What is a Video Game Addiction Support Group?
There are support groups for a myriad of physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Regardless of how strong-willed you are, everyone needs a little support from time to time. This is especially true when facing addiction and navigating the recovery process. There’s something uniquely beneficial about meeting and speaking with people who understand your struggle on a personal level. Support groups offer a sense of belonging, encouragement, and hope.
The most well-known support group in the world is probably AA – alcoholics anonymous. But it’s certainly not the only one. In today’s stress-fueled society, there are support groups for everything from gambling and sex addiction to marital issues, anxiety, phobias, and more – like video game addiction.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what video game addiction support groups are, the benefits of this type of therapy, and tips on finding a support group near you.
What is Video Game Addiction?
Before we get into exactly what you can expect from a video game addiction support group, let’s talk about what video game addiction is and a few signs that you might benefit from outside intervention.
By definition, video game addiction is an uncontrollable need to play video games that interfere with other parts of your life. For example, missing work or school in order to play, losing sleep, or becoming isolated from friends and family. When your desire to play video games outweighs your ability to function in everyday life, you may be a video game addict.
Other common signs of video game addiction include:
- Obsessively thinking about gaming
- An increased need to play in order to feel good
- Feeling depressed or agitated when you can’t play
- Not being able to quit gaming despite trying
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed
You don’t need to experience all of these symptoms simultaneously to be a gaming addict. Even if video games are having only minor negative impacts on your life, you may benefit from finding and joining a support group
What is a Video Game Addiction Support Group?
Video game addiction support groups are structured like most other support groups and are now available both online and in person. Most support groups have a moderator or someone in charge of facilitating conversations and guiding the discussion. In general, sessions last for approximately an hour and include tips for overcoming gaming addiction, personal stories, and discussion about strategies and techniques.
Many support groups also promote a 12-step program similar to AA and other addiction recovery groups. The 12-step structure works well because it helps addicts move gradually through the program, slowly weaning themselves off of their substance of choice – in this case, video games. Drastically cutting video games from your life or trying the “cold turkey” method can be difficult. It can be very troubling for some addicts and cause them to quit before they even get started. A slow, gradual approach is sometimes much more effective.
The following 12 steps are the most common in most addiction recovery programs:
- Honest and acceptance
- Action and courage
While some 12-step programs are religious, many video game addiction support groups adjust their outline to accommodate members of all backgrounds.
The Benefits of Using a Video Game Addiction Support Group
If you’re unsure about whether or not joining a video game addiction support group will offer the help and support you need, let’s take a closer look at the benefits they offer.
Realizing You’re Not Alone
This is one of the main benefits of any type of support group. Many addicts, including those addicted to video games, feel alone in their battles. Like they’re the only ones in the world dealing with their specific problem. That is until they join a support group and meet people facing the very same issues. This realization can offer a sense of relief and encouragement to keep going and keep fighting.
A Safe Place to Express Your Feelings
Once you join a video game addiction support group and realize that you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals with similar problems, you’ll feel more comfortable opening up about your own inner demons. Many people consider these support groups as their “safe space” where they can be themselves and express their deepest fears, worries, and hurdles. Sharing and being open about what’s bothering you is a very therapeutic experience for many people. Some group members describe it as a “healing process”. The praise and encouragement you receive from others will only solidify this as you begin to share more and more in this welcoming, nonjudgmental zone.
Useful Information and Resources
In addition to emotional support, video game addiction support groups also offer plenty of useful information and resources that you may not find elsewhere. Support groups provide information and tips for dealing with your biggest concerns. You can also gain valuable information from the personal stories people share – including their successes and setbacks. Find out what strategies helped them move forward and what techniques were most beneficial in their recovery. Most support groups also offer recommendations for online resources, books, and other informational texts on your specific addiction.
Hope for Recovery
Hopelessness is a common feeling among addicts, including those addicted to video games. At times, you may feel so lost in your addiction that it seems there’s no way out. For many people, video games are what they use to relieve their stress. But if you’re facing video game addiction, this can create a negative, toxic cycle. Support groups give you hope for a better, brighter future.
Hearing and seeing other success stories let you know that overcoming video game addiction is possible. For some, these individuals act as positive role models of what’s possible. Now, you can see that recovery and living a happy, healthy life is within arms reach, giving you a renewed sense of hope for the future.
A Chance to Socialize
Another common pitfall of gaming addiction is becoming isolated from the outside world. This isolation can sometimes lead to depression and negatively impact both personal and professional relationships. Many people become addicted to the social aspect of video games. By joining gaming communities and playing MMORPG, addicts sometimes replace real-life relationships with virtual ones.
