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liam

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  1. Day 35 (I know it's day 35 because I downloaded the app 'Iron Will' on my mobile, and plugged in the date I quit... it shows me the exact amount of days and hours since I quit) Quitting any addiction is rough. After my last post I went through a few emotions, a fair amount of temptation, and had to catch myself forming some potentially bad habits i.e. overeating because I wasn't getting my usual dopamine fix. I even went so far as to binge YouTube gaming videos for several hours of my precious (and ever shrinking) free time. I felt disappointed in myself, and decided to make an effort to be more productive in that time (for example, one of my real goals for many years has been to consume less and create more). I took some major steps after my last post - I actually deleted my WoW (Battle.net) and Steam accounts. My Battle.net account has been around since 2005, when I was 13/14 years old, so it is a part of my DNA at this point. Likewise for me steam account. With 10-15k+ hours each, and thousands of pounds worth of games and products over the years, I finally realised that the worst thing I could possibly do was to add to those numbers... and so deletion was the only real option. My Battle.net account was officially removed as of the 15th July. It is now completely unretrieveable, as is my Steam account. Despite all of my life accomplishments that are visible to others, this is one that I am privately most proud of - gaming had a chokehold on my life, and to me it really means a lot. I also sold my Nintendo switch - I just don't need the temptation lying around, and I would rather my son saw me reading books and having conversations, than playing on my game console. What I have been doing: - Getting up early. This is not a huge achievement for me really as my son wakes up at 5:30-6am anyway, but I've been jumping out of bed at 5am to make sure that I have a good 30+ minutes of quiet solutide or exercise before my time with him. - Writing more code. I'm a Software Engineer so I'm writing a fair amount of code every day anyway, but I always struggled with side-projects. I'd love to launch my own ecommerce apps or SaaS platform, so this is definitely an area I need to improve. I have a friend who is a successful entrepeneur, so my thoughts a moving towards what my future will look like beyond my current job... and the possibility of working for myself some day. I have idea, but party because of gaming I had no execution. I'm going to do something about that this time around! - I got back into climbing, even if just once a week. COVID destroyed my climbing skills in a big way, and I didn't hit the gym for 18 months. So glad to be back and to be getting back into some fitness, but still working on those lowly V3s for now 😄 - Reading has become my go-to activity for relaxation. I have been listening to fiction on audible for years (and read the occasional book, i.e. LotR trilogy earlier this year), but decided to hop back into some non-fiction too. I have so much more that I could brain-dump into this post, but I shall leave it there for now. Whoever and wherever you are, I'm wishing you the best on your journey as I progress on mine - thanks for reading a please feel welcome to write to me or leave a comment!
  2. Hey Patrick - your posts manage to put down in words what so many of us fail to articulate, you're obviously a deep thinker and clearly have so much to bring to any conversation. I too am starting a fresh run after a relapse, and found your previous post on the SMART Recovery Program to be really insightful. Best of luck to you man and enjoy the new guitar!
  3. Day 5 I've been making some changes. Intentionally, I want to make small changes and not change things too fast - I have a tendancy to get super productive and inspired about a lifestyle change, only to burn out and completely relapse. A few things I'm doing: - No games on my laptop - No more twitch, or binging youtube videos about games / gaming - Unsubbed from a bunch of gaming subreddits. In fact, I deleted Reddit from my phone... I spend too much time endlessly scrolling anyway - Started doing a few weights again. I have plenty of equipment but it's barely been touched for months. Also want to get back into climbing, but my gym is still under some restrictions - Started cooking for my family a bit more. My hope is that this will also make me more conscious about my diet And that's it really. I have a million things I want to get excited about having new 'free time', but I _reeeeally_ dont' want to burn myself out and start to justify playing again.
