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  1. Hi Readers, I'll start by saying the purpose of this thread is to track my recovery journey, with the goal of developing some content which may be helpful for anyone else seeking to change their life beginning the journey of recovery from gaming addiction. I've been gaming for as long as I can remember (6 years) with various intensities throughout my life. Currently 30, I have had a history of relapsing (being unable to control my gaming habits at the expense of my health and other important areas of my life) once or twice a month, however, I've struggled to ever abstain from gaming for an extended period of time (over a month). I seem particularly susceptible to being addicted to certian types of games, and my last relapse was 14 days ago, with the relapse lasting 7 days. After a particularly emotionally painful week/weekend, I've recommitted to sobriety from that particular game, which I know when played results in addictive behavioural patterns. I've been exploring therapy on and off for the last three years, and am currently attending individual sessions on a weekly basis, though addiction is not always the focus of these sessions. Any progress I make should also consider the importance of these sessions in helping me better understand my emotions and hold me accountable. I will do my best to journal as often as I feel necessary and valuable in this reflective journey. Here we go: Sunday, October 1st to 8th (2023) (Day 1 - 7) After a particularly painful 7-day relapse up until October the first, I was ready to recommit to sobriety before the following work week. The pain of knowing that if I continued to engage in the game I was experiencing addictive behaviour during the work week would lead to significant consequences to my mental health and work performance. The pain associated with another week of neglected relationships, postponed responsibilities, and 3 -4 hours of poor-quality sleep, outweighed my desire to continue this behaviour. In addition to this, I had two emergency sessions, with my therapist who helped me to identify the role gaming plays as an unhealthy coping behaviour when I experience stress. We discussed a few actionable steps for limiting triggers, such as blocking access to the game through external software and even self-sabotaging ranked games (when I am not relapsing), to acquire an internal ban within the game. Something I identified as a deterrent to playing. Connecting with this group was also identified as an actionable step. Despite my commitment to externally blocking the game, I did not do so. Mostly, because following the relapse I didn't want to do anything related to game, partially to avoid any triggers and partially because I was exhausted from all the energy I had already given it. I will move forward with blocking the game, as I think this will be a good strategy, this coming week to continue taking actionable steps in the direction of sobriety. I downloaded a Gamified Task /Habit building app, which I have been using to structure my mornings and evenings. I'll share my current routine at the end of this post. I found that completing tasks and tracking different habits which would reward me with experience in areas such as Strength, Vitality, Wisdom, and Intellect, based on the type of habit fun and insightful. The app is called Life Up Pro and is a paid app ($4.00 CAD) I think. One of my goals was to engage in a reading practice every night, having neglected this goal for a few weeks, I started re-reading Awaken the Giant Within - Tony Robins, interesting enough this book was about making decisions, and how to make better decisions and change your life. I don't subscribe to self-help, woo-rah, but I found there were a lot of practical psychology behavioural tools which I could apply. Some which resonated with me were, taking an actionable step whenever I make a decision, and exploring how pain and pleasure are interconnected with behaviour. We've all heard the saying "Maybe they just need to hit rock bottom", well, some of the concepts of this book explore consciously working to change your pain/pleasure associations to change behaviours. I'll get more into this later, as it's not super relevant for this post. One day of recovery, I decided that I needed to engage in regular exercise, something that I am aware makes me feel amazing, especially when I feel depressive symptoms which was the case post-relapse. I decided the way to this was to wake up early enough to go to the gym early in the morning before my day started. This decision was also inspired by a conversation with a friend who was talking about how much he was enjoying morning workouts. I decided that in order for me to do this I needed to wake up consistently and early enough to actually go to the gym, something I have struggled with in the past. Aware, that the Huberman Lab Podcast is an incredible resource on behaviour modification I began making a point of listening to at least an hour of any podcasts related to sleep hygiene, circadian rhythm, sleep optimization, and the biological benefits of sleep. Monday to Friday, I set my alarm for 5:00 a.m., and woke up and went to the gym (with a rest