A seemingly small story over a trivial little diversion, but a huge decision in terms of the effect on life. And a huge metaphor/example about developing an essential ingredient to a full life: Self-Control (but without doing it the "hard way", at which we humans tend to fail!).
Yes, I was already "happy", but, of course, as I do something which I know is not productive, even though I "accept" it at the time, my happiness is disturbed, with a "maybe I could live life even more - and I'm not doing it, not using it fully, not appreciating its brevity."
Of course, the latter is the "rational" argument. But, in the moment, it "seemed like a good idea - just a little relief" (which is the conversation of the lower mind - see Lennie). Meanwhile, hours and hours and hours later, I finally stop, pretty fatigued, my mind numbed over. But I said that I'd only do a quick one, to relax my mind for a moment - bull!!!
Anyway, 1,000's of games later I was still getting hooked, up to playing it all night even. Yes, I'd "released" it "permanently" but then, like an alcoholic, I said "just one, I need to be diverted" (or "I'm bored...."). [Then came a period of "only to 1 or 2 am", being "off of" the addiction for awhile, thinking it was solved - and then a trigger in a very weak moment... Sound familiar?]
"Yes, I accept I am human, so I'll not make myself wrong. But I do prefer the feeling of being productive, progressive, fully self expressing myself."
And besides that, it just feels good to have a fully lived life and/or used day and I do feel better about myself (which is priceless!).
WORKING ON IT
I journaled around this, but didn't quite finish the conclusions (a major mistake, as one can't get to the end of something until one goes all the way through to the end [Duh!]).
I decided (when in my higher state) "I just won't settle for less in life. And whiling away my time is a sure way to have less in my life. And it hurts my discipline and alertness in life." I rehearsed this and put reminders around the house, so I might still say this, sometimes, when in my alarmed state.
Oh, and what is the "rationale", as there always must be one, for playing Spider Solitaire?
This question had to be answered, so I could know what was going on, rather than some simplistic view. (If one doesn't know what is going on, then how could one solve the problem that was created by it???!!!!)
THE PLAYSCRIPT PROCEDURE
I work at something. I think I will never get to the end. I get a bit tired. Or I'm a bit bored. Or I feel anxious and don't like to have all those questions in my mind as to what to do or how things will turn out.
And I say "oh, well, I might as well play a few games and relieve myself", but I also remember that "once begun, it keeps on going for hours and hours" and that "I waste so much time at it that I get much less done than I could" and "the next day I am tired and it ruins my day, as I don't feel good - and I'm also very low in productivity." "I also feel lethargic, kinda "blotto". Not a great existence!" The cost is too great!
But, is that enough to "know" that? Apparently not, as I still continued doing it. (My primitive brain is in charge, whenever I [my higher brain] is not in charge! What creates my higher brain not working is fatigue or anxiety that gets in the way.)
Then I read that to develop a new habit one had to substitute something else to do after the "cue" (tired, bored, things are slow, vague feeling of emptiness, anxiety) that would satisfy the same urge.
The urge in a way was something like "to occupy my mind so that I wouldn't have to exert my brain or think about things I didn't want to think about."
THE REASON I DO THIS
I feel tired and weak, like I can't do much, other than something easy. I think I need something easy.
I think I need to be distracted, relieved from my anxiety thoughts, if there are any, or escape feeling bored, like I "need" stimulation.
SO WHAT COULD I DO?
This is part of the technology of change. It is a habitual way of dealing with something. I must find a replacement that can be used at the time of the cue that "triggers" this habit.
To not think (i.e. not go into anxious thoughts), just do my napping bit where I occupy my brain with the scanning for tension and then counting backward in progressive relaxation from 10 to 1. That would occupy my brain, but I might end up being bored. (But I find that I don't actually get bored, as I find that I drift off, before being awakened by my timer alarm, which is set at 20 minutes usually.)
I could take a short nap, then go do some mindless organizing - and tell myself I will not think of being short on my goals or on getting the results I would like to have. I could go out and exercise.
I could read a book, but if I am really tired that seems hard to do.
I could stop and stand up and do a super deep breath throwing my shoulders back.
