A: First, let me acknowledge that you have recognized this important issue as a problem, as opposed to rationalizing and ignoring the negative feelings and guilt it appears to be producing. You are on your way to addressing it.
This may be more than a question of poor behavioral choices. It may, in fact, be a sign of more complex issues that should be addressed with a qualified psychologist before it causes even more difficulty in your life. So, please seek professional assistance.
In the meantime, there are some practical steps you might consider to control the behavior. Some of these may seem familiar, since they are the types of strategies we use to keep kids safe on the Internet.
- Set the content controls on your computer to block the sites that are causing you difficulty. While I realize you could simply undo these, blocking them will add one extra step between you and an impulsive decision in a moment of weakness.
- Cancel all subscriptions and accounts that allow you access to these types of interactions.
- Place the desktop computer in a public place, and keep your laptop in plain view in a family area. This makes secrecy a little tougher.
- Track your “at risk” times and schedule other activities during those times.
- Start limiting recreational screen time – use the computer for necessary work and nothing else until you get control of this issue.
Another thing to consider is how your current alcohol support network or program might be useful to you. If you are in a 12-step program or other recovery group, the same principles you use to promote your abstinence from alcohol may apply here. In fact, by throwing yourself more fully into recovery and service, you may find some answers to the problems that are common to your alcoholism and other issues.