Help...Al-Anon? Addiction problems, not alcohol...

Hey everyone. My relationship went to pieces last night and I’m broken hearted.

My problem? I love the man I fell in love with…he is brilliant, kind, funny, honorable, honest, big-hearted, tender, sweet, silly, sexy and great.

I hate the other man that inhabits the same body: he’s an addict. A serious, sick, deeply in denial addict. Addicted to computer games. Often 10, 12, 14 hours in a day. Everything else comes after, if it comes at all, including me, our business, our lives.

Well, I’ve been trying everything I know for 4 years, and if anything he’s worse. Always told me I was the most important thing in the world to him. Guess not.

Anyway, a friend of mine suggested that for my own sanity, to at least understand more completely what I’m dealing with and why my relationship is in meltdown, I should go to Al-Anon. I fear however, that they would not respect the fact that this addiction can be just as destructive as alcoholism.

Are there yet Compu-Anon? I thought about a gambler gambler’s version, but they have the issue of financial ruin, which computer addicts don’t usually face.

I’m in a lot of pain, sorrow and anger right now. I need something…


This is a non-smoking area. If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and act accordingly.

I don’t know that there is a specific group addressing this problem but a competent therapist should be able to provide help for dealing with addiction (of any type), both for the addict and for those who care for/depend on/love/hate/enable/whatever the addict.

That’s where I’d start anyway. My personal experience is that one-on-one therapy is better at providing an understanding of what’s going on and that group therapy is better at overcoming the things that hold you back. So you probably want to start with one-on-one counseling (or two-on-one, if he’s willing to go with you) rather than delay getting help because you can’t find an appropriate support group.

If man was meant to fly faster than the speed of sound
he would have been born with 50,000 pounds of thrust.

I have spent the last five years with a man who is addicted to comic books and video games. So strong is his obsession that he can’t be counted on to be awake (from having spent 24 or more straight hours “reading” or playing) or to get a job, or to assist in taking care of household chores.

People keep telling me that there is such a thing as rehab for people like this, but it’s all word-of-mouth. I have no idea if such a thing really exists.

I’ve thought about taking the tough love approach, but throwing out all those comics would be like putting $10,000 in the trash.

Thus far, I’ve felt everything from heartache (being put in second place, having to attend ALL large family gatherings alone, being the third wheel in what was supposed to have been a double date, etc.) to rage (for all the same reasons, and more.)

I don’t think there’s anything that will change his ways, but to anyone reading this:

If the description of my husband sounds like you, TURN THE FUCKING COMPUTER/TV/PLAYSTATION OFF. You’re ruining every relationship you have, especially the important ones. Unless you want to be a hermit for the rest of your life, I suggest you make the change.

“Excrement. That is what I think of J. Evans Pritchard, PhD.” --Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

Al-anon will help you with a lot of things, but it won’t help you with where the addiction comes from. Al-anon treats alcoholism as a disease, not as an escape from reality. That’s what addictions are, escapes from reality. I would read John Bradshaw’s Bradshaw: On the Family to truly understand the addictive personality and how to deal with it. The book is much cheaper than a therapist.

I wish I could say something encouraging, Stoidela, but I don’t know what to tell you except this:

A friend of my wife’s is a severely addicted gambler. She goes to Gamblers-Anon. He does not. Therefore the problem still exists. The only thing the group does is give her moral support and advice on how to live with the situation. It doesn’t solve the problem. Unfortunately, he does not percieve it as a problem.
She’s trying very hard, but I’m sure the marriage will eventually break down unless he gets help. Bummer. They have two beautiful children.

Quite a few years ago, before the internet was widely available to the public, I introduced a friend of mine to the world of computers and BBS’s. In short order, he had become a BBS and online gaming junkie. I regretted ever showing him how to do anything because he seemed incapable of balancing his real life with his cyber-life. Being close to both his sister and mother, they begged and pleaded with me to intervene and try to pry him away from a life where he had become attached to his computer.

I wish, sincerely, that I could sit here and tell you about how I succeeded. But I can’t. All semblences of a friendly relationship were gradually severed as my ex-friend became more and more attached to the online world and shunned the real one. I don’t see or speak to him or his family anymore, so I don’t even know if he ever improved. I can’t help but feel a little bit responsible for introducing him to that world, but come on, how was I to know that he would become so attached to it.

This situation was of course quite different from the one that you describe. If I had a dear loved one in the same situation, I’m sure that I would have fought harder to reign in the problem. If I were in your situation, I imagine I would make it clear to him that he is living in a fantasy world which is nothing more than a dream and that he must wake up to reality. I would also try my damn hardest to make that reality better than the fantasy. I would probably employ some sort of reward and incentive system, since this is what he is probably used to in the computer games that he plays.

