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Forum Usage, Internet vs. Addiction

Discussion in 'General' started by anthony, Jul 22, 2006.

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  1. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    The title pretty much explains itself, and what I am about to write in regard to a sufferers best interest vs. another source of addiction.

    I haven't written about this until it is now beginning to become a problem, in that some members of the community have stated within their posts that they are sometimes being referred too by partners or family members, as addicted to this forum, or spending too much time online.

    The World Wide Web (WWW) is an addictive atmosphere, and this has been documented within studies many times already, even to the point where people willingly give up marriages, family, friends and work to get more of their addiction. The Internet, this forum included, is often used to suppress what is real within a persons life, no different to using alcohol or drugs.

    If a spouse, family member or friend (as a third person) is stating your spending too much time online, or upon this forum, then there is a problem. The problem is, is that those people are most likely correct, because their needs are no longer being met, ie. time together. Internet usage, including this forum, needs to be managed individually, so that your effort to regain your life, doesn't also become a means to end other parts of it, ie. marriages, friendships, employment, etc etc.

    If you become addicted to this forum or the Internet as a whole, then you are merely creating more problems than repairing. I have walked this line very much myself, and can speak from experience, especially considering a part of my livelihood was based within online marketing, thus I spent conderable time online for work related purposes. The Internet can destroy valuable parts of your life, that are far more important than the Internet could ever return to you. If your secluding yourself to the Internet, you are worstening your ability to get back social skills and enjoyment, whilst also creating another addiction to help suppress your trauma, ie. whilst online I feel good. You could say the same thing as, whilst I drink alcohol, I feel good, or whilst I am stoned, I feel good, all of which are things helping suppress trauma, emotions and reality.

    Online time is like anything, and must be used in moderation. Don't think for a second you won't get worse if you become an online junkie, because you will. Spending time online must be controlled, the same as you would anything else within your normal life, ie. shopping, cleaning, socialising, family time, kids time, spouse time, etc etc. If your online to much, chances are you are ignoring other facets of your life.

    Again, myself as an example. I limit my time I will spend online, including this forum. I will ensure that my work here does not mess with my childrens time, or responsibilities. Saying that though, my online time is also a necessity for myself, especially the writing here, so it is also part of me, thus must be factored into and accepted by those around me. What they don't have to accept though, is constant time at the computer and no time with them, being quality time.

    If your spouse is telling you such things, then maybe you need to listen, talk with them about it, tell them that you need time online for research, chat, help, etc, and comprimise, because thats what life is all about... comprimise. Allocate yourself "x" amount of time to achieve what you need to online, and leave it at that once that time is used each day. Don't allow yourself to accrue time, because that is ineffective, ie. didn't go online today, so I will double up tomorrow. It doesn't work like that.

    Don't attempt to fix yourself with another addiction is what I am saying. We all need help, we all need support, however; we all need other more important things to help with our improvement, being family, appointments, social activities, etc etc. I don't want to see people creating an issue to resolve other issues. Think about that, and moderation to everything is the key, especially in relationships, as anyone in relationships should know. Being single is one thing, being married and family environments with children, is another.
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  3. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    Appreciate All you've said here, above. I've been working on this, and let's say, it's not easy. Do feel like I'm doing pretty well though. It's just too bad my reading, processing, response and ability to communicate seems just so darn slow to me at times. It takes me much more time, to be actively involved in this forum as I've been presuming it takes all of you. Perhaps, I'm wrong. ......And, I want to be more involved.

    Anyhow, I log onto the forum and 3hrs. roll by and I really haven't been able to read as much as I'd like. And, time is precious, and what with my mind wandering, spacing-out, and my compulsivity, I end up feeling like either I've done nothing or accomplished too little. So in my attempt to balance everything in all of life, I figure I'll continue here, juggle, perservere, but all sometimes at a snails pace, but I'll manage.
    Rain likes this.
  4. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

    I think I'm addicted to the internet, definitely. I have been long before I came to this forum. It's one of the things I do to pass time, since I have no friends and try to avoid going out as much as possible. Maybe it's my drug of choice, since I don't do other recreational drugs or alcohol. I never noticed it as being a problem until my family came here and pointed it out to me. They routinely tell me to get off the computer, and I listen to them, but ofttimes once they are gone or sleeping or whatever I will sneak back on. It really hit home to me that it was a SERIOUS problem at one point last week, when we lost internet service for 2 days because of a storm. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I was extremely cranky... I just kept checking the computer to see if the internet was back on yet. It was really horrible. Brian observed me during this, told my aunt and uncle, and now they are on my case even moreso. I'm supposed to talk to my psychiatrist about it this week when I see him.

