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TV Addicts Support Group

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi, my name is Arwyn and I'm a TV addict. I've been TV-free since Jan 2006, and I still feel like I'm detoxing from a life of TV addiction. In some ways I use the computer as a TV substitute, and I'm not sure what to do about that, since the computer is also my social network and my current occupation (unpaid, sure, but it's the meaningful mental engagement that I need to be the best parent I can be). But the compulsion to sit and passively watch that I engaged in with TV for decades still manifests as a compulsion to sit and passively watch the computer, even when "there's nothing good on." I want to use all the time I have now not watching television in pursuit of more fulfilling leisure activities, but I feel like I just don't know how, because I never have, and it wasn't modeled for me.

Any others out there still struggling with the addiction? Whether you're still watching or have gone TV-free, I'd love to talk with you.

*This thread is in no way meant to belittle the struggles people have gone through with far more addictive substances than TV. I do consider it an addiction, that has negatively impacted my life, probably somewhere above caffeine and below tobacco or alcohol in addictiveness and damage, certainly below, say, crack or meth. But just as behaviors like gambling can be addictive and can damage lives, so too I believe can TV watching. Even as many people can spend no more than $5 a month on the lottery, or watch just their one or two favorite weekly programs on TV, so too can some of us incur enormous debts or lose years out of our lives, unable at the time to tear ourselves away from those behaviors. It is in that respect that I refer to TV as an addiction, and myself an addict.
post #2 of 10
My name is Tiffani and I am a TV addict. I have memories from my childhood and teen years that involve DAYS in front of the TV. I have one vivid memory of a beautiful sunny summer day and my family was all outside in the pond and enjoying the day when I was probably 18 or so and I watched the STARZ channel all day...movie after movie after movie. I even remember thinking that the movies I was watching were horrible and I should go outside with everyone else but I couldn't get myself off the couch. I also remember my grandma using the TV as a babysitter with me. As long as I was being good it was easier for her. She also had a period of time every day from 12-4 that you did not bug her bc she was watching her "shows". I love that woman with all my heart but I want to do better for my child. But even as recently as last year during early pregnancy I was home one weekday and didn't do anything but watch reruns of Little House on the Prarie...seriously like eight hours worth!
I hate the way I feel when I have those days. I feel worthless and ashamed. Oh but it feels good to say it!
Luckily I have not had any of those days since DS was born.
I do think I have some of the same addiction with the computer but I don't believe it is as bad...I feel I get more out of my computer time...I have learned soooo... much from the internet.
post #3 of 10
Hello! I'm Melanie, and yes, I'm a TV addict. I'm only a few hours sober right now, and I know i will relapse by tomorrow. I'm so glad we have this forum now. I'm looking forward to my recovery. That's all for now, but I will be back.
post #4 of 10
Hello! I'm Jamey, and I'm a TV addict too. I haven't owned a TV for 3 years. If we want to watch movies, we watch DVDs using the computer, but we don't really do that too frequently. We don't have a TV because I can't self-regulate, and I hate passive viewing, I hate the noise and electricity of it, and I especially hate what TV-watching does to people, young and old. It makes everyone less creative, less energetic, and gives you a false sense of connection with people and society. I thought I was over my TV addiction but a friend lent me the DVDs of one series of West Wing and I watched them for about 10 hours just because I was alone in the house and no one would know I was watching TV. So gross.

So anyways, hello!
post #5 of 10
Originally Posted by knittinanny View Post
gives you a false sense of connection with people and society.

Like I said, while pregnant I couldn't tear myself away from the TV! I would watch those horrible celebrity gossip shows and i would have that exact "false sense of connection society". I knew it was ridiculous but I couldn't stop!

I am also guilty of renting the series of tv shows and watching nonstop for a weekend. But this is rare and usually in the cold winter months. Plus I love no commercials ... should i still feel ashamed?
post #6 of 10
I guess you could say I am a "recovering addict"- TV free for 4 years. And before that, major TV watcher. Like others, I was raised on it. Like others, we don't have a TV in the house (but occasionally DH and I will rent a DVD or maybe watch a TV episode of something on-line when DS is asleep).

As for the computer taking the place of the TV... for me, the big difference is (and this is why TV seems so much like an addiction) I can turn the computer off and go and do other things when they come up. I couldn't seem to do this with the TV. I don't plan my nights around the computer, I don't flick it on and then never move again. I don't not answer the phone or miss gatherings. I don't push others away for the computer like I did for the TV. I think sometimes we all need down time. For generations past it was books or the radio... Something solitary and didn't need your full mental attention and you could unwind. I think the computer fits more into that category for me- a book or some music- where I can unwind, but I can also walk away- and that is KEY. Sometimes, I admit, that I'll use the computer to avoid doing work. But I think if the computer wasn't here, I'd still find something to avoid the work! So, I don't blame the computer for that .

