I've clearly won the battle against internet addiction, at least if my recent run of posting here is any indication (let's pretend it actually is and I don't spend hundreds of hours watching sovereign citizen and weightlifting battle videos). Not everyone is winning this battle over themselves, however. As evidenced by the legions of millennial human derelicts mercilessly bashing the candle in church parking lots with the aid of a tiny glowing screen, we've still got big problems. Fortunately expensive and humiliating "rehab" has been developed and we should soon see the end of electronic onanism in much the same way as the drug "fad" was completely defeated last decade.
By the time Marshall Carpenter’s father broke down the barricaded door of his son’s apartment and physically ripped him away from his electronic devices, the 25-year-old was in a bad way.
"I'm coming son!" *kicks in door* Here's the product of my loins, covered in Mountain Dew and other far less wholesome fluids, entering hour 79 of a Wikipedia editing marathon.
“I was playing video games 14 or 15 hours a day, I had Netflix on a loop in the background, and any time there was the tiniest break in any of that, I would be playing a game on my phone or sending lonely texts to ex-girlfriends,” Carpenter says.
Horny as hell here, please send help. Well, back to pretending to be an elf. Here, let me turn on the Republican villain fantasy hour. Hey, flappy birds! Then it all collapsed, believe it or not.
We are sitting in a small, plain apartment in a nondescript condo complex in Redmond, Washington, on the outskirts of Seattle. Marshall shares the apartment with other men in their 20s, all of whom have recently emerged from a unique internet addiction rehab program called reSTART Life.
A program of physical culture, speaking only when spoken to, constant ridicule, wall-scaling and making sure the first and last words out of your sewer are "sir" should turn around the Generation with No Chest and get them back to serving proudly as important barcodes within the corporate grid.
“I was basically living on Dr Pepper, which is packed with caffeine and sugar."
Just in case you got confused by the name and thought it was a healthy prescription supplement, I guess.
"I would get weak from not eating but I would only notice it when I got so shaky I stopped being able to think and play well,” he adds.
All those "Game Overs" and "Restart from last checkpoint" were actually trying to warn me that I was slowly killing myself.
His new friends Charlie and Peter nod sagely. Charlie Bracke, 28, was suicidal and had lost his job when he realized his online gaming was totally out of control. He can’t remember a time in his life before he was not playing video games of some kind: he reckons he began when he was about four and was addicted by the age of nine.
The first game of Miss Pac-Man is free. Then see who comes back for more. Then I start charging.
For Peter, 31, who preferred to withhold his last name, the low came when he had been homeless for six months and was living in his car.
Time to plug the computer into the lighter port and keep on saving those fantasy worlds.
“I would stay in church parking lots and put sunshades up on the windows and spend all day in my car on my tablet device,” he says. He was addicted to internet porn, masturbating six to 10 times a day, to the point where he was bleeding but would continue.
What the hell? Yuck.
When he wasn’t doing that, he was so immersed in the fantasy battle game World of Warcraft that in his mind, he was no longer a person sitting at a screen, but an avatar: the bold dwarvish hero Tarokalas, “shooting guns and assassinating the enemy” as he ran through a Tolkien-esque virtual realm.
This subscription vidiot game is just like a complex and heavily layered Christian allegory. Welp, time to bash the bishop for the tenth time today.
And when he wasn’t doing that, he would read online news reports obsessively and exercise his political opinions and a hair-trigger temper in the comment section of The Economist, projecting himself pseudonymously as a swaggering blogger-cum-troll.
Maybe "cum-troll" wasn't the best word choice in light of some other details we were given.
“I was a virgin until I was 29. Then I had sex with a lap dancer at a strip club. That’s something I never thought I would do,” he says.
This is actually marginally less pathetic than the rest of your story, but who am I to decide what your own personal rock bottom is.
After completing the initial $25,000, 45-day residential stage at the main “campus” a few miles away, clients move into the cheaper, off-site secondary phase.
How a guy that was homeless and had destroyed his own genitals via the solitary vice was able to afford this remains a mystery. Special government scholarship programs?
Here they get to share a normal apartment, on the condition that they continue with psychotherapy, attend Alcoholics Anonymous-style 12-step meetings, search for work and avoid the internet for a minimum of six months.
You're not allowed on the internet. Good luck with your job search.
Mostly they carry only flip phones and have to go to the library when they want to check email.
Think of it as technological methadone.
“I’m taking my life in six-month chunks at this stage. So far I haven’t relapsed into gaming and I’m feeling optimistic,” says Bracke.
Take it six months all at once, great advice for any addict.