My Two Months in Facebook Rehab

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, file photo, a Facebook User Operations Safety Team worker looks at reviews at Facebook
FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, file photo, a Facebook User Operations Safety Team worker looks at reviews at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Curating your facebook news feed, and other practices that can help personalize a user's facebook activity can be burdensome process, but the result: Less tabloid magazine, more personal messages and cute pictures from people who are actually your friends. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

A year ago, my family staged an intervention. They said I'd become addicted to Facebook and it was destroying my life and the lives of my family and friends. Of course I denied it. Me? Addicted to Facebook? No way. While they made their case, I was Facebook-chatting on my iPhone with a woman from Phoenix named Barbara, poking a hottie named Lana and commenting on a photo of somebody's banana bread.

When I looked up, my family and friends were staring at me in a way that said, "Put the damn thing down, asshole." I asked them to smile so I could take a group photo of them and post it with the status entry, "My Intervention."

I'll admit that my life changed after I joined Facebook but I wasn't addicted. I knew I could stop anytime I wanted. Granted, I was fired from my job as an air traffic controller because two Lear jets almost crashed when I was commenting on a post featuring a photo of a cute cat playing with a ball of yarn (my comment got three "likes!"). I get such an incredible rush when I get a "like."

Things continued to change, but it had nothing to do with Facebook. After getting fired, my wife kicked me out of the house because, during sex, I was posting a picture of some interesting-looking dirt, so I unfriended my wife and blocked her. I messaged her that I wanted a divorce. We'd had issues anyway, mainly because she never commented on my posts.

I couldn't get another job and money grew scarce. I lost my house and emptied my 401(k). I kept my iPhone, but sold my laptop and iPad. How was I going to pay my phone bills? I freaked out -- no phone meant I'd have no Internet. How long could I endure that? I'd been told by one of the guys I lived with in the alley behind a Chinese restaurant that withdrawal was not a pretty sight. He said he once saw a guy writhing on the ground and yelling, "I need a poke! Just one more poke!"

To keep my Internet lifeline, I turned to robbery. Once, when I was hitting a 711, I accidentally shot myself in the leg because I was busy scrolling down the page, giving a "like" to very post, and my finger hit the trigger. I limped away, but I was bleeding badly, so I hobbled to a hospital, where I refused treatment because the surgeons wouldn't let me take my iPhone into the operating room so I could post a video of the doctors opening up my leg. That could've gotten at least thirty comments!

Long story short, my family and friends put me in rehab. Of course, I had my iPhone hidden in my ass crack, but they found it and confiscated it.

Every day, we sat in a room and told our stories, but we were not allowed to use the words "post," "comment," "poke," "friend," "share," "timeline" or "status." Sometimes, a few of us would meet secretly and verbally post and comment on an imaginary Facebook feed until the orderlies caught us and disbanded the group. A guy named Bob was so desperate, he drew his timeline on a piece of paper and made a mouse out of clay in art therapy. When the orderlies took away his writing implements and prohibited him from sculpting, he tried to hang himself, but someone reminded him that he couldn't post a video of the suicide, so he took off the noose.

Two months later, I was released. I felt like a new man. I would still have to attend Facebook Anonymous meetings every week, and I was not allowed to get the Facebook app, but that was okay. I got a sponsor named Dave who had started on MySpace as a teen before getting into the hard stuff. He kept me clean.

I haven't gone on Facebook in a year. Whenever I am tempted, I speak to God. We have a special relationship because I had friended Him two years ago. He'd poked me twice.

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