How to stop consuming useless media/content?

My whole life I’ve been constantly consuming shit. Whether it’s collecting video games that I hardly play, spending thousands of dollars on video games in general, wasting hours upon scrolling through reddit, youtube, or netflix, or continuing to feed my severe porn addiction, I want to be able to put it all behind me. I feel like I’m genuinely addicted to watching media, as it’s pretty much all I’ve ever done. Every time that I’ve tried to stop, I went back to the same old habits.

I’m only 17, so I want to squash this issue before I end up too deep in it to escape. I’ve taken a couple steps to help already like applying for a job and moving my computer out of my room, but I feel that there’s more I could be doing. I was able to stop watching porn for nearly a month, but I stumbled and now I’m back at square one. If anybody had some advice to help me with this, it would be really appreciated. Thanks

P.S. Just found this site today, and I’ve really enjoyed the conversations I have read so far. You guys have some really thoughtful answers; other websites like reddit are either very far right or left biased.

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You’re probably falling back into habits because of rationalizations. If you really convince yourself, even propagandize yourself to believe that what you are doing is harmful, then even when you try to rationalize a relapse, you will feel something deeply wrong, and won’t go through with it, this is how I got out of sugar, porn, and videogames. This past month I’ve been trying to limit my YouTube time, as to not consume so much junk content.
Good luck, man.

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Sell all your video games. That’s a good start

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Enjoying pleasure is part of your humanity, and moreso your culture of origin.

My own opinion is you should push yourself a few times a week to do something more worthwhile, then reflect on how much happier it makes you.

You can also read “The Seven Longings of the Human Heart” for free here

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It’s a bitch, man. We’re all dealing with it. I’m also 17 and don’t know shit but I’ll try to give you some words of advice.

In modern addiction philosophy, people recommend not to entirely ditch the addiction, but replace it with something healthier. So for example when you have the compulsion to go on reddit, try a book instead (haha lul just pick up a book bro). I don’t read a ton but thrift stores are my favorite places to find books since they’re generally well-loved and inexpensive. Not all consumption is bad though (as discussed on an earlier thread called Consumerism) so if you’re watching/reading/listening to things that better you as a person and that you derive meaning and enjoyment from, you shouldn’t feel ashamed of it. I empathize the feeling of reliance on media, but the thing is that as humans we’re hard-wired to feel that way, either for evolutionary purposes or God’s will. The search for moderation is not one I’m sure I’ll ever finish, personally. I’d look into Buddhism or something if you’re really committed to abstaining from desire.

The one thing I can tell you for certain is that guilt and shame will get you nowhere. Every person our age deals with this.

Additionally, don’t try to quash all your habits at once. Going cold turkey will leave you bored out of your mind. You have to change what you want to do, not what you do.

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Thank you for linking that book. I have only read the first couple pages, but so far it has been very interesting.

Ah, so it’s not the fact that I’m consuming, but what I’m consuming. That actually makes a lot of sense. There’s a really nice second hand books store that I know of, so I might go check it out and try to get myself back into reading.

I can relate very well with your comment on moderation. It seems like I either don’t consume things at all, or I consume a LOT of it. I’m sure it’s going to be one of the more difficult things for me to correct, especially with how much time I spend on my computer.

Do you have any good book recommendations? Modern addiction philosophy sounds interesting, but anything else I would also be willing to look into.

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Ah, so it’s not the fact that I’m consuming, but what I’m consuming

Well, the only one who can identify the issue is you. Consuming so much that you’re reliant on it is the issue, right? Moderation is key blah blah blah. I hate the platitudes but it’s kind of true.

Get back into reading

Yeah, I used to be super into reading but books fell off my chart when I got on the internet. Now my attention span is too short to get as entrenched into a book as I used to. Seems to be true for most people; I had an English teacher who said that most people see a reading drop-off at ~15 and pick it back up at ~30.

Book recommendations:
If you want to read about addiction, Johann Harri is a really intelligent guy and wrote a book about the drugs & addiction. He’s kind of controversial in the medical field, though. I’ll link a JRE which got me into him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDpjvFn4wgM

Books/authors I recommend:
Moby Dick
The Tao of Pooh
Lolita
The Stranger
Myth of Sisyphus
Invention of Solitude
Anything by Harlan Ellison
Anything by James Joyce
Anything by Thomas Pynchon

Honorable mention: the Bible. I haven’t read much of it and I’m not religious but the role it’s played in Western philosophy is incredible. Hell, get Jefferson Bible if you want. Removes all the divine stuff and gets right to the morals.

