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  1. Your response has given me hope because I have felt like most people aren't taking this seriously, especially after that bad interaction on the Discord server. I'm glad to see someone protecting their own recovery. Unfortunately at the same time, it has strengthened my feeling that maybe I don't fit in here. After reading this, I've begun to question if I ever belonged here in the first place. Perhaps I'm not the target audience. If I'm being completely honest, I think this abstinence-only approach is isolating more people than it is helping. It feels like a form of gatekeeping. "If your goal is moderation, then you don't belong here. Come back when you're ready to quit for real." That's the message I'm getting from that. Unfortunately, this is one of the only resources for this issue in the entire world. It reminds me of how there are so many people doing alcohol addiction recovery on their own because AA isn't a good suit for them, and they don't realize there are alternatives. For a long time there weren't any alternatives at all, and that's the situation our community is in. Although we may wish it, there is no one size fits all solution to these issues. At least 12-step programs are upfront about it, they specify "this is a program of complete abstinence from all _____" but that isn't as clearly laid out here. If that is the goal and intention, I think it should be stated as such. This community helped me a lot in the past, I'm disheartened to realize I probably shouldn't continue to journal here. My intention was not to cause any harm, only to share my journey, whatever form that may take. I'll return if complete abstinence becomes my goal again. I'm glad there's a place for that, even if I have to look elsewhere for support in my current endeavors.
  2. TRIGGER WARNING: MODERATION I don't recommend anyone with less than 90 days free of gaming to read this entry. I believe anyone struggling with gaming addiction should detox for at least 90 days before even CONSIDERING moderation. Anyway, onto the actual journal entry: A lot has happened since my last entry, but to summarize: one thing led to another, and I've decided to allow myself to do some gaming again. But there's a catch. My tradeoff is actually that I need to avoid socializing on the internet, and any games I play must feel "cozy." I'll explain better what I mean by that in a moment. January 10th is when I made the choice to start gaming again, and before that I had been detoxing since June 1 2022. So that makes my current standing record for longest detox being 588 days, or 19 months and 9 days. That also means today marks 2 weeks since I started gaming again. This time I didn't write up a serious contract with myself, I just decided I would feel it out. The whole contract thing stressed me out big time last time, and the whole point of this experiment is an attempt to reduce stress in my life. Let me now try to explain what I mean by "cozy" games. Games must feel relaxing and not stressful. No grinding and gritting my teeth through that to get to the next big goal, just taking it all at a very leisurely pace. I ask myself "if I were to quit gaming again tomorrow, what would I regret the most about this experience?" and avoid those regretful things. For example, I've always regretted not trying to play Animal Crossing without time traveling, so this time I am not time traveling, even when it's inconvenient or slow. I have other things to do with my life now, unlike before, so a little bit of waiting doesn't bother me as much as it used to. Animal Crossing is one of those cozy games I am allowing myself to play, even when I wasn't gaming the memories I had of this game never felt like a true waste of time (except, of course, the time I had spent grinding even when it was stressing me out.) Also, games I play must be easy to quit at any time, as my daughter takes top priority over all other things, not to mention the other responsibilities in my life. Unlike before I find it very easy to walk away from a game whenever something else demands my attention, as it is quite literally just a game. "It's just a game" has become my mantra for any time something in a game begins to frustrate me. Then I laugh about it and continue on, or I take a break and do something else until I feel better. I'm surprised how well this simple trick has worked for managing my emotions while gaming. As for quitting online socialization, that's a very broad statement. But really, it's as broad as it needs to be. The feeling of anonymity that comes from being behind a screen rather than face-to-face brings out the worst in people. So I am avoiding social media, comments sections, even forums, and everything else like that. Even YouTube videos, I will only watch them on the TV where I can't access the comments and I will only watch one or two videos at a time, I'm averaging 2-3 videos a week now besides ambience videos (nature footage, fireplace, things like that.) On top of all of this, I am reading more, getting back into making art, and making a real effort to move my body more often. I am even cooking a little more than I used to, once or twice a week, always making lots of leftovers so I can meal prep. I am starting to feel that perhaps my internet usage was more of a problem overall than gaming ever was, and if I ever detox or quit gaming again I need to avoid replacing gaming with internet usage... If you've tried and failed to moderate in the past you may have read this as a long justification of a relapse, and are assuming bad things are soon to follow. That's totally fine. You might even be right, only time will tell. As long as I feel mentally well and like my life is in order then I will continue on as I am, but I am more than willing to quit again should the need arise. I just wanted to be transparent about my situation, especially if that need does arise! I still consider myself to be in recovery from gaming addiction and I have had this mindset since the very first time I detoxed. It's an ongoing process, learning to live with my natural inclination towards addiction. I am thinking I might end up detoxing over the summer even if gaming isn't causing any issues in my life, because summer tends to be a very busy time and I have a strong association of gaming detoxes with summer at this point haha. We'll see!
