Mony Mayfly: A Story of Addiction

by Alphaville Herald on 08/02/08 at 6:06 am

by Sigmund Leominster

Monys_favorite_selfThis night I learned a bitter-sweet lesson. I learned that five hugs equal one kiss. And one kiss equals goodbye. But this is not a story about me. It’s a story about an addict and, to some extent, about every one of you reading. You’ll recognize aspects of yourself in this narrative and if you’re lucky, you’ll avoid some pain and suffering.

I didn’t use the word addict. My friend did. Mony Markova. Say the name over and over and it sounds like a murmuring mantra. Like all of us in Second Life she is distractingly beautiful. The trick, as always, is to peel away the skin and find the attraction beneath. It’s a shallow way to experience Second Life if all you want to do is read the glossy covers. And despite what people try to tell you, it isn’t a Game. It’s far more serious than that.

Mony wanted to tell her story to someone before she left. And she decided to leave because she had come to realize that she had lost control of her ability to stride effortlessly between the two worlds – Real Life and Second Life. She is not the only person to face this real and frightening problem.

On her last night, she came to me and I told her the first three lines of this article. I had suspected for a few weeks that something like this was about to happen and had already scribbled down those words.

“Noooo!” she said, “it is not that! U want me to cry?”

This is how Mony speaks. This is how she writes. This is part of what makes her the individual she is. Sometimes I will write exactly as she writes; sometimes I will gently bend the words a little to clarify. But I won’t write anything she didn’t say.

Mony’s first days

“I have a few words that came to me. Like this one; it defines me. ‘I wanted to lift every stone, touch every tree, kiss every soul.’ But let’s go somewhere else. Friends might come in and start a chat. I have the perfect place!”

The perfect place was a place called The Cannery. Here are stacks upon stacks of locked cargo boxes, the type you see piled high at shipping docks and strapped to railroad cars. Rows and rows of dreams, she said, with a box for each. All the dreams of things she wouldn’t be doing in Second Life once she left. I’ve now landmarked the place as “Mony’s Dreams.”

I sat. She stood. She surrounded herself in a shimmering pink particle dome that I’d given her as a gift a month earlier. I suppose she wanted to create a special area for us, away from prying eyes.

She began her story…

“I’ve…SEEN things… you people wouldn’t believe”

“I came to Second Life for the good reasons. I read in an article a comment at the UN by a speaker – I believe it was John Negroponte at an IT conference – where he said, ‘Look what is happening in places like Second Life.’ So I said, ‘Well, I have some time, I will check that place that I have heard so much about now.’

“So I came in, and I have kind of a big imagination! This places fascinated me from the first day and I was very successful socially right from the beginning. But I will tell you something very personal now and you decide if you want to use it or not. I had cyber sex the first day I was here. LOL! I was so amazed. I thought it was going to be something stupid, but I got blindsided. I mean the conversations, the closeness… It is a human emotions furnace in here.

“By my second day, I was in complete state of mental disarray mentally. I was so frustrated because I could not cash a single linden. I wanted to buy flowers. You see, stupid me. I was so stupid… my heart was so open. But there was a big deception waiting for me on that second day: The person I’d had sex with barely remembered me!”

At this point, Mony shared a picture with me of how she looked on the second day. It was important for her to show me the first Mony so that I would appreciate the later Mony. She was a very pretty two-day old.

“Straight away I was hanging in the bad parts of Second Life. I was hanging at a club and did not know how to TP from places, how to use search, and quickly had three or four ‘friends.’ So I only knew how to TP into a Kinky sex place! Ha ha ha!”

Don’t misread Mony’s laughs and jokes. Read between the lines. I leave them in because they were there, but you don’t need to be a Freudian analyst to recognize the nature of the laughter,

The story of Mongoose Merlin
“I need to tell you about Mongoose Merlin. She has already left Second Life for good now. But OK Siggy, here goes some stuff. After I had my first sexual commotion I was like a zombie. I wanted to see all sexual places, especially the bad ones. This was not because I wanted to participate but to see what people did. I went to places where I became frozen and could not move, where bad guys were throwing scripts at me and I was so very unprepared. But I still I was getting in to that!

“In one of those places I met the most fantastic people ever. She was a red-head and all dressed in white, and basically she said, what are you doing here? Later I learned that she used to go to those places to harass and have fun with all the perverts. She had a script that made all the other guys’ scripts go all messy. But she took me out of those places and we became real friends.

“However, she was herself in such poor mental shape. She had a broken heart, courtesy of Second Life relationships and even made suicidal comments. She told me how she had fallen too soon and too deep into the bad bytes of Second Life. She left a profile … Mongoose Merlin…. great person.

Mony’s beach house

“But she is gone now. We broke our friendship weeks ago and the last things she contacted me to say were ‘goodbye’ and how SL had became her life. She lived in Second Life and needed to kill her avatar. I just wish I knew if she is alright in Real Life… That’s all I want to know.”

In Real Life, when a person dies, there is some “closure” available because their passing is noticed and the cause of death can be established. But the “death” of an avatar can often allow no such satisfaction. The anonymity of a Real Life persona means that if an avatar simply stops appearing, friends may NEVER know what happened. There is no way to find the Second Life person’s real-life identity and so their disappearance remains a mystery. There is no closure.

“The light that burns twice as bright shines half as long.”

“So this happened in the very intense first two weeks. Can you believe that? Since then and up until last week, I’ve always looking to do something worthwhile with my presence here. And first I wanted to become an undercover law enforcer so I could chase sexual offenders. And I wanted to bring my Real Life business into Second Life. I wanted to join UNESCO… and the United Nations… and War Child. And I went to see Project Africa, which I wanted to replicate for Latin America. After this, I was addicted and I managed to get some cash into Second Life.

“In doing so I had so much fun and began to meet the nicest people. But more, I started to discover me. I have this line in my profile for a long time, which also defined me and sounded nice: ‘In searching for me… I find you… Still we are both elusive.’

“I was looking for me, or some aspects of me, such as being beautiful, and honestly things started to happen inside my mind.

“The best and maybe the first thing I learned here is not to judge. I also learned how stubborn and brave I can be! I learned that not all people wear their hearts on the sleeves like I do… same as in Real Life. And I learned that I can hurt by being open.