day on Wednesday, that involved Yoga at home). Listening to resources on sleep, increased my convictions about the importance of sleep and provided me with new tools for optimizing my sleep schedule and habits which can promote sleep and rest. I'm going to continue learning about sleep for the rest of the month until the idea of not getting enough sleep (7 - 9hrs) and neglecting my sleep, becomes as foreign as the idea of not wiping my ass after a shit. The first few days were incredibly difficult, but it got easier. I keep my phone out of my room so I have to get up to turn off the alarm, and I have set my lights to turn on automatically at 5:00 am. I also noticed a former gym acquaintance attends at the same time as me in the morning, so I look forward to that. Waking up early has also caused me to be extremely productive with my day, and exhausted by 8:00 pm, which usually results in me winding down and being asleep for 9:30 - 11:30 pm. I need to work on this, as I do have a poor habit of some NSFW activities prior to sleeping which has delayed my bedtime and disrupted my natural feeling of sleep and rest. Overall, I've been feeling amazing, despite experiencing some fatigue during the days as my sleep schedule adjusts. I've increased my social activity by 10 fold since my relapse, found myself to be more productive, and even developed a consistent post-workout breakfast to keep myself energized throughout the day. After I finish working out and getting ready for my day, I usually head out to a coffee shop at 8:00 a.m. to begin whatever work I have to do, by 6:30 pm I've aimed to have eaten and usually minimize any artificial lights and engage in a bit of reading and my night routine, which includes a reflective process. I'm happy to share more regarding my routine, if anyone has any questions, I'm pretty exhausted from this long-post and probably will engage in 30 -45 of Non-Sleep Deep Rest or Yoga Nidra, which has been shown to be incredibly helpful for boosting dopamine and supplementing energy levels during the day. In regards to gaming, I've been so busy committing myself to learning about sleep and exploring the power of decision making it hasn't been a thought.
  2. Hey @Amphibian220, This is an interesting question. I do believe I have a "good support group", close friends, mentors and a therapist to whom I can speak about my addiction and behaviours. However, despite this network of people existing, I struggle to "open up" about the problem consistently. I often feel awkward discussing "addiction" within the context of gaming. Unlike less taboo and more known addictive dependencies (drug-related, alcohol, etc.), I have felt when I share this problem with others the significance of it, seems to be minimized. While it may not be spoken, I often sense, "Oh, it's just a gaming addiction.". Additionally, when I am experiencing a relapse, I tend to isolate myself which is accompanied by feeling guilt and embarrassment about the frequency and nature of my addiction. Have you experienced these thoughts and have any advice to move past them?
  3. Greetings Everyone, I used to be a part of this community, way back when (maybe 5 years ago). At 30, and a few years of therapy I still find myself struggling with a certain game and related genres. Anything competive or strategic, really I get extremely absorbed in. Gaming had effected all aspects of my life, my health (physical and mental), my relationships, my career, lifestyle and my self-esteem. I'm really hoping to use this forum and Community to be honest with myself about the impacts gaming has had on my life and record the transformation/ journey that sobriety entails. I look forward to meeting the community and wonder if there are any virtual support groups that anyone has discovered. Sheldon
  4. Been sober since April 12th, 2020. Guess that makes today day 3, I feel really motivated to push myself to keep going as long as I can. I download an app called I am Sober which has been a huge motivator as it allows me to track, and follow the progress of others. I have definitely noticed changes in my ability to get things done and I feel really good about the direction my life is headed. I still get urges every now and then but so far I have been able to direct my attention to something else when it comes up. I really don't want to feel stuck anymore and want to have the confidence in myself to commit to something and know deep down that I can do it. It's inspiring to read the posts of others, and to see their successes. When I see you guys who have made it past the 90 days and countine to building a meaningful life I know it is possible.
  5. Friday - 2020/1/31 - Day 6 This week has been going exceptionally well, as I had my first therapy session on Thursday. The gentleman I am working with is quite kind and his rates are very affordable. He shared a number of resources with me that focus on mindfulness and heart math. Learning to control body automatic body response to cravings by practicing breathing and other mindfulness techniques. I am currently reading Eckhart Tolle, the Power of Now which I find quite enlightening. I have also started meditating for 10 minutes before bed and 10 minutes when I wake up.
