Adult son; withdrawing internet etc, what else?

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Polga
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Adult son; withdrawing internet etc, what else?

Hello

First post! My son is 22 and dropped out of College a year ago as he was disappointed with the course and not happy with how it was working out. Since then he has been on the computer a great deal more ( he has always enjoyed it but it's got worse) and put on weight and got very unfit. We have tried to encourage him to look for work but he couldn't find a job that he thought he could stick with. There is a shortage of entry level jobs in this area also.

He is back at home now and I do not want to enable him any longer. He is gaming or on the computer from when he wakes up (which can be anytime from noon to 4pm) to 4 am or so in the morning.

His internet has now been removed for nearly 48 hours because he has refused to stick to our plan for getting up and excercise. I removed the games console this morning and the computer power cable so no more games.

I have told him that we do not want to enable him any longer. He denies gaming addiction and just says there is nothing else for him to do.

We are telling him he needs to take responsibility for his life and improve his fitness and outlook so that he can live within his means and not rely on us to fix his problems e.g. to get him his own apartment etc. We have suggested therapy but at the moment he says he won't until we meet his demands.

All he has now is his mobile phone which has internet access and his TV. He is currently using both a lot and stays in his room but its early days I guess.

He has self esteem issues because of the extra weight and hasn't seen his frinds for a while. He has always been shy in certain situations. We restricted his internet access until he was 18. He has lived independantly on and off and indulged his use of the computer since then. We live in the countryside so its isolated for him , so I don't want him to loose total contact with his friends. He feels he is being left behind as they are getting on with their lives.

Do you think the cell phone needs to go as he is so attached to it? If we remove his TV from his bedroom he will use our TV and there will probably be confrontation about it. WHat do you think?

Many thanks in advance.

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May Light
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Welcome to OLGA Polga! I am

Welcome to OLGA Polga! I am sorry that you have to go throught this. The similarities of the stories here are amazing. I can relate to so many things you talked about, like dropping out of school or college, putting on weight, engaging in computer at every waking hour of the day, not wanting to see the therapist until his demands are met (by the way, is his demands related with internet time?) etc.

I think not enabling him is the way to go. You certainly are on the right track. It is your house and your rules and if he doesn't like it he is free to leave. As long as there are no serious mental health issues, not enabling him is the only thing which we parents can do. From your post, it seems like he is addicted to his computer and most likely to his games. If he has a smart phone, I think he can still play games with it. Watching a lot of TV could be one of the withdrawal symptoms. He has nothing else to do and having no motivation to do anything else makes TV a very attractive alternative. Apparantley it may take a few months before they are motivated to do other things. Their brain is so messed up that their frontal cortex (part responsible from the executive functions like decision making, impulse control etc) doesn't operate properly. There is also a dopamine affect.

One of the critical factors is this: does he realize he has a problem with gaming or overuse of internet? Is he willing to admit or stop. Because if he is not, he will find ways to play. Have you mentioned to him about this site? Would he look at it or ,even better, join? The recovering gamers here are very helpful, understanding and supportive.

Since he is an adult, it becomes tricky. For example, is it his phone? I mean did he pay for it? If it is his property and he pays the bills, you taking it away from him may start retaliation. Were the console and the PC his properties? How did he react when you took them?

The advice I received here from the recovering gamers was this: if it is his property, we don't have a right to take it away from him. But at the same time it is our house, our rules. We can limit the internet or electricity whatever because we pay for them. We can tell them our home is "game free" from now on and he has to accept that if he continues to live with you. Or you can ask him to pay rent which may force him try harder to search for work. But taking away which belongs to him..... I don't know. Removing the TV from his room could be a good thing I reckon( as long as it is not his property). At least he will come out of his room and there will be some interaction. He will not be totally isolated in his room. Just an idea...

We parents have a weekly meeting on Thursday nights 9pm EST. Please join us if you can. There are parents here who succesfully helped their children to build their lives. We are still in the process and I am still not certain what the future holds. There has been a lot of positives within the last 4 months but my son still doesn't have a structured, functional life as we would like him to. But only after we stopped enabling him, he started to make some progress.

Hope you can join us. You are not alone and we totally understand what you are going through. Take care!

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

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Thank you for your kind reply

Thank you for your kind reply. There is a lot of sense in what you say. Thanks for the invite too

In answer to your questions:

His demands to seek a therapist are he no longer lives with us; ( he was in our city apartment on his own until he had to move out to make way for another family member) He says it is making him feel worse to be living with us. Nobody wants to move back in with their parents so I can see that, but he will not do anything to help himself. We said that he could stay in the apartment if he got a job, but he didn't even make an effort to try. He had 6 months in the apartment and I he think he is worse for it so we will not do that again.

His phone is smart but not the newest of phones so not as fancy or easy to use.

He says he his not addicted but has nothing else to do while he lives with us. But even when he was not living with us he still spent most of his time on computer. He hardly ever left the flat and ordered in take-out food. He has spent a lot of money in a short time and had no interest in the future, didn't want to worry about his money dwindling away, about his health, credit card debt, unnecessary bank charges for not bothering to sort himself out

The phone is his and he pays the phone bill; he has been using savings given to him by other family as a nest egg, to live on. So everything he has is not bought with earned money. His bank account is almost dry now so it's likely to get disconnected unless he does something about it .

