Hi, I'm tnimbus and I'm recovering from an online gaming addiction. I've been here about two weeks as a member, and lurked here for about a year. I thank you for this site, it has helped me more then I can say. I hope this introduction is in the right spot. 5 months today without online games.
I was never one to play a lot of video games until I became ill about four years ago. This illness occurred about a year after the death of a family member that I was the main caretaker of for about three years. I'm in my forties...I was exhausted, mentally, physically and emotionally. There were also some very bad feelings, and some very negative situations that arose around this death, and several family/friend relationships have never recovered. I see now that I turned to gaming because of pain and loss. I thought, "the video games seem alright so the people on online games are just characters too, I can turn them off when I turn my computer off, there's no harm...they can't hurt me." Uh-huh.
The video games were okay, never great, and I could put them down with no problems and not think twice about them....then I found an online MMORPG. If I could go back to that day in June of 2011 and stop myself from signing up, I would. In a heartbeat. The two years that followed became a mire of addiction, emotional turmoil, psychological turmoil and abuse and well, downright craziness that became crazier and crazier...yet I couldn't stop logging in even though I wanted to, even though I KNEW I needed to for my own sake and sanity. I finally woke up in September of 2013 and walked away from MMO's for good. It was very hard at first, the urge still wakes me up in the middle of the night sometimes, but it has gotten better. It is fading now...this site was a boon for me, and gave me the courage I needed to kick the MMO's from my life long before I became a member. I thank you for it, very much. Most people, doctors included, don't quite understand a gaming addiction...several friends, my former physician, and some family members just said.."Well, don't go back, it's only a game."
That was the thing though..it wasn't "only" a game for me anymore, well, games. There was one, then two, then three...all with pretty much the same group of "people"..before I knew it I was playing/chatting/etc. for up to 10 hours a night..(my sleep became so off that I was going to bed at 10am and waking up at 4pm,5pm,6pm..or not sleeping at all)..with these "friends" and my "game-husband"...who I started to think of like an actual "husband". My SO and I were going through a separation as well after 16 years..but he was one of the only ones who saw the addiction for what it was and spoke up about it vehemently..he said, quite rightly.."these people are not your friends, that man is not your boyfriend or husband, and you smell from not showering for four days. You're addicted like an junkie and you need to stop." I didn't listen to him. I kept playing and getting in deeper and deeper with my "game-husband" and "game-friends." ( I mean no disrespect to anyone...there are nice people online....and I did meet two nice people...but the majority of MMO gamers I met and interacted with and saw in passing turned out to have some very serious problems and diagnosable personality disorders...again, no offense to anyone, I see that I was drawing in people with problems because I was having problems....my addiction was codependant with their addictions.)
My "game-husband"....I can't go into great detail because if someone is here from the games I played, they'll know who he is, and I'm still recovering from his emotional abuse...let me just say that the "relationship" became a very dark, twisted, deeply unpleasant mind-game the longer we stayed "together" and the longer we gamed. He became more addicted then I was, and to him his "persona" is his identity now...I found out, over time, that he had problems with addictions all his life, gambling, alcoholism, pornography, to name a few, and he developed an addiction to gaming, cybersex, and "internet-love" with any female who would go along on the games while I knew him.
Those are his issues...but seeing them and dealing with them was the wake-up call for me. I saw my own addiction in his, if that makes sense. I saw what I didn't want to become. My SO was also still trying his best in my real life to bring some light to me, and I finally saw it. It took me another two months to untangle myself, but I walked away from online gaming 5 months ago today and walked away from the rest of my "gaming friends" in December. I have days still where I feel like an idiot...but sleeping regularly and having my SO back are wonderful. I'm still working on things, and realise that my gaming addiction can return, so for now, I've limited myself to two days online a week, for only two hours, and I signed up here...thank you for being here, and thank you for listening to me ramble on. If I have offended anyone, I haven't meant to, and I apologize. I needed to get this out..all of it. Again, thank you for this site.
Played two years at an MMO, started as an hour here, or there, ended with me being there 10 hours a day. Became overly involved in a "game-relationship" that started carrying over into my RL and caused many, MANY, problems. Also stopped contact with "game-friends" because of their own game-addictions. Game-free since Sept. 2013.
Starting to feel much better and the withdrawal symptoms are lessening. I have limited myself to two days online a week, for only two hours, until I'm six months into my recovery. Then a third day. Thank you for this site.:)