    Not an excuse, but one of the problems with me is, lately I will get very physically ill in the middle of the night, and need to sit up straight, can't lie down, and so the computer is good for distracting me in that case. And I do get a lot of support from the people here. There needs to be a balance, moderation, etc, and I haven't quite figured that out yet for myself, but I'm sure my family will help me, my uncle being in AA I'm sure will try to get me to do the 12 steps. I am definitely going to work on it, as I understand it makes working on my PTSD issues harder, and I don't want that.
    Rain likes this.
  5. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    Oh' gee, I must read this again. I wish I could tonight but my eyes are hurting.

    I have made and am making this mistake and it has its most difficult consequences. :(
    Rain likes this.
  6. Philippa

    Philippa I'm a VIP

    This is why I never wanted a computer.

    I do think I have it under wraps more than many people do, and I know that sounds like denial or what an alcoholic would say, but I do also have a pretty full life, go to school, have people I see outside of the internet community, and prefer one on one interactions with people anyway, so I do consider myself to possess some good social skills for the most part...although I do love my hermit time too, and have definitely been scared at times as well, and been scared of people mainly.

    It's a necessary warning anthony, and it's a very real thing. The guy who used to live in my place before I moved in, hardly ever left. All his friends were online. It's just so common these days.

    Lots of people have social anxiety, and of course PTSD and other things that they feel and perceive stop them from wanting to go out into the world, but by staying in all the time and only communicating online, it does nothing to help them learn to tackle the anxiety or problems. That can only be done by throwing yourself out there and taking the risk. Use the internet, by all means, to garner your confidence if you need to, but know when it has become an unhealthy crutch that you are using to distract from what is going on inside you.

    Perceiving the world outside to be dangerous is what holds many people back from living a real life, and it's a real shame because I remember what it was like to not perceive the world as being dangerous all the time, and life really is great when you don't have that clouding your perceptions. It's something to consider re-examining...because your thoughts do create your reality, and when you don't perceive the world to be dangerous, you can really have a great time, though you still need to be aware, jus tnot controlled by your own fears, however understandable they are from where you came from and what was done to you before you could know it was abusive and bad of them.

    That's not to say that there isn't danger out there. It's a jungle, so of course there are people who aren't stable and people who do horrible things...but that doesn't happen all the time, and for the rest of the time, life just goes on and people are basically civil...they can just be rude, and arrogant and obnoxious sometimes. Life involves taking risks. If you don't, then you aren't really living, merely surviving.

    I heard someone say once that courage isn't the absence of fear, it's being cowardly, but facing your fears and pushing through them anyway, no matter how uncomfortable they are. It's the only way really.
    Whitneys story likes this.
  7. The Albatross

    The Albatross Product of decisions rather than circumstances Premium Member Sponsor $100+

    I been walking the line for a while... partly because I have relied so heavily for online support groups and partly because when I am ill I am awake and alert mentally but lack physical energy, vim or vigor.

    I think this is a really terrific post Anthony and as usual everything is astute and spot on.

    One thing I caught on to early on with the advent of these technologies and from working with young people was the highly impulsive nature of it. I was having to counsel or let go of lifeguards all the time because they'd text, talk, be online... even with a lap top computer on their laps at the guard station. Both of our mothers, my mom and MIL have very impulsive behaviors and we find it disturbing to be around them. I don't want to create that tendency in myself and have had to weigh and evaluate from time to time the "worth" of support v.s. my personal goals and with alcohol maintain some "relapse prevention". This forum is more difficult to evaluate because I have learned so much and have made steady progress since arriving... and I genuinely care people here.

