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Is Second Life the Ultimate Cyber-Addiction?

Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap by Kevin Roberts

Ten years ago when I got my first PC, the loaded software had the Sims game bundled into it. I played around with it a bit and thought it was just a grown-up version of playing with dolls - definitely not my thing. Although I like to think of myself as fairly cyber-savvy, I admit I didn't know much about Second Life, the online adult, virtual fantasy game until recently. After doing a bit of research, I might call it "the Sims on steroids!"

Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovering Addicts by Beverly Convers

A recent Wall Street Journal article, "Is This Man Cheating on His Wife?" underscores the addictive quality of this game. It chronicles a 53 year old man who has become so enthralled with playing Second Life that his avatar (online persona/character) has married another avatar in the game. This is causing a great deal of stress in his primary relationship - his real marriage! He often spends six hours a night and up to fourteen hours straight on the weekends in his virtual world.

Oh, it gets even weirder - characters playing the game often buy property or businesses using lindens, the game's currency. The man's avatar above has a net worth of $1.5 million lindens. My first look at the Second Life Web site was like an anthropological expedition. Checking out the wares for sale in the retail section, I found they range from a squirrel you can purchase for your virtual yard, clothing and furniture, a private island and even cyber "contraband," like cocaine.

 

According to their Web site, 8,846,910 "residents" or players are enrolled on Second Life. That's a lot of time logged onto a virtual world. Much as the couple in the article are experiencing some very real marital problems, I'm concerned about the psychological and emotional effects of this level of game involvement. Although the AMA (American Medical Association) won't declare a definitive diagnosis for video game/Internet addiction, much research is indicating that there are significant negative, addictive behaviors associated with gaming and excessive Internet use. When does a harmless pastime become a threat to our psychological well-being?

The Digital Diet: The 4-step plan to break your tech addiction and regain balance in your life by Daniel Sieberg

Talia recently wrote about psychic phone-line addiction. Among the many concerns about this addictive behavior is the forming of relationships with people whom the callers have never met. Just as the man with the cyber-wife in Second Life, how can this not detract from the real relationships in our lives? The WSJ article quotes some very disturbing statistics:
Nearly 40% of men and 53% of women who play online games said their virtual friends were equal to or better than their real-life friends, according to a survey of 30,000 gamers conducted by Nick Yee, a recent Ph.D. graduate from Stanford University. More than a quarter of the gamers said the emotional highlight of the past week occurred in a computer world, according to the survey, which was published in 2006 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press's journal Presence.


Of course there is undeniable appeal to escaping our real lives, pressing deadlines, family conflicts, etc. by playing an online or video game. The idea of taking on a very different persona can be intriguing. I've logged more hours playing Tomb Raider than I'd like to admit. But when the fantasy life and/or character begins to have more value than the real one, that becomes problematic.

We will be seeing more and more research into this relatively new phenomenon - cyber addiction. There are behavioral treatment centers that are now specializing in this area. In my own therapy practice, I have worked with couples who present with communication-breakdown issues, but the core problem is sometimes one partner's unhealthy attachment to the Internet - porn, gaming, chat rooms, etc.

Nancy

138 comments:

  1. I first heard of Second Life at a conference at the beginning of the summer, and it totally freaked me out. As if we don't have enough things to keep us from having REAL personal interaction...

    kk

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  2. I agree. Spending too much time in the virtual world is not a healthy thing. Our real lives need more time and attention, than the virtual world.

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  3. I think it's like any other video game which becomes a problem when people who play it are spending too much time with it.

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  4. Don't let anybody tell you it's like anything else and just depends how you use it.
    My wife discovered Second Life about a month before we got married. We've only been married a little over 4 months now and she is so obsessed with the game it's rediculous. She sits on the bed with her laptop for 10 hours at a stretch only stopping to eat or use the bathroom. She even takes her laptop to work with her just to play. When I finally want to go to bed she sits there clicking away with the lamp still on saying she's about to get off soon.
    If I want her to stop already and say it's getting obsessive she flips the tables on me saying I need too much attention. Other classic signs of addiction are not seeing that descriptions of other addicts apply to herself. When I told her about articles I read about SL destroying marriages she said " well, that's THEIR problem...". She defends it by saying that since she can make money in SL and is trying to get a bussiness started, it's just like being at work and why am I complaining? Would I complain if she were at work for that long?

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  5. Anon:

    Thanks for sharing your troubling situation.

    Although I can't advise/counsel you personally, what you are describing in your wife's behavior are classic addiction signs and symptoms.

    Whether or not she believes she has a problem, it's adversely affecting your marriage. For your sake, I hope you will consider counseling - even if she chooses not to participate, you would benefit.

    Take care,
    Nancy

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  6. 2008-03-22 07:12:24
    It has just about ruined my marriage. I have even thought about relocating to the city where my SL boyfriend lives. I have uninstalled the software. I have caught myself installing it three times now and I have uninstalled it. I miss it - the adrendlin, the attention, and the cyber romance, affection, and sex. I am hopeful that as each day passes it will get easier.
    I am addicted. I faced the facts on 3/17/08 I was involved with another person in SL and wanted more. That was completely one sided. Once I realized I lost the boundary between SL and RL, I discovered I had a real problem. I was involved in my second SL relationship. This one looked more viable because of our close geographical locations. The person I was involved with was not interested in a relationship in RL. We would email each other daily in RL and then take our relationship to other levels in SL. I am experiencing major withdrawal symptoms and to top it off, I am missing my SL lover…I had property and a house and everything - I abandoned it all and cancelled my account. When I think of going back I get heart palipations and even start hyperventiating a little. The steps to go through downloading and installing the software causes me to pause and think about what I am doing. I hope that these withdrawal symptoms will get less with each passing minute….I am addicted and I have to not go back…it is way to easy to lose sight of reality. I am lonely and thought that I could fill that loneliness through SL, how wrong - discovered that the computer monitor cannot give me that human touch that I so desire…an addiction is so difficult to overcome…
    I am still in touch via email with my SL boyfriend and I am still obessing. I am now beginning to wonder if I should even stop this...don't kid yourself anyone...it is addicting...and I am going through withdrawals...

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  7. Sue:

    First of all, I want to acknowledge how important it is that you have recognized your SL experience as problematic. That's the first step!

    I would strongly suggest that you get some support and not try to tackle this all on your own.

    Your story underscores how addiction can take many forms - not just drugs and alcohol. If you want professional help, I would look for someone who is an addictions specialist, but who also has experience with cyber-addiction.

    Good luck to you,
    Nancy

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  8. Nancy,
    I now realize that there are triggers that adversely affect me. I already knew that slot machines were my downfall and I avoided them. Now I see that SL is in the same category. I thank you for your offer...but I have already sought out some support. It a tough road...but I can't turn back now...only move forward.
    Sue

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  9. Sue:

    Glad to hear you have support through your recovery.

    Take care,
    Nancy

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  10. Nancy
    One other thing I had to do today was contact the Linden Second Life adminstration to disable my log in access to the web site. There is where I would go to download the software. Yes, I could create a new account - but I am less likely to do this. So now my log in as been disabled and I can no longer download the software under the avatar name I had....Last night was an eye opener for me - I prefer not elaborate...but there was a major hurdle that I crossed and now I feel even more clearer today.
    Sue

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  11. I believe that my wife is heading down this road as well. We almost separated, but in her eyes it was all my fault and SL was her way of hiding from me. We are on the path to reconciliation, but I believe that SL is still a problem for her. She attended a "wedding" this past weekend and was on the game for well over 10 hours. How do approach someone with this? I want her to read this article, but fear that she'll react in a way that will destroy the progress we've made so far.

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  12. I can attest to the addictive quality of Second Life. I stayed up all night once in the SL world and didn't feel tired the next day - it was as if I'd been "dreaming" all night, even if I wasn't actually asleep. SL is NOT harmless fun, it takes you down a narcisistic path, robs you of real life experiences and damages your real life.

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  13. as someone who was addicted for nearly two years to SL - often up to 4AM/5AM which had an impact on relations with my spouse, friends and job, I can confirm the danger for some with it.

    But (not being an expert though I talked with a therapist who referred to anxiety) I believe it was reflection of unhappiness elsewhere in my life - particularly in the job, which I lost but have found that my desire for SL has reduced since. I have uninstalled it and not played for over a month apart from one log in to say goodbye

    I may go back to it one day but only if I *know* I can do so in moderation

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  14. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with SL.

    It's a tricky topic, like gambling, which people often don't see as a "real" addiction because it doesn't involve substances like alcohol.

    But as you've seen, the dynamics are the same.

    Good for you for making some healthier choices.

    Nancy

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  15. Yes my boyfriend is a Cyber-Addict. For me it's not about the fact that my boyfriend spends time on SL. Obviously he had an SL life before he met me. It's not even a jealousy issue I think my issue is that he trades the best time that we could spend together on SL. He has a fiance on SL and yes it bothers me when I tell him how it makes me feel he just gets all mad and defensive. I've often at times just considered leaving. He neglects other things in the house as well.

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  16. Anon:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. As always, I have to make my disclaimer about NOT diagnosing from afar...

    ...But, any activity (like time on SL) that begins to take priority over all other people and things can be problematic.

    If he doesn't want to cut back because it's making you so unhappy, maybe getting some support/counseling for yourself might be indicated.

    Take care,
    Nancy

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  17. I was also addicted to SL because of one-sided love.

    I hope what I did after realizing the addiction issue would help me stay away from SL from now on.

    I had about L$7000 when I decided to leave SL, and to make a better use of the Linden money, I paid everyone that I encounter L$10. After getting their attention, I wrote them, "just want to deliver a message --- SL is addictive. Get out of SL before it destroys your lives. SL is deadly."

    Guess what I got for responses, "Too late", "Mind your own business", "I decide what I do", "Get back your money", "Do we have a Matrix team here", etc. It was like what often happens in evangelical Gospel spreading.

    I spent L$2000, giving to around 200 SL people, and exchanged hundreds of chatroom and IM messages.

    Afterward, I gave the leftover Linden money to my SL lovee, and canceled my SL account.

    The morals are: 1) SL and its likes are addictive; 2) most SL people hate you if you behave like their parents; 3) save yourself by saving others.

    Hope it helps.

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  18. Hi,
    I am so glad to run into this blog. I have been struggling with the addictive element of SL for a long time. In order to kick the habit I broke off all my ties there: I gave up my friends, gave my land back and pulled down my house.
    But the strange thing is that I still hang around. I made a new av, rented an island and here we go again.

    I used to think that I was too smart to get addicted but within 2 weeks I was totally hooked to this magic world and have been leading my second life to the full for over a year.I don't lead an unhappy real life, so that cannot be the reason why. Of course I miss certain things, but don't we all.

    What I DO notice in myself is that I cannot have casual talks with other av's anymore, blabla about how great this phenomenon is, is impossible now. My respect for anyone in sl has gone down the drain. My only thought when I meet someone is: get out of here dumbo before it's too late!

    Conclusion: SL has not made me happier, although I have to admit that it has taught me a lot about myself. I feel that it has made me more superficial, flighty and less focused on rl.

    I am one of the dumbo's who still cannot make the last step. This must be such a strong pull!
    I sometimes think that evil powers want to distract us and keep us away from things that matter, our real goals in life.

    I wish you all the best
    Adanna

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  19. Dear Adnna,

    I was just thinking today about how much time I wasted on SL last year, which reminded me to come back to this blog. I am so glad I am out of that world, but I can understand why someone has a hard time leaving. I still remember experiences I had there, as if they happened "for real".
    I remember flying to Paris, ballroom dancing like a pro, speaking foreign languages via babbler, having sex with a handsome man, buying jewelry, clothes, houses! I also remember feeling lonely, unreal and disturbed by my behavior. In the end, its better to come back to RL and try to make the real world a little better.

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  20. Because of my husbands activity in SL, he has almost his job as a minister (and still might), left his family after 30 years of marriage, and now says he does not belive in God. He moved back home a week ago and today locked himself in the den to go on SL. He is absolutely unable to handle a virtual world - it's sick. So for me SL is HELL.

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  21. I'm 17 years old and while I do not play SL, nor am I a gamer, I have seen the debilitating effects of SL firsthand. My mother(of four children) is completely consumed by it. Every time I see her, she's on SL. She doesn't work. She doesn't clean. She doesn't cook anymore. She doesn't leave the house unless she absolutely has to go. It's entirely depressing. All of this because of her gaming addiction to SL. It's caused a definite strain on the family. I don't know what to do.

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  22. My wife of 23 years has left the kids and I, has moved into an apartment and spends almost every waking hour that she is not at work playing SL.

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  23. I do play SL, and it has caused a strain on my marriage as well, but because my husband (who introduced me to the game) has had a change of attitutde about it.

    Our problem came about when he read my im chat scripts using Open Source. It was at that point he realized that even though we were participating in SL in the same way--having sexual conversations and engaging in SL romances--he was incredibly horrified (his words) that so many married men were willing and arroused while talking to his wife. Then he realized that he was one of those men. Now he has decided that morally it is not for him.

    So, you can imagine that this has caused a great deal of mismatch, because I do enjoy the sexual play with others. In respect to him, I have discontinued the sex part of the game in exchange for some other pursuits like building, designing, exploring and meeting people. There are many many pg rated places that offer a lot of interesting and fun experiences.

    I have read what many people have stated about their addiction, but I think that another problem for many folks that I meet is that SL offers intimacy that they are not getting in their real lives. When I hear of SL addicts they often state that the relational part of SL is what draws them and keeps them there.

    I think this is a larger concern than just playing a video game.

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  24. I first posted on March 3, 2008 7:03 AM, my name is Sue. I have been away now for 293 days. It has been a challenge. There are scenes I see in movies and television that remind me of it. I see avatars on the internet that remind me of it. I have ran across pictures I took of my avatar on SL, they were on my computer and I forgot about them, I have deleted them as soon as I find them.
    I am no longer in touch with my SL boyfriend, he was part of my addiction. I am still married to my husband and we are working on our relationship everyday. When I see these reminders, I feel complusions to go back, I feel pins and needles on the back of my neck. I quickly distract myself with other activities.
    The complusion is still here. I am not so sure if will ever go away, but I am convinced I am a better person for leaving SL and getting a real life. It has been a difficult challenge that I will continue to deal with every day.

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  25. First of all, I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to post your comments lately.

    I've long suspected that this problem is more far-reaching and severe than most people think. But because it comes under the category of "gaming," maybe it's thought of as more benign than addiction to drugs, gambling, etc.? I find that idea troubling.

    Your comments aptly demonstrate the power of addiction and the often devastating affect on family members!