I could do stretching and moving for a few minutes. I could do The Short Pause, breathing for a bit. I could do Energizing, but I need to use resting if the "out of balance" condition is being tired - it is not best to try to energize oneself out of being tired - but I must discriminate as to what is true lack of rest and what is the cycle of lowered energy from just sitting too long.
I could set an alarm for 12 minutes and wait for the urge to pass.
I could take a shower.
I could eat a small snack.
I could swear off playing it for a set period of days, like 30 days and give myself permission to choose then. ("OK, I promised to wait 7 days and then I can play.")
I could watch tv, but that is so slow that I often want to play Spider while I am doing it, hardly paying attention to tv, staying in a brainless fog of Pavlovian behavior, still creating some winning moves (in Spider, that is) and seeing how well I can do...
I could post a reminder on the mirror about not tolerating wasting my life.
If I feel "anxious" or "not like doing anything that is much effort", I can do deep breathing, nap, or meditation (the obvious solutions). I think I will keep on thinking, which I don't want to do, not if it is that same old crap, but I find, usually, that this works.
MAKE IT SEEM SO AWFUL I WON'T DO IT ANYMORE
I remember Tony Robbins suggesting that one make the pain so bad that you won't continue the behavior.
"I am not living a good life by doing that. I am blowing it! And, dammit, I shall not live my life this way!" This is a declaration of fact, which can be helpful. But the following may have more impact and definiteness to it.
"It will be awful if I play SS! I will feel awful. I'll be in a fog! I'm being a fool! I'll be disappointed in myself. I'll blow huge amounts of time in a juvenile, animal level behavior. I refuse to be so stupid! I will no longer suffer this! Don't ever allow that!" "I'm being primitive letting a few chemicals run me. I will not tolerate this any longer."
"I hereby commit to, forever, not play such addictive, stupid games!"
MY FINAL DECISION AS TO STRATEGY
Never sit down in my easy chair with my iPad! (If I feel tired and want to nap, do not take my iPad with me!!!!) [This is a "remove the option" strategy. It is a good idea, but it might not work sometimes, as I may be motivated to get up and get the iPad!] I made a sign to that effect and posted it next to the chair.
Definitely nap to make myself sharper and more alert, which will help to engage my higher brain, make me feel calmer and more centered - both of which will help.
For sure, grab a quick snack, even before the nap. (Increased glucose makes one feel better, with more energy, so one will feel calmer and more able. This also increases the willpower reserve supply.)
Put a folded card (a "tent") with "The cost is too great! Just eat a snack and take a 20 minute nap and all will be well." And another one: "I have sworn off doing this and I shall honor that pledge."
Put a copy of my decision and my pledge into my Reminders Notebook for reference behind a "self-control" tab. (Eventually, I found it more effective to actually have this next to the chair, with a "read this before sitting here!" card taped to the side of a bookend, where the page is sticking out from my books and stapled to a stiff divider. I printed this computer page and cut out what I would include in the reminder page.)
I also decided that the easy chair was, at least, akin to a trigger, so I started lying prone in bed or on the couch.
This, in combination, finally worked to eradicate the problem!
MY PLEDGE (to be read aloud)
I pledge to live a full life, full of high value and aliveness!!!!!
I cannot do that if I squander my life by doing such harmful diversions. It is below me and the life I aspire to live!!!.
I hereby resolve, always and forever, that I shall not ever, ever, ever play another game of Spider Solitaire or any such nonsense!!!! I shall, instead, do what it takes to return to The Zone, where I am operating in the functional range!
I shall, instead, eat a small snack to increase my glucose and then take a nap or energize.
And, if necessary, I'll write down what is going on and create a list of what I will do, when, and in what order.
I am the master of my life and the captain of my soul. I generate my life - and I'll generate the very best life I can and definitely not allow anything less!!!
The following goes onto my reminder page, on the manila divider sheet, next to the chair:
__ Say aloud: "I will get awful results that will affect this day and the next!!!!"
__ Deep breathing
__ Calming, to peace
__ Sit in the sun
__ Read aloud: Remember, once begun, it keeps on going for hours and hours and I waste so much time at it that I get much less done than I could plus the next day I am so tired that it ruins my day...and I don't feel good...and I very low in productivity, kinda "blotto". The cost is too great! I choose, instead, to go the higher route into The Zone and to then live my live only in that zone!