As you suggested in the OP, I would also pursue some of the same tried and true remedies for alcoholism and drug addiction. They are all basicly the same problem, retreating into an alternate reality at the cost of the true reality.

Since video game addiction is not a drug, I doubt if any of the drug or alcohol recovery groups could assist you but I would not hesitate to say that this fellow has a major reality based problem and is most definitely a candidate for some serious psychological help. Computer games are an escape of sorts from the real world. Having played them myself and having found some interesting and worth playing again and again, I have also found that all eventually get boring.

I mean, just how many monsters can you splatter in a week or how many times can you save the Earth, the chick, the space station, the dimension ect? I suggest you locate a psychologist and discuss the problem with him or her for clues on how to proceed. I hate also to point out that if your lover who loves you above all else has been seduced by a computer game, then you might seriously want to start looking elsewhere.

“Think of it as Evolution in action.”

I was a member for several years of Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA for short). It was immensely helpful. Instead of dealing with chemical addictions and the like, it dealt with unhealthy relationships. (And not just romantic ones. Relationships with friends, co-workers, etc. are also included.) The groups are kind of sparse, so you might have trouble finding a local one. If so, Al-Anon might be just as good. You could try it for awhile, and once you understand how it works, contact CoDA about setting up a local chapter.

Here’s a page of codependency links: web sites

The ones for CoDA didn’t seem to be working when I tried it, but it could be worth checking again later.

Good luck.

That’s weird. Let’s try that again. web sites

Oh, well. I guess you’ll just have to C&P it onto your address bar. web sites

Well now I’m all confused…

Fairly off-topic, but Just FYI never try to call Narcotics Anon in the Albany NY area. All you get is an anwering service that can do NOTHING except page an on call person who would usually take an hr to call back. The cant give out any other numbers. Not for AA, Al-Anon, ect. Not much help for the person who wants some info WITHOUT leaving a call-back number! As a former employee of said answering service, I had to deal with more than a few, drunken, drugged out, and seriously suicidal callers on that line.

On topic, I would recomend therapy for those addicted to their PCs. Sounds bizarre to me, but I do know a couple of people who are borderline cases now that I think about it.

“The universe doesn’t give first warnings or second chances”

Stoidela: I’m sorry to hear about the break up.

I have a friend who’s borderline addicted. He stays up for hours playing. I say he’s “borderline” because he sets aside time in the week to jones.

I used to be addicted to PC games. I could easily stay up all night and part of the next morning playing something like Masters Of Orion.

I wish I could tell you why I’m not anymore. I just sorta lost the attraction in the last few years. I still play PC games, but 2 or three hours a week is plenty for me on average.

I guess I just decided life is more important.

Again, I’m sorry for your loss. :frowning:

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

Stoidela, I’m sorry to hear what you are going through.

MrKnowItAll gave some good advice; check out those sites.

I would also recommend any book by Melody Beattie. She wrote Codependent No More, Beyond Codependency, and others.

Addictions of all kinds do share certain traits, especially in their effects on others. Codependency is as real as addiction and can be just as damaging. Do seek help.

Grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The Courage
To change the things I can;
And the Wisdom
To know the difference.

There are a lot of 12 step programs now and as a member of several I’ll bet you’ll find other’s with a similar problem at Al-anon. I found people there who understood the problems I had dealing with my mother’s drinking and my father’s drugging. They also understood about my problems with a friend who was addicted to the internet.

Addictions come in all flavors: Drugs, alcohol, sex, smokes, food, internet, computer games. Dealing with them (as someone watching someone else do this) is basically the same. I’d check it out and explain your situation to the group. You may be surprised to find many kindred spirits. It also seems there is a lot of support for you here.


I appreciate y’all taking the time to lend what hands you can.

I checked out the co-dependency links. If I’m co-dependent at all, i just got over it. The relationship is in meltdown exactly because I will no longer be an “enabler”. I am doing a one-woman intervention with him, basically taking away the only thing I have the power to take away to get his attention.

Of course, it’s also to save my sanity, since I can’t sit by any watch anymore, or be at the effect of it.

I love him so much…sigh…

Just a thought, Stoidela, but you may want to show him this thread. The sheer love and concern that you’ve shown here would definitely be a wake up call to me, were I him.
In fact, it’s about time I turned this blasted machine off for a while.

Just a thought, Stoidela, but you may want to show him this thread. The sheer love and concern that you’ve shown here would definitely be a wake up call to me, were I him.
In fact, it’s about time I turned this blasted machine off for a while.

Just a thought, Stoidela, but you may want to show him this thread. The sheer love and concern that you’ve shown here would definitely be a wake up call to me, were I him.
In fact, it’s about time I turned this blasted machine off for a while.