    I applaud you all for your bravery and strength in sharing your personal experiences. And for those of you in recovery, I wish you continued good health.

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  26. Hi,

    I am not sure if this is the right forum, but I am writing because I a gravely concerned about a friend's SL addiction. Recently he has become reclusive, and the line between SL and RL is very blurry. He stays up all night and sleeps through the day. He is not working and rarely leaves his house. I want to offer him some sort of support, but I am not sure how to engage him about the possibility that he may have a problem.

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  27. Hi Camille:

    First, I have to do my disclaimer about not diagnosing someone I haven't met and/or offering counseling in this format. But your friend definitely shows signs of addiction - his SL time is increasingly interfering with normal life functions.

    The tricky part for you is to be a friend and at the same time try to get through to him. Avoid finger-pointing and blaming because that usually results in the person putting up barriers (denial, rationalization). Being there for him and keeping the communication open is a start.

    He's lucky to have you for a friend. But be sure to take care of yourself in the process.

    Good luck,
    Nancy

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  28. I've had an intensely interesting and somewhat scary experience with SL over the past 4 weeks or so.

    I had no expectations when I installed the game, but very quickly became involved in many (and several very intense) sexual (albeit, online) relationships.

    I am currently married, and the effect of this activity on my marriage has been multi-faceted. I did not spend an inordinate amount of time playing the game, so it wasn't so much an issue of taking time away from the relationship. I felt several things - I felt very guilty about these online trysts, but at the same time, I felt very liberated and stimulated. I felt like I had been let out of a bottle in some way. This has led to a sharp increase in both romance and the quality/quantity of sex in my marriage.

    Over the weekend, I deleted my account and purged the computer of the game. Oddly enough, I now feel a strange hole in myself. I am saddened that these relationships (2, in particular) are over. At the same time, I am glad to be stopping now, as I don't really know where it would have led, or how much more power it could have gotten over my life.

    And this was just limited playtime over a 4 week period. I can see how this game could be very detrimental to one's mental health, as well as their personal relationships. It has a very strong pull, to the point of being downright scary. I leave it knowing things about myself which I didn't previously know - I have some repressed sexual desires that need to come out, and can in a healthy way, in the confines of my marriage. I have a need to engage in some deeper conversations with my family, friends and spouse without feeling like I will be judged (which I won't be). And, I know now, that I have a potentially addictive personality to this type of medium. Most importantly, I know that I love my wife tremendously, and that this type of behavior made me feel horrible, though I believe it's net affect to be positive.

    I have not told anyone of this experience, and I don't know that I ever will, but I needed to get it of my chest. Thanks for listening to my story.

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  29. I've been using SL since the end of August 2008. It has been a complicated and heady experience... I am married in RL and it has caused friction with my husband, and I have had a very hard time curbing my time on it. I have been involved in a very intense relationship there, but the parameters around that relationship are strict and include a "never in RL" clause. The time I spend there has sometimes caused me to fall behind in many aspects of my RL. That being said, there are elements of me that I feel are changed forever due to this experience. I've learned things about myself I did not even know. I have brought the primary lessons with me to RL and have had extremely positive results in my marriage and career. I want to be able to curb this and find balance... I am not feeling able or willing to let it go. I am concerned about the addictive aspects of it... Not sure what to do or how to resolve this but I am hoping that in time I can chill out and spend less time inworld and more time in my Real life.

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  30. Sue i have had a nearly identical experience like you have, i have been out of sl since june and I struggle with it still.I wish i could contact you ,i need somone to talk to about still being tempted.
    Kris

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  31. Hi. I am a sl widow. My husband has removed himself completely from our life. He spends up to 16 hours per day in sl. I have caught him trying to pull up an enlarged email window to cover up the background. He picks fights with me so that I will go into our room so that he can get back to it. Is there any support for someone like me? It is so demoralizing.

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  32. Its a relationship killer, I seen it coming and did know how to stop it, My G/F of 5 years took off to her internet Secondlife lover 3 months ago and has since lost every thing and she still dont see it, now 3 months behind on all bills losing the truck/house/family we had, she took my 1 Y/O Son with her to another country! and still does not see what she did was wrong? I still pray there is some hope, and I hold out every day for some turnaround in her that she opens her eyes and sees whats happened to her life now :(
    She says what she has with her new B/F is not better then we had just different, I can only guess its a fantasy thing?
    All I can do is let her know I wil be there when it crashes ....
    you cant tell a person thats in it they have a problem they just get nasty back at you, so how do you open the door?

    I feel I now have to start a website for others that this happened to, the addiction is strong and needs to be talked about and there needs to be help for both sides of this hurt...

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  33. Its comforting to know that others are going through the same thing, but at the same time I can understand the emptiness and lonliness. I had to cancel my SL account today. It's only day one but it feels like hell. I don't know if I can do it...no wait...I WILL not go back. Just keep telling yourself that and you can do it. As for those who have been affected by SL indirectly, hang in there or get out. Its up your father/mother/husband/wife/family/friend to make the distinction and realize that things are going downhill. Hopefully they will wake up. It took me years, and I sometimes I still doubt myself.

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  34. Just say no to SL:

    I'm so sorry that you're struggling with the aftermath of cyber-addiction.

    Your idea of starting a Web site for similarly affected people is great! Please let me know how that goes if you proceed. If I can add some addictions specialist help, I'd be glad to hear your thoughts.

    Take care,
    Nancy

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  35. I had a rich, interesting life with my RL husband, but that is over now since he discovered SL. We had no earth shattering problems. I spent a year in therapy trying to come to terms with my husband's addiction. In the end, I decided to walk away from the marriage. I can't make him stop. How he chooses to spend his time is his decision. I choose not to come second to secret relationships. These love affairs in SL are real and they hurt. It is not a game, it's cheating.



    I don't regret the 25 years I spent in my marriage. I do regret waiting around for a year and a half to see if he would stop.



    I commend those who have worked so hard to beat their SL addictions. Take what you have learned about yourself and try your best to apply it to your face-to-face relationships. Keep up the good work and don't go back.

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  36. A very good 12 step program and more for overcoming secondlife addiction! They provide sponsors ,a forum, and rl people to talk to and read about that are having the same struggles we all have been having ,it has helped me tremendously, you can create an account or just be a lurker it is called olganon.org

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  37. I got addicted big time on Second Life, I used to play 12 hours stretch every day and up to 18 hours in weekend. Results? I lost control over myself at home and at work. When my wife was about to leave the house and things went on rage not to mention my performance at work... I had to wake up. One day, 3 months ago, I swore not to start second life during the week days at all and to play only 48 hours total in the weekend. I never broker that since then. My wife is happy, i am healthier, and I am back to good productive level at work.

    Chady

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  38. I am nineteen years old and tried second life once for about a week, while I was there my mother tried to get a job for me POLEDANCING! She has played the game for a long while now (I can't say for certain HOW long because this is not her first computer addiction) and before it was second life it was Conquer, before that WOW, and before that the sims. My mother has been lost to me in a virtual world for a very long time now and whenever I try to say something to her about it she becomes EXTREMELY defensive, she even chooses her second life friends over me, he daughter. I am nine months pregnant and due to have my child at any time and missed my docters appointment with my ob today because my mother was up on second life until 7 AM! She plays literally from the time that she wakes up until the time that she goes to bed and refuses to admit that what she has is an addiction. I have watched her physical decay over the years while she has sat and played computer games non stop while doing nothing but drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Her teeth are falling out and her skin smells bad... I dont know what to do!!

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  39. Hi Hob...

    I feel for you since it's obvious you've lost your mother to her addiction!

    Are there other family members you could contact and to whom you could express your concerns?

    Please don't risk your or your baby's health trying to intervene with your mother. She has made choices that essentially forfeit her right to be in your life.

    Sounds harsh, but it seems like she has had multiple chances to make changes in her behaviors.

    Please take care and I wish you luck,

    Nancy

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  40. To those of you who have shared your experiences with SL addiction:

    Your stories have moved and amazed me. My original post has also received the most comments of any I've done over the last couple years. I think that tells us something right there!

    I'm in the process of pitching an article (and possibly a book) on SL addiction.

    Let me know if you would be interested in being interviewed. If so, I will set up an email box to preserve our privacy.

    Thanks in advance,
    Nancy

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  41. I play second life about 2-3 times a week. I admit, I have an addiction to it. 6-8 hours on the 2-3 days. It is a problem. The game itself is not to blame but right now , I am working to set a few limits and be more constructive. I feel it is ridiculous for people to pursue intimate relationships online and forget the commitments that they make in real life.

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  42. I must say I'm somewhat disappointed in the very one-sided discussion of this issue. I was introduced initially to Second Life as an educator. Our school's IT department is working through grants to provide many online learning opportunities, one of which is SL and it has been a fascinating experience.

    Of course as I explored SL, I was amazed by the graphics and the number of people online. I have spoken to people all over the US, France, and the Netherlands.

    I do understand the concern with lengthy "stays" in SL, as I have a partner who is also concerned. However, one way we compromise on the issue is that I show her and explain to her exactly what I'm doing and what sim I'm using, etc.

    I think if you are secretive about SL, the secrecy causes the ripples in the relationship...not the program itself. If a partner is uneasy about certain aspects of the game, as mine was, I simply withdrew from those sims...but am still active in SL and enjoy the entire environment.

    Are you going to blame a gun for killing someone...or the person who pulled the trigger?

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  43. Anonymous:

    While I appreciate your comment, I wonder if you took the time to read through what other commenters have to say about their experiences on SL?

    If so, you will have noticed that the majority of folks who responded to my initial article have either had addiction issues or are involved with someone who has. Would they be the most objective audience? Of course not.

    I would also direct you to a subsequent article I posted re: SL - http://www.emotionalwellbeingblog.com/2007/10/gaming-can-be-good-for-you-my-husband.html.

    In it, I talked about some of the amazing things related to education, commerce,etc. that were ocurring on SL. And by the time of that post, I had spent some time on SL and felt I could evaluate it more fairly.

    Thanks again for expressing your viewpoint. I did, however, find your final note and gun analogy a bit simplistic and uninformed. Do go read a bit on cyberaddiction, please, before making such a generalization.

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  44. I just installed Second Life just a week ago, today, and I found myself neglecting my family, my Dog, the real world in general... stopping for food and the bathroom. I spent hours on end playing SL and I recently, as of Saturday, uninstalled and cancelled my account(s)*I had a withdrawl and created another accound which I canceled*. But the problem is, I've found myself reinstalling & Uninstalling the game now over a dozen times, the recent having been today with my new account which I found out I can still log onto. In the Real World I find myself thinking non-stop about it, having Anxiety Attacks because I didn't say goodbye to my SL friend, stupid stuff like that. I have no idea how to get over this blasted addiction, I tried everything from music to going for walks, none of them seem to be working, and I seriously need help.

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  45. Hi Anon:

    Folks who have previously commented have suggested the following group for support:

    www.olganon.org

    You might check it out. The rapid onset of addictive-like behavior is a concern.

    Take care,

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  46. Thank you for that site. I've joined it, it seems they can help me, since I relapsed and reinstalled the game, thankfully they blocked both accounts and I couldn't get on.

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  47. 2 years ago, my mother-in-law heard about Second Life on some ABC Nightline show. I'm not sure if that was it, but it was definitely some new documentary about it. I just shrugged it off as soon as it was over, but my mother-in-law signed up for SL that night and her life has NEVER been the same! She's on the computer before and after she goes to work. On her days off, she spends her time on SL from 9am to 5pm, which is when her husband gets home from work. But when her husband goes to bed, around 9pm, she gets right back on it until midnight or even later! And this is DAILY. She's late for almost every errand or important task she has to run and she's been increasingly more late to WORK. My husband and I have noticed she's even more agitated in her "REAL LIFE" than ever because she's not on the computer in some fantasy world. It's just crazy! Whenever we talk to her about it, she's in complete denial and there's nothing we can do to limit her time on there. We need help trying to get her old life back! We used to go out and do family things together, but her life is so involved with SL that she ignores almost everything in her real life. I would hate to see her spending the rest of her life on the computer.

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  48. I heard about SL a couple years ago, but never mentioned it to my husband because I know how addicted he can become to online programs. This one is even worse than I ever dreamed.

    My husband discovered SL about 3 weeks ago and immediately became addicted. He is self-employed and stayed home from work 9 out of 10 days after discovering SL. He's going back to work most days now, but spends most of his time on SL, even at the office. Since he discovered SL, he has been on the program up to 20 hours a day, only sleeping a couple hours here and there, if that much.

    He says he doesn't do the cyber sex thing - he only dances and cuddles with the women he meets. The dancing I can handle - the kissing and cuddling crosses the line in my eyes.

    He is sometimes secretive about it, but he has given me a tour of his SL life and has shown me some of his friends, (all women). I found the website interesting from a technological point of view, and appreciate that he has tried to include me to an extent, but that doesn't alter the fact that he has done NOTHING but eat, sleep, smoke, and play on SL for the past 3 weeks, and that we have had virtually no communication between us since he started, unless it's to show me something in his virtual world.

    The electricity went out for an hour the other day, and he panicked.

    I worry that our business will fail because he isn't following through on commitments to customers. Our marriage is certainly not benefiting from it. We're on the verge of bankruptcy as it is, so this is an exceptionally bad time to not be following through at work.

    His past addictions to other online sites have only lasted 2-3 months, but this one has roped him in faster and stronger than anything I've ever seen before. It definitely has me worried!

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  49. I heard about SL a couple years ago, but never mentioned it to my husband because I know how addicted he can become to online programs. This one is even worse than I ever dreamed.

    My husband discovered SL about 3 weeks ago and immediately became addicted. He is self-employed and stayed home from work 9 out of 10 days after discovering SL. He's going back to work most days now, but spends most of his time on SL, even at the office. Since he discovered SL, he has been on the program up to 20 hours a day, only sleeping a couple hours here and there, if that much.

    He says he doesn't do the cyber sex thing - he only dances and cuddles with the women he meets. The dancing I can handle - the kissing and cuddling crosses the line in my eyes.

    He is sometimes secretive about it, but he has given me a tour of his SL life and has shown me some of his friends, (all women). I found the website interesting from a technological point of view, and appreciate that he has tried to include me to an extent, but that doesn't alter the fact that he has done NOTHING but eat, sleep, smoke, and play on SL for the past 3 weeks, and that we have had virtually no communication between us since he started, unless it's to show me something in his virtual world.

    The electricity went out for an hour the other day, and he panicked.

    I worry that our business will fail because he isn't following through on commitments to customers. Our marriage is certainly not benefiting from it. We're on the verge of bankruptcy as it is, so this is an exceptionally bad time to not be following through at work.