ANd for those that may be lurking, or new to being TV free, as another sort of comparison to TV as an addiction, coming off of it had a version of "withdrawl". I remember in those first couple weeks thinking almost constantly about the TV. What is on now? If I just had the TV for background... Is it so bad to just watch a little? I remember for the first real time in my life being absolutly alone in the quiet and... it scared me. All those little voices and ideas that I'd kind of tamp down with TV in any spare moment now had free run of my head- what choices do you want for your life? Are you living up to your potential? What are you doing to guide your life? What makes you happy? Who are YOU really? What are you concious choices as a parent? As a wife? As a person? Dang. Those things would sneak up on me. It took me a good couple weeks to get used to the quiet and to understand that those questions were not accusing, but inspiring. For those first weeks, I felt almost "buzzy"- antsy, confused, anxious, almost angry. But when things started to clear, I realised that I was so much calmer. So much more in control. That life moved at a different pace. That I could connect with myself and the people and world around me in a whole different way. I started seeing the beauty in the quiet times and places. Now going for a walk was fun, not just a way to exercise the dog or kill 15 minutes. Sitting on the back porch snapping fresh peas was a fun time, not a chore.

I may occasionally think about TV, but I find not in the same way. Like I said, any DVD or TV show on the web is now when I choose it (which is rarely) and I find now that I enjoy them much, much less than I did before. In fact, I have virtually no patience to sit through a TV show now- they all seem so... lame compared to real life .
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
So do you all (who have gone TV-free) feel like you've "recovered" from the addiction? (As long as you stay away from West Wing DVDs ) That is, do you feel like you're as creative and comfortable with downtime as you would have been with no TV/were before TV?
post #8 of 10
Absoltuely. I think we all are allowed a few "time wasters", but in general, it certainly has changed things.

In the first months after going TV free, my husband and I both lost 20 pounds, the house was cleaner, we talked more, we started going to museums and vowed to walk the dog every day, I read the complete works of John Steinbeck (a long time goal for me) and started knitting... As time has gone by, instead of TV, I vounteer for an AIDS organization, have a huge garden, visit the park every day, read a book a week, was active in La Leche League, we see our friends at least 3 times a week, and I've started writing a book and have begun a PhD! And I'm pregnant! Honestly, I don't know when I would fit TV in. Or, put another way, I could not do all this if I spent 2 hours a day watching TV. And, most embarassingly, I don't know if I would have found it within myself if I hadn't made the decision to get off my duff and live my live by chucking the TV.
post #9 of 10
Hello, my name is Chessa and I am a TV addict. I am also a professional at making excuses for it! We did get rid of our cable a year ago, which has cut down on some of the mindless crap that I used to watch. But we do still have Tivo (lifetime subscription - we're not still paying for it) so I still tape stuff to watch during DS's naps, when I'm putting him to bed, after he's asleep, etc. The TV is in our bedroom and for some reason when I'm nursing him down, it doesn't attract his attention at all. I have the volume low and the closed captioning on, so I can still watch. But see! Excuses! The one time of the day I have the most trouble with (especially in winter when it gets dark so early) is bedtime - I can't freaking read in the dark! And DS takes a little while to get down, and I literally want to crawl out of my skin laying there in the dark waiting...for him...to fall...asleep. Naptimes, i can read and it's not such a big deal. After he's down I can either get up or use my nightlight without bothering him.

Also, around this time last year we cut WAY back on TV - like 1 hour a week? Or 1/2 an hour a day? I can't remember but it was a major cutback for me. I told myself I would only Tivo the stuff that I really, really loved and wanted to watch. It was great - I read a lot more, wrote in my journal, cooked more, cleaned up more...but the reality of the addiction was so apparent! I thought about TV all the time. I had to constantly remind myself NOT to turn it on. Again, only while DS was asleep, but that basically equals all of my downtime as a SAHM.

And I just realized how the crap has slowly but surely crept back into my Tivo over the past year. So much crap! I watch shows I don't even really like. WTH? Part of it is that I am an info junkie. I have a library degree for crying out loud! I also tend to replace TV time with computer time which isn't as bad, but I can get just as cranky and sucked into the computer when I'm in "research mode."

I totally grew up on TV. I could watch movies on video from dawn to dusk. My mom has the TV on literally all day long. As do her parents. My dad is a computer addict. It's so strange! It's so obviously a security blanket, a talisman against loneliness. But it's so seductive, too! We're so afraid of boredom...of maybe finding out how boring as people we've become?

I am proud that we have raised DS - who is almost 2 - totally TV free so far. Thanks in large part to my DH's dogged determinism on the matter! I totally would have caved for long plane rides or illnesses, but DH is dead set against it. Which is good!

I am a little concerned, because once he's 2 I lose the AAP backing of "no screen time until 2 yrs." I need to bone up on my research to have some stuff in my arsenal to answer questions that relatives will undoubtedly throw my way.

Ok. Novel over. Return to your regularly scheduled surfing.
post #10 of 10

Hi. I know your post was years ago, but I'm just viewing it and I relate so much to it!


You see, I got rid of my TV set a year ago or so. However, recently I acquired a laptop (about two months ago) and I've access to my boss's netflix acct and I've been using it A LOT lately! I'm losing control again! I have it on all night. I don't turn it off to go to sleep. I turn it on in the morning after I wake up. I leave it running and it's getting in the way of getting things done that I really need to do, but don't want to do, which I know is part of the problem. I'm lazy! And I'm still coming to grips with that! I know I can get through this and let go of this need of TV.


Thank you for writing your blog comment. It helps to know I'm not the only one here.

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