Story and questions

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
anonymous (not verified)
Story and questions

Long story - feel free to skip to the questions at the end of it!

I've been addicted to wow since it came out. At first we were playing in evenings together with my boyfriend, so it seemed harmless. Soon I started spending more and more time online in daytime as well, set virtual goals and level alt on different server. I had freelance work and lots of time to play.

4 month later I broke ties with my most important client (close to 90% of the jobs) "because of feeling tired all time and not having time to rest". While it was somewhat true, often I was asked to come to work in last minute, so I couldn't really plan any online activity and became unreliable player to my guild. Then followed a year of intensive playing, very few jobs and destroyed relationships.

Year later I quit wow for first time. Relocated. Started to study. All went well for few month - I studied, got new friends, new relationships. Unfortunately the new relationships didn't work as well as I had thought.In no time I was back to wow. 3 year period of co-dependency followed. In fact, it seemed, that my boyfriend prefered me spending time online over any other activity - be it working on projects or going out with friends. I still managed to finish studies as one of the top students, but didn't find motivation to look for projects after that or even do self-promotion. So I had a game and very little work to do. Was game-free 3 month before WotLK release, but then boyfriend gave me WotLK as a gift and I was hooked again.

2 years ago I made a second serious break. Started working on real life goals, got some jobs, then more jobs. Analyzed my life, relationships. And left the co-dependant partner.
It felt really strange at first. In few month I hit the rough spot in life and intentionaly tried to get back to the game, just to discover that it didn't take my thoughts away from the problems. I was alone with them. There was noone else, who could take the responsibility and I had to solve them myself. When Cata came out I played demo for 10 days and then left it again. I told to myself - all right, if you want to enjoy the sights now and then - go and play, but don't you dare to set even one virtual goal! And for time it worked. There was some newly found freedom in it. Some month I played for few days, most of the time I did not. Wow had lost it's appeal and I ended with 7 month without any subscription at all.

Then the hardest relapse occured this year in January. I grew tired of winter and darkness and decided to renew account just to fly around and enjoy the scenery. At first there was still no signs of addiction. I looked at the green hills, admired design, picked up some herbs. No raiding, no pvp, no dungeons. In mid January I decided to try out a rp server. Rolled new alt and there it went - unknowingly I had set myself a new virtual goal and then another one and another one. Luckily I needed just a bit more than one month to realize, what is happening, but I felt guilt and shame much stronger than ever before. After two years of not playing or very casual playing, I had given in again!

Now I've been wow-free since 21st of February and I will do my best to stay this way.

Soon I discovered OLGA forums and started reading threads here, including researches on dopamine, which made me go completely game-free since 1st of March. And now there are some questions:

How long would it take for brain to heal, assuming, that this time I'm staying clean of the offline games as well - at least for full healing period?

What could be the harmless and very cheep rewards, that I could use to make myself perform the activities, that would lead to real life goals (as there is no instant gratification just for performing tasks and it could a minimum one year without any gratification to move forward to any of them)?

EVE_OFFFline
EVE_OFFFline's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 2 weeks ago
OLGA member
Joined: 01/10/2012 - 7:33am
Junjul. There are thing

Junjul.

There are thing scientist know and dont know. The good news your brains will reocver..You cannot call it heal. New pathways will be created and brains will adapt to a new situation. If you ever think about gaming, then I recon it will take 5 years to recover, with a risk of relapsing. Your brains renew themselves but dont seem to fall back to where it was before. Imagine your part of the brain that controls dopamine flow, is overtrained , so it works too good, means you will feel when you start gaming next time, whenever that is.

As addiction been taken away grief starts, like your best friend died. Its natural. At the moment you heard the bad news for you addicted brain, and now that part tries to bargain. What is normal. Within weeks you may start to regret the things you done, and then acceptance will come.

Its all emotional and iirational thinking.

recovey is horribly complex as this does not finish the pain. You will also need to learn to quit the rituals. What measn that when you started to game..you now should not even touch that PC or any other electronic device enabling you to do things. So withdrawal, grief, rebstructre the real life, and recovery with 12 steps, is so much work, I myself as just sobering up, cannot imagine I want to go through this process ever again.:S

pre- diagnosed with Autism.

Silvertabby
Silvertabby's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
OLGA memberOLGA moderator
Joined: 11/23/2010 - 4:42pm
Junjul wrote: How long
Junjul wrote:

How long would it take for brain to heal, assuming, that this time I'm staying clean of the offline games as well - at least for full healing period?

