Finding freedom from compulsive living and video gaming addiction

I graduated from the reSTART life program in December of 2013 and have been in recovery ever since. I’d like to tell you a bit of my story.

I started gaming in my early childhood and grew up playing video games as much as I could. A “harmless” recreation slowly grew to a full fledged addiction while I was still in grade school, and my passion for gaming eventually became an obsession for the internet and all technological things. In middle school, due to the ease of access and lack of monitoring, I began using pornography and continued to do so right up to my time at ReStart. Online gaming, the internet, and porn held me as their slaves nearly all of my childhood and absolutely all of my adolescence.

I withdrew both emotionally and physically from those I loved.

I lied to whoever I needed to in order to get my fix, including myself. My life got completely absorbed by it.
Depression slowly began dominating my life and I began to hate myself. I didn’t want to be alive. How could I? Life wasn’t what it was supposed to be. I thought of life as a miserable endurance. I felt as though I had nothing to offer the world anyway. I was a suck on my parents resources and didn’t take responsibility for my actions. When I imagined my future all I could see was black; I never thought I would amount to anything. I went to gaming, the internet, and porn as my only solace from all of my thoughts, my perceived expectations of those around me, and my failure at being a functioning part of society.

Something had to change.

Realizing that gaming was interfering with a healthy life, I tried to limit my time playing. That didn’t work. I would always budge my self-imposed limitations.
My older sister had given me a copy of a book on gaming addiction called Cyber Junkie months before this epiphany, but I never read it because, “I didn’t have a problem”. As my struggle with trying to “regulate” my gaming and failing miserably continued, my heart opened to giving the book a chance, and I realized after reading Cyber Junkie that I was actually addicted to gaming. Without a real understanding of addiction I decided to give up gaming, uninstall my online game of choice, and get on with my life. I underestimated how impossible that would be on my own.

I relapsed–hard.

I was bewildered at my failure and felt totally lost.

Trying to remove the addiction by my own strength showed me just how powerless I was over it. It was then that I reached out, and a family-friend told me about ReStart.

Having experienced relapse, I was willing to be 100% honest during my stay at ReStart. Almost immediately upon arriving I began learning valuable tools for fighting addiction, and I was desperate for the insight provided at each subsequent meeting. It was immensely helpful to struggle alongside other guys in similar situations. We learned from each others struggles and encouraged each other to press on. The staff showed a love from God himself, and they pushed us to seize a life free from dependency on gaming and tech.

My recovery is very much linked with my faith in God. I constantly give up the “feelings” of wanting the things that enslaved me and instead choose the Truth of living in freedom.
When I was in the depths of addiction everything I did was based in how I felt- and I felt awful! I did not know that I should live based on Truth, not the ebbing tide of feelings. I believe I was lead to ReStart to gain the tools necessary to fight the lies of my addicted mind. My recovery is one day at a time, but by the Grace of God I haven’t gamed or looked at porn since graduating ReStart.

I am being honest when I say that the tools I learned at ReStart are crucial to my day to day recovery. The time I spent with ReStart gave me the momentum I needed to develop healthy habits and live a full life in continued freedom from addiction. I am far from perfect, and I still get discontent and desire the escape of gaming and sexual fantasy from time to time. In those times I remember tools I learned at ReStart and give my anxieties to God. I’m a work in progress, but I’m alive, and I can’t be more grateful for that!

Thank you for reading my story. I hope that wherever you are, you find freedom from compulsive living and the strength and peace to live each day, and our gift of life, to its fullest!

Gratefully yours, Adam

(Update 2019: 5 years post treatment still doing well)

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