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 My story - Sheesh 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 2:38 pm
Posts: 85
Welp. Here goes.

I started gaming at five years old. That's not to say I had never played a videogame before then, it is simply a statement that at five years old I truly began to love games. It was a very stressful period of my life, my mom was in an extremely unhealthy relationship with an abusive spouse and was quickly losing her savings to him. I was caught up in the middle of this mess, yelled at by both and abused by the spouse.

We left within the same year and moved to my grandparents in Florida. Things continued to escalate, my mother was even more flustered, my grandparents were controlling, and I was lonely and afraid. The schools I attended were boring and unfriendly, I had an unreasonably difficult time befriending the other children finding them either obnoxious or intimidating. I am still not certain why. During this time I would avoid family by going on the internet and finding videogames to play, especially if I went to work with my mom. It would become common for me to busy myself by finding a spare computer and sitting through the work day playing games.

We quickly moved to an apartment complex located in bumble :cuss: Maybrook or millbrook. Not sure which. I became more and more aggressive: kids were hard to socialize with, my mom was always stressed, and I constantly felt patronized when I spoke with adults. I felt misunderstood and ostracized. It is interesting that, out of all the outlets I had available: playing, drawing, reading, writing, I found games the most attractive. Even when I wasn't playing I was attracted to games and would either watch people play or talk about it with others. It was obsessive behavior well before I even began playing obsessively.

After being bullied yet again by an older kid at the bus stop, listening to passive-aggressive racism and classism, and dealing with teachers that did not understand me, mom decided to move. We moved back, closer to my grandparents into a middle=class suburbanite school district. The first year was largely uneventful, I had a nice teacher, mom was working and the same difficulties with other kids were still there. I was still lonely and angry. It was at this point my gaming started to pick up, I was about 8 at the time when home desktops started becoming really common. Whenever I had the opportunity to use the computer I would and would play different games on it. If I couldn't use it I would beg my mom to let me then throw a temper tantrum and storm into my room if she said no.

It was my third year that things become interesting. I had an awful 3rd grade teacher who was getting ready to retire, unfortunately for us both we could not stand each other. She subscribed to the notion that constant discipline for all infractions would make a child obedient. I decided I would draw. This made for the beginning of a long cycle of arguments, fights, screaming, and general misery throughout my public school experience. My mom tried hard to work with both sides - and although I say this with bias - the school district resented us both. I looked for ways to avoid any and all contact with people and played videogames whenever I could. It wasn't uncommon for me to try to sneak onto the computer at night to play. (Which is hilarious considering the noises computers used to make in those days when they were turned on) I fought kids, cursed them and taunted them, and generally defied every correction enforced on me.

It was in middle school that I first began to think I might have a problem. I went to a friend's house to play videogame and had access for to a Livebandwidth for the first time. I stayed up till three in the morning playing. During that time I looked over to my friend who had passed out next to me - the lights and tv still on - and wondered whether this was normal. Something just didn't feel right about me staying up and playing while the guy who had invited me over, the one who owned the game had gone to sleep. Somehow my brain justified it as my 'strength as a gamer' and that this was normal. "He must not be as dedicated as me." I thought.

This concept would haunt me later in life.

Throughout middle school and highschool more of the same occurred: fights, arguments (both at home and in school) failing grades, loneliness and gaming. Lots of gaming. It was at this point that I started keeping a game boy with me and playing it every chance I got, then playing on the computer when I got home. I knew I needed to stop, or at least that something needed to change but I didn't see quitting as an option. Given later information quitting wasn't an option at the time.

I started seriously considering quitting - and even attempted on a few occasions - near the end of highschool. I had made sincere promises for several years to stop gaming long enough to get my grades on track, but failed terribly. I even began cutting school because of the opportunity to game more. It was at this point that my gaming was easily 12 to 13 hours a day. I remember many times that I would play until 1 or 3am then get back up at 8am and start playing again. My mom and I were regularly screaming at one another because I was angry that she kept hiding the modem/the ethernet cable, and she was fearing for my safety.

We both knew there was a problem but I had no means to stop it, until my mom brought up the idea of a therapeutic boarding school. At the time I agreed simply to get away from my current school district. I HATED my school district. So any possibility of getting away from it was a positive to me. When the idea that I might have a way of stopping the gaming was presented to me I grudgingly. I had come to admit that gaming was a problem, but not that it was unmanageable.

I spent the next two years of my life with this school, living, eating, sleeping, and working alongside other addicts like me. Most of them were hard drug I was constantly users, sex addicts or had severe emotional and/or chemical disturbances. None identified as game addicts which I found incredibly frustrating. I went back into old behaviors soon after arriving and tired very hard to lay low by cooperating with most of the rules and just 'getting by' on my school work. It didn't work well: the school was run by addicts, thus they were familiar with my methods because they had tried them in their time. I was constantly brought up at table topics for being unfriendly, aggressive, argumentative, and not changing over the course of the years. I spent about six months in the corner for this during the beginning of my stay.

Even when I had the opportunity to go to college and live in a 'college dorm' I was still incapable of being friendly. It was forced and artificial. I was always full of anxiety. I argued with my roommates constantly and was near incapable of maintaining anything like a coherent sleeping schedule. (I still have trouble with that)

It was during this time that I became my most desperate. I had knowledge of both worlds at this point: what I had read in the AA Big Book and had been told by those in recovery around me, and what I had experienced in active addiction and the misery that had infected my life. I was desperate to believe that there was a way out of this cycle, that I didn't have to stay up till 3 in the morning on the computer walking in circles across the net trying to avoid playing but slowly getting closer to it. That I could be a kind and easy going person so long as I worked on myself, and most important of all: that I could be happy.

I did not get sober in those dorms, however the process of beginning my work on myself definitely started near the end of my stay. I contacted my current sponsor after ignoring him for several months and asked him if he would work with me. I am extremely grateful that he accepted. I began the process of coming to terms with my powerlessness: accepting that my life was unmanageable, slowly coming to believe that if I gave my will and my life over to a greater power of my understanding I would get sober. And laying my hidden fears and guilts out on paper then revealing the exact nature of them to another human being and my higher power.

I felt a change half way through at this point, when I really in truly connected with my Higher Power. It was simply a decrease in stress and fear which did wonders to improving my attitude and behavior, particularly around my family. I even got a job during this time. But the REAL doozy was when I completed my amends. I felt such a massive feeling of relief, yet that word is insufficient to describe the sense of clarity and relaxation I felt when my stress finally disappeared.

I am well aware how that may sound to people who have not experienced what I have experienced, and the very nature of the experience makes it nearly impossible to effectively describe it. But that is how I felt: free. It was the feeling of living a life without the perpetual craving to satisfy my addiction, the itch was gone and the stress that accompanied it because I finally trusted in my higherpower and followed the steps of recovery necessary to clear the blockage separating me from it.

That is my story.

Last edited by Sheeshmode on Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:23 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:28 pm
Posts: 550
Something just didn't feel right about me staying up and playing while the guy who had invited me over, the one who owned the game had gone to sleep. Somehow my brain justified it as my 'strength as a gamer' and that this was normal. "He must not be as dedicated as me." I thought.

Oh how I get that. I would get angry in people during the game who wouldn't play as often, or as dedicated, or as committed as I was to it.

Amazing story, Sheesh. I am so glad you are here with us. Big hugs!

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 Nov 12, 2014 3:05 pm

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 968
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
Thanks for sharing your story! Looking forward to reading what follows.

Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:39 pm
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