A Guide for Newcomers

You can find a printable PDF of this guide here: A Guide for Newcomers.

Welcome! If you have just arrived to ITAA and are looking for relief from internet and technology addiction, these are practices for the first 90 days which many of us have found helpful.

  1. Attend 90 meetings in 90 days. ITAA offers a variety of different meeting types and times. Take the time to find ones that are right for you. We recommend attending six meetings in a short time frame before deciding whether this program is right for you.
  1. Abstain. Sobriety in ITAA is a process of discovery and looks different for each addict. We encourage you to talk to other members about their own experiences. Some of us have found the following guideline helpful as a starting point in our own recovery: “I will abstain from all internet and technology use except for what is strictly necessary for work, finances, health, recovery, or family. I will not use internet and technology for the purposes of entertainment or satisfying my curiosity. I will also avoid internet and technology use that helps me numb my emotions. If I am uncertain whether an activity is strictly necessary, I will consult others first.” To help us understand whether something is necessary, we may also ask ourselves the following questions: “Is it necessary? Is it necessary to do with technology? Is it necessary to do now?” 
  1. One day at a time. Some of us have found it unhelpful to count sobriety in the first 90 days, particularly as we are still learning what sobriety means for us. For other members, counting days can help keep us accountable to our fellows, give us a measure of progress, and give us clarity when we have broken our commitments around sobriety. 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 come back to these suggestions. Every moment is a chance for a fresh start.
  1. Make daily outreach calls. In ITAA, recovery is a fellowship-wide process, and daily outreach calls help us stay connected, supported, and sober. There are several phone lists other members can share. When we hear somebody share something in a meeting that resonates with us, afterwards we ask that person for their phone number or find them on an outreach list and arrange a call.
  1. Do service. Take on a service position, even a small one. Volunteer to keep time or to lead a meeting. Service keeps us sober.
  1. Find a sponsor and work the steps. We have benefitted from asking somebody we resonate with to sponsor us and working the 12 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, and you may wish to talk to a potential sponsor more than once or talk to multiple people to find the right fit. As we are a growing fellowship, some members have had success finding sponsors in other 12 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. After the first 90 days, we may decide to reevaluate some of these actions. We might write more nuanced guidelines for our sobriety, or reintroduce certain internet and technology activities with the support of our fellows. We might consider reducing from 7 meetings a week to a lower number. We may also decide to continue with the above actions for an additional 90 days, or longer. Having begun to see the richness of a life free from addiction, we are able to engage with these decisions from a more grounded, honest, and sober place.

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 guide has been written by ITAA’s Web Content Committee and has not yet gone through a Conference Approval process, which our fellowship is in the process of developing.