Confession: I’m addicted to my cell phone.
Admittedly, I’m a recovering cell phone and social media addict. I’ve been so addicted to my cell phone that I downloaded an app that told me how much I used my phone and then deleted the app because I refused to believe what it told me. This would be akin to going to a doctor who diagnoses your alcoholism and then firing said doctor because “he clearly didn’t know what he was talking about.” Oh, denial—the sweet language of all addicts. But, like the recovering addicts of my hero dreams, I am putting my addiction behind me. I’ve put my cell phone in the next room, I’ve deleted time suck addictive apps and I’m experiencing life on a higher level.
In the short two weeks that I’ve changed how I use my cell phone, these are 5 things my addiction caused me to miss.
- Having spontaneous ideas. Since I’ve reduced my cell phone usage, I have ideas when I wake up in the morning. I have ideas when I’m cooking in the kitchen. I have ideas when I’m driving down the road. I have way more ideas than I had when I was on my cell phone every minute of the day. It feels like the lock on the door of my ideas has been removed and now my brain is free to be spontaneous. For a writer, this is where I need to be. I’m experiencing effortless idea creation.
2. Clear headedness. When I wake up now or when I’m just on my couch sitting, I no longer think, “Check your text messages.” I no longer think, “See if anyone liked your posts on instagram or Facebook.” Now when I’m sitting on the couch without television, my head is clear and my mind wonders to what I need to do or what I want to do. My mind checks in on how I’m doing. Am I feeling good today? Do I need anything? For the first time in years, my head is actually clear. No longer addicted to my cell phone? Is it possible?
3. Self-Confidence. There is something about checking in on social media constantly that erodes our self confidence. We’re comparing ourselves to others when we read their Facebook feed or even watch their Instagram stories. With every story, we often feel one-upped, insignificant, less than—even when we’re not. I noticed a general improvement to my outlook when I freed myself from my cell phone addiction.
I’m putting my addiction behind me.
4. Skeletons In The Closet. Being addicted to my cell phone and also social media has brought the skeletons out of my closet. Hell, the skeletons are in full fiesta mode in the graveyard. Every person who I’ve ever met is on FB and somehow I’ve friended most of them. Just the mere sight of their names reminds me of some bad experience that I want to put back in the closet. If it isn’t the ex-boyfriend I dated who was dumber than a bag of rocks who is now trying to message me; it’s the class clown from high school that I lost contact with and it reminds me of the fragility of life. Being addicted to my phone which gave way to my addiction to social media opened up a trunk of bad memories that I’d just as soon forget. Finally and again, I’m putting distance between the zit faced boy I met in 9th grade, and the bully I met in the 10th grade, and the drunk I met in the 11th grade. I didn’t miss them in the years before social media reconnected us and I’m sure I won’t miss them now that my addiction recovery has disconnected us.
5. Peace of Mind. Last night, I fried chicken for my son and I didn’t check my cell phone while doing so. I wrote a relationship article and I didn’t check my cell phone. I went to dinner with a bunch of my writing friends, and outside of checking in with my son, I didn’t bother with my cell phone. I fully engaged everyone and I enjoyed myself. I have a sense of calm now that I’ve cut the cell phone cord. It’s as if my sense of purpose is back. I’m seeing the world in a fuller spectrum and with brighter colors.
But, like alcoholics, I know this will be a battle I fight on a daily basis. Getting over my addiction to my cell phone will not be easy. I know I’ll be tempted to slink back into my cell phone obsession. But each day away from the cell phone, I feel stronger. If you want to test my theory about what you’re missing, I encourage you to reduce your cell phone usage for about five days and see what happens. I bet you’ll see an improvement to your life. To read my other articles about disconnecting from social media, stay tuned.