How This Addiction Nearly Ruined My Career

By Anthony Gold

“You gotta try this. I think you’ll really like it.”

It was lunchtime, and I had poked my head in the partially opened door across the hall from my office.

“Hmm, I was wondering what you were doing over here at lunch every day with the door nearly closed.”

My colleague replied in a fidgety, hurried voice, “This is so sick. I shouldn’t have gotten started. I can’t stop. It will hook you.”

I stared in utter disbelief thinking there was no possible way it could be that addictive. Furthermore, I never considered myself to have addictive tendencies. Plus, I didn’t have time to waste at work – I typically coded straight through lunch.

I passed.

But over the next few days, more and more people piled into my colleague’s office over lunch to either participate or be a spectator for this highly unusual – at least to me – activity.

I finally relented to the peer pressure and tried it. Big mistake!

The activity I’m referring to is a computer game called Tetris. A geometric puzzle game in which falling pieces must be properly arranged in order to keep the game progressing. As I said, how habit-forming could something like that possibly be?

Answer: in the words of Computer Gaming World, “deceptively simple and insidiously addictive”.

After a few plays, I was hooked and spent not only all my lunch hours playing, but nearly all night after work and all morning before work. I couldn’t stop playing. But not only that, I became so addicted to Tetris that I couldn’t drive down the road without envisioning the spaces in traffic flow as various Tetris shapes.

It had taken over my life and dominated my thoughts. A simple computer game.

Yet not Tetris nor any drug can even come close to the number one addiction from which we all suffer: ego attachment.

The ego convinces us that this world is real and that we can both suffer consequences and find joy in the world. We keep playing the “ego game” over and over again hoping we’ll find the happiness we seek.

To rid myself of the Tetris addiction, I first had to realize I had a problem, and then choose to face it head on. The joy I experienced in getting my life back was extraordinary. But unlike Tetris, we aren’t aware we’re playing the ego game. So, the first step is recognizing this is so.

The ego made the world. (T-5.III.11)

Once we realize that all our source of stress, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and all other problems come from the ego, then we can finally resolve to make a different choice – one that connects us to the oneness that unites us all.

Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the nature of addictions and the herculean efforts to which we strive at preserving the habit. And we’ll examine how we can make a different choice – one that leads to pure joy. I look forward to seeing you then.

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