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B_Lestrange

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  1. B_Lestrange

    Lestrange's strange journaling journey

    More great insight...thank you so much. I am regularly reminding myself of why I'm doing this and where I'm trying to go. I keep telling myself I need to take a morning or afternoon to really chart out my path, but I've been very busy these last few days with work and other commitments. On the bright side, I've been too busy to play games, lol. I should be able to take the time at the end of the week after our releases go out. Last Sunday I dreamed that someone put a laptop in front of me with a game on it (don't remember which one; it had a lot of primary colors) and I started playing it. It felt so real that for a moment after I woke up I thought, oh well, that's that, I was only able to go a week. Today marks 10 days since I last played a game. Also today at work I listened (couldn't watch because I was at work) to the first half of Cam's Start Here video series on YouTube. I took notes and began making a separate list of productive and engaging ways to fill my time, and looked up helpful Web sites and books. It helped to be reminded that there are good and bad days on this journey and that it takes time to unlearn behaviors and reprogram oneself.
  2. B_Lestrange

    Lestrange's strange journaling journey

    I have to work tomorrow so I took today off. Normally I would have spent a big chunk of it at home playing games. Instead, I ran a bunch of errands, practiced for a couple of holiday concerts that are coming up, talked with my neighbor, cooked a couple of meals, and prepared gifts for family and friends. Gotta be honest, though: Right now I really, really want to play a game. It's what I'd normally do after a long day. Again I'm telling myself, what's the big deal? and again I'm hearing myself answer: the big deal is that there's more to life and you're missing it. Is it okay if I play a puzzle game that's not a video game? I have a bunch of these I haven't looked at in a while.
  3. B_Lestrange

    Lestrange's strange journaling journey

    Thank you for the feedback. Much appreciated! This morning I was thinking about what I'm going to do over the Christmas holidays when my niece asks to play a game with me. We've played all kinds of games for years and it's one big way in which we bond. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it... --- Normally I would journal at the end of the day but I wanted to write this down in case I forgot: For most of my life I've had a recurring, relatively infrequent nightmare in which I'm in a vehicle, usually a car, that goes over a cliff. Before I learned how to drive, I would be in the driver's seat with no clue how to stop or steer the car. After I learned how to drive, typically somebody else would be driving. As always, there were those moments of horror after the car sails over and down, and then I would either wake up on impact or just before. Well...in last night's dream I was in a mini tour bus (driven by an elderly Bobbie Gentry; I'd fallen asleep listening to a podcast on the history of 20th-Century country music) but this time when it went over a cliff she said, "Don't worry, it's okay," and pushed some kind of button that deployed parachutes. We landed in a river, gently and upside down, and we just pushed out the windows with our feet and swam to safety. That's literally the first time that's ever happened in all the years I've been having this dream. And it didn't end there...Somehow I made it back to my Airbnb and while decompressing in the tub, Queen Elizabeth barged in on me wearing a hair bonnet and a bathrobe and asking how my day went. 🤣
  4. B_Lestrange

    Lestrange's strange journaling journey

    Bunch of stuff today, lots of mixed emotions. This morning I got to listen to some of my coworkers talk about their own Thanksgiving spent gaming. Some of them have family and friends who are older than me for whom gaming is an enjoyable way to spend time with people. I was angry at myself (You're making this a bigger deal than it is. There's nothing wrong with gaming. Everybody does it!), then ashamed (You weren't put on this earth to waste your valuable time playing games that you won't even remember a month from now), then sad (Am I going to have to be one of those people who avoids gaming like alcoholics avoid alcohol? Is it really that serious?). Later that day there were two times -- once during a videoconference and once when I was just tired of staring at the screen trying to get some code to work -- when normally I would have started playing a game on my laptop or my phone. Again, I felt angry: Don't I deserve a break? If that break involves playing a game, is that a bad thing? It's only going to be for a few minutes. (I'm laughing now as I write this because I know good and well it's never for a few minutes.) Wednesday evenings I rehearse with a musical group I belong to. I do enjoy music and performing for people. This is just one area I think I can move more strongly towards.
  5. B_Lestrange

    Lestrange's strange journaling journey

    Still having urges to play, particularly during downtime, but knowing I was going to write in here at night kept me on the wagon... I'm kind of amazed at how much time playing games sucked up. Without games, I find myself with a lot of free time in the evenings. It's not like I don't have things to do with that time -- in fact I can come up with a long list of things I can do with that time -- but I struggle to focus and in the past that struggle has often led to me throwing my hands up and playing games. I have seen mention of the Pomodoro Technique on this forum. I have used this on occasion but I'm thinking I need to start using it again if for no other reason than to bring focus, concentration, and especially purpose to these free hours I find myself with.
  6. B_Lestrange

