How She Quit Her 23-Year Addiction to Playing Video Games
Once she got home after work, Yi Xin fell exhausted to the couch. She thought about how she had once again been unable to keep herself from playing games that day at work and had been scolded and given a warning by her boss. She felt so depressed. For 23 years, Yi Xin had been so addicted to online gaming that she could no longer tell fact from fiction. The characters she played in her games did not eat and did not sleep, nor did they need to study or work, and so when she played these games she did not eat or sleep either, and she came to hate both study and work. Living such an irregular life over a long period had caused her to have frequent health complications. The online games afflicted her with mental and physical exhaustion. She so wanted to quit them, but how could she rid herself of them? She rubbed her temples and frowned deeply.
After a moment, Yi Xin took her cell phone from her bag and told her good friend Xiao Li about what was troubling her. Xiao Li was a Christian who often gave Yi Xin fellowship on the Lord’s teachings from the Bible. Yi Xin gained a lot from these fellowships, and so she always spoke to Xiao Li whenever she had a problem. After she’d sent her message, Yi Xin couldn’t stop her thoughts from drifting back to when it all started….
There had been an exam at elementary school in which Yi Xin had gotten the top grade, and her father had given her a computer as a reward. From that time on, Yi Xin learned how to play video games. In the classroom at school, Yi Xin would often take advantage of the teacher not paying attention to discuss newly released games with her classmates. So as not to be caught by the teacher and so that she could play video games as much as she liked without fear during lessons, Yi Xin chose to sit at the very back of the classroom. Whenever she was doing her homework, she would always feel as though the game was waiting for her, and if she didn’t play it then she would have no chance to upgrade her characters. She would therefore get upset looking at the homework she had to do, and she felt that studying and going over her lessons were just too hard and too boring! Yi Xin grew weary of her life of study, and she dreamed about how wonderful it would be to play online games with her friends every single day!
One time, on the day before an exam, Yi Xin was determined to go over her lessons, but a short while later the urgent prompting of one of her online friends came over the phone: “Yi Xin, our group is waiting for you. Hurry up and get online. We’re attacking the Big Boss!” After she heard this, Yi Xin felt like a cat on hot bricks, and she thought: “I have an exam tomorrow. If I play on the online game, it will definitely impact my exam grade.” Yi Xin quickly convinced herself otherwise, however, thinking: “This isn’t a very important exam, anyway, and it will have no impact on getting into my next school. It won’t matter if I don’t do very well!” And so, amidst the excited promptings of her online friends, Yi Xin was immediately ready for action. She quickly switched on her computer and threw herself into the video game battle.
That day, Yi Xin played online until 4am the next morning. At her exam the next day, Yi Xin’s head was in a daze and her mind was blank, and so her exam grade ended up being highlighted as a fail. As she looked at the grade sheet, she thought of her father who had such high expectations of her, and she felt terrible: “Why can’t I revise my lessons and instead am always drawn in by video games?”
Because her grades had slipped so much, her father confiscated her computer. To suddenly be without her online games, Yi Xin felt incredibly empty and bored. Sometimes, she would dream she was playing online games and, when she awoke to find that it had all been just a dream, her disappointment was doubled. During that time, Yi Xin felt as though she had lost her wits and she was all at sea. She would often stare at the clock in a daze, wishing that time would speed up so that, as soon as she graduated, she could then be totally free to play video games as much as she liked.
Summer vacation finally arrived, and she once again began to wallow in video games every day. Later, Yi Xin happened to see a news report about a student who had died suddenly from playing video games for too long, and she felt a little afraid. She very quickly comforted herself, however, thinking: “As long as I make sure I get enough sleep, then I’ll be fine for sure.” She continued to battle on in her online games and, what’s more, she discovered that if she threw her all into playing the games, she wouldn’t feel hungry or tired. She became inseparable from the games, and she would even fantasize that, if she could be the same as the characters in the games, then dying and coming back to life would be the absolute best thing ever!
