A success story

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Polga
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A success story

Hi

I am posting this members story to link with the Members Stories thread which you can find here:

http://www.olganon.org/forum/i-need-help-parents-gamers/members-stories

The story below is really inspiring

Polga

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

Polga
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A parent's story A member

A parent's story

A member writes

"Our story of dealing with our son's gaming addiction spanned more than 5 years. It was excruciatingly painful but the outcome has made it entirely worthwhile.

Our parenting style was to have an open and loving relationship and lead by example. We wanted our children to grow up to be responsible, productive and self-sufficient, giving people. Until our son's gaming problem, we felt as though we'd succeeded. He was indulged, no doubt. But he was a good student, athlete, had a great group of friends and was kind and tender-hearted. Parents of his friends often told me how thrilled they were to have him as an example for theirs. We thought we had the best son in the world. No child has ever been loved more, of that I'm sure.

My son started playing his first role-playing game 2004; it was also the first time he started using headphones to game. He met a couple of young men online. I got to know them, too, and often chatted with them over instant messenger or when my son put his headphones on me. We visited them, and one of them spent a spring break with us. No problems there. But they eventually mastered the game, and for Christmas 2005, all asked for the new MMORPG, WoW (World of Warcraft). And that's what he got, just one month after its release.

The other two boys eventually fell out of the loop. But our son found other groups to play with. Less than six months later, his grades were dropping and he was seeing little of his real-life friends. Not knowing what we know now, we continued to negotiate. I became the "bad guy", the one who wouldn't leave him alone. He didn't socialize with friends, other than those online in the form of a quest or raid. If there was any mention of excessive gaming and the effect it was having on his relationships, health, or academics we were told we were lucky he wasn't out drinking and drugging like many of his same-age peers. Indeed, he was at home with us, and we thought that was a better alternative.

At our first breaking point (largely due to poor grades), we removed his CPU and told him enough was enough. Even after all these years, some of the stories I hear here are almost a carbon copy of the reaction we got. We didn't recognize the person we saw! He screamed, threatened and harassed us. It scared us so badly that we got an emergency appointment with a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him as depressed, potentially suicidal and put him on meds for depression and ADHD. We then found a therapist. She was nice, but didn't seem to think there was any connection to gaming.

For the next 18 months, we continued a cycle of therapy. We would remove gaming privileges, see improved behavior, return gaming privileges, he'd go back to poor behavior and failing grades, resulting in removal of gaming privileges. Each time, the level of defiant behavior after removal got worse. Our son's relationship with me and his sister deteriorated to the point that we had very little interaction, other than negative. He hated me, called me vile names, and threatened me.

His father was the negotiator. To get him out of the house, my husband would take him to at least one movie every weekend. He also thought that I was the problem. He and our son formed an allegiance against me. When I washed my hands of any interaction, my husband decided (without my support) to use parental controls and allow our son to moderate. I was out of town one week when he discovered our son online after he'd disabled usage via parental controls. When he approached our son to disable the computer, they practically came to blows. It was then that he finally realized he'd been lied to and manipulated since day one. My son had gone to his office and stolen the password.

We found a new therapist. In his words, "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck...your son is addicted." Our decision to remove him from our house was the most difficult one we've made in our marriage. We agreed that we would rather forfeit our relationship with him than see him live a life that was far below his potential and chance at future happiness. He had just turned 17 and we couldn't stop him from gaming at home. We had to let go! Had he been 18, we would have packed his bags and changed the locks on the doors, but it was illegal. Instead, we sent him away for what ended up being 10 months, two in a wilderness environment and then another 8 in a therapeutic boarding school. He had zero access to technology, not even television.

In the first months after he left, we became non-functioning. Both of us developed severe high blood pressure and were close to having strokes. I broke out in boils and cried hour upon hour every day. At the heart of all of it, we knew we had done the only thing we could to salvage our son's future. We wanted him to move on in life with his peers and saw little or no hope of that happening as long as he was gaming.
Conditions there were tough. He was shadowed 24/7. His hatred for me intensified, and although it wasn't true, he saw me as the one who'd convinced his dad to send him away. He was able to phone us after four months, for 10 minutes via conference call with a house parent. When she got word that he wasn't going to talk, she called and recommended that we call his bluff and cancel the call. But eventually, the phone calls happened, then the monthly, supervised visits. And each time, the smiles and laughter became more frequent. We made the decision to bring him home in time to start his senior year of high school. He was so behind that we put him in a small, private school where he could test out and where his computer usage was monitored. We insisted that he get a job to fill his time and he did. In fact, he kept it for 3 years until coming to work for us in our business.