Just at that point, Real Life intruded. Mony’s kids had arrived and the door bell was ringing. She had to break off to be someone else for a few moments. It was mildly reassuring to me that in the midst of her exegesis on addiction something mundane could still tear her away from her fairy tale existence. I had time to twiddle my digital thumbs and try to imagine the scene of her children bouncing around, raiding the refrigerator, turning on the TV, and doing all those things that kids typically do, while Mony fussed and coordinated just as a mom should.

The break was short. Perhaps too short. Within two minutes she was back to her story, directing me to a blog by a woman who had also struggled with addiction. She asked me, “Did you read that blog? The addiction one? Please read it when you have a chance then you will understand the other half of my story. I was becoming that.”

I read the blog after. This is a list of stories about lives spinning out of control. There are comments upon comments from people whose Real Lives have been damaged by a Second Life. Parents, children, wives, husbands, lovers – no-one is immune. The Elliptic Blog has an entire thread devoted to Second Life addiction and was started in January 2004. Tragically it is still being added to. Mony is just one of the latest contributors.


Her story continues…

“If I could make I wish, I would wish that you would never fall in love, or engage in relationships here. Human emotions are a furnace and Real Life crosses over as addiction takes place. Then Real Life becomes neglected. You see, Second Life is full of shit. You can find sex and sexual connotations everywhere. In fact, it’s easier to find that than to find real things to do.

“I then found a Church and a Library. I went to Health Help Island to search for mental help. I knew I had an addiction then, and that was in my first month.

“Do you know how they define an addiction? When it affects your relationships and other things, like missing work, changes in behavior, and so on. So when I got into Health Help Island I ran into very nice people. But I soon knew that asking for mental health counseling or guidance was crazy. Those people were as addicted as I was! They said, we can assist people with diabetes and such things, but I said, is there no mental help for coping with this?

The irony of asking for help with Second Life addiction while actually being in Second Life isn’t lost on me. Having Second Life therapy ends up as just another way of rationalizing your addiction and getting what you really want – to stay in Second Life. Mony really needed to make the break and get outside of her self-imposed prison.

“And then I ran into Griefers. Wow, I loved them in a strange way! I was so amazed and I thought there had to be a great reason behind what they did. I thought the guys from Linden labs were so cool to let them be and it was like, Wow, letting people be free! I thought I could learn so much about how to treat terrorist and subversive groups, and I thought I could mediate between them and Linden Labs.

“I thought all that but then realized that was also stupid.”

If you think long and hard enough about anything, it takes on the appearance of truth. Verisimilitude. But the appearance of truth is not the same as Truth. Mony was still looking for a Cause, or more accurately, a reason to stay in Second Life. This was another symptom of her denial of addiction.

“Second Life not in my life; it is part of my Real Life!!! Now I see – it just came to my mind. But I evidently cannot balance it. I set up a schedule and said that if I was unable to keep it I would need to… leave it.” Mony did pause before saying “leave it.” Clearly the notion of abandoning Second Life is stressful.

“However, now I am going mostly for the sake of my family. I cannot take more time away from them. I will not become that people in that blog! Sig, it is so scary!”

“And it is not just me. In a letter I sent to the Aussie guy you know about, I wrote a list of all the people I have seen loosing their minds over relationship. There were some 10 or 12 and u know what? They were not exceptions but the norm! I did not know many more people than that and every one of them was going nuts!

I said I would not write things Mony didn’t say. But I also don’t want to write everything she DID say. She told me of the good things she’d discovered in her Second Life. She effused over her wonderful friend Willa Wycliffe, and how the two of them became “Thelma and Louise” together; she talked about the music of Kevin Thomas and how that lead to another friendship she cherishes; she spoke of an Italian-Swiss real-life rocker guitarist called Pasquale, who used Voice to sing to her over the ocean; she praised her friend Skyra, who became a good companion and source of comfort; and she kept reminding me – and herself – how good her Second Life had been.


But she couldn’t avoid the pull of Real Life.

“I started having Real Life problems related to my time in Second Life. I also became obsessed about how I did not get enough attention in Second Life – vain as I am. But on one occasion, the divorce word even appeared, right before New Year’s Eve. My hubby at one point told me not to go with them on a family trip. I was not invited! I found myself thinking, what the heck … more time to be here in Second Life; five full days non-stop. I will be fine

“I had lost weight in my first two months. After reconciliation with my husband, I devised a schedule to follow. I put plenty of Second Life time in it, even Friday afternoons because I used to leave work early on Fridays so what was the problem with that?

“The thing is that I do have a great professional adventure I am starting in Real Life. I need my creativity energy and focus on that. If I fail, I will be at square one after having used up all our family savings. So I need to get smart. My Real Life work has one part that is social work so I can help other people.

Another Cause, I suggested to her, but in Real Life.

“Yes. But I do love it here Sig! I wish I could move in. However, I would miss my girls and my hubby… well, sometimes ;)

“…all those moments will be lost in time… like tears… in rain”

She’d spoken for over two hours. It seemed much shorter. This was the longest time we’d spent together alone. But this was HER story, not mine, and she needed to tell it. All I could contribute was the tale of the mayflies.

“Mony,” I asked, “Do you know about the mayfly?”

“No,” she answered.

“It lives for one day, makes love once, and then dies. All in one day. Some Second Life people are mayflies and they fly so high for just one day. That’s why you will always be Mony Mayfly.”

Her avatar face was still smiling. “I love it… but it also makes me sad.”

The particles of her dome continued to flicker and sparkle.

“They are beautiful but sad,” I said. “One of Nature’s tragic figures.”

“Yes, they are sad.” We both paused for a while.

“Siggy, will u make me a sad story? People will cry. Soft-hearted people.” I told her I would try.

We stopped. It was time.

“I need to be alone a little,” she said. “Can I IM you later? Please don’t log off tonight without me OK?” She turned a little to look back at the containers surrounding us. “I will see if the boxes are well closed.”

One last hug. She turned the particle dome off, the mayflies winked out, and she walked away. I sat, just for a minute, and wondered how I could possibly write about what had just happened. All I knew for sure was how I would start;

“This night I learned a bitter-sweet lesson. I learned that five hugs equal one kiss. And one kiss equals goodbye. But this is not a story about me…”

Mony’s Brief Life is documented on flickr here.

