Although inspired by a fun writing prompt, this story is very serious and is probably one of the most honest pieces I’ve ever written.
October 22, 2015
Hello, old friend. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen you. I’ve heard you’re doing pretty well; that’s good. I’m glad to hear it. You really deserve to be known and loved.
I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. My friends talk about you; my family talks about you. It seems I can’t go anywhere without seeing reminders of our time together. I miss you more than words can describe. But I can’t tell you, not personally. I just don’t think I can handle the stress, the pain, the desire, the need… I can’t handle the euphoria you ignite inside me, or the overwhelming acceptance and purpose you make me feel.
When we first met in 2006, I admit I was a little unsure. You just seemed to have a lot going on, and you were—well, complicated. I didn’t know any of your preferences, or how you liked things done, or how to share you with the rest of your friends. Or my friends, for that matter. It didn’t take long for us to form our bond. We got really close, and believe me, I will always be grateful for our time together.
I really appreciate the friends you introduced me to. I have made some lifelong connections with some really stellar people. Without you, they wouldn’t be a part of my life, and they have really helped me through some trying times over the years. But you’ve also introduced me to some of the wrong people. The ones who tried to tempt me, who led me down dark alleys and onto dangerous cliffs. They were captivating and exciting and new—do you have any idea how long it took me to realize they were tearing me apart?
On top of that, you stole the clock. So much time was spent with you, absorbed into you, learning your tricks and memorizing your intricacies. Because of you, I almost went through more loss and grief than a woman—than a wife or mother—should ever have to suffer.
After just a few years with you, I wasn’t myself anymore. I was missing phone calls, dropping hobbies, and neglecting responsibilities. Because of you, I lost the meaning in life and found meaning in you and only you. I was infected by your endless demands and enthralled by your rich rewards. I was well and truly addicted; I needed you.
It got to the point where I couldn’t spend a single waking moment without you on my mind. All my conversations began and ended with you. Most conversations never took place at all, because the people around me already knew I’d be talking about you. Being away from you for more than an hour tore at my heart and shredded my sanity. I needed you more than sustenance, more than motion, and more than air. Did you know that? I would rather have had you than the ability to breathe.
What did you do to me? How did you take me as a whole—albeit small and broken—person, hold me so tightly that I felt safe in your arms, then shatter me so completely? What I never understood is how you were able to destroy me so perfectly without my knowledge. I never saw it coming, never anticipated the shocking reality of my thoughts and actions while under your spell. I have so many regrets because of you. So much heartache because of you. So much lost and never known. So many things that now begin with “never.” All because of you.
All that has changed. On a brisk September evening in 2013, I made a life changing adjustment: the decision to leave you. It was a spontaneous, stray thought, that my life might be better without you in it. I know you remember the day, though your version of things might be a bit different. For you, it was just a friend walking away; one who never returned. You didn’t waste a passing glance in my direction, never wondered where I’d gone, or ever bothered to grieve my loss. Life went on for you. The same busy, complicated, social life.
I may have left, but that didn’t mean I was instantly whole. I was lost and alone. I was an empty husk, the hollow shell of a girl who just threw away seven years of her life. I barely had any memories of nearly a decade that didn’t revolve around you. How pitiful! How sad!
Years of therapy and self-help books couldn’t get you off my mind. I reached out to family, friendship, distractions, hobbies, even religion. I threw myself into my new projects, spent time with my children, and reintroduced myself to the husband I had pulled away from. But I was changed.
Because of you, I had lost my extroverted personality. I no longer knew how to interact with other people. To this day, I still battle with recovering my social persona and allowing people into my heart. You are the reason I don’t trust anyone. Connecting with people became an anxiety-inducing challenge that I wasn’t prepared for. I went from being a social butterfly to socially awkward. When did I change so drastically? You did this to me.
I am a new person, and I’m proud of who I have fought to become in recent years. I am a good wife, a great mother, and I do my best to be a worthy friend to those few who have been patient with me. That isn’t to say life is perfect. I was in touch with some of my extended family on a daily basis when I was with you. Now, they are as distant as ever. I had something in common with my friends, a shared smile and way to close the distance between us. Now there is a void. An interest that is splitting our time apart rather than bringing us together.
I still think of you. Almost every day. It’s usually just a fleeting memory of a time long past. A face, a motion, a blur of color. A friend, a holiday, a voice. I never know what will remind me of you. And even though you were so bad for me, I look back on you fondly. I miss you. I loved you with all of my heart, which is much more than you ever returned to me. You made me happy, you stole me away to a fantasy that surpassed the reality I was trapped in. But was I really trapped, or did you make me believe that? Was I ever really depressed in the world around me, or only when it didn’t involve you?
I don’t know the difference between what was real and what only felt like it. But I do know that I suffered greatly at the hands of a serious addiction, and I thank every star in the Universe for saving me from you.
No matter how much I miss you…
No matter how much I want you…
No matter how much I beg my mind to let me run back to you…
I am free from you. And I will not let you take that away from me, too.
Crystal MM Burton
- a.k.a. Crystallize, Night Elf Druid, Restoration/Balance (90)
- a.k.a. Ahddicted, Human Warlock, Destruction (90)
- +14 more
This has been a letter to my previous addiction, World of Warcraft, MMORPG.
As ridiculous and childish as it may sound, I can assure you it was as real as alcoholism or drug abuse. There are others out there like me, who have suffered through this, and there are anonymous support groups for this as well. The tears and willpower are very real.
Addiction comes in various forms of substance and variety. It is a chemical reaction in the brain, and no single addiction is any more important—or any less—than another. To those of us with addictive personalities, it is a personal collaboration of Heaven and Hell that resides in our conflicted souls.
A lot of addicts can remember the day they quit. For me, it was a Tuesday. It was the day they released Patch 5.4 in the Mists of Pandaria expansion.
I was addicted to World of Warcraft for seven years.
And I have been free and clear since September 10, 2013.
This short story was inspired by a writing prompt. The prompt was:
Pick an object you feel strongly about and tell it how you feel.
If this story or prompt inspired you, let me know in the comments!