    Lestrange's strange journaling journey

    By getting straight up with the alarm and not lying in bed playing games, I got a great start on the day. I was able to get some of my normal (offline) journaling in before heading off to work. It was my first day back after a week off. This message popped up on my screen about 30 minutes after I logged on: I had to laugh...Microsoft Solitaire Collection was one of the five apps on my Most Used list in the start menu. I almost always played during lunch and sometimes during videoconference meetings (don't tell anyone). Needless to say, I uninstalled it from my work laptop. The rest of the day went pretty well. Vacations are good...I may have spent most of mine playing games but I was relaxed and calm, which is what vacations are for. Getting home though...there were a couple of moments when I felt the urge to play a game. However, I'd given myself a number of tasks to do this evening, with this (writing in this journal) being one of the last ones before bed. As I've described above, I'm trying to use the meditation technique of observing the feeling (urge to play a game) with detachment, and then mindfully making a different choice. This time around I'm contemplating what it means to have to be this mindful on a daily basis. On one of the podcasts Jason (I think it was him) mentioned creating a values list; I think I will do that tomorrow.
  7. B_Lestrange

    Lestrange's strange journaling journey

    So yeah, it's been a while... I had all of last week (Thanksgiving week) off from work and I'm embarrassed to admit how much of that time I spent sitting on my ass playing games. For the first half of the week I was actually in a different COUNTRY and yet I still ended up spending a couple of hours on my phone each evening. You know how sometimes you can hear or read something that is so true that it knocks you back a bit? Sometime in the last few days a thought occurred to me: Video games are my kryptonite. It doesn't get much more real than that...and what's really amazing is that (as I described in my intro to this forum) I've known this since undergrad. For well over half my life I have known how easy it is for me to fall down this rabbit hole...and yet I keep on falling down it. This morning I deleted my games from my phone and laptop. I came back to this site when I started feeling the urge to play a game. So here I am again, starting back at zero, hoping I can stick it out for good this time. Thanks in advance for the support.
  8. B_Lestrange

    Lestrange's strange journaling journey

    The first thing I thought of when I entered this part of the forum and saw all the newer posts was, "Daily means DAILY." I get it... So yeah, I fell off the wagon. I'm sure these sound familiar: "I've had a long hard day and I need to unwind. Playing games for an hour won't hurt." "I'll just set a timer and when it goes off, I'll get up and do something else." "I can manage this! It doesn't have to be a big deal." Etc., etc. I don't think I'm ready for the actual 90-day detox yet. A couple of Cam's videos (which I haven't watched yet but plan to) speak to something that's been a particular thorn in my side: being a consumer instead of a producer. Lately it seems the only producing I've been doing is for my job, which to me is the very definition of "living to work," which is something I swore I was going to stop doing once I got this particular job. (Very long story short: I spent most of my career in one field, then went to graduate school, then worked in nonprofit, then went back to my original field when my money started to run low.) Next week is going to be very stressful as we have a bunch of releases going out on the same day. Let's see if I can try a more reasonable approach to quitting gaming, simply by using this space for its intended purpose...to help me be mindful on a DAILY basis. (BTW: My colon is fine.) (ETA: I just watched Cam's video "What To Do If You Relapse And Start Gaming Again" and it's like...fuck, man, get out of my head. LOL. The idea of turning quitting into a game appealed to me instantly, though. Sometimes it feels like I'm hard-wired to compete...now if I could only rewire that competitiveness towards more productive endeavors...)
  9. *rolling up pajama sleeves* Technically today is the end of Day 2. Day 1 was relatively easy because I was busy all day helping with and then attending the annual neighborhood Fourth of July party. It was lots of fun, as always. There are a lot of elderly people here and I often marvel at how, the older I get, the younger they seem...and I mean that in a good way. I suppose it may have something to do with convergence. Anyway, I woke up before the alarm as usual and because I'd deleted my games from my phone, I didn't play them...but I did spend a good 45 minutes on Facebook (FB). I'm at my mental best first thing in the morning, and being on FB at that time is almost as bad as, if not worse than, playing games. Now that I'm deliberately doing something about these habits I'm going to see if I can sidestep it without taking the next step and removing FB from my phone. While at work I had a couple of slow periods where I felt the itch to play a game, but instead I pulled up one of the Udemy courses my company paid for and ran through a few quick lessons. We need more web development experience on our team but they don't want to hire an actual web developer so we're playing catch-as-catch-can. At home I talked to my neighbor for a half-hour or so, then went inside...and while I was fixing dinner that's when I REALLY felt the pull to play a game. I remembered in one of his videos Cam said that it's the brain that wants to play video games, not you. I have been trying since Memorial Day or so to get back into a regular meditation routine, and so I found myself taking a page from that and observing with detachment, and then making a deliberate decision to do something else...in this case, tackle some mail and other paperwork that had been sitting on my end table for at least a month. I succeeded in handling each piece only once -- act on it, file it away, or throw it away -- rather than reshuffle and reorganize into a different-sized pile. It took about two hours, time that I know I would have normally spent playing games. The next 48 hours should be interesting since I'm scheduled to have my first-ever colonoscopy on Friday morning. (TMI? Hey, I know we just met, but we're friends, right? ) Before I found this site I'd kind of given myself permission to play games during this period because I knew I'd need something to alleviate my anxiety over the procedure. However, I'm going to see how I do without them. Today I'm grateful for elderly people who've been through it all and come out the other side smiling with a drink in each hand.
  10. B_Lestrange