    His past addictions to other online sites have only lasted 2-3 months, but this one has roped him in faster and stronger than anything I've ever seen before. It definitely has me worried!

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  50. Thanks, Anon, for sharing your story.

    It continues to amaze me that this post from almost two years ago has generated the most comments of any I've done on this site!

    I'm also floored by your experience and wonder why anyone, other than someone who has an addiction to protect, would question that this is an ADDICTION!

    I would point your SO to the Web site www.olganon.org, which might be helpful for you, too, to understand the addiction.

    Best of luck to you,

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  51. I went into SL in October of 2006. I never wanted to have a relationship or cyber sex, I just liked the virtual world. My wife and daughter saw my addiction right away. I didnt understand. I spent alot of time inWorld, became a SL Mentor and had more friends in SL then RL. I liked and respected my SL friends more.
    My teenage daughter gave up on me, after begging me to stop my involvement with the game. I didnt think I was doing anything wrong, because I was always alone and stayed away from any SL relationships.
    It even came to the point once of me threatening to leave my family after they tried to stop me from being in SL.
    Then it moved to another level. I met an avatar and fell in love. My whole world turned upside down. I then realized a whole different side of SL. The drug notched up to a stronger level.
    And then my wife discovered my affair.
    I must say the pull is so strong, its so hard to give this up. And now, I find myself meeting other avatars who want to be with me as friends and then also dance, cuddle and kiss, and Im sure have intense sex, -the SL drug is so strong.
    I am trying to balance my family now with SL. I am devoting more time and attention to my wife and daughter, but I still need the high from SL, its so intense and takes me to places I never could in RL.
    Yes, it is very addicting, please everyone, try to realize if you play, you must devote time to those in RL who love and need you too.

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  52. Wow.. I just uninstalled Sl today. after 2 years and 6 months. I became very well known in the game from on top in the fashion world to landing a rl job. I been through a lot in that game emotional ties that took a toll on me and others. Sl became more important then my rl. I put my sl husband before my real one. It's weird. I lived a life of glamor been in newpapers. If I told you who I was in game and you googled me you be amazed. Even have said all that it was not worth giving up 2 years and a half of my real life.. I am addicted to sl and now look at it as a drug I had to walk away from. I will miss the game but I'm missed in real life more. we can uninstall sl but there is no such button in rl. We only have one of those.. no alts here in the real world so live it while you can.

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  53. Hello,

    bad english here :)

    I was on SL for only 3 months and I've just cancelled my third and I hope last avattar.

    SL is an ultra addictive virtual "game" (don't really believe it's a game). The most addictive in SL are the relationships and friendship we can have very quickly and dreams we can realize. I can for example meet and have a great romance with a person and live with this person al kinds of sexual and romantic adevntures. I can also have dozens of relationships ad live some of the most non realistic fantazies. I can also have fun, work, danse party, ... live social problems like romantic or friends or colleags troubles.

    All these possibilities makes SL look like being an idealistic life. When I took my car and drive after 5 days being continually connected I feel weird and I am not attracted by real people I prefer cartoon avattars .. real people look weird !!! I passed nights without going to bed with my wife who took children and went on a long vacation .... alone i became more attached and totally under SL control !! I've sut stopped and canceled account and I'am suffering nothing can replace SL .. I have the images permanently turning in my head and my mind .. and I lost interest to anything in RL I even do not miss my wife who I've been in love with for 12 years and we have 2 kids ... I feel weird but I left the game cause I felt that I couldn't do anything you and I got borred from repeating the same things .. that was my expreince. I never told someone about SL and I agree totally that SL is a deadly addiction and can seriously damage one's mind, feelings, balance, rl relationship ...

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  54. Hello Anon and Wanday:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with SL.

    I feel so strongly about the horrendously damaging effects of SL on relationships/families/individuals that I'm considering writing a book about it to help others.

    If this idea comes to fruition, I'd love to share the stories posted here.

    Good luck to both of you,
    Nancy

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  55. Second Life is not like anything else out there in computer "gaming". Problem is... its not a game. There is no real objective to the game other than to live a second life.There are some places for serious "role play" but Ive seen even the most deicated to roleplay go down in emotional crisis from what that place can do to a person. Second Life breaks down barriers of what's normally acceptable( where else can you daily see things such as 3 or 4 naked girls on thier masters chain walking in a mall?). Secnd life allows any type of interaction because there are no perceived conscequences. I mean after all... the "real you" isnt doing that... or are you?
    Second life has a very real danger of fragmenting the personality.
    It isnt about sprending too much time with it... its about the involvement you have. It starts out pretty innocent... then after enough variety of "situations" occur things deep inside you start to connect and come alive.
    Many people can probabaly mess with Second Life and be okay. personally, Ive seen so many ruined or almost ruined real lives over it it is'nt even funny.
    How do I know all this?
    Just finally was able to tear myslef away from the game ( and have been going through hardcore emotional withdrawls for a about a week now. I started because I liked Sims. I ended sl because insiduously it had replaced everything in my real life.I was lucky enough to be able to see the damage.
    My advice... stay away from that "game". Its way to easy to replace the real world ( even if you are happy with life) for that one.

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  56. You know you're addicted to second life when:
    you try to make your spouse think you're working when you're actually gaming
    you change screens every time your spouse walks by or in the room
    you feel “interrupted” when asked to do things as a family
    you feel a sense of relief or freedom when your spouse leaves the house
    you can't go 24 hours without thinking, “I wonder what I'm missing in my SL”
    you think to yourself, “why am I just sitting here when I could be living it up in SL” (instead of thinking “what can I do that would benefit and include my family”)
    you put SL first and your family second
    you spend more time secluded with your computer than you do with your family
    the house projects still aren't done and your spouse is working on them by them self and you don't acknowledge or offer to assist when you hear that it really is a two person job
    you choose gaming instead of family planning, resulting in hesitation/resentment
    you admit to being addicted and are embarrassed about it but won't stop playing
    you ask your spouse not to tell anyone
    you spend real money in a fake world
    you are watching/having sex with avatars instead of your spouse
    you don't give your pets the attention they need
    you Google SL addiction, read all of the families that have been torn apart as a result of SL and continue to play, naively thinking . . . “it won't happen to me”
    you hide your SL conversations and relationships from your spouse
    you have no idea that your spouse has left the house
    you don't know where the last 3 hours went and your 'actual' work isn't done

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  57. This thread describes my life. My wife dedicates almost all waking and not working time to SL. We're on the brink of divorce primarily because she will not give up SL lovers. Secrecy? Oh yes, there is plenty of that. Only when I have hard proof that something happened does the act get owned up to. Given what I am reading here, I am almost convimced that throwing away my 13 year marriage is actually the right thing to do, let the financial consequences hit.

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  58. I've been researching this for weeks because my boyfriend has become increasingly addicted to SL. Every time I try to talk objectively about it, he gets defensive. We spend a lot of time on webcams just so we can see each other, but seeing that he isnt focusing on me, or taking too long to respond to my IMs or has a delayed response bothers me. When I make a comment, it may take him 10-30 minutes to respond and as soon as he reads or responds to what I have to say, I see his eyes dart right back over so SL. But he will sit there and wait for responses from people on SL. He told me that if he takes too long to respond to them, or if he isnt "actively involved in the game, people won't want to RP with him anymore." Some of the scenes last for hours and I have to ask him if he is involved or busy. He rolls his eyes and will tell me just to call, and we sit on the phone with nothing to say because he can't talk to me and stay in the game. Then he will get upset, say we arent talking and get off the phone. Many nights, I go to bed crying now.
    He wakes up and logs on, or leaves the "game" logged on all night. Sometimes, the only thing we have to talk about is things that are going on with in the story line of the "game". I do love him, but I don't know how much longer I can put up with the broken heart I feel everyday because he chooses SL over me, or so I feel. I have a SL account too, but I only use it occasionally and log on and have conversations with people, my AV is not involved in roleplay at all and I don't depend on the interaction that I have with the people on SL. His defense is that he moved to a place where he knows no one and this gives him some sense of a social life. He has a female AV, so I know he is not having sexual or romantic relationships on there. He has sent me chat logs to read the story that is going on, but the fact that he has a SL job, and has even been placed 2nd in charge of the SIM is starting to destroy what we've built in the short few months of our relationship.
    He admitted that his gaming has affected his past relationships. He tells me that until one of us moves to make the relationship more permanent, I will just have to deal with it and if we were living together, it wouldn't be like this.
    Ive talked about the addiction before and he tells me Im crazy. I told him that I truly believe that it is a form of Multiple Personality Disorder, again, I'm wrong. I love him so much when we do spend time together, but during our last visit, he stayed online most of the time playing Ultima or another interactive game. He said he was on west coast time and wasnt ready to go to bed, so when I laid down to go to sleep, we had our time, but the laptop was on the bedside table, and he was on as soon as I went to sleep. He used to call me as soon as he woke up and go on about how much he missed me and would send me text messages through out the day. I needed up with my laptop so I gave him remote access to it and he would log in some mornings and leave me a poem in Word, or would play my favorite song over and over until I woke up to make sure I was up in time for work. Now when he wakes up, he has to check SL to see who has left him messages or what is going on in the SIM. He equates it to just like checking his email every day. But I can't see that.

    After further research, I also asked him if he knew what a "gamers widow was" because that is how I feel right now. I'm glad I'm not alone.

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  59. My wife joined 2nd life a month ago. One day last week she was on there for 10 hours. She doesn't think 2nd life is a problem because she gets to meet a lot of interesting people and buy cool clothes.

    In an earlier post someone said their husband had written an Open Source script to read the chats she had been having in 2nd life. Does anyone have access to this type of script as I'm concerned for our relationship and I'd rather nip this in the bud while I still can.

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  60. I can barely keep from crying after reading these posts. It sounds like my life also. I saw a Law and Order episode that featured SL and asked my significant other about it. She set me up an account and then set herself up one. I ended up not getting anything out of it while her addiction has grown and grown. It has caused fights and arguments on a regular basis about the amount of time spent online. The way that she would speak to others in voice chat in a really seductive way. I never thought anything destructive would actually happen until things in RL started to get bad. Our relationship deteriorated and her life on SL got more attractive. Almost 2 months ago, she completely called off our relationship and said she didn't want it anymore. As I am looking for another place to be, we are still living together and I overheard a voice chat with a SL lover that had more passion in it than I had heard in years. Four years together and I am reduced to the annoyance and the new fantasy is now taking over. She is like most that I have read here is online in SL from the minute she gets up, til she leaves for work, and then when she gets home, she is on it again until 2 or 3 am. She no longer really likes the people in RL but is enamored with the fake SL people. So much lost and so much just thrown away. I don't think she will ever get it. Being in a home alone with all her SL friends is okay with her and in fact I think that the quicker I leave she will think the better so that I am the last hold on the RL. Isn't there anything those of us losing our partners can do to stop or change SL?

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  61. Nancy, if you are still interested in additional input, or if you are still writing your article or book, feel free to email me.

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  62. For those of you you have recently shared your stories, I want to repeat this site's info: www.olganon.org. Admittedly, I haven't spent the time I should checking it out. But today I searched the site and saw that they have a forum specifically for family members to get help and support. PLEASE check it out!

    For M: I'm still contemplating writing about this very serious issue, but have had to put it off for awhile. If you have an email address that you don't mind posting, I'd be happy to contact you with info at a later date.

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  63. AMENDMENT TO COMMENT ABOVE!

    Talia just reminded me that in order to insure privacy, there is a better way for folks like M to contact me:

    If you leave your contact info/email in a comment, that comment will then be waiting for moderation from Talia or me. That way, I can see your contact info and NOT publish it. Just an FYI.

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  64. My mother has an addiction to SL. She also has a serious bowel disorder known commonly as Crone's Disease. Over the past few months my family and I have noticed a rapid decline in her health. She has lost up to 30 lbs, we can't tell how much. Her skin is changing color and she appears to be quite weak. She rarely leaves her house now. She does a lot of things in the real world that are bad for her health, like drink and smoke, but this is by far the worst. I recently got engaged and have asked her to spend time with me planning and going dress shopping, since I'm very excited. She has no interest whatsoever. It takes away from her SL world. She works in a "strip club" in SL and it is embarrassing to the family that she prefers to stip in a fantasy world than spend time in the real world with her family and friends. Due to her disease, she is unable to actually work and has claimed that she is making real money in the game, and to her it is a job. The family recently confronted her about her SL addiction and it's impact on her health. She is no longer speaking to her sister at all and has yet to talk to anyone in the family but my sister, and my sister doesn't object like we do. This program is literally killing my mother in front of my eyes, and there is nothing I can do to help her.

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  65. Anonymous:

    I'm so sorry that your family is going through this with your mother.

    One suggestion I have is that your mother's doctor might be able to help. Because of confidentiality laws, the dr's office may say that they can't discuss the patient with you. But really, they can listen without acknowledging that they treat her.

    Another thought is to contact a local addiction treatment facility and seeing if they do any type of intervention.

    Also, check out the 12-step support group online at www.olganon.org. You might find some good resources there.

    Take care and good luck,

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  66. I have been playing SL for about 4 days now...and I will admit I have an addictive personality. I didn't expect much from this game, but already I have spent $20.00 on my avatar...and at college I found myself drifting from my work (and that NEVER happens I'm serious!) and thinking about what I could do next in SL. I am gonna stop playing NOW before it gets worse because I have this horrible feeling that it WILL get worse.

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  67. Salicia:

    Sounds like you're insightful enough to recognize a potential problem with SL. The "addictive personality" comment alone would make me leery for you.

    Take care,

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hi all, I read the posts and could not agree more. My wife - I say my wife with some reservations, as we have been apart for 7 months now - became addicted to SL. Though she admitted being addicted to SL, but won't accept that she has a problem.

    I never knew about SL before in the real sense, until I started researching, but it was too late. Wife used to play SIM, then graduated to playing SL in November last year. Our relationship nose-dived from there on. She was a student then and was suppose to graduate this year - August. She wasn't working as she was supposed to focus squarely on her studies, having been unable to complete a previous degree at the last semester.

    Between November '08 and February '09, I tried my utmost best to make her see that her actions were destroying our relationship, but she made excuses; rationalised her conduct - it was all my fault! She kept switching screens whenever I was around; urging me to go take a nap; not cleaning; not cooking and when she does the food gets burnt; 'defrosting stuff taking out of the freezer until they go real bad!

    I was the breadwinner, did all the shopping whilst she stays home without going out during her University hols - at times for close to 2 months without seeing the outside of our property. Her car battery kept getting flat, as it was not used.

