My mom bought me a book called 12 stupid things that mess up recovery. I have read this book once already but picked it up again last night because I am having an issue in my recovery. As I was looking at the table of contents I see stupid thing 9: playing futile self-improvement games. As soon as I read that I thought “Ummm maybe I should read that chapter again.”
Now I don’t know about “normal” people or other addicts but I have a hard time facing things about myself that I don’t like. Which is probably why I am having such a hard time starting step 4-made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves-and which is probably another reason I became an addict in the first place. I run from the truth. I distorted the truth and I twisted reality. I was the queen of self-deception and manipulation. Not something someone likes to admit about themselves.
But in order to recover I need to fight the temptation to run away and be open minded and keep and open heart. In the book Dr. Allen Berger gives us examples of many common games people play in active addiction, I will just list a couple that pertain to me:
Helpless Harry: Harry is incapable of thinking on his own. He doesn’t want to make his decisions because he is afraid of being wrong. Harry doesn’t take a risk so he plays it safe and has others think for him. He never grows up.
Self-effacing Sam: His game is to always be wrong. He apologizes rather he has done something wrong or not. He is always finding fault in himself. Sam’s ploy is to manipulate others into telling him what a wonderful person he is.
Looking back in my active addiction I can see many ways that I played these games along with many others depending on the situation. And to be honest sometimes I see myself playing them now in recovery. Dr. Berger also gives us recovery games people play (only going to list a couple):
Next Time Ian: Ian’s game is to do better next time. He lives in the future. He can justify and rotten behavior because he “will do better next time.” He avoids taking responsibility for what he is doing right now by making promises about the future. He is all talk and no action.
Let’s Just Get Along Louise: Louise wants everyone to be happy. She is incredible at minimizing and understating problems. Louise doesn’t want to see things as they are because it means that she won’t have any control and conflict may follow. Louise’s game is to avoid conflict at all cost possible.
Reading this chapter again has been good for me. I can see what I am doing wrong and work on it. Recovery is a process not an event. We have to work on it daily, it’s not something we do once and we get it. Recovery is hard work.
Dr. Berger says our game playing is based on a lack of faith in ourselves to be able to deal with life on life’s terms. To be honest I have been living with this addiction and lack of faith in myself for 12 years and I am sick of it! So it looks like I have 2 choices: Keep playing games (which will keep me emotionally immature, alienate people, and frustrate those who try to help me and myself) OR grow up ( which will be difficult and I will have to face emotions that I would rather run from, and be honest with myself).
I choose to grow up!
What do you choose?
Just for today: I accept whatever is put before me, knowing that acceptance is fundamental to spiritual growth.
12 stupid things that mess up recovery By Allen Berger, Ph.D. pages 67-79
For more information about this book check out this site: http://www.sober24.com/Recovery_Tools/12_Stupid_Things/237/
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