Maria isn’t a single mother — it just often seems that way.
That’s because she says her husband, Chris, has spent several hours or more a day playing video games in the basement while she takes care of their four young children at their Ohio home.
“He’ll take a whole Saturday and go into the evening — from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed,” Maria told ABC News’ “20/20.”
Maria discovered Chris’ passion for video games shortly into their marriage.
“He started not coming to bed with me, and I was going to bed as a newlywed and he was playing — staying up and playing video games. And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s kind of crazy,’” said Maria.
Ever since, Maria said Chris has been a frequent no-show for holiday gatherings, family events and precious parenting moments. Any given Saturday, Maria might be found playing with the kids in the park, while Chris remains at home playing video games.
Watch the full story on ABC News’ “20/20” TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET.
Maria and Chris even call Chris’ excessive gaming an addiction.
“I’d say addiction’s there,” Chris, 44, told “20/20.”
“I would say he’s a functioning addict. I mean, he goes to work and he does those things,” said Maria.
Over the past year, Maria and Chris have bravely allowed “20/20” to document their journey from the depths of crisis to a very optimistic rehabilitation.
When he comes home from his job working in IT, Chris heads for the basement where his games await. Chris has six gaming consoles and more than 150 carefully organized games.
“It’s something where you can remove yourself from, you know, from the world for an hour or more,” Chris said. “There is an adrenaline rush, just a euphoric, you know, feeling of pleasantness, just kind of relaxing into a game.”
Chris said the video games make him feel timeless.
“When you’re gaming, I mean, you’re ageless,” he said. “The stimuli and the euphoria and just the fun…