My little story

This forum is for those of you who are in the middle of or have successfuly beat the addiction. Whether your addiction was gaming, smoking, eating, etc. you are welcome to use this forum to help you get through it or share your story of how you got through it!

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My little story

Postby mali on Tue May 15, 2007 2:08 am

Hi :)

So for a change I'm someone thats not writing about WoW :D

I'm just gonna get right into it: like most people here, I've always had an interest in computers and gaming, I remember from age 5 all I wanted to do was become a game programmer. As a child I spent most of my free time on the computer, mostly playing games, but I was still fairly balanced, still doing sports and at least paying attention to school work etc.

This changed when I started university, where I have access to internet. I started my online gaming with a horrible game called Counter Strike, but soon moved on to more challenging games (my favourite flavors of poison being Quake 3, Enemy Territory and Dota). I always seemed to be going from game to game, and without noticing it, it was killing my relationship, friendships and school work. I'd spend all my free time on computer, at first after my school work was done but after a while I started cutting class, studying less until i was gaming for about (I'd say) and average of 8 hours a day, with more time on weekends. For the biggest part of this year I'd be playing all day except for lunch and dinner.

I happened to come across an article about game and computer addiction and realized that I fit the profile perfectly. Two years of nonstop gaming had cost me just about all of my friends, who got so tired of my bullshit later on, always saying I've got to study but then I just ended up gaming. I don't blame any of them. So for the past few months I've been trying (but mostly failing) to game less, but I think I'm starting to win the battle.

I just started forcing myself to hate the game itself (especially Dota), started flaming all the admins on the servers I play so I'd get banned, and uninstalled it. ATM I'm still leaving Quake on, mostly because it's hard to find an opponent I can play against, so I'm limited to about 15-30 minutes of play a day, so it's not a problem for me.

Right now is the hard part for me though, forcing to look at how empty my life has become in the last two years. I have hardly any friends, no hobbies, I'm way behind in schoolwork though exams start in a week and I'm supposed to be finishing my degree this year. I kept telling myself I need something as a substitute, like a girlfriend, but I just got honest with myself and realized I'd never meet someone worthwhile sitting behind my computer. Besides, it'd be unfair to dump my issues on someone else, and I have more than enough school work to keep me going for the rest of the year. So for now I'm just focusing on survival and studying.

I'd just like to thank everyone else for posting here, it's been an inspiration to actually know that other people are going through what I am. I have a test at 2pm i have to study for, I'll be back to let you know how it went :)
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Postby mali on Tue May 15, 2007 7:48 am

a little more on gow my life was for those who think that non-mmorpg games can't be THAT bad:

In my worst days (Jan-April this year) my day basically consisted of getting up at about 12, having lunch, my post-lunch game of dota, if it ended in time for my afternoon prac i'd go, but usually leave early so i can squeeze one in before dinner at 6, and then post dinner I'd dota till about 10, after that some ET or Quake, and then I'd watch some replays, usually going to bed at 3. Any problem or issue was dealth with by crushing apathy and a gaming marathon (which is kind of an accomplishment if you take into consideration i was basically playing 24/7 already).

Now that I'm 'recovering' I try to put some effort back into work, but I'm so far behind it's basically no use. I used to be a good student, so at any time any effort I put into work was rewarded with good marks, but now it seems I study as much as I can put i cant even pass. Which makes it a lot worse, the one thing I'm focusing on now is going so badly, i'm already depressed and it's just getting worse.

It just seems so much easier to just reinstall and not care again. I just failed which means I'll have to study an extra year, the problem with this is I'm going to have to pay for it myself and there's no way i can get the money. I still have to find some way to explain to my parents as well.

Can't a guy just get a break :(
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Postby osprey on Tue May 15, 2007 11:05 am

Hi mali :welcome

You have come to the right place. Many of us here are reformed or reforming gamers. Regarding the emptiness in your life, that is a common side effect of coming out of the gaming haze. You have to reconnect with your life, find things that you are passionate about and try to accomplish them. It isn't always easy, games allow you to play your life away without having to deal with the things going on around you.
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Postby Childe on Tue May 15, 2007 11:19 am

Thank you for sharing your story :)

I'm sure that if you stay focused, you'll get your life back on track no problem. There are many others who have done it.
Former game-widow, current goth chick in-residence.

Your computer is a clicking demon, stealing away your soul and taking everything from me.
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Postby max on Tue May 15, 2007 10:35 pm

:welcome Mali

It is refreshing to see that you are doing something to improve youself and getting out of the "crushing apathy" of dealing with your problems.

Good luck
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Postby Talhathier on Wed May 16, 2007 3:35 pm

It is unbelievably comforting for me at least, to see someone who's actually trying... someone who cares about how they've affected others, how they've affected themselves... and are DOING something about it instead of feeling sorry for themselves and ignoring the problem.

