“My name is Adele Gould and I have a computer addiction”.
There! I’ve said it! After years of excuses and denial, I have finally admitted the truth: I am addicted to the computer. I have conveniently hidden behind my reputation as the local computer guru – the person my family and friends call for help when they hit a glitch. It’s been wonderful for my self-esteem – but it’s probably just another rationalization behind which I can hide.
The Warning Signs
You know you have a computer addiction when you spend hours in cyberspace, doing everything – and nothing. You know you have a computer addiction when you sit in front of the computer until the early morning hours, and jump eagerly out of bed after four hours of sleep – to check your email! You know you have a computer addiction when lunch time comes and goes and you haven’t yet had breakfast, or when you shower in the afternoon just before your spouse gets home from work. You know you have a computer addiction when your to-do list gets longer each day instead of shorter… or when your desk is piled up with unopened mail and sundry papers… when you used to be fastidious about such matters.
This is not just a bad habit! This is serious addiction.
News alert! That’s actually not you I’m talking about – it’s me! In all fairness, the computer offers to me tools with which I can be creative – I can keep in touch with friends and family around the globe, I can write essays like this one… I can edit the photographs and videos & circulate them.. I can create slide shows. Of course, I can find and order virtually any item while sitting at my desk in my pyjamas, and – in a matter of seconds – I can find answers to any questions I may have.
All well and good, you say. But what about connecting with living and breathing human beings?
Well… I must confess that I have been doing less and less of that lately, despite being retired… Oh wait! I almost forgot! I connect with one of my sons frequently – he’s the person I call when I’m having a computer problem!!
Some say that perhaps I have an addictive personality. Well… I’m addicted to junk food – that I know. And each night, as I take a chocolate bar out of my hidden stack… and then another… and another – I promise myself faithfully that I will start eating healthy food the next day. Definitely, I tell myself with resolve and the best of intentions. And the next morning I start off well, until I see a chocolate bar just begging to be eaten, and the cycle starts again. My computer use follows a similar pattern… except that I don’t make promises to myself each night.
Maybe I do have an ‘addictive personality’. Well, then it’s not my fault, right? It’s part of my (charming) personality!
But, truth be told,underneath it all I know that it’s not healthy for anyone to spend so much time in front of a computer. But what’s the solution??
How To Stop An Addiction
Congratulate me. I have taken the first step – acknowledging in my own mind that I have a computer addiction. And this rather embarrassing public admission is step number two. Perhaps public exposure will shame me into instant sobriety?
Do I really want to change? My head says yes; my heart says “tomorrow”, as I happily click away at the keyboard. Famous last words of any addict, as the pull of the addiction butts heads with the desire to quit. I love my tech environment (the love of which – I might add – has spilled over into other tech tools… there is not a tech gadget that I don’t have!).
Oh no!! Am I a tech-aholic, not just a computer-holic?
Alright, calm down Adele. You are in the driver’s seat. You can make whatever choices you want. It’s up to you. (Well then I choose to go back into hiding… except that if you’re reading this it’s too late – the cat is out of the bag).
What’s that you say? You are picking up on my ambivalence? You figured that out, huh? But you don’t understand! I love my computer (well actually… I have two). This is not easy, you know. It’s not as if I can quit cold turkey, like alcoholics do. That makes it much harder to control… it’s always a case of “just one more minute” (translation: “just one more fix”).
In my defence, for the most part I am productive on the computer, and the only computer game I play is Scrabble – and that’s a good thing because it exercises my fried brain.. I play against the computer (intermediate level – and I usually win!) at 2 am when I can’t sleep. Who else will play with me at that time of the morning? My husband certainly won’t.
I do sound like a whining 3 year old, don’t I? “Mommy no one will play with me!”
Okay – if I’m really serious about this, I need to find a way to reduce my computer usage. Hang on – let me use my trusted laptop to learn how to help myself. See? I told you it was useful! I found all kinds of tips – which tells me that I’m not alone!
Helpful Tips to Cure an Addiction
Tip number one – set an alarm to go off after an hour of computer time, and choose an hour during each day to abstain. Okay – that’s easy. I can do that. But it still leaves me with 22 hours of push/pull.
Next, make a list of all the things I could accomplish in my newly acquired free time. Well – if it wasn’t for the fact that most of my to-do items require the use of a computer it would be a great idea!! Throw that one out.
Next suggestion: put my computer in a high traffic area in my house. There are no high traffic areas in my house – it’s only my husband and me here. One more for the recycle bin.
Another bright idea: I must enlist the support of my family members. Okay that’s an easy one – I can do that… but it would be oh! so easy to feign innocence.
How’s this for a zinger: I should install software to restrict my access. Gambling addicts can do something like that – they can sign a paper disallowing them entry into the casino. It’s called ‘voluntary exclusion’.
Sorry – no can do. No will do. No way Jose!
Shhh! It’s 3.00 a.m. I just got out of bed to go to the washroom. I think I’ll just quickly check my email while I’m up (yeah right!)
My husband is sleeping… and not a soul knows I’m here (L.O.L!)!!