    In February, I 'caught' her with a male avatar. I knew something was amiss as she hardly comes to bed. She normally retires to bed between 4am and 6am, at which time she disturbs my sleep resulting to tiredness at work. All she did was to call me at work to apologise without curbing her behaviour. Back to February, I saw her with the male avatar, and you bet, I was pissed! I uninstalled the SL from the computer. The following day on return from work, she informed me that she was leaving to rent a room close to her University. She also told me that she has contacted a lawyer to institute legal separation. She vacated 2 days later!

    I gathered from a close source that she failed her finals, thus would not be able to graduate, but she is still engrossed with SL. Thus far, I am done with her as there her too much water that has gone under the bridge.

    I clearly know she is addicted and tried my best to assist, but it appeared then that I was a nuisance to her. To me, whilst there are many unanswered questions, I came to the conclusion that it was better for me to move on as from all indication ONLY her can help herself.

    To all those who are thinking of starting SL, it is not a game and can be very very damaging. To those who are there, you need to look for the will power to uninstall SL. And finally, to those like us who are suffering the side-effects of our spouses or love ones, you can only control and better your own actions.

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  69. ADVICE FOR YOU...
    Don't go to SL if you are vulnerable. I went into SL at a very fragile time in my life, after the death of a parent, and it was a the biggest mistake of my life.
    I became addicted to this game. I lost control, spent RL $, lost friends, strained RL family relationships because my whole focus revolved around SL. I have a BIG HEART and would give you anything I have. Unfortunately, that was a huge self flaw in SL, because I got used by people - BIG TIME!

    GUESS WHAT? It didn't help me with my grief, it actually made it worse at that time. It didn't help me with RL love, it actually made me less trusting of people in general after my experience in SL.

    MY ADVICE TO THE LADIES...
    Don't be a fool for love in SL. I opened my heart and soul to a guy there, only to find out that I was really nothing to him. He used me for my lindens, invited me into his RL only to ignore me, then finally admitted that he had a RL love the whole time we were together. He made empty promises about meeting in RL and led me to believe that we would be together some day in RL as well.

    YOU MAY THINK that you can seperate fantasy from reality but the reality of it is...your human emotions will always take over the SL ones. Once you start allowing that, you will get hurt - people you care for in RL will get hurt.

    I'm better off now, and I see it. Too bad I didn't have enough self control when I started playing SL or I would not be posting here today.

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  70. I started SL two weeks ago. I am NOT one with an addictive personality.....or never have been in the past. I am amazed how many hours I've spent shopping, exploring, and chatting with people from all over the world.

    It is such an easy world full of freedom of expression...I've discovered things about my own sexuality that I never imagined.

    I have two relationships in the sl world. I end up thinking of them in rl....constantly reminding myself that they are not "real"....they are avatars. Yesterday, I didn't call a rl man back for a rl date, because I didn't like him as much as the sl men.

    The responses from people with sl addiction have stopped me cold. I don't think I am addicted, but I am going to start setting SEVERE limitations. Thank you for frankly discussing this topic. I am going to save myself....while I still can.

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  71. I am an educated, professional, who is a single mother of teenage kids, with a so called normal life, yet i spend too many hours on SL. One day my son was trying to carry on a conversation with me, and i was giving him my usual one word responses he walked away saying "mom, you dont talk to me anymore", that made me sad, so i made an honest effort to moderate my time online. However much we may deny it, We are all on SL to fullfill some need, I initially signed up due to a heartbreak in RL and now spend many hours logged onto SL. I love the creative and business aspect as well. I am learning to build and create. I rent out part of my property. I spend way too many lindens shopping for myself and and my lover. I am addicted to him, and the emotional high i get when i am with him. I have fallen in love with someone half way across the world and go through emotional same upheaval as in RL when we argue or fight. I also know a woman who is thinking of leaving her RL husband and son and joining her lover halfway across the world. Sl is not a game, it is a social network with eye candy. Fortunately I do not have a RL partner, and have become increasingly tangled emotionally with my SL lover. we have a lot of common interests, we dont have sex all day , we also talk about music , art, and other cultures.I have also cried many a tear when we argue, but i am an emotional person and thats normal for me. I am also fortunate to an extent that my children are in their teens and have a great father who spends a lot of time with them, they may have felt neglected, and i am now setting limits. I signed up for dance and excersise classes in RL with my daughter, and take my son out, and make an attempt to have dinner with the few days a week. It is easy for someone who is not in our shoes to judge us.The relationships and friendships we form are real, and the emotions we have are real. I will not close my account any time soon, I have met some wonderful people on SL, who i would befriend in RL in a heartbeat. I will continue to try and balance my two lives and spend more time with my children. As with evertything in RL and SL moderation is the key i suppose. For all those spouses who blame SL, look in the mirror, what was lacking in your relationship, that made your partner seek someone out in SL? If not SL it would have been someone else in RL. Some of us have addictive personalities, if not SL it will be alcohol, drugs or gambling. I chose to be in a place at most times, where I can dance with someone I love, listen to music, travel,visit Mont St.Michel and the Taj within minutes. create objects, laugh and also cry at times. Yes it is very addictive, so are soap operas, sitcoms and reality shows. But because of second life I overcame a huge obstacle in RL and was able to move on.

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  72. PurpleO:

    I'm not counseling or advising you, but just wanted to point out something I noticed in your comment.

    I think it's great that you have insight into how SL can be problematic for you, and that you are reinforcing and expanding your roles in RL. But I hear lots of rationalization for your behavior. Based on the stories people above have shared and my own expertise, that defense can be a sign of addiction.

    Just wanted to point that out.

    Take care,

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  73. Thank you, Nancy .I never take offense if anything is presented in a polite manner. I did admit that it was addictive, admission is the first step to recovery isnt it? my point is that i would rather spend some time on SL than hit the bars, take drugs or glue myself to the TV. Of course we will all try to rationalize our behaviour, thats human nature. I enjoy my time on SL, and the great interraction i have with my friends there. It wont be easy to tear myself away if and when the time comes. I guess having a fulltime job and kids does help me limit my time on SL. I am off today , even though it was tempting to stay on SL all day , laundry and dishes beckoned :) I did brush my teeth have a shower and get dressed, even invited my neighbour over for a coffee, as long as i can maintain the balance i am good I guess, if not i have asked my kids to intervene and disconnect my internet connection.

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  74. My sister has been on SL for over a year now. She has lost her job, and refuses to to look for another because she is on unemployment.She has abandoned her family and sits in her room from noon to 4 the next morning on that stupid site. We have tried talking with her about it and telling her that she needs help,but she is in denial. I really wish SL would self-destruct and never come back.It has detroyed my relationship with my sister.She has become very angry toward me and other family members.She has a boyfriend on that site from UK and that is all she talks about.It is like we do not even exist anymore.What a horrible way to spend your life.

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  75. It's the people that are addictive. I spent three months on sl, logging in every few days to listen to some music, maybe shop a little. I actually found it a little boring at times. I had lots of men hitting on me but found it annoying, and then I met someone I actually clicked with. We had a 1 month sl romance that eventually ended when he finally confessed to have a sl girlfriend. I then embarked on several brief affairs, mostly I think to see if I could recapture what I found in my first sl relationship. And I did, I met a man that I connected with on an even deeper level. We moved from voice, to skype, to sharing rl pictures (also partnered on sl). He talks to me on his blackberry while he's at work. Several times I have nearly ended it, especially when I realized we were moving outside of the game. He has a rl girlfriend too, another reason why I nearly ended it when I saw our relationship moving outside of sl. But each time he managed to say something and I could never go through with it...I dont think I really wanted to end it even then.

    It's funny, I dont spend nearly as much time on sl since we now spend most of our time talking on yahoo. I often don't really feel like logging on if he's not there. There is no doubt in my mind that I'm compensating for a lack or fufilling relationships in my life, and that's what makes it so diffucult to end. Even though I know it can't end without me being hurt, I can't stop it because I cant even remember the last time I had these feelings for someone. Even now I'm thinking about him and wondering why he hasn't been on today. I've spend a lot of time reading up about sl relationships too, trying to come to some understanding of what I'm experienceing I suppose.

    I'm not asking for help, as I'm aware of my behaviour and how addictive it is. I'm not rationalizing. I just thought you might like to know what someone who is deep deep into an sl relationship feels. I even met someone in rl recently, a nice guy, he'll probably ask me out and I'll probably say yes, not because I realy like him, but because I want to be able to tell my internet lover about it and maybe make him feel the way I feel when he can't talk because his girlfriend is around. How very sad is that?

    So yes I'm addicted, but sl was only the catalyst, not the cause.

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  76. I just signed up for SL today. I have no inWorld house, friends, or possessions... yet already I feel this ridiculous pull. I've been off the game for about an hour, and I can't stop thinking about it...

    Thanks to this blog, I have a better idea of what can happen down the road with a "game" like this. Right now, I spend to much time surfing the net as is... but I have a strong relationship and wonderful kids. In no way do I want to throw that way. So I keep eyeing the SL icon on my screen, with the intention of uninstalling it. Then I start thinking, "but I haven't done anything yet! Surely just looking around a little more couldn't hurt...

    I respect the step each of you made, in shutting down the game. Stuff like this is not only a time drain, but a life drain. Why do we allow ourselves to be sucked in? that's what I'm asking myself right now... maybe I'll come up with some answers. And maybe I will go ahead and uninstall this trap...

    Maybe.

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  77. What an amazing thread. I really feel for all of you who are dealing with this problem.

    My sister was addicted to speed for 4 years and I can see many similarities between her behaviour and what's discussed in this thread. There is hope if you keep trying. Don't give up!

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  78. After reading this blog, I have actually comfronted the fact that yes I am addicted to something, the addiction is not the Second Life world, it is not the dancing or all the weird and wonderful things that are in world.

    The addiction is to the people I have met in world, and the perceived connections and intimacy that is conveyed and then created by the various animations that can be purchased or used through out the virtual world.

    I have had 4 relationships in world, all for differing reasons, but find myself pining over the very first woman I fell in love with. I ask myself constantly why I am pining for someone I have never met, and probably never will and as yet have found no answers.

    Ultimately people addicted to Second Life has joined to explore the world, but end up finding something that they were lacking or thought they were lacking in their real life.

    Right now I am on the verge of closing down my last 2 accounts and uninstalling the client. The thought fills me with both a sense of relief and a sense of total loss, but it has to be done in order to gain back my hold on reality and the life I want for myself.

    I wish anybody who is addicted to Second Life all the luck in the world in breaking the addiction.

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  79. It continues to astound me that this post, which is over two years old, gets the most response of any topic I've posted!

    My hope is that those of you who have struggled with this issue are finding some relief.

    Again I will offer further chat/info if anyone is interested. Simply leave your contact info in a comment - as comments always await moderation, we can chose not to publish them to protect your privacy.

    Take care,

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  80. I would like to make this clear before i start. Before tonight, I have never heard of SL. I'm 19, and have, in the past, had some very intense online relationships (Not in a sex-type way, but in a close friend type way). I'm a gamer. And i have a mother with a very addictive personality.

    To me, SL is not in any way shape or game. I would laugh at anyone playing this, who called themself a gamer, and any other gamers would do the same. Games have objectives. Games have quests. Storylines. That is the purpose of a game.

    I will start with myself: I'm a 19 year old female, and i love video games. My all-time favourite was starcraft, and generally i just loved it for the chat. I met many amazing people.. I even had an online relationship. I met the boy IRL, and decided it just couldn't work. For anyone considering this.. i urge you to understand there are tons of tiny little ticks about a person you just can't see online!

    I would not say i was addicted to gaming.. but i believe i have enough experience with online relationships to understand how they can be a time-suck.

    Returning to the topic of SL: I was watching a documentary on it today, how it destroys lives, how people think the relationships they have there don't count as affairs, etc etc.. It made me very sad. I have a mother who has a very addictive personality. She spent the greater part of the last two months HEAVILY playing some stupid game on facebook. (Facebook is another stupid program that ruins lives, imo.) It hurt that she would choose to play said game instead of doing something with the family. "Could you please wait another half hour? I need to finish this". and lines much like it were words I often heard coming from her mouth. Being a gamer myself, i understand the pull. I understand the connection with people. I understand that you KNOW people in ways you can never know them IRL. However.. letting that control your life is ridiculous. I've matured in the past year. I've spent much less time talking to my online friends. I've been spending much more time with people. It's been a nice change.

    I read every single comment reply to this article. I feel sorry for anyone sucked into this hole, or those around them. And i hope that those sucked in can realize what's happening to them, and pull themselves out.

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  81. I am an SL addict and desperately want to walk away from it. Today I made a decision to abandon it again but it's so incredibly difficult. I have done this once before for 3 months but in that time I thought about SL nearly every day. I am happily married with two gorgeous children and yet feel compelled to login. I am going through a major withdrawal at the moment and feel so lost without it and yet lately when in-world I've felt equally as lost and empty. I have come to the conclusion there is something 'missing' in my RL or else I would not be searching for 'something' in SL. Secondlife, as has been said, is not a game. It is a dangerous thing for a great many people. It can never make you whole.

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  82. Ok... so I've been in SL for 1000 days. That's almost three years. I've had my share of trouble with it. I was totally open with my rl spouse about everything I was doing... at first it was just funny to go look at all the different creations and different ways people chose to spend their time. We laughed at the virtual romances and sex, then to make money in game I began working in SL in the most popular profession.
    Still it was ok, my spouse games as well... until I met someone and began spending my whole SL with them. Emailing RL with them. Dreaming of a different life with them. I lied to my spouse and told them I wasn't in contact with the SL romance anymore, when I was... and my spouse discovered it by looking in my email.
    I stopped logging in for a month. We worked on things, it got better and for a long time, I didn't do anything but hang out with friends in SL and pursue creative outlets, building, writing, photography, etc.
    It's when I'm home alone I'm compelled to seek out company of a "romantic" nature. That's my problem. I have a source of income inworld through a store I've done work for so I rarely buy Linden, so that's not a problem.
    I don't know if I'm an addict or just a terrible person.
    My SL is generally lonely and I shop to fill the time. But when I have the apt to myself... I can't stop looking for someone to "spend time" with.
    I'm terrified my spouse will find out and that will be the end of an otherwise good marriage, but I can't stop... it's like exploring a side of myself I can't in RL.
    Is this addict talk or rationalizing being a jerk?

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  83. Hi,
    I just found SL tonight through a search I did for Avatar chat. Just the web page alone will draw you in, the graphics are wonderful, I downloaded the program and started playing, because I am new I asked a few vet. players for help, the answer I got was "run away" don't get started that I would spend hours of my time and a ton of money, I am a mother of 2 small children and honestly I can say I am already addicted to the internet, I have changed so much over the last year, I don't do anything anymore. I hope I don't get wrapped up in this game but I have no self control the only thing I see stopping me is maybe lack of funds to pay for things on the game, after the girl told me to run away she then told me that she could get me a hot avatar and where to get freebie items at...its push and pull for me another thing is the controls are confusing I hope these things can keep me away.