  6. Tuesday - 2020/01/28 - Day 3 Happy to say I made it to day 3, and I have my first therapy session coming on Thursday, using a online tool called better help. I am looking forward to exploring more of myself and digging deep into my subconscious mind to begin healing in new ways. I think for along time I have been desiring somebody to talk to about how I am feeling and someone to validate that the way I am feeling is ok. I have also picked a book on the 12 steps of AA which I am hoping will also help guide me through new ways of learning about myself.
  7. Sunday 26/01/2020 It's been a very difficult last four days, I have relapsed multiple times, sometimes I question whether or not I am ready to take on this challenge but feel like I must continue to push myself and try, as I don't see much of a future without moving past this. I am really not sure what to do except beginning to question and challenge all of my impulses, emotions and thoughts trusting no feeling without careful introspection and examination. This is certainly a difficult habit to maintain, and seems easier to accomplish in theory. I have also come to the conclusion that no amount of research, will provide the results of developing my own solution. So here are the facts: I am capable of identifying certain addictive behaviors as addictive behaviors before they occur. For example I am aware that my behavior to game, smoke, ect. is habitual and destructive in my life. Having this knowledge I think is the first step, as if I was unable to identify the behavior before it occurs I would have little power to change my behaviors. That said the first logical step seems to be Identification of Craving. What comes next is often a thought process, which is often neglected. The craving occurs and along with this craving is a feeling of lack, such as the present moment is not complete without the addition of what ever I am craving in this moment. Or that the current moment would be improved with a game or a smoke, though this often true temporary after I feel like shit. So my thoughts surrounding my addictive behaviors seems to be flawed. While I am struggling to Identify this exact step, I know that it is separate from the craving as the craving must happen first followed by a particular though process, which determines how I respond to the craving. Lets call this, the Thought Response Process. During this process I feel their is a lot of rationalization justifying oneself as to the reasons why participating in an addictive behavior would be beneficial, this usually occurs because it reduces stress, pain, feelings of lack. I think it is important to realize, that during this thought response process, it is very difficult to abstain from an addictive behavior based on logic, in fact if using logic was possible and a successful way of treating addiction, reading about addiction and understanding it, would be all the preventative measures we would need? I also find, that the more I contemplate my cravings during this thought response process the more likely I am to relapse. This makes sense as I am giving the craving more of my emotional attention, and more attention I give it the more important it becomes, and the more important it becomes the more difficult it is to resist. After this process, there are usually two outcomes. One, I engage in the behavior, and the cravings, addictive process is strengthen, I feel relief only temporarily. Or two I resist temptation, and successfully abstain from an addictive behavior, while still feeling a sense of loss, as I am feel I am not meeting my emotional needs at the time. It occurs to me that some form of reinforcement needs to take place after a successful outcome, to promote my desire to abstain in the future. Often I hear others talk about other habits, that one may engage but it occurs to me, that we might just be transferring our cravings to other behaviors. I would like to feel outcome of abstaining from my descriptive desires to be enough motivation to promote the continued abstinence. I think this where knowing yourself is very important. While I would love to be the perfect stoic, I will achieve my goals if I am introspective and aware of my strengths and limitations. Given my current need for dopamine, my outcome needs to be another behavior that offers a similar dopamine reward, but also practices delayed gratification something that will strengthen my ability to control my impulsive behaviors, while also teaching my how to generate dopamine in anticipation for the future. Perhaps I can develop a reward systems, one in which I achieve a point for each successful addictive impulse which is averted. After a certain number of points, I am rewarded by the fullfillment of another desire that I have which is healthier, such as a sushi dinner with a friend, I can slowly increase the amount of cravings required to reach that desire or leave it the same as I believe my cravings will ..... I just realized that perhaps I am not address the root of the suffering or craving so after the thought response process, I must identify how I am feeling and engage in a behavior that addresses my needs in the moment in a healthy way. i realize if I reward myself based on the amount of cravings I abstain from I may be training my mind to feel cravings just to be rewarded. It seems like their is a final step which should also be identified, and that is triggering my dopamine release after the new behavior has been chosen. I realize that I can do this manually with concentration and imagination if I focus on the future and results I want to achieve in my life, lets call this step reinforcement. The last and final step in which I strengthen my neural networks by postivley reinforcing my ability to remain virtuous to my beliefs while moving in the direction of my goals. In Summary 1. Identification of Craving (Craving Occurs) - No control over this stage, though we can control the environment to remove triggers. I prefer to focus less on this as I don't want to be restrict my environment and it seems much more difficult to control as we are not always in the environment of our creating. 