Author Topic: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?  (Read 471 times)

nmmfm

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Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« on: January 20, 2020, 08:35:43 AM »
I set up porn blockers on my computer and on my phone that I can only turn off with a password that a trusted friend of mine keeps.  I thought these would help me to stay off porn when temptation overwhelms me and I make those first searches for porn.

However here's what's really been happening:

I encounter the block.  I feel a moment of frustration, I want my porn even MORE now that I've been denied it, so I start searching obsessively, trying to find porn that will bypass the blockers.  I can waste 30 mins to an hour or more just searching, trying to find it in all sorts of places, sorting search results by most recent and trying link after link.  I feel excited during the search, the expectation builds and I am full of anticipation.  And when I do finally find it (I always do) it feels like a 'win' to my brain, a relief, I feel like I have found some precious treasure; the fact that this porn was meant to have been blocked but I have found it anyway makes it all the more satisfying.

You can see how the added rush of excitement to the process of searching for porn can be addictive.  But I worry taking the blocks away would only make me watch porn even more.

What do you all think I should do?  Does anybody have a similar experience?  Can anybody relate to this?



PS:

On my PC I use a porn-blocking DNS (https://cleanbrowsing.org/filters) + I set my Windows user account to normal privileges, and created a separate admin account with a password given to my friend so that I cannot disable the DNS.

On my Android phone, SPIN browser + DoMobile AppLock with a password given to my friend.

For what it's worth, I don't engage in this behaviour on my phone at all.  It is too cumbersome and irritating to do so; my phone is slower than my PC.  The keyboard, mouse, and a large screen make it all too easy though.

Imaginos

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2020, 08:02:14 AM »
I think anything that makes it more difficult to watch porn and put more barriers in the way is a good thing, as it will reduce the chance you actually will watch when you feel like relapsing and are low on self discipline.

Also how did you set up Applock so you can't delete it. I have installed an app called Safe Surfer on my Samsung phone which blocks porn along with Applock which prevents me deleting it. I can still delete the Applock first tho then delete the Safe Surfer and i can't figure out how to set Applock so that i can't delete it

lerxst

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2020, 10:19:58 AM »
I would remove the filters if I were you. It's obvious that they are only making you search harder for the elusive treasure you are seeking. I had one on my computer for a week or so. But I love technical challenges. It seems all you have to do to bypass it is have a VPN extension on chrome. An alcoholic can't force every bar and liquor store to shut its doors so they won't slip. It all comes down to your own willpower and whether or not you want to change. Porn isn't the problem. It's only what we use to treat our problem. Tackle the underlying problem. Then you'll really be on the road to being free.

nmmfm

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2020, 10:06:09 PM »
After a relapse after discovering a loophole in the blocks, I thought about this more and came to the conclusion that I should keep the blocks.

Advantages of the blocks:
1. Yes, I can still watch porn somehow.  But the relapses tend to be shorter and less intense since it's such a pain in the ass to find porn with blocks.
2. Certain kinds of triggers are eliminated - eg. by blocking YouTube, Instagram etc on my phone there are no accidental triggers.

Disadvantage of the blocks:
1. They introduce a new kind of trigger - the discovery of a loophole, or the excitement of the challenge of trying to circumvent the blocks.

I've resolved not to "test" a loophole if I discover one by trying to load up porn - only to fix it as best as I can preemptively, and forget about it.

nmmfm

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 10:46:38 AM »
I think anything that makes it more difficult to watch porn and put more barriers in the way is a good thing, as it will reduce the chance you actually will watch when you feel like relapsing and are low on self discipline.

Also how did you set up Applock so you can't delete it. I have installed an app called Safe Surfer on my Samsung phone which blocks porn along with Applock which prevents me deleting it. I can still delete the Applock first tho then delete the Safe Surfer and i can't figure out how to set Applock so that i can't delete it

You might have to just block Settings.

Simonly

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 04:34:54 PM »
An interesting subject.  Sharing my experiences, they did make it worse for me, or rather didn't help :(

When I initially set up the blocker I used a random set of characters as the password, which I temporarily noted down, and once I confirmed that it was working, I burnt the bit of paper I wrote the password on thinking that all the problems the addiction was causing would go away.

