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AnnaIvanovna

Second Life addiction is a very real problem. This is my story.

34 posts in this topic

I was addicted to SL for many years before I tried quitting it a few months ago. I first joined SL in 2009 after reading about a 'successful' SL real estate tycoon in Lianhe Zaobao (a Singapore newspaper) and my curiosity was piqued. I was eager to find out what the fuss was all about and thought it to be like any other social media platform like Facebook. Little was I aware of the tumultuous love-hate relationship I would have with SL and how my addiction would spiral out of control.

 

I was a high-achieving student back then, the typical Asian good-girl, hardworking in school and responsible about my duties. I purchased a new laptop that year which allowed me to partake in SL activities in a private and intimidate setting, i.e. my bedroom, without fear of discovery by others.

 

Everything was so new and exciting to me, and SL is a like a huge playground for me to fulfil my every whims and fancy. I soon discovered how to use my avatar like a Barbie doll and spend time hunting for the most avant-garde and aesthetically-pleasing fashion. I also discovered the dark fantasies that some SL users engage in, like cybersex and bondage. I even virtually married someone who dissolved our partnership within days. All the while, I was a student whose academic performance spiralled downwards uncontrollably and my emotions fell into a pitfall as a result.

 

Gradually I grew tired of this game because of the inability of meeting many people due to time zone differences. I also felt stifled by the rules and admins of the role-play sims I was in, e.g. Tombstone where I even worked as ‘soiled dove’ and models for lindens and clothes, further fuelling my craving for playing Barbie.

 

Then in the following three years, I discovered new hobbies, which I then thought SL would be a great platform to further my interests. The first was my fascination with foreign languages. Back in 2009, there were numerous language schools in SL. I met people, chatted with them in different languages, found the voice chat too laggy and switched to Skype. It became a habit for me to pick up people who speak a particular language natively, quickly befriend them and talk to them through Skype all day. The second was my growing enthrallment with the classical opera which consumed my time and energy as I fantasised being a soloist myself. I went to several different karaoke lounges and performed operatic arias to an uninterested and confused audience. It’s a bit similar to the audience reaction in this video, see clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX4u0D6k4hw. On a side-note, I even went so far as to befriend real successful opera singers on Facebook, but I’m digressing.

 

In 2012, I had to prepare for an important examination, so I quit SL for half a year. I deleted my account before I quit and went so far as to clarify that with the personnel on the SL hotline.

 

Just recently, after the examination, I was back. During a bout of boredom, I rashly decided to call the SL hotline, just to see what happened to my old account. And voila, the friendly staff at Linden Lab re-activated my account promptly and all my inventory items were as good as new! So for almost an entire week, I picked up where I left off and joined in the festive holiday season celebration. The influx of presents from designers, (the discovery that mesh clothing is now THE clothing) and the number of gridwide hunts which kept me busy for hours in front of the computer, until I discover the invaluable ‘area search function’. The constant use of laptop had me drained physically and mentally. All the emotional roller-coaster associated with gaming came back to haunt me along with all the pleasant and guilt-ridden memories. Eventually, on Christmas Eve, I had a serious confrontation with my family who were concerned over my long hours of internet use. I broke down emotionally and there were ugly scenes, harsh words, tears and heartbreaks.

 

I had constantly lived in self-denial over my serious addiction towards computer gaming, especially SL. Until now, I had not realised what a huge mistake it is for me to take part in SL. Virtual world is not for everyone and I no longer want be part of the equation. I do not want to fall victim to online game, ever again, especially that I am still young and have a long journey in life before me. Second Life destroys my life and I tell myself, I have only ONE life and I better be happy with it and make the best out of it. There is no SL vs RL balancing act. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE.

 

PS: This is my first ever SL forum post and I had just deleted my whole inventory, group & friend lists, and now my account is pending for deletion, again.  

 

For all intents and purposes, this is NOT a rant against SL or LindenLab. I admire the creativity and effort put into this by both the LindenLab IT team and SL user-creators. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers on SL, even though you were anonymous to me and were not obliged to be amiable. This is a very personal and difficult post for me to write, and I just want to share my story for those struggling with SL addiction. I do not bear any grudge against the makers and users of SL.

