Pornography Addiction - A real life account
By Charlotte Fantelli
‘I think I was 10 or 11 years old when I first stumbled upon my father’s stash of porn’ Craig tells me.
He looks at his shoes as he recalls his embarrassment ‘I was horrified and aroused at the same time. I was so embarrassed, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what I saw. The next day I had to go back and have another look.’
Craig, like many addicts, had a broken childhood. He recalls feeling very ‘remote’ and ‘distant’ from his parents, and at the age of nine his mother left after an affair, leaving Craig to grow up with his father.
Craig does not blame his childhood for where he found himself, but does recognise it played a part; ‘I don’t want to make out I had the hardest of childhoods, lots of people have it worse and don’t become an addict, and many addicts have it easier and still find themselves stuck where I was.
‘But yeah, if I have to, I will admit the feelings I got when succumbing to my urges, was probably the closest I came to feelings of love, intimacy and pleasure, during my teens. Or at least that is how it felt.’
Craig tells me how through his early teens he became more and more preoccupied with pornography and how it went from ‘sneaking into his fathers stash and looking at the images on the DVDs’ to finding ways of watching them.
‘Looking at the pictures was not enough anymore, I had to watch the videos, I had to hear it and see it, just the still image didn’t give me the same thrill.
‘I became really cunning, getting my dad to leave the house so I could watch them. I even photocopied some leaflets I found in the cases and kept them under my bed. So I had them there, but again, soon these were not enough, I wanted more.’
The more Craig immersed himself in watching pornography, the harder it became for him to form relationships, or concentrate on school or work. He believes that poor college grades are to do with a ‘constant preoccupation with sex’, admitting ‘I could not wait to get home to relieve my frustration, the longer I went without, the more wound up I would get.’
'I had so much pent up anger and the only thing that seemed to releive it was porn, but the more I relied on it the more anger I had - espescially when I couldn't get my 'fix', I withdrew from friends and family and relationships were almost impossible.'
At 23 his addiction changed and took a turn for the worse; ‘I remember getting my first proper computer, this opened new doors for me and soon I was spending all my time, not to mention money, watching porn.’
‘The internet wasn’t as it is now, seriously God knows where I would have ended up if I had the kind of non stop availability there is now! I fear for kids, I really do, when my problems started there was a limit on what I could see or do, but now there is just so much it is frightening.’
I ask Craig when he realised he was an addict, he replies by telling me; ‘I didn’t realise I had a problem until it started affecting my relationships in my mid twenties. Looking back it started much earlier, but it was just what seemed ‘normal to me’.
After a failed engagement, Craig realised he needed help to form relationships in the real world and not seek solace in pornography. Craig sought help and tells me; ‘It was as scary and embarrassing as picking up that first porno, I felt just like a little kid having been caught. But, thank goodness, just as I went back to the porn that first time, this time I went back for help. Therapy really has changed my life.’
It was a long process but Craig has completed his treatment plan and is now free from the shackles of pornography addiction.
Life after pornography addiction
Craig is now happily married and has two daughters. He has been very open with his wife and she tells me; ‘I love him, all of him, I don’t judge his past, we all do things we are not proud of, but the fact he has come through shows what strength he has.’
‘I want my daughters to know love and intimacy, how could I be a good example of that if I was spending all my time watching porn rather than spending time with my wife?
‘I am happier now than I have ever been. Sometimes it is hard, especially with sex in the mainstream media, you feel those feelings coming back, but I would never go back to being controlled by my urges. I have a life now that is my own and I enjoy sex with a person that I love deeply!’
We wish Craig and his family every happiness.
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Please see our feature on pornography addiction