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Shoutout: Thanks Lea for all of your support for others this week!


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Everything posted by Brian

  1. First journal entry, day 2: Dammit @Cam Adair. Module #2 hit me right where I needed to be hit. Fuck, I'm conflicted... feeling and thinking different things. On one hand: nope, not gonna do it. Not gonna give up Civ. There's an expansion coming out in under two months and you want to play that. Things weren't that bad with Civ... You listened to podcasts and new music while playing. See? That's not that bad. You're not like these other people here. They are WAY worse than you. Maybe you can restrict your time playing. Maybe that will work this time. Maybe set a stopwatch next to you while you play. Cut yourself off when you hit your time limit. Yeah, that'll work. And permanently delete your Steam account?! Are you insane?!? You've spent too much money to give that up!! What if you want to go back and play?? You'll have to buy the game all over again!! Fucking denial. Minimizing, justifying, rationalizing, comparing. Cognitive distortions all over the place. :deep breath: On the other hand: there's a reason you have been saying that you've wanted to quit gaming for a long time. You always feel less good than you think you will. Even when playing Civ. Sometimes gaming was downright boring. The same old thing. Done this before, done that before. Been here before. And think of all of the things you can DO with that TIME!! You have a backlog of books! You've wanted to get back into drumming! There's an artist and writer inside of you that is just ACHING to come out! You've been striving to know your purpose, your reason for being on this earth. Not spending time gaming loosens up time to find out!! :Sigh: I'm alright. Everything's going to be OK. I've got this. Now that the anxiety has passed, I just feel sad. I know what I have to do, but... Fuck this is going to be hard. I didn't game today. I didn't watch streams or check forums or websites. I worked on my house, journaled, set up a habit tracker, went to the gym, did some work, played with my dog, spent time with my wife.
  2. @giblets: Yes, I would highly recommend it for what you are trying to do. The book is action-oriented and has supplementary exercises akin to Respawn. There are a lot of tricks to establishing new habits that you may have never thought of before, and some ways you have too.
  3. Brian

    Let's Go Waaaay Back.

    @Ben72, I have quit gaming for now. I'm re-evaluating my relationship with video games and am working on establishing new habits. This doesn't mean I'll never play again, but if I do I'll hopefully have more awareness about the needs/cravings I'm fulfilling through gaming.
  4. Brian

    Giblet's Journal

    I recently downloaded the "easy" button from the old Staples commercials (in the US, not sure if you saw those down in AUS). I LOVE pushing it after completing something hard. I smirk every time. 😆 It's a fun way to add a little video-game psychology to my every-day achievements. And I like how you framed up achievements in your post - this can probably be transferred to 'leveling up' too.
  5. Brian

