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How I got in, how I'm getting back out

I game in spasms, it's not a regular part of my life:
I pick them up one up at a time, get completely stuck in just that one and unable to let it go, then decide to surrender to it and play it all day for as many days as it takes to get to the end with the intention of never picking it or any other game up again.

Thankfully, once I reach the end, the game becomes instantly pointless and boring unless I find some other aspect to it that I haven't done yet, like Achievements. It then takes weeks of no games at all before my memory fades and I start to get curious about replaying one or chasing more Achievements or picking up a new one - see below for note on picking up new games.

Playing through for entire days then dropping gaming for weeks allows me to write those days off completely and forget about them, then re-establish what I prefer my regular day to be. Playing the same amount of total hours spread over many days would make gaming a regular part of my life and that scares me.

I got into gaming eight months ago from having a friend in the US who keeps buying games for me:
When he saw me playing the first one he bought me a second. By that time I had realised that they are addictive and learned that he is an actual addict, his fortnightly total hours vary from the mid 40s to the mid 80s, and hover generally about the 60s. His lifetime total of just his favourite game (he generally plays multiple games on any given day or week) is more than 1300 hours spread over about 20 months of ownership, and he had a pirated copy before that.

He also has depression, ADHD, claims to exercise regularly and self-medicates with pot and alcohol and is back living with his parents in his mid forties (I'm in my early 40s, unemployed freelancer, own flat, straight, single).

After several weeks of my not playing the second one he bought me a third just before Christmas. When he saw me playing both of those over Christmas he bought me a fourth just before New Year's. I archived that one and deleted it, I've never even turned it on and as it's deleted I've successfully largely forgotten it is even there.

At that point I was beginning to feel as if I was being deliberately set up and drawn in, as if by a drug dealer. I also began to feel like an enabler. I wrote in early january to ask him to stop buying games for me and that note went three weeks before a grudging acknowledgement.

I bought a sequel to one of those games in the Christmas sale, one for me and one for him to see how he liked being handed things that he didn't ask for and he didn't acknowledge the gift. To date he has only played that game once, the time I played online co-op with him, despite him loving the original. With regard to an Achievement which I found challenging and fantastic do get he said that that sounds like it 'might steal some of my fun'. I loved the game, it was really intense, very atmospheric, very challenging and amazing fun.

In March he started buying for me again and in the space of a single week he bought me two games and I had to talk him out of buying me two more, this time newer more expensive ones. I rejected the first one and got a whiny note in return explaining that he already has a copy so I crumbled and took it. He's never even played that one or it's original (two hours in total for both, 'it's too hard'). All the games he's bought me are are proper big ticket games but have been out for years and he's bought them on sale, these two I talked him out of are newer and more fully-priced dvd copies.

It's not his fault that I play games:
He offered them to me but I'm the one who picked them up, it's my responsibility to put them back down. Speaking to him makes it seem like a reasonable pursuit and a normal thing to do and it's not. I'm not able to moderate this stuff. I have to drop it completely and avoid picking it back up in the future. That means also dropping him as an acquaintance and so purely for self preservation I've been distancing myself from him since early april.

But I had to know:
What on earth does he do in that game for over 1300 hours and counting? So I bought myself a dvd copy without telling him. Got stuck in it as usual, played it through and full-on hated it. It's easy, there's no challenge, you just do it. Much less engaging than the others (the others are all by the same people, this one is different), it's just very very long. It passes the time, no more. And now that I really know, because he rang and I told him I have it, so he told me how he's been playing (maxing out the same character class six times, trying one of the others twice, utterly ignoring the last two), 1300 hours leaves me a little bit numb and speechless.

If I keep talking to him that's going to be me:
I'd rather keep going to the gym, learning to dance (my biggest insecurity, challenged!) and making my art, all of which have suffered at leas t some neglect in favour of gaming.

--Anonymous gaming addiction story submission

Go Camping

Back in Eighth grade, two ago, I was playing video games 40+ hours a week. I had no friends outside my Xbox, and I was a bad kid. My parents had just gotten divorced, and my mom married meth head (who she's still with today). Looking back on that time is like a huge void in my memory. It allowed me to escape my life at that time. Only about a year ago did I shake it. Overall, it cost me to fail middle school and lose relationships with friends and family members. If you're hooked and you want out, I suggest you go camping for an extended period of time. It clears your mind.

--Anonymous 

A Feeling

Every time i try to play a online game i get a somewhat overwhelming feeling i just stop what ever i am doing and quit the game. Same thing happens with a physical copy game the feeling is so strong all i want to do is lie down and sleep.

--Anonymous  

Computer games were my life
I was the underdog, the one people overlooked and the loner. Virtual worlds and other MMORPGs gave me something that I never had. They gave me an identity. I could be anyone I liked! I could pretend to be any age, any race, any face. Most of all, everything that happened could be controlled. I made friends, I achieved goals that made me feel good about myself, Most of all, there was romance. It was a fantasy world where imagination came alive and my shy soul transformed. Soon I'd spent more time online than off, friends online were more worthy of my time and going out was completely foreign. I gained weight and had bad acne, sleep deprieved and lacked self-esteem. But behind an anonymous avatar, I could be anyone. I was in fact, anything I wanted to be. And that, that was what made the drug so addictive.

--Anonymous 

Addicted to Life to World of Warcraft

I started playing World of Warcraft in 2005 at the age of 12 when my dad introduced it to me when I used to visit him every other weekend. As my parents separated it became an immense bonding experience, where I could talk to him online and (virtually) spend time with him. As sad as it may seem, some of my favourite memories with him are through this game. 6 years later, playing nearly everyday for 2 to 8 hours I decided to give up before I went to University. Despite what you may think I had an amazing social life, going abroad with friends, going to many music festivals and house parties. Yet 8 months after quitting and thinking I’d beaten my gaming addiction I still crave the game. And now I realise I will never get rid of my addiction.

--Anonymous  

Gaming More Than Romancing

My boyfriend and I have been together for only two years.Ever since he moved into my life it has been one game addiction to another. Call of Duty: Black Ops is the current favorite, but at first it was Assasins Creed. We used to spend alot of time doing things together and we were frequently intimate. Now we only get time if I agree to play these games with him. Just last night , I was feeling a little frisky and attempted to be seductive. He looked at me and said " Well I guess, (sarcastically) I could tell my friends I am going to miss this round." I then told him nevermind. "Now what is your problem?" I simply said that my feelings were hurt because he would rather play a stupid video game than be intimate with me. This is just one example of the fights we have had. He will not get a job , and I am now carrying us on my minimum wage job.. I wish I could just throw the gaming system out of the window sometimes.

--Anonymous