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 CGAA Handbook? 
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Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:21 pm
Posts: 1
State/Province/Country: New York, NY
Hi, my name is Ben N. and I'm a compulsive gamer. My date of abstinence is September 5, 2013.

Until now, I've been going to Gamblers Anonymous meetings and claiming to be a compulsive in order to get the help I need. I'm not proud of that, but it's kept me clean and sober for over 3 years so I don't plan on rocking the boat and risking my recovery.

Last summer, a member of the CGAA boards contacted me and asked me to start a formal face-to-face meeting with him and another NYC member. We've been holding the Saturday meeting at 59 Park Ave. since then. For literature, I've found that GA's Yellow Book is more closely aligned with gaming addiction than AA's Blue Book, so we often read from that. When we use it, we generally adapt the language from "gambling" to "gaming."

The one section where this is nearly impossible is the section defining gambling, which reads:
"GAMBLING, for the compulsive gambler is defined as follows: Any betting wagering, for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon or "skill" constitutes gambling."

I was hoping some of you might be able to assit in coming with a good definition of Compulsive Gaming. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:07 pm

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 969
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
hi Ben, thanks for the topic.

It's not easy to come up with a perfectly clear cut definition. I think of "gaming" as playing any type of interactive electronic entertainment where you have control over the action. This would include an electronic game that has a display that is not video (like Simon, from the 80s) which some would say is not a video game. Also, technically, a TV is interactive, electronic, and entertainment where to some extent you control the action (by changing channels.) But clearly that's not what we mean by video gaming. In video games, there is continuous control of the action.

When people ask me, I just say that I abstain from all interactive electronic entertainment. That's what I wrote up for the CGAA website's The Only Requirement webpage.

We could definitely use a CGAA handbook. I put a lot of effort into material for a basic text a couple of years ago, but lost steam. This topic has motivated to get moving on it again.

Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:22 pm

Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:35 pm
Posts: 17
State/Province/Country: Alberta Canada
100% appreciate the topic Ben. Has got me thinking about how exactly I define sober from gaming. Interestin. Also, for what it's worth, I don't think you're alone in the piece about attending another fellowship. I faithfully attend AA meetings and other 12 step fellowships, identifying with them because I recognize if I was to pick those things up I would be one, because the recovery has saved my life. The solution is the same. ❤️ No Shame brother.

Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:20 am

Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:55 am
Posts: 133
State/Province/Country: The Netherlands
How about the following definition of video/computer gaming?
Any form of electronic entertainment which requires us to work for progression towards success can be considered a video/computer game.
This covers electronic toys, right to the MMOs and fps' or VR games and electronic gambling, I think. While this does cover things like slot machines, I believe this doesn't cover the message of Gamblers Anonymous as this statement doesn't cover the betting aspect.

On the other hand, I think this definition excludes TV, mobile device, youtube or browsing.

The difference between gaming addiction and electronic entertainment addiction is that there may be a need for moderation instead of abstinence. Browsing may be required to do some official business, education or job. An employer may require the use of a smartphone in order to allow for better communication or perhaps usage of specialized apps.

Are there any thoughts on this definition?

Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:06 am
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:59 pm
Posts: 680
Location: Colorado (Front Range Urban Corridor)
State/Province/Country: Colorado, USA
ADH: I very much like your definition. I think it captures something I think is essential about what "grabs" us about games. We play to win, not to watch, not to get information, not just to numb out (all of which we can do with TV or internet use)--we play to get something, to accomplish a goal. A goal which for us is never enough. We need more, more, more. If I win one game, I want another; if I get to a level, I want the next level; if I get enough resources to do one thing, I want more so that I can do another, or do it again and again. That's an essential aspect of gaming addiction for me, and it's what I long for when I feel a craving. There are lots of things that will entertain me or help me escape, but only gaming has that kind of pull. (I can feel that pull as I write this paragraph.)

GA's stuff can be very helpful. The idea for our "20 Questions" page on the website came from my experience with the GA handbook, as another example.

The only problem I have with a definition, a handbook, or other kinds of guidelines (this can even happen with our suggested meeting format) is that people sometimes try to turn them into rules. We all like rules--rules give us a sense of boundaries, something to follow, a feeling of control in a world where we are powerless over so much, like our gaming addiction. But our fellowship doesn't have rules. The closest thing we have to rules are our Traditions, but traditions are just that. They are guideposts, things we hold up, things we try to follow, try to stick with, and for good reason. But even our traditions aren't rules. We just know that if we repeatedly go against them, some unfortunate things can happen.

So it's good to have literature, to have a suggested program of recovery, a suggested format, to have traditions (and Traditions). It's even good to have a definition! I just would hate to see something like that get used as a rule. :)

And welcome, Ben! It's good to meet you. Hopefully we'll meet in person soon....

You have to go the way the way your blood beats:
If you don't live the only life you have,
You won't live some other life,
You just won't live any life at all.

I was dan1 in a former life.

skype: dan939f
reddit: DansNewLife

Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:00 pm
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Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 11:37 pm
Posts: 168
Location: Rockland NY
State/Province/Country: Rockland NY
Welcome Ben, and a shout out from Westchester County, NY.

For me, computer gaming is anything: a game (that I am playing) + Electronic (whatever the forum.)

Most of my gaming was offline.

There has been some conversation within the fellowship about whether we should define TV/Movies/News on electronic forums as our addiction. The reason being that a number of members have "entertained" for many hours on end which is harmful and also leads to gaming. Here is my $0.02. If I am not working a spiritual program, I will act out eventually. So if I am binge watching TV instead of going to work on time, sleeping on time or spending time with my family, I am failing spiritually. That is why I place those activities into the category of character defects.

Thinking that becoming sober from a full on addiction means that I never fall in to a character defect is delusional to me. On the other hand letting myself free fall in character defects is a sure way to feed my addiction.

I know others have another way of looking at this and I think the group needs to continue to work on our sobriety definition.

leveling in steps, serenity, sponcys, sponsors, exercise, and sleep, (sanity has been downsized)

Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:16 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 969
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
I think "interactive electronic entertainment" covers it, where "interactive" means "continuously controlling the action." Flipping a TV channel or clicking a web link wouldn't count.

"Progress toward success" doesn't fit all video games. Some games just go on and on and on, without a final win/loss, the attraction being immersion in a fantasy world with other players and/or building simulated environments.

In any case, any definition we come up with should be suggested guidance to help newcomers decide what to avoid. It should not be a rule or standard applied to members.

Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:48 pm
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