The Lost Years

OCD and an addictive personality are a dangerous and expensive combination.

  • 1000+ comic books
  • 300+ books
  • 200+ movies
  • 30 place settings
  • 20 water bottles
  • More cookware than I could possibly use

I bought an iPad Mini in fall of 2014, downloaded a few games, deleted some games, then tumbled down a long, dangerous rabbit hole.

Within a few months, gaming was sucking more time than a full-time job. Worse, I spent thousands of dollars on this game. (Friends spent tens to hundreds of thousands.) It is a diabolical combination of a slick mobile game that rivals any on a console and global player community with some incredibly funny, incredibly supportive, incredibly smart people. We spent thousands of hours strategizing, venting, commiserating, and laughing. We talked about the game and our lives. I formed life-long friendships. I met up with people in Europe and the US. I have another trip planned for December.

I finally quit the game this summer. It was awful. There were bribes and arguments. There may have been tears. Three months later, people still ask me when I’m coming back. We’re a community of addicts and we’ve all seen relapses. However, I know quitting was the best thing for me on many levels and have no intention of ever going back.

Balance is not in an addict’s vocabulary. Between work and the game, everything else in my life fell to the wayside. I considered hiring a cleaning service because housework was getting in the way of my gaming. My nephew resorted to taking my iPad away from me when I visited so I would play with him. Writing trickled down to almost nothing. I kept putting off funding my TFSA. I didn’t rebalance my portfolio for three years. I cringe at the thought of how I hurt myself financially.

To be completely honest, it wasn’t only the game and the community that made me neglect other areas of my life. I lost two cousins fairly recently. One at twenty-seven and one at thirty. I grew up with them. I imagined our kids playing together one day. I fell apart to the point where I could barely think of my family and friends, let alone myself. I dropped down to 80 lbs. I no longer cared about work. I expected to be terminated in the last year; it would’ve been a relief. The game and the community kept me going for a while. Eventually, they weren’t enough, and my doctors and friends pushed me into therapy. I made progress. And now I’m ready to take back control of my life.

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