Friends. I stand on the precipice of addiction. Like a crack addict who has beaten the habit and stumbled upon an errant crack pipe, I stare at the precipice of the pipe’s lip. I lean forward. My mouth hovers over the beloved cauldron that held my crack and scorched its contents into my lungs — and I lick the bowl.

I have logged back into World of Warcraft.

Have you ever heard hoof-beats echo in the amaranthine paradise of Zangarmarsh? Have you ever jonesed for Botanica?

You’re never really free of WoW’s talons. Your mind never recovers once your nostrils inhale deep of WoW’s pure item-hungry powder.

I keep pictures.

Look at her. Look at my female warrior.

When you die in WoW, you become a spirit of your character and have to run back to your slain body to resurrect yourself. In this screenshot I have fallen off a cliff and died on a spike that protruded halfway down the gargantuan mountain. In order to resurrect I had to leap off the cliff’s edge and attempt to land several seconds down on that exact same spike.

In many ways, my current situation is not unlike this screenshot.

You see … many moons have passed since I left the town of Stormwind behind me. Since then I’ve tried to forget the terrors I beheld beneath week old pizza boxes, and the twisted nightmares that have haunted my every waking moment. There‚Äôs something dark within me now; I can feel it, driving me towards the login screen, assuring me that my salvation lies within the ruins of ancient kingdoms. Though I know the way, I know not what events will arise to enable my journey, and as I pass through the Authentication check, I know that the better part of my soul will remain behind …

Forever.