One morning, when Yi Xin got up out of bed, she suddenly felt weak all over, her head hurt and she felt dizzy, and she couldn’t stop coughing. She thought that it was because she hadn’t slept enough and that she would be fine after a good rest. Unexpectedly, however, after two weeks of this, not only did Yi Xin’s health not get better, but instead it got even worse. She only had to eat something, and she would not be able to stop vomiting, and her stomach was very sore. Yi Xin finally went to hospital for a checkup. When the doctor learned that Yi Xin had had a very irregular sleeping pattern for a long time because of playing video games, and that this had caused her to develop a hormone imbalance, a nervous disorder and a weakened immune system, he gave her a warning, saying, “Your health is in a bad way. You must not play video games anymore, or else you’ll play yourself to death.” Afterward, Yi Xin’s mother kept an eye on her and forbad her from playing video games. But just like a drug addict, she was completely unable to control her own behavior and, when her condition would begin to show signs of making a slight recovery, she would wait until her family was asleep and then leap out of bed, turn off the lights and play video games in secret.
In time, Yi Xin graduated from school and entered the world of work. Her mind became even more occupied by video games, and she would play online almost every day till three or four in the morning. Because she was going without enough sleep over a long period of time, Yi Xin was always nodding off at work, sometimes even closing her eyes from fatigue while she was on the phone with a customer; all this had a serious impact on her career progression and achievements. When her boss noticed what was going on, he put her on a three-month observation warning, saying that if she didn’t change her ways then she would be fired. That is when Yi Xin finally realized the severity of her problem: If she lost her job, then she would be unable to live, and if she carried on the way she was going, then all would be finished. Yi Xin then began to try her hardest to restrain herself and she did her best to cut down the amount of time she spent playing video games. This didn’t last long, however, and she once again lost herself in the world of online gaming, and even took advantage of times when her boss was out to play online games on her cell phone.
She realized that she had become so addicted to online games that she was already unable to get herself out of this mess, to the point where even eating, sleeping and going to work felt burdensome. Playing online games, on the other hand, allowed her to forget all her problems. Whenever she felt sick, she would wonder whether she would end up just like the person in that news report, dying suddenly from having played games too much. Whenever she thought this, she would become very afraid: “I’m still young and I don’t want to ruin my own life so soon. But how on earth can I rid myself of these games…?” Afterward, through the encouragement of a friend, Yi Xin began to believe in the.
In the first three years after she began to believe in the Lord, the busy church life left Yi Xin no time to play video games and her life returned to normal. She felt so thankful to the Lord Jesus for having saved her. Later, however, her mother’s sudden death caused Yi Xin to fall into a state of pain and, in order to anesthetize herself, she once again threw herself into online gaming. But no matter how many nights she stayed up playing games, not only did she not feel happy, but on the contrary, she felt increasingly empty and helpless, so much so that she even began to entertain thoughts of ending her own life….
With these thoughts in her mind, she began to sob uncontrollably. She had been harmed so much by these games for so many years, so why couldn’t she rid herself of them on her own?
“Ding ding….” The sound of her cellphone intruded upon her thoughts, and she saw that her friend Xiao Li had sent her a passage of God’s words: “For most, after playing these games for a long time, they cannot do any real work anymore; they no longer want to go to school, or work, or think of their futures, much less do they give thought to their lives. … If you speak to them of matters to do with normal humanity, or discuss a topic concerning normal humanity, they cannot bear to hear about it; they are neither interested nor willing to listen, and as soon as they hear it, they roll their eyes and take unkindly to it. They do not share a common language or common topics with normal mankind, yet when they are with other people like themselves, they find things to talk about. … Those who always discuss these topics have their hearts filled with such things. What future prospects do they have? Do they have any future prospects? Can they engage in the activities in which normal humanity should engage? These people put no effort into their studies, and if one were to have them work hard at their jobs, would they be willing to? As soon as you had them work, what would they think? They would think, ‘What’s the point in working? This work is so tiring. How long do I have to do it? Playing games is so much more fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. What can I get out of working? If you work, you still only get to eat three meals a day, don’t you? I haven’t seen it take you anywhere good! Playing games is great; the minute I sit down in front of a computer, I have everything I need. I have a virtual world, and living inside it is enough for me!’ Furthermore, if you made them work from nine to five, getting to work on time and working fixed hours, how would they feel about that? Would they be willing to stick to that schedule? When people are constantly playing games and wasting time on the computer, their will disappears and they become decadent; they then lack normal humanity. They become filled with the violence and killing in these games and with the things of the virtual world. The things of normal humanity are stripped away from them by these games, and they are filled and occupied by those games, and their thoughts are occupied by them; these people have become decadent” (“Believers Must Begin by Seeing Through the World’s Evil Trends”).
