Getting over my video-game addiction (a somewhat long read)

Postby the_raven » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:33 am

Hello everyone, my name's George, I'm a new user, and I'm not from an English-speaking country (this is relevant considering a certain something I wrote below).
As you already guessed from the title, I have a video-game addiction. I need advice, and please, don't tell me that it's not a serious issue, because it is (to me at least).

To start, I was born in '92, and I've been playing video-games since I was about five or six. Back then, it was as if everyone had a gaming console, stuff like NES or Sega-something. I didn't have one, and when I'd visit a friend or cousin, I wouldn't be able to play as much as I'd want, because I wasn't good enough and would lose instantly (my turn thus ending), or for whatever other reason (two joysticks didn't help when there were more than two kids, or with singleplayer games, obviously). So once my dad got a PC for his work, it was a real game-changer (literally also!). When dad wasn't working, I'd learn to use the computer, and would play video-games. In my neighbourhood, there weren't many kids. There was just one girl, with whom we'd only hang out occasionally, and even less often, because I'd rather play a video-game than play house (we never really played house with her, it's just an example).
At first, my access to the computer was limited by my dad's work. Later, but the fact that I had to do homework, or chores, or because my parents simply didn't want me to use it as much or as often. Finally, as I grew older, my parents eased off (or just gave up?), and I could sit in front of the screen to my heart's content (except at nights, because 'nights are for sleeping'), especially since, by that point, my parents bought me my own pc. When I'd return home from school, and later, from university, I'd spend the rest of the day playing some game or another. Yes, there was still homework, but I was never a model student. It was fun, because it gave me way of making friends - discussing, exchanging, borrowing video-games. In fact, one of my longest-lasting friendships started with video-games. But it negatively affected my relationship with my family, because whenever there was some family event, I'd just stay upstairs, in front of the screen, mostly ignoring the guests.
You'd think the internet made matters worse, but in fact, it didn't. Sure, I'd still spend hours in front of the screen, but the internet to me wasn't about gaming. At first, I didn't even know of internet games. When I did try some of those MMO's, I was annoyed by all the other players doing the same quests, killing off the mobs I was tasked to kill, forcing me to wait for them to respawn, etc. It was immersion-breaking to me (and made me feel stupid - you'll probably ask if I feel stupid playing games in singleplayer, and the answer would be 'yes and no'. Yes, because I know that I'm not the only one playing; no, because at least I don't see the others). So I never liked internet gaming. Instead, I'd sit on social-media. At first, this was good, I'd talk to people (I was an outcast in school, so it was a good thing), I even made friends and would hang out outside more. Later, when our crew fell apart, I'd still use social media, keeping in touch with some of them, or just to entertain myself with all the page subscriptions (memes, statuses, stuff like that). Last year, I've decided that social-media has outlived its usefulness to me - I didn't make any new friends, most new acquaintances remained just that, whereas the old ones were too busy with their daily lives, or too busy making new friends. I'd just constantly refresh the page, hoping for updates (Who knows? Maybe I'm just a boring person, or maybe I just don't know how to use social-media properly, since I never bothered (and indeed, thought it stupid) updating my status every 15 minutes writing some vague or cheezy bs (pardon my French)). And all those memes and statuses, however funny or deep, really didn't give me anything useful. If anything, they'd clutter up my mind with useless information - that's why they're called memes, after all. Either way, I deleted my social media profiles.
During the period, gaming became a secondary thing, but it was still there. I'd still play when I'd get tired of social media, or when I just wanted to play. Once I quit social media, I've decided to quit gaming also. For one, I began dating a girl whom I really liked, and felt ashamed once she derided gamers and gaming. For another, I just felt like gaming got me nowhere - instead of studying, working, travelling, helping people, following some real passion, I'd just stare into the screen. Sure, it was fun, but where did it get me? Nowhere - I have no serious job, no girlfriend (we broke up with that one, though it wasn't directly because of gaming - bad social skills on my part), no social skills, a few friends and acquaintances, a degree that I don't care about (forgot most of what I studied), and I still live with my parents (though I'm moving out next month, at least). And for third, the gaming industry is gradually orienting itself towards multiplayer, and like I already mentioned, I don't like multiplayer. Besides, games are losing quality these days anyway (to answer a logical question - I'm mostly playing old games).
So it was decided. I tried picking up reading to pass the time, since TV doesn't always cut it, and since I believe that we all need to read more (internet language, with it's 'boi' and 'bae' and 'u' and 'k' disgusts me. Internet grammar is terrible!). Now, don't get me wrong, I like reading, and attention span isn't a problem, but when there's a computer next to me (and in my house, there are four laptops (mine, my sister's, and two are my dad's), two stationary computers (mom's and dad's), three tablets (two are mine, one of which is broken, one's my sister's), and two smartphones (mom's and sister's)), I feel the constant urge to turn it on. Granted, there are days when I wake up in the morning, and computer is turned off, and everything feels so different, so real, but then something comes up, and I have to turn the infernal machine on again! Something that I noticed, is that computers are real attention vacuums. We look into the screen (nowadays, it's usually a thin screen), but it's like we're looking out a window, into a different reality, and its damn captivating! Alternatively, when I read, I feel more in the real world (if you understand what I'm saying), and get bored of sitting in place easy. I get the itch to do something rather than just sit there. It's strange how I don't feel the same thing with a computer.
Anyway, reading doesn't help, and I get relapses. Sometimes, I start a game, play it for a few hours, and that's that, no urge for a couple of days, but at other times (the most recent was just these days), I play it for days on end, only stopping to get a few (actually many) hours of sleep, because I'm aware of both my own tiredness, and of the fact that the laptop is overheating (can't imagine how those Asian fellows die of over-exhaustion while playing mmo's). Add to that the fact that I have no social life (and that I have no idea where and how to get one, not to mention that people exhaust me in general - this much is not tied to my addiction), that reality is still annoying and bleak, and that I'm - in the very words of Sherlock Holmes - "the most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoe leather - that is, when the fit is on me, for I can be spry enough at times" (so I don't go out much).
I'm hoping that when I move out, I'll finally be able to get over it, because until I get a better job, I will have to cut down on expenses, and therefore, will not be connected to the internet, so I won't be able to download games.

