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May Wilkerson May Wilkerson

The 12 Steps for Facebookaholics

2 Substance

Are you powerless over your social networking? Has Facebook driven a wedge between your relationships with actual three-dimensional living, breathing human beings? Are you dying for “likes”? You’re not alone, Facebook-a-holic! Canadian children’s book author Sheree Fitch says she quit the site—at first deactivating, then actually deleting her account—because it was consuming her life, compromising her work, and causing her to gain weight. As a self-employed writer, the site helped her network and promote her work, but eventually it became too much of a distraction.

“Facebook satisfied my need to connect easily and took away from my creative energy and drive,” she wrote on her blog. “The screen was a good friend and distraction when I did not want to face my own thoughts.”

So she finally quit cold turkey, but it hasn’t been easy. “I’m in month one and there’s been some withdrawal,” says Fitch, who was a member of the site since 2010. Now she wants to help others break free, so she has created 12-Steps to Facebook Freedom. Here they are:

  1. Admit you are a Facebookaholic.
  2. Deactivate. a day at a time.
  3. Tell a friend.  One who isn’t into Facebook. (Those exist?)
  4. Start a new project. (How about reactivating your MySpace account?)
  5. Drink lots of water.
  6. Repeat: “There’s no party and I’m not missing out.” (Actually there are lots of parties, and the invites are all on Facebook)
  7. Meditate.
  8. Mourn the loss of friends. (Reminder: Facebook friends have flesh-and-blood counterparts, who remain alive)
  9. Run five kilometers (approx 3 miles) a day.
  10. Tell folks you are sorry if you’ve ignored them. (How do you contact them without Facebook?)
  11. Get stamps, write letters. (What are those?)
  12. Listen to the quiet and your own thoughts. Then “Like” yourself mentally. (Touché)

Since quitting Facebook, Fitch says she’s had more time and energy to devote to her work. But despite the serenity of self-like, she is mourning the absence of the site, especially status updates and invitations to events. “There are some genuine moments of connection on Facebook,” she says. “I’m going to miss that.” Luckily she is still on Twitter.