I have a problem...

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AlmostRyan
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I have a problem...

I'm a 21 year old male from Canada who has been addicted to anything game related since the age of 10.

I've acknowledged to myself that I have had an addiction to online games for two years now, I believe I have an addictive personality but I'm not sure. I am currently in my second year of College and while trying to study and do some assignments on this Sunday I had the "surge" of images and memories of games coming to me. I have become so hopelessly lost, I have tried many things and finally today I googled online addiction and that lead me here. I have spent the better part of the night reading messages here, of people that are in similar situations as me. I get really emotional when reading these because I am in the same boat, it's embarassing to admit I have a problem and don't think I ever could to my parents. I tried once but they thought I was joking.

I finally decided to post here because I feel I may fail my semester as I did two years ago where I had to take a year off school when I failed my second semester (I ended up playing games 16 hours a day for that entire year regardless ranging from MMORPGS like Shadowbane, Lineage2, WoW to online text based rpg's.) I'm sorry if this comes out all jumbled but I am just letting everything off my chest as it comes to me.

It all started when I was not even 7 years old, the first computer where I almost learned math and english from adventure games. Luckily growing up as a child I played many sports with the kids in the neighbourhood and my best friend would do everything together. The summer before grade 7 when I was 12 my best friend and I had a big fight, and that entire summer I excluded myself from any friends I had. I buried myself in computer games, just simple strategy games. This is where it all started.

Luckily my social life if you can call it that picked up during middleschool in grades 7 and 8 and I made a couple close friends who also were into computer and video games. I spent much of my time at home playing strategy games like Warcraft 2 because I was good at them, if I wasn't out with friends I would be at home playing games. I had really good grades at the time but then highschool came.

I became a hermit, only socializing with one or two friends who I would see outside of school, I was too shy to even talk to girls so I did what I was best at play online games. I stopped caring about grades in highschool and was extremely depressed, not to mention my first really bad MMORPG came out called Dark Age of Camelot. For me I went to what I knew, I get satisfaction out of these games, I'm good at them I'm respected and it just became worst and worst. One of my best friends from middle school even stopped talking to me during the last years of highschool because we went on different paths *I can't believe I'm shaking as I'm writing this..* I began to play games more and more, whether it was Shadowbane, Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, Utopia there was always something. I found it easier to make friends online then in real life, and I always get a buzz going when I play this online sports.

Somehow my parents motivated me to go to college where I took a basic Business:Administration program so to say I was taking something. I then became passionate about something for once outside of games, I really enjoyed marketing so much so that I wanted to join the program offered at my college only to the select few out of the hundreds who applied where it was a Coop program. My first semester grades were going really well, my play time was cut down to 6-7 hours a day (very little for me) I had lost almost all of my real life friends so the only socializing I did was through my volunteer activities where I am a coach for a special olympics basketball team in my area. But then I was introduced to an online text based rpg called Mafia. I cannot describe the power I felt playing this game, I would stay up till 5AM and wake up at 7AM for class playing even at school. I dont know how to describe it but it seemed like being in the game world, feeling powerful unlike how I was in real life was too overwhelming. It became so bad when my "family" was in a war so I stayed at home online instead of going to one of my exams which failed my class. I then had such poor grades that I was denied to coop, I was very depressed but I still had my online games. I started cutting all my classes justify to my parents why I didn't need to go to them for my second semester.

I have always had a problem with my father, I feel as if I cannot speak to him about any of my problems. My mother was always concerned but I began always lying to her, I felt so bad everytime she asked me if I finished projects for school or studied for my subjects. I kept on lying so I could play more and more games. I ended up not even going to my second half of my semester and ended up failing, I had to beg the school to give me another chance and not boot me out. I spent the entire summer jobless with no motivation to get a job, instead I played games over 14 hours a day some days for 20 hour periods. Whether it was Shadowbane or SWG, I forget when I played them, I've just played them all day after day neglecting real life responsibilities and the friends I had lost. It was so bad I had to take half a year off school because I told my parents I needed a break from it even though I would play games anyways. Right before I started school again in January however my online friends told me about WoW coming out in Beta. Just like many others I played in November at release, so much so that I was the first level 60 Priest on my server. I don't even know why I'm bragging, what the hell does it all mean in the end anyways. Somehow, I got the determination to quit WoW after Christmas right before my classes started.

