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Addicted to Oxygen, to Online, to Love

What is Online Addiction?

Mozart was addicted to music and Marie Curie to science! It's not the devotion or the pleasure, it's how it functions in your life. This is not to minimize abuse, but to notice that not all single-minded fascination is destructive.

What would you tell the spouse of someone who seems to be addicted?

I don't have much to go on but my own experiences, but my two cents worth to spouses would be something like:

Think of it as a passage and not a disease. Give the process some time, online "addiction" can be a drive to find one's voice and transform one's true sense of identity. Which can be a strange journey online or off.

Provide counterpoint that's interactive. Go for walks together. Prompt her or him to initiate activities where you can interact with your environment. Go to crafts fairs instead of movies, for example, so you can interact with people, comment on things, and pay attention to one another in a rich environment.

Touch. It's missing from the online world. Reinvent it together.

If the above doesn't make sense, maybe the two of you need a bit of time apart. Or mediated, supported time with a skilled counselor.

Addicted to what..?

Computers are the medium, not the content. There be people here; would anyone ever describe themselves as "addicted" to community?

(Maybe if afraid to be alone... but as long as I can appreciate solitude, I don't think I would characterize a need for community interaction and involvment as a dependency. The hole in ourselves that community fills is a hole that community is supposed to fill, I suspect, and the fit is better if our "self esteem" is healthier.)

This [The WELL conferences and other interactive arenas] is a place made of words that are a willingness to share ideas. An island spun of the desire to connect to others of our gregarious kind.

Addiction... or workaholism?

How odd. Now that I work for the WELL, and am spending beyond 40 hrs a week online doing mostly things you'd have to pay someone to do, I go through alternating bouts of wanting to log out, and needing to be on after work, to get my community fix, a chuckle, interesting info, a bit of euphoria connected to other living breathing feeling sapiens. When I unplug for a week or two for vacation travel, I can vacate now and not miss us, but when I drive home from the WELL office sometimes I mentally compose email I want to write as soon as I get home; mostly work oriented, some for fun.

I'd have to call getting more involved a sure-fire cure. Get a job, and part of the obsession vanishes. But duty seems to have arisen in its place. Gee, what a peculiar transformation.

- Gail