Computer Withdrawal

Barbara Vey -- March 24th, 2011

If someone would have told me 4 years ago that I would be so dependent on my computer, I would have laughed in their face.  At that time I had a PC desktop that my son, Keith, actually built for me.  I didn’t need much since I basically used it for emails and ordering books from the library.

Now I’m like that old advertising slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby!”  I have graduated to a MacBook Pro (thanks to my other son, Andrew) and it’s like another appendage to my body.  Really, I actually take it to bed with me.  It’s the last thing I look  at night and the first thing I peruse in the morning.  I use it for everything.  I check the news, weather, dictionary, Wikipedia and sometimes, yes, even those goofy viral videos.

Between checking on Twitter, Facebook (3 accounts), email (3 accounts), various blogs and writing my own, I spend a fair amount of time online.  I can film video, edit it on my laptop and post it on YouTube.  Not that I don’t love it, but it is a time suck.  In between, I’m reading and listening to books like crazy (on my computer as well as in my car and on my iPod).   Even though I’ve been sent books to read on the computer, I can’t seem to bring myself to do that.  I need to hold a book either paper or eReader, but not on my honking laptap.

No Nathan Fillion as Castle with internet down

No Nathan Fillion as Castle with internet down

So, when my power went out last night and the internet was down overnight, I felt the shakes coming on.  I know I can use my iPhone, but I’m still all thumbs when it comes to texting, so the thought of typing anything more than 140 characters at one time is extremely daunting.

Not to mention that without a computer there was no Hulu.com so I couldn’t catch up on my television series.  Now I’m avoiding everything so I don’t find out who was sent home on the Biggest Loser and what happened on Castle.

Anyway, internet now back up.  Blog posted.  Almost all emails read.  Still a few blogs to read and lots of tv to catch up on.  But now I worry about something happening to my laptop.  How did I get to this point and is there a patch for this (like when you try to quit smoking)?  I think I need to get into some sort of support group.

How about you?  How long could you survive without the internet?  Do you use it only for work?  Or as entertainment too?

Bottom Line: If you do send me a text, be patient for the reply…I have slow, fat fingers.

47 thoughts on “Computer Withdrawal

  1. Isis Nocturne

    I’m like you Barbara. I’m totally addicted to my laptop. Ever since my previous, each of my machines has a name. My last laptop was Simi (yes, named after Simi Parthenopaeus), this one shares my pseudonym, my car is named Xiamara… LOL, you get the picture there.

    But I literally live off my computers. All my important info is in them, as well as the stories and poetry I write, my music…

    My laptop IS an extension of me. To be allowed to peruse my laptop is to see into the very essence of me. I cannot live without my laptop!

  2. Lea-Ellen {night owl in IL}

    Oh my gosh, I can totally relate! (As I’m sure millions of others feel the same way!) I use the computer for everything, too (although I don’t watch TV shows or movies on it). And I’m the same way about reading books [no matter how long] on the PC – I don’t like it (so I print them out if there’s no alternative – I don’t have an ebook reader).

    I’d have to go to our library to use the computer (if for no other reason than to not get so back-logged with emails).

  3. Bridget

    My name is Bridget and I am an internet addict.

    I use the computer both at work and at home. I use it for work, both at work and at home, but I also use it for entertainment. I keep connected with family and friends. Like you, it’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. From past experience, I don’t handle losing it for any length of time, even when on vacation!

    Bridget

  4. Marilyn

    My name is Marilyn and I’m a computer-holic. I want a smart phone but that data plan just isn’t in my budget. I don’t get the newspaper except on Sunday so I get my daily news online as well as everything else.

  5. Christina Tegethoff

    I understand completely Barbara. Sadly my nephew learned to use a computer at the age of three, I was in highschool when we transitioned from a typewriter to an old (dos based) computer. These days I don’t know what I would do without my laptop, either. It’s definately great for writing, I can go to the beach, or sit on my balcony, it’s awesome.

  6. leanne

    I actually made it for over a year with no computer. During that time I missed it soooo much. Like everyone else I used it for everything. It was a marvel when I got back online, I thought to myself how in the world did I manage without. lol
    I hope to never go internet-less ever again :D

  7. Heather

    My internet was actually down on Sunday from 9:30am-3:00pm. It was terrible. I thought it was an issue with my router, so I hurried up and got ready and ran out to get a new one, only to hook it up and still not have internet. Turned out the cable company had a service outage in my area, so there I was with electricity, but no internet. It was day two of my Netflix trial and I had just started watching “Firefly” for the first time, and was hoping to finish it that day, but noooooooo, that would have been too nice. Thank goodness the cable company had no power over my reading capabilities. My day would have been completely horrible! Although, I still haven’t had the chance to finish watching “Firefly.”

