Welcome to OLG-Anon, Spouses and Significant Others
On-Line Gamers Anonymous is a fellowship of people sharing their experience, strengths and hope to help each other recover and heal from the problems caused by compulsive game playing.
We share what we have done ourselves and what works for us.
As the significant-other of a gamer, there are several things you can do for yourself. You can read about co-dependency, to see if you are enabling your significant-other (by helping him/her, so he/she can continue the game playing). Here is a quote: "What keeps a person playing these games, is the support group around the person. If you want someone to stop an addictive behavior, remove their support system that enables the behavior. Take a look at your own part in this. What are you doing, so this person can continue to play? How are you enabling this behavior? Stop cleaning, paying his/her bills, feeding them. Get them and yourself professional help with this." You may want to go to some Al-Anon groups, to learn about this "enabling" concept, and see how you contribute.
You need to decide if you are going to wait, in hopes that one day your significant-other will just get tired of the game and quit - I have seen this happen many times. If you have to, you can leave for your own survival. If you decide to stay, you will need to learn to depend on yourself for everything and depend on your significant-other for very little. You will want to work on finding your own peace with or without your spouse. You will make a life for yourself, and let your significant-other live their life. Maybe, one day your significant-other will join you, again.
See if your significant-other will go the www.olganon.org website and visit the Gamer section (under Gamer tab). There are many stories there, about what has happened to others. Have your significant-other look at the gamer's stories, and share his/her story.
You also go to the message boards and share what is happening to you. Support others as they join our community and share on the message boards. It is by sharing what we have, that we keep it. Look at the 12-steps and principles. http://www.olganon.org/?q=12_steps_2, How can you work these in your life? By bringing them into your life, you will make it, and have a good life, with or without your gamer.
Come to meetings. Go to the Meeting tab, to find when they are held. If the times are not right for you, start your own meeting at a time you prefer. Let us know, and we will post the meeting and time for you.
Several other things to help you, and your significant-other are:
1) Professionals Tab: This has a list of professionals who deal with this gaming issue. You may want to call one of them or someone who is in your area, and share your experience and see what they recommend.
2) The World News tab: This contains articles that discuss the computer/internet,/gaming/video addiction issue. See what is happening else where, as a result of these games.
3) Educate your self about these games. They are no longer JUST GAMES. Like beverages, that range from water to Everclear (which is 190 proof alcohol) and drugs, which range from aspirin to Methane, Morphine, and Cocaine, games range from games made just for fun (like solitaire, or Mario Brothers games - donkey kong, WII, etc.) to games that have been designed by game developers with degrees in psychology to push Internet gaming to new heights by creating and maintaining highly addictive, immersive and persistent gaming environments" (this is a quote from Sony On-Line president, John Smedley). Be aware, that some of these games do play MIND games with the person involved. They are designed that way, and need to be treated serious by the person playing them and their family and friends. This knowledge has helped me to turn some of the anger from my addicted son to the gaming companies. They are getting the reaction from THEIR OWN UNSUSPECTING CUSTOMERS that they planned all along - to become addicted to the games, forsake their real lives, and play, play and play, so the gaming companies make more money - much like drug pushers, although it is illegal for drug pushers to do this.
4) Keep the computer in a place where you can see them! Get the computer out of the bedrooms. Put it in a social gathering area of the family.
5) Get your significant-other involved in something in real life that is more appealing than the gaming. Find out what ELSE your significant-other likes, and start doing it with him/her. Expect responsibility of your significant-other while still letting him/her find that "balance" between gaming and real life, if he/she can.
6) Get rid of the cable modem or DSL and put in a slow dial up modem instead. It is pretty much impossible to play on-line games. You still have access to the internet for e-mails.
7) Get involved in your Church. The family that prays together, stays together. Ask your God/Higher Power for help with this.