    Fawn_xoxo daily; thoughts, goals & evaluation

    Hey @fawn_xoxo, I really enjoyed reading through your journal! The changes you have already made are inspiring! Just offering a couple of suggestions here... You might be on to something when it comes to changing your environment and getting out of your house for work or the gym. If the weather isn't conducive to outdoor activities, are there coffee shops/a library/a recreation center/a co-working space nearby that you can look into? I think James Clear talks about this in Atomic Habits: regularly going to a coffee shop for 10-15 minutes with the intention to journal signals to your brain each time that this is your designated space for that activity. Doing it all at home might require you to have a designated spaces for various activities in order to create the changes you want to make.
  6. Day 18 journal: I'm visiting my in-laws this weekend and am away from home. I just realized how important my routines are: I need to engage in my habits in some manner because they are a bulwark against cravings and temptation. I just sat down for 20 minutes of meditation and feel much more centered and focused. I've been off-center for all of this morning... I engaged in PMO when I got a spare moment, which I feel guilty about. I'm going to download a website blocker and shut that down. I picked up James Clear's book 'Atomic Habits' at the airport yesterday and am moving through that quickly. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to make big changes in their lives. I'm going to dedicate any future spare time to reading Atomic Habits, journaling, and doing my best to maintain my healthy routines despite being away from home. Still haven't played video games in 18 days! That's a victory. I have checked forums and updates on the new Civ expansion but this has been drastically reduced in time. As I mentioned, I had my first relapse in PMO today. Onwards.
  7. @fawn_xoxo: I really appreciate your compassionate perspective. Thank you. I'm my own best/worst critic and I can be harsh with myself. I think a big side-effect of this 90 day journey is getting in touch with an inner voice that approaches problems with curiosity and compassion versus guilt, shame, etc. I will definitely pick up that book. One of the difficulties I've had with such recommendations in the past is that I have consistently jumped to "oh, this would be a good resource for my clients." Everything became about becoming better at my job, accruing resources... I'm glad to say that that mindset is starting to turn around. Being an example of my ethics, values, and beliefs is exactly why I decided to do this thing in the first place. I want to re-evaluate my relationship with video games, to have more objectivity, and to get started with alternative habits. Day 13 journal: Today was a chill, indoor day. 4 inches of new snow meant that I missed the gym but got out and did a lot of playing in the powder. I spent a lot of time reading the fifth book in the Wheel of Time series, proving that a good fantasy novel can engage me just as much as a good game. I felt bored at times today, and am pleased to report that I felt a drastic reduction in cravings to play video games, watch streams, or check forums. Getting outside and changing my space/environment was essential to success I think. Having developed a list of resources from the Respawn modules was also clutch! I'm heading out of town/off the grid for work for a couple of days. My next check in will be Wednesday.
  8. Day 12 journal: Yesterday, I reflected on making a big behavioral change like giving up video games and PMO for 90 days. I don't think that I have ever attempted something like this by choice. Previous big changes have happened because of a geographical change (move), job change, relationship change, etc. This time, I'm doing this because I want to find out if I can do it. I want to re-evaluate my relationship with gaming and intimacy. Approaching this with the mindset of it being an 'experiment' helps me ease back on the anxiety. There's less pressure because sometimes experiments fail or the results turn out differently than the hypothesis. If I relapse it's an opportunity to check out my plan: what went wrong, what was I feeling, what didn't I account for, etc. I told the therapist I'm seeing about PMO yesterday. That was FUCKING SCARY. I felt overwhelmingly anxious and disgusted. It's a dark secret that I hold very close because I'm embarrassed and ashamed of it. Writing about it here is easier than telling another human being. Thankfully, he received it compassionately and helped me explore it a bit. One of my goals through this detox process is to begin owning these parts of myself, gaming and PMO, rather than them owning me and feeling the compulsion to hide them and be secretive. We tested one-rep maxes for front squats yesterday! I pushed my max from 175 to 200, which I feel proud and accomplished of! Hitting the gym regularly is fulfilling a lot of needs: social connection, measurable growth and progress, and challenge. The mental game is exciting too. I get to be my own cheerleader and coach, and also practice some self-compassion too. I picked up the fifth book in the Wheel of Time series, The Fires of Heaven, from the library yesterday too. Gaming got in the way of continuing to plug through these books and now seems like the perfect time to pick them back up. Getting out of the house, changing the space, was great too. I did a lot of journaling and reflecting on the New Year. I've been reading more poetry too and I found some excellent new poems from David Whyte that really resonated. Until tomorrow....
  9. Brian

    Maintenance of the PhoenixKing

    Hey @Phoenixking, thanks for being so real with your posts. Like you, I struggle with PMO and intimacy. It sounds like your romantic side is being engaged with Elien and that's helping to stave off porn. Romance is a whole-body/sensory experience, so that makes sense. It's literally more engaging. Porn reduces intimacy to an orgasm and that's it. That's probably why it's so addictive - dopamine and orgasm, dopamine and orgasm, repeat. 'The call' sounds like a sweet opportunity! I'm excited to read about how that develops. Maybe consider approaching the problem of defining your worth as a writer differently: what are your basic expenses that you need to cover, how much time do you estimate investing in the project, what seems like a reasonable rate given how much the project will make monetarily... If you want to go more concrete, look at the numbers.
  10. Brian

    Ready for changes

    Welcome to the forums, @en4ian! Way to go, making the decision to be your best self and TAKING ACTION towards that. I look forward to connecting with you in the journals!
  11. Brian

    Let's Go Waaaay Back.

