I’ve been addicted to various things over the years, and have (very gratefully) recovered from each of them. These weren’t your traditional things (i.e. drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.) but vices nonetheless – “helping” me escape the reality I felt stuck in. Habits and things that kept me numb to the life of depression I found myself drowning in. Suppressors. Life wasters.
And the first one I remember bringing up to my therapist (the first time I’d ever actually shared it with anyone) was online solitaire ????
Online solitaire, of all things. Like I said, not your traditional thing. But still a thing that needed to be addressed. It was eating away at my life, with zero enhancing qualities. It wasn’t even challenging me, in any way. Single card draw. No timer. No points. Just mindlessly clicking “flip, flip, flip….” until my body reminded me I was hungry or I had to answer the call of mother nature.
Now before I lose any of you who are walking through really life-altering, mega-impactful addictions, stay with me for a moment because I’m certainly not making light of the gravity those hold.
✨What I’m wanting to highlight is actually what my therapist shared with me that changed my life, and helped shift me OUT of that addiction.
She didn’t judge. She got curious, and she got practical.
While her and I would spend more than one conversation diving into the root cause (the very things I’d been avoiding with said addiction), she gave me one piece of homework to implement between sessions, and it was this.
INTERRUPT THE DEFAULT. Anytime I went to login to my online solitaire account to play, I was to do ONE thing first. It could be anything. Brush my teeth. Go for a walk. Put on a sweatshirt. Make a phone call. Do some jumping jacks. Anything. But INTERRUPT THE DEFAULT.
Get myself out of my own way, and put a pause between “trigger” and “reaction” (i.e. acting on the addiction).
And let me tell you what – IT WORKED!
It wasn’t an overnight success, and it took consistent practice and implementation. But as I was working with my therapist to address the root cause, I was simultaneously adding more and more actions between “triggers” (which were becoming less frequent) and “reaction” and was able to eventually stop before I even started. Or the times I did succumb and let myself act on the addiction, I was able to shut it down quicker.
If you find yourself doing ANYthing to numb out, escape, or try to forget the life you are in, please get help! No matter WHAT it is, if it’s robbing from your life, it isn’t worth keeping around.