Introduction / Background

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Nathan_Sylvester
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Introduction / Background

  

 

 

     Hello everyone. I am a former excessive media addict that was addicted to a cooperative online Role playing, Strategy, Tower Defense game. The game was called Dungeon Defenders which came out in late 2011. I bought the game with saved up Christmas and Birthday money I had when I was eighteen years old one month in a half after its initial release on PC. My brother introduced me previously to Steam which is the largest digital distribution and social service for PC gamers today and def. expect in the future for it to grow way more too. I have much experience in the Entertainment realm and PC gaming community.  Many years as I was trying to go through my own recovery process I analyzed society, deduced through youtube and google searches on the sadness that video game addiction brings. Dungeon Defenders by nature is a game that I have recently found this year that is made addictive through its elements, balance of simplicity , cooperative play for others to work towards goals as a team and finally the grind along with the normal main factor in addictive games being how long it take to level up your characters and get good in the game.

     In fact the main community manager of the game contacted me this summer to attend community meetings for their brand new game, a sequel to the first which I did buy as an impulse buy after my time with the first game. I rejected his offer because I knew this developer was just trying to get me hooked once again in the repetitive cycle that never ends. My other former mates also were contacted with the same message. All was good in DD1 the first time I launched it. Three hours passed by just having fun with randoms online in the game. Though I instantly fell in love with the maps, world and the simplicity of the game. Long story short, the second day I spent five to six hours in this game. During this same time I was in college my first year with a major I wasn't feeling at all in Biochemistry with a concentration in Bioinformatics. I knew if I put my mind to this that I could of done it since my overall GPA out of college was a 3.98 overall average just short of a perfect 4.0.

     All it took was three months for me to be stone cold addicted since I never chose to hang out with any friends my whole first year of college. I was depressed because after being so good with Genetics and Biology in High School I no longer felt in my spirt to pursue it. I was depressed because I knew my paren'ts would not understand why I would want to change my major. I thought what could I possibly change my major to. Come my second year in college after I took an English Composition II class I found my purpose. I did my research paper on Work-Family balance. I read an whole e-book in its entirety that was on social economics. I found in this book that there was a field called Sociology. Always being a Christian by birth I prayed to the Lord at this crucial moment to know if this was going to be my true path. I went in without even knowing if this major would help me. I told God that I had to do this for him and others in this world to be able to understand how people operate and be able to see the rich meaning of life in all of this. In my past my reality was skewed . The media, government and even people I have known never told me that the world I knew was just a lie and not even real-life. All I knew of my first year of college was video games , materialism and realms that just did not make much sense.

 

     What did It cost me?

1. It cost me the price of my family, the price of my religion, the price of losing temporarily my relationship with Jesus Christ.

2. It cost me to not have freedom and be a slave towards materialism and sensuality

3. It cost me to be a fake Christian in this world that hates the Church because they rely more on the word then a subjective worldview that I had.

4. It cost me my heart which faded out and became the heart of materialism

 

1000+ PC screenshots later, 2500 active gameplay hours non-afk in-game , four years off an on , six times trying to quit the game for good and leaving 300 online friends I met in this game that I considered true real-life friends.

 

A rundown of just how obsessed I was:

 Every night before I would sleep I would still feel euphoria and it felt so good. The next morning I would wake up and have to go to college which I never really looked forward to much anymore when I was depressed and believed Christ could not do anything with my education or my career path in my future.

It got so bad I would bring my laptop to the library between breaks to go on the official forum and log-on to steam to arrange and talk about the game with my other fellow friends online. I even joined two of the longest running groups in the game where all of them just talked about the game. I met so many other addicts like myself that became regulars, meaning they would go on each day and farm items anywhere from 5-12 hours a day. If you do not know what farming is , it is the repetitive process in any game by which a single player or group of people play the same maps for better stats and better item drops.  I began to think is it just me one out of few that has became obssessed and addicted to this game.

