Working On, Breaking Addictions: Social Media & Men

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Addiction is defined as a condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something otherwise known as an abnormally strong craving for a substance, person, or thing.

When you think of the word ‘addiction’ what image do you vision? If I’m a betting woman, it might be one of a sloppy, demeaning abusive husband who drinks flask after flask of Jack Daniels or it might be one of a 30-something woman who has lost her way and is hooked on heroine and will sell anything necessary to get her latest high even if it is herself or perhaps you think of a vampy – and probably tanned, blonde, and bodaciously blessed – young woman who is addicted to sex.

Those are the three addictions, right? Drugs, alcohol, and sex. Oh, there’s gambling, too, lest not forget about that one.

But what about an addiction to food? Addiction to elitism? An addiction to judgmental behavior?

Those aren’t nearly as glamorized and romanticized.

Let me tell you what two addictions – through the grace of God and my own incessant desire – I am able to kick this past year:

Men and Social Media.

I know what you’re thinking, “Social Media? You must be a loser to be addicted to Social Media.”  Or, “Men? What!? How many guys was she f**king??”

To answer the first question, social media, but especifically Twitter, where your favorite celebrities and athletes, media members and journalists are easily at your disposal, is more addictive than you realize; not even talking about the prevalent culture of basketball, which I was – unfortunately – enveloped by.

And the second question? I know this may become a shock, but one doesn’t have to sleep with the opposite sex to be addicted to them.

SURPRISE!!

Before I go any further, I want to thank my husband, Steven, who has to be the most patient, loving, compassionate man I have ever had the great pleasure of meeting. Steven was able to show that same type of forgiveness, love, and mercy towards me and was pivotal in rededicating my life.

I didn’t deserve to be forgiven; I didn’t deserve his love, but I was gifted it. I love you, Steven and thank you for reawakening myself and being a reverential and devoted source in my life.

Moving on, the past year has been a whirlwind of an emotional rainbow; blues of sadness, reds of anger and rage, yellows of adoration and joy, oranges of passion and healing, purples of loyalty and kindness, reds of love and affection, greens of infliction and hurt.

I have cried more in the past year than I believe I have ever cried in my lifetime and I have to give thanks to God for urging me that this time was the time I would finally realize my Greater Good through Him and take Jesus Christ’s hand out of the pit along with my own decisions to make this happen.

I imagine a few of you that are reading this already know that I was a derisive beacon on Twitter and of my former basketball tutelage in the customs of – what I thought – were bold, fresh, and candid.

I once believed this was my life, but what I didn’t realize I was settling for being used and abused by men, social media, and this world.

I thought I was being refreshing in using expletive after expletive, not adhering to some womanly mold that female journalists were suppose to adhere by – and this still applies – and being as raw and uncensored as possible. Perhaps, my heart was in the right place. Perhaps, I was naive about the basketball culture. Maybe I was in such a deep pit of anger, bitterness, and rebellion, that it felt SO GOOD to be recognized not as just a “hard worker” but for my physical attributes.

And I was sucked in.

I was hypnotized, mesmerized, stupefied, dazzled, enthralled by this sudden stroke to – what I thought was – an invisible ego. I had professional athletes at my disposal, local and nationally known journalists at the touch of my thumb, I had an electronic addiction that surpassed anything I could expect nor could control.

I became addicted practically overnight and lived a double life; a dutiful wife and mother at home and a mouthy vixen on the internet.

I didn’t know how to control it, and better yet, I probably didn’t want to. I wanted this attention – although it would turn unwanted – I wanted this glamorous life of having people SEEK me for information; COME to me for validation; SEARCH for me for reassurance.

I was playing a twitter god and I didn’t even realize it.

I was vindictive, malicious, angry, and I loved – more than anything – making people feel insignificant to pump myself up. I got virtually aroused by having well-known writers email me and wanting to know more about my lifestyle. And this is where I bit off more than I could ever chew and where naivety set in.

Don’t think I’m blameless, I deserve so much blame as I was so caught up in this haphazard life, that I honestly didn’t give anyone a second glance.

I was indifferent and apathetic if you were hurting, miserable or needed a helping hand.

It was Tammy’s way or the highway. End of story.

And don’t think for a second, that this was the work of Satan. God did give us the remarkable gift of free will, no? He gave us this awesome gift so we could choose which paths to go down, no? So, I’m certainly not going with the conservative rhetoric of blaming that guy for my ill-formed choices.

“In my view, God is all-powerful, but chooses to limit His agency by delegating a significant portion of His power to His creation.” – Roger Wolsey in Kissing Fish: Christianity for people who don’t like Christianity

Invitations for All-Star Games (even if I never accepted them), rendezvous’ (even if I never accepted them. Again.) and general acts of debauchery and immoralities filled my life. Even if I wanted a way out, I didn’t think I could.

Enter Jesus Christ.

