IF IT'S THERE, WE'LL USE IT

humans lack willpower. especially in relation to things we are addicted to. often when we make claims of becoming 'sober' or quitting smoking, or not eating particular items, we do so in a state of mind that has the best of intentions. we do it when our willpower is strong and our temptation weak. what humans do poorly is account for times when our willpower is weak and our temptation strong; times when our mental state is most vulnerable. perhaps we're lonely. perhaps we're bored. perhaps we're hurting. these are the moments we don't plan for when we decide to go 'clean'. and it's in these moments that we often 'relapse'.


there's a reason that alcoholics are not permitted to have alcohol in their house when they're trying to give up drinking. because no matter how strong willed someone is, if something is accessible, it's more likely to be used than if something isn't accessible. i liken this to shootings in america - the pure act of owning a gun means the likelihood of shooting someone is 100% higher than if someone doesn't own a gun. what we don't have, we can't use.


this is true too, for internet and our phones. for the past few years i've spoken openly about my desire to limit my phone usage. i recently travelled to Africa where i so badly wanted to disconnect, to be fully present with my family, and to experiment without having a phone. and it worked, when i didn't have internet. for almost five days, there was no internet access. we were in the bush, with no power. so all i could use my phone for was taking photos, but even that was limited because i had no means to charge my phone once it went flat. and these five days happened to be the best five days of my trip. why? because i was fully present. because i couldn't be anywhere but where i was.


when we got back to the main camp, i messaged my partner stating that i really didn't want to use my phone for the rest of the trip. she naturally understood and encouraged me to be present too. and as much as i tried / wanted to, i couldn't. the mere notion of having wifi, meant it was accessible. and if it was accessible, i was using it. and i hate that about myself. i wish that i had the willpower not to. the only time i didn't use my phone was when i didn't have it with me - when i left it in my room for lunch or dinner. but if it was on me, i used it.


the worst part is that even if i wasn't actively using my phone, my mind wasn't fully present. i was somewhere else. i was thinking about home. i was thinking about my partner. about soccer. and all i needed to do was turn off airplane mode and i would be transported back there. but without internet, that transportation didn't occur. that distraction didn't happen. westerners travelling to these African camps are all pushing for more internet access; for quicker wifi and for greater range. but i plead that they remove wifi altogether. because internet detracts from one's experience. it detracts from being present. and no matter how much someone might want to disconnect, if it's there, we'll use it.




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