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How addicted are you to your phone?

I recently attended a funeral service at All Saints cathedral, and was amazed by how many people in my pew were on their phones (myself included) as the priest shared the day’s sermon with unmatched passion.

I guess seeing one’s neighbour on phone during church service emboldens one to also pull his or hers out of the bag and start chatting. Shame upon us!

Last week I was attending a midweek fellowship at my church and as I felt my concentration slipping, I pulled out my phone and started playing Candy Crush – another app I am convinced was created by the devil himself; why is the thing so addictive?

As I discreetly swiped, I heard my pastor say: “Brethren, if you do not honour God, He too will not honour you. How can one come to church and start playing Solitaire or checking Facebook as the service is ongoing? That is disrespectful to God!”

The speed with which I shut that game down and threw the phone into my handbag!

I am now in ‘phone rehab’; I am trying to wean myself off my phone when in places where I should not be using it. I fight hard to retrain my brain to concentrate during meetings without using my phone’s screen for focus. Because that is the truth; I open the phone for concentration.

I find myself more in tune with what is going on around me, when I simultaneously use my phone and listen to proceedings. Without the phone, my mind wanders in a thousand directions.

But I realise it is an offensive coping mechanism, so I am now in personal rehab, with all the resultant withdrawal symptoms associated with giving up any addiction.

Sometimes I reach for the phone in my bag, then force myself to drop it back and focus on the preacher. That is when I will start removing my necklace to turn it into a bracelet, before switching it back to the neck; adjusting and readjusting my hair; I even took a wet wipe and started cleaning my watch, just to stay away from the phone. I did not know I had bred an addiction!

It starts with innocently installing that Bible app on the phone; when you are done reading a verse, you won’t resist checking your WhatsApp messages.

As part of my rehab, I uninstalled the Bible app and resumed carrying my analogue Bible. Now I am warming up for the second phase of my rehab: leaving the phone at home on Sundays, altogether. So help me God!

malita@observer.ug

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