Breaking Video Game Addiction

Tiffani Randolph

     The dark symptoms of addiction can strike even the most innocent of people. It starts small with rushing home after school to log on and worrying when online friends haven’t been on in a while. It attacks the naive person lying awake at night, inducing thoughts of how to improve game experience and how to take down the big boss. It can turn a lighthearted, midnight camp-out for the new Call of Duty game into an all out war to see who gets first in line. When all these things become reality there is only one way to accurately describe a person who lives their life like this: a video game addict. But there is hope for these bottom dwellers who feed on the story lines of favorite games and who have emerged themselves into the deepest pit addiction.

Step One: Admit you are powerless over your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable.

     The addict can’t help but think about video games, as they easily consume their life. Making excuses to friends all the time just to get a little more one on one with the controller and TV becomes a natural, everyday thing. In the decision between getting good grades, going to college and making something out of life, the choice is made to focus all attention in beating the game, being on top and having those bragging rights to prove who is number one. Slowly, the life they know crumbles in despair by the great force of the video game. The life that once flourished in the sunlight, now finds itself suffocating in a deep dark hole. Though this may be a frightening thought (as nobody likes to imagine their life ending up in such a pitiful way) it’s okay; there are many other people in the hole as well. The only way out of this bottomless pit is to admit that there is a problem. When one finds them self in a hole, there isn’t much denying there is a problem.

Step Two: Get help.

     Admitting the problem is barely half the work; nothing will get done unless a person decides there is more to life than getting killtaculars in Halo. Take a look at life as it is now and what it’s been reduced to, gaming on the couch with an Xbox. Before, this seemed fine, but now the overwhelming urge to make a change becomes aw-inspiring. The hope is to never become ‘that person’ whose online friends report missing because they haven’t signed on in six days. Get help! Find someone that can help every step of the way. Warning: do not lean on other addicts during this process! Instead, seek out a friend that has found a life beyond the controller. Make sure that they are in control of their life, and that they are no longer constantly pondering which raid they must go on in World of Warcraft to get the epic mount. No longer do they walk around in their house with their headset on to save time. They have got it together and are the perfect helper.

Step Three: Develop a plan and put it into action!

      After a lifetime of memorizing the color combinations for all the songs in Guitar Hero it can be hard to deem that knowledge useless.  The key is to find something to focus all that ‘creative’ drive into, so find it.  Insane guitar hero skills aren’t anything to brag about, but insane electric guitar skills are. So, if one finds themselves digging guitar hero, pick up a real guitar! Likewise, there is more to life than reaching the top of the new expansion pack for World of Warcraft. There is more to life than camping out in line for the new release of Call of Duty and skipping school the next day to play it. Repeat these words: “There is more to life.” There are many, healthier things to replace these nasty gaming habits with that can be productive to any person.

Step Four: Recognize the relationships that have been destroyed and trampled on because of your addiction.

     Along the destructive path of video game addiction, many people have been hurt. Perhaps it was online friends, constantly beat on and laughed at in sheer mockery when constantly beaten at World of War craft. Perhaps it was a real life friend desperately trying to pull you away from the evil who was rudely rebuffed. Apologize to friends for always ditching them and explain to them the compelling power of addiction. Someone tell the guy working at Best Buy how sorry they are for yelling at him for a solid hour for selling the last copy of Guitar Hero without their consent. Start with the little things first.

Step Five: Avoid relapse!

     Going cold turkey is hard and creates an atmosphere where relapse is easy. This is the most difficult step to get past because video games are never sympathetic in their quest for total domination over your soul. They will pull and tug at their victims until they can’t help but come crawling back to the controller. Refrain at all costs.

Step Six: Help others achieve the freedom.

     A rehabilitated video game addict can see the light of day and face the wickedness of their dependence. However, there are other kids hunched in front of their computers, feverishly grasping their Xbox controller and walking around with a guitar from Guitar Hero (fully prepared to jam to the next awesome song with fellow addicts in case they run into a portable TV and Xbox) that need help! Lucky for them, there are people who have broken their own vices to help them.