43 Responses to “Mony Mayfly: A Story of Addiction”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    Feb 8th, 2008

    The first sign of serious trouble for me was when she said she wanted to join UNESCO.

  2. Jessica Holyoke

    Feb 8th, 2008

    This is a really nice article Siegmund. Thank you.

  3. Megberry

    Feb 8th, 2008

    “Siggy, will u make me a sad story? People will cry. Soft-hearted people.”

    No tears here. I mean seriously. I have seen tons of SL people quit, come back, quit, come back. (btw, they ALWAYS come back). But this here drama queen takes the cake. Gets a whole entry in SL Herald. Kudos Mony! Impressive.

  4. Razrcut Brooks

    Feb 8th, 2008

    I found the Elliptic Blog months ago after googling Second Life Addiction. Story after story of neglected families spurred me to take action quickly.I took a break from SL of just a few months and it was the best decision I have made on SL. Now, I only log in a few times a week . I reccomend to everyone to not get so close with people you meet online. People are way too trusting on SL and we all tend to think “I know the real person at the keyboard.” I explore SL solo and maintain only a few friends. I am at peace.

    We have all met married people in RL on SL . We have all heard their excuses (in a bad relationship…in a great relationship but this is just a game….Its just like playing with dolls….its only cartoon sex….my avatar is a character not the real me). Truly sad as it IS cheating and your spouses and kids ARE being ignored by you.

    As for estate/business owners. Some try to make SL their sole career. They are few in number relatively speaking. Monthly tier/ sim /advertising fees make it difficult for many to be truly REAL LIFE successful contrary to what you may think. I would bet there are MANY business owners who like the idea of APPEARING successful versus actually making a true RL income from SL.They secretly pour their own US dollars into SL. They do it for online fame and popularity . They try to make themselves relevant. They force themselves upon the population and feel empowered by the control they have. The vanity of humanity. I am not judging and I have been guilty of this too. My point is that their businesses and/ or estates become excuses for their addictions. “Sure i spend 14 hrs a day on SL-I have a business to run!” Even those that hire employees still cannot stay away and find some excuse to log on. Haven’t we all seen supposed successful business owners engage in extraneous actions on SL lately? Truly successful people on SL are granted freedom and time to enjoy their REAL LIFE.

    Folks, fast forward your lives in your minds to the age of 75. Part of aging that we will all experience in our later years will be reflection. We will be looking back at our lives wishing we could go back and change many things. We will wish we would have taken more walks, travelled more, said “I love you ” to our families, listened to our families, helped our love ones achieve their goals, been less selfish with our time…etc etc..
    Nobody will wish they would have bought more parcels of land, blogged more, engaged in petty online arguments, play with Xcite toys, script the perfect code, and griefed more people with Cosby Cubes and floppy cocks. Balance your lives. Allow SL to “season” the REAL YOU-not “cook” you.

    PS -Yes, my cooking analogy was stupid so feel free to criticize :)

  5. Unwashed Mass

    Feb 8th, 2008

    Prok just made me laugh. I think I have a problem :)

  6. janeforyou Barbara

    Feb 8th, 2008

    I seen stories like this a few times in SL, i allways trye to tell my friends to use SL as what it are,, a fantasyworld. SL are not RL.. and to fall in love in SL can be hard to handle if you got a famely RL to take care of.I se a lot of my self in this storie and i am shure many others do.I learned to separate SL from RL.I know a lot of SL members but i only got a few friends and thay are not part of mt RL life.I been on VR worlds 7 y..i know SL members that been my online friends sins 2001 from other places, thay are still not part of my RL life.My best advice are to be in SL as a fantasy figure and in RL as your self.Not easy but its the only way to survive for you.

  7. Nacon

    Feb 8th, 2008

    “The first sign of serious trouble for me was when she said she wanted to join UNESCO.”

    Sounds like you were her husband, Prok.

  8. Greefin Oh

    Feb 8th, 2008

    For once, that was a decent article.

    Btw, if you think about it, griefers are addicts too. Why else would they spend so much of their time in SL? And I know they lie and say they have a “real life”. Haha riiight. About as much of a “real life” that I had until a year ago.

    I’m guilty of being an SL addict as well. But I was addicted to other’s woes, their pains, anger. I was addicted to being the “Villain”. Because in RL, I’m nice, and respectful, and probably an easy target to beat up on, if one wanted to. But in SL, I was “BAD ASS”. Noobs would tremble in my presence (sarcasm). This was way before voice was implemented.
    Voice changed the game completely. It’s one thing for some one to call you a “Fag” in text. That’s easy to shrug off. It’s another thing, when someone verbally says it to you on Voice. It changed the entire dynamic of gameplay for me. No longer was I the “Bad Ass, mysterious looking guy in black threads, and shades”.. nope none of that mattered. I realized I was still a wimp, with an inferiority complex. I was just some guy pretending to be “evil” in a video game setting. So I woke up, saw that I was neglecting things in my Real Life, made a decision, and things have better since. Christ I mean I actually get laid, as opposed to “pretending to get laid in a video game setting”.

    And it is a game.. It’s a game of “Make Believe” for adults. Just look at the author’s choice of words in the article.
    “This is how Mony speaks. This is how she writes. This is part of what makes her the individual she is.”
    Any psychologist could tell you that, this person is “pretending” to be someone else. It’s no different, than the people who Role Play in Gorean sims, or Vampire Goth Sims, Combat Sims, etc. It’s all Role Play.

    Ah and for those “Griefers” who will wish to debate it. You’re roleplayers as well. Please. W-hat. The land of Make Believe for post adolescents, with bad child-hoods. LOL. That’s all I have to say about those kids. A good majority of them I had befriended, ended up being just as mentally fucked up as I am. But they are not morons either. They’re much smarter than what people give them credit for. I think they are some of the most creative people I’ve ever known.

    The 4channers and PNs out there, they’re just as screwed up. There is a reason why W-hat doesn’t like you: Because you can’t express yourselves without blurting out several of your “e-awesome” memes every five seconds. You hold your memes dear and close to your heart, just as a priest holds the word of God and scriptures.
    And that isn’t Comic Genius at all. Sorry. You’re not a million Andy Kaufmans, hiding behind your computer screens. And most of you are closet furfags anyways. Hypocrisy at it’s finest!

