I am addicted to video games.
There was a time when I didn't think I was, but about 2 years ago, I realized I was wrong. I've known about my addiction, but kept on playing anyway despite what I was losing and ignoring in my life. Every now and then I would have these half-hearted thoughts about stopping, but knew I wouldn't, even though I knew my life would be better without them. That all changed yesterday.
Yesterday morning started out the way it normally does for me. Wake up at 6am, make coffee and a bagel, then start gaming. When my notification came up on my phone to start my workout at 6:45, I ignored it. This was the 4th consecutive day I'd done that. I knew I should not start another game, I even said out loud, "Don't press play," but I did. Something inside me compelled me to keep going. I had to win, had to get better, had to progress... that has always been my driving force for gaming: competition and progression. It felt awful, but I did it anyway. I felt a massive rush of depression and shame... even more than usual. I played on until 8am, when the servers went offline for maintenance. This is around the same time my wife leaves for work, so I went to make another cup of coffee, chat with her for a bit, and wish her a good day (which I just now realize wouldn't have happened had the server maintenance not happened when it did). I don't typically wear my emotions on my sleeve, but I apparently couldn't hide what I was feeling because my wife's voice was full of concern when she asked me, "What's wrong?" I decided it would be best to tell her what I was feeling and why. She's an amazing woman. She gave me a big hug, told me it would all be ok and that I could do anything I could put my mind to because I was a strong and amazing man (I can't help but tear up as I type this because I feel like I don't deserve her). Video games have always been a strain on our relationship. They were also the main reason why it took me 12 years to graduate college. They have always been holding me back from excelling at work. I have a job that I would consider a dream job. Its incredibly interesting and exciting, I get to travel around the country, it challenges my thinking and analytical skills, I work from home a lot and have flexibility, the people I work with are amazing, its a small company that is rapidly growing, and the money is great. I can see myself doing this work for this company until I retire. Yet there have been times that I should have been working but found myself gaming... even though I knew better. Yesterday changed everything.
After my wife went to work, I got ready to leave for a work-related day trip. As I was getting ready to leave, I couldn't help but feel like I had to do something to stop gaming, so I decided to try to find a podcast on video game addiction to listen to while I drove, so I downloaded a few. The first was about how gaming addiction is starting to be recognized. I already knew that. The second was a radio show playback interviewing Dr. David Greenfield, which was informative, but not very helpful. The third was episode 1 of the Game Quitters podcast. All of a sudden, I knew I could do it. I knew it was possible and that people were there to support me who have been through some of the same struggles. I ended up listening to episodes 2 and 3 for the rest of the trip, and got home knowing I could make my life as great as I wanted it to be.
Yesterday started out the way every day did. Then yesterday was the day I found Game Quitters. Yesterday then became the day I started the 90-day detox. One of my new goals is to make yesterday the last day I played video games.
Thank you, server maintenance.