Author Topic: I'm making a real start  (Read 301 times)

hedgehog32

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I'm making a real start
« on: August 22, 2019, 08:49:36 AM »
I'm 25 years old, I'm working in my dream job, I'm very happily living with my loving girlfriend of 5 and a half years, and I'm a porn addict.

Like a lot of men my age, I discovered porn at something like 13 years old. I don't actually think there was anything unhealthy about my relationship with porn for many years, but it's hard to imagine my post-pubescent life without it.

At 17, I got my first girlfriend. She was hot and, being normal 17-year-olds, we couldn't keep our hands off each other. She was also manipulative and emotionally abusive. I won't claim to have been the perfect boyfriend, but the gist is that the whole relationship was pretty unhealthy. I think that's when my porn addiction really kicked in. Whenever she made me feel like shit, I'd self-medicate with porn. I never struggled with ED, but for much of our relationship I had trouble achieving orgasm. Of course, teenaged me thought being able to go for hours made me a stud, rather than being a sign of a problem, but I figured out what was going on, successfully managed to abstain from masturbation for long enough to correct it, and adjusted my technique to stop it from coming back. Big success!

But my porn addiction remains an issue even years after we broke up, despite a healthy relationship of many years with my current partner. I've always spent hours at a time watching porn, on a daily basis. I don't always masturbate, in fact most of the time I just watch. In the last year or so, things have escalated to the point that I silently watch on my phone or (peraonal) laptop at work, with my screen turned to the corner of the room so none of my office-mates can see. If anything, the danger makes it more exciting.

My tastes have strayed away from traditional porn to voyeur-style content, leaked nudes, and that sort of thing. Anything I feel like I'm not supposed to be able to see makes it more exciting. That's not healthy. I also play a lot of porn games - some of which I genuinely think are well-made games with good stories, so those will be hard to give up, but I know I need to.

I'm not struggling to perform sexually (although I am having less sex than I might without porn), but I'm concerned about my escalating niche tastes and the fact that my addiction has now encroached on my work. I feel like it's not fair on my girlfriend that I spend so much time fantasising about other women - including close female friends I genuinely care about as people but can't help but objectify. I've started thinking about ways to act out my porn-fuelled fantasies in real life, which is really not good. It feels especially sleazy when I look at porn on my phone with my girlfriend in the room. She deserves better.

I've tried to quit a few times before, but I've never really made an honest, all-in effort to reboot. I just delete my porn folder, tell myself I'm a bad man, and then go right back to it. So consider this my real start. I've successfully abstained so far today, despite being home alone, and even though that shouldn't feel like a big achievement, it does.

Over the past couple of months, I've already started exercising regularly, and in planning my reboot I've added meditation to my routine, which is something I've wanted to do anyway. I'm also going to read more books, and probably take a few more cold showers.

This is probably my most controversial decision, but I've decided not to tell my girlfriend yet. She knows I masturbate to porn sometimes, and she has no issues with that, but she doesn't know the extent of it. I know she'd be very understanding, but she has her own issues to work through at the moment and I think knowing about my addiction would just hurt her. I want to try tackling it on my own first, to prove to myself I'm strong enough to do that. I'll revisit this decision in a couple of weeks, and fully intend to tell her when I feel ready, if I feel like I need her help, or if withdrawal starts to have an effect on our sex life. But I want to do this for myself, and I think I can.

Sorry for the wall of text. I didn't expect it to get this long, but I feel like writing down my story has helped.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 08:51:48 AM by hedgehog32 »

mr_redstar

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2019, 01:07:13 PM »
Your courage is great. Good luck with the fight.
Don't worry too much about your girlfriend because I think you will figure out a solution.

Lero

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2019, 09:37:13 AM »
Don't worry about the long text, man. Writting is like a form of therapy, I believe.

squid

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2019, 09:22:42 PM »
I look forward to seeing your progress! 

AustinGr33n

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2019, 10:12:32 PM »
I really resonate with your story man. I feel I can trace my addiction back to a very similar unhealthy relationship when I was 19. I also haven't told my girlfriend the extent of my addiction and believe she deserves better. I truly think that now is the perfect opportunity to take care of and heal some of my personal mental struggles regarding my previous relationship. Glad to be sharing a similar experience with someone.

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2019, 12:26:22 PM »
Hey, so it's time for an update.

It's been a week, and I'm pleased to report that, for the last seven days, I have abstained from porn and solo masturbation.

