John (not his real name) talks about gaming addiction...
John - Hi my name is John and I've been in recovery from gaming addiction since 2014. I started gaming as a youngster, I was born in the mid 70s and you know when I was young it was mainly computers, Commodore 64, and I really liked it and never saw it as a problem. I think as it escalated as I got older and it was when the internet really became quite a big thing, back on dial up and then on broadband connections.
People noticed it was a problem way before I ever noticed it was an issue. My partner used to approach me quite a lot when I'd come home from work and try and stop me playing the computer, trying to get me to spend time with her and my children. Even though it was consuming my life outside of work, I never really saw it as an issue. I used to love playing a lot of first person shooter games, used to really get immersed in the online world. I think as I started to get older, it ended up costing me quite a lot of things, I was unemployed for quite a long time. When I was unemployed I just sunk into the world even more. It becomes sort of an escape from me, just a way to get away from the way I was feeling. And just to deal with everyday life.
I finally got help in 2014, and it was going into a treatment centre in Essex called Sanctuary Lodge, where, back when I went in, it was quite new. And when I went in I learned that really the gaming was an escape for me, it became a way to actually deal with everyday life. And it was myself I needed a look at, really what was going on inside that was causing the problems, you know, why I was needing to escape from the real world and into this world and I'd done a lot of really good work on myself. I learned how to live, you know, being me and to deal with everyday life without having to use it as an escape.
Since leaving the treatment centre I've had varying degrees of actually staying completely abstinent. I don't believe for someone like myself that there is any moderating it. For me, it would come under the same category as any other type of addiction. I have, over the last four or four and a half years or so, convinced myself on a couple of occasions that my time away from it would qualify me, you know, to be able to do it normally. So I've downloaded games, I have a PC at home. At one time I even got a console as well. And what I noticed was in a day or so was, I'm back to doing what I was doing and it consuming my life again. So I now have to look at it as complete abstinence from gaming which can be difficult for me, because I always enjoyed the competition. I almost looked at it as like a sport.
Now, I've heard people say that, you know, gaming should be banned, even Prince Harry said that Fortnite should be banned. I don't ever think that you can ban a game as a whole. I don't think really it's the game that's the problem. I think if you really look at it, it's more of a social aspect now, the way people live, the way people are brought up, constantly seeking escapism in social media, gaming, in general. And I think that there are things that needs to be addressed and not actually banned in some game.