The results of my gaming addiction could have been worse. Out of the six of us who shared the suite, I was one of three that graduated from the university. Instead of letting my gaming habit get the better of me, I took the opportunity to take stock of my situation. If I was prioritizing games above my other responsibilities, perhaps there was a reason: I was playing games instead of going to class because I had chosen the wrong major. So, I changed majors completely, dropped all but one of my computer science classes and began my studies in creative writing.

When gaming addiction starts to have a negative impact on your life, it can be an indication you are doing something you don't want to do in other areas of your life. I saw my gaming addiction as a sign that I didn't really want to write code for the rest of my life, and out of my three friends that failed to graduate, two of them have returned to school with different majors. In this way, a gaming addiction, although detrimental in the short term, can be helpful in the long term. With behavioral addictions, gaming or otherwise, it almost always seems the addiction is a symptom of a greater problem rather than the addiction itself.

I'm still a gamer. A year after that fateful semester, I purchased a Dreamcast and have fond memories of marathon Soul Calibur sessions. Gaming will always be a part of me; it's who I am. In my day to day life, I don't think of it as an addiction. For the most part, it's no more of an addiction than my enthusiasm for good beer or good books. I game daily - I have an active World of Warcraft account - and absorb gaming news as fast as I can read it. In the back of my mind, I just remind myself there are more important things than gaming.

For most of us, we don't even notice our gaming as an addiction. There are some of us who have trouble putting the controller down. And, there are still more of us, myself included, for whom gaming is only a problem when we allow it to be. Regardless of your situation, we all need to remember games are just that: games. We need to remember there are more important things in life. So, before you start your next session, take a step back and ask yourself one question: Are you doing it for the pleasure of the game, or the distaste of something else?

Brian Easton is a freelance writer currently working on his first novel and maintaining a healthy gaming addiction.

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