It's been an unusual week in a few ways: I had a couple of days off work with illness last week, leaving me alone in the house. On Wednesday, that meant it was prime fapping time, and I binged on porn, ending my streak of a good few days *again*. But on Thursday, I spent the whole day reading YBOP and making decent progress with the novel I've been trying to read for a while. That's also when I decided to share my story here. I felt like sharing my journey with others might give me the accountability I needed.

Monday was a public holiday, and my girlfriend and I both took Tuesday off work, so I had some company for four days. That made this week less of a true test, I suppose, since I had very little private time, but the old me would definitely have found time to look at porn somehow, probably on my phone while we watched TV. The new me didn't.

I'm already noticing the effects. I've had a lot more spontenous erections, and a generally increased drive for real sex (though, annoyingly, my girlfriend's been on her period and isn't into period sex, so we've been limited). I've also found myself noticing real women more, which is probably just my brain desperately seeking a porn surrogate, and is just as bad in its own way, but it feels refreshing at the moment. This morning, I was awoken by a wet dream (about a minute before my alarm went off, so at least it has good timing!). The plot was voyeuristic and porny, but it was entirely involuntary so I don't feel like I broke any rules.

On the whole, I've felt pretty good. It hasn't been too hard so far, but I know from prior experience that the worst is still to come. I occasionally have mild porn cravings, but they're manageable. I keep finding myself thinking of certain old pornographic favourites with a weird mixture of desire and shame.

The best moment so far was last night, as my girlfriend and I cuddled in bed, when she told me how close she's felt to me the last few days. That should be enough to keep me going.



Clearly, none of my previous attempts to stop have been successful, so I've set some rules for myself. Hopefully writing them down will stop me from reneging on them.

  • No porn. This is obvious.
  • No solo masturbation. Activities with my girlfriend are A-OK
  • No following celebrities on Instagram, Reddit, etc.
  • No looking at people on Instagram or Facebook just because I find them attractive. And no pinch-to-zoom, saving pictures, etc.
  • Exercise 3 times a week
  • Meditate daily

I've unsubscribed from all NSFW subreddits and blocked NSFW content in my account settings. I'll miss out on some funny TIFUs, but it's worth it. I've blocked porn on my laptop too.

I'm glad to hear my story has resonated with some people, and the fact that people have even read it gives me a lot more motivation and accountability. Please do keep checking up on me, and I'm open to advice etc.

I'll keep you updated :)



Current streak: 8 days
« Last Edit: August 29, 2019, 12:51:22 PM by hedgehog32 »

squid

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2019, 04:29:34 PM »
Great job man!  That's really awesome.  The first few weeks are the most challenging.  I'd encourage you to post here everyday for the first few months.  That really helped me.

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2019, 03:51:06 AM »
Great job man!  That's really awesome.  The first few weeks are the most challenging.  I'd encourage you to post here everyday for the first few months.  That really helped me.

Thanks for the advice, I'll try and step things up a bit!

The last few days have been interesting. It's been a bit tougher to abstain, I caught myself trying to check out some celebrity pictures and had to stop myself at the last minute, I've had a few urges to play my old favourite games, and I've been lingering a bit longer on some of my friends' Instagrams, but so far willpower has won out.

My libido has gone down a bit since its high last week, I've been slightly less interested in sex, but at the same time I've been continuing to have... interesting dreams.

I still haven't hit the hard part yet, and the fact that it's been relatively easy has part of me questioning whether I was ever addicted at all. But I also know that my behaviour just over a week ago was deeply unhealthy and had been for years, and that every time I've tried to stop I've failed, so the hardest part is still coming. I think the difference this time is having the resources and a community to help support and advise me, and make me feel less alone in all this.

I'm still treating this, mentally, like a temporary thing, rationalising it to myself as if I'll go back to porn at some point, when I'm better, with a healthier attitude. I think I need to tell myself this because I keep feeling like I'm missing out on all the newest content. I have a weird completionist attitude to certain porn, and I think my damaged brain would have a much harder time with the idea of never getting to see it all. But I don't know if I ever can, or should, go back. I don't want to, but my reptilian brain does. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

As for my goals, meditation has already fallen by the wayside. I'll try to pick that back up, because it's something I've genuinely wanted to do for a while and I think it'll give me the tools I need to keep going when willpower runs out. I've been exercising for a few months, but had a bit of a break last week because of my illness etc. I started again on Friday and felt great after, and the next session is tonight. I think working out helps, if only because it gives me a distraction when I'm home an hour or so before my girlfriend every evening - which used to be my "private time".

This is all just a series of disconnected thoughts, but writing them down helps me get them together. It's probably not the most fun to read, and it's hard to avoid giving a bit TMI with these kinds of topics, but I feel better for writing this and that's what I need right now.



