02 December 2010

The stages of smartphone withdrawal

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

I love my iPhone. Okay, I loved my Blackberry too so I’ll rephrase that statement: I love my smartphone. Living in the city, I use it all the time to look up things (what’s a shallot?), use the maps (how do I find the closest Berry Chill?) and text/email/tweet. Yes, I’m addicted to it. And the iPhone has only heightened my smartphone love by playing iJewels (the free version of Bejeweled) and looking up restaurants on the apps.

So when I went to Mexico, I was ready to put the phone away for five to six whole days. No phone, email, Internet, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

I was super excited to unplug but I was also really scared. My phone is a part of me and the idea of being separated from it was a little scary.

Fortunately, I survived and I worked through the several stages of withdrawal (in order):

  1. Excitement: WOO five days of no phone, I can DO THIS!!!
  2. Denial: Well I’m sure I can still use it when necessary. I mean, no one can go cold turkey right? RIGHT?
  3. Reality: Wait, I can’t call the other guests to meet up later, how do I know what’s going on??? Is this what life was like back in the olden days?
  4. Acceptance: No dings from the phone about new tweets, calls or emails? Life is so peaceful. I think I’ll write a haiku
  5. Reintroduction: How do I turn the iPhone on again? Wait, is my phone actually purring with excitement when it’s turned back on? Is it human?

Okay some of these points may be exaggerated but giving up the phone was difficult at first, then it was easy. And now, I’m trying to take smartphone breaks more because it’s liberating!

What about you, have you gone through similar stages when you’re without your phone for a long time?


  1. Elizabeth says:

    I actually gave up my iPhone for a regular phone not too long ago. I’ve loved every second of it–I feel much more connected to the people I’m with now that there is no temptation to disengage to check email and everything else. But! I do have my 3G iPad for when I absolutely need to be connected with the world while traveling or sitting in doctors’ offices for three hours at a time!

  2. Marjolein says:

    Well I don’t own a smartphone but I have to admit I like the idea of being connected. Oh being able to call my friends whenever I feel like it and look up info. But quite often I put my phone on silent, place it in a side cabinet and just go phone-free for a day. It’s nice to un-connect from time to time. Like you said, it makes life more peaceful.

  3. Nora says:

    I kind of do this on the weekends now; I will keep it on me for phone calls + texts, but that’s about it (how 2002 of me, right!?)

    I allow myself the freedom to ignore twitter, my gmail and etc. It’s hard sometimes but I love it. I’m really in the moments on the weekends now and that’s just so worth it to me. I’m glad that you were able to enjoy your time away from the phone during your Mexico trip! I’m sure it was well-deserved :)

  4. I am just getting into the swing of things with having a phone that even does more than making calls. I still sometimes forget that I can use it for e-mail and such. The problem now is that sometimes I take it to bed with me because I want to check e-mail and Twitter after I turn my computer off, and then I end up staying awake for way too long.

  5. Lacey Bean says:

    Yes! We didn’t have our phones when we went to Costa Rica and it was kind of awesome!! However, we did have them on our honeymoon and we loved being able to look up stuff to do, where to go, blog as we traveled, etc. So I guess it depends on where we’re going? But sometimes its fun to unplug. :)

  6. steph anne says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had to do that before. Sure, I have unplugged but didn’t let go of my phone and would read emails but not reply until I get back. Lame, right? When Tyler and I do go on our honeymoon (someday) I really want to be 100% unplugged for sure!

  7. Susan says:

    I go through the same thing. But I don’t realize just how much I’ve missed it until it’s time to put it back on.

  8. Akirah says:

    Haha! Totally. When I went to the Bahamas. I had the internet, so I check email and Facebook maybe twice. But mostly, I was disconnected. It was nice. It was really nice.

  9. Mega says:

    Going back to a crappy phone has had its ups and downs. I can only text and call, but the upside is that I have become disconnected when I’m not at work or home. I don’t worry about who might have sent me what any longer. Downside is that I can not longer spam your inbox whenever I darn well please.

  10. thegirlin3k says:

    Haha. My smartphone is such an extension of me these days, even if I wish it weren’t. I hate being buried in my phone on the bus or while waiting in a line. But, I’m always doing it. Guilty as charged. My phone needed charging while at work today and I left my charger at home. It was tough, but I pulled through. And almost missed lunch with friends because my phone, for once, wasn’t on.

  11. katelin says:

    oh man i remember that when i went to italy. turning my phone off for two weeks and not going on twitter or playing games or anything, it was such a relief but also a bit nerving, i’m clearly addicted.

  12. mandy says:

    Glad that your survived without it. Have you turned it off since coming home? I like to ignore my phone on the weekends but I have an old school phone without a dataplan.

  13. Hahahaha this was SO ME when I was in Europe. I got OUT of the habit of constantly checking Twitter/Facebook/Email etc. That lasted about a week once I was back in the country and then I was obsessively checking them again! Lol

  14. Wonderful says:

    I actually take every Sunday and turn off my phone. It’s really liberating and if I need to call someone I will, but usually my Sundays are spent at church and doing things I want to do. It’s wonderful.

  15. When I was issued a cell phone through work, it didn’t have Internet. My cell phone did but why would I pay $70 a month to keep a cell phone when work was giving me one? It was quite a dilemma to decide to cancel my personal cell phone and live without having Facebook and emails at my finger tips. But I did it and have survived for over a year :)

  16. Erin says:

    I can easily go a whole week without my phone as long as there are other things going on. Sometimes I think I use it as a crutch when I really could be doing something else.

  17. Lil' Woman says:

    You can take my phone away from me right now and I wouldn’t bat an eye but then again I have a boring phone with no data plan.

  18. I don’t think I could do it.
    I am beyond addicted…
    Like, need rehab addicted.

  19. Lys says:

    I totally went through this when I was in Costa Rica for 7 days with the threat that if my phone was even on, I would be charged outrageous amounts for incoming data and push notifications (I have a Blackberry with Verizon). So I took the battery out of my phone in case it accidentally turned it on and discovered a $500 bill when I got home. I was okay until the third day, when I finally came to terms that I probably should invest in a watch or other time telling device because I primarily rely on my phone. By the fifth day, I forgot I had even had a phone, and on the 7th day, I didn’t even want to turn it on ever again. It was really nice being completely absent from the instantaneous world and since being back, I leave my phone at home when I run errands or I’ll shut it off at night rather than leave it on. It made me re-appreciate the little things and I love that.