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GCepeda

It's time to STOP

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Hello everyone. I am G, and this is my story (I wrote a long story, inside the spoilers. I don't know why I wrote so much, but I feel the need to put it here anyway, even if nobody reads it)

TL;DR: My childhood was rough. My mom suffered from drug addiction as I was growing up, and she was often abusive to my dad. When I was 11, she left us to go on a drug binge with another man. When I was 13, two weeks before I started high school, she died from heart failure. The loss was excruciating and this was the first time I gamed to forget about my troubles. In my Junior Year, I found solace through forming friends, which stopped me from abusing games for the next two and a half years.

In college, I got my first girlfriend. It was an LDR, and to this day, I've yet to have a girlfriend irl. We were together for almost a year, but eventually I had to break up with her because I realized the relationship wasn't healthy for either of us. I was depressed and tried to find another girlfriend, but I found more comfort in playing League of Legends with my friends. Over the years, I repeatedly enrolled into college, play games all day, flunk, then try and beg and plead my Dad to give me one more chance. I gained loads of debt, and my life stopped when I was 18. (I'm now 21) I grew increasingly bitter, resentful, and eventually violent and on some cases physically attacked my father when he tried to confront me on my habit.

I was scared of myself and I briefly attended an online support group for gaming addiction. It didn't last long, and I was "going" to school and gaming, until one day I disrespected my father and I was kicked out the house for three weeks. On the first day out, I went to a local internet cafe and played the night away. Around 6 AM, I hopped onto the subway and tried to sleep on the train. I got the worst 5 hours of sleep in my life, and my neck was killing me for several days. Then I set my pride aside and a friend took me in to live with him until I got my life back together. I didn't game the whole time.

But when I went back to my Dad's house, the cycle continued again. I am "going" to college and I have been gaming. (as I write this, my last game was around 11:30 AM EST) I'm 21 with 23k debt, no degree, no car, and no skilled trade. My sleep cycle is constantly screwed, I go through mood swings. My face always cycles with acne, alternating between my jaw, and sides of the temple. I haven't had a girlfriend in over two years, and never been intimate with a girl aside from a kiss I did on a dare when I was 13. I've heard other stories of people losing their jobs, houses, and their kids behind games. That's not me, but it could be me if I continue. 

I think it's time to stop.

I've been a gamer since I was 5, when a grand aunt gave me a used, original Gameboy. I was an only child (aside from two half brothers who didn't live with us) with few friends and games were a way to pass the time when I finished with my homework. At that time, I didn't game much; I'd be just as likely to game as I was to read, draw, or play with my toys and talk to imaginary friends.

My family was constantly unstable, because my mother suffered from Bipolar Disorder and a gruesome addiction to drugs. (primarily Xanax, Heroin, and Crack) There was always constant arguing in the house, and she was abusive to my father. She would get violent whenever my dad confronted her about her problems. Despite all this, she was never abusive to me and my father struggled to keep the family together. He wanted me to have a mother growing up, and because of that I am grateful.

When I was 9, we got our first computer with internet connection in the house. The exact turning point in which I remember gaming to become a crutch for my problems was when I was 10, playing Toontown in my bedroom. My parents were having a fierce argument, and I heard things being slammed and thrown around the house. I was worried and ran right between them and asked them to stop, but my dad said not to worry and go back to my room. When I went back to play, it was the first time I felt anxiety while playing. It was a gnawing, encroaching feeling that I wouldn't feel nor be familiar with until a few years later.

These next few paragraphs are important to me, since it gives context to how my first round of addiction started.

My mother got into a fight with another woman outside of a treatment clinic, and she was arrested for assault. Her sentence was meant to be a month in jail. However, she was kept imprisoned for almost six months. During that time, it was just me and my father; my father's family was moving out to Florida, and the relations with my Mom's family wasn't good. My mom's side did little to intervene her behaviors, and later even defended her. When Mom was released, she sued the city and won a settlement of over 100 grand.

