My Failed Facebook Dry-Out

If this one sounds familiar, that’s because it originally ran March 28, 2012. I edited and reposted it for this week’s Yeah Write Challenge.

I gave up social media for Lent this year, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that it didn’t last. Let’s face it: I am a Facebook junkie. I like to “check in.” I like to “like” things. When I go a day without updating my status, people text me to make sure I’m OK. That last part probably sounds like an exaggeration, but sadly it is true.

Inspired by my husband, who gives up alcohol every year for Lent, I decided to try some clean living of my own. For 46 days (actually 40 because Sundays don’t count during Lent), I would give up Bejeweled Blitz (I am embarrassed to admit how much time I spent matching and detonating jewels); checking in (how would anyone know about the fun places I visited?); and updating my status (almost unthinkable for someone who has as much to say as I do).

Since I am not Catholic, I figured I would make my own rules and start Lent early. On Feb. 8, I announced my intentions publicly, via status update, of course. My friends wished me well and offered words of encouragement. One went so far as to send me a sympathy card the first week. No, I’m not making that up.

Somehow this perpetual Facebooker managed to quit cold turkey. For an entire week I did not take a single peek at my page or anyone else’s.

All was well until I realized that an email address I desperately needed was only available to me on Facebook. I knew I’d be cheating if I ventured back to the dark side and, although I may not be Catholic, I am prone to overwhelming guilt. So I signed on, got the email and admitted my lapse in a status update. I also said a quick hello because Lent hadn’t officially started and the temptation to let my 416 friends know how much I missed them was more than I could bear — even if most of them probably had no idea I had left Facebook in the first place.

Hoping it would be an isolated slip-up, I climbed back on the wagon. Again, I lasted about a week. This time I felt the overwhelming need to brag about my options guru husband, who had made an appearance on Fox Business News. It was a really big day for him, and he is not one to boast about his accomplishments. Someone had to do it for him, right?

By the time Fat Tuesday rolled around I knew I was in serious trouble. Giving up Bejeweled Blitz was nothing. It was going without the social interaction that was doing me in. So I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone, and I deactivated my account.

I did pretty well initially. I logged in on two separate Sundays (the Catholic Church says they don’t count, remember?), but I deactivated my account before Monday, when Lent resumes.

Then I was faced with the mother of all tests of my addiction: My daughter, a fifth grader, won an essay contest. As her mom, I would have been proud of this regardless. But as a professional editor and on-again, off-again writer, I was thrilled. I had to let my friends know. I just had to. So I signed on to my dog’s account (yes, my Yorkshire Terrier, Rosebud, has her own Facebook page), and I sang my daughter’s praises. Rosebud only has 38 friends on Facebook, but, hey, it was something.

It was a Friday, not a Sunday, and I was on Facebook posing as my dog. I knew I had reached a true low point, so I gave up and reactivated my own account. Lent, for me, was officially over two weeks early.

Our dog, Rosebud, unsuspecting victim of FB identity theft

Am I embarrassed that I couldn’t last the full 40 days? A little. But I’m proud too. Although I’m a miserable failure at making Lenten sacrifices, I did accomplish what I had set out to do during my Facebook sabbatical: I started this blog.

After months of thinking and talking about it, of agonizing over putting myself out there and writing again, I did it. And I’m pretty proud of myself, broken Lenten promise or not.

I’m not sure where this journey is going to take me, but I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted in my Facebook status updates. Oh, and for the record, my husband is still happily on the wagon.

39 thoughts on “My Failed Facebook Dry-Out

  1. I think you could have described your addiction in just these words – “My dog has a Facebook account.”
    I love how this story takes us to the birth of your blog. Out of great sacrifice comes great success. Nicely done.


    • It’s pretty pathetic, isn’t it? I try to justify it by saying Facebook is like my office water cooler since I work from home. Do you buy that?

  2. That’s actually really awesome that you started the blog. Now, don’t forget to use facebook to promote it! You should have an option to add sidebar widgets, and one of those should be to your blog’s own facebook page (said she who does not see said button and will feel like an idiot if she’s just completely overlooking it.)

    • Thanks! I have become less enchanted with Facebook since discovering Twitter. People keep it real over there, and I like that. FB pages sometimes feel a bit like marketing campaigns. I want to know the person, not read his or her press kit.

  3. Kathleen, I’m glad to be grid mates again. Your posts always move me in some way. And this one does not disappoint. I was moved to laugh out loud at your FB addiction. And your description of giving up something for Lent. I was raised Catholic (though am now lapsed) so I know well what this is all about. Definitely our gain that you started this blog. Your endearing personality shines through. Anyone who has a FB page for their dog is someone I want to know. I joined FB after I started my blog so I am still learning the ropes. 416 friends? Room for one more? Funny post. I enjoyed the peek into your life.

    • Thanks so much, Steph. I appreciate your kind words. I’m so happy to have discovered you and all the other wonderful folks in the Yeah Write community.

      P.S. My blog FB page just “liked” your blog FB page. If you send me an inbox message with your full name, I’ll friend you via my personal FB page.

