Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a Gaming Addict. It’s been 2 years, 2 months and 26 days since I quit raiding in World of Warcraft.

I remember the night I said “enough is enough” like it was yesterday. It was Cinco de Mayo and all of my friends were out at a local Mexican bar enjoying margaritas and tacos for happy hour. Me? I was in my pajamas with my hair a frightful mess, on hour three of a four hour raid trying to kill the same boss my guild had been working on for weeks: The Lich King. For three nights in a row, we had gotten the bastard down to less than 10% of his health before dying in a spectacularly messy fashion each time. My eyes were starting to go blurry from the focused concentration on the screen. The muscles in my fingers were starting to seize up from the repetitive slamming on the keys. The raid leader had gone from happy to screaming in rage to coldly quiet anger over the three hour period, and everyone was exhausted and ready to call it a night. We decided to take one last attempt that night and by the grace of the Gods of Gaming, we killed the stupid sonofabitch. Suddenly, my eyes weren’t blurry from the focus. My eyes were blinded with tears, but I was not merely crying. I was weeping full on wracking sobs that I still wonder whether they were caused by joy, sadness, relief or exhaustion. It was that moment I realized that I had given way too much of myself to that game and decided it was time to quit.

It is incredibly easy to become addicted to video games like World of Warcraft. In appealing to the hardcore adventurer and gamer, WoW contains an endless stream of new quests, dungeons and raids being constantly released for your plundering enjoyment. But it is not just the hardcore gamer WoW appeals to. A casual gamer or Pokémon fan could spend months amassing a collection of hundreds of mounts and pets. Any hobby in the world can be performed within WoW, with libraries full of readable tomes and (instantly replenished) oceans full of pixilated fish to catch. Are you the kind of person that likes routine in your day? WoW has literally thousands of repeatable daily quests that can be done every day for gold and rewards.

The average RPG video game takes approximately 50-80 hours to complete. In a game like World of Warcraft, it would be insanely easy to clock 50 hours of playing time in just a week or two of raiding and dungeoneering.

As for me, I am not really a hardcore gamer, or a casual gamer or a hobbyist. I am every single one of those things wrapped up into one gaming addicted woman. At the height of my addiction, I spent six nights each week raiding with a group of twenty-five peers for four hours per night. It was an endless cycle of fighting, dying and trying again, for an entire day worth of hours out of each week. It was not just the twenty-four hours of scheduled group raids that sucked me into the game. I am a hopeless perfectionist and completionist. I had to have the best of everything. I had to collect every pet, every possible mount to ride and level all of my skills and reputations to the maximum. As a warlock who cast only spells, I spent hours leveling my weapon skills, even though I never did anything with a weapon besides carry it on my back.

Between all of my side hobbies in the game, preparing for raids and the raid time itself, I spent more hours in game than I did at my full time job. It is no wonder that beating The Lich King (and essentially, the game) that night sent me into a flurry of emotion that took me hours to recover from. I was more invested in the game than in my job, my friends or my family.

Since I hung up my raiding gear after defeating The Lich King, I have not completely quit World of Warcraft. For a while I continued to log in and quest a little each day, and even leveled up a new paladin for fun. But after I completed all of the new content in Cataclysm and without scheduled raiding to keep me focused on the game, I lost interest quickly and let my account lapse for almost a year.

It’s a good feeling, getting back into other hobbies that I had so neglected. I have been reading voraciously, catching up on three years of films that went from the cinema to DVD to television without my notice and spending a lot of time with my friends and family. However, I would be lying if I did not admit that I think about the old glory days of WoW now and again. I have a few friends that play, and they have been bugging me to come back and run around with them in the game.

This past weekend, I finally gave in and paid for a month of game time on my account. I have no plans to get as into the game as I used to be, but you never know what the future holds. That is why I am a member here at Gaming Addicts Anonymous, because this is the place where you can hop on the wagon of recovery…or fall right back off.