"My girlfriend showed me your site and I figured I'd post my story...
I started EverQuest because I had finally gotten a computer that could *run* 3D games. I wanted to try out the latest crazes, and seeing that I was already addicted to a few MUDs, I didn't notice anything. Mind you, everyone mentions 'EverCrack', but no one thinks about how addicting *all* games can be. In fact, as I said to my girlfriend today, it's not the fault of the game. Anything can be an addiction.
Anywho, I was only playing a few hours a day at first. Mostly because I'd get so frustraited with the game that I'd quit and log into a MUD instead. Like I said, I was already addicted to MUDs. Then I ran into someone who was different then most people in EverQuest - she didn't use that annoying 'netspeak' or 'doodspeak' crap I hate, and she roleplayed. We hit it off, and I left my characters to move onto another server - her server. Mind you, I wasn't single during all this. I had played EverQuest for a little, then I quit. When my girlfriend and I were having issues, I went back to EQ. Eventually we parted ways, not because of EQ though. About a month after that, I was laid off from my job - again, not because of EQ. By this time though I was already only getting four hours of sleep due to it. After I lost my job, I'd play 18 hours straight at times. There was once I even played for over 30 hours without sleep. I'd play EQ, sleep, wake up, play EQ. I wouldn't eat or drink much. My room was a disaster. Everything was a disaster.
I think my saving grace was becoming a guide. I became a guide on a server that consumed a lot of time. Back then, we took all petitions. Basically, the overload of work every time I logged in as a guide, and the players I delt with, tarnished the game for me. I saw people who threatened suicide over item loss, and people who would threaten even legal action against another player for simply training. I saw so much that was unbelievable to me. Eventually I cut back playing EQ. I got a new job, and started playing only in the evenings. Eventually I just stopped logging in. By this time I was trying other games, just to see how they were. Finally I was kicked out of where I was staying, not because of EQ, but because of other things.
After I got kicked out, I moved in with my mother. I tried to keep in touch with the girl who I had met on that first server, but we had a bit of a falling out. She and I considered a real life relationship, but she was only willing to spend time with me in the game. This wasn't a problem when I as hooked, but as I gradually decided not playing, it was a problem. It would've been a very long distance relationship, and I really hated thinking about logging into EQ just to have any together time. I remember yelling at her over that, and telling her she knows how to contact me. I logged out. I came back a few times to see how things were, but never more than 5 minutes at a time.
Then I deleted EQ from my system.
Now I play again with my current girlfriend, but there's no way either of us will get that addicted. We already have a sort of buddy system - when one starts a habit that seems detrimental, the other says something. I will never get addicted to EQ like that again. Sure, I might have my days where I play for hours on end, but that's the kind of game EQ is. The point of addiction is when that's *all* you do. If you want to spend a weekend on EQ, that's fine and well. What about Monday? Or Tuesday? Are you still on EQ? How about all week, through Friday? Still there? That's addiction. Get out. Get a life. Get something other than a game. It's not the game's fault, it's your own. YOU have the power to change your life. All you need to do is hit the power switch and go for a walk.
As I said. Anything can be an addiction. To add to that, Anything can be an addiction to one who is weak. We're all weak at one time or another. It's not something to be ashamed of. The shame is in not realizing our weakness and working on it. We do that by using something like a game, a drug, a 'thing', as a crutch. Talking to a loved one isn't a crutch. It's a sign of strength. Remember that there's probably someone close to you who's watching what you're becoming. That person is probably very willing to help you in whatever way they can. EverQuest can't help you like that. Your crutch is all a computer generated world with no heart and no feeling. Don't tell me the people give it feeling, because those people have their own lives. Those people aren't the ones closest to you.
Look around before you look at the screen. Look inside before you login. Remember that life doesn't require bandwidth.
Good luck, all."