Monday, December 28, 2009

phase book

“Hi, I’m booklady and I have an addictive personality,” she drawls, standing up, addressing the circular group.

“Hi booklady,” the group choruses back at her.

Okay. It could be a joke. We certainly use it as a joke around our house whenever we want to laugh at one of our weaknesses.

Or it could be for real.

For many throughout the world, addictions are no laughing matter. They are real and they destroy lives ... homes, marriages, families, schools, and even entire towns.

If we laugh at them it is only because we need to keep from crying—because once we start, we may not be able to stop.

I do have an addictive personality.

Twenty-four years ago I quit smoking. I called it a Christmas gift for my husband the first year we were married. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done up until then.

I continue to struggle with addictions—and addictive-like behavior—in other areas of my life including eating, spending money, relationships, even exercise.

Recently however, I decided to give up facebook. Why? Because I liked it too much. It was wonderful, mindless escapism: collecting “friends”; “visiting” them; building cute little farms; setting up aquariums and towns; playing games; trading Christmas decorations and buddy hugs; sending cards and “hearts”, smiles and saints, chattering, chattering, on and on and and . . .

Woa! Wait a minute! I found myself slipping deeper and deeper into the delightful and colorful little world of iconography that is the spell of facebook … and I suppose other similar computer and technical other-worlds for those of us who find it hard to separate fantasy from reality.

I remembered the old-fashioned method for losing weight: doing push-outs. Push yourself out and away from the table. I’m sure there are many less drastic ways to remain ‘faced-in’ –even for addictive-types like me—but I decided I could live without facebook. What I didn’t know was how I could go on living with it.

One dear friend called me fifteen minutes after I closed my account to discover what had happened. I assured her that I hadn’t been phished or received a virus. Nothing bad had happened to me or my computer; I’d just decided to quit. She understood immediately; she’s that kind of friend.

A week later, my own family hadn’t even noticed I’d quit, nor that I was hardly ever on my computer anymore. (sigh) But then my dear husband didn’t notice when I gave up smoking either.

Well never mind.

We don’t do the right thing for the recognition. We do the right thing because it is the right thing.

That’s my story ... my phase book. Now I'll sit down.

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