After about 16 years of addiction, is there any chance of recovery?

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nongamerdaughter
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After about 16 years of addiction, is there any chance of recovery?

Hello,

I just discovered this site after googling "My mother is addicted to video games, what should I do?" But none of the answers or suggestions were feasible options for me. The addiction not only affects my mother, but to some degree my brother and father as well. But neither of them are as bad off as my mom.

Some background on my mom and dad, their marriage wasn't that great after I was born. I don't remember them being in love or being happy even before videogames came into our home. My mom was overweight before she started playing, but I feel like she's never really focused to lose weight because she is addicted to gaming.

I remember being around 6 years old (1996) when my older brother introduced my mom to Gemstone. If you're not familiar with it, its one of the first MMORPGs and it was a text-based game. Just a black screen and you played the game by typing responses. My mom, dad and brother started playing this game online together. My dad even brought in computers from his office so they could play at the same time. I remember my mom putting me on her lap and showing me how to play. I was too young to care and also found it extremely boring, especially since there were no graphics. I never got into it. I don't remember when the excessive gaming started, but it got bad. Really bad.

My mom was a nurse, and when she wasn't working she was gaming. When she stopped working in the hospital, and was home more, she spent probably 85% of her time online. If she wasn't driving me to school or sleeping, she was gaming. My dad and brother played for several hours at a time, but they would go and do other things. My mom seemed to center her life around gaming. I remember going days and days without having a full conversation with my mom. I made my own food (not very good, I was a kid. Gordon's Fish Filets and Popcorn for many many many dinners.) and was pretty much by myself all day. My brother was a teenager, off doing something. My dad was working. Mom was gaming. I would get incredibly lonely, I still feel a pang in my chest when I think about the solitude. She was talking to other people online, but she couldn't even respond to my questions. I would say things like, "Today I jumped off a bridge." and she would mutter, "Uh-huh." I would get so frustrated and lonely that I would cry at her for attention. I would beg. I would scream. All she did was yell at me to go away. She would snap at me.

After a few years of this, I was maybe 9 or 10 she finally admitted in serious conversations that she thinks she had a problem. She would instead watch tv with me or something for an hour, then go back to gaming. It wasn't really enough.

After my parents divorced when I was 12, my mom had continued gaming. She began to have a romantic interest with a man half her age that she met online before the divorce. Eventually, he moved down and lived with her. They would game together, hours and hours and hours. Probably 12-15 hours. But they would take breaks. we would go out to eat. They stopped dating and he moved out when I was 14 or 15. My mom continued to game and game and game in the same pattern as before.

I never knew how to do something to legitamely get her to stop. I thought because of the pain in her life that gaming was the only outlet she had. I couldn't make her happy. I realized I could never be enough to make someone happy. I couldn't compare to graphics and hundreds of people all over the world.

I was the weirdo who didn't game.

I suffered major depression during my teen years. I attempted to kill myself when I was 17 and this really wrecked my mom. I still feel guilty about the worry I put her through. I compounded more pain on her when she already had enough to deal with.

She did cut back on video gaming. She started socializing. I hope it was not a direct result of my selfish teenage dark years. I moved out of her house when I was 19. She works from her home computer now so she sits on the computer literally all day. She works from 9 or earlier to 4 or 5, then she games sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning. Even when I go down to visit her she still games when I'm there. We'll go out to eat or watch a movie, and then she games for the rest of the night. It hurts that even now I can't keep her company as well as Lord of the Rings Online.

If my mom forgets to bring her lap top with her when she visits me, it's wonderful! We go to movies, go shopping, just sit around and chat.

My brother just recently moved back to the US from China, and they visited me just a few weeks ago. They did not forget to bring their laptops. Every time I came home from work they were gaming. Constantly. That's almost all my mom did when she was here. She did have the flu, but still. It was morning til night. Like when I was little.

I want to help. She's getting older and gaming has taken a severe toll on her body. But I don't live with her and I worry it might be too late. I should have done something years ago but I didn't know what to do. I didn't know that other people knew what living with a video game addict was like. I thought I was alone. Is it too late? What can I do?

exazzy
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It's never too late.  But

It's never too late. But you can't do it for her. You couldn't have done something years ago; release your guilt that you didn't. You didn't cause her problems and you are not to blame for them. But you can start helping by taking care of yourself, addressing any lingering psychological issues you have and any lingering resentments.

