Addiction is a habitual repetition of behavior that one is not able or willing to terminate however harmful its consequences might be. Individuals may be addicted to drugs, gambling or many other behaviors. Trying to help them out of these obsessions is almost impossible for most of the addicts. It's like pushing a huge mountain from its original position.
I am not addicted to drugs or gambling but on video games. These are electronic games that are usually online. These games were introduced to me by my elder brother and my cousin at the age of ten years. It was something that nobody of my age could resist. I found it more essential in my life than anything else, furthermore my parents didn't complain at first. Within a short duration of time, they became part and parcel of me and nobody could deter me from playing. Whenever my father's computer was engaged, I could go out to search for some where to play my favorites games. Possibly to my cousins' place or even to a cyber café. This meant stealing some cash from my parents.
After playing for three months, the craving for more games was enormous such that I could barely do any domestic chores after school. My mother was annoyed by this move to the point of beating me up. She could not, however, move my obsession an inch. Conflict started in our home as my mum confronted my brother for introducing me into something that I could not control. This also did not stop me from playing my favorite video games.
After unfruitful attempt to stop me through coercion, she turned to another method which she thought could convince me the danger of such addiction. It was counseling. She could talk to me for hours on the negative effects of addiction to video games. I recall some of the effect she used to tell me about. Some of those effects included social isolation. She used to tell me that such non-sense, as she referred them, could make me antisocial since I was mostly interacting online. I could not understand her arguments at all because all that was of benefit to me was playing the game. She also mentioned that it was a waste of precious time and money. In addition, she reminded me that I will grow up and have my own family which, if I continue with playing video games, might neglect. She went further to tell me that my obsession will be like a disease with no cure.
All these did not make sense to me. Instead, I could counter attack her by giving some of the benefits of playing those games as they were taught to me by my brother and cousin. Vividly, I remember telling her that such games help people who are ill or are injured not to feel pain since they enable such people to concentrate on the game and not their body. They can help one to gain social skills as they involve interacting with other people on the internet. I could also argue that it was within my knowledge that playing video games actually help an individual to coordinate various part of the body like eyes and hands. Another reason I used to support my behavior is that playing games will improve my ability to make decision, make me a team player, and enhance my creativity. I also tried to convince her that I was on the right tract because some of the games would help me improve on mathematics which needs speed and accuracy. This was a key component in some games.
Other benefits that I used to defend myself are that, the games could help me gain self confidence on matters related to life and train me on how to solve problems. My mum could not believe that all this could come from my mind. She was terribly stressed and for a week, she never ate anything. She also hardly talked to anyone. I was touched, but I was so much convinced that I was doing the right thing. Out of pity, I promised her that I will never play those games again. She was so happy and life went back to normal in our house. I was determined to keep my promise, but the craving was striking hard on me. Sometimes I spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how to solve my dilemma. I didn't want to hurt my mum anymore, yet I felt that I missed my favorite games. There were two opposing forced trying to convince me. One force to obey my mother and the other to obey my quest for games.
I decided to obey my mother for a while until when I join a boarding secondary school which was forth coming. Nobody could have been happier than her in the whole universe. She even bought a mountain bike for me. I pretended to be happy, but deep inside my heart I could feel that I really lost. The bike could not replace the satisfaction I used to get from playing games. At this moment, my brother and cousin have already completed their university education and secured jobs in reputable company. My cousin was also married with a kid.
The happiness at home was short-lived. My brother this time was the cause. He was also addicted to the video games and could spend a better part of the day playing them. One day, he was caught by his boss on the act. A warning did not change his perception towards the games. He even went a head and resigned the job so that he can have enough time to play his favorite games. My mother was mad again. She tried counseling him, but she could not succeed because convincing him to stop playing was like cutting of one of his body parts. It was part of him and he was not ready to part with it. He was so determined such that nobody could convince him otherwise.