    Hi Ben, welcome to the forums! I played Skyrim and The Witcher games for waaaay too many hours too. I'm in my mid-30s and remember playing old Atari games too. The immersion of present-day games is astounding when they are compared side-by-side with games from the 80s and 90s. I look forward to connecting with you via journals!
  12. Day 10 journal: @Cam Adair and @giblets: Thanks for your replies, input, and support. Seriously... the engagement with other souls who have gone through, or are actively going through, what I'm going through is what keeps me coming back to this journal. Giblets: the jargon makes sense. I'm a therapist and it's my job to lead people through emotional experiences. I'm a classic case of being the teacher that doesn't always practice what they preach. The word 'hypocrite' comes quickly to mind, and that's my self-critic coming up. This is easier to tell others to do than it is to do myself. I feel stuck. Anyone have suggestions for getting through ambivalence? When it comes to Respawn, I stopped at Module 2 when the assignment was to delete Steam increase the cost of entry. That seems too much like giving up gaming forever which is stopping me from pulling the trigger. I'm feeling torn in half. I uninstalled all games from my laptop, the Steam client, and deleted all bookmarks to websites. Even my holdouts: Civ and the Endless games. I feel relieved, actually. I'm committing to 90 days of no gaming.
  13. Day 6 journal: This will be a brief entry because it's late and I'm running out of energy. Strike that, there's a lot on my mind right now. I'm feeling accomplished today. My wife and I have been slowly renovating our house and I completed two projects that I'm proud of: building a table-like support structure for our kitchen counter top (which will hopefully be installed soon) and stair skirts (basically baseboard that run diagonally along the stairs). Both required a lot of mental energy, math, and patience. Both projects took the entirety of the afternoon. The day began with an ill turn: our hot water heater breaker unexpectedly blew, which led us to discover a leak and frozen water outside of our water heater. I ended up draining the heater while my wife called a plumber. So basically today was filled with house work. Tomorrow will be day 7 - one week since I stopped playing games, watching streams, or looking up content on websites and forums. I have definitely accomplished a lot more than I would if I had played. I booted up Steam early this morning and calculated my hours invested in gaming since we moved out West two-and-a-half years ago. At a minimum, I have spent: 1733 hours gaming That's 72 days/2.5 months Approximately 87 hours/month gaming That's 4.5 hours/day Doing the math gave me pause. That's a lot of time I could have spent pursuing other passions. I feel a strange mixture of acceptance and regret/guilt when I look at those numbers. There's more to unpack here. For another time. It has also been strange to feel more during the last week. Gaming numbed me, that I know well. Emotions have been more intense and lasted longer in the past week than they did when I was gaming. One of my primary coping skills has been set aside! I feel like I'm in an identity crisis right now - an ego death, perhaps. My confidence feels shaky: not my confidence that I can make it through not gaming day-by-day, but my overall sense of self. This is an exceptional time for introspection and growth because I'm calling into question a core part of who I am. And it's really fucking hard at the same time. :sigh: I go back to work tomorrow. My job takes me off of the grid for 48 hours, so my next update will be Wednesday night. Be well, y'all.
  14. Day 5 journal: Skied (is that the correct spelling?) for 5 hours with a friend today for the first time this season! Worked on technique related to moguls and intermediate routes. My legs are BURNING. Played "Descent" (board game) with my wife and another couple tonight for 4 hours. This was a great opportunity to connect with some friends we hadn't spent time with in a long time. Aaaaand now my day is over.
  15. @wookieshark88: It's working! I'm recognizing the thoughts/cravings to game throughout my day. Coming to these forums helps, especially when I engage with others' journals and get into a cycle of replies. Day 4 journal: I recently discovered traditional pagan Nordic/Viking music on Spotify: Wardruna and Danheim. I'm currently listening to Danheim's 'Runagaldr' album with headphones - it's epic. CrossFit: Third day in a row! My previous front squat one rep max was 175... I did two reps at 170 today. That one rep max @ 175 is going to get blown out of the water. Friends/family connection: My wife and I spent some time in our gym's hot tub together, which we hadn't done in about a month! I have plans to ski with a guy friend tomorrow and also a board game night planned with my wife and another couple. Career: I turned down a part-time job because the salary was lower than I hoped for and the non-compete clause was too restrictive. It would be a fantastically educational experience, but I'm not a professional student anymore. I'm going to explore other options and possibly pursue my own practice. We'll see where this one goes. I also thought a lot about Civ and giving up gaming for good. I'm still not ready to sneak-delete my Steam account and give up Civ and the Endless games. :sigh: I've been reading articles on artofmanliness.com and this epigram from Napolean Bonaparte came up: "Space I can recover. Time, never." And THAT'S my conundrum, friends. I can never recover the time I spent gaming or will spend gaming. I'm more clearly seeing the things I can do with that time and have been engaging in them over the last four days since I stopped gaming. Thanks for reading and letting me talk out my ambivalence.
  16. Brian

    [25 years old] after many attempt to quit

    I feel that too - nostalgia from missing the good times. I'm pretty sure that's normal. It passes, although it's intense at times. I usually just sit and feel it and breath through it. Feelings don't last forever. Ever thought about reaching out to your gaming friends and trying to connect with them in other ways? Even just online, chatting etc. Be well.
  17. Brian

    It's never over. Another afterparty journal

    I admire your conviction!
  18. Brian

    Social skill "achievements"

    Hey Rude, thanks for posting on my journal earlier today! I really like the idea of 'social skills achievements.' It sounds like a fun way to challenge yourself and grow as well. Hard #4: have you thought about telling someone that you're a gamer? Personally I feel embarrassed to tell people about it, which makes it hard to be open about. I've found that my mind does all kids of mental gymnastics and predicts apocalyptic scenarios that often don't turn out to be true. Hard #5: Right on, man. Asking for help is hard. Maybe start small with it - ask for help to lift something heavy... who knows.
  19. Brian

    Daily Journal - Rick

    Hey @Ironfly, I'm two pages into your journal and am getting a lot from it! Thanks for posting about your successes as well as your struggles.
  20. Brian

