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NEW VIDEO: I Quit MMOs and THIS Happened

My first gaming console was an Odyssey...

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I was 10 and my parents bought it for me but anyway...that should give you an idea of how old I am and how long I've had this Achilles heel.

No, I have not been gaming continuously for 40 years. Rather, I have had periods in my life where gaming basically took over. I'm in one of those periods right now and that's why I sought out help online. Cam's TEDx video led me here and I'm happy it did. Like him, I found previous sets of advice largely unhelpful. I knew, though, that this type of community would come eventually.

I have been to therapists off and on over the years but I never brought up this subject, largely because I feared being shamed for it. Silly, right? My immediate family knows I play games -- ironically all of us with the exception of one sister play games daily -- but they don't know how much time I've spent on them, nor do they know (but I'm sure they can guess) how much I've missed out on because of them or how much distress missing out has caused me.

I knew I had the potential to become a serious addict when I entered college. This was at the height of the video arcade craze, and during my freshman year I spent more time in the arcade than I did in class or studying. I no longer remember exactly what happened to get me to modify (not stop) my behavior, but by some miracle I actually graduated and, later, began the life of a working, independent adult. I believe this was when the first Nintendo gaming consoles came out and I remember making a point of not buying one because I knew how easily I could fall down the rabbit hole. I'd been a shy, bookish kid, with few friends or social skills, and I purposely set out to outgrow what I perceived as limitations to my becoming an adult.

At that time I was an extremely nervous flyer. During an especially turbulent cross-country flight that had me literally quaking with fear, I saw a guy about my age engrossed in a Game Boy. I got one the very next week. The way I saw it, it beat taking Xanax and/or getting drunk in an airport lounge. Sure, I spent a lot of non-flight hours playing too, but looking back, it doesn't seem like it was as big of a deal: It was a tiny monochrome screen, it was only meant for gaming, and I didn't bring it with me everywhere I went.

Because this is already quite long, I'll just fast forward to my typical weekday: I wake up before my smartphone alarm goes off, and then I spend at least an hour playing games before forcing myself out of bed. At work, depending on what's going on, I might sneak in a half-hour or so of games either on my phone or my work computer. Once home, I spend the rest of the evening playing games on my phone and/or laptop (I still don't own a console), berating myself much of the time, until I force myself to go to bed usually by no later than 11. On the weekends I find myself overwhelmed with all the things that don't get done during the week, so I end up doing the bare minimum, saying no to a lot of invitations because, again, I have all this stuff to do at home, and at some point I'll retreat back to these addictive, mind-numbing games.

So we're looking at a significant chunk of my free time spent numbing out on games...and a big reason why I'm here is because of the negative feelings that come rushing in within minutes of my putting the phone or laptop down. I KNOW what's going on; I'm pretty sure it has something to do with dopamine. I KNOW I'm wasting valuable time that I'll never get back, but I can't seem to stop. And again, I've had these periods before in my life, but this time around I feel it's extremely important that I get serious and, once and for all, fix whatever it is that's got me back here.

My birthday was last month and I resolved to quit cold turkey. I lasted six days. I found this site late last night and as of today, Independence Day, I haven't played a single game.

If you've made it this far, thanks for "listening." I look forward to participating.

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Welcome, B! You're in a good place for support for those of us who've had gaming take over our lives.

Thanks! Simply reading these threads is making me feel better.


See above. I'm sure you already know you're providing a really great and important service to those of us who are trying to make the most out of our lives. As one of the newest members, I'm saying thank you in advance.

Welcome! Interesting story. My first console was Sega Mega Drive and who knows that we will end as addicted. 

Thanks! You know how they say hindsight is 20-20? It certainly is for me. I'm guilty of not taking video game addiction as seriously as I probably should have. A big part of that is because I have people in my extended family who have struggled with alcohol, drugs, and/or overeating. Video games can't kill you physically -- at least not that I know of! -- but they can kill your willpower, motivation, and taste for life.

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Doesn't matter if you were guilty of not taking it seriously before, you're taking it seriously now which is all that matters. Like @Onlysoul's signature says, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now!

All the best for your journey brother.

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