Step meetings make great meeting topics. Below is information that can be shared at step meetings, by step.
It is a good idea to hold a series of step meetings - 1 step per meeting until you are finished with all of them. Then, start over again. You can never spend too much time sharing how you work the steps in your life, and you will get more ideas as others share how they use them.
When you have a new-comer at a meeting, offer a First Step Meeting.
Print them out - by step - for your meeting.
Meeting format; Step 1
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our game addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable
Principles - Honesty and Acceptance
This step is related to the membership requirement of O.L.G.A: a desire to quit gaming.
We use gaming to avoid our pain. We live in a fantasy world. We cannot cope with whatever pain and difficulties face us in our real life. Our denial kept us from seeing how powerless we were over gaming and how unmanageable our lives had become. We admit that our lives are disturbed. We accept the fact that we are helpless before the power of gaming. We admit that we are licked as far as gaming is concerned and that we need help. We are willing to accept the fact that we cannot game like other people, like social gamers. And we surrender to the inevitable fact that we have to stop.
There are two parts to this step: powerlessness and unmanageability.
Powerlessness. We found ourselves powerless over gaming. We lacked the power to determine when we would play, how long, how many games, when we would stop. Our games became more important than almost everything else in our lives. We could not control our gaming.
Have I found myself unable to control my online gaming?
Did I feel that I had no power to put limitations on the amount of time I spent playing?
Do I find myself spending time in the game, even though I don't want to?
Do I find I don't have the willpower to stop playing?
Unmanageability. As a result of this powerlessness, our lives have become unmanageable. They are chaotic, filled with broken promises to ourselves and others, broken relationships, lost jobs and opportunities and have narrowed down to sitting in front of a screen.
Has my life become unmanageable as a result of excessive gaming?
Is my life out of control?
Are there areas of responsibilities that I've been neglecting as a result of playing online games?
Recovery starts by surrendering and by admitting that there is something wrong. Not everyone who plays games is an addict -- those who are addicts are the ones who have lost control -- have experienced powerlessness and unmanageability.
Honesty -- we admit the nature of the problem
Open-mindedness -- We open ourselves to the wisdom of the fellowship and the solution offered by the program, and
Willingness -- We are willing to take steps to recover.
With this, we are ready for Step 2
Meeting format; Step 2
Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Spiritual Principle - Hope
This step is about hope.
Our powerlessness over gaming and the unmanageability of our lives has left us with little hope. But we don't know what to do differently. This is the insanity: that we continue the same behavior and expect different results.
"Came to believe" is a statement of hope. We have realized in the first step that we are stuck; in this step we begin to believe that with help, things can change.
What is a power greater than oneself? It can be God related to one's spiritual conviction or it can be OLGA as a group. OLGA is not here to preach religious teachings. The 12 steps of recovery is a spiritual path independent of any religion; it is not a religious path. The key aspect of this step is that we stop relying on our own thinking--that's what got us here.
Is it weak to rely on a power greater than ourselves? No! History has shown that people of great courage have always had faith. Few of us have faith by the time we get here; then we meet others like ourselves, who are powerless over addictive gaming. And by listening to them, we begin to believe that change is possible, when we accept help. That's the essence of Step 2.
Here is another way to look at Step 2:
I came to.
I came to believe.
I came to believe that God.
I came to believe that the God of my understanding.
I came to believe that the God of my understanding could.
I came to believe that the God of my understanding could restore me.
I came to believe that the God of my understanding could restore me to sanity.
The first thing we do is just come. We come to a meeting, we post our story, we show up.
Belief in our higher power develops differently for each person. But by being in our community, with others who are recovering, we find hope.
Meeting format; Step 3
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Spiritual Principle - Faith
We choose to let go of self-will.
What does this mean? It simply asks that we make a decision that involves giving up control of our lives and to hand it over to the God of our understanding. That's a scary concept -- to submit our lives over to some entity that we don't even know? But that's why the phrase "God as we understood God" is included. This implies that our understanding of God is an evolving matter. It continues to grow, provided that we work on our spirituality. Therefore our ability to trust in this Higher Power is related to our current understanding of God (or whatever you wish to call your Higher Power).
