Addiction (Warning : long entry)
This entry I am about to write will by no means make me popular probably. It touches at the deepest roots of pleasure, and speaks directly to my blogging demographic.
This post is for everyone who owns a computer. It’s almost disturbing, how much my computer has taken over me. The header to this post is a rather shocking picture, showing common computer logos on drugs and alcohol, but it sometimes takes harsh photos to convey messages. I would like to start this long post with something I wrote Dec 20 of last year. It is nearing a year mark, and I am going to talk about it. It is good to learn from your mistakes, but sometimes better to learn from the mistakes of others. I hope you will learn from mine:
The Steely Grey Background (slightly edited)
A large window occupies the screen, in the upper left stands a grey background, looking a lot like the rest of the grey colored screen. This, reader, is the interface for Unity, the start of a scene, and what can be called a drawing board. The interface stares back at you, and the daunting beginning of a new project dawns. The same is true in Blender. after you click through a small splash screen you are presented with a grid and a grey background. This has been my setting for two years. How did this come about? Here is the story of a man whose time was taken and cheated for too low a price.
At the start, the computer was a tool, the first computers, such as ENIAC were large and took up whole rooms. To do what? mathematical calculations. From the start computers were tools and not friends. The computer turned into the personal computer, which in turn made many programmers, artists, 3d animators, and other people who’s professions had to do with computers. Among those to join the ranks was a boy named (name removed to protect the ambiguity of Stopsecret ;D). He started his computing career and long lasting relationship with these machines at a very young age. He learned to read with the help of the computer and grew up in an age where this invention was being revolutionized. He burned through many models, including the Sonnet Apple computer, the HP Pavilion Windows machine, the Imac clamshell, Imac G4, and the and the Imac i3. He experimented and grew. Mostly self-sufficient, this young man would spend a lot of time isolated with some Legos, a computer program, or some other solitary amusement. He became brilliant in the math and science realm, and came to know a lot about all different types of animals. He was full of facts and earned his title as ‘one of the smart ones’. Also athletic and with a great wrestling history, he became a beast when it came to fighting and sports. Then IT stepped in…
The computer was offered to him for free. Naturally, he seized the opportunity to own another computer. And after technical difficulties, the box was set up in his room. he bought a flight simulator called X-Plane, the first of many games he would buy, And he occupied his time a lot with that. He became quite good at 3D artistry and modified games he had on his computer. He also tried out a game-making program called Unity 3D and got his first taste of programming. So, besides this computer of his, what was going on elsewhere? Well, for starters, the ‘animal of the day’ was moved out when he stopped having favorite animals. He, of course, was not improving his social skills, which weren’t needed that much anyway as he had few friends. Then, he upgraded his computer ‘for school’ and it started to snowball from there. With new graphical capabilities and memory, he officially joined the ranks of geekdom and became a geek. He became great at 3D, and eventually would become fluent in programming. Oh, it’s worth mentioning here that through bad choices, he broke his arm twice as well. Thus impaired, he was now still strong, but a veteran, not participating in sports much. He seemed to become socially awkward, and even slid down the slope of becoming antisocial. He was nicknamed ‘specter child’, because he wasn’t even around that much anymore. He slid deeper and deeper into this void, becoming a hoarder with his time and losing out on a better relationship with friends, family, even God! This obviously had to be stopped, lest he end up with regrets upon regrets, wishing he had changed. Oh, sure, he had tried to change by himself, but that didn’t work. He had tried many times. At this point it would take something drastic to free this poor prisoner.
I then took a look at myself through two outcomes I wrote.
A future look down the road
Date : Dec 20, 2012
Ahh yes, I remember this day… the day I thought I would change. Ha-ha, what a silly notion. As a looker into the future, let me tell you about a few things. First, about my programming. I have excelled a tremendous amount, but still haven’t finished a game. One of these days though! I have a copy of Unity Pro, and have become more entrenched in my virtual reality than ever! The games are so real, I hardly have to live in real life anymore. Sure, I’m disconnected to just about everyone, but hey, whatever. I’m going to graduate soon anyway and I don’t need to worry about that stuff. I play a space game I bought a lot these days. Another way to escape. I do, however, feel lonely, even sometimes bordering on depression. Anyway, one of these days I’ll get back on track…
A future look down the road
Date : Dec 20, 2012
Ahh, what a change! Just this time last year I was attached to that dreaded box! Now I’m free. You wanna talk about strong? I’m in my ‘prime’ now, with muscles upon muscles. I’m really social too, almost to the point of being annoying. I could keep a conversation going with a rock. I’m surrounded by friends and family, and I feel a twinge sorry for (name removed again). He let the [electronic device] rule his life and became a me of the past, withdrawing into his own world. I have to wonder about that kid. Anyway, I am a prayer warrior as well, and have a strong relationship with God. There has been a lot of changes since last year. I won’t go into them all now, just so you know it’s good…
After that I wrote a small note to myself:
Keep it up (name removed), when you feel like you’re spending too much time on the computer, just come back and read this! Think of the possibilities!! 🙂
Remember as well, there is no earthly possession that can ever fill you up fully!
