It’s a little weird when you’re trying to walk away from an all-encompassing video game addiction and live more in the real world. When I first started playing World of Warcraft in the late part of 2014, I didn’t know I’d be spending a year obsessed with raiding and levelling, dealing with drama as I had to switch guilds a few times, and all the stress of a part-time job minus the pay. It’s true that I was enjoying myself, but at the expense of my happiness and that of those around me, namely my family.
With the political atmosphere heating up, I decided in March to give up playing World of Warcraft. I didn’t switch over fully from obsession with a video game to obsession with politics, even though /r/The_Donald on Reddit can be nearly as addictive. It’s been tough living in the real world. But it’s been rewarding. When you’ve lived with an obsession for so long, it takes some ‘detox’. Suddenly real life becomes stressful and difficult to deal with, especially for someone with an anxiety disorder. I was suddenly without a place to hide myself from the stress of real life. I’m still staying connected to politics, but I realized this weekend that it was to a degree that wasn’t very healthy, so I’ve backed off a little.
The main thing that this has helped is with my family. I’m spending more time with my kids, playing board games and video games with them, and I think that is definitely helping our relationship. I’m getting more sleep, too, when I’m not staying up late watching Hannity, debates, press conferences, or rallies. What can I say? Trump is good entertainment.
Something still feels like it’s missing, though, when I get moments where there is suddenly nothing to do. If I’m not occupied with something at the moment, I tend to freak out a little, or feel exposed. I always feel like I need to be doing something, which obviously isn’t true, but sometimes something you know in your head takes a bit of time to take root in your deep emotions. A new equilibrium has to be found, the well-being you once had by retreating into a fantasy world has to be regained in the real world, and it takes time.
God wants us well, spiritually, mentally, and physically, part of the all-encompassing state of well-being encompassed by the Hebrew word ‘shalom’. It’s easy to be at peace when all you’re dealing with are fantasy problems. It’s not quite as easy when real-life problems manifest themselves and suddenly you don’t feel like you have that escape. You’re forced to rely more upon God moment-by-moment while you find that inner balance again.
I still want to play World of Warcraft every day, but then I remember that if I spend one hour playing WoW, it’s easier to spend two, then four, then the entire weekend is gone, or it’s 11PM and you have to get up at 6AM the next day. There’s nothing inherently wrong or sinful about video games, but there is a healthy balance, and I think some games tend to encourage an unhealthy balance. At least they did for me. So it’s taking a bit of time to recover from that.
I just want to be OK, so I can be healthy for my family, so I can lead them on to the new things, the good plans God has for us. I want to have a balanced, healthy, peaceful mind, not one that has to be busy and distracted all the time. It takes a bit of work, but it’s better than constantly retreating and being out of touch with the world around you and the people around you.