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  1. Brian

    Fawn_xoxo daily; thoughts, goals & evaluation

    I really appreciate you sharing your honest introspection and internal process.
  2. Day 81 journal: Day 90 is coming soon and I'm going to try another experiment: controlled gaming that is leveraged against the continued development of the habits and pastimes that have begun during this initial detox. I want to find out if it is possible for me to control/moderate my gaming. If it isn't... sayonara gaming. Below is my drafted contract - please give me feedback. I want to know where gaps in my plan are so that I can take them into account. Contract This contract will take effect on 3/25/19, the day after Brian completes his 90 day detox from video games. Permissions: Brian will be allowed to play video games for up to two hours per day. Restrictions: Brian will not be allowed to “store” any time he does not spend playing video games on any particular day. Binging sessions longer than two hours per day are not allowed. Additional requirements: Brian must maintain the following daily, weekly, and monthly habits. All of the following habits must be fulfilled according to their guidelines or the consequences section of this contract will take effect. Physical exercise for at least 30 minutes 5x/week. All weekly chores completed (discuss with spouse). Complete at least one home improvement project 1x/week. Meditation at least 20 minutes 5x/week. Daily journaling or forum post on GameQuitters. Read at least 15 pages per day for fun, personal/professional development. Connection with spouse at least 2x/week. Connection/training dog 1x/day Wednesday through Sunday. Connection with family 1x/week via phone, video, or in-person. Amend ‘The Brian Project’ 1x/week. Engage in one creative pursuit 1x/week. Consequences: Immediate uninstallation of games and Steam from laptop PC. Immediate 90 day detox from video games, associated websites, and streams. 90 day detox includes all video games, watching others play video games, reading news on game websites or web searches, forum posts, and streaming video. Immediate post on GameQuitters forum admitting relapse and broken contract. Spouse will immediately receive $300 to do whatever she pleases. Brian cannot have any say in what she uses this money for. If this contract is broken three times, Brian is required to disassociate himself from his online accounts: Steam, Blizzard, etc. He is required to immediately turn over his laptop and other gaming devices to spouse. Laptop and gaming devices will be immediately posted for sale. Brian may never again play a video game on any platform EVER. Limitations: If a habit from the ‘additional requirements’ section is not met, Brian may appeal the immediate consequences for one of the following reasons: Illness or injury. Third parties named in a habit are not present or unable to connect. Regardless of reason, time playing video games may not exceed two hours per day.
  3. Brian

    Dear Diary...

    Hey, I just want to let you know that I hear that you're struggling right now and I'm rooting for you. Thanks for being so open about what you're going through and what help/support we can offer!
  4. Day 79 journal: I just returned from a difficult shift at work. This was one of those challenging experiences that tests me and also raises doubts about my abilities. I encountered some of my growth edges: embracing conflict, setting firm boundaries, toying with the idea of objectivity versus joining my clients in their drama... I could go on. The doubt that comes up has the same roots that it always does: The belief that I'm not good enough. Countering that belief: I can't control others, I can't control their desire to change, I cannot make others change. I knew, walking into this one, that it would be on the edge of my capacity and theirs. Invictus: In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed. I feel grateful for: Being home, being safe. My dog sleeping next to me. Being able-bodied and healthy. The roof over my head. Feeling warm and dry.
  5. Brian

    Moving on

    Loving oneself is a hard, hard thing to do. What do you consider to be acts of love you show towards others? Can you do any of those for yourself? Just writing on this forum can be an act of love towards yourself.
  6. Brian

