The bubble glow dream…..

I had a scary dream last night. Here’s how it went:

Me: “Hi, my name is Al and I’m a blogoholic.”

(Group, in unison): “Hi, Al.”

Moderator: “You do know this is Alcoholics Anonymous, don’t you?”

Me: “Yes, but there’s no support group for blogoholics. WordPress has all kinds of support groups for how to blog, but that just gets you in deeper. It’s like they want you in their clutches. Please hear my story!”

Moderator: “OK, if the group agrees” (murmuring of assent among the group, as if relieved that their problems are nowhere near as bad).

Me: ” I’ve been blogging for over two and a half years. At first, I was pretty open about my blogging. I thought that developing my writing was a good thing. I convinced myself that I didn’t care if anyone commented or not. It was just me and that keyboard, exorcising all those crazy thought demons that had been clogging up my brain waves. But then it happened. Someone commented. They said they thought I was funny. Me, the guy who couldn’t remember a joke or tell a funny story, was suddenly funny to someone else. I thought maybe it was an aberration that would pass and I shouldn’t get too excited.”

Moderator: “That doesn’t sound so bad. What happened next?”

Me: “Then another comment got posted. It was also positive. I felt little beads of sweat forming on my brow. I tingled at the thought that I had actually reached out into cyberspace and my ‘voice’ was being heard. What’s more, they liked it. I was more elated than a bunch of scientists at SETI finally getting an extraterrestrial signal from outer space.” (scattered laughter among group)

Moderator: “Did you hear a sound like a little ‘ping’ in the back of your head? That’s usually the first sign of addiction.”

Me: “”Yes, that’s exactly what it was like. My wife tried to tell me it was the stove timer (she was making a delicious brisket, by the way), but I knew better. I began to realize that I couldn’t leave it at that, you know, just appreciating the occasional comment. I wanted more. I found out that WordPress was keeping a stats site. It kept up with how many people were visiting and reading your blogs and making comments. It even told me where they were from. It became my bible. The bar graph was intoxicating. Oops, I’m sorry, am I allowed to say that here? Anyway, I also discovered that other bloggers were getting a lot more visits and followers than me. My competitive juices started to flow. I was obsessed with building my numbers. I tried every topic I could think of to increase the number of followers of my blog site. I kept telling myself that if I got just one more follower then I would quit. But then WordPress started posting my ‘milestones’. They were encouraging me to go for the next plateau. They were the worst kind of enablers!”

Moderator: “We all know about enablers, Al.”

Me: “Then things really began to snowball. My wife started to talk about the amount of time I was spending at the computer. She said I wasn’t spending enough time there. She felt invested in my blog and was embarrassed when her friends asked how many followers I had. There was nowhere to turn, not that I wanted to turn anywhere anyway. But on the other hand, I was afraid I was going to be sucked into the black hole that all bloggers fear…the post-a-day group!”

Moderator: “Everyone talks about ‘hitting bottom’ just before they come here. What was your bottom?”

Me: “For me it was the glowing bubble. WordPress has a symbol, an indicator bubble that glows bright when someone has posted a comment on one of your blogs. It’s the first thing a blogger looks for when they open WordPress. I convinced myself that I was only casually aware of it at first, but I was only kidding myself. It became my life. I would post a blog and sit there for hours waiting and counting each time the bubble glowed. But even that wasn’t enough. I started to comment on every other blog on WordPress so they would have to comment back and make the bubble glow. I was bubble bingeing! I was so ashamed.”

Moderator: “Take heart, Al. I think your coming here and relating this story will help you start to recover from this addiction. Here’s a suggestion. A lot of us here journal our story. We find writing it down helps us to let it go” (group nods in agreement).

Me: “Thanks, I’ll do that. Maybe it will get Freshly Pressed.”