Joining a video game addiction support group that takes you outside your home and your comfort zone, helping you sharpen your social skills. When meeting new people and joining group discussions, you can improve your communication skills and learn to interact effectively in person again. Support groups for gaming addiction provide a safe, nonjudgmental environment to reintroduce yourself into social settings.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Admitting you have an addiction and then starting the journey toward recovering can create feelings of distress and anxiety. What makes it even more difficult to face these emotions is that, for many addicts, your vice of choice is generally what you’d turn to for stress relief. Now, you need to face the stress of withdrawal plus anxiety over the recovery process and the potential for failure.
Video game addiction support groups can help you work through these issues as they arise. Having a dedicated support system throughout your journey can help reduce your overall stress and anxiety over the situation. One piece of good news is that if you’re feeling unsettled, it likely means you’re making progress toward a life free from gaming addiction.
People say admission is the first step toward recovery. But without being self-aware, you can’t be honest with yourself and others about your gaming addiction. Support groups help facilitate self-awareness and increased self-understanding, an integral part of video game addiction treatment.
Support groups for gaming addiction help teach you more effective ways to handle difficult situations. During this process, you gain a better understanding of yourself, including your triggers and emotional needs. Support groups help you reflect on the past and uncover potential causes of your current struggles and addictions. By identifying these catalysts, you can work toward finding a strategy that works best for your specific gaming addiction.
Ability to Help Others
After enough time spent in a video game addiction support group, you may find that your story, experiences, and advice benefits other members – the same way previous participants helped you. Together, the group can grow, learn, and make progress. By being a positive, welcoming addition to the group, you can offer other gaming addicts the support and encouragement they need to succeed. In fact, helping others is a specific goal of many video game addiction support groups and may be included as one of the 12 steps.
What to Expect from Video Game Addiction Support Groups
Starting anything new and unfamiliar can be nerve-wracking. Especially when it means facing a difficult and sensitive subject like video game addiction. You may feel embarrassed and guilty over addiction, making you hesitant to speak up or reveal your well-kept secret. Knowing what to expect from the support group you join can make the process much easier and less intimidating.
Joining a new support group usually involves formal or informal introductions where you share a little bit about yourself and your current situation. Some groups allow you to remain anonymous while others ask that you use your real identity and first name. Most support groups welcome new members on a regular basis, which means everyone will be at a different point in their recovery at any given time. As mentioned before, these groups usually have a moderator or someone facilitating the meeting. Sessions might focus on different topics and goals each week or consist strictly of storytelling, Q&A, and open dialogue. Most meetings follow a loose structure to keep everyone on track.
Support groups also have clear guidelines and rules about who can attend. Depending on the type of group, members may be limited by age, gender, and the issue they’re facing. You may also have the option to include family and loved ones in your recovery journey and at certain group sessions. Rules may also include a time limit on how long you can speak at any given time, be respectful to all members, and maintain confidentiality.
Finding and Choosing a Support Group Near You
Now that you understand what a video game addiction support group is and what to expect, let’s talk about finding a group near you.
Check the Internet
Your best bet when researching gaming addiction support groups is to head online. Not only will you find local support groups in your area but also online programs you can participate in from the comfort and privacy of your home. Some people get more out of face-to-face interactions and might benefit most from in-person meetings. If you have self-discipline and prefer the anonymity of online programs, you can sign-up for an online support group.
Sign-Up with Trusted Sources
Similar to AA for alcoholics and Al-Anon for family members of addicts, there are some widely recognized and successful support groups available for gaming addicts. Some of the most trusted sources include:
- Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous
- Online Gamers Anonymous (OLGA)
- Online Gamers Anonymous Family Members (OGL-Anon)
By signing up for one of these programs, you’re guaranteed access to professionals and proven strategies for overcoming gaming addiction.
Get the Support You Need to Overcome Video Game Addiction
Recognizing you have a video game addiction is step number one in the recovery process. Next, you need to find help and resources to support your efforts. In recent years, gaming addiction and Internet gaming disorder have become more prevalent and are now being identified as true behavioral disorders. Because of this, treatment options, therapies, self-help programs and support groups are more readily available.
Consider joining a gaming addiction support group as part of your recovery. The sense of community and encouragement will give you hope for a better, brighter future. You may even help others in the process, giving you a newfound sense of self-worth and confidence. In addition to video game addiction support groups, online therapy programs like The Mindful Gamer utilizes CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other strategies to help you identify your gaming triggers and reduce the desire to play. Learn more here about what our program offers and get ready to reclaim your life!