I Need a Break

Stop

I’m an addict. I have an addict’s mind and I approach life with an addict’s mindset. If something brings be pleasure (or assumed pleasure), I want more of it. And, the more I get, the more I think I need.

My life has been consumed with different types of addictions. Praise from others, exercise, food at times, men and above all, alcohol. My addict mind becomes obsessed with my “drug” of choice to the point where it begins to consume my life. It’s very subtle how it sneaks up on me. Slowly, unknowingly I find myself struggling with the “need” to satisfy my cravings and the logical part of my mind that says, “It’s not good for you, it’s not important.”

Lately, I’ve found myself feeling uneasy, agitated, unsettled and disconnected. I knew something was wrong, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. And, then in a moment of clarity I realized what it was. I’ve been feeling totally and undeniably addicted to social media. I’ve been comparing my insides to everyone else’s outsides and that is dangerous ground for a recovering alcoholic like myself. I begin comparing who I am with how everyone else portrays themselves to be. I start feeling depressed, inadequate, incomplete and before long I begin to feel desperate. I feel desperate to “fix” how I’m feeling and that’s a scary feeling for me.

I think many of us go through phases where we realize we’re spending a little too much time online and make it a point to scale back – I know I have. But, this time it’s different. I’ve found myself caring more about what others think about me and what I post. Did they “like” it? How many people “liked” it” Why didn’t that person “like” it? Or, I fall into the trap of “needing” to share EVERYTHING in my life. Social media has created this “look at me” mentality that becomes all-consuming. Look what I can do? Look what I can make? Look how cute I am? Look how creative I am? Look how funny I am? LOOK AT ME! Really, it’s a disgusting habit that we’ve allowed ourselves to fall into. And, I take full responsibility for taking part in it.

In sobriety, we learn that being humble is a key part of our recovery. For me, social media attempts to take every ounce of humbleness away from me. Instead, it encourages me to act boastful and prideful. In essence, it takes me further and further away from my relationship with God where I find peace, clarity and humbleness.

I feel relief knowing what the problem is. And, now I need to take the steps to “get right” with myself and God again. I need to refocus my energy and my intentions. In the past, I’ve deleted my accounts, but not this time. Social media will always be there – it’s how I choose to approach it which is the key for me. I’ve deleted certain apps from my phone, which is a start. I’m coming “clean” with all of you, which is another step in the right direction. But, really, the most important step for me is focusing inward instead of outward. I’m okay with me. I’m okay with the person I am today. I’m not perfect. I’ll never be as skinny as I think I should be, or as creative as others. I’ll never be happy with my hair despite how I cut it or what color I dye it. I will ALWAYS have flaws. But, that’s not the point. The point is, I’m okay with me. And, most important, I know God is okay with me too.

30 responses

  1. That rings a bell! I deleted my Facebook account last year for awhile because it was just too much. I missed a lot of stuff though (things my friends were doing, invites) so I reactivated it. I really dislike it sometimes. Using it less is a good idea! I shall try along with you. :)

    • Jen, thanks for your comment! I took the dive and deleted my account. There were some other issues that cropped up and I felt it was for the best. I’m sure I’ll miss aspects of it, but for now it’s for the best!

    • Jen, thanks for your comment! I took the dive and deleted my account because there were some other issues that came up. I’m sure I’ll miss aspects of it, but for now it’s for the best! I needed to simplify and that was an obvious choice. Thanks again!

  2. Thank you for your brutally honesy post, Chenoa. I am just so glad you’re back and that you’re tackling this. I took a break from the blogging / online thing there for a few weeks, and realized a few things from that hiatus – chiefly, that like you, I was finding that I was preoccupied with the wrong things. Instead of trying to just simply communicate, I was struggling over what I thought I wanted to be and what I thought others thought I should be. And that created static,and like you said, isn’t good for us. The other thing I learned was that I just needed to maintain a right relationship with the Creator, and that when I followed His nudgings , things were fine. And so I have now been able to keep a healthy blog life, and a strong connection and grounding to me and Him. I was able to balance it, and not feel bad about it, and know that I am where I need to be, in a healthy way.

