Thursday, October 16, 2003

Addicted to gaming? 

I always thought the concept of being addicted to computer games, the internet, etc. was silly. I figured it was one of those things the freaky paranoid people who think computers are the root of all evil came up with. I was wrong.

I've been toying with the idea for some time that Steve may be addicted to computer gaming. I'm no longer toying with the idea, because it's verified fact now.

Negative impact on work? Check. It's awfully frequent he stays up entirely too late gaming, then has a rough time at work the next day. It's dangerous, because he's already on a final written warning for falling asleep at work.

Negative impact on relationships? God, yes. This is one of those things we argue over entirely too often. I wouldn't have cared about his gaming, if it was under control, but it never has been. He stopped gaming while I was at home, which was nice (considering our limited time together/opposing schedules), but as recently as three days ago we got into a big fight because he went to play games while I was upset and needed to talk.

More subtle, but just as destructive, is the fact that if he doesn't get his gaming fix, he gets incredibly irritable. It's likely all that fighting we did yesterday was because of the fact I had a day off and that meant he couldn't play on the computer. At one point, before I changed schedules, he said he didn't want me to because if I had the same days off as him, he'd get less time on the computer. Luckily, he changed his mind about that (before I took a sledgehammer to his computer).

Defensiveness? Yup. Even when he's gaming during times that I don't mind at all (anytime I'm at work and feeling okay, which is most every night), he gets defensive if I ask him if he's playing.

Guilt? I can't answer for sure, but it seems that way.

Inability to stop? At least five or six times he's stated he's going to stop gaming because of the negative effects on our relationship, etc. He stops for a few days, at most, then goes right back to it. Recently, he deleted all his games then reinstalled them less than 24 hours later.

It's a form of escapism for him, I think. Certainly, the more stress he's under, the more he does it... which I suppose wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact it creates even bigger problems. I recall one time when I was upset about something, lying on the bed crying, while he played a computer game. For two hours straight.

Yeah, I felt real important. Loved, too.

That was a few months ago, though. He knows better now, so instead he just *wants* to go play instead of attempt to comfort me. But since he can't do that without further upsetting me, he just gets really bitchy instead.

So I got a day off, unexpectedly... thought this would be a seven day week. I was looking forward to spending time with Steve, but instead we had a bunch of drama. Mainly because he was incredibly irritable... apparently because he'd have rather been playing on the computer. The drama (see here) was bad enough I was ready to move out of our bedroom and into the extra one, indefinitely.

When I found out today that the whole gaming fixation was probably the cause of it, I finally had as much as I could take. It's been hard for me, in the past, to favor Steve stopping. I feel like I'm depriving him of something, I guess. But it's become altogether too clear that his habit and a healthy relationship are mutually exclusive.

So, he's decided (again!) to stop... but this time I'm not going to be the enabler. In fact, he's promised to quit, and if he doesn't, I'm going to kick his ass. Figuratively, that is, I'd never have a chance of doing it literally. He's got a 7 inch/70 pound advantage.

Speaking of addictions, I've got a thing for fresh prickly pears. My God, those things are good... not to mention cheap, at 17 cents a pop. Yum. Where have these lovely green fruits been hiding all my life? I hear the red ones are even better...

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