I had been dealing with the death of my father in November 2017. It had been suggested to me to use video games as a stop gap between me and being totally consumed by this trouble. I decided to use gaming to provide a relief from the grief that had been plaguing me for the month after.
Up until then I had gaming pretty well managed and had it down to short evening single player sessions. But in my mourning I got into multiplayer gaming with Overwatch and Hearthstone. I had abused it for most of December before I hit that rock bottom in January.
I set a goal to make it 90 days without gaming, and I also included not watching Twitch for a detox. Today marks the 90th day. Here are ten lessons I learned along my journey that I hope inspire you on yours.
I’m a 23 year old skinny bloke hailing from the tropical island of England. My main pull to gaming was the escapism, I didn’t feel like I had to escape from anyone or anything, but myself and my own thoughts. I would play immersive and heavily story driven semi-believable fantasy rpg’s and mmo’s which I could set goals in, for e.g: “to obtain a level up before coming off” for about 12-16 hours a day. Often pulling all nighters.
On the 5th of January I realized that actually as ironic as it is, what had helped me to stay sane and somewhat functional for all these years was now actually my big problem.
Gaming is a shameful addiction. That is what I felt for a long time, and I know that many do as well. Like so many addicts I hid my problems from even my close friends, loved ones, and of course the weak justifications to myself. I termed myself as having an addictive personality. That was my excuse for a while, but then I looked further back at the origins of where my gaming addiction came from, and diagnosing it’s pathology allowed me to understand it. To put a name to it.
Every gamer knows this phrase. We’ve said it countless times. We’ve said it to our parents, friends, girlfriends, wives, and children. For those of you that don’t know the meaning, it’s an endless cycle. This phrase is uttered after every game when we know that it’s time for us to stop playing.
The truth is that we actually mean it when we say it. But if a game ends too quickly or we lose too badly, we believe that there is no way that we can end on that game. Regardless, It’s ‘harmless’. Why can’t I play one more game? What’s so important that you can’t wait 30 more minutes? I’ve thought this way my entire life until my son’s first spring break.