Initially the blocker did stop me wandering towards the blocked sites if I became distracted when at my PC, but eventually as my cravings became stronger, I ended up spending ages getting frustrated trying to find a way around the blocker, often taking my anger out on my wife every time I failed (we had some massive rows at that time :(  )

I resorted to p subs, until It got to the point that I replaced the hard disk drive on my PC and reloaded the OS.  That's how bad the addiction got to me :O

On a similar note, I later started using a mobile phone so I could reach the sites more discreetly in the house.  During a later attempt at getting rid of the addiction I smashed the phone up … and then brought a cheap phone as a replacement!

There's a lot of information on here about the addiction and how it messes up the brain.  Part of any addiction is in the anticipation of the expectation of the craving.  The porn blocker did what it was suppose to do, but it also increased the level of my anticipation as the cravings got stronger, and my anxiety level rose … which made the whole thing worse.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to rely solely on the blocker.  I've been getting inspiration from the forum.

WilltoPower

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 08:39:28 PM »
I'm currently experimenting with not using filters.

I've been using "Chrome filter + app blocker" on android and Pluckeye on my computer for a long time. Of course, for a long time I was planning to use porn so I would have a token sent to me or just wait out the time delay to use porn. I wasn't very dedicated to recovery at this point. However, I finally took things seriously and made it 40 days without porn.

Pluckeye is alright, but its more of a short term fix. If you have ever used Pluckeye, you'll know how it hides ALL images and videos which is great in one way, but if we imagine ourselves recovered, it is something that you'll remove from your computer unlike other filters that you can live with.

So anyways, I decided to downgrade to Cold Turkey. I went a few days before making an unhealthy choice. I wasn't searching for hardcore porn, but I was searching for something on the line. It was obviously a bad decision, but this was not one of those fooling yourself into thinking you are not looking for porn, but secretly you're hoping to find it. Anyways, I had safe search on and when I input a search, one hardcore pornographic image out of dozens of clean images populated the screen. When I saw it, I did not hesitate to enlarge it. I used porn that day and again and again and again.

While I don't believe that willpower is the key to recovering from addiction, I think that having those filters in place gave me a false sense of security which led me to not cultivating any skills or confronting my addiction like I should have been.

We'll see. I may end up reinstalling filters, but right now, I don't think that I am using them correctly which actually makes them unhealthy for me.

nmmfm

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2020, 08:24:14 PM »
So anyways, I decided to downgrade to Cold Turkey.

I'm curious how you've set up Cold Turkey - what are you blocking, and when?

wecandoit

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2020, 02:30:44 PM »
I set up porn blockers on my computer and on my phone that I can only turn off with a password that a trusted friend of mine keeps.  I thought these would help me to stay off porn when temptation overwhelms me and I make those first searches for porn.

However here's what's really been happening:

I encounter the block.  I feel a moment of frustration, I want my porn even MORE now that I've been denied it, so I start searching obsessively, trying to find porn that will bypass the blockers.  I can waste 30 mins to an hour or more just searching, trying to find it in all sorts of places, sorting search results by most recent and trying link after link.  I feel excited during the search, the expectation builds and I am full of anticipation.  And when I do finally find it (I always do) it feels like a 'win' to my brain, a relief, I feel like I have found some precious treasure; the fact that this porn was meant to have been blocked but I have found it anyway makes it all the more satisfying.

You can see how the added rush of excitement to the process of searching for porn can be addictive.  But I worry taking the blocks away would only make me watch porn even more.

That's what dopamine does. It's a neurotransmitter of searching and anticipation. You making porn like a treasure to find makes it even more exciting for you. Chances are that the porn itself is less satisfying than the search for it.


wecandoit

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2020, 02:36:08 PM »
While I don't believe that willpower is the key to recovering from addiction, I think that having those filters in place gave me a false sense of security which led me to not cultivating any skills or confronting my addiction like I should have been.