  4. Since we’re sharing and all, my dog has a facebook account too. We started it for her to get further ahead when we were playing Mafia Wars O_o.

    This post made me chuckle 😀

    • Haha! My husband and I used to be addicted to Mob Wars a few years ago. It was ridiculous.

      Aside from finally starting my blog, the other good thing that came out of my FB dry-out was that I never went back to playing Bejeweled Blitz. It was like crack for me. I mean, I really had a problem. At night when I would try to fall asleep, I’d see jewels exploding in my head.

  5. Ok, this post is the greatest ever. I love that you observed Lent and weren’t catholic and then started early and then logged in as your dog, who is so cute and I am not a dog person. Anyway, I am so impressed you made it a week. That’s not easy. In fact, it’s so dang hard. I am proud of you. and your daughter and your husband. And rosebud. Also, I count the time you stayed off, not your lapses. So funny and relatable.

    • Thanks so much, Christie. The whole experience reinforced something I already knew: I have absolutely no will power. Everything is all or nothing. It’s a good thing when it comes to healthy pursuits, but not so much in terms of vices.

  6. Oh I can’t believe Rosebud isn’t friends with Ivy and Revel! I guess she would have to “like” them, since their page is one of those, but I’ll tell them to friend her. Great post, and glad to know how your blog started.

  7. hehe i love this oh so much. i’m not a big fan of facebook or twitter, but i’m aware of how addicting it can be. Rosebud’s account? too funny. i’m SO glad you started blogging though.

  8. I am Catholic and the rules are sometimes loosey goosey. I loved that you observed when not and I laughed so hard when you logged in as pooch! Perfect. Hey, you gave it a shot! I give up gossip every year and I get almost to 40 days. It’s worth a try. Right? Great story!

    • Thanks, Gina. Giving up gossip must be really tough too. It’s so easy to get sucked into it. I always feel a little dirty after I gossip, though.

  9. Oh my gosh, I so identify!! I handle my work’s Facebook page. And since I’m on already, what’s wrong with posting an update or two of my own? Except I get in trouble for that.

    But I can’t seem to stop myself. I’m a good employee, and I’m pretty sure if I ever get fired it’s going to be because I couldn’t help myself from posting a link to a favorite blogger’s post on my Facebook account during work hours.

    So I think you are a genius for posting from your sweet dog’s page. I have a sneaking suspicion my cat is about to become a Facebooker.

    Great post!

    • Thanks, Kenja. It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it, the whole Facebooking at work thing?

      If your cat joins Facebook, we need to let Rosebud know.

  10. This is awesome. The dog account is hilarious and writing from it? Beyond hilarious. I’m not good at sacrificing anything, so I could relate to this post. I could give up blogging and FB for a while. But, don’t ask me to give up coffee or TV. Those are my vices.
    Great, great post.

  11. I love this! Social media is so addicting. You captured it so so well, I just love that you used Rosebuds acct (hmmm, my dog needs a FB page). Awesome. And, since you aren’t Catholic, God can’t be too mad at you for falling off the Lent wagon 😉

    I have a sort-of similar blog story. Mine was set up for a year before I actually did anything. It took breaking my foot to free up the time to actually do it (and that was also back in March so we started at similar times). I only had FB then but now that I am on twitter, instagram, pinterest and G+ I’m having a hard time with it all (I am currently pretty much ignoring G+ and pinterest). What I’m really annoying are household tasks…

      • I hear ya, Stacie. I opened a Google+ account, but I rarely use it. And I won’t even try Pinterest after seeing how addicted to it some of my Facebook friends have become. My rampant Facebooking and tweeting are enough to keep my house looking like a hurricane hit it.

  12. Oh, too funny! And posting as your dog is the equivalent of taking cake out of the trash can, LOL! I don’t think I could give it up cold turkey… I’ve cut back the facebooking to mainly promoting blog posts because the election posts are making me insane. I know everyone is entitled to an opinion, I’ve just hit my limit on political opinions. Everyone seems to vomit them onto facebook…

  13. Funny stuff. I wrote a post about my own facebook addiciton last month. It was called “You will like every photo I post.” When I put up cute pictures of my kids (which is like all the damn time), I actually will say things like, “What the hell? Why hasn’t Kate liked the picture of Emily eating a push-up popsicle yet?” Then my husband reminds me I’m ridicilous. 🙂

  14. I find myself on Twitter a whole lot more now, but for a while I was there too with the “Are you ok?” texts!! Glad that you got the time you needed to get the blog up though!

    • Thanks, Michelle. I agree about Twitter. I didn’t become active on it until I started my blog. I really like the vibe over there better than on Facebook. Twitter is candid and raw, while Facebook feels like a bunch of people marketing themselves a little too hard.

    • Thanks, Ashley. My kids are 11 and 13, and I really miss the baby years. When my good friend got pregnant two years ago with her third child, I had baby fever pretty bad. My husband’s compromise: a puppy. So I guess you could say she’s like my third child and I spoil her and brag about her accordingly.

  15. I love this! I may need to start up a FB account for my dog since I post so many pictures of him anyway. Otis will friend Rosebud!

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