8) Start keeping a daily log, of EVERY time your significant-other logs on to the computer and when he/she logs out. You may need to get a camera, and put a clock near him/her, so you have it on camera. He/she may be playing, when you are sleeping or at work. Log what family events they miss by their gaming. Log what they do in their real life, every day. Have this documented. Than show it to your significant-other. You will have a written document that he/she can see what they are missing, in black and white. Total the number of hours per day they played. Make this document as clear as possible so they can really see the impact the gaming is having on their real life, their family and their relationships.
9) If need be, to help your significant-other get a more balanced life, seek help from a professional therapist or counselor who treats this gaming compulsion SERIOUSLY. BRING THE LOG you created, in the step above, with you, so everyone can see what is really happening here! Go to the Professionals tab, to find a professional therapists who treats gaming issues.
10) Learn about the stages of grief, and mourn for that relationship you once had, that is now gone. Here are the stages of grief:
denial: "This isn't happening to me/us" or "This isn't happening again" What you may hear from your partner: "I don't have an addiction", "You can't get addicted to a game, that's ridiculous", "You're imagining things", or the ever famous "You don't know what you're talking about"
anger: This is the point where you get tired of ignoring or denying the problem and you get mad about the fact that it is happening. You aknowledge the problem and may experience bouts of rage, but may not know how to deal with them. You may even get angry at yourself for allowing the behavior to continue, this is normal. This when alot of fighting with the addict occurs.
resentment: This is where you start laying blame. You may have thoughts such as "I hate him/her for doing this to me", "If that guild would just shut up I might stand a chance of winning this fight", "How can he/she find a Dark Elf sexier than me??? IT'S A CARTOON !!!!!" and my favorite from when I was dealing with EQ as my addicts object of affection, "What do I have to do? Wear a Gnoll suit to bed??????????". Again, this is normal.
bargaining: You start trying to make deals with the addict. "How about this, I won't nag you if you promise to only play on weekends" or "If you come hang out with us for a little while you can go play the game after the kids go to bed". Sound familiar?
acceptance: This is where you start healing and moving forward with your own life. This is where you may begin to let go of some of the rage. Thoughts or feelings you may have may include "Ok, he/she has a problem", "I am not going to be able to change him/her" or "Hey, I know he/she is going to sit there all day, but I am not going to do it with them. I am going to go take the kids to the zoo." It is important to remember that no amount of yelling, screaming, or nagging is going to make your addict change. They have to see the problem for themselves and want to do something to change it. Not all of them will. The only thing you can do is change the way you deal with it until you find the way that works best for you. Please remember that thoughts of violence can be normal and thoughts of cheating may be normal while dealing with an addict but please, do not follow through with them. Acting these thoughts out will only make you feel worse in the end and could get you sent to jail.
11) Here is a post by Jacqueline of LI, NY from the Everquest Widows group: I keep reading so many posts about relationships falling apart, and the truth is I could have written all of them. It is very clear to me that we are all suffering the same problems:
*Jealous of a Game
*Loss of Love
*Loss of Sex
*Loss of Interest
*Angry at a Game
*Wondering what is wrong with us
*Looking for someone to talk to
*This isn't the person I married/Fell in Love With
*Is this all I will ever have?
Here is what I have learned:
1 Nothing you do/did/will do/have done-- will get the addict off the game-- so stop blaming yourself
2 They are responsible for their actions- or lack of actions no making excuses for them, they do enough of that for themselves (I work hard, I deserve to relax, just a few more minutes, it's harmless, They are my friends).
3 Get a life for yourself!! If the addict won't get off the game then leave them behind- why should your life be on hold
4 Be good to yourself-- your addict is neglecting you--don't join in and neglect you too!! Do something FOR YOU!!!!
5 If you are married -as I am- You said for better or worse- yes this is the worse, but cheating puts you in the wrong and you Will Feel Worse when it is over. TWO WRONGS never make a right - I know you are hurt- but don't use that to be self-destructive. Our addicts are already doing that- don't follow suit!!!!!!
