How Has Gaming Helped Me With My Condition?

White Out, my book on my heroin addiction, was published in 2013. When I announced that Game life, my latest book, would be devoted to video games, many people thought that the theme of addiction would also be there. “It’s like writing about your addictions has become your new addiction,” a friend told me. I told him that video games were not addictive and that they had nothing in common with heroin. She laughed at me: “you’re hiding from yourself”.

It’s easy to understand my friend’s point of view. The media often questions us: are video games turning our children into zombies? We’re being bombarded with horrible stories of Koreans who died after spending too much time behind the screen, forgetting to eat — the question of whether video games influence killings in schools are also often asked and debated by experts. In the end, for most people, video games are synonymous with procrastination and stupidity. So it’s natural to think that someone who spent most of their childhood playing it is addicted to it.

It is legitimate to doubt. Unlike alcohol and tobacco, video games are not yet regulated by law. Anyone with 30 euros and a drinkable internet connection can download the latest Wolfenstein, which I recommend. We are reluctant to put in the same category of video game addicts, compulsive gamblers, and crack smokers. History shows that this doubt is justified. From Plato’s attack on poetry to the Anti Romans of the 18th century, Western civilization has tended to condemn art forms that turn their audiences into hopeless fanatics.

So the question remains. Are video games addictive? As an addict who has spent an average of 15 hours a week playing video games on my computer since I was ten, I’d like to offer my perspective.

The issue of the addictive potential of video games struck me for the first time in January 2002. I had just cured my heroin addiction and decided to keep my distance from anything that had addictive potential. Did that include video games? According to my therapist, my godfather of Narcotics Anonymous and my girlfriend, that was the case. With a sword of Damocles hanging over my head, I wondered if it was worth the risk. However, I knew from experience that weed and alcohol would make me relapse, and I didn’t want to risk another relapse.

I haven’t touched video games in three years. One day, I accidentally shot in the video games section of Fnac, and found myself in front of a wall made up entirely of Call of Duty boxes. A week later, I bought it. By the end of the month, I had resumed my childhood habit and my 15-hour weekly quota.

It was the best decision of my life.

Video games have improved and enriched my life, while drugs and alcohol have turned me into a zombie. They helped me overcome my addictions in such a way that I felt compelled to share my story with others.

First, we need to define addiction. This word is thrown through and through, so much so that it no longer means much. People talk about addiction to chocolate, muscle, and TV. If “addiction” was a substitute for “habit,” then we could use it for this kind of case, and we could even add video games to the list. After all, I’ve developed a habit of playing video games. I play as much as I read or discuss. But it takes something extra to make a practice an addiction. For some, it’s deprivation. If it means feeling bad when the habit is interrupted, then, yes, I’ve already felt that for video games. But I also experienced similar feelings after being deprived of physical exercise or after a long period without my girlfriend. Perhaps we should use the term “lack” when one is a victim of physical symptoms: cold sweat, insomnia, muscle aches, and other pains. But several addictive substances – like cocaine-do did not cause these kinds of symptoms.

Many in the medical community do not define addiction using terms such as “habit” and “deprivation.” Instead, it is defined as a substance that an individual absorbs or continues to engage in when the consequences are harmful. This definition separates only the wheat from the chaff. Your habit of eating chocolate has made you obese, caused you to have diabetes and caused you to lose your partner, and you continue to support him? Addiction. You sniff coke on the weekend, but your friends complain about your behavior, and you decide to calm down about your drinking? Not addictive.

With heroin, I had many negative consequences: relationship failures, repeated imprisonments. I even switched my TV for dope – but I couldn’t stop. In the end, as a lot of addicts say, every time I got high, I thought about the best way to stop. And as soon as I got back down, all I could think about was how to get my stuff.

On the other hand, with video games, I had no adverse consequences. I’ve arranged to arrange my playing time, so it doesn’t interfere with work, sports, and relationships. If I travel for two weeks, I don’t think about video games all the time. When I play, I have a good time. When I don’t play, I don’t think about playing.

So, at least in my case, video games failed the addiction test, although this one is, after all, superficial. It is a concise and effective way to determine any propensity for addiction, but it does not reveal anything about what makes the difference between a pathological and a benign habit. Comparing video games to drugs can tell us more about this difference.

Contrasting my addiction to drugs with my hobby, I concluded that heroin addiction was not a habit. Sure, when I was getting high, from the outside, it just seemed like I was maintaining a habit, but it wasn’t like that in my head.

If you had watched me through my years of high, you would have seen me get out of bed, get high, get dressed, go out, sleepy, borrow, steal, buy drugs, go home, get high, pass out, and start over the next day.

All these lessons could have been delivered differently. But the sense touches us more deeply when it is learned by habit. When the lesson mobilizes my viscera and nerves, I learn from no one but myself, through my experience.

I can testify that, while drug addicts float around in space like astronauts in a faulty suit, gamers sail in clear waters. Other doors open, boundaries and borders can be crossed, and life begins again and again.