Originally published at: https://vgsml.geektherapy.com/2018/07/09/games-saved-me-from-my-drug-addiction/
Kyle speaks very openly about how his drug habit spiraled out of control in 2012; starting out with as a casual experience at college, which soon progressed into a heroin addiction. Luckily for Kyle he had a strategy to fight relapsing and to overcome his drug addiction…
'When I was 17 or 18 years old I smoked weed for the first time. It was my first experience with an illegal drug and I loved it. It’s such an empowering feeling to know that you are doing something against the rules and you feel great doing it. It was fun. I probably liked it too much. It became an everyday thing for me and followed me to college, but this story is not about weed. I only mention it because I think it was the stepping-stone I needed to enter the world of all the other drugs.
I don’t know what it is about the college environment but it totally glorifies drug use. Everywhere I went there were people passing around a bowl/joint/blunt and there was alcohol at every party. It made me want to experiment with other substances. I was just so curious it was very easy to turn my curiosities into a reality. I tried LSD and after a couple acid trips, I gained the confidence to try everything and anything. Over the next two years I pretty much tried every substance besides crack and meth.
Out of all the drugs I tried there was only one that really left it’s mark on me and lured me into using it again and again. The feeling and high I experienced with painkillers was like nothing I had ever tried before. It was just pure bliss in the form of a pill and it made me feel like everything in my life was perfect. I could just forget about any issues I was facing and enter a dream-like state where happiness and comfort were the only feelings left in the world. This was the beginning of my drug addiction. Painkillers, mainly Oxycodone, became part of my everyday routine. I soon found myself needing more and more though to reach that same feeling I had back when I first started and I soon went from spending twenty dollars every other weekend to owning a three-hundred dollar a day full blown drug habit. It seemed like it happened in the blink of an eye. It’s hard to explain or even understand myself, but you just get caught up in the drug’s powerful grasp.
When you have to spend hundreds of dollars a day it adds up very quickly, so I inevitably started selling drugs to support my addiction. My whole life was spiraling out of control and all I cared about was my next high. I lost friends, relationships, money, belongings, possessions, I was arrested, and eventually expelled from school. I just didn’t care about anything besides the drug and when I couldn’t find pharmaceutical painkillers I would turn to Heroin. It was a cheaper alternative but it was also more addictive.
Luckily for myself I was somehow convinced to enter a treatment program. My friends saw how bad it was getting and they really supported me by setting up an appointment and going with me. It was the start of my recovery and since the first doctor visit a little over a year ago I relapsed once but found a new doctor/program that is more effective. I’ve been clean from every substance for about 7 months including even alcohol and I feel healthy and like myself again.
The hardest part about recovery is staying in recovery/staying clean. My counselors and group leaders/members always say that you need to have something the fill the void left by the drugs. For me this has been video games (and making music, but I think the games have helped much more). There hasn’t been one or even a couple in particular, it’s been a whole bunch of various games that have been able to occupy my time and keep me on the right path. Some of them are Minecraft, Borderlands, Mass Effect 1 (I’m kind of behind on the series…), GTA IV, Saints Row, and many more. Video games have been so crucial in my recovery and when I’m not playing them I’m watching youtube videos about them or reviews. They literally saved my life, and there is no doubt in my mind that if I didn’t have gaming to fill my time I would have long ago been back to using drugs. Thank you Games.’
A note from Kyle: I attached a song I recorded during the height of my addiction. The quality is far from optimal but looking back at it now I think it is a very accurate depiction of how I was feeling and it captures the inner struggle I was dealing with at the time. Everything was done on one take and the lyrics were made on the spot, which I think captured a sort of raw emotion. My cellphone also goes off a couple times but somehow fits the song (it’s also kind of funny or maybe pathetic because it was probably a drug related text). I usually don’t share my music, I tend to look at it as more of a journal or “diary”, but enjoy.
Listen to Kyle’s song here.
This story resonates with me because like Kyle I was once vulnerable myself, although not a drug addicted I was exposed to drugs at a young age but managed to also find strength, build new friendship groups and redirect my path through the use of video games!
In Kyle’s case we see him use games to ‘fill a void’, he explains how he researched games and began watching YouTube videos to keep busy. There is research to show that an intense amount of gaming per week can be unhealthy for you and lead to a dysfunctional lifestyle, such as impacting normal social relationships, leading to unemployment and dysfunctional time management. All of which is relatively true, however almost anything when abused is bad for you. In a recent study that I conducted I found evidence that supports the notion that short term intense video game play can help people overcome tough patches in life - such as a broken leg or being sacked from a job, mainly because games offer escapism and achievement leading to a more positive mental attitude which helps recovery.
I am glad Kyle is now clean and hope he can continue to find strength in games when it’s needed.
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to submit your own testimonial about how games have impacted your life in positive and powerful ways.
If you feel like you have an issue with drug addiction please contact your local doctor and seek medical support. Do not suffer in silence.
Original Source for this content can be found here