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On Mafia Wars Addiction, or: How Blogging Saved Me

At a castle in Sintra, Portual, un-addicted to Mafia Wars!

At a castle in Sintra, Portual, un-addicted to Mafia Wars!

Confession: I used to be a Mafia Wars addict. Like… a REALLY bad Mafia Wars addict.

For those who are blissfully unaware, Mafia Wars is a game through the Zynga platform on Facebook which involves clicking buttons over and over (and over) again to “Do Jobs” and perform “Hits” against other players in order to gain loot and status. It’s brainless. It’s utterly enjoyable. It’s magnetically addictive.

In 2009, before I left America to travel around the world for nine months, here’s how my addiction would go each day: I would come home from teaching, exhausted, sidle up to my laptop… then rabidly play Mafia Wars for a really long time. Did I want to procrastinate grading or planning during the weekend? I’d play Mafia Wars instead.

We all need our escapes. We all have our obsessions. BUT, all I can say is praise the power of an Around the World journey to re-boot and re-shape my addiction! Can you guess what has 110% replaced Mafia Wars in my heart and time? That’s right: my websites!

My brother goofing around in Sintra, Portugal!

My brother goofing around in Sintra, Portugal!

Once I started AroundTheWorldL.com and realized how much fun it was to WRITE and to interact with an ever-growing audience, there became no more need (and no more time) to clickity-click old Mafia Wars! Now that I’ve launched an additional website, TeachingTraveling.com, I am officially safe from being tempted back to the clutches of online game addiction.

Here are some reasons it’s AWESOME to create and run websites instead of play games:

1. Social Circle Expansion. Running websites gives you an excuse to reach out to, meet, and interact with amazing people from around the world. Because of my website networking (you HAVE to network to get readers, contributors, and clout), I have the coolest circle of new friends and “coworkers.” I also now have a legitimate excuse to approach fancy hot-shot folks, rather than just saying: “Um, hi, I’m Lillie and I like Mafia Wars.”

2. Brain Development. When you design and administer websites, you are forced to learn new things each day. Since starting this blog last July, I feel like I’ve completed the equivalent of three years of college Computer Science courses, simply through trial and error and reaching out for advice to the new friends explained in reason one!

3. Creativity Flexing. Got writing skills? Art skills? Photography? You will flex the heck out of them when you run a website… and what makes this even cooler is that others around the world will start to see your creative work and encourage you in its development! What a dream come true.

In Portugal, feeling FREE from Mafia Wars addiction!

In Portugal, feeling FREE from Mafia Wars addiction!

4. Power. Part of the allure of Mafia Wars is that you work and work (and by “work” I mean “click”) in order to get a higher and higher status rank. Growing a website is the same feeling… but a million times better!

Ooo the joy of seeing that the Facebook Fan Page for this site is nearing 1,000 fans (have YOU joined yet?), and that in merely one week, the Fan Page for TeachingTraveling.com is near 300 fans!

The moral of this story is as follows:

There is some addiction in your life right now that is wasting your time. Maybe you’re constantly saying, “I should quit doing this stupid thing,” but the truth is that it’s very difficult to abruptly quit and leave an empty void. What you need is a REPLACEMENT addiction.

Replace your brainless obsession with an obsession which will use your intellect and creativity, while expanding your social network, while adding to your power and clout in this world… and perhaps also contributing to society!

What will your new addiction be? Exercise? Cooking? Volunteering? Singing? Or… Website Design?

If you have an experience with addiction replacement or are struggling to shift addictions yourself, please leave a comment telling your tale!

Like these Portugal photos? Click here for the stories and pictures from my journey through Portugal!

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