I all started about three years ago when I read a book that really got to me. It was like somebody finally understood me after years and years of nothing. Then later on I started to think about it when I wasn't reading the book. Then it got worse and worse and it’s been spiralling from there. My best friend was already part of the hunger games fandom and I guess it was always inevitably going to happen. I realized that instead of reading the same text over and over again I could read new stories online. THAT WAS A MISTAKE. I joined more fandoms and it became harder to give up. In October of last year I managed gave it up. It was so hard because all I wanted to do was to get my iPod and read fan fiction. I couldn't just block the website because you can't on safari (Looking back even though I wasn't reading I got worse because I started to make the story lines in my head). I kept that up until about 3 weeks ago when I had a relapse and I just couldn't take it anymore and I started reading again. I wish that people could see how genuinely hard this is for me. More importantly I wish there was someone who would stop me.
123ICant 123ICant
18-21, F
3 Responses Mar 19, 2015

Haha, I get that. Though I never managed to give it up. I remember when I was younger I had it bookmarked on my phone. Then one time I purposely deleted it to make it more difficult for me to access and have it up for probably a month. Then I bookmarked it again. I remember I had gone through this process a few times until I just decided to leave it as a bookmark and it's still there to this day.

This is something that I've struggled with for years, but I think this kind of addiction is something completely separate from other addictions. When I finally admitted to myself that I was addicted I only got worse. For alcohol or drugs they always say to admit you have a problem first, but for fanfiction I'm not confident that that works. Admitting I had a problem really only made the addiction worse: I knew I needed to stop reading, but now it was at the forefront of my mind. I tried to find help online or through addictions forums but no one could even comprehend that this could be an actual problem, and not finding the help I expected only caused me to disappear deeper within myself and the stories I told myself to bring a smile to my face.
At one point I had gone a whole year without reading any fanfiction. I would get the urge and then just immediately change my line of thought. I would throw myself into some new activity or hobby or pray that my faith would keep me grounded, but it still wasn't enough to stop the thoughts. The thing to realize- the thing that has really helped me the most- is that fanfiction in and of itself IS NOT DANGEROUS. It isn't evil or wrong or bad. It isn't something to be avoided. There's nothing wrong with loving a particular world and wanting to get lost in it over and over- LotR nerds have been doing it for decades and they're still fine. Loving a world like this is just being a nerd, and I'm extremely proud to be a nerd.
It's true that you need to set limits for yourself. Don't give up a whole night's sleep for a story, and if you do just don't make it a habit. Don't forego eating just so you can keep up with the author's updates. Don't skip work or school so you can write your next chapter. But DO read in your free time, read to relax, read when you're bored- it's still better for your brain than constant tv or Netflix. Write the stories you come up with because it never hurts to improve your writing skills. Read the things that interest you and don't fault yourself for finding the same few characters so endlessly interesting.
Basically, if you treat your love of fanfiction as a problem to be avoided and shunned like the plague, you're only going to end up thinking constantly about what you're missing, and that obsession will undoubtedly go somewhere else- which isn't often a good thing. If you treat your love of fanfiction as a tendency to binge watch Netflix, then it makes way more sense. If you're supposed to be writing a paper, close Ao3 and fanfiction.net and write your paper. But if you've been writing for a 3 hours straight, PLEASE take a break. Feel free to read a chapter during this break, just be sure to get back to your paper afterwards. Open the story of your choice with a limit already set in your mind (Ex: I need to go to sleep by 11:30, I have a test tomorrow. I'll stop reading then. Or: I will only read two chapters because I really need to go to the store before it closes). Keep a fairly busy schedule so that you can't get caught in a 36 hour reading binge.
Honestly, as I've started to change how I look at fanfiction, I've not felt nearly the draw to it that I used to. I used to have this overwhelming need to read constantly because I had gotten to the point where I felt like it was the only thing that made me happy, but relaxing my perspective on it has also opened me up to other sources of happiness. I still love it, and read it fairly often. I still write when the mood strikes and will never not be in love with my OTP, but it's easier to manage because I've accepted it as a perfectly good part of me- a part that has allowed me to grow and discover new things and become the person I am today- rather than a disease I need to exterminate.
I hope this helps! And if you're struggling with a more specific aspect of fanfiction feel free to ask me about it, I started reading and writing 7 years ago, and I'm pretty sure I've seen most of the struggle. I know that some days it gets really hard- I can't tell you how many nights I cried about my addiction thinking that I was a failure who would never be able to get any support or be able to overcome myself, or how many nights of sleep I lost after relapsing. I've been mocked, condescended, dismissed, and ignored for this, so if there's anything else you need I'd be happy to help. I'm still here and I'm going stronger than ever!

You could try finding a new hobby, something that will take your focus away from reading fanfics. But don’t worry, this is just a temporary thing believe me. I was just like you, I used to spend the entire day reading them. Over time I started losing the interesting, even when I joined other fandoms.
Nowadays I do read fanfictions, but nothing like I used to.