Saturday, September 20, 2008

Addiction Awareness Means Freedom

I have had a variety of addictions in my life, most of which involved food. They appear periodically, then seem to run their course and then disappear. I have been addicted to certain types of sweet things like Swedish fish and Peppermint patties; salty crunchy things like Cheez-Its or Flipz (the half cracker/half pretzel); creamy things like smoothies and ice-cream sundaes. I'm sure these addictions appear at times when I am in need of emotional support. When the need for support is passed, the desire for these comfort foods passes as well.

I have also gone through addictions to television shows, Cd's, books by certain authors, and even articles of clothing. These addictions would distract me from something I wanted to avoid or just make me feel good in the moment.

I have never considered any of my addictions to food, television shows or articles of clothing to be very serious. I have never required treatment and never participated in anything that was bad for my overall health (although if I kept on my sundae addiction, that could have done me in).

I just discovered I have a serious addiction I was unaware I had until yesterday. Yes, it's true. I am a computer junkie.

My computer crashed and although I held out hope it would be an easy fix with the tech people talking me through a series of things to click on and make everything okay again, that did not happen. My worst nightmare of pulling out the wires and taking my tower to the computer hospital came true.

What I noticed when I returned home was it felt like a piece of me was missing. I noticed how automatically I would gravitate to the computer desk with an impulse to check to see if I have emails or to email someone else. I recognize much of my impulse was due to habit, yet I also realize how much of my life revolves around use of the computer.

I email daily for my business. There are tons of files on my hard drive that are vital for my business. I often rely on the computer to shop. I stay in touch with friends all over the world by email. I find recipes, get answers to questions and pay bills online.

It has been 24 hours and I am learning to cope. I am noticing I can overcome this addiction. The world has not imploded. My businesses still exist. My friends have not abandoned me. I am learning to accept what is around this issue.

Now that I am aware of how dependent I have been on my computer, when it returns home in a few days, I will be more awake and responsive to what need it is filling. Is it simply to make my life and work easier to manage, or am I using it as a means to make my life important? Do I use the computer to distract me from paying attention to things I'd prefer not to do, or am I using it to actually serve me?

What will probably be different for me is that I will practice more mindfulness when I am sitting in front of the monitor. I will practice remembering it is there to serve me, not me it. When I manage that....I will let go of this addiction and enjoy freedom.

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