Maintenance Gamer/Solitaire

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aelwyn1964
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Maintenance Gamer/Solitaire

Last night I stayed at work until 11:45pm playing Mah Jong Solitaire and Freecell, instead of going home to my wonderful wife or grading papers (I'm a high school teacher). I know, solitaire is nowhere near as interesting as EverQuest or other role-playing games. I think for me, the more mindless and repetitive the game is, the more addicting it is. I mostly play to escape, to turn off my mind and avoid thinking about the problems in my marriage or my personal failings. Ironically, playing the games makes me want to play more so I won't think about how much I'm wasting time by playing the games! I also wouldn't have so many problems to avoid if I just played less.

I often play for hours at a time, past the point where my eyes and hands hurt, past the point where I am even trying to win the game. After playing freecell or solitaire for a few hours, I will often just blindly click on the cards without strategizing.

I hate that I play so much, and I don't get any enjoyment out of it. It's just compulsive behavior. Every time, I tell myself I won't play more than one game, and every time I play at least three hours. "One's too many, and a hundred ain't enough"--I guess that's what makes it an addiction.

I've been disturbed by some of the comments here by people who still play games, arguing that we shouldn't blame the game or that games aren't addictive or that "you should just get a life and not play so much." It's true that there are personal weaknesses that cause addiction, and that different people become addicted to different things, but it is not always helpful to an addict to point out that the root problem is some unknown weakness inside, not the fact that he drinks (or plays computer games) so much that he can't hold a job. The problem IS that we play computer games so much and so compulsively that they are hurting other parts of our lives. Yes, we need to work on those root problems, but everybody has needs, and addictions prey on those needs, whether it's for love, joy, tranquility, or success. You're not going to eliminate all your needs, unless you're a Zen master, and if you're addicted to gaming, you're not a Zen master.

I can tell you that, for me, computer games are more addictive than alcohol, pot, tobacco, gambling, sex, pornography, and most other common addictions. Maybe it's because games are easier to obtain or have less of a social stigma than any of those other things. Maybe it's just that my personality is particularly attracted to repetitive, numbing tasks. I'm not a bad person because I can't control my gaming habit. I'm also not a better person just because I CAN control my drinking. It just means that I don't need A.A., but I DO need OLGA. (Thanks for being here.)

Lately I've been so bored with my life--with having a house that's never clean, with always being behind on my schoolwork, with the problems in my relationship with my wife--that I've considered killing myself just to end my problems, which aren't even that bad! Unlike some of the people here, I haven't lost my job or a loved one to game addiction. I'm a maintenance addict, like an alcoholic who manages to hold down a job and a family. I won't ever actually kill myself, and I probably won't lose my wife or my job to gaming, but I don't want to live like this anymore.

I'm in therapy AND marriage counseling, but I'm hoping OLGA can provide additional help.

lizwool
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Re: Maintenance Gamer/Solitaire

Hello Aelwyn,

Thank you for coming here and sharing your story.

There are many flavors of addiction - drugs, dancing, alcohol, eating, gambling, etc. Once we have found our "flavor" of choice, we will know it. It sounds like you have found yours. It doesn't matter about what others think or what their flavor is. Once you have found yours, you will know it.

What do you do, once you have found it? It looks like you are taking some steps. How is your therapy going? I, myself was in weekly therapy for several years. It helped me learn how to live as a healthy adult. I also learned how to take care of myself, because if I don't, know one else will. I joined a 12-step program, to get a spiritual life. That helped me go through life, without having the idea of killing myself, when things weren't going right.

I am not sure how old you are, but you really sound an awful lot like I used to be. I had it all - house, car, husband, kid. Things were going way to good. At the time I was not in therapy or a 12-step program, and ended up leaving it all. Life was way too easy for me, and I had way too much time on my hands. There was no where to go for the guidance or support to live the real life and be happy, content and grateful with all I had.

Today, I have become so involved in my real life, I no longer have time to be bored or to play games for long periods of time. I find that because I have setup a strong real life for myself - volunteered for a lot of things - this program for one, got some extensive hobbies going (real estate), have my job, got a dog, I don't have time to even think about spending a lot of time gaming. I have learned to have a lot of things going in my life, and to balance it, rather than to have a few things going, and to be unbalanced.

I hope you will keep coming here. This program will help you keep your life balanced, if you work it. We do have weekly meetings at recoverychat.com in the OLGA room on Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. We are always looking for volunteers to hold more of them!

I am glad you came. Stick around and learn the program and what it can do for you. It can be a life-time support group, for FREE. We keep it going, be helping each other live the good life.

Sincerely,
Liz

Edited by: lizwool at: 11/8/05 14:19

Liz Woolley

lizwool
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Re: Maintenance Gamer/Solitaire

Oh yes, I love MAJOHNG.

P.S. If you take the games off of your computer, you can't play them.....that is what I had to do. Let us know when you have done that. It takes baby steps to work this, but you have to start somewhere.

P.S.S. Also, the next time, you find yourself playing games and can't leave them, call our OLGA hotline number - 612-245-1115. That is what it is there for!

Now, go for it, Aelwyn and tell us as you make these small, but important changes. Also, read the post about other things you can do. p198.ezboard.com/folgafrm3.showMessage?topicID=237.topic

If you want your therapy and counselling to work, YOU HAVE TO GET OFF THE GAMES, FIRST! No else can do this for you.

Edited by: lizwool at: 11/8/05 14:16

Liz Woolley

aelwyn1964
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Re: Maintenance Gamer/Solitaire

I've also deleted minesweeper, solitaire, etc. from my home and work computers. I don't buy computer games or download them, but my problem is that I've memorized the web addresses of free game sites, so every time I get on line, I'm a few keystrokes away from crack cocaine! Thank God I'm not into on-line gambling!

My wife changed the settings on my home computer so that we can't run Java, and I've never been able to figure out how to change it back. Most free Internet games use Java. I've blocked the sites I use at work, but that doesn't work, because I know the administrator password. So now I changed the admin password to a long and complicated sentence that reminds me of my addiction. We'll see how that works.

aelwyn1964
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Re: Maintenance Gamer/Solitaire

An update: It's been 10 days and 19 hours since I've played computer games. I have found some other ways to waste time, but they are less compulsive and tend to take less time. I'll do the crossword and Sudoku (a number game) in the newspaper, read the comics, and maybe read some of the paper as well. Unlike most computer games, these activities have a natural end. Once you have read all the articles of interest or completed the crossword puzzle, you are done. The same isn't true of computer games.

I've also been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and I've started taking Ritalin in addition to the Zoloft and Trazadone I am already on (for depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness). I can't tell if the Ritalin is working, but it doesn't seem to have any ill effects. I think I'm a little more focused and alert, and maybe a little more energetic, but I don't know for sure.

Is the Ritalin helping me to stop playing computer games? I don't know. I'm pretty sure that admitting to several people (marriage counselor, wife, some friends) that I am an addict has helped.

My brother got married a few weeks ago, and I talked to his best friend and best man, a recovering alcoholic. I told him that I was also an addict. Thinking about my computer game addiction in this way, that it's my own personal form of alcoholism, is helpful to me. It helps me realize that just as some people can't handle one single drink, I can't handle one single game of solitaire.

Silence WAR
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Re: Maintenance Gamer/Solitaire

I am so glad to hear that you are making such great progress!! Keep it up! you are worth it! And when the going gets tough, we are here to talk to if you need it!

side note.. what do you teach in highschool?

Aaron Blair

aelwyn1964
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Re: Maintenance Gamer/Solitaire

Darling little 9th and 10th grade angels!

Oh, and English.

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