    My first gaming console was an Odyssey...

    Thanks! Simply reading these threads is making me feel better. See above. I'm sure you already know you're providing a really great and important service to those of us who are trying to make the most out of our lives. As one of the newest members, I'm saying thank you in advance. Thanks! You know how they say hindsight is 20-20? It certainly is for me. I'm guilty of not taking video game addiction as seriously as I probably should have. A big part of that is because I have people in my extended family who have struggled with alcohol, drugs, and/or overeating. Video games can't kill you physically -- at least not that I know of! -- but they can kill your willpower, motivation, and taste for life.
  11. I was 10 and my parents bought it for me but anyway...that should give you an idea of how old I am and how long I've had this Achilles heel. No, I have not been gaming continuously for 40 years. Rather, I have had periods in my life where gaming basically took over. I'm in one of those periods right now and that's why I sought out help online. Cam's TEDx video led me here and I'm happy it did. Like him, I found previous sets of advice largely unhelpful. I knew, though, that this type of community would come eventually. I have been to therapists off and on over the years but I never brought up this subject, largely because I feared being shamed for it. Silly, right? My immediate family knows I play games -- ironically all of us with the exception of one sister play games daily -- but they don't know how much time I've spent on them, nor do they know (but I'm sure they can guess) how much I've missed out on because of them or how much distress missing out has caused me. I knew I had the potential to become a serious addict when I entered college. This was at the height of the video arcade craze, and during my freshman year I spent more time in the arcade than I did in class or studying. I no longer remember exactly what happened to get me to modify (not stop) my behavior, but by some miracle I actually graduated and, later, began the life of a working, independent adult. I believe this was when the first Nintendo gaming consoles came out and I remember making a point of not buying one because I knew how easily I could fall down the rabbit hole. I'd been a shy, bookish kid, with few friends or social skills, and I purposely set out to outgrow what I perceived as limitations to my becoming an adult. At that time I was an extremely nervous flyer. During an especially turbulent cross-country flight that had me literally quaking with fear, I saw a guy about my age engrossed in a Game Boy. I got one the very next week. The way I saw it, it beat taking Xanax and/or getting drunk in an airport lounge. Sure, I spent a lot of non-flight hours playing too, but looking back, it doesn't seem like it was as big of a deal: It was a tiny monochrome screen, it was only meant for gaming, and I didn't bring it with me everywhere I went. Because this is already quite long, I'll just fast forward to my typical weekday: I wake up before my smartphone alarm goes off, and then I spend at least an hour playing games before forcing myself out of bed. At work, depending on what's going on, I might sneak in a half-hour or so of games either on my phone or my work computer. Once home, I spend the rest of the evening playing games on my phone and/or laptop (I still don't own a console), berating myself much of the time, until I force myself to go to bed usually by no later than 11. On the weekends I find myself overwhelmed with all the things that don't get done during the week, so I end up doing the bare minimum, saying no to a lot of invitations because, again, I have all this stuff to do at home, and at some point I'll retreat back to these addictive, mind-numbing games. So we're looking at a significant chunk of my free time spent numbing out on games...and a big reason why I'm here is because of the negative feelings that come rushing in within minutes of my putting the phone or laptop down. I KNOW what's going on; I'm pretty sure it has something to do with dopamine. I KNOW I'm wasting valuable time that I'll never get back, but I can't seem to stop. And again, I've had these periods before in my life, but this time around I feel it's extremely important that I get serious and, once and for all, fix whatever it is that's got me back here. My birthday was last month and I resolved to quit cold turkey. I lasted six days. I found this site late last night and as of today, Independence Day, I haven't played a single game. If you've made it this far, thanks for "listening." I look forward to participating.
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