Hello fellow gaming-widows :-)
Coming here to Olganon and posting our stories is a fantastic first step in learning to heal from the neglect and frustration of living with a game-addicted S/O. Learning that we aren't alone , and that we aren't the Cause of, nor can we Control or be the Cure for our S/O's addiction can lift a huge weight from our shoulders. Congratulations on reaching out and looking for a way to improve your situation.
I first came to Olganon some 2 years ago, devistated by my S/O's insane addiction to World of Warcraft. I shared my story here, and vented a lot, and found comfort and solace in talking to both other game-widows, and recovering gamers. But after venting for a long time, I found I needed more. I needed to find my own sanity.
In fact, I posted what I have learnt during the past 2 years here.
During this time, my life has improved dramatically, because once I decided that I wasn't ready or willing to leave my S/O, and accepted that I could not force him to stop being an addict, I decided to work hard on myself (using the recovery model and 12 steps) in the hope that I could find some sanity and joy in my life, in spite of his addiction. To anyone that asks "why should I have to change when HE/SHE is the one with the problem?"...the answer is simple. Because they WON'T change, if they are an addict, (NO MATTER WHAT WE DO!!), until they are good and ready, and in the meantime, why should WE be miserable? If you are really having a hard time living with an addict, recovery and "12 steps" aren't a chore, they are a gift. Well, they have been for me.
I attend alanon and I have found a fantastic support base there. I urge anyone who is living with a game-addicted spouse (and not willing or able to leave) and feeling significantly neglected or miserable or angry to seek out an established "anon" group like alanon or nar-anon or coda for assistance.
The main thing that we learn in these groups is to care for ourselves, and to place our own wants, needs, feelings and sanity above those of the addict that we live with. When we become able to really care for ourselves (and children if we have them) without trying to "manage" the addict, life becomes much more enjoyable. Our anger and dissapointment with our S/O's becomes less intense and we start to find ways to make our partnerships more equitable, so that their addiction does not disadvantage us or make our lives unbearable. As a side-benefit, even though we cannot force them to quit their addictions, as we become more confident and self-sufficient, our addicted S/O's often become more respectful, attentive and responsible and they may even begin to question their choices, as they see us enjoying our lives and " getting on with things" without their involvement.
So I'd like to start this thread as an opportunity for spouses and S/O's of game-addicts to share what we are doing for ourselves, to improve our enjoyment and quality of life.
No mentioning what HE or SHE is or isn't doing here please! This is about YOU, and what YOU are doing to take control of your own happiness.
I'll begin with me.
-I am attending alanon. It is fantastic to meet with other people who have experienced or are experiencing life with an addict. I feel as though, no matter what happens, I have a family of people that absolutely understand and support me. They are teaching me to find myself again. Going to alanon is the ultimate "me-time".
-I am enjoying being a parent. I have no time for worrying about whether or not my S/O will be joining us when we eat dinner, go out or do something fun- we just do it. My daughter and I laugh a lot now. I plan activities based on what she and I will enjoy, and we just go and do it. I feel like I am doing a good job as a parent now. That's a good feeling!
-I read fiction again. For many years, I didn't. I felt like if I wasn't "learning something" by reading non-fiction, it was a waste of time. I learnt that this was part of my need to be "in control" all the time so I started reading for fun. Now I can happily read fiction until I fall asleep and that's a perfectly good evening for me. I'm happy that I've learnt to enjoy reading again.
-I exercise because I want to feel healthy. (I used to exercise in fits and starts because I wanted to be more attractive to the gamer and entice him away from his game). Now I just exercise because I want to feel good and experience having a healthy body.
-I force myself to be sociable. If someone invites me to do something, or even wants to stop for a chat, I don't make excuses and run away. I just do it, even if I feel awkward or inconvenienced or even bored. I have recognised that it isn't healthy to shut myself away with no-one to interract with other than the gamer, so I don't. I get better at being sociable every day; I've even started to make some real friends! People that actually confide in ME and seem to value MY conversation!!
-I take proper care of my health. (This was a big one for me). If something hurts or doesn't feel right, I see a professional without needing approval from the gamer. I go to the dentist weekly to have my very sad neglected teeth fixed, and if something is wrong, I don't ignore it or try to get HIM to make me have it seen to, I just go to the doctor. I am important and my health matters.
-I work on my career. Hard. I don't allow things like "I'm trying not to game so I need your attention" to stop me. If I'm working, or studying, then that's what I am doing. If he is "trying to quit" or "having a night off" then he can entertain himself. If I am working, I am working. This is not up for debate.
Well, thats a start, and some of the significant things I am doing for myself.
I hope others will add to this list :-)