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My story of a lifetime of addictions - New member

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Posted

Firstly, my kindest thanks to Cam, I came across his TED talk when I was googling gaming addiction and have followed this site and his video's ever since. Seven days ago I quit gaming and the change has been nothing short of a revelation. 

I am a 38 year old guy from the UK who has been playing games since about 4 years old. Briefly, my history goes a bit like this. My dad was a violent alcoholic and looking back I now see I used to game to escape into a world where I was safe and in control. That's how the whole addiction process was kicked off I believe, but there was a lot more to come! At aged 16 I had a bit of a breakdown and it resulted in severe anxiety and agoraphobia. I literally couldn't leave the house for over a year, I was terrified, and the gaming was even more compounded. At that point I started to self medicate with alcohol and although it absolutely changed my life (I could go out again, I started to be able to at least function in society) it eventually and inevitably almost took it.

It was a long battle, 18 years alcohol dependent, still gaming on a huge level, just trying to scrape through the day until I hit my lowest point aged 33. I broke up with my girlfriend and moved back into my mothers and slowly deteriorated. I knew then it was die in that room or get busy living, so I scraped up all the money I could find and went to live in Bulgaria. I knew no-one there except one guy I'd met once. Ironically, my friend in Bulgaria was a guy I met playing an online game at an annual meet up so if there is one positive to come from it, it was that! In Bulgaria, I had to 'fend for myself' as in, I had to go out every day, buy food, buy alcohol, nobody could get it for me and there was no online shopping, and nobody knew I was an alcoholic. It was terrifying but liberating. I started going to the gym, bike riding, walking! I was still drinking but I saw a glimmer of light. 

When I was strong enough I moved back to the UK and got a flat on my own. I slowly, every day, cut down small amounts until 04/04/2013 when I got sober. In a months time I will be 4 years sober. I lost 4 stone in a year and life suddenly felt it was just beginning. This was terrifying too, I actually had to find out who I was without alcohol! 

The gaming however, never went away. I would play it to keep my mind off drinking for about 16 hours a day at times and it wasn't taking me forward. I'd get a job, then binge game on weekends, sometimes even losing my job. Eventually i decided to tackle my greatest fear, open spaces. I made a decision that not only would I tackle it, I would immerse myself in them. So I decided on January 1st 2016 to become a professional rugby coach. Rugby has always been my passion, as a Welshman and my agoraphobia robbed me of my sporting pleasures as a youngster, so this was what i was going to do. I had no experience at all! Today i enjoy the honour of being a head coach of a university team, which is paid, I work for England Rugby on a schools program and with Saracens rugby on their youth program. 

But gaming still dominated my thoughts, my life and a lot of my time. So last week I read an article by Cam on reading 'The Slight Edge'. A book which has changed me completely and I recommend you get it! Since reading it my productivity has risen ten-fold. I do small things every day to improve all areas of my life on the understanding this will compound over time. I guess in some ways I used it when beating alcohol but didn't realise it. The power of small actions is enormous. And I'm BUSY! So busy. Whenever I feel the urge to game I read. I'm currently reading through 'Think and Grow Rich' and have about 20 books on my kindle lined up after that. 

I apologies for this enormous post, it wasn't planned this way, as I typed more came out! I want to send my huge thanks to Cam and this community who I have been reading from afar, all your stories and inspirational ideas, have all helped me to quit this very addictive outlet. When I get on my feet financially I will be contributing as a huge thanks. 

I enclose my proudest picture to date. I never thought I'd ever be standing in a field feel utter joy instead of utter terror and I know you guys can do ANYTHING you set your mind to, there is something in us all we don't know we have until we are forced to find it. A strength like no other. 

Thank you for reading, hope I can help others in the same way you helped me. 

 

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Posted

Amazing story! Thank you for sharing, love the picture too and that you're here with us. The Slight Edge works wonders, glad you found it valuable. If we can support you, we are here!

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Posted

Cheers Cam, never give up the good fight mate. There will ALWAYS be people who need you, especially as we delve further into technology and it's inevitable addiction. Might be rough financially now (It's the same for me with coaching, we have struggled for 14 months with little money) but someone once told me that if you do what you love, with passion, someone will eventually pay you what you are worth. :-)

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Posted

Love the story, love the passion, look forward to seeing more.

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Posted

Welcome to the community and thanks for sharing your story.

My dad was also having some problems with alcohol when I was growing up and I became a compulsive eater (I gained 20-25 kg in a half year) because it was easier than to talk about my feelings and that I had to be the adult when I only was 14-15 years old. Compulsive eating and videogames are not a great match.

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Posted (edited)

I agree with the statement that repetition is paramount. Self-affirmation, an organized lifestyle, willpower and an active lifestyle are definitely the right remedy for gaming addiction.

I read your post however it does not match the photo you posted. I see a passionate, happy chap enjoying sports and being proactive. Mental scars will take time to heal, but escapism is no solution - this is what I learned recently. Don't let your demons conquer you buddy, keep up the good work!

Edited by Granitwelle
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Posted

Hey Granitwelle, sounds like you have been along a similar road, thank you for your kind words mate :-) I'm happier now more than ever, always been prone to escapism but working on that! 

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