Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Advice from a former Video Game Addict

Thursday, January 14th, 2010
Hello Everyone,

I’ve been reading some of the posts on here, and was inspired to share my story.

Around six years ago, I found myself in the clutch of video game addiction. I was a young man, had an awesome girlfriend, had a mediocre job, and came from a close family. Nothing seemed to be out of place, and at the time I didn’t think that I had ANY problems. My thoughts concerning playing excessive amounts of video games were like the thoughts of most of the addicted husbands and boyfriends mentioned on this forum… “I’m escaping, I need time for myself, It relaxes me, it’s better than being at a bar… blah blah blah”. I know right?

The name of the beast was Playstation 2. It wasn’t necessarily an online game, and I wasn’t playing to the extent of some of the horror stories I’ve read here, but it was a problem in my relationship with my girlfriend and family nonetheless. One day my girlfriend spoke to me seriously about me playing games so much. She told me she was concerned about me playing so much, and felt neglected by me. I kind of brushed her off about it, and I excused myself from there being anything wrong with what I was doing. If anything it actually reinforced my reasons and determination for playing (I saw that my girlfriend was un-supportive and too needy)… but the contrary was true. A few days later my mother called me to come over. I went over and my girlfriend was there, and I guess we had a sort of a mini intervention. We all talked, I listened.

“My girlfriend had to go to the extreme of involving my mom”? (This was important)
This made me see that there’s consequences to everything you do, YES, even playing video games.
It was then I realized that I was replacing life itself with video games, I was spending more time with fake digital characters, and computerized violence than my girlfriend whom I (supposedly) loved. I saw the tears in her eyes and longing in her face to have me (the person who neglected her for so long) back. The very next morning I got up early and got rid everything video game related in my possession, and good riddance. It was a defining moment in my life. I was determined then to be a real man, and stop acting like a spoiled selfish teenager.

I thank GOD today that I went on to marry that wonderful woman. I  can say that I am truly happy, and have a successful marriage and career. I’ve also gotten a REAL hobby.

I also thank my wife for not giving up on me, she makes me more than I really am.

My suggestions to you significant others in these video game triangle relationships is this…

- Love conquers all, share your feelings with your mate, be patient, be brave, and be strong (we need help).
- Get a third party involved if possible, to be a mediator in the discussion of the problem. let it be someone that you both respect and has an understanding of the situation.

- Present them a clear list of choices or consequences that they will experience if their behavior doesn’t change.
- Follow through.. If you present an “ultimatum” be ready to back up what you’ve said you will do. This is worst case scenario, but if the person chooses an imaginary life rather than a real one with you… what can you do but make sure can take care of yourself (and your children).

There is always hope.

Thanks for reading.
-Nelson Castro (RazorJack)

A Gamer Widow Finds Her Voice

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Sherry has already mentioned the Globe and Mail article. The writer told my story from my wife’s perspective, giving voice to her pain in a way that the Dr. Phil Show didn’t make time for in their format. I found it difficult to read, but it was the ‘whole truth,’ and needed to be written and read by gaming addicts and their loved ones.

I called the writer looking for some information yesterday, and she actually seemed somewhat surprised that I liked the article. I thanked her for a job well done. Widows, print the article and get your gamer to read it.

Brad

Husband’s View-Point

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

This is written by my husband, I asked him to write this, as I wanted him to journal his thoughts and ideas as he transitioned from hardcore gamer to actually putting me first and how he viewed things. So here it is.

As a start, I’m not normally a writer, but my wife (Karla) asked me to write this little segment for her.  I figure it’s rather easy to appease my wife’s desires in this one, so here goes.  The focus of the segment?  A sentence that she sent to me.  And I quote…”I was wondering if you could write a piece about how/why/what happened/your thoughts on how you changed your mind on gaming and your habits and putting me first.”  In all, an undesirable topic, but one that I completely understand the need for it to be written about.  Personally, I think the gamers out there and the gamer widow(er)s all have a generalized idea of what goes through peoples’ heads when they think about quitting gaming and getting back into what some in society might call a ‘normal’ life.

For me, my gaming was never -about- a ‘normal’ life.  I started playing video games as a kid and never really have stopped since.  I pick and choose my fascination…usually on a whim on the day I want to play something.  From there, I set myself up and relax with said video game until either a) I get frustrated to the point of wanting to throw the controller/mouse away (I don’t do that…that’d indicate anger issues and I resolved those when I was in 3rd grade :P) b) I realize I have somewhere to be or something that I absolutely need to do… or c) someone wanted my attention and I felt that I was willing to give them that attention.  To most gamers, I think, that pretty much sums up their desires in a nutshell while playing.  If they realize that something absolutely -needs- to be done, someone they want to spend time with wants their attention, or they get frustrated with their game, they’ll stop playing and do something besides play.