The games console he bought and the PC he duped us into buying for him a year ago. The TV he bought with the savings. He's not happy I have taken the PC cable and console. Not really talking to us. Only removed everything yesterday.

We said that if he needed to use the internet the PC could go in an open area and he would get restricted use, but no games. He won't have that. Now its "our fault" he cannot check his bank balance or outgoings such as netflix because he will not make use of the restricted access at the moment under protest at our " unfair treatment" of him. He still has his phone anyway for now until they cut him off.

I found a lot of help on this website for setting boundaries and stopping enabling. Here is an example of one article I read:

http://www.empoweringparents.com/Rules-Boundaries-and-Older-Children.php#

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He made an effort today to

He made an effort today to be helpful and get outside without us having to nag, so we have negotiated that he can use his computer after evening meal until bed, as long as he gets up in morning to start other activities at 9 am. We'll see how that goes.

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May Light
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Hi Polga, I am amazed to see

Hi Polga,

I am amazed to see the similarities in our son's attitudes.

Him living in your apartment, I assume without paying rent, was probably worse. Because he had the freedom which he wouldn't have while living with you yet he had hardly any responsibility. His only expense was feeding himself by the sound of it. So I think you are right by not allowing him to move to the apartment . It would have been fair enough if he had a full time job. But otherwise it is an isolated lifestyle with lots of freedom to be on the internet for as long as he wishes, which would make things worse.

It is very typical that they don't accept their addiction. There are a lot of parents here whose children never accepted their addiction yet it was obvious to their parents.They benefited great deal from their parents' help in despite of their denial. My son finally accepted his addiction to the on-line gaming but for about 3 years he was in denial as well. The lack of motivation and the lack of taking responsibility of their lives and their future are very common symptoms of the addiction. I think it is related with their brains not functioning properly. If they can be away from the games for at least a few monts their brain start to heal and their reasoning also improves.

When they have a comfortable life,when they don't have to earn a living because they have a roof over their head, the food is on the table etc, there is no need for them to try to change the situation they are in. A lot of recovering gamers here told me that unless they hit their personal rock bottom, they wouldn't be willing to change.

I think it is really good that his bank account is almost dry. If he can't pay his phone bill, it will be cut off and without any confrontation the phone will not be an issue any longer.

My son also stopped talking to us for 2 months a few years ago when we cut the internet off completely. Since we didn't know any better we brought the internet back up after 2 months which was a big mistake. Until I discovered OLGA we didn't know what we were up against. But once we realized it is an addiction and it damages their brain in a similar way that the drugs and gambling does, we knew we had to act on quickly. We gradually cut the internet off. This time he didn't talk to us for about 3 weeks. They are very good in manipulating us and applying emotional torture. But this time we didn't give in because we knew better.

My son has a very similar attitude towards barganing and blaming us as well. Currently we have 2 hours of internet and it is our fault that he can't do his projects that he set up for himself.

I started writing this post last night but couldn't finish it. This morning I saw your new post but I decided to keep what I have already written. I am glad that he was helpful today. I hope you don't find discouraging what I am about to say. As I said, they are very good in manipulating. Your son wanted some internet time and eventually he got it. He tried not talking and when it didn't work he helped around the house a little to make you believe that he is changing. My son has done similar things in the past (still trying). He would start exercising to make us believe that he is putting his life back together and we would give in to his demands. But after a while he would stop exercising and back to spending a lot of time on the internet again. So, I learned not to be blinded with his delibarate actions any more. He has to prove that he has a functional life before he is allowed more internet time.

I hope I am wrong but to me your son is using the similar tactic to get on to the computer. You never mentioned if he is playing games and if he does which game it is. All the recovering gamers here agree that if a person is addicted to gaming, moderation will never work. In other words if your son is back to his computer a few hours a day playing games, it is very likely that it will increase in time. We use to make deals like that in the past but it never worked. Because in time they start using the computer more and more and it becomes very difficult to monitor and to interfere. But since you made the deal, why not observe how it goes. After making many deals like this before, we finally learned that he has to put his life back in order before we start allowing him to use more internet time (full time work or full time study or part time work, part time study) Also we declared our home "NO on-line gaming" zone.

From my experience and the knowledge shared here, the best approach is to completely stop enabling them. Give them some time (6 months or so) to allow their brain to recover to a degree so that they can start thinking sensibly again. They argue, they stop talking to us, they try to be nice, they try to convince us that they are better etc to get back to the screen but we have to be strong and firm to break this cycle. Otherwise more months and years are wasted.

Thank you for the link you sent.I didn't have a chance to look at it yet but I will.

I found the following books very informative and recommend them:

Hooked on Games by Andrew P. DoanCyber Junkie by Kevin RobertsPlugged In by Terry R. Waite Unplugged by Ryan G. Van CleaveVideo Games and Your Kids by Hilarie Cash and Kim McDanielVirtual Child by Cris A. Rowan

There are also some videos you may find helpful. Please google "Real Battle Ministries". There are a few videos Dr Doan prepared which explains how gaming affects the brain.

Please keep coming back. I personally learned a lot from the experiences of other mothers and the recovering gamers here. They are very supportive, experienced and caring people. The wisdom shared here and the support I received helped me a lot to make a plan and stick with it. We are still not there yet but only after discovering OLGA we started to make progress. Hope to see you in our chat meeting.

Take care!

