2 steps forward 1 step back

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bunga_hijau
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2 steps forward 1 step back

I'm brand new to this site, just started today. I am turning to this group because I'm the wife of a gaming addict; we've been married just over 4 years and his addiction has caused us serious trouble for about 3.5 of those years. I would guess he games typically 40-60 hours each week- is up through the night most nights and spends most of his days gaming as well. He's been unemployed 2 of the 4 years of our marriage, which has only enabled him to spend that much more time gaming. One time he lost a job from poor performance due to exhaustion from his gaming addiction. This past year he has not worked because he moved overseas with me to a remote location (a dream of mine and part of my career ambition) this meant no reliable internet access (none at home) which was a help in restricting his access to the online games, but he simply turned to other computer and console games.

I say 2 steps forward because in our time overseas he did break his addiction to his online game (where he has characters) it was a really rough transition for him and took months for him to recover from the withdrawls. He did still play through the day and most nights, but at least when I came home in the evenings he was available- so our relationship was much better than it had been in the US (when he works during the day he games all evening and through the night). Now he's moved back to the US ahead of me, and from what I hear from family he's back to playing nearly 18 hours per day online games and stays up through the nights.

I'm terrified that the progress (albeit small) to break away from the online games is now lost. He simply cannot keep himself from the games when he has access to internet. And even when he does not have internet he finds other gaming forms of escapism.

To provide context (and not to drag this out too long)- my husband has been a long time game lover and probably (from what I hear from his family) struggled with gaming addictions long before I met him 7 years ago. However, he really got into full-swing addiction after his brother died in a tragic accident shortly after we were married. I was totally understanding of his depression (and still am) and his desire to escape from the awful reality. I really thought this past year living abroad he'd finally made strides to break free of his depression and certainly his online gaming came to a halt (although other forms did not).

I'm at a loss for what to do. We've been through it all these past 3 years- much counseling, separation, reunion, making strides, trying to start over in a new place... Now we're in transition to move back to the US and it appears he's just going to fall back into the old habit- online gaming will be his #1 priority in life again.

He is not able to recognize the gravity of the problem. Nor does he take action to change- what should I do?
I know progress is slow...but how do we keep moving forward/ not revert back?

BigH501
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The important part is HE has

The important part is HE has to recognize he has a problem and HE has to want to fix it. Until then you are just enabling him. :(

" ... don't question it just go" "... where the body goes the mind will follow"
.
Borrowed from "Desire to Stop"

John of the Roses
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As addicts, we tend to

As addicts, we tend to sabotage ourselves. We return to our addictions time and time again because we do not know how to maintain our successes, only our failures. Your addict must acknowledge that he is responsible for himself. He makes himself an addict. He puts himself in recovery. He works the 12 steps

"There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative." --W. Clement Stone

dawn
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thank you for sharing your

thank you for sharing your experience. I will keep you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers. pls continue to post. there is education and support here for everyone dealing with this horrible addiction. (((recovery)) Dawn

Take the first step in faith. You donaEU(tm)t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.
~Bob Newhart
The minute you alter your perception of yourself and your future, both you and your future begin to change. ~Marilee Zdenek

bunga_hijau
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Thanks everyone for your

Thanks everyone for your wisdom. I know he has to recognize the problem- only he has the power to change. I've learned the hard way that I am powerless to help him or change his behaviors. This past year I've gotten through on just ignoring the problem- literally for one year I haven't said a word to him about his gaming practices- its kept the peace between us, but its only enabled him. Now as I look at going home (we are in different countries right now, but only for another 2 months)... What do I do to no longer enable him? Ignoring it is enabling it. And confronting it has not worked (fights, counseling, separation, nothing has worked). Is an intervention (I mean the kind where you sit down with all the family, etc...) a good option? Does that ever work? Does anyone have a story of how their spouse/family confronted them in a way that helped them see the problem- begin the path to recovery? I love this man and want to do what is right by him (meaning, not enable him anymore)- how do I do that in the best way for him (a way that helps him toward the path to recovery, even if it is painful for him)... Suggestions, experiences, ideas... please!