    dwalk77 Journal

    Way to write about your struggles here. I hope that has been helpful to get it out of your head, or at least put a name to it. And way to find gratitude despite tough circumstances. That might be the biggest win of all!
  7. Day 76 journal: Alright, here we go: THE BRIAN PROJECT Version 1.03 (first version, 3rd draft) This is one of those projects that will never be completed. It will always be a work in progress. It is informed by life events and edited as life works on me. My core purpose: To live a meaningful life and help others do the same. Beliefs that inform this purpose: Life events are going to happen whether I invite them or not. How I prepare myself for them and respond to them is everything. The primary thing I can control is my mindset and interpretation of life events. Doing hard things stretches me. What was once uncomfortable becomes more bearable through trial and effort. At a minimum, this is the 'silver lining' or optimism I can find when in the midst of trials. It's how I can find meaning in struggle. It's how I can come back to feeling gratitude despite overwhelming circumstances. Self-care and wellness is restorative and necessary to reflect on life events. These are the 'air pockets' between pushes. Like 'rest days' are important when weightlifting so that the body can recover, slowness and stillness are the mental 'rest days' that allow for reflection and meaning-making. I am an instrument for the work of others. Through how I carry myself and relate with others, they are impacted. I think about this like a human hand: I can extend a hand to others, make a fist, create, carry, destroy, connect... Regardless of the form, I want to be aware of how I can impact others. My core values: Relationship Connection, friendship, intimacy, quality time, gratitude, love, trust, appreciating the fragility and value of relationship, focus when in relationship. Learning Self-discovery, curiosity, inquiry, wisdom, reflection, meaning. Growth through challenges Courage, bravery, adventure, getting outside, natural beauty, feeling alive and embodied. Skill development Achievement, progress, competence, experience, mastery, passion, recognition of effort. Health Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, professional, relational/social. (Name undecided... Maybe 'cohesive teamwork,' 'vision-oriented effort,' 'system oriented teamwork...' I don't like any of these yet. Teamwork, respect, accountability, trustworthiness, responsibility, loyal opposition, justice, strategy, vision. Guiding philosophy: Stoicism Central concern/question: What must one do, or be, to flourish? The goal: To live a fulfilled life with joy and tranquility. 5 Stoic Practices (drawn from 'The Art of Manliness' podcast and website): Visualize life without the things I love. Intention: to more appreciate my blessings, to feel gratitude for the things I do have. "Flickering thoughts" - don't dwell on this. Memento Mori - Remember Death. Intention: I will not live forever. Simply reminding myself of this helps me spend my time because it is a valuable and limited resource. How will I spend my time to live a fulfilled life? Set internal goals and detach from outcomes. Intention: To recognize what I can, and cannot, control and spend my energy on what I can. Set goals related to my own efforts, NOT results I am seeking. Welcome discomfort. Intention: To reach greater degrees of contentment and fulfillment through welcoming challenges. Embrace the grind: give it my all despite likely failure. Amor Fati: Love of fate. Not simply to become fatalistic, but to accept life on life's terms. Vigorously pursue character and virtue: Intention: Finding personal fulfillment AND enriching my community and society as a whole. What would my best self do in this situation? Habits and Skills I wish to cultivate: Emphasize physical health: Exercise at least 5x/week Track my nutrition at least 5x/week Dance A love of the outdoors: Exploring new places Walk/hike or snowshoe Sail Bike Ski: downhill or cross-country Climb Actively pursue knowledge: Reading at least 2 minutes every day for personal or professional growth Podcasts Listening to differing opinions Creative pursuits (one of the following at least 1x/week): Drumming Wood carving Poetry Recording dreams Working on my home Sketching/drawing Listen to music; read lyrics Emphasize mental/emotional health: Meditate for 20 minutes at least 5x/week Write in my journal daily OR post on this forum Reading at least 2 minutes every day for fun Connection with my spouse at least 2x/week via vulnerable conversation, physical touch, or laughter Connection with/training my dog at least 2x/week Connection with family members at least 1x/week via phone, video, or in-person Emphasize spiritual health: Start and end each day with gratitude: right after meditating in the morning and right before bed Pray; remember I am an instrument NOT the player Ask for help Amend 'The Brian Project' at least 1x/week Emphasize professional health: Be boundaried with myself: not allowed to check emails on the weekends unless absolutely necessary Practice loyal opposition Give and receive positive and constructive feedback Engage in continuing education and professional development opportunities Emphasize financial health: Budget (this one needs a lot of work) Dream and set goals financially; develop action plan to achieve these Feedback welcome.
  8. @fawn_xoxo Thanks for the encouragement and sharing your 2 cents! The last 75 days have been an opportunity to allow other habits and desires to gain root and break through soil. They are still tender and need constant care, time, and attention. If I go back to what I was doing before, all of those new habits and desires will go dormant. Here's a rough idea of what I'm thinking: leverage my new habits against video games. Write and sign a 'habit contract' where I limit video game use and need to fulfill all other habits. There will be severe penalties if I break the contract. I'll post it here for feedback and accountability once I get it finalized. @Average_Guy Thanks for the kind comment! I have read other forum members that are struggling with PMO in addition to video games and it seems like a theme where PMO is tougher to kick than video games. What I'm discovering about myself is that loneliness and a desire for instant gratification drive my PMO. The tricky thing about it is that masturbation and orgasm are normal and natural... which makes complete abstinence unreasonable. I have had to check my intentions and slow myself down a lot during these last couple of months. I have been REALLY secretive about this too and talking about it on these forums and with my therapist has been very, very helpful. Day 75 journal: I refrained from playing games throughout the last few days of being sick! This feels like a big win. In the last few days, I have: Read over 300 pages and completed book 6 of the 'Wheel of Time.' Connected with my wife despite both of us being sick. We saw 'Captain Marvel' today and went on a brunch date! Gone for a walk/jog with my dog. Resisted the urge to check work emails. Turned on my 'do not disturb' function on my phone more frequently. Completed our taxes. I feel grateful and am enjoying the opportunity to slow down.
