“No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.” -Patrick J. Kennedy
Well ok it wasn’t that with us. Not yet anyway. At 14, she found Minecraft. That became her world and the beginning of my nightmare. It was then when I started to worry- I saw signs of self-soothing and possible addiction just because of this stupid game. Everyone around me thought I was nuts. They all said, let her be a child! they all play those games!
Stupid me, I listened. But pretty soon her life went from being jovial and sweet to being downright addicted to being on the laptop, playing this idiotic game and surviving on fake relationships created with the people playing that game. Her school work suffered, and her social life did too- she would hole up on the weekends and just play. She’d stay up until 3am and just play. She’d be at school and be interacting with these random strangers, ‘just playing’, because they ‘got’ her. And this is when our fights started which led to our introduction to family therapy.
I had to figure out how to access my modem to turn the wifi off at 11pm. Fights ensued. Name calling, throwing things, you’d think I’d just took the meth from a junkie. It was that bad. For months we fought. She had some access because her school required a laptop so it was a double edge sword. She’d come home and claim to do homework but instead she was creating a cyber world. I noticed she’d log in during school hours. I went to the school and asked for them to create firewalls so kids couldn’t log in to those chat rooms and games. Their answer was ‘we’re preparing them for the future, we can’t make it simple for them because barriers won’t exist in the real world.’ Whether that was true or not, you cannot tell me that paying what we were paying a year into that school (which is a middle income salary for most) you were telling me that the mind of a 13 year old needed to learn to self-regulate despite of inherent dangers looming ahead. That was her last year at that school.
And that June, when she finished school, her laptop was taken away (for some time). Thanks to therapy and swimming her attention was re-directed into swimming once again and the laptop became a thing of the past. Her new school didn’t require laptops and frankly she realized she’d gone overboard with the mind-numbing game. We were good but mostly because she had spent most of the summer away from home. And I was tired. In 8 months I saw a new side to my daughter and realized that addiction could be part of our vocabulary even though I kept pushing it back and living in denial. I was exhausted.
Later that year, she found an affinity to rap. Thus started our ‘talks’ about self-respect, about not swearing and ‘what the hell are you listening to? TURN THAT SHIT OFF!’
Peace & Love