  8. Debbie Kaufman

    I got a smartphone just because I often go to remote places with no wi-fi for writing retreats. I admit it. I’m a total addict. When I walk through the door, the first place I go is the computer.

  9. Marilyn Baron

    First, thank you for posting the picture of Castle. I love that man. It’s funny that you chose this topic because yesterday on our way to St. Augustine, I heard a story on a radio about how there really is such a phenomenon as Internet Addiction. They interviewed a pscyhologist who confirmed it. My husband turned to me and said, “You have that.” I’m not addicted to the Internet, per se, but I am addicted to my BlackBerry. I do admit that. I’m not such a big fan of laptops; to me they’re difficult to use. But I couldn’t live without my regular computer and when it’s down, I go crazy. I need it for work, to write and to communicate. But last week when a lightning strike took down my computer, I had my trusty BlackBerry and I made do.

  10. Kathy Crouch

    I know how you feel!!! I got the shakes when my lap top had to go on an extended vacation with the Geek Squad. It was so difficult, I borrowed my husbands lap top. It just wasn’t the same. I couldn’t save to my favorites any websites that I liked. I certainly couldn’t do any writing on it. Our lap tops have become a new best friend or pet….seems we have bonded with them. When the Geek Squad called to tell me my lap top was ready, I squealed like a high school girl. I know I should be embarrassed about that, but I can’t…I love my lap top. :P

  11. Adelle Laudan

    I feel your pain, Barbara. Just a couple of weeks ago, a nasty virus locked up my computer. I couldn’t do anything and ended up having to strip my computer back to factory settings. I was literally in tears. To make matters worse, the back up program, Dropbox failed to save all of my work. I had just sorted and went through everything the week before, in case something like this happened to me.
    Luckily, I am in the habit of sending my manuscripts to my email. Yes, I lost a bunch of files, but my books were pretty much all in tact. I now use Carbonite to save my files.
    Hence the reason I will stress to all reading this… back up, back up, back up. Check your programs now and then and make sure they are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and if you take nothing else away from what I’ve just said, get yourself a GOOD anti-virus program. No more FREE programs for this author.
    I’m glad you weren’t down for long, Barbara. What did we do before computers? lol

  12. Charlotte McClain

    When I first came to Abu Dhabi and ended up living in Intercontinentals for 2 and a half months I went bonkers. What is it about high end hotels cheaping out on internet? Every couple of days the pain of withdrawal became too much and I had to pay a premium just to get online. Now that I have internet at home, I am never far from my computer or my iPad.

    And I promise never to text you. I can’t manage to do it at all most of the time.

  13. Nancy Naigle

    Guilty! I am a slave to my laptop (or any of them). I have more computer equipment than I dare admit to here and it’s seldom you can’t get a response from me because if I’m awake … I’m connected.

    Even when I travel for work, I carry my personal laptop, too. Thank the lord for the person who invented rolly-computer bags.
    And oh yes, I will pay to have access to the internet. I even paid for the inflight service on my last east-west flight…sweet!

  14. Tabitha Gibson

    It would be hard… VERY HARD… to be without my computer. Fortunately, I am not addicted to a laptop. I do have a desk top so when I walk away, go outside, etc. I don’t feel the urge to drag it with me. I do have an i-Pad but my daughter hogs it all the time listening to her Dr. Suess books or playing the “magic piano” ;)

    But I do use it for work (data entry at home for the win!), writing, games, informational searches. It’s a very important part of my life… but I could go a few days at a time without it if I had to.

    Have a great day!

  15. Regan Black

    Oh, I completely understand! I should be ashamed, but I’m not. The computers around here are for everything. Work, entertainment and information. It’s our first line of reference for anything. (we even check the tv schedule online rather than on the tv – go figure).

    For our 20th anniversary my husband and I went away for the weekend – and we both agreed to leave our laptops at home. We had a great time, but oh, it was so tempting to go down to the hotel’s business center and ‘just take a peek’.

  16. Edie Ramer

    It’s awful how much time I spend on my computer. I’d like to whittle it down, but when I try, it doesn’t last long. (Like my diets!)

    The last time our electricity went out, my husband and I played cards. It’s been years since we did that, and it was hard to remember the rules. And of course, I read a book, too. The electricity came on before it was too dark to read, so we were lucky.

  17. AmyB

    I’m on my computer all day at work…have work stoppage if power is down. My job is flexible enough that I’m usually able to catch up on news, etc during the day as well. I may check a few things here & there from the home computer, but generally keep that for iTunes & other data management stuff.