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

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Hi, Polga. I don't have

Hi, Polga. I don't have experience with an adult gamer child but I have plenty with a son who was addicted to gaming. I completely agree with May's perception and advice. I can't count the times my son improved his grades, attended to chores and promised to limit his gaming time as a means of negotiating the return of his computer and internet access. It was pure manipulation. We found that every time we gave in, it wasn't long before we were right back to square one. The hardest thing to do is to stand firm. Make your decision, and don't waiver, no matter what he does or says. My favorite tool was to substitute the word gaming with drugs or alcohol. When I started making my decisions accordingly, my response to his manipulation changed dramatically.

I hope I am wrong but to me your son is using the similar tactic to get on to the computer. You never mentioned if he is playing games and if he does, which game it is. All the recovering gamers here agree that if a person is addicted to gaming, moderation will never work. In other words, if your son is back to his computer a few hours a day playing games, it is very likely that it will increase in time. We used to make deals like that in the past but it never worked. Over time, they start using the computer more and more and it becomes very difficult to monitor and to interfere. But since you made the deal, why not observe how it goes. After making many deals like this before, we finally learned that he had to put his life back in order before we start allowing him to use more internet time (full time work or full time study or part time work, part time study) Also, we declared our home "NO on-line gaming" zone.

From my experience and the knowledge shared here, the best approach is to completely stop enabling them. Give them some time (6 months or so) to allow their brain to recover to a degree so that they can start thinking sensibly again. They argue, they stop talking to us, they try to be nice, they try to convince us that they are better etcc to get back to the screen but we have to be strong and firm to break this cycle. Otherwise more months and years are wasted.

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Agree with everything

Agree with everything WoWParent said. Your house, your rules. Make your home a game-free home. If he doesn't like it, he is free to leave, but he must support himself if he wants to leave. Set a deadline and stick to it.

"Small service is true service while it lasts.  Of humblest friends, bright creature! scorn not one

The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,

Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun." -------William Wordsworth

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Hi May Light, Gamersmom, WoW Parent

Thank you so much for your concern and your replies.

I don't know what game/s he plays. In the past he has paid money to steam games so I guess that is the platform he uses.

I am taking on board what you have all said. I agree its probably manipulation.

If the internet is totally cut off to him, from what you have told me it will give him a chance to heal his head. The downside is that he will become totally isolated from his friends. That's a hard call to make immediately. I'll just see what happens and what improves or doesn't. I ordered a book so that might give me a better understanding about the effects on brain function. If he doesn't continue improving then I will reassess what needs to happen. We've made a deal so I can't break it first unless he gives me good reason to. So we'll see.

I think its very likely that you are correct regarding a total ban, but I still need to see how this current situation pans out.

Thanks for your help with this

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May Light
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You are right Polga. You

You are right Polga. You can't break the deal now. But if you need to discuss this further in the future we are more than happy to continue sharing our experiences. Good luck and take care!

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

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Hi Polga, We have a

Hi Polga,

We have a game-free home and it has changed my son's life for the better. He's 18yo.

You have a lot going for you in that your son lives at home and soon will not have money for his internet access on his phone. I highly suggest not paying for it. At one time my son had a phone with internet access, but we replaced it with one without, since we're paying for it. He was mad about it at first, but is now used to it. Sometimes I let him use my phone when we are out to look up directions or restaurants, etc. and he never tries to "go" anywhere else on it. My son was upset about us monitoring the laptop we provided for him so he refused to use it. I thought he would really miss not surfing the internet, but seems he's fine with it now. He has access to the internet at work and school, but can't play games. As for the TV, I don't think, at least at this point, while your son is having to deal with withdrawls, it does a lot of harm for him to have it in his room. Withdrawl can be really tough and TV may actually help him to transition. I even watched several of the shows with my son in an effort to connect with him. My son got bored with TV after a while. We were blessed that he was offered a job that got him out of the house and he became motivated to go to school. Over time, if TV watching is still a problem, you may want to come up with a strategy to discourage it in excess. I'm not sure what that would be, but for now, I'm wondering if there's any activities that you can do with him to get him outside of the home. Finding something else he's interested in is the key, but I know how hard that is. It's a long process, but it seems for now you're on the right track. Good for you!

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Hi, Polga and welcome to

Hi, Polga and welcome to Olga; I am so glad that you are here sharing your story. You are not alone. There are many similarities with most of our stories here.

I agree with all that has been shared already. I, too, have spent so many years negotiating and hoping against all odds that my son was on the verge of waking up from the nightmare of this addicition. I hoped and prayed that he'd start to turn his life around. I wanted to believe it desperately. It was another gamer (who taught me so much here) that had the realization that my relationship with my son had unraveled into nothing more than gaming strategy in his mind. His promises to do better were ploys to gain access for his "fixes." Instead of anger at hus manipulation, I realized that as an addict he couldn't help himself. The parents here helped me declare my home a game-free zone. The rules were calmly and clearer stated and my son has benn doing much better. He hasn't gamed in about 5 months and he is slowly reemerging into teh real world. I still see lots of demage though and this will be a lifelong struggle. I am proud of him. I am thankful for all the support I found here to help me.

Please keep coming back and I wish you well. Stay strong, set down the rules and be firm. No money, no enabling or he will have no reason to be responsible for himself.

Glad you are here. Join us Thurs at 9 pm for a parent support meeting.

"Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. The hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life's sweetest creation." taken from Papyrus, Corp.

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Hi Mommy3 and

Hi Mommy3 and Hummingbird

Thank you for sharing your experience , especially about TV use and mobile/cell phone. It makes good sense to adjust to how the situation presents itself at the time should excess TV still be an issue.

I think my son feels self conscious about his weight. ALthough he is actually not that bad at all, just not as slim as he was 2 years ago; but he doesn't want his friends to see him like that so that is inhibiting him to step out. Also he sees they are achieving their goals. Yet it seems he does not want to take serious steps to loose the weight by excersise. At least he is not having take-out food now and is not binge eating. I hope he will start to make progress with how he feels about himself. I think that is the first goal I would like him to make progress on. ALthough he just may be using weight as an excuse to hide his vulnerability/fear of the outside world

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Polga wrote: Hi Mommy3 and
Polga wrote:

Hi Mommy3 and Hummingbird

Thank you for sharing your experience , especially about TV use and mobile/cell phone. It makes good sense to adjust to how the situation presents itself at the time should excess TV still be an issue.

I think my son feels self conscious about his weight. ALthough he is actually not that bad at all, just not as slim as he was 2 years ago; but he doesn't want his friends to see him like that so that is inhibiting him to step out. Also he sees they are achieving their goals. Yet it seems he does not want to take serious steps to loose the weight by excersise. At least he is not having take-out food now and is not binge eating. I hope he will start to make progress with how he feels about himself. I think that is the first goal I would like him to make progress on. ALthough he just may be using weight as an excuse to hide his vulnerability/fear of the outside world

People grow by feeling pain and conflict, and then discover ways to resolve pain and conflict. If I am hungry, I find food. If I don't like my weight, then I work out.

Unfortunately, gaming is like a "digital euphoric sedative" that stimulates the mind like a stimulant drug, ie "I am an amazing godly warrior!!!", yet gaming also sedates the mind, ie games provide enough sedation without narcotics to scrub dead skin from wounds! In medicine, we use games to sedate people before painful procedures!

As long as gamers who are addicted continue to play, they are stimulating their mind to believe a false reality of themselves while playing AND sedating their mind to ease feeling pain and conflict of life. Thus, as long as he continues to play, he will not have much motivation to work on life as he is numbing the pain and stress that is necessary to encourage life-changing action.

I know because I was an addict who used gaming as a euphoric sedative.

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

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I've read many stories over

I've read many stories over many years and I've got my own experience with my son. What I have observed is that when gaming ends, the immediate response seems to be isolation and/or anger. That can last a long time and be very scary. It's that fear that often prompts us parents to "give in" and believe our children need to continue gaming to move forward. In other cases, they manipulate us by improving behavior and use that as a means of convincing us that they aren't "addicted" or can moderate.

The other thing I've learned and observed (over my own 2 year period and almost 8 on this site) is that an addict won't often engage in former or new activities until they've been forced to realize or accept that the games aren't coming back. For my son, it took almost 5 months without technology and in a therapeutic environment before he finally "gave up" and decided to start living a real life again. It started with chess, then morphed into more physical activities like basketball and weight lifting.

At the height of my son's gaming addiction, his weight had escalated to more than 265 pounds. He knew that if he tried to game in our house, we would put him out. When he came home, he made it his goal to get fit. We insisted he get a job to keep him occupied when he wasn't in school. It also forced him to engage socially, as he was a cashier for a large home improvement chain.

He joined a gym and started working out. He used a computer and internet to educate himself on physical fitness. In less than a year he'd lost 100 pounds, had a large circle of friends (some old, some new) and was rockin' school. He had a blog and people followed his journey toward improved health. When they saw his results, he became a psuedo advice columnist!

He's graduated from college, married, bought a house, and is still obsessed with weight and fitness. He spent so much time in a Sports Nutrition store that they hired him to work part-time. He helps the older women and people who want to lose weight the healthy and natural way. My point is, he's still compulsive about achievement but has found a healthier outlet. That would never have begun had he continued to game. In my experience, the gaming has to stop before you can begin to replace it.

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Polga wrote: Yet it seems
Polga wrote:

Yet it seems he does not want to take serious steps to loose the weight by excersise. At least he is not having take-out food now and is not binge eating. I hope he will start to make progress with how he feels about himself. I think that is the first goal I would like him to make progress on. ALthough he just may be using weight as an excuse to hide his vulnerability/fear of the outside world

He may be using weight as an exuse right now, but I'm hopeful, from my experience, and that of other moms here, that after awhile, without games, that he will begin to step out into the world to experience what it has to offer. What's hard for us parents sometimes, if having the patience to wait out the progression of things. It helped me to notice all the little improvements each day and to accept that sometimes things may look like they're slipping backwards. This is a huge adjustment...but as mudphud as pointed out...an addictive personality can be turned around to achieve amazing things, as WOW illustrated here also!

Hang in there and keep us posted when you can.

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A question about the

A question about the appropriateness of the use of the word "addiction" in my son's case

I appreciate that my son enjoys gaming and has used it alot. His computer use has crowded out things he needs to face in the real world. He is more insular, some weight gain, lack of motivation in real life etc. There is an obvious negative effect on his life which needs to be addressed and that we should not enable him to continue .

