If there was a 12-Step Program for Facebook addiction, I probably might have found myself in a meeting some night.
Hello, my name is Dawn. I’m a Facebookie. I’ve been on FB now for two years. At first, it was great…it was new, exciting, lots of fun…but then after a while, it started to take over my life…
I would look out at the rows of cold, flesh-colored folding chairs filled with others who struggle with this addiction and be met with knowing glances, slight nods, maybe even that far-off look one gets when reminiscing on something Back In The Day.
…I started finding myself on FB in the strangest of places, like the shower (I just had to reply to something RIGHT THEN, it couldn’t wait)…
Smiles, giggles, murmured sharing of their own Strange Places. A silent understanding of the urgency a FB post can have that can strike anywhere, anytime.
…It got to be that I couldn’t go anywhere without knowing I’d have the connection I needed to get my FB fix. My cell phone became permanently attached to me. And once I got that netbook…well, that was what pushed me over the edge really…
Dark clouds drift over the eyes watching me. They remember their own Edge. They remember what pushed them over. They despise me for reminding them.
…One day, I had a fleeting moment of lucidity. I realized that the reason every dish, glass, fork and pan in the house was dirty, the reason everyone was out of clean underwear, the reason every day got so far away from me was because of it. Because of Facebook.
A few tears now, as they go from despising me to empathizing with me. They have been there too. That’s why they were here this night in the church basement on those cold, hard flesh-colored folding chairs, surrounded by cement block walls doused in ecru…as if a fancy name for “whitish” would actually take away the institutional feel of those walls.
I decided to quit.
Applause. A few “yeah!'”-s. For a brief moment, I was someone they could admire. I had made that tough decision to quit.
Gasps. Heart-clutching. One poor lady began to shake uncontrollably. I had moved beyond Nobility and into the Land of Absurdity. What? Who does that? Who just quits FB cold turkey?
I’ll tell you who does that. Someone who realizes that time is an irreplaceable commodity that must be managed well if anything meaningful is to come out of its use. Someone who realizes that clean dishes and underwear, while part of the mundane, are vital to good health and comfort. They are part of the background on this set in which we play at life. Someone’s gotta do it…and unless you can pay someone to do it for you, YOU need to do it or delegate it properly.
Ok, so maybe I didn’t actually attend a Facebookies Anonymous meeting in a cold, cement block walled church basement with flickering fluorescent lights…but the thing about the dishes was true. And there was one day that my three year old didn’t have any unders, because mama was too busy on FB to do the laundry.
And so, as of January 1, 2012, I cut myself off of FB. And in this last month, my kitchen has been clean most of the time (debilitating FB addiction aside, housework and organization and time management have never come easy to me…), the laundry is caught up, and I am able to enter my Father’s rest on the Sabbath. It’s a wonderful thing.
But so is FB and the internet. They can both have a useful purpose. Morphine, after all, is very useful in treating excruciating pain. But with anything that has the potential to become a life-controlling addiction, the key is to use them responsibly. And so, as I return to the land of FB today, I do so with some rules:
- I will not start my day off on Facebook
- If the dishes are dirty, NO FACEBOOK
- If anyone is out of any kind of clothing, NO FACEBOOK
- If my husband needs my attention or assistance, NO FACEBOOK
- If my children need my attention or assistance, NO FACEBOOK
- And, most importantly, if I haven’t spent quality time with my God today, NO FACEBOOK
Now, if everything is in order…my worship and work are done…then I will allow myself a reasonable amount of time on Facebook. I suspect I will have to use a timer…because time really has a way of getting away from me. There is no Daytimer that can help me, trust me…
And if I find myself breaking the rules and my family comes to me hungry and naked as I sit at my computer completely absorbed in Facebook…I will have to cut myself off again, only the next time it probably ought to be permanently. Serving my Creator, my family and life in all it’s unpredictable bliss are far more important.
Really. I’m very sure of that. I think…be sure to watch my FB wall in case I change my mind (; And, if you see me on Facebook, don't be afraid to ask me if the dishes are done or if my family is running around naked.