Tooned Out

Suburban mommy talks about kicking her online gaming habit.

Location: Redmond, Washington, United States

Just another face in line at the grocery store...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Not Just Me

I want to talk about my son today. It's not easy for me, as we're in a really tough patch right now on his journey to productive adulthood.

My son is 18. He is a game addict just like his mom. He has other problems to be sure, but gaming addiction is the straw that broke the camel's back. He has dropped out of school now, and even though he no longer plays WoW (I cut his internet connection), he hasn't got a job, or any plans for the future that I'm aware of.

I have a wonderful therapist that I see regularly. She's a cognitive therapist, action oriented, not the smarmy "and how does that make you feel?" type. She and I together came up with a plan to help my son become the responsible adult that he must someday become. I think that it has a chance of succeeding, and it's not a novel or unusual plan. We have set a deadline and he must move out.

I have known this date was coming for a long time. I gave my son plenty of warning, ample time to get a job and save some money, get things in place for himself. Of course he hasn't done any of that. We have a few more days left and I am at my wits end. I can't sleep, my stomach is like a boiling cauldron, I am terrified. I sure as hell never wanted his life in my care to end this way.

Part of the plan is that, unknown to him, if he doesn't manage to get some money together himself, I will give him a few hundred dollars to keep himself alive initially. So he won't starve and he should be able to keep a roof over his head for a while, but it's all so, well, heartrendingly disappointing. This is a bright kid. He tested in the 94th percentile in the standard achievement test he took in 4th grade. He was reading at a 9th grade level in 2nd grade. He's funny, attractive, imaginative. He has so much potential, all mostly wasted so far.

The thing is I feel like such a colossal failure as a parent. I can't help but think that if I had done a better job, been a better mom, he would be off to college now instead of being sent off in seeming disgrace, "kicked out" by his parents. I can look back and see so many wasted opportunities. So many moments that I could've used to make our relationship better, all gone now. I can tell myself that I wasn't the worst parent in the world (not by a long shot), and that's true, but in the end I still failed.