When I started into the online gaming with World of Warcraft (WoW for short from here on), I had just gotten into a relationship with a girl (now my wife, Karla, thank you very much) and was playing all the time when I wasn’t talking to her or working in the US Marine Corps.  I was introduced to the game by a friend of mine (my room mate at the time and still one of my closer friends), Jared.  When I played, I lost track of time unless it was military involved, I lost track of anything I needed to do unless it had dire consequences and I basically didn’t have any desire to do anything else.  The game was not necessarily -all- that mattered, but it was a large chunk of what I was thinking about all day long, every day for a while there.

My playtime waxed, my interaction with anyone outside WoW waned, and a lot of people started noticing that I was playing a lot.  A big kicker was when Jared told me that he thought I was playing a little too much even for a hardcore gamer.  He thought I was ignoring life.  (there’s lots of background details with Jared, but let’s just say that the tables turned and he’s where I was and it’s not as easy kicking his habit as it was kicking mine…we’ll get into that later)  Karla was getting upset because at times, when I said I’d call her, I would, but only at 4am the next morning (to me, the same night because I hadn’t gone to bed because I had been playing).  Other times, I’d just sit there and not think there was anything important to talk about when she called, so not pick up the phone (the desiring to talk to her had kinda not pushed through my gaming…read the above reasons ‘worthy’ to interrupt gaming).  About the only thing that was guaranteed to get me off the game was if I had to go to work.  Even then, I was complaining about it.

So shortly after the 4am calls and the friend telling me I played too much, I started to realize that I hadn’t, in fact, been spending any time actually talking to my friends or my romantic interest.  I felt that it was completely reasonable to be completely distracted by something sometimes, but felt I had gone a little ‘overboard’ with it.  So I pushed away from WoW for a bit and started talking on the phone a lot more with Karla, started hanging out and doing things with Jared and other fellow marines.  Basically, I weaned myself from the game bit by bit.

Then came one of the happier times in my life:  marriage.  Karla and I got married on June 24th, 2006 in my hometown.  I brought her back home to meet my mother before I married the woman, and we had a pretty wedding in the middle of the Yakima Arboretum.  Only the respective parents were there and it was very small and what most people would call ‘quaint’.  Karla went back to Newfoundland for a little while whereas I went back to the marines, started the ball rolling on getting allowance to live off base and in my own apartment (well…we lived with room mates for the first 6 months and that was a disaster, but not part of this diatribe) and got everything ready for Karla to come down and stay with me.  I also bought a new computer because my laptop fried itself.  The desktop came in probably about early August.  Between June and August, I hadn’t played WoW much.  A little playing here, a little there, but nothing to even make someone say something about me playing.  Then the computer arrived, and it was new, it was shiny, it ran fast, it had no issues playing WoW like my other computers I had played on had, and it was mine, all mine (yes ours, Karla, but at the time it was in my possession without anyone else drawing time off of it so MINE!  :P).  So I started playing WoW again.  Not a lot at first, but between early August and Sept 8th when Karla came down to the states to stay with me, I went from playing once in a while to playing almost to the point of earlier, where someone was thinking I played too much again.

The killing blow on the whole ordeal was actually 3 days after Karla got down to the states to stay with me.  I hadn’t thought about playing a lot and I really didn’t know how life with my wife was going to be.  I figured I could work her in on the side somewhere alongside my gaming.  I figured SO wrong.  Karla, when she’s around, doesn’t seem like a dominating person.  She seems nice, cuddly, bubbly, and generally just a great person to be around.  I love her for that and SO much more…but when she thinks you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be doing and she is right there able to tell it to your face…well…she gets scary.  Not as a person, no, just the way she wont take any nonsense, doesn’t allow you to weasel your way out of it and just stands right there and says ‘This is not right and I wont let something not right be around me’.  Basically it got into a series of -huge- fights for us.  To me, though, my relationship with my wife (and I must use the stress on the word wife because to me, every relationship prior to this was just a boyfriend girlfriend thing in actuality and in my head) was supposed to be about happy and generally peace-filled times.  So from roughly mid-September for a few months there, I didn’t play at all.  Didn’t get on to check anything, didn’t do anything, didn’t go near the computer.  Yes, I played other video games, but I didn’t have anything to do with the dreaded WoW.

