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‘I couldn’t stop myself’: inside the 12-step program for internet addiction | Technology

‘I couldn’t stop myself’: inside the 12-step program for internet addiction | Technology

“Hi, my name is Sarah* and I am an internet and technology addict.”

So began a meeting on a recent Wednesday afternoon, as 18 people quietly gathered on a Zoom call. Text in their small video boxes showed they hailed from locations as disparate as Oregon, India and Namibia.

Sarah and the other attendees are part of a growing fellowship called Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous, a 12-step program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous that provides tools and support to deal with compulsive internet use. It launched with just a few founding US groups in 2017 and has quickly grown to have thousands of members around the world, with more than 100 online and in-person meetings in seven different languages.

Since Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935, its 12 steps have been adapted for addictions and compulsive behaviors including overeating, overspending and gambling. Now the traditionally abstinence-based

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Technology Addiction Has Created a Self-Help Trap

Technology Addiction Has Created a Self-Help Trap

For years, I sat down to work each morning, realizing hours later that I felt drained, but got little done. Instead of writing, I spent my time texting, emailing, and mostly aimlessly browsing through news sites, blogs, and social networks. Every click triggered another. I tried to regain control by using an app called Freedom that blocked my computer’s online access for fixed periods of time. Sometimes it helps, especially when I have a work deadline looming. Sometimes it didn’t. But trying to control work time was only part of the struggle. I kept feeling the irresistible urge to pull out my phone wherever I went. At that point, I blamed myself. After all, I was the girl who spent hours playing video games well into college. But something happened in 2015 that made me realize that something much bigger was awry.

It was a Saturday evening when I arrived

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