Conquering Computer Addiction, an ADD StoryMay 24th, 2012 by admin
When I met Jesse, he was desperate.
His lucrative position at a prominent financial firm was in trouble. He had received his third failed performance review. Months of missed deadlines, poor planning, and humiliating situations when he was caught underprepared, often because he had ignored directions, had finally caught up with him. His promising projects were dead in the water. As a final ultimatum, he was given a month to demonstrate his commitment to the company or he would be fired.
Surfing to Disaster
The bad habit that derailed Jesse almost to the point of unemployment was something that may or may not surprise you: surfing the Internet. As a man in his thirties with adult ADD, Jesse had neglected the treatment plan of medication and behavioral exercises which helped him succeed in college. With his defenses down, the allure of the World Wide Web was able to prey on Jesse’s poor impulse control and thirst for constant stimulation. Hours of the workday would slip by as Jesse played games, read blogs and articles, and simply goofed off online. And as a result, his superiors cracked down on him for his lack of productivity and the irresponsible choices which put the whole department in a bad light.
The Exception to the Rule
Typically, ADD coaching is not an immediate, on-the-spot solution, especially with a tight deadline and do-or-die consequences looming. But this was not the typical scenario – and Jesse was not the typical client. He was ready to face the music and work hard to achieve results, fast. I couldn’t help but admire his spirit. We rolled up our sleeves and went to work. Bringing in a psychiatrist, we put him back on the medication that he had found beneficial as a student. We chose behavioral aspects of the treatment plan that would best accommodate his out-of-control internet use, including focus tricks and impulse control strategies. One indispensable tool was a computer log, forcing Jesse to stay honest about his computer use, minute-by-minute. We also incorporated an exercise routine, daily meditation, and scheduling tactics that worked for him. After four intensive sessions, we outlined his vision for getting back on track and productive at work, created a plan, and prepared a presentation for his boss.
Jesse walked into his boss’s office and laid out his goals, with his heartfelt testimony that he wanted to fight for his place at the firm. He said, “I promise you I will fulfill these goals or you can fire me.” Everyone involved couldn’t help but be impressed by his guts, including Jesse’s boss. He agreed to the experiment. Jesse had put himself on the line and it paid off. Such is the potential of the human spirit we all have within us, but not all of us find it and use it.
Hard Work Pays Off
I worked closely with Jesse during this trial period, cheering him on as he demonstrated to his boss and coworkers that he deserved to be there. With his new treatment plan, Jesse quickly felt the difference in his ability to stay focused and experienced fewer and fewer “distraction episodes.” At the end of the month, Jesse’s boss was impressed by his fast progress and inspiring attitude. Jesse was able to stay on at the firm, and with a little restructuring, he joined a team that offered more support and interaction, a great complement to his new ADD treatment regimen.
Jesse learned a lot from this experience, not the least of which was a belief and confidence in himself he never knew he could have. With his web use under control and more calm and focus in his life, I believe Jesse now has a better future ahead of him. He is able to bring the best parts of his ADD to work with him every day: his determination, energy, and creativity. I learned a lot from Jesse, too. He showed humility and maturity when he acknowledged his mistakes and asked for help, and I was impressed every day by his perseverance in the face of adversity.
He believed in himself, and turned an impossible situation into a happy ending.
I know that the same will to thrive is inside all of my clients, if only they will tap into it. That’s the best part of ADD coaching – especially when there’s no four-week deadline.