Anyone who is spending too much time online might be experiencing internet addiction. Is this just another made up condition, or is it a real problem?
It can definitely be a problem, just as something like reading can become an addiction. It is not so much that it is an addictive behavior…rather, it is more of an escape. The person in question is avoiding reality by immersing themselves in another world. This can happen with books, television, video games, and so on.
Now some people take real issue with this idea and say that these are not true “addictions.” They argue that they are not in the same realm as other addictions, such as drugs or alcohol.
But of course there is a whole continuum of different conditions, including gambling addiction, food, sex, and so on. So it should come as no surprise that some people will go way overboard with the internet, or with social networking online, or with text messaging, and so on. We can get addicted to just about anything, and if it serves as an escape for us, then it basically fits the bill as being an addiction.
So what is the solution for these sort of things? Do we treat them differently from “real” addictions?
Some of them are a bit trickier. Take food addiction, for example. Abstinence is not even an option. The addict is forced to learn moderation. So perhaps the same can be done with something like internet addiction….no?
In early recovery, regardless of the nature of the addiction, the key is drastic action. If you are an alcoholic, you need to change your whole life around and stop drinking entirely. You will probably need treatment and you might go to meetings each and every day. Many will relapse, but those who take massive action will stay sober.
Likewise, if you are addicted to the internet, you need massive action in early recovery. This might mean strict moderation, or it might mean complete abstinence. This will depend on what your goals are and how you are going to tackle the problem. But either way, you need to take massive action in the early stages. So you might have a system that only allows for one hour per day of internet use, or you might quit entirely. Either path will be fine as long as you take massive action and stick with it.
It is not so much about your solution…it is how you work that solution. It is your level of conviction. This is the critical point in early recovery.
Now for long term recovery from this sort of thing, the same principles apply as with other addictions: holistic growth, pushing yourself to grow personally, seeking balance in your life, and so on. These will serve you well in long term recovery, regardless of what kind of addiction you are overcoming.