A battle. That was what happened and still is happening. . . a bloody battle with myself.
This all battle started because of two games, two action-packed, thrill-inducing and time-consuming games that had me hooked for quite a while and gave me this rush of dopamine that was just WOW.
It starts with a toxic love for PUBG and Call of Duty that leads to heartache and months-long mental battle.
But, before we get into details regarding my soppy break up with those two, lemme give you a little background story of how things came to be:
The background story of our little toxic relationship
Before I pour my heart our about this love story, lemme just make clear that PUBG stands for Player Unknown Battleground and we had been together for almost one year. . . One beautiful year.
As for the other one, Call of Duty, or as would many fellow gamers would call it, COD, we met through a couple of friends and we had been together for a while, too. . . I would say almost a year as well. Well, I used to play them for almost every day, every week, if I recall it correctly (unless I had some major thing that would make me forget them) and it was fun, it was interactive, it was. . . It was euphoric.
Then, later in November 2019, I decided that I really wanted to get things real with God and decided to quit some things.
Quit drinking for fun.
Quit seeking boyfriends for fun or company, not something serious. Come on, to be real, I don’t think I really want to be dating anyone for a heartbreak. . .
I gave up quite a few things and some are in the process, and I am happy with that.
Change takes times.
I have fond memories and regrets, but that’s life. It goes on.
Healing also takes time.
So, I went on with life but still clung to my favourite games because they were awesome and there was really no harm in playing them. . . It wasn’t like I was killing people for real, right?
So I kept at it.
However, I was really determined in staying strongly close to God and around July, I stumbled on something that made me aware that perhaps I had an addiction to my phone.
The thought kept lingering in my head but, I was always fooling myself by saying:
”Nah, I’m not addicted to it. I just use for some stuff. I don’t even stay too many hours with it,”
“Hmm, it's not like I can get rid of my phone just like that. . .”
“I need this phone to promote my blog, my art and to preach the Good News,”
I was totally okay with those excuses; they allowed me to keep my phone with me but, clearly, God was not okay with it.
The thoughts still lingered.
I just love it when I feel like God is pushing me to get rid of something I already know I should discard of but am being stubborn. I love His patience with me and my disobedience.
Anyways. . . I thought: “Maybe I do have an addiction but, how do I begin managing it?”
How do I begin managing it?
What kind of rubbish was I trying to fool myself with?
I may not know a lot about the scientific stuff about addictions and all of that, but one thing that I do know is that people don’t manage addictions, addictions manage people.
It took me some days to admit that I had to get rid of it and that I had to get rid of with the help of God because doing it alone was just a myth.
So, I decided to open my Bible App and find myself a bunch of plans that would help me get rid of my addictions.
I read about what addictions were, their effects and compared those with the things I was going through, and — DING, DING, DING — it seemed like I was really addicted to my phone.
So, what next?
Well, addictions usually don’t go away overnight so I researched a bit more and found out that I should take things gradually.
I can’t throw my phone away.
I use to write my blog posts, my stories, to contact my loved ones, to stay informed, to read.
I couldn’t just throw my phone away like that. . .
Plus, I think my parents would think that I had gone looney, so. . . Yeah, no.
Nonetheless, I had to do something about it because it was straining my relationship with God.
Well, I found out (something obvious, actually) that when you are addicted to something, you invest a lot of time and effort in staying with that thing. Sometimes even money.
And if you invest a lot of time for stuff like that, where’s the time for God?
Now I was busy trying to make time for God when I should be trying to make time for other things.
That‘s not how things should work for us fellow Christians. God should be in the centre of our lives and the rest shall come next. In order to focus more on God, I decided that I had to focus less on my phone and what made me focus more on my phone?
The things on it.
The social media apps
Okay, so I knew what was calling me to the phone so I had to get rid of it. Cool, no problemo.
Ha, sike! Huge problemo.
I was clingy to them. To the rush they had to offer, the euphoria, the stamina. The thrill.
Things that God offers (search euphoria) but was getting from elsewhere.
Things that needed to take the backseat so that I could focus more on the important stuff.
The realisation was there, now I was left with the action to come through.
And it came.
