I Quit Netflix, and You Can, Too

A couple of weeks ago, I finished arguably one of the most addictive TV series of all time, "One Tree Hill," on Netflix. I believe I’ve made enough progress that I’m now strong enough to tell my tale. I have been off of Netflix now for six weeks.

When I first decided to get off of Netflix, the withdrawal was tough. After the screen went black after the last episode, I removed my headphones and was struck with the strangest sensation in my ears. I realized the sensation was hearing my roommate’s voice for the first time in weeks.

Then, I turned towards the window and experienced natural light. Squinting through the burn of sunlight, I asked my roommate what year it was, sure that I must be in another decade after all the lives I lived through the characters of OTH. She told me that it was stil 2016, and I decided I should go to class.

When my first class ended, I reached for a nonexistent track pad to click the bottom right of the screen and move on to the next episode of my day. I was shocked when I was not in front of my next professor even after 15 seconds. I realized then that I would actually have to move. Throughout my day, I continued to reach for an imaginary spacebar to pause conversations and fell asleep without the telltale silence that accompanies Netflix’s “Are you still watching?” notification.

Then, when I ate my first real meal since quitting Netflix, I had to relearn how to use a fork and knife. During my Netflix binges, the only convenient food came out of a bag and usually left cheese-flavored dust on my fingers. I held silverware as clumsily as a newborn and eventually gave up when my soupspoon missed my mouth and dribbled minestrone down my shirt.

I decided I needed to get help. I couldn’t go through this process alone. Unfortunately, I did not have any help from my friends; all they could offer was suggestions for new series to watch. I decided I needed to seek out a more supportive group to guide me through my process. I needed to call on the Baby Boomers.

I called my dear Grandma Sue and asked her what advice she had to get over my addiction. I will never forget the words she said to me that day: “What is Netflix?”

With that mantra repeating in my head, I began a twelve-step program to cleanse myself. I prayed; I meditated; I rejected temptation. Things are still hard: occasionally I get the itch. Just a one-season series. Just 13 episodes won’t hurt. But I know even one-season series can lead to all nine seasons of Scrubs, so I know to stay away.

The truth is, though I long for the buzz I get from character development, plot twists and full season binges, without Netflix my life is better. Mostly because without Netflix I actually have a life. But also because my grades are better, my skin is healthier, food is yummier, nature is nature-er.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a Netflix addiction, please contact 1-800- NO2-FLIX for resources that can help you get over your addiction like I did.


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