    The PN are no different. Just a bunch of post adolescents, pretending to be villains, in a video game setting.

    Anycrap, so I can say I relate to this woman’s ordeal. I do hope she pulls through and improves her real life. And who knows, maybe she will figure out a way for her to come back to SL, and not neglect her RL at the same time.

    I went from spending 10 hours a day on SL, to about 1 and half hours a day within a year. And most of my time in SL these days are spent either building or talking to a select few “e-friends”.

    It can be done. You just have to wake up and realize “It’s Yahoo Chat in 3D”. That’s all it is people on the outside. It’s what you choose to do with it that makes it either a game or an “Alternate Life”.

    PS, I bet there are those wondering why I even bother coming on this website. It’s simple. I enjoy reading and every time I read an article, or read through a list of comments, I feel better about myself and my life. I enjoy the “Artificial Drama” that comes up on here daily.

  9. Mongoose Merlin

    Feb 8th, 2008

    I am NOT dead.

  10. shockwave yareach

    Feb 8th, 2008

    Some people can become addicted to different things. Some are caught by alcohol and can’t give it up. For some, it’s sodas. And for some, online chats or videogames are addictive, and SL is BOTH of those. People who have much going on in their real lives but need an outlet for their creative energies find this magic lego set that people can occupy, and they are hooked. It’s not that these folks are bad people or weak in some way. Rather, the game (whatever game) gives them a mental high that they quickly learn to crave.

    Before SL, people were reported being hooked on WOW. Before computers, people were hooked on books or RPGing or model railroading or… something. The compulsive switch isn’t limited to Second Life. The best way of treating borderline addiction is to give yourself Nights Off where one night a week, you don’t log in. Make certain you give yourself sufficient time in RL so that you don’t fall into SL completely.

  11. Addison Buscaylet

    Feb 8th, 2008

    @ Razrcut Brooks ~ that was a sobering post…..especially the last paragraph about viewing our life from the age of 75….so true. Terrific post!

  12. Anonymous

    Feb 8th, 2008

    Wow, What a sad woman. I would hate to be married to someone who lacks any sort of mental stability and control.

    “Ah and for those “Griefers” who will wish to debate it. You’re roleplayers as well.”

    It is as much roleplay as lego is roleplay. Most of the PN/4Chan/Greifers are not here to augment their reality with some fake Second Life, but to use the environment as a 3D Lego set. That is why it is so funny when people take the griefing so serious. Because to most of the griefers it doesn’t matter, there is not the same level of emotional attachment as there is with some here.

    We just tare apart the lego peices and rebuild something new… No whining and crying about how we wish we got more attention from our fur faggot boyfriends.

  13. Penny Sautereau

    Feb 8th, 2008


    The past week I spent maybe 12 hours on SL. Giving it a rest, taking a break. Hasn’t really felt any different. I’m disabled and my wife and I keep the computers on the same desk, constantly chatting as we do whatever we’re doing. So there’s no neglect. So I guess I can’t understand ignoring your spouse for the game on a personal level. What I can understand is believing too much in how real other people can be, and how disconcerting it can be when people vanish from online.

    Sometimes I ponder scrapping my account and starting over as someone new, with a name not the one I use everyday. Maybe Mary Woodget, or Cloaken Dagger. Something silly and anonymous. But I’m just me. I can’t be anyone else. I’ve no real desire to try.

    This article made me think though, about how I relate to other people on SL.

    There are plenty of loud abusive folks on the Herald boards who condemn me for revealing too much about myself. TMI as it were. It’s just how I am, I value honesty and have no self-censorship filter a lot of the time. As much as I dislike the jerks and pompous asses who attack me for being honest, I think maybe they have a point. Maybe it’s time I learned when to keep things to myself on SL.

    Good article.

  14. Mony Markova

    Feb 8th, 2008

    I just want to say that I owe some information to be updated, I happily got in contact with Mongoose Merlin, she is not only perfect in health but wanted me to make sure it was corrected the fact that she has not left SL (I whish she had do)… and she always ment to kill her avatar, not herself.

    However pls read this blog about SL addiction it is scary and some good material for your consideration.

    If anyone is interested I will be happy to share my learnings pls write to I will answer all email. I been off 2 weeks and feel great, I hope to find a balance to be able to peek in and say Hi.

    SL Addiction is a reality and something to take into consideration.

  15. Anon's Boyfriend

    Feb 8th, 2008

    “No whining and crying about how we wish we got more attention from our fur faggot boyfriends.”

    Ah but you do keep on seeking for attention with your fur faggot boyfriends all the time.
    No need for crying cause you get attention plenty, isnt that right?

  16. DF

    Feb 8th, 2008

    I think the line between “SL is a game” and “SL is NOT a game” makes all the difference.

    Those who say it is not a game, spend too much time money or both in SL.

    SL is a game. A massive multiplayer online game without a real goal. Aside from the goal to have fun and enjoy oneself.

  17. anon

    Feb 8th, 2008

    >Most of the PN/4Chan/Greifers are not here to augment their reality with some fake Second Life, but to use the environment as a 3D Lego set.

    Bing-fucking-o. You know why PN pisses so many people off? Or even W-HAT at that matter? They break immersion. You know why they break immersion? Because they use the game as, like stated above, a 3d lego set. Ironically, this was what it seemed SL was supposed to be in the first place, but now it’s gotten to the point where there’s so much soap opera shit that being silly and running through Ravenglass in pirate ships or firing thousands of pudding-pop laden Cosby cubes at a furry sim does not amuse the average SL user but is absolutely hilarious to anyone on the outside.

    It’s not that the acts themselves have shock value, it’s like if you were watching a serious immersive drama or romance movie and then some guy runs around on a unicycle shooting a potato gun at the protagonists in the middle of a love scene.

  18. Greefin Oh

    Feb 8th, 2008

    Since you put it that way Anonymous, alright. That makes a hell of a lot more sense to me, than what I assumed.
    You know I was never one to get really upset if someone orbited me, or put me in a cage. In fact at times it was pretty funny. I’m a kid at heart anyways heh.

