Acknowledging the Addiction

This post may seem at odds with my last one, talking about my CoH/V plans, but I’m a complicated guy.


So…

  • Changes in work or school attendance, quality of work, work output, grades, discipline.
  • Unusual flare-ups or outbreaks of temper.
  • Withdrawal from responsibility.
  • General changes in overall attitude.
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming.
  • Association with other known abusers.
  • Secretive behavior regarding actions and possessions; poorly concealed attempts to avoid attention given to changed behaviors.

That’s a partial list of tell-tales to watch for in your loved ones, in order to spot substance abuse. It looks a lot (too much) like what I’ve allowed from my CoH involvement in the last year.
There’s a longer list, and it’s accurate too, but I don’t feel like sharing some of the other items on the list.
So what’s that mean?

  1. CoH is a game. It’s a pastime, when you need some entertainment and don’t have other things that should be done.
  2. At times, it’s fine to rearrange one’s schedule for the game — task forces require some time commitment, RP play-dates ditto (and moreso), whatever — but when you’re rearranging your *life* to prioritize the game at the top of the list 6 out of every 7 days… well, if this were booze or drugs or gambling getting attention in this way, people would have stepped in already.
  3. I have things I want to do with my life (and a *life* that requires and moreover *deserves* my full and heartfelt attention and involvement) that I’m not doing — have put off — because of the time I’ve put into the game: Being Daddy, Being Husband, writing, reading… the list goes on.
  4. I love my friends that play CoH with me, both locally and abroad. I have experienced a great deal of joy while playing the game, and there’s (only a) few indications that this is changing, even after a year. I love this game.

What’s that mean?
I’m not quitting. At this point, I don’t believe that’s necessary; I know people (Kate and ***Dave, for different reasons) who do the things I want to do and be involved in and, simply, *be* in my life, and they play. I don’t need to quit — I believe that’s the same kind of extremism that made the game too important in the first place.
* I need the game to be a game; an entertaining pastime: no more, and no less.
* I need my friends to be friends, BEYOND (and not intrinsically tied to) the game (so that my need for their continued friendship and presence in my life doesn’t bleed over into a need to “LOG IN”).
What’s that mean?
Well, I’m going to bed a lot earlier — two to three hours or so earlier on average, in fact, and most days I’ve been logging in later — sometimes (like last night) not at all. Net, that works out to 3 to 4 hours less play-time a night, and the sad, scary thing is, that means I’m “cutting back” to a mere 4 to 5 hours a night.
I’m not racing anyone, even myself, to some mythical end-point anymore. I’m not dying for the next new power.
What I have is stories I want to tell, friends I want to ‘see’, and some days, the simple desire to blow shit up.
I want to log in and have a good time, and have it not impact my family (my wife, my daughter, and my life). Those two things can happen together, and I hope they do, but if that’s not possible I’ll take my life and dump the game, thanks. That’s not negotiable, in my mind.
I’m going to keep tweaking my play time until the above goals happen.
What you can do
Don’t think I hate you or I’m losing interest if I’m not on as much.
What you can’t do
Ask me if I need to log off or get going; if I’m logged in, it’s because I want to be, and more importantly because I think I *can* be.

8 Replies to “Acknowledging the Addiction”

  1. For me, it’s not the game so much as the players. The game itself bores me in some regards but the quality of people I’ve met is pretty high and I enjoy spending time with them, creating stories. Without them, the game has less pull than the laundry, and in my spare time I’d read a book or finishing running through KotOR2 for the second time.

  2. Well, my situation is different. I had no life before the game. The only way it’s changed my life is that instead of spending hours a day alone reading, watching movies, or playing single-player games, I’m spending hours interacting with you guys through your characters. Sometimes an addiction can actually improve a person’s life.

  3. Sounds great, Doyce. I’m rather proud of myself, actually, that even with the new laptop, which was bought in a large part so I could play the game on it, I’m still doing lots of other stuff.
    Anyway, this way we’ll all value the time we get with you online the more.

  4. Yes, I am quite impressed that you are going to bed at about the same time that I am as opposed to say 3am.

  5. Moderation in all things (and all things in moderation!)
    I too had to wean myself from an online game (Everquest) and it took quite a while. My advice is to get involved in *other* activities that gradually wrest your interest away from the computer.
    Let’s face it, when you spend almost as much time online as you do at work in a given week, its time for an intervention. Get that play time down to around ten hours a week or less and you will feel a whole lot better about things. Online games are cheap entertainment all things considered, but they have a bad way of becoming far too important to a person’s daily life.

  6. Well, I’m late to the game reading this, so …
    Bravo.
    And if there’s aught I can do to help encourage other friend-relating activities outside the game, let me know. 🙂

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