We'll see. I may end up reinstalling filters, but right now, I don't think that I am using them correctly which actually makes them unhealthy for me.

This. I've experienced this stuff. Porn blockers never worked for me completely. Maybe because I wasn't fully committed to quitting and I did things like installing a softer blocker which I uninstalled with trembling hands and binged on porn. Maybe a better porn blocker would help but I've realized that I probably need to be the first porn blocker myself.

wecandoit

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2020, 02:40:54 PM »
An interesting subject.  Sharing my experiences, they did make it worse for me, or rather didn't help :(

When I initially set up the blocker I used a random set of characters as the password, which I temporarily noted down, and once I confirmed that it was working, I burnt the bit of paper I wrote the password on thinking that all the problems the addiction was causing would go away.

Initially the blocker did stop me wandering towards the blocked sites if I became distracted when at my PC, but eventually as my cravings became stronger, I ended up spending ages getting frustrated trying to find a way around the blocker, often taking my anger out on my wife every time I failed (we had some massive rows at that time :(  )

I resorted to p subs, until It got to the point that I replaced the hard disk drive on my PC and reloaded the OS.  That's how bad the addiction got to me :O

On a similar note, I later started using a mobile phone so I could reach the sites more discreetly in the house.  During a later attempt at getting rid of the addiction I smashed the phone up … and then brought a cheap phone as a replacement!

There's a lot of information on here about the addiction and how it messes up the brain.  Part of any addiction is in the anticipation of the expectation of the craving.  The porn blocker did what it was suppose to do, but it also increased the level of my anticipation as the cravings got stronger, and my anxiety level rose … which made the whole thing worse.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to rely solely on the blocker.  I've been getting inspiration from the forum.

Yes, I know what you're talking about. I've tried porn blockers in the past but blocking porn made me even more frustrated. I would do things like formatting the hard drive, using a Linux CD, using my parents' phones and stuff like that. I always found a way around. I actually, believe it or not, got better results when I knew that porn was there but I chose not to touch it.

DoneAtLast

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Re: Could porn blockers actually be making things worse for me?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2020, 03:10:15 PM »
This is an interesting discussion.

For me, the blockers at their best just gave me a brief moment of "are you sure you want to do this?" at the last minute.  Sometimes it helped if I was absent-mindedly clicking through stuff online, not unlike clearing your browser history or deleting bookmarks might help.  That would help avoid the completely mindless relapses where I'm just opening the tabs that I would normally open on any given day, but if I was really down and ready to relapse, not so much. 

Reactivating the blocker afterward was, I found, an even better practice, because it helped avoid binging and helped me commit to getting back on the wagon.  I had a similar routine.  I used an online password generator, pasted it into notepad, printed it, and put the paper away somewhere then closed notepad without saving.  That meant no copying and pasting, and it meant having to get up from my computer to find the password.  Not infallible by any means, but enough of a routine to winnow down smaller relapses.

I suppose it is possible that you're creating a fixation for yourself of "how do I get past this stupid blocker?" and you have something to obsess over.  But, my suspicion is that it is the same amount of obsessing, you just aren't obsessing about porn  so much as how you'll get past the blocker.  Does that make sense?  My sense is that you're seeing a "conservation of energy" phenomenon, wherein you can't get to porn, so you're obsessing over other things.  You aren't creating extra desire, you're just getting antsy without porn, and this is how it is manifesting itself.
 Without the blocker, that energy might go to searching all your usual porn sites looking for the perfect video, or curating a collection. 

Speaking of collections, I've heard similar ideas about deleting a person's porn collection, because once they've deleted it they feel a need to go out and regather all of that stuff again.  That happened to me a couple times early on, but by the time I was recollecting, I was pretty much 100% relapsed anyway, so I'm not sure it is all that meaningful.  It doesn't seem like a good case for keeping mountains of porn on your hard drive.

All that said, if no blocker works better than a blocker, go for it.  The blockers only go so far anyway, and there is a convincing argument to be made about the false sense of security.  You can't be on facebook, twitter and instagram and expect you won't escalate to porn after that just because of a blocker... you need all the tricks, not just a blocker.