This a list of what I've learned on the topic at hand, I hope it helps you better understand what's going on and build yourself.
I was a member of this site possibly over 10 years ago, I can't remember exactly, the email address I had is long gone now.
I don't even remember my login, but I remember quitting and relapsing repeatedly in those years.
My life today:
is very different from what it was back then, it's a challenge to even imagine it. Today I'm 31 years old, I have had an engineering job for over 6 years and have owned a 3-bedroom apartment for about 2 years now (rented single-bedroom apartments for 10 years before that).
I have not had overdue bills in perhaps 3 years or more, they all get paid on time. My hygiene is better than ever and I'm taking full advantage of diverse cosmetics. I've lost a lot of weight, still a bit overweight, but I don't have my own gravity anymore, went down a shirt size and two pants sizes. I shave regularly and moisturize.
My wardrobe consists of handpicked (with a specific look in mind), quality shirts and pants, as opposed to whatever was cheap. I'm also wearing leather shoes. I don't look like a random bum anymore.
I've also become more judgmental of society and have gained a political conscience. I'm stone-cold sober on all fronts and extremely angry at how bad we are doing at managing ourselves as the dominant species of this hunk of rock.
Sadly, I don't yet have a relationship, this is my current struggle. But I am confident that once I do get a good relationship I will be able to keep it longer than 5 weeks, which is different than what has gone on in my earlier years.
I am awake and conscious and absolutely appaled by the state of affairs in the world. There's much to be done to save us from ourselves and to keep the World in one piece for future generations. And yeah, I'm up for it.
How did I perform this transition? I became more conscious, I started making conscious decisions. I started to think, in order to do that I had to give up mood-altering substances that were keeping me down.
I started to think and make deliberate, intentional decisions about my life, with planned, intended outcomes.
Instead of accepting the truth that other people had been feeding me for years.
Full disclosure: I still have 3 games installed, but they have zero power over me, whole weeks pass without me opening them up, while my complete collection of games exceeds 125 titles, not even including the things I played before 2007 which are just dozens of CDs (which I'm in the process of looking for a recycling place for).
THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS, I'M WRITING FROM MEMORY, WILL UPDATE WHEN I CAN.
I JUST WANT TO GET THIS INFO OUT AS MY CONTRIBUTION TO THE EFFORT OF GETTING PAST THIS MODERN GAMING PLAGUE THAT RUNS CONTRARY TO EVERYTHING THAT'S NATURAL AND NORMAL IN SOCIETY
Below is a list of ideas that you would do well to take into account.
Warning: This material is in no order and is free to reproduce, I won't sue you for that, but don't subvert my goal of providing real and useful info to quit gaming addiction.
Additional Warning: Some of this stuff is geared towards men, I'm a man, so this is where my expertise is, but don't discount it if you're a woman, it might help.
1) Gaming addiction is an addiction. What are you running away from?
In my real life experience, addictions work the same way, it's something you do to run away from something you perceive as a problem, or to hide from a life you perceive as horrible for some reason, or from something else entirely, but the common theme of addiction is running away.
Solution: Stop running and face the dragon! How? Watch the free videos of Dr. Jordan B Peterson, he will explain facing and slaying the dragon better that I could in a million years, here's a start, but do your own exploration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kjw4n9oJh8
(Side note: Incredibly, his hugely insightful videos only started being posted last year! This is powerful stuff!)
It's your responsibility to absorb this information about slaying the "dragon". I warn you some of Dr. Peterson's work sounds weird because it's so abstract, but stick with it.
Why slay the dragon? Why bother? Because that's where your growth and development is. It's scary, but you have to do it, or you're toast. The good news is you can do it. I know this, because I did it, I slayed my personal dragon and it did look hopeless in the beginning.
Personal note: Here is a list of addictions I have had in my life, I switched between them but always had at least one:
gaming, smoking cigarettes, smoking e-cigarettes, smoking various cigar types, alcohol - both weak and strong, pornography - videos, pornography - photos, (I was in such a deteriorated state I even made porn), junk food - chips and pizza mostly but a lot of different things really, overeating every single day, buying sports equipment and not using it, coffee.