As she contemplated God’s words, she thought about how interested in studying she had been before and how she had always gotten good grades. After she had come into contact with online games, however, they had completely taken over her mind, and she had fantasized about being like a character in a game who could live solely in that world of fantasy. She had felt that her real life of studying and doing homework was too troublesome, that taking exams was too exhausting, and that nothing could thrill her as much as playing video games. Therefore, whenever there was a school vacation, games became her entire life. When her classmates finished their homework, they would all agree to meet and go shopping, whereas Yi Xin always refused their invitations and instead would stay at home, playing games and not eating or sleeping. She lost all normal relationships with other people, and she no longer communicated openly with her parents; having an irregular sleeping pattern over the long term caused her to develop one health problem after another, and yet still she had not woken up to the situation. Once she started work, she remained just as addicted to video games as she had been before and was completely uninterested in working. Even when her boss threatened to fire her if she didn’t change her ways, she still continued to play video games in secret. Thinking of all this, Yi Xin finally realized that she had been in the grip of these games for such a long time that she had lost the life that a normal person was supposed to have. She realized that, if she carried on this way, though she may not lose her life, she would still become a cripple, without ambition, without any goal to pursue and without any ability to live. If it had not been for the revelations of God’s words, Yi Xin would never have been able to comprehend how seriously detrimental to people video games are, and so she said a prayer to God, and she made a resolution to quit her video game addiction no matter what.
Over the time that followed, Yi Xin would gather together with her brothers and sisters to read God’s words and fellowship about their own experiences and knowledge. She was very moved by the experiences of her brothers and sisters and, through God’s words, she came to understand some of the mysteries of life. She discovered that all human pain is caused by the harm of Satan and that only by coming before God and living by God’s words can they rid themselves of that pain. Yi Xin felt enriched living with God’s words to guide her, and both the amount of time she spent playing games and the number of times she played them gradually dropped off. After a while, however, whenever she saw an advertisement for a new video game, she still wanted to click on it and play the game. She would then think of the resolution she had made before God, however, and she would refrain from playing.
One evening, her online gaming group sent her a message telling her that there was a new monster and that they needed her character to join in. If they could defeat this monster, they said, they would win some rare weapons and equipment. When she saw this news, Yi Xin could hardly contain her excitement, and she began to pace back and forth before the computer, feeling very torn: “This is a great opportunity to upgrade our equipment. I can’t miss out on it! But I’ve said a prayer to God telling Him that I wouldn’t play video games anymore. If I play them again, won’t I have lied to God? On the other hand, an online addiction is not something that one can quit in a couple of days. It should be fine just to play them once or twice more. God will forgive me.” Yi Xin was still unable to resist temptation, so she once again switched on the computer and began to play with her online friends, only going to bed the next morning. After she awoke, Yi Xin thought about how she had failed to overcome temptation and she felt an incredible sense of pain and self-reproach. She hated her lack of willpower and wondered how it was that she had fallen back into her old ways so soon.
Later, Yi Xin told Xiao Li about the state she was in and Xiao Li sent her some more passages of God’s words: “How do those games come about? Do they not come from Satan? … This evil world uses all manner of methods to attract people who have not seen through the world and the evil trends of humanity; these are particularly seductive to such people.” “The devil Satan does these things in order to tempt people and bring them to depravation. Those who live in the virtual world have no interest whatsoever in anything to do with the life of normal humanity; they are just not in the mood to work or study. Their only concern is going to the virtual world, as though they are being enticed by something. Whenever they get bored or are in the midst of doing some proper work, they want to play games instead, and gradually, gaming becomes their whole life” (“Believers Must Begin by Seeing Through the World’s Evil Trends”). “What part of man does Satan destroy? (Man’s mind and entire being.) Satan destroys your mind, making you powerless to resist, meaning that, little by little, your heart turns toward Satan in spite of yourself. It instills these things in you every day, every day using these ideas and cultures to influence and groom you, undermining your will little by little, so that eventually you no longer desire to be a good person, so that you no longer wish to stand up for what you call ‘righteousness.’ Unknowingly, you no longer have the willpower to swim against the current, but instead flow along with it. … Each one of these tricks that Satan employs to corrupt man renders man powerless to resist; any one of them can be deadly to man. In other words, anything Satan does and any tricks it employs can cause you to degenerate, can bring you under Satan’s control and can mire you in a quagmire of evil and sin. Such are the tricks Satan employs to corrupt man” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”).