Current streak: 11 days

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2019, 10:09:25 AM »
A small update: I'm I'll again, with another migraine. No exercise today, I guess.

I've suffered from migraines for years, but I hadn't had one for a while until I started rebooting. Now I'm suddenly having lots. It seems like a crazy suggestion, but I'm starting to wonder if this is some kind of withdrawal symptom. I know this is an addiction, but physical withdrawal symptoms are something I didn't expect. Of course, it could be a coincidence.

For now, I'm going to rest and spend some time with my thoughts.

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2019, 06:14:49 AM »
Gosh, this journal has fallen by the wayside already. I need to stop letting that happen, because it genuinely helps.

I spent a couple of nights away for work last week, all alone in a cheap hotel room. I was too busy most of the time to think about porn or masturbation, and it probably helped that I couldn't get the WiFi working, but I'm proud of myself for that anyway. Last time I went away for work I stayed up until the early hours of the morning watching tons of porn, and this time I barely even felt the urge.

The migraines have eased off too, but I keep feeling like they're on the verge of coming back. I'll take it though. I'm planning to get a workout in after work tonight, now I'm feeling alright, because illness and travel have kept me away from it for too long.

The last couple of days have been harder though. I've found myself slipping a few times, Googling things I shouldn't Google, going on people's Instagrams just to gawk, letting myself have unrealistic, porn-inspired fantasies about women I know... If I'm being strict about my rules, and I know I should be, I've broken my streak. I caught myself quickly every time, but I knew what I was doing all along, and let myself get as far as I did, and I need to take responsibility for that.

It's been my girlfriend's time of the month for the last week or so, and she's not into period sex, so there's been no sex for a while. I know a lot of people recommend that anyway, and I can see why. I think a lack of orgasms has helped my mind clear, but in some ways the lack of release has made it harder. Overall, I think the right approach for me is a healthy sex life without porn-inspired fantasy, but I'll revisit that in time. We have been fooling around a bit, and I've found myself enjoying her body a lot more. It'll be interesting to see how being porn-free affects our sex life in a few days' time - I'm expecting improvements.

Overall, the last week or so has been a mixed bag. I still feel like I'm making progress, but I need to be careful to avoid the spiral.



M streak: 19 days
P streak: 0 days (best: 18 days)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 09:29:23 AM by hedgehog32 »

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2019, 09:21:33 AM »
It's only been a few hours, but I'm posting again because I'm struggling. Today is really tough.

I've had an easy ride so far, but today I just haven't been able to resist. I'm at work right now, in my shared office, and I just keep looking at nudes. I think the fact that my streak's already broken today makes it easier to justify it to myself, even though I know the streak isn't the point. The point is ending my dependence on porn.

I've even been thinking of packing the whole thing in, telling myself I'm not addicted to porn at all, I just like it because it's good. Even though all the evidence says otherwise, I'm having a hard time pushing away those thoughts. Giving in certainly seems easier, but I don't want to let that happen.

I don't really have anything to say, I'm just struggling and wanted to share. I'm gonna take a few deep breaths, grab a coffee, and try to engross myself in my work.

Thank you for keeping me accountable.

Lero

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2019, 09:40:27 AM »
I've had an easy ride so far, but today I just haven't been able to resist. I'm at work right now, in my shared office, and I just keep looking at nudes. I think the fact that my streak's already broken today makes it easier to justify it to myself, even though I know the streak isn't the point. The point is ending my dependence on porn.

I feel you, man. I am not far away from experiences like that. I also work in an office but I am alone in there. Can you imagine how much P I watched so far? I would watch then go to the bathroom to PMO to the fresh memory of it. Then I bought myself a better cell phone, that allowed me to watch videos, so I could just go to the bathroom, PMO for like 15 minutes and then come back. I deleted the browsing history to hide all the P I watched.

Quote
I've even been thinking of packing the whole thing in, telling myself I'm not addicted to porn at all, I just like it because it's good. Even though all the evidence says otherwise, I'm having a hard time pushing away those thoughts. Giving in certainly seems easier, but I don't want to let that happen.

I don't really have anything to say, I'm just struggling and wanted to share. I'm gonna take a few deep breaths, grab a coffee, and try to engross myself in my work.

