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NEW VIDEO: I Quit MMOs and THIS Happened

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I'm 39 and I never considered myself a gaming addict. I have a career, wife, and kids. However I have noticed something change with my relationship to games in probably the last 5-6 years. 

Here is my experience put as briefly as I can put it.

My first console was the NES and I have always games in some way except for a time in graduate school. However over the last years I have been noticing some signs of addiction or what I interpret as addiction. I will try to keep this as short as possible, but the main point is that when a gaming console is in the house I can't not play during the time of days that I am free to play. This might not sound like much of a problem but I really have lost interest in most games so I don't play them because I really enjoy it. In fact, I would much rather do something else most nights but I feel this urge to play something.

Here is why I think this is a problem...

1. This has led me to some bad decisions, especially overt the last year or so. To try and get that interest back I have resorted to buying games. Ones I never finish, which has resulted in spending too much money. 

2. I have noticed that I have cancelled plans or not made them at all because they might eat into my gaming time, which usually was about 9 PM. 

3. My hobbies over the last few years have been dwindling down to almost all gaming. I don't want that to be my only hobby, but while I have them I feel as though I have to play them. 

4. I find myself not doing things I would like to do (like read a book) because I feel the need to game. Again, not because I enjoy it. 

Now I will note that I do have an addictive personality and I am on medication for OCD so that could be a part of it and I think that the way modern consoles advertise and push you toward buying games plays to the worst aspects of my personality. For example, you are directly confronted with the store and deals on games as soon as you turn on a console, especially XBOX One. 

The best way I can describe it was how I felt while addicted to tobacco. I would try to quit, then go for a while, then someone would come around with it and I would restart. Then the circle would start all over again. I feel the same urge now with the release of Red Dead 2. I don't really want to play it and don't think it would interest me very long, but its like someone waving a cigarette in an addict's face.

I know that my experience does not even come close to what others have experienced. I have not lost my job or family, but I do think gaming for me has become a toxic activity that I need to distance myself from before it gets worse. So that is my experience and I hope I can find people here who understand where I am coming from because many people in my life don't. They think gaming is something that you can't get addicted to, so they are less than sympathetic to this when I share. 

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As with almost all psychological 'issues' - realizing the problem is the first and most important step to improvement. So good job on that. There is this stigma about gaming not being harmful, even among people in their 20's and it's even stronger among people further into life, as they've been raised with games that were not nearly as addictive(or none at all). But nowadays, we know so much about human psychology, marketing and software development that the 'psychological' addiction can be as strong as regular substance abuse, such as alcohol. It's not to say that alcohol is bad, or that games are bad, it's just that we need to realize what effects it has and behave accordingly. 

Edited by JustTom
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Welcome, glad you are here with us. A lot of what you've described would be behavior found under the "tolerance" criteria for addiction - where you feel a need to keep playing even though you don't enjoy it as much anymore, and that usually manifests in spending more money, etc to try and feel the enjoyment you used to. Anyways, not here to say you're addicted or not, but regardless of the "severity" of your situation (whether very severe like some or less so like others), we are here to support you in living the life you want. ?

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