 

Well the facts prove different through my observations.  I saw many people with 100+ hours in the game early on, some people when I first played the game admitted to not sleeping for three staight days because they were playing too many survivals in the game. Many of the regulars got passed 600 hours easily overtime and then I knew it wasn't just me that felt compelled to this game. Many regulars including myself with 150+ hours easily raked up of non away from computer game time over a two week time span. This happen so much for me that even back to back summers I spent 9.7 hours on average over a 90 day span for two to three full summers. 880 hours at least over a three month span. You can only imagine how much I loved farming , though I didn't love it anymore and I soon realized I was abusing my own heart for the price of the game's incenitives and rewards.

I went further then most people. Later on I had an item dealer, yeah almost like a real-life drug dealer supplying me with my addiction. I was an item hoarder, a stat junkie and went on a quest to get the best stats possible and wanted to know the in and outs of the game so much where I would be a professional and rarely have any damage per second characters wave after wave in which they barely ever died on the hardest difficulty in hardcore mode. This item dealer of mine wound up the time I left my addiction fully having three or four different accounts. His main account had 6k hours. Most of the time he was so rich in the game he would just be away from his computer while he was sleeping and then when he was at work he made other people run one map in particular for rewards  while in return he gave them including myself very high tier end-gear. He was my supplier and I will not lie, it felt so good to run hours and hours on one map I mastered that only takes 3 minutes per run on average if you were as quick as I was and most pro runners.

 

     I ran him and alot of other rich players overtime in the community 900+ runs. I ran for anything ranging from the greatest pets in the game which were diamonds for the moment speed. Most of the time I ran for double caps, capping armor of one of the greatest tiers in the game. I ran for multiple tiers etc... Yes most of the screenshots I took were from build setups, my gear I farmed myself and those I got through trades from the forum and trusted regulars who played the game even some more than myself at times.

 

     Him and me had such a great trading relationship he would even give me discounts equivalent to a little off of the going price sometimes of what items in the game were valued at. He would be able to get me anything I needed as long as we agreed on runs ahead of time and on the price of the payment. Worst of all when I ran him , I also still farmed that same map  on my own again and again and again to get the best gear I could.  My longest running session was 16 hours straight with only meal breaks and ocassionally restroom breaks. When I did that and devoted at least 150+ hours running the community at large for 880 total runs during that time I made so much profit in the game that I had higher stats within two weeks time then some people have throughout the whole game who don't play it regulary or just for stats. I had to end the addiction soon I realized because I didn't sleep for a whole sixty four hours straight because some of the runners I ran were only available through the a.m. hours my time since they were from other countries.

    Worse of all the richer side of the community offered me items for only half the normal going rate in runs. So, that is why I spent those 150+ hours doing that. Then I went against the rules of this game and sold all my legit items that all had been item checked for the ones I did not farm myself by my supplier which was also an item checker with a spreadsheet in the game and gave all of it to a online friend of mine to help give him a jump start in the game. This was when my friend I gave my best gear and wealth to had a little over a thousand hours in the game August 2014. He agreed upon it where he exchanged three games,  two out of three brand new releases and an xbox original all for PC in exchange for my account wealth I amassed.

     During 2014 I knew I had a extreme problem and made a commitment last summer to eventually leave the game and help out people more the way I felt my inner spirit wanting me to. I told Christ himself to help me meet two girls. One from someone I knew back at home that had problems in which I could privately counsel and help here through things throughout my free time and then another girl to be really good friends with maybe even best friends with to help get my mind off this game. Only a week or two later my prayer got answered and I received a female with all the qualities I wanted to have in someone to just talk to.

