And you thought I was going to talk about food?
Part of what I am trying to do with the surgery is to change some of the non-food related activities that helped me get fat and kept me fat. One of the things that helped keep me there was my video game addiction.
For about three years, I was pretty seriously addicted to World of Warcraft. I kept the account open for about a year after I stopped playing on a daily basis. I would still log on from time to time and look at my characters. I also went through short bouts of playing for a couple of days, but the game as a whole had lost interest for me. This summer, I closed the account completely and removed the software from my computer.
While I was deep in the thralls of Azeroth, however, I did not recognize how completely addicted I was. I played every day for several hours at a time. This required hours of sitting in one position with little movement. I ate in front of the computer. I played when I was sick. I took staycations and played WoW all day long.
It did not help that I had family and friends who also played the game. We would all get together on weekends, usually at my sister’s house, and play. It was a lot of fun. In fact, many of my friends are gamers of some sort or another, although not all of them play WoW. Many of them do, however, play some sort of MMORPG.
For those of you not familiar with gamer-speak, MMORPG means Massively Multi-player On-line Role-Playing Game, or as it is also called…Many Men Online Role-Playing Girls.
I have to admit, it was very interesting to be so immersed into such a male dominated world. Yes it was imaginary, but you constantly have to group up with other players to accomplish goals and complete quests. Unless you actually carry on a conversation with the other people, they really do not know much about you and assume you are a guy.
I had one character on my realm that was fairly well-known. I created a healing shaman and I named her Anaxamander. Healers are always in short supply, so I was often invited to groups and raids, even if they were above my current ability because people were desperate for healers. This taught me to become very good at healing very quickly. It also helped me to very quickly gain the items necessary to improve my healing skills.
An in-game friend of mine invited me to a group. He had a ventrillo account set up so that we could all log on and talk to each other live in real-time. I started talking and one of the guys interrupted me. I had run some dungeons and raids with him before, but we had never really talked. He was in one of the top guilds on the realm and was fairly well-known him self. He said, “Wait…who is that talking?” I replied, “Anaxamander.” He replied with, “Anaxamander is a GIRL?? Dude, all this time I thought you were a guy!”
I ran into that a lot. And I have to say, I kind of enjoyed it. I was good at the game and I loved that it shocked the guys who dominated the world population.
Most of the in-game people I became game-friends with were guys. Mostly, though, I stuck to gaming with my sister and some of our other friends that played. We enjoyed doing a lot of the silly stuff. We did the holiday quests. We ran around getting in-game vanity pets. At Christmas time, we would take stuff from our guild bank, wrap it in virtual wrapping paper and give stuff away to other characters. During that time, we also started city-wide virtual snowball fights and created campfires and sat around telling holiday stories. We were always amazed by the number of people who would come and sit with us and egg us on with our story-telling.
I also really got into doing player-versus-player battles, also known as pvp. Many of the people who I became good gamer-friends with all played pvp. The battles are basically two teams playing either games of capture the flag or protecting bases. It was a lot of fun.
But as fun as the game is, for me, it is a form of escape. I could feel a sense of accomplishment completing game achievements, quests, and difficult raids and dungeons. I was proud to have one of the top healing shamans on my realm. I had a lot of in-game friends and was in one of the best guilds. Unlike my real life, my in-game life was awesome. I could do stuff in-game that I could not do in my real life.
Here’s the problem, none of those fun, awesome things fixed my life. I was still morbidly obese and getting sicker. I still had many other problems that I was not dealing with, and I was not doing the other things with my life that I wanted to do. So, I made the decision to quit the game. I had really stopped playing for the most part. Closing the account was merely a formality, but an important step.
Now that I’m not spending all of my time playing WoW, I am amazed by how much time I have to do the other things I love. I am working on improving my health. I am getting ready for the gastric by-pass surgery. I am writing more. Blogging more. And I have started taking care of other things in my life that I was struggling with.
I have to admit though, I really do miss gaming. I was surprised to discover this myself. Recently, I read a news article about the game. Someone was able to hack into the game and do mass killings, killing off nearly the entire world population in minutes. I watched several videos on youtube watching an entire city of characters just drop dead. I was cracking up.
Watching those videos though made me realize how much I do miss the game. I actually thought about reactivating my account. The thought scared me and I immediately shut down my web browser, closed my laptop, and walked away.
I have not reactivated my account. I really do not want to go back to the way I was. I want to continue to take care of my health and my weight. I do not want to escape my life or my problems. Maybe sometime in the future, after I’ve lost weight, fixed some of the other problems I have there will be a place in my life for video games. Maybe not. What I do know right now is that as long as I feel that need to fill the emptiness inside with some kind of addiction, whether it is food or games, I cannot invite WoW back into my life.
All of the images included in this post are characters that I created and played during my time in WoW.