Community is the focus of SOOS OIO. In SOOS OIO, we love running TeleTrips and engaging the gamers. I never thought we will have a program on game dependency. This was not part of my plan. In fact, the problem of game addiction was brought up to me many times at different occasions. I understand the escalating issue but I felt I could not do much to help. Putting together the Game Addiction talk and sharing my understanding through the ebook “Understanding Games and Gamers” were possibly the most we can do. At least that was what I thought. Yet, these little actions led to the beginning of COMEBACK.
Through a series of events in a short span of time, my heart was stirred to do more for gamers who are losing themselves in games. I texted Nick Lim, our advising Psychologist, hoping he will discourage me on this emotionally charged crazy idea. Instead, he responded with urgency, convicted that this need has to be addressed. We met for lunch within the next two days which is not usual as our meetings are booked in advance due to tight schedules. To my amazement, within the 1.5 hours lunch, we had the program framework. This was the birth of COMEBACK, which did not have a name then. After which was lots of hard work to make this a reality.
Who am I?
I felt inadequate. Firstly, I do not consider myself a gamer although I spent quite a bit of time at arcade games during school days. Secondly, I am not a counsellor, psychologist or any mental health professional. All I have was level 101 Psychology and Consumer Behaviour in Business School and a module of Counselling in Theological School. I ploughed through lots of research journals and articles to understand the issue at hand. Shot many questions to Nick Lim as well. I observed gamers as I tried to validate what I read in theory, searching for practical applications and solutions. It was an exercise of training for mastery.
Mastery of not just the issue at hand, but myself and my life. I wanted to stop many times even though I had a lot of support around me. Interestingly, there were no naysayers. It was an inner battle with myself. It was a fight to sell myself that this is worth it, not just for myself but for the gamers whom I have grown to love.
I wonder how much of our lack of action is internal rather than external. I felt weak. There was no way I could have pulled myself up. People around me could only help to a limited extent. It was faith in God that undergirded my inner self to strength. This inner self just wanted to lie down and do nothing. Yet when I surrender each morning to this faith, I get up and work. Perhaps even in an ideal external situation, we can still be paralysed by fear if we have internal disbelief. A fight in life to gain inner strength is key. It is not just the fight to gain mastery over games, but it is a mastery over our timid selfs hidden within. It is my prayer that through COMEBACK, we will learn to gain strength to push through together.
The disruptions in life that gamers experience due to games may not amount to game addiction as defined by the American Psychiatric Association and World Health Organization. By such definition, there are not many game addicts around in Singapore to warrant much attention. In reality, there are many who have lost control over their lives where a gamer is consumed with games and missed out on many important things in life. We can do something before any gamer reaches extreme severity.
We designed COMEBACK to help gamers gain mastery over games within a community of gamers. The gamers do not have to fight alone, but with other gamers under the guidance of those who had gained mastery. COMEBACK navigates the challenges of game dependency with the participants, helping them gain a deeper self-awareness within a community who understands. We do not stop at mastery over games. We incorporated Life Purpose Coaching into the program so that COMEBACKERs go beyond games to have victory with a purpose.
You can take the Game Dependency Test to see how your games health level is: https://comeback.world/comeback-game-dependency-test/.