April 29, 2005

When too much is not enough

I think we all have faced some sort of addiction at a point in our lives. I never considered myself addicted to anything. But I have been.

My addiction? THIS. The internet.

1. Being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)
2. An abnormally strong craving

Let me guess. All you "Christians" out there reading this blog entry are covering your mouths and *gasping* in disgust.

"She's addicted to the internet!" You say about me, pointing at your screens.

Yes, I am. No, I'm not addicted to porn, or any other evil things. My addiction consists of simply sitting down in a chair and reading, surfing for information for my writing, searching for business resources, etc.

As Christians, we sometimes get this idea that we are perfect and don't have any addictions. No man is perfect, although we strive for perfection, Jesus as our example.

Addiction does not include only drugs and alcohol, although that is probably the first thoughts that enters most minds at mention of the word. An addiction is a terrible craving for something, a craving which you don't even realize you have.

An addiction grabs and claims domination of your mind, thoughts, feelings, emotions, decisions. It controls you, most of the time without you even realizing it.

The internet has quickly become a resource of valuable information. With the simple click of a button, we can easily pull up maps, telephone numbers, etc. Need information for a research paper? Just Google your topic and VOILA! 1,046,349,211 websites return at your beckon call.

The internet gives stay-at-home-moms a way to interact with other moms. Surrounded by diapers, bottle-feeding, and potty training, we are isolated from the connection we once had with the outside world. The internet brings that connection to other moms like us without having to leave our home.

The internet makes us lazy. We expect answers at the snap of a finger. We demand immediate responses. What has happened to slowing down and waiting for a phone call or letter in the mail?

  • When too much becomes not enough, you have an addiction.
  • When you are signed up on over one hundred email groups, and still feel lonely, you're addicted.
  • When you have to check your email every three minutes to see if you have a message, you're addicted.
  • When you're constantly looking at the monitor, even while you're busy doing other things, you're addicted.
  • When you feel irritated because you haven't had internet access in two days, you're addicted.

So how do we break this cycle of internet addiction? I have already begun the process for myself. It is definitely a matter of personal reflection and choices. For me, the greatest challenge is that the internet is the lifeline between my husband and I right now. Here is how I am breaking my addiction:

  • Write a list of how I spend my time online.
    1. How many hours am I online?
    2. Of those hours, how many are spent on actual work or school?
    3. Where is the majority of my online time at?

  • Limit my online time.
    1. How much time do I need for my online studies?
    2. What can I cut away from my online time?
      • Extracurricular websites
      • "Free" ventures
      • Chat times with friends
      • Set a limit on email groups & online communities

  • How can I make better use of my time away from the internet?
    1. More family time
      • Family fun night
      • Family scrapbooking
      • Library visits
      • Game night

    2. Bible reading
    3. Prayer time
    4. Church functions (when possible)
    5. Home ministries
    6. WRITING!

Addictions can be broken. You have to be willing to do it, and create new, good habits to replace the bad ones.

What is your addiction? Are you ready to make a change?