My Story

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Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
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Joined: 12/03/2015 - 12:26pm
My Story

I've been playing video games for about 30 years now, and for the first time last week I came to admit that I had an addiction.  I used to love nothing more than the immersion of waking up and first thing turning the computer on, playing until I got tired, then going back to sleep, rinse and repeat.  When I was a teeenager that was all I wanted to do with my life.  When I got discharged from the military I was awarded 100% service connected disability for schizophrenia (which later got diagnosed as schizo-affective disorder) and also started collecting Social Security Disability so I never really needed to work again.  I thought this was the best thing that could ever happen to anyone.  I felt so lucky I could just be left alone and make the online gaming world my reality.

But it turned out that sleep deprivation exacerbates the symptoms of my mental illness.  I was really unstable and never really found a good place for myself in the game.  I started looking outside the game for answers but reality was even worse and I was ending up in hospitals for psychosis several times.


Somehow through all this I met my future wife on an internet dating site.  We dated for a couple of years, she was really hesitant about it because of my mental stuff but somehow things kept progressing.  She had partial custody of her kids so when they were with their dad I would stay with her, and when they were with her I would go back to my apartment and get my online video game fix.


It felt good, it felt like I had balance or something, that I could provide emotional and financial support to her and feel good about myself like someone cared about me and still immerse myself in video games.  We moved in with each other, she got full custody of her kids, we got married, and had a child together.  We fought sometimes about the gaming, she really came to hate it so much, but I would always try to do just enough with her to get her off my case.


Anyway, my child became old enough to go to school for most of the day, so it would give me plenty of time to play.  It got really bad at times, and just a couple of months ago I stayed up all night to "take care of" my wife after some surgery, but really I mostly wanted to play video games all night like I used to.  It triggered something in me and I started to go on a manic gaming binge where I wouldn't share in any of the responsibilities or get off of the computer for anything unless I really wanted to.  I stopped eating almost completely, I just drank a lot of caffeine, and mostly stopped bathing, and generally taking care of myself in a most extreme way.  I did this for about a month and my wife wanted a divorce as soon as we could, and in the meantime was ready to send me to a separate room in the house so she didn't have to see how unhealthy I was.  I was cool with this.  I was following in my father's footsteps (heroine addict and alcoholic) and I hardened my heart against what I was doing to my family.


Then, about 10 days ago, I was sitting in my car parked in the driveway and I suddenly realized it didn't have to be like this.  Even though video game addiction was practically my entire life story up until now, I had the power to ability to change how the story turned out.  I could be the hero of my own real life story, not a victim.  I was so beaten down by my diagnosis, my childhood, my feeling sorry for myself that I didn't think I was strong enough to get up off the pit I had crawled into.  But I was, i don't know where I got the strength from--from my family, from my support network, from the military, maybe from God or some guardian angel-- and I went into the house and said to my wife "I need help.  I have a gaming addiction."  She hugged me for a long time.  For the first time since this last episode had started she seemed genuinely concerned about me, and that felt good.


So far it's been difficult to find help specifically for video game addiction.  I guess medical insurance doesn't cover it so if you want care you have to pay a stupid amount of money and travel to the other side of the country to get it.  My therapist and my mother-in-law both researched this site and told me to check it out.  I've seen a video, read a bunch of stuff, and been to a couple of meetings already and it gives me hope.  Though I'd like to do more face-to-face stuff maybe (it's been recommended to find an AA or NA group in my area).


But since my recovery has started I've felt a clawed hand holding onto the empty part of my soul each day, keeping me from doing things to take my mind off of gaming and get away from the computer and being productive.  I just sit and stare at my computer a lot, mindlessly clicking things on the screen and I feel like I'm trying to find a way to be in that dream world again without the guilt and shame of actually playing video games again.


Yesterday  I went to a couple of meetings here and they helped a lot.  I got some sleep and this morning I did something I've been dreading for years by visiting my daughter's classroom (to be her show-and-tell for "D" week).  I felt really good about that.  I did some math work on the internet that I had been putting off for a while, made a few productive phone calls and just generally am feeling a bit better than I had been.

I'm also writing this post which feels good.  I'm a little uncertain where to go from here, but I'll just keep reading the forums and showing up for as many meetings as I can.

Polga's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 39 min ago
AdministratorOLG-Anon memberOLGA member
Joined: 02/17/2014 - 11:33am
Sweetdaddy, thanks for your

Sweetdaddy, thanks for your story. Glad you are here and making steps to a better future.

Warmest wishes to you and hope to see you around.


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

Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 12/07/2014 - 12:59am
Welcome to olga! I'm glad you

Welcome to olga! I'm glad you found that strength to reach out for help. I'm on social security disability as well (for depression), and the combination of free time, not having to work full time, and not being able to work full time even if I wanted to led me to a pretty dark place as well. Mental illness + addiction have an amazing way of feeding on each other, and it can be hard to break that cycle.

As far as treatment... one local option is to get into a dual diagnosis program. You wouldn't be with other gaming addicts there, but you would get help with addiction and find a lot in common. When I first stopped playing, I was in a program for people with PTSD and addiction and found it helpful. Since then, I've been coming to online meetings for gaming addiction, and I found a local NA group that is supportive even if I'm not a drug addict.

You may have seen this already since you've been to some meetings.   I particularly like the voice meetings on mumble.

Withdrawal is tough, so I'm glad you had a better day or two. It does get better, but it takes time. :)

Last seen: 2 years 5 days ago
OLGA member
Joined: 09/02/2014 - 6:27am
welcome sweetdaddy, as you

welcome sweetdaddy, as you already have noticed recovering is not easy but you will notice that it gets better by the time. I think you have already realised how your brain has become clearer and has time now to connect with people around you again. This is great progress and it needs little exercise every day to put life on track because it is not enough to stop gaming without other activities that fill the time that we used to be gaming. I have learned that the first activity should be working my recovery program, starting from reading posts about video game addiction and watching video about addiction in general. Then attending meetings and starting to make contacts with other fellowships. I chose to do the 12step program, you could do the same or look for another one but honestly it is very important to have one! What helps me as well is trying to mediate few times a day where i try to breath deeply and remember positive things in my life ( I set repeated alarm clock). It is much better if there is someone close to support us. we are still weak at early stage of recovery so might be a good idea to give someone an administration access to our computer and phone while we use them as guests.

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

Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 12/03/2015 - 12:26pm
Well this has been good, I've

Well this has been good, I've gone to a mumble meeting, and through that got a sponsor.  I am looking for a recovery buddy, and I am pretty motivated to work the 12 steps.  I'm just taking it one day at a time right now but things are looking better each day.

wazzapp's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
OLGA memberOLGA moderator
Joined: 01/04/2015 - 10:59am
welcome to olga! im glad ur

welcome to olga! im glad ur here

for me going to NA (even thought never been into drugs) is really important to break my isolation and become less self-centered. Listening to people sharing helps me a lot

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


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