((I am sorry in advance if this is long... I'm a writer by nature and my story has a lot to it I guess))
I guess this is the bit where I say I'm addicted to Second Life... but my Second Life nearly destoryed my second chance with my mom. See two years ago I was addicted to perscription pills and I had almost lost all hope of having a relationship with my mother. I love my mom and she has been the one person in my life that has stuck by me through thick and thin. I was lucky enough to have her help in getting clean off of the pills. I am happy to say I have been clean of pills for over a year.
I thought I was in the clear addiction wise, really I did. I had always been a bit of a gamer and I never had a problem with any game before. I played WOW and had no issue or sign of addiction. I have been playing console games since I was 4 and I would (and still) go months and months with out touching my controller because I have never in my life felt the NEED to play something. That is until I watched an MTV True Life about online games and Second Life was mention.
To me it seemed like an enchanting escape from the problems of my life. So before I even finished watching the episode I had already signed up with an account and downloaded the viewer. I was home alone, my mom out visiting friends and my half-brother was with his father for the weekend. It was perfect. I spent all night getting acquainted with my new magical life where I could be as tall as I please, have my hair always perfect, wear clothes that for the most part fit like a glove. It made me instantly feel powerful and quickly I was getting attention from people.
I felt instantly loved and wanted. I had a job working as a "Dancer" with in a few days and soon the Linden Dollars started rolling in. I felt that my life had some strange purpose all of the sudden. I would flirt with men and they would give me huge tips and take me on lavish shopping sprees to get whatever I wanted. For a fairly overlooked girl who had just come out of horrible time in her life this was heaven.
Soon I had a whole virtual family and I was the perfect daughter for the first time in my life. Then much like real life I met this boy, he seemed wonderful had a gorgeous avatar and a voice that would make me melt. I fell in love... or something that felt like love. Soon my whole life became sitting on the headset with my would-be-love and going about my life. Because outside of SL I had no life.
My relationship with my mother quickly began to crumble. I was different and everyone saw it. I stopped answering my phone unless it was SL related. All I would talk about to my RL friends and family was what was going on in my "Second Life". It got to the point that everyone around me just stopped trying to talk to me.
It became all consuming, all important. If you weren't made out of pixels that you really didn't matter to me. It went on like this for three months, the whole summer. Then in early this September I had internet issues. I couldn't get online... I couldn't get on SL. It felt like the world was shrinking around me. I couldn't breath, I was in a full blown panic attack over something that was just spoused to be a distraction. After the intial three or four hours, when the one friend in RL I had left came to take me out... and I found myself wishing as we were driving to a near by bigger city to grab some lunch with friends that it would be so much easier if they could have just sent a TP than I realized I had a major issue.
I was addicted to a game. I felt weak. I had overcome a serious percription pill addiction with out help from anyone but my mother. That proved I had a strong will, how could I have ever let something like a game take over my life like the drugs had. I was disgusted with myself.
after the outing with my friends I came home and sat looking at my log in screen for ten minutes. When just looking at the log in screen made my mouth water I knew it was time to commit second life suicide. I logged back in one final time, my mother sitting on the couch next to me, proud of the fact I had finally admitted what my family and friends had been telling me for months, while I wrote my good bye note card to those near and dear to me in this virtual world. With the note card sent I uninstalled all the viewers I had and turned off the computer.
I felt like a weight was lifted. I haven't redownloaded the viewers since then and it's almost December. That doesn't mean I'm an angel. I still have the account and still get e-mails from SL... every time I see a notice for my ex-sl-hubby DJing I get this overwhelming feeling to punch something because I know he's moved on in SL and has a new lady love. Though I have a healthy RL relationship, a job and most of all my life with my family back to normal there are days I long to slip back into the alluring world that was my Second Life.
I try so hard not to think about Second Life.. I am still friends with people that I knew on SL, they understand the situation I ended up in and susport my choice to leave SL. It's a struggle not to go back. More of struggle than my previous addiction. I often feel like I am alone in this struggle to keep clean of a game.
The ironic thing to me is that I can still play many other games and have a healthy "relationship" with them. I am not in need to play them like I was Second Life. It perplexes me greatly how I can play all sorts of other games and be fine... no addiction to them what so ever... but even looking at a screen shot or video clip of SL make me crave it like a drug. My body has the same reactions physically.
I guess I finaly felt the need to share my story after strongly considering redownloading the viewer today. I'm proud to say instead of doing it I went to my mom and talked through my need to go back. I consider myself extreamly lucky to have a mom that will talk me through the concequence of going back. I know what they are but sometimes it's hard not to go back.
Maybe by sharing my story and finding people who have gone through it themselves that I will find that extra little bit missing in my recovery from my SL addiction. Because I need to put this completly behind me to make the steps forward that my life needs.
So here I post this in hopes that I will no longer feel so alone and maybe by someone reading this they will find either a cautionary tale and maybe something good can come out of a nearly life destroying experience.
Thank you, I hope I didn't ramble... and thank you for having an organization like this... I only wish I had found it sooner, maybe this all could have been avoided.
There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors. - Jim Morrison