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 mentally worked 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 a Facebook 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 wasn’t 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.
Have you ever done a Facebook fast? What discoveries did you make? Share your experience in the comments below.