When I was 11, the last time I saw my mother was before I went on a trip to Florida by myself. I was to stay with Dad's family for the summer. She just won her settlement. The last thing she bought for me was my plane ticket, some new clothes, and a brand new Nintendo DSi with the new Pokemon Platinum. As a kid, I loved my DSi because you could record your voice and save it for later. I recorded my mom talking so I could hear her voice when I was in Florida. After this trip, I wouldn't see her for another 2 years.

When I came back, my Dad explained to me that she left us to go live with another man. I knew who this man was. During my summers, my mom would sometimes bring me to this man's apartment. He was fat, hairy, and sweaty, and for some reason always nodded out on the couch. The carpets were never cleaned, and there was always a smell of cigarettes and urine. Later on, we found out she burned all her money with this guy to go on a drug fueled binge.

It is now late August of 2011. The last few years were rough, yet I was preparing for high school. I was a little anxious, but also eager to start. Then one day my Dad sat me down.

Mom died. She died in her sleep. Not due to an overdose, but because of heart failure. She was long overdue for a bypass surgery from years ago, and it eventually caught up to her.

We attended the funeral. It was a very tense atmosphere. Everyone on my mother's family was there, including two of my half brothers who I'd see occasionally. Some of my mom's family defended her actions, because they wanted her money. And worst of all, the fat and hairy man was also there. I believe he killed my mom.

When I went to the casket, I didn't feel anything. Everyone around me was crying, but I didn't shed a single tear. I went to kiss her hand, and it was cold. I just didn't know how to react. My dad asked me if I wanted to talk to a therapist, but I felt fine at the time. So we didn't get one.

When I entered high school, it was a confusing and painful time. It was at this time (starting from age 13), that gaming became an escape. I got into playing Pokemon Online (a competitive battling simulator) and it was something I played daily. I stopped studying and doing my homework. At one point, I skipped school for three days just so I can stay home and play. One the 3rd day, my science teacher called the house because she was worried, and I got into trouble for the first time. I learned since then to not skip school for games. However, I still didn't do any work, and would instead stay up at night playing games. Eventually, I was caught here too. Since then, I learned to not play late at night. (unless I knew my dad wasn't home and I had a rough idea of when he would be home)

Sophomore year and part of junior year was this constant struggle between having my games and also making sure I didn't flunk out from school. During this time, I was constantly depressed. I didn't sleep much. I'd only do the minimum and even then, I had to go to summer school at the end of Sophomore year. My DSi was also stolen at some point. At Junior Year, I turned myself around and started to really excel in school. It was also the first time I had a real social circle.

Senior Year and my Freshman year into College, I was also doing fine. 

And then I got a girlfriend.

It was an LDR (Long Distance Relationship) that lasted for almost a year. This was my first girlfriend, and I really loved her. Her and I had similar family situations growing up. We always spoke of meeting each other, and part of me really thought this was going to happen. As time grew on, I realized that it wasn't possible to meet her (for several reasons that I don't want to share) and eventually broke it off. When I broke up with her, I was devastated and I stopped attending my classes. I attempted to find another girl. At the same time, I was playing League of Legends with friends in college. We formed a gaming team and would play matches in the resident lounge almost daily.

When I was gaming, I already failed one semester and had to re take most of the classes I failed. Over time, I stopped attending them to go play with friends. I also had another girlfriend. But as time passed, I progressively saw her less and less until she eventually dumped me. Because I was too busy playing. At my peak binge, I remember playing League at a friend's dorm until 5 in the morning. On a standard day, I'd sleep during the day, usually on campus (Had to make my Dad believe I was going to school). In the evenings I'd play with my friends and then go home.

Then I failed some more. Now I'm 10k in debt.

Then I flunked out of college. I gamed at home frequently, until my dad pressured me to go back to school. I enrolled into another school that was an online campus. He told me it was a bad idea and that I'd go right back to gaming, but I was adamant that I would be fine. 4 weeks after my online semester, I stopped going in favor of gaming. I flunked and then try to enroll for the next semester, which lasted 2 weeks before I gave in again. At this point I'm 20k in debt. 

