Is Digital Addiction Real?: The Beginning of a Journey
Updated: Apr 19, 2018
Laying there in bed, I thought to myself, "This is unhealthy for me. This is undermining my efforts to be present for my life" as I reached over and picked up my computer for another 3 hour Netflix binge.
I was surrounded by drug and alcohol addiction all through my childhood and, even though I avoided both like the plague, I found it springing up all around me through my young adult years. I hated it. I hated what addiction did to the people I love. I hated how it stole my childhood and alienated me from my family. I hated it so much that I was disdainful of anyone that experienced it.
“It wasn't until I started really honing in on what I wanted for my life that I began to see the truth”
My disdain for addiction (and therefor addicts) had one result that I didn't anticipate- the blindness I developed around my own addictions. I had been so focused outwardly on the physical addiction of those around me that I created a "me and them" mentality. This mentality made it impossible to bring a balanced awareness to my own actions and how they were undermining the efforts I was making for my life.
But is Media Really an Addiction?
Part of the reason I had a hard time owning my issues with media was because I didn't view it as something I could be addicted to. I had grown up seeing hard drug use. I had experienced my father's violent reactions to alcohol. And I'd even nursed my ex-husband through a terrifying heroine addiction. So, I was very familiar with what those addictions looked like.
My little "issue with tv" didn't seem like it could be lumped into the same category as all those experiences. So how could I possibly be engaging in addictive behaviors? It wasn't until I started really honing in on what I wanted for my life that I began to see the truth.
I noticed that if I was on the computer or watching tv, all my daughter's inquisitive questions and cute little silliness became annoying and intolerable distractions. I noticed, too, that watching Netflix at night seemed to be impossible to let go of, even if I was bringing my full awareness to wanting to read instead. And when I wanted to start getting up early in the morning to journal, dance and meditate I couldn't seem to shake this habit that kept me awake until midnight or 1 in the morning.
I was not in control of how I was using this entertainment. Scratch that! I am not in control of how I am using entertainment.
And isn't that the true test of addiction? Is it me that has control over it or it that has control over me. The answer is clear.
Stay tuned as I take on the monstrous task of unpacking my digital addiction.
What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with addictions that aren't easily identified by our society? How does that affect your life? Please leave your comments below.