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Wow that was a heart felt read if i ever saw one ..You have to break free from this addiction and looks like you are strong enough to do so .As for myself I have time to spare and find SL Building relaxing .Yes i agree with you views on addiction here as I know some people who can not escape the virtual and spend plenty of cash here as for myself I'm sure maybe I am slightly addicted but in saying this when I first joined It had me awake until the early hours but now I am able to put real life first ..I have had many many laughs on SL ..took it rather to heart once over and fell for some pixel guy hahahah .. got through that bad time tho . :-) sorry to see you go but if ever you feel strong enough to separate the two im sure we could cause a riot together ..RL always come first whatever we do .. be well and happy  bless

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I can understand, Annalvanovna. When I first signed on to Second Life it was partly because my RL movement had become severely restricted. I became immersed in Second Life. When my physical world became less limited I started to notice that large chunks of time were missing - I would log into Second Life and suddenly, hours had passed. Now I have a timer by my keyboard to remind me that I need more balance in my life. Sometimes I ignore it, but I think my experience in Second Life is better now that I have rationed it a bit.

Best of luck in whatever world you inhabit.

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Here are my thoughts, not that you will likely return to read them

  • You do only live once, SL is a medium where humans interact and your addiction for the feelings engendered will become evident in whatever medium you choose. In RL your traits might lead you down those same dark paths you mentioned, I do hope that in the end you realize this before it is too late.
  • Stories such as yours are another reason why I am absolutely determined to keep my children in reality, based in reality. Virtual worlds can wait for them until they are mature enough to realize that while they are virtual, the feelings are real.
  • Balance is possible, there are tens of thousands of us in SL that manage it perfectly fine, you might be right in saying you cannot achieve that balance. Just look at this post and you will see what is possible.

Your demons will follow you wherever you go, conquering them is your challenge. Good luck

 

 

 

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There is quite a bit of self realization and introspection in the original post. that's a very admirable quality. So is the realization expressed that what can enhance one person's quality of life can cause decline for another.

To the OP, I would wish you luck, but it seems that your intellect will carry you much further than luck ever will. So instead I say that since you are clearly intellegent enough to go far in life, nurture that trait. Always challenge yourself, and continue making the decisions that you know in your heart and soul is right for you. A person who can write a post like you wrote has no need for luck. Just stay true to yourself. I have faith in you.

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I think there are worse things in life than being addicted to gaming.

I am happy with my gaming/SL addiction. I have had addictive tendencies all my life and they have led me to some very dark places through the abuse of alcohol and class A drugs. In my case I know I will always get addicted to things, I think I have undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome. For me, now in my late 30's the key has been to recognise the signs of my addictive tendencies and teach these signs to those closest to me. With this knowledge and the support of others I have managed to steer my addictive nature towards gaming and SL and 3D design, and although it takes over and consumes my life on occasion, it is a comfortable and safe place for my addictions to live.

I have found in the past that if I remove one addiction by going cold turkey for example then I will always subconsciously stray towards something else, often becoming addicted before I even realise it is happening. I think it is important when removing an addictive activity from ones life that they consciously steer their addictive nature towards something else, something that has a much less detrimental effect on their lives. Going cold turkey and waiting for your brain to subconsciously choose its next addiction is a risky game to play. 

If like me you very easily get addictive to things then the key is to take control ASAP and manage that addiction with the support of those closest to you. Steer your addictive nature into a safer place that has less of an impact on your life.

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Leia36 wrote:

Here are my thoughts, not that you will likely return to read them
  • You do only live once, SL is a medium where humans interact and your addiction for the feelings engendered will become evident in whatever medium you choose. In RL your traits might lead you down those same dark paths you mentioned, I do hope that in the end you realize this before it is too late.
  • Stories such as yours are another reason why I am absolutely determined to keep my children in reality, based in reality. Virtual worlds can wait for them until they are mature enough to realize that while they are virtual, the feelings are real.
  • Balance is possible, there are tens of thousands of us in SL that manage it perfectly fine, you might be right in saying you cannot achieve that balance. Just look at
    you will see what is possible.

Your demons will follow you wherever you go, conquering them is
your
challenge. Good luck

 

 

 

Excellent point.  Wanted to add from my education and work experience in the mental health profession, there are also addictive personality types.  It is not unusual for someone with this personality type to become easily addicted in other ways as well, sometimes substance abuse, etc.

