Changing the definition of Addiction

Since my book The LifeQuake Phenomenon was released in February, I have done a lot of interviews with journalists on a variety of topics, some with the theme of addiction – mommies who drink too much wine at play dates, men who use exercise to compensate for big appetites, screen writers who think they need pot to reach the muse, etc The one question that has come up a lot about addiction is to whether non substance related habits can be addictions. For example, the internet. Can surfing the net, participating in social communities, or watching You tube be an addiction?

My answer is always the same. Nothing outside of us in and of itself is ever an addiction. So here are four questions to ask yourself to determine if you have an internet addiction:

1) How many hours do you spend on your computer in non-work related activity?

2) Are there things in your life that aren’t getting attended to because of your internet time?

3) are there people who need your attention that you are avoiding by being at your computer?

4 Are there emotions you are corking through this distraction?

One of my clients felt trapped in her marriage. She had had an affair and ended it because she had children and wanted to keep the family together. Unfortunately, instead of working on the issues with her husband, she chose to watch You Tube videos instead. Another client used chat rooms as a way to safely connect with people and avoid being in the world where she could get emotionally wounded as she had experienced when her boyfriend dumped her.

So, the key is to notice if your computer time is providing a way to not deal with changes you need to be making. Left unaddressed, this will lead to a crisis. when we need to make changes and distract ourselves instead, eventually the life you’ve outgrown will burst into chaos. By taking the time to really let yourself feel your feelings, you could discover solutions to how to negotiate the next phase of your life a lot less stressful.