At this time, I don't have any of those anymore. I still drink 1-2 coffees a day as needed, but it's not 4-5 doubles/triples a day anymore. Haven't smoked in over 6 months, same for drinking - which is a shock in my country's culture - now I see alcoholism everywhere, yikes!
Conclusion: You're using gaming to run away from things. Stop doing that and confront your "dragon", whatever that may be. You can, you must, otherwise you'll be stuck in suffering forever.
2) If you can't wait to get home and game, or you're constantly gaming on your phone, you're an addict
There's no two ways about it, it's happened to me years ago, I've seen it happen to others, this is a fact.
I had a colleague at work who would talk non-stop about this online game he "liked", in reality he was totally consumed by it, even at work.
At work he would watch videos of it and could not wait to get home and get on his computer and set fire to the next 3-4 hours of his life. He had a paired-down version of it on his phone and played it at work when he should have been working. He has recently left the company.
It's also easy to notice that addicts cannot talk about other things, he was different before he started this game, he would talk sports and politics, but after he started this game it was all strategy all the time, virtual equipment and how things work and so on.
Another thing I observed is that he started another, totally different game he played at work while he was unable to play his original addiction.
Yeah, if you're always thinking, talking about a game and cannot stop thinking about it or switch topics, you're an addict.
Just accept it and get to work on yourself.
3) The cure for your gaming addiction could be to grow up, to mature, to switch from child to adult
Dr. Jordan Peterson explains that while women have pretty much a "pre-set" trajectory from childhood to maturity, nothing's really forcing young men to grow up, they could stay in child mode forever and some of them do, in diverse ways.
Are you a spouse of an immature man? Then you know what I mean.
Young men mature when they choose to sacrifice the sum of their life's potential in favour of choosing a real path.
Young men mature when they choose a responsibility in life. The key is responsibility.
When you're young, you're nothing but potential, but you must choose what to do with that potential. You choose a "load" (task, work, life's mission etc.) to move from point A to point B and taking on that responsibility that's how you grow up.
By choosing a responsibility (e.g. "I'm gonna be a first-responder and save lives, I'm gonna be an engineer, I'm gonna be a carpenter and build things out of wood, I'm gonna be a teenage candidate for state governor (real case in Kansas, these guys grew up quick), I'm gonna be a forest ranger and attend to the forest's health" etc.), you grow up and you stop caring so much about video games.
And I mean really choosing a responsibility, a profession if you will. Not just getting a job to feed your addiction.
I will refer you again to Dr. Jordan Peterson's videos, his stuff is really great for young men looking to find their way in life.
4) As a young man, have you grown up without a father? That has real consequences!
Growing up without a father has very real effects on a young man which can be hugely damaging and surprising when you read about them. So if this is your case, read up on it, understand yourself better, possibly find a father-figure to teach you things.
Sorry ladies, but boys need to be taught and trained in life by their father, alternatively the best father-figure available, although boys are very rarely able to express this need.
It's my case, so I can attest to the veracity of this idea.
5) Enablers, idiots, other addicts, weaklings and cowards are everywhere - toxic influences abound
It's not mandatory that you can count on nearby people for help and support. Odds are you can't, odds are they're not good for you.
If you have a family who's by your side throughout your recovery from addiction, then you are truly fortunate.
But for most of us, you have to do your own study, research, information-gathering, communication (like on this forum), work and decisions. The good news is you can do it. The bad news is you may have to end some friendships or relationships, if those people are keeping you addicted to one or more things.
Oh and you can tell your gaming "guild" or "clan" to go to hell.
6) Do you feel like you're not living your own life and are actually following someone else's plan for life?
That may well be true! And you may be gaming just to not do what others expect you to do.
In this case, I will refer you to #1 above because you are probably running from something or someone and need to face it/them, possibly having to confront and even have an argument to settle things.
