Disclaimer: The following subject matter deals with a personal journey to Hell and back. It is a story of one man's struggle to overcome his demons and find peace, without the hounding torment of a psychological addiction driving the constant pursuit of the next fix.

They say the first step to recovery is the admission of a problem. Well here it is, and here I am: I am addicted to Facebook. It started out innocently enough as experimentation with a Hotmail account, sending emails to friends now and then, just keeping in touch. Later I was introduced to MSN Messenger (game changer), and soon after that, MySpace. But all of these innocuous “social networking” tools were just a gateway to the ultimate thrill: Facebook.

I, like Neo, had chosen to take the red pill, only to wake up to the harsh reality that I didn't actually have any friends.Starting out with a single friend (Bulbasaur, if you will), I was soon in a race to acquire every single human being I have ever come in contact with during my entire existence (150) as a friend. I'll spare the details on how fucking cool Facebook is, because you clearly have an account already since you're reading this on the internet.

They say you really need to hit rock bottom before you see a need to make a change. The signs were all there: Facebook application on cell phone, obsessive compulsive status checking, and in-depth knowledge about current events in hundreds of strangers' lives. My wake-up call came with the realization that I couldn't do anything non-Facebook related on the internet for more than three minutes without feeling bugs crawling under my skin.

Cold turkey in the snow outside
The cold turkey didn't realize how lonely life could be until he was no longer pursued.
It was time to quit, and quit for real. Cold turkey. None of this “temporarily disable” bullshit, where you can restore full access to your account any time you feel weak and lonely. Full exclusion is the only way to quit anything ever, at least truthfully. Assholes who say they “quit smoking, but still have one every now and then” haven't quit anything; they continue to smoke and therefore continue to be smokers and liars. It's like recovering alcoholics who claim they bought a drink just to prove to themselves they wouldn't drink it. If you're an addict, at least be honest and don't lie about quitting; it cheapens the accomplishment for everyone who's actually conquered their vices.

(While I'm on the subject, alcoholism is not a disease. Drinking is a choice; obtaining alcohol and subsequently consuming it is a willful action. Own up to your choices and stop pretending to be a victim to events that are “out of your control.” If an alcoholic has a disease then by that logic a child who was molested by a priest has a disease. The child [alcoholic] did not want to get molested [drunk] by a priest [alcohol], the priest [alcohol] forced himself onto the child [alcoholic] who resisted priest [alcohol] at first, but was ultimately overpowered by the disease that made him get molested [drunk]. I guess we need to redefine “rape.”

rape – a primacy, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic impaired control over flirting, preoccupation with wearing slutty clothing, use of “come fuck me” eyes despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.)

Goodwill Hunting movie - Robin Williams explains to Matt Damon

So I quit Facebook fully and completely. All information—every picture and comment associated with my account—was removed from the internets forever. I was off the grid, practically unreachable, unlisted. Newly unplugged from the machine, I looked around at the world I found myself in. I, like Neo, had chosen to take the red pill, only to wake up to the harsh reality that I didn't actually have any friends. I felt comfortable and confident with my decision to quit “booking” as the kids call it, but sure enough, seconds later, I got the fear.

 The Stages of Facebook Withdrawal

Symptoms: Tachycardia, diaphoresis, catatonia, priapism.

    1. Withdrawal: After opting to permanently delete my account, I was informed that I had a 14-day period to change my mind and embrace the addiction again. If you log into your account at any time during the fortnight of friendlessness, the permanent deletion is aborted. So stage one of relinquishing Facebook is preparation. For this you will need one room which you will not leave.


    1. The Honeymoon: Life is great without Facebook; you have no idea why you ever needed it in the first place. I realized how much time I wasted on trivial eavesdropping and pointless connectivity. All computer-related tasks were suddenly completed efficiently and in a timely manner (you no longer have to stop watching porn because of the stupid bell that goes off when someone sends you a message for no reason). Oh what's this, a real book?!


    1. The Wall: Everything was going smoothly until I needed to contact someone. I used to hate those assholes without a Facebook account, and now I was one of them. I don't have anyone's phone number, because who uses a telephone anyway? You find yourself being forced to talk to people in person, a truly horrifying experience. You don't get invited anywhere and lose all of your social connections.


    1. Adjustment: Usually this is the part where you accept the changes required to move on and live addiction-free. I lasted two months Facebook-free, but I guess after the third stage of withdrawal I went on to…


    1. Denial: The Holocaust didn't happen.


    1. Regret: Should have punched Bieber when I had the chance.


    1. Relapse: I got a new Facebook account 🙁


  1. Recovery: The seventh studio album by American rapper Eminem, released June 18, 2010.