Confession: it turns out that I was more “addicted” to Downton Abbey than I thought. It doesn’t help that my husband still wants to watch, and so in addition to leaving the show, I am also leaving our date nights! Just like with smoking, drinking or any more sinister addiction, giving something up takes levels of self control, but you can change the situation to help yourself.
First, I told my husband very firmly that not only was I not going to watch, he could not watch it in the house. I just know, after having watched just a portion of the first episode this season, that I am tempting to get drawn in, and that while he falls asleep DURING Downthon, I stay up to finish it and then don’t sleep after watching so much emotion play out on the screen.
It has been my biggest fear, throughout my marriage, that my husband would die young. I have this fear more than a fear of a sick child or a fear of dying myself, it haunts me. I think about it in mass and cry on a regular basis when his favorite hymns are played. I try hard not to let this fear creep in to the real happiness of my marriage and family life. Therefore, just ten minutes of watching Mary unable to find any warmth in life without Matthew was too much for me.
But, but, but…I still want to know what happens. So, I have found a way to keep up with the goings on without the emotional roller coaster: My friend Melissa’s Downton Abbey Recaps. Like a nicotine patch, this is getting me just enough of a fix to be able to resist letting the Downton drama take over my Sunday nights, and by extension the rest of my week. It is helping significantly that Lissa does not like much of what she is seeing on what she calls Melrose Abbey this season — nothing like a little moral high ground to help with breaking the addiction.
The third part of my recovery plan has been a healthy substitution. On those nights when my husband is home, we have been catching up on NBC’s Parenthood, which has its own ups and downs but for the most part I really enjoy. Warning, it is set in the present day, with present day problems, and the characters do not share my values. Still, they are loving and humble, and it is actually helping me to think a lot about what it will be like to parent teens. You can stream Parenthood on nbc.com. For my period drama fix, I have started watching Larkrise to Candleford. So far, I think it is too sappy to get my husband on board, but it is nice for the long nights when he is not home, and I am hoping that they are not going to kill off any main characters. If it gets awful later on, please jump in and spoil it for me before I get too attached!