It’s not a coincidence, although free will deserves credit, that the time Steven was dragging me to church was also the time I was hitting rock bottom.

I was so emotionally attached to men – emotional cheating is ions worse (and more accessible) than physical cheating – that the only thing that was visible to me was my own selfishness.

I saw nothing else. I didn’t see what was possibly wrong with inappropriately engaging virtually with the opposite sex, posting controversial pictures, and being an all-around tactless adversary for women’s rights.

Then May 31, 2013 happened.

Dime Magazine, an online “basketball” magazine, that’s directed toward the male audience put together an incredibly asinine and sexist list of 22 hot women that knew basketball.

I was on that list.

My first feeling was “Wow? Really?” and then it turned to embarrassment and shame as they had used a picture – without my permission – that wasn’t my best moment.

Suddenly, I was seen as an attention-seeking, trashy, invaluable, slutty woman and an entire interweb was hurling stones my way.

I didn’t get it. It wasn’t coincidence that two weeks later I recommitted my life back to Jesus Christ.

I was battered, abused, used up, and didn’t know what to do. How could my husband look at me after the emails he had read? The texts he had seen of illicit back-and-forths between me and others? How could he still love me? How could he show me mercy? How could he still *gulp* want me?

That was the trigger question: how could he want me and then I realized I was talking about God, too.

How could God want me???????

When I was younger, I was taught by a “church” that you can only come to God sinless. He doesn’t want your hurts, trials, addictions…He only wants your pureness.

God couldn’t possibly use me. God couldn’t possibly want me. I was too far gone. I was too stuck in my mire.

I questioned who I was. I incorrectly thought God didn’t want me and that Satan had a firm grasp on my soul. BOY, was I ever wrong.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Was I lost? Check

Did I need saving? Double check

And that’s exactly what Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior did, has done, and continues to work in my life.

The last time I wrote about basketball was on August, 13, 2013; it was that same week I decided this wasn’t how God wanted me to serve Him and with that went my expletive-laden addiction to Twitter/social media.

I absolved any contact with anyone that I had emotional connection with; I absolved my basketball writing; I absolved concerning myself with irrelevancies that sports represent (and yes, they are irrelevant); I absolved myself with being lured into a depraved, diabolical, and nefarious culture that preyed on insecure souls like myself. 

I absolved myself from myself!!! 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

And, make no mistake about it, a good portion of basketball/social media are not of the will of God; it was literally like being in a lion’s den. A continuous, virtual encirclement by ravenous creatures that preyed on the weak, tired, and insecure.

Metaphorically speaking, I was a juicy fat steak that ALLOWED the aforementioned.

Discernment and judgement must be used and we must know what our weaknesses are.

Mine were the social media (Twitter), men, and the summation when they both crossed my path virtually.

However, since absolving myself, praying and praying for God’s healing, and asking him to direct me to how I can serve Him best…He has brought me here.

To use those weaknesses…my hurt…my past trials…my past depravities to help others.

Am I still opinionated? YUP!

Am I inappropriately attached to any men? NOPE

Am I addicted to social media? NOPE

Is God using those aforementioned experiences to reach the others that are where I was? I believe so

I’m not perfect, heck, I’m not even good at what I do. I often say, I am not a writer, I’m just merely a talker and that has never rang truer than at this very moment.

So, how did I become addicted, you may ask? First, I am delighted you did, I became fascinated with how flattery – and yes flattery is different from being complimentary – made me feel. I felt special. I felt validated. I felt justified and in turn I justified my own erroneous behavior on coming from a dysfunctional family and, even worse, on not being loved at home. Which, was a deluded assessment on my behalf because I pushed my husband away – and emotionally wounded him – just to have my selfish wants and desires answered.

Basically, I was one messed up lady-jerk (Yes, lady-jerk is a word).

However, by the grace of God, I have been delivered and it’s something I waffled back and forth on writing about because I was still concerned how others perceived me. God woke me up at 12:30 yesterday morning and kept me awake until 4:00 a.m. – although, I certainly chose to not fall asleep, as well – until He was done whispering to me what I should be doing …to share more of my story…to bring someone else closer to Him for their own healing. Above all else, I could hear Him say, “don’t worry what they think, worry what I know.”

Well played, God. Well played.

I didn’t think this was all possible six months ago; everything is POSSIBLE and PROBABLE through God. I want to challenge myself further – as with my 2014 theme – to not be distracted by people, but be attracted to helping those that are hurting.

In summation, God wants us at our lowest, not our highest. You don’t go to the hospital when you’re healthy, right? So why would you come to Jesus Christ when everything is in place and in order?

Then, we can truly turn our focus on the love that God has instilled within us and forgo the tedious and gut-wrenching focus on our and our bretherns’ sins.

Breaking addictions with the love of God is emotionally draining at times, but this end reward of freedom is pretty fantastic.

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