I should probably start by saying I'm not much of a writer, and I'll beg your forgiveness for my wanton switching between tenses and my abnormally-sized sentences. Anyway, on with the story.
My whole live I've played videogames. It probably started when I was about 4, at nursery. My first real memory was the first time I got to play with the PC we had there. It was a tower with a Snoopy game on it, and I played it every day. Not long after that we got a Playstation. We had an N64 in the house for a few years but by the time I was competent enough to play it, it had broken and been replaced by the Sony box.
Since then I've been a gamer through and through, I probably got 2 hours a day in when I was a kid, but that quickly spiraled in my teenage years, and hit its peak in 2010/11 when I was 17. It became a fully-fledged addiction - I'd play 8-10 hours a day on top of my college attendance, I went months without seeing my friends and powered through two or three new games a week, my thirst became insatiable and it took it's toll on my life in more ways than one.
I'm no genius, but I was taught well as a child and I took my GCSE exams (aged 16, the UK standard) and passed with 11 A-grades and an A*. It was great for me and my confidence, but once I got into college (16-18) it all changed. In my first year I scraped through with a C and 3 Ds, and it ruined me. It killed any possibility of ever going to a 'red-brick' university and becoming a successful, well I don't know what. I couldn't believe that it would ever happen to me, but I had spent a year playing 60 hours a week and it was killing me academically and socially. The ties between me and my family started to break down, I was aggressive and incredibly defensive in my addiction, I was totally out of touch with home-life and current events. I was a ghost in my own home.
So now I'm 18 years old and 9 days from starting the exams that'll determine the university I go to, it's been more than two weeks since I played a videogame. This is the longest I've gone without playing a game since I was 4 years old and honestly, I don't miss it that much. It wasn't easy - deleting the ~300GB of games from my laptop was pretty painful - but it was necessary. It took my own family to force the realisation upon me, but now I know that what I was doing was wrong. I've always taken pride in being a gamer, but to me there's a distinction between gaming for pleasure - what I really want - and gaming through necessity.
I still don't spend as much time studying as I should do, but it's a Hell of a lot better than it was before. I sleep well at night knowing that my family and I are close again.
I have 6 weeks left, and then I have 3 months of summer, during which I plan to build a gaming PC and pursue my dream of becoming a videogame developer - a dream I only realised I could achieve after failure scuttled any possibility of becoming an Economist or a Historian, things I never wanted to be.
Will things ever return to the way they were? I sure as Hell hope not.
Six weeks, what is that... like 42 days?