I placed a time limit for all the apps that I knew I was drawn to most of the times and left open the ones that I wasn’t so drawn to (or could limit my time with them manually)
I did that with Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and spring forth.
I didn’t do that with Wattpad, COD and PUBG, though.
Wattpad I use to read and write stories. Awesome app.
But COD and PUBG? Well, those were the babies that I thought I wasn’t really addicted to and could manage.
Well, I thought wrong.
After I denied to limit my time with them automatically (using IOS tech), I found out that whenever I would be away from them, I would feel kinda restless, itchy and in need to play them, even if it was just for five minutes.
So, I would play them for a few minutes but then I wouldn’t win or would lose too soon and feel really pissed, so I would play for a few more minutes until I was too pissed to be bothered with or thrilled with the game.
Do I sound like a junkie?
Maybe, maybe not.
Do you want to join our Facebook community for young Christian women?
Maybe, maybe not but here's the invite:
Anyways, back to the story we go. . .
So, it got worse.
What got worse? The need to play the games. . . That got worse.
The ned to play them at least once a day got bigger and the restlessness I would get whenever I didn’t play them got bigger.
I just wanted at least five minutes and then I would be done. I would be happy, the need would go away.
Well, five minutes can easily turn to twenty when you are playing PUBG and twenty to one hour...
And it seemed like my stomach would boil whenever I finished playing those games, something that usually happens when I feel guilty or sick. Or sickly guilty.
I knew the answer to why that was happening was right in front of me. The Bible studies told me, the voices in my head (my thoughts) told me, my gut feelings literally told me but I ignore it. . .
Until I couldn’t anymore.
I read this book regarding Victory Weekend — A weekend, in my church, dedicated to overcoming our sinful acts and behaviours in our journey as Jesus‘ disciples. They, essentially, help you figure out where are you going wrong, what sins are you clingy to and what you need to let go in order to walk better in this journey with Christ.
Awesome weekend. Revealing weekend that made my stomach flip, but it was worth it.
So, in this book, I was reading the 3rd Chapter that covered matters regarding getting rid of sin, cleaning the whole house (our body, minds and soul) and it was then, as I read that chapter, that it hit me that I had to say goodbye.
That I had to break up with PUBG and COD.
But I was reluctant.
Yeah, yeah. I know, looney, but, it happened so bear with me.
I was reluctant and I decided to google if such games were bad for us Christians? If they were addictive at all...
First, COD came as one of the top 5 most addictive games in the world. Top bloody 5!
So, check that. (Drawing of checking addiction)
Secondly, those are games that focus on battles, on killing people and I know that we, the gamers, are not actually taking anyone’s life but. . . But, the thrill or anxiety we get, or at least I got, when we killed another person, when we almost got killed ourselves felt, um, normal.
Clearly, that’s not supposed to be a normalcy.
We shouldn’t get a rush when we impale virtual character with a round of bullets until they evaporate out of the game.
We shouldn’t get anxious when we hear footsteps of the enemy close to us and we should decide: Go out, find them and potential get killed or kill them, or stay in and wait for them to come to me?
That shouldn’t be normal. Does that even sound normal to you?
That thrill I got whenever my team and I beat over 90 people playing along, it shouldn’t be that deep like I just won the whole World Cup.
Getting pissed because I haven’t killed someone in a game shouldn’t be normal.
But it was, and it was wrong. It felt wrong after much denial.
After being tricked to like such violent things.
It felt wrong, so. . .
I deleted them.
Yup. . . +4K megabytes gone like that. All my privileges in those games, gone in a click!
And, in the very first seconds after deleting them, I didn’t feel the withdrawal symptom. I wasn’t hurting. . . It felt okay.
2 minutes later, though?
I was ready to install them again because I couldn’t bear the thought of not having them on my phone anymore.
I felt sick.
It felt like someone had placed a huge warm on my chest and it was beginning to eat through my flesh, slowly and painfully, to my heart and it was just too heavy that it made staying put or calm a task.
God was right — duh.
I was addicted to it.
I was hurting because I was already missing them when it hadn’t been more than five minutes since I deleted them.
I was craving them.
Heartbroken and a bit puzzled, I went to the living room and told my little sister the crime I had committed.
At first, she said ‘Finally’. 😑
But then she asked, “Why did you do it? Was it because you kill people?”
