It all began harmlessly enough. I bought a copy of World of Warcraft, created a Night Elf Druid and logged on to play. Almost immediately, I found myself roped into the lore, the adventure and the uncanny ability to quell my virtual bloodlust. At first, I only quelled about half an hour a day, then that half hour turned into an hour, then two and then many more. What started out as an enjoyable pastime became my own personal version of pixilated crack. I had to have my fix, and little by little, my fix was taking over my life.
Finding Out I Was Addicted to Video Games
It was my 20th week in a row that I had spent raiding. Every Sunday, my guild assembled a group of 40 people, all with a common goal of killing the dark fire boss, Ragnaros. It was an epic battle and virtual gear and loot was the payoff for defeating mythological villains. However, this epic endeavor was also a timewaster of legendary proportion.
Every Sunday, like clockwork, my guild and I would meet at noon and rid Azeroth of the scourge until nearly 7 p.m. And I wasn’t the only one in my house pledged to rid Azeroth of monstrous tyrants. My spouse, equally addicted to the game, logged on with me each Sunday and we marched lockstep together into the depths of the black mountain. In a way, our addiction became our quality time. Yet, I didn’t realize how many other things were falling apart outside of Azeroth.
The Impact of Being a Video Game Addict
I had always been a conscientious housekeeper. I scrubbed walls and baseboards once per month, religiously. I made sure my house was always spotless and ready for visitors at any moment. However, that Sunday, as I got up for a “bio break” (I needed something to drink), I noticed the mess. There were Mountain Dew cans scattered around the house, bags of chips littering my floor and dirt accumulated on my baseboards worthy of a chisel; my house was a wreck and in dire need of some industrial strength spring cleaning. I had a multitude of things to catch up on, my lawn looked horrible and my spouse and I had put on a fair amount of poundage. It was time to cut the cord. For me, enough had become enough.
Looking around my empire of self-imposed squalor was the kick in the pants I needed to kick the habit.
Overcoming Video Game Addiction
I didn’t need to quit World of Warcraft cold turkey. I knew I could control my playtime, if I quit the guild. I realized that my addiction was to my fellow guild-mates, more than it was to the game.
I resigned from my guild, transferred servers and I was a World of Warcraft maniac no more.
I haven’t given it up though. I still play –although now I only play once a week and for only about half an hour at a time. For me, the World of Warcraft is a great place for me to virtually break things and kill people for stress release. And, while I’m still a gaming nerd, I am nowhere near the pale, strung out junkie I used to be. In fact, nowadays, I’m more inclined to spend time on a quest for a new outfit than I am killing boars for a quest in Azeroth.
And, while I miss some of the camaraderie and fellowship I had with my online guild of virtual warriors, mages, warlocks, paladins and druids, I’ve found a replacement for my social dependence on Facebook.
Which is an entirely different story…