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.