I quit online games but there was always something. While I went back to school I always had trouble reading or studying because I would always get memories of my gaming experiences. I get so emotional during these games, moreso than I am in real life. Sometimes I feel so sad when bad things happen to me in game or furious which leads me to feel depressed in real life. I played strategy games while going to school, I had to do something that involved games but luckily enough I focused hard enough to attain a 4.0 GPA in my semester which lead to my acceptance into the Coop Marketing program I had always wanted to be in, I'm not very smart so it's a big deal to me. My life was picking up too, toward the end of my semester my old best friend from middleschool and highschool called me up one day out of the blue and we met up for some coffee.

Unfortunately after I had completed my semester I reactivated my account for WoW and thus began my hardcore playing of 16 hours a day where I became the first rank 12 person there, I can't describe it but when I play online games I can't do it casually. I'll toss and turn in my bed at night and think about all these games things, when I do real life stuff I always think about games. I quit WoW again to go back to my Mafia game, where I had to go back to prove myself (I don't even know why I did) and played all day and night for almost the rest of the summer. However, my social life really picked up and my old best friend and I had became real good friends again which lead me to going to parties but I still have self esteem issues about talking to women, I'm a 21 year old virgin..

By some miracle, if I can even call it that my computer broke down late August before my first Coop classes in Marketing were beginning. I refused to get it fixed, hey my social life was at it's peak and now I won't be able to play games anymore.. or will I? For my program I am given a laptop which I take to school, after only a couple days of not playing games I felt so bored when coming home and just watching TV, I had to do something. So I started playing Utopia, a turn based online strategy game of sorts. I would play during class, at home. I would even set my alarm to wake up in the middle of the night to "make attacks." I was still doing well in my classes keeping a 70% average. Then my brother one day told me to go to his room, he also plays MMORPGS and was excited about killing "Onyxia" from WoW for the first time and asked me to go see. I quit Utopia thinking it was for the best and instead spent all my time at my home while studying in my brothers room watching him play WoW.

Fortunately my friends still wanted to hang out with me even though I would often ignore there phone calls when playing games and threw me the best birthday party I have ever had (my first one). Even with good friends, supportive parents I gave in to temptation again and when my brother would go to sleep I would sneak into his room and play WoW till I had to go to classes. Here I am now, sneaking into my brothers room to play online games neglectiing my friends even though they still speak to me. I lie to my mom again about going to classes and doing projects and I even tell my friends jokingly that I have a computer game addiction. I even got 2 of them hooked to WoW which I feel really bad doing, and I even kid to my "online" friends on messenger that I'm addicted. What drew the line was today, when I recommended to one of my online friends who I got hooked to Mafia which caused him to drop out of highschool. I told him today even though I knew it would be bad to buy WoW to come play with me.

I know if I keep this up I will fail my classes, I try to quit games but I always go back to them. I feel as if nothing else can provide me with the satisfaction of being "better than people" in online games. Even though I have friends outside of games I still feel lonely unless I am logged "online."

I'm sorry for the long and jumbled post, I need help I really do. Please help me, what should I do? I can't exclude myself or block myself from computers because my school requires me to use computers, I just don't know what to do, please help me

-Hopeless Game Victim

Medea
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Re: I have a problem...

Hiya Ryan

First things first: No one is hopeless!
Please ask yourself if you are willing to quit alltogether? no more games at all?

Is it too painful to think of that? For me it was. I thought I'd just play a "little", a text based ohhhh sooo boring game. Guess what? I was fooling myself

For me it is not possible to play a "little".

Have you asked your brother and friends for help? Let them know you what you want out of life and that you need their help in achiving a goal. You can still use a comp. There are ways to hinder you from gaming to be sure.

