For over six months, I have focused on quitting drinking. Other than a few attempts at quitting sugar, I have not tried any other major life changes.
Today, that all changes. Today, I am hitting another big addiction right where it hurts.
Big talk, I know, but quitting drinking has given me the self-confidence to believe that I could achieve other goals. And this one is a biggie. A really really big one (for me).
No, it’s not smoking. I used to wish I liked smoking so that I would have something to fall back on and fit in better at AA meetings. What I am addicted to is surfing the web. Basically, I am a political junkie.
To give you an idea of the scope of the problem, let’s just say that I spend at least two hours a day reading online political news: Chris Christie, Trump’s latest shenanigans, etc., but then I also see tantalizing headlines that pop up, leading me to gossipy events like the whole Bill Cosby deal, Brangelina, and whatever else can be found on Page Six. Still, I lump it all together as “political news” to make it sound less National Enquirer-ish. (Which is how I found out about the John Edwards love-child sensation.)
So last night, DURING THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, I announced to my husband that I was giving up surfing the web for news. (I am still allowed to look up wholesome sites like “Heal Your Life” or “How to Learn Spanish in Five Minutes a Day”).
My husband, who knows me well, said, “Are you sure you want to set yourself up like that, during an election like this one?” Normally, this would give me an out, and I would say, “OK, maybe after the election.”
But the new super-me was challenged! (I used to hate challenges. I knew I couldn’t follow through on the simplest things. Why would I want an additional challenge to fail?)
“NO!” I said with conviction, startling my husband. “It will start tomorrow and run through the entire election.”
My husband said, “Who are you?”
I’m not really sure who I am yet, but I know who I’m not! I’m not one to make idle threats and promises while trying not to slur my words.
I tossed and turned all night, dreaming about drinking with Donald Trump. Dear God, if that’s not evidence of an addiction, I don’t know what is.
Today, I woke up lost. I usually make my coffee, sit right down at the computer, and open up “Reddit Politics New,” which is a long list of the latest headlines from all kinds of news sources. Today, I took my coffee and awkwardly sat down across from my husband in the kitchen. He glanced up at me, confused, and then closed his laptop to see what was wrong with me.
“Let’s go out to breakfast,” I suggested.
And we did. And we sat across the table at the diner and talked, and we read the newspaper. (I am allowed to read the paper. We only buy it when out to breakfast, about once a week or so, so I can’t binge on it.)
Now, I am blogging bright and early in the day, where I would normally spend AN HOUR reading all the debate bullshit. See? Already, I am connecting with other people as opposed to raising my own blood pressure via politics and the occasional gossip.
And I have all kinds of time today to fill. Another thing about getting rid of addictions and time-wasters: It opens up space for dreams. I could start that book I’ve been wanting to write. I could take up painting again. I could take a class. I could imagine a beautiful future, and then make it happen.
When I was drinking, I had no dreams. Today, I am stepping over another hurdle on my path to becoming who we are all meant to be — our own superheroes.