I said something along, “Yeah, but, it was also addictive and I needed to get rid of it.”
As for my dad, he just looked at me then looked away. (Cheers, dad!).
Then my sister said something along, “You should live. Do what you love. Don’t breathe, live,”
I was dumbfounded but, I think I told her that it was best for me.
I don’t recall it well but I think she said something close to, “Is it because you think you are going to be happy living like that?”
I munched those words after telling her something along the lines of it’s best for me and that I want to live a life where I’m not being fooled into liking hidden addictions. Something along those lines but, I’m almost sure that I told her that I was happy like that or it was best for me.
I kept munching on those words and my guts were twisting and turning as I asked myself:
“Am I really just breathing?”
“Am I throwing away my sources of happiness?”
Those questions always come when people tell me to live a little, and when they mean live a little, they usually mean doing things that don’t really align with the type of life I want but do look fun and thrilling, at least back then.
You see, I don’t really like many things that kids my age seem to:
I don’t really like bash parties or concerts - small gatherings are the best because I feel like I connect more with people like that. (I do love worship concerts. I wish to go to one of Hillsong concerts someday).
I’m not into drinking much — used to drink because everyone was doing it, not because I actually liked it. (Plus, I’m a lightweight baby - get drunk easily 🥺)
I don’t really like living in the moment as if there‘s no chance, no chance at all, of me waking up in the morning — some people be doing reckless things because it is known that tomorrow is not promised. (Yeah, tomorrow is not promised but I won’t be ruining my potential one by recklessly living my today).
So, maybe for others, I’m not living my life the best way possible. Not taking advantages of everything it has to offer. . .
I may not be living a life like most, but I do love my life. I like to keep things lowkey, enjoy the little things that bring colossal joy and focus more on the things that are more meaningful to me.
I don’t like bashes and pop concerts, but I do really enjoy getting together to meet new people or just be in the company of those I really hold close to my heart.
So maybe I don’t do the whole YOLO thing, I’m more of a JOMO (Joy of missing out) type of of person and that’s okay. I like my life to be lowkey. . . To be more meaningful to me, and it is like that.
If it comes to me that I wanna go to a bash party, I will if that’s what I really want, but it’s just not my thing.
So the thought of me just breathing through life is a lie. I’m living life the way I find best, the way I can stay closer to God and guess what? God brings me joy.
Secondly, I should do more of what makes me happy?
Yeah, that works but we need to see when it can be damaging, right?
Let’s say I’m an alcoholic. I love to search for solutions at the bottom of a bottle or just enjoy the numbness it gives me. . .
Should I really be doing more of what I love? Should I really keep on drinking, damaging my life like that, just because I love it?
And the same goes for those games. I love them, but they were doing me wrong and sometimes you have to let the ones you love go.
So, I got rid of them a while back and things have been, well. . . Yeah. They have been something else. . .
This is where we step into stage two of the whole story:
The mental battle for survivor
So, today is December 14, 2020, and I, Nicole Rungo, am hereby giving you an account of the current unfoldings of the mental war I have been going through since I deleted those games.
It has been BRUTAL!
Alright, alright. . . it hasn't been as brutal as you might think but it has been something else, yeah.
In the past few weeks, or even days, I have been thinking a lot about those games - especially now that I decided to decrease the time I spent watching TV and also decided to break up with certain TV shows (that's a rant for another day. Might share it in our Facebook group).
I have thought a lot about going back to them, about the awesome people and teammates that I met in that game and, let me tell you, those thoughts are sneaky tricksters but, The Holy Spirit is powerful and God is faithful.
No matter how strong those thoughts may be and how sometimes I may feel anxious about them, God always comes through and helps me out of that dangerous cliff.
So far, and hopefully, for good, I have been victorious over these temptations to go back to my addictions and I have been making some really progressive steps in my journey with God.
I have failed a whole ton of times - not proud at all - but I am up, God is here and in Christ, I am victorious and all addictions will be broken.
I don't know if you have an addiction you are clinging to or one that you are battling against but, if you do, trust that God is there for you and ready to whisk those nasty things off your life.
It might hurt at first but, it will be worth it.
God is always worth the pain.