Hello Everyone, I am Ashton - Computer/Game Addiction

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Ashton_42
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Hello Everyone, I am Ashton - Computer/Game Addiction

As the title says, I am Ashton. I know, and have known for years, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am addicted to both my computer and video games.

I have been playing video games since I was probably about 4 years old, maybe 5. I'm about 29 now, and it all started with the original Zelda on the NES. I built my collection of NES games and also got a SNES and a ton of games for that, when the N64 came out, the same applied to that. I borrowed other consoles from friends. I did that more than anything else growing up. In the late 90's I got a PC, Windows 98. Been playing computer games since then too.

I could tell you a million stories about the struggles my parents had trying to get me to do chores, take interest in things, do schoolwork, go to bed on time, and trying to take away games as punishments and failing. They didn't know or understand that I was addicted to those things then, and I don't think to this day they really understand what that even means.

At one point, after getting into computers I was allowed to buy parts to build one, and I did so. After doing that, I sold off my Nintendos (foolishly). Later, during the summer before my senior year in highschool after 3 years of failing and not caring about failing, I got a nasty virus on my computer. It completely screwed everything up, and I couldn't fix it. At the time, it was one of the only viruses that could impact hardware, and it had fried my HDD and attached to my RAM (I only discovered this later). So I had no computer, and no games. I felt lost, and bored as hell. I had friends, and I called all of them. I lived out in the country and had nothing to do and nobody to do anything with. That first semester of highschool, I had no computer or games, almost the entire time unless I got to borrow a console for a short time from someone.

That was the only time in school I passed every class except for one, when usually I failed everything. I wasn't even trying, but for some reason, I did the homework in school, when I normally wouldn't, I was able to concentrate on tests, when I normally couldn't. I didn't actually apply any effort, I just did it while I was in school, I almost never had homework to take home. In January, before the next semester, I got my computer fixed. I failed everything the next semester. 

It was that experience that made me realize, that for some reason, just having a computer at home made that difference. The worst part? I didn't think about the computer while away from home any more or less than I thought about it when I didn't have it. So that wasn't the reason. To this day, I still don't understand why or how it impacted me in that way, but it was like a constant buzz in my head when I had it that wasn't there when I didn't.

I held two jobs for years as an adult (not at the same time), despite having tardies and absences, I barely managed to keep it together and hold both of them. I worked one for 4 and half years, and the other for 3 and a half. I was in a long term relationship with someone I met online in my senior year, after getting my computer fixed. She moved in with me when I was 19. I still lived with my parents in their basement apartment. I provided for myself mostly, but paid cheap rent and no utilities. I got married to her, and I was with her for 8 years before the marriage and relationship ended. I have a 4 year old daughter from that marriage. I now work for myself with my father. He owns a business, and I make products as a part of that business and make my own money. I spent a year unemployed between my last job and this one. My fiance lives with me, I reconnected with her through Facebook in January last year. I had met her before when I worked my first job. She moved in with me last year and we now have a 6 month old together. I have 50/50 custody of my daughter with my ex-wife currently.

Despite having a fairly decent job reputation (keeping jobs for long periods, albeit, barely), and having been married, divorced, and engarged to get married again, with two children, I have been addicted to video games and my computer the entire time, and still am.

I've always been a late-nighter, I love the peace and quiet and lack of distractions, but I am also high-functioning with sleep deprivation compared to most people. I missed a lot of school because of this in high school, I also missed a lot of work and racked up some tardies in my previous jobs. I do not do housework almost ever, and my house is a wreck. I miss my work now often because of sleeping in too late, and I can technically work whenever I want, but I am losing productivity and money because of this. My relationship with my children suffers, especially my daughter, because she doesn't get as much attention from me as she should. My fiance puts up with my addiction, because she has struggles of her own, but neither of us are happy about it. I am constantly neglecting responsibilities due to sleeping late, staying up, and spending too much time on the computer. 

When I am on my own, I skip meals a lot, until I get really hungry and desperate. When I do eat, I eat at the computer. When my fiance and I eat together, we always watch Netflix on my computer while we eat. We sometimes binge watch 4-6 hours of tv. The best limiter for how much tv we watch, is me not feeling like I got to play enough video games.