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  84. I have read through each and every person's comments and I have to say I can relate with so many of these individuals. And I am preparing now to break down a great deal of my SL and bring my RL back into focus.
    I just finished having a 2 hour talk with my RL husband. It will be so difficult for me to do this. I will be leaving behind a lot of friends and loved ones. But I have left myself behind - my daughter behind - so much of my life behind. While I love wearing pretty dresses and dancing, it's no fun for me to do it alone. Doing it with other people only makes things trickier, as each interaction with them then ends up representing a reason why I am disatisfied with something in my RL - something I could actually change if I worked hard enough. So my marriage isn't going well (and not because of the gaming per se, more because of differences my spouse and I have and issues unrelated) - that doesnt mean I should use a virtual world where everything thing is happy and lovely like some sort of prozac. COME ON, I mean, life is never going to get better than it is in this very moment unless I suck it up and move on with everything. SL is a crutch - a coping mechanism - and I for one think I am better than that. I have found pieces of who I am, but I have also lost a lot of myself too. I used to read books, watch movies, spend time going out after school with my sweet 8 year old. Now, those moments I used to cherish I see as interuptions to an SL. It's time for me to STOP hurting myself and those I care about and start LIVING again. Making RL friends and keeping up with the laundry and dishes and keeping the toilets scrubbed. How OFTEN I have taken a step back and said to myself "Darn, I wish this tub would be clean all the time like it is in SL" - not "Gee, I should be spending way more time cleaning than I do sitting on my @ss in a recliner logging onto a virtual world". It's time to grow up. It's time NOT to pacify myself. It's time to make a break - as easily as I can. I wish so much good to everyone else who posted here. No more pain, no more sadness and no more addiction. I hope to see some of you on Olganon.

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  85. I have a 47 year old daughter who is addicted to SL. She is morbidly obese, and on SL her avatar is a gorgeous, well built red head. In Sept. 2008 she left her son with us, his grandparents, packed up everything, and moved from Calif to Kentucky. She'd never been in Kentucky before, she went as far away as she could get from me, so she could live her life in SL without interference. She worked from home, and her Calif job went with her to kentucky, putting her in a pay scale that looked like a fortune by Kentucky standards. She spent every moment she wasn't working on SL. Soon she met a man who wanted to carry the relationship to RL. He came from Alabama to meet her, married her after a one month acquantence and moved in with her. he hadn't worked in over 7 years, was 13 years younger than her, and had a 5 yr old daughter he brought with him. They married in March, she lost her job in May to the recession, and in July he stripped their joint account of every penney and ran off with another victim he'd met on SL. Since that time, she's back on SL full time. she's collecting unemployment, which is enough to live on in Kentucky. She makes no effort to find a job and has absolutely no contacts in the real world. She is diabetic, and I fear that she could die and no one would ever know. She has no friends in RL, doesn't communicate with her son or with us and lives her entire life in SL. Her son was devistated when she dumped him, but is pulling himself together, going to college and working while living with us. He's never known his father, so had only her and us. I don't believe there is anything I can do to help her, and just send my story as a warning to others. SL is dangerous, especially to people who don't have what they want in RL and don't have the energy to change their RL to what they want. It's so much easier to pretend to have what you want. I expect to get a late night phone call someday, and I am powerless to do anything to help her.

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  86. Anonymous:

    I just wanted to say it sounds to me that you have done everything possible to help your daughter.

    Just as Al-anon has helped many people who have addicts and alcoholics in their lives, I highly recommend OLG-Anon. It's available online at the OLGA (Online Gamers Anonymous) Web site at www.olga.org.

    My hope is that you (and your grandson) will get the support you need to deal with this tremendously difficult situation.

    Take care,
    Nancy

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  87. My lover is now an addict of Second Life: spends up to 60 jours per week on the game, doesn't do anything much now than be an avatar. Work, friends, life, our relationship, money everything is being destroyed by the cyberspace that I don't call a game. All the symptoms of the addiction. Just terrible.
    We are in france and this addiction is not well known and the second life "space" not totaly understood I would say by professionals yet. Hard to get good help.
    It feels terrible.

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  88. It has been very interesting and in a strange and sad way for me, comforting to hear other people's experiences. I think you have all been really brave in disclosing your experiences. My RL fiance discovered SL and we both joined to meet online as we do not live together. Whilst I go on to be with him, (and yes buy some lovely gowns!) it has been a real voyage of discovery for him that has taken him to some very dark places, and as he says 'exploration of himself' I know he has 3 female alts that visit porn/sex sites and he has started going there as his main male avatar whenever I am not around. He says he logs off his female alts when I come online and wants to be with me as his main avatar. He can't see this as a problem, but I have seen him having sex with others. He says it's only 'pixel sex' it's fantasy, but I totally disagree. I think it is an interaction with another person because there are real people on the keyboards, responding to each other. I do understand some of his motivation to do this, but not after almost 4 years. I am now seriously considering ending the relationship. It has been such a relief to put this down in writing.

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  89. I have been a member for around 3 years and at first disregarded SL as a joke! I have only been serious about it for the past week and have found myself playing it upto 8 hours per night. When i returned to SL i was amazed and somewhat excited to learn about the amount of casual cyber sex that exists now. In my first day back i was confronted with four seperate sexual situations.

    I can't believe how many people log on to have quick cyber sex then log off! I think a lot of people are using it as a new form of porn with the added excitement of real time chat and emotions!

    Just yesterday i met a female who seemed very confused between her RL and SL as she was spying on me to make sure i was being faithful even know we have no SL relationship! I mistakenly joked about it as i am not taking this seriously at all and she got very upset which stunned and worried me about her emotional condition.

    After reading your articles i will certainly re-evaluate my account with SL.

    SL USER

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  90. My husband lost his career as a professional minister left me after 3o years of marriage and is now almost destitute doing houskeeping work. I feel he lost his mind in Second Life.

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  91. I am worried that my husband may be addicted to SL. When we first started dating, 10 years ago, he was addicted to the video game Final Fantasy. Now he has this account in SL and he spends all the time that he isn't at work on it. The problem is not only that I'm lonely, we also have two small boys. The oldest is almost 4 and Autistic. I feel like I am a single mom traveling this journey of Autism alone. I hate to say it, but, it has ALMOST driven me to adultry. I've tried talking to him about it and he told me he had uninstalled it. He LIED. I woke up in the middle of the night to find him in the living room having cyber-sex on SL. I feel cheated, abandoned and betrayed. I fear our son does too.

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  92. My son that is going to be 18 yrs old is addicted to this game as well as the furry fandom. This started very innocently when he was 15 yrs old and he got dragged into the shady side of Furires and Second lIfe and end -up practicing paraphilias, infantilism, swaping porno with anthropomorphic characteristics - two animals/avatars having sex - and cutting him-self. We are trying to help him, he is going to a psychiatrist but he still fighting us tooth and nail regarding his addictions to hte game, paraphillic friends and furry fandom friends. I am at a lost as to what to do - I told him I will just disconnect the computer and he just lost it cried, scream, etc I am extremely concerned about him - I just think that he needs to get away from teh computer, the game, his internet freak friends and his virtual friends to regain some sanity.

    This is taking an extreme emotional toll on all of us, and is totally beyond me how a game that is palyed by teenagers has a feature that allows virtual and perverse sex. It is absolutely sick, What sick mind conceived this and much less allows teenagers to get involved in something that reinforces addcition - sex does taht - tehre are people in teh world addicted to it, fake relationships, fake caring, fake everything and this mind crave so much approval, acceptance, love that they succumb to it. They allow adults to mix with teenagers and take them into teh worse pervertions.

    What is wrong with these people, they are corrupting monsters and they leave us parents, wives, husbands,children to pick up the pieces or to loose them forever.

    There shold be an investigation into this corrupting game as well as the furry fandom taht masks pedophiles, paraphiliacs, zoofilist, among tehmeselves and prey on innocents.

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  93. I quit SL 30 minutes ago! After an addictive 2 months. All i could do was eat and sleep SL. I deleted all files, emails. I was working in SL earning 3000 per week so it was good income. But my RL work suffered and i needed to work onRL relationships. It is ADDICTIVE i am so glad i made the break now - i feel better.

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  94. I recently lost my G/f to SL. She decided that becoming an online whore at SL is her top priority in life. This nearly destroyed me, mentally and emotionally. Because she has some severe mental issues, I am truly afraid of what is about to come to her.
    I would like to raise another issue. How come the US government is not taking any action against SL.
    1. It has its own currency, which is illegal.
    2. Nobody knows who is using it to launder money.
    3. Americans who make money there never report it on their tax returns and that is also illegal...

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  95. SL is the utopia of online sex chatrooms. Some people really make it their priroty. It's a freakin sad state.

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  96. I have no doubt SL can be addictive if one has a personality which is subject to addiction. And my heart goes out to those who have succumbed to this.

    BUT for most it is a case of diminishing interest. When I first went to SL I was amazed by it and spent much (and I do mean MUCH), time in world.

    Nowadays however, I spend a mere few minutes per week in SL (during those weeks I go into SL at all). Said time spent mostly checking messages and tapping old friends for a few moments of conversation.

    Point is that after the initial amazement wears off and one has tried a few experiences, one realizes that real life is more infinitely rich than any virtual world can be and curtails virtual activity on his or her own.

    Ever stop to think the reason many people resist efforts to moderate their time in second life is not that they are addicted, but rather because they resent busybodies who try to interfere and seem to think because THEY have issues with SL then EVERYBODY must have the same issues?

    (how's THAT for a run-on sentance?) :-) Here's another.....

    As for those who decry SL as a sex infused money laundering hell-on-earth, just know there are MANY tax payers who make a legal living in world and THOUSANDS who don't indulge in pointless cartoon sex. So stop the finger pointing, and lighten up.

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  97. My partner spends at least 6 hours every day in Second Life, 14-16 hours Saturday & Sunday. He has found himself an SL girlfriend and now says he doesn't want to take a week's holiday with me in June because he doesn't want to be "away" from Monika, his SL girlfriend. He hasn't eaten away from the computer for several weeks and is just about to change his phone plan so he can get the internet during the day when he's at work.

    It just makes me sad, and for those who say lighten up, I suggest you try to live with an SL addict.

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  98. I am a SL addict who up until a couple of days ago played 12/14 hours a day!
    I often wouldn't eat or shower as I was so involved in the game. I neglected my husband, daughters, pet, house, myself, family .... and so the list goes on and on.
    I also spent lots of money on it.
    For me the wake up call came when I got heavily involved with a RL married guy and the whole relationship started to damage me badly emotionally. This guy had issues RL (marriage probs and financial probs) that needed to be addressed but instead of dealing with them there he took them to SL and vented his anger on me! Afterwards he would be very apologetic and cry and of course I would forgive him as I loved him. This went on for several weeks and I spent many sleepless nights crying.
    It was only when a previous partner of his sent me a link to a website (having been through it previously herself with him) that I realised what I was going through and I got out of the relationship and out of SL. The article described the cycle of abuse and it fitted what I was going through perfectly as he would go quiet or withdrawn and then sooner or later he would explode and make me feel meaningless in both worlds and then of course the honeymoon phase would come where he was all apologetic, loving and would cry and say it wouldn't happen again, but it always did. It truly was like being on an emotional rollercoaster.

    I have been out of SL for about a week now and it's tough going, I think about it a lot, I even dream about it. I think about him too even though he was bad for me.
    Part of me wants revenge for what he put me and his other ex through as both of us lost enthusiasm and pleasure in the game due to our experience with him ..... but we both agree that from the moment we ended it with him our internet addcition vanished overnight.
    I am just hoping that my pull to go back to SL goes soon too.
    Thank you for reading.

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  99. I am so glad that I found and read this blog about SL. I just heard about SL while reading on a forum I belong to. The poster added a link to this blog.

    I must be living under a rock. One thing is for certain; I am going to avoid SL like the plague. I have an addictive personality and I don't need the problems and or troubles that are caused by addiction to this game. I don't even want to look at the site or graphics.

    I wish all of you who are trying to break the SL habit the very best of luck.

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  100. I have been on SL for over a year now, and just finished my 3rd long term relationship there. This one was six months. The sad part of it is that I am a mother of two in her late 40s who has been married for 22 years and I have the real life many dream of. What is even more bazaar is that the people I have had the relationships with think I'm a beautiful 23 year old, a lie within a lie. I look at what I have done and I'm ashamed, I have tried to stop myself several times I hope I am successful in this one. I have a hard time explaining to my husband that I am crying over ending a relationship with another man. But, I can't do it without him. Those of you who are with someone who is hooked, they will need you to baby sit them when they are trying to quit. When I was young I experimented with drugs and never got hooked, SL is the strongest drug I have ever seen. If you are there get out, if your loved ones are there you will need to HELP them get out

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  101. I've been reading through the comments and it's good to see I'm not alone. I've been playing SL for almost four years this November, started when I was underage at 16 and I actually convinced my mother to let me homeschool my 10th-12th grade years. In playing SL I became a manipulative and secretive person I began thinking I could get away with anything. I didn't realize it then but I thought my SL life was better than my real one, I cared less about studies and played SL daily. Friends stopped calling and I just made new friends on SL who would eventually stay for a while then leave. I ended up running a strip club at 16 and voice prostituting for money, which lead me to a BDSM domination lifestyle making money as a dominatrix. The money was great for a while, and I realized I really let myself go down a bad road. I've tried almost everything in SL, clothing design, stripping, prostitution, building, sim owning, gambling, having SL kids to pass the time, you name it and i've done it. The only good thing about my time in SL is that i've become quite a good graphic artist, other than that I'm an anti-social hermit. Reading through this blog makes me want to try and quit, the only time i've been off SL was when I was reported as underage and banned for a month, when I turned 18 I immediately came back with a new alt, started a new life and thought everything was going to be good again. I am happy sometimes, but days go by faster when I play SL and i'm realizing I can't do this for the rest of my life. I'm in college now and I shouldn't be online 24-7. I've never had a job because I always made enough money in SL to get by. I've let SL take over my life and it's hurting my real one. Like many have said SL is a drug and it's very addicting, I wish I would have realized that years ago without being so blind to the obvious.

