Escaping From Reality

As a child, I remember always looking forward to the cartoon marathons on Saturday mornings.   No matter how bad my week had been, I knew that when Saturday morning came around I could escape.   On Saturday mornings I could get away from all the stress and problems from my life, if only for a few hours.

As I grew older I still watched television, but my primary escape from reality became video games.  It wasn’t unusual for me to play them for 8-10 hours a day, and when I got an iPod touch the problem only magnified.

At first I only downloaded a few simple games on my iPod.  Paper Toss, Doodle Jump, things like that.  But over time I began to download more time consuming games.

I can’t recall most of their specific titles, but I remember at one point I was actively playing 4-5 MMORPG’s (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and I was even the leader of the biggest clan on one of them.

I was addicted, spending all my waking hours playing them, and as sad as it sounds, sometimes I even lost sleep over them.

As I fell deeper into my addiction I saw my life spiral out of control.  I alienated the few friends I had, and I felt alone and unfulfilled.  I was tremendously focused on becoming the top player on those online games, but ultimately my focus amounted to nothing.  I was spinning my wheels, but I had nothing to show for it.

As I became more interested in my personal development I managed to quit television, and video games, but I never understood what caused those addictions in the first place.  And without that knowledge I would later try to escape reality through the internet, and other unhealthy releases.

Something I never understood was that neither television, nor video games were the problem.  They were merely symptoms, and as long as I tried to address the symptoms I was never going to solve the problem.  Even if I had some success in eliminating the symptoms from my life, as long as the problem remained I was going to continue to attract similar negative symptoms into my life.

The problem was never that I watched too much television, or played too many video games.  The problem was that I was too afraid to face the reality I had created for myself.  And the disgust I felt after this realization no longer made stagnation an option.

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