In fact, I had a college roommate who was so heavily into the sauce that he regularly overslept his 4:00pm classes. (A gifted baseball/softball player, I watched him play center field during one game in which I personally KNOW he was at least 3+ sheets to the wind—and wouldn’t ya know it, with the game on the line, the final play was a high fly to dead center. As he was weaving to position himself under it, my other roommate shouted to him, “Earl! Just catch the middle ball!” Amazingly, he did.)
(BTW: How do you suppose he celebrated afterward?)
While I have concern and empathy for anyone struggling with a chemical addiction, I don’t feel like I have any kind of expertise to help people who are in that kind of mess. Dr. Drew, I defer to you.
But just recently I’ve had two separate conversations with long-time friends, who’ve each told me, “I can no longer escape the fact that am ADDICTED to email/my Blackberry/iPhone/Facebook/Twitter.” And since they know I’m a life-long communications professional, there’s some expectation that I should be able to help, somehow.
So how come in both cases, my best response ended up sounding like, “Yeah, whew…I hear ya. I know a lot of people who’ve fallen into that same pattern. You’re definitely not alone there, pal. And the best thing you can do is…uhhhhhhhh…have you tried…uhhhhhhh…not being so addicted?”
Wow, how weak is that? I sincerely want to be able to help…but I don’t know how. Do you?
So many of my friends, the people I work with, the CEC members I meet around the world, and millions of other Joe Schmoes walking the streets of DC, New York, London, and Sydney seem to be so physiologically tethered to their hand-helds, that they’ve become literally oblivious to the world around them.
Watch people on a plane as you come in for a landing. The second you’re wheels-down, half of ‘em are scrambling for their Blackberries like they’re smoking the last Camel RJ Reynolds will ever roll.
I see people in social settings, meetings and family dinners flat-out ignoring the live humans who are staring them right in the face, because they’re so fixated on updating their Facebook status. (Status: Man, I sure do love pickles!). I saw a guy on the crowded streets of Copenhagen last month come within a centimeter of getting smushed by a taxi because he was texting-while-walking. The taxi driver was probably texting-while-driving.
Seriously, if you were driving down a dark two-lane road at 2:30am, and you could choose who was driving the car in the opposite lane, heading toward you at 50 mph…who would you rather it be: a) some dude who’s texting his girlfriend about how much he misses her…or…b) my old roommate who’s got a fifth of Old Granddad riding shotgun with him in the passenger seat? I’ll take Earl ten times out of ten.
Is there a cure for text/email addiction? Should the Centers for Disease Control be developing some kind of innoculation? Where does the Surgeon General stand on all this? (Hang on a sec, I’ll text him.)
Have you ever helped someone who’s addicted? Have you experienced this kind of addiction yourself? There’s gotta be SOMETHING we can do to help. But what?