Twelve miles into the forest, 12 miles out.
Left my poisonous game July 4, 2012. Left online communities June 4, 2013.

hirshthg
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Sigh... yes there is always

Sigh... yes there is always hope. We have seen people with 20+ years of gaming addiction recover. However it is very rare.

I will have her in my prayers.

leveling in steps, serenity, sponcys, sponsors, exercise, and sleep, (sanity has been downsized)
sober from all electronic games since 11/19/2010

nongamerdaughter
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Wow, I didn't know if I'd

Wow, I didn't know if I'd get responses. Thank you. I am working on overcoming guilt and psychological issues. I've come a long way, but I still have far to go. There must be something I can do, even if very small, I'm not sure where to start. I love her very much.

dan1
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THere is probably one thing

THere is probably one thing you can do, but it's important that you do it for yourself, not necessarily hoping that it will help her--and that is to distance yourself completely from her addictive behavior. In particular, some things that people have chosen to do are: not cook or take meals to the gamer, not do household chores for the gamer, not allow the gamer to live with them rent-free, not pay for internet service, move out of the same house with the gamer, terminate a romantic relationship with the gamer, etc. From your situation, it doesn't sound like you are doing any of these things at the moment, so they don't apply to you, but you get the idea. It will be more healthy for you to not be enabling in any way, as it is part of your path to a healthy life for yourself. But the person gaming is the one who has to figure out about their behavior--sometimes stopping any enabling helps, sometimes it does not. Best wishes to you.

I am a recovering computer game and gambling addict. My recovery birthday: On May 6, 2012 I quit games and began working a program of recovery through OLGA No computer games or slot games for me since December 12, 2012. No solitaire games with real cards since June 2013.

John of the Roses
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Sincs it wasn't mentioned,

Sincs it wasn't mentioned, There is a on-line chat meeting for Anons (Parents, Spouses and Family members) every Friday evening at 4 PM PST / 7 PM EST. There is a growing number of Anons here and I am positive you can receive some good advice there, after you share, of course. Especially, listen to others who are in the same boat, so to speak. The theraputic value of one Anon helping another is withour parallel.

You, are invited to that meeting. As well as the nightly "open" meeting at 9 PM EST, which is well attended and you can get some different perspectives, again, if you share early on in the hour-long meeting.

At the very leasy you can meet people who can and will support you in this recovery process!

Welcome to Olganon.

It's my hope you will be given some hope here. Keep reading posts and updating us on your story.

"There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative." --W. Clement Stone

Patria
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Quote: She was talking to
Quote:

She was talking to other people online, but she couldn't even respond to my questions. I would say things like, "Today I jumped off a bridge." and she would mutter, "Uh-huh."

That was me. As a parent and as a grandparent.

Definitely come to the meetings, the anon meeting on Friday, and the open meetings every night.

The open meetings have everyone: friends/family of gamers and ex-gamers too. I love these meetings, we all get to share our experience, strength and hope, and for the family of gamers, it gives great insight into what we think, how we feel, and what it is like to recover.

And definitely go to the anon meeting if you can. It's wonderful to heal together.

There is hope. I am a recovering alcoholic (drank for 20 years) and have recovery from that, but I also got caught in gaming (which was about 9 years of gaming) and I am recovering from that. I didn't know anyone could get addicted to games, or I would never have bought the first one. And yet, even with recovery in AA, I got caught in gaming.

Your story is so much like kids of alcoholics, and now kids of gamers are living the same hell.

Your parent is in the grip of a disease; the disease of addiction. You didn't cause it, you can't control it, no matter what you do or who you are it won't get through to the addicted person because they live in a world all their own. That is my experience. I didn't have kids at home at the time, but I ignored my grandkids when they came over for visits. I just wasn't available, I was gaming.

I feel so badly that you have to live with this. Stick around, there are a lot of parents here who could support you and help you recover from the sickness you are having to live with.

Big hugs.

nongamerdaughter
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Thanks so much, everyone! I

Thanks so much, everyone! I will try to attend the open meeting at 9 on days when I'm not working. The 7pm one might be harder to make, I am a waitress and usually work in the evening. I will definitely join the meeting whenever I'm free, possibly not til next week. Thank you so much! This is has given me so much hope!

Patria
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We also have a 12 noon

We also have a 12 noon (pacific time) Skype meeting on Saturdays. And if we can get Tommy to reopen the skype/chat meeting on Wednesdays 12 noon, then we'll have more options.

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