Help! I’m completely addicted to my smartphone.
Specifically, I’m addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the little weather button, and my news app. Straight up addicted. If I could snort my phone, I would.
And of course I am the only one to blame, and we’ll absolutely get to that later, but first I want to point my finger at everyone and everything else.
I’m going to call out my enablers.
First up, I’m going to blame Donald F***ing Trump. Last summer, I lived in a Democratic dream world, happily going about my business, trusting the polls that Hillary was in the lead and would indeed be elected. Like many of you, I nervously giggled in disbelief at The Donald’s daily gaffes.
I checked my phone here and there, as I always do, but it was more about having something to do when I needed to kill a little time.
Nowadays, though, it’s a minute to minute scroll-fest because I’m afraid I might miss something important. Some people hate politics in their Facebook feed, not but me. I can’t seem to get enough! Up-to-the-second news, all the time.
Every day, it’s something new, and crazy, and titillating. And every day I’m compelled to add my two cents, and defend my stance.
It’s draining my soul.
I blame CNN, the New York Times, The Hill, and The Onion. I blame Politico, Snopes, and NPR. Damn you all for your rapid-fire reporting.
Moving on, I indeed blame some of my cell phone addiction on those damn cute animal videos.
Damn all dogs doing awesomely unreal and totally cute things for the whole world to see. Damn it, tiny hamster holding a cracker and nibbling on it in the most fascinating super-close-up way. Damn you, black bear lying on your back in the water, just “pondering” life. Same goes for you, belly-laughing babies. How do I look away?
Speaking of not being able to look away, I’m calling you out too, DIY and HGTV videos. Of course I want to see the step-by-step process for restoring a rusty, antique, ball-foot bathtub and turning it into a succulent planter for my backyard. Who the f*ck doesn’t want to see that?
I would also like to take a moment to blame elephant journal (gasp) for the sexy articles that pique my heathen, wanton curiosity. I can’t help but click away for more information about the only three positions I will ever need to make my orgasms feel like I’m being called to the heavens by aliens. Tell me, please, how does one refrain from clicking on that whilst perusing the cereal aisle at the grocery store with “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus playing overhead?
I blame celebrities and their drama and their penchant for having twins. Damn it, Beyoncé. Damn it, Amal Clooney. Thanks so much for the big announcements. Now I’m going to have to stay informed about your darling babies. Oh, and both ladies will probably have the designer girl/boy combo making it even more fascinating and time-consuming scrolling through the adorable pictures.
I blame video recipes. The ones that take 30 seconds to watch and the food always looks so yummy and easy to make. Pull apart cheesy bread with pepperoni and dip in a cast iron skillet? Stop the madness!
Oh, and I’m also going to blame other people’s birthdays. I secretly look forward to my own Facebook birthday messages, because they somehow validate my existence. People like their birthdays on full display in the feed—I get it—so the birthday message is important. But, it’s also ridiculous. Just another reason to look at my phone.
My addiction has gotten so bad that I check my phone at traffic lights. Yes, I do. Why? Because I have a problem.
Finally, I blame boredom. Yup, straight up boredom. Whenever I am bored, I can always whip out my phone to ensure that I’m not bored anymore. In fact, when I’m bored doing something I shouldn’t be bored doing, I can still check my phone to ease any small discomfort. I can check my sports, the weather, my emails, and Instagram at the touch of a button.
Instant gratification fills my emptiness, and that is the undeniable truth about addiction.
I indeed blame the whole damn outside world. The same way a drug addict blames the coke for simply being at the party, I blame the phone for being in my hand.
And I know I’m not alone.
But, if truth be told, most of us addicts know good and well that we have no one but ourselves to blame when our phones take over our lives. We can make excuses for our addictions. Excuses like, “I need to check my work email!” or, “I need to respond to a text!” or, “I need to post this picture!”
But we all know deep down that our addiction to our phones is something we can change.
All we are doing when we stare down at our phones and scroll through our newsfeed is looking for a way to connect without really connecting. We want to absorb and release information without commitment, without real conversations, and without purpose.
Because of this awareness, I will make the bold statement that our smartphones are no longer a convenience or a benign distraction. For me, anyway, it has become a necessity. I have a dependency. It has taken over most parts of my life, and my well-being is indeed suffering.
So, I’m saying enough is enough.
It’s time for us to lay down our freakin’ phones, in much the same way we would lay down food, alcohol, pills, or needles.
We need to break our addictions in order to lead happier, more meaningful, more purposeful lives. Essentially, being addicted to a device means being addicted to other people’s lives instead of our own. We love to see the fun stuff and stay informed, that’s for sure, but when “checking our phones” becomes how we fill our day, we stop filling ourselves.
I know I was not put on this earth to check my phone. What about you?
Author: Kimberly Valzania
Editor: Toby Israel