Please do not hesitate to email me or pm.

AlmostRyan
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Re: I have a problem...

I am the same way, I *CANNOT* play "little" as it just gets me sucked right back in regardless of what I play I try and be the best which requires too much time.

I have read these boards the entire week but have taken no action to stop playing. Finally Friday night after coming home from my classes, I deleted my character I was spending 60 hours a week on and told my brother to change his password. Then I confided in a close friend that I was *seriously* addicted to online games and told him the extend of my problems. I hope I can get through this and complete my classes for the semester. I will try and keep you all updated.

I really don't think I can tell my parents, I think my dad would just laugh at me

Medea
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Re: I have a problem...

You are brave. It takes guts to ask for help. If you are having a terrible time, write here, PM, email or Skype me.

The most powerful tool of the 12 steps is this formula: If you need help (as in I am 1 minute away from logging on to the game), call for help, talk it over (shout, cry, what ever you need) and then focus on something other than your problem, for example how you can help someone else or what you love to do.

Hugs
Helene

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Re: I have a problem...

I hope you have done something, so it will take you more than one minute to log back into the game - like deleted it, or killed your character or closed your account, or broken you CD's or whatever you need to do, so that at a weak moment, you will not be able to "just log back in". Give yourself some time to get your brain back together!

Liz

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Re: I have a problem...

Ryan,

We understand how difficult and how serious this is. We have lived it, too.

Keep coming back and sharing and do keep us updated on how your are doing.

Please feel free to add comments about what you are doing to stay off of the games under the Progress report section. You can update your life every day. p198.ezboard.com/folgafrm34

Liz

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AlmostRyan
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Re: I have a problem...

Thanks Medea and Liz for your responses.

Recently my only access to WoW was through my brother's computer and on his account. Since deleting my account Friday night and having my brother change the password I have not played WoW since. I have strong urges to play online rpg's on my laptop now but have found myself watching more T.V. instead and doing a lot of school work. So far I'm three days sober playing/reading about games. See how it goes from here..

boredhousewife677
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Re: I have a problem...

Hey Ryan, that's wonderful news. Good for you! Once you get more involved in your real life again you'll likely find that the urge to play becomes weaker. Are there any fun things that you could do to perk yourself up a bit? Things that will get you out of the house?

AlmostRyan
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Re: I have a problem...

Thanks for your reply boredhousewife. I usually am out every weekend with my close friends partrying and whatnot thanks to my social life picking up in the summer. It's hard though because when I am at home and I am not currently in school I have been so used to just saying "I'm bored" and playing games, hell I've been doing that for over 10 years now. I've thought about starting to work out as I've slowly become out of shape (not too bad) through all the years I've been playing games.

I'm at a dilemma though, it's been 6 full days now that I haven't touched a game or gone to a game web site. School has really kept me busy which has made these past 6 days not has hard as I had originally thought. I haven't gone so long without playing a game in almost 10 years or so.

The problem is... I really don't think I can quit gaming altogether without doing one last thing. It's hard to explain.. but this new online mafia game is being released shortly after my semester is done and I am planning on playing it for a week or two just to do something to put me at ease. I mean, I don't know how I could quit games without doing this one thing, it's been eating me up inside for over a year waiting for this game to come out. If I went back to games for two weeks and quit again would that be okay as long as it didn't interfere with my real life afterwards? I just know if I don't do this thing, I will always have a reason lurking around inside of me to go back to games. It's just this one last thing I have to do.. can anyone relate to this?

lizwool
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Re: I have a problem...

So, Ryan, what if you start playing this game, and it gets so intriquing and "fun", that you can't stop after two weeks?

You have a reprieve from the games now, but still it has been only 6 days. At least 28 days is the suggested time away from any addiction before your mind will begin to rewire itself, so it will function in a non-addictive mode.

I for one, hope you have the strength not to game again, no matter what. I personally, love some of those ice cream alcoholic drinks, but I cannot justify throwing my life away for them. First it is one thing, than it will be another.

