This process has uncovered something that I had suspected but was probably just in denial about. I have been using Video games, especially solo games, as an escape from life’s problems. I use games much the same way as drugs/alchohol. When lost in a fantasy world the stresses of daily life vanish as long as I am in game land. It has become another cycle of addiction. I have become acutely aware of this because in the last week while digging into my own behaviors I have had virtually no desire to play video games. The joy and excitement is gone and I think it might be because I am no longer looking for the escape. For someone who has spent 4+ hrs a day almost everyday playing games close to 17 years.
Gaming was a part of my life as a kid and back then it was always a group affair. bunch of friends sitting around taking turns playing together. In my late teens I used gaming as a way to save money. It was far cheaper to rent a game and pick up a bottle of rum for the weekend than to go out. It worked perfectly and I was able to pay off my debts. It was later that I discovered MMO’s (massively multiplayer online games) these games have large amounts of players all playing together at the same time. Normally in these games you will have quests to complete or other adventure type things to do. The common thing is to group up and roam with a pack. It was a glorious time for me as I got to live in the starwars universe which I loved. After a while though people stopped playing and I found myself playing alone a lot which was also nice because I could do things my own way(more control). A pattern emerged, that pattern involved me finding a group to play with until the group became toxic and disbanded then I would play solo to avoid conflict during my escape time. This cycle repeated a few times could take 3 months or 2 years for a group to break up. I always had the most fun when playing with friends, even though I spent most of my time playing games solo and simply going around completing everything. I noticed during this time that when I would dedicate myself to a game and complete it that I would then feel lost afterwards because I now had no goal. This pattern involves some pretty high highs and really low lows.
Fast forward to today and I have almost no desire to play online games which is so very odd for me. I happen to share space with some guys that also enjoy board games and in the last week we have had 3 game nights and a lot of fun. It would seem that I have more fun losing with friends than I do winning by my self. This is a big shift in my vibration and I have to say the drastic change in my feelings around gaming, especially competitive games is shocking to me.
For me this is a perfect example of something that can be good and useful under the right circumstances and can also be used the same way as an other “addictive” product. The reason why I use something is so important, so much more important that what I am using. It is up to me to question each time, why do I want this?
I am quite certain now that Addiction is just the result of a misaligned belief/value/idea. “This thing makes me feel better” Why? how? how do I feel when it wears off? Only I can answer these questions for myself. I can only answer them if I ask them.