|The Sad, Sad Tale of Becky Blogger|
We first met Becky in Part I, of the When Someone You Love Has A Blog Series. For Part I, Part II, and a preemptive Post by Becky Blogger's husband, the series can be found here.
As promised, the final installment, Part III: Re-introducing Your Blogger Back Into Society:
The sad, sad tale of Becky Blogger and BAD: Blogging Addiction Disorder.
Signs that Becky's new :hobby: had taken on a life of its own were only much too clear. Becky's husband could no longer ignore, or accept, Becky's excuses, for what was going down in their household.
The breakfast dishes were still wet to the touch when he'd arrive home in the evening, showing how they had they had just been done moments before he had walked in the door. Dinner, one too many evenings this week, was the familiar bag of dumped out chicken nuggets intermixed with fries on the same, large sheet pan.
Becky's husband sighed as he hung up his coat, and went to search for the day's mail...the day's mail that should have been waiting on the kitchen counter, where it had always been for the last 15 years, but not since Becky had begun with her new :diversion: Upon seeing no mail in the house, he slowly pulled his coat back on, and walked out to the mailbox. He opened the mailbox, and saw the mail there, mail that had not been brought in. Again. Becky's husband pressed his lips together into a thin line, with the "face." The "face" that meant, he had to become a man of action.
Becky--a quiet, ordinary, mother of 2.5 children, living on a quiet, ordinary street in a not so extraordinary town, has BAD. Blogging Addiction Disorder. Her husband knows this, the children have hinted at it, and Becky...oh, Becky...there is no one more surprised than Becky, with what has happened to what she once knew as her life.
She openly acknowledges the physical symptoms of blogging: the pinched shoulders, a sore neck, strained vision.
She easily admits to playing beat the clock when it comes to getting the daily necessities of home life accomplished, such as dishes, dinner, grocery shopping, picking up the house, preparing classroom treats.
What she has kept hidden, and to herself, is the sneaking downstairs while everyone sleeps, to tweak and complete the last post she put up. How she asks her husband to take the children out for awhile so she can "really get this kitchen floor done right," only to run to the computer as soon as the door is closed behind them. She tells no one that her showers have become a wet, soapy rag that she quickly runs over her body, more than just a few times a week--in the hopes of being able to get on the computer faster. Becky is silent when her husband comes home at night, and asks, "so...what did you do today?" She stammers as she silently curses herself that she doesn't have an answer at the ready. "I..I..I, geez, well, the day just got away from me!"
Is this family doomed? Is this situation hopeless?
The encouraging thing about BAD, blogging addiction disorder, is that Becky does NOT have to stop blogging. With a few pointers here, for Becky and her husband to follow, Becky can once again become a happy, guilt and anxiety free member of her household.
1. Becky can be taught to see Blogging as a PART of her life, but not as her whole life.
For this change of perception, we must first find out what it is about blogging that feeds Becky. Is it the friendships? Is it the communication? Is she an alter ego in the computer world? Or has she become someone that is esteemed and valued, and listened to, when she is online? In order for Becky to trade in her hours blogging, her family, with the help of outside friends, may have to work to help Becky feel in the real world, what she felt in her virtual world.
2. Becky can be taught to change the habit by balancing the habit.
Becky needs a replacement activity or two--or three, depending on how deep she was in it. She will need someone to help her schedule outings, exercise, family bike rides, trips to the museum, lunches out with friends from her real life. She needs replacement activities in place of the time she spent in front of the screen.
3. Make Becky accountable for her time.
Yes, this does sound heavy handed, but this is what is needed as part of treatment. Becky needs to keep track of time on the computer, and to only use the computer after her daily minimum expectations are completed. That's how we have to roll with her during the intervention phase. This is the only way. Showers, full daytime clothing, dishes, errands, phone calls, all need to be done, before she can sign on. This is non negotiable.
4. Just like matching dollars, Becky must match friends.
Becky must spend equal amounts of time with In Real Life People, as she does with her online people. Do not allow Becky to answer, when asked how she is, "Read my blog." She has to make conversation.
5. Acknowledge Becky's reasons, and allow her to be honest about them.
Blogging is wonderful for procrastination, and as avoidance for the mundane of bed making, and phone call returning, and dog walking. It's easier to blog than it is to exercise, or work on your dreams. It's easy to jump on behind the computer, when you have so many undesirable responsibilities like sorting the laundry, or organizing the Xmas ornaments in the basement, or going through the kids' closets, or...er..wait..we're talking about Becky. Sorry.
6. You, as the partner in Becky's life, must help her to create and provide what she seeks.
Was she lonely? Was she getting companionship? Was she feeling a sense of belonging? Maybe blogging did that for her. (Hah! maybe??!! er, sorry. again.)
A happy life that is blogger and twitter reduced is possible. Yes, you will have to remove Becky from influences and situations that are tempting..like a computer left on. You may have to watch her for the first 4-6 weeks, perhaps immerse her in another way of filling her time in the evenings.
BAD, when acted upon with love and family involvement, can result in Renewal and Rebirth.
Becky does want to regain control of her life again, but she does not want to give up all the loveliness of the blogging world.
Understand her, but don't confront her ways. Help her to improve her life. Your strength, plus her strength will equal OUR strength. Together, with friends and family, you can help re-establish and reintroduce Becky to In Real Life living. With people.
We leave you with this. Remember to:
- Find out what was missing from her life, that blogging was able to provide her with.
- What played the role in sending her into solely blogging as her entire existence.
- What will replace those hours that she had been spending in front of the computer? Without a replacement, the siren's call of the computer will once again be too strong for her to resist.
We are all in this together, and we are wearing our "We have been there" T shirts, right along with you.
If you do find yourself at wit's end? Meet us at the BAR (Blogging Addiction Recovery). My husband is usually there, heading up the meeting.
What is your B.A.D. confession? Leave it here, in your comment below.
Thank you, to all of you, for making this week such a happy one for me. I mean that.
Be sure to stop back for the last day, tomorrow: for the giveaway. You won't want to miss all the goodies that will go out to a lucky commenter. Fun Stuff!!