Rest in Peace Girthier

In what I hope will be one small step for Hugh, but one giant leap for Hughkind, I uninstalled World of WarCraft tonight, hopefully freeing myself once and for all from its diabolical clutches. This is truly a disturbing addiction, one that has monopolized my time and thoughts for far too long. And so, with an eye toward reclaiming my life, I bid my beloved Night Elf adieu.

Rest in peace, you fat bastard.

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No Responses to “Rest in Peace Girthier”

  1. Not a WOW Junky says:

    Oh my GOD, Hugh.  Oh my GOD!  When I saw you last night we were in mixed company and I had no time to really ask you about your decision to quit your guild.  Instead I just tossed off a comment, but I thought it was a pretty big deal on reflection.  Then THIS!  What happened between when you left last night and when I woke up this morning to make you quit cold turkey???

    Well, while I hate to see this happen to your character and see your friends on Lothar get dealt such a blow as to lose such a great leader, I gotta say that ultimately it seems like a good decision.  Not only for your work, but even for your (non wow) play. 

    I wish I were the kind of person who could just smoke a cigarette at a party.  I wish doing so didn’t mean opening the door to a pack-a-day habit for me.  But that’s the reality of it, and as such, I just can’t put a cigarette to my lips.

    And it seems too that this is your relationship with WOW.  But I hardly think you should tell the folks at DC comics about this. 

    Anyway, congrats – not so much on quitting the game, but just on taking control of something that you felt was getting the better of you.  That’s a big decision and not a lot of people have the courage to do so.  I hope this opens a door to finding tiers of elite (metaphorical) armor awaiting you in real life.



    Hey, let’s go to Fry’s and get Dungeons and Dragons Online.  Noon?

  2. Fat Ass says:

    It’s the kind of thing I had to just do, and then deal with afterward. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile– I’ve tried to do it half-assed a couple times before, but I kept making excuses.

    I had a friend spend some time with me lately, and he was going through some life troubles, and I came to the realization that he was doing the most damage when he was lying to himself. It’s one thing to lie to others and create trouble in your life, but when you’re lying to yourself, you’re digging a hole in your self respect and your ability to control yourself. I made myself a lot of promises and broke most of them, and so it had to be all or nothing.

    Lisa and I had a talk about it last night, and she clearly had been feeling a lot of the same things I had been worrying about. We actually compared it to her quitting smoking, and my take on that was that it was not easy, but it was simple. This was not easy, and I’m sure in the coming days it will be very hard, but it is simple. I just have to not be playing. Even if I’m not being productive, finding other, less intrusive, all-consuming and insidious ways to occupy my time will allow my brain to reclaim control and, God forbid, introduce me to other aspects of life. Even if, worst case in the world, it’s playing another video game– at least I’d be broadening my horizons.

    This won’t have any impact on my potential gig at DC– I could write the comic for years based on my the knowledge I already have, or, after the weeks leading to months of jumping through hoops to get that job, I can load the game up again and play in a very controlled state. This is the second time I’ve quit cold turkey, after all.

    And in all fairness, I haven’t erased my character, I’m still paying my monthly bill. I’ve simply deleted the game from my computer and all of my hotlinks from my web browser. I could be up and playing in about 2 hours. But that two hours is a godsend– imagine if it took you two hours to take that impulsive cigarette. The maelstrom (I said it) of emotions would probably explode until you just didn’t take it.

    I feel good now. A little dazed and frustrated and embarrassed and afraid and excited and hungry. There’s a whole lot more time in my day now. Time to start living again.

    PS: I’ll never play another MMO ever again. I have no doubt I’ll play WoW again, one day, but I’m never, ever starting one of these goddamn things ever, ever, ever again.

  3. Junky says:

    Really inspiring.  Now THIS is an article.  Good for you, my friend.  That is an incredibly realist and healthy attitude.  My more people look at themselves with such scrutiny and objectivity.  Glad you have such an amazing support system as well.  Kudos!

  4. Eros Welker says:

    Wonderful news!!  As a video game addict myself, I love it when other people are stronger than I am.

  5. Christa says:

    Nicely done, Hugh.  And now I don’t have to quit Sanguis ;P

    I’ve been playing less and less lately myself… it’s amazing how much I’m getting done now that the game isn’t accounting for every single non-cubicled moment of my life.

    I promise to never ever ever ask you to start playing again.

  6. Fat Ass says:

    Well, I’m not prepared to say I’ll never play again– I don’t want to set myself up for failure by suggesting such a thing. I’m just not going to play for a considerable amount of time which I’ll measure by my life achievements. I certainly won’t play again until I’ve written another screenplay, and hopefully by the time that’s over, I’ll be closer to having the financing to direct one of the scripts I’m trying to go forward with.

