OLGA Reflections for September 1st
Wisdom from the chatroom
How do we manage as we begin recovery?
Reflection. Recovery is about taking action. If we don't take action, we won't recover. It's that simple. But we can't do it all at once. What is one action we could take?
Taking action is hard for us. Very hard. Why? Because we've been gaming. In early recovery (the first 2-4 months or so), our brains are adjusting to a new way of interacting with the world--a much slower way, sometimes. Some of us played FPS games, or other games requiring very fast responses. Some of us had 400 apm, which is more than 6 clicks per second. Keep this sort of activity up for 12 hours a day, and it will turn your brain into something that has never before been seen in human history. And for us, there is no question that it has done damage. But those of us farther along in recovery also know that much of this damage can be healed. Our brains have tremendous capacity for change.
So the first action we must take is very important: no games. And while we're at it, nothing else that involves fast clicking: no surfing the internet, surfing TV, no cute little "harmless" phone app games. We have to let our brains adjust to less stimulation. Cut down screen time.
The second action is also important: Kindness to ourselves. We need to understand withdrawal. We need to be aware that the changes our brain is making will take time. Perhaps we have trouble sleeping, or perhaps we sleep many hours a day. Usually, we find we can't focus, can't read. We end up watching a lot of TV-like entertainment. For a little while, this is OK--as long as we aren't immersing ourselves in overstimulation, clicking away.
We can also feel depressed, guilty, useless, hopeless. Here is where we need the fellowship. It's important to get connected to addicts who are farther along in recovery, as well as some who are at more or less the same place we are. Get a sponsor and begin the 12 steps. Get phone numbers and make phone calls, or meet by voice online, or go to the chatroom. Every day. We need people to help us realize that there is hope, that things will change for the better.
We also may find that we don't like the real life we are trying to rejoin. We disappeared into gaming for a reason, sometimes a very good one. We need support so that we can manage real life. Here our actions could involve things that are good for our bodies: regular sleep, healthy food, and exercise; things that are good for our brain: meditation and (if needed) appropriate supplements or medication; and things that are good for our spiritual life: the 12 steps, therapy, prayer, rekindling supportive friendships and reconciling with loved ones we have neglected or harmed. These things can help bring us inner peace.
Finally, we must begin to develop good habits, new habits. When we were actively in our addiction, our only habit was to give in to our impulses. Now we have to become responsible: Take care of ourselves, get jobs, go to school, do household chores, care for children or other family members.
This is a long list. We can't do it all in a day, not even in a year. But we don't have to. We just have to take one action. Do one thing. And if we can keep doing that thing for a week or two, then we can begin another. Later, another. Soon we will be a different person. One day at a time, one step at a time.
Questions: What is my next step in recovery? What is one thing I will do today? What is just one thing that I will do for the next two weeks?
Action: Take the one action you have committed to. Right now.
Prayer: Higher Power, help me to forgive myself for past mistakes and to know what is the next action for me, and give me the courage to do that one thing.
I am a recovering computer game and gambling addict. My recovery birthday: On May 6, 2012 I quit games and began working a program of recovery through OLGA No computer games or slot games for me since December 12, 2012. No solitaire games with real cards since June 2013.