Keep at it, mate. It will be the single hardest thing you have ever done... and the battle may never quite be over for you either. We're here If ya need someone to talk to.
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Postby mali on Wed May 16, 2007 6:29 pm

Thanks for the support guys.

So a little of what's going on now: I did very badly in my tests so far this semester, badly enough that I can't write the finals for some of them. I got pretty down yesterday and resorted to a 14 hr gaming marathon, which was bad but I know it was a one day thing so on the whole I'm not too negative about that. I'm going to talk to my lecturer tomorrow to see if there's some way I can be allowed to write exams but to be honest I'd be surprised if he lets me ("Well see, I failed because I had an addiction problem..."). Still, I've got to try. At this point it's no use crying over that spilled milk, I'll just have to see it as more time to study for my other subjects \o/

Right now I have to finish another project before tomorrow, so I'd best get back to work. I'll start working on my forum addiction after I kick the gaming completely :D. Then I only have cigarettes, weed, procrastination and internet left to kick and I'm a clean person...
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Postby Joel on Mon May 21, 2007 9:57 am

The possiblility of relapse will always be there. Game problems have solutions in game which are managable -> I think that's part of the addiction... and why gamers when faced with severe problems in RL makes the addiction worse. This in turn feeds the addiction as the problems get steadily worse when left unattended.

Think positive action, achieveable goals. I'd suggest being honest with your lecturers, you're not the first to have had a rough time at college, and at least it's not drugs or alcohol.

Good luck

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Postby Pepelutivursky on Tue May 29, 2007 9:41 am

I kept telling myself I need something as a substitute, like a girlfriend, but I just got honest with myself and realized I'd never meet someone worthwhile sitting behind my computer.

I did :lol
I met my husband through Yahoo! Profiles. True, if you're glued to the computer, you're going to miss out on actually having a physical relationship. But it IS possible to meet someone worthwhile online.
When I was younger, I used online relationships as a crutch for my poor self-esteem. Some internet relationships can be very hollow and mere pantomimes of real relationships. However, if you're lucky like me, you can manage now and then to find the one person who fits you perfectly :)
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Postby apple_cat78 on Tue May 29, 2007 9:06 pm

I agree. You can meet some nice people's just making sure you want the same thing. There are a lot of people online who are only looking to cheat or just mess around. I think if you meet someone online you have to use that as a springboard and move on to real life contact to make it work. You have to get to know the person outside of the internet environment. Depends on the person too. I've had some bad relationships where spending time gaming would have been healthier in retrospect.
Puppies. My anti-drug.
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Re: My little story

Postby mali on Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:05 am

Heh. how weird it is to read a letter from yourself from ~3 years ago.

Well, I want to write a little about how things have changed for me in the meantime.

University did not finish so well. In fact it hasn't finished yet :P but it's more due to pet hates regarding lecturers/subjects and other factors than due to gaming.

I continued to spend most of my time behind a computer until end of last year - a few things happened in my life, and I decided it's time to make a change. I guess the difference that time was the focus - rather than feeling "i need to stop gaming, its bad, stop this, its bad" I felt that I wanted to make positive self improvement in my life.

I thought about gaming and why I like it - I liked the challenge, really. I'm a clever guy (not to sound cocky but hey, "Know thyself") and I like doing difficult things and being challenged. Games offered me an artificially difficult challenge. Basically I see video games as a cheap trick we play on our brain to get it to send a reward signal. It doesn't take any REAL work to succeed - if I play a game for an hour, I know for a fact I'll score at least 10 frags, even if against difficult opponents. If you're playing games you might as well sit and stare at a wall with a heroin drip in your arms - you don't get anything out of it.

And I realized that the fake sense of accomplishment I achieved via games made me stop trying in the real world. If i can sit for an hour and achieve success ('reward signal' is the term I use) 10 times playing a game, why would my mind want to apply itself to something else (say, work) for an hour if I don't get the same strength/frequency of 'reward signal'? And I think that is why it became so hard for me to work/study as I got older. I've trained my brain to resist work if I don't get that little tick every minute or so.

That, and some other overall motivations for self improvement (I quit smoking as well!) has changed me. It's been about 5/6/7 weeks now, and I don't even see myself as a recovering addict. I'm really not worried about ever relapsing, because my motivation to stop came from the right place. Since then, life has gotten better - I'm not depressed anymore! crazy shit! For the first time in as long as I can remember I'm actually happy. Even though I'm still having difficulty filling up the time I spent gaming, it's not a problem, there's so much things to actually do. I took up some hobbies (started playing guitar again, making electronic music, reading). I can't say for sure whether my stopping gaming has had something to do with the fact that I'm not depressed anymore, but I'd say there is a 'statistically significant' correlation.

Just wanted to finish up my story :) If anyone wants some advice on quitting gaming, I'm sure I can share a few tips.

Thank you and goodnight :)
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