It's a sickness

I don’t think I have ever been addicted to anything physically. I have never gotten the shakes from not drinking, I have never gotten edgy because I needed a smoke and I have never blown some guy in a Flying-J parking lot. To this day, I have only blown guys in Flying-J parking lot for recreational purposes (That was a joke mom…) Beyond normal hunger and thirst, I have never been physically compelled to put something into my body or suffer from an ill effect. God knows I have tried, but none of those romantic bad habits that artist tend to adopt have ever stuck.

But…

I do have my own non-physical addictions. At various times video games and other forms of entertainment have caused large problems in my life. Some will argue that addiction can’t be present unless there is a physical compulsion, I’m not here to argue this point. All I am saying is that there are many people, myself included, that display symptoms close to addiction with things such as TV, video games, etc.

I am currently on the fringe of this right now. I think the fact that I recognize it is a huge step in a positive direction for me. Here’s a little insight.

Yes, the MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game for you squares that are reading) Lord of the Rings Online has gone to a free to play model. This means that you can play the most basic version of this game without paying a cent. Of course, some of the coolest features are stripped away from the free version, but you can buy them for an additional fee. It’s very reminescent of a drug dealer giving you a free sample. They’re hoping that the basic stuff will get you hooked and you will either subscribe to the monthly package for a bunch of perks or at least drop $5 to unlock a fourth inventory slot for your characters. So there’s the background for you, now onto what this means to me.

I started playing LOTRO (as all the cool kids call it) a few days ago. This resulted in me literally playing for over twelve hours in a single twenty-four hour time span. I played till the sun came up. This is not a lie or an exaggeration. Since I installed this game about five days ago, I have only written about 500 words of fiction, I have not done any housework and finally took a single shower because I couldn’t stand being around myself.

I half jokingly tweeted that I might have to uninstall the game if it keeps up. I then had a mortifying moment of clarity that I wasn’t joking at all. If I can’t control this monster that sometimes gain dominion over me, I might have to remove it’s source of power. It’s like an old church grandmother not letting their grandchildren listen to Kiss because they think it will allow the devil to take over the child… only this time she’s right.

Looking back, video games have had some very large and very negative affects on my life. There was a point in college that I skipped classes to play online games. I have let some games get in the way of personal relationships (note: Not just my habits, but letting other people’s gaming get in the way as well.) I have used video games to escape the bitter reality of what is going on around me.

Anyways, this is just a post to say I know it happens and I am hoping to get a handle on this before it gets out of hand. I will uninstall the game if that is what needs to be done, but I am first going to try not being a weak-willed idiot.

Food for thought…