12 Steps and a Trip

12 Step Computer AddictsPut me in a 12-Step program. I’ve been through one before, but that was eons ago.

12-Step programs offer fantastic structure with “rules for accountability and living.” Back in the day, it was clear whose shit was whose right from the start, and yes, ahem… I did make a small, negative contribution to the “problem.” In the walls of those meetings, I made friends who were seeking healthy boundaries and I learned to sniff out abusers, so I wouldn’t repeat my choices. I had a sponsor. I’m not sure if anyone would man-up and sponsor my recovery with my current problem.

I have a computer problem.

I need to take 12-steps back from my computer…way back.

It’s affecting the quality of my life and work.  The black tar social media is the worst.(click to party with me and Tweet this)  It’s become a nag, a constant, driving, whiny beast, tugging, clawing at the corner of my mind each time I try to focus on something truly productive. When I do break free, I feel elated and light spirited.  I’m mindfully engaged. I’m not sure what’s rewarding about lighting up the screen again, but I know from my previous training, there must be a payoff for the dysfunctional behaviour to continue. Seems I’m gettin’ my fix.

The red flag – one of them – was when I realized I wasn’t practicing what I preach on the topic of time management. I’m scheduled to teach a workshop for artists in the near future. I’ve taught time management for years and know how it’s done. While  ironing out some details, I realized I have a Rhesus Monkey on my back. Or maybe it’s a Silverback Gorilla…who knows? Sometimes it feels rather heavy and I buckle under the weight, but other times it just tickles my armpits and asks to play the accordion – I digress. Anyhou, it begs until I relinquish my precious time – time in the studio, time to exercise, time to create a healthy meal – and I’m taking another hit on Facebook, or LinkedIn. Lord help me! (click to Tweet again). 

I’m not alone, right?

I have an accountability partner…a wonderful artist and friend who I connect with each week to discuss our tasks and 12 Step Computer Addictsstrategies. Last week, when I murmured in a hushed, breathy, whisper that I had this concern, she echoed it back to me. Not about me, but her! This makes me feel less alone, but also like there’s one less potential sponsor in my life.  If you think you may have a problem, Dr. Oz offers an Internet Addiction Quiz.

The computer is how I write and largely how I build and run my business. I guess it’s kind of like being a food addict…you have to partake in the poison to a certain extent just to survive. You can’t just stop eating. Me, a writer and business owner, I can’t go cold turkey. I can’t quit you, computer! (click to Tweet and prove it!)

Oh, I know. I’m gonna be getting’ all kinds of hate mail from y’all. Hard core addicts, people whose lives are piles of rubble due to disease and disorder will come after me with clubs for such a petty grievance as a computer addiction.  The lynch mob followed me several weeks ago when I mentioned “madness” might be an asset, at times, for artists (NOT the DSM V kind of classification). Well, bring it on! This confession is tongue and cheek – kind of. I’m not dismissing the disease of addiction, but TRULY, I know this is interfering with my productivity and perhaps my relationships. Really, I have compassion for addicts…now, if I could muster some for myself.

In the evenings, after dinner, I’ve noticed a lot more classic car television while I bang away at the keys. Honey, do we need to talk? Seems we’re in the same room, but maybe not so much. I think I have a problem. I

So, you might see this as a cry for help. Kind soul, you might say to yourself, I should reach out and give Michelle a hand up from her vacuous plight. Truly, you don’t have to go down that road. What I’m seeking is a tribe. I want to know I’m not alone. I want to create a tribe of computer addicts, so I can feel validated and in good company. (click to Tweet) I’m also considering creating an online support group…what’da you say? Feel free to leave your comments here…I’ll be checking frequently.

 I’m sure if I want to, I can stop anytime,

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Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams,  helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. Don’t worry much, she can probably fix herself. 

Writer, Artist, Coach

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15 Replies to “12 Steps and a Trip”

  1. Hi, my name is Jill and I’m absolutely a computer addict. My day job has me in front of a computer all day long. And in between tasks, I’m on social media.

    I *know* what the payoff for me is. Every time someone responds to a post, or likes it, or shares it, well, there’s a little chemical released in my brain saying “YES, GREAT JOB, GET ME MORE.”

    1. So happy for you, Jill! (I think). You seem pleased with the monkey on your back, what’s its name? LOL! As long as the work is getting done, I guess it’s a safe addiction…is that the litmus test for our line in the sand? BTW, I’m well aware by responding to your post I’m contributing to both of our “problems!” 🙂

  2. Oh, Michelle. I have such a huuuuge problem. I almost can’t get any work done. I have just started the detox process today in fact. It felt freeing to not be looking at my phone all the time but it also is anxiety-provoking.

    1. This is why I love you, Amantha! You are free, yet leaving comments on my blog – I’m grateful. I cut back a little yesterday. Got grumpy a bit. You know, I think I will be able to identify our #computer12step tribe just by who leaves a post here. Hugs! ~m

  3. Oh yes, put my name in for the online support group. Maybe a special facebook page. And a google hangout. We could have webinars and skype.

    Now excuse me, I have to check my email and eat chocolate while I download this class about using instagram to grow my business.

  4. Hi Michelle,

    Yes, I spend hours every day on my computer. I am a research freak. It started when I was a kid. Every time I came across a word I didn’t know I had to look it up in the dog-eared dictionary. Then by the time that the internet came alive it became research on every topic that I could think of. It was not a well rounded education that resulted but I have certainly learned a lot! I do look in on facebook once every day or two and often send FB links or articles. Am I an addict? My wife certainly thinks so (in the most accusing way possible.)

    I think I just have a need to consume information in the hope that I might be able to use it later.

    Love and sympathy, Bruce

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Bruce. As an information junkie, the World Wide Web certainly served up your passion on a plater! Your poor wife…you should text her now and then…(Just kidding, of course!).

  5. Hi Michelle me again, just could not resist! I moved studios last year to get me away from the ‘computer’ too many distractions; so what did I do eight months in – bought an ipad, just what I needed to stay distracted – so can I join your tribe? – best ashar

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