Yes, you may have to face someone and tell them "what you want is not for me and you're no authority, you have no idea what you're talking about, things are very different from what you think they are, you gave me very bad advice for life and it made me absolutely miserable for a long time. But now I'm done, I'm going to live my own life, as good as I can make it and you can't prevent me from doing so".
Yeah, they will see you in all your angry, argumentative glory, but if you need to express yourself, then you must do it, otherwise you live in internal exile.
I know, because it was my case.
7) Forgive yourself
Yes, you played a lot of video games. Yes, it was a lot of wasted time. Just forgive yourself.
No ifs, no bargaining, no conditions, just forgive yourself.
This can be difficult, but you have to understand that life is a mess and those who pretend it is not are wrong (and potentially insane).
Just forgive yourself for everything and then get to work on rebuilding.
8) While recovering, consider charity, it eases the guilt
Once you start coming out of your addictions, whatever they are, you may encounter feelings of guilt, even if the only person you hurt is yourself.
To deal with the guilt, consider taking part in charity activities, pack up what you don't need and donate it to a real charity (take care to investigate if it's real charity or a scam, some of them are covert shops for profit).
I've donated dozens of diverse articles of clothing to an NGO who helps people who have nothing and nobody to help them, the very bottom of society.
It helps with my conscience. Also note I'm not writing this post by accident.
9) Very many game developers have no conscience and will use you as cattle
A lot of game developers start out with the explicit goal of making you addicted to their games and taking as much of your money as they can.
And they do get people addicted, in spite of their protestations in the media when confronted.
There are major companies that rake in billions from this stuff, they have no interest in giving you a safety warning and they have their own lobbying groups. They are using you.
Doesn't that make you mad? Doesn't that make you want to quit gaming?
Your dignity can save you from a life of virtual serfdom, in which thousands and thousands of people are hooked every single day.
10) If you fall, get back up and keep going
You're not perfect, you have flaws and society just cannot wait to exploit them for profit.
Gaming promises a lifetime on a fictitious pleasure island where everything is perfect.
It promises everything and delivers nothing. Gaming is the same as being swindled out of your money for an illusion. At some point, the illusion breaks and rays of truth begin to shine through. "Pleasure island" is a lie and all it does is hurt you and waste your time.
We've all fallen in diverse ways. We've lost money in our lives, relationships, time, property, sometimes limbs and other things.
Whatever way you've fallen, get back up and keep going. You have the strength, I know you do.
11) If you have a gaming PC or console in the home, someone there is an addict, someone there is running from something, someone in there is possibly addicted to other things as well
Sure, we've all had the small, portable game consoles with the ugly graphics from years ago, I still have mine, haven't played it in over a year, but I still have it. I can't really sell it because it's so outdated, I'm just looking for a recycling place that will take it off my hands, it's complicated electronics that are probably (definitely) worth recycling.
But if you have a major gaming console, or a purpose-assembled gaming PC at home, that's a warning.
Someone's probably on it every chance they get. And I will also warn you about the very latest portable consoles, they're getting more horsepower than ever and are more addictive than ever.
Full disclosure: I'm typing this off my gaming PC from many years ago, but that's just because it still works, it's not fully obsolete and I don't have another PC. When the time comes I'll probably get one of those mini PCs with just a decent graphics card to watch vids on it.
Additional warning signs: Considering the pros and cons of current generation video cards is another big warning sign. Buying a powerful new video card is like putting the needle in your vein.
Example: I will give you a real life example of my colleague from work. Although I could offer at least a couple more examples just off the top of my head, including a former friend who was actually quite a parasite and drug addict as well.
He has been a gamer for many years, mostly fantasy games and has recently bought two new video cards to run in tandem in his computer. He talks about fantasy games he has played and how good their graphics are. (already alarm bells are going off in my head at this point, this poor man is wasting his life away on illusions)
Yesterday, or the day before, he showed me on his phone the list of TV shows he watches, which is extremely long and even if he watched TV continuously for the rest of his life, he would not be able to see all the content in that list. I cautioned him that it's not a good way to spend one's time, since all of those shows follow a similar pattern of keeping the viewer hooked with no real satisfaction.
