Internet Addiction Isn’t An ‘Official’ Diagnosis, But This Center Is Devoted To Treating It

FALL CITY, Wash. — When Roey Gabay finally got home from the college library, he found his twin sister, Reut, waiting for him in the living room. It was around 1 a.m. on June 9, the night before finals. But she knew he hadn’t gone to the library to study. And he knew she knew it.

“Come here,” she said, as Gabay tried to make a beeline for his bedroom in their house by the California State University, East Bay, campus. “We need to talk.”

Months later, Gabay, 20, could still remember the tears in his sister’s eyes that night, and how he sensed what was about to happen. After years of watching him blow off friends, sports, studies — everything he loved — “just to play video games,” Reut had finally had enough.

Gabay’s neglect of his schoolwork had already cost him a scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles, and he was well on his way to squandering his enrollment at East Bay.

“This can’t keep going,” his sister told him. “I know your potential. You’re throwing it all away, and it’s killing me.”

The confrontation surprised him. “I kind of broke down and admitted I needed help. It was really hard,” said Gabay. “But in my heart, I also felt a bit of relief.”

Gabay told The Huffington Post about that confrontation some 700 miles north of where it actually took place. Between bites of a grilled cheese sandwich, he described the struggle with online gaming that, with his sister’s help, had ultimately led him here, to the reSTART Center for Digital Technology Sustainability — a retreat center outside of Seattle, nestled in the woods near the foot of the Cascade Mountains, just west of the rushing Snoqualmie River.

Shortly after moving from Haifa, Israel, to California at the age of 14, Gabay —> Read More