From what I have read, his use of gaming, although his use can be said to be large is not as intense as some of the stories i have read on the forum where the game is all and they would do it 24/7 if they could. Before my son came home when he was in the appartment, he was also interested in current affairs and news online and would also watch TV. He would also come over to our house a few days a week ( some weeks only 1 time may be) to have a change of scene (often using his mobile phone) and a meal and go for a walk. In all he would be about 4 - 5 hours away from his appartment on any one day. I don't think he cut out the amount of sleep he has to do gaming, but he got into a poor sleep pattern.

I think he uses computer to escape the fact that he is lazy, a perfectionist in an imperfect situation and cannot attain his high expectations because he can't be bothered, very sensitive, lacking confidence, very intelligent and easily bored, possibly depressed (although I don't know if that comes from the computer or the other way round)

Does that make him and "addict" or is he just dependent on gaming and computer as a crutch while he has nothing better to be doing?

Do you still think he is addicted? Are there various strengths of addiction?

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I don't think any of us can

I don't think any of us can tell you how or what to think about your son. However, no matter what you "label" it, his online habit is causing problems with his personal life and otherwise. Even if you believe or don't believe he is an "addict" you understand in some way that this is not good for him, or yourself. I suggest doing some reading and research on here, and other sites regarding addiction and codependents. Maybe somewhere you will recognize you and your son, and maybe not. I sought out this site because I am a spouse of someone who is an excessive gamer. He would never call himself an addict, and until recently I would not have thought it possible to be addicted to gaming. Perspectives change for lots of reasons, and I simply opened my mind to this because I needed to work on myself to overcome my feelings about my husbands excessive gaming. Good luck and happy reading.

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I agree with Princessmom on

I agree with Princessmom on the fact that is not the name that you use , but what you mean with that name.

I can see the point of Waitansee as well, excuses mean procrastination.

I have set a goal for myself and that's the most important thing. Whatever I can call myself or whatever other people call me will not matter then! :D

Kisses

Been game clean since the 21st of February 2014. Getting there day by day!
Today is where we all begin, the rest is still unwritten!
I don't want to have spent hours on a stupid game on my last day of life!
Private Message me, I'm eager to hear your story!!! :D

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Polga wrote: A question
Polga wrote:

A question about the appropriateness of the use of the word "addiction" in my son's case

I appreciate that my son enjoys gaming and has used it alot. His computer use has crowded out things he needs to face in the real world. He is more insular, some weight gain, lack of motivation in real life etc. There is an obvious negative effect on his life which needs to be addressed and that we should not enable him to continue .

From what I have read, his use of gaming, although his use can be said to be large is not as intense as some of the stories i have read on the forum where the game is all and they would do it 24/7 if they could. Before my son came home when he was in the appartment, he was also interested in current affairs and news online and would also watch TV. He would also come over to our house a few days a week ( some weeks only 1 time may be) to have a change of scene (often using his mobile phone) and a meal and go for a walk. In all he would be about 4 - 5 hours away from his appartment on any one day. I don't think he cut out the amount of sleep he has to do gaming, but he got into a poor sleep pattern.

I think he uses computer to escape the fact that he is lazy, a perfectionist in an imperfect situation and cannot attain his high expectations because he can't be bothered, very sensitive, lacking confidence, very intelligent and easily bored, possibly depressed (although I don't know if that comes from the computer or the other way round)

Does that make him and "addict" or is he just dependent on gaming and computer as a crutch while he has nothing better to be doing?

Do you still think he is addicted? Are there various strengths of addiction?

Only he can answer that. With that said, very few people meet the 24/7 gaming definition. Most gamers are capable of sustaining some sort of life on the side. During the height of my addiction I managed to drag myself through college and grad school while working part time. I didn't spend every waking moment gaming because I had other things to do. Most people would not have guessed I was addicted, but I was still very much addicted and I constantly neglected other things for gaming.

The truth is that there is always "somthing better" for us to do than gaming or spending time on the internet. If your son is constantly escaping with video games or reading news online to neglect that "something better", then he has a problem.

"Strange as my circumstances were, the terms of this debate are as old and commonplace as man; much the same inducements and alarms cast the die for any tempted and trembling sinner; and it fell out with me, as it falls with so vast a majority of my fellows, that I chose the better part and was found wanting in the strength to keep to it."

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Addiction is defined not by

Addiction is defined not by time devoted to activity, but by the dysfunction the activity causes in different areas of life: school, work, relationships, finances, health, sleep, emotional, and other areas of daily function.

Consider this video game addiction screening tool:

http://realbattle.org/video-game-addiction-survey/

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

May Light
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Hi Polga,  As mudphud put

Hi Polga,

As mudphud put it very clearly, I believe what is important is not "what they do" but "what they don't do" to be able to game. In other words, the problem is not that they play video games but what they don't do or neglect to be able to play video games. And how much it is affecting their life. And if it does then it is an issue regardless of what you call it.

I don't believe there is a clear cut seperation between gaming addiction and excessive gaming. And as it has been pointed out here many times by recovering gamers, it is a progressive disease and it gets worse by time unless it is dealt with. So even if your son is not an addict now, he may soon become one. No one knows.. It differs from person to person and I believe there are levels of addiction. There are functional addicts who can still continue with their responsibilities and perform reasonable well and there are others who are totally consumed by it. The fact of the matter is the time that they use for gaming has to come from somewhere. No doubt it would replace some other healthy activities. Instead of studying more or exercising,socializing, sleeping, helping around, volunteering or just simply being and thinking, they are playing. If they can balance their life(work, study, relationships, exercising etc) and their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being is not affected adversely, then it is okay. Otherwise there is a problem no matter what you call it.