I hear so many parents focus on the same thing we did...the relationship with our child. We worry that our kids' actions are somehow our fault. We can't face the prospect of losing their presence in our lives. Now that we've moved past it, I realize that we didn't have a relationship to salvage; it had long been lost to gaming. We wanted the old relationship back.

He graduated from high school with honors and got a partial scholarship to a local university (again, our requirement). He filled his time by focusing on his health and lost almost 100 pounds. His social life soared. At the end of his Junior year, he married his love, who he'd met at freshman orientation. They are both hard-working and purchased their first home last year; they were only 24 years old! My son often tells me how much he loves me. It's not uncommon for me to get a text message out of the blue telling me exactly that. I can honestly say that our relationship and love for one another is stronger than ever. I can't describe the pride and joy I felt when this incredibly handsome, wonderful young man looking extremely dapper in his groomsman tuxedo walked me down the aisle at our daughter's wedding!
The journey back was longer and more difficult than the road in. It took a long time for us to hear it, but our son told us that being away from us and being forced to be responsible for his decisions and actions was probably the best thing that could have happened. He learned to be self-sufficient. Isn't that what every parent wishes for their children?

We had to stop focusing on what we wanted, and start focusing on what was best for our son, namely risking our relationship for his future. That also meant living our lives in our home the way we wanted. Kids deserve and need to be self-reliant. If we provide a roof over their heads, food for their stomachs and clothes for their backs, they have no incentive to do that. Why do what you don't want to (work to pay bills, clean house, cook, etc.) when you can survive without doing so?"

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

newhope
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Thank you for posting this.

Thank you for posting this. It's very encouraging.

tmiller246
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Any advice to help son through withdrawal/recovery?

hi,

 

thank yiu you for sharing your story. It gives me hope. My son is 14 and we have taken the Xbox away because he stopped going to school...diagnosed with depression. He is now medicated, in therapy and partly unplugged. Also started a new school that is more "doable". He just got his phone back and his tablet. It seems giving him the tablet back has now caused him to backslide.  Do you think removed my ALL technology is the only way he will truly recover? I don't feel like we are to the point of sending him off since this is our first real attempt to help him recover. But can see us getting tiered if we don't do this detox right the first time. Thx for any help

Polga
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Welcome tmiller

Welcome tmiller

If your son is addicted he will never be able to moderate gaming and have a successful real life

You are not alone. Keep coming back to read our stories.

Starter advice here

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

Seaduck
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I know my son is in there somewhere......

We have been fighting our sons internet and gaming addiction for a decade.  Attempts to discuss this with several pediatricians while he was under 18 resulted in nothing more then me being told that, "It's a phase.He'll outgrow it eventually"  Some of the doctors even accused me of being an inattentive parent that used the computer to entertain my son to make raising him easier.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  I definitely didn't fit into that catagory.

   My son was born with severe health problems and although he recovered completely, I now think to myself constantly that God couldn't have saved his life just to have him spend it in front of a computer screen. In fact, he has developed health problems from being online constantly.  Chest pains, muscle atrophy, back pain, a huge callus on his finger, stiffness in his arm and shoulder, fluid and swelling in his scrotum.....I have to force him to go to bed at night and when I wake at 7 am he's sitting in the chair online again.  When does he sleep???  I just don't know what to do.  We had tried in the first two years to take the computer away completely, making him earn his time online with chores, limiting him to 2 hours in a 24 hour period, trying to get him involved in outside activities, reasoning with him, having his doctor talk to him, screaming, yelling, crying.... nothing worked.  He would always find a way to get access including disappearing afterschool without us knowing where he was until we scoured the neighborhood in frantic panic mode searching for him after calls to the school informed us that, yes, the school bus driver verified dropping him off at his bus stop and that, no, he didn't miss getting on the bus to come home.   Talk about a heart attack!

Our son is now 18 and  lives in a dorm 2 hours away.  He is an honor student but is operating on less then half a "battery" at all times.   When we see him his eyes are sunken in, he is very thin and very irritable.  He drives home on most weekends and only spends enough time in our house to do his laundry before throwing it all back in his car and taking off to be with his "friends" until time to drive back to the dorms on Sunday afternoon.  The short 2 or 3 hours that he is in our home on Fridays he brings in his laptop and sits in his room with his door closed.  He is online gaming with several chat windows open talking to multiple people.   I wish he would talk to us.  I really miss my son.

