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Question of the week: What are you grateful for?

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Good morning everyone,

My wife and I went to couples' counseling Tuesday night, where the extent of my addiction was made painfully clear; I was meeting seven of the nine signs of addiction this site details. Most troubling among them were the escapism and the deception. I was hiding credit card bills and paying them from my personal savings so as not to alert my wife to the microtransactions and other purchases I was making. As with all lies, it was discovered, and I have never felt so horrible as I did that night, watching her cry and hearing her yell at me. She knew me better than I knew myself thankfully, and knew I was running to gaming to escape my past, to escape having to socialize in an uncontrollable environment. She has been incredible in her support of me, which I absolutely do not deserve given what I have done. Although she has not given me an ultimatum, she does see this habit like a drug, and has put her foot down to help me through this.

This is the beginning of my third day without video games, and it has not been easy. It feels like how I would imagine a drug addict would feel without their fix (without the physical symptoms, thank goodness). Half of me is saying that I am in control, and that I can shorten my play time to several hours a week as opposed to 30-40. The other half sees just how much gaming has taken over my life, and how unhealthy it has been for me. Harder still, gaming is my connection to my friends. I moved to a new city for work after I dropped out of my PhD program (unrelated to gaming problems), and have had trouble meeting new people.

All in all, even though it has only been three days, I have come to realize several important factors. Gaming is an important hobby for me and a connection to my friends and family. However, it had become more than a hobby. I was no longer having fun, and was using them to run from my problems and to substitute for actual progression in real life. I was playing them because I was afraid of missing out on that next reward or that next level of power, not to have fun with my friends like I used to. I was playing them as opposed to doing other activities that are fun for me like reading or playing music or hiking.

I am planning on selling my PS4 and several of my Switch games in the next few days. I currently don't see myself being able to quit gaming completely, but I now recognize that certain games will hook me more than others. I need to have games that aren't online only or hyper-competitive. I need games that I can pick up and play for an hour or two, and put down without feeling like I am missing out.

I look forward to being a part of this community, and getting my life back in balance! I have already been practicing my french horn more than I had been, and am seeing marked improvement in my skill and stamina. Good luck to all of us!

-Erik (ydinpoika)

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Erik,

Oh man, your post hit me hard. I'm in a very similar situation to you. My long-time girlfriend and I had a 'discussion' regarding my habit. I searched addiction, found the website, did the quiz and here I am. I'm ashamed to say that I've been incredibly unfair in my treatment of her, and she has been wonderful though I don't deserve it.
Just like you, I've been running from my past and hiding from uncontrollable social environments.
Reading your post gives me hope for myself - I hope to be happier and a better person. Thank you for sharing your story, and good luck!
We aren't alone.

P

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