What's the big deal? It's just a game.
Bejeweled Blitz. Mafia Wars. FarmVille.
You know the ones. These are the Facebook applications you and your friends are playing. The scores will even post to your profile page. You can show your friends just how well you’re doing and invite them to play along too.
As I scrolled through my Facebook page I saw the pretty pictures that showed what my friends were scoring and earning. I finally decided to try one of them, figuring it was just a game, so why not? I started playing Bejeweled Blitz about a month ago and I was hooked immediately. I love the idea of being able to compete against my friends. The game even tells me that I’m doing a good job when I take out lots of jewels. “Incredible!” I’ve got positive reinforcement for playing well.
As I was playing I discovered how to increase my scores with power gems and hypercubes. I love the sounds of blowing up jewels. I know that I’m getting closer to my high score. It even keeps track of my progress for me and allows me to get to the gold level when I’ve proved how dedicated I am.
All it takes is one minute to play.
And the point is?
I got hooked. I started thinking about the game all the time. I would want to play it for just a little while and before I knew it 3 hours had passed. I blew off my work and my chores just so I could play a few more games. They only took a minute, so I figured that I could just get a few more in. Then I wanted to end on a higher score. 27,000 points wasn’t enough. I wanted to end on a good note. When I hit the good note I thought, “I wonder if I can beat that one?”
Before I knew it I was feeling the same feelings and thinking the same way I did while I was gambling.
It’s nice to relax. It helps me feel better. I’m just taking a break with the game. It takes my mind off of things. Just one more game. Ten more minutes.
My boyfriend would sit next to me on the couch and I would barely acknowledge him or even recognize that he was there. I didn’t care about updating my blogs or spreading the word on my book about addiction.
Great, so what now? I am quite proud to say that I actually use my book. I don’t want to spend so much time playing anymore so I found some of the stepping stones that would help me change my frame of mind. When I wanted to play I have gone for a walk. When I realize that I’m stuck on playing the game I will click on my home page during a game so it takes me away from the Blitz.
My number one tip is to just stop! Then I can take a step back and breathe. The next step I can take is to choose to do something else, whether its walking, tapping, dishes or just sitting. The important thing to realize is that the choice becomes mine because I am no longer a victim of the game.
Is any of this sounding familiar to you? I invite you to ask yourself these questions:
- Have you ever lost time from work or school due to playing your games?
- Has your gaming ever made your home life unhappy?
- Have you ever felt remorse for playing so long?
- Did your game create a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- When you stopped playing did you feel like you had to return as soon as possible to do better at the game or beat your score?
- Do you ever play longer than you had planned?
- Have you ever played to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?
How did you do? This isn’t meant to make you feel bad or tell you that you’re doing something wrong. The purpose is to bring awareness to your life. When you can shine the light on a problem and see it for what it is you can deal with it. Many times this actually helps you get your life back. Freedom is a good thing.
Shine ~ the world needs you!
P.S. Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!