  3. I'm so glad it's not just me who had a problem with it there. That's really tragic honestly, done right it could be such a good resource. Thank you both so much 💗
  4. Thank both of you so much. Your support is absolutely crucial to me right now, I have been feeling so lost since yesterday night. I really appreciate you sharing that with me, @Antoni! Your story is exactly what I needed to read right now. Moderating is something I am going to put off again for the foreseeable future. I'm not going to say "I will never play another video game for as long as I live" (even though sometimes I do feel like saying that!) but right now is definitely not the time to try.
  5. I spilled my guts about this on the Discord server and the one person who responded told me I was obsessing too much and to just "stop worrying about it so much" So that was worse than nothing kinda wish I never even said anything! Even people in recovery for this addiction don't take it seriously 🙄 how am I ever supposed to have real conversations about this, how am I ever supposed to feel supported? I feel more supported recovering from this in NA where most of them don't understand it and even play games but know it's important to me so they take it seriously anyway.
  6. We just tried, backseat and all, and I just felt absolutely terrible the entire time. Didn't even get 5 minutes into it, didn't even get to actually loading up the building part.
  7. Having two hours before the 8pm cut off time and finally getting a little bit of free time I decided maybe I'd try starting tonight. I really have no idea how these things work anymore so I asked my partner how to find it on the computer and she told me to open Steam. It gave me the same feeling as walking into the weed store when I relapsed on that. Now I'm feeling really apprehensive! It was more seeing all the other games and the Steam interface itself than anything to do with TS4, but still. Now I really don't want to get into it until my partner is also with me. It doesn't feel right starting alone. I'm going to have her take the wheel at first and I'll just be a backseat driver until I know how I really feel about all this.
  8. I'm wondering if you can only change the title of a journal once, or if I am just forgetting how I did it that first time! Under moderation actions is only the option to delete. It's okay though, if I'm stuck with this current title forever I won't be that upset about it. --- Anyway I came here to talk about my rules, goals, and intentions. Rules for building in TS4: >My daughter always comes first. >Other responsibilities, especially those pertaining to other human relationships, also come first. >Only TS4, only Build Mode and CAS. No Live Mode. (It's the worst part anyway lol) >Play testing, if necessary, can be done by my partner. Supervision of testing is allowed. >My partner always gets first dibs on the computer, and I must stop any time she asks to use it. >I will not build on Shabbat, it is a creative activity which I must rest from. >If I start to get that feeling that I have relapsed I will quit again. >I must take breaks when I feel frustrated and I must not take my frustrations out on other people. >Feeling stressed or frustrated is a sign it's time to stop for now. >8pm cut off time, must prioritize healthy sleep patterns. Goals for this new phase in my journey: >Maintain a healthy balance between hobbies and responsibilities. (Including my other hobbies lol I am very obsessive in general.) >Build things I can use as references for drawings! >Actually draw at least some of them 😹 >Strengthen my imagination! >Use this as a bonding activity for my partner and I. Intentions: >Follow the rules I set for myself. >Continue journaling about my recovery! >Treat this as an experiment, knowing full well this could go either way. >Use what is learned from this experiment to help others in their recovery! >Be more creative in general. (Lately I have been shying away from creative activities and more drawn to consumption activities. I don't think this is inherently wrong or bad but I feel better when I have a balance between creating and consuming.) --- We still have not actually moved forward with starting to build anything! Yesterday was Shabbat for most of the day anyway, and today is still the weekend, so our daughter takes up most of our time. That being said today my partner started playing a new