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 Jesse's Story 
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 7:54 pm
Posts: 216

Ok, so here it goes. This may be a bit long. I want to cover anything I feel is relevant.

Up to the age of 12 I lived in Connecticut. Had a knack at piano from a young age (around 7) and played sports, all-around "good kid" from the outside perspective.
My family has always had trouble but I just didn't consciously recognize it very much back then.
We were moving south and for about a year before we moved, I would sneak out every night. Steal beer from my friend's dad's fridge or my parents. We'd bring it with us down to the woods where we hung out. Not sure why, just to feel more grown up I guess.
My friend and I robbed our neighbors house. Nothing big, just comics and stuff. We stole bullets too. We left them in my friend's room and were playing with firecrackers, throwing poppers at his cats. We went down to the store and as we were heading back to his house, there were firetrucks speeding by and his house was up in flames. Huge hole in the roof (from the bullets?). We lied to the firemen who asked us questions, telling them we left a lamp on and thought the cat may have knocked it over. Apparently they bought it. His parents ended up having to renovate their entire upper floor. I moved shortly after.

Moving to GA at this young age I had no friends. Police started contacting my family regarding the robbery and everyone thought it was my brother (My brother was older and had previous troubles with the law so it was the obvious assumption from anyone on the outside). I kept that lie up for a year until finally admitting I was the one. Lots of stress and guilt, I even felt enough guilt at that young age to consider stabbing myself in the heart lol. Every time the phone would ring it'd hurt me. Only a couple friends, and they were gamers.
I remember the moment when I revealed to my parents I robbed that house. Guess what I was doing? I was downstairs playing on our 286, at the time it was probably an old Sierra game.

From 13-15 my gaming progressed but I'd safely say I was still a normal kid, balancing piano lessons, sports, good grades, etc. Around the age of 15 when I was in junior high, it was getting real heavy.
Allnighters constantly. I'd be rushing back upstairs to my bedroom to pretend I was asleep when I'd hear my father getting ready for work.
I'd skip school constantly to play more. I stole money from my parents so I could buy more games. My mom's drinking had become real bad too, she would regularly pass out at night. One time when coming back from a movie with my father and sister, we found her passed out on the wheel of her car heading out of our driveway (presumably to pickup more liquor). My father was a very angry man around these times too. My brother hadn't been diagnosed with his schizophrenia yet, it was just seen as drug problems with him. Constantly in trouble unfortunately, lots of physical fights with my father too. So yeah, gaming. Lots of it. The only escape.
I ran clans for games dating as far back as Quake1 and Rogue Spear on Mplayer. Multi-game clans which were pretty successful at the time. I'd be in school sketching levels for Doom2 that I'd build in DCK. I'd be thinking of my clan's logo design during class. I'd be passing around guides for the latest RPG with classmates, discussing secrets they had discovered and progress they had made. My entire world was games. Regardless of where I was or what I was doing.
Did I feel ostracized? No not at all, in fact, the opposite. I felt arrogantly proud of my small circle of gaming friends. I saw "everyone else" as 'clones', and the resentment for most people in society and most peers was very open and very clear to anyone who knew me.
I felt better than most people. A false sense of pride.

Around 17 my brother had been mentally discharged from Navy. That's when we finally knew his real issues. Despite this, my father and him fought when he came home "because he shouldn't have been there", breaking the glass window to the front door. Brother had to get stiches, neighbors called cops, and my brother was put in jail for his first 6 months back home after Navy discharge.
Sister was hooked on heroin at this point. Meth later too.
My mom was full blown into her addiction and my father was cheating on her presumably. He was ready for a divorce.
I was achieving great things in Quake 2 hookshot CTF matches and Asheron's Call. God knows what else. I'd have to look at a release timeline to tell you all exactly what I was playing, because it was probably anything that was out at that time I had my hands in it.
I dropped out of my school to finish early at an "independence" school. That way I could drink more, party more, game more before graduation for most people. I chose not to goto the prom because of a LAN party I had planned.

My mom had come back from rehab and had a seizure because she started drinking again, fell down stairs and broke her vertebra.
My father finally divorced her.
My sister was sent out of state to "Narcanon" (huge mistake)
My brother was in a halfway house.
I was living with 2 other gamers...and I can't count how many jobs I went through.

So now, 20s, all gaming. Relationships were all about sex. Friends were limited to only gaming buddies. No career ideas. No college yet.
I regularly stayed up all night. My bed times, no guilt. It was to be hardcore, I felt good about beating games and reporting that to my small group of friends.
I still maintained regular clan meetings. Still had growing success online with my games of choice. But the thing is, I played everything. Had every system. Tried everything.

Pat said in her story that it begins with fun. Then, fun & trouble. Then just trouble. Well, early 20s was when it was "fun & trouble".
By the time I hit 28 though, I just hated everything about myself.
I tried quitting. Couldn't. Tried every form of moderation. Couldn't stick. This is when it was just "trouble". I hardly walked away from a gaming session feeling proud or relieved, I just felt disgusted.

I used games as an escape from my life at an early age. That's how I learned to cope. I brought that into my adult life, and it was VERY difficult for me to pry away. It was my only tool, my only weapon against the crap I felt and my shitty life.

I can't tell you all how blessed I feel to be game free right now. To have you all to relate to. This program, my HP and all of you keep me clean. You all remind me that I don't have to feel ashamed, that I can confront the bad stuff with healthy tools learned from this program.

Thanks for reading all of this.

    skype: jslinden
    other: Ascender or Zenn

Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:31 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:28 pm
Posts: 550
Beautiful share! The pain you have been through...sending you big hugs.

I am so glad you are here. Very happy about that and glad we are all here to help each other. Who would have thought active addictive gamers could come together sober and create a new family. That's what it feels like to me, family.


Let your past make you better, not bitter.
Don't Lose Heart. If your efforts are greeted with indifference, don't lose heart. The sun puts on a wonderful show at daybreak when most people are sleeping. Keep shining!

Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:42 pm

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 968
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
Thanks for sharing your story Jesse.
Jesse wrote:
I can't tell you all how blessed I feel to be game free right now. To have you all to relate to. This program, my HP and all of you keep me clean. You all remind me that I don't have to feel ashamed, that I can confront the bad stuff with healthy tools learned from this program.

I feel blessed and grateful too. My life is on a whole different track... and it's great that the track is leading to better things, rather than spiraling downward like the old one.

Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:55 pm

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:04 pm
Posts: 323
Location: Detroit, MI
Thanks for sharing, Jesse. Sobriety is definitely a huge gift, and having you here helps all of us. Hugs...

Sat Nov 01, 2014 1:37 pm

Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 6:39 am
Posts: 46
Location: UK
State/Province/Country: England
Thank you Jesse for sharing openly your story. It is amazing to hear you share your mind and heart openly and honestly. I feel very humble and happy, and grateful too. It is great to know there is a solution to a seemingly impossible problem ... I used to try to survive my "shitty life" as I saw it before finding my HP, a programme and other fellow members like yourself. I also feel blessed to be game-free for today, and my guess is that if I keep on putting in the footwork, I will have a big bunch of one-days-at-a-time. I also know that when the going gets tough I need to huddle, closer and more often to other fellow game-addicts. As they say addiction is a "disease that tell you you don't have a disease". Thank you again for sharing your story. :) Big hug from across the Atlantic pond. :)

PS: My younger bro was my side-kick and I can remember getting into all kinds of mischief - some good 'n fun and some not so much. I chuckled to myself reading that part of your story. I brought back mostly fond memories, and a grin at the thought of playing a prank on my neighbours.


Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:57 am
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