Right now, you are feeling this "obsession" to play this new game. How do you know that won't happen, any time a different new game comes out? What if it takes you 6 years to break away from this game? Remember, these games are designed by people with degrees in psychology, to get YOU addicted so THEY can make more money. I won't pit myself against those wolves.

Keep us posted, on what you decide. I hope you will love yourself enough not to put yourself in that dangerous position.

Liz

Liz Woolley

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Re: I have a problem...

One addiction, many flavors....

I too wish I could play some of the exciting games out there, I watch the news about the rush to the new Xbox and wonder at how the new technology will enhance games that I shall never play but I'll hear about.

It never stops. There's always the Next Great Game coming out, the name will change but the attaction will always remain with you. Do you think alkies who left the standard selection of drinks wonder what the alkiepops, lemonade coolers, alcoholic colas and such, would be like? Yet those in recovery dare not try them, not even for a week, because the source of the addiction isn't the drink, its the person's own mind.

Gaming addiction is no different. It isn't a matter of leaving one game behind, its a matter of lifestyle change. Perching in front of a computer gaming looks the same to a lonely spouse whether its counterstrike or the new mafia game or the latest in Sims technology.

But you will do as you will...

Leveling in Real Life

boredhousewife677
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Re: I have a problem...

Hey there AlmostRyan. As Liz said, you need to give yourself at least 28 days away from games to give your brain a chance to straighten itself out. Since you've been gaming so long and since you started so young, maybe even a longer reprieve is necessary. Why not give yourself several months, even until summer? The game will still be there if you still want to try it then.

AlmostRyan
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Re: I have a problem...

Thanks for the feedback, I suppose what you have all said makes sense. The thing with online games is I've always had things to prove to people I barely know, that's what gets me hooked to them and playing so many hours a day.

I haven't touched a game yet since first giving them up but I find it really hard. I've started watching a lot more T.V. to pass the time, basically the time I would be spending online is now on the couch. Better than playing online games I guess? I'm just finding it really difficult.

tiredangel
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Re: I have a problem...

Hi Ryan,

I'm not so sure that spending your time watching TV is a good use of your new free time. One thing I force myself to do every day is workout, for at least an hour, VERY intensely. Not only do I need to get back into shape, but something about regular exercise is making it much easier for me to not get so obsessive about computer games.

Good luck,
Tiredangel

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Re: I have a problem...

Good idea, Erica.

You do need to replace the span of time you now have, because you are no longer gaming.

One thing we suggest, is to make a list of things you have always wanted to do in your real life, and start doing the FUNNEST ones first! That way, you are accomplishing something constructive, and you will feel good about your real self, just like you did in the game, when your character accomplished something.

Keep us posted on how your are doing, Ryan.

Liz

Liz Woolley

Diggo McDiggity
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Re: I have a problem...

Quote:One thing we suggest, is to make a list of things you have always wanted to do in your real life, and start doing the FUNNEST ones first! That way, you are accomplishing something constructive, and you will feel good about your real self, just like you did in the game, when your character accomplished something.I agree - It feels really good to start doing stuff you enjoyed doing again and to do new things. If you don't, you will spend all that time thinking about not playing.
Ron

"Get a Life!"
Ron Jaffe AKA Diggo McDiggity
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eMail: ronjaffe@cfl.rr.com

Co-Founder of OLGA and member since 2002

AlmostRyan
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Re: I have a problem...

Ugh, it's been a rough week. I've been trying to prepare myself for my exams coming up this week but every 10 minutes I start getting ideas of playing games and can't conentrate. Not to mention I'm getting some weird dreams of playing games, that's right... not being in them but playing

Diggo McDiggity
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Re: I have a problem...

During the middle of my Everquest marathons, my wife said that I would make noises like orcs and talk in my sleep about "orc train to zone!"
I know, it's hard to change those old habits. Try thnking about how messed up your exams would be if you didn't stop playing - Then think of what would happen if you failed your exams and keep taking this to the next logical step of how crappy things would be for you if you didn't stop. Sometimes that helps.

