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Welcome! Any newcomer or member struggling with compulsive gaming is welcome to post here. We encourage you to post an introduction and ask for help.

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 Hello, introduction 
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:43 pm
Posts: 37
State/Province/Country: California
I've been using computer gaming to hide from my problems for probably something like fifteen or so years now. I delegitimized the problem over and over and over by saying "Well, I'm only addicted to WoW, so I'll just stop playing WoW," or "Well shit, now I'm addicted to Skyrim, so I guess I should stop playing Skyrim," and on and on, not realizing (or not wanting to accept, probably, is more accurate to say) that the real problem wasn't whatever specific game I was playing at the time, but the fact that I played so goddamn much of whatever game I played---I realized this when I (out of desperation) join the Peace Corps, praying to exist overseas in a country w/o electricity, like basically forcing myself to stop playing video games by making this dramatic and spontaneous change that I figured I couldn't possibly undermine. But I managed to undermine it by buying a netbook from an American dispensary for something like five years of my broke-ass salary and spending the next two years abroad alone playing NES simulators and other low-tier, graphic-non-intensive shit that I never would have imagined ever enjoying, or being able to play for fourteen hours a day---but I did. This was when I realized I had a real @#$% problem on my hands, when I was in my hut in the dead-center of China (*not actually China but in the interest of the Anon I'm going to say it was China) replaying old-school Metroid for the twentieth time, ignoring my community, etc., which I won't even get into the details of on account of it bringing up feelings of shame and frustration and failure that I can accept I haven't even begun to work through. So it was around that time that I realized it wasn't individual games---it was any games at all, any kind of stimulation that I could immerse myself into and leave the world behind with. I started seeing video games as a kind of temporary suicide. I played them and they allowed me to forget who I was or that I existed at all as an individual. The most terrifying part was that I wasn't scared of it. I wanted it. I hated my life (still do, tbh) and couldn't (can't) stand being present in any specific moment. Of course this is common knowledge to all of you folks, I'm sure, that it's all escapism, but it's a new-ish concept to me, even now, and I'm still getting in the habit of feeling the urge to play video games and asking myself---hey man, do you really want to be dead for the next twelve hours? And the answer's usually a complicated mix of yes and no, but it's been what, looking at the clock here I can see that it's been like 48 or so hours since I've played video games (I stayed up all weekend played Civilization V, which I bought on the Steam Summer Sale [a big @#$% to Steam for putting me through that, though I realize that it isn't their fault, and that it's me, and that lots of people can play video games in a healthy way, and I shouldn't be mad at them for being a provider, but I am anyway] with money that I got from having what I believed was a breakthrough by selling $300 worth of digital shit off DotA2 and TF2, which it turns out didn't help me at all, it actually made it worse since now I had $300 Steambucks burning a hole in my digital wallet) so I'm on my way to sobriety, though I wouldn't say well on my way, just plain old on my way, and we'll see if I get there, and wish me luck. Looking forward to sticking around.

Last edited by Zack on Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:00 pm

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:04 pm
Posts: 323
Location: Detroit, MI
I never would have expected flash games to destroy my life as thoroughly as they did, but like you, my problem wasn't with any one particular game, it was (and is) with all video games of all sorts, and for the sake of my own sanity, I have to avoid playing any of them today. It took me a LONG time after showing up to be able to stay away from games for more than a week or two at a time, but by refusing to just give up on myself and my recovery, I eventually found things changing in major ways, including in ways that I didn't even know I needed to change.

One of the things that was really helpful for me early on was meetings. I still go to them when I get the chance, I'm just not often free when they're happening, which sets pretty strict limits on how many I can get to. Regardless, I highly recommend them...they provide a great way to get to know other people in the fellowship, and the support of that fellowship is an enormous help in staying sober. It also provides ways to get to know who might be a good sponsor (you'll find out more about that with time), and getting a sponsor and working the steps has been the single largest transformative thing to have ever happened to me.

We're glad you found us, and no, you aren't likely to surprise anybody with any part of your story. We've all been in places similar to some of the ones that you've been in, and some of us have been in places similar to nearly all the places you've been in, so there's really nothing shocking about any of it. One of the beautiful things about the fellowship is the way it can remove my isolation from me if I'm only willing to let it...I no longer need to hide who I am and what I've done when I'm surrounded by people who get it and can listen to my story with compassion. Welcome home.

Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:34 pm

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 968
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
Welcome DG. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote too. Even after cutting out the "problem games" from my life, the gaming continued... and continued to increase, until I was gaming my brains out on all kinds of stupid little games.

By the end, I felt hopelessly stuck. I had tried everything I could think of, over and over again. After years of trying to get it under control and a few periods where I thought I had the problem solved, I found myself gaming more than ever and unable to even try to hold myself to the promises to myself that I had already broken dozens of times.

In the CGAA meetings I found people just like me who had stopped gaming and were turning their lives around for the better. At first I thought, "I'm different. Good for them, but it won't work for me. I'm SOOO unique." Turns out I was wrong! I'm not much different and the things that worked well for them worked well for me too.

See you around.

Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:31 pm
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