Step One

General sharing of life in recovery, helpful principles, experience, support and gratitude is encouraged here. Includes subforums for the twelve steps and traditions.

Step One

Joined: December 14th, 2014, 10:54 pm

December 14th, 2014, 11:04 pm #1

1. We admitted that we were powerless over gaming addiction, and that our lives had become unmanageable.
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Joined: May 17th, 2014, 8:28 pm

February 18th, 2015, 9:05 pm #2

This is my step one, which I wrote to remind me what it was like.

Step 1. We admitted that we were powerless over gaming addiction, and that our lives had become unmanageable.

I like to reword sentences to mean me. So that step would be reworded to say:

Pat's Step 1: I admitted that I was powerless over gaming, that my life had become unmanageable.

That comment is the crux of the program of recovery from addiction. Any addiction. Without that admission I could not or would not be able to work the rest of the twelve steps. In fact I wouldn’t have seriously considered working those steps, especially the higher power part.

Yet I was powerless over gaming addictively. I could not stop even when I most wanted to. I was adamant that I would—somehow—learn to enjoy and control gaming, someday soon. But somehow I always missed it. I either played too much (14 to 16 hours at a stretch) or too little (a strict adherence to 2 hours max. game play) which just made me nervous and more apt to think and plan about the next session of gaming.

And if I wasn’t gaming, I’d spend my time researching what I needed to play better: develop spreadsheets to tweak game play, newer add-ons, programmable keyboards and gaming mouses (mice?) or upgrading the computer to be faster—faster video cards, water-cooled fans, you name it I did it. I bought 4 brand new computers, once every two years, to get the most out of gaming.

Or I would rearrange entire days so that I had maximum time gaming.

Everything was about gaming. Until gaming was no longer as much fun.

It was still fun, but now I was getting miserable and couldn’t stop or moderate even when I wanted to. I always had to squeeze in one more hour or one more day; I couldn’t keep promises to non-players in my family about limiting game-play, and I couldn’t even keep promises to myself!

But I thought I could control it. It never occurred to me that NOTHING I could do would change the fact that I was now a computer addict, that I was addicted to gaming, and that I couldn’t stop gaming even if I wanted to.

I tried changing games. I tried to create solid boundaries of how often and how long I would play. But I always found some reason or excuse to go back to gaming.

I tried to play only after work or just before work and that didn’t work either.

Controlling gaming just made me anxious, and then I would play more than ever.

I just could not stop. I could not control it, I could not limit it or modify it.

I even tried quitting altogether. And that was a disaster.

At this point I had never even heard of gaming as an addiction. Oh yes, we would kid ourselves in the game “I’m really addicted to this. Har-de-har-har” and then get back to playing.

But I knew something was wrong, because even when I most wanted to stop gaming nothing I came up with or thought about could somehow “fix” my gaming so that it would become a normal, rational part of my life.

I was totally out of fixes. I was powerless. Nothing I could do or read or listen to would fix that.

How did you realize you were powerless over gaming?

(more will be revealed, in Step 2)...
Let your past make you better, not bitter.
Don't Lose Heart. If your efforts are greeted with indifference, don't lose heart. The sun puts on a wonderful show at daybreak when most people are sleeping. Keep shining!
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Joined: May 17th, 2014, 8:59 pm

February 18th, 2015, 9:06 pm #3

Thank you, Pat, for sharing this.

My whole step 1 is pretty big, but I can give the basics here.

1. I've played computer/video games as long as there have been computer/video games. I played the first one that ever was made at the local bowling alley (still standing, still a bowling alley) when I was 15. I haven't always played addictively, but there were early indications (in my 20's) that I might not have full control.

2. I lied about my playing to myself. I couldn't control the time or the amount. I hid the extent of my gaming from others. I violated boundaries to play my game. I gamed instead of doing things with my partner. I gamed instead of contributing to the household. I gamed instead of keeping up with my friends. I gamed instead of keeping up with finances and financial responsibility. I gamed instead of opening the mail.

3. My gaming made every other thing I did in my life seem flat. It took away my interest in reading (!!!), cooking, gardening, going out with friends/going to parties, doing things with my partner.

