Twelve steps to beat Chapstick addiction
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2009 05:07
A dependency on lip balm might seem ludicrous to many but not to Kevin Crossman, the creator of a Web site for addicts, www.kevdo.com/lipbalm/home.html.
If he had his way, there would have been meetings for the lip balm addicted a long time ago. It has been a decade since Crossman admitted he had a problem.
"I went through a lot of pain and suffering because of my need for lip balm," Crossman says. "I found myself waking up in the middle of the night searching for it."
He even admits to spending close to $100 a year just to feed his addiction. Crossman knew it was time to address his ever-growing problem.
Crossman used the famous Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program to fight his addiction. It worked well and gave him the inspiration to help others with the same problem. The first official meeting of Lip Balm Anonymous met on Sept. 1, 1995 in Mountain View, Calif. The meeting was a hit and Crossman was urged to get his message out to the world. The Internet was the perfect outlet for LBA.
"I created the Lip Balm Anonymous Web site in 1996, when information was exploding everywhere because of the Internet," Crossman says. "Before the Internet, information was hard to find but I saw addiction related Web sites popping up all over the place."
These new awareness Web sites were enough motivation for Crossman to create LBA on Dec. 17, 1996. Before he knew it, the Web site was receiving an influx of traffic. From there, LBA garnered national attention from other popular Web sites and even television outlets. Crossman has appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and "The Internet Café." The popularity of the Web site has surprised Crossman, especially since it hasn't seen a major update since its inception.
Although the Web site has become well known, there has been a fair share of backlash to such an unconventional topic. Crossman takes it in stride and even has a page on the Web site called, "I Hate LBA," where he posts the negative feedback he's received for the site.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but to the people that say the Web site is a joke, I would challenge anyone to try and quit cold turkey," Crossman says.
He says however there is a line not to cross in terms of opinions about the LBA Web site.
Recently, LBA was ranked No. 327 in a book titled "505 Unbelievably Stupid Web Pages." According to the Web site, LBA is "considering taking legal action against the author and the publisher."
When asked, Crossman was not "at liberty to discuss the matter" but says it "was a serious problem."
Ultimately, the serious problem Crossman concentrates on is fighting the lip balm addiction. Unfortunately for Crossman, he can't figure out what causes the addiction.
"I wish I knew," he says. "I wish there were scientific studies to show what makes it addictive. It's going to be a mystery for a while. I can say the medicated lip balms are used to treat cold sores, not dry lips. This causes the lips to dry out, making the person think they need more. Also, with flavored lip balms, people find them fun and exciting."
There is an underlying issue with LBA and the message it is sending - what should someone do if they have chapped lips?
"First, I think it's important for people to notice if they have any bad habits, like licking your lips," Crossman says. "If your lips are still chapped, see a medical professional. We at LBA realize there are people who can use lip balm socially and on an as needed basis. We just want to raise awareness for people that can't stop and become addicted."
With the 10th anniversary of the LBA site on the horizon, Crossman is looking forward to getting involved with the Web site again. Life has gotten in the way of fighting lip balm addiction. Since the Web site's beginning, Crossman has gotten married, had children and worked on other Web projects, but don't count LBA out just yet.
"We're going to redesign the site and put some more information up," he says. "We want to renew the principles. But luckily, no matter what, the core message is timeless."