Over the next few months, I manically tried to rebuild my life. I met a wonderful man who accepted that I was still a work in progress, and as far as I’d come I still had a long ways to go. I did eventually return to WoW when we moved back to Los Angeles. My life finally seemed to be somewhat stable again. And when I found out I was pregnant, I had to find low-impact activities to keep me occupied. So one night when I was bored and my son was asleep I decided to dust off the laptop. I seized every moment I had to spend with my son and my boyfriend and only played while my son was asleep or at school. WoW wasn’t my lifeline anymore; it was just a game.
The turning point for me was having my second son. Suddenly memories flooded back that I thought were lost forever. Little hands and toes. He has the same face and the same smile as my daughter. Sometimes when I looked down at him, I could swear it was my daughter looking back at me. And this time, the memories weren’t unwelcome. There was a bit of pain – I think there always will be – but I knew these memories were a blessing.
I quit WoW for 2 years after my son was born. My boys needed me, and my growing family was my top priority. I’d even started yet another new business, so what free time I had was usually consumed by building this new business to run on auto-pilot.
It wasn’t all perfect. Life never really is. All of that repressed grief eventually caught up with me. I was suffering from untreated depression and it was taking its toll on my family. But instead of seeking solace in the game, I decided it was finally time to see a therapist. I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome in addition to bipolar disorder, a condition I’ve unknowingly had all my life. As I began to address the issues behind everything that had happened in the past several years, my therapist gave me the tools I needed to face it head on. And more than that, the ability to forgive myself for crumbling under a massive weight. I had every right to struggle. I had been through A LOT.
It wasn’t until Cataclysm that I even considered playing WoW again. The allure of a completely changed world was just too much; it was an all-new game, and I wanted to see what it had in store. So yes, I still play. I suppose in some ways you could say I haven’t completely conquered the addiction, and I know that desire to escape does creep up every now and again.
But it’s never like it was.
Back then, WoW was my safe haven. It was this alternate reality where I could be the absolute best version of me. Where I could actually achieve things and move my life forward. Where even something as finite as death could be erased with a corpse run.
I understand now that it’s a game. And it’s the occasional refuge, sure. I can relax and unwind from a long day. I can be silly with friends I still value for seeing me as who I really am and not who I was as a result of what happened to me. But it’s a refuge I can leave behind, confident in the fact that I won’t be crushed when I step outside.
I’m free to enjoy my life for what it is. To appreciate the wonderful people and opportunities that have always existed, if only I would reach out for them. I’m free to accept the bad, because I know I will be able to make it through and get back to the good.
I’m free to let go.
And now I want to help others learn to let go. It’s a hard road to walk, and even harder alone. Helping people has always been my true passion. It’s why I love playing a healer, and ultimately why I’m sharing my story in such a public way.
It’s also why future posts in this blog will be slanted more toward helping others through and possibly overcome their WoW addictions and strike a balance between the fun of the game and their life. My goal is to post tips and helpful articles for overcoming addiction, as well as other stories that I hope will inspire you to finally let go as well.