You did it! You made it to Level 5. You have come so far and have changed so much. I hope you're proud of yourself.
If you just jumped in. You die, start over with a new life here.
Counselor: So how are things going?
Gamer: Better than I imagined. I mean, things are still far from perfect, but I feel like we are on the same page for the first time in a long time. I don’t feel as much guilt and shame about gaming as I did. There are totally times where I wish I could game more, but I want to keep my marriage. I’ve definitely had moments where I’ve gone back to the dark side. Nat has been patient with me and helped me navigate to a healthy balance with gaming again.
Counselor: Wow, it sounds you’ve definitely been doing your best to stay true to your commitments with your wife and that you guys have found some excellent solutions for when you are struggling.
Gamer: Yeah, I can’t believe it. It’ll take a long time for her to feel reassured that I’m not just going to go back to gaming around the clock. I will admit I’m worried about being able to keep it up.
Counselor: Mmh, tell me more.
Gamer: I just, I don’t know if I trust myself very much. The easy road would be to go back to gaming when things get hard. I’m just worried I’m going to fuck it all up.
Counselor: What do you think it would take to not be worried about fucking it all up?
Gamer: I don’t know.
Counselor: What are the steps you took to get this far?
Gamer: Lots of compromises and being uncomfortable. Being willing to sacrifice my comfort zone for something that’s healthier. Identifying ways to communicate about what’s going on in our lives and what we both want and need.
Counselor: Okay, so you are able to identify some of the skills you had to use to get this far.
Gamer: Exactly. I gave the boiled down version and it sounds so much easier than it actually is.
Counselor: Haha it’ll always sound easier than it is. What are some warning signs that these new skills aren’t working as much?
Gamer: That’s pretty clear. I start working late again. I start justifying gaming more. I don’t listen to my wife and just think she’s nagging me.
Counselor: So what are you going to do if you see those warning signs?
Gamer: I don’t know if I will see them. We both know that sometimes I’m not the most insightful person when I go into self-preservation mode. I guess Nat and I could talk about her approaching me about it before she gets to a breaking point.
Counselor: Yeah, you could totally lay out parameters with Nat in regards to conversations about her level of concern. So what are you going to do if she tells you it's starting to be a problem again?
Gamer: Oh gosh, do a detox from gaming for a couple days to get more clear headed about the situation. Take a day off to just spend time with Nat because we talked about how time crunches impact our relationship. Go back to the drawing board for compromises and re-evaluating them. Maybe I could ask for regular feedback on how she feels like we are doing or re-evaluate how we are both feeling about everything regularly. I think being willing to go back to the earliest steps of addressing this all if it was needed.
Level 5: Maintenance Transtheoretical Model of Change.
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