I got my first 8 bit Nintendo with the game “Super Mario Bro’s” in 1988 while vacationing in Canada for our family Christmas in Alberta. I’ll never forget opening that box, plugging it in and destroying Goombas, Koopa Troopa’s, and ultimately Bowser himself.
I think I played 3 days straight while taking minimal breaks only to eat, use the bathroom or sleep for a few hours. 36 hours of gameplay later it was crystal clear… I was an 8-year-old addicted to Mario. This taste of virtual dominance would live on into my teenage years (Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64) and even into my college years (X-Box, PlayStation).
Questions to Ponder
As I ponder the role that video games have played in my life (and considered if I’ll let my kids play them, if so how much, what kinds of games will we allow, etc.)
I’ve had to ask some of the deeper questions about video games. Questions like:
- What do I/we have to gain from playing video games?
- What do I/we have to lose from playing video games?
- What motivational structure is driving me toward virtual life instead of reality?
- Am I moving towards video games to escape something? If so what?
- Are video games keeping me from something better? If so what?
Now as a dad I see lots of things different (funny how that happens, right?)
For those who are recovering from a video game addiction, and don’t have the built-in accountability and support of living with other folks, let me encourage you in a few important steps to recover to a healthier life.
#1 – Join a sports league or gym that was weekly commitments.
One way to get yourself going again is to actually GET GOING AGAIN! Choosing to move, exercise and commit to a gym or sports league that was weekly touch points (you know, people EXPECTING YOU TO SHOW UP) is a powerful way to fight against the loneliness and isolation of virtual gaming.
#2 – Join a small group or Bible study at your local Church
Again, there’s something incredibly healthy about a commitment to a group of people who are counting on you to be a PRODUCER, not just a CONSUMER.
Video games are mindless digital megabytes to be consumed by the consumer for the consumer.
Living in healthy community groups that help expand your vision of life, of God, and people is much more “labor intensive” activity but the payoff is life and passion instead of loneliness and guilt.
There’s no denying video games are “fun” but life is more than fun. Life is meant to be meaningful and deep, not just fun.
I will guarantee you this, throwing a fireball at Koopa Troopa and warping to level 6 of Super Mario Bros is an awesome thing, but pales in comparison the beauty and meaning God designed for your life. You’re invited to stop playing in the virtual world and start producing in the real world.
About the Author: Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing.
He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together. Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR
Addiction Hope is proud to announce the initiation of a special Christian Track of blogs and articles to commemorate the blessing of our sister site, Eating Disorder Hope’s 10th year anniversary. Watch for further content noted as “Christian Track”.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 15, 2016
Published on AddictionHope.com