Monday, October 6, 2008

Addicted

Hello. My name is Renae, and I am an e-mail addict.

It all started innocently enough about ten years ago. My best friend was moving to Germany. “You have to have e-mail,” she said, “so we can stay in touch.”

I was hesitant at first. The thought of connecting myself to nearly every known location on the earth was a little scary. And exciting.

“Come on,” she coaxed. “I can set you up for free.”

Isn’t that the way it always happens? They give you freebies. Pull you in, and then you’re hooked.

At least that’s the way it happened for me.

At first, it didn’t seem to affect me much. Just a little bit of e-mail, here and there. Usually, after everyone was asleep. Just for thrills.

And thrilling it was. Every time I saw that little red flag pop up on my screen, my heart raced. It was like a Christmas gift. I had an e-mail! Someone out there saw me, knew I existed, and wanted to communicate with me.

Still, I managed to keep my addiction hidden for years. But finally, I was discovered. My poor children found me, staring at my computer, eyes glazed over. Apparently, I was hitting the Refresh button again and again, waiting for a new e-mail to pop up. I was out of control.

That was when I hit rock bottom. I knew I needed help. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So now, I have entered a ten-step program for e-mail addicts.

I turn off the computer, take ten steps away from it, and shut the door behind me. Then, I try not to think about it.

At first, it was really hard. I mean, the idea that there were unread e-mails in my inbox was almost too much to handle. I was nervous and jumpy. I needed my fix.

But gradually, my need for e-mail seemed to decrease. I learned that there are more important, more exciting things in life – things that will actually add to the quality of my life rather than take away from it.

Things like going to the park with my children, or watching their original puppet shows with balloons as the puppets. Things like writing actual pen-and-ink letters to old friends, or calling that cousin I’ve lost touch with.

It’s funny how we spend so much of our time doing things that, in the end, won’t amount to a hill of beans. We work, work, work, or we spend hours watching television or surfing the internet or watching for new e-mails to roll in. But really, when all is said and done, it’s the real flesh-and-blood relationships we built – or didn’t build – that will give our lives meaning.

So that’s my story. I am still in the recovery process. But each day, it gets a little easier. Life is good. Now I am committed to helping others with the same problem. If you have a problem with e-mail addiction, you can e-mail me at . . . wait. Never mind.

Isaiah 61:1 “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”

14 comments:

Lilly's Life said...

I need to join EA - Email Anonymous too. That was brave of you to admit your addiction but now there will be no more secrets lol. Fantastic post - enjoyed it immensely. You have a wonderful sense of humor!

Renae said...

Thanks, Lilly! Perhaps we should start an online support group - or would that be defeating the purpose? ;-)

Cheryl Barker said...

This was hilarious, Renae -- probably because I can identify :) Also a good reminder, though, not to neglect our flesh and blood relationships. I can hear my husband saying, "Amen!" :)

Renae said...

Cheryl, I heard a few "Amens" coming from my better half, as well! ;-)

Felisol said...

Dear Renae,
I liked your ten step program!lol!
My machine doesn't have a red flag to warn me about incoming mail. I don't think they come with the Norwegian edition of Microsoft.
I never know when I've got mail, have to open the post program to see.
Maybe that is why I have not become addicted....
I love the promises and comfort from Isaiah though.
From Felisol

Renae said...

Thanks, Felisol! Glad you like my program! ;-)

Isaiah is one of my favorites, too.

Lillie Ammann said...

Renae,
This is hilarious! And you certainly make a good point. I spend too much time on e-mail, BUT it is also a way for me to connect with people. I don't get out much because of physical limitations so e-mail is a way for me to stay in touch.

Renae said...

I'm glad you liked it, Lillie! E-mail is a wonderful tool, isn't it? I love that it helps me stay in touch with people that I normally wouldn't have much communication with. My downfall is that I neglect other, more important things, sitting in front of this screen! ;-)

For me, it's a slippery slope!

Journey of Truth said...

I just returned from San Antonio yesterday and checking email was the LAST thing I did . . . so I think I'm finally not as addicted. I have had a habit of checking several times a day, but I don't make excuses to do it. I only think to check when I have to come into my bedroom for something. The PC is quite distracting for me (blogging, in particular was becoming a problem - too much personal stuff, not enough about my original intent). If you make it personal, it's easier to generate the "need" to blog and keep blogging. :-)

I like this ten step program. I may use it from time to time.

Renae said...

Thanks, Jot! Yep, that ten step program has worked well for me. ;-)

Judi "Jlo" Moran said...

I just have to say that I have benefited greatly from your email addiction - does that make me an enabler? or worse, co-dependent?
I hear ya about overdoing it, but I'm sure thankful that just a little over a year ago you and I began talking via email and since then have talked volumes!
You're a great, great friend, Renae, and I love you.
Judi
PS. I just added rbcoffeetalk to the list of blogs I'm following.

Renae said...

I feel the same way, Judi! But I really do need to cut back . . .

Thanks for adding Coffee Talk to your list. You know how technically disabled I am - I'm not sure I even know what that means! But it sure sounds like a compliment to me! ;-)

Love you too!

Aleta said...

"Hello, my name is Aleta and I'm an Email Addict." Yikes! But it's true.

I think I'll go take the dog for a walk....

Renae said...

We'll see each other through this, Aleta! We can beat this, if we stand together.

;-)