From Pine View Farm

Give Me a Break: Phony Addiction Dept. 2

Good grief!

A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming he is an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.

James Pacenza, 58, of Montgomery, says he visits chat rooms to treat traumatic stress incurred in 1969 when he saw his best friend killed during an Army patrol in Vietnam.

It’s not that I don’t believe that addiction is a real thing. Heck, I smoke. I know addiction is real. But a significant element of addiction is the existance of physical withdrawal symptoms.

I fail to see how someone could suffer significant physical withdrawal symptoms from simply confining the surfing of adult websites to non-work hours.

And I’m pretty sick and tired, as my mother would have said, of every habitual bad behavior being labelled as an “addiction.”

During the time my marriage was crashing on the rocks, I spent some time in online support groups for persons having the sort of marital difficulties I was having (and, surprisingly enough, I got good support and made some good friends). There was a regular parade of spouses, usually wives, saying that their others suffered from “sexual addiction.”

Horse-hockey. There may be some kind of disorder there (probably narcissitic personality disorder), but let’s not blame it on sex or on addiction.

There’s a big difference between “I can’t stop” and “I don’t want to stop.”

But it’s a growth market for therapists, so no doubt we shall see more “addictions” on the list.



  1. Karen

    February 19, 2007 at 8:20 am

    This is another case of a ready made excuse for bad behavior, & some sleazy attorney who goes with it, looking for a big payday. This (or something like this) will probably made the “This is True” lists, or the “Stella Awards” list.

    I too, know addictions. I grew up in a household of alcoholics and smokers. Druggies, too. The only addiction I came away with is the smoking.

    This guy just doesn’t want to live in the ‘real world’ & has an excuse.

    On the technical side, I’m surprised that the company conputers would allow the downloading of a chat software. I worked for a company that had that type of download blocked.

  2. Frank

    February 21, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    I agree about the attorneys.

    Back in my railroad days, I saw many suits filed simply because the attorney thought the company would settle because it was cheaper than fighting. Once the company caught on to this and started fighting, rather than settling, lots of those suits went away.

    As for company’s blocking stuff, that’s another story. Checkpoint blocked some sites–mainly gamer sites–based on some algorithms, but they allowed chat software. My girlfriend’s company uses some kinds of filters that block lots of innocent stuff, as well as bad stuff.

    My own belief is that it’s better to block nothing and punish the wrong-doers than it is to block lots of stuff and, more than likely, cut people off from resources they can use. But, face it, a lot of companies (that is, bosses) don’t have the stomach for punishing the wrong-doers, so they punish everyone else in advance.