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juss_stevenson

how does autism influence your addiction & recovery?

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Hi all,

Here's a few questions that I've been asking myself for a long time now, since all of these questions apply to me as a gaming addict with Autism. If you're on the spectrum, or have somebody you love who has, would you mind contributing to this post? The research says that gaming addiction is quite high amongst those on the Autistic Spectrum, but there is very little research actually explaining why this is (as far as my knowledge is). There really isn't a lot of research out there talking about specifically why there is a link. I personally have been doing recovery related things for just over 2 1/2 years, although it's never really "clicked" yet. I've been doing 

If I got everybody to answer all these questions, these might make for some very long posts. Maybe just pick a question and answer it to the best of your knowledge, if you would like to contribute. I also will be contributing my own thoughts when they come.

  • Why are video games uniquely appealing to you? What made you pick video games over any other addiction that could be meeting the same needs (gambling, netflix, porn/sex, alcohol, drugs, workaholism, etc)?
  • How has your Autistic traits made it difficult to function in real life:
    • As a kid?
    • As an adolescent?
    • As an adult?
  • What emotional/spiritual/relational needs does gaming attempt to meet in your life that you felt like you had a lack of due to your upbringing as an autistic person?
  • Given what you've experienced growing up, do you think that if you didn't have Autism, you would still be an addict? Why or why not?
  • Coming into gaming recovery, what challenges did you find you now had to face that were unexpected? What battles do you fight that you knew you would have to deal with going into recovery?
  • What triggers have you had to avoid in order to see success in recovery (whether uniquely Autism sourced or not)? (ex: certain stimulants, entertainment, boundaries, etc)
  • Have you noticed any Autistic traits in other non-Autistic gaming addicts?
  • Consider the following statement: "Autism is an addiction disorder." Is this true or false? Partially?
  • What stimming options have you tried to replace the destructive addictive behavior with? Is this a realistic idea?

Not looking for perfect scientific answers, but more your thoughts based on experience. (But if you want to reference something scientific and scholarly, that would be cool too!)

Edited by juss_stevenson
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3 minutes ago, juss_stevenson said:
  • Given what you've experienced growing up, do you think that if you didn't have Autism, you would still be an addict? Why or why not?

Well, none of my family members are addicts, despite going through more or less the same stuff that I have (aside from the autism). So it's easy for myself to blame the autism and think that "If only I didn't have that problem, then I wouldn't be in this mess!" But actually, considering the social isolation I felt and the family dysfunction, it may as well have happened to me. But also this question in a sense doesn't really touch on what addiction really is - just a blame game. If you keep blaming other people, events or "happenstances" for your problems, you'll never see any meaningful success in your life. That being said, considering I think there are a lot of similarities between the two, I think it could be very realistic that I could still have my learned dysfunction. If I had a "cure Autism pill", I don't think my problems would really go away. It can just be a big excuse.

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On 6/10/2019 at 8:13 PM, juss_stevenson said:

Why are video games uniquely appealing to you? What made you pick video games over any other addiction that could be meeting the same needs (gambling, netflix, porn/sex, alcohol, drugs, workaholism, etc)?

Because I did found them to be harmless as a child. With experience, it usually takes time to become more addictively quicker than you used to, so you get sucked into your own comfort zone. Then what happens? You get more and more isolated from family and friends. All the sudden, you are like a lone wolf who is up from 5pm to 7am. You are wasting your time just being lazy, so you think what am I gonna do with my life right now. You'll end up being more naturally responsible for the real world in the end. Over the same need of addiction as a child, it is really nothing in general but TV and Hollywood movies is something we - the 2000s kids - all grew up watching before streaming services and social media. Besides gaming, I go web surfing and I still do websurf as an adult. Remember #somuchinfosolittletime.

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On 6/15/2019 at 11:07 PM, Natalie said:

Because I did found them to be harmless as a child. With experience, it usually takes time to become more addictively quicker than you used to, so you get sucked into your own comfort zone. Then what happens? You get more and more isolated from family and friends. All the sudden, you are like a lone wolf who is up from 5pm to 7am. You are wasting your time just being lazy, so you think what am I gonna do with my life right now. You'll end up being more naturally responsible for the real world in the end. Over the same need of addiction as a child, it is really nothing in general but TV and Hollywood movies is something we - the 2000s kids - all grew up watching before streaming services and social media. Besides gaming, I go web surfing and I still do websurf as an adult. Remember #somuchinfosolittletime.

Thanks for sharing Natalie. I too have found that social acceptance was a huge draw to video games - even though I truly was isolating from the real relationships that mattered through family. I had more control and a sense of power through a digital framework. This brings such a deep sense of shame, especially when we know that this isn't the way that we are "supposed" to relate to others.

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