DEAR HARRIETTE: I started playing games on my phone during the pandemic, and I realized today that I am totally hooked. That may seem childish, but more importantly, it is expensive. These games lure you in, and the next thing you know, you are spending money to buy more chances to do something. The dollars add up fast. The game is fun, but the bill at the end of the month is outrageous. I probably spent several thousand dollars this summer playing games. How can I wean myself off of this habit? I am not a teenager. I can’t even believe I have been this stupid. It’s nuts, but I love it. How can I stop? -- Addicted
DEAR ADDICTED: You have taken the first step by acknowledging that you have a problem. Now it’s time for your self-discipline to kick in.
Give yourself a reality check. How much money do you earn every month? Do you have a fixed income, or do your earnings vary from month to month? Figure out what your average income is and write it down. Next, make a list of all of your bills each month. Write it down, starting with fixed expenses. Then add incidentals, down to every little thing -- including gaming. When you look at it in black and white, it may become easier for you to recognize where your money is going.
If possible, delete the games that have costs attached to them. Give yourself boundaries around when you can use your phone. Store your phone in another room when you are sleeping. Get therapy if you need further support to stop your addiction. Just know that you can do it. You only have to make up your mind that the games will not run your life.