 ETA:  I posted this before reading Porky's response.  An excellent example - and from someone who has an awareness of this propensity.

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Porky Gorky wrote:

I think there are worse things in life than being addicted to gaming.

I am happy with my gaming/SL addiction. I have had addictive tendencies all my life and they have led me to some very dark places through the abuse of alcohol and class A drugs. In my case I know I will always get addicted to things, I think I have undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome. For me, now in my late 30's the key has been to recognise the signs of my addictive tendencies and teach these signs to those closest to me. With this knowledge and the support of others I have managed to steer my addictive nature towards gaming and SL and 3D design, and although it takes over and consumes my life on occasion, it is a comfortable and safe place for my addictions to live.

I have found in the past that if I remove one addiction by going cold turkey for example then I will always subconsciously stray towards something else, often becoming addicted before I even realise it is happening. I think it is important when removing an addictive activity from ones life that they consciously steer their addictive nature towards something else, something that has a much less detrimental effect on their lives. Going cold turkey and waiting for your brain to subconsciously choose its next addiction is a risky game to play. 

If like me you very easily get addictive to things then the key is to take control ASAP and manage that addiction with the support of those closest to you. Steer your addictive nature into a safer place that has less of an impact on your life.

I became addicted to SL instantly, and for a while it did cause alarm in my family. The key is to make it a productive addiction, something that creates value in some way and does not just destroy time (and worse).* There are ways to enrich lives in a variety of ways in SL, besides your own (not that there is anything wrong with using it to enrich your own.

I would bet that every creator of a large amount of content could at some point have been considered addicted. 

 

That said, I do wonder if young ppl who would benefit by devoting their time to education, building a career, spouse, family, whatever -- are sometimes cheating themselves by spending that time in a virtual world.

 

*IOW, just like in RL, to which most of us seem to be addicted, too.

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Addiction is, outside of the area of substanceabuse, a word used for things the mainstream in society doesn't understand or values as normal or positiv. Nobody would worry about someone spending all his free time with books. Nobdoy would worry about someone spending all his time with painting pictures. Nobdoy would worry about someone spending all his weekends sailing.

But spending time in virtual environments is always seen as bad, antsocial, strange, dangerous, silly, dumb.....(the list is endless). Most of this labels come from people without the smallest idea what they are talking about.

Some "addictions" are welcome and others are not.

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Syo Emerald wrote:

Addiction is, outside of the area of substanceabuse, a word used for things the mainstream in society doesn't understand or values as normal or positiv. Nobody would worry about someone spending all his free time with books. Nobdoy would worry about someone spending all his time with painting pictures. Nobdoy would worry about someone spending all his weekends sailing.

But spending time in virtual environments is always seen as bad, antsocial, strange, dangerous, silly, dumb.....(the list is endless). Most of this labels come from people without the smallest idea what they are talking about.

Some "addictions" are welcome and others are not.

I agree with you except to add the caveat that by definition an addiction is something that negatively impacts one's normal life and/or family in some manner.  If someone is spending a lot of time in SL but not neglecting their family nor it interfering with work or other responsibilities, that wouldn't be an addiction - just someone who spends a lot of time in SL.

Someone who stays online non-stop for hours and hours to the point where it is affecting one's relationships, family, work, getting proper rest, etc. would be an addiction.

Books and painting *could* become addictive for someone but, imo, don't have the "payoff" that an addiction habit does whether it be socializing in an online venue, getting a buzz from drinking, etc.

I do agree that family/friends who don't share our interest in computers and/or online activities will use the word "addicted" to just mean *they* think we spend too much time online.

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I think addiction should be defined by every person on a very subjectiv level. From my view no family member can absolutly say what is just a timeconsuming passionated hobby and whats an addiction. Only the person who is susbected to be addicted can answer that, because its them who may feel bad because of actions he/she can't controll any longer.

And thats another important point. Having controll over things. Many questions in drugsurveys contain this element. They help to draw the line between someone just loving to spend the whole evening online and someone who would want to go to his best friends birthday party, but can't do that because he/she can't control their overtaking addiction.

Books and painting where just examples for activities which can consume a lot time, but are valued as good behavior from most people. I think their "payoff" is not very different from the ones typical addictiv things have. A feeling of happyness, joy and what not...Its a matter of perspective.

 

You also get the best therapy results with those patients who know by themselves that they have a problem and feel that they suffer from their behavior.

