Former video game addict Ryan van Cleave almost lost everything as his life became consumed by online gaming.
At the height of his addiction Ryan van Cleave had little time for his real life. World of Warcraft, a video game, had crowded out everything: his wife and children, his job as a university English professor.
Before classes, or late at night while his family slept, he would squeeze in time at the computer. He would often eat meals at the computer – microwave burritos, energy drinks, foods that required only one hand, leaving the other free to work the keyboard and mouse.
Living inside World of Warcraft (WoW) seemed preferable to the drudgery of everyday life. Especially when that life involved fighting with his wife about how much time he spent on the computer.
"Playing WoW makes me feel godlike," Van Cleave wrote. "I have ultimate control and can do what I want with few real repercussions. The real world makes me feel impotent … a computer malfunction, a sobbing child, a suddenly dead cellphone battery – the littlest hitch in daily living feels profoundly disempowering."