But even though you are preparing for exams, get out of the house/apartment/flat and do something different, even if it's for a little bit.

Ron

"Get a Life!"
Ron Jaffe AKA Diggo McDiggity
OLGA Admin and Member since 2001
eMail: ronjaffe@cfl.rr.com

Co-Founder of OLGA and member since 2002

AlmostRyan
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Re: I have a problem...

Im sorry to say this but I slipped.

Im back playing my online mafia game

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Re: I have a problem...

Are you going to stop and come back to your real life, or keep playing?

Liz

Liz Woolley

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Re: I have a problem...

When you leave, a part of eveyone here leaves too.

I am so disgusted with this board and organization, right now.

Hardly anyone is posting or helping each other. Does it even help? Does it matter?

I ask people to help with some of the tasks it takes to keep this going, and everyone is too busy, or think they cannot do it.

Is there anyone out there who even gives a @#%$ what happens to people after they become addicted to these games? Maybe we should just let them rot in front of the **** computer screen.

I don't know. It's like, you can't even help your own kind. Usually when people come here, they can't help themselves, because they hate themselves, but they still have enough compassion left to be able to help others, and eventually, given time, they will learn to love themselves again.

But so many people are here, and than they are gone.
Where do they go? The new-comers have no one to sponsor them, or help them get a program and get through the rough time of coming back to their real lives.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Liz

Edited by: lizwool at: 12/18/05 19:52

Liz Woolley

boredhousewife677
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Re: I have a problem...

Liz, I'm really sorry. I haven't been around much here; I've been busy getting ready for the holidays. I do check the boards every so often and if I find a post that no one has responded to I try and chip in with my 2 cents.

AlmostRyan,

So what if you slipped. It often takes a couple of tries to quit online gaming. The beauty of quitting is that you can quit as many times as it takes to stay quit. So quit again. You can do it if you want to. Think about all the reasons why you quit in the first place. Do they still matter to you? Don't beat yourself up over a small setback. Get back on your horse and ride.

-Jackie

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Re: I have a problem...

Awwww, Liz, a lot of it is the time of year. A lot of it is also the medium, though. As people get better, they spend less time on the computer.

I'm not sure if people hate themselves or hate the way their lives have gone. I can honestly say I don't hate myself; I hated what I did to my family, to my body, to my health -- but no, I didn't hate myself.

I think also coming up with inspiring thoughts and quotes is difficult -- even with a list of quotes to choose from, exposing yourself in that way can be very uncomfortable.

I don't have a sponsor, I admit it. Do I need one? I very well may. Even though I don't play MMOs anymore, I do indulge in some self-destructive activities. So I may not be the best person to try to help and guide people. I still try though, and often write people privately because many things are too raw, and a private note is just so much more personal.

I quit MMOs because my kids begged me, in front of my parents, to quit. Talk about mortifying. But I found myself bored and lonely, and OLGA was a wonderful place to come where people understood those feelings. I would be very sad if OLGA were to go away.

Liz, I understand your frustration. But no one here, not one of the absolutely wonderful people here who help so much from sharing their experiences, can stop someone from going back to gaming if someone makes the conscious choice to game. And if you delete your games, you ARE making that conscious choice if you reinstall and play. MMOs fill a need in many people, and this board, no matter how wonderful, cannot completely take that away. The tools are here; and when someone reaches out, people do respond. But bottom line, there's a lot that needs to be done in the actual world, not in a virtual one (and the OLGA community IS a virtual world), in order to not play.

Hugs,
Tiredangel

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Re: I have a problem...

Hello,

I posted here for the first time a few days ago, when things got particularly bad (see my post, "Senior at College - Andrew"). I uninstalled the game, got through final exams, and almost immediately relapsed. I made another World of Warcraft character, having deleted my old ones, and got her to level 15 after hoping to only play "a little bit". Seeing what was about to happen again in my life, that I was about to run along the same old lines of thought, that I was about to go down that same old road I have seen myself as well as others on this board go down, I deleted him and again uninstalled WoW.

