Hello, my name is Aimee, and I am a Facebook addict. Over the past six months, in an attempt to get my addiction under control, I have taken two, month-long hiatuses from Facebook (by deactivating my account). In doing so, I made some startling discoveries.
- How often I was formulating Facebook posts in my head for the everyday happenings in my life. I caught myself in the kitchen that first day, conjuring up a pithy post about the meal I was preparing. Later, I had a conflict with one of my children and was working on a Facebook vent. When I finally realized what I was doing, I found it both amusing and disturbing. Was this really how I thought about my life- like a series of Facebook posts? Pretty pathetic . . .and telling.
- How often I picked up my phone to scroll through Facebook. This alarmed me. I literally couldn’t cross the room without checking my phone. When I did, I found myself perplexed, because there was nothing to look at. The reality that I was checking Facebook that often throughout my day was a real eye-opener. It took two weeks for me to stop randomly picking up my phone every two minutes. Even then, I had to tell myself to just “walk on by.” The truth was, I had no reason to look at my phone more than a few times per day.
- They say it takes 28 days to form a habit, so I was dismayed to discover how quickly I resorted to my old, addictive ways within just one day of returning to Facebook, even after a month’s absence. That is why I call myself an addict. For the alcoholic, there is no going back. He can’t just have one drink socially because his body and mind are wired for addiction to alcohol. Twice now, I have deactivated my Facebook account and both times, upon reactivating, I have returned to my scrolling habits in full force. I’m still trying to figure out how I can manage my addiction so that I don’t have to give it up altogether.
- How much I missed the “friendship” Facebook offers. I don’t have a lot of recreational time available as the mother of five, but I am an outgoing person, so Facebook is how I stay social: it’s where I can hang out with my friends any time, and keep encouraged and accountable through the great writer’s group I belong to. When I was not on Facebook, I admit I felt lonely. I missed those daily interactions. However, I did make time to see a couple of friends in person, which is much more valuable than exchanging comments on a post. This was made possible because of . . .
- How much more time I had when I was not constantly reading articles and scrolling through the same news feed items multiple times per day. All of a sudden, I wasn’t “too busy” to play a game with my kids or read to them, to get the housework and office work done, to write or read a book. Just those “few” minutes of diversion, several times each day, were robbing me of the joy of living my life.
Currently, I am back on Facebook, and I’m still struggling to find balance and self-control. If it weren’t for this blog (Facebook is crucial to promoting posts and staying connected to my readers) and the loneliness I experienced when I wasn’t on Facebook, I might just give it up for good.
What about you? Have you ever done a Facebook fast? What discoveries did you make? Are you a Facebook addict, too?