6 Stop nagging your addict! They will never get off the game until they are ready to. Nothing you say will change how good that game makes them feel- it is filling a need in them usually I find it is a control issue- they are totally in charge of everything inside the world that they created- their way. They are playing with like-minded people who tell them how horrible you are for nagging at them- you can't fight an addiction- but you can change how you respond.
7 NO MORE-- serving them anything while they play! If they are hungry, thirsty, whatever- go get it yourself- I will not make it easy for you to ignore me- I have better things to do- like something for me - call a friend, see a movie, go out dancing, Karaoke, (me, I started my own Jewelry business and I have never been happier. I have loads of friends, places to go, meetings, and positive adults who are happy to see me! Anyone interested can e-mail me at email@example.com for information- trust me, it's worth it!!)
I would like to encourage everyone here to try to write posts about you. I know we have so many frustrations surrounding our addict-- most of them are the same, but if we are going to support each other then I want to get to know you. This is section is for US! Talk about YOU! You are being shoved aside in your own home in your own life take BACK control and talk about the most important person in the world YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jacqueline LI, NY
12) If you significant-other is willing, make an agreement between the two of you about his/her gaming, so there can be peace in the house. TRY TO KEEP SOME HUMOR IN THIS! Work on this and create it together, so you both are comfortable with it. Here is a sample one:
DATE: Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Reserve the right to cancel the account(s) at any point. The games created now are very addicting and your BF, husbands and wives that become addicted are changed by the game, namely becoming more manipulative and quick to anger. Be honest, lay down ground rules and demand the game leave your life if necessary, for the sake of your relationship. Speaking from past experience if you don't you'll be miserable, he/she'll be miserable and the relationship will suffer. Good luck!"
This "contract" was created "with sarcasm and humor but also a lot of truth and seriousness".
"Throughout this contract you refers to Person A and me refers to Person B. These rules are in no way a means for Person B to control or to limit Person A's fun. They are necessary so that Person A can have his/her fun but also keep a balance in his/her life and keep Person B happy. We both agree that gaming can become a force in one's life, sucking precious time away from more important things. This is a means to prevent that from ever happening again.
[b]Gaming rules and regulations:
1. Game playtime (including playing, searching websites, ANYTHING GAME related) will be limited to 2 nights during the week (Monday-Thursday) from 7-10pm (in bed no later than 10 30) and one night (Friday or Saturday) no later than 2am.
2. No game activity on Sunday, the ONLY exception to this rule is if during the week you don't get one of your two nights playtime or your late night. The play on Sunday is limited to 3 hours and no play later than 10pm (like weeknight).
3. On the morning after the late night you will sleep no later than 10am.
4. No leaving the GAME screensaver/game up. I don't like it.
5. You will keep an GAME log of all dates and time of activity. Failure to keep an accurate log will result in termination of GAMING account(s).
6. You will ask if there's anything that needs to be done before playing. (chores)
7. You will ask if there's anything I'd rather do before playing.
8. You will only play (pay for) one account.
9. One time a week you agree to do something nice for me that you normally wouldn't (i.e. breakfast)
10. Play of any game is limited to 2 hours per week.
If at anytime you don't comply with the rules we've set forth the account(s) may be terminated. If at anytime your mood changes or you seem to want to play or you ask to play during non-designated time the account may be terminated.
We agree that these rules are in place out of respect for each other and our relationship and as a proactive way to prevent any disagreements, hurt feelings or resentment.
This contract may be updated if necessary and agreed upon by both parties.
Person A, gamer
Person B, anti-gamer
13) Here is a note from someone who was dumped by a gamer: I got dumped about 3 months ago. I was gutted..... I thought it was my fault and that I was to blame for his playing. Since then I have become me again, I stopped with the obsession about the game and got on with life, I became the woman he fell in love with...and since then he has not played for two months, but repeatedly tried to get me back.
MY advice... think about who you were, who you wanted to be...and maybe he will realise what he is missing..and if he does or he does not...you (I guarentee you, will move on).....This does you more good than it will ever do him (or her I realise and apologise for being sexist) survivors rock...thats why we have the name!
I hope this helps!