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Talby

Long history of gaming addiction

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Hi everyone,

I’m currently in a tough period of reflection where I’ve had to be really honest with myself about my addiction to gaming.  It’s difficult because from the outside to people who know me, it might not seem like it, but I know it’s there.  Let me explain a bit more.

I’ve had a games console since the original mega drive back when I was a kid.  Since then it’s always been a big part of my life.  When I moved up to secondary school and then college the addiction really started when I discovered RPGs (Final Fantasy and Fallout were the culprits).  Although I made it through both school and college with ok results, I’ve always felt like I could have done better and used games to cope with all sorts of negative feelings that come from being a skinny, geeky kid with glasses and curly hair.  Eventually this all culminated in the mother of all addictions: World of Warcraft.  I remember playing through days and nights.  I remember skipping college to play.  I remember it being all I could think about whilst I was trying to study.  I bombed my first year of college so dropped 3 A levels and took up an AVCE in ICT.  This went well, but deep down it caused longer term problems because I became associated with a lot of people who played videos games…a lot.  I fell into playing a lot of online gaming, mostly from the comfort of my bedroom at home in our small village.  Connecting with other people but not really building any solid, dependable friendships with anybody who wanted the best for me.  This was a very lonely time for me, I started working full-time because I didn’t know what to do after college and wanted to carry on subscribing to WoW.

 

In the end I made it to University, saw that nobody else was doing this stuff and managed to kick it for a few years.  I swore off MMORPGs and only rarely played anything.

The problem was as soon as I met anybody who did play, I was instantly sucked back in to that world, to what they were playing.  It was like I wanted to leave it all behind, but as soon as I had permission from somebody else that it was ok, the floodgates opened.  This has been the case up and down for the last 10-12 years now, through multiple career changes and studies.  I’ve always moved forward and tried to escape from it, but found myself getting sucked back in as soon as I felt that I deserved it or had permission to.  Even downloading MMORPGs again.  At one point last year I had 3 on the go, which feels much worse than simply going on WoW and raiding with a community.

I’ve read a lot about the psychology of addiction and have tried various things to quit.  The problem is, I want to have it as an escape every now and again, as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  I want to be able to sit down on the couch, boot up something fun on the ps4, play for an hour or two and then move on.  The problem is with the history I have with it all, the enjoyment always comes with a huge cost.  It has such enormous feelings of failure attached to it because as a reflective 33 year old, I look at my situation now and associate all the things I believe I’ve failed to achieve as being a result of being addicted to gaming.

Of course the gaming is not to blame, it’s just the biggest coping mechanism I’ve had for my social anxiety, insecurity and depression.  There’s been periods when I’ve not gamed much but drank more so I understand the reasons behind the way I feel.  I tried a year teetotal, but I just played more PC games to fill that void.  I do feel very lonely, not in that I don’t have anybody because I have a wonderful fiancée who I’d be in big trouble without, a loving family and some really good friends.  But it’s so hard sharing this with any of them because they just do-not-understand.  I barely talk about my gaming with them, I’m ashamed of it as a hobby.  I met them all through a running club I joined when I eventually found something else to be addicted to, so it’s a real mixed bag of interests…however we all share that addictive personality.  I think the vulnerability they feel to certain vices that they’ve escaped from makes it hard for me to be open about it.

Sorry this is getting a bit long-winded for an intro, but I’m in a position that maybe I feel not a lot of people might be in.  I discovered my addiction, kicked it, replaced it with something else…only for it to creep its way back in as I approach a pivotal time of my life (getting married later this year).

Thank you for bearing with me, I had a lot to get off my chest and needed a first step.

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Well as a 58 year old gamer, I feel for ya.  

It's not that games aren't fun, it's just what the addiction turns you into.

Here are some examples of the bonuses you get without gaming in your life.