This step is not limited to online game addiction. In fact, all these steps are applicable to all aspects of our lives. But as a concrete example specific to online gaming, one can apply this step by making a decision to give up control of gaming and to trust that there is a higher being that is able to empower you to stop your addictive behavior and to remove your obssessive thoughts, as well. Taking this step basically calls you to give up your decision making with regard to whatever it is and to be willing to accept and carry out your understanding of God's will with regard to the matter at hand.
A prayer we can say is: God, I offer myself to Thee, to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!
Meeting format; Step 4
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Principles - Action and Courage
This is the step that separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls. :)
This is the first "action" step in the 12 steps: it requires one to act, and that action involves taking an assessment of one's character defects and writing that information on paper. We write our own life story - honesty is the key that breaks denial. We learn about resentments and our role in our problems with people, places, and things.
What is a searching and fearless moral inventory? Basically, a moral inventory is an assesment of one's life up to this point, a taking stock of the goods in one's life and noting those characteristics that are troublesome. The step asks that one be searching and fearless, meaning that one must be thorough to the best of their ability and memory, not omitting any incidents or events that they recall and that one must also be courageous in facing one's past, as it is easy to bury such memories deep beneath us, and online gaming happens to be one way of pushing down such memories. Examples of troublesome characteristics and traits (also termed "character defects") that would belong in an inventory are: pride, resentment, gluttony, guilt, lust, envy, sloth, fear, etc.
There are numerous formats for writing one's inventory. The Alcoholics Anonymous text provides an example. However, the method that I will describe is one that I have used for about 13 years; it is simple and has worked for me and I still use it to this day. I have also taught this format to numerous 12 step members, and it has worked well for them.
The format basically involves writing one's resentments and fears from as far back as they remember. For each resentment, list the people, place, institution or thing at which you are resentful, then write the reason for your resentment. Then think of what the fear is behind that resentment and write that down, as well. Keep writing your resentments and the fears associated with each, starting as far back as you can remember and ending in the present. There will be incidents, events and situations that would involve only fear. Write those fears down also, even though they have no resentment in connection with them. When you feel like you have thoroughly listed all of your fears and resentments and that no memory or incident has been overlooked, then your inventory is complete and finished.
Meeting format; Step 5
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Principle - Integrity
Honesty and willingness collide. We face our past and share every aspect. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the faith to overcome it.
Okay, so you thought taking a written inventory of your resentments and fears was bad enough. Now you are asked to share your inventory not only with God, but with another human being! Most of us think that admitting to God is scary as it is, but why tell another person?
Confession Promotes Healing: We are as Sick as our Secrets.
- Low Self Worth
- Self Hatred
- Acceptance of Others
- Self Acceptance
It's important that you choose wisely this person who will listen to your inventory. It is best to choose someone who is also active in practicing the 12 steps of recovery: ideally, one who takes regular written inventories and shares them regularly with another person. The person should also be close-mouthed, trustworthy and understand the importance of confidentiality. If such a person is not available, perhaps a minister, priest or someone in a similar capacity can be approached. Most clergy nowadays are trained and aware of the 12 steps of recovery.
There is something powerful about sharing your inventory with another person. From my personal experience, I have found that telling someone else my story -- my fears and resentments, has left me feeling connected with humanity. I have found that the other person usually understands how I feel and have either experienced the same or knows others who have. Second, there is something liberating about the 5th step: by telling another person, I no longer seem to be holding on to the weight of the fears and resentments.
Why not just admit to God the exact nature of our wrongs? Do we need to tell another person? The act of admitting to another human being the exact nature of wrongs is humbling, even humiliating at times, but most of the time, it is a liberating feeling to unload the burden that has been weighing us down for years.
Resentments can kill us. We must rid ourselves of them and avoid new ones.
Meeting format; Step 6
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Principle - Willingness
We Discovered our defects in Step 4 and shared them in Step 5. In this step, we make the decision to let go of the defects that kept us sick. Are we ready?
