Listen to this story

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  1. Realize what a vice actually is. A vice is some activity that gives fleeting pleasure, followed by an immediate desire for more until some moment you “snap out of it” and then have that “fuck what have I done?!” crisis. For me, that’s gaming and role play. Sure, I’ve spent upwards of 10 or 12 hours working on research projects. That’s a very different feeling compared to my emotional state after 8 hours of Second Life.
  2. Manage those triggers. Take a nap or something and then deal with that problem. Do that laundry in the corner. Organize those files, or write that report. Maybe not all of it. But break off a piece and get that piece done. You’ll feel better, and maybe your need will fade.
  3. Allow yourself actual rest. For me, endless work leads to endless Second Life. So I’m trying to organize my work schedule. No more work marathons. I’m capping myself at 8 hours. Sometimes, I’ve found I can even get everything I need done in less time.
  4. Stop using your vice as a reward. I’ve fallen into this strap many times. I’ll get a shit ton of work done, start feeling better, and then go right back to Second Life or some other game. Next thing I know, it’s 4 am and I’m fucking exhausted, but I have a meeting at 9 am.
  5. Find other rewards. Your vice isn’t the only thing you enjoy doing. Surely, you like music or naps or TV shows. Me? I enjoy reading and writing. Unlike my Second Life vice, these activities have an end point. It’s late right now, but I’m about to finish this article. When that happens, I’ll sleep peacefully for six or seven hours.
  6. You’ll always be broken. Most of us have some deep-seated reason for our vice. For me, I’m sure my craving has something to do with my upbringing, my abusive family with a schizophrenic parent. The deep pain and anger I feel over that will never just magically vanish. I just have to learn how to invite those demons over for tea and enjoy their company.

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