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Need help overcoming excessive internet usage

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I know most people think that internet addiction doesn't exist, but yeah. Whatever you want to call it, I have a problem. If my fiance does not shut off the internet, I CANNOT get off of it. Even when whatever enjoyment I inititally got from it is long gone. It's very compulsive behavior. When it's off, I am usually a lot more productive.

I mean, I don't really know what to do, because never using the internet again is not an option like it would be with a substance. I could try to convince my SO that we should use internet hotspots outside the house only, and not have access at home, but that wouldn't go over very well. After a long day of programming and surfing the internet at work his favorite activity is-- surfing the internet!

When he shuts it off during the day, that usually helps. But then at night I'm on it like a pack of hungry wolves, wasting a perfectly nice evening.

Is there *anything* that can be done?

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Yeah, that's kind of like food. It is really a necessity and you can't just get rid of the whole thing. If you're on a diet, you have to eat anyway. If you drink to much, you don't have to drink at all.

I am sure this is a stupid idea, but you need to set up some boundries. Maybe make out some sort of routine time for you to be on the computer. Don't be on in the day...or do, or something. And let him have his turn, and then do something together. Or at least something not internet related. Make an agreement between the two of you. Maybe reward yourself with something special at the end of a time frame of keeping up the schedule.

Involve your fiance in helping not be so addicted so it will seem like a joint effort.

Oh my. It was bound to come out.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem! Seriously, though.

Yeah, my ideas are pretty basic. But it could at least initiate a discussion between you.

Okay, I think I have pop-psychologied myself all over the boards now, so I will leave you in peace!


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I'm addicted too. It's hard to resist, isn't it? Always something fun to do, whether it's playing games, reading oddball websites, looking up old classmates, checking out maps, coming here...so nice to visit CB after awhile and click "new posts" and find like 6 pages of goodies. Just crack open a cold one, and get comfy, and...

So! I find the old "rewards" thing doesn't work for me. For example, I tell myself I can come veg out here after I clean up/eat dinner/feed cats/pee etc. So I do those things, and sit down, and pretty soon 3 hours have gone by.

Or I'll tell myself, "clean bedroom, then play one game of "Memory Match," then go clean kitchen. Soon one game turns into "best out of 3," then "best out of 7," then "screw it, I'm not leaving until I get a perfect score" then "shit, it's 4am!"

What works for me--brace yourself, this isn't for wusses--is to not get on at all. Once I get on, I can't get off. So I pretend I'm at a luxury hotel away from home. No TV, no internet. I go dig out a book or something that I keep telling myself I want to do but never do because I live on the Internet.

The trick is to stay away from bad Mr. Computer, and give yourself something even more fun to do to keep your mind off him. Because we both know: once he gets you in his long bony fingers, it's all over.

good luck!


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You said that when it is shut off during the day, it helps. So- does your fiance know that you are having a problem staying offline? And would you feel ok enlisting his help?

You could try some of the parental control software and use it to limit your time on the computer.

netnanny 15 day trial

Cyber Patrol 14 day trial

Those are trials of the more popular software; there are much less expensive programs, but I don't know what to recommend.

[i know you'd end up having to look around for those. Maybe your could ask your fiance to look for you.]

Otherwise, if you have a laptop- you can only use the computer each day until the battery runs out?

Try sitting down and making a list of things that you could do otherwise. Not necessarily chores or 'productive' things. But things you might want to read or relaxing things or a movie you might want to watch. Would it help to have a list of specific things you could do instead of being stuck on the computer?

Or if there is a movie that you have been wanting to see- try to see that first and then go on the computer. Other things are rewarding and enjoyable, but it's hard to get to those when you are caught up in something that has become a compulsive habit. Might making a schedule help with a gradual reduction of time on the computer? Whatever will help you out of this will probably have to be really uncomfortable for you; hopefully it will be temporary.

It's hard to just suddenly stop anything and it may take a few smaller changes to get you away for a while.


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What works for me--brace yourself, this isn't for wusses--is to not get on at all. Once I get on, I can't get off. So I pretend I'm at a luxury hotel away from home. No TV, no internet. I go dig out a book or something that I keep telling myself I want to do but never do because I live on the Internet.

I'm with Lily on this: The only thing I've found that works is to make the computer physically unavailable and a pain in the ass to get running again. I'm using a laptop at my dining room table so I can look at the view, and when I need to (like today!), I put everything away including putting my laptop in its cover, unplugging all the lines, etc.

If I just shut it off at night and leave it on the table, then the first thing I do is sit down and go online, but if I have to take the time to hook everything back up then I'm able to resist the urge for much longer.

Would it be worth it to have your fiancee take one or two of the key power/dsl cords with him to work everyday, or would it be too tempting to just run out and buy a replacement? Also, if the computer's in a separate room, could it be locked and he's the only with access?

Depending on your set-up, you could also conceivably have your fiancee take some part that's too expensive to replace on a whim, like the laptop, or the keyboard or something else if it's a desktop.

Please let us know what solution you come up with as I could always use some extra help and live alone so don't have anyone to ride herd on me. Guess I need to go hang out at Olga's so she can keep me straight.....

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Ah, well. Glad in a way to hear I'm not alone. I think what I do to restrict usage works pretty well, as long as I don't talk my fiance into leaving the internet on.

It might only work if you live with someone else so you don't know all the passwords or numbers or anything, but here's what he does:

He sets up his router to deny internet access to the household's computers between midnight and 7pm every day. Since I don't know the passwords or numbers to undo it, it's useless to even try. Voila! No internet.

Oh yeah, there was something else--Lily, it sounds like maybe you don't have an addictive relationship with the internet, because you *enjoy* your time on it. With me, I sometimes can't stop using it even though I am getting no pleasure from it. What do you think?

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Okay, this is stupid of me, but I am suggesting you a website I found


It has links to some internet addiction resources.

Also - could your internet addiction be a symptom of a larger problem? I have had issues in the past of internet addiction and found it to be a symptom of my ADD rather than an addiction itself. The way I keep myself from becoming hooked is exactly what Lily said, just don't get on. I've made it hard to let myself get distracted by the internet so now I don't (at least not very often)

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I can identify with this. I have nothing to replace the internet with that gives me the same stimulation.

People who become addicted often do so because their lives are not fullfilling. They can't seem to find passion, enjoyment, adventure, or pleasure from life itself, so they have to invent these experiences in other ways. Whether such feelings come to them through gambling, getting "high," "tuning out," or becomming overinvolved with the Internet, their work, their hobbies, or anything else, there is often a lack of other pleasures that drive people (at least in part) to crave pleasure from their addictive behaviors.

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