SPECIAL REPORT: 48 hours without a cell phone

Published: Mar. 28, 2017 at 11:38 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2017 at 4:59 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - "Excessive, abusive, compulsive - those are traits of an addictive behavior," said Frank Miller, chief executive officer at New Beginnings.

Shaunteal Prejean can easily say her cell phone is an addiction.

"It's something that with addiction in itself; the brain is hardwired in a way; it's a predisposition; it generally runs in the family so you may be predisposed to some type of addiction," Miller said.

"I'm really anxious to let it go. It's everything - my selfies, my everything; it's my GPS, my resource, my Wikipedia; it's everything," Prejean said.

As a mother and a business owner, her cell phone is always in her hand. Whether she was driving, watching TV, working or spending time with her son, her cell phone is usually always an arm's-length away.

For Prejean, the opportunity to give her phone to us for 48 hours was a task she didn't think she could do. As a makeup artist who has clients contacting her every day through Facebook and other iPhone apps, this could cause her to lose business. But, after thinking about what this meant for her family, she decided to put the phone down.

"I've decided to do this challenge because my late husband always complained that I was always on my phone and it was affecting our relationship so it's a challenge for myself to do better," Prejean said.

Prejean gave us her phone, not knowing what the next 48 hours would bring, but after the first day, she felt lighter.

"The pace of life has slowed down, 'cause I'm not constantly on the demand of the phone - no notifications beeping at me, notifications on Facebook etc. but I feel like I'm going back 10-20 years because I use my computer for communication," Prejean added.

But for someone who uses her phone for almost everything every day, there were some road bumps Prejean needed to deal with.

"I've realized I need a watch and I need an alarm because I use my phone for both," she said.

For someone who came in first day, saying her cell phone was everything, after 24 hours without it, her outlook on the situation shifted.

Prejean said, "It is doable, the phone isn't everything."

And for her, the real reason for giving up her phone meant she could reconnect with her late husband.

She said, "He would be very proud, I feel like he's smiling down on me but I don't know, it makes me feel somewhat closer to him because it would make him proud, it makes me feel closer to him."

But Prejean still had 24 hours left in the challenge - having a cell phone for 15 years, it can be hard to give it up, especially when you're constantly using it.

Miller added, "It has become an obsession; obsession in and of itself could go into an addiction."

At the end of the 48 hours, Prejean was ready to move on.

"I mean it was nice to have the vacation and not worry about it but now I'm ready to get back in the game," she said.

Two days without a cell phone not only helped her peace of mind when it came to her late husband, it's also helped her relationship with her son.

Prejean said, "[My son] being a special-needs child; I'm a single mother, widowed, being able to rekindle my relationship with him has been great," she said. "I didn't think I could do it; I didn't know how I was being constantly on my phone, like driving or business meetings. It's not fair to other people in traffic; it's not fair to those who your company is with and it can wait; it doesn't have to be answered right then and there; it can wait."

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