Step 1

All are welcome to submit writings here for editing and possible inclusion in literature such as pamphlets, webpages, books or chapters, fliers, or guides. All are welcome to provide feedback on each piece.
Forum rules
The first post in each thread should contain a piece of literature for review by other members of GAA. Preferably each post contains the full text, but if the text is very long or in a format garbled by this forum software, it can be put in another online document with a link provided here. All comments are welcome here. If the piece is in a Google document, detailed comments can be submitted directly into the document.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Step 1

Post by Jeff »

Several of us are working together to write a step-working guide for gaming addicts under the following assumptions:
1. The principles and actions of the 12 steps are a time-tested method of recovery that have helped millions.
2. Addicts recover in a fellowship by sharing experience, strength and hope.
3. Addiction manifests itself differently in different addictive activities, yet addiction is a specific kind of disease, with many commonalities across addictions.. Thus, there will be both similarities and differences in the paths to recovery in different fellowships (and for different people).

We also will be sharing, substantially, how we have actually worked the steps, and found them helpful, and will not be sharing anything that most of us have not done at some point.

Here, after some careful revising, is a possible guide for working step 1 in a way similar to the way several of us have.

The text is here and WORD and .pdf versions are attached. I will make some edits that people suggest right here, but the attached versions won't reflect them all until later.

Step 1

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

1.A The disease of addiction

The first part of step one (We admitted that we were powerless over our gaming addiction) involves an understanding of the problem we are facing. It is not simply a matter of bad behavior, bad ideas or bad morals. Instead, it is a disease (a malfunction in the brain) which leads us to act in many ways that harm us. It even leads us to do things that we did not intend to do and that we later regret, often things that are against our own values, things that we are ashamed of. Understanding something about the nature of the problem brings us to a place where we can begin to accept help.

There are several suggested exercises for this part of Step 1.

Answer the "20 Questions" for video game addiction. A simple "yes" or "no" with a brief sentence or two is enough for now; you can give more details in your gaming autobiography below.

Listen to the talk by Dr. Kevin McCauley titled "Disease Model of Addiction" and discuss it with your sponsor. What does it say about what addiction is and how it works? According to this doctor, what isthe cause of addiction? ( and look in "AA Recordings.")

Answer the questions below, and discuss them with your sponsor:

1. Have I opened my mind to the idea that addiction is a disease? Do I understand that it requires treatment? Have I realized that I need help in dealing with it, or do I still believe that I should be able to take care of it on my own?
2. Do I understand that addiction affects my mental functioning and capabilities? What are some of the ways that recovery from my addiction might help me?
3. Do I understand that I did not choose my addiction, or do I still blame myself? Do I still believe I have the power to control it? Am I holding onto the belief that if I "just" do one more thing (or several things), I will be able to "fix" the problem on my own?

1.B. Gaming Autobiography

If the previous exercises have been completed, to the best of your ability, you are now ready for the central exercise of Step 1. Our gaming has been done in the dark, in a trance. Many of us have little idea how many hours we played; we just know we played at every opportunity. Writing the autobiography is the first step in eliminating our denial about what our gaming was like, the lack of control we had over it, and how it impacted us. It does not have to be long, but it must be honest and thorough.

Write out the story of your gaming history. This is not about what games you played--it's about how you played: how did you feel when you played, when did you play, how was your playing compulsive? In what ways have you shown that you aren't in control of your gaming? Include descriptions any attempts to stop or moderate.

Also discuss the consequences of your gaming. These may include what you gave up or avoided in order to play games, and what other impacts gaming had on your life. Include impacts on your relationships with family, friends, school and work.

When you are finished with your gaming autobiography, share it with your sponsor.

1.C. Isolation and Shame

Isolation is a hallmark of gaming addiction. Unlike some other addicts, we use our "stuff," not at parties or on the streets, but in a dark room at home, where we spend countless hours. This isolation can lead to crippling social anxiety--we become afraid of people, afraid of being with people, unable to talk with them, unable to connect. Learning to connect with the fellowship can be a very big first step out of our isolation. The connections formed and created in meetings are one of the many reasons that regular meeting attendance and connections with fellow gaming addicts are so important.