    But when I do play again, neither I or all of you will let me forget the dangers of letting it get away from me. I’m sure this all seems overdramatic, but when you step back and look at the wasteland this has turned my creative life into, it can’t be overstated.

    I’ve already had an incredibly productive day and I’m simply dismissing any thought of the game. Knowing that I’ve told everybody and there’s no going back without shame and ridicule is a huge boon, too.

    Thanks to all of you for helping me save myself from myself.

  7. Rebecca says:


    I have no concept for how much of your life has been involved in WoW, but based on the stories I’ve heard, it sounds like this is an amazing turn in your life.  Congratulations on making the step (leap) into some other way to live.  Scary for sure.

    I know it’s not entirely relevant, but I met this man in college who had been institutionalized three times.  All he had to do was stay on his meds and he could lead a normal life, but he couldn’t stay consistent and would eventually stop taking the meds.  His condition was dangerous (actually he’d hurt people badly when he was ill).  He’d been arrested and they were coming to collect him for the fourth time.  So, I took the chance to ask the question – why don’t you just stay on the meds?  He said he understood what it was like to be insane, but he had no idea what it was like to be normal.  That fear of the unknown kept him from being able to handle the change.

    I remember that all the time when I am thinking of making a change in my life.  Fear of the unknown – the what do I do with myself now – is the worst barrier to change and improvement. 

    I’m really really really proud of you for this decision and you can be my inspiration to not go for that jelly donut at my next meeting

  8. Fat Ass says:

    I appreciate that, Rebecca. And I really appreciate the kind words from everyone. This is the sort of thing you can easily gloss over and not take seriously because it’s such a bizarre, unbelievable and seemingly mundane thing to be addicted to, but I’m going to know myself well enough to not let me beat myself up over my choice of vice and just be happy about the fact that I’m kicking it, whatever it is.

    I had an incredibly productive day today– it took me all last week to outline four issues of the comic book I’m working on, and I did two today in addition to finishing up an article. Even in my downtime, I was reading instead of playing and taking notes for the script I’m about to start. If the improvement is that quick and noticeable, it’s clear that I’ve made the right decision.

  9. DougGold says:

    I think this is an amazing thing you’ve done. I wonder how many people are out there that have fallen too hard for the escapism that WoW offers and do not have the strength to break free. I can’t imagine how much you’re about to accomplish now that you don’t have that distraction. I think Hugh Sterbakov as he will be 5-6 decades from now will look back on this as one of the best decisions ever made in his life.

    And since you’re often concerned about money, I have to wonder how much you could get for the Elf if you were to sell him…

  10. Lisa says:

    As I am sure you can all imagine, I am unbelievably proud of the big guy.  All of your support means sooooo much to both of us.

    On a totally separate note, WTF is this site?  Why do all of you know about it and yet I am totally left in the dust?  I promise to watch Star Wars 35 more times, buy GI Joe action figures, and play Zelda if you will keep letting me peek around in here. 

    Love you guys.

  11. Fats Ahoy says:

    Uh-oh, she knows! Quick, everyone move the entire operation!

    Like my comic book collection, I just desperately don’t want to sell the character because I feel like it’s a part of me. Yes, I’m sure I could get some money for it (probably around $1500), but that’s the equivalent of probably five or so video game articles or less than an issue of Freshmen, and you’re talking about over 100 days (yep, 24 hours x 12 x 100) of play.

    I’d really like to not give up the game forever, I just need a break now to get my head clear and my productivity up, and I’d like to return in a secure setting with folks watching me to make sure I play safe. If that’s not possible, I’ll go cold turkey again (I did once before, too).

    Especially now that so many of my friends are playing, I’d like to be able to peek in every now and then. We’ll see. For now, I’m already experiencing a clarity of thought that I haven’t had in months.

  12. Eros Welker says:

    The duck is in the pond.  The new URL is in your email – quick, that’s where all the posts are!!

    Lisa, you are more than welcome to stick around and chime in at will, even if you melt all the toys in the world! 

    Actually, that’d be an awesome feature.

    Keep on truckin’, Hugh – we’re proud of you.  And in honor of it, I’ve abstained from logging on and merely auctioning shit off.  How’s that for pathetic?

  13. cybergosh says:

    This is really cool—i wish i could be like that.  I cannot.  My personality would just move me to another addiction, which, yes, i could quit – only to obsess over something else.  So, it’s good you’re not a monster like me