4. I gamed to self-medicate my bipolar disorder. In the typical way, the gaming made my bipolar symptoms worse. So I kept gaming and gamed more.

5. I gamed to escape a reality I hated, a life I didn't want, pain I couldn't stop, stress I couldn't manage, and the agitation, anger and hatred I felt toward certain people. I gamed to not be present, to not be conscious.

6. I gamed until I fell asleep, or couldn't see straight, or couldn't think any more, or was so bored with every game I'd been playing that I couldn't stand to play any more--the anaesthetic effect was gone.

That's what powerlessness and unmanageability looked like for me. Thanks for listening. **
You have to go the way the way your blood beats:
If you don't live the only life you have,
You won't live some other life,
You just won't live any life at all.

I was dan1 in a former life.

skype: dan939f
reddit: DansNewLife
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Joined: May 20th, 2014, 11:54 pm

February 18th, 2015, 9:07 pm #4

Thanks Jeff and Pat for your shares.

I relate a lot when people say they'd always be thinking about gaming or planning their next session when they weren't playing. So, even when I was able to maintain some moderation for a short stretch of time, my whole life was still revolved around gaming in my head.

Countless attempts at moderation with various "rules" set for myself. Sometimes, I'd promise myself that I'd only game after X,Y and Z were finished for the day. Other times it'd be specific games only with specific people. I tried gaming only on a certain day(s) each week.
It's a long list but every time, I may miss a day or "cheat" and that would snowball into more than one day of cheating and very quickly went back to full-on hardcore sessions every day without limits.

I'd reached a real low point with shame and disgust for myself and my life and I was willing to do anything to change. For many years I knew that gaming was a destructive force in my life, so it was easy for me to see it as something that I needed to stop.

To define it as an addiction may have been difficult for me to really believe the many times I tried stopping in the past, but that's only because I never really looked at the steps and tried working them. When I truly thought about how I was powerless against my gaming and how many examples where my life had become unmanageable because of them, surrendering was my only option.

Step 1 for me was finally surrendering not only to my addiction but to the idea that I truly need this program for a better life.

Thanks for reading :-)

-Jesse
  • skype: jslinden
    other: Ascender or Zenn
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Joined: May 17th, 2014, 8:28 pm

February 18th, 2015, 9:07 pm #5

Great shares! I keep thinking about Step 1 lately because for some reason I want to drink or smoke and I know I cannot handle or control either one of those. And if I think about those activities then gaming is not far behind.

So I am going through the steps again. Thank you for your comments. Really helps.
Let your past make you better, not bitter.
Don't Lose Heart. If your efforts are greeted with indifference, don't lose heart. The sun puts on a wonderful show at daybreak when most people are sleeping. Keep shining!
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Joined: May 17th, 2014, 8:28 pm

February 18th, 2015, 9:08 pm #6

I have noticed that after three years off gaming, that I have become more honest about myself and my addiction, and more honest with others.
Let your past make you better, not bitter.
Don't Lose Heart. If your efforts are greeted with indifference, don't lose heart. The sun puts on a wonderful show at daybreak when most people are sleeping. Keep shining!
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Joined: February 25th, 2015, 1:45 pm

March 9th, 2015, 10:35 am #7

Step one has always been the easy part for me. Yes, I have issues. The overwhelming force of my addictions has always been present in my life, whether it was stealing bottles from the pharmacy when I worked as a tech, or whoring myself for drugs or the money to buy drugs, or more recently my complete and total failure to limit gaming. I've always known gaming was a problem but it's been easier to just give into the problem because help... help seems so limited. If you're an alcoholic you can take medicine, go to rehab, if you're a gaming addict all you really have are online meetings. It seems degrading. It feels impossible. The compulsion is there and ever present and it's beyond me to fight it. It's so depressing, when I'm not gaming, to think about how powerless I am, which makes returning to it so much better since it absorbs me entirely in the present. Nothing else matters if I'm in game.

I just can't friggin stop. The online meetings aren't enough, I need something more.
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Joined: May 17th, 2014, 8:59 pm

June 2nd, 2018, 10:39 pm #8

I sometimes find it helpful to work through some of the questions from the NA Step-Working Guide and share my responses with other members of our fellowship.
 