    Unlike you, I am addicted to my Android smartphone & use it for emails, internet, Twitter, Facebook, & tons of texting! I rarely get phone calls, as everyone I know usually texts.

  18. Shari Straight

    The only time I’ve ever been able to not touch my computer for any length of time was while I was on a cruise. But that was before I had a day job and *had* to stay in touch. We’ll see what happens the next time it costs me money to stay in touch… if my bosses won’t pay for the international rates, i won’t either. ;P

  19. Eliza Hendricks

    Good question. Hope I never have to find out. :-) I love being able to touch base with friends and family almost immediately, but long before the Internet came about I was an avid letter writer with over 30 people I corresponded with. Sadly, once email arrived on the scene most of my pen pals faded away. Fortunately with the advent of FB I’ve been able to reconnect with many of them. Also, long distance phoning is much less expensive than it was back in the dark ages. :-)

  20. Barbara

    I spend more time than I would like on the computer but draw the line at laptops although my husband has an Ipad which I snatch whenever I can. Great for streaming Netflix. Just wish it was the size of the e-readers. Not too interested in the other tablets – I happen to be a fan of apple – or the next best thing to a copy of “computer for dummies”. Only watch tv on it if I missed the program and can’t get the episode “on demand” from my tv provider. Otherwise, prefer to DVR everything – breeze through commercials.

  21. Yvonne

    I completely understand. My laptop was infected with spyware and ended up in the computer “hospital” for over 2 weeks! It was like a member of the family was seriously ill, and I was worried it was terminal. Such joy when the laptop came home and I could do all the stuff on the computer that you just can’t do at work. If you find a patch, let me know.

  22. joysann

    I, too, spend way too much time on my laptop. But I can go without for a couple days, like on vacation, without suffering too much withdrawal. Of course, that was before I got my droid phone; now it beeps at me all the time with emails and Facebook and Twitter postings, and I can’t resist checking. I like texting, tho I don’t do it so much. Typing on the phone is kind of a pain, so I REALLY like the voice-to-text feature, even for sending emails on my phone. I do use that all the time, tho I have to repeat myself a lot. It’s kind of funny to see what it hears, rather than what I thought I said. Yep, Barbara, I understand the computer addiction.

  23. Sandy

    The question here is to use yourself as an example. Has your computer use/addiction changed your reading habits — what you read, how you read, etc.? Let us know in a blog. Lots of writers want to know. As a matter of fact — lots of writers want to know this from lots of readers. Something is in the wind out there.

    1. Barbara Vey Post author

      Sandy, I do read less, but this is more because of the blog. But then I sleep less because I need to get my reading in. I also take advantage of audio books for those times when a book won’t work. I also use my iPhone to read when waiting in lines, so I think I still read, but in a different way and at different times.

  24. Christine T.

    Um Barbara have you read any of the recent articles about computer dependency? It’s a very slippery slope and everyone needs to disconnect from their electronic gadgets on a regular basis because your brain literally needs time to relax. We can all survive without the constant buzz and a power-outage is a good wake-up call!

    1. Christine T.

      Oh, and I’m a home-based freelancer so I am dependent on the Internet for work-related issues and yes I do use it for entertainment (including watching some shows on Hulu) but it’s so nice to shut the thing down and pick up a book and read in perfect peace and quiet.

  25. Marian Pearson Stevens

    Boy do I relate, Barbara! If the internet is down, I’m scrambling, heaven forbid I miss something! I never imagined this either, but there it is. I would like to add the Ipad to my collection too . . . (it never ends–lol!)

  26. Linda LaRoque

    I can handle an occasional weekend without the internet–if I can check email on my cell–but that’s about it. My pc died and I didn’t replace it as already had a laptop and also bought a netbook which I travel with. We even have a portable printer we take on occasion.

    What would we do without electricity? I have several coal oil lamps , but the thought of internet withdrawal makes me think we need to buy a generator in case we ever have long outages.

  27. Shari Anton

    I’m trying to limit my addiction, as in not putting Twitter or Facebook on my smartphone. My laptop stays on my desk, for the most part. Still, I probably spend too much time ‘connected’ via some devise.

  28. Julie Hyzy

    Oh, Barbara, I hear you!! AT&T went wacky on me a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t deal with it. I went out in search of free Wi-fi, and when I finally was able to log on, I felt the calm return. Unplanned interruptions like the one you experienced set me screaming.

    On the other hand, my husband and I took a trip to Europe last year and I left my MacBook (kids are great for these recommendations, aren’t they?) home for three weeks. Because I’d planned for this and because I could check via my iPod Touch when I really needed to, I was able to breathe and enjoy the trip.

    I’m addicted to my computer and to the Internet. And I never would have imagined it.

    Glad your power is back up!!