Xiao Li gave Yi Xin fellowship, saying, “God’s words clearly expose for us the essence of video games. From the outside, it seems as though online games were invented by man, when in truth they are an evil trend that finds its roots in Satan, and they are a means by which Satan controls, harms and devours people. Satan is the archangel who rebelled against God in the very beginning, and after God defeated it and sent it down to earth, it has since been corrupting and harming mankind whom God created. It uses the theories of the great and famous, the spreading of messages through film and television and the impact that our social environment has on us in order to indoctrinate us with such heresies and fallacies as ‘Life is just about eating and dressing,’ ‘Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short,’ and ‘Life is short. Enjoy it while you can,’ so that all of mankind live lives of eating, drinking and merry-making, and so that we become more and more wicked and depraved. Especially in this technologically advanced age, Satan has taken hold of the human mentality that seeks stimulation and that yearns for a supernatural life, it has given rise to this evil trend of online gaming, and it uses this trend to satisfy all the many desires that people have that cannot be realized in real life. In this way, our hearts come entirely under Satan’s control, we lose our autonomy, we lose the correct goals we should be seeking in life, and we end up living in unrealistic fantasies. Just as the words of God reveal, it is like taking a drug; once you start playing then you’re hooked, and the more you play, the more you want to play, until finally you no longer wish to study or go to work, and over time you lose the sort of life a normal person is supposed to have and, in severe cases, you end up being harmed and devoured by Satan. There are many in life who end up being kicked out of school or losing their jobs because they play online games; married couples come to be at loggerheads with one another because one is addicted to online games and the other is not, and many end up getting divorced; and there are even some who actually regard real life as though it were a fantasy world and they do absurd and terrifying things, and they either kill their parents or the people around them thinking that they’re monsters, or they maim or kill themselves. And although weand read God’s words, and we know clearly that playing video games is a way in which Satan harms us, we still can’t control ourselves and we become mired in the temptations of Satan, we cannot struggle free, and we lose our testimony before God. From this, we can see that video games are not just a harmless means of entertainment but are rather a trap laid for us by Satan, a trap that, once we fall into it, is very difficult to climb back out of. Instead, we just get mired ever deeper until we end up being toyed to death by Satan and completely devoured. Therefore, it is because we don’t understand the truth and cannot see through Satan’s deceitful schemes that we are led by Satan onto this wicked road. We now believe in God, and so we must see things according to God’s words, rely on God to overcome the temptations of Satan, and no longer indulge ourselves or submit to being harmed by Satan.”
God’s words and Xiao Li’s fellowship allowed Yi Xin to understand that online games are actually a means by which Satan corrupts people, and that Satan is there manipulating people behind the scenes. It was no wonder the moment someone started playing video games they became addicted as to a drug, and it became hard for them to quit it. Yi Xin thought back to when she’d started playing games when she had simply been curious about them. But the more she played, the more addicted she had become, and even when she later developed serious illnesses, she still couldn’t quit playing—she had simply become a slave to video games. After she began to believe in God, although she was resolved to reject these games, whenever she encountered Satan’s temptations, she was still unable to control herself and she was duped by Satan over and over because she was under the control of these video games. Just then, Yi Xin saw clearly that Satan uses video games to tempt and corrupt people with the aim of making people become addicted to them, so that they lose the lives that normal people should have, they become more and more degenerate until, finally Satan toys with them and harms them until they die. Yi Xin thought of Satan’s malicious intentions and then she thought of all the pain she had caused herself from playing video games for so many years, and she decided that she no longer wished to be controlled or hurt by Satan.
Afterward, Xiao Li and Yi Xin watched a movie together called Child, Come Back Home. Yi Xin was deeply moved by it. She saw that the experiences of the protagonist Xinguang were just the same as her own, both having been tightly fettered by video games. Xinguang, however, was able to rely on God to utterly cast off the bonds that video games had on him and he embarked upon the path of a life of light; Yi Xin admired him so. She saw this passage of God’s words in the movie: “People should implore God frequently so that they do not fall into temptation and succumb to Satan’s deceptions. In this evil time, in this age infested by devils, you should pray that God’s kindness and protection will be with you often, and that He looks after you and protects you, so that your heart does not leave Him and you strive to be able to worship Him honestly and with all your heart and spirit” (“Believers Must Begin by Seeing Through the World’s Evil Trends”). God’s words gave Yi Xin faith. She believed God to be almighty and, if the protagonist in the movie could rely on God to quit playing video games, then all she had to do was rely on God and she’d definitely be able to quit her gaming addiction. And so, Yi Xin prayed to God, saying: “O God! I really want to cast off the bonds that video games have on me and I no longer wish to live being toyed with and harmed by Satan. But my stature is so small, I am without the truth, and therefore I am easily deceived by Satan. Please, I ask You to give me the faith and strength I need to enable me to forsake my flesh and not get caught in Satan’s deceitful schemes. I wish to live like a human being by Your words, and if I play video games again, then I ask that You discipline me.”