video game which has left me in charge of the kiddo a lot. I'm feeling a bit resentful. She is good about getting off when I ask her to help, but when I'm not explicitly asking for help she drifts back to the computer. Not that I never do this with my puzzles though, lmao... I might start building tomorrow but it's literally the only day of the entire week I have to do it. I have plans to see my mom on Tuesday. There is no school Wed, Thur, or Fri this week. So she will be off from the 22nd through the 27th. I'm not sure it's a good idea for me to start something if I won't be able to work on it for over a week. I'm also pretty sure I'm going to lose my f***ing mind over those 5 days because the weekends already feel too long as it is. Dreading Xmas break too, it doesn't benefit me at all as someone who doesn't currently celebrate Xmas and can't afford to travel or do anything fun. I really can't wait until our daughter is like, 5 or so, I have a lot more experience with older children than toddlers and babies. There's so many activities I'd like her to participate in that she's just not ready for, and I already have her participate in a lot of "not age appropriate" activities. We do a lot of Montessori stuff too, like having her help with real chores. I'm really impressed with what she's capable of now, but I think our relationship will improve with time and age. Anyways, just taking it easy today. Got to put this kid down for a nap soon which is the worst part of my day 🙃
  9. Oh no, @BooksandTrees! I must have used confusing wording. I don't want to delete my diary, I just want to change the title completely. However I've noticed I have a few consistent readers and I wouldn't want them to get lost, I know I am easily confused so that's something I hold in consideration for other people. Thank you for the information though, I really appreciate the time you took to write all of that out for me!! 🥰
  10. So ironically I've been so busy we haven't even tried building yet. We've discussed ideas and updated everything but we haven't had time to actually sit down and do it! When we do have free time I've been choosing puzzles anyway lol
  11. Amazing to see more and more people unlocking this achievement! 🥳🎉 Fantastic work, keep it up!
  12. Hello friends, I'm sure you noticed I changed the title of this journal. I tried to keep a portion of it the same so it would still be recognizable! I may delete that in the future which is why I added Ari's Recovery Journey, so that can become the recognizable part eventually. Since TS4 is still technically a video game no matter how you use it, I am considering this moderation rather than abstinence, so if that is triggering for anyone I suggest no longer following along. Your own recovery comes first 💕 I've also come to realize that moving forward it may begin to be more difficult and isolating than necessary to completely abstain from games for the rest of my life, especially as a parent. But that doesn't have to mean jumping right back into my old ways, I can use the tools I've gained from the last 17 months to keep balance and perspective. I can always do another detox, and I can always quit entirely again. There's so much more to life than video games, and spending an entire year away from them is probably one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I highly recommend it to anyone who's completed a 90 day detox and is looking for a bigger challenge and more personal growth. Some people definitely can not moderate, it has not and will never work for them. I guess I'm going to find out for myself if I'm one of them. Either way I hope to use this as an experiment for the sake of our recovery community. Video games are here to stay and that means video game addiction is too. We are each a part of history by being part of the early video game addiction recovery movement. All our triumphs and failures will be the examples for generations to come. What we do here is so incredibly important, please never forget that! That is why I am going nowhere. I am still going to continue to check in using this journal to let you all know how this is working out for me. Even if this were to end in disaster, that would be a learning experience, and perhaps I could save someone else time and energy by letting them learn through my mistakes instead of their own. Wish me luck! 🤞🏻I'll try my absolute best not to muck this up!