Most of us have also found that we are filled with shame over things we have done (or did not do) when we were in active addiction. We came to the conclusion that we are weak, unintelligent, defective, or that we are morally inferior. While it is tempting to brand ourselves as damaged goods because of our prior action (or inaction), it is not true. In fact, none of our weaknesses or limitations are not truly the cause of our addiction. Our addiction is most often caused by our distress and our craving for relief from it. It is a natural human impulse to want to relieve our pain, and when we find something as stimulating as video games, we are only too happy to escape into them. Most of the time, we started playing long before we realized it could create problems in our lives, often when we were children. Shame over this will not help us move forward. Instead it cripples us. Isolation and shame also feed on each other. We need to remember that addiction is a disease we never wanted to have, and that we must not let our shame keep us from connecting with the fellowship. Discuss these questions with your sponsor:

4. How did my gaming increase my isolation and/or social anxiety?
5. What are some of the things I am ashamed of regarding my gaming addiction?
6. Although I know I am responsible for my behavior, have I begun to accept that there is no shame in having a disease I did not ask for?
7. Am I allowing my shame and/or social anxiety to keep me from asking for help in the CGAA fellowship? Am I allowing shame to keep me from sharing honestly with my sponsor or other recovery friends? Am I feeling so ashamed that I don't want to work the Steps, because I believe I will feel even worse? In what other ways is shame holding me back?
8. Am I willing to take responsibility for my recovery by going to meetings, connecting with others in the fellowship, asking for help when I need it, and moving forward with the 12 Steps, in spite of my shame and anxiety?

1.D Transformation.

The transformation we seek in this step is a beginning understanding of the seriousness of our problem. It wasn't just how much we played; it was the addiction--the powerlessness over our own behavior, and the chaos and damage that this causes. This is a deeper problem than just "playing too much." This is why the Steps exist--to guide us through a process that can help us with this deeper problem. When we understand this, then the next step appears.

To make sure we have begun this transformation, we answer these questions:

9. Do I hold any reservations that I can play games like other people? Do I believe that over time, my gaming problem will get better or go away? Am I holding on to any other reservations (i.e. waiting for something to happen that will let me decide I can play games again)?

1.E. Moving on

By this point, you should be having regular talks with your sponsor and with other friends in recovery, and going to meetings regularly (if not every day, at least several times each week--however many you need to stay off games). Now that you are clear about needing help to treat your addiction, let's begin to find out how to get more of that help.
Last edited by Jeff on Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Step 1

Post by ADH »

It looks fine to me, except that early on it seems to endorse AA (via an AA speaker). While this particular talk may be useful, I think that it has no place in our literature seeing that it's from AA - no matter how well intended (1A, second bullet).

Also, the steps are worked in order for a reason. I think it's not a good idea to mention that people need to do a shame inventory in step 4, while they're still busy with step 1 (1C, second paragraph). I'd start worrying if I knew I needed to inventory my shame somewhere in in the future, but soon when not yet up to it. Sounds like a good reason to procrastinate on step work.
User avatar
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Step 1

Post by Jeff »

Thanks so much for the feedback, Xander.  Great point about the shame inventory.  I will take out the mention of Step 4.

I'm glad you brought up the question of the talk--I think some other people will wonder about this, also.  I agree with you that we should not just copy things from another fellowship just to include them.  But the talk mentioned is not by an AA speaker.  It is by an addiction doctor.  He gave the talk at an AA meeting, but he was invited because he is an addiction doctor.  I don't think "AA" is ever mentioned in the talk, and it's about addiction in general.

The AA big book has a chapter titled "The Doctor's Opinion"  I don't know if it represented state-of-the-art understanding of alcoholism in 1939 or not.  But they thought that information from a doctor was worth including in their literature.  (And if it was, they might want to update it, but that's not for me to say.)

What I know is that this talk does represent some of the state-of-the-art information on addiction today.  All of the newcomers we have recommended it to have found it helpful.  It was the first thing my sponsor asked me to listen to when I did step 1 and it helped me, as well as a number of the other people who wrote this.  So that's why I think it's OK to include it--it's our experience of something we found helpful.  I think it can serve the same purpose for us as "The Doctor's Opinion" did for AA. 

Thank you again for carefully looking at this! :)
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2021 3:15 pm

Re: Step 1

Post by michaels »

Is there a place where all of these documents are gathered? Like a paved road with concrete exercises that sponsors can suggest for each step?
Post Reply