It is amazing how the personality traits are similar in a lot of gamers, including my son: intelligent, sensitive, perfectionist. It also is very common that gamers use gaming as an escape from their problems. Whether it is depression, anxiety, stress, ADHD or any other form of mental issues or some life problems. The chances are he was depressed before and that is why he started using his 'digital drug, gaming' to self medicate but unfortunately gaming makes things worse. My son was a very dysfunctional gamer and I think it was mainly because he is a perfectionist and has "all or not at all" approach to everything he does.

I know one thing for sure that only about 6 weeks or more after my son stopped gaming, he started to show some motivation and interest in other things in life. He appeared to be very lazy when he was playing but I knew him before and he was anything but lazy. He used to be a conscientious and diligent person. Gaming turned him into a totally different person. We started to see glimpses of his old self only weeks after he stopped on-line gaming.

I wish you good luck in dealing with your son's gaming issues. Take care!

[quoher te=mudphud]

Addiction is defined not by time devoted to activity, but by the dysfunction the activity causes in different areas of life: school, work, relationships, finances, health, sleep, emotional, and other areas of daily function.

Consider this video game addiction screening tool:

http://realbattle.org/video-game-addiction-survey/

[/quote]

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

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Thank you everyone for

Thank you everyone for contributing to my question about what is addiction, you have all helped to clarify things and think about what is important regarding my son and his future, and our 'contribution' while he still lives with us.
It is fantastic to have your support.

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mudphud wrote: Addiction is
mudphud wrote:

Addiction is defined not by time devoted to activity, but by the dysfunction the activity causes in different areas of life: school, work, relationships, finances, health, sleep, emotional, and other areas of daily function.

Mudphud is right.

I was a functional gaming addict until I wasn't functional. At a certain point we are have fun, then we have fun & trouble, and then nothing but trouble. I'm a "last-gasper", I will wait to the last minute on everything. However, I did finally quit gaming. I don't game now. And very glad I don't.

It took about 6 months to go from "white knuckling it to being at peace with it". I'm at peace with gaming addiction. How do I stay away from games? meetings, working the steps, being of service, talking to sponsees and other recovering gamers. And participating in life as regular people do.

People NEVER choose to be addicts. We may choose to play games, or drink, or smoke cigarettes and have fun while we're doing it. But not one of us decided to play until we became addicts. If I'd had a choice I would not be an addict.

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Just wanted to update that

Just wanted to update that we have not allowed him to game for a couple of weeks now. He is definately considering his options about the future so he can get away from our regime!

Applied for a couple of jobs (no luck) He is also heavy on TV and using his cell phone to surf the internet. But has also gone out for walks on his own motivation.

We may make changes about cell phone and TV if he does not continue to improve.

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This is good news Polga! I

This is good news Polga! I wouldn't worry too much about the TV . A lot of people go through this phase when they first quit including my son. I noticed it was gradually replaced with other activities (because watching TV is actually boring!). As long as he is not playing games or watching others play on his phone, surfing the internet shouldn't be as damaging as gaming I reckon (depending on how much time he spents on it). You can observe and make a judgement in time.

Once he starts filling his time with other activities, hopefully it will occupy his brain too, so that he doesn't think about the games all that much.

It is good that he started walking on his own motivation.

Best wishes for your attempts to save your son from this hole. We fully understand what you are going through. Please keep coming back, we love to hear from you.

Take care!

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

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My son watched a lot of TV

My son watched a lot of TV at first, but not so much now. He's spending more time playing instruments these days. Hopefully your son will find some additional interests.

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 POLGA’S STORY “ My

POLGA'S STORY " My Adult son is work in progress"

BACKGROUND

Hi, I live in the UK. My son, now 23 did not set out to be an addict. I think he is probably addicted to gaming and internet over-use, smart phone use. Not all people get addicted to computer media and gaming. He was unlucky that it just 'clicked' for him. He is very intelligent, sensitive and quiet by nature. He is also a perfectionist which means its all or nothing with him. Before things got serious he did have friendships, but has always been on the shy side.

It really is immaterial if he is a true addict or what addiction is. All I know is that he cannot moderate screen time and be happy. And it has seriously affected him. Time spent on screen is time wasted and time to gain weight, and time not to improve himself or get ready to get a job, or see real friends.

As a child he loved going on the computer. We were strict with all the kids on timings. As he got older he needed computer more for school work. We got him a laptop of his own. About this time, in hindsight, I think he got more involved with gaming and online stuff, although we did not realise the consequences until later.

He was very unmotivated to study for his A levels (grade 12/13 exams) and got very mediocre results, unsurprisingly. Maybe the computer took some of his motivation away from him. I don't know. He did a year at a local college, and lived in the city on his own in an apartment. He was then able to game to his content on his laptop. We discovered that sometimes he did not make it to college when he should have. But luckily, he was able to drag himself in to college to do the necessary and passed quite reasonably.

