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NEW VIDEO: The EASIEST Way to Stop Gaming


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I'm sorry if I'm a bit skim on details about myself, I'm very worried that it would be easy to connect me to my real life identity based on the details of my story, and I think that would be very bad for me. But I'll try to be very straightforward and as honesty as I think I can be under the circumstances.

I'm 38 years old and since I was a kid I've struggled on and off (mostly on) with compulsive video game playing. Diagnosed ADHD, anxiety, depression, taking medication. Usually my mind will latch onto one game and I'll play that game obsessively to the exclusion of all others. When I was younger it was MMOs. As an adult it's been primarily turn-based strategy games but honestly I can go more specific and just say that for the last 16 or 17 years of my life I have had a major problem with the Civilization franchise of games. When I'm on a civ kick it can really destroy my life. It takes over all other aspects of my life. I sometimes wonder where I might be in life if I'd never heard of the game.

I'm a postdoctoral scholar at a well-known university. This is a very high pressure job, with very high demands for both teaching and publication. I'm also coming to the end of my contract and I have been unable to line up other work despite several interviews. Unlike pretty much every single other industry at the moment, and all the talk of labor shortages, the job market for higher ed in the humanities/social sciences is stupidly competitive. 500 people might still apply for even the worst jobs. In fact, it was a job rejection back in June that sent me into my current spiral. I hadn't played any Civ game for awhile, I'd managed to really tamp it down. But I didn't get this job that would have solved a lot of my problems and I really fell into a hole, I purchased Civ 6, and 7 months later I've had a lot of lost workdays... a lot of lost hobby time... a lot of lost time just being present to the world.

I've managed to do a fine job of keeping the teaching part of my life/career together because it's really hard to hide being a bad teacher, and y'know the deadlines really force me to work. For better or worse, however, my research output is much more likely to determine how my career goes and I've lost so much of that to playing games. My research output has suffered immensely. I also used to think of myself as a fairly creative person, playing music and doing video stuff, and a person who enjoys reading, film, art, etc., but all that's really fallen by the wayside.

My wife and I live in separate cities at the moment (very common for couples in academia to live apart for an extended period) which has made it very easy to lie to my wife about how much time I spend playing Civ, but even when we're together I'll be playing secretly while pretending to work. Honestly, when we're together the professional consequences are probably worse because she would never put up with my gaming all night, so I game during the day when I'm supposed to be working.

I've had issues with compulsive drinking. I used to smoke. I've used drugs in the past. All of those things I was able to quit or control. Like, if I wake up in the morning and say "I'm not going to have a drink today," I'm not going to have a drink that day. If I wake up in the morning and say "I'm not going to play Civ today" there's a near certain chance that I'm going to be playing Civ by the end of the day. I have been telling myself "that's it, I quit" for months.

I'm embarrassed to talk about this, I feel totally owned by the game. I feel like I can't go to my wife for help because so much of this I've been doing behind her back. This is the first time I've ever really talked seriously with anyone about this issue. 

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