My name is Matjaž but my online friends better know me as »TheColonel«.
Anyways I'm a 22 years old University student and I've been addicted to gaming for most of my life.
It all started when I was 8 years old. At the time I didn't have a lot of friends. I was bad at sports, chubby, glasses-wearing kid who watched way too much Cartoon Network. I also held the best grades of my class which in the eyes of others made me »the teacher's pet« which led to regular bullying.
At the time I was introduced to an MMORPG game called Runescape. I instantly fell in love with it. I would seize every opportunity to play the game. My parents didn't let me play a lot saying that video games were bad for me, so I would get up in the morning as soon as they left for work, play Runescape, went to school, came back and play some more until they came home at around 5 pm. Rinse and repeat for 2 years.
At the age of 10, I was introduced to swimming by my cousins. I soon realized that I was really good at the sport and that would mark the beginning of my 7-year-old journey of competitive swimming.
Swimming had a really positive effect on my life. It helped with my self-esteem – I became really fit, met a lot of new friends etc. However, it didn't stop my gaming addiction. I would still dedicate every single minute of my free time to video games - at the time I was playing an FPS game called War Rock. The funny part is that my best friend at the time, that I've met by training swimming, was also playing video games with me. So we would dedicate all of our »not underwater time« during practices to talk about video games which would encourage me to play even more.
I would continue this behavior all through Middle school and my first year of Uni. I just changed the sport from swimming to basketball and the free time killing weapon of choice to League of Legends.
I would still be trying to fit as many game time as possible while maintaining a solid enough GPA so my parents wouldn't get on my nerves.
The problem was that the older I was, the more involved I was with video games. Since my parents wouldn't let me play a lot of video games I would play whenever they were gone, then watch twitch clips and youtube videos (guides and gameplay) in regards to the game – that way I could still improve at the game while being one »ALT + TAB« away from hiding it when my parents walked into the room pretending that I was doing some kind of school assignment on my computer.
It all became worse when I started Uni. My playtime went up big time. Since I no longer lived with my parents there was nothing that could stop me from playing video games 8h +/day. This lifestyle somehow worked for the first year of Uni. I managed to pass all of my exams while maintaining a game heavy lifestyle. The games I played at the time aside from League were Hearthstone and CS:GO. It all, of course, came with a cost. There was no more time for sports, so my fitness suffered and so did my self-esteem.
It all went downhill after that. I've failed 2/10 exams the next year of Uni. and also didn't care to try passing the two exams during summer as I made a »rational« decision to take the summer to really focus on gaming instead – I started choosing to game over Uni.
The third year of Uni. (this year) was by far the worst. I started playing the game called Overwatch and got addicted to it hard. Nostalgia also made me return to an old friend of mine; Oldschool Runescape. I've managed to fail almost all of my exams while lying to my parents about it so they would not find out about me excessive gaming.
This led to a lot of stress, which led to even more gaming, overeating and also heavy drinking to drown my sorrows.
I've tried to quit gaming several times through the years but failed since I never really saw the need to quit. I've always been an extrovert, had a lot of friends, attended a lot of parties and did well at school – there is no reason why I shouldn't be gaming in my free time, right?
Last year and a half have been different. I am failing school, I'm choosing gaming over friends and it seems like I partied only to drink my problems away. I've become a version of myself that I despise and I want to change.
With all this improving / leveling my character in the gaming world I think I've completely lost the sight of the most important game; the game of life. My character at the moment is a total noob looking at others getting ahead of life. I'm about to change that. This marks the beginning of my »1 year without gaming« journey.
Time to level up!
Best wishes to all of you, hope you succeed,