There are tons of people like me. You may not know it but your son or daughter, your brother or your sister, your neighbor, your cousin – we are all somehow in the same boat, rowing on the same strange ocean, against the same tide. I was once a computer game addict. This is my confession.
Our Faded Glory
When God created the world, we are the peak of His creation. Made in His image and likeness and all – oh, the glory of what it is to be the best in all of creation. Adam was free to roam, free to command the animals, the birds, the fish of the sea. Master and commander… For a time.
Then sin entered our flesh.
Man’s glory has been lost ever since.
I find that somewhere in me, I still want to reach out and feel that glory that has been lost to man since the beginning of our history. Believe it or not, computer gaming is one strong way of achieving that ‘feeling’. Winning over competition, commanding your ‘character’ or ‘hero’ (a set of programming codes fashioned to move your character’s designated avatar) as we often call it. Leading your team to victory even if chances looked extremely slim.
These things are the most enticing aspects of computer gaming to a guy like me. A guy who is hungry for adventure. Hungry for success. Hungry for victories. Hungry for glory.
For me, computer games are sparks of light in a long, dark night.
That’s because reality and life as I know it, is boring, dull, unadventurous and ultimately a failure.
A Short Context
I’ve always been the ‘black sheep’ during grade school all the way until I graduated high school. I’ve been attached to playing computer games – since I was 8 years old. I’ve played in all sorts of computer games console. Family Computer, Super Nintendo, Sega, Gameboy, Playstation – you name it.
We’re a batch of around 50+ students. I had the same batchmates from kindergarten all the way til I graduated highschool. I was a fat kid (and I’m not exaggerating when I say so). I was also not too sharp with my social skills. People tell me I was tactless – and perhaps they’re right. I mean, if I was such a cute kid with all the charm to boot, my batchmates would probably have liked me a little.
But they didn’t.
And I didn’t know my social deficiencies.
So I became the butt of jokes and all sorts of bullying.
Up until today, it is not a memory I am proudly fond of.
Fast Forwarding to College
Oh college was different. Suddenly I was able to talk with girls and receive an answer of more than “yes” or “no”. Suddenly, I commanded respect. I had chances of being a leader in group projects. I had shots in presentations. I was a somebody.
Late in my first year of college, the ever-popular DOTA was introduced to me. After a horrible first game experience, I was on top of the world on the very next. That spark of light grew ever-brighter on that specific game.
I was in a sky-rocket on my DOTA career. I gained respect from my fellow players. Authority. Leadership. Fellowship. It was a very thrilling time.
Of course, there were things I had to give up – such as school. I skipped classes like jump rope. I failed around 28 units. And when I graduated, I had a cumulative grade point average of somewhere around 76/100.
One look at my grades and I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to land on any of my ideal list of ‘good companies I’d like to work for’.
The Chains that Bind
All through college as I played DOTA, it bound me. After playing a game, if I lose, I’d want to win so I’d play another. If I won, I would like to taste some more of that sweet victory, so I’d play some more. After 3, 4 or 5 games, I’d feel unproductive. I’d feel like I wasted my time. I’d feel idle.
“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God” – Ecclesiastes 2:24
I had no problem with eating and drinking – but finding satisfaction in my own toil? I seem to be missing that.
“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” – Ecclesiastes 11:6
Alas, I was being very idle – and the results of which is an empty feeling in my heart that I just had to fill up. What did I fill it with?
To give you some more background, I blogged about quick fixes in this article. To quote:
“Quick fixes are injections of emotional stimulations that will get you ‘feeling good’ for a temporal duration. Usually these come in the form of vices like: smoking, drugs, computer games, sexual affairs, pornography, masturbation, drinking, etcetera.
The point of a quick fix is to feel good as soon as possible – usually without regard for the consequences. The dangerous thing about being in the ‘quick fix level’ is that you are willing to settle for ANYTHING just to boost your emotional tank from empty.
This is when people would do stuff that they would not normally consider. This is when rationality, reasoning and logic is shrinked to the point that it is shrugged off.”
I drowned deeper and deeper into pornography and lust.
And you know, I’m not alone in this common struggle with computer games addiction + pornography. I found out that many computer games addict are like me.
After playing a game and spending much time with it, we look for quick fixes. And what’s the quickest fix when you’re in front of your computer and the internet is on?
It brought me to a spiritual downward spiral.
Until I hit rock-bottom.
Then God, in His all-amazing mercy, woke me up.
Here I am now, writing this confession. To all the computer game addicts, this is for you. To all the people who knows of a computer games addict, this is for you. I have a responsibility to share this to the world. This is no longer my story to keep – it is God’s. And now it is yours.
In all, it is not an exaggeration for me to say that in my life, computer gaming is the ‘source of all evil’.
Look into your heart. Perhaps you and I are not far apart in this.
I looked to God and kept myself busy with this blog (God and You), with business (SEO Hacker) and a lot of other things. I deleted all my computer games, starting from the one I am most addicted with.
Computer gaming is still always near me – and it is ever gnawing at the doors of my heart. I still miss those sparks of light – but I have a new source of light now. One that is ever-shining.
I hope and pray that you would find that light too.