My name is Dan and I’m an addict

I am a Facebook junky, and here’s my story.

Social networking begins much like social drinking, social gambling, or social anything else. Only it’s easier. And cheaper. And so when I began to use Facebook to keep up with my friends who were also using social networking in this way, I found it an easy way to gather information on an entire gamut of things. Some things were of little interest, yet mildly amusing. Other things I could chuckle at LOL….or smile or feel whatever at    ………and, before long, I was commenting, sharing, and posting on a somewhat regular basis. Over time, I found myself using more Facebook. Not only at the end of the day, but in the middle. Then in the beginning of the day. And to not have access at times during the day or through an entire day and night began to irritate me. I felt a sense of unease, or disease, knowing I did not have my Facebook fix when I wanted it.

Then I knew it. I was hooked. All I needed was to just get on line for a while and get “caught up” on my “personal” stuff that would be about me. And, when that would happen, I’d check out the new posts I hadn’t seen yet about others; just enough to know what my friends were thinking. And then what their friends were thinking.  And then one more. And just one more. And another. And I’ve lost count. And maybe I’ll quit after this one. And then it was no longer social but personal networking. I would tune out the memes I didn’t resonate with personally. I would look for those validating my own opinions. I would seek out my own echo chamber. I would share what made me feel good. I would get high on what others liked of my own shares, and not so much what I liked of others’ shares.

So here I am today, amidst my own daily prayer journal where each morning I write out my honest thoughts and feelings with the God of my own understanding, only to fight yet again this twinge within me to hurry up and finish so I can check Facebook before going on with my morning. Coffee always comes first and even God knows and accepts that. But Facebook? Really? Ahead of God? Ahead of prayer? Honestly, yes, for me most mornings.

Then why am I writing this?

For starters, I’m doing it for myself. I have to help myself in this way. I have to be honest first with myself and then be honest with you.   As a therapist over these last 40 years, I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of addicts. They come in all sizes, sexes, races, classes and creeds. I know what they look like.

And that’s what I look like.

An addict looks like any other human being. And like God, in whose image we are all made. We are all three in one.  We are all Trinitarian in the same way, but only God’s Trinity is Holy.   We all have a body that drives us, a soul that draws us, and a mind in between that chooses what to believe and how to behave. The human mind operates from within the body and the soul operates from within the mind. God’s Holy Spirit, as I’ve learned to understand it, operates from within the soul. But the body serves as a catalyst of information for the mind’s decisions and choices, shouting out its instructions much as a child cries out to its parents. The mind of an addict hears what the body craves in words ending with “I need it.” Truth is that “I want it,” but the mind can be fooled into believing the lie just as a parent can be fooled into believing the child’s cry. “I have to” demands what “I want to” only desires. When the mind hears a demand, it goes into stress mode and by means of fight or flight takes action. The mind of an addict takes the same action in response to a desire as it does to a demand, because it fails to note the difference. It believes the body’s lie, the craving, the cry of “I need it” or “I have to.”

And that’s what I look like when it comes to Facebook.

Yes, that’s what many people look like when it comes to today’s social media. Amidst this “information age” in which we live, our bodies easily learn to crave information as a “have to” that shouts, or cries like a baby, where only a “want to” speaks in normal voice. Informational addiction feels like a demand when it is only a desire, a “need” when it is only a “want.” Social information becomes a drive. The drive becomes a stressor with a life of its own to account for. And the stress becomes like a toxin in the body, and in the mind.

And that’s what many of us today look like when it comes to Facebook.

So today I will detox. My mind will stay off Facebook except to post this blog I now write as my most important share of the day, my one and only “have to.” I will want to stay on FB long enough to check out the day’s full load of information, “just one” after another after another. But my mind has chosen to detox and de-stress in this way today. Jump on line.  Post this.  Jump off.

Why? Better yet, how?

I’m in recovery. Recovery mode is where the soul comes in. And the God of one’s understanding that is present within the soul within the mind within the body. The God who draws us when the body and our world around it drives us. The God who speaks truth as counter-information by which the mind is empowered to see better options and to choose healthier consequences. The God who re-minds me to understand the “I need, must, or have to” of my Facebook/Information craving as the addictive dis-ease that it is. Nothing more. Nothing less. It is only an addiction. It is only a secret. It is only a stressful toxin. I am a treatable addict. I can choose to detox one day at a time. And I can live long into recovery if I’m willing to share my truth with others, one person at a time.

That, if you are still reading this, is where you come in.

I’m Dan and I’m an addict.

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2 thoughts on “My name is Dan and I’m an addict

  1. johnthemiller says:

    I know you won’t read this for a bit since you’re detoxing, but thanks for this. I may need to break the social media addiction too 😬 My drug of choice is Twitter right now.

    Do you have a process?
    Is there a certain amount of time you’re allowed on media or is it a cold turkey fast?

    Can’t wait to read more!

    • Hey John. Sorry for the 6 month delay in getting back to you. Not sure where you are at with your twitter account right now. I still struggle with my facebook addiction. I go one day at a time whenever I can. Sometimes I may go half-day at a time, or hour at a time. Mostly in my mind I try using self-talk like “I want to but I don’t need or have to check fb” and re-mind myself I can be happy even if I don’t do or get everything I want. Seems to work for me most times.

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