Addicted To Fan Fiction, 12 Yrs And Counting...

I really don't know where to start with this.  Its been so many years since "the beginning" where most stories should start.  I was 11 or 12 when I first stumbled into fan fiction.  I don't remember how I found it the first time, but I do remember where it started.  Harry Potter.  I was and still am a reading fanatic.  I can consume a good book in a single sitting.  

I was poor growing up (and it seems like I still am) and had consumed all of the "interesting" books in my local library.  When I found fan fiction, it was like a gift.  On the internet - there for anyone to access was a plethora of things to read.  I took to it so quickly.  I created my first profile (to save fics I wanted to read) in 2001, almost a full year after I started reading.  All I would do online was sit and read, and while I have improved in the frequency of the reading, I do read at least an hour a day.  I hid it, and hide it still, from my family.  I have almost always been ashamed.

At my "lowest" point - I would read for up to 8+ hours a day.  Barely doing anything else.  I have what most call an addictive personality, but for most things, I tend to stick with it for a few months and then it fades away.  Not fan fiction.  Because it was reading, something I had always loved to do, it never seemed to be a harmful thing...until it was.

When you spend more time thinking about fictional characters and the fan fictions you want to read than you do about your school work, your family, your pets or your job, that's when it becomes a problem that needs to be faced.

Its an escape for me - from my own emotions - that feel inadequate, from my home, my money issues, my social issues and anything else that may be bothering me.  It is a sincere struggle to step away from a fictional wonderland, where I don't have to solve any problems, just read as they're all solved before my eyes.  

I have struggled with this for the last 12 years, and continue to struggle everyday.  It seems silly that I can feel antsy, almost panicked if I haven't read fan fiction that day.  It seems silly that I have physical symptoms from not being able to read it.  Sweaty palms, racing heart beat, short of breath, so many things that shouldn't be possible for an addiction that has nothing to do with the physical and everything to do with the mind.  

And yet - those sweaty palms, that racing heart beat, that shortness of breath, all of it disappears the moment I can open a chapter and read the first lines.  I feel calm and reassured.  I feel less pain, the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, when I can immerse myself in someone else's world. 

I guess what I'm saying is - addiction is real, addiction to fan fiction is real.  Its not something to laugh about or to make light of.  Physically, mentally and emotionally I AM ADDICTED.  I am working on it.  I have no solution.  Only an experience that perhaps you can relate to.  Addiction is painful; it feels impossible to wrench yourself away from.  

I have faced myself in the mirror and seen the way I am, and am working to change it.  

If you only read one thing of this post - please read this.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
calistal calistal
6 Responses Apr 18, 2012

Thank-you for so openly and honestly sharing your hard-fought struggle with us, there are so many parallels between all the stories shared here that I can relate to so personally.

Wow, I cried reading this. So glad I'm not alone...

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 - or a good start to recovery (and etc.). =D<br />
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Thanks for sharing. This feels so much life me... I don't know what to say. You made me feel not alone today.

Wow, thanks for sharing that. I didn't think I'd ever find someone else who reads fanfiction like that and can understand the reasons behind it. It's not as bad for me as it used to be, but when I get the urge, it's hard to stop. <br />
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Actually, you've kind of inspired me to share my own story. Maybe it'll help to tell whoever reads these experiences. Thanks.

Oh my goodness. Someone feels the same! I am in the middle of some of the most important exams of my life and I can't focus because of fanfiction it's been four years for me. I think it's gotten better but it's still bad.