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Syo Emerald wrote:

I think addiction should be defined by every person on a very subjectiv level. From my view no family member can absolutly say what is just a timeconsuming passionated hobby and whats an addiction. Only the person who is susbected to be addicted can answer that, because its them who may feel bad because of actions he/she can't controll any longer.

 


When I speak of addiction, I'm basing it on the DSM definition.  Any disorder has to fit x criterion out of x symptoms to be diagnosed as a particular disorder/illness.  Since for most mental illnesses and all personality disorders there are no physical tests, such as a blood test or x-ray, the subjectivity would be a combination of how truthfully the client answers diagnostic questions and the interpretation of them by the mental health professional.  However....

 

 


Syo Emerald wrote:

 

You also get the best therapy results with those patients who know by themselves that they have a problem and feel that they suffer from their behavior.

...this would definitely produce better therapy results as the person is motivated to change but, from personal experience, many times someone who has a serious addiction issue will either not admit it or doesn't recognize it and often family members don't realize it either due to co-dependency issues or lack of knowledge. 

 

 

Again, I'm speaking from a mental health perspective on addictions in general.  I agree that not everything one person calls an addiction truly is.  Based on the OP's story I would tend toward that situation falling into the addiction range.

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can understand what you mean by this

if SL is a RL job (like making stuff to pay your RL bills) then is not really an addiction. is just a job

+

i think it becomes an addiction when there is no purpose other than rewarding our own pleasure and we keep doing it only for that reason. for hours and hours. and want that more than the pleasure we can get in other environments like in RL or even other onlines family friends and activities. like just going to the park or beach and playing. or the movies or clubbing even

+

i am always encourage families with young people to kick them outside when is sunny. they can play on the interwebz in the evening when is dark outside if they want. but not in the morning/afternoon on the weekend on a sunny day

 

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Czari was in the field as a professional I believe what she has to say.  :)

Addiction = less return than gain; compromises real life and responsibilities; becomes joyless but compulsion continues.

To me that is what addiction is, but it really is a disorder or disease with a solid definition. I suppose it could be loosely applied in a subjective way but that would also tend to be inaccurate.

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First, excuse me for my poor english talk and knowledge, I really don t speak  english well.

SL is full of rl need.... it's a land of lost rl dreams. Because sometime things have no way to be in rl, because you don t think there is a way to be. SL is a free social area, but it means something else: You have to pay much for this freedom: all what can implicate you and work on you in rl as a natural relationship, people calling, meeting, aren t there in sl. You can find chat, you can find talk, but it will never go somewhere real (or it's much rare). 

Being sad, feeling alone, is not a bad way. Because sometime, when you feel alone, far from others, you create the need to go to them in rl and some special way for this. Using sl in this way will create a false way to do, thinking the need over, but its in same time making it bigger and you more lonely rl. Time spend in sl for this, is at final a time lost rl in this. When you ll see yourself behind, seeing all meet you had in sl, all sl talk,and that now nothihg really stay, specially when the computer is close, all was like an illusion. No one will call rl. It's just something to see well when using sl.

I remember a movie, Kairo. In it, there was a programm created by student making some atoms going to each other atoms like a need, but disapearing when meet each other, it'sa nice symbolic of modern communication

but.... there is a way to make it becoming something nice rl, a way to go inside your need in sl, and resolve some rl conflict in this. Find the solution of yourself if you need it. But it's important to know this timelost notion. There are some way for the lost dreams to become new, to change and evoluate in sl, changing yourself in something better rl too. Because sometime rl don t give much, become so poor for people.

SL time is suspend, nothing in it getting older, sick, dying... only you in rl this time. That's life.

Sl have a nice part of creativity, work, shops....but i feel it still like a virtual way. Becoming rich in sl is always something at final virtual too. I have begun on blender and wings, Qavimator and others things. But in the need to continue i haven t stayed only in sl, using more sophisticate programm to make my own virtual world :)

Yep we are all crazy the same ;)

So the most important thing: take care about what you are ready to give to sl. That s all.

I wish to all some beautiful dreams and some beautiful times rl and sl for this new year  :)

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Oh gyod yes. I remember first getting into SL. All this 3D graphic scenery, creating my own avatar (digital barbie doll in a sense). It wasn't just like getting hooked on a new game, it did something to my emotions that I cannot explain except -  It was like being a kid and meeting what I thought was "the love of my life". Yes, I loved SL on every level. I was hooked BADLY. Cost me my job too cause my attendance went to the crapper.

