I would like to make an overview of my life as addicted to gaming and follow up with a weekly update.
I'm a 27 y/o male from a relatively wealthy family from Brazil, been married for 2 years, from an 8 years relationship with the love of my life. Bachelor in geology, currently pursuing my dream as a software engineer working as a freelancer full stack web developer.
I had an amazing and healthy childhood until the age of 12 when my parents gave me my first computer, at the time the internet connection was dial-up and pretty limited, I could access the internet on the weekends, but that was enough to start my addiction,
Bear in mind that I had video games before the PC but didn't really play a lot, all started with a game called GunBound which could be played with my terrible internet since it was turn-based, the sense of progression, friends, competitive environment and earning gold to buy cosmetics got me hooked.
Played all the weekends the whole time, and on the rest of the week, I was looking for magazines or anything related to it.
MMORPG's and better internet connection
Time passes and I finally got a better internet connection where I could play on weekdays as well, furthermore, I installed my first MMORPG called Ragnarok Online that came with a cereal box.
From there on my life would be totally dedicated to playing Ragnarok... level up, gear up, conquer castles and make new virtual friends. My real life was now on seconds plan, my real-life friends also, as you can imagine my grades dropped drastically. Moreover, as I got older things got worse, at high school I stopped playing Ragnarok to play a new MMORPG called Rising Force Online, a hardcore grinding MMORPG that would require a lot more time than Ragnarok.
New MMOPRG, High school and adolescence
I studied in the best and most expensive school in my region, but for me at that time, all that the school was doing was to waste my time... time that would be best spent leveling my RF character, started to lie to my parents about having no classes, and completely ignored studying for exams, my grades were extremely low... avoided people, didn't want to make friends, all they did was stale my in-game progression, hated everyone...
My daily routine was wake up at 6:30 am, go to school and come back at 12:30 pm, all the time spent on classes I was on my phone planning my day on RF online, after the school I ate really fast so I didn't lose time and rush to my PC, from there I played until 3 am.
The effects on this routine were that I weighed 45kg at the age of 15 with 1,75cm, and looked like a zombie from the lack of proper sleep and self-care.
First time realizing the effects of gaming addiction
Bear in mind that even after spending my whole time playing I was completely miserable, wasn't happy, every time I went to sleep I wished to never wakeup.
By the end of the year, I had reached the maximum level on RF (only 2 players from a pool of 150k active players were at max level at the time), maxed out everything possible in the game, and then there was nothing left to do... the reality was starting to knock the door.
Of course, things were terrible at school and I ended up losing 1 year. That completely broke my parents, I still remember the disappointing face on them.
I had hit the rock bottom, haven't accomplished anything, didn't have any friends, was extremely unhappy, a failure at school, aggressive with my family, disappointed my parents... a complete mess...
I'm not gonna lie, during those times I thought in many ways to end my life... yes it would be easier for me but that would hurt the ones I love. However, one thing I learned from the endless grinding in MMORPG's is that I'm really tough, and could start grinding in real life as well, just needed some help (it's always easier to grind with a party), with my family support I started to come back to real life.
Rehab, College and MOBA's
At the age of 16 or 17, I began my grind in real life, visited some nutritionists, started to work out, tried to make new friends and study the proper way, for the next 2 years I experienced some of the best moments of my life, had some girlfriends, new friends, got into college and weighted 72kg... I was finally happy with myself.
At the second year of college, I was introduced to a new style of game, MOBA, more precisely Dota 2, and I tought to myself that I only had problems with MMORPG's because of the griding for levels and gear and since dota2 didn't have any of those I would be able to play moderately.
As soon as I got a better understanding of the game mechanics and started following the competitive scene everything went downhill once again... My grades dropped drastically i skipped classes to play or watch matches, even when I wasn't playing i was thinking about it.
Just like that I was back to the same place as a few years ago, avoided friends, my relationship with my girlfriend was suffering the effects of my humor change (really grumpy), didn't have self-care, stopped exercising.
The struggle lasted for 1 or 2 years, then with the help of my now wife I got my life back to control...
In short, to save everyone time, I had several relapses over the course of my college (most of them didn't last more than 1 month), but I finally graduated.
Now and beyond
Even today I find myself fighting the crave to play Dota 2, most of my real-life friends (including my only brother) invite me to play almost daily, and when we meet in some festive occasions all they talk is about gaming... As an example, after 5 months w/o even reading anything related to dota last Friday my cousin convinced me to play just 1 quick game, as you can imagine from there I started watching twitch, reading reddit and finally wasting my entire week playing.
For that reason, I decided to start this weekly journal, this is a lifetime battle and I'm never gonna give up.