OLGA Reflections: Action in early recovery: What can we do to start getting better?

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dan1
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OLGA Reflections: Action in early recovery: What can we do to start getting better?

OLGA Reflections for September 1st

Wisdom from the chatroom

Action

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.

Patria
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Thank you Dan, this is

Thank you Dan, this is awesome.

My next step in recovery is getting to more face to face meetings. I love the chat room meetings, and the Skype meetings. But I also need to get off the computer and get out in the world.

The computer actually gives me headaches and agitates me. I didn't know this when I first quit gaming, as I was consistently agitated and daily headaches. But after the withdrawals were over, after I got some much needed sleep and rest, and after I got involved in more outside activities, I began to notice a significant rise in agitation any time I used the computer for any length of time. The longer I was on the computer, the more agitated I became.

I've cut back a lot on computer usage. I use it mainly to look up information for a quick 5 minute read. Then I turn it off. I've also cut back on computer usage at night. I'm on for the chat meeting, and then I get off quickly.

I'm only getting to one face to face meeting a week, but eventually would like to get to two of them.

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dan1 wrote:   We also
dan1 wrote:

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.

That's been the biggest eye-opener for me. My life is one I created through all the myriad of addictions I've had over my lifetime. Waking up and trying to adjust to everything around me is not an easy task and not an easy task for those around me either, but working the steps and working with my psychologist has really helped me to understand who I am. And when I come from a centered place with clarity, I can finally feel like a whole person and one who is control of her destiny instead of being carried different directions by addictions.

Thanks for this Dan. I loved reading it.

Patria
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Exavatar wrote: Waking up
Exavatar wrote:

Waking up and trying to adjust to everything around me is not an easy task and not an easy task for those around me either...

It sure isn't easy. If it was easy, everyone would be able to do it. I've heard in AA meetings that it's for people who want it, not necessarily for people who need it.

So glad we are all here recovering. Hugs

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I wish there were "like"

I wish there were "like" buttons available! I "LIKE" this comment, lol.

Ajay
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Very well thought out post

Very well thought out post Dan. How right you are on stating the challenges one may face in their recovery, noting it is not the speed or swiftness but the fact that one must take action no matter how little or big that step may be.

speaking as the partner of an addict who has not woken up yet, your words resonate with me. I hope one day to see her take just a small step toward recovery.

One day at a time... Step by step.

Hugs.

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