Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Friday, July 10, 2009

Are You a Tweetaholic?

Okay, I get it. My post on addiction is overdue. First, there was the not too subtle hint with the controversy over Michael Jackson’s death. I could almost ignore that one, but this one I cannot. I admit it, I am a Tweetaholic. Step 1: I admit that I am powerless over leaving Twitterland. I am powerless over turning on my laptop without logging onto Twitter. I am powerless over controlling the number of Tweets that leave my fingers and arrive on your Tweetdecks.

Twitterholism is such a wonderful addiction, though. It connects me with all of these wonderful Tweeple, all over the world, at all hours of the day and night (essential for an introverted writer). It balances out the enormous depersonalization that is intrinsic to the internet universe. It provides a wonderful excuse for procrastination (I know that I’m not cranking out those book chapters, but I’m building my platform, instead!). It connects me with like-minded crusaders of women’s rights, supporters of women and children, fellow healers, writers, artists, feminists, femininists, fem docs and lovers of Greece.

What a perfect addiction! So much better than my old ones—movies and shopping. Funny. I haven’t spent much time or money on either since I started writing. Oh, and this addiction doesn’t add pounds to my waist (although lack of exercise certainly does!).

I know that I’m not alone. Twitterholism and Tweetholism are sweeping the planet. But even if you have no idea what a twitter, tweet, tweeple or tweetdeck is, don’t despair. Almost everyone has had an addiction at one time or another. Addictions are universal, because we are all human.

For those of you who are ready to face your addiction head on, you may find this simple exercise helpful. Although simple, it is not easy, because it takes an enormous desire or incredible pain to decide to face the underlying problem head-on. But I know that you can do it! So here goes:

1. The most difficult step is the first one. Are you ready and willing to let your addiction go? If not, then stop here and enjoy it as best you can for as long as you can. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you get away with it for as long as possible with the least amount of damage. ;)

2. Decide what behavior you would like to change

3. Each time you find yourself repeating that behavior, ask these questions:

A) How am I feeling? Identify the “negative” emotion—tired, frightened, bored, sad, depressed, angry, frustrated, agitated, anxious, etc.

B) What do I need in this moment that I am not getting? Or--If I engage in the addictive behavior, how will it make me feel, initially? If you’ve identified the emotion in step A, then answering step B will be easy.

C) Write down every single need that you have identified. Make a list. Everything that you need in each of these moments goes on the list. You do not need to record each need more than once. Continue for at least one to two weeks until there are no new needs on your list. The list will, most likely, be a long one!

D) Do not proceed to this step until your list is complete. You’ve written nothing new on your list for at least a week. Now, step D takes time. You may want to ask supportive people in your life to help with this step. Your addiction is giving you every single “need” that you’ve placed on your list. Your addictive behavior is a quick and easy way to get all of these needs met. We tend to value others’ needs over our own, placing ourselves last, so don’t distress if your list is long. Take each “need” one by one and ask: “How can I get this in other ways?” Have others help you. Brainstorm all the ways in which you can get each need on your list met, even if some of the ways are crazy, impossible, unrealistic or dangerous.

E) You now have a list of the reasons why you are engaging in your addictive behavior (C: your list of needs) and have brainstormed for possible solutions to having these needs met (D). The last step is to decide what actions you can take from your brainstormed list in D that are helpful healthy solutions to getting your needs met.

You may notice a few discouraging things. First, your list of needs will probably be long. This is okay! We all have personal needs that we place on hold for everyone else—our children, our families, our partners, our work. Second, to get these needs met in a healthy way usually takes more time and effort than resorting to the addictive behavior. That’s okay too; just start with one behavior and slowly add to this. Over time, one change will make the next one easier. Remember, until you have all of your needs met in healthy ways, you will be prone to repeating the addictive behavior.

This is one reason why addictions are so hard to break, because we need to have our needs met! This is why when we stop one addictive behavior we are likely to replace it with another one, like overeating after we’ve stopped smoking. This will happen whenever we are not addressing our underlying needs. I have, too often, watched countless women being told that they must stop smoking or lose weight or exercise more, without their underlying needs being addressed. This is the same as saying, “Quit this behavior; your needs are not important.”

Most of us are not ready to take this step, because it means that we must make ourselves a priority, but it is essential that we do so, especially with an addiction that is interfering with our lives.

Good luck to you all...I must get back to twitterland!

1 comment:

  1. That was a really cute post-had me giggling which is always nice. I will clearly admit, I too have a Twitter addiction.

    It is funny because I find people either absolutely love it or hate it-Initially, (as in the 1st week), I wasn't quite sure what to make of it-but ever since that 1st week passed, I've been hooked.

    I have been fortunate to chat with many wonderful people from all 4 corners of the globe. I have also been able to connect with like-minded folks and find support from those also suffering from workplace injuries and/or chronic pain.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post this topic. It seems to me that Twitter is taking the world by storm and lucky us...we're part of it.