Ten years ago, rage and other emotions consumed me to the point of lashing out irrationally. Now, rage and other emotions still engulf me with their negative solace- that part hasn’t, and may never, completely go away for me, or any of us- it’s just I have more coping mechanisms. Maybe that’s the root of addictive behavior? Being unable to cope with the harshness of reality? We should then find subtle positive solaces within reality.
Imagine a stressful event.
The first 30 seconds of adrenaline fills your body and overwhelms it. You want to fight back and even hours later the most you can do is try to calm down. It’s still in there. That big boss stress demon, and not some miniboss, either. It’s the boss you saved up hundreds of super elixirs for, because you know you’d need them, and you end up using every last one.
That’s where leveling up your stats comes in.
It’s boring at times. You’re doing repetitive work for seemingly years on end. Little to no reward. You just keep fighting for a potion, then a high potion, and maybe eventually an elixir. At first, you use them more than you can regain them. Eventually you find party members to help out. They may give you items or help out in combat. Weak or strong.
Maybe they heal and buff you once before disappearing.
The more you fight, train, and level-up, the easier it is to fight the low level monsters and the more upper level bosses you can fight. There isn’t really a save point in this game. Inns and recover points are frequent. There are plenty of random people you can talk to along the way, and some might even give you information to help you along in your quest.
This game is real life.
Maybe videogames can actually serve as a good analogy for life? You start off weak, nearly killed off by any enemy that jumps on screen, before you begin training yourself. Through discipline, hard work, and working smart to avoid dying, eventually you can get to a point where you’ll have never imagined. There’s one caveat in this analogy for sobriety.
There is no happily ever after.
It’s not so bad. There are plenty of videogames without an ending. Tetris, MMORPGs, and any game with a sequel, really. Until the Legend of Zelda series is no longer popular, Link will probably always fight some iteration Ganon in some iteration of Hyrule, and though each game has a nice conclusion, it’s never really over for Link. He constantly struggles.
And you know what? That’s good.
We may play videogames to beat them. To mark them off the list, to brag to friends, or to fully experience the game. But do we really play them just for the ending? Or do we play for the stories they tell, the adventures they reveal, and their evocative worlds?
Sobriety is much the same: we play within this world because it’s more fun.
|Sources: NES Legend of Zelda and Metal Gear title screens
Inspirations: Lifetime of playing videogames, 4+ years of sobriety