No doubt that the only pleasure of PMO would be enough. During my last 40 days streak, I had many days when I told myself that P wasn't good, that a relapsed made me feel miserable etc. all the things I could think about to explain to myself that I shouldn't watch P but my body felt completely opposite. Every inch in my body wanted the pleasure and didn't feel like a relapse would've been wrong, only the mental struggle to keep away from it made me end another day without a relapse. It's fucking crazy, man. We got ourselves into something hard. Imagine having to sit on a chair for 8 hours experiencing urges. I feel trapped. 
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 09:42:12 AM by Lero »

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2019, 09:50:24 AM »
I've had an easy ride so far, but today I just haven't been able to resist. I'm at work right now, in my shared office, and I just keep looking at nudes. I think the fact that my streak's already broken today makes it easier to justify it to myself, even though I know the streak isn't the point. The point is ending my dependence on porn.

I feel you, man. I am not far away from experiences like that. I also work in an office but I am alone in there. Can you imagine how much P I watched so far? I would watch then go to the bathroom to PMO to the fresh memory of it. Then I bought myself a better cell phone, that allowed me to watch videos, so I could just go to the bathroom, PMO for like 15 minutes and then come back. I deleted the browsing history to hide all the P I watched.

Quote
I've even been thinking of packing the whole thing in, telling myself I'm not addicted to porn at all, I just like it because it's good. Even though all the evidence says otherwise, I'm having a hard time pushing away those thoughts. Giving in certainly seems easier, but I don't want to let that happen.

I don't really have anything to say, I'm just struggling and wanted to share. I'm gonna take a few deep breaths, grab a coffee, and try to engross myself in my work.

No doubt that the only pleasure of PMO would be enough. During my last 40 days streak, I had many days when I told myself that P wasn't good, that a relapsed made me feel miserable etc. all the things I could think about to explain to myself that I shouldn't watch P but my body felt completely opposite. Every inch in my body wanted the pleasure and didn't feel like a relapse would've been wrong, only the mental struggle to keep away from it made me end another day without a relapse. It's fucking crazy, man. We got ourselves into something hard. Imagine having to sit on a chair for 8 hours experiencing urges. I feel trapped.

Yeah, it's tough. Hearing that other people feel the same way makes me feel a lot less alone, and somehow that makes it seem more manageable. So thank you, really. The urges are tough, but I'll push through, and so can you.

My boss just gave me a big, fun-sounding job to do, so I'm going to try and lose myself in that until 5, when I can go home and work out until my girlfriend gets home. Distractions seem to be the only thing that works when I'm in this state, so if I can create enough of those for myself, I might just get through.

And a new rule: My screen must always be facing the middle of my office, so my colleagues can see what I'm up to. No more turning around to face the corner.

Lero

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 09:54:48 AM »
Yeah, it's tough. Hearing that other people feel the same way makes me feel a lot less alone, and somehow that makes it seem more manageable. So thank you, really. The urges are tough, but I'll push through, and so can you.

Initially, it feels like you are the only one going through this shit but none of us has unique experiences. Many of us could share the same struggles. Coming to this forum helped me feel like I wasn't all alone anymore. Having to sit in an office for 8 hours experiencing hard urges is fucking brutal.

Quote
My boss just gave me a big, fun-sounding job to do, so I'm going to try and lose myself in that until 5, when I can go home and work out until my girlfriend gets home. Distractions seem to be the only thing that works when I'm in this state, so if I can create enough of those for myself, I might just get through.
Yes, distractions sometimes are the only thing that could save you.

Quote
And a new rule: My screen must always be facing the middle of my office, so my colleagues can see what I'm up to. No more turning around to face the corner.

This is very important. The addiction whispers in our ears: "Do things in such a way that you could watch P and hide it from everybody." We have to do the exact opposite.

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2019, 03:49:22 AM »
I've still been suffering from those urges, but they're easing off as I learn to manage them. I picked up exercise again this week, since my migraines seem to be gone - touch wood - and I'm starting to feel slight improvements in my mood and self-esteem. I've been more productive at work this week, and really enjoyed getting engrossed in my work again - it's been a while since that happened, since porn is usually a pretty good distraction. I've also started to be sexually active with my girlfriend again now, and it was honestly great.

The urge to watch porn hasn't gone away, but it's lessened. What it has been replaced with, though, is constant thoughts about a particular female friend who I've always found attractive but never had any real interest in before. I think this is my brain's way of projecting the energy that normally goes into porn onto something real and 3D, but that - like porn - feels like something forbidden that I haven't seen before. I love my girlfriend and definitely don't want anybody else, but that doesn't stop me from feeling guilty when I find my mind wandering like this. I'm hoping these thoughts will ease off too in time, and until then I'll keep looking for ways to manage them.

