Gaming Does Not Equal Drug Addiction

This weekend several of my sister’s friends were visiting from out of town for Mother’s Day. I’ve known all of these people for several years, so I’m very familiar with their quirks, and am almost always happy to see them because they’re my friends by extension.

One of my sister’s friends is quite a heavy drinker, and I would go as far as calling him a raging alcoholic. Understand that I’m not being judgmental when I say this, but when you’ve got 2 DUIs under your belt and can polish off a nearly full 750ml/26 oz./3.25 cup bottle of bourbon in about 4 – 5 hours and like to cruelly point out everyone’s issues that could be easily solved….well, you tell ME. Oh, I forgot the 2 martinis earlier in the evening, and that beverage consumption happens on a very regular basis.

Around 4am Sunday morning, I was finally tired enough to try and sleep (I’m a hardcore insomniac). As I was getting into bed, this friend came in and the instant I saw him I was alarmed. His walk was a shamble and his eyes were pointing in two different directions. He managed to navigate himself into my computer chair , and when he began to speak it was very slow and extremely slurred – I had never ever seen him this drunk.

He then proceeded to tell me that he was having issues with one of the couples that had come in from out of town and had to leave the conversation because they were drug dealers. I was aghast, as I have always known the people in question to be intelligent, responsible and  sober individuals. I asked what he meant by “drug dealers” and was told that I was really “no better than them because you’re a drug addict”.

Ummm, what?

Apparently I’m a drug addict because I’m a gamer, and the couple in question are drug dealers because they work in the gaming industry- one is the editor of a gaming magazine, and the other works for a MAJOR game company. My sister aside (who is NOT a gamer), everyone I know is a drug addict and we are all pathetic social pariahs that need to get a life and get help for our addiction. This of course coming from the man with one eye pointing at the ceiling and one eye pointing at the floor. Hello, kettle….

Once he was satisfied that I was well and truly chastised, he left and I drifted off to sleep muttering about assholes. However, when I woke up a few hours later I immediately thought about that conversation and felt sick to my stomach. What if he had a point, even though he was probably speaking to me while essentially blacked out? What if I am  a drug addict? Even though I knew he was drunk and I could kind of see his point (I DO know gaming addicts, but they’re rare), I felt like a complete piece of shit. It felt like he was insinuating that I was an inferior human being because sometimes I have to stop caring for a minute and focus on ME.

It’s true that I use gaming as an escape, and it’s true that I spend more money on it than I should. However, after being attached to a brain damaged person for 14+ hours a day, sometimes I need a break from the cooking, cleaning, medicating, bathing, trimming, ass-wiping and just caring in general. Maybe I’m a bad person for using gaming as an escape, but I have never once neglected my responsibilities in favour of gaming, and gaming has never left me so impaired that I was literally endangering someone’s life.

This friend knows what I do, and he knows that it’s soul destroying.  My biggest beef with him is that he has no real empathy and is unable to put himself in other people’s shoes. If he could put himself in my shoes, maybe he would realize that I am NOT a drug addict, nor are most gamers. While ranting to a few friends about this, they helped me to put it in perspective (I always HAD it in perspective, but sometimes it’s hard to keep it real after being slapped in the face right out of the blue). Would I consider someone that read a lot to be an addict? Someone that runs a lot, watches movies, listens to music – Are they all considered addicts because that’s how THEY unwind? Well, no…

As with most gamers, we can go days without playing. We don’t need to play every day, and I certainly don’t play every day either. Yeah, we get excited and can play for long stretches at a time, but marathon sessions are usually reserved for days off since most of us have jobs to get up for in the morning, classes to attend, kids and partners to spend time with, friends to hang out with, etc.

Knowing everything that you know about me, how DARE you call me a drug addict.


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