THE REALITIES OF VIDEO GAME ADDICTION
I have been waiting for this all day. Not even being with my wife and family can take me away from the feeling of having the controller in my hands and “killing” the next enemy to cross my path.
Slowly the console would fire up and I would insert the “Call of Duty Disk”. Check to make sure that the battery power for the wireless headset was charged and that everyone was in bed asleep, the next 4-6 hours were mine and nothing could take me away from the rush of adrenaline I would feel from getting a kill streak of 4, 5 or more!
This used to be the way I would spend every night in my house. For years I would play video games to “escape” into a world where I would not be bothered by kids, wife, or bills and lose myself in a virtual world. Killing people and feeling the enjoyment of trash talking to other players via open mic’s or joining with the other kids that were all around the country and on at the same times of night that I was on was euphoric.
I can remember being so controlled by the feeling of not having to be me that I did not worry about what went on with my family, only that I could be online and as wild and crazy there because it was a rush. Yes I was a junkie, a video game junkie. Just as bad as drugs. You laugh but it truly was like that. An escape to an alternate reality, an escape from the real world. Who wants to deal with life when you can easily escape into a game?
Who cares? My family cares.
I think it took me some time to realize that being addicted to games was very similar to being addicted to smoking. Hard to put down but once it was down you realize that it was nothing to be proud of. I realized soon after I stopped playing games that I had better relationships with people online, than I did with my own wife and kids. I started reading a book called the Ripple effect. Basically what it said was, “when you were a child you could get away with playing games, but when you are a man those things are just distractions for what is really important”. So I found myself asking, what is really important? Is growing up and being a man more important to my family? or is being a kid and playing video games at 36 years of age more important?
The answer was simple, my family cares.
My family wanted me around, wanted me more involved and wanted me to be more of a father. I think every father wants their sons to look at them and say, “my dad is cool, he plays video games”. But now I get to throw the football and spend more quality time with my kids rather than look at a video game all of the time.
I had to unplug from the virtual world and see myself for who I was. Someone who had lost all sense of reality and understanding of what it means to be a father and to show my kids that I am here, and I want to help. Not just plug into a FAKE world and “kill”. The minds of today do not seem to understand that there is a virtual world, but that there is also a real world. A world that you need to work in, interact with and be a part of. The virtual world is a dangerous place, full of hate, anger, and empty rewards. The real world is full of satisfaction, disappointment and love, joy and peace. It is a world unlike any virtual world, and it cannot be re-created. God has done wonderful things, and I am blessed to have him in my life, and I am grateful that he saved me from a life that disappears when you turn the power off.