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Fighting an addiction


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I sometimes don't even realize it, but I spend a lot of time in front of the computer screen on a daily basis. And I usually spend much of that time just alternating between a few websites; MySpace, email, and a couple forums. I've become so conditioned to it that it doesn't feel extreme, but I am starting to realize how addictive it has become.


Several months ago I banned myself from a certain forum, and vowed not to come back for a while, because it was becoming to distracting. It was a great choice, because in that time frame I worked on other parts of my life that really needed to be worked on. Then one day I decided to come back and start posting again, but in small amounts. The hope was that I would post there every now and then, so it wouldn't be a problem. But simply an outlet. Unfortunately, as time went on, I found myself spending more and more time on there, posting, reading, just getting sucked back into it. So I am faced with the problem again. It has become addiction to the point of mental distraction, so I am forcing myself not to go there... again.


MySpace is certainly the most addictive of websites. I used to use a regular account there, but stopped using it (and deleted it) maybe a few months afterwards because it was kind of boring for me, and it got really addicting. Since then, I've been simply using my music page. That helps me get a lot of exposure. But the problem is, I still spend a lot time on that website. Mainly checking for updates, new comments, etc. It's an unhealthy addiction. I certainly don't want to delete the account, because it's important that I have it up.


So I guess I can come to the easily conclusion that I am addicted to the internet. The mental and psychological battle here is that, while being around something so accessable (the computer), I have to spend less time doing the thing that has become such a major part of my life. This isn't saying that all things on the internet are bad, it's just that I struggle to maintain that sense of balance.


The good thing is, over the past couple of months I have become more disciplined about doing certain things that I don't want to do, but have to do because it is important. I am saying to myself, I know I don't want to do this, but I have to, because I have been procrastinating on doing it for so long. I just hope I can carry that onto this addiction so to speak. I know I can do it, but it's not so much a physical addiction as it is a mental one. I've been on summer vacation for the past couple of months, and with college starting again in a couple weeks, things are going to have to change. My habits, how I balance my time. I think that this is going to be the biggest fight thus far-- focusing a lot less on surfing the internet and spending MORE time doing what needs to get done through school and through other aspects of my life that SHOULD be more important.


Has anyone else on this forum gone through something like this before?

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Absolutely! It's natural to feel addicted to something that makes you feel good (the basics of human motivation). In the case of forums, you get to feel part of a community, feel like you've helped someone, and feel like there are people out there you can always turn to in times of crisis. In the case of myspace, you feel connected to others. It's a universal syndrome, trust me, that we've all got to face eventually.


The best way to stop something addictive is to go "NC" on it. Go cold turkey. Cut yourself off from it, and within the time frame of a couple of days, its absense will become something integral to your daily routine. The hardest part is gathering the brave courage and determination to say "No" the first time, and then the second time, but by the third time you've got the momentum from the first times to carry you on through.


I find the best way to tackle an addiction is to just focus on the bad things of it and set yourself up so that you experience more of those things while enjoying less of the good. If you post in topics that you know will be dead end topics (hard to do, but hypothetically speaking...), then you'll get less of a kick from it. I know that's self defeating, but that's exactly the point. Be self defeating when it comes to the things that addict you!


In the end, it's not about cutting yourself off from the things that addict you. It's about gaining self control. That's something you get with time and hard earned experience. Can't really induce it, unfortunately. Hopefully with the new school year starting you'll get the motivation to stick to what you need to do and indulge in the internet stuff only when you have the time for it (i.e. when you'd otherwise be staring at holes in the wall and making very loose connections between them and the meaning of life).


On last thing, don't call it an addiction (disregard all the times I've used that word in this post). It's just something that makes you happy, but it's by no means an addiction. Calling it that will only make you think that you're mentally incapable to tackle it (that's what an addiction is by definition). If you beat it before, you can master it once again. If you minimize it mentally (e.g. it's a slight affinity rather than a hardcore addiction), it sets up your mentality for success.

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"There is a lack of consensus as to what may properly be termed 'addiction.' Some within the medical community maintain a rigid definition of addiction and contend that the term is only applicable to a process of escalating drug or alcohol use as a result of repeated exposure. However, addiction is often applied to compulsive behaviors other than drug use, such as overeating, sex or gambling. In all cases, the term addiction describes a chronic pattern of behavior that continues and is perceived to be hard or impossible to quit at any time. It is quite common for an addict to express the desire to stop the behavior, but find himself or herself unable to cease." (link removed)


The definition of addiction is be no means clear cut. It's generally something that you know is bad for you but that you seek out anyway, and in its absense, you crave it. It's something that you'll seek even if your seeking it has adverse effects on you and others. Then again, if you ask a doctor you'll get a different response than if you ask a psychologist or a counselor or a sociologist or a self-help book author.


I'm no expert, but regardless, clearly using the word addiction comes with a number of negative connotations. It's just best to dump the word if you're going to tackle something you really like but that you recognize is bad. Semantics matter: would you rather face a bad habit (think nail biting) or an addiction (think alcoholism)? Huge difference!

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Thanks for the replies!


I know slapping the word "addiction" onto a situation isn't always the best thing to do, but I think of my situation as an addiction because, while I may do it because I enjoy doing it, I see it as a distraction from what I should be doing. Of course the internet in itself is not deprivational, in excess it can be. That is my problem. I seem to rely on it to much.


Whether it is an addiction or not, it doesn't really matter. It's something I want to change about myself. It's something I do too much that replaces other things that I could be doing.



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