shocked1 I have a confession to make.

Yes, you will be shocked to hear that I have been hiding a dirty, ugly secret– an addiction so heinous that until this moment, only the intimate members of my family were aware of it.

But today I decided that the time is right to come clean and get this off my chest:

I’m addicted to reality shows.

I know what you’re thinking–that Mother Shaffer is an intelligent, thoughtful woman. She’s someone I respect and look up to. How can this be?

Unfortunately, it’s true. I watch American Idol, The Apprentice (even the celebrity versions), Survivor, The Amazing Race, Top Chef (even though I don’t know what the hell they’re making),  So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, True Beauty, Big Brother, America’s Got Talent, Wife Swap, Super Nanny, America’s Next Top Model, Hell’s Kitchen, The Chopping Block, John and Kate Plus 8, It’s Me or the Dog, The Dog Whisper, Animal Cops…oh my god, I do have a problem.

(**help me**)

OK, let’s start at the beginning. How did this all come about?

Well, I think there are several issues at play here. One, after a long day at work, I don’t want to think for a while, so I turn my brain on auto-pilot and I watch TV. Two, watching real people do stupid and embarrassing things is funny, so I’m totally down with that. Three, for those not-really-meant-to-be-funny reality shows, I ask you this: Can you avert your eyes from a train wreck? No! It’s downright fascinating, albeit voyeuristic.

Don’t get me wrong. I am ashamed. I mean really, how could a person as great as I stoop to such a pedestrian pastime?

There is no explaining it. I need it. I want it. It’s a bona fide addiction. I have no control whatsoever. I simply cannot be held responsible for my actions.

Good news is that there is a cure. And since I’m sure I’m not the only one out there (check out this guy’s blog), I’ve boiled it down to a quick three step plan to cure us:

A. Admit it. Nothing like public embarrassment to set you straight.

B. Binge on it till you hate it. Because there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

C. Cancel your cable. If A & B don’t work, you can always do the unthinkable.

I also like crime shows and documentaries or what my husband calls “an unhealthy, morbid obsession with death”. I beg to differ, but one television genre at a time.