     This girl long story short was interesting. She would follow me around the whole first week of classes and the first day after college classes that semester wanting to eat lunch with me. We ate lunch on a bench. However then she wanted eventually later on through our friendship to go to the Library to take care of something, the bagel place at least four times and asked me very personal questions about who I am as a person. Long story short I was able to share my pains with her and she would always be there for me as I would progress in my life and past my materialistic realm and addiction to this game and materialism. It is only when I found out that below her bubbly and happy demeanor lied another female different then the one I orignally met. When I found out that she was a whole different person she changed when I seemed to have abandoned my subjective worldview trying to be there for her all I could. I shared my whole life's story with her , my faith and Christ subjectively at the time. She always acted like she supported me in and out and liked it when I did nice things for her to help encourage her and lead her back to Christ. However, then later when we got in a fight and  through text I found out she never wanted this friendship to begin with and denied that we had this what seemed like a best friendship for a whole year. She denied that we were ever friends to begin with. So she left me and so did this second girl . The second girl had problems with being a Christian but living in the party, club and drink life. She never told me but Christ gave me many indications where I needed to help her and try to get her out of that.

     The second girl I understood so much because I went some places where she did myself and I could see pieces of my past in her. I used to embrace idealism , carry the Christian label and rely on Sociology and Philosophy to be my new set of values , law I live by day and day and my passion and purpose for life. Looking over her Facebook since I never removed her off of there I realized just how idealistic this girl justified sins. Needless to say she loved her friends even though she told me that she was a people pleaser, that her friends shot her down saying she would never be good enough for any guy and throughout me talking to her in private through text I really found her deep spirit and Christian self within her. However, externally lies a different college girl, one that gives too easily into her friends and temptation where her fleshly heart wants her to believe these friends she hangs with are good for her while I know for a fact that they are hurting her spirit of Christ inside of her. There was not much more after that I could do when people have their minds set up and made.

 

     Alright we are almost done with my long story. I think it is crucial to know my background with these two women in college is because both of them and four good Christian college friends of mine that were more like-minded and actually in the word lead  me to discover that my true purpose and love in life is helping people through counseling them. I like to hear about people's progress from pain and idealism they have suffered in life. I want to be there for as many people I feel Christ leading me to lead as I can. Thus, I quit Sociology in College come October 2014, then got a job at FedEx Ground for three months and ended that right before summer. I took two weeks time away to finally decide that I am going back to get a college education. Starting this August 2015 I am taking all classes online for a Bachelor's in Religion with a concentration in Christian Counseling. Wish me luck on what will be an easier road but a very long journey.

     Lastly, I have learned so much from being a primary sinner through materialistic realms Christ placed me I truley believe to have more understanding for people I will be helping and counseling in the present and future. I just want to say though I don't know many of you I will treat you all with love like Christ has told me to do even with people that are fully secular. My job as a Christian that was rescued from being addicted to so much materialism for nearly half a decade is to help protect others from the pain I had to go through. I currently am working on my fist e-book which I hope to eventually self-publish to Amazon Kindle. So far I have shared the main concepts and themes with my close real-life Christian friends and I might share it on this website to as as a preview of what to expect in my book though I cannot decide yet. I am sorry I did not have enough time to state my steps I took as my own recovery program and that of Christ's to get through my PC gaming addiction, where my materialistic realm first started. I gaurentee you that and the rest of what I have to say will all be in my book.

Nathan Sylvester

wazzapp
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Thanks for sharing your story

Thanks for sharing your story Nathan!

Never alone, go to meetings <3 Mumble voice meetings on cgaa are great, see you there <3

 

maxreina
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Dear Nathan,

Dear Nathan,

With that good GPA back in college, I believe it would be best if you go and pursue your dream of having a successful career in Biochemistry or Bioinformatics. I am not saying that your current path is wrong or anything, thou. It is such a pity that gaming led us to a different route. Your parents must have been wondering about the so many different choices you made.

Did you talk to your family and friends whenever you want to make a change in your life? Did they give you any valuable advice? What were their suggestions? How did this influence your decision and in what way?

I also have a story to tell. If you have time, feel free to drop by and comment.

With best wishes,

Maxi

13 years since first started gaming (2002 - 2015)
Reborn on July 29th, 2015.