I don't have much for hobbies or interests outside of computer-related stuff, and life lacks the excitement games provide. I don't like MMORPG's although I do enjoy action RPG's. I am almost exclusively a single player gamer. I get irritated when my concentration is broken or I am distracted on the computer, whether I am writing a post or a comment on FB, or concentrating on a video game.

I feel like a horrible partner to my fiance sometimes, because we don't go out and do as much as she would like. I feel selfish with her and my kids too. I still live with my parents, my father specifically has enabled me for years, even though he is also the most annoying when it comes to the things he enables me on.

I don't lie much about how much I play or anything like that. I don't like lying, and I also don't feel any need to. But I have made excuses in the past. There have been points where the addiction was so bad, I would rush everything, getting groceries, going to the bank, everything has to be fast fast fast, it's cutting into my video game time. I would then deprive myself of sleep and go to work tired every day/night until eventually missing a day or two of work because I was "sick." (too tired to go)

I am overweight, my computer addiction fuels my soda addiction. I have successfully quit soda twice in the past, both times for about a year. This time has been the absolute hardest to quit drinking it. I have never weighed as much as I do now, at 300 lbs. Most of this weight gain came after not working for a year and living off of unemployment and tax returns.

I have tried quitting the computer and video games several times in the past, both cold-turkey, and moderation styles. I have went months before, but I always get back into it some how or another.

It has occurred to me that I really don't want to quit. I really don't, I just can't think of a good way to limit myself. I have put a lot of thought into it, and I know that I cannot give myself an alotted amount of game time every day. The problem is, if I account for sleep and work, eating dinner (which I eventually want to do at a table as a family, with no tv), there isn't a lot left. And the amount left feels too short. Anything less than 2 hours is too short, because it won't "feel" like enough when I actually am playing. But beside that point, it also doesn't account for computer time on the net, or computer time watching tv. And then I have to pick? Absurd!

So I have concluded that, for moderation to even stand a chance, I have to limit game time to only certain days. Maybe cutting out weekdays altogether and only playing on one or two days on the weekend for 2-3 hours? 

I have read all of the things I was supposed to read to determine if I was addicted, even though I knew I didn't need to. Everything confirmed a solid "yes."

There's just new games to play.... tons of them... games I still have yet to finish... games I have yet to start that I own.... games that I want to replay.... and things remind me of them, like tastes, or smells, or certain interactions and I think... MAN, I want to play THAT game so bad now...

That is one of the hardest parts. But my family is more important. I don't want to give up games entirely. I just don't. I've tried it before with some measure of success, but that didn't tell me that I want them out of my life, I don't, I just want one to two days a week, for less than an 1/8th of the day.

Right now, I am in a bit of a hole in life, and things have to change. I have a diet plan worked out, I have ideas and ambitions, but I can't get away from the computer. I need to limit my daily usage of the computer, since I can't forgo it entirely, I actually need it for business as well as other things, but games need to be restricted to certain days.

I have such a hard time sticking to this, I feel lost and unsure of what to do when I'm not on my computer, even though I know there are things that need doing. In the past, when I have quit cold-turkey, I switched to console, upon forcing myself to quit that, I started watching tv, and upon stopping myself from doing that, I don't know what happened, I think I was just bored and aimless for awhile before falling back into old habits.

I have a hard time being active or motivated at all, and sometimes, I just want to go on the computer and not think about all of my responsibilities and escape them. It just makes it all worse.

I'm sure that I left out a lot, but I also know that I said a lot, and that is extremely easy for me to do. So before this gets any longer. That's where I'm at right now. I'm stuck and I need help.

Silvertabby
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HI Ashton and welcome to Olga

HI Ashton and welcome to Olga.  I'll give you the bad news first.  When we are addicted to gaming, it is impossible for us to play at all and still be able to enjoy life outside of gaming.  When we become addicted, a change is made in our brain so that, as long as we play any game at all, we will always want to play more.  We'll never be satisfied with moderating our gaming.  It's just easier to not play at all than try to control it.  Even after we quit, it takes time for our brains to rewire so we can enjoy life once again.  

