header_piece

Personal Responsibility Online

I, like most people, have struggled in my life to create lasting change.  Realizing that most, if not all, circumstances in my life resulted from a series of choices, I ultimately learned to take responsibility, and thereby acquired a measure of control.  I was in my early thirties before I woke up.  Prior to that, I was a victim, blaming my family, friends, and employers for my lack of fulfillment.

I had great fortune to have a 30-year veteran of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in my corner.  He showered me with numerous AA aphorisms, but today, as I ponder this issue, one sticks out:  If you don’t have the life you want, start making changes because it’s not going to fall in your lap.

I thought about this line for weeks.  For reasons that are still not clear, it rattled around in me and would not go away.  Perhaps, after wasting a decade of my life in front of a computer screen, I was just ripe for change.  Those words peeled back layers of denial and self-deception and somehow shook me into awareness that I was the one who needed to change.  Blaming others for my unhappiness was getting me nowhere.  I realized for the first time that I was in charge of my own destiny.

As I scanned online today, I found an article that reminded me of the culture of blame we inhabit, in which shunting responsibility onto others has risen to the level of a high art form.  A Hawaii man filed a lawsuit, alleging that a video game publisher bears responsibility for the 20,000 hours he put in over four years on a game called Lineage II.  The man claims that the game should have come with a warning about its addictive potential.  While I will not weigh in on this man’s legal claims, I, too, could blame Sid Meier, Westwood Studios, and Microsoft for thousands of hours of computer-game bingeing.  Perhaps this man is correct:  these companies should put warning labels on their more addictive games.  I find it much more useful, however, to take responsibility for my own choices, and to get support when the urge to game hits me.  That’s the only way I have ever changed anything.

  • Please join me at Border’s Ann Arbor on September 8, 2010 at 7pm for a book talk and signing for Cyber Junkie:  Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap.

5 Responses to “Personal Responsibility Online”

  1. David Giwerc says:

    Hi Kevin,

    It takes a person with integrity to make honest and sincere choices. The choice to be responsible for your own life is one that many people do not choose. It is a powerful one that you are NOT taking for granted. The bottom line is that you can only control what you choose to think about and then act on those choices.

    There is no control over the outcome but there is the great feeling that you gave it your best shot because it is important to you. It is aligned with key values you hold close to your heart. I really want to acknowledge your transforming choice and the energy and courage it takes to stand by it.

    David

    • kevin says:

      Thank you David. I agree that it is about taking responsibility for my choices. Even intractable problems allow me a choice: I can choose my attitude and mindset regarding the problem.

  2. Kelly says:

    An entire book could be written about responsibility. I don’t have personal experience with addiction; when I quit smoking cigarettes 10 years ago, I quit in 1 week and never looked back. I do understand the feeling of wasted time however. After an 8 year illness, I went into unexplained remission. After my happy diagnosis I had to make a choice; dwell on all I missed out on the last 8 years or learn from that experience and move on, never look back. For the last 3 years each breath has been sweeter than before I got sick. My advice to your clients would be: take responsibility, make amends, and then never look back. Enjoy every day of their future as addiction free and closer to self-actulization.

Leave a Reply



Footer_Piece