SL can and will take over your REAL life if you let it. There is good news though.

You eventually get to a point where you have no desire to be in SL. You can do only so much, you can be addicted for only so long, you can dump only so much time and money into it before you realize it becomes a waste after a point. You log into SL day after day and do the same crap, see the same people, etc.

You start noticing more and more that there is just more crap in SL that slows you down. When it gets to a point where you are thinking of spending a fortune on a new computer or video card just to keep up, THAT is when you finally say "heck with it". Just trying to play SL became like a job.

I don't regret the time I spent in SL, too much. Though I do sometimes wonder what I COULD have accomplished instead. Anymore, logging into SL is like staring at an empty pizza box. It was good but just nothing left for me.


There are a few well-known web addictions out there that can and do cause problems with marriages, relationships, jobs, legal problems etc. Second Life isn't anywhere near the most popular one. No, Facebook still holds the #1 spot for being a nuisance. But, for most of us - SL is or was OUR problem addiction.


You too will eventually get to a point where you would rather re-organize the cupboards than waste time in SL. That day DOES come.

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"Insanity, doing the same thing over, expecting different results"

I've been round SL off and on for 5 yrs. I came by invite from some friends from Beta testing another online game for 3 years.

I can't honestly say I've ever been addicted to SL, but have lost my enthusiasm I once had to be there. I'm pretty much the same me In SL as I am in RL, except the look of my avatar. Most people don't handle that well. In a place you'd think people would work on being the best person they can be. Most often I find people hiding behind a mask doing unthinkable things emotionally, and otherwise to others, they wouldn't normally do in RL. Because there are no real consequences.

In my opinion, SL is just a glorified chat room. Real people, flaws and all. No matter what mask they hide behind, their true self eventually comes through.

I came to SL because I moved to a rural area, and was looking for people to chat, and hang out with. Besides the fact once here. I loved the idea of building, and creating in my own world. And expressing my graphics talents. The reality is the same in RL. If you don't have something someone wants, or needs. Then most likely they will not give you the time of day. I think a lot of people come into SL because they have no social support in RL. Some because they are just sick and twisted and want to take advantage of others, And Some have legitimate artistic, skills and abilities they us SL to express themselves.

It just so happens I found this Forum trying to find out if anyone else felt as disappointed as I do in the quality of people here in SL. I guess it just depends on your perspective, and what your looking to get out of being here. Once again I'm concluding by saying.

I don't think it is for me.

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i wish you lots of strength and wisdom to see troubles in the future Anna..and the power to push them aside for the things that make you life better..

enjoy the simple things in life..but don't deny yourself big things you deserve either..

life is one big game and it's a real B!tch to get good at..

so always keep sharp and enjoy it the best you can with everything you've got =)

 

best wishes for an awesome future:smileywink:

 

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This "game" is horrible. I started playing it when a friend of mine mentioned it. My wife and I began playing at the same time. At first it was fun to explore sl with her, and then I started in on the amaretto horses. My wife became addicted, bought her own sim had her own ranch. I quit playing when I became pregnant, she did not. Long story short, she ended up quitting her real life job and played second life day in day out for an entire year. Spent $300+ monthly. I thought of leaving her several times because all she did was play sl. No dishes, no laundry was done, I was working full time and going to school and not one meal was ever made to help me out for me. She didn't shower for weeks straight, neglected out pets, the house and me. I finally made her quit playing and get a job when I was 4 months pregnant. She still played though even though she was working she still went on sl when she got home. I think she still signs on from time to time but she hasn't spent any real life money in quite some time thank goodness. Second life destroys real life, ruins relationships and puts children in danger. This is not a game to start playing. When I quit she gave me a hard time and tried to force me to keep playing but I didn't want to feed her addiction. Get out while you still can or better yet never start playing in the first place.

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I never understood how it could addict someone so much but then again, I use it as just a relaxing and fun game to play and don't believe I've ever been or ever will be the time to use games of any type over excessively. Good luck to you all who are addicted. 

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The addiction potential is real, but your letter reads like bad fiction. Too pat by half. But who says fables have to be verified?

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