I need help. For the last few years, I have been playing Farmville to the point of addiction! It has taken over my life to the point where I spend several hundred dollars a month on Farmville cash to spend on my farm. At first I justified the expense, arguing that Farmville is my only form of entertainment, but I have reached the point where I can no longer justify the amount of time and money I spend playing this online game.
This year, I found myself unable to sit through Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws because I kept excusing myself to go to the bathroom. My mother-in-law thought her cooking wasn't agreeing with me; but the truth is, I was playing Farmville on my iPhone. I did not start my holiday shopping until Christmas Eve, because it seemed like every time I had a spare moment, my farm needed my attention. At Christmas dinner, I excused myself at least a dozen times to check on my Farmville missions before my husband confiscated my iPhone and told me that I could choose between Farmville or the Funny Farm, because that is where he will be sending me if I don't start putting people ahead of my gaming.
I tried to make an honest effort to give up Farmville, but found myself unable to go more than a few hours without checking on my farm. Unlike the rest of my life, Farmville brings me such delight! I thought I could sneak in some Farmville time while my husband is at work and the kids are out of the house, and set my crops to grow/pause when my husband is home, but I discovered this morning that he put a parental block on Facebook and Farmville.com! He has not given me back my iPhone, so I went to store to try and buy a new laptop (so I could play on a computer without a parental block) where I discovered that he removed my name from our credit card accounts! As a homemaker, I have no income of my own; and cannot get a credit card in my name to outmaneuver my husband. I decided to try one last tactic and went to the local library to log-on to Farmville from there, but I discovered that my password is no longer working!
When I confronted my husband about my day, he confirmed setting the parental controls after changing my Facebook password; removing my name from our credit card accounts; and cancelling my iPhone service (and paying a hefty fee that could have been spent on more useful items). I feel like he is treating me like a child! I realize that I have an addiction, but I think I should be allowed to overcome it in my own way; in my own time. My husband disagrees, saying that he has been trying to get me to stop playing Farmville for months now, and that his extreme measures were required. Tazi-Kat, I honestly don't know what he is talking about; these extreme measures are the first time I have noticed his disapproval of my gaming, and I think he is making things up to defend his grossly inappropriate behavior. What do you think, Tazi-Kat?
Suzie The Farmer
Dear Suzie The Farmer:
Although I do not approve of your husband's tactics - or his use of the play-on-words "Funny Farm" - I am going to split my decision on this argument. Your addiction is far too strong to try and conquer on your own, and drastic measures may be required. However, the controlling measures your husband took to try and get you to stop gaming were just plain wrong. You are his wife, not his child, and this addiction is one that you must work to conquer together.
From the tone of your letter, you have been tuning out life around you in preference for Farmville; to the point where you ignore your family on the holidays. Are you aware of how much you have been ignoring your husband and children the rest of the year? The fact that your husband claims that he has been trying to get you to stop playing Farmville "for months now" and this is the first time you are actually hearing him - after he has taken away your access to the game - leads me to believe that you have been tuning out much more than you realize.
I realize that Farmville brings you great joy, but that joy is coming at the detriment of your relationships with others. If the rest of your life is not as delightful as Farmville, you need to concentrate your energies on discovering why you find life to be such a drag, and take steps to remedy the problem(s). Since you are unable to go for more than a few hours without playing Farmville, I do not think independently weaning yourself off of the game is the best course of action at this point.
Video games - and computer games, like Farmville - provide for instant gratification, and can be as addictive as drugs or alcohol. For that reason, you will need a supervised recovery program. I suggest that you contact a certified mental health professional, and make an appointment to discuss the issues that leave you seeking an escape from real life. Once you are aware of how to conquer that which is driving you to invest so much time, money, and attention into Farmville you may discover that the game holds less and less of an attraction to you.
As an aside, I would like to mention that marriage counseling might be helpful in opening the doors of communication between you and your husband. You lament the "hefty fee" your husband had to pay when he cancelled your iPhone account; yet you admit to spending "several hundred dollars a month" on Farmville. It seems to me that the Great Shut Off was an investment in your financial future, as well as your marital future; but again, this is something that you should discuss with a licensed therapist, not a cat.
P.S. Please give a snuggle to your children from me. It sounds like they could use some attention.