Here is an email that I received just recently - many thanks and all the very best to the sender.
"I'm 23 years old and as long as I can remember, I've been an avid gamer. Both of my parents are alchoholics and have been for many years. I remember when I was about 8 years old, I they would go over to the neighbors house, or the neighbors would come to our house and all of the adults would sit around all night and drink. Being the youngest of the neighborhood by 4 years, I was left out of almost all of the interactions, even of the neighbors children and my sister. Eventually I started acting out at school by claiming to be sick so I could go home. I had no way to deal with feelings of abandonment that I was encountering at that young of an age. When everyone would get together to party (my parents weren't young parents when they had me, at this time my mother was 32, and my father was 37) the only thing I would do was play games. It became a ritual. Every Friday night or Saturday morning, my dad would take me down to the video store and I would get to rent a Nintendo game. I started looking forward to it more and more, and it became an obsession.
The game may have been different from month to month, but the concept was always the same. At first it started out as honest fun and I played because I enjoyed it. Then eventually it became something I liked and wanted to succeed at. Finally it would spiral out of control and I would invest so much time in it that I would begin to get angry when I was pulled away from it. Anytime someone I was away from the game, I wanted to talk about it with someone else who appreciated it. I altered my sleeping pattern at one point during my addiction so I could be up to play games with my brother-in-law who was a first shifter and still manage to play games late at night with the people I had come to know in various games. I would sleep for three hours between 9am and 12pm, get up and stay up till midnight or later, and then sleep for 8 hours. Then I'd get up for another 25 hours, sleep for 3 and get up and stay up till midnight. I would repeat the pattern which left me more time to game during "prime time" and I still was able to interact with my family, all though I admit the time I spent with them was probably quite negligble compared to the amount of time I spent defusing bombs on DE_Dust, or killing mobs in Kunark...
After reading through the posts on this site, and coming to understand just how much it affects the people on the sidelines I realize that my addiction to online games is no different than my mother and father's addiction to Alchohol. I neglect, lose myself in a fantasy world to kill the pain, hang out with unsavory types despite not enjoying my interaction with them. Luckily I don't drink like they do, but I now have my own addiction to contend with. My wife and I will be having a serious talk this afternoon so she can let out what's been bothering her about my gaming, and this time I'm actually going to listen, and adjust my lifestyle to help my relationship with her grow.
Any parent out there that is reading this...If your kid(s) game obsessively, do something about it now. The majority of addiction is not physical or chemical, it's emotional. With your help your children can break away and find joy in interacting with the real world rather than the world they pay to play in.
Best of luck to everyone, my heart goes out to the Widows of EverQuest."