It was also at this time that I was starting to feel real resentment and bitterness. I didn't like the fact that I didn't have a degree, or a girlfriend, or many friends. And games would sometimes hide that. But often times, my problems would surface and I was constantly on edge. I felt wrath towards my father, and I didn't know why. This change was reflected in my tastes in music, and eventually led to me to create music to reflect these feelings. It's filled with tension, darkness, and aggression, and became an amalgamation of my emotions as well of the music I listened to.

Then I was forced to get a job, which I still have to this day. As time went on, my life consisted only of work and games. Eventually I was pressured to go to school again, and this time I opted to enroll in a community college. In Fall of last year, I attended and was active in school for about a month.

Again.

Then the spiral happened again.

Games became more important.

I was too tired to go to school and so I'd sleep, eat, play some games, then head off to work in the afternoon. I never played games late at night, and instead I'd opt for watching gaming videos to come up with new strategies. Or, I'd flirt with random girls online to try and replace the relationship I once had. My social life ceased to exist. I didn't talk to my friends; I remember one of my classmates texting me. She asked me where I was because I didn't go to class for the last week. I told her I'd be back, and I came to the next class because of her. But after that class, I didn't attend again.

When I flunked again, I got another 3k of debt. I was confronted yet again by my father, and this time he was fed up. I had lied to him for three years about school and my gaming habit, and I took advantage of him every opportunity I could. I got really good at hiding my gaming; he never actively caught me playing. I got really good at lying; I studied body language and the art of eye contact, primarily to get good at my retail job, but also to better conceal myself. To an outsider, I am charismatic, intelligent, funny, and mysterious. In actuality, I was deceitful, full of pride, selfish and destructive. I am so good at lying that strangers are shocked to find out that I'm a virgin (21 btw). I've studied enough body language to fake the natural energy of a person who lives a well-rounded life. Consequently, I'm also the best salesman in my retail job.

When my dad finally tried to put his foot down, I unleashed my rage and fury unto him. This poor man who had made countless sacrifices for his son was met with chaos and destruction. As he was telling me that he never sees me talk to any girls and that he thinks I was gay, I went off. I smashed the glass table in front of us. I remember him telling me if I was going to break more stuff, and damn right, I fucking did. I destroyed our family tree; a detailed map on a picture frame inside our hallway. I continued to yell at him, and I was told to pack my stuff and leave. As I was already in SICKO MODE, I continued to talk back to him and tried to delay my packing as long as possible. After all, he was probably bluffing. As I went to grab something from one of my drawers, my father snuck right up to me and said "You have 5 minutes to leave before I beat the shit out of you. And I don't care, I'll go to jail if I have to." Being the smart guy I was, I said he was being mean and that he just threatened me with assault. Finally, I got this fucker! You can't beat me, I'll win! So I tried to pull out my phone and we fought physically for the first time.

I don't think he would do that to me, but I almost drove him to that point. I left as I realized there was no point in fighting him: He's bigger than me, and to continue would end up in death for someone. My disease was willing to murder.

I told myself I'd be fine and that I could live fine on my own. On my first night out, I went to a local internet cafe to play League of Legends for the whole night. I went to this cafe on my Friday evenings so I can safely game without my dad catching me.

I said "fuck it, I lost everything now! Now we can game in peace!" I go to this one particular cafe because one of my friends who I gamed with in college would go there. He was completely addicted: his life consisted of sleeping, eating, jerking off whenever he can, and playing League. He had a job at Popeyes so he can pay for the internet cafe. I didn't notice he was in the cafe until around 12AM, where we played games together into the morning.