So, what can you advise? I tried asking on a couple of non addiction-themed forums, but the answers were less than unhelpful. Most people would brush me off, saying it's nothing to worry about. Some even told me that I don't need to get over it, and embrace it instead. Obviously these weren't the answers that I wanted. Here, where I live, people don't even believe video-gaming addiction is a viable addiction, so no way to get help.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:53 pm

Like any addiction, you set up the conditions that give you the best chance of success. This includes:

-1- Eliminating ease of access, i.e. throw out the drugs, alcohol, etc. Delete numbers to your dealers. For a video game you need a console. You need the physical games. Throw them away.

-2- Replacing with healthy activities that trigger similar chemicals, e.g. dopamine.
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#2

Postby the_raven » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:34 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Like any addiction, you set up the conditions that give you the best chance of success. This includes:

-1- Eliminating ease of access, i.e. throw out the drugs, alcohol, etc. Delete numbers to your dealers. For a video game you need a console. You need the physical games. Throw them away.

-2- Replacing with healthy activities that trigger similar chemicals, e.g. dopamine.


Ugh, why don't people ever read the OP?!? What you wrote is something that's so general, it may as well be pulled out of a book! >.>
Pardon if I'm rude, I just hate it when people don't bother reading what is posted and comment by either repeating what was already written, or giving impersonal cookie-cutter suggestions.