Inspire
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Hello and welcome- I would

Hello and welcome- I would say that if you have tried other methods of breaking his denial (separation, counseling, etc), then there are only a couple options left. You could try setting up a gaming schedule with him. I know that sounds odd because it is like offering an alcoholic ONE beer, but that is exactly the point. Right now he believes he is in control of his gaming and he can stop whenever he wants. He views you and others as the obstacle and as aEUoecontrollingaEU his behavior when you ask him to quit gaming. You need to make him realize the GAMES are controlling him - not you. Have him sit down and make up a weekly playing schedule. Write down each day of the week and how much he plans to game that day. Just tell him you want to do this so you can know when you can expect to spend time with him, and know when to leave him alone to game. This will get his attentions because it seems logical and fair, plus he can get you aEUoeoff his backaEU. Once he has written up his schedule, count up the number of hours and point it out to him - remember, 20-40 hours a week is a JOB! Now, sit back and wait. He will break his own self-created schedule after a short time and, at that point, you need to not cut him any slack. He broke a contract with you and with himself. Why would he hurt someone he loves over a game unless he is aEUoeOut Of ControlaEU?? He will try to minimize it, deny it...but in the end he will have to admit that he is powerless over his gaming. That maybe the window time when he can make progress.This technique, although simple, has worked for many people here. If he could stick to a reasonable amount of gaming, he would not be in this mess. I have heard of interventions working, but only if the person is willing to eventually admit to having a problem. But at the very least, it would be good to have everyone in your family and his family be aware of the problem. If he knows he has no one to run to for sympathy for his gaming habits, it may force him out of denial. I know you love this man and you want what is best for him. You are right that gaming is a form of escape. It sounds like he has been using gaming as a coping mechanism for a long time and, with his brotheraEU(tm)s death, it only caused him to turn to it more and more. He will eventually need some counseling to help him find healthier ways of coping with stress.Unfortunately for him, it sounds like gaming maybe a 100% aEUoeNo-NoaEU for the rest of his life. At this point, it is not even about the gaming as much as it is his ability to emotionally move forward and get back to living. Good luck and keep us updated!

Until we are tested, how do we know if we will pass?

bunga_hijau
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Hi, thanks for the input

Hi, thanks for the input about creating a schedule. I should have mentioned that we have tried a schedule before- just as you said. It was a couple years ago now, at a point when I was throwing fits (I mean balling my head off) because his gaming was so out of control... I told him at a minimum I needed to know when to leave him alone to game (when i could expect him to be absent) and when he would be available for other things. He did not stick to it. The other type of schedule we agreed to was to put a bedtime limit on it (because he usually plays till 3-5am each night). Suffice it to say he stuck to his 1am deadline only about 2 nights and then gave it up. So I appreciate your idea- I don't think a schedule will work on him though. But it might be a tool to try when I get home again. Also, its interesting what you say about informing his family- that is one thing that I'm toying with. His family are aware something is wrong (cause he's so withdrawn) but they have no clue what is going on. Even when I moved out for a few months in the past I don't think they had a full realization of the situation. Right now it seems to me that my best option is to give him an ultimatum that I will divorce if he doesn't get under control, and give him something like 2 months to get it dealt with. Most likely he will not deal with it, and that will be that. Right now I'm fed up and have knocked myself out trying so many times that I don't have any patience or hope left. I say that divorce is my best option because nothing has worked to wake him up- counseling, scheduling, etc. The only other thing I haven't tried is an intervention. But in order to do that I need to find a good counselor (haven't found one yet that gets whats going on) and inform all his family of what is happening. Feels very sneaky. Well the good news is I have about 2 months to decide what to do- I don't move back to the US until December as it is. So it provides a good chance to discuss and learn in this forum to help make informed decisions. Thanks again for the input.

Maschinca
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Sad a marriage ending over a

Sad a marriage ending over a game but to me it seems like you have tried a lot to help him. If he continues to choose this game over real life there is no reason you should stay indeed. Divorce might not even make him wake up from this. You don't need to suffer needlessly if he won't or can't acknowledge his problem. An intervention sometimes works but only if the gamer is already questioning his gaming and so at the right time it could be just the last thing they need to break down. I hope the coming weeks will help you decide what to do and what's best for you. Take care.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" -------Mahatma Gandhi.

bunga_hijau
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its been a few weeks since i

its been a few weeks since i posted here. to give an update... i finally decided to say something to my husband about my knowledge of his persistent gaming issue (we're living apart right now) and that i'm fearful for the future of our relationship because of his behavior and decisions. the past couple of weeks have been horrible - he's become so apologetic... saying he knows how bad it is, and that its a problem, but that he hopes we can just move on with our lives, but he has no solution to propose. he doesn't know how to make it better... he says his biggest fear is losing me. and he appologizes for being such a sucky husband.... it breaks my heart. and yet i'm so fed up! if he doesn't have any solutions to propose, if he doesn't take any action to make a solution- then what does he expect? i have to leave if he continues in his gaming. i cannot live with it. it hurts so much to hear his despair. but i cannot help him... bunga hijau.

