**UPDATE** June 8, 2012
After first creating this website, our founder Jerry Banfield has expanded the Real Productive Life social movement into a successful online work platform at banwork.com where businesses can get work done and people can earn money working online. It is amazing what you can do after recovering from a gaming addiction! Anyone visiting from gamingaddiction.net will receive a 20% discount on an invoice requested through banwork.com if you mention in the request form that you found us through gamingaddiction.net!
Our Founder's Story:
Dear Concerned Parent, Friend, or Gamer:
I founded gamingaddiction.net after wasting ten years of my life on video games, computer games, online gambling, World of Warcraft, and finally Call of Duty spanning 11 years in total. My gaming addiction was the most harmful to my college grades and relationships resulting in lowing my GPA in college (from a 3.95 in high school to barely keeping a 3.0 freshman year of college), several failed relationships, thousands of hours of wasted time, and missed career opportunities. I never would have considered any type of professional treatment because I never felt that it was "wrong" or a "problem" to play 60 hours of video games per week, to skip class to play Planetside, to miss hanging out with a friend to play Call of Duty, or to cancel a date in favor of playing Rise of Nations. Looking back, it is hard to believe how committed I was to playing games no matter what else happened in my life. Regardless of jobs or relationships, I always found a way to fill my life with gaming. At different points, the games took different forms from text based games in college and massively multiplayer online games to online poker to strategy games, and then finally to xbox games. Even worse, what I really liked to do was play all night and/or drink while I played. Combined, this was a very destructive force in my life that prevented me from helping others and caused me to hurt the people I cared about consistently.
How did I get my life on track? Only through repeated mistakes, failure, recovery, relapse, and finally success. To be sure, I was blessed with a great family that helped support me when I needed help. They accepted me as I was but always encouraged me to become a better person. When I quit my first job in high school to spend more time playing the first MMO First Person Shooter, World War II online, they only asked that I continue to maintain the good grades I got. In college, when I played Nukezone, Counterstrike, Planetside, and World War II Online so much that I almost lost my scholarship, they offered my financial incentives to succeed. Sophomore year, when I first tried to tackle my gaming addiction and got better grades, they were excited and I earned the financial incentives they promised. Junior and senior years of college when I stopped playing online video games and started online gambling, they were very concerned and encouraged me to only gamble money I had, which I stuck by. After college, they encouraged me to quit gambling and I did. Unfortunately, I was able to accomplish this by returning to what had been a bigger problem before: I began playing video games, namely Rise of Nations. I played so much Rise of Nations and drank so heavily that I had no energy for the girlfriend I had stayed around my college town for and I soon lost her. From there, I decided to go further into my video gaming oblivion and move my gaming to xbox since sometimes no one was available to play Rise of Nations at 8 am and it was important for me to be able to game 24 hours per day when I was off. Just two years after graduating college, I obtained the dream job I had originally wanted after college: to be a state police officer. The first month, I minimized my game play and focused on learning the job. Unfortunately, it only took one month of working there before I discovered that nights off when working midnight shift was the best thing that had ever happened to my gaming addiction and drinking problem. I would get up to 5 pm, go drink with my friends, and, instead of normally having to choose between my friends and games, I could get home around midnight and have ten MORE hours to drink and play video games. Of course, this got way out of hand and I had to quit my job after just a year and a half to move home with my parents. My life had become a wasteland of stressful police work and even more stressful 12 hour midnight gaming and drinking benders when I was off. Looking back, I am amazed I made it as long as I did and got in as little trouble. My parents always said before this I had a drinking problem and that moving home with them would solve all my problems. They were half right.
Moving home with my parents made the problem clear at least because they allowed no drinking in their house as my Dad had been an alcoholic over twenty years before in a way to make it look like I had never drank before. My new lifestyle at home with my parents allowed me to play even more video games than when I was a police officer. Without having to work 40+ hours per week and without having to focus on drinking, I could truly play more games than I had in my entire life. Most days, I woke up around noon, applied to graduate schools and went to the gym in the afternoon. I ate dinner with my family and then played Call of Duty every night from 7 pm to 4 am. For those that don't like math, that is a minimum of 9 hours every night (because I played some afternoons too) and a minimum of 63 hours PER WEEK! I was better at gaming than I had been in a long time, did not have to worry about making poor decisions when I was intoxicated, and thought I had my life on track. Two months after moving home, I was on track to go to graduate school, had a new girlfriend, and had a job lined up for the next year before school. However, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 would have none of that. It only took me a few weeks to break up with my girlfriend because she was not okay with me staying up all night to play Call of Duty and I was not okay with getting up in the morning for her to ride horses. My Call of Duty addiction was so powerful that it laughed at my attempt to have a girlfriend. Even better, two of the three nights in the 10 months that I was home where my parents were gone, I went straight to the liquor store and got wasted while playing Call of Duty all night. Ironically, my parents had suspected I would drink but they did not figure the main motivation: I would have had almost no interest in drinking absent of playing Call of Duty. Never before had the power of my gaming addiction been so clear but I was not ready to tackle it just yet. In the meantime, I moved on by playing more of the game and I got accepted to several graduate schools. I was honest with my parents and apologized for drinking while they were gone (and throwing up on the floor). I worked for the census and took an assistantship at the University of South Florida. After 10 years of wasting my time, I thought I had it all together as I was about to move to Tampa.