  4. Well, I have to say I'm somewhat ashamed to be back here after all this time! Two years almost... and what a two years it has been, for myself and for the rest of the world. IIRC, the pressure of trying to pull together all of my daily thoughts into a post was one of the reasons I discontinued my blog back in 2019 after a mere 18 days. So, this time, I will keep it brief and to the point. I began gaming again not long after my posts stopped last time, probably after around 3 weeks of quitting. These, I believe are the factors contributing to this at the time: - I had to much energy and enthusiasm for 'getting my life back'. Once the excitment subsided, I could not continue on willpower alone - I exhausted myself with trying to do too much, too fast, and fell back into a rut of gaming, no execise and bad food - I started playing some small games first, and convinced myself that I could just play this one random iPad game on the side, "That's not really even gaming, is it?" For a while I felt like I was balancing my gaming, and it was sustainable, and I was still doing all of the habits I had gotten into during my 3-week detox. "This is fine." I thought, but as I'm sure you all have been through at one point or another, it's never fine. It gets worse, and worse, until once again gaming occupies every waking thought and real life obligations become mere annoyances from achieveing your in-game goals. *sigh...* Anyway, since then a lot has happened which has sent me through the ups and downs of gaming addiction over the last 2 years: - My son was born in December 2019, not long after my 3-week detox. This was a beautiful time, but I was still making some time to play games. I was exhausted, as a new parent you barely get a few hours sleep. Even less when you're a gaming addict too... - COVID - obviously. I probably don't need to say too much about this, and I hope you all are doing ok and haven't struggled too deeply through this time. - First 5 months of lockdown I got stuck in a foreign country with my family. I played a lot of runescape. Hundreds of hours I'm sure. - When we finally got back to our home country, I got my actual gaming laptop back and dove right into every game I had missed for the last 5 months. A few hundred more hours of my son's life missed. - Having a toddler is amazing, but it can be exhausting, no doubt. I would "reward" myself at the end of long days with a gaming session to relax. It was never relaxing, and in fact it ate into my previous sleeping time. - My wife became pregnant with #2 (yay!). Sick, preganant wife + toddler, yeah that's no joke. Gaming becomes a retreat, but it's a vicious cycle because the more you play to escape and neglect responsibilities, the worse the situation at home becomes. We're happy and functional, good jobs, etc. but my gaming and general lack of 'presence' causes arguments and tension. - I work from home, and got promoted 3 times in the last 2 years. I'm good at my job I think, and I work hard, but between work and thinking about games I don't leave time for the rest of my life That's it for now. I want to set out some goals post here occasionally, as I really need the help and focus. Hope you're all doing ok out there - we live in crazy times, and it's almost a perfect storm for gaming addicts (the government has LITERALLY been stopping us from going outside :D) Best, Liam
  5. Day 19) I had a few moments of low-energy throughout the day, and really wanted to just watch youtube videos. At least the things I watched were programming related rather than gaming, but still was a drop in productivity. I'm not going to beat myself up about it - I've been doing pretty well lately. Got up at 6am as we moved off daylight savings the night before, and went straight out for my walk, followed by a good 1.5 hours of work on my course. Work was productive in the sense that I hashed out some new ideas with colleagues, but didn't manage to get too much coding done. Went climbing on the evening for the first time since my injury - felt a bit weak and so had a little trouble even with some V3s, though I did manage to flash a V4 which was encouraging. Onwards and upwards!
  6. Day 17 & 18) Just arrived home after a weekend away visiting family. Had a great time and spend 90% of the time socializing and spending time with everyone. Although I didn't have a huge amount of time for anything else, I did manage to keep up with my daily 'slight edges', so kept my 30 crunches/push-ups going and 10 pages of reading per day. Wasn't able to go on my morning walk really but that's no problem. I will pick it back up tomorrow morning. After a weekend of lots of eating I've decided that I also need to try to incorporate some small dietary improvements into my daily challenges, even if it's just eating some fruit etc. Health is of course the most important thing we have to look after ? Very tired and feeling a little sick after the drive home, so I felt really tempted to throw on a game and relax for a bit. Decided to redirect to my book and read a little instead. Got to remember that I made a promise to myself! All the best to you guys out there - keep fighting for your freedom!
  7. I absolutely loved it honestly. I read it in about 12 days, which is very fast for me. Even passed it on to my father, who I think could greatly benefit from it. I always hesitate to say that something is 'lifechanging' until enough time has passed to know for sure, but I'm really trying to apply the principles to my life. I am expecting to look back in a few months time and conclude that this book had a profound impact on my personal philosophy. Have you read it too?