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  102. I signed up with SL about 1 week ago - the first day I was in world 5 hours and have been on it every day since. In fact I took off today from work because I was up so late on SL. I talked to my therapist about it and I've decided to unplug. I love Philip K Dick's novels - haven't seen it mentioned here, but SL's addictive qualities almost exactly mirror one of his novels, The3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, there's a thread in it where the population escapes reality by living vicariously in their SL, Perky Pat. Might be an interesting read for you.

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  103. I am a phsycologist in training, and my summer class has just started covering gaming addiction. One of my friends mentioned Second Life as an extrememly addictive,deadly online poison. I found his comment intriguing to the full extent, and took it as a challenge to research this "deadly online poison". I had downloaded SL a week ago, and i find the SL world incredibly well made. There was everything a real person could want. But the humans behind the stunningly perfect/strange avatars seemed to be in a daze; everytime i mention anything about real life experiences (ex: what I/they did this weekend, what they are planning to do this summer, etc), they became very defensive and ovasive. It was almost like their RL was their SL and they were trying to quit/avoid their real life instead of doing vise versa. I will continue to walk around second life, but only bearing the fact that SL is a VIRTUAL world, and that i will continue living my actual life as a "living" person. I saw what SL had done to people. It is indeed a "deadly online poison", but only if the humans are willing to succumb to it. If you are addicted, i suggest that you immediately uninstall SL. I understand that you had built your ideal life into the virtual world of SL, but it is not TRUE perfection. Sooner or later, you will be dragged back to reality. Make it sooner rather than later. Saves you a lot of regret.

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  104. Hi there
    i suppose i am just like everyone else who has downloaded sl. I met a man there about 18 months ago, which only lasted a month. I am very emotional person and initially it was the thrill of just starting up a business etc and making some money. After the first relationship i was quite upset so i visited a place to try and get over it, only to be faced with falling in love with a married guy from rl and slowly progressing into rl contact. We never visited sl much after that because we both felt that it was too much fantasy. I am not into married men in rl but his words made me sad because i thought that he had a very unhappy marriage. The converstaions moved to other contact sites such as msn etc and hours were spent talking about our love for one another, about being together in the future etc pretty much what everyone else has mentioned on here. I became emotionally attached to this guy, with talk of meeting spending our lives together and growing old. he would disappear for weeks and i would worry that he was having problems in his marriage so would offer support and love. One day i didnt hear from him for over a week, so i logged back into sl and just started to just hunt around, only to find that he had an alternative avatar set up before we met and had been on there that day. I was devastated because i had been the emotional support, provided him with everything he needed to the detrimental effect on my family and friends. Hours were spent waiting for any sign of contact and i now believe that he was 'grooming' other women in sl for his own pleasure. Please do not judge me based on getting involved with a married man, it is something that happens to the best of us, my confidence has gone and i have become a complete emotional wreck. Over the last few weeks i have resorted in trying to track him down in sl, which makes me feel sick but it seems the only way to get closure. When i see him carrying on day in, day out with other women it makes me ill and so deceived.

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  105. I believe he has a real problem and i cant control the urge to contact him to show him i am still around. I really dont think he cares at all, he has moved on and incessantly tells me to, however to gain closure on this situation, i have had to disconnect sl and any other forms of communication with this guy because for my own mental state and health it needs to be done. I do believe that i have had to act like detective to get answers to questions myself. What finished it for me, was when i decided to expose him to other women and advise what he was doing, only to be told that 'i need to get over it' and 'welcome to sl'. i absolutely hate the deceit and the lies that go on there. It is a haven for men/women to lure people and it is etremely difficult to keep seperate from real life. The only thing that is keeping me going at this present moment, is that this man (the one who i thought i knew so well)is going to spend all his spare time on sl, but i find it very difficult that his wife is not aware of the amount of time he spends on there. I am also aware that he is trying to drag women into rl contact because he asks for photos etc. I have had to cease the martyrdom activities of trying to rescue women from his lair, as well as the apprehension and sickness i feel when i know he is in a virtual world trying to make another lasting impression on other females. What is also quite strange is he knows that i can track his whereabouts but doesnt seem to be changing his avatars to hide anything, leaving me angry and very very hurt.
    Sl does ruin lives, i suppose i need to be lucky that i found out now but its going to take an awful long time to heal from this pain.
    My advice to anyone reading this in regard to any online relationship and thing si wish i could have done. Firstly live your real life, do not get sucked into the fantasy world. and secondly if you are an emotional person like me, sl is not for you, it is for feeding ego, it is there to push the boundaries of real life to project fantasies and not for the faint hearted.
    Please avoid anyone who asks for rl contact, photos and who declares undying love for you within a few hours or days of meeting.
    I also met some married men who advised me that their wives knew that they talked to other women and were fine about it. Unfortunately i do not have the same outlook and was wondering whether anyone else would consider rl contact as well as SL contact deceit??

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  106. I came back to this site today to remind myself how draining SL can be. Even after being our of it for two years, I recently became nostalgic, and re-signed on! Creating a new character, I told myself I would just explore this time, not get into perverse activities and let it take over my free time. Luckily, my computer is very slow and the game hardly moved, but I could see myself getting hooked again. This time I realized there is a line between a "fun" little distraction, and addiction. I believe the addicting element is the hold it gets on your imagination. You actually feel like the attractive person with super powers you create. You identify with this cartoon and it takes you down the rabbit hole.

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  107. hi,
    i been adicted for about 2 years now. I found love on SL & fort i was happy as my RL was getting worse, i had my own busnes that i lost because of SL as i was getting less & less work i spent more & more time on SL & would spend a lot of RL mony on there, at its peek i was spending an avrage of £600 a month on SL & had my bussnes acounts linked to it as well. well needles to say i lost every think because of it. i manidged to get a job full time but i only worked to feed my SL adiction, on week ends i would spend from the friday night to the monday morning online & fall asleep at the computa & wake back up & go strait back on. i started to lose wate because i would not eat as did not want to leve. I started to lose my RL friends, my family gave up on me & some tride to talk to me but i used to get very nasty if some one tride to intervean. I then met some one in RL & fell madly in love with her & spent less & less time in SL but it was still there in the back ground & it was still swallowing my money, now around £200 a month witch soon came to light & distroyed my RL relashonship.

    Second life destroys Real life & its only when you rilise what you have rilly lost in RL that it hits you hard.

    Now my life is being devoted to getting my Real life love back & have canseled my Second life acount.
    Matthew

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  108. I just cancelled my Sl acct last night after being on for over a year. My rl was non exsistent. In the beginning, i was positive it would only be for fun--building, collecting art, all the fun things available. Then one day I needed a harder hit of excitment. Went to a Domme/sub sim and the rest is history. I lived there as many hours as possible. I lost myself in the process of trying to find out more about me. The thrill was even more addicting-sent my mind and body into overdrive--pushig harder and harder to live it all--to have it all.

    Last night it all come tumbling down--it wasnt fun-it was painful, upsetting, sad and i was feeling desperate. NO MORE-I told myself-tears and snot running down my face-I cant do this anymore. I sold my land, gave my money to a friend, close my acct and deleted sl files from my computer. Now I find myself griefing for my avi-she was me in a way that I can never be in rl.But she is gone and I am done--may she rest in sl peace. Now trying to put my rl together,trying to fill those days and hours that I gave over to sl.

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  109. I had some terrible things happen to me on sl and I still go back hoping im wiser now. People pretend they are male when they are female, they fake deaths, they disguise their voices and much more. I was fooled three times by the same woman. I know i am addicted but i am trying to find a balance and protect my self from SL. I never give up an RL activity for SL. I always make sure i still spend time with my family. I do know it affects my marriage and I am trying to do better. Quitting is best if you can. If your not ready than knowing you addicted is half the battle and doing little things to help you live with it is at least doing more than nothing at all. I work on finding things in real life that make me happy and keep me off the game as much as i can.

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  110. I have been in SL for a little over a year. Like most here it was a enjoyable time killer at first, but after awhile I realized it wasn't a time killer but a priority to be logged in to SL.
    After two relationships in SL, with inevitable endings, too replace the lost ones in RL. I have been thinking about leaving for awhile as I approached a year of playing the game.
    Second Life will become an addiction, with that said I have finally decided to stay out of the game. Nothing productive will come out of playing SL, you can justify the time from building, scripting, making money, but the reality of it is that it isn't real.

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  111. It is so sad to see how many lives SL is hurting and destroying. My husband and I are on the teetering edge of divorce as he is trying to battle his addiction. ANYONE who is lonely or at a low point in their lives is susceptible to this "game". It is the crack cocaine of the internet.

    After two months off, and trying hard to save what was actually a decent marriage and three beautiful children (and $60,000 of lost income) there is still a sparkle of joy and curiousity when my husband talks of SL....despite the pain he has seen and feels so badly for causing.

    If you are on SL, please seek the help of a therapist to get you off. Beware it is like an alcoholic hanging out in a bar in terms of the culture that exists there---remember, experienced players leaving the game makes it less fun for others so they will me manipulative in trying to make you stay.

    It is a program that leads to harm...I am not a prude but it seems to me a bit like Lord of the Flies in terms of the lack of morality that is prevalent, accepted. Lying is the game so lying is condoned, under the pretext of curiousity and fantasy.

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  112. I am an SL Player, My avatars name is Sorvea Perdide.

    I may have quit Second Life after a month, had I not learned about the concert scene.

    I don't know if I could count myself as an SL addict or not. Some days I want to cry and say I'm addicted, but other days I shrug and say, "No I'm not."

    I sing on SL, and this will bring me anywhere to $40 - $120 per week, depending on the # of sets I do. This is in US currency. This money goes into a savings account to be put away for real life traveling and vacations.

    Here's how a week of my life goes

    Sunday: Chill around the house/cleaning my room, clothes, sheets, till I have to do a set on SL about 7:00 PM SLT, after that, I chat a bit, then it's Beddy by time about 8:30 SLT

    Monday: Wake up, Go to the Office, shoot caffieen directly into my veins, work till about 3:00 PM SLT, have dinner with the fam (fam consists of my mom, dog, and cat) Head onto SL at 5:00 PM SLT for a concert set, and then chat with some friends, then beddy by time about 7:00 PM SLT

    Tuesday: Same as monday, but no SL for me! Ballroom dancing class! Owwwie my feet! Soak and sleep.

    Wednesday: Same as above, till 3:00 PM, get home, din din, check out the TV, Log onto SL at about 6:00 PM SLT for my Concert Set, then Beddy By time about 7:00 PM

    Thursday: Would be another Me-day, however, we are having a play in SL for Christmas. However, mostly watching TV, or checking out shows on HuLu. I may do some cone jumping on SL on an alt so no-one bothers me while I'm watching my shows X-D

    Friday: OooooWeee... got two concerts, One at 6:00 PM SLT, then another at 8:00 PM SLT. Shrug off to bed about 9:30 and hit the Zzz's as soon as my head hits the pillow.

    Saturday: I hardly even touch SL, unless no-one wants to go anywhere, then I watch some TV, or read a book while cone jumping on an alt, but if I'm not in the mood for even that, I probably won't even log into SL, not till I start reading a book on SL for the kiddo's at 7:00 PM SLT. Then Beddy By at 9:30 PM SLT.


    So take a look at my week to week life. If I wasn't making a little money bit by bit on Second Life, I probably wouldn't be on at all, but the money comes in handy when I run short of cash at the end of the month, or I want to take off on a weekend geta-way somewhere. I don't feel the heebie geebies if I don't play for a day or so, but I will get 72 msgs of "OMG!! Where were you???" and I just replay with "Real Life came up"

    Thanks for your time ^_^

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  113. My mom has been addicted to SL for over three years now. It has caused a huge rift in my family and has destroyed my parent's 26 year relationship. My parents were going to a marriage counselor 2 years ago, until my dad brought up my mom's addiction to Second Life. The counselor suggested that she cut back and spend more time on the relationship and the family. When they returned home, she was incredibly angry and blamed my father for her addiction. She then packed a bag, told him she was filing for divorce and left.

    The divorce was finalized a few months ago, even after my Dad pleaded to reconcile, she refused. She now lives in a apartment by herself, with very little furniture. All she needs is her computer. She is in some kind of an online relationship with a man that she blindly hopes to have a real life relationship with, even though it is obvious to me that he has no intentions of ever taking it to that level. All of her free time is spent on her Second Life. She talks about her "friends on SL" as if they were a real, and integral part of her life, and she becomes extremely defensive if you try to confront her about her addiction.

    This is not the first time she has abandoned our family for a cyber addiction. She also spent many, many years addicted to chat rooms. She was an absent mother, which forced me (the only daughter) to raise her own sons. I feel I have an obligation to my family, but at the same time, I also feel like I can't keep being their mother. I have spent my entire life in a parental position.

    My Dad has been rendered useless, in a depressed stupor since the end of their relationship, and his struggle with his own personal demons has made him retreat from the family as well. My older brother is mentally challenged and requires a lot of attention, and because of the absence of my parents his health has declined. My younger brother's mental health has suffered from the stress. He has some pretty major social anxiety, and up until recently, spent the majority of his life holed up in his bedroom. I have tried to detach myself from the situation, but find myself constantly pulled back in. At this point; I'm just at a loss as to what I should do to help my family. I've been dealing with her addiction since I was 7 years old. I am now 22.

    I haven't shared this story with anyone. I am embarrassed by it. It's hard for me to believe that a game has been the cause of all of this stress, but the reality is, that it has. I hope that by sharing my story, other people will realize how harmful this "harmless" game really is.

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  114. and I thought it was just me....time to quit alright.....thanks for the blogs an the best of luck to all of us trying to get away from sl

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  115. After 4 years of SL I have made a break. I told my SL friends (and I really do consider them my friends) that I needed to deal with RL issues and SL was preventing me. There are many losses in RL and I realized I SL to numbed me. I had a very rich SL full of good things ( I heard Sorvea sing at several concerts and many others, I enjoyed the art scene there as well, and exploring). I am totally addicted to SL and know the harm of it. My downfall was relationships. I only had two but that was two too many.

    The dear friends i have met in SL (if they want to remain friends) can reach by email. I can't risk RL for an addiction anymore. I hope I can be true to this statement.

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  116. I have played SL myself and found the building to be quite fun. I have not had any problem with getting addicted to the game. Someone in my family really dear to me is addicted and there is nothing i can do about it. Denial is in the works. This loved one will spend 24 hrs plus on SL. not to mention she sleeps in her chair with SL on. She fiscally is going through blood circulation problems, doesn't spend time with the family. Sometimes we will all go out together (once and a great while) My sibling and I will eat up her attention and dread going home, because we know as soon as we walk through the door she pops right on SL untill she gos to sleep. I cant say anything to her. shes real defensive about it. My lil Brother and sister both complain that they dont get to spend time with her. Dont get me wrong the game is great. But it is ruining family's. I have read everything above and its so astonishing on how many people have this problem. Im afraid with her lack of care of her own health this game will be the death of her. I have givvin her this Blog in hope of her to realize this issue, but she is so far gone into this other world im afraid it to late. My poor young sister has a dead beet father, and is constantly craving her mothers attention. She is a mommys girl and im afraid that one day she will have the same problem. Any ideas?