    Your struggle, as you mention here, seemed to go a touch further, with the comparison thing. And while I am not in social media other than Twitter, I know that from hearing other people talk about it, it’s often a game of one upmanship. Many of these social outlets allow us, if we want to, to portray a life that is most often not congruent with the reality of our lives. And it propogates itself. And for people like us, who spent our lives comparing our insides to others outsides, it can be messy. I totally understand where you are coming from, and I am sure that if I were to really get into all that other stuff, I might have come to the same fork in the road.

    Being okay with ourselves is the main thing here. and it’s taken me a long time to get there and I still need more work in that area. But what you said is true – being right with God is where it’s at. I too sought validation elsewhere, and really, it’s inside. As my sponsor said once, pointing to his core, “the party’s here”. And that is where I need to be right with, to be okay that others are more popular, funnier, more fit, have more readers, etc. And that’s coolio with me now. I get my moments, of course, but in the end, the only one I can compare myself to is me.

    Easy to say, of course. Get the tenderhooks into another world where surface stuff rules and it’s easy to get caught up in it. Doesn’t mean we are weak or shallow, or anything. I think it hits that deep part in us to want to belong, and for many addicts and alcoholics, we never felt we belonged. In the end, I sometimes ask myself, “how important is this?” (I think I got that from Lisa? Or read it online somewhere here…)

    You’ve seen the issue, you’ve come clean about it (bravo!) and you have an action plan in place to steer the ship. And that’s awesome, Chenoa. I am go happy for you and I know you are going to put your heart into this. I am with you on this, and I know that your clarity and re-connection with God will see you into another phase of your growth and life.

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • Thanks, Paul! Consider yourself lucky you’re not on FB! I ended up deleting my account, which is for the best. I needed to simplify and reconnect with myself and God. It’s just amazing to me how easily I get sucked into the one upmanship crap. Ugh. Onward and upward, right?! Glad you’re back – and glad I’m back!

  3. I feel you on this. I hate it, but as a journalist and writer, I can’t ignore my FB and Twitter accounts as professional outlets. I need to know that so and so has written this or that. Do I like it? NO! I hate it, I compare myself to what my colleagues are doing constantly, and it’s constantly demoralizing (and encouraging, too.) But, the solution is not bailing and putting myself in the dark. SO, I have to learn the hard lessons of not letting it get to me, of just dealing with ME. So, yes, I feel you on this, and it is such a terrible outlet for our worst tendencies, social media! But, it’s all about how you work it, and it looks like you’re working toward getting right with yourself, AND, using it in moderation. Congrats…! xx

    • Thanks, DDG! Well, so much for moderation because I ended up deleting my account. Some other stuff came up and it was for the best. I may go back at some point, but for now I had to simplify that part of my life. I totally understand that some people need to use it for work – like it or not, it’s part of our culture. But, fortunately at this point I don’t use it for work, so it was easier saying goodbye!

      • GOOD for you! I was thinking of trying one of two things: creating a separate work account, where I subscribe to just work-y things, like publications and publishing company news, etc.; or, only going on once a day. I even thought I’d try “going off it” for a week–I haven’t been able to even do ONE day yet! Doh! I do feel much better, all around, when I just don’t go on, but…I guess it’s really just another addiction for me. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll figure it out. And, I agree, sometimes it is easier to just say goodbye! Let us know how it goes…

  4. Like DDG I use twitter and Facebook (or boastbook as I prefer to call it) for work. There have actually been studies done that show Facebook can lead to depression because people are constantly comparing themselves to others. I try not to use it too much, but I think it can be a good thing if used in the right way… And you have to remember that no one posts the truth on there!

    • Lol! I love your comment about no one posting the truth! It’s such an easy way for us to portray what we want others to see. The whole idea is so backwards. I agree though, it can be a useful resource if used in the right way. Problem is, it sucked me in and I couldn’t find my way out. So for now, I’ll be happy reading more and catching up on those shows I have taped that I never watch!

  5. If it makes you feel better, when I found your site I was comparing myself to you and was a little jealous. LOL Thank you for your honesty. I don’t think we ever get rid of that “addict mind” but so long as we don’t feed it, we will be okay. I wound up deleting my facebook account and just use blogging but i too have fallen into why didn’t this person “like” or why arent’ a bunch of people viewing the post, etc. I imagine that millions of people fall into the trap of comparing themselves with others on social media and falling into depression and bad self-esteem. You are a beautiful girl and have a talent for writing. Just remember, with you being sober and writing about it honestly you are helping more people than you realize. Me included. God bless you!

