Sunday, February 22, 2009

TAA: Television Addicts Anonymous

Everyone knows about AAA for alcoholics but have you ever heard of such an organization for television? 

Well I haven't, so I wanted to see if it existed and this is what I found. According to Wikipedia,  television addiction exists. Who would've thunk it?

Wikipedia's definition for television addiction is "a disorder where the subject has a compulsion to watch television." Ha! a disorder?! I speak for all television addicts across the world when i say my obsession with my shows is not a disorder which Wikipedia defines as a "functional abnormality or disturbance."

I like television. I like my shows. I admit I have an addiction but I do not view it as a problem. Some people choose to read books, I choose to watch television - what is so bad about that?

I was very disturbed when I found a Twelve-Step Program for TV Addicts. First of all, they refer to television as the "plug-in drug" - are they kidding?

This site is like the TAA: Television Addicts Anonymous for help against the "plug=in drug" ha! Second of all, their first step is to throw the television out. To me, that's like throwing a bible out - why would someone do that?

I know I can live without television but it's not hurting me so why would I want to? Maybe one day I'll be a member of that 12-step program but as for now- me and my television are going to live happily ever after.


  1. This is interesting, Melissa! I think posting things like this every once in a while in between your reviews of TV episodes will add significantly to your blog. Keep us updated on how you come along in your addiction!

  2. I was searching around about TV addiction and thats how I came across this blog posting. I too am addicted to TV but for me it is a problem. I used to share your view on the matter until it started disrupting my daily life. I can sit in front of the tv for over 6 hours and constantly tell myself that I'll turn it off after the show I'm watching is done, but that rarely happens. I put off important responsibilities and instead keep myself glued to alot of mindless entertainment. I try telling myself that I'll just watch a little while I have coffee and breakfast, then 4 hours later the tube is still on. I feel embarassed when people see me sitting there all day long, when my boyfriend starting telling me that it was a turn off I would become extremely defensive, even when I try to do other things to occupy my time I often turn on the tv in the background, get distracted and stop my project, my social life has become practically non-existant and I find myself watching things I have no interest in and constantly flipping through channels at every commercial break. For me it has become a problem, and I've made attempts to even cut back a little at a time, but I always go back. As I am writing this I feel like such a loser because it doesn't seem that it should be that hard to just not watch tv. From my point of view you're not an addict, you just really enjoy watching tv. I wouldn't go as far as to say that its a disorder, but if it continually interrupts your daily life and relationships its definitely a problem.

    1. Yes, TV addiction is a thing. I am a TV addict and have been since I was nine. Physiologist say it effects the brain in some ways similar to alcohol or something like that.

      Like any thing you can do it functionally and, "experts" say, if it gets in the way of other aspects of your life you are an addict. The "12 steps" that you have a link to is very controlling and a little abusive, it might work of a mild addict but...

      12 step programs, based on the AA steps, have been so successful for addicts that have been given an expiration date by doctors, hopeless, incurable addicts that have tried everything and can't stop, the 12 steps got a lot of good press. Now people say "My '12 step' program," like 12 is some kind of magic number and people get confused what the 12 steps really are. Father McCloskey's steps are not going to work for a real addict, it's not something you can control, they can only grow so you can live without it and not give into the cravings.

      I have recently realized, I am a real TV addict; I can not watch it like a normal person, tried rules and tricks and have quit completely six times, up to a year and a half. When I think "I'm better now what wrong with one show," but one starts the craving, and it will never feel like enough.

      It's not evil or good it's a thing, their is a lot of informative shows, well told and artfully put together human story's; if you like it grate if you don't same to you. If you can watch like a healthy person that is fine.

      I don't know the exact definition of "disorder" but what have disses and I intend to never to never turn on the TV again.
      For those of you who will watch may I recommend: "Burn Notice", "Grimm", "The Daily Show: With John Stewart", "Bones", "Merlin"(If you can get over the fact that it's very loosely bast on Arthurian myth.), "Family Guy", "Futurama","American Dad", almost every Sci-Fy original TV show except "Stargate: Universe" and the Last season of "SG-1"(the original movies you need to love it campy their all too much for me), "True Blood", "Unbeatable Banzuke", "Jeopardy", "Wipe Out", "Super Natural", "Star Trek"(original,T.N.G.and Enterprise the other two not so much), (If you like philosophy and are OK with Christianity you might like)"G.K. Chesterton" on EWTN, "BBC World NEWS GMT" and "Simpsons" that the A-list I'm not going into the B and so on.

