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  • Using the Internet is listed, after gambling and sex, as one of the worst addictive behaviors. An addictive behavior is a behavior a person comes to feel dependent on, engages in regularly and which disturbs their normal life in an unhealthy way.

    People who have had an experience that causes deep shame, such as rape, physical or sexual abuse, terrible war experiences (and so on) tend to engage in addictive behaviors and substances more often and more regularly than those with less trauma. The behaviors that an addictive person falls prey to are those that temporarily alleviate their pain and sense of shame. Often, though, they feel yet more shame, when the addictive behavior causes additional problems.

    I am one of those people.

    The structure of Cowbird encourages addictive behavior in those prone to it by offering rewards in the form of "love." I love to feel loved and appreciated. (Who doesn't?) But maybe I need it more than others.

    But of course, virtual love is not the same as real love.

    I truly enjoy reading the Cowbird stories, your stories. I say, I will read ONE story now, because I have an EEG shortly and have to prepare, dress, drive, etc. Then, I find myself reading more and more and more and losing track of the time. The stories are engaging, heartfelt, deep, true. I want to write responses, I want to encourage people, tell them they are not alone.

    But I must run, NOW.

    In AA, there is a saying, "One is too many and a hundred is not enough." I feel that way about food, cookies for example. The only way I can keep from binging is not eat the first cookie. I must have NONE. I have learned, as those in AA say, "There is nothing so bad that a drink (or a cookie) can't make worse."

    I love writing and I love art and photography. I engaged creatively before Cowbird and will do so after Cowbird--if there is an after Cowbird.

    I hope it doesn't come down to that with Cowbird. I would miss you and your wonderful stories, terribly.

    Meantime, if I don't read your stories, it's because I have electrodes glued to my head, or I'm driving in traffic, or I'm talking to Audrey, a 21-month-old girl collecting sticks and acorns. "Acorn," I say, happy to be having a face-to-face conversation with a real (if tiny) person. "Acorn," she answers, holding it out to me.

    We are smiling. Happy. Both of us. Alive. Breathing in the shared air. Making eye contact.
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