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I just bought Harrassment Architecture, which is part of the new dissident literature.

Currently reading Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, which is really good and I highly recommend it.

I’ve also read Bronze Age Mindset which is another dissident work. It was ok

I also want to read some of Tao Lin’s stuff

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So if you have a severe porn addiction like you say, you need to ignore the other stuff and focus on that. Quitting this stuff now at your age is imperative. Your brain continues to develop until you’re 25-27 years-old, so you actually have a huge advantage in re-wiring your brain right now.

I’ve struggled with a porn addiction for almost as long as you’ve been alive. It’s really rough, and while every year has been better than the last for me, you don’t want to do what I’ve done and wait this long to seriously crack down on it. I think I can offer you some very good tips to help you get over this.

Read about porn addiction and get facts. fightthenewdrug.org yourbrainonporn.com Those are the two best websites. There are far more if you need more info. Read about the benefits of abstaining from porn and masturbation too. Just educate yourself first and foremost. Maybe you already have, but if not, do it.

You need to separate yourself from your behavior. You have a porn addiction, you are not your porn addiction. At one point in time you weren’t addicted to porn. You CAN make it so you aren’t addicted again. Separate the emotion from the act. Remove the phony love you have for the women in the videos, and view it as a drug no different from alcohol or heroin.

This is spot on. Don’t ever beat yourself up over it. You have natural sexual desires just like every man does. There is nothing wrong with that, but they are being subverted by a society that hates you and wants you weak. Try to remember this stuff is being used against you as a weapon to keep you from being the man you were born to be.

You have to eliminate this mode of thinking right now. I can’t stress how important this is. Progress will never be linear. You ARE NOT back at square one. You quit watching porn for an entire month. That counts for something. It’s actually a hell of an accomplishment, and is a testament to what you are capable of. If you can quit for a month, then you can quit for another, and then another after that, and so on. You must focus on the positive always.

That means you have to stop beating yourself up when you slip up, too. You aren’t fucked up, damaged beyond repair, or doomed for life. You have to tell yourself this over and over and over, all of the time. The more you repeat it, the more you will believe it. All the knowledge you have about porn addiction will be useless if you don’t believe and know that you can get better.

I thought I had more to say, but I guess that’s enough already. Sorry if I derailed the thread, but I really hate hearing about young men going through this problem, and if I can help in any way, I’ll try to. If you have any more questions or want any more advice, just ask.

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Porn addiction has definitely been in the forefront of my struggle lately, and I really appreciate your response. Ever since I first realized that I had a genuine addiction to pornography I’ve been searching for ways to trick myself into hating/avoiding it, but it’s been quite tough. I have looked at a lot of anti-pornographic websites and groups, but my urge to watch porn has come out on top so far.

That nearly month-long period that I was able to stop actually came from an drunk argument with a friend of mine; he had said youtube was more damaging than pornography. I had argued that porn is much more damaging, and I got so fired up about the whole thing that I didn’t want to watch it for weeks. Not only was I angry, I was afraid of being a hypocrite by falling for the same product that I was so vehemently bashing. So I suppose the question(s) that comes from this is:

How can I regain that hatred for porn in a consistent sustainable, and healthy way without damaging friendships or causing arguments? Or is that an unrealistic idea to cling to? If that is the case, what helps you the most in dealing with porn addiction? Thanks.

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Some lady on Joe Rogan quit smoking after reading this book. Basically the book used the carrot and the stick technique. It went through all of the arguments that people will have when about to relapse and explaining why they’re bad (the stick), and also explained how it’s actually a myth that it’s hard to quit smoking; that that’s just propaganda by cigarette companies (the carrot).

I think it’s a similar deal with pornography. Is pornography really that hard to quit? Really? There are no bad side effects besides withdrawal. Or is it more likely that the reason why pornography is hard to quit is psychological? Because sure, maybe porno giants aren’t planning this, or consciously being subversive, but the fact that big porno is so addictive could be causally related to memetics either way.