I must point out, at this time, for me to play just an hour a day seemed ludicrous.  Anything having to do with WoW required at least a 3-4 hour time commitment and to spend anything less than that was a waste of time.  So instead of playing WoW, I played Gears of War or Halo 2 or anything else that didn’t require time commitments and that I could put down at the drop of a dime to do anything and everything that my wife wanted.  The problem still wasn’t fiixed by any means, but I had circumvented it to keep the peace.  Around Christmas, there was a flareup of relationship issues that I wont get into on here, but basically, it caused me to re-evaluate how much I cared about my wife and how much I wanted to make everything work.  So I looked at my gaming from an honest perspective and asked myself ‘can I honestly want to play more than I want to have a family?’  To me, it took a while to get the answer to come, but the answer was ‘no’.  I wanted to take care of my wife.  I wanted her happy.  I wanted her to be completely, utterly blissful.  Playing WoW wasn’t doing anything like that.

I don’t know when the transfer of thought processes from ‘I must play WoW!’ to ‘I want to be happy with my wife and later as a family’ occurred, but I know that it did.  It all came down to me making the decision that the woman that I decided to spend the rest of my life with, well, I had to spend the rest of my life with her.  I had to focus on her, love her, care for her, and pay the attention to her that she deserved as my wife.  I think it’s a misconception that gamers don’t love their spouses.  I don’t know where I’ve read that some people think that, but honestly, I know I’ve read it somewhere.  Gamers -do- love their spouses. They just have found something that so completely entertains them and draws them away from reality that their spouses are just put on the back burner.  I don’t know if that’s the case for everyone, but I do know that it was the case for me.  My wife became my reality when I made the choice that she was the more important thing in my life.  She was physically there, whereas WoW and all of its’ idiosyncracies was going to have to take the back burner.  I never stopped liking the game and I still play it every once in a while.  But the decision to stop focusing on it and becoming an actual caring husband took precedence over my desire to have fun and play a game that doesn’t really effect anything in real life.

So in essence, there was no real defining moment that took me out of my WoW-world.  The decision that came upon me was influenced by a lot of outside factors besides gaming and my relationship with my wife.  I think I just wanted to keep Karla happy.  To me, that has become the end-all be-all of my world.  If I can keep her happy, I think I’ve done something worth saying something about.  If I can’t?  Well, then I’m lacking as a husband, and I can’t stand the idea of being lacking in anything.  My habits changed to make way for Karla as the fore-front of my world.  I no longer play hours on end (often), I make sure that if I say I’m going to do something that I’m damn-well going to do it when I say I do it.  I don’t make excuses to play or to spend time doing something other than what I should be doing.  Basically, I became a completely reliable adult rather than a semi-reliable adolescent.  The difference is slight, but the focus on doing what I say I will, how I say I will, -when- I say I will became and sitll is the focus of my world.  My wife comes first always, and because of that, I’m satisfied that I’m doing a decent job as a husband and as a person.  Gaming hasn’t gone completely away from my life, but the habits I had when I was playing WoW too much, the ideas going thru my head and the focus I put on them have changed.  The decision to make that happen was just that: a decision.  Best served with deliberation, intent, and a good helping of common sense.  But in Karla’s words ‘common sense is remarkably uncommon’.  So there you go.

I don’t know if this will help anyone to read this, but I hope you get a generalized understanding of at least -this- gamer’s passage from being obsessed with WoW to becoming a reliable, loving husband.

Thanks for reading.

-Billy

Who is this site intended for?

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

You know…I was just browsing the forums and I came across a point that was brought up in a post back in May that I feel I should address.

If this site is not intended just for “Gamingwidows” then maybe it should be renamed “human relationships site”.

When I first created this site back in ‘05, I was a World of Warcraft widow in need of a place where I could share my frustrations in a safe environment and help anyone I could to cope with the feelings that I was feeling.  At that time there were NO message forums for gamer widows. There was one Yahoo! email list for EverQuest widows (but I wanted more than just an email list) and there was OLGAnon (but I’m not really into the 12 steps thing and I felt the site wasn’t really for me), so I created GamerWidow.com.