  29. Jenny St.

    I am on the computer all day at work. I check your blog and do some craft fair/youth group/vbs work during my lunch break. When I get home, I want NOTHING to do with the computer/cell phone. If I need to get things done that require a computer, I wait until my kids are in bed. I feel like all of this technology is a waste of life. I want to enjoy every minute of my kids and be completely focused on what is going on around me.

  30. kylie

    I’m completely addicted to anything remotely related to the internet, whether it be work email or surfing for recreational purposes. A few times I’ve lost connection at work and I felt so crippled. If I don’t have my smartphone with me I feel incomplete. In the grand scheme of things, this loss should be minor, just one less luxury – and I think everybody should be reminded just that!

  31. Tracey Devlyn

    I’m with you, Barbara. My road to computer dependency started about 4.5 years ago. Although I sometimes think life would be far less stressful without being plugged in, I would feel completely disconnected with the world and my friends. I watch very little TV and rarely talk on the phone, so my computer is my link to everything. I had to be without Internet access for a few hours a month ago–it was not pleasant. LOL

  32. Diana

    I can go a couple weeks without my laptop… IF I have Wi-Fi for my iPad!!! My reading is mostly done through ebooks and audio books, due to vision problems, so I don’t read as much as I used to and would like to! Yes, I’m addicted! But not like I was before my breakdown!
    I held out on a computer til my mother won one for me at work, so I could write… My hands are bad with fibromyalgia… I refused to get online unless it was free, and sure enough, my sister hooked me up with her account! OMG! I was there at my desk 24/7, my kids running wild, no one able to call me…I had to get a pager (remember those?)… until I really had a breakdown!
    Now, I depend on the internet to keep in touch with my wild bunch, especially now that I have grandkids, as well as for just about everything else! I recently got a text phone, no internet on it, so that and my iPad are pretty much glued to me wherever I go and are used for everything! My grandson uses it as well, for preschool apps, music, movies, etc., but it doesn’t leave my sight! I could wish it was a bit lighter for my hands, but I just avoid holding it much! So, as much as I need my laptop still, I can go a week or 2 without it if I’ve backed up everything first! I’ve learned to never say never, too! Yeah, those panic attacks when the net or wi- fi go down are no fun!

  33. Colleen C.

    Last Summer I actually spent a whole week away from my computer… went on vacation… it felt so weird not checking things and visiting the sites I love to go too…

  34. Dianna Love

    It is scary to think how attached we are to our electronics. It feels strange to leave home without your phone. However, it was nice to be “disconnected” when we went on vacation during the holidays to a fairly remote area. Took about a day to get over that weird sense of not being in touch then I embraced the chance to spend time with my husband without feeling like “i better check on X.”

    1. Isis Nocturne

      When I was on my Israel trip last December, I felt NAKED without my laptop by my side! It was bad, LOL. One of my roomies one night said I was whimpering in my sleep and wondering where my laptop was and if it had been stolen!

  35. Jacqui Lyonelle aka Jacs

    I was a late bloomer to internet, didn’t get a comp til 99 and I still don’t have a laptop but despite that I am an internet addict but more so with my droid. I love how the ‘net keeps me up to date with the majority of my friends and family whether near or far. And because. I have the tendency to go quiet for days, sometimes weeks at a time, a quick I’m alive status update on fb usually puts people at ease.
    I do have to say though it’s always wonderful meeting my online friends face to face and feeling like seeing a long list friend.

  36. Jacqui Lyonelle aka Jacs

    Though when it comes to vacation I don’t have a prob being endless. It’s only if I’m not having a good time which for me is very rare!

  37. Chelsea Rafferty

    Yeah, I am pretty addicted to my internet. Honestly, probably TOO addicted and I do a heck of a lot less like chores and things that SHOULD get done because I get distracted by my PC. If I didn’t have online classes that I needed the computer for I’d probably cut off the internet for a bit to get caught up on Life ;) Can’t I just plug something in my brain and communicate that way, so that I can get real life stuff done? Or how about a clone of me? that could work :D

  38. Farrah

    LOL, last month at work we had some major server issues and the internet was down for three days straight. The entire building (six floors, 1000 people) spent those three days staring at each other and trying to figure out how we ever did any work without computers and the internet.

    Do you think the world could ever revert back to an internet-less world? Interesting…great blog!

  39. Jan D

    Here is my guilty little secret. I have 2 laptops. Yes, its true. I have my own personal laptop that I literally take every where (except Special Olympics yesterday). The 2nd one belongs to our special ed department and is mine during the school year for as long as I am there.
    I have at times had them both up and running with different jobs. Or with a movie or tv show on one while researching on the other one.

    My name is Jan and I am an internet-a-holic.

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