Sunday, December 03, 2006

TV Free During Weeks

I'm reading a book on writing, authored by perhaps the most prolific writer ever, Stephen King. In many ways, it's a memoir, and he talks about his alcoholism. Now, I'm a little paranoid about drinking and, really, everything else. I'm always wondering, "Could that be me?" But I couldn't even make comparisons with King. The man drank Scope, for God's sake. He also did cocaine. Apparently, he doesn't even remember writing most of Cugo.

It's a sad story, but there's a happy ending: His family finally confronted him and he decided to give up drugs and alcohol - even if it meant giving up writing, which in his addicted-addled mind, it would - to stay with his family.

But he gave up a lot before then. Addiction demanded a lot from him, including covering up his addiction and putting it before anything else. In fact, he feels the woman in Misery is actually alcohol, holding him prisoner, forcing him to write at its whims.

It made me think: What has that much control over me? What keeps me from the people and things I love?

And the answer was so obvious: TV.

I am a TV addict.

At first, it was just nights. I'm "too tired" to work so I just watch TV. Then, I need to rest, so I turn on the TV during the day when I should be playing with my daughter. First, it's just one show. Then it's two. And so on.

It's not just current shows, either. It's movies and series from Netflix. Series I've used my DVR to record and am now "really into." I probably easily watch 35 hours a week of TV.

So I've decided to break that habit.

I'm moving the TV to the basement so it won't dominate our living room. I'm eliminating TV during the week - except for Lost (if it's ever on again) and ONE episode of educational TV for my daughter. Eventually, I'll eliminate that show from the week as well, but I figure she's three - I shouldn't force her to go cold turkey.

I've deleted all but a few movies from the Netflix queue. I'm going to eliminate it entirely after I've seen those flicks. And I've cut down my recordings to the shows I truly love to view in place of weekend movies: Scrubs, Earl, Heroes and the Biggest Loser. If I watch those, that will still be an hour and a half of TV on the weekends. Plenty.

I have an escalation plan, in case that doesn't work. The plan is to get rid of all but basic cable, (otherwise we wouldn't pick up anything). If that doesn't work, then the DVR and cable go. And if that doesn't work - well, bye-bye TV. But I hope it doesn't come to that. We do love to watch movies.

This will be hardest on me, but hardest to explain to my already-tv addicted three year old. I feel tons of guilt for doing that to her - creating the addiction, not cutting back on TV - but she already seems to be adjusting better than I.

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