Hello to all.
I've been reading with interest the posts in this website. It does seem that online addiction is a larger problem than what many people are willing to give it credit for.
I think i am one of them. I'm going through a very challenging phase in my life right now, as I am transitioning from my current job to the next. My experience with my current job was a challening one and, ultimately, a failure. Actually, I was forced to look for another job (I am a lawyer).
It was during this stressful time that I took refuge in gaming. EU IV first, then Dota 2. The common thread- both games are playable online, with other human players. I have a PS4 but, interestingly, I don't play the games that are off-line. I will spend tons of hours every day playing these two games (and I still suck at them, but that's a different story).
My addiction to gaming kept me from developing personal relationships. I haven't been seeing my friends as frequently as I'd like. I am not sure if gaming is the reason for that- it might be that I am an introvert by nature. Gaming also reinforced my aptitude to isolate myself socially. Game is a closed circuit, it has its own rules, and all have to abide by them. I don't have a relationship, and I am already 33. I don't recall ever having a long term relationship in my life- something that I deeply regret. I am worried about my ability to build and sustain a family. I am worried about my tendency to seek gratification in gaming whenever confronted by challening situations.
Gaming helps me wander off, instead of thinking about tough situations (such as the job transition right now, the associated stress, and the subconscious guilt of having failed in my prior job). So, I've been thinking- why do I play video games? To forget. That is- to extinguish my consciousness, the same way that a drug addict or an alcoholic does. Also, might it be that gaming creates a sense of community and a sense of solidarity with people that are uncritical of you?
I am not sure if I am at that level of addiction that creates social/ professional paralysis, but I certainly look back at the thousands of hours I wasted during the past couple of years, in meaningless programs, and I lament the missed opportunities- to socialize, make relationships, read, become a better professional.
I, above all, lament my lack of faith in myself. Because, and I am confident of this- for all the big problems in our lives, the solutions have already been given, and are in the world within. I need to find myself, there. And what people often describe as God in the AA meetings, essentially is the unspoiled image of their inner selves. For we were all made in the image of God (and I say this as a quite secular person).
I look back at squandered opportunities, and my heart aches. I wish I could change things.