At some point in our lives we will have developed an addiction, know/n someone with an addiction and have helped them overcome their addiction.
I have had a addiction and I could definitely say that I do still have an addiction.
Now my addiction is not smoking or drugs but video games. Video game addiction is a real thing and I have been fighting it since my late teens. Instead of doing my homework I would jump on the PC and play at least three hours of Age of Empires, then after dinner spend more time on Call of Duty or even more Age of Empires.
My addiction to games, particularly Age of Empires led to sessions where I played for nine to ten hours straight; without breaks. Playing from the early morning to the late evening.
My behaviour patterns changed alongside my mood and attitude. I found myself drawn to wards electronic entertainment as if I needed it. That if I did not get my fill for the day I could not function at peak capacity; that I would starve, not sleep. But the reality was that my gaming was leading me not to sleep, not to eat or drink; and when I did eat and did drink I would eat all that was bad for me.
Litres of soft drink and kilograms of potato chips, alongside massive amounts of chocolate. My brain was constantly active during sessions and when I did sleep and had a really deep sleep was due to absolute exhaustion. Unhealthy eating and living led to illnesses galore.
I started on the path to get better as my doctor informed me that without change I was looking at health problems before I reached twenty five. I would like to believe that I am better. I still play video games but no longer to the extent that I would waste entire weekends or holidays.
Quitting can be quite tough. Smoking is one of the most common addictions people can have and quitting is incredibly hard. The nicotine in cigarettes and other smoking implements are the addictive element. The damage done to your body is through the chemicals you inhale and your body absorbs from inhaling the smoke.
I won’t go into the exact details but when I was informed to change my lifestyle I was told that I could suffer diseases and ailments that smokers would later suffer thanks to their habit. I had lost loved ones to smoking and even having family who kicked the habit only after suffering the ill effects; effects to this day they pay for.
Quitting out right is almost impossible. Cold turkey does work but for most it will only lead relapse. I tried cold turkey to solve my addiction and it failed thanks to an afternoon with nothing to do. So instead I tried cutting down the amount of hours I played each fortnight, then each week, until finally each day.
Reading this it may sound easy but it was not. Each comma marks a space of several months; even a full year. It was incredibly difficult to do. Going through this I would like to help people overcome their addictions if and when I can. Sure video game addiction doesn’t sound as bad as smoking but they are both addictions and have great impacts on your life and the people around you.
Whenever I see a packet of cigarettes or someone smoking I just picture them in hospital asleep as dozens of machines beep, whizz and whirr as they try to keep them alive. That is an image I saw when I was younger and I have never forgotten that.
After that appointment with the doctor I to thought about that image, what it would be like for my family and loved ones if I let my addiction consume me.
Smoker or gamer doesn’t matter what matters is your life and health and living it to the full. You don’t have to take drastic measures and become overwhelmed. Just make small changes. Aim to not game for one day of the week. Then make it two and etc…
Same with smoking. two packets a day? Aim for one packet, then half… It takes multiple attempts to quit something you having been doing for such a long time and I understand how hard it is to change.
But the change is worth it and the only times I have looked back is to see just how far I have come; also to show others my progress. So they know that it is possible.
If there is one thing you should know is that fully quitting takes time and lots of it. But on those day when you feel like just smoking a packet or two or playing the day away; just know that you are not failing you are progressing and that there are people always willing to help you the whole way.