While browsing Wikipedia I came across an article about a great idea someone had a while ago called TV Turnoff week. I was quite familiar with this event from the many AdBusters magazines I have read. What was news to me from the article and which is a natural follow-on to the original event is PC Turnoff week. Now this is fairly current in my mind because my parents (now on a fixed income, like many retirees) recently had to get major work done on their car. As you can imagine, this made finances a little tight. Now what should happen next but their main (for like most first-world folks, they have more than one) TV died on them. What to do? Go out immediately and buy a new (and coincidently better) one of course!
Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not slamming my parents! They are no different than the rest of us. (As a point of fact, go into even the poorest of homes and while you may indeed not find much for food, you will almost certainly find a TV.) And I think this is the point I am trying to make. We all have addictions in our lives, whether we realize it or not. Don’t have any additions, you say? Can quit whenever you want, you say? No problem I say — try it! The only way you will truly ever get the slightest notion of just how dependent you are on a certain behaviour is to attempt to go without it (voluntarily) for a period of time (say one week).
I know this works because I have done it. Twice now when I found that I was having health problems due to over consumption of sugar (my all time record was 5 doughnuts, 1 muffin and sundry cookies in one day!), I went without sweets for a week. The first time I did this it was hard. Surprisingly hard. But I did it. A test of the will. The second time I did it I figured: well I’ve done this before so I should have no problem this time. HA! I was positively shocked as to how hard it was. I was severely tested and almost didn’t make it. I couldn’t believe it.
So, my challenge to you (assuming anybody has actually made it this far in the post) is to pick something that you do everyday (or nearly so) that you suspect may be an addiction, and try to stop for a week. Just one week. How hard can that be? Are you up for it?