“I am only going to play for a few minutes.” These words could be heard leaving my lips nearly every day throughout high school.
My routine was simple. I would leave for school at 7:00 in the morning, come home at around 4:30, and then play video games for only a “few minutes.” Somehow those few minutes always seemed to turn into a few hours. I would only come up for breath when my parents called me for dinner, surprised how fast the time had flown by.
After dinner, I would get my homework and chores done…most of the time. For some reason, however, my current video game obsession always seemed more important to me than my homework. Why would I spend time learning about derivatives when I could be defeating goblins as a paladin in a dungeon? Why read my English book when I could be commanding the Roman legions against Hannibal?
At the start of high school, I worked to fit video games around my homework, friends, sports, and family. Now, however, my mindset had been transformed. My homework became less important than my video games. My schoolwork became something to be fit into my gaming schedule (if there was time). My grades slowly began to plummet as zeros continued to fill my homework grade. Soon my “attachment” to video games began to move beyond the classroom.
During my junior year, I quit the track team. Running track used to be something I loved, but recently it had become something I hated. I only saw it as something that took up a huge chunk of my time – time that I could have spent with a controller in my hands.
School had become something different for me. I wanted to lead a simple sober living in nj. I had once been a good student who participated in class, but now I waited impatiently for teachers to turn their backs to me so that I could play my Nintendo DS. Phone calls from my friends became only a nuisance, as they often took me away from my current level or campaign.
It was becoming clearer and clearer to everyone except me that I had a problem. Video games had replaced my school work, my interests, my friends, and my family. My whole life revolved around fictitious characters such as Master Chief, Mario, and all sorts of people I found to be larger than life. Looking back, it seems comical that I would put so much emphasis into these virtual creations that had no real connection to my own life.
It was my mother who finally opened my eyes to how much of an addiction to video games I really had. One day after school, she sat me down on her bed and told me a story. At first I barely listened as my mind was several rooms away on my television screen that I wanted to be staring at. However, as she went on, I began to hear her story. My mother told me about a young man who had an addiction to alcohol. He drank so much that it soon consumed his life. He began to lose all the pieces of his life that he had once loved. I continued to listen in horror as my mother told me that I was that young man, and that my “alcohol” was video games.
From that moment on, I made a promise to my mother that I would break my addiction. More importantly, I made her promise that she would limit how much I played. At first it was extremely difficult, especially when my parents took away all of my video game equipment, including my television. They locked it all up in a cabinet. Each day I was allowed to play for only two hours. For the first two or three weeks, when my time had expired, all I could do was to pace around my room, raging about the injustice of my time limit.
However, after a month had gone by, I managed to calm down and find other things to fill that time. Books, homework, and most importantly my friends and family slowly began to take once again take precedence in my life. I knew that I was finally getting past my addiction when I began to not even use my two hours of gaming every day.
My addiction had ended, but had it not been for my mother, I would have lost everything.