This morning I found Olga.  I woke in the middle of the night with an anxiety attack.  It centered around my concern for my son.  I couldn't stop thinking about him and the possibility that he is going to throw his entire future away if I don't get him to admit that he has a problem and needs help.  I feel like I missed my window of opportunity to force him to get help as now he is suddenly over 18 and has the defiant attitude that goes with newly being 18.  I'm scared for him.  I really am. 

Seaduck22

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I'm convinced that our son's recovery began only after he was game free for many months. Many here have seen me write that my husband and I finally started substituting the word 'heroin' for 'gaming' and that guided us to a different path. Imagine if you told a heroin addict that he could only shoot up once a day? You can imagine that every waking minute of that day would be focused on doing anything and everything to get that free fix. We tried moderating our son's gaming and found that it was no different. Two hours a day worked for a while, but then he needed more and more. Eventually, we kept returning to square one.

You've crossed that 18 year mark. Now the only thing you can do is try to force his hand to self-recovery. I would be shocked if your son's 'honor student' status lasts. Have you actually seen his grades, or has he been informing you? There is one thing that most gaming addicts have in common, and that is their ability to manipulate and lie...or at the least, lie through omission.

This is the perfect time for you to disengage. You could start by refusing to pay for any more school or tuition; you don't owe him that. If you are anything like me, you worry more about his education and future than he does. We make decisions based on what we want for them, not what's best for them. That's the hardest part...doing what is best for them in the present.

 

May Light
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Once they are not under your

Once they are not under your roof anymore, there is not much you can do. If he is telling the truth and if he is doing well at uni, you don't even have a ground to argue about his excessive computer use. Because the chances are he will tell you it doesn't interfere with his life: He is doing well at uni and probably have some friends (probably gaming friends). I agree with WoW parent that you need to find out his true status at uni and then take actions accordingly; such as cutting financial aid if he is failing. It is a very though situation to be in. Professionals don't get it! We have been there, done that. It is not a phase for at least 10% of people who are gaming excessively. They become addicted. 

Once their brains are messed up with gaming, you can't reason with them. Their gaming is as essential to them as food and water. The chemicals in their brain control their behaviour. They pretty much lost control of their lives. Unfortunately we can't live their lives for them. But never lose hope. If you are a spiritual person I suggest to pray  a lot and meditate while you imagine ,as detailed as possible, your son free from this addiction  and feel the emotions which you would feel if he lives a happy, normal, game free life. Life is full of surprises!

"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

Gamersmom
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Welcome Seaduck!  At most

Welcome Seaduck!  At most universities, midterm grades are just coming out now or will soon.  Find out what his are.  If you are paying the tuition, and he is a dependant on your 1040, you are entitled to see his grades.  If he is failing, make him withdraw from all classes NOW and put his education on hold.  Anything he attempts while in his current state will be wasted effort (and money).  Don't make the mistake I made of giving him a second chance.  All that did was to double the amount of money we poured down the drain.

Give serious consideration to shutting off your internet while he is home on Fridays.  You are under no obligation to provide an 18-year-old with internet access.  Tell him that, if you are providing access to laundry facilities, you would at least like to see his face for a couple of hours.  

Read the post about adult children that is stickied near the top of this forum.  PM me anytime.

"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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I needed to read a happy

I needed to read a happy ending, Polga! Thank you for sharing! It's hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel after 5+ years of addiction to gaming for our son, who is now 23. The complication w/ him, however, is that he is SEVERELY depressed and the latest psych said she doesn't say that very often. He has no hope for his future. He feels suicidal, but the psych didn't think he needed to be in the hospital after talking w/ him w/out me present. He starts TMS therapy to try to stimulate his brain. As a result of gaming (i don't think anyone in my family agrees w/ that though), he now is SEVERELY depressed, has an anxiety disorder, social phobia, has withdrawan and isolated himself, now has ADHD and autistic symptoms apparently and DENIES he has a problem. He is angry and irritable. I discovered he is playing WOW now instead of Halo. This highly intelligent, caring, tender-hearted kid has no emotions now and no relationship to speak of w/ anyone except his gaming friends. We are praying for a miracle and that God would open his eyes to see his addiction and WANT to get help. At 23, we cannot force him to do it. He gets very angry if I mention his gaming at all and tells me to leave him alone!!! He says he'll commit suicide if we take away his video games b/c it's the ONLY thing that brings him even a little enjoyment in life anymore. It sounds manipulative, but he just might do it b/c of the severity of his depression. The psych says he shouldn't cut back on his gaming during his TMS treatment since it's his coping mechanism. BUT....it's what's CAUSING it, I'm sure! He works part time, but can barely do that b/c of the fatigue and depression. He had such a bright future ahead...until video games came into the picture. It's so painful and difficult to wonder daily if he'll still be here the next day. He's literally killing himself w/ gaming! I KNOW God can intervene and open his eyes, and that's what I'm praying for. I hate watching our son destroy himself and his life!!!