He shrugged it off.
As we were leaving the office, he complained that he had to wake up early the next day to go on a weekend trip with his wife to an ancient citadel not far from the city. He mentioned it was her idea and that he didn't really care for it. (alarm bells continue to go off in my head that this man is in a miserable place, emotionally)
To conclude: He is distancing himself from his wife, he is running away from his chosen wife. She is taking steps to get him back, but it's slow-going and difficult, he's in the lure of the illusion and he doesn't see that he's stuck in lies fabricated by various studios.
Yeah, she probably has her own problems, but running away is nowhere near a solution. Truth must be applied, honest discussions must be had, but there's no room for that because this man is in the grasp of profesionally-designed illusions.
Do you see how avoiding issues can results in not one, but two similar addictions (gaming and binge-watching TV)?
He's also angry about something unknown to me, which brings me to my next point.
12) Gaming can be an excuse to avoid being angry
"Oh, I'm not going to face my family and say I'm angry with them for some reason, even though that may let off some of this pressure I'm under and possibly give me a different result, through honest, heartfelt, probably difficult but still worthwhile communication."
"No, instead I'll shoot and stab my feelings in this video game, avoiding the problem(s) altogether."
This is relevant, video gaming can be a way to avoid truly feeling feelings, it's running from one's own emotional state. You do this enough times, you might as well be the character in the game, you've turned your natural feelings into a poison to be avoided.
Recovering from this affliction is a combination of patience, honesty and compassion for oneself.
Don't go berserk, don't start slapping your family around, but instead patiently observe and admit your feelings.
Saying "I am angry with you because you did this instead of that, I've repeated it to you many times that I want things done in a certain way and I've explained why... So that's how I feel, I'm angry with you. Now what are we going to do? What are you going to do? What am I going to do? How do we move on?"
is much better than avoiding feelings with video games and then murdering your entire family of "ungrateful cretins" with a lava lamp.
13) Gaming can be both a cause and partial distraction from depression
Depression is real and it comes from two possible sources:
Sometimes there are physical dysfunctions of the brain, or other physical causes of dysfunction, I don't know, I'm not a trained physician.
Secondly, much more commonly in my amateurish opinion but based on my real life observations, depression comes as a consequence of having a tremendous amount of difficulty in one's life in a short timespan, or losing a major life objective. Your life fell apart, so you end up depressed.
Now, if you're depressed you need professional help, period. Depression is fully treatable today, so don't wait around.
But in my opinion, many cases of what symptomatically appears to be depression is really too much difficulty in a short amount of time.
People get overwhelmed, look at what a mess the World is now, there's war and pollution, climate catastrophes, people have to flee for their lives in their millions. Of course they get depressed. You get hit by a death in the family, expulsion from your country and overseas persecution, of course you're going to be depressed.
Sometimes depressed people distract themselves with video games. I understand this, but still do not approve of it, not as a cure.
Yes, your life fell apart. Lives fall apart all the time, it's a fact whether you care to admit it or not.
It will happen to almost all of us in some way. But at some point, you will have to start untangling the whole mess and start fixing what you can fix, getting the problem down to size, slowly, patiently, over a fairly long period of time.
At some point you will have to say "what a disaster, I'll start fixing from this corner and work my way over to the opposite one".
If you are like this, or your family member is like this, don't mess around, get a diagnostic and any recommended treatment (if any is given)!
Depression is treatable, but video games only serve as a temporary distraction, meanwhile the mess of problems remains unsolved.
And guess what, probably when you fix your major problems in your life, it will be good so you won't want to game! Hah!
Of course, gaming can also make you feel depressed and angry, just take a look at gamers' faces when they play - good lord what a combination of anger, fear, tension and hatred! In which case, just get off the game! You'll feel better in about an hour!
<more points coming when I remember them>
Was a gaming addict for many years, then I grew up and now have a fairly normal life, with all of the struggles it entails.