But since you did reply, I'll go along with it.
Here's the thing:

1) Getting rid of the computer is impossible because one way or the other, my job requires me to use it - most jobs do these days - and since my work doesn't have a fixed timetable, it's not so easy to even limit ease of access.
Why do I need a console for a video-game? Am I missing something? Or are you suggesting I should throw it, and all the physical copies of the games that I have, out? I don't have a console. And that would be a waste of money, you know, and unlike with drugs or alcohol, it really would be a waste. It'd have been more constructive to just donate it, but since I don't have a console, and again, I still need the computer for work, that's not an option. Getting rid of the physical copies of the games however, is (not that I even use them anymore).
2) What healthy activities would those be then? Reading - tried it, doesn't give the same effect, though I'm doing it (more or less); going out - I don't have many people to go out with, and nothing 'pleasurable' to do outdoors (plus, those who I do have are either always busy, or don't like walking long distances without a set destination), whereas going out by myself all the time is boring, and clubbing just isn't my thing at all; working - not necessarily a pleasurable activity, now is it?; going on dates - I like intelligent women, and those are hard to come by where I live, or are all taken (plus, my social skills are terrible, and I can't take hints); making love - see previous point; eating chocolate - not necessarily healthy in fact.
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#3

Postby Candid » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:51 am

the_raven wrote:Pardon if I'm rude, I just hate it when people don't bother reading what is posted and comment by either repeating what was already written, or giving impersonal cookie-cutter suggestions.


This attitude is the reason you don't have many friends. Biting back at people online is at the bottom end of anti-social behaviour.

going out - I don't have many people to go out with


Letting video games take over your life means you have no other interests. You live in a complex world full of Other People, and you shut them off in order to play stupid games.

going out by myself all the time is boring...


So you don't enjoy your own company; you don't actually like yourself, or know how to find things and people that/who would make you feel better about being you.

working - not necessarily a pleasurable activity, now is it?


It is if you find the right job for you. And like anything else, it's a whole lot more pleasurable if you like the people around you.

going on dates - I like intelligent women, and those are hard to come by where I live, or are all taken


Like attracts like. You're not showing your intelligence in the way you live your life, so intelligent women aren't drawn to you.

my social skills are terrible, and I can't take hints


You've been driven to an online forum because you can't find just one person to talk to. People need relationship with others, it's as simple as that.

So make a list of hobbies you're aware of then cross out the worst ones until you come up with something that almost appeals to you. Then join a group or a club and pretend you love whatever-it-is. Talk to people there as if you like them and yourself. We're all actors, you know. We act according to the things we believe about ourselves.

You're not helpless. You've asked for help and two people have responded to you. You can only have the life you create, the people you choose, the activities you like. I wish you luck.
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#4

Postby the_raven » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:52 am

Candid wrote:This attitude is the reason you don't have many friends. Biting back at people online is at the bottom end of anti-social behaviour.

Be that as it may, but it still doesn't change the fact that people never bother reading the op. In fact, I rarely bite people back on the internet, or even in real life. My problem is that I don't actively engage in activities.
I was actually once told that I'm just too passive, and therefore people see me as boring or strange.
Another person was actively picking on me, and when I asked them what the deal was, they told me that it's just something about me that provoked them, even though I did nothing provocative, and was actually trying to be friendly (not in a creepy way, mind you).

Candid wrote:Letting video games take over your life means you have no other interests. You live in a complex world full of Other People, and you shut them off in order to play stupid games.

That's true, although I do have other interests, it's just that gaming is predominant. What's interesting is that when I do talk to people, gaming is one of the topics that rarely come up, instead, we're discussing politics, music, daily news, and the past in general.

Candid wrote:So you don't enjoy your own company; you don't actually like yourself, or know how to find things and people that/who would make you feel better about being you.

But I do enjoy my own company. What I said was that being alone all the time can be boring. The last part is true though, I really don't know where to find such people.

Candid wrote:It is if you find the right job for you. And like anything else, it's a whole lot more pleasurable if you like the people around you.

It's easy to say 'find a job you like' but actually finding one isn't as easy. But you're right, work can be pleasurable, if one likes it.