Maschinca
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It hurts but it will hurt

It hurts but it will hurt you more in the future if he will not place himself in recovery. He can't just move on, he will need to recover and deal with it. Do not allow him to trap you now. He appeals to your feelings for him but yet has no answers or shows no willingness to act. You can't help him indeed, only he can. If he does start recovery then you can support him but other then that it his choice to make and you need to ask yourself if you can live like this any longer. Be well

"Be the change you want to see in the world" -------Mahatma Gandhi.

jamiew
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My boyfriend has been making

My boyfriend has been making empty promises as well. We also tried the schedule thing which didnt work. I left him and he is still making empty promises. I dont know what advise I can ofer you at the moment I am trying to move on. We can not keep waiting for things to change we need to take our life in our own hands. We have to make ourselves happy. I know you love him and want to help but we cant help them!!!!!

FreeSpirit
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bunga_hijau wrote: he's
bunga_hijau wrote:

he's become so apologetic... saying he knows how bad it is, and that its a problem, but that he hopes we can just move on with our lives, but he has no solution to propose. he doesn't know how to make it better... he says his biggest fear is losing me. and he appologizes for being such a sucky husband....

I am sorry to say this but this is a typical example of a game-addict manipulating someone. And he doesn't even have to try...he just doesn't know better. It's his addiction speaking to you. Don't buy into it and don't put the guilt on you. I know it's not that easy but please keep on giving support to you because you deserve better than this. Blessings Free

kenshinryu
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The most important thing I

The most important thing I can tell you is that you shouldn't doubt your feelings. When I was DEEP in my addiction to a certain MMO, my wife stayed on me about it the whole 3 years it had a grip on me. I fought her tooth and nail every single day about it, letting myself get angry at HER for trying to stop me from playing MY game. But in spite of all this, she never relented. She knew that what I was doing was unhealthy and that for our marital health and my physical/mental health, it had to stop. Every day, I thought I was in the right. I would convince myself that I deserved to play this game as much as I wanted to. I even went through an unemployed period, much like your husband, and that was probably the worst it had ever gotten. I had lost my job a couple months before, and we didn't have much money to begin with, so we moved in with my wife's parents house till we could "get back on our feet". What actually happened is I used my unemployment and lack of responsibility ( I even ended up withdrawing from my classes that semester) to fuel my addiction. My wife can attest to the fact that I woke up and grabbed my laptop, and she had to tear it from my hands at 4am just to get me to come to bed. If I wasn't playing, I was ****ED. All I thought about was playing the game. If I agreed to go somewhere or do something with my wife, it was merely a means by which I could get her off my back so I could play more. Every moment I was away from my computer, I thought about it. The only way he will ever stop is if he realizes that he actually has a problem. It took me 3 full years to admit that I had an uncontrollable addiction to MMOs. Until he does, you can take away every last game he has, and the addiction will still be there. He will still be thinking about it. My wife finally was able to make me realize how deep into the addiction I really was, but only after many, many, many hard fought battles. One night, it was like a light switch turned on in my head... I finally realized what a fool I had been. I realized how deeply in denial I was, and how deeply I had hurt Jessica. From that day on, I haven't stepped foot into ANY MMO universe, because that is what needs to happen in order for me to break the cycle. I hope that you follow your heart where ever it leads, but I will say this much: you are probably the only thing connecting him to reality. I don't say that to make you feel bad, because it shouldn't make you feel guilty, that's just the way it is. I know that in my situation if my wife hadn't told me to come to bed, I would have played 24 hours a day. If you love him enough to stay, there is a chance he can get better. But there is just as high of a chance (if not higher) that he won't. You have to take care of yourself and do what's best for you. You sound like you have dreams and aspirations. Go get them! If he can come along, great. If he's holding you back with his uncontrollable addiction, he's not leaving you much choice. I hope that some part of this has eased your mind. I know it's eased my heart a little by sharing with you. Take care of yourself, -Derrick-

bunga_hijau
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Derrick, Wow, yours is an

Derrick, Wow, yours is an amazing story. I have hoped and prayed for years that my husband would have that "light switch on" like you describe. I keep thinking, anytime now, he will snap out of this! But it hasn't happened. In fact he's only become worse and more and more paralyzed to even communicate about the problem with me. He literally just ignores it, changes the subject. He truly believes that if we don't talk about it, its not a problem. Like you describe, I fought my husband tooth and nail every day for a couple of years. Then I gave up fighting because it hadn't ever broken through to him. This past year I just ignored it, so fed into his approach (ignore it, then it doesn't exist!) I so wish my husband would have the change of heart that you had. Its wonderful to hear that it can and does happen for some people. At this point I have to leave the relationship, but I will continue to hope and pray that one day he will wake up- he'll see his life for what he's made it be... And he will take action. That's where I am at. Some loved ones held the mirror up to me a few months back, and then a light switched on- this life I lead with him (enabling a terrible dehabilitating addiction) is so unhealthy. And I am being held back by him- I'm not proud of who I am with him, how things are in our marriage... I want to be in a healthy relationship that helps me to grow to be the best person I can be, and for me to do the same for my husband...not just be his cover for a totally unhealthy life. Your story was an encouragement- I just wish my husband would have the same wake up! I hope some day he will. Thanks for sharing. Best to you and your wife! Bunga Hijau

bunga_hijau
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A painful update. I just got