This time was different I told myself. I found another girlfriend before I even moved to school because I was desperate to not be alone with my old habits. Still,it took less than a week for me after moving to Tampa to start playing Starcraft II and drinking until 4am in the morning. However, with school, I had a fixed schedule, that, along with a girlfriend that demanded damn near every night with me, I thought I had a good balance. One night a week I would play video games and drink. It worked good for me ... until Call of Duty Black Ops came out. The first weekend the game was out I had went out with the guys and she demanded I let her stay the night anyway. When I was yelling at the game at 3 am, she got mad and I told her she could get the hell out if she didn't like it. The next Thursday night, she threw a fit that I wanted a Friday night to myself and I told her there was no fucking way I wasn't playing Call of Duty with my friends all night Friday. It took me a week and a half after that of trying to dump her without her going crazy and I finally succeeded by going to visit my parents by myself for Thanksgiving instead of introducing her to them. While it wasn't a healthy relationship to begin with, I was scared to live by myself and face my addictions alone which is why I had settled for her in the first place. Now, here I was again. I swore next time would be different. It was Dec 2010.
Would it be different? I began with my first weekend single in three months with a bender that included spilling wine on a friend's floor and a godawful hangover the next day. Ironically, I was better able to focus on my school work with only drinking and gaming minus a girlfriend. Apparently I was quite adept at managing my old habits and not so much at being there for another person.The last week of class with video games and drinking without a relationship felt like I had my stride again. Over Christmas, I went down the rabbit hole fully enjoying not only Call of Duty Black Ops but drinking and even gambling on Call of Duty to the fullest. I lost a $100 on a zombies bet to my good friend and laughed at it. Looking at the beginning of the year, I thought I had my life in a good balance. The first week away from home with no assistantship duties, I played at least forty hours of games, put away over a half gallon of vokda and more than 24 bottles of beer. I had a date get cancled but I didn't give a shit. I just got wasted and gamed through it. I swore I could handle anything with drinking and gaming ... except falling in love with Laura. From our first date, she made me want to be a better person. I realized looking back that for a long time I had wanted to be more, to give more, to help other people, and to not waste 30 hours a week drinking and gaming. I told her when we first starting dating that "this time was different" and that I had three important things in my life: Her, drinking, and gaming. I told her I would happily give up two of them to keep her. Ironically, she never asked me to and in fact encouraged me to manage everything in a healthy way. I actually decided I would give it up just two months after moving in together. After living together for a two months, I did exactly what I had done so many times before: let video games and drinking get between by relationship. The difference was this time I saw the true enemy: My video gaming addiction, not the drinking that my family always said. Drinking for me always had been a leech: it never was enough by itself because it inherently is boring. Drinking only was fun when it coupled with another high excitement activity. Thus, this time I made no effort to tackle the drinking because I knew it couldn't survive without the video games. I started gamingaddiciton.net in Oct 2011 after backing out of a weekend trip with Laura to do school work and then wasting an entire weekend playing video games instead of doing work. That night, along with wasting 25+ hours of my time, I made a series of bets on Call of Duty that ended up at $350 that I lost. Whereas at every point in my life before, I had always simply done whatever I could get away with, this time I decided had to be different. I paid the bet to a guy online I have still never met in real life and promised it was the last time. I had a relapse a month later that strengthened my resolve and now I am rock solid. I am the person I have wanted to be and free of constant frustration and limits.
For me, this means helping others and leading by example. I founded gamingaddiction.net because I see a huge need, especially for young men, to live better lives free from gaming addiction and to lead a Real Productive Life. I see this need because currently it is socially acceptable to play a lot of games and the professional help available in counseling services is out of touch with the mainstream of gamers that do not believe they have a problem and are suffering school failure, work performance problems, relationship collapses, and family crises. How do I know this? I have met a lot of alcoholics that would seek treatment but I have never ever met a gamer that would accept treatment despite letting their life fall apart around them. Even worse, the services available currently charge $300 JUST TO EVALUATE what they can do and generally only offer this in person in a select few areas. My goal is to lead the development of a website that would have helped me when I needed it and for this to be the most visible gaming addiction website. I am confident that we have resources here that will help you and hope they will make a difference in your life. Please submit your story for inclusion in our book here or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.
Gaming Addiction Founder
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