  19. pixeleen mistral

    Feb 8th, 2008

    anon has possibly the most acute, succinct definition of griefing i have ever seen – doing things that break the immersive experience. this also explains why some of the griefing stunts are also funny to the disinterested observer – the incongruity that breaks the immersion is also strange enough to be funny.

    anon – if you would care to expand on your thesis i would be happy to pay you thousands of linden spacebux and secure your place in the pantheon of slh writers – so e-mail me, k? and next time use a working e-mail address so I can contact you directly.

    - pixeleen mistral, slh editrix

  20. mtd1952 Timeless

    Feb 8th, 2008

    I am a SL friend of Mony’s, and of Sigmund, the author of this article. I am a SL “believer”, in that I value the relationships, personalities, intellectual and artistic endeavors and the exchange between persons of differing nationalities, religions, cultures, and politics in this “3D chat room” setting. I am particularly fascinated by some discussions I’ve encountered among health care professionals using SL, and examining its potential for socialization and mobility therapies for quadriplegic or otherwise disabled persons. There is a definite “blurring” of the two worlds, when one spends large amounts of time in SL, and the potential for addiction is, indeed, of concern.

    As a 15-year survivor of HIV, and a bisexual male 55 years of age, with no familial obligations to fear “neglecting”, I have found a virtual “home” in SL, where I retreat from cares of a busy professional life, and build social relationships with folks from all over the planet, who also find this virtual metaverse a refreshing departure from traditional online “gaming”. There are some very real things happening in Second Life… from raising money for the Treatment Action Campaign against AIDS in South Africa, to lending a friendly and understanding “ear” to another sufferer of illness or infirmity, to learning new or enhancing old computer skills… and on, and on… it’s almost limitless. Much more, in my estimation, than “Lego”… and to those who see it as “Lego”, their approach reveals the shallowness of their perceptions. To the gentleman who used the word “faggot” in his post… you richly deserve your feeble mind… it matches your emotional maturity, or lack thereof.

    I have been in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction for 20 years now, and have accomplished considerable coursework in addiction and relationship therapy, and I can most assuredly understand how someone could let this “emotional engine” get out of hand, and become immersed too deeply in the “drama” aspect of Second Life. As our friend and bard, William Shakespeare put it, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women upon it merely actors…”. Is this not true of our “real” lives, as well? We get up each morning, face our responsibilities, trials, and tribulations, and we don our makeup, cover those “blemishes”, put on clothing that reflects our social and economic status, (or our disregard for same, lol!), and go forth to step in front of the “curtain”, and take our place upon the stage. To me, SL is no different… it’s a a “role play” game, to be sure, if that’s what you make of it. It’s an opportunity to indulge your cruelty, disrespect, and disregard for your fellow man, for the “griefers” who make it so. Everything we do in SL is a conscious choice… I choose to just be honest, open, and myself, as another poster said, above. If you pays, you plays… and yes, you can play naughty or nice.

    Mony, via her sincerity and pure love of fun, appealed to me… not sexually, or romantically, but as someone who’d be fun to experience new SL “happenings” with, and my judgment failed me not. As I caromed around SL with Mony and Willa, on late-night “shopping seizures” or adventures to far off simulators, or dragging them around in my horse carriage, myself hidden inside the body of horse, the fun, frolic, and pure friendship and camaraderie were heartwarming and most definitely “real”. I can see nothing wrong with genuine enjoyment of other human beings in a “virtual” setting. Just my opinion, but I’ve walked awhile upon this earth, seen and done both bad and good things, and I love people, and thought, and positive emotions and exchanges, and here I find opportunities for all, without buying $3.50 a gallon gasoline, or leaving the comfort of my home, or all the other exigencies of life in a crowded southern California city.

    Mony’s intelligence and wit have led her to conclusions that are the right ones, for her. I am glad she recognized the problem, and was able to do something about it. I miss her much, in Second Life, and that’s a shame, but it is obviously necessary, and what’s best for Mony, and that is all I would want for her… she is a friend.

    Sigmund Leominster, the SL appellation for the British immigrant to the US who wrote this article, is also a SL friend, confidant, campfire storyteller and companion, and a person of integrity and honesty in his SL dealings with others, as best I can tell… and that’s good enough for me. I do not suffer fools gladly, and an hour talking with Sig is an hour well spent, in my estimation.

    I take no position on the “addiction” problem, for it’s not my place to advise others on their virtual/real life balance… that is a uniquely personal thing. If your credit is endangered, or your family neglected, then you have issues with which to deal, in your own way.

    But there is no simple answer to the question, “What is Second Life, really?”. It’s Lego, it’s chat, it’s a sophisticated screen-saver, a provider of visual sexual stimuli, a tool for learning, information exchange, and possibly treatment modalities for a variety of disabilities… and the potential for harm or good in Second Life is identical to that of the real world, with one, glaring exception… in Second Life, “consequences” are few, so one’s words or actions can be as cavalier or as sincere as one chooses for them to be, and there’s always the opportunity to “log out”… even forever.

    But wait… there’s a parallell, even there! What alcoholic has not tried “taking a geographical”, as we term it… moving to another city or state, to leave the devastation of our addiction behind? What person, in some part of their life, has not completely severed ties with a social group, or a friend, or even a relative, for various reasons, and considered themselves as “moving on”, progressing or retreating from a cause of emotional distress? So, the microcosmic nature of Second Life is, indeed, a “model”, if you will, of the human condition, and can be used or abused similarly.

    Ah, well… enough crackpot philosophy outta this old Irishman… I’m neglecting the Second Life wedding reception I was attending when I stopped to contribute to this “real life” story and blog…

    There is, to me, one key similarity between the two worlds…. “Omnia Vincit Amor”… Love Conquers All!

    Thanks for reading one old elf’s take on this issue. Go ye forth and make of both lives what ye will!

  21. Charlie Turnbow

    Feb 9th, 2008

    Second Life is addicting, to say the least. My dad’s gotten so obsessed with the game, he spends his life on the internet trying to stop the bad guys of the game. Then the bad guys show up here on Thanksgiving, scaring the shit out of Mom, and we’re left with no alternative. We need to stop this addictive evil game!