Now for the good news.  Many of us who felt just like you, that we couldn't live without our games, have quit and are enjoying a satisfying life without gaming.  But we did have to quit all games, and we have to stay quit, or the obsession quickly returns.  We do that by reading posts here on Olga and answering them, connecting with others in the same boat.  Many find the 12 steps and/or going to meetings helpful.  If you're interested in trying meetings, click here for the schedule.  There is tons of information about gaming addiction here on this site.  Spend some time reading the stickied posts to learn more.  Best of luck to you.

 

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~Maria Robinson

Polga
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Welcome and thanks for

Welcome and thanks for sharing Ashton

INFO

Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts click here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

wazzapp
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Thanks for a very honest

Thanks for a very honest share Ashton, keep coming back!

Never alone, go to meetings <3 Mumble voice meetings on cgaa are great, see you there <3

 

Ashton_42
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Thanks

Thanks for the welcomes everyone.

"I'll give you the bad news first.  When we are addicted to gaming, it is impossible for us to play at all and still be able to enjoy life outside of gaming.  When we become addicted, a change is made in our brain so that, as long as we play any game at all, we will always want to play more.  We'll never be satisfied with moderating our gaming.  It's just easier to not play at all than try to control it.  Even after we quit, it takes time for our brains to rewire so we can enjoy life once again."

For me, this is not news at all, but I have some problems with doing that, and this is why: I honestly believe that the largest catylist for me, isn't video games themselves, but my computer. Sure, if I didn't have it, I would likely switch to my console before too long. But here's the thing, I can go without video games just fine. Frankly, I would rather not, due to the addiction, but the addiction to my computer overpowers that. As long as I am on it, it doesn't really matter if I'm on an addiction website making posts and reading comments, browsing FB non-stop, researching everything about everything, writing poetry, listening to music, watching videos, debating politics.... the list goes on. A lot of the time, the number one thing that limits the time I play video games, is just regular internet crap. Sometimes the games overpower the internet, and vice versa. Without either, I'm in offline computer mode doing... whatever the hell I can do... as long as I'm in front of the screen.

I'm sure that's not unfamiliar with you. For me, stopping video games entirely would change absolutely nothing without also stopping the computer entirely. That also results in some actual life issues, like needing it for business and communicative purposes.

I am not entirely sure what I will do, if I cannot make a plan to moderate computer and game time work. But I have to try that first, and really set my mind to it, so that if it fails, I don't have to feel like I didn't give it my all, and it is therefore unfair for me to give up that scenario. I've thought about it, and I think that about an hour to two max of computer time, where I am just on the computer without games and no tv a day. Some business can be accomplished from my phone, I have no addiction there and I really hate using it to be on the internet or anything, everything else can be handled 30 mins to an hour in the morning before work (I am NOT a morning person, it takes me time to wake up) and 30 minutes when getting home. Maybe 10 minutes right before bed, a quick check, no conversations, no posting, no games, just check e-mail and messages type things, take care of any business etc.  No games at all until Sun/Mon (my weekend). I haven't decided on which day, or both or how many hours. But no more than 3 in a day. My fiance loves her tv and movies, so it's easy for her to get carried away there. I was thinking maybe limiting us to 2 episodes per day max, or 1 movie. This is just for starters, maybe over time we can cut some of it down more, although I think I'm cutting the computer time about as low as it can get from the get-go, honestly.

I think with that, and also deciding that we have to eat at a table, with no tv will help. Another issue I have is bed time, usually that gets bad because of computer time/video games, tv shows. Tv shows being the primary problem, keeping us both up late, then computer/video games are pretty equal, sometimes keeping me up alone even longer after she goes to bed. I am thinking bed time by a certain time every night, but that's been tried before. So maybe no tv/electronics after a certain time, and if we didn't get both episodes in, so be it. That would keep me off the computer and everything after a certain time. Almost guaranteeing an earlier bedtime. I have noticed in the past I could say "meh, I'm not really THAT tired, I could easily stay up longer, plus I really want to watch another episode" and then go to the bathroom, grab a drink, maybe do something quick like laundry, and by the time I'm done I've been disconnected long enough that I don't care as much anymore and the NEED to watch more just isn't as severe, making the decision to make good choices easier. I realize that a lot of that has to do with LED's, dopamine, etc. I've done the research before, of course.