His craving was so strong than was mine. He used most of his time playing. Sometimes he could use the whole day. Since he was not earning any more, he would steal mothers' money to survive. Worse still, he could sell any family property he comes across only to serve his obsession. This created a lot of problems in our family. I recall one day when mum and dad had a fight. My father was blaming her for poor upbringing since most of the time he was not home with us. It is at this time I realized that such addiction could bring many problems. It was so sad for all of us in the family. My brother promised, after a long counseling session by our pastor, to stop playing those games. He however, made it clear that he will be playing them after work. After one month, he secured another job. This brings peace in our family. He was able to keep his promise and even married and started a new descent life.
My cousin was not the exception. He was not able to control his obsession. He spent a huge percentage of his salary on internet and specifically playing video games. It is not once or twice that her wife have walked out on him on account of lack of financial support and neglecting them. He often spends the whole night playing video games. Some times he would find himself on the receiving end at the work place due to late arrival.
These sad moments gave mum an opportunity to remind me and my brother on the danger that one may put himself into by playing video games. She would even give some examples of dangers that have begotten other children in our society. She once told us of a boy who lost his sight because of playing such games on the computer. This, according to her was caused by the glare of light from the monitor. I pitied the poor boy, buy this would not make me break a promise that I once made to myself that when I join a boarding high school, I will continue playing my favorite video games. However, I vowed to spend the minimum time on them as possible.
The long awaited moment finally came. I passed my primary certificate examination so well and was admitted to a good school. I prayed so much that once in the school, I would be able to access the internet. Fortunate enough, there was free internet in the school library. I was so excited, but after looking around, I saw a poster warning the students on playing games. The computers were meant only for academic purposes. It almost made me faint, but I consoled myself that rules are made by men are there to be broken.
Immediately after orientation, I dashed to the library to play video games. I played for along period of time without any interference. I made it a habit and would sneak during break time. This brought back the obsession with full force. Some times I would miss classes. Consequently, I would be punished severely. It was one such day when I skip classes to play video games that I was caught by the librarian. She reported me to the principal who sent me home to call my parent. Upon breaking the bad news to my mum, she almost collapsed because she thought that my obsession with the video games was long gone. She was wrong because the craving for playing games was so strong to the extent of trading it with my education.
Our pastor was invited to our home to guide me. He counseled me for almost five hours telling me that these games would ruin my future. Although I could not figure out how mere game would ruin my future. I again promised to stop playing them and was taken back to school. After a long session with the principal and my mother, I was referred to the department of guidance and counseling. The counselor was a friendly man who gave me a long lecture on the negative effects of the games I was obsessed with. I was informed that so many other people in the school were victims of video games addiction. Some were still recovering, but those who disobeyed have been expelled from school. He then told me to be attending more sessions during break time and any other free time. For the fist time, I started seeing the negative side of the addiction. I pitied myself so much for the danger that was on my life. I decided to change my attitude toward video games and focus my energy to my education. Fulfilling this was not an easy task because there was that part of my mind trying to convince me to continue with the games. It was something which was deeply positioned in my mind.
At first, I thought that it was the best experience that ever happened in my life. Little did I know that by refusing to listen to my counselors, I was molding something which will be very difficult to remove from my mind? I continued fighting through attending more counseling sessions and spending my free time socializing with other students. Sometimes I would dream about video games. This made me feel bad because it reminded me of the games. I prayed God to remove those memories in me because I knew he was the only one who can reclaim my life from such addiction. Through that faith I was able to complete my education without temptations to go back to video games. In fact, I managed to secure a place in a public university. This gave me more strength to restrain myself from falling back into temptation.
When I joined university, I was attempted to tart playing again. With free internet in the library and with my own computer, I was sometimes attempted to play video games. It was so difficult to control myself bearing in mind that no body supervise what you do at this level of life. Besides, I met other people who were also addicted to video games. Most of them would miss their classes only to play games. I would sometimes join them during my free time though I had made many promises to stop playing them. This experience made me understand that addiction to something is like a mountain. It's so hard just like it is difficult to move a physical mountain from its original position. It may take years to move it and if it is successfully moved, another one may through volcanic activities crop up at the same location.