Some honest thoughts about “Second Life addiction”

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Once in awhile I will hear of a personal story about struggling to balance RL and SL. More specifically, these are usually stories about “SL addiction”. While I don’t deny anyone’s experience and there are even elements to those stories that I can relate to, I don’t buy the whole concept of being addicted to SL.

Listen, I’m not meaning to sound judgmental or self-righteous. I’ve been there myself. I get it. I really do. But, I think that at some point you have to realize that Second Life only has as much power over you as you are willing to let it have.

When I hear a story of a person “finally kicking their SL addiction for good”, I feel sympathetic for them but then I feel annoyed. I mean, we’re talking about a computer generated 3D simulator, not crack/cocaine.

Now, I don’t deny or dismiss the way anyone else experiences the virtual world, and I can’t help but contrast it to my own SL history. Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones because after four years, I still am drawn to and enjoy SL. Sure I have my ups and downs with it, but overall, I still find things to get excited about that make me look forward to sitting down at my desk in the evening to log on. And my personal life is not falling apart because of it. Maybe the dishes won’t get done sometimes or I lose track of time and stay up past my bedtime, but that’s life. There are so many wonderful possibilities in this virtual world and I wish there were more stories of how SL has enhanced and improved people’s lives rather than stories of “my SL addiction destroyed my marriage and now my life is ruined”.

I know it is a harsh thing to say but sometimes I think that addiction is a convenient excuse to not take responsibility for one’s choices and face the truth of the matter.

If it didn’t feel completely good to me, I wouldn’t bother logging on. That’s why I have to wonder why those who have such struggles with SL continue to log in, identifying themselves as Victims of their Second Live’s, and not as the Creators that they really are.

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14 thoughts on “Some honest thoughts about “Second Life addiction”

  1. Tizzy Canucci

    I used to have this rule. I’d install a program and play if for a weekend, then uninstall it, to save myself from spending too much time on it.
    200+ weekends later, I’m still on sl. But it’s because I found out in the first weekend that it was more about interactions with other people than a game. If being sociable is an addiction, it’s a good one to have, and I don’t want to kick it.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Lexington Post author

      That’s great Tizzy. I think it’s important to find what works for each of us and that is always unique to every individual. I understand the need for some to quit SL altogether and respect that even though I don’t completely understand.

      Reply
  2. DJ Frenzy

    I love the people I know in SL… and I love spinning music to them and others, it has been my life in RL making music, and I see no reason to stop..

    Reply
    1. Carrie Lexington Post author

      Me too DJ Frenzy! I love my friends and I love SL. I feel bad for those who have such terrible experiences because there is so much amazing stuff going on in SL.

      Reply
  3. Marly Peapod

    SL has been mostly positive in my life. Its been a coping mechanism, a creative outlet, a social platform. I feel like I’ve grow into myself, in RL too, and that I learned a lot about who I am and what kind of people I want around me. Yes, it changed me, I think in a positive way, but not everyone accepted that change initially. But they eventually did. After a while, they saw the positive too. They saw I was happier, more confident. So ultimately, I think it’s helping me to become the person I always was, buried under shyness and self doubt. I think SL is what you make of it, the friend you choose. If you’re not happy in it, why would you stay?

    Reply
    1. Carrie Lexington Post author

      Exactly Marly! My family didn’t understand SL either at first, but over time they saw how much of a positive influence it had had on me. I had such low self confidence when it came to creativity. SL helped me reclaim that part of myself and I am so happy about that.

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Is “addiction to Second Life” an excuse? | Mona Eberhardt

  5. the dune mouse

    I also have written about my experiences in SL- Not sure about the addict part except that if it has to do with the dopamine theory then SL can affect that part of the brain as much as anything we do that produces excitement or pleasure, not forgetting how rats behave in a maze! SL is a maze. Yes, it has creativity, and imagination but it also unleashes a lot of hedonism ( including immorality in a lot of cases) and wasted time too. Most of those I met in role play sims fell into that category and I can honestly say I didn’t meet anyone in those sims who wasn’t totally immersed, time, energy and emotionally. It’s a very seductive and compelling place. I felt somewhat out of balance for awhile though I too did a lot creatively there too which was the best part. I also understand that some with health issues have found a life line there, but I still think there is a danger psychologically for many. I didn’t spend as long as some do there and I actually eventually grew bored with it. I took my creativity out into the first world. I have popped in a few times since and though I do appreciate the art the glow of SL is all but gone for me.
    All my journeys have been worthwhile including my time in SL which was only one chapter of a much larger book.

    Reply
  6. Ogie

    The addiction lies in how the brain of the person reacts. Gambling is a serious addiction in the same way SL is an addiction. Chemicals are released into the brain of many people. They can’t cut back because as soon as the brain starts again, they want more of it. Just because it is not a physical drug that you can touch dose not make it any less addicting. Now, your brain most likely dose not react that way, and that is lucky for you and others like you, but for those who are not so lucky, they need to walk away completely and stay away.

    Reply
    1. the dune mouse

      agreed Ogie! And even if not an “addiction” in the true sense of the word SL can often bring out the worst in people as well as for some, amazing creativity!! But it is always dangerous to stay too long at the fair!! 🙂 ( for those of us who love moral fairy tales)

      Reply

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