Friday, April 18, 2014


There is a great deal of addiction in my family's history. We've had members in all the clubs, from alcohol & drugs to soda & games. While I don't count all addiction the same--some are far more devastating--the fundamental impulse control issues are there. Right along with my Chiclet teeth and long fingers, I have impulse control issues. I thank my lucky stars I've never been tempted by certain vices, though I do attach myself to any number of others. And I've only found one cure. No matter how many self-discipline tips & tricks I attempt, once I've trodden far enough down a path, the only sure fire way for me to kick a habit is to eliminate it completely. Cold turkey. Moderation does not exist in my mental list of possibilities. Go figure.
About a month ago I was introduced to a new game. Curses. I was on vacation from my online job, a friend was in town to distract the kids, I had just finished an awesome book and wasn't ready to delve into another quite yet--the conditions were perfect. Then, I became very, very ill for 48 hours. Forced bed rest on top of it all? Hours upon hours of game time ensued.
I started to feel better, but didn't want to. Feeling better meant a return to the real world of responsibility and less game time. And I actually enjoy my real world of responsibility. If things ever got rough around here, I don't know that I could come back from that. Scary.
Why did I kick the habit? That blessed game forced me to share on Facebook or pay money to keep going. I either had to come out or pay to keep things quiet. I deleted the game. Notice how I don't even want to mention its name here. Likely part of my condition.
I lived a GameWhoShallNotBeMentioned-free life for a couple weeks. But I still felt the pull. And then we got some very stressful news. And then we had to scramble to figure a lot of logistics out. And then my online job's semester started with too many new changes to ease into seamlessly. And then. And then. I downloaded the game again.
I tried as I might to pretend that I had things under control. I went to the bathroom just a bit longer than usual to play. I'd sit at the laptop pretending to work, the handheld device right next to the keyboard and play. I'd stand in the kitchen in front of un-washed, un-chopped vegetables and play. Josh would catch me periodically and ask, "Whatcha doin'?" to which I'd respond by immediately putting down the game as if it didn't matter in the least--as if I had nothing to do otherwise so was just passing the time, and I'd smile ever-so-sweetly.
Then last night happened.
We spent a very long day at the library, re-organizing books into genre for a more patron-friendly experience. ('Tis a time-consuming endeavor to organize and sticker 3500 books, exciting as it is.) I was tired. I had earned some game time, right? Out in the open, no-shame, game time. When I finally looked up from all the flashing points and colorful wonder on the screen, I noticed something. My wrist was aching. It actually still hurts as I type, 20 hours later. I had played in a certain position so long that I'd done actual, legit, physical harm to myself. So I stopped.
But I didn't delete the game.
As soon as all was dark and I heard Josh's light snores next to me, I positioned the device just right and played and played and played. I awoke groggy this morning with the device next to my pillow. Had I turned it off? Did I pass out from exhaustion while I was playing? I actually can't remember.
I deleted the game.
Then immediately thought about downloading it again.
So here I am. Telling you about it.
You're my insurance policy.

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