And maybe I'm just making excuses, maybe that's what you're thinking as you're reading this, and maybe you're right. But I have to give it a real shot, and it helps that I can tell someone else about it, beyond just my fiance, and maybe you guys will help to put the pressure on, haha.

One thing that you said, as I read, I kind of objected. "It is impossible to enjoy life outside of gaming." I thought, well, I do. I enjoy my time with my kids, and my fiance, and a lot of things. Especially camping, I love camping. But then I thought about it, and I realized that I've thought about this before. There are a lot of things in my life that, I just don't get... why is this and that so enjoyable to others? It all seems so uneventful and unstimulating to me. Am I just such an intellectually superior human being that everything requires such a vast amount more mental stimulation for me than other people? Seems far-fetched, and while I've been told I'm intelligent, I am no genius, so it just seems a bit absurd. And that's what it comes down to.... addiction. Coming back to that HIGH where... sh**.... nothing else can really top it, can it? Swimming? Ok, yeah, I can kind of enjoy that some but... meh, not my cup of tea... what about.... nope, not really my cup of tea either, and... nope, that neither. Am I just boring and uninteresting? After all of this time thinking that maybe my needs for stimulation were just narrow and unique... and with what I already know about addiction, you just helped me make that connection that I never did before. Yeah, things lack excitement, yeah, I think part of that has to do with video games... but, you pretty much just blew that wide open, almost all of that has to do with computer/video games. So, I really thank you for that. The times I have away from them, really are far more memorable and I have a lot of great ones, but they always seem like they were greater after they're over, than how I felt about them at the time.

I don't want to control my gaming. And I definitely don't want to be controlled BY it anymore. I don't want to say "I have this alotted time to play video games" but I want to say "I have free time on this day for this long to use for whatever entertainment I choose" albeit, video games may fill that choice, when void throughout the rest of the week. I have to give it a shot, I know you understand because I'm sure that you had to as well. For me though, there is no cold turkey without kicking the computer too.

I haven't told my fiance about this place yet. I intend to fill her in on my thoughts and ask her to help me stick to them. This is hard for her, she knows how I am, and telling me no or that I can't is likely to just reinforce my decision to do so. But I am going to ask her to stand her ground, and I am going to stand my ground with her on the tv parts.

"Now for the good news.  Many of us who felt just like you, that we couldn't live without our games, have quit and are enjoying a satisfying life without gaming.  But we did have to quit all games, and we have to stay quit, or the obsession quickly returns.  We do that by reading posts here on Olga and answering them, connecting with others in the same boat.  Many find the 12 steps and/or going to meetings helpful.  If you're interested in trying meetings, click here for the schedule.  There is tons of information about gaming addiction here on this site.  Spend some time reading the stickied posts to learn more.  Best of luck to you."

I honestly feel like I can live without my games, but that's because I have my computer. Living without both? Now that's where I'm stumped.

Has anyone quit cold turkey, surpassed the alotted time for their brain to "return to normal" and then casually picked video games back up on an occasional/hobby-like level? Without becoming re-addicted?

I have done time where I spent a long period without them, and with little computer, and have began to feel like, "why were they ever so necessary? I don't even care, why did it matter?" until I played again. I don't think it was a full six months though.

I will poke around some more, of course. But as much as this place helps, it also fuels one of my addictions. I just know that it's a better excuse for being on my computer than some of the others, so there's that.

Thanks for the conversation and advice.

Steele
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welcome

Hi Ashton.

I think you are indeed making excuses, and it is very recognizable. For a long time I was completely out of control. It was the elephant in the room, I tried desperately to control it and failed every time. All my reasoning power could not help me really, I was always analysing it, trying to understand why I did the things I did, why it was so impossible to control. I never really have found an answer, and I have finally stopped looking for one.

Two times I had periods in which I left my computer at a friends house, hundreds of kilometers away. But I still had an old low-tech computer, and I found myself starting that one up, and playing mind numbing decades ago games. It was not so much the computer, it was my mind.

I would try to start with making it easier for yourself to make good choices. If you have an office, leave the computer there. Watch those boring series with your girlfriend (seems like a less harmful experience in the end, and you have something to share to talk about). I would consider this like a surrogate "drug" which is much less harmful.

