Friday, November 22, 2013

Soft Addictions

Judith Wright has written a book, called There Must Be More Than This. In it, she describes some things one might not consider sins or addictions. She calls these "soft addictions." Examples include doing nearly anything to excess: shopping, FaceBooking, chat rooming, primping, game playing, and many more -- activities that become necessary to us and to which we lose control. For a more complete list, I recommend reading the book.

I do not have time for many of the things on Wright's list nor interest in most of the others. However, I had noticed that I had spent an increasing amount of time playing Farmville, a rather addictive game hosted on FaceBook. I had a large and beautiful American farm, which took considerable time to build, initially accomplished sitting in airport lounges while traveling (in lieu of reading, writing, or even simply praying). I had not noticed what Farmville was replacing in my life. That is the way it is with addictions. It soothed my mind, I justified to myself, and soon I had built an equally beautiful but quite different English farm. Now I had to tend my crops in both locations so that they did not die. I added buildings, built up a play-money cash reserve of millions, acquired two dogs, and was close to reaching Level 100, even sure what the significance of that might be. I barely noticed that my mind was not soothed but numbed. I reached Level 94 when I made a terrible mistake. Instead of clicking on "remove post," I clicked on "remove Farmville." I could not retrieve anything, no matter how I tried -- and I really did try.

Was it an accident? Or a Divine contrivance? I suppose I will never really know, but I am back to reading, writing, and especially praying in my "spare" time, of which I now have more. My mind is indeed soothed -- and no longer numb.


  1. Elizabeth,
    Your post reminds me of a story my husband related to me last month:

    A young man was stopped by an police officer."Young man!" said the officer, "You were swerving all over the road! Were you texting while driving?!"
    The man, full of indignation, exclaimed, "No Officer, I would NEVER do that! I was harvesting my crops on Farmville!

    I couldn't help but laugh ;), blogger, facebook, shopping, and so many other things start off so innocently and then we get carried away. Myself included. Not with Farmville, I get sucked in much easier than that (lol) - one of my soft addictions used to be a kid's Playstation game called Spyro the Dragon. I could play that game for hours on end (and I didn't even have a kid to blame at the time). I would sometimes go to bed at night and see little winged cartoon dragons flying through my mind until I dozed off :) And, boy o boy, I'd walk 5 miles for a Diet Coke - must be on tap with plenty of carbonation of course. I broke both these habits but the Diet Coke one snuck back in last winter.

    God have mercy on me in this area - I am forever trying to correct bad habits. Some are laughable, others not. Both concern me. My house has so many books that my husband bought me a Kindle. These soft addictions can happen in almost every area. And worse ...they sneak up on you. Sigh.

  2. Oh I have some too, I 'd like to read this book too.


  3. Thanks, Mary and Amrita, glad I am not alone.

    Hi Andrea, hope Sitka and Nanuq are well -- will drop by this evening.