Because he is a perfectionist, he applied to the best universities. Unfortunately, he didn't make them as competition was so intense. He later had to settle for a lesser institution. For whatever reason, he did not enjoy the course so he quit college after about 3 months and since that time had spent a lot of time on his own, in a student house with his gaming computer. He had previously duped us into buying the computer saying that his laptop was no longer working well and he needed another computer for his studies. We are confident now that he just wanted a much better gaming experience. We agreed that he could try and retake his A levels to get better grades. We paid for private tuition. We now know that he did not work on his exams but kept on gaming. When we collected him from the student house just prior to his exams, he had gained weight and was intensely unfit. It was a real shock to see.

He persuaded us to let him live back in our apartment in the city so that he could get a job in town. It become evident over those months that he was not looking for work and things were not great. He was not looking after the apartment or himself. He wasn't getting out, seeing many people, he was hard to get hold of. He came out to our house for meals sometimes but you could see that there was a draw to go back to his home so that he could go back on his computer. We knew he was on it too much but did not make the connection that he was addicted. We thought he was just depressed. He told us he was depressed; that he didn't know where he was going and felt left behind by his friends who were getting on with their lives with good prospects.

It is at that time, when we finally said he needed to come home as he was not looking after himself and had depression. When he got back home he was basically on the computer all day until 4 in the morning, that is when I realised it was the computer which was at the centre of his problems and not just a symptom. That is when I found OLGANON.

HOW OLGANON HELPED ME

You can find my original thread here

http://www.olganon.org/forum/i-need-help-parents-gamers-open-forum/adult-son-withdrawing-internet-etc-what-else

I took onboard what the other Mom's were telling me. Originally I tried to offer him game access in return for him following my rules regarding getting up early, finding a job and helping out but he could not follow the rules. I decided that the only way to make things work was just to let him re-adjust by going game free and not expecting too much from him. His computer was removed, the house modem was removed at night. Access in our house requires cables (no wifi) so it was harder to access in the day. We took custody of his smart phone. He said that we were out of order and mad. By then I didn't care what he thought. After a couple of weeks he seemed less out of it, watched a lot of TV, but also started to feel that he had to strength to remove himself for the situation of living with us. So he moved into an apartment paid for with savings. For the next 6 months history repeated himself. Take outs, weight gain, staying in doors for most of the time, hard to contact, refused to answer the door unless we arranged to see him and he accepted. In six months all his savings were gone and his only option was to move back home where the same rules are still in force. He says we are mad and unreasonable. I say you can leave if you want, we are not keeping you here

MY SON'S CURRENT SITUATION

He lives in our home. His gaming computer is banned. His smart phone is banned. He refuses to use a non-smartphone on principal. We do not have house rules apart from he must act in a reasonable way. He is still work in progress and in "detox" so we are not expecting much from him.

I think my son feels self conscious about his weight. Although he is actually not that bad, just not as slim as he was 2 years ago; but he doesn't want his friends or anyone else to see him like that so that is inhibiting him to step out. He just may be using weight as an excuse to hide his vulnerability/fear of the outside world. He sees his friends are achieving their goals and feels left behind. So he is tied to the house, but he will go out in car on trips as long as he doesn't have to get out.

We are encouraging him to take exercise to loose weight but it's very slow and inconsistent. He gets an hour internet access on my old laptop in a public area which I have to log him on to if he makes an effort to get exercise in the day. At least he is not having take-out food now and I can refuse to have certain foods in the house that are fattening. I hope he will start to make progress with how he feels about himself but it's out of my hands. We have insisted that if he is to stay at home that he will have to see a psychologist so I am making arrangements.

I know he misses being in contact with his "friends". But most of these are probably his online buddies who are not real friends although I'm sure he thinks that they are. He likes to frame it that we are 'punishing him' but we try to reinforce that we love him and that is why we do it. It's his actions that got him to where he is now so something has to change

WHAT I DO FOR ME

Coming back to OLGANON to read the stories and post replies to others in similar situations has helped me understand my own situation so much better. There is such a lot of inspiration on the website in the addicts as well as the anon section. I am truly grateful for the advice of everyone who has gone before and want to pass that help on if I can.

Part of the process is considering my own happiness in all this. It's really sad to see that your child is so stuck and self-restricted. It would be easy to worry constantly about it but I have learned through this site that I cannot control his choices. I can only refuse to enable him in his addiction and make him responsible for his life and make him live with the consequences of his actions. After you have made a plan, all you need to do is stick to it to be a good parent. I am done grieving for his choices. It does no good.

It's not easy living with somebody who says that they do not want to do good things to get better because that would make us happy and make us think that 'our way' had worked.

But I have decided to detach as much as I can from his choices and understand that he is sick. Only he can save himself and I will not forsake my boundaries in my own house just to make him like me, or to get a promised improvement in self-improving 'behaviour' if we should let him have access to his stuff. He does not stop trying to manipulate and hope that we will change.

If I was really suffering I would take the 12 steps a lot more seriously as a way of working through feeling trapped by the pain of the situation. At the moment I don't feel I need to go through that process.

FUTURE

We will review the situation as time goes on, eventually forcing him to leave if no more effort is made on his part. He would have to live of state benefits then, probably in a shared house with random people. A situation he really does not want to have to deal with. So that is our lever to get him to change. I really am done with trying to control him using such levers, so this situation cannot go on forever for my own sake.

GOOD READS

I found "Co-dependant no more" by Melody Beatie to be a good read and it helped me identify co-dependant traits in myself that has helped me generally in life.

