How Do You Overcome a Gaming Addiction?

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I saw a question on Lockergnome the other day where Luke admitted he has a gaming addiction. He reached out to the community for help in overcoming it. He managed to stop playing all day long, but finds himself not caring about other activities. He feels a strong pull towards his game(s), and doesn’t know how to get past that. The first thing to remember that it IS an addiction, just like with a gambler or drug addict. An addiction is in your mind, and it’s not an easy thing to overcome. It takes a lot of strength and willpower just to admit you need help in that area, and I commend Luke for reaching out for advice.

Thankfully, I was never addicted to gaming. A gaming addiction can be quite a tremendous hurdle to overcome. Telltale signs of addiction are things like not showering, not participating in other activities, forgetting your friend and family and allowing your plants to die even.

You could quit cold turkey – but that honestly isn’t recommended. It’s very difficult to do, much as it is for a smoker to do. Take your knowledge of the game(s) you understand well, and translate that into wisdom. Share it with others online. Do screencasts and videos full of tips and tricks. Use your passion in other ways that are related to the game but don’t actually involve playing it. Heck, sketch some art.

I am not a doctor or counselor. I am more of a Geek coach. I am simply trying to give some suggestions to Luke. If you have any, be sure to leave him some comments and give him the support he needs.

Remember, if you or someone you know is a gaming addict, you should seek help to overcome it if you feel you cannot do it on your own. There are many documented cases of people losing jobs, relationships and families due to becoming so addicted to a game that they forget the rest of their life. Don’t let this happen to you.

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5 thoughts on “How Do You Overcome a Gaming Addiction?”

  1. I guess I’m cured. Watching your YouTube videos via Lockergnome channel… OK, so before I found them I was maybe addicted a little bit to gaming. That’s what gamers do though. It’s a job. Play all day.

    Know how I got over it?



  2. A basic fundamental law of nature is that energy can not be created or destroyed, merely converted from one form to another. It is, therefore, impossible to just quit cold-turkey without having another form or outlet that you can focus the same amount of energy you put into either developing your gaming characters or skills or being absorbed in a false world on. Whatever you choose to shift to, it should be something that interests you the most, something you’ve always wanted to do or something that gives you the greatest long-term satisfaction like seeing France or just taking a walk.

    Here is a method I used to beat my laziness and my addiction to gaming that acted, not exactly as a source, but as a catalyst for stagnation and, more often than I could admit to myself, depression. Please change the method to what suits you, because, after all, you know yourself better than anybody! Here it is:

    1) Set up a list of all the negative effects that gaming currently has and will have on you. It is easy to forget that gaming can have a great impact on your time and energy, not just that which you would like to use but that which you need for things like relationships and work, study or well-being. Think this one through, ten items should be enough but keep going if you can!
    2) Set up a list of things that you would love to do more than spending another 30 hours on a game that only offers short-term satisfaction. Think about them! Write them down! Focus on how you will feel when you do those things instead and the enjoyment of productivity, if it involves it! Bask in the thought of how you will feel about yourself if you do it, or how others will see you if it helps! This list should ideally be twice as long as the list in 1)
    3) Set up a to-do list of small things that will help you achieve these goals. The one thing to remember is that you must be specific! If you want to become fit and healthy or learn to paint then you should by all means take that challenge on! You’ll have the time! The problem, however, lies in the illusion that gaming creates, that you are already powerful when you start out and that success is the only option. You cannot expect your level to be higher than beginner and the only way to get to expert level is to set up achievable goals or even missions if you want. Write down how you will jog or paint for five minutes, next day ten then ten every day from then on. Delegate your newly found free time with a to-do list, then, instead of somebody else telling you what to achieve (as is the case in video games, even free-roaming ones) you can think for yourself and set up your own path!
    4) Then, one day when you feel it is right, turn off your computer and start with the first thing on your list. That is unless your task requires your computer, then you can still delete the temptation if you feel that you are to weak. That is how I felt at the start. Every desktop icon called out to me when I felt any kind of strain. If I did not remove all the games from my computer I would not have been able to even start. That is the strange thing about games, isn’t it? The fact that it can both cause your problems as well as make you forget about them? It’s a damn vicious circle, I tell you!
    5) Be supportive of yourself! Every time you finish something you should applaud yourself! If you cannot complete a task you set out then that is okay! The fact that you tried should bring a smile to your face because just the mere attempt is greater for your well-being than any of the negative things you have listed at the start! Nobody gets it on the first, second, or even third try unless you are some kind of prodigy! You can be your greatest critic, but also your greatest inspiration! You would not think it, but confidence is a habit that can be formed this way, mine has and I don’t regret turning off games for even a second! Okay, maybe a few with the PS4 release! ;)
    6) Talk to people about you willingness to change. It doesn’t have to be soppy or emotional at all, you needn’t even drink! Just mention in passing that you are making an effort to reduce your time playing games. Let your clan know that you will be playing less or that you want to leave for personal reasons if you have that obligation. You don’t have to list your reasons lest it makes your friends and compatriots feel like you are judging their way of life, which will cause antagonism and put social pressure on your attempt to quit the cycle and build yourself to become something more. Their support and understanding can drive you to achieve the things you set out to do, maybe even keep you from relapsing!

    Right! That is my list! I just set out to find resources and ended up writing a damn essay! Haha! I’ll just tell you that it is one thing to want and another to do! Be strong, keep focus and don’t give up the search that led you here!

    Sincerely (since this comment I wrote is so long I feel I have to close),
    Jean Louw

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