 

Purplepuppy
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sending away

Just focus on getting him better before he leaves for college. This was a huge downfall for our son....no limits on gaming. He became completely isolated and withdrwawn while living on his own and still is highly addicted. You still have control over your 14 year-old, so take heart! Help him now!

Polga
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Welcome Purple Puppy

Welcome Purple Puppy

Thanks for sharing your situation. It sounds really hard to deal with for you to see him that way and to feel tied because of what your therapist says and your son's threats.

Our addicts are expert at manipulating us. Keep coming back to read the forums to see how they may give you positive ideas to change your lives

Excessive gaming does cause all the things you describe.

I think that he has to stop acting out his addiction to be receptive to any kind of therpy. It is likely to be a waste of time/money. See this post to see why http://www.olganon.org/forum/i-need-help-parents-gamers/what-i-would-say-parents    I would recommend you think about getting a new therapist who has experience of this level of gaming addiction. There are a lot of therapists who do not help.

Please let us know how the therapy goes if you decide to continue with it.

It sounds to me like you need to find a way to stop enabling him in your home by not allowing gaming to continue, while he is 'supervised' to see he comes to no harm; preferably under the care of someone who has experience. You need to work out how you can achieve this.

Here are some threads that may help you

About the need to stop enabling them

http://www.olganon.org/forum/discussion-parents-olg-anon-members-only/about-enabling-what-we-need-stop-doing-really-help

About the threat of suicide

http://www.olganon.org/forum/discussion-parents-olg-anon-members-only/dealing-threat-suicide-addict

About interventions and communicating with the addict

http://www.olganon.org/forum/discussion-parents-olg-anon-members-only/interventions-and-communication-skills-parents-gamers

Getting support for you

http://www.olganon.org/forum/discussion-parents-olg-anon-members-only/overwhelmed-get-support-you-we-need-recovery-too

A psychologists view about mental health around gaming

http://www.olganon.org/forum/discussion-parents-olg-anon-members-only/family-psychologist-gives-advice-about-14yr-olds

A video game addicts view on mental health and gaming

http://www.olganon.org/forum/i-need-help-parents-gamers/what-i-would-say-parents

Some experiences around professional therapy

http://www.olganon.org/forum/discussion-parents-olg-anon-members-only/experiences-about-addiction-therapy-healthcare

 

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

Purplepuppy
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Thank you

Thank you, Polga! I will definitely read all of the links....and hopefully get my hubby on board, too. 

It's all so overwhelming and the last 5 years have been so difficult! Thank you, again!

Ummeib
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Gearing up to take away gaming from our son 15 yr old

Hi , we are going away on vacation for 4 weeks and plan to have our internet disconnected upon return.
Also going to take away his computer power cord to prevent offline play.
Right now I have him barely under control as I take away the power cord and give it to him when I return from work. He snaps at me and starts calling me as soon as he gets home to know when I'll be home.
We recently found that he had extra cords hidden in his room and was playing well over the time that I thought he was playing, which we have now removed but also understand that this is a never ending battle. He also missed a few days of school which I beleive he did to play games as he had the power cord.
Now that we have temporarily regained control of the power cord he is barely contained to play 4-5 hrs every day and I have to baby sit him and monitor him and remind him to eventually get him off which is getting harder and harder.
His attitude is extremely aggressive and rude towards us.
We are expecting a huge pushback when we come back from vacation to the new house rules.
Any advice, experiences will be appreciated.

Polga
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Welcome

Welcome

Plan for all eventualities !

When you stop access competely, be aware that handing it back again and then taking away again is likely to increase the intensity of reactions each time it stops. We recommend game  removal 'for good' for this reason.

be aware that he may get hold of gadgets from other people and hide them

Be aware that he may get access through a cell phone to internet

be aware that he could get access through someone else's wifi network

Consider how else he can fill his time

Get support for you. Stay together and present a united front. make all decisions together. ...Don't let him manipulate you. If you make a mistake it is OK to change your minds and do it right.

Come back and read, read, read until it becomes a part of you and you are prepared

Start here:

https://www.olganon.org/forum/i-need-help-parents-gamers/first-aid-kit-parents-video-game-addicts-find-help-here

All the best with this.

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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