Candid wrote:Like attracts like. You're not showing your intelligence in the way you live your life, so intelligent women aren't drawn to you.

True, I suppose. Except that I'm not showing anything by the way I live - I mostly stay indoors all the time, so people don't even see me. That makes me boring, yes.

You've been driven to an online forum because you can't find just one person to talk to. People need relationship with others, it's as simple as that.

So make a list of hobbies you're aware of then cross out the worst ones until you come up with something that almost appeals to you. Then join a group or a club and pretend you love whatever-it-is. Talk to people there as if you like them and yourself. We're all actors, you know. We act according to the things we believe about ourselves.

You're not helpless. You've asked for help and two people have responded to you. You can only have the life you create, the people you choose, the activities you like. I wish you luck.

Actually, I was driven to this forum for advice, because the people I talk to don't consider my issue an issue.
I've been in different situations, and I try to actually invest in relationships, but somehow either always mess up, or just don't feel the other person needs the relationship (not just romantic relationships, friendships too), so I stop bothering them. For example, I used to have a couple of internet pen-palls from abroad. We'd actively chat for hours, on all manner of subjects, jokes would pour like water, we'd share our problems and give advice to each other, etc. When we finally met in real life, the communication was just as great, but after I returned home, our internet communication stopped gradually. I don't know, maybe they were just being polite, since I came all the way to their town, but if they didn't like me in real life, why not just tell me about it later, over the internet, if not to the face, instead of just disappearing? And they were two different people, who didn't intersect anywhere. One of them told me that after meeting in real life, chatting over the internet just didn't feel the same anymore. If this was a hint, I didn't get it.
Now, of course it's me, I'm obviously doing something that people don't like (or not doing something that's normally expected), but I just don't know it. Problem is, people avoid pointing out such things because they don't want to come off as rude, or simply because they don't care enough.

Either way, thank you kindly for the reply. This was the kind of reply I was expecting.
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#5

Postby Candid » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:22 am

the_raven wrote: I was driven to this forum for advice, because the people I talk to don't consider my issue an issue.
I've been in different situations, and I try to actually invest in relationships, but somehow either always mess up, or just don't feel the other person needs the relationship (not just romantic relationships, friendships too), so I stop bothering them.
... after I returned home, our internet communication stopped gradually. I don't know, maybe they were just being polite, since I came all the way to their town, but if they didn't like me in real life, why not just tell me about it later, over the internet, if not to the face, instead of just disappearing? And they were two different people, who didn't intersect anywhere. One of them told me that after meeting in real life, chatting over the internet just didn't feel the same anymore. If this was a hint, I didn't get it.
Now, of course it's me, I'm obviously doing something that people don't like (or not doing something that's normally expected), but I just don't know it. Problem is, people avoid pointing out such things because they don't want to come off as rude, or simply because they don't care enough.


There's a lot of self-doubt and avoidance in this. The most important thing in relationship and life is what you tell yourself about yourself.
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#6

Postby quietvoice » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:50 pm

the_raven wrote: My problem is that I don't actively engage in activities.

Do you have a desire to do so? It starts with desire. See if you can build in yourself the desire, believe you can do it, expect that you'll get enjoyment from your acitivites, then use your will to actually engage in an activity. Then do it again. And again. And again. Eventually, you'll build a habit of doing activities, and you'll feel antsy not doing activities.

Does that make sense?
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#7

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:12 pm

the_raven wrote:Pardon if I'm rude, I just hate it when people don't bother reading what is posted and comment by either repeating what was already written, or giving impersonal cookie-cutter suggestions.


Lol. And you wonder why you have issues.

I did read your post...all of the long winded, not very well written, solid paragraph that was painful to my eyes. I read a ton of useless, irrelevant information that you included that has absolutely NOTHING to do with your video game addiction. You could have written down your problem in a single paragraph. And this has nothing to do with your English. It has to do with you being unable to express your problem without adding tons of useless information.