Yes, that was the letter I wrote nearly a year back. I can now look back on it, this small reminder I made to myself, and look forward as I write this post. I’m not totally happy with who I’ve become. Just like the sad first letter, I have just fallen deeper down the chasm. I’m really good at coding and what not, but I’m not a very fun person.
If this entry is making you uncomfortable, and seems too personal, I suggest you leave now. But if you’re interested, please stick around 🙂
I’m looking back right now with regrets, this is sort of a sad post for me to write. This post, however, is happy, in that it marks a change, a turning point for me, and a whole base of followers I will be accountable to.
You never do something without giving up something else. For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. By ordering a cheeseburger, you are giving up some of your health. By turning left, you are not turning right. For me, by playing the computer, I have given up what I could be physically. Computing is sedentary. You sit in a chair a lot. And to tell you the truth, I’ve gotten to be pretty scrawny. Flexing in the mirror isn’t too impressive. And I like muscles. 🙂 It’s not healthy to be on the computer this much, and I have come to realize that. I’m a senior in high-school, this is not what I’m supposed to be. By doing what I have been doing, I have forfeited the right to becoming another person. And it’s sad.
I don’t really like the Stopsecret I’ve become.
The computer for me has become an addiction. I summed it up perfectly in what I wrote ‘Here is the story of a man whose time was taken and cheated for too low a price.’
Not only has it inhibited who I want to become physically, but it has inhibited the man I want to be spiritually. Saying that the computer is an idol seems harsh, but it’s also true. Here is the SS dictionary definition of an idol
Anything that is placed in a higher standing then Jesus.
And when I spend my time in front of my computer instead of praying, instead of seeking God, I place it higher than him. He didn’t die on the cross so I could have a comfy life. I need to be serving him, not my coding. I’m not saying that God does not want us to have pleasure, I will explain:
Drinking is not a sin.
Smoking is not a sin.
Would I do them? No, but they’re not a sin. It’s just a slippery slope. It’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out. The real issue is not the computer itself, just like how the drinker’s problem isn’t drinking. It’s addiction. My addiction to my screen is not directly related to the computer, it is a problem inside my heart. And I need to resolve that problem. Probably over a month ago, we packed up, headed to Pennsylvania, and attended a conference. I got ahold of God there. I had an absolutely amazing time, and an opportunity to ground myself. But it was an interesting weekend, because I was away from my Mac. The absence of a computer down there was not crippling, but it was empowering. You probably do not know the full extent of how long I have struggled with the computer now. It has probably been a four-year fiasco.
It’s funny how you can stand on the other side, and look at the drunk who keeps going back to his bottle. You can look at the druggie looking for his next high. You can laugh at them, think they’re stupid. But standing here on the other side, I can start to sympathize with them. Addictions are scary. And nothing other than Jesus ought to have the rule over me.
And so, all this brings me to a conclusion, although it may be a hard one.
The excessive time I’ve spent on the computer is not the right thing for me in this stage of my life.
I’m not saying I’m going to put an axe to it and toss it out the window, but I want to tame it.
Anytime something has power over you, stop and question it. If you can walk away from something without feeling that strong pull towards it, you are probably ok, but if not, stop and question. And I will ask the question.
Is the computer worth it?
Can you imagine how chiseled I would be if I worked out as often as I did the computer? Can you imagine how smart I’d be if I read as often as I did the computer? Can you imagine what a prayer warrior I would be if I had time to pray and seek God as often as I did the computer?
There are so many options out there. And I don’t want to wait around while the computer eats more of my teenage years.
This is the beginning of the end of my bondage.
Please, remember the last words of my letter:
“Remember as well, there is no earthly possession that can ever fill you up fully!”
It’s true. This world is so empty and void. The only thing that will ever fill you up is being in a right standing and having a relationship with Jesus.
I’m not going to sell my soul for a few moments of happiness here on earth.
(Do you think I did the right thing? Feel free to post in the comments ;))