Today marks my first real day away from gaming. I have taken time away from gaming in the past due to other obligations like going on vacation or something similar to that. I have not, however, actually tried to take steps in resolving my addiction. Yesterday was when I went through and removed all the games from my pc as well as removed my gaming platforms of Steam, Epic Store, Ubisoft, Blizzard, and League of Legends. I was a variety gamer with over 300 games that I had dipped my toes into. Some games I had as few as 10 hours in then there were others like Rocket League with 800+ hours, Civilizations 500+ hours, and League of Legends with 1000+ hours in. That is just a few of the ones that I have spent more time in than others over the past 18 or so years of my life playing. The list goes on, of course, with many others in the hundreds of hours played. In a given day I would try my best to get as many hours into gaming I could regardless of consequences. This would lead me to spending about 4 or so hours on days I work to 7+ on days I was off; it was like a full time job making no money and developing no skill to help further society. It is truly a scary thought to think of my life without gaming and that is why I know I need to stop. It is embarrassing to think of all the time I have spent throwing my life into these games that will have little if any impact on my future. I have admitted to few people that I have a serious problem as I am always afraid of what they will think of my addiction. As I type this I am even tearing up because I know I have a problem and I need to fix it. I am hopeful for my future as I have set some long term goals of finishing school and becoming a psychologist or maybe getting a PhD in psychiatry. I would love to be able to help others with their gaming addiction in the future or to be of help with someone else psychological problems. My more immediate goal is to join an online meeting through Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous (CGAA) on Sunday 2/7/21 and then on Monday I am looking to go on a local trail I used to enjoy.
For me I think my addiction started back in my freshman year of high school with World of Warcraft. We had just moved to the greater Atlanta area after living in Florida for most of my life. I had no friends, of course, going into a new school in a new state. With no social life I turned to gaming. Spending many hours trying to get my character as geared as possible regardless of if I had homework or test coming up. I believe the main cause behind my severe addiction was the disjointed family life going on around me and the need to find an escape. My addiction to World of Warcraft caused me to fail some classes that I had to make up later in order to graduate with my class to which, I barely skimmed by even though at one point I was supposed to be in all honors classes. After WoW I moved on to League of Legends to where I spend even more time on it than WoW considering I had graduated and had more free time. One of my greatest regrets is when I started college at the age of 18. I was so consumed with whatever game I was playing at the time that I had no care to study or even go to class. The part that I feel guilty about is my parents paid for these classes that for I think almost 2 years I squandered by either withdrawing or failing. One day I hope to be able to pay them back in some way either financially or by some other means.
I decided to write this journal today because I felt a strong urge to download my games and play even though I have two test that I needed to study for. August of last year marked the first time in 7 years I had gone back to school in order to further myself. I struggled with balancing my classes, work, and my desire to game; at the end of the semester I was luckily able to pull through with two A's and a B in my three classes. This semester has been more difficult. I am taking four classes and a lab making it five I have to keep up with which, has proved difficult given my addiction and other things going on in my life. This past year has been one of the most difficult in my almost 28 years of life and gaming was what I used to help cope in an extremely unhealthy way. Starting with the pandemic I lost my job at the best restaurant in the city of Atlanta, Ga from which I thought I was going to launch my career of becoming a Sommelier (wine expert) and be able to travel the world working at some of the best places dine. Following that, in May my girlfriend of almost 3 years and I were going through a difficult breakup that actually only just recently ended. My gaming addiction, ironically, didn't play much of a role in our relationship ending. All of those trials really drove me into isolation, depression, sadness, anxiety, and confusion which, fueled my addiction. Luckily, in all of the bad going on in my life I found a desire to try and better myself by going back to school. My life this past year has challenged my thinking and allowed me to look more into the future than I have ever before. Going back to school felt like the first step in the right direction and now being able to realize the countless hours I spent gaming is an issue in need of fixing is another, possibly larger, step into my new life.
Going back over this I realize how this is just a glimpse at how consumed I was by gaming. To those who read all of this, thank you. I look forward to making more post and hopefully connecting with others who share similar struggles.