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Media Addict Reformed? Maybe.

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 11, 2010

I admit it.  I used to be a media addict, glued to CNN, receiving countless news updates in my inbox and listening to all-news radio in my car.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, I gorged on the 24/7 news cycle and by the time the election rolled around, I looked like pasty, shell-shocked, wild-eyed white woman.  My pants were also too tight because I’d spent so many hours lollygagging around on my living room couch fondling my remote control.  That hurt.


I’d like to tell you that I decided right then and there — in my snug sweats — that I knew I had a problem and I was determined to make a change.  Sadly no, I just kept watching, scrolling and listening.  Like all good addicts I just never quite got enough.

I’d probably still be as addicted today if I hadn’t separated from my husband and subsequently gotten a divorce.

The entire sordid mess, which completely took over my life, got me so off my game that I barely watched television for months and I hardly had the time to check my email let alone keep up on current events and politics.  Famous writers died and I barely noticed.  Political pundits debated Obama’s citizenship and I couldn’t muster an ounce of outrage.  Corporate leaders were forced to parade their greed and excesses in a ‘perp walk’ of shame and I didn’t have the time or energy to enjoy the almost weekly spectacle.  What a waste.

A good six months flew by before my derailed life started to make sense again.  I remember the first morning I sat in my new green paisley Ikea chair in the corner of my bedroom and watched the Today show from start to finish.  Naturally, I read the LA TIMES during commercials and paged through the latest NEWSWEEK when the second hour of Today ended and Meredith left for the day.  It felt good, but not quite the same.

“Just cause you got the monkey off your back, doesn’t mean the circus has left town.” George Carlin

Something had changed.  My world had been rocked to its core and I no longer craved the constant stream of media.  It was a relief to be able to watch TV news in moderation, listen to music in the car and pare back the number of daily RSS feeds coming into my email.

I realized I need to develop a full life that revolves around relationships and not mainly my computer and my big-screen TV (yes, I will admit to addiction, but I’m not giving up the big guy).

It takes work to walk outside the door, make new friends and create new life experiences.  The flabby, needy, scared side of me wants to go back, but I’ve got to be strong and push myself.  The smart, curious, brave part of me knows that the only way is to move forward, even without my remote control.

“Treat your mind like a bad neighborhood – don’t go there alone.” Unknown


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