Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Addiction

As a counselor I know how helpful groups can be to clients, including those with addictions. I already know what my next group is going to be. And I aim to start it, just as soon as I beat the addiction.

I’m talking about my addiction to books. It’s been a lifelong battle, you see. I grew up in a family that loved to read. We didn’t get a television set until I was about 12, and as a young boy my family would often sit together in the evening while Mom would read several chapters of The Little House on the Prairie series. Mom could really make a story come alive and we loved listening. As soon as I was able to read I was off and running. I brought books home from the school library, as many as I could get. When we’d go to town on Saturdays the public library would be our first stop, and I’d spend the rest of the afternoon in the car reading my books, no matter how hot or cold it was. Back in those days it was often a Happy Hollisters mystery. I’d finish it before we left for church the next morning.

Several times a year at my daughter’s daycare they have book fairs, and Linnea always wants to load up on books. Seeing her Scholastic Books catalog is a reminder of how I used to drag their catalog home from school when I was a boy and beg and plead for my parents to buy me some books. They didn’t really have the money to spare but somehow they often scraped some together and bought me the books. And then I’d wait. And wait. And wait some more. It seemed like forever before my beloved books would arrive in the mail.

Then my teenage years arrived and I started earning my own money. That coincided with the Family Bible Week book table at my church, where my pastor would assemble an assortment of books that we could peruse during the week and place our orders. And not long after that I discovered a company way back in Massachusetts that sold Christian books at a deep discount. It was Christian Book Distributors, which is now But again, whether ordering books at Family Bible Week or from CBD, they’d take what seemed like forever to be shipped, which is a terribly long time to an addict.

Then came and the aforementioned That sped up the process quite a bit: you were no longer mailing an order form and a check that had to clear before the books were shipped; they had the order immediately and charged it to the credit card on file. Still that blasted wait, though, which could be excruciatingly long, especially when you’re (once again) waiting on the book that is going to change everything.

About a year ago I got an iPhone. I was pretty slow to add apps but one day when I was looking through the App Store I saw “Amazon Kindle for iPhone.” Well that looked interesting! I didn’t buy anything right away but the thought began to play in my head that it would be nice to have just one book on the phone that would be available if I had a long wait at a doctor’s office or something like that. I’d never have to be without a book. So I downloaded the app, spent the next few days looking at book samples, and eventually purchased one. Which was really easy to do. Amazon, God bless them, has this handy “one-click ordering” that makes it all very simple and fast. I’m sure they did it just to be nice.

I counted the other day, and I now have 15 books (not counting a few samples) on my iPhone. Did I mention how easy it is with one-click ordering? As any addiction specialist will tell you, there is nothing like quick and easy access to fuel an addiction. I am really proud to tell you that I recently confessed to my wife how many books I’ve got on my phone. She was very gracious and kind about it; didn’t give me a hard time at all. Aw, who am I kidding? She didn’t rebuke me because she’s addicted to books herself. She doesn’t have an iPhone, so that should help. She briefly tried to read one on my phone and didn’t like it. But the other evening on our date when we walked away from a bookstore eighty dollars poorer, she did say, “I can see how a regular size Amazon Kindle would be really nice.”

So if I ever beat my addiction, and if I’m not working two jobs to pay for books so that I actually have the time to lead a Kindle addiction group, I’m going to do it.

I’ll keep you posted.

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