Wednesday, January 16, 2019

This is Just a Phase II: Overcoming Facebook and Social Media Addiction

This post is based on a post that was written in 2012, "This is just a phase."

They see him walking down the street.  Tonight he's sober.  He said he would never drink again.  Oh, they know how that would go.  He said he'd never tip back the bottle again.  He's back on the wagon, and he's telling the whole world.  He's telling them again.

His mind is clearer than before.  Life, it seems, is looking up.  He's excited about all that life has to offer.  The day seems brighter than the days past.  There are new horizons ahead of him.  There is a  spring in his step.  A grin on his face.  The book of his life is going to change.  The pages are just about to turn for the better.  The ending will be different than expected.

This is just a phase they say.  It's just a phase.

They know he's going to go back to the bottle.  Just wait!  Life will not always be roses and rainbows.  Something will happen.  He will go back.  Oh yes.  He will fall.  Everyone is just waiting for it.  They see that smile.  They see that hope in his eye, and they all want his world to crash down again.

This story may sound familiar to you.  It's the story of many people who have battled addiction.  They try and try, but the world just sits back and waits for them to fail and fail hard.  There's nothing right about it, but that's how life is sometimes.  Quitting any addiction is a struggle.  It's enough of a struggle without people waiting for a spectacular crash.

There are people who just know you will go back to being a heavy user of (a)social media.  There are people who just know that you do not have the willpower to quit something for good.  I said it before, the world doesn't look so kindly on a person with a drug or alcohol addiction, but to a person with an addiction to (a)social media, such as Facebook, the world wonders if there is something wrong with you if you are not hooked into the system.  Facebook is not seen as something that one should take a step away from.  "Why would you not want to keep in touch with your friends?"  It almost seems as if there is something wrong with you.

"It's just a phase," they say.  He'll be back.  The longer you are away, the more worry creeps up.  He's no longer counting days sober, but months.  He'll be sober for a year soon.  The sun keeps rising and not a drop of alcohol touches his tongue.  People look at him differently now, but those closest to him, they wait, almost holding their breath, for the day that he takes another drink and falls off the wagon.  For some, being proven right would be a greater thing than the life that has been changed in a positive way.  
Oftentimes the moves we make in life are looked on with close scrutiny by family and friends.  The closer you are to someone the closer the scrutiny.  When you hit that deactivate button and see that list of people who will "miss you", you may realize that they are not just "missing you", but that they are breathing down your neck saying "you need to come back to Facebook." 
This is just a phase.  It's just a phase.  Saying it makes them feel good.  It's just a phase!  Oh, how they want it to stop.  A change from the familiar is just terrifying!!! 

Years have passed.  He never went back to the bottle.  He is clean.  He relapsed before, again and again, but he never gave up.  He kept saying he would one day be sober, and the world stopped believing him.  But he never once stopped believing in himself.  And although years have passed, there are some who refuse to remember him as anything but the town drunk.  And there are some who still wait for that day, that day when he must fall again.
Yes, others may think that this is just a phase.  They may hope it is.  Sometimes when a person does well for themselves people get jealous.  On Facebook, people try to show that they are doing well, when in reality, many are stagnating.  If you are typing how great you are doing, chances are you are not doing anything.  You can only do something when you are not glued to (a)social networking.  Once you show people that this is not just a phase, their perception of you may start to change.  They may realize that you have the mental strength that few possess that allows you to back off that which 'everyone else' is doing.  In fact, they may even be a bit jealous.
There comes a day when a person just knows that the change in their life is permanent.  They stop talking about it because it just is.  They no longer have to say "I will never do something again."  They just act and the world takes notice.  Real change happens.  There are many people who leave Facebook and make a huge show of it.  It's like a grand parade plays as they leave.  "I WILL NEVER BE BACK!  DEACTIVATING!" they cry.  Thousands of friends swoop down like vultures to beg for the person to stay.  "I have your back sister, oh I know that if you leave you are going to have trouble keeping in touch with your dying father!"

"You live so far away, across the ocean, and your grandparents only keep in touch with you on Facebook.  If you leave now you might as well say your goodbyes to them."

"We are going to miss your posts so much.  Seeing those pictures were the main reason that I logged onto Facebook.  Without you, it's going to be so boring."  (Yet they will not leave).  

"Facebook needs good soldiers like you to spread the conservative message as the House has been taken over by the Democrats."

"Your jokes helped lower Tedd's high blood pressure."

"I'm going to miss, and I do mean miss, those pictures of Fluffy.  Please.  Oh please, I beg you with every fiber in my being, please please please do not go!"

It's almost as if that leaving post has made them feel good enough, loved enough, that they don't need to go. And they stay.  I have known individuals like this.  They take many vacations from the site, but that need to come back so they can one day leave again is too strong.

Why announce it?  Just go.  Hit deactivate and don't look back.  Just push the button.  There's no need to say a word.  Some will notice.  Those who are closest to you will notice.

Some may think that you are somehow better than thou for leaving.  You gave something up that isn't really seen as being bad, but deep down inside, they see a different you.  You're differnet now.  You spend more time living life.  You don't share it all, but they know you are out there living.  You seem smarter, healthier, more radiant, and composed.  You are accomplishing things in the world, and those accomplishments have a way of getting around without having to be yelled about on Facebook.  And if nobody ever knows about them, so what?  You know, and they have made your life better.  They have made life that much more valuable.

I wish, I really wish that when you left Facebook, a window popped up, after being told how much all your friends are going to miss you, and I wish it said, "Welcome to a new world, son."  That's the message that anyone who leaves an addiction behind should be given.

"Welcome to a new world."

What does your world look like?  Are you swimming in the pools of fantasy, with the thought that maybe one day you will leave?  What's holding you back?  Is it what others will think?  Is it grandma?  Your sister?  Is it your ex-boyfriend?  Is it maybe a fear of success?  Or of the unknown?  Did you give up and go back?  Or perhaps you didn't go back and you are riding the tide of a better life?  Are you in the new world of life post-Facebook?  Or, are you thinking that the new world maybe is something you're not used to?  Share your thoughts in the comments, please.  And, share this site to the world.  It's now.  The other domain name was taken.  We need to get the word out about this website!  Share it to everyone you can.  There's a whole lot of Facebook addiction in the world.  The word MUST get out!  Thank you for reading!

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