    Michele

    • Oh Michele, thank YOU for your comment and honesty! It amazes me what we can perceive about someone by just a picture or blog post. There’s SO much more to our lives than what we share online. It’s like my husband and I always say, “You never know what’s going on behind closed doors!” Like you, I ended up deleting my account and I can honestly say I feel a huge relief. I’ll continue to blog – and maybe I won’t get as many views – but oh well!

  6. I think you’re very wise for recognizing the true nature of the problem and for seeing your true nature apart from what you show to the outside world. I’ve fallen into a similar trap before and I always have to come back to acknowledging what’s truly important, which is never what people think of me (the good or the bad). Who am I in the eyes of God and do my actions reflect that?

    • Hi Karen! Thanks or the comment and I LOVE your question at the end. I was feeling very detached from my relationship with God and realized that I was basing my self-worth on more of what others were saying and doing online – not healthy! I ended up deleting my account because I felt a strong need to simplify and be exactly who God wants me to be, which I know has nothing to do with social media!

  7. Hi Chenoa! I can so relate! It’s such a huge world out there isn’t it? it’s so easy to get sucked in and compare and next thing you know you feel like crap! I know it all too well. I try moderation… lol… but you know how good I am with that!, right?! But when I get in that place where I am just totally comparing out, I am reminded of this simple affirmation:
    I am enough, I have enough, I do enough!

    I hope you are feeling better! Sending HUGS! and thanks for being so honest and open!

    • Thanks, Maggie! I LOVE that affirmation! I had a therapist that once taught me something similar in relation to my OCD, and it’s SO true! I am going to start applying that to ALL areas of my life. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m perfectly good the way I am. Thanks for reminding me! Oh, and yeah, moderation doesn’t work so well with me either – in any area of my life! Lol!

  8. I relate to much of this post. For me there is a fine line between humility and fear. I always (well as often as I remember) ask for Creator’s guidance and direction in anything I post or comment. It keeps me right sized. I’ve not been chatting much on blogs lately because I feel I have little to say. But when It comes to my blog (or the book promo) I have things I want to say. I’ve just been trying to keep the right focus in the right place, just like you. Karen said it best for me “Who am I in the eyes of God and do my actions reflect that?” Today (more aptly right now) I like what I see.
    Thank you for your wise words.
    Lisa

    • Thanks, Lisa! I’ve been a bit absent from the blogging community too. If it’s not in me, I don’t write. However, I wish I was better at reading others’ blog on a more regular basis. I always have the intention, but then…well, life just seems to get in the way! I love Karen’s question too – so right on. In letting go of FB, I feel like I was following God’s lead for me. I needed to simplify and that was a good place to start!

  9. This is a really helpful post and stream of comments, Chenoa. Thank you so much for sharing. I have not had a FB page for two years, and I have found it to be a great choice for me. I did just launch into blogging last month for our family farm and for positive agriculture conversations in general. So, I find I’m facing that social media boundary again and knowing that I must mark it out and observe it. This was a very helpful for me to find today, and I feel thankful for finding it. Now, I think I’ll post a “Happy Thanksgiving” post on my site and take a 10 day vacation!…with a lot more perspective from reading here today and maybe even make a plan while I’m off. Thanks, so much. Emily Grace P.S. I clicked over from your TheSimpleCountryLife.com guest post.

    • Thanks for stopping by! FB is such a double-edged sword for me. For now, I’m happy without the daily temptations of checking up on everyone, but I do miss staying in touch with certain people. But, I also know that where there’s a will, there’s a way! I completely understand the necessity of using it for business-related communication as it’s become such a huge part of our social network. I guess the key is finding a balance in it all. Love your idea of taking a Thanksgiving break! Look forward to checking out your blog!

  10. Pingback: The Friday Favored: 3rd edition | Beef and Sweet Tea

  11. Once, again, this post is priceless. My bookmarked cheering section for perspective on my interaction with social media. Looking forward to another holiday season taking a break from the online crazy- the comparison game – and embracing that both God and I like me. I hope you are enjoying your break, Chenoa.

    Best,
    Emily Grace

    • Ha! I had forgotten that you had bookmarked this post! Can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I should probably go back and read this from time to time too. Always a good reminder. Take care and enjoy your break as well. Happy holidays!

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