|Withdrawal symptoms||Recovery fellowship|
|The Voice of Addiction||Learning from relapse|
Addiction is powerful and persistent, with the ability to make the most absurd rationalizations seem reasonable when trying to talk us back into the games. We have found it a tremendous help to learn to recognize the voice of addiction and to know that we do not have to believe its lies or do what it tells us to do. When bombarded by urges to game, the addiction seeks to break down our defenses. It reminds us of good times we had, of gaming friends, and of release from care and boredom. It never speaks of the grueling hours, lost sleep, missed opportunities, neglected health, work problems, relationship problems, promises to quit, or feelings of shame and frustration.
Whenever we feel emotionally upset or beset by urges to game, we can pause to examine the thoughts plaguing us. Often we quickly recognize the voice of addiction and decide on the spot to stop listening to its deceptions. We can choose instead to talk with a friend, sponsor or recovery buddy. We can “play the tape through to the end” and vividly imagine where gaming will soon return us. We can expose the lies to the light of day, picking apart their flimsy logic and absurd rationalization. We do not have to believe them or be controlled by them.
Once we become wise to its usual deceptions, its new tactic will be to create as much negativity and emotional pain as it can, to make us vulnerable to relapse. Through negative self-talk, pessimism, resentment, self pity, shame, guilt, fear, and anger, the voice of addiction does its best to drive us toward self-loathing so that we stop taking care of ourselves and start making bad decisions. It is powerfully effective. We must learn to promptly recognize the voice of addiction in all forms. Often, recognition is enough to drain the voice of its power. Sometimes we need to also talk about it with an understanding friend.
We can’t make the voice of addiction disappear entirely, but we can constructively deal with it and lessen its grip on us.