Technology Can Be Disruptive
When we think about addiction, we typically focus on drugs or alcohol. If we stretch a little bit, we might also include gambling, shopping, or even sex. Technology and social media aren’t typically at the top of that list. Both are such a big part of our everyday lives, it’s easy to overlook them as an issue. Just like with any other form of compulsive dependence, however, if you’re finding your use of technology has begun disrupting your daily life, interfering with your work or disturbing your relationships, there’s very likely a deeper problem.
Being Honest with Yourself
Addiction isn’t so much about what you’re doing as it is the way you’re behaving around what you’re doing. When it comes to technology, for instance, when is the last time you didn’t pick up your smartphone for an entire hour? If you have a moment to yourself—standing in line at the grocery store, waiting to get into a movie, or sitting in a restaurant—do you find the first thing you do is check social media? Do you feel like the conversations you are having online are more vital than the face-to-face conversations you have with your friends, partner or coworkers? Have you ever not been able to find your phone or lost internet access and found yourself in a panic? This might be an indication that your useof technology and social media has become a problem for you.
Technology Addiction is Different
One of the unique features of technology addiction is that it takes you out of your life. The use of drugs or alcohol, gambling, shopping or other forms of self-medication distracts you from your pain. Technology, on the other hand, literally makes you mindless—as in the opposite of mindful. When you’re mindful, you’re paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and experiences, as well as the thoughts, feelings and experiences of those around you. Being mindful means being engaged in your life, your work and your relationships. Technology draws you out of that real-life engagement into a narrow little two-dimensional world that isn’t actually real.
One of the challenges of someone confronting technology addiction is that in today’s world it is virtually impossible to avoid technology. Unlike an alcoholic or gambler who can escape the grip of addiction by avoiding his or her triggers, it would be difficult for anyone to function today without a smartphone or access to the internet. Learning to better manage your relationship to technology and re-establish a mindful connection to your life is one of the chief ways of managing technology addiction.
Just as with any other addiction, technology addiction can be addressed with the support of an experienced counselor. We can work together to develop effective strategies for coping and better managing your behavior. Please contact us for more information.
Having made the choice to seek help, you may have some questions…
How do I manage my technology addiction when technology is all around me?
Unlike other addictions, managing technology addiction is not about avoiding your triggers. It focuses more on setting boundaries for yourself and regulating your behavior around those triggers. You may work with your counselor to reprioritize your values and what you regard as important. Together you can develop strategies and coping skills that will help you re-engage in your life, staying present with the boundaries you’ve set.
How do I re-establish my relationships?
Someone once said that wisdom is in the doing. Promises will not help you repair the damage that your addiction may have done. What will help is showing the people in your life that you are sincere in your efforts to recover and regain your life.
How do I respond to people who don’t view technology addiction as an addiction?
You are here, seeking help and support, so you have gotten to a place where you recognize you have a problem. In the end, that’s all that really matters. You do not need to defend yourself against people who may feel you are making a mountain out of a molehill. You see and feel the effects your behavior has had on your life and relationships and have chosen to do something about it. Sorting out who in your life is supporting your recovery and who may be undermining it—knowingly or unknowingly—will be an important part of moving forward for you.
How do I regain trust in myself?
Trusting yourself is a matter of accepting your vulnerabilities and a willingness to believe that bad behavior does not make you a bad person. You’ve gotten to a place where you recognize your problem. Counseling for your technology addiction will help you get some perspective and develop strategies to address your concerns and gain confidence that you will be able to meet whatever challenges you face.We are accepting new clients and will see you online in the comfort of your own home. We are here to support you in these trying and uncertain times and continuing to offer all of our services, through our secure online connection. Contact us today!