This step involves a change in attitude. By being ready to have God remove all these defects of character, we become willing to let go of our resentments, fears and whatever other defects of character which we have held. Sometimes, some of us have enjoyed our resentments and other defects, feeling that they were justified, but since we are now on a spiritual path, and we are willing to go to any length to give up our addictive behavior and address the underlying issues that caused it, we become ready to have God remove our defects of character.
Some questions to ponder:
- What character defects are obvious to me? These are the defects that you have listed in your fourth step inventory.
- Jealousy Gluttony
- Unhealthy Fears
- Unresolved Hurts
- Other Sins
- What Desctructive Skills did we use to cope with these?
- Excessive gaming
- Ignoring our real lives
- Escaping from our real lives
- No longer participating in real-life relationships
a) In your journal, make a list of all your defects of character that you are entirely ready to have removed.
b) Than make a list of all your defects of character that you are not entirely ready to have removed.
c) Write down the reasons why you want to hold onto each defect of character in 6b.
We prepare for the process of letting go of these defects in our character. We review our steps thus far. Are we willing to let go of them? Am I willing to surrender them?
If so, then the step is completed.
Meeting format; Step 7
Step 7: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Principle - Humility
Having taken our inventory, a huge step that we have undertaken, and having faced our weaknesses and shortcomings, we are now ready to move on to the next step: to ask our Higher Power that those traits that contributed to our problems -- our shortcomings and weaknesses, be removed from us.
Note the word "humbly". This word implies that we have a certain attitude that accompanies our request. To be humble means to have an honest and realistic assessment of ourselves -- our strengths and weaknesses. We neither undervalue nor do we overvalue ourselves. We are in touch with our assets and liabilities, which we discovered in step four, when we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Basically, we have a clear picture of ourselves. Now that we have seen on paper what our liabilities are and are ready to have them removed, we approach our creator, our Higher Power, and with humility, we ask that these shortcomings be removed.
Each step is a foundation for the next one. By having arrived at step seven, we have come a ways in our spiritual journey. We have already recognized that we had a problem with our gaming and that our lives have become unmanageable. We realize that there was some form of insanity in our behavior and we came to believe that sanity could be restored to our lives. We knew that we had been beaten by our addiction, that our lives are in awry and that our own will power could not bring order or healing to our lives, thus we made a decision to turn our lives to the care of a Higher Power.
Next, we faced one of the most difficult tasks in the 12 steps: to take a thorough moral inventory ourselves, omitting nothing and going back as far as we can possibly remember in our lives. An even harder step is we shared with another human being the exact nature of our wrong doings. Finally, we realized how self-defeating these character defects have been in our lives, so we have become ready to have our Higher Power remove them from us. Now we actually petition to our Higher Power to do that very act: to remove all those defects character that have caused us problems, and we find that most of our problems were our own making.
When we are ready, we say something like this:
My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen
a) In your journal, write out a prayer for each shortcoming that you are entirely ready to have removed.
Humbly ask your Higher Power to remove it.
b) Write out a prayer for each shortcoming that you are not entirely ready to have removed.
Humbly ask your Higher Power to make you ready to have it removed.
c) Than write a description of how you would be, without the shortcomings that you are not yet ready to have removed in 7b.
The 7th step is completed. On to step 8 and more action
Meeting format; Step 8
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Principle - Brotherly love
Working Step 8 begins the internal healing from any guilt and shame generated while active in our disease. We focus on taking responsibility for ourselves. In the past, we blamed our parents, relatives, friends, foes, bosses, coworkers, and just about anyone other than us.
Looking back at our inventory from step 4, we noted all the people at whom we were resentful and/or whom we had hurt. The fact that we are resentful at them is a clue that we probably owe them some type of amend. There may be situations where we didn't cause any direct harm or insult to the person, and they likewise, have no idea that we are resentful at them. Our harm could be one that is "secret", as in a secret resentment or ill thoughts directed at someone. In this case, we still add their name to the amends list. There may be cases where the person is no longer alive. We also include them in our amends list. We make a list of all who we have harmed, including ourselves. We will forgive ourselves as part of the process. We learn about amends and what we will do in the next step
Our willingness is important in this step. We are willing to face the damage we caused ourselves and others. We remember that faith overcomes fear.
