A Guide for Newcomers

Welcome! We’re glad you’ve found our fellowship. Nobody should have to suffer as a result of their internet and technology use, and we hope you find in this fellowship the freedom and relief that so many of us have discovered. Below are several suggestions which you may find to be a helpful starting place as you begin your recovery.

  1. Attend daily meetings. ITAA offers a variety of different meeting types and times, and we are encouraged to try attending six meetings in a short time frame to help decide whether this program may be helpful to us. Going to a meeting every day gives us a tremendous support system for navigating the unforeseeable twists and turns that are an inevitable part of the recovery process, and as we listen to the stories of others, we come to understand ourselves and our own experiences more fully.
  1. Abstain. Because technology is a part of our everyday lives, sobriety in ITAA is a process of discovery that looks different for each of us. As part of this process, we identify and abstain from the specific behaviors which trigger our addiction. We use the term bottom lines to describe the compulsive behaviors that once we start we can’t stop, and once we stop we can’t stay stopped. Middle lines are the triggering behaviors and situations that feed our urge to act out. And top lines are activities that are positive for us, enhance our self esteem, and help us maintain sobriety while meeting our needs in healthy, functional ways. We may also find it helpful to practice using internet and technology only as necessary, for example, for work, education, finances, health, recovery, or sober connection with loved ones. We work with other experienced members to help define what sobriety means for each of us as individuals, and we lean on meetings and phone calls to help maintain our sobriety commitments. Rather than using for distraction or to numb our emotions, we seek to use technology as a tool for meeting our goals, living in alignment with our values, and developing flourishing lives. 
  1. One day at a time. Recovery is a gentle process. Some of us have found it helpful to not worry about counting sober days in the beginning of our recovery, particularly as we are still learning what sobriety means for us. For other members, counting days can give us a clear measure of progress around our sobriety commitments. One way or the other, what’s important is that we focus on staying sober one day at a time. If we slip, we share honestly, let go of shame, practice acceptance and self-compassion, and look at what we might try differently moving forward. Every moment is a chance for a fresh start.
  1. Make daily outreach calls. Our addiction drew us into isolation and self-reliance. As we begin to recover, we learn that we can trust others and be vulnerable. Calling other members outside of meetings helps us stay connected, supported, and sober, and it gives us an opportunity to share in greater detail than we might during a meeting. When we hear somebody share something in a meeting that resonates with us, afterwards we can ask that person for their phone number or find them on an outreach list and arrange a call.
  1. Learn more about the recovery process. Our website has many resources about the nature of our addiction and how we might best navigate our recovery journey. In addition, there’s a rich body of literature from other Twelve-Step programs that we can lean on to better inform our healing process and to learn more about the time-tested methods which have helped millions of other addicts find sobriety.
  1. Find a sponsor and work the steps. We have benefitted from asking somebody we resonate with to sponsor us and working the Twelve Steps together with them, which is the vital and transformative basis of our long-term recovery from our addiction. A great way to connect with potential sponsors is to make outreach calls with other members who are sober and working the Steps. As we are a growing fellowship, some members have had success finding sponsors in other Twelve-Step programs while consulting with a more experienced ITAA member on tech-specific issues.

Those of us who have followed all of these suggestions have noticed great changes, and have begun to experience freedom. As we progress in our recovery journey, we continue developing insights about ourselves and about which tools are most helpful for our long-term sobriety. More and more we’re able to engage with our lives from a grounded, honest, and sober place. We begin to find a richness and fullness of existence that far exceeds what we imagined possible when we first entered recovery.

Additional resources:
Symptoms of Internet and Technology Addiction
Tools of Recovery
ITAA Recovery Stories
A Guide to Outreach Calls
A Guide to Withdrawals
Stepwriting resources
A Guide to Sponsorship

[This page has been written by ITAA’s Web Content Committee and has not been formally approved by the fellowship as a whole. If you would like to share feedback or contribute to our efforts, we would love to hear from you and we encourage you to join one of our meetings. More details can be found on the Service Committees page.]