    I was fortunate to have had an AA sponsor who cultivated in herself and in me too a balance between recovery support and "real life". She was very good at at first helping me to evaluate, and then remind me "it's time to re-evaluate" as I improved so that I could keep my eye on the long term goal of "the highest operating functional level" (what I called it at the time).

    Except for my off days, when I have no errands or social activities scheduled, I come online for a while to "check in" (it is a long time recovery habit)... then mid day before my afternoon commitments (all my friends have full time jobs and I only stop by my mother or MIL's house for a set time in the mornings when I am fresh and rested (better able to manage my mental/emotional states). Then sometimes in the evening. But I have been noticing and self reflecting that this behavior, though it has given me some steady improvements, and has arrested my alcoholic tendency as well as improved my ADD/ADHD and PTSD... well it may have served it's purpose.

    There comes a time when unplugging and cultivating self reliance is beneficial. We've been talking (my husband and I) about this very thing this weekend. Not necessarily that I spend too much on line, but that I may be depending more on feedback or validation than I could and that it may be holding back more pleasure and satisfaction in my 3D life. I was intending to unplug but this morning he said he thought that it should be planned out and for a set duration. Mark it out on a calendar, and see how it goes.

    I think he is concerned that I will backslide if I completely remove my peer recovery support system.

    Timely and topical for me, thanks Anthony! :tup:
    Red Feather, Rain and Whitneys story like this.
  8. Whitneys story

    Whitneys story My very own hug forever!

    So many excellent comments. Addictive personalities can affect everyone to some degree. The fine line between benefits vs addictions should be weighed by being true to ourselves. Facebook has created more deceived personalities. How can anyone have 2000 game partners and call them friends? They feel important! This is not healthy nor healing of anything. Open communication between supporters and sufferers should bring understanding. JMHO Those who deny honesty with sponsors and carers are only cheating themselves. The Forum is an incredible tool if used as intended! Clarity in the journey..Hugs Whitney
    Red Feather, Rain and The Albatross like this.
  9. Whitneys story

    Whitneys story My very own hug forever!

    @goingonhope. Possibly 3 hours of reading is too much to absorb and process right now. Maybe reading for an hour you could gain more insight and retain more. Then spend some time reading inspirational or jokes to break the intensity. Just a thought. Hugs Whitney
    Rain and KP the nut like this.
  10. Abrasky

    Abrasky I'm a VIP Premium Member

    This thread would most definantly apply to me. lol. Both me and my husband have computer addictions to a degree. He spends a lot of the weekend playing Doom. And I am on here after breakfast with a coffee for a hour, after lunch with a coffee for 30 minutes and after dinner for 20 minutes with 5 minute facebook breaks throughout the day. It is probably a total of 4 hours a day. If it is a bad day where I am getting a memory out, it can be worse.So I guess that is an addiction.

    I have told my psychologist about it too, that I spend time on the computer to relax. She said that going on the computer was a good way to deal with my individual circumstance. I agree with her otherwise I would find another way to fail like alcohol I am sure. I just can not relax, like other people can due to relaxing being part of my traumas. Not sure how you can fix something like this, PTSD forum isn't even my preferred website. I much prefer looking at houses at online house sales to relax.
    Rain likes this.
  11. Rain

    Rain To have hope is a choice Banned Premium Member Generous $250+

    I am pretty much house bound being a caregiver for my husband. I do not have any interest in hobbies at all. So my drug of choice is coming online. I love looking for pictures to post on the chit chat section. I find that very relaxing. When it gets to be too much i get off. I know it is not meant to be used all of the time.

    I have met alot of really incredible people here. It has made a huge difference in my life. I was just watching tv before I got online. I was climbing the walls. Thus this is a lifeline for me. I for one appreciate that it is always here.

    Slowly I am taking little breaks from the caregiving and getting out of here. This helps alot. I have only just started this. I think it will develop into something else for me. Meanwhile I am grateful for the forum. I love hanging around in the chit chat section. It is light hearted and productive. Thanks for the warning. I hope to not need this so much as I have more real relationships to go and do things with.

    I try to get out of here once a day. It really helps alot.
    Whitneys story, Red Feather and NIKI like this.
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