It was my safe place. A place where not just World of Warcraft or Everquest widows could come and share/vent/support each other, but a place for anyone who has felt neglected over ANY game at all.  The forums have seen a lot of change since then.  As time went by, I noticed that it wasn’t just the widows or widowers who visited the site but also gamers and ex-gamers.  I am a very optimistic and positive person by nature and everyone always starts off with an A with me until they prove that they don’t deserve it.  So naturally I was very welcoming towards everyone who joined — even really hostile, mean gamers who mocked what they thought the site was all about.  LOL In the end some of those hostile gamers stayed on as members and eventually became moderators!

Basically, what this site is about is positivity and support. I will never advise someone to just leave their addicted gamer nor will I ever just “blame the game”. Every relationship is unique and while we have some similarities, one fix will never work for all who come to the site. I am not a psychologist, though I pretty much minored in psychology in University and it’s my passion to study human behaviour.  I have a degree in Computer Science and do proudly call myself “geek”.  I have played, and yes become addicted to, World of Warcraft myself in attempts to save my marriage.  I still go through ups and downs….but overall my life is better because of gamerwidow.com and the community that has formed here.

This site is intended for gamer widows, gamer widowers, gaming addicts, ex-gamers, casual gamers who have an interest in the addiction, parents of gamers, friends of gamers, basically ANYONE who has an interest in video game addiction/obsession, ANYONE who wants to help or be helped, ANYONE who needs support.

So Welcome to GamerWidow.com :)

And slowly more pieces are fitting together….

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

So now we have a blog section, yay!! :)

For anyone who is interested in writing for us and becoming a contributing author please register (using the links to the right) and then send me a quick message letting me know you want to write for us and why.  I will then approve or deny your request and you can start blogging.

I’m so excited!

Frustration

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Its a relatively new word in terms of addiction. How does one exactly get to be a gaming widow? Normally, it has to do with when a person feels abandoned by their partner because of video games. I realize that people don’t hold this as a valid addiction nor do they believe that the situations widows find themselves in are truly that bad. They also sometimes believe that if they’re in that situation they can magically click their fingers and be out of it. It doesn’t work that way. Not at all.

If you need to an example try to imagine a woman or man who’s being abused. Physically, emotionally, what have you. They’ve spent 10 years with this person, are emotionally invested in the relationship and their lives, they have kids together and all the while the person knows something is wrong yet they can’t get out of it. They stick to the same situation over and over, first because they believe the person will change, then because they fool themselves into thinking that their relationship is healthy. Then it’s because of the children but little by little the person’s sense of self slowly starts to slip away. Eventually they’re left empty, bitter and broken.

This is very similar to how a gamer widow feels a lot of the time. MMORPG’s are a wave of the future, and for a lot of people its a scary future. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG’S) are basically a bunch of children, men, women playing the same game, at the same time all over the world. The allure of it, is that you can roll (create) any character you want for some games, you can be anything or anyone that you want to be. So if you’re a 400 pound person unhappy in life, these games can offer an escape. If you’re unhappy at work, at home, anywhere games can offer an escape.

While a person’s hygiene, welfare, job, and family suffers, they rarely if ever truly notice the impact of their gaming habits. Families fall apart, jobs are lost and the relationship between parent and child becomes broken and strained. Some people can recover, they give up their game of choice, they re-integrate themselves back into their family before its too late and relationships that were once broken, now begin to be mended.

As much literature as there is on gambling, alcohol, drug and other addictions, gaming is fairly new and has often times met with a lot of resistance in the ‘real world’. Those of us who are unfortunate enough to have been a widow or widower not only have to deal with our partners troubles and addiction but we also have to deal with those who scorn us. They figure we should be able to sexy ourselves up, cook a favorite meal and all of a sudden our powers of seduction will kick in and all will be well.

They make fun of our suffering as if it’s nothing, and never even try to understand our position or where we might be coming from. They only wish that we’d shut up about it already and quit bemoaning our widowhood. The only thing I can think of is, that if, your spouse or partner sits on his ass for 16 hour days playing, ignoring everyone including their family responsibilities and sometimes work responsibilities perhaps then you’d understand. But if your spouse is the type to do that anyway and you enable them in that, perhaps its you, who I and other widows should be feeling sorry for. How frustrating must it be, to sit day after day and pretend you’re ok with the downhill direction your life must be going.

Then again, who am I to assume anything? Much the same as who are you to assume you know anything about a widow’s life and anything she may or may not be bemoaning. Perhaps you could try patience and understanding next time instead of being miserable about it. Perhaps you could leave your assumptions at the door and instead be open minded. If its something that you know nothing about, here’s an idea - quit spouting off like you think you do.

You only once again make the world a narrow minded, prejudice-filled place. We have enough of that already, do we really have to add more to the mix?

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