What could be the harmless and very cheep rewards, that I could use to make myself perform the activities, that would lead to real life goals (as there is no instant gratification just for performing tasks and it could a minimum one year without any gratification to move forward to any of them)?

Hi Junjul and welcomee to Olga. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by healing, but if you mean can you game again some day, from what I've learned about addiction, since I stopped gaming, is that we never actually heal from an addiction. My understanding is that it will be with us for the rest of our life. For me that means I can't play any electronic games again as long as I live unless I want to start getting those strong desires to game once again or go back to gaming 12+ hours a day as I was before.

If you just mean how long before you get through withdrawal and can enjoy normal life once again, that varies with each individual. I stopped gaming over a year ago, had minor relapses, and have now been totally game free for 4 months. The desires to game again are still in the back of my mind and I have to choose not to listen to them. I still feel as if the game has a hold of me in certain ways (like I still wish I could play again from time to time), but I also feel that I'm able to live my life and enjoy it without gaming.

As far as your second question concerning rewards, I think that would be different for everybody. It would depend on what you enjoy. On another note, it might even be better to not use any rewards as it's the instant gratification that is one of the greatest pulls of gaming. Might it be better to learn to do the things you need to do without any reward other than knowing you have done the job well? Good luck to you.

 

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

Junjul (not verified)
Thank you for your

Thank you for your replies!

When the serious withdrawal should start? So far I've been having some thoughts about online and nearly no thoughts about offline games.

By healing I mean - seeing game as it is and not comparing them to real life.

As for rewards - a lot of personal growth books and sites suggest making a reward system and celebrate each small milestone. Even in 12 step questions (which I found somewhere else online and been working on them for last 2 weeks) there's a suggestion to celebrate completion of each step and then write down, what one has done to celebrate. But I'm running out of ideas there, as I don't want to make "food=pleasure" or even "alcohol=pleasure" connections.

I've been looking through my online gaming history and trying to identify the triggers for each time when I came back to wow. And at least for last 2 years it has been "**** winter.. I hate snow and dark so much.. But ingame it's sooo green and nice, that I can almost feel warmth in certain wow zones. And sound! Birds, wind, waterfalls and rivers!" The run for rewards starts later - when I think, that I could as well do something "useful" within the zone.

Same way - in summers - even in my most "hardcore" gaming times, I've always spent a lot of time outside and very little at the computer.

Not sure, where to go from there, but the pattern seems very clear.

EVE_OFFFline
EVE_OFFFline's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 2 weeks ago
OLGA member
Joined: 01/10/2012 - 7:33am
Junjul  When the withdrawal

Junjul

When the withdrawal is minimal you did a good job. The worst withdrawal starts within 24 hours and can take up to 48 hours...then it gets less but can return the next 6 weeks . Perhaps you quit in mild pahses of addiction..maybe your hormone houshold is not under pressure or you have a hetlthy body and lifestyle? ..and Yes winter seems a nice time to stay inside...Disliking winter is from all ages in the past...The earlier you quit the easier it gets.

pre- diagnosed with Autism.

Junjul (not verified)
Passed second week without

Passed second week without games and approaching month without warcraft (which is what brought me here initially).

I'm now trying to understand, if I played excessively (around 12 hours daily) because I had time to waste or I had time because I played excessively. I think, they are somehow connected.

I'm still spending a lot of time alone, which makes me think - if I turned down invitations because of gaming or because of being introvert (for example - I never turned down one to one meetings, even in gaming periods). Right now I wish to spend at least a year without games to get enough data about non-gaming behaviour and observe changes.

It feels like looking at delicious chocollate cake, while being on diet - temptating, but not completely irresistable.

Patria
Patria's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/02/2011 - 1:55am
Hiya Junjul and

Hiya Junjul and welcome!

Your game was my game. I loved it; never thought I'd ever have to quit it; played it until it almost made me sick. Then I tried other games like it, thinking that if WOW was the problem, maybe EVE won't be. EVE was and is as bad as WOW...the addiction wasn't the game anymore, the addiction was me not finding the inner resources to quit when I wanted to.

I didn't want to quit. My family was being neglected. I quit my job and retired early to play the game, so therefor money became an issue. My husband was neglected and started to act that way. Our only contact during the day, with husband and me, was to yell at each other. Him to accuse; me to defend.

