app on my iTouch and I absolutely love it. It's great for church because I can keep my Bible, my notes and my prayer reminders all in my pocket.<br />
2. I have to get at LEAST 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night. I get up at 6:30, so I go to bed at midnight.<br />
<br />
Once I started following these rules, I found my grades going up, I felt happier, and my family noticed improvements in my mood. <br />
Hope I helped!