Gamer Trying to Decide if an Addict long backstory of how and why
So I attended my first meeting last night, it was eye opening, frustrating, scary, exciting, enlightening, thought provoking, fear inducing... Needless to say as soon as the meeting ended I kissed my wife and ran to my office for a few hours of gaming to relieve my anxietey. Then this morning something happened. I had sent myself an email during the meeting saying I would no game today. Just for today no gaming. So I didnt count the midnight till 1am finish of my session as gaming. I started in the morning and said I will not game today. I made it almost two hours... then I was using the restroom popped on my phone and started playing something, about 5 mins later I was like of got **** it. So I reset the clock. So far I haven't gamed since but I am very thankful for the lorazapan toease my anxietey I am feeling, not just anxietey from not playing but anxietey from knowing that I can nolonger use that as my go to method of coping or escaping.
So a little background story about me, I started gaming when I was 5, Atari 2600 that was a gift for my older brother. My Family then moved to Wyoming, this is important because I am a severe asthmatic triggered by allegies, excersize, and cold air... so when grade school started I wore a little thermometer on my coat, If the temp was less the 60 F I was not allowed to go outside for recess. It was freaking Wyoming! It as always cold 8 months out of the year. So in came the library and the lonely, every reess I would head to the library to play on the apple IIe's Or the DOS286's Oregon Trail, Mathblasters, That programming game with the turtle? I started programming in basic etc etc This continued until about 4th or 5th grade and the NES, I loved playing games finishing games renting games so I could finish them 100's of titles completed lots of long weekends. Then came Tecom Bowl and seasons and stats. I would never play real football, I was 65 lbs when my freshman year started and here was a way for me to statistically track how good I was at a game, I still have stats and highights saved in my head about that game. All this time I was doing well in school (A's and B's) I was also almost always bored at school. Then came Snes and Genesis and NHL'95 more stats bigger games more to do. It wasnt until I went to College in 97 that I really can say I was addicted to gaming. In '98 Half Life came out, First Person Perspective, tons of options and incredible multiplayer, and I got good. Really Really good plus I was on a High Speed College Network when most people played on Modems. Then I started attending LAN parties and realized I was just good I was heads and tails better then these people. At one point I was ranked the number 1 Half Life DM player in the world ( I was and am proud of that, looking back what does it matter really?) I was in shcool for computer science, I thought why not learn to make games, I studied games, I studied why people game, I studied algorythyms and metrics, probablities, all of it made me more interested in games and in gamers. I learned That games where a closed system then the Matrix came out and I was like OMG yes (The game has a set of rules that govern the game) a highly gifted gamer knows how to leverage everything about the game engine to there advantage, from manipulating frame rates to creating custom configuration files for controls, as long as I was only using the tools available to me in the game then I was not cheating and I was proving that knowing a systems means understanding how to win inside that system. Fast forward two years, I was doing web develpoment for the College I was attending and got offered a job at 1000$ a week working from home 4 days a week doing back end SQL and ASP Development. How could I at 23 Turn down more money then my parents made. The other great catch was my Boss was a notmal Daylight person and I wasn't so together we worked on projects almost 24 hours a day. I would sleep till two or three, Call in to get the list of objectives for the evening on the Job and then I would start on the work and make some decisions on how difficult it actually was going to be to meet the goals generally a couple hours would handle it once or twice a month she would challenge me and I would work real hard for a couple days to solve it. Other then that I gamed I went to LAN Parties, I became some sort of Nerd celebrity in Florida at LAN parties, I know all the promotors of the parties, the heads of the big clans, the guys who supplied the BAWLS energy drinks. It wasn't long and I never paid to attend LANs anymore. Promotors wanted me there because people wanted to play against me at LAN speeds and or watch me play to try and prove I cheated cuz no one was that good. All of these things going on and I still wouldn't have said I was addicted but then.....
EVERQUEST, an Unwinable MMO that was constantly changing and growing and required you to work with people, Death had stringent conseqences. And the best players had access to the most content and the coolest most prowerful gear. My First stint with EQ was very short. I was a FPS player speed and accuracy and doing it myself didnt work in EQ. about a year later some new friends asked me to start playing with them 6 years later and 1000 something days played (I ran two accounts on Seperate computers) Playing one Char on each and what did I have for it. A lot of funny memories of insaine things I had done from camping a rare spawn for 27 hours. He spawned every 17 mins and was either a placeholder or the guy I wanted. 12 Hours into the camp I had set up a timer. I would kill the spawn set the timer for 16:30 lay down and sleep until the alarm dinged and I would repeat it. For 27 hours straight! WTF who does that. But during the camp I was always talking to my frinds when I wasnt napping I actually had some friends bring by dinner the second evening and hang out for a bit. They also brought there laptops and played while we all ate.