Work, exercise, and reading seem to be the best distractions, but I need to really make myself work on meditation to give myself the skills to handle unwanted thoughts without needing a distraction. That's my goal for the next week or so.

Overall, it's going pretty well considering I was on the verge of packing it all in a few days ago, and I'm looking forward with hope and optimism.



M streak: 22 days
P streak: 2 days (best: 18 days)
« Last Edit: September 13, 2019, 03:50:53 AM by hedgehog32 »

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2019, 04:30:12 AM »
An update:

The weekend was relatively easy, and I think it went pretty well. My girlfriend and I went to stay with friends, and I didn't have any serious urges. I won't claim to have been perfect, I still struggle to not objectify female friends, but I didn't want to look at porn once. Despite being a source of guilt, it sort of feels comparatively healthy to enjoy real people rather than pornstars on a screen, but I'm hoping these fantasies will subside as my brain sheds its addiction to porn scenarios.

Last night, my girlfriend told me again that she's felt extra close to and in love with me the last few weeks, so something is clearly working! We've had sex 3 times this week, which used to be a very rare occurrence, and I'm feeling really motivated to keep this no-porn thing up.

I've slipped a bit today though. I wish my colleagues would turn up on time for a change, because being alone in the office makes it far too easy to slip up. I wish the Reddit NSFW filter weren't so easy to bypass, it's nearly always how my slip-ups start. I end up checking for the latest content on a bunch of celebrity subs, with the NSFW filter off just in case, and it feels easy to justify to myself because it's "not really porn", but I know it's a gateway drug. Thankfully, I tend to catch myself pretty quickly. I still haven't had a proper binge since the day before I started this process, and I haven't masturbated once. Still, I need to do better.

I'll keep you updated



M streak: 25 days
P streak: 0 days (5 days until just now. Best: 18 days)
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 04:34:40 AM by hedgehog32 »

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2019, 06:10:48 AM »
I'm slipping.

I've watched real porn today, not just some semi-clothed attractive people. I loved it. I couldn't get as far as any videos, since the sites are all blocked and I did have enough willpower to keep the blocker active, but I cruised Reddit and Google images for gifs and previews. I've blocked Reddit on my laptop now, although it still works on my phone so that's not much of a solution.

This is still my most successful reboot attempt ever. Normally, one relapse would send me into a spiral and I'd end up giving up altogether. This time, I've failed a bunch of times but not given up, and I'm proud to say I still haven't masturbated once. But I need to do better. I want to do better.

I'm setting a small, achievable goal for myself. I managed 18 days porn-free, so I can do 19, starting now. Hopefully, after that, I'll feel equipped to keep it up indefinitely.

Wish me luck!



M streak: 27 days
P streak: 0 days (Best: 18 days; Goal: 19 days)

hedgehog32

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2019, 12:27:41 AM »
Yesterday I was back to my old ways. Instead of having a nice day out with my girlfriend, I was just thinking about porn. When we were sat in the living room, I was silently watching videos on my phone. When my girlfriend went out for a run, I didn't join her - instead, I watched porn.

That's when I saw something genuinely disturbing. I wasn't looking for it - or anything like it - but I managed to stumble across something on a relatively legitimate site that should not have been there. I won't give details, but it messed me up. I lost my appetite, I felt sick, and I hated being alone with my thoughts. My girlfriend picked up on this, and we talked about it. I didn't tell her everything, but it really helped to talk about it with another person. The transformation was basically immediate, I felt basically back to normal after our talk. Maybe I should open up about more of my troubles.

I'm feeling okay now, but I'm sure of one thing: I don't want to watch porn any more. I don't want to see anything like that ever again. I feel like staying away might be easier now.



M streak: 32 days (a month!)
P streak: 0 days (Best: 18 days; Goal: 19 days)

kopp

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Re: I'm making a real start
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2019, 02:51:35 AM »
Hey man. Interesting journal.

I see myself in your situation. I started my sexual life with a unhealthy relationship (abusive girlfriend too), started porn early... I also ditched real life activities with my girlfriends or friends to stay home and look at porn, etc. That's a bad habit. I try to say yes to everything, ie everything is better than staying home alone watching porn.

I understand that you don't want to tell your girlfriend about your porn addiction. I never wanted to tell my parents but I told my girlfriend. I think you could open up to her about how you feel without telling her about the addiction to hardcore porn and the long hours of watching it everywhere.

I haven't been able to have a healthy usage of reddit so I just blocked it. There's just so much NSFW content on there and it's just much more appealing to me than the other subreddits that I now consider it a porn site.

I'm worried about your usage of porn at work. Man that could have bad consequences...