PPPA — Political Pandemic Posters Anonymous

A 12-step program to stop engaging in agitating topics on social media

photo courtesy of healthline.com

The Covid 19 Pandemic has affected may people in many different ways. But none have been more burdened than the social media addict who tends to consider themselves an expert on topics they have no experience and/or direct education in.

In particular, these afflicted souls have been drawn into the world of political and pandemic posting, and they need our help.

Where once there were smiles, jokes, laughter and conversations void of cellphones and ‘check out this video of how China created the Corona Virus to control the minds of turtles they planted here during Cold War so they can reclaim their stranglehold of the world’s Panda population” comments,

But if history has taught us anything, it is that through troubled times comes ingenuity and advancement when we as a society need it most.

For a world where we look out for each other is a world worth living in.

And it is through this spirit of oneness and altruism that the PPPA was born. So fear not for the person you once knew who has been drawn into the word of social media misinformation spreading and twitter comment warfare.

Help is here.

The 12 Step Program for Political and Pandemic Poster Addicts; A way back home.

Step 1. We admitted that we are powerless over our addiction — That our online lives had become unmanageable.

The ability to not reply to a triggering political post on social media has long been a thing of the past for these people. As much as they may want to put the phone down or walk away from their computer and do something enjoyable and uplifting instead, the addict is powerless and has no control and often even posts without a second thought or really even any consideration as to how their posts may be interpreted by others.

Slowly, the addict begins to realize that they can’t even remember the last time they saw a political post online that they didn’t engage in, often in to the wee hours of the morning, which of course will eventually start taking a tole on other areas of their life, such as relationships, their career, and even their ability to enjoy the every day things that once brought them such joy. The need to convince others that the Media Illuminati are out to brainwash us all and steal our pets is more important than everything else at this point.

2. WE CAME TO BELIEVE THAT A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES COULD RESTORE US TO SANITY.

The addict now must accept that they are no longer in control. Their addiction has taken over completely, and they will not be able to get this under control without help, no matter how many times they may convince themselves that next time they just won’t comment on Civicduty99’s post.

The only option at this point is for the addict to surrender to a higher power, whatever this may be for them. This is not a religious aspect, though if it is in fact your God which you may surrender to then that is fine. Whatever you believe, there is a way to surrender yourself to the universe and say “I need help.”

We promise, the strength and support you need is out there in one form or another, and will be there for you once you accept it into your life.

But first, you have to believe that there is a chance that once in a while your opinions and ‘facts’ on said posts are complete rubbish, and do neither yourself or the rest of the world any good whatsoever.

This step can be incredibly difficult for political posters in particular, as it inherently means they have to admit that they do not, in fact, know everything and can, in fact, sometimes be wrong.

3. WE MADE A DECISION TO TURN OUR WILL AND OUR LIVES OVER TO THE CARE OF GOD AS WE UNDERSTOOD HIM.

Now that the addict has chosen to believe in a higher power, they must turn their will over to said higher power and trust in the program. You may not know all the answers, or have completed all the steps that will lead you away from such time wasting discussions as “You can take my mask, but you will never take my freedom!” and “This was all fabricated by the media on behalf of large farmers everywhere.”

The addict will need to trust that if they were meant to save the world from 5G towers and white supremacist marsupials, their purpose can be achieved through means other than social media platforms.

4. WE MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES.

The addict must now reflect on their social media history. When did they take up the call of political posting? What did it feed? What did it give them that every day life wasn’t? Did they even care about politics before social media came along? (I mean, really!)

Honesty is key here. The more one can reflect on this and be honest about their journey and the effect it has had on their life, the better the chance the steps work for them and they are able to live a long, healthy life, with little to no care about who is to blame for the Prime Minister’s hair or the President’s inability to drink a glass of water and say ‘fake news’ at the same time.

Evaluating past attempts at recovery and where they failed is a crucial part of a successful recovery.

If we can’t learn from our mistakes, we will never grow and move on to a place where we can sit and enjoy a meal with our family and those we care about without constantly worrying about how many responses your post got on twitter that clearly pointed out the relationship between Hilary Clinton’s dog, Nancy Kerrigan’s right knee and the number of deaths in Iraq.

5. WE ADMITTED TO GOD, TO OURSELVES, AND TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THE EXACT NATURE OF OUR WRONGS.

This is where the addict will make their confessions. Not only to themselves, but to their higher power and another person as well. They will take their written inventory and analysis of their past mistakes from the previous step, and use it to try and figure out when it was that they turned in to a person whose social media posts cause severe eye rolling, embarrassment, head scratching and a slew of “Oh for the love of …” by those who are forced to see said posts on their own social media feeds.

Until the addict realizes that their posting habits are not, in fact, helping neither themselves or others, and are, in double fact, harming the relationships they have with said people and are taking them farther away from joy and happiness, will the political pandemic poster in question be able to successfully move on to the next step.

At this stage the addict needs to begin saying the following phrase at nauseum until it starts to sink in;

6. WE WERE ENTIRELY READY TO HAVE GOD REMOVE ALL THESE DEFECTS OF CHARACTER.

Here, the pandemic pessimist, the reengage regurgitater if you will, needs to begin preparation for that which will come should they make it through to the end of the 12 Step program. They will need to accept that some of what they believe to be true and truthful, could, (Gasp!) not be so. They will need to understand that to come back to a life of peace and happiness, a total reset is necessary. All of which they think they believe they know and understand must be let go of, so that they can free up space in the ether to think freely, accept that being wrong is not a character flaw but simply something all humans do from time to time, that they are only taking up space in their consciousness with anger and negativity with their current actions, and that to allow themselves to live the life they deserve, they must surrender all they know and be willing to walk away from anything that does not bring them closer to joy and purpose.

photo courtesy of martinshervington.com

7. WE HUMBLY ASKED HIM TO REMOVE OUR SHORTCOMINGS.

People with addiction allow a higher power to eliminate character flaws. However, it is important that they separate themselves from factors that influence addictive behaviors.