Fast Forward a couple more years and it was WOW, at this point I had a great stable Job at the College I dropped out of as a Computer Technician. I fixed laptops and desktops during the day and read WoW forumns and blogs and Theory in between working on them. I Worked 10-6 so at night I would go home throw a frozen pizza in the oven and log into WoW I would do my daily ritual stuff and I would get ready to Raid, I was a Guild Officer Co Raidleader and Main Tank for my guild. They relied on me, everyone in the guild relied on me to know the fights to tank the fights to help them understand the fights and honestly I loved it. At some point I brought up a couple of other guys that could tank teaching them the mechanics and showing them what and how, then I would play other peoples classes and I would learn there class and how to min/max the class effectivly. I knew how much DPS everyone should be capable of based on Gear and Class.
And then it happened I met a Girl IRL and the friends I played WoW with that had lived locally moved away. And I stopped. And I fell in love and without my friends close by it made the whole MMO thing feels very distant. Then a bu nch of failed relationships and new content led me back to WoW, there where new rules to learn new classes to master new things to do. A year later I realized I knew more about video games then anything else in my life and I wanted to change that. So I quit again, started focusing on my Job as a career instead of a Job, I got promoted, got promoted again, sounds up being the Sr Network Engineer, I designed the college Network Infastructure, Routing Switching, Wireless, VoIP, security, Firewalls. It was a new game in much the same way as a video game the network had rules and I could control it and manipulate it and grow it adapt it. While I was getting promoted and not gaming I was also working out, I had a new Pulmonologist who told me I could run and after hearing otherwise my entire life I was excited so I worked out. I trained for and finished and Xterra (off Road Triathalon) I was training 2 and half hours a day, working 8, cooking another 2 or so and add in travel mostly I slept other then those things. But I had gotten married in that time. She was happy I was getting fit and being healthy but in the end I just got addicted to fitness instead of gaming. Then I got sick, had my Gall Bladder removed and went back to gaming as a means of reconnecting with my brothers Nightly sessions of Call of Duty with my brothers and our friends.
All of this leads me to the past 2 years, I left my Job at the college, I was angry, stressed and got paid sh**, and realized it was time to do something else. I was also gaming pretty regularly as a means of escaping dealing with a failing marriage a PTSD and Depressed wife after our first child and I made the mistake of quiting in August before having a new job lined up. We lived with her parents for 6 months while I tried to find a Job. Finally got the Job I feel I deserve, it is difficult and complicated. I am a System Sales Engineer for a Network Security Company. I don't have to do any of the salesy stuff the cold calling the setting up meetings etc. All I have to do is show up give killer demos and run POCs on customer sites. I love the product and totally believe its the best in class so it is easy for me to walk into a customer and show them why I think that. I have 19 years of exoerience in IT, Networking and Security so I am seen as the Subject matter expert and I get to help buisness solve major security problems. It really is a cool job. The problem is I work from home. I have a lab enviroment in my office in the back room of the garage. I get scheaduled for Demos, I travel 3-4 times a month to Install POCs at Customers locations. It really is the most amazing Job I have ever had but gaming has reared its ugly head again. First in the form of F2p games on my phone then on my computer. Then MOBA's which might be the most addictive game type ever 10 people 5 per team Tons of playable Chars each with ther own specific playstyles and Rules, evolving maps PVE objectives as well as PVP fights all culminating in a main objective for the round win. 15-45 mins to level up a toon play this match learn more about the rules of the enviroment matchmaking that pits you against and with people of generally similar skill. And then after the game there is more out of game progression. Unlock Chars unlock special visuals basically a near infinite array of things to grind for, oh and evey 3-4 weeks they release a new Hero, and sometimes these new Heros turn the rules of the game on its head. So now I can have a game with Great Stats tons of Rules to learn a newish experience every game and games dont last all that long before I can try again or I can try something new. I have been playing at home instead of working. I play during the day. When I goon buisness trips as soon as I am in the Hotel I play non stop until I pass out or need to be at a customer meeting. At home I cover the events on my scheadule, the meetings the demos the group calls, but I dont do anything else above and beyond that. I play, or I read about playing, or I watch other people play or I do all three. at 5 I go out and help with the kids whom my wife has taken care of all day. Dinner Games Baths, Bedtime stories Tuck ins, Then its dishes and cleaning and waiting for the wife to go to bed so I can go play some more. Some nights its an hour, some nights its 4-5 depends on how bad my insomnia is kicking.
Other then what I am rapidly learning as far as my gaming addiction being a symtom of my many other problems, I am Currently Treated and Medicated for Asthma, ADHD, High Blood Pressure, General Anxietey Disorder, Panic Attacks, Purely Obsessive OCD, Depression and for the past couple months Kidneys Stones.
I also have unresolved grief about loss and abondonment and believe it is safer to be alone, the problem with that Idea and Beliefe is my wife I love her I do not want to be without her. When I met her part of what she loved about me was my care free attitude, the problem is when you really don't care its super easy to have a good attitude. Once we got married I came to the startling conclusion I now have something to loose. Add in my Two amzing children and the stakes get even higher. I know I have enjoyed many aspects of gaming, I know I have gone overbored with gaming many times, I know my wife wants me to stop gaming entirely. I know I have a problem. So I guess here I am for better for worse to start trying to make better decisions and gain freedome from an overused method of coping with a problem.
Epicly long Post Sorry