Internet rehab center opens to serve clueless, rich parents

internet addictionHave you missed appointments because you were on the Internet? Have you suddenly realized hours have passed by while your browsed, and you have no idea where they went? Do you hide your Internet use from others? Do you get nervous every time you pass out of Wifi range? Then you may have a problem.

Luckily (?), the reStart Internet Addiction Recovery Program might have an answer -- a 12-step answer.

The Heavensfield Retreat Center offers a 45-day program for those with gaming and/or addictions to Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and all the magical terrible time-sucks lurking to prey on you.

The retreat is on a lovely property with Inn-like accommodations in Fall City, Washington (no credit for perceiving the irony in the excellent quality of the clinic's web site.) Clients (patients?) work with a trained, licensed therapist and a recreation coach, as well as other professionals as needed. I think a thumb masseuse would be a good touch.

In sharp contract to the internet user's conviction that the proper price for everything is free, reTreat weans out the middle class by charging $14,500, plus other fees, for the 45-day stay. At the end of the stay, patients are encouraged to go home and join or start a support group under the umbrella of an organization such as Online Gamers Anonymous.

No organized aftercare is extended by the mother ship, apparently, so why not start with OGA and bypass the $15K solution altogether?

Frankly, I'm underwhelmed at the offer: 15 large for one therapist and one personal trainer, room and board for six weeks seems like a lot of money. With that amount I could buy a great desktop computer, and a laptop, and an iPhone, and a Blackberry, and even a satellite phone and still have enough left over to plant my own server farm.

If you seriously think you might have a problem with Internet addiction, I have another program to suggest. It's called the Appalachian Trail, and there you can escape from the poison of the Internet for three months or more. The accommodations are unparalleled, and you won't need a personal trainer.

I really can't imagine who could be so addicted to the Internet that they would allow it to take over their life. If you have a story to share, however, send it along. I'll be sitting at my computer waiting for it, 24/7/365.Thanks, Inventorspot

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