A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm doing a lot better now. I turned my Blackberry off.

Hi, My name is Jim and I am an email addict.
The room says: “Hi, Jim!”
This is my story.
It started off innocently enough. I got AOL on my lumbering 286. I didn’t use too often in those early days. You had to get your connection and that was time consuming. And you paid your connection by the minute. Ouch! But still the sound of that voice got its hooks into me. “You’ve got mail.” Wow! What a rush it was.
Then came the day I moved on to an actual ISP. My connection of choice was epix and even though it was still dial up I was using a couple of hours a day. Emails were still kind of a novelty back then so it was exciting when I was able to communicate back and forth with another person. Gee isn’t technology great? Of course all this was done mostly after dark. In the privacy of my own home.
Spam was still in the kitchen cupboard.
Then came the day I started using email at work. All of a sudden I was checking my email two three sometimes even four times a day! I knew it was taking away from my work but I couldn’t help myself. One day I even found myself sending an email to the person in the office next to me. What was wrong with me? Couldn’t I get away from my email long enough to talk to a real live person just steps away? I was well on my way to becoming the addict I am now.
Soon I had an email monkey on my back. I set my desk top computer up so I could check all of my email accounts constantly. By now I had five email addresses and almost all my time was consumed with reading and responding to email. I kidded myself that it was job related but most of it wasn’t. And by this time the emails were all being cut with spam. To get to the good stuff you had to sort through all the seeds and stems of that junk. And when I left the office I raced home and got my connection going for my home computer and wasted hours I could have been
Watching TV or sleeping checking my email. The inbox was consuming my life. And I was powerless to stop.
Soon the connections both at work and at home got faster and better. Now I was mainlining email at home with DSL. It made the old dial up stuff seem like drinking warm water. This was so intoxicating that I spent more time on email than I did anything else. I had computers in every place I went. Wireless laptops hidden around the house so I could get my fix.
I knew that I was hitting rock bottom when I got my Blackberry. Now I could check my email anywhere. It’s shameful to me now to admit the places that I logged on. I looked at email while at business lunches. I checked the inbox while I was in meetings. I was in agony when the network went down. How could I live without my connection? When I found myself answering an email while I was on the toilet I knew it was time to come here, to the rooms of e.m.a.a. Email addicts anonymous. I had hit rock bottom.
The road to recovery is slow. All around me are the temptations to log on and get a quick email fix. My job does require me to use email but I am keeping my use down to an hour or so a day. I have sought out help from the IT department to help me cut down on spam and to help me work a plan to manage my habit.
I know that I have a long way to go but I have hope. You can too. Just remember. One email at a time.
By the way. Can someone email me when the next meeting is?

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