Readers by now should know that one of my pastimes is playing video games. Why do I play video games if I’m a writer? We’ll save that one for another day. Today, we’re going to talk about addiction, and seeing the context of my introduction, you can guess where this is going.
There was a game that I recently became acquainted with. For no real reason, I won’t name it, whether out of confidentiality or what have you, the point is, I got addicted to it, and I knew it, and for a while I chose to ignore the addiction. Now, there are several different levels of addiction, the worst being your personal and professional life is utterly destroyed due to the addiction.
To make it perfectly clear, I am not in that category. Will I miss work for the sake of the game? Never. School? Fat chance. Family? It’s easy to press the power button, and I often do it.
I do however classify my type of addiction as “I could have been doing something far better than playing this for five hours straight.”
Being a writer, for instance, I could have written for that long or at least read a book.
My free time was, now that I have quit, spent thinking of new strategies for the game, new techniques that could keep me on top. And I was on top. Ohhh how I was good. How my teammates (since it was a free to play online game) praised me. How I could always make the right decision at the right time, or, in some cases, through my leadership, carry my team to victory. Do you have any idea how good it feels to be praised for something? Of course you do. People praise you ever day, and if they don’t, they at least are kind to you because of your consistent accomplishments, though they may be minor, to the whole.
But remember how good it feels to work really hard at something, to think, to strategize, to plan, and then, after all that hard work, time, and effort, you reap the fruits of your labor. How good it feels to accomplish something. Remember that, and that’s the feeling I had every time I played that game. If I lost, which sometimes happened, only fueled my need to win more, because I knew I could do better.
I live by the quote: “Even when I lose, I win, because I never lose the lesson.”
It’s that kind of competitive attitude that let days slip by.
Yes the game was fun, but it ate away at my precious free time, free time that I usually used for something far more productive.
And so I quit.
When my friends ask me why I don’t drink, I reply “there’s a standing tradition of alcoholism in my family that I don’t want to keep up.”
Weakness to addiction is in my blood, whether it be liquor or games, and I don’t want to fall into the same trap (though with a different means) that had already injured my family so many times in the past.