Earlier this week while I was at work, I got turned on to an application for my Smartphone. It’s a game where you attempt to level up the buildings in your village and defeat other villages. It is well made and entertaining.
In high school and college I discovered I’m prone to certain types of addictions. Games with no clear ending, where you can become richer and higher leveled are a particular weakness for me. In high school this game for me was Runescape. Runescape is an online Role Playing Game with other players where you can do quests, earn cash, and fight. It was somewhat fascinating and horrifying watching myself get mentally consumed without any hope of moderation.
I wrestled with quitting for years. It seemed like I could never rid my mind of PKing (Player Killing), or stop thinking of how to more effectively do it. This is to the point that I didn’t eat enough or waited very long to go to the bathroom. It invaded my dreams and video preferences in Youtube. Keep in mind, I was only moderately good and wealthy. Maybe in the top 20-15%...nowhere near the top.
There was some good that happened in this though. I learned how to make money by the basic principle of selling high and buying low. I learned how to generate the margin between wholesalers and regular consumers. I learned that many people are not worthy of being trusted online, especially if they hold your money.
Flash back to today. Although I am thankful for all I have learned in an addiction, I never want to go back. I didn’t like who I was. Although my buddies at work meant well, I saw myself begin to become someone I didn’t like, someone very familiar but unhappy. So, come the next workday. I get the pleasant task of saying “sorry guys. It’s not you. It’s not the game. It is me. This is a weakness I have and I’d rather do other things like reading or blogging.” I doubt I’d get as bad as before since I have learned a little moderation. It still would rob me of other joys in life like family time, reading…etc. Discovering and conquering this weakness to addictive gaming is one of the best things I have ever done.
I can already hear people say “well sheesh Aaron, why didn’t you just stop being that way?” How many years do I need to waste before it becomes something to avoid, not fight? I discovered the weakness in high school…it didn’t get dealt with in Jr. High and prior. How long should it have been before I said “enough. I am untrustworthy with this and need to better myself by avoiding it as much as physically possible.”? I waited some 7 years before successfully doing that. Should it have been longer?
Well, gentle reader, do you have something optional preventing you from realizing your dreams in life, or keeping you from being someone you admire? Maybe that needs to change. Just a thought.