It's 10 pm. Do you know where you and your loved ones are? Here is a collection of experiences from those who live / have lived with an obsessive MMOG gamer and from those who have lived the experience of obsessive MMOG gaming.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I received this insightful email:
"After reading some of the posts on your site, I feel compelled to write an email regarding the over all nature of addiction as opposed to the sort of confined version that is presented by focusing on the particular substance. (In this case Everquest).

Surely you must be aware that people who engage in self destructive, obsessive behavior, are fundamentally ill at ease with themselves. They are unable to function as most people do. Usually the reason for this is some what of a hodgepodge between some psychological damage incured on them and an inability to deal with that harm and present day stressors. The solution, in part, is a cession of the obsessive behavior and CBT or some other form of clinical treatment. 12 step groups also work.

Now... I am a recovering addict. From drugs, not EQ. Drugs are a far worse experience then playing a game could ever be. I robbed people, I stole from people, I delt drugs, I assulted people all so I could get more drugs. EQ 'addicts' are usually limited to self destructive behavior, or their behavior of ignoring the ones who care about them the most. But their behavior is far from criminal and should, in my opionion, in NO way be assoicated with drug addiction.

I played EQ for a number of years, leveling up characters, selling them on ebay when you could, and then returing to play again after years off. It is a semi amusing way to pass the time when I have a desire for gaming. When I compare my experiences with EQ to my experiences with drugs, there is no real comparision. I never played EQ for 18 hours a day, nor did I seek to destroy myself with the same reckless abandon that I did with drugs. Perhaps that is because I had evoled to a more mature state. Who knows, point is, while displaying these stories is very prase worthy and I think you should continue to do so, I think you should also provide some links so people can become educated about what addiction is and how to work with it.

If I did not say so before, I found alot of the stories very touching. But also somewhat sad that these people were not better able to spot addiction early on in their behavior patterns with their spouse. Which is why education might help some visitors to your site."

My response:
"Hi ...

Well-written and well-made points. I don't think you can equate all types of addictions - I don't even think that each individual's addiction can be equated, everyone seems to have their own personal path of destruction. But I don't know if I can fully agree with separating drug from gaming addiction, especially since a lot of the gamers don't separate those themselves - I can't begin to tell you how many EQ players I met who had either depression or/and alcohol addiction. EQ was just another outlet, not as destructive as the others, but still potent enough to fuel their other addictive behaviour. One of my exes was a pro at gaming all day while drinking and taking Prozac and used the game very conveniently to prop up his self-confidence (people in the game adored him) and to keep himself from getting any sort of treatment or job.

Also, gaming addiction as it can provide a convenient "reason" for the person (with the issues etc.) to lash out if they are kept from it. Some will even get physically abusive.

Addiction is such a generic label - I believe that it's better to look at each individual as a separate case instead of applying generic solutions.

I'll be happy if you had a few good links you could recommend for people to read up about addiction. I find that I don't have enough breadth on this site to cover other types of addiction. Worse, I'm worried that if I provide generic links about other addictions, the aspect of neglect through gaming may be missed overall. I have no illusions whatsoever that the stories here will touch anyone with more than just gaming issues, but I am hoping that it may "nudge" a few people who are normally mature responsible people."


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