Overcoming Addictions

October 2007 Feature Steve Janes

I have a co-worker who has a problem. He won't admit he has a problem. In fact, he doesn't believe it's a problem at all. It's one of those problems that can go years and years unnoticed. It has been accepted socially and overlooked by friends and family . but has escalated to the point of being an addiction.

Frankly I should have noticed it years ago. All the signs were there. It just seemed that he had it under control. But then I started to notice some of his "magazines" and other reading material concealed in his office. He started turning his computer monitor around so you couldn't see what was on his screen. And of course there were those packages showing up in the UPS deliveries (things he didn't want delivered at his home because he didn't want his wife knowing about them).

I knew I had to do something about it before it consumed his entire life. So I waited until I was sure he was on one of those websites at work . and then I busted into his office walked over to the screen and confronted him at a moment he couldn't deny it.

"What's this?" I exclaimed, catching him before he could downsize.

He feebly muttered: "I, ah, was just doing some research for Mod-Stock and somehow it kicked me onto this site."

"Don't give me that crap. I've checked your computer history and you've been here before. And you've been to other sites just like it."

He had no excuse. How could he deny the images on his screen-enlarged photos of socket sets, hex wrenches and air tools. Yes, he was on www.snapon.com.

"You have a problem," I told him. "And you need help. You're addicted to tools."

The tell-tale signs were there for a long time. He always had a new drill or a shiny set of channel locks. His garage was loaded with table saws and pliers, drill presses and center punches. He even had Harbor Freight on memory dial.

He always had grease smudges on his clothes . and his hands were constantly calloused from using screw drivers. And when his wife wanted to go lingerie shopping at the mall, he would wander off to the Craftsman display at Sears.

Sure he tried to defend himself by making excuses like he needed the tools for product installation and testing at work. But somehow it just seemed he was more interested in his Snap-On ½-inch cordless impact wrench than he was in the Simmons Skis. And when I started noticing some tools that I couldn't even identify-amp load testers, air die grinders, file and rasp sets, digital calipers, etc.-it was obvious that he had gone over the top.

It was hard for him to recognize his psychological dependency on tools. But he had to have them. Whenever he would come over to my shop to help me on a project, I would catch him sneaking glances at my stubby ratchet set or magnetic tipped screw drivers. He would take his time fondling through my Snap-On tool chest, admiring how the drawers would easily slide open. He would ask to borrow stuff . but soon he would have to have his own. He even had tools that were still in their original wrappings-stuff he had purchased but didn't have a need to use.

I told him that for his own good, I would need to take some of his tools over to my shop. The only way to bust this addiction would be to eliminate some of the temptations. I was willing to be that friend he needed to keep these tools until after he got his life back in order.

It wasn't easy. He was in denial. He was angry. He was out of control. But it had to happen. It will likely be a long road to recovery. But I'm willing to go the distance with him, keeping his tools safe until he reaches a place in his life were he can control his desires.

But for now, all I need to know is . how to set up an account on snapon.com.

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