[from Essay May 2020]

There’s an addiction that the news media has supported for years. The media is the supplier. We, the masses, are the consumers. The drug is adrenaline. The fight or flight response is measurable. You don’t need a sanitized laboratory to test the physical reactions you exhibit in response to hearing and seeing real life tragedy on television. You can feel it.

Now I can’t tell you how these emotions affect most people. But I’m a Sexaholic, Alcoholic! So it matters to me. The 12&12 (page 88) indicates that the acid test for sobriety includes emotional balance. The Big Book indicates that one’s disposition prior to a slip is being “restless, irritable and discontent.”

Nothing will make me restless, irritable, and discontented faster than furious ego-driven arguments. Whether on the television, the radio, at work, in my home, or in my very own head. I’m a real sexaholic, and if I want to obtain long-term sobriety I must eliminate that language and those arguments from my life. I must do as the 12&12 suggests on page 26, and resign from the debating society.

Here’s what I did to resign. I walked away from live media (TV, radio, internet news) cold turkey, for a few weeks.

– I could feel how my body reacted.

– I knew that I was passing through the well-known stages of withdrawal.

– After a couple weeks I would go back for a hit every now and then.

This went on for at least 2 years. I would have a couple weeks of solid abstinence and then go back to the news for a half an hour. That day I would call my sponsor and explain to him how going back affected me.

I didn’t really know how serious a problem this was for me until this period of abstinence from the news media and arguments in general. When I saw what it did to me physically, I knew what I had to do. I went away and I haven’t gone back. It’s been about 2 years since I have gone out of my way to visit TV, radio, or internet news. I just don’t do it.

By avoiding the media and arguments in general, I’ve been able to have a lot more peace in my day-to-day life. I’ve also found a lot more tolerance for others. I’ve found some of my views on political and social issues relaxing. That’s probably one of the nicest side effects: I’ve become more tolerant of others.

Resigning from the debating society has been one of the most important aspects of my emotional sobriety. Regarding news and politics, I’ve decided to observe the 10th tradition and refrain from having an opinion. I can’t tell you how much of my life I’ve wasted having an opinion on something I can’t do anything about.

And I wouldn’t have any sobriety if it weren’t for AA and SA, so thank you very much!

Jesse, Alabama USA