"The addictive personality" by Craig Nakken I found enlightening

INFO

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

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts advice here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

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May Light
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Thank you for sharing the

Thank you for sharing the details of your journey Polga. I sincerely hope that soon you will see a major positive shift in his attitude towards life and his responsibilities. Your son is very lucky to have a mother like you. I am sure one day he will truly appreciate you and everything you have done for him. Hugs!

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

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Thank you for your kindness

Thank you for your kindness May Light. I hope life is treating you and your family well. Big hugs to you !! xxxx

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Thank you for sharing

Thank you for sharing your story Polga, I too am in the UK. One thing you said particularly resonated with me:

It's not easy living with somebody who says that they do not want to do good things to get better because that would make us happy and make us think that 'our way' had worked.

My son says "you need to tell me what to do every hour of the day or get out of my life." When I suggest getting a job would help him, he says he "cannot get one now that he has no internet access", when I suggest using his phone, or going to the job centre etc he says he "cannot do this because he only wants to do it his way, not my way".

I believe he really can't see that my suggestion might help him as he would have something constructive and healthy to do with his time :(.

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Hi Englishmum !

Hi Englishmum !

Yes its very frustrating. Hopefully he will eventually become so bored that he will find his own way. Boredom is good.

Social anxiety (exacerbated by gaming) can have a big influence on what they will do.

I guess at the end of the day we can only set the rules in our home, let go of any expectations we may have, let them know that if they want our ideas or help they can ask us, and try to let them figure it out.

 

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Will taking away video games

Will taking away video games solve this problem?

Rf

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Welcome Jackiesmom

Welcome Jackiesmom

A parents decision to remove video games from their home (where they are the boss) is part of a strategy to stop enabling a child's (whether they are minor or adult) addiction and allow their brain time to detox. Healing can take months/years. Excessive video gaming/screen time has a detrimental effect on the brain chemistry/wiring in the short and longer term.

However we cannot "cure" their addiction. Once an addict, always an addict. That is something that they will have to chose to control, by staying game free. But once they have recovered some normality they are better able to think clearly and make better decisions for themselves about recovery.

Video games are their drug of choice. The consequences  are just as devastating as drugs and alcohol... personality change, mental health issues, loss of employment, children and spouses neglected, even more devastating in the sense that they do not pass out or get sick as with drugs/alcohol and the games are cheap....so they just go on and on playing and not having a real life.

We would not let our children use drugs freely in our homes. If they are a gaming addict then we should also ban the thing that is making their life unmanageble...the video games.

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Help! My son has video game problem and drop out high school now

My son is in 11th grade. He started playing video games excessively a year ago. Since then his grades dropped a lot. Now he does not go to school at all. He has procrastination problem on studying and homework. He doesn’t admit it is video game problem. He has been saying he wants to improve by himself, and asks us to give him time. He said we should leave him alone to let him work on his problem. If we remind him to sleep early then he considered this as we bothering him. Then he use this as excuse for not going to school. If we try to control his internet time (such as turn off after midnight) he will also use this as excuse for not going to school. He complains we are trying to control his life, and he will totally against it, even at the cost of failing in school and his life. Since he missed so many school days starting from September, we decided we need to control internet. Then he just said he will not go to school at all.

We are very frustrated and feel hopeless. We need help. We are also considering sending him to in-patient treatment centers. Any recommendation will be appreciated.

Thanks.

Andrew

Andrew

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So sorry you are in this

So sorry you are in this awful place of video game addiction ruining a young life.

There is a parents online meeting on Thursdays, see link below

Come back and read, read, read, link for parents below. It has taken me time to put the info together; read and reread so it become a part of  you

I would say he is manipulating you. While he is in the grip of addiction he will act out. A few weeks totally off computers and he will come a round and more likely to see sense ... he will still be an addict though ... just a more reasonable person to be around.

Sometimes reactions can be severe so you need to plan for what you will do in advance. Read our stories and make your plan. This will take time and commitment from you. Only you can save your son if you are prepared to make it first priority

If you mean to let him sort himself out then at least put a time limit on it and then say it will be your rules unless he can do x, y, z by time t.

Restart is the only addiction rehab for computers i know.

The Victoria Dunkley book resetting your childs brain may be helpful

INFO

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

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts advice here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

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Thanks for your reply, Polga.

Thanks for your reply, Polga.

My son has stopped going to school for a week now. We will stick to the plan of turning off the internet access for him.

I read a couple of successful stories about parents sending their children to outdoor wilderness centers and therapy centers. I am interested in knowing these centers so I can plan these as one of the options for us.

Thanks.

Andrew

Andrew

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My son went to restart!

My son went to restart! Highly recommend
Private message me if you would like to talk

KL

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Thanks, LovingMom97. I

Thanks, LovingMom97. I already contacted reStart. I also noticed other places like RedCliff, NewPort Academy. Andrew

Andrew

mmmason2@yahoo.com
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Joined: 11/08/2019 - 10:22pm
"It's not easy living with

"It's not easy living with somebody who says that they do not want to do good things to get better because that would make us happy and make us think that 'our way' had worked."
This is whatI amlivingwith right now. . . . 

mmmason2@yahoo.com
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This is where I am now.

Yes,this is our situation exactly.

Polga
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Joined: 02/17/2014 - 11:33am
My heart goes out to you. i

My heart goes out to you. i hope you find this site helpful.

INFO

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

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts advice here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

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