2. Thought Response Process - Justification - The addict struggles with process which if often based on feelings and emotions, we try to rationalize the behavior. In order to overcome this decision, we must let go of the craving through breathing and meditation until it fades. Acknowledge the craving as being something which we didn't create nor do we have control over. As it appears it will disappear. 3. a) Outcome - Engage in Behavior - If we successfully through meditation, breathing and bringing our attention to something else we will avoid engaging in the behavior. Try to focus on where it is coming from. If we engage in the behaviour perhaps we need to adjust our technique. 3. b) Outcome - Abstain from Behavior - Alternative Behavior - If we successfully through meditation, breathing and bringing our attention to something else we will avoid engaging in the behavior. Try to focus on where it is coming from. Select a behavior that successful meets the needs that you have identified in a healthy way. 4. a) Reflection - Should the intervention be unsuccessful, immediately, stop the behavior and reflecting on the lead up to the behavior, and your thought processes. Did you follow the steps? What didn't work? 4. b) Reinforcement. - After a successful outcome, positively reinforce yourself using imagery, imagining the positive outcomes of your choices.
  8. Wednesday 22/01/2020 - Day 2 Made it to Day 2. I need to make a note to self that it becomes so much easier to not game after the first initial day of relapsing. Today I woke up early and repaired my vehicle, then went to get a massage as I continued to have trouble sleeping. I had read that a massage might remedy the situation, though I tried to have a nap with little luck. Productivity was very low today because I am feeling really exhausted, so my intention is to keep the journal short, and make a quick call to a friend who I was scheduled to talk to today.
  9. Tuesday 21/1/2020 - Day 1 Today is day one without gaming. This is an accomplishment in a way as I haven't had a day without gaming for the last 7 days. I had to fight for this victory and had an urge to game earlier this evening which I overcame by going to the gym and exercising. I had a terrible sleep last night falling asleep at 3am and forcing myself to wake up at 8am, this was very difficult for me, and the reasons for my recent insomnia is unknown. I am really hoping that I can fall asleep right away tonight as I am starting to feel the toll that comes from a lack of sleep in my body. This morning I cooked some excellent meals for myself and continued on my quest of seeking a therapist for my gaming addiction, I received a quote and wasn't to surprised to find the cost of therapy to range from 150$ to $200 a session, these numbers certainly discouraged me but I am looking for alternative methods of payments as well as other online resources that provided more affordable options. It frustrates me to think that other black youth, minorities and persons living near poverty, such as my brother who come from homes where affording professional treatment would be impossible are really, remain chained to systems which oppress them. Unfortunately, only the rich and middle class would be able to receive professional treatment. This made me think about the amount of minority groups present in forums and social groups regarding game addiction and I think these groups of people are and will be the last persons to access supports and resources. Guess I felt like ranting and feeling sorry for myself, its my journal I can do that. I won't drag it out today as I am exahusted and want to put myself to bed as early as possible to try and regain some mana before my day starts tomorrow. ...zzzZZZ
  10. Monday - 2020, January, 20th I've decided I am going to use this journal as my primary journal over the next 90 days and possibly longer, as previously I used a journal for game quitters but also a journal for my personal thoughts. I made this decision as I think it would be beneficial to have others contribute to my thought processes, and to reduce the hassle of trying to manage and censor two different journals, this is it. This is the raw deal. I am hoping from this decision to let go of the fear of not being enough and simply being who I am, and additionally I hope my successes and failures might contribute to support someone else life in a good way. Since January 13th, I have been gaming every single day, mostly at night which has interrupted my sleep patterns causing me to wake up late, with little motivation or intentions for the day. During this binge, I have also been smoking greater quantities of marijuana, though yesterday I stopped by disposing of any left overs (by smoking it... ugh). Since weed was legalized in Canada, I have found enjoyment and relief in smoking CBD, but have noticed increasingly over time, I am smoking more frequently and with higher concentrations of THC. Recognizing the signs of addiction, I stopped