Nathan_Sylvester
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RE Maxreina:

     The GPA I mentioned was actually my high school gpa. I accidently put out of college in which I meant to put straight out of high school. My GPA in college suffered not neccessarily just from my obsession to one pc game. Somehow I just lost all my motivation, I never was happy with myself in college and when I was satisfied here and there which did happen often it was for the wrong reasons dealing with idealistic goals. Never at first did I approach my friends , even those real-life friends  I was closest to at the time. I did however call up my mom to tell her what I was thinking and also my brother knew my plans I wanted because he was my roomate all throughout college. My mother kept pushing me and pushing me to stay in the major I was in until the semester ended. I did , and then entered into Sociology. Many times I wanted to give up on both myself and the idealistic ways in this major. However I never did and kept pushing myself and pushing myself till one day I hit rock bottom.

     Since I have always believed in the power of prayer since I was very young, I pray to Christ. I knew he would only give me two options. The first option was I could continue to suffer through this major , see it through and then deny my own Christianity so the idealistic and materialistic nature half of which my heart wanted at the time would live on or I could fully leave materialism at its core and the ways of subjective idealism to restore my faith in Christ and keep many of my Christian friends I had made since high school. That is not to say that I would not become friends with someone who is a non-Christian. Sometimes it is good to expand your influence to other people outside your own cliche's. There were five close friends in college in particular that were always a part of myself. Everytime I would communicate, fellowship, talk and hang with them around campus I would see a huge reflection of myself in them. When I hit rock bottom though I started to notice truley how far away I was even from my friend's beliefs in the Bible.

     I was a Christian that disliked others who were more in the word while myself at the time had an idealistic nature so strong where I would subjectively only talk about Christ. This led me to discover that some people only like you and respect you for your morality though sometimes if objectivity within a religion is being discussed certain people turn away and want nothing to do with you anymore. My parent's suggestions were like I previously said , basically they wanted me to get my Sociology degree. However one day my mom just knew upon calling her the morning I had a paper due in my first Social theory class, that somehow this major was no longer for me. I woke up that day and looked at all my posessions on the shelf. During this time I actually collected Christian music for a hobby to take away much of the second half of my pains dealing with the full force idealism in Sociology I was head on experiencing. I asked myself a simple but simultaneously one of the hardest questions someone can ask in life. I asked when I die what will people remember me for. I have gotten so many physical media posessions in my life at my young age yet at the end of the day it means nothing. All it served as a purpose was to fufill my heart with positiveness since during this time my heart was at its weakest state.

      Lastly, your last question is answered best by saying that Christ influenced my whole decision to leave Sociology. He wanted this to be a trial, temporary period in my life to be able to further progress. However I learned quickly that Christ would not let me at all operate in people's lives for the work I do for pay in the future and outside of there to help people without more faith based solutions. Thus, this fall majoring in Religion with a concentration in Christian counseling is where I have been brought simply by a miracle to do what my heart finally loves. Overall these past eight months I actually felt happiness for the first time I had felt since my seventeenth birthday and there is no way I am going back to how things used to be ever again.

Nathan Sylvester

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Components of an addiction

Hi Nathan thank you for sharing.

You describe in depth many aspects of what caused and maintained your addiction. The sense on having true relationships while playing, strong reward in the game that encourage your gaming habit and behavior, strong investment of time and money that would feel like a loss if you quit.

Knowing all this i understand that you dive deeply in an activity when you are passionate about it. And when your are passionate as we are, moderation may not be an option for a good recovery.

Food for thought. I am no expert on the matter, but just another recovering gamer.

much love

Facing what consumes you, is the only way to be free. -Hatebreed

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If we could be as passionate

If we could be as passionate and focus on subjects other than gaming, we would be a lot more succesful in life. Gaming is going to bring us nowhere, just far from reality, ... It's not a life.

Good luck with your recovery Nathan.

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