    It's never over. Another afterparty journal

    Hey @info-gatherer, thanks for your reply and advice on my thread, and for starting this one! I'm looking forward to following your journal this time around.
  21. Thanks @wookieshark88, @Cam Adair, and @info-gatherer for the replies and encouragement. I'm pleasantly surprised with how much a supportive community is helpful! Day 3 journal: I'm definitely feeling a craving to play today. Right now, in fact. As I write, the urge is slowly dissipating. I feel irritable and anxious, which probably stimulated the thought train of "you know what would help you NOT feel this way?!" I meditated instead and got on with work. Now I'm here writing about it. I also felt a strong sense of 'not being good enough' related to work. That definitely stirred up feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, which contributed to wanting to game. That's actually a pretty big reason why I game: I have a strong sense of power and control within the game. Basically, I can prove I'm good enough because I get feedback from the game that says so. I hit the gym this morning (I do CrossFit) and lifted more in a power clean than I ever have! (Measurable growth, achievement, progress, BOOM.) I have been reading more over the last three days and am finally digging into my backlog of books. I have played board/card games with my wife over the last couple of days, which I hadn't done regularly before. Gaming was a big temptation in the mornings for me too. Instead of gaming in the morning, I have either woken up and meditated or gone to the gym first thing. I feel relieved and more relaxed now. Thanks y'all.
  22. Brian

    It's time...

    Hey all, this is my first post as a new member. I have thought about giving up gaming for a long time (over a year) and Christmas Day just happens to be Day 1. Being open about this is already difficult because I have minimized my game-playing or avoided talking about it outside of just a couple of people. This is also quite hypocritical of me because I work in the helping professions and frequently encourage others to be transparent, open, vulnerable, etc. One of the reasons I decided to go through with this is because I can't reconcile my values with my behavior. They just aren't compatible. I lead two lives - a public life and a private life. Publicly I am successful with work and happily married. These aren't lies either: I have meaningful where I help other people and my spouse and I love each other and consider each other friends as well. My private life is filled with video games, PMO, and secrecy. This is the life that I want to get a hold of and transform because it continues to dig its claws into me more each year. My wife knows about all of my video game playing; she doesn't know about PMO and secrecy. I'm working with a therapist related to this aspect. I feel a lot of guilt and shame related to my secret life. I just don't feel fulfilled in my life and I keep looking for a greater purpose. Video games take up a lot of my time, which is valuable. There are other pursuits and activities that I want to get into, but gaming sucks up all of my free time. It's a vicious cycle of setting goals (although they are weak with little planning), playing games with all of my spare time, then beating myself up because I didn't follow through on those goals. I feel more guilt and shame then play more games... because who wants to feel bad about themselves?? My games of choice are solo games. Grand strategy like Civilization and the Endless series of games. Solo RPG games like Skyrim, Fallout, and Pillars of Eternity. These games definitely help me escape from stress temporarily, they satisfy my imagination to a small degree, I definitely see feedback and progress, and most of all I gain a sense of purpose, challenge, and achievement. I never was much of a social gamer and have developed friendships in "real life." I don't talk much about my gaming with friends, except for those that also game. Even then, I don't let them know how many hours I have spent playing because I feel ashamed. I feel a lot of reservations about giving up gaming. I have worked in addition and recovery for a long time and am very familiar with the phrase "one day at a time." It's different when it's my life we're talking about. It's more real. My biggest reservation is giving up Civilization, especially because another expansion drops in February. I have uninstalled every game except Civ 6 and the Endless games. I have unsubscribed from all streams and YouTube channels associated with gaming. I still have Civ and the Endless games websites bookmarked. I'm not ready to give those up yet. I haven't played today or watched streams or checked websites for updates. Day 1 is intact and, just for today, I'm not going to. I'm here because I want to live life to the fullest. I want to activate my potential and live according to my values. Thanks for reading.
  23. Brian

    Maintenance of the PhoenixKing

    Good luck, @Phoenixking! Headlining the poetry gig sounds exciting. This is less poetry than a quote... I hope you don't mind if I share something from Mary Pickford: "Today is a new day. You will get out of it just what you put into it... If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, there is always another chance for you. And supposing you have tried and failed again and again, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose. For this thing that we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down." Please let us know how the gig goes!
  24. Brian

    Daily Journal - Samon

    Wow, 43 days! Way to go. I appreciate how you've been updating daily. I'm on day 2 and this has been great to read. Thanks for posting.
  25. Brian

    [25 years old] after many attempt to quit

    Hey @choijiah, nice work getting back on the forums after a relapse! It's a new day. I read that you were feeling sad after gaming again and it also sounds like you were disappointed that you didn't make it to 90 days. Try to find the gaps in your plan. What caused your relapse? Emotions? Boredom? Was your barrier to entry too easy? Keep going.