I remember the first few days after my husband purchased his iPhone. It was like he had discovered another planet and needed to tell me all the new things he discovered. “Wow, look at this! Wow, can you believe this?” He never let go of his phone! He didn’t even look at me at the dinner table because he was so captivated and fascinated. There was no stopping him. He would take his iPhone with him wherever we went; it became part of our relationship.
I would like to give his iPhone a name because it is easier to understand the relationship. Let’s say her name is Veronica. Was he in love with Veronica? Well, Veronica knows everything; she could tell us where to go, what to eat, and how to get there. She can invent new ways to solve problems and can answer any question. I am no competition for Veronica. I suddenly that realized my husband was addicted to his iPhone, like she was the other woman.
He is DEFINITELY in love with her.
Does this feel familiar? Recently things have calmed down and now Veronica is part of the family. The funny thing is now I have my own iPhone so I can better relate and understand the situation. I named him Eddie. He is incredible and can do anything. I love him too.
When is cellphone addiction a serious problem? In my 20 years of work as an addiction specialist, I can tell you that it is no light-hearted matter. People die from of their addictions each and every day.
The danger with substances and new technology is that you get to live a false self. You are distracted from real life, and you find a way to hide, escape, and mask who you really are and what you really feel. You get to run from your issues with a band-aid, a gate, a brick wall. You put a blanket over loneliness, anxiety, depression and trauma. The energy of life is just too much.
The answer for all addictions is the same. You must heal and reestablish a connection to life, to others, and to yourself. You must return to authenticity, truth, and reality. At the root, one must heal the loss of self. One must find real peace and balance in all things. Spirituality is the missing piece in your search to end pain. It is a soul issue because you need to know you are enough just being who you are.
The language of our lives has shifted with smartphone technology. With our new gadgets we have lost the art of eye to eye contact and real communication. We now talk in short sentences to express how we feel. We have forgotten the spoken word. Human contact is diminished. We don’t take time to get to know each other. Our made up persona in virtual reality is our superficial happiness.
Who can tell now what the real damage is? We do not have enough data and the results are not in. Like Joanie Mitchell sang, “Something is lost and something is gained in living every day.”
Are you a cell phone addict?
- Do you take your cellphone with you wherever you go?
- Is it hard to leave it alone even for a moment?
- Do you immediately check your phone when you wake up?
- Do you check your phone before you go to sleep?
- Do you leave your phone on during your life’s activities?
- Do you panic if you don’t have your phone or it loses its charge?
- Do you answer calls and emails while driving?
- Do you feel if you don’t check your phone you can be missing something?
- Do you get a dopamine high or hit when you hear a beep or a text?
- Do you feel social pressure to keep up with social media?
- Do you miss actual moments in life by texting or taking pictures?
- Do you think of your life’s adventures as a Facebook post?
- Do you check to see how many likes your posts are getting?
- Is your social media life more exciting than your real life?
- Do you need instant gratification?
All addicts engage in behaviors that bring them rewards despite the consequences. Their lives are negatively impacted, yet still they don’t stop or care. They are in denial of their use. They can’t function without their substances.
The answer for all addictions is to stop the artificial activation of our brains and the false chemicals that give us a false happiness. It is time to shut off the phones, go outside and breathe fresh air. It is time to walk in nature and smell the flowers.
All addicts learn that in life there are no short cuts. The ultimate goal is authentic living and daring to be their real selves. We must have real love within and without.
We must love our partners and our friends more than Veronica and Eddie.