Conquering My Phone Addiction

Hello, my name is Phil, and I am a Phonoholic.

Actually, it is deeper than that. I don’t know if I can live without my phone. Even for short periods of time.

I took my dog for a walk on a trail in the park the other day. I thought about leaving my phone in the car. There is no reception in the woods anyway. But I couldn’t. I had to bring it with me. My thought was just in case we needed help if something went wrong. I live in a city. This is a well-travelled trolley trail. You are never more than 100 yards from people.

I am an addict.

It started back in the early 90’s when I got my first flip-style pocket phone. Before that, I had car phones and the bricks. But when I got that first small, pocket phone, is when the love affair began. I realized I could be in contact with anyone at any time. I am an entrepreneur and was on my second business by then. So I wanted to be able to check in constantly. That is part of my workaholic tendencies.

Then came the Blackberry in the early 2000’s and then I was in a full blown addiction. Once I could send and receive emails and read the news, it was over. I took it everywhere. I looked at it constantly.

If I were at dinner, I would put the phone down next to me. I could be in the middle of a conversation and if that little red light started blinking, signaling I got an email, I would stop and look at it. Not only was it rude, but it was also uncontrollable. My excuse was always that it could be important business stuff. Which was really ridiculous. I owned food retail stores; I wasn’t saving lives for goodness sakes.

Then came the iPhone with music and mobile apps. From that moment on, my phone never left my side. I am ashamed to say that I take it with me into the bathroom and read the news while I am, you know, doing bathroom things.

My life is on my phone. I can do my banking, communicate, listen to music, read, write, watch movies. I can check my online reputations score, look at my website metrics. In fact, I can start my car, put up the windows and lock it. I can watch my dog with cameras in my house. And my latest app lets me lock and unlock my front door. My phone is my lifeline.

A few years back I was racing in triathlons. I had put a hookup on my bike, so I could have my phone with me as I rode the race. How stupid is that. Not only did I not want to speak with anyone while racing, but I also couldn’t breathe enough to speak. But it was comforting knowing it was close by. It is the last thing I look at before going to sleep and the first thing I look at when I wake up.

A few months ago, as our family was eating dinner, I realized that we all had our phones and were not communicating. So we implemented a rule of no phones at the table. For 30 minutes I was without a phone.

It was a start.

It was hard

I have been trying to leave my phone at home when I walk the dog around the neighborhood. We are usually gone for about 40 minutes. I walk in the door, and the first thing I do is grab my phone.

The other day I accidentally left the house without my phone to run to the store. It was totally distracting to me thinking about all of the things I might miss in the hour I would be away.

That is when I knew the madness needed to end. If I couldn’t even go to the store without my phone, then I was dependent. I did not like that feeling of being dependent on an object at all.

So now I have a plan.

Outside of work hours, I am leaving my phone in other rooms, not taking it when I walk the dog or when I do chores outside.

I am leaving my phone on my dresser at night. Now, it is not next to me when I sleep and won’t be the first thing I see when I wake up or the last thing I see when I go to bed.

My wife will be.

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