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Switching Addictions

  • Asks ...

    I am a recovering marijuana addict. I am 4 months clean and I am not doing much right now except going to meetings 3 or 4 times a week and the rest of the time I am holed up in my parent’s basement playing game, like Star Wars the Old Republic and WoW. I can get really into the games and I can find a lot of time can pass before I want to take a break. I can basically spend the whole day in game without any problem.

    The way I look at it is that maybe playing games all day isn’t the best way a person could spend their time but I am taking things very much one day at a time right now and every day I make it through without taking a drink or lighting up is a day of victory. My sponsor agrees with me and he says I just gottta keep doing what I have to do to keep adding up those days, especially in the early months.

    I don’t really have any friends I can hang with anyway. Everyone I know smokes joints all day and there’s no way I can hang with them and make it through clean.

    My parents though are starting to give me a very hard time. They think I am getting pretty addicted to playing games and that it isn’t actually doing my recovery any good to spend all day ‘escaping’ from reality instead of moving on with my life. I am not sure what to think. I can see that having my mom bring me dinner at night while I am still in the pjs I started playing in that day is not exactly an impressive lifestyle, but at the same time, it is working for me at the moment.

    Should I be worried about getting too hooked on these games or should I just use these games like I am now to keep from going back to more destructive habits, like hittin that bong like I really want to?

  • Donna Hunter Says ...
    Donna Hunter

    Although I agree with your sponsor that you need to add up the days in early recovery, I disagree that spending your days playing games in your parents basement is the way to do it.


    Part of recovery is about creating a new life- new people new places, new things to do. You say you go to meetings 3-4 times a week.  Right there is a storehouse of new friends and new opportunities.  You should be working your program, going out to coffee after the meetings and making new friends; face to face real world friends.


    Your mother brings you dinner while you play?  Well she could use some help as well.  Her behavior is probably part of the enabling that keeps you very comfortable holed up in the basement.


    It is very common for addicts to switch addictions.  Going from pot, a sedative hypnotic to gaming isn't surprising.  Both are highly dissociative and keep you from dealing with life on life’s terms.  It is time to put on your clothes, go make real friends, get a job or go to school- do something productive with your time.  It is hard to live life but well worth the effort.  Tell your mom it is time for her to go to some Nar-anon meetings too.


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