Ah when should I start... I think it's fair to say I've been addicted to gaming ever since I first discovered them when I was maybe 8 years old. I'm 18 now and it's only gotten worse.
I was first addicted to console games when I got my first memory card for my PS1, even at a young age I'd spend hours a day trying to get one more level, one more secret unlocked. And when middle school hit me; it was like a sack of bricks to the face with depression. I discovered chat rooms and MMOs, perfect places to find a place to just be myself since everyday life forced me to fit into a mould. I was struggling with finding who I was and MMOs were seemingly the one free place I had. So I played them to the point where they were my life. When I got a job and could afford to pay a monthly subscription it got worse. I had so much more options, and with that more of a reason to keep playing. It evolved from being merely a social tool to being addicted to the game itself, as I grew further away from socializing online. For 1 and half years runescape was my drug of choice. I wound up pouring about 200$ into mindlessly grinding for that next level. Sure I knew it was boring but I was addicted. I had friends that I could play with and talk to about it. I wound further away from people and spent more time alone which was not good as I was afraid of my thoughts and afraid of who I might actually be.
In july 2009 I finally came to grips with who I was and came out to friends as a transsexual female; but by that time gaming was a full time hobby. All my friends did it either as much or nearly as much as me and we saw no problem with it. I actually started to socialize more, though gaming still absorbed most of my time. Because of deterioration of my sleep habits from excessive gaming I actually lost my job which opened up more time to play. I could no longer afford the subscription to runescape so I searched for free to play MMOs and that's how I wound up where I am today; playing Dungeons and Dragons online for 3-7 hours on a schoolnight and upwards to 14 hours on non school days.
This is affecting not only my social life but also the future I may have; and I think I'm finally willing to at least cut back. I've known I have a problem for a long time but only now am I willing to do something about it.
Balance is best.