02/28/2011 03:48 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

What's Your Addiction?

I had one of those moments a week or so ago that you hate to admit to anybody! But I'm also sure I'm not alone in this. On one of my many trips between New York City and Maine last week (my prosthetist is on Long Island and I'm in Maine), I found myself more and more eager to have to stop at a red light.

And why would I want to be slowed down on my long trip in this way? Because these little stops allowed me to sneak a peak at my e-mail on my new iPhone. Is this safe? Definitely not, especially if I hesitated a moment longer than people expected me to.

I realized how easy it's becoming to get sucked into your technology of choice! Even as I was doing this that day, I felt kind of crazy, but out of boredom -- or the thrill of connection -- I engaged in it.

Yes, it's a long drive back, but I made it so much longer than necessary because of what is feeling ever more like a real addiction to me. Each time I stopped -- for lunch once and gas another time -- I spent a half-hour checking my e-mail and Facebook messages. All told, it made my drive an hour longer than it had to be.

In "Addict Nation" (which I happen to be reading), addiction experts Jane Velez-Mitchell and Sandra Mohr describe the addictive process as beginning with the craving you get for an addictive substance, then the stimulating effect or the high you get from it, then the remorse -- a pattern that many repeat over and over again. As a recovered sugar-addict myself, I am all-too-familiar with that pattern, especially the remorse part. Sound familiar to anyone?

What I was left with was making a decision to nip my addiction in the bud. I will not let my iPhone be this important! I will no longer be checking my e-mails while on the road and may even remove the e-mail/Facebook apps and stick to what I bought the iPhone for in the first place: its great camera! (Really!) And I've vowed not to check anything at red lights anymore. To top it off, I decided a couple of days ago to take a whole day's break from my computer and to set some work limits, so that I'm not working at all hours and weekends as much as I had been. I checked my e-mails (took 20 minutes) and shut it down that morning ... and then experienced many episodes of withdrawal! I resisted the urge -- and boy, was it ultimately freeing. I highly recommend that you, too, take a break from these kind of very real addictions!

Have you overcome an addiction? Sugar? Sex? Checking e-mail? What helped you? Feel free to tell me about it about it here in the comments section.


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