A Nation of Addicts?

I am diverting from the usual subjects I write about to contribute my thoughts for a contest to win a book, Addict Nation. Tia at BizChickblogs has offered a copy of Addict Nation to one lucky, albeit random, winner. I have something to say about the subject of addictions and since this is my blog, I’m going to share them here. If you want to share yours as well, go on over to BizChickblogs and find out how to enter.

The addiction I want to talk about is one we all are getting quite familiar with. In our culture today, we depend upon this item almost as much as food, thanks to technology and smart forward thinkers like Mark Zuckerberg and going back to Bill Gates. It’s the computer. It’s all that the computer encompasses. Whether its gaming, social media, blogging, forums, or banking we have come to depend on and therefore develop an addiction to using computers.

I am included in this group of computer addicts. I realize I need to make some changes but they are very hard to do. I do a lot of good online but when I cross the line into doing too much online, then I have to take a step back and evaluate my actions. My time online is spent doing various things such as email, Facebook,  Twittering, message forums, recipe searching, blogging, some game playing, research for any number of interests, gathering homeschooling information, banking, sharing & uploading photos and even chatting with my girls. See they are all perfectly good and clean things but any one of them could keep me buried in front of this screen for hours on end. When it interferes with my daily responsibilities and duties then I know I’m into the addiction stage. There are seasons of this for me. Some days I can walk away from this thing and the outside world I am connected to through it and other days I just cannot find the strength in me to do that. I know the reasons, the deep down and buried ones, that cause this. I am not going to share those here but trust me, the computer or being online is not going to help in the long run.

I see a generation or two of kids who have grown up or are growing up with one or both of their parents spending a lot of time in front of a computer. I know if I’m online as much as I am and see a lot of my friends spending that time as well, one can only wonder about the kids and what they are doing. This is not an easy subject and I don’t mean to step on toes. I definitely think it can use some attention just like those kids, the spouse or even your house. It could even be your job that needs your attention. Whatever it is, evaluate yourself and what you are doing on the computer and ask yourself the hard questions.

I’ve given up several games I was quite addicted to through Facebook and felt much better about myself. Slowly I have filled that time with other online or computer activities instead of focusing on other needs. I am going to be taking a step back to re-evaluate my habits again and make some serious changes. It’s needed for my well-being and for the health of my family as well.  I know I have an addictive personality so I feel like I am already 3 steps behind in the game but I am determined to win the battle if not the war.

In the words of one of the most famous and well-known addiction recovery programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, I’ll take it “one day at a time“.

Editing to add this further commentary: While I was at the laundromat the local news was on the tv. There was a story highlighting a “new” technology to hit the supermarkets designed to help parents. There are now portable dvd screens in those kiddie carts the kids can ride in. You know the ones that look like a car attached to the cart? Yeah, so what message is being sent to those little toddlers? Entertainment should be in your face 24/7, it’s your right! When will we learn?

16 thoughts on “A Nation of Addicts?

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  2. Your honesty and self-evaluation are refreshing and encouraging.

    We all need to unplug more, and this includes smart phones.

    The sun is shining and the world awaits.

    Go outside.

    That is all.

    Thanks for the post.

    • You are so right about those phones. I don’t have one and there is good reason why I don’t. Today as I was at the laundromat, a girl came in, talking on her cell phone, pulled out her wash from the dryer and folded it all the while talking on the phone. My teenage son noticed it and commented about how stupid that was. Agreed.

  3. Totally understand this, and we even have this problem at work. We have tried no email days, some companies do this. And there are left/right side of days. Another thing i do at home is no TV day. Etc. Also on vacation no phone or computer. Try that. Go on a two week vacation with no phone or computer. You come back as a different person – that is my favorite. Good luck!

    • Ouch! We just recently went on vacation and took both laptops. I have 5 good reasons why we did that but in the end, couldn’t we have left them at home? Yes. Next time, no more computers when we go away!

  4. This is a tough issue for me, personally, because I am currently right this very moment on the computer, when there are dishes in the sink, a gigantic mountain of laundry that I haven’t done, and beds to be made.

    Here’s the catch – I have built a career around my addiction to the Internet. I’m not quite sure what to do about it, either. I know that, like you said, I have to take it one step at a time.

    I knew it was a real problem when I couldn’t even pull myself away to read the Bible or pray. That’s when you know it is really bad. Or, when I get annoyed that my son wants my attention, but I am busy on the computer.

    Sometimes, progress starts with just identifying the issue. I have been taking massive steps to help with that last one, among them being to not even open the laptop when my son comes home, because it’s not fair to him. I am on it all day… why should he have to wait for me to make time for him in that way? It’s a shame.

    I hate to be confronted with my own evils but I realize that I have an addictive personality as well. Time to look giants in the eye and strike them down.

    This was such a tough topic that I didn’t want to judge subjectively or base it on popularity, so random was the only other way. But right now there are so few entries that everyone has a massive chance. :)

    Thanks again, Michelle. This is a great post.

    • tia, it is very hard but you and I are on the right path. we admitted our faults and now we have to try to correct them. Today I spent less time online than yesterday. I just have to keep going at it.
      Work-at-home people who use their pc do have it tough but it’s about setting a boundary and sticking to it. Easier said than done, I know! We’ll just keep helping each other and anyone else who needs it. We’ll make it.

  5. Hi Michelle,

    Sarah from Alpha here. I’m always interested in what people blog about–and someday I’ll have time to cook–so I figured I check out your blog.

    This is the reason I will be sad when (probably in my lifetime) all books will be published exclusively as ebooks. I suppose we’ll “get used to it,” but I will be whining to my grandkids someday and they will look at me like I’m crazy. Ha, let them.

    What I like to do is write more things out by hand. I begin some of my blogs by hand, and I have a few different journals for different things. As for Facebook, I am a Generation Y social outlaw–I don’t have one. My friends try and guilt me into making one, but I’ve found that it is much more rewarding to have to be intentionally *present* where I am physically present. You know? Then again, I am a daydreamer… but at least that’s not the internet.

    Good post

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  8. This book sounds very interesting, thanks for the review! I’ll have to pick up a copy myself.

    I would say the culture of addiction is present in other countries as well, such as Canada, UK and Australia.

    Obesity rates in Canada are unfortunately high too, type 2 diabetes is more common among young people now than ever and we too, are very much in debt!

    I think people around the world need to change their habits!


    • This wasn’t a review of the book but my thoughts about the subject. Since I won the book, I will post a review of that later.

      I agree with your thoughts about obesity and diabetes. We really need saving from ourselves, don’t you think?

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