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Two decades of addiction


Vee

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I'm a 34yr old woman and I've been addicted to computer games for probably two decades now. When I was 13 I used to skip lunch every single day at school to go to the IT suite and play games. Gaming has a knock-on effect on so many elements of my basic functioning - eating enough food, sleep hygiene, leaving the house, and so on. I'm inclined towards depression, and my gaming has largely hindered my attempts at getting better (with occasional exceptions when I have been at my lowest). I haven't even stuck to one game (although I always hope to find The One that will satisfy me) or one genre, I just play a heckton of different games. A lot of the games I play are also very niche - I'm not going to find anyone else in real life who also plays them, so my gaming habit isn't even something I can bond over!

I've actually posted on here before, or perhaps a previous version of it, back in 2015 or so. I managed to stop gaming for a whole three weeks. That's still probably the longest period in 20 years. Earlier this month I uninstalled Steam and lasted three days, but then a housemate was really getting into a narrative game that I also own (but haven't played), and I thought "Well a good narrative game can be my brief exception..." The same day I installed that, I also re-installed a bunch of incremental games, and just went back to gaming for hours a day. Even with the narrative game, I obsessed over it for several days, doing little else with my time.

The frustrating thing is, whenever I've tried to talk to friends about being addicted to games they kinda pooh-pooh it. The usual argument is "Well you enjoy it/it relaxes you/you need downtime". They don't seem to really understand that 90% of the time I'm playing games, I'm not having fun. I'm doing something I feel compelled to do. If I have Steam installed, then I can start playing a game without even properly realising it. When I'm not employed, spending 70-80 hours in a week gaming is fairly normal for me - even if it was relaxing, in what world is that normal?! I once spent 100 hours on a game in seven days - a game that I haven't even touched since that week. If I want to chill out, there are so many other ways that don't ruin my concentration, my physical health, and the way I process the world.

This year I have been trying to get into new/old hobbies alongside gaming and it has worked to some extent, but it's time to give up the crutch. 

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1 hour ago, Vee said:

I'm a 34yr old woman and I've been addicted to computer games for probably two decades now. When I was 13 I used to skip lunch every single day at school to go to the IT suite and play games. Gaming has a knock-on effect on so many elements of my basic functioning - eating enough food, sleep hygiene, leaving the house, and so on. I'm inclined towards depression, and my gaming has largely hindered my attempts at getting better (with occasional exceptions when I have been at my lowest). I haven't even stuck to one game (although I always hope to find The One that will satisfy me) or one genre, I just play a heckton of different games. A lot of the games I play are also very niche - I'm not going to find anyone else in real life who also plays them, so my gaming habit isn't even something I can bond over!

The frustrating thing is, whenever I've tried to talk to friends about being addicted to games they kinda pooh-pooh it. The usual argument is "Well you enjoy it/it relaxes you/you need downtime". They don't seem to really understand that 90% of the time I'm playing games, I'm not having fun. I'm doing something I feel compelled to do. If I have Steam installed, then I can start playing a game without even properly realising it. When I'm not employed, spending 70-80 hours in a week gaming is fairly normal for me - even if it was relaxing, in what world is that normal?! I once spent 100 hours on a game in seven days - a game that I haven't even touched since that week. If I want to chill out, there are so many other ways that don't ruin my concentration, my physical health, and the way I process the world.

This year I have been trying to get into new/old hobbies alongside gaming and it has worked to some extent, but it's time to give up the crutch. 

Hi Vee, it's good to see your post! There's not much time like the present, after all! If I may suggest them, the videos on the Gamequitters Youtube channel talk about not actually enjoying games and having them affect even the most 'basic' routines of daily life, as well as other problems arising from them. Watching a few of the videos per day at difficult moments might really help kickstart your current journey abstaining from games - it did mine!

Being inclined toward depression is probably really complex for everyone, but one thing I always admired in people who I also felt for in that way was the way some of them could teach others about certain subjects they had a passion for, whether they got into it because of those feelings or because they just felt the inspiration. Mathematics has been one of them IMO. I say pursue those things - maybe because you see/know things about it that some of us are missing.

Edited by wheatbiscuit
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2 hours ago, Vee said:

Gaming has a knock-on effect on so many elements of my basic functioning - eating enough food, sleep hygiene, leaving the house, and so on.

Welcome Vee! While I am here instead because of YouTube, I understand the knock-on effect. This one thing you might consider a "past time" has a way of taking over almost every aspect of your life - small or large. It ruined my sleep, threw off my eating schedule, hurt my attention span, and kept me from hobbies I used to enjoy.

It's good that you're here. I've found this community has been a great way for me to remain accountable and a consistent source of encouragement. I think it will do the same for you.

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Thanks both 🙂 Today I left the house and got some chores done that I have been putting off for a while, and also had some good conversations with my housemates that made me feel connected, so it's been a good start. I've also installed TickTick on my phone (a to-do list/habit app that I used a little before), more as a guide than a strict to-do list, to remind me to explore various hobbies etc.

One prominent motivator for quitting games is that I want to commit myself to writing fiction. Writing is tangled up in a lot of complicated feelings so it's not a primary goal right now (I want to focus on "foundational" routines - eating properly, exercising, leaving the house), but in the long term there are so many unfinished projects that I want to return to, and gaming has been a major blocker to actually focusing on them.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/17/2023 at 8:14 PM, Vee said:

I'm a 34yr old woman and I've been addicted to computer games for probably two decades now. When I was 13 I used to skip lunch every single day at school to go to the IT suite and play games. Gaming has a knock-on effect on so many elements of my basic functioning - eating enough food, sleep hygiene, leaving the house, and so on. I'm inclined towards depression, and my gaming has largely hindered my attempts at getting better (with occasional exceptions when I have been at my lowest). I haven't even stuck to one game (although I always hope to find The One that will satisfy me) or one genre, I just play a heckton of different games. A lot of the games I play are also very niche - I'm not going to find anyone else in real life who also plays them, so my gaming habit isn't even something I can bond over!

I've actually posted on here before, or perhaps a previous version of it, back in 2015 or so. I managed to stop gaming for a whole three weeks. That's still probably the longest period in 20 years. Earlier this month I uninstalled Steam and lasted three days, but then a housemate was really getting into a narrative game that I also own (but haven't played), and I thought "Well a good narrative game can be my brief exception..." The same day I installed that, I also re-installed a bunch of incremental games, and just went back to gaming for hours a day. Even with the narrative game, I obsessed over it for several days, doing little else with my time.

The frustrating thing is, whenever I've tried to talk to friends about being addicted to games they kinda pooh-pooh it. The usual argument is "Well you enjoy it/it relaxes you/you need downtime". They don't seem to really understand that 90% of the time I'm playing games, I'm not having fun. I'm doing something I feel compelled to do. If I have Steam installed, then I can start playing a game without even properly realising it. When I'm not employed, spending 70-80 hours in a week gaming is fairly normal for me - even if it was relaxing, in what world is that normal?! I once spent 100 hours on a game in seven days - a game that I haven't even touched since that week. If I want to chill out, there are so many other ways that don't ruin my concentration, my physical health, and the way I process the world.

This year I have been trying to get into new/old hobbies alongside gaming and it has worked to some extent, but it's time to give up the crutch. 

This is very relatable. Over time I've accrued a lot of time that based on the numbers - were wasted. I feel so stupid and yet couldn't delete my steam account in front of my wife. I changed the email to my brothers' who will hold me to it, and make me feel ' safe and sound ' because I didn't delete imaginary world. This is really crazy of me. Good luck.

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