  8. Amazing! It was great to have some real, actionable points that I could write down and be mindful of. Great stuff. Looking forward to getting to the new podcast soon! Day 16) I finished reading The Slight Edge and moved onto my next read: Think and Grow Rich, written by Napoleon Hill in 1937. It was mentioned many times in The Slight Edge, and I think its pretty highly regarded as a classic. I kind of got hooked into it this morning and ended up reading 25% of the book before I even started work - its pretty amazing. I would say that its age shows, but theres certainly something I can gain from it. I imagine I'll finish this one quite quickly. I've noticed that I've become a lot more organised lately. I have even managed to categorize a small number of longer term goals that I have. Being 28, I am conscious that I don't want to be a junior/mid-level engineer forever, and in fact I want to ensure that I am bettering myself in my career. I have decided that one of my goals (which I have given myself 6 months to complete) is to pass the CompTIA Security+ exam. I doubt any of you will know what that is, but its a pretty widely regarded certification in IT security. I've tried to study for it in the past, but always dropped off after a few days. If I can spare 30/60 minutes each day where I would otherwise be gaming to just go through some material, I'm sure I can accomplish this in the generous time period I've given myself. So that's my career goal, for now. Nothing too drastic! I'm still checking off my daily small tasks which feels good, and doesn't feel like much effort when the reward is seeing them all checked off at the end of the day. One of these tasks is just to write down one quote that I've read or heard each day, so I can remember the things that have resonated with me and apply them to my personal philosophy. I'd like to share one quote (or poem, in this case) that I plucked from Think and Grow Rich: “I bargained with Life for a penny, And Life would pay no more, However I begged at evening When I counted my scanty store; For Life is just an employer, He gives you what you ask, But once you have set the wages, Why, you must bear the task. I worked for a menial's hire, Only to learn, dismayed, That any wage I had asked of Life, Life would have paid.” This made a lot of sense to me, as I think about where my career is headed. It's nice to be in the 'anything is possible if you set your mind to it' headspace. Make of it what you will ? Liam
  9. I just listened to it! Is that you bro? ? A really relateable story, and some excellent advice especially around journalling and taking note of goals and personal values! Must seem like ages ago to you though.. over 2 years ago!
  10. Day 15) Went for my regular daily walk at 7am - was very dark this morning, but cool and refreshing. This has become a really positive part of my day over the past couple of weeks, and I really look forward to getting up on a morning as a result. After a few hours of really productive work, I walked into town with my xbox and a bag full of games, and sold them all in the tech exchange store. The extra cash comes in handy for baby stuff, plus I hadn't really played it for over a year (I'm a PC gamer). I'm keeping up with my small daily habits, and its feeling like minimal effort which is awesome.
  11. I think you're absolutely right, in fact the same has actually happened to me before! I'm definitely trying to be mindful of this and its very easy to get ahead of oneself - so its really beneficial to have someone remind me of this! ?
  12. Day 14) Two weeks. And what a difference it has made! Cutting gaming out of my life may have been the catalyst for the changes I've made recently, but it has evolved into something more. With a focus on 'action' and the new periods of free time I have during the day, I feel like I'm slowly moving towards the right track. A few things I've done instead of gaming: I read an entire book. This book was called The Slight Edge, and you can probably categorise it as a member of the 'self-development' genre. Through it, I am trying to learn how to make small, daily changes and build them into positive habits, and being mindful that results take time. One of the things I struggled with as a gamer (I'm sure many of you have had the same issue) is the fact that my main hobby was a source of instant gratification. Positive, productive habits are rarely so easy to attain as that rush of dopamine from even the shortest gaming session. By being mindful of this, I hope to practice daily cultivation of skills and habits, so that I may reap the rewards in the future. I established a daily journal - I write on Notion and then copy into the gamequitters forum I established a daily check-list of small, seemingly insignificant tasks that I hope to cultivate over time. On the checklist, I outline my morning routine, evening routine, daily tasks and anything I'm grateful for (I try to include 3 of these each day!). My next aim is to include an 'ideas' section, where I write down 5-10 ideas per day, even if they are rubbish! I have been for a morning walk between 7am and 8am every morning for around 10 days now. Mentally, it has been invigorating, and has allowed me precious time to reflect, experience nature and listen to the GameQuitters podcast episodes for even more tips on a range of topics. It's also a means of improving my physical fitness. I have been a lot more productive at work. If I'm honest with myself, there were some days where I would accomplish so very little. With gaming off my radar, I have been fully focused on my daily tasks and longer term projects, and have written more code in a week than in the previous month (literally). I'm engaging with colleagues more, and remaining mindful that it is a job that feeds my family and pays my bills. I have spent time on my personal finances. I aim for 15 minutes per day, and through this I have constructed a full budget planner so I know exactly what my income/outgoings are every month, what I can afford to save, and what things I could cut down on. With my wife going on maternity leave soon, this is incredibly important! From the time spent on personal finances, I am looking into better ways to save, and how the compounding effect of time can work for me when it comes to money. Coming from a family with very little money growing up, I've never felt like I was destined to be wealthy. However, I realise that there are actionable steps that can change all that, over time. I really aim to put more focus into things like my career, salary, potential side-projects, savings (and maybe even investments, with more research) and living below my means. I've started to put more emphasis on being a creator rather than a consumer. I want to have more of an online presence, and I'm looking into writing more and potentially even youtube, with some more research under my belt. I've done 30 crunches and 30 press-ups every days for the past 2 weeks, and it's felt like no effort whatsoever. In the past, I would have tried to do 60, or 3 sets of 30 - its painful. I've decided it doesn't have to be excruciating - just a few every day will give me results over time. I picked up my guitar again. It now sits next to my desk, and I play for 5-10 minutes whenever I need a break from work. I feel my old skills coming back a little and my fingers hardening up to the strings again, which is awesome. It's also a great way to relax, if you enjoy music. That's quite a list, even if I do say so myself ? Apologies for the long post, but it was really fun for me to sit a write down some of the major points of my journey so far. I feel hyped about getting to 1 month, and then 90 days... and though gaming is often popping up in my mind (accompanied by a feeling of mourning at the fact I know I cannot play), I do feel as though I am strong enough to stick at it, and reap the benefits of the habits I'm trying to build. Thanks for reading - love to you all!