Found OLGA and somehow managed to quit that day; but I didn't mean to quit for very long, just for a month or two so I could go back and play more casually.

I found out that with my addiction I couldn't go back and play casually. That even when I wasn't playing, I was thinking of playing, plotting playing, and spent all my non-playing hours thinking about the game.

Well, 9 months 16 days later, I love my new game-free life. I'm not a slave to it anymore.

I'm fortunate that I live in Southern California, so if you need that type of weather, there's a great goal for you: move to So. Cal. or Spain etc.

Without the games we are free to be who we want to be. big hugs.

hirshthg
hirshthg's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 week ago
OLGA memberOLGA moderator
Joined: 11/15/2010 - 2:06pm
welcome to olga Junjul i

welcome to olga Junjul

i quit all games from a 3 year period and ended up getting stuck again in gaming for years again.

in my experience, after the withdrawal ends, i am lightly pulled back to gaming all the time.

breaking free, and staying free from that pull, which builds up against my mind, is taking a long time.

keep coming back. hanging out with other gamers here, reading their stories of how they lost parts of their life to gaming, and helping out other gamers clean up their life, are all things that are very positive, and can help you remember why you don't game.

gl hf, and i hope to keep seeing you

leveling in steps, serenity, sponcys, sponsors, exercise, and sleep, (sanity has been downsized)
sober from all electronic games since 11/19/2010

Junjul (not verified)
Thank you for your

Thank you for your replies!

It's really sad to know, that the light pull towards gaming will be there all time. I've often wished, that Blizzard would stop developing wow - I'm really picky about the games, so it's very unlikely, that I would end up in some other mmorpg. That would be easy way out - the game simply would not be there any more. No more temptation with next expansion.

Then I'm trying to remember all bad things about it - the way community has become, all the hatred and greed, endless grind. Remember it so detailed, that the urge goes away for some time.

Atreide
Atreide's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 5 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 03/08/2012 - 2:33am
Hey Junjul, I have good news

Hey Junjul,

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that no matter how many people quit, I can't see there not being at least one server for many years to come. The good news is that you are in the right place now.

Thanks for the reminder about how the game is simply not fun. I burnt out. I don't care what they do in the future. I'm just not going to get that original high back. Cata was the slap-in-the-face of...yep...same thing, different pixels. I can't believe how hard I was trying to make the game fun. I even had a GM live chat and give me ideas. He just lol'd when I told him that I had tried all of those ideas and then gave him a few new ones that also don't work. (Of course, they aren't hired to tell you to quit, but I bet he was thinking that.) Anyway, it's a video game, it was fun for awhile, then it was not fun, but at that point I couldn't quit. I lost all control. I accepted that, and here I am. :) Moving forward.

"When we stop living in the here and now, our problems become magnified unreasonably" (Basic Text, p. 9).

Patria
Patria's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/02/2011 - 1:55am
Wow was my addiction too. 

Wow was my addiction too. Blizzard is in it to make money, like all businesses. I don't want Busch Beer to stop making beer just so I can quit drinking beer. It wouldn't stop me anyhow; I would just learn how to make beer (which I did once; beer and wine).

Blizzard makes WOW very hard to quit. I am disturbed by that but not everyone becomes addicted.

It's our addiction and our responsibility to take care of it.

However, I wouldn't buy it and give it to anyone in my family. I don't want to pass that game on to anyone I know either. My niece and nephew play wow, but they aren't addicted. My niece has two children, one new baby; my nephew has a full life, even visiting Japan recently. So who was addicted? not them, just me.

vesalian.prime
vesalian.prime's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 02/23/2012 - 11:50pm
I don't know how long it

I don't know how long it takes to "heal". Comparing with my other addictions, for instance smoking cigarettes, I don't think I will ever heal. Even with 8 years since my last cigarette, if I catch a whiff of someone lighting up I want to smoke again. I acknowledge the feeling and move on.

In NA we had a saying: "Once you are a pickle you can never become a cucumber again".

Maybe you aren't done becoming a pickle. But I'd guess from your story you would prefer to live a life free from the compulsion to game. You can't have that and still play games.

Perhaps a man who is worthy of the name should put aside this question of how long he will live ..., and turn his attention to this instead, to how he can live the best life possible in the time that is granted to him
Marcus Aurelius

vesalian.prime
vesalian.prime's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 02/23/2012 - 11:50pm
As to your other question

As to your other question about rewards, it is totally cool to use rewards to learn new habits.