A painful update. I just got back to the US about one week ago. About one week before that (before I came home) I informed my husband that I want to divorce. In these past two weeks he's uninstalled all his games, changed his sleeping pattern back to that of a regular person, has taken care of the house (preparing for my return) and is now telling me he's made a complete transformation and will never game again. I went ahead and moved out anyway, cause I frankly do not trust the guy. And his actions feel incredibly cruel- I"ve been begging him for 4 years to stop (I even moved out once before) and now that I have absolutely, completely given up and have decided to move on... now he tells me he's given it up and is a changed man. He's saying all the things I'd prayed and begged for for all the years of our marriage. It kills me- I want to believe it. I just feel its really unfair of him, and the worst timing, and its tragic. I think I cannot give him another shot. I shouldn't- he's had dozens. But this is the first time he's saying in a sincere way that he wants to change. It hurts so much that its now, when I'm leaving for good. I don't have a question to ask, just want to say how horribly hard this is!

Warren
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ACK! I've only been dealing

ACK! I've only been dealing with it for four months! I can't begin to imagine the pain (and shock!) you must be going through. One thing that I did find as I was aimlessly digging online related to divorce. It was called "walk away wife" syndrome, but it was written by a woman. Basically, the gist was that many women, seeing a change that may (or may not) need to be made, attempt to push their man in the direction they wish. Many times the men see this as nagging, while the women see it as being caring. Beyond a certain point though, the wife gives up. Even if she is not gone physically, she is gone mentally. Now, for the guy, he might see this as the break he finally needed. The guy may, since the nagging or correction has stopped, think that the relationship has finally improved. In fact, this is far from the truth. The relationship has now reached a new low, as the wife sees things as ultimately broken, and in her mind is preparing for D-Day (Divorce Day). Whether that divorce comes in a week, a month, a year or a decade, it is coming.... The point of the story is that the lady in the article goes on to say that these same men, once shocked back into reality, can make incredible changes, often lasting ones. Still, I feel what you feel, as my partner has given up as well. Once the emotions have drained out of you, via a long, excruciating process, the thought of going back to that person can simply be too much. I love my wife dearly, but see her actions as so incredibly selfish and damaging. If you're anything like me (and it sounds like you're at a more advanced stage), by this point you no longer have the will or the desire to continue with that person, and I can't say I blame you. If the begging never worked. If the teary eyed conversations never worked. If the lost nights of sleep wondering how things all went wrong never worked... I guess "yeah, they can change"... but from hereon, it would be a lifelong struggle - and there is always, as with any addict, the prospect that they might slip back again. It's a tough situation you're in, but I think you're in the right frame of mind. Perhaps after a few months, if there is still an ember of love, and if he still is clean, you could try reconciliation.

BigH501
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Quote: I"ve been begging
Quote:

I"ve been begging him for 4 years to stop (I even moved out once before) and now that I have absolutely, completely given up and have decided to move on... now he tells me he's given it up and is a changed man.

Possibly because for the first time he believes you are seriously done with him. Same thing happened to me when my ex wife finally said she was done that she wanted a divorce, I woke up. Looking back, I am "not sure" if she had changed her mind if I would have been able to stay game free...

" ... don't question it just go" "... where the body goes the mind will follow"
.
Borrowed from "Desire to Stop"

Inspire
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I am so sorry that you are

I am so sorry that you are going through this pain, but it must be relieving (on some level) to not have to deal with the broken promises anymore. Your self-esteem can finally heal after years of ego-bruising. What you have been experiencing is an emotional divorce, which basically means that you have already checked out of the marriage even though the legal part is not over with. He may try everything at this point to win you back, but it maybe too little too late. On the plus side, maybe you can both lead healthier lives without each other. You leaving him may finally spur him to make the changes in his life he needs. Also, you will be able to focus on your own life again instead of living your existence around an addictaEU(tm)s lifestyle. It takes a lot of courage to finally walk away. I commend you for whatever choice you make, because it certainly is not an easy one. Take care of yourself and, if you are willing, maybe you could point him to OLGANON. He could use some support if he is sincere in quitting.

Until we are tested, how do we know if we will pass?

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