  • When everyone is standing around the coffee machine on Monday, and everyone is talking about how much fun they had, you will have an actual story from the real world instead of a story about being a busty, half-naked elf priestess and teabagging a douchebag you've been trying to beat for 6 months.
  • That novel you always wanted to write is actually making progress.
  • You have actually taken the time to read a book.
  • You begin to iron out your social awkwardness by living, laughing, and making mistakes.
  • Stuff that needed painting and repairing is being painted and repaired.
  • You actually feel free to volunteer for a little overtime now and then.
  • You don't look at your wife/girlfriend/parents and hope they have some event where they need to be out of the house until late at night so you can be alone.
  • You actually began drinking water and taking walks.
  • You look back at your day while you're brushing your teeth at night and feel happy that you got some stuff done rather than spending 16 hours on a game.
  • You find yourself becoming hopeful about your future.
  • You find the will to take classes or sit down and figure stuff out.
  • You notice that you're actually wearing shoes everyday (because you're going places).
  • Your dog loves you more, and gets excited to see you.
  • Severely reduced nagging in your day.

Well I know that's a long list, but it's all from my own life.  I'm sure there are lots more benefits.

Cheers.

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On 1/22/2020 at 12:39 AM, Some Yahoo said:

Well as a 58 year old gamer, I feel for ya.  

It's not that games aren't fun, it's just what the addiction turns you into.

Here are some examples of the bonuses you get without gaming in your life.

  • When everyone is standing around the coffee machine on Monday, and everyone is talking about how much fun they had, you will have an actual story from the real world instead of a story about being a busty, half-naked elf priestess and teabagging a douchebag you've been trying to beat for 6 months.
  • That novel you always wanted to write is actually making progress.
  • You have actually taken the time to read a book.
  • You begin to iron out your social awkwardness by living, laughing, and making mistakes.
  • Stuff that needed painting and repairing is being painted and repaired.
  • You actually feel free to volunteer for a little overtime now and then.
  • You don't look at your wife/girlfriend/parents and hope they have some event where they need to be out of the house until late at night so you can be alone.
  • You actually began drinking water and taking walks.
  • You look back at your day while you're brushing your teeth at night and feel happy that you got some stuff done rather than spending 16 hours on a game.
  • You find yourself becoming hopeful about your future.
  • You find the will to take classes or sit down and figure stuff out.
  • You notice that you're actually wearing shoes everyday (because you're going places).
  • Your dog loves you more, and gets excited to see you.
  • Severely reduced nagging in your day.

Well I know that's a long list, but it's all from my own life.  I'm sure there are lots more benefits.

Cheers.

Hey dude,

Thanks for taking the time to read all that and respond 🙂

It's interesting to get a take from somebody who works and has experienced a good portion of life, yet had this as an issue in the background.  For me, it's always been something that I've never really been proud of but always thought "I've got the rest of my life to worry about other bullshit, and things will work out fine in the end".  But now I'm at the stage in my life where I'm more about taking action, trying to punch through barriers and do more things that challenge me, to keep going back to that abusive relationship (there, I said it) just seems totally counter intuitive.  Like, I absolutely adore and love running, trekking and generally being outdoors.  Trying to fit that around 'normal life' (relationship, work, friends) and keep crowbarring gaming into any bit of free time I get is like trying to force the two north poles of a magnet together for the rest of your life.  It's mentally draining and puts an enormous strain on everything.

 

So many of those points above strike a chord.  The dog one in particular makes me a little teary as we had the most beautiful German poodle when I was a kid, and although I gave him attention, a lot of the time I couldn't be bothered with him because of gaming.  He died not long after I graduated from university and I always regret not focusing more on him.

 

I've spent years moaning about how wrong things keep going for me, well now I'm taking back control of a huge portion of my life that keeps sending me into a spiral of self destruction.

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Hey Talby,

The two of us seem to share a whole lot in common (see my post for better idea). My gaming habits were like being a functional alcoholic. I have a good job in my field of study, I have friends who I do not game with, I love backpacking and hiking,  and just got married.  Yet gaming has a strange way of creeping back into our lives sometimes even though our conscious selves know we should not.

 

A couple months ago, I suddenly decided to start paying and playing for Runescape again after almost 12 years! Why?? I always got this feeling of excitement thinking about playing a game, going on an adventure from the comfort of my home. Making an identity for my character.  Maybe playing make-believe a bit? But most nights when I got into bed, I regretted my decision to play for several hours.

My final decision to quit for good came only last week when I realized how I was hurting my wife by interacting with a screen instead of building and nurturing our relationship.

We're all in this together, and we are all here to give support for our respective journeys! Let's all do this thing for real.

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