Since I was a child I can remember playing video games. My favorite was Aladdin on the Sega Genesis. My father would rent the game and the system for my sister and I. The best time was when we would all sit down and get excited about our successes or failures.
Eventually we progressed to a Playstation 2. It was at this point my addictive properties started coming out. I would sit and play long after my sister had left the room. It never occurred to me that it was a bad thing. All I knew was I didn’t have much else to do!
Fast forward a few years with an Xbox 360, another awesome gift from my father. I loved that thing. I would play all night in the wee hours of the morning. More than that I also played a game called World of Warcraft. These games caught my attention for a minimum of 4 to 8 hours at a time. When I felt I didn’t have anything else on the agenda I wouldn’t spend time reading or improving myself. I would spend it watching a movie, while I played a game. Got bored of that, turned on another game and continued playing a movie.
I would get hungry so I ended up eating a lot of junk food while I would play. This system would go on for years. Even when I didn’t play my Xbox or World of Warcraft anymore I would still waste the hours away with movies or something else that would entertain and distract me.
I did have several periods of time when I was able to put the games down, but overall the games, movies, entertainment and binge eating got in the way of making real life progress.
I was working on real estate, but got distracted because I wanted to eat and watch something. 2 or more hours later I would finally be getting ready. Some days I would simply wake up and hop right onto my gaming systems.
Until I met my wife, Elyse, I didn’t realize how much time I was truly wasting. So I got rid of the Xbox and attempted to move forward. What I then discovered was a surrogate for my addiction, Youtube. I would sit there for hours watching thought leaders and believing that watching educational videos wasn’t wasting my time. In some ways it wasn’t, in others it was distracting me from getting the work done that I had planned for that evening.
It’s 2016 and I’ve done it again. I bought an Xbox 1S. This time I thought, “I can handle this. I have control now it’s all good!” I just wanted to play one game.
Not surprisingly I got so attached to the game I couldn’t sleep at night. I had to finish it. I was simply obsessed.
At first I was ok with the game system. Then it got worse. Much worse. I started playing for longer and longer periods. I couldn’t help myself.
2018 and I’m struggling. Elyse would go to bed, I would hop on my console. I’m hooked into one game yet again. I order food without her knowing, I junk out, I watch a movie, I play my game, I drink wine. It’s like I’m 23 again, except now I’m trying to live my life with someone else. I’m working on lifetime goals like eating healthy, staying on a budget, working hard and scheduling time together.
The game controller clicks away and so do the hours. 10pm never existed, 12 am was an afterthought, 2am is my oh shit moment, and 3am I force myself to get off before Elyse get’s up.
I hobble to the bathroom, legs stiff from sitting, stomach full of pizza. As I lay down I’m thinking about how ashamed I feel, and what the hell am I going to say about the work I wanted to get done?
February 4th. Elyse and I are sitting in a coffee shop doing our weekly financial meeting. She just found out what I’ve been doing with the food. She thought I had just been wasting time on my Xbox but didn’t realize I order food several times in a week. The disappointment in her eyes is palpable and it hits me in my heart center.
So here I am. Decision time. Do I continue down the path I’ve been on for so long? Or do I take a stand for myself and start saying NO.
I guess the natural first step would be a confession.
Go to the Quietly Relentless Facebook Page to view the Video.