* Forgiveness helps us to let go of hurtful events of the past.
*What we don't forgive from our past behavior, we will re-live in our future.
*We remember, "Forgiveness is blessing someone before they deserve it."
*We prepare to ask, but not expect forgiveness from others.
Aside from making the list, this step requires no other action. All that is needed is a willingness to make amends to those we have harmed or hurt.
One day at a time.
a) In your journal, make a list of all persons you have harmed and to whom you are now willing to make amends.
b) Also make a list of all persons you have harmed and to whom you are not yet willing to make amends.
c) Write why you are not yet ready to make amends to each person you listed in 8b.
Meeting format; Step 9
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Principle - Justice
We have to live a spiritual life, not just believe in it.
Now that we're willing to make amends to everyone who is on our list, it's time to actually approach those people and make our peace. Remember, we approach these people in a spirit of peace, focusing on cleaning our side of the street. We don't concern ourselves with what they have done or what amends they owe us. This step is for us, so that we may be free of the resentments, guilt and shame that bind us and sometimes feed our addictive gaming behavior. Remember that excessive gaming was just a symptom of a deeper problem; beneath it are layers, and sometimes, years of pain involving unresolved, troublesome issues with people. When these relationships became bothersome or when the thought of them brought us down, the more we plunged into addictive game behavior to drown out the painful memories that haunted us. But now is our opportunity to be freed from the stronghold of resentment, unforgiveness or shame and guilt that we've had about hurting someone else.
So how do we go about making those amends? First it is important to note the phrase "when to do so would injure them or others". Say we have a spouse with whom we have been dishonest, perhaps an affair was involved. If the spouse has no inkling of such event, then it would be better not to tell them, since doing so would cause devastation. To keep this information from them is not a matter of dishonesty but more adhering to the rule, "when to do so would injure them or others". Remember, included also in the list of those who could be injured are ourselves. When it may hurt another person to make a direct amends, we may write a letter to God asking for forgiveness and healing of the other person.
There may be situations when we are not quite up to making our amends, and if the other person holds a great deal of resentment against us, they may treat us offensively, thus provoking us to respond in defense, offense or some unkind manner. If we feel that we are still weak, unable to handle the worst reaction from those whom we are going to approach, then we are better off waiting, and doing so would qualify under the exception of "when to do so would injure them or others", where "others" would be ourselves.
Now in terms of making direct amends, we simply approach the person in a spirit of peace and forgiveness (if they have offended us), and we simply give them an apology for whatever wrongdoings we have done or pain we have caused in their lives. If you find that the person is amiable and accepting, you may want to add the reason for your apology -- that you have had problems with compulsive game playing and that you are now following a spiritual program of recovery.
What about those situations where we have held unkind thoughts towards others without them knowing? In such cases, it may not be necessary to make a verbal amend. A changed attitude and improved behavior towards the person is good enough.
Remember that there will be cases when the person will not accept you in a spirit of forgiveness, but this must not stop you from making your amend(s), unless of course the exception applies. If in doubt, consult with your OLGA sponsor or another member of OLGA who has done this step.
We begin to see "The Promises" within our lives.
We begin to feel self worth, self respect, dignity, honor, and love for self and others.
We are no longer controlled by our secrets. We moved from the darkness into the light.
We accept life on life's terms with a renewed sense of inner peace.
Best wishes on your amends!
a) Using old records, telephone books, people you know, and the Internet, tell how you plan too seek out the persons listed in Step 8a above and make direct amends to them, except when to do so would injure them or others. If the person has died, write a letter to that person, and ask for their forgiveness, than burn the letter.
b) Write out and recite a prayer to your Higher Power to help you be willing to make direct amends to the people listed in Step 8b above.
c) Describe how it makes you feel to be unwilling to make amends to each person listed in Column 8b.
