"I was an obsessive gamer, not Everquest but quake. I would play from the time I awoke until I was too tired to sleep, I became very good at it and was ranked in the top 50 players world wide at one time and I played on average 80+ hours a week.
However my family suffered because of it, horrendously. Eventually I started to come up for air, became interested in real life again, started training and working and trying to make up to my partner for the years of waste.
I’m still on the wagon and recently I even started playing again, but only a couple of hours a week, and offline!
I’m very lucky, I know that my lady truly loves me otherwise she’d have left and taken the kids. A friend of mine isn’t so lucky, she has become so lost in Everquest that her husband has kicked her out and is divorcing her.
She’s lost house, home & life, but maybe she had already lost that.
It’s not easy when you become involved with other people online, you have the ease of a computer between you and the other person you can be whoever you wish, whatever you wish.
Every fantasy can come true and you can definitely make up for the disappointments of real life, but the cost is immensely high and recovering from it is just as difficult as recovering from an addiction.
In fact I honestly believe that this is a form of addiction as serious and damaging and any other.
The ancient roman politician and philosopher Seneca wrote in one of his letters of how someone recovering from a severe illness cannot venture outside because he has been so reduced by prolonged weakness, the same is true of someone recovering from a spiritual weakness.
Much as in Senecas time 2000 years ago we still have spiritual weaknesses, and by spiritual I don’t mean religious.
Online games, especially roleplaying games can be very addictive, they can also be a very good way to meet people, relax and have fun, the problem arises when through some problem in life we become weak enough that we need a safe place to hide, and the game becomes that place.
I don’t have any words of advice about how to fix the problem, it took a lot of hard work from both my partner and myself before I was able to ‘safely’ use a PC again, and considering that I work on a PC from home this was a problem.
Trust, patience and most of all a desire to embrace reality with all the heartache and wonder that it entails is perhaps most important.
The games only emulate life with all the variety that humans bring to it, but at the end of the day the game can be deleted whilst the player remains.
As I said I have little advice, only the fact that we managed it. Together.
Good luck to you all."