  22. NinaA

    Feb 9th, 2008

    Timeless’s comments really fascinated me. I think it’s wrong to say people who do not see depths in a computer graphic are shallow. They are realistic and cautious. Look into the eyes of a real life person, look at their face, their expressions, their mannerisms, most of communication is non-verbal. That is depth. There’s a lot more both subtle and unsubtle pieces of information being perceived by you from a real person than from an avatar. In the absence of this stimulus, it can be invented by the person who is taken in by SL and imagines this ‘depth’.

    I believe relating so much to fake 3D images is dangerous and it can leave yourself open to be manipulated and hurt. The depth you perceive comes from you, you are relating to an artificial construct created by the person at the other side. You would know that person better if you spend a day in their real company than a life time in their carefully constructed persona.

    SL is fun and a great way to socialise but people should be careful when it starts to get serious, when they are ditching real relationships. What are they really interacting with? Is it what they want to see and believe rather than what it really is?

  23. mtd1952 Timeless

    Feb 9th, 2008

    Response to post of NinaA:

    Perhaps I was a little hasty and unclear in my descriptions… I do not fault those who see no “depth”, but I do question their dismissal of the socialization aspects of this interface and metaverse. To someone confined to a wheelchair, or a bed, the opportunities afforded within Second Life are liberating and form an enhancement to a limited “physical” existence. The one essential element to seeing the “depth” behind the dolls, is an open mind, and the ability (or respect?) to actually “listen” to the person behind that construct. I have met many in Second Life who put no effort whatsoever into achieving an “attractive” avatar, and some who do just the opposite, purposely appearing as “repulsive”, or “chubby”, or non-human, as a means of discouraging unwanted interactions based upon appearances alone. Again, the similarity to “real” existence can be stunning to observe.

    There is a group in Second Life called, “Help People Inc.”, who perform assistance to new users, share knowledge and skills to enhance the experiences of others, and who live by a book and program called “The PIE Diet”, by William Haskin. PIE is an acronym for “Positive Input Everyday”. This philosophical and motivational program is applied in real-life corporate settings, as well, with astounding results, and is a study on the importance of “attitude” in one’s perceptions of people, places, and things, and a tool for retraining of what I fondly call the “itty bitty shitty committee” which often colors our perceptions with negative messages, from our own minds, about our inadequacies, failings, our need to “measure up” in social settings, our fascination with wealth and perceived “status”… all the “Lego Blocks” that make up our toolkit for social interaction in daily life, and in settings such as Second Life, as well.

    So, is Second Life to be taken so seriously as to subjugate one’s “real” life? Certainly not. But it is a parallel, a microcosm, and the responses of an avatar, if they are truly indicative of the person behind the doll, are no less real than the person, themselves.

    Are there liars, prevaricators, exaggerators, flippant and disrespectful “children”, completely psycho nut cases in Second Life? A resounding yes! Can a sensitive and genuinely interested person avoid them? Usually. Does any of it matter? Only if it does, to you.

    There is room in my Second Life for griefers and groupies, hippies and harlequins, owls and wolves and elves and drows, and technology-freaks, and musicians, and artisans, and conversationalists, and even liars, thieves and “drama queens”… just as there is room in my real life for all those varieties of human experience. I choose to take each “persona” as it arrives upon my screen, and only make judgments based on conversations and exchanges which ensue, or do not. If it is but a game to you, so be it… you paid your twenny bucks, go buy a particle gun and make messes.

    But for some of us, Second Life is, and remains, a platform for meaningful social and intellectual exchange, a world with borders and socio-economic status symbols removed, or rendered moot, because any of us can go buy an “outfit” with “bling”, or a roadster, or an airplane, or a “yacht”…. we look past the “toybox”, the “Lego bricks”, and seek the people behind the dolls, admiring their skills, their rituals, their philosophies, or their phony persona as just more of the interesting pattern of human variety, manifested in an artistic and eye-pleasing “metaverse” in which we play.

    As to lack of depth in an exchange with an avatar… one of the first purchases I went after, in Second Life, was a “face emoter”, and a product called “Mouth Control HUD”, that lets my avatar reflect the emotions of my “chat”, so that there is actually an opportunity to add those “non-verbal” cues to the virtual conversation. Also, gestures and animation overrides can be artfully used to express “body language”… one must have a “yawn” in their inventory, along with a “woot” and a “wee”, and perhaps an “applause”… all part of the non-verbal communication Lego blocks. If they’re used to convey emotions, then they gain validity and truth… if they’re just a set of automated gestures without any meaning to the person “wearing” them, then that condition soon reveals itself, and affects one’s willingness to engage in further social exchange.

    These are just the opinions of one “user” of this interface… I don’t profess to have the answers for anyone but me, but I share these thoughts in the hope that there are those who agree, which validates my opinions, or who disagree, and from whom I can learn, perhaps, a different point of view… that’s what I mean when I say “open mind”.

    So, if I’m a “sick puppy” for attaching real emotional value to the exchanges within Second Life… so be it! I choose to feel sorry for those who don’t derive the richness of social exchange that I have found; perhaps I am deluded and a fool… and certainly “nothing is foolproof, to a sufficiently talented fool”.

    I will say, in conclusion, just this, as relates to this thread: I am a most fortunate fool, to have chosen to spend time in the company of Mony Markova, Willa Wycliffe, merry Felwitch, and Sigmund Leominster, whoever they may “really” be… I have learned from them, enjoyed silly nonsensical excursions with them, spent hours in philosophical and intellectual exchange of ideas and opinions with them, and I value their friendship, looking forward to their visits, feeling delight when I find them “online” and eager to go play about in some new-found place or attraction, and I find nothing “unhealthy” or false in those exchanges. We all choose our delusions… I do not foist mine upon others, just cite them as the meanderings of one old “fool” in Second Life.

    My heartfelt thanks to anyone who took the time to read this, whether you concur, or not.. for time is the ultimate investment, not available at any price.

  24. Penance Sautereau

    Feb 10th, 2008

    I don’t pity or feel sorry for the people who are unable to develop emotional attachments to other people over a computer. I feel pity the ones whose REAL lives are so bereft of fulfilling emotional attachments that they think those who can find them online are stupid crazy idiots who should therefore be mocked and harassed and had every attempt made to disrupt their online lives because the unattached ones think everyone should be as detatched and empty as they are.