As for the cookie cutter suggestions, it doesn't make the suggestions any less true. You:

-1- restructure your situation, eliminating access to video games.
-2- replace the video games with a different activity that has a similar release.

1) Getting rid of the computer is impossible. Or are you suggesting I should throw it, and all the physical copies of the games that I have, out?...that would be a waste of money, you know, and unlike with drugs or alcohol, it really would be a waste.


Addicts make excuses, just like you. Yes...you throw away physical copies. You delete existing games off your computer. You load website blockers. I don't care if you think it is a "waste". That is a lame excuse for allowing yourself to stay addicted. Why donate the same crap that has apparently been so helpful in your social development to others?

And getting rid of a computer...I don't care who you are...is not impossible. It may not be practical, but believe it or not, there are millions of people in the world that live just fine with either (1) shared systems or (2) wait for it...wait for it...NO computer.

Digital addiction is interesting to me, because we have an entire generation that is simply ignorant to ways they can navigate the world without technology.

I need a computer for my job as well. I can't do my job without a computer. BUT, I'm not so naive to think that if I was hard pressed that I couldn't share a single computer with others. I do sleep...there is at least 8 hours a day that I don't need my computer. How about you? And even though I use my computer every day, I do take time to shower, eat, to go to the gym, run errands, etc. What is my computer doing then? It could be used by someone else, but I am very fortunate same as you to own my very own computer.

So don't give me this cr*% that getting rid of a computer is impossible. There are ways you could limit access to a computer...but that is your excuse.

2) What healthy activities would those be then? Reading - tried it, doesn't give the same effect,


Oh, I just hate when people don't read what I wrote. Oh, poor me...woe is me. I said activities that trigger similar chemicals as video games. So either you didn't read what I wrote, didn't understand what I wrote, or just decided to once again include a bunch of irrelevant information in your response.

my social skills are terrible, and I can't take hints...


Lol, you don't say? I would never have guessed. Video game addiction is actually not your problem. Video games is just a surface level, easily observable part of the bigger issue. You are using video games to escape, to avoid, to make excuses for why you are not social, can't get a girlfriend, etc. Take away video games, and the underlying problems still exist.

Best of luck to you.
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#8

Postby WarWeasel » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:00 pm

That sounds exactly like me or, at least an older version, I would spent days on end just gaming, only stopping for toilet breaks, and sleep if I felt way too drained.

As I quickly learned, I found I use video games with their immersive world, to give a better representation of myself, I wasn’t that one person who sat in front of games, with a lack of education and social skills. No I was the protector of whatever town that needed saving, or the hot shot racer.

Something I also quickly learned is, with no other hobbies, or friends, and with my limited social skills (due to my anxiety) games were the only way to pass the time.

I wouldn’t necessarily say you have a serious addiction but certainly a problem, if it was me, I wouldn’t give up playing games, if you enjoy that then obviously play, I still do, but occupy your time with other things, such as your job, I presume you have co-workers? Get to know them, even with the smallest amount of social skill I’m sure you can manage a convo, find something else that inspires you or interests you, doesn’t have to be a super duper healthy habit such as a daily run each morning.

Maybe something that provides you even the smallest release of dopamine, like for me I found butchery to be fun, and it’s inspired me to pursue a career in that.

You won’t change overnight, but taking small steps will soon lead up to the big ones, I wish you the best of luck xx
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#9

Postby Marcster44 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:39 am

Dont listen to these naysayers. Candid and Richard da sh** smellz. They are obviously not lending you a truly helping ear. Ill try for ya bud. My best advice is to try and discipline urself a wee bit. And maybe try to explore the physical earth again and look for another hobby that is fun and healthy. Try hiking or mtbing. Or yoga or weightlifting. Maybe try to learn more about how to create videogames or their graphics or something in that field if u really love it. Worst case scenario try to limit urself to 1-2 hrs of video gaming a day. If you really try for awhile you'll break the habit. I heard it takes like 21 days to get a new habit more ingeained in you. So I do just really try something different if it really bothers you
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