  9. Day 72 journal: I just returned from working away from home for a few days. Some takeaways: I have been thinking about games more frequently over the past week. I think this is because I am approaching 90 days and told myself I planned on playing again. Being honest with myself, that might be an indicator that I'm addicted. So I need to be REAAAAALLY careful over these next couple of weeks leading up to, and after, day 90. I self-disclosed to a client who has struggled with gaming and PMO. He was contemplating checking on his games during a transition day between treatment centers. He was saying things like: "Games helped me escape and have a sense of control." "I care about my progress in the game." "I won't be able to play once I go to the next place and want to get some time in." I haven't told many people about this process I'm going through. Certainly not a client where I don't say much at all about my own internal processes. It was liberating for myself, and I think he got it: he can't play again without a strict plan or he risks going back to what he was doing before, which included a lot of detrimental behaviors. I caught the flu over the last few days. Want to guess what a major pastime was when I was sick in the past?? :cough: gaming :cough: So this weekend is going to be a new experience. I'm going to be recovering from sickness without gaming. Lastly, I found this poem from William Ernest Henley recently. I have been speaking it aloud at the start of the day, and DAMN:
  10. Day 69 journal: Just a brief check in: All is well, and busy. Work picked up the pace recently, which feels simultaneously thrilling and tiring. My partner and I hosted some friends from out-of-town on a ski trip and we enjoyed a lot of quality time connecting and laughing together. My partner and I also road-tripped to witness another set of friends get married! We had some valuable conversations along the way. Back to work tomorrow. I'll do my best to check in later this week. 3 weeks to 90 days!
  11. Day 60 journal: Chuggin' along over here! Yesterday turned out to be a BIG work day. A lot of coordination between myself and co-workers about projects which turned out to be really fun. I feel like a detective... sleuthing around, gathering information, collaborating towards some end that isn't clear yet. I tried to call off sick for work next week because we have family coming to town next week and unfortunately it didn't fly. I feel disappointed because I won't be able to spend as much time with them because I will be working. This is one of those situations where my values clash: I feel a strong sense of drive and purpose at work because I'm helping people change AND I feel a loss because I am not spending time on my relationships with important family members. We got another foot of snow last night, which brings our total over the past week to between 2-3 feet!! I LOVE snow, and am STOKED about all of the new fluffy white stuff. I want to get out and ski today. Tonight is also planned: it's the first CrossFit games! I joined a team at the gym and we dress up in goofy costumes, cook meals, work out, and gain a greater sense of community. I feel excited and nervous about this! I lapsed on PMO this morning... My partner and I have been on different schedules and our connection hasn't been very high. She also has had a really frustrating week, hasn't slept well, and has had a lot to deal with. I feel for her. I don't know... There's more here for me to process and it's hard because it hits so close to home for me. I want her to feel good but I can't make her feel good. I have let her know I'm available when she wants to chat. I even expressed interest in having a date sometime this weekend so that we can connect. Feeling into this more... I feel sad and lonely... sad/empathetic for her situation and lonely because we haven't connected romantically or intimately. Thanks for reading. I hope y'all have a sweet day.
  12. Day 59 journal: Brief check-in today. I feel grateful for: The peace of mind I feel right now. I'm sitting on the couch next to my spouse having had a productive morning. SNOW. We are getting HAMMERED with it this week and I LOVE IT. Being able to say 'no' to my dog and he knows what that means. Feeling restored after a good night's sleep and watching my nutrition after coming home from a hard shift at work. My mindset of turning to face, and embrace, challenges rather than my old mindset of complaining and feeling overwhelmed. My privilege and blessing to own a home where I feel safe, warm, and dry. That's all for now. Lata'.
  13. Day 54 journal: The release of the next Civ expansion has come and gone and I still haven't played. Booyah. I evaluated my habit progress yesterday. I have been using 'Habit Bull' to track my habits and found the graphs and hard data really helpful. I scaled up or scaled down some habits depending on how successful I have been. I am now tracking my nutrition and don't think I have been eating enough, especially protein. Connection with my spouse, family, and dog have also been added to my tracker. I relapsed with PMO Thursday morning, which I feel disappointed about. I felt EXHAUSTED when I came home from work on Wednesday and the exhaustion lingered throughout Thursday. I think that was the trigger: feeling so mentally and physically run out that I craved some form of pleasure and immediate gratification. I listened to an Art of Manliness podcast on 'Hyperfocus' with an author named Chris Bailey. A major takeaway from that podcast was that our brains are wired to seek pleasure, novelty, and to watch out for threats. I found this helpful because it normalizes what I'm experiencing - instead of feeling ashamed for relapsing into PMO, I can understand that my brain is susceptible to cravings for pleasure and novelty. Having the ability to 'name' something seems to take some of the power away from it. Peace.
  14. Brian