    The internet may have no consequences and thus give you the FREEDOM to be a sociopathic narcissistic asshole, attacking anyone who thinks or feels differently than you, demanding they change and think like you do or you’ll grief them and laugh.

    But that doesn’t mean it gives you the RIGHT to.

    Just because you believed something doesn’t make it right. And even if what you believe IS right for YOU, it isn’t right for everyone, and it isn’t your place to punish strangers because they believe different things.

    I believed D3adlyCod3c was a complete asshole, irredeemable, with no compassion or decency, because of how he had treated me. Then he posted about being robbed and stabbed and I knew WHY he was so angry, but still believed he was beyond hope.

    Then a small line in an article about whether someone who said they were going to kill themselves who hasn’t been seen or heard from since made him stop and think, and he stopped being an ass.

    So I was wrong about him. And maybe if I was wrong about him, you who troll and grief are wrong about it being okay to troll and grief people who can feel things online for the lulz just because you disagree with them feeling online.

    Disagreement is fine. Punishing strangers BECAUSE you disagree is wrong, plain and simple.

    I think the point of this article was knowing when to step back and catch your breath, something I and many others on these boards should learn to do better. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t saying “Feeling online is bad”. Just letting those feelings get out of hand.

    Hmm…. That rambled a bit. (Shock and awe).

    Maybe I should have Pix count this comment as my last article.

  25. JustMe

    Feb 10th, 2008


    “Cloaken Dagger” is taken as an SL name, I believe .. I’m not in world at the moment to check .. perhaps it’s “Kloaken Dagger” ? In any event, she’s a hostess at a James Bond themed club called Double O’s

  26. Penance Sautereau

    Feb 10th, 2008

    Heh, I’m not surprised. I typed it because it sounded funny, buit I’m not surprised someone already thought of it. Maybe I should say hi?

  27. Cocoanut Koala

    Feb 10th, 2008

    “anon has possibly the most acute, succinct definition of griefing i have ever seen – doing things that break the immersive experience. this also explains why some of the griefing stunts are also funny to the disinterested observer – the incongruity that breaks the immersion is also strange enough to be funny.

    “anon – if you would care to expand on your thesis i would be happy to pay you thousands of linden spacebux and secure your place in the pantheon of slh writers – so e-mail me, k? and next time use a working e-mail address so I can contact you directly.

    “- pixeleen mistral, slh editrix”


    And this, folks, is why the SLH has gone to hell in a handbasket.


  28. Mony Markova

    Feb 12th, 2008

    Apparently people that does not take SL so seriously cope better with it… still some find good reasons to be there and good causes, I know of a few good causes and reasons, however in my personal experience the wrongs outweight the goods, for what it does to my life. I realized that there is no SL or RL but that Secondlife is a tiny part of my REAL LIFE! and this discovery has been important of my personal healing process.

    I would really like to see a HUGE poster right at Welcome area inside SecondLife pointing to this blog… and entitled… Beware of Second Life Addiction… it is a reality, take care of yourself. Be informed. Like the tags on cigarretes, or if any of you has seen a Marlboro pack in Brazil? u will see they are sold with ugly pictures in the package (affected lungs, babies, etc) to scare you away from smoking.

    People is falling blindly at this problem and this needs to change. As I write I am looking at the new and upcoming Chinese version of SL. From the outside it looks exactly the same… (and I am not checking on the inside) but it seems certain that more SecondLife-like places will be here in the future, different flavors, same fulfillment of human needs.

    Paid with your time and money and draining your energy into it. Does anyone support the poster idea? any other better idea? or do you hate it?

    And if u think I was a drama queen or just an average addict, well u just might be wrong. Put on your dukes! and write me wrong.

    Check out the addiction blog if u dare.

  29. Team Dale

    Feb 14th, 2008

    I’m doing a study on virtual world addiction, and from reading above I can see it is a passionate issue. I would greatly appreciate if anyone could help me out and take a survey


  30. 4realz

    Feb 14th, 2008

    its not good if u watch too much tv too

  31. Sky2Graves

    Feb 16th, 2008

    :) People, People, People…SL has as many difinitions as there are People:) yeah,it can be an addiction. But thats not even the tip of the iceberg. It can also be an escape,company to those that are shut in or disabled for whatever reason, a means of communication for military husbands and wifes and families to interact with each other or those that are separated from each other by distance for any number of reasons. Just as snail mails and emails and other chat rooms keep them easily in touch in an ever shrinking world. Sl can promote very healthy things as well as the UNhealthy. It’s up to the individual as to whether their going to let it be a healthy thing or something else. It can also HELP those that need HELP with any number of things. And YES,:) it can even HELP someone stop neglecting the people in their RL’s and HELP them with their RL relationships.Whether it’s realizing they need to get out of them because they really ARE in an unhealthy or even dangerous situation or that their just may be soemthing there worth saving because someone in SL said “WAKE UP” to them becasue there was NO ONE in RL to say it. There are countless online sites that give support for any and everything you can think of…why is it so impossible to believe that can not take place in SL by coming in contact with the people you meet in here. And just as we all KNOW that more and more people are meeting and YES “falling in Love” online. They do that here in SL as well. Of course there are COMMON SENSE things one needs to remember. Just as there are in RL when meeting someone. With every new form of communication or invention has come the “FEAR”. Fear of addiction, fear of negelecting somethign else and other “FEARS”. I’m not going to list them all. I’m not going to argue one side or the other here… because there are good and bad sides to SL and for different people. I Know Mony Markova.:) and I’m proud to be able to call her my friend.:)I’ve known her since shortly after she came into SL. I’ve never considered her a mayfly:D and I’ve told her this:D She has an energy that I sometimes found myself envious of:D She shines brightly yes, she most difinitely does do that:D It’s that light that drives her to look at herself so closely.And it’s that light that allows her to look jsut as closely at others as well:). It’s never boring whereever Mony is:D She is an adventurer that does in SL what most of us come into SL to do:D Explore!!! Becasue we can’t do it in RL. That can also take on many more diffinitions as to just what you came into explore. SL is also home to countless REAL student’s ,Universities use SL as a Garphics training ground.They get REAL grades on there accomplishments in here. It’s a jumping or starting point for up and coming entertainers(singers,writers…you name it) to get ther material HEARD. Anyone ever hear of “The Far Away” AM Radio uses that to sell SL wheat(thats right) fake wheat:) to help raise money to buy cows for families in third world countries. ONE COW that could mean the survival or demise of a family. It’s a REAL organization. There are others if you look really really hard. Mony looked really hard:D How many of you can say that? I will say one thing… I dunno if it’s in dfense of people that come into Sl and find comfort of any kind, or if it is in defense of the fact that there is a cuase to be concerned about people becomeing addictted to SL. BUT!!! For whatever reason they come in here… they come in here looking for something that they can not or are not able to find in RL. MAYBE…JUST MAYBE… if we were all just alittle bit more insightful and observant(for the right reasons) to our neighbors plights in RL… online sites like SL would not even have come into exsistance.
    So… whether you choose to call SL a game or not…:)
    I know there will be those that will try to disect and tear apart what I’ve said:)
    but it’s my “opinion”…and you knwo what they say about those:Dlol…