The addict must now allow the universe to intercede on their behalf. They must learn to believe that though they may currently lack either the power itself, or the belief that they even posses said power, the ability to dispose of one’s shortcomings is not only possible, but incredibly freeing and powerful.

This is where the addict will stop thinking only of themselves and how right they are and how wrong everyone is that dares disagree with them, and begin to turn their thoughts towards others.

If you hear the former social media magistrate saying such things as;

“Is it possible people I care about don’t actually enjoy my posts?” or,

“I wonder how the things I say and share make other people feel,” and

“How would my day be different if I didn’t engage in this political poopouri and went outside for a walk instead?”

Then you can rest assured, the addict is on the right path.

8. WE MADE A LIST OF ALL PERSONS WE HAD HARMED AND BECAME WILLING TO MAKE AMENDS TO THEM ALL.

This actually is quite a hard step for the Facebook fumigators and political post-pandemic lone rangers. As they go through their friend and followers lists, memories begin to start flooding in of just how angry they have made people with their logic-free and factually-fraudulent posts from the past.

As they begin to make their list of all the people they have harmed with their actions, the idea of making amends to all of these people can become quite a daunting and stress inducing task.

The addict is advised to use technology to help speed up this step and avoid getting bogged down in digressive conversations and triggering topics.

Once the addict actually begins to see and feel things from the point of view from someone other than themselves, the emotions that spring forth can be quite immense and overwhelming.

9. WE MADE DIRECT AMENDS TO SUCH PEOPLE WHEREVER POSSIBLE, EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD INJURE THEM OR OTHERS.

This step does not need to be over-complicated.

A simple “I’m sorry” or “I’m trying really hard to accept that it is impossible for people I respect and love to be wrong all the time, and (cue choking sob and/or tear) for me to be right every time.”

10. WE CONTINUED TO TAKE PERSONAL INVENTORY AND WHEN WE WERE WRONG PROMPTLY ADMITTED IT.

Here the problematic poster must learn to embrace looking within whenever they find themselves getting angry, bitter, or frustrated when their opinions are not agreed upon by all and, heaven forbid, may even prove to contain information that is in fact not true.

The addict will need to take inventory of their emotions, look at possible reasons the differing opinions of people they have never met make them so upset, and the effect these emotions are having on their lives, relationships, and overall happiness.

This step can prove to be a monumental hurdle for the addict, as they must learn to see when they are wrong, and, even harder for most of them, admit it openly and move on.

The idea that the addict could possibly be wrong about anything is something many of them have not even considered for years, and in serious cases, even decades.

Patience is key for the loved ones of the addict at this point, because it is common for these triggers to stir up a wild rodeo of emotions and can cause them to spend many an hour in deep thought as to how they became the online activist they didn’t even know they were known as to those around them.

11. WE SOUGHT THROUGH PRAYER AND MEDITATION TO IMPROVE OUR CONSCIOUS CONTACT WITH GOD AS WE UNDERSTOOD HIM, PRAYING ONLY FOR KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL FOR US AND THE POWER TO CARRY THAT OUT.

This step is very much a wash, rinse and repeat type of situation for the addict.

In order for a return to purpose and a life of happiness, smiles and laughter, the following must be embraced;

Exercise.

Meditate.

When the answers come, act.

12. HAVING HAD A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING AS THE RESULT OF THESE STEPS, WE TRIED TO CARRY THIS MESSAGE TO ADDICTS, AND TO PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS.

At some point the addict will find themselves awakened and in recovery. They will notice they are able to spend hours away from their phone without even thinking about the battles that no doubt are raging on on twitter and other social media platforms without them.

Entire conversations on Facebook debating the truth of the President’s latest haircut being performed by an undercover Russian operative who implanted a mind control nano microchip while doing so will go by without even a consideration, let alone comment, by the recovering addict.

Those around them who love them and stood by them throughout the process of recovery will notice the return of the smile they held so dear before the addiction took it from them.

The addict must use this support and love, as well as the newfound inner peace, to strive to stay in recovery and avoid situations, people and habits that could draw them back in to the world of addiction.

When the opportunity arises, they may be asked by someone entering the program to be there as a support member to help the fledgling through their own recovery.

The addict will tell them their own story, highlighting how once they stopped judging people by how they differed from them in opinion, and focused on what matters;

How they treat others.

How they treat themselves.

Their ability to see and act in accordance with right and wrong.

Their ability to be humble.

Their ability to be honest at all times,

Their life came back in to focus, and they were able to successfully complete the 12 step program and begin their lifer of a recovering addict.

Welcome to the PPPA.

EDITOR’S NOTE: NO LIBERTIES WERE TAKEN WITH THE WORDING OF THE ACTUAL STEPS OF THE 12 STEP PROGRAM, WHICH WAS TAKEN FROM NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS. NA AND AA ARE WONDERFUL ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE HELPED, AND CONTINUE TO HELP, PEOPLE GET THEIR LIVES BACK ON TRACK AND RECOVER FROM ADDICTION.

Rob Honzell is a writer and former journalist who resides in Calgary, Alberta, Canada but spends most of his time in his own head. DM @rob_honzell