I’ve adapted these from the NA Step-working guide (a few minor changes made by me; followed by my present day responses to the questions).  These questions are from Step 1
 
The Disease of Addiction
 
What makes us addicts is the disease of addiction-not the gaming, not our behavior, but our disease. There is something within us that makes us unable to control our  gaming.
This same "something" also makes us prone to obsession and compulsion in other areas of our lives. How can we tell when our disease is active? When we become trapped in obsessive, compulsive, self-centered routines, endless loops that lead nowhere but to physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional decay.
 
·         What does "the disease of addiction" mean to me?
 
To me, the disease of addiction is fundamentally a spiritual problem.  For me, I mean that it interferes with my ability to live a meaningful, connected life.  This includes (especially) my connection with myself—my own values and beliefs. Being disconnected from that involves impulsive behaviors, and behaviors that I engage in to try to “feel better,” even if I know they aren’t good for me, or arentt what my best self really wants. And then I avoid thinking about the problem, I deny to myself that what I’m doing isn’t best.  This manifests itself in various time-wasting activities, which I think of as leisure, but I know it is more leisure than I really need.
 
·         Has my disease been active recently? In what way?
 
Too much YouTube, working on math problems for fun, oversleep and overeating. Wasting time in a variety of other ways, without being thoughtful about my day, without paying attention to the next right thing.
 
·         What is it like when I'm obsessed with something? Does my thinking follow a pattern? Describe.
 
I don’t think I get obsessed with things very much now, at least as far as I can tell.
 
·         When a thought occurs to me, do I immediately act on it without considering the consequences? In what other ways do I behave impulsively?
 
Mostly this manifests itself in following an impulse to escape when I know that it’s escapist and there is something else that I could be doing hat would help me more. It’s also about paying attention to the next right thing, when I know exactly what it is.  This isn’t about constantly being overwhelmed by the list of 100 things that “need” to e done—That's constant for me--I’m talking instead about when the Voice clearly tells me what I should do now and I ignore it.  Instead I just follow the impulse to escape, or eat or whatever. I have found that stopping, taking a breath, and getting myself calm for just a moment can help, but I don’t always do it.
You have to go the way the way your blood beats:
If you don't live the only life you have,
You won't live some other life,
You just won't live any life at all.

I was dan1 in a former life.

skype: dan939f
reddit: DansNewLife
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Joined: June 5th, 2018, 12:31 pm

June 5th, 2018, 12:33 pm #9

This really made a lot of difference and challenged me. It's going to be difficult but I know I'll get through it.
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Joined: December 12th, 2016, 10:12 pm

June 6th, 2018, 4:27 pm #10

Hello all,

I am just starting this whole process and it has been difficult. One of the things that keeps coming up for me is the thought that I am not really addicted. That the feeling of it only looks like I am addicted. On the days that I can think clearly I can easily admit that I am addicted. How ever as the day goes on and time passes of me not playing, that voice in my head kicks in. Trying to convince me that I’m not actually addicted. The reasoning that goes into it. “I have a steady job now.” “I am doing really well with my work.” “I am able to play and handle my relationships.” “How can I be addicted if I am only playing a few hours a day.” All of these things keep coming back to me. I do my best to just work through those thoughts and tell myself it’s not worth it. But lately it’s become very apparent. Recently my gf of almost 9 years, has set the ultimatum. It’s her or video games. Even knowing that my job and my gf are at constant jeprody, I still play. There have been moments, even recently where I considered giving up my relationship, just so I didn’t have to stop playing video games. Even then I find a way to justify the damage that would cause. Video games for me, I have realized have become a very comfortable blanket. No matter what happens in my life, video games will never yell at me, Never tell me I’m doing something wrong, never tell me I’m not good enough, and will be there for me no matter what. The hard trueth is that it’s just avoiding. Avoiding everything that’s wrong in my life and substituting it for something that can give me a rush of adrenaline and feeling good about myself. I am powerless over my addiction(s). In every sense of the phrase.
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