Over the days that followed, Yi Xin sold her high-spec computer and her gaming console and replaced them with a normal computer that could not play games. Furthermore, she persisted with reading God’s words and praying to God, she continued to attend gatherings with her brothers and sisters to fellowship God’s words, and she focused on establishing a normal relationship with God. As time wore on, her desire to play video games fell away.
Later, because she had to learn a new profession in her company, Yi Xin had to watch some videos, and while they were playing, each and every video would show links or adverts for online games. Sometimes, Yi Xin couldn’t help herself and wanted to click on them just to see what they were about. One time, when Yi Xin was looking for a video, a link for a video game caught her eye, and she thought: “It’s OK if I just take a quick look. I’ll just look this once and not again.” Yi Xin then clicked on the link to enter the website. Not long after she’d entered the website, however, to her surprise she suddenly felt a sharp pain in her heart. She hurriedly closed the browser window, and she realized with crystal clarity that this was God disciplining her. She saw that, although she had been deeply poisoned by video games, she still did not have the determination to forsake Satan. She had made a resolution before God and then had broken her resolution, and yet God did not give up trying to save her. Instead, God had used His discipline as a way to remind her, so that she would gradually rid herself of the bonds and control of video games, and no longer be corrupted and harmed by Satan. She was filled with gratitude to God, and she became determined to rely on God to get online gaming out of her life for good, and so that she would not rebel against or grieve God ever again.
Later on, Yi Xin remembered that she was still part of an online gaming group of which she’d been a member since she was a child. Every time she went to work, they would send her messages which distracted her mind, and so she felt that she ought to leave this group. Just when she’d made up her mind to do this, however, she hesitated: “These people have been my friends for over 10 years. Should I really break with them in this way?” Yi Xin felt reluctant to take this course of action, but just then these words of God came into her mind: “Do not engage with anything that pulls your heart toward external matters, or with people who separate your heart from God. Whatever it is that can distract your heart from being close to God, put it aside, or stay away from it. This is of greater benefit to your life” (“On Quieting Your Heart Before God”). Yi Xin then understood that keeping her distance from her online gaming group would be good for her breaking her gaming addiction and also for her life growth. And so, she sent her group a message that said: “I’m a Christian now and I have to attend church gatherings from now on. I won’t be playing games anymore, so please don’t send me any invites from now on!” She then left the gaming group which had been her constant companion for over 10 years.
After that, whenever an advert link for a video game popped onto her computer screen, Yi Xin would think, “This is a temptation of Satan, and it is one of Satan’s deceitful schemes.” At the same time, she realized that God was by her side watching over her. She no longer wanted to be toyed with or harmed by Satan, or to make God grieved and disappointed, and so she would skip past the ad links, and she remained resolved not to look at them. Whenever she heard her workmates discussing video games, she would keep calling on God in her heart, asking Him to protect her and enable her to overcome the seductions and temptations of Satan. After a while, Yi Xin discovered that video games no longer held as much attraction for her as they used to. Whenever she had the time, she would be quiet before God and read God’s words or else gather together with her brothers and sisters and perform their spiritual devotions. Her life had a pattern to it, she was healthy, and her efficiency at work increased as well. Now, whenever Yi Xin sees a video game, she feels no desire to play it whatsoever.
Through her experiences, Yi Xin came to appreciate God’s true love for people, and she saw God’s beautiful and good essence. Even more so, she perceived the authority and power held by God’s words. Besides God, no one and no educational organization could have saved her from the bonds of online gaming or rid her of the corruption and harm of Satan. Just as God’s words say, “Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk through life on the righteous path of light; only through God can you know the meaning of life; only through God can you live out real humanity and both possess and know the truth. Only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer. This is determined by the essence of God. Only God Himself saves you so selflessly; only God is ultimately responsible for your future, for your destiny and for your life, and He arranges all things for you. This is something that nothing created or non-created can achieve” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”). Now, Yi Xin is absolutely certain that the only correct goal to pursue in life is to believe in God, follow God, read God’s words and pursue the truth, and her determination to follow God is greater than ever!
Read more on our Overcoming Gaming Addiction page, or click on the related articles below.