Hi guys, I just want to start by saying how reassuring it is to know there's a community out there that recognises the concept of gaming addition for what it is - a life altering condition that affects your impulses (decision making, rationale etc...), relationships, lifestyle, health, education; all of which can suffer from excessive gameplay and addictive tendencies towards gaming. My story begins when I was around 12 years old. I'd just been moved away from friends and family due to my mum having a mental breakdown and suffering from alcoholism. The fresh start began reasonably well, but with her relapses it became increasingly difficult to cope with. I discovered a game called Runescape around a year later, this provided me with an escape and I quickly became hooked (not realising, at the time, what psychological effects it may have). I played for around 4 years, on and off, but manage to still find time to socialise. It wasn't until I was around 17 that it started to become more of a problem. I found other online games too, including: Gunz Online, WoW, LoL. I found it difficult to stay away from WoW and Runescape especially as I was part of a clan and there was pressure to train my character to compete with others. This led to gaming having a detrimental effect on my studies; I had to resit a year at college due to failing and it wasn't until my final year that I quit gaming and managed to get into a university. I saw university as a fresh start, I made good friends and socialised a lot. I still thought about the games and had some relapses, but these rarely extended beyond a week or two, at which point I would realise my error and distance myself from them again. It wasn't until after graduating that gaming became a real problem again. All my friends moved away and I found myself stuck in a job I didn't like, other job prospects were looking slim due to recession and I was gradually becoming more depressed. I began dealing with my problems in the same way I had whilst growing up - I turned back to gaming. I played on and off for another 4 years, occasionally pulling myself away to do some volunteer work or attend job interviews. The problem was that, at this point, the stress of real life felt so difficult to cope with it was much easier to escape into a fantasy world, where I can achieve goals and improve my gameplay. Throughout my addiction I have had relapse after relapse, rarely feeling as though I have managed to escape my addiction. At my worst points I would play 8+ hours a day, often playing until the sun came up. It wasn't until now that I feel ready to share my experiences and, given more recent relapses, decided to find answers for dealing with addiction (rather than thinking I can deal with it alone). Although I have spend a lot of time gaming, I have also had numerous times where I have quit playing, ranging from 6 months to 3 years. During this time I picked up new hobbies and interests such as; playing guitar, climbing, running, cycling. I am now 28 and training to be a teacher. I acknowledge that gaming has been a huge part of my life and has both helped and hindered me, but the hinderances far outweigh the help it has offered. The pressures of my course have led me to have a compulsion for gaming again. Due to its demanding nature, I'm often left exhausted with little motivation to get out and be active, or to put my mind to learning a new song on the guitar; I'm left with the easy option that offers the most reward for least effort, which is gaming. In the past I have given away my in game wealth, changed passwords, changed email and once even gave away my account (it turns out they didn't even change the password), every time I manage to get my account back. This time, I have deleted my recovery questions; changed my password; changed my email; deleted the new email address and even blocked the Runescape website on my laptop. I hope I haven't bored you too much, but it's as useful for me to write and reflect as it is for you to read if you're going through/have gone through similar experiences. I have spent far too long in the gaming world, trying to escape from reality. I think what has driven me to write this post is that it is now getting to the point of no return - if I continue to have these relapses, the longer I leave it, the harder it will be to ever turn my life around. For me, computer gaming used to be fun, a hobby (which is such a lovely, positive word), but for a long time now it has been a compulsion, something that affects my focus, how I behave, how I think, how I treat and interact with others, my sleeping pattern and my decision making. It has left me distant and lost me more friends than gained. The future? Well, providing that the current government (UK) doesn't destroy the teaching profession further, I'd like to finish my qualification and become a teacher. I'd also like to travel (gaming has limited my travelling experiences), read more, go for more walks, see friends/family more, create new and lasting friendships/relationships. For me, none of this can happen while gaming is a part of my life, gaming consumes me, it calls me back to its empty achievements and fruitless goals. None of this can happen whilst gaming - which is a shame, because I used to love it.