    CR - When do I level up outside?

    I feel you on this. Life has a way of saying, "Well, here you go!" and dumping a bunch of shit in front of us. I'm a firm believer (now, I wasn't as much before) in it's what we MAKE of our life circumstances that makes life either hellish or bearable. We can say to ourselves, "Why is this happening to me?!" or some variation of externalizing control. OR we can decide to meet life's shit with gritted teeth and a spark of defiance: "So you want to bury me? WATCH THIS." Have you considered that your mindset is one of the things that is creating distress in your life? When you label life events as "negative" it's easier to get bummed out, depressed, angry, etc. If you can try shifting to a growth mindset, like trying to view life events as opportunities to grow or rise to, that may help. And fuck yes, give yourself some credit for what you're doing RIGHT!! It's easy to fixate on what's going wrong. Beware of that trap because it sounds like a lot is going right!
  15. Day 48 journal: What a weekend! Some accomplishments, curiosities, and struggles: I went to the gym four days in a row! This is a feat not only because of the intensity of the workouts, but because I can't go to the gym Monday through Wednesday because of my work schedule. My connections to the community really seem to have picked up in the last couple of months and I'm really enjoying seeing people I know consistently. It's like having 20+ accountability-buddies, which is great for consistency. I had a big 'Aha!' moment in therapy. A little backstory: I went to my first-ever 'vision quest' in November 2017 and came into contact with a primal, beast-like force within myself. It's sort of like The Hulk when Bruce Banner is about to be killed or seriously injured... A kind of power and grit that shifts me into another level of determination and drive when the going gets REALLY tough. I also came into contact with how I have 'caged' myself... Video games were a part of that. The cage basically consists of comfort, security (although a false sense of it), and routine. Letting my internal beast of the cage was a big part of the vision quest. Fast forward to this summer when natural disasters struck. My 'Aha!' moment was that this internal-beast-force granted me with the wherewithal to endure in the face of overwhelming negative events. I put in a lot of physical labor to try to save our home. Blood, sweat, and tears all happened because I was on the front-lines. Then a second wave of disaster happened about a week after the first. Primal screaming happened. There was nothing I could do to stop nature's course. But DAMN IT, I was going to let nature know that I wasn't going to be beaten. The 'Aha!' was that, without really knowing what I was doing, I saved myself from trauma. Bodily movement, tears, sweat, screaming at storms all happened and these were the things that allowed me to move grief, overwhelm, anger, hopelessness through my system. The next Civ expansion releases next week and I'm having trouble with that. I watched the developer livestream this weekend and I'm tempted to reinstall and reboot. It's amazing how much mental and emotional energy is tied up with the release of an expansion that I won't be playing right away. I'm committed to this 90 day detox. I have given some thought to what I might do after the 90 days is up though... I want to try another 'experiment' where I allow myself to game with limits. I have some ideas as to how I might do this and may post about them in the future. I think I need to know that I can't game, or that it's possible with strict limitations. Gaming definitely got out of control before I started this detox, I'm not denying that. It seems like the purpose of this detox is to reset my brain from the reward system of gaming, to establish healthy habits and hobbies, and do a deep-dive into my values and purpose in life. I'm interested in hearing what y'all think about this. That's all for now. Catch y'all on Wednesday or Thursday.