There must be a ton of stuff you can do at home, but it does not feel like fun at all. Why bother? But actually you will get a sense of fulfilment and acomplishment by doing these things. 

I recognize very much what you write about "being in a hurry" all the time, because everything is "eating away gam time". I lived like that for years. I am glad I dont have that anymore.

Gaming was numbing me. Nothing else mattered. You will get joy back, interest in things to do, etc.. but it takes time.  I would go to bed late, because adrenaline was running high due to gaming. Now I go to bed before midnight always, because I am simply tired (due to not having that artificial adrenaline rush). That is much healthier.

I do not consider myself a recovered game addict. I still have my setbacks and fallbacks. But even in this state my life has improved increadibly. 

I understand that you want to find out what stories are still in those games that you have not finished playing. I would definitely have that too. But there always will be new games, it is a never ending story, unless you end it for yourself. And it is difficult to do. It is a radical change. But many have done it, and found a more happy existance through it. I am still in the transition phase :-).

Welcome to Olga Ashton. And thanks for sharing your story.

 

 

"I want to see people and I want to see life."

Polga
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Hi Ashton

Hi Ashton

I think everyones addiction and poison is different. WIth my son, he is addicted the internet screen time and games.

There is a whole continuum between bad habit and full blown addict. You are where you are.

The therapy centre called reStart recognises that some computer interaction in life is necessary for most people. I think they start with a 6 week detox completely of all screens. Eventually they aim to responsibly feedback in the necessary parts, whilst recognising that some parts may be off limits for life.

INFO

Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts click here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

Silvertabby
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"Has anyone quit cold turkey,

"Has anyone quit cold turkey, surpassed the alotted time for their brain to "return to normal" and then casually picked video games back up on an occasional/hobby-like level? Without becoming re-addicted?"

I was just over two years game free and tried playing computer games "just a little bit".  The obsession returned and all I could think about was playing.  Since that time, after some time being game free, I've tried several times to play and moderate and it just doesn't work.  If I play any computer games, all I want to do is keep playing.

Many people are addicted to the internet, as well as gaming and some people are just addicted to the internet.  My husband has never touched a video game but he can get lost on web surfing and reading interesting stuff.  Sometimes he stays up all night simply learning about stuff on the web.  He's on his computer first thing every morning and last thing every night.  He doesn't think he has a problem with it. 

But whether it's gaming or web surfing, if it's eating up your life, it's still a problem.  It looks like you know what you need to do.  I wish you all the best in finding your way to a better life.

 

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~Maria Robinson

planner
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hi Ashton

hi Ashton

I have spent considerable time game free but always kept relapsing for some reason or another. It is not the huge time i wasted on gaming that made me want to stop. But how it rewires my brain and blocks it on caring about anything else but gaming. I can still go to work or do simple duties but always wanted to game hours before going to bed. I used to think that i am not kind of person who could feel others but after very long years of gaming i discovered that this was not part of me but how gaming turned me for. I used to have many friends to hang out with but no one was a real friend because my brain was not able to connect with them. Gaming has transformed me to another person!

I wish you find a way to have a pleasant life and if it makes it easier for you, we will be here to share our gaming experience!

 

"Recovery is not about dealing with gaming. Recovery is about dealing with Life"

Ashton_42
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Hearing it from myself....

Thanks for all of the replies.

After replying earlier, I looked up a FB post I had made a year ago, about addiction, actually.

All of your comments and words are very helpful, but nothing is quite as impactful as hearing it from myself, a year ago. I even said, and I quote:

"To anyone else, like me, who has struggled with addiction to video games. Understand that the best solution is the one you absolutely do not want. Quitting cold turkey entirely, without the thought of ever returning, is the only way. I have been through it a million times before, and I have read countless accounts from others who have said the same thing. As long as you plan to some day return to games, when you can control and restrict how much you play, you will eventually fail. Uninstall and delete and don't plan to return, it's the only solution I can ever see truly working. And you hate the thought as much as I do. In truth, it is not a great loss, but it really feels like it is."

I said a lot of things that I didn't remember having said. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do yet, but I am considering sticking to the plan that I had made, and telling my fiance that, if I fail to succeed with the plan in moderating my usage, that I am to stop entirely, and to hold me to it.

I'll get back to you guys and let you know what's happening.

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