Twitter is Like a Cocktail for This Alcoholic

By Dirk Hanson 05/26/11

“As was the case in my drinking days,” writes Carr, “I’m surrounded by enablers.”

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A crackberry tweet on the rocks.
Photo via thinkstockphotos

Over at TechCrunch, former alcoholic Paul Carr lays out the amusing story of his decision to go cold turkey on Twitter while researching a book. It seems that Carr decided Twitter was “creating a string of disconnection, context-free updates, rather than the kind of consistent narrative you might find on a blog.” Eight months later, Carr found himself on assignment for a month in Las Vegas. He was supposed to be writing a daily diary for the Huffington Post, “and, like all HuffPost authors, I was expected to provide a working Twitter account…”

So there went that plan. “I knew what would happen of course. Ordering me to rejoin Twitter for a month is like ordering me to go back to drinking for an hour.” And the horror begins: “My Vegas trip is over but my Twitter addiction is back with a vengeance: almost 1000 tweets in the past month.”

Friends, enemies, publicists—all happy to have him back in business. “As was the case in my drinking days,” writes Carr, “I’m surrounded by enablers.” The similarities don’t end there, however: “I really didn’t miss it. Again, there are parallels with my other big addiction: People frequently ask me whether I still crave alcohol, but the truth is that most of the time I don’t. When I was drinking, I couldn’t imagine getting through a stressful day—or a stress-free day, or any other kind of day—without the option of a beer. Within a week or two of quitting, though, I couldn’t understand what all the fuss had been about.”

Carr, looking for the happy ending, decides that if he could “put a positive spin on my falling off the digital wagon, it would be this: It has given me a vivid reminder of why I won’t be returning to social drinking any time soon.”

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]