I am an addict. I have a seemingly normal, yet fairly unhealthy relationship with something that tends to cause problems in my everyday life.
My drugs of choice? Facebook and Twitter. I strongly resisted all forms of social media until the fall of 2008. Once I gave in, though… it was all down hill. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being connected and I loved telling my story to the world. I finally had an audience to listen to the crazy things my kids do, affirm me when I rant, offer advice when I needed, and keep me company when I was bored or lonely.
Just like with other drugs (at least I think… I have never actually even tried drugs) my addiction deepened over time and started causing problems. In March I was trying to decide what to give up for Lent. I am not Catholic but have always tried to adopt some sort of Lenten discipline to help me to draw closer to God during the time between Ash Wednesday (the day after Mardi Gras) and Easter.
Most people give up chocolate or desserts or something frivolous. Not me- I go for the jugular- I give up something that is really haunting my character and relationship with God. One year I gave up gossip (the hardest thing I have ever done but has changed how I talk since). Another year I had the idea to give up complaining about my students and teaching in general… I ended that school year wonderfully!
This year, with much
encouragement groaning from Hubs, I decided to give up social media. My plan was to pray for my colleagues every time I had the urge to check Facebook or update my Twitter. For the 1st two weeks I felt like I was praying non stop. Good, right?
As the urge to find out what was “going on in the world” faded I realized I had replaced my addiction to social media with other things and had easily forgotten about the prayer part. I
filled my idle time wasted my time with other things like games on my phone, reading (not the Bible), watching trash television, and eating.
The longer Lent went on the more I lost track of my reasoning for my discipline. I realized that sacrificing something would get me nowhere if I didn’t have the self-control to do the hard part. Giving up Facebook was hard on the surface but praying for others was the true challenge. I stuck with the no social media aspect of my personal challenge but failed miserably at the part that was at the heart of sacrifice.
In the end, I am back (and as addicted as ever) online. I could probably be on the A&E show “Relapse” or something. What did I learn? I am not sure on that one. Probably that I need more accountability in my faith life and that I can easily replace one unhealthy addiction with another.
Getting rid of a bad habit is pretty hard. Creating a bad habit is really easy. Have you tried to quit something and in the end replaced it with something equally unhealthy or bad for you? Did you have a Lenten discipline this year? I would love to hear how it went.