My name is Stuart and I am powerless over gaming.
Online gaming has caused me issues since the mid 90s when I first discovered MUDs whilst at university. During my degree I spent far too much time connected to MUDs as a player, when not online I would think about playing and craved playing. This affected my studie and started to interfere with assignments etc. As I progressed into my PhD I began coding and building for MUDs and I spent even more time connected and less time working on my research. I began playing browser based online games at the same time. I would spend hours and hours in uni connected to games.
Then eventually My girlfriend and I got a computer at home and a broadband line (this was when broadband was new and shiny) and I was now able to play games at home. She introduced me to Everquest and I became addicted very quickly. We bought a second PC and began playing together. Our setup was in our front room in the corner with the desks facing different walls, so we ended up sat almost back to back. It got to the point that the 1st one of us home would get in, fire up the PCs and get EQ online for us both to play as soon as the other got home. Eventually I found that we were actually talking to each other in game and not in person. I quit EQ evntually and found that we no longer had anything in common and this destroyed our relationship.
I went back to browser games and then I bought a PS3 and began spending time playing or thinking about playing. A friend at work then introduced me to WoW as a way to hang out with our group of our colleagues after work. It of course rapidly turned into the obsession that burnt hours of my day that should have been used for other things. I would forget to eat and when I did remember I would put something in the oven and go back to the game. I often remembered I had food in the oven when the smoke alarm went off, I had 2 fires in the kitchen by doing this. After every expansion release I would take a day off work to get into the new content, if I couldn't book a day off then I would fake a sick day to play. I nearly lost my job at that point for taking too many sick days.
Fast forward a few years and I met my now wife. She was anti gaming so I wouldn;t play games while she was home. So I would wait for her to be out and start playing. On numerous occasions I would start playing a game just after she left for a shift and would finish just before she got home. She would get angry because I had done nothing around the house and this nearly destroyed our relationship. I promised not to game again and I was able to stay away from games for a few months.
I started playing micro games on facebook because that didn't count right. I began teacher training which takes a lot of work and instead of filling in my paperwork I was playing facebook games. Then I found Magic the Gathering online, hearthstone and Elder scrolls legends. I knew that my wife would not approve so I lied and hid the gaming, I played after she had gone to bed. I hid the expense of buying cards and tournaments. Eventually she found out and about other issues and the relationship hit rock bottom and again nearly ended. This was a year ago and that is when I realised I had a number of problems and I needed help. I joined SA, another 12 step program and began attending meetings. However when my 3rd child was born I stopped going to meetings as my wife found things difficult when I was out of the house. I am now back in recovery but I need to address my gaming addiction which is why I am now here. I need to be applying the 12 steps to gaming and I need support. My wife is away for 3 days and by God do I crave playing a tournament of MtG. So instead of doing that I'm watching online AA meetings and typing my story for you guys.
I am powerless over gaming and it has made my life unmanageable!
Thanks for reading