  13. This morning I rolled a die 🎲 about the whole building in the Sims thing. Sometimes I cannot decide for myself so I let "chance" decide. Never for anything truly hugely important, only on things where I'm okay with either outcome. It was actually a die with colors on it rather than numbers. I chose yellow as my "yes go ahead" and all the other colors meant "no don't do it" It landed on yellow. So I have given myself permission but I also have yet to act on it quite yet lol. I'm very enthralled with the puzzle I'm currently working on, and I was busy all day before this. So if I do actually decide to build in the Sims again, under my personal contract that allows just this one activity under a certain set of boundaries, I will let all of you know how it goes! If content pertaining to moderation is triggering to you, you may not want to read this journal anymore if I do decide to take that route.
  14. Wow this ended up being really really long lol. TLDR: I might try a jigsaw puzzle app if I can find one that is literally just that and nothing else. I have also been considering building in the Sims again, like I was going to after a year of no-gaming, but at that time I decided I'd hold off a while longer. I'd love to hear experiences of moderation after detoxes, whether successful or not. Not just gaming but maybe you cut out YouTube or something during a detox and now you moderate even if you still don't game. Anything like that, I'd love to know your experience to help me with my considerations!
  15. Things I've been considering lately: A jigsaw puzzle app, which is technically a video game isn't it? But it'd be nice to be able to puzzle from anywhere. It's probably better for me than YouTube shorts lol... I know the guy that runs this whole show does play virtual chess so I guess there are definitely exceptions to the rules sometimes if one can handle it. I'm still uncertain though. The blanket goal of "use phone less" is simply something I have not had any success with, despite a lot of attempts to do so. The best I've done is found healthier ways to use my phone, such as forums instead of social media, digital scrapbooking, reading, etc. I also tend to shut my phone all the way off for either part of or the entirety of Shabbat. And yet again, I'm considering allowing building in the Sims. The reason for this is that every alternative I've tried to take up has failed to catch... or is extremely expensive. I realized the isometric dot grid notebook I bought 6 months ago was collecting dust and ended up being decluttered when I needed to force all my art supplies to fit into 2 cabinets instead of 3. (Gave up another one to my toddler lol, the "supervised only" toys like real Lego are in there since it has a child lock!) And speaking of real Lego, Lego is an awesome alternative to Minecraft and Sims but it's extremely cost prohibitive. We simply do not make a lot of money, so we have to spend that money wisely! The amount of Lego I'd need to build the stuff I used to build in the Sims... well I'd need a lot more money to fund that kind of thing let's just say that lol. It's also that learning new software is such a huge pain and doesn't come easily to me anymore. I actually struggle to use computers at all because it's been so long! I generally use my phone for everything now. The thing about letting myself build on the Sims is that there's already a lot of failsafes in place to keep me from overdoing it. >I'm a parent with very little free time to begin with, when my child is home all of my energy has to go towards her. I would only have a couple hours a week to dedicate to this because I would only be able to do it during school hours of weekdays that I stay home. >My partner and I share one computer now, and it's mostly hers. It's in her bedroom. I generally don't even really like being in her bedroom because it's messier than mine and I'm really bothered by that LOL. >I have a bunch of other hobbies now that I genuinely love (like Lego and puzzles!) Which I would definitely still do and need child-free time to do those too. Anyway even if I took this up again, it'd be under a "contract" with myself in which I'd set a bunch of boundaries about how it's used. It would only allow for this one thing, not general moderation. I think at this point in my life, with the experience of 17 months off games under my belt and a lot more responsibilities etc, healthy moderation of any games might be possible. However, the risks are huge if I'm wrong! I'm not looking for excuses to relapse, if I wanted to just straight up relapse I would. Nearly did in Texas because I was at my lowest of lows on that trip. I want to find ways to balance my need for creative output and this new way I've been living my life. I have been missing building so much it's kinda painful sometimes... but I also love the life that not gaming has given me! Stepping back and looking at our goals and intentions with all of this is something we just have to do sometimes. I like to put it all out on the table here for the sake of accountability. If anyone else struggles with anything similar I want them to know there's others who do and I'm here to talk about it if anyone wants to! I'd really love to hear from anyone who has had success moderating anything they completely cut out during their detoxes. Whether it's gaming in general, or maybe just things like YouTube. If anyone's tried and failed to moderate anything like that, I'd like to hear those experiences too! My journal is open, please share!
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