When it was around 5AM, I told him that I was kicked out my Dad's house and that I'm basically homeless. He basically said "damn that's crazy, good luck though". I left around 6AM, and hopped onto the subway so I can sleep on the train. I got the worst 5 hours of sleep in my life, as I probably woke up about a dozen times. I was sleeping standing up, hugging my bag and wondering what I was going to eat later on. Around 11 AM, my neck was hella sore and I hopped off to get food at a local Dunkin Donuts. I was considering making this my new life, where I am free to go to the cafe and game whenever I want (so long as I show up to work). In exchange, I'd be homeless and would constantly have to buy food. For showering, I considered just going to my local gym to shower. I didn't think far enough for laundry, and it was pretty clear that I couldn't live off of minimum wage, part time salary. I sucked up my pride and called one of my high school friends and explained to him my situation. He was kind enough to take me in.

I only lived with them for three weeks before I moved back to my Dad. I spent Christmas with them. I found solace in my friend and his older brother, as they both struggled with personal and family problems and we all helped each other through it. On Christmas day, I was woken up at 5 AM, to find out my friend's father was an alcoholic. He was yelling at the mother and almost hit her, and eventually I found a whole slew of other crazy things, including how often he'd cheat on her, etc, etc.

I really feel for them. And I am even more grateful my Dad was never abusive to me. If anything, I was abusing him constantly. And that was difficult for me to swallow.

Around this time, I was in the process of finishing a song I wrote. I got to record the last verse in their house and released it online. It combined elements of Trap music, Rock, and Death Metal to express how upset I was at not confronting my problems. The song is aptly named: COWARD, as a reminder of how the addict in me continues to loom. It's my most popular song, and it took me many months to make it.

I came back into my Dad's house and I cried. I came back just before New Years. On New Years eve, I went back to my friend's house to celebrate with them. When I came back, I promised my dad that things would change. I found out I was still enrolled in community college for a half semester that lasted 6 weeks. So this was my chance to "remake myself like the birth of the phoenix" (a lyric I had wrote to myself many months ago)

Yeah, none of that shit happened. After a week of school, I went right back into gaming and internet abuse. The familiar routine of sleeping in late, playing a game or two and then rushing to work started to sink in again. As my coworkers talked about school and their social lives, what was I to say about my life? That I just had a great match in League today? That last night I found a great hentai and came at 3 am? 

I am here today primarily because my Dad bitched at me over the phone yet again. I get very tired of hearing him all the time. But man is he right. I can't be mad at him or be violent like I used to. That just doesn't work. I have been constantly lying to him about getting help for my gaming addiction. And I've been irate, because nothing seems to change. And I realize it's because of one reason: I haven't admitted defeat. I still think I can do this all by myself. After all, I've done many things by myself. In just a years time, I self-taught myself how to write and produce music, mix, master, record, rap, death growl, edit pictures and videos, as well as promote on social media. So I'm pretty smart. Surely I can stop a fucking video game. But I can't, no matter what I do or how I try. As I write this, I've uninstalled League of Legends from my laptop for the 7th time. My last install was 2 days ago, after I swore not to play again. And 3 days ago, I deleted all social media from my phone, since phone use and gaming go hand in hand for me. I still cheat occasionally, as I like to watch Youtube.

I can't do this alone. Three days ago, I also found this site thru Cam's Ted Talk. I saw the Ted Talks on Youtube, but only because my dad decided to search "internet addiction documentary" on our Firestick. I groaned for a second but I decided to watch.

Hell, I even went and looked at the Respawn program. The 90 day detox. "Wow that sounds real nice" said me three days ago. And the next day I played League of Legends. Today, I bought Respawn.

My shadow, my demon hates that. He wants me to suffer. That is my disease, my gaming addiction. It keeps my lonely and shelved off so I break and relapse back into gaming. And that has been my major mistake: I haven't reached out for help. If I don't surround myself with people and positive energy, all that remains is misery for me. And so I will say it:

I am fucked up. I'm 21. I have no degree. I'm in debt. I have no skilled trade. I am a virgin and never became intimate with anyone. I am depressed and get mood swings. I constantly have acne on my face. During late nights, I masturbate to porn.

And, I am a gaming addict.

I give up. It's time to stop.

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