Is Addiction a Sin?

Yesterday’s reasons for not blogging for months seemed, overall, to be good reasons not to spend so much time blogging.  In many ways, staying in physical and mental shape have become more important to me than sharing what little I know and love with others. After all, I taught two years in the Army and 30 years in high school before blogging for another 22 years.  I’m pretty sure I’ve already said more than most people want to hear from me, and it’s becoming increasingly harder to say anything new. At best all I can hope to do is remind people just how much beauty there is out there that they might have lost track of in all the ugliness that confronts us daily.  

Unfortunately, my main reason for not blogging is not nearly as admirable as those I’ve already explained.  The main reason I haven’t been blogging is that I have been playing Divinity – Original Sin 2 for several hours a day for over three months. 

I could blame my addiction on Leslie’s friend Bill Smith who told me about the game several years ago.  I bought the game immediately after he told me a, but I couldn’t get it to play on my Mac until I bought a new one several months ago. More recently he asked me if I was playing Baldur’s Gate 3, and I told him that I wanted to finish Divinity first.  Now it’s become a question whether I will finish it or it will finish me.  

It’s hard to blame Bill, though since I’ve been playing D&D computer games for years now, starting with my Apple IIe, at least 40 years ago. Tyson and I used to stay up until early in the morning playing these games.  Unfortunately, too few games are published for the Mac ,and I refuse to buy a Windows computer.  The last game I played was Dragon Age 2, which I was amazed to discover was published in 2011.

No wonder I didn’t realize how much those kinds of games have evolved since then.  Perhaps Divinity would have been easier if I had been playing similar games the last ten years, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I was over my head in Divinity 2.  After repeatedly dying, I finished Scene 1 but was unable to get through the transition to Scene 2.  So, I started over, only to get stuck again, this time at the end of Scene 2.  By then I must have  had  240 hours invested in the game and should’ve had sense enough to call it good enough, but, no, that wasn’t going to happen.

I like to think that I’m nearly perfect, but I do have at least two traits that some people might call flaws.  First, I’m persistent, some (like Mom) would call me stubborn. Most of the time I think persistence is a virtue in life, but that may not be true when it comes to playing Divinity – Original Sin 2. 

At some point I’m afraid that stubbornness can become addiction, and I’ve long been aware that I can easily become addicted to some behaviors.  Smoking was my most notable addiction; even when I finally convinced myself that it was harmful to my health I found it nearly impossible to overcome the addiction to nicotine, falling in love with the nicotine gum that helped me give up the actual cigarettes. It was nearly as hard to give up the gum as the cigarettes.  

Aware that I have always had an addiction problem, I’ve avoided alcohol and recreational drugs and only allowed myself to get addicted to positive addictions like walking, reading, and meditation. Sometimes I’m afraid I may even push those too far, but I don’t worry about them because overall they seem to make my life better.

For awhile, at least, Divinity – Original Sin 2 seemed like a positive addiction.  Playing it offered an easy escape from the depressing news that I used to browse regularly while sitting in front of the computer.  The game was hard enough that it pushed me to think harder than I regularly have to, and I like to think that might strengthen my brain.  If not, at least it gives me an excuse for wasting so much of my life.

The more I played the clearer it was that I wasn’t the only one who was having trouble solving the game.  There are hundreds if not thousands of youTube videos on different parts of the game.  In fact, I may have learned more about researching online than anything else. Of course, I felt bad when I had to resort to youTube videos to solve puzzles in the game or learn how to defeat particularly tough opponents, That felt like cheating, but cheating somehow felt better than outright losing.  At least I was in good company, or at least in a lot of company.

Worse yet, I started putting off things that I needed to do around the house so that I could finally finish the game. Worst of all, I began to stress out over the game, sometimes continuing to play it over and over in my mind while trying to go to sleep. I discovered that all those years I’d spent meditating would seem useless when confronted by a stupid game. Soon, al I wanted was to be done with it, but I continued to play right up to when we left on our trip.  I still don’t know if I will try to finish it when we get back home.

One thought on “Is Addiction a Sin?”

  1. Loren, I appreciated your reveal in your most recent post. And yes, I have missed your blogging. As a new birder, I find your eye, experience, knowledge, and vast wanderings I have yet (and likely never will) visit, I really love experiencing birds, nature, and adventures through your exquisite writing. So like it or not, you are still teaching after 32 years of teaching in the army and highschool. The world IS a better place with your blogging, especially with the year ahead. In developmental coaching, we would call your “addiction” the darker side of your gifts and talents – the desire to learn, acquire knowledge, master skills. You are deep into the expert stage of adult development when you drop into this type of pursuit forsaking all else (at least home chores). However, your ability to sync and synthesize with nature, pursue hours of meditation, and tap into something existential (and perhaps spiritual or other realm) suggests you are tapping into your transforming stage of adult development (which usually evolves in our more seasoned decades). In any case, I appreciate your writing in how you intertwine your personal life with your knowledge, expertise, and adventure. Do keep writing.

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