I bet you didn’t know I was addicted to… wait for it … here it is …. the soap opera “All My Children.” 

I watched the opening show on January 5, 1970, when I’d been married less than six months. I quickly got hooked into the program’s drama. Because of working, I couldn’t always watch consistently but after I quit work to become a mom, I watched fairly consistently. Of course, I felt guilty watching the program but it seemed to tempt me each day Monday through Friday.

Then when my children were preschoolers, I easily complained I was too busy to read my Bible and pray, but I made the time to watch “All My Children.” One day I caught myself praying for the heroine Erica’s current problem. I was shocked. Then when I dreamed about the characters one night, I woke up just as shocked. Though startled, I still felt drawn to watch the program. I prayed I could stop, but it’s promise of new drama for my otherwise dull life drew me in. 

I easily complained I was too busy to read my Bible and pray, but I made the time to watch “All My Children.” Tweet that!

I was dissatisfied with my marriage, my toddler daughter still disobeyed even after I played a board game with her, and my infant son demanded more attention than I could give. The hour of soap opera drama made my life seem exciting as if I were living the existence of the characters who always had their makeup fixed perfectly, had perfectly clean homes, and none of the children on air every spit up on the mother’s clothes. In fact, a child was always asleep in the other room unless he was needed for the sub-plot. That was real life, I thought.

Then one day as I watched with bated breath the unfolding pathos in Erica’s life, I looked over and saw two-year-old Darcy playing around the glass five gallon bottle the water delivery man had brought that morning. As I thought, “I’m sure Darcy isn’t strong enough to push that over,” she pushed. With a soft crunching sound, it fell over, shattered, and five gallons of water spilled into the carpet.

I felt no anger, which was unlike me, only the Lord’s gentle push toward surrendering my addiction. Darcy looked over at me fearfully, and I said, “It’s okay, honey. It’s not your fault. I should have been taking better care of you.”

Reaching over, I turned off the television and gathered towels for mopping up as much as I could. I never watched the program again, although about once a year I turned it on and discovered that the same basic problems were still facing the characters. Nothing much had changed.

I can look back now and recognize I was discontent and wanted to escape my “boring” life. But I also recognize that caring for my family was actually more important and I’m grateful that the Lord intervened and helped me to escape my addiction.