thankfully with enough time to still be able to manage the cravings, though I am a sure they were managed by my gaming addiction. I had finally had enough courage to come clean to my partner about my addiction, these last two weeks I have been neglecting the relationship and today when she told me she wanted to come live with me, instead of embracing the idea, thought of reasons why it wouldn't work because I was scared I would have to change, and I don't know who I am without this label as gaming addict. I had fear should she know who I am, and my own challenges I wouldn't be enough and she would leave me. She didn't know this and felt maybe the relationship is not working if I don't want to spend our lives together (we are in a long distance relationship Canada and Ecuador so living together was the next step). I realized that I can't hide my most recent relapse anymore because it was going to destroy our relationship so I came clean and shared everything, I told her about my late night binges, how I had fear about her leaving me if she new and most of all how I while I would love to say this is all going to go way, I am failing miserably at coming up with a long term solution for this addiction. She told me she loves me, as an addict, and that she wants to support me so I need to be open and honest because she can now understand whats going on. I am so grateful for her. I think the next step is professional addiction counselling, I have tried a number of times to come up with solutions on my own and failed for 8 years, growing up in poverty I could never justify spending 100 a session on therapy, I don't know many people who can? Will it even work? Who knows, if anyone has tried it I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions? Is there a particular type of therapy that works best? Should it be gaming specific or just addictions in general, as I know its not just gaming that I have a problem with, but a number of different addictive behaviors such as porn, marijuana, anything that gets a dopamine rush. That's all for the journal today, pretty much a brain dump of the last few weeks as I have been failing to follow through with my journaling, I just wanted to say a big thanks to everyone who comments on my journal as it really motivates me, I am going to try to be more active on the forum and comment on the journals of others, sometimes I just don't know where to start.
  11. Day 1 - Relaspe! Wow guys, I think today might have been the first time that I am able to acknowledge the benefits of the journal. I have really been struggling these couple days, and when I struggle I realize I lose focus on the goal and all my prior motivations, its like they all disappear and I am left lost until I find something that resembles my previous of motivation and grab on to them. Taking the time today to read through the journal made me realize that it does get better and I don't always feel this way, and that when I am not gaming I do feel good, and most of all satisfied with my life (most of the time). Heres too not smoking weed tonight and playing video games!
  12. Day 1 XGaming - Day 1, XFap- Day 2, XSmoking - Day 0 I am proud of myself to containing my relaspe to only one day. Sometimes it takes me weeks to be ready to have another go at quitting, a time in which I usually, refrain from sharing in my journal because of shame, as I know I should be trying harder. One think I will try to commit to this year is writing despite whether or not I relapse. Today, I started the morning a bit later than usual as I was tired from last night. I still managed to study some programming, and prepare all my meals before work. Tomorrow I will am to wake up earlier around 8, complete some of my homework from university, work on coding, and take my car to shop as im having some issues with it. I also will try to start a no fap and Quit Smoking Streak along with my decision to quit gaming.
  13. Day 12 = Relaspe Well Sunday came around and I relapsed, I was at the library working on some coding, and using the promodoro technique and I got the urge to game. Thinking about it, it came before yesterday, I felt it when I went to my siblings house and he was playing, I got caught up in hype. Thankfully, this is probably my most successful relapse, as normally I use the excuse of relapse to countine to play, until it gets really bad and my life is falling apart, but I will take a new approach, I have already uninstalled and I am ready to countine where I left off starting Monday. I really stuggle with develop some sort of routine for the weekends.
  14. Day 11 I really feel the urge pulling me tonight, it alone at my house, nothing really to do for the next 3 hours. It seems so harmless, I am struggling with ways to cope, looking for minigames on my phone, but nothing really satisfies me like the rush I get playing my own game. It didnt help that I went to see my siblings today and he was playing such a great game, some really incredible plays, i had to fight really hard not to download steam when i turned on my laptop. So here I am stuck... knowing it wouldn't be so bad if I played in moderation... yet knowing I am unable to play in moderations, ive tried for years. Perhaps these are the moments, which make a break, a person and mold them into the people they want to be. Truth is I wouldn't know because I never choose to push forward... so today when I finish my day I will learn what it feels like to continue to hold a commitment to oneself. I can for one more day...
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