Meeting format; Step 10
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
Principle - Perseverance
In taking a personal inventory of ourselves, we have to face facts as they really are. We have to stop running away. We must face reality. We must see ourselves as we really are. We must admit our faults openly and try to correct them. We must try to see where we have been dishonest, impure, selfish, and unloving. We do not do this once and forget it. We continuously take inventory of ourselves to assure we keep a clear conscience -- "Continuously" being minute by minute. We do it every day of our lives, as long as we live. We are never done with checking up on ourselves.
Our faith has given us healthier thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
We have replaced fear, guilt, shame, isolation, loneliness, anger and other destructive behaviors with positive behaviors:
We make a gratitude list and add to it daily.
We learn about H.A.L.T. We don't become too: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
We seek inspiration from our Higher Power to guide our thoughts and actions.
Am I taking a daily inventory of myself?
a) Every night before you go to bed, think of all of the incidents and situations during the day, when you have practiced your defect(s) of character.
b) You may want to discuss the incidents and situations with the person you harmed (including yourself). Promptly admit you were wrong when you practiced your defect(s) of character. You will have a clean conscience.
c) Discuss how you would like to act and behave in the future, without practicing those defects of character.
Meeting format; Step 11
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only
Principle - Spirituality
Prayer is talking to our Higher Power, asking for someone else. Meditation is listening to a Higher Power's directions for us.
- Talk to our Higher Power.
- Listen for the miracle.
- Hear with your heart.
- Feel with your soul.
- Life on Life's terms.
- One day at a time.
- Take it easy.
A prayer we can say is:
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace
Where there is hatred, I may bring love
Where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness
Where there is discord, I may bring harmony
Where there is error, I may bring truth
Where there is doubt, I may bring faith
Where there is despair, I may bring hope
Where there are shadows, I may bring light
Where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.
And the Serenity Prayer: "GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living ONE DAY AT A TIME; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next."
a) At the end of every week, schedule some time for yourself. Spend some time thinking about what happened in your life over the past week. List the incidents and situations when you have sought (or should have sought) through to improve your conscious contact with your Higher Power.
b) Describe the various forms of prayer and meditation you have used.
c) Describe any positive results you have had through prayer and meditation.
d) Write these down in a journal, so you can use them to check you progress, and also to be reminded at how you are doing.
Meeting format; Step 12
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps we carried this message to other addicted gamers a
Principles - Service and Brotherly Love
Passing on of the program, or Helping others
We are amazed at how far we've come.
More will be revealed as we continue walking these steps each day"One Day At A Time".
Step 12 allows us to carry the message of healing to others who suffer, sometimes just by being who we have become.
We share our Experience, Strength, and Hope.
Note that the basis of our effectiveness in carrying the message to others is the reality of our own spiritual awakening. If we have not changed, we cannot be used to change others. To keep this program, we must pass it on to others. We cannot hoard it for ourselves. We may lose it unless we give it away. It cannot flow into us and stop; it must continue to flow into us as it flows out to others. Am I always ready to give away what I have learned in O.L.G.A.?
We must practice these principles in all our affairs.
This part of the twelfth step must not be overlooked. It is the carrying on of the whole program. We do not just practice these principles in regard to our gaming problem. We practice them in all of our affairs. We do not give one compartment of our lives to our Higher Power and keep the other compartments to ourselves. We give our whole lives to our Higher Power and we try to do His will in every respect. "Herein lies our growth, herein lies all the promise of the future, an ever widening horizon." We are renewed with the spirit of sobriety in the light of recovery.
a) Describe any thoughts or feelings you have had regarding a spiritual awakening you have experienced. Have you had a desire to change? That is a spiritual awakening.
b) Describe the ways in which you have carried this message to others affected by excessive gaming.
c) Discuss what these "spiritual principles" are and how you practice them in all your affairs.
d) Do I carry the O.L.G.A. principles with me wherever I go?