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 Dusty's story 
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 10:08 pm
Posts: 148
Location: Boston/Providence area
State/Province/Country: MA/USA
This is rambly. I will revise it.

I don't remember when I started playing. The games were always there. I remember playing with the ATARI 2600 at a very young age. One thing that's clear is that I had an unnatural fixation on video games. It was so intensely exciting when the original Nintendo was released. I did not have one of my own, but whenever one was near and turned on, I was VERY aware of it. When visiting friends, I really only wanted to play their Nintendo.

Flash forward - ~grade 4 or 5. I changed. While I used to be social and confident, now, my peers intimidate me. I begin to believe that I'm not likable. In my mind I'm a "loser". I spent a lot of time agonizing about how I didn't fit in, particularly about my lack of playing sports. (Anyone have a better way to word that?) In 4th grade, I discovered that the more I achieve academically, the more work I'm given, so I start to coast. My main goal for most of my behavior in this time is "don't stand out".

At this time I'm playing a lot of Gameboy and shareware games on the family computer. I spent so many hours playing and replaying these free platformers. I competed a lot with my mother for computer time. Every time I'm in the car I buried my face in the gameboy. At some point, I'm exposed to a FPS - Doom. I'm totally hooked. For a while, I can only get a rare few minutes on someone else's computer, but when my parents buy a nicer computer it becomes my thing. I totally immerse myself in this game.

I make it through high school in pretty much the same pattern. I have a small handfull of close friends. I am in the band and I'm involved in the theater. It probably seemed like I was close to the center of the social groups of both of these organizations, but in reality I believed that at best people tolerated my presence, and most likely didn't like me. In my highschool yearbook I was voted "most talented", which baffled me. From my perspective, music and acting and academic success were like a costume I wore on my life. These things came relatively effortlessly to me. Most of my free time and all of my imagination was spent on video games. At this point I've acquired a couple consoles. When I got stressed, my gaming would get worse. I remember once I had to write a paper, maybe 8 pages. I "got sick" so I could stay home and write the paper. The prospect of typing this paper was so stressful and painful and I found I couldn't stop playing this old mining game. I would type half a paragraph, then "reward" myself with some game.

College: My gaming habit comes with me to school. I join a frat because a part of me knows that I lack the skills to socialze without it. I discover flash games. I learn to "burn off steam" with 1 or 12 of these little free games every day. My class schedule is intense. My frat schedule is also intense. I drink a ton. In my sophomore year, I start to lose it. I get insomnia, hypochondria, panic attacks, sleep paralysis. I spend the rest of my college carreer wrestling some kind of stress symptoms. I get to the point where panic attacks are a normal part of my life. I'll be sitting in a rehearsal, and that familiar I'm-having-a-heart-attack-oh-my-god-I'm-dying feeling suddenly rises in me followed by pure euphoria from a spike of adrenaline. During this time, I've also discovered a genre of game called roguelikes. One game in particular "ADoM" has me obsessed. This is the most addictive game for me. I quit and restart playing this and games like it over and over.

After college: I get a job right away. I discover that without the pressures of university and frat life, there's nothing stopping me from playing more and more games. I get into the pattern of going to work, then opening my laptop as soon as I get home and gaming until bed. I discover a MMO. I play before work. I play after work. I play at work - for a time. I cut that out pretty quick. I'm compelled to keep my gaming habit secret; it's one of my rules. I get married and neglet my wife a lot. My gaming causes friction in my marriage, but I think I deserve to "take a break".

I'm going to stop here. There's so much I've left out that needs to be included.

Thank you


Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:24 pm
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Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 11:37 pm
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Location: Rockland NY
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Thank you for sharing Dusty.

As I finish your story I wonder if this guy is going to make it! I am looking forward to hearing the rest of your story.

Now that you have some recovery under your belt, do you recognize your musical skills?

Hershel

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Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:33 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:28 pm
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Oh Dusty, thank you for this.