This thread caught my eye. The problem of game addiction runs much deeper than I had thought. I am embarassed to have played again only one day after thinking I would quit, and again want to try to quit. I don't know if it will be forever, but I want to make it through the first 28 days at least and then reassess, at a point where my mind is somewhat clearer. If all goes as I expect, I will be happier after those 28 days and will not want to go back.

I think a necessary component of this however is accountability. One of the major appeals in the last couple of days of games to me has been the hidden element of it, the sense that I could slip into the game and ignore what I had to do and feel (in the very short term) secure in that.

What I am proposing for these forums, and forgive me if something like this already exists (for I am still new here), is a kind of direct sponsor system. Not only would the new member post in the forum, but would be assigned, if lizwool were so inclined and if the new poster so requested, a volunteer peer in recovery. They would be more partner than sponsor, or co-sponsors I suppose. The two would constantly correspond by some means that helps take the secrecy element out of gaming, that makes them accountable and not alone in their desire to stop gaming addiction. It is not just them fighting the addiction, but rather them and other friends in the same boat fighting the addiction together. This would be a continuing element of the strength of this website, letting people know that they are not alone.

Please do let me know if a system like this is already in place. Tiredangel is right... this forum still IS a virtual world. That is one of its weaknesses. I want to make it so that we talk to each other not only as one poster addressing an audience, but as one friend to another individual friend.

I also know that many people write "feel free to e-mail me if you wish," but, for me at least, the individual element would be even further strenghtened by something more systematized, such as drawing from a bank of volunteers and matching the new poster with such a volunteer. If the poster is genuine in his/her desire to quit or control themselves somehow, then I believe this system would help prevent one-timers, would help prevent people from posting once and not coming back. It would strengthen the forum community.

Please tell me what you all think of this. And I will do all I can to help, noting how important to a person fighting the gaming addiction the 12th step, service, is. If anyone would like to e-mail me/IM me, my e-mail is kopelmaa@lafayette.edu, and AIM screenname is Grumple007.

-Andrew

Diggo McDiggity
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Re: I have a problem...

Quote:I am so disgusted with this board and organization, right now. Hardly anyone is posting or helping each other. Does it even help? Does it matter?Hehe...
I'm laughing because it seems that Liz and I alternate between being frustrated with and then supporting each other and OLGA.

It's hard blazing the trail, embarking on a mission to help others with a problem that is so new and which is still not recognized as a problem. Her frustration is like the frustration that people in a crime and drug-filled neighborhood feel when they are just trying to live their lives.

Slipping into playing again is not a major deal - It's part of the course of getting your life back together again. But, you must learn from it and take measures to try and prevent *IT* from happening again.

It's critical, and I mean super-duper-uber critical that you find other meaningful activities to fill your life with if you want to stop game playing as your main daily activity. If you sit around waiting for the pangs of play to go away, you are only torturing yourself until you have a weak moment...and then it's back to the game.

If you don't, then it's only a matter of time - Remember, that gaming is NOT the problem. You have to address the problem that caused you to game so much in the first place or you will only find something else to fill its place.

Hang in there...

Ron

"Get a Life!"
Ron Jaffe AKA Diggo McDiggity
OLGA Admin and Member since 2001
eMail: ronjaffe@cfl.rr.com

Edited by: Diggo McDiggity at: 12/21/05 8:44

Co-Founder of OLGA and member since 2002

lizwool
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Re: I have a problem...

Thank you all for your encouragement. I need it (especially at this time of year!)

Liz

Liz Woolley

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Joined: 04/09/2003 - 7:42am
Re: I have a problem...

Um...

Liz,

OLGA is a GREAT organization. So what if some people come as others go? Often that's because the people have reached a point where they can afford to.

Please don't be disgusted. We're not perfect, we sometimes drift, but overall you have done so much GOOD with this site!

Don't underestimate your own value, Liz. Not all achievements are measured in money or glory. You have helped many, many people in a small way, and quite a few in a huge way.

Leveling in Real Life

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