Like think about it. Is it any coincidence that all of these addictive substances are thought of as hard to quit? Maybe I’m committing circular reasoning…

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One book that really helped me process my impotence and Madness of consumption when I was younger was Crime and Punishment. The book takes everything that people feel nowadays (the listlessness of modernity, the spiritual emptiness, extreme materialism) and amps that feeling up to a 100 degrees with a character who is essentially mad with thoughts about how Napolean wouldn’t let himself get stepped on by others and that he could kill anyone and not be condemned for it. This is obviously way more of an intense psychological mindframe then just being obsessed with consuming shit but the way it connects is that his madnesse stems from his poverty and failure as a student, something that I think many people can empathize with.

His family continues to struggle sending him money, he sees his sister marry a scumbag to secure wealth, he has all but one friend who is very sociable so he is of course friends with everyone who he meets (a perfect foil to the main character who struggles to even talk with random people on the street).

The madness of consuming, money and capitalism is all in the mindframe of the people who go crazy from it, not the system itself. This is the mistake of many who believe they are victims to something (like raskolnikov in C & P). Never believe you are a victim and learn from Raskolnikov’s mistakes as his life does turn around, not in a classic tall tale sort of sense, but in a rational way where he turns to God, meekness and the Bible, the book of life.

What I like about the book is that it is not there to give you a solution like the endless supply line of self help on the internet but instead it shows the metaphysical truth and psychology of those who commit crimes when they characterize themselves as a victim.

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You’re going to find what I’m about to say very weird, and you may not even believe me at first. This is on the same level of importance as knowing that progress isn’t linear.

You don’t need to learn to hate porn. You already hate it. You need to stop hating porn. Hate is going to hinder your progress more than anything else. You aren’t ending your porn addiction because you hate porn, you’re ending it because you love yourself and your life, and you know you could be doing better things with it.

The more you hate, the longer you’re going to be caught in an addiction cycle. Because if you hate porn, you’re going to hate it when you watch it, and then you’re going to hate yourself and put yourself down even more, which is going to drive you towards consuming more porn to make yourself feel better. So you hate porn, but you’re watching it, which makes you hate yourself…

And it’ll go on like that for fourteen years if you let it. That’s how long I’ve been dealing with it, and I’ve never made better progress than when I stopped hating porn, and just began to view it as nothing more than a drug. I do the same thing with alcohol. I don’t hate alcohol itself, I just don’t like consuming it and feeling drunk and sick. So I stopped hating it and just forgot about it. It’s now been over three years since I’ve had a drink.

Right now, I’m doing the 90 day NoFap challenge thing. I know that I will end up viewing pornography sometime in the near future. I’ve just been at this for so long that I know myself well, and I know I go on autopilot sometimes when I’m on the internet. I’m going to do my best, but whenever it happens that my hands get away from me and start searching for pictures, I’m not going to get angry and hate myself. I’m going to close the tab, take a deep breath, and forgive myself that small transgression, and then go about my day.

That is absolutely hands down the best approach you can take. Last year was an easy year for me when dealing with this addiction, and this year has been even easier. The amount of porn I’ve consumed in the last six months is less than the amount of porn I used to watch in a month when I was 18

This is something I learned along the way, as well. Sometimes the feelings associated with giving up a drug can be hard to deal with, no doubt. But simply not consuming porn is not difficult. In fact, you’re not consuming it for the majority of the time.

Dealing with the feelings that come from not consuming it can be difficult. You have to stop resisting those feelings and just let them come and go. This is hard to explain. I learned more about that by meditating than by reading anything, so I don’t know how to exactly convey that. The reason you have a porn addiction is because the drugs make you feel good when you feel bad. You have to accept that sometimes, life is going to make you feel bad, and embrace that feeling instead of wanting to get rid of it. Eventually, you will come to know that feeling so well, that when it comes on, you can let it pass as easily and as quickly as it came.

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take the epicurean pill.

Create. Create your own stories, entertainment, etc. Consume your own creation, like an ouroboros. It is natural to dream, the human mind creates on its own even when not prompted to do so. So use that. There is a story in your subconscious that you are not even aware of. Everyone has an inner landscape. Find a medium to bring that all into existence. Write your story. Paint your inner landscape. Express your heart and mind.

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