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  117. DearAnonymous, As a person who admits I have a real addiction to SL I am sad to say if anyone had given me this blog before I was ready to admit my problem it wouldn't have helped me one bit. I would have read a few of the blogs and would have some how justified my need to be in SL just as I did for years.

    I do wonder what would happen if all your siblings were to get together and speak of your need of being with her, not just outside the house but inside too and how much you have missed her. I do not know if that would have helped me cause frankly no one seemed to care if I isolated or not. I am just thinking it is worth trying and maybe if she could see some connection with you all during this time she might begin to realize there is fun and joy in RL too. Best Wishes, Vicki

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  118. I got in to SL to explore about 1 week ago. At first it was fun and exciting. I ended up getting into the adult section and having chats and virtual "encounters" with (what I hope) were members of the opposite sex (at least their avatar looked like it). After finding myself up until 2 or 3 am for a few nights straight on SL, and being tired in the morning going to my regular work, I decided to CALL IT QUITS.

    I uninstalled SL viewer and installed the "text only" version which is less appealing, but still allowed me to login and do some chat and maintenance on my avatar. Then one of my chat-partners found me and invited me into a sex room and I installed back the graphical SL viewer. After one last encounter, I decided that this was going to be harder to quit than I thought. So I gave all my Linden$ to friends and uninstalled the graphical SL viewer AGAIN.

    I still have the text-only version but vowed not to get in except perhaps every few months to "refresh" my avatar. That describes my entire SL experience for the past week (end of March, 2011). If this can happen in only 1 week, can you imagine people that have been going at it for several years!?? It is more addictive than CRACK!

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  119. I found SL nearly 3 years ago. Within weeks I was totally hooked. I lived a "second life", one which included so many things I was (or thought I was) unable to enjoy in my RL. In an unrelated incident I lost my job, and then, I developed depression. SL became the escape. My life became SL. My depression symptoms worsened and I stopped cooking, cleaning, bathing, even going outside. At one point I actually spent an entire week indoors and on SL, only sleeping a few hours at a time and stopping only to make food which I would eat at the computer. I had numerous alts (alternative accounts), I lost count at 14, each one with a life and personality (some more in depth than others.) I married, had children, ran a business... (and more things I choose not to share), all while in a RL common law marriage of 7 years. All the while my health suffered, and I was falling apart physically, gained so much weight, my RL marriage was ending and then, my Father was diagnosed with Cancer. He asked me to come and care for him, and I refused - partly due to my depression (and by then a hard case of agorophobia and social anxiety had set in) and partly because there would be no internet where he lived - so, no SL. I hate admitting that and now that he's passed on, it's a guilt I live with. I actually took my laptop with me to his city when he went to the hospital for the last time and after seeing him each night I'd go back to my hotel and log in to SL. I was logged in to SL throwing a party for a large group of people when I got the call that he'd died.
    Then, 2 weeks after I lost my Father I met someone in SL. We'll call her my SL/RL partner. She and I clicked like I never had with anyone. We match perfectly. She also lives 3000 miles away. 5 months after we met in SL we met in RL, taking a rendevous together for 3 weeks. We made the commitment to find a way to be together for good and both ended our RL marriages. It's been 14 months that we've maintained a LD relationship via email and Skype and we've taken it slow, both working hard in our RL's to be independent and emotionally healthy before taking the next step.
    I've been seeing a counselor full time for over a year, lost 50lbs, I'm healthier than I have been in 10 years, enrolled in a women's program, and went back to work. But SL was still there in the background. About 4 months ago, after playing for nearly 5 years my SL/RL partner quit SL, cold turkey.
    I on the other hand couldn't quit that easily, but I tried. I did well for about 2 months and then the desire drew me back in. I made myself a deal: I'd only log in to build and sell. But then she started seeing SL for the hell that it is, the danger it presents for people, and she watched me spend more time building in SL than working in RL and she started to become wary of ANY time I spent in-world.
    A couple of weeks ago her mom passed away from the same cancer that took my Dad. The other night she saw me logged in and when she tried to reach me for support I was too engrossed in SL and didn't answer her. We nearly broke up over it. She says she feels she'll lose me to the addiction, and I know I let us both down after I had come so close to quitting successfully once already.
    I promised to quit this time, to uninstall it fully, but I still haven't. I've quit playing my child av but I still have my store, I'm fighting myself right now to close it.
    I can honestly say I am addicted, but feel I'm starting to get my head above water. I can clearly see what damage it does and I just want to get rid of it but the habit is so ingrained in me that I still sometimes wake up thinking about SL. I don't just want to quit, I NEED to quit. I love her too much to lose her, I love her more than SL... but why can't I just LEAVE? As I write this I'm preparing to uninstall SL.

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  120. Hi, I am someone with 2 avi's, one a guy, and one a girl. When I first started using second life, i was a bit obsessed sometimes, but only went on once a week, and for 4 hours. But now, I go on 3 or 4 times a week or sometimes 2, and the time I am on can be up to 7 or 8 hours at a time. Where I am right now, it is already 6:20 AM in the morning! I was trying to steal an SL baby before, and I was doing this through a female avi. i have befriended her now, and I am trying to find a way to get this baby, who is ridiculously cute! Dressed in pink, Latina, curly black hair, blue eyes, sweet pink pout, little hands, and cute little legs and feet, little button nose, rosy cheeks, tanned skin,she wears little pearl earrings, and also wears a pink headband.I can't even describe how cute she is! I'm in love with this baby, who isn't even real! And I can't get her! This woman ignores me most of the time, even after showing me the house where her and her avi husband live, and seeing all of her babies,including the one I love, lying down on her outdoor bed thing by her pool, and taking photos, lying next to her babies, in-between me and her husband. My male avi planned to get married to her, but found out she was a whore, since she had 4 other husbands, who she had a weird passion for having babies with, but refused to have one with my avi, so he broke it off with her. I begged through him for the child, but she ignored me. So I am being nice through my girl avi. I never wanted something sooooo bad, it's stupid, unhealthy, in fact! And this woman spends forever answering my IM's, ignores me, and only says hi now and again. Before me and her became friends, I asked if she could copy her baby for me, and she said no, since the baby can't be copied, is original and unique, and came from a pregnancy HUD. She helped me a bit later at first, but not enough, the store could not help me replicate the baby, and I asked this girl for more help, she acted like a neaurotic bitch, refused to help any more, and threatened to remove me off her list! This girl is physcho! I even installed Shade12, a 3D rendering program, but it is hard to use, takes so much time, only now did I find the instructions to do it, and I don't have time, and don't know how to transfer it into Second Life. Also, my guy avi is making money as a host, but not much. Hard for me to find a job for girl avi, too! Help!

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  121. i lost my wife after 23 years, we have 4 kids and she spends all her time on sl. i think she is sick, but she will not let me help her! she has now cut all communacation with me and the kids.

    JRR

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  122. Hi, I live alone as I have chronic fatigue and downloaded SL out of curiosity and perhaps wanting to connect with others. A week later I realised it was fast getting out of hand... spending way to much time on SL, thinking about it etc. In one week I had 2-3 nights of no sleep and 2 simultaneous relationships - when they found out what was going on one girl was really angry with me and the other one pitied me. I ended up un-installing SL disgusted with myself.

    I've always been quite cynical about politicians or the media complaining about gaming addiction etc but for those with issues in RL... SL can very fast get out of hand. Most people I spoke to in SL knew about addiction aspects to playing, the strong sexual/flirty goings on, nights playing straight etc etc.

    I hope to stay off SL.. in short I found it really not good for my soul or my real life.

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  123. SL almost ruined my life. I created my avatar just to see what the game was like. Well this happened at a time when my parents were ill and my father has since passed away. So it was a high stress time in my real life. I just became infatuated with my avatar and its life while hiding from my real one.
    I made up my avatar to look like the sexy attractive person I always wanted to be and got involved in an sl relationship, bought land, clothes, hair and I don't remember what else. I still have no clue how much money I spent on there and I don't think I want to know. I was in a real life relationship for 11 years and was neglecting it for my virtual life as well as spending money I could have spent enjoying with my other half in real life.
    They became upset with me whenever they saw me online. I thought it was irrational of them even when I would go to work after only 2 hours sleep and spent around $200 on virtual land I didn't see it as a problem. I would get annoyed with them and couldn't wait to for them to leave home for any reason so I could log into my virtual life. It got to the point where I preferred my virtual life and forgot how to live in real life. I couldn't wait to get off work to log on. It affected my work quality as well from the lack of sleep.
    Anyway after a year something happened where my second life relationship broke up . I actually cried for real like it was my primary relationship. My real life partner came home and it was then it dawned on me I had someone in my real life I had neglected and didn't know them anymore. I was disgusted with myself. I logged off and haven't logged in again for two years now.

    I am happy to say that I spend real time in my real relationship and have rediscovered living. We have since traveled and we are both happy. Out of curiosity I googled my old sl partners name and see they are still active with a whole narcissistic web site of their avatar posed in many model styles and looks. I felt sorry for them because I know they are addicted. I know the many hours they are online and know it is impossible to retain a fulfilling real life with the time I know they spend logged on to SL. I remember something I would always hear in SL. "I come here to escape my RL." It's so true. I am happy I found this site because it is an addiction and just the fact that I bothered to google my old SL life it shows it is still possible to get sucked in. I refuse to let it though. I just want to let anyone thinking that if spending several hours living life through an avatar is harmless know that it in fact could ruin your real relationships.
    If you have someone special in your life now. Do not lose them to a fake life.

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  124. hi there. my wife used to p[lay SL constantly and i must admit i did to for a while then i caught her having an afair on SL whith another guy. i forgave her but then caught her again & again in the end we split up for 2 years. i got back whith her 7 months ago she still plays SL (I dont)but was only playing it modoretly at first but its begining to be a problem now 6 7 8 9 even 10 hrs a day. when i kick of or complane she gets mad and very defencive. uses the excuse that she is making money. she is making money but spending it all then some to last month she spent £120 from my paypal i only found out coz i lookedat my records. she even has a facebook acount for her AV and reguarly updates her status always about something or other thats going on on SL. the problem is that even when she logs off SL she never realy is off coz then she is on her blackberry on face book (as her AV) or msn talkin to the ppl of there. im sure there is no man involved but surely its only a matter of time when ur on it that much ?. & i belive it obscures your judgement and powers of logical thaught when you play it that much becaus that becomes ur reality to your brain & thats all thats going round in iot even when your not on line.

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  125. Tonight I believe that s/l ended my marriage.
    My wife has lost her identity in real life for the fake one in second life. I feel like a real idiot, I enabled her to do this. Our real life has not been great, in fact money issues and other real life problems (most of my making) have made life hard. About a year and half ago she was introduced to s/l. At the time she spent a lot of time on the computer playing yoville and farmville on facebook. Once she became involved in s/l she pulled further and further away. Changing her sleep patterns, ignoring me and worst of all ingonoring our two children. Then I found out that she had been having affairs, telling other men that she loved them.
    we fought and fought and finally I caved in and we set ground rules. I began playing. She had become involved in the BDSM community there. I tried it all out and found it to be fake and unfulfilling. My wife on the other hand got more out of it.
    I found other things to do like building and I even did auctions. That part was rewarding. I continued to give her permission to do things because it seemed to be helping our relationship. Then I found out she was breakign our rules. Twice she got involved in an emotional relationship, and twice I forgave her thinking that eventually she would tire of the virtual world and come home.
    Two months ago I was jailed for something I had done in the past. I was gone 53 days. I came home to a filthy house, unkempt children who had not ha a real home cooked meal since I left, who had not had a bedtime enforced or a bath in at least a week. My wife has 5 subs and now a partner on there. SHe has shut me out of it all.
    She will not see that she is addicted.
    She will not listen when I tell her that her online relationships hurt us. She spends 15 hours a day there. How can we work on our marital problems when she is not present?
    Second Life is dangerous for people who have a weakness for addiction, who are in tough spots in real life. they wont work on the problems they simply escape to a virtual world where nothing can be accomplished. The sexual side of s/l brings out base, animal sides of personalities and the game itself changes the personality of the user. I have watched my wife mope when she cant sign on, cry when an affair ended.
    The end for me was today. We made love for the first time in months. While we were doign this she looked up and asked me to do it with her sometime with an open mic at a place called Dirty Talk in s/l so others could hear! She cant have sex with her husband without thinking of a fake world.
    I am so disgusted and hurt because I thought I was doing right by allowing the s/l life to go on. I enabled my wife to destroy herself and in doing so I enabled us both to destroy our marriage.
    We have been both individually have been seeing a therapist for depression issues. I called her and she told me today that I will have to make a decision at some point to either stop trying and protect myself and the children or continue to enable her to do this because she wont see it for what it is. For the sake of my sanity and the welfare of my innocent, beautiful children I am putting a stop to this. Either she deals with the problem, takes a shower and starts caring about those people who love her or she will have to leave. I cant do this anymore.
    If anyone has any advice, please PLEASE post it. I NEED HELP and I am so heartsick and lonely.

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  126. I went into SL about three months and was picked up by a man who made me feel special. He gave me lots of 'love' and attention and I was swept off my feet. I became obsessed with him and SL seems dull when he's not there. I've since found out that he has multiple avatars and other women in love with him. I think he gets off on this. I don't go into SL anymore and don't have a problem with that. What I'm left with though is an obsession with a man I've never met. From a logical point of view it sounds ridiculous but it happened and I'm now coping with it. Wish I'd never heard of SL.....

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  127. The problem of men/women having multiple love affairs in SL is quite common. People get their hearts broken this way. Some people target 'noobies' (new people) because they know they're naive and won't know what's going on. There are people who have multiple love affairs because they're hooked themselves and get a 'rush' (like with drugs) from the love affair - the chase, the capture, the sex etc. I believe I was targeted when I first went in and I was stupid enough to fall for it. I think that the feeling is the same as when people take drugs - so it is hard to get over. There's nothing like it in ordinary real life, so you want it again and again. In the end it will destroy you though, particularly if you're vulnerable or lonely. I'm working to improve my real life now. Want nothing more to do with fantasy of this kind.

