The Addiction I Didn’t Want to Face

The text I sent Brooke went something like this:

“Hey, I’m going to leave my phone in the car, be back in 20 minutes or so…”

It felt really weird. I hadn’t gone without it for that long, maybe for years.

It was two Octobers ago, just a few weeks after 💩💩💩 hit the fan for us in our marriage and it felt like my world was falling apart.

Silas had a fall baseball game that evening, and I wanted him to know I was all in with him, fully present.

So we popped into the batting cages, just a mile or so from the ballpark. If it had been just a few weeks earlier, my phone would have been as connected to me as my own legs were.

And it feels embarrassing to even write it, but I likely would have taken pictures, maybe even a video. Just in case, you know, he really got into one that I could humbly say something about on Facebook or Instagram.

I would have couched it with a little false humility and a joke, but really I would have been begging for one of you to hit the like button or better yet, comment with something amazing like:

Whoa, Silas, great stroke.

Or maybe…

Attaboy Silas!

Or if I was really lucky…

I remember another young man who used to swing the bat like that, he must get that from his dad!

I’ve never done drugs, but they have to feel something like those 3 comments would have made me feel.

A great, although short, high. Leaving me craving more. And more.

Until all the comments and likes and shares and praise in the world left my heart cold and my soul shallow.

I even blogged about leaving my phone in the kitchen until after bedtime, but then I’d sneak down and check how many shares my articles got while no one was in the kitchen.

Or I’d write about staying engaged at home, while trying to stage some “candid photos” of the kids and then totally disengage with them to write the “story”.

Gross.

Like a recovering alcoholic, I’ll be a recovering “please say I’m awesome and that I’m OK” addict until I die.

But it felt really damn good to leave the phone in the car that fall evening. No one was there to capture it, but I’m sure I said something to Silas like…

Whoa Silas, great stroke.

Or maybe…

Attaboy Silas!

Or maybe even…

Hey bro, you swing it a little like your old man used to…

The cool thing is no one but him heard it.

And I didn’t have to try and impress some virtual crowd, the real crowd was a 7-year-old flesh and bones son right in front of me who has seen all my yucky parts and still thinks I’m awesome anyway.

So if you think I’m amazing, I’m not. If you think I’m a really engaged, model of a dad, come hang out at our house for a while and watch me lose my cool. If you think Brooke and I lead a fairy tale marriage because I write words about it, please keep reading them.

Because I have no motivation to stage “candid” stories anymore, though that temptation will whisper lies often.

And I’m sorry if you fell into my game, even a tiny bit. It was one I didn’t fully realize I was even playing myself.

The truth is I loved it, even though I knew it was killing me.

That’s what an addiction is I’m learning…

Follow My Blog to Get the Daily Story

Copyright © 2024 Justin Ricklefs. All Rights Reserved.