Apparently there is some new brain research on habit-forming, and there are 3 parts to every habit: a trigger, a routine and a reward. For instance to get a habit for exercising, you can put on exercise clothes first thing in the morning as a trigger, then do your exercise routine, and have a chocolate as a reward. However counterintuitive that may seem, the reward will make it much more likely that you will continue to exercise because it trains your non-rational brain to want to exercise.

All those psychological tricks that WOW uses to keep you hooked, they work in real life too.

Here is a book on the latest research:http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Habit-What-Business/dp/1400069289/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332477875&sr=1-1

Perhaps a man who is worthy of the name should put aside this question of how long he will live ..., and turn his attention to this instead, to how he can live the best life possible in the time that is granted to him
Marcus Aurelius

Junjul (not verified)
Patria wrote: Blizzard
Patria wrote:

Blizzard makes WOW very hard to quit. I am disturbed by that but not everyone becomes addicted.

True that. In addition to all of the usual ways (reward/punishment system, etc) they also use one, that is not mentioned everywhere else - references to music, fantasy and science fiction books, internet humor, films, tv series. And not only to the most popular ones, but also to less known and alternative. Almost in every zone there were countless references in form of npc names and quests or even drops. It seems to me, they are making sure, that even after quitting, one will have triggers all around, which is exactly what's happening to me now. Every day I come across some reference - be it in film I watch, book I read or even music I listen. And I'm not even very close connected to the pop-culture, so it seems, that their designers have done a great job to include possible triggers for every age/culture/social group.

EVE_OFFFline
EVE_OFFFline's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 2 weeks ago
OLGA member
Joined: 01/10/2012 - 7:33am
yes they use behaviour

yes they use behaviour specialist to calculate human behaviour ..they can even make algorythms in the game giving you what you like best..and the more programs get connected...(like facebook, twitter, hotmail, google+..the more they try to learn who you are..)

There is one book they wont refer too, what you must read. 1984 from Orwell. That world he describes...far before the computer was invented..comes dangerously close.

pre- diagnosed with Autism.

Atreide
Atreide's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 5 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 03/08/2012 - 2:33am
It will get easier with

It will get easier with time...years ago alcohol was my drug of choice. It was very difficult to even watch TV due to all of the beer advertising. But, it got easier over time to where now I don't even notice it. My hunch is that will also happen with gaming marketing triggers. It will get easier. On the othe hand, it's not all bad. Watching Raiders of the Lost Ark would just be a reminder of the stupidity of that game.

"When we stop living in the here and now, our problems become magnified unreasonably" (Basic Text, p. 9).

Junjul (not verified)
Atreide wrote: It will get
Atreide wrote:

It will get easier with time...years ago alcohol was my drug of choice. It was very difficult to even watch TV due to all of the beer advertising. But, it got easier over time to where now I don't even notice it.

That's good to hear! Right now labeling something "it's a trigger!" makes it easier. Might as well teach brain to react to them as to red "warning!" sign with time. Takes a lot of patience.

EVE_OFFFline wrote:

There is one book they wont refer too, what you must read. 1984 from Orwell.

I've red it, but it never occured to compare world in 1984 to the game. Rather it comes to mind every time, when such laws as SOPA/PIPA or similar get invented. But to keep society under the close watch without a rebellion, one needs to adjust their mental patterns and it could as well be through a game nowadays - that's true!

There are also other anti-utopias, where the drug to keep people happy and numb their mind is given a primary role - Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury and a film "Equilibrium". In both - after main heroes refuse to take a drug, they start seeing the world as it is and rebels. If you haven't red/watched them, they might be worth to check out.

As for references - they named npc's even after Ginsberg and Burroughs! And that's something, that probably 5% of wow player population might have red at best.

Gettingalife
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 3 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 12/11/2011 - 5:41pm
I dunno. I've known people

I dunno. I've known people who remained susceptible to substances they quit, known people who by all appearances were altogether over it once they quit and known people who fell somewhere in between. We're all basically alike and wonderfully unique. Bottom line for me is why would I risk tossing all the pain and effort it took to quit as if that meant nothing by testing myself to see if I could manage the poison now? I do try to learn from my experience. Really I do.

Acceptance. When I am disturbed, it is because a person, place, thing, or situation is unacceptable to me. I find no serenity until I accept my life as being exactly the way it is meant to be. Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.  Acknowledge the problem, but live the solution!

Log in or register to post comments