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  128. I knew it was a big problem,SL, but I could have never dreamed my marriage would end the way it did. My soon to be ex has been online gaming for years, she started SL 2 yrs ago. At times she would play 17 hours a day on days off, and be in front of the computer as soon as she got home from work. I tried to get her to interact in normal social situations, like eating dinner together, talking, watching tv, even just leaving the house. She detatched herself from me and my side of the family, to whom she was very close. After many times i tried to explain to her something was wrong, she said it was because I work too much, or she had nothing in common w me anymore. She then went on an unexplained vacation, when she came back I refused to sit around and pretend everything was OK. I knew it was over. we did counseling, I tried to get her to come around, but to no avail, she made it all my fault. Now many months after I was kicked out of my home, she has someone living in my house. I never expected that type of sociopathic, borderline behavior from someone that used to tell me she loved me everyday. Im disgusted, but actually happy that we will be divorced, because I have my REAL LIFE ahead of me. She was never honest, she could have told me there was someone else, but on top of all the sick behavior she lied. Look on the bright side people, we couldnt have lived a life with our partners doing so many horrible things behind our backs

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  129. I too got caught up in SecondLife. I got immersed in creating a better me. But in doing so I was destroying my actual self. I did however meet people who were absolutely lovely people and that I considered them dear friends.

    At one point I got bored with the game, but didn't want to quit for fear of losing my friends. So I tried other aspects such as building, creating content, etc... SecondLife is a game where it is created by its users. Coming from an artistic background, I was intrigued by this. I tried to use that as excuse to keep playing. I was creating art. Making photos and digital art. But it was still keeping me at a desk, keeping me away from doing things away from my computer.

    I admit to a few times where I called into work, or skipped a class so I could stay home and hang out with my friends online.

    It's not just SecondLife, its online social interaction. If you don't have a sense of self worth in your real life, its easy to get caught up in a virtual world to give yourself a sense of achievement that you are made to believe is real. But in reality, it is not. Its just a false sense of achievement.

    I am still somewhat young and I can't speak for others, but I have realized that finding a sense of achievement in an online world is not healthy for me. Yes, I miss the small handful of friends I made, but trying to talk to them without mentioning the game is almost impossible.

    I am working on making more friends without the use of the internet. Yes it is hard, awkward and sometimes lonely, but what isn't?

    That's REAL LIFE.

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  130. I've been on sl since 2007. I recently introduced my boyfriend. He's become like a kid in a candy store. He keeps sl as sl-he doesn't talk to women outside of the role play. But he is on alot-and it started to become an issue. He hits on sl avatars-its a quest for him and at first i was ok with it. But now Im jealous-they have sex and I've read the IM's and it bothers me. He said he would stop the sex part -am I over reacting? We have a very close and amazing relationship-our time together is limited until we get married and move in together. At the present time we live in dif cities and are limited to one day a week to spend together.

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  131. I don't think you're over-reacting. This isn't a game - it took me a while to admit that SL isn't just a role play simulation or a place to hang out - it's also a sex chat room. There are some people who go in there expressly for sex - and I don't care what anyone says - if you have a RL partner IT IS CHEATING. It's not just cheating cos of the sex (some couples agree its okay) but people get involved sometimes and can develop affairs of the heart. It then becomes dangerous and can ruin relationships. There's also an addictive element. I think if you're feeling jealous your partner should change his behaviour for you - if I learned one thing its that love should feel good and not hurt. Hope it works out for you. :)

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  132. I have been in SL for four and a half years. During that time I have taken a six month break which was about two years ago. Apart from that every night after my daughter went to bed I was online rping sometimes till 3am, only to get up again at 7 for work/school. I cannot say that my work didn't suffer, I know damn well it did. I am only shocked at this point that I still retained my job. I did get pulled in and asked if I was okay, if anything was going on in my life so obviously the changes the game were having on me were noticable.

    My family even got together to talk to me about it, which I got angry, defensive and did the usual "they are my friends, I don't get out as a single mum so this is my social life when my daughter is sleeping" I rationalized it all to myself and they ... were ... wrong.

    Only they were right, this "game" is not a game. It involved your emtotions on a level I cannot explain unless you have been in sl and experienced it. It is like a drug, you need it and you need it all the time. My house work started to suffer, I didn't clean up as much as I did before. The laundry started to pile up as I would tell myself I would do that after the game only the time on sl never ended till it was time to pick up my child or someone came in the door. Everything and I mean everything was put on a back burner for SL.

    You cannot tell me that the Linden's are not aware of this affect, they are not stupid. They know exactly how this affects some people but money comes first to them. A week ago I just left SL for the second and hopefully the last time of my life. This time is different than the last time as this time I have a hatred for the game I have not encountered before. Any of my friends that were close in the game (three in particular) have my email and know how to reach me. I have uninstalled my viewers, all of them. I have told these sl friends I have no wish to go back and they are accepting of this while admitting themselves that they also should leave but are not able.

    All I know is I am done. I am done with missing out on my family. I am done on the missing moments of my child (even though I always made time for her, now she has all my time). I am getting out and socializing more but it has left me weary of games in general now. Facebook and email is as far as I will happily go.

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  133. I was depressed when I went into SL and I suppose I was vulnerable. I got involved with a man who told me I was his 'twin flame' and swept me off my feet. I've never felt anything like it and it was wonderful for a few weeks. He said he wanted to take it further than SL and meet me in real life because what we had was so wonderful. Then I found out he had other partners and was using other avatars to have a lot of one night stands. He had also met other women real life and said the same things to them as he'd said to me. I realised he had cyber sex addiction. I think he's also a sociopath cos he doesn't feel sorry about what he's done. He'll just continue, breaking other women's hearts. I felt really stupid till I talked to his other girlfriends who had all been taken in by him too. He's good at it, very convincing.
    I think SL attracts men like him, who want to use and emotionally abuse women. My advice - don't go there and if you do don't meet anyone outside of it. I know that some people meet real life partners there but there aren't a lot. Most people I've talked to have had a terrible time emotionally.
    I think the SL environment itself is seductive and addictive. If you add a man like the one cited above it's really dangerous. Three months on from my experience I'm still struggling to get over it.

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  134. I finally gave myself, my family and my friends the Christmas gift that was on Santa's list for 6 years...> I am 3 weeks "sober" from SL! I have done things I am not proud of broken hearts in and out of the "game", I became anti-social and slacked at work, stayed up all night to "play" only to have a head on car accident falling asleep at the wheel. So many negatives it makes me really wonder why I stayed for so long even after all of this. I am a SL addict in recovery. The control of being able to navigate a life with cleaver words in dramatic fashion with the [X] so close at hand made me immortal invinceable and yeah I got HIGH off it. I meet a few people from "the game" (I am using quotes on purpose because what it was then is not what it is now for me)When I left SL I lost friends I thought were good, loyal REAL friends but the second you say.. how was your day all they can banter back is their SL activities of that day. I have told several of them... 'you know what I really don't want to here the drama's and he said/she said's of SL what else did you do today?' whelp that sums up that friendship they just stopped contacted me in the "outside world". I laugh a lot even though its been only 3 weeks because when you step out of this virtual euphoria you really see that you are merely a pawn in someone's game like so many were to me. I am not a bad person in real life I am actually sincere, loyal, loving and encouraging but man SL made me sneaky and definately not loyal it was MY SECOND LIFE and I "played" it my way... someday when someone hurts you the same way you wake up and its almost like a 'where am I?' feeling. Fortunately, I got out before I hit rock bottom but I got to close for comfort :(

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  135. OK - I'm an addict! Started out of curiosity a couple of weeks ago. To fulfill personal fantasies & "protect" myself from the possibility of a RL affair, which I really don't want (happily married, straight 51 yr-old male) I created a naturally beautiful female avatar and made her bi-sexual. Because I have very definite female personality characteristics (my wife has a few that could be called "male" - lol) I'm able to "pass" quite successfully as this happy-go-lucky devil-may-care extremely loose & promiscuous woman, usually telling conquests I'm in my mid-30's. I've been living vicariously through her, shamelessly seducing & having sex with men & women. Early on, several may have been suspicious of my actual sex & my motives, but several of my early lovers were, in retrospect, other men posing as bi or lesbian. Lately, however, I've gotten very good at playing up my part, juggling a handful of lovers, mostly female and mostly, I'm afraid, fairly young - 20's so they claim, & I mostly believe it. Some of them are experimenting with lesbian sex for the 1st time. I was proud of "helping" these young women come out & into their own - always very attentive to their needs, very supportive, gentle & loving during our sexual "trysts", but I have no intention of limiting my sexual activity. A few days ago, I joined an SL commune where multiple partner sexual relations are the norm. I've turned into a complete slut & have been loving it!
    Except that I'm beginning to see the vulnerability of, especially, my female lovers, as expressed in our chat and which I believe is sincere, & it's beginning to disturb me. I'll go from one intimate encounter directly to the next, saying the same exact things to the next in line, quite a bit rougher, though, to the men. Told myself the deception was normal in SL & part of the "game", but wondering if these are really destructive & hurtful mind games I'm playing with unsuspecting people, especially the females. Of course, I'm beginning to realize it's exactly that!
    I've been spending most waking hours over 2 weeks on SL, up most nights, 3-4 hours sleep (2 hours total last night) & have become a zombified walking sleep-deprivation experiment, have lost weight, having a hard time staying awake at work & probably pushing my wife away emotionally. She works far more hours than I do, but she knows I've completely altered my normal life routine of the past 20 years. No kids to neglect, but my cats have had to give up their lap time to my laptop & aren't pleased.
    I've been able to rationalize the sex so far, but I know my wife wouldn't approve - these are definitely emotional affairs being carried on with the same handful of young women, several of whom would appear to have developed deep feelings toward me. That I find this flattering is really evidence of how selfish my motives are while on SL. I'm getting off on messing with the affections of several innocent young people! I suppose I was better off with the obvious guys posing as females like myself; no harm, no foul. But I'm getting into some disturbing relationships, to be completely honest with myself, and can't tear myself away, no matter how desperately tired I am. I notice the same is true with the people I'm hanging out with or having sex with - most of these people would appear to have no life whatsoever. A couple of them seem to have a more healthy approach, and only log on when they have time occasionally, without becoming obsessive, and quit when they must sleep or eat, etc.
    I've told myself that overe time, i'll cut down when the novelty wears off, but I'm starting to fear that may not happen. I'm beginning to think the only answer is cold turkey abstinence, starting ASAP. These posts have been most helpful & insightful! Thanks all & good luck!

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  136. thanks a ton for sharing your experiences :) i have been in sl from past 7 months, i am addicted to sl like u all, i am student and somehow managed to get rid of sl during exam days but i am sure that it has reduced by performance in the exams... it was one of the important stage of my life, now i am regretting about my mistake. i have got really good parents in my life who have dedicated themselves for my development and growth and after reading all your comments i have decided to quit sl and going ahead to achieve the other ultimate exam or goal of my life. once again thank u all...

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  137. I was addicted to Sl. I have an interesting Rl, am married with great kids and am a healthy person. I found myself however, while my kids were at school on Sl building and thinking of it as work, even thought the Lindens I was making went right back into the game and I was spending actual money to support the building too. I had friends and went to shows,went to all the historical RP areas, and they were amazing. While my kids were at school, and even when they were home I was on Sl. I would rush around when it was time for my husband to get home and cook and clean so it looked like I had been busy all day. I was involved in one short lived relationship with a man, which I consider now, to be cheating. This was over a span of 2 years. What ended Sl for me was realizing the sickness of people in Sl. I had a store where I sold furniture I made. One day I log in to "work" on a project and my store is filled with images of dismembered corpses of adults and children, I believe it was from snuff films. Also images of the most horrific torture of kitties that I have ever seen which I now know were sequences of photos from "Crush" Films. These were not just a picture here and there, these were images that came from 15 boxes which spew the picture out about a picture a second and you cannot get rid of them and they surround you like a blizzard. What I saw in those pictures, I cannot un-see. I have been depressed for two days over the images and I wish I could wash my brain. If you have been in Sl you know this is called griefing and trolling and I have no idea why I was picked by this particular troll. What is so very vile is that the creator of these "poofers" had to find and pay to upload these images, then make a box and script the box and sell it through Linden Labs. Then another totally emotionally and morally bankrupt person had to buy these boxes, again through Linden Labs. So basically it stands to reason that Linden Labs supports and condones both Snuff and Crush films. That did it for me. I took apart my store and uninstalled the programs. Although Linden Labs says they check ages, there have been kids on Sl and what if they had gone to my store and seen those images? I reported the maker and the griefer but I doubt that anything will be done because Linden Labs is not about making fun for you, it's all about them making money OFF of you. Second Life has areas for rape,bestiality and age play, which are all disgusting. When I think now, how much time and money I spent in a "game" that allows and enables and makes actual money off things like that it makes me sick. I would that I never ever logged in, just to get those horrific images from a few days ago out of my mind. I cannot make myself go back now, because all I see in my head are those pictures when I think of Sl. It is a total waste of time,energy and cash. Do yourself a favor and stay away from it. I think the dregs of humanity must find a home there.

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  138. It's horrifying to read everyone's account of SL and how addicting it truly is. I am dealing with a friend of mine right now who is seriously addicted to it. She hasn't had any contact with her real life friends for over a year and doesn't seem bothered by it in the least.

    This weekend we finally managed to get a hold of her and asked her to join us for a city festival that she went to with us 2 years ago. She said it was her Birthday and so I told her that it was even more perfect. We could celebrate her Birthday and she could catch up with friends she hasn't seen in a long time. Everyone has been asking about her.
    Her reply? I would love to but I run this business on Second Life and we are having this sale with some other store owners. It starts in the evening and I want to be there for it.

    I was shocked. Was she really picking an online game over human interaction? We seriously got into a fight over it! She got mad at me for not understanding that this was her job.

    So I tell her, "This event your having is ONLINE!! It's not like it won't keep running without you being there. You see these people every single day you can't come visit your friends outside of the game for ONE DAY?!"
    She asks me why can't we work with her and go to the festival the next day (it's only a two day event) she's been planning this sale for two months.

    Two months? She hasn't seen her real friends for OVER A YEAR!! The festival only comes around annually and everyone has already made plans for that day! I seriously can't get my mind wrapped around the fact that she's choosing an online game over real human interaction. Now at least I can see that I'm not just being "inconsiderate and needy" (her words) for not seeing why she insists on being online on her birthday.

    Still, it really hurts to be replaced by an avatar. I have online friends myself so I don't fault her for that, but it would be nice if she thought about her other friends every once in awhile. We all sit around and wonder about her all of the time and we've even considered going on SL ourselves just to stay in touch with her. She's tried to pull me into it a few times but I honestly don't see what the hype is all about. It's like living in real life and RL is more interesting at least to me. At least everything I experience isn't just virtual.

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