  13. Nice work my friend. I particularly appreciate this sentiment, I've been reading a lot about personal trajectory and this seems like a really positive conclusion. There's no standing still - if you're standing still, you're going backwards. There's a Chinese proverb (there always is!) that goes something like: "Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still" For me, I think that's key to building a positive personal philosophy. Keep it up!
  14. Day 13) Woke up at 6:30 after another early night. I read quite a lot before sleeping, and feel well rested this morning. Once again, my first thought was to remember a few things that I'm grateful for, and before long I was up, showered and out the door for my morning walk. I set off at 7am (a little earlier than usual) so it really was dark. Weather was cold but dry, and I listened to the GQ podcast episode #11 on moving from being a 'Consumer' to being a 'Producer'. This was very poignant for me, as I've thought about this many times in the past. I struggle to create (other than my job as a programmer), and mostly just consume content i.e. games, youtube videos, etc. Throughout the last couple of weeks, one of my main struggles has been really trying to figure out what my larger goals are. Of course, I want to be better, smarter, healthier, wealthier, and so on... but tangible goals seemed to elude me (I need to spend more time thinking and writing down ideas). However, this podcast did prompt me with an actual goal that I can somewhat measure. I want to be more of a producer. I want to create more, and therefore increase the percentage of time I spend producing vs consuming. There are a few areas in which I want to focus: I want to really put effort into some coding side-projects in lanaguages I rarely get the chance to use, i.e. Go, Rust, Java/Kotlin, Haskell, etc. I want to write. I think I have always had a good imagination, though it has been dulled as I got older. I'd like to put pen to paper, a little each day, and build some content. I would like to look into passive income possibilities, through creating something online. Perhaps a blog or service. It's early days for this, so much more research is required before I can really specify more. Thanks to GQ podcast for these insights, I look forward to listening to more and eventually getting to the newer ones!
  15. Day 12) Monday. Today has been one of my most positive days so far! I had an early night on Sunday as a result of the long drive, so woke up bright and early at 6:15. I read in The Slight Edge about thinking on things you're grateful for as soon as you wake up, as being a strategy to start the day in a positive mind-frame. I thought I would forget this piece of advice to be honest, but I found myself thinking about this as soon as I woke, which was refreshing. I made a mental note of these things, then got up, showered and went straight out for my morning walk. I've found that I'm really looking forward to my walk every morning, so as soon as I wake up I feel positive about doing this. This time of year, it's dark until around 7:30am, and it's cold and often rainy on mornings. I take a torch and a flask of coffee and walk in the woods, listening to the GameQuitters podcast for 30-45 minutes. I would highly recommend getting into this routine if mornings are a struggle for you! When I got home it was still only 8am, so I polished off a few more of my small daily efforts such as 30 sit ups/ press ups, making the bed (after my wife got up), reading 10+ pages of a book and spending 10 minutes on my finances. What followed was a very busy and productive day at work. I have a lot to be thankful for, and this community (and the podcasts!) are one of the major contributing factors. The most important part of the day was in the evening. While cooking together, I finally told my wife what I've been doing the past 2 weeks (i.e. Game Quitters, journalling, trying to establish positive routines), and we had a long discussion about so many things. She's also interested in reading The Slight Edge after me. She is a trainee clinical psychologist, so is very interested in the things I've been learning, and above all, is very compassionate and supportive. I look forward to day 13 and beyond!