  3. I am a TV addict, at first I thought it was just for the fun of it, to pass the time, but now unless I am following a show, I can't get through the day, it is all i think about and I have no social life, I don't even want to leave my room and it is ruining my life, but I can't stop !!!!!!

  4. There are millions of TV addicts out there. You are not the only ones! There should be a 12 step group. Who is going to start one?

    1. I've always loved TV. It wasn't until very recently I realized it has been an overwhelming seriously crippling addiction, keeping me from working and building a social life. I have been in dangerous living situations that I've barely gotten out of because of a lack of effort, because of this addiction. It contributed to me dropping out of college. There's nothing wrong with this as a hobby, even if it's excessive, because it's not dangerous (in and of itself) like substance abuse. But for me, just turning it sucks me in and can start a spiral of being glued day after day, all day, even though I want to do other things and have a life.

  5. This is real! If the power or the cable goes out so do I. 24 hrs. a day, when I fall asleep and an infomercial comes on, wake and change it to the news or sports center. I can't live without it. I'm not sure how 12 step works in this situation, but I'm willing to try! I Love Lucy is on!

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  7. I am also a TV addict. I barely graduated college because of my addiction, my addiction to it destroyed my best and longest romantic relationship, it makes me not want to do anything, and I have felt best, done what I want, been productive, when I do not watch it.

  8. I am also a TV addict, and am a recovering alcoholic working the program. We have an "Is AA For You?" pamphlet and it's brilliant. I adjusted it to address a television addiction and I hopes it helps those with that addiction and any others:

    Answer YES or NO to the following questions.

    1. Have you ever decided to stop watching television for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
    Most of us TV addicts made all kinds of promises to ourselves and to our families. We could not keep them. Then we came to TV.A.A. TV.A.A. said: "Just try not to watch TV today." (If you do not watch TV today, you won’t be wasting precious time.)

    2. Do you wish people would mind their own business about your watching television-- stop telling you what to do?
    TV addicts we do not tell anyone to do anything. We just talk about our own watching television, the trouble we got into, and how we stopped. We will be glad to help you, if you want us to.

    3. Have you ever switched from one kind of watching TV to another in the hope that this would keep you from wasting precious time?
    We tried all kinds of ways. We only watched educational programs. Or just watched the news. Or only watched TV on weekends. You name it, we tried it. But if we watched TV at all, we usually watched TV for extended periods eventually.

    4. Do you have to have a morning fix of TV before leaving for work?
    Do you need a watch TV to get started with your day? This is a pretty sure sign that you are not watching television responsibly.

    5. Do you envy people who can watch TV for an hour or less and then turn it off?
    At one time or another, most of us have wondered why we were not like most people, who really can take it or leave it.

    6. Have you had problems connected with watching television during the past year?
    Be honest! If you have a problem with TV and keep on watching it for hours upon hours, it will get worse -- never better. Eventually, you will end up wasting years of your life. The only hope is to stop watching television.

    7. Has your watching television caused trouble at home?
    Before we came into TV.A.A., most of us said that it was the people or problems at home that made us watch TV. We could not see that our watching television just made everything worse. It never solved problems anywhere or anytime.

    8. Do you ever try to get "extra" time watching TV at a party or when you are out in public because you do not get enough?
    Most of us used to get our TV fix before we started out if we thought it was going to be that kind of outing, where we would not be able to watch TV.

    9. Do you tell yourself you can stop watching television any time you want to, even though you keep watching television when you don't mean to?
    Many of us kidded ourselves into thinking that we watched TV because we wanted to. After we came into TV.A.A., we found out that once we started to watch TV, we couldn't stop.

    10. Have you missed work, school or socializing because of watching television?
    Many of us admit now that we have arranged our schedules around our favorite TV programs. We would turn off our phone, or not answer our doors when that program was on. We would check the TV schedule before saying “yes” to social invitations (before the days of the VCR/DVR and TV-on-demand) because it would have interfered with our television watching.

    11. Do you have "blackouts"?
    A "blackout" is when we have been watching television hours and at the end of the day or the next day, we cannot even remember what we’ve watched. When we came to TV. A.A., we found out that this is a pretty sure sign of an addiction to watching television.

    12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not watch TV?
    Many of us started to watch TV because watching television made life seem better, at least for a while. By the time we got into TV.A.A., we felt trapped. We were watching television to live and living to watch TV. We were sick and tired of being a slave to the TV.

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