I wasn't popular in school either. If there'd been video games then I would have been in them asap.

I hid in books until personal computers were invented, and then finally they invented games. How did they know I was an addict waiting for a video game to come out!

Hugs!!!

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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!


Last edited by Patria on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:40 pm
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 6:39 am
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Hey Dusty, thank you so much for the first part of your story. You reminded me a lot of my early gaming, video-gaming before my addiction had a field-day lasting years when I started playing MMOs. ...but yeah, I remember my Atari, then Nintendo. My bro had a Game-Boy I didn't like much, but I'd play it till I would complete it. I remember I liked adventure games and fighting games when I was younger, up to secondary school. I had a SNES too. Then, I remember playing for hours and hours a war strategy game with mates at university. I had a break from games after and it re-started as a way of avoiding being in my own skin later, once I completed my teaching practice. Then, I started playing a role-play adventure/fighting game on my PS2... and boy did I play. During term time I had not time, and was mentally and emotionally, and physically drained beyond belief... but in the holidays, my Isms were back and they hit me hard. I really hated myself during this part of my life and went to bed often wishing I did not wake up the next day. I was in a lot of pain. So, I escaped, and in the holidays I would play a video-game, sometimes up to 16 or 18 hours a day. I remember once going to bed a 5am with a horrendous headache because I spent a good seven hours playing the game practically non stop. I had water and tea, but did not eat and had not eaten for 12+ hours. I felt so ill. I got to bed. Slept. Woke up. Had a bath and ate breakfast to get well enough to keep playing the next day. So... insane. And that was before I got into MMOs. You know, I had a little epiphany while reading your story (up to now). and it was that I was a smallish child and clever (mostly) and I got picked on a lot at school. When thinking back to my very early gaming, I really did love fighting games, especially vs another player. It never dawned on me that I loved those games so much, especially when at the arcades and family reunions, because I would kick the c**p out of my contenders most of the time and it felt "good". I hadn't realised, till today, that it was an expression of my repressed anger for being badly bullied. ...thank you for sharing :) ... you've helped me open a can of worms I had sitting on the shelf for 20 odd years. lol...bet them worms are fat 'n juicy. :) I am really grateful for your share because it's helped me with my addiction. I really identify and I am so happy I am game-free and discovering things about myself. It's a good journey! Wishing you a pleasant to awesome game-free day today! :) ...'n look forward to reading the rest of your story.

ET

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ET


Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:39 am
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:04 pm
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Location: Detroit, MI
Thinking that people at best just tolerated my presence? Oh yes. All the time. For as long as I can remember. That's changed a lot in the last year or so (recovery is changing lots of things about me), but that was definitely going on for me for most of my life. Thanks for sharing.


Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:12 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 10:08 pm
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Location: Boston/Providence area
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I've made some edits.


Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:17 pm
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Glad to read your story Dusty. I can relate to the obsession with Doom at an early stage in my addictive gaming. That was really one of the first that got its hooks in me.

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Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:02 pm
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Dusty, thank you for sharing your story. Somehow I've missed reading a lot of the stories until now, and I'm really glad I started.

I relate a lot to not fitting in at school and working hard to not stand out. Like Patria, I hid in science fiction and fantasy books through most of that time (I left gaming to my brother at that point). By college, I even mastered the fine art of walking and reading so I didn't have to put the book down for walking to class. The story about writing half a paragraph and then playing a "little while" to "reward" myself is also remarkably familiar. I would tell myself it was because I couldn't concentrate anyways so I might as well take a break and play. I hadn't looked at that as a sign of addiction before since I wasn't playing "addictive games" at that point.

I also relate to the difficulties with anxiety. Anxiety has always been a huge factor in how much I play, which somehow never seems to make the situation I'm anxious about better. By the time I return to reality after playing, everything is worse because I didn't address the thing I'm anxious about. Funny how this never stopped me from trying the same solution the next time I was anxious.


Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:45 am
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