The Playful Parents

Wander. Wonder. Wow.

Breaking Free of Addictions: Update

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Since my last post where I mentioned that I was going to go on a self-imposed unwiring challenge a.k.a. cyber detox diet, I have been continuing my battle with my social media and Internet addictions.

In November 2013, I felt as if my need to attend to virtual responsibilities had overtaken my desires to attend to the daily realities of my life, my children and home.

I was spending far too much time
online in the name of personal growth, homeschool research, maintaining
relationships, building networks and what-not compared to just living the life
I have.

I was escaping the mundane and the undesirable portions of my life ( a large portion had to do with maintaining a decent home. I rather google and ogle at immaculate Martha Stewart and Apartment Therapy homes than get off my bum to sweep.
Then I was that Mumster who shrieked at her kids for asking her for help to fix a Lego toy all because I was trying to post my comment on someone’s FB status.

I
Simply
Couldn’t
Didn’t
Want
To
Continue
Like
This.

I cannot say I have finally broken free of my self-indulgent affair with the virtual world, but as my other self-help book I am reading terms it, I am making ‘imperfect progress’.

And imperfect progress is still progress, yes?

And we ought to celebrate every little
Victory, yes?

I didn’t faithfully stick with my 14 day Unwiring challenge. But instead those 14 days have stretched out to 40 days it seems, but I sure hope I don’t need 40 years to get out this destructive desert.

Now, while I may not have a completed challenge to boast of, I am pretty pleased that I still did manage to do key unwiring challenges such as:

1. Intentionally schedule personal meet-ups with friends. I had several one-on-one dates with girlfriends, playdates, group meet-ups with longtime friends I haven’t seen in a while, and of course, trying to revive individual dates with my husband and boys. We also hosted two Christmas parties.

2. Find accountability partners (all three whom I still keep in touch with and give an account to them of how I am doing)

3. Wrote down my desires for how I want my children to remember me 15 years on ( and as you can rightly guess, none of that includes a mom who spends more time obsessing about a screen than her children’s toenails)

4. Reducing my aimless cyber-wanderings per day ( calculated by a total monthly hours / 30 days, that is. I still fail miserably and fritter away hours in a single night. Not proud. But let me focus on the little victories, eh?)

5. Listing down the things I need to get done on the computer before I switch it on. And refraining from opening my Facebook and email when I need to work. This helps to greatly reduce distractions. I am ADD. I AM HIGHLY DISTRACTABLE! And sometimes I lie to myself with the ‘this is my research!’ excuse.

I still haven’t made this a habit yet so I need to continue intentionally remind self to do so.

But those times I mistrust myself enough to write down the laundry list, I am really much more effective and disciplined in my Internet usage.

Lesson here:
When rehabilitating self, it pays to NOT trust self.

6. Restrict handheld gadgets to scheduled times of day. I tried to limit myself to when kids are napping or sleeping. But I struggled a lot with this. So what I ended up doing was to leave my iPhone at home when I took them
out for playground or sports time.

7. Selective use of iPhone: only calls, IRIS bus checker and emails ( forgot passwords to some so cannot access from laptop). But now with my laptop infected with some malware I am trying to fix, it looks like I am going to need even more boundaries set up to prevent myself from lapsing back to my bad habits of constantly having iBalls instead of using my natural eyeballs. And yes, I am currently blogging from
my iPhone.

I need to not just make a list of things I need to use my iPhone before I pick it up: I likely need the next tactic.

8. Control usage with a timer. As one who has burned multiple dinners and pots because of my indiscriminate Internet usage, I cannot overemphasise
the absolute importance of using a timer.

Now, my timer is going off on me.
As I ought to respect the boundaries I am setting up to protect myself and my loved ones, I am finishing off here.

Before I do, I wonder if you would share any tips on how you prevent gadgets and anything virtual from intruding and overshadowing your real life?

If you have yourself broken free of a similar social media or Internet addiction, please do share how you achieved victory.

I so do need the encouragement.

4 Comments

  1. I have exactly the same problem, especially after I stopped work. So I adjusted my own sleep schedule to make time for wiring / administrative work in the wee hours of the morning to ensure that I am fully functional in the day time, when I need to be a fully present mother.

    When I get connected / on my laptop, I do the most important things first for the household, unless there is a deadline looming for other stuff, like sponsored posts on the blog

    I’m on my 4th day, successful for 3!

    Jiayou!!

  2. Scheduling time for usage and also taking a break from the gadget after 5-10 min of usage is a good way of not getting addicted to it. I do rely on gadgets quite heavily for work and research however I also slot time 1-1 for each kid and also time to pursue my own interests.

  3. Can I say, I miss you? hehe…

    Phone is giving me lots of convenience and knowledge, it is also taking me away from real life. I like your strategies, so much ‘control’ compare to mine. What I have done is just deleted FB app and YouTube on the first day of 2014. And I still hop in them via safari on my little iPhone, mainly during my long transit between work and home. Boy! it is so much slower to load the page and definitely huge impact for my desire to kaypoh. So, I can’t agree more with your “imperfect progress is still progress”.

    This is surely a timely reminder to me.

  4. Hi, you sounded like me during my yesteryears but that was when I did not have kids.
    I spent the whole day (out of working hours) parking virtually, waiting for my contacts to chat with me, or surfing the net, doing gaming, blogging ( but more of rants).
    It was damaging my life in a way that it affected my relationship with my husband. Rather than go dating with him, I chose to stay at home and left him to settle his own activities.

    It’s only when I realised people has been calling me the virtual girl that I stepped back and reflect what I have been doing the past months.
    Now, I am not addicted to the net, thankfully as I have other priorities to look at and plan.

    Congrats on your rehabilitation! though its small, but with everyday, try to drag the time longer and longer (out of internet) and invest in something else… you may successfully pull out from the circumstances.

    Keep it up and not give up!! wish you success in your program!

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