  32. April Looming

    Feb 18th, 2008

    First, I totally sypathize with Mony because she has a big heart and will be a positive influence wherever she goes. I strive to be that person myself. She has obviously created a legacy of good feelings with a group here.

    I had the great pleasure of meeting Mony on January 10th at the Balloon tour of Linden Village – I hope she remembers me! We danced on the rooftop with a group of giggling girls and I learned how to make a play list. It was a great SL memory.

    I am struggling with my addiction to SL. For me, it all started with a term paper assignment last November about the ethical issues of virtual worlds. I came in looking to see how business worked in SL, and got completely hooked. I’ve avoided the committed relationships that I’ve heard so many bad stories about, but I’ve been almost in tears from sadness and joy over mere e-friendships… and stories like Mony’s.

    The problem is this: I am fascinated by the graphics, the animations, the power to script things, the ablility to create things and sell them (I started a clothing line), the whole concept of commerce, and most of all the interactions with other people. All in a game. Not just any game, but the best of every other game there is, all in one game. Another part of this game is the flirting; and it’s extremely addictive. There’s a Time Magazine article that I saw about flirting (,9171,1704684,00.html) that explains an addictive quality to that as well…

    I’ve managed to balance RL and SL, but not well. It’s a struggle. I sleep less, and I dream about SL. I wake up wanting to log on. I check my email for IM’s when I can’t log on. I have it bad.

    But the people are so fun, and the creativity that exists here is amazing. I love helping the newbies too.

    What can I do? I can’t quit.

  33. Sky2 Graves

    Feb 20th, 2008

    BTW I didn;t not write the comment that was credited to ME…I Wrote the one credited to 4realz on the 14th of februrary.

  34. Mony Markova

    Feb 20th, 2008

    We are starting an Awareness Addiction Group inside world, I know how dangerous this is for me. But I am getting the help of people who still is inside more than myself.

    We grew from 6 members Saturday to 39 on Sunday.

    I am proceeding with this idea, as crazy as it is. Pls write me an email at to learn about the goals of this effort. I will send you a small PDF document.

    Just wanted to let you know of this, the goals of the group are to establish Awareness Posters and Signs right at welcoming and public areas inside world.

    The group is called: Awarness Addiction SL – Information or look in my profile and select it

    I am sick of seeing people fall blindly at this problem at that is the main purpose, we are going to attack.

    Bee good

  35. M.D.

    Mar 19th, 2008

    The article was written with good intentions but I have to say it’s as coherent as the subject (I’m being sarcastic here). Why in God’s name does everyone have to ROMATICIZE second life? The problem isn’t with the addiction per se, it’s because everyone in the freaking metauniverse that is SL FEELS TOO DAMN MUCH, even when feelings aren’t necessary to survive there.

    It is a game. Whenever you lose (get dumped, go broke or get cheated on), your ego gets hurt but it has absolutely nothing to do with real love. Anyone who’s been in love in RL knows that the SL experience is as significant as a pre-adolescent crush with the boy/girl next door.

    The moral of the story is this: get your head out of the sand and either practice self-control or uninstall SL. Stop it with the crying. People are breaking up their marriages, parents are ignoring their children and jobs are being forgotten.

  36. Laurel

    Jun 29th, 2008

    I have been married for 28 yrs we have a daughter and we were happy. And then he found second life. He goes to work and does second life Our daughter who was always unconditionally the love of his life has come second. When there are the rare days when he is off i see glimpses of the man he used to be. He has a thyroid problem very bad. Someone on second life convivced him to go off his meds and heal himself naturally. IT was staggering how much he changed. He did not tell any one every one was telling me to leave him and then he took a blood test and the dr called me and said there was no thyroid activity at all and that could count for much of his behavior but not the addiction. It is like any addiction. You can not drag an acholic to aa they have to want to go. Any advise would be appreciated. I see sl as nothing more than a cult for people who want to escape. I wish it would just blow up. It is worse than any durg,

  37. Timothy

    Jul 20th, 2008

    I am sorry about what happened to this woman but I do have to say that the problem didn’t really seem to be Second Life but her inability to choose what she wanted in real life. If the SL person acts different than the RL person someone needs to take along hard look at themselves and figure out whichis is the real person. If the liberation and freedom you find in SL is really you then perhaps you need to change your real life to suit your inner thoughts, needs and desires your finding in SL.


  38. Jumpman Lane

    Jul 20th, 2008

    I’m with Phillip Linden on this one: “we r building a new world! We r making a new country! We r on the cutting edge of 3D internet technology!” WE R GOIN 2 THE PROMISED LAND! If u r ment’ly retarded (like the dumb ho inna story) send meh all ya L$ EVERYTIME u quit SL then get on like ya been shit on! @ Siggy The Bitch who wrote this shit! U mean u actually lurked over to a thread where I was puttin my foot square in FlippunkPA’s ass to talk shit to ME so I’d come over and help keep this dead thread! Ok ur a pussy! Hehehehehe! Fall dead!

  39. Monica

    Aug 14th, 2008

    What did Jumpman Lane wrote? – Buddy quit on the crack, you sound like you need help.

  40. Mony Markova

    Sep 19th, 2008

    There is a request for Linden Lab to place a Cautionay note for new players about Internet Addiction. People is voting to have it passed here on JIRA, LL’s official, blog.

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